Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Rewritten as of 11/2/08.
Drizzt groaned as he felt something rain down on his head. He hadn't been able to sleep very well the night before, and wanted nothing more than to sleep in a little later this morning. Realizing how unlikely that was that this would happen, he opened his eyes and sat up, looking for Artemis.
He found the man sitting up beside him in bed, happily crunching on a piece of toast. He had a book in his other hand and was thumbing idly through the pages.
"What are you doing?" Drizzt demanded groggily. "I told you not to eat in bed."
"Why not?" Artemis grinned, leaning over to kiss the drow's forehead.
"You're making a mess. There're crumbs everywhere now!" He grimaced as Artemis took another bite, ducking to prepare for the oncoming shower. "Stop!'"
"Mmm…why? You wouldn't be complaining if I was eating it off of you."
"Yes, I would. Normal people don't eat toast off of one another," Drizzt grumbled, rolling over and pulling the sheets over his head.
Artemis laughed. "Since when have we ever been normal, love?" He attempted to tug the sheets away, but the elf had a strong grip on them and refused to let go.
"I said no eating in bed, and what do you do? You eat in bed. You deserve a slow, painful death."
"Don't I always?"
"I mean it this time."
Artemis huffed angrily. "What's the big deal about eating in bed? You can just wash the sheets."
"Why would I want to wash them every single morning? Any why do you assume I will be the one doing it?"
He got no answer except a loud crunch as Artemis bit into the toast. Fuming, the drow didn't say anything. When the mattress rose as the other man stood, Drizzt rolled over to face the wall, hoping for another chance to sleep.
The sheets, however, were then wrenched away, leaving him to shiver pathetically.
"What are you doing?" he demanded, rolling over and glaring at Artemis.
"If you're going to make such a big fucking deal out of it, I'll wash the sheets."
"I'm still trying to sleep!" Drizzt reached out for the sheets.
"Give me the pillowcases."
"Leave me the fuck alone, asshole!"
"Get up. Give me the pillowcases." He dropped the sheets and reached out to grab Drizzt's arms and pull him from the bed, but the drow fought back and got away to return to his warm niche among the pillows.
"You are such a child, you know that?" Artemis said disgustedly, reaching around to grab the pillowcases. Drizzt just curled up into a ball and suffered through it.
Jarlaxle peered around the doorway with an unhappy sigh as Drizzt and Artemis got into yet another quiet argument. They looked so sweet together, but they bickered often, over little things of no consequence. It annoyed him greatly; he didn't like anything that disturbed the peace in his household.
Turning to Kimmuriel, who stood behind him, he asked, "Do you have it?"
The psionicist nodded and handed the small pouch to the mercenary leader. "This isn't one of your wiser ideas. Something very bad could come of this."
The bald drow laughed as he tossed the pouch up and caught it. "But my friends, you are forgetting: something just as good could come from this as well."
As Kimmuriel departed, Jarlaxle twisted a couple of the many rings he wore on his fingers, enacting silencing and invisibility dweomers as he came through the door of the dining room. Drizzt and Artemis were both silent, neither looking at nor speaking to the other. Jarlaxle was glad he had opted to add a bit of an aphrodisiac to the contents of the pouch.
Time to act.
He crept closer to the table, waiting to pour the powder into Drizzt's drink when the opportunity presented itself. And then the young drow reached across Artemis to get the bowl of green beans, prompting an annoyed sigh from the former assassin. As they began to bicker again, Jarlaxle quickly emptied the pouch into the ranger's wine and left the room, satisfied with himself.
Drizzt sat on the freshly-washed bed sheets later that night, waiting for Artemis to return from the bathhouse. He looked up as the man came in, barely glancing at the drow.
"Hey, I'm sorry," Drizzt murmured. "About today." No reply. "I was being an idiot. I'm really sorry, Art."
The human turned to him as he dressed for bed. "Really? Oh…well, thank you. Apology accepted."
Drizzt grinned happily; he hated it when Artemis was mad at him. He pulled him close as got into bed, spreading his legs enough to allow the human to lay between them. He began kissing him, letting his mouth move from Artemis's lips to his neck.
The man was surprised. "What's gotten into you?"
Drizzt was just as surprised. "I have no idea." But he grinned and pressed his lips to Artemis's, his hands deftly removing his shirt and unbuttoning his pants.
TWO MONTHS LATER
Artemis settled back on the unmade bed, sighing. He was worried about Drizzt, who had been getting sick almost every morning for the last few tendays. He grimaced as he heard the drow retch again, and returned to the adjoining washroom to hold his hair back.
"Go ask Jarlaxle for a remedy," Artemis suggested for what felt like the hundredth time.
"I always…urgh…feel better by the afternoon, though," Drizzt replied, taking a swig of water and spitting it out to clear the awful taste from his mouth.
"Still…it happens almost every morning. I want you to get some medicine. I'm worried about you. And what if it's serious?"
"It's not," Drizzt said weakly, wiping his mouth.
"Drizzt, you're a stubborn ass."
The dark elf laughed and attempted to stand up. "Fine, then, I'll talk to him." He retched again and clutched Artemis's arm. "Just give me another hour," he moaned, sinking back to the floor by the chamber pot. "I'll be fine, though."
"I don't believe you," Artemis said gently, smoothing the elf's hair away from his forehead. "I just want what's best for you—I want you to feel better.
When Artemis next saw Drizzt, later that afternoon, the drow was sitting on their bed, his face blank and his fists nervously clutching the sheets.
"Did you see Jarlaxle?" the human asked, sitting beside him.
"Yes," came the reply, spoken in a vague voice.
"Did he give you some medicine?"
"No. Said I didn't need any."
Artemis was appalled. "What? Why not?"
"Because I'm...." He finally looked up, blinking at him in total disbelief.
"You're what? Artemis shook the elf's shoulder lightly. "Sick, hurt? What?"
"Artemis, I'm pregnant!" Drizzt blurted. As soon as he said it he let out a slightly hysterical chuckle and fell forward, hiding his face in the sheets.
"Drizzt?" Artemis asked carefully as he lifted the elf in his arms, taking care of his obviously fragile emotional state. "Drizzt, is this one of your stupid jokes?"
"Why would I joke about something like this?"
"Well, for one thing, men can't get pregnant," Artemis sighed, exasperated.
"Well, I am!" the drow huffed unhappily. "Jarlaxle used some sort of device to examine me and told me I was pregnant."
"And you believe Jarlaxle?"
"I do this time!"
Drizzt seemed to sure. Artemis shook his head and sighed as he stood. "I'm going to talk to him. This is ridiculous…" he muttered as he left the room, leaving Drizzt in his stupefied daze.
"What the fuck are you telling him?" Artemis demanded as soon as he entered Jarlaxle's private quarters. "He's pregnant? Are you seriously suggesting that we're not smart enough to know that men can't get pregnant?"
"My dear Artemis," Jarlaxle said, his calm demeanor a stark contrast to the ex-assassin's murderous rage, "haven't you heard of the various potions and spells that can remedy that?"
The human had to let that sink in for a moment before screaming, "What did you do to him?"
Jarlaxle merely laughed. "You two argue so much...."
"What in the Nine bloody Hells does that have to do with anything?"
"You need something to stop that. A baby is perfect!" He was absolutely delighted with himself.
Artemis glowered at the mercenary. "This is why I hate you so very much." He turned sharply and left, gritting his teeth angrily when he heard Jarlaxle laugh again and congratulate himself on his brilliant plan.
TWO MONTHS LATER
Artemis Entreri could only stare helplessly as Jarlaxle oversaw the installation on a brand-new crib, a cabinet, a toy chest, and something called a bassinet.
"What the fuck is that?" he whimpered uncomfortably as the thing was set against the wall by the crib.
"We can change the baby on it," Drizzt answered, a hand resting absentmindedly on the small bulge of his stomach.
"You know, Artemis," Jarlaxle chided, wagging a finger in the man's face, "you're going to have to watch your language when the baby comes."
"Shut the fuck up." He sighed. "Why do we need all this baby furniture? The thing's not due for another five months.
Drizzt frowned at him. "Artemis, it's our child. For gods' sakes, don't refer to it as 'the thing'. "
"Artemis, come help me with this," Jarlaxle called, upending the crib's mattress. "We can't have Drizzt lifting heavy things. He needs as much rest as he can get."
The human grumbled beneath his breath and stood, knowing better than to argue with the mercenary. When he had first learned the truth of their child's conception, Artemis had immediately told Drizzt, hoping for a reaction similar to his own. And he had gotten it—temporarily. The drow had very quickly settled into his pregnancy: he wanted a girl, he had a list of names for her, he wanted strange food combinations like pickles and bacon on toast. Worst of all, he wanted more children. With Artemis, no less.
Artemis quickly hefted the mattress into the crib and turned away. "Can I go now?"
"Now, Drizzt," Jarlaxle said, grinning, "remember how he sounds right now. Dealing with Artemis in this kind of mood will help you get used to dealing with your child."
THREE MONTHS LATER
He had had seven months to get used to it, but seeing Drizzt's belly grow every week was still incredibly disconcerting. Artemis was barely speaking to Jarlaxle and was also beginning to go to extremes to avoid Drizzt, whom he had, on more than one occasion, caught rubbing his stomach and murmuring to the bump.
Drizzt was hormonal, too. He would be happy one moment, crying the next when absolutely nothing had happened, and then he would be angry for the same reason. And then, of course, there was the fact that he was almost desperate for sex.
Artemis was more than a little put off by the whole thing.
So far he had managed to stay out of the way of the pregnancy, the drow, and the raging hormones. He knew, though, that he wouldn't be able to escape it for long, and one night it finally caught up with him.
"Artemis?" Drizzt asked quietly as he shifted close to the human's side of the bed. "Artemis, do you want—"
The other man yawned loudly, stretching to exaggerate it. "Oh, I'd love to, but I'm so tired tonight, sorry, love." He rolled over, praying that Drizzt would leave him alone.
No such luck. "You've said that every night for the last four tendays—and it's been six since we've done anything." He tugged on the man's shirt. "Come on!"
Artemis groaned loudly and allowed himself to be rolled back over.
"You hate me, don't you?" the drow asked then, frowning.
"Why would you think that?" the human replied, genuinely surprised.
"Because I'm fat and pregnant."
"And hormonal," Artemis chuckled, his smile falling when he failed to get a laugh out of Drizzt. "Honestly, love, I could never hate you. I really do love you."
Artemis kissed his forehead. "Really. Honestly. Now come here. I can still have sex with you. I think. You are a little chunky…."
Drizzt laughed. "Shut up."
"Well…it wasn't horrible," Drizzt murmured later, lying beside Artemis.
"Not really," the human agreed, turning to smile at the elf. He even tentatively raised a hand to rub his belly. However, all those angry, frustrated, and terrified thoughts flooded through his mind once again, and he quickly pulled it away.
Drizzt turned to him, a torn expression on his face, biting his lower lip. "Art?" he whispered nervously. "Is everything all right?"
"Drizzt, I…." He sighed. "You know I love you, but—"
"Artemis, it's your child. How could you…how could you not want it?" It was an alien concept to him.
"I've never wanted children, though, love." He couldn't look at Drizzt as he said it. "I don't want the responsibility of one. And look where we live, who we're surrounded by. Do you really want to raise a child here? And there are so many other problems. What kind of discrimination will it face, because of its race? It'll have two fathers. That won't help any. And…what will it do to us?"
Artemis sat slumped in a chair in the empty dining hall, his chin resting on the table, sulking. He had left nearly an hour ago, needing to be alone, and hoping that when he returned Drizzt would be less upset.
He heard a clacking then and looked up to see Jarlaxle entering the room, his face unusually grim.
"Drizzt just came to see me," he murmured, sitting down.
"I didn't do anything wrong," the human protested. "What did he tell you?"
Jarlaxle sighed and took a moment's pause, trying to figure out how to word what he wanted to say. "You have to understand, Artemis. He's seven months pregnant and you're the father. Drizzt has wanted children for a while. He does understand your reasons for not wanting any, but you need to see things from his point of view as well."
"You're a fine one to be lecturing me," Artemis snorted, "seeing as you're the one who got him pregnant."
"I merely slipped the powder in his drink. You did the rest."
"Don't say that," the human demanded. "It's disturbing."
"Get used to it. In two months you'll be a father."
"I don't fucking care!"
"You'd better care!" Jarlaxle thundered, furious. He then took a deep breath, composing himself enough to continue. "How do you think he feels, Artemis?" He put a hand on the other's shoulder. "He's carrying your child, and you don't want it. You know he'd do anything for you, but he's starting to think that he's going to have to do this alone—and that is what he fears more than anything else."
Artemis was surprised by the mercenary's solemnity, but it was easy to see in hindsight, along with Jarlaxle's help, where he had gone wrong. He had scared Drizzt badly, and he had to go set things right. He rushed from the dining hall back to the rooms he shared with the drow.
Knocking gently on the door as he pulled the handle, he peered cautiously around into the room. "Drizzt?" he murmured, his weak human eyes trying to pierce the darkness. "Are you in here, love?" He heard a quiet sniffle. "Drizzt?"
A hesitation, then, "Yes. I'm here." His voice was thick.
Artemis bumped around in the dark for a moment, until he felt Drizzt's warm hand grab his and pull him close.
"Drizzt, I'm so sorry. I was such an ass. You don't deserve that." He kissed the elf's hand gently.
"You still don't want a child, though?" There was a profound sadness in his voice.
"Jarlaxle spoke to me." He sighed. "I know my behavior was wrong. I never thought about how it would hurt you. I promise I'll try, though. Hey, who knows? Maybe by the time it's born I'll feel ready."
"Thank you." He could tell Drizzt was smiling. "Hey, Art? Can I ask you something?"
"Well…what about names?"
TWO MONTHS LATER
Artemis paced nervously in the hall, the very picture of an expectant father. Drizzt hadn't wanted him anywhere near him when he gave birth. Though a little upset at first, the human quickly realized how good an idea it was—the moment the drow had gone into labor, Artemis had been in a frenzy to rival a mother hen. He was now waiting impatiently outside Jarlaxle's healer's room as he had been asked to do, flexing his fingers anxiously and fearing he would wear a hole in the rug.
Sighing in exasperation, he pressed his ear to the door, hoping to hear something—anything—but the wood was too thick. He slumped against the wall and sank down, foot tapping.
The door opened suddenly, and he scrambled to his feet, eyes immediately on the tiny, crying, wriggling bundle in Jarlaxle's arms.
"Congratulations," the mercenary said, beaming. "You have a son." He carefully handed the blanket-wrapped baby to Artemis. The boy immediately stopped crying. "He likes you already!"
But Artemis wasn't paying attention to Jarlaxle. All his focus was concentrated upon the baby, his son, and his sparkling gray eyes, the shock of white hair on his head, the tiny pointed ears, and his grinning, toothless mouth. He was in love.
He looked up and saw Drizzt, lying in bed, looking exhausted but happy. "What do you think?"
The man beamed proudly. "Our son is adorable."
Drizzt looked almost relieved as he grinned. "Well, look at his father."
Artemis sat down beside the dark elf, cradling his boy in his arms. The baby blinked owlishly at him, snuggling into the folds of his shirt and yawning.
Jarlaxle leaned over the three of them. "He actually looks more like Drizzt. Probably a good thing, in the long run."
"Go away!" Artemis snapped, startling the baby, whose huge gray eyes filled with tears as he let out a quiet whimper.
"Quiet, both of you," Drizzt chided, taking the baby in his arms and rocking him. "Go away," he told Jarlaxle.
The mercenary grinned widely. "All right, fine. But let me know when you're ready to name the godfather."
"Go away!" Artemis growled, gesturing to the door.
"Oh, very well, I'm gone." And a moment later, he was.
"So what do you think about names?" Drizzt asked as soon as they were alone. "I had a few, but I don't think they're any good now."
"Well…." Artemis grinned at the baby, who was fussing quietly in the drow's arms. "He does look a little more like you. Your nose and everything." He kissed Drizzt's cheek. "But anyway. What was your father's name?"
"Would you be opposed to naming our son after him?"
Drizzt's eyes lit up. "Really?"
"Yes. Let's name him Zaknafein."
"Of course, love." Artemis gazed down at the boy, who lifted his head and gave him a toothless grin. "He likes it."
"Don't you fucking dare."
"Oh, all right. And watch your language.
Artemis laughed. "You have no idea how happy I am right now."
Drizzt smiled. "Really?"
"Of course. I…I really do think that I have everything. Seeing our son…I never thought I could ever want a baby. But now I have everything I could ever want. I have you, and I have our son. I love you both so much."
Drizzt was beaming. "So you're saying you'll enjoy being a father?"
Artemis laid his head on Drizzt's shoulder, gently stroking Zak's head. "Yes, I am saying that. I have my family now."