Author's Note: I figure that in Homeland, while Drizzt was a baby, something like this would have happened.



Jarlaxle and Zaknafein were about as close to being friends as they could get without having to kill each other because they made each other weak and lonely and so empathetic that they committed suicide. They were confidants. Both of them agreed that if they listened to whatever came out of the other's mouth and then told no one that they would be doing each other an invaluable service, and would not have to be relied on for anything else.

So Jarlaxle was at the pub in the recreation section of Bregan D'aerthe headquarters, and Zak was on 'official business' from Matron Malice (which, according to Zaknafein, meant 'go kiss my ass to your friend/confidant/ally whatever and then ask for favors from him because he likes you'). Jarlaxle didn't seem to mind. Actually, Zaknafein thought Jarlaxle was too checked out to mind about anything. The drow mercenary didn't seem particularly tuned in to any reality, but seemed definitely tuned out of all the ones Zaknafein was familiar with.

Jarlaxle sat cross-legged on a bar stool and sipped wine while throwing darts.

The weapon master just slumped in a chair nearby and looked down at his own arms crossed under his chin.

"What's up?" Jarlaxle asked. "You seem particularly tired and sleepless today, and I notice that your hair is in an unusual disarray. I thought you were proud of having a head of long, fine hair to groom every day."

Zaknafein looked up briefly, then looked down again. "I am tired and sleepless."

"Oh?" Jarlaxle smiled brightly. "Is there anything you'd like to tell me?"

"You almost missed the target because you're not bothering to look, and yes," Zaknafein said. "It's those damn priestesses again. I can't believe I'm responsible for bringing more of them into the world." He rubbed at his eyes.

"What is the problem with priestesses?" Jarlaxle asked.

Zaknafein scowled. "They're doing experiments on me when I sleep."


"So my solution would be to not go to sleep," Zak said. "Is that so wrong?" He shrugged.

"Very wise," Jarlaxle said.

"I think they're trying to figure out why I hear the children."

Jarlaxle looked less than enthused suddenly, and he gave his ally a flat, uncompromising look. "Back to the dead children."

"I can't help it!" Zaknafein said, sitting up straighter in his chair. "I can hear them, for Lloth's sake! Can't she shut them up? I didn't do anything wrong!"

"How is it a question of 'wrong'?" Jarlaxle asked, narrowing his eyes at the weapon master. "I don't understand you."

"Wrong! I need to be punished because it's wrong!" Zaknafein yelled, pounding on the table. "That's the 'wrong' I'm talking about! It's wrong!"

Jarlaxle looked innocently hurt. "Don't yell."

"It's wrong."

"I know."

He didn't know. He wanted Zaknafein to stop acting like a crazy person. It was his responsibility to sew Zaknafein together if the weapon master burst at the seams, and he didn't like that job very much because Zaknafein tended to resist with threats, head punches, and declarations of his intent to commit suicide once and for all. Even though every time he came to his senses he vowed never to talk about suicide again.

"I just want the children to go away," Zak said, lowering his head to the table. "They're not just the DeVir children either, if that's what you're thinking."

"Hmm?" Jarlaxle looked at him curiously. "No, I wasn't thinking that."

"It's lots."


"Oodles and oodles!" Zaknafein gestured. "Troops of children! All staring at me!"

Jarlaxle cleared his throat. "Yes, well, I'm sorry for your current insanity."

"I'm making you uncomfortable."

Jarlaxle made a pinching motion with his thumb and forefinger and smiled sheepishly. "Just a little bit."

Zaknafein let out a sigh and let his head thump onto the stone table. "What about your problems?"

Jarlaxle smiled brightly and crossed his arms, seeming to have no idea what the weapon master was talking about. "Problems? Oh, I haven't had them lately. I wouldn't call them problems, anyway. I like to call them persistent quirks. They like to be called that. Not that they have inherent personalities or look like ghosts or possess my body sometimes or make me do things without my permission or anything like that." He rubbed the back of his bald head. "No, I'm fine."

The weapon master let out a muffled sound of a chuckle. "Right. Instead, why don't you take me directly to the source of the problem."

Jarlaxle insisted mildly, "But it's not a problem. No, you see, it has actually saved me much trouble and torment. You know, for instance, that I have a new Matron claiming me as a lover, and that she can be very controlling – not that that trait is anything new in the gene pool of Menzoberranzan – You also know that she has been saying a few things that might be considered, ah, impolite, from time to time…"

"Just get on with it," Zak grumbled.

Jarlaxle fidgeted, and folded his hands in his lap. "So I only get through it imagining that her breasts are actually two little heads, with their own eyes and mouths and everything, and they're talking to me in little voices when I'm supposed to be listening to her tell me how I'm completely defective and her breasts are always nice to me –"

Zaknafein sat bolt upright and stared at him.

Jarlaxle smiled with innocent apprehension. "Is that weird?"

The weapon master answered immediately. "That's twisted, and wrong, and you should die before your children inherit your disease."

"Thank you for listening," Jarlaxle said, beaming modestly.

"No problem."

"I have to make sure to hide that before people find out, don't I?" Jarlaxle asked.

"Or say it out loud for a joke so no one thinks you're serious." Zaknafein shrugged. "Whichever. Just don't tell them the same way you told me. It sounds too serious, then."

"Oh." Jarlaxle thought about that. "How should I say it, then?"

"Never mind." Zak shook his head. "You say that, you die. Just shut up about it."

"Oh. Alright." Jarlaxle seemed to ponder about that some more. "Would you like to here what I do when we're having sex?"

Zak sighed. "Why not? I'll be here all day. I have nothing else to do. I'm between students and my life is a layer of hell."

Jarlaxle shifted in his seat to make himself more comfortable. "Well, I imagine that she is a male – a beautiful male, though, not just any male – and she actually has very soft arms and long hair that she leaves unbound so that I can run my fingers through it – which she likes instead of hates, of course – and then I'm thinking 'why does this male have a hole in the front?' and then I get confused and usually stop because during sex I'm not that creative."

"I think that's rather normal," Zaknafein said.

"Oh." Jarlaxle frowned. "Really? Because I like females."

"Just not when you're having sex with them," Zaknafein said.

"Sort of." Jarlaxle rubbed the back of his head. "Except that I like it then, too. All things considered, of course. I don't like her repeated cries of 'Your soul is damned'." He stopped and rubbed his index finger on his bottom lip. "Of course, her breasts say very comforting things whenever I'm feeling hurt."

Zak sighed. "You are an incurable loon."

"Thank you." Jarlaxle smiled brightly. "So're you. I really think you'll commit suicide someday."

"If only," Zaknafein sighed. "It'll probably be Matron Malice that kills me – and you know I love her, but she really is a bitch."

They commiserated over more drinks, games like Kill-The-Kobold, and then sparred together as if they were both still in the Academy.