Author's Note: This would be before Drizzt was born, timeline wise.

Between Friends


"If you want…" Jarlaxle said, his eyes wide and ingenuous with innocent hesitation. "Sex is the cure for everything." He shrugged. "It makes me feel better."

Zaknafein sighed. "No thanks."

"I could be good to you," Jarlaxle said, seeming to think that his friend's hesitance was purely on the grounds that the weapon master didn't trust him.

"Just give me more beer," Zaknafein said. He lifted his head and forced himself into a sitting position again by propping his elbow against the table. "I'll go home when I'm too drunk to stand and the roads start dancing." He let out a resigned chuckle that didn't sound anything like a chuckle. "It makes the punishments a little less biting. Painkillers, natural, it is." This time his chuckle sounded more like a chuckle.

"I think you're drunk already," Jarlaxle said, crossing his arms. "I won't give you any more of that rubbish. It's making you sick. It's supposed to be enjoyed, not abused."

"Then I'll get it myself," Zak said, getting out of his seat, but he took a tumble to the floor almost immediately.

Jarlaxle looked peevishly self-satisfied. "Hmph."

Somehow, they ended up in Jarlaxle's wide, comfortable bed, more or less together. Zaknafein was sprawled in a heap on his back, feeling himself sink into the feather mattress. He stared up at the ceiling wondering if the mattress was going to suck him in, and if it did, how he would ever get out, or if the bed would absorb him, and then he would be part of the bed, and Jarlaxle would sleep on him for the rest of his life.

In this state, that didn't bother him nearly as much as it would have if he were sober. Right now, being slept on was the least of his worries. Malice didn't know where he was, and she was probably either assuming he died in a gutter or thought he finally ran away from the city like he always threatened to if she pushed him too hard, and this was definitely pushing him too hard.

He hated her. He ended up in Jarlaxle's bed wondering about being eaten by a feather mattress because of her. If she had any soul, she would have prevented this. Instead, she sends him off to Jarlaxle because his friend was the only one who could calm him down.

Zaknafein snorted. Typical. She didn't bother to find out how to control him, she made sure his friend policed him instead.

Jarlaxle had better things to do than make sure he was being a 'good boy'. Like run half the city behind the scenes, or swindle a few million gold pieces.

Jarlaxle always said there were never enough, because they were shiny and they called his name. Jarlaxle always said things like that. He was a loon.

Zaknafein started laughing.

"What's so funny?" Jarlaxle asked, smiling tolerantly and tracing circles on his bare chest with an index finger as if in restless habit.

"I broke your head nose," Zaknafein said. He frowned. It meant… or something like that. He was a little confused about what he meant, actually.

"Mm-hmm." Jarlaxle's gentle smile became amused. The drow mercenary leaned over and kissed Zaknafein lightly on the lips. "Why don't you tell me more about it in the morning?"

"Is not morning now?" Zaknafein said.

"No." Jarlaxle's expression shifted to one of concern, and he slipped his arms around the weapon master, then helped Zaknafein get into a more proper position, head on pillow and feet pointing towards the end of the bed. "You'll have to stay here tonight. I'm not letting you go out like this in the middle of the night. Someone will knife you." An expression of distaste came across his handsome face. "Like Dantrag. No, you'll stay here and then leave in the morning. I'll tell Malice you were helping me with a campaign."

"He's too prideful," Zaknafein protested. "I want to go home. I don't like your bed. It tries to eat me."

"And you sleep on a stone bench at night, as far as my back is concerned," Jarlaxle said with a smile. "Now go to sleep, and we'll see you off in the morning."

"You'll see me off now," Zaknafein said, and once more, he became twisted up somehow and didn't know what he meant as soon as he said it. He struggled to take off his shirt, and stopped when he realized it was already gone. He looked around for it blearily. "Can you not take off my shirt so I know it's gone when I take it off?"

"I wanted to make you more comfortable," Jarlaxle said, snuggling up against him and hugging him. "It'll make it hard for you to sleep."

"I don't want to sleep," Zaknafein said. "I want to go home."

"Stay here," Jarlaxle said. "It's safe."

And Zaknafein started pushing at him, against him, but somehow, he ended up pulling Jarlaxle towards him instead. Before he figured out how push and pull suddenly got reversed, before his vertigo stopped making the room spin, Jarlaxle was under him instead of on top of him, and he was pushing Jarlaxle down. But he couldn't be pushing Jarlaxle away, since away was down and down wasn't away because down was the mattress. He wasn't getting anywhere, but he was pushing anyway.

The weapon master didn't understand why the mercenary didn't look surprised that push and pull and up and down and away were all sliding off in their own little directions like scattering marbles.

And Zaknafein could feel Jarlaxle's skin under him and the warmth and the yielding softness, springiness of relaxed muscle. He got so caught up in that that he didn't notice when he started feeling Jarlaxle's mouth against his mouth or the grainy wetness of his tongue and Jarlaxle's tongue colliding and his mouth was open but he didn't know how it got that way.

"Jarlaxle?" he said, his vision going fuzzy. He felt his body folding up, a feeling as soft as fresh laundry piling up on top of each other in neat squares. His body was being held up by Jarlaxle's body, and his arms were in weird positions, but he couldn't feel a thing wrong with it.

Jarlaxle's mouth pulsed wetly up and down his arm, and then there was no more. He went into a deep, dark place that not even his heat vision penetrated, and it was a relief when his eyes finally shut off and he was allowed to go to sleep, where things didn't hurt and no one wanted him to do anything.