A/N: Been a while again - it's driving me crazy that this is the only project I've never completed, sooo hopefully I will start updating again. Just a reminder...this story is meant to be silly and fun for the most part. Please don't take it too seriously. Thanks for reviews. :)
Disclaimer: I don't own Sand, NWN2, or any events/dialogs/etc and so on besides my lovely little Nai Farlong and her familiar, Fara.
A Lesson in Timing
"I thought you might say that." Nai stepped gingerly through the ruins, obviously pleased with herself as Sand intently studied some faded etchings on one of the walls. For the past few days, he'd surprised her with his willingness to hang around the boring village and make idle chat with people he clearly had nothing in common with. He knew she'd brought him out to these crumbling ruins as a sort of reward for his efforts. "See, not everything here is mud and bugs."
Sand snorted, but was too absorbed in his examinations to think up a witty reply. "You said this door cannot be opened?"
"No. There's no keyhole or handle or any other obvious means, and magical attempts have all failed."
"So I see." Sand ran one hand over the hard, carved surface of the door, frustrated to have to reign in his raging curiosity. What can possibly be inside?
Nai stepped up beside him, her glowing eyes drifting over the door as well. "Do you know anything about these ruins? Recognize any of the markings?"
Sand shook his head and sighed. "As I've said before, I am a mage, not a historian. I may have seen some of these before, but…no, nothing stands out."
They both gave the ruins one last, long look before turning away. "Well, thank you for coming all the way out here," Nai said as they fell into step beside each other on the narrow path.
"It's a fascinating mystery," Sand admitted, his mind still mulling over some of the markings that looked vaguely familiar. "Do you believe these ruins are connected to the sword in some way?"
"I don't know." Nai shrugged, but there was something anxious about her expression. "It seems…convenient that they are here, so close to the village, and that Daeghun hid the shard nearby…I don't know. It's all just speculation."
"Don't worry yourself about it," Sand tried to soothe. Hard to comfort someone's worries when you share them. There is something far too convenient about everything in Nai's life.
Nai offered him a slight smile and after a pause, her expression shifted to almost playful. "You know, there's another reason I dragged you out here where we can be alone…"
The corner of Sand's mouth curled up in a knowing smirk, but he immediately answered, "I certainly hope you aren't suggesting a romp in the mud, my dear. Despite the temptation, I'm afraid I'll have to decline." By Mystra it is tempting, though…especially when she wears that look…
Nai's smile widened and she lengthened her stride. "Just follow me."
"Hmm, why do I have a bad feeling about this…?" Sand half-lied.
Not long later, he found himself standing on the bank of a clear, sparkling creek not too far from the village, his jaw wagging open like a love-sick youth.
The girl is completely insane. She is stark raving mad, Sand, and dragging you down with her!
Now you're just being dramatic…
Oh really? Then please provide another explanation as to why she is standing completely naked in the middle of the woods! And furthermore, why are you considering joining her?
I am most certainly not considering it…by the gods she does look…so…unbelievably…
You cannot be serious! What are you now, a wild elf? Are you going to start painting your face and shunning the civilized world and wearing ratty animal skins that smell very much like the carcasses they are?! Sand? Are you even listening to me?
I don't know if I've ever really taken the time to look at her body…her skin is so smooth, and that color…not to mention her…
Gods. Obviously I'm not getting through to you. Go ahead, Sand! Tell the one logical piece of your mind left to shut up! Get it over with already!
Sand didn't get the chance to tell himself to shut up because the smile Nai flashed at him over her bare shoulder as she waded deeper into the wide creek all but erased his capacity for rational thought. "Are you okay, Sand?" the air genasi questioned with a look of mock concern, then reached down to cup a handful of water and letting it trickle down her shoulder. Sand's eyes were glued to the tiny rivulets that slid down her skin, clinging to her gentle curves. "You look…troubled."
"Yes, well," Sand began a bit breathlessly, then cleared his throat to try to speak more evenly but found he could not find any words. Gods above, how did you end up in these situations?
"No sharp-tongued reply?" she simpered, her pale eyes shining brightly. "My goodness, Sand, we'll have to do this more often. Aren't you going to join me?"
Sand cleared his throat again and somehow managed to convince his eyes to look at her face instead of her rear. "My dear, you are almost tempting enough to make me forget that I've seen what you do to creatures who bathe near you," he answered, referring to her electrical aura. It was not unusual to see a dead fish or two after she bathed.
"And here I thought you trusted me," she teased. Turning to face him, she gave him a long, lingering stare, then dipped her head back to wet her hair, arching her body in a way that made Sand's breath hitch in his throat. With a self-satisfied grin, she straightened and smoothed her silvery hair between her delicate fingers. "Don't worry. I can control myself, Sand. As long as you don't give me any reasons to lose control, of course…"
But that is exactly what I intend to give you, dear girl.
Nai sighed when he did not answer and stepped a little closer to him, the water barely covering her below her navel, and attempted to pout. "Please?" It was not an expression she was very good at, but the droplets of water dripping from her hair to run little lines down her chest, between her breasts, and over the flat plane of her stomach was all Sand could handle.
He wasn't even sure how he'd managed to shed his robe so quickly, but Nai laughed to herself and flashed him a wide smile. "Bring me a washrag from my pack," she called as he tripped up the small rise beside the creek and dumped his robe and pack beside hers, behind an old gnarled tree.
He was fumbling with the ties of his breeches and chiding himself for being as crazy as Nai when he felt it – a tingling fear raced up the back of his neck.
His hands froze and his eyes darted up, and time ground to a halt as he found himself staring down the shaft of a wicked looking arrow. Bishop. That was the first name that screamed through his mind, but his sharp blue eyes focused beyond the arrowhead and he was struck with an equal measure of relief and terror.
"Mani naa lle umien? Ya naa lle?" Daeghun's voice was as low, cold and rough as Sand had imagined, and edged with a dangerous anger. He was taller than Sand, though that in itself was no great feat, but he had an intimidating air about him, something unpredictable behind the calm outward appearance. And his eyes – hooded by shadows and almost as black – spoke of experiences and wisdom centuries beyond Sand's own. The wild elf's stubborn but neutral expression did not shift, but his voice was tinged with impatience when he spoke again. "Quen!"
"I-I…my name is Sand," he answered in trembling elvish. Oh this is just lovely, meeting Daeghun like this. Half naked with his completely naked daughter just around down the hill, and stuttering like a fool! "I-I…you have very bad timing."
"Sa-and?" Nai's lazy drawl carried to him from the creek below and he cringed. Daeghun's almost black eyes narrowed, but his grip on the taut bowstring didn't waver in the least. "Did you get lost?"
"Just a moment, dear girl," he said in a voice that tried to be calm but was pinched and tight despite his best effort. And why did you have to call her that? Are you mad?! Look at how he's staring at you now!
Daeghun's expression had not changed except perhaps in Sand's imagination. "Is it another snake?" Sand thought Nai's voice sounded closer, but he couldn't be sure and he dared not do anything aside from stare back at Daeghun's piercing eyes. "I told you, they'll leave you alone if you – oh!"
Nai came around the tree, and from the edge of his vision, Sand watched her eyes widen in shock. "Father!" With a muttered oath, the air genasi dove for the closest thing to cover herself – which just happened to be Sand's robe. "You…you're back!"
Daeghun shifted his gaze to his foster daughter, his expression still neutral aside from the coldness in his eyes. "As are you. Nae saian luume'."
Nai bobbed her head and started to answer, but Sand cut in nervously. "I am loath to interrupt this reunion, but is there a chance you can aim your arrow elsewhere?" When Daeghun's eyes snapped back to him, Sand swallowed hard. "I-I tend to get all out of sorts when my life is in jeopardy."
"It's okay, Father," Nai said. "This is Sand. He's my…lover."
So much for 'companions.'
The wild elf stared levelly at the smaller moon elf for what felt like ages. "Manka lle merna,"he finally said, returning the arrow to his quiver and slinging the bow over his shoulder as if nothing had happened. It was all Sand could do to keep from melting into a puddle on the ground in relief.
Silence fell over the three of them. "Well…" Sand cleared his throat and glanced down at himself, then over at Nai still wrapped in his robe. "This isn't a bit awkward, now is it?"
The looks he received from both Nai and Daeghun made the moment all the worse. As if that's even possible.
"We'll meet you back at the house," Nai suggested more than said to Daeghun. "We've been there for a few days, hoping to catch you before we have to return to Neverwinter. We can talk then. Perhaps over dinner?"
Daeghun nodded once. "Tenna' san',"he said over his shoulder, then gave Sand one last icy stare before he melted into the forest and disappeared from sight.
Sand's knees finally gave out and he found himself slumped at the base of the tree, staring blankly at the moss growing across the gnarled roots. "Well," Nai chuckled, though there was a new tension in her voice even as she tried to tease, "that could have gone better."
"An understatement," Sand muttered without looking up. "I can hardly imagine how it could have gone worse."
"Oh, I can." She smirked as she let his robe fall away and pool in a pile on the ground between them, bringing Sand out of his daze enough for him to look up at her. "You could have been completely naked, or you could have been in the water with me already…or we could have been…"
"Enough!" The moon elf lurched to his feet, snatching his robe as he went and wrapping it haphazardly around her. "He could still be watching!" he hissed.
Nai's laughter rang out bright and pleasant, a sound so rare that Sand relaxed and stared down at her with a softening expression. The genasi rose up on her toes and brushed a faintly electrical kiss across his lips. "So, I guess this means you're not in the mood anymore," Nai teased breathlessly.
With an irritated sigh, Sand stepped back from her and pleaded, "Just get dressed."
Nai's pale eyes shone with amusement as another laugh bubbled up from her throat.