Disclaimer: The characters, the Underdark, and their awesomeness are owned by Wizards of the Coast. The Capital Letters and the italics are Pratchett-influenced. Juuuuust a tad.
Rating: PG-13/T for implied torture, bad-bad curse words, and mind-fucking.
Book: R. A. Salvatore, "Starless Night"
A/N: So Nari was to open the book she read last, on a random page, and take the last sentence. Self-imposed challenge was writing a non-slashy scene with my favourite pair. Nigh impossible, if you ask me... I tried.
It was the last expression of the despondency of a broken spirit.
(Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne, p. 181)
In the endless tunnels of the Underdark, a sound could travel miles, inevitably shrinking to nothingness - but there were too many hostile ears in this starless, eternal night to risk their lives for an indulgence. Pleasing as it would have been to tear the assassins ever-lingering dark eyes out, the screams – nice screams – would bring unwelcome visitors. And there was the little matter of their... deal. Damn.
Must not kill Entreri, must not kill Entreri, must... no, must not... ARGH!!
A "What?" interrupted his musings. The nerve of the bastard, Drizzt seethed inwardly.
"You were staring," - the voice would have passed as innocent, but for the speaker.
"I?" Drizzt hissed back, valiantly repressing a full-blown roar. "You... you stare, all the time, and you... you smirk, and..." There were no words for his irritation, he belatedly realised. It had always been like that with them - a matter of feeling rather than reason, each breath the other took becoming a personal affront. They resented the mere fact the other existed.
"Nothing wrong with a nice little smile. That's got to do with being civil, Do'Urden. And our agreement included only a temporary cessation of hostilities - it did not forbid thinking."
Reasonable words they would've been - from anyone but from Artemis Entreri, bastard extraordinaire.
"And what is it you think?" Drizzt spat, fingers itching for the hilts of his scimitars.
"Well. Once we're out, there'll be tales all over Faerun about the Heroic Drizzt Do'Urden, so Noble, so Brave, how he went down to his Evil homeland for his friends' sake..." In another time and place, Drizzt would have taken a metaphorical hat off for the assassin's incredible ability to insert Capital Letters while speaking. "...sickening, really. And bullshit to boot. And you refuse to see it, which is funny, and therefore I smile. Terribly sorry, oh Heroic One."
"What are you about?"
"You went there because it was the easiest way out."
"Oh, right, you could have simply run and let your friends..." and there were also the sarcastic italics, of course he'd use them – "... deal with the shit on their own. Easiest morally acceptable way, then. You couldn't face responsibility, so you ran down there to get killed with a clear conscience, instead of facing the threat with support of a dwarf army. You never were so stupid as to believe Baenre wanted only you. Or did you really think so?"
He'd thought he'd felt pain, before, in the bone-littered dungeon of House Baenre, but these words were worse. So much worse. And the fact that this wicked and despicable excuse for a human was speaking them just added another sting. There was an overwhelming urge to curl up on the floor and whimper, overruling even the one of disembowelling Entreri and doing it sloooooowly.
"Selfless, my ass. Nobody is ever selfless, Saint Do'Urden. Your little sacrifice was serving only yourself, to calm your conscience. You're better off without one, I say... but tell me, did it feel good?"
"Did you get that warm and fuzzy feeling, when they tore into your body with those little hooks and stuff? There was blood on them, I noticed."
"Did it calm your poor bedraggled conscience? Were you happy, dying for what's Good and Right?"
"Was it fucking purifying? Cause it's not, Do'Urden! I'll tell you what you thought: you thought, 'I'll do anything to stop this, anything, 'cause it hurts so bad, and I wish I'd stayed with mommy', Do'Urden!"
"You know nothing!" Drizzt hissed, still voicelessly, eyes glittering with murder bordering onto his battle-rage madness, back in Menzoberranzan, one dark eternity ago.
"Well, something along those lines, anyway. You certainly weren't thinking of how your friends would be safe and happy because of your nobility. Or maybe you tried to be happy it wasn't dear pretty Catti down there, and then you did wish it was her?"
The slender dark elf, all the more emaciated by captivity, was half-crying, shaking, longing to shut out that calm, poisonous voice, to silence it forever in a rain of blood, as he whispered Never, over and over again, knowing it to be a lie. And Entreri, who had stopped smirking a while ago, knew it as well.
"Who's lying to himself now, Do'Urden?" he added anyway, like one of those vicious dagger stabs he was fond of.
"Just... just shut up."
"Am going. Don't forget your promise."
Fuck the promise, a part of Drizzt Do'Urden, one with a higher voice than the rest, breathed temptingly. Kill him, it will even be a good deed... What was the worth of such a promise, to unleash that murderer onto the Surface world, to just let him walk away? Wouldn't the blood of anyone Entreri would kill in his life end up on his hands, Drizzt agonised, as the assassin sneaked past him, causing a barely distinguishable gust of air with his tattered cloak. By chance, he was the one to stand on guard next. Catti, lonely before the entrance of the little cave, would be glad to be relieved, and much more welcome company... yet, as she stumbled inside, and made herself comfortable on the smoothest spot on the cave floor - the one earlier occupied by Entreri - he couldn't help flinching at her adoring gaze.
Entreri's parting words, whispered into his ear hoarsely before his exit, haunted him.
"And the joke being, it's not even your bloody responsibility. The old bitch just needed a reason to rally an army out of the whole city to get her hands onto shiny mithril. Any reason would've sufficed. You just happened to be remembered at the wrong time... mind, I'm not making you feel better out of charity. You know the way out, and hells do I want out. So stop whining, and concentrate on the road."
He would do just that. If only to get away from Entreri's piercing steel-grey eyes, to never, ever see him again, he would.