Disclaimer: It's Wizards of the Coast and R.A Salvatore's sandbox, I'm simply destroying the sandcastles
Characters: Drizzt Do'Urden, Catti-brie & Guenhwyvar
Timeframe: Takes place after "The Pirate King" but before "The Ghost King", and reflects back to (non-canon) events after Wulfgar's 'demise' but before his return.
Summary: Now married, Drizzt & Catti-brie reflect on a moment of their past not unlike the ones they now share...
Note: Haven't officially played with this couple yet, but I have to say I was never as delighted with a pairing as I was with this one when it officially became canon; enjoy!
If you're looking for an action fic - this isn't it.
Swatting at the drow with one massive paw, Guenhwyvar sailed over his head to land gracefully on a nearby outcropping, the haunch that had just moments before been in his hand, now swinging in her mouth. She turned, regarding the elf who held her magical figurine - the finest Master she'd ever had - with intelligent eyes that seemed to dare him to make her.
"You know as well as I do you're not going to eat our dinner," Drizzt crossed his hands over his chest and regarded his feline companion with exasperation. "Give it back."
"You won't win," laughed the red-haired woman poking at the fire of their campsite several yards behind Drizzt. "It's been too long since you called her to play."
"I'd hoped," Drizzt tossed back without glancing over his shoulder, his eyes never leaving the panther "to have some time alone with my wife."
Catti-brie's throaty, full laugh was nearer as she approached from behind. "It's been too long since it was just the three of us; right Guen?"
The panther sat, dropping the haunch delicately on her front paws, to ensure it wasn't dirtied, and growled as if agreeing with the human.
Drizzt wisely held his tongue about stubborn females as his wife coaxed Guenhwyvar from her ledge and recovered their dinner. He waited for Catti-brie to leave he and Guen to place their meal over the fire - and lunged at the cat as Catti-brie moved beyond range.
Guenhwyvar moved in the same instant he did, turning to accept the hit, and rolling to take them both to the ground.
Playful bites and swats of her paws were accompanied with growls and laughter as they wrestled. Rolling, spinning and scrambling, Drizzt realized the truth in his wife's words as he played with the panther. Except Guen wasn't the only one who'd missed their play sessions; had his life truly become that busy he couldn't take time to spend with his friends? No matter; it was something he'd rectify this trip back to Mithral Hall. The great cat eventually pinned him, running her rough tongue across the side of his face affectionately, and Drizzt conceded as he made to push her off.
"I never thought I'd see the day when I was jealous of you and Guen."
Both black faces turned Catti-brie's way at her amused observation, Guenhwyvar's ears perked forward attentively.
Her tease was delivered almost deadpan. "You never play with me like that anymore; why shouldn't I be jealous?"
Not one hundred percent certain if she was speaking about him or the cat, Drizzt started to reply - but Guenhwyvar beat him to it. Leaping away, she made to swat Catti-brie with the swipe of her great paws. Still on the ground, Drizzt pushed himself up on one elbow to watch Guenhwyvar include his wife in their play, the cat turning Catti-brie his way with bats of her paws and a shove of her head. Stumbling and overbalanced by the great cat's ploy, Catti-brie didn't even try to do more than direct her momentum his way.
Seeing she would fall short, Drizzt dropped to his back and rolled - and was promptly smothered in laughing woman. Not to be left out, Guenhwyvar leapt back to their side and pushed, catching Drizzt under the arm and sending the couple rolling along the ground. After three turns, Drizzt dug his elbows in to halt their momentum and they came to a stop with Catti-brie pinned beneath him.
"Thank you, Guen," they were both laughing and turned to look at a very satisfied looking Guenhwyvar, licking her paws as she stretched out on her chosen patch of dirt, before meeting each other's gazes again. "Do you remember the last time she did that?"
"Remember?" Catti-brie's eyes practically sparkled in the light of the setting sun. "How could I forget?"
The memory sprang to life between them - a night not unlike this one, but several years before, when it had been just the two of them and Guenhwyvar...
Several Years Earlier
It had been the end of a long day's trek while off ship. Enjoying some downtime from Deudermont's Sea Sprite, Drizzt and Catti-brie had decided to make the journey to their next rendezvous on foot and on their own. After so many years at sea together, blending their tactics, they felt the most at home when alone - with Guenhwyvar.
Their routine had been set over the course of several days - it would take a week to walk to their destination - and this night was no different. Guenhwyvar had yet to be called as the duo settled in at camp, Drizzt setting out their bedrolls as Catti-brie took her turn at dinner.
As often happened when alone, silence descended between them, but this night had felt different. Sorrow no longer gripped them; years had given them time to heal and Wulfgar's death had faded from a raw pain into an ache that neither would ever escape. But, tonight, that ache seemed lessened for the company.
"Ye should call the cat," Catti-brie told Drizzt bluntly, as she finished disposing of the last of their meals. "T'would be a shame to let her miss an evenin' such as this."
"Is my company not enough?"
Laughing, the red-haired woman shook her head. "Fine company it is, me friend, but we've not seen Guen for over a week. Surely she misses us as much as we do her."
Conceding the point, Drizzt's lips kicked into a faint smile. "A finer companion I've never had," he agreed softly, "You seem... at peace tonight."
"I am," the smile she flashed his way lacked any form of shadow for the first time since Wulfgar's death. "And it is yer company that makes it so."
It was as close as either of them had ever come to admitting the bond that had grown between them; feelings better left unsaid due to the chasm of differences that kept them apart. Gazes locked, blue meeting lavender, and Drizzt couldn't help but wondering what she saw in his unguarded gaze - for that's what it was. Since Wulfgar's sacrifice, and setting out on their own, they'd held no secret from one another.
No unspoken secrets.
There were simply some things that were better to remain unsaid. Shifting and breaking the eye contact, Catti-brie reiterated her previous request. "Call Guen, me friend; she has been too long alone."
Grateful for the distraction, Drizzt fished the small statuette from one pocket - and paused, turning it over in his hands. "Since you're so adamant for her company, perhaps you should give the call."
Cattie-brie arched her eyebrows at the soft offer; it wouldn't be the first - or the last, she suspected - time she called for the great cat, but Drizzt normally preferred to do so himself. It was but another measure of his feelings for her; his willingness to share every aspect of himself and his friendships with her and her alone. Plucking the statuette from his outstretched hand, she placed it on the ground and knelt beside it.
"Guenhwyvar," she called to the panther softly, conscious of Drizzt's gaze on her, and kept her tone moderated and laid back; Guen would hear it and know she wasn't summoned for battle, but for companionship.
The black mist that accompanied Guenhwyvar's transition to the material plane formed almost immediately and Catti-brie backed away to give her room. Far faster than was expected, the mist solidified into the form of the sleek panther, her massive head swinging from side to side as she took in her surroundings. Despite the call having come from Catti-brie, Guenhwyvar's loped over to Drizzt and placed a paw on either of his shoulders, growling.
Drizzt, accustom to such affection from his panther friend laughed and hugged her even as he was knocked backwards off his perch and went down under her six hundred pound weight. It was not an uncommon greeting when Guenhwyvar had spent many days, weeks even, out of his company. Guenhwyvar's growls of approval were accompanied by a solid lick across his face before Catti-brie's indignant voice carried to them both.
"Ungrateful cat - I summoned ye and ye can't so much as hug me for it?"
Giving Guenhwyvar a push, Drizzt pulled out from under her as her head turned towards the human. "She has a point, Guen - not that I don't appreciate it!"
In response, Guenhwyvar pounced on the human woman and drove her, laughing, to the ground. It was several long minutes before Catti-brie was let up to find Drizzt had dropped to his knees beside Guenhwyvar to pull her away - and to give the panther a huge hug-scratch across her silky coat. Catti-brie added her strokes to Drizzt's and then latched onto Guenhwyvar, giving her a huge hug, happy to see the panther after so long of an absence.
Guenhwyvar accepted the caresses and stroking, licking hands and bumping against their legs, nearly knocking Catti-brie to her backside. Catti-brie's eyes locked with Drizzt's across the back of the panther and she caught his hand in mid-stroke. Looking from one to the other, Guenhwyvar sensed the tension between the two and then, with Catti-brie leaning against her, bounded away only to send a startled Catti-brie tumbling into Drizzt's grasp.
A yelp of surprise was all the warning Drizzt got as he reflexively caught her and made to help her straighten - but Guenhwyvar, knowing Drizzt's heart better than even Catti-brie, knocked into them again, sending them both sprawling.
Even while issuing the sharp reprimand, Drizzt rolled only to come to a sharp stop as his side hit a nearby boulder - leaving Catti-brie sprawled beneath him. Looking down at Catti-brie and realizing they were a tangle of legs, half across his and her sleeping rolls, color she couldn't see bloomed on his cheek bones. Despite the fantasy or two - or three or four - he'd allowed himself about being tangled with this woman, this wasn't exactly how he'd envisioned it.
"Sorry," the drow said apologetically, making to move away.
"Sorry - what for? T'was Guen, not you."
Her words ended his shifting, drawing their gazes back together, and something he didn't dare identify flickered to life in hers. Those blue eyes drifted down, across his face to linger on his lips and he had a sudden - and almost overwhelming urge to answer the invitation that was clear in the gaze that lifted back to his. Only when he realized his head was moving towards hers did he snap back into the situation and roll away.
They came apart only partially as Drizzt laid on his back, staring at the stars.
Catti-brie, to his surprise, rolled into the curve of his extended arm and followed his gaze. "What do you see?"
"What I always see," he returned, looking down to smile at her. The tension wasn't gone, the situation too raw for that, but Catti-brie's words helped diffuse it a great deal. It was the question of one friend to another; of familiarity and peace... a question that he answered looking at her because she was the reason it was so. "Home."
In the heartbeat it took for the memory to surface, Cattie-brie's coy response drew them back to the present. "It's almost one of my fondest memories."
"Well, it would have been better if you'd kissed me then... instead of waiting for years until we each thought the other dead only to be proved otherwise."
Drizzt dipped his forehead to touch hers. "You know why I didn't."
"Aye." Her hands lifted, sliding between them to cup his face. "I do. That didn't stop me from wishing for it, though."
Their lips brushed briefly before Drizzt levered himself with his arms - taking her with him - to regain his feet. Catti-brie didn't relinquish her hold - except to shift it around his neck - knowing his wiry frame hid the true measure of his strength.
"Durned elf," she teased softly, quoting her father and slipping back into the dwarven accent she knew so well as she was swung back towards the vertical. "Ye call that a kiss?"
He opened his mouth to protest, but the words never came as Catti-brie kissed him soundly. His grip on her tightened and only vaguely was she aware of finding her feet solidly back underneath her once more. Once there, she pulled away and winked at Guenhwyvar over his shoulder. The cat regarded Catti-brie for a moment before pushing back to her feet - and springing off into the darkness.
Watching the silent by-play from the pleasant angle of having his wife in his arms, Drizzt couldn't help but question the intention behind that look as he glanced back to where Guenhwyvar had been sitting. "What was that about?"
"Guen and I understand each other." Stepping back, Catti-brie brushed the leaves and dirt from her clothes, shaking a hand through her hair to rid it of the ground it had picked up in their tumble. Not that she normally minded the grime of the trail, and now was no different, but that didn't mean she had to wallow in it. "Surely that's no surprise."
"No - but why does that frighten me now?"
"It can't frighten you more than my cooking."
"Not anymore; you've improved since being with Alustriel."
"Magic has many uses." She turned a coy look his way and murmured something softly before pointing a finger at him. There was an audible click as snaps, buckles and various other fasteners on his person let go - and he barely caught his sword belt before it dropped from his hips.
Her laughter as she turned back towards the fire - and their meal - held a challenge. Quickly refastening his belt, Drizzt followed his wife back to the glow of their campfire as she removed the meat from the flames to cool. "You've some new tricks."
"Ones you should be guarded against."
"Under normal circumstances I am," catching her from behind her stopped her forward momentum with a hug, his hands snaking under the hem of her colorful shirt and splaying against the bare skin of her abdomen. "But that's not a trick I expected from you."
"And one you shouldn't," she agreed playfully. "I don't intend to make a habit of needing to remind you we're out here all alone... without interruptions... just you and-."
Drizzt silenced her with a kiss. One of his hands slipped up to catch her face and hold her in place - which proved unnecessary as she turned into his embrace. The hand still at her waist slid up her back under her shirt, across firmly muscled flesh as her hands delved between them - and his sword belt dropped once more.
Beyond the firelight, Guenhwyvar surveyed the area with a low growl before darting in and stealing the now cooled haunch to join her in the darkness. Neither Drizzt, nor Catti-brie, noticed - nor cared - that their dinner had grown legs to walk away; morning would be soon enough for food.
Much later, beneath the blanket of stars untouched by the already set moon, Drizzt ran his fingers through Catti-brie's hair where it was spread across his bare chest and reflected on everything that had brought them to this moment; in particular that long ago night where Guenhwyvar had forced both of them to see something neither of them had wanted to - but needed to. Not that he'd been unaware of his feelings for Catti-brie before; he simply hadn't dared dream that anything could become of them. All the more reason to savor what they now had and not dwell on what might have been.
He traced his fingers lightly up her spine in response, knowing she knew he was awake.
"Do you really remember that night?"
Catti-brie's soft question was subdued, as if she doubted his previous recollection - or perhaps her own. There was no need to question what she was asking of him or why.
"How could I forget?" His soft reply didn't carry beyond her ears as he placed a soft kiss on her temple. "It was the first night you fell asleep in my arms."
"It was not."
"Without the specter of Wulfgar between us, Cat; yes it was." He tilted her chin so he could see her eyes; so he could see that same look he'd seen on that night so many years ago for the first time. "That was the first night you gave me hope that some day... that today was possible."
"Then I change me answer," she told him, smiling. "It is one of my favorite memories - for it eventually brought me you."