A/N: Right, so. I HAD been posting this on another site, but they recently changed the captcha to some new kind of animated "key captcha"...which I can't seem to make work. I've tried 3 different browsers, and still cannot post any new chapters. SO HERE I AM! This is taking place after the most recent book I've read, "Vengeance of the Iron Dwarf". Long story short - so as to spare you the long-winded mathematics I did to figure everything out - Artemis is approximately somewhere between 197 - 216 years old. That should hopefully give you an idea of what's going on.
And of course, the disclaimer: I don't own anything of anything, be it of R.A. Salvatore's characters, etc. Only my own over imaginative mind.
The road stretched out before them, the trees framing their path. The sun shone down, occasionally interrupted by the sparse cloud. Riding beside him on his own nightmare was Jarlaxle, humming the latest bawdy ballad he'd heard. The drow had been singing it earlier, but a few more curses and threats than usual being directed his way did eventually have the intended effect. Humming he could handle, he could tune it out for the most part.
Artemis blinked his eyes, trying to dislodge the aching tiredness that seemed to be trying to creep in. Jarlaxle was preoccupied - humming while enjoying the scenery along the roadside – so he dared to let his eyes fall shut for a few moments. The movement of the nightmare under him was steady, and he found himself nearly being lulled to sleep. He snapped his eyes open; falling asleep while astride was not something he'd ever done, nor did he intend to start.
A few minutes passed; they were still riding, Jarlaxle was still humming, still preoccupied. It would be another few hours before they reached the next town. He tried again, letting his eyes shut for the few blissful seconds of relief.
"Enjoying the sun, abbil?" Jarlaxle chuckled beside him. Artemis jerked and his eyes snapped open. For a moment the world didn't make sense. He was up too high, he was moving but not moving, he…couldn't remember what… Wasn't Jarlaxle supposed to be over by the roadside? Wasn't he humming just a second ago? An empathetic red eye observed him curiously.
"What?" he growled. They were still riding.
"I don't believe I've ever seen you so relaxed abbil." Jarlaxle received a raised eyebrow as a response. He decided to press further. "You were snoring."
"I do not snore."
"I admit it was very lightly, but yes, you were snoring."
"Jarlaxle…" Then the realization hit the assassin. If he had been snoring, it meant he'd been asleep. Asleep while riding. He cleared his throat. He eyed the drow beside him. That red eye showed some concern.
Neither one said anything for a while. Eventually, the assassin spoke.
"Thank you." It came out rough, he wasn't used to saying it. Neither of them thanked the other for very much, if at all. The comment of gratitude hung in the air for a moment, before Jarlaxle gave out a small, nervous chuckle.
"I couldn't very well let you fall."
The rest of the ride was quiet, but every now and then Artemis felt Jarlaxle watching him. Neither of them felt like talking about the danger of his accidental nap.