It had been a long day. Longer still when the town they stopped at had only one inn, and only a single room – with a single bed. Both men weighed the pros and cons of having to camp in order to have his own sleeping space, versus being able to finally sleep in a bed. Or which of them would get the room, forcing the other outside.
"I'm fairly certain both of us are aware of each other's boundaries." Jarlaxle started, hoping to be persuasive. He did not want to camp. He also didn't want to deal with his already near-hostile partner having yet another sleepless night – the man was already borderline bent on killing him.
The man, Artemis Entreri, eyed him warily – and wearily. "You touch me, you die." He didn't care if he seemed like he was being ridiculous. They'd been on the road for nearly 5 ten-days. 5 ten-days where his overly lecherous fiend of a business partner had not had so much as a single bed mate. Also 5 ten-days where neither of them had gotten a decent nights rest. His ever present scowl deepened. "Fine."
Jarlaxle beamed, relieved that his ever foul-mooded companion was in a not-really-but-semi reasonable mood. He took the keys from the inn-keeper, who was eyeing the pair of them warily at the seemingly death-match-by-glaring – at least from the human – being waged between two of his newest patrons. "Shall we?" With a grand sweep of his arm, Jarlaxle started up the stairs to their single room. His companion followed behind, scowling all the way. At least he's stopped the glaring.
He didn't like the thought – loathed it even – of having to share his personal space in order to sleep, but it seemed that this was only remotely fair compromise. He'd never had to share his sleep space before. Not willingly anyways. Don't think about it. "I'll make no guarantees I won't end up killing you by accident."
"I'll be sure to enact my most powerful stone skin then, shall I?" The mercenary beamed back. Several layers of it if possible. He had a distinct feeling he might not live through the night. Maybe I should volunteer to camp after all. He was so looking forward to sleeping in a bed though. It wasn't fair that his grumpy, scowling companion should get his way just because the assassin was always grumpy, ill-tempered, and borderline murderous. If anything he should get his way, because he was always cheerful, friendly, and helpful. A frown threatened to break his smile. No! We'll share, and we'll each keep to our own sides, and then we'll both be well rested in the morning. He turned the key in the door, opening it wide to their room.
Small. The assassin eyed the room before them with a sense of jittery nervousness. The room was small, enough for a single person. The bed too, was only big enough for a single person. There would be no escaping touching in that bed. He opened his mouth, then promptly shut it. He was not about to volunteer to sleep outside. He was human, therefore, he needed sleep more than his reverie-capable business partner. His annoying, frustrating reverie-capable business partner that he knew wasn't about to give up on sleeping in that bed.
"Several, several layers of stone skin." Jarlaxle muttered. He eyed the room much the same as his assassin companion. It seemed they would be hard-pressed to define sides on the ridiculously narrow bed before them. Slowly, he inched into the room, part of him not quite ready to commit to this suicidal idea of sharing the bed.
"The inn-keeper did say single bed." Artemis grumbled. He walked into the room behind the drow, shutting the door behind them. The click of it shutting sounded almost like a sentence to his ears. The jittery nervousness seemed to increase two-fold. It'll be fine. He knows my boundaries, I know his, and we'll both keep to them as much as possible. He was always awful at self-pep. Neither of them had moved from their positions just inside the door. I'm going to have to change in front of him. The idea almost made him want to forfeit the bed. At this point, he was pretty sure he was going insane from exhaustion, as he was sure he would have left already if he hadn't been so tired, and so in need of that damned bed. He slowly, reluctantly, took off his hat, cloak, weapons belt, and boots, hanging and placing them by the door. He was going to make his claim on that bed by getting in it first, sharing be damned. If the drow had the balls to get in beside him, then there wasn't much he could do at that point. We did agree to share.
Artemis' movement seemed to kick Jarlaxle back into the moment, as he realized his companion's intentions. With a flourish spawned by the need to have a bed to sleep in, he gracefully, extravagantly, took off his own hat, cloak, weapons belt and boots, and hung and placed his items beside the assassin's. He then quickly proceeded to bravely remove his beautiful silk red vest and exquisite silk blue –striped orange swashbuckling-pirate-styled pants, promptly followed by pulling on his sinfully comfortable silk, purple, low slung sleep pants. He would not risk Entreri's wrath by remaining naked any longer than necessary. This is the first time I've so regretted having such low slung, revealing clothes. He didn't regret the material of course, or the colours, never that. He was about to start towards the bed, turning towards it, when said companion barked out an order.
"Turn around." He was only halfway undressed himself, having wasted precious seconds overcoming his own hesitancy to bare himself to the drow. The drow, who was currently looking at him despite his demand.
"I beg your pardon?" Jarlaxle could hardly believe what he was seeing. The man, Artemis, his companion – ever grumpy, sarcastic, pessimistic, growly, scowling companion – was currently clutching his shirt in front of him to hide his bared upper half from the drow's sight, with his eyes about as wide as a teenager's caught in a shameful act.
"I said turn around." He grit and growled it out. He could feel his pulse hammering under his skin, and it only served to make him feel even more jittery. Why is he looking at me? Stop looking at me!
"I was-" He cut himself off. Artemis looked – for all that he couldn't believe it – like he was about to fall to pieces. He'd never seen him so nervous.
"I'm turning! I'm turning!" He cut the assassin off, turning around for his surprisingly nervous companion. As soon as he was turned, he heard the rapid shuffling of cloth as Artemis changed behind him.
"I'm done." Artemis grimaced at how small his voice came out. He was beyond self-conscious about his body, and having to change in a small room with his business partner put his nerves at their very ends. He knew he was covered in scars. Big, small, long, thin, wide and jagged scars. Most of them were only silvery lines on his skin now, but a few of the worse ones were still slightly raised, somehow not-quite-healed pink. It had taken him forever to come to grips that he wasn't the hideousuglyevil thing that his father and uncle had wanted him to believe he was. He had only just gotten used to feeling comfortable enough in his own skin to start having sexual encounters with harem women right before Jarlaxle had come along. Not that they were overly successful. He'd managed to please them well enough – they'd claimed he was a fantastic lover – but he'd derived only the bare minimum of pleasure from the encounters himself to release.
"See? Already were doing alright!" Jarlaxle couldn't help but to discretely eye his companion after he turned back around. Dressed in a pair of surprisingly low slung, sandy coloured, well-worn cotton sleep pants, and a simple, but comfortable-looking, short-sleeved, light, white cotton shirt. He decided he looked very much like a man from the desert in those clothes. "Those suit you."
Artemis shifted, not expecting the compliment. "Thank you, I think." He eyed Jaralxle warily. "You look like your usual purple-obsessed self."
Jarlaxle snorted. Well, at least he's trying. "Shall we sleep, abbil?" He tried to gesture as non-threatening as possible towards the bed. He got a wary look for his efforts, but the man did edge closer to the bed until he was standing beside it.
"Am I or are you sleeping on the outside?" With the bed positioned against the wall as it was, one of them would be stuck between the wall and the other person in the bed. Part of him wanted to be on the outside, so he could get out the moment Jarlaxle decided that this would be a good oppourtunity to try and forge a closer bond between them. The other part of him preferred the idea of having the wall at his back.
"Ah." Jarlaxle eyed the bed, realizing the newest dilemma before them. If he slept on the inside, he'd be truly stuck if Artemis decided to kill him randomly in the night. On the other hand, his companion was showing he was willing to be civil, so he suspected he was more apt to push him out of the bed, in which case he would want to be on the inside so that Artemis couldn't. In the end, he went with the most practical choice. "I need a much shorter time to rest with reverie than you, so it would make sense if I were on the outside so that I don't have to attempt to sneak past you to get out of bed." Not that I'd be able to sneak past you. I'd have to crawl over you to get out, which would most assuredly find a dagger stuck in me.
Meaning I get stuck on the inside. Artemis frowned, once again eyeing the bed. It was a practical reason, and made the most sense. Doesn't mean I have to like it. He nodded, and reluctantly climbed into the small bed made for only one person.
Jarlaxle tried – he really did – to keep his easy smile on his face. The prospect of climbing into bed with his assassin companion, however, made that a feat and a half. Slowly, he walked over to the lamp in the room to snuff it out. Then even more slowly, he inched his way first to, and then into the bed.
He quickly found it was impossible for them to not touch. Even as he inched his way in, back first – as he didn't want to be looking at Entreri as he climbed into bed with him – his back brushed the assassin's hands – and he distinctly felt the man shift backwards further – and by the time he was fully in the bed, they might as well have not even bothered trying. He tried to lighten the sudden nervous tension in the air. "I believe humans have a term for our current position, do they not?" He was greeted with a silence long enough for him to regret asking.
"…Spooning" came the nearly inaudible, yet somehow still gruff response.
The relief Jarlaxle felt at that moment was nearly visible. Good sign, he's humouring me. "And you would be the big spoon then, because you're behind me?"
"…Yes." Silence followed. "I need to move my arms."
Jarlaxle turned his head, to try and peek over his shoulder at the man. "Not comfortable?"
"Well how do you want to lay then?"
There was minute of silence. "If I put my back to yours, do you promise you won't try anything funny?"
"I value my life more than that, abbil." The conversation, however awkward it might be, was doing wonders to help him relax. His usual grin was in place when he turned his head back to face forward. He felt the assassin shift, and turn over so that they were in fact back-to-back. "It's just like when we're fighting a mob, abbil. Back-to-back. Only it seems we're fighting this bed rather than a mob." He poked the bed as a point.
"Is that a shut-up, abbil?"
He chuckled. "Good night then, Artemis." He was distinctly sure he heard a grumble coming from behind him.