"Have you eaten?"
"Not yet," the assassin replied automatically. Then, realizing that he'd been alone, that he should've still been alone, Entreri lifted his head just enough that his heavy-lidded eyes could behold the colorfully-clad drow.
He sighed and let his head drop back onto his arms. Although he'd never admit it out loud, the exhausted man was glad that it wasn't any other voice, for he wasn't sure that he'd had it in him to snap his head up in time.
"How'd you get in here?" Entreri asked, his voice muffled by his arms. A spice-tinged floral aroma tickled his nose, and he peeked over his arms to behold a ruby-red gaze appraising his own.
"What?" the assassin sighed wearily.
"Answering uninhibitedly, asking obvious questions, general lowered situational awareness… what's gotten into you, my abbil?" Jarlaxle tsked.
Entreri groaned and buried his eyes in his arms again, his temple beginning to throb. "Go away."
The assassin wasn't surprised to hear the scrape of another chair being pulled up to the table, or the shoving of his arms to the very edge of it until he could just barely still balance his head on top of them. Breathing another deep sigh, he began to gather the scant bit of energy he'd conserved from his brief repose to confront his uninvited guest, when a different smell seized him.
"What–?" the perplexed man looked up, and his vision was immediately obscured by steam. He didn't think to complain though, for the steam was accompanied by an intoxicating scent, so rich that it energized his limbs far more than his respite did. Entreri pushed himself up to better behold the extravaganza unfolding before his eyes, and as soon as his arms cleared the table, a plate bearing a handsomely roasted leg of boar was pushed to where his head had been a moment before.
"Eat," his companion ordered, and the assassin didn't protest. Not bothering to even look at the fork and knife that the drow had set down, Entreri grabbed a protruding piece of bone and tore off a hefty chunk.
The drow watched the crude display with a disapproving frown, but the human just met his gaze and continued to rip off pieces with his teeth.
"At least make sure you're getting a balanced meal," Jarlaxle chided as he reached for the savaged and now much less handsome-looking meat. Before he could pull the plate away even a little, the assassin snapped a hand onto it, glaring at the drow. It wasn't the dangerous man's usual deadly glare however, for it reflected the dancing glitter in those ruby eyes that Jarlaxle rolled at him.
The mercenary heaved a great exasperated sigh and pushed a plate of green stuff towards the assassin. That took up the last of the space on his side of the small table.
"Ah, my abbil, why do you always choose to live in such ignoble places?" Jarlaxle lamented as he stood, lifting a bread from the basket that he'd also procured. Circling to his companion's side, he started to poke the side of Entreri's face with the bread, but stopped, and instead sniffed.
And continued to sniff while circling the assassin like a hummingbird attacking a delectable flower until Entreri could no longer ignore him.
"What is it now?" the irritated man dropped his mostly-gnawed bone onto the plate.
"When was the last time you'd bathed?"
Entreri threw up both hands. "Oh, for the love of every god in every pantheon–"
The drow skipped out of his view. However, Entreri didn't need to look, didn't need to hear the sound of wood scraping against wood to know that Jarlaxle had gone for the tub. The assassin pushed his chair back with a growl and spun to his feet.
"Jarlaxle, I don't need a bath!"
"I would have to disagree, my abbil," the mercenary replied without looking up, still engrossed in dragging the tub to the center of the room.
Entreri started to argue, then sighed and shook his head. "I don't have time for one right now."
Jarlaxle stopped and straightened. He folded his arms.
"You haven't had time for one in a while."
Entreri conceded with a small nod.
"Just as you haven't had time to eat. Just as you haven't had time to sleep – properly, I mean."
Discomfort crept over Entreri like spiders under his skin. "Circumstances have been especially pressing," he tried to explain, but even to his own ears his words sounded like an admission of guilt.
The drow closed to him and began to unlace his shirt. "You've been neglecting the wider perspective, my abbil. You might spare some time in foregoing a meal, a bath, a nap, or any other self-tending rituals, but at what cost? For as any poisoner can tell you, the more poison you make, the more gold you make, until you throw back a glass of water that is not."
Entreri caught both lace ends and held them fast. "Are you Drizzt Do'Urden then, come to lecture me?"
Jarlaxle chuckled but didn't let go of Entreri's shirt. "Hardly! Drizzt would not call you 'abbil' or try to undress you - or at least, I'd hope he wouldn't!"
Entreri mock-blanched and covered his mouth. "Wonderful, now you've made me ill."
Jarlaxle laughed again, but this time in triumph, for the assassin's gesture allowed him to pull the string loose. Capitalizing on his victory, the drow began to peel his companion's shirt back, but Entreri's hands were there to deflect his. The mercenary would've been happy to push back, but stern gray eyes caught his own, freezing him.
"Jarlaxle, please, I need to tend to things now." The assassin's voice was soft but firm.
The drow's shoulders drooped with his sigh, and his delicate fingers went to the human's shirt again. They gracefully re-threaded the string through the lacing holes.
"Promise me that you'll take better care of yourself?"
"If I do, will I be spared the intrusions and the threat of forced bathing?"
"There's your answer, then."
Both chuckled helplessly. It didn't take long for the sounds of mirth to fade, replaced by a awkward silence.
"I need to go," Entreri finally said, and Jarlaxle nodded quietly.
"I'll not be in your way then," the mercenary said, and headed for the door.
"Wait," the assassin's call halted him.
Jarlaxle turned around, one eyebrow raised, his eyes expectant and his smile hopeful.
Entreri's outstretched finger guided the drow's gaze to the table. "Don't forget to clean that up."