Chapter 4: The Couple

Cattie-brie looked up from stirring a pot of custard when Drizzt and Zaknafein entered. Violet was sitting at the edge of the hearth petting Smokey. She didn't look up. Zak glanced at her quickly, and then away, turning to hang his cloak on its peg.

Drizzt and Cattie-brie exchanged a look, and he indicated first Zak and then Violet with the slightest movements of his head.

"Zak and Vi, go and wash your hands please," Cattie-brie instructed briskly. "You'll have to go out to the stream because the water in the pitcher here is, um, kind of dirty," she finished lamely.

Both kids went out wordlessly, and Cattie-brie turned to look at Drizzt, who started washing his hands in the basin, using the "dirty" water from the pitcher. It had a few grains of sand from the stream in the bottom, but that was it. "Didn't know what to say to get them alone together," she explained. "I should've thought of something better."

Drizzt smirked. Cattie-brie had the little flour barrel out again, and he scooped up a handful of flour and sprinkled it into the water, watching it turn cloudy. "It's dirty now."

"Thanks," Cattie-brie said sarcastically, but she was smiling.

"Well, can't let the kids find out that their mum lied," Drizzt said lightly. "Very naughty of you."

"Mm-hmm, and what are you going to do about it?" she asked teasingly.

Drizzt looked up at her with a wicked grin. "Ask me later tonight."

Cattie-brie leaned in close and ever-so-slowly plucked a single leaf out of his hair. "Oh I will."

The kids hadn't come in yet, which Cattie-brie hoped was a good sign. She let her teasing look linger on Drizzt's face a moment longer, then gathered up the pots that were keeping warm on the hearth and carried them over to the already-set table. "Drizzt," she said over her shoulder after a moment, "It looked like Zaknafein had been crying?" She phrased it as a question.

He nodded. A mother's eyes missed little.

"Oh." Cattie-brie went back to the fire and stirred the custard. "He didn't cry last time, so I thought–"

"He didn't cry this time either," Drizzt interjected. He came and sat down beside her on the hearth. "It was later, when we were talking. I called him 'danthe dalharuk', and he just lost it...he asked me how I could still call him that after how he'd acted..."

"Oh, Drizzt." Cattie-brie felt her own eyes tearing up. That was touching.

"That, and he's worried Violet hates him," Drizzt finished.

Just then the door burst open and Zak and Vi came in talking animatedly. "...and then Smokey was licking milk from her whiskers, and her little tongue looked so pink and cute!" Violet said.

"She licked my hand last night, and it felt all rough and tickley," Zak said as they sat down side-by-side at the table. "It's like her tongue has little fish scales on it!"

"I know, it's so weird!"

Drizzt and Cattie-brie looked at each other and shared a smile. It was good to see that the kids were friends again.


Much later that night, Drizzt and Cattie-brie lay in bed enjoying a feeling of perfect contentment. "I finally got you alone," Drizzt said, enjoying how the glow of the candlelight touched the faint sheen of perspiration still visible on Cattie-brie's warm skin. "Been trying all day."

"Mm-hmm."

Drizzt blew gently on the back of her neck, watching the goosebumps spring up as if by magic.

"Hey!" Cattie-brie protested. She turned around in his arms so that she was facing him, and snuggled in closer. "You know how much I hate being cold!"

"And yet we live in Icewind Dale." Drizzt laughed softly.

"Crazy us," Cattie-brie replied, snuggling down lower and laying her head on Drizzt's chest. She absentmindedly ran one hand up and down his bare arm, enjoying the contrast of his black skin underneath her white fingers. "So," she asked after a moment, "was it worth the wait?"

Drizzt grinned and kissed the top of her head gently. "More than worth it."

She smiled back. "I thought so too."

Drizzt reached over and put out the candle, drawing the blankets more snugly around them.

"Sweet dreams, love," Cattie-brie murmured, head still against his chest.

He stroked her hair gently. "Sweet dreams, kitten."

And Drizzt fell asleep with his wife in his arms.


A/N: Now complete. All reviews welcome.