In Defense of Friendship

By Ariel-D

Description: AU crack!fic in which Jarlaxle and Entreri are aware of the things that have been written about them.

Disclaimer: Jarlaxle, Entreri, and Drizzt are owned by RAS and Wizards of the Coast. No profit is being made.

Author's Note: It's half-humor/half-parody. Just go with it.

Thank you to those who review and/or fave.

Jarlaxle sat across the table from Entreri in a bustling tavern, both of them still nursing their drinks. While Jarlaxle sipped on a sweet red wine, Artemis worked on a honeymead ale. Also, Jarlaxle was quite distracted by the barmaids; he even managed to slip a gold coin down the bodice of a particularly stunning blonde.

"Is there some reason you must flirt with every woman you see?" Entreri asked after the barmaid left their table. "Good gods, they don't even have to walk on two legs, and you want to lie with them."

Jarlaxle grinned. "Of course! I'm proving that I'm straight. Do you not understand? It is unacceptable for me to be anything other than straight."

Entreri stared at him. "Why?"

"Because I am male."

"And?" Entreri asked flatly.

"Most of the readers are male, or so it is believed, and therefore my bisexuality would trouble or offend them." Jarlaxle took a sip of his wine.

Entreri frowned. "But some drow females are portrayed as bisexual."

"Recently, yes," Jarlaxle said, "but fanboys find lesbian sex erotic."

Entreri felt a pain flash through his temple. "But from the very beginning you wore a rainbow-colored cape, a high-cut vest, and ten tons of jewelry."

"That final part is hyperbole," Jarlaxle said, grinning once again. "But yes. Still, you must know I'm a swashbuckler — just look at my hat and boots, not to mention my style of swordsmanship!"

"Yes, I know." Entreri had never liked that style, although Jarlaxle pulled it off well enough.

"But all the more reason to have me sleep with every female I meet!" Jarlaxle held up one finger. "It's far too suspicious for me to share an apartment with you and travel alone with you. That makes us the new Ambiguously Gay Duo."

"So this is why we are treated to an entire scene dedicated to your decision to be on top with the latest red-headed woman?" Entreri asked.

Jarlaxle nodded. "Precisely. My straightness must be underscored in all capital letters and bold font."

"And I am made to hurl my dagger into a picture of you that I've painted on the wall," Entreri continued, "right into a representation of your crotch."

Jarlaxle snorted. "Not to mention the straightforward threat you were made to utter about ripping my parts off if they ever loomed over you in bed."

Entreri seconded the snort. "It wasn't subtle. I was clearly supposed to be warning you off and drawing lines about what our relationship is not."

"And at the same time you were essentially shouting at the readers, 'No gayness going on here!'" Jarlaxle murmured. "That is perhaps amusing considering that Westerns, for example, have a long history of homosocial bonding between men – even to the point of homoerotic elements. They were written by men for men, and they celebrated male bonding."

"And yet more ironic still since I was given a flute to play," Entreri said dryly.

"What is wrong with that?"

Entreri sighed. "Flutes are associated with women these days. Also, it can be a phallic symbol."

"Which you're then putting your mouth on. I see." Jarlaxle rubbed his hairless chin. "But your sexuality became central to our story as well."

Entreri kicked back the rest of his ale. "I know," he said darkly. "I went from the man who was mostly portrayed as nonsexual to a bumbling idiot magically in love with a half-orc who mysteriously looks like Dwahvel. And, when that failed, I was suddenly having sex with a half-elf who should have wanted to kill me, not sleep with me."

"As the final scene of a novel," Jarlaxle added.

"Plus I was given the only spelled-out sex scene in the books so far," Entreri said. "If I remember correctly, that is." He generally didn't pay much attention to scenes that involved characters he didn't care about. "And apparently later I fell in love with some psycho who kills all her ex-lovers." He hadn't paid attention to anything past the part about his painful trip back to Memnon, either.

Jarlaxle shuddered. "Do not mention those novels, my friend."

Entreri looked away. "Considering I'm supposedly enslaved in those novels, I don't care to dwell on it, no."

Jarlaxle sighed and finished his wine as well. "So why are we dwelling on this topic, khal abbil?"

"Because I have a theory that the reason our obviously growing friendship was destroyed was because people joked we were gay together," Entreri said solemnly.

Jarlaxle blinked owlishly. "Not due to my machinations?"

"The flute as your machination was retconned into the story anyway," Entreri said, shrugging. "And I said in 'Empty Joys' that I was going along of my own freewill. But you miss the most important point."

Jarlaxle cocked his head. "What is that?"

"Do'Urden is the god-narrator of this series," Entreri said, sneering. "He is the purveyor of all truth, insight, and wisdom in his great and wonderful journal entries. And he said we had a friendship that would grow. Not to mention the narrator of 'Empty Joys' pointed out that you were offering me friendship and that I would never say no to it. Then the next thing we know, you're getting me electrocuted by a lich's phylactery."

"Yes, well." Jarlaxle waved a hand through the air. "Kimmuriel tells me that older human males in the Earth Realm are not comfortable with male-male relationships. Perhaps the sudden explosiveness is no great surprise."

Entreri's eyes were half-hooded. "I don't appreciate it. I waited seven or eight books to get two real friends, and the one I had the better on-screen chemistry with got hacked out of me."

"I showed I genuinely care for you," Jarlaxle pointed out. "You were the one who was made to reject me."

"Which, as I just pointed out, I supposedly wouldn't do," Entreri said, "and that just makes it more tragic."

Jarlaxle inclined his head in agreement. "It's quite a tangled mess now."

Entreri sighed again. "Does it really matter so much whether other people think we're gay?"

"Not according to Ed Greenwood," Jarlaxle said. "Faerun is supposedly is a place of free love and diverse sexualities."

Entreri rubbed his temple. "In that case, I want my promised friendship with you. Do'Urden said so, after all."

"To get that, I suspect you'll have to look to fanfiction writers," Jarlaxle said, "who, by the way, often make us gay anyway."

Entreri felt like he'd been in a circular argument. "Just as long as I'm not enslaved to a tiefling rapist, I'm not sure I care overly much."

"Gods, please refrain from reminding me. That entire part turns my stomach," Jarlaxle said.

Artemis Entreri was more than willing to let the subject drop.