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Mr. and Mr. al-Tahan

Chapter Text

“Oh dear…”

The funeral for Hamid’s sister, Aziza, had taken place a few days ago.  Hamid’s father and brother were both in jail.  And now, a new dilemma had presented itself. 

“What is it?”  Zolf asked, looking up from the couch half-interestedly.  Hamid’s utterances of ‘oh dear’ were relatively frequent, so it didn’t necessarily seem of immediate concern. 

“Zolf, you’ve… given my address as your own for a while now, right?”

Now he set down the book he’d been flipping through while Grizzop and Sasha bet knives and arrows in the corner and gave Hamid his full attention. 

“Yeah, I suppose I have.  I gave it to the Navy back when we were in Dover.  And probably a few other places in Prague when I was looking around for information on my dad and brother.  I hope that’s alright.”

“It is!  That’s not the problem…”  Hamid came to sit next to Zolf and show him a series of letters.  “I had the mail from that apartment forwarded here, in case there was anything I needed to deal with sooner than the next time we’re in London.  But it looks like, because you had your mail sent there too, that… a lot of institutions think we’re married.”

Zolf paused for a long moment, then read through the letters he’d been handed.  Many of them were addressed to ‘Mr. and Mr. al-Tahan,’ and others referred to Hamid’s husband. 

“Wait,” Sasha called from the corner.  “You two got married and you didn’t even tell me?”  She threw down a set of cards and Grizzop dutifully passed over another arrow. 

“We’re not actually married,” Zolf insisted, still scanning the letters, looking for some mistake. 

“If you’d told me, I would’ve gotten you a present, something well good.  I’d even have paid for it; I wouldn’t have stolen it or anything.  That’s how much you guys mean to me.”

“We’re not married,” Zolf stressed again.

Hamid intervened.  “It must be some clerical mistake.  Other people got your information from the Navy, or from… somewhere else, and just extrapolated.  Quite wildly, but still.”

“The dissemination of private information has gotten quite out of hand in recent years,” Grizzop remarked while handing over yet another arrow. 

“I suppose I did open that bank vault for you in Prague…” Hamid wondered to himself while opening another envelope.  “But that’s no reason why the bank should assume we’re married!”

“Don’t you own the bank?  Can’t you just get it fixed?”  Grizzop asked. 

“I’m not sure.  It would take a while, certainly.  It’s not easy to rectify this kind of paperwork, and if we want to get moving on to Damascus…”

At this, Azu, shimmering in pink, stepped into the room and read the consternated faces of Hamid and Zolf. 

“What is going on?  Can I help?” 

Sasha looked up from her cards.  “Hamid and Zolf got married and didn’t tell anybody.”

“We’re not married!”  Zolf insisted, but that didn’t stop anything.

Azu’s face lit up and she smiled ear to ear.  “How wonderful!  But why didn’t you tell anyone?  We would have thrown a splendid wedding to celebrate!”

“Because.  We’re not.  Married.”  Zolf crossed his arms as if that was all to be said on the matter. 

It was not.

“You two never saw these two together before,” Sasha said, speaking to Grizzop and Azu, the latter of whom had taken a seat on the couch after she tried and failed to shake Zolf and Hamid’s hands in celebration.  Was the pink of her armor glowing brighter than before?  “They’re like ‘oh, we’re not married!’  They were basically an old married couple for a long time.”

“That’s not true,” Hamid snapped. 

Sasha continued, “‘I’m going to sneak you a bottle of brandy into jail!’  ‘I’m going to cry outside your door because you won’t talk to me and I want to help but don’t know how!’  ‘I’m going to pass you my entire company because I trust you and think you’ll take better care of people because I love you!’”

“That’s a bit of an exaggeration,” Zolf replied flatly, but Hamid sighed and hesitantly nodded along. 

“When did you do it?  Did you sneak off somewhere in Paris to get it all official?  Did Mr. Ceiling do it?  Officimiate or whatever, for you?”

“No.  Sasha, it’s a mistake.”

“Is it though?”

Grizzop confidently set down a set of cards in a feeble hope of being victorious over Sasha one time.  As he waited for her to inevitably beat him, he remarked, “I bet they did it quietly so that they didn’t have to go through a big fancy wedding ceremony.”

“I’m sorry,” Zolf replied quickly, his stony expression starting to wear to annoyance, “what makes you think I wouldn’t want a big fancy wedding?  What, because I’m a dwarf or an adventurer I’m not allowed to like nice things?”

“I just didn’t-”

“Maybe I do want a big fancy wedding!  Maybe I would like that!”  He quieted down.  “If I were to ever properly get married, that is.”

The room fell silent for a few moments, during which Azu didn’t stop beaming, Sasha collected another arrow, and Hamid set aside the correspondence to turn to Zolf.

“Do you want a big fancy wedding, Zolf?  We can do that.”

“We’re not actually married, Hamid.  Don’t tell me you got caught up in all this too.”

“I mean, it will take a long time to get all the paperwork sorted, and if we want to keep moving…”

“Just because it says so on some paperwork doesn’t mean we’re married!”

Grizzop gesticulated with his cards, showing them off to everyone and eliminating any secrecy even if Sasha hadn’t been cheating.  “To be fair, there are a lot of financial incentives to marriage.  It might be worth keeping it on the record for the time being anyway.”

“I will grant that,” Zolf said reluctantly.  “But that doesn’t mean we’re actually husbands.”

“But you are though,” Sasha mumbled.  She held up her hands and said nothing more when Zolf cast her a pointed glare.

“I suppose a wedding would be good to raise everyone’s spirits…” Hamid thought quietly while tapping a finger to his lips.  “It’ll take a couple days to get it all put together, but not too long.  Maybe Father and Saleh could be allowed to come see the ceremony!  Oh, there’s so much to prepare!”

With that and not waiting for a reply from Zolf or anyone else in the room, Hamid stood and darted down the corridor. 

“Am I the only one who realizes how ridiculous this is?”  Zolf asked no one. 

Azu watched Hamid run off and then stood hastily.  She stepped over to Zolf. 

“Blessings of Aphrodite be upon you and Hamid,” she blessed.  “Let me know how I can help prepare the ceremony.  Anything at all.”

Zolf attempted to find words, but instead just stuttered haphazardly. 

“In that case, I will go assist Hamid.”

“Do you think there will be food?”  Sasha asked Grizzop as Azu stomped joyously from the room. 

“Oh, I’m sure.  Weddings always have a bunch.”

“I don’t know how weddings work up here.  Down where I was, it just kind of happened.  There weren’t big parties or anything.  Small ones, maybe, if you could afford it and you were sure assassins wouldn’t come get you when you draw that much attention.”

Grizzop hesitated.  “Other London is very different, huh,” he pondered as if this was a sudden, new, and unique revelation.  “Oh well.  Yes, there’s going to be a lot of food.  You saw all the food at the wake before the Squizard showed up, and that was for a funeral.  At a wedding, there’ll be loads more.”

“So… we should go help taste test everything, right?”

“Works for me!”  Grizzop and Sasha stood, the former counting the meager number of arrows still in his quiver. 

This left Zolf, still sitting on the couch and staring out the window.  

He’d come to Cairo after reading the news that Hamid’s sister and Bertie had died, hoping to help comfort Hamid and mourn with him.  He certainly didn’t expect to get wrapped back up into their adventures or to be involved in a wedding, least of all his own. 

With a heavy sigh and the faintest smile, he stood and followed his friends down the corridor.  It wouldn’t be so bad.  After all, he could think of plenty worse people to marry. 

Chapter Text

Hamid already had a piece of parchment covered in scribbles and notes.  The staff were eager to help and offered their congratulations, even if this announcement of a wedding was particularly sudden and unexpected.  There was so much to prepare!  Food, guest lists, decorations, seating arrangements…

It was while he was muttering about these dilemmas that Hamid ran headlong into his sister, Saira. 

“Hamid!”  She cried.  “Please, do pay some attention.”  Her voice was teasing with a mildly authoritative tone. 

“I’m sorry.  I was actually just on my way to come talk to you.”

“What is it?”

“I’m getting married?”  As soon as the words left Hamid’s mouth, he hesitated and wondered just what exactly was going on. 

Saira’s face mimicked that emotion, as her eyes opened wide and she took a step back in surprise. 

“You didn’t tell me you were seeing anyone!  Wow… congratulations?”

Hamid stuttered, trying to correct himself, “Well, it’s really more of a… it started as an accident.  Somehow, in some sort of mistake, my associate Zolf and I have been declared legally married.  So, we’ve just decided to go ahead and have a proper wedding.  It’s not as if it’s completely crazy, given our friendship.”

Saira nodded and her face resumed its more composed expression.  “That seems… reasonable, I suppose.  And makes me less concerned about the timing of all this.  It would be a bit… distasteful to have a wedding so shortly after the funeral, and with Father and Saleh…”

“I know.  It’s a bit awkward.  But it doesn’t need to be over the top.  Just local family and friends.  And…”  Hamid shifted his weight.  “I know it’s probably not possible, but I don’t suppose there’s any way we could pull some strings with the meritocratic office and get Father and Saleh out for the ceremony?”

“Hamid, that’s… that’s going to be nearly impossible.”

He nodded dejectedly.  “That’s what I figured, but I thought I would ask anyway.”

In the moment of awkwardness that hung between them, Saira soon reached forward and pulled Hamid into an embrace, which he eagerly reciprocated. 

“No matter how it’s happening, congratulations, Hamid.”

“I wish everyone would be here to see this.”

“Me too.  But we’ll do the best we can.  And it’ll be an amazing wedding, regardless.  Just let me know what I can do to help.  I’m still rather swamped with taking over Father’s affairs, but that’s not going to stop me from seeing my little brother get married.”  She smiled at him as she started to head off. 

“Thank you, Saira!”  Hamid called after her. 

He turned back to his list of preparations only to be shaken from it a few moments later. 

“This really means a lot to you, huh.”

“Zolf!”  Hamid jumped in surprise and turned to face him.  “I didn’t hear you come in here.”

“Didn’t mean to frighten you.”

“You overheard my conversation with Saira?”

“A little bit.  Sorry,” he added as an afterthought.

“It’s alright.  But, well, yes, this does mean a lot to me.”

“Hamid, you do know we don’t have to do this, right?  Just because somebody mixed up some paperwork doesn’t mean we need to throw together a big fancy occasion.”

“I know.”  Hamid hung his head.  “I’m sorry if I took this too far.  If you want me to call it all off, I will.  It’s just, when you mentioned a big wedding, I thought… why not?  Why not give you that?”

“You’re doing all this for me?”

“Well, for both of us.  But I understand I may have overreacted.”

“You do tend to do that,” Zolf joked, and Hamid smiled. 

Hamid took a deep breath and steeled himself.  “The truth is, at the end of the day, I do love you, Zolf.  I’m not entirely sure in what way or what that means, but it’s the truth.”  He rushed forward and hugged Zolf tightly.  “And if I’m going to be married, and if you’re willing, then why shouldn’t it be to you?”

Zolf, meanwhile, was still frozen in place with the weight of Hamid’s words.  Marriage was a serious thing to him, and he honestly never expected to experience it.  Just because some paperwork said so didn’t mean toss.  But this?  With Hamid? 

That meant a whole lot.

After recovering his senses, Zolf hugged Hamid back, leaning in and holding him while each processed their emotions. 

“I may have cried into your beard a little bit,” Hamid mumbled as they took a small step apart. 

“That’s alright.  Try to keep the crying to a minimum during the actual wedding, though,” Zolf teased with a smile. 

Hamid looked up at him confused and expectant. 

“Let’s do this,” Zolf continued.  “Let’s get married.  For both of us.”

Hamid grinned from ear to ear.  “Excellent!  Now, you are going to have to get fitted for a suit.”

“What?”

“A suit.  I understand that we all have our fair share of idiosyncrasies, but I would really appreciate if you would dress up a little bit.”

Zolf looked down and examined his appearance.  He’d run around Prague for far too long in his underthings, and the meager clothing he now wore didn’t look much better. 

“That’s fair.  Can’t you just prestidigitation me or something?”

“I suppose I could.  But I think it would probably be easier in the long run if you just wore the nicer clothing.”

“Alright,” Zolf sighed. 

“I’m going to have a tailor come in tomorrow morning.  He can measure us and the others, make sure we’re all presentable.  Oh, and another thing.”  Hamid paused and set down his list.  “I know you’re still a little… unsure… about your religion.  When it comes to the ceremony, is there anything you’d like to include?  Any rites or symbolism we should make sure to have?”

“Uh, no, probably not.”  Zolf kicked at the bannister beside them with his watery feet, an unpleasant reminder of the questions that dogged him every day since their encounters with Mr. Ceiling.  “Besides, Poseidon was never particularly flashy.  Weddings were basically just ‘yup there you go, you’re married now,’ with a dolphin decoration somewhere in there.  Whatever is customary around here is fine by me.”

“Okay.  I just wanted to be sure.”

“I appreciate it.”

With that, Hamid turned back to his list, crossing off two items.  And then seeming to circle a third.  With that, Zolf interrupted him before he could speak again. 

“Listen, Hamid, I know that sneaky look in your eye.  Please don’t put any dolphins around or anything.  I’m not… really on good terms with Poseidon right now.  I can see you scheming, so I’m just going to say it ahead of time.”

Hamid paused, and then smirked.  “Am I really that obvious?”

“Not really.  But I’ve seen that look before.  And, listen, I appreciate the thought, I do, but really, I’m not… interested in facing more of my religious conundrums right now.”

“I get that.”  Hamid crossed the previously circled item off of his list.  “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to head to the kitchens before Sasha eats everything and we have nothing to serve.”

“Do you need my help with anything?”

“Not right now?”  Hamid said while trotting off down the stairs.  “I’ll let you know!”

Once Hamid was gone, Zolf was left alone in the hallway.  Somehow, the thought of Hamid as his husband wasn’t so farfetched now that the ball was rolling.  Maybe Sasha had a point after all.

Chapter Text

“Sir, what do you think of these?”

Grizzop liked these servants.  They called him ‘sir.’  Never once was there an ‘it’ or a ‘thing.’  One of them even, unprompted, brought him a chair so that he could sit while he sampled all of the food being prepared for the wedding.  He hadn’t experienced such niceties amongst strangers in a long time.  Even if they were feigning politeness, that was more than most would do. 

Plus, they kept bringing him food.  They were mostly just finger foods prepared in a variety of sizes for the different races that would be attending, but Grizzop sampled one of each, just in case.  Not that he expected anyone to poison anything; somebody just had to verify the flavor, texture, and overall experience of each piece.  And if Hamid was too busy running around organizing everything, then Grizzop was happy to oblige. 

Sasha had helped at first as well, and then she was gone.  That she pulled one of her infamous vanishing acts was hardly surprising on its own, but when there was food around?  It didn’t seem like her at all. 

However, until she decided to make herself known, there was little to do, except to take a bite of the decorative falafel ball that had been placed in front of him. 

Grizzop popped the whole thing in his mouth and swallowed, nodding while he thought it over. 

“Now, that’s… eh,” he said to the waiting servant.  “I think the texture is a little bit off.”

“Oh.  Thank you for letting us know, sir, we’ll get to work on another batch right away.”

The servant darted off, leaving Grizzop sat beside a plate containing a few more falafel nuggets. 

“Oh dear, somebody left some perfectly good food here that has no textural problems at all,” he whispered to himself.  The falafel was fine, but he knew they would bring him more samples if he said there was a problem with it.  He picked up another ball and plopped it in his mouth, leaning back in his chair as he worked his way through the kitchen.  Now this was the life.

*

Meanwhile, in the manor’s backyard, servants busied themselves with setting up a whole host of decorations.  Servants parted to give plenty of space to Azu, who carried half a dozen chairs under her arms with ease.  She set them in place, then smiled and nodded to a nearby servant who finished bringing out the last chair. 

“What’s next?”  She asked the halfling who delegated to the others. 

“Well…” Their eyes darted between their list and the boxes of supplies around them and beneath their feet.  “We could use some help with the streamers, I suppose.  Just hang them up around the top of the wall.”

“It will be done.”  Azu picked up an entire box of streamers and headed to the far edge of the enclosure. 

Carefully and delicately, she attached the heavy, cloth streamers to the top of the wall with ease.  Though the halfling servants were more than capable, it would have taken them quite a bit longer to complete this task simply because they lacked the height required to reach the top. 

However, even Azu had trouble reaching when she got to a dip in the landscaping.  For a short area, there was a small decline and incline up the other side.  At its lowest point, it was impossible for even an orc to decorate the top without help.

“Excuse me,” she called to a nearby servant who had just finished setting up a table.  “Could I get a hand?”

They dutifully trotted over.  “What can I do for you, ma’am?”

“Alright, I’m going to pick you up, stand you on my shoulders, and then you can keep wrapping the streamers around.”

“Uhh…  Are you sure you can’t reach?  I can get you something to stand on.”

“This will be both easier and faster.  Do not worry, I won’t let you fall.”

“It’s just - whoa!”  The halfling squealed as Azu picked them up under the shoulders.  As she said, she sat them on her shoulders and handed them the roll of streamers so that they could continue her work.  “This is… very high… how do you stand like this all the time?  Don’t you get dizzy?”

“I can’t say I’ve noticed,” Azu replied, holding tightly to the servant.  “I admire your bravery.  Here you are, working through your fear of heights.  It is something to be proud of.”

“Well… thank you.”

Together, they managed to wrap off the rest of the high wall.  When they finished, Azu carefully lifted the halfling from her shoulders and set them on the ground, safe and sound. 

“Thank you for your help.”

“You’re welcome.  Let me know if there’s anything else I can do.  But… please don’t lift me up again?”

“You have my word.”

*

Sasha had left Grizzop in the kitchen.  He could handle the food.  It was all delicious, and it pained her to leave it behind, but she had more pressing issues on her mind. 

What was she going to get Zolf and Hamid for a wedding present?

At first, she figured she would just give them her fire and ice daggers, one for each of them.  They were good daggers!  But then she realized they would be wasted on that pair, especially on Hamid.  Especially since he could practically set himself on fire anyway. 

But that left her with a conundrum.  Down in Other London, she might get the newlyweds some weapons or a nice pie.  The weapons were already out of consideration, and a pie seemed a bit uninspired given that Hamid lived in a massive mansion with servants that could make him a pie whenever he wanted. 

So, Sasha wandered the streets of Cairo and glared into shops through what chunks of windows were not boarded up against the most recent sandstorm.  All of these things were kitschy, tourist nonsense. 

Wrestling with ideas, each one worse than the last, she climbed up onto a roof next to a familiar, stony face. 

The gargoyle said something to her in a language she didn’t understand and picked up a rock expectantly, as if to throw it at another passerby. 

“Maybe later, mate,” she replied.  “I need help right now.  Help?”

The gargoyle understood enough to turn toward her with the scraping of heavy stone. 

“I need a present.  A gift.  Something nice for my friends.”

Slowly, the gargoyle extended its hand and pointed several streets away. 

“Cheers.  Now, I think if you aim for that guy by the fountain, you could definitely get him to fall in.”

With a grating laugh, the gargoyle unleashed a stone at its unsuspecting victim. 

After several minutes of harassing the populace of Cairo, Sasha climbed down from her perch and headed to where the gargoyle had directed her.  These streets were more her speed – this was where the real people lived and shopped. 

In the middle of the street sat an antique shop.  Clockwork mechanisms caught her eye in the window, and she stepped inside to investigate them.  No way they’d be as good as Gusset’s, but they seemed to be decent all the same. 

As she looked through the other wares, something else caught her eye as the shopkeeper stepped over to greet their new customer.  After a brief moment of language issues, they spoke in English and explained the item to Sasha. 

“How much?”

“Ohh, well, a couple thousand gold, at least.”

Sasha’s eyes darted across the shop.  It would be so easy, so easy, to sneak back in later and just nick whatever she wanted. 

But then she thought about Gusset, and how she’d hate if someone did that to him.  Then she thought of Hamid and Zolf; they’d give her that look of annoyance like they always did and, besides, they deserved a proper gift. 

“I’ll give you a fifteen hundred.”

“That’s a deal.”

Chapter Text

Zolf stood and examined himself in the mirror.  Wearing this fancy suit seemed the most ridiculous part of the whole affair, but it would make Hamid happy.  And he didn’t want to look like a bum in front of Hamid’s family, particularly when they’d been so welcoming and understanding given that their son was about to get married two days after announcing such a thing. 

That didn’t make the outfit any more comfortable, though. 

There was a knock on the door, and Zolf yelled to have whoever it was enter. 

Hamid stepped in and froze as soon as he saw Zolf. 

“You look… very handsome,” he said sincerely.

“Well, I feel ridiculous.”

Hamid smiled.  “I appreciate you wearing it, all the same.”

“It’s the least I can do.  You’re the one that’s set up most everything.”

“It was nothing.  Besides, it feels good to keep busy, especially when it’s for a happy occasion instead of saving the world or something.”

Zolf nodded and replied, “Yeah, that makes sense.”

“Are you ready for tomorrow, then?”

“As ready as I’ll ever be.”  Zolf examined himself in the mirror again, as if the thoughts in his head would make more sense if he stared long enough. 

“Thank you, Zolf.  I know this is all crazy, but-”

Before Hamid could finish, there came another knock at the door. 

“Come in!”  Hamid and Zolf both cried at the same time. 

Sasha opened the door and slunk into the room, holding a small box in her hands. 

“I got you guys a gift.”  Then she noticed Zolf, all dressed up in his outfit for the ceremony in just a few hours.  “You clean up good, boss.”

“Still not your boss,” he said.

Sasha responded with a shrug, then held out the box for Hamid to take.

“You really didn’t have to get us anything,” Hamid replied with a smile.  Despite their insistence that presents weren’t necessary, Azu had previously dropped off several boxes from the Temple of Aphrodite, full of incense, vases, baskets, and other assorted goods.  Even Grizzop had gotten something for them, though his gift was much more practical: a new quiver for Hamid’s crossbow bolts and a sheath for the stolen rapier Zolf still carried at his hip. 

Hamid opened the box and inside were two quills, two inkwells full of ink, and two small leather-bound books with empty pages.  All items were unremarkable in appearance. 

“I know you’ve been writing letters to Zolf,” Sasha said to Hamid.  “And I can only assume he’s been writing back.  Supposedly if you write with the quill in one book, the writing will appear in the other book at the same time, so the other person will be able to read what you’ve written like right away.  That way you guys can keep in touch easier than waiting on letters to go through to an address you may not even be at for a while.”

“That is… surprisingly thoughtful of you, Sasha,” Zolf muttered.  He’d stepped up beside Hamid and glanced between the items and Sasha, who fidgeted in place. 

“These must have been very expensive,” Hamid wondered aloud, then looked pointedly at Sasha. 

“No, I didn’t steal them!”  She insisted.  “I thought long and hard about it, but I paid for them with my own money, thank you very much.”

“I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have assumed.”

“It’s… it’s alright.  I wanted to get you something nice.  You’re… you’re good people and… anyway, just know I’ll be keeping an extra eye on all the entrances tomorrow, to make sure nobody tries anything.”

Without another word, Sasha darted forward in a flash to give both Zolf and Hamid a hug.  Contact only lasted a few milliseconds, and then she was gone again, heading back out of the room and shutting the door behind her. 

“Did that just happen?”  Zolf asked. 

“I think we broke her.”

“She’s come so far since we first met her.”

“We all have,” Hamid pondered, and a peaceful moment of contemplation passed over them.  Then, he took out a quill, an inkwell, and a journal and handed them over to Zolf.  “Here.”

“Thanks.  This is going to be really useful.  Now I won’t have to spend quite so much time worrying about you.  All of you, but, let’s be honest, if anyone’s going to charge headfirst into danger, it’s going to be you.”  Zolf smiled at Hamid, who blushed under his gaze. 

“I’m trying to be better about that.  And you act as if everything you’ve done has been well-calculated and safe,” he teased back.

“You’ve got me there.”

“You better write me often, since now we won’t have to wait so long to hear from each other.”  Hamid fiddled with the binding of the journal.  “I worry about you too.  And I miss you, when you’re not with us.”

“I know.  And… I still need to sort some things out for myself, but…”

“I understand.”

“It’s not as if you’re never going to see me again.  What kind of husband would I be if I just disappeared on you?” 

“Probably a pretty common one, actually.”

“And I’m hardly common, so.  There you have it.”

Both smiling, Hamid quickly stepped in and gave Zolf a hug, which he reciprocated without thinking this time. 

“I’ll see you tomorrow, Zolf.”

“Goodnight,” he called as Hamid headed toward the door.

As soon as he was gone, Zolf immediately started to take off the suit to give himself a few hours in relaxing clothes before he had to don that monstrosity again in the morning.  He could stare at himself in the mirror for hours, but there weren’t any other questions to solve.  This was where he was meant to be.

Chapter Text

“You look so perfect, Hamid.”

He turned to see Saira stepping into his room.  She was already dressed for the wedding and had been running around all morning to see to last minute preparations. 

“Thank you.”

“I have a surprise for you.”

Hamid’s eyes widened; he honestly wasn’t sure how many more surprises he could handle. 

Saira pulled out a small mirror and showed it to Hamid.  Two familiar figures were visible on the other side of the glass.  One waved, while the other nodded severely. 

“How did you manage this?”  Hamid gasped, glancing quickly between Saira and the image of his father and brother.

“I pulled a few strings.  Besides, I think Apophis likes you.  I couldn’t get them out, obviously, but this way they’ll be able to see the ceremony and you’ll be able to see them too.”

A few tears fell down Hamid’s cheeks, and he brushed them quickly away before darting over to Saira and giving her a hug. 

“This means so much to me,” he muttered.  “Thank you.  Thank you so much.”

“You’re welcome.  Now, you better get a move on; things are about to start!”

Hamid finished getting himself ready with a last cast of prestidigitation to make himself look spotless and hide the red in his eyes from joyful tears.  Then he headed downstairs. 

Everything was all set up and looked more beautiful than he could have imagined.  The backyard was filled with family and friends from the Cairo area, and every surface was decked out in sparkling decorations.  He couldn’t stop grinning. 

“Are you ready?”  Saira asked, stepping back over to him. 

“Yes,” he replied surely.  “I am so ready.”

The ceremony began and everyone took their seats.  The wedding party consisted of Saira, Sasha, Azu, and Grizzop, all looking surprisingly pristine for the affair.  Grizzop and Azu wore their armor, shining almost dizzyingly, while Sasha had found a slightly dressier jacket in which to hide all her daggers.  She nodded sagely when Hamid caught her eye walking down the aisle.  Beside her, Grizzop snacked on some hors d’oeurves he’d snagged from the kitchen and Azu openly cried.  Saira, with their younger brothers behind her, held the mirror in her hands so that the entirety of their family could view the ceremony, even if they couldn’t be there in person.  Seeing his father gazing at him with something that nearly looked like pride caused Hamid to almost burst into tears right there. 

Then he turned back to the raised dais before him, where the officiant and Zolf awaited. 

Zolf looked even more handsome than he had the night before.  His beard was freshly braided, and he smiled more widely than Hamid had ever seen. 

“Is this what you call a small affair?”  He whispered to Hamid once he had taken his place on the raised platform. 

Hamid chuckled under his breath.  “You should see when all branches of the al-Tahan family get together.  This was just who could come on such short notice.”

“This is all… it’s a lot, but it’s really nice.  I know I’m not exactly the cleanest and most tactful dwarf out there, but even I can appreciate that this is amazing.”

Hamid met Zolf’s smile, and they turned back to the speech both in their honor and about the importance of marriage.  Because they obviously hadn’t rushed into this at all. 

But as Hamid found Zolf’s hand and held it tightly, it seemed like they had taken all the time in the world, as if every second they’d spent together had led up to this moment. 

“You may now kiss.”

Hamid’s eyes widened.  “I told them to take this part out,” he stammered quietly.  “I said it wasn’t necessary because we-”

Before he could say anything more, Zolf grabbed Hamid’s collar and leaned down to give him a firm, quick kiss on the lips.  When they broke apart, more tears were welling up in Hamid’s eyes and he beamed. 

“I love you, Zolf.”

“I love you too.”

Once that was done, the officiant bade them turn to face the assembled people. 

“I now declare you Mr. and Mr. al-Tahan.”