Sasha was getting sick and tired of Hamid and Zolf. Well, not of them specifically, but of their behaviour. Particularly, the fact that they won’t. Stop. Arguing. And honestly, Sasha was used to people arguing, and their arguments were a lot less violent than the ones that happened back when she lived in Other London, but it was just… annoying. They weren’t even arguing over anything important, most of the time; just inane things like whose fault it was that they’d gotten lost (usually Zolf’s), or who’d left their clothes on the floor (usually Hamid).
Once, Sasha had made the mistake of bringing it up to Azu. Don’t get her wrong, she liked Azu, she really did, but she also apparently had a skewed perspective on what was ‘cute’ versus ‘irritating’. She insisted that their bickering was adorable, and that the fact they ‘could communicate so openly with each other’ (Azu’s words, not Sasha’s) was a testament to how close they were. And while Sasha didn’t necessarily disagree with the second point, she really, really disagreed with the first.
Grizzop wasn’t much better, the few times she’d complained about it to him. He didn’t think it was cute like Azu did, but he certainly didn’t find it as infuriating as Sasha. He would just shrug it off with some comment about old married couples (which Sasha didn’t really understand; Zolf and Hamid weren’t married. They weren’t even a couple, so she wasn’t sure what that had to do with anything) and say there was nothing either of them could do. Which was wrong, Sasha was sure of it (mind you, she didn’t want to stab either of them, so her options were a lot more limited than they usually were, but still).
It didn’t matter what Grizzop and Azu thought, Sasha had decided. She had to do something to stop it before she snapped.
Her first try… didn’t go well. The idea behind it had been simple: if they’re always arguing about something, just tell them who was right and who was wrong. Easy.
Or so she thought.
They’d been arguing about whose fault it was that they’d all gotten lost on their way through the city. It was an old one, something that they’d bickered about time and again, usually lightheartedly. She’d thought it would be a safe one to step in on; they weren’t really angry at each other, and every other time they’d fought about this, they’d ended up both agreeing it was Zolf’s fault.
She didn’t understand what made this time different. She didn’t understand why, when she’d spoken up to say that she agreed with Hamid, Zolf had looked so annoyed at her. She didn’t understand why he had snapped and stormed off to sulk by himself. He’d never done that before!
(She didn’t understand why Hamid had looked so disappointed when Zolf stalked away; he’d won the argument, he was right, what was there for him to be sad about?)
Her second attempt didn’t go much better. She’d just thought maybe, if she stopped the arguments before they even started, they would eventually run out of things to argue about.
She was wrong.
She’d notice that Hamid had left a shirt on the floor of the hotel room they were all staying in, so she would pick it up for him. She’d realize that they were about to get lost, so she’d ask for directions (as much as she didn’t want to). She’d notice any number of things that would annoy one or both of them, and she’d quietly fix them before it drew their attention. And somehow, miraculously, they still found something else to bicker about!
She just didn’t get it, it was almost like they enjoyed the arguing, but that didn’t make any sense.
Azu couldn’t help but find their bickering was cute. Back when Hamid had first told her about Zolf, when she’d first joined the mercenary group, she’d thought he sounded very fond of him. She hadn’t realized that it was because they were together!
They were a very good pair, Azu thought. They fit. Sure, they argued, but it was never overly serious, and they always apologized when it was done. Honestly, they communicated more openly and effectively than a lot of couples she had known.
That was precisely why she was so surprised to discover that they weren’t actually together. She’d mentioned, offhand, to Hamid once that she was happy that they’d found each other, and that they were a cute couple, only for him to nearly spit out his wine in his haste to correct her (and though Azu thought he sounded somewhat sad as he did it, she did him the favour of not mentioning it).
(And if she said the same thing to Zolf a few days later to see if he seemed as disappointed by it as Hamid had been… Well, Hamid didn’t need to know.)
(Zolf had been.)
Azu genuinely believed that they should be together, though. They’d be good for each other, she was certain, but neither of them seemed inclined to act on their feelings. Could anyone really blame her for wanting to help?
There was no world in which just telling them they’d be a good couple would work; it would inevitably lead to them getting uncomfortable and denying it. If anything, that would work against the very end she wanted to achieve; it would only reinforce both their beliefs that the other didn’t have any sort of romantic feelings for them.
She was going to have to get a bit creative if she wanted this to succeed.
Whatever Azu was trying to do to get Hamid and Zolf together, it wasn’t going to work, Grizzop was sure of it. The two of them went to restaurants by themselves all the time, whenever the rest of their group was busy or tired or just didn’t feel like it, and it had never gotten them to admit their feelings. What would make this time any different?
No, this sort of thing needed a more… direct approach.
(Not that Grizzop was going to get involved, because he wasn’t. It wasn’t his business, and he had much better things to be doing. It was just entertaining, really, to come up with a way to get the two of them together.)
So, obviously, the only way to go about it would be to lock them up in a room somewhere they couldn’t get out, and leave them there long enough that they had to talk about their feelings. But knowing that his plan would work didn’t mean that Grizzop was going to do anything about it.
He certainly wasn’t going to pick exactly the moment Hamid went into the walk-in closet in their hotel room to ask Zolf to go get him.
He definitely wasn’t going to wait until Zolf was inside, then quietly shut the door behind him.
He absolutely wasn’t going to accidentally knock over the heavy shelving next to it so it fell in front of the door, effectively trapping them inside.
All those things happened with no interference from him. None at all.
Sasha didn’t know what Grizzop had been thinking, locking the two of them in a tiny room with no way out, with nothing to do but talk and, eventually, argue. That was exactly the thing she had been trying to avoid, and now it had just gotten even worse.
Azu had no idea what Grizzop had been trying to do, locking them in that tiny room like that. Now they just seemed less comfortable with each other, not more, and she couldn’t think of anything to do to fix it.
Grizzop had to admit that maybe, just maybe, he hadn’t really thought his plan through all that well.
In the end, it wasn’t Sasha, Azu, or Grizzop that got them together. No, instead it was some horrible, slimy thing that had just so happened to hit Hamid hard enough to knock him out, sending him crashing to the ground, bleeding quite heavily from the side of his head.
Despite being occupied with another one of the creatures at the time, Zolf’s head whipped around at the sound of Hamid crying out, and he made an agonized noise as he watched him fall. Sasha managed to stab the thing before it could make any sort of attack on Zolf, though, as he rushed to Hamid’s side and fell to his knees.
Azu could see him panicking, even from a distance, could tell that he was in no fit state to be casting anything right then. So she cast Lay on Hands from across the battlefield, and watched just long enough to see Hamid’s eyes flutter open, his gaze immediately falling on Zolf leaning down over him, before turning her attention back to the creature in front of her.
None of them paid much attention to Hamid and Zolf for the rest of the fight, much too focused on dispatching the things as even more came out of the woodwork. Grizzop did keep a careful eye on where all the creatures were, however, making sure to take care of any that looked like they were heading for the two on the ground. Because of that, though, none of them saw exactly what happened next. One moment, Zolf had been crouched over Hamid as he lay on the ground, brushing Hamid’s hair away from the newly healed cut on his head. The next, Hamid had pulled himself up with arms wrapped around Zolf’s neck, Zolf’s hands cradling Hamid’s head, foreheads pressed together as they held each other tight.
(Sasha just hoped it meant they would finally stop bickering.)