Chapter III: Thick As Thieves, pt. 6Azlyn is still full of energy, so Sora suggests a little more exploration of the Forty Thievesâ€™ hideout. He figures itâ€™s as good a chance as any to get the knight to open up about her and Telaryâ€™s troubles.
â€œWhat would you turn into gold first?â€ Azlyn asks, jumping from rock to rock. â€œIâ€™d go with the Gummi ship, personally. Just think how awesome that would be, riding around in a gold spaceship!â€
Sensing his opening, Sora takes a deep breath before replying with, â€œI wonder if Tel would like that. Heâ€™s so fussy about that thing, yâ€™know?â€
Azlyn snorts, flipping up into a handstand. â€œNo kidding.â€ She does a few push-ups. â€œHeâ€™s like that with everything else too, of course.â€
Sora nods. â€œAnd, uh, has that been bothering you lately? The fussing, or whatever?â€
Raising one eyebrow, Azlyn pushes up and flips backwards, landing on her feet. She glares down at her friend. â€œWhat is this, coupleâ€™s therapy?â€ she asks, an unmistakable edge in her voice. â€œYou tryinâ€™ to shrink me, Sora?â€
The Keybearer rolls his eyes, leaning back against the stone wall. â€œGee, Az, you donâ€™t have to jump all over me, okay? I justâ€¦â€ He looks away for a moment. When he turns back, his eyes are undeniably wet. â€œI hate to see you and Tel fighting like you have been okay? It isnâ€™t right, Az. You two are supposed to beâ€¦â€ His arms flail, searching for the words. Eventually he just gives up, sliding down the wall into a sitting position.
â€œIt has gotten worse, hasnâ€™t it?â€ Azlyn leaps off her rock, joining Sora by the wall. She hunches over, drawing her knees close to her chest. â€œItâ€™s been like this for a while now. About the last month.â€
â€œThatâ€™s just it.â€ The knight shoots up, pacing forward quickly. â€œAs far as I can tell, nothing happened!â€
Sora nods. â€œOkayâ€¦ But, maybe you, like, didnâ€™t even know. Telâ€™s a sensitive guy. Maybe something with the weddingâ€¦?â€
Azlyn scoffs, dramatically increasing her pacing speed. â€œThe wedding, right. Donâ€™t even get me started on that! Every time weâ€™re together, thatâ€™s all he wants to talk about. Him and Queen Minnie and the king and, and, basically the whole freaking world has been put on hold to focus on this tedious bullshit about, like, place settings or whatever!â€
Sora just looks up at her, blinking. â€œThat, uh, that seemed like a sore subject.â€
She nods. â€œSure is. And Telaryâ€™s the worst about it, yâ€™know. Even when weâ€™re all alone, he only wants to know what I think about the wedding.â€
â€œSoâ€¦ You donâ€™t care?â€
â€œOf course I care!â€ Azlyn yelps, stopping on a dime and turning to Sora with a look that could send a Heartless scurrying. Seeing the effect her exclamation has on the Keybearer, she relaxes herself a bit. â€œI care about being married to Tel, though. Not all this fancy crap. If the big ceremony and junk wasnâ€™t so important to him, Iâ€™d have already grabbed him and ran off. Just the two of us.â€ She gets a strange look on her face, wistful but with an odd undertone.
The look disappears, replaced by something Sora rarely sees on his friend: apprehension.
â€œThere, uh, well there might be something else,â€ she says after a moment, her voice shaking. â€œBut itâ€™s, uhâ€¦ Well I donâ€™t have a problem with it but, yâ€™know, for you it could be a little uncomfortable.â€
This conversation just continues to throw the Keybearer. Azlynâ€™s never been one to care much about otherâ€™s discomfort. For her to find a subject uncomfortable is more than a little scary. But this could be the key, soâ€¦
â€œAzlyn,â€ he says plainly, â€œyou and me are sitting here talking about your feelings. It definitely doesnâ€™t get more uncomfortable than that.â€
She nods, laughing a little. â€œOkay, fine then.â€ She drops down to all fours, leaning in very closely. â€œWe havenâ€™t done it in like three months.â€
Well, whaddya know. This is uncomfortable.
â€œItâ€™s not like the Gummi ship, where it was just us,â€ she continues.
Sora balks. â€œUm, I was on that ship too ya know!â€
The knight shrugs. â€œYeah, well whatever. The point is, Disney Castle is so not the place for lovinâ€™.â€
Sora nods. He can imagine, actually. Not that he wants to, but he can.
â€œYou two did, uh, enjoy that,â€ Sora says after another minute of processing. â€œRemember I had to put those sticky-notes down on places you couldnâ€™tâ€¦â€
â€œThose were rules enough for me!â€ Azlyn blurts. She settles back on her haunches, thinking. â€œOf course, thatâ€™s it!â€
â€œI know how to solve all our problems!â€ the knight declares, pushing herself up and into a joyous back-handspring. â€œThis is a vacation, after all! Oh, thatâ€™s incredible. Maybe you should give this counseling thing a shot for real. Universe is safe, but there are always gonna be couples in trouble.â€
Sora laughs, puffing up a little. â€œI am pretty great at this, arenâ€™t I?â€
Azlyn rolls her eyes fondly. â€œSure thing.â€ She pauses, a look that Sora knows as her â€˜idea faceâ€™ popping up suddenly. She looks at him, as sincere as heâ€™s ever seen her. â€œThat, uh, thereâ€™s another thing.â€ The pacing starts up again. â€œThis is gonna sound kinda weird, â€˜cause of how I just talked about how I hate all this ceremony stuff, butâ€¦â€
Sora stands up, going over to his friend and putting himself in her path. Thankfully, she stops before they collide. â€œAnything you need Azlyn. Weâ€™re friends, after all.â€
â€œFriends!â€ Azlyn blurts, pointing at Sora. â€œYes, weâ€™re friends, exactly. And thereâ€™s this thing, a totally dumb thing, of course. But, yâ€™know. The bride and groom like, I guess, have people stand up with â€˜em and stuff. The groom has one, and then the bride does too. A special person, one each. So, I donâ€™t have a lotta friends I can ask, yâ€™know, basically just you and Tel, and Iâ€™m marrying Tel, soâ€¦ So I need you to stand up with me. Be the, uh, whatchamacallit.â€
For a long moment Sora is completely lost. He takes a moment to mentally sort out his friendâ€™s speech. When he arrives at its probable point, a small part of him starts wishing they could go back to talking about Azlyn and Telaryâ€™s intimacy problems.
â€œAzlyn,â€ he says, trying his best to keep his voice steady. It doesnâ€™t really work. â€œDid you just ask me to be your Maid of Honor?â€