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A Betrayal Most Bitter

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The sound of the window sliding up is masked by the steady, light pattering of rain and passing cars. Easily hoisting herself up and through the window, Sasha lands inside her and Zolf’s room with the lightest of thumps. Sasha can’t help the small smile when she looks at the welcome mat Zolf placed under the window for her as she kicks off her boots.

Closing and locking the window behind her, the outside noise drops down to the faint pattering of rain against the window, and Sasha can hear the quiet sounds of the radio and Zolf pottering around in the kitchen. As Zolf’s faint singing starts to come through the door, Sasha begins changing out of her damp clothes and into soft, dry ones, something she has only really been able to do since Zolf saved her.

Shaking away the dark memories, Sasha swipes a nearby towel and roughly dries off her hair before tossing it back into the hamper and quietly padding into the kitchen. Zolf barely jolts when he turns around to grab one of the bowls he had set out and also sees Sasha sitting on the counter.

“How was work?”

“Good! Ed came back with like this cool bunch of like super fancy buckles that Bertie keeps sending ‘im, but like I said to Ed, ‘What’s he ‘nd Tjelvar supposed to do with ‘em’ and Ed was like ‘I know right?’. Anyways, Gusset knows someone who’ll take ‘em and is giving me a cut since I took ‘em in, which never happened when I was workin’ for- Anyways, I got rent covered for like the next month.”

Listening to Sasha ramble about work, Zolf can’t help raising his eyebrows at the tidbit that Bertie is still trying to get with Ed nearly a year later. He didn’t realize Bertie had that much of an attention span. Zolf turns back to measuring his ingredients and melting butter while listening to Sasha happily ramble till she slowly comes to a natural stop and lets the music softly fill the comfortable silence.

Carefully shifting the dry ingredients into the butter, sugar, and egg mixture, Zolf focuses on mixing and is vaguely aware of Sasha fiddling with a spoon. Sasha perks up, seeing the chocolatey mixture Zolf is pouring into the baking pan, then she spies the container of chocolatey goodness hiding behind the flour container.

Keeping an eye on Zolf, Sasha carefully reaches over and swipes the small container. There’s a familiar sweet, chocolate smell when she opens it and sees a chocolate powder inside. Feeling mischievous, Sasha waits for the perfect moment when Zolf’s back is turned while putting the pan in the oven to take a spoonful of chocolate powder before returning the container to its original location.

Zolf hears a faint clink of something hitting the counter just as he’s finishing putting the brownies in the oven. Turning to look, Zolf doesn’t immediately see anything out of place or wrong till he looks at Sasha. A feeling of horror washes over him as he catches the laugher and delight in her eyes a split second before she pops a spoonful of cocoa powder into her mouth.

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Walking towards the apartment he is sharing with his two friends, Hamid hums happily along to his music, unfazed by the rain and looking forward to a quiet evening in. Hamid checks his satchel to make sure the bottle of wine stashed inside is still ok as he turns onto the walkway leading up to their door. 

Stepping into the small alcove, Hamid shakes off his umbrella before loosely wrapping it up and digging out his keys. Taking a headphone out with one hand and unlocking the door with the other, Hamid enters their apartment, quickly toeing off his shoes, hanging up his satchel, and setting his umbrella up to dry.

Hamid grins happily at the sight of Zolf and Sasha in the kitchen, clearly in a playful mood as Sasha pops a sneaky sample of dinner in her mouth, and he begins to call out a greeting, “Hey, guys-!”

“Sasha! NO!!”

Hamid rushes into the kitchen, where Zolf is watching Sasha in horror as she looks smugly back with the spoon sticking out of her mouth. Then her face begins twisting as she actually starts tasting whatever she just put into her mouth.

Sasha, slightly hurt that Zolf snapped at her rather his normal teasing grumble, tries to look extra smug that she swiped the chocolate, then the taste hits her. Confusion quickly turns to shock then into disgust and pain as the not-sweet chalky powder actually hits her taste buds.

“Spit it out! Just spit it out, Sasha!!” 

Sasha begins making indignant and angry noises from her throat as she starts angrily gesturing at Zolf while Hamid tries to figure out what the fuck is happening.

“What were you making, ZOLF?!”

“Gods! Sasha! Spit it out in the sink! It’s just gonna get worse!” Zolf pulls Sasha off the counter and over to the sink, quickly turning on the water before going to grab a glass. Hamid wrings his hands as he watches Sasha bend over the sink and begin spitting into it before sticking her head right under the faucet, “Is she going to be ok, Zolf?”

“Hmm? Oh, hey, Hamid. Yeah, she just-” Zolf looks at Hamid as he turns to hand a glass to Sasha, who emerges from under the faucet with water running down her face and a crazy look in her eyes.

“This was his plan all along, Hamid! He’s tryin’ to poison us!”

“WhAT?!”

“What? Nooo! Sasha- What? That’s not-”

“He just lured us into a false sense of security! To-to I don’t know! Take the apartment?” Sasha grabs the kitchen sprayer and begins spraying it into her mouth to keep removing the horrible taste and still keep an eye on Zolf. Hamid just looks wildly between a slightly fond but mostly exasperated Zolf and a suspicious Sasha, trying to figure out what the hell is happening.

“It’s not poison! You just ate some cocoa powder!”

“Really? She ate….pfffffff hahaaha!” Hamid can’t help but burst into laughter as he finally understands what’s happened. Just when he’s about to stop laughing, he catches a look of Sasha’s disgruntled face and keeps on giggling at the whole scene again.

With the horrible taste mostly out of her mouth, Sasha sulks suspiciously at Zolf from her spot by the sink, simply waiting for him to explain. Zolf breathes a small sigh of relief, before schooling his face, so he doesn’t laugh at her till after he’s convinced her that he isn’t trying to poison them.

“Look, what you just tried to eat, and what I tried to stop you from eatin’ was cocoa powder. It’s something that needs like butter and sugar to taste good. Eatin’ it dry is just, ah um, something that isn’t done?” ending in a questioning tone, Zolf shoots a look to a still giggling Hamid before taking in Sasha. Fanning himself to try and collect himself, Hamid tries to help but only ending up dissolving into more giggles.

“Yeah, it’s-it’s something little kids tend to do because-because it looks and smells like chocolate. Like Ishak and Ismael tried-tried to-to steal the container from-from the kitchen and-and, teehee, um, my mom just let them eat some and-and, hahahaha. I’m sorry- I can’t!”

As Hamid dissolves back into laughter, Sasha loosens up, much to Zolf’s relief, and accepts the glass still in his hand. Zolf, still not looking at Hamid for fear of joining him, asks Sasha, “We good?”

“Yeah, Boss. It’s good to know that not all my bosses or like ex-bosses are out to poison me.” Sasha smirks at the high-pitched noise Zolf makes in outrage at that comment, before immediately pouting as Zolf grumbly says, “See if I give you any brownies...try and do something nice...get accused of poisonin’....disrespectful youths…”