Girard didn't like Soon when they first met- he was a damn paladin, after all- but discovering Soon was bisexual, like Girard himself, cracked the ice between them at least a little, and they started talking after that.
Soon raged constantly in battle, to the point that Girard joked that he had to have a few levels of Barbarian somehow; but when Girard found out about Soon's dead wife, who Soon could never recover- no Resurrections for her, she wasn't in the afterlife, she was just gone, the Snarl had killed her and wiped out her soul- he stopped bothering him for it.
Girard remembers the admittedly hilarious way he'd discovered Soon's sexual orientation.
" You've got a stick up your ass, Soon!" Girard had yelled at him once when Soon insisted on the "proper" way of doing things- something about payment in a tavern or some such damn thing- and Soon had started grinning like a guy who knew a great dirty joke to tell but couldn't work up the nerve to say it.
What the hell was wrong with him? " What are you grinning for?" Girard had asked.
" I am just remembering," Soon said, " a terribly filthy joke an old ex-boyfriend of mine once told me involving much the same thing, but with an entirely different context."
You could have ridden an army into Girard's open jaw right then.
" You're gay?" Girard had said later on that night, since the idea of "tact" or "subtlety" belonged to lesser mortals. " That's a surprise. Doesn't your paladin codes prohibit such behavior or something?"
" No," Soon said, and gave him an odd look. " And I'm not gay. I like women as well. I prefer to be… open, to love and life."
" Huh. Color me surprised."
Then Serini started a conversation with Soon about, if Paladins could be bisexual, did that mean they could be Chaotic, and Girard spent the rest of the night quietly musing.
Dammit, Girard thinks to himself, I hate paladins and authority figures and, well, Lawful people, period, but even if he's a blind madman who worships a bunch of barnyard animals, Soon's the ballsiest son of a bitch I've ever met.
(It's not until later that Girard realizes that Soon's bravery is a suicidal bravery- Soon has nothing left to lose.)
" Bit of healing needed over here!" Girard yelled, as the cut on his side starts pouring blood- and Soon is there before Girard even knows it, touching him, healing him, and Girard is very surprised at himself for the grateful emotions- respect, admiration, and a tinge of something else- that flood through him.
All of their hands tell stories. Girard's are hard and strong, the hands of a man who has done many things. Serini's are light and nimble, the hands of a thief and a rogue. Dorukan and the elf have hands just alike- delicate and weak, if capable of breaking reality apart. The barbarian dwarf has blocky, tough hands, not flexible, but so very strong.
Soon's hands are curiously soft and supple, almost like they have never noticed what Soon does on a day to day basis, and Girard finds himself wondering what it would be like to hold them.
Girard is a firestarter, as is Serini. They go around doing mad, mad things, because it's part and parcel of who they are- they start fires, watch them burn, and they get burned in return.
None of the others ever do anything but watch as the firestarters get into trouble… except Soon. He is their firefighter, he is the one who puts out the trouble, talks to the city guard and convinces them that no, Serini did not mean to cause a riot, and Girard's actions were perfectly justified at the time he did them, leave them alone.
Girard hates to admit it, because he has always imagined himself as a free being, but he now sometimes wonders how he ever got along without Soon watching over him, like a benevolent deity Girard could almost worship.
It's a year later when Girard finally asks Soon to go out with him, because a year of adventuring had taught Girard two things:
1.) Your party is more important than any NPC- they will be with you forever;
and 2.) All the women were taken. Even Serini, who'd taken with the barbarian dwarf.
(And Girard had heard far too much about "improved Constitution scores" and "Dwarven endurance" for his own sanity.)
So the only choice left in the party was Soon. Girard could have been awkward when he asked, but he was Girard, so he was blunt about it.
Soon had gotten the oddest look on his face, but then he'd said, " Alright," and they'd went to a restaurant together, and when they got back didn't say anything… except "that was nice, we should do it again sometime."
So they did.
Soon laughs when Girard asks him about chastity, and says that a paladin's code demands he be just and honorable- chastity's an optional extra vow that Soon never bothered to take.
Serini asked them with her tongue all the way in her cheek if Smite Chaos could be used during a Grapple Check and Girard threatened to beat her to death with her own skull while Soon stifled a smile and replied, perfectly deadpan, that of course it could.
It didn't bother him before, but now when Girard sees Soon on the frontlines, his heart leaps in his chest whenever the enemy scratches or cuts or burns him, and Girard wishes he knew how to heal.
" I wouldn't blame you if you were still thinking of her when you're with me," Girard says late one night, when the thought strikes him that Soon probably does. And he can't believe how small and weak that sounded of him- him! Girard! Who gave a damn about no one, was a free spirit in all his ways!- but Soon just wraps his arms tight around him and hugs him tight.
" I am a paladin," Soon says, voice thick, " and that means I must be a better man than that."
Soon refuses to shave his ridiculous mustache- Girard uses it to lead him around like a pony sometimes, because it's hysterical.
" I'm sorry, madam, I really am, and while you are a vision of radiant loveliness and you have done me great honor by giving me the offer, I- and you can have no idea how much this pains me to say this- am taken."
Girard couldn't decide whether he was more stunned that the beautiful elven woman was after Soon or more pleased with Soon's response.
Girard sometimes thinks he's almost thankful to the gods, if just for giving him Soon.
Girard hates arguing with Soon, because Girard does all the arguing- Soon listens and tries to be as reasonable as possible, and it makes Girard feel like an ass until he quits arguing and they start talking.
After it was over, and they'd all split up, Girard remembers making the trap in the desert… and hating himself for it. So petty. So stupid. Just… vengeful. Angry.
And it wasn't for the dwarf at all.