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Heartstrings

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It used to be the most common way to find the three of them, once Lup and Barry made everything official. The group splayed out on top of each other in a pile of tangled limbs and casual contact. Or at the very least Taako and Lup sprawled like cats on top of a resigned Barry. The poor nerd had been flustered about it at first, but Lup wasn’t exactly one to shy away from physical affection.

No one questioned Taako being there as well. Like hell was he losing out on twin time just because Lup realized her and Barold were soulmates or whatever. It was bad enough that in the later cycles they kept going all ghosty and Taako couldn’t drape himself over either of them.

That wasn’t happening this cycle though. Or not cycle. This, fuck, he didn’t even know what to call it anymore. Not home. They weren’t leaving, and Lup and Barry had both managed to stay in their bodies, but there’d still been a distance growing.

They weren’t able to cut themselves off like Taako could, couldn’t shut themselves down from it all. Made sense, with how they went and spent half their time as beings sustained by pure emotions. It made it all the more obvious how the world tearing itself apart below them tormented the two though. Wouldn’t let them lay back and relax for a lazy afternoon.

That’s exactly what they were doing now though, because they could only wear themselves so thin. Eventually old Taako had to be the one to grab the undead sweethearts and lay on top of them until they chilled the fuck out.

They were in Lup and Barry’s room on the starblaster, Lup using Barry as a headrest while they read some nerd book. Barry was braiding her hair absently, the motion second nature after cycles of practice. Taako had slumped himself on top of his twin, the nail polish he was using balanced precariously on his thigh and his legs up in Barry’s lap. No one was talking, and it was relaxing enough that they could almost pretend they weren’t responsible for the worst war this world had ever known.

“Hey Taako?” Lup spoke up after fuck knows how long, Taako was not paying attention to the time.

“Hmm?” he hummed absently, finishing one hand and blowing on his nails before starting the other.

“Barry and I wanna have a kid,” she said it so casually, like she was remarking on needing to do the fucking dry cleaning. Taako choked on his tongue, the nail polish bottle knocked from its perch and staining the pajama shorts he was wearing and the blanket.

“Okay?” he said once he gained a hold of himself, not too proud of the way his voice cracked. “Like, now? Is this your way of asking me to leave the room because if so I’m gone, out, no longer on this plane even if you need,” he added, casting a quick prestidigitation to clean up the nail polish.

“No, no Taako that’s not- No,” Barry insisted, and at least he had the decency to be an even brighter red than Taako was. Lup didn’t look the slightest bit shamed, only equal parts amused and annoyed by the reaction.

“Calm down you dork, if that was the case I would’ve thrown you out by now,” she said, and honestly Taako did not doubt her on that.

“Can we get to the part of this conversation that doesn’t make me think of my dear, dear sister doing it with a nerd who wears jean socks to bed?” he asked, because he was not enjoying this topic at all.

“Taako, you made me those socks,” Barry said, like that was the point at all.

“And you’re the one who wears them Barold, no one said you had to do that,” Taako insisted. Barry seemed to think that over a bit before shrugging in defeat.

“Fair enough.”

“We’re getting wildly away from the point here,” Lup complained. "And either way we're pretty sure it wouldn't be as straight up as all that, there'd def have to be some magic to help sustain shit," she added. Taako was starting to get worried about how much of this they had apparently planned out.

“Alright cool, what the fuck is the point then?” Taako asked, really having no idea what this conversation even was. He didn’t know how the two people he was closest to in the whole of everything could keep on managing to throw him like this.

“What do you think?” Lup asked in that specifically forced casual way that meant she really cared about what his answer would be.

“About what? You two making some mini nerd gremlin?” he asked back, kind of incredulous.

“Yeah bro,” Lup said, both her and Barry staring at him, waiting for his answer.

“Why are you asking me?” he sputtered, because this was soooo out of his wheelhouse. He could barely take care of himself, he wasn’t even gonna consider having some small person that depended solely on him. As far as he was concerned even dating someone at this point was pretty out of the question, considering the fact that he couldn’t make himself give a shit about a single living person who wasn’t on this ship. No thank you to any of that too, ugh, definitely not the best choices there.

That was him though. Barry and Lup were so fucking different from him. They had the whole sickeningly sweet soulmates thing going on, sustaining their very existence and sanity at times through their love for each other and all that jazz.

They could take care of each other, and themselves, and probably some kid too.

“Like hell am I making this kind of decision without your input Taako,” Lup said, like it was the most obvious thing in the world. He could understand that, maybe it wasn’t healthy or whatever but it was how they rolled. That hadn’t changed in the past hundred years, and it wasn’t going to change now. As far as Taako was concerned the only thing that was different from when they were kids was that now he had his nerd ass brother Barry to lean on too.

He stared at the two for a long moment, partly to think over his answer because this was important to them, and partly to build the suspense a little. Finally, he laid back down casual as anything and started using what was left of the nail polish to finish his hand.

“Hell yeah my dudes, you should go for it,” he said. Neither of them seemed particularly surprised by his answer, but it was obvious this conversation wasn’t over either.

“Taako, you don’t think... Don’t you think it’s a little selfish of us?” Barry asked, guilt already tinting his voice. Huffing a sigh, Taako didn’t bother looking at either of them as he spoke.

“Nope, you’re gonna have to elaborate on that one Barold,” he said.

“That world down there is hell Taako, and it’s our fault. We were doing what we had to, but that doesn’t change the fact that we’re the ones responsible. How can we justify just, just going and living like we’re innocent in all of this? Do we even deserve to be able to have a family like that after what we’ve done?” Lup asked, and it was clear that this was something going on in her head for a while. Taako wasn’t fazed by the speech in the slightest, none of these feelings were new from Lup.

Slowly Taako finished off his last finger, waving his hand a bit afterwards before pushing himself up more so he could look at the two better. Taking a deep, even breath, he spoke as calmly as he could manage.

“Lup, Barry, listen. I’m definitely not the best person to make this kinda decision, but you want my opinion, right?” he asked.

“Course we do bro,” Lup said, Barry nodding in agreement.

“Cool, cool. Then in my opinion, fuuuuck that bullshit,” he said. They couldn’t cut themselves off enough, and maybe Taako cut too much, but that was why they had each other. “Like hell do you two not deserve to have a family! What’s happening sucks, yeah, but you said yourself we did what we had to.”

“That doesn’t just excuse all the suffering we’ve caused,” Lup tried to protest but Taako was shaking his head before she even finished.

“What about the suffering we’ve had to go through? It’s not like we’ve been on some relaxing vacation these last hundred years. You two had to go and tear out your own souls for fuck sake, which I mean, rad, but like hell have we not earned what we got,” he insisted. The other two stared at him and he sighed after a moment, cause he wasn’t good at this shit.

“Listen, you two can do what you want, cause if it was my choice it’d be hell to the no on the kid department. Don’t you dare let me catch you making these decisions because you think you don’t deserve shit though. If anyone deserves to be happy it’s you two numskulls,” Taako said.

Lup and Barry were smiling at him and ugh, Taako hated this whole emotions bullshit.

“Aw, thanks you sappy dork,” Lup said, pulling Taako into something between a headlock and a hug.

“If you don’t stop I’m gonna put my tacky nails in your hair,” Taako threatened. She didn’t stop and he didn’t ruin his nails in her hair. He liked this color and he had a lot less of it now.

After a long while Taako asked, “so, a kid huh?”

“Hell yeah,” Lup answered, starting to sound a bit genuine in her excitement.

“And you all don’t feel like you’re rushing into anything?” he asked, because when they weren’t debating whether or not they were worthy or other bullshit this idea was almost as terrifying to Taako as the whole lich thing had been. Not quite as bad, but it was pretty high up there.

“I mean, we’ve been dating for 50 years now Taako. If time was normal for us I’d either be dead or have like grandkids or something at this point,” Barry said, which okay, fair point. God, humans lived so fast. It really was a good thing they did the whole lich deal.

“Hah, you’re dating an old man,” Taako teased. Lup just grinned and slung an arm around Barry to pull him closer.

“Sure fucking am,” she said. The seriousness from before was quickly leaving and for the first time in a long time the three were actually able to joke around. A kid wasn’t something Taako would ever want, but fuck it was good to see his family excited about something again.

Maybe he was the slightest bit excited too.

It’d been a long time since there was someone new for him to give a shit about.