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Why would a guy like him even notice a guy like me? Magnus lamented to himself, trying not to stare as Taako whirled around the kitchen like some sort of pixie. The elf didn’t seem to be paying attention to anything but the chaos of the culinary world, choosing to just nod along absently as his sister chatted with him from one of the stools at the island bar. For an interdimensional magic spaceship, the Starblaster’s kitchen was top-line, with everything a chef could want—probably at the insistence of the Taaco twins. The wizard would often get like this, disappearing for hours at a time only to emerge with a warm batch of cookies or a new stew or something similar. It was pure, single-minded determination—and just another thing Magnus found himself falling for.

It wasn’t the logistics Magnus was worried about. Taako was about as flamboyant as a guy could be, often openly whistling at attractive men the crew might run across in their travels. Magnus, on the other hand, had never flaunted his sexuality, but thought by now his “free love” attitude was probably common knowledge to the rest of the crew. Male, female, neither, both… Magnus didn’t care. Love was love, he reasoned when asked. It doesn’t stop existing because people were different from one another. They lived on a freaking spaceship powered by the stuff; love was strong enough to overcome anything. No, it wasn’t the technical possibility Magnus worried about when he fantasized late at night. It was… well, the rest of it. Magnus was just some human dude that could punch good; how could that be good enough to satisfy someone as elegant and sophisticated as Taako Taaco: magic, fashion, and culinary expert? They had travelled together long enough that Magnus thought he knew the elf’s type, and that was successful, confident, and devilishly handsome: three things Magnus definitely did not consider himself.

No, Taako would end up with someone dashing and charming and consistently amazing. Not someone like him.

 

Why would a guy like him even notice a guy like me? Taako thought with a sigh, flipping the pan of sautéed vegetables and stirring them together. Absorbed in his thoughts—thoughts plagued by a certain fighter—Taako nodded without paying attention to whatever his sister was saying. The cake in the oven and the stir-fry on the stovetop only seemed to serve as a mirror for the maelstrom of doubts that whirled about his mind. Cooking usually provided order; it was soothing to mix exactly this many cups of flour with exactly this many tablespoons of baking soda and only this many scoops of cinnamon… It was a welcome escape from the disarray of his mind. Today, however, Magnus sat there, taunting him without even knowing, reading some book or another on the living room sofa, right within eyesight. The burly man seemed to be engrossed in his book, but Taako found even the movement of his hand as he turned the page distracting. After all, that hand was connected to wrist, then arm, and if he lingered too long on the curve of Magnus’s bicep, his throat started to get a little dry.

Taako didn’t even know why he bothered fantasizing. Magnus was quite possibly the most heterosexual man the elf had ever met, after all. When various men had flirted with the fighter along their adventures, Magnus had always seemed uncomfortable, usually stammering out something about how he “wasn’t interested in romance” or something to that effect. Taako huffed and blew a strand of hair out of his face. Besides, Magnus was just too… good. Always helping people; always thinking of others. He probably viewed Taako’s more chaotic nature with disdain, and the fact he had never showed it to Taako’s face just underlined how goddamn nice he was. His face was so expressive and he was so quick to please; he reminded Taako of one of the puppies he loved so much sometimes. Taako could never imagine being that way. Wear your heart on your sleeve and get it ripped off, the twin’s aunt had always warned them, and he had taken that advice and tucked it away, safe, where he could always hear it.

No, Magnus would never stoop so low as to even think about someone like him, and he just needed to get used to it.

 

“Taako? Taako!”

His sister’s voice snapped the elf out of his thoughts. He looked up, automatically transferring the cooked vegetables from the hot pan to a bowl. “Yeah? Sorry, just got distracted.”

Lup rolled her eyes fondly and jabbed her thumb in the direction of the oven. “I think your cake’s done, doofus.”

Taako blanched and hurried to the oven. Sure enough, the cake was done baking… and only seconds away from being too done. He quickly turned off the oven and pulled out the layers without bothering with the oven mitts; instead using a simple levitation spell to keep the hot pans from directly touching his hands. Carefully, he placed them on a nearby cooling rack and sighed in relief.

“Phew. Thanks, Lulu.”

“Smells great!” called a voice from the living room, and Taako looked up to see Magnus sniffing the air appreciatively. Their eyes met, and the elf’s heart pounded. Oh.

“Thanks, Mags,” he replied, letting his hair free from its bun to cover the fact that his ears were turned back and starting to turn a dark red.

“Lemme know when it’s ready,” Magnus said, and turned back to his book to hide a blush Taako couldn’t see.

 

He’s not in your league, Magnus thought. Get over it.

Stop being such a kid, Taako scolded himself. It’s just a crush.

It’s never going to happen.