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Just the Substitute

Chapter Text

There were two things in this world that were straight facts -- homophobes were stupid and Angus McDonald-Taaco was a fucking genius.

So who the fuck gave him a B-?

Taako is about to find out.

It wasn’t that he needed to, per-say. Angus wasn’t even upset about it for very long. ‘It’s just a grade, dad, not like this happens all the time,’ he said, and yeah, maybe that was true. Maybe Taako had nothing to be upset over. Maybe he wouldn’t have been upset if he hadn’t looked over the answers himself and seen that all of them,  all of them , were 100% correct. He even ran it past Barry fucking Bluejeans, the science nerd of the century, who gave the green light to go kick this lying teacher’s ass.

Try to give his kid a B- again, fool.

So that’s how Taako found himself with a quivering Angus at his side in front of Neverwinter Middle School. He wasn’t even dressed for the day, dawning some sweatpants and a tee-shirt, hair tied up in a mess of blonde and alongside all of that, he wasn’t even wearing make-up! Better to show the teacher just how serious he was being.

He marched forward, stepping into the school with his son nervously following behind. It was about half an hour before classes were to begin so the hallways were scarce of faculty or students. This was a relatively good thing. Considering how angry Taako was at the moment, he’s fairly certain he’d lash out at anyone who wasn’t this awful Mr. Jordan .

It takes a while, they have to go to the top floor and that does make Taako feel a little winded, but once he’s caught his breath he is off to the door. It’s so cheery looking, little sunflower cut-outs taped on the outside, as if this place didn’t inhabit a complete liar trying to sabotage his son’s perfect GPA. There is a window in the door, one of those stupidly thin rectangular ones, and inside he can see rows of desks. The door is propped open with a doorstop and the lights are on. Without wasting another moment, he busts through the door.

His rampage is immediate.

“I’ll have you know that my brother in-law has a masters degree in biochemical engineering, and I can also tell you the kind of math he did to get that degree was a lot harder than what you’re teaching these kids-”

“Sir?”

“I was smart enough to see through your horse shit, so you can bet your bottom fucking dollar my genius in-law was smart enough to see through it too! If you thought you were going to get away with this, you thought wrong-”

“Sir.”

“My baby knows more than your silly education degree taught you, he’s a genius, so the fact you gave him a B- when all of his answers were correct? Do you have it out for my boy because he’s smarter than you? This is an outrage-”

Dad!”

At the sound of Angus’s distressed cry, Taako turned to look at him, a cool expression on his face as if he wasn’t in the middle of absolutely destroying this imbecile. “What up, Angles?”

“Um,” he gives the person at the desk a nervous smile, turning back to look Taako in the eye. He whispers, “That… Umm, that isn’t Mr. Jordan.”

Taako is still for a second, taking in what Angus had just told him.

Two things happen at once.

First, the man sitting at the desk (he looks absolutely stunning in that suit, damn) stands up and smiles at Taako. “Good morning sir, there seems to be a misunderstanding. I am Kravitz Astral, I’m subbing for Mr. Jordan today.”

Second, Taako is hyper aware of just how much he looks like a complete slob. Even if Mr. Jordan  had  been here, would the man have even taken him seriously in this garb? And now it’s made worse because getting a better look at him, this sub is gorgeous. Hachi machi, if he hadn’t blown up on the poor guy he’d hop on those bones in an instant (when Angus wasn’t around, that is). Why didn’t he at least try to not look ugly today? He felt himself start to panic. 

“I… I’m, uh…” He tried to speak but the words just flew away from him and  great  now he’s stumbling. “I’m… I’m gonna... “ And just like that the elf is out the door and speed-walking down the hallway, towards the nearest flight of stairs.

He is stopped too soon by a call of, “dad, wait!”

He turns around to see Angus jogging towards him. By the time the boy reaches him, Taako had shrunk to his knees to get at eye-level. “What’s up bubeleh?”

Angus smiles softly, “You forgot to gimme a good-bye hug!”

The elf just chuckles, pulling his boy into a momentary embrace before pulling away and fussing with the curls on Angus’s head that had become unruly when he jogged. Once he looked presentable again, Taako met his eye. “Ren’s taking care of the bakery today so I’ll come get you after school, sound good my dude?”

“Sounds great!” Angus says with a bright smile.

“Alright.” Taako rises to his feet once again, patting Ango on the head and motioning him towards the classroom they had both just fled. “Go learn and all that junk.”

“You got it!” The boy began to trot off towards the door with the sunflowers, turning back and calling, “See you later!”

Taako just smiled, leaving the building still embarrassed and hoping he wouldn’t see that handsome sub again any time soon.

Chapter Text

Fuck Garyl. Fuck Garyl.

It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon. Lup and Barry had just picked up Angus to take him to some fancy new museum about ancient magics as to substitute for Taako’s weekly magic lesson. Not that he minded, he was looking forward to having the rest of the afternoon to himself.

Was .

Garyl was a white maine-coon cat who would shed on every surface of the house, including the inner corners of Taako’s dresser. He was a dick at times, knocking shit over in the typical cat fashion. Taako would be lying if he said he didn’t love that stupid cat with his entire heart.

Right now though? Fuck Garyl .

As previously mentioned, cats did a lot of things seemingly just to piss off their owners, such as knocking shit over. Some cats were fierce and would attack you if you got within a ten foot radius of them. Some cats made silly noises when they ate.

Garyl liked to spill oats and roll around in them. Just as he had done the moment Angust left.

“Of course,” Taako groaned, stomping to the closest to grab the hand-held vacuum. “Of course on a day I decide I want to actually go out and do something, you have to make my life harder for me.”

“Mrow.”

The elven man huffed, shooing his cat who was still rolling in the fucking oats before vacuuming the mess up. He glared at his cat. “I need to find a place to store the oats.” Garyl, though his face was blank, had a look in his eyes as if to say ‘ Try me bitch ’.

Whatever, it wasn’t the end of the world. He would go and get ready and figure out what to do from there.

After a while of consideration, Taako found a yellow button-up with frills in the front along with a black pencil skirt that was sure to show off his legs. He put the items of clothing on, using the lint-roller a few times as to assure no cat hair was ruining his look. He decided on some ruby earrings with a matching necklace, golden bracelets to pull the outfit together. Minimal makeup since he didn’t want to sweat it all off, but he’d be damned if he’d miss an opportunity for golden eyeshadow. His hair he made sure to put in a loose side-braid, a rather common style for him but he liked it.

Looking himself over in the mirror Taako felt… Well, her certainly could have put more makeup on -- the bags under his eyes were still pretty noticeable and the skirt accentuated his uncomfortably obvious violin hips. Goodness , and he needed to do something about those split ends-

“Mrrrow.”

Taako turned away from his reflection and smiled as Garyl rubbed against his leg. Bending down to pet the cat was a bad idea, as the moment Taako’s lap was at jumping distance, Garyl pounced into his lap, snuggling into his belly. The elf couldn’t help but laugh, petting the fuzzy head of his companion. He may be annoying, but Taako really loved this fucking cat.

A few moments passed before Garyl decided enough was enough and hopped out of his owner’s lap. Said owner just scuffed as he went to grab the lint-roller once more. “You know enough about fashion to know that fur is tacky,” he joked as he got the dreaded stuff off of his carefully picked out ensamble.

Town wasn’t very far from his house, a twelve minute walk at best, and like mentioned before it was a beautiful day outside, so Taako intended to take advantage of it. There was a small shopping mall next to the run-down pet store. Costco was down there too, however… Taako would prefer not to see Garfield on his lovely day off.

As he rounded the corner he decided it wouldn’t do him any harm to visit Carey and Killian’s antique shop. They had some strange stuff in there, and it was always good to have good company as you browsed a shop.

Stepping in it smelt like sandalwood and he could hear deep laughter coming from the back room. He smiled to himself -- Magnus must be over, he’d have to say hi to him as well.

The shop itself was filled with numerous shelves all displaying a plethora of items on them. All kinds of things to old books no one has ever read, to a completely functional upside-down tea pot with equally functional tea cups to go with it. There were a few items in the front that stood behind glass display cases -- old motors, diamond necklaces with rusted chains, and of course one of Magnus’ wooden ducks (not an antique, but absolutely worthy of a display case).

Roaming amongst the collection, he found what appeared to be another Magnus original. He smirked, reaching up to grab the wooden carving of a butterfly - - he wouldn’t buy it today, but he would have Carey or Killian hold it for him for a while.

His fingers grazed the surface just as another hand also went grabbing for the piece. Taako snatched in, holding it to his chest and not willing to let it go. He turned to the strangers with a sickeningly sweet smile on his face and he saw-

Well, fuck .

It had been three weeks since the incident with the substitute teacher. Taako had spoken to the awful Mr. Jordan through email, a little more put together after the embarrassment that was his interaction with the sub. Mr. Jordan had apologized profusely and promised to chance Angus’s grade, which was good enough for Taako. His son was happy and Taako didn’t have to see the sub ever again.

Except he did, and he was .

“Well,” the man, Kravitz if he remembered correctly, gave a smile and looked Taako up and down, “This is certainly an improvement from sweatpants and a tee-shirt.”

Taako’s face turned sour, his stomach flipping. What a shallow asshole - - screw him being attractive, that was just low. He clutched the wooden butterfly to his chest. “And what the hell is that supposed to mean?”

The smile on the man’s face disappeared in an instant, turning into something more of a panicked expression. “That’s not- I didn’t mean to, um…” Taako noticed he was frantically buttoning and unbuttoning the top button on his shirt that clung very nicely to him . “You look amazing, is what I meant to say.”

“Yeah, a real improvement,” Taako supplied bluntly.

Kravitz seemed to have shrunk into himself. “I… My apologies. I shouldn’t have said it that way - you looked wonderful last I saw you.”

Taako just quirked a brow at him, “yeah, sure bud.”

The two stood in silence for a minute, just staring at each other. Taako with his arms crossed and hip jutting to the side, Kravitz looking anywhere but the elf before him.

The minute passed and Kravitz put his hand out to shake. “I believe we both have something to be embarrassed about. I’m Kravitz.”

A beat passed and Taako shook the man’s hand, wooden butterfly clutched in his other hand. “Taako. Ya know, from TV?” He gave one solid shake before pulling his hand away. “And who says I was embarrassed? You very well could have been that dumbass of a teacher.”

Kravitz chuckled and it wasn’t fair he looked that lovely when doing that. “Yes, Angus explained to me the situation. Can’t say I’m a huge fan of this Mr. Jordan myself.”

“He’s an asshole.”

“I can tell you feel strongly about him.”

They stay standing there in another awkward silence. Taako had pulled the wooden butterfly away from his chest and was inspecting it closely. It was ridiculously detailed. When he pressed his fingers to the wings they were textured, the patterns flowing. MB was carved on the underside of one of those wings; it made Taako smile to think about how much work Magnus put into this work.

“Well look what the cat dragged in!”

Speak of the devil and he shall appear .

There stood the hulking Magnus Burnsides with Carey and Killian in tow. The giant of a man pulled Taako into a bear hug, practically crushing his small frame.

When he pulled away, he smiled at the butterfly. “Looking to buy my work, mister?”

“Pshh, never,” The elf retorted (and if Magnus saw the way he slipped the butterfly into Carey’s hand and winked at her, he didn’t make a comment).

Magnus caught sight of Kravitz and smiled. “Are you the poor guy Taako yelled at?”

As Taako began hacking Kravitz laughed, “Yes, that’s me-”

“I swear to all that is holy I am never telling you or Lup anything ever again.”

He was marching out of the antique shop, giving Killian and Carey and wave before he stepped out the door. He could hear someone behind him following, and when he turned back he was greeted by none other than the handsome face of Kravitz.

He smiled shyly, “Excuse me, I hope you don’t mind me asking, but would you want to get some coffee sometime?”

Taako looked confused for a moment before giving a smirk. “So you’re into guys that yell at you?”

The man shrugged, “What can I say? I have a type.”

Taako gave the man a smile, “I have some free-time right now. We get coffee… Now.” He shrugs. “If you want to.”

“Isn’t it a little late in the day for coffee?”

“If you’re a coward.”

And there he goes, laughing that gorgeous laugh with a twinkle in his eye. “Then now would be wonderful.”

Chapter Text

The coffee shop is a quaint little place and considering the lateness in the day, was pretty busy. The theme here was Alice and Wonderland and honestly? It was a little tacky for Taako’s taste. Kravitz on the other hand seemed content as hell.

The two of them approached the front counter with a woman in a bright pink apron, with the words ‘ Wonderland Coffee Shop ’ in some fancy cursive on the front.

“Hello boys,” The female elf at the counter drawled sweetly, “pick your poison, why don’t you?”

Taako grimaced, but stepped up first. “Hey, I’ll have a large vanilla frappuccino with three pumps of caramel, hot stuff over here probably wants black coffee or something-”

“Actually, I’ll have a small peppermint mocha with three shots of espresso.” Kravitz spoke politely.

The elven woman smiled an all too bright smile. “Alright, that will be six dollars.”

“Six dollars for fucking coffee-”

“Here,” Kravitz was handing the woman the money and pulling Taako away. He was huffing, but at least he didn’t have to pay. Kravitz had shrugged at him. “You were the one who wanted coffee.”

And, yeah, there wasn’t much to argue about that.

A minute passed and instead of the woman that was there before, an elven man rang the bell, voice quite similar to the woman before. “Vanilla frap and peppermint mocha!”

Taako found himself stomping up to the counter to grab him and Kravitz’s coffee, leaving the coffee shop itself with the handsome man in tow.

The two of them found a park bench to sit on and enjoy their coffee. Or rather, take one sip of it and spit it out as it tastes like a dumpster fire smells. “Really? Six bucks for this shit?” He can’t really contain himself, and he should be embarrassed when Kravitz begins to laugh, but honestly, when he catches a glimpse of that smile all Taako can think about is how handsome he is.

“Someone doesn’t like expensive coffee.”

“Yeah, not when it tastes like cheap coffee someone dug out of the trash.”

Kravitz chuckled a bit more before going to take a sip of his own coffee and grimacing. “I… I see what you mean…”

Taako can’t help but take his own moment to laugh. “Taako’s always right.”

The two were once again submerged in silence, however this time around it didn’t feel as awkward. The birds were chirping, the sun was still pretty high in the sky, and everything felt calm. Taako can’t remember the last time he felt this relaxed.

The silence was broken when Kravitz said, “So you’ve been on TV?”

Taako beamed. “Yes I have.”

“When?” The man asked, seeming genuinely curious.

“About a year ago,” he explained. “I have a bakery out on the other side of town -- Bake it Up With Taako. My good friend Ren and me have been running the thing for a few years now. We make some good fucking desserts, we were bound to be recognized sooner or later.” He was holding himself up with a feeling of pride he normally only felt when Angus learned a new spell or recipe. It may have been a year ago, but it was still one of his biggest accomplishments.

He would never talk about the second time he was on TV though. He would also never tell people why he refused to make red velvet cupcakes ever again.

Kravitz face shifted into something soft. “Yes, my friends commissioned a wedding cake from you two years ago.”

“Wait, really? Which ones? We don’t do a lot of wedding cakes.”

“Hurley and Sloane were their names.”

Taako’s eyes widened, “You mean the badass racer ladies? Fuck yeah, I remember them!” He laughed. “They were like, super in love.”

“Yes, they were. The reception was beautiful,” He smirked, “not as beautiful as your cake was though.”

“I mean, obviously homie.”

There was only a beat of silence before Kravitz asked, “So, how did the famous Taako from TV come to be the parent of one Angus McDonald.”

Taako felt sad suddenly. It must have shown in his face as Kravitz began saying, “if you don’t want to talk about it I completely understand-”

“No, dude, it’s chill.” The elf took a deep breath. “I use to babysit him when he was real little. Like, I dunno, he was probably two at the time?”

The man sitting next to him could only smile. “You’ve been in his life a long time.”

Taako felt a boost of pride. “Fuck yeah I have.” He stared at the hands in his lap. “His grandpa was kinda absent? Guy was fucking ancient and on his damn death bed, so he wasn’t really… there all the way. Then, ya know, he actually died.”

Kravitz simply nodded, gesturing for him to continue.

“So, the kid didn’t really have any other family, and they were going to put him into foster care which -- like hell was I gonna let him go through that. Skipping all the legal stuff, I adopted him and now he’s my son.”

The man sitting next to him -- this beautiful man he’d screamed at a few weeks ago -- was looking at him with such awe and it made his heart do that thing where it skips a beat. It skips a few more times when Kravitz says, “I’ve only had the honor of meeting him once, but he seems amazing. You are amazing for giving him a good life. I can tell you are a wonderful father to him.”

And like, yeah, he had a million and one reasons he could list as to why he was a terrible dad. He felt insecure in his ability to raise Angus right way more than once. Lup had always said he was doing a good job, and some part of him wanted to believe her but she was his sister, she was supposed to make him feel secure about those kinds of things. Hearing Kravitz say it though was enough to almost, almost , bring him to tears.

They shared a tender moment, looking into each other’s eyes. It was… Really nice, honestly.

And then his phone rang.

Fuck , hold on,” He answered his phone without looking to see who was calling.

Hey brohemian rhapsody, you done pampering yourself? Boyo is sleeping on a bench with Barry ,” He could hear the dopy smile in her words as she continued, “ The fucking dorks .”

Shit , how long had it been? “Yeah, I’ll head home right now. Don’t you dare wake up Ango though, I’m pretty sure he stayed up late last night reading those nerd books of his. He needs his sleep.”

You’re such a good dad, brobro ,” and okay, hearing that twice in one day was doing things to him emotionally and he really didn’t want to think about that, “ Can Bear and I stay for dinner tonight ?”

Taako huffed, “Only if you keep Barold out of my kitchen and you help me with making the ricotta, you can.”

Sounds like a deal! See you soon, love you .”

“Love you too,” and with that he hung up the phone.

“I’m guess you have to go?” Asked Kravitz.

“Yeah, family calls and all that junk.” When he stood up from the bench, he couldn’t help but give this man one last look. “See you around?”

“I would absolutely hope so.”

The entire walk home, Taako could not stop smiling.

Chapter Text

[ Angel ]: Dad! You’ll never believe who’s subbing today!

[Taako]: its not lucas again is it??? i can come kick his ass for u if u want.

[ Angel ]: No dad! It’s Mr. Kravitz! The one you yelled at!

[Taako]: he has a last name ya know

[ Angel ]: Yeah, but he doesn’t like when we call him ‘Mr. Astral’. He says it makes him uncomfortable.

[Taako]: i see. so jordan is out today?

[ Angel ]: Yup! He told us he had a family emergency.

[Taako]: sucks.

[Taako]: hey pumpkin, Ren went home sick and it looks like today is gonna be a pretty slow day. if i close up early today how would u feel about me coming to get u after school?

[ Angel ]: That would be really nice!

[ Angel ]: Mr. Kravitz keeps giving me the stink eye, so I’m going to put my phone away now. See you later!

[Taako]: see u later ♡

Okay, so maybe, just maybe , he had wanted to see Kravitz again. Excuse him for thinking the guy was cute as fuck and also realy nice.

Not to mention it was just so insanely convenient that today was ‘ Macaron Monday ’ at Bake it Up.

Barry had to take Angus to school today because Taako had gone into work so early to start the macaroons. They only did this thing during May as to not cause Taako to have to come into work early every single Monday. Nevertheless, macaroons were his favorite thing to make and he was fucking good at it too. Pretty soon, Kravitz would be figuring out just how good he was at making macarons.

By the time he decided to close up it would take about a 30 minute walk to get to Angus’s school. He bagged a dozen macarons (six for Angus, six for Kravitz) and grabbed his phone, sending a quick text.

[Taako]: hey boy wonder, heading over now. gonna be a little late so chill in class until i get there.

[ Angel ]: Got it.

When Taako got to the school he followed the same path he’d gone when he first met Kravitz. If his heart was beating a little faster than usual, he blamed it on all of those stairs.

Angus was babbling on about the Caleb Cleveland books when Taako entered the room. Kravitz attention turned to him as Angus went on. The smile on the man’s face made his heart do that thing again.

“Hey,” He greeted.

“Long time no see,” Taako said.

Angus stopped speaking, smiling up at his dad and going to give him a big hug. “Hey dad!”

Taako laughed, “Hi kiddo,” He plopped the macarons into Angus’s hand when he pulled away. The boy smiled so brightly. “Some for you too,” he said then, approaching Kravitz and setting the cookies on the desk he sat at.

Kravitz look flustered. “Please, this is too kind of you-”

“Think of it as an apology,” He shrugged. “Also payback for the shitty coffee you bought. I promise these macaroons don’t taste like shit.”

Kravitz began to laugh and Taako couldn’t help but laugh along with him.

They both laughed until Angus said, “did you guys go on a date?”

That shut them up pretty quickly.

The two looked at each other. Had that been a date? It wasn’t, right?

“I think it’s time we went home.” Taako mumbled, already out the door.

“Oh, uh, yes. Yes, of course.”

“Goodbye Mr. Kravitz!”

Taako’s face was red all the way home. 

Chapter Text

Taako was having a nightmare.

He was having a nightmare and he was scared.

He was running. He was running so fast , his legs burned . There was a voice, and it was deep and it was menacing. It was saying ‘ I love you ’ and there was a hand stroking his face and he wasn’t running anymore. He was laying down, in a bed, a man -- half-elf -- was the one touching him. It burned, the hand burned .

You spend too much time with Angus.

He’s my kid.

And I’m your boyfriend.

Angus had hated him the first time he’d stepped into their house. Angus hated him so much, he still hates him. And Taako had thought he was just being a kid, thought that he was being over dramatic-

You should lose some weight.

Excuse you?

What? You can be a dick to me but I say one thing and I’m the bad guy?

I never fucking said-

Shut up, Taako.

And then forty people were crying and coughing on the floor of ‘ Bake it up with Taako ’. And Sazed -- fuck Sazed -- was being taken away in handcuffs.

There were sirens and there was the court and Sazed had put poison in the red velvet cupcakes, he put poison in the -

You should rename the bakery.

Why?

I mean, I know my way around desserts.

I mean, we kinda got a brand going, babe.

Yeah… Yeah sure.

No one died, but they could have, Taako could have if he tried the cupcakes.

Stop texting your sister.

I don’t want to be here anymore. She’s coming to pick me up.

You act like she cares-

She’s my sister.

Quit bullshitting yourself. You know the truth.

And fuck Sazed. Fuck Sazed -

I love you.

... I love you too.

“Dad!”

Taako jolted awake at the sound of Angus’s worried voice. When he looked at his son, his vision was blurry and his head was pounding. “Hey, hey bubeleh, what's the issue?”

“Dad! I’m late for school! You’re late for work!”

A quick glance at the clock showed that, yes it was 10:36AM. Angus’s classes started at 8:30.  He flung his covers off his body and stood, falling back into his bed when a wave of nausea washed over him. “ Shit.

“Dad, are you okay?”

“Fine!” Taako held himself up against the bed frame. “I’m fine, just… Why don’t you take leftovers for lunch?”

Angus proudly held up his lunch pale. “I’m a step ahead of you!”

Taako smiled. “Good job, Angles. Let cha’boy get dressed and we’ll head over.”

“Will you be able to catch a bus or do you wanna call Aunt Lup?”

Taako checked the bus schedule on his phone. “Nah, I got a bus.” He sniffled. God damn it, summer cold.

“Dad, are you okay?”

“I told you, Taako’s good.”

“I can call Uncle Barry to take me-”

“I said I’m fine , Angus. I can take you.”

Angus looked like he wanted to protest, but he kept his mouth shut.

Taako threw on some shirt and a pair of leggings, grabbed his phone and keys, and left the house with Angus in tow.

They were speed walking, and Taako refused to acknowledge how dizzy he felt, or how his knees buckled, or how his eyes felt puffy, or how exhaustion weighed on every bone in his body. Halfway to the school, Angus spoke up, “I know that you’re sick. Maybe you shouldn’t go to work today.”

Taako scuffed. “I’m not sick , I just overslept. My body isn’t used to that.”

They got to the attendance office of the school, Taako signed him in, giving him a kiss on the forehead before rushing out to door to catch the bus.

Bake it Up with Taako ’ was in downtown Neverwinter, a 40 minute walk from Angus’s school. With the way he was feeling, bus was a much better option, especially considering he was late.

Oh shit, he forgot to tell Ren-

The bus pulled up just as he pulled out his phone to write a quick ‘ omw ’ to Ren.

The bus ride got him to the bakery in twelve minutes, Taako practically running (and almost falling -- stupid dizziness) to get inside.

He threw on his apron, tucking his hair into a hair-net. Ren was at the counter, looking at him with a worried expression.

“You feeling alright, boss?”

“What is up with people asking if I’m okay today!? I’m all good!” He rushed past Ren and began setting out ingredients to make some dannishes.

“Taako, today’s slow, you don’t have to-”

“I don’t see any danishes on the display case!” He called. Great, now his vision was getting spotty. Just wonderful .

Ren had left him alone for the next few hours, and honestly? Taako felt like a dumpster fire. He couldn’t stop sweating, his body wouldn't stop trembling, and his vision was blinking in and out. Not to mention his fucking head hurt . His brain was pounding against his skull, the back of his eyes, even the base of his neck felt like someone inside his head was taking a hammer to it.

12:47, the bell on the door rang. Through the pounding and the white in his vision, he spoke, “Welcome to Bake it Up with-”

“Taako, are you alright?”

Were him and Kravitz always going to meet like this?

Taako shrugged, bracing himself against the counter as another wave of nausea hit him. “Hey there hot stuff, what brings you to my shop?”

“Taako, I hope you don’t take this the wrong way, but you look like you’re about to pass out.”

“Please babe,” he felt like he was going to fucking die. “I can handle myself just-”

Taako’s body lurched forward as his vision went almost completely black and his stomach gave an uncomfortable lurch. “ Fuck!

The elf blinked a few times before his vision cleared, and what he saw would be comical if he didn’t feel like shit. Kravitz was standing there, eyes wide and worried, all dressed in a black suit, dreads hanging loose, some in front of his face. “Taako,” he whispered, voice low, “I think you should go home.”

Taako scuffed. “Please, I am perfectly fine-”

“Taako, I will call your sister if you don’t go home right now,” This time it was Ren speaking. She had a hand on her hip and a dangerous look in her eye.

He glared at her, “you would never,”

Ren pulled out her phone, fiddling with the screen before turning it to Taako, showing Lup’s contact with her thumb dangerously close to the call button.

He groaned, shoving his face into his hands. “The bus isn’t even scheduled to get here for another twenty minutes. Do you know how many peanut butter cookies I can make in twenty minutes? Over forty!”

It was Kravitz’s turn to speak. “If it’s transportation you’re worried about, I would be more than willing to give you a ride home.”

“I don’t need you to-” his stomach lurched again and his vision went completely black this time. After a moment he still wasn’t able to see clearly, colors dancing around his vision. He felt like he was going to throw up.

Kravitz sighed, resting a hand on Taako’s. “Please, let me do this for you.”

He could feel his face heat up at the contact. Looking back at Ren, he groaned, running the hand that wasn’t being touched by Kravitz over his face. “Fine, fine. But I’m still gonna get Angus from school.”

“Won’t need to,” Ren piped in. “Lup sent me a text saying Angus asked her to pick him up.”

Taako felt almost relieved. “Okay,” he put on the best smile he could put on in front of Kravitz, “let’s go, beautiful -- lead the way!” When he stepped out from behind the counter, he stumbled a bit.

He stumbled a bit, but a pair of strong arms wrapped around his middle and he felt his face get even hotter.

Kravitz walked him out into his car -- a black jeep, how fitting -- and placed him gently in the passenger seat, closing the door soon after and walking around to the other side.

The car ride there was quiet, aside from the few times Taako groaned in pain.

Kravitz was… Sweet. It was decided this very moment that Kravitz was sweet, and beautiful, and just so, so good. It made Taako’s heart swell because Kravitz was so good and so wonderful and-

“We’re here.”

Taako groaned once more, making a move to get out of the car, but a hand pressed to his chest. “Stay there.”

He watched as this man got out, lightly jogging to Taako’s side of the jeep, opening the door and oh shit so he really was that strong .

Taako was being carried effortlessly through his front door, the tips of his ears absolutely burning.

Kravitz had set him down on the couch, tossing a blanket over her frame. He leaned down, getting to eye level with Taako. A soft smile found its way to his face. “I should probably get going.”

Taako would later blame the pathetic whine he let out as a side effect of his sickness. “No, no no no, please don’t go yet.”

Kravitz looked back at him, perhaps a bit surprised. Nevertheless he sat down on the couch next to Taako and brushed some hair out of Taako’s face. Gods, he probably looked disgusting. He was sick and pale and gross.

But Kravitz looked at him like he was some kind of deity.

“I’ll stay as long as you want.”

The amused smile on Kravitz’s face was the last thing he saw as he fell into a deep slumber.

~~~

When Taako woke up, Kravitz wasn’t there. Instead, there was a beaming Angus standing before him, looking almost smug. “I told you you were sick.”

Taako sat up, head feeling a lot more clear, and ruffled Ango’s curls. “Well I’m all good now, so can it.”

Angus simply laughed before he pulled up his bag and began rummaging through it. Taako raised a brow when his son pulled out a purple painted rock with googly eyes and a sharpie smile. “It’s a little late,” he explained, “but happy Father’s Day, dad!”

Taako took the rock, hugging it to his chest in an over dramatic fashion. This was definitely going in the pile later. “Thanks, kiddo.” He caught sight of the display of hot soup on the table. He smiled, “You didn’t have to make me dinner too.”

“Oh, I didn’t! Mr. Kravitz did!” Angus seemed so excited to announce that. “He was here when I got back and he told me to tell you he was sorry he had to go, but he hoped you liked the soup!”

And there his heart went, doing that thing where it skips and entire beat. The elf sat up slowly, reaching out towards the spoon that rested in the bowl, and took a sip. The taste would have been terrible if he didn’t see the little pink sticky note with a phone number on it.  

Call me if you need anything that isn’t terribly made soup :)

Chapter Text

[Lup started a chat]

[Lup added Barry to the chat]

[Lup added Taako to the chat]

[Lup changed Lup’s name to ‘Best Twin’]

[Best Twin changed Barry’s name to ‘Baby Blue’]

[Best Twin changed Taako’s name to ‘Taako Bell’]

[Best Twin changed the chat name to ‘ Koko the Coward ’]

Koko the Coward

[Best Twin]: So a teacher, huh?

[Best Twin]: Never saw you as the kinky type.

[Taako Bell]: hahahaha, yeah, laugh at taako, laugh it the fuck up.

[Taako Bell]: he just left me his fucking number its not like im trying to bone the guy

[Best Twin]: but are you?

[Taako Bell]: no omfg

[Taako Bell]: he subs for angles class sometimes. im not tryna get that.

[Best Twin]: so he’s a sub ;)

[Baby Blue]: Taako, I really think that you should talk to this guy.

[Taako Bell]: but whyyyyyyyyyyy

[Best Twin]: Because you think he’s cute and funny? And he obvs cares about you.

[Taako Bell]: in what world lmao

[Best Twin]: The world in which when I dropped Angus off last week he was sitting on your couch, and when I almost torched his ass he frantically explained that he didn’t want to leave you when you were sick?

[Taako Bell]: hes just nice. doesnt have to mean he cares lulu.

[Baby Blue]: He stayed with you while you were sick to make sure you were okay. Taako, that seems a bit more serious than “he’s just nice”.

[Taako Bell]: k, and what if i was the one who asked him to stay???

[ Best Twin ]: he did what you asked instead of just leaving when you fell asleep? And he made you soup taako. SOUP!

[Taako Bell]: lulu, it was so bad.

[ Best Twin ]: If you call him maybe you can get him to come over and show him how to make good soup.

[Taako Bell]: im not going to call him!!!

[ Baby Blue ]: If you don’t I’ll do it and pretend to be you.

[ Best Twin ]: You know how bad Barry is at acting.

[Taako Bell]: u dont even know his number???

[ Best Twin ]: I snapped a pic before I left >:)

[Taako Bell]: UGH!

[Taako Bell]: fine, ill call him, but i fucking hate u >:( BOTH of u

[ Best Twin ]: ❤️

[ Baby Blue ]: 💜

Taako scrubbed his face with his hands. The sticky note Kravitz left had it’s special place on his night stand. Perhaps he had been ignoring it for a few days now, but could you blame him? He didn’t have the heart to throw it away, yet he didn’t want to acknowledge it was even there. Really, what was he supposed to do with Kravitz’s number? The note said to call if he needed anything, more than likely referring to how sick he was, so at this point, the message was invalid as he wasn’t sick anymore!

Yet… Kravitz was so kind. He was beautiful and kind. Taako didn’t deserve it, but Kravitz treated him like a person. Kravitz had seen him angry and was on the receiving side of his shouts. Kravitz had also seen him almost pass out, looking like trash while doing so. And despite all of this, Kravitz was still kind. Almost amazing.

It was so, so stupid for him to believe this man had any sort of feelings for him. Hell, his own feelings were likely pathetically formed from the simple satisfaction of feeling cared for by another being that wasn’t his sister or Angus. All of this could come back and bite him in the ass. He’ll regret it, Kravitz will end up being just like Sazed, he’ll end up being nothing like Taako had expected.

If he wasn’t though… On some strange, off chance that he was one of the few people in this world who actually had a heart… Well, it was at least worth a shot.

Two rings and that voice came across the line, “Hello, Kravitz Astral speaking.”

“Hey Krav,” Was his voice shaking? “Long time no speak, was starting to miss you.”

“Taako?” He sounded confused, Taako shouldn’t have called- “It’s… It’s so nice to hear from you. Feeling better I assume?”

“You know it, babe. Taako’s feeling like a million bucks.” Just act cool. “So, I was wondering what you were doing on Thursday?”

“Me?” He sounded confused again. This was a terrible idea-

“I mean I wasn’t asking anyone else.”

The line was silent for a moment before Kravitz spoke once more, “I have a rehearsal until noon, but after that I should be available. Why?”

“You know that new place in central? The wine and pottery place?”

“The Chug n’ Squeeze ? Or whatever it’s called?”

“Mhm, that place,” Taako took a deep breath. “I never got to thank you for… Ya know, last week and you… Staying with me. So, uh, I was kinda wondering…”

“Hold on,” The elf swore he could hear the smirk in the man’s voice, “is Taako from TV asking me, a humble cello player, slash substitute teacher, out on a date?”

Why did his face feel so warm- “Fuck yeah.”

“There won’t be any paparazzi, will there?”

“I’ll make sure to hide your pretty face from the press, don’t worry.”

The laugh he heard was the same laugh he’d heard a few different times at this point. It was boisterous and deep and smooth and just… wow , even his laugh was attractive. “So… Is that a yes, then?”

A beat. “Of course. I’ll see you on Sunday at…?”

“Six thirty?”

“Sounds perfect. I’ll see you then, Taako.”

After that, the line went dead. His ears were twitching, his face was beat red. After a moment, he fell back into his bed, phone clutched to his chest. He felt like a fucking teenager.

Lup would be so proud of him.

[Taako Bell changed chat name to ‘ Try me Lulu ’]

Try me Lulu

[Taako Bell]: eat my jorts

[ Baby Blue ]: I honestly take offence to that.

[ Best Twin ]: DID YOU CALL HIM!?

[Taako Bell]: i sure as hell did. wanna know what else?

[ Best Twin ]: WHAT!?

[Taako Bell]: we are going on a date on thursday

[ Best Twin ]: I would be proud of you, but you wouldn’t have done it without my encouragement.

[ Best Twin ]: Where you guys going?

[Taako Bell] that chug n squeeze place

[ Baby Blue ]: Lup and I got kicked out for making bowls on vase night.

[ Best Twin ]: Fuck yeah we did!

[ Best Twin ]: Have fun! Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do!

[Taako Bell]: ill be sure not to pine for twenty fucking years before getting to the god damn point

[ Baby Blue ]: I think we’re being attacked.

[ Best Twin ]: Eat Barry’s jorts, Koko!

[ Baby Blue ]: Come on they aren’t THAT bad!

[Taako Bell]: they really are tho.

[ Best Twin ]: I can’t wait to make fun of your boyfriend. Didn’t you say he was a goth?

[Taako Bell]: im gonna go. thursday is three days away, i need to start preparing.

[ Best Twin ]: Wear the orange checkered pants! They show off your ass!

[Taako Bell]: this is why ur my favorite sister.

[ Best Twin ]: I’m your only sister, doofus.

[Taako Bell]: what ever. Ttyl u two.

~~~

When Thursday finally came around, Lup and Barry had already picked Angus up. And Taako was stressed .

He looked disgusting today. No amount of makeup would cover the circles under his eyes, no amount of lotion made his skin any softer, and as chubby as he looked today, waist trainers fucking hurt .

He tried not to let it get to him at first. This wasn’t a fancy date, this was just a fun thing. Time to spend with a guy who was honestly way out of Taako’s league, but it was fine! Kravitz was nice, had never made Taako feel like shit before. He respected him, probably cared for him, and Angus seemed to like him a lot.

Hachi machi, Kravitz was such a good guy, was so fucking handsome. And Taako? Taako looked like trash.

Not even the occasional Garyl head-butt helped calm his riddling anxiety.

Maybe he should call Kravitz -- tell him he couldn’t make it, something came up with Angus-

The guy was way too good to be lied to.

Think of the positives.

He was wearing the orange checkered pants and Lup was right, they did show off his ass. He was wearing a white button up with the top few buttons unbuttoned, like one of those buff dudes you see on the cover of some homoerotic novel that sad old straight women liked to read -- those guys were sexy. He was also wearing those boots that he… Borrowed from Lup, the black ones with the heal. He was even wearing pearl earrings, how much fancier could you get?

He didn’t look unpresentable. Yeah he didn’t look perfect but… Kravitz did still want to see him after experiencing sick Taako. Maybe the dude’s standards were just low.

Yeah… That was probably it.

Magnus was the one driving him there. He was in the parking lot and Taako could see the gleaming smile on his face through the window. The moment Taako opened the door, Magnus went off, “Look at you! The guy must be a big deal for you to be all fancy like!”

Taako just groaned, rolling his eyes before sitting in the passenger seat and buckling up.

~~~

The drive was a short one and before long, they were sitting there in the parking lot of the Chug n’ Squeeze. Standing in front of the obnoxiously fancy front doors was Kravitz himself. Taako’s eyes flashed at the time -- the guy was early, of course .

Then the nerves came back full force and Taako was shrinking into his seat.

Magnus frowned. “What’s wrong, bud?”

Taako didn’t grant him a verbal response, instead pressing his hands to his face and whining.

“Is the guy at the door him?”

Taako nodded.

“Do you wanna go say hi to him?”

Taako shook his head.

Magnus frowned. “Is this about Sazed?”

Taako groaned, dragging his hands down his face before placing them into his lap. The ceiling of Magnus’s car was very interesting right now. “I mean yeah kinda.”

Magnus looked at Kravitz who was still waiting at the door, looking pretty nervous. “Does he act like Sazed?” When Taako turned to look at him, his brows were furrowed and he looked ready to fight.

“In absolutely no way in any plane is he anything like Sazed.”

Magnus’s shoulders dropped at hearing this. “Oh,” he turned towards Taako. “Then, uh… What’s the problem? Does his breath stink or something?”

Taako groaned once again. “He’s nice, Magnus.” he said. “The nicest guy I’ve ever met, even nicer than he was when I first met him.”

Where most would be confused, wonder why Taako was so afraid of the nice guy who had an interest in him, Magnus understood.

“You don’t think you’re good enough for him.” It was more of a statement than a question. “You think that he’s just being nice to get something from you.”

“Got it right on the nose, Mango.”

“Hmm,” The burly man sat there with a hand stroking his chin for a few moments. “Isn’t this the guy you yelled at? The dude who brought you home when you were sick?”

Taako raised a brow, “How did you know about that?”

“Not important,” he moved on, “honestly? If you wanna reflect on past times-”

“I’d really like not to.”

“-Sazed didn’t give a shit about you when you were sick. Sazed would kick you out of the house if you so much as raised your voice at him.”

“Okay, none of that has anything to do with me not feeling good enough for Kravitz.” His arms were crossed.

“But it does ,” Magnus insisted. “Sazed was a total shit show, he made you feel worthless, and now you think this Kravitz dude is just using you because the only real relationship you had, you were being used.”

“Okay, so moving away from that, lemme point out something else, kemosabe-” Taako gestured to himself, then pointed at Kravitz who, when he took a good look, was starting to pace, a frown on his face. “Look at him, look at me, I’m literally a pile of garbage next to him.”

“Has this dude ever called you ugly?”

“No.”

“Are you sure-”

“He told me I looked amazing and wonderful,” Taako blurted out. “Fuck, he called me a good dad. Dude doesn’t even know me and he was calling me a good dad.”

There was a moment Taako thought Magnus was going to butt in, but he said nothing so the elf continued. “He’s really perfect and yeah he doesn’t seem like a bad guy at all. He’s dorky as hell and Angus seems to like him. And that’s all fine and dandy and whatever, but I thought the same fucking thing about Sazed and we all know what happened there.” A breath. “And even if he’s not like Sazed, I’m not a perfect person, I’m not someone who’s good at any of this. He’s probably gonna realize pretty damn fast I’m not all that great and-”

“It’s six thirty-one.”

A quick look at the clock confirmed that, yup, he was late to a date with Kravitz.

He got out of the car, slamming the door shut as he rushed to where Krav stood.

And when the man looked up, he looked like he’d just seen an angel.

“Sorry,” Taako said, smoothing down his shirt. “Magnus -- you know big dude from the gift shop a few weeks back? -- Yeah he got me caught up in some dumb conversation about jellyfish and-”

“You’re beautiful.”

“Huh?” Taako’s face flushed.

Kravitz coughed, “Sorry, you just… You look really beautiful.”

He smiled, “You don’t look too bad yourself.”

Kravitz stepped forward, opening the door for Taako like a proper gentleman. It made Taako giggle into his hand.

It didn’t take long for the two to find a seat. They both ordered some fancy wine neither of them could say the name of. Once the waiter left, they began to sculpt the clay placed out in front of them. Taako went right to sculpting a bowl while Kravitz made poor attempts at sculpting a… vase?

A few moments and Kravitz laughed. “I haven’t had to sculpt anything since middle school,” he mumbled.

Taako hummed. “What did you make?”

If he didn’t know any better, he could have sworn the man was blushing. “A, uh… I tried to make a raven, but it ended up looking more like a hunk of clay with wings.”

“Why a raven?”

Kravitz smiled, bashful. “It’s my favorite animal?”

And okay, that was pretty adorable. It was adorable and Taako couldn’t stand it. Why did this guy have to be adorable? “So, you said you had a rehearsal today? What’s that about?”

“You are telling me that your son, the mini detective, didn’t get his skills from you?”

Taako scuffed. “I would take that as an insult, but my curiosity is getting the better of me.”

The man laughed, still trying -- and failing -- to create something like a vase with the clay still in front of him. Taako was still working on his bowl. “I’m part of an orchestra with a company known as Astral Musics. I play the cello.”

“Astral Musics?” Taako asked. “Isn’t Astral your last name?”

“My mother is the owner of Astral Musics,” He explained. “She started it when I was little but it’s grown quite a bit since then. We’ve done a few tours but nothing super special.”

“Hmm,” Taako thought for a moment. “Holding auditions right now by chance?”

“Do you play?”

“No way, but my sister plays violin. She use to play all the time but… No one was really supporting her when we were growing up. Aside from like, me and Barry.”

“Your sister -- You mean the one who cast fireball on me that day you were sick?”

“Yeah,” he drawled. “Sorry about that, she’s kinda protective.”

Kravitz shrugged. “Understandable.” He huffed at another attempt to make his kinda vase stand up straight. “But yes, we actually lost a few violin players recently. Some competing orchestra down in refuge.”

Taako nodded, and with that, the two were silent for a few moments.

Their wine arrived and at this point Taako was sipping on his glass when he caught sight of Kravitz staring at him. He was looking at him like he raised the moon single-handed every night. He was looking at Taako like he was a ruby in a pile of coal.

And Taako felt his stomach flip uncomfortably. There was nothing to admire. He was just Taako. “There something wrong?”

It was like Kravitz was being snapped out of a trance, straightening his back when Taako spoke. “No,” his voice was clipped, but it soon evened out as he continued. “No, nothings wrong. Nothing at all.”

Taako knew his ears were flicking, and he was playing with a strand of loose hair -- nervous habits. “Then what’s with the goo-goo eyes, pal? I don’t have something in my teeth, do I?” He made a show to pick at his teeth. He didn’t want Kravitz to know he was nervous. Couldn’t let Kravitz know.

“I’m sorry, I must be coming off a bit rude,” He coughed into his hand and Taako could see his face get just a bit more red. “I don’t want to sound like I’m being pushy or anything, and I certainly don’t want to make you uncomfortable.”

“Don’t worry babe, Taako got thick skin,” how else would he have dealt with Sazed for so long? “Spill.”

Kravitz appeared to take a breath before speaking. “You are the most beautiful man I’ve ever seen.”

At this, Taako couldn’t help but laugh. “Didn’t know you were a comedian! Good one, Krav!”

When the elf looked up at the man, he stopped laughing. Kravitz looked confused. Taako tried again at a weak chuckle, but got nothing but more confusion. “Why would you think I was joking?”

Taako felt his ears begin to twitch again. “Umm… Because…”

“I’m a man of my word, Taako. I don’t just throw out compliments for fun,” his hand was covered in wet clay, so were Taako’s, but that didn’t stop Kravitz from taking his hand into his own and looking him dead in the eye. “You are beautiful, and I refuse to take that back.”

And the moment lasted a total of fifteen second before one of the waiters shouted, “hey! Bowl guy!” Eyes turned to him as he flailed his arms in the direction of a blackboard. “It’s vase night! Vaces only!”

Taako grumbled, shaping his bowl into a weak vase shape. He could see the waiter from the corner of his eyes nod, content, and leave.

Taako went back to shaping his bowl. Kravitz was containing a chuckle -- it made Taako smile.

Ten minutes passed in complete silence. Taako had perfected his bowl while Kravitz finally got something that looked kinda like a vase. A different waiter than the one who had shouted had taken their creations to bake them, and they began to get ready to leave.

There was a long row of sinks in the back of the Chug n’ Squeeze so patrons would be able to wash their hands after a night of pottery and wine. The two of them washed their hands quickly, drying them just as fast. And once Taako’s hands were dried, Kravitz held them once more.

His hand fit perfectly in the man’s. After a beat, Kravitz interwove their fingers. He was looking into Taako’s eyes again and… It was so magical.

Their hands stayed like that as they left the building, now standing outside and looking at each other in silence.

Taako was smiling. Despite everything, Kravitz was kind. Perhaps a little wonky for being attracted to him, but he was amazing. Really. Taako could see himself seeing Kravitz again. Yes, it was a scary thought. Investing his time in someone wasn’t part of the Taako brand, not anymore.

But if Kravitz was all he seemed? Maybe it would be worth it.

“Oh my Gods, he is a goth!”

Here comes Lup to ruin the moment!

Taako sighed, burying his face in his hands while Kravitz gave an awkward chuckle. “It’s good to see you again, miss.”

“Good to see you too, bone.” Lup shot him a finger guns.

“Lulu, love you and shit, what are you doing here?”

Lup shrugged, pointing to her car. “Magnus got caught up in something, so your favorite person ever,” she shot a glare at Kravitz, “came to pick you up.”

Taako couldn’t help but groan. He turned back to his date, giving a weak smile. “I… I had a good time.”

Kravitz smile was blinding. He took Taako’s hand, pressing a small kiss to it, before looking back up at him. “As did I.”

“See you around?”

“You have my number.”

Taako just nodded, beginning to walk towards Lup’s car when a hand found his shoulder. He turned back and, what do you know, it’s Kravitz again. “Remember what I said Taako. I always, always say what I mean.”

When Taako got home later that day, after tucking Angus into bed, he lay awake for a few hours, mind riddled with thoughts of Kravitz, and holding his hand, and being so nice, and being with Kravitz.

His dreams were filled with lights and love that night.

Chapter Text

Taako and Kravitz had gone on five more dates since that first time at the Chug n’ Squeeze. 

Each one had been perfect, a truly wonderful night followed by Kravitz taking Taako home and kissing his hand with promises to see each other again soon. 

Taako wasn’t one for the sappy romance bullshit. It was a pathetic fantasy that was forced upon young adults in movies and books. It didn’t exist in the real world. And yet… All of this had felt like a dream come true, as corny as it was.

It was strange, of course. Taako’s insecurities definitely got in the way, telling him he wasn’t good enough and that he didn’t deserve the kind treatment Kravitz was giving him. The man had always supplied reassurance, which of course was nice, however after spending time with him, the elf found himself feeling better. Feeling more comfortable to accept that reassurance. The itch to fight Kravitz every time he said “you are wonderful” was still there, however, it started to become more believable. Not because Kravitz was saying it -- more because Taako was starting to feel it too.

If this one person he hardly knew can say all these nice things, maybe they are true. Maybe he didn’t deserve what he went through with Sazed. In fact, he definitely didn’t deserve to go through what he went through with Sazed. 

Kravitz didn’t fix him, there was a long way to go before that happened, but holy fuck was he a big help. 

Despite this though, Taako still had his bad days. 

Like tonight, for example. Tonight they were having another date and Taako’s brain was being an absolute shit.

They usually went out to eat somewhere. That’s how the dates in the past had gone. 

This time however, the two of them had both had pretty rough weeks and just wanted to spend time together. This meant having Kravitz just come over and watch movies with him and Angus (maybe you shouldn’t call it a date when your son is there, but there was a spy movie Ango had been wanting to watch and Kravitz had no complaints on the matter). How could this be a problem? What bad thought is there to think over simply watching movies?

Well:
Would Angus start hating Kravitz for some reason?

Would Kravitz think his house is too messy? Too clean?

Should Taako still wear makeup when he’s gonna be in pajamas?

Would Kravitz try to pull something? Try to get into bed with him?

Would Kravitz be mad if Taako said no?

Would Taako say no? 

It’s been five dates and they still haven’t kissed, is that bad?

Are they taking things too slow?

Is Kravitz sick of him and just being nice?

… You get the point.

These exact thoughts raced through Taako’s head as he paced the living room, socked feet falling heavy on the wooden tile. He pressed hi nails into the palms of his hands, looking from the door to the clock then back to the door. There was still an hour before Kravitz arrived. That was an entire hour Taako was left to think. 

Or, it would have been had Angus not walked into the living room in that moment. He was smiling wearing the jellyfish PJs Magnus got him last Candlenights. “Hey dad! Mister Kravitz isn’t here yet, is he?” 

Taako paused his pacing. “No, baby, he’s not,” a beat, “why are you already in your pajamas?” 

A bashful look came across the boy’s face. “Well… I know that you and him are having a date tonight, and I don’t want to be around when the actual date is happening, so I decided you and me are going to watch a movie before he comes over.” 

Taako blinked. “... You decided.”

Angus’ faced morphed into a shy smile. “Something like that.”

The elf gave stared at the boy. “And what brought you to this decision, boy wonder?”

Angus shifted from his left foot to his right. “Um… Honestly dad? You seemed super nervous. You’re out here pacing and Mister Kravitz really likes you and would be worried if he realized you were stressed out and I know you don’t like talking about your feelings so if you and me watch a movie before he gets here then you won’t feel as nervous, maybe? That’s my logic, and also I want to spend time with you, if that’s okay.”

Taako’s face went from confused, to mildly impressed, to soft and grinning at the kid. Granted all of what he said made sense and was likely picked apart by Angus’ detective reasoning, but the last part really felt like the rest was simply a build up to say that. It was, in all seriousness, adorable and sweet. 

He looked the boy up and down before walking over to the couch and flopping down into the well-worn piece of furniture. Patting the space next to him, he said, “come on over Angles, before Garyll takes your spot.”

The beaming expression on Angus’ face as he threw himself down next to Taako was simply the most wholesome thing Taako had ever seen in his life. Like suspected, though, Garyll did hop up in between the two.

The whole thing was so domestic and Taako knew he had to make more time to have days like this with Angus. The boy was so caring, and Taako would be damned if he said he didn’t love this little guy to the moon and back (despite his valiant effort to make it seem like he hated kids). 

They decided to watch said detective movie that was mentioned earlier. Taako thought it was okay overall. Definitely not something to write home about, but understandable why a kid would get so excited. 

Of course, Angus had really only stayed awake for about half of the movie. 

So when a knock on the door came promptly at 8:30 pm, Taako knew he had to carry Angus to bed. With a groan he pulled himself from the comfort of laying with his son and cat and marched to the door. 

As to be expected, there in the doorway stood Kravitz who looked… Nervous. He had been looking at the moon when Taako first opened the door, his head snapped to look at him. He had a distant look in his eyes despite the (beautiful) smile that adorned his face. 

“Taako, so good to see you again.” 

“Hey, you too, babe,” he stepped to the side to allow the other man in. “Gotta put Angus to bed but after that we can find something to watch. I can even make popcorn.” 

Kravitz seemed a bit more himself as he stepped inside, huffing a small laugh. “Yes, that is the traditional snack when watching movies.”

Taako couldn’t help but grin. “Fuck yeah, my dude.”

The two men were in the house at this point, and Taako had put Angus in bed (which had ended up being a lot easier than expected with the help of mage hand). Now they sat on the couch, Taako a bit more lax after the movie with Angus. Kravitz however was far more stiff that he’d ever seen him before. Admittedly… It did worry him some. 

Taako made the popcorn and the two decided to watch Fantasy House Hunters. It wasn’t a planned movie night, but it was much easier to joke around about these stuck up rich people getting obnoxiously picky about their homes. 

This one particular episode had left Taako absolutely flabbergasted. “So you’re telling me that they had a house that was in their budget, had a mix of what him and her liked, was close to their work, and had a lot of scenic views, and they chose the house that they hated the most?”

Kravitz chuckled. “Sometimes people do crazy things,” he said. “Though I have to admit, I don’t know how any sane person could look at that kitchen and think, yes, this is the place I want to live.”

“Holy shit , don’t even get me started on that fucking kitchen. How do you plan on cooking in that thing! It’s like a closet!” The elf threw himself back into the couch, face pressed into his hands.

There was a beat of silence before the two of them started to laugh together. It was light and lovely and Taako felt like he was floating. They laughed loudly and obnoxiously, and only for a moment did the thought of waking up Angus cross his mind. The kid was such a heavy sleeper, and he was feeling so happy right now, he really couldn’t stop himself. The laughter grew in volume. They laughed so hard that somehow, they had ended up sagging onto the floor. 

It took a while, but once the laughter died down, the two found themselves face to face, staring deeply into each other’s eyes. 

Kravitz’s hand found it’s way to the side of Taako’s face, to which he couldn’t help but lean into the cool touch. Both were silent as Kravitz leaned forward, hesitant, with his hand shaking only slightly. Taako found he was unable to say anything, choked up by the whole thing. So instead he placed his hand over Kravitz’s.

With only a small bit of space left, Taako lunged forward to kiss the man he’d been on five (now six) dates with. Taako kissed the man who forced him to believe he had some good in him. Taako kissed the man he screamed at so many months ago because of a misunderstanding that had nothing to do with him. Taako kissed the man who called him a good dad when hardly even knowing him. Taako kissed the man who told him he was wonderful and promised that the things he said were always true.

For a fleeting moment he thought back to his first kiss with Sazed. It had been demanding and possessive. It had felt suffocating. It had made his skin crawl in ways that he will never forget.

This kiss with Kravitz was nothing like it had been with Sazed. It was soft, it was sweet. It was warm. Hesitant but present all the same. Either of them could pull away at any time -- they were kissing in this moment because they wanted to.

Holy shit , Kravitz was kissing him. 

When the two pulled away for air, Taako had expected a moment of silence.

Like the first time they had met, Kravitz took him by surprise.

“Taako, would you want to be my lover?” 

Shocked, he asked, “Excuse me?”

He watched as Kravitz swallowed down whatever nerves he seemed to be having. “My lover, my boyfriend, my partner, my… Gods , Taako, I will have you in any format that I can, I just need to know if you feel the same.”

He was silent for a moment. He wanted to really think about his response here. 

“... You know, I’m like… Not exactly the best person with emotions, right?” 

Kravitz’s face seemed to sink at that, his shoulders tensing up, but he nodded. “I understand if you don’t feel the same, or if you need time to think about things. I didn’t want to just jump to conclusions about anything and I apologize if you feel pressured to answer me now or I’m making you uncomfortable-”

“Whoa, whoa,” he put his hands on either side of the man’s face. “I never said any of that. I just… Listen to me here, because I’m honestly gonna try and Taako isn’t very good at this at all.”

His shoulders relaxed a bit and he nodded. Taako removed his hands from his face and took a deep breath.

“So listen… You’re really nice. To me. Angus likes you. I really like you. So that’s all signs to say yes, right? Like I am probably sounding really silly for even considering anything else?” Taako feels himself getting worked up and takes another breath. “The thing is Krav… I really don’t like the idea of fucking things up with you. Like, if we do this, I’m in it for the long haul because I really can’t see a future where you’re not in it, I guess?”

Kravitz smiled lovingly. “Very sappy, and very off-brand of you, mister Taako from TV.”

The elf smiled. “Don’t push it.” He looks at his lap. “You… You gotta know that I’m not perfect? I guess you kind of figured that, um… But yeah. I’m not perfect, I kinda don’t want to fuck things up with you, and you kinda seem perfect for me but I’m…” 

The moment of truth.

“I’m scared.”

The words hang in the air for a moment. It’s all been laid out. Taako feels so vulnerable, and though it’s wierd it doesn’t feel… As scary with Kravitz. 

“Taako,” he begins, “may I say my piece?”

Taako nods.

“Now, I need you to keep in mind I never say things I don’t mean. I promised you that.”

“Yeah, I know.”

He took a deep breath. “You've Owned my Heart since the Day We Met.” The man smiled. “I don’t need you to be perfect. I know you don’t feel quite the same about yourself, but I absolutely adore you.” 

Taako could feel his ears and face getting warmer by the second. “Come on, man.”

“You love Angus,” he begins again, “you love your bakery. You love Lup, and Barry, and Magnus, and Garyll. You’re protective of the people you care about, and you are honestly one of the strongest people I know.”

Another moment of silence. “Ha, you fool, you fell for my trap,” Taako looped his arms around Kravitz shoulder placing a kiss on his cheek, “my plan was to have you admit your undying love to me so I could harvest your weak soul for the sacrifice.”

Kravitz laughed. “I will not have died in vain, then.” 

The two sat there on the livingroom floor for a solid five minutes, basking in the warmth and love that now filled the room.

“It’s a yes, by the way,” Taako mumbled.

“A yes?”

“I’ll be your… Lover, I guess,” he pecked the other’s lips, “but only because you asked so nicely.”

Kravitz just smiled. “I’m happy to have you as such.” 

It was scary, in all truth. Of course it would be. And yet, it was an adventure he was prepared to dive for.

Lup was going to make so much fun of him.