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               “Is this form a pain in the ass to keep up or what?” Taako asks suddenly, his voice the only sound in the room. Magnus and Merle are out doing who knows what, and for that Kravitz is grateful. It’s not that he hates being confined to Taako’s room, but, well… Yeah, he hates it. Vain as he may be about his appearance, any vanity does not extend to Taako’s private quarters. Food wrappers can be found littered about the room, dirty clothes are kept in a pile instead of a hamper, and he always forgets to dust. Always. Kravitz is still pretty sure Taako has never dusted, actually.

               It’s not that they’re hiding the relationship from the other boys out of some desire for it to be a secret; Taako just doesn’t care if they know at all, while Kravitz thinks that maybe it’s best if they don’t know you’re dating someone who, ah, tried to kill them a whole lot. Taako doesn’t see a flaw in that logic, and so their meetings are secretive and usually confined to his bedroom—which, frankly, gets boring as fuck after a while.

               Of course, sitting on the couch in the common area of their suite isn’t that much more exciting, and that’s when he starts getting curious about stuff. Kravitz was fine with the silence, but he looks down at Taako and raises a brow. “What do you mean?”

               The elf raises a warm hand to touch the dark, cool skin of Kravitz’s face—a welcome gesture that the bounty hunter finds himself leaning into ever so slightly. “This. This whole human look you got goin’ on. I know it’s not something you just do without thinking. I mean, you get emotional and poof! You go all skeletal, my man. It’s like it takes concentration or something. Does it?”

               “Oh. Ah, interesting question, Taako. It’s a… it’s a bit more nuanced than that. You’re right that it takes some willpower to keep up, I think, but it’s not constant concentration. It’s, hm. It’s very difficult to describe now that you ask, actually.” His fingers play idly in Taako’s hair, long taken out from its braid so it could be played with. “Do you mind if I try a metaphor? I know they’re kinda. They’re kinda your thing, but I think I need to try one for this.”

               He feels Taako shrug against his chest. “Go for it, hombre. Knock yourself the fuck out.”

               “Alright. Uh. Think of… think of my form as having stages, alright? At the core of my… existence, I’m nothing more than the other spirits of the astral plane. Just one of those balls of light, if you remember? Because of that, I can take vessels that are not my own. The crystal golem. The robot. Those sorts of things. It gives me a level of freedom that I like. A level of freedom that’s mandatory for my job.

               “Then there’s… the skeletal form. I don’t know what else to call it, really. The, uh, the Grim Reaper looking body. That one’s more stable. It takes nothing to uphold it. It just. It just is. And this form, the one I’m in now, takes some effort to bring up. That’s why when I, uh, get emotional, it kind of… flickers out.”

               “Hm. Cool, cool.” Taako has that tone of voice that implies thinking and perhaps mischief, and he’s playing idly with the collar of Kravitz’ jacket. “Why don’t you… stop thinking for a little bit?”

               “What? Why?”

               “Look, Krav. Listen. I’m dating you, am I right? And you’re not…” Here he waves a hand generally at Kravitz, the gesture implying all of him. “You’re not all this. If you’re a cold skeleton, I’m dating a cold skeleton, and I’m damn sure not gonna miss a chance to try to cuddle a cold skeleton. So drop it. Relax. Let’s see what happens.”

               Kravitz seems briefly unsure with this suggestion—years and years of practice at upholding this appearance don’t fall so easily—but then his dark skin seems to sink in and fade into the white of bone, all softness leaving his body where Taako’s leaning against him.

               “Hm. Well, that’s problematic,” Taako mumbles, shifting his weight and muttering under his breath as he does his best to find a comfortable position. “Aha, there we go. Perfect.” His legs are draped sideways over Kravitz’ lap, Taako’s hip pressed to his where he sits beside him. “This isn’t so bad. I mean, look, your body temperature’s no different.” He snickers, leaning his head back against the jacket still on Kravitz’ bony shoulder.

               “You’re right,” Kravitz agrees. “You’re so warm. I don’t know if I’ll ever get used to that.”

               “Mm, I don’t know if either of us will ever get used to the whole body-temperature-difference ordeal. It’s kind of weird, but we roll with- okay ow ow ow, bad move, bad fucking move, my man.” As he speaks, he reaches up to grasp the hair at the back of his own head, having attempted to move shortly after Kravitz made the mistake of trying to play with his hair with his skeletal hand; some hair is caught in the joints and it fucking hurts.

               “Shit, I’m. I’m sorry,” Kravitz manages, carefully moving his hand slightly—gently opening and closing his fingers at small intervals—until Taako’s hair falls free. “I really don’t think this is a good idea, Taako. It’s, uh, not very fun to deal with.”

               “Yeah, cool, I think you’re right there, my man,” Taako says as he rubs the back of his scalp. He shifts again as Kravitz wills himself back into his more human form, the cold remaining but his body filling out once more. He looks at Kravitz’ handsome face for a long moment before moving in one fluid motion to straddle his lap, throwing his arms around his neck. The expression on Kravitz’ face implies a heavy blush, even if his unlife doesn’t allow it. “So that idea was a bust. What about we work on not thinking in another way?” His voice is a low murmur as he presses himself close, and then he closes the small distance to kiss him slowly and deeply. “What do you say?”