hey sorry for the delay thanks for bearing with

9 Boyfriend Zone of truth

The backdoor shuts leaving Kravitz and Taako alone. There's then another door click, indicating Barry's gone through the other back door back into the houses or the basement Lab. Or his shed that might as well be a second basement.

"We've got to find him a healthier way of talking about the cycles and his own deaths." Kravitz sighed, trying to break the tension.

"Yeah. The guy makes more sick goofs than Merle at times." Taako agrees. But doesn't smile or make a wise crack. He sighs and rubs his face again.

"Love?" Kravitz asks, stepping into his space. Taako makes a hum of acknowledgement, tracing his other had over the grain of the countertop. But it's a few moments before he gathers himself.

"Listen." He starts and finally looks back up at Kravitz. "Sooo... It's not just the Canrif â Hanner. Well, it is. But it's not just that."

"Yeah, I figured. Maybe tell me what else then?" Kravitz said, placing his hands on Taako's arms. "If you want to, I mean."

Taako hums again, leans forward with a groan resting his head on Kravitz's shoulder. It knocks the wizard's hat askew, but Kravitz doesn't complain; even as he must duck his head under the brim to hug Taako.

"Okay. For one, there's a whole superstition if you don't celebrate it, your family is like tanked for like a whole generation. Taako doesn't believe in that." He says, more in to Kravitz shirt then to his face. "But then again, I've never known anyone like, not celebrate it? Even the most party poop-ery of elves. So that's playing on my mind. That not celebrating it could bring about a disaster for everyone in this family. Coz weirder things have happened."

"They do. But would that even count given Lucretia is human?" Kravitz asked.

Taako shrugs. "Probably not. It used too."

Kravitz by nature normally runs cold. Or he used too. His hands are warm as he holds Taako. Death's embrace isn't always as cold as a popsicle.

"I don't like her. Not anymore. And I don't forgive her." Taako insists before sitting back up. Then taps his chest, against his heart through his apron. "But this shit? It hurts."

"Baking the cake for her? Because you miss her?" Kravitz asked. "Or miss things between the seven of you?"

"No! well Yes? No? Ugh…yeah and no to both but… How do I put this?" Taako says mulling on his own process. "Look age for elves, no big deal past a Canrif â Hanner really. We go on forever, right? Well, present company excepted."

Kravitz agreed. And Taako started counting off on his fingers. "so, if it is Canrif â Hanner it's a late one. By a few years. We- I missed her birthday last year because me and her weren't talking. That one's on me, I'll admit that."

"Davenport weren't either." Kravitz reminded. "So, it's not just on you. Things between her and Barry were still rocky."

"Okay but I still don't think anyone did anything for it, did they? We'd all forgotten about it or ignored it."
"Or didn't know. That's why the Bureau lot decided to have a party this year, cos Lucas freaking miller right?" Kravitz asked. Taako nodded. According to Avi, they only found out it had been Lucretia's birthday awhile before because Killian had to deal with attending a Story and Song event at the rival school last year.

"And Nerd lord asked had she done anything nice for her birthday, and to apologize cos he'd forgotten to send a card or some shit." Taako shrugged. "And year before never happened cos just how busy everything was with the Sweetflips wedding build up. Her birthday didn't even cross my mind."

"And the year before that Lucretia was yours, Merle's and Magnus' new director right?" Kravitz said.
"Not really new at that point. Think we'd been there a year nearly. But it would have been about a week after the time Lup tried to Flambe you outside Chug'n'Squeeze." Takko agreed then laughed. "woops and we told Barry off for aligning significate dates with hooks ups. Right before she started getting us to train for…" Taako stopped.

Again, Wonderland is not mentioned by name. Kravitz squeezed his hand. Taako squeezed it back then brushed the trauma off.

"So then when the possibility of her being a hundred and fifty." Taako continued, "the ones we've missed so I feel bad for that even though it'd be her fault we missed them. Heck if she hadn't taken that stupid gamble, we wouldn't even be wondering if we'd even missed her one fifty would we because she'd only be in her thirties now. we could have had belated one I suppose but… It feels like missing if we've missed her hundred and fiftieth, we're missing something important. Like a milestone for the seven of us? Again, her fault. We've missed thirty years of her birthdays why should the last couple be the major difference. But I hadn't really thought about it until I started planning the cake design and it's really hit me. Like brick to face hit me."

He sighed again staring off into the middle distance vaguely to the left of the sink.

"We were going to throw her a real twenty first? Once it was clear the hunger couldn't find us, and we were actually going to age. But then, we were so busy with the relics, so we missed it. Even Lucretia forgot. Lup planned a twenty second. Sort off. And then the wars kicked off and all of that."

Kravitz nodded, moving them so he was between Taako's legs, hoping to be some grounding or comfort to his love. Or at least be an easier angle for hugs if needed again. A hand on Taako's leg isn't shaken off, not even as Kravitz starts tracing what he hopes are soothing shapes on the breeches.

"What if she didn't want to celebrate it?" he asks after a minute.

"What do you mean?" Taako frowned.
"well Lucretia didn't try to have a birthday, right?" Kravitz asked. "She didn't push or host one herself? Last year, or this-?"

"It still sucks we've missed it!" Taako snapped. "How would you have felt if we'd missed Angus' thirteenth and all his parties? Or if we were gonna skip Mavis's Fifteenth? Next year Her sixteenth? if we'd just cancelled Mookie's tenth, told him nah, not old enough? Skip their eighteenths? Their twenty firsts?

"…Shitty." Kravitz conceded. "That would feel Pretty shitty."

"Yeah, it would." Taako said. And then scrubbed his face again. "Sorry I shouldn't have said it like that. and I wouldn't do that to the kids."

"I know." Kravitz said, kissing the elf's forehead. "I'm just worried she's getting a party she doesn't want. Or feel like she can have."
"I know. I'd wondered that. Tough shit I suppose, she's getting a party, like it or not. But hey what did I do to deserve you?" Taako repeated with a pout. "and for you forgive my fuckups so easily."

"I dunno, save the world? Plus, you're very loveable and you make me my favourite bread." Kravitz teased. "It's okay, Taako. It really is."

"It's not." Taako argues half-heartedly. "but…that? That's how I feel about it. Kind of. I don't know. Lup feels same. maybe more so. Maybe worse. you know, with them still being friends and all."

He sighed, letting Kravitz trace circles on his hips. "Part of me wants her to have a shitty birthday you know. Or just not acknowledge it at all. And then same time that feels weird and wrong to even think about. It's so messed up." Taako continued clearly wrestling with himself. Then detoured.

"Captain's right by the way. About no caterpillar cake for Mavis. Especially not a Marks'n'Sparks one. I mean Fantasy Aldi's are nicer anyway, but yeah, no Caterpillar cakes. Mavis's next birthday needs to be amazing; she keeps getting over shadowed by the boys. So, we need to make it Like, like a wedding without a groom level of amazing."

"I'm sure it will be." Kravitz laughs.

But Taako's on a roll now, and don't stop at any station.

"We can throw Magnus a joint fifty and Canrif â Hanner on time too. if he doesn't rush into some shit for the next few decades. Heck we can even throw him a bunch of single digits birthdays and eighteenth and a Twenty-first given his new bod. Work out his birthdays in dog years if he wanted. We can do the same for Barry. If he's still around, he could have a Canrif â Hanner mark two for this body, even though he had one. But they got new healthy bodies. Magnus is still a young active built like brickhouse. Barry's a lich and aging slower on account of that. Lucretia's age is already physically nearer sixty then fifty and still pushing."

Kravitz not wanting to point out Taako called her by name, just listened and nodded as Taako carried on his rant slash pouring out his feelings.

"I don't care what Avi says, it's old for a human! And she's- I don't know. I don't know how human age right? and Frail is the wrong word for Lucy. But her character sheet numbers seem shot for her level? Even for a wizard. And I know Merles been given her something for mild arthritis or joint pain or something! The same he gives me for my legs so bullshit on the 'mild'. She's older than Barry now, give or take a year. She's younger than me sure and older and doesn't look after herself I know she works to hard. And she's not that old but not nineteen nearly twenty forever. Not anymore. And she won't just come back when again when the year is up. None of us will now! I keep forgetting we won't. Most humans make it to eighty. Maybe ninety if their lucky. That's nothing. That's fuck all. I mean who knows? How many years does she have now?!" Taako asked. Then realised who he's talking too.
"scratch that. Pretend that was rhetorical, because before you say anything I wasn't asking you to check. Can you check? No wait that would make everything worse." He said trailing off into a mumble.

"It would. I can't any way, even if you wanted me to. But I wouldn't recommend it." Kravitz assured him. Taako nods.

"Yeah. I figured. So er… all of that. That's what is bothering me. And this?" He said now gesturing to the cake planning papers. "This is throwing me off my rhythm. I hate her but I don't. I understand and then I don't. I can't. I don't want too. and I can't forgive her, for any of it. that was some messed up god complex shit. But here I am, worrying if a second favourite flavour is going to be good enough for a party that might be a very early or late Canrif â Hanner. Even though she's not an elf or on two sun; so, it's not like it should matter anyway."

"It does matters to you so it does matter." Kravitz remined him.

Taako looked for a moment like he was about to argue then shook his head.

"I was telling the truth for the most part earlier y'know. I want it to be special for the BOB as well. They've helped like the majority of my students in one way or another. Even got Lucas to expand his catchment area and scholarship parameters so both schools' benefit. Set a load of community projects up in Glamour springs. So, I want it to be one hell of a party. Even if SHE sure as hell doesn't deserve it, the fucking brat. After all she did but. She she was- still is a little sister to me. And I know how much she means to the others." He sniffled. Then gives up trying to articulate, dropping on his head on Kravitz shoulder again. And cries. Kravitz lets him, making all the right noises and rubbing circles on his back.

"Fucking feelings, you know?" Taako manages.

"Fucking feelings." Kravitz agrees, as Taako slips off the counter. And lets Kravitz Hold him properly, holds him tight. Kravitz doesn't mention mess of his projected shirt. Not even after a little while Taako sniffles and raises his head.

"better?" Kravitz asked.

Taako nods wiping his eyes. He hasn't put his glamour back up at least. "yeah. Much better Bones." He smiles. And Pulls Kravitz up to him, Cuddling against the counter…

Unfortunately, just when Taako didn't think the situation would more annoyingly emotional, it did. because right there and then Taako's stone rattles and shrills, vibrating under the still upturned bowl, and scares the bejeebus out the pair of them. So much so that Kravitz went skeletal then spectral then back to skeletal. Before returning to a flesh boy as Taako finally stopped laughing and took the call.

"Yo, Captain 'port! You leave something?"

"Oh, T-taako? I was after Barry."

Davenport apologised. More specifically he called Barry to air his concerns but accidently dialled Taako's stone of far speech by mistake. He could call back later but Taako (who got a lucky out of the blue high perception check), picked up on a tone in the captain and bullied it out of him. Afterwards, Kravitz would kind of wish Takko hadn't done that…