Kravitz wasn't really sure how to broach the subject. It wasn't like "meeting the parents" or anything, and not nearly as scary as meeting all of Taako's family, but going to a formal event as a couple was still another step forward in their relationship. There was no way Kravitz would come out of it without feeling like their whole dynamic had changed, whether Taako said yes or no.
"It's a work… thing," he finally blurted out above the low sound of a sitcom.
Taako, half asleep against him with some of his own hair in his mouth, made an adorably confused noise in response. "What's a work thing, baby?" he murmured against Kravitz' shirt.
Kravitz fumbled to turn the television down and shifted his arm around Taako's shoulders, holding him a bit closer. "Ah, it's… kind of a party, I guess? I have to be there, though. And I can bring a date." He cleared his throat, unsure if Taako was even awake to listen to him, and continued, "I'd like to bring you. As my boyfriend. Because I l-love you."
He didn't realize he had his eyes closed until he heard Taako snickering. Self-conscious, he peeked one eye open, glancing down at Taako who had a hand over his mouth as he laughed. "You're so cute, Kravvy. Of course I'll go with you." He lifted his hand away from his wide grin to pat Kravitz' chest open palm. "My sweetheart."
Taako was so sweet to him, probably just because it made him embarrassed. "It's this Friday. Formal, but not quite black tie, so…." He didn't like talking about money with Taako for fear it sounded like he wanted to sugar him, but he also knew that Taako was between paychecks and it had just passed the third of the month. Every bill that could get paid had gotten paid on the first and Taako probably didn't have much spending money lying around.
"That's fine," Taako said with a dismissive wave of his hand. "I can borrow something of Lup's." He must have felt Kravitz freeze behind him, because while bringing up money didn't make him bat an eye, he sent the beginnings of a glare up now. "Will that be a problem?"
Kravitz was quick to shake his head. "Not for them, no. It definitely won't be. Just… for me. Depends on what you wear." He watched realization come over Taako's face, and then a devious little smirk.
"You wanna take it off me at the end of the night, huh?" he murmured, the hand that was still on Kravitz' chest playing with the buttons on his shirt starting to slowly slide lower. "You think I'm gonna wear something slutty and make you suffer in front of your coworkers?" Taako leaned up and put his lips to Kravitz' ear. "You want me to blow you at your desk? What if I kneeled underneath while you worked with the door wide open and I just tortured you?"
Whichever god blessed Taako's filthy mouth, Kravitz was ready to become their acolyte. He (gently) pushed Taako onto his back and spread his legs just enough to settle between them. Taako's smirk only got wider, eyes flicking between Kravitz' face and the seam of his jeans. Kravitz interrupted him with a wet, open-mouthed kiss, using more teeth than absolutely necessary because he knew how much Taako loved it.
Taako's hands completely bypassed any normal foreplay areas, like the hair or the arms or even the chest, and went straight for his pants zipper. Kravitz chuckled into the kiss but let Taako do as he pleased, absolutely sure he would be in the same state come Friday night.
"Remember when I said I was excited to suck you off tonight?" was the first thing Taako said to Kravitz when he answered the phone that afternoon. He felt his entire face begin to burn and had to excuse himself from the lunch meeting he was in, walking to the restaurant's waiting area and standing in a corner like he was a child being punished.
"Hello to you too, Taako," Kravitz sighed. "I do remember, yes."
Taako laughed, and Kravitz was only partially sure he was laughing with him rather than at him; there was he sound of movement as Taako also walked from one part of his apartment to the other. "Slight change of plans, my dude. Angles was supposed to have a sitter this evening but they fuckin' bailed and there's no way I'm leaving him home alone." Something that sounded like dishes clattered in the background but Taako seemed unaffected. "Can I bring him with me to your little soirée?"
A small voice said something that was obviously protesting and Taako replied, slightly muffled, "You are that important, pumpkin, don't say that."
"Of course you can bring him, darling. I thought he was at school right now?" Kravitz said with just the slightest questioning lilt at the end.
"Y'know how schoolkids are. I swear they get a week off every month." Kravitz could almost hear Taako rolling his eyes down the line. "You've seen what a fantastic kid he is. All those stuffy dickheads are gonna be so impressed."
Kravitz chuckled despite himself, leaning against the wall and resisting the urge to touch his chest to slow the lovestruck pitter-patter of his heart. "Yeah, they are. I'm actually with a few of them right now, so I can't talk for long. But thank you for letting me know about our new guest."
"Mm-hm. Knock 'em dead, Kravvy. Proud of you!"
"Thanks, love," Kravitz replied sincerely to Taako's teasing. "See you tonight." Taako was the first to hang up, likely occupied with his son, so Kravitz was left standing with his phone in his hand for a few besotted seconds.
The hostess cleared her throat from behind her stand, drawing Kravitz' attention. "You and your wife newlyweds?" she asked good-naturedly.
It only served to make Kravitz more nervous; he ran his hand through his hair and smiled sheepishly. "Boyfriend. No w-wedding yet." He really didn't want anything else to spill out so he nodded briefly at her and walked back to his table, doing some of the meditative deep breathing exercises Taako taught him to calm down.
He could barely concentrate through the rest of the meeting now that he was reminded of the night's plans. He ran on autopilot until he was driving home just as the early autumn sun was setting. It only took a few minutes for him to shower and get redressed in a slightly nicer suit than the one he wore to work that day, choosing a neutrally colored tie so it would match with whatever Taako decided to wear. It took a few more minutes to sit in silence, internally berating himself for treating it like high school prom and not two adult men dating one another.
Once 6:45 rolled around, Kravitz took a fortifying breath--unfortunately not a fortifying swig of something strong--and got back in his car to stop by Taako's place and pick up him and his son.
Surprisingly, Taako answered the door as soon as Kravitz rang the bell. "Hey baby, come on in. Just give us a minute," he said after a quick peck to Kravitz' cheek. He turned and rushed back down the hallway before Kravitz could get a good look at him but what he saw was a deep, dark blue and tight in all the right places.
Not thirty seconds passed before Taako returned, Angus' hand in his. Angus looked sort of like he'd been crying but Kravitz didn't know the etiquette in bringing something like that up. "You look very handsome, Angus," he managed, putting his hands in his trouser pockets.
"Thank you, sir," Angus replied without looking at him, and then twin tears suddenly ran silently down his cheeks, his already frowning mouth beginning to waver.
Taako didn't look exasperated, or frustrated, or any kind of negative emotion that Kravitz had seen so many parents wear when things weren't going their way. Instead he used Prestidigitation to conjure a handkerchief and crouched down next to Angus, whispering something to him.
"You can just lock me in the bathroom, my m-m-mother used to do that when she--" Kravitz could hear Angus protesting, and only then did Taako clench his free hand into a fist.
"I would fucking kill her if I could," Taako harshly replied, perhaps inappropriately from Kravitz' point of view, but Angus seemed to take it to heart and sniffled a bit, tears slowing. "We both stay or we both go. If you decide we go and you feel uncomfortable at any point, we're Audi 5000." Angus just looked at him for a moment before nodding. "We can switch phones so you can use the internet, okay? You don't have to talk to anyone if you don't want to, you don't have to shake their hand or even look at them. If they try and pressure you I'll get them to fuck off easy."
Angus' gaze flickered over to Kravitz. "But Mr Kravitz works with them…," he said hesitantly.
"When have I ever given a fuck? No offense, Krav," Taako said, sparing his own glance at Kravitz, who just quirked a smile at them both. "You come first, remember? You're my first priority."
Angus didn't nod, but he didn't shake his head either. He just held onto Taako's conjured handkerchief tightly and reached down to hold his hand again.
Taako leaned forward to kiss the side of his head and then stood up again, brushing stray curls from his updo out of his face. "Onward and forward, homie," Taako said, gesturing Kravitz out the door. Kravitz went outside as the two of them locked up and opened both passenger side doors. He wasn't sure if Angus was supposed to be in a carseat but he hadn't used one when Kravitz picked him up the one time, so he figured it would be okay.
The insight into Taako and Angus' father/son relationship made Kravitz feel a little bit like a voyeur. Taako was letting him spend more and more time with Angus, which definitely made him get a better sense of his position in their little family, but they were so unique it made him curious. He wouldn’t have figured Taako for a father until he'd seen him in action.
Taako helped Angus into the backseat first, smoothing his hair away from his forehead for a moment before gently closing the door. Then he accepted Kravitz' hand while getting into his own seat. "So chivalrous," he teased, but Kravitz could see his heart wasn't all the way in it.
"I try," Kravitz responded in kind. He closed the door and circled the car, trying to think of his own way to make Angus feel better while also making sure Taako didn't feel the need to raise hell at his place of work.
Chapter by KingPreussen
Kravitz opened the passenger side door of his car into cool night air. The temperature had dropped rapidly during their half hour drive to the event hall and Kravitz was already regretting not bringing an extra scarf for Angus. He wasn't sure how easily the kid got cold but it was always better to be safe.
"A gentleman!" Taako exclaimed with a sly grin, allowing Kravitz to take his hand and help him out of the car and onto the curb. The whole event was entirely more intricate than it had to be, complete with red carpet and valets at the front, one of which Kravitz handed his keys to. Then he turned back to his car and opened the back door, offering Angus his hand as well.
Angus, whose face was finally dry and eyes wide and curious, accepted Kravitz' help out of the car. "Why is it so fancy?" Angus asked Kravitz while gravitating toward Taako, who settled a hand on top of his head. "What do you... do?"
The way Angus managed to fit a paragraph's worth of derision into that one word reminded Kravitz so much of Taako that he couldn't help but laugh aloud; Taako was laughing too, but he hid it better than Kravitz could. Angus' expression, like he didn't know whether to be offended or not, was also very Taako-esque. "I'm an executive," Kravitz tried to explain. "I'm basically the head of marketing. It's not a very complicated job really."
Taako stepped forward and wrapped his hand around the crook of Kravitz' elbow, Angus on his other side. "Don't put yourself down, Krav, it's only not complicated because you're good at it."
Kravitz frowned slightly but didn't protest. "Let's go inside," he said instead, leading the two of them forward. Other people were still pulling up and handing their cars off to be parked and he didn't want to be sucked into a conversation outside in the cold.
"Oh, Kravitz!" someone called almost immediately after they entered. He tried not to visibly deflate but Taako's snickers beside him told him he was unsuccessful.
Beatrice, the CFO of the company and probably the only one there Kravitz trusted enough to be candid with, not-quite rushed across the marble floor to come greet him. "Bea," he said with a smile, accepting a one-armed hug from her; her other hand was holding a glass of champagne. Kravitz saw Taako eye it speculatively and then start looking around for the bar and his smile turned wry. "How are you? When did you get here?"
Beatrice waved her hand. "Oh, ten, fifteen minutes ago. But nothing's happened yet, just wanted to get a headstart on drinks." Taako muttered, "Amen," and Beatrice cracked a grin. "Who's this, Kravitz? Introduce us!"
Kravitz stepped aside a little, turning toward his boyfriend. "Beatrice, this is my partner, Taako, and his son, Angus." Angus was mostly hidden behind Taako but he offered a shy smile. "Taako, Angus, this is Beatrice. She's the financial officer here."
"Gods know I do Jason's work more than my own, but," she said with a shrug, offering Taako her hand. "A pleasure to meet you. You're absolutely gorgeous, you know."
Taako shook her hand with a soft smile. "Thank you, Beatrice," he said, in a tone that would have seemed shy if Kravitz didn't know him. Tonight he surpassed "pretty" and really was gorgeous, now that Kravitz could have a good look in the bright light from the chandeliers in the hall. He wore a dark blue floor length strapless dress that managed to be shimmery without being glittery, his hair done up in a complicated looking braid and looped into a bun at the back of his head. Some of his black curls hung over his forehead and around his sharply pointed ears.
Angus, who wasn't ignoring Beatrice but also didn't offer his hand, was wearing adorably small black trousers and a pressed white shirt and deep purple sweater. He didn't seem uncomfortable dressing formally, which came as a surprise to Kravitz. He knew that at that age he didn't want to wear anything except t-shirts and shorts. Angus looked like a little aristocrat.
"So what is Kravitz like at work?" Taako asked, immediately honing in on the chance to gossip. Kravitz rolled his eyes and wrapped one arm around Taako's waist.
Beatrice similarly lit up. "Well for one, he will not shut up about you. We all knew the day after his first date that he had something special; I had never seen Kravitz smile so much in my life."
"Bea, please," Kravitz sighed. He should have known introducing the two was a mistake.
A server came by and offered drinks to Taako and Kravitz. Taako, of course, took a glass of champagne and winked at the man, who flushed red and quickly went in the other direction. Kravitz tried to keep up with the conversation but his boyfriend and coworker had the same knack for switching topics on a dime and it was easier to just half-listen and people-watch.
Kravitz almost started when someone touched his arm from the other side. It was only Angus, still clutching his handkerchief in one hand. "Mr Kravitz, where are the restrooms?" he asked.
It was a lucky chance that other gatherings had been held in this hall and Kravitz was familiar with it. "Around the left side, and then make a left at the second door." He hesitated before asking, "Do you want me to come with you, or...?" but Angus just shook his head and immediately slipped between people to get out of the small crowd.
Only then did Kravitz wonder if he made a mistake. "Angus went--" he began before Taako spoke over him.
"To the bathroom, I know," he said in the middle of his conversation, shifting to look up at Kravitz. Beatrice didn't seem to mind, watching the two of them interact with a curious expression. "I don't smother the kid, he's capable. I'll go check on him if he's not back in a couple minutes."
Beatrice put her empty glass on a passing tray. "I don't mean to pry, but Angus is Human, right? Did you adopt?"
The friendly atmosphere almost visibly dimmed. Kravitz saw the signs of Taako calculating just how insulting he could get in a business setting. Kravitz knew Beatrice genuinely didn't mean any harm but he also knew that, while Taako practically absorbed information that didn't have anything to do with him, he aimed to keep most of his own business close to his chest. Angus was almost a forbidden topic.
"He's my kid," Taako said in a level voice.
Beatrice, bless her, just raised her hands palm up in surrender and dropped the subject. Just as she did, the low music that had been playing in the background through speakers ended and a live band started to tune their instruments. "Oh, I have to find Marissa," she said, and then leaned forward to take Taako's hand in both of hers. "It was so nice meeting you, Taako. Hopefully I'll see you again soon." She waved farewell to Kravitz and then turned back, using her own Halfling height to easily move between people much as Angus did.
"You didn't tell me there would be dancing." Kravitz turned back to his boyfriend, who was finishing off his glass and looking around for someone to take it.
"Because I know you can," Kravitz replied simply.
Taako glared at him, having been liberated of his empty flute, and put his hands on his hips. Kravitz slowly and deliberately looked him up and down until Taako playfully swatted at his arm, stepping up close and letting Kravitz hold his hips instead. "I can club dance, dude, not this ballroom shit," he complained half-heartedly, but he was already looping his arms around Kravitz' neck and allowing himself to be led in a slow, romantic sway.
"It's not ballroom," Kravitz denied quietly. "I don't know how to do that shit either." Taako laughed against him, shaking his head. "I don't think I told you how stunning you are tonight, Taako."
"You don't look so bad yourself." Taako's grin was cheeky, but it faded at Kravitz' serious expression.
"I mean it." Kravitz slid his hands a bit lower than what was maybe publicly acceptable. "You're absolutely beautiful. I'm the luckiest person on Faerün."
Taako didn't blush but he did bite at his lower lip, his eyes downcast. Kravitz lifted a hand to his chin and gently tugged his lip free, and then, in the heat of the moment, leaned forward and kissed him. It was closed-mouth and almost chaste by their standards but Taako still sighed into it, practically melting against him.
They spent the rest of the song in each other's arms, circling slowly in place. Kravitz tried to avoid his coworker's eyes out of anxiety but he saw the way most of them cooed at the two of them and even sent Kravitz exaggerated thumbs up. Was he really so obviously lonely before he started dating Taako?
After the song ended but before the next one started, Taako lifted his head from Kravitz' chest and pressed another kiss to his lips. "I'm going to see where pumpkin is," he explained. After a final quick kiss he pulled away and left Kravitz standing to one side of the dance floor.
His phone buzzed in his pocket. Annoyed at himself for forgetting to silence it, he pulled it out and glanced at the screen. It was a call from Jason, their resident slacker of a CPO. What the man could want now, Kravitz had no idea, but he figured he should take the call anyway.
"Hello?" Kravitz muttered as he walked toward the back of the room where the majority of the tables were set up, inclining his head with a smile at one of his direct inferiors who waved.
"I figured you wouldn't check your texts," Jason said without preamble. "You know how Bea is. CEO and his wife got word about her getting introduced and want to meet your boyfriend. Thought I'd let you know in advance."
This was one of the only times Jason actually told him something useful. "Heironeous bless," Kravitz sighed to himself. "Thanks for the notice. He seem to be in a good mood?"
The derisive noise Jason made told Kravitz everything he needed to know. "From what I hear, your boy can hold his own. If things go to shit make sure to call me over." Kravitz hung up on Jason's laughter without a hint of guilt and instead texted Taako his location before leaning against a nearby table and crossing his legs in front of him.
"Aren't they adorable?" one of the secretaries he recognized from the front desk said to another woman a few seats down from him. Both of their attention was focused on the dance floor. "I've never seen them before but...."
Her friend nodded, dramatically putting her hand over her heart. "It's literally the sweetest thing. Too bad the CEO's gonna speak in a few minutes."
Kravitz looked away from them and instead toward the dance floor, unable to see much except couples moving together. Taako hadn't answered his text, either. Kravitz' curiosity won over and he made his way back to the dance floor, excusing himself past the couples, some of which were openly standing and staring.
Taako—of course it was Taako at the center of attention—had his fingers intertwined with Angus' as they danced in the center of the floor. Kravitz could barely tell that Angus had been upset only a few hours ago for how wide he was smiling. And Taako, despite his reluctance to dance before, was leading Angus in a playful two step. He clearly telegraphed his movements before he let go of one of Angus' hands and spun him around in a quick circle.
Angus had a tendency to be more serious; from what little Kravitz knew of his childhood, it was ingrained in him to remain neither seen nor heard, but with Taako he seemed more childish. He was spinning and laughing with Taako like a kid his age should. When the song ended and everyone began to clap for them, he jumped a bit like he was so wrapped up in having fun he hadn't noticed they were being watched.
In contrast, Taako bowed (maybe a little sarcastically), and then pulled Angus close and pressed a kiss to his hair. Angus was shaking with laughter at whatever Taako said to him by the time he pulled away, and Taako punctuated it with a wink. Then he noticed Kravitz standing on the edge of the circle and beamed at him.
Kravitz walked over to the pair and was surprised when Angus reached out and took his hand. "I didn't know people were watching," he said quietly. Taako brushed some curls behind his ear and smiled at Kravitz, tilting his head pointedly at their joined hands.
"It was very good, Angus," Kravitz said, giving Angus' hand a gentle squeeze. "I didn't know you could dance."
"Neither did I," Taako added. He put his palm against Angus' temple to press his head against his waist where Angus was already leaning, brushing his thumb over Angus' eyebrow. "You're a man of many talents, pumpkin." Angus dropped Kravitz' hand to instead wrap both arms around his dad but Kravitz didn't feel slighted at all. Taako sent him a fond look before continuing, "What do you say we get a shitload of cake and sit down before these stuck up dickheads start making speeches?"
All of this was said within earshot of Kravitz' coworkers, some of whom suspiciously began to cough, but he wasn't going to ask Taako be anything less than who he was for them. He just had to work harder on hiding his laughter in response. "The table's over there. I can get us some seats." Taako blew him a kiss in thanks and then ushered Angus toward the dessert table.
"I didn't know you had a son, Kravitz," came a very familiar voice from behind him. Kravitz sent a quick, silent prayer to the Raven Queen before turning around with a bland smile, hoping he was mentally ready to talk to one of the most temperamental people in the company.
"Alex," he said, holding out a hand to shake. "He's actually my boyfriend's."
Alexander, the CEO of the company, shook his hand a bit too hard but that was his usual powerplay. "Ah, I see. Well, he's adorable. How old is he?"
"Eight and a half," Kravitz said in the same conversational tone, acting as if he didn't realize Alex was leading him to his table. "He's very intelligent for his age. I believe he's in tenth grade."
Alex looked appropriately impressed as he pulled out a chair next to his own and gestured for Kravitz to sit. "Very intelligent, indeed. Only, the boyfriend's an Elf, and the son is Human...?"
Kravitz had never been so grateful to not be near Taako as he was in that moment. "It's... a private subject. Taako doesn't really want it talked about," he said, attempting to steer Alex out of the minefield. "I am, however, happy to introduce you to them both. They're getting dessert--"
"Do you know how many cakes these assholes bought, babe? I swear they fuckin' demolished a bakery." Kravitz once again failed to completely stifle his laughter, looking up at Taako who was holding a plate full of pastries. "Oh, hey," Taako said when he noticed they weren't alone. "What's up?"
"Alex, this is Taako," Kravitz said while standing and pulling out Taako and Angus' chairs. "And his son, Angus."
Taako set the plate down between himself and Angus and offered his hand across the table. "A pleasure to meet you." Kravitz noticed Angus did take this opportunity to do what Taako advised and use his phone to deflect attention. He couldn't see what Angus was browsing but since it was Taako's phone it was probably a cooking game.
Alex looked distinctly unimpressed at being ignored by a child, an expression Kravitz was pleased to see on his face. "And you," he replied. His expression soured when Taako didn't rise to the "who can squeeze the other's hand harder" challenge. "Kravitz was telling me about the precociousness of your son but he failed to mention what you did for a living."
His tone was borderline argumentative, and Kravitz could tell that Taako could tell. His boyfriend's warm, dark eyes went cold and his smile turned sharp. "Office work. Nothing as extravagant as Kravitz of course, but I make do. And what is your occupation? Custodial?"
Kravitz cleared his throat. "Alex is the CEO of the company, darling," he said, and Taako audibly snorted.
"Pull the other one, Krav," he replied into his cake while Alex's frown only deepened.
"I like him." Kravitz looked up behind Alex where he hadn't noticed Alex's wife Lydia was standing. She was almost more severe than him sometimes but tonight her full mouth was turned up in an actual smile. "Lydia. Taako, was it?"
Taako nodded at her, halfway through a bite of cake. "Charmed," he mumbled.
Lydia's smile only grew as she sat on Alex's other side. "And Angus, I have never seen a smarter looking sweater than yours. Where did you get it?"
Angus looked nervously between her and Taako while carefully placing the phone on the table. "Um, I don't know, ma'am. My dad bought it for me. But th-thank you," he stammered at the end, ducking his head in embarrassment. Taako put an arm around his shoulders and kissed his head again.
"And polite, too!" Lydia said, her almost icy blue eyes sparkling. "Your son is a pleasure, Taako."
"He is. The best kid I could ask for," Taako said with an honest smile while Angus hid behind his phone again.
Lydia turned to her husband, who was watching Angus with an almost petulant look. "Were you antagonizing these two, Sasha?" she asked him.
While Alex attempted to placate his wife, Kravitz put his hand on Taako's knee to get his attention. "Won't be much longer," he said quietly. "Maybe two or three speeches and then we can go."
Taako settled his hand over Kravitz' and playfully shifted it higher with his eyebrow cocked while Kravitz pretended to glare. He finally laughed and said, "I'm not that worried about a long night except for Agnes. If he starts getting tired we can cut it short." He paused, and then asked, "Do you want to come home with us?"
Before Kravitz could answer, the night's MC stepped up to the microphone and announced the first speaker. Kravitz leaned forward and kissed Taako by way of reply and then attempted to concentrate on the upcoming speeches, his hand still resting on Taako's thigh.
True to Taako's prediction, Angus started to flag between the first and second speech. Taako quietly and smoothly shifted him into his lap to sleep more comfortably; to Kravitz' surprise, Taako seemed to be actually paying attention to the speakers, laughing softly in all the right places and applauding even softer in between. He stroked Angus' hair whenever he started to fuss like he might wake.
When the second speaker handed the mic off to the MC to introduce the third, Taako leaned over to Kravitz and crooked his fingers. "Pumpkin's been having nightmares," he explained in a whisper. "He hasn't been sleeping at all in the past week or so, only gets an hour a night when I'm with him doing something loud and then he's like a zombie the rest of the day. Called the pediatrician, she says it might be stress. We have an appointment for next week."
Kravitz felt a sharp pang of worry. "It's good you brought him, then," he murmured back, wrapping his arm around Taako's shoulders. After a moment's hesitation, he put his own hand on Angus' back and rubbed a small circle before pulling away. Taako watched him with amusement but he still seemed anxious.
The next speaker, who turned out to be Alex, was standing at the podium but Taako had enough time to whisper, "Us three can have a late night with the TV on and maybe he'll sleep." Kravitz nodded back and brushed his nose against Taako's affectionately, bringing out a real smile before Taako turned toward the front.
Kravitz wasn't the type of person to remember his dreams, or have particularly scary ones, but he tried to empathize. He could only last about 36 hours without sleep himself and he was an adult. Growing children needed more rest, or something like that. And now that he knew Angus was having trouble with insomnia, he noticed the dark circles around his eyes and the kind of listless way he looked around until he finally dropped into a dead sleep against Taako.
Kravitz was so involved in his own thoughts that he didn't notice when people finished applauding and started to leave their tables. Taako was smirking down at him while standing with Angus held against his chest, slowly rocking from one foot to the other on beat with the background music from the stereo speakers. "Seems like we need to get you home more than boy wonder," he said quietly. "Synapses firin'?"
"Something like that." Kravitz loosened his tie and sighed. "Let me say my goodbyes."
"I'll come with. 'He's got a sleeping baby, ohhh, let him go home'," Taako mocked in a low voice, making Kravitz laugh.
"Alright, alright. Come on, then."
you know me, i might come back and edit some things for clarity, but ill let you know if its anything major
Chapter by KingPreussen
i wasnt at all sure whether i should post this chapter as a continuation of this work, because its still in kravitz pov and its so short, or whether i should post a new work, because the tone change is so drastic from the first two parts and it occurs weeks later. in the end, i decided to post it here. this will be the last part of this particular story
special warnings and tags for this chapter: insomnia, nightmares, lack of communication, sleep deprivation, emotional exhaustion
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
"There aren't going to be any more changes to his contract, though, right? Kravitz? Kravitz!"
"Ah, sorry?" said Half-Elf stammered, turning his head from where he was staring out the window at the sprawling city below their offices. "I was just, uh."
Beatrice smiled at him from across the wooden conference table. "No worries. Feeling alright?"
"Yes, fine," he said, which was true in the loosest sense. His thoughts were preoccupied, as usual, with Taako and Angus. His infatuation with his boyfriend and adoration for his boyfriend's son made him nervous sometimes--he hadn't ever wanted to be a part of a family that wasn't already his so badly--but for the past couple of weeks he'd made an effort to push his own anxieties away.
Angus was getting an hour of sleep a night at best. Apparently he spent his time awake doing schoolwork, even to the point that Taako would check on him at three in the morning and find him at his desk. He was smiling less, laughing less, and their multiple doctor visits didn't reveal any solutions. Taako started making a point to stay awake with Angus as much as possible and it only made them both miserable. Even an Elf couldn't survive on two weeks of short rests.
Kravitz considered hiring them a sleep specialist a few times, but he knew it wasn't his place. Angus wasn't his child and Kravitz didn't have any say in the medical treatments he did or didn't receive. That didn't mean he could prevent himself from worrying constantly.
Beatrice seemed to notice his distraction wasn't going away any time soon and closed her laptop. "Let's continue this tomorrow," she said to the rest of the employees in the conference room. Kravitz nodded his agreement without really hearing what she said. When the room was empty, Beatrice rounded the table and put a hand on his shoulder. "Kravitz, go home. You look dead on your feet."
Were he feeling one hundred percent, Kravitz would have made a joke about the Raven Queen. As it was, he just nodded again, sinking his teeth into the side of his lower lip as he thought.
After Beatrice left as well and closed the door behind her, leaving Kravitz in silence, he made a decision. Whether it was the right or wrong decision, he wouldn't know until he acted, but he couldn't do nothing anymore.
It was around the time in the afternoon that Taako would be leaving work to pick Angus up from school, so Kravitz grabbed his keys and phone from his office and went to the parking garage with that destination in mind. The drive was easy pre-rush hour and he drove as his boyfriend would (double the speed limit at least) until he arrived at the series of tall buildings that made up the school's compact campus.
The end-of-day bell rang just as he pulled into the parking lot, so he left the car running when he got out so it didn't get too cool. Only a minute later, Taako's car turned the corner at a predictably inadvisable pace. He must have spotted Kravitz just as easily because he parked right beside him.
Kravitz could never think his boyfriend looked anything less than stunning but this was the first time he had seen him face-to-face in a week and his entire demeanor screamed exhausted. Taako still dredged up a smile for him, coming forward and giving Kravitz a quick peck on the mouth. "Hello, handsome," he murmured in a low voice.
"Hello yourself, darling." Kravitz brushed his thumb over the left side of Taako's hairline, smoothing little rebellious curls of hair flat against his head. "Would you and Angus mind joining me for an early dinner?"
Taako's hesitation was obvious in his dark eyes as he stared up at Kravitz. "I need to ask Angus first," he finally replied. Then he looked away, taking a step back and crossing his arms defensively over his chest. "Neither of us slept last night and he might want to go home."
"I understand, don't worry," Kravitz tried to soothe him, but he didn't reach for Taako again, putting his hands in his pockets instead.
The front doors of the main building opened and Taako turned around, tired eyes going sharp to find Angus in the rush of students leaving to their cars and busses. It took a few minutes for Angus' familiar head of curly black hair to appear in the courtyard, but Taako immediately raised his hand, waving Angus over.
He seemed normal at first. He didn't smile at Taako but he quickly walked over with his hands wrapped around the straps of the bag on his back rather than avoiding him. When he was within touching distance he practically fell against Taako with arms around his waist. "Hi Dad," he murmured almost inaudibly.
Angus was short and thin for his age, and usually Taako had no trouble lifting and carrying him, but today Kravitz watched him pull what looked like a leather hairband out of his messenger bag and cast Levitate. Angus had only floated about an inch off the ground before Taako grabbed hold of him and settled him on his hip.
It took that long for Angus to realize Kravitz was standing there as well. "Sir," he said in greeting--Kravitz could barely hear him but his mouth formed the word almost reluctantly. "You're going on a date?"
"No, baby, we're taking you to dinner if you want to go. Otherwise me and you can go home," Taako said against his temple.
Angus was already shaking his head before Taako could finish, and Kravitz tried to push down his disappointment, until Angus replied, "Dinner. Please."
"We can take my car so your dad doesn't have to drive," Kravitz offered, opening the door to the backseat on the driver's side. "I'll get you a Lyft back to your car in the morning."
Taako, who prided himself on making his own decisions, looked nothing but relieved to have this decision taken out of his hands. "Sure. Thanks, Krav." He smiled, a bit more genuine this time. Then he helped Angus into the backseat, placed his backpack on the floor in front of him, and ended the Levitation with a dismissive wave of his hand. "What's the occasion? I'm not missing an anniversary, am I?"
"Our anniversary is in the spring," Kravitz answered immediately, and then felt his face heat despite the cold air outside. "Er, and there's no occasion. Wanted to see you two."
"Sorry we've--I've--been so unavailable lately," Taako sighed. He got into the car before Kravitz could open his door, so Kravitz followed, shifting the car into reverse to leave the quickly emptying lot. Taako's attention was entirely on Angus, turned almost completely in his seat to watch him listlessly stare out the window much the same as Kravitz had been earlier that day.
"It's quite alright." As with most other times he had to break unpleasant news or ask a difficult question, Kravitz said without thinking, "I found Angus a children's sleep specialist."
Taako's gaze immediately shifted to him. He could feel it, as if Taako had cast Detect Thoughts but there was no prompt for him to make a Wisdom save or Intelligence contest. "A sleep specialist," Taako repeated. "Sounds expensive, Kravitz."
Kravitz cleared his throat, glancing away from the road for a moment to gauge Taako's expression. Unfortunately it was unreadable; the use of his full name certainly didn't bode well. "Well, I, um. Wanted to pay for it."
"You didn't ask me before doing this?"
"I-I didn't pay her yet, or even contact her," Kravitz said, taking a risk and reaching over with his right hand to touch Taako's knee in a calming gesture. "I can send you all the information I have. It was just a thought."
"I'm not doing anything wrong, Kravitz," Taako said. His voice had grown clipped and spiteful. "I can take care of my own fucking kid. I don't need some bitch with a degree to tell me I'm fucking him up."
Kravitz didn't know how to reply. Taako had never been so angry at him, especially not for a simple suggestion. He knew it was probably mostly frustration from lack of sleep and anxiety over his son but it still made Kravitz want to snap right back. "I know," he said instead. "I'm sorry, Taako, I didn't mean to upset you."
"I'm not fucking upset." Taako pushed Kravitz' hand off his leg in a sharp gesture. "Fuck you."
"Do you want me to drive you back?" Kravitz asked while pulling off the main road into an empty lot. He wasn't a saint; Taako's belligerence was testing his patience and he was ready to turn the car around. "You can call me when you get a grip, T--oh, darling, don't cry."
Taako put his hands over his eyes, not quite at the point of sobbing but still visibly distressed enough to make Kravitz nervous. Taako had never cried in front of him before and he wasn't sure what to do. "I'm so fucking tired, Kravitz, I can't fucking do this," he said into the heels of his palms. Then he sighed in a sharp exhale. "Send me the shit about the specialist."
An answering sniffle came from the back seat. "I'm sorry Daddy," Angus said wetly, both small hands clenched tightly in the hem of his sweater. "I'm trying to be good, I promise."
Kravitz hadn't cried in years but he felt like he could right then, sitting in his car in the middle of some kind of collective tearful breakdown by his two favorite people. Taako tugged his seatbelt off so hard as to almost snap the latch and then got out of the car, climbing into the backseat instead.
"You're so good, Angus, you're always being good," Taako said, immediately pulling Angus into his lap and dropping kisses into his hair. "This isn't your fault, okay, pumpkin?"
Making a purely emotional decision, Kravitz left the driver's seat and joined the two of them in the back. Taako, with Angus' face pressed into the side of his neck as he continued crying, reached for him and took his hand. "Kravitz is going to get help for you, okay? I didn't mean it when I yelled at him. He was only trying to help you feel better."
"It's a lot of money," Angus said, voice muffled against Taako's scarf.
"Money doesn't matter," Kravitz and Taako said in unison. Taako sent Kravitz a teary smile, continuing, "I don't like having boyfriends come in and out of Angles' life but I feel like… you weren't a huge mistake. If you want to pay for a specialist, go right ahead."
Kravitz took the backhanded compliment with grace. "We can research them together, Taako. Of course you get final say." He hesitated, watching Angus' breathing even out like he was ready for sleep even though his glassy eyes were wide open. "We can start this evening. Then maybe," he said, actually hopeful, "you and Angus can sleep a bit."
"Maybe," Taako said in a wry voice. Then he sighed again. "Can you give us a minute?" Kravitz lifted Taako's hand to his mouth and brushed a kiss over his fingers--something that never failed to make him blush--before obediently stepping out of the car. It wasn't so cold that he would rush them to get going but he was glad he thought to leave the heater on inside.
rest assured angus will return to his normal, inquisitive self once this is all sorted out. taako will also return to teasing him mercilessly. lack of sleep always makes me teary, too