For a long time, they don’t say anything. Taako glances down at the man in their arms, Kravitz looking back with tears in his eyes. He’s still shaken, though the color is slowly returning to his cheeks as he drinks in the sight of the elf, whole and unharmed. After a few minutes of this, Taako grins.
“Gee, Bone Daddy - if you wanted to see me that badly, you could have just asked!” Their tone is joking, but it’s ruined by the wet shine in their eyes and the slightly watery thickness of their voice. Smiling softly, they continue in a more serious tone: “I tried to call you, let you know what was happening. I know you worry about me dying, even though I PROMISE I never have before. But… This time was real, and I know it must have hurt you. I’m sorry.”
Kravitz clutches the elf tighter, silent for a long moment before he responds. “It was… worse than the other times. The tattoo just kept flashing grey, it was like… I felt you dead and alive at the same time, so many times. I don’t… How is that even possible? I don’t know how long it went on for, before… Did Istus bring you here or was I dreaming that?”
“Istus brought me, babe. And it was an hour - we were stuck in a loop, redoing the same hour until we could break it without dying. Istus couldn’t do it herself, it was another of those stupid damned Relics. But she helped us get out, and she came to check on you, so I guess I’m not quite as mad as I could be. Awesome as I am, even Taako can’t tell the gods how to do their business, yanno?” Taako’s voice perks up at the end of their explanation, returning to something resembling their normal inflection. Looking down at Kravitz’s face, they decide not to explain more than that, at least not now. He doesn’t need to know about cave-ins and explosions and everything else that’s happened today.
“Okay, bone boy. Off the floor! I don’t care if you are a skeleton, it’s bad for your joints.” Taako hops to their feet, grabbing their boyfriend by the hands and pulling Kravitz up with them. The Reaper is still quiet, pliable, but there’s a small smile on his face as Taako sets him down on the couch properly and bounces off in the direction of the kitchen. “You better have some good booze in here, babe! Cuz what we need right now is to get shit-faaaaced!” Taako grins triumphantly as they lift a bottle of wine out of Kravitz’s cupboard, hearing a small laugh from the living room as they fill the Reaper’s house with as much life and color as they can.
“I’m not literally a skeleton, Taako!”
A few hours later, the pair sits snuggled on Kravitz’s couch. There’s empty wine bottles on the table in front of it, and a roaring fire in the fireplace. Kravitz glances down at his lap, where Taako’s curled up around yet another bottle, half asleep and literally purring. The constant reassurance that his elf is here, safe, settles something in Kravitz’s chest. His head is floating from the copious amounts of alcohol, and the knot in his heart that tightened when he saw his mark change, loosens once again. It’s not gone - it’s been there since the first time his tattoo greyed out, but… it’s looser than it ever has been. He smiles down at Taako, smoothing the elf’s golden hair and planting a kiss to the top of their head.
As he kisses Taako’s hair, Kravitz feels a movement from his soulmate as Taako smiles into his stomach. Less asleep than Kravitz had thought, then. Taako shifts, sitting up to smile properly at their boyfriend. “That’s not a kiss, silly. Let Taako show you how it’s done.”
With an impish smile, the elf leans up, wrapping their arms around Kravitz’s neck as they draw him into a deep, slow kiss. As their lips move against one another’s, Taako’s soft and pouty while Kravitz’s are slightly chapped, it doesn’t feel like what he expected. He’d always heard that kisses were passionate, and wild. Tongues battling for dominance, or… something. This feels comfortable. Taako’s normal wild energy is transformed into focus, soft, purposeful movements as the elf smiles against his mouth. The kiss feels - comfortable, sweet. Like coming home, and Kravitz drowns in its reassurance.
Taako pulls back, looking Kravitz in the eyes with a soft smile. There’s something like fear in their eyes, but they wave off his look of concern. “You know… Cha’boi Taako’s always been alone. I haven’t really… The last person I thought I cared about left me in the end, so it’s… not easy to say this. But you’re special. I think… I think I…” Taako begins to stutter, the words they struggle to speak shining through their eyes in a clear declaration. Kravitz pulls them closer for another kiss.
“I’m glad. But you don’t have to say it yet. We’ve got all the time in the world, now. I love you. No strings, I don’t need to hear it until you want to say it, but it’s been true for as long as I can remember. I loved the idea of you, I mourned you all those times - but now you’re here and I love you more than ever. I won’t ever leave you, not if I can help it.”
Taako stares, tears streaming down their cheeks at Kravitz’s words. “That’s… I’ve never… Oh gods, I love you too.” Burying their face in the reaper’s chest, Taako clings to their boyfriend, joyful and nervous at the same time as they realize the truth of what they just said. Kravitz just smiles down at his soulmate, feeling Taako’s heart beat faster against his chest as he plays with the elf’s braid. Today was… bad, but if this is his reward? The pain was worth it.