What about 70 from the dialogue prompts w Taako + one of his friends (you pick!!),,,I always love a rare Taako Sincerity Moment <3
70. "I like that about you."
((prompts here - still accepting!!))
Taako and Lup were fighting, which was never good. Granted, Merle had never seen them have a legitimate fight in the past five years he's known 'em, but the vibes they're giving out... not good. Merle had to pry the story out of Barry, who had been the only one with them when it all went down. He explained it in a quiet voice as Merle gave him a final once-over from the injuries he had gained on the mission. The healing potions seemed to have worked well.
"I think Taako, uh, Taako just wanted to leave me behind?" Barry said. "I was pretty concussed at the time, I'm not gonna lie. But, uh. But I was very low on hitpoints, Taako wanted to just head back 'cus we weren't exactly winning the fight we were in, and- and Lup didn't wanna do that."
"Hm," Merle said. "How do you feel about all that?"
"How do I feel?" Barry repeated and at Merle's confirmation, he went on. "I'm, uh. I mean, I'm a little hurt, but I get it, y'know? The cycle's almost over, I woulda been back next month. Probably."
"Probably," Merle agreed. "You glad Lup got you out?"
"Yeah," Barry said. "I mean, uhm. Only Magnus and you have really died before. I don't know if I... If I ever wanna do that. I wanna know in like... a morbid way, kinda? Like I wanna know what it feels like. But not like that."
"I getcha," Merle said. "Any consultation, poison is not the way to go! That sucked!"
Merle had been struck by a poisoned arrow with about three months left to the third cycle. It hadn't been great. Barry cracked a small smile.
"I'll take your word for it," he said. "I'm gonna go, uh. Get back to the lab. At least we got the Light, right?"
"True that!" Merle said.
The mood over dinner was killer. Merle kind of felt like the tension between Lup and Taako could power its own magic flying boat-ship. Taako stabbed into his food like a madman. Lup was just... not eating.
"So, uh," Merle said. "Good grub, good grub. Anyone seen anything interesting lately? Any cool bugs? A neat plant?"
"Well, I saw this awesome berry bush a bit away from the ship!" Merle said. "I showed it to Lucretia so she could draw it. Wasn't it cool, Luce?"
"Uh," Lucretia said, looking very much like she didn't want to say anything about the berry bush. "It was very... green. The berries were very, uh. Berry-like."
"No offense," Merle joked, patting Barry's arm. Barry looked incredibly uncomfortable but offered Merle a smile. "Anyone else? Capt'n?"
Another silence. Davenport, awkward and glancing nervously between everyone, opened his mouth to speak, but-
"I saw my brother almost leave behind our crewmate to die," Lup put in loudly.
"Oh fuck off," Taako said, pushing his plate away. "He woulda been back anyway!"
"But you didn't even try to help him-"
"Have you met me, Lup? Have you met yourself? When did you start trying to help folks?"
"When I started fucking caring about them!" Lup said, standing up. "And when I started not being emotionally constipated like some people here-"
"Lup," Davenport said, standing up. "Taako. I think it'd be best to take a second-"
"Oh, I'm the bad guy here?" Taako snapped. "I don't dive recklessly even further into a battle to try to save someone who'd be fine anyway!"
"It wasn't reckless, dumbass, what's reckless the behavior that started the fight in the first place-"
"Who fucking cares," Taako said, standing up. He rolled his eyes so hard that Merle thought they were just gonna pop out of his head. "I'm going to my bunk, I don't wanna- I'm not gonna sit here and deal with whatever shit you've got going on."
"Yeah, sure, run away!" Lup said, despite the fact that she was going towards the kitchen to escape the conversation as well. She slammed the door behind her. A few seconds of silence passed and another door slammed as well, further away.
The tension was different now, but somehow just as uncomfortable.
Merle decided, of his own free will and without consulting anyone, that he was gonna go talk to Taako. His bunk, which he shared with Magnus, was at the end of the hallway. Merle figured that he could at least get in with the pretense of needing to get some things for Lup to sleep in the common area.
"We're closed!" Taako called back.
"I don't think we live in a store, kid," Merle said.
"Don't care!" Taako said. "We're closed!"
"I'm coming in," Merle said. When tried to open the door, it didn't budge. Time to break out his lie. "Lup needs her shit if she's gonna sleep on the couch. At least let me get her a blanket."
Taako didn't respond. After a moment, Merle heard the creak of bedsprings and the shuffle of cloth. Then, Taako was at the door, shoving a blanket and a pillow towards Merle. He almost had gotten the door closed before Merle could even blink, but Merle managed to wedge a pillow between the door and the doorframe just in time.
"You're not here for Lup's shit," Taako accused.
"I'm not," Merle agreed, very casually walking through the gap that was left. He had to squeeze a bit, but Taako just scoffed instead of trying to shut the door on him. "Can we talk?"
"We don't have anything to talk about," Taako said, sitting on the edge of his bed. Merle deposited the blanket and pillow near the door.
He didn't come in here very often- he didn't have any reason to. The room was a mess, but Merle had an inkling that it had some sort of organization to it. Lup's bed was made. Taako's looked like a tornado had gone through. Without asking permission, Merle sat next to him and Taako made a noise of disgust.
"I wanna ask you somethin'," Merle said.
"Did Lup send you?" Taako asked drily. "Or Davenport? Like- what is this?"
"Nah, I came by myself," Merle said. "Actually, I think Dav would suggest the opposite of talking to you right now."
"Leaving me alone, great, you should listen to him."
"Nah," Merle said again. "I have a question. Wanna hear it?"
Taako groaned but seemed to understand that he probably couldn't get Merle to leave. That was good because Merle had run out of lies on why he needed to be here.
"Shoot," Taako said, putting his face in his hands.
"Who's your favorite person, besides Lup?" Taako peaked up from his hands and gave Merle a hard stare. Merle shrugged, raising his hands defensively. "Just askin', man! Doesn't have to be anyone on the crew. They don't even have to be on this plane, or alive, or anything. But tell me someone, besides Lup, who you really like."
Taako was silent, putting his head back in his hands completely. Merle kicked his legs, his feet not quite reaching the ground, as he waited. It took long enough that Merle began to worry that Taako wouldn't answer at all, but finally, he answered with,
"Ooh, yeah?" Merle said. "Why d'you like her so much?"
"I don't know!" Taako said defensively, throwing his hands up. "Why did you care so much!"
"Just curious!" Merle said. "What's she like? Did she ever give you any good gifts? I had an aunt, once, but she called me a loser."
"You are a loser," Taako muttered. "She was... smart."
"A good quality," Merle said. "Was that her one personality trait? Smart?"
"No," Taako bit out. "She could cook really well. She taught Lup and me, but I'm better at it."
"I believe ya," Merle said.
"Lup can bake better, I guess," Taako said, quietly, like that had been a secret. "Auntie taught us Goblin and how to sow, even though she liked knitting better. She always had knitting needles in her hair, I think to keep it up 'cus when she was knitting, her hair was always down. And she gave us our first spellbook and she didn't get mad when I set her bed on fire by accident."
"No joke?" Merle asked. "I woulda been at least a little mad."
"She was kind," Taako said. "And so fuckin' funny. She didn't care if we swore, like some of our cousins did. And she- she got it when we told her that life was tough. She didn't make fun of us or dismiss us or say that we were too young to know."
"Really smart, then," Merle said. "What happened to her?"
Taako's posture sort of sagged- more than it already was. He sighed.
"Got really sick," he admitted. "She set us up with some shit we would need and let us know when we had to go. No bullshit or coddling or anything, just told us what was happening and that we needed to go."
"Did you want to go?" Merle asked. "That seems like it was a pretty good setup you had going."
"'Course I didn't wanna go," Taako scoffed. "We didn't, at first. But, uh. Lup and Auntie convinced me to leave. She wasn't able to do much for us anymore. Sucks to see someone you care about getting hurt, anyway."
"So you had to go," Merle said. "Not just smart, then. Wise. Knew what'd be best for ya."
"Yeah," Taako said. "It's whatever, Merle, it happened ages ago. Why do you care?"
"'Cus you care," Merle said, nudging him in the side a little too hard. Taako grunted and looked towards him finally.
"You're full of bullshit sometimes, y'know?"
"You'd rather see someone come back fresh than have to live with a lotta pain," Merle said, patting his leg. "I like that about you, Taako. It's a good thing, don't look so upset. I just wanna let you know that while some people would want you to leave them if they're suffering, some others might not. Better to ask, yeah?"
"Oh, yeah, sure, next time I'll ask Barry if he'd rather get stabbed to death before I leave," Taako said sarcastically.
"Just think about it," Merle said, hopping off the bed and heading towards the door. "Might not be the smartest thing to do, but it'd be pretty wise."
He picked up the blanket and pillow, eyes barely peeking out from the pile in his arms.
"Can ya open the door?" Merle asked and Taako sighed, crossing the room to open the door for him. However, he stopped with his hand on the door handle and said, without looking at Merle again,
"Leave Lup's stuff."
Merle shrugged and dropped them. Taako opened the door, letting him out. On his way back up to the common area, he passed Lup sitting against the wall closest to the Starblaster's entrance, tossing a few magical balls of light between her fingers.
"Hiya," Merle said, sliding down next to her. He thumped to the floor and Lup winced, one of the lights extinguishing.
"I'm not really in the mood, Merle," she said.
"That's fine, that's fine," Merle said, waving away her concern. "I just got a question for ya."