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Taako had some…odd ticks. Everyone who worked with him, even only briefly, noticed some of them.

When he sang a song that had more than one part, he would leave a space instead of singing the second part. Most of his travel companions eyed him oddly, wondering if he meant them to join in, but Taako kept going, only leaving just enough time for the duet. Merle and Magnus happily filled in, which felt…okay. Familiar, if not quite right.

Taako always referred to himself as “we”, which was easily brushed off and was not that odd, because Taako was nothing if not a diva. But those who got to know him better noticed he did it even when he wasn’t putting on an act. Even in the quiet peace of a moment of downtime, when Taako was almost calm. Magnus thought it was odd because most of Taako’s more divaish traits faded a bit when they were alone and tired.

Even before Sazed, when he was cooking for himself, Taako always made enough for two when he cooked. He laughed to himself and passed it off as not being able to judge portions, but he always got it right when he was cooking for a crowd, and later, for him and Sazed.

One had only been seen by Sazed, and he hadn’t cared. Taako, when he was just waking up and was puttering sleepily around the stagecoach kitchen, moved like there was another person sharing the space. He danced lightly out of the way of elbows that weren’t there and ducked slightly as he turned, as though avoiding a pan passing over his head on the way to the stove. After Glamoursprings, he didn’t go into a kitchen again until he spent almost 10 hours trying to make macarons for his new family in the Bureau of Balance, trying to cook around the bubbles of panic that kept rising to the surface. No one had been there that time but they probably wouldn’t have seen anything odd even if they had been. Taako’s rhythm was wrong and he was stumbling so there was no space made for the ghost.

On the run, Taako was jumpy and nervous and desperate for a familiar warmth at his back telling him it was okay because they were together. No one else noticed this one, but Taako did and he hated it. He’d always been alone before. He should be used to this.

Angus noticed things. Many things. He noticed that Taako moved like a part of an act. How he leaned towards a person that wasn’t there. How, sometimes, Taako started talking to himself like he expected someone to answer, before catching himself and going quiet, with a small frown and a shake of the head. Angus wasn’t an idiot. He was the World Greatest Detective. Someone was missing from the pair that Taako should have belonged to and he was going to find out who.

First of all how dARE

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