Diego falls to his knees at Eudora's side. "No, no please. C'mon wake up. C'mon Patch." He doesn't realize he's crying until a tear drips down his nose and onto Eudora's cheek.
He gathers her limp body in his arms and presses his forehead into her shoulder. "I'll get them. I'll get who did this to you. Don't worry, they're gonna pay for this."
At the piercing wail of sirens approaching, Diego presses a tender kiss to her forehead and gently lays her back down. It kills him to leave her there, alone and soaking in a puddle of her own blood, but he knows that he’ll be suspect number one in her murder and he can't stay. He has to leave if he’s going to get his revenge.
Stroking her hair one last time, he gets up and is just about to dart through the door when he hears something just under the noise of the sirens. It's a whiny sort of quiet sob coming from the closet.
Carefully, Diego creeps towards the closet door, pulling one of his knives out, he holds it in his hand ready to throw if he has to. He pauses for a second and hears the sob again. It’s high pitched and sounds almost like a child in pain. Counting to three, Diego yanks the door open and promptly feels as if a brick has been dropped onto his chest.
Tucked away in the closet, like a dirty secret, is his brother. Klaus is duct taped to a chair with another piece slapped over his mouth, muffling his sobs. He's only wearing a thin towel wrapped around his waist and he's covered in sweat, his hair damp and lifeless, tears streaking through the blood and grime down his face. Diego stands frozen as he stares at the wounds that mar his brother’s chest. Cuts of varying severity are slashed across his body, there’s an enormous black bruise on one side of his chest, and cigarette burns are scattered across his shoulders. There’s blood everywhere and Diego can see that Klaus’ wrists are red and swollen around the tape that binds him to the chair.
Diego is pulled out of his trance when his brother lets out a tiny whimper and rushes to him, grasping his face. Klaus stares up at him with glassy, vacant eyes, void of any recognition. Carefully, so as not to cause him any more pain. Diego pulls the tape covering Klaus’ mouth off and tosses it to the side as if it burns. Once it’s off, Klaus lets out another pitiful whimper and starts to mutter nonsensically.
“Shhh, shhh Klaus. Don’t worry, I’m here. I’ve got you.” Diego swiftly cuts the remaining tape that ties Klaus to the chair, taking care not to injure his brother anymore. He’s all too aware of the sound of the sirens is getting closer and Diego knows that it’s over if they’re caught in the room with his friend’s dead body.
Klaus still makes no indication that he’s aware of what’s going on, consistently muttering to himself, so Diego sweeps him up into his arms and starts to make his way to his car, sparing one last look at Eudora. But once they’re out of the room, something causes Klaus to start panicking. He starts to struggle in Diego’s arms and his mutters turn to shouting. Diego desperately tries to calm Klaus down while still trying to make it to the car. The sirens are getting even closer and Diego is afraid they’ll be caught. They’re tearing down the stairs when Diego almost drops him brother and he realizes that this won’t work.
Gently placing Klaus down on his feet, Diego keeps a hold of his upper arms to keep him steady on his feet. He pushes him into the corner of the stairwell, propping him up, and grabs onto Klaus’ face by holding his cheeks.
“Hey, hey. Look at me. Do you know who I am?”
It takes a few seconds, Klaus’ eyes rolling around in his head trying look anywhere but at Diego’s face, but finally Klaus looks at him and nods.
“Who am I? What’s my name?”
Klaus is panting when he says, “Diego, you’re Diego. You’re my brother.”
“Yes, good. I’m Diego, I’m your brother and I’m not going to let anything happen to you. Do you understand? Do you trust me?” He strokes his thumb across Klaus’ cheek, hoping it provides him some comfort.
Again, Diego receives a nod. “Good, we’re getting out of here. I need you to stay calm.”
Klaus puts one of his hands on Diego’s shoulders and he takes that to mean that his brother understand. He quickly scoops him back up and resumes his dash to the car. It sounds like the sirens are in the parking lot now, but they seem to be on the other side of the building. He knows it’s only a matter of time before one of the officers comes around to this side so he picks up the pace, making sure not to jostle his brother.
They finally reach the car, luckily without being seen, and Diego carefully puts his brother in the backseat so he can lay down if he wants. As soon as he’s in the driver’s seat, Diego guns it out of the parking lot, headed towards the Academy.
As they make their way home, Diego keeps glancing at Klaus through the rearview mirror. His brother is still muttering to himself, staring out of the window, and silently crying. He has his arms wrapped around himself and is shivering. And when Diego sees that, he wants to kick himself. Of course Klaus has got to be freezing. He’s only wearing a towel. A thin bloodied and dirty towel that is damp from sweat.
Diego blasts the heat as high as he can and pulls into an abandoned parking lot. He surges out of the car and heads to the trunk. He has a shitload of supplies in there for his vigilantism. He pulls out a thick blanket as well as a bottle of water and an old packet of crackers. He figures Klaus hasn’t had anything to eat or drink since he was kidnapped and that was almost two days ago.
He gets into the backseat with Klaus and carefully wraps the blanket around his thin form. Klaus lets out a sigh and pulls it tighter around himself.
“Hey buddy, when’s the last time you ate?” He asks gently.
Diego jolts when Klaus bursts into hysterical tears, not realizing just how emotionally exhausted his brother really is. He doesn’t know what to do, not familiar with comforting anyone.
“I – I don’t know. I can’t remember.” Klaus wails.
“Hey, shhh, don’t worry. You don’t have to remember. I didn’t mean to upset you. C’mon breathe. Big breaths.” Diego tries to soothe him, thinking about what Mom would so for him, he wraps his arms around his brother and pulls him into his side, rubbing one of his hands up and down Klaus’ arm.
It takes a while for Klaus to calm down enough, but when he does, Diego silently rips open the cracker packet and offers it to him. “It might be a little stale, but it should still taste alright.” Klaus takes the top one and chews it with silent tears still streaming down his face.
When Klaus doesn’t make a move to take another one, Diego offers the packet again and says, “It’s okay, eat some more. Have them all if you want.”
Klaus looks at him with big, innocent eyes, as if saying: Really? For me? And that’s a real punch to the gut. Diego wonders when the last time any of their siblings, including himself, had done anything for Klaus for him to be this hesitant in taking more than one simple cracker. He hands the entire packet over to his brother and watches him eat it slowly. Klaus occasionally looks up at him as if he’s afraid that Diego will change his mind and take it away from him at any second. Once half of the packet is gone, Diego cracks open the bottle of water and hands that over as well. “Drink that, all of it please.”
After assuring himself that Klaus is going to be okay for the rest of the ride, Diego gets back in the front seat and starts driving again. As they drive, Diego keeps an eye on Klaus through the rearview mirror, making sure he’s sipping the water and nibbling on the crackers. He decides that when they get home, after he gets Klaus fixed up and in a bath, Diego is going to get him waffles. He remembers the last time his brother was in the backseat and how much Klaus wanted waffles on the day of the funeral. Watching him now, Diego feels guilty for not getting him any then and he wants to make it up to him.
And suddenly, as if he’s been hit by a bull, Diego realizes how close they all came to losing Klaus. How close he came to never being able to make anything up to Klaus. He struggles to breathe because they could’ve lost him and never known that he was even gone. They’d have all just assumed that Klaus had disappeared into the alleys, floating away with the help of any drug he could get his hands on with no one to tether him back to Earth. No one, absolutely none of the siblings had realized that their brother was missing. Kidnapped.
They should’ve known. Klaus, even drugged up and looking for his next hit, would never have abandoned his family after they’d been attacked in their home. And why no one had bothered to check on him was beyond anything Diego could comprehend. That was on him too. He should’ve made sure to check on Klaus after the fight. He knew that he was there in the house that night, but he never registered that fact that Klaus was missing after the drama with Mom and Five. When Klaus needed their help the most, they never even realized that he was gone. Hazel and Cha-Cha would’ve eventually killed him and none of their siblings would’ve been there to stop them.
Taking a deep breath, Diego makes a promise to himself. No matter what, no matter when, he’s going to be there for his brother. No matter how their father had treated them, Klaus was still his brother, his brother who deserved to be loved by the only family he had and who deserved to be treated as family and not some junkie looking for attention. They had already lost one brother and just got back another. Diego wasn’t going to lose Klaus. That was a promise.