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The Planets in a Rose

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They were 13 again.

Which half sucked and half was a relief, because the alternative to being 13 was being dead.

Klaus’s head felt like it was filled with cotton, his limbs felt out of whack and he absolutely hated time travel. The rest of his siblings weren’t doing that well either. All of them sitting on the floor in their younger bodies- uniforms and all- groaning and looking slightly greener than usual. Five looked about to collapse, Vanya was still out of it, and even Ben looked younger, which was odd given he was a ghost.

“Ben?” Diego suddenly said, his eyes widening. Klaus blinked in surprise, his eyes meeting Ben’s in surprise.

“You can see me?” He whispered, sounding so hopeful and happy and Diego barely even had time to nod before Ben launched himself at him, wrapping his brother in a tight hug. The other siblings got over their shock and joined in, all talking and greeting him and more than one of them was sobbing as they hugged their long dead sibling. Klaus stayed off to the side, unsure of how to join but happy either way.

Ben was alive.

He tried to ignore the small pang of fear, the voice at the back of his head telling him that he was alone now that Ben had no obligation to stay there with him.

He pushed it aside because Ben had broken out of the circle of teary-eyed siblings and was walking towards him, his eyes wet as he stopped a few feet in front of Klaus. Neither of them said anything, but Klaus slowly reached out, his fingers hovering over Ben’s cheek. Would his hand pass through like it always had, his fingers phasing through his brother?

He slowly touched his brother’s cheek, sobbing in relief as he felt the solid form under them, the warmth radiating off of him and the slick feeling of tears under his finger tips.

“Ben.” He said brokenly, before collapsing into his brother, his arms wrapping around the solid alive form of his brother.

“Klaus.” Ben replied, his voice sounding just as ragged. “God you’re strangling me.”

Klaus laughed, pulling back but letting his hands linger, marvelling in the fact that Ben was alive and real and he could touch him.

“I hate to break up this positively heartwarming reunion,” Five said, sounding tired and worn out yet still managing to fill every words with an absurd amount of sarcasm. “But we should love somewhere more secure because I really don’t want to find out how Reginald will react to us sitting in the front entrance in the middle of the night.”

Klaus reluctantly let go of his brother, standing close enough that he could still feel Ben’s body heat. Before his death Ben was always outrageously hot, it seems like that hadn’t changed much. After a small amount of arguing they agreed on Luther’s room, since it was easily the largest out of them all.

Allison carried Vanya up the stairs despite literally everyone else’s offers too, and the two of them were on the bed, Vanya still out of it and Allison holding her up with a troubled look in her eyes. Diego was standing by the wall, half in darkness as he watched over them all. Luther was standing awkwardly near the middle of the room, looking like he didn’t know what to do. Ben was sitting on the window still, staring around and looking uncomfortable. Five was pacing, looking about to collapsed and Klaus sat in the middle of the room, legs crossed and his back pressed against the wardrobe.

They stayed silent for a long moment, and Klaus took a moment to take a deep breath. He was fairly sober, although he could still feel a faint buzz under his skin. Maybe from whatever the hell his younger self was doing before he dropped in?

Either way, he wasn’t high enough to get rid of the familiar ghosts on the edge of his vision. There was a woman standing in the corner, her clothes soaked and skin grey as she dripped water onto the ground. Another man stood by the door, no outward signs of death except the ring of bruises around his neckline. The male ghost was staring at Klaus, his eyes boring into him.

Klaus refused to acknowledge him in any way, luckily both ghosts were silent, but as soon as they realized Klaus could see them that would change.

God he really wanted a drink right now.

“So what do we do now?” Luther broke the silence, and everyone turned to stare at him.

“Aren’t you Number One?” Diego asked mockingly. “Shouldn’t you be the one to come up with the plan?”

Klaus sighed, closing his eyes and cursing god for two headstrong and annoying older brothers.

“Look, I know you guys don’t agree with what I did.” Luther started, and Five stepped forwards, cutting them both off.

“Hey idiots, we have more important things to deal with than the both of you comparing dick sizes.” He hissed, and Klaus smirked slightly, he would defiantly be using that one in the future. “We need to figure out what we’re going to do.”

“We need to help Vanya.” Allison spoke up softly, her hand wrapped around her neck like she was afraid her voice would disappear if she let go. “Repair what we ruined.”

“Is that safe?” Luther asked, and Allison glared up at him with so much anger in her eyes that it even put Klaus on edge.

“I don’t care.” She hissed, tugging Vanya closer into her side. “She’s our sister and she deserves better.”

“I agree.” Five said again, stepping forwards. “We need to help train her, harness her powers until she’s able to properly use them without fear.”

“What if she’s still dangerous?” Luther pushed.

“Jesus Luther-“ Allison started, but Luther cut her off.

“She wasn’t herself when she broke out of her room,” Luther started.

“Her cage.” Klaus corrected, but no one listened to him and Luther continued on.

“There’s a possibility that she could still be dangerous to herself and the rest of us, we need to take precautions.” Luther was saying, oblivious to the way every single one of his siblings wanted to punch him out.

“That’s the kind of mindset that pushed her to destroy the world.” Diego hissed, stepping forwards. “Teaching her is the most logical decision.”

“What about her pills?” Ben said, and all his siblings jumped when they heard his voice. “Would she still be on them?”

Klaus had to bite his tongue to stop himself from repeating the question, telling himself that his siblings could hear Ben this time.

“Should we keep her on them?” Luther said, and Allison hissed at him in response. “I mean if dad gave them to her there’s probably a good reason.”

“No. She gets off the pills, their inhumane and cruel.” Five snapped, glaring Luther down. “She stops taking them as soon as she’s up.”

“Uh,” Klaus put his hand up, gaining their attention. “I don’t think that’s a really good idea.”

“No one asked Klaus.” Allison snapped before he could continue. He raised his hand placating before she could murder him.

“Let me talk.” He said, but continued quickly because he knew they wouldn’t. “I think we got thrown into our younger bodies, so that means she’s probably on her meds right now. When she wakes up she’ll still be drugged out. I mean, I feel buzzed and I know I sure as hell was sober as an adult.” He shuddered at the thought. “Taking her off her medication right away will make it worse. If we let her go cold turkey like she did as an adult, that could overwhelm her, make her go through withdrawal. Could put us right where we started.”

“That’s actually pretty smart.” Five allowed, his eyes squinted in the way it did when he was thinking.

“No need to thank me.” Klaus muttered. “We need to slowly take her off of them, maybe down to a pill twice a week or something until she’s in control and won't just be tossed into a world without a pill she’s been taking for years.”

“Fine.” Luther snapped. “We decrease her pills for now until we figure out how to do this. Who’s going to train her?”

There was silence again as everyone thought to themselves.

“Well, I have the most knowledge about physical powers.” Five started. “Ben, your good at knowing how emotions affect powers. Would you be willing to help?”

Ben stayed silent, staring at Five is surprise. He wasn’t used to being addressed. His eyes flickered to Klaus, his eyebrows raising up in a silent question. Klaus half shrugged, his way of saying that it was up to him.

“I’ll do my best.” He finally replied, and Five nodded, before looking around.

“Really, most of us know about controlling our powers and keeping them in check, we can alternate.” Five continued, his eyes snagging on Klaus for a moment too long.

He got the message. Most of us meant everybody but him. Everyone in the room had some talent in controlling or restricting their powers to some degree, except Klaus, who never learned because he dove too deep into drugs. Klaus knew that, everyone knew that, but it still stung.

“What about dad?” Diego spoke up, making everyone stare at him. “Someone will need to distract him or something, make sure he doesn’t realize what’s going on.”

“Someone who is the least use to helping Vanya.” Luther said, agreeing, and they all stayed silent. Klaus knew what they wanted.

“You could just say my name.” He snapped. He didn’t want to do this. Distracting dad meant going through more training, and that meant dealing with the ghosts, with the mausoleum and that was just a no-no. A really big no-no.

“You have the least physical power that we can use.” Allison said, having the decency to sound at least a bit guilty. “The rest of us have possible ways to show her, you don’t.”

“Then it’s decided, Klaus will be in charge of the majority of distracting.” Luther said, and Klaus blinked.

“Hey, don’t I get a say in this?” He protested, feeling the beginning of panic start to claw at his chest.

“Jesus Klaus, this is about Vanya, not you.” Luther snapped, glaring him down, and Klaus shrunk under the force. Luther was right, this wasn’t about him, it was never about him.

“We can take turns helping you.” Ben spoke up, his eyes boring into Klaus’s head with the same understanding worried look.

“That’s only fair.” Diego put in.

“There we go. We have a game plan, now it’s almost morning so we should all go to bed and we can talk more tomorrow.” Five told them, leaving no room for discussion.

“I’ll stay with Vanya.” Allison said, scooping up their still unconscious sister and leaving the room first. Five zapped out in a flash of blue and Diego stalked his way to the door. Klaus sighed, standing up and brushing past Ben, who silently followed them out.

The two of them stood in the hallways in front of their back to back rooms, staring at each other and not really knowing how to proceed.

“This is the first night we’ll spend without each other in 13 years.” Klaus mused, and Ben nodded.

“Night Klaus.” He said softly, slipping into his room.

“Night Ben.” He replied to the already empty hallway.

He walked into his room, taking in the walls that seemed way too close and the darkness pressing in on all sides. He closed his eyes, grateful for his young self for the slight buzz in his head. The ghosts would probably would be so much worse if it wasn’t for that.

He itched for a fix, more week, or maybe some pills or something, but he promised himself he wouldn’t do that again. He had promised Dave that. Promised Ben. He had to be strong this time around, especially if he was tasked with distracting Dad. And god that was going to suck ass wasn’t it. The ghosts would be about as unbearable as his father was.

Speaking of ghosts, the ghost of the man from Luther’s room had followed him, chilling in the side of his room. He tried to ignore him, pretend he couldn’t see him hovering there.

“Your siblings seem like assholes.” The man said, his voice gruff and it made Klaus jump. The ghosts rarely tried to talk to him, mostly at him. “They should have listened to your protests more.”

“Yeah? Are you an expert on us?” Klaus snapped, too tired and empty to deal with this douche.

“No, but their forcing you to do something you don’t want to do and that rubs me the wrong way.” The ghost replied, and Klaus ignored him, instead falling onto the bed and pressing a pillow over his head, maybe he could smother himself.

He fell into an uneasy sleep, visions of the dead and Vietnam surrounding him as heavily as the dark.

_________________________________

 

His mom wandered in a few hours later, turning on the lights and pulling Klaus from an especially unpleasant dream.

“Breakfast is in ten minutes sweetheart, your brother suggested I let you sleep in a bit today, so make sure your up and moving quickly.” She said cheerily, slipping out of the room once more. Klaus sent a quick thanks to whatever brother told their mom that, probably Ben. His head was killing him and the light hurt his eyes, a migraine was coming on and Klaus was not looking forwards to it.

He dragged himself out of bed, looking in his closet and feeling slightly nauseous when he saw his uniform pressed out for him. He tugged it on obediently though, controlling the bile rising in his throat when he felt the scratchy fabric, the suffocating feeling he always got when wearing it.

He stared in the mirror, hating the way he looked. He wasn’t a fan of his younger body this time around. It just wasn’t him. The limbs were too small and gangly, his legs too short and his hair almost straight after years of his father forcing his curls into the smooth strands they were.

He controlled the shudder once more, slipping out of his room and almost running into Ben, who was standing beside the door waiting for him.

“We have like two minutes to get downstairs.” His siblings informed him, and Klaus felt himself relax by being around his favourite brother again.

Klaus nodded, and the two of them stepped down the hall, side by side like they had for years. They walked into the dining room and sat at their usual seats, and jeez Klaus never thought he’d have to do this again.

This was like his worst nightmare all over again, being back here waiting for father to show up.

All six of his siblings- Vanya was missing and he didn’t know how to think about that- were sitting silently. They were all dreading the reunion with their father, even Number One looked nervous.

The man himself walked in a few seconds later, and Klaus’s breath caught in his throat. The asshole looked the same, even after all these years. Same stupid grey hair and ridiculous beard. Same empty eyes with no remorse or sympathy locked inside them.

The man sat down, no words exchanged and picked up his fork, signalling the rest of them to begin. The meal was amazing as always, pancakes and eggs with a single slice of bacon on the side. Grace always outdid herself on things like these and Klaus loved her for it.

“Where is Number Seven?” His father's voice rang out, and all six kids looked up at him with shock and slight fear.

“She wasn’t feeling good sir. She’s sleeping.” Allison spoke up, sounding confident and sure despite the hesitancy in her eyes.

“She isn’t allowed to skip a meal.” His father said lowly, and Klaus was internally freaking out. If Vanya was still out, then their cover could be blown. He felt someone kick his leg, and he looked up at Diego, who was glaring at him in a pointed way. Oh, yeah he was suppose to be distracting his father from thoughts like these wasn’t he?

He racked his mind for anything to say, anything that wouldn’t piss the man off but still gain his attention.

“Did you know that by licking a stamp your consuming 1/10th of a calorie?” He blurted out, making everyone turn to him with mixed faces of annoyance or relief.

“No talking at the table Number Four.” His father said lowly, and it took everything Klaus had not to flinch. He was a thirty-year-old man god damn it, he shouldn’t be so scared of this.

“Almonds are also a part of the peach family.” He pointed out, smiling wildly at his father. He heard Allison snicker slightly.

“Number Four I told you to stop speaking!” His father said, slamming his knife down on the table. Klaus held his gaze for a few seconds before looking back to his plate, eating without another word.

The rest of the breakfast passed in complete silence, his father fuming silently at him. Ben’s leg was pressed against his in silent comfort. The contact always surprised him, but he was beyond grateful for it.

Their father left like usual, without words. And Klaus was beyond grateful that it was Saturday, the only day they didn’t have constant training.

Luther told them they had a meeting in Allison’s room in around two hours, and he glared Klaus down when he said to not be late. Klaus would have been offended if he gave a fuck. He told Ben he was going to take a bath and practically ran to the bathroom, the door shutting behind him and he could finally take a breath.

He tore off his clothes the second he could, getting the stupid outfit away from him and tossed into a pile by the window. He turned the water on as hot as it could go and shoved a bunch of his favourite bubble bath in it.

He was sober now. Could feel the slight withdrawal from the pot covering his mind, his head pounding and his stomach rolling. He felt restless, a constant energy under his skin telling him to move, that he shouldn’t be sitting still.

And the ghosts were back, their screams in the background like they always were. Thankfully, no ghosts were present in the room at the moment, none of them really wanted to see him naked. A shame, he’d love to fuck a ghost.

He finally settled into the tub, the water burning at his skin and forcing his mind to focus on the sharp sting instead of anything else. He lay there for forever, forcing himself to slip under the water and just muffle everything until his lungs burned a bit too much and he was forced to take a breath.

Two hours later he realized that there was a team meeting in five minutes and he was still laying in the tub soaking himself in his attempts at drowning out the world by drowning himself.

So he pulled the plug and stumbled out of the bath, quickly drying himself on and pulling on his clothes. He was going to be late, shit Luther was going to be so pissed at him.

He flew out of the door, practically running towards Allison’s room. He could hear everyone talking inside already, and he stopped in front of the closed door, composing himself a little bit.

“Where is Klaus?” He heard someone, Diego, say and he paused for a minute.

“Late as usual.” Luther grumbled.

“He’ll be here soon.” Ben said, sounding so sure of Klaus. Everyone was silent for a minute.

“You know,” Allison said softly. “You aren’t connected to him anymore. You don’t need to worry about him.”

“I always worry about him.” Ben replied, and Klaus’s heart sunk.

“All she’s saying is that you don’t have to follow Klaus around anymore. You can live your life.” Diego continued, and Klaus felt tears build up under his eyes as he waited for Ben to tell them he knew that, that he choose to stay with Klaus because he loved him, because he cared about Klaus and wanted to be there.

“I know.” Was all Ben said.

Klaus squeezed his eyes shut, slipping on a smile and pushing the door open.

“Sorry, lost track of time.” He said cheerfully, not looking over at Ben.

Everyone in the room- minus Vanya who was still asleep- looked annoyed at him and he forgot how much he hated this. How much his siblings made him feel worthless and stupid and incapable. He wanted to scream at them, wanted to yell at them and scream and show just how much he hated every second of this.

Instead he sat down on the floor, and listened as they talked around him.

“When is she going to wake up?” Allison asked.

“How should I know? She’s unpredictable, I have no clue what’s going to happen next. There’s no instruction manual for this.” Five snapped back, and Klaus zoned out.

He would do anything for a hit right now, his hands were shaking and the ghosts were getting louder, a few hovering on the edge of his vision, not quite there yet but getting there. He wasn’t looking forwards for the next few days, but then again he promised to stay off drugs, so that means this will be the rest of his life.

Dealing with ghosts and his father, the two things he promised himself he would never deal with again.

“You okay?” Ben muttered to him, suddenly sitting by his side and Klaus tried not to jump.

“Yeah.” He responded, used to giving short under his breath responses to Ben when in a public setting.

Ben looked like he wanted to protest, wanted to push further, but Vanya chose that moment to let out a soft whimper, stirring and blinking sluggishly.

Allison was there in a moment, petting her hair back and gripping her shoulder, whispering comforting words as Vanya came back to the world of the living, tears flooding her eyes.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry. Oh my god I’m so sorry.” She rambled, hysteric as she pushed away from Allison and scrambled back, her eyes wide as she panicked.

“She’s having a panic attack.” Five observed, sounding indifferent but there was a note of concern in his voice. Klaus stood up, grabbing Allison and pulling her away.

“Let me try.” He said confidently, kneeling in front of Vanya before they could protest.

“Hey Van, I need you to look at me. Can you do that?” He asked softly, not touching her but letting her have her space. Her chest was heaving, her eyes flickering around before settling on him for a second. “It’s okay, your okay. We’re all safe, your going to be okay.” He kept up the constant stream until Vanya’s eyes finally focussed on him.

“Can you hear me?” He asked, and she nodded. “Can I hold your hand?”

Another nod. He slowly reached out, grabbing he hand and placing it on his chest.

“Breath with me now. Match my breathing.” He instructed, taking exaggerated breaths in and out. It took a while, but eventually she calmed down, her breathing back to normal and the tears no longer leaking from her eyes.

“Klaus.” She whimpered, jumping into his arms and sobbing again. He fell back onto his butt, supporting her and rubbing her back soothingly. He remembered learning how to do this at rehab, holding younger children who wanted their parents to come back and save them from the hell the place was. But this wasn’t some poor drug addicted teenager, this was his younger sister. Little Vanya who was clutching onto him.

Allison was suddenly there too, resting a hand on her sisters’ shoulder and then Vanya was diving into her arms, mumbling her sorries and apologies and Allison soothed her.

Klaus backed off, giving them space.

Diego put a hand on his shoulder. “Let’s go, Allison will explain everything to her.”

Klaus nodded, standing up and following his siblings as the exited the room silently. There was no words for them to speak, but the unspoken agreement was clear.

They were going to help her this time, no matter what it took.

Chapter Text

The first month actually went pretty well.

They were fueled by determination and hope, pushing them towards being a good family this time around.

Every night they would sleep in the same room, huddled together in various positions in case any of them had a nightmare. (Klaus didn’t though, sneaking out after everyone else went to bed and showing up hours before they woke up because there was a reason his room was soundproofed.) They all tried their best to include Vanya and shower her in compliments, slowly weaning her off her medication. She had requested training was put off for a while though out of fear of losing control.

Other than that, every siblings tried to improve. Luther tried to listen to the others more, allowing himself to step down from his Number One role and live a little. Diego tried to not pick any fights and be honestly about his opinions and feelings in a way that didn’t end with everyone screaming at each other. Allison almost never used her powers, using it only once or twice to make Grace or Pogo allow them to do certain things. Five tried to talk to the others in a less condescending way and let them help him with his trauma a tiny bit. Ben was alive, that’s all that mattered. And Vanya was slowly learning to love herself and her siblings.

Klaus didn’t know what he was doing. He was sober and he did his best to keep his father’s mind off of Vanya and her decreased medication dosages. Nothing too big yet thankfully, since Vanya hadn’t wanted to start training yet he only needed to really take his dad's mind off of them for small periods of time.

It was weird, settling into this new lifestyle. His family was actually acting like a family at times and he kept waiting for it to stop. For them to start belittling each other again, for all of their hard work to crumble as they reverted into the trauma riddled people they were.

But nothing happened, even as Klaus realized that he wasn’t actually a part of this family. He was often left out of discussions, out of family bonding sessions and the emotion training that Vanya was going through. But it didn’t matter. It was for the best.

It was worth seeing the smile on Vanya’s lips become brighter and brighter as she became less of a shadow and more of a light source. It was worth it to see Ben chatting to his siblings and glow with happiness whenever they addressed him.

It wasn’t all bad, he still had Ben most of the time. They were still unused to not spending time together, sitting beside each other and often following each other around. Was it unhealthy? Yeah probably, but he couldn’t help it. He loved having his brother still by his side despite not needing to be. It made him feel important, valued.

A month later the shoe dropped.

“Vanya’s starting her serious training now.” Luther said, pulling him to the side in the hallways as they walked to their next class. “I need you to start properly distracting dad now.”

Klaus ignored his heart rate skyrocketing at the thought. “What do you want me to do?” He asked.

“I don’t know, figure it out.” Luther snapped, before walking down the hall again and leaving Klaus alone with his thoughts.

What did they expect him to do? Distract their dad by doing cartwheels down the hallway while they snuck Vanya out every day? Well jokes on them, he didn’t know how to do cartwheels.

Being realistic, it goes without saying that they probably wanted him to do more training with his father. Enamor him with his wondrous powers until their father was forced to take hours off just to poke and prod at him till he bled. But that didn’t matter, because it was Klaus who was bleeding.

He continued to walk to the library, where his next class was, shoving all thoughts from his head.

He spent the rest of the day distracted, his mind wandering to the torturous hours of special training and he tried not to curl into himself when his siblings berated him for being too distracted.

_____________________________

“Klaus?” Vanya said, her voice still quiet as a mouse as she paused in the doorway of the kitchen. “What are you doing?”

“Shh!” He told her, pressing a finger to his lips and winking at her. “Come and help me.”

Vanya hesitantly stepped inside the kitchen, watching as Klaus balanced precariously on the edge of the counter, holding various bowls and pans. He passed them down to her, and she took them without question, placing them on the table behind them. Klaus jumped down from the counter after, stumbling only slightly as he wandered to the fridge.

“What are you doing?” She asked for the second time, and Klaus tutted over his shoulder as he pulled out random things from the fridge.

“I can ask you the same thing sister dear,” He said, his voice a lot louder that hers. He knew that neither their father, Pogo, or Grace could hear them down here unless they started screaming. “Sneaking out after curfew, scandalous.”

“I was getting some water.” Vanya said as she blushed rose red, ducking her head and for a moment he thought he pushed her a bit too far. But then she was looking up at him again, a sly look in her eyes.

“Not nearly as scandalous as you sneaking out nightly to snog boys.” She quipped, and Klaus felt a surprised laugh force its way out of his throat.

“Snog?” He teased. “What, are we in some kind of Harry Potter book?” He said, dancing around her and placing the final ingredients on the counter. Vanya laughed softly, a quiet, reserved noise, but it was there and that was more than enough. “Now help me out.”

“What are we making?” She asked, sounding genuinely curious. He flapped his hand around vaguely.

“Waffles.” He declared.

“We don’t have a waffle press Klaus.” She reminded him.

“So we improvise.” He said with a careless shrug, and Vanya smiled softly at him.

The next hour was spent with the two of them trying- and failing- to keep quiet as they did their best to replicate pancake batter from scratch. It ended up with more batter on their persons than in the bowl, but they were both giggling and carefree as the maneuvered around the kitchen. In the end, they ended up looking a lot more pancaky than anything else, practically raw in the middle and burnt on the outside, but they ate them all either way.

It was nearing four am as they finally finished cleaning up, shushing each other as they stumbled back upstairs, Klaus nearly tripping on the stairs and Vanya had to pull him back up, running silently into his room as they collapsed into laughter.

“Do you think anyone heard us?” Vanya said with a laugh, her face the most relaxed Klaus had ever seen it.

“I sure hope not.” He chuckled. “They can’t hear us in here though. Walls are nice and soundproof.”

“Those were the worst waffles I’ve ever had.” Vanya told him, and Klaus gasped in outrage.

“I’m offended!” He cried. “Appalled at this slander!”

“Klaus!” She cried as he half tackled, half jumped on her and forced them both to collapse back onto his bed into a bundle of laughter.

“That’s what you get for slandering my beautiful waffles.” He told her, wrapping his arms around her and relishing the way she relaxed into his arms without complaints. The girl deserved more hugs.

“Thank you.” She whispered to him. “For not treating me like some breakable little toy. For not tip toeing around me and treating me like a sister.”

Klaus looked up at her, reaching out to cup her face gently. He leaned forwards and pressed a quick kiss to her forehead, tucking her head into his chest and cuddling her slightly harder.

“I promise that one of these days I’ll take you out for proper waffles.” He declared, not bothering to reply to her. She knew what he meant. And the thought of replying to that made emotion choke up his throat. “Filled with whipped cream and so much sugar we will both get diabetes and our teeth fall out.”

“I’m holding you to that.” Vanya said with a smile, her eyes fluttering closed. “Should I be scared for training?”

Klaus thought for a moment, slightly surprised that she would be asking him this.

“Are you almost off your pills?” He asked, slightly derailing the question.

“Once every week now. I’m going to downgrade to once every two weeks in a couple days.” Vanya told him. “You didn’t answer my question.”

“I think your plenty amazing enough that it’ll come naturally. You’ll do amazing.” He settled on after a minute. It was true, he couldn’t see a way that she wouldn’t do good at that.

“You hesitated.” She said, and Klaus worried for a second that she was offended, but when she looked up at him her eyes were sparkling.

“Don’t call me out!” He laughed. “I’m not the one training you. But you excel at everything else so I don’t see why you wouldn’t do good at this.” He said with a shrug.

Vanya smiled again, and dear god how had he never noticed how little she did that? Her smile lit up the room, it was a shame she was only just learning how to do it.

“Thanks Klaus.” She whispered, settling back into the bed.

Within minutes the two of them were snoring softly, wrapped up in the covers and each other’s arms.

______________________________________

The next morning, the two of them woke up to Allison flying into his room, panic in her eyes and she grabbed a sleepy Vanya and tugged her into her arms.

“You had me worried sick!” She cried, and Klaus blinked to adjust to the waking world. He could see Luther and Diego hovering in the doorway, Ben’s door opening seconds later. “You weren’t in the room when I woke up.”

“I fell asleep in Klaus’s room.” She provided softly, and Klaus watched sadly as Vanya crawled into herself again, the giggly and happy Vanya from last night replaced by the quiet and timid girl sitting in Allison’s arms.

“What, did you kidnap her or something?” She snapped at Klaus, looking angry at him and he backed up slightly, unsure of what they wanted from him. Was he at fault for Vanya falling asleep in his room? She had free will, it was her choice. Wasn’t like he held a gun to her head and made her stay there.

“No!” He said, and Allison didn’t back down at all, in fact she looked angrier when he tried to defend himself.

“We were just spending time together.” Vanya spoke up, protecting Klaus and he tried not to wilt when Allison believed her and backed down.

So of course they didn’t trust him enough, he was the fucked-up druggie. Probably thought he tried to pressure her into getting high with him. Little addict Klaus, pulling everyone down with him.

“Let’s go get changed.” Allison said, pulling Vanya up and out the door.

“Thanks Klaus. I’m holding you to the waffles!” Vanya called out before she left, and Klaus smiled weakly at her.

Diego had already left, and Luther was following the girls, but Ben walked into the room, plopping down on the bed beside Klaus.

“What?” He snapped, his mood already down despite only waking up seconds ago. Ben raised an eyebrow at him. “Don’t give me that look.” He groaned.

“I don’t know what your talking about.” Ben said innocently, despite knowing exactly what Klaus was talking about.

“I should get ready.” Klaus muttered, not moving at all.

“Yeah probably.” Ben said, also not moving.

“What time is it?” Klaus asked instead, looking over at his clock before realizing he didn’t have one.

“Around 6:30. You have some time before breakfast.” Ben said, tucking his lugs up onto the bed and sitting crossed legged. “How late were you up last night?”

“Too late.” Klaus replied vaguely, sitting up fully and resting his head on Ben’s warm shoulder. It still shocked him sometimes, feeling Ben alive under hm.

They sat in silence for ten minutes before Grace knocked on the door, alerting them that they had twenty minutes to breakfast.

“Luther wants me to start special training with dad so Vanya can train.” Klaus blurted out, and he felt Ben tense under him at the thought.

“You don’t have to Klaus, it’s asking a lot.” Ben said softly, and Klaus laughed.

“This isn’t about me.” He parroted from all their meetings. “Vanya deserves this.”

“It’s up to you.” Ben said softly. “Whatever you need to do. And if that means not doing it, I’ll support you.”

“Thanks bro.” Klaus said, headbutting Ben’s neck before sitting up. “We better get ready.”

“Yeah.” Ben said, and they both sat there for ten more minutes basking in the silence before actually moving to get ready.

Chapter Text

Klaus stood outside his father’s office, his heart in his throat and wishing more than anything he was on the streets, veins pumped fill with so many drugs that he couldn’t feel a thing.

Or maybe in the bath, or in Ben’s room, Hell he would rather be fighting Luther than doing this.

But he remembered the image of Vanya a week ago after their waffle escapade, her eyes bright and a smile on her lips. This was for Vanya, for her little sister who needed this time. He could face his father a million times for his siblings.

So he raised his hand and knocked on the door and stepped back, waiting for his father’s voice to call out to him.

“You may come in.” His father said, and Klaus took another deep breath before opening up the door, slipping inside and standing at attention, waiting for his father’s permission to sit. Normally he would go right up and lounge in the chair by the desk without permission, but this entire visit depended on his father being in a good mood.

“What is it that you want Number Four?” His father said sternly, not even looking up from his paper.

“I’ve been working on getting sober sir.” He told him, watching as his father stopped writing for a second before continuing. “I want to work on expanding my powers more.”

“Do you now?” His father said, standing up finally and walking towards Klaus. Klaus tried his best not to flinch away, despite his father's gaze heavy on his head. “What inspired this confidence?”

“I want to be something the others can be proud of.” He said without thinking, the truth slipping out of his mouth.

“Why should I train you Number Four, your useless to me.” His father said, not harshly, simply stating a fact. Klaus ran his mind, trying to think of useful things about his powers.

“I can touch the ghosts now.” He started, but it wasn’t enough. “And-and I think I’m unable to die.”

His father was silent for a moment.

Why did he say that? Out of all the stupid things he could say that was pretty high. His father didn’t need to know about the multiple overdoses he came back from, the time he survived a gunshot to the chest in Vietnam, the rave, the multiple times he drowned in the bathtub without realizing it. That wasn’t something he wanted to share with this psychopath, but it was out there now.

“That is intriguing.” His father admitted. Your training starts tomorrow, 5am I will meet you in the courtyard for training. Starting with the mausoleum.” His father said, stepping away.

Klaus felt his heart rate spike and he felt dizzy, his gaze narrowing as images from that goddamn place flashed into his mind, the cold already seeping into his bone. He couldn’t do this. He thought he could con his way out of it, convince his dad to do something else.

“Dad please, I’m over my fear, we can go right into other training.” He stuttered, turning to gaze at his dad with wide eyes. “There’s so many other things we can do.”

“You say your over the fear, but you're clearly not. I’m disappointed Number Four.” His father said, his face devote of any emotions.

“Dad please-“ He started, and in theory he should have seen it coming.

But he didn’t and the blow to the cheek surprised him, sending him flying to the ground with the force of it.

“Don’t call me that.” Reginald hissed. “Five in the morning tomorrow or else I will drag you there. You are the one who wanted this. Now get out of my sight.”

Klaus stumbled to his feet, his cheek pulsing with pain as he took off out of the room, tears stinging his eyes.

His father tried to stray away from physical violence, preferring belittling and letting other thing do the dirty work for him. But it wasn’t unusual for him to snap and hit him, but still, it hurt like hell.

His cheek stung, tears running down his cheek and he wanted to numb it all, to let the pain wash away in a tide of drugs and alcohol so that he didn’t have to think about this anymore. But he promised that he wouldn’t and he was asking for this one wasn’t he?

He was the one who asked for the lessons, he dug this grave. Now he just needed the strength to lie in it.

He found his way to Ben’s door, knocking on it and waiting for his brother to open up. For Ben to usher him inside and hold him as he cried, whispering reassuring words into his ear, telling him it would be alright.

No one opened the door.

He knocked louder before opening it up, peering inside. Nothing, Ben wasn’t around.

But Ben told him he wasn’t planning on doing anything today? He had no training so he was going to take a lazy day. So where was he?

He quickly went to Diego’s room, wondering if the other boy knew where he was.

But Diego was missing too, so was Allison, Vanya, Five and Luther. All of them gone and not where they should be.

He wandered down to the kitchen, his cheek still stinging but his tears mostly dry.

“Mom?” He asked, watching her cook. She turned her smile wavering as she saw him.

“Klaus darling! Are you okay?” She said, walking over and ghosting a hand over his cheek.

“Where is everyone?” He asked shakily, and his mom frowned for a minute before smiling.

“They asked for permission to see a movie dear, were you not going with them?” She said, patting his cheek and going back to her meal.

They were out seeing a movie. On the day that they all knew he was going to face his father. They left him alone.

He walked away in shock, his feelings swirling inside his chest.

Didn’t they agree to do these things as a family? All these outings and late night runs for donuts were suppose to be a family thing. Bonding to help them all.

Was he not apart of the family anymore?

He closed his eyes, ignoring the new batch of tears welling up in his eyes as he stumbled back into the bathroom.

It was fine, really. If they wanted to go out and have fun without him they were allowed to you know. He didn’t need them to be happy, it wasn’t like he was facing his literal worst nightmare for them. Nope, he was fine! Let’s just leave Klaus here all alone without telling him, leave him out of the so called ‘sibling bonding’ because he wasn’t one of them right? Right?

He closed his eyes, turning on the bath and splashing the hot water into his face.

“Are you okay?” Someone asked behind him and he turned in shock, his eyes landing on the same ghost form his first few days, the one with the nice brown eyes and the bruises around his neck. Why was he here?

“I’m fine. Go away.” He told him, turning back and putting the plug in the bottom of the tub, shucking off his clothes in hope that the ghost would go away. It didn’t, but it did have the decency to blush and look away.

Why could ghosts blush? They had no blood to pool in their cheeks. He’d have to ask Five. Once they came back from their movie.

He hoped it was some horrible chick flick and they all hated it.

“You’re not fine, someone hit you.” The ghost said, and Klaus closed his eyes, taking a deep breath.

“Look, just go away okay?” He snapped, turning to face the ghost who only gazed at him sadly before nodding and fading away.

Huh, that was probably the first time asking nicely worked for him. Normally they just screamed when he told them to screw off.

He was alone again, and a small part of him wanted the ghost to come back, to talk to him and keep him company. Because he was all alone in here and he just wanted someone to talk to. He wanted Ben.

He stepped into the water, the burning sensation covering him. It was too hot, the water leaving his skin feeling way and way too hot to handle. It felt like acid on his skin, eating him away until he was nothing but bones laying in the water for his siblings to find.

He relaxed back, hiding his wince as he settled against the back of the tub, gasping as the water slipped up his neck, momentarily shocking the breath out of him.

Then he smiled, relished in the sting and the pain as he flouted there, his mind wandering.

He wondered how long his siblings had been out. Did they try to wait for him? And just moments before he came back upstairs they left, regretting the fact that they had to leave him or else risk being late. Or were they out for hours? Leaving as Klaus was trying to build up enough confidence to leave to see his father, slipping out and calling him a moron for not realizing.

Did they do this often, leaving when he was bathing or sleeping? Slipping out into the dark and leaving him behind, poor Klaus, oblivious to everything going around him. Poor silly little Klaus who thought they were a family again after these few months. Poor stupid Klaus who had honestly hoped that his siblings would care about him this time around.

He slipped under the water.

They probably had meetings without him too, where they all sat in a circle and talked about how stupid he was, how hopeless he was. How many times he fucked up on the daily, how he was probably going to get stoned soon and mess everything up.

His lungs were burning, the hot water pushing at his lips, trying to persuade him to take a breath in.

Poor Klaus, so dramatic and idiotic. Too high on adrenaline and drugs to think properly. Poor Klaus who can’t pay attention. Poor Klaus who fucks everything up. Poor Klaus who can’t do any goddamn thing right, can’t even distract his father without getting hit, without freaking out. Poor Klaus who can’t handle the thought of sitting in some stupid mausoleum for a few hours so that he can help save the world.

He opens his mouth and screams, the water crawling into his mouth and filling his throat, tumbling down into his lungs as he coughed and screamed and thrashed.

He was useless, couldn’t save Ben. Couldn’t save Dave. Couldn’t save anyone from anything. He was useless, pathetic, annoying and in the way. His siblings didn’t need him, could live fine without him. He could hear the helicopters above him, the gunshots surrounding himself, the dirt coating his skin.

“Klaus?”

He could just stay here, under the water, and drift away. Let the ride take him under, whisk him away into the sea. Who knows, maybe he’ll die and he can go bug God again. He liked her bike, maybe he could steal it. He didn’t know how to ride. He could settle for stealing her hat, maybe running away really fast so she couldn’t catch him.

“Klaus!”

Klaus flew out of the water, his tortured lungs gasping up air as he coughed out the water he swallowed.

“What?” He asked, his voice sounding hoarse and worn out as he forced words past his sore and burnt throat.

“Are you okay?” It was Ben, standing on the other side of the door.

“Yeah.” He lied. “I’ll be out soon.

_____________________________

Ten minutes he sat on his bed, his entire body stinging and red from his bath but he found he didn’t really care.

He was fidgeting with his hands again, an old bracelet nimbly laced between his fingers as he twirled it. He wished he had a knife or something to twirl, it would look so much cooler than a rainbow friendship bracelet.

There was a knock on the door, and he knew it was Ben. Ben who said he was going to get some water while he waited for Klaus to get out of the bath.

Klaus wasn’t sure he wanted to talk to his brother right now.

Ben entered either way.

“How was the movie?” Klaus asked bitterly, knowing he sounded like an asshole but he couldn’t really bring himself to care. His lungs were still burning and his eyes stung, his skin raw from the scalding water.

“It was good.” Ben said shortly, frowning at him.

“I’m glad you had so much fun.” Klaus said with a sharp smile, and Ben’s frowned darkened.

“Your mad.” He observed.

“Or maybe I’d appreciate it if you guys told me what was going on instead of leaving me in the dark.” He snapped, and Ben flinched back slightly. “Sorry, it’s been a long day.” He mumbled.

“You talked to dad.” Ben said, as if he didn’t already know from the purpling bruise on his cheek.

“Training starts tomorrow, you can tell Luther I’ll have a full schedule for him within days.” Klaus said hollowly, no emotion caught in his voice. He was too empty for that, too tired.

“Are you okay?” Ben asked, stepping closer and Klaus wanted him to leave.

“Why did you guys go without me?” He asked, like a little child who didn’t get his way.

“We didn’t think you’d want to go.” Ben said, crossing his arms and going to lean on the wall instead of sitting down with him.

“Gee, thanks.” Klaus said dryly.

“Don’t be mad, it’s been so long since I've seen a movie. I couldn’t pass up the offer to finally live my life Klaus.” Ben snapped, and Klaus felt anger stir in his chest.

“Oh, sorry. Was your last life not enough?” He asked.

“I died Klaus, of course it wasn’t. I’m getting my chance to live now, you can’t be mad at me for that.” Ben said softly.

“Of course I’m not mad. I forgot that I was forcing you to stay here last time. Sorry that me taking time and nearly starving myself so I could save money to drive to the beach for you wasn’t enough. Or when I snuck into those stupid movies you wanted to watch despite wanting to go to bed instead.” He hissed. “Sorry that I put you through so much hell Ben. Sorry that you felt obligated to stay by my side.”

He wasn’t making sense, he was hysterical and upset and he really wanted to just go to sleep and never wake up.

“Maybe I was! It’s not like I wanted to be tethered to you and suffer through watching you throw away your life! I never wanted that!” Ben said, throwing his hands up, anger clouding his eyes.

Klaus felt his anger fade away, and he suddenly really wanted to cry again.

“Shit, I’m sorry Klaus. I didn’t mean it like that.” Ben was quick to try and fix the damage, but Klaus swallowed.

“Sorry I put you though that.” He croaked. Sorry that apparently spending time with Klaus was such a burden, such a problem for him. Sorry that Ben had to stay around his fuck up addict brother for years.

“Klaus-“ Ben said, stepping forwards, but Klaus shut everything up, placing a lazy grin on his face.

“I think I’m going to take a nap. I’m tired.” He told his brother, feeling hollow as Ben only nodded and walked away, the door clicking shut behind him.

Klaus laid back, tears running out of his eyes as he squeezed them shut.

He was so stupid.

Convincing himself that Ben stayed because he cared, because he wanted to spend time with Klaus.

Stupid, all of this was stupid.

He laid there and wished the tide would take him again, numb him once more.

But there was only the faint screams in the back of his mind from the ghosts and the pain that covered every inch of him.

He fell asleep because the nightmares were better than dealing with reality.

Chapter Text

He felt like he was marching to the firing squad as he walked down the hallway in the morning, too early for anyone else to be up to stop him. To give him a reason to stay.

He had been living in general silence since his return to the past, a few ghosts on the edge of his vision but nothing as bad as it usually is. He was sure that was because he hadn’t been to the mausoleum. The ghosts there tended to latch onto him, freeing themselves from the stone walls to follow him around, constantly screaming and trying to attack him only to have their pale hands fall through his body.

Now he was marching to his death, his landslide into insanity, the horrors that he long ago thought he’d never have to deal with again. And he was doing it willingly. Normally he wouldn’t go anywhere near that place without his father or Pogo dragging him there, and any other day Klaus would be sitting in his room still, or running far away from here.

But he had to do this, they needed him to do this. It was the gateway into helping distract their father, just a few hours then he’d never have to do it again.

He saw his father standing in the courtyard and he started regretting this, maybe he should have just gone out to get high. Overdose in a back alley or catch the first bus out of this town. His siblings couldn’t be disappointed if he never saw them again right?

“Let’s go Number Four.” His father snapped when Klaus walked up beside him, turning towards the car and leaving Klaus to follow behind him slowly.

Every step he took was a step closer to death, to the ghosts that haunted his dreams. Foot after foot he was walking to the executioner, willingly ready to slip the noose over his head.

The car ride was silent, filled with Klaus’s rising panic and his father’s cool indifference.

Sometimes he really hated his father. No, he always hated his father. The bastard was leading him to his worst nightmare and didn’t care, not an ounce of remorse in him. But if Klaus hated him so much, why did he still strive to impress the man? Prove that he was worth of his love and affection?

A paradox he would likely never figure out.

He could see the cemetery in front of him, the large looming gates looking even more sinister in the early morning, the sun not risen yet. Klaus felt the panic set in as he watched the figures move inside, faint wisps of people stumbling around the yard, unsure of what to do.

“Dad, please don’t make me go in there.” He whispered. “I’ll do better! Anything you want, just please don’t make me go in there.” He was begging, and if there was room he would have gotten down on his knees to do it properly.

God he wanted Ben with him. Ben who could always talk him out of his highs and lows, who knew the right words to say to distract him from the oncoming panic. Who cares that they fought, it was Klaus’s fault anyways, he was overreacting. Right now he just wanted his brother, any of his siblings really. Anyone who could hold him and whisper that it was alright, who could keep him away from this place.

His father parked the car and ripped his door open, dragging him out by the arm.

“You are the one who came to me for this Number Four.” He was lecturing like usual. “Seven hours in the mausoleum to prove that your finally over the blockade in your mind. Then we can move on to more efficient techniques to improving your powers.”

Klaus was barely listening, his mouth opening and closing as the word no dripped from his lips like cold ice water. The stone building was getting closer and closer, the grey walls and towering door making the breath fall out of his mouth like chunks of ice.

He should be fighting, pulling against his father and trying to push his father but his limbs were weak and unresponsive.

Just like the dead fingers of corpses reaching towards him, their faces twisted and jaws slack because they lost the memory of knowing how to close it. Forgot how to be human and not feral and wild, animals contained in human bodies.

The door creaked open loudly, and his father threw him down to the cold floor, the chill immediately closing around him, digging its fingers into his skin and making him shiver with both the cold and fear.

“Dad!” He cried out as the door clicked shut, locking him in the darkness once again.

He flew at the door, slamming his shoulder against it and wincing at the pain that blossomed, he ignored it though. Pounding on the door and screaming, fear and panic fully taking over as he clawed at the door, banging his slowly bruising fist against the stone.

He could hear the spirits shifting, lifting from their slumber at his screams, drawn to him like a fly to sugar. Sticking onto him and digging their fingers into his pale skin, delighting in the way it bruises.

He gave up on the door after a while, stumbling back and falling to the ground, the cold shocking his back through the thin fabric of his uniform. He stared at the ceiling, figures shifting in his vision, currently only shadows but soon they would be people, or at least human shaped.

Nothing about these ghosts were human. They were rabid, clawing at anything that could make them feel anything but the emptiness of death. Klaus made them real, made them feel. They wanted to keep him, make him sit there and bring them back to life so they wouldn’t have to suffer anymore. They wanted to continue feeding off of him, sapping him of his life slowly as they snarled, nothing more than human desires and selfishness pressed into a lifeless soul that held no remorse.

They were trapped inside the building, the stone walls trapping them in its grasp. They wanted to escape, driven insane by the hundreds of years of alternating between absolutely nothing and the blank walls of this place.

He could hear his name start to get whispered as they remembered him, some calling out in pain, some relief, other angers. There was so many down here, hundreds pressing against him as they started to gain form around an hour in.

Most look sort of normal except for the white of their skin and eyes, the emptiness encompassing him. Others were clearly dead, organs and limbs hanging out into the air, dripping blood all over the place. It made him sick, looking at the wounds and the smell of decay and coppery blood filling his nose.

He felt a chill at his back, and he knew someone was behind him, could hear the heavy ragged panting.

He scrambled to the corner and pressing himself against the wall, ignoring the chill that sucked at the remaining heart from his body. At least the wall was real, not something only he could see. No ghosts could grab him from behind if he was in the corner.

He pressed his head to his knees, the bodies crowding him, screaming his name and only getting louder the more he ignored them.

He couldn’t pull any air in, feeling the bodies of the dead pressing against him, their ice-cold hands trying to grab him only to fall through, making him shiver ever more. He wanted this to stop, for them to go away, for the light to return so he could see something other than the ghosts around him.

Around two hours in he felt blood pour down his ears, the sound too loud for him to handle. His eardrums breaking until he was having trouble hearing, the sound fading in and out as he screamed, trying to drown everyone else out with his own voice. He wasn’t sure how long he had been screaming already, but it had been a while.

Thinking was hard, thoughts jumbled around his mind and every time he tried to focus another voice would scream a plead and everything would dissipated, disappearing into the dark swirl of his mind.

His voice gave out around four hours. The ghosts kept screaming even when he didn’t.

He pressed his broken fingertips into his skin, carving out pictures into his skin in a desperate attempt at distracting his mind from the dead pleading at him, grabbing at his arms and wailing louder when they couldn’t touch him.

Blood flowed down his arms, half moon cutting into his skin before he dragged them into lines, the sting reminding him that he was human. That he was alive. He bled, and that meant he wasn’t dead like them.

He wished he was sometimes.

Moments like these he wished he could fade into the darkness along with the ghosts, flout in the nothingness that surrounded them, that he could fade from sight and finally have some peace.

He wanted this all to stop, wanted this to end. He wanted to go home and have Ben hug him and tell him that he was okay. Wanted to take Vanya out for waffles and laugh with his little sister. Wanted to joke around with Diego, dress up with Allison, listen to music with Luther, talk book stuff with Five. He wanted his family but instead he was stuck in here, ghosts screaming his name.

“Klaus!” Someone screamed, and it should have been impossible to distinguish this voice from all the others, impossible to separate this single voice from the rest of the angry screaming around him. “Hey kid! Look at me.”

He didn’t want to, looking up meant staring into the cold dead eyes of everyone around him, seeing their blood drip onto the ground around him.

“It’s going to be okay, just focus on me okay?” Someone whispered. “Hey! Give him some god damn room, he’s just a child.”

Klaus took a deep gasping breath, looking up and finding himself looking into worried but kind brown eyes.

The same ghost that had been following him around from the start, the one who bugged him yesterday after his father struck him.

“Hey buddy,” The ghost said. “It’s going to be okay.”

It wasn’t, everything was so goddamn far from okay that it was funny, but this ghost sounded so sure and confident that Klaus found himself nodding.

The rest of the ghosts were still there, but further back, more muted.

“If you focus you can send them away.” The ghost pointed out.

“No, I can’t” He whispered, his voice hoarse from screaming himself raw.

“Yes you can, just focus hard, imagine them fading into the darkness. Their voices fading into nothing until you can only hear me. Like physically pushing them with your mind.” The ghost coached, and against his better judgement, Klaus listened.

He pretended that the ghosts were fading away, their voices lowering into a mumble and he could finally have some peace. He felt like he was pushing against something in his mind, a physical barrier he pushed back against.

To his surprise their voices were lowering in volume. Still there, but like they were across a large room. Klaus peered past the ghost in front of him, seeing the hundreds of ghosts fading into shadows, not quite gone, but repressed.

“Holy fuck.” He said, a chuckled forcing itself out of his lips. “How did you know how to do that?”

“A guess, didn’t think it would actually work.” The ghost replied, a soft smile playing against his lips. “I just thought it would distract you from whatever panic you were spiralling in for hours.”

“Thanks.” Klaus muttered, his heart still pounding. He was still cold, despite the momentary peace, and every time one of the shadow figures got close to him he would flinch away.

“My names Anton.” The ghost said. “I already know your name though.”

“Thanks Anton.” Klaus repeated, his eyes fluttering closed. He was so tired.

“Maybe I can help you?” Anton spoke up, sounding hopeful. “I mean, your powerful, you just don’t know how to use it. Maybe together we can learn?”

The idea of a ghost training him sounded horrid, terrifying. But Anton seemed to be holding onto reality pretty well, kind of like Ben used to. And he seemed to have good ideas, Klaus had never pulled a stunt like he just did.

He was honestly still riding on that high, the giddiness or realizing that he had just done that. Pushed a shit ton of spirits away from himself so he could have some peace. He did that, all by himself with only a little bit of help.

It would also be useful to have someone by his side all the time, even if it wasn’t Ben. Someone to help him deal with his father and maybe even give him some good training compared to whatever the hell his father was planning.

“Sure.” He said without thinking. If he regretted this later he could deal with it tomorrow, but for now he was so goddamn tired, and he just wanted to sleep. He would ask the question of why Anton was doing this later. What was in it for the ghost.

“Stay awake, your injured.” Anton chided, and Klaus stuck his tongue out at him, his head rolling back against the wall, his neck too sore to keep it up.

“Your no fun.” He slurred, the pain and exhaustion starting to catch up now that he could properly think.

“Come on Klaus, you only have an hour left. You can do it. Stay awake and prove to your father that you can control this.” Anton tried, crawling beside Klaus and leaning his back against the wall.

“That would be nice.” He sighed. “How long have you been following me around?”

“A while,” Anton shrugged. “Your interesting to watch, you and your siblings. Not the biggest fan of your father though.”

“You and me both.” Klaus laughed, relaxing a bit more. It was always refreshing to meet a nice ghost, one that wanted to have civilized conversation instead of just screaming at him. Anton looked only a bit older than him, maybe around late twenties or something.

But then again Klaus was technically thirty years old, just in a kid’s body. He never felt like he was thirty though, he felt like he was still a child, growing and learning and hurting.

They sat there in silence, Klaus arms and hands aching from the cuts littering them and his head pounding and aching. He wanted to sleep, but every time he felt himself slipping away the spirits grew louder once again. He decided sacrificing some sleep was well worth the almost silence he was dealing with. But he needed to stay awake despite the tempting pull.

So he turned to Anton and asked him to talk, the two of them talking about everything and nothing. Anton told Klaus about his favourite color and food, about the dog he kept when he was alive. In return Klaus told him all about his siblings, about his brother in arms during his stint in Vietnam.

Anton listened to his talk on and on about random facts and stupid things his siblings would have yelled at him for talking about until his father opened the door an hour later, looking almost surprised to see Klaus sitting there with only tried tears on his face, not a sobbing mess of tears and snot and a broken voice.

“Are you ready to come out?” His father snapped.

“Yeah.” He said, pleasure rolling inside his chest at the way his father only nodded and stepped back, the closest Klaus had ever gotten to approval from the old man.

Klaus stumbled to his feet, his limbs still shaky and weak as he walked out, Anton following quietly behind him. He released the hold on the mausoleum ghosts, the mental push he was holding the ghosts back with, ignoring the last scream they gave out as their voices came back. He walked behind his father to the car. Cold approval simmering in his chest as Anton gave him a thumbs up from the seat beside him.

Maybe he could do this.

He lasted through the mausoleum ghosts, had bested them and managed to manhandle them into submission. He could master the rest of this stuff, deal with training so that Vanya could grow into her own person, start her training and get a hold on those pesky things.

He could make everyone proud of him, though hard work and pain. He could deal with his father and the ghosts and trauma in the truck loads so that his siblings could look at him and see someone they were proud to call a brother. So that he could finally be one of them. So that he could belong.

Belonging. That sounded nice.

Chapter Text

Now, Klaus wasn’t avoiding Ben. Not really. More like strategically making sure they didn’t cross paths for the benefit of both parties.

See! Not the same thing.

But either way, four days after their disagreement Ben finally managed to corner him, literally loitering outside the bathroom and waiting for Klaus to exit.

“Jesus Ben, you could just sit in my room or something.” He grumbled as he jumped at his sibling’s random appearance, trying not to pretend that he wasn’t startled by the prospect of talking to his brother.

He wasn’t one to hold grudges, to get mad at people, but he was tired from training and dealing with someone right now just sounded uncomfortable for both of them.

“Didn’t feel like it.” Ben said casually, smiling softly as he fell into step beside Klaus. “We’re planning on going to Griddy’s tonight. You going to come?”

Klaus wanted to say yes, to go with his siblings and sneak out like they used to. But he had training early the next morning, sneaking out late would be a bad idea. Anton was flouting behind Ben’s shoulder, reminding Klaus of the commitments he had made.

“I can’t. You can go tell Luther that the rest of the week their free to go for training with Vanya between 8am and 1pm.” Klaus said, brushing Ben off and walking into his room, hoping his brother wouldn’t follow.

Fine, he was still a bit mad at Ben.

“We can go now?” Ben said, and Klaus tried to ignore the desperate note in his brother’s voice. “We don’t have to deal with the rest of them, just the two of us. I’ll buy you a donut.”

Klaus turned to look at his brother, to protest being tired and wanting to get some sleep. But Ben was staring at him with such a hopeful look in his eyes, his wall crumpled, and he gave Ben a small smile.

“I’d like that.” He told him, smiling wider as Ben lit up with happiness, grabbing his hand and dragging them out of his room and to the back window. It was the designated sneaking out window, leading out to a fire escape that they could easily climb down.

Klaus and Ben were on the street almost five minutes later, the sun shining on their faces as they walked. Klaus smiled, the heat on his face calming his heart rate. The past three days had been beyond stressful, his father starting his training.

It wasn’t anything much yet, mostly just him sitting there and trying to push back or bring the ghosts forwards. His father taking notes based on the narration Klaus provided him. Anton stayed in the background, providing hints and observing Klaus’s work. It wasn’t that bad, but it still made him exhausted. Made the nightmares get a tiny bit worse.

It was nice to just walk the streets with Ben, Klaus providing random little rants on everything and nothing at the same time, Ben nodding along and not really listening like he always did.

Griddy’s was a place of refuge. The nice clean and bright area, the donuts that were priced lowly but delicious, and the nice waitresses that always gave him a free water when he bought something. It was a place all the siblings felt safe in, a tiny slice of heaven in the torrent of the rest of the world. Ben and him sat at the counter, smiling widely as the middle-aged woman walked up to them, placing down to cups filled with water.

“What will it be for you two today?” She said kindly, a bright smile lighting up her face.

“I’ll have an old-fashioned donut please.” Ben ordered without even looking at the menu, getting the same boring donut as always.

“I’ll have a lemon filled one.” Klaus said with a winning smile that the waitress practically melted at.

“I’ll go grab those for you now!” She said, walking away once again. The two brothers settled back into a comfortable silence.

Klaus was content to sit in silence, simply observing the restaurant around him and enjoying the company of his brother, but Ben apparently loved to shove his hands into Klaus’s plans and crumple them into nothing.

“I’m sorry about Monday.” Ben said softly, and Klaus tensed remembering the stress and anger that he had been feeling that day. He didn’t want that tarnishing the air between them, not when Klaus had finally gotten over it. “I was being an ass.”

“Don’t worry about it.” Klaus said airily. “I was being dramatic like always.”

“No you weren’t!” Ben said loudly, causing a few other customers to turn and stare at them. Klaus smiled and waved at them obnoxiously, they all turned away quickly. “It was wrong and stupid and I’m sorry.”

“No really Ben.” Klaus said, taking a sip of the water in front of him. “It’s no big deal, we don’t have to talk about it.”

“But I want to talk about it.” Ben pushed again, a faint twinge of annoyance running through him. He wanted a nice evening with his brother, because h missed him so goddamn much. It was hard to be mad at Ben, to stay away from him after so many years being apart from each other. He felt like he was missing a piece of himself, something that should always be there. It was like his arms getting up and walking away, leaving Klaus to wonder why he let it leave.

“I don’t.” He snapped, barely acknowledging when the waitress placed his lemon jelly donut in front of him.

“You need to talk about these things Klaus.” Ben said with a sigh. “If you keep ignoring them it won’t end up well.”

“Never heard that lecture before.” Klaus muttered sarcastically, taking a large bite of the donut. It tasted like ash on his tongue, the same taste of the paste they gave him in Vietnam. The same way lies tasted on his tongue as he wove them, staining his throat as he swallowed the dough down.

“Yet you somehow listened better when you were high.” Ben shot back, and Klaus practically flinched back. That was a bit of a low blow.

“And yet your just as annoying as you were when you were dead.” He hissed, anger rolling in his gut. “No, I think you were more tolerable dead.”

It took him a second to fully register what he said, the implications that it gave off. He tried to backtrack immediately, guilt washing over him like a tidal wave. Ben was staring at him, his eyes suddenly blank.

“Ben, I didn’t-“ He tried, reaching out for his brother and recoiling as Ben slammed down two tens on the counter, getting up and turning away without a word. Storming out of the restaurant and leaving Klaus feeling like someone grabbed his heart and yanked it out of his chest, leaving him to bleed all over the ground.

He wanted to run out, to follow Ben and beg for forgiveness, to tell him that he didn’t mean that, that he was just stressed and tired and talked without thinking.

But everyone was staring at him, so he turned back to the donut, shoving the pastry in his face as he blinked back the tears. Why did he have to mess everything up so badly?

Anton sat in Ben’s place, looking concerned and Klaus hated the pity in his gaze.

“Are you okay?” Anton asked softly, and Klaus just shook his head. “It’s going to be fine; you and Ben are just mad; it’ll cool down in a few days and it’ll be like nothing even happened.”

“I shouldn’t have said that.” Klaus whispered, tear pricking his eyes again.

“Hey, none of that. Both of you said stuff you didn’t mean. It’s not your fault.” Anton comforted, and Klaus nodded slowly.

“What do I do now?” He asked, how could he fix this? Move on from all the fighting and feelings swirling around in his gut. Everything was so much easier when he could numb his feelings, when he could just shut them off and never deal with them ever again.

Anton was quiet for a long minute before replying. “I think you just need to focus on your training, if you get distracted it could end up bad.” He said slowly. “And you want to do this and get more powerful for your siblings right? You want to be worthy of them.”

Klaus nodded. It was true, he wanted to be able to stand with his siblings and say he was in control of his powers like them. To be able to help them on the missions he knew they couldn’t avoid forever. He wanted to be their equal, their brother.

“Then we continue working. Advance your powers, show Ben that your doing better for him, for Vanya, for the rest of them too.” Anton said, an encouraging smile on his face. Klaus was already feeling slightly better.

This was something he could work towards, something he could do. He didn’t have to sit around staring at the dead around him waiting for the approval that he didn’t deserve. He could earn this, work and be the brother they need. The distraction they need. He can’t fail them. Not now.

“Okay.” He whispered, getting up and leaving the diner, the two ten-dollar bills lying abandoned for the waitress to take.

Chapter Text

“I feel stupid doing this.” Klaus complained, staring at the objects in front of him.

“Your learning how to best channel your power Number Four.” His father chided him. “This is to test if more, outlandish techniques may be more useful to you.”

“It’s worth a shot kid.” Anton put in from his place by the wall. “It’ll get easier the more you do it.”

Klaus sighed, reaching down to shift through the items. Today’s training had been hard on him. It had been a months of trying to harness this particular skill, the summoning of specific ghosts. It was hard, like pulling on a string too small to fit in-between his fingers. But he had been doing it, even helping some of the ghosts interact with the physical world. That was the big thing now, trying to connect the spiritual to the physical.

And his father thought that maybe if he took a more witchy route it would work. So here he was with hundreds of little vials of liquids and herbs in front of him, a few crystals, and even a professional looking athame.

Okay, so maybe Klaus had gotten a bit into Wicca and Pagan rituals as a teenager, mostly for the aesthetic. But he couldn’t lie, there was something in the practice that drew him towards him, intoxicating him.

“Tomorrow you get your training off, I expect you to be in the library, reading the books I’ve ladled for more information. Report back to me two days from now and we can start researching and going over information ourselves.” His father ordered, and Klaus sighed, nodding slowly.

“Dismissed.” His father said coolly, and Klaus stood up, grabbing the chest full of objects and lugging it into his thin arms, walking slowly up the stairs to his room. Half his siblings were out training Vanya, the other half out doing the training his father required them to do.

Klaus could only distract his father so much, lower the others personal training and limiting it mostly to group training, which he wasn’t invited to of course. His father preferring their one on one lessons. His powers weren’t really combat focused like the rest of them.

Klaus sat in his room, staring at the chest with a mix of disdain and curiosity. He sighed, staring over at Anton, who was staring out of the window.

“Why is this important again?” Klaus asked, flicking open the chest and sorting through the different objects. Most of them were useless for his set of powers, his father obviously not actually researching the topic and just buying whatever he could find. The crystals and herbs weren’t for summonings or controlling spirits, mostly protection and good luck charms.

“It’s to help your powers.” Anton said with a sigh.

“Most of this stuff isn’t even real wicca magic, just folklore.” He complained, picking up some things that he knew was all fake.

“It’s not to cast magic with Klaus, it’s to help channel your powers. Your not becoming a necromancer or actually performing any seances, your just using the different objects to help focus your powers in a more useful way instead of it all just coming out wonky.” Anton pointed out, sitting on the bed next to him, leaning over his shoulder.

Klaus could see that route he guessed, his powers did tend to work in extremes, either working all at once, summoning hundreds of ghosts to his side, or he was unable to summon anything other than what was in the area and drawn to him. He guessed this stuff was worth a shot.

He reached into the chest and grabbed the last thing, a tiny little basil plant he knew was used for protection. He laughed quietly, holding the small potted plant in his arms as he walked to the window, settling the little guy on the window sill.

"THere you go." He whispered, more to the plant then anything. "Nothing can go bad with this little guy around right?"

________________________

“Klaus? In the library and actually reading? Never thought I’d see the day.” Klaus heard Diego snip from behind him, his brother swinging into the seat next to him. Klaus glanced up at him lazily.

“It’s technically training, just unmonitored.” He told him, not raising to the bait. He hadn’t talked to Diego a lot since getting back, his brother busy with either Vanya or their mother.

“Your really throwing yourself into this training huh.” Diego said softly, in the way that sounded like he was trying to sound like he didn’t care but he really did.

“It’s a chance to control things without buying a bunch of drugs and numbing myself constantly.” Klaus drawled, his eyes flickering back to the book on ritual summonings and necromancy open in front of him. “Not that I didn’t find that fun, this is just more practical. And cheaper.”

Diego was quiet for a long moment, his hands reaching out to pick up ne of the books Klaus had already skimmed, all important information recorded in a tiny notebook.

“Is this witchcraft?” Diego asked with a laugh, shutting up when he saw the look Klaus shot him. “Do you think that’ll work?”

“It’s worth a shot.” Klaus shrugged. “And I like the aesthetic.”

Diego chuckled again, trying to hide the twitch his lips made. They sat in silence for a few more minutes, Klaus quickly writing another sentence down from the book.

Diego groaned beside him, kicking his feet up onto the table. “You used to be the fun brother, now your reading books just like Five.” He complained, and Klaus smacked his leg lightheartedly.

“You guys need dad distracted; this is the only way I can do it.” Klaus pointed out, and Diego went quiet again. When Klaus glanced at him his lips were drawn tight into a frown, his eyes studying him.

“You can let one of us do it sometimes too.” He said softly. “You’ve been super invested in this training lately, it’s not healthy.”

Klaus frowned, his eyes flickering towards Anton, who was sitting in the chair across from Klaus and beside Diego. Anton’s face was blank, no emotions showing. Klaus was on his own for now. But why wasn’t Diego proud of him yet? He was trying so hard to put all his focus into training for them, and now he was asking him to, what was he even asking? For Klaus to stop?

Klaus couldn’t stop. If he stopped the ghosts came back and he couldn’t control them. Couldn’t stop them from screaming and surrounding him, their bloody faces haunting him. If he stopped they would take him away like a tidal wave, sweeping him away from sanity and everything he knew. Training helped him distinguish the difference between the living and the dead, let him remember that he wasn’t a ghost, he wasn’t fading into the underworld as their knobby fingers dragged him down.

Training was better than drugs this time around. It focused everything instead of numbing it, making it possible to push them away, make them become less in his mind. Separate the dead form the living. He needed to train, so he could be strong enough to live in a world that was straddling both living and death.

“It’s fine, I really don’t mind.” Anton whispered from across the table, and Klaus snatched the words up, grateful for a guide on what to say, how to act.

“It’s fine, I don’t mind.” He parroted, smiling brightly at his brother over the top of his book.

“Doesn’t he have his group training soon?” Anton prompted, and Klaus nodded at him.

“Isn’t your training soon? You don’t want to upset dad do you?” He said, and Diego glanced at the clock, looking resigned but unwilling to leave. He had a mini internal battle but the thought of an angry father won out. He got up, moving to walk past him before hesitating.

Diego paused for a moment, a heavy hand reaching down to rest on Klaus’s shoulder.

“Don’t swap out one addiction for another.” He whispered, before he was gone, out of the room as quietly as he came in. Klaus looked over at Anton, puzzling over the words.

He wasn’t addicted to anything; he was off drugs now. What was Diego trying to say?

“That’s not important now Klaus.” Anton said softly. “We can ask him about it later. We still have three books to go through, your father won’t be happy if we don’t give him everything he wants.”

Klaus nodded, turning back to his book and picking up him pencil once again.

_________________________________

A week later all the things he requested his father to buy was finally in, and Klaus was sitting in the middle of the gym floor, preparing himself.

He had all the things he needed, the supplies, the herbs, crystals, everything that he could find that might help amplify and focus his powers on summoning a single dead soul.

He had patchouli- graveyard dirt- in the bowl in front of him, smatterings of copal and thyme burning in candles around the room. All three of these should help with appeasing the traumatic spirit he was about to summon. Should calm it down enough for it for form coherent sentences to communicate with him. The room also stunk of basil and motherwart, both used to keep out less than friendly ghosts.

His father stood in the corner of the room, watching his every move as he sat crossed legged, his hands resting on his knees palms up. He took a deep breath and closed his eyes, still sensing Anton’s form behind him, hovering and ready to offer assistance.

“Just concentrate, feel the energy inside of you and focus on letting it out.” Anton coached gently, and Klaus breathed out, letting the restless energy inside of him release into the air, radiating from his palms as he focus on the single ghost he wanted to call.

Peter Brandy, died four years ago in a car accident outside of their house. He was suppose to summon him into the room, interact and ask a few questions about his life and death. His father would record them and see if he can tell what’s going on. If Klaus could force poor Peter into the realm of the living.

He thought hard, imagining Peters body being pulled through the thick goopy air that surrounded all of the dead and towards the room. He could feel something else joining them, the form slowly putting itself together.

“The room has dropped four degrees, keep working Four.” His father said lowly and Klaus nodded, pushing a bit more of his power out, hooking onto the spirit and dragging him there while also forcing the other interested spirits away.

After a while he opened his eyes, greeted by the sight of a single ghost in front of him. Well, single ghost other than Anton pressing at his back, always there for him. He smiled at the man, whose entire side of his face was missing and arm was hanging by strings of muscle and fat, dangling uselessly in the air. He forced aside the nausea at the sight, forcing words from his mouth instead.

“Hello Peter, your dead.” He said with a large smile.

____________________________

After two weeks of that way of training- summon singular ghosts in the area to his side- his father took him into the study, ordering him to sit down as they talked.

“Your powers are nothing short of incredible Number Four.” His father started, and Klaus had to bite down on the smile he felt tugging on his lips, the warm feeling in his chest at the indirect praise. “I am suspecting there is another layer to them, more dimensions that you can unlock. You have only starting to skim the top of them, and with more intense training I believe you can finally become a useful asset to the team.”

Klaus only nodded, now well versed in the rules of his father. Sure, following them wasn’t nearly as fun as breaking them all, but he tended not to like what happened when he spoke out of turn.

“With that being said, I would like to move on to the point you raised when you first inquired about training. The possibility that your powers over death can sway the laws of mortality. Meet me tomorrow in the infirmary and we can start testing that particular branch on powers.” His father said, looking down at his notebook and scribbling in a bunch of new words.

Klaus felt his heart drop into his throat.

“How exactly are we going to be testing that sir?” He asked after a moment, his throat suddenly very dry.

“I will start with stopping your heart with a special brand of poison. Then we will see if you come back from it.” His father said, as if discussing the weather.

Klaus nodded, leaving the room and walking calmly to the washroom where he proceeded to throw up his breakfast.

Chapter Text

Klaus’s relationship with death was what you’d call unique.

He didn’t want to die, didn’t want to experience it like the tortured souls he was always seeing. But it was more like life and death were two rooms in a very narrow hallway. The living in one room, the dead in the other. The door remains firmly shut, the two never interact. Klaus was born in the land of the living, being tossed out into the hallway as a child, carefully balancing in between them, both doors flying open like he was the secret to open them.

He could look into both rooms, although he always preferred to stand closer to the living side, having come from there. But sometimes when the pull became too strong he could walk over to the side of the dead, hanging in balance, one step away from crossing over into its domain.

He didn’t want to die, but sometimes he felt like he already was. Sometimes he felt like it was simply one room away from him, just a hop, skip and a jump away. Close enough for him to see, to smell, to taste.

So he wasn’t afraid, per say, when he walked into the infirmary to see his father already sitting there, scrubs already on and needle in hand. He wasn’t afraid.

He was terrified.

Maybe it was the way the white of the walls hurt his eyes, or the lack of any kind of emotion on his father’s face, or maybe it was the fact that he was dying today.

“Take a seat Number Four.” His father ordered, and Klaus nodded shakily, his limbs not wanting to obey as he jerkily sat in the dentist like chair, leaning back against the soft leather.

It was one thing to die from doing something stupid like always, like overdosing or getting himself beat to a pulp. This was so much different, it wasn’t like this was just happening to him but it felt more intentional, like this was all his fault. He guessed it kind of was, he was the one who brought it up to his father, who planted the seed.

He dug this grave, now he had to lie in it.

“I will be recording the time it takes for your heart to stop and then start once again, I have oxygen and other tools needed if my hypothesis is incorrect. The toxin should act quickly, so brace yourself.” His father said, his voice clinical and sharp like a scalpel dragging against his skin.

His dad was about to kill him and he felt no remorse, Klaus hasn’t even said anything to him yet. His siblings had no clue what was happening to him, because if they did Klaus would like to think that they would stop him. Wouldn’t allow their father to murder him for the sake of testing.

Or maybe they wouldn’t, maybe they’d be glad that Klaus was giving their dad such a large distraction.

He was still pondering the idea when his father stuck the needle into his arm and he faded away into the darkness.

______________________________

He woke up with a sputter, his lungs finally taking in the air the mask was providing him, and on instinct he tugged it off, taking large gulps of real air and ignoring the few tears the dripped out of his eyes. He could feel his heart pumping a million miles as he tried to get a hold of himself, his mind racing as he looked around.

Anton was in front of him, talking soothingly and softly but Klaus couldn’t hear him over the roar inside his head.

“Twenty minutes.” His father said, cutting across the noise, Klaus looked at him blankly. “Not nearly close to what I want, but now that the theory is proven correct we can work on improving that. You may be dismissed.”

It took Klaus a moment to get his feet under him again, his limbs feeling weak as if he was a newborn. He stumbled out of the room, heavily leaning on the wall as he trudged up the stairs in almost a state of shock. He could hear some of his siblings talking in their rooms, but he pushed past them walking into the bathroom and locking the door.

His head was still swirling, colors and lights streaking as he stumbled to the toilet, falling into the ground as his stomach heaved and heaved until there was nothing left to throw up and he was left dry heaving in pain, his throat raw and dry as tears of pain and confusion streamed down his face. Anton sat beside him, whispering soft words of encouragement and comfort as Klaus cried and heaved, the stink of death still sticking to his nostrils.

“Klaus?” It was Allison outside of the door, knocking loudly as she rattled the doorknob. “Are you okay in there?”

Klaus opened his mouth but no words would form, the sounds feeling like ash upon his tongue and tasting like the rotten flesh of the dead, bile rising in his throat once again.

"Klaus!" She yelled, slamming the door even more. "You have five seconds before I force my way in there."

“Tell her your fine.” Anton coached softly from beside him, his words soft and hushed. “You don’t want her coming in here, you can’t explain this. Tell her your stomachs upset.”

Klaus didn’t even have to think.

“I’m fine,” He said softly, his voice barely loud enough for his sister to hear. “My stomach's upset.”

“Oh.” Allison was silent for a moment, her voice so much softer than when it was screaming seconds ago. “Do you want me to call mom?”

“No.” Anton said.

“No.” Klaus repeated, and Anton nodded reassuringly at him.

“Everything’s going to be okay Klaus.” He whispered, and Klaus nodded, Anton wouldn't lie to him.

“Okay, are you sure your okay? Do you want me to come in?” Allison said again, and Klaus shook his head despite her not seeing him.

He couldn’t let her see him like this, and Anton was right. His siblings couldn’t find out about this, this was something he couldn’t share with them, couldn’t allow them to know. The shame he would have to keep to himself.

“No!” He cried out when Allison tried to handle again. “I’m fine Allison, please just go away.”

He was crying again, his mind just a muddled mess and he wanted to go to bed and pretend that his father hadn’t just killed him and he now knew he couldn’t die.

He couldn’t die and that was probably the worst thing that had happened to him today.

“Okay.” Allison said after a moment. “Okay.”

Then there was silence, and Klaus leaned back against the cool tile, trying to gather strength.

“I don’t want to do that again Anton.” Klaus whimpered, looking at the man crouching beside him. He wished he could reach out, wished Anton could hold him close and whisper comforts into his ear and promise everything would be alright. But out of all his powers that had been evolving and improving, he still wasn’t able to physically manifest a ghost that can interact with him or the real world.

So he was alone in the washroom, until he got up and stumbled into his bedroom, where he was then alone there. He stuffed an assortment of random blankets on top of himself in hope of replicating the warmth of a live human being, trying to chase the deathly chill from his skin, but it didn’t help. He still shivered and quakes wishing for the warm touch of something living to remind him that he came back, that he wasn't dead.

“I don’t want this.” He whispered again to Anton, who was sitting by his bedside, a sad look in his eyes.

“Why are you doing this training Klaus?” Anton asked softly, his voice almost a whisper.

He thought of his siblings looking at him with pride in their eyes instead of their usual disappointment. Saw them looking at him the same way they looked at each other.

“For my siblings.” He replied without hesitation.

The image of a beautiful man popped into his mind, soft smiles and even softer hands; lips pressed against his amidst the gunshots raining down around them.

“Dave.” He whispered. “I want to be able to summon Dave.”

Anton nodded; he knew the story by now.

“Then you need to keep working, it sucks and I hate it just as much as you do. Watching you go through that but helpless, forced to sit and watch.” Anton averted his eyes, blinking rapidly. “But you want this Klaus, I know you do. You can’t give up now, not when your so close to getting stronger. Think about what you can do when your able to summon ghosts from different countries? Then you could see Dave, then your siblings will truly see just how amazing you are.”

Klaus nodded, tears streaming down his face. He hated this so goddamn much, but it was worth it. For Dave, who he wanted to see and touch again. For every moment without him left an ache in his soul that hurt with every breath he took.

“But, if you want to stop. Then we stop. No questions asked, you can stop and I will stick by your side. No matter what you decide, I’m here for you okay?” Anton whispered, but they both knew he wanted to do this.

He wanted to do it for Vanya, who was already improving, already coming out of her shell and smiling more, laughing more. He wanted her to keep improving, and if that meant going through all this shit, then so be it.

He had come so far, what would he be if he stopped now? A mess for the ghosts to sweep in and take until his mind overloaded and he found himself overdosing in some back alley again. He could do this, if not for himself then for everyone around him.

He fell asleep with Anton whispering sweet reasurances in his ear and dreams of Dave’s smile in his mind.

________________________________

Klaus would be the first to admit that his relationship with his siblings was weak at most.

Over the past two months of him starting this new advanced personal training, he had been too busy throwing himself into training to hang out with them or go to any of their weekly team meetings. He was truly isolated from them, the only time they were together being the dinners they spent in silence and they few meetings he was forced into.

During those meetings he kept up the act, going on and on about how he was doing so great at distracting dad, how they were all lucky to have him there to do the job for them. It hurt to see them roll their eyes and think he was just doing this all for attention, allowing himself to be brutally killed over and over again because he craved their father’s approval.

He was doing this for them, all of this for them. Sure, they could think what they want, but one day he’ll be able to show them exactly what he was and they would come crawling back for forgiveness, for a second chance with him.

Seeing Ben hurt the most.

They haven’t talked since their fight, most they’ve said to each other was quick passing formalities that tore Klaus to pieces every time they happened. A part of himself tearing off and crumbling into nothing every time Ben avoided his eyes or turned his back on him.

And yet Ben still glanced at him with those worried eyes, still watched him during their meetings with a gaze that was too heavy for Klaus to decipher. Klaus wanted his brother back, the one who he could tease and poke fun with and have match him perfectly, the brother who always knew how to cheer him up or motivate him, the brother who knew him inside and out.

But he had Anton now, who was always by his side, guiding him and providing him a shoulder to lean on, even if he wasn’t living. Anton, who listened to him when he talked on and on about Vietnam and who never told him to shut up when he needed to talk.

But it didn’t help that sometimes it was hard to remember who was dead and who was alive, how when they went out in public Klaus would sometimes run into people after forgetting that it was actually possible for people to touch him. Sometimes he would forget that he wouldn’t just walk through them, leading to extremely awkward exchanges.

He felt so detached from them sometimes, when their father forced them outside and they would walk in a giant group, him slightly off to the side, there and included, but feeling a million miles away. During missions he was still reduced to the lookout despite his powers continually growing.

He had to put up with being killed every other day- sometimes with poison, sometimes from knives, sometimes even worse- but he was still useless. He had more scars than he could count, littering his body after two months of this sort of training and his siblings still sighed whenever he said something. Still didn’t believe him.

But who cares! He didn’t. He didn’t need them, didn’t need stupid things like a family who understood him, or human touch that wasn’t his father's stinging hits and cold hands that killed him over and over again, didn’t need to feel welcomed and accepted by the only people he cared about.

So he threw himself even further into his studies and training, advancing his powers over death and the dead. Anton helped him through it, helped him try new ways to interact and speak with the dead, helped him test out his immortality and question the true implications of that.

Five months since they arrived and exactly four months since he started training, Five teleported into his room with a bright flash of blue.

Klaus startled a little bit, shooting his brother a glare as he settled back down. His brother was for some reason eating a churro and had a bag held loosely in his hand.

“Are you trying to kill me?” Klaus hissed, putting the cup of mugwort tea he was drinking down. Five shrugged.

“Of course not, I have much more efficient ways of doing that.” He said and Klaus rolled his eyes.

“Well then brother, what brings you to my humble abode?” Klaus asked, gesturing to his tiny room that he spends all his time in. Five blinked, raising the bag slightly.

“I brought churros.” He said flatly.

“That’s it? You brought me churros?” Klaus asked, raising an eyebrow. Five simply shrugged at him.

“Diego put me up to it. Claims that you needed some company.” Five said tossing the bag onto the bed. “I wasn’t supposed to tell you that though, so if he asks I just enjoy your company oh so much.”

Klaus chuckled, relaxing a bit as he reached into the bag and pulled out one of the sugary treats. He didn’t mind Five’s company, sure his brother was a bit of a massive asshole at times, but he had no pity to share, only the truth. It was refreshing after seeing the pitiful and sympathetic worried looks from everyone else.

“Diego’s a mother hen.” He said lightly. “Under all that leather is a true sweetheart.”

Five snorted out laugh, taking another bite of his treat. They sat in silence for a long moment. Five studying him and Klaus pretending not to notice.

“He’s got something on his mind.” Anton pointed out from where he stood in the corner.

“What’s bugging you? You’ve never hesitated to speak your mind.” Klaus said smoothly, smirking slightly when he saw Five’s eyebrows quirk in surprise. The little bugger wasn’t expecting him to notice.

“You’ve been training a lot lately.” Five spoke slowly, like he was speaking to a rabid animal that would lash out at any second. “It’s different.”

“You guys are the one who wanted me to do this.” Klaus sighed, a spark of annoyance fluttering to life in his chest.

“That’s true.” Five said. “But we didn’t think you’d throw yourself into it like this. Normally your laziness would prevent you from doing any sort of training for extended periods of time. Especially at this rate.”

Anton glared at Five from the corner, stepping into the light and drawing Klaus’s attention.

“Your not lazy Klaus.” He snarled, and Klaus shrugged, he really was at times. "You were terrified of doing training back then, that's not the same as laziness."

“I got motivation.” He said simply, reaching in and taking the last churro. Five could go get some more if he wanted them so badly.

“That’s the thing Klaus, you despise our father, so what’s making you go through with this level of training?” Five asked pointing the last bite of his treat at Klaus.

He hated the way Five was looking at him, like he was some sort of equation he could solve, a word problem that Five could think over and solve the secrets to. It made him feel like he was under a glass wall, gazing out at his brother from behind the walls in a zoo.

“Vanya needed the time. I provided it; can’t you deal with that?” He snapped, picking up his tea and angrily drinking it, ignoring the incredibly bitter taste.

“I guess your right.” Five said softly, and his gaze shifted, something that looked like actual concern, actual worry.

Then Five was gone in a blip of blue light, and Klaus was alone again.

Chapter Text

Five months turned into six, six into seven.

Klaus had never felt as powerful as he did at the moment. His training had been going more than well, and slowly he learned just how far he could go with his immortality. After a close call with a slit throat, his father realized that his powers truly had a limit. But he didn’t let that affect him, didn’t dwell on the nightmares of slowly bleeding out as his mom rushed in to save him, didn’t think about the minutes he spent dead as a brick.

Other than that his powers were getting a lot easier to control, easier to use and it made his life so much simpler. He could send the ghosts away at will, stop the screaming enough for him to sleep peacefully, for him to exist without the dead constantly hovering over his shoulder.

He was getting a lot better at summoning ghosts too, but to his everlasting frustration, he could only manage summoning ghosts who died in the area. Anything larger would make him collapse before he was able to get close to them, his powers simply not strong enough to manage it.

Anton told him it would get easier with time, similar to flexing a muscle he had never knew he had. If he kept working at it eventually he would get better, could summon anyone.

Then he could see Dave again, could talk to him and finally continue where they left off.

But he tried not to think of it, because every time he thought about Dave he would become breathless with guilt and sorrow, his depression dragging him down into its spiral.

So he simply stopped thinking about it.

His relationship with his father had been changing too, the two of them spending an absurd amount of time together. They had training daily, alternating between working with his relationship with the dead and his abilities to come back from the dead.

Now, Klaus had many reasons for the training he went through, and a lot of it was for Vanya and the rest of his siblings, but he wouldn’t lie. Every time he improved an aspect of his power his father's’ frown would lighten ever so slightly, the cold look in his eyes would lift and it would leave Klaus wanting more, craving more.

It was almost like a drug, his fathers’ approval. The man only gave him enough to keep him hooked, keep him wishing and hoping for more as they go on. Klaus craved the relief and joy seeing his father's short nod of approval gave him, spent every hour craving it, throwing himself into work so that his father would stop seeing him as his biggest disappointment.

And slowly his father starts to trust him more, on the seventh month of his new training, he gets called into his father's’ study once again.

“Sit.” His father ordered, and Klaus did, lounging comfortably in the chair across from his father. Anton joined him, choosing instead to sit on the side of his father's’ desk. “Surely, you have noticed your lack of involvement in recent missions correct?”

Klaus nodded, ignoring the bitter taste in his mouth. He hated the missions, everyone did. They thankfully weren’t going on as many as they did the first time around, but they were still something that they were forced to do.

He was still of course on lookout, shoved to the side as his siblings did all the work. Left to watch as they got all of the credit.

“I have planned out a solo mission for you, one that specifically demands your skillset.” His father continued.

“A solo mission?” He asked softly, his eyes wide. Only Luther and Diego got those, people with skills, useful people. Definitely not Klaus.

“Yes, I need information from an old informant of mine, regrettably he passed away a couple of years ago. You will travel to the sight of his resting and summon him to ask him these questions for me. Is that clear?” His father ordered, passing Klaus a file folder which he numbly grabbed.

“Of course sir.” He said half dazed.

The mission went perfectly, a simple summoning and the ghost was surprisingly easy to get information out of, the man never stopped talking. He came back and returned the answers to his father and definitely didn’t smile after his father nodded and told him, “Good job Number Four.” Nope, he was completely indifferent to it.

It meant something, these missions that his father started sending him on. Sometimes they were simple, summoning and getting information. Other times it was more dangerous, sneaking into areas where kidnappers kept their victims, talking to the dead to help gain leads to pull the police there.

They meant that his father thought him important and strong enough to do things like that. It meant his father thought him capable enough to trust him with these sensitive missions alone, didn’t think him useless or incapable.

These missions meant he mattered to someone, to something.

And sure, sometimes he woke up with a recently healed knife wound to the chest, gasping as pain rolled through him in waves, but he still completed the mission, every single one of them. They gave him a purpose, showed him that he wasn’t just a useless junkie again. If he died, well he would come back eventually right?

It showed him that despite his siblings still treating him like dirt, his father saw something in him, something that could be used sure, but it was better than thinking he was trash to be crushed under their feet.

Interacting with his siblings still hurt sometimes, he wasn’t going to sugar coat it.

Sometimes he broke, and when the dam between the living and dead became too broken he would seek out someone who was real, who could ground him. They never turned him away, but he could sense their annoyance, the exasperation in their voices as if they just wanted him to shut up.

Sometimes he couldn’t stop talking.

Being loud was easy, something he could do without thinking. It brought attention to him, mostly negative but attention either way. And the attention helped serve as a distraction to his racing mind. He knew how to twist words like a pro, divert and deflect a conversation every which way to avoid actually talking about the important things.

Sometimes he needs to talk because when his powers don’t work to push the dead away, talking helps. It drowns them out, allowing him to focus on the conversation he was bothering whatever siblings with. If he stops talking then they will overwhelm him, screaming endlessly in his ears.

He can talk and talk and talk but he can’t talk about the ghosts. Anything but them. Because if he talks about them they become more real, will curve their voices into his mind and force him to listen, taking over his mind and filling it with their whispered pleads.

Sometimes he needs to talk, but he has no one to listen to him. Sure, Anton’s there, but chances are that he doesn’t want to interact with any ghosts at the moment. Sometimes even looking at Anton’s form gets to be too much for him.

So he curls up on the window sill, staring out at the world and ranting endlessly at the little basil plant he keeps there. That’s where his life is at right now, so starved of human kindness that he resorts to talking to a plant.

Granted, it calms him down. Allows him to talk freely without worrying of someone getting tired of him, of them yelling at him to shut up. He could talk to the plant and pretend it was someone else, listening carefully as he outlined his fears and angers. His worries over how much he stopped caring about a lot of things. How he allows his father to use him and doesn’t even bat an eye anymore.

Maybe he can fool himself into believing that it was Dave sitting there, holding his hand and listening. When he closed his eyes he could almost picture him there, sun filtering over his skin and the soft smile on his lips. The curl of his hair, the curve of the muscle on his arms. Sometimes he could even feel the ghost touch of Dave’s hands running over him, hear the soft comforting words.

But when he opens his eyes he’s always alone. No one but the ghosts at his back and the plant by his side.

____________________________________

Throughout the evolution of his powers, the one thing that actually showed him he could improve happened to be the one thing he couldn’t fully get a grip on.

After Ben materialized in the theater, Klaus had been unable to conjure up any ghost that can physically interact with him or any other objects in the land of the living. He had been trying, constantly as his father pushed him to interact with a ghost physically, but it was like something was stopping him. His hands passing through every time.

So Anton suggested they sat, just the two of them, and tried to see if it could work.

“This is stupid, it’s not going to work.” Klaus said for the millionth time, throwing up his hands. Anton frowned from where he was sitting.

“We’ve only been working for ten minutes; you need to keep working.” He said with a soft sigh, Klaus shook his head.

“It’s useless, it’s never going to work.” He moaned, getting to his feet and pacing around.

He was trying so hard to do this, to focus on the feeling that he felt the first time. But every time he tried he always fell short, not quite sure what to do. It was frustrating, annoying, it was stupid. He learned how to summon ghosts, how to dispel them, hell he could even come back from the dead now, but he can’t touch a single ghost for the life of him.

“It’s a shame you know.” Anton said lowly, and Klaus looked up at him, studying the mans face. “You needed this power.”

“What do you mean?” Klaus asked, not liking the look of blankness on his ghost mentors face. Anton always tried to be open with him, didn’t hide his feelings. The two of them could communicate without words, and yet right now Klaus had no clue what the man was thinking.

“All I’m saying, is when was the last time someone touched you in a loving way?” Anton asked. “Your siblings haven’t. No pats on the back, no high fives, not even brushing arms. They all stay away from you. Avoid you like the plague.”

“Stop it.” Klaus hissed, the words hitting home. What was Anton doing?

“Hell, the only person who touches you these days is your dad when he's killing you over and over again. The only contact you get is your father's fingers brushing over you as he drags the knife against your skin, or when he hits you when you dare to stand up for yourself.” Anton continued, standing up and facing him. Klaus stepped back.

“Shut up.” He said without any force behind the words.

“Now, the one person around who even wants to attempt to touch you tries to give it a shot, and you can’t even do that. Your to scared to let them try, to let them come close. Because everyone always hurts you and you don’t know how to deal with someone promising not to.” Anton was yelling now, the words sliding under Klaus’s skin. “Your so touch starved and yet your too messed up and broken to realize it.”

That wasn’t true. It couldn’t be true. He wasn’t denying himself this, and he wasn’t touch starved or whatever. He was just lonely sometimes. Fuck, that was the same thing wasn’t it? But no, Anton was lying, he wasn't broken, wasn't messed up. He couldn't be, couldn't have the last person he could trust turn his back on him like this.

It didn’t matter, all that mattered was the rage simmering in his gut, boiling up through his veins and making his vision red. Anton couldn’t say those things to him, not the only person he had left.

He lashed out, his hands reaching out to hit, to push, whatever. He connected.

Both Anton and Klaus stood there in silence as Anton stumbled back from the force of Klaus’s hands shoving him. Staring at each other with wide eyes as they realized what happened.

Then Anton was stepping forwards, his arms reaching out to wrap around Klaus’s body, his arms warm and real as they surrounded him.

Klaus sobbed, leaning into the touch as his legs gave out, anger draining out from him in a matter of seconds, leaving him a mess as he wrapped his arms around the ghost. The touch felt good, warm and loving and Anton shushed him, his fingers reaching out to run through Klaus hair.

He leaned into it, the warmth and the comfort seeping into him and suddenly he felt so goddamn tired. Tired of fighting, tired of training, tired of the stupid human need of touch and love that he could only get from a ghost.

But he couldn’t help but melt into the embrace, the arms providing the perfect weight to calm the stuttering of his heart beat.

It was stupid how much he needed this, how much the ache inside his chest went away from the stupid touch of someone who cared about him. Who believed in him and thought him powerful, wonderful, something worth touching.

“I’m so sorry.” Anton whispered into his head, and Klaus leaned his head against the ghost’s shoulder nestling into the warmth, the kind of warmth a ghost should not have. “I didn’t mean it, none of it. You were so scared of being touched, of trusting someone with you again. Ghosts are horrid to you, and you didn’t want to be able to touch them. You needed to break past it, and the only way I could see how to do it was by forcing you. Do you understand?”

Klaus nodded, not trusting his words. His eyelids felt so heavy, his limbs like warm milk.

“Sometimes I'm rude, and I hate it so much. But you needed it! You get that right? I only did that because you needed it.” Anton continued, and Klaus nodded, because he did get it.

A little tough love right? Questionable means to achieve just ends. This was nothing, Anton didn’t mean any of it, it was just a lie. Klaus wasn’t broken, wasn’t unfixable and it wasn’t his fault. Anton got that, he understood.

“You trust me right? I won’t ever hurt you.” Anton whispered, and Klaus looked up at him.

“I know, you wouldn’t do that.” He muttered tiredly, not resisting as Anton cupped his head and leaned it back on his shoulder, shushing him and telling him to get some sleep.

Klaus fell asleep in Anton’s arms, the raging ocean inside his chest finally calm for the first time in a while.

After that, Anton tried his best to always be in contact with him. They would stand side to side, their shoulders brushing together. Anton would ruffle his hair when he did something right, would pat his shoulder when Klaus pleased him.

Klaus tried not to crave them too much, tried not to depend on the weight on his shoulder, the warmth radiating from his friend. But he still cataloged each and every touch, memorizing the feeling for when Anton left or when he slept.

So what if no one living could provide him with the simple human desire of touch, he had Anton there for him, his best friend, his mentor, the person he could always depend on. It was more than enough.

It had to be.

Chapter Text

Klaus wasn’t an idiot. Sure he wasn’t the strongest at school and a lot of things went over his head intelligent wise, but he was observant enough to know that his siblings were planning something.

Five had taken to popping in whenever he was in the library, the two of them never talking, simply sitting and reading beside each other. Diego would join him when he went on his late-night hunt for snacks, pretending like it was coincidence that they were there at the same time. He didn’t see Allison that much, but occasionally she’d drop in with a new outfit to give him. Ben, well he hadn’t talked to ben in a while. And Vanya was always too busy for him, although sometimes she would play her violin a tiny bit louder when she knew he was in the room next to hers.

The one sibling who had yet to search him out was Luther, good old Number One seemed to be just as averse to seeing him as Klaus was.

But here he was, hovering awkwardly in the doorway, looking hesitant and unsure as he shifted from leg to leg.

“Klaus?” He asked, and Klaus looked up at him unimpressed, his book still open in front of him. “Put on some plain clothes, I want to go on a walk with you. I mean, we're going for a walk.”

“Where?” He asked, placing down the book and sighing as he sat up. Might as well humor him.

“Surprise, just do it. Meet me in my room in ten minutes.” Luther said, and then he was gone, leaving Klaus alone.

“You don’t have to go.” Anton said.

“Might as well, don’t want him to get mad at me.” He said, sitting up and wandering to his closet. Inside was mostly his stupid Academy uniform, but there was a few more casual outfits, things he or Allison bought or things his father gave him for going outside on the more mundane missions. He pulled on one of the crop tops Allison recently bought him, a solid black with some sparkles around the shoulder, he paired it with a dark washed pair of pants, throwing his hair into something more acceptable.

He wandered into Luther’s room, where his brother was waiting for him, scrolling through his little box of records.

“Ready?” Klaus asked, leaning against the doorframe. Luther nodded, pulling on his light winter jacket and pushing past Klaus to the designated sneaking out window.

Klaus wasn’t really sure what to do.

Him and Luther had never really been overly close, in this life or the last. They tended to stay on different sides of the family, his brother just a bit too controlling and single minded for his liking. Klaus likes shades of grey, Luther preferred black and white.

The two of them clashed more often then they got along, but here his brother was, awkwardly walking beside him as they strolled down the street without any other siblings to act as a buffer.

“So, where are we going brother dear?” Klaus drawled, shoving his hands in his pockets and winking at the older lady who was glaring at him as he walked by.

“Uh, I don’t really know.” Luther said, his hand reaching up to rub the back of his neck as his shoulders curled in. “Maybe go out for lunch? There’s a new record store that I wanted to check out, and you’re the only one with a decent sense of music style.” Luther said with a shrug his face turning red.

“Sounds like fun.” Klaus said, watching as Luther refused to meet his eyes.

“We can do something else too if you prefer, I just thought-“ He started, looking like he wanted to book it back down the street.

“Hey big guy, it sounds like fun.” Klaus said softly, patting his arm and watching as his brother immediately relaxed, finally settling into something more confident and comfortable. The walked in silence for the rest of the time, Luther grabbing his arm and practically dragging him into a little record store labelled ‘Academy Records’.

Inside there was no one else but the store owner who was scrolling through her phone. Luther was immediately searching through the piles, his eyes alight with interest as he browsed. Klaus followed him and listened as he ranted on and on about the different artist. Klaus had forgotten how much Luther loved his music, preferring the older tunes that he could dance to.

“The Doors, what do you think?” Luther asked, showing Klaus the album. Klaus nodded, smiling sadly.

“That’s a good one.” He commented, his mind traveling back slightly to 1969, the sounds of the music playing through the disco speakers as he and Dave danced and drank. He nodded again. “I’d get that one.”

Luther nodded, checking the price as his face fell slightly. “I won’t have enough to buy another.” He said sadly.

“It’s okay, just look around and we can come back another time.” Klaus comforted, stepping past his brother to search through the records as well.

Sure, him and his brother never really got along, especially after all the shit they went through in their past life, but the air between them was light as the exited the store and headed to a little café a few streets down. Klaus was talking about some fun facts about The Doors that he remembered Dave telling him about, Luther for once listening to him without rolling his eyes at the rambling.

They settled into a table a few minutes later, ordering a coffee for Luther and a hot chocolate for himself.

They settled into silence again, silently sipping at their cups. They were almost finished before Luther finally spoke up.

“Hey Klaus?” Luther asked softly, his eyes refusing to meet his for a long second as he broke the silence. “Can we talk?”

Klaus felt his heart pound slightly, the sudden change of topic startling him slightly. What was it that Luther wanted? Was there something wrong?

“Of course.” He said, forcing himself to sound indifferent. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Anton, who was giving him and his brother some space, get slightly closer.

“It’s just, me and the others have been kind of worried about you.” Luther said softly, and Klaus frowned once again. He was fine, why were they all obsessed with him lately? “You’ve seemed off and I just wanted to check up on you and make sure you were okay.”

Luther was concerned about him? That was a new one. Normally Number One just assumed he was on drugs or doing it all for attention and never asked. Klaus guessed all that time spent being a better brother for Vanya rubbed off on him in a more impactful way.

“I’m fine, just busy with training.” He told him, smiling widely and getting up to throw out his finished cup. Luther scrambled to follow, easily catching up as Klaus pushed out the door.

“That’s the thing. Maybe you should take a break or something? Take some time away from dad? I realize now that he’s not an easy person to be around a lot.” Luther continued, and Klaus just wanted him to shut up. Why were they all telling him to stop? Wasn’t this what they wanted him to do?

“I can’t stop.” He snapped, glaring slightly at Luther, who didn’t seem affected at all.

“Why not? I can take the brunt of dad’s attention for the week.” Luther offered, which honestly was a sweet idea in theory.

“Dad doesn’t want to train you.” He snapped, watching as Luther’s face fell slightly. “He’s too invested in my powers to just let me stop. He cares too much about my development to allow me any chance at stopping, even for a minute. God, you make it sound so easy, but it’s not Luther. It’s not.”

Throughout his rant he watched as Luther’s face fell more, his eyes making that concerned puppy dog look that he always had.

“I’m sorry Klaus, I just want to help. Let me help, and if you don’t want me then go to Ben or Diego or something. But as the team leader I need to know that your going to be okay.” Luther said softly, his large hand resting on Klaus’s shoulder.

“Team leader?” He hissed, hsi anger flaring. “I’m barely even part of the team anymore.”

Maybe that was the wrong thing to say, he shouldn’t have revealed that much to his brother. But it was true wasn’t it? He didn’t go on their missions, instead doing his own, and he wasn’t invited to any of their group pow wows or anything like that. Luther could be concerned as ‘team leader’ but he didn’t have control of Klaus anymore. Klaus wasn’t a liability to them since he was no longer part of their team.

“Yes you are.” Luther said, looking confused. “You’re a part of the team Klaus. Even if your not always around.”

Klaus bit his lips, torn between the two options. He could believe Luther, accept that they still saw him as part of the team, but was it the truth? They could say he was one of them all they wanted, but how many times have they proved that wrong? How many times had they shoved him to the side, treated him like dirt?

How could he believe Luther when this was the first time his brother had properly spoken to him in months?

“I can’t stop the training.” Klaus said slowly. “And I can’t take a break. I can’t handle it if I do Luther. They are so loud when I don’t focus on pushing them away. I can’t-“ He cut himself off, trying to stop from working himself into hysterics. Luther grabbed his arms firmly, searching Klaus’s eyes.

Klaus wasn’t sure what his brother saw, but before he knew what was happening Luther was pulling him closer, his arms wrapping around his thin frame.

It felt so much nicer than any hug Anton gave him.

His brother wasn’t that much taller than him, but Klaus felt so small in Luther’s arms, his brother creating a circle of safety around him, his body warmth seeping into Klaus’s chilled skin. He buried his head in Luther’s chest, careful not to start crying because he felt close to it.

When was the last time he had hugged his brother? It had been years, way too long to even remember. But Luther always gave the best hugs, squeezing just hard enough that you felt welcomed and safe but not strong enough to hurt him. Luther had worked years on perfecting how to stop hurting his siblings with his extra strength.

Klaus knew his brother could easily choke him out if he wanted to, but Luther was holding him with that extra amount of care and concern that almost broke something deep inside of Klaus, the part of him that desperately seeked out his siblings love even when they treated him like shit.

Klaus's own arms wrapped around his brother, squeezing him back and he let himself relax for a moment, the guarded wall around his mind falling apart the longer his brother held him.

Luther pulled away much too soon, his hands remaining on Klaus’s shoulders as he gave him an uneasy smile. Then his eyes darted down slightly to the skin on his shoulders and neck, his smile falling.

“What?” Klaus asked, looking down and blinking at what he saw. He had forgotten that the crop top he was wearing didn’t hide the scars littering his arms, the crude raised skin from the times his father carved into him to bleed him dry, never fully healing even when he came back from the dead.

“What are those from?” Luther demanded, his hands suddenly becoming restrictive as he reached out, practically trying to pull Klaus’s shirt off of him to get a better look. “I don’t remember those.”

“It’s nothing!” Klaus cried, twisting and turning in an attempt to get away. “Just a mistake, some training. It’s no big deal, don’t worry about it.”

“Training?” Luther asked, his mouth turning down in to a frown as his eyes were suddenly darting down his body to look for anything else.

Luck wasn’t on Klaus’s side as the shirt rode up just enough the reveal the end of the wicked looking scar on his stomach from the time his father cut him open to see just how his skin healed over.

Luther was immediately shoving his shirt up, displaying the majority of the scar for his prying eyes. Klaus pushed his hands away, looking around at all the people walking around staring at them as Luther practically felt him up.

“Luther stop people are staring.” He hissed, finally catching his brother’s attention.

“Explain this Klaus. Now. Where did you get those from?” He growled, anger darting in his eyes.

“None of his business.” Anton whispered from behind him.

“It's none of your business Luther.” He snapped. “Just drop it oaky?”

Klaus turned, storming away back in the direction of the Academy, leaving Luther to follow like an angry lost puppy.

He was so stupid. He should have thought about the scars before putting on the outfit. It didn’t even occur to him that having massive scars all over his body would be concerning to his brother. He should have stuck with a long sleeve sweater or something, fuck this was bad.

“Klaus, talk to me.” Luther said, catching up. His voice sounded sterner now, like he was order Klaus instead of being a concerned siblings. It ruffled his feathers. “If dad’s hurting you, you can tell me. We can find a way to stop him.”

Klaus paused, and became aware that he was at across roads. He could easily tell Luther everything, how the scars were from his father killing him over and over again to see his how far he could go before he came back. Then he would have to deal with his siblings’ reactions, either positive or most likely negative. What if they thought he was doing this for attention? A desperate grab for his father’s approval, because that was what it was wasn’t it?

Klaus was so pathetic for attention that he was willing to let his father literally murder him just for a slice of affection. It was disgusting, embarrassing. He would never live it down; his siblings would be horrified at his actions.

And even if they didn't hate him, what could they do? His father wasn't going to stop, wasn't going to end the training and the killing and the missions. It was stupid to let himself believe otherwise.

So instead he just smiled.

“Don’t be stupid. Nothing's wrong. Let’s go home.” He said, and he turned around, leaving Luther to slowly walk behind him as they continued onto their house.

Anton laid a heavy hand on his shoulder, and a small part of him missed the strength of Luther’s hand.

“It’s okay Klaus, you did the right thing.” He whispered, and Klaus nodded, ignoring the twisting feeling inside his chest as he walked back to his room.

__________________________________

 

A week after his outing with Luther his father called him into the gym for a new type of training.

Klaus entered without a care in the world, thinking this would just be another time to work on his summoning abilities. Easy basic stuff.

His sense of dread sparked when he saw his father standing in the middle of the room, his face as impassive as always and a small stool in front of him. And was that a rabbit sitting on the wood?

It was, a tiny bright white bunny was sitting on the stool, staring at Klaus as he walked forwards, Anton’s hand resting on the small of his back, comforting him in the uncertainty staining his mind.

Ever since he found he was able to let the ghosts touch him, Anton was able to be in contact with him at all times, invisible to everyone else but still able to interact with the physical world as if alive. The two of them walked closer to their father, stopping a couple feet away.

“Number Four, please step forwards.” His father commanded, and Klaus listened, carefully stepping forwards until he was right in front of the rabbit.

“What is this sir?” He asked, his eyes studying the animal, it was a cute little thing, with bright white fur and adorable little whiskers.

“You should know what to do. You’re not allowed to leave the room until this is finished.” His father instructed, before walking out, refusing to listen to Klaus’s shouted protests as the door slammed shut and locked behind him.

“What the fuck?” He asked Anton, confusion crashing over him. What did his father mean by that? ‘You should know what to do’? What kind of vague bullshit was that?

“I think I know what he wants.” Anton whispered, swallowing as he stared at the rabbit. “Let me help.”

Klaus nodded, not at all worried as Anton’s chest pressed against his back, his arms reaching out to wrap around him and grab his arms, guiding his hands to hover over the rabbit, palms facing down.

“What am I supposed to be doing?” Klaus asked, biting his lip as a wave of uneasiness rushed over him. He wasn’t sure what this was, what he was suppose to be doing.

“Focus on the rabbit Klaus.” Anton whispered into his ear, his voice echoing around his head. “Stare at it.”

Klaus followed, trusting Anton with the moment. He watched the bunny, the animal staring back up to him with innocent beady black eyes.

They stood like that for a long time, Klaus feeling more and more stupid as time went on.

He was having a stare off with a bunny rabbit and it felt like the animal was winning.

“This is stupid.” He said with a laugh, moving to lower his arm, but Anton’s arm held fast, restricting the movement. “Anton?” He asked, squirming a bit in the grasp.

“Just focus, trust me on this.” Anton snapped, and Klaus went still, the tone making every bone inside his body go rigid. “Focus more around the rabbit, see if you can sense something, relax and let your power go.”

Klaus listened, and as he watched the air around the rabbit started to ripple. He felt a tiny bit of his power curl out, wrapping around the little animal as the air around his fur started to strain black.

“Do you see that?” Anton whispered, and Klaus nodded, completely enchanted at the blackish smoke coming from his hand, reaching down and curling around the animal. “Now pull.” Anton whispered.

The ghost’s fingers, wrapped around Klaus’s own fingers as he wrapped them into a fist, Klaus’s hand closing. Some of the smoke around the animal started flying to his closed hand, something stirring deep inside Klaus’s chest as if it was alive. His breathing quickened, his heart pounding and there was a rushing sound in his ears.

Then Anton jerked his hand back, the smoke being completely yanked away from the animal and following his hand.

The bunny slouched to the ground.

Dead.

Anton released his hand, and Klaus stumbled backwards, his breathing stuttering as he realized what he did, what he managed to do to the innocent animal.

“Oh my god.” He breathed out, his eyes widening as he stared at the dead animal. “Oh my fucking god.”

The door flew open is father walking in past Klaus, who was curling into himself, cradling his hand and staring at it like it was foreign, something vile and evil.

He had killed the bunny.

He was going to be sick.

“Good job Number Four.” Reginald said, his lips twisting up into the first smile Klaus had ever seen. It sent even more chills down his spine, his father's face twisted in wicked joy and Klaus didn’t want to think about where this would lead for him. “You are dismissed.”

Klaus couldn’t get out of the room any faster, practically running away as he flew up the stairs and stumbled to the ground in his haste.

“Klaus?” It was Diego, coming out of his room when he heard the thump of Klaus hitting the ground. “Are you okay?” He was stepping forwards, and Klaus wanted to run to him, to throw himself into his brothers’ arms and tell him everything.

But he could see the faint outlines of black smoke around Diego, and suddenly the hysteria was back, the fear pulsing through him as he scrambled back, using the wall to stand up and dart into his room. Slamming the door behind him and locking it with shaking fingers.

He could hear Diego on the other side, calling his name but he couldn’t hear it over the rushing in his ears, the sound of his own hyperventilating breathing.

Hr felt sick, like the entire world was shifting and changing under his feet, twisting and turning and ready to yank him down into the abyss. He felt like he deserved it.

He killed that rabbit, and innocent creature that had no idea what was going on. He killed it. He fucking killed it.

“Klaus, you need to calm down.” Someone said, it took him a minute to pull his thoughts together and see Anton standing in front of where he was sitting, his back pressed against the wall. A surge of anger overcame him, and he shot up, his hands shoving into Anton’s and causing the ghost to stumble backwards.

“How could you!” He screamed, tears streaming down his face. He was duly thankful that his room was soundproof or else his siblings would be very concerned. “How could you make me do that! Why the fuck would you make me do that?” He screamed, reaching forwards to hit him again, Anton grabbed his hands before they connected, and Klaus bucked out of the grip, the touch seeming to sear him.

“Klaus please-“ Anton started, but Klaus felt like the room was collapsing, his eyes filling with tears until he couldn’t see anymore, his legs giving out as he collapsed to the ground, sobbing loudly.

Everything was too much, he killed something, had the ability to literally pull the life out of something. The bile was pushing up his throat, choking him as he started to scream.

He screamed and screamed and he wanted everything to stop, to go back in time and get the hell out of this house before his father called him into training. Something was ripping out of him, pulsing out of him with every scream he let loose.

“Klaus!” Anton screamed, and Klaus looked up, the anger dispersing into fear.

Everything in his room was floating.

His hands were encased in blue, and suddenly he became aware of the fact that he was hovering a few feet above the ground, the gravity inside his room suddenly turning upside down.

He laughed, still a bit hysterical as he stared at his hands.

The books on his bed were near the ceiling, his others herds scattered in the air as if he was in space. His little herb plant floating in the air close to him, a bit of the dirt falling out and hovering suspended in the air around it.

“Klaus,” Anton whispered, his eyes filled with wonder. “This is amazing. Your amazing.” The ghost laughed, and Klaus found himself laughing along with him.

This would be good; this could be useful. He could tell his father about this and then he wouldn’t have to worry about there being more training like tonight. His father would forget about it because apparently Klaus was telekinetic or something and that was so much more useful than killing things.

He reached out and grabbed his little plant, scooping the dirt back inside and focused hard, imagining everything drifting down, righting itself. Surprisingly, it worked. Klaus was standing back on the ground, and as the light faded from his hands so did all of his energy. Anton managed to grab him before he fell, scooping the smaller boy into his arms.

The spirit placed the boy in bed, brushing aside all the rest of the books and littering objects that Klaus had sent flying in his fit of grief, rage, power, whatever you want to call it.

Anton’s fingers slowly ran through Klaus’s hair settling the boy down and making him fall deeper into exhaustion, his eyes drooping down as he found no way to keep them open.

He fell into the land of dreams, images of a small white rabbit following him around, black smoke surrounding Dave’s body as he lay in the trench, his siblings drowning inside a tornado of it, the dreams chased him into his spiral of unconsciousness with no way to escape.

Klaus didn’t care. He was so goddamn tired that he found he didn’t really care about much anymore.

Chapter Text

Luckily for him, his father did seem a bit more interested in Klaus’s ability to move objects and levitate.

They hadn’t done anything similar to the bunny in about a week, although it’s always on the edge of his mind, staining his thoughts every time his father called him down for training in the gym. Klaus knew this wasn’t the end, that his father would definitely revisit that certain set of powers, but Klaus could keep hoping that maybe his father would show him mercy, just this once.

It was his day off from training, him and his siblings technical free time. He was sure his siblings were off somewhere, having fun, probably watching a movie in the living room. He could join them, just pop in and sit down. They couldn’t kick him out, but he had something a bit more important than that.

Klaus had become a bit of a gardener in the past few months. Ever since he started using herbs and incense to help amplify his powers he started keeping a little herb garden on his bookshelf. Two complete shelves dedicated to small little pots and plants that he had to water and make sure got enough light everyday.

He was flouting a couple inches off the ground to get at the top shelf, holding a water can as he gently watered the five plants he kept up there. The other two shelves were at the bottom, separated by a few shelves of Knick knacks. The ones up here were by far the more dangerous ones, the poisonous ones that he kept up high so that no one would get hurt.

There was a knock on the door, timid and soft and he knew it was Vanya immediately. Klaus hesitated, dipping slightly lower as his powers reacted to his hesitance.

He hadn’t been spending a lot of time with his sister much, she had been beyond busy with training and being smothered by the others, and well seeing her brought something deep inside him to the surface, a bubble of guilt and sorrow that would make him regret everything he ever did.

“I know your in there Klaus, open up.” She called out, and Klaus sighed, flicking a finger and watching in satisfaction as the lock clicked open. He turned back to his plant, careful not to touch any. Another rash would not be pleasant.

The door slowly opened, Vanya poking her head in as she walked inside. A few seconds later Ben followed, looking hesitant and scared and Klaus tried to ignore the sting from seeing his brother.

As stupid as it was, the two of them were still sort of fighting, not talking as much as Klaus desperately wanted to and avoiding each other at all times. But here Ben was, and Klaus tried not to run at him and jump into his arms out of pure relief at seeing him.

“Klaus,” Vanya said, staring up at him. “Are you floating?”

Klaus looked at them blankly, vaguely remembering that yeah, they didn’t know about that specific power yet and here he was, a good five feet in the air.

“Why yes, I am.” He told her, setting the can down and crossing his legs in the air, softly floating down to his bed.

“Why?” Ben asked, looking surprised and slightly amused.

“Walking’s overrated.” Klaus snorted, finally settling down on the ground and letting himself settle. “What do you guys want?”

“Just wanted to talk to you.” Vanya said, shooting Ben a look as she walked over and sat on the chair by Klaus’s desk. Ben wandered over to the bookshelf, gazing at the array of herbs lounging around. “I haven’t seen you in a while.”

“I’ve been busy.” Klaus shrugged, watching as Ben ghosted some fingers over a few of the herbs.

“Are these editable?” Ben asked, glancing over at Klaus, who shrugged.

“I mean yeah, but maybe don’t? I put a lot of-“ Klaus started saying, but Ben ignored him, plucking a leaf off of a flower and putting into his mouth while making direct eye contact for some reason. Klaus blinked, his eyes widening.

“Fuck!” He cursed, standing up quickly, Ben startled staring at him. “Ben spit that out right now! That’s Aconite, it’s super poisonous.”

Ben’s eyes went comically large, quickly ripping the half-eaten leaf from his mouth and looking absolutely panicked. Vanya was standing too, looking worried and half ready to run out and get mom.

Klaus simply laughed.

“Nah, I’m screwing with you.” He said, his grin widening as Ben glared at him. “That’s just some centaury, it’s harmless.”

“You’re a dick.” Ben grumbled, but there was a small tilt to his lips, a smile he just couldn’t restrain.

“I mean, he got you good.” Vanya pointed out with a small smirk, and Klaus reached over to give her a high five before collapsing back onto bed with a slight giggle.

The three of them relaxed, the slightly tense air around them dissipating as Ben went back to looking at the herbs- slightly more wary this time- and Vanya flipped through the books open on Klaus’s desk.

“Are you practicing witchcraft or something?” Vanya asked, reading a few pages. “This stuff seems cool.”

“Helps my powers, speaking of, how’s your training going?” He asked, quickly distracting Vanya from any topic of his growing powers.

“It’s going fine, Ben and I were suppose to go out and train them today, but we decided to take a break.” She said, and the “to talk to you” was left unsaid but heard.

“Don’t stop training for my benefit.” Klaus told her with a frown. “It’s important that you learn that hogwash, having uncontrollable powers isn’t fun.”

“You’d know a lot about that huh.” Ben cut in, and Klaus glance at him their eyes meeting for a split second before Klaus looked away. “How is your training going?”

“It’s fine, I’ve been improving a lot.” Klaus told him, wondering what they were getting at. “Why are you guys here again?” He asked.

“They feel bad.” Anton said softly, and Klaus’s eyes snapped to him for a second, the ghost standing by the door. “They feel guilty because they haven’t been there for you. They’re trying to make themselves feel better, so that they can say they put in an effort, tried their best.”

It sounded true, neither of them had searched for him in the past few weeks, trying to find or talk to him. It was weird that they would all of a sudden show up and act like nothing was wrong, that they were still the same siblings they used to be.

“Because you’ve been acting weird and we’re worried about you.” Ben says, walking closer and leaning against the wall a few feet away from them, Klaus opened his mouth to argue, but Ben cut him off. “You haven’t been talking to anyone, you’ve been avoiding me, training all the time, and Luther said something about weird looking scars? And Diego told me that you were in a panic a week ago and refused to talk to him.”

“We just want to make sure your okay, that nothing's wrong.” Vanya said softly, looking worried and concerned.

“Sure, now they’re concerned.” Anton snorted, and Klaus watched as the ghost stepped forwards once again. “You don’t deserve their pity. Your more powerful than ever, more in control. Of course nothings wrong.”

“I’m fine!” Klaus told them firmly. “I’m more powerful and in control ass ever, nothing's wrong.”

“Stop lying.” Ben hissed, standing up and stepping towards him, a single finger pointing at him. “There’s someone else here isn’t there?”

Both Klaus and Anton paused, surprised at the observation.

“What do you mean?” Klaus asked, putting a small laugh into his words as his heart starting pounding.

“I mean I was dead too; I can recognize the signs.” Ben said, throwing his hands up. “You keep looking over my shoulder at nothing, you pause before answering, and your distracted as if you’re listening to someone else talk. Who’s here Klaus? Who is talking to you?”

“Don’t let him know about me.” Anton warned. Klaus couldn’t. they’d be mad, upset that Klaus had someone other than them to look forwards to, would blame this all on Anton for no reason. His one source of comfort ripped away from him.

“I don’t know what your talking about.” Klaus laughed, his eyes darting to Vanya, who was biting her lip and looking worried. “There’s no one here.”

“You just got rid of the ghosts; you wouldn’t want another hanging around.” Anton whispered.

“I hate the ghosts, hell I finally learned how to make them go away. I wouldn’t want one of them following me around.” Klaus said, standing up and facing his brother.

“You don’t have to lie to us Klaus.” Vanya said softly. “I’m here for you.”

“So am I.” Ben said softly, his hand reaching out to touch Klaus, who stepped away before his brother could connect.

“That’s not what you said before.” He whispered, and Ben flinched back slightly. “I thought you wanted some time alone, away from me. You never wanted to be tethered to me right? Wanted to go and do your own thing away from me.”

“I wanted to live my life.” Ben defended, a sad look in his eyes. “You can’t be mad at me for that Klaus, mad at me for wanting something outside of my past life. I wanted a chance at a better life.”

“And I just wanted a brother.” Klaus whispered, and Ben shut his mouth, tears welling in both of their eyes.

“I think they should go.” Anton said quietly, his voice sympathetic.

“I think you should go.” He said, his voice wobbling. “Thanks for coming to talk to me.”

Ben looked like he wanted to argue, wanted to stay and keep talking, but in the end he simply turned and left, leaving Klaus and Vanya alone.

Klaus couldn’t help but wish that he stayed.

Vanya stepped closer, looking hesitant and almost scared.

“Be safe okay? I’m just a room away when you want to hang out.” She said softly, a hand wrapping around his arm and squeezing it slightly.

“Don’t worry about me Vanya.” He told her, patting her cheek affectionately. “You have enough to be worried about.”

“I’ll always worry.” She told him, before turning and following Ben through the door. Klaus watched them go, a small part of him breaking off to follow them. Anton shut the door, blocking out Klaus’s view of their backs as they walked away.

“Are you okay kid?” Anton asked, his hand resting on Klaus’s arm.

“I’m fine.” He lied, looking down at the ground.

“We should get some reading done; your father wants some more information about wolfsbane tomorrow.” Anton suggested, slowly guiding the boy to his desk.

“Yeah, okay.” Klaus said softly, picking up his book and ignoring the burn of tears behind his eyes.

Chapter Text

It’s midnight when Diego barges into his room, waking Klaus from his sleep as the door slammed open.

“Wake up loser we’re going to get donuts.” He hissed, pulling the covers off of Klaus as the other boy hissed in protest. “You get no choice, get your lazy ass up right now.”

Klaus grumbled as he sat up, blinking off the exhaustion to look around, seeing the rest of his siblings hovering in the doorway.

Diego is already tossing a uniform at him, hissing at him to be quiet and hurry up already. Everything is a bit of a sleep addled blur, but ten minutes later all seven of them are tumbling down the street towards their favourite 24-hour bakery.

Allison was teasing Luther about something, Five and Vanya joking around together, and Diego and Ben were holding up Klaus, who decided in that moment to really milk the whole dramatic bit and was wailing about the loss of sleep.

Sure, he was going to regret this tomorrow morning during training, but surrounded by his siblings, who seemed to be genuinely enjoying and wanting his company warmed something deep inside of him, making him smile and feel so much happier than he had in ages.

He caught eyes with Ben, who smiled at him and Klaus allowed himself to smile back. For a moment they were okay, the brothers they used to, the fighting in the past. It wouldn't last, and as soon as Klaus wasn't half asleep and running on adrenaline he would probably be upset again, but for now he leaned into Ben's touch and made stupid jokes for him and DIego to laugh at.

Griddy’s was as bright and cheery as it always was and the elderly waitress only looked a little concerned at the seven of them stumbling in after midnight with no parent around.

“Are you kids okay?” She asked, smiling hesitantly at them.

“We’re fine. We would like some donuts.” Five said with a charming smile, and the waitress only shrugged at them.

“You have some money?” She asked, like they were five years old.

“Yup.” Allison said, dropping a twenty on the counter, the waitress raised her eyebrows but let them order either way.

They all ordered, each of them arguing over which flavour was the best. Klaus stuck with his classic lemon filled one, although Luther put up a good argument for chocolate.

They all crowded into a booth, arguing about who sat where and who got the best seats and who got to be sandwiched between Luther and Diego. Klaus allowed him to relax, only feeling a bit put out by the occasion.

It was weird, being surrounded by all his siblings again, having them bicker and laugh like he was apart of them. It was weird, off-putting, concerning, but Klaus was willing to put all that shit away and allow himself to just enjoy being a kid for once.

The waitress brought out the donuts a few seconds later and the kids pounced on them, laughing and joking around as the powdered sugar and filling got everywhere as they devoured them. Luther managed to somehow get some cherry filling in his hair despite none of them even having a cherry donut, and Klaus laughed along with the rest of them.

It was a nice thing, to feel accepted and welcomed and apart of them all. It made the coldness brewing in his chest slowly thaw out to be replaced the warmth of the oven filling the restaurant, letting the screams of the dead slowly get replaced by the laughter of his siblings.

It was weird, watching them and realizing just how far they had come from their past life, how much more open and carefree they all were. Its funny how a little bonding and a break from dear old dad could completely alter the timeline.

His bliss lasted for a few more minutes until the waitress stepped out of the kitchen with a broom, slowly sweeping the floor. Klaus’s eyes stuck on her, watching with dread as some black smoke curled around her throat as she coughed into her hand, spilling from her throat as she hacked away her life.

“Klaus? Is something wrong?” Vanya whispered from where she sat beside him.

“The waitress is dying.” He replied without thinking, blinking as he realized what he said and turning to see all six of his siblings staring at him with various faces of shock and confusion. “I mean, um, I’m going to use the washroom.” He said, slipping off the edge of the booth and hurried to get away.

How could he explain that? Explain to his siblings that he had the power to see death, to kill, that he has killed. It wasn’t something he could share with them, the disgust and disappointment and fear lodging into his mind. Anton stepped into the washroom behind him.

“You good?” He asked, and Klaus nodded, splashing some water on his face. “I don’t like this Klaus; it makes no sense to why they’re only now inviting you. Why not sooner? They’re up to something.”

“Look Anton,” Klaus said, sighing and running a hand over his face. “I don’t want to think about all that. I can believe that my siblings like me for one night can’t I?”

Anton was quiet for a long moment. “I guess so.”

Klaus left the washroom, sitting down at the table and falling right back into their conversation, as if nothing happened. Sure, Ben kept on staring at him and Diego walked suspiciously close to him on the way back, but he pretended not to notice.

For that one night, Klaus believed that everything was alright. That they hadn’t been ignoring him for over half a year. He could pretend that he was one of them, that he finally fit in.

But at the end of the day that’s all it was.

Pretend.

_________________________________________

“Number Four.” His father greeted as he stepped into the room, for once paying his full attention to Klaus. “Sit.”

Klaus listened still unaware of why his father called him into his office. Normally it meant his father was up to no good and Klaus wasn’t going to like what he said.

“Is there something you want sir?” Klaus asked, trying his best not to slouch in his seat. He was up all of last night after a particularly bad nightmare, making every waking second drag on.

“Yes, I have a question to ask you, and I feel like you are the most likely to give me an actual answer for once.” His father said, and Klaus tried not to smile at the indirect compliment. “It’s about your siblings.”

“What about them sir?” His joy fell away and dissolved into unease, concern over what his father wanted with them.

“They seem to be working together more, a lot more defiant as usual, less scattered than the usually are.” His father started. “I was wondering if you knew anything about this recent development.”

“I don’t know anything sir.” Klaus replied, his heart pounding. If his father found them out now everything would be ruined. Vanya would go back on pills, all of them separated, and it would all be Klaus’s fault for not being better.

“I’m allowing it to happen, simply because it improves their work in the field, but I trust you to let me know if you find out any reasonings for their sudden closeness.” His father said lowly, clearly not believing him.

“Understood sir.” Klaus said, careful to keep his face blank. His father stared at him, his eyes narrowing and searching for something.

“It’s a shame.” His father said slowly, his voice cutting. “Despite their sudden need to be more inclusive, it seems like they have forgotten about you. Left behind in the cracks as usual. Poor forgotten Number Four.” He taunted.

Klaus tried not to let the words get at him, tried not to feel bitter about the fact that even their goddamn father realized that he was no longer one of them, sectioned off from the rest.

And it really was true. They never even tried. The promised to be better siblings and yet still threw him to the side, pretended he didn’t exist. A small part of his mind reminded him of Griddy’s a few days ago, when they all went out and made an effort to make Klaus feel included, loved. Ut then he remembered the past eight months of them going out without him, the countless times they went there without him, probably not even remembering that he existed.

His siblings had improved, and so had Klaus, but they improved differently. Klaus in an entirely separate boat as the six of them sailed off into the distance, leaving him alone to deal with their father and the sadistic training, the missions.

He got left behind.

His father shuffled through some paper, pulling out a small notebook and passing it to Klaus.

“Now that I have cleared that up. I have a new job for you Number Four.”

___________________________________

“No.” Klaus said, and Anton sighed from behind him. “I refuse to.”

“Klaus please.” Anton groaned, reaching out to grab Klaus’s hand but he pulled away, still pacing around the room. “This is irrational, your powerful enough to overcome this now.”

“That doesn’t make me want to do it thought!” Klaus cried, throwing up his hands. “I don’t care if I’m able to banish every single ghost without a single thought, it’s the memories that I don’t want to deal with.”

“I don’t want this either,” Anton started, but Klaus bared his teeth at him, panic and fear fueling him to do things he normally wouldn’t do.

“And yet you’re still trying to convince me to do it.” He snapped, and Anton stepped back, looking hurt. “Sorry, I’m just high strung.” He apologized; the anger overridden at the thought of Anton leaving him alone.

“It’s okay.” The ghost replied with a sigh. “I’m just trying to look at this realistically. Your father won’t let you get out of their either way, it’s just a week, you’ll have some food and water and this can really help. Maybe if you do this you can get stronger? Maybe even strong enough to summon Dave?”

Klaus bite his lips, and he had to admit that sounded nice. But then again, a week in the mausoleum, interviewing ever single ghost that had ever haunted him as a child? Sounded like hell. Sounded worse than hell to tell the truth.

It didn’t matter how strong he was, every part of him wanted to get away from the mausoleum, to never go back there. But his father had insisted, telling him that this was something he needed to do. One last training exercise before he started sending him on bigger missions, something else Klaus wasn’t looking forwards to.

But he wanted to see Dave, had spent countless nights trying to search for his spirit. But he had died all the way over in Vietnam, and Klaus just wasn’t powerful enough to search over there yet. But maybe he could get there if he tried hard enough, if he faced this one last obstacle.

But there was still a stubborn piece inside of him, digging in its heels and bringing forwards one last piece of resistance.

“What about the others?” He asked. “Sure, they tend to not pay much attention to me, but they’ll notice if I suddenly disappear for a week right?”

“Klaus,” Anton said, closing his eyes and grabbing the boy’s shoulders, sitting him down. “I'm sorry but you need to hear this okay? They don’t care.”

“What do you mean?” Klaus said, pulling away from the touch. “Of course they care.”

“They don’t!” Anton laughed. “I don’t get how you can’t see it. They treat you like dirt, like some stupid person who is beneath them all. The looks they give you when you’re not looking, the way they talk to you. They don’t care.”

“You're lying.” He accused, standing up suddenly. That couldn’t be true. They were still his siblings, they still cared.

“When have I ever lied to you?” Anton asked, and Klaus faltered. Anton never lied. Anton was the one who had been there for him since they came, comforting him and providing him with a shoulder to lean on when no one else was around. They swore to always be truthful with each other, and why would he lie about this?

“Look, I’m sorry. I know you care about them, and I want them to care about you.” Anton continued. “Soon we can show them just what you're made of, how powerful and beautiful and amazing you are. But for now? You have to realize that they treat you like crap, that they have left you behind. Don’t let them stop you from getting better, from improving yourself. They’re not worth you throwing all your hard work away okay?”

Klaus was crying, tears running down his cheek.

This was wrong, it had to be wrong. They went out to Griddy’s together right? They had fun, they treated him like and equal, and they did that all the time right? Anton was overreacting, he could think of a thousand times his siblings cared about him. What about the time when Ben stayed by his side and stuck by him through thick and thin?

It was only because he had to though, and Ben had left his side as soon as he could.

There was the time when him and Allison had a makeover together, but that was because Klaus begged her to wasn't it.

The time when Luther and him went to the record shop, although it was because Luther felt it was his job as team leader to do that.

Diego giving him rides? Only because Klaus forced himself into the car.

The time when Five sat next to him while reading? The only place to sit in the library.

But there was the time when they-

The time when-

He couldn’t remember any other time they had included him. Any other time when they showed him that they all truly cared about him.

Maybe Anton was right, maybe he shouldn’t care about what they thought so much since they didn’t care about him.

Maybe he was always clinging to the illusion that they cared, that they thought of him as a brother, someone they loved.

“Okay.” He whispered, tears streaming down his cheeks as he sobbed. “Okay.”

Anton smiled, stepping closer to him and running his fingers through his hair, Klaus leaning into the touch, the comfort.

“I’ll be there the entire time with you.” He said softly, wrapping his one arm around his shoulders and pulling him close. Klaus melted into the embrace, his arms wrapping around the ghost’s waist. “I’ll show you what to do. We’re going to be okay.”

“Thank you.” He whispered, squeezing his eyes shut. Thank you for being there. For showing him that someone cared for him. Thank you for showing him that maybe he could be better, be someone his siblings could grow to love.

Anton simply nodded, stepping back and Klaus tried not to mourn the loss of contact too much. “You can do this Klaus. I believe in you.”

And for once, Klaus believed that maybe he could do it too. If not for his siblings then for Anton, for his father. To prove to them that he could be something, could be useful.

He had to prove himself to someone, because if he didn’t he would become a shadow, left behind by everyone as he floated through the sea of the dead.

He kind of felt like he was dead already, just another corpse walking around unnoticed.

It wasn’t that scary of a thought.

So he grabbed his notebook his father gave him, the pen by his desk, and took a deep breath, ready to face one of his worst fears all over again.

He walked out of the door and into the car without hesitation, his father waiting in the car.

And as they drove to the cemetery, Klaus took a deep breath, thought about Dave and how proud he would be of him, for getting sober and mastering his powers like this. He could share this with his lover as soon as he became powerful enough to summon him, to reach into the depths and pull out the man he loved.

He opened his eyes, meeting Anton’s gaze from the backseat and he nodded, steeling himself for what was about to come.

Chapter Text

Two hours into his week and Klaus was already breaking down.

The first hour was spent controlling his breathing and reigning in the panic so he could banish the thousands of angry ghosts screaming at him, pushing at him and tearing at his limbs. Anton stood behind him the entire time, whispering encouragement as Klaus sobbed, dispelling the ghosts as quickly as he could.

The hardest part was the memories, so even when the ghost weren’t around, they were there in his mind, pushing, screaming, begging, blood dripping off of them as they cried out his name.

He was weakening, the fear and panic causing him to slip, for the shadows to creep a little bit closer every time he sobbed.

“I can’t do this.” He whimpered, squeezing his eyes closed, but the memories stayed, reaching fingers, dislocated jaws, agony beyond what anyone should have to see. “Anton please I can’t do this.”

He was gripping the pen tightly in his hand, his knuckled white as he tried to restrain himself from stabbing it into ear until he couldn’t hear the screaming anymore and then his eyes until he couldn't see the gore. He had already started scratching at his skin, but Anton had reached out to stop him before he could do any real damage, any real pain to distract him.

“Focus, push out your powers and pull just one towards you, try to lure only one in. Slow and steady.” Anton coached, his voice soft and encouraging. Klaus nodded, throwing his power out and at once the screaming assaulted him again as he whimpered. “It’s okay, you got this.”

Klaus blindly reached out for one, pulling him into the room when suddenly twenty others came with him, all of them screaming his name and running at him, their faces feral.

Klaus let out a ragged scream of panic, pushing himself backwards and pushing them away with his mind. They disappeared from his view, but their screams echoed in his ears, setting off his heart as his breathing shortened. Panic overtaking him as he sobbed, curling into a ball and hiding his head.

Anton was there in a moment, sitting behind him and pulling him into his arms, the solid weight grounding him as the ghost rocked them back and forth.

“I can’t, I can’t.” He sobbed over and over again, and Anton shushed him, running his ghostly fingers up and down his arms.

“Klaus, I need you to listen to me.” He whispered, and Klaus whimpered a little, not wanting to focus on any noise at all. But he was willing to listen to Anton, Anton always knew what to do, how to help him in times like these. “Look, I’m going to offer something and you're going to hate it, but it should help.”

“Anything.” Klaus whimpered. “Anything to get the screaming to stop, the memories, the panic. Please Anton just make it stop.”

He was willing to do anything to stop the screaming in his mind, the memories from the mausoleum, form Vietnam, from recently.

Everything was coming back up, every inch of trauma that has been pulsing under his skin, pushing to get out before he shoved it down. He couldn’t shove it down any longer, and it was bubbling up now, overflowing his mind as he sat there helpless to do anything but sob and scream and focus on Anton’s voice trying to calm him down.

He had to stay in here for a week, water and food by his side and a bucket for the washroom. A week and he could barely survive over an hour. He would be dead by the time this was over.

But he couldn’t die.

And that brought a whole knew whack of memories, knives scraping against skin, poison boiling in his blood. He had died just like the spirits crowding him, begging him for release. For him to help them, to free them and bring them back to life.

He should be working, pulling a single ghost forwards so he could ask it three basic questions, but every time he wanted to he fell backwards again, not strong enough to continue.

He was weak, stupid, useless. What good was a necromancer who couldn’t stand summoning a few ghosts? Who couldn’t write down some information and not freak out with every breath? No wonder his dad didn’t want him on group missions, he would drag everyone else down.

“Klaus.” Anton said, bringing him back to earth. Back to the cold stone building around him. “I can do this for you. Will you let me? You won't have to worry, just do what I say.”

Klaus nodded without thinking- anything to stop the panic and pain- allowing Anton to sit up as the ghost wrapped himself around his aching limbs, outstretching his fingers.

Anton was whispering instructions into him mind, and Klaus let his mind wander, Anton guiding his movements as he followed every instruction without hesitation, barely even registering what Anton was doing.

He was so tired, every limb feeling heavy and tired and his mind aching with the need to sleep, to rest.

He was going numb, his mind traveling away from himself and he watched with detached interest as a single ghost stepped forwards, crying and protesting but Klaus repeated the words Anton told him too, and the ghost was answering, giving them the information they needed.

Anton was moving his fingers, making him clumsily write down the answers. Klaus barely felt it, barely felt any part of his body as they moved along.

It went like that for days, ghosts filtering in and out, one at a time to answer their questions. Anton let him sleep, eat, use the washroom, but Klaus felt so detached, like he was floating around in the air.

Like this he couldn’t think about the screaming of the ghosts, couldn’t think of the loneliness and the fact that his siblings didn’t care. None of that mattered anymore. Now he was simply numb.

He could hear Anton’s voice in his head as if it was his own, echoing around and Klaus barely even felt him reacting to it, simply following instructions.

It was so much easier this way, to let Anton take control of his actions and interview the ghosts, to let Anton use his voice to ask the questions so he wouldn’t have to. To not worry about the fear or the panic and just let Anton control his movements. He trusted Anton to do the right.

He knew that Anton would get the job done for him so his father could take him out of this hell hole. Then everything would be better, everything could go back to normal. He just had to get through this.

Before he knew it, he starting being aware of his limbs again, slowly regaining control as Anton moved away slightly. He could feel the air entering his lungs and the slow beat of his heart. He was almost sad at the prospect of coming back, of feeling and dealing with all the shit that came with it.

Anton was whispering into his ear again, telling him he got through the week, that his father should be showing up soon. Klaus nodded, feeling loopy and tired and he wanted to sleep for a long time even though he barely remembered the last week of his life.

He looked down, flipping through the notebook and feeling amazed at the sheer amount of information he had. There had to be at least a thousand different names and death dates written in it. His father would be thrilled with him, even if it wasn’t actually him.

A little after he got back from la la land his father showed up, opening the door and looking inside.

“Number Four?” He asked, and Klaus nodded. “Are you ready to go? I assume you have a proficient amount of information.”

“Yes sir.” He said weakly, echoing the words he heard Anton say beside him. The ghost was standing beside him now, looking half worried half curious.

“Are you okay Klaus?” He asked softly, and Klaus nodded. Maybe not fully, he felt like someone had shoved cotton into his ears and threw him in a blender, his thoughts jumbled and he felt like a single gust of wind could push him over, but he was sure he’d be better in a couple of days. Maybe.

His father was walking away so he followed, his bare feet padding gently across the ground. It was bright out, and the sun hurt his eyes, made them sting as they adjusted.

He looked up to the sky, breathing in the fresh air that cleared his mouth from the dust still clouding it.

Above him sat a rainbow, the colors so bright they hurt to stare at after ages of only looking at the cold stone walls and the muted shades of death.

Normally Klaus loved seeing a rainbow, he would point it out to Ben and cry “Look! It’s me!” and then laugh as Ben groaned. It always put him in a good mood, lifted his spirits even when he was on the worst come down in his life.

But now he didn’t feel a thing, and the rainbow was simply a blur of color to him now.

It seemed so peaceful outside, the wind barely blowing, the sun shining, a fucking rainbow overhead. Klaus should be smiling, out playing in the yard with his siblings,soaking up the sun.

Instead he walked back to the car, the sun shining on his skin not enough to thaw the deep freeze inside his chest.

__________________________________

When him and his father entered the Academy, all his siblings were standing in the entrance, looking various shades of terrified and worried.

“Klaus!” Allison cried in relief, moving as if she was going to dart to his side before their father glared at her and she stopped, cowering back.

“Number Four has now returned from rehab, I am proud to say that he is no longer dependent from the drugs he was using.” His father announced, and Klaus blinked.

Drugs? He wasn’t on any drugs.

“Cover story Klaus.” Anton reminded him gently. “He told them you were in rehab so they wouldn’t pester him with questions.” Klaus only nodded, he sort of remembered his dad talking about that in the car.

His father looked down at him, offering a small squeeze to the shoulder that almost felt affectionate before walking away, leaving Klaus staring at his siblings.

“Klaus?” Diego asked, stepping forwards, looking hesitant and scared, his shoulders hunched and eyes soft like he was talking to a scared animal. “Are you okay?”

“I’m good now, just tired.” Anton prompted, and Klaus barely even thought before replying.

“I’m good now, just tired.” He repeated, feeling his lips curl up into a soft smile that he thought might look reassuring.

“You sure? I don’t believe the rehab crap for a second.” Ben put in, and Klaus looked over at his brother, whose face was set in confusion and worry, Vanya leaning against his side looking teary. "Why is he lying to us?"

“No, he wasn’t lying. I relapsed, I’m sorry.” Anton said again.

Klaus didn’t really want to admit to it, his siblings already thought of him as a junkie, and he had been sober for like ever much to his disgust. So why pretend like he ruined it?

But if that’s what his father and Anton wanted, then who was he to protest?

“No, he wasn’t lying. I relapsed, I’m sorry.” He said, lowering his head like he was almost ashamed to admit it. He didn't have to fake the sad broken quality to his voice.

Ben was walking forwards, his arms circling around Klaus and the touch felt foreign, weird and heavy on his skin. He stood there, letting his brother hug him but he didn’t allow himself the comfort, he didn’t deserve it.

“It’s okay Klaus.” Ben was whispering. “Your going to be okay.”

Klaus simply nodded, and maybe at some point the words would have inspired some form of hope or courage inside of him. But now everything felt too messed up for it to be true, like he was broken at so many edges some simple words and a hug couldn’t fix him anymore. Couldn't glue back the pieces no matter how hard they tried.

He felt like crying, but there was no tears left to cry, only an expanse of darkness in his mind, slowly crawling out and seeping into the rest of his body, leaving him numb and unfeeling.

“Are you okay? Do you want to go somewhere? Talk about it?” Ben asked, looking teary himself and the rest of his siblings stood around him too, Luther’s hand on his shoulder and Five clutching his hand in a very un-Five like manner.

“I’m tired.” He said at the same time Anton did, and something inside of Ben’s face fell, but he nodded either way, stepping aside and letting Klaus pass.

Klaus walked upstairs without another thought too tired to focus enough to float and make things easier on his cramping legs. He hadn’t really walked much in the mausoleum. At least he didn’t think he did; everything was so fuzzy.

He went into his room, his legs giving out before he could even make it to bed. He laid curled up on the floor, shivering and cold and the wood under his body felt too grainy and hard and he almost wished for the cold stone once again.

He reached up, focusing he last of his nearly spent powers to float his little plant to him from the window, dropping it the last couple of inches and spilling a bit of the dirt. The side was cracked, but Klaus ignored it, replacing the dirt and tucking the little thing up by his head, the smell instantly relaxing him as it burnt his nose.

His eyes fluttered shut, the last of his energy leaving him as he descended into a restless sleep and his vision faded into darkness.

Chapter Text

“You want me to do what?” Klaus asked, blinking in slight surprise. Just when he thought his father couldn’t shock him anymore, he came and said shit like this. “Let me get this right, you want me to kidnap and bring to you an old flame of yours?”

His father sighed in annoyance, which seemed to be a usual for him, and shook his head. “An old business associate of mine Number Four.” He reminded. “You are to locate and bring him in for me, and sit in while I question him about a recent betrayal to our system.”

“Are you in the mob or something?” Klaus asked cheekily, barely even flinching as the slap landed on his face, the slight stinging something he had gotten used to over the past few months. He saw Anton tense out of the corner of his eye like always, but Klaus was beyond caring.

“This is important Number Four, the information you need is all here. You have three days before I expect you back, updates everyday. You know the procedure.” His father said, nodding at him to dismiss him.

Klaus grabbed the file and walked out of the study, Anton hovering over his shoulder as he read it. Luke Faraday, a bis business owner in a town an hour out. Not the further his father had sent him, but certainly not the closest.

His siblings took care of any large threats within the tristate area, the five of them blasting in guns blazing. Klaus was more lowkey than that. His father tended to send him on more stealthy missions, Klaus able to float above the ground to reduce the sound of footsteps. His job was mostly gaining information, using ghosts as his scouts, or going to final resting places to interview to the dead for things otherwise lost to the swirl of death.

This wasn’t even close to the first mission his father sent him on, the number of missions increasing after his last trip to the mausoleum.

His father seemed keen to keep him away from the house after that, something that Klaus didn’t even bother trying to puzzle out. He was grateful for the distraction, because he could keep up the cold indifference while he was on missions, when he was home the overwhelming emptiness seemed to overtake him.

His mind seemed to be overflowing with darkness, leaking over and infecting the rest of his body. He ignored the way it seemed to poison his judgement and his thinking, some part deep inside of him twisting and morphing with every mission he went on, ever time he exercised his powers.

He could pretend none of that was happening while he was on missions, feeling like he was Vietnam again, sneaking around the humid forest, a gun on his shoulder and his heart in his throat.

Klaus leaves the next day, grabbing the bus out of town with a small backpack on his back as he went over the papers again.

The mission was surprisingly easy, the man he was suppose to bring in was elderly and paranoid, glancing over his shoulder wherever he went but was forgetful enough that he sometimes forgot to lock his car door. Klaus watched him for two days, documenting his movements and when best to strike. It was embarrassingly easy for Klaus to slip into the passenger seat beside him as the man was preparing to leave his house.

“Who the hell are you!” The man, Luke, screeched, his heart pumping so fast Klaus could see it beating in his neck.

“Klaus.” He said with a sigh. “Look, I haven’t kidnapped someone before and I don’t want to hurt you so please just do what I say alright?”

The man obviously didn’t do what he said. Reaching over to try and open the unlocked door. With a sigh and a flick of his hand the door was locked once again. The man’s eyes widened even further.

“Your one of those fucked up kids aren’t you?” He whispered, fear coating his voice. Klaus wanted to feel bad for the man, to reassure him that he wouldn’t hurt him, but well he couldn’t find the energy to really care. “One of Reginald’s boys.”

“Yes I am, and my father sent me to gather you up so please kindly do as I saw because I really don’t have the time for this.” Klaus snapped, and the man nodded. Klaus relaxed a bit, he was exhausted after staying up the two nights to watch the man, and right now all he wanted to do was get this over and done with so he could sleep for a day or two.

But of course the man still thought he had a chance in this, despite being really old and having no powers. He lunged across the car and towards Klaus, hand outreached as if he was going to beat him to death.

Klaus reacted without even thinking, instincts taking over as a wave of power knocked the man back, wrapping around his neck and choking him. The man sputtered and grabbed at his throat, the fear seeping out of him almost so strongly that Klaus could smell it.

His eyes started to droop and a small curl of black smoke started creeping around his throat when Klaus finally let go, releasing the hold and letting the unconscious man slump to the ground, his body slouching against the steering wheel.

“What now?” He asked, staring at the passed-out mind and realizing he never actually planned it out.

“Do you know how to drive?” Anton asked dryly from the back where he was watching, his voice echoing almost like it was inside Klaus’s mind.

“Nope.” Klaus said, picking up the man and maneuvering until their positions were switched, Klaus in the driver’s seat and Faraday slumped in the passenger. Anton reached up to buckle the other man in, because he was a helpful ghost. “I guess it’s time to learn.”

It took Klaus a solid two hours to figure out how to drive and actually get back to the Academy- he was horrible with directions- when he did he parked a block away.

Easing open the door he caught the body as it fell out, the unconscious man almost causing him to fall over. Klaus was briefly thankful for the lack of cameras on this road. He used his already weakened and tired powers to life the man up, floating a few feet off the ground so he couldn’t have to walk either.

He went through the gym door to where he knew his Father had been waiting for him, the door slipping open and closed so softly, Luke floating inside before him. Like he predicted, his father was standing in the gym waiting for him, a slight glimmer in his eyes.

“Put him down Number Four.” His father said, stepping up and helping Klaus guide the man into a chair. “Go clean up and make yourself presentable, you have an hour before I want you back down here.”

Klaus nodded, taking one last look at the unconscious man before stepping outside of the gym doors and heading towards the stairs. A seed of worry was worming it's way into his stomach.

Klaus just wanted to sleep.

His eyes felt heavy like gravity had made its life goal pulling them down and he felt dirty, like a million pounds of dust had covered his body and he had no way of rubbing it off. He flouted up the stairs, because the effort of walking seemed stupid at the moment, and the last thing he wanted to encounter was Allison when he tried to get into his room.

“Klaus!” She cried, smiling brightly as she skipped over to him, grabbing a hold to his arm to stop him from leaving. “Where have you been? We had a meeting last night and we needed your input.”

Klaus just put on a fake smile, patting her arm and slowly prying her hand from his arm.

“I was running errands for daddy dearest, I’m sure you all we fine without me.” He told her, again trying to walk into his room. His feet were still hovering an inch off of the ground, suspending his body in the air that made it easier on his aching feet but harder for the strain on his powers.

Allison looked down at him, her eyes darting to his feet until settling back on his face with a small look of surprise.

“Are you flouting?” She stage whispered, looking torn between overjoyed and concerned.

“Yeah, walking’s a chore.” He told her, starting to leave again. He didn’t want to talk to her, to worry himself with reacting the right ways, putting up a mask of the comic relief, the butt of the joke. He was too tired to deal with pretending to be fine.

“Wait!” She cried, grabbing a hold of him once again. “Do you want to hang out? See a movie? I could do your makeup?”

He knew he should agree, if not for wanting to then for the reason that he always did. But Anton stood behind her, shaking his head slightly and Klaus found himself mirroring him.

“I’m really tired Ally, I just want to sleep.” He told her, trying to plaster on a reassuring smile. It only made her look more concerned, worry shining in her brown eyes.

“Please Klaus, let’s just go to my room for a bit, I haven’t seen you in forever. I miss you.” She said, her grip tightening like she was going to pull him to her room himself if he refused.

“You need rest Klaus.” Anton said, as if he could sense the war inside of Klaus’s mind. “You need to rest and get ready for whatever your father wants, then you can talk to your siblings if you want.”

“I really am tired.” He protested, but Allison was already dragging him away.

“I haven’t talked to you in forever and the only person in this entire house that had any sense of style is you. I tried doing it with Vanya but she thinks flannel is the height of fashion, which is fair, but I just can’t deal with that. Luther is literally the most fashion oblivious person and all Diego wants to wear is leather. I need you to help me pick out an outfit since the rest of them are compleate disasters.” She started ranting as they moved down the hall, her fingers pressing hard into Klaus’s wrist, like she was checking for a pulse.

He didn’t like the touch, the unsettling way it sent his heart racing. Sometimes it was hard to remember that people could touch him- hurt him- when really the only people he interacted with lately were dead.

“Allison please I haven’t slept in days.” He whined, and Allison just laughed, like he was playing around or something. “We can take a rain check? Tomorrow maybe?”

“What is up with you!” She cried, turning around to glare at him, her eyes swirling with hurt and confusion.

“What do you mean?” He asked, slightly concerned at the rapid turn of pace, one second laughing the next looking mad at him.

“I mean your avoiding all of us, refusing things I know you love doing, disappearing for days without reason, and you relapsed a little over a week ago yet you’re still avoiding all of us. We want to help and this isn’t like you Klaus. You’re not even talking to Ben, or Diego, hell even mom misses you.” Allison was getting emotional; a slight build up of tears in her eyes. “I want my brother back. We all want our brother back. So come back down to earth and actually talk to us you idiot.”

Klaus tried to feel something, anger, sadness, frustration. But he was tired. He just wanted to sleep, to lay down and pretend like he was nothing for a couple of hours before he was forced back into training. He just wanted this conversation to be over so he could forget it and move on.

“Funny how she’s acting like they haven’t been ignoring you.” Anton said from beside him, looming over his shoulder now, sounding angry on Klaus’s behalf. The ghost wandered over to his sister, standing over her as she stared at him, arms crossed and back straight. “Like they haven’t been the ones to isolate and alienate you. She's the one acting better than you, ignoring her own actions and then blaming you for her own. Like they all didn’t think you incapable, and idiot, useless. Don’t stand for this Klaus.”

Klaus knew it was true. This wasn’t his fault, it couldn’t be. He only wanted to be one of them, to talk to them and spend time like they were all doing. They were the ones going out without him, talking about him behind his back and treating him like some stupid junkie.

But he couldn’t form the words, form the proper things to display the swirling emotions that were rising in his chest despite his efforts to repress them for months. He couldn’t force the words to explain to her his loneliness and how it felt watching them all act like a team without him.

“I don’t have to explain myself to you. Leave me alone.” Anton cooed from behind her.

“I don’t have to explain myself to you, leave me alone.” He hissed at her, finally pulling his wrist back from her grip. “Tell the others to screw off too, I’m sick of having to explain myself to be able to exist.”

With that he turned, his feet finally hitting the ground as he stormed off to his room, closing the door and clicking the lock behind him. Ignoring the way she called out to him, sounding desperate and worried and so scared.

There, he sunk down to the ground, burying his face in his hands. Somehow he felt even more drained, more tired and empty and he just wanted to sleep for a few days, weeks, years. But his dad needed him in an hour and he had to be there or risk the punishment.

He hadn’t liked doing that to Allison, treating her like that. But all of his siblings had been so overbearing since the mausoleum, hanging around his door and trying to talk to him, Ben often sitting on his bed in protest and Five zapping in through the locked door. Klaus evaded hem every time, but why couldn’t they just get that he wanted to be alone? Couldn't they understand that seeing them stressed him out?

He hated seeing them, because every time he did he could see the black smoke swirling around their legs, the death that followed everyone around, that followed them especially. He hated seeing it and thinking how easy it would to pull, to wind some more around their throats until they stopped moving.

He hated it, hated the way his mind could run off like that, the thoughts worming into his mind without his permission. It made bile force up his throat, fear and disgust coat his skin as he walked away, tears pricking his eyes.

Anton was silent beside him, unsure how to provide comfort but there, hovering and showing concern that made something twist inside Klaus. Thankfulness, appreciation, annoyance, who knew.

He stood up, marching over to his closet and pulling out a clean one and changing, getting the dirt and grime off of his skin and trying to breath through the dust in his lungs, his skin feeling heavy as if the air around him was electrified.

He wanted to sleep, and yet his father was expecting him downstairs soon. So he walked to the washroom, the hallway empty as Allison had exited it ages ago, he tries not to think of her.

He splashed some water into his face and tried to recognize the man in the mirror, the boy with sunken cheekbones and bags under his eyes, skin so pale he looked dead. He had practically stopped eating lately, his appetite dwindling into nothing under every time he choked down a piece of the mean his father made them eat, it reminded him of the chunks of skin hanging off of corpses, the rotting skin that stared out at him.

It was easier to stop eating everyday unless they were having a vegetarian night.

An hour lately he felt something closer to human as he walked downstairs and into the gym, ignoring Diego as he called out for his attention.

Luke Faraday was awake and hissing by the time Klaus walked in.

“I will never.” The man said, cutting himself off when he saw Klaus. “Kid, please you gotta get me out of here.” He begged.

“Go to your father, ignore him.” Anton prompted, and Klaus listened, not looking at the stranger as he walked to his father.

“Number Four, nice of you to join us.” His father said calmly. “Stand off to the side, I want you to be here for this. I will tell you when your presence is required.”

Klaus nodded, walking off to the side and ignoring the mans pleads.

“Do you have the money I require?” His father said, going right back to talking to the man they kidnapped. That made a small part of him twinge with guilt, with remorse, but Anton sent him a look so he pushed that thought away.

“No! Reggie I told you I was out. I don’t want a part of your freakshow anymore.” The man hissed, looking close to tears.

“Is that what you want to call them?” His father said. “The kids are great potential, calling them freaks is a bit of an insult.”

“Nothing worse than what your doing to them.” Luke hissed, his eyes straying to Klaus, who watched with a growing pit of distress.

Should he be allowing this? Should he be running to get the police, to call anyone for help? His father wouldn’t appreciate that. He couldn’t disappoint his father; the consequences would be brutal.

“You agreed to the rules Luke; you can’t back out now.” His father said, and Luke laughed.

“Just get on with it Hargreeves, I know why you brought me here. It wasn’t to have a nice chat was it?” Luke challenged, and Reginald shrugged, gesturing for Klaus to come forwards.

“Number Four, please dispose of him.” His father said calmly, and Luke let out a shuddering breath.

“Kid please, I know you don’t want to do this. You can break free, help me and we can escape together. But don’t do this.” Luke was begging, although something in his eyes held no hope for a way out of here.

“Dispose of him?” Klaus said quietly, dread filling his mind as he thought of what his father wanted him to do.

And no, he couldn’t. He wouldn’t.

“Number Four.” His father said, his voice as hard as ice chips. “Dispose of him quickly or leave and I will do it myself.”

“Your father won’t spare him a quick death.” Anton whispered, even though Klaus already knew that.

His father was giving him a choice.

Kill the man himself, murder a man in cold blood for his father or leave the man to slowly die under his fathers cold unforgiving hands. Klaus knew what it was like to be killed by his father, and it wasn’t fun.

This was wrong, he couldn’t condone this could he? Luke had no family, parents dead and no wife or kids, but he man had to have friends right? People who would miss him?

Should Klaus call the police? But his father was loaded, he could get away with this easily. Reginald had power over the town and he was very willing to exercise it.

“You can do this Klaus.” Anton said, standing behind him and grabbing his arms. “We can give him a nice quick death, painless. He won’t suffer. We don’t want him to suffer.”

Anton was right. Klaus couldn’t morally let the man die a drawn out and painful death. But he didn’t want to kill him, not like he killed the rabbit.

Anton guided his hands out until they were outreached, pointing towards the man who was softly crying, tears running down his cheeks.

“It’s okay kid.” Luke was whispering. “I know you don’t want to do this. I don’t blame you.”

The smoke was gathering around him, and Klaus pulled back his hand, clenching it into a fist.

______________________

He was sitting in his room, staring at his hands as silent tears rolled down his cheeks.

And yet he was still numb, crying only because he knew he had to.

He killed a man. Tore his soul out of his body, leaving him to slump down dead and his father to dismiss him with a shaky voice.

He killed someone.

Had reached out and killed the man names Luke Faraday simply because his father said he should.

But he saves him too right? His father was going to kill him if he didn’t and Klaus knew his father would have drawn it out, made it as painful as possible. And yet he was still distantly terrified because Klaus couldn’t have stopped if he wanted to.

The feeling of his powers rolling under his skin, uncontrollable and raging, poking up and trying to break through his skin at all times.

He was so tired, tired of existing like this, tired of being a weapon for his father, tired of avoiding his siblings, of feeling useless, of feeling unwanted. Of killing and not feeling anything after, his chest a gaping hole of nothing.

He wanted to sleep, t close his eyes and lie there forever, that way he would never have to kill someone again, would never have to pretend he was okay, would never have to exist and think and act. He let out a shuddering cry, a hoarse yell ripping from his throat as he threw his pillow across the bedroom.

Anton was silent, watching with pity in his eyes. Klaus had told him to be quiet for the night after the ghost tried to comfort him coming back from the gym. He hadn’t wanted to listen to it, the words of encouragement and hope. He didn’t deserve it, didn’t deserve the love.

He killed someone.

He closed his eyes, trying to sleep despite it only being six o’clock. He opened his eyes one more time to go get his pillow so he could actually be comfortable, but there was a man standing at the end of his bed. A man who was clearly a ghost.

A man he had just killed.

Klaus turned over, burying his head into the mattress and forcing himself to fall asleep, tears still staining his eyes.

Chapter Text

“Number Four, sit down. We need to talk.” His father's voice was calm and collected, but there was a certain urgency to him. Like something was crawling under his skin. Klaus sat down in front of him. “As you know, I have a trip coming up in a little over a month.”

“A business trip.” Klaus filled in, remembering his father telling him about this weeks ago. “Visiting another country to meet with investors correct?”

His father nodded.

“Correct, I have an idea that I would like to run past you.” He said slowly, his eyes searching Klaus’s face for something.

Silence fell upon them, almost like his father was unsure, debating something.

“How would you like the week off?” He said. “You have been working incredibly hard these past months, I have decided to give you a weeks grace period. Spend some time with Number Six or Number Three maybe.”

Klaus blinked, his eyebrows furrowing in confusion. A break? Why was his father offering him this? Reginald was very much against the idea of ‘fun’ or a ‘break’. He was very set on the idea that he had to train them all 24/7, or else their powers would evolve into what he wanted them to be.

He glanced at Anton, who seemed to be thinking very hard.

“I think he’s worried about how quickly your powers are growing.” The ghost said slowly. “He thinks that you might be easier to control if he played to your interests.”

Klaus shook his head. He didn’t want a break. Not yet. He wanted to continue working, to shove the upcoming tide of emotion and unbridled power that threatened to take him over at any minute.

“No need sir, I don’t want to.” He replied, standing up. His father mirrored him, towering over the shorter boy.

“You will listen to what I-“ He started, but Klaus cut him off.

“I want to keep going on missions. I want to keep training.” He was speaking slowly, like he father couldn’t understand him. “I do not want a break.”

His father sighed, nodding his understanding.

“Very well.” He replied, and Klaus stormed out of the room, Anton following slowly behind him.

________________________

His father sent him on more missions.

Time after time Klaus would be sent out of the house to track someone down, to find their ghost or even the person themselves.

Sometimes he would simply be told to steal something, get the ghost to talk to him about some obscure fact. Sometimes his father would give the kill order.

Klaus completed every mission, the regret slowly dwindling until it was nothing but a numb indifference. Until he felt like nothing but a vessel for his father to use, for his powers to run through. Some nights he would scream, beg for someone to help him, to save him from the darkness pushing at his throat.

No one came.

So the next morning he would walk out like nothing happened, no one but him and the ghosts that shared his shame.

It was easy to get lost in it all, a loop of mission after mission, training with his father occurring whenever he was at home. Dinner with his siblings where he would disappear immediately after, locking him inside his room as he stared at the wall, tending to his plants or practicing his powers.

Ben managed to corner him down after a month of the constant avoidance, a month of Klaus simply existing instead of living. He had just gotten back from a three-day mission, nothing too hard but it left him feeling like a layer of dirt was covering his skin despite having just showered before he came home.

“Where have you been?” Ben asked sharply, already in his goddamn room like some creep, his face stone cold as he glared Klaus down.

“You gave me a heart attack Benny.” Klaus said, putting down his mission backpack and shucking off his jacket, leaving himself in just the pressed white undershirt. He wanted to change out of it, but he wouldn’t since Ben was still there glaring at him.

“You’ve been missing consistently for the past two weeks. What’s going on?” Ben asked again, not moving from where he sat on the window beside basil. Klaus eyed his plant, wondering if Ben would think him weird if he floated the plant to him. He decided against it in the end.

“Dad’s been pushing me hard lately, been out on a lot of missions.” Klaus told him the truth, too tired to think of a lie and Anton was quiet in the side so Klaus decided his decision couldn’t have been that bad.

“Are you okay?” Ben asked, and Klaus was taken back at the softness of his voice, the care and concern coating every word. Klaus didn’t know how to describe the twist of his stomach at the words, unsure how to put the feeling he felt into words.

“I’m great.” He replied, now well used to the lies that rolled off his tongue. Ben shook his head.

“No, you’re not.” He said softly. “Where were you two months ago? That week you were gone?”

“I told you,” He said with a sigh. “I was in rehab.”

The lie didn’t sting like it used to, he found it almost easy to say, to admit to. He had to tell his siblings that so many times that it started to feel real, like he really had been in rehab for that week.

“Don’t lie to me.” Ben said with a cold laugh that made Klaus blink. No one had ever challenged that lie before. “Rehab is at least two weeks, that’s the rules. They don’t accept anyone who only wants to stay for a week.”

“They do if their father has enough money.” Klaus pointed out, turning his back on Ben to inspect his herbs. It was so much easier to lie when he wasn’t looking into Ben’s eyes, it made the guilt disappear faster.

“You weren’t on drugs Klaus.” Ben said sharply, causing Klaus’s hand to shake slightly. “I know you okay? I know when you’re under the influence and you’ve been clear the entire time.”

“How would you know?” Klaus snapped, shoulders tight and eyes squeezed shut against the swirling tornado of emotion inside his chest. “Not like you’ve been spending any time with me to notice if anything was off. Not that you or anyone else has even been attempting to be here for me regardless if I was on drugs or not.”

He cut himself off, shuddering as he slowly locked down everything, imagining a nice box that he shoved everything into, the fear, the sadness, the anger. All gone, locked away deep inside the rotting darkness that was his chest.

Ben was silent for a long time, and Klaus didn’t trust himself to look at his brother.

“Klaus?” Ben said softly, his voice sounding wet and emotional. “Can you please look at me?”

Klaus didn’t respond, standing absolutely still and refusing to move.

He heard hesitant footsteps behind him, until he could sense Ben at his back.

“Klaus, look at me!” he cried, sounding like he was about to sob as his hand clamped down on Klaus’s shoulder, the touch heavy and warm. The heat seeping into his skin and warming his ice-cold skin, but it felt so heavy.

It didn’t feel like Ben’s hand. It felt like his death count pressing down on him. It felt like his father’s hand leading him to the person he wanted him to kill. It felt like guilt, anger, everything he had been suppressing for months.

Klaus turned, his red rimmed eyes meeting Ben’s tear-soaked ones.

“Let me help you.” Ben whispered. “Please Klaus, just tell me what’s wrong and I can help, I can be here for you. I miss you Klaus, just please. Talk to me.”

Ben was begging him, tears running down his cheeks and he looked so scared and young and Klaus wanted to gather his brother up in his arms, hold him and tell him everything was going to be alright. He wanted to spill everything to his brother, tell him about his new powers, how their father forced him to kill, how some days he just wanted to stop existing.

But he could see Anton out of the corner of his eye, not saying anything but there was a worried mistrustful look in his eyes. Klaus could tell Ben everything, but then what would happen to Anton? Would Ben make Klaus send him away? Would Anton get mad at him?

He couldn’t risk this, not after almost a year of making sure none of his siblings found anything out. Making sure Ben stayed a safe distance away.

Images of dark smoke curling around Ben plagued his mind, watching Ben gurgle and choke on the black substance, the life draining out of his eyes once again.

“I’m sorry.” He whispered stepping back, letting Ben’s hand fall to his side. Ben watched him, his mouth opening and closing as if he was trying to form the right words to beg Klaus to stay. Klaus ignored the twisting of his heart, telling himself he was being stupid. Anton walked over to him, placing a hand on his shoulder, hands running through his hair. Ben continued to watch him with those betrayed eyes. “I’m sorry.”

With that he turned, tears threatening to fall as he slipped out of his room, quickly walking down stairs.

Wiping the tears off his face he shoved everything down, schooling his face as he walked into his father’s office.

“I want more training.” He declared, not at all noticing the way his father watched him as if he was a ticking time bomb.

Chapter Text

A single week passed. Klaus hadn’t been on a single mission since his last, his father allowing him to go through more training.

Klaus made the schedule, planned out what he wanted to do. His father would simply sit in the corner of the room, making notes and offering small titbits of wisdom, ideas on what to do. Klaus normally ignored him.

His telekinesis had improved greatly, and soon he was able to sense everything around him, able to catch and knock down objects coming at him from the behind. His levitation was clearly his favourite though, and he spent most of his time floating around mindlessly, walking a chore when he had found something so much easier.

It paid off in the end, when he discovered something he never thought he’d be able to. Anton called in telepathy, but Klaus wasn’t 100% sure that’s what it really was. It started off with the ghosts, the willing ones who would do what he said if he simply willed them to.

Then he discovered that he could do that to people too. He could alter emotions, put thoughts and ideas into their minds. It wasn’t perfect, and he hadn’t really practiced it much because there wasn’t really anyone alive to practice on, but it was in the works, something new and interesting for him to play with.

His father wasn’t a fan of it ever since Klaus kept on sending him the thought “I want waffles” over and over again in one training session. The stinging hit to his cheek was well worth it.

Three days before his father left the mission alarm went off.

He was training with his father when it happened, the screeching alarm blaring in his ears as he startled, losing concentration and dropping the dumbbell he was lifting. His father glared at him, standing up and tucking the notebook into his bag.

“Go get ready for the mission Number Four.” His father said, and Klaus blinked in surprise.

“You want me to go on the mission sir?” He asked carefully, confusion coloring his tone. The mission alarm was for the team missions, Klaus hadn’t been on one for months.

“I told you to go get ready didn’t I?” Reginald snapped, his voice dangerous and Klaus looked to Anton, who simply shrugged.

Klaus left the training gym in surprise, floating up to his room to put on that stupidly uncomfortable outfit and mask. He much preferred his get up for his solo missions, a simple pressed shirt under a black jacket. Comfortable pants that made it easy to move in. Not the stupid leather looking suits that stuck to his skin and made him look horrendously stupid. He could hear his siblings running around outside his door, rushing to get to the meeting room so they could go over the plan.

Klaus waited until they all left, taking a deep breath as he put on the mask. He didn’t really want to go on this mission, he was unused to working in a team environment and he had been avoiding his siblings for ages.

“Your going to do great Klaus.” Anton told him, stepping up behind him. “You don’t need to worry.”

“I’ll do great.” He said with a laugh. “Or I’ll just be put back on watch duty while the rest of them do everything.”

Anton shook his head. “Your better than them now, this is your chance to show them.”

Klaus didn’t want to show them all his improvement, he may have wanted that months ago, but now? Now he just wanted to make all his siblings stay at home where they would never have t do this again. He wanted to do this mission on his own and keep everyone else out of it.

He stepped out of the room, making it into the meeting room right as his father was about to start.

“Number Four, nice of you to finally join us.” His father said harshly, and Klaus stood at the back, ignoring all his siblings’ stares.

He didn’t want to see the surprise and confusion they felt when seeing him.

“Number One, please go over the mission plan.” Reginald instructed, and Luther stood up from where he was sitting, always the leader.

“Five will teleport Allison and himself into the main frame of the bank and try to calm the robbers down. Diego, Ben and I will take the back exit and try to sneak up behind them, first priority is to get the hostages to safety, then take them all out. Luther then paused, his eyes landing on Klaus. “And Klaus- “

He cut himself off, unsure of where Klaus fit into their new dynamic. He looked over to his father, who stared at Klaus for a moment before responding.

“Number Four will lead the attack through the back.” His father said, his voice stoic. “He will be in charge of most of them attack scheme.”

“Sir are you sure-“ Luther tried saying, and Klaus tried not to take offense at the uncertainty in his brother’s voice.

It wasn’t because they thought him incapable. It was simply that they weren’t used to him being a part of the team right? Nothing wrong with that of course.

Anton squeezed his shoulder in a silent show of comfort, calling out the lie Klaus couldn’t voice.

“You will listen to me when I make and order Number One.” His father responded lowly, and Luther nodded, looking down and breaking the eye contact with his father. “Now, we have under ten minutes to get to the sight of the robbery, waste no time.”

The first half of the mission was a blur, the act of getting there and getting into position Klaus barely paid attention to. Luther and Diego lead them in, the door quietly slipping open as they slipped in. They could already hear the sounds of Allison and Five trying to negotiate with the robbers, Allison’s soothing voice barely reaching them.

The hall from the back branched off into many rooms, each one closed so they had no idea where they were or how to get to the main room where the robbery was occurring.

Klaus reached out, his power seeping through the walls and searching for any dead. It was a long shot, Klaus had no idea if they robbers had killed anyone, but it paid off.

The ghost of a young man flickered in front of him, a gunshot wound to the chest.

“Who are you?” the ghost demanded. “Are you here to help? My wife is in the next room, can you save her? Please?” The man looked hopeful, stepping closer.

“Where are the robbers currently?” Klaus whispered, and Ben frowned form beside him.

“We don’t know, that’s why we’re looking for-“ He started saying, but Klaus shushed him.

“Through that door.” The ghost pointed. “There’s ten of them. Please help her, her names Angie. We were taking money out for our honeymoon.”

Klaus nodded, projecting his thankfulness to the ghost.

“Through that door there.” Klaus whispered to Luther, pointing to the one the ghost told him.

“How do you know?” Luther asked, and Klaus shook his head in annoyance.

“The robbers are armed and are not afraid to kill. Stop asking useless questions and get moving.” He snapped, and Luther blinked, looking over at Diego who shrugged and walked over to the door. He pushed it open a sliver, peering inside and nodding to confirm that yes, the robbers were in there.

“Diego and I will go in first, you two stay back here until we need you okay?” Luther said turning to Ben and Klaus.

“No.” Klaus told him. “I go in with you.”

“Klaus.” Diego said with a sigh, and Klaus cut him off easily.

“I know what I’m doing. I’m useless out here and probably the best shot we have at sneaking in unheard.” He told them, watching the conflicting emotions flash on Luther’s face.

“Hey, I know how to sneak places.” Diego said, which really wasn’t the point of his sentence. “You can’t hear my footsteps.”

“I don’t have footsteps Diego.” Klaus whispered. “I’m going in no matter what so let’s get a move on before they kill another innocent.” He glanced over at the dead man beside him. “Sorry.”

“It’s okay.” The man said with a shrug.

“Fine, let’s go.” Luther snapped, turning back to the door and slipping it open. Ben looked at Klaus like he wanted to protest, but Klaus slipped through the door before he could say anything.

Ten armed robbers were facing away from them, looking at Allison and Five, who were doing a good job at trying to keep their attention away from the task squad at the back.

Klaus looked over at the hostages, seven of them. An elderly couple, A man with a bunch of tattoos, a family of four, and a woman clutching the bloodied body to her chest, tears running down her cheeks as she sobbed.

“Angie.” The ghost said, stepping forwards, grief written all over his face.

“Go to her, when the fight breaks out get the hostages out of here okay?” Klaus ordered quietly, putting a bit of force behind his words so he was sure the ghost would have to do it no matter what. The man nodded, rushing off towards his grieving wife.

Luther looked over at Klaus, who nodded. “Hostages will be taken care off, should we get to it?” Klaus asked, and Luther nodded. Diego slipped out a knife, throwing it and managing to knock one of the guns out of the man’s hand, and all hell broke loose.

Allison immediately started fighting, still not liking to use her power unless in life or death circumstances. Diego was throwing his knives all over the place, Luther throwing himself into the mix alongside Five, who teleported all over the place.

Klaus focused some of his power, making the ghost visible as he greeted his wife and hurried all the hostages out of the building. Klaus made sure to keep the connection ever when they were out of sight, the man deserved to say goodbye.

One of the men was charging at Luther, who was busy with fending off another man, so Klaus reached out, grabbing the man and tossing him to the side, his head smacking the ground and he was out for the count.

Diego shot him a surprised look, but there was no time for questions since they were all pulled back into the fight. Klaus helped when he could, staying a fair distance away from the fight and simply using his powers to life and push back the robbers. About ten minutes in Ben flew into the room, screaming his head off.

“They brought reinforcements! At least twenty more men are storming the place now!” He screamed, and Klaus swore under his breath. His siblings were exhausted, Five already running out of power, Allison slowing down, Diego had a bad limp, and Luther was currently fighting off at least three men.

They wouldn’t be able to take on twenty more people. This was supposed to be a simple in and out mission.

Ben looked scared, knowing that he had no choice to use his powers. But screw that.

Klaus may be mad at his siblings, pissed off to the point where he could barely stand being in the same room as them before the hurt and anger bubbled over. But he’d be damned if they had to do something they didn’t want to do. If they got hurt because he hesitated too long.

In the short span of his inner monologue, the room burst with people. Ben was right, at least twenty armed shooters entered, maybe even closer to thirty.

Klaus barely thought, He pushed out his hands, creating a protective wall around where he and his siblings sat, the bullets all slowing to a stop as he willed them to fall harmlessly to the ground. He pushed out his arms more, black smoke filling the room and creeping in around the attackers.

Anton wrapped his hands around Klaus’s arms, providing extra support as Klaus started ripping them apart. They all started to fall, the black smoke that only he could see choking them. He could feel himself start to slow, his energy start to fade, but Anton gripped him tither, his hands glowed brighter, and suddenly they all fell to the ground, unmoving.

Klaus stumbled, falling to his knees.

The ghost surrounding him started to scream, the shocked faces yelling at him, threatening him, begging him to bring them back to life.

He knew it was a painless death for them all, his powers simply snuffing out their life, but the guilt filled him as he thought about it.

Twenty people.

He killed twenty people who would have died either way, Ben was gearing up to use his powers, and that would have been a much more messy, painful death for them.

He would willingly carry the guilt so Ben didn’t have to. What was twenty more people adding onto the long list?

The guilt wasn’t just from his senseless murder, he could justify that easily. It was the elation he felt while doing it, the pure joy he felt when the world was bending in his favor, when he could control everything so easily. Bending reality and the rules of life and death to suit him.

He hated how good it made him feel, the feeling of elation that settled into his chest every time he did it. It made him sick, made him want to scream and shout until he could go back. But in the end he kept on doing it, still chasing the high it gave him.

“Klaus?” he heard Diego say softly behind him, and Klaus stood up, Anton helping him situate his aching limbs. It felt like with every death he administered the closer he crept to death himself.

“Is everything taken care of?” He asked, his voice soft but emotionless. If he let himself feel anything right now he would break down, the screaming filling his ears almost drowning everything out.

He didn’t have the motivation to send them away, the energy to dispel them so he could have some peace.

“Y-yeah.” Luther said, his voice stumbling over as he reached towards Klaus, concern and fear in his eyes. Klaus hated this. He didn’t want them to be afraid of him, to fear him. That was never his intention. “Are you okay Klaus? What was that?”

“Dad’s waiting for us.” Klaus said, turning his back and walking out the door, leaving his shell-shocked siblings alone with the bodies littering the room.

__________________________

Klaus slept through the entire next day, too tired and drained to get out of bed and do anything but lie there in the dark.

When he finally had the strength to get up and move it was almost dinner two days after the mission, a day before his father left on his trip.

Klaus walked over to the window sill, settling down onto it and letting his fingers dance over Basil’s soft leaves. He picked up the water bottle, sprinkling a bit of water that collected in the soil and on the leaves.

“Klaus, I think we should talk about it.” Anton said softly from the other side of the room. “What you did in the bank was amazing, the scale that you managed to control. It was extraordinary.”

“I did what I had to do right?” Klaus cut him off, looking up to stare at Anton. “There was no other way right? I didn’t just kill them because I could?”

Anton softened, his shoulders slumping as he walked forwards, kneeling in front of him.

“Klaus, you saved your siblings.” He said gently.

“But what if there was another way? I could have gotten Allison to rumor them all or something? Or we could have escaped? What if there was another way and I ignored it?”

“There was no other way.” Anton said firmly. “You need to look closer Klaus. You are so much more powerful than anyone thought.”

“I don’t want to be this powerful.” Klaus whispered, and Anton reached out, carding fingers through his knotted hair, and Klaus leaned into the touch like a cat arching its back.

“But you are.” Anton said calmly. “Klaus, you don’t get how powerful you are. You can alter the entire essence of life and death. You can communicate through dimensions, summon and command dead. You can be the creator or the destroyer of worlds.”

Klaus swallowed, his breath catching in his throat. He didn’t want any of that. He wanted a simple normal life, a life with a loving family, a life with Dave.

“I don’t want to kill people.” He said, firm in his stance.

“Why not!” Anton laughed, sending slight shudders up Klaus’s spine. “What has this world done to you? It’s made you miserable, given you siblings who don’t care, an asshole of a father, sent you into a war zone then killed the man you love. People know your suffering, and yet they don’t care. They ignore you and think the worst. So why the hell do you care so much?”

Klaus grabbed Anton’s hand, squeezing it hard and telling himself that Anton was right.

He was, no one cared about him, and yet he cared so much. The world kept on giving him good things only to yank them from his grasp in a cruel display of power. What did he owe to a world that has given him nothing but grief?

“Klaus honey?” It was Grace, knocking on the door. “It’s time for dinner sweetheart.”

“I’ll be right down.” He told her, closing his eyes and taking a deep breath.

Anton leaned up, ghosting a small kiss over his forehead.

Klaus stood up and walked downstairs, his stomach turning.

________________________________

He almost survived dinner.

Grace had recently picked up the fact that he hated meat and started only feeding him vegetarian meals, something his father noticed but did not comment on.

Tonight was a meal of roasted green beans and potatoes, cooked to perfection. Klaus managed to summon enough hunger to eat some, choking back piece by piece.

It was silent, but Klaus could feel all his siblings’ eyes on him like usual, drinking in the sight of him like he was a ghost they hadn’t seen in years. Klaus could give it to them though, he had actually been avoiding dinner for a while, preferring to train through it, his father leaving him alone in the gym. Grace always left his plate in his room for when he got back, along with a cute little note beside it. All the notes were stashed into a drawer for whenever he was feeling particularly empty.

His father cleared his throat, all the siblings looking up at him immediately, their forks pausing in their motions. Every other siblings was eating chicken along with their beans and potatoes, but Klaus avoided looking at it. Diego’s chicken across from him looked like fresh rotting skin, the vision so vivid that Klaus could almost smell it.

“As you all know, I am going on my trip tomorrow.” His father started, and all the siblings nodded at him. “Normally, I require you all to continue your training in my absence, something that Pogo would be overseeing.”

His father paused, his eyes flickering slightly over to Klaus, who glared him down.

“But, I feel that maybe a break will be for the best. You all a week to do whatever you please, within reason.” His father concluded, and all his siblings glanced at each other in excitement, the prospect at having a free week making them risky as they whispered to each other, joy evident in their voices.

Klaus only felt mad.

“No.” He told him, and the table fell silent.

He and his father had talked about this, and he told his father he didn’t want that. If he stopped training he would never get stronger, wouldn’t be able to summon Dave, wouldn’t be able to keep the ghosts away, keep the nightmares and flashbacks away. He needed training, and his father couldn’t take that away from him.

Klaus didn’t know what he would do with himself without his training.

“Number Four I will not accept-“ His father started, but Klaus slammed his hand down on the table, flying to his feet and staring his father down.

“I told you no.” He said calmly, his voice hard. Something flickered in Reginald’s eyes, his breath catching as he swallowed.

“Klaus, please sit down.” His father said gently, and Klaus blinked in surprise. Did his father just do what he thought he did? “We can discuss this further later.”

Klaus took a moment before sitting back down, still processing what happened.

That was the first time in either timeline that his father had called him by his name. It was always Number Four, never Klaus. And he said please too, his father never asked for anything, just demanded.

“He’s scared of you.” Anton said gleefully, a smile lighting up his face. “He’s terrified because he knows he can’t control you Klaus. You hold the power over him now.”

Klaus picked up his fork and calmly bit into another green bean, a pleasant warmth settling inside his chest.

His father was scared of him, of what Klaus had become. And he should be, he should be terrified of what he made Klaus into. Of what the years of literal torture turned into training had produced.

Klaus had never wanted to be feared, but sitting there, after his father very clearly played his cards and they all worked in Klaus’s favor, Klaus wouldn’t have wanted anything else.

Chapter Text

They never talked about it.

Reginald left the next morning without saying another word to Klaus, despite how often Klaus tried to find the old man to discuss everything with him.

He pretended like it didn’t bother him, like he wasn’t avoiding his siblings at every turn. They left often over the next four days, running out of the window together even though they didn’t really need to sneak out with their father gone.

Klaus tried to ignore the sting in his heart every time he heard their footsteps pass his doors, leaving him behind once again.

During dinner one of his siblings would knock on his door, asking if he wanted to come down. Every time he continued reading, telling them that he would grab something later. They always left after a moment of hesitation,like they were going to press him about it. None of them ever did.

Sometimes he would go grab some food, most likely he would skip it altogether.

It was pretty easy avoiding a lot of his siblings, he would either stay locked up in his room, or wandering from room to room. Lucky for him, the house was massive, and it was easy finding rooms they wouldn’t even think to look in, or moving to different ones every time they came close.

One day, when Diego was feeling annoyingly persistent, Klaus floated up and sat on the chandelier reading his book as Diego stood under him, swearing until he was red in the face but unable to get to him. It was one of Klaus’s favourite hiding places after that.

The only sibling he couldn’t avoid was Five.

The little prick could zap into his room through the locked door, could teleport up onto the light fixture with him, could easily zap into any room Klaus sat in with little trouble.

But Five didn’t actively seek him out until the fourth night, teleporting into the room where he sat reading Oscar Wilde.

“Klaus!” Five said, startling him as he appeared in the room with a bright flash of blue. “There you are, we need to talk.”

“Rather not.” Klaus replied, turning back to his book and trying to resume his reading. Five, the little prick that he was, tore the book out of his hand and tossed it into the corner.

“That sucks.” He said crossing his arms and ignore the glare Klaus sent him.

“Fine.” Klaus snapped. “You have five minutes to interest me before I float away from your bullshit.”

Five raised an eyebrow. “Duly noted.”

Five started pacing, worrying his lips under his teeth as he turned back to Klaus.

“I broke into dad’s office.” He said, and Klaus blinked, whistling his appreciation.

“Good job, that’ll piss him off.” Klaus commented, and Five sighed.

“That’s not the point.” He said lowly. “Allison pointed out that there was security cameras, I thought I might as well check them out.”

Klaus swallowed, his heart rate spiking a bit as Five paused, taking a large breath.

“I know what dad did to you.” He said lowly. “I watched way back to the footage from when we got here, he didn’t bug his study, but the gym was bugged, so was the infirmary. I watched it all, hours of footage. Klaus, why the hell didn’t you come to one of us?”

Klaus stood up suddenly, unsure of what he was going to do next.

Five knew everything, everything he threw himself into, every dirty deed he did willingly. Everyone he killed, every development that he did without hesitation. The rest of them were probably sitting outside of the door, ready to grab him and lock him up just like they locked Vanya up.

“It’s none of your business.” Klaus snapped, and Five laughed.

“Klaus he tortured you!” He said, a note of hysterics in his voice. “The bastard killed you. Over and over again. I watched you die hundreds of time, over and over again and you kept going back.”

“I had no choice.” He defended, because it felt better than saying 'I wanted to'.

“You always have a choice.” Five said fiercely. “You could have come to talk to me. I would have helped, hell you could have gone to anyone and we would have gotten you out of there immediately.”

“Would you?” He asked, spinning around and throwing up his hands. “Would you really? Because none of you have shown any amount of decency to me. All you guys have done so far was belittle me and leave me out of everything. I just wanted someone to be there for me, and none of you bothered.”

Klaus’s emotions were running high, swirling inside his gut and he could already feel his powers start to act up like they always did when he got emotional. Five knew it too, if the shifty looks he kept giving him were any hint.

“Klaus, I know we may have not treated you the best,” He said softly, and Klaus laughed, high and hysterical.

“Understanding of the century. You left me alone. Alone to deal with dad. You say you would have helped get me out of there but you were one of the people that pushed me into it.” Klaus said softly, desperately trying to clamp down on the grief and anger at the injustice. His fingertips were stained blue.

“We needed the distraction, for Vanya. Without it she wouldn’t have any training, is that what you want Klaus?” Five said, his own annoyance bubbling over as well. “Vanya needed help and you provided the distraction. Get your head out of your ass Klaus, do you want to let Vanya down?”

“Hell no!” Klaus shouted. “But maybe it would have been nice for you guys to realize that you can help two siblings at once.”

Five had nothing to say to that, his shoulders slouching in defeat.

“But no” Klaus continued. “I forgot that none of you give a fuck about me. I’m just Klaus, the disaster, the fuck up, the junkie, the disappointment.” Tears were welling up in his eyes as he rambled. “Maybe I didn’t come to you because I knew that you wouldn’t care that I died. That I was dying. Maybe it was because I could hear you telling me to ‘Suck it up Klaus, we are trying to stop the apocalypse’, like I didn’t know that.”

“Klaus please,” Five said, stepping towards him. Klaus stumbled back, not wanting Five to touch him, afraid of what that touch would mean. Of what would happen if he allowed himself to give into that small touch.

“You don’t think that every time I woke up again from having my neck slit, or from poison ruining my veins, or worse, that I wouldn’t sit down and tell myself over and over again ‘this is for Vanya’ or sometimes even ‘this will make them proud of you’? You watched the tapes, how many times did I scream myself hoarse begging someone to come and save me? No one ever came.”

Five looked like he was about to cry too, his face screwed up in pain.

“I’m here now Klaus, I can help you know. Ben’s worried about you too, so is Vanya, and Diego, and Luther and Allison. Hell, even mom and Pogo miss you. We are all worried and we want to help. So get your head out of the sand and accept that. We may not have been there for you back then, but we’re here now.” Five said, raising his hand for Klaus to take.

Klaus stared Five in the eyes, all energy seeping out of him.

“You’re too late.” He said softly. “I don’t want your help. I don’t need it. I have finally figured out what I need to do to survive, to feel alive.”

“What?” Five asked, his teeth grinding. “Killing people? Is that what gives you life Klaus?”

Klaus stumbled back more, like the words were physically paining him. And it did, it made something inside his chest ache and roar and burn.

“Fuck you.” He said, his voice breaking. “You killed people too, I can see them sometimes. And you don’t know what it’s like, sitting there everyday and wishing that you could die while knowing that you can’t. Ironic isn’t it? The fact that I would love nothing more than to stop existing, to just fall asleep and never wake up. But I can’t! Cause I can’t fucking die Five. I’m stuck in this useless body with all these powers that I never wanted and a life that I hate. So I took control of that. I made myself happy, let myself pretend everything was okay because I may ruin everything I touch, but I’m damn good with my powers.”

Five watched him, a sorrowful look on his face. He said too much, revealed too much to him.

“Your right.” Five said slowly. “I don’t know what that’s like, but I know what it’s like to be alone. I know what it’s like to be isolated.”

“I’m never alone.” Klaus cut him off, his eyes flickering over to Anton. “That’s the problem.”

“Ben mentioned thinking someone was influencing you.” Five said carefully, his eyes shooting to the empty air where Anton stood. “Who is it? Why are they here? What are they telling you?”

“I think he should go.” Anton said softly, Klaus barely hearing him.

“I think you should go.” Klaus repeated.

“I’m not leaving until you tell me everything, until you let me and the others help you. Dad’s not here anymore, we can work this out.” Five said, stepping forwards once again.

Klaus steeled his gaze, let a flicker of blue surround his hands, glow bright in his eyes. Five backed away immediately, looking ready to jump away at any moment as a slight wind picked up around them.

Klaus had had enough of the games. At the emotions Five was stirring up inside of him. At his siblings thinking that they could all of the sudden repair everything they ruined.

“I don’t care that daddy’s gone out to let the kids play by themselves. He isn’t calling the shots anymore.” Klaus said lowly, and Five paled, his own blue sparking to life as some of the objects in the room started rattling, flying off the shelves. “I am.”

Five blinked out of existence, and Klaus slumped to the ground, his power fading out of him and he once again felt empty, objects falling to the floor with dull thunks.

Anton sat next to him, their shoulders bumping together in a silent show of comfort.

“He needed to hear it.” Anton said, and Klaus only nodded.

“He needed to hear it.” He repeated dully.

_______________________

So there was videotapes now.

Klaus knew it to some degree, he remembered it from way back when they argued over mom, although that seemed so long ago to him, and he knew his father was keeping some tabs on him. But knowing that his siblings could get to it? That Five had seen them?

That was a whole new ballgame.

Klaus couldn’t ignore the shame bubbling up inside of him. Five’s words echoing around his mind. ”Killing people? Is that what gives you life Klaus?”

He hated it because it was simultaneously true and a complete lie.

Killing people, using that much power, it made him feel alive. But not in the normal way, a better description would be that it made him feel dead.

With every person he killed a small piece of himself broke off, falling into the void around his heart. Every single time a piece of him would wear away until he stopped feeling anymore, until his limbs simply felt like putty and his heart barely beat. The breath in his lungs felt heavy and hot like they weren’t working, and sometimes he forgot that he could do simple things like breath or move or exist.

He told Five that using his powers made him feel alive, but in reality it was just slowly wearing him down to the point that he didn’t know what being alive felt like. And this suspended purgatory between living and dying was Klaus’s new normal, edging back and forth between being human and something less than that.

It scared him, on the nights he really thought about it. When he tried over and over again to summon Dave but the stubborn wall between them remained fixed no matter what Klaus did. He would sit back and think about what Dave would think about the man he had become. Summoning Dave had been something he had been trying a lot lately. Every day that passed made teh hole in his heart grown, and he wished for just one more chance at holding his lover. But everytime he did there was a mental wall blocking him from making the reach, from grabbing Dave and pulling him back to Klaus.

Maybe Dave didn't want to see him, see the horrors he’s committed. It scared him to think that Dave wouldn’t recognize him, the shadow of himself that he was now. The thought scared him more than he'd like to admit.

It scared him to think of what his siblings would think if Five showed them what he has done, what he can do. The shame buried deep inside his chest that burned while thinking of Ben or Vanya seeing him senselessly kill. At Diego seeing him throw his life away. At Allison and Luther seeing his weakness, seeing him bow to his powers.

So in the middle of the night he slipped out of his room, floating down the hallway and up the stairs, creeping closer and closer to the study where his father kept the tapes. The door was locked, but with a small twist of his wrist the lock fall away, the door opening under a slightly push.

Klaus landed on the ground, quickly sitting in front of the computer screens. He could see all of his siblings right now, all of them sleeping peacefully. Or somewhat peacefully, but Klaus doesn’t focus on the stress lines on Ben’s face, the restless way Diego was tossing.

He walks to the closet, looking for the tapes he needs.

He spends hours going through tape after tape, erasing any footage of himself in his room or him training in the gym. It takes forever, and it hurts to watch himself scream, to watch himself kill, to watch his own decent into his powers. But he does it, and once everything is gone he sits back, finally lets himself breath knowing his secret is safe from everyone. Well, everyone but Five.

As he stands up to leave, Anton waves him over, Klaus moving to him without thinking. He was holding a small brown book, and he could see his number stamped to the leather at the front.

He shares a look with Anton, the ghost raising his eyebrows and handing him the small notebook.

Klaus opened it, his fingers fluttering over the words, turning the pages as his breath caught.

His words caught on the title of the page, his heart rate spiking as he read it. The words written in his father’s chicken scratch, written so rushed and almost panicked, like his father needed to get the idea down, the words written so he could put them into action.

Number Four must be stopped.

Chapter Text

“What the fuck!” Klaus cried, pacing the room in a panic, running his fingers through his hair until it resembled a bird’s nest. “Like seriously? What the fuck.”

Anton sighed from where he sat near the open book, a look of worry and concern on his face.

“I think maybe we should actually read the entire thing before freaking out.” Anton said like the reasonable person he was. Klaus nodded, forcing his limbs to cooperate and sitting down once again.

He picked the book up again, his fingers jittery as he pulled it up to his face, his mouth dry and heart pounding.

He read it out loud to Anton, his voice shaky and breaking every now and then.

“Number Four has shows an immense improvements in his powers and abilities. That’s a compliment right Anton? He is incredibly useful in missions and other high stress situations, but I fear he may be growing too strong to handle. His lack of remorse is startling as well as his lack of reluctance to kill. I fear he may turn on me or his siblings, his loyalty has never been strong.” Klaus took a breath, closing his eyes to blink back the tears.

“It’s okay Klaus, we’ll get through this, just keep reading. Your father isn’t here right now, it’s just you and me.” Anton purred, running his hands up and down his back in a comforting manner. Klaus nodded, opening his mouth to continue.

“I have decided it is time to devise a back up plan, something to subdue him enough until it is safe to use him properly. I feel it is time to work on providing the funding more medication similar to Seven’s, although with his previous drug habits mere antidepressants may not be enough to fully clamp down on his emotions. And his powers have become a lot more than a simple emotional outburst, he is almost in complete control of them.” Klaus read, letting out a bitter laugh.

Antidepressants never worked for him, he tried slipping some of Vanya’s when they were a lot younger, and they did nothing but make him slightly loopy, didn’t make the ghosts disappear at all.

“I may be able to develop a new type of stronger dosage specifically for him, I have taken brain scans and will work with what I have. New dosages might work. Maybe even push him back into his former addiction. If all else fails, forcing number Three to use her powers against him may be necessary. Threatening Number Seven or Number One to get to the child may be required, she has been acting out as of late. Something else that will require my attention soon. If I can force her to use her powers against Number Four, I may be able to convince him that the control he had is lacking, or make him forget about his recent development of his powers.”

“He can’t do that.” Klaus said, cutting himself on. “Allison wouldn’t do that for me right? Wouldn’t allow him to let her rumor me? I don’t want to forget about my powers, I don’t want to lose control of them again.” He was spiralling into a panic the more he read. Anton clutched him closer.

“We’ll figure something out; it won’t come to that.” He whispered, and Klaus nodded, forcing himself to continue reading.

“If neither of those options work, I’m afraid I will be forced into the most drastic and inconvenient plan. Number Four must be stopped at all costs, even if that means disposing him.” Klaus whispered, throwing the book away and curling into himself, his breathing coming out in small gasps, his vision doubling in his panic.

He was vaguely aware of Anton picking up the book, reading off the next list that he barely listened to.

“He has shown himself able to come back to life from minor wounds, but I find it implausible that he can come back from serious injuries or trauma. Dismemberment, decapitation, being buried alive, burnt to death.” Anton cut himself off, swearing violently before crawling over and wrapping Klaus up in a hug.

Klaus started sobbing, big rolling sobs that tore out of his throat as he rocked, Anton’s arms squeezing tighter.

“He’s going to kill me.” He said softly, his breath stuttering. “I know I said I wanted to die, but I can’t Anton. I can’t let him do that to me.”

He didn't want to die like that, violently and painfully at his father's hand.

“You are not going to die.” Anton whispered fiercely. “I’m not going to let him kill you. You hear me?”

Klaus sobbed again, his fists glowing as he fisted them in Anton’s shirt, tears running down his cheeks.

“What do we do now?” he asked once he calmed down a bit, the tears drying on his face and his throat sore from the sobbing.

Anton said nothing, lost for words for once. Klaus ignored that, focusing on shutting down everything and focusing at the problem at hand. He picked up the book and tucked it into his shirt, standing on shaky legs and breathing out, letting himself climb into the air enough that he didn’t have to depend on his legs to hold him up. It was always easier to depend on his powers.

The black smoke swirled around him, and he marveled in the feel of it as it danced across his fingers. It wasn’t meant to kill right now, it was simply a manifestation of his powers, something he summoned to himself. It felt cold, like the chill of the mausoleum.

“Klaus?” Anton asked softly. “Are you okay?”

“No.” He replied letting his hand fall and the smoke dispelled into the air. “We need a plan.”

________________________________________

It was ridiculously easy to pack all his stuff into a small duffle bag.

After around ten minutes of arguing, Klaus was convinced that he should at least have a back up bag. He wasn’t leaving, he couldn’t leave, but he had to be prepared if it came down to that. He was currently staring at Basil, wondering if he could manage to shove the little guy somewhere into his bag or if it would be easier to just carry the thing if the time came.

“I still think leaving would be the best idea.” Anton said, sighing from the corner he was sulking in. “You're putting yourself into danger by staying here.”

“I don’t care.” Klaus snapped for the tenth time. “I can’t just leave. I have no money and nowhere to go. I'll just get sent back here.” He wasn't keen on being homeless again either way.

“We can find ways around that, steal some money or something, hell we can go rob a bank if you really want to.” Anton said, throwing his hands up. “I don’t think your seeing the picture Klaus. Your father wants to kill you.”

“I can see that!” He cried, turning around and chucking the bag onto the bed. Running his hands through his hair. “It’s one in the morning and I am freaking out Anton. My dad either wants to throw me into a drug habit, make me forget everything I’ve learned, or kill me. I get how serious this is, but I can’t just leave. I can’t give up.”

There was silence for a while, and Anton sighed, shaking his head, sounding far too calm for Klaus's liking. “As far as I see it, you have two options. Leave this place now, or make sure your father can’t carry out his plan.”

“No.” Klaus said, shaking his head. “I can’t do that Anton, don’t ask me to do that.”

“What’s so bad about it?” Anton said, standing up and stepping forwards. “Your father is a horrible person. He hurts you, is planning on killing you. He tortured you and your siblings. Won’t you all be better off with him gone?”

“I can’t just kill him.” Klaus said weakly.

“Think about it, he’s loaded. Enough money to support you and your family until their old enough to support themselves. Grace can take over your wellbeing and care, Pogo can deal with any outside forces. You and your siblings can finally be free of him, free of all the horrible things he’s done. Vanya won’t be afraid, you won’t be afraid, you guys can grow away from him. Doesn’t it sound wonderful?” Anton asked, stepping closer and cupping Klaus’s cheek.

It did sound wonderful. A life away from their father, one where they never had to worry about him again. Klaus wanted it so bad, wanted to just get rid of his father, free them all from his oppressive grasp.

But killing him? He couldn’t do that couldn’t cross that line. Couldn't even imagine how his siblings would react.

“I’m going to take a bath.” He said, turning away.

“Promise me Klaus.” Anton said, stopping him in his retreat. “Either kill him or leave. For your own safety.”

Klaus ignored him, opening the door and storming towards the bathroom. Once inside he finally let out a breath he had been holding. The stress running out of him as he chucked off his clothing and started the bath.

The water hitting the tub sounded like helicopters flying over head, but Klaus pushed that out of his mind, grabbing his headphones and slamming them onto his ears, reaching over to lock the door. Anton could get to him at anytime- disadvantage of having a ghost as a friend- but if any of his siblings woke up, he didn’t want to be disturbed.

When the water was filled to the top he slipped inside, the water hot and making his toes curl at the shock. He ignored it, slipping inside and laying back the music tuning out any noise filtering around him.

He needed some time to think.

Was he really too powerful? Did he need to be stopped? He was finding that lately it was getting hard to care about the people he killed, murdered in cold blood. Was he turning into something that had to be stopped? Contained?

He didn’t want to be locked up, to forget everything he’s learned. He’s come so far from the scared man he used to be, and if he went back to that he didn’t know what he would do. Probably fall back into drugs, the temptation too much for him once again.

And that was the best-case scenario. Worst case, he died. Permanently died.

Would that be so bad? To just stop? Sure it might hurt a bit, but he’d be able to finally rest, in either the bleak nothingness of death, or maybe even whatever heaven or hell or purgatory was up there. He knew there was something, but whatever the hell it was wasn’t something he could wrap his mind around.

Maybe he could find peace in death, in the sweet departure his father would give him. But what would his siblings think? Would they cry for him? Mourn for him? Or would they breath a sigh of relief, thankful that he was gone, could no longer bug them, cause problems? They had already formed a team without him, would it matter if he was here or not?

He slid down into the water, the current muffling everything even more. He probably shouldn’t have his headphones in the water, the music coming out distorted and the only thing he could hear. His eyes half lidded, the burn stinging as he relaxed, his mouth parting to let the water rush in.

Deep breaths in and out, his lungs filling with water as he choked. It was oddly peaceful, drowning, the calmness of the water, the grounding burn of his lungs.

The music was faint but there, floating around him as his vision started to blur, his lungs gasping in desperate attempts to get water. It was unlike any other way he died, those were all violent, filled with fear and stinking of pain and dread. This was peaceful, calm, almost like falling asleep.

He closed his eyes, his body giving one last shudder as he gave into the smoke swirling around him.

_______________________________

He woke up and it was bright outside.

The first thing he noticed was the heat sticking to his skin, almost like he was in ‘Nam again, the humidity suffocating him.

The second thing he noticed was that he was in his own body again, thirty years old and wearing the stupid tie dye shirt and his army vest once again.

The third thing he noticed was that he sure as hell wasn’t in the bathroom anymore.

“Jesus Fuck.” He sighed, relishing in the sound of his own normal voice once again. He y around, taking in the countryside surrounding him, the beaten-up path and the muted colors.

He remembered this place, from way back in the rave when he was talked to his father in his past life. He waited for a minute, hoping for the little girl and her stupid bike would come along so he could go back down and continue with his panicking.

But she never came, and after five minutes Klaus become way too bored to continue standing in the same spot, so he started to wander. The path under his bare feet felt nice, the dirt digging in between his toes and grounding him. He hadn’t felt nearly this peaceful in forever.

The muted sounds of some twisted music plays faintly in the distance, slightly muffled compared to the tweeting birds, the sound of grass shifting in the wind, his footsteps on the dirt road.

Up ahead he sees a house, a small farmhouse, the windows open and a soft glow lighting up the air around it. Klaus can smell the earthy smell mixed in with cinnamon, almost smelling like homemade cookies. He walks closer, his curiosity peaked.

It’s a simple house, a cottage, a small farm outside. He could see a garden of herb plants in the window, making him smile softly while thinking of his own.

Weirdly enough, this place felt like home, like the part of him that has always been missing.

Before he knows what he’s doing, he standing on the porch, twisting the doorknob and walking inside.

He loves the place already, the wooden floors creaking under his feet, the warmth from the fireplace, the soft colors that were muted and yet seemed so fitting, so welcoming.

“Hello?” He called out, his voice echoing slightly, he could hear someone moving inside, the sink turning off suddenly. Footsteps made their way towards him, the kitchen door flying open and-

“Klaus?” The voice barely registered through the shock and Klaus thought that his heart had stopped and started once again.

“Dave?” He asked, his feet carrying him towards the man he loved, his shaking hands reaching out to touch the soft warmth of his cheek. “Dave!” He cried, tears pouring out of his eyes once again. Dave looked confused, but also overjoyed and shocked.

Then Dave was hugging him, his arms wrapping around him as the other man let out a noise not quite a whimper, but well on its way there.

“I’ve been waiting for so long Klaus.” He sobbed, his hands clenching around him and Klaus wished for nothing else. This was what he was waiting for, the moment his entire life had been leading up to. He felt like his chest was going to burst with emotions he hadn't felt in so long. This was everything he ever wanted.

The little farmhouse Dave promised him ages ago in the middle of an active warzone, Dave with him, his arms wrapped around him and no one to tell them they can’t. This was the place he dreamed about, the home he had always wanted, the home that was yanked away from him when Dave bleed out in his arms.

“Jesus do you know how much I’ve been trying to summon your stubborn ass? Every night Katz.” He pulled back, gazing into Dave’s bright blue eyes. They seemed slightly duller here, but the color still took his breath away. “Fuck I missed you.”

“I tried to stay.” Dave said softly, his thumb reaching out to brush away a tear running down Klaus’s cheek. “I wanted to wait for you, but I couldn’t. Something brought me here and I’ve been waiting ever since, and here you are.”

Dave laughed, the sound wet but so familiar that it made Klaus’s chest ache, burn with love and happiness and things he couldn't even begin to describe.

“What took you so long to get here?” Dave asked, laughing even as Klaus’s own smile faded.

“You don’t know anything that’s happened do you Dave?” He asked carefully, hating the way Dave’s smile faded.

“No, I can’t see anything happened back in the real world. I don’t even know how long it’s been. Time a finicky thing here. What’s wrong Klausy?” Dave said, leading Klaus to the nice comfortable sofa.

“I thought I told you to stop calling me that.” He muttered gently, leaning into Dave’s warmth. How could two dead people be so warm?

“And I thought I told you I’ll keep calling you that no matter what you say darling.” Dave said with a smile, leaning down to kiss Klaus’s forehead. “Stop deflecting.”

“When did you get so good at knowing when I’m doing that?” Klaus whined, but sighed when Dave gave him that look once again. Fuck he missed this, as annoying as Dave could sometimes be. “I did a lot of bad things since you last saw me Dave.” He whispered. Dave simply squeezed, a show of silent support.

“I don’t know how to tell you without telling you everything.” Klaus admitted, unsure of how to continue. Dave didn’t know anything about this life, the time travel, the seeing the ghost stuff. Klaus knew he had his suspicions, but Klaus never told him, to afraid of how he would react. Dave definitely pressed, but he always backed off when Klaus told him too.

“Then tell me everything. I’ve been here for a long time Klaus, nothing you can say will make me love you any less.” Dave said, so kind and accepting and wonderful and everything Klaus doesn’t deserve. “Also, you refused to tell me anything when we were alive, so you better tell me everything now that we are dead.”

Klaus smiled, remembering the amount of fights the two of them had over Klaus’s past. How many times Klaus thought Dave would leave him when he refused to tell him about his family or his odd habits. It had been a long time since then, and he almost missed the bickering, the near misses. It beat having Dave dead and rotting in the ground.

“It’s been way over fifty years since you died.” He started with, his voice soft and unsure. He owed Dave this. “After you died I, well, I time traveled. I came form 2019, time traveled back to 1968 and then went back after you died.”

“You've time traveled?” Dave asked with a laugh. “Yeah, that sounds like something you’d do.”

Klaus allowed himself a weak smile. He didn’t want to do this, to bare all his secrets to Dave, but the man deserved to know. Even if it did mean Dave didn’t want him anymore, would think him disgusting and vile and everything Klaus never wanted to be. Dave made him want to be better.

But even so, he told Dave everything. About his powers, his siblings, the apocalypse. About his father and his training and how he had to do it for Vanya, to help her. How he became lost in his power, how he developed so much more, became so much better. How he killed without remorse simply because his father wanted to. How he was too powerful now, so powerful that his father wanted to kill him. How he did it first. He told Dave everything.

Once he was done he lay in Dave’s arms, his forehead pressed against his lovers’ shoulder because looking into his eyes was just too much right now. He tried to enjoy the last few seconds of peace and warmth, thinking of how Dave was going to pull away, to scream at him, how those blue eyes would be filled with disgust. He waited for the rejection, the inevitable heartbreak it would give him.

Dave’s hand grasped his jaw, forcing Klaus to look up and into his eyes.

The blue eyes that held only sadness, held only grief. No anger, no disappointment, no disgust.

“That’s, a lot to take in.” He said softly, and Klaus wetly laughed. Understatement of the century. “But, Klaus it sounds like you didn’t have a choice. Your hand was forced.”

“I killed people Dave, how can you not hold that against me?” He asked, pushing away from him. Dave shouldn’t be this accepting, this perfect in everyway. He didn’t deserve this, didn’t deserve Dave.

“I killed people too!” Dave cried. “We were in war Klaus; I stared a man in his eyes and shot him. I killed because it seemed like the only option. Do you think any less of me because of that?”

“God no.” Klaus said, but it was different, so much different.

“Should you have done it?” Dave asked, shaking his head. “No. Was it wrong? Yes. But we can’t erase the past, and it’s too late now either way. Klaus I didn’t spend over fifty fucking years in this house waiting for you only to turn you away once you got here.”

Klaus laughed again, the sound bubbling out and he forgot how much he loved laughing. He hadn’t done it in forever. Dave gathered him in his arms again, and Klaus leaned back, his eyes fluttering closed, feeling peaceful.

He did a lot of bad shit, had ruined so many things. But it didn’t matter, because it was behind him now. Maybe it was selfish, but he could rest now, stay here with Dave and live the life he always wanted. He could leave behind the darkness, the emptiness, be happy for the rest of his life.

It was too good to be true, so of course it wasn’t.

“Touching scene. You humans are so sentimental.” A soft voice carried to where they were lounging. And Klaus sat up, panic filling him as he scrambled to his feet.

“No, no, you don’t get to do this.” He said, pointing a finger at the little girl standing in their doorway, her little bike sitting on their porch. “Go screw off and destroy a mountain or something.”

“You know I can’t do that Klaus.” She said, and she sounded almost regretful. “It’s not your time yet, and frankly I don’t want you here before then.”

“Well I don’t care what you want.” Klaus snapped, and Dave’s hand gripped his shoulder, steadying and warm. “I’m not leaving. I’ll sit here and won’t move an inch. I can stay here in like a stakeout or something, but I’m not leaving.”

“That’s not what a stakeout is baby.” Dave said, which totally isn’t the point.

“You don’t get to make that choice. I gave you this much time, be grateful.” The little girl sighed.

“Well give me another hundred years then I will be.” Klaus said, but the little girl shook her head once again.

“You must go.” She said simply, disappearing and leaving the two of them alone.

Klaus could already feel the tugging inside of him, drawing him back into the land of the living. The music was getting louder, twisted and crude as it pulled him back to reality, blocking out the soft crackle from the fireplace. He didn't want to go. He didn't want to leave Dave once again. It felt like Dave was dying once again, being ripped out of his hands by the cruel fate of the world. It felt like his chest was splitting into two as he felt himself start to drift away from the love of his life.

“I don’t want to go Davey.” He cried, his hand clenching around the other man, like he could hold on for the rest of his life. His hands cupped around Dave’s cheeks, marvelling in the way the heat seemed to seep out of them, the color fading. “Please don't go baby.”

“It’s going to be okay.” Dave said, sounding choked up and ready to cry himself. “I’ve been waiting for years Klaus. I can wait a few more until it’s your time darling, even if it takes a million years.”

“You’re the biggest sap I’ve ever met.” Klaus sobbed, leaning forwards and resting their foreheads together. "I love you. So goddamn much."

"I love you too." Dave replied shakily, leaning forwards to kiss him, theirs lips meeting for the first and last time in the visit as Klaus was finally pulled away.

He let out a gasp, his eyes flying open as he stared at the roof of the bathroom, his lungs sucking up air as he coughed out the remaining water, his eyes and lungs stinging. The ghost of Dave’s lips and touch was still on his skin, a phantom weight that he wanted back.

He sat up, pushing away the hands grasping at his arms. He could hear his siblings around him, calling out his name and grabbing at him, but all he could think of was Dave.

He could only think of the warmth of their house, the feel of his lovers’ arms around him, the feeling of peace that he could only imagine. Now it was only empty, bleak and dark and filled with nothing. No hope, no happiness, no love.

He wanted to cry, to sob and scream at how fucking unfair it was. How unfair it was that he finally got a chance at happiness, had felt how wonderful and amazing and perfect it was, only to be thrown back into this hell of a life. But he couldn't the tears not forming in his eyes as his mouth opened in a silent sob.

“Klaus?” It was Ben, sitting in front of him, his eyes wide and filled with tears that were pouring down his cheeks. Diego was crouching beside him, his hand on Klaus arm and a look of complete worry on his face. He could looked to the side and saw Allison and Vanya sobbing in the corner, wrapped in each other arms. Luther in the doorway, a look of complete horror on his face. Five was standing off to the side, pale and unmoving although his face was set, like he was expecting this for a while but still dread it's arrival.

Klaus fell back to the cool tile, letting it seep into his back and he let out a shuddering breath and squeezed his eyes closed. He felt the towel covering his private areas and the air chilling on his wet skin, making him shiver. But he didn’t care, his body shuddering with the force of sobs that wouldn’t form, silent and yet still so loud inside his mind.

It just wasn't fair.

Chapter Text

“Klaus please!” Ben said, following Klaus as he stumbled into his bedroom, limbs weak and uncoordinated. Anton was there, looking worried and terrified and Klaus was grateful for the presence. “We need to talk”

“I don’t want to.” Klaus snapped, grabbing his bag and finishing shoving his clothes into it, pulling on his uniform and not giving a shit about his siblings seeing him naked for a hot second.

“Where are you going?” Luther demanded, his voice shaking. “Why are you packing your stuff?”

“I’m leaving.” He snapped; desperation caught in every edge of his voice. “I’m getting the fuck out of here.”

“Klaus wait!” Allison grabbed his arm, and all Klaus could see was Dave. Dave in their perfect house, waiting for him to join him. He tore away, stumbling back slightly. He wanted Dave here, to hold him and tell him everything was okay.

“Klaus, this is the right thing to do.” Anton said softly, and Klaus nodded.

“This is, it’s the right thing to do and you were right. I should have done it sooner.” He told him, ignoring his sibling’s confusion, he hesitated before asking Anton the next question. "Do you think I can reach across the veil?"

Could he reach across and get Dave back into this world? Could he have Dave here? Would Dave even want that?

Dave said he was willing to wait, so Klaus had to be willing to as well. If that meant living without him for a few years, well then so be it. He could go find himself a place where he can lie and wait for the little bitchy girl to decide he can die, then he could go see Dave. Klaus wouldn't pull Dave from his place like that, even if he could. He can't do that, not after Dave had finally found his peace.

"You know what?" He said shaking his head. "Never mind, I'm just going to go."

“You don’t need to leave Klaus. They deserve an explanation.” Five snapped, and Klaus turned to him.

“Explain what?” He asked, genuinely curious. He should explain a lot of things, but he wanted to know which one Five was talking about.

“How about us finding you dead in the bathtub?” Ben snapped, his voice shaking and Klaus melted a bit at the sound of it. He remembered seeing Ben dead for the first time, it was definitely soul shaking.

“You know I can’t die.” He scoffed, turning away to run his fingers over his herbs. They’ll probably die without him around; he mourns that fact for a second or two. "Not really."

“You were dead.” Vanya says softly, her voice watery and it make his fists clench in overbearing guilt. “We pulled you out of the water and you weren’t breathing, your heart wasn’t beating.” Her voice broke, and he squeezed his eyes shut, pushing back the tears. “Diego had to use CPR to get you back, it took us over ten minutes.”

“I wasn’t dead. Not fully.” He insisted, and Five laughed.

“You were pretty dead.” He said, sounding a tiny bit hysterical. “You keep saying you can’t die, I know you can’t die easily, but you were dead Klaus. If we were any later you might have been gone for good.”

“What time did you find me at?” He asked, turning around and throwing his hands up.

“Seven.” Allison said. “We woke up and you wouldn’t respond so we burst in to find you like that.”

“I went into that bath at one thirty am.” He whispered. “You say if you guys found me any later I would have been fully dead. But I was lying in that tub for around six hours, dead. I wasn’t going anywhere.”

“You still died.” Ben said, Klaus had no response for that. "You died."

The room was silent, Vanya sobbing again and he couldn’t stand it. He wanted to go and hug her, promise her that he was okay, he was alive. But he had made up his mind, if he stayed any longer he would break, start crying alongside her. So he started to leave again.

“Wait Klaus, at least tell us why your leaving.” Allison tried to reason, and Klaus paused, they deserved to know that much didn’t they?

“Dad decided I got too powerful.” He said, making his tone detached as he thought of his fathers clinical writing. The notebook was on the top of his bag, but he didn’t have the energy to grab it. “So he started making plans to contain me. I’m not sitting while he decides which of the three he prefers, drugs, rumor or death.”

All his siblings seemed shocked at the reveal, but Allison sputtered in denial.

“I wouldn’t rumor you!” She cried. “I swear to god Klaus I wouldn’t dream of it.”

“You did it to Vanya!” He laughed, turning to face her. “And you actually like her.”

“I like you too!” She cried, stepping towards him. “Klaus you’re my brother for god’s sake, I wouldn’t dream of doing that. I love you.”

“You have a funny way of showing it then.” He said with a laugh, feeling like he was going to start crying once again. He didn’t want to break down in front of them. They had already seen too much. “I’m leaving before he gets the chance, so it doesn’t matter either way.”

He reached down and grabbed his bag and his little basil plant, storming his way to the door before he could have any second thoughts.

“Stop!” Diego said, stepping in front of him and shoving him back slightly. Klaus stumbled, something inside him rearing up and before he knew what he was doing Diego was shoved to the side, not hard enough to hurt him, but enough for him to fall flat on his ass.

Klaus ignored his siblings cries and stormed out of the room, his feet floating an inch above air. He needed to escape, to get far away from this hell. Where he could learn how to use his powers safely without his father’s influence hanging over him, forcing him to kill and hurt others. Where he could be someone Dave would be proud of.

He was willing to live in this god-awful place they called earth if it meant him being able to see Dave in the end. If it meant he could be someone Dave could be proud of.

Anton ran to catch up with him, his hand wrapping around Klaus’s and squeezing in a show of support. He had a plan, something to work towards. Yeah, he’d have to leave his siblings behind, and the thought of that made his chest ache with grief, but he could visit right? Send letters? This wasn’t the end, he just had to do something for himself.

His father chose that exact moment to ruin everything like usual.

His dad shouldn’t have been back for another day at least, but there he was, standing in the open doorway, staring at him.

“Number Four what on earth are you doing?” He snapped, and Klaus reached into his bag, pulling out the notebook and tossing it at him. It landed at his feet, and Reginald’s face paled dramatically.

“I’m leaving.” He snapped. “I’d rather not sit around here and wait for you to kill me.”

“Number Four you have to understand that although precautions-“ His father tried to lecture, but Klaus snarled, cutting him off.

“You were going to kill me!” He screamed, fear and panic crawling up his throat, threatening to spill out and cover the house with his emotions, his eyes and hands already stained blue. “You planned out specific ways to kill me.”

“I would never-“ His father tried to say, but Klaus had heard enough of his bullshit.

“Dismemberment, decapitation, being buried alive, burnt to death.” He listed from memory, watching his father flinch. “I’ve had enough of your shit. You don’t control me anymore, I’m not scared.”

He took a step forwards, relishing in the way his father flinched back, fear filling his eyes as Klaus crept closer.

“You spent so long terrifying me, molding me into something I don’t want to be. But I’m done, you hear me? I’m leaving, and you can’t stop me.” He said coolly, moving to walk past his shell-shocked father and out the door.

“You leave now and I’ll just move to the next!” His father cried, making him pause. “You leave and I’ll just go to your next siblings, maybe work a little with Number Six, see how he works. Or maybe some of the others would like some personal training.”

Klaus blinked, images of Ben's dead body staring at him from under his eyelids, pushed too far to the edge until he broke, getting torn apart by the very things that he was supposed to learn to trust. Was Klaus leaving signing his death warrant? Was he forcing his father's hand here?

He remembered Diego, fingers sore and hair wet, silent for a week because he couldn’t get any words past his stutter. Luther lying still for hours because he was forced to pick up object after object. Allison’s voice hoarse after hours of rumoring people, Five unable to move after passing out from so many jumps, Vanya wilting under their fathers’ criticism, becoming bitter and alone and feeling unworthy.

He couldn’t leave them to that, couldn’t make them suffer through that once again.

“There’s only one way to guarantee that they’re all safe Klaus.” Anton whispered, and Klaus nodded, tears welling into his eyes.

“You won’t touch them.” He whispered, his voice shaking with anger.

“How can you make sure I enforce that if you leave?” Reginald taunted, thinking that Klaus was afraid, scared of what Reginald might do. “Your dooming them all Klaus.”

“You still think your in charge don’t you?” He asked as he turned, the blue around him growing brighter and strong as the smug look on his father's face faded. The air around them suddenly went cold, like someone had dumped them into the middle of Antarctica, or the middle of a grave. “Newsflash liebling, you ain’t shit.”

Klaus’s lips turned up into a smirk at his father's’ expression, something deep inside of him suddenly switching off, a bone snapping after months and months of constant pressure.

And then he exploded.

His father was thrown against the wall with a sickening crack, his head twisting around as he slumped to the floor, not quite out yet but well on his way there.

Klaus could only see blue. He could feel the rage, the thought about his siblings beaten and broken, he thought of himself dying over and over again, killing people because his father said he should. He thought of the notebook, detailing ways he could die simply because he outlived his usefulness. His power flew out around him, streaks of blue and black, the dead crawling into reality as they screamed in time with his rage.

He was suddenly floating, and not just in the literal way. He felt detached, as if someone had plucked his mind from his body and suspended him from a string.

He could see his siblings, cowered at the top of the staircase, a bubble of white light surrounding them, Vanya, she had been getting a lot stronger. He was proud of her. Outside streaks of blue were flying all around, swirling and bouncing off of their protective wall as if trying to break inside. The screams of the dead were getting louder, deformed people appearing at the edges of the room, pushing forwards, blood flying every which way.

The room was cold, all the heat getting sucked out until it felt like they were standing inside a grave, like they were all dead themselves.

He could see himself, in the middle, his eyes and hands glowing blue as he floated in the air, his mouth open in a silent scream. It was disorientating, being outside himself and inside himself at the same time, seeing all around while still being in control of himself.

His father lay curled in on the wall, a look of pure terror on his face as the light danced around him, the ghosts pushing in at all sides. He was injured, blood pouring down his face from a large cut to his skull. The light was flashing down overtop of him, sending him flying every which way, slamming him into walls and the floor, making him seize in pain as it hit him over and over again.

The screams got louder, the wailing increasing as Klaus was pulled into memories, remembering the pain and horrors his father had put him through. He remembered the blood running down his skin as his father ruthlessly cut into him, the ghosts he was forced to summon, the mausoleum, he remembered all his training. He remembered how much his father hurt him.

Klaus wanted to hurt him now. Wanted his father to feel the pain and emptiness that he did, feel how it felt to be killed by someone that never should have the power to kill you. Wanted him to feel just how much Klaus was hurting, to feel that pain and anger and rage.

Then he remembered Dave.

Dave’ holding him close and telling him that he loved him no matter what. Remembered Dave kissing him and telling he’d wait for him. Dave telling him that he did some horrible things, but they didn’t define him, that he could be better. He remembered Ben smiling at him and telling him he was proud of him. He remembered Vanya smiling up at him. He remembered Diego laughing and comforting him, Allison gossiping with him, Luther taking him out to the record store. He remembered suddenly what he was suppose to be, a good man, a good brother.

Then everything suddenly came to a stop and Klaus was himself again, dropped back into his body forcefully as everything went silent. He fell to his knees, suddenly unsteady as he knelt there, the air around him settling. His father sat a few feet in front of him, fear evident in his eyes as he stared, hovering on the edge of unconsciousness.

He could hear his siblings standing there, could feel their eyes on his back, tense and waiting for the shoe to drop.

Klaus stared at his hand, tears running down his cheeks as he realized what he did, what he was about to do. The ghost were still screaming, but they had lost the blue glow, meaning that his siblings could no longer see them.

“What are you doing Klaus!” Anton cried, standing in front of him. “We were so close.”

“I can’t.” He whimpered, curling into himself. He almost killed his father, could have hurt his siblings. Who was he to get mad at his father for planning to kill him when Klaus himself was about to do the same thing? “I can’t.”

Who was he to say he deserved Dave’s love when he almost became something too vile, too horrid to even think about staining Dave’s spirit with his smoke-stained hands?

“Klaus?” Someone asked softly, and Klaus flinched back, falling to the ground as he turned, staring at Ben with wide eyes. Ben was standing a few feet away, his hands outreached in a placating manner as he crept closer, looking scared but determined. “Klaus is that you?”

“Don’t come near me!” He cried, scrambling back, his heart pounding. He could hurt them, could kill them all without a thought. The black smoke was back, except this time it was choking him, taunting him instead of anyone else.

You are the death your so afraid of. It seemed to call to him. You are death my darling.

He sobbed again, his hands shaking as he clamped them over his ears, the smoke trailing lazily from them. It was all over him, staining his skin, his soul. He was death, the bringer and controller of it. The unwilling guardian.

The invisible wind started to pick up again as his heart rate started to pound, streaks of blue flying out of him in streaks, confused and unsure, acting out of pure emotion and panic. His powers were never truly emotion based, but they sure as well were right now, acting out to protect him, save him from whatever was threatening him.

Ben was still standing there, Diego coming closer along with Allison, Vanya close behind, her eyes still stained slightly white.

Luther and Five were by their father, who seemed to have passed out, a finger to his neck as they checked for the pulse. Neither were yelling accusations at him, so Klaus figured his dad was still alive.

He knew his father was still alive, the heavy stink of smoke wasn't surrounding him quite yet.

“Klaus, can you hear me?” Diego was asking, and Klaus’s eyes snapped back to him, wide as his heart pounded, his palms slick with sweat and smoke. Klaus didn’t respond, his hands pressed against his head and his heartbeat echoing in his ears. Pounding suspiciously loud after months of being barely there. Pounding fast even though barely an hour ago it wasn’t beating at all as he lay suspended in the water.

“Klaus, we need to go.” Anton was kneeling beside him, his hand on his shoulder. Klaus looked up at him, blinking in surprise. “Please Klaus just listen to me.”

Klaus closed his eyes, whimpering as the sound grated against his ears. His nerves felt like they were on fire, every sensation burning at his senses, making him feel disoriented and confused.

Guilt burned the brightest though, burning everything else out. He almost killed his father, his siblings. He almost lost control, had lost control for a good ten minutes. The detached feeling from before haunted him, hovering at the edge of his mind. The wind howled faster, his hands starting to glow as panic raced through his mind, his fingers so achingly cold against his head.

He started sobbing again, finding himself unable to stop now that he started. He felt someone grab his knee and his eyes flew open, staring at Ben who was sitting right in front of him.

“Klaus!” Ben was shouting to be heard over the overwhelming noise of the dead starting to howl again. Ben’s hand was resting on his knee, solid and real and he wasn’t dead unlike everyone else who had touched him recently.

But the smoke covering Klaus started to trickled up Ben’s hands, up his arms. Klaus watched it with dread before it registered that he needed to go.

He scrambled back even further, stumbled to his unsteady feet, shaking like a leaf.

“Don’t touch me!” He screamed, his hair whipping around as he tossed his head. Luther and Five joined the group, looking wary of him. “Don’t come near me.” He whispered, his hands shaking. Anton stepped closer to him, grabbing his shoulder in a show of support.

“Klaus we need to go, they’re going to hurt you.” Anton said, his voice stinking of urgency.

“Klaus please just stop this!” Allison said, her voice trembling. Klaus briefly wondered why she hadn’t rumored him yet; he should just be grateful for her reluctance.

The ghosts were pushing towards them at all sides, his siblings alternating between staring at them and Klaus. He wondered if they could see Anton at his side, but no one brought it up yet so he guessed not.

“Klaus, it’s going to be okay.” Diego said softly, stepping closer. “I just need you to calm down so we can talk about this alright?”

Klaus only stepped backwards slightly. He couldn’t calm down, couldn’t talk, couldn’t stay. He could hurt them; he was danger to them all. He just wanted Dave to hold him again, to tell him what to do. He wanted someone to tell him how to stop this, to stop killing and hurting people and messing everything up.

It seemed like no matter what life he lived he had to destroy something, the first time around it was himself. He spent years ruining himself by pumping him full of drugs and other vices. Now? Now he was hell set on destroying everything else. He didn’t want to keep destroying things he wanted to build something. Something like a family and a house with the love of his life. But he couldn’t have that either.

“We can help you Klaus.” Luther spoke up, sounding so much softer than he ever had. “Just stop all of this and let us.”

“You never wanted to help me.” He said without thinking, the words slipping out without his permission. “None of you ever wanted to help me no matter how much I begged for it.”

“And it was stupid of us to do that.” Five said. “But I told you this yesterday Klaus, we’re here now. We can be siblings again, you just need to send the ghosts away, to stop doing whatever the hell your doing and accept the fact that we're not going anywhere.”

It sounded nice, just stopping all this madness and figuring this all out with his siblings by his side. The wind started to die down, some off the panic and fear lessening. They helped Vanya figure it out, they could help him too couldn’t they?

“Don’t do it Klaus.” Anton warned, and Klaus looked up at him. “Do you not remember what they did to the last person they were scared of? What if they think your dad’s right? What if they lock you up? Help him contain you? They’ve done nothing to prove that they’re here to help you, they’ve never wanted to before.”

“Klaus!” Ben cried, drawing his attention away. “Stop listening to whoever the hell that is. We’re here to help. You know that don’t you?”

“Last time you were scared of someone you locked Vanya up.” He said evenly, ignoring the way Vanya flinched slightly. “How do I know that you’re not just going to do what dad wants?”

“What?” Five scoffed. “Kill you?”

Klaus bit his lip, but didn’t respond.

“Wait you actually think we’d do that?” Diego asked, laughing a bit. “I promise that’s not what we want.”

“Then what do you want!” He cried the wind picking up again, objects rattling where they were, the chandelier wobbling unstably as another wave of power radiated from him. For all the control he's had on his power lately, he was oddly out of control.

This was all too confusing, on one hand he wanted to believe them. Wanted to believe that his siblings were truly there to help, but why would Anton lie? Anton had been there for him no matter what, sticking with him through thick and thin. His siblings hadn’t.

“I want my brother back.” Ben screamed at him, his voice raw. “I want my brother who laughed at my stupid comments and who fooled around all the time. I want my brother who did so much for me that I didn’t even realize. I want my brother back, not whatever your trying to become. You don’t have to prove yourself Klaus, I love you okay? And I want my goddamn brother back.”

He wanted his brother back too. Living without Ben had been hard lately, the presence of his brother missing like a part of himself. The short glimpses weren’t enough, and fuck Klaus wanted his brother back again. To sit and talk and plot out stupid pranks that would send the others up the wall. To sit and bug Ben as his brother tried to read his book. To have some of their late night talks where they confessed their secrets to each other.

He wanted his family back. So he took a half step towards them, his limbs moving without realizing it, the wind died down around them, the calm settling as the dead started to fade, their screams lowering in volume.

“I want my brother back too.” Vanya said softly, looking slightly afraid but determined as she stepped forwards, her head held high and reaching out her hand for him to take. “You still owe me that waffle date remember?” She asked with a watery laugh.

He broke at that moment, the wind stopping and the dead fading form his view, the black coating his skin evaporating as he looked at his family, who all looked hopeful and determined, standing in the middle of a ruined hall, waiting for him to take Vanya’s hand. This was what he wanted, to be able to be a brother again. To go on that stupid waffle date he promised so long ago.

He reached out, stepping closer as their fingers brushed together, everything dying down as he finally gave into his siblings, finally allowed himself that comfort.

Only for him to be suddenly ripped back, something wrapping around his back and tossing him backwards, his back slamming against the wall as bright starbursts of pain whited out his vision.

Chapter Text

When his vision decided to come back to him, Klaus figured he had only been out for a second. His siblings were still lunging towards him, looks of surprise and confusion on their faces as they started to run towards him.

“No!” He cried, throwing up his hands to stop them. “Just wait!” He had no clue what happened, why he suddenly went tumbling backwards. If it was some vengeful ghost he didn't want his siblings getting hurt.

It went silent, his siblings thankfully listening to him and stopping, the moment held in balance. His father slumped on the floor, his siblings standing still, his own head buzzing as it tried to focus on the area before him.

Anton was fading in and out of his view, kneeling in front of him with a hand on his shoulder, keeping him upright. Klaus was 90% sure he had a concussion of some sort.

“Klaus?” Anton asked, the noise sounding distorted and far away. “Are you okay?”

His voice overlapped with his siblings, who were thankfully standing still but asking him questions at a rapid pace. He couldn’t focus on them, so instead he listened to Anton.

“We have to leave.” He was saying again.

“I’m not going anywhere.” Klaus said, frowning and Anton groaned, the hand on his shoulder tightening almost painfully. “Why do you want me to leave!” He cried.

His head hurt and everything was fuzzy with pain, but Anton was clear in front of him, the edges of him glowing blue before sputtering out once again.

“They’re going to hurt you. Your fathers going to hurt you! Please Klaus we need to go!” Anton cried, trying to tug him to his feet. Klaus stumbled up, the world swirling and going black for a second before fading back into view.

His siblings had gotten a lot closer, hovering right outside his vision.

“No!” He cried again. “Just, give us a few minutes okay?” He tried, squinting in pain.

Somehow his siblings seemed to sense the urgency, so they backed off a bit, still close enough to get to him if something went wrong, but far enough that Klaus could have a moment of privacy. The small amount of trust, especially after the show he put on, made something inside him ache.

“Anton I need you to listen.” He said slowly, a soft laugh escaping his throat. “Everything’s good now! We overreacted! But it’s fine now. We’re fine now. We can relax and figure out a plan that doesn’t involve running off with the circus.”

“You don’t get it!” Anton cried, growing more hysterical. “Fuck, please just listen to me Elias, we need to go!”

“What?” Klaus asked, falling back a bit. “Who the hell is Elias?” He asked, and Anton seemed to snap out of the trance he was in.

“I didn’t say that.” Anton laughed. “Pretend I didn’t say that.”

“Who is Elias?” Klaus asked firmly, glaring Anton down. “Come on Anton, aren’t we past secrets?”

Anton was quiet for a long moment, his shaking hand reaching out to cup Klaus’s cheek.

“My son.” He admitted. “Elias was my son.”

“What’s going on Anton?” Klaus asked. “I can work this out, why do you want me to leave? Why are you calling me by your son’s name? I don’t get it.”

“Fuck Klaus please!” Anton cried. “Your dad is insane. Full on crazy, he’s the one who killed my Elias, who indirectly killed me.”

“My dad killed your son?” Klaus asked, stumbling back away from him. Was Anton using him to get revenge on his father? Was everything that happened between them just a giant act?

“I’m not using you!” Anton cried, almost like he could sense Klaus’s thoughts. “I swear to god Klaus please.”

“Your saying please a lot. But I don’t know what you're asking me to do.” Klaus said evenly, despite the way his chest felt like someone was slowly carving him out with a spoon. “Explain to me everything.”

Anton’s face scrunched up, looking like he was about to cry. “Klaus please just-“

“Explain!” He screamed his eyes glowing blue and the silence that settled around them was horrid, it was filled with betrayal, crawling smoke, grief.

“Okay.” Anton said softly. “I always wanted a son. It had been my dream since I was a kid, to be a dad and do all those fatherly stuff. But when I met my wife, Anna, she couldn’t have children, would die if she tried. I loved her either way, and I made my peace without having a son.”

Anton took a deep shuddering breath, and Klaus watched as the edges of Anton flickered between completely transparent and bright blue, his frame flickering in between visible and invisible.

“Then one day she all the sudden became pregnant!” Anton laughed, high and hysterical and tears were filling his eyes. “I was baffled, she wasn’t pregnant before then all the sudden she was and before I knew it I was holding my baby son in my arms. Or maybe it wasn’t my son, not really. But he felt like mine you know? Anna, her body failed. She died seconds after giving birth. Elias was sickly, but he pulled through. He was one of you.”

His siblings were gathering closer, watching as Anton flickered in and out of view and Klaus threw out a wall of power, stopping them from getting too close. He wanted this moment to be him and Anton only.

“I loved Elias, but his power, it was too dangerous, too harmful for me to understand. Whoever touched him grew sick, terminally so. He could point at someone and suddenly they would grow ill, it was dangerous, beautiful.” Anton swallowed, his eyes raising to meet Klaus’s. “He was the bringer of death.”

Klaus felt like he was going to be sick, like he was going to wither up and die right here, sitting on the floor with his ears ringing and room spinning, bile caught at the bottom of his throat and a pretty major concussion in his head. Anton had called him that, the bringer of death, keeper of death.

“Then, this asshole with a stupid mustache decides to show up and he takes one look at Elias and me and says we’re useless. I begged him, for hours to take up in, he had a cure, I know he did. And he told me that Elias was useless, that he would waste away and that he was defective. Like my son was some sort of product.” Anton broke the eye contact, his eyes flickering over to Reginald and Klaus wondered for a moment if Anton was going to attack his father.

“Then you died.” Klaus filled in. “You died because of your son.”

“I tried everything, begged so many people for years to help me find a cure for me and my son. Almost got choked to death at one point from my last attempt, but yeah. I died.” Anton absently rubbed at his neck, where a circle of still bright bruises lay. “But not before Elias died first, wasting away until he shriveled into nothing, not even four years old.”

Anton smiled, almost wistful.

“Then it was nothing. I was floating in the darkness, nothing made sense, it was only repeated thoughts and urges, me watching Anna and Elias die over and over again, me wishing for life. Death was horrible Klaus, it was everything and nothing, suffocating at all points of time.” He looked up once again, his face softening. “Then I saw you.”

Anton walked closer suddenly, kneeling in front of him and cupping his cheeks and Klaus absolutely hated himself for the way he melted into them, the way he grasped at the fingers and closed his eyes, tears running down his cheeks. The way he leaned into the contact without thought.

“You gave me life again Klaus!” Anton laughed, his thumb swiping at a tear running under his eye. “Around you everything sharpened, and I could think again, I could feel. Around you it was almost like my heart could beat again, like I could breathe.”

Anton touched their foreheads together, his eyes closing as his voice lowered.

“You reminded me so goddamn much of Elias. The bringer of death, the controller of fate. The two of you were so powerful, both of you could alter life and death itself. It’s amazing, it’s beautiful, and then I figured out the truth.”

“You were stuck here Klaus!” Anton cried. “Reginald tortured you, your siblings were assholes, and all I could see was Elias sitting there in that damn mausoleum, crying and screaming and begging for help. So I tried to help, and your powers were so similar to Elias's that everything I said worked.”

Anton suddenly started laughing, pushing away from Klaus to stand up, throwing his hands up.

“So I thought I might as well get to live my life with my son through you! Another bonus, I could get my goddamn revenge. And fuck you made it so easy Klaus.” Anton’s voice changed, suddenly cold and uncaring and Klaus was left gasping for breath, as if all the air in his lungs had been tugged out.

“You were so easy to mold, listened to every goddamn word I said. It was easy to make you think everyone hated you because deep down you felt like you deserved it.” Anton said, staring down at him, almost pitying.

“No.” Klaus whispered, tears pricking his eyes.

“Once I isolated you, it was easy. A simple seed placed in you remind and suddenly it was the two of us against the world, just like how Elias and I should have been, how we were. You were drowning in so much self hatred and disgust that it made it eerily simple to make you wish to be better, for you to believe you could be better.” Anton continued, and Klaus squeezed his eyes shut.

“Shut up.” He cried, stumbling to his feet. “Shut up.”

Anton softened, stepping closer.

“I do love you.” He said. “You are very loveable, so soft and breakable, it makes it so easy to want to shelter you, to let you flower. Your father saw it and so did I, but I guess it was so much easier to break you.”

“Shut up!” He screamed, but Anton only laughed.

“I wanted to get you out of here, so we could live our lives together, so that I can have a son and you could have a father. So that you could have a happy life. But you ruined that by believing that your siblings can make this better!” Anton cried, stepping forwards again. “They can’t fix you Klaus. Your too broke for that, you’re in way too many pieces to be glued back together. They will hurt you, but with me we can be free!”

Anton grabbed his hand, and he felt cold. No longer the warmth that Klaus liked to lean into. He used to burn bright like the fireplace you sat near after standing outside in the snow. But now he felt like the harsh wind ripping into his skin, cold and merciless. Klaus felt like someone was tearing out his heart slowly, string after string breaking out with every word. Betrayal stung deep and hard, a bone deep chill that Klaus knew he'd never get rid of.

“No more fear of hurting people, no more expectations. We can just find some far-off place where we can be free, no one to hurt us, to doubt us, to order us around. Isn’t that what you want Klaus?” Anton squeezed his hand, his smile widening and turning from something sharp and cutting into something softer, something more Anton.

“No.” Klaus said, pulling back away from him. It was all a lie wasn't it? Everything Anton told him was just one giant lie, he was using him just like his father was. “This is all your fault isn’t this? You manipulated me!” Tears started to run down his face. “You made me believe that I could be something, that I was worth something.”

“You are Klaus, you're everything and more.” Anton said, trying to catch his hands again. But Klaus threw up his arm, sending to ghost stumbling back.

“Don’t.” He warned as Anton turned again. “Just go.”

“No.” Anton snarled, and Klaus blinked up at him, unused to the hostile tone. “No you can’t take this away from me.”

Suddenly Klaus was flying through the air again, skidding on the ground as his landed, his head screaming out in protest. Anton was suddenly appearing in front of him, a crazed look in his eyes that Klaus only saw in the mausoleum ghosts. His eyes were bright with aner, his lips pulled up into a sneer as he glared down at him. The look sent Klaus's heart into his throat.

“You can’t do this to me!” Anton screamed, grabbing him and Klaus was helpless to stop him as the ghost tossed him again.

Klaus hit the ground hard, a loud snap echoing around him as white-hot pain ran up his arm, making his mouth open in a strangled scream. He could hear his siblings screaming, and the wall between them and him crashed to the ground, spilling his siblings from where they were trapped. Immediately they were all running towards him, but Anton was faster.

“I can’t let you go Klaus.” He hissed, his face inches from Klaus’s, a wild look in his eyes. “I can’t lose another son.”

“Too late asshole.” Klaus wheezed, focusing all his powers to send out a blast of blue light, sending Anton and his siblings stumbling backwards. He climbed to his feet, forcing past the blinding pain in his arm and head to life both arms and face Anton.

He sent everything he had at his old friend, his mentor, the only person he had trusted in this timeline. He sent wave and wave of power towards Anton, the only ghost who wanted to help him, who encouraged him to be his best, who believed in him. He sent a shockwave towards the man who betrayed him, who was using him for some personal vendetta, who lied to him over and over again.

The anger morphed into something deeper, making him feel like suddenly the world would crash around his feet if he wanted too, like he could bend the earth and the make the sky crumble. But he didn't want any of that, he wanted Anton gone. Wanted the pain to stop.

And with one final push, it felt like something inside him snapped, a door blown wide open as Anton let out one last pained yell before he crumbled into dust, fading into the light, gone.

Klaus stood there for a second, once again feeling the world hang in balance around him, before he felt as if all his energy went tumbling out of him live a river, flowing out of him as quickly as the high faded.

The pain came next, his arm pulsing with blinding strikes of him and his head pounding in a constant rhythm. He felt like every part of him had been thrown through the washer on speed wash, disorientated and burning with an ache that pierced through his heart.

His vision swirled, blackening at the edges and before he knew what was happening he was falling back, passing out into someone’s arms.

Chapter Text

Awareness came in stages.

It was at first sounds filtering past the water in his ears, muffled and quiet but there, just barely catching his attention before he faded away once again.

He drifted closer to them after a while, and small flashes of light would filter through the darkness, a lamp shining on his eyelids, staining the darkness red as someone would move in front of him, shadows dancing across his vision.

A few times he thinks he’s able to wake, up, his eyes peeling open and blinking a few times, but it only happens a few times. The first time it’s only him and his mom, and Grace simply brushes a hand through his hair until he falls back under the tide.

The second time all his siblings are sitting in the room with him, their backs to him as they talk in quiet voices. He falls asleep before they can notice he was awake.

The third time it happens only Ben is in the room, sleeping peacefully in the chair beside Klaus, their hands tightly gripped together. Klaus falls asleep again before Ben can wake up.

The fourth time is more permanent, the light and sounds filtering through the darkness like a persistent bug until he had no choice but to slowly open his eyes and allow awareness to flood back in.

The room was dimly lit, the blaring lights lowered until they only stung his eyes slightly. The bed under him was soft and comfortable, making him feel like he was floating, high but without the drugs.

It took him a few seconds to realize he wasn’t alone, Grace was humming in the corner, cleaning up some stuff as she swayed to the music only she could hear. She turned around, her face blanking momentarily when she noticed he was awake.

“Oh!” She cried, putting down her rag and walking over to him, her bright smile put into place. “You’re awake, how do you feel Klaus?” She asked, her hand resting on his forehead.

Her hand was cold, causing him to flinch back slightly from the contact. Grace quickly pulled away, her smile trembling and Klaus felt like he saw real fear behind her eyes.

“I’m fine.” He told her, his throat sore and scratchy, the words grating on it as he forced the words out.

His mom cooed with sympathy, reaching across him to the night table, grabbing a glass of water and raising it to his lips, his unsteady hands reaching up to grab at it. The water felt cold and nice on his throat, providing the much-needed relief.

“Your siblings made me promise to tell them the second your up, so if you don’t need me here, I should probably go tell them your moving before you lose all your energy and fall asleep again.” Grace said cheerfully, and Klaus wants to tell her to stay. So that she can keep running her fingers through his hair and tell him stories about whatever obscure thing he wants to know about.

“Sure.” He says instead, watching as she walked out of the room, her click of her high heels echoing around the silent room and fading into the halls.

Klaus lets his head fall back, his eyes slipping closed as a small sigh flew from his lips.

He felt like someone took a serving spoon and scraped it against the inside of his skin, hollowing him out from everything that made him human. Like someone had yanked his heart out and replaced it with some metal, something that clanged with every slow beat.

Anton would tell he was being over dramatic again.

But Anton was gone. Anton had betrayed him, manipulated him. Anton wasn’t coming back.

Klaus took a shaky breath, the tears burning at the edge of his eyes fading with every breath he took.

“Shit, he’s asleep again.” Diego said from the door, causing Klaus’s eyes to fly open again, he had been falling asleep again if he was telling the truth but he had been eager to see his siblings again, see if they were okay.

“Nope, stone cold awake.” He told them, throwing on a small fake smile that probably didn’t fool any of them.

“I’m pretty sure the proper saying is stone cold sober.” Five said dryly, zapping to the side of his bed. Diego and Ben were the first in after him, Vanya following with Allison and Luther.

“Well, I’m that too brother dear.” He replied, ignoring the little voice in his head that wanted him to very much change that fact. The stupid little voice didn’t shut up often.

“How are you feeling Klaus?” Allison asked, swinging around to take the first chair near him. Ben was already seated on the other side, his hand reaching out to grasp at Klaus’s. Klaus tried to ignore it, pretend like it wasn’t happening, but he didn’t dare pull away from the contact.

“I’m great. What did I miss?” He asked, pushing himself into a sitting position despite the ache and protest that was bone deep, he couldn't stop the slight flicker of pain that danced across his face.

“Hey, hey take it easy.” Diego said, reaching out to steady him with a hand to the shoulder.

It felt like too much, so many people touching him, to many living people crowding around him. He felt like he was trapped, cornered like a rabbit in a cage full of lions. Lions don’t necessarily eat rabbits, but they certainly could if they really felt like it.

He brushed the hand off, avoiding anyone’s eyes as he took another deep breath in.

It seemed like no one knew what to say, how to begin, how to start the conversation they were all dying to have. Well, everyone but Klaus. Klaus would very much want to just go curl up in his room with basil and fall asleep for a while so he could deal with this all with a clear head.

“My plant!” He blurted out, his eyes widening. “Is it okay?”

His siblings stared at him for a long time before Five suddenly zapped out. Klaus was getting ready to panic, because what if he managed to crush it or something like that? Or if it got destroyed during his major freak out? Sure, it was only a plant, but embarrassingly enough he started to care about that stupid little thing.

Five was back seconds later, holding the small potted plant in his hands, the pot cracked and some leaves out of place but otherwise okay. It was silly how much he relaxed after that, watching carefully as Five placed it next to him on the nightstand.

“This stem thingy is broken.” Diego said softly, lifting up a leaf that was half detached from the plant. “Can I fix it?”

“Sure.” Klaus whispered, because he felt like he would cry if he said anything more.

Diego immediately pulled out a knife, because simply ripping it off just wouldn’t do, and cut the leaf off, throwing it into the garbage across the room and grinning at Klaus as if he was awaiting a good job or something. Klaus didn’t trust himself to say anything. It was such a small gesture, but it meant so goddamn much to him that his brother would be willing to do such a small thing for his own happiness. He felt Ben squeeze his hand even tighter.

“Diego what have I told you about bringing your knives into the infirmary?” Grace said from where she stood in the doorway, causing all of the siblings to turn and look at her. “It isn’t safe.”

“Sorry mom.” Diego was blushing, obediently handing the knife over to her as she hurried out of the room once again. Klaus grinned up at him, some snarky words at the tip of his tongue but the glare Diego sent his way made him hold back his words back.

“How long was I out?” He asked, trying to break the tension inside the room, he hated it when everything was silent and awkward.

“Four days.” Luther told him, and Klaus blinked slowly. That was a lot longer than he thought.

“Man you guys must have been bored without me around.” He said jokingly, hoping to make at least one of them smile. The more he showed he was fine, maybe then they would leave him alone.

“Not like you haven’t been avoiding all of us for weeks now.” Ben snapped, and Klaus looked over at him, the sharp sting landing inside his chest.

“I don’t know what your talking about Benny boy.” He lied, his heart hammering inside his chest. It was all too much at once, too many voices, too many people, too many emotions. He itched for a hit for the first time in months, now that the distraction of his training was gone he found the temptation a lot harder to ignore.

“Just stop Klaus.” Diego groaned, and Klaus frowned over at him.

“Stop what?” He asked, feeling slightly defensive.

“Stop pretending your fine!” Ben cried, his hand yanking out of Klaus’s. “Stop trying to distract us and trying to get us to leave because we’re not Klaus. We’re not going to leave you.”

“You did before.” He whispered before he could stop himself, the words flying out of his mouth.

The silence that hung over them was oppressing. Ben looked like he was torn between yelling and crying, instead settling for reaching out of Klaus’s hand once again. Klaus pulled it away, the thought of anyone touching him at the moment making his stomach roll. He wasn’t ready for that yet. Every hand on him reminded him of the phantom touch of Anton, squeezing his shoulder and running his fingers through his care, spinning his lies so easily.

“I watched you die less than a week ago.” Ben said after a long moment. “I ran into that bathroom and pulled you out and the only thing I could think of was the fact that I wasn’t there for you. Wasn’t there to talk you out of doing that dumb shit, or at least just being there so you wouldn’t have to do it alone."

Klaus bit his lips, turning his head away and squeezing his eyes shut as if he could run away from this problem.

Him dying had become something so common that it was weird for it to be taken this seriously. Him dying was just another statistic his father needed, there was no reason for Ben to feel this bad about one little death. And yet he was, all of his siblings had seemed shaken about it.

“Klaus look at me.” Ben said softly, his fingers brushing Klaus’s chin and Klaus let his head be guided back towards him, his eyes still firmly shut. Ben sighed but didn’t say anything about it. “I wasn’t there for you. None of us were. And I don’t know who that man you fought with was but I have a feeling he was there for you. But he wasn’t good for you and I know that much from what I saw.”

“Don’t talk about him.” Klaus snapped as his eyes flew open, because if he thought about Anton he would break down again, start sobbing and screaming and probably summon his ass back here just so that Klaus wouldn’t have to live without him. Ben was silent for another second.

“Okay.” He replied and Klaus felt himself relax just a tiny bit. “But the point still stands. We weren’t there for you. And I’m sorry about that. So sorry that words just can't capture the feeling. And I know a sorry won’t be enough. That it won't fix a goddamn thing. But I’m here now okay? And I’m not going to leave again, I’m not going to let you fall.”

Klaus shut his eyes again, the tears building up. How long had he been waiting for that? For someone to say that they were there, that they wouldn’t leave? To say it like Ben did, with no hesitation, leaving no room for doubt.

Klaus wanted to believe him. And he thought that maybe he could. Maybe he could pull the pieces of himself back together for his siblings and try again. Let them try again. They had already had a second chance, so what was a third? Maybe they wouldn’t fail this time. It felt like blind optimism, and he knew that it probably wouldn't work. But there was always an if right?

There was so many things left unsolved, so many more things that Klaus knew were too broken to repair, too messed up to even dream of being fixed. But he could deal with that later, for now he let himself relax, let himself actually enjoy the presence of his siblings.

“Okay.” He whispered, his hand pathetically reaching out, frail and shaking and he forgot sometimes just how pale he was. Ben grabbed it without hesitation, lifting it up to his lips and pressing a quick kiss to the back of it. It was an old custom of theirs, symbolising a promise to be kept.

If you wanted the other to believe that what they were saying was true, if you wanted them to know you meant business, you would clasp hands and kiss the back of them, a signal of commitment to whatever they promised. It was sacred, something that seemed so simple but meant so much. It meant that they were both willing to try, to see if they could fix the damage between them all.

Klaus pulled their clasp hands together and pressed his own lips to the back, Ben giving him a watery smile. He turned to the rest of his siblings, who were watching with bated breaths, unsure of where they fit into their dynamic.

“Can anyone get me some food?” He asked, and immediately they all relaxed, knowing that for the time being he was willing to try. “I’m fucking starving.”

Chapter Text

Klaus hated absolutely everything about what was going on.

He just wanted to sit in the kitchen and eat some food, and his entire family decided it would be a good idea to sit there and literally just stare at him while he was eating.

No one else had any food of course, it was just him and his macaroni sitting there at the table while all his siblings stood around him and stared.

He absolutely hated it with a passion, their eyes on him, watching his every move like he was going to freak out any second. He hated the way they thought he was fragile, like he was going to break apart at any second.

He had survived months dealing with his fathers training and gotten out alive, all while suffering through violent grief and PTSD from war and total isolation. He was fine, he could survive now even better. He was perfectly fine; he was just hungry.

And maybe he was picking out every single of the hotdog in the noodles because they reminded him of the chunks of flesh that had been hanging off of the ghost he summoned two weeks ago. Maybe he still felt hollow, like some major piece of him had been ripped out. But he was fine. He was going to be fine; he had survived worse than this.

He shoveled another bite into his mouth, already feeling full despite only having taken a few bites of food. His mom had made this last night apparently, something quick and easy that Diego could help out with. It was good, all his mom’s food was absolutely delicious, but it was just a bit too much for him.

“Done already?” Ben asked, and Klaus bristled a bit at the tone.

“Not hungry.” He snapped, and no one had a reply to that. Klaus walked out of the room without another word. He wanted to go to his room, to be alone for a while and just think. Because as much as he loved having his siblings hovering over him every single second, the attention was weird, made him feel like every move he made was the wrong one, like he was walking through a minefield with no one to give him warning when he was about to blow himself up.

Ben, of course, follows him. The rest of his siblings staying behind. Small mercies he guessed. Ben walked silently beside him, words on the tip of his tongue, but not quite falling off yet. Klaus was content to walk in silence, letting his brother stew over whatever he was thinking about. Ben always thought too much to be healthy. Klaus just preferred to act.

He walked into his room, hoping that Ben would get the message just leave already. He didn’t of course, because that would be too easy.

“Am I allowed to be by myself for any moment of time? Or do I need a chaperone?” Klaus asked, falling back onto his bed, relishing in the familiar comfort.

“Last time I left you alone it didn’t end up well.” Ben pointed out, never one for softening his words to not make it seem like Klaus had somehow blown up the house or something. He’s pretty sure that was Vanya’s thing but oh well.

“Oh get off your high horse Ben, I’m tired. I promise I won’t summon a ghost army to slaughter you all if you leave me alone for an hour.” He groaned, his arm flopping over his eyes to try and block out the light.

“That’s not what I’m worried about.” Ben said softly, making Klaus pause.

He didn’t say anything though, he had a feeling that Ben needed this time, the time to think about what he was going to say.

“You died Klaus.” Ben said, his voice soft and there was an undercurrent of something under it. Something that made Klaus’s stomach twirl in memories, images of Ben’s own dead body popping up in the darkness of his mind.

“I’ve died a lot lately Ben.” He said evenly, and Ben laughed, the sound borderline hysterical.

“Yeah, I know. Five told us everything. But you’re not allowed to die Klaus. You can’t do that to me.” Ben hissed at him.

“Okay.” He says simply, because how do you respond to that? Klaus remembered being terrified that Ben would die again for the first few weeks of being back here, and well, the feeling hadn’t really faded since. Had only been slightly muted.

“All I could think of was the handful of times I had already watched you die, and you came back from all of those. What if one time you don’t come back Klaus? I don’t know how to live without you.” Ben admitted, sounding so small and pitiful.

“Maybe you should learn.” He said softly, not because he wanted to die or wanted to leave Ben behind. But well, Ben should live longer than him. Ben should be able to leave Klaus’s side and have it be fine. They should be able to live their lives without the other. And yet the only time their truly apart, it all went to shit.

“I don’t want to.” Ben replied, his voice sounding like he was gearing up for a fight. Klaus didn’t have the energy. "I'm not leaving you this time around Klaus."

He wanted to believe him. Fuck, it hurt how badly he wanted to believe that Ben wasn't going to leave, to believe that Ben was telling the truth. But Anton had told him he wasn't going to leave, that he loved him, that he would help him. It seemed like people liked to break promises to him, to use him for their own reasons. How could he trust Ben when it seemed like everyone in the world was put there solely to break his trust?

“Okay.” He repeated, because it was simpler than putting all his thoughts into words, easier than starting a fight or actually having a nice normal conversation with his brother about his fears. He felt numb, like a pile of ice was shoved into his chest where his heart should be.

Ben said nothing in return, and the two of them sat in silence until Klaus fell back asleep, the tide taking him under.

_____________________________________________

He woke up alone.

It shouldn’t have been a relief.

He liked being alone, not worrying his siblings who seemed to actually worry about him now. It was disorientating, their concern. He spent so long feeling like they didn’t care, still thought they didn’t. There was a small voice in the back of his head saying that they were only doing this because they felt bad. Guilty that they left him alone and were now trying to make up for it so that they could continue on with a clear conscience. Or that they were scared. That one was slightly more terrifying to think of.

Weirdly enough, both of these voices sounded like Anton, whispering in the back of his mind.

He wasn’t alone for long though.

One of the many downsides to the past few weeks was that after his little show, his powers were suspiciously drained. Empty, as if he was a car that had ran out of fuel after driving for too long.

So of course, when the first spirit came back, the sputtering blue of his hand wasn’t enough to send him away, which seemed to please the ghost, who started begging louder, his voice raising. He started screaming at Klaus for ignoring him, for pushing him away. Klaus just wanted some god damn quiet.

But every time he focus on his power, on the feeling of pushing the ghosts away, he felt drained, as if he had run a thousand miles on broken legs. Carved out by a spoon until all he had was the vision he never asked for. He buried his head under his pillow and tried to squash the sound filtering around it.

The ghost started to add back up, screaming just like they used to. He felt useless one again, the power he used to hold non existent as he laid there, the sound of the dead filling his ears.

Then there was a knock on the door.

It was hard to hear through the multiple overlapping voices, but somehow he managed to pick it out. Without thinking he dragged himself out of bed, tearing open the door after walking through at least three people. The number of ghosts had gone up a lot since he last looked.

Luther was standing behind the door, looking sheepish and like he was unsure of how to proceed, but the look faded quickly as he looked at Klaus, adopting into his protective but trying not to like he was look.

“You look horrible. Did you get any sleep?” Luther asked, pushing inside.

“Tons.” Klaus lied, unsure of how long he actually had been sleeping. “What do you want?”

It was fair to say that Klaus wasn’t in much of a forgiving mood. He looked at Luther and all he could see was betrayal, the thought of him locking up Vanya and the possibility that he could do the same to him. He thought of all the condescending words, the times his brother put him down again and again for little to no reason. He thought of everything that had fueled the hate Klaus had been harboring since they got here.

Luther shifted from side to side, his hand going up to run his fingers through his hair.

“Can you teach me how to garden?” He blurted out, his neck turning red as the blush ran up to his cheeks.

“Uh, what?” Klaus said dumbly, too taken aback to think. Luther wanted Klaus to teach him how to garden? Why?

“I just, well your plants are all so cute and adorable and it seems like something fun. And well, I wanted to give it a shot.” Luther said, his entire face bright red.

Just like that, Klaus forgot everything about being mad at Luther. He could hold his resentment against his siblings another time, for now he led Luther over to his little garden and started teaching him the best tips on how to best care for a plant.

An hour later Klaus could barely even heard the ghost anymore, too busy debating the uses of different herbs and how to best take care of them to even think about the screaming in the background.

Luther was a fast learner, catching onto everything Klaus said with an absurd amount of enthusiasm. It was weird watching Luther handle the plants so carefully and gently, when those same hands had inflicted so much harm. Months ago those hands had held Klaus up by the neck and choked him, but now they were softly placing a little mint plant into a pot.

By the time they were called for dinner, Klaus had already somehow been roped into starting a full-fledged garden in the backyard and had given Luther the mint he helped plant.

The ghosts were still there, and they would remain there for however long it took Klaus to get it up again, but for now he was content, the ghost only a background thought as he continued walked down for dinner beside Luther, his brother still rambling on and on about plants the plans he had for their joint garden.

Chapter Text

The air outside was cold and muggy, the smell of rain drenching the roads he walked on.

Klaus knew he shouldn’t be outside alone, knew his brother was probably going to pitch a fit when he came back, but if he hadn’t left that god forsaken house he would have gone insane. The dark walls and hovering siblings and ghosts made him feel even more claustrophobic than usual.

He liked walking outside, even if the air was cold and he had no jacket to protect his bare arms from the harsh wind. Maybe shucking off his academy jacket hadn’t been the wisest of ideas after all.

He used to go on walks like these all the time, normally to escape his father and go get high again. When they came back here it was to clear his head and escape from his siblings. Now? He wasn’t quite sure what he was doing out here anymore.

The streets seemed darker to him now, and he could see the ghosts crawling around in alleyways, their fingers reaching out to him as he passed. It made his heart stutter as he once again wished for his finicky powers to act up so he could banish them into oblivion.

He was only just remembering why he fell into drugs in the first place, why he turned and accepted the darkness as opposed to listening to their voices all day. He remembered being thirteen (the first time) and finding out just how powerful morphine was at blocking everything out. He had just come back from a mission and managed to break his leg after getting pushed off a ledge while on lookout. He was a lousy lookout, and barely even noticed when the enemy snuck up behind him and pushed him off.

When he woke up in the infirmary mom was there, pumping him full with drugs so he wouldn’t notice the pain. He also noticed how the ghosts that had been following him had left as well. It was blessed, the quiet smothering him. He never noticed how loud the ghosts were until they were gone, and he could actually hear himself think.

After he healed and the morphine was gone, he was desperate to get that silence back. It was always so goddamn loud around him. With the ghosts constantly wailing and screaming and begging. He couldn’t go anywhere without one of them attaching itself to him, repeating his name over and over again. He wanted the silence back, the quiet that everyone other than him got to have.

It was unfair, how they got to live without the ghosts but he had to deal with them, had to listen to their moans. Then he found alcohol, and it muted them a bit. Let them fade into background noise, something he could easily forget. But it was nothing like the calm from the morphine.

So one night he went out and found the first person willing to sell drugs to a little kid. First it was weed, then some random pills, and as he grew older it progressed into speed, occasionally coke and heroin when he was feeling really bad.

Then it became more than something he depended on to shut the ghosts up. He became addicted, until his body didn’t know how to deal with itself unless it had drugs running through his veins. Every time his father forced him to get somewhat sober he felt like ants were under his skin, crawling and biting until he couldn’t stand it anymore.

Did it ruin his relationship with his siblings and father? Yeah it did. But did he regret any of it?

Depended on the day.

Back then he didn’t care, was willing to do anything to shut the ghosts up, to calm the rising tide of his mind. But now? Now he wasn’t sure how he felt about it.

Drugs weren’t good. It made him mad, crazy, unstable. But it helped him to, because he would have died years ago if left alone with the ghosts. So yeah, the drugs and alcohol did destroy him in a way, but at the same time it saved him from a fate worse than that. That’s what his siblings never got, how it was either the drugs or tossing himself off the nearest bridge.

And he chose the drugs, and he never regretted it until now. Would life have been easier for everyone if he found a way to kill himself all those years ago. Would any of this happened if he wasn’t around? He would never know. Or maybe he would at some sort, but who knows at this point.

He somehow found himself in front of one of his old haunts, staring at a dirty alley way and he knew who was inside. Knew that Logan was inside, pockets filled with drugs and pills that Klaus could buy. It would be so easy, even if he didn’t have any money. Logan was a vile man, would be down for anything Klaus proposed.

It would be so flipping easy to go down that alley way and find the high he used to chase without thought. To find the wonderful silence and lightness he missed. To fill the blank place inside of him with so many drugs he would be willing to do anything, go anywhere. He could go get some drugs and then run, find a place far away where his siblings would never have to deal with him again. Never have to deal with his crap anymore.

He took a step into the alley, the darkness crawling around him, so different from the sunny skies that he was lounging in seconds ago. He could see ghosts forming at the edges of his vision, reaching towards him, whispered warning drilling into his brain.

“Hey kid, you managed to get yourself lost?” Logan asked, a grin on his lips, his teeth sharp and sharklike.

Klaus turned and ran out of the alley and back into the sunlight, blinking back the tears that failed to fall as he ran back to the academy. His legs ached but he felt like if he stopped he would turn around and give into the temptation.

Maybe a while ago he would have been too weak to resist the temptation of the numbness being high gave him. Would have done anything to get that little baggie and the small amount of relief.

But that wasn’t now, that wasn’t today. He had people to be strong for, things to prove to people. He wasn't done here quite yet.

____________________________

He walked into the Academy and shut the door behind him, taking in deep breaths as he tried to calm down. His legs felt shaky but he walked towards the kitchen, his stomach growling and his mouth dry.

He was hoping no one was in there, so he could avoid questioning until at least dinner in an hour. Unluckily for him, he walked inside and saw his brother at the counter, chopping up some vegetables as their mother wandered around doing various things.

“There you are.” Diego grumbled, turning to face him. “Where were you?”

“Out on a walk.” Klaus said, walking over to the table and sitting down on top of it.

“Tell us next time.” Diego replied, a hint of softness under the biting tone.

“Klaus dear,” His mother asked. “Can you come help out? I believe Pogo needs my help in the library.” Grace smiled at him, and how could he really deny her request.

“Sure, but don’t blame me when the house burns down.” He told her, hopping off and walking up to the counter, gazing down at the assorted pastas and vegetables.

“Wonderful!” Grace said, clapping her hands. “Diego will explain to you what to do. I will be back soon.” And with that she was walking out, the crisp click of her heels echoing.

“Set out a pot of water to boil.” Diego instructed. “Then throw on the garlic bread.”

Klaus hummed, setting to work.

“It’s quiet out here without dad isn’t it?” Diego hummed, almost carefully. Klaus tried not to freeze at the mention of their father.

Apparently, after Klaus’s little episode, their father spent the day in the infirmary. When he woke up he flew into a rage, almost killed Klaus in his bed. If it wasn’t for his siblings standing up for him Klaus doubted he would be here. His father had many methods of permanent death that he was willing to try.

Once that blew over their father stormed out of the door, and he hadn’t been back since. Pogo kept telling them that he had no clue where Reginald went, but Klaus had his suspicions that the ape knew more than he let on.

If you asked Klaus, he thought that his father was out trying to find a way to stop Klaus. His father was a proud man, and getting taken down that easily by the son he thought he could control was a hit he wasn’t willing to take. Klaus knew that his father would be back soon, but he found he didn’t really care. Let Reginald try his best, see what the old man could come up with.

“Yeah, you could say that.” Klaus said quietly.

Things without their father was weird. Diego often cooked meals for them, they talked while they ate, and they were free to do whatever in the world they wanted to all day. It was driving some of them crazy, the lack of control and system. Klaus wasn’t sure how he felt about it yet.

“You have to put water into the pot for it to boil Klaus.” Diego sighed, walking over and taking the pot.

“Sorry, I don’t cook.” Klaus said, a slight tinge to his cheeks. That probably should have been a given.

“Obviously.” Diego said with a small smile. But then he paused. “Have you ever cooked for yourself?” He asked, sounding slightly hesitant.

“Nope.” Klaus replied with a smile. He spend his days out on the street, he had no oven to learn to cook from. No house to put food in or sit down and eat at. His eatnig habits consisted of whatever he could find at the time, no matter how repulsive it was.

“I guess I’ll teach you then.” Diego said with a sigh.

The next hour or so consisted of Diego teaching him the basics of the kitchen as they cooked the pasta they were making for dinner. Klaus didn’t get a lot of it, it seemed like a lot of silly pointless practices for no reason, but he tried.

Halfway through DIego stopped him, an uncharacteristicly worried look on his face.

"I know I'm not good at the whole comforting or tlaking thing," His brother starting, avoiding Klaus's gaze. "But I'm here if you ever want to talk. I'll try my best to help out."

"The garlic breads burning." Klaus replied, unable to fully form a response to what his brother was saying. They went on like nothing happened, but there was a warmth that settled in his chest from that point on.

Diego was actually a good teacher, remaining somewhat patient even when Klaus almost lit the garlic bread on fire and sent the water boiling over. Grace returned with the rest of his siblings, all of them filing finding a seat around the kitchen table. Klaus pulled out his meal that he made with little to no help, consisting of burnt garlic bread, soggy pasta, and a veggie sauce that smelt more like smoke and char than anything.

But he was proud of it, and he couldn’t help but grin as he put it down for his siblings to look at.

“It looks-” Allison paused, as if searching for the right word to describe the monstrosity sitting in front of them. “It looks wonderful Klaus. Thanks.”

Klaus grinned brighter, sitting beside Ben and knocking their shoulders together, feeling lighter than he had in days. It was like the weight had been lifted from his shoulders, making him feel light and breezy and smiley. The opposite of how he was feeling when he was out on his walk, when he encountered his old dealer.

Ben grinned over at him, his eyes softening.

“You look happy.” He said simply, and Klaus smiled wider, because he kind of felt happy too. He had forgotten how much he loved being happy all the time, how easier life was when he wasn’t moping around, when he wasn’t worrying about the hole in his chest. When he let his hair down and let himself just be himself for once.

He felt warm, content, and he shoved a piece of pasta into his mouth and barely grimaced at the texture of his horribly cooked meal.

“I am happy.” He admitted, winking at his brother before joining in on the conversation, feeling more himself than he had in months.

Chapter Text

“Maybe your doing it wrong?” Ben offered, perching on his bed as Klaus paced around the room.

“I think I know how my powers work Ben.” He snapped, not meaning to be so defensive, but his nerves were shot and it was either start yelling or go out and drink himself into oblivion.

“Well apparently not.” Ben retorted, making Klaus hiss.

It seemed like their relationship was still strained, but oddly enough this arguing made them closer somewhat. Klaus didn’t want pity, soft glances and promises to be better. Sure it helped, but it made him feel fragile, like he was going to break. Ben treated him the same, and it made him feel better. More like himself, more normal than he has in ages. It made him feel more alive.

Like he wasn’t the Klaus who was half dead, a foot in the land of the dead. It made him remember that he was able to be alive, that he wasn’t too dead to be living, that he was too alive to be dead. That’s why he picked Ben to help him try to get his powers in control again.

Ever since his incident where he released his powers at a much larger scale than normal, things have been out of whack. He had trouble sending the ghost away, summoning them was getting harder too. Although the ghosts loved coming to him. Levitating turned into bursts of short energy that he couldn’t really control, his body flouting often without his permission. His telekinesis was going wild too, often sending objects flying when he didn’t mean to. All in all, it was pretty fucking frustrating.

There was a girl in the corner who died from illness, and ever hacking cough made me blood fall out of her mouth. He wanted her gone, wanted to be able to sit in his room without her coughing catching his attention every few seconds. But she wouldn’t leave, and every time he focused it was like a wall was standing in front of him, like he was too tired to focus.

“Just try again, you did it once you can do it again.” Ben said, couching him with a bit of a softer voice.

“Fine.” He ground out, grabbing some more of his herbs to burn up in hopes of it aiding his failing training time. Ten minutes later he was still there, flinching at ever violent cough without being able to stop it. It grated against his ears, even worse when she tried to talk to him, her voice like sandpaper.

“This is useless.” He groaned, throwing himself onto the bed beside Ben.

“Do you want to stop now and try again tomorrow?” Ben offered, defeat evident in his voice.

But no. He couldn’t give up. He couldn’t stop now. What would his father think? What would Anton think? He needed to get this pesky thing under control, show that he was the one in control of himself, of his powers. No one can dictate him anymore; he was in the driver’s seat. He was the one controlling his own life.

But it felt like he lost control. He wasn’t the one driving anymore, he had lost his grip on the wheel and now he was sliding all over, unable to save himself from the power festering inside him.

“No.” He growled, sitting back up and plopping back down on the pillow. “We keep going.”

Ben was silent. Klaus pretended not to notice, instead taking deep breaths to control his breathing, focusing on emptying his mind and letting the ghosts fill it. Screams echoed in his mind, their deformed faces flashing behind his eyelids. He tried to stamp down on the familiar terror crawling at his throat.

Now all he had to do was grab them and push, send them so far away they wouldn’t be able to find him. Would take them weeks to be drawn back into his web. But when he pushed he wasn’t able to connect, wasn’t able to contact enough to send them away.

The wails got louder.

He grit his teeth, pushing harder as his fists squeezed tighter, his nails digging into the skin. Work for fucks sake.

He could see the blue flashing in his eyelids, weak and sad compared to the electrifying color they were a few weeks ago. He growled, pushing harder as his teeth ground, a headache forming. The screams kept increasing instead of falling away, like the ghosts were fighting back. Sensing his lack of power and using it against him.

“Klaus.” Ben warned, but it sounded like he was speaking from far away, like Klaus was underwater again. The tub, drowning, his lungs filling with water. Oddly peaceful in a twisted way. But he wasn’t in the bath, he was in his room, he was trying to control his powers.

He wished Anton was there to guide him, tell him what to do and how to do it. The ghost always knew what to do, how to hack even the hardest of problems. But he wasn’t here anymore. Because it turns out all Klaus was to him was a cheap remake of his own son. That’s all he ever was. A screw in a dark alley to remind someone of a past lover. Sharp humor reminds them of a siblings, his caring heart an old mentor. All he ever was is a person for people to project on.

No one liked the real him. They liked the person he reminded them of. They liked parts of him. Only one person had ever seen the entirety of him and never judged him, who loved him in all of his god-awful glory. And that man was dead.

The dead screamed louder, drawing closer inside his mind, a few of them attempting to break across into the physical world to haunt him. He pushed them back, btu they were gaining, their fingers reaching towards him and he was powerless to stop them from getting closer, their faces smiling gruesomely. Images flashing through his mind as he tumbler further into their realm, leaving the living behind.

“Klaus!” Ben shouted, snapping him out of whatever trance he was in as his eyes flew open, the screams not lessening but the images of gore fading. “Klaus are you okay? You zoned out for a while there.”

“I’m fine.” He replied; his voice raw as if he was screaming. Was he screaming? He really had no clue; he had wandered so far into his mind he wasn’t really sure what the physical part of him was doing. “Sorry, it’s fine.”

“You sure you want to keep going?” Ben asked, his eyes worried. Klaus knew that Ben wouldn’t push, wouldn’t judge him if he wanted to stop.

But what was Ben even doing here? Didn’t Ben hate him? Didn’t they all hate him? They excluded him, forced him into a corner. So why were they being so nice now? Was Anton right? Were they only doing this so they wouldn’t feel guilty?

He would never truly know.

“No,” He said slowly. “I think I’m going to sleep a bit. I’m tired.” He said, and Ben worried his lip between his teeth.

“Do-“ Ben paused again, his jaw clenching as he thought over his words. “Do you want me to stay with you?” He sounded almost hopeful, and Klaus wanted to agree. TO let his brother mother hen him like they used to do when Ben was still dead.

When Ben was forced to look after him.

Klaus shook his head, ignoring the sting of guilt when Ben’s face fell slightly.

“Go see the others, I’ll be fine.” He reassured, and Ben paused again, unsure about if he should actually listen. “Go on Ben, you don’t have to be stuck babysitting me anymore.”

Ben frowned, like he wanted to comment on that statement, but he simply shook his head and sighed.

“Are you going to be okay?” He asked again, finally standing up from where he was crouched, Klaus followed, patting his bed.

“Don’t worry about me Benny boy.” He said, forcing a smile. “I’m going to catch a cat nap, training wears me out.”

“Okay,” Ben said finally, walking to the door. He paused with his hand on the knob, turning back to face him. “Just, get some sleep okay? I don’t want you wearing yourself out anymore.”

“Of course.” Klaus agreed, smiling as Ben quietly left the room.

Klaus waited until the sound of his footsteps faded before he sat down again, his eyes fluttering shut as he once again tried to push the ghosts away.

________________

He spent a lot of his time in his room these days, finding odd little things to keep him occupied as he tried and failed to distract himself from the ghosts. Often the most useful thing to do was go bug his siblings, but sometimes that was too hard, and the resentment would bubble up and leave him screaming himself hoarse in his room, regrets filling his mind.

Some days were good, when he could focus enough to spend time with his family, but other days it was hard. Other days he felt like he wanted to yell at them, scream and accuse and yell himself crazy. He wanted to lock himself up in his room until his powers started working again, then some days he wanted to pack everything up and leave, the guilt crushing him slowly.

He was lonely those days, the days when he couldn’t stand being in his siblings’ presence. He hated to say it but sometimes he missed having someone constantly around him. First it was Ben, his companion for most of his life, then it was Anton to keep him from noticing the lack of his brother. Now? There was no one but him and the five corpses in the background, all alternating staring into nothingness and randomly screaming at him.

Not the best company if you ask him. Makes for horrible conversation.

He’s knocked out of his moping by a knock on the door, Allison pushing it open and marching right in without waiting for him to answer. So much for privacy too.

“Uh, hello sister dear?” He said, sitting up from him bed. “What brings you?”

“I promised you a makeover didn’t I?” She asked, smiling widely as she marched forwards and grabbed his hand. “You don’t get a choice in this matter.”

Before he could protest, Allison was dragging him out of the room, hooking her arm through his and dragging him towards her room at the end of the hall. Klaus decided to go along with it, he had always loved his little makeovers with Allison, and recently he hadn’t had anytime to really dress the way he wanted.

He had been too stressed with training that he forgot to do little things like wear his makeup, or throw on his favourite skirt. Maybe this would be good for him, good to get off his feet and do something he used to love. See if he could get in touch with the old him. It would be nice.

“It’s been awhile hasn’t it?” Allison said lightly as she pushed him onto the bed, already wandering over to her wardrobe. Klaus doesn’t reply, too busy reaching over to grab her fluffy pink boa to wrap around his shoulders. “Start with nails?”

Klaus grinned lightly at her, his eyes darting over to the corner where a teenage boy was standing with his throat slit, blood pouring too the ground as he gurgled. Klaus swallowed back bile and forced his eyes go to the five little bottles Allison was holding.

“What color?” She asked, laying them out. He considered them, ignoring the desperate gurgles behind his back. He forgot how hard regular conversations were with the ghosts hanging around, screaming and trying to catch his attention.

He focus back in on the colors, running his fingers over the cool glass. One was his signature black color, went with every outfit. Another was a bright pink, a statement, but it would go good with his skin. So would the navy blue and dark green. The orange was a nice color, would go well with some of Allison’s dresses.

“I’ll go with the blue.” He instructs, picking up the navy. “Brings out the color of my eyes right?” He brings the bottle up to his face, widening his eyes and wriggling his eyebrows dramatically. Allison grins at him, snatching the bottle from his hand and opening it.

The stink of the polish was normally revolting, but Klaus was almost used to it by now, Allison still scrunched up her nose a bit, the acidic smell probably burning her nostrils. Either way, they sat in silence as his nails got colored, Allison obviously waiting for him to speak and him waiting for her to start.

Klaus won, as usual. He loves talking, but recently he learned just how powerful a silence can be.

“Sometimes I wonder how Claire felt.” She says softly, skillfully not meeting his eyes. “When the world ended.”

“I don’t think that’s a useful thinking process.” He said gently, carefully watching Allison’s face. He knew how much she loved her girl, and not even the lingering resentment would stop him from comforting her.

“I just, I can’t stop thinking about how scared she must have been.” Allison blinked, as if trying to stop from crying. “Did she call out for me? Did she want to know where I was? Did she hope I was coming to save her?”

“Allison,” He said gently, pulling his hand away and grabbing hers, he squeezed her hand until she looked up at him, her chocolate brown eyes teary and filled with guilt and sorrow. “There’s nothing we can do about it now. But we will find a way to fix all of this. I promise.”

“How?” She asked, pulling away. “How can we fix this Klaus? I may not even get to see my daughter again.”

“But you might.” He cut her off. “There’s a lot we all had to sacrifice Allison, and I know it’s hard but if we give up and fall into a cycle of grief it won’t end up well. But we will fix this alright?”

They sat in silence for a moment, Allison with tears running down her cheeks and Klaus absent mindedly wiping them away, marvelling at the touch of actual human skin under his fingers. Her skin was so warm, the tears wet under the pads of his fingers and he forgot how much he loved doing this, touching people, comforting people, interacting with the living.

“We’ll fix you too alright?” She said softly, reaching up to grab his hand, swiping under her eyes to get rid of the tears as she took a deep breath and continued doing his nails. “How are you feeling by the way?”

“Not so good.” He admitted, noticing how Allison’s steady hands faltered for a moment before continuing her slow progress. “My powers are still wonky and I don’t know how to fix it. The ghosts won't go away.”

Admitting it felt wrong. Shameful almost. Like he wasn’t allowed to share with Allison despite her baring her soul to him. He wanted to take it back immediately, act like it was all a giant joke, crazy Klaus going at it again. He couldn’t help but feel like he did something wrong. It felt like at any moment their father was going to come out of the shadows and scold him for being weak, for not accepting his powers.

But Reginald was gone, somewhere far away to find a solution for him. To find a way to stop him from ticking. Jokes on him, Klaus managed to do it by himself.

“You’ll figure it out.” Allison said, a smile stretching her lips, almost too wide to be comfortable. “Your nails are done. I’ll do your eyeliner then you can do my nails.” Allison was quick to stand up and go to her wardrobe, her shoulders raised.

“What color are you picking?” Klaus asked, quickly changing the subject to help ease the pressure building up in his chest, threatening to burst out like one of Ben’s tentacle monsters.

“Probably the orange, it looks nice against my skin.” Allison said, dumping some of her makeup onto the bed in front of him. He absentmindedly searched through it, pulling out the old eyeliners and eyeshadows he remembered experimenting with. “Look up.”

Following Allison’s order he looked up at the blank ceiling, her fingers darting out to brace against his cheek as she painted his undereye with the dark color.

“Did you know it’s incredibly easy to find eyeliner in Vietnam?” He asked, and Allison hummed in response, focused on her task. “Yeah, the first trip into town some of the ladies at the disco offered me some, the boys were drunk so they didn’t think anything about it. Some poked fun after I kept wearing it but never anything serious, Dave always shut it down before it got too bad.”

Klaus smiled, the memories of Dave socking a particularly homophobic soldier in the face fresh in his mind. He remembered having to practically drag Dave off of him, his lover’s anger burning bright. Dave was a calm soul, not much for fighting, but when he got mad it was like fire. You got out of the way or else you got burned.

“Dave huh?” Allison said, her eyes flickering down to meet his. “He sounds nice.”

“He is.” Klaus said with a wide smile. Talking about Dave was easy, even if it made the hole in his chest ache more than it usually did. “He was.” He corrected, his smile faltering as he remembered his death, the bullet in the chest, bleeding out as Klaus held him.

“Can you see him around?” Allison asked softly, her voice warm and soothing the nerves he felt.

“No.” He replied, trying hard not to shake his head and mess up his fresh makeup. Allison was working on the other eye now. “He in the afterlife now, I can’t contact him.”

“Afterlife?” She inquired. “Like heaven?”

“Who the fuck knows.” He laughed, causing Allison to stop his makeup as his eyes crinkled. “The little girl never specified.”

“Should I ask?” She said dryly, resuming her work.

“Probably not.” He said, wiggling his eyebrows as she finished. He felt lighter now, talking freely without concern. It was nice, to not monitor his words, check ever sentence to make sure he wasn’t making a mistake. He started on her nails, the two of them lapsing into silence until he finished.

“Now,” Allison said, standing up and pulling him to his feet. “Should we pick out an outfit?”

The next hour was spent trying on different outfits in her closet, doing mini fashion shows as he put on the most ridiculous combination and strut down the room as Allison cackled.

After a while the two of them collapsed back onto her bed, worn out and tired. The gurgling boy from earlier was still there, and his makeup was smudged. He was wearing a bright gold crop top and a knee length skirt, Allison wearing an orange blouse and pink leather pants, an outfit picked out by Klaus himself. Somehow she pulled it off.

“You know what Klaus?” She asked, turning to face him. “I think we’ll be alright, the two of us.”

“Yeah,” He said, smiling brightly, the gurgles in the background and the symphony of screams seeming to disappear for the moment. “I think we will. I just need to figure out my powers again, and then we can work on finding your kid. Then I think we will be alright.”

Klaus laughed again, and if Allison’s smile was a bit forced, well he didn’t mention it.

Chapter Text

Klaus managed a month without his powers before he snapped.

The ghosts wouldn’t fucking shut up, his siblings’ relationship with him made him feel confused and hollow, and he just wanted some peace.

He needed to know if this was simply because his powers were exhausted, worn out from his giant show, or if there was something else happening. So he found the most drastic way to test it out.

It came to him when he was tending to his plants like usual.

Throughout this hell, his little herb garden had been a constant to him. Luther often came to help and they would sit in silence, the only noise the snipping of their scissors as they cut off worthy leaves to use in that night’s dinner. But often Klaus would do it alone, humming a soft tune as he watered them, caressing the leaves and uttering a little hello to each and every plant. It sucked that he now had to climb up on a chair to water the top plants, but it never stopped him from reaching them everyday.

As usual, every morning he would water his little basil plant and give it the rundown of the day’s plans and things like that. Funny enough, it became the highlight of his day when he would sit in front of his window and simply pet the leaves. Its leaves were used only for his meals at night, or well, that’s what everyone thought.

What his siblings didn’t know was that every night he would slip a tiny piece into their own meals, his mind running over the protective qualities of the plant.

Either way, the idea came to him when he was carefully snipping off some leaves, his scissors slipping slightly as a particularly rowdy ghosts screamed, causing him to flinch. The scissors darted across and sliced his skin, the red-hot line drawing itself across his skin.

“Shit.” He cried, dropping the offending tool and sticking his mouth to it, sucking slightly to stop the sting. “Shit.” He repeated, pulling away to inspect the cut. It wasn’t that bad, just a long thin line on the side of his palm.

He wasn’t even aware of the tools being that sharp, he honestly didn’t even know when his father bought him them. He bitterly wondered if his father purposely bought him sharp scissors in hope that he hurt himself on them.

But, well that’s when the idea stuck into his head, such an innocent and twisted thought that it made him cringe.

He had spent so long trying to work all his powers, but he completely neglected the one power only his father was strong enough to attempt. He hadn’t attempting to see if his control over his own death had weakened.

With a sick idea planting and festering in his mind, he carefully picked the scissors back up and ran a finger delicately over the blade. No one would be in to check on him until dinner, leaving close to four hours left alone for him to attempt whatever the hell he was going to attempt.

He danced a blade along his arm, careful not to actually cut anything yet.

Was this really a good idea? His powers, which used to work like a finely oiled machine, was failing him. So did he want to risk figuring out if this would work? What if he doesn’t come back? Was he willing to risk that?

But he needed to know.

He didn’t know what was going on with him, didn’t know what was causing this disruption in his powers, if it was a problem that really ran deep. His ability to come back to life was something that has always been working, something operating in the background to stop him from overdosing, to stop him from dying almost everyday. He didn’t need to think to operate this set of powers, so was it out of whack too?

There was only one way to solve it.

Without thinking anymore, if he thought more he would regret it, Klaus dug the blade in and dragged it down his arm, blood immediately pouring from the wound. He bit back a scream at the intense pain, used to the feeling of his own arms getting cut open. Thanks Reginald for your fucked-up training.

He quickly moved to the other arm, repeating the cut and falling down onto the ground, cursing himself for not putting down a sheet or something, or maybe doing this in the tub where he could wash this all up once he came back. If he came back.

He closed his eyes, the world spinning around him as the warm blood soaked his arm, leaving him feeling sticky and uncomfortable. He found he didn’t really care as the world faded out around him and he passes out, bloody scissors still gripped in his hand.

___________________

He woke up to the sun shining on his eyes and his heart in his throat.

His arms distantly aches, but they were clean, unmarked by the blood that had just stained them. He sat up, rubbing at his eyes as he blinked to readjust to the light. He stood to his feet, unsteady as he swayed.

Was this the same road as before? He felt a tiny just of excitement despite the fact that he was here as he started walking. Trying to remember the way he went last time. Was Dave here? Could he see him again?

“Dave?” He called, out, breaking into a light jog as he went along the path. “Dave!”

He felt something tugging him back, a string attached to his chest that was trying to drag him away. He fought against it, ignoring the way his arms started to turn red, blood forming and slowly dripping down his arms in lines.

“You’re not supposed to be here.” A voice hissed from far away, and he couldn’t place who was talking.

He stumbles as his legs gave out under him, causing him to fall to the dusty ground, his eyes squeezing shut. He was so close; he knew he was. He could almost see the warm glow of the lights, hear the cackling fire, feel Dave’s arms around him, lips pressed against his.

He grit back a cry as the pain hit him, and the disembodied voice called out again.

“You’re not supposed to be here! Go away!” It screamed, and suddenly the darkness was pouring back in, and Klaus was once against lost.

_________________

He woke up to the sight of his own ceiling, his breathing heavy pants as he felt the skin on his arm scar over and pull painfully as he sat back up. He took a deep breath, running his hands over his face and ignoring the way it cause a smear of his own blood to line his face.

He laughed, hysteria bubbling up as he cackled.

It worked. He was still here, still kicking despite literally slitting his own wrists minutes ago. He now knew that despite everything, he was still himself. He could still come back from the dead. He couldn’t lose that part of him, it was as deeply ingrained in him as the ghosts are, as the drugs were.

He shakily stood up, staring at the blood on his arms and staining the hardwood under him. He would have to wash it before anyone came in, the red stood out like a bull in a china shop, the color stark against the brown.

It covered his own arms too, rivers of blood streaming down as he fruitlessly tried to wipe it off, throwing on a cardigan to hide his bloody shirt and stumbling to the bathroom a couple doors over to turn on the water and run his arms under it, the blood staining the water as it ran off his arm. He scrubbed at it, ignoring the sting of the freshly healed skin pulling as it got rubbed.

“Klaus?” He heard Ben call out to him from the doorway, and that’s when he remembered he forgot to actually close the door, leaving it open in his haste.

“Oh, hiya Ben.” He said turning around after pulling down his sleeves to hide the scar that was still visible. In a few days it would be gone, just a faint white line that no one can really tell unless they held up his arm to the light and stared at it for a few hours.

“Why do you have blood on your shirt?” Ben asked, his eyes worried as he walked closer. Klaus looked down, cursing the small dots of blood that was visible from under his cardigan. It wasn’t much, just a couple of dots on the front, the worst of it staining the back.

“Oh,” He said, blinking. “I cut my hand and some of it spilt.” He said, holding up the tiny cut on his hand, which Ben quickly grabbed to inspect.

He hoped that Ben wouldn’t pull up his sleeves, see the long crude line of raised skin on the inside of his arm. His brother didn’t, and Klaus felt a surge of relief when Ben let him go.

“Is it okay?” His brother asked. “I can get mom to make sure it isn’t infected.”

“On that’s fine, it’s no big deal. I just need some waffles to magically heal myself.” He said with a grin, causing Ben to roll his eyes.

“Come on you doof, I’m sure I can find something to tide over your appetite.” Ben said, and Klaus wrapped an arm around his brother’s neck, relishing the touch against his skin. He could feel the scar getting irritated, but he ignored it, instead letting Ben lead him into the kitchen to find some sugary concoction.

___________________

Once he started, he found he couldn’t stop.

For some reason, dying became his new drugs.

It reminded him that he wasn’t entirely broken, that he was still able to function like he used too. He might not be able to send the ghosts away, he might have to walk instead of levitating, and he had to actually get up to grab things instead of using his telekinesis, but if he died, he always came back. Whatever funk this was couldn’t take that away from him.

So every now and then if he felt like the had the time he would find some way to die so he could get that tiny slice of peace back. A reminder that he wasn’t quite broken yet.

And maybe it wasn’t just to prove that his powers weren’t completely gone. Maybe when he was feeling especially down he would find a way to off himself to help ease the guilt. To know he was suffering for his problems, to know that he wasn’t getting away scotch free.

Most of the time he found his favourite way was drowning, just slipping under the water and tuning everything else out, letting the world numb until he was fading into the darkness, only to come back a few minutes later with a gasp.

It was clean, easy, and didn’t leave much of a mess. It just made his voice hoarse, easily explained by telling his mom and siblings that he might be catching something.

He sometimes tried other methods, smothering himself in his pillow at night, stealing one of Diego’s knives and stabbing his heart with it, purposely going to the roof of the academy at night and laying out in the freezing cold until his skin turned blue and the chills started to stop.

Sometimes he would go to the messed-up version of an afterlife. Every time that happened he would try to find Dave, running through the country roads to the place he knew his soul belonged. Sometimes he barely got a few steps, sometimes he could see the house on the edge of his vision before he was pulled away.

Every time it left a bitter feeling in his chest, like he was so close to eternal peace but kept on missing by an inch every time. He wondered if Dave could see him coming, was smiling softly as he watched his idiot lover try again and again to reach him.

The thought made it a lot easier to slip under the water again, to find another knife, to deal with the lack of oxygen.

It went on for around two weeks, which was honestly a lot longer than he expected it too.

This time was one of the time he went outside, his hair still wet from when he took a bath a couple of hours ago, the strands freezing in the winter air.

It was really fucking cold out, and all he was wearing was a soft cotton shirt and a pair of his sleeping pants, the fabric frail and thin.

The cold was biting into his skin, making him shiver and shake as he stared up at the stars. It was a clear night, and a few twinkling stars could be seen from where he lounged on the ground, the roof under him somehow comfortable despite the position and temperature.

It didn’t take long until the shivering stopped, the chills becoming overwhelming as his heart slowed down.

That’s when Five teleported in front of him, the flash of blue causing his eyes to flutter back open, when had they closed?

“Klaus?” His brother asked, quickly falling to his knees, an uncharacteristically worried look on his face. Klaus was having trouble focusing on him, everything was so goddamn cold, but soon he would possibly be in the warm sun on a secluded road. That sounded nice.

“Klaus!” Five said again, forcing his attention back to him. Five was pulling him up, despite his limbs being frozen and unmoving. He felt like he was made of ice, seconds away from crumbling. “Just hold on okay?” Five said, and then they were gone in a flash of light, the outside melting away until he was suddenly back in his own room, the heat bombarding him and making him pause, his mind ceasing to function as it adjusted to the addition to warmth.

A glance at the clock showed he was outside for almost three hours, slowly freezing in an act of proving that he could.

Five was gone in an instant, and before Klaus could process anything that was happening his brother was back, this time with Ben in tow.

“Klaus!” Ben cried, darting forwards to grab a hold of him. Klaus was only now realizing he was shaking again, the chills coming back tenfold. This was so much easier when he died and came back and his body was at normal temperature.

“Klaus? Are you okay?” Ben asked, his hands wrapping a blanket around him. “Should I get mom? What happened? What were you doing out there?”

Klaus wanted to answer, to tell Ben to stop worrying, that he was fine. But his tongue felt too big for his mouth and his teeth were clattering too intensely for him to form any words.

Five was suddenly there, shoving a mug of hot water under his mouth, forcing the liquid down his throat. It was hot, and it burned like hell, but it helped warm his insides. Ben somehow found three more blankets and kept wrapping him up, leading him to the bed and forcing him to sit.

Klaus followed willingly, feeling quite miserable now that he wasn’t dying anymore.

Death by hypothermia was on of his least favourite way to die, it was slow and took too long, and often left him with a chill that didn’t disappear for days. But it was what he deserved. It was what he did when he felt the lowest, when he thought he needed that extra push to help punish himself.

After half an hour his teeth had stopped chatting as bad, and he felt the shivers start to slow. Five and Ben were huddled next to him, neither of them talking as the silence hung around them, thick and filled with tension.

“I’m sorry.” He managed to stutter out, staring pointedly at the ground.

“What was that Klaus?” Ben asked, his voice hard, but it sounded like he was holding back tears. Which wasn’t what Klaus wanted, he didn’t want to upset any of them. He only wanted to find his peace.

“I heard you leave a couple of hours ago.” Five said, his voice holding no emotion. “I forgot about it until I realized that I never heard you come back in. So I repeat Ben’s question, what the fuck was that?”

Klaus didn’t reply, shutting his eyes and squeezing them to stop the outpouring of emotions. He never meant for this to happen. Never meant to be caught.

“Were you trying to-“ Ben cut himself off, taking deep breaths and Klaus’s heart tore at the sound of his brother trying not to cry. “Were you trying to kill yourself again?” He whispered, and Klaus shook his head.

It was the truth, he wasn’t trying to kill himself, only die. He knew he’d come back; knew he wouldn’t stay dead. It wasn’t like he was suicidal or anything. It was just that sometimes death was easier than living.

“No, nothing like that.” He denied, looking up at Ben, who’s eyes were red and teary. Five scoffed, reaching down to grab his hand before he could pull away. Before Klaus could protest Five was shoving his sleeve up, revealing the scars from the first time he did this two weeks ago.

It was still healing, now just a raised white line on his arm, curving over his main artery.

“Then explain that Klaus. Explain the three hour long baths when you don’t reply when we call. Explain Diego’s missing knives and the bloodstains on your floor.” Five hissed, his eyes bright with anger and fear. “I came back to stop you from dying you dipshit, so stop doing it yourself.”

Klaus lowered his eyes in shame, his gaze flickering to the still faint bloodstains on his ground. It was truly impossible to get it to all go away. The blood was there to stay, a faint reminder of his past few days.

“I’m sorry.” He repeated, unable to form the words to explain why he was doing this, why he felt the need to feel the rush of coming back to life, the kickstart of his heart starting to pump again.

Suddenly Ben was crashing into him, his brothers head tucking into his shoulder and his arms wrapping around his torso. Ben was sobbing, his shoulders shuddering as he cried. Klaus let out a low noise, guilt and sorrow worming into his gut as he squeezed back, his own tears stinging his eyes. He felt Five suddenly join them, his own tiny arms wrapping around until they were a mess of limbs and tears.

“I’m sorry.” He repeated, over and over again until it was all that he could say. Until it was all he knew, the tears, the guilt, the despair, and the words ‘I’m sorry’.

“Don’t do that again, you understand me?” Ben hissed, raising his head and grabbing Klaus’s face, forcing him to meet his eyes. “You come to me or Five. Just, never do this to us again okay?”

Klaus nodded, biting his lip and letting Five and Ben bully him into bed, where they swaddled him with his blankets and turned off the light.

He was beyond grateful when both of them stayed to watch over him, and he felt a lot safer with his brothers making sure he was okay.

Chapter Text

Ben didn’t leave his side for the next week, a glued fixture to his side.

By some miracle neither Ben or Five told anyone else about his little hobby, the secret staying safe with the three of them at a small price. The price of being babied to death.

Ben refused to leave his side, resorting to even sleeping in the same room. Klaus finally gave up and let his brother sleep in his bed, because watching him sleep on the floor was just pitiful. And Five took to teleporting in and out every now and then, content to bring a book and make himself at home in the corner as Klaus and Ben played some stupid game.

He was slightly touched by the concern, if he was being totally honest. It put a dent into his normal plans, and often he found himself itching to grab one of his hidden knives and just have one tiny slice, let himself fade into oblivion once more. But Ben was always there, constantly watching him no matter what.

His brother had even taken to coming into the bathroom with him, standing in the corner chatting as he forced Klaus to take showers instead of baths.

If the rest of his siblings noticed, well they didn’t say a thing. Which was nice, because he didn’t think he could deal with an interrogation right now.

One of his new favourite pastimes was going to see Vanya. The girl had finally found enough confidence to play her violin again, and he scolded himself for not realizing how beautiful her playing was before. He liked to simply sit in her room, swaying to the tune and watching her get lost in the music. Her power dancing innocently around him, the camera in the room covered by a black sheet to protect them from their father’s gaze.

He found he wasn’t scared of her anymore, had never really been. Her power was magical, wonderful, sweet. It danced around him like a child when she played, caressing his cheek and sending objects dancing around the room in a weird sort of tango. Ben always came with him, even if he seemed a bit wary of the display of power.

The others refused to be in a room with her when she played, although sometimes Allison was able to brave it. They hadn’t forgotten what had happened almost a year ago, and even though Vanya was in much more control than then. They were wary whenever she let herself go like this, remembering the blast of power that lifted them up and slowly sucked the life from them. He remembered it too, but hey, don’t hold grudges right?

So, either way, one of his favourite places to be was with Vanya as she played her violin. She never judged him when he slunk into her room, only nodded and pulled out her instrument without question.

She had just finished a song, letting the note vibrate in the air for a few seconds before dropping, the various items of clothing she had dancing around falling to the ground in a lump. Klaus applauded her, making a shy smile come to her lips. Ben also clapped, smiling softly at the both of them.

“Amazing as usual Vanya.” Klaus said, enjoying thee way the compliment made her face light up even more.

“Yeah, it was really good.” Ben said, making her grin widen even more.

“Did you ever win any awards for your violin-ing? Cause you should have.” Klaus went on, standing up to hook an arm around her shoulders. “Best violin player I’ve ever heard.”

“Klaus I’m pretty sure I’m the only violin player you’ve ever heard.” She said, but she was smiling so that was good.

“That’s a lie.” He told her. “I once knew a one-armed lady who could play the violin, your better than she was.”

“Not quite sure that’s a compliment.” She replied, and even Ben smiled. “I’m kind of hungry, do you want to go out for some food?”

“Waffles?” He asked, remembering their promise that seemed oh so long ago.

Vanya’s eyes practically lit up, her smile widening as she turned to grip at his arm.

“You still owe me some.” She said. “Showing me what really waffles taste like yeah?”

“You got it darling.” He said, his own grin matching hers. He remembered the night they snuck to the kitchen to make waffles together. It was one of the nice memories he held onto when training got really bad.

“I guess that’s my cue to leave you guys alone.” Ben said, and Klaus’s smile faltered, his eyes flickering over to his brother, who only smiled.

Klaus didn’t want to admit how much Ben trusting him again meant.

“You can come if you want to.” Vanya said, sounding a bit sad that Ben was leaving.

“Oh no, I don’t want to impose.” Ben said. “Besides, there’s this book I’ve been meaning to read. I’ll come next time yeah?” He said, before turning to Klaus and letting his eyes soften just a bit more. “I trust you guys by yourselves.”

It was meant for the both of them, but Klaus knew it was also just for him. Ben telling him that after a week he was forgiven, Ben would never forget, but for now Klaus was allowed to go out and Ben trusted him enough to take care of himself.

“Shall we get going then?” He said, his voice suspiciously thick.

No one mentioned it.

__________________

“Oh my god Vanya this is like tasting heaven.” Klaus moaned between bites of sugary goodness, piles upon piles of whipped cream and candied strawberries stacked on top of the doughy goodness.

Vanya was smiling at him, digging into her own, which was drenched in chocolate sauce.

“It is pretty good.” She admitted, cutting another piece off.

“Pretty good?” He asked, staring up at her in surprise. “Only pretty good? This is like an orgasm for your mouth Vanya.”

He ignored the multiple moms that stare at him in shock for his vulgar words, instead pleased at the red shading of his sisters’ cheeks.

“Your impossible.” She said, shoving another piece into her mouth.

“Oh you love me.” He replied, sticking his finger into the whipped cream and reaching across the booth to tap her nose with it. She squealed, reaching up to wipe it off as quickly as she could. Klaus cackled at her distress.

They spent the next hour ordering plate after plate to share, until they were all out of money and feeling like they were going to puke.

“That was the height of delicacy.” Klaus groaned as they walked outside, leaning on each other as they walked through the sunshine.

“So much better than ours.” Vanya agreed, making Klaus laugh. He felt lighter now, just him and Vanya walking around. His stomach the fullest it had been in ages and his heart not as heavy as it was the days before.

For the first time in weeks he didn’t have the urge to find the closest way he could off himself, didn’t want to feel the rush of adrenaline as his heart stopped and then started again, didn’t want to see that grey countryside again, see the condescending little girl who looked at him like he was some kind of idiot.

But here he was content, walking down the streets arm in arm with Vanya. The sun was beating down on them, but it wasn’t like the sun in the afterlife. It felt real, made him feel alive. He would have enjoyed basking in it for awhile, soaking up the heat.

“We should go shopping.” He declared, turning towards his sister.

“Klaus we spent all our money on food.” She reminded him, but only waved a hand, dismissing the thought.

“I never said we had to buy something. Being a broke homeless adult taught me the joy of simply trying something on and wishing it was yours. And maybe stealing it every now and then.” He told her, ignoring the sad look that plagued her face. “Here’s a good store!”

He pulled her into a thrift shop that had some funky colored dress in the front, pulling her form aisle to aisle and picking out things he thought would look absolutely horrible on both of them. The stumbled into the changing room, taking turns showing off whatever outfit they put together.

Vanya was often beat red as she came out, growing redder as Klaus hollered and cheered. Klaus himself walked out with pride, strutting down the floor and making dramatic poses to make Vanya giggle.

They stumbled form store to store, alternating between finding weird outfits and ones that actually looked really nice on them. By the time they were done it was getting dark out, and they started back towards the academy, the smiles not yet fading from their face.

“Thank you Klaus.” She said, her head on his shoulder.

“For what?” He asked, pulling her slightly closer.

“For being there anytime I needed it. I could trust you to not treat me as dangerous. You only ever treated me like a sister. So yeah, thanks.” She said, and he cooed, leaning down to kiss the top of her head.

“Anytime Van.” He replied.

“I know I haven’t really been there for you,” She continued, her voice going softer. “And I left you out to dry for a while, but you saved my ass. You were the reason I had so much time to practice and train and you did it at your own personal risk. I hate what you did, what happened to you, but I am beyond grateful that you were willing to do that for me.”

Klaus felt like crying, instead stopping and pulling her into his arms, squeezing her tiny frame tightly.

“I love you too Vanya.” He replied, making her huff out a laugh before they continued on.

_________________________

Later that night, he was sitting with Basil when Five popped into the room, staring at him intensely.

Neither spoke for a long minute, Klaus tending to his plant and Five staring at him. Five was obviously waiting for Klaus to start talking, to start the conversation or ask why he was there. But Klaus was starting to fix the broken pot Basil was currently in and honestly couldn’t care about stroking his brother’s ego.

Eventually Five sighed. “What is it with your obsession with that silly plant?”

“What is it with your obsession with that silly mannequin?” Klaus replied with ease, not even looking up to know he got the point across. If Five can be married to a store mannequin he can talk to his gosh darn plant.

“Fair point.” Five said, teleporting to sit in the char beside the window despite it literally being three steps away. Although Klaus didn’t walk for a week after he discovered he could float so he can’t really judge much. “What are you even doing?”

“Fixing his pot.” Klaus told him, looking up and levelling a glare at Five to let him know just how much of an idiot he thought he was. “Duh.” He added on for the sake of being an asshole.

Five only glared back, which honestly made Klaus feel better as he went back to his work.

It took him awhile to get around to fixing up Basil’s pot, he honestly felt kind of guilty for breaking it in the first place. But while he was out earlier that day he managed to lift a couple useful tools to help him. He felt a little guilty about the stealing, but not enough to refrain from doing it.

He had managed to fill the crack with new plaster and everything, and found some pretty gold foil to cover up the cracks and make it flashy at the same time.

“It looks nice.” Five offered awkwardly, making Klaus grin at him.

“Is there a reason you’re here?” Klaus asked, and Five shrugged in reply.

“I was bored.” He said simply. “And I wanted to check in a see how your doing.”

“Still alive.” Klaus said cheekily, finishing up the last touch and patting the little plant as he smiled.

“Not a good joke.” Five ground out, and Klaus looked up, surprised at the unusual amount of emotion in his brother voice.

“Why do I feel like we need to talk this out? Klaus asked, lounging back and watching Five carefully. His brother seemed uptight, his limbs straight and tensed, his jaw clenched and eyes burning. “We should talk this out.”

“A week ago you were trying to freeze yourself to death on the rooftop.” Five ground out, and Klaus shrugged, knowing he shouldn’t be so casual about this, but if he introduced emotions to it he would start crying. “So excuse me for not appreciating you treating it like nothing.”

“It is nothing.” He insisted. “It was just me being stupid. I’ve stopped now, isn’t that enough?” He sat back up fully, walking around to his bookshelf and angrily started searching through the drawers.

“No it’s not enough Klaus, it’ll never be enough. You killed yourself, multiple times. I worked so goddamn hard to save you, spent years with you dead, the least you can do is let me have you being alive.” Five ranted, storming towards him, a finger outstretched.

“But who cares right?” He asks in a mocking voice, sending them both back to that stupid van oh so long ago. “It’s Klaus.”

Five was silent, recoiling as if Klaus hit him.

“I didn’t mean it like that.” Five snapped, but the fire behind it was gone.

“Yes you did.” Klaus turned around again, not able to bear looking into his face. “You all meant it. All thought it. I was the useless one, the junkie, the one who was never strong enough. And then I wasn’t any of that, and it still wasn’t enough. I just want to be myself Five, the depressed idiot who kills himself to feel more alive.”

Five was silent for a long time, the silence between them stretching out as they both were unable to move. This was such a good day, and now it was ruined. It seemed like most of his good days ended up in the trash.

“When I think of Klaus Hargreeves,” Five said suddenly. His voice making Klaus flinch slightly at the sharpness. “I think of a man who laughs despite all the shit he’s been through. I see a man who cares about his family and is willing to break himself down so they can be happy. I see a selfless, kind-hearted, strong man. I see my brother.” Five took a deep breath, and Klaus tried to ignore the tears running down his cheeks. “I do not see a depressed idiot who needs to kill himself. I see someone who went through a lot of shit but is still fighting. So keep fucking fighting.”

“It’s so hard.” He admitted, his shoulders falling. It was hard to keep moving forwards, to keep trying, to keep fighting.

“It won’t be easy. That would make life worthless.” Five hesitantly reached forwards, grabbing his shoulder and squeezing it. “I believe in you Klaus, I may not have before, but I’m learning to be better. You can too.”

Then he was gone, the blue lighting up the room for half a second before it was silent, leaving Klaus standing there with tears streaking his cheeks and blurring his vision.

Then he laughed, shook his head, and went to go find Ben and bug him enough that he never got to finish that book he wanted to.

Chapter Text

Luther and Allison called a team meeting, and Klaus almost cried when he was invited to it. He was so used to being excluded from them, from being tossed to the side, that he forgot that he was technically part of the ‘team’ now.

They had all gathered in Luther’s room, all seven of them somehow strewn around the room. Klaus was oddly reminded of the first time they all gathered here, fresh out of the apocalypse and right into their thirteen-year-old bodies.

It was almost the same, with everyone in nearly the same positions. Vanya and Allison laid out on the bed, huddled shoulder to shoulder, with Luther pacing slightly as he thought, and Diego brooding in the corner. Klaus himself was in the exact same spot, his back pressed against the wardrobe with his legs crossed. Only difference now was Ben sitting right beside him, their shoulders touching. And Five lounging above them, cross legged on top of the dresser.

“I feel like it’s time we talk about dad.” Luther began, and Klaus immediately tensed up. Ben knocked shoulders with him, subtly reminding him that he was there, he wasn’t alone. “He’s been missing for almost two months now.”

“He left of his own accord; we are under no obligation to gatekeep him.” Five reminded him, sounding completely indifferent to the subject.

“True, but we are seven kids without an adult in sight.” Luther pointed out.

“We have mom.” Diego cut in, and Luther sighed.

“Mom is wonderful,” Allison soothed over before the two could get into it. “But it’s also evident that she’s a robot. And she isn’t our real mom, so she doesn’t have legal custody of us.”

“Does dad?” Ben asked. “I mean he did buy us, which I’m pretty sure isn’t legal.”

“But he has enough money to bribe the entire world to forget that.” Vanya said.

“Which is another concern,” Luther filled in. “Pogo let me know that Dad is starting to use his fund, withdrawing them quickly. If he drains his accounts, or blocks us from them, we’re fresh out of cash and alone.”

“Why don’t we just take a shit ton of it out now?” Klaus asked, raising his hand slightly. “If that’s a risk we can create a backup fund?”

“I’ve already started that, but that’s only plan B. It will only last so long.” Luther sighed, sitting in the desk he had at the corner of the room.

“So what do you think we should do?” Diego asked, not sounding patronizing. It was odd to hear him ask Luther his opinion without being prepared to tear it down. Just another thing he missed while isolating himself.

“I think we need to find him.” Luther said, immediately raising objections from them all.

Klaus thought that was a very bad idea. The most likely thing his father was probably doing was finding a way to literally kill him. It wouldn’t be in his best interest to go up to him like a meal being served. He shivered at the thought of what his father might do, what his father was capable of doing.

“What then?” Klaus asked, shutting the rest of them up. “We bring him back here and just live like usual? That’s not going to happen. We can’t go back to how things were before, so what then?”

The room was quiet, all of them processing what to do next.

Luther and Allison stared at each other for a long time, long enough that it began to make the rest of them feel weird. Then Luther sighed.

“What if I told you we had a plan.” Luther said slowly. “A plan you would hate, but one that could ensure that dad stayed here without doing us any harm. Ensure that we had the protection and resource he has but he would be willing to live peacefully with us.”

“That’s unlikely.” Klaus said, frowning. “We all know that after my,” He paused, searching for the right word. “episode, he won’t let me go unchecked. And I’m not really in the mood to be either tortured, locked up, or killed.”

“Klaus,” Allison sighed, her eyes fluttering shut as she took a deep breath. “I’m going to tell you our plan, but you have to promised not the freak out.”

Klaus glanced at Ben, who was avoiding his eyes and staring right at Allison. Even Vanya wouldn’t meet his gaze, instead staring into her hands, which were clenching and unclenching oven ad over again.

Allison stood up from the bed and came over to stand in front of him, and Klaus rose to meet her so he wouldn’t look like an idiot. If only he had his powers so he could remain sitting and just rise to meet her height. That would’ve been so cool.

“The biggest issue concerning Reginald is his reaction to you.” She started, her voice going soft and warm. He liked how she referred to their father as Reginald, it made him feel more detached about the whole thing, made everything seem less personal than Luther calling him dad. “After your guy’s confrontation, it’s fair to say that he won’t be happy.”

“Reginald suppresses anything he fears.” Vanya spoke up for the first time in a while, worrying her lip between her teeth. “He doesn’t like a challenge to his authority, and you provided a pretty big challenge.”

“I know that.” He replied, feeling slightly defensive. He doesn’t want to talk about that night. It stirred up too many bad memories, and he half expected to see Anton out of the corner of his eye, silently cheering him on or telling him what to say. Instead, the only ghosts he had was the beheaded lady in the corner and the older man who died of some sickness.

“We needed to come up with a way to convince him that you were harmless. That he could control you.” Luther continued from where he was sitting.

“I don’t like how that sounds.” He replied honestly, feeling as if his skin was shifting. The idea of Reginald thinking he was just an obedient dog again, just an attack hound willing to do whatever Reginald wanted, it made him sick. He spent ages working to make himself stronger, to show his father that he was in control. That he couldn’t push him around any longer.

Going back to that helplessness felt like giving up.

Ben stood up too, standing behind Klaus in a gesture of support, letting Klaus know that he was watching his back. And for the first time since Dave, Klaus truly believed that someone could watch his six.

“I know.” Allison said, her voice soft and soothing once again. “it sucks but we had to come up with something.”

“This is our only shot Klaus.” Diego piped up. “We need to figure out a way to get Reginald back, as awful as he is, he’s useful to us at this moment. This plan sucks ass, but it’s our only shot.”

Klaus didn’t like how everyone knew but him. Shouldn’t he have been included in this planning, since it was him that they were talking about? When deciding on his fate, did they ever stop to consider what he wanted? He felt like they all knew this big important joke that he didn’t. It made him feel like he was sitting in his room again, all living things absent as they sat in this room and talked without him.

“We rumor you. Tell him that I rumored your powers away.” Allison said in a hurry, her voice slightly worried. “That should tide him over enough to come back.”

“No.” Klaus denied immediately. Shaking his head and baking away from her. There was no way he would let her do that to him. He remembered his father's clinical writing in that cursed notebook. Labeling how it was a possibility to have Allison rumor him into forgetting all about his powers. He wouldn’t let that happen to him, he may have to relearn his powers again, but oh well. He can’t give all of this up. Not after seeing just how wonderful and beautiful it all is.

“We wouldn’t actually.” Five said, and Allison averted her eyes. “We would just tell him. Make him believe that we did it. There would be no actual rumoring.”

Klaus bit his lip, turning to look Five and Ben in the face. They both seemed open, sincere. They wouldn’t lie to him again would they? They wouldn’t give him the safety net only to pull it away. And was it really the only way?

It would save him from enduring whatever suppressant Reginald came up with. It would be 100 times worse than any fake rumoring. His siblings were right, they needed Reginald. In their 13-year-old bodies, they wouldn’t be able to do anything. And what about the missions they were still needed on? Klaus never truly believed in the work they did, but after coming back they had actually started helping people. And they needed that funded by their father.

Reginald coming back would benefit them all, Reginald could believe he was in charge, and they would be able to operate without restraints. He was the only one standing in their way of getting that. Their father was scared of him, by lying about this they would be able to alleviate that fear.

“Okay fine.” He ground out, turning back to face Allison. “We find dad and tell him you rumored me into losing my new powers. He comes back, I remain with my powers, and we all live happily ever after, okay?” He said, sticking out his hand for her to shake.

She didn’t take it.

“I’m so sorry.” She whispered, and he could see the guilt evident in her gaze, coloring every inch of her face. “God I am so sorry Klaus.”

“About what?” He asked, suddenly feeling very cold. “What did you do Allison?”

“We were panicking!” Luther cut in, now standing on his feet. “We didn’t know what to do.”

Blood was rushing to his head, a dull sound ringing in his ears as panic built up in him. What were they talking about? Why were they acting this way? His heart was pounding and his palms felt sweaty, suddenly the room was way to hot under all his siblings’ eyes.

“What did you do?” He repeated, his voice thin and reedy, plagued with panic.

“We already did it.” Allison whispered, and it was like the entire world came to an end.

“What?” He asked, stumbling away, towards the door and away from all six of his siblings. Allison, Luther and Diego all looked incredibly guilty, and Ben, Five and Vanya all looked in similar states of shock and anger. “What do you mean?”

“We didn’t know what to do Klaus. You were going insane, you scared us all that night you showed off your powers. I didn’t know what to do, so when we came up with the plan,” She trailed off, shame burning at her face.

“You rumored me.” He said dully, feeling hollowed out with a spoon. He should have felt angry, sad, livid. But all he could feel was quiet acceptance.

“Please don’t be mad.” She begged, stepping towards him. He stumbled back, eager to get space between them as his back hit the door. “I just rumored you so you wouldn’t be able to do whatever you learned since coming back. Please don’t be mad at me.”

“You went behind my back, without asking for permission, and rumored my powers away?” He snarled, the anger suddenly blazing so hot he almost couldn’t focus. How could she do that to him? This wasn’t some harmless rumor used to get back at someone. This was her taking something of him away. This was her robbing him of something fundamental to his survival.

“Klaus-“ Diego stepped forwards, his hand raising to grab his shoulder. Klaus knocked it away.

“You knew?” He accused, pointing a finger at them all. “You all knew and refused to tell me.” He turned back to Allison. “I told you about how I was suffering, how fucking hard it is without my powers working properly. And you told me it would be alright, that we would figure it all out.”

He felt like crying, like screaming, like punching something over and over again until his knuckles were bruised and bloody. There was a pressure building up inside of his chest, like a dam being filled too high, about to break open and release a flood. He trusted them. They had taken him back in and promised no more harm was to come to him. They told him he would be alright, that they would figure this all out. They lied to him, betrayed him, violated him.

He felt filthy, like Allison had reached inside of him and tore out an organ, leaving him to bleed out on the dirty floor. He hadn’t given her permission, didn’t allow her the right to steal something like that from him. A part of his identity, a part of himself. His powers were as much a part of him as his name was, his hair, his eyes.

“Klaus I didn’t-“ Ben choked out, reaching towards him with greedy hands. But he couldn’t stand it anymore, couldn’t stand being in this room staring at them all with their guilty faces. How many nights had Ben laid with him as the ghosts screamed and told him that everything would be alright? How many times had Ben and Five sat beside him as he trained and told him he would get this? That it would come back. How many times did Vanya tell him that he would get control of this like she did?

All of them lied. Threw his trust back in his face. Just like they had before over and over again. Just like Anton did.

They don’t really care It sounded like Anton’s voice, ringing in his head. Repeating the words so often Klaus had started to believe them. They are only looking out for themselves

He turned so fast none of them could catch up, tearing the door open and running down the hall, nearly falling as he stumbled into his own room and slammed the door shut and locked it, ignoring their calls of protest.

He fell to the ground, the pressure instead his chest building up until it hurt, something deep inside pulsing to be let out, to be released. He tried to get it to stop, to let the familiar thrum of his power fill and relax him, but it was if something was blocking it. Restraining it from leaving that tiny space inside of him.

He started screaming, the build up of the pain and horror releasing through his mouth, and suddenly he couldn’t stop. He slammed his fist on the ground, over and over again until the skin broke and he was bleeding, the sting not helping to center himself. Tear pored over his cheeks, burning at his eyes as he fought to catch his breath again.

Every time he managed to pull in a shaky breath he found himself either sobbing or screaming, different emotions tearing through him too fast for him to fully experience. He could faintly hear his siblings outside the door, banging and screaming at him to let them in.

He couldn’t move. Could do anything other than kneel there on the ground, sob and scream. The pressure was almost unbearable, and he didn’t even realize his hands were twisted in his shirt, slapping at his chest as if he could beat it down. As if could help the pain.

He could barely hear everyone else over the rushing in his head, the panicking thoughts and the just overall panic. He stumbled to his feet, his hand reaching out to support itself on the wall as he screamed again, letting the grief fall into the backseat as the anger and fury took over.

How could they do that to him? He had trusted them, had believed that they were getting better. But here they were, going behind his back to steal a part of him without his permission. They were following Dad’s rules, Dad’s ideas. Reginald had wanted to rumor him, wanted to kill him. Was that the next step up? Were his siblings willing to go all the way to follow dear old dad’s orders?

Klaus wondered how much of the last two months was fake, luring him into a sense of security so he would be docile when dealing with them. Was anything they said true? Was the nights he spent with Ben all made up? Was Five’s reassurances pretend? Was Vanya spending time with him only out of obligation? What about Luther helping him with his plants? Diego teaching him to cook? Allison and him doing their makeup? Was it all for nothing?

Before he knew what he was doing he was reaching under the bed and grabbing his bag, still packed from ages ago. He scrambled to one of the posters on the wall, ripping it back and revealing his stash of stolen and borrowed money. He shoved half into the bag and half into his jacket.

His hands were shaking and his limbs felt like they were going to fall off, the pressure settling a bit inside of him, but now that he was aware of it he felt like it was never going to go away. Even so, he managed to lift up his window, slipping his body outside and climbing down the drainpipe, stumbling as he fell to the ground.

He didn’t know where to go, what he was doing, but he had to get out of there. Had to find somewhere else to be. He wanted Dave, but he knew he couldn’t have him. He wanted someone to hold him, but there was no one around willing to.

Once again, he was shown that no one fucking cared. That the only person alive he could trust was himself, and even he didn’t believe that sometimes. Sometimes he felt just as untrustworthy as everyone else. Maybe he was destined to walk alone, hovering between life and death and never fitting in.

Unloved, unsafe, living on the streets with nothing to rely on. He didn’t even have Ben’s ghosts hovering over his shoulder this time to stop him from doing something incredibly stupid.

Who cared anyways, right now his biggest concern was just staying alive. Until his wish to do even that dwindled into nothing.

It was blindingly cold out and he shivered under the night sky, but the lights of the town told him where to go. Old instincts kicking in to remind him of where he would be welcomed, who would want a thirteen-year-old hanging around. Who he should avoid if he didn’t want to end up tied in a dark basement without a way to get out.

Klaus took a deep breath, wiping the leftover tears from his eyes and hoped he didn’t look like enough of a mess that creepy old men wouldn’t buy him some food or invite him to stay the night.

Chapter Text

Ben never wanted to fight with Klaus.

He always hated fighting, the harsh words, the strong emotions no one wanted to show. It always ended with someone hurt beyond repair, and their family was already strained enough. So no, he never planned to fight with Klaus. He never meant to hurt Klaus in the first place.

But then Allison and Vanya were asking him to a movie, Vanya avoiding his eyes and seeming so small, how could he refuse? He barely even noticed Klaus wasn’t with them, which was odd because he had gotten used to always searching for his brother in every room.

By the time he noticed and asked, it was too late to turn back. He remembered Klaus saying something about talking to their father, but Ben hoped he would be back before Klaus got out of that meeting. But Klaus would be fine without him, they didn’t need to be glued to each other's side anymore right?

But then he got back, and Klaus’s eyes were red and he looked like hell, with a stark bruise rising in his cheek. Ben tried to make things right, tried to make it up to him. But Klaus was avoiding him, and Ben never really got the chance.

Until Griddy’s. Until he finally got his brother to talk to him again and everything went to shit again.

So yeah, he never meant to fight with Klaus, but it was easier said than done when his infuriating brother was sitting there, saying he preferred Ben dead. And that hurt, it really did. He knew Klaus didn’t actually believe that, knew his brother was only upset and in defensive mode.

But hell if it didn’t hurt either way.

He ended up storming out of the shop, leaving Klaus behind begging him to come back. But Ben knew if he stayed he would start crying, and the things inside his stomach were tossing and turning and he really didn’t trust his self control at that moment.

And from there it only spiraled.

Klaus threw himself into training in a way that Ben had never seen. It was almost like Klaus was trading one addiction for another, instead of spending his days high he spent his dads constantly training with Dad at all hours.

Half of Ben wanted to check in and see how his brother was doing, but the other half kept remembering the cruel words thrown at him and decided that maybe it was best that they both had some time to themselves. Besides, he was training with Vanya almost daily, working on his own control as well as helping her curb her own. It was hard, she was on her pills half the time which severely suppressed her powers, making it hard to teach. Although she was only taking them once a month now, which was a great improvement.

Over time, he found the thoughts of Klaus slowly leaving his mind, replacing with being alive again, living and helping Vanya. He went out often, took walks and ate so much food he thought he would be sick. He climbed to the rooftops at night and looked at the stars, felt the cool seep into his clothes. Experienced the things he never thought he would be able to again.

But Klaus was never gone, and Ben found himself drinking in the sight of his brother every dinner they had together, staring at the curves of his face as if his brother was going to fade at any moment. He hadn’t spent any quality time with his brother in ages, and the loss was something he could feel. He sat in a room with his siblings as found himself looking for Klaus, only for him not to be there. He would turn to tell Klaus a joke and his brother would be gone. He would hear Klaus’s laugh and turn to smile only to have the sound fade back into his mind.

He missed his brother like a limb, and extension of himself that was missing. Klaus was his brother, his platonic soul mate, his other half. And now he was missing, and every time they were together it felt as if Klaus was never truly there. It was like someone stole the real Klaus in the middle of the night and Ben was left with some stranger wearing his face.

During their team meetings, Klaus would boast about how good he was doing at distracting his father. How no one else could have matched him. The other siblings would roll their eyes and dismiss him, but Ben would watch as Klaus let himself wilt for a second, the amusement fading from his eyes until he looked more like a corpse than a human. But it passed so quickly Ben thought he was dreaming.

But then Klaus stopped going to their weekly meetings, and Ben barely noticed. He was so consumed in himself and the others that he forgot that their team was suppose to be seven, not missing one.

Klaus was withdrawn, locking himself in his room to avoid talking to any of them. If Klaus wasn’t in his room then he was training, throwing himself into his studies. He was acting odd, out of place, weird. Diego brought it up in a couple of meetings, and Ben felt stupid for not realizing it sooner.

Five promised he would look into it; Ben didn’t know why he let him.

Klaus would sometimes disappear for a few days, coming back tired and dirty but all smiles, reassuring them that everything was alright. For some reason Ben believed him too. The other siblings had taken to trying and keeping Klaus company, and Be wanted to as well.

But every time he did he got distracted one way or another, something holding him back. What if Klaus doesn’t want to see him? Ben had been treating him like shit for months now. So he let his siblings spend time with him, let them do all the work and he was content to sit back and watch with concerned gazes.

He would step in if it got bad. He knew that much.

And yet he still hesitated when Luther personally pulled him aside to talk about the scars he saw on Klaus. The ones that had no explanation. The ones that were too large to be anything other than lethal. Ben knew he had t step in somehow. Get through to Klaus and get him to stop whatever the hell was going on.

And yet he was still too much of a cowards to go without Vanya. They needed to talk, but still seeing Klaus floating in the air was too much. He had to turn away to stare at some of the herbs he kept, avoiding his brothers’ eyes as he worked up the courage.

As they started to really grill Klaus, that’s when he noticed it. The small minute flickering of his eye to the same corner. The way he paused slightly before speaking, the distracted look. He had seen Klaus do it towards him when he wasn’t alive.

They weren’t alone in the room.

Was a ghost there bothering Klaus, maybe leeching off of his powers? Was Klaus is trouble? Or was this simply another rowdy ghost?

Klaus became awfully defensive when Ben started asking questions, and suddenly they were back to the same old fight.

Was it bad that Ben wanted to live his life? That he wanted to see what life was like outside of Klaus? He had died, had been dead. And now he wasn’t, was he a bad person for taking advantage of that?

Then Klaus kicked them out, and Ben knew he had to change something.

He forced them all out to get donuts, and he made sure Klaus was there that time. He remembered the times they went the six of them, none of them even thinking to include Klaus in any way. They were so focused in making sure Vanya was there that they forgot Klaus even existed. But not anymore, Ben would do his best to make sure Klaus was there beside them, laughing and joining in like always.

Klaus seemed a bit off, but mostly back to normal as he was soon laughing and joking around with them all. Then Klaus stared at a waitress and declared she was dying, and that was the moment Ben knew that maybe Klaus was just too far away to save.

The realization felt like dirt in his mouth.

________________________________________

Diego always worried about Klaus.

Even in the last life, he was the only one of them who gave a shit about their junkie brother. He was the one to go out and search for him when he got a bad feeling. He was the one bailing him out of jail and forcing him into rehab. Klaus was just someone you worried about.

Smaller, weaker, unused to the cruelty of the world. Klaus had seen some shit, and yet he always remained so kind hearted, was always willing to forgive and forget. His brother was too soft and yet too hard at the same time. It was easy to forget that Klaus was a tiny bit unhinged, willing to do anything to get what he wanted.

Diego had watched his brother tear at people in fights, all sharp hits and wild lunges, sharp nails digging into eyes and teeth biting into skin. His brother was the perfect oxymoron. Kind but harsh. Warm but cold-hearted. Selfless and selfish.

It gave him whiplash, watching Klaus. Seeing how his brother reacted to different things.

But he loved his brother, and he knew that they weren’t treating him well.

He saw the effects their fathers new training gave him, saw his lively energetic brother dwindle down into a shadow of himself. And he did absolutely nothing to stop it. Only gave half assed attempts to make Klaus feel like himself, but it was useless.

They were there for Vanya, and most of his time was dedicated to her. To fix the mistakes he made. And Ben too, he couldn’t stand watching his brother die again. He was determined to make sure Ben was strong enough to control himself this time.

Somehow between all of that Klaus slipped between the cracks, falling away from their new and improved family.

Diego noticed, sometimes tried to fix things. But it all went wrong so quickly.

The light behind Klaus’s eyes started to fade, he started to withdraw and then suddenly there was nothing left of the boy Diego used to know.

Klaus disappeared for a week. He didn’t believe it when Reginald said he was in rehab.

One of the things Diego was beyond proud of was the fact that Klaus seemed to be clean. He was clear headed and he never seemed to be high whenever Diego saw him. So when their dad said he relapsed, Diego couldn’t accept that.

He went to his room late at night, stared at the empty walls and vowed to be better. To make up for this.

He found the watering can outside his room with no note, but a part of him knew it was his mom who gave it to him. Together the remaining six of them gathered in Klaus’s room every second night, uniting in silence to water his abundance of plants. Diego would perch on Luther’s shoulders to get the higher ones, neither him nor Luther had the energy to fight that much.

The stink of their failure hung over them, the absence of their brother reminding them that they failed. That if it was true and Klaus relapsed, well it was their fault.

They let Klaus fall, weren’t there to save him. But they were dammed if they let his stupid plants die with him.

Klaus came home as an empty shell, Diego felt himself break a little bit for his brother.

His brother who stared at him with vacant eyes, who spoke like it was rehearsed, his smile to wide to be natural. That wasn’t his brother sitting there, that wasn’t his Klaus. His brother who he carried from illegal Raves so he wouldn’t be arrested. His brother who used to play pranks on him whenever who got bored. His brother who seemed larger than life, bigger than everything else going on.

This Klaus was a shadow, a hollowed-out version. This Klaus had his face, but nothing else. It had none of his spunk, his personality, the craziness that made Klaus Klaus.

Klaus told them he relapsed. Diego didn’t believe him, but he had no choice.

Klaus stood there unmoving as Ben hugged him, not moving an inch to return the affection. Klaus walked upstairs, his movement slow and sure unlike the randomness he normally had.

Diego missed his goddamn brother.

____________________________

Vanya never thought much of Klaus.

At first it was all jealousy. Why he got to be a hero when she was stuck unloved and uncared for. Why he would go out and ruin himself and the gift he had for no reason. It annoyed her, how easily he took for granted what she always wanted.

But she also learned that maybe there was something she wasn’t seeing, something she overlooked. Her therapist told her not to resent them. They did only what they knew to do.

And as she watched Klaus fall into his drug habit, everything turned to pity.

Everything changed once they came back. After she caused the end of the world as they knew it. Then Klaus became a release, someone to go to when she had no one else. Sure, Allison was always there. But they all treated her as if she was some breakable flower, like she was going to be crushed under their feet.

Klaus didn’t. Klaus looked her in the eyes and teased her and never showed any fear r resentment. He threw himself into training so she could flourish and she would be forever grateful for that.

The guilt took over sometimes too.

In her happiness at being included and part of their team, their family, she quickly overlooked Klaus. He was off doing more important things, and in her joy she simply forgot he was there. He was never around for her to talk to, no matter how much she wanted to.

She loved her brother, but she once again found herself not thinking about him. At times she would sit at the table and see him and think “Huh, Klaus is still here.”

She felt guilty, selfish, but every time she tried to think hard about it her attention was pulled away by either training or some new bonding exercise.

It took her awhile to notice Klaus was never present for any of those either.

Then the whole rehab business came and went, and she fell even worse into her guilt. Her brother relapsed, fell into drugs because he went through training so she could lollygag off with the rest of them. Klaus came back looking dead and empty and it was all her fault.

Klaus disappeared a lot after that, gone sometimes for days, sometimes for weeks. She missed him, missed the steadying presence he gave off. Sometimes he would come back with broken arms, bruised skin. He would never tell them what happened though. He never talked much anymore, and when he did it sounded so rehearsed, as if he was being fed lines.

She hated it. Hated everything about this new brother. But what could she do?

She was learning her powers, had come so far from where she was, but she was still working on her confidence, at breaking down the restraints that had held her back for so long. What could she do to help Klaus? She was a nobody. She wouldn’t be able to help him.

Btu she wanted her brother back. She wanted her brother back so bad.

He disappeared for weeks. Weeks with them all gathering in his room to water his plants, when Vanya would sit by his window and talk to the little basil plant he kept there. Two weeks of them all listening for his footsteps at all times of the day, waiting for the moment he came back.

And he did. Ben went to see him, swearing to them all that he was going to fix this. Ben wouldn’t speak about what happened in that room that night. But Vanya saw the defeated look in his eyes, knew that whatever had happened proved that Klaus was gone this time. That they were never going to get him back.

The six of them got called on for a mission. It was odd because Klaus had long since stopped going on them during their missions, and Vanya had long ago stopped wishing she could join them. She was contained to her room when it was going on, but when they came back she knew something was different.

She could almost hear their fear, see it seeping off of them. They were all beat up and tired but Klaus looked horrible, as if he just lifted a thousand pounds. Luther kept staring at Klaus like he was a bomb, and the others stared at him like he was some kind of alien.

Vanya never knew what happened on that mission, and honestly she didn’t really want to. She knew whatever it was changed all of their views of Klaus, and she was more than content to stay in blissful ignorance.

Then the dinner happened, and she truly knew what it was like to fear a siblings.

Seeing Klaus standing there, anger in his eyes as he stared down their father, who seemed honest to god terrified of him. Then their father called Klaus by his name, and it was the first time he ever referred to any of them as anything other than their assigned number.

And Klaus stared their father in the eyes and Reginald was the first to look away, and the grin that settled on Klaus’s lips afterwards would haunt Vanya for a long time.

Their father was scared of Klaus, and honestly? She kind of was too.

__________________________________

Despite it all, Luther cared about his family.

He often covered it up with indifference, telling him he was a better leader by detaching himself to remain unemotional when dealing with them. But he had been learning lately, learning how to be a better brother, how to be a better leader.

He learned that he could show how much he cared, how much he worried. And suddenly the others started listening more, started trusting him to make the right calls. And he started to trust them to make tehri own, took their input instead of writing it off as wrong.

They were improving as a team, as a family. Working as one big group. They saved lives, saved each other. Saved everyone but Klaus.

Luther remembered the fear he felt when Ben was screaming at them to come and get Klaus. How he wasn’t responding and Luther had to lower his shoulder and ram into the door in order for it to pop open.

He remembered the fear he felt when he saw Klaus lying in the tub, his eyes closed and lips blue, his face peaceful. He had no pulse wasn’t breathing, and Luther knew felt worse.

This was his own doing. He was Number One. Their leader, their brother, the one they trusted. He never should have let Klaus fall so far that he drowned himself in the bathtub, never should have let Klaus get so out of hand. The fear he felt a week ago when watching Klaus single handedly kill of twenty men? It doesn’t matter anymore, because that was his little brother lying there sick and dead.

He pounded on his chest, letting the others do the mouth to mouth as he focused on trying to get Klaus’s heart to start again. He vaguely heard Allison rumoring him to come back, to breath, to live. He felt even more sick.

Then Klaus sat up with a gasp, his eyes flying open as he sat there, tears running down his cheek. For a good two minutes Klaus was unresponsive, and Luther found himself falling back, standing in the doorway and staring at Klaus in surprise.

Then Klaus was up, storming past them and into his room. Preparing to leave, a bag already packed. Telling them that their dad was apparently planning on killing him, which gave Luther mixed feelings. Klaus told them he was leaving and he show have done it so much earlier. Luther couldn’t let him go, couldn’t let their team fall apart like this. It wasn’t too late to reach out to Klaus, wasn’t too late to get their brother back.

Truth was that as much of a headache Klaus gave him, Luther missed it. He hated this new brother, the one with dead eyes who stared at them with complete indifference. Who trained all the time and could kill twenty men without hesitation. He wanted the brother who never took anything serious, who was so carefree and happy all the time.

He wasn’t sure if that version of his brother died in this timeline or the last one.

Honestly seeing what Klaus could do terrified, but nothing could compete with what happened next.

They followed Klaus down to the main floor, all six of them trying to convince him to stay, to give this all up and talk to them so they could figure out how to glue the broken pieces back together.

Then their father walked in and everything went to shit.

Luther knew his father was a bad person now. He knew that their dad ruined them in many ways. That he was the reason for half the shit they put themselves through. But seeing Klaus and him face off like that, he would admit that he was terrified for his father.

Did their father probably deserved what he had coming at him? Most likely, but that didn’t mean that Luther wished it upon him. And the look in Klaus’s eyes were animalistic, a dog forced into a corner too many times until it finally snapped. And snap was what Klaus did.

Klaus pretty much exploded in that moment, blue light filling the room as their father flew back. Luther felt the wind rip at him as well, but Vanya reacted quickly, and a shell of blue light covered them, protecting them from whatever the hell Klaus was doing.

The room was close to freezing, and Luther could hear people screaming, voice overlapping each other and screaming in pain. Figures were forming at the edges of the room, flickering in and out of view. Luther pounded on the restraint, not sure if he wanted to run to Klaus, who was surrounded in blue light, or their father.

Who was being thrown into the walls and floors over and over again, bleeding and looking panicked. He had never seen tehri father like that, so out of control, so wide-eyed and panicked.

Klaus didn’t look like himself, floating a couple feet into the air, his eyes lost in the blue surrounding them. And then he shuddered, his chest heaving and it all fell away. Klaus fell to his knees and the area was suddenly so silent as the wailing faded and the light fell away.

Immediately the light surrounding them faded as Vanya let her power drop, the sound vacant from the room. Ben was the first to him, reaching towards Klaus with a ruined look on his face. Luther hated this, seeing Klaus like this, seeing their dad like this, seeing Ben like that.

Klaus was backing up now, begging them not to touch him, to not come near. He was sobbing, black smoke hovering around his fingers as he sobbed, the sound coming from deep inside Klaus’s chest as he held his hands up to his ear. Luther remembered the screams of the dead, Klaus never got rid of it did he?

The invisible wind started to pick up again, streaks of blue light filtering past them in time with Klaus’s sobs. Luther gazed at the rest of his siblings before running to their father, someone needed to make sure that he wasn’t dead.

Their father wasn’t moving, but he had a pulse so Luther figured he was good enough for now. Just as he was walking back to join them, Klaus started screaming, the shrieks of the dead starting back up but this time they were coming closer, bloody bodies staring Luther in the eyes. He tired to swallow back the fear he felt coating his throat.

He didn’t know what to do, how to solve this before it got out of control. Not that it wasn’t out of control already though.

They managed to talk Klaus down a bit, until the screams subsided and the wind stopped ripping at their clothes, pushing them this was and that.

But right before Klaus grabbed Vanya’s hand and they could talk this out, something grabbed Klaus and threw him backwards, tehri brothers body crashing against the wall.

Luther wasn’t 100% sure what happened after that. All he knew was that whatever ghost was hanging around had started to show its colors and Klaus wasn’t happy about it. It ended with Klaus collapsing to the floor in an ungrateful heap, clean out of it.

Luther didn’t know what to do. His team, his family, was falling apart at the seams and he had no idea how to glue it back together.

____________________________________

Allison prided herself for becoming a better sister, pushing past their shitty childhood to be a better siblings.

And yet she still failed.

Sitting and watching Klaus laying pale and still on that hospital bed reminded her that she failed. That she wasn’t a better sister, because she had somehow completely forgotten about one of her brothers.

She was a mess up, a disgrace, she had failed them all. How could she say she was better than them when she messed up so badly?

Klaus looked dead on that bed, the white washing out his skin until it was a sickly grey, his lips blood red and chapped, peeling at the sides.

He looked as dead as he was a couple of days ago when they found him in the bathtub, hair plastered to his forehead and his lips bright blue.

She was getting tired of seeing her brother laying there dead.

She barely looked up when Luther walked in, awkward as ever as he hovered, waiting for permission.

“You can sit.” She sighed, patting the chair beside her. “We need to talk.”

“I hate seeing him like this.” Luther whispered, his blue eyes staring Klaus’s unmoving body down. Allison could say the same. “It’s not Klaus. It isn’t like him.”

“We made this.” She told him. “We forced him into this.”

The silence sat between them for a long moment. They sat there staring at Klaus’s unresponsive body, the beeping on the heart monitor was the only sound.

“You ever think about how happy he was before all of this?” Luther suddenly asked, staring at Klaus without looking back up at her. “Before I forced him into training, before we started to ignore him, before we messed everything up.” Luther laughed, a bitter smile falling over his lips. “He was so happy.”

“What are we going to do about dad?” Allison said softly, changing the topic. It stung too much to think about.

“Who knows.” Luther threw up his hands. “He’s gone, who knows where. He won’t come back as long as Klaus is here unmonitored.”

Allison remembered the meetings they held, talking about how to get their father back, possible ways to lure their father back if they needed him. Btu their priority was making sure Klaus got better. Making sure their brother would be safe.

Worse came to worse, they would lie to their father and tell him Allison rumored him.

She remembered Klaus yelling at her, accusing her of rumoring his powers away. She didn’t know if she was powerful enough to do that. But would she if she could? Would she go behind Klaus’s back to do that?

Luther wasn’t lying when he said that Klaus was happier without the weight of his new powers holding him down. He had even used drugs ages ago to help repress them. Maybe Klaus was better off that way.

“He terrified me.” She admitted, staring at Klaus. The curls of his hair, the cut of his jaw, the swell of his lips. She swallowed and let her eyes flutter shut, images of their father crashing into a wall replaced with Vanya, with Ben, with Luther.

She remembered the mission ages ago when Klaus killed twenty men with a flick of his hand, when he effortlessly killed and didn’t seem the least bit remorseful.

That wasn’t her Klaus. Her Klaus danced around her room in a pink boa, who talked to her about cute boys and laughed at her crushes. Her Klaus laughed loudly and was unapologetically himself.

“He scared me too.” Luther admitted, reaching across to grab her hand and squeeze it. She squeezed back, beyond grateful for her best friend and brother by her side. “He wasn’t himself, almost like he was possessed or something.”

“What if I could get rid of it?” She blurted out. “Do you think he would be happier, would be better if we could erase this all?”

“Allison,” Luther sighed, pulling his hand away. She felt her heart squeeze, and tears stung at her eyes.

“Think about it Luther,” She laughed bitterly. “It doesn’t have to be forever, just until we can get him back, until he’s okay again. Then I can take it back, and he can be full again.”

“That doesn’t sound like a good idea Ally, it’ll backfire one way or another.” Luther said, his eyes now glued back to Klaus. But he doesn’t seem convinced.

“We’ll tell him when the time's right, he’ll understand. Won’t he? Just as a failsafe, just until we can get our Klaus back.” She said, and the more she thought about the more she thought maybe it would work.

Just a small rumor, one she could take back when the times right. It would guarantee that Klaus wouldn’t freak out when he woke, made sure they could focus on getting him back without worrying about him blowing up. Just until her Klaus came back, until he was happy again, until they weren’t all so afraid that they flinched every time they talked to him.

“I don’t know.” Luther said. “The other would be pissed.”

“They don’t have to know.” She said, and the words tasted like ashes, but this had to be the right thing to do. The only way they could make sure everything went smoothly. She wasn’t backing out of this idea now.

“Fine.” Luther ground out. “Small rumors, until he’s ready. We tell no one, but we will have to tell him at some point. I don’t want him to be going blind into this, it could mess him up even more.” Allison nodded, blinking past the tear in her eyes to face Klaus.

It felt too much like Vanya, and for a moment she hesitated. She could see Vanya lashing out, cutting her neck, see the betrayal in her eyes. But she steeled herself, reminding herself that this really was the only way. They could eliminate the unexpected by half by doing this. And it wouldn’t be forever. She would erase it, would make sure she could fix this.

“I heard a rumor,” She started, feeling her words take effect as the air started to ripple, twist around her words until they settled over Klaus. “That you forgot everything you’ve recently learned about your powers.”

The world seemed to tilt for a second, and Allison squeezed her eyes shut, tears forcing down her cheeks.

“I heard a rumor that your powers were back to their basic level.” She choked out, falling into Luther’s waiting arms as the air settled over Klaus and all was still again.

“It’ll be okay.” Luther comforted, his hands holding her almost painfully tight. She nodded, pushing down the feelings of regret. She was willing to be an asshole if it meant getting her brother back.

__________________________________

Five loved his brother.

He loved all of his siblings.

They drove him insane sometimes, with their childlike habits and small-minded ways, but he loved them to death.

He did everything for them, to make sure they were safe. But he knew he should have done more for Klaus. He knew that Klaus was suffering, knew that his brother needed help. And yet he simply didn’t do anything. Not until it was too late.

He remembered finally snapping and finding the tapes, remembered watching the first few sessions with detached interest. Klaus died, over and over again and Five had to fight the images of dust and ash flying through the air, Klaus’s dead eyes staring back at him. Then after a couple months of training the bunny came in. And Five felt honest to god disgust and fear as he watched Klaus kill that animal.

The feeling increased with every single man and animal that walked into that room, only to be senselessly murdered by their brother. It wasn’t Klaus’s fault, Five knew that much. But he could see himself in the lines of his brother’s face, forced to kill, grown up way to fast.

He knew he had to stop it, had to get through to their brother. He watched Klaus crumble day in and out, watch his brother scream when no one else could hear him, watched Klaus talk to walls where no one visible stood.

So he found his brother and cornered him. It didn’t work out. And before Five knew what he was doing he was teleporting out of there with honest to god fear living in his bones. Sweet little Klaus, who screamed when spiders crawled across the floor, had turned into something completely different. He promised that he would protect Klaus, that he would fix this.

Then a few days later their brother was practically killing their father and then collapsing into a heap on the floor.

When he woke up he was still reserved, still hostile and different. But Five knew he wouldn’t be getting their original Klaus back. This one was a version they created, one they forced. They would never get Klaus back, but they could help him become more human along the way.

Five kept his distance, let Ben do most of the work. Five was still on outsider, never really coming back from the apocalypse in time to really get to know Klaus. But he still cared for his brother, more than he would care to admit.

SO when Klaus didn’t come back from the rooftop that night, the worry grew too big to ignore.

And as he stared at his brother laying on the roof, his lips pale blue and hair almost frozen to his head, Five was almost frozen to the spot. All he could see was the ashy sky of the apocalypse, Klaus’s dead body staring at him, lifeless green eyes staring at the world.

His heart stopped in that moment. But he got moving quickly, wrapping Klaus up in his arms and teleporting back inside, grabbing Ben from where he slept in a panic. Five could feel the ash choking him, feel the heat blazing down on him and he needed to leave before he broke down. So he went to get a drink and composed himself enough to come back.

Klaus had tried to kill himself, and if evidence was right, he killed himself multiple times. Five’s heart ached with the realization, and he promised at that moment that he wouldn’t let anything else bad happen to him. And this time he wouldn’t break it.

Weeks later, they sat in a meeting talking about their father and Five failed that promise once again.

He remembered talking about this, faking rumoring him to convince their father to come back. It was a sound plan, a bit sick in nature but efficient in a twisted type of way. But then Allison was crying and Luther looked so filled with shame, and it turns out everything got so much worse.

Right when everything had began to get better, right after Five promised that Klaus was better than this all, that Klaus could beat it.

And then Allison and Luther pulled the rug out from under him and Klaus was crying, looking at them all with a face so betrayed that Five physically ached.

So when Ben, Diego and Vanya chased after Klaus, Five turned on Alison, who stood there staring at the door like it killed her dog.

“How fucking dare you!” He snarled, stepping towards her and feeling happy when she stepped back, looking slightly afraid. Good, she should be. She fucked this up bad, had literally gone behind all their backs and screwed up two months of progress.

“I’m sorry.” She whimpered, looking slightly pathetic. “I didn’t know it would end up like this.”

“Have you learned nothing?” He hissed. “Or are we destined to make the same mistakes over and over again?”

“I thought it would help.” She insisted, tears running down her cheeks and a small part of him felt like she suffered enough. Another part felt like she hadn’t suffered nearly enough. No until she felt every bit of pain and betrayal that Klaus was feeling.

Five couldn’t even imagine how Klaus was feeling, the betrayal, the violation.

“She didn’t mean it.” Luther cut in, and Five truly saw red.

He swung without thinking, instinct kicking in as he reached up and decked Luther in the face. His brother stumbling back with a surprised look on his face.

“Five!” Ben called form the hallway. “Five please.”

Something broke inside him and he turned away from them, running out into the hallway. He hit the door, pounding on it and begging Klaus to let him in.

“He thinks we’re in on it.” Ben whispered, tears streaking his cheeks and his eyes red and puffy. Five felt the same way, he was surprised tears weren’t cascading down his own cheeks. After two months of working they had finally almost got Klaus back to a point where he wasn’t feeling like he had to die everyday. And now it was all washed down the drain just like that. And Klaus thought they all wanted this, that they were all in agreeance about this.

Screw privacy, he teleported into the room, ready to take whatever Klaus threw at him.

He found an empty room.

He stumbled back, unlocking the door on autopilot and the rest of his siblings spilled in.

But Klaus was gone, no sign of him anywhere. No sign except the open window, the blinds floating with the wind.

Five choked back a sob, thinking about Klaus running away, the streets that were so dangerous to any kid, no matter how experienced.

Then he eye caught on the small plant knocked onto the ground, the dirt spilled out and the recently repaired pot broken into pieces.

He saw that stupid plant Klaus loved to much and he broke, tears running down his cheeks for the first time in a long time.

Klaus was gone. And he wouldn’t be back any time soon. Five hadn’t felt this helpless since the apocalypse.

Chapter Text

The first thing Klaus remembers is how cold the streets are.

The wind bites into his skin and his thin academy outfit just isn’t enough for him anymore. By the time midnight hit, he was reduced to a shivering mess in the corner of an alleyway, his teeth chattering and his fingers frozen stiff.

It was the beginnings of winter, and although snow has yet to grace the ground, the chill was still very much there. Now that the sun had fallen, the little warmth he was hoping to conserve was gone.

A part of him wanted one of his siblings to show up and drag him home, just so that he could feel what heat was like again. But the other part flinched at every thought of his siblings, the betrayal causing his eyes to sting. The ache in his chest wasn’t going away, and he felt like something was living under his skin, his powers rolling to escape but unable to.

“Your going to freeze to death if you stay out here kid.” A soft voice knocked him out of his musing and caused him to look up, meeting the eyes of a oh so familiar man.

Luke Faraday. A business owner of a successful company. Or at least he was before Klaus killed him all those months ago.

Klaus wondered why Faraday was choosing to haunt him now, after everything that happened Klaus would have expected him to show up ages ago. He would have expected a lot of his victims sooner. He had seen a few from that one mission a while ago, around five of them standing in his room when he woke up, begging Klaus to leave them alone, to spare them.

“Your dead, you can’t tell me what to do.” Klaus grumbled, tucking his legs closer to his chest and tucking his chin town to try and shield his face.

“Come on kid, there’s a 24-hour donut shop a street over. Just get there and conserve some heat or else it won’t end up well.” Luke tried to coax, sitting down on the ground himself.

“I can’t die.” Klaus protested, making the man sigh.

“I know that, but say you die right now. You come back, but you still have nowhere to go. You would end up dying again and again until you suffer irreplaceable damage. And that’s not what you want. Just because you can’t die doesn’t mean you get to give up.” Luke said, scooting closer. For a man in his sixties he was moving around pretty easily. Perks of being dead probably.

Klaus couldn’t ignore the fact that the man had a point, so he dragged himself to his feet, feeling shaky as he stumbled down towards the street, Luke half a step behind him. Using a soft voice the man lead him to a warm looking shop.

His mind distantly recognized it as Griddy’s, but he was too cold to focus on that fact. He stumbled in, the bell going off and summoning a nice-looking waitress, the same one as before. With already greying hair and laugh lines adorning her face.

“Hello and-“ She cut herself off when she saw him, her face turning into worry. “Oh my goodness you look positively freezing!” She cried, walking around the corner to come over to him. She knelt at his height, her hands pressing to his forehead. He found himself leaning into the heat, her hand soft and warm.

“Were you outside? In this weather? Stay here I’ll get you a cup of hot coco.” She cooed, leading him to a seat and hustling into the kitchen. Klaus soaked up the heat, his eyes fluttering shut as he realized just how cold he was. His entire body was shaking like a leaf in the wind, his tips of his toes like ice and slowly going numb, his cheeks stinging from the wind.

The waitress, Agnes as her name tag read, came back a few minutes later, shoving the mug into his hands and draping a blanket around his shoulders.

“A boy your age shouldn’t be out at this time of night in this weather. It’s almost minus twenty.” She scolded softly, and Klaus was reminded for a second of his own mom, Grace scolding him when he went outside in the cold when he wasn’t supposed to.

“Sorry.” He said, a tiny bit sheepish.

“Where are all your siblings?’ She asked. “There six of them right? They used to come in every weekend until a little while ago. Is everything alright?”

“They’re fine.” He told her, his eyes stinging with tears as he looked down. They would be alright without him. But thinking of them now made rage and betrayal zing through his body like liquid ice, freezing him more than he already was.

“Then why are you out here?” She asked softly, sitting in the seat beside him and nudging the cup towards him. He took the hint and raised the cup to his lips with shaky hands. The liquid burned as it went down, making him wince, but the warmth settled into his stomach.

“I had no where to go.” He answered honestly, feeling stupid as a single tear fell down his cheek. “I didn’t have anywhere to go.” He repeated.

Agnes was silent for a long moment, and Klaus could feel her eyes searching him, whatever for was lost on him.

“Why don’t you stay here tonight then, and tomorrow morning I can call up your parents and get them to-“ She started, but Klaus cut her off.

“You can’t!” He cried, looking up at her. “I can’t go back there.”

“Oh dear.” She said, frowning slightly. Klaus got the idea that this was a bad idea. He didn’t have any money for the drink, and he was upsetting her.

“I should go.” He said, standing up and stumbling slightly as his legs locked from the cold. But he pushed on, determined to make it to the door. Escape from this place and catch a bus to Timbuctoo.

“No!” She cried, running and grabbing his arm, making him flinch slightly. “Don’t go. You can stay here and I can help you figure something out okay? But just stay in here where it's warm. You can keep me company.” She smiled, frail and slightly nervous but it made something inside Klaus preen.

“Okay.” He said, following her as she led him back to the drink. Did he accept this out way too easily? Maybe, but what else could he do? He wasn’t keen on going outside again.

They sat in silence for a few minutes before Agnes started talking to fill up the noise. At first she talked about her job, her favourite donut to make. Klaus listened in for a while before she coaxed him into talking, asking him about his favourite donut. The conversation flowed easily after that.

They talked into the early hours of the morning about everything and nothing. First it was donuts, then birds, then cross stitching. Agnes promised to teach him how to embroider. Klaus entertained ideas of making Grace a cross stitch to repay her for the hundreds she had made for all of them. But the thought of going back and seeing her, seeing the rest of them dampened his mood so he tried not to think about it.

Around four am Klaus started to get tired, and his eyelids drooped until Agnes was carefully supporting him and leading him to a backroom where she slept during her night shifts. Klaus was asleep the second his head hit the pillow.

_________________________

The streets always seem so much more daunting when he was younger. In the last timeline he was officially out on the streets at the young age of sixteen, but his first slice of it was when he was fourteen. Ran away for exactly a week before Reginald drug him back. But it seemed so much larger this time around.

Maybe it was because everything was so different than it was in the past (future?) so all the hideouts he knew either were taken or not there at all. His normal haunts were abandoned to people who turned away underaged kids, and things were so much harder to navigate now.

But he had a job, he wasn’t fully helpless.

Agnes insisted he took a job at her shop, letting him earn a couple of bucks so he didn’t feel guilty when he ate her food. The older woman had become his pseudo guardian in the past week, feeding him and making sure he was off the streets most of the time. She offered him a job and security and how could he pass that up?

Sometimes he felt bad, felt like he was mooching off of her kindness, but every time he even entertained the thought of leaving her something would tug him back. It scared him how much he learned to depend on her, it really did. Every time he trusted someone, depended on them to hold him up, they had let him down. Even the kindness people can hurt someone, but he found himself drawn to her, her kindness, her warmth, her generosity.

It had only been around two and a half weeks, but he found himself settling into an easy routine.

She gave him a lot, food, a job, a warm place to sleep. But it wasn’t enough most of the time. Her shop was small, gathering maybe a handful of people every few hours. Work and money was scarce and half the time she could barely afford to support herself, much less the scrappy kid that came of the streets. So his pay was low, and as apologetic as she was about it, it wasn’t enough to support him half the time.

He needed more clothes, food other than whatever pastries Agnes cooked him, and maybe a proper place to sleep so he wasn’t sleeping on her little pull out bed every night while depriving her of sleep during her shift.

So some nights he went out on the streets. Every time he did Luke followed him, telling him it was a horrible idea. Half the time Klaus didn’t listen to him, some times he would turn around and go back to the shop.

But some nights, like tonight, he knew lounging in the warmth of Agnes shop and drinking hot coco wouldn’t cut it. So he found his ways to the darker parts of the city, lounged around street corners until some older man took notice of him.

“This isn’t right kid.” Luke grumbled from beside him. “I don’t have a good feeling this time.”

“You say that every night.” Klaus reminded him. “And don’t call me kid.”

The ghost had an infuriating way of making him seem like he was actually thirteen years old, calling him kid, talking about things so old Klaus didn’t even want to imagine them. The ghost was like an overbearing mother hen trying to get Klaus not to throw his life away. It reminded him painfully of Ben.

But like a stuffier less sarcastic version.

It also reminded him on Anton, just friendlier. It was hard to trust Luke, especially after all the shit that had happened to him. But so far the ghost hadn’t done anything bad, but then again wasn’t that what Klaus thought about Anton?

Fuck everything was so confusing and weird and it made him uneasy.

“Come on Klaus, isn’t there anything else you can do? Go cut some lawns? Offer to water someone’s plants? Honest good work?” Luke tried, standing beside Klaus as he lounged against a pole. “Anything but waiting out in the cold for creepy old men?”

Never learned how to cut a lawn.” Klaus drawled quietly, trying not to look as if he was talking to the air. “And it’s almost winter, so no plants to water.”

“There has to be something else.” Luke insisted.

“This is the easiest way for me to use my talent and get a lot of cash quickly.” Klaus sighed. He didn’t like it easier. He found too much human touch repulsed him these days, anything other than Agnes’s soft barely there touched made him feel like vomiting.

But it truly was the only way he knew how to survive. And if sitting on some creepy old man’s lap in a bar and letting him show Klaus off like a prize gave him enough money to buy a warmer jacket, a healthy meal, somewhere proper to sleep, well then who cared.

It only took thirty minutes before an expensive looking car crawled up beside him, the window rolling open.

“You look cold darling.” An older man with white hair and crooked teeth drawled from inside. Staring at Klaus like he was a piece of meat. It made his skin crawl, but Klaus forced an easy smile to his lips.

“It is a bit chilly.” He admitted, shivering slightly to really play up the act.

“Dear god.” Luke whispered, blinking out of view as he left. He wouldn’t be gone too long. Just enough for Klaus to go back home.

Home.

When had the stupid little donut shop become his home?

Either way, the door beside him was popping open and Klaus was sliding into the warm heated car, smiling at the vile man beside him.

“So sweetheart,” The man cooed and Klaus’s stomach rolled. “What’s your price?”

________________________

“Klaus!” Agnes called. “Put in another batch of the chocolate ones please!”

“Got it!” He called back, twisting around the kitchen to find the correct dough. Rolling it out and finding their cutters.

It had almost been a month now, and Klaus honestly had no idea how his siblings hadn’t found him yet. He was literally living and working two blocks away from them, and yet he heard nothing. Absolutely nothing. Which was good, he didn’t want to leave yet.

But a small part of him felt sad, disappointed and even more betrayed at the thought that maybe they weren’t even looking. Hadn’t cared enough, were glad he was finally gone.

Either way, his job at the shop had been taking up most of his time. Agnes started teaching him how to properly work around the kitchen, with their short staff of exactly five people including Agnes and him, they needed as much help everywhere they could. So Klaus now knew how to make exactly seven types of donuts.

(He ignored the fact that the seven he learned were conveniently him and his siblings’ favourites, Agnes denied any accusation he threw her way concerning her selection of teachings.)

His favourite to make was chocolate, sneaking in as much extra as they could afford, dipping it into the melted stuff and making accidently having his finger dip in so he would have to lick it off. Agnes scolded him every time, but she couldn’t hid the smile she hid at the same time.

Today was a busy day, one of the few ones they had. Klaus was always sent to work the kitchens on Fridays, mostly because Agnes had the other three working out front because they were a lot better at math than him. Klaus was perfect on the service front, his charisma was unmatched, but he still struggled with basic math. Ask him to solve The Cardinality of the Continuum and he could do it no problem, but figuring out a five percent tip? Wasn’t high of Reginald’s teaching priorities.

So when the days got busiest, he was confined to the kitchen, making donuts and pastries as they needed them. Sometimes Gloria came back to help, but Agnes said she needed her up front, so Klaus was all alone.

The donuts went into the oven and he turned back to the lemon filling he was making.

“The old fashions are about to burn.” Luke told him, and Klaus flashed him a grateful smile as he turned to take the batch out of the oven. It was easy to monitor things around the kitchen with a ghost helping you out.

He pulled out the cinnamon sugar, taking to dipping the still hot donuts into them and placing them onto the metal serving dish. Once they were done he rang the bell and Gloria walked in to take them. Gloria was a college student working the afternoon shifts to help pay her loans, she was petty, with strawberry blonde hair and dark brown eyes. She was always kind to him, always giving him a smile and willing to answer any questions he had.

She took the batch away and he was back to work, finishing up all the filling in time for the chocolates to finish. He pulled them out, allowing them to cool for a bit as he pulled out a spoon and checked the melted chocolate. He then dipped them in, careful not to make it too messy. Once he was done that he rang the bell again, and sat back to breathe for a moment.

Working here kept him plenty distracted. He could ignore the stress while watching the oven. Could ignore the ghosts as he decorated the sprinkled donuts. Ignore the pressure in his chest while stirring the dough.

He was content, well, as content as he could be. Late at nights sometimes he still slipped out to get some cash through less than legal ways. While he lay in bed the tears slipped down his cheeks as he thought of his family. Some days he couldn’t move due to the overwhelming pressure in his chest, radiating pain until he was sweating and strung tight, Agnes letting him take the day off and coming in every hour to force him to drink water and make sure he wasn’t dying.

His life had its hiccups, but he was as close to surviving as he could manage at the moment.

“Klaus!” He heard Agnes call. “Boston Cream!”

“Coming right up!” He called back with a grin, turning to start on a new batch.

Chapter Text

His little bubble was popped soon enough.

It was late Saturday night. Everyone had gone home except him and Agnes like usual. He was in the back, helping put away their new shipment when the bell jingles, signally someone’s arrival.

“I’ll go.” Agnes tells him, patting his shoulder and moving out of the kitchen. Luke manifests beside him, a frown on his face.

“Don’t freak out kid.” Luke warns, and Klaus is about to ask what he means when he hears someone speak from the front.

“We’re looking for our brother.” It sounds like Ben.

Klaus ignores the way his heart seems to stop, the world twirling and shifting as bile stung the bottom of his throat. He felt sick, like he was going to pass out and it was only Luke’s soft coo keeping him grounded. He crawled across the floor, peeking out from the small window that allows him to see the front of the store.

Sure enough, all six of his siblings are there. Standing pathetically in front of the register, huddled in jackets and yet still shivering. Did hey know he was here? He ducked away from the window, sliding to the ground and squeezing his eyes shut as he listened.

It hurt, seeing them again. He had managed to push all his feelings about them to the side while working here, but now they were flooding back. Making his breath come out in short gasps rather than functioning gulps.

“Oh?” Agnes’s voice sounding slightly choked. “Is he missing?”

“We had a fight and he ran away. He’s been missing for a month and we’re really worried.” That was Diego this time, sounding polite and reserved. But Klaus could hear the desperation in his voice. “It’s cold out and we don’t know if he has a place to stay.”

“Please ma’am.” Vanya said. “If you see him will you let us know? We just want him to be safe.”

“I’ll go get some paper, so you can write down your phone number for me to call if I see him.” Agnes said very quickly, vanishing to the back before any of them could tell her if they even had a phone.

Her eyes immediately locked on Klaus, seeing him shaking on the floor with tears on his cheeks. “Please.” He mouther to her, and her expression broke a little. “Please don’t tell them.”

She looked back at the door and then to him, biting her lip before turning and grabbing her waitressing pad and a pencil. She nodded at him, levelling a look that clearly meant they would talk about this later before she walked back out.

“I haven’t seen him yet, scrawny kid with curly hair right? He hasn’t been around in ages.” She was a surprisingly good liar, her voice only shaking a tiny bit. “But I will call if he shows up okay? I wish you guys the best of luck. Do you guys want anything to eat or drink while our here?”

There was silence for a long moment.

“I’ll have a lemon donut please.” Luther said softly. “it’s his favourite type.”

Klaus wasn’t sure how to describe the feeling he got in his chest as all six of his siblings ordered his favourite donut before going to sit in a booth, none of them talking to each other.

Agnes came back into the kitchen, walking over to him and kneeling down gathering him into a big hug.

“Go to the back room and wait for me, I’ll tell you when their gone okay?” She whispered, and he nodded as she pulled away. Quickly darting in to kiss her cheek.

“Thank you so much.” He whispered, before pulling away and sneaking into the back room. The door closed and he felt oddly alone.

“How are you holding up?” Luke asked as Klaus walked to the small cot and fell down on top of it, his head falling into his hands.

“Badly.” Klaus admitted, rubbing at his eyes. He wanted to sleep, but he was worried at any second one of his siblings would burst through the door and drag him out.

“You have to talk to them at some point.” Luke sighed, lowering himself onto the bed. “They’re your family.”

“I want to trust them.” He tells the ghost. “But they keep hurting me. They keep doing things that cause me harm and I don’t know what to think anymore.”

“I know kiddo.” Luke said, his hand reaching up to cup Klaus’s cheek. He can’t actually feel the hand, but the thoughts there and it warms Klaus’s heart. “You don’t have to forgive and forget, but they are worried. They’ve been running around for a month looking for you. Just let them know your alive.”

Klaus debating it, he really did. What would happen if he was to walk out there right now, stare them all in the face? Maybe do some jazz hands then walk out, leaving them in shock behind him. Would they scream at him, would they hug him, try to convince him to come back?

It hurt to think of, hurt to imagine how close he was to them all and yet feel so far away. So he turned to Luke, looking for anyway to deflect, to talk about anything else.

“Why aren’t you mad at me?” He questioned.

“Kid that is so far away from the topic at hand.” Luke sighed, shaking his head. “Why would I be mad at you?” He finally allowed, letting Klaus change the topic.

“I killed you.” Klaus pointed out, blinking back memories of black smoke curling up his fingers and wrapping around Luke. “Shouldn’t you be at least a little pissed?”

It was the question he had been fearing answering for ages now, the one he wanted to ask but had been too afraid to. He killed Luke, murdered him in cold blood, and yet the ghost was following him around, concerned about him, trying to lead him towards safety.

“It wasn’t your fault.” Luke said easily.

“But it is.” Klaus insisted. “I killed you.”

“Your dad told you to.”

“My dad doesn’t control my life.” Klaus argued. “I could have fought him, freed you. There was options and I didn’t take any of them.”

“Kid, I worked with your dad for almost twenty years.” Luke sighed, rubbing a hand down his face. “Your father is manipulative, intimidating. It took me twenty years to realize that he was wrong and get out of it. Your young, I don’t blame you for your father's actions.”

Klaus hung his head, letting the words sink in. He was about to respond when someone knocked lightly on the door and it creaked open. Agnes stepping in.

“Hey Klaus, how you holding up?” She asked with a frail smile, her hands holding a tray filled with hot chocolate and a few donuts. Her smile seemed fake, plastered on, and he knew she wanted to talk this out.

“Okay I guess.” He lied, watching her sit in the space Luke was taking up. The older ghost only spared her a slightly annoyed look as he moved out of the way.

“Their gone now.” She said as she handed him the cup. He sipped at it gratefully, savouring the taste. She really made the best hot chocolate.

“Thank you.” He said, deflating a bit and trying not to feel the sting in his chest.

“I hated lying.” She admitted, curling her legs up underneath her. “They are so worried Klaus.”

“I know.” He admits. “I’m sorry.”

“Why did you leave?” She asked, her hand reaching out to cover his. “I’ve been patient with you Klaus. I don’t ask questions, I let you disappear in the middle of the night. But I’m worried now Klaus. Why won’t you go home? Why are you out here? Your siblings obviously care about you, so why did you run away?”

“I-“ He started, but found he couldn’t continue through the lump in his throat.

“I can’t help you if you don’t tell me what’s wrong.” She said, grabbing the mug from his shaking fingers and placing it down, drawing him into a hug. “I want to help.”

“I’m a horrible person.” He sobbed into her shoulder, tears running down his cheeks. “I did horrible things to them and others and they did something horrible back. I had to leave, we were stuck in a cycle of hurting each other over and over again. I needed to break it, they deserved better than me.”

“Oh my.” Agnes said softly, sounding slightly teary herself as her hand soothingly rubbed his back. “You’re not a horrible person Klaus.”

“Yes I am.” He tried to pull away but her eyes were like a vise around him. “I lied and I manipulated and I killed people Agnes. I killed people and it’s all my fault.”

He waited for her to push him away, for her to look at him with disgust and horror. It never came.

“When I look at you I see the boy who charms the socks off of whatever older lady comes in for a snack. I see a boy who grins at my lame jokes and listens to me ramble on about simply things like birds and donuts. I see a boy who sneaks bites of chocolate when he thinks I’m not looking and who gives people donuts with three dollars off the price simply because you feel like it. What’s in the past is in the past. It’s not who you are.” Agnes told him, pulling away to stare him in the eyes.

“Why are you so nice to me?” He asked, his heart wanting to trust her words but the other half of him telling him it was a lie.

“Because you wandered into my shop at midnight in the freezing cold and were willing to go back out because you thought I was inconvenienced by you. The sensible thing would be to call the cops, but I knew you would run if I did. I knew you needed kindness Klaus. You have the look of someone too used to being hurt. Everyone deserves to be happy.” Agnes smiled softly at him, running a hand through his curls.

“So what now?” He asked softly, allowing himself to melt back into her embrace. He shouldn’t be letting himself get this close to the woman, but he honestly didn’t think Agnes would have it in her to ever hurt him. She was too sweet, too kind. It was like suspecting an eighty-year-old grandma to be a cereal killer.

“Well, we can continue the way we are right now. Or,” She paused, thinking something over. “You could come live at my house. I can buy a couch for you to sleep on, my husband goes on long trips often, but I’m sure he wouldn’t mind you staying at our place. I can call him tonight to ask. He’s a sweetheart, reminds me of you a bit.”

“You don’t have to do this for me.” He said, because if he said anything else he would start sobbing right then and there.

“No, but I want to help you Klaus.” She paused for a moment, thinking stuff over. “Also, I know what you and your siblings do around the city. And I don’t think any kid should be doing anything like that, your all such fine young adults and watching you risk your life like that made me want to storm into that big mansion of yours and drag you all away. If I can help one of you that’ll be enough for now.” She admitted.

“You knew I’m a part of the Umbrella Academy?” He asked, pulling away slightly.

“You used to, you don’t show up in interviews anymore, neither does that one sister of yours. But yes, I knew who you and your siblings are.” She told him.

“And you don’t care?” He shifted slightly, not meeting her eyes. “I can see ghosts Agnes; doesn’t that creep you out? I can kill people with a thought. I can make objects move.” He ignored the fact that he couldn’t do half of those things anymore.

“I still see a little kid who eats more sprinkles than he puts on the donuts.” She said with a laugh, poking his nose. “Now, we can sit here and cry and wallow in our woes, or we can go outside and eat all the chocolate and pretend we missed the shipment of it tomorrow.”

“I like the way you think.” He said with a grin, letting her pull him up and lead him into the kitchen. Maybe one day he would call his siblings, just to tell them he was okay. But right now he was content to sit on the floor of the kitchen and eat as much chocolate as he could before he got sick.

_________________________________

Some days he could feel ants crawling under his skin. Collecting clots of blood like sugar and transporting it to different parts of his body, clawing to get out of his skin. It made him feel restless, like he need to get out and run to Russia or somethings or else he would explode into a million tiny pieces.

During those times he could barely restrain himself from running to the nearest dealer and taking as many drugs as he could. Maybe con an older man to buy him a drink or two. Hell, he would kill for a cigarette. But he didn’t he restrained himself and promised himself he wouldn’t fuck this up like that.

On days like that Agnes seemed to sense his restlessness and either gave him a million different tasks or simply gave him the day off.

She seemed to have a knack for knowing when he needed to be alone or when he absolutely needed someone to be there for him.

Today was one of the days he needed to be around people. He woke up to nearly seven ghosts screaming into his ear, and listening to Agnes hum as they made their last batch of donuts. It was nearly four, but they didn’t get dinner rushes on Wednesday. Which is a total shame because that’s when Klaus makes his best sandwiches. Their loss.

The bell jungled and Klaus jumped to get it without thinking, being with Agnes helped with the ghosts, but talking to customers and harming them into an extra tip always helped so much more. Three young kids were approaching the counter, excitement in their eyes as they jostled each other and smiled as wide as the sun.

“Hi!” He greeted, drawing the kid’s attention to him. They couldn’t have been much younger than him, maybe one two years at most. The eldest one, who had a mop of curly blonde hair, smiled back up at him. “Welcome to Griddy’s what can I get for you today?”

“We’re new in town.” He drawled with a southern type accent. “We heard this place was good, but well, we’ve never had donuts before. What’s good?”

His little sisters, probably twins by the look of them, giggled and whispered to each other behind the boys back. The boy reached back and swatted at them without breaking eye contact. Klaus’s grin grew a bit larger.

“Well, I love the lemon flavoured one,” He pointed to the display behind him. “But eh chocolates a classic, as well as plain old fashioned. If you like something sweet, glazed with sprinkles is the way to go. If you're looking for something more tarte, any of the jelly filled ones are to die for.”

“Krissy?” The boy looked back at one of the twins. “What do you and Ella want?”

“Chocolate.” The girl on the left, Krissy, replied instantly. “Ella wants Strawberry jelly filled.”

“No I do not!” The other girl declared, curling up her nose in disgust. THen she turned to Klaus, ehr eyes widening as she put on a polite smile. “Sprinkles please sir. Jelly tastes like dirt.”

Klaus chuckled, entering the two orders in.

“And you?” He asked the boy, who squinted at the menu for a second.

“Lemon.” He decided, smiling again. He had nice bright white teeth, maybe their parents were dentists. “I figured since you work here you must know the good type.”

“Well, you’ll have to let me know if you like it.” Klaus said cheerfully, entering it in and turning to gather the three donuts. Both girls squealed when he gave it to them, bounding off to a booth. “That’ll be Five fifty-five please.”

“Cheap.” The boy commented, pulling out a ten-dollar bill. Klaus quickly counted out the change. “The names James by the way.”

Klaus smiled at the boy, and suddenly he could see Dave in his face, the same blonde curls, bright blue eyes, the soft drawl of his voice. It made something deep inside him twist with sorrow.

“Klaus.” He returned, sticking out his hand for the boy to shake. His grip was firm, steady and Klaus could feel the callouses from hard work lining them. “Nice to meet you.”

James smiled, turning to wander back over to his siblings, sliding into the booth and immediately starting to chat, their smiles and joy evident even from over here.

“Nice lad.” Luke commented from where he was sitting on the counter, and Klaus barely shot him a glance. “You fancy him?”

Klaus sputtered, dropping the cloth he was using to scrub the counters and sending Luke the most effective death glare he had. The ghost only laughed, holding up his arms in defense.

“What!” He exclaimed. “He seems like your type.”

“I’m not really interested in a relationship thanks.” Klaus whispered dryly, not wanting the other kids to hear him.

“Ah,” Luke nodded wisely. “Still hung up on that Dave guy right?”

Klaus recoiled even more, unsure of how Luke even knew about Dave.

“You talk in your sleep.” Luke said with a slight shrug, and Klaus was suddenly hit by a tightening in his chest, the movement and words reminding him painfully of Ben. How his brother would often have to remind Klaus of that fact, paired with the same nonchalant shrug of the shoulders. Klaus’s eyes drifted back to the three siblings, watching as Krissy was tearing up pieces of Ella’s donut and tossing it into the air for her sister to catch. All three of them were laughing, lost is the happiness of the moment.

Klaus remembered the first time he tried a donut, ten years old and new to sneaking out, Ben, Diego and Five by his side. He thought it was the most delicious thing in the entire world, the way the sugar tasted, the way the dough melted in his mouth, the way the sprinkles tasted as they stained his teeth bright pink.

He remembered the way Diego took all of his allowance and sued it to buy them all five donuts. How Ben clutched onto him as they both moaned about their stomach aches. How Five chided them for eating too much but looked a little queasy himself.

Klaus blinked back tears as he turned away, walking to the hot chocolate machine and quickly making three cups. He put them all on a tray and brought them to the kid’s tables, smiling at their surprised look.

“On the house.” He explained when James puttered about not ordering any. “You got to wash down a good donut with a nice cup of coco.”

The twins then practically latched onto his arm, pulling him into their side of the booth despite James begging them to behave like actual ten-year old’s for once. The girls ignored him.

Klaus didn’t mind too much, there wasn’t anyone in the store, and he could practically feel Agnes grinning at him in the soft way she does. They spent a good thirty minutes talking, the girls going on and on about their other home, James talking about the things they’ve already seen, and all three of them grilling Klaus for information about himself.

“I heard there’s superhero’s around here.” Ella leaned in; her eyes wide. “They go by the Umbrella Academy. Have you seen them before?”

Normally talking about his siblings would hurt, make something ache inside, but now he only smiled down at her.

“Once or twice.” He whispered back with a wink, making her squeal in excitement. The girls did a lot of squealing.

“Okay guys, it’s time to head back.” James said after a while, causing both the twins to immediately protest. James only shook his head. “We can come bug Klaus some other day okay?”

“Fine.” Krissy said, jumping up to give Klaus a hug, Ella not far behind. James smiled softly at them both, the warmth evident in his eyes.

“See ya around Klaus, thanks for the donuts and the drink.” He said as they walked away, Klaus waved cheerily, telling them to come back soon. It was refreshing, to talk to someone his age again. It was weird, thinking they were his age. Technically, he was 30 years old, but ever since coming back he stopped thinking of that life as a life, simply memories. He felt like a thirteen-year-old again, which was honestly disturbing to think about. Five would go on about brain chemicals and stuff like that probably.

Klaus didn’t care as much.

He went to sleep that night and dreamed about his siblings, and when he woke up the first thing he did was find a phone.

Chapter Text

“Hello?” It was Five’s voice who filtered through the phone, and Klaus found himself unable to speak for a second. “Is this Agnes? The donut lady? You better have some useful information or else I will hang up.”

“That’s no way to talk to a sweet old lady Five.” Klaus managed to get past his dry throat, already regretting this idea.

The other side was silent for a solid ten seconds before Five let out a number of colorful swears and Klaus could hear the cackle of Five’s powers.

“Klaus?” Five asked, and Klaus smiled softly, pushing away memories of Five telling him it would only be temporary, that they wouldn’t actually rumor him. “Holy shit is that actually you?”

“In the flesh.” He said, waving a hand despite Five not being able to see him. “Or, well, in the voice I guess.”

“Where are you? This is Griddy’s number-” Five paused, sighing. “You were there the entire time.”

“Yuppers.” Klaus said, forcing himself to calm down, if Five popped into the diner he would probably throw up. He could stand hearing his voice, but the thought of actually facing his siblings was too much. “I have a job Five. This is like the first job I’ve actually had. If you don’t count prostitution and a tiny bit of drug dealing.”

“I’m not sure what to say to that.” Five responded, but Klaus could hear a soft smile in his voice. The smile he always got when Klaus said something he found funny but was trying hard not to show that it made him laugh. It made Klaus oddly pleased. “Why are you calling?”

Klaus wasn’t really expecting that question, so he took a moment to respond.

“Maybe I miss your stupid voice.” He said, trying to go for a half truth. He didn’t want to admit that he missed his siblings, not after everything they did, but he did. He missed seeing them even if it was once a day for a few seconds. They had hurt him, bad, and he was nowhere near letting them forget that or being able to go home, but well it was nice to hear Five’s voice.

“Are you coming home?” Five asked bluntly and Klaus shook his head.

“Nah, I found a much better place. Good food, nice service, wonderful couch, or there will be a wonderful couch. And as much as I love mom with all of my heart, I’ve grown founder of donuts than cookies.” He told Five, sitting in a booth, his eyes watching the door. Agnes was out on an errand, and another worker, Larry, was manning the kitchen while the space was dead.

“Oh.” Five said, clearing his throat. “Can I come see you?” He asked, sounding softer than he had in ages, and the thought of seeing him spiked a level of fear that attacked Klaus’s heart, the pressure in his chest building just a tiny bit. Annoying how the more stressed he was the more his powers tried to escape. He took a deep breath and focused on the view outside the window.

Snowflakes curled around the sky, blowing softly in the wind. It wasn't even close to the first snowfall of the year, but KLaus couldn't help but feel content watching the tiny flakes fall, calming his heart rate down.

“I don’t know.” Klaus replied honestly, and Five was silent for a long moment.

“I’ll come Friday, 6 o’clock and I’ll sit in a booth for half an hour, if you don’t want to see me I’ll leave. If you want to talk you can come sit down.” Five offered, and Klaus knew it was an olive branch, a last resort.

“I guess.” He replied, because it wasn’t an unreasonable offer.

“Can I bring someone else?” Five asked, and Klaus squeezed his eyes shut. “We’ve all missed you Klaus.”

“Not everyone.” Klaus blurted out. “But I wouldn’t be opposed to maybe one or two others.”

Five was silent for a moment.

“I’ll bring Ben and Vanya. They’ve been going crazy with worry and I might as well humor them.” Five said, and Klaus hummed. “I’ll see you soon Klaus, and don’t be afraid to call every once in a while okay?”

With that Five was gone, the dial tone ringing in his ear as Klaus put the phone down, his eyes fluttering shut and the buzzing echoing in his ear even as he slammed the phone down.

“You good boy?” It was Larry, who somehow managed to get across the room and kneeling in front of Klaus without Klaus realizing it. Klaus blinked owlishly at him, processing for a second.

He didn’t despise Larry, he was older, around fifty years old with a greying beard and piercing blue eyes. He may have been pretty in his youth, but he wasn’t now. He was loaded too, worked at the bakery only to pass his time instead of sitting in his obnoxiously large house. Klaus could easily see him as one of the clients he went home with some nights.

“I’m fine. How’s the latest batch going?” He asked, and Larry smiled at him, standing up and grabbing Klaus’s arm to pull him with him.

“Wonderful, I need your help though. You’re much better at mixing than me with these old fingers.” Larry said, and Klaus welcomed the distraction as he followed the man into the kitchen.

Maybe he would go see his siblings. Maybe he would simply watch from the back room and yearn to be out with them, back like it used to be.

It would never be like it used to; they would never be the same. The cloud of their betrayal would always hang over their heads, and overtime Klaus closed his eyes and focused he could feel his power squirming inside of him, begging to get free.

But he could hope couldn’t he.

___________________________________

“My mom's making me join a photography class.” James groaned as he entered the store Friday morning, throwing himself into the booth Klaus was currently taking his break in. “I don’t even own a camera.”

Klaus laughed, leaning back and taking a sip of his water. Ever since they first met, the boy had started to come in every few days to lounge with him and talk. They had become pretty good friends within a week. James was easy to talk to, nice and kind but also funny with a sharp sense of humor to rival his own.

He found himself looking forwards to every time he came around.

“Offer her another one if you hate it so much.” Klaus offered. “If you hate photography tell her you want to go to like creative writing class or something, get her to switch you into something better.”

“But I don’t want to do anything.” James pouted, sticking his bottom lip out for dramatic effect. “I want to lounge around here and talk to you and eat a crap ton of donuts.”

“I don’t think you’ll mom would like that.” Klaus laughed, his chest feeling warm. It was weird having a friend.

“No, probably not.” James sighed, before perking up and sitting upright again, leaning across the table. “Will you go to a camp with me?” He asked, a smile splitting his face.

“I don’t know.” He carried off, looking towards the kitchen where he knew Agnes was watching. It would cost a lot of money.

“Don’t worry about cost,” James said as if he could read his mind. “My mom bought this giant brochure and the creative writing course costs nothing. We can take it together.” James looked about to vibrate out of his seat, so Klaus grinned back, the happiness infectious.

“I think I’d like that.” He said, smiling wider as James whooped in excitement and reached over to punch Klaus shoulder.

He thinks he could get used to having a friend.

______________

Klaus has known fear.

He knew it while sitting in the mausoleum as a child, dozens of dead people screaming and begging him for help he can’t provide. He knew it when he took a hit and knew he took too much. He knew it when he was standing in rehab and knew that this time wouldn’t be any different than the last. He knew it in jail with all those men leering at him. He knew it in Vietnam with people shooting at him. He knew it when he looked into Dave’s bright blue eyes and knew that it wouldn’t last. He knew it when he came back and had to face life without Dave.

He knew it now as he sat in the backroom watching his siblings sit at a table near the back.

Agnes was hovering, he knew she was. She went to take their order and completely ignored how all three of them glared at her while doing so. She came back and handed him the order, a coffee and plain doughnut along with a chocolate and strawberry filled donuts, and gave him a glare that specifically meant that she was expecting something from him.

He was standing in the same spot, the order scrunched into his hand and his heart pounding inside his chest. Vanya was staring at her lap, her hands folded and not moving an inch. Ben was the opposite, squirming and glancing around like Klaus was going to spring out from the shadows. Five was a weird mix, sitting still but his eyes were flickering around the room, looking almost disappointed.

Did he want to see them? Did he want to go face his mistakes? Did he want to face their mistakes? The pulsating pressure inside his chest ached and he rubbed his chest with the fist holding the order and he sighed.

He thought of James, Ella, and Krissy sitting at a booth and laughing as they tossed food into the air to catch it. He thought of Ben teasing him and sleeping in his room when the ghosts got bad. He thought of Vanya playing her violin and laughing at his stupid jokes. He thought of Five buying him churros and telling him he was better than his mistakes, that they didn’t define him.

He took a deep breath and turned to the kitchen, grabbing three donuts and a coffee and sticking them onto a tray along with two cups of water and the most caffeinated drink he could find.

Then before his confidence ran out he marched out of the door with his head held high and a determined look in his eyes.

He knew the second Ben spotted him, his brothers face consorting with what looked like grief and Klaus felt his heart ache as Ben’s eyes filled with tears. Vanya looked up too, her eyes widening like she saw a ghost. Five went still, not looking at him but Klaus knew Five knew he was there.

“Donuts?” He said, his voice sounding pained and soft and he hated how it grated against his ears.

“Klaus.” Ben said, the word half taken over by a sob as he pressed a fist to his lips. “You’re here.”

“Duh, I told you I’d be. He said, setting down the platter and sitting down on the empty chair beside Five, who was looking him up and down as if to check if he was injured.

“We thought you were dead.” Vanya spoke up, her voice trembling slightly. “We couldn’t find you and I thought you were dead.”

“Ding dong you were wrong.” Klaus said with a laugh that felt fake, which probably wasn’t the best thing to do when your siblings admitted to thinking you were dead.

But Five’s lips curled up slightly so he thought he was pretty good.

“So what, you’ve just been sitting here the entire time?” Ben asked, blinking quickly as if to blink away tears.

“Chilling in donut paradise.” Klaus told him with a soft smile. “Agnes gave me a place to live, a job and some advice, so I decided to stick around. Surprised it took you guys over a month to find me.”

“We weren’t really expecting you to go to the donut shop a block away.” Five admitted, sipping his coffee.

“Where did you think I’d go?” He challenged already knowing the answer.

“Bars, alleyways, bus stop.” Five listed, his eyes meeting Klaus’s in almost a challenging way. Klaus was knew that was where they’d go, but it still hurt.

Still hurt to think that after everything he was still just a junkie to them. Just someone who went to get high at every small inconvenience.

“You were scared, betrayed and stressed. We thought you’d go someplace familiar.” Vanya said quietly, not meeting his eyes. “It was wrong of us.”

“Okay.” He replied, because he came here to spend time with his siblings, not fight with them.

“We didn’t know.” Ben blurted out, and Klaus blinked at him, not understanding. “We didn’t know what Allison did.”

Klaus felt a bitter taste come to his mouth, his restrained powers rolling under his skin at the mention. He remembered all their guilty looks, the looks that knew more than they lead on. The fact that they were all in on it, all admitted to knowing the plan.

“Sure.” Klaus said darkly, taking a long sip of his drink and trying to push away the darkness that was looming on the edge of his mind, the anger that had consumed him in his isolation threatening to push back in.

“He’s not lying.” Five said softly. “We were all under the assumption that we would fake a rumor. Allison and Luther were the only ones that knew that she actually did it.”

It couldn’t be true, had to be a lie of some sort. They were all in on it, he was sure of that much. It didn’t make sense that they wouldn’t be.

“Klaus please.” Vanya said. “I wouldn’t, we wouldn’t. Allison made a mistake, a really bad one. One she shouldn’t have. But we had no part in it, and we have missed you so much.” She looked away, tears gathering in her eyes again. “Please come back.”

“No.” He said, shaking his head. “I’m not coming back; I have a life here now. A place to live, work, friends, I’m not going back.”

They were silent for a long time.

“Then just believe us.” Ben said, looking up at him. “Stay in contact with us and don’t run away. Let us try to repair all of our mistakes. Even though we don’t deserve it. Even if we’re giant assholes that deserve nothing. Let us try. Let us be your siblings. We can come around every week, catch up, talk. Just please don’t leave us.”

Klaus took a deep breath, tears stinging the back of his eyes.

“Fine.” He snapped, standing up. “Fine. I’ll try, but don’t make me go back. Give me space. Give me time.”

“Okay.” Five said, also standing up. “We’ll go now, come back another time and talk more okay?”

“Okay.” Klaus said, and Five grabbed Vanya arm and the two of them walked away, Vanya with tears in her eyes and a soft-spoken goodbye. Ben lingered, staring at him with teary eyes. Klaus resisted the urge to cry alongside him.

“I really did miss you.” Ben whispered, a tear slipping down his cheek. “I miss you so much. I’m so sorry I’m a shitty brother.”

Klaus clenched his jaw, willing himself not to cry.

Then he launched himself into Ben’s arms, squeezing his brother tight like his life depended on it. Ben let out a soft sob as he hugged him back, his arms wrapping securely around his back.

“I love you Klaus.” Ben whispered into his ear, and Klaus wanted to respond but found himself too choked up to. Instead he squeezed Ben harder before turning around and walking back into the kitchen without another word.

He heard the bell ding signalling they left as he slipped into the kitchen, ignoring the other workers concerned face as he fell into Agnes’s open arms and sobbed.

Chapter Text

Creative writing class.

There was a lot of things Klaus never expected to do in his lifetime, but this idea was so absurd that it never even made it onto the list.

But here he was, waiting outside the towns library for James to show up before going inside for Creative Writing Class.

It was so mundane, such a normal and boring childlike thing for him to do, and he was so goddamn excited for it.

He perked up as he saw James pull up to the front, hopping out of the passenger’s side of his fathers beat up old truck. Klaus saw the older man wave at them before driving away, and Klaus was a lot more preoccupied with excitable best friend.

“I have literally no idea what to expect from this.” James said cheerfully, hooking their arms together and practically pulling Klaus towards the door. Touch was something that didn’t come back to Klaus easily, it took him ages before he was able to tolerate Agnes’s affectionate ruffle of his hair, James hanging off his arm. It took him a while to be able to separate their touches from their father holding him down and killing him in cold blood, to separate it from the ghosts that grabbed at him.

“That makes it ten times more fun.” Klaus assured him, and the two shared a grin as they walked into the designated room. An overly preppy girl stood at the front, with bright blonde hair and a painfully white smile.

“Hi!” She said, bounding over to them. “Welcome to the class, please take a seat and we’ll get started soon.”

Klaus and James exchanged a look but sat down, chatting quietly. Klaus was in the middle of explaining to James why exactly plants grow in the middle of the ocean when the instructor started talking again.

“Okay kids,” She started, making Klaus snort because the room was filled with people who were very much not kids. In fact they were the youngest there, if you ignored the ghost of a little five-year-old reading in the corner. “We have ten sessions planned, once a week. Every week we’ll go over a new tactic of writing in a creative way. Today you’ll pick a partner and try to create a plot to a fiction story. You’ll have an hour before we share.”

With that the room exploded into noise, James immediately turned to him, and Klaus’s heart warmed slightly. It was weird being the first picked, how James turned to him like there was no other possible option. When he was younger the first time he was only ever picked to benefit others. Diego picked him to spar against because he knew it would make him look good. Allison picked him to gossip about boys to because he was the only one that’d put up with him. Ben picked him to stick around with because there was literally no other option in the entire world.

But James picked him first, with no hesitation. Such a small meaningless thing, but It made Klaus’s chest warm slightly.

“We should make it about two boys.” James started, and Klaus smiled warmly at him.

“Creative, what do these two boys do?” He asked, leaning a head on his hands.

“Well, how about one is a superhero but neglects to tell his best friend that, leaving his best friend to figure it out himself instead.” James deadpanned, and Klaus blinked a t the sudden change of pace.

“I don’t like that story.” Klaus complained, his heart rate picking up as the little dead five-year-old started to cry in the corner. “How about instead they play bread percussion, one can play the drums with a baguette and the other can play a pretzel tuba.”

“Klaus.” James sighed, shaking his head and fighting back a smile. “You can tell me anything you know.”

“I know.” Klaus said, averting his eyes. “Sorry for not telling you.”

“Oh I’m not mad, just disappointed to why you didn’t tell me you were a kick ass superhero.” James said, shoving his shoulder lightly.

“I wasn’t that kickass.” He grumbled, a smile tugging at his lips.

“You can see ghosts.” James deadpanned. “That’s pretty kickass.”

“It sucks most the time.” Klaus said, his eyes straying to the ghost in the corner, who was still sobbing and shaking. James grin slipped.

“Let’s get back to the story okay?” He said softly. “Pretzel tuba huh?”

________________________________

Three weeks later and their instructed, who’s name was Tammy, gave them a really interesting project.

“You want us to draw?” Klaus asked, his eyes widening. “This is a writing class.”

“The two often go hand to hand.” Tammy reminded him for the fourth time, even her bright white smile was starting to crumble. “I’m sure you will figure it out.”

Klaus turned to James, who was looking just as confused.

“I can’t draw.” James said, staring down at his page. “And I can’t write poetry.”

“Same here.” Klaus sighed. “I mean, guess it’s worth a shot?”

“I guess.” James sighed, starting to randomly write some words down.

Klaus stared at the page for a bit longer, and inspiration flooded through him. He remembered being young and writing on his walls, everything the ghosts said, every impulsive thought. He remembered them, pictured them in his mind.

And so he started.

He got lost in the lesson, his fingers writing word after word overlapped creatively to form an eye, small lines of texts making everything up. James leaned over and peeked at it once he was done.

“Can’t draw my ass!” He cried, throwing down his piece of paper, which held a stick man with a cute little top hat on.

Klaus blushed, trying to shield his paper but James got it first, waving it in the air.

“Tammy! Look what Klaus made!” He called, Klaus tried to steal it back but Tammy was there in seconds, praising him and telling him that it was wonderful.

Later that night he went home, a small house in the suburbs where Agnes lived in a small three-bedroom house, with painting of birds and flowers decorating the wall.

“Agnes!” He called, waving the paper proudly in the air. “Look what I made.”

The older woman came out of the kitchen, where Klaus could hear the stovetop sizzling.

“What is it?” She asked, taking it out of his hands and her eyes flickered over it.

“A picture poem.” He said shyly, suddenly wondering if this was a bad idea. She wasn’t his mom; she didn’t want to stare at his artwork or might not even like it. But her lips formed into a grin and she ruffled her hair, patting his cheek afterwards.

“It’s beautiful.” She said, and Klaus grinned wider, his heart fluttering at the praise as his back straightened and he practically vibrated under her eyes.

She laughed, turning and grabbing a magnet to stick it to the fridge, right in the middle.

“There we go, now we can look at it whenever we want.” She said, turning back to their dinner. “Now help me, I’m making stir fry tonight.”

____________________________________________

He saw his siblings once every two weeks. Maybe not all of them, normally just Ben or Five, occasionally Vanya if she was feeling up to it. But tonight was different, just a tiny bit.

He waited in the bakery’s harsh fluorescent lights, eating a donut as he waited. He glanced at the clock around a million times, and he could hear Agnes in the kitchen cleaning up from the days work.

He heard the bell in the front jingle and he looked up hopefully, smiling softly at Ben, Vanya and Diego, who walked in.

Klaus perked up as Diego raised a little plastic bag, and Klaus ran over to meet them, practically ripping the bag out Diego’s hand.

He reached inside and slowly took out his little plant, placing It on the counter and smiling.

“You guys didn’t kill it.” He said, petting the leaves that were slightly overgrown.

“Five wouldn’t let anyone else touch it except Luther.” Diego shrugged. “Nearly bit off my hand when I tried to take it.”

“And the others?” Klaus asked, turning around. “Are they still alive?”

“Yup, all the same way you left them.” Ben assured him, and Klaus grinned. Find pleasure in the simplest things, even if it is a stupid little basil plant.

“Cool, thanks.” Klaus replied, carrying the plant to the back and fully expecting his siblings to leave. They brought what he wanted after all.

“Klaus?” Vanya called out, making him pause. “Do you want to catch a movie or something?”

No, he very much would not. Sitting in a dark room for hours with some random chick flick playing while sandwiched between the siblings he’s only just being able to stand being around again?

“I’ll buy you all the candy you want.” Ben bribed, proving once again that he still knew Klaus on a basic level.

“Sold.” He sighed, putting his plant down. “I get to pick the movie though.”

“You always have.” Diego groaned, but the soft grin on his lips gave him away.

“Look at us,” He sighed as they walked out the door towards the theater. “The even numbered club at it again.”

Ben laughed, remembering the stupid club they made when they were young and carefree, only just growing into their powers and still able to act somewhat like kids.

“My number’s Seven though.” Vanya pointed out, and Klaus scrunched up his nose in thought.

“It has the word even in it, that’s close enough.” He declared, reaching over to ruffle her long hair, making her squeak.

They weren’t perfect, and moments like this were rare, spread out between periods of silence and fighting, but these moments of happiness, of goodness, well they sometimes felt worth it in the end.

Chapter Text

“It’s simple.” Klaus told Ben, lining his fingers up and setting them on the table. “Your trying to flick the paper between my fingers.”

“And why am I doing this again?” Ben sighed, but he was lining up the paper already, getting ready to flick it.

“Because Diego cheats whenever he plays.” Klaus shrugged, sticking his tongue out at Diego, who was sitting beside Ben, sipping a pop.

“I didn’t cheat,” Diego sighed. “I adapted.” He said, pithing his voice higher and making his fingers into a ring to put around his eye, scowling dramatically in a parody of their father.

Klaus laughed, watching as Ben finally lined up the shot and flicked the tiny piece of paper, missing by a few inches.

Ben groaned, slumping back and sighing.

“This game sucks.” He complained, and Klaus grinned as he lined up his own shot. He got it in, grinning happily at Ben’s frown.

They played for a little while longer, Diego taking to rolling up straw wrappers and hitting their paper ball out of the air as they shot it. Agnes was watching from the kitchen, since the bakery was closed for the day. Something about some vacation that Klaus had never heard of. Their childhood didn’t include holidays. The first time he heard of Christmas he almost cried.

He decided to spend the day with his siblings, Five and Vanya went out for snacks an hour ago to buy some chips or other sweets that Agnes didn’t have in stock.

Five and Vanya came back minutes later, catching the end of Klaus’s and Ben’s intense game, cheering the both of them on as Klaus beat him by a single point.

For a second nothing else matter except his siblings smiling faces, the unrivalled joy as they looked at him like he was one of them, like he belonged. He was no longer the one left out on purpose, but the one who left of his own accord, who came back because he wanted to.

He turned to Five and took the bag of treats from his arms, going into the kitchen to grab some bowls. Agnes smiled at him widely from where she was sitting by the counter, a small scarf in the makings clenched in her hand.

“Everything going well honey?” She asked, and he nodded enthusiastically.

“It’s going well.” He replied honestly. And it was, he could forget everything for now, bask int eh fact that his siblings were spending time with him, were putting in effort and showing affection.

Agnes smiled, and was about to continue when Diego’s voice cut them both off.

“What the hell are you doing here?” He snarled, and Klaus turned curiously, peering out through the window to see who showed up.

His heart immediately fell down into his stomach, splashing acid up into his chest as it burned and twisted. The bowl of popcorn fell from his hands, clattering noisily on the ground, making him flinch.

He felt his breath get caught in his throat, his heart beat abnormally loud.

There standing in the doorway, dressed up in fancy winter gear, was Allison and Luther.

He found suddenly his vision was twirling and he was falling to his knees, barely able to hear Agnes’s cry of concern, hear Ben and Vanya running up to him.

All he could focus on was the swirling of colors in front of him, hearing the faint winkling voice whispering certain words. ”I heard a rumor”. His chest ached painfully, and he felt the trapped mass inside of his start to push against his skin, the pain flaring up like it always does, crawling up and down his veins like ants.

“Klaus.” He heard someone whisper, and he blinked rapidly, barely able to make Vanya out from the tears obscuring his vision. She was kneeling in front of him, a very serious look on her face. “Breath with me, come on.”

He felt her hand over his, raising it up to her chest. He felt her chest heaving up and down in dramatized movements and he focused on it, trying to force his lungs to copy the actions. It took a long time, but finally he was able to control the spasming in his lungs enough to get semi normal breaths out of his mouth.

He felt spaced out, delirious almost, sounds filtering in and out of his ears at random. He vaguely felt Agnes’s hand on his back, rubbing soothingly. Ben was beside Vanya, a single hand clenched onto Klaus’s shoulder. He subconsciously leaned slightly into the touch.

Vanya pulled away, and Klaus was about to protest when his smaller sister swirled around with a look of pure anger.

“You need to go,” She ordered, her voice strong, loud and commanding and Klaus had never been prouder of her than he was at that moment. “Now.”

Allison looked ready to protest, but her eyes flickered back down to him, filling with tears as she turned to go.

Klaus wasn’t sure what possessed him, probably the annoying ghost of a sixteen-year-old boy that had been following him around, but he threw a hand out.

“No!” He cried, pausing his two siblings in their movements. “Don’t go. We should talk.”

He pushed off of Ben, rising shakily to his feet, his hand supported against the wall.

“Sit.” He nodded, watching as his siblings all awkwardly shoved themselves into the booth.

Klaus took a steadying breath, wiping the tears from his eyes and scolding himself for being such an idiot. Breaking down like that, needing Vanya to talk him through it. Stupid, ridiculous.

He forced himself to face them all, his eyes never straying near his two less than innocent siblings.

“I’d offer the popcorn, but.” He waved his hand at the kernels lying on the floor, and Agnes squeezed his arm, whispering in his ear about cleaning it up for him.

“Do you know what your doing Klaus?” Luke asked from where he was perched on the counter, Klaus wasn’t sure when he got back. He had been visiting his parents’ graves, something he insisted on doing once every month for a week despite the fact that he was very much dead.

“I’m fine.” He lied, shaking his head and pulling up a stool, sitting a few feet away from them all.

The silence dragged on for a few minutes, none of them knowing when to start.

“I’ll go first.” Luther said, putting a hand up, never raising his eyes to meet Klaus’s. “I’m sorry.”

“Sorry doesn’t cut it you oaf.” Diego snapped, but settled down after Klaus glared at him.

“I’m sorry.” Luther continued. “I made a bad call, and I have no excused for what I let happen. It was a shitty thing to do.”

“Understatement.” Five huffed, looking like he slightly wanted to punch Luther in the face. That would be entertaining to see.

“I’m sorry too.” Allison said, clearing her throat. “What I did was fucked.”

She took a loud breath, laughing as she shook her head. “I said I was trying to be a better sister, and yet I did the same things that made me a horrible person in the first place. I was scared, and it made me do something stupid. And for that I deserve your hate, your anger, but I needed to know you were okay.”

“You were scared of me?” He whispered, not at all what he was planning on saying. But the thought of his sibling’s fear being directed at him, the thought that he terrified them to the point where they even considered something like this, it made his stomach roll. He never wanted to be the thing people were afraid of.

Were they all afraid of him? Did he scare Vanya? Diego? Ben? Were they all walking on eggshells around him because they were worried he would snap at them? Not because they realized their faults he was messed up?

He used to bathe in the fear. He remembered looking into the eyes of the people his father asked him to dispose of and basking in the way they looked at him, like he was something worth looking at, not just another disposable tool.

He didn’t want to be scary anymore. Didn’t want to be something that’s feared. He wants to be someone people can laugh with, hold close, ruffle his hair. He wants to be soft and kind, someone kids are drawn towards because they know their safe. He wants to be someone worthy of friends, of family, of love.

“I’m sorry.” She whispered. “I’m so sorry.”

“You violated me.” He said softly, and all his siblings fell into silence. “You did something without my permission, took something from me. And it was worse than fucked up, and I don’t think I can ever forgive you for it.”

Allison nodded, a few silent tears slipping down her cheek.

“It hurts.” He whispered, and all his siblings undivided attention was on him. “It keeps crying to get out, straining under my skin from where they’re trapped, but they can’t escape and it feels like somethings tearing me apart from the inside out and as much as I try I can’t free it.”

He bite back the tears, his hand moving up to clutch at his chest in a last-ditch effort to stop the rolling pain he had somehow got used to.

“These powers were a part of me, a vital part of me. And without them, a lot the time I’m left floundering because I don’t know how to function without them. Some days there are so many ghosts I can’t push away even though I know how to. And they just scream and scream until there’s nothing I know accept their voices running over me. It’s hell. You have to understand what it was like having that control ripped from me again Allison, you and Luther took the only control over myself I had.”

“But you’ve all been assholes to me.” He continued on evenly, his breath getting caught slightly. “All of you have wronged me, treated me like dirt, acted like I was a mistake.”

“Klaus-“ Ben said, looking like he wanted to protest.

“Don’t deny it.” Klaus snapped, cutting them off. “I’ve been so fucking nice lately.”

He stood up, Luke immediately coming to his side, his hands hovering but never touching, never stopping him.

“I look at you guys and I hear your taunts. The ‘It’s just Klaus, of course it doesn’t matter.’ The ‘He’s just a junkie.’ The ‘He doesn’t deserve to be one of us’ I heard them all, and I still hear them. But I know what actual love feels like now. I know what friendship is, what love is, what people caring about you feels like. And none of it is anything like I ever had with you.”

His siblings were staring at him wide eyed, some with embarrassment, some ashamed.

“I love you all.” He choked out, tears clouding his eyes again as a hand rubbed at the unease building in his chest. “I love all you stupid asses, and that’s why I can’t stop forgiving you when you don’t deserve it.”

Vanya turned to clutch onto Five’s jacket, tears staining her face as she tried to stop the tears. He hated it, seeing them all sad, all teary eyed and crying. But he remembered the times he screamed for helped, begged any of them to pull him out of the ocean surrounding him, and none of them did.

“I forgive you.” He whispered, staring Allison dead in the eyes. “It was bad fucking decision that hurt me so much, and I forgive you for it. But I will never again trust you.”

Allison nodded, biting her lip. Luther sat next to her, nodding along too, understanding the message was meant for him too.

“I don’t deserve it.” She whispered, and he nodded.

“None of you do.” He said, getting up and walking out the front door and into the cold winter air.

___________________________________

“Klaus!” Ben called after him, storming out of the diner. “Klaus please wait.”

“What do you want?” He turned, breathing harshly. He wanted to go out and do something. He needed to distract himself, get away from his siblings and the flashes of memories resurfacing.

“To talk.” Ben said calmly, always infuriatingly calm when Klaus was breaking down. “Did you mean that all?”

“That and more.” Klaus sneered, ignoring the flash of hurt that dashed across Ben's face. “You are all horrible people, and even worse siblings. And I’ve forgotten a lot of that, but I can’t ignore it. Can’t sugar coat it”

“You’re not exactly blameless.” Ben shot back, crossing his arms. “You keep saying we never answered your calls for help, but you pushed us away every time we tried. You never let anyone in.”

“Because I knew what would happen if I did!” Klaus cried, throwing up his hands. “I knew none of you would care.”

“But we do. And you make it hard to do so when you never let us in. I want to care, and I do, but you live so far away and refuse to let any of us know what you want.” Ben hissed, tears forming in his eyes. “I love you Klaus, but you’re a hot mess.”

“You should support me no matter what Ben.” Klaus said softly. “I may not have been the best brother ever, but at least I cared. At least I always tried. I never left any of you behind.”

“I know.” Ben soothed. “We fucked up, a lot. I can’t pretend that didn’t happen. I knew you were suffering and I ignored it. And I’m a massive asshole for that and you can never forgive me for that if you want to. Shit, this is all coming out wrong Klaus. What I’m trying to say is that I understand, and we need to all work together to be better. That means you too.”

“What do you mean?” He asked.

“Let us in, talk to us, voice your concerns. Let us be a family again.” Ben said, stepping closer.

“Fine.” Klaus snapped. “But I get to make decisions, I can shut it down at any point and you all need to respect me. You’ve taken away my voice from me too many times already.”

“Okay.” Ben replied, sighing. “Okay.”

_________________________

Things didn’t get better after that.

But they also didn’t get worse so that was an advantage.

His siblings would come have dinner with them every Sunday, this time with Allison and Luther joining them.

Sure, sometimes Klaus would flinch whenever Allison talked, and Luther stared at him like he was afraid of breaking him, but they were slowing moving closer and closer to a semblance of family. And when his actual family fell short, his second family made up for it.

“Describe the ugliest ghost you’ve ever seen.” James asked, lounging on the back of the diner’s booth.

“Man in his forties.” Klaus grinned, his eyes sliding over to when Luke was sitting behind James. “Greying hair, kind of bald, bit pudgy.”

“You’re an asshole kid.” Luke groaned, causing Klaus to laugh. James was unfazed, now used to Klaus seeming to have conversations with people that weren’t there.

“They suck sometimes, but once the ghost of Ronald Reagan showed up beside my bed and I almost puked.” Klaus said, and James laughed, his head thrown back. Klaus grinned as well, taking a sip from his strawberry smoothie.

“Have you ever seen the ghost of a clown?” James asked, eyes wide. “Cause that sounds like the most terrifying thing I’ve ever seen in my entire life.”

“It was horrifying.” Klaus nodded, shuddering. “I called him Bobo the fool for a week before he started screaming at me, and let me tell you a mad dead clown is twice as scary as you could imagine.”

“You are the bravest person I’ve ever met.” James said, smiling softly. Klaus blushed, shaking his head.

“Shut up.” He muttered, and James laughed.

“No,” He said. “I mean it, you put up with so much shit dude. I don’t get how you do it.”

“I’ve done some fucked up shit.” Klaus said, suddenly serious, meeting James eyes. “Things that are very illegal and I don’t want to imagine what would happen if people were to find out.”

James paled slightly, but shook his head.

“Nice try.” He said. “Still think your brave.”

“Your impossible.” Klaus sighed, leaning back in his seat, unable to stop the small smile from crawling over his lips.

“Thanks.” James said, smiling widely at him and leaning down to take a large sip of his drink, Klaus copying him moments later.

Chapter Text

“What about this?” Agnes said, holding up a neutral colored tee shirt, which Klaus openly laughed at.

“Too normal.” He said, winking at her while pulling out a pattern shirt that included a bunch of sharks wearing suits. “This is more my style.”

Agnes blinked at it; her face unreadable for a few seconds before she smiled.

“Well, I’ve always loved a challenge.”

The two of them browsed the rest of the store, finding the most ridiculous outfits they could for Klaus to try on. With the winter coming to an end, the need for summer clothes was becoming more and more pressing.

He didn’t want to admit defeat and go and grab his academy shorts and shirt, so when Agnes promised to take him shopping, he could barely refuse. He hated spending her money, but she looked so excited at the prospect of going shopping with him that it eliminated any worries he held.

They left the first store with a pair of bright neon yellow and pink shorts, the shark print shirt, alone with a few tank tops with patterns of pineapples and toucans on them.

They passed by another store, and something in the window caught his eye.

The most beautiful summer dress he had ever seen, flowy with dark blue fabric, large white flowers printed across it.

“Agnes!” He said, tugging on her shirt and practically dragging her into the store. “Can I try it on? Pretty please?”

She squinted at the dress, pausing for a moment before turning around.

“Excuse me miss!” She called out, grabbing the attention of a store employee. “Can you please grab me down a medium size of that dress from the wall?”

The woman walked over, a frown adorning her face.

“Sorry, but that is in the kid sizes, I’m not sure it would-“ The woman started, but Agnes quickly cut her off.

“It’s for my son actually.” She said, a hand resting on Klaus’s shoulder.

He never got used to having Agnes call him her son, the first time it happened he stood in the same spot for almost ten minutes, unable to fully process it. It never got easier, and every time she did it he still got the fuzzy feeling in his chest.

“Oh.” The woman said, blinking for a second. “Sure then.”

Less than five minutes later, Klaus was standing in the most comfortable dress he had ever worn, twirling in front of the mirror as Agnes cooed about how beautiful he looked.

It cost them forty dollars, but it was his favourite purchase of the day.

Because Agnes is an absolute angel, she decided they immediately needed to go out for ice cream, even though the snow was still only melting and both of them still shivered slightly in the cold.

They sat at what she claimed to be the best ice cream in town, Klaus eating a cotton candy cone and Agnes opting for the gluten free vanilla. She was right, it was delicious.

“So, are you planning on having your siblings over next weekend for dinner?” She asked, leaning across the table with a soft smile on her lips, handing him a napkin to wipe of the ice cream staining his lips.

“Sure, can I invite mom over too? She needs to get out more.” Klaus asked, wiping his mouth. Their monthly family dinners always changed locations, normally being at Agnes and Klaus’s, but sometimes at some random restaurant that Allison insisted they needed to try. Either way, Klaus looked forwards to the occasion. The times when he could gather his entire family up and enjoy all of their presences.

“Of course honey.” Agnes said, waving a hand. “Grace is always welcomed in our household, as long as she promised to actually sit and enjoy herself instead of stressing herself out and trying to help me cook. She is a guest after all.”

“I’ll make sure to tell her that.” Klaus said with a cheeky grin, although they both knew there was no way to keep Grace from helping.

“You can also invite James and the twins over if you really want to.” Agnes put it. “He is such a sweetheart that boy.”

“Awesome.” Klaus grinned, taking one last bite of his cone. “I’ll extend the invite.”

_____________________________________________________

A week later all eight members of his actual family marched through the door, all of his siblings along with Grace and Pogo.

“I’ll take that, thanks Pogo.” Klaus said, reaching down to grab the container of cookies Pogo was carrying. He also grabbed the pie dish Grace was holding, pressing a quick kiss to her cheek in thanks.

Ben immediately pressed to his side, their shoulders brushing together in a way that was almost normal.

“I like your dress.” Five commented, teleporting to lounge on the couch. Klaus smirked, running a hand over the soft fabric of his new dress, still well worth the purchase. He did a little twirl, exaggeratedly winking at Five over his shoulder, his oversized and unnecessary sunhat almost falling off his head.

“Thanks.” He said with a giggle, making Five roll his eyes at him. The doorbell rang and Klaus ran to grab it, yanking the door open and immediately having an armful of two little squealing girls.

“I tried to contain them.” Sighed an exasperated looking James, who only stared sadly at his little sisters as they squirmed in Klaus’s arms.

“Nice attempt.” Diego said dryly, and James stuck his tongue out at him. Klaus was too busy trying to listen to both girls yammering to properly pay attention to how his family and friend were interacting.

“Klaus!” Ella cried, bouncing slightly in his arms. He was damn lucky he hadn’t dropped them both yet, he needed to put them down soon before his arms broke under their weight. “I learned a new word today, guess what it is.”

“Taxes?”

“Nope! Bibble!” She said, grinning widely. "It’s to drink or eat noisily."

“So what you always do?” James said, coming up and taking her out of his arms, leaving him just with Krissy.

“James!” She cried in protest, pulling on his hair like any well mannered five-year-old would.

“You always have the prettiest cloths Klaus.” Krissy said, her hands twisting in his dress. “When I’m older I want to dress like you.”

“Why don’t you now?” He said, pulling off his large sunhat and plopping it on her head, which caused her to giggle as it fell over her eyes.

“James!” She cried, wriggling out of his arms and running over to her older brother. “Look! I’m Klaus!”

“Why yes you are.” James said, grinning down at her and adjusting the hat so she could see. “So much better looking than him.”

“Hey!” Klaus squawked, causing James to cackle.

Ben appeared over his shoulder again, grinning softly at him.

“I think we’re planning on playing a game while waiting for dinner, any ideas?” He asked, gesturing to the rest of the family who were gathered around the living area, now talking to James and the two girls.

“Anything but monopoly,” Klaus said with a shutter. “We don’t need a repeat of that.”

Their last game of monopoly ended with the board not only impaled by two knives, but also snapped in half and teleported to the top of the house only to be flung into traffic, all while Ben and Vanya cackled at everyone else’s demise.

“I’ll keep that in mind.” Ben said, walking off towards Agnes’s game cupboard.

Klaus started to walk towards the rest of them, only to have Allison stop him halfway there.

“Hey Klaus, can I talk to you for a moment?” She asked, a bright smile on her face, she looked back at the rest of them before meeting his eyes. “Alone?”

He wouldn’t lie to say he wasn’t uneasy. It had been many months since the incident, and at least four since he forgave her, but sometimes spending time alone with her or Luther was still hard for him, the lingering effects of their betrayal still stinging inside.

“Yeah sure.” He said instead of letting himself fall into those concerns, letting her lead the way into one of the empty rooms that surrounded them. He didn’t feel trapped here, with Agnes a room away, the faint clang of her utensils and her chattering audible. “What’s up?”

“I’ve been thinking.” She said, her hands fidgeting slightly. “A lot.”

“Sounds horrible.” He said, sitting on the arm of one of the chairs.

“It’s about what I’ve done, did, to you.” She said in a rush, and he tried to ignore the way his heart beat faster, the pressure in his chest fluttered a little. “I want to make it better.”

“How?” He said coolly, no longer in a joking sort of mood.

“I can rumor your powers back.” She said, and Klaus’s heart dropped into his stomach. “It won’t be hard, and it will erase everything I did, and you can be fine again and-“

“Please stop.” He whispered, his eyes squeezing shut. Allison obligated; her mouth slamming shut as they sat in silence as Klaus tried to compose himself.

“I know you mean well.” He said evenly, taking a deep breath. “Your trying to help, but the thought of you even saying those words towards me again?” He trailed off, soft echoes of the words bouncing around his mind.

The thought of her rumoring him again, even for a good cause, it made his blood turn to ice and his breaths cloud with every puff.

And maybe he was fine without them now. He got rid of them and look where he was, living the dream with an amazing woman looking after him, a job he loved, and a best friend of his dreams. He wasn’t a killer anymore, a tool, a vessel for his powers.

Sure it sucked not having them, and he every so often yearned for them back, to levitate or send the fucking loud ghosts back to hell but he was fine now. He was normal, he was surviving. Sure the ghosts bugged him and his repressed powers hurt, but he couldn’t hurt anyone like this. Couldn’t make people afraid of him.

“Okay.” She whispered. “It was just an idea. I’m sorry.” She turned like she was about to leave, and he blindly reached out, desperate for any type of comfort.

He grabbed her and pulled her close, his head nestling into the warmth of her embrace, settling into the crook her neck. His arms locked around her waist; the fabric of her shirt soft against his bare skin. She only paused for a moment before she wrapped her own arms around him, pressing him closer as her head came to rest on top of his.

“I’m sorry.” She whispered again. “I love you Klaus.”

“I love you too Ally.” He murmured into her neck, relaxing into the embrace until they both pulled away and went to rejoin the rest of them, who had decided on playing Snakes and Ladders, which somehow Grace and the twins were horrible beating them all at.

_____________________________________

After a very loud and boisterous evening, the Hargreeves children all settled down in the living room for their annual serious talk. The adults were in the dining room, either talking themselves or cleaning up their mess.

Klaus swirled his glass of cranberry juice around, sipping on it every once or twice. Once again he briefly missed the joys of wine or hard liquor, but he managed to push the thought away. The carvings weren’t as bad anymore, sometimes they still flared up when he was alone in the streets, but he always managed to push it away in time.

“So, do we have any important tidbits of information to share?” He asked, looking around at his siblings. “Or are we just going to gossip about Diego’s horrible fashion sense?”

“Shut up.” Diego grumbled, self consciously rubbing at his black turtleneck and dark jeans. “We actually do have some small concerns.”

“Such as?” Klaus prompted, gesturing with his drink.

“We seem to be forgetting small things about our past lives.” Five cut in. “All of us are slowly forgetting details the longer we’re here.”

“I can’t remember the name of the boxing ring.” Diego offered.

“I can’t remember the first movie I starred in, or Patrick’s birthday.” Allison said.

“I can’t remember the name of my students.” Vanya said quietly.

“I don’t recall the date when the Handler picked me up, and I remember those type of things.” Five said solemnly.

“I can’t remember which book I was reading before we got here.” Ben put in.

“I don’t remember how to calculate the angle of the sun's path in relation to the planets around it.” Luther put in, and Klaus didn’t want to even think about how that was basic knowledge for Luther.

“That does sound worrying.” Klaus said slowly, searching his mind. “I would agree with you but I didn’t remember half of my life even before I got here so I can’t confirm nor deny.”

But when he really thought of it, small details were missing. Did he start drugs when he was 12 or 13? Was his first trip to the mausoleum when he was 6 or 7? What was his main dealers name? Was his bunkmate in the war named Greg or Peter? Was Dave’s hairy light brown or dark blonde?

He swallowed thickly, not liking the idea of forgetting things like that, letting his memories trickled out of his ears.

“So what do you think is happening?” He asked, already knowing Five had probably come up with at least two different possibilities.

“Well, it’s possible that the human mind may only be able to comprehend a certain amount of memories throughout its lifetime, and our minds cannot handle the overload of information being processed so it is simply filtering details out until we completely forget almost every details of our last life. It simply becoming vague events in our minds without any details or memories attached.” Five said, waving a hand vaguely.

“Any theories easier to comprehend?” He asked dryly, sighing when Five shook his head. “Fine, what’s the next idea.”

“More likely, is that slowly, move by move, we are erasing the last timeline and creating a new one. Our minds are not able to accept two different realities, and as we undo the last one, it is slowly being replaced in our minds, since it simply did not happen.” Five sighed, leaning back. “It’s pesky business, and I can’t know for sure.”

“Well that fucking sucks.” Klaus said, throwing his head back and sinking into the pillows.

“Tell me about it.” Diego grumbled, and Ben subtly pressed into Klaus’s side.

They both needed the comfort, that much was clear. What would happen if they forgot everything? Would their past friendship be able to hold their tender and fragile one they had here? Or would Klaus’s memory of happy times be completely erased by the tide of negative ones in this timeline?

Would Klaus forget about all the times Ben stayed and only remember the times he didn’t?

Would Klaus forget Dave? His time spent in Vietnam among the soldiers?

Would it be best for him to forget everything? Would it be that bad to settle down here, with Agnes and his family, and forget about the apocalypse, the hurt, and the trauma from the last timeline? He’d be able to fully get rid of the psychological cravings that sometimes sprung up, forget the images of war that haunted his dreams, maybe even be able to move on for Dave. Not all of it was good, but maybe it was for the best?

Vanya wouldn’t have to deal with the guilt of ending the world, Five wouldn’t remember his time spent in the apocalypse. Ben wouldn’t remember dying, Diego wouldn’t remember watching his friend die. Allison wouldn’t have to deal with the grief of leaving her daughter behind, and Luther wouldn’t remember the pointless years he spent trying to please their father.

Would it be worth it for everyone to forget all that shit? Would it be easier for them to move through this timeline as new people?

Klaus didn’t want to think about this anymore. Didn’t want to debate the possibilities anymore.

“We’ll have to just keep moving and decide what to do when it becomes more pressing.” He said finally, know they already came to conclusion and were only letting him know. Disadvantage of living apart from them, he was always the last to know things.

“Thank you for dinner tonight Klaus.” Vanya spoke up. “We had tons of fun.”

“Yeah,” He said, smiling faintly. “It was fun.”

____________________________________

It was a regular Monday morning.

He was operating the store by himself today, Cassy called in sick and none of the others were available for this morning.

He was fine running the store by himself for a few hours, the morning was always pretty slow, and he was able to spend most of his time in the kitchen, using up the rest of their resources to cook the remaining donuts.

Mondays were their supply run days, the times when Agnes would go down to their local provider and pick up many boxes of ingredients that they needed to last them the week. As a small café, they never needed much, but they still needed the supplies.

Being short staffed today wasn’t fun, and Agnes hated leaving him here alone, but not grabbing the supplies was a no go, so here he was in the store alone.

He was currently making some extra chocolate donuts, eating whatever leftover chocolate they had. Some of it would be used for hot chocolate, but the rest he was free to eat.

A glance at the clock told him it had been two hours since Agnes left, which was a bit longer than normal, but nothing out of the usual. Agnes was very well known around the community, walking with her was next to impossible half the time. They got stopped every ten seconds because she either saw a new type of bird, or someone recognized her and wanted to chat.

His chest suddenly flared up, the pressure morphing into pain so randomly and unexpected that it caused him to stumble and grab a hold of the counter to stabilize himself. The bowl of batter he was holding tumbling from his slack grip and crashing to the floor with a clang.

“Shit.” He gasped, his hand rubbing soothingly at his chest as the pain slowly lessoned and he was able to move again.

Batter had sprayed all over the floor, leaking from the bowl and splattering all over the tables and wall. He dropped to his knees, scooping up the last little bit salvageable in the bowl, placing it on the counter and staring hopelessly at the mess.

“Are you going to clean it or just stare at it all day?” Luke asked from where he stood in the doorway, a concerned look on his face. “You good kid?”

“Fine.” He hissed, pulling himself to his feet and ignoring the way his chest pulled with the movement. “Just tickety boo.”

“Really? Cause your not looking too hot here.” Luke pointed out, ever the perceptive one.

“I’m good.” He repeated, walking to the closet and pulling out a mop. “Just wasted a lot of chocolate, which is bloody expensive, but I’m good.”

Luke hummed slightly, watching him attempt to mop up the dirty floor. He only succeeds in smearing more of the brown gunk everywhere, creating a less than pleasant brown smear across the floor.

“Should I bleach it?” He asked, looking up to Luke for guidance.

“More definitely not.” Luke replied, and Klaus shrugged.

“Spoilsport.” He grumbled working again to clean the smear. Close to twenty minutes late the final drop was off the floor and he heard the bell over the front door ring.

He cheerfully poked his head out, not even looking at the customer quite yet. A few donuts were left in the oven, and if he didn’t grab them the customer would have a wide variety of just sprinkle donuts to choose from.

“I’ll be with you in a moment!” He called out, reaching towards the oven.

“Yeah yeah kid, do you know where Agnes is? I don’t have much time.” A gruff voice sounded, and Klaus felt his heart stop as he slowly turned. He knew that voice anywhere.

“Fucking hell.” He whispered as he came face to face with his former torturer, because he has just such wonderful luck.

“What the fuck are you doing here?” Klaus snapped, backing further away from the man who was standing in the kitchen doorway. His eyes darted to the knife block across the room, wondering if he could get to it in time.

“Woah kid!” Hazel said, holding his hands out placatingly. “Calm down. I’m not going to hurt ya. What’s your name?”

“You should know why fucking name your absolute crazy man.” Klaus hissed, and Hazel only blinked at him.

“Oh!” He said, after a moment, his eyes widening. “You’re that Hargreeves kid Agnes adopted, which I always found weird since I-, well that’s not important.”

“Since you kidnapped and tortured me?” Klaus bit out, and Hazel blinked slowly.

“Wait, are you from the future?” Hazel asked. “Did that little menace teleport you all back here? Huh, that makes a lot of sense.”

“What are you doing here?” Klaus repeated, grabbing a rolling pin and hoping it would be enough. “What do you want with Agnes?”

“Okay, well this is awkward.” Hazel rubbed the back of his neck, sighing loudly. “Well, to start off with, Agnes and I are married.”

“Okay.” Klaus said evenly, nodding his head slowly. “What the fuck?”

____________________________________________

"So, let me get this straight.” Klaus said from the opposite side on the counter, Hazel sitting a good fifty feet away, two glasses of hot chocolate in front of each of them. “You and Agnes are from the future, my future, and you guys traveled back in time to escape the commission and the apocalypse?”

“Pretty much yeah.” Hazel said, nodding as he took a long sip. “We teleported a good thirty ish years back, she decided to continue her business as a donut maker and I lived with her. We were happy.”

“What happened? She said you're often gone, I’ve never heard your name. Did you two get into a fight or something?” He asked, feeling slightly protective over his surrogate mother.

“I noticed signs of the commission poking around.” Hazel said carefully. “Around a year back. And I didn’t want to compromise our slice of heaven over here, so I went to investigate it. I come back every now and then, because her donuts are just too good to give up, but I had to make sure the commission isn’t a threat anymore.”

“But now your back.” Klaus said slowly.

“Yes, I have reasonable data to conclude that the commission has been poking around here, and I’m worried that she might be in danger. It's either her or you and your merry little band of twerps. So where is she now? Back at home?” Hazel said, looking around like Agnes was going to walk out of the corner.

Klaus himself felt his heart turn to ice and plop down into his stomach.

“She went out for a supply run.” He said quietly, glancing at the clock. “Over three hours ago.”

Hazels eyes widened, and Klaus felt his throat begin to block up.

“Shit.” Hazel said, jumping to his feet. “Call your family, that’s not good. Fuck!”

Hazel was immediately dashing for the closet, and Klaus ignored him in favor of rushing to the phone and dialing the academy number.

“Klaus?” It was Vanya, her voice soft and confused. “What’s up?”

“I need to talk to Five.” He snapped. “Now.”

Vanya listened immediately, and Klaus heard her yell for Five. In under ten seconds Five’s voice was filtering through the speaker.

“Yes?” He asked, almost annoyed.

“Commissions here.” He snapped, and he heard Five’s intake of breath. “We think they have Agnes, please you guys gotta come help.”

“What?” Five asked. “Who’s me? Where are you?”

“I don’t have time!” He cried, tears of frustration and worry rushing to his eyes. “Please just get everyone and get down here.”

“Okay.” Five said, and the dial tone hissed as he hung up.

Klaus sat down heavily, shoving his head between his legs to try and ease the pressure in his chest. James taught him that trick. It didn’t help.

He knew she was taking too long to pick up the supplies, he knew something was wrong. And yet he ignored it, kept working as if nothing was wrong. And now Agnes was missing, even though she always came immediately back to the store after her pickup. And the commission was in town, an organization meant to get rid of space and time abnormalities.

It added up in the worst of ways and the more Klaus thought of it the more panic raced into his mind.

“Come on kid, pull it together.” Hazel snapped, walking back into the room, this time with two large rifles and man knives strapped to his body. “Are they coming?”

As if answering his question, there was a bright flash and with a blinding blue all six of his siblings warped into the diner, all looking overly worried.

“Oh,” Five said, staring at Hazel. “It’s you.”

“Nice to see you too short stack. We don’t have time for this, I think I know where they are.” Hazel said, tossing Five one of the guns, which the boy caught easily.

“I don’t want to pull my family back into this.” Five hissed, and the thought of any of them refusing to help made Klaus’s chest ache.

“Five, please.” He begged, his voice rough and desperate and he saw Five’s defiance crumble the second their eyes connected.

“I wasn’t going to say no.” Five grumbled. “I like her just as much as everyone else.”

“Good.” Hazel said, nodding at them all, wincing as Diego and Ben glared him down. “Let’s get going.”

______________________________________

According to Hazel, who had been scouting Commission friendly places this past few years, the most likely place they’d be keeping her is in an old abandoned bookstore on the outskirts of town.

Klaus vaguely remembered it from his time as a druggie, a safe spot to meet with his dealer. But now it only left him a sinister feelings, making his stomach turn and his chest pulse with building pressure.

Hazel insisted on going first, because apparently now that they were in kids’ bodies he felt obligated to keep them safe.

“Agnes would kill me if I let you get hurt.” He said as he was looking right at Klaus.

The shop was dark when they crept inside, and it didn’t help the nervous energy rushing through Klaus. None of his siblings tried to calm him down, they all knew it was a lost cause. He would be miserable until he got back to Agnes, and would probably remain miserable for a couple of months before this all blew over.

“We check all the room together; I don’t know how many people are here or what we’ll find.” Hazel whispered. “Do not split up.”

They all nodded, and Klaus clenched tighter onto the small knife given to him as a weapon. None of the others needed one except him, and Diego of course.

He hated how dark the shadows around the store was, reminding him of the ever-familiar wisps of shadow he used to control, a reminder of death. He shuddered, his chest rolling and twisting like a live beast as he swallowed against the pain.

They moved in between the shelves, peering down each one in hope of finding a lurking agent, or even better, Agnes tied up unharmed and waiting for them.

They cleared the room, moving slowly towards the back room. He hated how tense everyone was, like they were afraid of something. He was afraid to, but he tried not to be, tried to tell himself the rising panic was just some stupid anxiety.

They walked into the pitch-black room, and he heard someone fumbling around with the light switch and Klaus snapped his eyes shut as bright light stung his eyes.

He regretted opening them again.

Sitting there in the middle of the room, was Agnes. Tied to a chair, her eyes wide open in shock and a bullet hole in her forehead.

“No.” He whispered, stumbling towards her, hands outreached but too afraid to touch, to accept the reality.

She was dead.

She was dead.

“Klaus,” Ben said, his hand resting on Klaus’s shoulder but he pulled away, tears running down his cheeks and the air stolen from his lungs.

“No.” He whispered, falling to the ground in front of her, a shaky hand reaching up to brush against her cheek.

It was cold.

He was reminded of the bodies he killed, the corpses that touched him when he grew powerful enough to touch them.

She was dead.

“Agnes.” He cried out, his hands cupping her cheek and brushing over the trail of blood seeping down her skin.

There was a piece of paper on her lap, resting beside her clenched hands, dotted with red blood.

He shakenly picked it up, unable to stare at her. Unable to process. He could barely hear Hazel in the back, arguing and almost shouting. He couldn't hear it over the rushing in his mind. Instead he unfolded the brittle paper, tears obscuring his vision as he tried to read the scribbled words.

His heart stopped as he read the words, his breath catching as his chest heaved trying in vain to grab the oxygen floating around him.

“It’s my fault.” He sobbed the paper falling from his shaking hands. The room went silent as they all turned to him.

“Klaus,” Allison said, stumbling towards him, her eyes wide with shock.

“It’s my fault.” He repeated, angrily tossing the paper towards them. It pathetically fluttered to the ground, and no one bother to pick them up. The words were already drilled into his brain.

They killed her to get to him. Because he changed the timeline by leaving his family. He doomed her to death.

She had taken him in. Provided him with love and a home. Showed him how to cook donuts and offered him a job and a home when he had nothing. She took him in as a son, given him every shred of her kindness and what did she get in return?

A goddamn bullet to the brain.

It was all his fault.

He crumpled in on himself, sobbing loudly as a hand snaked out, grasping onto her cold and unmoving fingers, begging her to wake up, to hold him and call him her son and kiss the top of his head again.

The pressure inside his chest was building until it was just pain, and he might have been screaming. Whether it being from grief or from pain he wasn’t too sure.

He killed her, forced the commissions hand to shoot her in the head because he decided to be dramatic and run off into the night. If he just stayed home, if he just sucked it the hell up, maybe she would have been alive.

Was she scared when she died? Did she cry? Beg for them not to kill her? Or did she stare into their eyes and tell them to go to hell? Did she think they would save her? Did she believe to her dying breath that Klaus and Hazel would come to her rescue, even if he was the one to condemn her?

Did she know it was his fault? Did she blame him?

He couldn’t deal with this.

She loved him, and now she’s dead. And it was too much for him to take.

He was screaming now, loud shuddering sobs that racked his entire body as he lay on the ground, unable to do anything other than cy and scream.

He screamed for himself, for everything he lost, Dave, his family, his powers, her. He screamed for Agnes, whose only crime was loving someone who maybe didn’t deserve to be loved.

Why did everyone he loved die?

His chest was filled with stabbing pain, as if his heart was pounding so hard it was breaking out of his ribcage, smashing into the skin holding it in and trying to escape, to hop out of his chest so it too could scream the pain it was feeling.

He opened unseeing eyes, staring blankly at the ceiling with his mouth open in a silent scream as he felt something deep deep inside him break.

And the world crumbled under his feet.

Chapter Text

Klaus woke up to darkness.

The dark sky was swirling over him, his head pounding as he blinked sluggishly.

He sat up, his head spinning as he looked around, blinking rapidly to try and clear his vision.

His head felt like a hammer was taken to his skull and his limbs felt weak, like he lifted a thousand pounds and ran a thousand miles.

“Hello?” He called out, trying to remember what had happened, how he got here.

There was nothing around.

A dust like substance floated through the air, and the sky was a dark blackish grey, like massive storm clouds were hovering over him for as far as he could see. And he could see a long while.

All the buildings around him were piles of rubble, leaving him sitting in what was almost flat enough to be a field, nothing but the piles of metal and bricks surrounding him.

What happened? Where is everyone? Why was he so alone?

“Hello!” He called out. “Ben? Five? Agnes? Where are you guys?” He shouted, standing up and stumbling a bit as his equilibrium was upset, he put his hand out to steady himself on a piece of rubble when it slid out from under him, causing him to fall painfully onto his knees. “Shit.”

He picked himself back up, rubbing his hands on the leg of his pants, brushing off the dust that was gathering on his palms.

He looked down at the pile of bricks he knocked over, kicking at one dejectedly.

That’s when he saw it.

An arm sticking out from the rubble, small and pale and covered in so much blood he almost thought it was a ghost’s hand at first.

“What the hell?” He said, falling back to his knees and digging through the bricks and wood, ignoring the scrapes cutting across his palms. An uneasy feeling came over him, a memory at the edge of his mind but not quite close enough for him to see.

He kept digging, until slowly a body was revealed, brick by brick, until he saw a face staring back at him.

“No.” He whispered, falling backwards as he stared at the corpse. It was Five, blank eyes staring up at nothing, his chest caved in and blood covering his skin, making it slick and shiny. “God no.”

Memories started flooding back, Agnes kissing the top of his head and telling him to be good before leaving shop, Hazel running in, calling his siblings, finding Agnes’s body, a pressure building up, and then….

Nothing.

Darkness.

A hand flew to his chest, ready to settle the unease there before realizing there was none there. There was no reminisce of his powers deep inside his chest. He focused harder and he felt it flooding through his bone, unrestrained and running loose.

Had he done this?

Looking up again, the dark sky looked less like storm clouds and more like black smog. Black smoke.

Death.

He killed them all.

“No!” He cried out, frantically digging through the dirt and ash. One by one he uncovered body by body, his mind racing as he stared at them all.

Hazel beside Agnes’s body, the two of them wrapped together despite one already being dead long before the other.

Luther, shielding Diego with his body, both of them seemingly crushed by falling bricks.

Allison with her hand reaching out towards her brothers, fear still frozen in her eyes.

Vanya, her eyes squeezed good in the empty space between rubble, tear tracks still visible from where she lay, no blood or any visible injuries, but still very much dead.

And lastly Ben, his hands outreached towards where Klaus woke up, his mouth open in some sort of cry and the whites of his eyes were dark red with blood.

He killed them all, and looking around, he saw things he didn’t before.

Bodies littered the streets, and as he stumbled down the streets away from the bodies of his family, he saw more and more corpses lying in the remains of the town.

Some of them were simply lying in the street, their eyes open in shock. Others were only limbs sticking out of building remains, other were stuck in almost defensive positions, with long scratch marks up and down their bodies. Like someone had clawed them to death, ripping at their skin like it was paper.

He turned away, unable to look anymore, mechanically walking back towards where his families remains sat.

He fell to his knees, in the middle of the destruction, unscathed when the rest of the world lay around him, dead and bloody.

“Klaus.” Someone whispered, and he squeezed his eyes shut, tears finally pouring down his cheeks as he fell to the ground, too weak to hold himself up any longer.

He killed the entire world. He knew it without being around to see. Could feel all their dead souls inhabiting the spiritual plane, lost and confused and in so much pain.

“Klaus.” The voices hissed once more.

“Go away.” He cried out, finding it hard to breath through the dust in the air, clogging his nose and throat. Tears traced a path down his face like shooting stars, and he gasped in dust that tasted like space dust.

He could remodel the world right now if he wanted, knew that if he desired he could reach down into his power and not only kill the entire worlds population but the world itself, destroy the planet he stood on and join the cosmos in their orbit.

“Klaus!” Someone screamed, and his eyes snapped open, once again taking in the world.

He could no longer see for hundred of miles past the buildings he leveled, but only in fact see a few feet in front of him.

A pair of shoes stood in front of him, and to the left and right of his too. Slowly raising his eyes, he stared around him at the hundreds of grim faces staring back. All covered in soot, ashes and blood.

Thousands of ghosts circled him, and slowly their voices raised, hundreds of them screaming his name, begging for answers, demanding to know why he killed them, murdered them.

“I’m sorry.” He choked out, falling down to his ass and scooting back as they reached out towards them, their skin shifting blues as their faces warped. “I didn’t mean to.”

“You killed us!” They screamed at him, pure rage twisting their faces as they snarled. “You murdered us all.”

“I’m sorry!” He screamed, his knees coming up to hit his chest, his arms shielding his head and covering his ears as their screams carried louder, snapping and screaming and demanding vengeance. He could feel tehri hands on him, pulling and scratching but he refused to move, building up to hysterics as he cried and screamed, the weight of millions of deaths settling onto his shoulders.

He grabbed at his hair, pulling and tugging as he started screaming.

He killed them all, destroyed the towns, brought the apocalypse. He had snapped, and his powers had lashed out while acting as a part of him, and destroyed it all.

He could still feel his power running through his veins, see the faint blue glow of his hands and he wanted it all to stop.

And so it did.

And with one final blast of bright electric blue mixing in with the black floating in the sky, Klaus’s vision faded into darkness.

_____________________

It was a normal Monday morning.

He was still worn out from shopping tomorrow, and he couldn’t wait until this weekend when Agnes and him were scheduled to go get him some summer clothes. He hated taking her money like this, but she insisted so really how could he refuse?

Agnes was out grabbing their latest supply run, she had only been gone for a few minutes when something in his chest ached suddenly all of his siblings suddenly stumbled into the store, dirty and panting, their eyes wide with what looked like terror.

“Shit!” He cried, running out to meet them, grabbing Five as he stumbled over a step. “What the hell happened?”

“Klaus.” Ben only choked out, reaching forwards and grabbing him, pulling him into his chest and sobbing. Klaus grabbed a hold of him, carefully letting Five go when he was sure his brother would be okay. Ben was sobbing, holding onto him like Klaus had just died.

“What’s wrong?” He asked, gently petting Ben’s hair in an attempt in comfort. He looked up at his siblings, who were all staring at him with the same heartbreaking expression. “Are you guys okay?”

“We just came from the future.” Luther spoke up, a slightly haunted look on his face. “A couple weeks from now.”

“What?” He asked, pulling Ben slightly closer. “Why?”

“The world ended.” Five said, slumped in a booth, his nose bleeding and eyes storming. “The apocalypse started.”

“What?” He asked, his eyes flickering to Vanya, who was crying.

Vanya lying on the ground, her eyes scrunched up in pain with tear tracks visible on her still cheeks, mixing with the blood.

He shook away the thought that wasn’t quite his, blinking in confusion.

“It wasn’t her.” Allison spoke up, almost protectively. “Maybe we should sit.”

“I still have a store to run.” He said weakly, but he looked down at a still sobbing Ben, a shell shocked Five, and the rest of his haunted siblings and knew he had no choice. After gently bullying an almost catatonic Ben into the booth beside Five, he flipped the sign on the door to closed before running into the kitchen and quickly bringing back seven waters.

He slid into the booth beside Ben, who somehow managed to curl towards him and away from him at the same time. Klaus tried not to think about.

“So, anyone going to explain why you all stumbled in looking like hell?” He asked, spreading his hands out on the table. He was trying and failing to hide his concern.

“Well, three weeks from now the world ends.” Five said dryly.

“Who ends it?” He asked, and everyone at once avoids his eyes.

“You do.” Diego said softly, and Klaus blinked at the revelation.

An overwhelming pressure in his chest breaking free, dead corpses around him, thousands of dead staring him, accusing him.

“What are you talking about?” He laughed nervously, leaning away to hide the way his eyes wet themselves with tears that he quickly blinked away.

“The commission showed up. Things happened; your powers came back.” Five summarized, sighing loudly. “I didn’t see it coming, I should have.”

“it wasn’t your fault.” Vanya said lowly, and Klaus stared at the table.

“We barely managed to get out.” Diego said softly, staring at the table and avoiding Klaus’s eyes. “Five barely managed to grab a hold of us and get us out before everything went.”

“Why didn’t I teleport back with you?” He asked before he could really consider the question.

It was silent for a long time, and when someone spoke, it was Ben who broke the silence.

“I couldn’t reach you.” He said softly, his voice thick with remorse. “I tried to grab you, but you were too far away and I couldn’t save you.”

Ben reaching towards were Klaus stood, his mouth twisted as if calling out, blood staining his eyes and temple.

“Oh.” He said softly, because how else can you react to learning that you not only started the apocalypse but were left alone there because your siblings couldn’t save you?

“I’m sorry.” Ben said, fresh tears pouring down his cheeks. “If I just reached a little farther-“

“Don’t apologize.” He said quickly. “I’d rather you guys be here without me than you guys die and never have the chance to come back and fix this. Don’t feel bad, I’m here now right?” He tried to smile, frail and slightly hysterical because he was still trying to wrap his head around the fact that he caused the fucking apocalypse.

“I’m sorry.” Ben cried again, launching across the space between them to latch onto him again, a hand wrapping around his wrist as if searching for a pulse. Klaus melted into the embrace, and didn’t care as his other siblings slowly joined, all of them collapsing into one giant dog piles of limbs and frail nerves.

After a few minutes, they started pulling away, and Klaus blinked trying to pull himself together.

But how together can he be when knowing he caused the end of the world? Maybe this was what he was always destined to do. Maybe he had no other choice but to keep fucking everything up for everyone, to keep killing his friends, his family, and now the entire world. Maybe he was destined to leave a stain of death and darkness over the world no matter what he did, no matter what path he went down.

“So what now?” he asked, his head up. “Where do we go from here?”

“We stop the commission.” Allison said, looking around. “We make sure there’s no issues with you or anything else.”

“Who did the commission kill?” He asked, but the question was answered in their silence.

Agnes strapped to a chair, her eyes lifeless, blood trickling down her forehead around the gaping hole in her skull.

“Agnes.” He said, mostly to himself than anyone else. He restrained the urge to dart to phone and call her now, telling himself they still had a week, that Agnes would come back within minutes with a smile on her face and a skip in her step.

“I’m sorry Klaus.” Five said. “Truly I am. But it’s not going to happen, we’re going to save her and everyone else.”

The ‘save them from you’ wasn’t there nor was it implied, but Klaus thought it either way.

A hand absentmindedly rubbed at his chest, expecting the familiar ache he always got when thinking about the destructive qualities of his power.

Except it didn’t come.

He looked down, blinking in surprise when he felt no reminder of the ball of coiled up something inside his chest, aching and pushing and squirming.

“Klaus?” Vanya asked, sounding worried. “Is something wrong?”

“I can’t feel it.” He said absent mindedly, searching through the depths of himself in search. There was no coil deep inside him, twisting and begging to be released. Only a sense of calmness, familiarity, a long lost relative finally coming home.

“Can’t feel what?” Luther asked, sounding confused and slightly apprehensive.

“The effects of the rumor.” He whispered, holding his hands out and inspecting the skin. It seemed paler, and he felt his heart beat slow, his mind clearing as his breath soundlessly escaped through his mouth. His eyes fluttered shut, and he felt the calm wash through him, could feel the familiar tumble through his veins, almost like something finally came home.

He could see muffled light through his eyelids and when he opened his eyes back up again the veins in his arms were glowing blue, a slight blue haze covering his vision as there was a low rumbling as his water glass flew off the table and slammed forcefully into his hands, causing him to stumble back as the front of his shirt was soaked.

His eyes widened and he looked up at his siblings, who were staring at him with something similar to fear in their eyes.

His power rising through his veins, his head clearing for the first time in what felt like forever feeling the souls of everyone in the world molding under his hands like putty.

“I’m sorry.” He said, stumbling away from them. “I don’t know how.”

“Some effect of time travel, somehow it unlocked the rumor.” Five whispered, staring at him wide-eyed.

“Please don’t hurt me.” He whispered, his heart pounding and visions of Vanya locked in his cage, Allison rumoring him, Reginald killing him over and over again.

“No one's going to hurt you Klaus.” Diego soothed, glaring the rest of them down like they were going to disagree with him. But all f them looked almost horrified at the idea, like the thought had never crossed their mind.

“I’ve escaped the apocalypse twice now apparently,” He grumbled, staring Klaus in the eyes. “I don’t want to lose you Klaus. We can work this out, save Agnes, save the world and maybe make everything alright.” Five came closer, sticking a hand out in an offering of peace. “But we have to work together. No more lies, no more deceiving, just us as a family working to save the world. Do you agree?”

Klaus stared at the hand, taking deep breaths and staring into Five’s eyes for any sense of deception. He could feel him familiar powers wrapping around him still, calming despite the dangers surrounding them.

He hesitantly stepped forwards, reaching out and grabbing Five’s hand, and before he knew what was happening Five was pulling him forwards and trapping him inside an embrace.

“We’re not going to hurt you.” His brother whispered fiercely. “Not now, not ever. We’re not making the same mistakes over again.”

Klaus nodded, his head falling against Fives shoulder as he relaxed into the warm embrace.

“Your going soft.” He muttered into Fives shoulder.