One moment they were on Klaus’s top bunk in their shared tent, legs tangled together and hands running over sweat-slick skin and lips colliding in a passionate kiss before they went out to the trench tomorrow to fight in another pointless escapade and the next Dave is accidentally opening the latch on the briefcase Klaus kept under his pillow and they were encapsulated in blinding white light. When they were able to see again, they’re on a bus, and a man reading the morning paper looked up at them over the top of his glasses and glanced away, disinterested.
Klaus didn't remember what it was like to be on a bus, not after years living in 1968 and it’s obvious that Dave had no idea what the fuck was going on if the way his fingers clenched the seat was any indication. “Woah, hey, it’s alright.”
"Babe," Dave hissed and once Klaus pride his fingers away from the bench they gripped onto Klaus's hand instead. "What the fuck just happened? Where are we?"
The briefcase was on the floor between their legs and Klaus used the hand that wasn't held in a vice-like grip to pick it up and lay it across his lap. The date on the code was still set to the same day he had left. "How the hell did you manage to open this?" Klaus ran his fingers over the cool metal latch. He was surprised that nobody had found it and confiscated it. "It was under my pillow and you were on top of my pillow so really that shouldn't have happened."
"We were busy," Dave defended "I didn't know it was under there but once I touched it I was... curious." He flushed and looked away. "But that doesn't matter. Are you going to tell me where the fuck we are?" Suddenly he gasped and his eyes widened. "Are we... are we in your time? The one you told me about? Where you came from the day we met?"
"I don't think there are buses like this back in '69," Klaus laughed as he patted his boyfriend's arm. He often thought about that fateful night, dropping into the middle of the barracks bleeding in nothing but a towel just as the choppers flew overhead and a gun was shoved into his waiting arms. Dave had been the first friendly face Klaus saw. "But this looks exactly the same as when I left. Nothings changed."
Laughing, Dave rested his head on Klaus's shoulder. "Does this mean you can finally introduce me to these siblings that I've heard so little about?"
Klaus peered out the bus window at the swiftly passing landscape blurring by. "Well, it looks like the world hasn't quite ended yet, so that's nice." He looked down at their laps and the scratchy sheet coving them. "We'd probably need a new change of clothes. I want to make a good impression."
"If you say so," Dave smiled into his skin, knowing damn well that Klaus didn't give a fuck.
It was awkward and a little difficult to maneuver around the streets of the place Klaus has never called home but eventually, they found a store owner who took pity on them and gave them some sale clothes for free. "They had to go anyway" she insisted when Dave tried to refuse.
"I promise we'll come back and pay you when we get the money ma'am" Dave called over his shoulder as Klaus dragged him out of the store.
"Stop being so gentlemanly," Klaus said as they made their way to the Hargreeves estate in their new clothes. "Nobody has talked like that in years. Everyone are assholes now."
"We are going to pay her back, right Klaus?" Dave asked as they ducked into a side street. "Right?
Now they stood before the grand imposing house of the Hargreeves mansion. Through the tinted windows, Klaus could see how ruined the inside was and wondered which of his siblings did it. Probably Luther and Diego. Dave gazed up at it in awe. "It's huge," he turned to Klaus. "This is where you grew up? You told me it was horrible."
"I never said there was anything wrong with the house," Klaus rose his hand to the handle and immediately wavered. He turned to Dave, expression grim. "Look- my family is absolutely shit, no doubt about it. They're going to crack the shits at me for not being here and they're going to get even shitier when they see me go in with you. So I just really don't want you to think any differently of me because of them, alright?"
Dave shot him a dazzling smile as he took his hand. "I promise. Nothing in this world could possibly change how much I love you," he indulged as he pushed past Klaus and shoved open the heavy wooden door.
The first thing that shocked Klaus was that the large ornate chandelier that usually hung high in the sky like glistening stars now lay in a shattered heap against the floor. The furniture was shattered in multiple places and blood was splattered around the room. Grace was currently cleaning away the crystalline shards of the ruined light fixture and she looked up as Klaus approached. "Oh hello dear," she smiled. "I was just cleaning up. It seems your brothers got into another fight last night- but what can you expect? Shall I make you up something to eat? You're looking absolutely famished."
"Oh mum, this is-" Klaus began but before he could finish introducing his boyfriend to his mother, a loud, guttural voice shouted from the next room and Klaus wasn't sure if he missed it or hated it.
"Is that Klaus?" Diego demanded as he forced his way into the room. He stopped short when he saw Klaus holding hands with a stranger. "Oh, look what the cat dragged in. Nice of you to finally show up."
At his side, Dave tightened his hold on Klaus's hand. "Uh, hey Diego. Long-time no see..."
Slowly, Luther, Five and Allison followed their brother into the room. "Don't play dumb," Diego snapped. "Patch is dead because she went to save your stupid ass instead of being a home where she was safe."
Dave and Klaus exchanged glances. "Uh, I don't... you mean when Cha-Cha and Hazel kidnapped and tortured me?" Klaus asked uncertainly and Diego took a step back at the mention of torture. "Oh shit, is she dead? Oh, Diego, I'm sorry..."
"Where the hell have you been?" Luther asked sternly, crossing his arms and moving to circle Klaus. "We couldn't find you anywhere.” While he spoke Five had come forward and looked Klaus up and down like he was inspecting something new and unusual.
“Well…” Klaus began nervously and Dave shifted so he was closer to Klaus. He felt the warmth of Dave behind his back, body heat much different to his own, and felt reassured. “You wouldn’t believe me if I told you. I was uh,” Dave bent his head and placed a gently his on the back of Klaus’s neck. He cleared his throat at all the scrutinising and angry looks from his siblings. “I was in 1968 for a while, and we fought in the Vietnam War.”
The looks on their faces were ones Klaus had expected. Allison looked doubtful and glanced down at him in pity and Klaus knew she would ask him what he had taken soon enough. Five pinched the bridge of his nose in exasperation. Luther looked bored and disinterested in the corner, hardly even looking in Klaus’s direction. Diego... Diego was angry, eyes burning with fire as he breathed heavily through his nose like an enraged bull and reached forward to grab at Klaus. “You’re really fucking joking right now, when assassins invaded our home and the fucking world is ending and Patch is dead because of you, all because you-”
Diego had moved to clutch at the lapel of Klaus’s shirt but before his fingers could even brush against the fabric, Dave was there, standing sentry in front of Klaus with a fury to almost match Diego’s, a hand out against Diego’s chest to push him back. “I think that’s enough there, soldier,” Dave said slowly. “I suggest you take a couple of steps back now.”
Breathing heavily, Diego looked down at Dave’s hand in disgust. “Who the fuck do you think you are?”
“I’m Klaus’s boyfriend,” Dave said, head held high and he smiled brightly over his shoulder at Klaus. He turned back to the angry man before him. “And I don’t like people treating the man I love like shit. As you’re doing now.”
Allison sighed as she came closer. “Come on, Klaus, I thought you were done picking up people to sleep with on the street.” Dave and Klaus exchanged confused looks. “There isn’t any way for you to get clean if you’re constantly fucking your dealers and other junkies. It’s not fair to either of you when they find out you only want them for drugs.”
Dave looked so offended that Klaus was worried he was going to start throwing punches, so he wrapped his arms around his middle and pulled Dave to his chest. “Uh, he’s not a junkie.” Klaus tried to explain but knew it was no use. “He’s a soldier, and I’ve been clean for years. You can’t get drugs in the trenches.”
“Cut the crap, Klaus,” Luther sighed. “You always run away when things get tough. You don’t stick around to help out, you wait for an opening and save your own ass before anyone else’s. Telling us that you time travelled to 1968 is complete and utter bullshit and we all know it.”
“Wow,” Dave tilted his head to Klaus. “You told me your family was shit but I never realized how much they hated you. No wonder you stayed with me for as long as you did.”
“You don’t even get to talk about our family, new guy!” Diego roared as he pointed his finger at Dave’s chest. Klaus pulled him back a few feet so they were standing away from the rest of the Hargreeves. “You’ve been here for thirty-fucking-seconds and you already think you know everything about us?” He turned to Klaus and Klaus did he best to stand tall instead of shrinking back. “What the fuck have you got to say for yourself? Patch died yesterday because you were such a fucking idiot that someone had to save your ass for you.”
Dave spat. “Well, none of you saved him so thank god she got there when she did. If it wasn’t for her, none of you would have even known Klaus was missing and he probably would have been dead!” This took Diego off guard for a second and he took a step back to process the heated words thrown at him.
But Klaus wasn’t thinking that at all- the word ‘yesterday’ was rattling around his head like a marble in a coconut and he suddenly felt the need to sit down. “Yesterday? What do you mean she died yesterday?”
Five was looking at Klaus strangely. “What the hell are you talking about?”
“I’ve been fighting in Vietnam for almost five years,” Klaus said quietly, eyes scanning the floor. “I haven’t been with any of you for so long I almost forgot what you all looked like. There’s no fucking way you haven’t noticed…” he exchanged a look with Dave, who looked so sad compared to Klaus’s wide-eyed confusion, at least he had already figured it out himself. “Unless time went differently for you guys, or…”
“Or it brought you back to the last day it was programmed with,” Dave continued and Klaus felt like his brain was leaking out of his ears. “Which was the day you left. I’m sorry, baby.”
Luther pushed himself away from the wall and looked annoyed at Klaus. “Are you really high at a time like this? Is this how you want to die- high off your ass at the end of the world? You’re disgusting.”
Klaus shrunk away from Luther like his words physically hurt him and Dave put a comforting hand on his shoulder. Five steepled his hands under his nose and looked at Klaus with a clinical eye. “Klaus, you know I am not one who falls for petty tales, but I need to be convinced. The biggest loop-hole in your story is that you, as far as I am aware, are not a time-traveller like I am, so the only way you could have even gotten to 1968 and back in the first place would be if you had come into possession of-”
“A briefcase?” Klaus finished, holding the big black case that he had carried from the bus and had been holding at his side the entire time, his family too wrapped up in meaningless things to even notice it. “I took it from Cha-Cha and Hazel when Patch came to rescue me. I crawled through a vent and escaped but I opened it on a bus because I thought it had money or something that I could sell but instead it took me… to 1968.”
That’s when Five caught sight of the matching glint of metal beneath their clothing, the army tattoo’s on their shoulders that Five knew Klaus didn’t have a few days ago but looked old and worn, the scars that Klaus didn’t have when he was taken by Cha-Cha and Hazel and how drastically his scrawny, sickly brother had seemed to bulk up with muscle. The bags under his eyes were heavier as if the sleep he had gotten was interrupted and he had a new twist to his features that told him his excitable brother had seen some shit. All the blood seemed to rush out of Five’s face at once, “Oh Klaus,” He breathed and Klaus didn’t want to hear his pity. “Why the fuck would you stay there for five years when you had the briefcase with you all along?”
Something burned in Klaus’s chest, like he had inhaled fire or tasted the strongest whisky, but not as pleasant. “Maybe I just wanted to know what it felt like to be loved for the first time in my life.” He gritted out and both Diego and Five flinched and took a step away.
Dave took him by the arm. “Come on,” he whispered in his ear as he dragged Klaus up the stairs. “They’re not worth you.” Klaus let his love drag him up the stairs and into the tiny room that had been his since he was a kid and tucked them under the covers. When they laid there together, Dave’s head on Klaus’s chest and Klaus’s chin on the top of Dave’s head and both pairs of arms wrapped tightly around each other, Dave spoke with a faint laugh to his voice that Klaus couldn’t help but smile at. “When you told me they were the worst I guess I thought you were over exaggerating.”
“Oh no, my family is actually the worst,” Klaus sighed into Dave’s hair. “You don’t get any more fucked up than the Hargreeves.”
“I’m sorry,” Dave’s voice was muffled by his face pressed into Klaus’s shirt. “I never should have opened that briefcase, even accidentally. I knew you didn’t want to come back here and I’ve just doomed you to a fate you never wanted.”
“Eh, it’s fine,” Klaus threaded his fingers into Dave’s hair. “Nothing we can do now. We can go back at any time if there are people who’ll miss you?”
Dave’s laugh against his collarbone felt like the flutter of a butterfly’s wings on his skin. “Do you think I would have enlisted in the war for so long if there were?”
“Fair.” Klaus laughed. Dave tightened his arms around Klaus’s torso and buried his face into his chest. “We could always just go back and forget this ever happened? They’ll be left wondering where we went and we can live out the rest of our life in 1971?”
They fell asleep like that, curled up within each other and clinging to the other in Klaus’s tiny bed like their life depended on it.
Downstairs, the rest of his siblings argued like they were in the middle of a (metaphorical) war. It was Five who managed to regain order and everyone gave him their attention, still fuming. “Right,” He said as he smoothed out his coat. “What we must take into account is that Klaus has been living backwards in time for over four years. He has more life experiences and more knowledge about combat fighting than he did when he left. That’s all that’s changed.”
Luther, who had managed not to strangle Diego for getting up in his face, shook his head. “I’m not buying it. If he had the briefcase and could have come back the moment he got there, then why didn’t he? He wouldn’t have done that- Klaus isn’t strong enough to fight in a war, let alone the Vietnam War.”
“Well, I don’t necessarily blame him,” Allison snapped from where she was leaning against the back of the couch. “He was kidnapped and tortured and not a single one of us knew he was missing.”
“That’s not our fault,” Diego paced around the room, anger radiating off of him in waves. “He runs off and goes missing all the time- how were we supposed to know that this time was because he was kidnapped? And I don’t trust that guy- Dave or whatever the fuck his name is. I think he’s just hanging on to Klaus because he’s weak and can be easily manipulated. I doubt he actually gives a fuck whether he lives or dies.”
Five took a deep, calming breath. “I, for one, believe him entirely and I suggest that you all do the same.” When they shot him annoyed yet surprised looks, he elaborated. “He had the briefcase- he could have gone anywhere, that was the first thing I understood. Those dog tags are standard issue and very authentic. Believe me, I’ve been to that time and I know. That tattoo on his arm is a few years old at least and he didn’t have it the day of father’s funeral. Everything he’s saying adds up.”
“So you’re just going to side with him?” Diego growled and shook his head. “And what, claim that he was kidnapped and tortured and everything else he said was true? I don’t believe it for a second. And I don’t trust that fucking fancy boy who thinks he gets to butt into family affairs and thinks he can tell us what to do.”
“None of us know what Klaus’s life was like back then,” Five snapped. “And I have known him for most of our lives- I know what he looks like when he’s recently high and that look on his face is one of someone who hasn’t had the taste of a drug for a long while. Years, in fact.”
“You can believe whatever you want to, Five,” Luther sounded disinterested and he was more preoccupied with fiddling with the buttons on his coat. “But we all know that what Klaus is saying is just more of his bullshit.”
Suddenly Five was gone in a flash of blue and reappeared again with his hands on Luther’s collar, pulling him down to his level. Luther grunted in surprise as he was face-to-face with Five. “Listen, asshole.” Five barked. “Just because you think you’re the leader doesn’t mean that you get to make decisions for us. You believed me when I told you about the life I’ve lived and all the people I’ve killed so why is it that Klaus is less credible than I?”
Sensing a three-way fight about to break out, Allison stepped forward in an attempt to keep the peace. “Klaus is high all the time, Five. Hardly any of what he says is true. It’s not that much of a stretch to say that this isn’t either.”
“And yet,” Five grit our, pushing away from a snarling Luther that Five paid no mind. “If this were a scenario you were to hear from any of the rest of us, you would believe us without question. Even Vanya. And yet Klaus is claiming to go through years of horror and has the evidence to prove it and yet he’s just telling another one of his charming lies?”
Diego threw his hands up in the air in frustration. “Well, that’s how it’s always been so I don’t know why it would suddenly change. I don’t think any of what he said was true. It was probably just another sob story for us to feel sorry for him and he dragged that guy in as evidence.”
“Oh, of course.” Five said sarcastically. “He was never kidnapped by Hazel and Cha-Cha and tortured for hours because none of us noticed he was gone and your poor gullible Patch was lured into a trap and got herself killed because she was nothing but a stupid woman who couldn’t keep her big nose out of things.”
With a feral cry, Diego laughed himself at Five but in a blink, Five reappeared on the back of the couch with his hands folded under his head, staring up at the ceiling. “Don’t you ever speak about her like that.” Diego snarled, panting hard once he realized he would never be able to get a hold of Five. “Ever.”
“Well, now I remember how insufferable and quick to anger you are so I’m not too sure what else I had expected.” Five sighed as he admired his nails. He twisted around so he could look his red-faced and fuming brother in the eye. “My point, Diego, is that from what I know of Patch is that she was none of those things. So why on earth would she find herself in that situation if she didn’t think something was important. Important enough that she called you for backup. So Klaus was kidnapped, and whether you believe he was tortured for hours or not, we know that he was taken when they raided our home and that Patch was worried about him enough to go inside instead of waiting for you to arrive. So somewhere in Klaus’s crazy story, he must be telling the truth.”
“Five, let’s be realistic.” Luther sighed, exasperated. He couldn’t really care about what Five was saying, but he felt like as the leader, he needed to participate. “Klaus wouldn’t be able to survive being abducted and then being tortured so there’s no way he would have coped with fighting in a war. I get what you’re trying to say but I’m sorry, you’re wrong.”
Five looked at them all blankly before he slid off the back of the couch and made to walk away. “Fine. Be closed minded gnats if you like, I don’t care. I have bigger and better things to do other than argue with brick walls all day. If you ever pull your heads out of your asses, come find me.” And then he was gone in a burst of blue before anyone could reply, leaving his siblings standing together in confusion.
Klaus woke up sometime during their nap with Dave’s arms around him and the vibrations of his snoring racking through his body. Dave had stolen all the blankets at some point and they now wrapped around his legs in a tangled bundle, but Klaus didn’t mind- Dave’s body heat was enough to keep them both warm.
He was suddenly alerted to a new yet familiar presence in the corner of the dark room and when Klaus lifted his head a little to see over the tuft of Dave’s hair, he gasped quietly as he took stock of the form curled up in the corner, smiling at the couple in the bed. “Hi, Ben.”
Ben’s smile was dazzling and he beamed down at Klaus from where he was seated comfortably on the dresser. “Hey, Klaus.” He was the same as he always was and seeing Klaus in a bed with someone else made his heart swell twice the size despite it being odd in any other circumstance. “You’ve changed.”
“War can do that to people you know,” Klaus kept his voice down so he didn’t disturb Dave sleeping against him, but he couldn’t keep the happiness out of his voice. It had been many years since he had seen his dead brother. “Look,” He patted Dave’s head and he stirred against him. “I’m happy.”
“I can see that, and I’m very happy for you,” Ben laughed. His smile turned sad but it was no less a smile. “I missed you. I’m sorry I couldn’t figure out a way to come with you”
“I missed you too,” Klaus felt tears sting at his eyes but he kept his voice low for Dave. “God, I’m so sorry I left. I didn’t mean to. I thought about you every day Ben, I really did. You were the only reason I thought about coming back.”
Klaus never realized how much he missed his brother until he saw that wicked glint in his eye and the smirk playing at the corners of his lips. “I can’t believe you survived it all- you never could go through a whole day without relying on me to save you in some way.” He joked. Suddenly, his eyes darkened, and his mood went sombre. “Are you… are you going to go back?”
As he thought, Klaus snaked his hand down to the dog tags hanging around his neck just to give himself something to do and sighed loudly before the silence stretched out for too long. “No, I don’t think so,” Klaus said eventually and once he’d said it; he knew it was true. “We have no reason to go back. And even if we don’t stay here in this house with the others, we can go and find somewhere else to live. I don’t think we’re going back.”
“Good,” Ben nodded, pleased with the news. “That’s good. I’m glad.”
“Oh, by the way,” Klaus felt a flutter in his chest as he met Ben’s eyes and he thought that maybe it was his turn to have that glint in his own iris, but without a mirror, he wasn’t sure. “I’ve totally forgotten to tell you- maybe because nobody believed me, but I feel like you of all people should know. I’m sober- have been for about 5 years. So you can finally stop worrying about watching me die alone in an alleyway sometime during the night.”
“Oh Klaus,” Ben reached a hand out to touch him and paused mid-air, seemingly remembering that the couldn’t really do that. “I’m so proud of you.”
Eye’s closing, Klaus snorted through a large, wide-mouthed yawn. “Yeah, I thought you might be. I have so many things I have to tell you. Make up for the lost time and all that shit.”
Ben laughed and it was like music to Klaus’s ears. “Go back to sleep Klaus. I’ll be here when you wake up and we can talk in the morning.”
Reassured, Klaus did, and in the morning, there Ben was.
The next morning Klaus had a long, lovely conversation with his dead brother before he watched the light streaming in from the closed curtains dance across Dave’s sleeping face until he peppered him with kisses to wake him up. Dave moaned softly with a wrinkle at his brow but smiled up at Klaus when he realized his arms were around him. “I heard you talking to Ben last night,” he said as he snuggled deeper into Klaus’s chest. “I’m glad you got to see him- I know how badly you’ve been missing him.”
“I still can’t believe that you took the whole ‘I can see ghosts and my favourite brother is one of them and we often have conversations about how stupid I am’ train,” Klaus said as he placed a kiss on Dave’s head. “Did you sleep well?” Dave hummed an affirmative in response. “Well good, because I wanted to run something by you.”
“Were you going to ask if I think your family is horrible and treats you like shit? Because the answer is a very hard yes.” Dave placed his chin on Klaus’s chest and looked up at him through thick, dark lashes. “What’s wrong?”
Klaus was focused more on Ben giving him major thumbs up in the corner than the confusion on Dave’s face. “How do you feel about marriage?” He asked casually, as though they were discussing the weather or what bagels they had on sale at the nearest bakery, but Dave still coked on his spit regardless. “Oh, don’t fret, I’m not about to propose to you. This isn’t nearly a fancy enough location and I’m not wearing any pants.”
“Wow, we’ve only been here for a day and you’re already talking about getting married,” Dave laughed lightly once he’d regained his composure. “You know you’re supposed to keep those sort of things a secret, yeah? I’m only supposed to know you’re going to propose when you’re on your knee holding a ring.”
“Eh, but you know that’s not who we are,” Klaus yawned, untangling most of himself from Dave’s hold but still keeping one arm under Dave’s back as he stared up at the ceiling with an arm crossed under his head. “Besides- we have much better options for rings here. I could get you a giant diamond on a rose gold band if you’d like. We can do so much more.”
Dave was quiet for a moment while they thought. “Would you really like to marry me?” He asked timidly, voice small and disbelieving. Unsure.
“I think I would like to. I’ve never really thought about marriage before but now that I’ve met you I understand why people go so crazy for it.” Klaus turned his head to smile at Dave. “Only if you’d want to though. I don’t want to spend a whole heap of money on something I’ll just have to throw away.”
Laughing, Dave buried his nose into Klaus’s collarbone and took in the scent and the feel of him. “I wouldn’t say no to you, you duffer. I’d agree to marry you anywhere in the world if you’d ask.”
Humming, Klaus tightened his arm around Dave’s shoulders. “Maybe not yet though. I’ve got to go shopping for one, and apparently the worlds about to end, so I sort of need to take care of that first. Because you know-” he placed a kiss on Dave’s forehead- “my family is so hopeless that they can’t handle anything without me. Even saving the world.”
“I’m sure there has to be something we can do to pass the time until then…” Dave trailed off as he craned his neck to place a kiss on Klaus’s chin. Klaus looked down at him with a sparkle in his eyes and a smirk on the corners of his lips.
Despite having waking up rather early, it was a long time later when they finally left the bed.
A few days later, when Klaus had gone off with his siblings to save someone or deal with something, Dave made his way down the stairs, pulling a shirt over his head on his way, and came face-to-face with a young woman he had never met before, but by the timid way she held herself Dave was sure he already knew who she was. “Hey there,” he greeted as he joined her in the kitchen. “I’m Dave, Klaus’s boyfriend.”
As she shook her hand, Dave tried to ignore the bright surprise in her face. “Vanya,”. Her smile was small and timid and Dave had the sudden urge to crush her to his chest in a hug. “It’s nice to meet you. I… haven’t seen you around. I didn’t know Klaus had a boyfriend.”
Dave knew from Klaus’s stories that Vanya wasn’t really part of the problem so he tried to keep his annoyance at her disbelieving and judgemental tone out of his words. “I’d tell you how I met him but I highly doubt you’ll believe me.” He gestured at the table and the kettle he had just started to boil. “Would you like some coffee?”
Vanya smiled as she accepted his offer and once Dave had poured them each a cup and seated them down at the kitchen table, Dave tried to imagine this girl like the one Klaus spoke about- kind, boring, understanding. But the way she was looking at him didn’t make him feel that way at all. “So,” Vanya hunched over her cup with her elbows in the table. “Where did you say you med Klaus?”
“I didn’t,” Dave smiled thinly. He stirred his coffee with a spoon just to give himself something to do. “But if you must know, and I highly doubt that you’ll believe me but I suppose it doesn’t matter what you believe, but he dropped into my tent in 1968 and we’ve been happily together for almost 5 years now.”
It took a moment for the information to completely hit her but Vanya was blinking in surprise and recoiling as if Dave had just hit her in the face, a spindly man with a shock of black hair and a brown bag slung over his shoulder entered the room and went straight to Vanya. “This place is wonderful- I can’t believe you grew up here, despite how horrible your family were to you.” Dave narrowed his eyes at the newcomer. “We should probably get going- you don’t want to miss the recital.”
“Oh, yeah, right,” Vanya blinked in confusion for a moment but stood anyway. “You’re right. I almost forgot.” The man was already pulling Vanya out of the room but she quickly managed to turn around and offer Dave a smile. “It was nice to meet you.”
Dave stood and followed them quickly and by the time he caught up to them, they were almost at the door. “Hold on now,” He said and reluctantly, the man stopped and turned. “You’re just going to skedaddle out of here without saying hello?” He stuck out his hand and eyed the man up and down. “I’m Dave. I’m one of Vanya’s brother’s partner. A bit confusing, I know, but I doubt you’ll know their names if you’re trying to leave before they arrive.”
Judging by the way the newcomer shuffled awkwardly on the spot, Dave was exactly tight. He reached out and quickly shook Dave’s hand before pulling away. “I’m Leonard Peabody. I’m Vanya’s… friend.” The way he said it made Dave think it was more than that. “And you’re right- I was just passing through. I don’t know how they’ll react to me so I’m just trying to leave before they come home and find me.”
“Understandable,” Dave said, despite it really being a huge bag of bullshit. Already, Dave knew deep in his bones that he didn’t trust Leonard Peabody. “I suggest you get going then- I hear they’re on their way home.” It was a lie but he really wanted this man out of the house. He turned to Vanya and tried to give her his most dazzling smile. “Nice to meet you- I hope next time we get more time to talk.”
Peabody pulled Vanya from the house before she even had the chance to respond and Dave clenched his hands at his side before the door had slammed shut.
That night, tucked comfortably under Klaus’s arm and sharing body heat, he looked up into Klaus’s loving eyes and broached the topic. “Did you know Vanya had a boyfriend?”
Klaus frowned. “No, I didn’t. I’m happy for her- she deserves a little joy in her life.”
“I don’t trust him,” Dave declared. “He’s a possessive sleezebag and she needs to get away from him as quickly as possible.”
“Wow, you’ve gotten all that from a first meeting?”
Dave shook his head and sat up straighter. “I don’t trust him and honestly, I don’t think she’s safe with him. I’d hate for something to happen to her just because she was desperate to be loved.” He slapped Klaus in the chest and Klaus covered it as if he’d been shot. “Sort of like you when you first came to me.”
Sighing, Klaus nodded. “Yeah, fine. Way to make me feel like shit, babe. I’ll check up on her when I get the chance.”
Satisfied, Dave settled back down against Klaus’s side and continued to watch the movie.
Klaus, once he had demanded that Dave allow him to make something at least a little bit edible, had left Dave alone in the foyer to patter around with his hands behind his back. He wasn’t expecting any of Klaus’s siblings to come home so early, especially not the one that was so angry that Dave could almost taste it like a layer of ozone, so he wasn’t prepared for strong hands to grip him by the shoulder and force him against the wall. “I’m not convinced”
“Oh, hello to you too, Diego,” Dave wasn’t really afraid- he had fought worse than a mama’s boy who thought he was tough. His boyfriends' brother didn’t scare him; no matter how much leather he wore or how many knives he had. “What aren’t you convinced about?”
Diego scowled, seemingly unimpressed by Dave’s lack of fear. “I’m not convinced that you really give a shit about Klaus. I think your doe-eyes and kisses behind walls and holding hands under the table are all just an act. You don’t really love him, do you? You’re just using him; like every other person he’s ever brought home. You’re just waiting for the right moment to break his heart and dump him in the street.”
Pursing his lips, Dave raised his eyebrows. Diego was still holding on to his collar with a tight fist, twisting the leather on the jacket he had borrowed from Klaus in a way that made him frown. “What would you know about it?”
“What?” Diego asked voice low and dangerous. He could be deadly, Dave knew, but he knew Klaus would kick the shit out of him if he found out what he was doing.
“Loving Klaus,” Dave retorted and felt a sick sense of satisfaction he didn’t think that he was capable of ever experiencing at the look on Diego’s face. “From what he’s told me, you wouldn’t care whether he lived or died. He was kidnapped and tortured and alone and you didn’t even know until your girlfriend accidentally stumbled over him. When he was high every night and crawling through gutters to survive, you turned a blind eye and didn’t lift a finger to help him. What’s changed? Why do you suddenly care about your darling troubled little brother now that he’s got someone who actually cares about him and you don’t have to give him the light of day anymore?”
Diego bristled and something violent sparked in his eyes. “How fucking dare you,” he hissed and Dave almost felt like he had crossed a barely visible line, but fuck it and he prepared himself for the raising of a fist and the harsh feeling of knuckles grating across his cheek and he almost closed his eyes, but there was something smug boiling up inside him and-
The sound of two plates smashing on the ground and its contents spilling across the floor had Dave looking over Diego’s shoulder and the other man let him go and spun around when he heard his brothers voice. “Diego!” Klaus’s scream was shrill and angry. “What the fuck are you doing? Let him go you twat!”
At the sound of his brother’s voice, Diego sprung away from Dave as though he was burned. “Klaus, I uh, I-”
He couldn’t get another word out because Klaus was storming forward with that wild look in his eyes that Dave both loved and feared, and grabbed Dave by the arm without a word or a glance at his brother and dragged him towards the front door. Before the doors closed behind them, Dave turned over his shoulder to see Diego standing alone in the hallway, a strange look on his face, surrounded by the shattered remains of the plates of food Klaus had carefully crafted. When the doors closed behind them with a loud, booming bang, Klaus turned to Dave and cupped his face, thumbs gently stroking down his chin. “I’m sorry about that. He’s an asshole, even when he isn’t talking. Don’t mind him. I’m sorry we couldn’t get that meal I promised you.”
“Don’t worry about it,” Dave laughed, pulling Klaus’s hand to his face so he could place his lips gently on the back of his hand in a kiss, not moving his eyes away. “Weren’t you saying something about a… fast-food thing? A McDonalds? Didn’t you want to take me to one?”
Laughing, Klaus shook his head and taking Dave by the hand, steered him towards the double golden arches in the distance.
They had told him to wait upstairs, and he didn’t really understand what was going on but he knew enough to realize that what Luther was attempting to do would be very, very bad, so after the others had descended the stairs into that long, dark hallway with Vanya slumped limply over Luther’s shoulder, Allison had joined him at the door, a notepad in hand, and together they made their way to the cylindrical cage with the soundproof walls and the sobbing girl hitting at the glass.
“This is Vanya!” Klaus was saying, waving his arms about as he tried to get between Luther and the door. “Our sister! The one who always cried when we stepped on ants as kids!”
Luther shook his head and tried to gently but forcibly push Klaus to the side and away from the door. “I know it’s difficult to accept…”
“It’s not difficult to accept, it’s impossible to accept!” Klaus snapped, and even from his distance, Dave could see that wild look in his eyes that he both loved and feared, and he was so proud that it was finally aimed at Luther. Klaus’s hands were bunched at his sides and his teeth were grit so tightly that Dave worried that they would crack.
Sighing, Luther looked like he was about to argue again, but surprisingly it was Diego who joined Klaus at the door, face red with anger and lips twisted into something frightening. “No, he’s right. Look, we can’t keep her locked up without proof.”
“What more proof do we need?” Luther demanded, and Dave couldn’t hear the rest of what he said because he was too busy focusing on the distress on Vanya’s face as she silently screamed and cried behind the glass. Dave took a step forward but Allison put a hand on his shoulder and with a small shake of his head, he paused.
Klaus growled and thrust his hands towards the glass. “How about we open the door and ask her?”
“Even if you’re right,” Diego continued, getting right up in Luther’s face. He wasn’t as tall or as large as his brother, but he made up for it in anger and ferocity. “She needs our help. And we can’t do that if she’s locked up in a cage.
Dave glanced over at Klaus who now had his hands clenched up near his heart, eyes screwed shut and face scrunched up tightly. There was something so ultimately painful in his expression that Klaus wanted to truss him up in blankets and whisk him far away from that dreadful hallway. There was something haunting in his expression, and his voice was broken when it left his lips. “For all we know, she might be struggling with this new power. I mean, it must be scary- terrifying, really, to discover you can do something that you never thought you could do.”
That was enough for Dave because he knew that Klaus was speaking of his own experiences locked alone in the darkness of the crypt as a child, so once Allison had tried and failed to get through to her brother, Dave pushed past him with he was occupied with his armful of sibling and stood between him and the cage. “That’s enough.”
Slowly, Luther turned around to face him, the other siblings going still. Klaus was tugging on Dave’s sleeve, trying to pull him out of the way, but Dave stood firm. “What did you say?” Luther said, voice low.
“You heard me. Let her go.” Dave spat and Luther narrowed his eyes at him. “What kind of a brother are you that you’d willingly lock her away at the first sign of trouble instead of talking to her like she’s a human being? Who the hell do you think you are? What gives you the right to treat her like nothing but an unwanted pest?”
The room seemed to still. Nobody spoke and there were no sounds except for Dave’s heavy, angry panting and the muffled sounds of Vanya slamming her fists desperately against the wall. “Step out of the way,” Luther said lowly and judging by the way he looked down at Dave with slitted eyes, he knew he was serious.
“No,” Dave said and realized that he wasn’t afraid in the slightest. Luther was easily capable of lifting Dave up and throwing him down the hallway like he was nothing but an insignificant gnat in his way, but Dave squared his shoulders and lifted his chin as Luther looked down at him strangely. “I did not fight for years in the Vietnam War for your god damn lives can be improved to be treated like this. I did not crawl through trenches and pull bullets out of my skin with nothing but my own fingers and a bottle of vodka to see women treated like they are less than men. I did not fall in love with Klaus so we could come here and you could prove how much of a shit family you all really are. And I absolutely will not stand by while you sentence your own sister to a punishment she does not deserve.”
Allison broke the tense silence by scribbling quickly on her notepad and shoving it in Luther’s face. He glanced down at it and back up at Dave. She didn’t mean to hurt me! It read She was scared and I was pushing her.
Shaking his head, Luther pushed the pad away and Allison stumbled back angrily. “I know she didn’t mean to, but she still killed a man and if we hadn’t gotten there in time, she would have killed you too. I’m not taking that risk again.”
“Yeah,” Dave said bitterly. “I guess you didn’t mean to let Klaus get kidnapped and also didn’t mean for him to almost be killed if that cop hadn’t gotten there in time. It’s not your fault that you didn’t mean to forget your brother even existed.” Luther flinched and the rest of the siblings shuffled back awkwardly, but Dave looked into Luther’s eyes with his own burning anger reflected in them. “Now I won’t ask you again. Let her go, or I swear to god, I will lose my patience.”
Luther shook his head and took a step back. “I’m sorry, but I can’t do that.” He looked like he was about to charge Dave and shove his head hard into the cage.
“Well then move back and I’ll open it.” Dave said, turning towards the door and placing his hands on the lock. It was simple, easy from the outside and Dave knew from his experience that if he couldn’t pick it, he could break it and-
There was a heavy hand on his shoulder. “I can’t let you do that either.”
Tensing, Dave was about to turn to Luther and tell him to fuck off, but someone else got there first and Luther’s arm was shoved from his shoulder and he was back to back with a very svelte man that was mostly flesh and bones. “Don’t touch him,” Klaus said lowly and the other Hargreeves actually took a step back at the tone. “Don’t you fucking dare.”
“Klaus-” Luther tried, but Klaus wasn’t having any of it.
“Don’t. I’ve had enough of this. You need to stop treating us like we’re nothing but your lackeys. We’re your siblings and it’s about time you start treating us like it.” Klaus shoved Luther in the chest with such force that Luther stumbled back in surprise. The long hallway began to go cold like all the heat had been sucked out of the vicinity and swam into Klaus's glowing hands. “Now step aside and let us take care of our sister. Dave, open that fucking door.”
Dave hid a smile as he fiddled with the lock. Luther made to step forward, but Diego placed a heavy hand on his shoulder, pride in his eyes when he looked at Klaus, and Luther was stopped in his tracks. The moment he had swung open the heavy metal door, Vanya collapsed into his arms, panting and sobbing and shaking so hard that Dave worried that she would fall apart. “I’m sorry,” She wept. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to.”
“I know, kid,” Dave murmured into her hair, holding her close to his chest. “Don’t you worry. We’re going to take care of you.”
Behind him, Luther was suddenly, suspiciously, silent.
“You know, I never thought going back in time to fight in one of the worst wars in history would be a good thing, but here we are,” Klaus laughed with his arm around Dave, watching the stars hide behind clouds and birds dance around the moon. “And good thing I did, because if it weren’t for you, the world probably would have ended by now.”
Dave snorted and buried his nose deeper into Klaus’s neck. “I don’t know if I take all that credit but I will take some of it.”
“I have never seen anyone stand up to Luther like that,” Klaus shook his head, a smile on his lips. “Not even Diego. It was incredible. I’m so proud of you.”
“Well,” Dave laughed, pulling Klaus closer to him. “Nobody else was going it, so I just did what needed to be done. You don’t really get scared of giant monkey men when you’re so used to staring down the barrel of a gun while other people with guns threw bombs at you.” Klaus snorted. “Besides- I knew you would be there to protect me if it came to it.”
“You bet your sweet ass I would,” Klaus said, voice stern and eyes bright. “I wouldn’t have let him lay a finger on you. I would have bitten it off his damn hand, even if it meant getting hair stuck in my teeth.”
Chucking, Dave craned his neck upwards and placed a kiss on Klaus’s chin. “You know, despite your family being the worst and not being able to get a decent fuck the whole time we’ve been here, 2019 isn’t all that bad yet.”
Klaus raised his eyebrows in that way Dave was smitten with. When he had a callous plan and a nasty surprise hidden up his sleeve. “Well, if the fucking is what you’re worried about, we could always do it right here, right now.”
“Klaus, we’re on the roof-” Dave tried to protest, but when Klaus got that cheeky glint in his eye, there was no stopping the hell that ensued.
“So what? Why do you think I brought the blankets?” Klaus picked up the pile of soft, cushiony blankets he had stolen from random rooms around the Hargreeves’ estate, and Dave heard the jangle of chains and metal. “And the leather. Used for all different purposes like tying people to the gutters and the brickwork so we don’t die. But you know, if you want to get kinky about it…”
Dave rolled his eyes. “Have you ever done this before?”
“No, but how can you learn to perfect something if you never try it?” Klaus said, sounding pretty earnest, but there was something soft and kind in the way that he looked at Dave- he just wanted to bottle it up and keep it with him forever. “Besides- there are other things we can do if you don’t want to risk it.”
“I think you’re the biggest risk I’ve ever taken,” Dave reached a hand up to gently caress Klaus’s face, and then their lips were colliding, sliding against each other desperately like a jigsaw trying to find it’s missing pieces and put them back where they belong, and when they finally pulled away for breath, Klaus’s lips were pink and they were both out of breath. “I love you,” Dave whispered.
Klaus lowered his nose so it gently touched Dave’s. “I love you too.”
Dave's lips tasted like sunshine and gunpowder.