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The Four Horsemen

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Five still hasn’t come down for his morning coffee.

Not that Luther’s been keeping track of the time or that he’s worried or anything. It’s just ever since Five returned to the present in a blaze of warping, swirling blues, he’s always been the first one up. Always in the kitchen sipping his cup of coffee by the time Luther gets downstairs.

That’s the routine. Luther wakes up, gets dressed, then heads to the kitchen for breakfast where Five is already waiting with his mug and a snarky greeting and his morning paper. Every morning. For months now. They don’t deviate.

The only exception being the first round of Apocalypse week when Five was physically incapacitated.

So despite Vanya’s reassurance while rushing out the door for an early morning practice that everything is fine, it’s almost 10:30 AM and Five still hasn’t come down for his morning coffee and that is weird and—

Okay, fine.

Luther is worried. He worries about his siblings. That’s what he does.

And for good reason he might add.

Five said he was okay last night, but he practically ran from the room right after, and that doesn’t seem very okay to him.

He’s considering going to check for himself, having exhausted his attempts on the morning crossword without Five’s somewhat patronizing help, when said sibling materializes at the counter, already shuffling through the cabinets.

“Hey good morning!”

Five whirls around to face him, blinking in surprise like he hadn’t expected Luther to be there already, before returning the greeting. There’s a sluggishness to his movements as he brews his usually pot, a drowsiness still clinging to him that Luther’s never seen.

He looks like he just rolled out of bed, still in pajamas, unruly strands of hair jutting up this way and that.

He definitely just rolled out of bed.

10:30 AM Five is usually already showered and impeccably dressed and done writing a scathing report disproving some poor physicist’s life work.

“Are you doing okay?”

“I will be once I’ve had some coffee.” He raises his mug in a mock cheers and takes a satisfied sip.

“It’s just pretty late. You’re usually on your second pot by now.” It takes Luther a moment to actually register what he’s just said and then, “Not that I in any way condone that,” he hurriedly adds.

Eyes dart to the clock on the wall for what must be the first time this morning in genuine surprise. “Huh? Slept in I guess.”

“Oh… that’s great!” It’s a far to enthusiastic response because Five raises a brow at him. “I mean, sleep is important fo—”

“Finish that sentence with ‘for a growing boy’ and it’ll be the last thing you ever say.”

“Noted.”

 

Klaus saunters in a fifteen minutes later, stopping at the table to smack a big loud kiss on the crown of Five’s head.

The teenager shoos him off, Luther’s crossword once again forgotten in favor of analyzing Klaus critically as he shuffles about preparing his breakfast, whistling an up beat tune.

“You’re being weird.”

“I’m not,” Klaus singsongs.

It’s not necessarily weirder than any other day, but he does look particularly… smiley this morning. Lighter than usual.

It’s a good look for him Luther decides.

Ben enters at a more sedate pace dropping into a chair and nodding gratefully as Five slides him an empty mug, sugar, and the pot. “You are,” he intones with an amused look. “In no way can this be considered playing it cool.”

“I’m not!” Klaus stamps. “I’m just in a good mood is all! Can’t a man be happy in his own home? Is that such a crime?”

Five laughs into his drink at the theatrics and Klaus beams in response, sending Ben a smug look immediately after.

It leaves Luther with the distinct impression that he’s missed something, particularly with the fond way Ben is looking between the two, but he doesn’t get the chance to question it further.

“Oh good,” Allison announces rounding the corner, the only other person not in pajamas. “You’re all here.”

“Mm pretty sure it’s more than just us sister dear. Unless I’ve got my math wrong? Or they’re playing hide and seek and didn’t tell me.”

Allison sticks her tongue out at him, the move startling enough from their normal interactions that Klaus laughs.

“I already talked to Vanya about it a yesterday and she agreed. Diego spent the night in his bunker and hasn’t come around yet but I’m tired of waiting. I’ll call him after.”

“Agreed to what?” Luther asks leaning forward.

“Well,” Allison starts pulling out a chair and motioning for Klaus to take a seat and join the rest of them at the table. “I finish my court mandated therapy next week and I’ve been talking to Patrick and well… he agreed to let Claire come visit!”

“Allison that’s great!”

She smiles brightly, eyes lighting up in the way they always do when she talks about her daughter. “Claire would be arriving in about a month and she’d stay for a whole week as long as you’re all okay with it.”

He’s quick to confirm, echoed by Ben, and Klaus’ exclamation of, “It’s about time she met her soon to be favorite uncle!”

Which leaves only one. Allison’s brow furrows at Five’s silence.

“Five?”

“I’d very much like to meet her,” he reassures. “But, I’m not sure that I’d be the best with kids and, well I understand if you’d prefer I— if you thought it’d be best that I not…”

He cuts off when Allison takes his hand. “Five, of course I want her to meet you. You’re going to do fine and Claire’s going to love you,” she emphasizes with a squeeze before releasing him.

“Not as much as she’s gonna love her favorite uncle, obviously,” Klaus starts and Luther’s about to shush him when he sees the small upturn of Five’s lips, the way some of the tension seems to wash off his shoulders, “but you know, still up there.”

“You should pick out a room for Claire,” Ben adds, “We can set it up as her bedroom and decorate it for her.”

“Ooo Allie you have to let me decorate! As you know, I have impeccable taste.”

“Impeccable is a stretch.”

“A six year olds concept of good taste is pretty accurate though.”

“My own brothers,” Klaus laments with a hand over his heart. “I’m disowning you both. I only have four siblings now.”

“Meh,” Ben shrugs, not looking particularly put out by the turn of events.

In the spirit of restoring order, Allison agrees to allow Klaus some creative liberties, though she’s firm on the point that she’d have the final say, which is definitely in everyone’s best interest, though Luther knows better than to mention that.

“We’ll have to talk to Mom about finding somewhere to store all the weaponry. God there’s so much dangerous crap all over the place it’ll take forever.”

“Not to mention finding all the knives Diego’s probably hidden over the years,” Five says with a sip.

Allison’s face pales considerably. “Oh god.”

“There are probably knives inside the walls,” Klaus adds with faux severity. “The walls are probably made of knives!”

Ben flicks a sugar packet at him for the trouble and Luther decides it’s best to change the subject before Allison actually passes out.

“Hey there’s no need to worry. It’s a whole month away. The house will be completely Claire proof by then. We’ll all pitch in. It’ll be great.”

 


 

There are in fact several knives hidden in the walls. However, the most concerning one turns up inside one of the, thankfully, seldom used living room throw pillows.

Five is fairly certain Klaus has missed impalement by mere inches several times in the last week alone.

Naturally, the discovery does nothing to deter him from flopping gracelessly across the furniture.

 


 

Claire arrives with Allison from the airport a month later in a flash of rainbow light-up sneakers and the iridescent sparkle of a pink glitter backpack which has Klaus drooling jealousy.

She takes one look at them, assembled orderly at the bottom of the stairs, a byproduct of Luther’s sudden bout of anxiety upon the realization that he was in fact actually about to meet his one and only niece, and declares that she cannot believe they’ve never watched the Princess Diaries together.

Five has no idea what the Princess Diaries is but Claire is already ushering them forward with an astonishing level of authority and it looks like he’s about to find out whether he wants to or not.

 


  

Klaus finds them sitting on the floor in Five’s room, playing UNO.

Claire holds her cards defensively to her chest, sneaking quick peaks between them and the discard pile, wearing the same expression Allison does when deep in thought. Directly in front of her, Five sits cross-legged, a blanket draped over his shoulders like a cape, a small fond smile playing on his face as he watches her.

It’s objectively adorable and Klaus immediately wants in.

As he’s been doing with increasing familiarity, Klaus waltzes into Five’s room, dropping down next to his brother and leaning into his side with a happy hum.

“Klaus what are you doing?”

“Hanging out with my baby bro and favorite niece of course.”

The, “I’m older than you,” is to be expected but Claire surprises him by firing back, “I’m your only niece,” in the same deadpan tone.

He wavers, wondering if perhaps coming in was a mistake. Neither of them had even looked up when he entered.

Playing off the touch of hurt with a smile, Klaus shifts to stand. “Well I didn’t mean to interrupt. I can just go.”

“Why would you do that?”

Five looks genuinely confused.

“We’re about to finish this game. Don’t you want to stay and play the next round?”

“Yes!” he exclaims turning to watch Claire giggle at his enthusiasm, “that okay with you Claire bear?”

She pauses, holding up a hand, as she deliberates on a card and then sets it down, smiling beatifically, “Yup!”

“You have to be careful, Claire’s ruthless.”

“I play to win,” the little girl nods seriously.

It’s a struggle to keep his face schooled. “Understood. Now hurry up and kick his ass so I can play too!”

“And ass is….” Five prompts.

Klaus blanks before realizing he’s not the one being addressed.

“One of the words I don’t repeat to mommy or daddy.”

Klaus lets out a bark of laughter, dropping down to curl up and rest his head on Five’s lap. The end of his brother’s blanket cape is dutifully unraveled and Klaus finds himself covered in it a moment later.

He melts at the show of affection, always a little startled to receive any, despite the way Five has recently started to indulge him in more casual displays of affection.

While he patiently waits his turn, occasionally narrating moves in an obnoxious sports announcer voice, Five takes to resting a hand on his head between putting down cards. If Klaus had any shame, he’d be properly embarrassed by the way he practically purrs when Five transitions to running gentle fingers through his hair, but luckily for him he has not such reservations, more than happy to bask in his contentment.

Moreover, he’s not above taking immense pleasure from the way Five curses under his breath when Claire hits him with two consecutive draw fours.

 


 

“You’re covered in glitter,” Diego mocks when Five pops into the kitchen, taking a seat beside Allison.

“Very astute of you Diego. Once again your detective skills are unparalleled.” With a haughty look around and finally up, the little shit counters with a smirk, “Not only are you, the floor, the walls, the counter, and the cabinets covered in flour and batter, but in case you were unaware, the ceiling is also covered in it too.”

Allison snorts beside him, hastily covering her mouth with a hand.

“There’s a reason the ceiling is covered in flour,” Diego bites back, mentally cursing the quick retort upon the realization that he’s verbally backed himself into a corner.

“Might that reason be that you are in fact, not the brilliant chef you claimed to be to impress our niece and not even Grace’s considerable skill was able to salvage your barbaric attempts at ‘baking’.”

“Hey it was mostly Claire—”

“Don’t you dare try to blame this on my daughter!” Allison snaps.

Diego is gearing up for a comeback when Allison shoots him a look so searing his mouth clicks shut of its own accord.

“See if either of you get any of these cupcakes,” Diego huffs at them both.

“Are there any cupcakes left? I was under the impression they all exploded.”

“That was pre-baking,” Allison explains. “Mom says—”

“Do not!”

“—he used the actual blender, with no lid on, instead of a cake mixer.”

“Fuck you too Allison.”

“Sounds about right," Five nods. "Just to be clear, no one is getting any of those cupcakes. They are at minimum inedible and most likely a biohazard.”

Allison has the decency to at least look remorseful. “Sorry but Five’s right. Mom already planned to remake them tomorrow.”

Diego allows himself the moment. Takes a few deep, centering breaths.

Once the urge to scream has passed, he unceremoniously pushes everything still on the counter, cupcakes, tin and all, into the trash bag at his feet. Tossing the cleaning rag he'd been using to the side, he takes a seat, deciding his sanity needs a break before he resumes scrubbing the surprisingly thick and viscous material off of…everything.

“Claire had a lot of fun…”

“I don’t need your pity and your daughter had a lot of fun mostly laughing at me.” Diego snaps with no real heat, shifting focus to Five, “So are you going to tell us why you’re covered in glitter now asshole?”

“Hazard a guess.”

“It was either Klaus or Claire.”

“Both actually. I got roped into their afternoon activities.”

Allison laughs like she just can't keep it in any longer. “I’m sorry it’s just…there’s glitter inside your ears. How did that even happen?”

“You might want to reconsider how amusing you find this, after all, you have way more glitter to deal with than me.”

That stops her in her tracks, eyes narrowed suspiciously. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“I didn’t even participate in the Glitter Princess Runway Glitter Fashion Show. All of this,” he motions, “is just from sitting in the audience. Not even a front row seat. Claire on the other hand…”

Allison is up and running towards the door a second later. Diego feels not a hint of remorse for the way he cackles after her retreating form. Must be the hours of cake sludge he still has to peel off the walls.

“Better hurry,” Five calls smugly just as she rounds the corner. “There’s a reason why glitter’s in the name twice!”