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I'm Addicted to Madness (But What Can I Say)

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They’ve been back from the past only for a month- and give or take a decade from the apocalypse but who’s counting that- and the change in all of them is noticeable.

 

In Five, it’s more noticeable in how he acts towards his siblings. Instead of closing himself off from the rest to study, read, or claim he has “more important things to do than go out number Two!” he’s been including them more and more. He doesn’t challenge Diego and Luther as much for leadership of the team like he had before- something to prove, to teach, lead- and does his best to tone down his arrogance and pride and tries to listen to others before inputting his own ideas; though, his ideas are almost always the better planned and generally more effective- but he is trying!

 

In Luther, it’s noticeable in how he no longer uses his position as “Number One” as a way to worm his path to being a leader. He takes the same route as Five and listens to the others, guiding and compromising when both parties make valid points, making them feel more like a family than a team and they could all agree that it’s a pleasant change.

 

In Diego, he no longer starts a fight at the slightest hint of aggression or confrontation. That change is generally more noticeable towards Luther, who the others can’t remember the last family meeting turning into an argument between the two hot headed “alphas” of the group. The lack of fights being started between the two puts the whole team- family, they’re a family now- at ease.

 

In Allison, she no longer uses her power to coerce her way into reality. Instead she uses her wits, her charms, her smarts, and her level head to battle her way into a dominant position. She’s grown as a person, as a sister, through her past life as a parent, using that added matureness and counseling to continue improving herself as she connects with her family better. She starts with Vanya.

 

In Vanya, she’s no longer the meek mouse, the awkward and invisible wall flower. She starts to insert herself into the family equation, starts speaking up, lets her feelings and her thoughts be known. She grows as a person, grows through the murky waters that used to be her emotions until they become the clear glass waters of a lake. It’s an amazing transformation to watch, breathtaking in its happenstance and strength.

 

In Ben- he’s alive, they can’t believe he’s alive, alive alivealivealivealive- it’s noticeable in how he grows much like Vanya. He’s not shy, no longer hanging in the background and only putting his 2 cents in rarely. Instead, he’s much like how he was with Klaus, outspoken -although a bit too much, being dead and invisible to everyone really broke his filter- and more than willing to stand up for his beliefs, his feelings, for and to his family.

 

In Klaus, it’s slow. The most obvious one is that he’s sober, he’s more clear headed and less blurry eyed then when he had been in his entire life after the Academy-although obvious to Ben it takes a bit for the others to notice. His change is less obvious, less noticeable to anyone other than Ben who had spent years by his brother’s side- and honestly he couldn’t be prouder of Klaus’ new found sobriety- and so the others never really spent more than a few moments’ thoughts on their fourth sibling.

 

That might have been a mistake.




These changes didn’t go unnoticed though by their father- should they really be calling him that though- and he grew increasingly more perplexed and put off by this development. While he was a bit more- proud/happy/content weren’t the right words- approving of their increase in teamwork and efficiency, he was steadily getting more and more inconvenienced at their new found rebellion, because that’s what this was wasn’t it? A rebellion against him, by teaming up together beyond the team, they were teaming up against him. Even his precious number One!

 

And obviously this must be number Four’s fault, other than Five, the Seance has always been rebellious, outspoken and a general disappointment in Reginald’s collective bunch of super heroes. He always was going to be a terrible influence on the others. He’ll put a stop to it immediately.





They’ve been in the past for a bit more than a month, now reaching the date where Five disappears, to the future, to the apocalypse, to the end of the world, to the nothingness where he survived- survivesurvivesurivive he has to survive - in that wasteland of ash and dust.

 

Klaus knows it’s been a while, and while he does expect it, it doesn’t stop his heart from racing, the heaviness of his stomach and pressure in his lungs, doesn’t stop the echoes of screams that wait for him when Dear Old Reggie opens his mouth to dismiss them all at dinner except-

 

“For you number Four, it’s been a while since your training hasn’t it.”

 

And while the tone isn’t inherently cruel or condescending or even threatening, it holds the weight of a predator stalking its prey, the same energy where the wind stops and it falls silent.

 

Except there’s no such thing as silence for Klaus is there?

 

The others are too tired to notice, too tired to care for the that weight behind the words- and it’s crushing in its innocence, in its cruelty- except for Ben who send him a worried and panicked glance, who opens his mouth to protest only to be interrupted by Klaus’ own opening and-

 

“Yes sir.”

 

And god, why did he do that? He just agreed to going back to the fucking Mausoleum! Fuck !

 

But he sends Ben a desperate and pointed look, mentally hoping that the other will drop it, please drop it. Drop it. And he must have gotten his point across because Ben nods, and heads towards the stairs with the others, an oddly guilty aura surrounding him as he drags himself up and- no, he shouldn’t be guilty, it’s not Ben’s fault that -he died he died oh god he died - their shitty excuse of a father is an abusive fuck. He shouldn’t be guilty.

 

He doesn’t get the chance to ponder more, to continue that train of thought before it’s overridden by another one. It’s panicked and something he’s all too familiar with to even really feel it’s effects anymore because it’s-

 

no, no, no nononononoNO! HE CAN’T GO BACK, HE CAN’T HE CAN’T HE CAN’TCAN’TCAN’T HE CAN’T! NONONON ONONO NO NO! HE’LL BE GOOD, HE SWEARS, I CAN BE GOOD, PLEASEPLEASEPLEASE, NO! DAD! DAD! LET ME OUT! PLEASE! DAD!

 

The doors close and all that’s left is number Four and the ghosts in the crypt.





“Ben, where’s Klaus?”

 

It’s after lunch and they were all given a free day because Reginald- that stupid piece of shit- is off on a business meeting that they’re all honestly not even going to bother caring about.

 

And it’s Vanya that speaks up, breaking the quiet that shouldn’t be there because Klaus should be the one to make it loud, fill that empty house with manic chatter and laughter.

 

“Ben, where is Klaus.” She asks again, more forcefully this time and shit, he should probably answer that shouldn’t he?

 

And he intends to tell the truth, he swears but suddenly all he can think about is Klaus’ face from last night, openly pleading for him to drop it. He mumbles instead, “Special Training.”

 

Luther scoffs, “Obviously, but where?”

 

Diego nods, uncomfortable because his brother is missing and it’s starting to remind him of all those times where his heart would race at the mention of another dead junkie on the streets or in the alley ways.

 

Ben has to bite his lip. “I- he needs to tell you that himself.”

 

Five curses and stands up from his position on the couch and points an accusing finger at him, “No he doesn’t and no you don’t! You’re not attached at the hip anymore Ben, you can tell us!”

 

And yes, while Five has been making progress with his sibling, he can be a little shit sometimes still.

 

Ben glares at them, all of them, and says with nothing less than venom and scorn, “You want to know why I won’t tell you?! Because it took me dying to get him to tell me what his special training was! And even then he was drunk and high out of his mind, unaware of what he said to me! It’s his secret and I’m not going to be the one to tell it!” With that final note, he pushes his book shut and runs upstairs and into his room, slamming the door so loud that his sibling downstairs can hear it.

 

It’s Allison that breaks the silence then with a well worded-

 

“Shit.”

 

And yeah, no kidding.





8 Hours

 

Klaus isn’t sure what time it is, unwilling to risk making eye contact with the ghosts to check the window above the doorway to see the light shining through.

 

He’s pressed into the corner- he’s safer there.



9 Hours

 

He’s been scratching his arms for a while now.

 

His painted nails disguises the blood underneath them.



10 Hours

 

He can’t tell if that’s his blood or the ghosts’ anymore.

 

The pain is numbing and the scratching isn’t doing anything.

 

11 Hours

 

He’s resorted to holding his breath for as long as he can.

 

The burning in his lungs reminds him he’s alive.

 

It’s cold again.



12 Hours

 

God, he’s so fucking thirsty.



13 Hours

 

He’s banging his head against the wall now.

 

Holding his breath wasn’t enough.

 

The ghosts are already taking in enough air they don’t need.



14 Hours

 

Huh, there’s blood on the wall.

 

Is it his?



15 Hours

 

Maybe he should stop.

 

The Mausoleum is spinning.



16 Hours

 

He can feel blood trickle down his ears.

 

That’s a relief.

 

Klaus can’t hear them



17 Hours

 

They’re clouding his face and he wants them to Stop.

 

God, why won’t they stop?

 

He can’t help them!



18 Hours

 

It’s cold.

 

He’s banging his head against the wall again.

 

He laughs.



19 Hours

 

He wants it to stop



20 Hours

 

He wants it to stop




20 Hours and 24 minutes into Klaus’ special training, he dies of blood loss, brain trauma, and dehydration.

 

20 Hours and 26 minutes into Klaus’ special training, he comes back to life.



Reginald Hargreeves doesn’t notice.

 

Chapter Text

Reginald Doesn’t Notice




“Klaus!”

Ben raced down the stairs, pausing only for a moment to observe his brother in hastily shoveling food into his mouth like it might be the last thing he will ever eat. And going off of his memories of their childhood from before, yeah… Reginald was never a kind man. Klaus was always skinny, seemed that at least hasn’t changed in this timeline. Shit, he spent too long on the stairs didn’t he?

 

He ran the rest of the way down, ignoring his sibling who had just arrived as well, nearly tripping over his own two feet trying to get to the other.

 

Ben cursed internally, his stomach rumbling with something other than hunger, as he saw the glassy and haunted look in Klaus’ eyes, although there seemed to be something else behind the green of his irises. It looked familiar.

 

“Klaus?” Ben hesitantly placed a hand on his shoulder, resting it firmly. Klaus told him touch helped ground him, like how he went without shoes sometimes to ground him- literally and figuratively.

 

“Klaus?” He shook the boney shoulder, finally getting him to look at him.

 

“Ben?”

 

He sighed, bone weary and settled down into his own chair. “Jesus Klaus, what did they do to you?”

 

Klaus chuckled, deep and just as tired as he looked. “Other than what they usually do?”

 

“Children!”

 

All seven of them jolted from their places in their seats, standing behind their chairs like the good little soldiers that they were, backs straight and eyes staring into nothing in front of them as fathe- as Reginald made his way to the table. That man didn’t deserve the title of father.

 

He didn’t even deserve the title of Man.

Grumbled The Horror helpfully inside his mind.

 

Ben almost jumped at the jumbled mess of voices, instead he just sighed and sat down as Reginald told them to sit and eat. It wasn’t the first time The Horror gave its own comment during situations like this. In truth, Ben didn’t much mind the horror in tamer times, when they were without missions, the monster inside him was almost friendly, calm.

 

He snorted mentally, replying with a short ‘tell me about it.’  That seemed to please The Horror as it sunk back further from his mind.

 

Maybe he should name it.

 

He shoveled the eggs and rice into his mouth, discreetly trying to take a quick look at his brother, who was already on his second plate of food. Jesus, did he really not eat anything? He was gone for nearly two days! He wanted to talk to his brother, he needed to talk to him. Ben had spent his entire afterlife looking out for Klaus- and just because he was alive doesn’t mean that that would change. He had a body now, he could do a lot more than just scream and cry from the sidelines.

 

He eyed Reginald from the corner of his eye.

 

He’d do a lot more than stay on the side this time.




Diego didn’t know what to do.

 

Ben had raced down the stairs, shouting for Klaus, and nearly caused the rest of them to crash into him when he paused on the stairs for a split second before pushing forward again, stumbling as his bare feet hit the floor. And when Diego had gotten a good look at Klaus, he couldn’t help but stop for a moment too.

 

While Klaus always did seem to have a far off look in his eyes, he had never seen it more pronounced.

 

Never seen or never noticed?

 

He pushed the thought aside.

 

Now though, it truly did look like Klaus was haunted. Green eyes that he remembered to be truly brilliant and light, were now glassy and dull and entirely too knowing for Diego’s comfort. It was like the world and the sky had settled on his brother’s thin shoulders. Klaus had always carried himself with a strange grace that would have never been seen in a man as high or as drunk as he was back as an adult, a quaint confidence ridden on a straight back. Now, he was hunched over, like his head weighed too much for his body to support.

 

Diego lifted his head from his plate to take a glance at Klaus across from him. He shuddered as he saw the still far off and dead look in his eyes. Focused yet so unconcentrated on his second plate of food in front of him.

 

He made eye contact with Ben, shooting him a questioning glance and then switching his gaze back to Klaus and then back to Ben again. Ben shook his head simply and mouthed ‘later.’ He didn’t like the hopeless look on his other brother’s face. He didn’t like it at all.

 

“You are all dismissed, the rest of the day is free for you all. I have a meeting.” Reginald announced and promptly left.

 

At first, it was quiet other than the recorder droning on about the weather or some other minor thing that wasn’t quite so important than their brother. Then the front door slammed shut with a finality as Reginald and Pogo left for whatever shitty meeting.

 

Then it was the sound of chairs being pushed back so fast Diego wasn’t surprised none had toppled over. Actually, Luther’s crashed into a wall. Does that count? Then he’s trying to get to Klaus the same time the others do.

 

Unsurprisingly Ben was there first.

 

Surprisingly, it was Five and Vanya that got there second, the later latching onto the other as soon as he jumped.

 

And then it was him and Luther reaching towards their siblings behind Allison who literally crawled under the table to be at their side quicker, and geeze, he can see the mom in her more than ever now, as she reached across and grips Klaus’ hand with tears in her eyes.

 

He’s not responding to them, no matter how much Allison pleads, and it breaks his heart to see his brothers and sisters like this. Klaus isn’t looking at any of them and suddenly Diego is grateful that mom is in the kitchen.

 

Ben sighs and closes his eyes, head falling to rest on Klaus shoulder.

 

And it’s as if a switch was flitched because then Klaus is forcing a hesitant smile and staring at them with slight confusion and then he’s asking-

 

“Hey- what, are you guys okay?”

 

And then Klaus is looking at Allison with soft green eyes, filled with concern as tears run down her cheeks, and he tugs her into a hug. She’s gripping him tightly to her with the same carefulness one might use to hold fragile glass.

 

He looks to Diego, confusion and even more concern in his gaze and- jeez, they should be the ones comforting Klaus from whatever he had to experience in the time he was gone, not him being the glue that holds them together now when it’s so obvious he’s falling apart.

 

Allison sniffles and looks up at Klaus.

 

“Where- what happened yesterday Klaus?” He stiffens under grip and Allison swears her heart just breaks at the slow fear building up in his thin frame. “You-you were gone , for a long time, Klaus. Where were you?”

 

Diego and the others know that it would just be so much simpler if she used her power on him. And maybe that’s what they would have done in the past but now they get a second chance to clean up the mess they created, with Vanya, with Ben, with all of them.

 

It’s like a storm building up, the air filling with tense electricity as Klaus’ mouth gapes open, hesitance clear on his tongue as he looks for something to fill the silence- it’s not silent though, it’s too LOUD- and Vanya looks like she might break if nothing happens.

 

They can practically see the moment Klaus closes up, the walls they never even knew existed being put up so fast that it’s no wonder how they never really knew their brother was ever sad. If it wasn’t Allison that went into acting it might as well have been Klaus with how well he smiles bright and so so fake as if he never had a care in the world.

 

He laughs, and they can’t even tell if it’s forced, when he replies, “Uh, training? What did you think I was doing?- I swear I’m clean!” He raises his hands up in a ‘I surrender’ gesture and an impish and childish look on his face.

 

And if Diego’s heart wasn’t broken before, than the pieces were just being grounded into the dirt now because it’s Klaus as he was before the end of the world. Childish and immature and nothing like how he was only a few seconds earlier. It’s soul ripping and it feels like the weight that was placed on him when they first arrived back in time with Vanya just reappeared with even more baggage because Klaus is acting like everything is just okay . It’s not, it’s really really not.

 

“Uh, seriously though, are you guys okay? You look like you just saw a puppy shot in front of you?”

 

And fuck, it might as well have right? Klaus always did have unbeatable puppy eyes.

 

“Vanya? What’s happening?- You know the table is shaking right?”

 

The table stops shaking.

 

“Can someone else please talk already! I feel like I’m the only one who knows how!” He jokes.

 

Five speaks up after a few more moments of silence where Klaus looks like he’s about to speak again. “We know you were training, but what exactly is your training.” And shit- Klaus really must be a good actor because all he does is roll his eyes and grins. “Uh, I see ghosts? Dear Old Reggie just takes me around and has me tell him who died, when, and who they were. Don’t worry about, I’m just tired, I was literally gone ¡ todo el dia!” He switches to spanish and his grin softens, “Seriously though, I’m fine-” he chuckled, “I don’t know why you’re all so worked up about it, this happened all the time last round.”

 

And with a deep breath, Diego realizes it’s true, and he sees the exact moment it dawns on all of them when their faces pale and he can practically feel the shame in the room. Because it’s true, he can remember it happening all the time, Reginald calling Klaus aside for extra or special training and none of them caring, even being jealous sometimes that Klaus gets to train his powers.

 

Klaus doesn’t seem to notice mood shift as he yawns and stands from his seat, waving shakily at them with his hand that used to have the ‘GoodBye’ tattoo and heading to his room because he was “tired, we can all have a talk later, now I just gotta recharge. Wir sehen uns!” and he disappears up the stairs.

 

Diego can barely hear Ben sigh before he too follows after Klaus- like he used to as a ghost, Diego recalls, and god he really feels awful now. How many times had Klaus told them that Ben was there, that he was sitting in that chair over there so don’t sit in him okay? Hey can we get an extra plate for Ben too? We want waffles today! I swear, I’m telling the truth!

 

He closes his eyes because the memories are starting to hurt. They always dismissed Klaus, because he was high, because he was drunk, because he was fucking crazy and why does it matter? It’s Klaus .

 

And shit, does he feel like a useless brother.




Vanya could only hear the rush of blood in her ears and it reminds her uncomfortably of the vault in the basement. Her breathing is too loud too and it does nothing to quell the rush of memories, not only of her in the vault but of Klaus screaming outside the glass and she couldn’t hear him at the time but she remembers Allison telling her that Klaus almost attacked Luther when they left the basement. And wasn’t that a surprise? Klaus, sweet, chicken boned, pacifist Klaus nearly attacked Luther of all people because she was locked away.

 

It’s not just that memory that comes to mind either.

 

She can just remember all those times Klaus snuck into her room when they were kids, listening to her play and more often than not dragging Ben with him so they could enjoy the peace and quiet when things got too loud, hectic, chaotic. Klaus would always smile and tell her she played beautifully and- seriously Vanya! I’m not kidding, you could probably win an award with yourself and your violin! You’d have your own orchestra!- every time before he closed the door.

 

Then Reginald found out and forbade them from entering her room, although it didn’t really stop Klaus, he’d just sneak his way into her room occasionally when they both knew that Dear Old Reggie was asleep. And then it stopped when Ben died but Klaus never did stop sending her a smile when he walked past her room while she played, whether he was high or drunk or whatever he was, he didn’t stop smiling with sincerity and gratefulness whenever he walked by. It only stopped when he moved away. Although he would send her an occasional voicemail every once in a while when he saw her orchestra in the paper, which was rarely but he definitely did put more effort in contacting than the rest of their siblings.

 

And she feels terrible, because his eyes remind her way too much of a younger, much younger, Vanya who would cry in the bathroom and see in the mirror the same haunted and repressed look. It was like looking in a mirror now too.

 

She was lucky to get away with it only a few times, but for Klaus it happened all throughout their childhood . It wasn’t a pleasant thought.


It’s not a pleasant thought at all.

Chapter Text

Klaus groans and rolls over on his bed, pulling the covers up over his head, trying to muffle the screaming and the wailing and god they never just the fuck up!

 

Above it all he can barely notice the knock on his bedroom door, but he does hear swing open with the audible creak that he never bothered to fix. He grumbles and curls up further, mumbling from beneath his cocoon of blankets, “Not now Ben, I really am tired.”

 

Ben sighs and sits on his bed anyways and places his hand on Klaus’ arm. “I’m not gonna try and weedle the answers from you now Klaus. Just go to sleep.”

 

And Klaus feels the familiar weight of headphones being placed carefully over his ears and relaxes at Whitney Houston's voice that blares from them, drowning out the ghosts. Vaguely he can feel Ben wiggling his way under some of the blankets and resting beside him, his back to Ben’s belly, and Klaus snuggles deeper against them, relaxing even more. He remembers them doing this all the time, whenever one of their training sessions gets especially difficult, they would crawl into each other’s beds and find comfort in their warmth- or cool in Ben’s case. Klaus himself was as cold as the dead, Ben on the other hand, was basically a human furnace with The Horror generating heat as well. Together they achieved preferable room temperature.

 

With Ben radiating heat and Whitney Houston singing in his ears, Klaus was able to drift off into the sweat sweat realm of dreams. Gott sei Dank.

 

 


 

 

Five was pacing in the living room, around him the others were seated in much the same way they were during Reginald’s funeral, not that Five himself would know though.

 

Allison sat on one of the chairs, her legs curled up beside her and chewing her nails, unable to get rid of how well and how accustomed Klaus was to acting like nothing was wrong. It made her wonder just how many times Klaus had done so in front of them, and none of them had ever bothered to even notice. It also didn’t escape her how thin and boney his wrist was and how she could feel his ribs and spine under his pajamas from when she had hugged him before. She could probably pick him up no problem if she had tried.

 

It was obvious the others were thinking the same.

 

Vanya though, seemed to be off in her own world. She was curled up on the couch, cradling a pillow to her chest like a stuffed animal, and staring blankly at the ‘family portrait’ that they managed to bring Vanya into.

 

She was staring at Klaus.

 

Or, more accurately, what Reginald wanted Klaus to be.

 

Klaus was more filled out, still thin but more lean instead of chicken bones and sharp elbows and cheekbones. A confident smirk placed on his face instead of a crooked and bright smile, and usual curly and messy hair gelled and combed back. Green eyes a little duller than they really were, all of them forgoing the domino masks since Vanya herself didn’t have one. It was Klaus’ idea. Kind of. Reginald defended that she couldn’t be in the portrait since she didn’t have a mask. Klaus responded by throwing his domino mask into the fire, Ben joining only a split second after, the two of them all too happy as they turned back to face Reginald.

 

The others didn’t throw their masks into the fire, but they did throw them somewhere else, Diego using his power to throw his on top of the chandelier- the only thing he said being, “whoops” none too apologetically.

 

At that time, tears had welled up in Vanya’s eyes as Reginald ‘harrumphed’ and allowed her into the portrait, situating herself between Klaus and Allison, both of whom laced their arms around her shoulders.

 

She was staring at the Klaus that Reginald wanted him to be. And although the painting brought warm and welcome memories, she couldn’t help but hate it as well. Especially as she glanced Ben and Allison. Her skin lighter and his eyes a little too big. She couldn’t help but loathe it. But she loved it all the same. Maybe they’ll get a real family photo this time.

Five stopped pacing, immediately snapping the others’ attention over to him. In a moment of frustration, Five jumped atop the chandelier, snatching the Domino mask still there and jumped back into the living room, throwing it into the fire with a yell and such force that bits of burnt wood flew from the fireplace with white ash and smoke.

 

“How is it,” He starts, “that everytime we solve something, another problem pops up.” And although the others can’t see his face, Vanya can see the flames being reflected in tired, desperate eyes, how the yellows and orange lick away at dark brown like the colors of a forest fire.

 

Five sighs and lets his head fall back, eyes closed and shoulders tense as they all fall back into silence.

 

Only to be broken by Luther, who speaks as though he had just rediscovered how Reginald treated him and the others for the first time. Brokenly, “He doesn’t trust us.” And he looks up with such sadness in his eyes that Vanya wants to look away, lest she starts to cry. “Klaus doesn’t trust- doesn’t rely on us anymore.”

 

Diego sighs, “He has no reason not to.”

 

“You make it sound like him not being able to rely on you all is recent.”

 

Five stiffens and turns his head, glaring weakly at Ben, standing dejectedly in doorway, frown maring his face and stance loose and tired.

 

Allison lets out a small noise of discomfort, “What do you mean?”

 

The other just shakes his head sadly, not moving from the entryway. “Think about it, when was the last time Klaus ever truly relied on any of us? Hmm? From the last life and even now.”

 

It’s silent again and Vanya can see the others sifting through memories. Diego go to speak before Ben cuts them off again with a-

 

Other than to just catch a ride or a place to crash for a bit. When has he ever told any of us anything worth meaning.”

 

Diego glares and bites out, “Dave, I was going to say Dave.”

 

Ben scoffs and stares at Diego sadly, “But were you listening. He told you ‘Dave,’ but do you even know what happened?”

 

And Ben lets out a small and short hysterical laugh and runs a hand through his hair, the move so familiar it sends a pang through Vanya’s heart. “Even I don’t know much about Dave, I just know that he was someone Klaus loved. You never even looked at Klaus when he talked about Dave!” He shouts this time, hands shaking at his sides and tears welling in his eyes. “You didn’t even so much as look at him, you didn’t see how completely and wholly Klaus was in love with him. He lost someone he loved, he lost the one person Klaus thought would be able to love him.”

 

The last part is bitter and furious and accusing. He points a shaking finger at all of them. “He didn’t believe, couldn’t hope that anyone would be able to love him. HE DIDN’T THINK ANYONE LOVED HIM! And the one person he thought did, well he died !” The revelation is so shocking and so unbearably true that Allison lets out a choked noise and covers her mouth and Luther sinks in the cushions, guilt weighing on him as if a building collapsed on him. Ben moves for the first time since they saw him stand there, stalking his way towards Diego. “And you!”

 

Diego flinches back.

 

“You had the fucking gal to say that he was lucky! He was lucky because even if someone he loved died, Klaus’d still be able to see them! Well Fuck You Diego! Dave died ,” He stretches out the word, bitterness dripping from his tongue like poison. “He died right next to our brother. Klaus watched him bleed out next to him and do you have any idea how much that fucks someone up?! Dave died right next to him ! Klaus could have died instead, and none of you would have noticed.”

 

At that, Ben whirls on Five who flinches back as if struck, from the intensity in Ben’s gaze.

 

“You-those fucking maniacs that shot up the house? You know, Hazel and Cha-Cha?” Five pales and Ben laughs . “Yeah, them! When they couldn’t find you, they took Klaus instead. Took him right from under your noses, and they hurt him. Tortured him, Five.” Ben’s voice breaks and they can finally see under the rage. It’s a sea of broken glass and a jungle of fear. “They tortured our brother, our little brother for information he didn’t have, information none of you bothered to tell him! He told them that they took the wrong sibling!” Ben screams again, “AND HE WAS RIGHT! None of you noticed, it was Detective Patch that had to call for any of you to even realize that Klaus was missing! Otherwise, none of you would have known before it was too late! He could have died then and none of you would have-!” He cuts himself off and tears roll from his eyes and he closes them tightly, breathing in through his nose. “And he did die.”

 

“He died, Luther.”

 

Said brother breathes deeply and shakily, eyes wide and teary. “W-what?”

 

“HE DIED!” Ben explodes . “That night at the rave?! The same day where you choked Klaus and through him across the room?!” Allison gasps and glares heatedly at Luther with such contempt that Vanya’s surprised Luther doesn’t burst into flames.

 

“Ha- yeah, that night! I convinced Klaus to look for you when you stormed out of the house looking for some goddam drugs. You told Klaus- to his face- that you wished you were him! You left! And I was an idiot to convince Klaus to follow you. While you were getting it on with some girl, the boyfriend moved to attack you! And Klaus, trying to get sober and being dragged into a fucking rave filled with drugs and alcohol and temptations, jumps on the man’s back, gets slammed into the floor, breaks his head, and dies .” Ben breathes out shakily, sobbing and the others can see how greatly it affected it him. “I saw him die, and I saw you leave. You left, Luther, and left our brother on the floor. I saw him die,and  he died and he came back to life, unsurprised .” He sobs, “Like he knew you would leave him. And no one noticed.”

 

Vanya’s crying now, the salt stinging her eyes but she can’t bring herself to close them, terrified that in the darkness she’ll see Klaus, broken and bleeding on a dirty floor with no one there to care.

 

Five is sitting in front of the fire, as if though his strings were cut, and staring at his hands in his lap. And Vanya remembers that he came back to save them, to make sure none of them died, and yet one of them still did. Klaus, who they all deemed the youngest brother even though they were all born the same day, died. Five looks haunted, and Vanya knows that he’s seeing Klaus, dead and dirty and broken in the apocalypse.

 

Allison’s buried her head into her hands, shakily breathing between sobs, guilt ridden because none of them knew , they didn’t even notice that Klaus was gone. And he was right because none of them noticed.

 

Luther and Diego have tears in their eyes, both silent and dejected, knowing that they were the ones who inflicted the most damage on their brother. Because Klaus died in front of Luther, who did nothing. Because Klaus was going through the toughest moment in his life and Diego made a cruel comment.

 

The silence was heavy and the air was like water.



“No one noticed.”

 

Chapter Text

Klaus screws his eyes shut as the sound of gunfire echoes loudly in the trenches. He can feel the mud soak his boots and Alex screaming for more amo beside him and dammit! This war is pointless! So fucking pointless! He wants to voice as much but the only thing he’s screaming is-

 

“Christ on a cracker! That was a close on huh, Dave!”

 

And like all the times before, he doesn’t get a reply.

 

He can’t feel the mud anymore, but the feeling of blood slicking his hands is still there as he watches, detached, himself scream for a medic and chanting a mantra of ‘no’s as Dave slips from his grasp.

 

The light from the gunfire is like flickering candles in the blue light of the night jungle. If Klaus was anymore fucked up in the head, he’d call it romantic.

 

But there’s blood on his hands where ‘GoodBye’ and ‘Hello’ were tattooed on and suddenly there’s the heated warmth of a rifle in his hands and he’s marching behind Alex, mosquitos stinging them and the acid falling from the planes only a few miles away- and he can barely remember Reginald’s bland tone telling them of the cancers and health problems that generally followed after the planes in the war.

 

Klaus vaguely questions whether he’d be affected as well. Oh well, he’ll just die and come back to life anyways right? It wouldn’t matter.

 

And then Alex steps on a twig.



Klaus wakes with a strangled gasp to the sound of an explosion, a scream cut off too soon, and gun fire.

 

He breathes heavily, all too aware of the empty and cool space behind him and for a second all he can think about is-

 

Oh god, Ben’s dead. He’s dead he’s dead he’s dead . I knew it was too good to be true! Nononono! Ben! BEN!

 

“-BEN!” He cries out, thrashing in his blankets and falling to the ground and then-

 

He’s back in the gunfire, in the jungle, watching with despair as a village comes into view in a free fire zone. He barely has time to cry as a mother and her child are mowed down by his soldiers, by their own soldiers that were supposed to protect them. It’s not fair!

 

The mother and child appear in front of him, crying and still grasping at the bullet holes that pepper their skinny and burnt forms from ‘project orange’ as if they were still in pain.

 

They turn to him then and scream.

 

He screams back- feeling time fall apart and it’s just him in the goddamn mausoleum. But the mother and child are still there, screaming and crying and sobbing and asking-

 

“Why didn’t you tell them to stop!”

 

“I’m sorry!”  He tries.

 

“You could have saved us!”

 

“I couldn’t- I wasn’t able to!”

 

“MURDERER!”

 

He screams then, covering his ears and shutting his eyes tight. But he knows it’s useless.

 

He does it anyways.

 

“Klaus!”

“Klaus!”

“Klaus!”

“Klaus!”

“Klaus!”

“Klaus!”


“KL-

 

“AUS! Klaus! Come on!”

 

He comes back with a gasp and a slurred “sorry” still spoken in a broken mantra as Ben comes into view.

 

He latches onto his brother immediately, burying his face into his chest and sobbing as the rushed beat of his brother’s heart thumps in his ears. He knows he looks like a mess right now, but he curls up further and cries, cries for all the people he couldn’t save, for the people he killed, for the soldiers he watched die in front of him, for his friends he left behind and-

 

Dave.

 

He feels Ben’s warm arms wrap around him and hug him tightly to his chest, as if he could push away all the dark thoughts and blood and ghosts away with the embrace. It only makes him cry harder if that were possible, he’s struggling to breathe and he’s choking on thin air and tears and he can still smell the damp, humid forest, the smell of burnt flesh and the gunpowder, and he can still feel the slickness of blood on his hands.

 

He cries for Ben- for how long he spent as a ghost, for how he died, for how he was stuck with the most useless of the family, the fuck up, the junkie. He cries for the lost years Ben had when he died so young.

 

“I-I’m s-s-sor-rry. I’m so,so,so-so sorry.” He stutters between sobs. His entire body shaking and Ben just hugs him tighter.

 

“You don’t have to be sorry Klaus.”

 

He doesn’t listen. Then again, he never really does listen to Ben.

 

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry. . .”

 


 

 

Ben’s still trying to pull himself together when a heart stopping scream echoes through the house, a muffled shout of ‘Ben’ resounding down into the living room. He’s barely even noticed that he’s already halfway up the stairs before the scream stops.

 

He gets to Klaus’ room and slams the door open, immediately rushing to his brother’s side and gathering him shaking into his arms, and ice cold terror when Klaus shows no signs of being present with him.

 

“Klaus?” Ben shakes him slightly, pressing his hand firmly against his shoulder. “Klaus!” He calls again when he doesn’t respond.

 

He feels the weight of his other siblings’ stares on them as he tries to rouse Klaus from whatever terrible flashback he’s stuck in.

 

“KLAUS!” He shouts desperately this time, and it seems to work because Klaus’ eyes flutter open. “Klaus! Come on.” He breathes out.

 

He hates the broken and stuttering rant of ‘sorry’s that tumble from his brother’s mouth, hates how broken and desperate his green eyes look when he Klaus stares at him.

 

Klaus stares for a moment before immediately launching himself back into Ben’s arms, pressing his ear against his chest to hear is own erratic heartbeat. He ignores the pressure welling up behind his eyes and shuts them tight, holding his brother closer as he threatens to break. And he’s still stuttering apologies into his clothes.

 

“You don’t have to be sorry Klaus.” He chokes out.

 

The words are ignored, the heart breaking apologies still flooding the air like smoke.

 

Ben can do nothing else but hold Klaus closer, like he might turn into smoke as well. He ignores the tears that roll down his cheeks and his own choked back sobs as he rocks them, still sitting on the carpet of Klaus’ room.

 

He feels Vanya’s hesitant arms circle around his body from the side, and he sobs harder. For himself and for Klaus who’s just hiccuping now, tears still streaming down his face and soaking his pajamas.

 

He feels Five’s then Allison’s then Diego’s and eventually Luther’s arms wrap them tighter. One big group hug. And he can’t help but giggle even as more tears slide down his own face, and he buries his face into the top of Klaus’ hair, moving his hands to brace against his neck and cradle his head softly.

 

He cries for his brother and he cries for his family.

 

Eventually they fall asleep like that.



 


Five is the first to wake up after three hours of sleep cradled between Ben and Allison, Vanya squished between Klaus and Diego with Luther managing to reach all of them. Five carefully detangles himself from the jungle of limbs and bodies, maneuvering himself to where he’s finally at the edge of the group and teleports nearer to the door.

 

From there, he can see his family circled tightly around Ben and Klaus. It should be heartwarming, and it is, but-

 

Five sighs and jumps down into the kitchen, pulling out a mug and coffee from the bottom shelf.

 

But- if he’s being honest, it’s heartbreaking as well. It pulls at his gut and burn his brain and build pressure into his chest and creates a heaviness in his limbs. Because against all his attempts, his equations, and best intentions, Klaus still died , and that will never be erased from his brain. His little brother, who went missing and no one even noticed, died in a rave trying to help his other sibling.

 

He doesn’t notice but the mug drops from the counter and he flinches back from the shards on the floor, heated water spilling and spreading on the tiles. He curses and turns to look for towels and broom, finding a bone weary Klaus standing in the doorway. The tired, red and puffy eyes and the slouch of his fram are enough for Five to stop in his tracks, breath caught in his throat as Klaus looks at him in surprise, surprise that someone else is down in the kitchen. Then Klaus glances at the shards on the floor and the steam rising from the water that’s steadily getting closer to Five’s barefoot and vocalises a noise of slight panic and moves to grab the broom and  a towel. Throwing the towel between the water and Five and tries with shaking and unsteady hands to sweep away the glass.

 

“J-jesus Fi-Five,” Five winces at the shaky stutter, “didn’t really peg you for the clumsy type.” Klaus smiles tight lipped at him, and Five can’t help but wilt internally at the fight Klaus is having behind dull eyes to make it appear that everything is okay.

 

His own shaky hands takes away the broom from Klaus and he starts to sweep up the mess. Klaus just shrugs and gets a new mug from the cabinet and begins to make coffee, just how Five likes it.

 

Five throws away the shards and wipes up the water, biting his lip as Klaus sets down two plate and grabs a snack from the fridge for himself, and begins to make one of Five’s peanut butter and marshmallow sandwiches. When all was done, the two sit down on the table, Klaus on one side and Five on the other, a seat further down.

 

Five stares down at his coffee and sandwich, watching the steam rise from the cup and dissipate into the air.

 

“Hey Five?” He looks back towards his brother, still pale and kinda shaky. “Are you okay?”

 

And something snaps inside him, staring at Klaus with heavy bags under his eyes, skin sallow and so pale it seems transparent under the lights, skinny and oh so haunted figure slouched over in his seat- a far cry from his usual grace- asking Five as if he’s the one that had a breakdown a few hours ago.

 

And he feels the tears welling up in his eyes and face grow hot as anger curls deep and terribly in his belly.

 

“Dammit Klaus!” He slams his hands on the table and stands up, the chair screeching back, “I’m the one that’s supposed to be asking that! Obviously I’m not okay, not when you’re so blatantly hurting and not letting us help! I-we were terrible to you!” He feels hysterical and he runs a hand down his face, tears springing from his eyes and down his chin despite his best efforts to not cry. “Damn it! We were horrible ! Get angry! Be mad, disappointed!” And he chokes on his words and slams his hands back down onto the table, not looking up once. “Just-” And he feels his energy dwindle and all he feels is hopelessness, “please, be anything, just-just don’t pretend everything’s okay.” He whispers. He squeezes his eyes so tight it hurt his head, willing the tears to go away, instead they fall freely. Because Klaus didn’t deserve that. He didn’t-

 

“You didn’t deserve to die .” He whispers, unsure if Klaus was even able to hear him.

 

Five feels thin arms wrap around him, pulling him close to Klaus’ chest. He turns to face Klaus and sighs into the other’s chest. Klaus hugs him tighter, and they stand there for a few moments, before Five pulls back and slumps back down into his chair, staring blankly at his hands.

 

Suddenly they’re covered by Klaus’ and he looks up. He finds green eyes staring back at him, concerned and bleeding with sadness and weariness.

 

“Five, I’m not gonna lie.” He starts, voice raspy and soft. “I-I’m not gonna lie and say that I’m not hurt by everything that happened back then, it was- ha, yeah it was terrible .” Five winced and looked back down.

 

“Uh-uh, hey no. Come on Five, look at me here.” He looks back up.

 

Klaus smiles tiredly, “Yeah, it was terrible. But, I’m not angry, or mad, or frustrated-okay no, yeah, I am kinda frustrated with you all for not noticing that I was gone for nearly two days , but honestly.” And Klaus shrugs, “I just want to put it all behind me right now. I still haven’t totally adjusted to everything yet,” he admits, “and I don’t really want to present all my problems for everyone to see just yet.”

 

Klaus sighs and looks to the side slightly before back at him, “Yeah, not yet. I can’t talk just yet, but I will, one day, I will. And when I do, we can all gather in the attic or on the roof and just have one big ol’ cry and maybe go back downstairs and kick dear old Reggie in the balls.” Five laughs wetly and closes his eyes and leans forward onto his brother who wraps his arms around him and pats his back. “Ha, yeah, I’d really enjoy that.”

 

Klaus rests his head against Five’s and sighs, “I’m not angry Five, I could never truly be angry at any of you. We had more important matter at the time okay? I mean, the end of the world?” Klaus laughs incredulously, “Fuck, yeah that seems pretty damn important.” He pats Five’s head, “Don’t sweat it little buddy. You’re fine.”

 

He snorts and wipes his tears and leans back away from Klaus, “Little? Klaus, I’m pretty much double your age right now, besides, you were always considered the youngest brother.”

 

Klaus scoffs and presses a hand against his chest, “How dare you! I am insulted, aghast! You wound me dear brother, truly!” He cries out dramatically.

 

Five grins and leans his back against the chair and lets his head fall back so that he’s staring at the ceiling. Silence falls for a moment.

 

“We are totally new and bizzare brand of fucked aren’t we little bro?”

 

Klaus laughs, loud and so very real. “Oh that we totally are brother mine.”

 

They sit there comfortably, relaxing in the silent bliss for what must be half an hour because Five’s coffee is cold and whatever the hell Klaus chose for a snack is too. They sit there, cherishing each other’s company before Klaus breaks it.

 

“One day, Five, I’ll tell you all everything. Just- just not now, but I promise,” Klaus turns to look at him, staring intently into his eyes. “I promise I will, I promise I’ll tell you all everything.”

 

And looking back at Klaus’ big green eyes, nothing but sincere and love and care in them. He can’t help but agree.

 

“Thank Klaus.”

 

“No problem Five.”

 

“...”

 

“...”

 

“Wanna go prank the others?”

 

“... Shit- yeah. What do you have in mind Klaus.”

 

Chapter Text

Five smirks haughtily over his second cup of coffee that afternoon at Klaus, drinking hot tea- courtesy of mom- and leaning sideways against Ben, reading a book. Ben had woken up in the middle of their prank, so they decided to include him as well.

 

Now they just had to wait.

 

No sooner had the thought crosses his mind when Five perked up at Luther’s very undignified screams. He chuckled and sipped at his coffee and closed his eyes. Ah, music to his ears.

 

“KLAUS! FIVE! BEN!”

 

The three looked at each other for a moment.

 

And immediately burst into giggles.

 

Ben reached over for a high-five, which Five gave enthusiastically.

 


 

 

Allison groaned into her grilled cheese sandwich, dejectedly staring at the bright pink and gold glitter that falls into her plate but thankfully not into her sandwich. Luther, Diego and Vanya are in the same boat, but with different colors, sitting at the table for lunch.

 

For Luther, it’s silver and black, it decorates his hair magnificently-according to Klaus anyways- and it’s obvious he’s getting tired of trying to brush it off. Glitter never comes off.

 

Diego has blue and red, the colors of the lights on a police car. Ben had chosen those helpfully and will forever and always continue to shout “Wee-oo, Wee-oo!” into Diego’s ear from time to time. He still hasn’t given up on brushing off the glitter and there’s a slowly growing puddle of it under him.

 

Vanya’s is a bright white and muted blue, although there is less glitter on her than the others because Klaus felt bad about covering their dear little sister in glitter. Five just rolled his eyes at the small violin key-chain Klaus had seemingly produced out of thin air and gifted to Vanya shortly after the prank.

 

When asked where he got it, Klaus just shrugged- “I’ve always had it, although it’s been a while so I don’t really remember.”

 

Mom had simply tutted at them and disappeared to find a vacuum. Although they had cleaned most of it up earlier because they all refused to leave everything to mom.

 

“Where did you guys even get this much glitter.” Diego huffed and continued to shake it out of his hair. It only caused it to rain on his sandwich. Ben cackled and shouted “Wee-oo” again.

 

Klaus grinned, all teeth and replied, “You don’t want to know.”

 

Luther shuddered.

 

Allison and Vanya looked at Five and Ben questionly.

 

Ben mouthed ‘closet’ at them. They nodded wisely.

 

Klaus laughed and leaned back, eyes flicking to the corner for a split second before focusing again on Five. “So, mein dear brothers and sisters, what do we do now?”

 

It takes a beat of silence before Allison grins and says, “Attic.”

 

Ben whoops, “Oh hell yeah, we haven’t done that in forever!”

 

Luther has the same look as Diego and Allison. The holy-shit-is-it-weird-to-hear-Ben-swear look. Vanya just nods, eyes closed like she’s listening to an old Greek philosopher and grins. “Fuck yeah.”

 

Klaus bursts into laughter at Allison’s and Luther’s scandalized gasps, Diego’s wide-eyed look, and even Five’s shocked expression at their mouse of a sister. Ben grins and reaches over to high-five Vanya, which she returns with a smirk. Confidence looks good on her, Klaus concludes.

 

With that, they scramble up to the attic, looting their bedrooms for blankets and pillows and snacks they stored there because they knew Reginald wouldn’t give them the luxury of anything outside of their diet plans. Which wasn’t as fucked as the others things he made them do, which is a whole other level of fucked up, but they push through it.

 

It isn’t too long before they’re seated together, comfortably lying on pillows or each other, stretched about languidly and laughing around a fresh batch of cookies that mom had made them earlier. Recalling stories of their youth- or, their now youth? It was a total mind fuck either way.

 

Allison giggles, waving her hand around not caring if the cookie crumbs fall down on the blanket. “Oh my god, remember when Five got so mad at Luther he teleported his dumbells on top of the chandelier and Reggie didn’t notice for a month?”

 

Vanya grins, “Oh, how about that time Diego was being extra petty and decided to see if his power worked on people?

 

Diego cackled at that, “God, Five’s face was absolutely hilarious, he was so scared!”

 

“I was not scared! It was stupid!”

 

“It worked didn’t it?”

 

Klaus laughed, “Ooh, how about that time I threw up on dear Reggie’s shoes?”

 

“Remember when Ben got slime all over the living room?”

 

“Oh my god! You remember when-”

 

“Holy shit!”

 

“I remember when Vanya got so frustrated at Five she dumped all her jelly beans into his pillow case?”

 

I remember that it started a prank war for a week .”

 

“We are never doing that again, I still have nightmares of it.”

 

And it continued like that for a good hour. Them recounting certain parts of their life, laughing over the good bits and remembering how they all seemingly managed to still find something to make them happy in their shitty lives.

 

And then Klaus bit into the last cookie.

 

They were all laughing one second and racing across the attic for a bucket for Klaus to empty his stomach in when his eyes grew wide and he clamped both hands over his mouth. Ben, having been around him long enough, knew that reaction as soon as Klaus’ eyes had widened and his face paled and greened.

 

Diego hastily shoved the bucket under him in a nick of time as Klaus puked in it. If he would have been a second later, the mess would have gotten all over the blankets.

 

Diego’s nose scrunched and Allison turned away. “Aw- gross man.”

 

Klaus gagged and screwed his eyes shut, resting his forehead on his arm and breathing heavily while Ben rubbed small circles along his back.

 

Vanya frowned and leaned forward, “Klaus- are you feeling sick? We should get mom if you are.”

 

He shook his head and waved his hand that used to have ‘Hello’ on it lazily in the air. “No-no that’s okay. I’m not sick, just forgot-” He shuddered, “ugh, hold on.”

 

He retched into the bucket again and everyone else made a noise of disgust.

 

Klaus chuckled weakly, “Ugh- that’s unfortunate.”

 

Allison frowned and leaned over to feel his forehead, “No, you don’t feel sick?”

 

He rolled his eyes and leaned back against Ben. “Uh- duh, that’s because I’m not sis. It’s just the ghosts.” He gestured vaguely around them. “They smell disgusting like, all the time.” He rolled his eyes again and grinned, “and the taste is even more disgusting.”

 

Five paled drastically, eyes widening in horror, which was strange for their brother, but then again, it’s been a long time and even longer for him.

 

“You- you can smell them? Taste them?”

 

Diego blanched.

 

Klaus, not noticing their reactions, just shrugged. “Mhm, and let me tell you, it is absolutely horrendous . Ghosts are just so fucking rude!” Immediately he turned a bit and patted Ben’s face. “Except for you, you were a wonderful little ghostie, absolutely wonderful.”

 

Luther shook his head, “Woah, woah- wait a sec, time out.” When Klaus turned back towards them Luther continued. “What do you mean you can taste them? What the hell does that mean?”

 

Klaus snorted and fixed him with an incredulous look. “Uh, it means I can taste them? What type of quest- oh, OH! You mean how .” He cleared his throat and grinned, “Uh, they like shoving themselves in my face, apparently they don’t get the ‘personal space’ stuff. Every once in a while they’ll end up like, phasing through me and if my mouth is open I’ll just uh-” he made a vague motion of chomping down on something and stuck his tongue out, “-ya know?” He shrugged, “It doesn’t happen often but man, when it does it is gross, so, so gross. And that, my lovely siblings, is why I’m not a mouth breather!”

 

Vanya made a strangled sound, “That- that’s horrid .”

 

“Ha- man is it? The ones that have been dead longer taste the worse though.” He paused, a thoughtful expression on his face. “They smell worse too.”

 

Diego looked horrified, as did the rest of them.

 

Luther spoke again, mystified. “I thought you could only see ghosts?”

 

Klaus shrugged and gestured vaguely around them again, head lolling to the side to rest on Ben’s shoulder. “I mean, when I saw dear dad in the afterlife-” Luther flinched, “he did go on about my quote-on-quote ‘untapped potential’ for a bit. I mean, this has been stuck with me for a bit though so I don’t think this is what he was talking about.”

 

Five looked sick and Allison remembered that he was in the Apocalypse, where billions of people died and decayed, and shuddered. “How long has this been a thing?”

 

“Nearly as long as I can remember- so probably when I was like, two years old? I don’t know, but alcohol sure was quite the blocker for it.” He sighed wistfully, “Oh, what I wouldn’t give for a good glass of whiskey, or a bottle of vodka  that works too.”

 

They would have rolled their eyes at Klaus’ want for alcohol if it weren’t for their horror and shock. Five especially looked like he was gonna throw up.

 

“How many are in the room?”

 

“Hmm?” Klaus looked at Allison, “Oh, I don’t know. I don’t like to look at them, but probably as many as can fit in the empty spaces.” He shrugged. And they wouldn’t have given it a second thought if the attic wasn’t as big as it was. They could probably twenty grown-ape-Luthers up here with a bit more room to spare.

 

He giggled, “Oh, oh my god. You know what this means?” He continued even as they shot him incredulous looks, “I literally have a sixth sense. The original five senses and then this stupid power!” Klaus’ tone was slightly hysterical as he waved his arms around in the air, accidentally smacking Ben in the face.

 

“Oops, sorry Ben.”

 

Said brother merely rolled his eyes.

 

And it was the end of attic time.

 


 

 

Klaus and Ben meandered into Klaus’ room after they came down from the attic. A lifetime of being joined together not being broken as soon as they jumped back to the past.

 

Five swallowed roughly, the still fresh memories of the apocalypse playing in his head, the scent of the dead more than enough to make him keel over and puke. Sometimes it would just be bile and saliva that fell past his mouth because he hadn’t eaten in days.

 

There had been one time where he had tried to eat the decaying flesh of another, nearly driven mad with hunger and silence and the constant ash that fell around him and pooled like snow at his feet. He hadn’t even brought the cooked meat to his face before he was tossing it away and sobbing, the loneliness and hunger striking his core painfully, heart heavy and stomach cramping as he gagged over a pile of ash that might have been someone else a long time ago.

 

He was barely a week into the apocalypse then.

 

“-ive, Five!”

 

He gasped and looked up, inhaling deeply to ride the ash and fumes that still seemed to reside in his lungs. He coughed.

 

“Yeah.”

 

The rest of their sibling had left, probably to go somewhere and digest all the information that was handed to them on a bloody, silver platter.

 

Allison frowned and placed her hand on his shoulder, being the mother she had been in the future. “Are you okay? You look a little shaken up, c’mon, I’ll make us some tea.”

 

He should refuse. He should refuse and go off to his room like the others, to contemplate and go over the events of the day. To process. He should say no, he should-

 

“Okay.”

 

He didn’t say no.



Apparently the others didn’t go to their rooms like he thought they did. Five sat next to Vanya, staring blankly at her hands, the silverware on the walls shaking. Luther didn’t point it out. Allison took out several mugs and began making her- what Klaus dubbed- “comfort tea.” It was silent, the only sound being the boiling water and later the clunk of each mug being settled in front of his siblings, before the pull of the chair and Allison’s sigh as she sat.

 

Luther closed his eyes tightly, seemingly trying to pull himself together.

 

“Look, I think we should talk about this. About Kla-”

 

“He died.”

 

And shockingly it was Vanya who interrupted him. She looked up, stare no longer blank. She glared at Luther, rage and cold and apathetic as she singled out Number One. Five didn’t want to know whether or not he was glad that his sister’s eyes weren’t white.

 

“Excuse me?”

 

Vanya slammed her hands on the table and stands, a loud noise that seemed to reverberate around the room, without the help of Vanya’s powers. Luther jumped.

 

“He died . Klaus died Luther.” Her voice was still quiet, but it wasn’t small. It was the sound of the silence before a storm, before a disaster that left homes flooded and people drowned, trapped and helpless, unable to scream for help less they drown quicker.

 

“You killed him! You left him! You-Luther what the hell were you thinking!” She screamed, in anguish and fear and rage. “What the hell were you thinking! Klaus, he tried to help you! And you repay him with-what?” She cuts herself off with a hysterical laugh and bows her head. “You repay him by leaving him. Leaving him to die-” The word is poison filling the air, “ alone without anyone. And despite that, he chose to help you.”

 

She looks up then and Luther shivers, though not from the white of her iris, for there isn’t the drain of color like the times before. Instead, it’s the dark brown, near black, color of the rock of a seaside cliff, stormy and withering as the waves crash and fail to break the surface. It’s strong and it’s not backing down. Five thinks he’s proud of Vanya.

 

“He chose to help your ungrateful, arrogant self and continued to help you after everything that’s happened. He died-” She chokes off, the only emotion shown other than pure, unadultured fury and continued. “He died, and none of us noticed, he died. . .”

 

The fight drains from her and she all but near collapses back into her chair, back hunched over and head in her hands. She would have cried, but the shock of what she said, of what Ben said- who knew Klaus better than the rest of them- finally set into her. What Ben said.

 

“And we never would have known if Ben hadn’t told us.” Diego voiced what she couldn’t say.

 

Allison screwed her eyes shut, leaving her cooling tea on the table, young hands shaking as she twisted them in her shirt. She rested her head on her knees, drawing in shaky breaths as she curled further in on herself. “He wouldn’t have even told us. If it were up to him, he never would have told us he died.”

 

And that’s when it truly hits Five, that sentence.

 

He never would have told us.

 

No one noticed.

 

He leaves them. Like he did in the apocalypse.

 

He leaves them and he begins to think.

Chapter Text

Ben trailed after Klaus, walking into Klaus’ room like it was his own. In a way it kind of was, what with how many times he’s come over to make sure his brother was safe, to comfort himself that he was alive when he felt cold- dead- and alone. This time he was also checking to see if Klaus was okay. In the previous timeline, Klaus and himself had never talked about their powers to the rest of their siblings, letting them know just the basics. It was harder though, to accept Klaus’ own comments about his powers, unsure if it was really him telling the truth or making something up for attention. Even Ben had thought that some of the things he had said were too absurd to be true.

 

Then Ben died.

 

And he had seen that even though Klaus liked to stretched things on and twist his words into stories and tales, he never lied about his powers. Ever.

 

So it was a huge thing for Klaus to tell their siblings about him doing more than just being able to see ghosts. If he could see and hear them, then why not all the other senses as well?

 

And well, even though Klaus was getting clean, he was still a recovering addict. Ben knew how he felt when mentioning his powers, it put him in a mindset, dark, cold, and red . So he had to be sure. Make sure that Klaus didn’t relapse. Make sure that he was there for him. They hadn’t had the time to clean out Klaus’ room and the house yet of drugs, Vanya’s training, their training, and all the missions they were sent on at this age meant they hardly had time to themselves anymore, what with the added pressure of making sure they stuck closely to the timeline and not fuck things more than they already had.

 

They should probably clean out the house.

 

Ben knocked lightly on the open door. He grinned lightly as Klaus threw himself onto the bed with a groan and toss an arm over his face. Ben picked his way through the clutter in the room and sat down on the floor beside the bed and clutched Klaus’ other hand that draped itself over the side.

 

“You don’t need to tell me how proud you are Ben, about me ‘coming out’ with my powers and all.” He mumbled.

 

Ben laughed and shook his head. “Well, I hope it’s because you know I am. Also, dude-we have to clean up your room.” He raised a brow at his brother on the bed, “I feel like I’d fall over if I even took a step forward in here.”

 

He could practically feel the eye-roll directed at him even though Klaus still had his arm over his face. “Is that just your oh so clever way of saying we still have yet to clean out the drugs from the house.” He said with no real bite in his voice.

 

“Yeah but you should also clean up your room.” Ben smiled when the other laughed. “I wasn’t lying when I said it was fucking messy.”

 

Klaus began to giggle, raising both arms to cover his mouth. “Oh my god, it is- it is ridiculously funny to see our siblings’ reactions to you cursing. Oh my god I am a terrible influence.”

 

“You are.” He said, all too pleased with himself.

 

“Oh fuck off Ben.” He giggled and pushed himself off the bed and into a sitting position, finally looking at him for the first time since they entered the room. “Ugh, fine, fine. We’ll clear the place out of drugs, toss ‘em down the sink disposal and blame it on Diego and his goddamn protein shakes when it gets clogged.”

 

Ben couldn’t help but laugh at that. Diego might have thought that he was doing himself a favor with those protein shakes, but Ben and Klaus have been sneaking butter into it for weeks since they came back home. It’s an honest to god -or maybe not to god since Klaus’ meeting with her- miracle that Diego hadn’t found out yet.

 

Klaus is standing in front of him now, the hand that used to have ‘Hello’ tattooed onto it stretched out ready for him to take. Ben does so gladly, smiling as Klaus pulls him to his feet and they start clearing out the drugs from his room, cutting open stuffed animals and pouring over pots to fish out the baggies with pills inside. Ben shakes his head as he opens a book and finds a neat crevice cut from the pages with a pack of cigarettes inside.

 

Klaus looks over and lights up, “Ooh, good ol’ fashioned nicotine. Think I could keep that?”

 

He just rolls his eyes and tosses the pack at Klaus, who fumbles to catch it, and fishes out a lighter. “Yeah, I guess. But I want you to wean you off of those too. Also, give me one.” He gestures with his hand at the pack, “We’re going to the roof to smoke it, don’t want Fuck O’ Hargreeves to smell it.”

 

Klaus grins and hands him one, pocketing the packet in his pants before trailing after Ben to the roof, grumbling as he tries to light the cigarette in his mouth as they walk up the stairs.

 

“Didn’t know you wanted to smoke Bennie Boy.”

 

He rolls his eyes and grins as he finally manages to light it. “There’s a lot you don’t know about me.”

 

He inhales.

 

And immediately starts coughing on the smoke.

 

“Jesus Chri-ist!” He hacks, “This is worse than weed.”

 

Klaus laughs beside him, spreading his arms to his sides and inhales, taking in the crisp and brittle air that comes with fall. “Hmm, you get used to it.” He settles down near the edge of the roof, patting beside him for Ben to come over. He rolls his eyes but he does, walking over and slumping onto the wall separating them from house and the rest of the world.

 

Klaus fishes another from the pack and sticks it in his mouth, then looks at him, eyes wide and gesturing down to the lighter still in his hand. Ben, rolls his eyes and flicks it, lighting the stick hanging from his brother’s mouth. Klaus grins and turns to face the city, drawing in a smoke, holding and letting it rest and poison his lungs, and exhales. The smoke the same shade as the dreary clouds above as citizens pass by under them, unaware of the super powered kids that just jumped back in time to save their asses.

 

Ben copies Klaus, though with more difficulty, and coughs out a meager cloud of smoke as they take in the sights.

 

They smoke two more, each, before it starts to drizzle. They don’t go inside.

 

Instead, Klaus grins and pulls Ben with him as they try to make their awkward prepubescent bodies do the waltz, the tango, and into a ballroom dance. They laugh and stumble over awkward feet, not minding as they step on each other’s toes. Grinning and giddy as they splash through puddles as the drops of water settle on them. The drizzle settles but they do not. The water droplets are diamonds as the clouds split and the sun lets a ray of light fall onto them, a spotlight, on the center of the stage. Both slightly insane. One that can see the dead and lost and rotten. And one that used to be within that crowd.

 

Vaguely, they can hear the echoes of Vanya’s final performance, the hustle and bustle of the city creating the perfect echo, and the steady thrum of the peoples’ footsteps the perfect bass. The chatter and shrill shrieks of laughter from children becoming the perfect crescendo in the music.

 

On the rooftop, their silly and ridiculous dance becomes smoother, elegant, and practiced. Because it was practiced. When they were kids and even after Ben died and Klaus ran away, they practiced the motions, combining the waltz and tango and ballroom dance into one, coordinated mess that somehow weaved itself a story. If someone were to stumble upon them now, they would be amazed and awed as Klaus threw his arms back and fell, trusting Ben completely as the other wrapped his arms around his back, holding him for a second, before pulling Klaus up harshly. The Seance spun on his heel and fell back against Ben, raising an arm up for him to take and being spun into an upright position. They descended back into the tango. Halting movements and fluid motions full of energy and anger and misery, smoothing out into the waltz and then again to the simple elegance of the ballroom dance.

 

And then Vanya’s last performance stopped with a final cry of the last cawing crow in the afternoon sun, filters of orange light soothing the bitter grey clouds in the Fall. And they stopped. The two brothers panting as they rested in the beginning pose of the waltz, as practiced.

 

Klaus’ eyes were shining with mirth and tears, Ben’s were as well. They both knew why. They never knew when they could do their dance again, and they both thought it would never happen again when Ben died and they were unable to spin each other around as they did so many times.

 

Klaus grinned and burst out laughing, letting his head fall onto Ben’s own shaking shoulders as the two sunk down on the rooftop, tears rolling down their faces, grateful for this chance to interact again beyond just words. They stopped laughing but the tears didn’t stop falling. Ben sighed and let his eyes shut resting his head against Klaus’ on his shoulder, holding the other close for his own comfort as well as his brother’s. They cried silently, the only sound the rumble of distant thunder and the steady thrum of the cars on the street and the wind rustling the branches of the trees.

 

Klaus giggled. “Oh my god, we should totally audition for Chicago. We would be killer in Cell Block Tango.”

 

Ben laughed, hunching over Klaus and shoving his face into the crook of his neck. “No, oh my god no. I would not be able to pull of those outfits.”

 

“We talking literally or figuratively here?”

 

He snorted. “Fuck, both . Have you seen what they wear? I’d break my neck in those heels!”

 

“You know what I’m thinking though?”

 

Ben looks up at his brother.

 

“Ballet, we should put that in our dance.”

 

“Dude,” He breathes, “fuck yes .”

 

Klaus falls back into laughter, kicking his feet up and barely missing Ben as he lies on his back. He grins as well and lies next to him, watching the clouds float lazily overhead. “Who’s gonna toss who though?”

 

“Dude, I’m a stick . We should get the Horror to toss me. Speaking of,” Klaus props himself up on his elbow and gazes imploringly at Ben, “we should name him. He’s a sentient being right, he gets to have a name!”

 

Ben rolls his eyes. “Hmm, maybe. Not now though, we still haven’t cleaned out the house.”

 

Klaus whines and flops back. “Aww, and here we were, having so much fun.”

 

They settle in silence for a few moments.

 

Then.

 

“I’m naming it Justin.”

 

“. . .you know what, fine. Let’s head back.”

 

“Ugh, killjoy.”

 


 

 

Ben snags the pack and the lighter from they lay abandoned on the wall of the roof before the head on down, stowing them away in his back pocket knowing well enough that if it were left to Klaus, he’d smoke them inside without a care. And they go on their way of tossing out any drugs, starting from the top and moving down, searching all of the rooms within the mansion as Klaus didn’t only hide them in the main areas and his room. Ben had to pry open a floorboard with the Horro-with Justin, when Klaus mentioned that he hid a bunch under the floors in that particular room with the piano. It was a painful process.

 

“Ben! Klaus! Where are you?”

 

He looked at Klaus as Diego called them.

 

“We’re in hear brother dear!”

 

Number Two poked his head inside, squinting at them like they had grown a second head. “What the hell are you two doing?”

 

Ben held up a baggie and rattled the pills inside. “We’re cleaning out the house, we’ve been so busy since we got back that we never managed to do so earlier.”

 

Klaus nodded happily, “Yup! And since Daddy-o won’t be back until fuck knows, we’re doing it now!”

 

“Huh.” Diego’s brows had raised into his hairline as Klaus babbled. “Alright then. Want some help then?”

 

Ben shrugged and stuffed the baggie into the trashcan they’ve been carting along with them. “We’re done up here, we’re starting downstairs right now if you and the others want to help.”

 

The other smirked, “Yeah, sure. Five might not join right now though, we head a conversation in the kitchen after you two went off to who knows where, and Five stormed out.” Diego shrugged helplessly, “I’m sure he’ll be back.”

 

Klaus frowned. “He stormed out? And you let him?” He said incredulously. “Dude, this is Five we’re talking about, jesus-I’m gonna go talk to him.” Klaus pushed himself to his feet and hurried out the door, breezing past Diego who stood their, bewildered and confused.

 

“Uh, what?”

 

He rolled his eyes and pushed himself to his feet as well, patting his brother on the shoulder before he began to make his way downstairs. “You coming or not?”

 

“Yeah, yeah! Jesus, hold up Ben!”

 


 

 

Because he was amazing, Klaus figured out where Five was only after 3 failed attempts. He was hiding away in his room. And he’s been standing in front of the door for 10 minutes before he gathered his courage and knocked.

 


 

 

Five paced in his room, looking at his equations and trying to piece things together. His brother died. Klaus fucking died. But he came back. He didn’t stay dead. Which makes no sense because he was dead in the apocalypse. He buried them for fucks sake! It makes no sense.

 

Knocking

 

He growled and glared at the door.

 

“Go away Vanya! Diego, whoever!”

 

He turned back around.

 

A pause

 

Knocking

 

“Fuck off!”

 

“Well that’s no way to greet your brother, now is it.” Teased the voice that could only come from the one person he didn’t want to see the most right now.

 

He sighed and slumped beside his bed, staring at his equations and searching for answers.

 

“Jeez, and I thought I was pissy when I’m in a bad mood.”

 

Five refuses to look at where Klaus just sat down at. He thinks- Five thinks that if he looks up, he’ll just be looking at poorly drawn equations in the ruined library, choking on the dust and ash, instead of his own green walls and slanted ceiling.

 

It’s hot in his room.

 

“Man, it’s stuffy in here. I’m gonna open the window.”

 

The cool breeze settles in the room.

 

It feels less like the apocalypse now.

 

He feels Klaus come to rest beside him. He’s still refusing to look.

 

“Five?”

 

“. . .”

 

“You’re not there, you know that right? Here, let me describe what I see right now.”

 

“I can see green walls covered in. . . uh, whatever the hell you were writing.”

 

It’s all Five can look at.

 

“I see Delores under your bed, kind of creepy but I’m not going to judge.”

 

It’s so Klaus that it kind of hurts.

 

“And I see a grouchy 15 year old in school board shorts refusing to talk or even look at his dearest brother.”

 

He turns and glares at Klaus. Immediately, green eyes brighten and he grins proudly.

 

“There we go!” Klaus pulls his knees up and rests his arms on them, leaning back against the bed and looking at him questioningly. “So, what are you doing hiding away?

 

He scoffs and looks away, even though it pains him. “ I’m not hiding Klaus, I’m just trying to figure something out.”

 

“Like how I’m still alive after dying.”

 

It’s such a simple statement, not even a question, but Five can’t help but flinch. Cringing in on himself a little as the memory of him burying them pushes forward in his mind.

 

“Sorry, that was too blunt huh.”

 

Five scowls. “Not your fault.”

 

“But I’m right aren’t I.” Klaus tilts his head and rests it on his knees. His eyes shift from Five to the equations. “I’m right.”

 

He sighs. “You’re right.”

 

“Well, I don’t know the scientific answer but I do have an answer.” Klaus states happily. Five makes a go-on movement with his hand and he continues. “I died, met god- she’s this girl that rides a bicycle, I think you’d like her- she said she didn’t like me, and she sent me back.” Klaus makes a swooping motion with his hand and rests his head on his palm that used to have ‘Good Bye.’ “She doesn’t like me, so now I’m back here.”

 

Five blinks. “That. . . makes no sense.”

 

“I didn’t say it’d make sense, did I.”

 

“I guess not.”

 

“. . .”

 

“Wait, you met god?”

 

Klaus chuckles and turns away. “Yeah. Well, she sent me to talk to dad first, real Sweeney Todd that guy, what with his barber shop from hell. Let me tell you, death? It doesn’t change anyone.” He shakes his head, almost disappointed, almost sadly. “It doesn’t change anyone. . . for the better.”

 

“You- you told us you summoned dad. Summoned him,” Five feels angry, it curdles in his throat and behind his eyes. “Not, died and got resurrected!”

 

“Does this mean I’m jesus?”

 

“Wha-? No! No, STOP!” He screws his eyes shut and brings his hands to tug at his hair. “You can’t just- you can’t just treat this like a joke!”

 

Klaus doesn’t say anything. Five doesn’t say anything either. Because they can’t.

 

But Five speaks up anyways. “Did you.” He swallows past the anger, past the guilt and looks at his brother. “Were you ever even going to tell us?”

 

Klaus looked uncomfortable, glancing over to Delores. “I feel like we’ve had this conversation before.”

 

‘Because we did’ Five wanted to say. Instead he said, “Answer me Klaus, were you ever going to tell us if it weren’t for Ben?”

 

“. . .”

 

“KLAUS!”

 

“NO! No, okay. I- I don’t think I was going to tell you.”

 

“You don’t think ?””

 

Klaus glared at him. “I don’t know Five, I don’t know. I’d like to think that I would, I really do! I want to t-” He stopped himself there and forced a laugh. Klaus shakes his head and runs a hand through his hair. “I don’t know.”

 

“If you could trust us.” Five finishes.

 

His brother sighs and shakes his head again. “No, no I do trust you guys I do-!”

 

“No,” Five says, “no you don’t.” He doesn’t try to sound accusing, but it must come off that way because Klaus blushes and ducks his head, cringing away. And it hurts more than it should to see his brother like this, to know that he really doesn’t trust them enough to let them know that he died, that he wasn’t going to tell them.

 

He sighs, “I’m sorry, I didn’t for it to come out that way.”

 

Klaus just smiles softly, and Five hurts more when he sees the mask build itself and fit itself back into place. “Aww, you apologized, that’s a first!” He shrugs and pushes himself to his feet, hand outstretched to Five. “Come on, Ben and I are weeding the place out for drugs, we’ve finished this floor so we just gotta do downstairs.” He cocks his head to his side and smirks, “Wanna help?”

 

Five shakes his head and takes the hand. “Of course I will you goof.”

 

“Not a goof, a goof goes ‘Hyuck!”


“. . . You are insufferable .”

Chapter Text

They stumble down into the living room to find all their siblings tearing things apart in their search for drugs. To throw away of course. Admittedly, it is a silly thing to witness, Klaus thinks, as he watches Ben tut at Luther for recklessly tearing the cushions apart and ruffling through the fluff, and Vanya using her powers to upturn a couch and shake it so anything loose falls out. Mostly coins, but the occasional pill gets upturned as well.

 

Five sighs heavily beside him and all Klaus does is beam at his brother. “Seems like they started all the fun without us, Five.”

 

Ben snorts and looks at them from where he’s got his hand in the shade of a lamp and tearing out a bag of weed from where it was taped. “Took you two long enough, now come on, you’re the one that knows where everything is.”

 

He brightens and immediately tap dances his way into the room. The only upside to seeing ghosts is the learning experiences. Being taught dances and languages were his favorite.

 

Absentmindedly, he steps onto the sofa, across onto a desk, and reaches up to pluck a small box of what he knows is full of pills and blunts from a small crevice behind the bookshelf. He waves it, bows, and tosses it into the waste basket that Ben is holding above his head.

 

Klaus grins at the rest of his siblings and states, “Some are going to be taped on the inside of a lot of things, you might find a baggie in War and Peace though. And I’m 90 percent sure I put something in the mouth of the mounted head over there.” He points to the opposite side of the room with a painted finger. “Honestly though, just go ham.”

 

And he jumps off the desk and ducks under it, pulling out another bag with blue and red pills. He sighs dramatically and tosses it over his shoulder and into the trashcan again. He can hear the rest of his siblings take his advice, looking under things and he can hear Vanya taking off the mounted head and shake it until a bag of weed falls from its mouth.

 

“How the hell did you hide most of this stuff anyways?”

 

Klaus looks over his shoulder at Diego, holding a tiny bag of cocaine. He shrugs and moves over to the big display case and moves aside the trinkets until he spots another small box. “With motivation.” Which isn’t really an answer, but Diego doesn’t push so Klaus doesn’t say more.

 

Ten minutes later and they’ve gathered every drug that Klaus had stored in the room, which now looks like a hurricane had blown through it. It was very much a fucking mess.

 

Klaus groans and slumps on the ground, throwing an arm over his face. “This is going to take forever to clean up!”

 

Allison grins and nudges his foot, “Oh please, it won’t be that bad. Plus, I doubt Reginald will miss some of this stuff.” She gestures to some of the small, unnoticed, trinkets that had broken when Luther accidentally threw a cushion that had stuck to his hand across the room.

 

Klaus giggles, though he knows that’s not true. Hargreeves will notice and it will be bad.

 

Vanya looks around and shrugs, “I could probably put most of this stuff away, but the smaller and more fragile things you’re all gonna have to do.”

 

He hums and nods his head, sitting up. “Confidence looks good on you Van. I am loving it.”

 

She smiles and ducks her head, and Klaus knows that she’s blushing and he can’t help but smile as well. He cracks his head and stands up. “Welp, no time like the present am I right?”

 

And they begin the clean up process.



 


It’s only when he’s placing a lamp shade back on the lamp that he realizes something. But it’s too weird, too out of field to even consider.

 

But. . .

 

He looks at the trashcan.

 

It’s full of drugs.

 

And Klaus remembers when Allison was caught sneaking candy into her room one day. Reginald had not been kind. He forced her to eat half of it in one sitting and made her clean the rest of the house of any candy she remotely liked. He forbade her then to going outside, only allowing her for missions. The punishment lasted a month.

 

And Klaus remembers all the times Reginald caught him with drugs. He’d give his speech, lock him in a room to go cold turkey, and clean Klaus’ room of drugs. Just his room.

 

He looks at the lamp again and the spot where the baggie was taped. It wasn’t a clever hiding spot. In fact, it would have been obvious to anyone putting in an effort to trying to get someone clean.

 

His room was the only one that Reginald searched.

 

Reginald was smarter than that.

 

Reginald didn’t try to stop his addiction.

 

Reginald didn’t try.

 

Reginald allowed it .

 

Klaus breathed in. But the air felt thin.

 

Breathe in.

 

Too little

 

Breathe

 

Not enough

 

Breathe

Br  ea t h e


B R E A T H E



“KLAUS!”

 

He jolted from the rabbit whole and back into the living room.

 

He turned and met Ben’s eyes, wide with concern.

 

“You’re hurting yourself.”

 

He was right. Klaus opened his fist and winced at the beads of blood welling up in crescent moon cuts in his palm. He hadn’t even noticed. His other hand was still gripping the lamp shade tightly.

 

“Klaus?”

 

He looked back at Ben. “Hmm?”

 

His brother’s eyes flickered from his hand back to his face. “What was that?”

 

Klaus shook his head, looking back at the lampshade. He let it go and watched as it swung lightly on the metal that held it up. He swallowed.

 

Inhale

 

Exhale

 

He didn’t look at Ben or the others, gaze fixated at the lamp shade as the setting sun shone through the window, the shadow of the lightbulb perfectly seen in the white fabric. The pills should have been visible.

 

Inhale

 

“Klaus-”

 

“Too easy.”

 

Ben blinked.

 

Klaus didn’t look away.

 

So Five spoke up.

 

“What was.” It wasn’t a question.

 

A demand.

 

“It was too easy to get addicted.” He muttered again. “Too easy.”

 

Ben scoffed, incredulous. “What do you mean too easy? He locked you up in one of the bedrooms and left you cold turkey!”

 

“But he only searched my room. Only my room Ben, he didn’t even try and make me get rid of everything. Hell,” He breathed, “I didn’t even hide some of them well. He could have tossed it all out, really make me quit the drugs and alcohol.”

 

Klaus scoffed and looked at the trashcan. “He didn’t try at all.”

 

Five looked at him, dawning realization in his eyes. “You think he let you get addicted. He let you dampen your powers.”

 

Luther immediately objected, shaking his head and squinting. “But that’s-that’s ridiculous! He’s always pushing us to improve and enhance our powers, why would he do that?”

 

“Why would he take away Vanya’s powers.” Allison interjected, quietly but not meekly. She looked at her sister and back at him, “I don’t think what Klaus is saying is too far fetched.”

 

Luther shook his head again, confused. “Yeah, yeah I know, but we know why he dampened Vanya’s powers, but why Klaus’s?”

 

Five nodded, “Exactly.”

 

Ben frowned and reached out to take his hand. Klaus let him.

 

“If you think about it, it was too easy for you to sneak out and back into the house. He has cameras everywhere, he’s always supervising us. He has to know where you hid everything.” Klaus nodded absentmindedly.

 

He was still looking at the trashcan. He felt lost, and confused, and. . . angry.

 

“He wanted me to dampen my powers. Why?” He looked up. He knew none of them had the answer, but he needed to ask the question anyways.

 

Klaus continued. “Why take away Vanya’s powers, why let me dampen mine, why let Ben die ? What, exactly, was his motive?” He gritted out the question behind clenched teeth, because even 13 years later, Ben’s death was the worst thing to have ever happened to their family.

 

Luther growled and stepped forward, almost menacingly if it hadn’t been for the fact that he was once again 15 and without his hulking mass. “You think Reginald let Ben die? What the hell is wrong with you! Reginald might be sick, but he wouldn't do that!” Luther tensed, bristling up and threatening in his words and actions.

 

Klaus though, didn’t back down. He stepped forward and glared, never breaking eye contact with Luther and smirked in satisfaction at the mild surprise in the other’s eyes when he did. Right, they didn’t know the details of the war, what he did and how he survived. Well, news flash Number One, he wasn’t going to take shit anymore.

 

“Of course I think he let Ben die.” He shot back, squeezing his brother’s hand in what he hoped would comfort the other. “He sent Ben on a mission, telling him- no- threatening him that if he didn’t complete it, there would be consequences .” He spat out. “And to make sure he actually stayed instead of running off, he put you and Diego on the mission as well, knowing that Luther would follow his directions as if it were the word of god and that Diego would do anything to usurp Number One.”

 

His glare harshened and watched he in pride as Luther bristled and backed down, even if it were only a few inches. He learned a lot on the streets. Vaguely, he could see from the corner of his eye, the others watching at the edges, backed away as if him and Luther would fight.

 

Hopefully it wouldn’t come to that. Sure he was angry at his brother, but he would never intentionally hurt him. Besides, he knew that Luther didn’t really mean it, that it was only instinct to defend Reginald because it was beat into him, into all of them. But that wasn't an excuse, so he would sure as hell give him a piece of his mind.

 

“He put you and Diego as collateral to keep Ben 0n a leash, because he knew that Ben wasn’t going to listen otherwise.” Klaus pointed out, gesturing to Luther and Diego. “He orchestrated Ben to die, I don’t know why , but he did . He caused Ben’s death, he caused Vanya’s loss of powers, and he let me get addicted.” He hissed, “So yes, Luther, there is indeed a hell of a lot wrong with me, but don’t you even dare to think that I’m wrong about this. Because Ben wouldn’t have fucking died if Reginald didn’t want it to happen.” He finished.

 

“Klaus!” He turned when he felt Ben put a hand on his shoulder, and was surprised to find himself staring down at Ben. Ben who at this age, hit a growth spurt and was eye level with himself.

 

“Wha-”

 

He looked down and found his hands and feet glowing a soft orange, not blue like at the Icarus theater, as he floated a half a foot off the ground. As soon as he looked down he gasped and the glow faded. He fell softly to the floor as he gaped at his hands. He looked up to find the others staring with the same amount of shock, eyes wide as they focused on him.

 

He shook and looked at Ben, “What the hell was that?”

 

Klaus looked around, fear and anxiety cradling his bones and beating against his heart and lungs. The room was too hot.

 

Five spoke up, oddly curious and resigned. “I guess we know why Reginald let you get away with drugs.”

 

He shook his head and cradled his hands to his chest, backing up against Ben, thousands of racing ideas flooding his brain of what exactly Reginald would do if he found out about this.

 

“I-I don’t. . . what-”

 

Five looked him in the eyes and Klaus felt a shiver run down his spine, flashes of the mausoleum and the blood running down his neck rushing in front of his eyes too quick for him to grasp. Five’s eyes failed to have the curious, clinical, and hungry expression he usually got when talking about powers, Five’s or someone else’s. Instead, they leaked sympathy, realization, and disgust; the latter for Reginald. That’s what raised goose bumps on his skin and his eyes to widen in muted horror.

 

“You have more powers.”

 

The wailing of ghosts failed to reach the same volume of the wails in stuck in his throat.

 

Chapter Text

“You have more powers.”

 

Klaus felt his blood run cold. Colder than any ghost, colder than any mausoleum, and colder than any stare he received from Reginald.

 

Unwillingly, his mind flashed back to the vault, to Vanya, and what Luther did to her when they found out she had powers. He didn’t want powers, he didn’t want anything! He didn’t even want the powers that he had now!

 

He stepped back, edging himself away. “No, no, no, nonono!”

 

“Klaus-”

 

“I don’t want more powers!” His voice raised and he didn’t care if he was sounding panicked, because boy oh boy was he panicking. It was too loud.

 

Luther frowned, “Hey, calm down. You were just levitating, it’s not that big a deal!” 

 

Too loud

 

Klaus cringed and shook his head, eyes bouncing from sibling to sibling. “No! He’s gonna want to train me!”

 

Too loud

 

“That’s not a bad thing.”

 

To o Lo U D

 

“Oh, isn’t it!” He challenged, “Because I can think of a hundred different ways he would want to test it. Endurance, make me levitate for so long that I get sick or pass out, probably make me hover over something dangerous as leverage!” He counted down on his fingers, “Speed! Make me chase after something and make me go faster and faster! Probably throw one of you over this house and make me save you! Strength-”

 

Ben cut him off, “Okay, okay deep breathe Klaus, calm down. No one is going to tell him about this, okay.” Ben glared at the others, daring them to argue. “ No one is going to tell him about this or any other powers that might come. For all we know there could be more instead of just levitating.”

 

Klaus breathed deeply, shaking hands clutching the dog tags still miraculously wrapped around his neck. It was a god send that they were still there with him.

 

“Alright, alright. Calm down, calming down.” He breathed. His hands were still shaking, from fear or from adrenaline he didn’t know. He didn’t want to know.

 

Ben nodded, “Okay, we don’t need to talk about this anymore, let’s just clean everything else up, there’s not much left and I’d really rather not leave it here in case Hargreeves comes back.”

 

“It’s weird calling him Hargreeves as an insult because it’s also our last name.” Allison joked, trying to lighten the mood. Klaus, although panicked, cracked a grin. He appreciated that.

 

“Damn right about that.” He muttered. 

 

He felt like he could cry. After the apocalypse that didn’t happen he had hoped, god had he hoped, that there wouldn’t be more surprises left in store for him. He was wrong, he was so wrong. 

 

He couldn’t help it.

 

It was too much, the overload of everything that had happened, everything that he had buried and locked, bolt by bolt, was coming up. His knees turned to jelly and he dropped, cradling his hands to his chest and pressing his forehead to the floor, the tears squeezing past pressed eyelids and stuttering breaths falling past chapped lips. Ben fell with him, rubbing his back and cooing soothingly into his ears. He couldn’t hear any of it, the overwhelming emotions drowned everything out until the only sound he could hear was the blood rushing in his ears. 




 



Klaus woke up, not remembering how he fell asleep. For a heart stopping moment, he thought he was still tied up, skin aflame and sweat dripping into his eyes as the images of the ghosts Hazel and Cha Cha killed were burned into his memory. Then he felt the thin sheets of the infirmary bed and the smell of cleanser and sanitary wipes.

 

“You should open your eyes now, Klaus.”

 

He gasped and sat up, eyes flying open as the unfamiliar voice reached him. Swiveling, he looked towards the windows.

There was. . . something. It stood by the windows, the golden afternoon light cocooning around the figure in a haunting and ethereal glow. Klaus couldn’t tell what it was, the form of it always seemed to change, what might have been an eye before was now a mouth, what might have been a lock of hair was now a hand, what was its hand could now be a mass of shadow. 

 

Looking at it was driving him insane.

 

“Oh, apologies.”

 

Without moving, the figure snapped, and immediately Klaus was calmed and the eldritch figure now looked to be a normal looking man in a robe.

 

“I have forgotten how feeble the human mind is.”

 

“I feel like I should be offended by that.” Klaus said flippantly, though he couldn’t really care. “How did you get in here anyways?”

 

“In where?”

 

He blinked, and suddenly he was no longer in the infirmary. His heart lurched in his throat when all that remained was the window behind the robed figure.

 

The figure seemed to chuckle, a low croaking noise echoed through the space, though it wasn’t mocking, merely amused. 

 

“Again, I apologize. Do you know where you are, Klaus? Or, do you know who or what I am?”

 

He frowned, “I don’t like guessing games.”

 

It chuckled, “No, I suppose you don’t. Here, let’s sit shall we.”

 

And suddenly they were on a hill, on a blanket with a basket and a tea set. His mind was whirling. What the hell was happening?

 

“Do you like tea Klaus?”

 

The figure sat beside him, calmly holding a little china cup to him. Dumbly, he took it, marvelling at the warmth that spread through his hands. Strangely enough, he didn’t feel panicked.

 

“Are you Death?” He asked, resigned to the fact that he led the strangest life ever.

 

The figure chuckled, “If you want to call me that, then I am so.”

 

He frowned, looking down at the amber colored tea. “And what does that mean?”

 

“It means I am whatever you call me.”

 

Klaus sighed and begrudgingly took a sip. “I suppose. Where are we?”

 

“Anywhere I want it to be.”

 

“Will you ever give me a straight answer?”

 

“Will you ever be straight?” The figure quipped back.

 

Surprised, Klaus laughed. A tension he never knew he had seemed to be lifted from his shoulders. He shook his head, sipping the tea fondly. “Alright, I’ll give it to you there. So, am I dead again.”

 

“Do you wish to be?” It said softly.

 

He hummed, not answering. 

 

The figure accepted the silence, and for a while they sat there, not talking, making no noise, and simply relishing in the sunlight that warmed the earth and the steam rising from the tea.

 

Klaus broke the silence, a heavy feeling settling in his gut, and he sighed and drank the rest of the tea. He set the cup down.

 

“Will I see you again?” He didn’t look at the figure.

 

“When you want to.”

 

Klaus nodded, “Okay.”

 

He woke up for real this time.




 



Klaus gasped, eyes flying open and nearly falling off the infirmary bed. He was caught by Ben, who had immediately rushed to his falling brothers side when he had woken up. 

 

“Klaus! Jesus, are you okay?”

 

He blinked and looked up, dumbly taking in all his siblings faces. 

 

“Oh fuck, did I pass out.” 

 

Ben rolled his eyes at him, “Yeah no shit. You want to talk about it?” The last part he said in a lower tone so that only Klaus could hear it. He shook his head.

 

“No, I’m fine, just freaked the fuck out.”

 

Ben laughed, face relieved, “Yeah, we kind of figured. If you’re feeling better, maybe we could clean out the rest of the living room, we started after we put down here but there’s still a bit left to do. If you’re feeling up to it.”

 

Thankfully, the others didn’t push. Ben must have talked to them, but Klaus didn’t really want to look at Luther so he just smiled and nodded, standing up steadily and chatting up a storm as he followed Ben back into the living room. 

 

They were done in the nick of time. Luther had just thrown out the drugs when the front and very expensive door opened to reveal Reginald. His face was taught, drawn tight like sheets over a too large bed. Klaus instinctively stiffened, because that was not a good face. 

 

To his left, he saw from the corner of his eye as Vanya stiffened as well, back straight and face pale. She shuffled closer-

 

“The cameras.”

 

He looked at her, confused. “What?”

 

“The cameras Klaus-” Her eyes glanced to one in the corner of the room, “-the cameras have footage of us cleaning out the room, they have footage of me using my powers.”

 

His stomach plummeted and he felt the breathe get knocked out of his lungs before she finished talking. Oh god. If Reginald saw her use her powers, then he’d. . . he’d-

 

-No, don’t think about it.

 

He smiled at her, hoping it would comfort her. “Don’t worry about it sis, we’ll get rid of it.” He whispered, “I’m pretty sure Diego knows how to do it, and probably Ben as well.”

 

She relaxed a little and smiled, incredulous. “Ben?”

 

He smiled wider, happy that he got her to relax a bit. “He picked up on quite a few things as a ghost you know,” He winked at her giggle, “you’ll be fine Vanya, you don’t need to be scared.” 

 

Her gaze softened, and she seemed to melt at the small amount of comfort that she received. It broke his heart. She had gone for so long being the outsider in their own family, to getting used to being pushed aside and being hurt, and it was hitting too close to home for him. It made him sad. Guilty. 

 

“You don’t need to be scared anymore.” He whispered again, a plan already being built in his mind as he moved his gaze back to Reginald. It wasn’t a plan that he was going to like, and it definitely wasn’t a plan that was going to be easy- for him it would be like carving a white hot knife into his stomach and continuing to cut after the skin got melted together from the heat. But he’d do it because the pain he felt for Vanya was much worse.

 

He’d have to meet the figure much sooner than he would have liked to. That’s okay though, he made for pleasant company.