Chapter 1: game night
Ben is kind of obsessed with his neighbors. He feels a little weird about it, since he barely knows them, but they’re just so nice to him, and he doesn’t know anyone else in town yet. It feels good to have friends, especially gay friends; they make Ben feel a little less lonely. They make him feel like he might actually fit in here, on this picture perfect little street in this quaint town. Everything here feels small and slow compared to the sprawl and bustle of New York, and Ben isn’t really sure that he likes it yet-- but he likes Klaus and Diego, and that’s enough for now.
There was a block party not longer after Ben moved in, and it was there that he met all his neighbors, including Allison. She’s the realtor that sold them all their houses, as well as president of the PTA, and she knows everything about everybody. She told Ben all about Klaus and Diego-- how they met when Klaus was a bartender and Diego was a regular, how they’ve been married for going on three years now but they’ve been together for at least a decade, how they throw the most extravagant Halloween parties, how they once caused a neighborhood scandal when someone looked over their fence and saw them fucking in their pool in broad daylight-- and before Ben had even met them, he was already a little bit obsessed with them.
And the second Ben did meet them, he was instantly charmed. Klaus is eccentric and ridiculous and captivating in all the best ways, looking like the kind of man Ben had always hoped to meet in the gay clubs back in the city-- a man comfortable in himself and his sexuality, who just oozes sex appeal and sensuality. He showed up to the block party in leather pants and a crop top, carrying an alarmingly large tupperware container full of cupcakes and holding his husband’s hand. Diego is… very different from Klaus. Diego had been dressed much more appropriately, in dark jeans and a white tshirt, traditionally handsome in that bad-boy-with-scars way that got Ben a little hot under the collar.
Okay, yes, that’s the thing about Klaus and Diego: they’re both crazy, stupid hot. Ben is really jealous of the lucky bastard that saw them fucking in their pool-- Ben’s lived here for half the summer now, and despite constantly looking out his window whenever they use their pool, all he ever sees them do is swim, sunbathe, and kiss a little. Honestly, even the kissing is enough to turn him on. Ben really, really wants them both to rail him, but he’ll settle for being their friend.
“What are you thinking about?” Klaus asks, startling Ben out of his daydream. They’re all at Allison’s for game night, because apparently that’s what people do in the suburbs, and Ben had come into the kitchen to pour himself another glass of wine. He still refuses to buy a bottle that costs more than $12, but Vanya brought the good shit, and he’s determined to get drunk on it.
“I’m revising my strategy for winning the game,” Ben lies, instead of saying, Oh, I was just fantasizing about getting Eiffel Tower-ed by you and your husband. He fills his glass, then Klaus’s too, and he doesn’t miss the amused look on his friend’s face when he passes the glass back.
“You have a strategy at Scrabble?” Klaus asks with a raised brow. “I was just making it up as I go along, is that why I’m losing?”
“You might be losing because Diego keeps distracting you,” Ben points out, grinning. Klaus leans his arms on the counter and leans forward, and he’s suddenly very close to Ben’s face. His eyes are so green, Ben almost forgets what he was about to say. “Every time you start counting out spaces on the board that you can use, he flexes his bicep and you lose track.”
Klaus laughs easily, almost spilling the wine in his glass, and god, Ben can’t look away from the sight of him. He looks so good tonight, sunkissed from an afternoon spent tanning, and wearing a soft, flowy lilac dress that Ben honestly thinks looks like it could be from the set of Mamma Mia. Diego, still sitting on the couch in the other room, had come in wearing a leather jacket, and he’d shed it to reveal a criminally tight black tshirt. Ben has been half-hard since they walked in together.
God, Ben had never found people this interesting or this hot in the city; he certainly hadn’t expected to find them in the suburbs. Literally all of his neighbors are attractive, though Klaus and Diego are the only ones he actively fantasizes about.
“So you were staring at his arms too?” Klaus teases, and Ben blushes immediately.
“They’re hard to ignore,” Allison chimes in as she enters the kitchen. Ben passes her the bottle of wine and she takes it with a grin. “I bet that’s why you married him, huh, Klaus? Either for his arms or for his abs.”
“The nipple ring was a big influence too,” Klaus replies with another infectious laugh, a mischievous gleam in his eye. “He’s also killed for me, which is pretty hot.”
“He’s got a mean swing with a fly swatter,” Allison agrees, and they all laugh.
It’s not long before they’re all being summoned back into the living room because Luther is demanding that they all vote on whether his word is allowed in Scrabble. As he settles back on the couch next to Klaus and Diego, wine in hand, Ben thinks that it’s cute that Diego kills all the bugs so Klaus doesn’t have to. Next time he finds a spider crawling around his kitchen, he’s gonna call Diego instead of panicking and putting a cup over it and leaving the cup there for two days because he’s too nervous to pick it up.
It isn’t until a few weeks later that Ben realizes that Klaus hadn’t been talking about bugs at all.
As the hot summer nights drag on, so does Ben’s awkward crush on his neighbors. It’s so easy to watch them from the window in his living room-- he can see right in, a clear view of their kitchen, living room, and dining room. And, yes, he knows he’s being really creepy, but he’s not hurting anybody. He mostly just watches them eat dinner and fold laundry and-- well, it sounds more creepy when spelled out like that.
Ben knows he should stop, but it’s hard to bring himself to quit the habit when Klaus dances around in his kitchen to a Fleetwood Mac song that Ben can hear filtering out of Klaus’ open window. As if it wasn’t already impossible to look away, it’s made even more difficult when he spots Diego enter the kitchen. Ben can tell that Diego says something that makes Klaus laugh, and he really wishes he could’ve heard whatever was so funny. He watches, lonely and yearning, as Klaus dances, graceless and grinning, closer to Diego. Diego smiles like he’s just seen the sun for the first time as he pulls Klaus into his arms, dipping him dramatically and drawing another laugh from his lover.
They’re so fucking in love, it makes Ben’s heart ache. He’s never had anyone to dance with in his kitchen before-- it’s always been just him humming quietly to Landslide all by himself.
With the exception of his neighbors, Ben doesn’t care much for suburbia. If he could go out and get laid, maybe he’d be a little less creepily invested in Klaus and Diego, but that’s not really an option here. The only night life around subsists of two dive bars only frequented by men twice his age, which is not his type, and he’d already run out of people to swipe through on Bumble in his first week here. It’s a little depressing.
For lack of other, more exciting options, Ben stays in on the weekends. His hot Friday night plans include: making guacamole and shamefully eating the entire bowl in one night, watching America’s Next Top Model for six hours, and then watching out his window when he sees a light come on next door.
It’s late when Klaus and Diego get home from their weekly date night. Ben, having spotted their porch light on, watches Diego unlock the front door. He looks around for Klaus and spots him getting out of the car-- and, oh, they’re not alone. Two other men get out of the car too, the sounds of their voices and laughter carrying in the quiet night air, and they follow Diego inside. Klaus lingers outside for a long moment, glancing around the dimly lit street.
For just a second, Klaus’ eyes settle on Ben’s window, and Ben’s heart starts to race. But his lights are off; there’s no way Klaus can see Ben from just the light of the TV, paused on Tyra Banks’ face. Finally, Klaus goes back inside, and Ben lets out a breath. He can’t help but be curious about what mysterious friends they’re having over at two in the morning-- but he supposes he won’t get to find out. While he’d been watching Klaus, Diego had drawn all their blinds.
Well, Ben’s bored again now and Top Model doesn’t seem as entertaining as it had a few hours ago, so he decides to go to bed. He wonders, idly, with a hand wrapped around his cock, if Klaus and Diego will ever invite him over late at night. Just for drinks and-- and to talk, maybe. They’ll never invite him into their bed-- Ben can dream, sure, but he knows it’ll never happen. Unfortunately, life is not a romance novel. But… just hanging out with them would be nice too. They’ve only ever hung out in group settings before, really, and Ben wants more.
When Ben comes, he’s thinking about the way that Diego had smiled and Klaus had laughed, spinning and carefree in their sunlit kitchen.
Ben is well aware that his life is a very lame cliche. While he’d loved living in the city, with so many people and so much to do, he hadn’t felt inspired there. He hasn’t put out a book in a few years, despite the dozen half-finished manuscripts saved on his laptop, and he’d finally caved to his editor’s advice and moved himself out to the suburbs to find some inspiration.
He’s kind of annoyed that it’s actually working.
Suburbia, in itself, is incredibly dull. But when it comes to writing romance novels, it really helps to be living next to the two hottest people he’s ever met. He’s got sex on the brain all the time, and this novel is practically writing itself. He hadn’t originally planned on writing a threesome into the plot, but by god, it’s definitely happening now.
Saturday morning, Ben is sitting at the island in his kitchen, typing away. Just as the main character is finally about to get railed, Ben is startled out of his feverish inspiration by a knock on the side door. He glances over, frowning, and he’s met with Klaus’ smiling face through the glass. He hastily saves his document, closes his laptop, and heads over to the door.
“Good morning,” Ben says with a smile, curious but delighted about the spontaneous visit, and he eyes the plate of muffins in Klaus’ hands. “Come in, I’ve got coffee if you want some?”
“Do you have soda?” Klaus asks, walking in and sitting down at the island, casual as anything, as if he’s been here a hundred times. He sets down the muffins with a smile. “I hate coffee, but I’m a caffeine fiend.”
It’s just after 10 in the morning, but Ben doesn’t question it as he fetches a Coke from the fridge.
“You bake?” he asks as he hands Klaus the can and is given a muffin in return.
“Diego bakes,” Klaus corrects with a laugh. “I’m useless in the kitchen, all I can make is soup. They’re blueberry muffins and they’re amazing. Di was in a really good mood earlier and he made a ton, so I figured I’d share the goods.”
“I’m glad to reap the rewards,” Ben replies, and he tries not to let his mind get too dirty when he thinks about why Diego could be feeling so cheery. He takes a big bite of the muffin in an attempt to resist the urge to ask.
They make idle chat for a few minutes, eating their muffins, Ben drinking coffee and Klaus drinking soda. It feels so nice, so comfortable and easy, in a way Ben’s never really felt with someone he hardly knows before. He’s only half-paying attention to the conversation as his eyes trail over Klaus’ neck, counting the six necklaces he’s wearing and wondering if that smudge of purple under his collar is paint from his newest project, or a mark left by Diego’s gorgeous mouth. Oh, he really hopes it’s the latter.
“I should really do something about the garden, since we’re having company over later,” Klaus says, and that gets Ben’s attention. “Allison said the hydrangeas were a good idea, but they’re so unruly.”
“Company?” Ben echoes, hoping that he comes off as politely curious instead of stalkery. “I, uh, I thought I heard you have some people over last night.”
“Oh, those were just some new friends,” Klaus replies with a laugh and a wave of his hand. “They only stayed for a nightcap, then went home.”
Ben doesn’t remember hearing any cars on the street last night-- it’s odd, that he hadn’t noticed those men leaving the neighborhood. But, well, maybe he’d just been too distracted while jerking off.
“So what company are you having, then?”
“My little brother!” Klaus grins wide, radiating excitement. “He’s an absolute asshole, you have to meet him. Come over for dinner, Diego is gonna be grilling.”
“I’ll see you later, then,” Klaus says, clapping Ben on the shoulder once, and then breezing through the door, back over to his own house, leaving Ben dumbstruck.
*guiltily eyes my two other WIPs and my unfinished big bang that's due in two weeks* ANYWAY here's an update!
Chapter 3: allergy season
this update goes out to Runa and Corza ❤️
Around mid-afternoon, a Lyft pulls up outside Klaus and Diego’s house and a grumpy looking teenager in a surprisingly nice suit steps out-- the brother, presumably. Ben is a little surprised; he’d been expecting someone a bit closer in age, despite the fact that Klaus had said little brother. Ben bought a bottle of wine to bring-- would it be weird to bring it now, since the brother can’t drink? Or maybe Klaus lets him drink, like how Ben’s parents let him have a glass of wine with dinner sometimes? Should Ben put on a suit too?
Ben twitches his living room curtains aside, watching as Klaus sweeps his brother up into a hug that is received with obvious reluctance, and he laughs quietly when Diego hugs the boy next. He can see them talking, but he doesn’t risk opening his window to try and hear-- he doesn’t want to draw attention to himself. They look sweet, though, the three of them chatting on the front porch. It must be nice for Klaus, to have his brother and husband get along so well.
When it comes time to get ready, Ben tries on several outfits, including a suit, before settling on his nicest pair of jeans and a blue button-down. He looks himself over in the mirror, frowning. He probably shouldn’t be so hung up on what he looks like, since this isn’t a date or anything, but he desperately needs Klaus and Diego to like him. But he’s not pretty like Klaus or cool like Diego; he looks… sort of plain. A little dorky, like an accountant or a dentist. He sighs, then french tucks his shirt, and it looks marginally better. He glances at the time on his phone-- there’s no time to change again, even if he wanted to.
Though he hesitates, Ben grabs the bottle of wine. After all, he spent $10 on it, he may as well bring it. He’s jittery with nerves and excitement-- he’d spotted Klaus through the windows earlier, wearing what looked like leather pants, and Ben’s been eager to see them in person ever since. He knocks on the door with a hand that shakes, and Klaus opens it immediately.
“Ben!” Klaus crows, delighted, and Ben doesn’t even have the chance to check out his leather pants before Klaus is pulling him into a tight hug that leaves Ben flushed. “Welcome!”
“Your house is really nice,” Ben says politely as he follows Klaus inside, looking around the spacious living room. He’s gotten a pretty good look at this place from all the watching he’s done, but it’s even nicer up close. He hesitates to call it tastefully decorated, considering the very green carpet and the orange throw pillows, but it’s cozy and much more personalized than Ben’s home that’s still solely decorated by moving boxes.
“Klaus?” a voice calls out from the direction of the kitchen. “Stop inviting solicitors into your house when you’re not even gonna buy whatever they’re selling.”
Ben shoots Klaus a confused look, following him into the kitchen where Klaus’s brother is just closing the door of the fridge.
“Five, this is our neighbor Ben,” Klaus says, gesturing to Ben with a flourish. Ben waves awkwardly, still clutching the bottle of wine. “Ben, this is Five. Don’t mind him, he’s a very cute little asshole.”
“I’m not cute,” Five protests, crossing his arms over his chest as he glares at Klaus. “You didn’t tell me you were inviting people over.”
“Just Ben,” Klaus replies easily, pushing past Five to open the fridge. He glances over his shoulder at Ben, who’s still awkwardly standing frozen in the doorway, too uncomfortable to even admire Klaus’s ass as he bends over. “Do you want anything to drink?”
“Whatever you’re having is fine,” Ben says, then sets the wine on the counter so he can slip his sweaty hands into the pockets of his jeans. He looks around the kitchen, studying the gleaming countertops to avoid the way Five is just staring at him. Part of him wants to ask if he should just leave, but he doesn’t want to offend Klaus-- and he can’t help but smile when Klaus turns back around, offering him a Coke with a cheery grin.
“Five, go get Diego and tell him to get the grill turned on,” Klaus says, and Five huffs but leaves the room, and Ben finally relaxes without the teenager’s glare fixed on him. Klaus rolls his eyes when Five leaves. “He’s not great with people. But he’ll get over it! Let’s go sit in the living room.”
“I can go home if that would be easier,” Ben offers awkwardly as they go back into the other room and sit down on the soft leather couch. He opens his Coke and takes a drink, just for something to do. “I don’t want to ruin your visit with your brother.”
Klaus shrugs, glancing behind them to the stairs. “Really, he’ll be fine.” He turns back to Ben, a soft smile on his face that makes Ben’s heart skip a beat. “I want you here.”
Well… Ben doesn’t know what to say to that other than, You’re the sweetest guy I’ve ever met and I’m a little in love with you, so he just ducks his head, smiles, and mumbles, “Thanks, Klaus.”
“Klaus,” someone else calls out-- and Ben knows this voice. Diego comes down the stairs, looking fine as ever in a shirt unbuttoned just a little lower than is probably appropriate-- Ben stares, transfixed, at his exposed collarbone. “Can I talk to you for a sec?”
Klaus sighs dramatically, then pats Ben’s leg as he stands up, and Ben blushes at the casual touch. He’ll definitely be thinking of that when he touches himself later.
“No one in this family is polite with company except for me,” Klaus points out, to which Diego huffs. “Ben, just make yourself comfortable, we’ll be back in a minute.”
“Hi, Ben,” Diego offers when Klaus elbows him sharply in the side.
“Hey, Diego,” Ben replies with another awkward wave, and then they disappear into the kitchen. Ben stares down at his lap, his whole body thrumming with anxiety, as he debates what to do. He could just leave, but he can’t stop replaying Klaus’s words in his head, I want you here.
I want you here.
It doesn’t mean anything, other than Klaus wanting to be his friend, but it sets Ben’s blood on fire anyway. Oh, what he wouldn’t give to hear Klaus say those words in bed…
Ben glances at the closed kitchen door. He can’t hear what they’re talking about in there, but he’s absolutely dying to know. He should just stay seated on the couch and mind his business, but he just knows that they’re talking about him. Obviously Klaus hadn’t told his husband about inviting Ben over for dinner either, and maybe Diego is annoyed about it. Ben needs to know.
Eavesdropping is rarely a good idea, but Ben always has been too curious for his own good. As quietly as possible, he gets up from the couch and steps up to the kitchen door, pressing his ear to the crack. It’s risky, especially not knowing when Five could come back downstairs, but Ben can’t resist.
For better or worse, it’s all too easy to hear what Klaus and Diego are saying.
“You shouldn’t have done that without asking me,” Diego hisses quietly, and Klaus scoffs.
“We’re friends, you said you liked him after game night,” Klaus replies, not quite as quietly. “I thought it’d be nice!”
“It would be if Five wasn’t here too!” Diego whispers.
“Five won’t let anything slip,” Klaus replies confidently, sounding completely unbothered by Diego’s agitation. Ben feels nauseous. “He’s more cautious than either of us, don’t worry about it.”
“Just be careful,” Diego murmurs, his voice softer and sweeter than Ben has ever heard it. “Don’t get too close to him, he could ruin everything. He’s nosy, don’t get sloppy just because he’s cute.”
Ben recoils suddenly, heat rising to his cheeks and tears springing to his eyes. He barely registers the compliment, too hung up on the word nosy. Oh god. They know he’s been watching them. They must think he’s a creep, a pervert. He-- he needs to leave, he needs to move, he needs to never set foot on this street again.
“He just thinks we’re pretty,” Klaus says. “He doesn’t suspect a thing, babe. Now unclench and go find Five, he’s in charge of making the pasta salad.”
Diego sighs heavily. “Five hates pasta salad, he’s gonna yell at me.”
Klaus laughs, and normally, Ben would be grinning at the sweet sound of it. Now, though, Ben wants to cry. But instead, he steps away from the kitchen door quietly, letting out a shaky breath. He has no one to blame for this but himself-- he shouldn’t have been listening. If he’d just stayed seated on the couch, he wouldn’t have heard that Diego doesn’t want him here, that Diego thinks he’s nosy, and Klaus-- did Klaus only invite Ben tonight out of pity or charity because he knows about Ben’s obsessive, perverted crush on them?
Ben wants to go home. Not next door home; New York home. Instead of sitting back down, Ben stumbles into the bathroom, closes and locks the door, and he has just enough presence of mind left to turn on the faucet before he sits down on the closed toilet seat and starts to cry.
This was a terrible, stupid idea. Sure, he’s been getting a lot of writing done, but now even the thought of all his progress has guilt rising up inside him, making his chest tight with anxiety. What would Diego say if he knew that Ben’s been writing a romance novel inspired by him and his husband? Surely Ben would surpass nosy and slide right into creepy.
God, he needs to stop crying. He wipes his eyes frantically, but the tears keep falling, and it’s all he can do not to sob. He startles, flinching when he hears someone knock on the door.
“Ben?” Klaus asks softly. “You okay in there?”
Oh, great, now they probably think he has the shits.
“I’m fine,” he answers, wiping away the last of his tears with a square of toilet paper. “It’s just-- I’m really allergic to your cat.”
That is definitely not a suitable excuse for locking himself in the bathroom, but it’s the best Ben’s got to explain away his red face and bloodshot eyes. God, he really doesn’t want to face anyone ever again.
“I’ll get you a Claritin!” Klaus says, then Ben hears him walk away, and Ben lets out a long sigh. He looks like shit and he can already feel a headache coming on thanks to all the crying, and he doesn’t know how he’ll be able to look Diego in the eyes ever again, let alone right now.
Ben takes a deep breath. Then another. He splashes cold water on his face, but it does very little to make him look like he hasn’t been in here having a very quiet breakdown. Great. There’s nothing to be done for it. With one last reluctant sigh, Ben steels himself for an uncomfortable evening, and he finally leaves the bathroom.
Dinner is, at best, awkward and, at worst, absolutely excruciating. The food is good, at least, but it’s hard to focus on the steak in front of him when he keeps hearing Diego’s scorn replaying in his head over and over. Diego and Five are quiet, exchanging glances every few minutes, and that just leaves Ben and Klaus making very awkward conversation. If it was just Ben and Klaus, it would be nice; Ben could happily listen to Klaus talk about his paintings for 12 hours straight. But the presence of Klaus’s husband and Klaus’s brother, both silent and awkward, is making Ben very, very uncomfortable.
“What exactly do you do?” Klaus asks, smiling at Ben across the dinner table. The others both turn to look at Ben too and he shifts nervously in his chair. “You said you’re a writer, yeah? But what do you write?”
Ben blushes, looking away from the three sets of eyes on him as he pokes his fork at one of the noodles on his plate. “I’m a novelist.”
“That’s vague,” Five replies, speaking up for the first time since they all sat down. Ben looks up and meets Five’s shrewd gaze.
“Don’t be a dick,” Diego scolds, and Five just scoffs.
“He’s being evasive,” Five persists. Ben wants the ground below him to open up and swallow him whole, he wants to just drop dead so he doesn’t have to answer this, but Klaus is looking at him curiously, and Ben doesn’t want to lie.
“Romance novels,” Ben admits with a tired sigh, and Klaus grins, which makes Ben much less annoyed when he hears Five’s derisive snort. He’s still blushing, face hot enough to fry an egg.
“I love romance novels,” Klaus says, leaning his arm on the table and almost knocking over the bowl of pasta salad that Five had complained endlessly about making. “What are yours like? Real sweet and simple bodice rippers? Or some nasty ki--”
“Klaus!” Diego and Five both exclaim at the same time.
“I really don’t want to know,” Five says, rolling his eyes, and Klaus just keeps smiling.
“I want to know,” Klaus persists.
“Don’t interrogate Ben over dinner,” Diego says before Klaus can add anything else. Diego shoots Ben a sympathetic look, and in Ben’s head, he hears the words, he’s nosy, don’t get sloppy just because he’s cute. He looks away from Diego sharply, back down at his plate, and he tries in vain not to wonder what sort of secrets Klaus and Diego have that they don’t want Ben to know. And then he just feels even more guilty, because they know exactly how nosy he is and they’d be angry if they knew he’d been eavesdropping.
Klaus sighs dramatically, but he lets the subject drop, and Ben is at least grateful for that.
“Anyway,” Klaus drawls, giving Diego a pointed look. “How was work today, darling?”
Diego pauses in cutting his steak, setting down his fork and knife as he makes an exasperated sound. “You would not believe what Tiffany did at rehearsal.”
“Rehearsal?” Ben asks, and Five laughs.
“He told you he works at the gym, right?” Five asks, and Ben nods. “Yeah, Diego loves to leave out the fact that he teaches the dance classes.”
Ben should probably say something polite, but all he can think about is Diego dancing. Is it something like zumba? Is it ballroom dancing? Is it modern? It doesn’t matter, the thought of Diego moving his body to the rhythm of a thumping bass is the hottest thing Ben’s imagined all day-- and that’s saying a lot, for Ben and his very dirty mind.
“I also own the gym,” Diego adds, petulant, and Ben laughs. Diego looks like he’s about to smile, but then he bites his lip, glancing sideways at Klaus. “Anyway, yeah, Tiffany is Barbara’s daughter-- you know Barbara from down the street, yeah? She probably brought you some bougie ass bakery cookies when you moved in, right?” He doesn’t wait for Ben to say anything before he continues, “Tiffany has two left feet, but if I try to critique her form at all, I get angry calls from Barbara. It’s driving me insane.”
“Should I talk to Barb about it?” Klaus asks, lips twitching in amusement. “We do yoga together on Sundays.”
Five sighs dramatically. “When did you two get so boring?”
“Since we moved to the suburbs,” Diego replies, shrugging. “It’s made us soft.”
Five opens his mouth like he’s going to say something, but then he closes it and glares at Klaus instead. Ben’s really not sure that he understands this weird family dynamic.
“So, how far apart in age are you?” Ben asks politely, unwilling to let the silence just sit. “It’s nice that you’re close, despite the big gap.”
“It’s not that big of a gap,” Five replies obstinately.
“Yes, it is,” Diego counters with a laugh. “You’re the youngest brother, don’t pretend otherwise.”
“Dad still liked me better than you, old man,” Five retorts.
Ben frowns. Wait, what?
“Ben!” Klaus yells suddenly, drawing his attention away from the tension between Diego and Five. “How’s your food?”
“It’s… fine,” Ben says, brow furrowed.
“Dad was a little bitch and he hated both of us,” Diego says, completely ignoring Ben and Klaus altogether. Ben glances nervously at Five, expecting an outburst-- but instead, he sees the teenager smile for the first time.
“Fuck Dad,” Five says, his grin so wide it’s almost manic.
“Guys,” Klaus sighs, and Diego and Five both turn to look at him.
“I thought Five was Klaus’s brother,” Ben cuts in, frowning. “I’m pretty sure I didn’t mishear him.”
Klaus facepalms, while Diego turns his glare to his husband, and Five’s face slides back into a scowl.
“You told me that we were saying I’m Diego’s brother,” Five says, voice low and angry. Ben is confused, intrigued, and really, really uncomfortable. God, he wants to leave. Would they notice if he just left?
“You told me that too,” Diego agrees, crossing his arms.
“Okay, I may have fucked up just a little,” Klaus concedes, holding up both hands in a placating gesture. “It’s fine, it’s all fine, you’re both such drama queens.”
“Klaus?” Ben prompts quietly. “What’s going on?”
“I need a drink,” Five declares, then stands abruptly and heads into the kitchen. Neither Klaus nor Diego seem concerned about this.
“We’re brothers,” Klaus says, as if that explains anything.
“Klaus,” Diego says sharply, but Klaus doesn’t look away from Ben. There’s something frantic in his green eyes, something nervous, and Ben feels guilty for any part he may have played in making Klaus feel this way.
“You and Five?” Ben asks, frowning.
“Yes,” Klaus replies, offering up a smile that’s only a little strained at the edges. “And Diego.”
“Jesus Christ,” Diego mutters, and then he stands too, following Five into the kitchen.
It’s quiet between Ben and Klaus for a long moment.
Klaus sighs heavily, drawing his knees up on his chair and wrapping his arms around them. “We’re all adopted brothers. The three of us. Diego and I didn’t meet when I was working as a bartender, that’s just… it’s a cover story. So we don’t freak out the nice suburban straight people. But, look at me go, totally freaking you out anyway.”
Ben’s frown deepens, which he hadn’t known was possible.
He should probably say something about how he’ll keep their secret and he doesn’t care that they’re adopted brothers, but when he opens his mouth, what comes out instead is, “I’m not straight, though.”
“Well, at least there’s that,” Klaus says, huffing out a sharp laugh. “You’re a fucking enigma, Ben. Diego swore he saw you check out Allison during game night.”
Ben laughs, a little nervous, a blush coloring his cheeks as he shrugs. “Last I checked, I’m pretty gay.”
Klaus smiles again, more natural this time, and he’s so pretty.
“You’re gay,” Klaus agrees, inclining his head in a respectful nod. “Amen to that. And you-- you’re cool with all this?”
Ben shrugs, unable to resist smiling when Klaus is looking at him like that.
“You guys are married,” he replies. “It doesn’t matter to me that you were raised together. And I’m not gonna tell anybody.”
“Wonderful,” Klaus enthuses, unfolding his long legs and standing up. “God, what a horrible dinner party. Can you host next time?”
Ben laughs and stands too, almost tripping over the cat that weaves between his legs.
“Sure,” Ben agrees, though he probably shouldn’t. “Maybe just you and me next time.”
Klaus reaches over, picking a piece of lint off Ben’s shoulder, and his fingers linger for just a second longer than they need to. Ben’s heart starts beating in double time.
“Just you and me,” Klaus echoes, then abruptly pulls Ben into a hug. Ben freezes for a second before he hugs back, but then he melts into it, wrapping his arms around Klaus and tucking his face into Klaus’s neck and breathing in deep. Klaus is warm and Klaus smells amazing and Ben is going to cherish this moment for the rest of his fucking life, despite how awkward the evening was and how he’s still sort of thinking about the things Diego said earlier. Klaus pulls back, brushing his lips against Ben’s cheek in a polite kiss that has Ben’s pulse racing.
“And Diego, of course,” Klaus adds, pulling away from the hug. Ben glances behind Klaus, and there Diego is, standing in the doorway to the kitchen-- he expects to see a glare, but that’s not what he finds. Diego looks… sort of fond. Ben doesn’t know what to make of that.
“Right,” Ben says, still carefully holding onto his smile, as he looks away from Diego and back to Klaus. “And Diego.”
how'd you like the surprise!incest? (how do these idiots get away with murder?)
next up: an update of sandbox love. and then probably heat lightning. and at some point I should schedule in a fun mental breakdown bc I have WAY TOO MANY WIPS RN.