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Chrysanthemum, Chrysanthemum, Chrysanthemum

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Diego’s hands are covered in blood. 

Not his. 

His hands are covered in blood from trying to push it back into Eudora’s body, from pounding CPR into her chest. 

His hands are shaking. His hands are on her face, shaking, smearing blood onto it. 

She looks too peaceful. Eudora’s face is always something. Angry, smiling, annoyed. 

Her face is slack now. Too blank. Too cold and dead and Diego’s hands are shaking and Eudoras blood is smeared all over them. 

He called for backup right before Eudora got shot but it doesn’t matter because it’s too late.  

Eudora is dead and it should have been him instead. 

It progressively gets louder. It’s not just him and Eudora anymore. Someone is pulling at the back of his collar, begging him to get up. He can’t. His legs are locked into place and his hands are shaking and smeared in Eudoras blood. 

This is all his fault. 

“Hargreeves.” Someone barks, voice mixing into the sirens and the frantic people. It sounds like Beaman, who surpassed him and Eudora ages ago. 

“No.” Diego chokes out. His voice is just as shaky as his hands. He sounds like a different person. 

Eudora is dead and her blood is all over him and he wants it off. 

“C’mon.” The tug on his collar is desperate. “Hargreeves. Diego. Diego.

He finally gives in, stumbling up and back and the knees of his pants are soaked in her blood and it’s everywhere and she is dead and it’s all his fault.

“It’s okay.” Diego doesn’t know who’s holding him. His face is wet and he doesn’t know whether it’s blood or tears. 

“S-s-s-she’s dead. They shot her. I couldn’t-.” His throat catches. His knees give out, but whoever is holding him doesn’t let him fall. 

“I-I-I-I-I couldn’t s-stop them.”

He wants to go home, with Eudora beside him and their cat Benji curled up beside them. He wants cold nights and chicken noodle soup and the scratchy army surplus blanket on the couch. He wants late nights and jasmine tea in the morning and her sweatshirts and the black dress she wore when they would go out. He wants a kiss on his cheek, kisses up and down his scars.

He wants her. 

He wants her alive, in his arms, and he wants to never let go. 

 

Diego changes into a soft police department sweatshirt and a pair of clean sweatpants Rodriguez had lying around. He feels like he’s a little kid again. Fragile, coming apart at the seams. They handle him carefully. Don’t question him for too long, but that also might be because he can’t stop crying. 

They found security footage of him and Eudora entering the room. They showed him footage of the woman with the gun in the door. Showed him footage of the exact moment Eudora died, just to see if Diego killed her after all. 

He comes out of the bathroom, skin raw from scrubbing the blood off, and Beaman looks at him like he’s small and breakable and everything Diego has made himself not be. 

He feels small. Breakable. He feels like he could sleep and never wake up. 

“I called your sister.” Beaman says. He’s still in uniform, gun strapped to his belt. 

“Which one.” Diego looks down at his hands. On his pinky finger, there is still blood underneath the nail. 

He feels sick. 

“Vanya.”

“Did you tell her what happened?” He digs his fingernails into his palm. It hurts. 

Good. Eudora is dead and she was the last person in the world who should have died. 

“Yeah.” 

They wait in the lobby of the precinct. Diego tries to keep Eudora out of his mind. He can’t. He’s pretty sure he broke her ribs when trying to perform CPR. 

For a brief flash, he wishes he had a do over. He wishes he was back at the academy, fighting and crying and stabbing and winning.  

He itches for a knife. 

He wishes for training and structure and his siblings and Mom. He wishes for Ben and how Five used to be so hard it hurts. Eudora made him forget about that.

She’s gone now. 

He doesn’t wish for blood anymore. He’s had enough of that for lifetimes. 

Vanya comes crashing through the door is a whirlwind of anxiety and nerves and fear. She crashes into Diego and holds him so tight his ribs hurt and he lets her. 

Eudora is dead and gone and never going to come back.

He lets Vanya hold him and he lets himself cry and he lets himself lean into Vanya and does not plan on letting go. 

 

A year passes, and he thinks he’s over it. At least almost. 

He quit the detective job and has a new one as a mailman. They stopped the apocalypse and Diego moved in with Vanya Five and they have family dinner 4 times a week. They all live in the same apartment building besides Allison who repaired her marriage and is living 3 blocks away. (He likes Patrick okay. He kind of seems pretentious, but he gave Allison a second chance when she deserved it.) He has a therapist and Klaus is sober and Ben is sort of corporeal. He’s less angry. They fight crime occasionally together as a family. He’s happy. He doesn’t know if he’s felt this good since he was 11. 

He still wakes up some nights shaky and sad and feeling the need to scrub his skin until it starts to peel. 

Instead he finds Vanya or Klaus as talks until the stutter is gone and he doesn’t feel like blood is coating his hands. 

It’s okay.

He’s okay. Well, as okay as he can get. 

 

It is a bad night. One where Diego dreams of the funeral and Ben and Eudora and Mom. One where he dreams of everything he’s lost, and one where he’s angry that they’re gone.

He paces in the apartment until it seems stiflingly small and takes the car to the mansion which is a pile of rubble.

Diego stands at the gate and at tries to sort through it with his eyes. He sees a piece of china that he thinks used to be Mom’s favorite plate. 

A car rolls up behind him and someone gets out but he doesn’t bother to turn because it’s Vanya or Klaus or maybe even Five and he’s sick of their whole spiel. 

“Hey.” 

Diego turns then, because that’s Luther's voice. Luther.

“I saw you take the car out. Are you okay?” 

Diego shrugs. He would pick a fight if he trusted his voice to come out right. 

“Remember how you and Vanya had that band?” Luther says. Slow.

Diego knows what he’s trying to do, but he lets Luther stand beside him anyway and gives him a wane smile. 

“Yeah. We were terrible.” 

“I don’t know about that. You used to play guitar until your fingertips bled.”

Diego is smiling for real now. 

He feels far too old for all of this. 

It’s quiet and so the smile on his face slips a little because he’s gotten used to the noise. 

When Diego finally speaks, it’s loud and angry and bitter and painful.

“I-I was going to ask her to fucking marry me, Luther.” 

“I was going to ask her to marry me and then she went on and fucking died and I had to sell our cat because I couldn’t bear to fucking feed it anymore.”

It’s all too silent. 

“They’re dead and I should be fucking over it but I’m not and I don’t know whether I ever fucking will be.”

He misses Eudora and Mom and Ben when he was 16 and Five who always knew what to do but was still nice about it. 

His voice catches. His breath hitches. 

“They’re fucking dead and I can’t do anything about it.” 

Luther doesn’t hug him while Diego cries or tries to say anything. He’s silent and strong and the perfect soldier, but he offers a massive hand for Diego to hold and he takes it, just to feel like he’s on earth after all. 

Diego doesn’t know how long they stay there, staring at ash and dust and rubble. 

“You know,” Luther says finally. Tentative. “Maybe you should get back into the guitar. I really liked it when you tried to play that Beatles song with Vanya.”

Diego smiles this time, and he doesn’t know if it’s real or fake anymore, but it feels good. 

“Maybe I should.”