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Are Any Of Us Useful at the Moment?

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January 23, 2015

As I begin this journal, it has been three weeks since I first arrived on the moon, my latest mission for an undetermined amount of time.  I must admit that the process thrilled me at first, as I was grateful to distance myself from the recent drama as a result of my sister Vanya's newly-published autobiography about growing up with all of us.  Dad has said nothing about it, and I never asked. I’m just glad that I don’t have to see Diego and how pissed he must be, as well as Allison. Even though I do miss her, still.

 

And now, three weeks into this mission, I am already feeling the effects of isolation.  I just need to remind myself that what I am doing now is useful, since my accident nearly three years ago.

 

I thought I had more to write, now.  But I’ll have plenty of time for that, for however long I am here.

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

 

Luther Hargreeves closed the cover of his journal and put it on the nightstand next to the bed inside his confined lunar living quarters.  He set the alarm for 23:15, half an hour before the sun would peak over the horizon, thus the start of each work "day" collecting field samples.

 

Luther pulled the covers, which barely reached past his chest.  He sighed, still not wanting to accept what happened to him.

 

In 2012 Luther had been sent on a mission to avert a biochemical threat.  He failed miserably. He remembered going to the site, took out two bad guys, and thought that he was in the clear.  Apparently, there was another bad guy Luther hadn’t seen before. And that was when Luther felt an excruciating burning pain and quickly blacked out.  He awoke in the infirmary, to his horror, looking much different --- and very gruesome. And he screamed, and screamed, and screamed.

 

His Dad, Mom and Pogo had all explained that they had no choice.  Luther was dying, and the defibrillator was not effective. They had to use the serum.  The result was that Luther survived, of course; but his upper body was transformed into that of an ape.

 

Luther had hated himself ever since.

 

But that was why Luther was grateful to be on the moon.  This was not only his first mission since the accident, but Luther could now cross an item off his bucket list.  It had been his lifelong dream to visit the moon, hence his Umbrella Academy codename, "Spaceboy." Now he was living here.  And he was living alone, where nobody else could see him.

 

He still missed Allison.

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

 

"What the hell?!"

 

Allison had finally chosen the hour she would spend in the makeup chair to begin reading Vanya's autobiography.  Of course, she had skipped through what Vanya had written about the other siblings, to see what dirt brought up that Allison would have to explain to the masses.

 

She was grateful that at least Vanya had never hinted of any suspicions about Allison's "relationship" with Luther.  That would have been a bitch to explain to her husband and Love On Loan co-star, Patrick --- with whom she just had their first child, Claire --- let alone would have entirely fucked up her career.  (If the first installment of this film indeed was a success, it would become a trilogy; and Allison would now use her power to ensure it would, after her sister pulled this bullshit.)

 

Instead, Allison was depicted to be the spoiled, entitled Alpha Female of the house, exerting her "authority" as Vanya's "older" sister.  (Why?! They all were the exact same age!) Add insult to injury that according to Vanya, their flamboyant pansexual brother Klaus was more of a "little sister" to Allison than was Vanya.  Allison was certain that went over well with Klaus (if he was even coherent enough to have even tried reading the book himself).

 

After reading about herself (or what Vanya thought of her, anyway), Allison skimmed through what Vanya had written about the others.  Luther and Diego's constant bickering and competitiveness against each other and Klaus' descent into drug addiction were among the topics.  Oh, and even though Number Five had supposedly been Vanya's "sole confidant," she had to throw in that he was arrogant, too. The only person about whom Vanya was completely civil in describing was Ben --- the one sibling who legitimately was killed.

 

When she had enough, Allison threw the book in the garbage.  Not only did she no longer want to read such drivel, but she was done reliving the memories of her very complicated childhood.

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

 

At his boxing gym in the early evening, Diego was pulverizing the punching bag with the jacket of Vanya's hardback cover with her face taped to it, when his boss/landlord screamed from the front desk, "Hargreeves! Phone call!"

 

Diego gave one more blow to the punching bag before sauntering to the front desk.  "Who is it?" Diego demanded, having been able to avoid the press since Vanya's autobiography was released nearly four months ago --- October 1, in fact; their fucking twenty-fifth birthday. 

 

"Hell if I know! I ain't your damn secretary!"  Al thrust the receiver into Diego's hand.

 

"Hello?"

 

"Diego Hargreeves?" A woman’s voice spoke.

 

"Yeah?"

 

"This is University Hospital," Diego felt his heart sink, knowing what would follow.  Sure enough, the lady continued, "We have your name listed as an emergency contact for Klaus Hargreeves."

 

Diego braced himself for whatever might come next, even though he knew the routine.

 

"Your brother was admitted, but I’m afraid I cannot give out any further details over the phone."

 

Diego was right.  "I’m on my way." He quickly slammed down the phone.

 

"Hey!" Al yelled as Diego started to take off.  "Them damn bathrooms need cleaned!" Diego had an arrangement with Al that he would do general custodial work in exchange for living in the boiler room.  That and the money he won in boxing matches was how Diego got by after having gotten kicked out of the Police Academy two years ago. That and having a criminal history of tampering with police investigations with his vigilanté work deemed it impossible for him to ever find a "real" job.

 

"My brother’s in the hospital." Without looking back Diego darted out the front entrance.

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 

Diego parked his car outside the hospital and removed his knife harness; obviously, he would not get past security wearing it.  After concealing it in the glove compartment, Diego sprang from the car and burst through the front entrance. After checking in with the receptionist, Diego followed an orderly to a waiting area.  After a couple of minutes that seemed like an eternity to Diego, the door opened and a doctor emerged. "Diego Hargreeves?"

 

Diego shot up from his seat.  "Yeah. Where is he?"

 

"Follow me, please."  The woman, bearing a name tag that read, Dr. Davina Massey, PhD, led Diego through the door into the hospital corridor.

 

Diego had a gnawing feeling of dread in the pit of the stomach as he followed Dr. Massey to a private family room.  Part of the drill. Next he would be advised of Klaus' condition. In the past it was primarily drug overdosing, or occasionally a good beating by a disgruntled john, or a bigot…or both.

 

After the door closed and the two were seated, Dr. Massey confirmed Diego's primary suspicion.  "Your brother nearly died from a drug overdose. He went into cardiac arrest en route here, but thankfully, the EMT was able to revive him."

 

Diego let out a sharp breath.  "So, how is he now?"

 

"He’s resting.  We’ll keep him overnight for observation.  But we need to discuss a plan for him following discharge."

 

"What do you mean?"

 

Dr. Massey sighed looked at him sternly.  "Well, I’m grateful that your brother has legally allowed us to disclose his medical information, because otherwise I would not be able to relay what I am about to do so."

 

"What?" Diego asked impatiently. He hated it when people tried to delicately beat around the bush.

 

"Your brother was also treated for a similar episode here just three days ago," the doctor said.

 

Diego stared wide-eyed at the doctor.  "What?"

 

"That time, he did not flatline and was conscious when he arrived, so you were not contacted then.  But it was the same EMT who brought him in, as well as the same nurse who initially tended to him."

 

Diego sighed again.  Shit.  My brother’s worse off than I thought.

 

"I know that according to your brother’s medical records here, that your brother has had an extensive history of emergency services for drug abuse," Dr. Massey continued, "and I was wondering whether your brother might consider rehab."

 

Diego shook his head.  "I don’t think so," he admitted.  He knew that Klaus would never go for thirty days without drugs.  Diego knew that was why Klaus had started drinking and smoking when they were thirteen, and he figured that Klaus had upgraded to hard drugs when they were fifteen or sixteen.  Diego didn’t like it, but he knew it kept the ghosts at bay. Klaus had always been afraid of his power and the drugs suppressed them. Of course, Klaus' downward spiral escalated following their brother Ben's death (which was during a mission that did not include Klaus that day as he was recovering from an overdose then as well; another in which he had to be resuscitated, courtesy of Mom, for whom Diego was forever grateful).  "I mean, to be honest, I would love that for him, but…." How could he tell this stranger that quitting drugs would be much more difficult for Klaus than the average person. Nothing about Klaus was average. Nothing about their family was average --- other than the one "sister" who just very recently publicly dragged the entire family name through the mud.

 

However, the doctor took one more direct look at him.  "Okay. Normally this is where I give a supportive family member or advocate the lecture about tough love, and not enabling by making excuses.  However, I do know of your history as childhood celebrities---"

 

"Then you probably also know why Klaus started drugs, if you read my adopted female sibling's book, and I don’t want to talk further about that," Diego said bitterly.

 

Dr. Massey paused.  "I understand. And I realize that your brother is a unique case; but he is also a drug addict, and just like any addict, he is living a death sentence without treatment."

 

Diego sighed.  "I know, but the other issue is, my brother doesn’t have medical insurance."

 

"Your brother is homeless, correct? There is no address listed for him."

 

Diego nodded sadly.  He wished he could have Klaus stay with him, but Al would have pitched a fit if Klaus stayed there too long.  Plus, after both Klaus and Diego left the Umbrella Academy mansion for good, Klaus had admitted he feared possibly taking advantage of Diego for a fix, and he didn’t want to damage their relationship accordingly.  Diego had appreciated Klaus' honesty, which was why Diego always tried to look after him. And as Diego made connections and earned respect both in the boxing room and out on the streets; because Diego never needed their help in return (other than a couple of times that people willingly bailed Diego out of jail himself), he also had them keep an eye on Klaus.  (Diego was 99.999999 percent certain, of course, that Klaus was the only person in the city with his Ouija-board-style HELLO and GOOD BYE respective hand-palm tattoos, which he had somehow gotten after leaving the Academy.)

 

"Well," the doctor said, "It just so happens that with the passing of the ballot measure from last year’s election, county funds have been allocated to provide rehabilitative treatment for indigent and transient people at no cost to them.  Your brother would qualify for this program."

 

Diego felt some weight lift off his chest.  Part of the problem was solved. Now his challenge would be to actually convince Klaus to go.

 

Diego soon found himself seated next to his unconscious brother in his hospital room.  He took his brother’s hand, leaned back in the chair and closed his eyes.

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

 

Vanya entered her apartment, placed her violin and its case on the couch.  She took off her wet coat, untied her hair and walked to the kitchen sink. She grabbed a fresh towel and dried her hair as best as she could.  That rain had come out of nowhere.

 

Orchestra rehearsal sucked.  Vanya could have sworn that the conductor hated her.  He led them more quickly than what she had practiced at home and made a couple of mistakes.  The conductor had growled about someone being the weakest link, and although he didn’t specifically single Vanya out, everyone knew whom he had meant.  Helen Cho, the orchestra's First Chair, particularly turned to momentarily scowl at her. So much for Vanya's efforts to get on Helen's good side.

 

It was last year when auditions for First Chair had been held for a long time, after the previous First Chair had moved across the country.  Vanya had tried to put as much of herself into her tryout as she could, hoping that by earning this honor she would finally indeed prove herself to be extraordinary to her siblings and father.  But alas, the position was easily awarded to Helen.

 

On that day, Vanya had passed a pawn shop when she had noticed a typewriter for sale in the window.  She stared at it, the wheels in her head spinning. Remembering all of the times she was left out of things growing up.  Never allowed to go on missions. Taunted by Diego. Yelled at by Allison, because God forbid Vanya catch Allison and Luther making out.

 

So, Vanya bought the typewriter, and her memoir, Extra Ordinary: My Life As Number Seven was born.

 

And now, this evening, Vanya checked her answering machine messages.  One from a local bookstore confirming her upcoming book discussion, and another from a violin student's mother cancelling her daughter's lesson for tomorrow afternoon as she had the flu.  Therefore, Vanya had an idea of something else to do in that time slot.

 

That next afternoon, Vanya pulled out a copy of her book from the box.  She grabbed an ink pen from her desk, opened the book to the inside cover and wrote:

 

Dad,

I figured, why not?

-V

 

Vanya then left her apartment and headed to the bus stop, awaiting the transit vehicle that would stop at the post office.

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

 

Five, with his long grey hair and even longer beard, was sitting with Delores in what was left of the Argyle Library happily nursing a bottle of Bordeaux, of which he now had an endless supply courtesy of a wine cellar that had been untouched.

 

Five had kept pretty good track of how long he had been living in this apocalyptic wasteland: a little over forty years, give or take.  All of this time, since he had first jumped forward and got stuck here at age thirteen, his only goal was to somehow get back to 2019, find out who owned the prosthetic eye that Five had pried out of Luther's dead hand, and get his family to stop the world from ending.  But he still didn’t know the correct equation to get back. Delores had kept telling him the equations were off. But at the moment right now, her issue was his drinking --- again.

 

"That’s an exaggeration; I don’t drink too much," he retorted back to his romantic partner.  "You know, I work hard all day! Why would you even think that?"

 

Five suddenly heard a twig snap.  His heart skipped a beat. Was there an animal, or perhaps…another human about to approach him? He quickly grabbed his gun and found himself aiming it at a blond-haired woman dressed in all black, waving at him, grinning. 

 

"WHO THE HELL ARE YOU?!" Five screamed at the figure standing before him.

 

"I’m here to help," the lady smiled.

 

"Tell me why I shouldn’t put a bullet through your head right now!"

 

"Because if you did," she said casually, "you wouldn’t hear about the offer I’m going to make you, which would be rather tragic given your current circumstances."

 

And that was how he learned about the Temps Commission, an organization tasked with preserving the timeline through "manipulation and removal," thereby sending field agents to eliminate anyone who might pose a threat to the timeline accordingly.  Five was not considered a threat, but a recruit due to his survival skills and ability to travel through time. The woman, known only as the Handler, offered Five a position as a "field agent," promising that after five years of service he could return to the timeline of his choosing.  Unfortunately, according to the Handler, the apocalypse was included in the so-called timeline preservation.

 

Five reluctantly said goodbye to his lady love and accepted the Handler's offer.  As she held out her hand he shook it, at which point they flashed blue and were transported to some other type of world.

 

And Five did start his training with the Temps Commission almost immediately.  But his new employer was, of course, unaware that Five had an outside agenda. Some day, he would still get back to his family.

Chapter Text

"Why am I here?" Klaus mumbled as he lay on his back across the rehab bed that was now his for the next thirty days.  The other guys around him were all sleeping soundly, thereby not noticing Klaus talking into thin air. Ben, meanwhile, sat in the chair next to Klaus' bed silent, his hood pulled over his eyes.

 

It took Diego less than half an hour to convince Klaus to go to rehab.  What finally convinced Klaus was that he would be prescribed Suboxone to avert his withdrawals.  So, he was basically taking prescribed heroin, but at least it kept the ghosts away. Klaus needed to stick with rehab as the county would not foot the expense for someone who left AMA.  Of course, Klaus' credit score was already shit and the rehab bill would have just been added to the long paper trail of unpaid bills.

 

"Oh, Bentacles," Klaus tried getting Ben to talk by using the name Ben hated. "Are you just going to sit there and gaze at my beauty, or are you going to find a book to read."

 

Ben silently got up and walked through Klaus' bedroom door.  Within two minutes he reappeared, motioning for Klaus to follow him.

 

"Are you kidding me right now!" Klaus whined.  "I feel like shit!"

 

Ben motioned again, so Klaus grumbled, forced himself up, and staggered behind Ben down the corridor before arriving in the common area that had a TV set and a bookshelf.  Ben walked to the latter and pointed at one of the books.

 

Extra Ordinary:  My Life as Number Seven by none other than his dear baby sister, Vanya.

 

Klaus had heard of her book.  Diego had nearly beaten the shit out of him when he asked about it.  He quickly grabbed it from the shelf.

 

It took Klaus five days to read it.  Of course, he first turned to an excerpt that described him.

 

Number Four

 

Out of all of my siblings, my brother Klaus (the Séance) is by far the most complicated member of the Umbrella Academy.   Klaus' superpower is talking to the dead. He was also the only one who hated his power enough to use substances to suppress it.

 

Klaus' personality can be described as a hurricane.  He is loud and unpredictable. He prefers wearing skirts and can crack a joke at anything.  But he was not always this way.

 

Until we were thirteen years old, Klaus was a very caring and nurturing child.  Once when Diego swatted at a moth in the house, I broke down hysterically sobbing.  Diego just laughed, while Klaus took me in his arms and held me. I have never admitted this aloud before, but what Klaus did meant so much to me, especially since Klaus had always looked up to Diego.

 

And that was the kind of kid Klaus was: always there to comfort and listen to any of his siblings, not just Diego and Ben.  And then, after the Umbrella Academy was officially introduced, that was when things started to change. A couple of times I saw him roll a joint at the meal table, and I often observed a bottle of Jack Daniels in his room.  Then his behavior became more erratic, and his ways of acting out included once setting fire to his dresser drawer.

 

Klaus was also gullible.  He always had been. At eight years old, he licked a nine-volt battery after Diego had told him it would give him pubic hair.  Of course, Klaus wound up in the infirmary, but he ultimately forgave Diego. Quick forgiveness was another quality of the Séance.

 

Klaus was the only sibling about whom my father never revealed what he actually did for training.  Although Klaus received the same Martial Arts instruction as did the other siblings, I don’t think I have ever seen him strike out at anyone.  All that I know about his training was that it was conducted somewhere off the property.

 

I believe we were fifteen years old when Klaus discovered heroin, and that’s when his sweet and funny personality transformed into the self-centered, flamboyant junkie for whom he is known today.  I have only seen Klaus several times since we all moved out in mid-2007. I do miss the sweet child he used to be. I hope that someday he can beat this addiction, and that he and I can have at least some sort of relationship.

 

Klaus kept the book with him and even read it during a group meeting.  That was, until Klaus shushed Ben, of course causing the group to think Klaus did so to the person talking.  Oops.

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 

"Diego Hargreeves, you are being placed under arrest for obstruction," Detective Eudora Patch recited as she placed her ex-boyfriend in handcuffs, again.

 

"Yeah, yeah, whatever you say, Eudora," Diego smirked as he was being led to the back of a police car.

 

" Don’t call me that," Patch snapped as she opened the back door and shoved Diego inside. "And I told you I’d arrest you the next time you interfered with one of my investigations."

 

Diego and Eud--- oh, Patch; excuse him --- had dated during Diego's brief stint at the Police Academy.  He attended for all of six months until he was expelled for not following orders.

 

"Whatever you say," Diego rolled his eyes.  "I’ll be back out before you even get your paperwork started for this case."

 

The case in question was that of a botched robbery in a convenience store.  The perp had shot the clerk, who somehow survived. Diego had actually come from Family Day at the rehab where Klaus was staying and was reflecting on his disappointment that nothing seemed to change with Klaus since his admission two weeks ago, and saw the action at the store and intervened.  By the time Patch had arrived, paramedics had already taken the victim to the hospital. During Diego's own investigation he collected the bullet casings, which was what prompted her to make good on her threat.

 

"Yeah, well, you just go right on doing your thing, and I will arrest you every time," she looked at him through narrow eyes before slamming the car door.

 

Diego was used to this.  It certainly wasn’t his first ride in the back of a police car, and he was certain it wouldn’t be his last.  Eudora used to be really awesome before she let police bureaucracy take over. It was one thing when she was just a cop herself, but she had really changed after being promoted to Detective a few months ago.

 

Right after Diego was thrown in his cell, his buddy Officer Mateo Rodriguez came to see him.  "So, what did you do to piss her off this time?" Rodriguez chuckled.

 

"Hell, man," Diego joked.  "I can just breathe and piss her off.  Hey, do me a favor. You got a pen and paper on you? I need you to call one of my buddies who owes me a favor to try bailing me out."

 

Rodriguez shook his head.  "No, save it for some other time.  I heard them say that they'll let you go at your arraignment tomorrow."

 

"And that’s one night where I’m not out on the streets helping someone," Diego objected.

 

"Hargreeves.  Seriously. Let it go."

 

Diego's arraignment was indeed the next day, and he was released following the hearing.  He knew this would never go to trial. Worst case scenario, he would get fined and/or spend maybe two weeks in jail at the most.  But more importantly, a convenience store cashier's life was saved, and Eudora did eventually get the bad guy.

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 

Five minutes before four o'clock a knock was heard on Vanya's door.  She nervously sighed at the prospect of meeting this new violin student.  She was six years old, which was younger than Vanya had preferred teaching, but the girl's mother said the girl was a prodigy who only needed to play a score once to have it memorized, and she also had perfect pitch; she just needed to learn to sight-read notes.

 

Vanya opened the door to the little girl in pigtails and her luxuriously-dressed mother.  Just then a cat shot past them and into her apartment.

 

"Shoot," Vanya had to stop herself from saying a stronger word.  "I’m sorry. This is my neighbor's cat, Mr. Puddles." She scooped up the cat.  "Come in, and make yourselves comfortable. I’ll be right back."

 

She walked down the hallway and rapped on Mrs. Kowalski's door.  The neighbor quickly opened it, saw what Vanya was holding and beamed. 

 

 " There you are!"   Mrs. Kowalski quickly extracted her cat from Vanya.  She kissed her cat on the head. "Naughty kitty!" She said as she put him down.  "Thank you, Vanya."

 

She returned to the mother and daughter.  As she watched the daughter play, Vanya found this girl to be even better than Vanya herself right now.  However, Vanya knew she charged less for her lessons than most; of course, most violin teachers had a more prominent position than just hacking away at third chair in a chamber orchestra.  And she needed as many students as she could get.

 

It had been almost a year since Vanya's autobiography was published, and already public interest in her book was waning.  Not long ago she saw a window display with her book at fifty percent off. Oh, well. At least after twenty-five years, Vanya's voice was finally heard.

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 

"That’s a wrap!" The director said to Allison and her husband and costar Patrick.  With that, production of Love On Loan 2 was now complete, on its way to post-production. 

 

The initial Love On Loan production was a smash hit.  Allison might or might not have influenced that.  She was actually glad, however, to have a break from filming.  She regretted not spending more time around her daughter Claire, who at two years old was already becoming a challenge.  Assuming that a third Love On Loan was in the works, Allison and Patrick had both agreed to not take on any other projects in order to spend more time with their daughter.

 

The couple was now arriving at their home with their daughter.  After they were inside, Allison rewound the messages on her answering machine.

 

"Allison, it’s Melissa," her publicist's voice spoke through the tape.  "I received a call from Tinseltown Magazine wanting to interview you about Love On Loan.   I checked, and they don’t plan on asking about your sister’s book; it’s a dead issue since there is no more public interest.  They want to interview you Thursday afternoon, so I wanted to see what time works for you. Give me a call."

 

"It’s been nearly two years since that damn book was published," Allison complained.  "I can’t believe that she still has to ensure I won’t be interviewed about it." Of course, she had been asked a bunch of questions when the book first came out.  A couple of times she was able to rumor reporters when cameras or tape recorders weren’t running; but for the most part she remained quiet, not wanting the fact that she wanted to bury her sister alive to be made known, thus tarnishing her reputation.  Of course, it was her rumoring that had brought her most of her success. Including rumoring Patrick into loving her, and that he would not want any other children besides Claire.

 

"Well, honey," Patrick said.  "You know you don’t have to deal with this tonight.  Why don’t you take Claire up to her room and read to her? You haven’t done that in a long time."

 

That was the first night Claire had ever heard of the Umbrella Academy. 

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 

Two years later, Allison read to Claire for her last time.  That was when she made the decision to rumor her daughter into falling asleep, not realizing until too late that Patrick had seen everything.

 

Patrick angrily turned his back on Allison.

 

"Patrick, wait!" Allison chased him into the living room.

 

Patrick whirled back around.  "And how long has this been going on?!"

 

"I---I…." Allison was speechless.

 

"Answer me!" He screamed.  "How long?"

 

Allison looked at her husband with tears in her eyes.  She didn’t want to admit that she had been intermittently doing this since Claire was able to talk.  So she remained quiet.

 

Patrick glared at her.  "Your silence speaks volumes."

 

Tears spilled down Allison's face. "Patrick…."

 

Patrick eyed her suspiciously. "How many other people have you done this to? Me, perhaps?  To get me to love you?! Huh?"

 

Allison's breath hitched in sobs.  "Patrick, I’m sorry…."

 

Patrick continued glaring at her.  "Just get out."

 

Allison blinked. "What? Patrick, no! Let’s please work this out!"

 

Patrick's eyes narrowed at her.  "I would have to really love you, and not be rumored to do so, if I wanted this façade of a marriage to work.  Now, get out."

 

Allison spent the night at the home of a supporting Love On Loan cast member.  She had no idea that it would be her last time seeing Claire.  Patrick filed for divorce almost immediately and was granted full custody of Claire.  Allison would need to see a court-appointed counselor before the family court judge would even consider letting her have supervised visits with her daughter. 

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 

Diego was in the process of preparing for his upcoming fight when there was a knock at the door.  He opened it to a disheveled Klaus. "Diego!" Klaus slurred as he fell into Diego.

 

"Woah, woah, woah, woah," Diego caught Klaus and held him steady.  Once again, his pupils were dilated.

 

Klaus had managed to stick with rehab for his thirty days, but in the three years since he was still using drugs.  At least twice he had heard of Klaus being resuscitated in an ambulance and he tried rehab once or twice again as well.  It was frustrating to Diego, but he never gave up on his little brother.

 

"Hey, bro!" Klaus smiled.  "Relax, I’m good. But I do need a ride to an NA meeting."

 

"What the hell?" Diego exclaimed. "You’re high as fuck, Klaus!"

 

Klaus giggled.  "I know. But I’m also court-ordered to go to these damn meetings and I haven’t been to one yet this week."

 

Diego shook his head.  "I don’t have time. My fight starts soon."

 

"Pretty please, dear brother of mine?" Klaus batted his eyelashes.

 

"Hargreeves! You’re up next!" Al bellowed from the corridor.

 

"Fine," Klaus rolled his eyes.  "Get paid for beating the shit out of someone."

 

"It’s what I do best," Diego said as he shoved Klaus out the door.

 

An hour later, Diego was showered and back in his room with $300 cash.  He turned on the police radio as he reapplied his knife harness. He figured he had at least enough energy to perform one vigilanté duty.  He was debating on whether to drive across town looking for an opportunity when he heard the dispatcher on the radio.

 

"Attention area units.  Attention area units. 10-52 at Milton and Harrison Shell.  Possible OD; RP is administering CPR. Subject described as white male, late 20s, curly dark hair."

 

Diego waited with dread to hear if the dispatcher would also describe "HELLO" and "GOOD BYE" respective hand-palm tattoos.  She didn’t. He still had to know.

 

He jumped in the car and drove to the scene surrounded by police cars. Rodriguez's was one of them. Diego quickly stopped his car and jumped out.  He saw Rodriguez talking to whom Diego assumed had called 911. He rushed up.

 

Rodriguez looked at Diego.  "It’s not your brother."

 

Diego returned back to the gym and saw Klaus passed out near the front entrance.  He lightly patted Klaus on the cheek. "Hey, Klaus. You okay, man?"

 

Klaus eyes fluttered, and then they opened.  "Hey, D. You win the fight?"

 

Diego stared at his brother.  For the past hour he was afraid his brother was dead, only to be coming down from his high now.  "Think you can stand up?"

 

Diego helped Klaus to his feet and led Klaus through the gym to his bedroom.  He sat Klaus down on the bed before going through his clothes for something that Klaus could sleep in.  He definitely wasn’t leaving Klaus alone tonight.

 

At least for tonight, Diego knew his baby brother was safe.