When Klaus had looked across the table, not much of the food were eaten, at least in the last five minutes of the time allotted. The food were scarfed quickly the moment they sat down most of the time. Especially when they grew up more, the time it took to munch on the food completely became less and less. It wasn't anything odd, though. It was just what he observed, which was just so normal. Each one of them would either be too tired, or just starving.
One of the most vivid (and common, which made it easier to remember) scenarios at their little table went along along the lines of: Luther would be using only one of his arms as the other was too sore from holding weights up for hours, Allison would just chew down carefully and never speak, Diego would be dazed (most times) while his fingers appear to be pruned like a really dry raisin, Ben would not even touch his novel from how tired he was, while Vanya looked at all of them cautiously just like she always did. And well, in Five's case, he often ate alone in his quarters, recovering from the usual seizures from being forced to jump too much. Klaus hated seeing the general sight that, but he had to show up in that very table else he might not even have dinner for the next few days. He doubts Grace can even reason with Reggie's punishments.
Now, in his adult years upon returning, the house didn't change very much. In his own words (and Ben's distant facepalm), that mansion of a house is still fresh with childhood trauma and annoying old man records. It was still the same as he left it! Fantastic.
He must admit he missed certain things. One cannot simply hate a place because of the tears shed in it, for he did not live every single day of his life in that house in misery (even though their bastard of a father came close to making it exactly like that). He had missed his bedroom, for example. Grace had washed the sheets and curtains, but aside from that, everything else looked as if he spent time here regularly.
"Wait, that's creepy."
"What's creepy?" Ben asked, appearing to sit at the edge of the bed he was thinking about. Klaus rolled his eyes and shrugged it off.
Another thing he missed in that house was Mom, but nobody missed her more than Diego, of course. It could be a story of another, though every single one of them loved her like she was the best thing that happened to their miserable lives...which is pretty accurate, anyway. She was the only one that could tolerate their childish behaviors like she was programmed to do, and it was better than nothing.
Suddenly, a waft of something familiar breezed by. The two brothers both turned to the open doorway, and Klaus' tongue processed the smell before his brain could—coffee beans.
Five, of course.
It was an unfamiliar smell at this point, but that scent alone sent him way even further memory lane. Back at that certain dinner where all seats were taken, where Luther and Allison were still happy from within, where Diego's hands weren't pruned, where Ben was still engrossed in the novels he loved, and where the seat next to Vanya was still taken. That smell....that was way back to when they were 13. They were at Griddy's, and Five had the guts to order himself the blackest death, which is his first cup of black coffee he'd ever had in his entire life.
He mentally saluted to his brain for even remembering that.
Well, how could he forget?
He stepped out of his room to follow the smell of fresh, hot coffee. The hallways seemed smaller than it seemed to be back then, and now it also was less of a nightmare hellish place. It was just a house now—decorated with paintings of abuse, and which floors were tiled with trauma and ignored screams—just the way their father liked it. Dad was such a good interior designer.
He found himself by the stairwell, next to the two-storey living room that boasted a bunch of windows that let in just the right amount of sunlight. Klaus was glad that there was even windows in that house. At least there were those windows to be thankful for.
At the middle of the sofa, he could see little Five's head peaking just a little bit from the back. His long lost brother went back as a kid, and if that wasn't weird enough, he was also older than them and had a mannequin as a girlfriend. Oh, excuse him—as a wife.
"Are you going to stand there all day?" Five asked, not even making a move to turn his head to meet Klaus. And with that, he smiled just a little bit. Five could still remember some things from that house too, then.
"Can you tell it was me, though?" he asked, stepping in and sitting at the sofa across, stretching his body on the soft, barely-used seating and sighing in comfort. Five sat lazily across him, holding some sort of newspaper with his right hand, while he drank a take-out coffee with another. From how Klaus saw it, it was the typical image of a normal suburban dad.
Then again, Five was older than them and that was still hard to sink in. Five is old as fuck.
"Well, you walk like a slug. Dragging your feet behind you," Five said, lowering his newspaper for a moment and meeting his gaze, "Or a cricket. Your ankles never met the floor when you run."
Klaus raised his arms over his head in a surrender before using it to hold his head up to the arm rest. "Okay, got it! I missed you too, chill."
He smiled in content, and possibly from high as well. He was just glad Five's alive, that's all. He might be weirder than he remembered him, but he was still someone who was part of their childhood experience.
Five cringed at his remark; Klaus could just tell even if the newspaper hid the boy's face. The boy took another sip and tasted it lovingly in a soft hum. "Are you high, Klaus?"
"Well, yes. Thanks for asking. You?" he replied tenderly, smiling at the fun he was having. He had also missed pissing off people that could tolerate him (Ben, Diego...and Five. That's it, that's the list.) Thank God Five returned.
At that reply, Five lowered the newspaper to the coffee table slowly, revealing a disappointed glare.
"You didn't change. Great." He took another sip of coffee. "I would like some peace and quiet now. Please cooperate for once or face the consequences."
Just for laughs of watching Five just teleport his way out of the conversation from annoyance, he raised himself to his elbows and raised a brow at his brother. Five seemed legitimately tired, though. He should have snapped by his first three words.
Or he just missed him too. One of the two.
"And the consequences being?" Klaus smirked.
Suddenly, Five ceremoniously pulled out a pistol from his jacket pocket. Klaus's hands raised up to a surrender in an instinct as Five chugged the coffee bottom's up, facing the ceiling.
"Jesus, Five!" Klaus released a breath when Five placed it back in his jacket pocket, slamming the empty cup on the coffee table with a satisfied sigh.
It clicked in Klaus's head: it was the coffee! Five's in a good mood because of coffee.
"I've been trying to tell you that literally seven seconds ago." Klaus noticed Ben leaning over Five, seeming to be reading the newspaper along with him.
"Wait, am I talking out loud?"
Ben gave him a look, while Five pulled out the same gun again. Klaus's breath hitched, and he settled down to watch Five put it back. Sometimes, he'd get normal heartburns and pains. Other times, Five points a goddamn pistol at him.
Well, at least Five was here. At least there was that.
He could still remember a few moments before he disappeared into the future years ago. Funny, because he can't even remember what he ate for breakfast that morning, or if he ate at all.
In his memories, if those braincells were even to be trusted, he and Five talked a few days before he decided to time travel. They didn't join the rest of the Hargreeves at dinner because, well, Klaus was locked in again that entire morning while Five was jumping from all corners of the house until he collapsed, only to wake up an hour past dinner. Thanks to Ben—bless his soul—they got some biscuits that he sneaked to them under their bedroom doors.
They happened to stumble upon each other as they brushed their teeth that night. They both looked terrible in their reflections and in real life, and if the sting of the sweet menthol toothpaste in their mouths was not a sign of their senses still working, it would appear like they were floating in air with just how worn they were that day. Klaus can't even feel the arm he was using to brush his teeth!
However, they weren't too numb to appear entirely dead. Five turned to him and asked if his powers were too bad. In all honesty, Klaus simply nodded, for the horrors were too much to bear that day. He was younger, but he could understand enough. Those horrors were brought by the powers he was born with, and it appears to be much more of a burden than a blessing.
Klaus sighed. It became his perpetual Mood™.
But then, he knew Five's life was just as miserable as his. He can't possibly know what it feels like to jump through limited space, but he could see Five's light stumble after jumping too much or too quickly, and he could also see the temple massage Vanya gives Five when he was too out of it to relax. He could also see the panic in Five's face when he can't get himself to jump sometimes.
It was horrifying. If the seizures were fatal, Five's brain should be fried and dead by then.
Klaus shifted in the sofa, facing the back seat and using his arm as a pillow. Despite the coffee being consumed a few minutes ago, the smell of coffee is still quite present in the living room. It might as well be Five's new cologne and he wouldn't be surprised. He would even thank Five for the remembrance.
Well, that night as they brushed their teeth together, Klaus remembered it lasting longer than it was supposed to be. For one, he remembered his gums bleeding. Time, in that bathroom that certain night, seemed to pass oddly and differently, as even Five spat the white bubbles to the sink and it appeared to have red bloody spots in it as well. They gave themselves a longer look on the long mirror, their emotions varying from pity to disgust, from concern to discomfort, from curious to passive, and it could tell a lot about their day just from how their eyes traveled across their own faces and how it lingered on their sickly lips and sunken dead-ish eyes.
"Klaus, I want to time travel."
"I don't know."
Klaus stared at the pattern of the sofa he was laying on currently. Now that he thought of it, that was probably the last time Five had uttered the words, "I don't know." Because little did they know back then, he would come to know everything in just a few days. Everything spanning the future and the far-future.
Five had went to bed earlier than he did after they brushed their teeth. Klaus had lingered a little bit longer, using the tap water to wet his fingers and brush it over his hair in small strokes, to cool it down. His head felt like it would burst, like he was exposed to five pre-calculus Math equations with nothing but an abacus.
The next few days after that night, Klaus always woke up to find Five still at his seat at the breakfast table. Much to Five's confession, he hadn't done any jumps (or time travel, for that matter) after that. At least, not that Klaus had seen it. He was positive Five practices his jumps by himself, just in case he ran onto a wall again when he didn't think too much about it, or if he didn't calculate his jump right. Five was getting better in jumping, though, and that scared Klaus.
Well, there was a time where Old Man Reggie decided to use their hide and seek game to improve Five's jumping. Klaus, that day, was studying the said pre-calculus for a lighter type of punishment for him missing dinner time the night before. He did watch Five try to tag everyone and with the additional challenge of the other Hargreeves hiding in the many hiding spots in that house, it took quite a while.
What concerned Klaus though, was the fact that Five started to glare out everyone out of annoyance at the last half of the game. Klaus could guess it was because he was getting too tired and everyone was using their powers to their advantage, but then he might be wrong too. Five was also scratched accidentally by Diego's knife from him stumbling from his jump and meeting his knife with his arm, which was quite familiar if Klaus was concerned.
He snapped his fingers. Luther! At their father's funeral! Right. Diego grazed him too.
"Yes, brother dear?" He wasn't sure if it was Ben or Five who asked.
"Can you stop being weird for once maybe? I thought I was the weirdest one you could talk to but it seemed you could talk to yourself even worse," Ben said, making his way to look over him from his sofa.
"Why? I'm not getting arrested right now. I have the right to be weird."
"You are being held at gun point. I think the gun is loaded."
Klaus widened his eyes and faced the open space. "Come on, man! I'm good!"
"One more word or I'll assassinate your drug dealer." That did it. Ben facepalmed at the circumstances it took to make him shut up. Five managed to conjure another newspaper and kept on reading. If Klaus was correct, he was looking at the obituary.
That seemed familiar.
Oh, right. Of fucking course, it had something to do with Reggie-Veggie, his local homeboy. Their father used to have him read obituaries and try to call out to certain souls as an experiment. It was, coincidentally, around the time Five was still with them. Just a day or two before he went away.
He remembered coming to Five's room after that harsh experiment, which he was glad was a failure. He still cannot call out certain spirits and be a functional human Ouija Board, but he had a feeling he could. Ben was taking too long at the shower that night, probably because he was drenched of blood from his solo mission, so he went to Five instead, y'know, for shits and...more shits.
Marching all the way to the other side of the Academy, he finally reached the secluded room of the one Five Hargreeves. In there, to his confusion and awe, he saw his brother sitting on the floor doing some math that extended all the way to the door. Klaus almost got concerned from all the chalk and immediately remembering body outlines in crime scenes, but he snapped himself out of it. It was just some math. The other didn't awknowledge him immediately, and it was only after Five finally circled something and sighed, frowning to himself and retracting.
"What?" he asked exasperatedly. "What do you need, Klaus?"
"I'm...I'm just...Why are you doing math...on the floor?"
Klaus laughed to his younger self back then. He did peek through Five's room yesterday, where he saw Math etched on the entire motherfucking ceiling. Comparing Five's math now to his math thing before, it was in an entire new level. Perhaps he was just that stupid, and seeing younger Five solve basic physics equations on the floor already made his head explode. Sometimes, he wished he was just as smart as Five. Other times, he was glad he's sort of stupid.
"Klaus, how many hours did we play hide and seek?"
He didn't know about their game—he wasn't even there—but eh did know how many hours he spent trying to solve pre-calculus to get it over with. "Uhm, six."
"I actually did that thing for nine hours."
"Excuse me, I'm sorry, I wasn't even there so it's not my fault you asked me and I answered wro-"
"No, no. You didn't understand," Five said, standing up and laying on his bed. "I accidentally jumped through time after the game was over and I had to re-do the last three hours of that game."
Klaus assumed it was his first time. That's the only context he'd ever had of Five's abilities, the last one he'd ever known. Five disappeared not too soon later, and Klaus took much later to realize Five may not have know how to come back.
Well, he's glad Five figured it out. At the cost of like, everything.
"You know, Klaus," Five said, slamming down the newspaper to the coffee table and standing up, "I'm done. I'll murder your dealer."
"Hey! Five! No!" Klaus rolled off the couch in an attempt to chase his physically younger brother. "What did I do?! I didn't even talk to you!"
Ben scoffed in disappointment, looking at him in pity from the floor. "You don't have to narrate his life back to him, you know."
"I was still speaking out loud...?" The realization hit him, as well as the dryness of his tongue.
Ben looked at him as if he was insane. "No shit," he said, placing his hands into the pockets of his hoodie, "You're lucky he didn't shoot you right away."