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neither angel nor devil

Chapter Text

“I think you have an arson problem,” Ben said, watching as Ender’s Game slowly burned, charring the hardwood floor in the process.

Face-down on the floor, Klaus turned his head to look at Ben. “Why, are you complaining?”

“No, I’m just remembering that time you almost gave yourself smoke inhalation because you burned twenty-nine candles with the windows and door shut,” Ben deadpanned, poking at the book. His finger went straight though. “Who were you trying to summon, anyways?”

Klaus didn’t say anything, but he suddenly seemed nervous. Not nervous. Scared, maybe. Readjusting his legs, Ben waited patiently. He tugged on his hoodie strings, and absentmindedly went over the list of movies he wanted to watch. It was improbably extensive. Maybe he could bother Klaus into bothering Allison into getting them Webflix.

Klaus sighed deeply, and turned his face back down to the floor, muffling his voice. “I was trying to summon the others. Who died.”

It took a second for Ben to understand. “Did you?” he asked carefully. The other 36 had always been a taboo topic, but moreso for Klaus than the others.

Klaus turned over entirely, and stared into the fire. “Yeah.”

“Is that when they bother you?”

They being very small a handful of ghosts that, for some literally godforsaken reason, are capable of tracking Klaus down.

Okay. An explanation: ghosts tend to get a little obsessive over Klaus when they realize he can see them, but generally ghosts stick to a specific area or person. They stay there until they fade away, which takes a stupidly long time (Ben kind of wants to punch God, or Satan, or whoever’s responsible for that genius idea). To Ben’s knowledge, they are the only ghosts that can regularly leave their haunting grounds.

However, they are also part of the thirty-six super powered kids that Dad didn’t traumatize for life, which meant that they obviously needed to be traumatized in other ways. Or maybe God just had it out for people with superpowers, but then again, isn’t She the one who made them? Vaguely annoyed, Ben forcibly dragged his attention from the weird tangent it went on.

Klaus breathed slowly, and scrunched up the pillow in his hands. “Not really,” he said finally, looking straight up at the ceiling, “bleeding-eyes and cat-boy just showed up one day, but burns-girl, cloud-boy, and the shapeshifter came after.” He sat up, fidgeting with the pillow’s tassels. “I summoned all the dead kids, but most of them didn’t give a shit and left. Burns-girl…”

Ben closed his eyes. “Yeah.”

The two of them sat in silence.

“Well, on the bright side,” Ben said slowly, as the thought occurred to him, “I’m pretty sure the Horror can shred them if they come back again.”

Klaus froze for a long moment, processing. Then he sat bolt upright. “Fuck! You’re right!” He laughed, a little maniacal. “We can get rid of them!” Klaus jumped to his feet, almost stumbling with the force of his excitement, “Fuck! Yes! Ben. You’re a genius and I love you. I’m getting you another book.”

Ben grinned, and stuck his hand into the fire, picking up Ender’s Game just as it finished disintegrating. “Sounds good to me.”



“Can you hurry it up,” Klaus complained, sitting with his back to a shelf as Ben crouched down to look through the bottom row of books.

“No, shut up,” Ben said. Wait, that title looked interesting. “Klaus, can you open up this one?”

For the millionth time since they entered the library, Klaus sighed dramatically, yanking the book out of its place and opening to a random page. It took Ben about two seconds to read some dialogue and realize that it was a shit book. “You can put it back.”

“Benny,” Klaus said seriously, shoving the book back in place, “I’m ever-so-grateful for you and the Horror’s services in keeping murderous dead children away from me, but if you don’t pick out a book soon I’m pushing this bookshelf over and lighting the whole thing on fire.”

Ben turned and squinted at Klaus. “Are you sure you don’t have an arson problem?”

Klaus stared at him. “Fuck you.”

“What?” Luther asked, stepping between the shelves confusedly, “Were you talking to me?”

Klaus heaved a sigh, and got to his feet. “No, Luther, I’m not talking to you.”

Luther furrowed his brow. His book looked comically small in his hand. “Then who were you talking to?”

“I was talking to an indecisive asshole that needs to pick a book before I leave to go do literally anything else,” Klaus said waspishly, giving Ben a death glare.

“Just a sec,” Ben said distractedly, scanning the shelf. If he remembered right, there should be a— there!

Klaus made a derisive noise, and snatched up the book. “Alright, time to go.”

Leaving the library, both of them ignored the puzzled “Klaus?” that came from behind them.

Chapter Text

“Klaus. Get up.”

Klaus rolled over. “F’ckoff B’n,” he groaned, stuffing his face into the pillow.

Ben ignored him, sticking his index finger into Klaus’ cheek. “Get up.”

Klaus only groaned again, and tucked his face firmly into the seam of the uncomfortable looking couch. “G’way.”

Ben eyed the clock again. It was almost ten and he was bored. Rolling his eyes, Ben stuck his entire hand wrist-deep into Klaus’ torso.

“FUCK!” Klaus resurfaced, drawing his entire body up to the arm of the couch. “You know I hate that, you asshole,” he hissed, rubbing his eyes.

“Stop being a baby, I’m bored,” Ben complained, and sat down on a lacquered wooden coffee table that probably cost more than that weird golden dick statue Klaus pawned a while back.

Klaus tucked his head into the crook of his arm, and attempted to go back to sleep. Ben rolled his eyes again, and stuck half his right leg into Klaus.

“MOTHERFUCKER!” Klaus yelled, eyes snapping open, “WOULD YOU CUT—” Ben stuck his leg out even further, “—THAT SHIT—” Ben got up and sat in Klaus, “—OUT!”

“What the fuck are you doing?” Diego asked flatly from the entrance of the room, full bondage gear on as always. From his point of view, it probably looked like Klaus was having a particularly loud seizure.

Klaus threw himself off the couch and adjusted his clothes, glaring. “Ben sat in me,” he said petulantly, and Ben gave him his best innocent smile. Klaus flipped him off.

Diego didn’t say a word, but his disapproving look spoke volumes.

“Ben, do it at eight next time, Klaus sleeps too much anyways,” Five said, sweeping by with a steaming cup of coffee. Diego stared at him incredulously.

Ben grinned. He wasn’t used to being acknowledged by his not-Klaus siblings, so being spoken to was a nice change. And at any rate, he missed Five. “Will do,” he said, saluting in Five’s direction so sloppily that Klaus cringed a little.

“Ben’s asking to get his favorite sibling privileges revoked,” Klaus grumbled, and Ben could see Five smirk from where he was pouring whiskey in his coffee.

“Wait,” Diego snapped, looking between Klaus and Five, “Five, Klaus can’t—” Five walked out of the room, completely ignoring Diego, “—Five!”

Diego turned his gaze onto Klaus. “Klaus,” he said reproachfully.

Klaus and Ben exchanged a look. Ben shrugged, heading out after Five, and Klaus unhurriedly stretched out his arms and followed. “Ah, looks like it’s time for me to go,” Klaus said, dramatically checking his nonexistent watch.

“Wait— Klaus—” Diego faltered, suddenly uncertain. “You—”

“Bye!” Klaus said cheerfully, and as he left the room, Ben twisted around and waved for him. Ducking his head down into his hoodie, Ben huffed a laugh at Diego’s dumbfounded expression. Klaus shot a lazy grin at Ben, and the two of them went upstairs.