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You Take My Breath Away

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Allison slaps a handful of sunscreen onto Five's back.  Five sighs exasperatedly as she smears it across his back and neck.  It feels sticky and uncomfortable on his skin. Klaus sits in the chair next to them, applying sunscreen too to both his arms and legs while chatting absentmindedly to some spirit who he assumes is Ben.  He halfheartedly glares at his brother when he makes a comment on how Five is “nearly as white as the sunscreen itself” that makes Allison giggle behind him.

“Look at me,” Allison says once she’s done covering his back.  He rolls his eyes, but complies with her request, letting her apply it to his face too.  He grimaces, scrunching up his face as she smears it with a bit too much force for his liking.  It’s almost like she has absolutely no regard for his face whatsoever.

“Allison, careful,” He scolds in a whiny tone.  “Not in my eyes!”

Allison only snorts at that.  “Do you want to get sunburnt?” She asks, raising a brow.

Five scoffs at her.  “With the amount you’re applying it will take at least 50 years before my skin even begins to burn,” He replies.

Klaus laughs behind him.  “He’s right, Allison. He’s probably just gonna be sitting in the shadow anyway,” He says, and for once Five actually finds himself agreeing with something that comes out of his brother’s mouth.  “No need to bother the old man more than necessary.”

Allison sighs, but smiles.  “I suppose you’re right,” She says.

“I’m always right,” He grumbles quietly, earning a snort from his siblings.

Five puts his t-shirt back on, cringing at the way the fabric sticks to his back uncomfortably.  He probably should have waited a little bit before doing that, thinking back on it.  

Five didn’t really use sunscreen in the apocalypse.  Usually he covered himself with clothing to try to prevent heat strokes.  He very rarely got sunburnt throughout those 45 years, but it's pretty hard to when the sky is filled so densely with ash that you can't even see the sun.  

The beach isn’t terribly crowded with people which is a big plus for Five at least.  Just the occasional family or small group. Even on a day like this where the sun is sweltering hot and you’d think more people would want to come to the ocean to cool down or something.  Five had never really been on a beach before, but he’s pretty sure that’s what normal people do.

Diego comes running towards them, towel slung over his shoulders, and sand flying everywhere as he kicks the sand with every step he takes.  Luther isn’t far behind him, opting for a relaxed jog instead. He’s still wearing a t-shirt so it doesn’t seem like he has any plans on going into the water either.  But he’s also awfully insecure about his body so he might be planning on bathing with the t-shirt on, though Five doubts it.

“Where’s the water?” Diego asks breathlessly.

Allison peeks over her flashy sunglasses and points at the cooler placed next to the sun chair Five and her are currently sitting on.  She then plops a green cap onto his head and Five groans annoyedly.

“you’re not my mom , Allison,” He grumbles at her.

Allison, Diego and Klaus laugh.  Diego pats his head, grabs a water bottle and runs out of reach before Five can even think about manhandling him for doing it.  Of course Diego "My Body Is A Temple" Hargreeves chooses water. Even on a day like this. The expression on his face makes Klaus laugh, earning him a death glare too.

Suddenly Five’s brows furrow.  “Where is Vanya?” He asks, glancing around.  He hasn’t seen her yet, but she said she was coming too.  All of them are supposed to be coming.

“I’m here!”

Vanya comes running towards them, a red bag hung over her shoulder.  She comes to a halt in front of them and quickly puts it down next to the cooler.  She puts her hands on her knees and wheezes for a couple seconds, closing her eyes.  Five snorts at her.

“Sorry I’m late,” She wheezes, then sucks in a big breath and says, “God, I need to work out more.”

Klaus laughs. "You're not the only one, sister."

Luther smiles amusedly as he carefully sits down in the sun chair next to Allison's.  He almost seems afraid that the chair will collapse under his weight. He does that a lot, Five's noticed.  Which means that it must have happened at least once before. And even though he absolutely can't stand him at points, Luther is his brother and he does care about him so it makes him quite sad that Luther feels that way about his body, especially when there's nothing to be done about it.

"Alright," Allison says then.  "Now that we're all here we can start."

Klaus springs up from the chair he was sitting on and says, “Last one in the water has to do the dishes tomorrow!”

Klaus, Diego, Allison and Vanya race down into the water.  Vanya comes last, but doesn’t seem too bothered about it as Allison splashes water at her and Diego.  Diego retaliates by splashing back at Allison with more force, also hitting Klaus in the process. Klaus is quick to splash back at his brother, and their little game continues for several minutes just like that.  Five can hear their laughter loudly from where Luther and him are seated, far away from the commotion. He finds quite enjoys this.

Luther sits back and crosses his arms over his chest, fully intending on taking a nap in the shadow of the sun.  Five pulls out a book from his backpack and allows himself to relax against the chair as he catches up on some reading.  A book Ben had recommended him the other week.

It doesn’t take long before Luther is snoring next to him.  Five halfheartedly rolls his eyes and returns to the paragraph he’s in the middle of reading.  It’s fairly quiet save for the laughter coming from down in the water and Luther’s obnoxious snoring.  Five manages to tune it out though as he gets lost in the pages in the book. He’s read well over 36 pages when he gets interrupted by the shout of his name, taking him out of his little trance.  Luther remains fast asleep.

“Hey, Fivey!” Klaus shouts at him.

Five quietly grumbles to himself as he puts the book down in his lap.  “What is it, Klaus?” He asks, scowling at the man in front of him. Klaus is pretty immune to Five’s death glares at this point and remains unaffected by it.

“Don’t you want to come with us?” He asks, motioning towards the blue ocean and his siblings playing there.  “It’s fun!”

Five sighs and says in a level voice, “I would rather not, to be completely honest.”

Klaus frowns at him, visibly deflating.  Five picks up the book again and continues reading where he left off, ignoring Klaus’ pout and puppy dog eyes without any hint of hesitation.  It’s quiet for a moment before Klaus’ eyes eyes glint mischievously, mouth turning up into a playful smile. And then he attacks.

Five squeaks in surprise as klaus forcefully pulls the t-shirt over his head, dropping the book, and cap falling off in the process.  Before he even has any time to fight back Klaus has him slung over his shoulder and is running towards the water. Luther doesn’t even stir.

“jesus, you’re heavier than I thought!”

“Klaus!” Five shouts, punching his brother in the back with his fists in a futile attempt to be let down.  “Put me down, you dumb fuck!”

Klaus laughs, mouth turned upwards into a huge grin.  “Or you’ll do what, brother dearest?” He questions in a playful tone.

“Klaus, I swear to god I’ll—”

Klaus throws Five into the water with a big splash.  He’s sure he’s going to pay for this later, but it’s totally worth it to see Five come sputtering out of the water only to give him the most intense scowl Klaus has ever seen.  Klaus is certain he’ll suffer Five’s wrath later, but he’s pretty sure he can’t die so he’ll be fine.

Five’s glaring is interrupted by both Vanya and Diego splashing water on him.  To which Five gets back at them by jumping onto Diego’s back like a little monkey and tries to pull him underwater, but he’s smiling and laughing so he can’t be too mad.  After a while he manages to get Diego to lose his balance and they both topple over. It’s the most kid-like any of them have seen him since they were small.

They all laugh as Five squeals and scrambles to get away as Diego chases after him.  “Vanya!” He cries, hiding behind her and using her as some sort of shield. “Help me!”  Vanya stands there a little dumbfounded as the two of them circle each other. She chuckles nonetheless, finding the situation very amusing.

They continue like that for a while, and during some point Luther has come down to watch them with an amused smile on his face.  Everyone has joined in and Luther has been instructed to take some pictures with Allison’s phone. A task easier said than done when you don’t have small fingers.  Ben stands somewhere nearby chuckling to himself as he watches his siblings play.

They keep fooling around for what feels like hours until the waves start getting bigger and come more and more frequently.  The cool wind that comes with doesn’t help much either. They collectively decide to call it a day when they notice Vanya and Five shivering like leaves on a windy day in the water and that almost all the other people there have left the beach.  Luther waits for them with their towels when they get up, just as some particularly violent waves rolls in towards land. But then Vanya says something that makes their blood run cold.

“Uh, where’s Five?”

They all look towards the water, but there’s no one there.  Diego curses under his breath and runs towards it, abandoning the towel he had wrapped around himself previously.  “Dammit,” He mutters as he wills his legs to move faster. The rest of the siblings watch with bated breaths and hammering hearts as Diego’s body disappears into the water and waves.  Even Ben who doesn’t need to breathe holds his breath as they wait for their brother to return.

“Oh god,” Vanya mumbles into her hands, blinking away tears in her eyes.  Allison rubs her arm comfortingly, but it doesn’t really help much.

Diego gets nearly knocked over by the force of the waves as he searches the water.  It’s really not surprising that he get knocked under. Especially when he is so small.  His heart beats rapidly against his rib cage as he searches the water for Five, and after what feels like an eternity Diego emerges from the water holding a limp, little Five in his arms.

“Somebody call an ambulance!” 

He jogs up from the water and gently lays him down in the sand.  Their siblings come running towards them, as well as the few people that are left on the beach.  Luther fumbles with Allison’s phone as he tries to call 911. Diego tilts Five’s head back to try to free his airways.  Who knows how much water he’s swallowed.

“Dammit,” Diego mutters quietly when Five’s chest doesn’t move.  His lips are slightly parted, but no air comes out or in. Diego mentally curses and starts performing CPR.  He’s not letting his brother die today, that’s for sure.

Vanya puts her face in her hands and chokes back a sob while Allison rubs a comforting hand on Klaus’ back, but it doesn’t seem to be helping much.  “This is my fault,” He mumbles brokenly. “He didn’t even want to go into the water in the first place.”

“It’s not your fault, Klaus,” Allison sighs, sympathetically.

Diego cringes when he hears a crack and feels one of Five’s ribs give in under his weight, but doesn’t stop.  He’s not giving up on him. Even when he’s wheezing from exertion and his arms feel like jello and he’s not quite sure he’s applying enough force anymore.  They’d never forgive him if he stopped now. Especially not Vanya. He could never forgive himself. 

After what feels like an eternity, but is only really a couple of minutes, Five stirs under him.  Vanya makes a noise in the back of her throat that kind of sounds like a sob. He coughs and Diego is quick to help him onto his side as he coughs up salt water into the yellow sand.  Diego has never felt so relieved and pulls him against his chest. Five doesn’t protest, looking a little dazed and confused.  

“Christ you scared us, Five,” Diego mutters to him, voice cracking slightly.  Diego is warm in contrast to his cold skin and he leans into it, shivering a little.  He notices that and starts rubbing his back to try to warm him and says, “Can I get a towel?”

Allison springs into action and quickly hands him one of their towels that Diego wraps around their smaller brother.  The shivering subsides slightly. It helps. Just a little. It’s better than nothing.

“just hang in there, buddy,” Diego says.  “The ambulance is right around the corner.”

If Five had been more aware of what was going on they’re sure Diego would have have heard a piece of his mind about the hugging and the nickname.  They all really wished he would have. At least Five would have been okay then. Even though they’d be angry and annoyed.

Five’s breath is strained and wheezing against Diego’s chest, but at least he’s breathing.  Unlike just a few minutes ago when he’s laid limp on the ground, face lax and body unmoving.  It’s better than nothing, Diego tells himself. He’s rather have Five struggling to breathe than not breathing at all.

They hear sirens in the distance.  Diego could practically weep with joy.  He never thought he’d be happy to hear that sound.  Vanya on the other hand, does weep with joy at seeing them come towards them.

They agree that Vanya and Diego are going to go with Five and the others will pack up all their stuff and meet them at the hospital later.  They can’t all fit in the ambulance anyway. And someone needs to take care of their belongings.  

Vanya holds his hand the entire ride to the hospital, clutching it tightly in hers while Diego explains to them what had happened and what he’s done.  Five gets an oxygen mask and they watch it fog up and defog until they arrive. The personnel are kind, especially to Vanya who is still quite shaken by the whole ordeal.  

Diego finally feels like he can exhale when they meet the others in the waiting room and it’s all finally calmed down.  Only then does he fully realise how strange it must look that he’s wandering around the hospital in nothing but black swim trunks.  

“How is he?” Luther asks hopefully.  They’re all dressed in their normal clothes now.  Diego envies them. It’s not exactly very warm at the hospital and it’s uncomfortable to walk around in just his swimwear.  People stare too.

“He’s okay,” Diego answers.  “They want to keep him overnight though.  Just in case.” It’s like they all collectively breathe a sigh of relief.  The weight finally lifting off their shoulders.  

Allison stands up and hands him a backpack.  “Your clothes,” She explains. “Thought you and Vanya would like to put on some normal clothes or something.”  Diego nods thankfully and smiles at her. God he could die for her right now.

Klaus stands up too and says, “Well, can we go see him?”

The room is fairly small and they barely fit in.  It’s also full of cartoon drawings of zoo animals on the walls and bed spread.  Small kids run around in the halls outside. Five despises it with his entire being.  It gets marginally better once his siblings come in though. Even though Luther takes up way too much space and they all cram up in there almost uncomfortably.

“How are you feeling?” Allison asks him.

Five scoffs at her halfheartedly.  “Like I almost died.” Klaus lets out a loud laugh, but it’s not particularly funny.  “I have a broken rib,” He adds. Diego rolls his eyes, but there’s a hint of a smile on his lips.

“You’re welcome.”

Five glares at him, but there’s no real heat behind it.  “It hurts:”

the heart monitor beeps at a steady rate next to him.  It’s almost annoying, but he supposes that’s the price he has to pay for almost dying.  It’s not like it was his fault though. He wasn’t exactly planning on being pulled under by the waves and being unable to resurface.  It’s not exactly something you’d call fun to put it lightly.

“you look like shit,” Klaus says and Five snorts.  Luther glares at him, but doesn’t say anything about it.

“Why thank you, Klaus,” He Five replies, voice high pitched and smile creepy, just like it always looks like when he fakes a smile.  “That means a lot coming from you.” Klaus just grins at him.

It gets quiet and Five swallows a lump in his throat.  “I’m uh,” He starts, looking down at his fiddling hands in his lap.  “Sorry for scaring you.”  

Allison sits down on the bed, mattress dipping with her, and takes his hand in her own.  It’s warm and comforting. She looks at him with those damn mom eyes that he hates. “What matters is that you’re okay,” She tells him.  “Okay?”

Five nods, but doesn’t meet her eyes.  “Okay,” He replies. Allison smiles and combs his hair through her fingers, pushing it away from his face, only to flop back down once the hand is removed.  On any other occasion there would be no way Five would allow someone to do that. Klaus had tried it a few weeks ago and Five had almost broken his arm.

“You know we love you, right?” Allison asks.  The other’s make sounds of agreement behind her.  “That’s why we worried, Five.”  

Five smiles, a real, genuine smile, and nods.  His face flushes a light pink. “I love you too.”