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i am not there. i did not die.

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the nosebleeds, five thought, were the worst. they came from nowhere, and they stuck around. he’d get dizzy afterwards, and that alone worried the entire family more than enough. but that wasn’t his only problem.

five hadn’t been physically weak a year ago. he hadn’t even been that kind of weak six months ago. but now? now he was tired all the fucking time. he was unable to shake the feeling of first waking up. his eyes constantly had that weird sticky sensation you usually rub away first thing in the morning. another thing: it was hard to explain, but his heart was also tired; almost like the exhaustion sat at his core. and deep down, he knew that there was something going on, something that would hurt like hell. he just didn’t know it would be more than physical pain. so, he pushed on, and pushed away. maybe he was just stressed.


or anemic.

the leukemia diagnosis hit so hard because nobody, not one of them, had been expecting it. but it was clear, in his blood, and in his bones, this sickness was rotting him from the inside out. well, maybe not “rotting,” per se, but that’s exactly what it felt like.


because five had felt dead long before the symptoms started.

he didn’t start declining right away. of course he didn’t, because who would allow him to die quickly? it was slow, but not truly a calm before the storm. five knew that it would be slow going and quiet until the end. despite the optimism of his siblings, five knew in his rotting bones that he wouldn’t come out a survivor. not this time. and it wasn’t hard to make his peace with dying, because he’d done it so many damn times. at this point, it was almost second nature to sigh in the face of death.

chemotherapy was… not desirable, to say the least. the nosebleeds worsened. not by much, though, after the first week of treatment (“induction,” grace had called it. “to lower the cancer cells in the blood and bones”), he was hardly hungry anymore. during the sessions, he’d gag and bring up anything in his stomach. klaus and allison were very attentive during these times, having experienced excessive vomiting in their own individual ways at some point in each of their lives.

allison couldn’t bring herself to smile. not while her (older) little brother retched into a bucket haphazardly shoved in front of him by number four. “it’s okay.” she held a tight reign on her voice, kept it calm, even though it wanted to tremble and break. “you’re doing great, five.” she said genuinely as she carded her fingers through his hair, which earned her a tired glare, but worryingly enough, nothing more. allison tried to memorize this feeling while it lasted. five wouldn’t have hair for much longer. “yeah,” klaus began, turning all faces to him. “you’re handling this… well. on the outside, at least.” he was only one to offer a small smile, which begat silence. “you’ve already accepted what’s going to happen, haven’t you?” it wasn’t really a question, but more of a sad statement. allison didn’t even have a chance to speak, to deny her brother's future entirely. “though it’s none of your business, klaus,” the (man) child took a deep breath to have something other than vomit in his throat. “…there’s no point in being in denial. it’s going to get worse before it gets better. there’s no avoiding that.” he closed his eyes. “with or without treatment, i’m going to be sick for the foreseeable future.”

they were sitting on the couch. it was just him and his brother.


“there’s only one thing we have in common, you know.” five snorted weakly. turning his bloody face to luther. “neither of us will be missed.”