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Never Underestimate a Seance

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They were finally alone. Klaus had been dreading this moment since he realized this Ben wasn’t the brother he grew alongside for the past 30 odd years. He knew he wouldn't be able to take any of their interactions because the face he was looking at wasn't the face he knew. The hair wasn’t gelled up and back but short and spiky on top of his head. The clothes weren’t baggy and black but tight and all sorts of colors. If Klaus didn’t know any better, he would say that Ben was starting to look more like him.

That is, without the annoying smug grin or the annoyingly cocky tone.

“Klaus, was it? You don’t seem to look at me at all.. why is that?” Ben assertively says. He had talked to each umbrella in relative privacy to poke and prod for any more information about them. Any and all information is useful against their main enemy.

However, it had always been Number Four that managed to slip out of any room and become undetectable. It infuriated Ben, how can the seemingly useless umbrella be the hardest to talk to one-on-one?

Today had been his lucky day though. He caught a glimpse of Klaus huffing like a little baby leaving the academy. He left from one of the rooms the Sparrows had graciously offered to the Umbrellas. Keep your enemies closer, after all.

He took his chance and walked past the hushed voices of the Umbrellas, whispering so quiet as to not let the superior family listen to their inferior plans. Klaus seemed like he got tired of being with the losing team and left the academy, quietly shutting the door behind him to not incur Chris’s wrath. ‘What an idiot’ Ben thought to himself as he followed Number Four out of the academy.

Ben knew the ins and outs of the city like the back of his hand. Being number two meant trying to one-up Marcus any way he could. Finding a better path to a mission destination or taking a shortcut through a back alley during a speed chase always makes Ben look better during mission recaps. It seems, though, that number four also knew the ins and outs. Which alleys were dead ends, which led to another side of the city, which stores were fronts and which were legit.

Could meek Number Four actually be smart?

Of course not, Klaus hasn’t monitored his surroundings yet and he was talking to himself like a lunatic.

Right before the corner of 45th and Edison, Ben took his chance. He summoned the eldritch and grabbed Klaus by the torso, throwing him inside the darkest alley in the city. This alley was nicknamed “Death Row” because of the countless deaths that took place at the hands of the Sparrows and criminals alike.

The only difference was that any Sparrow inflicted death was justified.

“Ben, Benerino, can I call you Benerino? Doesn’t matter, I’m calling you that anyways-” Klaus wheezed out, using the rough brick wall to hoist himself upright. “I don’t want any trouble, hMPF-”

A tentacle shoots out, grabbing Klaus by the ankle and swiftly dangling him over the blood-stained cement. “Of course you don’t, which is why you haven’t tried to talk to me. You’ve talked to every other sibling of mine but you can’t look at me in the eye,” Ben says, tilting his head. “Explain why.”

Well, Klaus would’ve explained how looking at the shell of his former brother broke him every time he caught a glimpse if it wasn’t for the brigade of ghosts wailing and whining all around Ben. Klaus left Ben drone on and on about his many achievements and the power he possessed while Klaus analyzed the leftover remains of Ben’s victims. Some were more intact than others while some were hanging onto limbs, only having strips of muscles holding them together.

“He ripped me and my family to shreds because we saw him kill the police chief!”

“Two beat me with my own arm because I attempted to rob a bank! I didn’t even go through with it!”

“He and the stupid cube tore me apart! How did the cube even do that??”

Countless pleas and stories were a given around someone with a high kill count but hearing the ghosts recall their deaths at the hand of his “brother” was too much for him to bear. “Shut, shut, shut your pie-hole, Ben-” Klaus didn’t know how much more he could take.

Ben raised him up higher and slammed Klaus down, listening for the crack of bones breaking and the cry of anguish. “Do not take that tone with me, Number Four. My father told me you were the weakest of the bunch and you’re proving it with every second.” Ben kneeled down next to Klaus, smearing the small pool of blood gathering on the cement. “Klaus… what made you this way?” He couldn’t stop the snide grin from creeping upon his face, the thought of one of the umbrellas dying at his hands was too good of a deal to pass up.

“Ky- Kylie Evergreen..” muttered Klaus, slightly turning his head towards the infamous Number Two. “Do you remember that name, Number Two?”

Kylie? Ben couldn’t remember anybody named Kylie, that wasn’t any of the villain regulars, and the Sparrows never fought a villain with the name Kylie.

“Around 10 years old, short blonde hair in two pigtails, flowy orange dress with three blue flowers on the ends?”

Wait a minute…

“She ‘saw something she shouldn’t have’ so you decided to take her out, right? Had your squid extensions squeeze all the oxygen out of her poor lungs. Do you remember now?”

That little girl witnessed Fei using her powers to pull apart one of the most famous celebrities in the world, he couldn’t let that information risk tarnishing their reputation. The public believes that all villains captured by the Sparrows are immediately sent to a private isolation facility but some are just too dangerous to risk leaving alive.

How did Klaus know about this little girl?? The sparrows had made sure that situation never saw the light of day.

“It’s a crime to look through classified information without clearance, Four.” Ben spit back.

“What about Brian Richardson? Andrew McLoughlin? Delilah Sanchez?” Klaus was spewing names out left and right, hoping to get a genuine reaction from the stone-cold face that was staring back at him. Any small flinch or twitch would allow Klaus to get inside this Ben’s head. Even though this was not his brother, there were some quirks that Klaus assumed all Bens possessed.

“Klaus,” Ben sighs, “Why did you leave your family behind in the academy? Don’t you need them?” One more tick and Ben would have Klaus wrapped around his finger. Finally, Ben would have control over one of the people he had fought his entire life for.

Slowly but surely, the gears in both of their heads started to turn. For Klaus, he was figuring out the best day to run back to his family and out of Ben’s sight. All of the Sparrows were thirsty to see his family’s blood spill, Klaus wasn’t about to give Ben the chance.

For Ben, he was trying to remember what power Four had and why he hadn’t used it yet. It had been drilled into Ben’s head that Klaus didn’t know how to use his powers at all so what was the point of remembering?

Both answers were given in the span of about seven seconds.

A lightbulb went off in Klaus’s head, leaving him very excited and Ben very confused. He squeezed his fists, mustering up all the strength he had to make enough ghosts corporeal to fill a football stadium. He saw Ben’s face form from a chiseled sculpture of confidence to a face painted with terrified awe.

It was the dead. Klaus can see the dead. Fuck.

Suddenly, it wasn’t hard to see in the alleyway from all of the blue light emerging from the ghosts and from Klaus’s fists. Losing control, Ben grabbed the giggling Klaus and slammed him against the rough brick wall.

“Take. them. away.”

“Whatever do you mean, Benerino?” It was now Klaus’s turn to smugly smile in Ben’s face. This was actually kinda fun.

“You summoned these ghosts, you made them appear, now make them disappear. NOW.” With a couple of wall slams, Ben was sure Klaus understood. Klaus’s little party trick wasn’t going to get to him….. right?

“For someone- who acts like they know everything- you’re really out of your league here,” Klaus says as the blue light from his fists got brighter. “They were already here.”

As soon as Klaus finished his sentence, Ben felt a wet sticky hand wrap around his torso. Whipping his head back, he saw the swarm of ghosts lock eyes with him. They inched closer and closer and soon Ben ran out of space to back up on.

He tried moving them away with the eldritch but they were ghosts, what was that going to do??

Klaus stumbled out of Ben’s grip and stood in front of the ghosts, staring at a terrified Ben. Ben’s eyes were darting all around the victims behind him. Klaus had him now. “You see, Ben, killing someone isn’t a one time deal, boom they’re gone forever, no no no.”

“Some do move on and live either up there or down there, obviously, but others..” Klaus signals to the cascade of blue behind him with two flicks of his wrist. “Others have unfinished business. And they stick around. For a loooooong time.”

Ben couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Well, he understood but he couldn’t comprehend the information. When he started his powers, Ben was very hesitant with the idea of killing people, ending their lives in the blink of an eye. It was hard for him to get over it but he eventually did because his father said it was putting those people out of their misery. They probably had horrible lives and Ben was doing them a favor. Sure, the way he had killed some had been a tad dramatic but it wasn’t like they were going to feel that pain forever.

Or so he thought.

“And the people you kill? They stick with you. Follow you around everywhere. You can’t hear or see them but they’re always there. Always watching, whining, pleading, wanting to kill you.”

Ben could hear the cries, the pleas, the whines of the ghosts behind Number Four. Looking at them, Ben recognized almost each and every face screaming back at him. The guy from the butcher shop, the group of rebellious girls from the park, the countless villains that the Sparrows had defeated over the years. Ben couldn't stand the thought of all of his victims following him around all of the time. He couldn’t stand constantly being watched over by the people who he ended.

“Seems like you’ve been really busy in this life. You don’t regret any of these kills, Ben? I mean, some seem a little unnecessary here.” Klaus grimaced as he turned around and looked at Ben’s victims again. Eyes were popped out of sockets, brains were gushing out of ears, limbs weren’t attached where they were supposed to. Even his Ben wouldn’t go this far with his kills. He would’ve completed his thought if it wasn't for Ben grabbing him again and throwing him down.

“Get. Rid. Of. Them.” Ben spit out but it was considerably more shaky than before.

Klaus put his hands up and wiggled his fingers, making sure this Ben caught glimpse of his hand tattoos. “But they wanna say hi!”

At that moment, Klaus broke the invisible barrier that kept the ghosts from attacking anyone in sight. He had been working on giving the ghosts tunnel vision to only focus on one person and it seemed like that was paying off here. The ghosts with attached limbs were climbing on top of themselves to reach Ben, to poke and prod and hurt and bite and kill their life-ender.

Ben slowly turned around and was yanked backward from the force of all the ghosts. They pinned Ben down and began tearing off his Versace jacket and sinking their long jagged nails into his flesh. He writhed in pain, too overwhelmed by the number of ghosts swarming his vision. He couldn’t move his arms without three hands holding him back. Any kick he gave would be met with a pushback from angry spirits stuck in an eternal limbo.

However Ben wasn’t about to give up, Sparrows do not give up in the face of danger. It sure was hard not to give up right now but he wasn’t about to give in to the weakest umbrella. Ben continued to fight and squirm his way out of the ghost’s grasp while Klaus stared with a prolonged face. It looked like he was sympathetic for what was happening to Ben.

No wonder he was the weakest.

Ben had been told the story of his father encountering the umbrellas many times, so many that he could recite every detail in full. He was always told that the Number Four of the Umbrellas was the most useless because he didn’t seem to have any control over his powers. A single seizure took him out in less than 15 seconds. Ben had the expectation that Number Four would be the same now. After all, it was only eight days ago for Klaus.

But Ben was not expecting this from measly little Number Four. He wasn’t expecting this beacon of darkness that used the undead to do his bidding. He wasn’t expecting Klaus to be so confident in his abilities. He wasn’t expecting any of this.

The truth is this is the first time Klaus has ever manifested more than one ghost for this long. Sweat was forming on his brow and his hands were starting to shake. Klaus could feel his connection to Ben’s ghosts slipping and he needed to act fast or else he wouldn’t make it out of this alley. He mustered up the rest of his strength and pushed a huge surge of energy through the ghosts.

They all let out a gut-wrenching scream, letting go of Ben and allowing him to stand up. Still super shaky and unsure of what just happened, he locked eyes with Klaus. Both had an intense staredown as the ghosts slowly started fading from view. All Ben could muster out was “This.. This isn’t over.” as he skipped and ran back to the academy. He couldn’t let anybody see him in this state, Number Two doesn’t get beat up. Number Two doesn’t lose.

Leaning against the wall, Klaus made his way over to the opening of the alleyway. He made it in time to see some paparazzi swarming Ben about his appearance. Serves him well.

Klaus’s relief was short-lived however when he was turned around and harshly grabbed by the shoulders. “Oh hello, brother and sister of mine,” he said with an eye roll and a small wave from his goodbye hand.

“Klaus, what were you thinking running out like that?? You could’ve gotten really hurt!” Allison huffed out. She and Diego weren’t expecting Klaus to rush out of the academy like he did, but when they saw Ben following him, they both rushed out to try and save Klaus.

“Yeah, Klaus, what the hell did he do to you?” Diego looked up and down to try and spot any major injuries but, besides a forehead gash, Klaus was left unscathed. The flash of the paparazzi camera caught his attention. There was Ben, torn up and bleeding in front of the cameras. The interviewers were bombarding him with questions as Ben was trying to go inside the academy.

“More like, what did I do to him?” Klaus said as he spat out blood onto the cement.

“Well, what did you do to him?” Allison said, still staring at Ben fumbling with the academy gate.

“Honestly? What he deserved.”