Actions

Work Header

At the Edge of the Universe

Chapter Text

A bullet whizzes by his ear.

He startles, throws himself onto the floor and remains there for several moments before he’s sure he can come back up again.

“Oh, shit,” he says, a breathy laugh tumbling from his lips. He feels dirt on his cheek and he scrubs it away hastily before returning his hands to his gun, lifting it slightly and pointing it in the direction of the enemy. He pulls the trigger once without really looking where he is aiming, a quick shot to make whoever shot at him duck and give him a second to turn and look at Dave.

“See that?” He asks. “Close one, Dave!”

Dave ducks, pressed low onto the dirt, and turns to face him, tension falling from his face and offering an exasperated smile at Klaus. “Yeah, well, try not to keep them close!” He replies over the sound of gunshots and close explosions.

“They don’t call me Lucky for no reason,” Klaus quips, nudges his ankle with his foot, and then turns, pulls his trigger, and ducks.

He knows now really, really isn’t the time for jokes. It is, quite possibly, the worse time in the world for jokes; their position is shit, their cover is shit, the enemy has the high ground and the advantage, and too many people have gone too still or been dragged off by desperate medics. Really, Klaus is trying to hide his nerves behind humour; the situation really isn’t looking good and if they don’t get yelled at to retreat, or if they don’t gain the upper hand soon, Klaus might just lose it.

So far, though, no order has come. So Klaus makes one last joke, narrows his eyes, aims and he shoots.

He wonders if Reginald ever had this in mind for his beloved Umbrella Academy. He had never made them use guns, or, besides Diego, weapons of any kind other than their actual powers. Would he have eventually moved onto guns given time?

It turns out that Klaus has pretty good aim, whether he likes to shoot or not.

There’s another gunshot nearby that leaves his ears ringing, too close for comfort, and the ground beneath Klaus trembles. He pushes himself down into it, ducks beneath their pitiful barrier of sandbags, and wills it all to stop.

He turns to look at Dave, mouth opening, and –

Dave has discarded his gun in favour of clamping a hand down on his chest, close to his shoulder, his face screwed up in pain, and blood oozes through the gaps between his fingers. He tries to press himself lower against the ground and make himself a smaller target. His face is rapidly draining of colour, eyes flicking in pain and panic.

Klaus scrambles up to his side, forcing himself to stay low. “Dave? Dave, shit, shit, alright – let me, Dave, let me see it,” he demands frantically, batting away Dave’s hands from his wound. The wound is nasty, Klaus notices. When he reaches one hand around to feel his back, he feels no wound. The bullet is still in there.

“Ah, shit,” he mutters, and he covers the weeping wound with his hand and pushes down, attempting, and failing, to ignore the way Dave hardly manages to choke down his yell of pain. “You’re alright, Dave, it’s alright – medic! I need a medic here! Medic!” Klaus yells, lifting his head slightly and looking around.

Everyone is focused on shooting. He can’t see a single medic other than the one that is unmoving on the floor with a hole between their eyes. Gritting his teeth, Klaus spares Dave another glance and then looks around.

“Medic! I need a medic!” He screams, raising his voice above the hellfire of gunshots and artillery, though it is clear in that moment that no medic is around and no medic will come to him.

He turns to look at Dave, growing paler with each passing second and likely slipping into shock or about to. He can’t tell whether or not the bullet hit something major, but he knows it’s major enough to make Dave gasp breathlessly.

His guts writhe in fear. He can’t lose Dave. He can’t – Dave isn’t supposed to get hurt, isn’t supposed to die like this. They had made a promise that they would see this stupid war through and they would get out together and be free to do whatever they wanted, together. He couldn’t do that if Dave was dead.

Klaus taps his cheek, smears blood on his skin like blush, and Dave’s eyelids flutter before opening. “Come on, Dave,” he says, “you’re alright, you’re alright. I’m – I’m gonna get you out of here, come on, you need to help me, here.”

Dave blinks a few times, confused, and then he processes what Klaus said and he nods. Klaus gives him a smile.

“We need to be quick, alright? I’m gonna put your arm around me, and on three you’re gonna help me stand us up, and we’re going to run, right? Got it?”

Dave huffs a breath, shallow and sharp, and Klaus watches steely determination glint in his eyes as he nods. Klaus nods his head, manoeuvres his arm, the one uninjured, around his shoulders as best he can in the awkward position they are in on the ground. He holds Dave’s gaze and begins to count.

“One… two… three-“

He heaves them upright and Dave joins him, crying out through gritted teeth. He buckles slightly and Klaus wraps his other arm around his waist, presses him flush to his side, and then they both duck, double over slightly, on instinct; trying to keep as low as possible without Dave losing his balance and pitching forwards. And then they run.

If they get far enough back, they can find a medic, Klaus tells himself. They just need to make it further away from the front lines, where they drag all the injured soldiers to relative safety, and a medic can see to Dave and he’ll be fine, they just need to keep moving –

Pain shoots through his leg.

Klaus cries out in surprise and both he and Dave crash to the ground. The breath is stolen from his lungs as pain washes over himself, sharp and white-hot, and he looks down at his leg. Blood oozes dizzyingly from his thigh, pulsing out with each unsteady beat of his heart. It’s almost hypnotic and he’s only pulled from his trance when Dave shakes him.

“K-Klaus, are you okay?” He asks, voice hoarse, and Klaus swallows down the pain to nod.

“We need to keep going,” he says, and he struggles to tug Dave’s arm around his shoulders. He forces himself to breathe deeply and forces himself upright.

His leg buckles and he catches himself quickly. He grits his teeth together, forces his breathing steady, and as much as he supports Dave, Dave supports him.

They keep scurrying onwards at an awkward, painful angle in their attempts to stay low.

Klaus struggles to stay upright. His head spins and his hand tightens on Dave, his teeth grind together, and he can see a medic, seemingly so close yet so far, and –

The ground rumbles furiously and then crumbles apart beneath his feet, disappearing entirely, and Klaus watches the sky crash onto him like a tidal wave.

 

###

 

They had to retreat, he finds out later. Luckily, he and Dave had gotten close enough to the medic to get help when they collapsed following the nearby explosion of a mine someone else had set off.

He learns, too, that Dave had cut it close. Had they not gotten close to the medic as they had, it was likely he wouldn’t have made it at all. The thought made Klaus sick to his stomach.

By the time Klaus was up and walking, albeit with the assistance of crutches and very unsteadily, thanks to the shrapnel that had cut up his dominant left hand and left it shaking and needing a few physical therapy sessions to rebuild his grip and coordination, Dave was just being stabilised enough so that he didn’t need a ventilator to breathe for him.

Klaus hadn’t seen him like that, and he was almost grateful for that fact, because he isn’t sure that he would ever get that image out of his mind. It had been frightening not seeing him, though; as soon as he was stable, he had been moved out to make room for the incoming casualties that never stopped, and he spent the majority of his time lazing around an inn, smoking and testing the amount of weight he can put on his leg each passing day, and harassing every nurse he sees about Dave Katz, can I see him? How is he?

So when he barrels in on his crutches like a new-born deer on ice, he’s overcome by relief – at seeing that he is actually there, that he’s alive, sitting upright, and glaring at a newspaper.

“David!” He hollers in greeting, and almost loses his footing and sends himself skidding across the floor. He manages to right himself at the last moment, at least, and he gives Dave an unsteady smile before hurrying up to his bedside. He passes the seat pulled out by his side to grip his bedrails, throwing a quick glance around before reaching out and taking his hand.

Dave’s face lights up as soon as he sees him. “Klaus,” he breathes, shoulders slumping. “Thank god, where’ve you been? I tried asking about everyone, but I’ve been out of it for ages.”

Klaus smiles, tipping his head to the side. “Oh, you know me, out and about, hitting all the clubs,” he says with a grin. “You know everyone loves the crutches. Make my legs look sexy.”

Dave snorts, then grimaces slightly, placing a hand over his chest and Klaus frowns, face falling immediately. “Are you alright? Do I need to call someone? I can-“

Dave waves him off, shaking his head. “No, no,” he breathes, sighing and leaning back. “No, I’m fine; ‘s just a bit sore still sometimes.”

“As long as you’re sure,” sighs Klaus, squeezing his hand.

“What about you?” Asks Dave, leaning closer to look him up and down. “What happened?”

“Oh, you know. Casual bullet in the leg – healing up nicely, though. I don’t think I’ll need the crutches for much longer. Uh; wrist support, thingy. Shrapnel cut me up a bit, but they fixed me all up. I’m staying in some inn down the street with a couple other guys. Soon as they think you can piss by yourself, they’re probably gonna kick you out too.”

Dave snorts, softer than the last time, at that. “How about everyone else?”

Klaus sighs, glancing aside. “We, uh. Lost a few guys. Kody – he’s gone.” He hears the sharp intake of breath from Dave followed by a curse. “Uh, Ricky, though, he’s here – he’s at the inn, probably knocking back shots already. He’s doing fine; bullet caught him, but he’ll probably be sent back soon, he’s doing well.”

Dave nods his head, looks again at the newspaper on the tray over his lap. “Have they said anything about us?” He asks. Klaus sighs, finally falling backwards into the chair beside him

“Depends how we turn out, huh? If my leg is good as gone or my hand’s fucked, I can’t really hold a gun, huh? And you were on a damn ventilator. Give ‘em the finger if they try to send you back soon. Except, don’t, ‘cause Sarge will have your ass for that.”

Dave laughs and Klaus chuckles with him. His chuckle falls quiet, then he stops, and he simply sits and stares at Dave. There’s colour in his skin and he’s smiling, he doesn’t look so pained. Klaus lets the fact sink in and he slumps slightly in relief.

Intertwining his fingers with Dave’s, he gives him a wobbly smile.

“You’re alright; we’re alright.”

 

###

 

The crutches go. He can walk by himself, but not without a limp. Even when days pass, even when the pain is numbed beneath painkillers and weed, he still walks with a limp. It’s irritating more than anything. It is more so the tinnitus constantly ringing in his ears that gets on his nerves and the fact that every time he lifts something heavier than a hard-cover book, his hand cramps and he has to drop it.

He has a few check-ups, but what with the fact that Klaus isn’t on death’s door or in his driveway heading to it, there’s little more any nurse can do for him, especially considering they are more concerned about the soldiers with worse wounds and the constant stream of casualties.

He visits Dave as often as he can; sneaks in a joint occasionally and airs out the room after they smoke it together, though it’s not so much sneaking it in everyone knows all the soldiers are on something, and probably half of the nurses at the weekends, too. He sneaks him kisses when the room is empty until they’re both breathless, and he only stops because he’s scared of putting much stress on Dave’s lungs – if one ignored the joints he brought to smoke with him – despite how much Dave urges him to keep going.

He’s just glad to see him getting better with each passing day. He does his best to be there early every day, keeps him up to date with everything he can. And then one day Dave surprises him.

He’s sitting ‘round the back of the little hostel he and the other half-injured soldiers are stuck in, smoking a joint that dangles from his shaky fingers, trying to chase away the cold remnants of a nightmare. He inhales until his lungs burn and holds it there for several long seconds, only letting it back out when his eyes begin to water and he almost coughs, knowing that if he starts he won’t stop.

Then a hand lands on his shoulder. He jumps, coughs, and then keeps coughing. He turns, only to come face to face with Dave wearing a shit-eating grin.

“What – what the – fuck, Dave?” He splutters between coughs. He slaps his hand against his chest to try and help his coughing, though unsuccessfully. “Fuck, Christ, warn a – a guy.”

“I thought you were supposed to have ears like an owl, huh?”

Klaus’ eyebrows furrow. “Owls are supposed to have really good hearing,” he mutters, confused, and then shakes his head. “Owls don’t have the bells of hell ringing continuously in their ears.”

Dave tipped his head to the side and raised his eyebrows. “Have you told a nurse about it?”

Klaus waves his hand. “Yeah, yeah. Tinnitus, or whatever, it’s fine. Still, warn a guy, because shit – you’re out! You’re a free man!”

Dave grins back, setting his hands on his shoulders. “I am,” he agrees. “The world is my oyster – except for the many, many check-ups I still have to go to.”

Klaus snorts then, hesitantly, wraps his arms around his shoulders after a quick check to ensure they are alone. Dave returns the hug eagerly and Klaus allows himself to melt against him, though he still holds himself carefully, afraid that Dave is still tender.

Reluctantly, Klaus pulls back, taking in Dave’s appearance. Then, with a grin, he holds up his half-smoked joint. Dave’s grin widens.

 

###

 

They’re getting discharged. The news comes suddenly. With Klaus’ limp and unsteady hand, he’d be a mess in action, and Dave’s injuries being serious enough and still hindering him to the point that he wouldn’t be able to serve.

The news stuns Klaus. It implies that there is a life he’s supposed to return to that he left for the army, and the only life he left is one that he doesn’t care to return to and is certainly in absolutely no rush to do so.

“I dunno,” sighs Klaus, chin on his knees. “I haven’t, like, got anywhere to go back to, you know?”

Dave sits beside him, thigh to thigh. He presses his lips together, eying Klaus. “Guess that makes two of us,” he says. Klaus raises an eyebrow.

“Haven’t you got a family back home though?”

Dave offers a sad smile and a nod. “I do, but we’re not on good terms. I can’t go back there.”

Klaus frowns, remembers half a slurred conversation they had in the wee hours of the morning, wasted. His family had found out that he was gay after Dave had confided in his sister, assuming she would support him, only for her to tell his parents and to be kicked out. It had been the reason he had joined the military in the first place.

Klaus purses his lips, looking up at the stars above him. “Well then, Dave, I think we gotta write our own chapter in our lives,” he says, perking up and offering a smile. Dave’s face mirrors his, reflecting that growing smile, and then Klaus shuffles around, awkwardly getting onto one knee and ignoring the protest from his previously-injured leg, and he clears his throat. “Dear Dave, will you do me the honour of finding somewhere other than a cardboard box to live in once we’re kicked back to the states?”

Dave snorts, resting a hand on his chest. “Me?” He says dramatically, and Klaus nods enthusiastically.

“The one and only.”

Dave’s eyes shift around the place and then he leans in close, takes Klaus’ hand, and nods. “I do,” he declares. Klaus squeals, ducks his head down to kiss Dave’s knuckles.

He lays in bed that night and he can’t stop thinking about it. Getting out of this hellhole, going somewhere safe, getting a house with Dave. It’s a domestic life that he could never see him ending up in. Klaus and domesticity don’t fit together. Klaus and settling down don’t go together, either, but that’s what is happening, isn’t it?

And the idea won’t make him stop smiling.

 

###

 

It takes a while to find a place of their own. They bounce around the place a lot, staying in cheap places, in hostels, at old friends’ place’s. Klaus didn’t expect adjusting to civilian life to be so hard; they’re offered little to no help in finding a place or a job to stay, and it’s only when he’s put back into a safe environment that both he and Dave realise how high-alert they both are, how at least one of them has a restless or nightmare-filled sleep every night.

Any thoughts of finding a house and settling down peacefully like a married couple is thrown out of the window.

It’s stressful. Possibly more stressful than being deployed, because at least there he knows who the people around him are, where he is spending the night. Here, they can never be quite sure, and Dave has chest pains and breathlessness and Klaus’ thigh throbs and protests holding his weight, and his hand refuses to do so much as write a letter legibly before his hand cramps.

It’s a struggle, but he’s with Dave and he finds it almost impossible to stay so stressed or frustrated when Dave walks up to him and kisses him gentle and soft, and nothing else seems to matter. If they got through hellfire of bullets and a rain of gunfire, they can sure as hell get through this.

 

###

 

And they do.

Klaus looks at the house in front of himself. It’s small – one bedroom, one bathroom – but it has a large garden. It’s something he never would have imagined before; it is miles from a neighbour let alone a city, surrounded by fields and trees.

It is quiet, and peaceful, and everything Klaus didn’t know he wanted.

There are no ghosts, or at least none that he’s noticed yet, and there are no threats of people mad at the stupid war they fought in and taking it out on them, and no one to look at how close they stand together.

“This is ours,” Klaus says, whispers it. Beside him, Dave reaches out and squeezes his hand.

“This is ours.”

This is Klaus’ house with Dave, out in the countryside, far from ghosts and gangs and prying eyes, and it’s his.

Klaus turns around and all but throws himself at Dave; wrapping his arms around him, tucking his face into the crook of his neck and inhaling shakily.

“It’s ours,” he repeats croakily, and feels Dave’s arms wind around his back and hold him close. One of his hands settle on the back of his head, fingers gently playing with his hair.

Dave hums lightly. “All of it is ours, Klaus. Just for us.”

Chapter Text

“Head inside, I’ll grab our stuff from the car,” says Dave, nudging Klaus gently forwards before he turns around, heading to the old, beaten up car that had only just gotten them to the house. 

 

“I can help,” Klaus replies, hurrying up to his side. He grimaces as the trunk opens with a groan and then he scurries forwards, reaching in and grabbing the closest bag and hauling it out.  

 

“I know your hand and leg still hurts, Klaus, you can sit down, I’ve got it,” says Dave, offering a soft smile and reaching for the bag in his hand. Klaus huffs, angling himself away so that Dave can’t reach it, then he prods his chest with his finger.  

 

“And I know your chest still hurts, dipshit, so you go sit down,” he returns , and he reaches in and grabs another bag, tugging it out, but then the weight of it pulls his hand down and pain flares through, sharp and sudden enough that he drops the bag despite the way he had really expected it. He frowns.

 

Dave gives him a pointed look, bending to swipe the bag from the floor. “Then we’ll both struggle, huh?”  

 

Klaus grins. “I suppose so.”  

 

They don’t have much stuff with them to bring in  with them. A couple of cases with their clothes in them, a couple of boxes with their meagre kitchen supplies and toiletries. They don’t have any personal belongings other than their army jackets, dog tags and patches. No decorations.

It all feels a little impersonal as they go about unloading the boxes, the rooms bare, bookcase and shelves empty, cupboards bare save for a few tins of food that are easily made. They have bedsheets and a fluffy throw blanket that Klaus had been wrapped up in during the drive here, and that’s about it. The furniture is at its bare minimum, too, and there are a few spots around the house that could do with being repainted, but the fact stands that this is his house. His house with Dave.

Unpacking doesn’t take too long to do due to the fact they have very little to unpack, and when it is all done Klaus rests his hands on his hips and just stands in the living room, looking around. Flowers, he thinks. They need flowers.

Sliding out of the bedroom, Dave gravitates to Klaus’ side. His hands settle over Klaus’ on his hips and his chin rests on his shoulder.

“What are you thinking?” He asks in a quiet murmur. Klaus allows himself to lean back against his chest, head tipping back slightly to rest against his shoulder.

“Not much,” says Klaus. “I’m just… this is nice.” He nods his head as if confirming to himself that that is what he really was thinking, and then he tilts his head to the side to look up at Dave. His lips curl up into a smile and he presses his face into the crook of Klaus’ neck.

“Yeah,” he agrees readily. “It is. It’s real nice.”

Klaus hums. He twists around so that he’s facing Dave and he clasps his hands together behind his neck, lets Dave rest his hands on his hips, and for a few long moments he just looks at Dave; the curl of his lips, the dip of his dimples, the pale freckles dusting his face, his mousy brown hair curling down onto his forehead and the angle of his jaw and his cheekbones.

Beneath his scrutiny, Dave’s cheeks flush a light pink.

“Stop staring at me like that,” he murmurs, embarrassed, and he hides his face against Klaus’ neck.

“Like what?” Klaus hums innocently, bringing his arms closer around his neck and stroking his fingers through his hair.

“Like that.”

“Like what?”

Dave snorts. His hair tickles the underside of Klaus’ jaw. “Like you’re looking at something – I dunno, amazing?”

Klaus hisses lightly. “I am, though,” he says. He rests his chin on the top of Dave’s head. “You’re so beautiful and we have a fucking house and this is amazing, Dave.”

Dave’s arms wind tighter around his torso, squeezing him lightly, and then his lips press a gentle kiss to his neck once, then twice, and Klaus lets his eyelids flutter closed, enjoying the warmth of Dave’s chest against his and the feel of his arms encircling him.

“It is,” says Dave, speaking between kisses, “pretty amazing, I guess.” Klaus snorts.

“It’s fucking amazing,” he mutters. Dave presses another kiss to his neck and Klaus’ head tips back, exposing more of his skin that Dave is eager to reach for. He turns slightly, taking one of his hands away from behind him to grasp his jaw and tug him from his neck so that he can return the kiss, soft and gentle and slow.

He steps backwards, tugging Dave with him, and he keeps stumbling back without breaking the kiss, until he feels the edge of the couch behind his legs and he falls back down onto it. Dave follows him down, sitting next to him with their thighs pressed together.

Klaus pushes forwards, his fingertips fanning along Dave’s jaw, and he kisses him until they are both breathless, breathing heavily when they finally part. Klaus’ forehead rests against Dave’s and he sneaks another quick kiss before forcing his eyes open.

Dave tugs him forwards and Klaus manoeuvres until he’s sitting with his legs over Dave’s, slumped against his chest with his face hiding in his neck. Dave’s fingertips run up and down his arm, raising goose-bumps in their wake, and he melts into him, listening to the wind run its fingers over the windows outside.

 

###

 

“So, Dave, take your pick. We have ravioli, spaghetti, spaghetti hoops, or tomato soup. What tickles your fancy?”

Fiddling with the radio, Dave looks up and purses his lips in thought. “Fine dining tonight, huh?”

Klaus throws a grin his way. “True gourmet cuisine,” he hums, pulling down the cans from one of the cupboards.

“We can go grocery shopping tomorrow,” Dave states. Klaus quirks an eyebrow and nods, watching Dave study the row of cans before making a decision. He nods his head. “Hoops.”

Klaus hums. “Good choice, good choice.” He lifts the can, studying the cooking instructions, then fumbles for a pot. A loud clatter echoes around the room when it slips from his grasp and Klaus cradles his aching hand to his chest for a moment, making a frustrated noise.

He doesn’t really understand why his hand and leg hurt the way they do, the way they did the day they were injured despite it being months since then, and the medication he’s tried does little more than take the edge off. Every so often he sees Dave rubbing one hand over the scar on his chest, too, like it’s irritating him despite the fact that it’s healed and has been for a while. It’s worse some days more than others and flares up whenever he puts too much stress on either old-wounds, and had it not been painful he would call it a nuisance, thanks to the wounded hand being his dominant one and his leg making it difficult to even sit in certain positions sometimes.

He doesn’t understand it, but he decides that he hates it and he hates the idea that he simply has to wait it out. Klaus has never been known for his patience.

He hears Dave’s chair move as he stands up, wandering over and sweeping the pot off the floor and out of Klaus’ reach when he goes for it. “I can do it, Dave,” he says stubbornly, and Dave gives him a gentle smile.

“I know,” he hums, smoothing his hand down Klaus’ back. “But I want to. Try and see if you can work some magic on that old thing, it isn’t working for me.” He nods his head to the old radio he had been trying to fix up for the past half hour now and Klaus sighs, taking the gentle dismissal and topic change. He trudges back to the table, falling into Dave’s seat, and then he stares at the radio.

Klaus has never been known for his skills in technology either. Especially in technology made before he was born.

Nonetheless, he fiddles around with it, poking and prodding at it like a science project with the noise of Dave heating up spaghetti hoops in the background as a soft distraction. Until, rather suddenly, the radio crackles in his hand and then starts playing jazz.

Klaus startles slightly, wide eyes staring incredulously at the object in his hands, and then he looks up at a surprised Dave, wearing an expression rather resembling a child caught red-handed with their hand in a cookie jar.

“You did it,” says Dave.

“I did it,” echoes Klaus, then he laughs and, gently, as if the thing might break and stop playing music, sets the radio down on the table. “I’m a fucking genius!”

Dave laughs, grinning and nodding his head. “Turn it up,” he requests, and Klaus does. He turns it up so it echoes around the room, the music interrupted infrequently by a brief crackle or radio static, and while Dave finishes making their small dinner he sways around the kitchen.

“Didn’t know I was in love with a dancer,” Dave comments, setting two plates on the table. The spaghetti hoops are evenly spread over a slice of toast and Klaus doesn’t remember ever seeing bread in the cupboards, not that he really cares.

“Oh, Dave, you knew that already,” Klaus says with a smile. “You saw my moves at those discos.”

The brunette’s lips spread and he nods. “You’re right, you’re right. How could I forget?”

“You did slam back vodka shots like a sixteen year old in a field.”

Dave scoffs. “Don’t call me out like that,” he accuses playfully. “Come and eat.”

Klaus obliges, drifting back to the table and helping himself to his own plate. He takes a bite and then moans loudly.

“Fucking Gordon Ramsay, Dave,” he says, then makes a chef’s kiss gesture. Dave’s eyebrows furrow.

“Who’s Gordon Ramsay?”

Klaus snorts, waving his hand dismissively. “Don’t worry about it.”

 

###

 

“Wait, no, seriously,” says Dave, all breathless and flushed, his cheeks pink and chest heaving slightly as he pulls back from the kiss. Klaus whines slightly, attacking his neck instead while rolling his hips up to meet Dave’s. The doorframe of their bedroom digs between his shoulders, though he can’t really find it in himself to care while one of his own hands goes down, unbuttoning first his own pants and then Dave’s, tugging impatiently to try and bring Dave back to the topic at hand.

“Who – who is he?”

“Who the fuck is who?” Klaus mutters, nips his neck with his teeth and grins at the way Dave shudders.

“Gordon Ramsay.”

“Shut the fuck up,” Klaus snorts, hands going up to grab his jaw and bring him into a fierce kiss.

 

###

 

Seriously?”

“Yes, seriously.”

Dave pouts at him from the bed. His hair is still clinging slightly to his forehead, slightly damp with sweat, and Klaus can see the thin sheen of it on his bare chest, glimmering in the moonlight that filters through the open window Klaus is standing by, half leaning out of it to smoke a cigarette.

“You snuck in joints while I was in hospital,” Dave whines. “And now you won’t let me smoke a cig?”

“Weed is one thing, cigs are another,” says Klaus. Dave makes an exaggerated face of confusion and Klaus stabs his cigarette in his direction. “I’m saving your lungs, Dave.”

Klaus.”

He shakes his head. “Nuh-uh.”

“How about a deal?” Dave tries. Klaus’ lips curl in a smirk.

“Alright. You get a drag of the cigarette or I’ll suck your dick. Your pick.”

Dave makes a noise, running one of his hands through his hair and looking like Klaus just told him to pick between water and oxygen. “You’re a sadistic bastard, Hargreeves.”

Klaus giggles, flutters his eyelashes and takes a drag of the cigarette. “I have no idea what you’re talking about,” he states innocently. He crosses the small room with light, silent steps, keeping the cigarette between his fingers angled upright as he climbs onto the bed and over Dave’s lap. He eats up the way Dave’s eyes widen a fraction as he watches him, how he hears his breath getting caught in his throat, and Klaus presses a kiss to one side of his neck, then the other, then he leans back, takes a drag of the cigarette, and Dave’s hands reach out to gently grasp his face and bring him into a kiss as soon as the cigarette is out of the way.

Smoke tumbles from Klaus’ lips and into Dave’s mouth, and Klaus knows it isn’t the cigarette that’s making him breathless.

 

###

 

“Okay, so, we need what?”

Dave looks up from the list in his hand. “Milk, eggs, peppers and carrots.”

Klaus hums his acknowledgement. “Chocolate?”

Dave gives him a look.

“Whiskey?”

The look remains.

“Oh, come on, just a couple of bottles,” he says with a grin, nudging Dave’s side. Finally, Dave sighs.

“Alright, yeah, sure.”

Klaus grins, victorious, and claps his hands together. “I’ll be right back,” he says and, as quick as he can, which really isn’t quickly at all, he turns and heads back to the small liquor aisle they had passed. He stops in front of the whiskey, hand by his mouth as he scans the different kinds of bottles and looking for any that look familiar to him.

He wonders, briefly, if there is a bottle of that stuff they drank in ‘Nam that he had fallen in love with, but he can’t quite remember what kind it had been or what it had been called and he can’t remember it no matter how hard he tries.

Instead, he simply settles on two different bottles that look somewhat alright and are surprisingly cheap – one of the benefits of living in the past, he supposes – and then hurries slowly to find Dave weighing peppers in his hands.

Klaus has both bottles of whiskey embraced awkwardly against his chest when it became clear that holding one in each hand was not a good idea unless he wanted one bottle in shards on the floor. Dave raises an eyebrow when Klaus grins, arching his back slightly to push up the bottles.

“Happy?” Dave asks sarcastically, and Klaus grins, nodding.

He sets them in the basket and notices with a smile that there are a couple of new bars of chocolate in the basket. He sends a glance to Dave, turned slightly with his back to him to continue eying peppers, and feels something light and warm in his chest somewhere beneath his ribs.

 

###

 

Klaus pours two glasses.

“That smells fucking heavenly, Dave,” he comments, inhaling deeply. Standing by the stove, he sees Dave smile slightly at the compliment.

“Ma’s recipe,” he returns. “Probably won’t be as good as hers, but,” he shrugs casually.

“It’ll be even better,” Klaus returns. He half-heartedly screws the cap back onto the bottle of whiskey he had opened and then picks one glass up, swirls it, sniffs it, then takes a sip. He purses his lips, nodding to himself. “Whiskey’s not half-bad either.”

Dave quirks an eyebrow and Klaus slides up to his side, holding out his glass. Dave takes a small sip of it and hums his approval. “Good taste,” he murmurs, squeezing his hand before handing the glass back.

Klaus props himself up against the counter and eyes the stove. “What are you actually cooking?”

“Stir fry,” states Dave. Klaus nods, presses his lips together.

“Glad one of us can cook, or we’d be eating spaghetti hoops every night,” he says, and Dave snorts.

“I could teach you.”

Klaus’ eyes flick to the side. “Oh, look at that, time for my regularly scheduled nap.”

Dave snorts again, nudging Klaus’ side. “Alright, slacker,” he jokes, and Klaus grins, leaning forwards to kiss the corner of Dave’s mouth.

“Love you,” he coos, and Dave playfully rolls his eyes. He reaches one arm out to wind it around his waist and tug him close enough to press a kiss to his lips. Klaus melts, eyes fluttering closed and body relaxing, and-

The food cooking on the stove hisses and Klaus startles slightly. Dave hurries to stir the food, chuckling lightly, and on the way back to sit down by the table Klaus nudges him gently.

 

###

 

“You should become a chef,” Klaus declares, practically drooling over the stir fry he had cooked. “Oh my god, Dave, you never told me you were this good a cook.”

“It’s just because you’re drunk and hungry,” Dave laughs, his own cheeks flushed slightly with alcohol, and though Klaus can tell that the second he stands up his knees will probably disappear beneath him for a second, he shakes his head adamantly.

“No!” He says. “I am so not drunk, Dave, shut up. I’m just all for this gourmet food you served me.” He sighs dramatically, leaning back in his chair and, in an airy voice, swoons, “I’m such a lucky man.”

Dave laughs, shaking his head and returning the grin on Klaus’ lips. “You’re leaving it to get cold,” he points out, and Klaus startles at the realisation and returns to the food with a renewed appetite.

He helps to set the dishes in the sink, though his movements are only slightly clumsy, and then he turns the radio on and fiddles with it until he likes the song that filters from its speakers. He grabs Dave’s hands in his and tugs him into dancing with him, feet sliding over the tiled kitchen floor. Dave spins him beneath his hand and the motion makes Klaus’ balance disappear and he falls into him.

Dave huffs and they both stumble backwards until they find their feet and get rid of the threat of falling over. Klaus’ arms are crushed between their chests and he giggles, forcing his knees to solidify and take some of his weight back.

He peppers Dave with random, light, playful kisses. Truthfully, Klaus feels like he is overflowing with happiness. His stomach is comfortably full with a home cooked meal, one cooked by his own boyfriend in their own kitchen in their own house, and there is music echoing in his ears and he’s warm while rain patters gently on the windows of their house, his head fuzzy with alcohol, and Dave is smiling and laughing in a voice smooth and rich like honey.

They stumble and Klaus only just realises they’re in their bedroom, falling in a laughing mess of limbs backwards onto the bed that bounces slightly beneath them. Catching his breath, Klaus turns over, holds Dave’s cheeks beneath his hands and kisses both of them. One of Dave’s hands reach up to run through his hair and then rest on the back of his neck, warm and comforting, thumb fiddling with the hairs on the nape of his neck.

It’s late, he knows, and they fumble to strip out of their clothes and ignore the muffled music from the kitchen still playing in favour of clambering beneath the bed covers, and Klaus is perfectly content to let the room spin drunkenly around him, taking solace in resting half on top of Dave, who plays continuously with his hair and hums out of pitch with the music from the kitchen.

Then his hand stills and his humming pauses. He moves his hand to cup his cheek, thumb running beneath his eyes, and his tone goes from happy and content to concerned.

“Klaus? Klaus, baby, you’re – why’re you crying?” He asks, his thumb wet with tears. Klaus twitches, pulling his hand out from between the two of them and runs it over his cheeks. Sure enough, his skin is damp and Klaus realises his vision is blurred with the steady fall of tears. Dave’s face swims closer when he leans down, cupping his cheeks and forcing him to look at him. “What’s wrong?”

Klaus sniffs and his cheeks ache when he smiles and he shakes his head.

“I’m fine,” he says, and Dave’s face twists.

“You’re crying,” he repeats when the tears keep coming. “What’s wrong? Do you – do you need space?”

Klaus shakes his head immediately, reaching up and grasping one of Dave’s hands to hold him in place. “No, no, I – it’s just-“ He inhales shakily, sniffs again.

“You can tell me anything,” Dave murmurs, voice soft and sad at the fact that Klaus seems sad. But he’s not, and that’s the thing.

“I’m not sad,” he assures him. “I’m happy, Dave. I’m just – I’m so happy.” The word comes out with a sob and Dave’s face softens as Klaus babbles onwards. “I’m happy, we have a fucking house together, Dave, and I love you, like, so fucking much, Dave, I love you, and I’m so happy, and kind of drunk, but happy.”

Dave smiles sweetly, wiping away his tears and running his hand through his hair, pushing it away from his face. “I love you too, darling,” he says, a gentle murmur. He coaxes Klaus upright so they’re both sitting against the headboard of the bed and he wraps his arms around Klaus, lets him bury his face in his chest. He keeps playing with his hair, running his hand up and down his bare arm, and alternates between kissing the top of his head and resting his chin on out.

“I love you, Klaus, so much,” he tells him, again and again and again, and Klaus eats it up every time he says it.

“So much, Klaus. I love you so much.”

Chapter Text

Klaus peels his eyelids open. Light filters in through a gap in the curtains hanging loose over the window and casts a slit of light through the bedroom and his eyes adjust slowly. His head is still resting on Dave’s chest that rises and falls with each steady breath. His skin is warm and seeps deep into Klaus, chasing away any chill in his bones, and he lets his eyelids flutter closed again. He fixes his arm draped over Dave’s torso, his thumb running along his ribs absentmindedly.

For a long while, he simply stays like that, listening to Dave’s steady breathing and quiet snores, soothed by the rhythmic movement of his chest and heat emanating from him. He thinks he might doze off again lightly, at least for a short while. His head hurts only distantly, a faint yet tolerable throb that he can oversee in favour or savouring this moment, committing it to memory, and he can push aside the hot ache in his leg stubbornly as well.

He memorises the feel of Dave’s skin against his, the sound of his breaths, the blanket draped over them and the warm morning light filling the room dimly. He tilts his head slightly to look up at Dave’s face, relaxed in his sleep, and his hair messed up from his sleep.

He reaches out, runs his finger lightly over his jaw, and his stomach growls. He grimaces at it, watches Dave not even twitch, and then Klaus chuckles lightly. It seems as if he’s dead to the world, still fast asleep with no signs of waking up any time soon, and so with his stomach demanding his attention now, Klaus carefully untangles himself from Dave, sitting upright. Though Dave is undoubtedly still fast asleep, he knows, thanks to the months spent in the military, he’s still easy to wake up with little effort, so he tries to move as quietly and carefully as possible.

He sits up, rubs the heels of his hands against his eyes and then stretches his arms above his head, satisfied when he hears quiet cracks coming from his limbs and his back when he arches it too. He plucks the bed cover off himself, sets it aside, and clambers out of bed.

The pain in his leg skyrockets the moment he puts actual weight onto it. He had been adamantly ignoring it in favour of lazing in bed with Dave, his mind still fuzzy with sleep, but it quickly becomes overwhelming. His knees buckle and he only half-catches himself on the bedside table, slowing and controlling his descent to the floor while sharp whines muffled behind his pinched-shut lips make a rise from his throat.

He relaxes only slightly when he sits down on the floor, hands immediately going to his bare thigh, circling around the scar prominent against his pale skin. He’s too scared that putting any pressure on it, even something as light as a feather, will make it worse and he doesn’t bring his hands any closer to the old injury, simply staring at it and willing the pain to stop or, at the very least, lessen.

He closes his eyes, inhales deeply and exhales slowly. At the very least, he thinks sourly, he’s certainly awake now. There’s no sleep haze to keep him blissfully unaware of the stiffness that makes his leg feel like his bones have been replaced with rocks. Rocks, he thinks, that have been set on fire. His muscles are tense as if protesting the bullet that is no longer there and he tries to lightly drag his fingertips along his thigh in a hesitant attempt to soothe and relax it. It doesn’t work. He groans, toys with his bottom lip between his teeth. He thinks about pulling himself upright and sitting back in bed as the chill from the floor seeps into his bones, but he can’t bring himself to move further than resting his forehead on his knee.

He closes his eyes, swallows thickly and tries to focus on anything else. The floor beneath him, the bed against his back, his skin beneath his hands. He tries to focus on the sound of the wind brushing the window nearby or the sliver of field he can see through the gap in the curtains. None of it serves as a particularly good distraction.

At some point, after an intermediate amount of time, he hears Dave shuffle on the bed behind him, letting out a soft noise before groaning and stretching, only to stop quickly, mindful of Klaus who ought to be on his chest still.

“Klaus?” He calls, confusion lacing with his sleep-heavy tone. He sits upright, scratching his head and looking to the door.

“Here,” Klaus murmurs, finding he can’t lift his voice much higher with how tense he is.

“Klaus? What’re you doing on the floor?”

“Hmm, sitting,” he hums, voice high pitched, slightly muffled from having his face pressed into his thigh.

Dave scoots over to Klaus’ side of the bed, looking down at him. “Are you okay?” He asks, studying the tense lines of his body. He reaches a hand out to run it through his hair and a shiver runs through Klaus’ body. He leans his head back into his hand and sighs, only realising now how tense and stressed he is. His shoulders slump.

“Dandy,” he says, the word getting caught in his throat. Dave’s legs drop off the edge of the edge of the bed beside him and he ducks his head in an attempt to see his face. “Klaus.”

Klaus sighs, eyes fluttering closed. “’s my leg,” he murmurs. “It just – it hurts. More than usual, anyway. Standing wasn’t a good decision.”

Dave slides off the bed to sit next to him, rubbing his shoulder. “Do you want me to go get painkillers?”

“Please.”

Dave squeezes his shoulder before standing up. He hears his footsteps retreat out of the bedroom and hears his muffled movement from other rooms. It doesn’t take him long to return with a few pills in the palm of his hand and a glass of water in the other. He holds both out to Klaus who takes them gratefully, throwing back the pills and chasing it down with water.

Dave sits by his side once more. He wraps an arm around his shoulders, keeping him flush to his side, and Klaus rests his head on his shoulder. He revels in the warmth coming from him and the comfort his arm around him brings. He tucks himself against his side, lets Dave card his fingers through his hair and trace shapes on his skin.

He doesn’t have high hopes for the painkillers. They have hardly worked before and he doubts they’ll magically start now, but he lets himself hope for it, just a little bit.

“Can I do anything?” Dave asks in a gentle murmur. Klaus shrugs half-heartedly. “I could run a bath?” He offers.

“That’d be nice,” Klaus murmurs. Dave presses a kiss to his cheek and then stands up slowly, hand lingering on him before moving out and heading to the bathroom. Klaus remains on the floor, hesitant to move much and risk jostling himself and making the pain spike.

Dave returns, crouching in front of him. “Hey, the bath’s set. Come on, I’ve got you.”

Klaus slips his hands into Dave’s and lets him pull him upright, though his leg remains lifted off the floor, too hesitant to put it down. Dave studies him for a moment, likely trying to gauge how bad it is, so Klaus puts his foot down and walks.

His bottom lip becomes trapped between his teeth and he steps slowly, one of his hands ghosting over the bed by his side as he passes it, then moving to ghost over the wall until Dave’s arm slides around his waist, supporting him a little.

Some days the pain is worse than others. Most of the time it is tolerable, something he can manage to push through and overlook, though he finds it leaves him drained and tired quicker than usual and always eager when he falls into bed. Sometimes, it is like this, and sometimes he doesn’t even make it out of bed. Though Dave is always there to help him when he needs it, as is he when Dave needs his help, there is little he can do to really alleviate the pain. Not that Klaus doesn’t appreciate the comfort and the effort – he truly does.

Dave helps him ease into the bathtub, filled with steaming water covered in a fine layer of bubbles glistening in the dim light of the bathroom. There are even a couple of candles lit and Klaus allows a smile to grace his features as he sinks into the water, encouraging the heat to seep right into his muscle and bones, crawling up his neck to his chin.

“Thank you,” he murmurs, turning his head to look at Dave and smiling at him. He lifts one of his hands out of the water, resting it on the rim of the bathtub, and Dave slides his hand onto it. He turns their hands around and lifting them so that he can press a gentle kiss to the back of Klaus’ hand. Klaus gives him a look, cheeks flushing warm.

“Stop being so cute,” he mutters, squeezing Dave’s hand. He snorts, offering him a smile.

“Just relax,” Dave tells him softly. Klaus huffs, though certainly has no other plans, and he tips his head back. Dave stays, sitting down next to the tub until Klaus shuffles forwards and tugs Dave into the tub to sit behind him.

“You’d get cold sitting out there for longer,” Klaus murmurs, leaning back against Dave’s chest. Dave rests his chin on his shoulders.

“How thoughtful,” he replies with a smile, turning his head to kiss his cheek. He lifts one of his hands, absentmindedly running it through Klaus’ hair, twirling strands around his fingers gently. Klaus lets his eyes close and focuses on Dave. Though the hot water and the soothing gesture doesn’t alleviate the pain, it does help to relax him a little and lets him gather himself enough to breathe over the pain.

Eventually, though, the water begins to get cold and Dave steps out, pulls the plug, and ties a towel around his hips. He helps Klaus stand upright, offering him a towel which he takes, swiftly drying himself and then tying it around his hips.

He uses Dave’s hands to help step out of the bathtub and then he leans back against it. “I, uh, I think today’s a cane day,” he murmurs, cheeks flushing slightly. “Could you get me it? Please?”

Dave gives him a reassuring smile and a nod. “Of course,” he says, and he scurries from the bathroom. The cane was something they bought shortly following the worst flare-up of pain, and although he didn’t like to use it, some days he couldn’t avoid it; not when it let him take some weight off his leg when he needed it. Dave did his best to reassure him whenever he used it, but Klaus still wasn’t a fan of it.

Dave returns swiftly, holding it out for Klaus to take, and then they make their way to the living room. Klaus drops onto the couch with a sigh, sinking back into it.

“You up for eggs for breakfast?” Dave calls by the kitchen.

“Fuck yeah.”

Dave chuckles lightly, then Klaus hears the radio turn on in the kitchen and hears him potter about cooking. Klaus lets his eyes close again for a few moments, just listening to the music, before he eventually sits up, leans forwards and swipes his cigarette pack and lighter from the coffee table. He perches one between his lips before lighting up, inhaling deeply until the smoke tickles his lungs.

Dave returns, holding out a plate of scrambled eggs for him, and Klaus smiles. He stubs out his cigarette on the ash tray nearby.

“Thank you,” he says softly, though Dave waves him off. “Seriously,” Klaus insists. “You’re a domestic god. What did I do to deserve you?”

“I saw you drink Jackson under the table and I knew I needed to make you mine,” Dave says, smirking, and Klaus grins.

“Ah, yes, one of my many impressive skills,” Klaus hums, nodding approvingly.

“I also loved the way you laid on the floor for three hours after insisting you could smoke and drink as much as you did.”

Klaus snorts. “I was obviously perfectly fine, Dave,” Klaus retorts. “You’ve just not lain on a floor while off your face and it shows. You don’t appreciate how flat it is.”

“I appreciate flat things,” Dave says with a grin, and Klaus’ jaw drops.

“Oh, you fucking bastard. I hate you so much. That is so genuinely rude, oh my god.”

“Hey!” Dave exclaims, holding his hands up before he moves his plate of scrambled eggs onto the coffee table, while Klaus’ own balances dangerously on his lap. Dave prowls forwards, sliding his hands up Klaus’ hips. “But I love that about you,” he coos sweetly, and he coaxes the plate from Klaus’ lap to set it aside so that he can lean closer without risking it falling.

“You’re such a bastard, Dave,” Klaus huffs, crossing his arms and shaking his head, ignoring Dave’s wandering hands stubbornly.

“No,” says Dave, shaking his head. “No! Because I love you.” He punctuates his sentence with a kiss to Klaus’ cheek. Klaus cries out.

“You just called me flat! That’s not love!”

“But you wear it so well,” Dave says, hand slipping beneath his towel, and Klaus yelps, slapping his wrist.

“You don’t get to touch,” Klaus hisses. “Since I’m too flat for you.”

No,” Dave moans. “I love your flatness, Klaus.”

“You’re a bastard,” Klaus says. “You’re lucky I can’t move right now.”

Dave grins victoriously, reaching forwards to gently cup his face and kisses him gently. Klaus, like he always does, melts into it despite himself. They part and Dave leans back a bit, so Klaus reaches for his breakfast again. As he leans forwards, his hand snakes out, landing a quick smack on Dave’s behind, then he gestures to the table. “Eat your breakfast, dickhead, it’ll get cold.”

Still wearing a smug smirk, Dave reaches for his breakfast.

 

###

 

“Are you feeling any better?” Dave asks, sitting back down on the couch.

Their day has been entirely unproductive. They had gotten changed and while Dave read a book next to him, Klaus had scribbled mindlessly in his sketchbook. He had dozed off earlier, his body feeling surprisingly heavy, and woke up to Dave running his fingers through his hair.

He grunts, shifting slightly and rubbing his eyes. “I’m fine,” he says, eyes bouncing up to look at him before falling against his side. Dave wastes no time in wrapping an arm around him, pressing a kiss to his head. “Just tired,” Klaus says.

“Might be more comfortable on the bed,” Dave suggests. Klaus eyes the doorway to their bedroom suspiciously, lips pursed in consideration.

“I don’t know if I can be bothered walking there, though,” Klaus states. “I’m comfortable enough here.”

Dave chuckles softly. He opens his mouth to say something only to be interrupted by a knock at the door, startling both him and Dave. They exchange a look and then Dave untangles himself from Klaus and heads to the door. Klaus leans a little forwards to be able to see who is at the door.

“Hello,” he hears a feminine voice say, and he can just make out the short figure of a woman standing in the doorway. Dave opens his mouth to greet her, only to be quickly interrupted. “I heard this house finally got bought and it’d be rude of me not to come see my new neighbour.” She pauses, glances at Klaus over Dave’s shoulder. “Neighbours.”

“We have neighbours?” Klaus says. The woman laughs.

“Well, there’s a bit of a distance, but still technically neighbours,” she says.

“Do you want to come in?” Dave offers, stepping back and opening his arm out to gesture around the room.

“That’d be lovely!” The woman comes in and Dave closes the door, following her into the living room.

The woman has greying blonde hair and rosy cheeks, and in her hands she clutches two Tupperware boxes. She balances them against her chest as Klaus stands up, leaning on his cane and reaching a hand out. “Klaus Hargreeves,” he introduces. She reaches out to shake his hand, wearing a bright smile.

“Kimberley Richards,” she returns.

“Dave Katz,” says Dave when she turns to shake his hand.

“Nice to see two nice gentlemen moving in nearby,” Kimberley comments, looking them over.

“It’s peaceful out here, ma’am. Make yourself comfortable; can I get you a coffee, or anything?”

The blonde smiles at him, sitting down in the empty armchair. “A tea would be lovely, doll.”

Dave nods, disappearing to the joint kitchen and Klaus lowers himself down onto the couch again. “You must just live up the road a bit, then?”

Kimberley nods her head, crossing one leg over the other. “Oh, yeah, I’m on the farm a few miles up that way,” she says, gesturing vaguely in the direction of the road. “Used to be my husband’s, now it’s practically just my dog’s playground.”

Klaus chuckles softly, nodding. “What kind of dog have you got?” He asks.

“Golden retriever,” she says happily. “Big softie, his name’s Jasper.”

Klaus coos, grinning. “I’m a sucker for big dogs,” he murmurs. Dave returns at this moment holding a cup of coffee, of which he hands to a grateful Klaus, and a tea that he hands off to Kimberley. He hurries back to the kitchen, grabs his own coffee, and then he comes back and sits down next to Klaus.

“Thank you,” says Kimberley, smiling to Dave, then she turns back to Klaus. “He’s a lovely thing, but I ought to warn you now, he has a tendency to wander on down here sometimes, so you might get a visitor.”

“I am one-hundred-percent alright with that,” Klaus says. He blows across the surface of his coffee before taking a careful sip.

“Oh!” She exclaims, and she leans forwards to hold up the Tupperware containers she brought with her. “I brought a couple things, just to say hello.” She puts the boxes on the coffee table. “There’s some cookies and brownies in there.”

“Thank you so much,” says Klaus genuinely, eyes lighting up. Dave chuckles.

“You’ve made his day,” he states, and Kimberley laughs.

“I hope you enjoy it,” she says. “How about you tell me a bit about yourself?”

Dave hums, swallowing quickly and setting his coffee down. “We’re not long recently discharged from service, ma’am. Got discharged together and, well, if it weren’t for Klaus, I’d be dead ten times over. We decided to stick together, and this house was perfect for some peace. We still need to get some, uh, decorations, but we’re happy here.”

Kimberley nods along with what Dave says, a smile on her lips. “It’s nice to see,” she says, looking between the two. “I know a few places nearby that you can get some nice things from,” she says.

“That’d be lovely, ma’am,” says Dave. She waves her hand dismissively.

“No need for the ma’am’s,” she snorts. “Please. With Jasper’s tendency to adventure, you’ll be seeing me a bit.”

“Of course,” chuckles Dave. “You own a farm?”

 

###

 

Kimberley is nice, Klaus decides. Godly, really, due to her bringing baked goods for them, so Klaus loves her. She lives on the farm she had with her husband, though he passed away a couple of years ago. She has three children, all grown, and they visit occasionally when they can, but her closest company is her golden retriever who has a tendency of wandering through the fields to Klaus and Dave’s house.

Following this revelation, Klaus decides to make the important note of keeping his eyes open for any dogs.

Dave sees her to the door a couple hours later and Klaus waves until he can’t see her anymore, then he dives for the Tupperware box full of chocolate chip cookies.

“Shit,” he says. “They’re so good.”

“You couldn’t have waited any longer?” Dave chuckles. Klaus shakes his head, thrusting the Tupperware box in his direction.

“Just try one, Dave,” he insists. Dave comes back, plucks out a cookie and sits down, then bites into it.

“Shit,” he says, “they are so good.”

Klaus nods eagerly. “Exactly! We need to get the recipe.”

“Are you becoming a baker?”

“Maybe,” says Klaus, fluttering his eyelashes. “I would be a great baker. I’m really good with powder.”

Dave snorts. “Please,” he says, and he takes another cookie and puts it in Klaus’ hand as a distraction. “Don’t snort our flour. Maybe we’ll leave the baking.”

Klaus rolls his eyes. “So boring,” he mutters, but nibbles distractedly on the second cookie he has, slumping against Dave. A content sigh leaves Dave’s lips and he runs a hand through Klaus’ hair absentmindedly, not that Klaus is one to complain.

He’s still feeling drained and wants no more than to just sprawl out over Dave’s lap like a cat and have him stroke his hair for hours on end, and he can’t quite help letting his eyes fall closed under the temptation.

“You’d be dead without me, huh?” He murmurs with a small smile. Dave hums, ducking his head to kiss the top of Klaus’.

“Yes,” he replies, confident. “Of course I would be.”

Klaus hums gently. “I’ll kill you if you die on me.”

“I know, Klaus,” Dave replies, tone light with amusement. “I love you.”

Klaus grins. “Yeah you do,” he says happily, tilting his head to press a kiss to his neck. “I love you, too. You aren’t allowed to die.”

Dave chuckles. “I’m not going anywhere.”

Klaus hums, then huffs a light breath and melts into him, already dozing off again.

Chapter Text

Klaus wakes up with the distinct feeling that something is wrong. 

He stills, prying his eyes open and looking around, half expecting to see some intruder standing in the bedroom. 

It is dark, and it is dark still outside the window, too. After his eyes take a moment to adjust to the light, Klaus scrutinises the clock on the bedside table, seeing that it is just coming up for five in the morning.  

It still takes him several moments to realise what is wrong. His head is on Dave’s shoulder, furthest he can get from the scar on his chest while still resting on him, and he can see Dave’s chest rise and fall harshly, unevenly. His harsh breathing fills the small bedroom and he sits upright, one hand on Dave’s shoulder. His lover’s face is pinched tight with discomfort and his body twitches restlessly in his slip while his lips move in silent words.  

“Dave? Dave, wake up,” says Klaus, shaking his shoulder gently. Dave doesn’t react to him, though still twitches away from whatever is plaguing his mind, and his breathing just keeps getting worse and Klaus can’t help but be reminded of that horrific time Dave’s pain flared up unbearably. More panicked, Klaus leans closer, one hand patting his cheek and the other continuing to shake his shoulder, more firmly this time. “Dave, hey, baby, wake up, it’s just a dream, Dave -” 

Dave wakes up abruptly with a gasp, eyes flying open, and then he starts to cough and splutter for air, eyes wide and confused and afraid. Klaus tugs at his shoulders. 

“Hey, you’re alright, Dave, you’re alright, it was a dream, but you need to sit up for me. Come on, that’s it.” He gives him an encouraging smile when he lets Klaus help him upright, leaning back against the headboard, one hand remaining cupped around his neck, forcing Dave to look at him. “You’re home, Dave, everything’s alright. Slow breaths, Dave, like that.” He makes an exaggerated show of breathing deeply and steadily until Dave copies him. Relief floods Klaus when he can hear him calm down, not spiralling further until he’s hyperventilating, and so he keeps encouraging him until it is only slightly unsteady, air shuddering shakily through Dave’s throat. 

Calmer now, Dave closes his eyes and leans his head back against the headboard of the bed, and his hold on Klaus’ hand is tight, almost uncomfortably so.  

“You alright?” Klaus asks, hesitant, and runs his hand gently down from Dave’s neck, down his shoulder.  

“Yeah,” croaks Dave, and his Adam’s apple bobs as he swallows thickly. “Yeah, ‘m fine.” 

“Don’t get too ahead of yourself, there, fine is a strong word,” Klaus jokes weakly, but the smile on his lips falls quickly to show his concern. “Seriously, are you okay? Was it a dream? How’s your chest? Is it like – like then ?” 

Dave shakes his head. “A bit of both, but not as bad as then,” he assures him, and Klaus can’t help but slump with relief. 

Then, as it has been dubbed, was the first time Dave’s pain flared to something unbearable in a situation much like this. He had woken Klaus up when he had tried to gently but hurriedly slide Klaus off of himself so he could sit upright in bed, struggling to breathe at all and not knowing why either, and he had spiralled himself into a panic attack that had lasted way too long and had Klaus in tears, too, because neither of them knew what was going on, let alone how to ease or stop it.  

Klaus still isn’t entirely sure whether Dave’s situation is one like his own – a wound healed ages ago but with an unexplainable pain consistent there that has the tendency to flare up and be as painful as if he had just been shot, or if it was his lungs still not being fully healed and struggling, sometimes failing, to work properly. Either way, Klaus knows he fears each time he sees Dave’s pinched expression or hears his unsteady breaths. 

“I can get painkillers?” He offers, unsure, and Dave nods his head. Klaus all but throws himself off the bed in his haste to scurry to the bathroom, grateful that though the ache in his leg is as present as it ever is, it isn’t as bad as yesterday, and he rummages around in the medicine cabinet until he finds the shoddy painkillers. He drops a few into his hand, hurries into the kitchen to pour a glass of water, then hurries back, holding both out to Dave. 

Klaus sets the water aside when he’s done and then settles back into bed next to him, tugging the covers further up he and Dave, and he coaxes Dave into leaning against him slightly, one of his arms wrapped around his shoulders and the other coming up to run through his hair that tickles Klaus’ jaw. 

“Do you want to talk about the dream?” He offers, eyes studying Dave’s face. His eyes are closed and his face tense, lips parted to suck in air as if he can’t fill his lungs despite how deeply he gasps. His tongue dashes out across his lips and he swallows, words teetering on the tip of his tongue as he debates speaking or not.  

“It was about you,” he mumbles. “We were – we were on the front lines. And you,” he pauses to swallow again and Klaus squeezes his arm. 

“You don’t have to talk if you don’t want to,” he says, but Dave shakes his head, sighing. 

“You got shot.” His hand runs up Klaus’ stomach to come to his chest, and his index finger taps his sternum. “Right - right here. You were struggling, and already half – half gone by the time I even noticed, and I watched you die right there.” He pauses for several moments. “There were no medics. It – it felt real.” 

Klaus brings his arm up, cradling Dave’s head against his chest and running his fingertips through his hair, hushing him gently. “I’m right here,” he murmurs. Dave nods. 

“I can hear your heartbeat,” he mumbles, as if embarrassed at the fact it is probably comforting to him right now. Klaus ducks his head, ghosting the top of Dave’s with a kiss.  

“I’m not going anywhere,” he promises. “God can’t get rid of me that easily.” 

Dave snorts sadly, reaching one hand up to squeeze his arm. “I always knew you were a stubborn bastard,” he says. Klaus grins, nodding.  

“No bullet would take me away from here.” 

Dave nods his head once more, but Klaus can see the two tracks of tears on his cheeks. He wipes them away gently, and holds Dave tighter when he lets himself cry.  

 

###  

 

“No, you take it easy,” Klaus says, pushing Dave back onto the bed by his shoulders. “It’s my turn to take care of you.” 

“I can get up, Klaus,” Dave replies, slumping. 

“I don’t care. You’re staying here, I’ll go make breakfast. Kapeesh?” 

Rolling his eyes playfully, Dave nods. “Kapeesh.” 

Klaus grins, patting Dave’s shoulder in praise, and slides off the bed and pads into the kitchen. He doesn’t have any hopes of creating the gourmet cuisine that Dave can – he isn’t the best cook and he knows that. Living on the streets with no opportunity to cook for himself, relying instead on homeless shelters, soup kitchens, takeaways, junk food and the scraps he could shovel into his mouth while high – since he most definitely could not work a stove while on heroin. However, Ben had taken to watching Grace cook after his death, when Klaus was guzzling enough drugs to block the sight of Ben’s grisly corpse out and he had nothing better to do, and every so often he would try to get Klaus to cook himself some real food when he was shacking it up with someone in a real apartment. 

Klaus’ mind briefly goes back to his longest standing relationship (aside, of course, Dave) of three weeks with the fondly remembered Osso Buco Guy. He knows how to make that osso buco, though he doubts they have what they need to make that, though, and it isn’t really a breakfast food. 

Eggs, he thinks. They have eggs, and eggs are a breakfast food. He could make something with eggs. He could fry an egg – it couldn’t be that hard.  

With his mind set, Klaus pulls out the carton of eggs, pulls a frying pan out and sets it onto the stove, then turns the gas stove on, because he also knows how to do that. He also puts two slices of bread into the toaster. 

Then, the tricky part. Actually frying it. Does the pan need oil, or something? He glares at the object. He always hears about oil or butter, and wouldn’t the egg stick? 

Pinching the bridge of his nose, he goes for the butter, cuts a bit off, and drops it into the pan, then spreads it out as it melts. If he isn’t supposed to use butter, well, it’s simply butter. It won’t kill them. Once it is melted, he reaches for an egg, goes to crack it, then sighs and holds it in the air, looking at the pan. It feels too easy to just pour it in. Is he sure there aren’t any more steps?

“Only one way to be sure,” he mutters, and then he cracks it against the edge of the pan and lets it seep into the pan with a hiss. He sets aside the egg shells and then sets his hands on his hips. Is that it? How long is he supposed to leave it there? Is he supposed to move it?

Scrubbing a hand down his face, Klaus sighs heavily. Dave might be Gordon Ramsay, but Klaus certainly is not, and it isn’t like he can pull out a phone or a laptop and Google it. Has Google even been invented yet? Does the internet even exist? Klaus suddenly feels old. Watching television for the first time in this timeline had thrown him for a loop; it was so stereotypically vintage. The advertisements, the music, the fashion – all of it. He suddenly mourned for the early 2000s and 2010s, its music and fashion. He had gone so long without Lady Gaga and Britney Spears and by the time it would come out again, he would be in his seventies and unable to hit up the clubs to dance to it.

He looks back down at the egg. It is burnt around the edges, the darkness seeping into it.

“Oh, fuck, fuck, fuck,” Klaus hisses, startling out of his daze and shaking free the chorus of Bad Romance echoing in his skull. He hurries to use the spatula to take it out of the pan and set it aside, then frowns down at its burnt remains. He looks at the carton of eggs, counting how many they have left, and reaches for another one.

He cracks it, lets it spill out, and this time he keeps an eye on it. He’s still not entirely sure how long he’s supposed to let it cook, but when he takes it out it stays intact, the yolk doesn’t explode, and it isn’t burnt.

He hobbles over to the toaster, plucks one slice of toast out and butters it. He sets it on a plate, then moves the egg on top of the toast, and then fries another egg. Once more, it remains intact and together, unburnt, and he grins victoriously. He takes the second slice of toast, butters it, puts the egg on top, and then takes both plates and returns to the bedroom.

“I come with food!” Klaus declares, holding up the plates with a proud grin on his lips. Dave lifts his head, blinking a few times, and a smile twitches his features.

“I’m so proud of you,” he says, and Klaus preens. He sits on the edge of the bed and holds it out to Dave, who takes one of the plates, studying the food. “It’s perfectly cooked.”

Klaus thinks back to the burnt one. “That’s because I know how to cook, Dave.”

The brunette gives him a dubious look. “Klaus, dear, you know I love you, but I saw the way you tried to make bahn xeo in ‘Nam.”

Klaus’ cheeks flush. “Leave me alone, I tried,” he says. He shuffles to sit next to him, taking his own plate and biting into the egg and toast. They fall quiet as they eat and afterwards, Klaus takes the plates into the kitchen, setting them in the sink, and then busies himself making coffee to take back to Dave.

“Am I bedbound?” Dave asks. Klaus grins, nodding his head.

“Yes you are,” he confirms. He sets his coffee aside, sits on one of his knees on the bed, and his fingers curl gently to embrace Dave’s neck, and then he leans forwards and presses a kiss to his cheek, then his forehead, his chin, his jaw, his nose. “It’s nurse Klaus time, today. I get to take care of you,” he murmurs. Dave turns his head closer to him and Klaus presses a kiss to his lips.

“Aren’t we such a pair?” Dave chuckles. Klaus snickers.

“Tomorrow we’ll both be fine, and then the next day it’s my turn to be in pain, then you. It’s our schedule.”

Dave snorts, pressing a kiss to his cheek and then slumping against him. Klaus reaches out to take the coffee from his hands when he sees coffee slosh dangerously close to the rim, and he sets it aside on the bedside table. Dave nuzzles his head against Klaus’ neck before pressing a gentle kiss there and Klaus reaches up a hand to run his fingers through his hair.

“Every third day we have will be wild,” says Klaus. “Dancing, raves, hill-climbing, cocaine, horse riding, horse riding on cocaine. Then we’ll just have to suffer for a while and do it all over again.”

“Hell yeah,” Dave agrees in a murmur, lifting a hand, and Klaus high-fives it.

They fall quiet, content to relax in bed, and at some point Klaus realises Dave had dozed off once more. He smiles slightly, continuing to stroke his fingers back and forwards through his hair. He tips his head back, resting it against the headboard, and he closes his eyes. He’s not tired enough to fall back to sleep, but he’s perfectly happy in the spot they’re in.

 

###

 

Dave shifts beside him. Klaus’ eyes open heavily and he turns to watch as he begins to stir, gradually waking up. He lifts his head from Klaus’ shoulder, blinking blearily.

“Good morning, Sleeping Beauty,” Klaus hums. Dave grunts, rubbing his eyes.

“’m sorry,” he mumbles, voice thick with sleep.

“For what? Letting me cuddle you for a while? Never apologise for that,” Klaus says seriously, then smiles. Dave snorts, ducking his head to press a kiss to his shoulder.

“I need to piss,” Dave announces.

“Gross.”

“Shut up,” snorts Dave. He fumbles to move the blanket off of himself and Klaus hurries out of bed, round to his side, and offers his hands. Dave gives him a fond look. “I can make it, I’m alright, Klaus.”

“I’m not risking it,” Klaus states with the shake of his head. With a dramatic sigh, Dave takes Klaus’ hands, though Klaus remains in the kitchen, forcing himself to do the dishes before they can build up. Dave trudges through from the bathroom, turns the old television on, and sits down in front of it.

“Anything interesting on?” Klaus asks, drying his hands and coming over. Dave shrugs.

Pillow Talk is on,” Dave comments. Klaus hums.

“Never heard of it.”

Dave quirks an eyebrow. “It’s a classic!”

“For you, maybe,” returns Klaus, swirls down onto the chair beside him. “Time traveller. Remember?”

Dave snorts at that. “Of course, how could I forget?”

Klaus isn’t sure whether or not Dave actually believes him or not about that whole thing, but Klaus isn’t entirely bothered by that.

He had told Dave just about everything about him. He’d told him about the powers and the ghosts, about the time travel, about his family, about his homelessness, the drugs. There were few things he hadn’t told Dave about. He hadn’t told him the full extent of his drug use – mainly the things he had done on occasion to get drugs, because he was ashamed of that and he didn’t want Dave to know that.

He hadn’t told Dave about the fact that sometimes this relationship scared Klaus because it was unlike anything he’d ever had before and he felt like he was relearning the definition of love that had been engrained into his mind as being stranger’s hands and persistent touches and a business transaction of his body for drugs, or food, or a bed for a night or two. He hadn’t told Dave about the mausoleum, because he couldn’t get the words out of his throat and he was afraid that Dave’s reaction would be bad because he knows he wouldn’t be able to handle it, even if he knows that that would never be the case. He’d been close to, of course. He’d woken up many, many nights with the mausoleum walls closing in on him and the ghosts echoing in his skull, and Dave evidently knows something had happened, but he never pushed Klaus to talking if he didn’t want to.

Whether or not Dave believes him in any of this at all is something he simply has to trust when Dave says he does.

He slumps against him, eyes on the screen. It isn’t black and white, Klaus notices pleasantly. He likes the woman’s hair.

“When we become rich and famous, will you take me out to fancy restaurants?” Klaus asks, sliding his hand into Dave’s. He squeezes it.

“Of course,” he says. “We’ll dine in only the fanciest of places.”

“Can I wear a fur shawl?”

“You can wear whatever you want, dear.”

Klaus grins. “Good.” He turns his attention back to the film at hand and then groans. “This is boring.”

“It’s hardly been ten minutes!”

“A really boring ten minutes.”

Dave pouts. “It’s a good film,” he mumbles. Klaus hums sceptically. He reaches forwards, plucks up his sketchbook and pencil from the coffee table and flicks it to a new page, and as Dave watches the movie, Klaus mindlessly sketches. He stretches his legs out over Dave’s lap with a groan and Dave’s hands rest on his legs, warm and heavy.

He’s still scribbling along a page when he hears something; a scratching noise coming from the backdoor. He shares a look with Dave, eyebrows raised, and slowly moves his legs off of him, gets up, and wanders over to the door with Dave following him.

He opens the door, looks around, only to feel something hit his legs. He almost tumbles right back had Dave not put a hand on his back, and he looks down to see a dog. A fluffy, pale golden retriever with a white face and a swishing tale, breathing heavily and letting itself right into their house. “Dog! There’s a dog!” He exclaims, looking at Dave with a wide grin.

“Well,” he says, crouching down slowly. “You must be Jasper.” He holds his hand out and the dog sniffs it and then licks his fingers. Klaus runs his hand over the dog’s head, scratches behind his ears, and then the dog moves on to sniff at Dave.

Klaus stands upright, one hand on the wall, watching the dog skitter about on the wooden floor, paws slipping all over the place.

“I love him,” Klaus declares, looking at Dave. “I love him so much.”

Dave laughs softly, stroking the dog and patting his side. “He is gorgeous, aren’t you?” He smiles at Jasper, then looks up at Klaus. “Should we take him back?”

No.”

Dave snorts. Jasper makes his way back to Klaus, who eagerly reaches down to scratch his side, only for the dog to all but flop heavily down onto the floor and roll onto its side, lifting its front leg up. Klaus crouches once more, scratching his belly, and his tail thumps heavily on the floor. Klaus laughs softly.

“You’re so sweet, aren’t you? Yes you are, look at you, you’re just gorgeous.” He moves his hands up to cup the dog’s face. “You’re gorgeous. I love you. Look at your eyes; you’re so smart, I can tell. Those are eyes of a genius.”

Klaus lifts his hand back for a moment and Jasper immediately sits up to follow it with his head with a needy whine, then drops his head onto his thigh heavily with a huff. Klaus’ face twitches and he overlooks the twinge of pain it brings in his leg in favour of mushing his face and stroking his head.

“Do we have anything he can eat?” Klaus asks, looking up at Dave with hopeful eyes.

“We don’t have any dog treats,” Dave frowns. “We can buy some the next time we’re out, I guess.” Klaus nods eagerly.

“He’s just such a good boy. You’re an adventurer, aren’t you? You’re magical. I love you.” He leans down, presses a kiss to the top of Jasper’s head, and hears a heavy thump of his tail on the floor. He takes his hand back reluctantly, going to try to stand, but Jasper chases his hand and Klaus breaks.

He stays on the floor, stroking Jasper until the dog falls asleep on his lap, spread out across his legs and snoring louder than he has ever heard a dog snore before.

“God, I wish I was that dog,” Dave murmurs, watching Jasper sleep. “That nap’ll be so refreshing.”

“Oh, it must be,” Klaus agrees. “He deserves it, though. He’s such a good boy.”

Dave chuckles, coming close to kiss Klaus’ head on his way to the kitchen.

Klaus remains on the floor, gently stroking the dog until he wakes up on his own time, though probably more in part to Klaus’ stomach growling loudly. He lifts his head, blinking blearily and looking half asleep.

“Hey buddy,” Klaus says, stroking his head. “Wakey-wakey. You slept real nice, huh?”

Jasper stares at him. His tail hits the floor. Klaus grins.

“You’re amazing.”

Jasper stands up, paws slipping, and moves off of Klaus to scratch himself, and then he sniffs experimentally around the place. Using the wall, Klaus heaves himself upright onto his feet, watching Jasper wander around, claws clicking against the floor.

“We should keep him,” Klaus says, gravitating to Dave’s side and watching him make a coffee. “He fits right in. Isn’t this nice?” He wraps his arms around Dave from behind, rests his chin on his shoulder. “You, me, a dog. It’s the dream life.”

Dave snorts, resting one hand over Klaus’. “It would be, but we can’t steal Jasper.”

“So we can get one of our own?” Klaus asks with a grin. “A puppy? A big puppy or a small one? I want to be able to carry it in one hand but also have it reach my shoulders when it’s older.”

“We haven’t got anything for a dog,” Dave says.

“Then we can go fucking shopping,” Klaus states, and he hides his face in the crook of Dave’s neck. “Please, can we get a puppy? Jasper needs the company. There are so many places we can walk it. I’ll house train it. Dad never let us get anything when I was younger, Dave, I need a puppy now, please, please, please, please, please-“

“Klaus,” Dave groans with a laugh, twisting around to face Klaus. Then he nods to something behind Klaus’ shoulder. “Jasper went home.”

Klaus twists around, only just catching sight of a blond tail as Jasper pads back out the door they left open for him. “Awww, what? No. I loved him. I’m going to cry.”

Dave snorts, squeezing his shoulder. “Maybe,” he says, and Klaus squeals. “Maybe,” he repeats.

“That’s good enough,” Klaus dismisses, then he grabs Dave’s jaw, tugging him forwards enough to kiss him. “I love you.”

Dave laughs. “That wasn’t a definite yes, Klaus,” he says. Klaus just grins. “Come on, I’ll teach you how to cook something.”

 

###

 

They make macaroni. It is incredibly simple to do and Klaus commits the recipe to memory. Every so often, his eyes go back to the door, searching out for a blur of golden fur, but Jasper seems to have just came over for a quick visit before heading home again, unfortunately.

When dinner is finished, Klaus is happy to drop into bed, shucking his clothes on the floor by the bed. As soon as Dave is lying next to him, he curls around him immediately; draping one of his legs over his hips, throwing one arm over his chest and burying his face in his neck.

“You good?” Dave asks jokingly. Klaus hums contently.

“Just trapping you,” he murmurs with a grin. Dave snorts, squeezing him around the shoulders slightly. “Are you feeling better?” He asks.

“Mhmm,” says Dave. “I am.”

“Good.”

Klaus’ fingers trace circles on his skin gently and then he huffs a breath, tries to shimmy even closer, and lets himself relax. He’s dozing off when Dave speaks again.

“I’d like a dog.”

It takes his sleep-hazy mind several moments to process what Dave said, and then he grins lazily.

“Fuck yeah. Let’s get a dog.”

Chapter Text

His knees sting. The small scrapes he had gained from tumbling over the threshold, urged on by a shove from his father’s hand, seem like the only real thing. They ache, and they throb, hot and tiny and in contrast to it, everything else felt surreal and insignificant. Stones dig into the skin exposed in the gap between his shorts and his socks, sliding slowly down his calves. Shorts and socks? He looks down to see that he is wearing his uniform. How could he have forgotten?

He turns; whirls around to watch the last sliver of light diminish like a snuffed out candle as the doors collide together, completed with the sound of an old lock turning, trapping him completely within these dark four walls. He throws himself up onto his feet, his leather shoes squeaking slightly as he rushes towards the doors and throws himself at them; pounding his fists against them, digging his fingers into the thin crack running between the two of them, battering it with his shoulder.

“Dad! Dad, please!” He cries, and he presses his face to the door and tries to look out between the two of them; tries to catch a glimpse of his father standing outside, but he can’t see between the doors and so he pounds on them again. “Dad! Please, let me out! Let me out!”

In time with his heartbeat, which is pounding rapidly beneath his ribcage; Klaus. Klaus. Klaus. Klaus, Klaus, Klaus, KlausKlausKlausKlausKlaus.

His fists still; frozen against the door, trembling faintly. His head turns in slow motion, his eyes following, and then he snaps his face forwards again. He keeps his back firmly turned to Them.

He remembers hearing, once, in class no doubt, how people in a situation of great danger react in one of three ways; fight, flight, or freeze. In that moment, Klaus freezes, listening to their whispered voices grow progressively louder, progressively closer, and then he makes for flight.

He hits the door harder. “Dad! Dad!” He screams. He screams it loud enough to hurt his throat, loud enough to drown out the ghosts, loud enough that the entire Academy must hear it. The ghosts dance in his peripherals, now, and they challenge his screams with their own; louder, louder, louder.

“Dad, please! Please, please, let me out! Dad!”

There is blood on his fists. It runs down his arm, stains the pristine white of his shirt. Grace will tut at it.

Dad is not coming. He never comes. He gives up on trying to appeal to his father’s non-existent mercy and turns to that of the ghosts’, pressing himself against the door and backing up, shaking his head. “Please, please, please, leave me alone, leave me alone, please,” he begs, eyes on his feet, watching his leather shoes.

HelpushelpushelpusKlaushelpus-

YouhavetosaveussaveussaveusKlaus-

KlausKlausKlausKlausKlausKlaus-

He clamps his hands down onto his ears. His back hits a wall and he slides down it, wedged tight into a corner, and wishes the shadows would truly devour him, would hide him, but the ghosts flock him, hound him. He can’t hide from them anywhere.

You’re one of us, Klaus, oneofusoneofusoneofusoneofus-

We are you. We are you. Together, together, together, together-

Klaus shakes his head fruitfully. He doesn’t want to be one of them, he doesn’t want them to be him, but maybe one day they will slip right into him and he won’t exist anymore; he’ll be no more than an amalgamation of ghosts trapped in a hollow body, rotting from the inside out, and Klaus will be buried deep within himself, his body his own grave, until he is one of them, one of them, one of us-

It’s useless, he knows, but he still screams. He screams. We scream.

 

Hands on him, and they are cold and dead and skeletal and rotting and sharp and strong; they hold him tight while he thrashes, trying to get up and run, run for the doors and out into the fresh air of the living-

“Klaus, it’s okay,” says a voice, soft and gentle and quiet, a familiar voice, bright with life, hot on the shell of his ear. “It was a dream, Klaus, you’re home, you’re home-“

He’s never had a home, he thinks. He had the Academy. He had towering walls and classrooms and rules and yelling and punishments in the form of a strict backhand and a clicking cane and training and ghosts-

He has a one bedroom cottage in 1970 with the love of his life. He has a home, now.

He sucks in a breath, processes that the walls around him are a soft beige around him, with paintings and blue-lace curtains and a dark trim, and the lamp by Dave’s side of the bed casts a gentle warm glow around them. Dave’s arms are around him, tight, warm, alive, keeping Klaus in the bed.

“Hey, look at me,” says Dave, and Klaus can’t, he can’t look, they’re everywhere-

Dave’s fingers come to run gently along his jaw, and he coaxes his head to turn and face Dave. He looks slightly fuzzy. Everything looks warped; distorted. He realises he’s crying. He realises he can’t breathe. Is this what Dave felt, that awful time in the motel they were staying in? Like someone had taken his lungs right out and left him hollow, empty, like a husk, a vessel-

“You’re home, Klaus, with me; it’s just us here. Just us,” he says, and he’s right; of course he’s right, there are no ghosts in this place, even when he’s sober, and there aren’t any ghosts for miles, and certainly not Them. “Come on, deep breaths, Klaus, like you always show me.”

Of course it was a dream. Only a dream. But a dream of something real, that had happened, could happen.

He’s home. He has a home. Dave is right there. He forces his mind to stay on that train of thought. Dream. Home. Dave. Dream, home, Dave; dream, home, Dave. Safe.

His lungs return, begin to fill out gradually with air until he’s simply sobbing, tucked against Dave’s chest in the tangled mess of bedsheets. He moves his shaky hands from his chest to wrap around Dave, warm and real and alive, and he can hear the beat of his heart beneath his ear.

Dave runs a hand from the top of his head down, down his neck, his shoulder, his side, leaving warmth in the wake of his touch, chasing away the chill residing deep within his bones. He’s rocking slightly; back and forth, steady and gentle, murmuring gentle words that don’t quite click in his brain, but it’s still nice.

His sobbing turns to sniffling, and then he’s quiet, clinging to Dave like an anchor.

He breathes shakily, brings a hand back around Dave to wipe at his face. “’m sorry,” he croaks.

“Shhh, none of that,” says Dave, shaking his head. “It’s alright.” He pushes his hair back from his face, swipes his thumb beneath his eye. He presses a soft kiss to the side of his head and keeps stroking his thumb over his cheek. Klaus closes his eyes, leaning his head into his touch. His skin is warm. The bed is soft. Klaus focuses on it.

He hates Reginald. Anger burns in him, a deep hatred and fear and hurt that had been growing for as long as he can remember.

But he tries not to think about Reginald in this moment; favours the feel of Dave’s hand on his shoulder. His heart stops hammering frantically as if it wants to jump free from his ribcage and run, instead becoming a little more steady, though he jumps at the sound of wind on the window.

“What time is it?” Klaus asks, voice hoarse.

Dave shuffles slightly, looking for the clock. “Six,” he says. “Just past it.”

Klaus nods his head in acknowledgement. He pries his eyes open and looks at the warm glow of light on his skin. Silence stretches comfortably between them; Dave knows he likes peace after a nightmare, because he revels in it after all of the screams of the dead.

Klaus swallows.

“I – I told you about my dad,” he murmurs. He hears Dave’s breath hitch almost unnoticeably at the possibility of Klaus opening up. He nods, runs his hand up and down his arm. “And the powers. The – ghosts.” Again, Dave nods. “And he used to train us. He, uh. He tailored training for our powers; gave us individual training. Mine – mine was different. Me and Ben, we had ours privately, because of our powers. I hated mine. I didn’t want to do it. I was scared of it. I slept with the lights on and I refused to talk to the ghosts, or whatever. Dad hated it. Called me weak, and stupid, and childish.”

Klaus pauses, stares at the lamp. It buzzes faintly, almost silently. Dave squeezes his shoulder. He inhales shakily, closes his eyes and then opens them again when he sees a flash of Reginald’s face standing in a wide doorway, closing the doors on Klaus.

“So he tried to get me over it. Over being scared,” he says. “He had a – a mausoleum, some crypt, tomb, thing. It was old. And cold.” He can still feel the chill in his bones, something nearly otherworldly. “There were ghosts in there. A lot of them, and they – they were angry, and loud. He would lock me in there for – for hours. Overnight, all day. If he thought I was still scared, he’d lock the door for longer. Once, he… he left me there all weekend.” His grip on Dave tightens, fingers digging into his skin subconsciously, though Dave hardly does so much as a twitch. “It was – horrible, Dave. I lost my voice from screaming. He – the ghosts, they were horrible, and they wouldn’t stop screaming at me, and I – I-“ He trails off with a sharp, shaky inhale, pressing the heels of his hands against his eyes and trying to rid his mind of ghostly visions.

Dave runs his hand up and down his arm. “It’s okay,” he tells him, and he urges Klaus to lean into him. “It’s okay, Klaus. If I ever meet your father, I’ll beat the shit out of him. But for now? You never have to see him again. I know it’s hard,” he says, voice soft. “I know it’s not just going to go away, but you’re safe now, and I won’t let anything hurt you, Klaus. I promise.”

Klaus sniffs not-so-subtly, nodding his head and turning to curl his arms around Dave, clinging to him. It feels like a weight has been taken off his shoulders. “Thank you,” he mumbles, and Dave wraps his arms tightly around him in that grounding way he knows Klaus craves.

 

###

 

“You look hot right now.”

Dave snorts, shifting his gaze from the road to glance at Klaus, quirking an eyebrow. He has one arm resting on the car door, elbow out of the window, and the hand is on the wheel. The window is open and the wind blows his hair back from his face.

Klaus is sitting in the passenger’s seat beside him. A joint dangles from his lips – no way is he going into town sober – and one of his hands, not busy with his joint, is on Dave’s closest thigh.

Klaus takes a drag of his joint, closes two fingers around it and then moves it from his lips. His fingers draw circles on his thigh tauntingly.

“I am trying not to crash this car, Klaus,” Dave says. Klaus shrugs.

“Stop looking so hot, then,” he replies. He shimmies forwards on his chair, breathing out a cloud of smoke. “You can’t look like that and expect me to be perfectly fine.”

“Klaus.”

Klaus grins, all mischievous and insatiable, pressing a light kiss to his jaw, then teases the skin with his teeth.

“It’d be kinda hot though, right? Going so fast. Just focus on the road.“

Klaus-“

He nips his neck and then kisses over the spot. Dave swaps his hands on the steering wheel and the other comes down to rest over his hand, trapping it and forcing it to stay still. Klaus grins, squeezes Dave’s thigh. “Yes, dear?” He asks innocently.

“We’re on our way to extend our family; fucking in a car is not the story I want to live to tell.”

“Who said anything about fucking?” Klaus retorts. “I can do other things.”

“Not while I’m driving, Klaus,” Dave insists.

Klaus huffs, taking his hand back and folding his arms. “Fine,” he says. “I’ll never suck your dick again.”

“Woah, woah,” says Dave, giving him a look. “I never said anything about when we get back.”

“No, no, I see how it is. It’s fine, I get it-“

“Klaus-“

“No, no, don’t worry about it.”

Klaus.”

Klaus grins at him. “Keep driving, then,” he says, nodding his head to the road. Dave snorts, rolling his eyes. Klaus leans forwards, turning up the radio and humming along when it lands on a familiar song.

The day is bright; few clouds spotting the blue sky, the air warm, sun hot on his skin, wind running through his hair. He has the distinct feeling of being in a movie.

“I love you, you know?” Klaus hums, turning to look at Dave with a grin. Sunlight bounces off his skin and highlights his strong facial features and it makes Klaus grin.

Dave’s lips curl upwards and his eyes flick back to him. He reaches one hand out, slipping his fingers between Klaus’, and then lifts his hand up so that he can press a kiss to his knuckles.

 

###

 

Slightly reluctantly, Klaus snatches his cane from the backseat of the car as he gets out, just in case. He turns to face the building in front of him and Dave.

“This it?”

“This is it,” Dave nods. It obviously is; Klaus can hear barking echoing faintly from inside and from the garden ‘round the back, too. A grin grows on his lips.

“Let’s go!”

It’s a shelter in the nearest city. Dave had phoned Mrs Richards to ask about buying or adopting a dog, and she had given a list of people as well as this one shelter. Dave, apparently, was more of an adopt kind of person, insisting they check the shelter first. They didn’t have an idea of a dog in mind; they would just go and see which one they fell in love with, then they’d go buy all the stuff for it later, since they don’t know if they’re going to walk out with a big or a little dog.

Dave talks with one of the employees as they enter and it doesn’t take them long to be led into a long hallway with caged-off rooms either side of them, each housing a different kind of dog. Barking uproars as they enter and some dogs rush to the metal gates separating them, jumping up and barking, and others remain on the ground, bodies wiggling with excitement.

“Holy shit,” says Klaus. “I need them all.”

Dave, too, looks around with wide eyes. He turns to Klaus. “I’ll look at this side, you look at that side?”

Klaus nods his head, and they split; working their way down from opposite ends.

Klaus feels like his heart might explode. The first dog he sees is an old one, curled up on its bed and sleeping heavily, though blinks its eyes open to stare at him. The second one is covered in wrinkles and sniffs at Klaus’ hands through the bars. The third is a Chihuahua that curls its lips up at him and trembles with the force of its growl and so Klaus backs away.

The fourth, though. The forth is sitting at the far wall opposite him, tongue lolling out of its mouth, and is staring at him steadily with deep brown eyes. Half of its left ear is missing and he can see a thin scar running around its muzzle. Klaus crouches, lifting his hand and sticking his fingers through the gaps in the gate.

The dog is – big. It would probably reach his hips, or just below them, while standing on all fours beside him, and it is covered in thick fur. A German shepherd, he recognises. It eyes him for several moments and then, head down, dares to come closer. Klaus notices it shaking slightly as it sniffs his fingers.

“Hello,” Klaus says, voice soft, head tipped to the side. He doesn’t move; lets it keep sniffing his hand warily. “Aren’t you adorable? Yes you are. You’re so nice, aren’t you?”

Belatedly ignoring the warning sign on its pen not to put his fingers through the bars, he wiggles them slightly; brushes his muzzle. The dog’s ears flick, head snaps back as it regards Klaus, then…

Its tail swishes and it licks Klaus’ fingers, ears pressed against its head.

Klaus grins, turning to look for the employee. “Can I see this one?” He asks. The employee raises an eyebrow at his choice but nods, unlocking the pen and letting Klaus step inside. He sets his cane against the wall and crouches down. Though the dog backs up as he comes in, he slowly creeps closer again to sniff at Klaus’ knee.

“What’s the story behind his ear?” Klaus asks, letting the dog sniff calmly.

“Rescued from a fighting ring,” says the employee. “Another dog would have done that. The scar on his muzzle is from a wire – he was tied up like that when we got him.”

Klaus’ jaw hits the ground and he turns to look at the dog. “How could someone do that to you? You’re so nice, oh my god, baby,” he whines, gently scratching his head.

“He usually isn’t the best with people,” says the employee behind him. “He gets territorial and if you’re thinking of getting two dogs, he doesn’t go well with bigger ones.”

Klaus hums his acknowledgement, obviously more focused on scratching the dog’s head. “I’m so sorry baby,” he murmurs, “that’s horrible. Look at you; you’re so sweet.”

The dog’s tail keeps twitching, hips wiggling excitedly as he gets closer to Klaus, licking at his fingers and nudging his hand each time he pauses in stroking him. Klaus runs his hand down his side, beaming.

“You’re amazing,” he mumbles. Turning to the employee, he declares; “I want him.”

The employee gives him a briefly incredulous expression before simply nodding. He runs off to find a leash and Klaus takes the moment to get up, grabbing his cane, and steps outside of the pen. The dog, which most definitely does reach the bottom of his hips, follows him eagerly.

“Dave, Dave, I found a baby,” he says, trying to peer down into the pens further down to find Dave. A gate rattles and, looking guilty, Dave steps out. Cradled to his chest is a small dog; a Jack Russel, content in his arms, and missing its front right leg.

“She’s so sweet,” Dave coos, coming closer and stroking her head. “Klaus, please, she’s an angel. Look at her – she’s missing a leg.”

For a long moment, the two of them stare at each.

“I know we said one dog,” Klaus says slowly. “But, hear me out here. What about two?”

Dave presses his lips together. He looks at the tiny dog in his hands and then at the large dog sitting against Klaus’ leg, pressing its head into his thigh.

“I think,” Dave says, “that would be awesome.”

 

###

 

On the drive back, Klaus sits in the backseat of the car with the dogs. The passenger’s seat is full of dog things; two beds, bowls, toys, blankets, leads, food and treats and dog bags to last them a lifetime.

Klaus has dubbed his German Shepherd Moose. Moose has half his body on Klaus’ lap, sticking his head out of the window. Dave’s Jack Russel, Lady, is curled up and using Moose’s butt as a pillow for her head.

Resting his head on Moose’s shoulders and running his fingers through his hair, Klaus declares; “I’m in love.”

Chapter Text

They set up the dogs things once they get in; the dog beds, of course, go into the bedroom, the bowls for food and water into the kitchen. Dave files the tins of dog food into one cupboard before filling bowls with food and water. They have a little stand to lift two bowls up so that Moose can reach it without having to have his head down by the floor. They leave the toys out for them to get.

The dogs both eagerly explore their new home, sniffing around the place and going from room to room, claws clicking on the floor.

“I can’t believe we’re fathers,” Klaus says, drifting to Dave’s side. In response, the brunette wraps an arm around his waist.

“Look at us go,” Dave hums, watching the dogs wander about. Moose wanders up to Lady, sniffing her carefully, and Lady stares at him, unimpressed, and wanders over to sit by Dave’s feet, looking up at him with her tail wagging. Dave’s grin spreads and he crouches down to pick her up, lifting her to his chest.

Klaus runs his fingers over her little head. “You still love me the most, right?” He asks, looking up at Dave. Dave’s eyes bounce between Klaus and Lady with a conflicted expression, mouth twisted, and Klaus gasps. “I thought this was forever,” Klaus says. “I’m in shock, David.”

Dave reaches one hand out. “No, not at all, baby,” he says in a soft voice, shaking his head. “Of course you’re my favourite – but she’s just so cute.”

“And?” Klaus says. “I’m cute!”

“Of course you are,” Dave agrees. “And I love you.”

“Do you really?” Klaus huffs, folding his arms over his chest and looking away.

Dave’s hand returns around his waist, tugging him close so that he can catch his lips in a kiss. “Yes,” he says when they part, and Klaus’ façade falls to a smile at the gesture.

“Fine,” he mumbles. “But if she sleeps on your shoulder and not me? Deal breaker.”

Dave snorts. “Of course not,” he says, squeezing Klaus’ hip.

 

###

 

The dog beds get moved through to the living room in the end. Neither dog particularly likes being away from them and so they sleep on the living room floor rather than staying alone in the bedroom. At night, they drag the beds back through, putting them near the bottom of their own bed.

It takes a grand total of fifteen minutes in bed for Lady to scramble onto it. She steps over Klaus, trips up and uses his face to get back up, and then continues over to Dave, curling up against his far shoulder.

“Well,” says Klaus. “Good thing we got dog beds.”

Dave snorts. He dares to move one hand from Klaus’ hip to gently stroke Lady. “We should put her back to her bed,” he says. “Or she’ll never sleep there.”

“Right,” says Klaus. Neither of them get up.

“I mean, she probably deserves one night on the bed, though. Right?”

“I’m not going to tell her no,” replies Klaus, blinking blearily at her small form. Klaus is content; he has one leg draped over Dave’s hips and his head on his shoulder, one arm resting on his chest, fingers brushing his neck. So long as Lady doesn’t come and wedge them apart, he doesn’t see a problem with this.

Five minutes pass and with the steady rhythm of Dave’s hand running up and down his arm gently, fingertips drawing patterns on his skin, he’s already falling asleep again.

And then the bed dips tremendously as Moose clambers onto it, nosing his way around, poking Klaus in the back with his wet nose. He curls up right against Klaus, crushing him into Dave, and then drops his head on the awkward angle of his hips.

“Real glad we got those dog beds,” Klaus reiterates. Dave snorts.

“Are you going to make him move?”

“God, no. I’m not a monster, Dave.”

One hand slivers down to gently scratch Moose’s head before resting back on Dave’s chest. “Plus,” Klaus says, “he’s so warm.”

“You know, they said Lady hated people. Never came near them, snapped at everyone,” Dave says.

“She fucking loves you,” Klaus replies with a smile. “They said Moose was violent.”

“Real vicious boy you got there,” Dave jokes. Klaus grins.

“They rescued him from a fighting ring. Poor baby was forced to fight.” Klaus once more reaches down to stroke between his ears. “He didn’t want to. And no one would give him a chance to be better.” Klaus, for some reasons, finds his chest tightening inexplicably. The dog had been forced to be something he hadn’t and then had labels put on him that people judged him by and was shunned by everyone because of it. If Klaus dared to look deeper into that, he isn’t sure he’d like the connection he was making.

“Well, they both get a new chance here, with us,” Dave comments with a soft voice. “Kind of fitting, right?”

Klaus laughs lightly, nodding his head. “Very fitting.”

 

###

 

The dogs are, arguably, the best decision, second only to the decision to stick around ‘Nam for Dave in the first place.

Both dogs have an obvious preference for who had found them first, though Klaus has woken up on the couch many times to Lady asleep on his lap, or to Dave and Moose playing in the kitchen together. Moose does grow protective over the both of them; he places himself in front of Klaus every time someone comes to the door, lips pulled back until Klaus reassures him. He doesn’t get along with Jasper, unfortunately, for the dog comes by when he and Dave are having a movie night, popcorn cooking, and Klaus has to hold Moose’s trembling, growling body back while Dave ushers Jasper back outside, putting him in their car and taking him back to Mrs Richards.

“That’s okay,” Klaus murmurs, running his hands down Moose’s side and reassuring him. “You’re okay. You’ll get there, buddy.”

And, though he had never honestly given thought to the idea of a dog potentially helping either him or Dave with their own issues, it seems that Moose gets to repay him for the comfort in that same night. Whilst Dave leaves Klaus alone to go take Jasper back home, after the close-call with the two dogs, he forgets about the popcorn cooking until it’s too late

It starts with one sudden bang and perhaps, had it only been that one, Klaus would have been fine. But it rapidly spiralled into constant bangs and then they turned into gunshots, bullets whizzing by over his head too close to be comfortable, and he smelled napalm strong enough to sting his nose and his throat.

He needs to find Dave; needs to find his gun, the rest of his squad. He needs to find safety. The bullets are coming from everywhere, whizzing centimetres from his skin, hot and deadly and he doesn’t even have a helmet.

Then, there is something soft. Something warm, and soft, and fluffy against his hands that cover his face, a prodding wet nose and a weight that settles strongly against his torso.

He pries his eyes open, confused and disoriented to see a dog in front of him, nuzzling against his neck and trying to get his hands away from his face, and it seems totally oblivious to the gunshots around them. He still smells napalm, sees leaves and smoke out of the corner of his eyes – and then the dogs face is up in his, hiding everything else from view, heavy weight grounding him against the wall behind him and the wooden – not dirt – floor beneath him.

He curls his hands into the dog’s fur, buries his face in his shoulder and holds him close, focusing on the fur beneath his hands and on his face and his warm breath on his neck accompanied by the occasional prod of a cold nose or a concerned lick. It takes him a while to be able to come back properly – his senses frayed, body flinching with the distant echo of gunshots, but it becomes more muffled and distant, more obviously false and less vivid than it had been before, than it usually was when he had a flashback.

He comes back to himself, hugging Moose on the floor of the living room, face buried into his thick fur. Moose licks at his fingers, bringing sensation back to them, and he breathes shakily, loosens his grip on his fur with a flash of guilt, though the dog doesn’t seem to be in any discomfort. If anything, he seems excited to see Klaus start moving again; tail swishing, peppering him with more encouraging kisses.

“You – you’re so good,” Klaus tells him gently, pressing his face into his neck, his voice hoarse. “Thank you, bud.”

He feels something nudge his other thigh and he peers out, seeing Lady come to prod experimentally at him. His lips twitch in a tired smile and he reaches one trembling hand out to stroke her head. “You too, missy,” he murmurs, stroking her cheek.

He forces himself to get up to check on the now-burnt popcorn, feeling a little guilty for letting it burn, but he sets it aside so it won’t end up catching fire or something, and returns to the dogs, finding Moose’s weight against him comforting and grounding.

 

###

 

The dogs sleep on their bed with them every night, and that just becomes the way of life for them. Lady curls up by Dave, Moose curls up by Klaus, all huddled together on bed and snoring something fierce throughout the night. Dave obsesses over Lady and her favourite place to sleep becomes his chest, much to Klaus’ displeasure. Moose knows how to sit for treats and has a tendency to bark at the birds outside, and in the living room Lady has a tendency to steal the big bed meant for Moose.

Dave, also, begins to buy tiny sweaters for Lady.

“She gets cold easily,” he defends, slipping another one over her head as Klaus stares incredulously.

“You never bought me a sweater like that,” he complains.

“Do you want one?” Dave returns, eyebrows raised. Klaus huffs.

“No, but that’s not the point.”

Dave snorts, helping Lady’s front leg through the sleeve and then tugging the sweater into place correctly. Then he lifts her up, beaming.

“Isn’t she adorable in it, though?” He asks, holding her up to Klaus. He snorts, coming close to stroke her head.

“You’re obsessed,” Klaus murmurs teasingly, pressing a kiss for to the top of Lady’s head and then to Dave’s cheek.

“But she’s so cute and cosy,” Dave coos, cuddling her to his chest. Klaus turns to Moose, crouching down and calling him to his side.

“You’re adorable too,” Klaus tells him. “Yes you are, you’re handsome. You have all this amazing fur to keep you warm.”

Dave sits down with Lady on his lap. “I’m perfectly okay with being a father,” he declares.

“Good,” says Klaus, and he rests a hand on his stomach. “The dogs were a test; I’m pregnant.”

Dave laughs and Klaus grins, flopping down onto the couch beside him. “Is there a dog school we can send them to?” Dave hums, pressing his lips together.

“There might be a training thing. Not sure how well they’d do in that kind of place though.”

Klaus sighs, nodding his head. “You’re right. That’s fine, they’re still amazing and they don’t need to prove it to anyone.”

“Definitely,” agrees Dave.

“Think they’d enjoy a trip to the beach?”

“There’s a beach near here?”

“Fuck if I know. There are beaches, like, everywhere though, right?”

“I’m pretty sure that’s right.”

“I didn’t pay attention in geography class. Hell, we hardly did geography,” snorts Klaus, dropping his head onto Dave’s shoulder. “But beaches are supposed to be everywhere.”

“Well, we’re not by a sea. We’d have to go out of state to go to the sea.”

The mention of the sea suddenly reminds him of Ben, and his gut twists. Ben always wanted to go to the sea, but Klaus had been too busy burning his money on drugs to even consider taking him that far.

“I’m fine here,” Klaus decides.

He tries not to think about his siblings, and it isn’t that hard to do, really. It’s been so long since he saw any of them and the only one he really thinks about is Ben – his sudden absence was jarring at first, though he’s gotten used to it by now. He does wonder how long has passed since he left – if it passes similarly to his own time period here, well, his siblings have probably just assumed he’s died somewhere in a gutter.

He doesn’t care. Even if he still had his briefcase time-travelling machine (it had gotten destroyed when they were retreating, completely stranding him here whether or not he wanted to leave) he isn’t sure he’d want to go back. What does he even have there? A bad reputation, no trust, dealers and sketchy people after him, and alleyways to sleep in. But here? He has an entire life. Besides alcohol and weed, he’s sober for the most part, and doesn’t do either to the excess as he did before – there’s no need to unless he’s going out or just wants to be high, there are no ghosts at home. He has not only a place to stay in but a place to call his own, and he has someone he loves and whom loves him, and he has rescued two dogs from poor backgrounds and given them the second chance he was given.

He can’t fathom going back. The only thing he might change is the opportunity to bring Ben here. He can only imagine how lonely and frightened Ben must be.

But he tries not to imagine it. Instead, he focuses selfishly on the way Dave wraps an arm around his shoulders and holds him flush to his side, how he kisses him gently and holds him at night.

Klaus turns to nuzzle his head into the crook of Dave’s neck. He feels Dave squeeze his shoulder in response. His throat feels tight with bubbling emotion, overwhelmed all of a sudden. He has a home, he has a lover, he has two pets that cuddle up with them at night. He never would have seen himself in this situation. Had he not been kidnapped, not stolen that briefcase and come to Vietnam, where would he be now?

Probably, he thinks, in an alleyway, half-conscious and OD’ing.

“I love you,” Klaus mumbles, struggling to get the words out of his throat. “I love you, Dave. I love you.”

Dave turns to look at him, a little taken aback by the sudden declarations, but not unpleasantly so. He urges Lady to sit beside his lap rather than on it so that he can turn and wrap his arms around Klaus, running a hand down his back.

“I love you too, Klaus,” he says, voice gentle and soft, breath warm on the shell of his ear. He runs one hand through his hair soothingly, curling the strands of hair around his fingers. He presses a kiss to the side of his head, squeezes him tighter. “Are you okay?”

Klaus nods his head. “I’m amazing,” he mumbles. Dave lets out a small laugh and nods.

“Good, I’m glad,” he replies, squeezes him, and continues to run his hand through his hair. “How about we order takeout tonight?”

“Oh, fuck yeah.”

 

####

 

“The music is really fucking with my head, I’m not gonna lie.”

They are in their bed – the dogs, for once, not with them but instead out the backdoor, wandering in and out of the house and playing. The music is filtering in through the living room and the volume and distance is really doing wonders for Klaus’ mind, hazy as it is with alcohol and the two joints he’s already smoked, and working his way through the third.

Dave giggles. “It is pretty fucking spooky,” he says, nodding his head.

“Spooky,” echoes Klaus.

“Spooky. It’s coming from everywhere.”

Klaus pauses, straining his ears, and all of a sudden it goes from drifting through the door to echoing all around him.

“Oh my fucking god, you’re right,” he gasps, staring with wide-eyes at the ceiling above him. Dave nods eagerly.

“That’s what I’ve been saying!”

Klaus flops back onto the bed, eying the blurry joint in his grasp. “Maybe I should stop now,” he mumbles. His eyes narrow. “No.” He brings it up to his lips, taking another drag of it. He rolls over onto his stomach, pressing against Dave’s side and looking up at him. “That takeaway was so good. Can we get more?”

“Klaus, please look at your stomach.”

“Don’t fucking fat-shame me, oh my god,” Klaus gasps, rolling onto his back. Nonetheless, he looks down and, sure enough, his stomach is extremely bloated after having devoured the takeaway they had. He rests his hands on it, flutters his eyelashes. “I told you I was pregnant.”

Dave chokes on a snort at that, then trails off to snickering. “We already have two kids now, we can’t have any more or I might die.”

“No,” Klaus moans, shaking his head. “Don’t you dare die.”

Dave runs a hand through Klaus’ hair. “I was joking.”

Klaus jabs him in the side with his elbow. “You’re not escaping me, Katz.”

“Sir, yes sir,” Dave replies, and Klaus grins. He takes another drag of his joint and offers it to Dave, who takes it eagerly. Klaus slumps back onto the bed, spreading his arms out either side of him, one going over Dave’s stomach. He watches the room sway around him hypnotically, like he’s on a boat. There’s a draft coming in from where they’ve left the backdoor open for the dogs to come in and out of and it tickles his skin.

He turns onto his stomach, stares at Dave, the dog tags – Klaus’ – resting on his bare chest, his sharp jaw, the curl of his hair. Watches his lips purse around the joint and his chest lift with an inhale, and then he watches smoke tumble past his lips. “Beautiful,” he murmurs. Dave’s eyes bounce to him and his cheeks flush rosily. Klaus nods his head encouragingly. “You are. So beautiful.”

“Klaus,” he murmurs, and Klaus crawls forwards on the bed, similar to how he had crawled through dirt and leaves in ‘Nam, and props himself up on his elbows. He watches Dave take one more drag of the joint and then he surges forwards to press their lips together; tastes smoke tumble into his mouth and sting his lungs. He cups Dave’s jaw, kisses him gently but deeply, leaning ever closer until Dave wraps an arm around his back and presses them chest to chest.

He pulls back, remains hovering a few inches from his face and just staring at his wide, blue eyes. He slumps slightly, presses his forehead to his cheek. “Dave,” he mumbles. He hears Dave swallow, his fingers twitching at the hair by the nape of his neck.

“Klaus?”

“I love you.” He listens to Dave’s breathing, hides his face in his neck and melts into him.

“I love you too, Klaus,” he says, almost unheard over the crackle of the radio and the music filtering through to them, the sound of dog claws skittering on the floor as they drag a toy about between them.

“I love you,” Klaus repeats, pressing a kiss to his neck, then his jaw, and his throat, his shoulder. “I love you, so much, Dave. Like, so much.”

Dave’s fingers card through his hair, constant, soothing. “I love you too, Klaus. I do.”

Maybe it’s the alcohol they had over dinner, or the joints that make his head spin, but the words tumble from Klaus’ lips before he even knows he was thinking them. “If I had a ring, I’d probably beg you to marry me right now.”

Dave stills beneath him. What he said finally processes in Klaus’ mind and he lifts his head, lungs frozen. “I – uh – Dave-“

Dave deflates. “We can’t do that, Klaus,” he murmurs, cupping his cheek and staring at him with sad eyes. “I would. I so would, Klaus, believe me, but – we can’t.”

The time period hits Klaus like a bus and he feels his shoulders fall in defeat. They can’t, and they won’t be able to for another forty-five years.

“Fuck that,” he says. “No one can stop me from getting a ring and calling you my husband. Fuck the police, Dave.”

Dave snorts at that, lips twitching, eyes crinkling. “Fuck the government,” he says, and Klaus grins.

“That’s the spirit,” he says, giggling, and then he settles back down on Dave’s chest, snatching the dwindling joint from his grasp. “You’re mine. You can’t back out of this now.”

“Good,” says Dave, watching him with warm eyes. “I don’t want to.”

And Klaus, despite never being a sap before meeting Dave, and knowing just how sappy Dave can be at times, melts every time.

Chapter Text

Upon waking, Klaus has to remain still in bed for even longer. Dave’s arms are wrapped tight around his torso, refusing to let him move away from him and refusing to loosen slightly; untangling himself would be impossible in this situation. Plus, Moose is crushed against his back, taking up half of the bed space, and each time Klaus shimmies the dog lets out a discontented growl.

Huffing, he drops back down next to Dave carefully, presses a gentle kiss to his shoulder, and lets his eyes close. He doesn’t fall back to sleep, but he remains perfectly content as it is. Every so often in his sleep Dave will squeeze him a little tighter, tug him a little closer (as if he had moved even an inch away) and the unconscious gestures make Klaus’ heart skip a beat. He runs one hand down Dave’s back, the touch feather-light, and just simply watches his lover’s face with a small smile on his own.

“I’m real lucky,” he murmurs, running his fingers over his cheek lightly. “One might even say I’m the luckiest. I love you.” He brushes a stray curl from Dave’s face, smiles when his nose twitches, and then rests his hand on his shoulder. His eyes linger on his arm wrapped tightly around him and his smile widens. “Plus, those fucking biceps, Dave,” he grins to himself, kisses his shoulder and rests his forehead against it.

It takes Dave longer to stir and wake up. He moves a little more, face twitching, and then he inhales deeply and stretches, only to quickly stop and crack his eyes open to look down at Klaus. Klaus grins at him.

“Morning,” he greets, still held to his chest by Dave’s own arms. Despite being awake now, Dave doesn’t move to loosen his hold on him. If anything, he just closes his eyes, squeezes Klaus tighter, and ducks his head down to rest against his.

“Mornin’,” croaks Dave, voice thick with sleep. Unable to move anything else, Klaus pokes his calf with his foot.

“You good there, babe?”

Dave hums into his hair. One of his hands strokes up and down Klaus’ back, fingertips tingling his skin, and Klaus closes his eyes and revels in the feeling of Dave’s arms around him, of being all but crushed into his chest.

“Perfect,” Dave mumbles. Klaus tips his head up slightly, responding to his statement by pressing a kiss to his skin.

“I was going to say that we should get some groceries today,” he comments. Dave squeezes him.

“Later.”

Klaus snorts. “We’re running out of coffee and I know you’re addicted to that.”

“Addicted to you,” mumbles Dave, voice muffled. Klaus nudges him.

“Now you’re just being sappy because you’re tired.”

“So what about it?” Responds Dave. “You can’t stop me.”

“I most certainly won’t.”

Dave presses a kiss to the top of his head before nuzzling his face into the mess of his curls, of which have been slowly growing ever since they had been discharged – just enough to let the curls properly show themselves. Dave loves them.

“I mean, I’m not complaining about spending the day like this,” says Klaus.

“Good.” Dave pauses. “How’s your leg?”

Klaus raises an eyebrow. “Hmm? The usual,” he responds with a miniscule shrug. “It’s fine though.”

“Can I touch it?”

“I’m literally never going to say no to that, Dave.”

Dave snorts, then one of his hands run down his back and to his leg. Gently, he hooks his hand under his thigh and coaxes Klaus to drape his leg over his hips, allowing Dave to wriggle even closer to him.

“I knew you were a big teddy bear from the start,” Klaus states. Dave kisses his head.

“You’re just cudd-able,” says Dave. “So small, so tiny.”

Klaus snorts. “I’m six-foot, dumbass.”

“So small, Klaus,” Dave coos.

“I’m literally taller than you.”

Dave grins. “Heels don’t count, babe. We both know I’m taller, just accept that you’re small.”

“I’m a six foot slab of muscle, David, don’t test me,” Klaus retorts. Dave ducks his head to kiss the top of Klaus’ bicep.

“You’re a noodle and I love that about you.”

“I can and will beat the shit out of you,” Klaus threatens.

“I could crush you,” Dave replies teasingly. Klaus groans, wriggling against him slightly.

God, I know.”

Dave snorts. “Stop that, it’s – ten in the morning.”

“Then don’t go about saying shit like you could crush me and act like I’ll be perfectly fine with that and gloss over it,” Klaus huffs. “Do it. Crush me right now, Dave, do it, do it, do it-“

“I really dug this hole myself, huh,” Dave muses, pressing a kiss to his cheek.

“Coward,” Klaus mutters, pouting. His pout quickly gives way to a squeal when Dave suddenly rolls over on top of Klaus, pinning his hands between their chests and pushing him down into the mattress slightly, and his eyes widen comically.

“Cat got your tongue, Hargreeves?” Dave hums, a smug expression settling onto his features. Cheeks hot, Klaus looks away, pouting once more.

“Shut up,” he mumbles, hands twitching uselessly between them. He whines, arching his back slightly before giving up on trying to move and slumping into the mattress. “If you don’t want me to go wild right now, Dave, you better stop.”

Dave snickers, still all smug and cocky, and ducks his head to kiss his neck. Instantly, Klaus lets his head fall back, exposing his pale throat, a welcome invitation for more. Dave all but ignores it and, with the leg still wrapped around his hips, Klaus pushes him down further against him and whines his frustrations.

Dave kisses the underside of his jaw, lets his teeth graze his skin, kissing until Klaus is a squirming mess beneath him, and then he sits back and slides towards the edge of the bed. “I’m going to go take a bath.”

Klaus cries out, covering his face with his hands. One hand reaches out, fumbling to find the pillow beside him, and then he throws it in Dave’s direction. “I hate you.”

Dave catches the pillow with a grin, throwing it back onto the bed, and then he hurries towards the bathroom.

Klaus throws the blankets off himself and scurries after him.

 

###

 

“Waffles?”

Klaus hums, resting his cheek on the back of Dave’s shoulders. “I think we should go to a concert.”

“We need breakfast first, dear.”

“Oh my god, can we go see Queen? ABBA? Have they even came here yet? Oh my god, Dave, look at me right now.” Klaus stands up, allowing Dave to turn around and face him with his eyebrows raised. Klaus’ hands cup his jaw and his face falls serious. “Have you ever heard the song Dancing Queen? Somebody To Love? Have they come out?”

Dave’s eyebrows furrow and he scours his memories for any songs by those names, associating them with the bands Klaus had just mentioned. “Never heard of them,” he finally says.

“Shit,” Klaus mutters, frowning and looking to the floor, contemplating life. Then, with a grin, Klaus looks up and says; “I wrote us a song.”

“Oh. I thought you couldn’t sing?”

Klaus slaps his arm. “Shut up, moron. I wrote a song specifically for us all by myself.” He wraps his arms around his torso again, lets Dave turn around to face the kitchen. “But I also stand by the fact that we need to go to a concert. Or a disco. Or a rave. I want to dance, Dave.”

Dave hums. “I mean, we could go out. We know a few places in town.”

Klaus grins and kisses his cheek. “I love you,” he declares, squeezing him gently. “And waffles sound amazing.”

Dave snorts lightly, patting the back of his hand. “I’ll make them if you feed the dogs.”

“Deal.”

 

###

 

“What should I wear?”

“Wear whatever you want, darlin’.”

Klaus hums, pursing his lips. “Think I’d get beaten up in a skirt?”

Dave hums, high pitched. “I don’t want to answer that.”

Klaus sighs. “Yeah. Ugh, the seventies.” He reaches for another outfit, pinching it between his fingers and holding it up. He turns to Dave. “What about this?”

Dave turns, still doing up the buttons on his shirt. Klaus notices the way he does them right up, unlike he used to ever do, to try and hide the prominent scar on his chest. He comes up to Dave’s side, rests his hands over his, and then begins to undo the last couple buttons he did. “I think it looks nicer like this.”

Dave’s cheeks flush and he looks away. “I dunno.”

Klaus keeps his hands resting on his stomach and he nods, dropping his voice to a sweet murmur. “You look so good, Dave.” He presses a kiss to his neck, low, where it meets his shoulder, and then lower, closer and closer to the scar.

“Klaus-“

“So beautiful,” he reiterates, and then lifts his head to kiss him gently. “What are you?”

Dave’s cheeks flush a rosy pink and he looks away. Klaus brings his hands up to cup his face, forcing him to look back at him. “Klaus,” Dave murmurs, bordering on a whine. Klaus smiles.

“What are you, Dave?”

Dave mutters something. Klaus raises an eyebrow. “I didn’t quite catch that.”

Beautiful,” mutters Dave, forcing it out between his teeth. Klaus’ grin widens and he leans forwards to kiss him again.

“Yes you are.” He pats his cheek, then turns back to his clothes, throwing on a pair of striped pants and a brightly coloured button-up shirt. He runs his hands through his hair, shaking it out, and he spritz perfume over himself before turning to Dave with a grin. “Pre’s?”

Dave’s lips twitch upwards. “Go for it,” he says, following him out to the kitchen. “I need to drive.”

Klaus groans, tipping his head back. “That’s so boring, Dave. Can we get a cab? Will a cab come out this far?”

Dave purses his lips together thoughtfully, then sighs. “I’m not sure,” he admits. “It’s fine, I’ll still dance with you.”

Klaus huffs. “Fine, but you’re responsible for hauling my ass back out of the club tonight.”

Dave grins, nudging him. “When am I not?”

Klaus gasps. “I’m wounded, that’s not true. I’ve hauled your ass back to bed on leave many times.”

Dave maintains a grin, watching Klaus wander into their kitchen, pull one of their shot glasses from the cupboard and then let his hands wander over the few bottles of alcohol they have before settling on one, pulling it out and filling the shot. He holds it up, taps it against the glass of water in Dave’s hand, and then throws it back with ease.

Grabbing his coat as they depart, Klaus crouches to give Moose a swift kiss on the top of his head, stroking behind his ear. “You watch the house while we’re out, yeah? Good boy,” he coos, and then he stands up, watches Dave do the same to Lady, and then heads to the door.

“Do you want to bring the cane out?” Dave asks, eyebrow raised. “You know, in case.”

Klaus huffs, folding his arms across his chest. “I can’t be bothered having it in a club, Dave. I want to dance. Worse comes to worst, I’ll either lean on you or just crawl.”

Dave gives him a dubious look but nods, grabbing his own coat and then following him outside and into the car. Klaus fiddles with the radio and watches fields rush past as Dave drives, slowly giving way to houses and then towering buildings.

They head to a familiar club, one they had been to multiple times before and that they both favour over the others, and Klaus eagerly clambers out of the car with the sole intention in his mind to hit the bar and then the dance floor.

“The bar isn’t going anywhere,” Dave chuckles after catching up to him, setting a hand on his shoulder. Klaus smiles.

“I’m wasting valuable time in which I could be guzzling vodka like a sixteen year old in a field,” Klaus replies, nudging his side slightly. “Let’s go dance, Dave!”

He hurries inside, Dave following him, and Klaus can’t help but grin at the loud music and the colourful lights. He and Dave weave their way through the people dancing to get to the bar, Klaus eager to make the buzz in his head get even better. Then, following that, he turns to his second aim of getting to dance.

He doesn’t recognise the song that is playing, but it is loud and fast and it shakes the floor, reverberates through his bones. He can tell he is probably going to be sore in the morning, his body all sore and aching, but he thinks it’ll be worth it.

Plus, the way the lights bathe Dave’s skin in a warm glow is just magnificent. Dave’s lips are twisted in a grin as he dances, occasionally saying something that Klaus can’t quite get over the loud music. Not that it matters.

He fuels the buzzing in his head with more drinks until he feels like he can just let go of his body and vibe with the music and the lights around him, ignore the tiring, ever-present pain in his leg and his hand, the threat of nightmares and flashbacks and the anxiety of waking up in a medical tent with Dave gone, taken from him. He can ignore that he ever had a life before (after, technically) 1968, and that this life with Dave is all he has had and it really is all he needs.

He has Dave, and he has music and fun coloured lights and alcohol, and he has two dogs probably cuddling together on their bed, taking up the entire thing while he and Dave are out. He has a growing garden because Dave has begun to get interested in the idea of growing a few plants, sprucing up the place with vibrant flowers.

Leaning close to him, resting a hand on his shoulder, Dave says; “I’m going to the bathroom.”

Klaus hums and nods his acknowledgement, watching Dave duck and weave in the direction of the bathrooms to the back of the club, and then he closes his eyes and keeps dancing.

He spends several long moments debating whether or not he should go up to the bar and get another drink quickly, but he eventually settles on doing so. He slides to it, leaning on the counter and ordering something he hasn’t had from here before but what sounds fruity and nice. It comes back in the colour pink, with a little umbrella, and Klaus grins. He uses the umbrella to stir it slightly, listening to ice clink against the wide glass, and then he takes an experimental sip.

Fruity, as sweet as something alcoholic can really get, but pleasantly so. He turns around, eyes fluttering, searching the crowd to see if Dave has come out of the bathrooms or not yet, and-

He doesn’t notice the person who had just come up behind him, leaning close to the bar, and he falls against the man’s chest. The drink in his hand sloshes, almost tumbles out of his grasp, and consequently drains into both his and the stranger’s shirt.

The man instantly forgets about his order, stepping back and hissing. His eyes narrow, jumping between a startled Klaus and his wet shirt.

“Sorry, man-“

“Fucking fag, what the fuck?” He hisses. His hand shakes, sending droplets flying. Klaus’ fingers curl tighter around his half-empty glass, eyebrows raising.

“Chill, man, I didn’t see you,” he says, one hand raised in a peace offering, and then he tries to slide around him. Judging by the flush to the man’s skin, Klaus guesses that he’s been at the bar a few times already, and the both of them are drunk.

“Look where you’re fucking going then,” retorts the man. Klaus rolls his eyes, sipping his drink. He can’t be bothered with this kind of confrontation, wanting to cling to the happiness and pleasant feeling of simply enjoying a night out with Dave, and he keeps making attempts to slide around the man and just leave him alone, but everything he does only seems to anger him.

“Oh my god, it was an accident, chill,” says Klaus. “You can wash your shirt in the bathroom, or something.”

The man, once more, steps in front of Klaus when he tries to step away. “What, so you can stare?” He scoffs. The man is tall, two or three inches above Klaus, and though he isn’t exactly well built, he is big. He has dark hair and an uncared for stubble on his jaw and his eyes are wide. Klaus wonders if he’s high as well. Either way, it’s a situation he doesn’t care to be in.

“I can assure you, buddy, you’re not my type,” Klaus drawls, patting his arm and sliding past.

A hand on his back shoves him forwards and he almost trips over his own feet. He turns, glaring and unimpressed at the man. “Fucking chill out,” he snaps, and he sets his drink aside.

“Yeah, I saw you ogling your little boyfriend,” the man says. “You’re both disgusting. You shouldn’t be here.”

Klaus huffs, pressing his lips together. “Don’t say shit about Dave,” he hisses, looking him up and down with a dirty expression. “Go find someone else’s night to ruin, dickhead, since you seem to get off on it.”

The man’s jaw locks and he reaches out, grabbing Klaus’ shoulders and shoving him roughly back, all the while advancing forwards. Klaus regains his balance and lifts his head, and when he comes close enough, he shoves him back.

“Just fuck off, you prick,” he growls, and shoves at the man’s hands as they come close once more.

“I’m so fucking sick of your kind coming here and flaunting your fuckin’ disease around-“

Klaus laughs, bitter and sharp, and he is all too aware that he’s drawing a crowd to them. “Disease? I think you’re the one with something going on with them, honey-“

The man swings. Klaus sees it coming too late, and with the alcohol in his blood he most certainly can’t move out of the way quick enough, and his fist connects with his cheek. He stumbles, one hand catching himself on a table before he can drop to his knees, the other hand lifting to cup his stinging cheek. He’s hardly given a second before a fist curls in his shirt and so he lashes out himself; throwing uncoordinated but heavy punches in retaliation to the man’s own hits.

They stumble around tables, people hurriedly moving out of their way, and Klaus curls his fists into the man’s shirt and head-butts him. He hears a cry, more of anger and shock than pain, and then he’s falling onto his knees, reeling from a punch.

He can hear people yelling, people tugging at him and tugging at the other man, trying to separate them but, in their defence, the man is large and angry and drunk, and Klaus has never had the best control of his mouth when sober, let alone drunk.

“You’ve got practice,” he laughs, using the table nearby to stagger upright. “Who’d you normally hit? Let me guess – girlfriend, right. Or maybe sister?”

The man’s eyes widen in a way that is almost comically, seeming to bulge out of his head, and then he surges forwards, shaking free everyone else’s pitiful attempts to calm him down.

All of a sudden, his head spins. He’s on his hands and knees, blinking stars from his vision and both tasting and smelling blood. He turns to look right slightly, sees the man’s shoe, and then – someone inserts themselves between both men.

“Woah, woah, calm down,” Dave orders, resembling a knight in shining armour, one hand on the man’s chest and the other outstretched to Klaus. “Calm down, man, calm down, we’re going, we’re going.”

The man rocks on his feet, each blink heavy and tight, his neck straining as he watches Klaus wipe blood from his nose and struggle upright. And then he spits at Dave.

“Get out of my sight, fucking faggots,” the man growls, hands balling and unballing.

“What – what the fuck did you just do?” Klaus questions rhetorically, putting one hand on Dave’s shoulder in a motion that is supposed to be like putting himself in front of Dave but likely just looks more like leaning on him for support. “Don’t you fucking spit at him-“

“Klaus, we’re going,” Dave tells him, tugging him away while a girl hurries forwards to the stranger, gripping his arm hesitantly and trying to calm him down.

“I see you two again, I’ll fuck you up – I’ll fuck you up,” the man tells him, watching Dave drag a writhing Klaus through the crowd and towards the doors.

“You ain’t shit,” Klaus retorts. “You won’t do shit, you fucker, don’t you dare-“

And then he’s outside. The cool night air hits his face and surprises him, as does the sudden darkness around him that contrasts the flashing lights of the club.

“Hey, Klaus, calm down for me,” Dave urges, letting him lean against the wall outside. Klaus rests his head back against it.

“He said shit about you,” Klaus growls, eying the door. “I’ll – I’ll-“

“I know,” Dave cuts him off, one hand coming up to gently cup his jaw as he eyes his nose before sighing. “Still, you know how people are, Klaus. You should have just left it.”

“Piece of shit,” Klaus mutters. He flexes his hands, spares his sore knuckles a brief glance, then he deflates. “I’m sorry.”

Dave offers him a sad smile. “Don’t be,” he murmurs, then tugs his wrist. “But I think that’s the end of our night out.”

With a heavy sigh, Klaus nods, following him back to the car. He still feels fuzzy with alcohol, enough so that the drive back goes surprisingly quickly, and the next thing he knows he is sitting on the lid of the toilet, letting Dave clean blood from his nose and lip.

“Well, it isn’t broken,” hums the brunette. “Which is lucky for you.”

“Definitely is,” Klaus grunts. His nose twitches as Dave dabs at it, and then he reaches up to take Dave’s wrist, stilling him. “You know, I’d still have done that.”

Dave quirks an eyebrow. “Done what?”

“Hit him. He brought you into it.”

Dave smiles at him, squeezing his arm. “You worry about yourself, dear.”

“He fucking spat at you,” Klaus grumbles. “What a piece of shit. I wanted to have a good night out.”

“And we danced,” Dave comments, stroking his cheek and leaning closer. “We had fun before that, and we can always go out again. We’ll probably never see him again, after all.”

Klaus’ eyes flutter closed and he leans his head into Dave’s touch. “Yeah, I know,” he mumbles. “Still. What a piece of shit. I’m sorry.”

Dave’s lips ghost over his forehead. “Don’t be, Klaus. It’s fine. Here,” he takes his hand, dropping a couple of painkillers in his palm. Klaus quirks an eyebrow but takes them. “I’d be surprised if you didn’t have a headache right now.”

Klaus snorts. “Touche.”

His fingers run gently through his hair before he nudges him. “Come on, let’s just get some rest.”

Groaning, he stands to his feet, leaning slightly on Dave when the pain in his leg makes itself more pronounced, and they shuffle into the bedroom shucking clothes as they go. Moose and Lady have already claimed their places and they wiggle in between them.

Dave strokes his cheek, wrapping one arm around him.

“Thanks for standing up for me,” he offers. Klaus’ lips twitch in a smile and he drops one arm lazily over his stomach.

“Of course,” he mumbles. “Of course I would.”

“But do try and not get yourself into any more fights, please.”

“I make no promises,” Klaus says with a grin, until Dave squeezes his shoulder and he sighs. “Fine, fine. I promise. It’s just – I love you, Dave, and people are fucking assholes.”

He hears a sigh fall from his lips. “I know,” he murmurs. “But we’re fine here, aren’t we? Just like this? No one can get between us here.”

Klaus’ lips twitch upwards. “In our home,” he says. Dave’s fingers slip between his.

“In our home.”

Chapter Text

“Breakfast?”

Klaus sighs. “Do we have to?”

“Yes, we have to eat, Klaus.”

Klaus groans. “I don’t want to move,” he whines, and he relaxes his body, falling completely against Dave. He lets out a huff of air, steadying himself and resting a hand on his back, holding him up. His hand snakes up his back, fingers toying with his hair.

“I know,” Dave coos. “But I’m hungry.”

“You have a whole snack right here, Dave,” Klaus says, gesturing himself up and down with one hand. Dave snorts, tucking his head into the crook of Klaus’ neck and pressing a gentle kiss to his skin.

“I can’t eat you,” he says. Klaus hums.

“I don’t know, cannibalism could be kind of kinky and I’m open to anything, baby.”

Dave pulls his head back just enough to fix Klaus with an exasperated look. “I’m going to make toast,” he says with a sigh, unwinding himself from around Klaus and sliding off the bed. Klaus whines, slumping back onto the bed and watching Dave shuffle around the room, hiding his body beneath a fluffy dressing gown that he ties loosely around his waist.

He leans against the door frame, finally turning back to Klaus. “You coming or not?”

With a sigh, Klaus slowly swings his legs out over the edge of the bed. His head aches and so does his leg in a way that tells him last night’s adventures probably weren’t a good idea, and he remains hovering on the edge of his bed for several moments as if sheer willpower alone will get rid of the old ache. Of course, it doesn’t work like that, and so he pushes himself up onto his feet and fumbles for his silk dressing gown laying in a heap on the floor.

Claws click on the floor close to him and he looks up as Moose wanders in, tail swishing leisurely, and he cocks his head to the side as he watches Klaus awkwardly trying to reach the cloth on the floor.

“Mornin’, bud,” Klaus grunts, straightening up and sighing. Encouraged by the attention, Moose comes up to his side, warm against his leg, and Klaus runs his hand down his side, patting him before sighing and looking to the robe on the floor. Once more, he turns to it, begins to crouch in an awkward but least painful position possible, reaching for it.

Moose huffs, licking his lips and watching Klaus’ outstretched hand, and then he ducks his head, burying his nose in the robe, and pinches it between his teeth. He lifts his head, staring expectantly at Klaus, tail swishing.

“Oh, you’re just a saint,” Klaus coos, and he cups the dog’s face, stroking him gently. “You’re amazing, bud. I love you so much.” He takes the robe from him, sliding it over his shoulders and tying it loosely around his waist. He gestures to the door and Moose stands up, excited. “Come on, let’s go see your other daddy, huh?”

Together the slide into the kitchen, Moose remaining by his side throughout the journey though he departs to join Lady when they reach the kitchen. Klaus comes up behind Dave, wrapping his arms around his waist.

“Glad to see you here,” Dave comments, leaning back slightly into Klaus. He props his chin up on his shoulder, watching the toaster that Dave is also watching.

“Decided not to be lazy all day,” he hums, and turns his face into his neck. “Since you’re so mean and prefer toast over cuddling me for a while.”

Dave snorts softly, reaching one hand up to squeeze his hand. “I’m hungry,” he whines.

“And I told you you already had a snack right there!”

“After we’ve eaten,” Dave offers. Klaus hums.

“Fine, that’ll just have to do, won’t it?” He sighs, squeezes Dave slightly and lets his eyes flutter shut, content, and-

The toaster pops. He jumps, almost head-butting Dave, and then curses. “Christ on a cracker, David! Warn a guy please,” he takes a step back, resting a hand over his chest where his heart races beneath.

Dave chuckles slightly. “You good?” He asks, reaching forwards to take the toast out and deposits it on a nearby plate.

“Fine,” he says, watching him spread butter out along the toast. “I hate toasters.”

Dave snorts, then turns around and leans back against the counter. “Do you want a piece?”

He waves a hand dismissively, turning instead to make a coffee. “Nah, I’m still waking up,” he mutters. “Coffee?”

“Please.”

He busies himself making them both a cup of coffee, and then they wander into the living room, dropping onto the couch. Klaus melts into Dave’s side and Moose slumps on the floor by his feet. Lady huffs, then jumps up onto the couch and curls up on Dave’s other side. They turn the television on and let the morning news drone on in the background, drowning out the sound of wind and rain against the windows. Dave curls an arm around Klaus’ waist and his hand rests on his hip, fingers occasionally drawing little circles on him.

“I can’t believe you watch the news,” Klaus says. “Nerd.”

Dave scoffs, giving him a look. “Will you ever stop bullying me?” He retorts jokingly. Klaus grins.

“I do this because I love you,” he says, and then he leans closer to press a chaste kiss to his jaw. “It’s all out of love, dear.”

Dave huffs stubbornly, looking away, and Klaus grins. He dances his fingers along his arm, up his shoulder. “Dave?”

“Yeah?”

Klaus pauses, hesitates, watches his hand dance along his skin. Dave turns his head so that he can look at Klaus, raising an eyebrow curiously at his silence. He reaches up, taking Klaus’ hand in his, squeezing it gently. “What’s up?”

Heaving a sigh, Klaus’ shoulders slump. “The other day,” he says, “in the bedroom, and I said that if I had a ring, I’d beg you to marry me.” Dave nods and Klaus flushes slightly, toys with his bottom lip between his teeth and looking down at Moose by his feet. “Would – would you?”

Dave’s expression softens. “Marry you?” He clarifies. Klaus nods, staring intently at their hands. Dave’s thumb runs along his knuckles and his other hand comes up, resting beneath his chin and forcing his head up. His eyes bounce upwards reluctantly, landing on Dave’s.

“Yes,” says the brunette. “I would, Klaus. Of course I would. I would marry you, and get you a funky ring, a real nice one, and some flowers. I’d get a real suit for the first time, and a bowtie with a pattern on it, and matching ones for Lady and Moose, and I don’t know what you’d wear, but I know you’d look gorgeous in it. Breath-taking. And I’d promise to give you everything I can. We could break a glass. I don’t care where we’d do it, but you always spoke about the ocean. We’d end up in the water though, somehow. Or, we’d do it in the garden, and I’ll wear my ugly button-up that you hate, and Lady will try and eat grass in the background, and we’ll get very drunk and I’d ugly cry in bed later that night.”

Klaus listens to him with bated breath, his eyes slightly wide. He clings onto each word that falls from his lips, drinking it up eagerly, hungrily. Dave’s thumb continues to run back and forth over his knuckles absentmindedly, and he looks a little lost as he talks; as if he is imagining this and playing it out in front of himself.

Dave blinks after a moment’s pause, then blinks again and looks to Klaus. “But we can’t. Not – not legally. I can’t rent out a beach, or get someone who would officiate it, or whatever. No one would let us do that.”

Klaus lets out a sigh, squeezing Dave’s hand when he sees the painfully sad expression on his face. “I know,” he murmurs. “But what if we didn’t do any of that.” Dave quirks an eyebrow slightly, urging him on, and Klaus does, feeling more enthusiastic with each word. “We don’t have to do any of that. What’s a piece of paper? I could right up whatever paperwork a damn wedding needs in crayon and I could set it on fire and smoke it. It doesn’t matter. I don’t care about churches and bridesmaids and shit, or cutting a cake and cheering. I just – I want to be able to call you mine, Dave. And I want to be yours.” He sits a little more upright, reaches his hands out to cup Dave’s jaw and tilt his head up to maintain eye contact. “That’s all I want. Fuck everyone else, Dave.”

Dave stares up at him much like Klaus had just done to him when he was speaking, and then Dave reaches up, cups his jaw, and pulls him into a sudden, desperate kiss. One of his hands moves to rest on his back, urging Klaus closer to him, and the kiss leaves Klaus breathless and dying for more when they part.

“Of course – of course,” Dave says, and his voice sounds slightly wobbly with emotion. “Yes, Klaus. I want that. Of course, look – wait, wait here,” he says, and he gently gets up off the chair (much to Lady’s displeasure) and then he scurries off to their bedroom, leaving Klaus on the couch and feeling choked up, watching the door impatiently.

He can hear Dave rustle about in their bedroom, looking for something desperately, and then he comes back with things hidden in his balled fists. He holds one out to Klaus, unfurls his fingers, and Klaus sees his own dog tags sat in his palm. All of their belongings from the army were kept in a box beneath their bed, safe but not on display. Klaus picks his up by the chain, looking at Dave with a question in his eyes. Dave takes his own, untangling the chain and hanging it from his fingers. His eyes still look a little wet with shy tears, but he smiles at Klaus with something bordering on childish excitement, looking young and boyish.

“Well,” he says. “Fuck everyone else, yeah? Like you said, the normal stuff doesn’t have to matter, and we don’t have rings right now, but…” He holds up his dog tags with a lopsided grin. “Will you marry me, Klaus?”

Klaus looks up at the ceiling, inhaling through a smile. “Oh, you cheesy bastard,” he sobs, looking back down at him. “You don’t need to ask that – yes-“

Dave grins widely at him, eager and excited, and then he leans close and loops his dog tags over Klaus’ head. Klaus, with trembling fingers, returns the gesture by placing his own dog tags to hang from his neck, and then he curls his fingers in his dressing gown and pulls him forwards for a kiss. His head hits Dave’s and they laugh, resting their foreheads together, and Klaus clasps his hands together behind Dave’s neck.

“You’re so cheesy,” he says, voice unsteady.

“You started this,” Dave says. “I just thought quickly. Don’t tell me you don’t like this.”

Klaus laughs, shaking his head. “Of course I do, dummy. I love it. I love you. It’s just so silly, but I love it.”

Dave chuckles with him, fingering the chain of his own dog tags hanging from Klaus’ neck. “What else did you expect from me?”

“Hmm, good point,” he snorts. “Are we married now? Am I married man? Did that just happen while we’re in robes at ten in the morning?”

“Uh…” Dave pauses, smiling gently. “I think so, yeah.”

Klaus snickers, and he ducks his head down to kiss him again; slower, gentler, less rushed, and when he pulls back he sinks down to rest his head against his chest, eye level with the dog tags with his own name on them. “Fuck yeah,” he murmurs with a grin, eyes flitting up to him through his eyelashes. “What’s our name now? Am I a Katz? Are we double-barrelling it? Hargreeves-Katz? Katz-Hargreeves? Hatz?”

Dave snorts, running his fingers through Klaus’ hair. “Why not all?”

Why not all,” he echoes in a tone of wonder. “That is why I love you.”

His eyes are warm. He lifts one shaky hand up to run his fingertips underneath his eyes, swiping away excess moisture that threatens to overspill. God, if Ben could see him now, he thinks. He’s married. He just got married to the love of his life.

When he looks at Dave, he sees him in a similar position. Klaus lets out a wet laugh, running his fingers over Dave’s cheeks. He has a house, and dogs, and a god damn husband, and a life.

“You’re fucking amazing, Dave,” he declares, voice quiet. “And you’re mine. You’re mine, mine, mine, and I’m yours, and I love you.”

He chuckles lightly, smiling at Klaus, covering his hands with his own. Klaus leans forwards, kissing his left cheek, and then his right, and then he kisses him again; he can’t get enough of it, of Dave. He’s overflowing with emotion and energy and he longs to convey his emotions to Dave, to prove he truly does love him as he says he does.

Dave’s arms wind around him, keeping him close, one hand on the small of his back and the other between his shoulder blades.

The front door opens.

“Good morning, boys, not to intrude but the weather’s horrible and I saw you were in – oh.”

Klaus jumps, as does Dave, and they both hurriedly part, though not quick enough. Their hands linger on one another, frozen, like deer in headlights, and they stare at Mrs Richards with wide eyes. Klaus considers making a joke, considers letting his mouth run off and make humour out of the situation, but he doesn’t think Dave would appreciate that; knows Dave is more sensitive to being outed like this, and no doubt to someone who had been acting motherly towards them since they arrived.

Mrs Richards’ sighs, waves one hand as if she can wave away the tension. Moose inches closer, curious, looking back between Dave and Klaus and her, whilst Lady is content to remain on the couch.

“Oh, I’m not going to say anything, boys, don’t look so scared,” she says, and then she offers her hand to Moose with a smile. She lets the dog sniff at him before stroking his head, between his ears, and she once more looks back up at the two men still frozen on the spot. She sighs, coming in, her hair and coat wet from the rain.

“I’m no fool,” she tells them, and she sets a Tupperware box on the coffee table in front of them. “What couple of men move into a cottage in the middle of nowhere to adopt some dogs together without something going on? And plus, you can hardly look at one another without looking lovesick.” She snorts lightly, settles down opposite them and quirks an eyebrow. “And it’s not my right to judge anyone. Not when you obviously love each other so much.”

“You – you don’t care?” Dave says, swallowing, relaxing slowly. Klaus melts backwards into the couch slightly, looking between the two. Mrs Richards shakes her head.

“You’re young, you’re in love; I’m not going to get in the way of that. I brought pasta.” She nods her head to the tub she brought, and then she perks up. “Oh! Of course, I actually had a reason to come here rather than to just barge in, sorry.” She stands up, smoothing down her skirt. “I’m having a barbeque next week; Monday, four o’clock. You’re both very welcome to join.”

“That’d be lovely,” Klaus says with a smile and a nod. “Count us in.”

“Good,” she hums, and she gives them a little smile. “Jasper’s been dyin’ to see the both of you again. You have a good night, now.” She waves lightly, then her hands move to pinch her coat tighter around herself and she heads for the door. Outside, the car he hadn’t heard coming starts up again and pulls off down the road.

Klaus slumps against Dave, and Dave melts back into the couch with a sigh of relief. For a moment, they are both quiet, staring at the door and half-expecting her to come back. She doesn’t, of course, and then Klaus starts to snicker quietly.

When he turns to Dave, he’s also biting back chuckles.

“Well, that went well,” Klaus hums. Dave snorts.

“Apparently so,” he agrees, head bobbing in a nod. He looks down at his hands, chuckling softly, and Klaus runs a finger absently down his arm.

“But, I do believe we were in the middle of something,” he muses, grinning and fluttering his eyelashes. Dave turns to him with a grin, and he reaches out to cup his face and coax him closer.

 

###

 

“We need to learn how to cook this,” Klaus declares, staring at the half-empty tub of pasta that Mrs Richards had dropped off earlier. He brings it closer, spears more pasta on his fork, and brings it to his mouth. “Like, it’s amazing.”

"Nothing beats home-cooked meals," Dave hums with appreciation, reaching forwards to get a piece. Lady huffs in irritation when he moves, disrupting her from her place curled against his hip. He reaches one hand back to stroke her head in apology.

"I love that woman," Klaus declares. "What an angel. A goddess, really."

Dave hums, stabs more pasta on his fork. Klaus reaches out, grabs his wrist and pulls the fork closer to himself, biting it off. Dave pouts, giving him a look, and reaches for more.

"I'm never cooking again," he says. "We're just going to live off her scraps."

"I'm fine with that." Klaus hums. He shuffles slightly, getting more comfortable. He's lounging across the couch, legs hanging over Dave's lap, head resting against the armchair at a slightly awkward angle. He curls his toes, lifting his legs up to stare at them. "We should get our nails done," he states, looking up from the pasta balanced on his stomach.

"Like a spa day?"

"We could get massages."

"I thought I gave good massages," Dave huffs. Klaus snorts, knocking his heel against his thigh. 

"You do, but you can't stand on me."

"I could."

Klaus hums. "Actually, yeah, you could. Do it, then." 

Dave snort slightly. "I'm comfy," he says, setting one hand on his skinny ankle. 

"Aww, you're a dear," Klaus smiles, then reaches for the pasta once more for more. He turns his head towards the television and the black and white show playing. "What's this?"

Dave shrugs. "No clue," he admits. "Old."

"Says you."

Dave blinks. "Klaus, we're the same age."

"Technically, I think I'm older."

"Cougar," Dave utters. Klaus lightly kicks him.

"Dickhead," he snorts. "Stop complaining about your back then."

"You beg me to crack yours," Dave returns. Klaus drops his head back onto the couch.

"It feels good," he whines. "I'll divorce you if you keep bullying me."

Dave snorts, and he picks up the tub of pasta and moves it onto the coffee table. Klaus holds his hands out and Dave takes them, pulling him upright, and Klaus falls against him. 

"You wouldn't," Dave hums. Klaus grins, settling his hands on his shoulders.

"I wouldn't," he agrees, and one hand searches down to his own dog tags dangling from his neck. He runs his fingers over them, toying with them. "You can't get away from me that easily."

Dave's thumb brushes over his cheek. "Good," he says with a smile. Klaus' cheeks flush warm and he nudges him.

"Stop making me blush, David, I can't handle this."

Dave grins, eyes crinkling, and Klaus returns the expression and leans close, hovering inches from his face. "Today hasn't been overly productive, has it?"

"Hmm, I mean, we got married, right? That counts for something."

"Oh, of course." He curls one hand around the back of his neck, rests his forehead against his. "So productive. Are we having a honeymoon?"

"We could go to Saigon."

Klaus snorts. "Visit Henderson on the front lines?"

"Could be cute."

They chuckle and Klaus slumps slightly, pressing them chest to chest, and his fingers fiddle absently with the short hair by the nape of the neck. The drone of the television buzzes absently behind him, intermingling with the occasional huff or shuffle of Moose by his feet.

There is a knock at the door.

Klaus startles slightly and Moose picks his head up, ears perking. 

"Think Mrs Richards has more food for us?" Klaus asks, perking up in a similar fashion to his dog. Dave hums.

"Maybe. Didn't hear her car, though."

"She does love a walk," Klaus comments, but he can hear the rain hitting the window, the wind whistling against the glass. It isn't exactly a great night to go out for a walk. With a groan, Klaus slides his legs over Dave, dodging Moose. "I'll get it."

Moose stands, keeping flush to his leg as he shuffles towards the door, expecting Mrs Richards to be there again, honestly. He unlocks the door, swings it open.

"Hello again-"

He stares at six figures standing (one being carried) in front of him, looking tired and rather miserable, damp from the rain.

Standing in front of him, half-being held up and looking more disheveled than Klaus has ever seen him, Five's head jolts up, eyes narrowing.

"Klaus?"

Chapter Text

Klaus blinks. He stares at Five, half convinced he’s hallucinating, until he hears an emotional; “Klaus?” His eyes jerk up and, walking through their siblings comes Ben, eyes wide and lips parted in shock as he regards Klaus. His heart jumps into his throat at the sight of his brother and his hand twitches, itching to reach out and grab him despite the knowledge that to do so would be in vain.

Klaus jerks his head back, a subtle gesture meant just for Ben, and his brother hurries to his side, inside his house, still stammering, and Klaus closes the door on the others.

Well, he tries to. Five, despite looking half unconscious, sticks his foot out, catching the door before it can close.

“Klaus,” he says, “what the fuck?”

Groaning, Klaus leans against the door frame, keeping the door as closed as he can. “Sorry, I don’t know who Klaus is, have a good night-“

“What the fuck-“ Five’s voice slips, goes light and his expression slightly distant. His shoulders slump and Diego’s grip on his brother tightens, hiking him up a little.

“Five,” mutters Diego, squeezing him. Five blinks away his daze, coming back to life, and, through gritted teeth, says;

“Let us in, Klaus.”

His eyes bounce over all of his siblings. Five looks exhausted and probably only standing because Diego has an arm wrapped around him, propping him up. Allison has a bandage around her throat and red eyes, and Luther, speckled with bruises, is carrying an unconscious Vanya. Diego is a few shades paler too, with a gash above his eyebrow – ironically over his scar – and the vulnerability in his eyes are hidden beneath his disguise of steel that Klaus knows how to look through.

“Is everything okay?” Dave calls behind him, and Moose shifts anxiously on the spot beside him. With a sigh, Klaus opens the door and staggers backwards, gesturing for them all to come inside.

They hurriedly do so; piling in as if their one goal is to make it to the seats, though there aren’t enough for them all, even when Dave jumps up to his feet with worry and confusion in his eyes. Lady jumps down – stumbles – and warily stares at them all, staying right beside Dave’s ankle, her ears straight up in the air. Vanya is laid out on the couch without a second thought, and Five uses the back of an armchair to keep himself up. Everyone stands around awkwardly, swaying on their feet.

“Dave,” Klaus sighs, “this is my family; Luther, Diego, Allison, Five, B-Vanya.”

“Klaus, what’s going on?” Diego asks, at the same time as Luther says; “where the hell have you been, Klaus?”

Closing the door, Klaus shuffles over, trying his best to mask his limp. He looks, instead, towards Five, whose eyes burn into him.

“When are we?” Five asks after a couple of moments in which he is probably mulling over which question is more important. There’s a glint to his eyes that Klaus might almost dub emotional.

“Nineteen-seventy,” Klaus says, folding his arms over his chest.

“More specifically?”

“June seventeenth,” says Klaus, eyes flicking aside. Dave shuffles over to his side, giving him a questionable look. “Coming up for seven. How are you here?”

“I should be asking that question, I think,” Five says. “How are you here, Klaus? Is this where you’ve been?”

Klaus hums anxiously, fingers drumming over his arms. He doesn’t like seeing his siblings crowd his small living room, staring at him with tired, accusatory eyes. This is his home, and his siblings shouldn’t physically be here. He can’t help but wonder how and why they are here, and how they found him. Evidently, by their appearances, something big has happened. A little voice in the back of his head mutters something about an apocalypse.

Klaus shrugs. “You know me, I have a tendency to make things happen,” he says dismissively. “Plus, I asked you first.”

“Klaus,” Luther growls, taking a step forwards. “Where the hell have you been? Do you even know what has happened? What we’ve been doing?” He keeps prowling forwards with loud, heavy steps, and Dave holds his hands out.

“Hey, hey, come on,” he says, looking around at everyone. “There’s obviously a misunderstanding going on, but how about we just sit down and talk?”

“Who are you?” Luther scoffs, then turns back to Klaus. “We’ve been averting the apocalypse and you’ve, what, been off lazing around and getting high I assume, right?”

Klaus huffs, balling his hands into fists. “Fuck you, Luther,” he snorts, shaking his head. Beside him, Moose whines with anxiety, looking between Klaus and the new people filling the room, and Luther and his intimidating stature and bad vibes.

“Klaus,” says Diego, and it is sharp but not necessarily mean like Luther. “What’s going on? You weren’t there, Klaus, and we needed you. How did – how did you even get here?”

“Does it matter? What happened? You all look like shit.”

“The apocalypse happened, Klaus,” Luther says, once more stepping forwards. “Vanya caused the apocalypse. Five had to,” he pauses, looking a little uncertain, “put us back in time to save us. We hardly made it, and you weren’t there to help.”

“Oh,” says Klaus, hissing air between his teeth. “That sucks.” Though his mind races with thoughts, conflicted and confused, and he seeks out Ben with raised eyebrows, his mouth falls back into the habit of dismissing everything that comes out of Luther’s mouth just to spite him.

Luther twitches. He comes close, towering over Klaus, and his temper snaps. His hand curls in Klaus’ shirt, pushing him back against the wall, and his mouth opens, and Klaus smells smoke, the sting of Napalm in his nose, while a tree pushes between his shoulder blades.

He can hear the crackle of flames nearby, and yet his vision is fuzzy and dark – smoke, probably – and he can’t see it. His hand flies up to cover his mouth and nose – where’s his scarf? – and he blinks against the smoke in the air to try and find everyone, anyone, because Wilson who had just pushed him behind a tree for cover is suddenly gone, gone, gone, leaving Klaus alone in the thick of a smoke-devoured forest.

A dog barks; loud, vicious, muffled by the ringing in his ears. He snaps his head side to side, and then he sees a face swim into view; Dave.

His hand lashes out, curls in Dave’s jacket – fluffy? Dressing gown? What? – and as he slides down the tree he pulls him down with him a little roughly, moving on automatic muscle memory. Voice muffled beneath his hand, he says; “Where’s everyone else? Wilson – he was here – the smoke – I can’t-“

There is more barking, and yells, and Dave turning to speak to other people – how can he see through this smoke that burns Klaus’ eyes and his ears and his throat with each breath? - before back to him, hands resting on his neck, fingers crawling up his jaw to force him to look at him. He needs to cover his mouth, Klaus thinks, smoke inhalation is horrible.

The barking dog gets louder and louder, clearer and clearer, as does Dave’s voice.

“We’re home, Klaus, you’re at home,” he tells him. “Remember – Moose, down! – there’s no smoke, you’re in the living room, and – Moose! – and you’re fine, breathe, there’s no smoke.”

Klaus sucks in a breath. It doesn’t sting. Home, and Moose, and the trees that were never there in the first place sink back from his mind’s eye, and he’s aware of the scene around him. He’s against the wall, crouching down with Dave beside him, hand over his face, and his siblings are spread out in his living room. Luther is a few feet away, wide eyed, and Moose is standing in front of Klaus and Dave, tensed like a spring ready to lung, body trembling, lips pulled back and snarling and barking at Luther, snapping any time he even moves an inch closer. Even Lady is tense, her lips pulled back, standing beside Moose, but her growl is drowned out by Moose’s vicious barks.

His mind moves sluggishly. He can still smell vividly the smoke of napalm, feel the phantom heat of nearby flames, but he can clearly see no smoke and no jungle. Moose’s vicious barks block out much else. He lets out a shaky breath, blinking furiously to try and steady himself and force his senses to acknowledge the lack of smoke around him, though it hardly works. Nonetheless, he manages to nod at Dave and reach out a trembling hand to rest on Moose’s back.

“Moose,” he croaks, “Moose, come on, down.” The dog stops barking, but continues to growl, rapidly licking his lips in anxiety. It takes much coaxing from Klaus before he dares to turn and look at his owner, and longer still before he allows himself to relax slightly. He presses himself right up against Klaus, staring at Luther and continuing to lick his lips in obvious discomfort. His body still trembles, but he lets Klaus stroke his hand down him and reassure him.

Dave, reassured that Klaus is aware of everything once more, turns to everyone else, face cold. “I’m willing to offer my help,” he says, standing up. “But if you’re going to come into my home and keep causing problems, I’m going to have to ask you to leave. If you’re willing to calm down and talk about what’s going on without lashing out, then you can stay.”

Luther looks uncomfortable with Dave inserting himself as the authority here, but one more glance at an obviously still angry Moose makes him back down and nod. Allison comes close, tugging Luther away, and Dave turns to a still wide-eyed and faintly trembling Klaus, busying himself by stroking his hand up and down Moose.

“Hey,” he says, voice melting into something soft and gentle. His thumb runs along his cheek, bringing his attention back to him. “Come on, let’s get you up, come on.” He moves his hands to Klaus’ coaxing him onto his feet. Moose immediately stands up, keeping himself flush to Klaus’ side.

“I’m fine,” Klaus mutters, and he swallows, realises one of his hands is still over his mouth, his senses still haywire and confused, but now increasingly more embarrassed that he just had a flashback in front of his siblings. They eye him with wary looks – especially with Moose still by his side, a barrier between them and him – and only Five seems to look as if he might have an idea of what happened.

“Sit down,” says Dave with a pleasant smile. “I’ll get the seats from the table, too. Can I get anyone coffee or tea?”

“Coffee,” says Five. Diego nods his agreement, as does Allison. Luther stays quiet, looking away.

“No problem, I’ll have that up,” he says, and he heads to the joint kitchen with Klaus in tow. He pulls out three mugs, starts up the coffee machine, and then he grabs one of the chairs from the small dining table they have. Klaus reaches out, hands going to one of the chairs, Dave, returning to take another one, stops him.

“Don’t worry about it, Klaus,” he murmurs, lowering his voice so that only Klaus (and maybe Ben, who hasn’t left his side) can hear. “Sit down, I’ll make you tea.”

Klaus shakes his head dismissively. “I’m fine, let me-“

“I’ve got it,” Dave insists, squeezing his arm. He pulls one chair out and the hand on Klaus’ shoulder coaxes him to sit down onto it. Moose immediately sits beside him, slightly on top of his feet. The feeling is grounding.

Dave takes the last couple of chairs into the seating area, and everyone sits down either beside Vanya, on the armchairs or on the chairs Dave has taken out.

“Klaus,” murmurs Ben, still looking confused. “Are you okay? What – what was that, bro?”

Klaus picks at his nails, then moves to stroke Moose. “I’m fine,” he repeats quietly. “Don’t worry. I’ll explain in a minute.”

Ben presses his lips together and nods reluctantly, looking between him and the other siblings but chooses to be quiet and patient. Dave makes the coffee for the three of them, handing out the mugs of coffee to them all. Then he returns to the kitchen, making a tea for himself and Klaus. He holds it out to Klaus, who cups his unsteady hands around it and enjoys the warmth seeping into him.

“Five,” he says after several moments spent staring into his tea. The brunette is slumped slightly in one of the armchairs, sipping his coffee slowly before looking pleased with it. He looks up at Klaus, sits up a little more. “What’s going on?”

Five sighs, taps his fingers against the mug. “We found out the person that caused the apocalypse was one Harold Jenkins. Harold Jenkins also went by Leanord, and he was dating Vanya. Vanya, who we found out has powers. Reginald knew this, but for whatever reason he made Allison rumour Vanya into thinking she was ordinary when we were young, and he put her on pills to suppress her powers. Harold found this out, took away her medication, and tried to turn her against us. There was a fight in which Vanya’s powers got out of control and in which she,” he pauses, tongue dashing out over his lips, “ended up blowing up the moon. Allison managed to subdue her, and before we could be hurt, I managed to travel through time to save us. I was trying to go back to the start of the week, but there was something wrong in time, in a sense. A branch that shouldn’t exist, and it caught my attention. I thought it was the Commission, honestly. But it distracted me and I didn’t have the time or control to ignore it, and it sent us half a mile down the road from here. And now I know that the thing that I saw was you, since you are obviously not meant to be here. Which brings me to my question; how are you here, Klaus?”

Klaus purses his lips, eyebrows furrowing. “We – we would have known if Vanya had powers,” he murmurs, looking at his unconscious sister on the couch.

“We were young,” says Five. “We wouldn’t have remembered.”

Klaus lifts a hand to scratch at his jaw. He can’t imagine it; his memory is most certainly not the best, riddled with gaps and holes undeniably due to his constant drug use and, arguably, from his trauma, and some memories he can’t confirm whether they are altered or even happened at all or if he convinced himself that happened. But surely he would remember something like that. Then again, he doesn’t doubt that making Allison rumour Vanya and suppressing her powers is something that Reginald would do should he be pushed slightly; and if Vanya’s powers are strong enough to bring about the apocalypse, then perhaps something drastic enough could happen to push him to do that.

He looks to Ben, raising an eyebrow. Ben nods his head solemnly.

“It’s true. I saw it, Klaus.”

“What are they?” He asks. Five purses his lips.

“I’m not entirely sure. I’m inclined to believe it is to do with sound and energy, but,” he gestures at Vanya, “we’ve not been able to exactly talk about it. Now, answer my question; how are you in the past, Klaus?”

He takes a long sip of his tea. “What happened to her?” He asks. “Is she alright.”

Five gives him a look. “It isn’t physically possible for you to be in the past, Klaus. We had no idea where you went.” There’s something in Five’s voice that Klaus can’t decipher; as if Five doesn’t really believe whatever his siblings believe, or doesn’t agree with them on that situation. Klaus is curious at it but doesn’t comment on it.

“I told you; I’m great at making things happen,” he repeats.

“Klaus, tell them,” Ben murmurs, soft. “I was waiting for you for hours, and days, and you never came back, and when everything went wrong they were pissed that you weren’t there – they assumed you’d, you know. Run off. But Five didn’t believe you wouldn’t be there in the end. Just tell them.”

Klaus sighs heavily, scrubbing a hand down his face and setting his tea aside. “Look,” he says, “look. Those two people shot up the house, right?”

Five nods, leaning a little closer. Klaus continues.

“And, on their way out, well, the big guy got the upper hand on me and grabbed me, yeah? We had a lovely time together, me, him, and Cha-Cha, lovely conversations, really got to know them rather well, and on my way out I ran into this little briefcase blocking my way. Obviously, I took it – I wasn’t going to stick around, as much as I truly enjoyed my time with them. I got a little curious, opened the thing, and boom – I’m here.”

Five blinks, tipping his head back.

“Wait,” says Diego, eyebrows furrowing. “Hazel and Cha-Cha – they kidnapped you? Is that what you’re saying?”

Klaus hums, looking away. “One might call it that. It wasn’t very consensual, I’ll admit. But I got out! And I think I fucked them over by taking the briefcase; it seems important.”

“Where is it?” Five asks.

“What?”

“The briefcase,” he clarifies with a huff of irritation. “Where have you got it?”

“Could you not have come back?” Diego asks, looking a little hurt and confused. Klaus sighs, looking to a slightly confused looking Dave, probably struggling to adjust to this situation – fair enough, Klaus thinks – but he offers Klaus a reassuring, if a bit worried, smile. Klaus never had told him about the whole kidnapped and tortured thing.

“Well,” he says, “about that. Funny story! You’ll love it, really-“

Klaus.”

Right, right – well, the briefcase got destroyed. Like, obliterated. So, uh, not much of a choice of whether or not I came back.”

Five blinks. “How in the world did you manage to break the damn briefcase?” He asks.

“It wasn’t on purpose!” He says. “It just, got caught in a bit of a situation and my priority was not the damn briefcase.”

Five sighs, looking up at the ceiling as if he might find a higher power residing within it, offering comfort and all of the right answers he wants to hear. Eventually, after several moments, he turns to Klaus and asks, “how long have you been here for, then?”

Klaus blinks, pressing his lips together. “Well,” he says. “That doesn’t really matter.”

Five gives him a look. Klaus holds up his shaking hands in mock surrender.

“Like… a while ago.”

“Klaus,” Luther sighs. Moose perks up at the sound of his voice, lips twitching, tongue dashing out along his lips until Klaus strokes his head. He rolls his eyes, slumping.

“Nineteen-sixty-eight,” he mutters. “I’ve been here, like, two years-ish.”

“Two years,” Diego repeats, eyes wide. “You’ve been stuck here two years?”

Klaus shrugs. “Well, it’s been fine. It’s not like I could do anything to get back, anyway.”

“You were just going to, what, wait around, forget about us?”

“Diego,” Klaus groans. “My dear, sweet, stupid Diego. What else could I do? I couldn’t come back. And it’s not like I’ve just been shooting up for two years.”

Luther snorts. Klaus glares at him, bristling. “Look, as far as I see it, Vanya and Five need some place to rest, you guys can get out of my house and go to a damn motel, alright? I get to decide that.” He curls his hands into fists, jaw clenching.

His siblings give him varying looks between surprise, anger and hurt. Klaus can’t find it in himself to care. This is his house and within the first ten minutes of being here, his siblings have managed to trigger both his PTSD and Moose’s too, probably; upset Lady and Dave, and accuse him of shit. His safe space has been invaded, his life disrupted by chaos and judgement, and he does not want any of it, any of them, here.

“Who’s this?” Diego asks, looking at Dave standing by Klaus’ side, one hand resting on his shoulder.

“This is Dave,” he says, squeezing his hand gently. “He and I live here together. I love him. And that is Moose, and that’s Lady, and we all live here, and you’re in our house.” He needs them to get it. To truly get it. He thinks he is being generous, not kicking all of them out onto the street and making them walk into the city.

Dave squeezes his shoulder gently, ever by his side, and Klaus’ eyes flick back to him to acknowledge him before looking back to his siblings. They look slightly uncomfortable, confused, trying to find their way over this unfamiliar terrain with Klaus.

Five clears his throat. “So, you got sent back in time, and the briefcase destroyed so you couldn’t get back. So, you, what, settled down?” He asks, eyebrows raised. Klaus nods his head, daring him to comment on it.

“Yup,” he says.

“Surprise, surprise,” Diego comments. Klaus glares at him.

“I settled down and got my own damn house, which I get to decide who stays in, brother mine. If you have a problem with me not actually laying in a gutter for once, deal with that yourself.”

“I didn’t say that, bro,” he says. Klaus scoffs, all wound up, leg bouncing.

“No, no. Our house just got shot up and I disappeared that same day and that’s what you assumed, right? That’s what you all assumed.”

“Klaus, don’t be like this,” says Luther, exasperated.

“Don’t be like what, Luther? My usual problematic self?” He huffs, crossing his arms and looking away. “Look, we don’t have space in here for everyone. Dave and I take the bed. We have one spare mattress that Vanya gets. The rest of you can sort out where you’re sleeping. Bathroom’s there,” he points at the door. “And I really advise that you don’t argue. Moose doesn’t like yelling.” He drops his hand to rest on the dog’s head. He stands up abruptly, reaches for the pack of cigarettes and lighter on the table nearby, and then he goes to the backdoor with Moose following him.

Dave stays inside and he can hear him trying to negotiate things, being all polite and peaceful like he always is, rather than following Klaus and Moose outside, so he closes the door, bare feet taking him away from his house. Rain seeps into his clothes, drags his hair down, and he struggles to light a cigarette for a while.

“Hey, bro.”

He turns, looking at Ben and sighing. “Hey,” he utters, offering a small smile. “I hope you know that all of that was directed at my living siblings.”

Ben snorts softly. “Thanks,” he says, then falls silent for a few moments. “I was worried about you, but look at you now. You’re glowing.”

Klaus lets out a small laugh and then takes a drag from his cigarette. “I know. Who would’ve guessed no Hargreeves bullshit and a hunk husband would do wonders for my life.”

Husband?” Echoes Ben, coughing. “What the fuck, Klaus?”

Klaus grins despite his sour mood. He wraps one arm around himself as a chill settles inside him, but he’d prefer the rain and wind rather than the mess inside. “Yup. Husband,” he confirms. “As of today, actually. This morning. We got married. Kind of.”

Ben raises an eyebrow. “What’s that mean?”

Klaus shrugs. “Well, you know, it’s the seventies. Pesky homophobia and all that, so it’s not, like, legal, and we don’t have rings either, but,” he hooks his thumb beneath the chain of Dave’s dog tags. “I have something of his, he has something of mine.” He curls his fingers around the dog tags, a smile lingering on his face. Ben eyes him quietly for a few moments, softening.

“Klaus,” he murmurs, voice wavering, and he turns to stare at his brother with confusion. “That’s so good, Klaus.”

“Why are you upset about it then?”

Ben rolls his eyes at him, scoffing. “I’m not upset about it, dumbass. I’m happy. He seems nice, and you’ve got a house, and you look happy. Genuinely happy.”

Klaus shuffles uncomfortable on the spot, returning his cigarettes briefly to his lips. He thinks, briefly, back to past relationships, and the drugs, and the arguments, and the ill-intentions. Then he thinks about Dave, and he smiles again.

“Yeah, well, you’re probably glad you missed seeing us get to this spot. It was gay as fuck, Ben.”

Ben laughs, shaking his head. “You’re an idiot,” he mutters fondly. “What’s he like, then?”

Klaus smiles, rolling his cigarette between his fingers and tapping aside ash. “He’s the kind of guy that’ll be having an aneurism over the fact I’m standing outside in the rain in nothing but a t-shirt and a pair of budgie smugglers,” he snorts. “He’s… he’s amazing. He’s kind, and he’s gentle, but strong, so strong, Ben, his god damn muscles-“

“I don’t need to know about that bit.”

Klaus snickers lightly, wiggling his eyebrows at him before sighing. “He’s beautiful. Inside and out. And he loves me.”

Ben smiles softly at him, glancing back to the window. Klaus frowns.

“We were going to get drunk and cry together tonight,” he mumbles, throwing his head back and groaning. “My plans are ruined.”

“Why cry?” Ben asks with a snort. Klaus shrugs.

“Why not? Like, happy cry, I think. ‘Cause we just got married. Engaged? Both. It would’ve been nice.” He sighs, hurrying to finish his cigarette and then stamping it out. He turns to glance at the house from over his shoulder, lips pursed. “I guess I ought to go brave everyone else, then.”

“Can’t hide outside forever. But – wait. Earlier; what was that?” He asks, and Klaus hums, raising his eyebrows.

“What was what?”

“Klaus,” he says, sighing. “The – the freak out, or panic attack, whatever.”

Klaus shrugs. “I don’t like being shoved against walls, what can I say?” Ben gives him a look, one to say he knows that something is going on, and he deflates. “Look, I’ll tell you about it later but I – I don’t want to right now, okay?”

Ben hesitates, but nods eventually. “I trust you, Klaus,” he says. “But you know I’m here for you, too.”

Klaus nods. “I know.” With a heavy sigh, Klaus pats Moose and then turns, trudging back towards his house. He wipes his feet before he enters and Moose shakes off, splattering rain along his legs. His siblings are settled; Allison sitting with Vanya’s head on her lap, running her fingers through her hair, and Five is still nursing his coffee. They are all murmuring amongst one another quietly, though stop once Klaus enters, all eyes falling on him.

Klaus ignores them. He goes to the kitchen, finding Dave putting mugs in the sink, and he wraps his arms around him from behind.

“Klaus,” says Dave with a small frown. “You’re soaking.”

“Need help?” He asks, overlooking the statement.

“No, no, it’s fine. You should take a shower, though; warm up.”

“In a minute,” Klaus mumbles. “What’s everyone saying?”

“They’re tired,” says Dave. “Probably all just about to pass out for a while. I showed them where everything is and told them to get us if they need anything.”

Klaus hums, nodding. Reluctantly, he steps back from Dave. “I’m going to take that shower, then,” he says, and without another glance to his siblings he gravitates to the bathroom. He strips, leaving his clothes on the floor, and steps inside the shower, turning it on and standing underneath the spray of water until it quickly turns hot.

He closes his eyes, letting out a small sigh, and tries to process everything.

He is conflicted over the whole Vanya-Allison thing, but he quickly dismisses those thoughts. Reginald was a bastard; he could lock Klaus up in a mausoleum for days at a time, he was certainly capable of making a younger child think that doing that to Vanya was the right thing. It isn’t Allison’s fault, but entirely Reginald’s. It is just hard to wrap his mind around the fact that Vanya, his ordinary little sister, has powers. And can destroy the world.

God, it’s hard to imagine. Nearly impossible, should he not trust Ben’s word.

He cups his hands under the water and notices with bitter humour how the tremor in his hand, though it had never fully left, has increased to what it had been like in the early days of his recovery. The joys of facing his siblings, he thinks, and he drops his hands with a sigh.

He stays in the shower for longer than usual just to delay the chance of having to face his siblings, but eventually he steps out, drying himself off and pulling his bathrobe on before leaving the room. The living room is darker, only the lamps still on, his siblings in varying states of consciousness.

“Well, my dearest siblings, Dave and I and the dogs will be in the bedroom. Do hesitate before coming to get us, please, and sleep tight. I’m certain we have a shit ton to discuss in the morning.” He sighs a little at that, but offers his siblings a smile, ignores Diego’s lingering eyes, and turns to take Moose into the bedroom, closing the door behind him.

Dave and Lady are already in bed. Klaus is eager to clamber in beside Dave, feeling Moose jump up onto the mattress after him and curl up beside him. Dave opens one arm, allowing Klaus to easily crawl beside him, then over him; straddling his hips and laying down on top of him. Dave chuckles slightly, resting a hand on his back while Klaus hides his face in his neck.

“You alright, darlin’?” He asks. Klaus grunts.

“This really isn’t how I saw today going,” he mumbles. “I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be,” he says dismissively. “You can’t help it. We can talk it all out tomorrow once they’ve rested, and we can sort this out. Might have to consider buying a couple of air mattresses or something,” he jokes. Klaus groans.

“We’re kicking them out if they stay longer than tomorrow,” he mutters. He slides slightly so that he’s beside Dave rather than on top of him, though keeps one leg slung over his hips, one arm over his chest. His dog tags are cool against his arm and their presence around Dave’s neck makes Klaus smile slightly. “I just want a nice night with you. We just got, like, engaged and married, and now my siblings have shown up out of nowhere, saying bullshit.” He heaves a heavy sigh. “Not Ben, though. He’s chill.”

“Which one is he?” Dave asks.

“The dead one. I can see him.” He lifts his head, looking around, and sees Ben by the window. He waggles his fingers at his brother before slumping against Dave once more. “He’s fine.”

“Oh,” says Dave. “Of course.”

Klaus chuckles slightly. He shivers when Dave runs a hand down his bare back, fingertips ghosts over his skin gently. “Thank you,” he murmurs. “For being so good.”

“I’m here for you,” Dave tells him. “I think that if we can get through a damn war, we can get through this.”

Klaus snorts. “The Hargreeves are a whole other kind of war,” he mutters. He thinks he hears Ben make a quiet, contemplative noise at the word war, but Klaus isn’t going to humour him and explain that tonight. Instead, he simply intertwines his fingers with Dave’s and listens to Lady’s quiet snorts nearby.

Chapter Text

“I think we ought to go through and see them all.”

Klaus groans, burying his face in his pillow. “I don’t want to,” he moans, trying to tug the duvet over himself, though all it does is make Moose let out a discontented noise, wriggling beside him.

“We can’t hide in this room forever,” Dave says.

“If I stay in here for long enough, they’ll forget about me soon enough,” Klaus returns, only half-joking. Dave squeezes his shoulder lightly.

“I’m hungry though.”

Klaus slaps his hand down on Dave’s stomach lightly. “Suck it up, we’re not going.”

Dave snorts, covering Klaus’ hand with his own and squeezes it. “Please?”

“I’ve told you before, literally just fucking eat me. Death by cannibalism; I’d prefer it over family time.”

“I don’t want to,” whines Dave. “I want to make pancakes, Klaus.”

“God, fine,” Klaus groans dramatically, lifting his face out of the pillow. He shifts on the bed, grumbling all the while, trying his best to manoeuvre around Moose sprawled across half of the bed, and then he finally thrusts his legs out of the duvet with a grimace. He plants his feet on the floor and stares down at his legs with exasperation.

His previously-injured does not approve of the movements he just made to get out of bed and he can tell today it will not get any better. In any normal circumstance, he would remain in bed for the majority of the day, or, at the very least, he would lounge in the living room and use his detested cane to aid him getting around. But this is not his normal circumstance anymore; his siblings lay beyond that door (except for Ben, who is standing by the window, watching him with raised eyebrows) and one thought about them immediately dismisses that thought. If he walked with the bullet sill inside him, he can get through a day without it.

“You okay?” Dave asks in that knowing tone of his, resting a hand on his lower back. Klaus sighs, leans back slightly against his hand. He hears him shuffle, sitting up, and then he shimmies closer to Klaus and presses a kiss to where his shoulder meets his neck. Klaus closes his eyes and tilts his head back.

“I’ll be fine,” he murmurs with a sigh. Dave runs his hand down his arm, continues to pepper his neck and shoulder in gentle kisses.

“Do you want me to get painkillers?”

“The one we have don’t work.”

“I know,” Dave murmurs sadly. “Do you want the-“

“No.” Klaus cuts him off quickly, shaking his head. “I’ll never hear the end of it if they see me with that.”

Dave frowns, squeezing his hand. “Klaus, if you need it, you need it,” he says. “It doesn’t matter what they think.”

Klaus sighs. “Trust me,” he utters. “It’s not that bad anyway, I’ll be fine.” He turns his head, catching Dave’s lips in a swift kiss before he can persist on using it, and then he forces himself up onto his feet, hesitates, then braces himself against the wall and trudges to his dresser. He stares at it for several long moments, tempted to just find his smallest pair of underwear and go out in only that. It’s his house, after all – and, he supposes, everyone besides Five has probably seen him crashed out on a couch in only underwear, so maybe it wouldn’t make them as uncomfortable as he would hope.

With a sigh, he throws on a comfortable, baggy pair of sweatpants with a bright, clashy tie-dye pattern and pulls on a tank top. Dave rolls out of bed, throwing on a similar, though slightly less bright outfit, and the dogs jump off their bed, hurrying to their sides.

“Ready?” Dave asks, throwing a smile to Klaus, who inhales deeply.

“No, but I never will be,” he returns, and then throws open the bedroom door.

The living room is slightly dark, slivers of light creeping in through gaps in the curtains covering the windows and glass door leading to their garden, but it is bright enough that Klaus can make out each form of his siblings, all in varying states of consciousness.

Klaus bypasses them all for the garden door, pulling the curtain open – pausing to blink at the early morning sun staring back at him – and then he slides it open, letting Lady and Moose run out. He leaves it open just enough for them to be able to come back inside, and he follows Dave into the kitchen. The brunette is already pulling out dog food, refilling the dog bowls and giving them fresh water.

“Klaus?” Groans a voice, and Klaus hums.

“We’re making pancakes,” he says, watching Dave pull out the pancake mix. “Are you all hungry?”

“What?”

“Pancakes, Luther. For breakfast. Just because I’m a great host, I’ll make you all some.” Klaus pauses, pursing his lips in thought. “We might need to go grocery shopping later, though. We only have enough for ourselves.”

Dave hums his acknowledgement. “I can go out once everyone’s woken up,” he offers. Klaus smiles at him, hand lingering on his back, and then he gravitates towards the coffee machine, pulling down six mugs and staring sadly at them. Their kitchen isn’t empty – they keep it well-stocked just in case they have a bad streak with their respective aching bodies and can’t leave – but it most certainly is not enough to feed seven people, especially when one of those people is Luther, who eats as if he has never seen food before.

As the coffee brews, Klaus dares to crane his neck to peer at his siblings. Allison is blearily rubbing her eyes, sitting up by Vanya, and Luther is looking groggily down at his hands. Diego is doing that familiar thing of pretending he is wide awake but his body slumps with exhaustion, and Five looks as if he hasn’t slept. Vanya is still unconscious, though a little colour has returned to her previously snow-white skin. Ben is the only one who looks rested, and Ben is dead.

“How much of this should I use?” Dave asks, drawing his attention back to him. Klaus hums, glances once more at his siblings.

“Just use all of it.”

Dave pauses, follows his gaze to the people in their living room, then he nods and gets to work. Klaus busies himself with the coffee, and has to make multiple trips to the living room with the coffee, gritting his teeth as he forces himself not to limp or lean against anything.

Klaus thinks he deserves a damn medal, aside from the ones he already has, sitting hidden inside a box, right beside Dave’s, beneath their bed.

“Wakey wakey, my dear siblings. You said you wanted to talk today; early bird catches the worm, and all that,” he says, voice overly cheerful, and then he hurries back to the kitchen beside Dave.

“How are they looking?” He asks. “They smell good.”

“They’ll be a bit smaller than usual since I’m trying to make enough for all of us, but they’ll be fine.”

“I have endless faith in you, dear,” Klaus says, kissing his shoulder and then sliding the coffee he made for him closer. He perks up at the sound of claws skittering on the floor as Moose and Lady rush in, all hyped and full of energy, and they all but bolt straight to their food to wolf it down.

“We need to teach them manners,” Dave comments. Klaus snorts.

“We can try.”

Klaus helps take the plates of freshly made pancakes into the living room, filling the coffee table, though with his stiff leg and unsteady, aching hands, Dave ends up just quietly urging him to sit down while he does it, also bringing with him a small bottle of honey and another one of syrup.

To say his siblings look surprised is an understatement, though there are certainly no complaints.

“You all look like shit,” says Klaus. Diego scoffs.

“It’s been a busy few days,” his brother mutters, stabbing furiously at the pancake on his plate. Klaus takes a moment to eye his siblings; they truly do look exhausted and he can see new bruises beginning to blossom on their skin now, shadows prominent around their eyes. He grimaces slightly, turns to look down at his own breakfast and picks at it.

“Well, tell me what I’ve missed, then.”

His siblings share a long look with one another, but it is Five who begins to speak.

In the few days they have not seen him, he has missed the revelation of a key figure in the Apocalypse – one Harold Jenkins, who turned out to be Leonard Peabody, who in turn was dating Vanya and likely manipulating her, pitting her against them and trying to hone her powers. Vanya has powers; Reginald knew this and dubbed her powers too powerful and dangerous to even train, and so he had Allison rumour Vanya into believing she was ordinary when they were four, and put her on medication that would suppress her powers. She killed Leonard, blew up the Academy, killed Grace and Pogo and then tried to kill them. Allison managed to stop her but Vanya’s powers lashed out, and Five had to teleport all of them – and, unknowingly Ben too – back through time to save them. Klaus’ presence in this timeline apparently stuck out like a broken thumb and caught his attention and, because of course, they were dropped basically on his door step.

Klaus’ eyes bounce over to Vanya, fingers drumming over his coffee mug. “Is she alright?” He asks. He can’t imagine how she must be feeling; to have her entire life just be a lie, partially in part due to her own siblings, although he doesn’t believe Allison had a choice in the matter or understood what she was doing – and then to have these powers suddenly thrust on her. She must be scared, he thinks. And angry.

He thinks it makes her book all the more ironic, though at the very least it hasn’t been published here. No one knows who the Hargreeves or the Umbrella Academy are.

Five’s eyes fall onto her and he presses his lips together in a tight line. “I think she’s uninjured,” he says. “She might have a problem with her hearing, but otherwise I think she is physically fine. She probably exhausted herself in the theatre. As for how she’ll be when she wakes up… I have no idea.”

Klaus nods his head solemnly. Five blinks, turns to look at him. “What about you, then?” His brother asks. “What have you been doing for two years?” There is a hint of suspicion in his eyes that Klaus doesn’t like, has him looking back down at the pancake Dave made him. He delays his answer by reaching for the syrup on the coffee table, drizzling it over the remainder of his pancake and taking a bite. Five’s gaze on him doesn’t waver.

“Well, you know. A bit of this, a bit of that,” says Klaus, gesturing vaguely with his fork. “Met Dave, had a lot of mind-blowing sex, got a tan for a while that’s pretty much gone now, got two dogs, got invited to a barbeque, actually. Just, you know. The usual.”

Diego snorts. Five quirks an eyebrow at him. “How did you two meet?” He asks, looking between him and Dave, and had anyone else asked the question he might have taken it genuinely. But this is Five, who is a completely different person to the young Five he used to know, and that question is just a subtle one to get more answers from him.

Klaus hums, shrugging. “He saw me fall out of the sky in nothing but a towel and thought I was the sexiest man alive, what can I say? It was love from there.” He flutters his eyelashes at Dave, smiling sweetly. Dave snorts slightly, nudges Klaus’ shoulder and then looks down at his plate.

“How long?” Diego asks. Klaus hums.

“Like, a little under two years, then. And we have this lovely abode, but I’m afraid I’ll have to go buy food and, uh, air mattresses or whatever. Do you have a plan? What are you doing now?”

Five drains the last of his coffee, frowning at it. “Let Dave make the coffee next time,” he requests, setting the cup down. “As of now, we need to see what happens when Vanya wakes up. We’ll need to make sure she’s alright, try and keep her on good terms, try and train her powers, then. I think this place is as good as any to stay. We’ll need to watch for the Commission doing anything; they might come back for us-“

“Wait, hold on a tick – I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but this place isn’t built for eight – seven-“ he gives Ben an apologetic glance, “people. Maybe, you know, renting out a corridor in a motel would be better, or whatever.”

“Are you paying?” Five asks, raising an eyebrow, and Klaus deflates. “We have nowhere else to go, Klaus.”

“I know,” he grumbles, scrubbing a hand down his face. “Whatever, right. Put the dishes in the sink when you’re done, please. Lady and Moose don’t appreciate yelling or fighting, so unless you want to get bitten, then don’t be stupid and go about arguing like always.”

He stands stiffly, bites down on his lip to hide any reaction, then fumbles to carry both his plate and cup into the kitchen. He rinses them off, cleans them quickly before setting them aside to dry. As he’s doing so, he hears them continue to speak.

“Nearly two years, huh? That’s a record.”

“You really sure you know what you’re getting into?”

Klaus freezes. He knows that their relationship is a surprise and even more surprising is how long it has lasted. It has surprised Klaus himself; he wasn’t known for his commitment or his ability or desire to settle down. He heard the word whore on a regular basis, and had heard the word from more than one siblings’ lips during an argument, and he was able to often overlook it; but now, when he had changed, it hurts. Especially when Klaus had felt insecure in their relationship, unsure of how to deal with a serious relationship, expecting Dave to leave at any moment, unused to things like love rather than lust. It took himself a while for Dave to convince him that whether or not he had no partners or a ton, it didn’t change his self-worth or respect.

He knows that Dave could easily get any guy he wants, and that Klaus is far from a catch. But he’d been getting over such insecurities, secure in the idea that Dave truly only had eyes for Klaus, troubled past and trauma all together, but it still hurt.

Normal families were wary of their siblings’ lover, making sure they were a good person for their sibling. But his family felt the need to warn Dave off of Klaus. Warn Dave of what Klaus was like – as if letting Dave know that when he finally decided Klaus was too much, or when Klaus finally, inevitably, hurt him or drove him up the walls too much, and Dave decided to leave, it would be alright and understandable.

“Yes,” says Dave, voice lifting. “I know exactly what kind of person Klaus is, and that’s why I decided to marry him. If it wasn’t for Klaus, I’d be dead multiple times by now, and if it wasn’t for him then I wouldn’t have found the motivation to keep going. Your brother is an amazing person and I don’t want to think of where I’d be without him.”

Klaus turns his head with stinging eyes to look at Dave, softening slightly. Dave’s eyes meet his and he smiles softly, genuinely, and he forces his feet to carry him back to him, ignoring his siblings. Dave holds out a hand and Klaus slips his into it, ducking his head so that Dave can press a chaste kiss to his cheek.

He isn’t the same person his siblings used to know. Whatever they might think of him now doesn’t matter; Dave knows him better than that, Klaus knows himself better than that, now.

“You’re married?” Diego asks, eyebrows raised. Klaus settles onto the couch, pressing up against Dave. He nods his head.

“Yeah. We are,” he confirms bluntly. Diego looks away at his tone.

“Then where are your rings?” Luther asks, eying their naked hands. Klaus covers Dave’s with his own, eyes burning into Luther’s.

“There are no rings, Luther. It’s illegal for us. Just because I don’t have a marriage certificate or a ring doesn’t mean I’m not going to call him my husband.”

Luther pauses, seeming truthfully speechless at this. Whether it is the reminder of their time period and the significant discrimination affecting someone close to him when he does not have to think about or face such things, or maybe just the fact that Klaus has settled down, or both, he can’t be sure.

For several long moments, no one says anything; looking either a mix of sad, confused, guilty or lost. The silence goes on long enough for it to be awkward and so Dave turns to look at Vanya, laid out across the mattress they pulled out for her, a blanket draped over her.

Absently, Five comments; “you know, a same-sex couple got married in nineteen-seventy-one.”

Klaus stares at Five, curious, then turns to Dave, nudging him out of his thoughts. “Want to go riot?” He asks. Dave blinks, then shrugs.

“Sure, why not.”

Klaus grins, squeezing his hands. Although, of course, it would be nice to legally be married, he does not think it matters much; they have a house, they have dogs, they have one another. Klaus will call him his husband whether or not a ring or piece of paper confirms it.

“Well, uh, congrats, bro,” Diego offers awkwardly, and Allison offers an agreeing smile. Klaus looks back down at his and Dave’s hands, shrugging just as awkwardly. “At least one of has been doing something lately.”

Klaus snorts. “I get to live out my housewife dreams,” he purrs, smiling up at Dave.

“So,” Five says, breaking through the moment with a direct tone that makes Klaus quirk an eyebrow. “What’s up with the dog tags?” He asks, a hint of suspicion in his tone. Klaus pauses, eyebrows raised, and his lips part.

“Well,” he says, then falls silent. The idea of telling them he was in the Vietnam war does not feel like it would go down easily, let alone even be believed. “About that…”

There is a quiet, almost unnoticeable moan, but Klaus latches onto the sound. His head snaps towards Vanya, watching her body twitch as she begins to stir.

“We better make sure she’s alright!” He declares, clapping his hands together and standing up, using the arm of the chair to help himself. Five holds up a hand, standing up and staring at his sister with a thoughtful expression. Then he points at Klaus and Allison.

“I think it’d be best if she saw us,” he finally settles on, then glances back at Luther and Diego, not quite with an apologetic expression but he offers a shrug. Settled, the three of them come nearby, and Allison kneels by her head, a hand on her shoulder and a smile on her face. Five kneels at her other side and Klaus hovers a little behind, though still in her line of sight.

Her face pinches, eyebrows furrow, and then her hands twitch and her eyes open. She instantly sees Allison and confusion flickers in her expression, then she looks to the side and sees Five, then she sees Klaus.

“W-what?” She mumbles, voice hoarse. Allison squeezes her shoulder and Klaus smiles, waving a hand.

“Hey, sis.”

Chapter Text

Klaus watches the way Vanya’s face pinches with confusion; her eyebrows knit closer together, her eyes bounce from Five, to Allison, to Klaus, and repeat the cycle, and then beyond, studying the walls around her and the ceiling above her. Her lips part, expel a breath, and form the shape of words that are never spoken.

“Are you okay?” Five asks, voice raised slightly, shifting to move his head right in front of hers. Instantly, her attention snaps back to him and she only looks even more confused, but then her eyes go to Allison, widening slowly, and then down to the bandage wrapped around her neck.

The television screen turns to static, the news turning to the electrical equivalent of someone scrunching up paper, and the floor beneath Klaus begins to shake and tremble like the rise of an earthquake; he has to brace himself, go down to his knees, and place his hands by his sides. He looks around, eyes jumping to the window as if he might be able to see the world quiver, but Five and Allison deem Vanya more important than an impending earthquake.

Something inside of him wants to press himself even closer to the ground, wants to dig his fingers into grass and dirt, to get off the ‘chopper, but he isn’t on a ‘chopper and he hasn’t been in a long time. He swallows heavily, blinks memories away.

“Hey, you’re alright,” says Five, words fast but clear. His hands reach out, hover over their sister for a brief, awkward moment, and then rest on her shoulders. “You’re alright, Vanya, and so is everyone else. We’re all safe; you’re alright.”

“Is that her?” Klaus asks, narrowed gaze turning to Allison who is trying her best to give Vanya a reassuring smile. She glances briefly back at Klaus, giving him an obvious look as if Klaus was there to witness what Vanya’s powers were, and then she nods and turns back to their sister.

Though she had regained some colour to her skin while she was unconscious, she is rapidly growing paler once more, though Klaus thinks that it is an almost unnatural shade. Her hands fumble with the blanket that was draped over her, struggling to push herself upright, and she shrugs Five off and all but ignores him.

Allison makes the decision to lunge forwards, wrapping her arms around Vanya and pulling her into a tight, crushing hug. Her hands splay out on Vanya’s back, keeping her close, and Klaus sees her shoulders begin to shake; she makes near-silent sounds from the back of her mouth as she holds Vanya, lips moving in silent apologies and pleas for forgiveness. Vanya goes tense, eyes wide, body quivering like the string on a bow pulled taut, and then she slumps. Her eyes close and her arms wind around Allison, fingers fisting her shirt desperately, face turning into the crook of her sister’s neck, and she gasps.

Klaus looks at Five, raising his eyebrows. Five remains deadpan, quirks one eyebrow ever so slightly, and then returns to watching their sisters. Neither are willing to interject or break this up, and Klaus notices that what he had initially assumed to be an earthquake has ceased; the ground no longer shakes, and the television has been turned off, presumably by one of their other siblings or Dave.

He notices, too, that Lady and Moose are nowhere to be seen. He is a little worried by that but then he hears a familiar anxious whine come from beyond his closed bedroom door. Dave must have put them there to keep them safe and out of the way; good thing, he thinks, because he has no idea how Vanya would react to having two dogs shoving themselves in her face, but maybe it would work like it does for Klaus and calm her down and ground her.

“Allison,” Vanya whines, voice muffled in her hair, “Allison, I’m sorry, I’m sorry-“

Allison makes a noise, mostly just a heavy breath, but she shakes her head enough for her message to be clear. She pulls back, hands on Vanya’s shoulders, forcing her to look her in the eye as she gives her a tearful smile, mouthing words like it’s fine, I love you, it’s okay.

Vanya exhales slowly, nodding, and then they hug once more. Klaus scratches his jaw and turns to look at his siblings, all on their feet by the living room, watching awkwardly, cautiously.

“Vanya,” says Five, voice surprisingly soft, and he reaches a hand out to touch her arm. “You’re okay, Vanya. So is everyone else. Can you talk to me?”

She pauses, sniffling audibly and still shaking. She moves heavily when she lifts her head, tears trickling slowly down her cheeks, as she turns to look at Five. Her face screws up and she looks around the house; Five moves in a strategic position to block out the rest of their siblings hovering behind them.

“I don’t – I don’t know-“

“That’s okay,” says Five, cutting her off. Klaus isn’t sure if interrupting her is the smartest thing to do, but he wouldn’t interrupt Five either, and so he sits and watches them; watches Five’s face change to something soft and reassuring, watches Allison clutch on to Vanya, holding her close. “Do you remember what happened? Are you alright?”

Vanya blinks. She lifts a hand, wiping at her tears. “I – the theatre,” she says, looking down. “I remember you,” she looks at Allison, “coming in.” A pause. Her eyebrows furrow, head beginning to shake slowly. “I – I know what I did, I remember that, I-“

“It’s okay, just breathe, Vanya. It’s okay,” repeats Five. “We’re all fine, alright? We’ve been worried about you. How are you?”

Vanya exhales slowly and Allison squeezes her shoulders reassuringly. “You’re quiet,” she finally says. “Everything’s quiet.” One of her hands, trembling, rises, fingertips ghosting over her right ear. Five’s eyes glance aside, lips pursing, face twitching before becoming reassuring once more.

“There was a gunshot,” says Five, “near you. Is it just your hearing?” He asks, and Vanya nods.

“I – yes, but Five, what’s happening?” She asks, and then her hands slip to the side, falling right on Klaus. “Klaus?”

He perks up a little, sucking air between his teeth, and he smiles. “Hey, sis,” he says, voice soft, but then he lifts it a little when he remembers what she just mentioned about her hearing. “I’ve been worried about you.” He shuffles a little closer, perching on the edge of the mattress. “I’m sorry I wasn’t there for you, I am, but – well, Five,” he says, throwing his brother a sheepish smile, and Vanya quickly looks to their brother for answers. Five sighs, running a hand through his hair.

“It’s a long story,” he utters, and Vanya raises her eyebrows.

“What happened?” She asks, a little desperate.

“I had to send us back in time to keep us safe,” Five says, words a little slow as he considers carefully what to say. Vanya nods. Allison squeezes her hand. “We’re currently in nineteen-seventy. A night has passed since the theatre.” Again, Vanya nods. “I was trying to send us back to the beginning of the week, but there was an – error, in time. I got drawn to it and we ended up here instead. That error was Klaus – the Commission that was after me got a hold on him, and he accidentally sent himself back in time and couldn’t get back. He’s been stuck here since. We’re currently in his house.”

Five’s lips quirk up a little at the end, implying the joke of Klaus’ house – who would have ever expected that? Klaus to have a home? He understands the joke, of course, but nonetheless he can’t help but feel a little bitter – and Vanya turns to look at Klaus, eyes still wide.

Klaus can only imagine what is going through her head. So he smiles, waving his hand awkwardly. “Wild stuff, I know. Count on me to get thrown back in time, huh? But, uh, yeah. I’m sorry I wasn’t there for you – really, I can’t imagine how you feel, but I’m here for you now, yeah?” He reaches forwards, placing one of his hands over hers, squeezing it gently.

Vanya blinks, then looks down at their hands. Klaus leans forwards, smiling. “On the plus side, I’ve got a whole home for you to crash in, and you get the mattress, huh?”

Vanya doesn’t exactly smile, but her lips briefly twitch upwards and she looks down, as if only just now realising that she is on a mattress. Five leans close, clearing his throat, and asks, “Do you want to see the others?”

It feels a little awkward, considering the others are only Luther and Diego – plus Dave, but he doesn’t think Five is referring to Dave here – with the ever-exception that is Ben. Vanya’s face twists slightly and she tries and fails to look over Five’s shoulders without standing up.

“Are they here?” She asks, lowering her voice. Five nods his head, watching her with a careful expression.

“We’ve all been waiting for you to wake up, Vanya. We’re all worried for you. We’re all here for you, but we’re going at your pace. I think it’d be good if we could all sit down and talk about what happened, and fill you in with what you missed, but if you want to rest for a while, that’s fine,” says Five.

Vanya looks a little taken aback by Five’s words, as if she expected life to go back to what it was, to go back to being ignored and overlooked, but then she presses her lips together in thought, looking between the people around her. There is more emotion in her eyes than Klaus can ever remember seeing there, and he can’t place it. Something akin to guilt, something bitter and old. He feels dread settle in his stomach like lead at the idea of sitting down to a family meeting.

Nonetheless, Vanya nods her head. “I think we should talk,” she murmurs.

They bustle around the living room, trying to fit in the small room. Vanya sits beside Allison, with Five on her other side. Luther perches awkwardly on one of the chairs pulled out from the kitchen, as is Diego, and Klaus settles heavily onto the couch beside Dave, wedged between him and the chair of the arm. Ben hovers behind him, looking rapidly between all of them.

Vanya’s eyes fall on Dave, and that expression of confusion only deepens. Klaus smiles tiredly – his body feels heavy with exhaustion already, a steady ache running through him, making his muscles and bones stiff. The ache in his body makes it difficult to keep up with the whole concept of – time travel, Vietnam, Dave, a normal life, his siblings showing up after Vanya blew the moon up. On a normal day with his body and, especially his leg, aching so, he would still be in bed now, with Dave cuddling him close and offering what comfort he could, or they might be in the bath together, water hot and steaming and Dave’s body firm behind him, hands working shampoo into his hair.

“This is Dave,” he introduces. “My lovely husband whom I met here and now live with. He’s chill.”

“Here to help however I can,” offers Dave, polite and genuine, and it even makes her relax a little, as if having some neutral party that isn’t part of her mess of a family brings her some comfort.

“Oh,” breathes Vanya, nodding her head casually.

“So,” says Five, clearing his throat. “Dad was a cunt.”

Vanya flinches slightly, grimacing. Klaus stops himself from snorting.

“Yeah, we’ve known that for a while,” Diego comments in a mutter, and Allison kicks his shin.

Five glares at Diego for cutting him off. “If we were at the Academy, I might have been able to go through his office and find whatever notes he had hidden away on your powers, but we don’t have that right now.” He pauses, stares at his hands. “We fucked up,” he states, looking at Vanya. “And not just this week; but for a long time.” He pauses again and Klaus wonders if he is going to exclude himself from that – fair enough, he hadn’t been home since he was thirteen and when he was home, before and after his disappearance, he was always kind to Vanya. But he doesn’t point that out and throw everyone else under the bus.

“We can’t make up for what we’ve done, or what we’ve not done. We fucked up. Some more than others,” he gives a pointed look at Luther and although Klaus isn’t particularly surprised at the implication that he has gone and done something, he is curious about that. Luther looks down guiltily, swallowing. “But,” continues Five, “we can be there now. We need to help you with your powers – you need training, and we ought to help you with that.”

Vanya’s eyes widen a little at that. “Training?” She echoes, just as surprised as everyone else. Five nods.

“You’re powerful,” he states. “You need training. We just have to figure out the best way to do that. Again, if I maybe had Dad’s notes, I could have seen how he managed to train you – without that whole mess,” another pointed look at Luther. “The old man was a bastard, but he knew more than us about our powers. More than I think he let on, either.” He sighs at that, staring at his hands, and then looks up to Vanya. “What do you think?”

She pauses. She looks a little pale. Klaus clears his throat, leaning forwards. “I’d hate to, uh, interrupt,” he says, and hears someone snort, “but do you need a drink, or something? You just woke up and we’re kind of springing this on you.”

Vanya looks a little surprised at that, startling, eyes ever wide. She glances down at her hands, cheeks flushing slightly. “That’d be nice,” she murmurs, and Klaus smiles encouragingly at her. He shuffles forwards, moving to stand, but then Dave sets a hand on his shoulder. He gives Klaus a gentle smile, eyes crinkling, urging him back into the seat before looking to Vanya.

“We’ve got whatever you want – tea, coffee, water, fruit juice – it’s a little early for alcohol.”

She doesn’t exactly laugh at that, but her face brightens a little. “Just water, please,” she utters. Dave nods, all soft and encouraging like he always is, and then wanders off to fetch her a glass of water. She takes it with a murmured thanks, hands hugging the glass.

“You missed breakfast,” Klaus adds, “but if you’re hungry then I’m sure we can whip you up something.”

Five looks ready to interrupt him, lips parting, but then he pauses at the way Vanya gives Klaus a small, grateful smile. He presses his lips together, looks down, then up. “Just take your time,” he agrees gently.

Vanya, although slowly, all but downs the water as politely as she can. Five ducks his head, eyebrows raising. “Do you still want to talk?” He asks.

“We should,” she says, nodding and glancing away. Her eyes rarely ever drift to Diego and Luther, he notes.

“Can we just get this out there?” Klaus asks, not really thinking before he opens his mouth. His siblings turn to look at him, partly surprised, partly irritated and partly confused. He sighs, glances up at the ceiling as if it might help organise the mess of his thoughts, and then he looks back down.

“You’re acting like this is an interview, or something. We all fucked up. Dad fucked up the most – who’s surprised? Anybody? No – good. Dad fucked up and we can’t help that we didn’t know, but that doesn’t excuse how we treated you – whether or not you really had powers in the end.” He turns to look at Vanya, leaning forwards in his chair, elbows on his knees, face open and expressive. “And you have all the right to be mad at us for that, and for everything else. But we can’t redo it all. We’re sorry, and we want to make it right. I think if there was a time for us to step up and get our heads out our asses, it’s now, right? Right?” He glances around his siblings, spreading his hands out in front of him.

“Klaus, shockingly, is right,” says Five. Klaus decides not to comment on it and Five continues. “We can work together here, now. We can do better; we can help you.” He pauses, looking thoughtful, and then adds, “help each other. If that’s what you want.”

Vanya looks a little taken aback. Klaus doesn’t blame her; this idea is new territory for all of the Hargreeves. An attempt at bettering themselves and working together; at coming to terms with all of Reginald’s shit and being there for one another – he can’t remember the last time that was the case. He doesn’t think any of them have even come to terms, in a healthy way, with their childhoods, and he doesn’t doubt trying to do so now, with everyone else, will be an ugly thing.

But Klaus has had two years away from them. Two years not spent on the streets, scraping by and blowing all his money on drugs, with an ambulance waiting for him every other week. He has gotten clean, if one doesn’t count weed and an average amount of alcohol – which he certainly doesn’t – and he has cleaned himself up. Dave has given him another chance at a better life, taught him self-love and brought his self-worth up, and though he still has nightmares about the mausoleum and doesn’t leave the house without smoking a joint or two on the way and bringing more with him, too fearful to let the ghosts come back to go out sober, and has the shit from his time in ‘Nam added to that, he has improved in other ways.

Klaus likes to imagine he has always been pretty confident. Strip away drugs and alcohol and he realises how much it was false bravado and a façade for self-defence; something he learned to survive on the streets. He thinks now, though, he might have gained it genuinely, and he pins that on Dave. He can only imagine where he’d be without Dave. Certainly not in a spot to entertain the idea of trying to make amends with his family. He still isn’t entirely sure about that, either, but at least he is willing to give it a shot.

He slumps back against his lover, unable to stop himself from risking a glance up at him and smiling. Dave has certainly changed him for the better, and he doesn’t think he’d change their time together or take it back for anything. And Dave looks down at him, with that same encouraging, proud smile when he knows Klaus is doing well, and Klaus beams.

He can only imagine the hell the coming few days with his siblings will be. Nonetheless, he turns to Vanya and says;

“You like dogs, right? Boy, do I have another surprise for you.”

Chapter Text

Moose and Lady are more than happy to swamp Vanya with affection. They both still shy away from Luther, thanks to his incredible first impression, but they take quickly to Vanya; perhaps they have that kind of doggie sixth sense that lets them know she is in need of their comfort. Either way, Lady jumps right up onto her lap, falling face first with her missing leg leaving her a bit off balance, and Moose skids across the floor and comes to a stop against her knees, tail swishing the floor.

“That’s Lady and Moose,” Klaus says with a grin, watching Vanya go wide-eyed and then smile. One of her hands goes to Moose’s head, stroking between his ears, and the other goes to Lady. “They’re good dogs. We adopted them from a rescue shelter,” he declares, watching Vanya stroke them.

“They’re very nice,” Vanya says, cheeks a little pink.

“They are,” Klaus agrees. Dave shifts a little beside him and he turns to look at him, eyebrows raised.

“I think, now that everyone’s awake, it might be a good idea to head out and get some groceries and supplies,” he says. Klaus pauses, letting his gaze roam over his siblings. He and Dave aren’t exactly struggling for money when it is just the two of them, but nor are they exactly swimming in it. Feeding seven people, plus their dogs, whilst one of those people is Luther whose metabolism burns through food like it is nothing, along with expenses for clothing – Klaus isn’t confident they’ve got enough for it all. They might for now, but the prices will add up and dip into what they set aside for a rainy day.

Dave must be able to read his thoughts, because he leans forwards so he can whisper in his ear. “We’ll be fine for now, we can talk to them about it later.”

Klaus sighs, forcing himself to nod. “Be quick,” he says, smiling and reaching a hand up to tilt his jaw down so he can kiss him. The small touch comforts him, lets some tension seep out of his muscles. Dave smiles at him.

“Of course.” Dave squeezes his shoulder and lingers for a brief moment before standing up, looking around. “Any requests?” He asks. He doesn’t receive a hard answer from anyone so he simply nods, and then he disappears to get changed. He presses a chaste kiss to Klaus’ cheek on his way to the door and Klaus watches their car pull out onto the road and disappear from view.

“Well,” says Klaus, “Dave is the real cook here, but I can whip something edible up for you.” He offers Vanya a smile and then slowly leverages himself up onto his feet, one hand lingering on the arm of the couch, and then he drags himself into the kitchen. He made eggs well enough for Dave that first time, so he decides to just recreate that for Vanya. It doesn’t take him long to do, and soon enough he is handing it over to her and smiling at the slightly shocked look on her face as she murmurs her thanks.

His gaze lingers awkwardly on his siblings and he grimaces, then he turns to his dogs, whistling. “Come on,” he calls, and he stiffly walks over to the backdoor, opening it and stepping outside with his dogs. He leans back against the wall of his house, watching Moose and Lady run outside together.

Ben slides to his side and he offers his brother a smile. “I like Dave,” Ben declares. Klaus quirks an eyebrow.

“Yeah, makes two of us.”

Ben snorts. “I’d hope you do,” he returns, and Klaus grins. “On a real note, though. He looks good for you,” he states. Klaus nods, smiling and turning his gaze back to the dogs.

“Yeah, he is. He’s great.”

“He’s taking it in his stride, huh?”

“He’s probably having a breakdown in the car right now,” Klaus hums. “Can’t imagine how he’s coping with our bullshit.”

“Did you tell him about everything?” He asks. Klaus nods.

“Told him everything. Time traveller séance with super-powered siblings. Told him about the, uh. You know. That place.” He shifts uncomfortably, pressing his lips together. Ben quirks an eyebrow and Klaus smiles, albeit a bit tense. “He’s good, Ben. Amazing.”

Ben’s smile turns soft. “I’m glad,” he says. “Also, fuck the others for what they said. Two years is great, Klaus.”

“Aww, I knew there was a reason you were my favourite,” Klaus coos with a smile. “I did miss you, by the way, but Dave’s kept me alive.”

Ben snorts a little. “Someone needs to,” he says. “You really lucked out. Our week’s been – well, shit, really.”

“I can imagine. I’ve had a lovely time,” he says, glossing easily over gunshots and bloodshed. Ben laughs slightly.

“Think Five’s suspicious of you. Probably thinks you’ve gone and altered the course of history, or something.”

“Well…”

“Klaus-“

“I kid, I kid,” he says, waving him off. “But I did tell Dave I wrote him Somebody To Love.”

“Of course you did.”

“In my defence, I haven’t specifically sought out Freddie Mercury. That’s self-control, Ben. You ought to be proud of me.”

“I’m incredibly proud of you.”

Klaus grins. He hears footsteps and turns to watch as Diego approaches, sticking his head out the door hesitantly. Klaus’ smile falters, turns more casual, and he quirks an eyebrow; a subtle invitation for Diego to step outside and talk.

“Hey, bro,” he says. Klaus hums.

“Hey to you, too. Long time no see. For me, anyway.” Diego snorts at that, lingering on the spot and watching Lady chase Moose through the grass.

“Apparently so,” he says. Klaus hums once more. “Two years?”

“Yup,” says Klaus, popping the p. He ignores the way Diego looks him up and down before sighing.

“It’s just weird to think that two years have passed for you,” he says. Finally, Klaus looks at him.

“I guess,” he agrees, shrugging. “A whole two years. You can get a lot done in two years, you know.”

“Apparently so,” he repeats, raising an eyebrow at Klaus. “A husband and a house and two dogs.”

“Yup.”

Diego stares at him for a few moments. “Well, I’m happy to see it.”

Klaus pauses at that, turning back to look at him again. Diego raises his eyebrow at him, as if daring him to challenge what he said. Instead, Klaus simply nods his head and looks away again. “You know this means I’m officially you and Luther’s big brother,” he decides to say, lips curling upwards into a smug smirk. Diego scoffs.

“It means you’re going to go grey first.”

Klaus lifts a hand to skate over his hair, gasping. “I’d rock silver hair, I’ll have you know. You’re just jealous that I’m still so hot for my age.”

Diego snorts, rolling his eyes. “You’ve still got Five to beat, though.”

“Five looks thirteen, he doesn’t count.”

“Are you going to tell him that?”

Klaus turns his head to look through the door and back into the living room, eyes falling on their brother in question. As if sensing someone looking at him, Five lifts his head and his eyes meet Klaus’ dead-on, an unnerving chill to them. Then he quirks an eyebrow. Klaus turns back to Diego.

“If you hold him down so I get a head-start, I will.”

Diego gives him a look. “Yeah right. Bastard’s as slippery as a snake.”

“With the face of a little puppy.”

“I could kill the both of you with a single teaspoon.”

Klaus startles at Five’s voice, suddenly right behind him, and so does Diego. Klaus spins around on his stiff legs, lips spreading in a wide smile. “Oh, hey! Five! What a coincidence, seeing you here.”

Five rolls his eyes. “Idiots. Why are you talking about me?”

“Oh!” Klaus claps his hands together. “Well, technically I’m two years older now, so I’m the big brother. And you look like a child, so you don’t count.”

Five stares at him for several moments, eyes burning into him. “Where do you keep your teaspoons?”

“You stay away from my teaspoons, you murdering maniac,” Klaus replies, and Five once more rolls his eyes.

“I’m older than all of you. You’re all children and you all act it.” And, with a flash, Five disappears back into the living room.

“That went well,” Klaus whistles, looking back to Diego.

“Surprisingly.”

Klaus snickers slightly, folding his arms over his chest and shifting his weight from foot to foot, trying to relieve the ache in his leg. He pauses, pressing his lips together, and then looks to Diego again.

“Would you believe me if I told you I’m basically sober, too?”

Diego pauses, turning to look at Klaus with a shocked expression that then turns pleasant, and then confused. “What do you mean by basically, though?”

Klaus shrugs, watching Lady snap playfully at Moose’s heels. “Like, I am sober. But Dave and I still drink together, or smoke weed. But, like, normal people amounts. Plus, it’s the seventies – so yeah, normal people amounts. But other than that – nuh uh.”

Diego snorts slightly at that before turning serious. His eyes look a little shadowed with memories and he shifts, arms folding over his chest, and scratches his jaw. His eyes finally turn back to Klaus, looking him up and down. “Swear?”

Klaus sticks out his pinky finger. “Promise.”

Diego doesn’t lock the promise with his own pinky, but he sees his shoulders slump slightly. “Dave that good for you, huh?”

Klaus smiles gently at that, dropping his hand by his side and nodding. “Yeah, yeah. He’s great.”

He curls his toes in the grass beneath him, gaze returning to his dogs, and then he sighs and whistles, catching their attention. “Come on, inside!” He hollers, gesturing to the door, and the dogs hurry back over, skidding inside. “Not being a great host if I just stand outside all day, I guess,” he says to Diego, and he turns to follow his dogs inside when his brother reaches out, grabbing his arm.

“Hey, seriously,” Diego says, dropping his voice, and his face is serious as he stares at Klaus. “I’m happy to hear that – all of it.”

Klaus pauses, as if shocked by his words, and then he allows himself to smile gently, turning his hand and patting Diego’s arms. “Thanks, bro.”

Diego follows him inside, closing the door behind them, and Klaus wanders over to the kitchen to retrieve his cigarettes. He props himself up against the counter, tugging one out and holding it between his lips and lighting it.

“You shouldn’t smoke inside, Klaus,” says Luther, and Klaus’ eyes snap to him. He takes a deep drag of his cigarette, the tip smouldering brightly, and then he plucks it between his fingers and exhales smoke.

“You know what I think we need?” Klaus asks, looking amongst his siblings. “Rules. We need some ground rules if you’re going to be staying here. One; this is Klaus’ home, Klaus makes the rules. Two; Klaus gets to smoke inside his own home. Three; this is Klaus’ home. Don’t forget that.” The last bit comes out a little bitter, and he flicks ash off the tip of his cigarette into a nearby ash tray, then takes another drag.

“Was the third person really necessary?” Five asks. Klaus glares half-heartedly at him.

“Rule nummer vier; no questioning Klaus.”

Five scoffs, sinking back into his seat, and Klaus finishes his cigarette and stubs it out. Part of him is tempted to just light up another one to spite his siblings, but there are few remaining in the packet and he doesn’t want to end up running out of them.

He remains against the counter, supporting his weight with it, and he stares at his siblings. He wants to talk to Five about this situation – figures Five will be the most mature about it, even if the old man is a bastard at heart, but if they are going to take up permanent residence in his house then he really needs to sort it out. He and Dave don’t have an endless supply of money like the Academy does to support all of them, nor do they even truly have the proper space for everyone.

He’ll probably have to think about moving aside all the furniture in the living room and just covering the floor in their mattresses. It’ll be a pain for himself to have to manoeuvre around or over the mattresses, especially with his leg acting up, but they have nowhere else to put his siblings. Moose and Lady might only get even more unsettled by moving the place about as well, and there’s the whole situation of having to train Vanya’s powers, and talking to Ben, and proving his sobriety, and the whole veteran situation, and–

Klaus is so tired.

He mentally notes all of the things he needs to sort out, shoving them aside for later. He hasn’t been awake for long but between the pain in his leg and exerting his energy dealing with his siblings, he’s exhausted. He misses Dave. He longs for the typical lazy-day in bed they would have, or the cuddles in the bath, and the feeling of not having to hide a part of himself or feel bad about himself or walk on his tip toes in his own home.

He sighs, scrubbing a hand down his face, and decides to just remain in the kitchen. He has found a good position that puts less strain on his leg, at least, and he makes it his goal to never move an inch from there.

“You good, Klaus?” Asks Ben, drifting from their siblings’ side to his. “You look – well, exhausted.”

Klaus snorts lightly. “Yeah, can you blame me?” He utters beneath his breath. Ben grimaces slightly.

“Not really, I guess.”

“Exactly.”

He turns slightly, fumbling to open his fridge and reach inside for a bottle of water, as if occupying his hands might make the time fly by and bring Dave back to him quicker. It doesn’t, and he keeps his gaze on the water, listening to the idle chatter of his siblings until the front door groans open.

His head snaps up just as fast as the dogs’ and he watches Dave stagger inside, arms full. He sets aside his water, shoving off of the counter and forcing his stiff legs to walk forwards. He greets Dave by resting a hand on arm and pressing a kiss to his cheek, and then he peers out the front door and to their truck.

“Need help?” He asks, stepping back so Dave can come in and set down the two thick bags in his arms; inflatable mattresses. Dave sets a hand on Klaus’ arm, eyebrows raised.

“You should sit down, Klaus,” he murmurs gently, knowingly, and Klaus pouts. “It’s fine; I’ve only got another double one, it’s the most they had. We can probably get another single one somewhere else, but-“

“I’ll sleep on the couch,” says Five, waving a hand. “Don’t worry about it.”

Klaus raises an eyebrow. “That sorts that, then. No taking that back.”

He scurries past Dave to go out to their truck, reaching in past the grocery bags to fumble with the other inflatable mattresses. Eventually, though, he gives up and goes to take some of the grocery bags.

Dave comes out, reaching for the mattress. “Should we not give the kid the mattress?” He asks in a murmur, eyes flicking back to the door.

“He’s fifty-eight, remember. He’ll kick you if you call him a kid,” Klaus tells him, nudging his side with his elbow and offering a grin at the look on Dave’s face; struggling to wrap his mind around it before simply nodding. “Welcome to my family, babe. I told you it’s a shit-show. Also,” he glances at the door over his shoulder, lowering his voice. “Don’t, uh, don’t mention Ben. The others – I told you, they never believed me about him, they’ll throw a hissy fit if they think I’m still lying about that.”

Dave frowns lightly. “But you’re not lying.”

“They think so,” sighs Klaus, shrugging. “It’s fine – I can’t blame them, but, you know. Just save us some drama.”

Dave nods. “I won’t say anything you don’t want me to,” he says, and Klaus grins, pecking his cheek.

“Love you,” he coos, and then he turns, dragging some groceries back inside to the kitchen. “This food is for all of us,” he says. “Not to be gone within a day, if you can help yourselves, please and thank you.”

He claps his hands together, turning around to face his siblings. “Now, if you don’t mind, Dave and I are taking a nap.”

“We are?”

“We are.” Klaus snatches Dave’s hands as he all but weakly storms to his bedroom, deciding to ignore the muttering of his siblings, and goes straight into his bedroom, closing the door behind him and Dave.

Dave snorts a little at Klaus’ actions, watching him fall backwards onto their bed with a groan. “Family time tuckered you out?”

“You don’t even know the half of it,” Klaus moans woefully, and then he reaches his hands up, grabbing at the air like a child to coax Dave closer. The brunette abides, sliding close and slipping his hands into Klaus’. The bed dips as he sits down next to him, taking one hand back to run through Klaus’ hair.

“I ought to start with those mattresses.”

“It’s the morning, we’ve got plenty of time until they need to use them,” Klaus says. He lifts his head slightly when he sees movement by the door, only to watch Ben walk through it. Klaus decides not to alert Dave to his presence – Ben just slides to the window anyway, probably just in search of Klaus’ presence after being apart so long, like they aren’t used to.

Dave hums. “I guess you’re right.”

“Of course I’m right.”

“I just feel like I’m being rude to them.”

“You should be rude to them; they’re dicks, like, ninety percent of the time.”

Dave snorts, twirling his hair, and Klaus curls closer to him. He rests his head on Dave’s stomach, draping one arm over his hips, and if he wasn’t so tense then he might be able to just fall back to sleep with the consistent rhythm of Dave playing with his hair. As it was, though, he couldn’t get his body to really relax, his leg too hot and stiff and sore to allow such a thing.

Dave must notice it, though, for he presses a kiss to Klaus’ head and then slips out from under him. “Lay back,” he says, urging Klaus to do so, and then his hands go to the waistband of his sweatpants. Klaus quirks an eyebrow.

“With my family next door?” He muses mischievously, lifting his hips to help Dave pull the sweatpants off, peeling them down his legs and setting them aside on the bed. “Not that I’m saying no or anything, but Dave, you rascal.”

“I’m not sucking your dick,” Dave snorts, and Klaus whines, flopping back onto the bed.

“I’m just saying, this is a very suggestive position, David,” Klaus says, looking at the way Dave sits between his legs and then leans over him. Dave chuckles, pressing a kiss to his cheek.

“Just relax, alright? Just relax.”

Klaus hums, watching Dave lean back, and then his hands work up from his foot; massaging his skin and muscle, following up his calve and then his thigh. Klaus can’t help but hiss, though he doesn’t ask him to stop, and eventually he finds himself relaxing more. Dave manages to bleed some tension out of his tightly-wound and trembling muscles, allowing him to melt back into the bed. For a moment, he can forget about his siblings outside in the living room, focusing on only Dave and his hands, and the feather-light kiss he presses over the scar on his thigh.

His eyelids feel heavy and this time he doesn’t find it so hard to drift back to sleep.

Chapter Text

Klaus wakes up with blankets tucked around him and a hand playing with his hair, another one gently running over his aching thigh.

Dave is curled around him, his chest pressed to Klaus’ back, and he has pulled their bed covers over them. Klaus considers, for a moment, simply closing his eyes and falling back to sleep. He doesn’t think it’d be hard, either – not with the soothing way Dave gently twirls his hair around his fingers and how he draws patterns on his thigh with his fingertips. He forces himself to keep his eyes open, staring at the wall opposite them for several moments, then dipping to the bedside table across from him, the picture frame settled on top displaying a grainy photo of he, Dave and their squad in ‘Nam, and then, with a soft sigh, he shuffles slightly.

He reaches a hand down to cover Dave’s on his thigh, curling his fingers around his hand. Dave squeezes his fingers gently and ducks his head into the crook of Klaus’ neck, pecking him with a kiss. “Mornin’,” he says and Klaus can hear the smile in his voice, and he smiles too.

“Morning,” he croaks. “Is it?”

Dave hums. “It’s been just about half an hour. I was going to wake you up after an hour.”

Klaus brings his hand up, forcing Dave to curl his arm around him and he revels in the embrace, smile widening as Dave squeezes him against his chest softly. “Do you feel any better?” He asks.

“A bit,” he hums, and he turns around slowly, settling his forehead against Dave’s chest. “Thank you.”

“You looked like you could do with a nap,” Dave comments. Klaus lets out a sigh, revelling briefly in the heat Dave offers him when he leans his body closer.

“I’m exhausted.”

Dave cups his cheek, thumb running along his cheekbone. “You can go back to sleep,” he says. Klaus purses his lips, looking up at Dave. Then a tired, mischievous smirk tugs his lips.

“Your breath stinks.”

Dave snorts, rolling his eyes. “Says you, smoker,” he replies, and Klaus grins, ducking his head down again to his chest. He winds his arms around his torso, tugging him flush against his chest.

“We shouldn’t leave the dogs out with them for so long,” Klaus murmurs.

“We should probably check on them.”

Klaus groans quietly. “If you’re tired, though, I can go deal with everything and let you rest a while longer.”

Dragging a hand down his face. “I’ll put pants on,” he groans, forcing himself to part from Dave and sit up in bed. Dave smiles encouragingly, squeezing his cheek.

“I’ll make you some coffee,” he says, and leaves him with a kiss on his forehead. He closes the door as he goes, leaving Klaus to brace himself to get out of bed. He shimmies to the edge of it, tugging his covers off his legs and swinging his legs over the edge.

“Klaus?”

He lifts his head, looking up at Ben. His brother has a concerned look on his face, his eyebrows furrowed and eyes curious as he takes a few steps away from his spot by the window and closer to Klaus, who in turn offers him a wave. “Hey, bro.”

“Klaus? What,” Ben pauses, swallowing. “What happened to your leg?”

Klaus freezes with his hands braced on the mattress to push himself upright. He looks down, eyes falling on the soft pink scarring on his thigh, visible to all and very obvious against his pale skin. Gingerly, he runs his fingers lightly over it, then looks back up at Ben with a sheepish smile, caught red-handed. “Oh, you know. Things.”

“Klaus, that – that’s a gunshot,” Ben states.

“So you did pay attention in class?”

“Klaus,” his brother hisses, pinching the bridge of his nose in the face of Klaus’ stubborn attempts at deflection. “You got shot – what the hell happened?”

Klaus heaves a sigh only somewhat dramatically. He knows Ben only cares, really only ever has cared about him, but a lifetime of never truly approaching his problems, let alone addressing them with his family or seeking their comfort makes him now awkward.

“I just, you know. Got shot. A lot of people have been shot, you know. Compared to being kidnapped by two time-travelling assassins, this isn’t really that big a deal. I – it just happened, and it’s all fine now, I… it just hurts, sometimes. Don’t know why. Some days are worse than others. I’m alright though, trust me. Dave is great – you saw that.”

Ben holds his gaze as if he might be able to stare right past his eyes and into his mind to figure out what actually happened. Then, keeping his gaze steady, though it turns slightly apologetic, he asks, “what’s the picture on your nightstand?”

Klaus blinks. His eyes snap to the framed picture of him and Dave standing with the rest of their squad, army fatigues on, guns either in their hands or propped against their legs, squinting against the sun and smiling at the camera. He stares at it for several moments, looking over the familiar faces of his friends, some who he knows didn’t make it, some who he has no idea how they are doing now. He turns back to face Ben.

“What picture?”

Ben rolls his eyes. He looks up as if asking some higher power for patience, and then he looks back to his brother. “The Vietnam war,” he states. “Did – were you part of that? That’s how you got shot? Klaus – please, just talk to me.”

Scrubbing his hands down his face, Klaus groans. “Alright, alright, don’t get your panties in a twist. Look, when I – I landed, or whatever, it wasn’t in America. I dropped right into a soldier’s tent in ‘Nam, and they just – swept me right up. I didn’t know what the fuck I was supposed to do, but now there was a gun in my hand and we were retreating from the front lines. I met Dave there. The briefcase got destroyed in action, and-“ He pauses to inhale shakily, eyes bouncing to the door. He can hear the indistinct murmur of his siblings and Dave chatting, so he assumes they can’t hear him and aren’t eavesdropping.

“Dave and I got injured when we went back to the front lines, and we got discharged. That’s it.”

Ben stares at him, his expression something Klaus can’t quite decipher. Then he says, “Jesus, Klaus.”

“Hey, I didn’t mean to get dropped into the war!” He exclaims in defence, hands up. “But I’m alive! And have a house! So it all worked out for the best, really. Plus, now I know how to shoot, how cool is that? Fucking badass, right? You know it is, don’t lie.”

“Of course you would manage that,” Ben snorts. Klaus grins.

“Getting sent to a war before I was born is something I’d do, isn’t it?”

He snickers slightly, as does Ben, and then, begrudgingly, he begins to stand up, swiping his pants off the floor and tugging them back on, tying them around his slender hips. Ben slides over to the door and asks, “are you going to tell them? The others?”

Klaus hums. “Maybe, maybe not.”

Klaus.”

“I can’t predict the future, Benny. Who knows what’ll happen. Chill, it’ll be fine.” And, putting their conversation to a stop, Klaus opens the door and shuffles back into the living room.

The inflatable beds have all been blown up with the exception of the double one, which is only half done with Diego leaning over it. Klaus blinks.

“You know we could have, like, done it with something else? You didn’t need to blow it up yourself.”

Diego glares at him but doesn’t stop. Klaus shrugs. “Suit yourself, brother mine.” He takes a moment to look around, trying to mentally draw out a path he can walk through without standing on any of the beds and potentially fucking up his balance and, in turn, his leg. He manages to map out a route and shuffles through it until he can reach Dave, sitting on an armchair with coffee in his hand. Without hesitation, Klaus sits himself on Dave’s lap, wrapping his arms around him in a quick embrace, and he pecks his cheek.

He straddles his lap for a few moments longer, content to drag it out until it might make his siblings uncomfortable, and only then does he slide to the side, wedging himself between Dave’s lap and the armrest, his legs hooked over Dave’s. He turns his head to look at his siblings and offers a casual wave.

“Hope you all missed me,” he says, and then he scoops the cup of coffee from Dave’s hand to take a sip before handing it back. “Did I miss much?”

“Vanya’s taking a nap,” Five comments, and sure enough when Klaus looks over to the original mattress they pulled out for her, she is there, sound asleep. “She’s still drained from using her powers. Likely will be for a few days. We’re going to start training her when she feels better.”

Klaus hums. “Cool. So, when are you guys getting a job?”

Ben snorts. Klaus maintains a pleasant expression, a soft smile on his face as he looks over his siblings.

“What?” Luther asks. Klaus rolls his eyes.

“A job, big guy. You know, like retail, or something. We don’t have Daddy’s unlimited money to survive off of here, and there is now seven people here. Unless you’re planning to pull another time-travel stint and go back to the future.”

“Would you not come with us?” Diego asks, eyebrows furrowing. Klaus blinks, unsure how to respond for a moment at his slip-up.

“That’s not what I said,” he replies, a tad defensively.

“It’s what you implied,” Diego states. “Would you not come back with us?”

“I’m telling you all to get a job, stay on topic.”

“Klaus-“

“You could probably join the police again, redo that whole rodeo. Or take up pottery? That could be relaxing. Sword-smithing, perhaps?”

“No, no, he’s right, Klaus,” Luther chimes in. “What are you trying to say?”

“What am I trying to say? I’m trying to say that you need a job, bud. Pull your weight, you know. Oh! You and Diego could do boxing! You’d be a wonder at that, Luther. Just – wack – one shot and they’re out!”

Allison waves her hand to get his attention, gesturing between Luther and Diego as if to emphasise their point, and Klaus somehow cringes more at her silent insistence more than he does with his aforementioned brothers. Five simply sits quiet, almost looking vaguely amused at Klaus’ attempts at deflection.

“You’re all reaching for something that isn’t there! Christ, alright, fine, I’ll apply to jobs for you – put you have to do what I apply you for,” Klaus huffs, folding his arms over his chest. “Luther, you’re a ballet teacher, suck it up.”

“He’s right,” says Five, and Klaus gets ready to make some snarky comment to him as well even if it might result in a sudden death by teaspoon. “Or, in some way. We ought to talk about that anyway.”

“What?” Luther asks, eyebrows raising.

“We ought to figure out going back. Klaus might have been able to lay low and miraculously not fuck up history and time, but all six of us being here after averting the apocalypse is going to be a mess, to put it lightly. We can’t risk messing with the original course of history and time – it could have catastrophic effects on our original timeline, in the future. The Commission is also more likely to come for us quicker and harder here. Ideally, I only wanted to go back as far as the Apocalypse week. The events throughout that weak are easily changeable and could only have a positive effect on the future, obviously, since we aren’t destroying the planet. It’s important that we return to that timeline as soon as we can.”

Everyone listens intently as Five speaks, occasionally pausing over a word before seemingly ‘dumbing it down’ for them. He raises an eyebrow at them all, waiting for their response.

“How long do you think, then?” Luther asks.

“A few days, I guess. This might be a good place to let Vanya rest, and I’ll need to recover my strength to be able to travel through time with all of us once more. Ideally, less than a week,” Five eventually decides.

That static ringing in his ears, typical after being in or near choppers or spending too long under a rain of gunfire and grenade and artillery fire, returns to his ears as his siblings talk.

They will leave in a week. They are assuming he will go with them. And he will, won’t he? He is supposed to.

And yet, he doesn’t want to. He doesn’t want to leave this home, doesn’t want to leave this life he has made.

Ben looks knowingly at him, but he says nothing.

“Klaus?”

He blinks, looking at Diego whose eyes burn into him, and he smiles, forced and fake like he is used to.

“I’m craving waffles,” he states. “Can’t think on an empty tummy, you know.”

Dave squeezes his hand. His eyes are worried when he looks at him, fearful, and so Klaus covers his hand with his and shakes his head no. He is not leaving Dave, he is not leaving their dogs, he is not leaving this life behind for siblings that think he is a liar and nothing more than a pathetic junkie and will never see him as anything more than that. He is not uprooting his life when it has only just gotten good, became something worth living.

Ben can stay here with him, and the others can leave them all behind. Why do his siblings lecture him about getting his shit together only to try and tear it from him when he does? He won’t let them.

His cravings for drugs have been virtually non-existent since moving here with Dave. With no ghosts to torment him and no desire to let time slip away from him, nothing to run from or be numb to, he has not felt the need to be high further than sharing a couple joints with Dave to relax every so often.

And yet now he suddenly longs for the way an intense high would make reality slip away from him like receding waves, might make it crumble apart around him and numb him to his siblings and all of their judgement and doubt and their expectations. They expect him to be the weak link; to continuously let them down time and time again, to lie and to steal, and yet they also expect him to get his shit together and get better, and they also expect him to drop his life when they say so, all while telling him how untrustworthy and weak he is.

Klaus exhales slowly, peeling himself apart from Dave. He trudges to the kitchen to swipe his cigarettes back up and then he walks to the backdoor, stepping out into his garden once more. He tugs out a cigarette, holds it between his lips and lights it.

“You don’t want to go.”

Klaus’ eyes bounce back to Ben. He snorts. “Obviously not,” he mutters bitterly. “Why would I?”

Ben doesn’t have a response to that. He presses his lips together and looks out over the fields around their house, his hands stuffed into the pockets of his leather jacket. “Saying that’s gonna be a shit show.”

“I know,” Klaus mutters, taking a deeper drag of his cigarette as if the hot burn in his chest might somehow fix everything and make him relax. He exhales, purses his lips and teeters on the balls of his feet. “I got better, Ben,” he finally says. “I’m happy. I’m happy right here. They always tell me to get my shit together, and then I go and get my shit together and they want to ruin it. There are no ghosts here, besides you, and I don’t want to get properly high. I don’t care about drugs anymore. Dave loves me, and I love him, and I sleep well, and I don’t want to go back.”

Ben gives him a sad look. “I know, Klaus. And I’m proud of you, but Five can bring you back home-“

“This is my home!” Klaus declares, gesturing wildly to the house behind him. “This is my home right here. Why don’t I get to keep it? Why do I have to drop everything that I’ve got, that I’ve worked for?”

Ben looks down at his feet, shoulders slumping. “I’m sorry, Klaus. It’s not me you’re going to have to talk to about that, though.”

Klaus groans, shaking his head and looking away. He stares ahead of himself and then finishes his cigarette and puts it out in the ashtray sitting on the small table he has outside. He lingers outside, reluctant to go back in and face his family.

It just isn’t fair, he thinks. He can recount hundreds of times his siblings have lectured him about quitting drugs and getting his life under control. They’ve told him how he can’t keep running from his problems, how the only thing he is going to achieve on the path he was on is an early death, that he can’t cheat his way through life. He needs to get clean, he needs to get off the streets, he needs to go into education or get a job – do something with his life. They’ve chastised him for his lying, his stealing, for being an attention-seeker.

And now he has gotten clean, he has a home. He served in a war for months and he takes care of his pets. And they will call him selfish for choosing this life over the one of being in the place where his father tormented him, being surrounded by their judgement and distrust and the ghosts, though they will never understand nor try to understand the ghosts.

He has to swipe his hands over his eyes to push back his tears of frustration. He huffs, swallows down his emotions, and turns back to his house. He can’t run from this now, but he dreads what is to come over the next few days. He forces himself to look around himself, at the fields and his house, and his dogs sitting by the door staring at him from the inside, and Dave sipping his coffee. He isn’t giving it all up, and he won’t let it be taken from him either.

He braces himself as if he might be able to prepare himself for the next few days, and then he opens the door, smiling at his dogs, and walks inside.

Chapter Text

Klaus is going insane. It’s that simple. Completely and utterly insane. The last shreds of his sanity are gone now.

Three days. It has been three days since his siblings crashed into his life. Two days since he felt comfortable, confident, or mentally stable. His siblings just have that effect on him, he supposes.

They haven’t made a whole lot of progress. Five has started helping Vanya with her training, Allison is often resting, tired easily and sore from her throat injury, whilst Luther and Diego pretty much potter around restlessly. Today, Diego decided to start going on morning jogs. Luther looked like he wanted to do the same, only he couldn’t do it with Diego – they have yet to rekindle their relationship enough to do activities like that together, so he goes out for a run at a different time. But really, there is nothing for them to actually do other than laze around.

Except, time for Mrs Richards’ barbeque. They did briefly consider backing out to stay at home, but Klaus decides that there is absolutely no way in hell is he not seizing this opportunity to get away from his family and to his normal life again.

“We’re going,” he says to Dave, sitting in their bedroom. “No way in hell that we aren’t. Pick a shirt out, we’re going.”

Dave did pick out an outfit. Of course he looked wonderful in it, but Klaus thinks that they need to widen the horizons of his wardrobe now; the dress pants and button up combo is wonderful, polite and casual all at the same time, but painfully boring, especially when standing next to Klaus who is wearing plum-purple bell-bottoms, a half-unbuttoned yellow paisley button-up that hung loose off his shoulders and that he had put into a French-tuck in his pants, with boots that gave him an inch over Dave.

“Blue is nice on you, I’m not saying it’s not, it just – it could do with a bit of a pattern! Y’know? And like, you could unbutton it a bit, too. A few buttons. That’d look real nice – or just wear it open.”

“Klaus, it’s a barbeque.”

Klaus throws his hands up. “No excuse to slack on the outfit, Dave. Now come on.” He holds his hand out and Dave takes it, helping him up onto his feet and steadying him.

“You look like someone trying too hard to be from the seventies.”

“I’m embracing the time period.”

“Said as if you haven’t worn this outfit before in the two-thousands.”

Klaus gives him a grin, bumping his hip with his own, and then he runs his hands through his hair to mess it up and turned to the door. Just before he opens it, Dave nudgedshim softly, and when Klaus turns back Dave is holding his cane, eyebrows raised.

“Leave it,” Klaus says tensely.

“It’s been sore lately,” Dave states. “And we’re going to be out for a while.”

“But-“

“Fuck them, if they say anything about it. If you need it, Klaus, you need it.”

Klaus sighs, slumping. “Fine. But you’re carrying it out.”

Dave gives a victorious smile, happy to carry it out as they leave the safety of the living room.

“We’re going out,” announces Klaus, looking at his siblings sprawled around his house. “Don’t miss us too much, we’ll be back soon. Moose is in charge; don’t go in my bedroom; don’t eat the koogle or banana flips or I will kick you out. Au revoir!” He heads towards the door after ensuring Moose and Lady’s food and water bowls are full, and Dave follows behind.

“What do you mean you’re leaving?” Asks Luther, standing up.

“We have plans,” drawls Klaus. “Before you lot even came. So, we’re going out. I trust you not to burn my house down or kill one another.”

Without giving them a chance to question him, Klaus steps outside and closes the door after Dave (and Ben) have joined him.

“So, where are we going?” Asks Ben, sitting between him and Dave in the car.

“Barbeque,” says Klaus, tugging out his packet of cigarettes and pulling out one of the pre-rolled joints he put in there; he balances it between his lips as he lights it, and then he rolls down the window by his side. It isn’t a long drive at all to Mrs Richard’s, hardly much time for him to finish the joint either; they park and he stands outside the car, finishing it and offering a drag to Dave, before they go up to the front door.

He can hear talking coming from ‘round the back of the little cottage and he wonders how many other people are here.

“Should we go around?” Dave wonders, passing the cane off to Klaus who accepts it now that he is out of sight of his siblings, save Ben, but Ben is always an exception to that. Dave ducks to the car briefly, pulling out the Tupperware box full of cookies they’d baked before coming to not arrive empty-handed.

“Probably, I guess,” Klaus murmurs, not seeing anyone inside compared to the chatter coming from the back garden, and so together they wander around the house.

Sure enough, there is a large set up outside; a long table surrounded by chairs, another sitting area on the back patio, a paddling pool for some young kids, along with a nearby swing-set and small slide which the children all clamber over. There is a barbeque with a man attending to it, watching burgers and hot dogs carefully cook on it, and sitting at the long table is Kimberley herself. She sees them come around and she perks up, sets down the glass she was holding and rises to her feet, hurrying over.

“Oh good, you made it!” She exclaims, giving the both of them a hug. “And, my god, look at those pants – I love them!” She says to Klaus, who beams, twisting one leg to watch the way the pant flares by his ankle.

“They’re great, aren’t they?” He asks, and Kimberley nods her head.

“Come on, I’ll introduce you to everyone! And oh – you brought cookies, the kids’ll have them gone in a flash.”

Dave snickers softly, and they both follow Kimberley over to where everyone else is sitting.

Her children, one son and two daughters, are there – the son, Adam, attending to the barbeque, although he waves over to them – and her children have brought their children with them, too. There are aunts and uncles and family friends, and Klaus is kind of taken aback by the sheer size of the family and how cheerful and kind they all are. Perhaps that’s just a testament to his own shitty family and childhood, though.

Sure enough, the tub of cookies is stolen swiftly and hidden away with the kids, with Jasper trying his hardest to coax even a crumb from them. When it proves unsuccessful, he moves on to sitting pleasantly by Adam at the barbeque, looking up at it where the food sizzles.

Everyone is nice though – incredibly nice, and funny. Klaus and Dave melt into the conversation easily, get familiar with everyone as if they’ve known each other for years already. There is brief chatter about the war, too, which makes them a little tense, considering the general public opinion on the war is not the best, but there is nothing rude or accusatory said to either Klaus or Dave; they told a couple stories in fact. Good ones, of course; ones of nights in bars and boyish spats and competitions between their squad with an air of camaraderie that gains them some laughs at the table, but thankfully the topic doesn’t stay on the war for too long – especially not when the children come over once the food is cooked.

“Would you be annoyed if I moved in here?” Klaus asks, clutching a burger in one hand and settling the other on his stomach. “This is, like, gourmet cuisine!” He nudges Dave with a grin. “True Gordon Ramsay work.”

Dave rolls his eyes at the mention of Gordon Ramsay, snickering softly.

“Who’s Gordon Ramsay?” Asks Jacqueline, one of Kimberley’s daughters.

“God, don’t get him started,” groans Dave, and Klaus sets his elbows on the table and leans forwards.

“Well, you see, Gordon Ramsay is this super famous chef from the future. He’s supposed to be, like, the best chef; ergo, why your stuff is Gordon Ramsay level food.”

He grins at the confused looks he receives, odd chuckles, and Dave waves a hand dismissively.

“Army joke,” he says. “Ignore him. He likes to confuse people.”

There is a following few laughs and understanding sighs, and Klaus snickers slightly. “Seriously, though, this is amazing! Incredible!”

Adam chuckles, cheeks warm at Klaus’ enthusiastic praise. “Family skill,” he says, nodding at Kimberley. “Learned from the best.”

“Oh, she’s blessed us with her cooking too, she truly is the best,” Klaus agreed seriously, nodding his head. Kimberley snorted, waving a hand dismissively.

“Oh, stop,” she says, grinning in a way that tells him not to stop. “I need to do something out here, and you could do with a bit of meat on your bones.”

Klaus rests his cheek on his hands. “I’m full of muscle,” he says. “A huge slab of muscle here.”

There is soft laughter around them following that and Klaus grins. “Although, I’m never going to say no to any of your food. Like, ever.”

“I’m just going to have to fatten you up,” jokes Kimberley.

“You’re going to have to take care of me,” he says to Dave. “I’ll be immobile.”

Dave snorts softly, prodding him in the side. “I’ve seen you sleep for eighteen hours,” he says. “You already are.”

Klaus gasps, placing a hand over his chest and feigning hurt. “I was tired!” He defends. “I needed my beauty sleep.”

Snickers echo around the table and Klaus grins with them, nudging Dave in good spirit before returning to his food. The kids hurried to finish their food as quickly as possible so they could continue to run around the garden and play, and Klaus spared them fond glances and couldn’t help but remember running around the Academy whenever Reginald went out on meetings by himself, playing tag with his siblings that Five always won, and hide and seek that Klaus always lost because he kept telling the people around him to stop talking or they’d give his spot away – only, they weren’t there to anyone else and he gave himself away.

Now look at them all, he thinks, chewing harshly on a hot dog. Back to a time before they were even born because their ‘powerless’ sister caused the apocalypse and almost killed everyone.

Klaus would drink to that.

There was beer, and some wine and cider around, but Dave needed to drive them back and Klaus was already high, and he wasn’t sure coming back drunk would go over well with his siblings. A shame, really, because he missed the nights he and Dave would get drunk and just be stupid together. Drunk Dave was adorable. Dancing with Drunk Dave while he himself was drunk too, was just lovely; a perfect way to spend his night.

Maybe he’d have to kick his siblings out for a night, at least, so they could do just that.

Or fuck it, maybe his siblings could just suck it up and realise that Klaus was happy and living his best life while they were all moping around depressingly. It’d be fun to do that, sort of – show them exactly how happy Klaus was, living here without them. Perfectly content.

Time passed and Klaus was incredibly grateful that they did decide to actually come. He is able to let go of days of tension and stress, forget it all for a while and just enjoy the evening. He gets on like a house on fire with Jacqueline, finds himself bonding with her as they share a cigarette around the other side of the house, out of sight of the children. She is witty and quick on her toes, and Klaus decides that she is incredible and he will have to invite her over to meet Moose and Lady. Plus, she has twin sons that are three years old and are incredibly adorable.

It is getting dark by the time they finally get to leaving; with their arms full of Tupperware leftovers, of course.

“Sticking true to your promise to fatten me up, huh?” Klaus observes, staring down at the food in his arms. “I am going to go and eat all of this as soon as I get in the car, you know.”

Kimberley snorts, squeezing his arm. “Good,” she says. “My job is done, then.”

Klaus chuckles, doing his best to give her – and the others – a hug goodbye with his arms full, and leaning slightly on his cane since maybe, maybe, Dave had been right about his leg inevitably hurting after being out and about all day. He hopes his chest is doing alright, but he hasn’t noticed him frowning and touching it like he does when it is acting up.

“We’ll set something up at ours one day,” he promises. “Though I can’t guarantee such good cooking.”

“No one can match to her,” says Jacqueline, and Klaus nods his head in eager agreement.

“You’re definitely right about that,” he hums. “But alas, we’ll try our hardest.”

Klaus wiggles his fingers in a wave out the car window, a stack of leftovers balanced on his lap as Dave drives.

“That was lovely,” Klaus comments happily, resting one hand on Dave’s thigh. Dave covers the hand with one of his own, interlocking their fingers and squeezing it gently.

“Yeah, it was,” he agrees, smiling. “They’re all lovely. And god, we’re never going hungry again, huh?”

Klaus scoffs, staring at the mountain of food they’ve been supplied. “God, no, never.”

It is… a little disheartening, honestly, to have to go back home to his siblings. It dampens his mood significantly, but it is getting late and he is tired and so he hopes he and Dave can just check on their dogs and then head to bed together and he can end the night on a positive note.

Dave helps him get out the car, balancing all the food and the cane that he shoves off on his lover as soon as they approach the door. He can make it to his bedroom without keeling over, after all, but both Dave and Ben frown at him for refusing the help it offers.

Klaus shoves the door open and steps inside.

His siblings are all sitting around his coffee table – reading?

There are things spread out over the table anyway, and he has a joke ready on the tip of his tongue about not knowing Diego could read, but it dies when he sees their guilty expressions and when he realises what is on the table.

Save for a few photos, and their dog tags, all of their army stuff was shoved aside in a box underneath their bed. They even have a gun there, mainly due to being used to having one and the comfort it offers them since they’ve both grown to think of it as a form of protection, although they’ve never actually touched it since.

They have good memories with their squad, of course, and Klaus will always remember all of them, but they have photos of them. They don’t need every single reminder of the war plastered around every room, staring them down, reminding them of everything else about the war. About all of the bad things that they remember every night and whenever something pops loudly or with the smell of smoke or with a single word.

So, to walk into his home and see it all laid out on the table – the gun, the photos, newspaper clippings, patches, their jackets – is. A shock to him, and he staggers as if someone has just slapped him across the face.

The siblings stare at him and Dave for several moments, caught red-handed, and if Allison could talk she would probably have already started explaining in a way to try and keep the peace, and Klaus-

He fucking can’t.

“What the fuck,” he blurts, shock bleeding into a sudden roar of anger and he almost drops the Tupperware boxes of food; he sets them down on the floor, and hardly even looks at Moose when the dog hurries over to excitedly welcome him back home.

Klaus has never really been an angry person. He has a tendency of making a joke out of everything, considering nothing is serious whatsoever when he is high and he is typically always high, or he’ll simply brush things off, or he’ll just be self-depreciating; but never angry.

Since the war, though, he’s found he’s a lot more angry than before. Ben would probably be able to list ten psychology books that link the connection to ten months in a violent war zone, watching people die and nearly dying himself, to his irritability and anger, but Ben is quiet now.

“Klaus,” says Luther, and he recognises that tone – as if Luther is about to get mad at him, as if Klaus is in the wrong, ready to belittle his side of the story.

“No, no, no,” Klaus cuts off, waving his hand and hobbling forwards. “What the fuck is this? We kept that under our damn bed in a box. You went rifling through our room. We go out for a few hours and you just leap on the chance to invade our privacy,” he states, staring down at the photos on the table with a dry throat and a heart pounding rapidly beneath his ribs.

Not all of the photos there are nice photos. Some don’t even have them in it, or aren’t focused specifically on he and Dave. Some were taken while they were on active duty. Some show scenes ten minutes before bloodshed and death and fire. There is a reason those photos stayed in a box beneath their bed.

“Klaus,” says Vanya, voice gentle, looking guilty. “We didn’t – mean it like that-“

“Why the hell would you look under our bed?” He scoffs, gritting his teeth, and beside him Moose whines in agitation at seeing Klaus so wound up, trying to figure out what is wrong. Klaus can’t bring himself to comfort or reassure the dog.

“You were hiding stuff from us,” states Five, staring challengingly at him. “We can’t afford to keep secrets here, Klaus.”

Klaus snorts, running his hands through his hair stressfully. He dashes forwards, trembling hands hurriedly trying to gather all the things on the table together, haphazardly shoving them back into the box, but he keeps looking at the photos and he remembers them, he remembers the things he saw, the things he did, and he can smell the napalm even here.

“Klaus,” utters Dave, gentle, but Klaus shakes his head.

“You had a gun under your bed, Klaus,” states Luther, and Klaus rolls his eyes, wipes at his nose.

“Of course I did, it’s America, everyone has a gun,” he dismisses, shoving another newspaper clipping in the box. He reaches forwards, snatches the gun from its place leaned up against the table, and it is cool to the touch, weighs comfortably in his palm, a familiar feeling, and he remembers aiming it, remembers loading it, remembers pulling the trigger-

Dave wrenches the gun from his grasp, throws it aside onto the couch, and grabs his arms, holding him in place. “You need to calm down, Klaus,” he says, voice level. He’s probably been a bit of a whirlwind, tearing through the living room, looking so intense he probably ought to be foaming at the mouth any moment too, but he just – the emotions and sensations he feels are overwhelming now, a mix of anger and frustration and anxiety that he just keeps making worse for himself, with the photos and the gun, but he suddenly can’t stop.

He tries to wrench himself away from Dave, skin electric at the touch, but Dave holds him in place and his voice cuts through the sound of gunshots and explosions ringing in his ears. “Calm down, Hargreeves,” he repeats, voice steady and strong. Klaus takes in a shuddering breath that wheezes slightly as he does so, and Dave nods encouragingly, keeps talking and calms down the whirlwind in his head until he has calmed down a bit; enough to gather himself.

Dave runs his hands down his arms to his hands, bringing feeling back to his fingers, and Moose whines by his legs, nudging him.

Well, Klaus thinks sardonically, so much for ending the night on a high note, especially with the knowledge that his siblings aren’t about to let him out of this without some answers.

Chapter Text

Klaus braces himself against Dave, who continues to hold him, murmuring soft words to calm him down. He still feels horribly worked up, frustration and upset simmering just beneath his skin, but he’s composed enough to not end up either throwing himself into a flashback or punching the nearest person, or wall. 

He scrubs his hands down his face, shoulders hunched, and lets Dave pull him against his chest in a reassuring embrace. He hopes he is glaring at everyone over his shoulder. He really hopes he is.

“I’m okay,” he murmurs, listening to the steady beat of his heart beneath his ear. “I’m alright now.”

Dave strokes his arms, pulling back just enough to look at him. “You sure?”

“Mhmm,” Klaus hums, rubbing his cheeks. “I’m good now.” 

Dave squeezes his shoulder gently, and then he nods to the round table by the kitchen. “Go sit down, I’ll put all of this away.”

He gives a pointed look at his silent siblings and then pushes through to the coffee table, beginning to sweep up the remaining stuff there, putting it all in the box and firmly closing the lid, and then he grabs the gun in his other hand and takes it all back to their bedroom. 

Klaus does as advised, going to take a seat with a little space between he and his siblings. Still distressed, Moose hurries after him, sitting down by his feet and resting his head on Klaus’ thighs, blinking up at him. After a moment, Lady totters over too and jumps up, balancing against his leg. He offers the dogs a tense smile, reaching out to pet the both of them, much to their pleasure.

“Klaus,” says one of his siblings, and he doesn’t even glance at them, purposefully ignoring them.

“Klaus,” says another one, “we need to talk-“

Emerging from the bedroom and crossing over to Klaus, Dave says, “no. You need to listen.”

It’s his This Is An Order voice #2, the one he used to use on the fresh meat sent up to them that liked to talk bad about people, be it their own people back home, the innocent Vietnamese women in the bars, or other members of their squad, that Dave would never tolerate. One would think he was a sergeant when he went off like that. 

He stands by Klaus, partly in front of him as if shielding him, and he crosses his arms over his chest. “Klaus has told me about you. I understand that you don’t get on well, but when you needed help here Klaus let you in. He gave you shelter, and food, and safety, and in return he only asked for respect, since he knows you wouldn’t give him even that naturally-“

“You think you know our brother better than us?” Diego asks, sounding defensive as he rises to his feet, stupidly short temper getting the better of him. Dave tips his head to the side and says,

“Yes. I do know him better than you.”

Diego bristles, taking a few steps forwards, but Allison snatches his wrist and holds him in place. 

“I know about the Academy. I know where you came from. I know about the drugs, too. I know Klaus stole. I know he lied. I also know why he did all of that, and I know that if you listened to him, you would know that too, but it’s rather telling that you don’t. I know that Klaus made the new recruits relax and smile when they were sent up and afraid, and that he worked to keep everyone’s mood up when everything was hell out there. I know that Klaus picks up languages like it’s his power, and he’s a natural at making the locals like him, and that he risked his life over and over again for me, and for everyone in our squad, and that he’d do it all again. I know that Klaus is a talented artist, and he has a good heart, and despite the fact that you came in here and accused him of shit within half an hour of seeing him, he let you stay.”

“Shit,” murmurs Ben beside him. “He’s going off.”

Klaus would respond, but his chest feels oddly warm and tight. 

“Do you know that?” Dave asks rhetorically. “Do you know any of that? Or do you only know that he did drugs?”

His siblings stare at Dave in various states ranging from guilt and shame to anger and denial, and Klaus reaches one hand up to slip into Dave’s. He turns, expression softening when he looks at Klaus, and he squeezes his hand gently before turning back to his siblings.

“He asked you not to go into our bedroom. You not only went in there but went as far to look under our bed. I understand that you’re in a bad situation right now, but you’ve had days to talk to Klaus. How can you expect him to trust you when you won’t give him a single reason to?” Dave shakes his head softly, pulling Disapproving Look #3. 

Dave leans back against the table, sighing. “You want answers, right? You could have had them days ago if you just asked. Klaus and I served in the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Vietnam. We were there for little under a year before getting discharged. That – briefcase dropped Klaus right into our tent in ‘Nam, and we thought he was a prisoner of war that managed to escape and he stuck around after that. We were on the front lines; we saw action. And everything you saw in that box was private to us.”

“There were purple hearts in there,” states Five, looking between the two of them. “Why were you discharged?”

“You know why,” mutters Klaus, shaking his head. Dave squeezes his hand once more.

“We were injured,” he says. “Hence the purple hearts, but I’m going to assume you already know that.”

Five purses his lips, and asks, “how bad?”

“I would have died if not for Klaus,” he answers confidently. “Klaus was the one who got us to help.”

His siblings fall quiet, taking in everything Dave has said, and Klaus just clings on to his hand. Dave never fails to make him emotional when he talks about Klaus in such high regards.

“Why didn’t you tell us?” Asks Luther, and before Klaus can even think of answering, Dave does.

“Why should he have?” He asks. “The first day you came here you triggered him and accused him of abandoning you all. You’re not entitled to know everything about Klaus’ life when you wouldn’t have even believed him if he told you.”

Luther falters slightly and Dave simply nods, reinforcing it. 

“Look, I get that you’re in a bad situation, but you’re only here right now because Klaus is letting you stay, but if I have to listen to you disrespect him again, I’m going to have to insist that you leave and go somewhere else. It’s been two years. Klaus has changed. I’m not saying you don’t care about him, but I am saying you’re very shit at showing it and you aren’t willing to understand him. If you’re staying in his house, that needs to change, or you’re leaving.”

Seeming satisfied to end on that note, Dave coaxes Klaus up onto his feet and nudges him to the bedroom. It’s probably best to let them stew on that overnight anyway, and Klaus would rather rest before dealing with the fallout over everything Dave has just said. Once Lady has trotted into the bedroom, they close the door and shut themselves off from everyone else, save for Ben, of course.

“You didn’t have to do that,” Klaus murmurs, sitting on the edge of the bed as Dave closes the curtains over the window and then lights the candle on the bedside table.

“Yes, I did,” argues Dave, coming close to him. “Because I wasn’t going to listen to them shit on you even more than they already have when you’re such a good person.”

Klaus stares down at his hands, cheeks flushed, and Dave takes his hands and runs his thumbs over his knuckles. He sits down beside him, moves one hand to cup his jaw gently. “I love you, and I’m fed up with listening to them say bad things about you.”

Klaus smiles weakly. “I did say they were annoying to deal with.”

Dave snorts. “Yeah, you did.”

“Are we going to kick them out next time they say some shit?”

“Oh, yeah.”

Klaus grins and then tilts his head forwards. Dave meets him with a gentle kiss, smiling against his lips, and then he stands up, heading to the dresser to pull out a pair of sweatpants. He chucks a pair at Klaus, who catches them and tosses them aside. Dave quirks an eyebrow and Klaus shrugs, leaning back on the bed. “It’s hot,” he defends innocently.

“I like him.”

Klaus startles slightly, watching Ben, who had previously been quiet, head sticking out of the bedroom door to spy on their siblings, as he comes back into the bedroom. “Dave, I mean.”

“Obviously,” Klaus drawls. 

“And he’s right. What he said; he’s right.”

Klaus gives Ben a smile. “Yeah, I guess so.”

“Klaus?” Asks Dave, looking a little confused, so Klaus nods his head to where he knows Dave can’t see Ben.

“Ben,” he shrugs. “He says he likes you and that you’re right with what you said.”

“Oh,” Dave glances at where Ben is, eyes just slightly off of him, so Ben steps into his line of sight and waves, not respecting a response. “He’s here?”

“He’s always here.”

“I can hear him.”

“He also says he can hear you.”

Dave’s cheeks flush a little and he looks down at the sweatpants in his hands briefly. “Ah, of course – sorry, I-“

“It’s fine,” Klaus cuts off, waving a hand. “He’s messing. Except with the you’re nice and right part. You have the Ben stamp of approval. I think you’re the first one to get it.”

“Lucky me,” he hums. “Is he… are you gonna… stay?” He asks awkwardly, holding up the sweatpants, and Ben smirks.

“Tell him I’m not leaving,” he says, looking to Klaus, who flips him off.

“Fuck off, perv. Go watch our siblings sleep.”

Ben moans his protest, slumping, but Klaus catches him give an amused smirk before he floats through the bedroom door.

“He’s gone,” he says to Dave, who slumps slightly in relief. Klaus rises to his feet, beginning to tug his own clothes off before he clambers under the bed covers and is quickly joined first by Dave, then by Lady, and finally by Moose, as is nightly tradition.

Klaus wraps his arms around Dave, resting his head on his shoulder, and he watches shadows dance across the wall as the candle on the bedside table flickers. Dave’s fingers absentmindedly play with his hair, twirling it and running through it.

“You saved me too, you know,” he murmurs, tilting his head to look up at Dave. He hums, raising an eyebrow.

“Is that so?”

“Mhmm,” says Klaus, resting his head back down on his shoulder. “Like that time you shoved me into a bush.” 

Dave snorts, chest bouncing. “You forgot the fact that it was because we were getting shot at.”

Klaus smirks softly; drums his fingers along Dave’s stomach. “Guess there was that, too. But, like, seriously-“

“Seriously?”

“Ha-ha. Yes, seriously,” he drawls, deadpan, and Dave grins at him. “You did. You do. Thank you.”

Dave’s hand slides from the back of his head to his cheek, his thumb stroking along his cheekbone. “Because I love you. And you should give yourself some credit; you’re better than you think you are, Klaus.”

Klaus’ cheeks flush warm and he stares determinedly at the wall until Dave tilts his head up and forces him to meet his gaze. His eyes are warm in the gentle candlelight, shadowed slightly, and he looks at Klaus as if he is a sight to behold; his eyes soft, flicking around his face before settling back on his eyes, and he runs his thumb along the length of his cheekbone.

Klaus lifts his head, dipping forwards to kiss him again, and then he sinks back down and Dave wraps an arm around him. “Sleep well, dear,” he murmurs, squeezing him gently before he too sinks down into bed.


### 


Klaus wakes up to Dave shimmying away from him in bed, slipping his arm out from underneath him. He narrows his eyes against the dim light in their bedroom that seems as bright as the sun to his sleep-heavy eyes, and he props himself up one elbow, upsetting Moose as he does so.

“Where you goin’?” He asks, frowning. He brings one hand to rub at his eyes in a poor attempt to wake himself up a little more, and also an attempt to focus his vision better to stare at Dave’s back as he sits on the edge of the bed, legs swung over. And then he hears it.

“Oh, shit,” he says, sleep forgotten as he sits up and shimmies to Dave’s side, resting one hand on his shoulder and leaning forwards to get a look at his face. “Is it pain,” he holds up one finger, “or breathing?” He holds up two fingers. Dave shakes his head.

“’s fine,” he wheezes, which in itself just contradicts the statement. Dave rubs a hand over his chest. “Just – nightmare, set me off.”

“Still sounds like you can’t breathe for shit,” Klaus states, swinging his own legs slowly over the edge of the bed. “Hold on, hold on.” He stands up and then scurries out of their bedroom, heading for the medicine cabinet in a familiar routine. He fishes around until his hand closes over the one inhaler they have, and then he trudges back through to his bedroom, ignoring his disgruntled siblings that he woke up, asking him what he is doing.

He hands the inhaler off to Dave and then sets a hand on his shoulder, sitting down beside him. Idly, he draws little circles on his shoulder in an attempt at offering some comfort as Dave focuses on his breathing, and when Dave sets the inhaler on the bedside table, Klaus reaches back to prop Dave’s pillows up against the headboard so he can sit upright.

“I’m okay,” he says, leaning back slowly, and Klaus focuses instead on listening to the quiet wheeze to his inhales. It’s still there, albeit less noticeable than before. 

“Too good to be true,” Klaus says. “You were having too many good days. We should’ve known.”

Dave snorts a little, offering Klaus a small smile, and Klaus squeezes his shoulder gently. “Think you can go back to sleep?” He asks, and Dave shrugs. 

“Probably. Should try and sleep up like this, though, it helps.”

Klaus hums, shuffling closer so that he can run his fingers through Dave’s hair, pushing it back from his face. Imitating him from earlier, he says; “sleep well, dear.”

Dave huffs a little and reaches out, finding Klaus’ other hand on the bedsheets and lifting it to press a gentle kiss to his knuckles. In turn, Klaus interlocks their fingers and squeezes his hand, and he continues to play with his hair gently until Dave relaxes and falls back to sleep. 

“Chest, huh?” Muses Ben, sounding sympathetic, and Klaus follows his gaze to the obvious scar on Dave’s chest. He ghosts his fingertips over the raised skin.

“Yeah,” he murmurs, and then pulls his hand back when the sensation of blood on his fingers feels a little too vivid. “It was a close one. Had to try and get him back myself.”

“And that’s when you got shot in the leg?” 

“Look at you, being a detective. Bingo. Can you guess the hand?” Klaus waves his scarred hand in the air, giving Ben a half-amused look before returning his attention back to Dave. There are gaps in the curtains that let the early-morning sun filter in, and it spreads out in the room just enough so that he can make out the creases in his skin and the slope of his cheeks, the gap between his lips and as he breathes, and the way his eyelashes fan out over his skin. He looks peaceful in his sleep like this, and Klaus hopes that maybe holding hands like this gives him some comfort, even while asleep. He hopes so. In an attempt to reinforce it, Klaus runs his fingers once more through his unruly hair, and then trails his fingertips down the side of his face to rest on his jaw. 

He likes the little moments like these. Dave looks beautiful while they are star-gazing on a humid night in Vietnam, cheeks flushed with whiskey, freckles blooming over his skin, smoke tumbling past his lips. But Dave looks equally as beautiful here, lax with sleep, hair a mess, chest scarred, snoring quietly. It almost thrills him to know that only he gets to see him like this. He gets to see Dave when he is out in the garden, throwing a ball for Lady and Moose, and then chasing after them, laughing with unrestrained happiness; he gets to see Dave in the early morning, slipping out of bed before Klaus, humming along to a radio as he makes breakfast, and the little eager grin he wears when he carries it in to surprise Klaus in bed with it. It feels intimate and like a little secret between the two of them, and he sets aside all the memories with care, burning them into his mind so he can revisit them a thousand times in the future.

He presses a kiss to the tip of his nose, grinning as he does so, and then he runs his nails along the shaved side of his head absently. Dave’s nose twitches in his sleep and Klaus’ grin widens.

“I didn’t notice the hand-“

“Jesus-“

Klaus exhales slowly, pulling his hand from Dave’s head to rest it over his chest, staring at Ben with wide eyes. “Warn a guy!”

“I didn’t leave!” Ben exclaims, spreading his hands out in front of him. “How did you forget I was here in two seconds?”

Klaus hums, a smug look on his face as he turns to look at Dave. “He’s just so handsome,” he coos, and Ben gags. Klaus smiles contently, cupping his hand around Dave’s neck gently, thumb running along his jaw. “Don’t you think I scored the jackpot?”

Ben, again, gags. Klaus pouts at him, hugging himself closer to Dave, though still mindful of not waking him up. “Don’t insult my husband or I’ll ignore you on our honeymoon.”

“I’m invited?”

“I already took into account that you stalk me everywhere,” Klaus drawls dryly and Ben smirks at him.

“Alright, fine. I like him. He’s good.”

“Hell yeah he is,” Klaus agrees, looking back down at him and smiling. “Think I can convince him to shout at everyone a little more? Or, no – he needs to rest. But after that.”

Ben snorts. “I don’t think you’d need to convince him,” he says. “You’ve still got a while before you need to get up, though. You should try and get some rest too.”

Klaus sighs. He’s probably right, of course, so he shifts slightly and turns to look at the bed and – Moose has stretched out over his side of it. Lady is settled in the gap between his legs and Dave’s, and so he is effectively pinned into the position he is in.

“You could just move them,” Ben states.

“And wake them up?” Klaus says, disgusted. “Never.”

“So dramatic,” his brother chirps, and Klaus grins. 

“Entirely justified, though. It’s a sin to wake up a sleeping dog, and I’m not that bad.” He heaves a sigh, looks at where Dave has slumped against his shoulder. “Guess I’m doomed. I can never move again. I accept it.” He turns his head, presses a kiss to the top of Dave’s head and shifts minutely, getting a fraction more comfortable, and happily resigns himself to playing with Dave’s hair until he has to get up and face the rest of the day.

He finds himself entirely content like this, even when Moose kicks him in his sleep as if he’s dreaming of chasing a rabbit. 

He sighs fondly when Moose does it again, and he looks over the sleeping dogs and sleeping Dave, and smiles a little. Family, he thinks, and his gaze drifts to Ben by the window, watching the sun rise. He could be happy like this, and he is perfectly content to savour this peaceful moment with them all. 

Chapter Text

Klaus tries to draw out his time resting with Dave that morning for as long as he possibly can, but eventually he accepts that he has to get up; if not for himself or for facing his siblings, both Lady and Moose have begun to get a little restless. Carefully, making sure he doesn’t jostle Dave, he begins to peel himself away from his lover until he can stand up, pleased to see Dave continue to sleep. He can’t help but linger just a moment longer, looking at Dave with a small smile on his face. His hair is a mess, and his face looks peaceful, and there is a small trail of drool slipping from the corner of his lips. The sight makes him feel a little giddy, and he reaches out a hand to push his hair back from his face, hand lingering on his cheek. 

“What’s that on your face?”

Frowning suddenly, Klaus turns to give Ben a questioning look, but his brother simply remains frowning and squinting at him. “What?” He asks, moving his hand to his own face in search of something.

“Hold on, hold on - right - right there!” Ben inches closer, pointing at him, and then he flexes his hands to gesture all over his face. “Is that… love ?”

Klaus snorts, rolling his eyes and shaking his head. “Fuck off, dumbass.”

“Oh my god, it is! Disgusting.”

Klaus flips him off, finger dangerously close to Ben’s face - he always did complain whenever someone walked through him - and, as expected, he takes a step back, pouting. Klaus turns to look at his dogs, waiting patiently by the door, looking swiftly between it and him. They scurry out as soon as he opens it, weaving between the forms of his half-awake and still-sleeping siblings as they scurry hurriedly to the backdoor.

His leg is a little stiffer than it typically is, making him favour it a little as he follows after them and making him a little more aware of where he puts his foot down. He lets Moose and Lady run outside, and then he busies himself with getting their breakfast ready. He hears his siblings shifting around behind him, so then he moves on to making himself some coffee, and pauses to wonder if he should make Dave a cup, too, or if he should make them both some breakfast and bring it to him in bed. He’s sure they probably have waffles, which is always an easy option, or he can try his hand at something else. An omelette? Can’t be that hard. He should really think about picking up a recipe book at some point - probably should have done so ages ago, really - but both he and Dave were content with their diet of below-cuisine meals. If nothing else, it had managed to put a few pounds on his body, which he was sure Ben was happy about, and he was too - hadn’t realised just how skinny he had been until he began to gain a little weight. He thought he looked a little (a lot) healthier now, and it made a part of him oddly happy to think that.

“What was up with this morning?”

Diego’s voice broke through his food related thoughts, dragging him back to the situation at hand. Stifling a sigh, Klaus drags out his silence for a few more moments as he pours his coffee, blows over it to cool it a little, then tastes it, before finally turning to look at everyone. 

They still look rather tired, all in various states of wakefulness, but at least they’re all sitting up. Vanya is rubbing at her eyes and he considers disappearing to grab her a hair brush quickly, but the image of his little sister, sleepy and looking so small suddenly, makes him pause. His thoughts stray briefly to the fact that she has powers, but they come back quickly to how small and uncertain she looks. Looking at her for the first time in a while - ever, really - he feels a sudden stab of guilt. He hopes he can do better this time around.

For now, though, he turns to look at Diego’s waiting gaze and shrugs. He debates not telling him, especially considering the whole show last night, but he is trying to avoid another argument. Maybe. For now, purely because he’d hate to wake Dave up. “Dave’s asthma,” he simply states, looking at his coffee. “I was getting his inhaler.”

“Oh,” says Diego, and Klaus wonders what he thought was actually happening. He doesn’t dare ask. He just sips his coffee and watches Moose nearly knock over his bowl as he hurries inside to eat, followed by Lady, skidding over the floor after him. Maybe he should put one of the jumpers Dave bought her on, he thinks. Maybe the little pink one. He could take both of the dogs for a quick walk - but no, he doesn’t want to leave Dave alone here. Maybe he can just go back to bed.

At the very least, his siblings seem a little afraid to talk to him, which he can accept. He doesn’t want to talk to them more than is necessary at the moment. There is something he needs to know, however…

“Five?”

“Yes?”

His fingernails tap along his mug a little anxiously. “Any news on the whole ‘time travel part two’ situation? Well, part three for you, I guess, considering - you know, but - you know-”

“My powers are still recovering, if that’s what you’re wondering,” Five states, cutting him off. “I… don’t know how much longer it will take me to be physically capable of transporting all of us back to the future. I’ve been working on the equations to do so, however.”

Klaus bobs his head in a small nod, lips pressed together. Steam curls up into the air from his coffee and Moose, finished with his breakfast, wanders over and plops down onto the ground with a huff, resting his head on Klaus’ feet. He curls his toes a little to nudge him and smiles a little when the dog huffs and his nose twitches.

“Well… help yourself to breakfast,” he offers, shrugging. He decides to go through with making some food for Dave, though falls back onto the waffles option, then leaves his siblings to get their own food. He wonders how much he has left, though he sends a silent prayer to Mrs Richards for sending him home with a kitchen full of leftovers. 

He shuffles back to his bedroom, peering in before he enters. 

“Wakey wakey,” he coos softly. He sets one plate of waffles on the nightstand, then sits on the edge of the bed with the other and reaches out to grip Dave’s shoulder and gently squeeze it. “Rise and shine and all that,” he hums, grinning as he watches Dave’s face twitch. His head lolls to the side slightly and his eyes finally open, meeting Klaus’. “Morning,” he says again, reaching out to stroke a hand along his cheek before lifting up the waffles. “I brought food.”

Dave hums happily as he takes the food and Klaus melts against his side, content to be near him once more.

“Did you not get yourself something, doll?” Dave asks after a moment frowning gently. 

“Oh yeah, it’s right there. I’m just comfortable.”

Dave chuckles a little, tilting his head to rest against Klaus’. “If I listen closely, I think I can hear you purring.”

Snickering, Klaus presses back into his touch. “Are you feeling okay?”

“Better than earlier,” he confirms, which loosens a little tension from his shoulders that he hadn’t known had been there. Dave’s fingers tug a piece of his waffle apart and he holds it up to Klaus’ lips, keeping it there until he accepts it. “How’s everyone else?” He asks.

Klaus hums and shrugs. “Still just waking up, really. I didn’t get into a fist fight with any of them, if that’s what you were wondering.”

Dave snorts a little, nudging him. “I’m proud of your self-restraint.” 

“Thank you! It took a lot of it.”

Dave’s eyes roll but he smiles fondly at him, so Klaus takes it as an invitation to lean forwards and steal a kiss from him. Then he turns, grabs his own breakfast, and settles back down to pick at it.

“How’s your leg?” 

“Mmm, it’s alright,” he says, shrugging. “It’s fine, don’t worry about it.”

“I get to worry about it,” says Dave, giving him a look. Klaus can’t help but smile. 

“Awww, you’re adorable. I love you.”

“Disgusting.”

Klaus startles a little, glaring at Ben. “Fuck off.”

“What?”

“Oh, no, no, no, not you!” He turns to Dave hurriedly, shaking his head. “Ben’s being an asshole, like always.”

Dave’s eyebrows quirk a little and he gives an amused look. Ben gives him an innocent grin, head lifted up, and Klaus flips him off. 

“He’s so rude to me,” he complains, wilting into his side and shaking his head. “So rude, so mean, and I can’t even get away from him. It’s tragic!”

“Sounds horrible,” Dave drawls, squeezing his arm.

“I don’t approve of him anymore,” states Ben, arms folded across his chest. Klaus, again, flips him off, and kisses Dave’s shoulder. His hand swipes the empty plate from his and he shuffles to the end of the bed, pausing when Dave moves. 

“You - rest,” he says, giving him a look to try and push him back down into the bed with his hands full. 

“It’s not that bad,” whines Dave, pouting. 

“And we want to keep it that way, so, stay.”

Dave rolls his eyes dramatically, slumping backwards. “Yes, sir.”

Klaus pretends that doesn’t make him freeze like it does, but he knows Dave saw it; his lips twitch up in a slight smirk. Trudging to the bedroom door, Klaus mutters a curse at him, only succeeding in making his smirk wider.

His siblings look a little more alive when he goes back through to them this time, much to his dismay. It looks like they helped themselves to breakfast, which means that he doesn’t have to worry about doing that for them. He spends a moment just stroking Moose when he comes up, nudging him with his wet nose, and then he snatches his cigarettes up and lights one.

“Still can’t believe you’re a veteran, man.”

Despite himself, he snorts at Diego and tips his head to the side. “Yeah, well,” he shrugs half-heartedly, “it is what it is.”

“You - you said you got hurt,” says Vanya, and she toys with her bottom lip anxiously but her eyes burn into him. He watches her internal conflict for a moment, the way she seems to want to take it back and dismiss what she asked, but this time she lifts her head a little and holds his gaze. 

“Mhmm,” he hums, not entirely willing to indulge everyone else’s curiosity voluntarily.

“How bad was it?” Vanya asks, not letting him back down, and he resists the urge to squirm a little under his siblings attention. He offers another shrug and taps ash from his cigarette into the nearest ashtray. 

“Eh,” he says, eyes bouncing around the place. “Nothing like a good bullet to get the blood flowing, right? It could have been worse.”

“Are you okay?”

The question gives Klaus pause, and he frowns around his cigarette. “Yeah?” He says, but grimaces when it sounds more like a question than a response. He gives his leg an experimental shake, feels the now-familiar ache and stiffness there that he can tolerate. Despite a bullet in his leg, he’s better now than he has been in a long time. He can’t help himself when his eyes stray to the bedroom door where Dave remains, and his lips twitch. 

“Well,” he says, perking up and turning to face his siblings again. “This is horrifically awkward.”

Diego snorts, rolling his eyes, before getting up and staking his claim as first in the bathroom. Five makes his way into the kitchen to make himself coffee, Luther stares at his hands in thought, and Vanya combs her fingers through her hair whilst Allison tugs at her blanket. Lady gnaws at one of the dog toys scattered around the room and Moose seems content to curl up around his legs, staring at his siblings. 

“How close is town?” Luther asks suddenly, and it takes Klaus a moment to realise that he is talking to Klaus. He straightens up a little, blinks at him, then glances to the front door. 

“Uh, that way,” he waves his hand in the vague direction of town, “half an hour drive-ish. Why? Taking a trip?” He asks curiously, leaning a little forwards. 

Luther shrugs, looking a little sheepish. “I was just thinking about clothes and such, and maybe it’d be good to know our surroundings. Just in case the Commission does make a move against us.”

Pressing his lips together, Klaus turns to look at Five, eyebrows raised. “Thoughts on the Commission?”

“Somewhat surprised they haven’t made an attack on us yet,” he admits. “I wouldn’t advise being separated if we can avoid it, but… I’ve been wearing the same clothes since I got here.”

“Since you came to the funeral, really,” Klaus points out, though he doesn’t seem to appreciate that reminder. If he had enough time to steal a mannequin, he probably also had enough time to steal an actual outfit rather than just use the Academy uniform. “Diego will probably want to come too,” he says, nodding to the bathroom door. He takes a few steps to the side, snatching the keys to their car and holding them up. Perhaps he’s a little too eager at the idea of them all going out, but he thinks after last night that he is entirely justified.

Luther rises to his feet, coming closer with the intention of taking the keys from him, but Five beats him to it - zapping over and pulling them from his hand. 

“Oh,” coos Klaus, “you’re being social and going out too?”

“It wouldn’t be a bad idea to scout out the place,” he simply says, shrugging. Allison gets to her feet too, and once Diego comes out of the bathroom and is given a run down of what is happening, he agrees too. Vanya looks like she wants to go, too, but Five gives her an apologetic look. “It’s probably for the best that you stay in,” he says. Klaus doesn’t fail to notice the flicker of hurt in her eyes, so he hurries to jump in.

“You’re not missing out much, but you get to stay here with the cool people. And by that, I mean Lady and Moose,” he hums, pointing to his dogs. “They’re the true cool ones.” 

Realising that none of his siblings have actually left yet, he pauses and glances up at them. It takes him a moment to realise what they’re trying to build up the courage to ask him for. He feels a mix of smugness and anger flicker through him, but just sighs dramatically and wanders over to where his jacket is hanging up to pull his wallet out. He frowns at it, then frowns at his siblings before throwing it to Diego. “Budget,” he says, voice firm, and feels a little thrill. He would rather his siblings be elsewhere than here, but if nothing else, he felt a little smug with how they had to rely on and listen to him now. Not that he thinks they will actually do that even despite the situation, but for now they have no choice. He doesn’t hide the cocky grin he gives them as they all file outside.

For the first time in a while, it feels like he can breathe again. He slumps against the door as he closes it, shoulders falling. He hadn’t realised just how crowded his house had felt until now. He savours the moment before opening his eyes and glancing back at Vanya, offering her a smile. 

“Thank god they’re gone,” he says, listening to the car start up outside and pull out onto the road. “Felt like I couldn’t even breathe in here.”

Vanya offers not quite a laugh, but something close to it. “It was pretty cramped,” she agrees. Her eyes follow Lady as she totters over to her, sniffing around the bed before at her hand, thin tail wagging. She flops down onto her side, wiggling on the ground until Vanya gives in and strokes her stomach. Klaus lingers a moment to watch Vanya smile at the dog before he dips back into his bedroom in search of the hair brush he meant to find her earlier.

Dave looks up from the book he was squinting at. “Everyone leave?” He asks, giving a pointed glance to the window. 

“Vanya’s sticking around, everyone else went into town. Want to reclaim the living room?” 

Dave’s lips twitch upwards a little and he sets his book aside. Klaus watches him as he stands up, looking for any hint of pain or tension as he does so, but he manages to do so fine. 

“I’m fine,” he says when he sees Klaus watching. 

“I’m allowed to worry,” Klaus hums, reminiscent of Dave saying so to him earlier. He reaches out to take his hand before they return to the living room, stepping over all the blankets and pillows to fall down onto the couch. 

“Don’t tell Allison,” he says, stretching over the couch to get to Vanya, holding out the hairbrush. “But this is the good one.”

“Oh,” she says, cheeks flushing a little as she takes it. “Thanks.”

“Don’t tell the others,” he grins, melting back into Dave. “I’m thinking… movie day. How’s that sound? All in favour, say aye.”

“Aye,” says Dave.

“Aye,” says Vanya, and he grins at her. 

“Movie marathon it is.” He shuffles towards the television, looking through the movies they do have and occasionally holding one up to Dave to see his reaction to them, and ends up settling on something he thinks is a cheesy rom-com. He ends up being right.

“Why don’t you ever twirl me in the rain like that?” He asks, pouting at Dave. 

“You’ve never asked me too, doll,” says Dave, squeezing his arm.

“I’m asking you now .”

“It’s not raining now, doll.”

“It’s got to rain at some point,” he says, nudging Dave’s thigh with his toes. 

“Well, when it does, we can do that.”

“Awww, promise?” 

“‘Course,” says Dave, and Klaus grins. 

“Better us than Five and his creepy mannequin wife.”

“His what?” 

Vanya giggles at that. Klaus lays his hand on Dave’s cheek, turning his head to look at him. “Dear,” he says. “Darling. I don’t think that’s the weirdest thing I’ve said, really.”

Deflating a little, Dave sighs. “No, it’s not…”

“Sometimes love is a pre-pubescent senior citizen and his mannequin wife. We just have to be accepting.”

“Right,” drawls Dave, and Klaus grins. 

“It’s not like any of us have really had much luck with relationships,” Vanya comments, though frowns and looks down with a sudden darkness to her eyes. Klaus hums.

“If life were easy, our last name wouldn’t be Hargreeves. We’ve all either dated a murderer or been the murderer, it’s standard Hargreeves’ initiation now. Once you get past that, though - that’s when the magic begins.”

“Klaus, is there something you’d like to tell me, dear?” Asks Dave. Klaus holds his face again and smiles sweetly.

“I know how to dispose of a body in multiple ways. Don’t dig under the petunias in the backyard.”

“Ah,” says Dave, nodding. “Noted.”

“Anyway,” drawls Klaus. “Point being; after this, Vanya, we’re gonna find you a great guy - or gal, who knows - and they’re going to be lovely and normal and you can live out a cheesy sixties romcom lifestyle with them.”

“Sounds… lovely,” says his sister, and Klaus grins.

“Hell yeah.”

“When do I get my cheesy sixties romcom?” Moans Ben, and Klaus rolls his eyes. 

“Have we got more romcoms?” He asks Dave, propping his chin on his shoulder. He thinks that most of their movies are probably romcoms or comedies, things that are light hearted, thanks to Klaus’ aversion to horror and the mutual aversion to gunshots and flames and death. Klaus shakes those thoughts off and plays the next movie, pleasantly lacking any kind of violence or death.

Dave gets up at one point to heat up some of the leftovers they have, and all three of them bask in the gourmet cuisine that is Mrs Richards’ cooking. It’s nice, having some more space and being able to breathe in his own house again, be able to lounge in his living room with his lover, and it’s even nice to use this opportunity to get closer to Vanya. There is more life to her than he thinks he has ever seen before, and he hears her laugh, and she speaks up and cracks a few jokes of her own, and she only becomes more relaxed and open as time passes. 

He thinks the space from everyone else has probably done all of them some good. He just worries for the state of his poor wallet. He does wonder, briefly, how everyone else is getting on as it gets later, but he doubts that they got into a situation they couldn’t get out of with everyone there. Plus, he isn’t going to go out of his way to ruin his good mood. 

“Maybe we should just lock the door,” Klaus hums, curled up as tightly as he can be against Dave’s side, eyelids feeling heavy. “Lock ‘em all out. Diego always said he wanted to go camping.”

Dave snorts, chest bouncing beneath Klaus’ head, and he can’t help but take some comfort from the movement even if he doesn’t let his mind stray to the time he feared it would stop moving. 

“Did we successfully reclaim the living room?” He asks, and Klaus smiles..

“I think we did a pretty good job.”

Dave hums his agreement, running his fingers through Klaus’ hair, messing it up a little. It lulls him back into his pleasant, half-conscious state until a thought strikes him and he sits up a little.

“You know what’d be really cool?” He turns to look at Vanya, sitting on the armchair opposite them. She raises her eyebrows and he smiles. “If you had your violin. It’d be nice to hear you play.”

Vanya’s cheeks heat up, dusting a gentle pink, and she glances down at her hands. “You like that?”

“Of course,” says Klaus. “You’re only, like, the best violinist out there, sis. We could’ve had ourselves a little violin concert, or something.”

Vanya’s lips tilt in a small smile, and it’s good enough for Klaus. “Later,” he says. “I’ve not heard you play in ages.”

“I miss it,” his sister admits. 

“Hmm… maybe we can con Five into stealing one, huh? Strictly for your training, of course. Nothing else.”

Vanya snorts at that. “Nothing else,” she repeats, and he nods.

“Strictly training,” he states with a sly grin.

“That’d be… nice.”

“Hell yeah. Add it to the calendar - steal Vanya a violin.”

Dave hums, playing with the hair at the back of his head. “Already noted,” he says. 

“Incredible,” he says, turning his attention back to the movie, though it quickly switches again to Dave’s gentle touches and the way Moose’s tail brushes him as he wanders by. He’s half asleep by the time he hears a car pulling into their driveway, and doesn’t try to wake himself up for it; trying to stretch this moment out for as long as possible. Part of him wishes his siblings had gone and gotten themselves a motel room for the night, but at least he got a little time from them to feel comfortable in his house again, and they can deal with trying to move him from the couch when he’s this comfortable.

Chapter Text

There was a knock at the door. 

Klaus was kind of getting sick of that, honestly. The last time he had been comfortable with Dave and there had been a knock at the door, his entire family showed up on his doorstep in a time and place they most definitely shouldn’t be able to get to.

Plus, now that his siblings actually were here, they shouldn’t even bother with knocking, but here they were, making Klaus detangle himself from Dave’s lovely (warm, strong, muscular, loving) embrace, making him trudge all the way open to the door to throw it open, and-

Well. That certainly isn’t any of his siblings, nor was it even Kimberley or any of her family.

“Uh,” says Klaus, straightening up a little. “Hi,” he says, blinking at the woman in front of him. He’s never seen her before. She’s shorter than him, but the red heels she wears pushes her up a couple more inches, and she stares at him with wide brown eyes lined heavily with eyeliner (Klaus loves the look.) Her hair is short and dark, her bangs a styled kind of choppy, and the grin on her face is wide.

“Hello,” she says in a thick English accent. She glances over his shoulder and into his house curiously, and then back to him. She sticks out a hand. “Lila,” she introduces. “I just moved around here recently, thought I’d get to know some of my… neighbours.”

Klaus quirks an eyebrow curiously, but slips his hand into hers to shake it, and then glances back outside to the fields surrounding them. Lila chuckles a little. “Yeah, I know. Distant neighbours, but still.”

“Well, it’s nice to meet you,” he offers awkwardly, and then he turns back to look at Dave over his shoulder, face twisted in a call for help. Dave rolls his eyes and beckons him to invite Lila inside, so he does.

“Klaus, by the way,” he adds, stepping aside so she can come in. “That’s my sister, Vanya, and my - friend, Dave.”

“Lila Pitts,” she introduces, smiling pleasantly all the while, even when Moose and Lady heave themselves up and come over to see her, Moose all but barrelling into her legs as his paws skid on the wooden floor. “Oh! You have dogs! I love dogs!”

“That’s Moose and Lady,” says Dave, sitting up a little.

“Is the little one Moose and the big one Lady?”

“That… would have been really fucking smart,” mumbles Klaus. He staggers over the room to fall back down, unfortunately not this time on Dave’s lap, and only to end up immediately getting back up as he remembers that manners are a thing that exists, supposedly. “Can I, uh, get you anything? Tea, coffee, vodka?”

“Klaus,” reprimands Dave gently, but Lila snorts. 

“If only I didn’t have to drive,” she sighs dramatically, crossing one leg over the other. “I’ll pass, though.”

“Responsible,” Klaus hums, sitting back down with a sigh of relief. The aches and stiffness in his body only ever gets worse further into the day, after all his standing and moving around all day. 

“I try,” jokes Lila, humming. Her eyes bounce around the place, looking around his house with a gentle curiosity, smiling at Vanya and Dave. Dave, pleasant as ever, strikes up a conversation with her, asking her about when she moved, how she’s finding it, offering their help if she needs it. Lila keeps up a steady stream in response, and Moose and Lady wander away, satisfied that she isn’t some vicious intruder here to hurt anyone, and Klaus lets Dave handle all the niceties. Unlike Kimberley, Lila didn’t come with any snacks or moving gifts (although it isn’t Klaus or Dave that are the ones that just moved) so Klaus’ attention is a little less focused on Lila. She seems nice enough, casually chatting away with Dave while he and Vanya occasionally join in on the conversation.

Vanya is still… well, horrifically traumatised, to put it lightly, but at least now she seems to be heading in a better direction. Hopefully she’s coming to terms with the fact that none of them blame her for nearly destroying the world (hell, if Klaus had the power to do that too, he probably would have done that a long time ago because why not) because he’s pretty sure internalising that kind of blame would not do her any good. Thing is; they’re all safe and alive now, and the world is perfectly unharmed, and it’s best not to dwell on what almost had been but rather focus on what actually is - which is that they need to pull themselves together and help their sister.

That’s a lot easier said than done, but at least Vanya seems willing to accept their help. It would have been a lot harder had she tried to shut herself off. Plus, Klaus thinks it’s a pretty good sign that she looks comfortable, and that she’ll join in on conversation and laugh. That’s got to be a good sign. 

His siblings might be a little more focused on the idea of training her powers, but Klaus thinks that that doesn’t really matter if Vanya herself is still in a bad place. So, Vanya talking and laughing? Klaus thinks that’s a very good thing. 

She seems to even relax a little more as Lila visits, and Klaus is just sure that talking to someone who isn’t one of her siblings is a little less intimidating. 

Lila seems nice. She’s not the kind of person he’d imagine moving out somewhere out here, but at least she might liven it up a bit. Klaus can imagine them getting along at a time when he isn’t so tired and more prone to mischief, undoubtedly much to Dave’s horror. She sticks around for a while, just simply talking to everyone happily, up until they hear another car pull up in their driveway.

Klaus really hopes it’s Mrs Richards. 

Much to his displeasure, it’s his siblings instead.

They all flood inside, carrying a few bags with them and setting them aside, although they all pause when they see the new person in the house. Lila lolls her head over to look at them all, still reclining casually on the couch, and she looks much more relaxed and at home here than they do. Klaus can’t help but snort. 

“Well,” she says, sliding gracefully up onto her feet and turning to look at Klaus, Dave and Vanya again. “I guess this is my cue to leave then. Lovely meeting you - I’ll see you around, I’m sure.”

“Feel free to stop by,” says Dave, walking her to the door. “And if you need help moving, we’re just here.”

“So generous, Mr. Muscles,” Lila hums with a joking grin, and Klaus snorts whilst Dave’s cheeks flush. Lila flashes one last grin, offers a little wave, and then steps outside and leaves as if she was never there in the first place.

“Uh… who was that?” asks Diego, eyebrow raised. 

“Ah, don’t worry about it. Some of us have this thing called friends, Diego,” says Klaus.

“Shut up,” his brother mutters, rolling his eyes. With Lila quickly gone though, they move on and flood the living room again. Klaus takes it as his cue to move.

He rises to his feet almost in sync with Dave, lumbering over to the back door to let Moose and Lady outside before they turn in for the night. As he does so, he swipes up his pack of cigarettes and a lighter and then steps outside with his dogs. Dave follows after him into the cool night air.

“How you holding up, Hargreeves?” Dave asks him, watching him spark up his cigarette before taking a deep drag. 

“Well, I’m up,” hums Klaus. Moose sniffs a patch of grass curiously and jumps when Lady comes up and sneak attacks him from behind, sniffing his ankle. Klaus snorts.

Dave nudges his shoulder with his own gently and Klaus lets himself melt slightly into his side. In turn, Dave wraps his arm around his waist. After a moment of consideration, Klaus holds the cigarette up in offering, but Dave declines. How responsible, thinking about his health and stuff. Klaus could never.

“At least Lila seems nice,” Dave offers, and Klaus hums. 

“I mean, did you see her shoes? I love them.”

Snorting, Dave says, “of course that’s what you took from that night.”

“I also noticed she definitely had an accent.”

“I thought you liked mine?” Dave pouts, jutting out his lower lip. Klaus scoffs, smoke tumbling into the air as he does. 

“I like your lingo .”

“My lingo?”

“Your lingo, Katz. You and your little sixties slang.”

Dave snorts, nudging him again. “Hey, that’s Hargreeves-Katz now.”

Klaus wants to have another snippy little come back, but anything he could think of immediately dries up at that. Hargreeves-Katz. Because they’re married. That’s their surname now. 

“Yeah,” he finally says, unable to help the smile that creeps onto his face. “It is.”

“Hell yeah,” murmurs Dave, smiling in the same way, and for a moment that’s all they do; just stand and smile at one another in the darkness in their garden. Wind whistles gently around them and Moose’s tail thumps against the floor steadily as he rolls over and Lady totters around, sniffing the garden with curiosity. Dave’s eyes twinkle as he looks at him, and then he’s leaning a little closer and pressing his lips to Klaus’, sucking the smoke right out of his mouth. Klaus can feel him smiling against his lips and he can’t stop himself from doing the same.

They might not be legally married, but that doesn’t matter. They’re still married, and Klaus is still going to say it, and still call them it, and they just are. They just are.

Klaus lets out a giggle into Dave’s mouth. He wraps one arm around his shoulders, and Dave holds him closer with the arm around his waist, holding him against his chest. 

“What’s so funny?” Dave asks, leaning back just an inch to separate their lips.

“Oh, nothing,” drawls Klaus, still grinning. “Just… we’re married.”

Dave laughs at that and nods his head. His nose brushes Klaus’ and his eyes crinkle as he smiles. “Hell yeah we are,” he says. “I’m glad you’ve not forgotten.”

Snorting, Klaus rolls his eyes. “My memory’s perfectly fine,” he states jokingly, and Dave raises his eyebrows dubiously.

“Mmm, sure thing.”

“Hey, it’s normal to not remember, like, eighty-percent of your life,” Klaus defends, huffing. 

Dave presses a kiss to the tip of his nose and says, “that is a conversation we’ll have another day. Preferably with a therapist.”

Klaus lightly shoves his chest. “Har har. Ben already tried to get me to go to therapy outside of rehab. Never worked.”

Dave just smiles at him and squeezes his hand. “For me?” He asks gently, eyebrows raised, and - fuck.

Klaus can never say no to Dave like this, and Dave knows it. He uses that voice and those puppy dog eyes on Klaus all the time - a lot of the time in ‘Nam, back when the drug use was heavier and he had a tendency for throwing himself into trouble.

“I hate you,” Klaus moans, slumping against his chest in defeat.

“I like him.”

He almost startles at the new voice. He would have, if he wasn’t so used to Ben being a nosy bitch and appearing at random all the time.

“Now I’m getting teamed up on?” He gasps. “The cruelty!”

“Ben around?” Dave guesses with another small smile. 

“Unfortunately,” Klaus mutters and can feel the weight of his brother’s glare on his back. Klaus just flips him off and hears the expected huff of irritated breath.

“Ben sounds like one of your smarter siblings,” comments Dave.

“It’ll go to his ego!” Klaus gasps in horror.

“Thank you!” Exclaims Ben, exasperation clear in his tone.

“What have you done,” breathes Klaus. “You’ve created a monster. He’ll never let this go.”

Dave snorts, and then he gently shoves Klaus’ head and steps back. “C’mon, it’s getting cold out here,” he says. With a sigh, Klaus stamps out his cigarette and the two of them head back indoors with the dogs.

Everyone has set themselves back up in the living room, a few of them changed into different clothes that fit the time period better (except for Five, who is still in that Academy uniform) whilst Luther is missing, but he hears a quiet thud from the bathroom and assumes that’s where he is.

“I trust you all found the place alright?” Klaus asks, although he doesn’t really care about the answer. He’s just doing the bare minimum of acknowledging that they’ve come back from their day out, deciding that perhaps he shouldn’t keep trying to completely ignore them. It’d only blow up even worse in his face, surely.

“It was fine,” mutters Diego, but he and Allison look a little unsettled. A little perhaps putting it lightly.

Ah.

Klaus presses his lips together, suddenly feeling a little bad. He scratches the back of his neck with one hand. “Yeah… it’s a bit different round here, huh?”

Allison just looks at him with a sad glint to her eyes, and Klaus looks away, sucking in a breath. 

“We got sorted,” says Diego, brushing the situation to the side and gesturing to the bags they have. He chucks Klaus' wallet back at him and he only just catches it against his chest. “Got a look around and stuff. It’s fine.”

“Oh, goody. Did you have a fashion show? Get all dressed up?” Klaus jokes, and he glances in his wallet and - almost all the money's still there. He frowns, opening his mouth, but he virtually feels someone burning a hole through him with their eyes. When he looks up, he sees Five staring at him, one eyebrow raised. Klaus supposes teleporting can be useful sometimes, and Klaus is not one to judge a fellow thief. Or maybe that's just a Hargreeves apology since Klaus kind of freaked out with a gun not that long ago. Whatever; Klaus will take what he can get in this family.

Diego rolls his eyes at him. “I’m sure you love the fashion here, huh?”

“Mmm, could be sluttier, but it’ll do.”

Vanya laughs at that. The sound makes Klaus smile, feeling a little happy that he did something right. 

“Anyway, anyway, enough chatter. I’m tired. Dear Vanny, Dave and I had a wild time without you all, and I’ll see you all again in the morning. Sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite.”

Klaus wiggles his fingers at his siblings, does one last sweep of his house to make sure everything’s okay, and then he and Dave (accompanied, of course, by their dogs and Ben) head to their bedroom. Klaus strips of everything but his underwear, and he waits for Dave to get comfortable on the bed before crawling in after him. 

He can’t help but feel relief flood through him as he manages to melt into his mattress and Dave’s side. Tension in his muscles bleed out and he unwinds, and then there’s the familiar comfort of Lady clambering clumsily all over him as she makes her way to Dave’s side, along with Moose’s head coming to rest on his hip. 

Klaus is certain that anything could happen during the day and this little nightly routine of theirs, of cuddling up in bed together like some loving, functional family (not that Klaus would know what that is) would just melt his tension and worries away and make everything feel alright, if only for the night. He feels perfectly comfortable and content here, with Dave’s chest beneath his cheek, his arm around his waist, fingertips drawing little circles on Klaus’ shoulders; with the little shimmies Moose does as he gets comfortable and his irritatingly endearing tendency to kick Klaus in his sleep; with the way Lady seems to climb all over Dave in their sleep until they wake up in the morning and Dave is basically suffocated.

This - this is what Klaus likes. This is Klaus’ little family, his safe place and his joy, and he knows he could never get tired of it. Not now, not in ten years - not in a hundred years.

And then there’s also Ben, of course. He had missed Ben since he arrived in Vietnam all alone, suddenly without his brother by his side after over a decade. It had been lonely, and downright scary, and Klaus would take back all of their arguments (or, well, at least a few of them) to have him back by his side. And now, here he was.

Sure, Ben could slip into this dynamic. He could bring the sound of pages turning and, maybe now that Klaus’ lifestyle is slightly less destructive, less judgement and arguments, and maybe they could actually get along pretty well now. He knew that he and Dave would hit it right off the bat if they ever were able to talk to one another. He knew Ben was happy for him, and that Ben wasn’t as much of a judgy asshole as the rest of their siblings were to Klaus. He could let Ben in on this little family thing.

And god, didn’t that sound horrifically cheesy? If Klaus weren’t tired and perfectly, grossly happy and content right now, he might have gagged. 

He’s sure Ben would, if he told him, but he’d do it while wearing some fond, warm smile that showed that he actually liked the idea.

“What you thinking?” Dave asks curiously, and Klaus hums, pulled back to reality a little bit from his previous sleepy haze.

“Mmm… world domination.”

Dave’s chest shakes beneath him a little with a low chuckle. Lady whines in complaint at the movement interrupt her sleep. 

“Adorable,” says Dave, and Klaus pouts. 

“I’m not. I’ll run this world, just you wait and see.”

“And I’ll support you every step of the way,” says Dave, running his fingers through his hair, pushing it back from his face.

“Thank you,” Klaus mumbles, turning his head to press a kiss to his shoulder. “We can run this place together. Who runs the world? Girls.”

“Huh? I mean, I guess, but… what?”

“Don’t worry about it,” says Klaus, kissing his shoulder again. He likes doing that. Dave always twitches just a little, nearly unnoticeably. Klaus runs his hand along the expanse of his chest, ghosting gently over his scar.

“How’s it feeling?” He asks, and Dave hums. He shuffles a little bit on the bed, getting more comfortable. Lady huffs again, one leg kicking out as if to warn Dave to stop moving so she can go to sleep comfortably. Dave apologises by scratching behind her ears gently.

“‘S alright,” he says dismissively. He keeps running his hand through Klaus’ hair, his fingertips running along his scalp and raising goosebumps along his skin.

“You sure?”

“Mhmm,” Dave hums in confirmation. His other hand snakes underneath the blankets, and he closes one hand around one of Klaus’. “What about you?”

“‘S alright,” echoes Klaus, smiling against his shoulder. He virtually feels Dave roll his eyes.

“Seriously?”

“Cross my heart, I’m fine. Especially right now.”

“Good,” murmurs Dave. His head tips forwards, lips ghosting over the top of his head to press a kiss there. 

“You’re like some, magical, relaxation machine. Just - poof. All my worries are gone.”

Dave snorts. “Well, thanks doll, I guess.”

“You’re very welcome.”

“You’re so smooth, Klaus,” utters Ben by the window. Klaus manages to snake a hand out of the blankets to lovingly flip Ben off, and then he goes right back to cuddling up to Dave. They fall quiet again, and save for the steady, smooth inhale and exhale of Dave’s breaths matching the rise and fall of his chest, along with the little huffs and snores the dogs let out, and finally the sound of Ben turning pages in his book. The gentle sounds lull Klaus back into a sleepy haze, and he lets himself drift along it for a while, aware only of the warmth of Dave’s skin against his and the peace in his bedroom. 

Content, Klaus drifts off to sleep, feeling not so horrible for the first time in what he decides has been way too long.