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Asphyxiation

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Diego likes water. It’s cool, calming, and feels nice on his skin. He’s purposefully never submerged himself in it, he’s just a little afraid of drowning - Thanks dad - but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t like to lie in the bathtub for longer than he should.

 

He also likes the night, the dark sky and the moonlight streaming through his window. He likes the way the water reflects that light, sparkling beautifully.

 

It’s a peaceful night, Diego is sleeping soundly under that precious moonlight when his breath hitches. Again and again. His eyes shoot open and begin to water so he squeezes them shut and tries his hardest to suck oxygen in. No luck. Panic starts to set in and he throws the blankets off so fast it almost gives him whiplash. Feeling only slightly dizzy, he dashes clumsily to the door and places both his hands on the doorknob to stabilize himself before opening it.

 

His footsteps are loud in the silent hallway and he can hear moans and groans as his lighter sleeping siblings wake up. Five is up first, peeking out his door in annoyance until he sees Diego’s face and the usually irritated frown is replaced with worry and then horror before he jumps right to where Diego is falling forward. Number Two is now scratching at his throat, silently screaming for help.

 

“Shit, shit, shit,” Five curses as Klaus and Vanya both timidly open their doors, followed by Ben.

 

“Five? Diego?” Ben’s voice is tired and bleary. Confusion is written on his face. Klaus is rushing forward, helping Diego to the ground as Five suddenly disappears.

 

“Oh my god, Diego! What’s wrong?” Klaus almost shouts and both Allison and Luther come out at the commotion. Vanya begins to tear up as she kneels by their brother who is now turning purple as he struggles. Ben cries out loudly.

 

“Pogo! Mom! Help!” He runs down the hall, unusually loud for him and Diego takes a moment to appreciate that fact before he goes back to not being able to breathe and feeling dizzy. Allison sits down, terror curling her face into something he never wants to see again.

 

“I-I heard a rumor that you could breathe!” She almost yells in his ear. He tries and tries and tries to breathe, but it’s no use. He just can’t.

 

More footsteps and Five returns, Mom and Pogo right behind him. Luther holds him up and Mom examines his face and neck and chest, searching for the source of the problem. Pogo motions for Luther to take him somewhere, but Diego can’t hear. He can’t hear what they’re saying, can barely see what’s happening through the black dots appearing in his vision. He almost closes his eyes before Klaus harshly slaps him, once, twice and a third time and he can’t bring himself to make a face but he does put all his energy into staying conscious.

 

He feels himself being lifted up and the whole world tilts on its side before it begins to move and he is jostled about. Luther his holding him up, he realises, carrying him somewhere, hopefully, somewhere that will help him.

 

Porcelain tiles come into sight and he has a strong urge to see water now. He can barely move, eyelids forcing their way downwards harshly but he can just barely motion to the sink before he can fully go under.

 

The next thing he knows is he’s cold. Really cold. Liquid is pressing against his face and into his mouth and he finds it is water. Beautiful, calming water. He lets himself rest in it a bit, fear of drowning melting away. Until he realises that he honestly should get out, that he’s been under for too long. He pulls his head back and there’s air and he can breathe it in.

 

But he was before he resurfaced. Under the water, he had full clarity, didn’t need to breathe to live. The water in his lungs wasn’t burning. It was nice. It didn’t feel like he was drowning, because he wasn’t.

 

Somehow.

 


 

Five doesn’t particularly like being woken up at 2 am, likes it less when it is more than likely just one of his siblings making a fuss. So he opens his door, fully ready to yell at them for disturbing his precious sleep when he stops. Because it is Diego, the least likely of them to cause a ruckus, besides Vanya of course. His eyes are watering and he has his hands around his throat.

 

He isn’t breathing.

 

Five swears loudly, a quiet Vanya and exhausted Klaus coming to check on what is happening before Number Six follow them out, confused and speaking tiredly. Klaus quickly panics and rushes forward as Five struggles, Diego collapsing as he struggles with all his might to let oxygen into his lungs. Leaving Diego in the others care, Five teleports, waking Pogo from his sleep.

 

One look from Five and he’s up, questioning him as they run. “What happened?”

 

“Diego can’t breathe.” Is all Five can say before he disappears again to where he knows Grace will be recharging. She’s, oddly enough, pretty much charged and sets about getting to where Diego is. Five teleports again, knowing he won’t be able to do it again for a while. His jumps get tiring after a while. Diego is still struggling while Allison is yelling for him to breathe. He still can’t.

 

Finally, Pogo is there and Luther is carrying Number Two towards the bathroom, Vanya, Klaus and Ben following quickly behind. Five speeds up, catching up to them as Diego goes limp. Horror pricks at him and he looks to Pogo for answers but gets none. Instead, Mom gets up and goes over to the basin, filling it up and Pogo whispers something in Luther’s ear, in which Number One looks incredulous. The chimpanzee pushes Luther towards the water and Luther begrudgingly complies.

 

Five watches in shock as Luther forces Diego’s head under the water and doesn’t let up.

 

“What are you doing?!” Klaus shouts, moving to pull Number Two away. Luther holds his arm up to stop him.

 

“Luther! Let him go!” Allison commands. “Let him go or you know what I will do!”

 

Vanya stays quiet but cries into Ben’s shoulder, the boy biting his nail as he watched is fear.

 

Minutes tick by, nothing happens. Luther slowly begins to look sicker and sicker before he goes to pull Diego out. Mom suddenly grabs his wrist and keeps him under.

 

“As Klaus said before, what are you doing?” Five’s voice is only somewhat unstable, which he’s thankful for. No use having the others know of his own internal panic. Luther doesn’t answer. Nor does anyone else.

 

Suddenly, the limp and quite possibly dead Diego moves to pull his head upwards and Luther takes his hand away, the knife wielder throwing his head backward and his soaked hair flicks water everywhere. He is slowly breathing air in, not gasping like he should have been. Five’s mind reasons with him that he should be dead but he ignores it.

 

“Diego!” Klaus quickly rushes towards the other, Luther falling away. Mom takes a towel into her hands and wipes the water from his face and hair, checking him over for remaining damage but there isn’t any. Diego looks refreshed if anything. Five doesn’t understand why.

 

“What happened?” Ben asks. Diego tears his face away from the water to look at Number Six.

 

“The water, it-it I d-didn’t d-dro-own.” He stutters before pausing for a bit, forming sentences. “I could breathe un-nder there.”

 

Vanya suddenly speaks up. “New power?” Her voice is timid and unsure like she’s scared she’ll immediately be laughed at for suggesting it at all. But Five agrees. And it seems the rest of them do as well. Klaus grins.

 

“That’s so cool! So much cooler than mine!”

 

“Let’s not forget the fact that he couldn’t breathe before.” Allison reminds them and Klaus shoots her a frown.

 

“Maybe he just can’t control it.” Luther looks confused as Klaus speaks. Number Four elaborates. “Like, with Five not being able to stop teleporting even though he was exhausted, or Allison not being able to stop commanding things, words falling out of her mouth despite her attempts to stop them.”

 

“His body forgot how to breathe air?” Ben questions.

 

Pogo nods. “It is very likely.”

 

Luther moves to leave, more than likely to tell Sir Reginald the news of Diego’s newfound power but Klaus jumps to stop him. “Don’t.” He pleads and Diego glares daggers at the eldest . Five can’t help but share the sentiment.

 

“If Father finds out about this, he will force Diego through more tests.” Five tells him. “Let Diego rest for a minute at least.”

 

Luther looks unsure, his loyalties lying both ways. “But-”

 

“No, Luther,” Diego hisses. “For once don’t be the golden boy. Shut your mouth and go back to bed.”

 

Number One stands still, ready to go before he relaxes and sighs.

 

“Fine.”

 

Diego looks relieved, along with Klaus and Five himself.

 

“Good,” Klaus huffs, hugging Diego. Number Two smiles one of those rare smiles reserved for Mom and Klaus and Ben. Once he even flashed that smile at Five, but that was a long time. He shakes his head.

 

“Good.”