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Umbrella Academy Oneshots

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It had all happened so fast. One minute, he was in Vietnam, the next he was on a bus back in his hometown, not to mention he had traveled about 51 years into the future.

Dave was shot in the chest. He must've felt pain, Klaus thought, because he was still somewhat alive when Klaus noticed him bleeding out. Klaus just couldn't stay anymore, not without Dave. He didn't want to live in a world without him. He ran through the gunfire back to base, soldiers yelling at him along the way, but he didn't care. He found the briefcase he stored under the bed and opened it, hoping it would take him back to the moment he left. And it did.

Klaus went back to the mansion, casually slipping through the halls, unnoticed. He ran a bath to try and calm his nerves, as well as clean Dave's blood off of him. He didn't want to be reminded of it anymore. It hurt too much. He could still hear the gunshots and helicopters ringing in his ears. He could see Dave covered in blood when he closed his eyes. Klaus just needed to be alone right now. He got out of the bath, forgetting to drain it. He pulled on his leather pants and looked for a shirt in his closet. 

Five stood in his doorway. "You okay?" he asks carefully.

"Hey. Yeah, I just... long night." Klaus replies.

"More than one, from the looks of it." Five remarks. He notices the bruise on Klaus's ribs as he pulls a t-shirt over his head. Klaus groans as he does so, not knowing where the bruise came from, but it still hurt so it must be fresh. He must've gotten hit or something in the midst of all the chaos of war.

"Yeah."

Five noticed something new about Klaus's ensemble, "Don't remember the dog tags."

"Yeah, they belonged to a... friend." Klaus knew Dave was more than a friend, he just didn't want to get into it right now. He needed some time to process what happened before he would be ready to talk about it. He did just get back from the Vietnam war like, an hour ago.

"How about that new tattoo?" Five asks him. Klaus had a few tattoos already, the "Hello" and "Goodbye" on the palms of his hands, but there was a skull on his left bicep now. Above it, was a banner that said, "173rd Airborne Brigade Sky Soldiers." Five didn't notice that Klaus also had a tiger on the back of his shoulder and something written in Thai across his stomach.

"You know, I don't totally remember even getting it." Klaus lied. "Like I said, it was a long night."

"You did it, didn't you?" Five asked, referring to time travel. Klaus had obviously gone somewhere in time. He couldn't have gotten the bruises, tattoos, and emotional damage all from just last night. He had to have been gone a while.

"What are you talkin' about?" Klaus knew exactly what Five was talking about, but as he noted to himself before, he wasn't ready to talk about it quite yet.

"You know, I can recognize the symptoms, Klaus." Klaus asked what he was talking about again. "The jet lag, full body itch, headache that feels like someone shoved a box of cotton up into your nose and through your brain." Klaus looked up at Five. He was experiencing these exact symptoms, although the headache could be a result of the stress of being in a war or just having lost Dave. 

"You gonna tell me about it?"

"I'm not ready to yet, Five. It was awful and I just need to be alone right now... please." Klaus started to tear up a little, starting to break down after realizing just how traumatic his whole time travel experience was. He held it in as best he could because he didn't want Five, or anyone for that matter, to see him like this. He held his breath and bit the inside of his cheek to try and keep the tears in.

"Well, I'm here if you need me." Five left, closing the door behind him. Klaus broke just as the door latched. He cried harder than he ever had before. He cried for the lives lost in the war. He cried for the lives he took. He cried for Dave.

Dave had been the first love of Klaus's life. He had never met anyone quite like Dave who had truly loved him back. Klaus had never been in a real relationship before. He told Five once that his longest relationship lasted about three weeks because he was just tired of not having a warm bed to sleep in. In Vietnam, Klaus's bed wasn't warm, comfy, or inviting, but Dave was next to him all the time. They could never sleep together because everyone would find out and they would both be discharged. The army would also find out that there never was a Klaus Hargreeves because he hadn't even been born yet. But it was still nice to have Dave within arm's reach.

Klaus knew that the only way to numb himself so that he couldn't feel anything was to get high again. Even though Klaus had been clean the last ten months, he hadn't seen Ben yet to tell him otherwise. He went over to his bed and found a stuffed animal that he hollowed out to hide his drugs in. Reginald sometimes would go into Klaus's room after finding out about his drug use and confiscate anything he found because he didn't want Klaus dampening his powers, but he couldn't confiscate what he couldn't find. Klaus found a baggie of pills he bought a few days ago but didn't get a chance to take yet. He poured three out into his hand and swallowed them without water. He couldn't wait. 

It took a short amount of time to kick in. And this high was very strong, something he hadn't felt since maybe the first time he ever tried pills. Klaus used them so often the last few years that he started to build a tolerance to them and they weren't taking as much of an effect as they used to. Not this time. Klaus finally felt okay for the first time in literally months.

Klaus also hadn't eaten a good meal in almost a year, so he went down to the kitchen to make a sandwich. He made a peanut butter and marshmallow sandwich, just like Vanya used to leave out for Five when they were younger. It reminded him of a simpler time. A happier time. 

Days passed and Klaus still stayed in the shadows, especially avoiding Five so he wouldn't be asked about where and when he went. No one else in the house noticed he was gone. He was right. No one would ever notice he was gone. He avoided everyone in the house because even if they didn't notice he wasn't home, they surely would notice a difference in him himself, or so he thought.

The war changed Klaus, just as it would change anyone else. It hardened him. He was even more pessimistic and cynical than before. After losing the love of his life, he lost all hope about pretty much everything. He never thought he'd find love ever again. No one would ever compare to Dave, so why bother trying? He was more muscular due to training and constant battle. War was physically demanding so he had to get used to running and doing drills. He looked even thinner, if that were possible, because he had to ration his food. He was very jumpy at sudden, loud noises from his PTSD. 

Klaus still couldn't believe what happened. Just yesterday, he was fighting in the Vietnam war. In 1968. Today, he's sitting in the kitchen and everyone around him is acting like everything is normal. Because it is. For them, nothing's changed. But to Klaus, everything is different now.

Luther called a family meeting in the main room. The pills started to wear off and Klaus was becoming more lucid so he joined them. They talked about the usual: how to stop the apocalypse. You know, like normal families do. 

"Klaus? You look different." Allison noticed.

"I... bought a new shirt. You like it?" he joked, diverting attention.

"No, that's not it." Diego interjected. "You look like you've been through Hell. What on Earth did you get up to last night?"

Klaus looked over at Five, who nodded back at him, reassuring him that it was okay to talk about whatever it was that he was going to. Klaus shook his head. He didn't want to tell them yet, but he knew he had to eventually. Five spoke up for him to get the ball rolling. "He time traveled this morning."

"Where, or should I say when, did you go?" Allison asked, concern plastering her face.

"Um... I went to Vietnam." Klaus finally admitted. "In 1968." 

They all did the math in their heads. "Wasn't that when the Vietnam war happened?" Allison asked. She was always good at school, particularly history. Klaus nodded, his stare blank. They all sat in silence, not knowing what to say. It was probably best not to ask too many questions and let Klaus tell them what he wanted to. It was a good five minutes before he spoke up again.

"I landed in the middle of base camp sometime last night after Patch rescued me from being tortured by your friends," he looked at Five, "Hazel and Cha Cha."

"They tortured you? We didn't even know you were gone." Luther said, not weighing how his words effected Klaus.

"You never do, do you?" Klaus shot back. "Anyway, I escaped through the air vent and found a briefcase they stored in there. I took it with me, thinking maybe there was money in there, or I could pawn it, or something... But when I opened it, poof. There I was. As soon as I landed, I heard a bomb go off somewhere not too far. There were soldiers running all around. They gave me a helmet and told me to get dressed. I did, not wanting to tell them I was from the future. It's not like they would've believed me anyway. I got back sometime a few hours later. I stuffed the briefcase under my bed. I didn't know what to do with it, but I didn't want to lose it in case it could take me back."

"Why didn't you try getting home as soon as you got back?" Allison asked him.

"I got a little sidetracked." Klaus smirked. "I met someone, oddly enough. His name was Dave. He was kind, strong, vulnerable, and beautiful. Beautiful." Klaus paused, taking a second to remember Dave they way he should be remembered. He didn't want to remember Dave as the bloody mess he left him as. 

"Dave helped me get clean since I had no access to drugs in Vietnam. We got to know each other pretty well. Eventually, I fell in love with him. He told me he loved me about four months in. We had to keep it a secret, obviously, or we'd get caught and it would screw everything up. In the back of my mind I knew that I could go home anytime just by opening that briefcase again, but I didn't want to leave Dave. I couldn't leave him. You guys know what all my past relationships have been like. This was so real. So, I stayed for six more months. I was foolish enough to follow him all the way to the front line. And then one day, we're laying in the trenches, shooting at the other side. A usual day in Vietnam, like any other. I looked over at Dave to see if he laughed at a joke I made, but he wasn't moving. I panicked and turned him over." Klaus's breath hitches and his eyes start to water again. "He was... bleeding everywhere. I-I screamed for a medic over and over and over again. I put pressure on his gunshot wound, but it was right over his heart. There's no way he'd make it. I talked to him to try and make him stay with me, but I was too late. He died right there. And that's when I ran back to get the briefcase. So, here I am."

There was stunned silence when Klaus finished his story. He wiped his eyes, smudging some of his eyeliner across his face. No one dared speak. They wouldn't even know what to say. How do you respond to something like that? 

"Shit, man," was all Diego could think to say. He usually was pretty okay at talking to Klaus about whatever it was that bothered him, but not this time.

"Is there anything we can do?" Allison offered. Klaus shook his head. "Maybe if you got clean again you could see him?"

"I think I just need to go get high again and process this first. I'm not ready to do that yet."

Five spoke up for the first time in a while. He knew how traumatic time traveling could be, and he himself had spent some harrowing time in the future, but nothing compared to what Klaus went through. "You're gonna have to get over it eventually. I would give anything to see Dolores again."

"Gee, thanks Five. You're always so reassuring." Klaus hollowly joked. Humor was always his defense mechanism. It lightened the mood most of the time, but today it just made everyone uncomfortable.

"Klaus, if you ever need anything, you know we're always here for you." Diego meant to be sincere, Klaus knew that. But they really never noticed he was ever gone. He had been kidnapped and tortured for a few days while he was still in the present time. Sure, sometimes Klaus left without notice to go get high and he would be gone for a few days. But he always came back relatively the same. Someone other than Five should've noticed that he wasn't when he came back. Klaus just took this as Diego trying to be helpful, trying not to think much about its reality. "I wish Ben were here. He always knows what to say."

The funny thing is, no one knew Klaus could talk to Ben when he was clean and sober. Whenever one of them caught him talking to Ben, they brushed it off as a drug addict talking to himself or whatever he might be hallucinating. But Diego was right. Maybe Klaus wouldn't take another dose when these pills completely wore off just to see Ben. He knew that Ben was always warm and comforting. He definitely would know what to say.

Chapter Text

Nightmares were a regular occurrence for Klaus. He rarely had a sober night without them. Klaus usually liked to sleep during the day because it was still light out and the ghosts were quieter during the day. He wasn't able to sleep today, though, because they had stuff to do. Klaus also preferred to be high whenever he wanted a good night's sleep, but after finding out about his new powers, his family made him promise to try hard to stay clean so he could learn to use and control them. 

It was about three o'clock in the morning when he woke up screaming. Ben was always there to make sure Klaus was okay. This nightmare was a particularly bad one, however, and Ben wasn't enough this time. Klaus picked up his phone and dialed the number of the person he knew always made him feel better no matter how bad he got.

"Klaus, it's three in the morning. What's up?" Dave answered. His voice was still raspy from just having been woken up. He wasn't too thrilled to be awake at this hour, but he always kept his ringer on because he knew Klaus needed him sometimes.

"I had a really bad nightmare and I don't want to wake my siblings up because they don't help anyway. I know it's the middle of the night, but can you come over, please?" Klaus asked. 

"Ben isn't there?" Dave asked. He knew Ben was always there for Klaus during hard times--when he was sober, at least.

"Yeah, he's here," Klaus glanced over at the foot of his bed where Ben was sitting with his hand placed on Klaus's leg. "He can't hug me, though. That's what I really need."

"Okay. I'll be there in ten." Dave said goodbye and hung up the phone. He pulled on his shoes and took a cab over to the Hargreeves mansion. It was difficult finding a cab at three in the morning, but he'd do anything for Klaus.

They had been together for almost a year now. They met at an AA meeting. Klaus's family forced him to go to get sober so he could keep up on his knew powers. He didn't tell the group this, though. He told them that his family was sick of taking care of him when he was a perfectly able adult. This was still probably true. Dave had been an alcoholic and was tired of it. He had become his father, something he never thought would happen, but it did, and he wanted to put an end to it. They found comfort in each other. They confided in each other on everything: the good, the bad, the relapses, and the milestones. 

The city lights shone through the car window as Dave made his way to the mansion. The roads were wet, as it had rained the whole day before. Dave luckily only lived a few blocks away from Klaus so it didn't take him that long to get there when he was needed on nights like this. Dave secretly liked when Klaus called him because it meant that they would get to sleep together. Dave didn't feel totally right sleeping over all the time because he had to deal with Klaus's family in the morning and he hadn't gotten to know them that well yet. Grace was always super nice to him, making him breakfast and giving him clean clothes to wear home. Pogo was also inviting, but still somewhat wary of a stranger sleeping in his house. Allison, Vanya, and Ben took a liking to Dave. They knew he was really good for Klaus. Luther and Five couldn't care less. Diego would always be the protective brother that he was. He just wanted Klaus to be happy, but also didn't want Dave to ever break his heart. Diego always acted like an older brother to Klaus even though they were all the exact same age.

Dave texted Klaus that he was here, not wanting to knock on the door and wake everyone up. Klaus almost immediately opened the door and pulled Dave into a tight hug. Klaus was an affectionate person. His siblings weren't. Luckily, Dave never minded. "Hey. Everything's gonna be alright," Dave whispered in Klaus's ear. "Nothing's gonna hurt you."

"I know. It just feels so real." Klaus mumbles into Dave's shoulder.

"Why don't we go back to your room and I'll help you get back to sleep? It's cold out here." Dave ushers Klaus back into the foyer of the house and closes the door behind them. Klaus leads him upstairs to his bedroom and they crawl under the covers together. Klaus lays his head on Dave's chest and listens to his heartbeat. It's nice to hear something living after being around so much death his whole life. Dave wraps a protective arm around Klaus. 

"So what was so scary about your dream?" Dave finally asks.

"I just keep going back to that place. It's the worst dream I ever have and lately it's been coming back more often because I'm always sober and can't numb it out." He's referring to the mausoleum Reginald locked him in when he was a kid. He thought it would relieve Klaus's fears about his morbid power. Klaus never liked talking to the dead, but sometimes he had to. It wasn't so bad talking to the nice, calm ones, like old ladies who died in their sleep. The mausoleum Klaus was stuck in for four days was filled with ghosts of people who were brutally murdered. They wouldn't leave him alone, asking for help, even though there was nothing Klaus could do to save them. He didn't like looking at them either. Some of them missing body parts, other with gaping bullet holes in various places, all of them soaked in blood. Some of them were angry and vengeful, taking it out on Klaus because he's the only living person they could talk to. He was only thirteen. This was the reason he began using drugs, so he didn't have to talk to them anymore.

When Klaus used drugs for the first time, he didn't know it would stifle his powers. He was walking by an alley when some kids his age offered him a joint. Klaus was always a curious kid, so he took it. After it started taking effect, he noticed how quiet everything was. The voices stopped. He couldn't see the spirits anymore. He like this a whole lot better than before. Since then, Klaus took anything he could get his hands on just to keep the ghosts at bay. He did like how the drugs made him feel anyway, but the ghosts were the main reason Klaus stayed consistently high for the last 16 years or so.

"Listen, I know it scares you so much. I can't even begin to understand it. But you haven't gone back in there. And you haven't seen any of those ghosts since, right?" Klaus shook his head no. "Then they can't get you, right?" Klaus nodded.

"I know. It's just like I keep reliving it. It's just stuck in my brain. It's nights like these when I just wanna get high and numb again." Klaus confessed.

"You know that's not good for you, Klaus." Ben interjected.

"Oh, shut up, Ben. Go away." Klaus said in his direction.

"What did he say?" Dave asked.

"Oh, just the usual, 'don't do drugs because it affects your powers and you won't be able to talk to me anymore.'" 

"He's right, though. And aren't you lucky that you're the only one who can talk to your brother whenever you want?" Dave tries to convince Klaus that his powers aren't just a curse, that they can also be a gift sometimes. He always tries to make Klaus see the silver lining in everything. It's a part of their recovery, to not be so cynical and jaded about everything. 

"I guess. I'm tired now. I wanna go back to sleep." Klaus yawns.

"You go to sleep. I'll protect you." Dave hugs him closer to his chest.

"Can we have waffles in the morning?" Klaus asks sleepily, finally drifting off again.

"Of course, we can."

Chapter Text

This morning, Diego found Klaus sitting at the kitchen table clutching a mug of coffee, a blank stare on his face. He was drenched in sweat but was still shivering. He groaned with every movement like his whole body hurt. "What's up with you?"

"I have to get clean." Klaus said with a low growl of agitation in his voice. "Not only so I can figure out what the fuck these new powers are, but I need to see Dave. I miss him." Klaus looks up at Diego with sad eyes. It's been days since he was last clean. That was when he conjured Dave for the first time, but Five rewound time and all of that slipped Klaus's mind so he didn't remember it. 

Diego helped Klaus back upstairs to his room. He covered Klaus in a blanket and said, "I'll be right back." He came back ten minutes later with a bucket, a box of tissues, a glass of water, and some snacks. "The bucket is for if you puke. Please try not to. I don't wanna have to clean that out."

"You really don't have to stay." Klaus said as Diego pulled up a chair next to him. 

"You're dumber than I thought if you think I'm letting you do this alone." Diego said sincerely.

"Harsh. I have feelings you know. You guys underestimate me." Klaus shifted onto his side and pulled the covers over his shoulder. His whole body was shivering, teeth chattering, but he was still sweating as if he'd just run a marathon. Twice. On top of that, he felt really nauseous. Maybe the bucket would come in handy sooner than later. Klaus's head was pounding. If only he had any more pain pills. He ran out of them when Ben punched him in the face that one time. 

"Tell me a story." Klaus said, trying to fill the silence so he had something to focus on other than his pounding head and gurgling stomach.

"I don't know what to tell you about."

"Tell me about Patch." he said carefully. It was still a touchy subject with Diego, her death. He clearly loved her, he would just never admit it. Diego had a big heart and wasn't as cold as he came off.

"Fine." He sighed. "We met when I was in the police academy. I got kicked out, but she stayed. We were kind of friends when we were in the academy, but she didn't pay much attention to me. It wasn't until a few years later when I barged in on one of her cases that we met again. I hadn't seen her since I got kicked out. It was a simple robbery. The guy was still in the house when the family called 911. I caught it on my police scanner and went to see what was going on. I kicked the crap outta him. When the cops finally showed up, as slow as they were, they thought I was the robber! She arrested me and I recognized her right away. She was as beautiful as she was when I last saw her." Diego stares off into space for a few seconds.

"Anyway, she brings me in for interrogation. I tell her my story, and she finally remembers me when I tell her my name when I'm filling out paperwork. I caught up to her a few times after. You know, homicides, forced entries, stuff like that. A couple days ago, I was at the boxing gym and the owner comes down to my room saying that she called me and needed me to meet her at the hotel. That was when she found you. So I rush down there to meet her, but I was too late. She was dead by the time I got there. I couldn't stay because the cops showed up and they probably would've thought I did it." 

"I'm sorry. I had no idea." Klaus finally said after a moment of silence.

"Listen, it's not your fault."

"It's not yours either, you know." Klaus tries to reassure him. "Neither of you knew what you were getting into. I would've told you if I could've ahead of time. But I really couldn't because... well, you know." He laughs, trying to make Diego feel better.

"Can we change the subject? Why don't you tell me about Dave, then?"

"Where do I start?" Klaus asks himself. "Well, for starters, we met when I popped up in 1968 Vietnam, right in the middle of the war. He was the first person who noticed I was there. He gave me a uniform and a helmet, gave me a bed to sleep in, he took me under his wing and helped me through drills and stuff. He was the only thing keeping me going through those ten months. He helped me through my first withdrawals. It was terrible. I felt the same that time, but I was in the middle of a war zone so I think you can imagine how that went. We went on leave together the first time about two months after I got there. We walked around Saigon doing whatever we could. It was getting dark, and we had just gotten these tattoos," Klaus motions to his shoulder, "and we were a little drunk, so we stumbled into this disco. We were dancing around and finally having some fun. And then we got even more drunk, and he kissed me. Then we went back to this little shithole motel and... I'm sure you can fill in the rest." Klaus waved his hand.

Diego laughs, not really wanting to picture what Klaus was inferring. "What was he like?"

"Oh, he was perfect. So perfect. He was kind to everyone. He was really strong, not just physically, but also emotionally. But he was really vulnerable too. He could tell me everything and made me feel like I could tell him anything. And he was so beautiful." He pauses for a moment to remember Dave in that moment in the disco. "He had blond curly hair that draped over his forehead. And he had these piercing blue eyes that you could get lost in. And his lips were nice and full. I just can't wait to see him again. I need to hear his voice."

"It shouldn't be too much longer now, right? We've been here a few hours already. How long does this usually take?"

"It depends. I went hard last time, so it could be a few days."

"Why do you do it?"

"What do you mean?" Klaus cocks his eyebrow at Diego. He knows what Diego means, he just wants to see where he goes with this.

"Come on, Klaus. This shit's not good for you, and I think you know that. You're poisoning yourself, and for what? Just so you can have some peace and quiet?" Diego shakes his head.

"I don't think you understand what it actually does for me, Diego. The ghosts get so loud overnight and it is deafening. I can never get any sleep because of it. The drugs make them go away so I can't see or hear them."

"But you have other powers too. Didn't you know that?"

"No, actually, I didn't. I've been doing drugs since I was thirteen, Diego. I had barely scratched the surface of what my main powers could do. I was so traumatized by dad locking me in that mausoleum that I didn't want to have any powers at all after that. I'd much rather be like Vanya and not have any."

"Wait, dad locked you in a mausoleum when you were thirteen?"

"Yeah, you never knew that? Figures." Klaus scoffed.

"I'm sorry, Klaus. You know we were never really that close until recently."

"But I was still your brother. None of you ever checked up on me." Klaus said sadly. He had a notion that none of his family ever cared about his well-being. He knew they only cared about the "important stuff." Well, maybe Klaus should've been more important to them. 

"I know that now. Listen, from now on I promise I'll pay more attention to you. I want to be more of a brother to you than I was when we were kids." Diego held out his hand to Klaus. "I pinky swear."

Klaus takes Diego's pinky in his. "Alright."

"Do you see Dave or Ben yet?" Diego asks.

"No, I don't think so."

"Since when could you see Ben? And why didn't you tell us you could sooner? Have you been talking to him all this time without letting us know?" Diego asks. He's starting to get annoyed now that more of Klaus's secrets are surfacing for the first time to Diego's knowledge. But he's trying to remain calm as not to upset Klaus anymore.

"I think it started the night he died. He told me what dying was like--it sucks by the way--and we've been talking when I'm clean ever since. I didn't want to tell you guys because then you'd ask to talk to him all the time when I'd rather be high. I know that he goes away when I am high, along with the other ghosts, but to me it was a small price to pay, considering." Klaus stretches out his arms, trying to get as comfortable as he could so his symptoms wouldn't bother him so much. Talking to Diego helped at first, but now he was getting uncomfortable with Diego's accusatory questions. He didn't like that Diego was blaming him for all this stuff. Sure, the Ben thing was his fault, but Klaus felt that he had bigger fish to fry. Ben was dead, it wasn't like he was going anywhere. "Can we change the subject again? I don't like this."

Diego wanted to know more about what Klaus had been keeping from all of them, but he decided to give Klaus a pass, considering his current condition. They could come back to this in a few days. "Sure. Do you need anything?"

"I could go for a drink right about now." Klaus giggled. 

"You know I can't let you do that. You have to go cold turkey this time."

"I know." Klaus pouted. He sat up and immediately felt like he was going to throw up. "Bucket!" He yelled to Diego. Diego ran over to the other side of the room to get the bucket for Klaus. Klaus emptied his stomach contents into it, not like there was much in there anyway. He heaved a few more times, leaving nothing but bile. He took a sip of his water to get the foul taste out of his mouth. "Well that sucked. Woah!"

Klaus automatically saw Dave and Ben in the corner of the room. Maybe this was the end of it. He was clean enough now so that he could see them again. "What? What's going on? Are they here?"

"Yeah!" Klaus smiled, his eyes full of love. He did miss talking to his brother as often as he used to. But more importantly right now, he just needed a moment with Dave. "Can you give us some time alone?" Klaus asked, glancing between Diego and Ben. They both nodded. Diego walked out, shutting the door behind him. Ben disappeared to somewhere else in the house, leaving him alone with Dave.

"Hey, you." Klaus said.

"Hey."

Chapter Text

As everyone in the house knew, nights were the hardest for Klaus. Everything was so quiet, and that made it harder to drown out the persistent ghosts always lurking around his head. Dave had been sleeping in Klaus's room with him ever since Klaus brought Dave back with him from 1968. Having someone there usually made it a little easier to focus on something other than the ghosts, but this was not one of those times, unfortunately. During the day there were always distractions that Klaus could try and focus his attention on: someone talking in another room, a TV on, music playing from Vanya's room, etc. The only thing Klaus could pay attention to now was the ghost that kept nagging him to tell her family she loves them. The thing is, Klaus doesn't care right now. He just wants to go the fuck to sleep.

Klaus couldn't take it anymore so he got up and left the room; maybe the ghost would take the hint and stop pestering him. He wasn't interested in helping her. It's not like he could. He didn't have any information on her family; she won't tell him anything else, and he didn't want to wake Dave by asking any questions or telling her to fuck off out loud. He found his way into the kitchen and sat down at the table. The clock above the fridge said it was 1:42 a.m. Klaus and Dave (well, mostly Dave) went to bed around 11:30. Klaus just sat there lying in bed for over two hours trying desperately to fall asleep. 

Mom was still active. He would call her awake, but she didn't actually sleep. She just plugged herself in when she felt low on power. If only Klaus could do that too, that'd be really nifty. She heard him plop himself into the wooden kitchen chair and followed the sound. "Klaus! What are you doing awake at this hour? You should be in bed, silly!"

"Yeah, I know, mom. I tried that. But you know the ghosts don't like to let me sleep." He said to her with a sad smile. She gave him a smile back.

"Are you hungry? Can I make you a snack?" She started moving toward the kitchen cabinets to retrieve ingredients for something, he didn't know yet, but he stopped her.

"No thanks, not right now. I can wait 'til breakfast. Plus, I think eating something would wake me up more, and I'm trying to tire myself out so I can eventually go to bed before the sun comes up today, hopefully. You know, it's hard to sleep when everyone around you doesn't understand that you can't sleep during the night and they make so much noise all the time." He paused. "Can I ask you something, mom?" Klaus said carefully, after ending his tangent.

"Of course, you can ask me anything, honey." Grace said, cheerful as usual, unsuspicious.

"Did you hate dad as much as we did? Do you miss him now that he's dead?" He eyed her carefully.

Grace turned to him and out on a somewhat stern face. "Now, your father was a great man. I owe everything to him-"

"Yeah, I know that," he cut her off, "but aside from that, deep down, did you hate him for how he treated all of us?"

Grace let her shoulders drop. She walked to the table and sat across from him, leaning in close and whispered even though no one, especially not Reginald, was around. "I can't say anything bad about your father." She raised her eyebrows. Klaus nodded knowingly, understanding what she meant to say. Maybe she was programmed so that she literally couldn't say a negative thing about Reginald. Klaus would be the last person in the house to comprehend how computers work, but he figured Reginald could have found a way to do that when he first built Grace. "Now, I'm going to go catch up on my cross-stitch." She smiled her usual sweet smile and walked out of the kitchen.

And Klaus was alone once again. He took a pack of cigarettes and a lighter out of his pj pants pocket. He lit one and took a long drag of it, letting the smoke flow slowly from his lips.

Once in a while, when a ghost popped into his sight, he could just wave them off with a hand and they would leave him alone. He liked those ones. Most of them, however, were not so easy to get rid of. One time, a middle-aged Chinese man followed him around for almost a week before Klaus got so high he couldn't see him anymore. Luckily, he was gone by the time Klaus came down from his high a few days later.

Klaus hated going to rehab for a few reasons: he enjoyed being high whenever he so chose, and the ghosts in rehab were so much crazier than the ones that caught up to him on the street. They also were drug addicts, but unlike Klaus, they died while they were high. Not to say that Klaus hadn't overdosed and died a few times before, but at least he had come back. Anyway, Klaus knew that dealing with a stoner while you were not stoned was so irritating and they listened even worse that the persistent ghosts that followed him around most of the time. Klaus liked rehab for only one thing though: getting clean meant that he would get so high the next time he decided to use drugs. Sometimes he built up a tolerance to whatever substance he decided he liked the most for the time being, the last time being prescription pain pills, that they stopped working so much. Detoxing his body of all that crap meant that they would come back so strong. This is why he overdosed so often; he couldn't control himself. 

When Dave came back to 2019 with him, he promised Dave that he would continue to stay sober after his ten-month stint in Vietnam. Klaus slipped up a few times, now that he had more at his disposal. He left his secret stash in his room when he left and finished it up when he came back. He had three joints and a bag full of pills left. They were gone in just three days. Dave gave him such a disapproving look when Klaus came home high out of his mind, and it made him feel such a way that he never wanted to feel again. Something simple as that made Klaus want to get clean. And stay clean this time. They always say that recovery isn't linear, that people have screw-ups, but Klaus really wanted to try his hardest so Dave didn't have to see him like that again. He didn't want to be that person anymore. Vietnam had changed him in a way that he'll never fully understand, but it did.

Klaus didn't remember whole years of his life, and now that he had Dave with him, he wanted to remember every second.

"Babe, what are you doing up so late?" Klaus turned around in his seat to find the love of his life standing in the doorway. Klaus was so out of it from over-exhaustion that he didn't even hear Dave come down the hallway. Dave was wearing plaid boxers and one of Klaus's t-shirts. Klaus like wearing shirts of his that Dave had previously worn because they smelled like him. 

"I could ask you the same thing." Klaus asked, trying to divert the attention off of himself. He cocked an eyebrow at Dave and took another drag of his cigarette.

Dave sighed. At least Klaus was still being his usual self. That much hadn't changed since he went to Vietnam. Not that Dave would know that, but from what the others had told Dave about what Klaus was like before they met, he sounded like the same person still. "I went to put my arm around you and I didn't feel you next to me. You haven't been so bad lately, so I got worried, that's all."

Klaus wasn't used to people caring about him. He had been on his own, living mostly in the streets for the last thirteen years when he decided he had to leave the house. Most of his siblings were gone too, only Luther and Vanya left. Luther was always so loyal to their "dear" father, so he was likely the last to leave, if he ever would (spoiler alert: he didn't). Vanya had only stayed so long because she was saving up money from her cashier job to get her own apartment. She didn't want to ask Reginald for any money, partly because she didn't think he would give her any, but also because she wanted to feel like she accomplished something for herself for once. Five had been missing for nearly four years at that point; Ben had died the year before; Diego was living in the boiler room at the boxing gym, making plans to attend the police academy when he was old enough; Allison moved away on her own to LA to chase her dream of becoming an actress, and, having her power, it wasn't difficult.

So that left Klaus. He didn't have anywhere to go. He could've asked Diego to move in with him for a little while--Diego always had a soft spot for Klaus and he knew that--but he felt like he would be too much of a bother, and he wanted to maintain a good relationship with the one brother he did like who was also still alive. He could've asked Vanya, too. He knew she would take him in in a heartbeat, but again, he didn't want to be a bother. He'd never had a job, either, growing up filthy rich, and because of that, he had no qualifications for one either. No one would hire him. To be honest, he also wouldn't have passed a drug test. But he knew he just couldn't live in that house anymore, the constant threat of being locked in the mausoleum again leering over him. So he packed as much as he could fit into a duffel bag and left. He hadn't come back since until he heard the news about their father.

He spent most of his time bouncing back and forth between friends' couches, lovers' beds, and any alley that wasn't completely filthy. Sometimes he didn't mind so much. Klaus had always liked his freedom, but most of the time it was very lonely. He didn't love anyone he ever stayed with; he just needed them for favors. Then, in came Dave and changed everything.

"I'm sorry I keep skipping out on you like that. I just don't want to bother you, you know that. I know what it was like sleeping in Vietnam, and you could use a good night's sleep once in a while." Klaus tried arguing.

"Yes, but so do you." Dave swung around the table and sat down in the chair next to his, taking Klaus's hands in his own.

"Listen, I'm used to not sleeping, like ever. I can function for four straight days on five non-consecutive hours. That's gotta be some kinda record!" Klaus half-joked. Dave gave him a look. "I know, I know. I'm trying to do better. It hasn't been so bad lately, it's just tonight... they won't leave me alone. I don't know what else to do. You know what my only other option is. But before you say anything, I'm not taking it. I won't do that to you again. I love you." Klaus looked back and forth between Dave's eyes, trying to figure out what he was thinking.

"I love you too." Dave pulled him into a long-lasting and long-needed hug. "If you ever need anything- if you need to talk about something, or if you just want to talk about nothing until you can finally go to sleep, you know I'm always here for that, right?" Dave pulled away to look Klaus in the eye.

"Yeah, I know." Klaus smiled and kissed his cheek.

"Okay. So why don't you come back to bed now, hmm?" Dave nodded his head toward the doorway, signaling for Klaus to come with him.

Klaus stood up, lacing his fingers between Dave's and let himself be led away back to their bedroom. Maybe he would get a good night's sleep tonight.

Chapter Text

"Why did you call us all in here, Klaus?" Luther asked. Klaus waited until everyone got home and called them into the living room for a "family meeting." He said it was very important business

"Well, I wanted to let you all know that I--dramatic pause--have bought a deck of Uno cards and we're all gonna play! Yay!" He put up jazz hands and wiggled his fingers. Everyone groaned in response. "I know you might think it sounds lame, but I think it could be really fun. And we never do anything as a family, you know?" 

"There's a reason for that." Five interjected. Klaus waved him off.

"So?" He raised his eyebrows expectantly, waiting for some sort of reply.

They looked around at each other. Diego was the first to speak up. "Fine. But one game. Just one."

"Fine." Klaus said, putting his hands down and running upstairs to his room to get the cards.

"This is gonna be a disaster." Allison said once she saw that Klaus was gone. He came running back down the stairs at lightning speed like a kid on Christmas morning.

"Careful on those stairs. You know what happened last time." Diego warned.

"Yes, mom." Klaus said mockingly at him. They all sat down around the dinner table. "I'll shuffle." He pulled all of the cards out of the box, discarding the ones with the rules on them. He took half of the deck in each hand and lined them up as if he were about to shuffle them. As he went to do it, he lost his grip and the cards went flying everywhere. "Oops!"

"Give them here, I'll do it." Luther said.

"You sure, monkey boy? I'd think your hands were too big for the job." Diego said under his breath, but loud enough for everyone to hear.

"Don't start." Allison pointed an accusing finger at him. He put his hands up in defense. One Luther shuffled all the cards, he handed them back to Klaus to deal.

"Alrighty, I'll go first."

He pulled the first card out of the deck, a red seven. He put down another red card on top of it. Then came Five, who put down a pick-up-four card for Diego. 

"Really? This is how you're gonna be? Consider the fact that this is only the beginning of the game."

"Okay, but consider this: I don't care." Five said in his usual degrading tone. Diego picked up his four cards and waited for Five to call a color for him to put down. "Let's go with yellow." So Diego begrudgingly put down a yellow card. The game went on like this for a while. Next it was Allison's turn, then Vanya, and Luther last. A couple of times the order reversed and Klaus could never keep track of when his turn was supposed to be. There were a few fights over whether or not you could put down a reverse card and then it would be your turn again. They suspected that Luther only tried this so that he could put down more cards faster and win to end the game sooner. But Klaus wasn't having any of it. Every time there was some sort of dispute on the rules of the game, he'd make everyone put down their cards and pause the game until he looked them up online and resolved the issue. Four times this happened. 

"Uno!" Klaus called out. "One card left and it's over for you bitches!"

"Oh no, you don't." It was Five's turn next, and he placed down another reverse card, meaning that it was Klaus's turn again.

"No! But I don't have a green card!" He whined.

"Then I guess you're just gonna have to pick up until you do, then." Five gave him a shit-eating grin. Klaus shook his head at him and sighed. He picked up six more cards before he found one to put down.

"Seis." He called out, more sadly and quietly this time, slinking further down in his chair.

They had to reshuffle the deck of discarded cards twice because the game was never-ending. "Is anyone close to winning yet?" Vanya spoke up. She wasn't really one to complain, but everyone knew this game had gone on far too long. Even Klaus was getting tired of it, and it was his idea. Maybe he regretted it a little. But he thought of an idea to speed things up a little, and to his advantage. 

Wordlessly, he summoned Ben from wherever he was hiding. He needed an excuse to leave and talk to Ben about his plan, so he asked everyone to pause the game because he had to use the bathroom. He quickly walked towards the direction of the bathroom, but stopped once he was around the corner, out of eyesight and out of earshot. "Listen, I have a plan to help me win and end this game finally. You know I love my family, but even I've had enough of them. I should've picked something easier to end, like Jenga."

"Get on with it, they're gonna suspect something if you're gone too long." Ben said.

"Right! Anyway, you're gonna go around the table and tell me who has what cards left, particularly Luther and Five because they're right next to me, and their cards depend on what I put down and vice versa. Got it?" 

"Are you sure about this? They're gonna get mad at you if they find out and they'll never play with you again." Ben suggested.

"How are they gonna find out? It's not like they can hear you. They don't even know you're in the room ninety percent of the time!"

"Fine. Just don't be so obvious that you're listening to something. Keep your eyes low and if you have to look at me, be subtle, like you're just looking around the room at nothing."

"Thanks buddy." Klaus went to go pat Ben on the shoulder but his hand went right through him. "We'll work on that later."

Klaus went back to the table and picked up his cards. "Alright, I think it was Luther's turn, right?" He looked in Ben's direction and nodded his head in Five's direction because he came after Klaus.

Luther put down a blue eight. "Five's got a bunch of blues and a red skip-turn card." Klaus had two yellows, a green, a blue, and a blue pick-up-two card. He put down the pick-up-two card for Five.

"You bastard!" Five yelled when he saw what card he got.

When it got back to Luther, before he put down a card, Ben told Klaus that he had a bunch of red and green cards. Klaus hoped Luther wouldn't put down a red card because he didn't have any. Unfortunately, he did, but luckily it was a two, and Klaus had a yellow two. He had three cards left. Just a few more minutes and it would all be over. He was the only one who was close to winning. Five went ham with the pick-up-four cards, so Diego basically had a deck of cards of his own. Vanya and Allison both had decent sized hands, and Luther had five cards left, so unless something were to go wrong with Klaus's plan, he would reign victorious.

Back to Luther again. He put down one of his green cards, a green six, so Klaus put down his only green card left. Two cards to go. Five put down a yellow six, switching things up. If they kept with the yellow, Klaus would be okay because he had one yellow card left. He did forget that Ben told him Luther had all red and green cards. Klaus didn't have a green left. He had a yellow eight and a blue four. The numbers would have to match. "Number?" Klaus mouthed to Ben, silently as possible to no one would hear him. They all had eyes on their own cards, planning each of their attacks, so no one saw him.

"Red four, six, seven, green two." Ben said back.

Klaus's heart was beating a little too fast for the mild stress of a card game. He was just desperate to win and end it all. Truth be told he could just tell everyone they could end the game and quit, but he wanted to win this thing so he had something to brag about for once.

It felt like slow motion when Luther put down his next card. Klaus looked away dramatically, and when he looked back he saw it: a red four. He sighed a sigh of relief and put down his blue four. "Uno!" He called.

"You know you have to get rid of all your cards." Five said condescendingly.

"Yes, I know, smart ass!" Klaus had a yellow eight left. 

Ben waited around behind Luther to tell Klaus what he had left when it was Luther's turn. But then Vanya put down a reverse card just before it was supposed to be Luther's turn. It went back to Allison and then Diego. Ben ran around Five's side of the table. "He's got a blue and a green eight, Klaus!" Ben yelled excitedly.

Klaus jumped a little, not expecting Ben to yell. "What was that?" Luther asked him.

"Oh, it was, uh... just a chill." Klaus said, turning his attention back to his cards. Luther seemed to believe him. It was February after all, and no one really knew much about the ghosts that spoke to him, even if some of them did yell at him some of the time. Now, all Five had to do was put down one of his cards with an eight on it and Klaus was home free. Considering Five has four cards left, it was a fifty-fifty chance. The suspense was killing Klaus. Five was taking forever to pick a card. A green card was on the table. But Five had a green eight and a nine. "Come on! Put something down, Five!"

"Jesus, fine!" Five slammed down his green card. Klaus held his breath as he looked at Five's card. It was an eight!

Klaus let out his breath with a laugh and put his last card down. "Bingo!"

"We're not playing bingo." Luther said stupidly. Everyone sighed at his lack of a sense of humor. 

"Yes, I know that big guy, but I can't say Uno again because I've got nothing left-which means that I win! It's over, and we never have to do this again. This was a mistake."

"Thank god." Five sighed as he jumped back to his room to work on some math. Everyone else put their cards on the pile in the middle of the discarded deck. They all left to do their own things, leaving Klaus by himself. Suddenly he was lonely again.

He called out to them, "Anyone wanna play Monopoly?"

They all answered simultaneously, "NO!"

Chapter Text

Diego was laying on the couch in the living room target practicing at the various taxidermized animals Reginald collected on the walls of the family room. He was getting bored because there was nothing to do around the house and there hadn't been any robberies for him to go in and break up yet today. He decided to go into the kitchen and find something to eat. When he walked in, he found Klaus sitting at the table talking to no one. "What are you doing?" Diego asked him.

"Oh! Christ on a cracker! You scared the crap outta me, Diego!" Klaus put his hand over his heart and took a deep breath.

"Who were you talking to in here just now?"

"Um, no one. Just another ghost roaming around, you know." Klaus lied. He was actually talking to Ben. No one knew that Ben had been hanging around Klaus ever since he died. He thought it would be easier for them to let go and move on if he was the only one who knew. He also didn't want to act as the messenger constantly whenever they felt like talking to Ben through him. He wondered how long he could keep the secret up. Klaus had almost gotten caught a few times, but it was quite easy to chalk it up to another ghost in the house. They go everywhere, as Klaus had once told them. That much was true, as Ben could follow Klaus anywhere he went, or not, and stayed home when he felt like it.

"Do they still bother you as much as they used to when we were kids?"

"Yes and no. They scare me a little less now, because I'm such a grown-up. But at the same time, I'm not as used to it anymore because of how long I was on drugs. They didn't bother me at all if I was high enough. Now that I'm sober again, I'm still trying to find my sea legs." Diego laughed at Klaus's metaphor. "I'll be fine."

"You promise me you won't go back on drugs if they get bad again. Come talk to me, or anyone of us. Well, maybe not Luther, but the rest of us would do anything for you." Diego tried to reassure him. Klaus knew this was half true. He definitely knew that Diego and Vanya would do anything for him at the drop of a hat. Allison wasn't as welcoming to Klaus as she was to Luther, for obvious reasons. Five was old and crotchety, and Klaus didn't much like being alone with him anyway. And Diego was right about Luther. He just wouldn't understand what Klaus was going through, and he sure as hell was not good at comforting him about it. 

"Yeah, I promise." Klaus put his hand on top of Diego's on the table and gave it a little pat to reassure Diego that he was doing okay.

-----

"No, it's not! Waffles are so much better than pancakes! Are you crazy? I-" Klaus was yelling at something, or someone, when he was interrupted by a sound coming from outside his bedroom door. 

"Klaus? What's going on in here?" Allison asked, a strange expression on her face.

"Nothing! Nothing. I was just...thinking out loud. Don't you ever do that? I'm sure you run your lines out loud when you're rehearsing for roles and people don't think you're crazy." He was trying to change the subject so that hopefully she would forget what she had just seen, but Allison was smarter than that.

"That's because that's my job. Anyway, are you sure you're not..." Her voice trailed off.

"On drugs? Is that what you think of me? I have been completely clean and sober for the last three and a half months and I have been trying my best, and you have the nerve to accuse me of relapsing. I can't believe you!" Klaus wasn't as mad at Allison as he led on to be, he just needed her to think that he was fine and that she was the crazy one for thinking that he was in fact talking to someone other than himself.

"Well, Klaus, you know you've done it before. I just want to make sure you don't do that to yourself again." She explained.

"You mean so that I don't do it to you guys again, right? Or maybe you forgot the fact that I can commune with the dead when I'm sober. Maybe I was talking to one of the many ghosts that live here. Ever thought about that?" Klaus raised an accusatory eyebrow.

Allison let out a long sigh. "You're right, I'm sorry. I'll just leave you be." Then she stepped out of Klaus's doorway and down the other end of the hall back to her room. 

"You think she bought it?" Klaus asked.

"I think so. But I do know that she thinks you're totally insane." Ben replied.

-----

When Klaus got up the next morning, he awoke to the smell of eggs and bacon, Grace's signature breakfast. He slumped down the stairs, still groggy from sleep and not fully awake yet. Luther and Vanya were sitting across the table from each other in complete silence, having just started eating. 

"Good morning, Klaus!" Grace chimed. 

"Morning." Vanya added. Luther just nodded at him. Klaus nodded back. He was not a morning person, but he was trying to be awake at the same time as the rest of the world and be a somewhat productive part of society. Grace put a plate of two sunny side up eggs with a bacon strip in the shape of a smiley face in front of him. 

"Looks delicious, mom."

"Thank you, honey. Now eat up; breakfast is the most important meal of the day!" She flashed him a toothy smile and turned back around to clean up the kitchen. 

Klaus dug into his eggs, breaking the yolk and dipping his bacon into it. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Ben appear in the chair next to him. He side-eyed him as a warning not to bother him yet. 

"I think we should have pancakes for breakfast tomorrow." Ben piped up when Klaus was almost finished.

"I already told you I-" Klaus cut himself off when he remembered that he wasn't alone. His brain wasn't fully functioning yet, as it was still too early for him to be functional. It was also so quiet in here that he forgot Vanya and Luther were even there. They hadn't spoken much to each other since Luther locked Vanya in the chamber in the basement three months ago. They both looked at him, wide-eyed.

"What was that?" Luther asked incredulously. 

"You know, this time I don't have an explanation for that." He said under his breath. 

"What does that mean?" Vanya asked him quietly.

"Let's just say there's a ghost hanging around me right now, and he won't leave me alone, much like the rest of them." Klaus looked accusingly in Ben's direction, even though neither Vanya nor Luther could see Ben. To be honest, sometimes Klaus thought it would be funny to make Ben corporeal when the family was all together just sitting around. They would all flip their shit, he thought. 

"Is there anything we can do about it?" Vanya asked him.

"No, no, it just takes a while before they realize I wanna be left alone. He'll be gone eventually." Klaus nodded. Klaus went back to his room to hide for some time until they forgot about what just happened. 

"You almost blew your cover, you know." Ben told Klaus.

"Shut up!" He hissed back.

-----

"No, I don't really think it's my color. I don't wear so much black anymore like you do." Klaus told Ben while raiding Allison's closet for the third time just that week. Sometimes Ben thought it was funny to give Klaus suggestions on what to wear, even if he knew nothing about fashion at all. "What do you think of this?" Klaus pulled out a cherry red pencil skirt with ruffles towards the bottom. He held it in front of him for Ben to see. 

"Oh, that's so cute." Ben said sarcastically. 

"I know, but what would I wear it with?" Klaus threw the skirt on Allison's bed behind him and returned to the closet to find a top to wear with it. Eventually he found a lacy black crop top he thought would look cute with the skirt he just picked out. "How about this one?" 

Klaus turned around to show Ben his pick and saw Five standing in the doorway. "Jesus! Doesn't anybody in this house knock?"

"Who ya talking to?" Five cocked his head questioningly. 

Klaus looked him up and down, deciding what excuse he was gonna go with this time. He was running out of ideas that were believable. He played the ghost card too many times already. I mean, technically it is true, Klaus thought. Then he had an idea. "You wouldn't believe me if I told you."

Klaus turned back around facing his back to Five to collect the clothes he stole from Allison to go back to his room and throw himself a little fashion show. He knew that comment would get under Five's skin, which is exactly what he wanted. 

"Klaus, you've done a lot of weird shit. There's nothing you could tell me that I'd believe you haven't done." Five replied. 

"I don't know, it's kinda hard to comprehend." He took his stuff and walked out of the room, leaving Five dumbfounded.

"Hard to comprehend? I know that I understand more about the world than you do!"

"Not about the other side. You don't know shit about ghosts. None of you do. Therefore, I am the wisest in that category. Check mate." Klaus shut his door in Five's face leaving him alone in the hallway. Five blinked in confusion. Klaus laughed to himself from behind his closed door. For once, he outsmarted the smartest member of the family.

-----

Klaus had been thinking for days about how to tell his siblings that he had been talking to Ben for years. He knew that they wouldn't believe him at first. Then maybe if they finally did, they would all be mad for not telling them earlier. Klaus thought that the only way they would truly understand was if Ben himself was there to tell them and answer their questions. So that was what Klaus was going to do.

He briefed Ben on his plan the night before it was going down. Ben had his reservations. Maybe it was better if they just didn't know. Klaus argued that they had a right to know, and that he couldn't keep it a secret for much longer, considering the amount of times he's gotten caught only in the past few days. It was simpler to hide Ben when they all didn't live in the same house anymore. Everyone moved out pretty much right after Ben's death. Ben would tell himself that he was the glue that held the family together, but Klaus thinks he just likes the ego boost. Deep down he did also think it was true, but he'd never tell Ben that. When Klaus talked with Ben while walking down the street, people didn't think much of it. They either thought he was just some nut job that everyone encounters in the city, or that he was just some crazy drug addict taking to himself. Sometimes the latter was a reality.

The next afternoon, Klaus called everyone into the family room for a family meeting. "I have some news for you all. You might not believe me at first, but I promise you I'm telling the truth."

"What have you done this time?" Diego asked. 

"Nothing! Nothing, I swear! It's not like that. I just... I've been hiding something from you all for a long time, and I just thought I'd finally let you know. But before I do, let's make this fun. Do you have any guesses as to what it is?" Klaus put his hand out expectantly, waiting for questions.

"We already know you're gay." Five interjected.

"I'm pan, but that's not what this is."

"I think we all know everything about you. What more is there?" Allison asked.

"Oh, you are so wrong. But alright, I'll tell you. You know how you guys have been catching me off guard and talking to nobody? Well, it wasn't just some random ghost that's been following me around. It's Ben." He pauses to let them process what they'd just heard.

"But... he died years ago." Luther said.

"You do know that my power is talking to the dead, right? None of you ever thought about that?"

"To be honest, we don't think about you much." Five said without thinking.

"Well, gee, thanks." Klaus knew his siblings never cared about him after he began his drug habit. Truth be told, he wished they started to care about him more then. That was when he needed them most. "So, with that, I discovered a new power, and I've been practicing. Take a look at that chair," he pointed to one in the corner of the room, "and just watch."

Klaus balled up his hands into fists and focused all his energy into summoning Ben. Now he could see him, but Ben had that blue haze around his form so Klaus knew that he was the only one who could see him. He focused even harder, his face getting red and hot, and he could feel the veins sticking out of his forehead and neck. This power was still fairly new, so he wasn't so quick about it yet. He had to focus harder than he ever had to before. He closed his eyes and tried to silence anything in his head that could serve as a distraction. He opened his eyes again to see if Ben had appeared to everyone else this time when he felt something in him give way. He had.

"Oh my god." Vanya whispered under her breath. Everyone looked stunned. Klaus relaxed a bit now. He didn't have to focus as hard anymore. The summoning was the hard part; now all he had to do was keep Ben there.

"Hey guys." Ben waved. He got up from his chair and walked closer to his siblings toward the middle of the room. "So, what did I miss?"

"How long-" Allison started to say.

"Ever since his funeral. I had an empty chair right next to me and there he just... popped up." Klaus giggled. 

"Does anyone have any questions they wanna ask me?" Ben addressed the group. 

"Can I freak out now?" Allison asked.

"I think we're all a little speechless at the moment." Diego said. Ben nodded understandably. Diego turned his attention back to Klaus. "What I wanna know is why did you keep this from us?"

"I just thought it would be easier for you guys to move on if you didn't know. You'd get closure, or something. And, this might sound a little selfish, but I thought I could keep him as something all on my own. He's not just our sibling, he's my best friend. He's the only one who looked after me and checked up on me when we all left home. None of you ever so much as called me. How about all those times I went to rehab? Or OD'd and died, and then came back to life?" He looked back and forth between his brothers and sisters waiting for some kind of answer. None of them had any. 

Ben started to flicker out of sight. "What's happening to him?" Luther asked.

"This gets tiring after a while and I can't keep him going for much longer. Say your goodbyes and we'll revisit tomorrow." Klaus told them.

"We love you Ben." Vanya said.

"I know." Ben said, and then flickered out of sight for good.

"Did he just quote Han Solo?" Diego asked.

"Yeah, he makes me watch Star Wars all the time."

 

Chapter Text

He hadn't felt like this since the last time he went to rehab four months ago. That was the last time, he promised himself and his family, but mostly to himself. After they saved the world from Vanya, Klaus decided to finish out the last of his withdrawals in rehab and learn how to actually cope with sobriety properly so he wouldn't fall back into old habits. He kept in touch with his sponsor this time, went to NA meetings, and did everything he was supposed to. He was four months sober, and he still felt like shit.

Klaus thought that getting clean would've completely turned his life around and that he would be a happy normal person now. He was, some of the time. The other times he felt too emotionally exhausted to get out of bed or even stand up in attempt to get the day going. He usually went back to sleep when he felt like this until Ben bugged him to go eat something. 

Right now, Klaus would do anything to be happy again. He didn't want to take antidepressants because it could lead to a dependency issue again, and he couldn't afford to go back. He had come so far. He had to just ride it out whenever it came back. His siblings weren't much help, as always, but they tried their best. They finally understood that Klaus was trying his best and hadn't relapsed so far, that he was taking it seriously. Every so often Vanya would peak into his doorway, asking if he needed anything. He knew that she was just trying to be nice, but he didn't want to be bothered. She stopped trying after the third time. On days like this, Ben would walk around the house, anything to give Klaus his space. Sometimes, he would spy on the others and report back to Klaus when Klaus was social again. 

Sometimes Klaus thought about what Dave would say to him to make him feel better. Klaus finally got past the sad stage in his grief for Dave. He didn't want to remember Dave and be sad all the time. He wanted to smile and remember how loved he felt in that short time they were together. Klaus hadn't felt depression this bad since the first week he was in Vietnam, after he was finally through withdrawals. Dave was there for him to talk to if he needed, but Klaus remembers that Dave left him alone, too. Klaus just wanted a hug right now. That was what he needed most. 

Klaus was too tired to make Ben corporeal to hug him, and even though Ben would do anything for Klaus, he wasn't as touchy-feely as Klaus is. None of the others were either. Klaus hadn't tried summoning Dave yet. He didn't know how to do it without summoning all the other ghosts in the house, and he wanted to summon just the one ghost right now. He'd been practicing a little, but he hadn't perfected it yet. Ben was easy because he died sooner in linear time than Dave had. Klaus didn't really know how to go that far back yet.

With a long sigh, Klaus pulled his blankets off of him and sat up. One step at a time. He swung his feet over the edge, feeling the cold hard-wood floor under his sock-less feet. Using all of his might, he stood up, staggering a little and leaning down to steady himself back on his bed. Once he got his sea legs, Klaus stood up tall and stretched every muscle in his body, hearing a bunch of his joints crack in the process. He blinked at the sun coming through his bedroom window, drawing the curtains shut. He pulled on his pants and headed out into the hallway. On his way to the living room, he noticed Allison in her bedroom. He stuck his head in the door and knocked on the door frame quietly. Allison turned at the noise.

"Klaus! You're up! You don't look so good." She said worryingly.

"Oh, why thank you, dear sister. Nice to know you're on my side." He grumbled.

"No that's- I didn't mean it like that. What's going on?" Klaus was looking at the floor, so she leaned down to look him in the eye, half checking to see if he had slipped up and taken something. To her relief, he looked normal. 

"You know, the usual. Just one of those days." Allison raised her eyebrows, prompting him to continue. "I just- I'm so tired of feeling like this. I don't know what to do about it without- you know." He sighed again. He wanted to tell Allison how he desperately he was craving human contact, but they were never that close. She couldn't make him feel better. 

Klaus rubbed a hand over his eyes. "I'm just- I'm gonna go downstairs."

Klaus trudged his feet all the way down the long hallway, stopping at the top of the steps. He thought about jumping and falling down the steps. But only for a second. Once at the bottom, he stared blankly at the wall in front of him, trying to think of where he was going next. To the living room.

Klaus plopped himself down on the couch, curling himself up in the fetal position. He hadn't made much progress. He just traded his bed for the couch, but at least he left his room today. That much couldn't be said for most of his depression days. His whole body just felt so heavy. He even blinked slowly, contemplating going back to sleep right here. 

"What's up with you?" Diego walked through the room. Klaus ignored him. One by one, each sibling came through the living room, noticed Klaus, and either asked him what was wrong or kept on going. An hour had passed, and Klaus was still staring at the coffee table. A tear rolled down the side of his face, soaking into the upholstered cushion. He wasn't particularly sad; he didn't know what he was feeling. He laid on the couch all day. Lunch and dinner had long passed him. Diego tried to get him to get up and eat with them when dinner time rolled around, but Klaus just shook his head. He only got up from his spot once to go pee. 

He could hear whispering and hushed voices coming from the other room. They were talking about him, he thought. Klaus was curious enough to wanna know what they were saying, so he mustered up all the strength he had left to summon Ben, but just enough so that only Klaus could see and hear him. "What're they talking about over there?"

"I can't tell you. It's a surprise," was all Ben said, "but you'll like it." Klaus groaned. He didn't like surprises. He'd had enough of them in his life. He liked to be in control now that he was sober. 

Some time had passed and Klaus had fallen back asleep, forgetting about the whole thing and sleeping dreamlessly. He woke up sometime after dark, he didn't know when. He sat up, noticing that someone put a blanket over him.  On the coffee table across from him was a glass of water, a sandwich, his Walkman, and a pack of cigarettes and a lighter. His siblings didn't like when he smoked, but it was the only "drug" he was still allowed to have. He took a big sip of his water, a few bites of his sandwich, and lit up a cigarette. Klaus took a deep drag of the cigarette, feeling a familiar burn in his throat. It warmed his whole body and he finally started to feel better. He didn't feel quite as numb as when he woke up this morning. He pulled his Walkman headphones over his ears and played the first song that was already queued up in his playlist. He closed his eyes, but not feeling low this time. Klaus finally felt like he was loved. He knew that his siblings were to blame for all this. He sat on the couch for a while, finally sitting up and crossing his legs in front of him and closing his eyes to pay attention to his music. 

Klaus felt a hand land on his thigh, startling him. He blinked open his eyes to see Vanya crouched in front of him. Klaus took off his headphones. "We drew you a bath upstairs, if you're interested." She gave him a small, reassuring smile. Vanya held out her hand for Klaus to take.

"Okay." He took it reluctantly and let her lead him upstairs. Everyone was standing at the end of the hallway awaiting Klaus's arrival. 

"Look who decided to get up today!" Diego cheered. 

Klaus stared at them all for a second. "Whose idea was it?"

"Kind of all of us." Five interjected. "We know how hard it is for you to be functional when you're depressed." Klaus wasn't used to seeing a sympathetic Five, but it looked good on him. It was a rare moment when Five acted like a regular person and not his snarky, usual, old man self. 

"Did you like your sandwich?" Luther asked awkwardly. He was never good at this. Klaus nodded at him. Luther gave him a curt nod and looked away. Klaus knew he and Luther never really got on, but he acknowledged Luther for trying. 

"Alright, well, we'll leave you to it. There are clean clothes on the sink." Vanya spoke up after a minute of awkward silence. She ushered everyone out of Klaus's way and closed the door once he stepped into the bathroom. She had lit candles and put some bubble bath in the water for him, just the way he liked it. He took his clothes off and stepped into the tub. The water was nice and hot, but not scalding. Klaus leaned his arms against the sides of the tub and leaned his head back. Bending his knees, he allowed himself to sink down until he was covered up to just below his shoulders. He sighed once more, but this was a sigh of relief this time. He enjoyed the quiet now. It was relaxing more than suffocating. 

Klaus soaked in the bath until his fingers and toes had gone pruny and the water got cold. He blew out the candles, dried off, and put on the clean clothes Vanya picked out for him: a tie dye t-shirt to bring a little more color into his life, and a comfy pair of grey sweatpants. There was no point in getting dressed like he was going out for the day. The day was almost over.

He walked back to his room to figure out what to do with himself until he was ready to go to sleep. It probably would be a while, since he did sleep most of the day away. Klaus pushed open his bedroom door to see a bunch of sticky notes stuck to the wall above his bed. He stepped closer to them to read what they said. They consisted of encouraging notes and quotes like,  "Healing isn't linear." "If today all you did was hold yourself together, I'm proud of you." "One day at a time." The Hargreeves weren't a family to tell each other they loved each other out loud, but Klaus knew they did. Especially now. 

He felt four pairs of arms engulf his body in a group hug. Maybe Allison could read minds now. 

"Thank you." For the first time, Klaus smiled that day.

Chapter Text

Klaus needed something to do with his life now that he had been sober for a full six months. He promised himself he would stay on the wagon, and so far, it had been a success. He had been so bored lately. He had been going to therapy and his meetings like he was supposed to, but it only took up so much of him time. To be honest, Klaus wanted to get a job so he could make enough money to get his own place and feel like an adult for once, since he was almost thirty years old. 

Floating back and forth between Diego's basement apartment at the gym where he worked and Vanya's small, one-bedroom apartment had been fun for a little while. It was like having sleepovers with the siblings he liked best (the ones who were still alive, anyway). Ben was always there when they weren't to keep Klaus in check. Diego and Vanya did have to leave sometimes to keep up with their own jobs, and for the first few months they didn't totally trust Klaus by himself. It's not like Ben could physically stop Klaus from doing drugs or even going to get them--that is, unless Klaus made him corporeal whether on purpose or on accident--but he was very persuasive.

It wasn't too difficult keeping Klaus sober this time around because, unlike all the other times he was forced into sobriety, he actually wanted it. There were some bad days, of course. Nothing was ever perfect. Klaus would get an inkling in his mind that he wanted to get high again just because he missed the feeling it gave him. He didn't need to anymore to control his abilities. He learned how to do that himself now. He could make ghosts go away as he pleased. Never Ben, though. Ben was his favorite ghost, as annoying as he could be sometimes, and Klaus couldn't bring himself to send Ben away. Not after all they've been through together.

Diego had recently opened his own bakery after being kicked out of the police academy. He was too much of an individualist and didn't like taking orders or doing paperwork, and they didn't like that about him. He was always good at cooking and baking as a kid because of how much time he spent in the kitchen with Grace. He finally saved up enough money to move out of the boiler room at the gym and buy his own shop. He now lived in the same building as Vanya, just a few floors up. It was all that was available within his price range at the time, but it did give both of them an excuse to patch up their crumbling sibling relationship. They got on pretty well now.

Klaus loved having the three of them together. He would set up a movie night at Vanya's every Friday. She would set up blankets and pillows for them on the couch, Diego would bring them snacks from his bakery, and Klaus got to pick the movie.  He always picked a cheesy rom-com. Diego always complained about it being "too girly," but he did secretly cry at the end of The Notebook just like everyone else. 

Klaus got up and dressed for the day, putting on his nicest outfit. He was going to look for a job today. He opened the morning newspaper to the jobs section and circled a few he was interested in, at least the ones he was qualified for, and that wasn't many of them. He'd never had a job in his life. The most he qualified for was either a cashier at the local grocery store or ticket clerk at the movie theater. They both sounded mind-numbingly boring. And he's had enough numbness in his life already. Both employers said they would call him in a few days, but they didn't sound very sincere, so he assumed he didn't get the job. He did have one option left, however, but it was only a last resort. He didn't want to have to ask Diego for a job, but maybe it would only be temporary until he got on his feet or a better offer came up (spoiler alert: it didn't). 

Walking across town, careful to avoid his old hangout spots, Klaus arrived at Diego's bakery. It didn't look at all busy at the moment, so he pulled the door open, a bell ringing as he did so. Diego came out of the back room to see who came in, his shoulders dropping when he saw who it was. "What do you need Klaus?"

"Well, for starters, a job would be fantastic." Klaus let out a breathy laugh.

"That's not a good idea, you know that. We can't work together. It's never good to work with your family. Remember what it was like going on missions as kids? We bickered constantly!" 

"Yeah, but that was before. We're adults now!" Klaus protested. "We've grown up, I've gotten clean, and I think I can do a really good job. It looks like you need the help, anyway. You're all by yourself here, buddy."

Diego looked Klaus over, thinking for a moment. "Fine. But if you screw up, you're out."

"Excellent!" Klaus clapped his hands. "Where's my apron?" He started walking into the backroom when Diego stopped him.

"Do you even know how to bake anything?" Klaus thought for a moment and then shook his head. "Alright, for now you're manning the register. I'll show you how to do it. All the prices are listed on the products, so all you have to do is type the numbers in correctly and tell the customer their total. If they have more than one item you just hit enter here and type in the price of the other items. It'll add them up for you. Got it?" 

"Yup. This is easy. I'll be employee of the month in no time!"

Klaus worked the register for about a month before Diego let him even near the baking equipment. On their off days at home, Diego would invite Klaus over to teach him how to bake things. He had everything written down in his recipe books, but they were meant for big batches of things. He simplified them so that Klaus could practice techniques at home. The first thing he made were simple chocolate chip cookies. Diego showed him the recipe in the book and left Klaus on his own to see what he was capable of. 

It didn't go so great. He forgot to preheat the oven, so he had to wait for a long time after the dough was made while the oven was heating. Klaus also didn't realize that it was best to measure out the dry ingredients and wet ingredients into separate bowls and mix them together at the end, so it was very difficult fully incorporating the wet ingredients when he got to them on the list. He didn't know that a stick of butter was the same thing as a half a cup of butter. The recipe called for a one cup of butter, so Klaus melted a whole bunch of it into a measuring cup until it read the correct amount and poured it in the mixture. The butter was way too hot and started to scramble the eggs he had added in previously. The kiss of death, though, was when he forgot to add the salt, arguably the most important ingredient in terms of flavor, of which these cookies would now have none.

Klaus plopped huge spoonfuls onto the baking tray, which he did remember to cover in parchment paper, and sent them off into the oven. He waited nine minutes, just like the recipe said. He figured they would be perfectly done then. Why would the recipe lie to him? After the nine minutes, Klaus soon saw that the cookies were still kinda soupy and not golden brown and crisp around the edges like they were in the picture. Another two minutes in the oven they went. Now, they were perfect, he thought. Diego still hadn't checked up on him, so Klaus decided to surprise him. He found a fancy plate in one of the cabinets and arranged the cookies in nice concentric circles. He even thought to pour Diego a nice glass to milk to go with them.

Klaus brought out his carefully plated creation and the glass of milk to Diego, who was sitting in the living room watching Cops. Classic Diego. "They look good, but let's see how they taste." They were still warm from the oven and the chocolate chips oozed out as Diego broke a cookie in half, giving the other half to Klaus to try. He took a bite and his face immediately turned. He chewed slowly, really taking in the flavors and textures he was experiencing. 

"I think they're great!" Klaus beamed. 

"That's because you're the one who made them." Diego pointed out. "I'm sorry but these are terrible. You scrambled the eggs and they're so sweet. Did you even put in any salt?"

"You're supposed to put salt in cookies? But they're supposed to be sweet."

"It brings out the sweetness in the sugar and gives it a more salty-sweet kind of flavor. That's why it's in the recipe. You did follow the recipe, right?" Diego raised an eyebrow at his brother. 

"For the most part, yeah. I added the ingredients as they were listed on the side, except for the salt, I guess-"

"But you didn't follow the procedure. You're supposed to mix them in the order it tells you at the bottom." Diego interrupted him. 

"So that's why it was so hard to mix the dough. Huh. You learn something every day." Klaus smiled. "I promise I'll get better. I really want to prove to you that I am capable of doing this. I'll practice. You'll see, dear brother." He put his arm around Diego.

Some more months passed by and Klaus managed to keep his job. He had been sober a whole year now and he was doing great. He almost had enough money for his own apartment, and a nice one. Not some shithole in the bad part of town. He accumulated a small group of friends through his NA group that he hung out with regularly. Klaus didn't see much of his siblings anymore because now he was out in the world doing real people stuff. Of course, he visited when he could. Work was his life, though. It gave him a reason to get up in the morning. He had grown to love it the more he got good at it. He really loved meeting all the new people that came into the shop and chatted them up while they were waiting for their baked goods to be packaged. He became familiar with some of the regulars, among them were some of his NA friends. They just had to check the place out since Klaus spoke so highly of it. He was really proud of what he and Diego did together. Not only had it given him a purpose, but it brought them closer together, and Klaus couldn't ask for more. 

He never did get back into drugs, not even a small joint here and there. He was taking his sobriety so seriously. He never even walked into that part of town anymore. He avoided it like the plague. Ben was so proud of him. Klaus learned to control his abilities, even gaining some new ones as time went on. He could now levitate himself and other things without thinking much of it. It was really helpful when he had to make huge batches of things. Some of those flour bags were really heavy, but now he could lift them with his mind, making it much easier. Diego thought it was a little bit cheating, but he just secretly wished he was telepathic too. 

It was a crisp October morning when a customer came into the shop. Klaus had seen him come in once or twice before. Klaus was so taken aback by the man's looks that he forgot to be his charming, usual self. He was left almost speechless. This time, Klaus wanted to make a move, though.

"What can I get for you, handsome?" Klaus winked at the man. He had curly blond hair that draped perfectly over his forehead and piercing blue eyes that were almost as blue as the clear sky. He had a jawline sharp enough to cut you, and it was covered in a bit of scruff he didn't feel like shaving this morning. He was wearing a mustard colored button-down shirt with a navy blue and brown plaid tie. He had on navy, form-fitting slacks, a denim jacket, and brown dress shoes. Boy, if Klaus didn't want to take him right then and there. 

The man chuckled, his dimples poking into his cheeks. "Um, I'll have a dozen assorted donuts please." He looked around the store, not in a nervous way, but kind of shy. He wasn't used to being buttered up by attractive men at bakeries.

"Sure thing." Klaus took a box and filled it with each kind of donut they sold, setting it on the counter. He started to ring him up when the man spoke again.

"I'm... Dave, by the way." Dave looked at Klaus in a way that no man had ever looked at him before. Why would he be into Klaus? He wore his usual leather pants with the lacing up the sides, a purple crop top, a slew of unmatched necklaces, and messy black eyeliner and mascara. Klaus didn't seem to be Dave's type. Klaus had been with plenty of guys before, but none of them had ever made him feel something. Dave was different. He saw through to Klaus's soul, he thought. Klaus felt his neck get hot put repressed it and upped the charm.

"Well, it's very nice to meet you Dave. The name's Klaus." Klaus held out his hand for Dave to shake. He held onto Dave's hand for a few lingering seconds before going back to his work. "That'll be $8.75."  Dave handed him the money, making sure their fingers touched as he did. 

"You have a little bit of flour on your face." Dave leaned in closer, prompting Klaus to do the same. He wiped off the flour with his thumb, looking into Klaus's forest green eyes. He began to pull away when Klaus reached out and grabbed at Dave's tie holding him in place, their faces just inches apart. Klaus opened his mouth, about to say something, when Diego came out of the back room.

"Klaus, what the hell are you doing? Stop bothering the customers." He scolded. Klaus stood back up straight, letting go of Dave's tie. Dave began to blush, hiding his face from Diego. 

"I can explain... we were just, nevermind." He turned back to the register, printing a receipt, discretely writing his phone number at the bottom. He placed it on top of the donut box and slid it across the counter to Dave. "You have a great day, sir." He winked, making Dave blush once more.

"Uh, you too." Dave chuckled, turning to leave. He stopped for a second, pondering if he was going to say something in return, but Diego was still standing there, so he decided against it.

"We were just flirting. I wasn't bothering him." Klaus explained to Diego as soon as the door closed behind Dave.

"It looked a little more than just that. It looked like you two were gonna do it right on the counter if I hadn't walked in when I did." Klaus shook his head and walked into the back room to do something else. He didn't wanna face Diego right now.

That night Klaus got a text from an unknown phone number: What were you about to say before that guy walked in on us in the bakery this morning? ;)

I was gonna say how I wanted to run my fingers through your hair but I got so lost in your eyes. Klaus was even more flirty over text because he didn't have to see the person he was talking to, if that was even possible.

Well, that can be arranged... Dave replied just moments later.

How about you pick me up tomorrow? I get off at 6. He didn't get a text back for almost ten minutes. Klaus worried that he may have overstepped, and that the guy was just interested in flirting and nothing more. Fortunately, he was wrong.

I'll see you then, wear something cute :)

Klaus's heart skipped a beat. This was the man of his dreams. He was attractive, sexy, smart, not afraid to be himself, much like Klaus. He was so excited that he barely slept that night.

Fast forward a few months, and Klaus and Dave have been dating for almost a year. They moved into a house together just last month and things are going spectacular. Dave met Klaus' whole family and they all just love him. The Hargreeves are glad that Klaus met someone he really had a connection with and can help him stay happy and out of trouble. Klaus met Dave's parents. They were a little wary at first, not knowing what to make of the man wearing leather pants and eye makeup, but they grew to love him too.

Life was good and Klaus couldn't be happier.

Chapter Text

Klaus woke up in the morning--well, he called it the morning because it's the first time he's been awake today, but it's actually 2 p.m.--with a pounding headache and sour taste in his mouth. He tries to roll over to go back to sleep until he feels better, but there's another person in his bed. He doesn't remember taking anyone home last night, but knowing him, it was inevitably going to happen whether he remembered it or not. The person stirred, rolling over to face him a moment later. She blinked, adjusting her eyes to the sunlight that was coming through his bedroom window. She. That's interesting. Usually it was a he, but sometimes a she slipped in there if he was drunk enough. Klaus was pansexual, but he had a tendency to go with men anyway.

The woman got up, put her clothes back on, and said her goodbyes, making her way through the maze of a house back to the front door to take a very late walk of shame. Klaus laid in bed a little while longer, trying to remember what the hell he got up to last night. He does remember that he went out to a club with a few of his junkie friends. They took...something...probably drank a fuck ton of vodka, Klaus's drink of choice. If the same applied for the drugs he took last night, then he most likely coupled some pain pills with a few lines of coke, his favorite combination when he felt like getting really fucked up. 

Sitting up as slowly as possible, trying not to throw up in the process, Klaus pulled on some clothes that were closest to him on the floor and made his way to the bathroom. He turned the light on, wincing as it hit his eyes, and turned it back off, leaving the door open so he got just enough light from the hallway to read the bottles in the medicine cabinet. He found the ibuprofen and took four of them, swallowing them down with some tap water. He sat on the floor in front of the open toilet just in case he did have to throw up, decided he didn't, and went to go find his family.

He may have still been a little drunk, stumbling and losing his balance two-thirds of the way down the stairs. His feet slipped out from under him and he toppled over sideways, sliding down the rest of the stairs on his butt. "God fucking dammit." he whispered to himself. 

Diego must've heard him. "What time did you get in last night?" he asked with a snarky tone. 

Klaus thought long and hard but honestly could not come up with an answer to save his life. "I have no clue. I don't remember anything after I left the house. I don't even remember my name right now."

"It's Klaus."

"Yes, thank you. I was just making a point." Diego held his hand out to help pull Klaus back on his feet, pretty much having to drag his body up. Klaus leaned against Diego's shoulder as he led him to the kitchen. Grace set down a plate of eggs and a glass of orange juice in front of him, flashing her usual perky smile. 

"Make sure you drink all your juice, honey. You need to stay hydrated." she advised. 

Diego sat across from him, Luther, Allison, and Five soon joining them. They, too, wanted to hear about Klaus's antics last night. Not so much because they were concerned about his well-being, but because his drunk stories were very entertaining. They took turns asking him questions, trying their best to jog his memory, but nothing came to him.

"You know, guys, there's a bunch of surveillance cameras around here. If we watch the footage of when you came home, maybe you'll remember a little something about last night." Allison suggested. They all followed her to the surveillance room.

"Where did you find this?" Five asked her.

"Pogo showed it to me a long time ago. He said he used to come here after we all moved out to watch videos when he missed us." 

"That's sweet, but also a little creepy." Luther said. She shrugged her shoulders and gave him a look that said, "what are you gonna do?"

She found the tape from last night to this morning and popped it into the slot. After a few seconds they saw the front door pop up on the screen. It swung open, and a very hammered and possibly high Klaus stumbled in, the girl from this morning in tow. She held onto his waist, kissing his neck occasionally, when she herself was trying not to throw up. Klaus closed the door behind her and turned back around to reciprocate her kisses. He took her by the hand and led her upstairs to his bedroom. He filled in the rest of the blanks, remembering a few things they did, but didn't relay this information to the rest of his family.

"It says this was around five in the morning. You left the house around ten. What did you do that whole time?" Luther asked. His tone sounded accusatory, but that was just because of his awkward nature. He and Klaus didn't talk much, but this time he was just genuinely curious what Klaus got up to when he went out. The rest of the family looked at him, also waiting for an answer.

Klaus didn't know where to start. His head felt fuzzy, but he tried to push through that to form any coherent thought. "Well, I know I went to that club down on 7th street with a couple of my friends from rehab--the second one I went to. I probably drank a shit ton of vodka, took some pills when the vodka wouldn't do much more, did a few lines of coke to give me some more energy, somehow I took a girl home, and then I woke up this afternoon. I don't what else to tell you. Honestly, it's a pretty usual night out for me, it's just that this time I had a house to get back to." Klaus let out a small laugh at his sad joke, grimacing as it worsened his headache, if that was possible.

Everyone stared at him in awe. Allison's jaw actually dropped. They all knew Klaus did drugs, of course, how could any of them not? But they all just assumed that Klaus was holed up somewhere smoking pot and eating Doritos like the stoners on TV. They had no clue how hardcore of a drug addict he was. If any of them did the same, they'd all probably end up dead in a ditch somewhere. Well, except for Luther, but that was only because he was a literal giant. But Five? Definitely dead. 

"You are going back to rehab tomorrow. I'm sending you there, and you are not coming home until you're completely clean and sober and you never want to go out and do that again. Do you understand?" Allison suddenly became domineering over Klaus. It even surprised Diego, Luther, and Five, who had ever heard her talk like that, not even to her own daughter. 

"Jeez, mom. So... I might've been a little drunk. Big whoop. It happens all the time." He waved his hand and brushed her off, standing up out of his chair to leave and probably go back to sleep. Luther grabbed onto his arm, stopping him in his tracks.

"Klaus, you can't keep doing this to yourself." 

"You mean I can't keep doing this to you. I'm fine. I like going out and having fun." He protested.

"And how many times have you OD'd in the past ten years?" Allison asked.

"I don't even know..." He rolled his eyes.

"Yes, you do. I want a number."

He huffed, letting his shoulders sink in shame as he counted in his head. They sunk lower the higher the number got. "...Seven." He hesitated. "Two of those times my heart stopped." Klaus whispered.

It finally dawned on him how out of control he had always been. He thought about all the crap he's done to himself ever since he was thirteen. It started out with the occasional joint, just when he wanted to silence the ghosts. Then he turned into a full-on pothead. At sixteen, when that wasn't strong enough, he turned to other things like LSD, acid, and mushrooms. He always locked himself in his room when he did this, trying his best to avoid a bad trip. He tried some coke at seventeen when he went to a party once. He became addicted to it when he ran away from home, spending all his money that he saved up (and some of it stole from Reginald) on his new habit. That was his drug of choice, or so he thought. He experimented with literally anything he could get his hands on, even going so far as to try meth and heroin at least once when he was around twenty-two. Meth wasn't really his jam, he wanted to keep his teeth, but heroin was his vice for almost two years. He got clean in rehab and decide to try something else, since he didn't have a lot of working veins to inject the heroin anymore. He went back to coke for a little bit, but it didn't do much for him and made him feel weird when he was coming down from it. It wasn't until the last three years that he found pills, his favorite by far. He took any and every pill he could get his hands on. They were the easiest to get and keep on him discretely when he was in need of another dose. Pills accounted for his latest three OD's and four rehab trips. The one time he checked himself into rehab to get clean just so his high would come back stronger again, as he started to build up a tolerance to them.

Klaus sunk down to the floor and began crying. He put his face in his hands and mumbled "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry," over and over again. Allison crouched down to his level trying to console him. He wouldn't move or look at her. Eventually, Luther picked him up and brought him downstairs to the main room. Allison called over Vanya, and they all had a long conversation--it really was an intervention but Klaus was sensitive right now so no one wanted to call it that. 

"I'll go to rehab. I promise this will be the last time."

 

Chapter Text

Dave was finishing unpacking all the boxes in his new apartment. He had just moved out of his parents' house for the first time--admittedly, it was a little later than he hoped, but hey, the economy is shit these days--and moved to a shitty apartment on the west side of the city. It wasn't a great part of town, but it was all he could get for now. His lease was up in a year, and he just got a new, better job, so next year, Dave would try to find something better.

None of his neighbors had come to meet him or say hi. Dave came from a pretty well-off family, the whole white picket fence thing, so living here would be a bit of a culture shock. The walls of his new apartment were dull and the paint was peeling in the corners. There was a weird stain on the carpet right in the middle of the living room floor that looked suspiciously like blood, but he'd rather not know. They had to tell him if someone died here in the last few years, right? The kitchen was visible from the living room, only separated by a half-wall and a breakfast bar. The fridge looked like it was over 30 years old, because it probably was. The stove was an old gas stove, with some of the dials hanging on by a thread. Dave guessed he's be eating out a lot.

Taking a look down the hall, there was only his bedroom and a bathroom. The bathroom was surprisingly fine, just a few cracked tiles on the floor, but it was clean. His bedroom had ugly beige walls and a matching carpet (good thing Dave bought a colorful rug). There was one window facing another building that was too close for his liking. He added curtains to his shopping list.

Just as Dave finished putting away stuff in the kitchen, Dave heard talking coming from somewhere. He peeked his eye through the peep hole in the front door to see if there was anyone in the hallway, but no one was there. Hm, weird. A few minutes later he heard it again. The voice was louder this time, almost yelling. Dave stuck his ear to the wall across from the couch. It was coming from the apartment next to his.  He couldn't exactly hear what the person was saying, their voice muffled by the thin drywall. Dave thought it over for a moment, then decided to go introduce himself. Maybe the neighbor didn't realize anyone had moved in next door and they would be quieter now. 

Dave rapped on the door, hearing it echo through the empty hall. No one answered. He didn't want to be that guy who knocked twice, so he waited patiently. Someone had to be in there and they'd definitely heard his knocking. It thundered in these echoey halls. Dave was just about to turn around and head back to his own apartment when he heard someone undo the chain on the door. The door swung open forcefully revealing its tenant.

The guy was the most interesting looking person Dave had ever laid his eyes on. He was tall, around six foot. He had somewhat tanned skin with dark, unruly brunette hair that curled inward slightly around the edges of his face. He had a goatee and dark circles under his eyes, partially hidden by thick black eyeliner that looked to be days old. The man was wearing nothing but a robe that was open, revealing some very tight, bright pink briefs. He also had no shoes or socks on. Dave looked him up and down for a second. Dave caught himself staring.

"Uh... hi, I'm Dave. I just moved in next door." Dave pointed in the direction of his own apartment. He smelled some strange odor emanating from inside his new neighbor's apartment.

"Alright, I'm Klaus." Klaus shifted the vodka bottle he was holding in his right hand to his left and stuck his hand out for Dave to shake. Dave took it hesitantly, worried that Klaus would do something weird. Not that Dave was judgy, Klaus just seemed kinda sketchy. 

"Well, I just wanted to come over and introduce myself. So, I'll see you around, I guess." Dave started making his way back to his front door when he noticed Klaus was looking over his shoulder and making eyes at something, or someone behind him. He caught Dave looking at him, stopped himself, and smiled a big, toothy grin at Dave. 

"I sure will." Klaus replied. He closed the door in Dave's face. 

Dave walked back to his apartment and sat down on the couch, trying desperately to process what just happened.

Dave didn't hear anything on Klaus's end for a few days. He hadn't seen him come out of his apartment either. Dave tried not to worry. He barely even met the guy. There was just something about him that Dave couldn't get over, he just didn't know what it was. Another week went by, no Klaus. Then, just days later, he saw Klaus while on his way to work. Dave checked his pockets making sure he had his keys and his phone before shutting and locking the door. He heard another door open and close just down the hall and saw a figure walking towards him.

"Hey, Dave! How are ya buddy?" This Klaus was very different than the Klaus Dave met just two weeks ago. He was wearing clothes, first of all. He had on a black sheer crop top, leather pants with lacing up the side, black converse, and an interesting patchwork coat that had faux fur around the ends of the sleeves and hood. This Klaus also had some life in his eyes. 

"I'm good. How are you?" 

"I'm fantastic! Listen, sorry about our meeting the other week. Bad day, you know? I bet I didn't make the best first impression, did I?" Klaus chuckled to himself. 

"No, it's fine, really. It's none of my business." Dave tried to leave the conversation, as he was beginning to be late for work, but Klaus put his arm around him and pulled him close to his side.

"Why don't you and me go out for a drink tonight, hm? You busy?" 

"I'm not, actually. I get off at seven. I'll see you then?"

"Sure, sure." Klaus let his arm around Dave drop back to his side. Dave left hurriedly, Klaus watching as he went. Dave wasn't halfway down the hall when he heard Klaus speak again, but it wasn't directed at him. "Oh, shut up you. You don't even know the guy... Well how would you know?" Dave wondered why he agreed to go drinking with this guy. It could be nothing. Everybody's weird in their own ways. And people talk to themselves sometimes. Dave certainly did, but only when he knew he was completely alone, not out in the open hallway where anyone could hear or see him.

Work dragged on forever. He wasn't exactly excited to go out with Klaus tonight, but he was curious as to what Klaus was really like. Was this morning all an act and he really was like the Klaus Dave first met, or was he actually having a bad day then and he was this bubbly all the time? Dave had no clue. It was hard to tell with Klaus. Honestly, it could go either way. After work, he drove to the bar nearest to their apartment building and saw Klaus waiting out front for him. Klaus was smoking something and, again, talking to no one. It didn't look, this time, like he was talking to himself. He was faced towards his left and gesticulating as he talked, waving around whatever he was smoking. This looked like a conversation with another person, someone Dave couldn't see. Dave pulled around to the back of the bar, parking in a tight space in the small parking lot. He sat for a second, once again wondering what the hell he was doing here and what he was getting himself into. He swallowed his thoughts and walked around front to meet Klaus.

"You made it!" Klaus dropped his joint, stepping on it to put it out. "How was work?" He clapped Dave on the shoulder.

"It was fine. Long and boring as usual."

"What are ya drinking?"

"I'll just have a beer. I'll go and get us a table." Dave went over and picked a table near the door, just in case he felt he had to make a quick escape. Klaus came back a few minutes later with a beer bottle for Dave and a glass of whiskey for himself. "So, tell me about yourself."

"Is this like a date, Davey?" Klaus winked.

Dave blushed, suddenly feeling flustered. "No, I just... just trying to make friends. All my friends live on the other side of the city."

"Oh, so you're like some rich boy. What're you doing over here, then?" Klaus chugged back his whole drink, not even recoiling at the burn in his throat. Dave could never. He wasn't a big drinker.

"My parents are. I just moved out on my own. What about you, huh? Why do you live over here?" Dave felt a defensive at Klaus's assumption that he Dave was too good to live in this part of town, which was kind of a weird thing to be insulted about, Dave thought to himself.

"I've got an interesting story, let's just say." He tapped the rim of his glass, giving his hands something to do. Klaus noticed two tattoos on Klaus's palms that said "Hello" on the right hand and "Goodbye" on the left, and there was another one on Klaus's left wrist, an umbrella in a circle.

"I've got time." Dave said, leaning back in his chair.

"You wouldn't believe me if I told you." Klaus challenged him.

"Try me."

Klaus looked over both of his shoulders to see if anyone was watching him and then said, "why don't we go back to your place? It's kinda loud in here." Dave didn't think it was that loud, but he agreed, leading Klaus back to his car. He drove the both of them back to their building, Dave leading Klaus to his door. As Dave was pulling his keys out of his pocket to unlock it, he heard Klaus hiss something behind him. It sounded like he said, "Go away." Dave wondered if Klaus would ever explain why he talked to himself. Dave was starting to get worried that this guy was seriously mental, or really high. He did just see Klaus smoke a joint like it was a regular cigarette, who knows what else he does. 

Klaus sat down on Dave's couch, kicking his feet up on the coffee table. Dave went to the fridge to get them both beers. When he returned, he noticed Klaus staring at something over in the opposite corner of the room. Dave looked in that direction but saw nothing. "So, your story?"

"You sure you wanna hear it? You'll think I'm full of shit."

"I promise I won't think that." Dave took a sip of his beer, awaiting this wondrous, unbelievable story.

"Alright, it all started when I was born. My birth mom wasn't pregnant with me when she woke up that day, I just kinda of... happened. And she wasn't the only one. Forty-two other women had the same thing happen to them, and we were all born at exactly the same time. There was this billionaire, Reginald Hargreeves," Klaus shook as he said his name, "he bought seven of us and raised us like siblings. He trained us to be crime fighting superheroes by the time we were ten. He experimented with my powers the most. It was fucking awful. I still see those faces sometimes when I close my eyes. They follow me around constantly and I can't get away." Klaus went blank for a few moments. Dave sat with him, not wanting to pry.

Klaus snapped out of it after a few seconds. "Anywho, my power is um..." Klaus searched Dave's eyes, wondering if he should go on. To hell with it. If Dave thought Klaus was completely insane by the end of this, it didn't really matter. Klaus would probably get evicted again soon anyways. "I see dead people."

"What, like The Sixth Sense?" Dave asked carefully.

"Yeah, yeah! Exactly like that. My dad, he um... he would leave me in mausoleums when I was thirteen. Said it was to get over my fear of the dead. All it did was make it worse. And then I figured out that drugs made them go away. And I've been in and out of rehab since I was seventeen. That's actually why I was so awful when we first met. My brother threatened to send me back. His name is Diego, and he's pretty much the only sibling who actually keeps tabs on me. The rest of them never notice when I am there." Klaus took a deep breath. "Well, that's my sob story. I should go. You must think I'm nuts." Klaus went to stand up, but Dave grabbed him by the wrist.

"Wait, I don't think you're crazy. I just... I've never heard of anyone like that before. Can I ask you a question?" Dave asked slowly.

"Sure." Klaus sat back down, turning his body to face Dave better.

"Do you... are there any ghosts in here?" Dave whispered. He nodded towards the weird blood-like stain on the carpet. 

Klaus noticed a woman standing over in the corner and trained his eyes on her. It was the same woman he saw when he first entered Dave's apartment. She was wearing a long, blue nightgown. She was somewhat old, maybe sixty. She had a stab wound in her abdomen; that's where the blood was coming from. She also pointed at the blood stain on the carpet. Well, that solves that mystery. Ben was there too. He is Klaus's brother who died when they were seventeen. He follows Klaus around because Klaus is the only sibling Ben can still have any form of contact with. That, and he wants to make sure Klaus is okay. Given Klaus's life choices, he could use a guardian angel like Ben to talk him out of certain situations occasionally. 

"I don't want to alarm you, but that stain on the carpet is from her," Klaus pointed over to where the woman in blue was standing, not that Dave could see her anyway, "but don't worry. She's harmless. She's sad about being dead and all, but who wouldn't be?" Klaus giggled and looked over at Ben, who gave him a smug grin in reply.

"Ben's also here. He's my dead brother. He follows me around, makes sure I don't get into too much trouble." Klaus shrugs.

"Your brother's dead? I'm so sorry." Dave placed his hand on Klaus's shoulder in solidarity. 

"Oh, no its fine. He's kind of annoying, really." Klaus shot Ben a glare. "Always bugging me to do things." Ben rolled his eyes and left the room, presumably to go back to Klaus's apartment. 

It finally clicked in Dave's brain. "Oh, so that's who I saw you talking to earlier." 

"You saw me talking to Ben?" Klaus raised his eyebrow questioningly.

"Well, I saw you talking to nothing before I met you at the bar. Now it makes sense." Klaus nodded his head, understanding what Dave was getting at. "I did hear you talking to him a few times, too. Before I went to first introduce myself to you, I heard you yelling through the wall. And then this morning when I left for work, and again out in the hall before we came in here."

"Sorry about that. I didn't scare you, did I? Most people think it's just all the drugs, that they're making me see things. It's the opposite, actually..." Klaus trailed off, thinking to himself.

"Maybe a little bit, but I was more worried about you."

"You were worried about me?"

"Of course, I was worried about you. Seeing you go off the rails a little, not knowing your situation, it was just... worrying, okay?" Dave didn't know how else to say it. There was just something about Klaus. He got under Dave's skin after knowing him all of a few days. 

"No one really worries about me." Klaus looked down at his hands in his lap, picking at his fingers.

"Didn't you say your brothers kept tabs on you?"

"Yeah, but they have to worry about me, they're my family. You don't have to, though. So, why do you?"

"I don't know." Dave thought carefully for a moment. He didn't want to be too forward. This was the first real conversation he had with Klaus, and they'd only met once before that. "This is gonna sound really stupid, but there's just something about you. I can't put my finger on it."

Klaus cupped Dave's cheek in his hand. "I think I know what you mean."

Chapter Text

Dave noticed that Klaus's apartment had been broken into while he was out doing "Klaus" things. Dave wasn't really sure what Klaus did get up to. He was mystery personified. Dave wasn't exactly sure if Klaus had a job, either. He didn't think so, which made him wonder how he paid for his apartment. And it was really nice. Anyway, while Klaus was out, Dave heard some glass smash next door, presumably the window in the living room that led to the fire escape. Then he heard some heavy feet pounding on the floor. They definitely did not belong to Klaus. He was very light on his feet; the people below him barely knew he was ever there. Dave called the cops, not wanting to go over and investigate himself. He had a new baby to take care of and didn't want to get hurt if things went south. 

Klaus's apartment had become a crime scene as part of an ongoing investigation of a string of robberies in the area. Dave, being the kind and wonderful human he was, offered to let Klaus stay with him until he could go back home. 

"Hey, thanks for letting me stay, man." Klaus said, setting down his things in Dave's living room. 

"I'm sorry I don't have another bedroom, so you'll have to sleep on the couch. Hopefully it'll only be a few days until you can go back home." Dave assured him.

"Why? You trying to get rid of me already?" Klaus chuckled.

"What? No, I..." Dave was interrupted by a cry coming from down the hall. "I'll be right back." He went down to his bedroom and picked up his daughter from her crib, bouncing her as he walked back out to Klaus.

"Oh, you have a baby! I never knew!"

"Yeah, I hope she doesn't bother you during the night. I have to get up at two to feed her. Do you wanna hold her?" Dave held out the baby for Klaus to take. He pulled her into his arms, turning her around so that he could look down at her.

"She's beautiful. What's her name?" Klaus asked, looking back up at Dave, who was a few inches taller than him.

"Claire." Dave smiled at the sight. "I had uh... a one-night stand with this girl late last year, and nine months later Claire came along. She dumped her on my doorstep with a note. Haven't heard from her since."

He looked at Dave in a whole new light now. Dave didn't seem the type to get drunk and have one-night stands. He also had hoped that Dave was gay. Maybe not. Klaus gave Claire back to Dave and moved his bags over to the corner of the room.

Klaus decided he'd cook dinner as a thank you for Dave. He looked through Dave's cabinets to see what Dave had handy and saw some spaghetti and a few jars of sauce. He also found a package of chop meat in the fridge. He started browning the meat in a pan and added the sauce when it was ready. He put in some extra garlic powder, oregano, and a bay leaf to make it taste more homemade. He let it simmer while he put on a pot of water for the pasta. 

"Where'd you learn to cook?" Dave asked him. To Dave, Klaus looked like the kinda guy who couldn't really do anything for himself and ordered in food every night, despite Klaus's skinny frame. 

"I had an ex who worked as a chef in a fancy restaurant downtown. He taught me a few things. He did make the most fantastic osso buco." Klaus brought his fingers to his lips to do a chef's kiss. Dave set the table while Klaus finished plating up dinner. He pulled Claire's highchair up to the end of the table so she could sit with them. Like a family.

Klaus set down Dave's plate in front of him. "Bon appetite." Klaus sat across from Dave, watching him to see his reaction to the dinner Klaus had just made for him. 

"Wow, I didn't know jarred sauce could taste this good!" Klaus smiled and dug into his own plate. 

After dinner, Dave went to go put Claire down for bed while Klaus found a movie for them to watch. He chose some new comedy that he'd heard of recently. Dave came back and made them a bowl of popcorn to share. Klaus didn't pay much attention to the movie. He was more focused on the fact that Dave kept reaching over into the bowl of popcorn on his lap and he kind of wished the bowl wasn't in the way. In another sense, he wanted to hold Dave's hand. But that would be creepy. They were just acquaintances, and anyway, Dave probably wasn't into Klaus. 

The movie was almost over and Dave started nodding off. He'd had a long day of working from home on his laptop while trying to take care of Claire by himself. She'd woken him up around 4 a.m. every night that week, and by the time he got her to go back to sleep, he was too awake to go back to sleep himself. Just then, as if on cue, Claire awoke in her crib, crying for someone to come pick her up. Dave started to get up off the couch to console her but Klaus went ahead of him.

"I'll get her. You go back to sleep." Klaus walked into Dave's bedroom and picked Claire up out of her crib. "Hey there, little one. No more crying now." Klaus smiled at her sweetly. He looked around the room and found a cloth to put over his shoulder in case she spit up on him. He tried burping her, but she still kept crying. He checked her diaper, and luckily it was still clean. He carried her out to the kitchen with him and got a fresh bottle out of the fridge, putting it into the bottle warmer on the counter. He bounced her up and down while he waited for her bottle to warm up and tested it on his wrist when it was ready. He held the bottle for her, her eyes closing almost immediately. She downed half of it before falling back to sleep in his arms. He carefully put her back down in the crib, using his best efforts not to wake her.

"How'd you know how to do all that?" Dave whispered from the doorway.

"Oh, my sister has a kid. My siblings and I babysat all the time. She's an actress, so she's always busy. I didn't babysit her kid much, cause Allison didn't really trust me," Klaus said that last part under his breath, hoping Dave wouldn't hear, "but I watched my other siblings take care of her all the time." Dave nodded. 

"You're not as heartless as you pretend to be." Dave noted to himself, but Klaus heard him anyway, as the whole apartment was silent.

"What does that mean?" Klaus cocked his head.

"I just mean, you always seem so carefree. Like, you're really cool and you act like nothing affects you. That's all I mean."

Klaus walked back into the hallway, patting Dave on the shoulder. "Why don't you go to bed? You look like you need it." Dave crashed on his mattress falling asleep almost immediately, not bothering to get undressed or pull the covers over himself. Klaus took the blanket folded up at the end of Dave's bed and put it over his new roommate. "Goodnight, Dave." He whispered.

Klaus made himself at home on the couch. He changed out of his clothes, a tight tank top and leather pants, into something more comfortable to sleep in, a large t-shirt and some booty shorts. He pulled his pillow out of his duffel bag, putting it at the end of the couch, and pulled a blanket over himself. He wasn't really tired yet, so he watched some TV quietly until he fell asleep. 

He awoke that morning to the smell of something cooking. He heard a sizzling noise: bacon. Klaus sat up and looked over the side of the couch into the kitchen, where Dave was standing over the stove. Claire was sat in her highchair, playing with some cheerios. Half of them were on the floor. "Morning!" He called out, voice still gravelly, and blinking the sleep out of his eyes.

"Oh, good, you're up! How do you like your eggs?" Dave asked, winking. Klaus was taken aback by Dave's joking forwardness. He cleared his throat. 

"Uh, sunny side up." Klaus straightened up the couch and went into the bathroom to get ready for the day. He put on his usual leather pants and a tight band t-shirt, paired with a green army jacket with the sleeves cut off. He brushed his teeth, fixed his hair, and applied fresh eyeliner. Once he was pleased with his look, he sat at the breakfast table and started his breakfast. He dipped his bacon in the runny yolk of his eggs. "Thank you for breakfast."

"No big deal." Dave smiled. "I love to cook. If I didn't have Claire, I'd be in culinary school right now."

"It's never too late to go back to school. You could apply when she gets a little bit older." 

Dave thought for a second. "Yeah, maybe."

"So, what's on the agenda for today? Anything good?" Klaus changed the subject. He felt as if he may have pried into Dave's personal life a bit too far and overstepped. He also felt as if he may have started falling for Dave, and cut their little moment short, not wanting to be rejected so soon.

Dave laughed. "No, not really. Just the usual work on my laptop. I work for a marketing company and I'm their accountant."

"I thought you wanted to be a chef. Why'd you get an accounting degree? Which sounds really boring, by the way." Klaus joked.

"I only did it to make my parents happy. They didn't think I'd make much money as a chef. They wanted me to have a paying job, rather than something I actually like. It pays the bills, for now." As Dave said this, Klaus started to think that maybe he had a thing for chefs.

"Well, I'm sure you'd make an excellent chef, anyway. Why don't you go out for the day? Do some work at a coffee shop or at the park. I'll take care of Claire. Don't worry. She's in good hands." Klaus held out his hands to reveal the "Hello" and "Goodbye" tattoos on his palms. "The fresh air could do you some good."

"Alright. I'll only be an hour or two. I don't want to leave you stuck with Claire all day." Dave started packing his laptop bag.

"Don't even think about that. We'll be fine. You take as long as you need." Klaus ushered him out the door. "Claire and I will be best friends before you know it."

"She has some baby food pouches in the fridge for when she gets hungry, and she has some cheerios that she's finishing up now. She'll need to be changed in an hour or so, and there's diapers on the changing table in my room. She goes down for a nap around eleven, but don't let her sleep too long, or she won't be hungry for lunch." Dave relayed this information so quickly that Klaus didn't even get all of it, but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to babysit. He'd be just fine. He'd watched Ben and Diego take care of their niece countless times before. Klaus loved babies, so he didn't mind if Dave wanted to stay out longer.

Dave came home around two-thirty, rushing through the door. "Klaus! I'm so sorry I was out so long, I lost track of time!" Dave opened the door wider to see Klaus laying on the floor on his back next to Claire, reading her one of her books. 

"Oh, hey Dave! We're doing great, aren't we Claire?" He tickled Claire on the belly and stood up off the floor, taking Dave's laptop bag from him and setting it down on the kitchen table. "I changed Claire's diaper just before she went down for her nap and she slept like a baby, haha, until I woke her up just after noon. She had a cup of pureed peaches and a handful of fruit puffs, most of which I had to vacuum off the carpet. She just woke up from another nap about a half hour ago, so now we're having story time. See? We're just fine. You didn't need to worry about anything." Klaus patted Dave's shoulder.

"How did you get her to go down for her naps? It takes me forever most of the time." Dave blinked in disbelief.

"I told you! Me and Claire, we're best friends." Klaus beamed at Dave.

"Maybe you should stay over more often."

Chapter Text

Diego and Klaus had just finished helping Mom make dinner, and it was Klaus's job to fetch everyone and bring them to the dinner table. The Hargreeves were a dysfunctional family, but they still found the time to eat meals together like normal families do. 

"Luther! Allison! Five! Vanya! Dinner's ready! Get down here, schnell!" Klaus yelled up the staircase to his siblings who were hiding out int their respective bedrooms.

"What does that mean?" Dave asked when Klaus waltzed back into the kitchen. Dave was sitting at the dinner table already, having watched Klaus help his mother cook. He and Diego liked to think of themselves as Grace's little sous chefs. 

"What?" Klaus turned around to look at his boyfriend.

"Schnell? Is that what you said?"

"Oh! Yeah, that. It's German for fast."

"You speak German?" Dave cocked his head questioningly.

Klaus stepped closer to Dave and sat on his lap. He placed his hand on Dave's. "I speak a little bit of a lot of languages, dear." He placed a kiss on the top of Dave's head. "Maybe I can teach you some someday." 

-----

Later on that week, Klaus and Dave were hanging around in bed early in the morning. Dave pulled Klaus closer into his chest. "I'm so glad you wanted to take me back to the future with you." He whispered in Klaus's ear.

Klaus giggled. "Ha, Back to the Future." 

"What?"

"Oh, boy, do I have a lot to teach you about the future. Speaking of teaching you, what language do you want to learn?" 

"Well, how many do you know?"

"Well," Klaus started off, "I know quite a bit of German, Spanish, and Italian; a little bit of French, Dutch, Vietnamese, Portuguese, and Japanese; and only a few sentences in Russian, Arabic, and Bulgarian." Klaus counts the languages on his fingers as he goes through the list in his head.

"Jeez, how do you remember all of them?"

"I'm not good at math or science, so there's a lot more room in my brain for linguistics. Plus, it's easy to pick something up when I have ghosts following me around speaking their native languages at me all the time. It's like living in a foreign country to be immersed in their culture to learn the language better. I just never have to leave town." He laughs at his own joke. Klaus sits up on his knees and faces Dave to see him better. The sheet falls around him, revealing that Klaus isn't wearing any pants, but what's new?

Dave places his hand on Klaus's naked thigh. "Which one do you think I should learn first?"

"Spanish is pretty useful, especially in the city, but German has some fun words. It's really your pick."

"Let's go with Spanish then." Dave smiles at his love. 

-----

Klaus had been teaching Dave Spanish for a few weeks now and he was just starting to get good. Klaus got a bunch of sticky notes, putting them all over the house, labeling things in Spanish so Dave could remember them. No piece of furniture or food in the fridge was left untouched. Klaus took away some when Dave felt like he didn't need them anymore and added a few in their place so he could learn some more new words. Klaus started putting them on his siblings, too. 

Everyone was lounging around in the living room together one Sunday morning, a rare occasion, given everyone's (except Klaus's) busy schedules. He took out his pad of post-its and a pencil and wrote down two new words for Dave. He stuck one on Diego's chest, "Hermano," he told Dave, and another on Vanya's, "y hermana."

"What the heck are you doing?" Diego asked Klaus, taking the post-it off his harness. Vanya just laughed. 

"I'm teaching Dave some words in Spanish. Alright, next word." He walked over to where Luther was sitting on the opposite couch. Luther's post-it said, "el mono."

Diego knew a good amount of Spanish as well. Hargreeves made them pick a language for each of them to learn when they were younger. Diego chose Spanish to feel closer to his Latino heritage. Klaus picked German, but found that Spanish rolled off the tongue easier. Diego laughed at Luther's post-it.

"What? What does it say?" Luther demanded.

"More like el mono grande!" Diego interjected. 

Klaus howled with laughter, everyone looking at him confused. "No, that's just mean!"

"Hey, you started it, man." Diego stated. He turned to Luther. "He called you a monkey."

Luther shot a glare in Klaus's direction. "Really? This again?"

"I'm sorry, I couldn't resist." He reached over and took the post-it off of Luther, placing it on a painting of Pogo instead. "There, el mono."

-----

Klaus had Dave ask him things in Spanish so he could get better at putting whole sentences together. It was also a way they have a conversation in front of the family without the rest of them knowing what they were talking about--except Diego, of course, but he didn't pay much attention to them when they were together anyway. Third-wheeling, and all.

"Que quieres desayunar, mi amor?" Klaus asked.

"Uh, puedo tener huevos y el pan tostado." Dave replied. 

"Por supuesto!" Klaus put on his apron and began cooking Dave breakfast. He cracked some eggs in a pan and began scrambling them. He opened the bread box and took out two slices, placing them in the toaster. He cracked another egg for himself, leaving it alone. Klaus liked his eggs sunny side up, and he liked to dip his toast in the runny egg yolk. He plated up the eggs for Dave and himself on plates just as the toast popped up. He buttered them and cut them into triangles. He placed Dave's plate in front of him on the table. "Bon appétit!"

"That's French." Dave noted.

"Yes, it is. I'm a man of many talents." Klaus kissed Dave on the cheek and dug into his own breakfast.

"You know, Klaus, I've been practicing some Spanish without you." Dave said, taking a bite of his toast.

"Ay, Dios mío! Are you cheating on me?" Klaus eyed Dave suspiciously, but jokingly.

"What? No! I wanted to surprise you!" 

"What have you been learning, then?"

Dave took Klaus's fork out of his hand, putting it on the table. He took both of Klaus's hands in his and looked into his beautiful, emerald eyes. "Te amo."

Klaus stared back at Dave. "You love me?" Klaus's voice cracked a little. No one had ever told him they loved him, let alone learned another language to do so. His heart swelled. 

"Of course, I love you." Dave squeezed Klaus's hand reassuringly.

Klaus pulled his boyfriend in for a deep, loving kiss. He placed his forehead against Dave's, his hand on Dave's cheek, and smiled bigger than he ever had before. 

"Te amo, también."

Chapter Text

"Dave. Psst, Dave." Klaus whispered in his boyfriend's ear. "Are you awake?"

Dave rolled over to face Klaus. "Well, I am now." 

"Oh, sorry. Go back to sleep."

"No, its okay. I wasn't really asleep anyway. What's up?" Dave turned on the bedside lamp so he could see Klaus's face. The warm light illuminated the sweat on Klaus's forehead, which made Klaus's hair curl around the edges of his face. It was pretty warm in the room that night. It was the middle of summer, and while Dave had air conditioning, it wasn't totally doing it's job in the middle of this heat wave. This made Klaus walk around the apartment in minimal clothing, not that Dave minded at all. Klaus's olive skin looked deeper in this light. He wasn't wearing a shirt. He didn't like to sleep in many clothes, but he settled for wearing underwear to sleep since he slept in Dave's bed now. Of all things, Klaus chose tight briefs that outlined his anatomy quite clearly. His eyeliner was melting down his face. He wiped at it, smudging it further outwards, not that it looked good in the first place, and not that he cared. His forest green eyes were bright compared to the dark makeup that surrounded them. They had a sense of urgency in them, making Dave worry slightly. He knew that Klaus was usually up this late because of his nightmares, but Dave had been sleeping very lightly, and hadn't felt Klaus toss and turn or heard him whimper or yell in his sleep like he did when he was having a nightmare.

"I really want some cake. But we don't have any in the house. So we have to make some." Klaus looked back and forth between Dave's eyes, awaiting his answer. 

"You really woke me up because you want to eat cake." Dave stated more than asked, trying to make Klaus see how ridiculous he was being.

"Yes, now come help me. I don't know how to bake and I'm hungry." Klaus swung his legs over the side of the bed to stand up, the sheets sliding off his long, slender legs. Dave eyed him up and down. 

He sighed, "Do I really have to?"

"Come on, you know that old quote, 'Give me cake or give me death.'" Klaus raised his eyebrows expectantly.

"It's 'Give me liberty or give me death.'"

"Well, whatever. Are you coming or not?" Klaus whined.

Dave groaned, but got out of bed anyway. "Fine." He walked over to where Klaus was standing and kissed him on the cheek. "But only because I love you."

"I love you, too." Klaus took Dave by the hand and led him into the kitchen. He turned on the light, nearly blinding Dave, who wasn't prepared for it. Dave went back into the bedroom to get his glasses off his bedside table. He only wore them at night when he didn't feel like putting his contacts in or he had just taken them out for the day. Klaus said they made him look like Clark Kent. 

When Dave came back, Klaus had already gotten out all the ingredients they needed, along with the appropriate bowls and utensils. Thankfully, they had a box of cake mix in the cabinet. Dave really didn't feel like making a cake from scratch at this hour. Klaus picked out a white cake with chocolate frosting. Klaus began by cutting open the packet of cake mix with scissors, pouring it into the large mixing bowl. He got a measuring cup out of the dish washer, clean, Dave hoped. He measured out the vegetable oil and water he needed. He cracked three eggs whites into the bowl, making sure not to get any yolks in there. Dave watched him. Klaus was like in a trance, concentrating hard on the task at hand.

"I thought you didn't know how to bake anything." Dave raised an eyebrow at his boyfriend, snaking his arm around his waist.

"Okay, maybe I lied. I've been practicing while you're away at work. I just like your company." Dave smiled. He wrapped his body around Klaus's middle, feeling the heat of Klaus's skin against his own. Dave placed his head on Klaus's shoulder as Klaus whisked up the batter and poured it in the pan. Dave reached around Klaus's body, taking some of the batter on his finger, and dabbing it on Klaus's nose.

"Hey! What gives?" Klaus giggled.

"You look cute." He wiped the batter off Klaus's nose and licked it off. "Vanilla. Good choice."

"Why, thank you." Klaus said in a fake seductive voice. He turned around in Dave's arms to face him. He kissed him deeply and passionately, raking his hands over Dave's muscular back. They found their way to Dave's hair, mussing up his blonde curls. After a few minutes, Klaus pulled away, only slightly. "I'm enjoying this--really, I am--but if we're going to have cake any time today, I'm gonna need to put it in the oven." He said against Dave's lips. 

Dave sighed and let go of Klaus. He took the pan off the counter and set it in the oven, setting the timer for 35 minutes. When Klaus finished cleaning up, Dave took him back in his arms, kissing him again. He picked Klaus up around the waist, setting him down on the counter in front of him. Klaus parted his knees, allowing Dave to get closer. 

Klaus took Dave's face in his hands, admiring him. "How did I get so lucky to have you?" He kissed Dave's nose. Dave smiled.

"I could ask you the same thing." He looked up at his love, who was now momentarily taller than him. "I'm so glad I decided to come here with you."

"I am, too. I never thought you'd come, but here you are. No one has ever done something like that for me." 

"That's because no one else realized how special you are, how worth it you are. You're like no one I've ever met."

"You know it, baby. I'm one of a kind." Klaus winked, making Dave giggle.

They stared at each other like that for a few more minutes. Klaus ran his thumb along Dave's bottom lip. He leaned down and took it between his teeth, biting at it. Dave moaned breathily into the kiss. Dave picked Klaus back up again, wrapping Klaus's legs around his waist. He carried him over to the couch, laying him down and crawling over his thin frame, completely enveloping Klaus with his larger figure.

"Somebody's in the mood, David." Klaus seductively joked. 

"Maybe I just really like cake." Dave joked back.

"Oh, you and me both, baby." Dave kissed Klaus again to shut him up. Dave found that was the easiest way to get Klaus to stop talking. Klaus bit at Dave's lip the way he knew he liked. Dave swiped his tongue at Klaus's lip, asking for entrance, which Klaus allowed. Klaus placed his hand on Dave's cheek, deepening the kiss even further. Dave maneuvered one of his legs between Klaus's, grinding on him. Klaus moaned at the contact. Dave kissed his way across Klaus's cheek, making his way to his neck. He licked and sucked dark purple marks into it, later finding the sweet spot right under Klaus's ear that made Klaus's moans get higher in pitch. It was getting hot and sweaty, both of them breathing heavier. Then, just as it was getting really good, the oven timer went off.

"No!" Klaus groaned. "It was just getting to the best part!"

Dave kept kissing Klaus anyway. "Come on, Dave. I don't want to burn the kitchen down." 

Dave gave him one more deep kiss on the lips, and finally got off of him to let him up. "Fine."

Klaus shimmied his way into the kitchen, invigorated from their hot makeout session, but also really excited to eat cake. He opened the oven to check if it was done. "Oh my god."

"What? Is it burnt?" Dave called from the couch, where he sat, catching his breath.

"So, uh.. funny story. I never actually did one crucial step in baking, which would be--turning the oven on." Klaus explained as he clasped his hands together.

"You're not serious." Klaus nodded. "I thought you said you got good at baking."

Klaus held his hands up defensively, his Hello and Goodbye tattoos on full display. "Hey, I said I'm practicing. It's a work in progress."

"Well, turn the oven on, put the cake in, and come back here so we can finish what we started."

Klaus's eyes widened. He set the timer again, and actually turned the heat on this time, and ran back to the couch, excited to continue.

Chapter Text

"You know, you don't have to. I'm perfectly capable of handling myself walking home. It's just like walking home on a regular day, minus the sun." Klaus protests as Dave offers to drive him home for the third week in a row now. They both work at the local coffee shop. They're the only ones left at the end of Friday night, and now that Daylight Savings Time has passed, it gets dark way before Klaus can go home. Dave has offered to drive him home the last few Fridays, but Klaus has up until now declined.

"I just worry about you alone in the dark. You're not the toughest guy in the world. What if you get jumped in a back alley or something?" Dave asks.

"Oh, please, I'm friends with all those guys." Klaus waves a hand, shrugging off Dave's worry.

"What do you mean?"

"Oh, nothing. Never mind." Klaus looks at Dave, trying to read his face. Dave decides to leave it alone. He knows Klaus is a mystery. This last comment just adds to it.

"Klaus, it's really no big deal. It's on my way home anyway." Dave looks at Klaus with pleading eyes. How could Klaus say no to that face? That cute, attractive, sexy face?

Klaus lets out a long, dramatic sigh. "Fine. I'll let you take me home. But don't get any ideas." Klaus winks at Dave, walking past him out the front door. Dave trails behind him, remembering to lock the door and turn the lights out. He unlocks his car for Klaus, who plops himself in the front passenger seat. "Nice car, Dave. How do you afford this on a barista salary?"

"I, uh, I have wealthy parents." Dave coughed awkwardly. He didn't like talking about his parents much. They didn't get along so well.

Dave pulled out of the parking lot and onto the main road. Klaus navigated to his house for him. They made small talk in between the directions. 

"So, tell me about yourself." Dave asked.

"You know enough about me, I think. We've been working together for, what, eight months now?"

"Honestly, I don't know anything about you, Klaus. I know a little bit about your personality, but what about your family? What do you get up to when you're not at work? How about all that?" Dave goaded. This was true. Klaus never liked getting close to people because he knew that if they dove deeper into his life, it'd scare them away.

"Why don't you go first, if you're so interested in us sharing our life stories, hm?" Klaus deflected.

"Okay. I grew up in Rhode Island, but I moved to the city for college. My parents found out I was gay a year later and they cut me off. All they let me keep was this car. My sister is the only one who still keeps in touch, but she's busy finishing up high school, so I don't hear from her that often anymore. I've been living on my own for the last nine years. I've worked a lot of odd jobs, and now, here I am, working at a coffee shop with you. So, that's my story."

"Shit, Dave. I didn't know."

"Well, maybe you would if you got closer to people."

"That's never been something I was good at. My family doesn't even really know who I am anymore."

"Then, tell me about them."

Klaus thought for a moment. He gauged how much he wanted to tell Dave. On the one hand, he wanted to come clean and confess everything, just to get it off his chest for once. On the other hand, Dave would think he was crazy if he knew the whole truth, and Dave was his only friend at the moment, although, Klaus wished he were more than just a friend. 

"Okay, I'm gonna tell you everything, but you have to promise you won't stop talking to me or think I'm completely insane."

"I don't scare easy." Dave smiled at Klaus as he turned onto another street.

"Well, I have six siblings. We were all adopted by a billionaire, who turned us into a crime-fighting super group. We all have powers by the way, and mine is talking with the dead. My one brother died when we were seventeen, and he keeps me company most of the time. I've been a drug addict on and off for the last sixteen years. I've only been sober for nine months, but that's the longest I've ever been clean. My sister almost started the apocalypse, but we reared it off somehow. Happy?" Klaus said when he was finally done ranting to Dave. He's never told that much about his life to anyone, but deep down, he knows that Dave believes him.

"I am actually. Now I know you better." Dave's car pulled up to Klaus's front door. "This is your house?" Dave said, gawking at the huge mansion before him.

"I told you, my dad's a billionaire. Also, forgot to mention, my mom's a robot, and we have a monkey butler."

"Hm, interesting." Dave said.

Klaus didn't expect that answer. "Come on, Dave. You seriously believe all this shit? If anyone else in their right mind heard all the stuff I just told you, they'd kick me to the curb and never speak to me again!" Klaus unbuckled his seatbelt, about to open the car door and storm inside when Dave grabbed his arm, stopping him from doing so.

"Klaus, do you have any reason to lie to me?" Klaus hesitated for a moment before shaking his head no. "Good, then I know you've told me the truth. It may be a lot different than I was expecting, but it is the truth, right?" Klaus nodded yes.

"So, you don't hate me?"

"Why would I hate you?" Dave laughed sadly.

Klaus hung his head, avoiding Dave's gaze. "Everyone else seems to." He said under his breath.

Dave put his hand on Klaus's chin, guiding his head up to look him in the eye. "I don't hate you. And I believe everything you just told me. Okay?"

"Okay." They both got out of the car, walking towards the front door. They stopped on the stoop just before Klaus turned the doorknob to let himself in. "Do you want to come inside?"

"Yes, I'd like that. Maybe you can tell me a little more about your family and your life? I'd like to know. Really, I do." 

"Alright." Klaus turned the door, letting Dave walk in before him. Dave looked around the huge foyer of the house, admiring the giant chandelier hanging from the ceiling, looking at all the art hanging on the wall (including the portrait of Five), and turning around when Pogo came to greet them.

"Hello, Master Klaus. Welcome home." Pogo said warmly. 

"Hey, Pogo. This is Dave." Klaus gestured to the man standing next to him. "We work together." Klaus explained, just in case Pogo thought something sketchy was going on.

"Ah, it's good to meet you." He shook Dave's hand and left them to their own devices. 

Klaus gave him a tour of the house, not venturing into any of his siblings' bedrooms, not that many of them still lived there anyway, and leaving out the basement with the soundproof chamber where Luther locked up Vanya just nine months ago. Dave didn't really need to know about that. They went back to Klaus's room to talk more.

"So, what else do you want to know about me?" Klaus asks, making himself comfortable, kicking his shoes off and sitting cross-legged on his bed. Dave sits down next to him, keeping his feet on the floor and putting his hands in his lap.

"I'll let you tell me what you want to tell me." Dave supplied.

"What?"

"I'm not going to pry just in case there's a sensitive subject in there that you're not ready to get into yet. So, you can tell me what you want."

This is unusual for Klaus. Anyone who had an inkling of who Klaus really was hammered him with questions about his personal life, especially the sensitive stuff. That was the juiciest information that reporters wanted to put in their gossip columns of teen magazines. "I'll start with my siblings, I guess." Klaus took a deep breath. "Luther is Number One. He's always trying to be the leader, even though we all know, him included, that he's not very good at it. He thinks he's like the older brother even though we're all the same age. Dad left him on the moon for four years, so I guess he has reason to complain. Then there's Diego. He's the one I get along with best, living anyway. He's this wannabe cop by night. He's a big teddy bear, even though he'll deny it with every fiber of his being. He's the only one who still checks up on me, makes sure I don't fall off the wagon. Then there's Allison. She's a famous actress and never comes home. She wants to keep the Academy far away from her as possible. She's going through this awful custody battle with her ex-husband, and I feel bad for her. I know she's a great mom, she just doesn't think so. Five is the hardest to describe. And yes, his name is Number Five. He's bitter and cold and crotchety, but he secretly loves us. He'll never say it, though. Ben is the dead one. We're best friends. He's stuck by me through thick and thin, mostly thin. He's always there to pick me up when I'm down, not literally though. That's the one thing we haven't really got down pat yet. And last, but not least, Vanya. She almost caused the apocalypse, but it wasn't really her fault. All her life, our dad told us she didn't have powers and that she wasn't special because of it. And then suddenly, we figured out that she does have powers, and she kinda freaked out. Like, a lot. My dad was cold and didn't love us, and it screwed us all up. My mom is really nice, but she's still a robot, so it doesn't feel like having a real mom. Diego's her favorite, anyway. And Pogo has lied to us about everything our whole childhood, so we can't really trust him anymore."

"Wow. That's a lot. How do you deal with all this?" Dave asked, trying to process everything Klaus just told him.

"Drugs, honestly. I started when I was thirteen. I realized it kept all the ghosts away, so I kept doing it so they would leave me alone. And then I started to think about my childhood and how screwed up we all are when I went to therapy the first couple times I was in rehab. And then I got out, and I did drugs so I would stop thinking about how screwed up I was, still am. I got clean, for the last time, hopefully, after we dealt with the whole apocalypse deal. I wanted to get closer to my siblings because we all realized that we're going to die at some point, and we'd all regret it if we died not being closer to one another. They're all I have left now." Klaus looked at Dave, trying to guess what he was thinking, or what he would say next.

"I... don't know what to say to all that. But, you do have me now."

"So, do you hate me yet?" Klaus asked encouragingly, albeit sadly, as if he knew the answer was yes. He was wrong, though. If anything, Dave liked him even more now. Dave liked knowing the intimate details of people's personal lives. Not in a stalker-y, creepy way. He just thought that knowing people's back stories made it easier to be friends with them. He wouldn't have to tiptoe around them, or hold back jokes just in case they were easily offended by something, or feeling like strangers even though they'd worked together for a while.

Dave considered Klaus's question. Why does he want me to hate him so much? Dave thought. Klaus was used to people being put off by him for his morbid powers or his drug use, so why would Dave think any different if he just knew this stuff, not necessarily having experienced it firsthand? Because Dave was different. He could never hate Klaus. He just wanted to take care of him, now that he knew how fragile Klaus was. Klaus needed someone he could trust with anything who wouldn't judge him for anything. And if Klaus did fall off the wagon, as Klaus so elegantly put it, Dave would be there to pick him right back up again.

Dave looked into Klaus's eyes. Tears started to form around the outer edges. Dave wiped a stray tear with his thumb. He moved in closer, touching his lips gently to Klaus's, not really kissing him, just gauging Klaus's interest. Klaus kissed back, placing his hands on Dave's waist, pulling him in closer. Dave pulled away, not wanting Klaus to feel like he was taking advantage of him in his vulnerable state. Klaus groaned at the loss. 

Dave touched his forehead to Klaus's. "I could never hate you."

"Well, now I'm glad I let you finally drive me home."

Chapter Text

Expectedly, Dave thought he would come home to Klaus sitting on the couch drawing or writing and listening to music like he did every day around the time Dave came home from work. Dave worked as a detective, Diego being his partner. He had a rough day today and was hoping that Klaus would be able to cheer him up, just like he does every time Dave has a bad day on the job. Today, there was a murder-triple homicide that he had to investigate. It was an awful scene that he'd rather not talk about. Unfortunately, this is not what he saw when he opened the door to their apartment. 

"Dave! You're home!" Klaus yelled, as he always does. "Look what I did today!" Dave looks around the living room. There's so much color and glitter everywhere. He can't even take it in all at once. It takes Dave a second to register what he just walked into.

There were jingle bells and strings of popcorn hanging from the wall. A bouquet of mistletoe was hanging form every doorway. Silver tinsel lined these doorways. A miniature snowman sat on the table next to the couch. On a bookshelf across from Dave's line of sight was a small town with tinier figurines of townspeople and white cotton on the bottom acting as snow. They were arranged on a mirror that was surrounded in white glitter to look like they were skating on a frozen lake. There was a vase on the table filled with pine cones smelling of cloves and cinnamon. All they were missing was a tree and a manger scene. Klaus had gone too far. It looked like the Christmas Tree Shop in their living room.

"Klaus. It's November 7th. It's not even Thanksgiving yet. Why the hell are you decorating for Christmas already?"

"Don't be a Grinch, Davey. I thought it would be fun, bring a little holiday cheer into our lives. You look like you could use a little." Klaus said, not noticing Dave's sunken face. Dave glares at Klaus.

"Gee, thanks. Take it down. We'll put them up when it gets closer to Christmas." 

"You're not the boss of me." Klaus says defiantly, looking straight at his boyfriend and finally noticing the state Dave is in. "What's a 'matter? Bad day?"

"You don't know the half of it. The worst I've seen in a long time. There was blood everywhere. I can't-" Klaus put down the tinsel he was hanging around the room and went over to comfort Dave. Dave looked so far away right now. He was staring into space, his eyes were glazed over, and his face looked gaunt. He'd looked like he'd seen a ghost, but Klaus was sure there weren't any around right now. This was not the cheery Dave that left the house this morning. Klaus slid Dave's coat off his shoulders and hung it on the hook by the door. He took Dave's hand in his and led Dave over to the couch, sitting him down. 

"Do you want to talk about it?" Klaus's voice was soft and comforting now. This wasn't the first time Dave has had a day like this at work. Once or twice he's investigated a murder as bad as this. But none of them have affected him as much as this one seems to. Dave shook his head no. "Were there kids?" Dave nodded yes. That's why this one was so bad. Dave's never investigated a murder that involved children yet. 

"I'm going to go start dinner. You must be hungry. Why don't you put on something to watch and I'll be right back, okay?" Dave nodded, taking the remote in his hand and flipping through the channels. Klaus walked into the kitchen and preheated the oven. He took some frozen pizza out of the freezer and threw it in, setting the timer. When he came back, Dave was still flipping through the TV channels mindlessly. Klaus took the remote out of Dave's hand and took his face in his. He turned Dave's head to face him.

"You know everything's going to be okay, right? Today was just a bad day. Tomorrow when you wake up, this will all just be a memory. You don't have to let it affect you. I know this is easier said than done, but try not to think about it, okay?" Klaus gave Dave a kiss on each cheek.

"I know. I'm trying. It's just... you weren't there. You didn't see it."

"I know. I do know that. But I see death pretty often. I know how bad it gets. Eventually, you just get desensitized to it." Klaus smiled, trying to convince Dave that everything was going to be fine. It sounded a bit insensitive, but it was true. "Listen, we'll have dinner, we'll put up some more decorations, we'll watch a movie, and you'll forget all about it. How does that sound?"

Dave was silent for a moment, not all there. It took him a moment to register what Klaus just asked him. "Okay. I'm going to go change." He kissed Klaus's hand that was held in his and went into their bedroom. He peeled off his sweaty t-shirt, putting on one of Klaus's shirts. The smell comforted him. He threw on some sweatpants and went back into the living room. Klaus had a Christmas moved queued up on the TV. "Klaus, I told you. It's too early for Christmas."

"And I told you that you could use some Christmas cheer. C'mon, it'll be fun." Dave sighed passively. "Great! Pizza's done!" He plated up dinner for the both of them and started the movie.

"What did you pick?" Dave said, taking a bite into his pizza and dropping it back on the plate when it burnt his mouth.

"Home Alone." 

"Okay, that's not so bad."

They watched the movie with dinner, occasionally quoting lines they remembered, Klaus's favorite being "Buzz, your girlfriend, woof." He even clung his hands to his face and screamed when that aftershave scene came on. He was trying his best to cheer up Dave. It seemed to be working. Halfway through the movie, Dave was smiling like his usual self, which made Klaus smile too. It was late by the time the movie ended and they were both tired, but Dave wasn't ready to go to sleep yet. He thought that if he closed his eyes, he would witness it all over again, and that was the one thing he was so desperately avoiding tonight. 

Klaus had the idea that he and Dave would drag out the Christmas tree from the attic and decorate it before they went to bed. Dave had given up protesting. Even Klaus knew it was too early for Christmas decorations, but it made him cheery for once, and he'll be damned if he was going to let anyone take that away from him. He unpacked the tree box, taking out the directions. He and Dave have had this same tree for the last four Christmases, but none of them ever remembered how to assemble it. Eventually they got it together, sparking a few minor arguments. Dave was separating and fluffing up the branches as Klaus unpacked the ornaments, planning in his mind of where he wanted them to go. 

They hung all the decorations on the tree, even finding an old box of candy canes in with the ornaments from last year that they hung on the tree as well. Klaus tried to eat one, but it was so old that it didn't have much flavor left. They strung tinsel and lights around the tree to finish it off. Klaus found the star in another box, protected in layers of newspaper. Dave wrapped his arms around Klaus's waist and hoisted him up so that he could reach the top to put the star on, the finishing touch. 

"There, perfect." Klaus said as he landed with a thud on the hardwood floor. He turned around with Dave's arms still wrapped around his middle and hung his arms on Dave's wide shoulders, clasping his hands together around the back of Dave's neck. "Do you feel any better?"

"Of course, I do. You're here, it feels like it's Christmas time, even though I still think it's way too early," Klaus giggled at this, "but I feel all warm inside." 

"Well, good." Klaus placed his head on Dave's chest and Dave lowered his head to lean on Klaus's. Klaus listened to Dave's heartbeat for a while, which made him feel warm inside too. 

"I guess decorating for Christmas this early isn't so bad." Dave admitted. It wasn't the decorations themselves that made him feel better. It was more of the way they made Klaus happy that made him happy in turn.

Dave went to bed without Klaus that night. Dave needed to sleep because he had work the next day. Klaus stayed up, continuing to decorate the apartment, albeit quietly. He strung tinsel along the TV stand and around the edges of tables and counters. He lined the corners of walls with white lights. He rearranged his figurines until he was happy with the story they told. He took paper from the printer and cut snowflakes from them in intricate patterns. He attached strings to all the snowflakes and got up on a chair so he could hang them with tape from the ceiling. It must've taken longer than he thought to perfect his Christmassy masterpiece because Dave woke up to see him standing on a chair in the middle of the living room.

"What the hell are you doing? It's six in the morning."

"I made snowflakes." He held out one for Dave demonstratively. 

"Have you been at this all night?"

Klaus looked around the room at what he had put together. "Looks that way, yeah." Klaus ripped off a piece of tape and stuck the snowflake string to the ceiling. "See?"

"You need to go to sleep." Dave said, holding his hand out for Klaus to take so he could safely get down off his chair.

"But my snowflakes-" Klaus began to protest.

"They'll still be here when you wake up. You look exhausted." Klaus thought for a moment. He really was tired, but he got so invested in his decorating that he forgot all about it. "You have six whole weeks to decorate for Christmas. I think you can take a little break for now."

"Alright. Sounds good. Have a good day at work." Klaus gave his boyfriend a kiss goodbye and went to their room. He laid in bed and listened to Dave shuffling around their apartment while he got ready for work. Klaus fell asleep as soon as Dave closed the front door behind him.

Chapter Text

Klaus needed some inspiration to draw lately. He hasn't had much luck. Like writer's block, but with drawing. Nothing seems to capture his interest at the moment. Or, he does come with an idea in his head that's too complex for him to even know where to start, so he scraps it before he even gets his pencils out of their place in his desk. He decides to go to the museum to see if anything there will pique his interest. 

Klaus pulls on his fur lined patchwork coat, picking up his drawing pad on the way out the door, shoving some drawing pencils and kneaded erasers into his pockets. Klaus flips through his drawing pad to see if anything he's previously drawn might spark something as well, but still nothing.

He takes a walk a few blocks over to the local art museum. It's nothing like MOMA or The Met, but there are some quality works in there. He's greeted at the door by the ticket lady, paying his entrance fee, and makes his way inside. He starts over by the Impressionism section. Many Cezanne, Monet, and Van Gogh lookalikes, but none of the actual paintings made it in. They're nice paintings, but not really Klaus's cup of tea. He's not much of a painter anyway. Paint doesn't dry fast enough, he thinks, and he's afraid he's going to make one wrong move and fuck the whole thing up just by dragging his hand over it.

Finding himself in the American Realism room, he takes a seat on a bench in front of a painting of a farmhouse with a pasture and a few livestock in the fields. Klaus likes realism as a whole, but he finds the colors in 1800's American realism too bland and boring. Even if this is how America really does look, he'd prefer some brighter colors. Maybe that's why he dresses the way he does. Again, he moves on. 

Klaus wanders through the whole of the museum, it feels like, and still nothing. He thinks he's been there, done that. Maybe he should give up. But that urge to draw something keeps eating at him. It's been helping a lot since getting over his multiple addictions. This kind of acts like an addiction as well, but at least this one is healthy. 

Just about to give up on his quest for inspiration, Klaus takes a seat in the middle of the main hall, showcasing different sculptures and installations that are too big to fit into any of the specifically themed rooms. Something, or should he say someone, in the corner of his vision catches his eye. A handsome man, about Klaus's height, blonde, blue eyes, wearing jeans and a blue button-down shirt that brings out the color of his eyes. He's on an adjacent bench also admiring the sculptures, turned just so so that Klaus sees most of his face on an angle. The guy doesn't look like he's moved in a while, nor is he going to anytime soon. There it is, Klaus's inspiration.

Klaus's hands find their way to his coat pocket, fishing around for the right pencil. He takes the drawing pad out from under his arm where he tucked it between his upper arm and rib cage. Flipping to an empty page, Klaus takes a good look at the man, deciding where he's going to start on his drawing. He sketches a rough outline of the man's head and shoulders, deciding to frame it so that the drawing ends just below his underarms. Klaus maps out the spacing between the facial features, giving them more details as he feels his proportions are correct.

The man, who has yet to be named, looks around the room, stopping on Klaus for just a second. Shit, he caught me, Klaus thinks. But the man moves on, looking back towards the sculpture he'd been concentrating on this whole time. Oh, good, he didn't notice. 

Klaus starts basically shading the shadows of the man's face. He adds creases to the lips where they fold into the mouth and come to a corner. He uses his kneaded eraser to add highlights to the man's blue eyes. He pencils in a stray freckle here and there. He flicks his pencil just so to add the man's long eyelashes. Then, Klaus moves on to the man's blue shirt. It's a light value, so he increases the contrast in his brain to give the shirt deeper creases so it doesn't look so flat. 

Klaus is so invested in his drawing and adding details he thinks the drawing needs, darkening shadows and lightening highlights, adding texture to the hair. He blends them out with the tip of his finger where necessary, but Klaus typically prefers his drawings to have a sketchier look. He looks back to where the man was seated. Now, he was gone. When did he leave? Klaus wondered. Couldn't have been that long ago. Klaus looks around the room to maybe see if he could see which direction the man went. 

Another figure catches his attention, this time, standing right in front of him. "Could I sit here? All the other benches are full." The man points to the empty space next to Klaus. The museum had grown more crowded in the--maybe an hour--that Klaus had been sitting here drawing the handsome stranger.

"Oh, uh, sure." Klaus chokes out. He looks the man in the face and recognizes him from his own drawing. Klaus shifts his body on a different angle so the man now sitting next to him can't see that portrait Klaus has been working on of him. Klaus intended to keep it a secret, to take it home, to shove into his portfolio with all his other drawings. It would be insane for Klaus to finish his drawing, tear it out of the drawing pad, walk up to the man and say, "Hey, I drew this of you when you weren't looking. Here, you can keep it." Or would he think that was kind of romantic? No, no, no, that's creepy.

The man seemed not to catch onto Klaus's odd behavior or realize that he was up to something, so Klaus continued working in secret. He was nearly done. It was almost perfect. Now that the man was closer to him, he could see fine wrinkles in his face, smile lines, fine stubble on his neck and chin. Klaus penciled these in, looking at the man as little as he possibly could without forgetting what he'd just looked at. He tried his best to be subtle. Apparently, his best efforts weren't enough, because the man turned his head in Klaus's direction. They weren't sitting hip to hip, but close enough for the man to eventually notice that something was going on with the strangely dressed, oddly attractive artist perched on the bench to his left. 

"Uh, hi. I'm Dave." The man extended his hand for Klaus to shake. 

Klaus didn't have a free hand, so he put his pencil between his teeth to hold for a second. "Klaus." He said, his words muffled. Klaus took the pencil back out of his mouth and smiled at the man, Dave, now. "What brings you here, Dave?"

"I was having a boring day, so I thought I'd get out of the house. Plus, I'm friends with the artist who did that one." He pointed to a sculpture in the farthest corner from them. It was a strange wall installation of a hoard of taxidermied animals seemingly coming out of the walls. Their fur was dyed neon colors. It was weird, even for Klaus's standards.

"It's...lovely." Klaus tried.

"No, I know it's bad. But I can't tell her that, can I?" Dave laughed.

"I would." Klaus half-joked. Dave didn't seem the type to do so, but Klaus was a painfully honest person.

There was a minute of silence, but it wasn't awkward. Dave then spoke up again. "Can I ask what you're working on over there?"

Klaus pursed his lips in thought, staring at Dave like a deer caught in headlights. He thought, do I tell him, or do I lie? "Well, it's just a rough sketch of a portrait I saw a while ago over there." He cocked his head in a vague direction. Not a lie, just an omission of the truth.

"Could I see it?"

"Oh, no, it's terrible. I'm thinking of scrapping it." Klaus put his head back down, facing his drawing pad, he started to flip over the page to a fresh one when Dave caught sight of the drawing.

"What?! That looks great, from what little I've seen of it! Can I just get one more peak?" Dave gave Klaus his best puppy dog eyes, and dammit, it worked. Klaus sighed defeated. He flipped the page back over to the drawing of Dave. He looked at it by himself for a moment, took a deep breath, and turned it toward Dave's direction. He gauged Dave's face for any kind of shock or concern. Dave was hard to read in this moment. He tilted his head like a puppy, taking in all the minute details Klaus had added after seeing Dave closer up. "Is this me?" Dave raised an eyebrow.

"Um, yeah. Your face inspired me, I guess." Klaus squeaked out. Klaus wasn't one to get embarrassed or speechless, but for some reason, Dave did something to him. 

"I gotta be honest, I've never had someone draw me as well as you have. Not that many strangers in public draw me in the first place." Dave smiled a sweet smile with his eyes and everything.

"So, you don't hate me or think I'm creepy?"

"It was kind of weird, to be frank, but I caught you looking at me over there quite a few times, and then looking back down at your paper, so I kind of gathered."

"And you didn't want to call security on me?"

"No! I think it's sweet, actually. That's why I came over here."

"Oh, well then... what happens now?" Klaus asked, mostly to himself, but loud enough so that Dave heard him, too.

"How about we go grab some coffee?"

"I'd like that."

Chapter Text

When Dave came home from work a few days before Christmas, Klaus had just finished decorating their apartment. This would be their first Christmas together in Klaus's time, and he wanted it to be perfect. "Welcome home, darling! How was work?" Klaus took Dave's coat off his shoulders and gave him a kiss on the cheek like the dutiful housewife he now was. 

"It was fine. I see you were busy today." Dave admired the snowflakes, the tree, the tinsel, and all the glitter that littered the floor. Their apartment looked like a department store at Christmas time. 

"Hey, I needed something to do since you've been gone all day. Plus, Christmas is only four days away and we still had nothing decorated. I'll work on the lights tomorrow. It was getting too dark by the time I finished inside." Klaus looked at the ceiling above them. "Oh look, mistletoe! You know what that means!"

Dave chuckled at his boyfriend and leaned in for a quick kiss. Klaus pulled him in longer by the collar of his shirt. He eventually let go with a smack of his lips. "You're such a dork." Dave said.

"But you still love me." Klaus made puppy dog eyes at him.

"Of course, I do." Dave smiled and went into the kitchen to start making dinner.

The evening came and went. They ate pork chops, mashed potatoes, and broccoli for dinner. Dave was trying to get Klaus to eat more vegetables. They watched a stereotypical Hallmark Christmas movie snuggled together on the couch before going to bed. Dave fell asleep in the middle of the movie, Klaus laying with his head on Dave's chest and Dave's arms wrapped protectively around him. Dave was snoring softly in Klaus's ear, but Klaus didn't mind. He thought it was adorable. When the movie finished, Klaus gently woke Dave and brought him to bed. He helped Dave out of his day clothes into something more comfortable, and Dave was out like a light again. Klaus used a small flashlight to read a chapter of his book before he felt like going to sleep. 

The next day, Dave had off from work, so he slept in as long as he could. He finally woke up around 9:30, not able to sleep anymore. Klaus was still dead to the world. His arms flung over the side of the bed, one of his legs sticking out of the covers, his t-shirt pulled halfway up his torso, his hair in wild disarray. Still, to Dave, he looked like utter perfection. Dave wrapped his arm around Klaus's middle and gently pulled Klaus closer to him, trying to not wake him just yet. Klaus stirred a little, turning over to face Dave and snuggling his face into Dave's neck. He felt around for Dave's hand that wasn't wrapped around himself and held it tightly. He took a deep breath and fell back to sleep again. Dave rested his chin on top of Klaus's head and closed his eyes, taking a mental image of their tender moment. 

Klaus finally woke up about a half hour later. "Good morning, sunshine." Dave whispered.

"Morning." Klaus replied, his voice still gravelly form sleep. He blinked his eyes open trying not to fall asleep again. He smiled when Dave's face came into clearer view. "What's on the agenda for today, my dear?"

"I was thinking I could make us some pancakes for breakfast and then we could finish hanging the Christmas lights outside like you didn't get to do yesterday." He kissed Klaus's forehead,

"Sounds like a plan." 

Dave got up and dressed to make breakfast while Klaus lounged in bed for a little while longer. He only got up to put on pants when he smelled bacon. He and Dave spent the afternoon outside hanging up Christmas lights around their side of the apartment building. When they were too cold to hang up anymore, they went inside to cuddle and warm up, while Klaus made hot cocoa for the both of them to enjoy while they watched yet another Christmas movie, Elf this time. It was one of Klaus's favorites and Dave enjoyed watching Klaus quote all his favorite parts.

The next few days dragged on uneventfully like usual. Then Christmas Day rolled around. Klaus jumped out of bed bright and early, ready to give Dave his presents. Dave let Klaus open his presents first. Dave bought him some new skirts, some books he had been thinking of reading, and paint set. Klaus had been getting more into art lately. He liked watching Bob Ross, so now he could paint his own happy trees. He got Dave a new jacket, some books as well, and some car fixing tools. Dave was fixing up an old muscle car from the 60's in his free time. 

They were getting ready to leave the house to go to the Hargreeves mansions for Christmas dinner, when Klaus looked up at the door frame above them and said, "Oh look, mistletoe! You know what that means!" Before Klaus could even lean in to kiss Dave, Dave pushed his body against the door jamb with his own, lowering his lips next to Klaus' ear.

"Did you put mistletoe all over the apartment on purpose?" Dave asked seductively. Klaus sucked in a sharp breath at the sudden contact and nodded, looking up into Dave's eyes. Dave smirked, pecked Klaus on the lips, and moved off of him. "I can't believe we're dating."

"Yeah," Klaus smoothed out Dave's shirt that got wrinkled from pressing Klaus into the door. "Me neither."

Not for long, Dave thought to himself. Just before they left, Dave reached down to his pocket to make sure the little box was still there.

They arrived at the mansion, Luther greeting them at the door with a big, ugly sweater on. Klaus promised himself he wouldn't say anything about it. But it was just awful. Everyone was situated in the living room, while Mom and Diego were in the kitchen putting the finishing touches on dinner. Allison, in charge of the festivities, made a drink for Dave and a virgin cocktail for Klaus. They sat and caught up with each other until they were called into the dining room to sit down.

Diego and Mom made a lovely spread: A huge turkey, mashed potatoes, candied yams, green beans, brussels sprouts, cranberry sauce, dinner rolls, sparkling cider, you name it. Everyone devoured huge platefuls of food. There were barely any leftovers; maybe just the vegetables. Everyone thanked Mom and Diego for making dinner and Pogo made a speech about how thankful he was for everyone at the table, and even though it wasn't Thanksgiving, it was still nice to hear. 

Conversations were starting to die down and they were just about ready for dessert when Dave spoke up to everyone. "Hey guys, I have an announcement to make. The last two years of my life have been the best because of you, Klaus, and I can't thank you enough for that. And bringing me back to your time and allowing me to be a part of your family was one of the best things that's ever happened to me. I can't imagine spending a Christmas, or any other holiday, without you. I love you to the moon and back. Klaus Hargreeves," Dave pulled the ring box out of his pocket and got down on one knee in front of where Klaus was sitting in an oversized chair, "will you marry me?"

Klaus clasped his hands over his mouth, smiling from ear to ear. He giggled with excitement, unable to contain his happiness. He leaped forward into Dave's arms. "Yes, Dave! I will marry you!" He tackled Dave to the ground and kissed all over his face. They eventually sat up and Dave slid the ring over Klaus's finger. It was a simple silver band with a small emerald cut diamond. Men's engagement rings weren't really supposed to be flashy, but this was for Klaus, who lived for that kind of stuff. 

Everyone cheered and congratulated them, except for Five, of course, who gave them each a handshake and a curt nod. Diego made a toast to them before dessert, and then they dug into the apple pie Mom baked earlier in the day. It was the best Christmas Klaus could ever ask for.

Chapter Text

Newly sober Klaus was not used to being in this environment. Okay, he'd been here plenty of times before, but never clean and sober. Or at least, not with the intention to keep it that way. Klaus found some new friends at his new job, where he worked as a writer for a small city-based magazine. It was the first job he's been able to hold down for more than four days; he had to because Diego pulled a lot of strings to get him in there, and he didn't want to let him down... again. His reputation preceded him, and his new coworkers thought it would be fun to take him out and see what Klaus was like when he was off his face. Klaus was open to the idea of having real friends and didn't want to say no, so he agreed, only he left out the part about his new-found sobriety. So, here he was, stood in a corner by himself. Not something Klaus was used to doing at parties.

Klaus didn't want to be fired for showing up to work the next morning still high or drunk, or both, and he also was trying really hard to stay sober this time. He liked his job. It was something he thought he was good at, or at least he liked it. He's said before that "this is the last time, I promise," but he himself knew he never meant it until now. Klaus was so tired of crashing on friends' couches, waking up on park benches covered in morning dew (which sounds poetic but was actually quite cold), or even not being able to do something as simple as walk straight. He'd had run-ins with every cop in town, being friendly with most of Diego's colleagues, knowing them on a first name basis. 

The loud techno music was pumping in his ears, the bass so loud he could feel it in his chest. He had a solo cup in hand, only full of water, his other hand shoved in his tight pants pockets. Why do they even bother putting pockets in girls' pants if they're going to make them so small, he thought. Klaus was wearing his infamous lace-up leather pants, paired with a mesh crop top, black converse high tops, and his patchwork coat with the fur-lined sleeves. His hair had grown out quite a bit, not having cut it since before going to rehab five months ago. He had it pulled back into a sort of bun on top of his head, a few curls falling out of it, framing his face. His eyeliner had begun to smudge and run down his face, having put it on earlier that morning before work. Klaus took a sip of his water, looking around the room for any sight of the people he came here with. Nothing. Maybe they ditched him when they realized we wasn't going to be "fun Klaus" tonight. Why did he even bother staying as long as he has if he wasn't allowing himself to enjoy it like he was wont to do?

Just about to head for the door and hail a cab home, a man walked up next to him and just stood there, watching the crowd as well. The man certainly did not look the partying type: he had blonde curly hair, not quite as long as Klaus's, but not very short either; he was wearing a plaid, sky blue button down, jeans, and brown dress shoes; he had a bored look on his face, as if he thought he was above all this, and maybe he was, Klaus had never seen him around before. Klaus watched him carefully, waiting for the man to see him staring at him and walk away, but he never looked in Klaus's direction. Taking another sip of his water, Klaus decided he was going to leave, not caring so much about the strange man anymore. He was boring, doing nothing and saying even less. Klaus had to walk past the man in order to head out the front door, but he was stopped in his tracks. The man caught him walking past and spoke to him.

"Hey, I like your jacket." 

"Oh, this old thing? I've had it for years." Klaus replied, trying to feign charm. He didn't have to try hard; he was naturally charismatic.

"Well, it's a good look on you."

Klaus smiled back. He retracted his decision to leave and struck up a conversation. "You don't look like the party type. What are you doing around here?"

"Is that supposed to be like a 'do you come here often' kinda thing?" The man raised an eyebrow at Klaus curiously.

"It can if you want it to be." Klaus winked back.

The man chuckled at him. "I was here with my friend, but he's nowhere to be found and I'm his ride home. You do look the partying type, so why are you here, holed up in the corner?"

"What's your name?" Klaus asked, avoiding the question.

"I'm Dave." So, the man did have a name.

"Klaus." Dave held his hand out for Klaus to shake, and he took it. Dave's hands were rough as if he worked with them a lot. "What do you do for work, Dave?"

"I actually just got home from the army. I was stationed in Vietnam for a bit. I'm a mechanic now, though. What about you?"

"I'm a writer at a magazine. It's very small, though. You probably wouldn't have heard about it. No one reads it." Klaus joked.

"What's it called? I'll keep an eye out for it."

Klaus was taken aback. No one ever took an interest in him when it didn't come to his powers or his sobriety, or lack thereof. "It's called the Daily Journal. I haven't had anything published yet. I've only been there two weeks."

"Well, what did you do before that?" 

Klaus's heart sank in his chest. Here was this beautiful man that Klaus was just now thinking he wanted to spend the rest of his life with (he was only half kidding) and now he was going to have to tell him his life story. It always drove everyone away. He hasn't been able to hold down a real relationship because of it. People were either only interested in him because of his Academy fame, or they didn't want to have to deal with his drug habits. He had turned over a new leaf, however, and maybe Dave was the kind of person who could see that. He thought about it for a moment. "Do you wanna go somewhere quieter?"

Dave nodded, and they headed out together. Klaus led him to Griddy's, his favorite diner in town. And, the only one that was still open this late at night. They sat down at a booth and ordered coffee.

"So, tell me about yourself." Klaus said sarcastically, resting his elbows on the table and his chin on top of his hands.

"Um, where to start? Nothing interesting really. I grew up in a small town in Missouri with my mom, dad, and two older sisters. We're Jewish. I worked as a mechanic in my dad's garage in the summer between school. Then I joined the army when I was eighteen, been in there ever since. But this was my last tour. I'm getting a little old to be crawling around in the dirt. My knees aren't what they used to be."

"Oh, come on. You can't be more than, what, twenty-five?" 

"Twenty-seven." 

"Wow, you're really gettin' up there. You look good for your age." Klaus giggled at his own joke, and to his satisfaction, so did Dave.

"What about you?"

"What?"

"Tell me about your life. It has to be more interesting than mine."

Oh, you don't know the half of it, Klaus thought to himself. "Okay, I'll level with you. Do you want the full fucked up version, or do you want the TV friendly version?"

"I don't really know what that means, but I'll listen to whichever." Dave answered honestly. Klaus really did think about telling Dave the whole truth. He desperately wanted to, but something deep down was telling him not to. Klaus chose to listen to it.

"Long story short, I had a big family, dad was abusive, I fell off the wagon, now I'm getting my life together. That's really all there is." Klaus looked away, turning to his half empty coffee mug, poking at it with his spoon. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Dave lean in closer across the table.

He spoke in a quiet, deep yet soothing voice. "I know you're trying to push me away, but I won't let you."

Klaus looked back up at him with doe eyes, staring deeply at Dave, then closing them while trying to figure out if he was being genuine. Klaus thought maybe he really was. Also, Dave's low voice was really doing something for him. Klaus took a cleansing breath, looking back up to meet Dave's blue eyes with his green ones. 

Klaus began his long story about being adopted by a billionaire, life at the Academy (leaving out the awful parts about his private training sessions), being the family disappointment, turning to drugs and alcohol, losing two of his siblings literally and then the rest of them metaphorically, his multiple visits to rehab, and finally to becoming sober for real. Dave sat in silence for a few moments, taking it all in. Klaus half expected him to run straight out the door and never look back. But Dave didn't and he didn't want to. He spoke up after a little while. "Do you mind talking about your drug use?"

"No, not really. If the right person asks, I'll tell them anything." Klaus winked. He was never good at seriousness.

"What did you use?"

"I've tried everything at least once. You name it: weed, coke, crack, heroin, meth, ecstasy, pills, alcohol, painkillers, bath salts once. That was probably the worst of them. But I usually go for the pills. Or, at least I did."

"Have you ever over dosed?"

"Oh, plenty of times. I've even died twice. The first time OD'ing, I was sixteen and had just gotten into the harder stuff. Then again at nineteen, twenty-one, twice at twenty-two, twenty-five, and six months ago." Klaus counted off the occasions on his fingers. "That's why I last went to rehab. I died the first OD and the last one."

To Klaus's surprise, Dave took his hand and held it between his own.

"I know we just met tonight," Dave said with a smile, "and I don't want this to feel like I'm giving you pity, but you've had a hard life. And, Klaus, you deserve so much better. You're a good person who deserves the world."

"I bet you say that to all the girls." Dave cocked his head and gave Klaus a look. "I know, I know. It's just... no one has ever said anything like that to me. Especially not some gorgeous, attractive man who I've just met and suddenly want to marry." 

"Why don't I take you out on a real date first, and we can think about that later?"

"I'd like that."

Chapter Text

Klaus and Dave had always been pretty close friends. They were roommates in college and decided to move in together after graduation since they lived in the same town back home. Klaus was an English major, who was now an aspiring writer, working on his first novel. The first one he was hoping to publish, anyway. He'd written plenty, but apparently none of it was good, so he'd try and try again until something got picked up. He did have a day job working at the library. He liked the quiet and he got a lot of time to read to spark ideas for his own writing. Dave was an engineering major who now worked for the city designing municipal buildings and things. He was hoping to eventually design the biggest and best skyscraper the city had ever seen. One day.

Dave was kind of the breadwinner of the house, but he didn't mind so much. He knew Klaus would hit it big one day where his best novel got picked up by the most popular publisher, would be a number one best seller, and then turned into a movie franchise. That's what he had dreamed for Klaus, though he wasn't sure if Klaus had ever dreamed that big for himself. Klaus also hoped for Dave that he would design some incredible building and be famous for it, but Dave was always a high achiever, aiming big. There wasn't much high to aim than that.

The two of them were invited to lunch with their other college friends, Scarlett and Mason. The four of them were the best of friends in college until the two of them started dating and things got a little awkward. They were that kind of couple to call each other the cheesiest pet names for no reason. Literally, anything they turned into a pet name. Klaus didn't know if they remembered each other's real names. But the two of them invited Dave and Klaus for lunch, and they hadn't all been together since graduation five years ago, so why not? They could deal with it for one afternoon.

They met their friends at a little cafe down the street, the two of them already sitting at a table outside. "Hey, glad you guys made it! We have some big news to tell you guys. Do you want to tell them, or should I, babe?" Scarlett started. She was always the talkative leader of the group.

"Honey, you should tell them."

"Okay, why don't we tell them together, sweetheart?"

"Will someone tell us what's up?" Dave interjected.

"We're getting married!" Scarlett stuck out her left hand to show off her--honestly over-sized--engagement ring. 

"Oh! Congratulations!" Klaus exclaimed. This was going to be a long lunch.

They were stuck there for an hour and a half, which doesn't seem like enough time to catch up with your best friends whom you haven't seen in years, but when you remember what they were actually like now that you think about it, that was too long. Klaus and Dave were both ready to leave before drinks arrived. Neither of them barely got a word in the whole time. It was "babe" this and "sweetums" that. Oh, it was sickeningly sweet, and Dave didn't have much of a sweet tooth. They eventually said their goodbyes and went their separate ways.

"Do we have to go to their wedding? How long do you think their vows will be?" Klaus asked, once they were out of earshot.

"We could send a gift and tell them we couldn't make it for some legit reason we can think of later." Dave reassured him.

"See? This is why you're the smart one." Klaus clapped Dave on the shoulder. They walked up the stairs to their apartment and Klaus fished around for his keys in his pocket. "Oh no, I left my keys at home, honey. Did you bring yours?" Klaus said in a mocking, over exaggerated tone.

"Of course, I do, sugar." Dave said as he unlocked the door and held it open for Klaus. "After you, my dear."

"Why, thank you, mi amor." Dave closed the door behind them and they both suddenly broke out laughing. "How do people go around, in public might I add, talking to each other like that? It's kind of disgusting." Klaus said, wiping away his tears of laughter.

"It's ridiculous, I know. It's kind of fun though, wouldn't you say, love?" 

"Are we really doing this?" Klaus asked.

"Why not? It's funny, and bonus, it'll confuse our families." Dave shrugged. Klaus nodded. His family did know he was gay, and they had a sneaking suspicion that there was something more going on with Dave than he lead them to believe. Maybe there was, Klaus wasn't quite sure yet.

"We should invite my brothers and sisters over for dinner tomorrow and really play it up. Oh, it'll be so much fun! What do you say, baby?" Klaus held his hand out to Dave.

"I'd love to darling." He took Klaus's hand and kissed it jokingly, but it made Klaus's heart flutter in a way he's never felt before. Uh oh. What did he just get himself into?

Later that day, Klaus was in his room working on the next chapter of his novel when Dave poked his head in the door. "Hey, doll, what do you want for dinner?"

Klaus turned around in his chair and thought for a moment, tapping his fingers on his chin. "How about... Chinese?"

"Sure, I'll go get it. You keep writing, my sweet." Dave went back to his room to call in the order.

"How do you keep coming up with so many names? I can't think of any more!" Klaus called from his room. Dave came back in, "Google helps."

-------

The next morning, Dave woke up to the smell of pancakes coming from their small kitchen. He pulled himself out of bed and traipsed out of his bedroom, sitting down at the dining room table. Well, it wasn't much of a dining room. More like a card table shoved to the side of the kitchen. "You're up early."

"Never went to sleep. Too much writing to do. My publisher wants the next three chapters due by Monday. I have half of a chapter left to write, but then I have to proofread and edit it all, and that's what takes the longest." Klaus explained.

"Could I read something?"

"I'll let you read it when it's finished before I send the whole thing off." He promised. Klaus didn't like having someone read his work while he was in the middle of it. He felt like they would hate or judge it too much and that make him rethink everything and want to start over, but he couldn't afford to do that. 

"What's it about, at least?" 

"That is confidential at the moment, lover boy." Klaus flipped over the last of the pancakes, plating up a few for Dave and for himself. The butter and syrup were already on the table, and he brought over orange juice as well. 

"If the whole writer thing doesn't work out, you'd make a lovely housewife." Dave commented, shoving his face full of breakfast. Klaus smiled sarcastically. 

"Somebody would have to wife me first." He said under his breath. Then he changed the subject, "I was thinking we should go over around five to start cooking. I told everyone to meet at the house. They all wouldn't fit here."

"Makes sense. We should really ham it up. You know, maybe add to their suspicions that we are together." Klaus raised an eyebrow. "Oh, come on, I know they think we've been dating since we decided to get a place together after graduation. It's not weird, friends do it all the time." There it was: the dreaded friend zone.

"Yeah, it would be really entertaining to see Luther's eyes pop out of his head. Okay, but you need to help me come up with more nicknames. It's boring if we use the same four over and over again."

"I've been using more than a few. I found a handful of interesting ones already, boo." Klaus shook his head. "Don't like that one?"

"I don't know, it's a little creepy, dontcha think?"

"I guess, yeah." They finished breakfast in silence, mostly because Dave was trying to think of more cute nicknames, and Klaus was trying not to fall asleep in his pancakes. "I gotta go get ready for work. Why don't you go get some sleep?"

"Will you tuck me in and give me a kiss goodnight?" Klaus asked jokingly.

"I think I should take you to dinner first." 

"A girl can dream." And then he went to bed.

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When Dave got home from work at three-thirty, Klaus had been awake for about two hours and was busy in his room finishing the rough draft of the last chapter he needed to finish. Dave decided to leave him alone so he could focus. He knew how important Klaus's work was to him. He spent almost every waking hour either writing, editing, or brainstorming new ideas. You had to give him credit. The man was dedicated to his craft. Dave had gotten a hold of some of his other manuscripts, the ones that hadn't been bought or published anywhere, and boy were they missing out. Klaus was an excellent writer. His descriptions of characters and scenes were so detailed that you felt like you were there, all bodily senses included. His sentence structure was engaging and not too long, and not too short. He was trying to get into writing murder mysteries with surprising twists, but actually good ones. Dave didn't know why no one wanted Klaus's work. If he had his own publishing company, he'd take Klaus's work in a heartbeat.

Klaus was commissioned a few articles for the local newspaper, some columns in a home and gardening magazine, a few short stories here and there, but no novels yet. That was what he was passionate about. None of the publishers in the city had long enough attention spans to get through something the length of a novel, and they didn't have the intelligence to keep up with the twists and turns of the murder mystery genre. At least, that's what Dave told him, anyway.

Klaus emerged from his bedroom. "I didn't hear you come in." Dave was sat on the couch watching sports on TV. "I was just looking at the clock thinking it was getting time to leave soon."

"Did you finish your chapter?"

"I did!" Klaus beamed, putting his hands on his hips in superhero stance.

"That's my girl!" He went over and hugged Klaus. "You look nice, today." He glanced down at Klaus's ensemble.

Klaus was wearing a blue and pink floral, short-sleeve, button-down shirt with quite a few of the top buttons undone. The bottoms of the sleeves were rolled up just once. On the bottom, he was wearing some incredibly tight silvery pants that he had his shirt French tucked into. He wore black ankle boots with a slight heel on his feet, and to top it all off, some dangly silver necklaces to accent his pant choice. His long, curly hair was pulled back into a short, little ponytail. He wore his usual black, smokey eyeliner and mascara, adding a little bit of highlighter just on his cheeks and the tip of his nose as a final touch.

"Why, thank you. Are you going to take me to dinner now, sir?" 

"I'd be honored." Dave held out his elbow, Klaus lacing his arm through. "In all seriousness, though, how do I look? I haven't seen your family in a while."

"Well, I always think you should wear something a little more exciting, but that's not really your style. I think you look just fine for you."

"What's that supposed to mean?" Dave put his hand over his heart, acting hurt. 

"I'm kidding! I'm kidding! You look great as always! Come on hun, I don't want to be late." Klaus pulled his arm out of Dave's hold to leave their apartment. Dave kinda of missed the contact.

When they arrived at the mansion, Grace greeted them at the door with her usual bright smile and a hug for each of them. "How are you both? I haven't seen you two in such a long time?"

"We're doing great, mom. How about you?"

"I'm wonderful, honey. Do you boys need some help in the kitchen? The others will be arriving in an hour."

"I think we can handle it, Mrs. Hargreeves." Dave interjected.

"Just holler if you need me. I'll be in the other room finishing my cross stitch." She left them alone in the kitchen to fend for themselves.

"So, what are we making, pumpkin?" Dave asked. Now it was just rolling off the tongue. He didn't have to think about it so much anymore. And Klaus hadn't noticed how natural it started to feel being called these things.

"We're making baked chicken and putting it over salad." Klaus went to the fridge and pulled out the chicken breasts, along with some herbs and spices from the pantry. He sliced the chicken in half so it would cook faster and seasoned both sides before putting it in the oven. They had a little time to kill before they needed to start cutting up the veggies for salad, so Dave poured them both a glass of wine. 

"How was work, sweetie?" Klaus asked.

"Oh, nothing much. Boring as usual. They're putting in a new stop sign on the corner of 5th and Main Street."

"How exciting!" Klaus pretended. Dave gave him a look.

"And my boss was looking for someone to design the new music hall they're renovating. I gave her a few of my ideas and she said she'd take a look at them."

"Are they redoing Vanya's music hall?"

"Yeah, they want to make it a little bigger. Her orchestra is bringing in a lot of people. Good for her. But other than that, just the usual." Dave took a sip of his wine as if he hadn't just dropped some pretty big news.

"Do you think she'll pick your design?

"I don't know. There's a lot of more experienced engineers working there. Who knows if she'll actually look at it?"

"If she has any sense, then I know she will, and she'll pick you. I would." Klaus looked into Dave's eyes, and Dave stared back with nothing to say. Suddenly, the front door opened. Dave coughed awkwardly, setting down his glass and checking on the chicken. It still had a ways to go. "You guys are early..."

"What? We can't arrive early to our own home?" Diego asked defensively.

"Uh, no... I was just-"

"I'm only messing with you man." They took off their coats, except Luther, and sat down in the living room. Klaus went to go get Dave and reintroduce him since they haven't met him in a long time. 

"You all remember my main squeeze, Dave." Klaus put his arm around Dave, jokingly to them, but still making it look like they were together. It was easier when you hoped you were actually with the person. Everyone said their hellos and began small talk. Dave checked his watch. He had planned to start chopping up the salad about ten minutes from when everyone arrived. Now that the conversation was starting to die down a little, it was socially acceptable to get away and go back to the kitchen.

"Hey, Klaus..."

"Yes, muffin?"

"Would you, uh, would you help me finish up dinner?" Dave said, trying so hard not to laugh at the cutsie nickname Klaus just called him. It threw him a little off his rhythm, but Klaus was unfazed, until he saw the urgency in Dave's eyes that looked like he was about to lose it.

"Of course. We'll be back in a little bit." Dave left the room, Klaus trailing close behind him, the both of them trying to hold it together until they were far enough away that they could let it go.

"Well, that was weird." Allison said.

Back in the kitchen, Dave and Klaus were chopping up the vegetables and throwing them into a big bowl to toss them all together. The oven timer went off and Klaus took the chicken out of the oven before he burnt it. "How stuff coming through, and I'm not talking about the chicken. Ha!"

Dave grabbed the hand towel from the countertop and hit Klaus's ass with it. Klaus stopped dead in his tracks and feigned seriousness. "This was not in the agreement, David." Dave raised an eyebrow as if to say, oh really?  "You can look, but you can't touch." He winked. Dave only giggled and shook his head, getting back to his carrots. He did notice that Klaus finished his glass of wine. Maybe it was starting to kick in.

Grace had already set the table for them. That woman was a saint. Klaus cut up the chicken into bite size pieces and tossed it into the salad, mixing it all up and plating it for everyone. All six siblings were accounted for. Klaus was surprised that Five agreed to come. He and Dave went back to the living room to tell everyone it was all ready. "Dinner is served, my lovelies." Klaus said dramatically. They all shook their heads at him and sat down to eat.

"This is really good, guys." Vanya spoke up. 

"I heard Dave's company was renovating your music hall to make it bigger because your orchestra is bringing in so much business lately, Van." 

"Well... I don't really know if that's the reason. But yeah, they are going to be doing some work on it."

"Oh, Vanya, always the modest one." She smiled at him.

"How's your writing going?" Allison asked.

"Oh, good, you know. I have a few more chapters to write before it's finished and then I'll send it to my publisher, and hopefully they pick it up this time."

"Of course, they'll pick it up, darling." Dave said.

"Aw thanks, angel. But anyway, how's Claire?" Allison was a little stuck on the casual pet names and took a second to compose herself to answer.

"She's doing great. She'll being starting second grade next month, and she goes to ballet classes every Wednesday evening. There's a recital coming up soon if you guys are interested."

"We'd love to come." Luther said, then cleared his throat awkwardly when he realized he may have answered a little too fast. "Uh, Five, how's school going for you?"

"You know, still at the top of my class, teaching the professors every time they get something wrong. It's really fun." He smiled evilly. 

"How long till you get your degree?" Vanya asked.

"The end of this coming year. Then it's onto my master's in quantum mechanics."

"Look at him, our little genius." Klaus awed. "I think you'll be the youngest doctor ever."

"Yes, I will be. But not a medical doctor. You do know that, right?"

"Of course, I know that. Moving on."

They carried on the small talk, making Klaus's siblings more and more uncomfortable with their pet names that just keep getting weirder and really pushing the boundaries between pet name and nonsense words. By this point, Klaus has had two and a half glasses of wine, so he's getting pretty creative. "Dave, my honey bunches of oats, is there any more wine in the kitchen?"

"Um, I think you've had enough, lovie." Dave laughed. Klaus was exactly hammered, but it was funny to see just how far these names were going. 

Ben, who had been quiet pretty much all evening, finally had something to say. "Klaus, what's your book about?" Ben loved to read and he worked at the library with Klaus, but Klaus would never tell him about his writing. Maybe now that he was somewhat intoxicated, he would spill the beans.

"Alright, alright, I'll tell you. It's about this guy who's in love with his roommate and can't tell him because he's not sure if he loves him back. And they start getting closer and closer and it's just eating away at him inside until he... well, I haven't thought of an ending yet." Ben shot a glance at Dave, who looked right back at him with the same intense look. "Oh, shit." Klaus said, just now realizing what he'd done. He buried his face in his hands. The room was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. 

"I'm gonna go look for more alcohol." Klaus stood up to leave, Dave eventually deciding to follow him. 

"Klaus, what are you saying?"

Klaus had his head buried in Dad's old liquor cabinet. "Do we have any, like, vodka or something?" He mumbled to himself, ignoring Dave's presence. 

"Klaus," Dave grabbed his arm and pulled him to his feet, "please talk to me. Is there something going on? Do you love me?"

"Uh, no no, I don't know where that story came from. It just kinda came to me." He waved his hand around, gesturing vaguely. Dave didn't say anything, waiting for him to tell the truth. "Okay, fine. I'm in love with you, Dave. I have been for months now. And the only way I knew how to cope with it, because I didn't want to tell you, was by writing about it. They say to write what you know, right?" 

"Why didn't you want to tell me?"

"Because why would you love me back? We're just friends, Dave. That's all we'll ever be."

"But you haven't asked me."

"Asked you what?"

"If I love you back."

"Do you love me?"

"Yes." Dave placed his hand on Klaus's cheek, guiding his face forwards to kiss him. Klaus melted into Dave's touch, wrapping his arms around Dave's strong body, not wanting to ever let go. When they pulled away, Dave rested his forehead on Klaus's. "I've loved you all this time too. I just thought you were being flirty because that's just how you are."

"What? I wasn't flirting." 

"Klaus, you'd flirt with a rock. In fact, I've seen you do it." They both chuckled. "You know, I started this whole pet name thing just for fun to mock our friends, but it made me realize that I wanna call you those things for real. They always make you smile. Seeing you smile makes my day."

"So, wait, you guys weren't together before?" They heard Diego ask. They pulled apart from each other to see the whole family silently standing in the doorway watching them.

"What- how long have you been standing there?" Klaus asked.

"The whole time." Five answered.

"Jesus Christ." Klaus laughed. He walked closer to them, dragging Dave by the hand behind him. "And no, we weren't together before. I don't know how long you've been thinking that-"

"About five years. We've been debating." Allison butt in. Klaus was speechless, but not totally shocked. He and Dave were always very close. Probably closer than most male friends. 

"-anyway, long story short, we started calling each other these pet names as a joke and we did it just to make it look like we were together. But I guess it helped some other issues come to light." He looked down at Dave's hand still held in his.

"I think we're going to call it a night, then." Dave said, Klaus pulling him out the door, stolen bottle of found vodka in hand. 

"Let's go, Davie."

"Coming, sunshine."

Ben followed them, ready to close the door behind them when Klaus stopped at stage whispered to him, "I think we're gonna fuck." Shy, quiet Ben looked horrified and embarrassed to have heard those words come out of his brother's mouth.

"He's... drunk." And with that they left.