If Klaus Hargreeves had learnt one lesson from rehab so far, he’s not sure it’s quite the progressive bullshit the staff had wanted from him.
This lesson is: Sobriety is so overrated.
It had been two weeks since he had been admitted to rehab – again, and whilst the physical withdrawal was starting to fade, Klaus had always needed to feed his psychological addiction more than his physical one, and that wasn’t going away any time soon.
He rolled over for the fifth time in ten minutes, the cheap thin sheets bundled and messed below him. Groaning much akin to the ghosts he was haunted by, Klaus kneaded at the growing headache thrumming behind his eyes, to no avail. The cause of this headache was currently slumped across a bed, mindlessly chattering, shoe-clad feet haphazardly propped up upon the mattress, with a dozen knife wounds embedded in her chest. The lady was obnoxious, loud, and currently bemoaning her deathly state from where she had stationed herself upon a vacant bunk. First she droned on that her method of murder apparently 'Lacked finesse,' then moved on to her ‘Cheating, no good, murderous husband,’ and finally, as though she hadn't gone on enough, began complaining that her husband wasn't going to clean the stove properly on his own. Klaus, admittedly, had begun to develop a guilty kinship with the husband, before realising she wouldn't be bothering him now without his decided lack of temper control.
As the woman then begin moaning about how her husband couldn't even tie his own shoelaces, Klaus felt his temperate mood, stemmed from continuous headaches and forced sobriety, dour ever further. Not to mention the continued and forever unresolved argument between Klaus and Ben around Klaus' addiction, that had been again rekindled that very morning. A recurring and exhausting theme in their recent lives, and ultimately, deeply upsetting for both of them. Klaus had been snappy, Ben had gone on a recurring spiel about Klaus throwing his life away, Klaus fired back some sharp comments disguised as humour, and on it escalated, until he told Ben to fuck right off.
Somehow, it had still surprised him when he turned around and realised Ben was alone.
After ten more agonising minutes of continuous complaints, Klaus finally looked over and raised his eyebrow at the woman’s beaten in face and droning voice. She startled as he looked at her, and perhaps, Klaus then reflected, she had just been ranting to the room at large and hadn’t quite realised that Klaus could actually listen. Or perhaps she was startled that after what seemed like days of her prattling nonsense, this was the moment he finally caved. Klaus didn’t care much either way. She was finally blissfully silent for a few seconds before –
“You can see me?” She slid off the bed with the sickening sound of sloshing liquid, then took a hesitant step forwards, regarding him with a glistening hope which left Klaus’ heart decidedly untouched. He merely raised his eyebrow higher, and with a flamboyant groan flopped back down onto the bed, curling into himself and cursing the fact that he wasn’t allowed anymore pain-meds. “Wait, please, I need your help!” She cried in a crazed frenzy of motion, dragging her limbs to shuffle right next to Klaus' bunk.
“Sorry, I would, but,” Here he rolls over and immediately regrets it when he’s looking straight into her swollen eyes, “I really don’t want to.”
“But – but you,” she looked close to tears, her voice raw and desperate. Klaus liked to consider himself a reasonably kind and empathetic person, but there is a time and a place for being sympathetic, and in Klaus' humble opinion, he nor had the time, neither was he in the right place to deal with this bullshit.
Whilst, upon later reflection, not exactly proud of his next words, Klaus would never say that he did not feel at least slightly justified in them. “Look," he finally spat out at her, earning a startled gasp from the insufferable woman. "I get it, you’ve been murdered and all – boo freaking hoo. We all have problems, yeah? We all have issues. You might be dead but I’m the one who has to listen to you moan about it!" He stopped a moment to attempt to glare at her, though all he really managed was a wince, "What the hell am I even meant to do while inside rehab?” He sits up and throws his arms in the air, then cries out at the thrumming in his head, a sudden, intense feeling of nausea swelling deep within his stomach. The woman comes closer and pleadingly reaches out a hand, “Ah, ah, ah, no, thanks, but no. Nice try, but you can’t touch," he waved his hand at her, hoping to warn her off. "And I mean that literally. You literally cannot touch me, but I also wouldn’t want you to.” She continues to reach forward, “Look, lady, I appreciate your resilience but I have an evening full of silent self-loathing and a god-awful headache to get back... to.”
Klaus stared in an odd mix of shock and horror at the decidedly corporeal weight of the hand resting upon his arm. An incomprehensible feeling of cold shot through the limb and nestled itself into his bones. The texture of skin and the weight of a hand, inconceivable with her dead, pale, ghostly flesh.
He suddenly couldn’t breathe. He continued staring at her, as she looked back, both equally shocked. Then...
Well, then he started screaming.
By the time Ben came back, Klaus was huddled on his bed, crying and alone. No more were his thoughts spent on his headache. He could hear the approaching footsteps of the staff. He could hear Ben calling his name, concerned, but he was shaking too much to respond, his throat too raw. As his door was thrown open and warm, living, naturally corporeal people filtered in, Ben tried to come closer to his brother. He startled back as he Klaus suddenly jolted in response to his presence, and looked on with a horror filled rejection as Klaus’ screams grew ever louder.
When Klaus emerged from rehab, following the longest sixteen days of his life, he had never been more terrified of his curse. He managed to overdose in less than twenty-four hours.
This time, it wasn’t an accident.
He hadn’t expected to come back.
But he did.