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They’re at Griddy’s Doughnuts, which has become something of a headquarters since the whole apocalypse/no-pocalypse event/non-event, since it’s still standing in this timeline and it doesn’t have creepy taxidermized animal heads all over the walls.

All of them are there, even Vanya – yes, it’s still awkward – and Five, who’s taking an unwilling break from shorting the stock market or whatever it is he does. Even Allison’s there, though the flight from LAX has got to be hell on a weekly basis, but it’s more important to her than anyone to have these regular dates, all six of them.

Though, to be honest, she looks like she’s thinking better of it right now. “Jesus, I despair of you,” she says into her coffee cup, rolling her eyes so hard Diego can hear Mom’s voice in his head telling her they’re going to stick that way. She pins Klaus with an extra-strength glare for good measure.

“How is this my fault?” Klaus says, waving at Diego. “I can’t control him.”

“You always do this,” Allison says. “You know he can’t resist a dare, and then it’s always the same dumb pissing contest –”

Diego would defend himself if he didn’t have an entire donut in his mouth. He tries anyway.

“Oh, shut up,” Allison says. “Why can’t you just ignore him like the rest of us do?”

Diego opens his mouth and spits the wad of donut into his hand, to her visible disgust. “You got too serious out there in Cali, doll.”

“Please tell me you’re not going to put that back in your mouth,” Vanya says.

“I wasn’t, but now I gotta,” Diego says, moving it back to his mouth.

Luther grabs his wrist. “Do not,” he says.

Diego pointedly switches the donut-wad into his other hand and stuffs it into his mouth before Luther can stop him.

“Jesus, do you even have a gag reflex?” Klaus says, then glances to the side the way he always does when he’s talking to Ben. He laughs, looking back at Diego with something slanted in his eyes, the way he gets sometimes, the way Diego can’t quite ignore as much as he wants to.

Diego wishes he weren’t as curious about what Ben just said as he is.

He swallows the lump down. “I’m not going to answer that,” he says. “Horny fuck like you would take it the wrong way no matter how I meant it.”

“Inquiring minds, Diego!” Klaus says, eyes huge.

“Mind,” Five says. “Inquiring mind.”

“Mind is a strong term for whatever’s going on in there,” Luther says darkly into his coffee.

“Hamster running on a wheel desperately trying to keep that puny light bulb lit,” Diego says.

“Wow. Rude,” says Klaus. “Hurtful. Untrue!”

“Must it always devolve into this? You are children,” Allison says. “Children.”

“Hey,” says Vanya.

Allison smiles at her. “Not you, Vanya. But these boys? It’s like they’re still 12, goading each other with stupid dares and mind-games and bets. I guess there’s no outgrowing some things.”

“I am much more grown-up than when we were 12,” Klaus says, and Diego knows where he’s going with this. “I have pubes now! My balls are fully dropped!”

Yep.

“The dick jokes,” Allison says. “Always with the dick jokes.”

“Wasn’t that a contest once also?” Vanya says.

“What? Oh my god,” Allison says, eyes going wide. “I’d completely forgotten about that.”

“The Contest,” Klaus whispers in a tone of awe. The tone of his voice makes it clear he means it with a capital C – Klaus has always been good at that.

“Who even won that?” Allison says. “Did any of you last longer than two days?”

Diego coughs.

“You’re asking five 13-year-old boys not to – it can’t be done,” Luther says.

“Excuse me, I could do it,” Five says. “I could certainly outlast all of you.”

They all look at each other.

“Oh, no,” says Allison.

 

They write the rules on a napkin. It’s all very serious, because Five is involved. “One,” Five reads off, “all orgasms count, whether administered by yourself or someone else.”

“It is still so weird to hear the weird orgasm come out of your adorable mouth,” Klaus says, wrinkling his entire face.

“How many times do I have to tell you –” Five bites out.

“You can pull the old man shtick, but your body’s 13,” Diego says. “You’re gonna break so fast, kiddo. It’s gonna be too sad to even mock you.”

“I can’t wait to win this,” Five says sourly. “Two, honor code rules. Don’t be a dick.”

“He’s talking to you, Klaus,” Luther says.

“I would not lie about something like this,” Klaus says, very seriously.

Allison snorts, but for some reason, Diego totally believes him.

“Three, when you break the rules, you put in $100. Last man standing gets the pot.”

“Man?” says Allison tartly.

They all look up at her. “Do you… want to join? I thought you said it was stupid,” says Klaus.

“It is stupid, but that just makes it all the more satisfying when I wipe the floor with you,” says Allison. “Try me.”

“Wait, wait, hang on,” Luther says. “Does it even, uh, work that way for girls?”

Diego is so glad Luther is here to ask the dumb, borderline offensive questions so he doesn’t have to.

“Do we orgasm? Is that what you’re asking?” Allison says pleasantly.

“Um, no,” Luther says. “That’s definitely. Not what I’m asking.”

“It sounds like what he’s asking,” Vanya says.

“You don’t get spontaneous erections,” Klaus says.

“You don’t know what it’s like,” Diego says, because he can’t keep his stupid mouth shut, apparently.

“You idiots have no idea, do you?” Allison says, marveling. “I promise you. This ain’t gonna be easy. I could go into more detail if you want, but…”

“Not necessary,” says Five. “Let’s just accept her at face value and move on. Vanya?”

Vanya jerks her head up, startled.

“Are you in?” Five asks.

They are all trying to include Vanya more. Vanya is trying to be included more. This is not, Diego thinks, exactly what she had in mind.

“Um, I guess?” she says. “But I don’t think it’s fair to you, I don’t really…”

“Excellent,” Klaus says, breezing over the awkwardness of thinking about their sister’s masturbation habits magnificently, “a challenge.”

Vanya smiles awkwardly.

“I hope you realize what you’re all getting into,” Allison says.

“I hope you realize what we’re all getting into,” says Diego, “Ms. You Idiots Have No Idea.”

“Right,” Allison says. “We.”

“To stupid ideas,” Luther says, toasting the rest of them with a donut.

“May we never be so boring as to outgrow them,” says Klaus solemnly.

 

It sucks.

Diego had not thought about how much it was going to suck, but it sucks. He’s used to jerking off in the shower when he’s winding down after a long day, rubbing one out when he wakes up in the morning with a stiffy under the sheets, using it as a stress-reliever or a distraction or just good old-fashioned pleasure.

He hadn’t realized how often he does it until the option is taken from him, and then it’s brutally apparent that he’s little better than the 13-year-old boy he’d been, on edge and horny, prone to lapsing into explicit fantasies at little to no provocation.

But he’s not that 13-year-old boy, and this time he’s making it longer than four fucking days, if only to wipe that smirk off Allison’s face.

It’s just, uh, going to be tougher than he thought.

 

“So?” Allison says, on the first donut date after the establishment of the Contest, Pt 2. “How’s it going?”

“Just peachy,” Five says, a little wild around the eyes as he drinks his coffee. “Everything is A-okay.”

“I haven’t really noticed,” Vanya says.

“I hate you,” says Diego.

Luther makes a hissing noise at him, but Vanya just smiles.

“He’s cute when he’s horny, isn’t he?” Klaus says, throwing an arm around Diego’s shoulders.

Even that’s too much contact, and Diego’s cock notices before he forces himself to throw off Klaus’s arm. “File that under things that didn’t need to be said,” he says.

“Seconded,” says Luther.

“I guess I don’t have to worry about honor code violations, you all make it really easy to tell,” Allison says. "Except you – you seem to be having an easier time of it than I expected,” she adds to Klaus.

Klaus shrugs. “That’d be the weed,” he says.

Diego’s smoked weed before, right after he was kicked out of the police academy when it seemed like there was no point in pretending his life was on any kind of upward progression anymore. He did it with his rebound girlfriend after Eudora. He remembers long, sweaty bouts of high-sex, where it felt like his whole body was enveloped in the tight, hot clutch of her. He does not think weed is going to help this.

Five looks up. “Can I have some?”

Klaus opens his mouth.

“You are not giving him weed,” Allison says sternly.

“I assure you, Allison, I can get my own weed,” Five says in that condescending tone, the one he uses 90% of the time. “I just thought I should ask.”

“Sure,” says Klaus. “We can all smoke together!”

Luther growls.

“Or not,” says Klaus. Or yes, he mouths obviously right after.

“I’d smoke with you,” Vanya says.

“Excellent!” Klaus says, clapping his hands. “A party!”

“Maybe after this whole thing is done?” Diego says, waving around at the table. There’s only so much familial debauchery he can handle at one time.

“It’s a date,” Klaus agrees solemnly.

Allison puts her head in her hands and groans.

 

Luther calls him a few days later. “Has Klaus visited you yet?”

Diego furrows his brow and looks around, like Klaus might be there and he just hasn’t noticed yet. “No?”

“Little jerk is cheating,” Luther says. “Showed up at the Academy with all these porn mags, trying to bait me into conversation about my first – you know.”

Luther’s such a prude. Diego knows the gorilla look isn’t a great conversation starter with girls – but he was 23 when it happened, and the kid had abs. “Is it working?”

“I’m warning you out of the goodness of my heart,” Luther says sourly. “Don’t be a dick.”

Diego chuckles. “I think I’ll be able to resist whatever trashy skin mags he scrounges up, but thanks for the notice. I’ll keep an eye out for his wiles.”

“Yeah, you think so,” Luther says, and hangs up.

 

Klaus doesn’t show, which is something of a relief. Of all their siblings, Klaus has always been the best at getting under Diego’s skin – on the surface, it might seem to be Luther, but it’s the difference between a feather on a ticklish spot and a full-body rash.

Surprisingly, none of his siblings bother him for some time. He didn’t expect shit from Vanya, but he wouldn’t put anything past Five, and even Allison’s a crafty fox.

It doesn’t make it easier. Diego sees a hot girl with wild hair and a leather mini skirt on the street and it’s all he can think about for hours. He watches a guy with a goddamn eight-pack lift weights in the gym and makes himself run a sub-6 mile just to distract his body. The burning in his lungs after is awful, but it’s better than the burning in his groin.

Eudora, bless her observant little soul, can’t make sense of it.

“I’ve never seen you this high-strung before,” she says. “Is everything alright with your family?”

“S’fine,” Diego says, handcuffed in the back of her squad car, which is a whole different form of torture for his libido. “I mean, they’re dicks, but it’s fine.”

She chuckles. “You’re not alone in that.”

“Yeah, how is your brother?”

“Still positive that he’s the only person who actually understands what e.e. cummings was trying to say,” Eudora says, fondly exasperated.

“What a twat,” Diego says.

“Hey,” Eudora says, voice harsher. “We’ve been over this. There’s some things I can say about my family that you can’t say.”

Diego knows he’s wrong, but he’s always been bad at admitting it. Call it his kryptonite. “You can call my Dad a twat, I don’t mind.”

“That’s different,” she says.

“Luther, then?”

Eudora meets his eyes in the rearview mirror. “Would you really be okay with me calling Luther a twat?”

Instinctively, Diego tenses, jaw clenching.

“You see?” she says.

“I get it,” he says. “…Sorry.”

“Forgiven,” she says. “Only because I can tell you’re going through a tough time. You’d tell me if you needed my help with anything, right?”

Diego can’t quite force back the memories of her beautiful lithe body, the way her eyes had glinted when she’d looked up at him with her hair strewn over the pillows of her big bed, the way she had twisted his hair when he went down on her, how she’d –

“No,” he manages, instead of saying, Your hand, your mouth, anything, everything, the way his dick wants him to. “Nothing you can do.”

“Hm,” she says, clearly skeptical, but she just says, “Your call.”

If only she knew.

 

“Hey,” Diego says, while he watches Klaus inhale a burger across the bar table. They do this sometimes, when Klaus is broke enough to ask, but it’s also an excuse to see each other. “What does Ben think of…?”

Klaus swallows with some effort. “The Contest, Part Deux?”

“Yeah. Or just. Any of it,” Diego says, hunching forward on his elbows a little. He kind of wishes he hadn’t asked. There’s no good answer, is there?

Klaus looks to the side, gaze unfocusing. After a moment, he smiles. “He says it’s a good thing he can’t join because he’d beat us all by a country mile.”

“He probably would,” Diego agrees. Ben was always good at games of self-control, for obvious reasons.

Klaus snorts. “Except he says right now if he had a chance, he’d jerk off so much he’d give his dick blisters.”

Ben said that?” Diego says, astonished. He narrows his eyes. “Is this more of your bullshit?”

“Hand to god,” Klaus says, raising a hand. “Being dead changes a guy, you know.”

“God,” Diego says, putting his head on the table. “I can’t tell if that’s depressing or hilarious.”

“Now you see why I am the way I am,” Klaus says, dragging a fry through ketchup and eating it with a pointed look at Diego.

“Yeah, yeah, fair point,” Diego says. “Who does he think is gonna win?”

“Vanya,” says Klaus promptly.

“Sounds about right,” Diego says. “Tough to break that little walnut.”

Klaus smirks. “You’d think,” he says.

Diego doesn’t really want to know. He picks up his head. “How you holding out?”

“I’m managing,” Klaus says. “It sucks, though.”

“So much,” Diego says, reaching out to steal a fry. Klaus grabs his wrist before he can pull back though, leaning in and eating the fry right from his fingers, teeth scraping over the sensitive pads, making intent eye contact all the while.

Diego is suddenly aware he can feel his pulse in his dick.

“You are,” he says, “such a little shit.”

Klaus smiles.

 

It’s a torturous few weeks, and he knows he’s days from calling it quits when he walks into Griddy’s and Luther and Allison are already there, looking sheepish and holding hands under the table.

“You guys…?” Diego slides into the booth across from them.

“Um, yeah,” Allison says with a shy smile. “I hope that’s not too weird.”

“Nah, man, good for you,” Diego says, because their family is less of a family than some fucked up military boot-camp for children, and he understands taking companionship where you can get it. “All for it.”

“Thanks,” Luther mumbles.

Diego leans in a little. “So that means…?” He waggles his eyebrows.

“Yeah, we’ll hand it over to Five when he gets here,” Luther says. “You don’t have to rub it in.”

“Oh, yeah, you think you’re getting off without mockery, sure,” Diego says genially. “How likely you think that is, out of curiosity?”

“You don’t have to be a dick, you know,” Allison says. “That is a choice you are actively making.”

“And gleefully,” Diego says, grinning wolfishly.

Allison kicks him under the table.

“This looks cozy,” Klaus says, sliding into the seat next to Diego. “Oh ho!” He rubs his hands together. “That’s two out at once! My work just got… 40% easier.”

“That’s all you have to say?” Luther says.

“We all know I support you and love you and cherish you and want you to have adorable little biracial bi-species-ial babies together, so I figured I’d leave it unspoken,” Klaus says, rolling his eyes. “But since you asked, congratulations. Would you like a fruit platter? An Edible Arrangement, perhaps?”

“God, you are so annoying,” Luther says.

Allison tilts her face up and whispers something in his ear, and his face brightens. He murmurs something back into her hair and she laughs.

Diego and Klaus look at each other. “Well, that’s going to get irritating,” Diego says.

“No kidding,” says Klaus. “Ah, Vanya! There’s the sibling Allison actually wants to see.”

Vanya takes a seat. “Um, why? Oh. Oh!” She smiles. “Congratulations! I’m really happy for you guys.”

“Thank you,” Luther says with a meaningful look at Klaus and Diego.

“Ben says congrats too,” says Klaus. “For what it’s worth.”

“Thank you, Ben,” says Allison softly.

Five walks in and looks utterly unsurprised as he holds out his hand without missing a beat. “Two hundred, straight up,” he says.

They dig out their wallets.

“They want congratulations,” Klaus says. “Make it sincere.”

“I sincerely congratulate you for not being able to keep it in your pants,” Five deadpans. “Mazel tov.”

At the very least, Diego thinks, he is not the most annoying sibling.

 

Klaus finally shows up at his apartment days after Allison and Luther caved. Diego was expecting it earlier, given Luther’s warning.

He opens the door warily, looking Klaus over. No way could he hide porn in those skinny pants of his, so he must have a different plan in mind.

“What?” Klaus says.

“Just waiting for the inevitable,” Diego says, letting him come inside.

Klaus grins. “Luther called you? No, I have different strategies for each of you.”

“What’s your strategy for me, then?”

“Wouldn’t be much of a strategy if I told you,” Klaus says breezily, swanning past him and flopping down on his bed. “No, I need input from my resident shoulder angel.”

“I’m hardly an angel,” Diego says.

Klaus kicks his feet up on the wall and looks at Diego upside-down. “You say that, have you looked at your face? Angelic. Those lips were crafted by God himself.”

Diego, horrifically, finds himself blushing. “So what’s the question?” he says loudly.

“Oh, right, that,” Klaus says. “Do you think it’d be unethical to – okay, I know this guy, right? Social worker from rehab, very nice, very cute, very –”

“Clean?”

“Very clean,” Klaus agrees. “I’ve been thinking about setting him up with Vanya ever since, like, that whole business ended. The Leonard Peabody affair,” he adds, like Diego needed the clue.

“Yeah,” Diego says.

“But would it be unethical to do it right now?” Klaus says. “Given the, um, multi-faceted motivations.”

“Probably,” Diego says. “It’s also kind of bullshit to mess in someone else’s love life anyway. Let them make their own choices.”

Klaus goes a little shifty-eyed at that. Diego knows that look. That look means either there is a condom full of heroin inside my anus as we speak or I did something bad.

“What did you do?” Diego growls.

“You think so little of me!” Klaus says. “What makes you think –”

Klaus.”

“Is it a crime to want my siblings to be happy?” Klaus says.

About to respond, Diego pauses. “Siblings, plural?”

Klaus’s eyes amp up the shift factor.

“Klaus, you didn’t,” Diego says, realizing in a rush. He should have known. Allison and Luther have played the will-they, won’t-they game for years, and now they decide to bone? In retrospect, fucking duh.

“It was from the goodness of my heart!” Klaus says, and he’s laughing even as he defends himself. “Who wants to watch two idiots in love pine forever? I ask you, Diego. I ask you.”

Diego smacks the back of his head. “Cut the shit, you just want 600 bucks for your weed fund.”

“Technically I want 500 bucks for my weed fund, since the 100 I front don’t count,” Klaus says. “But also, the goodness of my heart.”

Diego rolls his eyes.

“Don’t you think they’re happier now?” Klaus asks, expression open and guileless. “Isn’t that worth something?”

Diego does, in fact, think Allison and Luther are happier now.

He also thinks he’s not getting involved in Vanya’s sex life no matter what Klaus says about it.

“I’m not going to help you set up Vanya with some rando just to win a bet,” he says.

Klaus frowns. “It’s not about –”

“You really should have gone to Five if you wanted someone ruthlessly utilitarian about this kind of thing,” Diego says, meaningfully.

Klaus shuts his mouth. “Ah, right,” he says. He smirks. “Plausible deniability. I get it.”

“It’s not plausible deniability if you literally say the words plausible deniability,” Diego says, annoyed.

“So you’re telling me to go to Five as a tacit approval of what I’m doing, right?” Klaus says cheerily. “Is that the case?”

“Just go away, Klaus,” Diego says. “I don’t really care what you do, as long as it’s not in my apartment.”

“I’m so sure,” Klaus says, and makes a big show of rolling out of Diego’s bed and straightening his crop top.

It might be the fact that he hasn’t gotten off in like four weeks that makes Diego’s brain go a little staticky at the sight. It might not be.

“Well, ciao ciao,” Klaus says, grabbing his jacket and smacking Diego’s ass on the way out. “Don’t think about vagina. Tits. Long, shapely legs in fishnet stockings. Cute curvy asses in yoga pants.”

It’s, like, the most transparent tactic imaginable, and it kills Diego how well it works. For a moment, his mind is overcome with images, like the most tantalizing forbidden fruit. Absurdly, he remembers the way Eudora smells.

Diego, the whole family knows, does not back down from a challenge.

He catches up with Klaus and slams him, unsuspecting and unprepared, against the wall, leaning in close. “Don’t think about dick,” he hisses, right into Klaus’s ear. “Don’t think about being held down at the wrists by someone stronger than you, so you can’t break away no matter how much you struggle. Don’t think about being fucked deep and slow, wanting it harder but not getting it no matter how much you beg. And don’t, baby boy, think about how good it’s going to feel when you finally get to come.”

Klaus is shaking when he pulls back, looking up at Diego with those blown eyes, all pupil, like he’s coming down from the deepest high.

“Ciao ciao,” Diego says, smirking, and pushes Klaus out of the room.

 

He waits until he’s sure Klaus is gone, then he takes the longest, coldest shower of his life.

 

Four days later, at Griddy’s, Vanya reaches into her pocket as soon as they sit down and slowly pushes a wad of twenties across the table.

“Vanya!” Allison says, shocked and pleased. “Get it, girl!”

Vanya blushes.

Diego looks at Five, who smirks back at him. Five is a fucking menace, as if Diego didn’t know that already. What Five wants, Five gets.

Diego then looks at Klaus, who can’t meet his eye. It’s simultaneously satisfying and aggravating.

“I haven’t technically, um, yet,” Vanya says. “But I met someone, and…”

“You can hold off until you do,” Luther says. “It’s only fair.”

Vanya shakes her head. “No, but… I mean, with Leonard and all, there’s already enough baggage. I don’t want anything else to, like… hold me back, if that makes sense.”

“It does,” says Allison softly, touching her hand. “I think that’s really great, Vanya.”

Five takes the wad of twenties and tucks it into the gradually fattening envelope.

“Where did you meet him?” Luther asks.

“Klaus introduced us, actually,” Vanya says.

Luther narrows his eyes at Klaus.

“I know, I know, it could just be about winning the contest, but I really like him,” Vanya says, holding up her hands. “Even if it is just about the contest for Klaus, it’s not for me.”

“It’s not,” Klaus says, more heartfelt than his usual drawl. “I always thought you would.”

Diego brings a butter knife under the table and works his thumb over the handle.

He might not have given Klaus enough credit, he thinks.

“When do the rest of us get to meet him?” he asks.

“Um, never?” Vanya says, laughing a little. “I already know how that’s going to go. Luther’s going to try to be all fatherly and stern, and you’re going to do some lame fear of god shovel talk, and Five is… Five.”

Five nods, not insulted.

“Allison might get to,” Vanya amends. “She seems to have a good eye for men. She can tell me if he turns out to be a psychopath like the last one.”

Diego grins, glad that Vanya’s gotten to the point of joking about it. “Knowing Klaus, I mean…”

“He is a social worker,” Klaus says. “They’re decent by nature!”

“I would love to,” Allison says, “whenever you think it’s time.”

Vanya smiles at her. Allison is doing the bulk of the work at mending that bridge for the rest of them, and Diego appreciates it more than he can say. He doesn’t know how to talk to Vanya, never has. Allison’s always been fairly good at it, Five even better, and Ben, when he was around… Even Klaus has his moments.

Diego always figured… better not to fix what wasn’t broken. At least, until it broke.

He’s trying, now, is the point. He still blows at it, but he is trying.

“So that leaves just the three of you?” Vanya asks, clearly ready to redirect the conversation.

“I would have sworn Klaus would buckle first,” Allison says, shaking her head. “Guess it just goes to show, you never really know a guy.”

“I’m a man of principle,” Klaus says, nose in the air. “Integrity. Backbone.”

“500 bucks is a lot of weed money,” Diego says.

“Like I couldn’t have made 500 bucks some easier way over the last five weeks,” Klaus says. “But honestly, it’s been kind of nice. I’ve really… cleared my mind.”

“Oh, you are so full of shit,” says Luther.

“Colors seem brighter,” Klaus says, through laughter. “Flowers smell sweeter. I’m seeing in four dimensions.”

“You that hard up for it?” Allison says.

Klaus bangs his head on the table. “I want to get off so bad,” he groans.

“You too, Diego?” Allison asks, looking at him.

“We don’t need to talk about it,” Diego says. It feels like his whole body is an exposed nerve, these days. A breath of wind over his skin, and he’s ready to go.

“Five?” Allison smirks.

Five looks up at her. His gaze is more haunted than when he’d returned from the 45 years of apocalyptic solitude. “I could be better,” he says.

“I am so glad I just buckled,” Allison says, leaning back in her seat and stretching out her legs. “You don’t even know.”

Luther, next to her, looks pleased.

“Believe me,” Diego says sourly, “I know.”

 

Diego gets home a few days later and Klaus is in his bed watching something on his tiny TV.

“Hello, Klaus,” he says pointedly as he hangs up his jacket. “Nice of you to drop in.”

“Sh, I’m doing research,” Klaus says.

Diego comes up with his arms crossed. “You couldn’t do this research somewhere else?”

“I can’t let Five know what I’m up to,” Klaus says.

Diego looks at the screen. There’s an episode of Seinfeld playing. “How is this research?”

“This is going to teach me how to break him,” Klaus says darkly. “I’m brainstorming ideas.”

“What are you even – Move over,” Diego says, flopping down on the end of the bed by Klaus’s feet. Klaus picks his feet up and puts them in Diego’s lap, replacing them immediately when Diego shoves them off. After the third time, Diego just lets him do it.

“Again, how is this research?” Diego says.

“Just watch,” Klaus says. “I’ll start the episode over, I was only a few minutes in.”

They watch the episode in silence, broken only by intermittent laughter. At the end of it, Diego looks over at Klaus. “Real helpful,” he says. “Guess we’d better introduce him to JFK Jr.”

“Or get a hot girl to walk around naked in front of him,” Klaus says, like he’s actually considering it.

“Or get a hot girl to give another hot girl a sponge bath in front of him,” Diego shoots back.

“That one may be more difficult,” Klaus says.

Diego snorts. “Oh, but getting a hot girl to walk around naked, that’s easy?”

“Easier,” says Klaus.

“Dude, don’t you want to win this fairly?” Diego says. “Isn’t that part of the victory?”

“Diego,” Klaus says, rolling onto his back to look at him. “I could give a shit about winning this fairly. I just want to get off.”

“Yeah, no shit,” says Diego.

“No,” Klaus says, his voice lower, breathier, and only then does Diego notice he’s been rubbing Klaus’s ankle for who knows how long, “I want to get off, Diego.” He meets Diego’s gaze head-on.

There’s a frozen, charged moment. Diego is fiercely aware of his breath filling his lungs, and how it feels like he isn’t getting quite enough oxygen with it.

“Klaus,” he says, stupidly.

“We need to beat him,” Klaus says. “There’s no way to win fairly, so we need to cheat. Don’t you want to get off?” He sits up, putting him closer to Diego, their faces inches apart. “Don’t you want to come, Diego?”

Diego rips away like he’s been burnt, scrambling off the bed. He rubs a hand over his face, shifting his weight to resettle the position of his thickening cock in his pants.

“Don’t tell me this is easy for you, I won’t believe you if you try,” Klaus says, in that same husky tone, still sitting in Diego’s bed looking up at him with those goddamned eyes. “I know exactly how you’re feeling right now – I’m feeling it too. Don’t tell me you haven’t thought about just ending it, getting your hand around yourself… It wouldn’t take long, I know.”

“Shut the fuck up,” Diego grinds out.

“God, it would feel so good,” Klaus says. “Can’t you imagine that first stroke? Tell me you’re not thinking about it.”

Diego is thinking about it.

“Help me break him, and that can be yours,” Klaus says.

“You’re a fucking action movie villain,” Diego croaks. “You’re so fucked up, man.”

Klaus laughs. “That’s what being fucking hard all the time does to me, I guess. I’m always learning new things about myself. Such fun!”

“Yeah, fun,” Diego says, taking a few deep breaths, forcing his blood to cool.

“So are you going to help me, or not?” Klaus says.

“I’ll help you,” Diego says, because god, Klaus isn’t wrong. “Just leave it to me.”

Klaus actually seal-claps with glee.

 

Five storms into Griddy’s like a thunderclap. “Whichever one of you fuckers left a fleshlight in my room, you are sick and twisted and I hate you and I wish you had been crushed in the apocalypse and left to die slowly,” he snarls, slapping a hundred-dollar bill on the table.

Diego carefully nibbles a donut. Klaus looks at him, wide-eyed.

There’s a brief moment of silence before everyone cracks up at once.

“It’s not funny,” Five says, crossing his arms and pouting, looking more like a kid than he ever has.

“It’s hilarious,” Allison chokes out.

“It’s not funny!”

“I hope you, uh, enjoyed it, at least,” Luther says.

“We’re not talking about it,” Five mutters.

“I’m just saying, I hope –”

Klaus beams. “He’s saying, he hopes you and Delores had a great time last night.”

Five, predictably, vanishes.

“God, I wish I could do that,” Vanya says, sighing.

“And then there were two,” Allison says, looking between Klaus and Diego.

“Indeed,” says Klaus, swiping frosting onto his thumb and sucking it off.

 

Diego waits. He has a pretty good idea what’s coming, and he doesn’t put a lot of stock in Klaus’s sense of subtlety.

Sure enough, it’s midnight and Diego’s tossing and turning in restless sleep when the door creaks open.

Diego hits the bedside lights, knife in hand, unsurprised when he recognizes the slim figure slinking towards him in the darkness. Those gleaming eyes alone are enough.

“Klaus, what the actual fuck,” he says, sliding the knife back into its hiding place between his bed and the wall.

“Oh good, you’re awake,” Klaus says, shedding his coat and dumping it right there on the ground.

Diego had kind of expected some special sexy outfit – a schoolgirl outfit, a catsuit, a French maid uniform – but it’s just Klaus in his dumb tie-dye and leather pants and God, it’s enough.

“I wasn’t,” Diego says, sitting up.

“You are now,” Klaus says, unapologetic. He licks his lips. “Do you always sleep naked?”

“Since I left home,” Diego says. He’s painfully aware of the drape of the blankets over him, the way Klaus has to be able to see the press of his cock against them.

But Klaus isn’t looking at that – his eyes are locked on Diego’s nipple ring instead. Diego realizes abruptly that Klaus has never seen it.

Klaus has never seen it, because Diego takes care to button up around him, never quite letting himself relax, always keeping that last barrier between them. When they were kids – Diego had seen the way Klaus looked at him, knew that he could ask anything of Klaus and he’d never hear a no, and –

It seemed important to keep that final wall in place.

Since the apocalypse, a lot of things seem less important than they used to.

“Since when?” Klaus says finally, looking up at him.

“Eight years, maybe?” Diego says.

Klaus gives a kind of desperate, high sound in his throat.

“Why did you come here, Klaus?” Diego says.

Klaus startles like his brain is coming back online, gaze clearing. “Oh come on, we both know why I’m here,” he says. “We can do the song and dance routine if you want, but is it really worth it?”

“Twenty-nine years,” Diego says.

“Twenty-nine fucking years,” Klaus says. He swallows. “Don’t make me wait any longer.”

Diego is very sure this wasn’t the way Klaus had intended this seduction to go. He feels a brief stab of pity, combined with a pulse of lust at the idea that Klaus had planned it at all.

Alone in his room, Klaus must have thought about this for days, weeks – months.

Years.

“Come here,” Diego says, swinging his legs off the bed.

Klaus falls into him with the grace of a wounded animal, and Diego opens his arms and catches him, sweeping him up into his lap and kissing him, soft at first and then harder, hungrier.

Klaus sighs against his lips and gives into it entirely, arms wrapped around Diego’s neck, melting into him with a delicious subservience. Diego hitches him closer, delving his hands under Klaus’s loose top and palming at his slender back with the wide spread of his fingers.

They kiss for a long time. It’s hot and it’s sweet and it’s weirdly chaste, for all that Diego’s naked and desperately hard under the sheets. He likes the way Klaus makes these little humming noises into it, like he’s not aware that he’s doing it.

Finally, Diego starts to roll them over, and Klaus snaps back to life, slamming his palms against Diego’s shoulders. “Wait!”

Diego freezes.

“I want to – I wanted to…” Klaus licks his lips. “Let me blow you? I want to. I’m good at it, I promise.”

Diego knows that Klaus came here with this plan in mind, because if he blows Diego than he wins the contest, but he also sees the way Klaus is staring down at the bulge of his cock like he’s starving for it, so he says, “Sure.”

Klaus starts to slither between his legs, but Diego grabs his shoulder. “First, get naked,” he says.

Klaus actually shivers, which is so hot Diego can’t really handle it, and then he strips out of his obscenely tight clothes until he’s standing in front of Diego in all his glory, lithe and pale and perfect.

Diego can’t resist taking him by the hips and dragging him forward to lick a single stripe up the underside of his cock, and the noise Klaus makes is wounded.

“Alright,” Diego says thickly, pulling away. “Do it.” He draws the blankets off his legs and spreads them apart, looking up at Klaus in an obvious challenge.

If he didn’t know better, he’d say Klaus was the one with powers of teleportation, because one second Klaus is standing in front of him and then next moment he’s kneeling between Diego’s legs, and Diego isn’t entirely sure what happened to the interim time.

“I’m going to blow your fucking mind,” Klaus says, wrapping his hand around the base of Diego’s cock and gathering a mouth of saliva, letting it drip down over the head.

Diego’s fingers grip tight enough on the sheets to rip through.

True to form, Klaus doesn’t play coy when he’s got a controlled substance in his hands, and Diego has been keeping this one off-limits for too long. Klaus gets his lips around the head and just keeps on going, sinking down and down and down until he’s got Diego’s entire cock sheathed in his throat.

“Oh my Christ,” Diego says drunkenly, dropping back onto his elbows to give him a better view – and it’s a damn good view, the hazy look in Klaus’s eyes as he throat-fucks himself on Diego’s cock, how pretty and pink his lips look around it.

Diego gropes clumsily with one hand, curling it around Klaus’s throat to feel the bulge of his cock there, and Klaus gives a hungry, gut-punch noise at the contact, making Diego freeze.

“Next time,” he promises, voice shaking. “You want me to choke you, is that right?”

Klaus nods as well as he can.

“Next time,” Diego repeats. “But not now, babe. This time, I’m not sharing you with your demons.”

Klaus whimpers, but he nods. It’s unreal how good he feels, and Diego’s balls are drawing up already at the hot, wet suction of his perfect mouth.

“God, Klaus,” Diego says, “fuck, I’m so hard. You can feel it, can’t you? How close I am? You want me to come, don’t you? Are you going to make me come?”

Klaus gives an almost sobbing sound around his cock.

It takes everything in Diego’s willpower to twist his hand in Klaus’s hair and drag him up and off his cock, but willpower has always been something that Diego has over Klaus in spades.

“Oh, baby boy,” Diego purrs, when Klaus whines. “You thought it was going to be that easy?”

“What do you want?” Klaus pants. “I’ll give it to you, just tell me.”

Diego pulls him down and kisses him, and Klaus falls into it ravenously, all of his grace and poise gone to the ether. He clutches at Diego’s shoulders while he kisses him, tight enough to bruise.

Like this, it seems more like he’s the one who was just brought to the brink of orgasm and then denied, and Diego likes that. His own cock is painfully hard, and he wants more badly to come than he ever has before in his life –

But he still wants one other thing even more than that.

“On your back,” he says. “Hands on the headboard.” He rolls them in one quick motion, and Klaus doesn’t hesitate before lifting his arms and wrapping his hands around the slats in the headboard.

Diego smiles. “Good boy,” he says, leaning down to kiss Klaus again.

Klaus quivers at that, but Diego’s less surprised by that particular kink. It’s written all over Klaus, the way he moves and talks and looks up at Diego with those big eyes. No one in existence has ever wanted to be appreciated more than Klaus, and has gotten so little of it.

“Keep them there,” he says, tapping Klaus’s bicep. He has handcuffs, but he prefers it this way. He wants to see how well Klaus manages on his own.

Klaus nods.

“You got muscled in Nam, didn’t you?” Diego says, reaching for his bedside table and pulling out a half-empty container of lube. He likes the way Klaus watches while he squeezes it onto his fingers, rapt as only a true junkie could be. “I mean, you’re still a skinny fuck, but there’s a bit more meat on your bones now.”

“Heavy packs,” Klaus says breathily, “didn’t really have a choice.”

“I’m trying to compliment you,” Diego says, parting his legs between Klaus’s thighs to force them into a wider spread. “Just take it.”

“I’ll take it,” Klaus says, with one of his mad smiles. “I’ll take it all night long, Diego.”

“You think you’re cute,” Diego says, but he can’t really pull off smooth the way his stupid cock jumps at that line.

“I’m very cute,” Klaus agrees.

“You’re a cute little shit, and you’re gonna pay for it,” says Diego. “I hope you know that.”

Klaus shrugs, but his hands are still wound in the headboard, so he knows it.

“You want to take it? Then take it,” Diego says, sliding two slicked fingers into Klaus at once.

Klaus whines, his back arching as if in pain, but the expression of his face is all pleasure.

“God, you’re so good for me,” Diego croons, twisting his fingers, curling them, making Klaus’s hips jump off the mattress. “Baby, you’re perfect.”

“Diego,” Klaus gasps out, hips rolling up in stuttering waves. The noises that are coming out of him are unreal. Diego could live in this moment for the rest of his damn life.

He leans forward, thrusting his cock against the taut line of Klaus’s inner thigh, all the while fucking Klaus deep and hard with his fingers, never easing up for a moment.

“You’re going to – make me –” Klaus gasps out, every muscle locked up. He might be crying. Diego might be a bad person for liking it. “No, no,” he says, tossing his head.

Diego stops.

Klaus looks down at him, open-mouthed.

“I’ll stop if you want me too,” Diego says quietly. “Just say the word. You know that, right?” It’s the most important thing in the world to him, that Klaus knows that.

Klaus snarls at him. “Do and fucking die, you prick.”

Diego laughs, resuming the motions of his fingers, spreading them now, really making Klaus feel it. “You want me to get you off? You have to say it, Klaus. You know what it means, right? It means I win. So I want you to say it for me now, so you don’t call me out later for cheating.”

“Let me come, please – make me come, please,” Klaus says, eyes squeezing tightly shut, all beautiful and flushed and god, he’s the prettiest thing Diego has ever seen.

“Good boy,” Diego says, and wraps a hand around Klaus’s cock, stroking once.

Klaus goes off like a rocket. He comes for longer than Diego has ever seen before, like something out of terrible porn. By the time he’s done, his whole chest is splattered like a goddamn Pollock, and he’s loose and syrupy-sweet around Diego’s fingers, chest heaving.

“Oh, thank god,” Diego says, gets a hand around himself, and comes in two strokes, adding to the mess painting Klaus’s chest.

It’s not just six weeks in coming, it’s some fifteen years, since the very first time he saw Klaus in makeup and thought Oh, huh. He wouldn’t say it was worth the wait, but god, he’s never come like that before in his life.

“You were,” Klaus pants out, “that close.” He tries to glare at Diego, but it doesn’t really work. He still hasn’t moved his hands, besides.

“Oh yeah, I almost came like five times,” Diego admits, slumping against the wall, sticky and sweaty and obscenely satisfied.

“You were that fucking close!” Klaus says, voice high-pitched. “And you couldn’t just let me win this one!”

“Since when have I let you win anything?” Diego says.

Klaus pouts.

Diego pats Klaus’s thigh. “You’ll get over it,” he says.

“I hate you,” Klaus says.

Diego chuckles.

 

At Griddy’s, Allison looks between Diego and Klaus, gaze dropping to the chain of hickeys trailing down Klaus’s neck and disappearing beneath the collar of his shirt.

“So,” she says slowly.

Diego leans back and sips his coffee.

“I would not have guessed that,” she says.

“What, that Diego and Klaus would…” Luther makes some unidentifiable gesture with his hands, which is probably for the best.

“Oh, no, that one is eminently guessable,” Allison says, patting his arm. “But that Klaus would break first. I figured he’d cheat his little pants off and Diego would be all grumbly about it for years.”

“He tried,” Diego says.

“And…?” Allison raises her eyebrows.

Diego smirks. “I cheated better.”

“I don’t want to know, I don’t want to know,” Five mutters.

Klaus perks up. “You see, little one, when a man and his adopted brother have gone six weeks without getting off –”

“Please shut him up,” Five says to Diego.

“I could, but I don’t think you’d like my methods,” Diego says, curving his hand around the back of Klaus’s neck and squeezing.

“Aagh,” says Five.

“Please don’t,” says Vanya.

Diego holds out his hand. “So?”

“Klaus hasn’t paid out yet,” Five says, but he digs out the envelope from his pocket.

“S’alright, he’ll get me back later,” Diego says.

“Hells yeah I will,” Klaus says, waggling his eyebrows.

“Oh, Christ,” Five says, and vanishes.

“I really wish I could do that,” says Vanya sadly.

“Well,” Allison says meaningfully, leaning forward, “you should know that we support you and love you and cherish you and want you to adopt adorable little biracial babies together.”

“Obliged,” Diego says, toasting with his coffee.

“And the Edible Arrangement is on the way,” Luther says.

Klaus’s entire face lights up, so Diego hopes Luther knows he’s going to have to follow through on that.

“Thanks,” Diego says, sliding his hand down and resting it between Klaus’s shoulder blades, a gentle weight. “Means a lot.”

“So very much,” Klaus coos. “My heart is a flower, and you’ve all brought it to bloom.”

“Oh, Klaus,” Allison sighs.

“Sorry,” Diego says, “I’ve tried, but it turns out you can’t dick the obnoxiousness out of him.”

“God, man,” Luther says, twitching so badly he jostles the table, “can you not?”

Klaus cackles.

Diego grins. “Tell you what, I’ll get the donuts today,” he says. “…You see, I’ve recently come into some cash.”