Five cursed, groaning. He swallowed, the motion igniting pain in his throat and then his head - He lifted a hand to feel at his forehead, then drew back fingers sticky with blood. “Ugh,” he muttered, refusing to open his eyes at the moment. “Klaus?” His voice was almost completely shot, and it rasped painfully in his throat. “Klaus!”
No response. He tried to roll over, to search for his unusually-quiet brother, but he couldn’t seem to find purchase and his seatbelt was tight almost to the point of strangling him. Hm. If Klaus was silent, well, that meant something bad had happened….what had happened? All he could recall was a blur. “Klaus, answer me!” He had to almost shout to be heard over the wind. Sitting up was a struggle. Somewhere in his chest, one of his ribs ached obnoxiously. He shivered in the cold - the cold? Five cracked an eye open.
The car was totaled. Five had the absent thought that Diego was going to be pissed, but Diego was always pissed on some level so he shoved the thought from his mind. He shook his head a bit and immediately regretted it, both for the pain it caused and the splatter of blood droplets that came with it. He cursed again, hissing in pain. “Klaus, where the fu- ”
Someone groaned loudly, from what was probably too far away - Five shook his head again, unable to hear much above the ringing, sending a few more drops of blood flying. “F-Five?”
The brother in question let out a breath he refused to admit he had been holding, instead releasing it as a sigh of frustration. “Are you alright?”
“Yeah,” Klaus slurred. “Peachy.” Five’s fingers, already slightly numb, fumbled with the seatbelt. It clicked open and he -
Stars burst across his vision, and the world went pure white for a few seconds. Klaus’s worried voice sounded like a million miles away. Pain burned like fire across his chest, and he resisted the urge to either curl into a ball or vomit. “‘m- I’m okay-” he panted. “Ughh.”
“Yeah, me too, buddy,” Klaus laughed, then hissed. “Ow. Ouch. No laughing.”
Five just lay there, arms wrapped loosely around his middle, blinking up to see his own car seat above him. He was...on the ceiling of Diego’s car? A quick glance around revealed that the car had flipped. “Shouldn’t’ve unbuckled,” he realized. “What...happened…?”
All he got in return was nervous laughter, and suddenly, he could remember everything . “This,” he growled, “is the last time I let you drive us anywhere , Klaus.”
“In my defense-!” Klaus paused. “Okay, so I don’t have a defense. In retrospect, this was a really, really, really-”
“I get it.”
“-really bad idea. Horrifically bad, even. Tragically. Just plain awful . I’d like to remind you that this was your idea.”
“Well, maybe if you had learned to drive when you were supposed to…” Five trailed off. “Klaus. You still with me?”
“Yeah. Gimme...gimme a minute…” The rest of Klaus’s sentence was lost to the howl of the wind. Five sat up extremely slowly from his spot nestled into the curve of the car’s ceiling, ignoring the protest of his ribs. He frowned - the driver’s seat was empty. The windshield was a shattered mess of glass and blood, and not just the blood dripping steadily from Five’s forehead.
“Klaus, I really need you to stay with me, okay?” Horror crept up Five’s spine. He gripped the car door handle, pushing with what strength he had to open the door. The splitting pain in his side, combined with his difficulty breathing and dizziness, didn’t make it easy, but eventually he was able to tumble out of the car.
The very first thing brought to his attention was the light flurry of snow he had noticed earlier was no longer light, or just a flurry. Snow fell so thickly he could barely see up the slope the car had flipped down. The knit sweater Klaus had lent him, while thicker than the uniform blazer or the vest underneath, was no match for the bite of the cold air. He grimaced, fighting the wind to bring his hands up to his face. His hands were an angry red, probably from being exposed for the few short seconds he had been outside the car.
Speaking of exposure.
It wasn’t hard to pick out the dark shape of Klaus’s coat against the white of the snow. “Klaus!” The wind, mercifully, wasn’t so loud as to impede talking. He stumbled, pushing himself to his knees - the world spun, just for a moment - and then his feet, and trudged over to Klaus.
As soon as he was within arm’s reach of his brother, his legs gave out and he crumpled to his knees. He braced himself with his palms pressed against the ground, taking a few ragged, steadying breaths before finally getting a good look at Klaus.
Blood. There was, he noted with a distinct hint of worry, a lot of blood. He moved closer before rocking back to sit on his heels, his hands roaming Klaus’s face. “Hey. Wake up.” Klaus’s eyes fluttered open, the bridge of his nose wrinkling as he scrunched his face up with pain. He made an annoyed sound, raising an arm to presumably drape it over his eyes like a damsel in distress, but Five intercepted it. “Where does it hurt?”
Klaus mumbled something he couldn’t make out, then tilted his head to the side to spit out a mouthful of blood. “Uh. Everywhere?” Five cupped Klaus’s face in his hands, then used his thumb to gently pull Klaus’s eyelids. Pupils were uneven. He cursed colorfully.
“Don’t fall asleep. You can’t fall asleep yet.” Klaus’s head lolled to the side, and all the energy for banter he had had mere minutes ago seemed to vanish. “Klaus, are you listening to me?”
“Mm.” He blinked open his eyes again. “No sleeping. Got it.” He swallowed. “What are- uh, what are the rules on puking?”
Five recoiled. “No puking on me, that’s for sure.” He sucked in a breath through his nose. Alright. Both of them were injured; Klaus was most likely worse off, and potentially in danger of bleeding out if Five didn’t figure out where the holes were and how to patch them up. The cold was shaping up to be a problem, he realized, looking down at his own purple fingernails. Neither of them had a cell phone on them, Klaus’s left charging at home and Five too busy on the way out making sure Klaus remembered the laws of the road to pickpocket one of the other’s.
He couldn’t teleport both of them, not with all the unknowns of Klaus’s injuries, but maybe just himself? He grimaced, pushing out as if against some invisible force. His fists sparked blue once, then the light died out pathetically. Oh, yeah. That’s why they had been driving in the first place. He’d been teleporting too much that day, using up too much of his energy, but nothing was going to stand between him and a good cup of coffee if he could help it. (He’d been wanting some from that good place on the fringe of the city. It wasn’t his fault the drive took them through some less-frequented roads and, apparently, a whole snowstorm.)
In any case: the facts didn’t paint a pretty picture, but Five wouldn’t have had a job for all those years if the odds stacked up with him, so. That’s life. They’d survive, in the end. He just had to keep them alive until one of the others noticed they were missing.
His eyes landed on Diego’s car. It was flipped over and slightly crumpled, sure, but all the doors were (mostly) intact and could probably block out most of the wind. Not dying of hypothermia was a little higher on the priority list than being worried about the structural integrity of the car. He shoved Klaus’s shoulder gently. “I need your help.”
Klaus stirred. “Me? Sleepin’? Nope.” He sniffed, clumsily rubbing a hand across his face.
“That’s...not what I asked, but alright,” Five replied. “Can you stand?”
Klaus shot him a dubious look. “Maaaaaybe.” He made grabby hands in Five’s direction. “Gonna need you for that.”
“Yeah,” Five sighed. “I figured.” He slowly staggered to his feet before grabbing Klaus’s flailing hands in his own. Together, they managed to get Klaus upright and leaning heavily on Five’s shoulder. “Alright, hold on. And do not puke on me or I will leave you out in the cold.”
“Aww,” Klaus whined, “no brother-bonding time while we huddle for warmth and wait for our inevitable deaths to the freezing temperatures?”
“As wonderful as that sounds, no. We’re not dying because you can’t drive in snow, Klaus. I refuse to survive the apocalypse for decades, alone, only to die by my own brother’s incapable hands.” He punctuated his sentences with steps forward, doing his best to drag Klaus’s limp weight with him. “I’d appreciate it if you put more effort into lifting your feet.”
“And I’d appreciate not bleeding a whole lot, so I guess we don’t always get what we want in life, baby brother dear,” Klaus mumbled, but took slightly bigger, less shuffled steps anyways. Five’s door was still open, thankfully, and he made quick work of dumping Klaus ungracefully in the passenger’s side.
He nudged the door shut, the force of the wind slamming it the rest of the way, and stumbled around to the driver’s side to haul the door open and slip into the car. He sighed in relief as soon as the door closed behind him, the sound of the wind no longer grating against his ears. The windshield, while ruined, was on the downwind side of the car, so at least they weren’t getting frigidly cold air blown in their faces. He let himself have a moment to catch his breath, each one of said breaths crackling in his lungs, and stuffed down the headache that threatened to emerge. “Alright, let me look.”
He drew his knees up to his chest and twisted in the sloped surface of the ceiling to gain better access to Klaus, who seemed more lucid now that they were out of the cold. Blood dripped from pretty much everywhere blood could drip from on Klaus’s face, but that was the least of Five’s worries. He pulled at that stupid feathered coat to expose the dark brown turtleneck underneath - a quick glance showed significantly less bleeding than he had originally thought, but the gash in Klaus’s upper right arm was...worrying. “Hold still,” Five muttered, pressing one hand to the wound and using the other to dig around for that shirt of Diego’s that never seemed to get worn, washed, or otherwise removed from its home in the backseat floorboards.
His fingers found the fabric, still snagged under one of the seats now above their heads, and he pulled it free, pressing it to the sluggishly-bleeding cut. He didn’t want to have to make a tourniquet out of it now, lest it be a while before they were rescued, and it didn’t look bad enough for that yet anyways. He sat back a bit, rubbing his brow with a bloodstained hand. One hole patched.
Klaus was drifting off again. Five poked at his cheeks, suddenly pretty tired himself. “Tell me about...something. Tell me about Ben. How’s the afterlife treating him?” Klaus cracked open dry lips to start rambling, but there was a fuzziness in Five’s head that didn’t let him tune in for very long. He kept pawing at Klaus’s turtleneck, still looking for wounds, but he couldn’t seem to find any more.
It was fairly likely most of the blood on-scene was from Klaus’s plentiful head wounds, he considered. He was sure there might be other options, other explanations, but he wasn’t quite sure of what they were. Just that it was getting harder to think. He blinked. “-he’s such a mom friend , he gives Mom a run for her money, y’know? ...Five?” Klaus’s voice faded in and out. “Five?”
A sudden wave of dizziness made him sway slightly. The spots from earlier returned full-force, but instead of a numb white they filled his vision with a nauseating black. “Klaus, I think-”
Klaus looked up from poking at the scrape on his knee to meet Five’s gaze, only for his eyes to drift downwards again. “Hey, that doesn’t look too hot, bud.”
Five followed his brother’s green eyes down. “Oh.” He picked at the ripped fabric of his sweater, the pale cream fabric stained an unfortunate dark red. “Hm.” It was spreading, as he watched. “No, I don’t think so.” He didn’t have it in him to remain sitting upright, instead slumping into the back of the driver’s seat.
Klaus was over him in a second, wrapping gentle fingers around the hem of Five’s sweater to pull it as gingerly as he could over Five’s head with his still useable arm. The blazer was next to go, and the vest, until just the white button-down shirt remained. Klaus hissed out a curse. “Why didn’t you say anything?”
Five frowned, confused. “About...about what?” It was cold, he remembered, and he shivered.
“About the gaping hole in your side? Maybe the blood loss?” Klaus balled up the sweater to press it to the wound. “Call me crazy, but I think those are worth mentioning?”
Five lifted numb hands to help Klaus staunch the bleeding. “I didn’t know,” he offered. “Was busy.” Klaus scoffed, and said something undoubtedly snarky, but Five wasn’t listening.
He looked around. Outside the remains of the windshield and the side windows, snow continued to pile up. “Here.” Klaus’s voice pulled him back from wherever he had drifted, and cold fingers prodded his arms. “Let’s get you back in your vest and your jacket.”
He did his best to help, but lifting his elbows any higher than his ribcage made the fire in his chest flare up again. All the while, the sweater remained pressed to his side, and he could hear Klaus still rambling on despite blue lips.
The next time Five managed to keep his eyes open, he found Klaus pushing him gently to the side so he could slide into the driver’s side with him, gritting his teeth against the pain. “Shouldn’t be moving,” Five insisted, and honestly that stood true for either of them, but let himself be manhandled all the same. Klaus merely patted his head, said something with the word ‘kid’ in it - “not a kid,” Five replied, but it was like he hadn’t even said anything at all - and tugged Five forwards a bit before letting him fall back again.
“Better?” Klaus grinned with bloodstained teeth, and Five realized the scratchy things tickling his neck were the feathers on the collar of Klaus’s coat. Klaus was still wearing it on one arm, his left, but had pulled his right arm out of the sleeve to pull that half of the coat around Five.
“Is- your arm…” Klaus nodded in understanding.
“Yeah, still tied up real good, don’t worry.” The grin widened, and Five had never been so comforted by a mouthful of blood. “Now we freeze to death even slower .”
He did feel better, already, with Klaus warm on one side and the coat blocking some of the cold out on the other, but he knew it wouldn’t last long. He’d had hope that after an hour or two he’d regain enough energy to teleport himself at least to a main road, but after their discovery of him bleeding out, that hope had vanished like whatever energy he had left.
“‘M cold,” Klaus muttered petulantly, as if he were only mildly inconvenienced. “I dunno where Ben went.”
Five’s eyes snapped back open. “ Ben ,” he breathed. “Ben!”
Klaus eyed him warily. “Yes. Ben is his name. About yea high? An octopus monster stuffed in his chest like he’s trying to smuggle it past TSA? Has an endless selection of emo hoodies?”
Five swatted in Klaus’s direction. He didn’t have the time or patience for foolish jokes. “No, you said he’s not here? He’s always with you...would be, especially now. Can you contact him?”
Klaus giggled. “Yeah, gimme a second. Lemme break out the Ouija board real quick . I’m sure he’ll be happy to spell out his name for you, given you can’t seem to remember it.”
The look on Five’s face could wilt flowers. “Can you ask him to go get help .”
“Ohhh hhh ,” Klaus’s smile stretched wide for a second before it fell. “Nope. Radio silence.” He craned his neck, looking around the car. “Yeah, I got nothing.”
Five cursed. Staying awake became harder with every passing second, and he didn’t have any more ideas for contacting the others. “Klaus?”
Klaus hummed, yawning. “Yeah?”
“Sorry,” he whispered. “We should’ve stayed home.”
Klaus laughed, but it wasn’t bitter. Just tired. “We really should’ve, huh.” Klaus’s hand came up to pat Five’s face. “Hey. It’s my turn to keep you up.” Five nodded, dropping his head against Klaus’s shoulder. “You don’t fall asleep, I won’t fall asleep. Deal?”
“Okay, uhh…I spy with my little eye...something white.”
“If I wasn’t actually worried about us dying, I would strangle you.”
“You know you love me!” Klaus awkwardly ruffled his hair, but instead of pulling his hand away, he left on Five’s head.
“That’s the problem,” Five muttered, then groaned. “Fine. Snow. I spy something red.”
“Hypocrite,” Klaus shot back. “Blood.”
They kept it up for ten minutes. Five won, in the end. Klaus pouted, insisted ‘the tires don’t count, we can’t see them from here!’, and did his best to hide his worry.
They’d be fine. A-okay.
Klaus groaned, rolling over slightly to sling his good arm over Five.
He opened one eye. Crap. They had fallen asleep. “Five?” He shook his brother’s shoulder urgently. “Five!”
Five didn’t so much as twitch an eyelid. “Klaus, is that you?”
Klaus could have cried with joy at the sound of Luther’s voice, which wasn’t really a sentence he had ever thought himself capable of thinking, but near-death experiences do tend to influence your outlook on life a bit. “Yeah! Wait-” He cursed, wiggling back over to the passenger side of the car to crack the door open and willing himself not to pass out when he moved his arm just a bit too much. “We’re over here!” The cold crept in through the cracked door, instead of only through the windshield, and he struggled to keep it open.
The sound of boots crunching in the snow grew closer, before the door was pulled open the rest of the way. Diego gripped Klaus’s good forearm when it was thrust out to him and hauled Klaus from the car, immediately wrapping his arms around Klaus. “Hey, hey, I got you-” Klaus’s knees buckled. “Woah, alright-”
He slung the good arm around his shoulders, keeping Klaus on his feet, while Luther yanked the driver’s side door open. Diego cursed. “Is he out?”
Luther nodded. “He’s unconscious, yes.” He gathered Five up in his arms, his brother tiny, bloody, and way too still. Five sighed, probably grateful for the warmth, and Luther held him closer. “We’ll come back for the car later?”
Diego waved his free hand. “Yeah, we’ll call a tow truck, I don’t really care- Ben? You good?”
Ben was a few steps away. He’d been flickering dangerously in and out of existence pretty much the whole car ride, but had managed to keep it together long enough to show them where their two resident trouble-magnets had crashed. “The longer I’m here, the more of Klaus’s energy I take. I’m gonna split.”
“Alright, thanks- aaand he’s gone.” Diego shook his head. “Hey, man. Klaus. Wake up.”
“Nngh. What.” Klaus blinked open sleepy eyes, then lifted his hand in a half-hearted wave. “Oh, hi Diego.”
“Hello to you too,” he replied, starting up the slope. “I hope you know I’m literally never letting you breath in the direction of my car again.”
“That’s valid,” Klaus yawned. “Though, I really must insist that it wasn’t my idea…”
Diego glanced at the backseat in the rearview mirror of Allison’s car. Oh, he was definitely angry about his car. That thing had carried him through the best of times, the worst of times. He knew it like the back of his hand. Nothing else would ever quite be the same, and it sucked to lose it.
But, he realized, watching Luther with Klaus dozing on one side and Five knocked out, tucked into his other side, losing these two would be much, much worse.
Also, Klaus needed driving lessons.