They were 13 again.
Which half sucked and half was a relief, because the alternative to being 13 was being dead.
Klaus’s head felt like it was filled with cotton, his limbs felt out of whack and he absolutely hated time travel. The rest of his siblings weren’t doing that well either. All of them sitting on the floor in their younger bodies- uniforms and all- groaning and looking slightly greener than usual. Five looked about to collapse, Vanya was still out of it, and even Ben looked younger, which was odd given he was a ghost.
“Ben?” Diego suddenly said, his eyes widening. Klaus blinked in surprise, his eyes meeting Ben’s in surprise.
“You can see me?” He whispered, sounding so hopeful and happy and Diego barely even had time to nod before Ben launched himself at him, wrapping his brother in a tight hug. The other siblings got over their shock and joined in, all talking and greeting him and more than one of them was sobbing as they hugged their long dead sibling. Klaus stayed off to the side, unsure of how to join but happy either way.
Ben was alive.
He tried to ignore the small pang of fear, the voice at the back of his head telling him that he was alone now that Ben had no obligation to stay there with him.
He pushed it aside because Ben had broken out of the circle of teary-eyed siblings and was walking towards him, his eyes wet as he stopped a few feet in front of Klaus. Neither of them said anything, but Klaus slowly reached out, his fingers hovering over Ben’s cheek. Would his hand pass through like it always had, his fingers phasing through his brother?
He slowly touched his brother’s cheek, sobbing in relief as he felt the solid form under them, the warmth radiating off of him and the slick feeling of tears under his finger tips.
“Ben.” He said brokenly, before collapsing into his brother, his arms wrapping around the solid alive form of his brother.
“Klaus.” Ben replied, his voice sounding just as ragged. “God you’re strangling me.”
Klaus laughed, pulling back but letting his hands linger, marvelling in the fact that Ben was alive and real and he could touch him.
“I hate to break up this positively heartwarming reunion,” Five said, sounding tired and worn out yet still managing to fill every words with an absurd amount of sarcasm. “But we should love somewhere more secure because I really don’t want to find out how Reginald will react to us sitting in the front entrance in the middle of the night.”
Klaus reluctantly let go of his brother, standing close enough that he could still feel Ben’s body heat. Before his death Ben was always outrageously hot, it seems like that hadn’t changed much. After a small amount of arguing they agreed on Luther’s room, since it was easily the largest out of them all.
Allison carried Vanya up the stairs despite literally everyone else’s offers too, and the two of them were on the bed, Vanya still out of it and Allison holding her up with a troubled look in her eyes. Diego was standing by the wall, half in darkness as he watched over them all. Luther was standing awkwardly near the middle of the room, looking like he didn’t know what to do. Ben was sitting on the window still, staring around and looking uncomfortable. Five was pacing, looking about to collapsed and Klaus sat in the middle of the room, legs crossed and his back pressed against the wardrobe.
They stayed silent for a long moment, and Klaus took a moment to take a deep breath. He was fairly sober, although he could still feel a faint buzz under his skin. Maybe from whatever the hell his younger self was doing before he dropped in?
Either way, he wasn’t high enough to get rid of the familiar ghosts on the edge of his vision. There was a woman standing in the corner, her clothes soaked and skin grey as she dripped water onto the ground. Another man stood by the door, no outward signs of death except the ring of bruises around his neckline. The male ghost was staring at Klaus, his eyes boring into him.
Klaus refused to acknowledge him in any way, luckily both ghosts were silent, but as soon as they realized Klaus could see them that would change.
God he really wanted a drink right now.
“So what do we do now?” Luther broke the silence, and everyone turned to stare at him.
“Aren’t you Number One?” Diego asked mockingly. “Shouldn’t you be the one to come up with the plan?”
Klaus sighed, closing his eyes and cursing god for two headstrong and annoying older brothers.
“Look, I know you guys don’t agree with what I did.” Luther started, and Five stepped forwards, cutting them both off.
“Hey idiots, we have more important things to deal with than the both of you comparing dick sizes.” He hissed, and Klaus smirked slightly, he would defiantly be using that one in the future. “We need to figure out what we’re going to do.”
“We need to help Vanya.” Allison spoke up softly, her hand wrapped around her neck like she was afraid her voice would disappear if she let go. “Repair what we ruined.”
“Is that safe?” Luther asked, and Allison glared up at him with so much anger in her eyes that it even put Klaus on edge.
“I don’t care.” She hissed, tugging Vanya closer into her side. “She’s our sister and she deserves better.”
“I agree.” Five said again, stepping forwards. “We need to help train her, harness her powers until she’s able to properly use them without fear.”
“What if she’s still dangerous?” Luther pushed.
“Jesus Luther-“ Allison started, but Luther cut her off.
“She wasn’t herself when she broke out of her room,” Luther started.
“Her cage.” Klaus corrected, but no one listened to him and Luther continued on.
“There’s a possibility that she could still be dangerous to herself and the rest of us, we need to take precautions.” Luther was saying, oblivious to the way every single one of his siblings wanted to punch him out.
“That’s the kind of mindset that pushed her to destroy the world.” Diego hissed, stepping forwards. “Teaching her is the most logical decision.”
“What about her pills?” Ben said, and all his siblings jumped when they heard his voice. “Would she still be on them?”
Klaus had to bite his tongue to stop himself from repeating the question, telling himself that his siblings could hear Ben this time.
“Should we keep her on them?” Luther said, and Allison hissed at him in response. “I mean if dad gave them to her there’s probably a good reason.”
“No. She gets off the pills, their inhumane and cruel.” Five snapped, glaring Luther down. “She stops taking them as soon as she’s up.”
“Uh,” Klaus put his hand up, gaining their attention. “I don’t think that’s a really good idea.”
“No one asked Klaus.” Allison snapped before he could continue. He raised his hand placating before she could murder him.
“Let me talk.” He said, but continued quickly because he knew they wouldn’t. “I think we got thrown into our younger bodies, so that means she’s probably on her meds right now. When she wakes up she’ll still be drugged out. I mean, I feel buzzed and I know I sure as hell was sober as an adult.” He shuddered at the thought. “Taking her off her medication right away will make it worse. If we let her go cold turkey like she did as an adult, that could overwhelm her, make her go through withdrawal. Could put us right where we started.”
“That’s actually pretty smart.” Five allowed, his eyes squinted in the way it did when he was thinking.
“No need to thank me.” Klaus muttered. “We need to slowly take her off of them, maybe down to a pill twice a week or something until she’s in control and won't just be tossed into a world without a pill she’s been taking for years.”
“Fine.” Luther snapped. “We decrease her pills for now until we figure out how to do this. Who’s going to train her?”
There was silence again as everyone thought to themselves.
“Well, I have the most knowledge about physical powers.” Five started. “Ben, your good at knowing how emotions affect powers. Would you be willing to help?”
Ben stayed silent, staring at Five is surprise. He wasn’t used to being addressed. His eyes flickered to Klaus, his eyebrows raising up in a silent question. Klaus half shrugged, his way of saying that it was up to him.
“I’ll do my best.” He finally replied, and Five nodded, before looking around.
“Really, most of us know about controlling our powers and keeping them in check, we can alternate.” Five continued, his eyes snagging on Klaus for a moment too long.
He got the message. Most of us meant everybody but him. Everyone in the room had some talent in controlling or restricting their powers to some degree, except Klaus, who never learned because he dove too deep into drugs. Klaus knew that, everyone knew that, but it still stung.
“What about dad?” Diego spoke up, making everyone stare at him. “Someone will need to distract him or something, make sure he doesn’t realize what’s going on.”
“Someone who is the least use to helping Vanya.” Luther said, agreeing, and they all stayed silent. Klaus knew what they wanted.
“You could just say my name.” He snapped. He didn’t want to do this. Distracting dad meant going through more training, and that meant dealing with the ghosts, with the mausoleum and that was just a no-no. A really big no-no.
“You have the least physical power that we can use.” Allison said, having the decency to sound at least a bit guilty. “The rest of us have possible ways to show her, you don’t.”
“Then it’s decided, Klaus will be in charge of the majority of distracting.” Luther said, and Klaus blinked.
“Hey, don’t I get a say in this?” He protested, feeling the beginning of panic start to claw at his chest.
“Jesus Klaus, this is about Vanya, not you.” Luther snapped, glaring him down, and Klaus shrunk under the force. Luther was right, this wasn’t about him, it was never about him.
“We can take turns helping you.” Ben spoke up, his eyes boring into Klaus’s head with the same understanding worried look.
“That’s only fair.” Diego put in.
“There we go. We have a game plan, now it’s almost morning so we should all go to bed and we can talk more tomorrow.” Five told them, leaving no room for discussion.
“I’ll stay with Vanya.” Allison said, scooping up their still unconscious sister and leaving the room first. Five zapped out in a flash of blue and Diego stalked his way to the door. Klaus sighed, standing up and brushing past Ben, who silently followed them out.
The two of them stood in the hallways in front of their back to back rooms, staring at each other and not really knowing how to proceed.
“This is the first night we’ll spend without each other in 13 years.” Klaus mused, and Ben nodded.
“Night Klaus.” He said softly, slipping into his room.
“Night Ben.” He replied to the already empty hallway.
He walked into his room, taking in the walls that seemed way too close and the darkness pressing in on all sides. He closed his eyes, grateful for his young self for the slight buzz in his head. The ghosts would probably would be so much worse if it wasn’t for that.
He itched for a fix, more week, or maybe some pills or something, but he promised himself he wouldn’t do that again. He had promised Dave that. Promised Ben. He had to be strong this time around, especially if he was tasked with distracting Dad. And god that was going to suck ass wasn’t it. The ghosts would be about as unbearable as his father was.
Speaking of ghosts, the ghost of the man from Luther’s room had followed him, chilling in the side of his room. He tried to ignore him, pretend he couldn’t see him hovering there.
“Your siblings seem like assholes.” The man said, his voice gruff and it made Klaus jump. The ghosts rarely tried to talk to him, mostly at him. “They should have listened to your protests more.”
“Yeah? Are you an expert on us?” Klaus snapped, too tired and empty to deal with this douche.
“No, but their forcing you to do something you don’t want to do and that rubs me the wrong way.” The ghost replied, and Klaus ignored him, instead falling onto the bed and pressing a pillow over his head, maybe he could smother himself.
He fell into an uneasy sleep, visions of the dead and Vietnam surrounding him as heavily as the dark.
His mom wandered in a few hours later, turning on the lights and pulling Klaus from an especially unpleasant dream.
“Breakfast is in ten minutes sweetheart, your brother suggested I let you sleep in a bit today, so make sure your up and moving quickly.” She said cheerily, slipping out of the room once more. Klaus sent a quick thanks to whatever brother told their mom that, probably Ben. His head was killing him and the light hurt his eyes, a migraine was coming on and Klaus was not looking forwards to it.
He dragged himself out of bed, looking in his closet and feeling slightly nauseous when he saw his uniform pressed out for him. He tugged it on obediently though, controlling the bile rising in his throat when he felt the scratchy fabric, the suffocating feeling he always got when wearing it.
He stared in the mirror, hating the way he looked. He wasn’t a fan of his younger body this time around. It just wasn’t him. The limbs were too small and gangly, his legs too short and his hair almost straight after years of his father forcing his curls into the smooth strands they were.
He controlled the shudder once more, slipping out of his room and almost running into Ben, who was standing beside the door waiting for him.
“We have like two minutes to get downstairs.” His siblings informed him, and Klaus felt himself relax by being around his favourite brother again.
Klaus nodded, and the two of them stepped down the hall, side by side like they had for years. They walked into the dining room and sat at their usual seats, and jeez Klaus never thought he’d have to do this again.
This was like his worst nightmare all over again, being back here waiting for father to show up.
All six of his siblings- Vanya was missing and he didn’t know how to think about that- were sitting silently. They were all dreading the reunion with their father, even Number One looked nervous.
The man himself walked in a few seconds later, and Klaus’s breath caught in his throat. The asshole looked the same, even after all these years. Same stupid grey hair and ridiculous beard. Same empty eyes with no remorse or sympathy locked inside them.
The man sat down, no words exchanged and picked up his fork, signalling the rest of them to begin. The meal was amazing as always, pancakes and eggs with a single slice of bacon on the side. Grace always outdid herself on things like these and Klaus loved her for it.
“Where is Number Seven?” His father's voice rang out, and all six kids looked up at him with shock and slight fear.
“She wasn’t feeling good sir. She’s sleeping.” Allison spoke up, sounding confident and sure despite the hesitancy in her eyes.
“She isn’t allowed to skip a meal.” His father said lowly, and Klaus was internally freaking out. If Vanya was still out, then their cover could be blown. He felt someone kick his leg, and he looked up at Diego, who was glaring at him in a pointed way. Oh, yeah he was suppose to be distracting his father from thoughts like these wasn’t he?
He racked his mind for anything to say, anything that wouldn’t piss the man off but still gain his attention.
“Did you know that by licking a stamp your consuming 1/10th of a calorie?” He blurted out, making everyone turn to him with mixed faces of annoyance or relief.
“No talking at the table Number Four.” His father said lowly, and it took everything Klaus had not to flinch. He was a thirty-year-old man god damn it, he shouldn’t be so scared of this.
“Almonds are also a part of the peach family.” He pointed out, smiling wildly at his father. He heard Allison snicker slightly.
“Number Four I told you to stop speaking!” His father said, slamming his knife down on the table. Klaus held his gaze for a few seconds before looking back to his plate, eating without another word.
The rest of the breakfast passed in complete silence, his father fuming silently at him. Ben’s leg was pressed against his in silent comfort. The contact always surprised him, but he was beyond grateful for it.
Their father left like usual, without words. And Klaus was beyond grateful that it was Saturday, the only day they didn’t have constant training.
Luther told them they had a meeting in Allison’s room in around two hours, and he glared Klaus down when he said to not be late. Klaus would have been offended if he gave a fuck. He told Ben he was going to take a bath and practically ran to the bathroom, the door shutting behind him and he could finally take a breath.
He tore off his clothes the second he could, getting the stupid outfit away from him and tossed into a pile by the window. He turned the water on as hot as it could go and shoved a bunch of his favourite bubble bath in it.
He was sober now. Could feel the slight withdrawal from the pot covering his mind, his head pounding and his stomach rolling. He felt restless, a constant energy under his skin telling him to move, that he shouldn’t be sitting still.
And the ghosts were back, their screams in the background like they always were. Thankfully, no ghosts were present in the room at the moment, none of them really wanted to see him naked. A shame, he’d love to fuck a ghost.
He finally settled into the tub, the water burning at his skin and forcing his mind to focus on the sharp sting instead of anything else. He lay there for forever, forcing himself to slip under the water and just muffle everything until his lungs burned a bit too much and he was forced to take a breath.
Two hours later he realized that there was a team meeting in five minutes and he was still laying in the tub soaking himself in his attempts at drowning out the world by drowning himself.
So he pulled the plug and stumbled out of the bath, quickly drying himself on and pulling on his clothes. He was going to be late, shit Luther was going to be so pissed at him.
He flew out of the door, practically running towards Allison’s room. He could hear everyone talking inside already, and he stopped in front of the closed door, composing himself a little bit.
“Where is Klaus?” He heard someone, Diego, say and he paused for a minute.
“Late as usual.” Luther grumbled.
“He’ll be here soon.” Ben said, sounding so sure of Klaus. Everyone was silent for a minute.
“You know,” Allison said softly. “You aren’t connected to him anymore. You don’t need to worry about him.”
“I always worry about him.” Ben replied, and Klaus’s heart sunk.
“All she’s saying is that you don’t have to follow Klaus around anymore. You can live your life.” Diego continued, and Klaus felt tears build up under his eyes as he waited for Ben to tell them he knew that, that he choose to stay with Klaus because he loved him, because he cared about Klaus and wanted to be there.
“I know.” Was all Ben said.
Klaus squeezed his eyes shut, slipping on a smile and pushing the door open.
“Sorry, lost track of time.” He said cheerfully, not looking over at Ben.
Everyone in the room- minus Vanya who was still asleep- looked annoyed at him and he forgot how much he hated this. How much his siblings made him feel worthless and stupid and incapable. He wanted to scream at them, wanted to yell at them and scream and show just how much he hated every second of this.
Instead he sat down on the floor, and listened as they talked around him.
“When is she going to wake up?” Allison asked.
“How should I know? She’s unpredictable, I have no clue what’s going to happen next. There’s no instruction manual for this.” Five snapped back, and Klaus zoned out.
He would do anything for a hit right now, his hands were shaking and the ghosts were getting louder, a few hovering on the edge of his vision, not quite there yet but getting there. He wasn’t looking forwards for the next few days, but then again he promised to stay off drugs, so that means this will be the rest of his life.
Dealing with ghosts and his father, the two things he promised himself he would never deal with again.
“You okay?” Ben muttered to him, suddenly sitting by his side and Klaus tried not to jump.
“Yeah.” He responded, used to giving short under his breath responses to Ben when in a public setting.
Ben looked like he wanted to protest, wanted to push further, but Vanya chose that moment to let out a soft whimper, stirring and blinking sluggishly.
Allison was there in a moment, petting her hair back and gripping her shoulder, whispering comforting words as Vanya came back to the world of the living, tears flooding her eyes.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry. Oh my god I’m so sorry.” She rambled, hysteric as she pushed away from Allison and scrambled back, her eyes wide as she panicked.
“She’s having a panic attack.” Five observed, sounding indifferent but there was a note of concern in his voice. Klaus stood up, grabbing Allison and pulling her away.
“Let me try.” He said confidently, kneeling in front of Vanya before they could protest.
“Hey Van, I need you to look at me. Can you do that?” He asked softly, not touching her but letting her have her space. Her chest was heaving, her eyes flickering around before settling on him for a second. “It’s okay, your okay. We’re all safe, your going to be okay.” He kept up the constant stream until Vanya’s eyes finally focussed on him.
“Can you hear me?” He asked, and she nodded. “Can I hold your hand?”
Another nod. He slowly reached out, grabbing he hand and placing it on his chest.
“Breath with me now. Match my breathing.” He instructed, taking exaggerated breaths in and out. It took a while, but eventually she calmed down, her breathing back to normal and the tears no longer leaking from her eyes.
“Klaus.” She whimpered, jumping into his arms and sobbing again. He fell back onto his butt, supporting her and rubbing her back soothingly. He remembered learning how to do this at rehab, holding younger children who wanted their parents to come back and save them from the hell the place was. But this wasn’t some poor drug addicted teenager, this was his younger sister. Little Vanya who was clutching onto him.
Allison was suddenly there too, resting a hand on her sisters’ shoulder and then Vanya was diving into her arms, mumbling her sorries and apologies and Allison soothed her.
Klaus backed off, giving them space.
Diego put a hand on his shoulder. “Let’s go, Allison will explain everything to her.”
Klaus nodded, standing up and following his siblings as the exited the room silently. There was no words for them to speak, but the unspoken agreement was clear.
They were going to help her this time, no matter what it took.