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when i leave (don't save my seat)

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The first time he overdoses after Ben dies, his brother’s with him the whole way. Calling him an idiot, cussing him out, trying fruitlessly to grab the pills out of his hand, the needle from his veins.

It’s annoying as fuck, to be honest. He just wants to know—just wants to get high. High enough that the rest of the world falls away.

And he does, and it does. For a while.

But the world comes back, or maybe he’s the one returning, and Ben’s still there beside him, still trying to touch him, and god Klaus needs a drink.

The second time, Ben asks. Begs, almost, for Klaus to just—not. To not hurt himself, to not leave him alone, to not be such a goddamn wuss.

But Klaus wouldn’t be Klaus if he let himself give a shit, so he closes his eyes and hums to block the noise and after a while, he dies. Only a little, but he dies.

It’s not on purpose, exactly. It’s just—he wants to get high. Higher. He wants to fucking soar, just take off and leave everyone and everything behind, leave himself behind.  And if it kills him, well, don’t all the strongest medications have side effects?

The third time, Ben just stares hollowly. Scowls as Klaus loses consciousness, and keeps it up once Klaus is back. “You son of a bitch,” he says flatly, dead eyes gleaming. “Sometimes I think you do this just to rub it in. Do you know what I’d give to—and there you are, just throwing yourself away. Over and over. And it never lasts. Why do you get to—”

Ben cuts himself off, looking sick and ashamed—a ghost spooking itself, Klaus thinks with a snort, but it’s not really very funny.

“Oh, Benny,” Klaus sighs, almost forgetting himself enough to reach out, try to brush his fingers against his brother’s sleeve. He’s got no answers for any of it, aside from the universe being a fucking nightmare, but he can at least reassure him on one point. “When I do this, it’s got nothing to do with you at all.”

And it’s even sort of true.

The fourth time Klaus overdoses on his watch, Ben bites out pissy words, echoes some of dear old Dad’s sweeter sentiments, but there’s no energy to it. No conviction, Dad would say disapprovingly, cane hitting the floor like punctuation, like punishment. Come, Number Six, you must have a spine in there somewhere, boy!

Klaus dies giggling. Probably more of a gurgle by the end, but he thinks he might still be laughing when he jolts back to life.

He gets a high five from the EMT—takes a bit of coaxing, but Klaus can be persuasive about the little things—and turns to include Ben in the joke.

But Ben’s not around.

For a moment, Klaus goes still—he doesn’t blink, doesn’t breathe. And then something icy washes over him, a chill like the ones people talk about in ghost stories, only in the stories people shiver because the ghosts are there.

Klaus breathes out, bares his teeth at the EMT and hopes it looks like a smile.

So. So. Mission accomplished, Number Four, well done indeed. It’s hysterical, really, and Klaus laughs until he chokes on it.

(There’s a next time, of course. Ben chats with him casually as the world goes gray at the edges, picks up where he left off when Klaus’ heart does the same. Shakes his head when Klaus gets another high five, this one a double.

“You’re a real piece of work, you know that?” Ben asks, halfway between resignation and irritation. Klaus rolls his eyes—no, you don’t say—and Ben snorts unwillingly, and that’s that, really. Nothing more to it.

And Klaus, Klaus is cold.)