Klaus knows he’s a terrible human being.
It’s really simple math, to be honest. You just have to take Reginald Hargreeves into the picture and add seven little kids, with powers that could kill grown men and possibly - now 100% confirmed, thanks to Vanya - cause the apocalypse of the world. Then you multiply mental abuse by seven, and voilà you have some fucked-up kids, with no knowledge how to properly socialize with each other and the rest of the world as well.
So, Klaus knows he's a fucked up person because that's all he was ever taught to be.
And instead of learning, trying to grow as a person, he turned to drugs, torturing his body, mind and dead brother in the process.
God, no matter what Ben says, he has hated Klaus every second he was high, every time he had to watch him spiral into madness, unable to do just anything.
And Klaus knew that it broke his dead brother, every time he popped a pill or tried to kill himself, with no regard to his own life. Klaus knew, that Ben suffered because of it, hated him and the world for it. That Ben was reminded of his own death and how he's nothing but air now, whenever he has to see Klaus overdose.
He knows just how much Ben suffers, even if he doesn't understand it fully. But despite knowing just how much his brother hurt from it, Klaus kept continuing his flight down to madness into death anyway.
He hurt his brother knowingly and didn't stop, not even once.
And it was so simple for him as well, because as long as he was high emotions like guilt didn't affect him as much when he was sober. It was always so easy to let go, to just forget.
Forget that Ben was there, judging him.
Klaus knows he is a terrible human being. But above that?
He's the worst brother there is.
That's why he decides to keep his distance from Ben, the moment they are 13 again and Ben's alive.
He has to stay sober first, get better before he could face his favorite brother.
He owns Ben that much.
That's why when...
"Klaus, wanna g-"
"Sorry Ben, I gotta do something really important today."
With those words Klaus runs out of the living room, not wanting to stay there.
Not wanting to hear-
"... He left again."
He knows ignoring Ben isn't a good idea, but right now, it is everything he has.
The truth is, he is just so damn scared.
"This sucks," he mumbles, sitting in his room and staring at the ceiling.
The ghosts are really vocal in telling him just how much they hate him, and he gets it. He does, and it fucking sucks.
It's not like he doesn't understand, it's not like he's never seen himself in a mirror and thought, God I'm horrible.
Looking at those ghosts is like looking at the reminders of his past, of his mistakes and dreams, of the things he could never pray for.
You don't beg for forgiveness, for life, when you die.
You beg for anything you that you lost after dying.
It's so terrifying dull once you're dead, and he knows, because he died. He lost his breath, his reality, and his steadiness once, and it was enough to tremble in fear of what wasn't there.
But, God, he wanted it so bad. He desired that dullness wanted it more than the terrors of the undead, the wailing of the forgotten and the gentle touches of the unseen.
Klaus has never hated life, but he never loved it enough to keep it.
But Ben did, he loves being alive again, feeling and needing and wanting.
And Klaus can’t let him lose it once again, so he has to find a good way to keep Ben alive.
He thinks about it for days, which he spends avoiding his favorite brother and living through training. Then he comes up with an idea, which could possibly fail, but he can't think of anything else, so he'll take it.
At nighttime, when everyone's in their bedroom, Klaus lies on his bed with a knife in the hand.
Klaus realizes, that talking to God about Ben's death, would be a good idea.
Pros: God's words are a guarantee, possibility of gaining information about Ben's death and lastly, if he doesn't die, he has a new ability. Yay!
Cons: He might actually die.
Well, he'd just have to haunt Ben, if that's the case.
At first, he wanted to use pills and just overdose, but the problem is, that it never worked before. He has never seen God, when he overdosed and he assumes, the reason is that he wasn't sober all those times. Which was the second issue. He's trying to stay sober, so he can't fuck that up.
The knife he stole from the kitchen would probably do the job.
Of course, just ramming a knife into his chest isn't a smart idea, he knows there are risks, but for Ben, he'd gladly take them.
He breathes in - and then shoves the knife right into his heart.
You see above excellence at some point, beyond the ordinary and the scared. The fearless and the forgotten.
Klaus wakes up to something differently else than a landscape.
The ceiling is filled with chandeliers and paintings of the stars, and when he finally sits up, he figures out, that he’s in a ballroom.
“This…,” he mumbles, unsure where the hell he is.
“There you go,” a voice speaks behind him, and he turns around, his eyes widening.
“Who… are you?”
There’s a young man staring at him with a small smile. He’s wearing a flower crown made out of… he actually doesn’t know, but the flowers are orange and really pretty.
“If you want to know who I am, you shall have to learn where you are.”
Klaus blinks and looks around. This definitely isn’t heaven, or he’d most likely have been having another conversation with God right now. But he died, right?
Then, if he's dead and not in heaven… oh.
“Is this Hell?”
The man nods. “Correct - though I suppose we don’t really call it Hell here.”
“What do you call it then?” If Hell isn’t Hell, then what is Hell? What is that place?
“I’d like to keep it as a secret for now, but don’t worry, you’ll know in due time, Kiddo .”
Klaus nods as well, although more uncertain. He’s not sure what’s really going anymore, but he’s here with a goal - well, even if this wasn’t his desired destination, maybe the man could help him.
“Uh… Sa…” He stops talking, realizing something. He doesn’t how to address the man. Devil? Satan? Lucifer?
“...Actually none of those. Call me however you want though, for I don’t own a name.”
Klaus nods slowly.
So he gotta think of a name for the devil. Cool, he’ll do that when he has time.
“But I think you came here for a reason?”
He’s interrupted by music filling the room, and before he knows it, there a thousand of people of dancing around, and moving in the halls, hiding the devil or whoever from his sight.
“What the fuck,” Klaus mumbles, trying to go through the crowd, but then he realizes something.
All people are adorned by wounds and rotten skin - they are dead.
He narrows his eyes, and then-
“What in the-”
He wakes up in his bed, knife clutched in his hand and shirt ripped, both covered in dried blood.
But his chest looked perfectly okay.
Klaus closes his eyes and sighs in resignation.
He wanted to talk with God but meet the Devil instead.
“...I should go wash this off,” he mutters, standing up, feeling rather tired.
“The flowers are called orange lilies, little one.”
Later, when he looks up the meaning of the flower in the library, he scoffs.
Hatred, pride, and disdain.
Avoiding Ben isn't easy.
Avoiding Ben when Five finds out you're avoiding Ben is downright impossible.
He knew this would eventually happen because no matter how much Five would scoff and say he could give zero fucks about feelings and them, he'd be the first one to fight a whole nation for them.
Heck, he got a job as time assassin and stopped the fucking apocalypse for them. Five's a small psycho with a heart made out of marshmallows, because that little bitch only eats those goddamn sandwiches, instead of actual healthy food.
That said, even though Klaus knew, his heart wasn’t ready for this few minutes of shock, because Five’s ability has always freaked the fuck out of him. He just comes out of nowhere, either to fuck your whole existence up or to tell you dinner’s ready.
“You’re avoiding Ben,” he states because Five only comes for what he wants to know and nothing else. No hellos or goodbyes.
And really, Klaus could play it off, try to lie his way out, but it wouldn’t work, not on Five.
“Yeah,” he mumbles back.
There’s no point in denying it anymore. Klaus knows how to manipulate people, but he also knows how it feels to be manipulated. He was manipulated his whole childhood by his wonderful father, Sir Reginald Hargreeves, after all.
He also knows that Five knows how to manipulate people.
And the thing is, Five might hesitate when it’s another sibling (he would still end up doing it though), but he has no such boundaries with Klaus.
Because contrary to belief, both of them to get along well. Or used to. Klaus’ isn’t so sure anymore.
And there is a simple reason for it.
Both got what they wanted back then by being manipulative. Of course, they got along with Allison well, because she also was pretty cunning, but…
a) She kept to Luther mostly.
b) She actually didn’t mind their father as much as every number above four - Four obviously included.
c) Allison always didn’t like being manipulative or considered herself so (her views changed through the years, perks of trying to get the custody of your daughter), whilst Five and Klaus embraced it because ultimately it was a good trait to have.
An advantage against others, if he might say so.
So, Klaus and Five got along well, because they understood. There’s also their mutual hate of their father, but then again, which sibling - except maybe Luther - didn’t hate their father to some extent? Exactly, none.
Five nods. “Why are you avoiding him?”
That’s also a reason why he got along with Five. Any other sibling would have cursed him to hell for admitting, that he deliberately harmed someone (as if they never did that).
But Five? Five was used to see every corner of a situation, for a great solution to a problem, that would perfectly work without any flaws.
He asked, instead of assuming, and that’s why they got along.
That’s also why he told him.
After their talk, both of them went down for dinner, Klaus avoiding everyone’s eyes and Five looking unsettled about something.
“Are you okay?” asks Ben. No matter how much he avoided him, Ben never ceased to ask. God, Klaus didn’t deserve any of that kindness.
He nods, unable to speak out. If he’d open his mouth, he would confess and that’s the last thing he wants to happen at the moment.
He can hear Five sighs, and he knows. He knows.
Their father comes down and the start eating, trying their best to be silent.
Dinner passes fast, and Klaus wants to go.
But he can’t. He can’t.
His father is staring at him, something indecipherable in his eyes.
“Number Four,” he speaks, and Ben stops moving beside him, “stay.”
Five places a hand on Ben’s shoulder, and both leave.
Klaus knows what’s going to happen.
“I fear it’s been a while since extra training.”
God must really, really hate him.
He walks into the mausoleum and stares at the dark, which is welcoming him in. Ghosts are already screaming upon feeling his presence, and the door closes behind him with the words, “I await great progress.”
He looks to the corner where water bottles are standing.
There it lays, in its silver glory.
A fucking knife.
There’s no way, that he doesn’t know what this means.
His father knew.
Reginald fucking Hargreeves knew about his other ability.
“I await great progress.”
He stares at the knife with horror.
Though Klaus knows, if he’ll let it be, his father probably would shove that thing himself into his chest.
He crawls to the corner and stares at the knife, as he picks it up. A thousand regrets are screaming at him.
Maybe God will be around this time?
“I don’t get it? There’s no reason he would ignore me…”
Five sighs. “Ben, you’re not seeing it from his perspective? Didn’t you spend over 10 years with him or something?”
Ben narrows his eyes. “I did, which is why I’m so concerned.”
This was getting out of hand. He was planning on having Ben fix the situation because Klaus clearly wouldn’t do it himself.
So, he dragged Ben with him to Klaus’ room, determined to wait for their medium brother, so both could talk it out.
But Ben wasn’t the same demure kid anymore. No, instead, he asked Five what the hell he wanted and why they were in Klaus’ room. Five knew, that Ben already figured it out, and that the question was just a way out.
But Five was stubborn, so he told him right away, what the hell he wanted.
“You’re clearly not getting it, Ben,” he mutters.
“You had to ask him yourself to get it, so shut it,” Ben snapped.
Five blinks, before he shakes his head. “At least I tried.”
That shuts them both up.
The silence goes on for around a half hour, before Five asks, what is lingering on his mind.
“When is that idiot coming back anyway?”
“Stop calling him an idiot. Also, it’s going to take him hours not minutes, he’s having extra training.”
Five rolls his eyes. “I figured that already out. But how many hours? Three? Five?”
That’s when it’s oddly silent, and he looks at Ben, who’s staring at the ground.
“Days,” he whispers quietly, before sighing, “it’s going to take him days probably.”
“Ah, you again.”
Klaus smirks. “Is that the disappointment I hear?”
He lucked out apparently because he ended up with God instead of the devil.
“Of course it is,” she mutters back.
Of course, it is.
“So, why did you return?”
And he knows she knows, so he says it as it is.
“Ben will die, right?”
“As do all living things, kid.”
He walks a few steps closer to her and narrows his eyes.
“Little girl, we both know, he doesn’t deserve to die.”
She shakes her head. “No, we don’t.”
He scoffs at that. “Please, Ben’s like really kind and does not deserve any of the treatment he got.”
“But you were the cause of most of it, weren’t you?”
He nods. “I know, that’s why I’m here.”
God smirks at him. “So, you’ll go for him?”
“Exactly,” Klaus says, smirking back at God, “you know I’ve wanted that for years anyway.”
“So, his actions should be not condoned?”
“The people he killed? Well, he’ll have to live with it, so…”
“No, kid, that’s not what I mean.”
He blinks in confusion.
“You see, by your logic, every one of your siblings should be dead.”
“Everyone but you, and maybe that rumor girl. I mean you two are the only ones that tried to get better so far, right? Thus you deserve it.”
“That doesn’t make sense! Also, this is some fucking weird conclusion to what I said! And Ben got better, he had to die for it, bu...”
God stares at him and Klaus shuts up. Something in her eyes is unnerving him.
“Did he really?”
He wakes up with a gasp and only seconds later the door to the mausoleum opens and his father’s cold eyes stare at him. His father is smiling and Klaus can feel his world fall apart.
“Excellent work, Number Four,” he praises.
The ghosts are wailing and Klaus feels like joining them.
The knife is frigid in his grip and he knows he’s fucked up.
“Now stand up, Number Four. We have a lot of work ahead of us.”
He wants to scream.
No one is making any sense anymore.
“You mean to tell me, that he gets caged in a mausoleum for training?!”
Five is currently pacing around Klaus’ room, trying to make sense out of all that new information. God, this would explain so much.
“Wait, how did we never no-”
“Because none of you cared enough about him,” Ben interrupts him, sending chills down Five’s back.
“This can’t be,” Five whispers, eyes wide, “this just… and you cared enough?”
Ben scoffs. “Of course I did. I was there, wasn’t I?”
“Exactly. If you weren’t dead, would you have cared?”
Ben stops and blinks. “Without hesitation.”
“I don’t think you would,” Five tells him and Ben feels like punching him.
He’s strapped to a chair and he does not enjoy the scenario.
There’s a shitton of chemicals, and Klaus knows, no one of those is nonlethal.
“Do I have to do this,” he asks, even though he already knows the answer.
“Don’t be foolish, Number Four. This is a great opportunity.”
He holds a syringe in his hand.
“Don’t get me wrong. Of course, you’d care for him. We all do.” Five sit down on Klaus’ bed, sighing once again. “But you know him, he’d never tell us. You also only found out because you died, right?”
Ben wants to speak up and say something, wants to start an argument. But he knows Five is right.
“And that’s the thing, Ben - you wouldn’t have cared, because to us, Klaus was always that skinny, pale, fidgety and creepy sibling, everyone loved to ignore at the best times.”
Ben hates how right Five is.
He loathes it.
“So, Klaus would grow up, and you’d be just like the others Ben - you wouldn’t notice, because that’s normal Klaus behavior as far as you’re concerned.”
Ben glares at Five. “What if I wouldn’t behave like that, what then? You don’t have a guarantee.”
“But I do,” Five responds, and blinks, “you did it once already.”
“I mean, you pretty much didn’t notice how the others were doing - understandably, some of that wasn’t your fault, but you assumed. Probably heard that Allison was getting famous and assumed the rest was doing well too. Which is why you focused so much on Klaus. Must have been horrible being there, and processing that what Klaus went through wasn’t normal…”
Then Five stares into his eyes and Ben can feel the temperature sink.
“... and because it wasn’t normal, you had to correct Klaus. So, that he could live just like the others, all fine and dandy. So, that you could feel all fine and dandy because finally, he fit in.”
Five vanishes into his room and Ben stays there for half an hour before he can’t bear being in Klaus’ room anymore.
He wakes up and scans his area, before remembering what happened yesterday.
Ah, right - his father found out.
His father killed him.
Fucking killed him, and just five minutes later, after a lovely chat with God, he came back to his father’s smile.
And then he got killed again and again until his father nodded.
“Tomorrow I’ll be back with something else. Well done, Number Four.”
And then he had to stay the night whoever the hell he is.
Vanya stares at the empty chair beside Ben before she looks up and asks, “Where’s Klaus?”
Ben shakes his head and looks down.
What the heck?
So, she turns to Five, but he’s glaring at the wall and honestly, she doesn’t know what happened this time, but Klaus is missing.
They eat breakfast and their father doesn’t comment on Klaus’ absence, so it’s probably training.
What was his training again?
Actually, did she ever ask?
A gun and he wakes up to the devil’s eyes boring into him.
“Kiddo, you’re here a lot of times. That’s pretty concerning.”
Klaus blinks. “You don’t know?”
“That’s in her skill set, I just look after people who royally fuck up.”
“Then you should know,” Klaus mutters.
“They are dead usually, Kiddo.”
“Well, I’m too.”
“Yeah, but you don’t stay dead, you never do, Kiddo.”
And he wakes up, shot wounds gone and a very, happy father.
A happy father is never a good sign.
Ben stares at his book.
He knows he cares about Klaus. How could he not? That man was his brother and best friend, the only friend he ever had.
And yes Klaus can be an idiot, but Ben knows Klaus would move the stars for his siblings if he has to. Or at least try.
But Ben knows who he used to be.
Quiet, following orders around and trying so hard to be a part.
He’s changed, but has he really?
Just because he talks back now and tells people off if he doesn’t like something?
How much has he really changed?
How much are his fears holding him right now?
The dead were never supposed to feel fear, but he’s alive now, isn’t he?
Luther stares at the empty chair beside Ben before he looks up and asks, “Where’s Klaus?”
Five turns his head.
No one answers.
But Luther still wonders, a horrible feeling setting in his stomach.
Klaus looks at the red and orange colors.
The red and oranges colors of the fire.
“Quiet down and don’t stop moving, Number Four!”
What the actual fuck?
There’s no way he’ll survive that!
“Am I dead for real,” he asks God, who’s sipping something from a cup.
“As if I’d keep you here, Brat.”
Ah, he survived getting burned to ashes. Neat.
Five narrows his eyes, looking at the equations on the board.
He can’t concentrate.
Dolores would be laughing at him if she could see him right now.
He’s not in the wrong.
Allison and Diego stare at the empty chair beside Ben before both look up and Diego asks, “Is Klaus still not back?
Five closes his eyes and Ben sighs.
“Will we get an answer?” Allison looks at them, eyes narrowed.
They have been bothering those two about it for the last three days, and not once has anyone of those two bothered to answer.
They still keep quiet.
Allison shakes her head.
He always loved being underwater, so drowning didn’t seem that bad.
But then Klaus realized, that there’s a difference between knowing you can come up to get breath if needed, and your father pressing you down, refusing to let go until you breathe your last breath.
Well, for the next three minutes or so. He’ll be fine. Probably.
“Hello, your neighbor friendly un-dead kid here.”
The devil blinks at him.
“I’m really concerned now, Kiddo.”
“Don’t worry,” Klaus responds, grinning, “this is totally normal.”
Five gives up.
He’s an asshole, he knows.
“Ben, I shouldn’t have said that stuff,” he speaks, standing in front of the other’s room.
He gets no response and he knows better than to jump in.
So, with a sigh, he turns around and walks away. He’ll try tomorrow again.
Klaus is currently getting buried.
He doesn’t know how to feel this, and neither do the ghosts in the area, who are screaming about him being a self-centered asshole and stealing their resting place.
Not that he’s going to stay there, but he supposes, they still don’t know that.
“Brat, aren’t you getting tired yet?”
“I am, but my Father’s not, so here I am.”
God sighs before she puts down her cup. “Idiot.”
He grins before he remembers what he wanted to ask.
“The things you said about Ben that one time…”
She shakes her head.
“You have already figured it out. Don’t ask useless questions.”
The devil would have been more fun.
Why is he here again?
Ah, right. Got killed. Suffocation is no fun.
He leaves with a swap of his hand and God blinks.
“The idiot still hasn’t figured it out, huh?”
Ben looks up from the ground, sighing before he speaks up.
“Klaus is having extra training.”
Everyone looks at him, but at that moment Pogo comes.
“Your father won’t be able to attend due issues, so you may start without him.”
His father always attended.
There were never, ever issues when Klaus was at extra training.
Pogo leaves and Ben stares at his plate. He can’t eat.
God, what is happening to Klaus?
He glances to Five, who’s staring back at him.
After dinner, the siblings gather in Five’s room, who has pretty much tampered with the cameras.
“What? Got nothing more?”
Klaus knows that’s not true.
“Number Four, move to the next room.”
Klaus doesn’t want to know what else could possibly happen to him.
“For today, I have prepared something different.”
Klaus is convinced that Reginald fucking Hargreeves is insane beyond his years.
“... a mausoleum?”
Vanya’s eyes are filled with horror and understand.
He nods, before looking at the others. They all seem shaken up.
“Why didn’t you say anything,” Luther mumbles and everyone looks at Five.
Ben answers instead. “Because I didn’t tell him until five days ago, and then we got into an argument.”
They don’t have time for this.
But then they hear the front door open.
And there’s talking before-
Grace walks into Five’s room a frown on her face instead of a smile.
“Children, your father and Klaus are back, bu-”
Ben runs past her into the living room.
And what the fuck.
Klaus body is on the ground, full of holes.
He hears a gasp and knows his siblings are behind him.
“What… what happened,” asks Luther, unable to stare away from Klaus’ body.
“I fear I miscalculated something in his training, but it should eventually improve itself.”
Five blinks. “What the hell could possibly get better?”
“Now, Number Five, where are your manners.”
Their father cares more about Five’s manners upon seeing their dead brother.
Their father doesn’t care about their dead brother.
“When is… he going to come back?” Ben asks, glancing at their father.
“Be-” Allison speaks, only to get interrupted by their Klaus.
Klaus, who was sitting up, taking a big breath.
Most of his wounds are gone.
“That’s not…,” then he trails off, upon noticing them. “Oh, hi, I guess? It’s been…. four days or something?”
Ben walks up to him, helps him from the ground, and walks away, ignoring their father’s protests.
They had to fucking talk, without anyone else.
He said without anyone else, but he forgot that Five could teleport.
Five raises an eyebrow.
Klaus glances at Ben, who’s bandaging his wounds.
“What happened, Klaus?” He asks, searching for the disinfection spray, only to have Five hand it to him.
“Tell me. Now .”
“... I got killed by Daddy dearest. More than once even. Fun times!”
Ben closes his eyes and Five drops the bottle.
But something doesn’t add up.
“I bet you something.”
“If I can get the devil involved, you’ll spare Ben.”
She raises an eye.
“You do know, that he has a strict no-intervention policy?”
“Yeah, but he loves me. Unlike you.”
She rolls his eyes.
Klaus smiles at her.
Then she sighs.
“Alright, try your best.”
He wakes up alive and stares at his father.
“Can I have a break?”
“... Very well, after one more try.”
This is all he’ll get, so he takes it.
But something feels off?
“So… he killed you over and over… and you met God? Or the devil?” Five stares at him, concern but also disbelief painted on his face.
“Both, I met both of them. Though I like Devil more!”
Five doesn’t want to know, why his medium brother likes the devil more. He doesn’t.
“He… didn’t hesitate once?”
It’s Ben who asks, fire in his eyes.
Klaus shakes his head and Ben stands up, dropping the medical kit on the floor.
Ben storms out of the room, and Klaus doesn’t follow him, a knowing gaze on his face.
“... and because it wasn’t normal, you had to correct Klaus. So, that he could live just like the others, all fine and dandy. So, that you could feel all fine and dandy because finally, he fit in.”
Was Five wrong?
“Klaus,” he speaks up, startling the other, “in the past timeline, did Ben ever seem rude or distant?”
Is he wrong?
“He was dead, Five. He’s a distant as you could have gotten.”
“I know, but I meant, did he ever seem distant towards you?”
“Of course,” Klaus says, and Five wants to sigh in relief, but then, “but he knew when I was alive and when I wasn’t. Can’t say the same thing about the others.”
Five doesn’t know what feels worse to him.
Him getting it wrong or no one realizing that their brother died more than once.
Everyone stares at their father, sitting on his chair, eating without care.
“Alright, I’ll help you.”
“Wait, what? Really?”
“Yes, but only if you can bring me another soul in exchange for your brother’s.”
“Though it can’t be yours, Kiddo.”
Klaus sighs before he nods.
He’ll have to do it the harder way then.
He doesn’t know how he’ll kill him, but apparently, someone else already thought about that.
Their father’s body drops on the floor and everyone stops eating and stares in shock at him.
Then Five sighs. “I thought it would take longer.”
“Five…, “ he speaks but trails off.
Five smiles and glances towards Ben and Klaus.
“I apologize for saying careless things.”
Klaus doesn’t really get what Five means with that, but he fucking loves the fact, that everyone’s letting their father rot on the ground.
“Should I clean up,” Mom asks, looking at the corpse.
“There you go!”
“Neat. See you another time, Kiddo.”
“Sorry for avoiding you, Benny,” he mumbles.
“Why did you even do it?”
“... Felt horrible…”
Both were sitting on the couch.
“... I feel horrible too a lot of times, so it’s okay.”
Both know they mean different things, but it’s fine.
Their siblings are arguing about what to do with the mansion.
“Benny rhymes with Kenny?”
"A Benny for your thoughts, Ben?"
"... You're irritating."