He met him in a club.
He was tall, inches above Klaus, with a strong jaw and piercing blue eyes, brown hair (Klaus was always a sucker for brunettes) and light stubble across his jaw. He gave the impression that he shouldn't be in the same kind of club as Klaus, and yet there he was, and he was making a lot of eye contact with him, too.
They danced. He had bought him a drink and, surprisingly, tried to speak to him. Hadn't shoved him towards the bathroom with wandering hands like so many men do, but had spoke with him in a quiet corner of the club. It made his looks and his touches more intimate rather than sexual. They had slept together and he had been so intent on making Klaus feel good, so caring, so gentle. They had smoked a joint together in the afterglow and he had let Klaus stay the night and tried to convince him to stay for breakfast, but that was going too fast. He had told Klaus to remember his address and told him where he worked and to pop by some time.
He had been funny. He cooked great food and he didn’t turn him away when they slept together and he woke up yelling, had taken him out to multiple restaurants, taken him to clubs, drank and pretended not to notice when Klaus popped something into his mouth, and he liked to dance as much as Klaus did. He hadn’t been sure what their little thing was, for nothing official had ever been said by either of them, but it had bumped up a level when he caught Klaus sleeping on a street one night. He had taken him back to his apartment, made him shower and given him some clean clothes, and coaxed Klaus into talking. He knew, then, about the homelessness and the drug addiction soon followed, quickly opening the topic about the Umbrella Academy and his powers. And he had understood.
Klaus had never felt so incredible than when he had said that he understood. Ben might not like the way he was fine with Klaus doing drugs, but Klaus knew that there was nothing else he could do. Drugs were his best option, and now he could use them with someone there to support him and watch him safely.
He let Klaus move in and they become something official. Something more than he had ever head. Something that Klaus was scared of but all too eager to jump into. He had a roof over his head and support, someone who saw him as something other than a night of fun or a source of money. It was great.
That was then. Things changed, as things always do.
Not the support and the love, of course. That stayed, because love wasn’t something you just stopped being in, stopped feeling. Klaus just understood him a little better.
It was a little under a year since they had met.
Klaus wakes up in bed. His eyelids feel heavy, almost stiff, and he’s reminded of the fatigue that always comes with taking ecstasy. But the bed is warm and comforting beneath him, soft, the duvet over his body thick and heavy, that perfect pressure comforting on his body. The curtains are open ever so slightly to let morning light filter in. There’s an arm over his torso.
“Mornin’,” grumbles a voice heavy and thick with remnants of sleep. Klaus’ eyes slip closed and a smile adorns his face. The bed dips as he comes closer, chest pressing against his back, nose nuzzling the back of his neck.
“Good morning,” Klaus returns. The arm around his torso tightens, coaxing Klaus to shuffle back slightly, pressing his back to Ross’ chest. Ross splays his hand out across his stomach, curls his head in the crook of Klaus’ neck.
“Mhmm,” he hums. Ross chuckles, his head dipping down so his lips can catch his skin. His hand runs up and down his stomach absentmindedly, fingertips tracing the curve of his ribs as they expand with each breath. For a while they simply lay there, breathing in the morning and waking up. As is tradition, Ross moves first.
“I’m feeling breakfast,” he grunts, sitting upwards. “Go shower or something, I’ll make something.” He groans, stretching, and Klaus cracks his eyes open to watch as he slides off the bed, fair skin rippling over muscles as he fumbles to find some underwear and half-heartedly shove it on. He lingers by Klaus’ side of the bed for a moment before coming closer, leaning down and placing a hand on his cheek. Klaus smiles, pulling a hand free from his covers to rest it over his.
“I don’t know how you can look so good first thing in the morning,” Ross mutters, shaking his head. He ducks his head to catch his lips and Klaus melts forwards. The past couple weeks had been stressful for Ross with a change in his job, and therefore Ross had been stressed as well. It’s nice to see the affectionate side of him return and it feels as if the ribbon tied around his ribs has loosened slightly. He reluctantly pulls away, messing Klaus’ hair up before slipping out of the room. A minute later and Klaus hears the coffee machine in the kitchen start to buzz.
Slowly he picks himself up off the bed. His muscles ache distantly, pleasantly so, and he stretches his arms up above his head, hearing satisfying cracks and pops. He plucks the bedsheets off himself, swinging his legs over the edge of the bed, feet planting firmly on the ground.
His apartment is nice. Leagues above the places Klaus used to frequent prior to their relationship and in a nicer street, too. It’s a two bedroom apartment, with a joint kitchen and living room. The living room has floor to ceiling windows, as does the wall to the left side of the bed in the bedroom. Ross likes the place to be somewhat clean, and the place isn’t overly colourful; a matching mix of greys and whites and light blues mostly, with a splash of emerald green or ruby red here and there. The second bedroom had been transformed into a study for him and his work, his little sanctuary for when he got stressed and needed time alone, away from Klaus but in his own home. The kitchen’s always well stocked and there always seems to be natural light drifting in through the windows – the bedroom windows gets the early morning light, a soft, heavenly glow to awake to. They’re on one of the higher floors, too, so that Klaus can peer down at the people walking on the streets below and see them as little ants.
The bathroom is next to the bedroom, with a bathtub with a shower head and a large window by it that Klaus has found himself pressed against and hoping that no one looks up. There’s a painting of a lighthouse above the toilet and grey-blue towels to match his theme throughout the house. Klaus pads into the bathroom with a pair of sweatpants generously bought for him by Ross draped over his arm, and he sets it on the radiator to warm up as he reaches into the bathtub to turn on the shower and let the water warm.
As he waits, his eyes catch the mirror hanging above the sink, and he eyes himself in it. Milky skin nearly blends in with the porcelain bathtub, his dark hair a stark contrast. He still has some makeup smudged around his eyes – dark purple eyeshadow. The insides of his elbows have old and new ivory scars from needles, and his wrists have bruises on them. There are fingerprints on his hips and he traces them almost fondly, and then he turns and steps inside the shower.
Ben doesn’t like Ross. He used to, back in the beginning, back before they lived together. Now he voices his hatred of him at any and every opportunity unless it looks as if Klaus might cry because of it. Klaus doesn’t understand. Compared to the man he had stayed with for a week who had tried to murder him in his sleep twice, Ross is nothing short of a saint. The drug dealers he had slept with were way worse. The strangers Klaus can’t even remember but knows for a fact that he had mixed with were worse. Ross is marriage material.
He towels himself off from his shower before throwing on the sweatpants that hang low on his hips, gives his hair one last towel off and throws it aside in the washing basket. He finds Ross in the kitchen, standing in front of the stove. He smells bacon. He gravitates to him and curls his arms around his waist, resting his head on the back of his shoulders.
“Good to see you too,” Ross comments, twisting his neck slightly to try and catch a glimpse of him.
“Smells good,” Klaus replies, lifting his head to peer at the stove.
“You know I’m a good cook,” states Ross. Klaus hums.
“Of course I do.” His head bobs in a soft nod. Klaus presses a chaste kiss to his shoulder before slipping away. “Can I make some tea?” He asks, hands hovering over the cupboard storing the cups.
“Hm? Oh, yeah, yeah,” Ross waves his hand dismissively at him, attention on the sizzling bacon in front of him. Klaus pulls down a cup.
“Do you want one?”
“I have a coffee.” He tips his head to the steaming mug to his right and Klaus hums in acknowledgement. He boils the kettle, sets a tea bag into the cup and follows it with a teaspoon of sugar. His fingers drum over the countertop as the kettle boils, and when it’s finally made he takes it to the round dining table, crossing one leg over the other and cupping his hands around the warm mug, blowing gently across its steaming surface.
His mind is still pleasantly fuzzy from the remnants of his high, letting time slip from his fingertips only to be pulled back to reality by a hand on his shoulder and a plate sliding in front of him. Ross is used to working around his moments like these, used to Klaus’ highs and after-highs. If they’re bad, Ross is especially gentle around him, and it’s always pleasant. For once Klaus can sit back and let someone else take the wheel and take care of all the important things in life for him. And Ross seems just as happy to take care of everything else so long as Klaus lets him.
“Eat before it gets cold, Klaus,” he tells him, nudging him beneath the table. Klaus hums, sips his tea and then sets it down.
Ross is a good cook. He works as a chef in a restaurant, and Klaus gets a taste of his culinary skills daily. It’s one of his passions and Klaus loves to see the way he acts when he gets to dish out a new recipe, the way his eyes light up with praise.
Klaus picks at his food until his plate is finished and he takes it to the sink, setting it inside and running the hot water. Ross sets a hand on the small of his back, other hand holding out his plate. “I’m gonna go get dressed quickly,” he says, and rewards Klaus with a kiss on the cheek when he takes his plate to clean it.
“Mind if I lock the door?” He asks upon his return, dressed in his uniform and throwing his coat on. Klaus glances at him over his shoulder and turns the water off. He shrugs. It was dark and dreary when he peered out the window anyway, so he doesn’t see why there’s a reason he would need to leave.
“I don’t mind,” he says. Ross nods, hurries close to settle a hand on his hip and catch his bottom lip between his. When he pulls back, he rests a hand over his cheek and Klaus tilts his hand into it.
“I’ll be back later. Call if you need anything.” And with that, he takes his leave for work. Klaus hears the door lock. Ben doesn’t like the fact that he locks Klaus in. Klaus doesn’t care. There’s no reason for him to be outside, and it’s not as if Ross locks him in the apartment every day.
“Did you ask about that spare key?” Ben asks, as he’s prone to. He doesn’t talk much when Ross is around.
“Not yet. You know he’s been busy.” Ben huffs his acknowledgement.
“I know,” he mutters. Finished with the two plates, Klaus returns to the living room. There’s a little box sitting on the coffee table and he reaches inside, pulling out a lighter and a pre-made joint which props between his lips as he lights it.
He doesn’t need to leave the house when everything he needs is here. Occasionally Ross will smoke with him, but he never does anything more than weed. There’s a drawer in their bedroom that holds the drugs that give Klaus a real high, though, when he needs to chase away the ghosts or the itch in his veins.
Ross once said he likes to see him high. Said he’s like some over excited, docile puppy. He’s always desperate for touch when he’s high, in whatever way he can get it, and Ross likes to chuckle when Klaus lays himself over his lap and moans when fingers run through his hair.
Unless he had been going out with the intent to get high and to party, the highs Klaus had were never overly intense. Not as he built up his tolerance, anyway. When he first started they had been, and the heavier drugs still do whether he wants them to or not, but typically he didn’t take them for that limb-shaking, jaw-grinding, mind-melting, lay-on-the-floor-for-six-hours-because-it-feels-like-heaven, blink-and-he’s-suddenly-in-a-field-and-there’s-no-fields-in-a-city kind of high.
He’d once hung out with a group of people and taken something he thought he knew about, but woke up half way across the city two days later with no recollection of anything and with completely different people. So he had gravitated away from high-high’s, despite the enjoyable ride. That is until he knew he could be safe around Ross, have someone to make sure he doesn’t chew up the inside of his cheeks and keeps him in the same place and complies with whatever high-Klaus wants, whether it’s ridiculous food cravings or scalding baths or scalp massages or sex or tight, restraining hugs beneath seven heavy blankets.
Ben doesn’t like it. Klaus, of course, does. He gets the high out of his highs again and gets to be told that someone loves him.
He smokes one joint out and flicks the remaining butt out of a window, letting it drop on the head of someone unfortunate enough to be walking on the street below at the wrong time, and then he closes the window and turns on the television instead.
“Maybe we should travel,” Ben says, settled on an adjacent armchair.
“Where would we even go?” Klaus asks. “We’ve not left the city. Like, at all.”
Ben shrugs. “Wherever. Could try Europe. Asia.”
“Ghost Bro’s world tour?” Klaus questions. Ben scoffs, a rare smile tilting his lips upwards. “I mean, it’d be nice. Get out of this shitty rat-hole for a while. I don’t think it’s in our budget.”
“What is in our budget?” Ben asks.
“Meth.” Upon the look he receives, Klaus snickers, a small smirk stealing his lips. He picks at a thread in his sweatpants. “Ah, I kid, I kid. But meth is in our budget.” He rises to his feet, slipping into the bedroom and sliding open a certain drawer and eying the contents. His fingers dance over his options before settling on one small bag of which he plucks into his grasp and carries gently into the kitchen. He crushes the contents slightly with a rolling pin, pulls a glass down from the cupboard and then eyes the fridge’s contents. He finds a can of redbull, pours it into the cup, and then he opens the baggie and pours some of it out slowly, weighing out the perfect amount. Then he brushes it into his glass of redbull and swirls it, watching the little crystals and dust dissolve as he returns the bag to its place in the drawer.
“So early in the morning,” Ben chastises. “You never thought of having orange juice or something? Start your day with a jog?”
“Why would I do that when I can exercise my mind?” He retorts, taking a sip. “It passes time. Don’t be so bitter; you’d love it, I’m sure.”
Ben snorts. “I don’t think so,” he replies with a roll of his eyes. Klaus simply grins in return and sips it, pacing himself slowly until his head feels fuzzy and the cup is eventually empty. He sets it down and sprawls out on the couch. He has a moment to think about turning the television on and turning it to the music channel to fill the silence of the apartment, and then he closes his eyes and lets himself feel as if he’s falling through the couch.
The door creaks open. Klaus, still ever so slightly high and prolonging it with the occasional joint and perhaps sticking a wet finger into the bag of finely crushed crystals to rub a little extra into his gums (occasionally he gets the feeling of the high wearing off when it isn’t, and it always strikes such depression into him and not even in fear of the ghosts returning but in fear of not feeling so great) lifts his head off the couch cushions, blinking wide eyes.
“Hey there, darling,” greets Ross, closing and locking the door behind him. He sets his bag aside, kicks off his shoes and hangs up his coat. Klaus grins.
“Welcome home,” he returns. Ross flicks the lights on with a raised eyebrow and then he comes close, crouching in front of Klaus and taking his face in his hands.
“So high already, babe,” he comments, brushing a thumb over his cheekbone. Klaus snickers.
“Yeah… I am,” he murmurs, pulling a hand free from its place pinned between his stomach and the couch cushions so he reach out and touch Ross’ hand.
“Have you eaten anything since breakfast?” He asks, letting go of Klaus and drifting to the bedroom where he knows he’s changing out of his uniform. Klaus rests his head back down.
“Mmm… had a snack. Didn’t trust myself to cook like this,” he states. Ross laughs softly, hearty and deep, and he reappears from the bedroom in sweatpants and a loose shirt.
“Smart idea,” he replies. Klaus laughs slightly, nodding his head. “I’ll cook something later for us, I didn’t have dinner there.”
“Gotta keep that shape, love,” Klaus murmurs. Ross snorts, and then a hand nudges him gently, then hooks under him to lift his upper body so that Ross can slide into the space and lay Klaus out across his lap instead. His fingers run through his hair in a way that makes a shiver run down Klaus’ spine. He turns his head to rest his forehead against his stomach and listens to Ross flick through channels on the television. “How’s work?” He asks, peering up at him. Ross spares a quick glance at him.
“It was fine. Pretty busy for a Monday if you ask me, honestly, I thought they’d make me work overtime. Knew I had to get back to my little lap puppy, though,” Ross says. Klaus’ eyebrows furrow.
“We don’t have a puppy,” he mumbles.
“I’m talking about you, silly.”
Klaus pauses. “Oh.” Considering their current position, Klaus can’t object. Ross laughs.
“You know I love you, hm?” His free hand runs down Klaus’ arm, ghosting over places where they both know were, at one point, blossoming with bruises. A shiver runs down Klaus’ spine. He picks Klaus’ hand up and brings his bruised wrist to his lips.
“I know,” he says. Ross interlaces their fingers together.
They sit like that for a while. Klaus rides his high out pleasantly, hardly moving an inch from his place sprawled out across the couch and Ross’ lap, and Ross watches the television while playing with his hair. Eventually, he peels them apart, going to cook them something in the kitchen. Klaus turns so he can see the television with this moment of clarity in his high, arms wrapped around himself.
He doesn’t know what channel it’s on. He hardly processes the words being said, not until Ben waves his hand in his face and points at the television. He rubs his eyes, scrutinising the screen.
Eccentric billionaire and creator of the Umbrella Academy, Reginald Hargreeves, passed away last night…
“Oh,” breathes Klaus, sitting up slightly. It shows a picture of Reginald next to a picture of him with all of them (sans Vanya) on one of their missions as kids. “Oh, shit. Shit.”
“You alright Klaus?” Calls Ross from the kitchen. He hears him set something down on the counter before his footsteps come close.
“My dad’s dead,” Klaus says, clawing back some sobriety, enough to think about it in a quick second. Ross stands behind the couch, reaching out a hand to set on his shoulder, looking for his own words of comfort. Klaus just reaches a hand up to take his, eyes fixated on the screen.