The last time Five had celebrated his birthday, he and his siblings had turned thirteen.
They were never really allowed to celebrate birthdays in their home. Their father insisted it was a waste of time, but their mother, who was programmed with all the knowledge about children their father did not possess, insisted on doing something, as she stated it was good for their mental development. Five secretly agreed – more free time meant more time to work on his equations on time travel. So he could finally get them out of this place.
October 1 2002 had been a Tuesday, and so, Diego still had to endure his special training, much to his rage. Five had felt sorry for him, and had suggested they all go to Griddy’s once their father had gone to bed. He was met with little resistance, even from Luther, surprisingly. They had gone that night, and Five had had a genuinely good time. He had dragged Vanya along by her hand, despite her weak, unsure protests, and they had all sat at the largest booth and tried to be quiet because of the late time but had failed. He and Diego had eaten doughnuts until they threw up, Klaus had laughed so hard at them milk came out of his nose and Ben had tried to act like he was embarrassed but couldn’t hide a smile. Allison and Luther had watched on with matching grins, and even Vanya had a small smile on her face as Five goaded her into trying a donut.
That was one of his last clear memories before he accidentally flung himself into hell.
He didn’t celebrate another birthday after that one, as he had no method of keeping the date in the barren wasteland of the apocalypse. He had tried to, at first, but had given up quickly after realising that there were a lot more important things to do in order to keep himself alive. So he could go back.
Sometimes, when the weather began to get colder after a long stretch of blistering heat, he wondered if it was October 1st yet. He would wonder how old he was. He would wonder how old his siblings would be. At least 30, that was all he knew. At least 30, and then it turned to at least 40, then at least 50. He never stopped thinking about them. What would they be doing on their birthday? He liked to think they would all go to Griddy’s again, but he knew that was a fantasy.
When the Handler had first come to him, he had asked how long he had been in the apocalypse, and she had told him 43 years. He didn’t really have any evidence to disprove this, so he just decided she was right. It had felt like 43,000 years. His siblings would have been 72. 72 years old. The thought just seemed so absurd. They were forever immortalised in his memory as 13 year olds, and as cold, ash coloured bodies lying in the rubble.
He had never really celebrated his birthday in the approximately 2 years he spent at the commission, either – the commission existed outside of time, so there was no official date. Just days that passed by. In addition to this, by that time, enough time had passed that he barely ever thought of his birthday anymore.
So, upon returning to 2019 for the second time after their stint in the 60s, he hardly spared a thought to their ages or birthday. He roughly knew his age; he had lived longer than any of them, and that was all that mattered. So when Klaus brought it up…
“Holy shit guys,” he said one day. They were all hanging around in the mansion, around a week after their return, still in the processing phase. They were all going to stick around for a bit longer, just to get used to it all, then go and sort out all their business. There were a few of them that wanted him to fix various things using time travel, but he still hadn’t decided whether that was a good idea or not. When they had returned, in the absence of any idea what to do once he had succeeded at the one thing he had been aiming for his entire life, he had slept for most of the time they had been back. As a result, he was feeling a lot more refreshed, and ready to try out his new little time travel trick with the seconds. He would even say he was excited about it.
“What, Klaus?” Diego had replied from where he had been sharpening a knife on an armchair. Luther and Allison glanced up from where they had been sitting and chatting quietly, while Vanya put her steaming mug of tea down in curiosity. Five had been making himself some coffee, much to the exasperation of his siblings.
“I just totally realised we’ve missed our last few birthdays,” he said. “I mean, we were in the sixties for a while, right? So what, how old are we now? 34?”
Luther gave him an odd look. “I don’t know what you’ve gone back on, Klaus, but we’re 30; we weren’t in the sixties for that long –”
Allison let out a gasp. “Oh my god, guys,” she said. “We were totally in the sixties for different amounts of time. We actually have an age order now, guys-!”
Five rolled his eyes. “I’m still the oldest,” He said snidely. A part of him that had never matured past thirteen was immensely pleased at this. They all ignored him.
Diego put down his knife and narrowed his eyes at Allison. “Wait, what do you mean?” He asked. “We’re still 29, right? I mean… oh shit,” He said, his eyes widening in realisation. “Wait, does that mean –”
“HAHAHAH LOSERSS!” Laughed Klaus. “I’m totally the oldest now, hahahaha!”
Five levelled him with a glare that could curdle milk. “Need I remind you, Klaus, that I am the oldest?”
“Uhhh,” Klaus said, eyes widening. “Um, yep, sorry Five – but apart from you, it’s totally me!! Hahaha!” He laughed, a shit eating grin wide on his face.
Vanya blinked. “Wait, what? We’re not all the same age anymore?”
“No!” said Klaus in delight. “I was in the sixties for a whole three years, bitches! Plus – plus those ten months I was in Vietnam, remember that? I’m actually 34! Watch out guys, if I were you, I’d feel unsafe being in the same room as someone that much older than me –”
“Okay, okay,” Said Luther. “So, wait – Klaus is 34, yeah? And I’m 30, so – how old is everyone else?”
The four who weren’t Klaus, who was still laughing, or Five, who was acting disinterested, glanced at each other.
“...I was there for two years,” Said Allison. “I thought we were all 31, honestly,” she said.
Diego looked on in devastation. “What?!” he said. “No way! No way I can be the youngest!”
“Don’t worry, Diego,” Said Vanya, still looking confused. “I thought we were all 29 as well…”
“Oh, good,” said Diego, staring at Vanya. “How long were you there?”
“Umm,” she said, thinking. “Like, a month, I think,” She said. “Maybe a bit longer?”
“HAH!” yelled Diego, standing up. “I was there for two months! Vanya’s the youngest!!”
“Let’s be real though,” Said Allison, looking on in amusement. “We kind of already thought of her as the youngest. You though, Diego…”
“I’ll knife you,” Said Diego, holding up his newly sharpened blade. Allison rolled her eyes.
“Now now,” grinned Klaus. “As the responsible older brother, I would like to kindly separate you kiddies before things get violent –”
Diego didn’t even look at Klaus, just threw his knife. It embedded itself into the bookshelf behind Klaus, extremely close to his ear.
“Whoa whoa whoa,” laughed Klaus again. “Calm down now, I know you youngguns can get carried away with all your youthful energy, but that’s a bit far, don’t you think?”
“Klaus, shut up,” Growled Diego.
“Wow,” Said Luther, ignoring them. “I mean, I’ve always kind of thought of myself as the unofficial oldest, you know? Now I guess I’m the middle child…?”
“More on the lower end, actually,” Said Allison smugly. “Three of us are older than you, spaceboy,”
“Weird,” Said Luther, looking a little bit stunned.
“Guys, this doesn’t really affect anything though, right?” said Vanya in amusement. She honestly didn’t mind being perceived as the youngest, that had kind of already been the dynamic anyway.
“But how many candles will we put on our birthday cake?!” Klaus asked dramatically.
“If we average out all our ages, we get around 35.16 as the average age,” Said Five dismissively, pouring his coffee. “If you care.”
“You can just do that in your head?” Asked Diego with a frown.
“Of course I can,” said Five, giving him a funny look.
“But that’s older than all of us except you, Fivey!” whined Klaus. “You’re cramping our style!”
“It is what it is,” growled Five. “But fine, if you want a more representative age, taking mine out, the average is about 30.6. Happy?”
“Thanks, Five,” grinned Klaus. “Hear that guys? The only one who’s the real age here is Luther, haha!”
Allison rolled her eyes with a smirk again. “It’s actually me, Klaus, since 30.6 is closer to 31 than 30, but whatever,” She said. “I guess I’m fine with putting 30 candles on our cake; it’ll make me feel young again,” She sighed wistfully.
“Oh, shut up,” grit Diego. “You’re becoming senile in your old age,”
Allison laughed. “If I’m senile, what is Klaus? And Five?”
“Still hot,” grinned Klaus.
“With literally deteriorating sanity,” Said Five with a completely straight face.
Luther blanched. “Don’t remind me,” he said.
“You and Diego are lucky,” Said Klaus to Vanya. “You two are still young and spritely, you’d better appreciate your youth while you still have it –”
He was cut off with Diego abruptly standing up from his armchair. He stalked towards Klaus threateningly, and Klaus let out a squawk.
“Help!” he yelled out as Diego started running toward him. Klaus bolted out of the sitting room, Diego hot on his heels. Various crashes and shouts could be heard coming from beyond.
Five shook his head slowly while Vanya started laughing.
“I love you guys,” she laughed.
“We love you too, Vanya,” grinned Allison. “Little sister,”
Vanya laughed again.
“I can drink to that,” smiled Luther, holding up his own mug of tea.
This was all going to get raised again on their next birthday, and as much as he hated to admit it to himself, he was looking forward to it with fondness.