Five came home to blood tracks on the hallway floor, which raised some questions.
He saw them lead from the bathroom and noticed bloody handprints on the rim of the tub. His eyes followed the tracks until they lead to Klaus' bedroom.
He quietly stood by the doorframe. Klaus was standing in front of his bed, changing his shirt, and Five couldn't help but notice the slight shaking in his body.
He knocked on the door twice. Klaus turned. "You okay?" Five asked his brother.
Klaus shook his head. "Yeah, yeah, just...long night." He answered.
Five noticed the tiredness in the bags under his eyes, the difference in his stature, new accessories, and overall how distraught his brother looked. "More than one from the looks of it." Five pressed.
Klaus didn't answer, merely finished cleaning himself up. Five raised a brow as he noticed something dangling around Klaus' neck. "Don't remember the dog tags." He commented.
Klaus looked down at the mentioning of them. He cradled them in his hand. "Oh, yeah...they belonged to...a friend." He replied. For Five, the warning signs weren't the blood, the dog tags, or the new military vest he was sporting, it was the fact that Klaus was talking...casually. No witty comebacks or snarky quips. No jokes or annoying gags. Just a broken expression on his features along with his scratchy voice.
"How 'bout that new tattoo?" Five asked. He'd seen Klaus' bare arm the other day. There was no tattoo. Especially not one that a veteran would wear. Five knows he was gone a long time but he was one hundred percent certain Klaus hadn't joined any sort of military.
"You know, I don't even remember getting it. As I said, it was a long night." Klaus said bitterly.
Five sighed. "You know, I can recognize the symptoms, Klaus," He slowly approached him. "The jet lag, the itchiness, the headache that feels like someone shoved a cotton bud up your nose and into your brain." He described. "Wanna tell me what happened?"
Klaus laughed but humor was not his intention. "Your pals," he chuckled darkly. "When they came searching the house looking for you and couldn't find you, they took me hostage instead."
Guilt pulled his stomach down to the floor but his face maintained his usual stern look. He didn't know how to feel really. He knew there were bigger problems at large, like, the end of all life on earth, but he also knew the Commission. They were rough, especially Cha-Cha. It couldn't have been very enjoyable being one of her hostages.
"Shit," he mumbled. "What'd they do?"
To be honest, Five wasn't completely sure if he wanted to hear the answer.
Klaus shrugged. "What do you care?" He sneered. Five wanted to be angry except he couldn't help but welcome the slight sting in his heart at his words because they were somewhat true.
Then, Five decided if he was going to save the world, he'd like them all to be on good terms when it's done.
"Look, I'm sorry, all right?" Five apologized. "I've been busy. You know, dealing with the apocalypse-"
"The what?" Klaus interrupted.
Five realized he may have forgotten to tell his brother about the end of the world. Or more importantly, how soon.
"Oh, um...the world ends. In four days." He rushed.
Klaus' reaction was quite surprising, to say the least. Well, Klaus was always surprising. He didn't even widen his eyes in shock at the news. He just slumped his shoulders a little. That's all. "Oh."
Five shook his head. "Anyways, I just...I've been trying to get that done. I've seen you all dead once. I don't need to see it again." He admitted sincerely.
Klaus seemed more understanding now. Five could see a flicker of empathy in his eyes. Klaus gave a short laugh. "Ah, yes, well, the dead aren't a very pretty sight for a thirteen-year-old. I would know."
Five nodded, staring at the ground, hands in his pockets. He had a few images of a younger Klaus looking horrified once he had discovered his powers. Every time he thought of that image, it sent a shiver to his core.
"So...are you gonna tell me what happened? Or do I have to search for Hazel and Cha-Cha and make them tell me?" He asked with a small smile. Klaus mimicked his expression, reading between the lines of what Five had said. It was...easing. Even if no one - bar one sibling - had gone looking for him, it's nice to know they would seek his captors for vengeance.
He sighed, running a hand through his hair. "I..don't know where to start."
Five shrugged. "Beginning seems like a good place." He advised cheekily.
Klaus exhaled deeply. "All right. It was back when the house got attacked. By Hazel and Cha-Cha. They took me and strapped me in the boot of the car with nothing but a towel." Klaus recalled. Five listened intently. "They took me back to their shitty motel, tied me to a chair, and tortured me for information about you. I was fine until they found the drugs in my pocket. Helped themselves to a bit of it. Then they left me. Which would've been okay but withdrawal isn't a pleasantly quick process."
Five furrowed his brows. "Wait, you're-"
"Sober." Klaus cut off. "For a long while now."
"I'm proud of you." Five praised. He paused. "Wait, if you're sober then...was Ben with you?" He pondered.
Klaus snorted. "Yeah and all of their other victims. Lucky me, got them in as-is condition. It was quite the séance." He joked, using his superhero name from his youth.
Five's once prideful face dropped. "Is...is that what it's always like?"
Klaus' eyes shifted away. Five didn't get a verbal answer but the silence was enough explanation. Five thought for a minute suddenly and put two and two together. Klaus' powers didn't work if he was drunk or high and he was always drunk or high. Huh. He put himself in Klaus' shoes and imagined having to face everyone he'd killed from his years at the Commission. He'd definitely need something stronger than coffee to cope.
"You could've told me. About the ghosts," Five said. "I could've helped you. Any of us could've instead of you...you know."
Klaus deflated defeatedly. "That's a nice thought but... I don't think that would've done anything." He sighed sadly. "I tried everything when I was younger. I would ask Vanya to play her violin for me when they got too loud. I'd sneak into Ben or Diego's room to sleep with them for the night. I..I even asked Allison to rumor my powers away. Obviously, there are just some things you can't get rid of." He admitted.
Five released a short breath of sympathy. He knew if his other siblings saw his face right now they wouldn't let him forget it but he didn't care about them right now. He had this sibling to care for. "I really am sorry, Klaus. I didn't know." He said softly. "Can you..." He started. "Can you keep going?"
Klaus agreed. "Ben had the bright idea to talk to them. Eventually, I got enough info to freak them out a bit, buy me some time. Then, Diego's cop friend came poking around. She found me and set me free but the girl one - Cha-Cha was it? - shot her. So, I escaped out the vent which, low and behold, had one time-traveling briefcase." Klaus reached down and sat on the bed as he began putting on his shoes.
"I opened it on the bus, thought there was cash or something and I could pawn it. Next thing I knew I was zapped in the middle of a fucking warzone."
Five pursed his lips. "Where were you? Or should I say when?" He corrected himself.
Klaus made a click sound with his tongue. "1968."
Five widened his eyes as he recounted his history lessons from before and realized the event of that year.
"The Vietnam War," he concluded breathlessly. "How long were you there?" He asked in a panic.
Klaus calculated the equation in his head. "Almost a year. So, I guess I'm ten months older now." He revealed.
"Shit, Klaus, why the hell didn't you travel back?!" Five exclaimed. He didn't mean to yell but he would rather Klaus see his anger than his concern.
Klaus kept his eyes on his feet. "I met someone." He confessed.
Five gave him an expression of disbelief. "You met someone?" He drawled.
Klaus' eyes snapped upwards at his tone. "Yes, Five. I met someone. Someone special." He bit.
The anger displayed on Five's appearance slowly slipped away. "Sorry," he mumbled. He supposed he also met someone when he ended up somewhere across the timeline. Except he didn't have the choice to come back. "What was her name?"
Klaus sighed. " His name was Dave."
Shit. Five messed up on that one. He didn't mean to assume but at the same time, he wasn't so surprised by Klaus' little secret. Klaus walked around the house in skirts, makeup, and heels like it was nobody's business. Because it wasn't. Plus, when he traveled back in time for his father's funeral Klaus had once again been wearing one of Allison's skirts. Five left before he could even get to know his siblings properly so they were almost like complete strangers except for the usual traits like; Luther was still the naïve Number One trying to impress their father, Diego was still carrying knives while secretly hoping to strike Luther with one, Allison's web of lies was finally catching up to her so maybe that had changed slightly, Ben was, well, dead, Vanya was still the excluded member of the family and Klaus was...still Klaus. It was almost comforting.
Point is, he wasn't around long enough to question his brother's sexuality, not that it ever interested him. He didn't care what Klaus was. He was still a part of the family he had spent forty-five restless years trying to save.
"What made you come back?" Five wondered, asking the question that was plaguing his mind for the last few minutes.
Klaus blinked tightly, attempting to not get choked up just thinking about it. "Um...Dave," he swallowed. "He got hit. Died. I-In my arms." He gestured to the blood on the bath back down the hall before using his hand to quickly wipe a stray tear.
Five quickly lost his strictness in reaction to those words. He removed his hand from his pocket and shifted closer towards Klaus. He reached up to put and on his shoulder but dropped it and instead turned away. "I...shit." That was all he could say.
Klaus sniffled. "You know..." He trailed off. "I wasn't going to come back." His words once again caught Five's attention, spinning back around.
"I was gonna stay. I figured, why the hell not? You know?" He chuckled. His laughter faded as he carried on. "We were going to start a life together. He loved me. And he told me all the time." Klaus remembered happily despite the tears making their way down his face. He sniffed again, quickly shaking his head. "Sorry," he laughed. He bit his lip. "It's just...not something I hear a lot." He said morbidly.
Five never thought about that. The Hargreeves siblings all loved each other. There was no denying it. Even Diego and Luther with their ridiculous competition loved each other. They never said it to each other...ever. But a lot of the time they didn't need to. They said it more...symbolically. In a mission, Luther would punch a guy in the face about to attack Diego and Diego would do the same (with a knife, though, obviously). Ben would compliment Vanya on her musical abilities now and then, earning a smile from her. Vanya would make Five sandwiches when he was feeling down. Allison would let Klaus raid her closet or use other things of hers. And Klaus would make everyone laugh, whether about themselves, their father, or himself, he made sure everyone knew he loved them by his irritating yet (though they wouldn't admit) irresistibly adorable clinginess. But did anyone return the favour?
Five realized the answer might've been a no.
So, once again, he broke out of his usual stern, angry, stressed façade of a fifty-eight-year-old man inside a thirteen-year-old body - just for Klaus.
"Klaus?" He called. Five fumbled with the hem of his blazer.
"Yeah, Five-O?" He used another childhood nickname favourite. Anything other than numbers. Klaus always hated that.
"Iluvyu." He uttered quickly. Klaus didn't quite catch that. "What did you say?" Klaus asked.
Five coughed, a blush lightly tinted his cheeks.
"I said, I love you." He repeated clearly.
He blinked out of the room from embarrassment before he could see the widest grin etch across Klaus' face.
"I do too." Another voice added.
Klaus turned to see Ben sitting in the corner of his room silently. He wondered if he'd been there the whole time. His smile widened. "Hey, Bentacles." Again with the nicknames. Though, even Ben had to admit, he thought that one was creative.
Klaus turned back to gaze at the spot that had once occupied his younger-looking brother.
"Little shit...gets to go around murdering people and then still look adorable." He laughed, shaking his head.