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Fighting Free

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“Just breathe…”, you told yourself. You were trying to calm yourself down while you sat in your car, the wheel clenched in your hands. You were just here to pick up Klaus, finally meet him in real life. That’s all. The worst thing that could happen was that you didn’t have the click you seemed to have when you were writing. In that case you’d bring him home, and that was it... no harm done. But that wasn’t what you body made you believe. You were nervous, more nervous than ever. And that said something, in your case.

You glanced in the direction of the unfriendly gates, but they hadn’t opened yet. Of course not, you had arrived here an hour early, and no matter how often you had checked your phone to see if it was twelve already, the minutes didn’t seem to want to pass.

Some guards had already shot you curious looks, but as long as you stayed on the public road, there wasn’t anything they could do about your presence here.

“You’re Klaus?” You were rehearsing what you were going to say to him when you finally met him, but everything seemed stupid, trivial. You were sure you would recognize him. You had seen a few pictures over the last two years, and somehow you had the feeling you would recognize him anywhere already. But what if you don’t? Your nerves were taking over, and you checked your phone again. It would be so much easier if he would just turn up.

11:37, the screen said, so that meant there were still twenty three minutes left. Twenty three minutes to bite your nails, to be nervous about meeting the man you had written letters to for almost three years now, twenty three minutes to start your car and drive away.

Why did you do this? Why were you waiting in front of a prison to pick up a man you never met before? To meet a man who might have killed his mother? –you had never dared to ask in your letters if he had really done it-. Why wasn’t his family here? Your first reaction had been relief, when he wrote you he was getting out, and even when you were surprised when he asked if you would pick him up, you didn’t think twice to do it. It was only two days later that you realized that even when his crime had been family related, they could at least have the decency to pick him up.

He had served his time, hadn’t he? He had earned his freedom by now. Especially his family should be able to see that? But he already wrote you they weren’t coming. He was nervous to meet them again, and that is why he had asked you.

So here you were, waiting for the last twenty one minutes to pass. You leaned back, closing your eyes, trying to relax. You couldn’t very well get out of this car with shaking legs. That would look stupid, and the last thing you wanted was looking stupid in front of him. Even though you didn’t know him at all. Or that was what you were telling yourself. All those letters you exchanged, that should count for something, should it?

11.46. Slowly time progressed, and you just started playing a dumb game on your phone to pass the last fourteen minutes until those gates would open, until Klaus would come out. It didn’t take those whole fourteen minutes to run out of lives, but long enough that you thought it was time to step out of the car, breathe in the fresh air. You leaned against the car until you heard a sound that made you stand upright immediately, doing a few steps towards the gate that suddenly looked different.

Slowly it opened, revealing only one figure, a man, blond curls, eyes exactly as on the last photo you had gotten from him about a year ago, a bag in his hand.

His hear was longer now, more curled than you remembered, and there was a faint smile on his face when he first looked up to the sky and then around him, a look of surprise on his face, as if he couldn’t believe he could really go wherever he wanted to.

You stepped towards him. “Klaus?” You looked at him when his head snapped in your reaction, and one moment you were afraid how he would react. One moment you feared that you had read his letter wrong, that it was totally wrong to show up here today.

And then his smile broke really through, and you knew you had done the right thing. “Y/N? I was so afraid you wouldn’t be here...” He walked towards you, not sure what to do.

You were just as clumsy, and the both of you settled for shaking hands, laughing a bit about how uncomfortable this was feeling. You had the feeling like you already knew him, and on the other hand, you knew you just met.

The man outside the walls could be someone completely different than the man who wrote you the beautiful letters you had been constantly looking forward to. “You have no idea how glad I am that you’re here, love... I’m not sure how good I’d do on finding a bus to get home.”

You looked surprised. “Wouldn’t your family want to pick you up if I hadn’t done it?” You knew what he went to jail for, more or less, at least, and you could understand that his family wasn’t too happy with him right now, but on the other hand... would you leave a brother, a son, just standing here?

“You don’t know them, don’t you?”, he asked, while he followed you to the car. Maybe the street in front of a prison wasn’t the best place to get to know each other, and he looked really eager to get away from the place he had spend so much time. Too much time, probably.

You shook your head. “Can’t say I ever met them, as far as I know. But I have the feeling that’s about to change?” Or you must drop him right in front of the door, but somehow you guessed that was not going to happen. You unlocked the car, gesturing to him to get in. You watched him put his bag –so small, for five years of his live- in the backseat, before you both got into the car. “Where is it?”

He fidgeted a bit with his jacked, apparently slowly getting nervous as well. The address he gave you was surprisingly enough in the best part of town, something you hadn’t really expected, if you were honest. 

“You’re kidding? You come from that rich people area?”, you blurted out once you started driving. “You never wrote me that.”

It would explain why he just told you he would have trouble finding a bus. That was probably something he had never done in his entire life. He shrugged, trying to relax a bit, something that clearly didn’t work. “I never saw much reason to write it to you. It’s not like they’re going to welcome me back with open arms, but I have nowhere else to go.”

You weren’t going to suggest him staying at your place. It was one thing to pick up a convict after he did his time and drop him off at his home, but housing someone you didn’t know? You weren’t planning on doing that. So you just drove, first through the familiar parts of town until the houses became bigger, the lawns were larger, and everything just was much more luxurious than you were used to. Keeping up the conversation wasn’t that easy, with Klaus clearly being nervous and you... well, you didn’t exactly know what you were feeling. Somehow it was familiar, driving in almost silence, and on the other hand there were a thousand things you wanted to ask. Later... if there would be a later, but you had the idea there would be. When you stopped at the address he had given you, you could hardly believe what you were seeing. “Please tell me my navigation got it wrong and this isn’t your house?”

It was big, not a house anymore, but a mansion. Two stories high, with an actual veranda alongside the house. You wouldn’t be surprised if there would be an actual ball room inside, one like you knew from the movies.

Klaus just chuckled. “It’s bloody impressive, isn’t it? Believe me... no matter how big the houses are, there’s bound to be a lot of trouble inside. Probably even more than in a cosy townhouse down town.” He reached back for his bag, before opening the door.

You noticed the slight tremble of his hands before he touched the handle, but he had covered it up already when he stood outside. You followed his example. “I don’t think I should intrude on this...” It was his reunion with his family, you shouldn’t be there... this wasn’t your place.

“Please stay, Y/N. Even when it’s just in the background? I’ve spoken more to you over the last few years than I have to them, and I’m not even completely sure if they let me in.” He slowly started walking towards the impressive front door, and even though you weren’t completely sure what to do, you did follow him.

“I’m going to wait here, ok?” You stood a few feet behind him, close enough to be able to see what was going on, far enough for Klaus’ family to ignore you, if they chose to do so.

He looked back at you, swallowing and nodding. He probably wasn’t even able to say something at this point, so nervous did he look. Then he turned back, straightened his shoulder and rung the doorbell.