Day 12

Title: Day 12
Author: tarotgal
Fandom: The Umbrella Academy
Rating: R (drug use)
Disclaimer: Not my characters. I wish they were mine. I definitely don’t get paid for this.
Summary: Diego is looking for a suspect and finds Klaus instead.
Notes: Written during my 12 Ficlets in 12 Days in 2020-21 project project for shadowscast.

Diego stared down at the address in his hand, scrawled on a tiny slip of paper, readable only just barely thanks to a nearby streetlight that appeared to be the only streetlight on this stretch of road still working. He shook down four different guys to get this address, and he’d trusted that last one when the address had finally but reluctantly spilled from his lips. But now that he was here, he wasn’t so sure. This could all be some elaborate goose chase, a diversion to buy the suspect some time to get away while Diego tracked down false leads. Because it neither looked nor sounded like there was a house party happening at the house in front of him. There weren’t even lights shining behind any of the broken or half-boarded-up windows.

He double-checked the address, and it seemed to be correct. This was a bad part of town, which made sense, but it also meant someone could easily have fudged the house numbers. Just because the sign next to the door read 6842 didn’t mean this actually was 6842. With a sigh, Diego shoved the slip of paper back into his pocket. He could stand out here second-guessing all night or he could go in and see if the suspect was inside. When it came right down to it, Diego was a man of action.

Up the broken walkway and across the rotting wooden front porch, Diego intended to knock on the front door. But he found it already slightly ajar, with the thumpa-thumpa of loud, base-driven music emanating from within. If that didn’t indicate a house party, he didn’t know what did. Impulsively, he headed right inside.

It was a party, all right. The scents of sweat and alcohol seemed to be competing for top billing. The music emanating from downstairs was just loud enough to mask whatever conversations were happening as people milled about. And the few lightbulbs that worked were black lights, making anything bright glow, like people’s shoes, teeth, necklaces. In this light, it wasn’t going to be easy to find his suspect, but Diego was eager to give it a shot. He hadn’t come all this way just to quit now.

He kept his eyes open for shaggy blonde hair and a muscular build, though nothing compared to Luther. Diego went from room to room, pausing for an extra moment in the kitchen. He hadn’t thought about his brother in about a year, hadn’t really thought about any of them, actually. After the fallout of Vanya’s book exposing their childhoods and powers, he’d cut ties with all his siblings out of a need for self-preservation. Wherever they were now, he hoped they had found a sense of purpose in their lives the way he had.

In the kitchen, people were tapping a keg, some drinking directly from it, others holding red Solo cups to it, chugging their contents, and refilling them in almost the same breath. But none of the people here looked like the man Diego was after, so he moved on. The living room was packed with people talking, making out, drinking, or sleeping on the sofas. There were a few people Diego had to look twice at, but his suspect was not among this crowd.

When faced with a choice between heading upstairs or downstairs, he automatically picked downstairs. From the sound of it, there were more people downstairs, which meant better odds at finding his target. And searching upstairs would be slower, as it would no doubt involve opening bedrooms one by one and interrupting whatever hanky-panky was going on inside.

The music he hadn’t been able to hear clearly from outside the house was almost deafening as he descended the stairs to the basement. A mass of people were dancing, grinding, gyrating, letting loose as if they didn’t have a care in the world. And, perhaps, they didn’t. The black lights made the lines of cocaine on one of the coffee tables glow brightly. Someone bumped into his side, and Diego whirled around, hand on a knife hilt, only to see an intoxicated woman stumbling around unsteadily. As he reached out to help her, a fist came flying at him. Ducking easily out of the way of the punch, Diego did a double-take when he saw what could have been dirty blond hair. The guy was of the right build, too, but he definitely wasn’t the guy who’d robbed the liquor store.

So Diego kept looking. The majority of dancers were packed together on the side of the room with the two giant speakers, so the music only got louder as he went in that direction. It felt like the music was around him and inside him at the same time. Diego’s instincts were driven by a lifetime of training, however, so he kept his focus sharp and his mind on the task at hand.

At least he did until he saw something that stopped him in his tracks. The figure dancing on top of another coffee table was tall and lanky with short, wavy dark hair that matched his facial hair and dark eyes. It wasn’t his suspect. It was his brother, Klaus.

Klaus had his hands raised in the air, arms swaying from one side to the other in the opposite directions of his circling hips. His face was turned upward, as if he saw something in the popcorn ceiling that no one else could. He was entranced, transported by the music. Diego knew that if he slipped away now, Klaus would never even know he was there. And this might be his one and only chance to track down this robbery suspect.

But Diego couldn’t do leave now. He felt compelled to go to his brother. They’d been part of a team once, part of a sort of family. And that bond wasn’t something Diego could walk away from. Instead, he walked over to the table. He cupped his hands around his mouth to amplify his voice. He shouted his brother’s name.

Klaus’ smile widened, as if he’d heard his name called from a far off distance and was glad for the attention but felt no need to respond.

Diego called his name again, but Klaus only danced more enthusiastically. So Diego reached out and tapped Klaus’ leg. Klaus gave a start and lost his footing on the slippery glass surface. He started to fall, but Diego’s finely-honed reflexes kicked in immediately. Arms outstretched, he caught his brother before Klaus could go crashing down onto the glass tabletop or the somewhat sticky but nonetheless hard concrete floor.

Blinking kohl-outlined eyes up at him in confusion, Klaus let out an almost squeaky, “Diego? Sniff!

“Yeah. It’s me. Are you all right?” Was the sniffing just postnasal drip from the drugs he’d taken, or was it something else?

Klaus nodded and slowly lifted his hand. It twirled in the air for a second with a graceful flourish before patting Diego’s chest. “My hero.” Then he abruptly sneezed. “hexxxschhhh!

Diego’s eyes slammed shut, and he raised his head, but he still felt a bit of the spray on his neck and chin, and he winced. This was not the ‘thank you for saving my ass just now’ he had been expecting to receive. He lowered one arm, setting Klaus’ boots on the ground while keeping his other arm pressed against Klaus’ back to steady him. He seemed somehow wispier and thinner, if that was even possible. His cheekbones were more prominent, his collarbone as well, from what Diego could see around the black, mesh crop top. When had he last eaten? When had he last slept?

hahhKxxxshh! Sniff! Sniff!

When had he last taken a decongestant?

With so many questions flying around in his head, Diego settled on one for now. “Where are you staying?” Diego asked, having to shout to be heard above the noise.

Klaus swept his arms out to each side, brushing someone’s with his fingertips in the process.

“This is your house?” Diego narrowed his eyes, trying to remember the real estate records he’d hacked into. He couldn’t recall the name on the deed to the house, but he was sure he would have noticed if it had been his brother’s.

Klaus laughed and coughed, though he seemed to not notice doing the latter. “Course not!” He batted at something invisible in the air and said something that sounded suspiciously like “It’s not Ben’s either.” But it had been almost muttered, and Diego couldn’t be sure he’d heard correctly amidst the noise. Ben was dead, after all. He wanted to take Klaus upstairs so they at least had a chance at conversation, though Klaus didn’t seem interested in talking at the moment. He swung his hand out at the air again and then stumbled toward the other coffee table.

Before Diego could react, Klaus had grabbed a straw and begun snorting a line of coke like it was second nature to him. He got through the entire line before coughing and snuffling. After about a minute, he straightened up, basking in the feel of the new infusion of drugs in his system. His body shook slightly and his smile widened at the pleasure of the amphetamines coursing through him. Klaus turned his face up toward the ceiling again, raised his arms, and began moving his body to the beat. “Not there now, are you?!” He laughed and bounced on the balls of his feet. Then he lifted one foot and placed it on this coffee table in order to get up and start dancing again. But one foot was as far as he got before Diego grabbed him around the middle and hauled him back.

Klaus pouted and sniffed but didn’t lower either of his hands to rub his runny nose. Grimacing slightly, Diego pulled his hand into his sleeve and drew his sleeve under Klaus’ nose for him. Klaus didn’t seem to notice. “Klaus, where are you sleeping these days?” he tried again from a different angle.

Klaus seemed to shake his head, but Diego couldn’t be sure it wasn’t just part of his dance moves. Whether it was the coke or the music or maybe both, Klaus couldn’t seem to stay still. “Nowhere!” Klaus shouted up to the ceiling.


“Who needs sleep? Sniff! Not me!” He twirled in place, oddly graceful on the toes of his boots.

Fuck, was he doing so many drugs he wasn’t sleeping? How long had he been at this? How long until his body and mind couldn’t take any more? He needed to get his brother out of here, get him home, get him some water and medicine and definitely a shower. So he tried one more time. “Klaus, where are you living?”

A grin took over Klaus’ face, and his eyes seemed to sparkle with joy as he shouted out, “In the moment! I live in the moment!” And he twirled in place again. But this time one of the ends of his shoelaces caught under the toe of his other boot and he lost his footing again. He fell into Diego, who caught him deftly and hung on. He didn’t plan on letting go until he was sure Klaus was safe. And given that no one around here seemed to be giving a damn about him, not even Klaus himself, Diego appeared to be the best and only option.

It was then Diego had the realization that Klaus really didn’t have anywhere to stay. Once this party was over, he’d be out in the cold and on his own again. And with a head cold, too, it seemed.

“C-c-c-come on,” Diego said, stuttering only a little, and Klaus didn’t seem to notice it. He took a deep breath and spoke more slowly, carefully, not letting his emotions get the better of him. “I’m taking you to my place.” Diego fought against his own better judgement. For so long he’d wanted a fresh start, to get out from under Number One’s shadow, to leave the Umbrella Academy behind, and here he was welcoming it all back into his life again by showing his brother where he lived, by making his brother part of his life again. But this was Klaus. This was family. And Diego just couldn’t walk away from that. Klaus needed him right now, whether he knew it or not.

 “But I want to party! I want to dance!” His eyes were bright, his body bouncing to the beat.

“Well, you, ah, you can dance at my place.” It was all right to lie to him if it was for his own good, right? That was practically rule number one in the vigilante rule book. The ends justified the means.


“Absolutely.” Diego didn’t own a radio or a television. But he had a police scanner and a laptop, and most days the music from the speakers in the boxing club was loud enough to be heard in his room. He’d figure something out if Klaus demanded music to dance to. However, Diego had a feeling Klaus wasn’t going to be in the mood for dancing once this hit wore off.

Klaus thought about it for a moment, and Diego held his breath, hoping his brother would come willingly. He wasn’t sure how the other partiers would react if he slung a kicking and screaming Klaus over his shoulders and fireman carried him out of this house. Klaus cocked his head thoughtfully. “Wait… what was the question?”

Patience and reasoning were not Diego’s strong suits. Keeping his cool right now was torture. Why wasn’t this a problem he could just throw a knife at? “You were going to come see where I live,” Diego said.

Klaus still looked a bit perplexed, but he nodded enthusiastically. “That’s right!”

Diego felt some tension drain from his shoulders. Thank goodness that had worked.

“Right after I have one more line—” Klaus turned back toward the coffee table.

“Nope!” Diego wheeled him back around, hands gripping Klaus’ bony shoulders. “You don’t need any more of th—”

Hehkkxxxxshh! Heyxxshhh!

Diego winced and then dragged his sleeve over his face. Klaus really needed to stop doing that. He sighed and steered his brother toward the stairs. “Let’s go.”


It was easier than he would have thought to get Klaus into the passenger seat of his SUV, though it was hard for him to keep Klaus buckled in. Klaus was overly-excited and fidgety, pushing the levers and buttons on the dashboard and the door. If Diego hadn’t engaged the door locks, Klaus might have accidentally thrown himself out of the car while it was moving.


Diego reached into the console between the seats and pulled out a tissue from the box he kept there. “Here.” He handed it over while keeping his eyes on the road.

“Thanks!” Klaus replied brightly, accepting the gift. Then, sniffling absentmindedly, he began to shred the tissue into tiny pieces, making something that resembled a pile of snow on his lap.

Diego didn’t live in the bad part of town, but he wasn’t all that far away from it, either, so the drive was just long enough for Klaus to start coming down from his high. He was a little less bouncy as Diego led his brother through the boxing club, which was closed for the night, to his room.

He hadn’t really thought about what he was going to do with Klaus now that he had him here. Step one: get his brother out of that destructive situation to somewhere safe. Step two: um…

Obviously, coming down off of cocaine was going to be rough, and having a head cold on top of that was going to make it even worse. Diego had no idea how long Klaus had been chasing that high and no clue what other drugs he might have done. Not to mention that he wasn’t sure what cold medicine would be safe to give Klaus in this state. Anything with alcohol content was automatically out, but what about straight Tylenol? Or nasal spray? Or cough drops? And without the assistance of Nyquil to knock Klaus out, how was he going to get his brother to lie down and get some rest?

He needn’t have worried so much. The moment Diego closed the door behind them, Klaus made a beeline for the bed. He stripped off his clothes along the way, kicking off his boots, shoving down his leather pants, pulling off the crop top. He collapsed face-first onto Diego’s bed wearing only boxers.

Diego stood there, not sure what to do. He had fully intended to spend the night on the floor and let Klaus have the bed, but he’d also expected more of a protest when Klaus found out there wouldn’t be dancing after all. More importantly, there wouldn’t be any more coke here, apart from the kind that came in a 2-liter bottle and was currently going flat in his fridge. Not wanting to be too overly optimistic about this, he grabbed his laptop and a cushion for him to sit on. He also rounded up a bottle of water, a box of tissues, and a bucket for Klaus. Before he settled in for the long haul, he slipped the knife out from under his pillow. Likely, Klaus wouldn’t even notice it was there, but Diego wasn’t going to take any chances.


When Klaus woke in the middle of the night, he was drenched in sweat. Streaks of kohl smeared his face, and the sheets were soaked right through as well. He rolled over, coughing. “Not you again!” He moaned in discomfort, rubbing his forehead. “I don’t need my brother telling me what to do right now.”

“Too bad,” Diego replied a bit groggily from his spot on the floor by the foot of the bed. He switched on the small bedside lamp. “You’re stuck with me.”

Klaus gave a start, eyes wide in incredulity even as they adjusted to the light. “Diego?” He coughed again. “Why are you here?”

Patience was even harder for Diego to remember at three in the morning and with an ache in his back from sleeping on the floor. “I live here.”

Klaus’ gaze went past Diego and moved left to right and back again. “Ah. Sniff! That would explain the impressive wall of knives.”

On the wall behind Diego were more than a hundred knives of different shapes, sizes, and types mounted and arranged so that he could access the exact ones he wanted at any given time.

“Well… uh… thanks for the hospitality or whatever. I’ll sniff! I’ll be going now. Sniff!” As he lurched to his feet, his body rocked unsteadily.

Diego grabbed him and guided him to sit back down on the bed. “You’re sick.”

Klaus pulled a face. “Yeah? You’re a little lacking up here, too, bro.” He tried to do the hand gesture for crazy, circling his pointer finger around his ear, but all he managed to do was point up at the ceiling before his muscles gave out and he lowered his arm, weak like a kitten.

He slumped back, falling against the wall with more of a thump than Diego would have liked. He moved in to help Klaus then noticed that familiar expression on Klaus’ face. This time, he had enough warning to jump out of the way of the sneezes. “Hkkkxxxshh! Kttxxxchuhhh! H’kixxxxshhh!” Klaus looked surprised by them and rubbed his wrist under his nose as he sniffled.

“I mean you’ve got a cold,” Diego explained.

“I have?” He pressed his palm to his forehead again. “That would explain why I feel this constant need to sn-sneeze hhhh… hehhhhKXXshhhh!

This time when Diego passed him a tissue, Klaus was aware enough to wipe his nose with it then blow his nose.

“You need water and rest and vitamins and healthy meals…” He put his hand on the small of Klaus’ damp back and helped him sit back up. Then he sat next to his brother on the bed. “You also need a shower.”

“I need another hit.” He hugged his arms around his chest, shivering a little.

“No, you don’t.”

Klaus winced. “Shut up, both of you!”

Was double vision a usual symptom of detox? Diego hadn’t seen it listed on the websites he’d visited before nodding off, but he supposed that with Klaus, anything was possible.

Coughing, Klaus listed to the side, leaning automatically into Diego for support.

Diego’s patience was just about up. Klaus needed help and, damn it, Klaus was going to accept help whether he liked it or not. Diego couldn’t just sit here anymore. “How about we start with a little bit of water and work up to a shower?”

“Yeah,” Klaus said softly. “Yeah, all right.”

“All right.” Diego smiled and twisted the cap off the bottle of water before holding it up to Klaus’ parched lips. “Just give me a signal if you feel like you’re going to sneeze again.”



“Mgnnasneezegain hehh-IXXshhuhhh!” He snapped forward, and Diego wrapped an arm around his back to keep him steady.

Diego took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “Let’s back up. We’ll start with tissues, then move on to drinking water, and then tackle a shower.”

Klaus nodded, accepting another tissue and blowing his nose into it.