It’s not that he felt like he needed to breathe. He didn’t feel deprived of oxygen. But, the cold, dark feeling of being submerged into water without his consent wasn’t exactly Diego’s cup of Mom’s home-brewed tea. He would float there, for hours on end while his father and Pogo timed him. He felt lifeless, empty. His tank was deeper this time, maybe 10 feet. His felt pressure on his chest, gallons of water crushing him. Despite having his eyes closed, Diego still felt water getting in his eyes. He guessed his billionaire father couldn’t bother to get him some goggles from the dollar store. He finally shot up, gasping for air, sure he had beaten his time. But, of coarse, it was never enough.
“You will never be able to do underwater missions with this kind of time, Number 2,” his father would say, “This is the only use for an otherwise worthless power. You will never be like Number 1. You’re not even trying.” Diego stood there shivering, Mom patiently waiting for his father to allow her to dry him off.
Despite knowing it was impossible, Diego somehow always hoped that Mom would scoop him up and take him out of this hellhole. They could live in a small, warm house and he wouldn’t have to train, and she would hold him and tell him he was enough. But, of course, she stood there with a too-perfect grin on her too-perfect face, as always. She doesn’t know any better he thought. But he still felt disappointed as she stood, watching him get scolded. “Go to your room. We will progress training tomorrow. I will expect you to actually try this time.”
“Since you do not seem to be trying hard enough, I have brought in a little motivation.” Diego’s father in a booming voice. Diego has been practicing his knife throwing all day, as his shots kept hitting slightly out of place. Maybe if you let me take a break, I would have the energy to endlessly throw knives, but you don’t, of course, Diego almost snapped. His father pushed his two quietest siblings forward. Reginald directed them toward the targets Diego was practicing on. “Are they going to retrieve my kn-knives for me, or…?” Diego stuttered. What were Vanya and Ben supposed to do? Vanya wasn’t even apart of the Academy, and Ben never trained with weapons to Diego’s knowledge. “Your siblings will be sitting right under your targets around the corner. If you miss, they will be hit.” his father explained. Vanya and Ben started shaking as they sat under the targets, not daring to go against their fathers word. “B-but,” Diego started, but his father cut him off saying, “Shoot, Number 2.”
Diego hit the target over and over, until suddenly he heard a cry. Diego shot around the corner and saw Ben holding Vanya, her shoulder bleeding. “Vanya I didn’t m-mean to- .” Diego said. He tried to kneel next to her but she pushed him away, tears in her eyes. “Number 2, you are dismissed. Number 7, report to the medical ward at once.” Ben guided Vanya off, and Diego stood there stunned. Not only was he useless, he was hurting people. Poor Vanya. He wanted to punch something. Particularly something with a monocle. The family was cold to him for next few days, refusing to talk to him until Dad said they had to communicate during trainings. Each time a sibling was chosen to sit under his targets, he could feel them resent him more and more.
“Are there any ladies in the picture?” the interview asked, looking at Luther. He flashed a smile, saying, “Well I don’t know about that… Maybe one day, if I’m lucky.” Allison looked down at her feet. Diego used all his power not to roll his eyes as girls in the audience swooned over his brother. Luther was always the family member that made magazine covers, only under Allison in that regard. He was an all american boy, and Diego didn’t really fit that picture. He guessed throwing knives into people’s chest wasn’t as attractive as super strength to 15 year old girls.
“And what about you, Diego?” the interviewer said, finding a new victim. Diego hates interviews, he was uncomfortable and felt weak. “No- I- well I m-mean not right n-now. B-busy with t-training you know?” Diego managed. He glanced over at Luther, who was glaring at him, a smile still plastered on his face. The interviewer moved on, but Diego was still sweating. His father would be so mad he hadn’t said the lines they practiced, and he had stuttered. Dad hated his stutter, it made them seem unprofessional.
As they walked around backstage, Luther was fuming. “Would it kill you to control yourself during these things? PR is important you know. And that stupid stutte…” Diego simply took the lecture, knowing he’d get an identical one at home. Klaus looked at him sympathetically, but he didn’t understand. Klaus loves being the center of attention, and he looked forward to these things. Ben didn’t care about interviews, and Luther and Allison loved them. He was completely alone in hating them. The rest of them didn’t see how hard he tried to control his stutter. How it never worked. Nobody ever understood.
“No, Fuck you and the rest of those pricks.” He yelled as he slammed the door. He ran down the stairs and into the street. He had just been kicked out of the Police Academy, and Eudora had come home. He didn’t know exactly how the fight escalated so quickly, but he needed to clear his head, and stab something. He felt bad, and he didn’t really mean the horrible things he’d said, but at the same time it felt good to scream and get some of his anger out. If he couldn’t be a police officer, had all of his time at the Umbrella Academy really brought nothing but trauma? He can’t even use the skills he learned to help people now? And cause of what, some stupid handbook saying everything had to be done clean. Well, what good had that done for him? He spent his entire childhood killing and being abused and yet not a single cop raised an eyebrow and thought hey, maybe we should go check out that academy thing, with those super children. Diego thought, fuck them and their protocol.
He stopped walking when he hear yelling around the corner. He slowly approached an alleyway and saw a tall man towering over a young woman, who was fumbling with her purse. Diego threw two knives through the robber’s jacket and pinned him to the wall. Diego stood in front of the girl and held one of knives out. The guy dropped his gun and said, “chill man!” The woman called the police and thanked Diego, “Thank you so much! I don’t know what would have happened if you hadn’t been walking by.” “It was n-nothing, really,” he said awkwardly. He would have left by now but he wanted to make sure this girl would be safe until the cops came. “No, really. I’ve been saving up to surprise my boyfriend with dinner,” she gestured to her short dress, “I was on my way there now actually. If you hadn’t been there, I would have lost the money, my cards, everything.” He smiled, “It’s good to know you have someone looking out for you.” He heard sirens and started to walk away, waving goodbye. He started on his way to his home. Eudora always looked out for him. Always supported him. Even if he was fucked up, even if he had a short temper, she still loved him. And he loved her.
She was gone. Her chest was covered in blood, her body lifeless. He begged her to wake up, but nobody was there to respond. If she had only waited, if he had only been faster. If only he hadn’t gone looking for Five and he would’ve received that call. If only. He held her ever so delicately, as if she were made of glass. “I can’t be here when they come,” he whispered to her. He looked at the only person who ever truly loved him one last time, and headed for the door, He saw a receipt he recognized and picked it up, examining it. Of course his family was apart of ruining the only good thing he had left. Of course they took away the only person that ever understood him, loved him. She was gone. And he was completely alone.
He was surrounded. Eudora was snuggled up to his chest, Vanya was on the floor by his feet and Klaus and Ben were on his right. It had been a few months since they stopped Ben from dying, saved Eudora’s life, and stopped the apocalypse along the way. Luther had realized the trauma his father put them through, and he was better (as good as a monkey martian can get). They were teaching Vanya to control her powers, helping Klaus get sober, teaching Ben how to be alive again, and helping Five through school. Somehow, they were a family again. “Pass the popcorn please,” Allison said as Vanya shoved the buttery snack toward her. Diego has lost track of how many movies they’d watched, but right now they were on Legally Blonde (Allison’s pick of the night). Diego wasn’t really paying attention, but just being around other made him feel so warm, so appreciated. He rubbed Eudora’s arm as she dozed off. He smiled. She was absolutely adorable. Klaus seemed to be giving in too, laying his head on Diego’s shoulder. Vanya leaned on Klaus's legs as she snuggled next to Allison. Five had fallen asleep on Luther’s lap long ago, as he was up way past his bedtime. Diego closed his eyes, as went to sleep. (Legend has it Diego still doesn’t know the bend and snap.)