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Fix her, Fix us

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The world had ended, and then, it hadn’t.

Number five had managed to go back in time with his siblings but not as far back as he had expected. He landed exactly where he had started. Eight days before the supposed end of times.

The Hargreeves siblings noticed nothing at the beginning of their new round in this eight-days-before-catastrophe mission. They all looked the same. All twenty nine years old save for Number Five who still looked thirteen. They wouldn’t have noticed anything was different except for the fact that they were all back at the academy just like eight days ago. It was just after their father’s funeral.

They seemed to have their old bodies from eight days ago and this they noticed because Allison no longer had the bandage over her neck and Klaus did not have his Vietnam tattoo. Vanya, however, was still unconscious. They were back where they started, trying to stop the seemingly imminent apocalypse. Only now they had one key piece of information. Vanya, their ordinary, plain, unnoticeable sister was the cause of it all.

The air was tense, even more than the first time they had been through this day, incredibly so.

“So, are we going to talk about this?” Diego was the first one to break the silence
“What is there to talk about? Vanya ended the world” Five stated matter of factly and in a way only he could manage, like this was an every day thing.
“S-she didn’t… she didn’t mean to” Said Allison, the first words she had spoken in what felt like forever to her. And as she said these words, she lifted her hands to her throat as if to make sure the scar wasn’t there. It wasn’t.
“It doesn’t matter if she meant to or not, she did, and that is that. I meant what I said before, the only way we’re going to fix this is by fixing her” said Number Five nodding towards Vanya.
“But what does that mean? Fixing her. Where, how do we even start doing that? asked a confused Luther while glancing at every one of his siblings.
“Well, I can tell you that it doesn’t mean locking her up like an out of control animal” Five was quick to make sure Luther knew he did not agree with his brother’s first attempt at “helping” their sister.
“Yeah, I know, I was wrong. I was a shitty brother and I was wrong. I really didn’t intend to hurt Vanya, I would never intentionally hurt her, she’s my sister” Luther responded shamefully, looking at the ground.
“Yeah well that’s kinda the problem isn’t it?” Klaus spoke up for the first time since they arrived “We never intended to hurt her, but we did, we all did. We hurt her so much she ended the world”. Klaus was uncharacteristically stoic as he said this, which made his siblings stare at him a little, but then “But hey, round two, am I right? let’s fix this bitch! And by bitch I mean the situation, not Vanya… well, a little bit Vanya” At least Klaus was still Klaus, something that in some way made the Hargreeves feel a little lighter.

The mood was starting to settle around them. It didn’t last long. Vanya bolted up gasping for air and her eyes were searching the room, and as suddenly as she had awoken, her siblings were upon her.

 

“Vanya, hey Vanya, it’s okay, everything’s okay, you’re fine, we’re all fine” Allison was sure to be the first one to calm her down, very mother-like.
“What, wha- Oh. Oh God no” Vanya now seemed to remember, and it came crashing down on her. “Oh God, oh god oh god oh god. No, no no no, I didn’t… Oh god” Vanya was reduced to a meaningless mess but then she spotted Allison.
“Allison, God Allison. I am so so sorry. I didn’t mean to. It all happened so fast and I didn’t mean to hurt you, I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry.” Vanya blurted out.
“Shh, shh Vanya, it’s okay, I’m okay, see?” Allison pointed at her throat to show Vanya nothing was there. “We went back. Five brought us back to eight days ago, the day he came back. You’re gonna be okay. We’re all gonna be okay”
“Sh-she… she made me do it. Everything, everything since I escaped that cell” Vanya glanced quickly at Luther, and Luther looked away. “It was like I was there, watching it all happen, but it wasn’t me doing those things. Only… only it was me… who else could it have been? Oh God, it was me!” Vanya seemed to be having a mental breakdown right then and there in front of her brothers and sister.
“Who, Vanya? who is she, who made you do it?” Diego was asking her in the softest voice he had used on his sister in years, maybe ever.
This seemed to interest all the siblings because now they were all looking at Vanya, waiting for her answer.
“It was… it was me. Another version of myself, as a little girl” Vanya looked at her brothers and sister as if to see if they thought she had lost it. “She took over and I couldn’t control anything anymore” And then she added in a voice so low it was barely a whisper “Or maybe I wouldn’t”
“Did you want to do it?” Five asked sharply
“Did I want to do it?” Vanya looked at him
“Did you want to end the world? Or maybe just kill us?” quipped Five
And for the first time in a while Vanya laughed. “Did I want to end the world or maybe just kill you? is that what you think I wanted to do? Jesus Five. No, I did not want to end the world and I most definitely did not want to kill you. I just couldn’t… I couldn’t quite control what was happening. These… these powers were too much for me to handle all at once and without any special training” Vanya looked around the room and she continued “When I was trapped in that place I started thinking about things. I thought about you guys, about when we all lived together, when we were all kids. And it’s funny really, I couldn’t, for the life of me, think of a single time you guys treated me like an equal. You would scoff at me or laugh at me, you would dismiss me, roll your eyes at me, snap at me. Sometimes you would pity me and treat me softly, mostly Ben and sometimes Five. But you never… you never played with me like you played with each other. Allison would never do my hair the way she did Klaus’. Diego would never prank me the way he did Luther. Five would never discuss books with be the way he did with Ben. You never even looked at me the way you all looked at each other. And I get it, I just wasn’t part of the team. It was as if I wasn’t even a part of the family, like maybe I was more like a piece of furniture you sometimes noticed but otherwise I was just… there. And I guess that triggered something in me. And she used that against me.”
Silence fell in the room and when it was clear no one was going to speak, Vanya decided to keep going.
“Luther may have been the one to put me in that cage but the rest of you kept me there. And maybe I get it. Given what I had done to Allison and what Dad had written about me. I was a threat. But you would never have done that to either one of you, because you’re family. And the worst thing is, I couldn’t even feel betrayed because I was never one of you to begin with. I guess I should’ve expected it. But I didn’t want to. I love you, despite everything, you’re the only thing I have, and I love all of you. I guess I just wanted you to love me back. But then all I could feel was bitterness and you know the rest” Vanya finished feeling ashamed and unbelievably sad.

“Vanya, of course we love you. We’re sorry, really sorry about what happened as kids. Dad, he… he made us do these terrible things excluding you and…” Allison was saying when Vanya lifted a hand as if to silence her.
“I’m the one who should be sorry… I did terrible things… not loving your sister does not compare to ending the world Allison.”
“But that’s just it Vanya, we do love you… we don’t… we never wanted to hurt you, not on purpose” surprisingly, it was Five who declared this.
“Look, these things I’m saying, I’m not saying them for you to feel sorry for me or to even justify what I did. I just wanted to tell you how I felt… How I’ve been feeling all my life. I just had to get it out, and not in the form of a stupid book, but actually telling you in person, before…” Vanya seemed to not want to finish her thought
“Before what, Vanya?” Klaus asked softly.
Vanya sighed and ran her hands through her hair “I think we all know what needs to happen now that we know the truth about the apocalypse… If I’m the cause of it then… we just have to get rid of the cause so that it’ll never happen again.” Vanya was looking at the ground as she said this.
“No Vanya, you’re not seriously suggesting this, are you?!” Diego asked in a mixture of anger, fear and sadness
“Why not? It’s the best way, maybe even the only way to prevent millions from dying, to prevent you from dying. And it’s not as if it hasn’t crossed any of your minds. You might not want to accept it, but it has. I never really accomplished anything, I never helped people like you, nobody even managed to love me in thirty years. To you I was just… a liability.” At this, Diego looked ashamed. “So it won’t really be a big loss. But me dying? That would be a big win for the world.”
“So you want to die? is that it?” Five was, among other things, incredibly angry.
“No, I don’t want do die, Number Five. But I don’t really want to live either, not if it’s going to be like this. For years and years I was never enough, and then, suddenly, I was too much. Don’t you see? We have to do this. Five, you most of all should agree with me here. You got stuck in a wasteland for decades because of me, aren’t you furious? Don’t you want to see me dead? It would certainly put an end to all the trauma you’ve had these past years.”
“Of course I don’t want you dead, Vanya! You are my sister, you are my family, you’re the reason I came back in the first place, I came back for you, all of you” Five was furious, only not for the reasons Vanya thought.
“What were you gonna do in that theater then? If I didn’t stop? Think about it… really think about it and tell me you weren’t prepared to do whatever it took to stop me” Vanya hadn’t even realized she was fully crying now.
“We never wanted to hurt you Vanya, we didn’t really know what was gonna happen once we got to you. You must want to live Vanya, you must.” Luther tried to argue.
“Why? Why would I want to live if it’s just gonna be like this? It hurts, God, it just hurts so damn much all the damn time. All the pain I’ve been harboring since we were kids, thinking… knowing I was just wasted space, wasted air… With no one to turn to, no one to listen, no one to love me. Every time I wake up it hurts to know that somehow I’m still alive. I always tried telling myself that maybe later I would find a bigger purpose, that because of the circumstances of my birth my life had to mean something, someday. But now, knowing that that something was just to bring chaos and pain to those I love… No, I don’t really want to live” At the end, Vanya was sobbing.

And as if Vanya was a magnet, all the Hargreeves children were compelled to embrace her.

“Vanya, oh Vanya, I love you, I do, I love you” Klaus was saying over and over sniffing along the way.
“This isn’t happening Vanya, no discussion, nothing like that. You’re living, and you’re living right, the way a person is supposed to. We’re gonna get through this, and we’ll put a stop to this, with you alive and well, we’ll help you through this” Diego promised as he stroked his littlest sister’s hair.
Allison couldn’t even say a word, she was crying too much, holding onto Vanya like she would disappear if she didn’t. Luther was careful not to touch Vanya too roughly with his gaze sad and soft. Five was simply holding Vanya’s hand and looking at her with an immense amount of pain in his eyes.
After quite a while, the siblings separated slowly still holding their gaze to Vanya. Vanya seemed to have calmed down or maybe she was just too exhausted to keep at it.
“Vanya, you’re sleeping with me tonight. We’ll figure this out, okay? We’ll talk in the morning and we’ll figure this out.. All of us, together” Allison was holding her sister’s hand. Vanya could only nod in agreement.

As everybody was ready to go to their respective rooms, Vanya got a hold of Klaus’ hand making him turn around. “Klaus, could you… could you tell Ben I really miss him? Could you tell him I love him so much? Tell him also that I’m sorry and tell him… tell him it should have been me” Klaus knew what his sister meant by that statement, and for the first time since they arrived in the past he turned to look at his dead brother.

Ben Hargreeves hadn’t felt this much pain since he was alive, and he shed a tear, then two, then three, and he couldn’t stop. He didn’t even know ghosts could cry.

Chapter Text

Morning came upon the Hargreeves household as signaled by the scent of Grace’s breakfast. Soon Grace would be ringing the bell and the Hargreeves would come quickly down the stairs to get some much needed food. All except the two sisters.

 

“Do you think they’re still asleep?” asked a worried Klaus, they all exchanged concerned looks.
“Maybe,” said Luther “I could go take a look.” And so, Luther got up from the table without so much as a single bite or drink.

 

Allison was stroking Vanya’s hair while she slept soundly. The tallest woman was looking at her as she would a child. How could they have ignored her pain for so long? Before she could answer herself, Luther came through the door carefully while knocking softly. He gave Allison a small smile which she returned. Both of them with pain in their eyes.

 

“Hey, you should go have breakfast, I think it’s been a while since you’ve last eaten, you could use it” said Luther quietly, and then, “I’ll stay here with her until she wakes up, don’t worry”
“Are you sure? I don’t know what state she’ll be in when she wakes up, I should be here to calm her down” Allison could not help this motherly side of her.
“She’s my sister too, Allison, I’ll take care of her… properly” Luther did sound regretful.
“If you do need anything, call me” and with that, Allison left.

 

Vanya was stirring in her sleep as if she was getting ready to wake up. Luther noticed she had smeared tears across her face, and he felt a pang of pain and guilt in his chest. He was number one, he was supposed to protect his siblings, all of them. Even tiny insignificant Vanya. Specially Vanya. He kept going over her words in his mind since last night, to be honest, he hadn’t gotten much sleep because of them. “Good” said a voice in his head, “You deserve all the pain you have because of all the pain you’ve caused her”.

 

Vanya started blinking slowly as she woke up from her deep sleep.

 

“Hey, hey Vanya, it’s okay. How are you?” Luther tried comforting her. It didn’t seem to work because as soon as Vanya caught sight of him, she widened her eyes and started backing up into the headboard as if trying to get away from him.

 

“H-hi Luther” croaked Vanya “I didn’t expect to see you here. Where’s Allison? Is everything okay?” Luther shifted uncomfortably. His sister was clearly afraid of him. That made him feel disgusted with himself.
“Yeah, Vanya, everything’s okay, you don’t have to worry” Luther was trying to be reassuring “Did you get a good sleep?”
“Yes, actually. I’ve slept more than I have in days…” She didn’t know how to talk to Luther.

 

Number one and number seven. The furthest away literally and figuratively, in all aspects. They never had a close relationship, though that could be said for Vanya and any other of her siblings except perhaps for Five, before he disappeared, and Ben, before he died. But she and Luther seemed to be the most estranged out of all of them. Luther could sometimes forget Vanya was even in the room. He was not her leader as she was not part of the Umbrella Academy and she was always unremarkable and mousy and quiet, so Luther didn’t see how he could have a relationship with the smallest Hargreeves. He would come to regret that in his adult years.

 

“There’s a pretty big elephant in the room isn’t there?” Vanya tried.
“Yes… yes there is. Vanya I-“ Luther said, but Vanya was quick to interrupt him.
“Luther, I told you last night I understood why you did what you did… You were afraid of me… just like dad was. You were just trying to protect Allison, to protect your team” Luther felt a sharp ache in his chest every time Vanya spoke.
“Vanya… I- yes, I think I was afraid of you and I didn’t know how to handle it. I panicked and did exactly what dad did and honestly, listening to dad all these years has been pretty naive and stupid of me. I’m so sorry Vanya… I’m sorry about everything. I’m sorry for how I never paid attention to you in our childhood just because you were not a part of the team. I’m sorry I ignored your pain. I’m sorry for locking you up when I should’ve helped you. I’m sorry for being a shitty brother.” Luther was breathing heavily.
Vanya took a few breaths and blinked a couple of times before she spoke “It’s in the past Luther… I was a threat to your family…”
“Our family Vanya! Our family… you’re a part of it” Luther seemed angry and confused.
“Yeah… our family…” But Vanya only seemed distant and like she didn’t mean the words she said.
“Aren’t you angry? You were pretty worked up last night. Aren’t you furious with me? Do you not want to beat the shit out of me?" Luther said the last part fully knowing it was pretty difficult given Vanya’s tiny frame and Luther’s gigantic body.
“Luther…”
“No, Vanya, you should be able to feel the things you feel. Don’t keep it all inside like always, just scream at me or slap me or anything really! God, none of us really helped you but I was the worst… I started your descent into that… thing you became… Vanya, aren’t you just angry?…” Luther seemed to want to keep going but Vanya suddenly got her words back.
“YES I AM LUTHER! I AM SO SO ANGRY. I AM FURIOUS” Vanya must’ve known the whole house would hear her because she lowered her voice a tad. “God, I am so so angry, at everything, and I am really angry at you. After what I did to Allison... I went to Leonard” Vanya sighed “Harold… I went to him because I thought he was the only one who would be able to help me. But then I told him I wanted my family, I wanted you, because I loved you and because I thought you loved me too…He said you didn’t love me, that you could never love me because of who I was. I soon found out who he really was and I was just so angry… so full of hatred for him that I-I killed him” Vanya was looking straight at the floor “I thought I’d be safe at the Academy. It was supposed to be my home, my heaven… but it never really was. I saw you and you offered your arms at me, and I just felt… safe. I felt safe in your arms because despite everything you were my brother and despite knowing I would never compare to the others I was still your sister, you still knew me since I was a child, you still grew up in the same house I did. But then you squeezed, and at first I didn’t want to think about it but then you squeezed some more and you squeezed and you squeezed…” Vanya was fully sobbing now, and if the situation wasn’t what it was, Luther would hold her in his arms until the crying stopped.
“I thought you wanted to kill me. When I woke up in that cell… I wished you had” At this, Luther’s heart completely shattered. Is this what he’d been doing to his little sister?
“Vanya… I really don’t know what to say. I want to make this right. I have to make this right” Luther said with tears in his eyes.
“I told you last night how you could make it right… It’s the only way, really” Vanya was holding herself very tightly.
“Absolutely not, Vanya… your powers… we can teach you how to control them…"
“Dad never could, what makes you think you can?” Vanya was raising her voice again.
“Dad never tried… not really. His methods, I have to admit, were not the best or the only ones. You’ll be a part of the team this time.” Luther seemed determined to help Vanya.
“I’ll never be a part of the team Luther, given our whole history, I don’t think I could. You all have this relationship that siblings and team mates share… I could never be a part of that” Vanya didn’t seem to stop crying.
“You are our sister Vanya, you will always be a part of this family, you always have been” Luther was getting exasperated.
“But I haven’t have I? been part of this family. The only reason you guys would even pay attention to me now is because you are all afraid of me. Because if you didn’t the whole world would go up in flames. Because you have too. And what, now that I have powers I get to play with you?” Vanya sounded bitter.
“I know you feel we’re not genuine with what we say to you, but actions do speak louder than words, and I’ll show you, we’ll all show you that you are a part of this family and we’ll make this right, all of us together. You should be angry right now, you have that right. But I sure do hope that’s not all you feel, I want you to be happy, Vanya, despite what you may think” Luther hoped this would calm her down.
Vanya deeply sighed. “I don’t want to be angry all the time. Last time I felt angry it didn’t go that well for the moon or the earth did it…?” Was she really trying to make a joke about that?
But despite the bad taste in that, Luther let out a soft chuckle. “No, it sure didn’t. But we’ll fix that with you, alright? so that you’ll be able to get properly pissed at us without the moon taking a hit for it”
“Luther, about my powers… I want to- I need to stop taking my medicine. I know you might think that’s a bad idea given what happened a few days ago… a few days from now” Vanya shook her head “Anyway, I’ve come to realize that they make me numb, they take so much away from me. Not just my powers, but my personality as well. I need to be myself again. I haven’t been myself for twenty-six years and I want to learn how it is to be Vanya”
“I could never stop you from doing whatever you want with your body, Vanya. Specially when those things have taken your life away. I’ll tell the others and we’ll help you, like I said we would, like a family should”

Luther and Vanya then started talking about a plan to take the pills away without doing it all at once and in a safe environment for all. Luther assured his sister she would not go through this alone. He did not tell her how he still felt so guilty when he looked at her, how he felt like a failure for not noticing a member of his family until it was too late. He’d had his fare share of trauma from growing up with Reginald as a father, though he would never put it like that. But he couldn’t imagine what it might have felt like without a sense of purpose from the missions, without the support of his siblings, without Allison. How had Vanya managed being so alone for so long? And though his gift was super strength, Luther would never again doubt the strongest of the Hargreeves had been Vanya all along.

Chapter Text

Two days had gone by since the Hargreeves siblings returned and were all living under the same roof again. They had all agreed it would be best not to leave Vanya alone, unlike most of their childhood.

 

Diego had found that spending his time in the kitchen was somewhat soothing when his siblings got on his nerves. Maybe because it reminded him of his Mother. And so, at nighttime, Diego would go down to the kitchen and make himself a little snack, and drink some of the coffee Five had bought. Times like these would give him space to think about the situation they were in, about his conflicted feelings, about thinking about his feelings when he had rarely done so in his lifetime. God, what a fucking headache.

 

He’d had conflicting feelings about Vanya because of what had gone down that first night. He felt guilty because of the sadness his sister had displayed, he felt his heart swell up with love when she suggested none of them loved her, he felt a pang of pain when she made her suggestion of how to “fix” the apocalypse problem, but somehow, he couldn’t help but still feel angry and betrayed because of the book. That stupid fucking book.

 

Diego was on his third cup of coffee when he heard tiny footsteps approaching the kitchen. He immediately knew who they belonged to.

 

“Oh, sorry. I didn’t know anyone was down here, I’ll leave you be” Vanya still recoiled from Diego. To her, he still hated her and she didn’t want to add to his hate. He had never hated her.
“No, it’s okay, I’m just having some coffee, you can join me” Diego said with a faint smile.
“Couldn’t sleep?” Vanya started to make conversation.
“Something like that. I guess I just like being here”
“Me too, it reminds me of Mom” Vanya said while pouring herself some coffee. It looked like it was gonna be a long night.
Diego smiled at Vanya’s words and thought they were more similar than he’d thought.

 

The conversation started to die out and Vanya was shifting uncomfortably, so Diego decided he was gonna do what he hadn’t done in years. He was gonna talk to her about the dammed book.

 

“Vanya…” Diego sighed, he really didn’t know how he was going to go about this. “I’ve been meaning to talk to you” Vanya looked up at him from her cup of coffee. “About the book” Vanya visibly stiffened.
“Oh… yeah, I figured you would” Vanya’s voice was even softer.
“Look, Vanya, don’t worry. I’m not gonna run my mouth like last time. Last time I did all the talking and didn’t give you a chance to explain yourself. I would like to hear you now” Diego was looking intently at his sister.
“Well, Diego, what would you like to know? Ask away, I’ll try to keep up” Vanya seemed determined.
“Had you always planned to write a book about us?” was Diego’s first question
Vanya sighed “The book was about me mostly. No, the urge sort of came to me suddenly”
Diego ignored the first part of her answer and continued to question. “Why did you write that. Why did you say all that stuff about us?”
Vanya finished her cup of coffee and ran a hand across her face before answering her brother. “Okay, if we’re gonna do this, we’re gonna do this right and I’ll say my piece, no interruptions. You’re gonna listen to all I have to say and then you’ll speak and I’ll listen to all you have to say. I feel nobody in this family has ever listened to me and that’s why everybody hated me after that book. That’s why you hated me. Are you on board?”
Diego wanted to tell his sister he did not hate her at all but nodded nonetheless.
“Alright. Well, buckle up I guess” Vanya closed and opened her eyes “When I started writing the book, I thought it would give me some peace of mind to put it out there. I thought it would work as some sort of catharsis to write about my childhood in the shadow of the prestigious Umbrella Academy. For the most part I thought of writing about what my siblings went through in the name of The Umbrella Academy and in the name of Reginald Hargreeves. I think you ought to know I never intended to drag any of you through the mud. I wrote about you through my perspective as Number Seven, through the sidelines, what Dad let me see, and what none of you thought I’d noticed, because none of you noticed me. I wrote about you because I thought someone should, and maybe you’d say it was not my place. But I only wrote what I saw, what I experienced. But I did mostly write about myself. About what I went through as Number Seven, as somebody ordinary in a house full of extraordinary. To be reminded of that all day, every day, not just by dad but by my own siblings, when they told me I could not join their games because I wouldn’t fit in, when they would sneak out to get doughnuts without bothering to invite me because I’d be a liability, a nuisance. When they’d snicker at my expense because of my lack of powers and strength. Maybe I was full of bitterness when I wrote that but I think I’ve been full of bitterness for most of my life. Maybe I was being self-pitying, but I had always craved some sort of sympathy, even if it did come from myself in the form of a book. A book that would later drive a bigger wedge between me and the siblings who I already did not have a relationship with.” Vanya did not realize tears were pouring down her face until Diego wiped a few with his thumb.
Diego wondered why she was talking about him and the rest of their siblings as if he was not in the room. “What you wrote about us really pissed me off. It pissed me off so much because… that shit hurt, Vanya. It felt as if you were opening a wound that had never fully closed.” Diego looked at her.
“I can only apologize for your hurt. But I still won’t apologize for writing the book, Diego.”
“There’s so much you don’t know Vanya, about what he did to us. How he experimented on us, what we went through during those missions. You just weren’t…”
“A part of the team?” Vanya interrupted
“You weren’t there. That’s what I was gonna say.” Diego pursed his lips
“As much as I was looking for sympathy for myself, I was also trying to be sympathetic towards you, albeit not in an effective way, apparently.” Vanya paused and then “But I will say this Diego, you had each other. Through all the horrors Dad put you through, you knew you all had each other’s backs. And I would forever be envious of that because I knew I never had that, I could never have that” Vanya lumped down on her seat.
“I have your back Vanya, you know I do” Diego tried to defend himself
“You feel guilty for the stuff I said the other day, the way you’d feel guilty if a civilian decided to kill themselves for the good of The Umbrella Academy. You were always the righteous one.”
“You’re not a civilian, you’re my sister! you can’t say stuff like that” Diego raised and lowered his voice all in the same sentence.
“Diego, you asked about the book and I said my piece, I don’t want to keep self wallowing about stuff that just is, now if you'll excuse me…” Vanya went to get up from the chair.
“Vanya, wait! I didn’t- I didn’t want to talk to you to just fight about the stupid book, there are more important stuff alright?” Diego tried finding her eyes “I want to help you, I want to help fix you”
Vanya let out a humorless laugh “I’m not a thing to be fixed. I’m not just something you can make better. I’m a person! A whole person with feelings and needs and all that! Do you know what I need? I need help, I need people around me who won’t manipulate me or take advantage of me. I need to be taken seriously and I need to be taken into account for the things that matter, specially when those things concern me. But Diego, I really, really need a family that loves me, I want to know what that feels like, I really really do.” By the end, Vanya was sobbing and Diego let out a few tears, both with incredible pain tightening their chests. Diego managed to quickly put his arms around his sister, his arms tight around her, stroking her hair. Vanya held onto him like life would leave her if she didn’t. After a few minutes, they pulled away.
“You know, for a time, I thought the book would put me in your radar, in a good way. I thought it’d be like ‘Vanya, thank you for noticing our pain, I’m sorry we never noticed yours’ or something like that. I guess I was just being stupid, as per usual. It should’ve crossed my mind the fact that you would see me as a traitor, telling all the family secrets, and for that, I’m sorry. I never meant to betray you.” Vanya was looking at everything except at Diego.
“I-I don’t know what to say to that” Diego didn’t look at Vanya either.
“Do you still hate me?”
At this, Diego looked up at his sister “Vanya… I never hated you. You’re my sister, you’re my family. I could never hate you.”
Vanya faked a little smile that didn’t reach her eyes. Diego noticed.
“You believe me, right?” Diego asked even if he knew the answer. He didn’t like the answer.
“You know what’s sick?” Vanya ignored Diego’s question. “I kind of cherished the hateful words and anger you guys directed towards me. It meant you’d finally taken notice of me. It meant you had finally realized Number Seven was a part of the family after all. It was my last grasp to this family so that I wouldn’t be completely and forever erased.” Vanya looked at Diego in the eyes, “Don’t you think that’s sick, Diego? Don’t you think I’m sick?”
“You’re hurt” Diego seemed to reach a realization.
“I’m bitter”
“With a reason”

 

Silence fell between the two Hargreeves once more. Diego was looking at Vanya like she would break at any moment, it didn’t help that Vanya was impossibly small and had tears in her eyes. His mind wondered off to the book again, this time accepting that what she had written about him, about all of them, was true. Maybe that’s why it had hurt so much. He now let himself think how much his sister knew about all of them. How little they knew about her. When they were little, Vanya would always be the first to respond to any of their calls for help, even if none of them wanted her help. She had their backs, always. Did they have hers?

 

“You were the only one who never made fun of my stutter” Diego said after a while.
“There was nothing to make fun of” Vanya said.
“Tell that to the others”
“Yeah, well, they’re a bunch of assholes” Vanya had a tad of amusement in her voice.

 

They laughed

 

“My point being, you were the best of us” Diego said
“I ended the world. I’m the worst of us” Vanya let the bitterness back in
“You didn’t mean to. We all pushed you to the edge. Everyone in your life has let you down Vanya. I’ve let you down.” Vanya looked at Diego with pain in her eyes, “But let me help you this time, please. Let us back in, let us be there for you, let us have your back.” Diego was holding both her hands.
Vanya let out a sob and reached for her brother. He quickly took her into his arms and held her until she fell asleep.

 

Diego picked Vanya up in his arms and took her to Allison’s empty room. He stroked her hair once, twice and said, "Vanya, thank you for noticing our pain, I’m sorry we never noticed yours."

Chapter Text

Allison could see the sun rising through her window, the light was illuminating the left side of Vanya’s face. She looked peaceful, beautiful. If Allison didn’t know any better, she could even say she looked happy. But this was her sister, Vanya. Allison knew there was no happiness. This made her chest clench painfully.

Vanya was beginning to stir in her sleep and Allison tried not to move too much so as to not wake her sister. It didn’t work. Vanya groaned and rubbed her face as she slowly opened her eyes. Allison smiled at her.

“Hey sis”

Vanya smiled back, a small smile. A sad smile. “Hey Allie”.

Allison giggled fondly at the nickname “You haven’t called me that since we were kids” She said smiling.

“Yeah, it didn’t really stick much since you scoffed at me every time I used it.”

That stung.

Silence fell on both sisters for a little while.

“I like Allie now, but only if you use it. Don’t tell the boys, that’s yours only.”

“Luther calls you Allie sometimes”

“Well it’s yours now, I give it to you”

The sisters giggled a little. This seemed to soften the mood.

Allison knew she wanted to talk to Vanya about her feelings. But unlike most of the time, she decided she wasn’t gonna push something that might make her sister uncomfortable only for her peace of mind. At Vanya’s pace, that’s how things were going to be if they really wanted to help their sister. It was about time Number Seven had some control of her life. She hoped she wasn’t the only one to think this. She knew she wasn’t. But still, she didn’t want Vanya to seclude into herself. She had to figure out a way to make sure Vanya knew she was there for her without overwhelming her too much.

“Vanya, do you want to go out today? to like get a cup of coffee or tea maybe.” Allison figured they could resume their sister dates.

Vanya’s face warmed up with a smile and she nodded.

The sisters got ready and made their way out of the house into the nearest coffee shop. Once there, they placed their order to the waitress and waited in a table by the corner. Allison tried to come up with harmless conversation topics so that Vanya would be comfortable enough to enjoy this time they had together. Harmless conversation topics though were, as it would seem, pretty scarce. So silence fell upon them pretty quickly. Thankfully Vanya seemed to grab a hold on the conversation.

“You know, its been about 4 days and I haven’t contacted the orchestra. They’ve probably replaced me by now. I’m gonna lose my job” Vanya looked to her cup of coffee.

“Oh no. I hope you don’t mind but I called them and said you were really ill and that you’d be back next week. If you want to that is…” She wanted to make sure Vanya was okay with what she did.

“Oh. Okay. Thanks Allison. Its okay though. I don’t think they noticed I was gone anyway. I wasn’t very noticeable.” Vanya gave her a sad smile.

“But you’re first chair, as I recall…” She trailed off. Allison didn’t want to remind Vanya of the night their siblings and her saw her perform as first chair. Her heart ached. That was the only time they’ve ever seen her perform. What horrible circumstances for them to see their sister in her element for the first time. What horrible siblings.

Vanya went quiet and looked as if she was in deep thought. Allison hoped she didn’t mess things up so quickly.

“Hey I’m sorry… I didn’t want to remind you of…” But Vanya cut her off.

“No. That’s not it.” Vanya sighed. “At this point in time I wasn’t first chair. That came later. Leonard or Harold I guess I should say he…” Vanya looked like the words coming out of her were causing her physical pain.

“Hey, Vanya. It’s okay. I don’t want to push you to tell me anything you don’t want to talk about” Allison tried to comfort her sister.

“No. This is something I should let out. And you seem like the right person to talk about this to” Vanya braced herself for her next words. “The first chair right now is Helen Cho. Leonard killed her. That’s why I got first chair. I had no idea. I didn’t even question why Helen had gone away…” She looked apologetic for a crime she did not commit.

Allison felt like her blood was boiling. In how many ways exactly had this piece of shit fucked with her sister’s life? How many women had he hurt? She wished she could get the chance to kill him in this timeline.

“Vanya… none of what he did to you was your fault. He did it. He is the only guilty one.” Allison said with determination. She did not want her sister to feel any more dreadful things.

“I also haven’t tended to any of my students.” said Vanya like she was ignoring what Allison said. "You know… I would have already met him at this point. The thought that he’s still walking around makes me feel sick. Not that I would kill him again… that would be murder. I don’t wanna go back to that. But I still… I don’t want him to harm anybody else. I don’t want to ever see him again in my life. I want him to disappear, vanish, just… drop dead. What does that make me, Allison?”

“That makes you a survivor. Vanya, that piece of shit of a man took advantage of you and manipulated you, he gaslighted you, he abused you. You more than anyone would get to want him dead.” Allison was searching for Vanya’s eyes but failed to catch them.

“All of you must think I’m an idiot, or pathetic or something like that. I fell in love with a guy after a week of meeting him. A fucking week Allison. And I trusted him more than any of you. It’s just… He made me feel something that nobody in my entire life had ever made me feel. He made me feel special, loved, that I mattered, that what I said had weight, included, a part of something. God I really sound pathetic. He barely treated me like a decent human being and I threw myself at him with both eyes closed.”

Allison went quiet for a moment while she took in everything Vanya had said. If her sister felt like she was pathetic for falling for a guy for making her feel loved for the first time then what did that make her and her siblings. Fucking trash is what it made them. She hadn’t thought about it like that. Vanya was so starved for the love and affection her family had never given to her that she fell prey to that monster. No wonder Vanya didn’t trust Allison when she tried to warn her about him. He was the first and only person in her life who had shown some kind of interest in her and only her, or so she thought. Why would Vanya trade that for the family who had ostracized her all her life? Allison wanted to blame their father for everything but she also knew that she and her siblings also had a part in excluding Vanya. They had all thought they were better than her. And continued to do so into their adult years.

So Allison tried to convey everything she felt to her sister.

“Vanya. You are not pathetic. You thought he was being genuine towards you and really nobody could blame you for wanting to hold onto that so hard.” Allison took a deep breath before continuing, “Listen, we all got shit from dad when we were growing up. But you were the only one who got shit from her siblings as well… We were never there for you and we excluded you every chance we got. And that pains me more than you can know, really. And that is why I, or any of the others, cannot blame you or shame you for falling for Leonard. We should’ve been there for you. I should’ve been there for you.” Allison didn’t want to cry this time in front of Vanya, but here she was.

Vanya looked at her sister for the first time in a while and reached for her hand. And she squeezed. To Vanya this meant forgiveness and repentance. For everything they had done to each other. This meant love and respect. It meant trust. For Allison, it meant the same. They were the only sisters either one of them had and they would cherish each other as so.

They sat in comfortable silence as they took sips of their drinks and smiled at each other. Then Vanya spoke up again.

“You know… I was thinking about your Rumor”

“Oh goodie, a lighter topic” Allison said in a sarcastic yet playful tone. And Vanya chuckled.

“No, like… in an objective way. The words you used,” Vanya talked like she’d given this quite a bit of thought. "You said ‘I heard a rumor you think you’re just ordinary’. Do you think it had an effect in other ways besides my powers? like my personality maybe”

Allison seemed to think about this for a moment before she answered, “Well, yeah, I would think so. My rumors are pretty literal. Why do you ask?”

“Well… I’ve felt different these past few days, and its also because I’ve stopped taking my pills, but I feel like I’m less… ordinary. Less bland.”

Allison smiled “I’m glad you’re finally getting to be yourself Vanya” Vanya smiled at her.

“I think I’m gay” Vanya blurted out after a while and Allison almost choked on her drink.

“Oh” Was all she said.

“Yeah. It’s a pretty late realization considering I’m almost thirty. But I think it was because of your rumor. Now that it isn’t there anymore, I think… I think I’m finally realizing it. Does that make sense?”

“It actually makes a lot of sense Vanya, from the everything about you.” Allison snickered.

“So I was just exuding big lesbian energy for thirty years and nobody said anything, huh?” Vanya grinned.

And the sisters laughed and talked for hours. And Allison felt lighter. And Vanya felt like maybe, just maybe, she could begin to heal.

 

When they returned to the mansion they were a little bit tipsy and a lot happier than when they left. And all of their brothers were in the living room with worried look on their faces.

“Where the hell were you? We were worried sick about you two!” Diego fumed.

“Sorry, Mom.” Both sisters said at the same time and the giggled like teenagers.

The boys looked at each other confusedly, but they seemed to relax at the presence of their sisters. Five jumped closer to Vanya as if to check she was okay.

“Allie, you should’ve told us you were gonna take Vanya out” Luther said.

“First of all, I didn’t take Vanya out. We went out together. Second of all, we’re adult women and we just went out to have a sister date. And third of all, you can’t call me Allie anymore” Allison finished with a secret grin on her face that was directed to only Vanya.

“What? Why not?”

“Because that’s mine now,” said Vanya proudly, “Let’s go to bed Allie”

Allison followed suit and both sisters tumbled up the stairs like giddy teenagers.