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Sarang

Chapter Text

The sun shone brightly in the sky as the girl smiled. 

It was the perfect day for her birthday celebration. 

"Neo?" She questioned, hearing footsteps behind her. 

Her brother placed a hand on her shoulder, grabbing onto her tightly enough there would be a bruise tomorrow from it,  "The apocalypse is coming." 

She turned to him, "Excuse me?" 

"I didn't say anything, though now I will. Happy birthday. You get another year of pitiful existence." He smiled at her. 

It had been another one of her mind tricks. They kept on happening more and more frequently as she got older. Things she thought were normal would turn out to not exist at all. She had long since bothered talking to someone about it. They just suggested medicine she would pretend to take but throw away. No one believed her, and she'd rather not go through the hassle of an asylum or 'care facility' whatever they were called now. 

She might be crazy, but that didn't mean she was stupid. Doctors didn't help. Hospitals were just a way to sell their drugs, getting more and more young people to die from addictions they enabled. 

She maybe was a bit too cynical. 

She smiled back, "You too." 

Rowan realized her mistake within an instant, but she wouldn't admit to it.

He stared, "That's not how birthdays work moron. Don't be an idiot like always. I wasn't born on this day." 

"Neither was I. You and I both know that this birthday was randomly chosen by Dad because he had no idea when I was born," She pointed out. 

He rolled his eyes, "Can you just shut up for once in your life, bitch? Trying to celebrate here." 

Her smile grew tight but she kept it anyway, "Sure Neo. Whatever you say." 

"There's cake in the freezer," he grinned again, knowing she was bothered by the remark but not trying to make up for it.

She raised an eyebrow, "Why exactly is the cake in the freezer?" 

"It's an ice-cream cake," Neo announced. 

She sighed, of course it was an ice-cream cake. There was one thing in this world that she could never stand and it was ice-cream. She suspected it was her brother's choice and that the cake was from ill well, not the absentmindedness of their father. 

"It's rocky road flavor, your fave flavor sis," He continued being the absolute prick he was.  

Rocky road was absolutely not her 'fave' flavor. She despised it as much as she despised ice-cream itself. Her day could not get worse. 

Of course, then a laser had to pierce the moon causing it to start to crumble. 

The fragments falling rapidly towards the earth seemed to multiply as she looked at them. Her mind was playing tricks on her again. 

She stared up at it. 

"Holy shit, we're gonna die," Neo screamed. 

She continued staring up at it. She had no idea how to fix this. A sudden calm washed over her, one that was entirely unexpected but still welcome.

"Be a dear and take that ice-cream cake with you to hell, won't you Neo?" She whispered into his ear. 

He pushed her to the ground, the terror in them being clouded by the anger that had risen up, "What did you just say to me, bitch?" 

"My birthday wish is that you rot in hell like you deserve to."

And with that, the entire world exploded. Killing both of them instantly. 

//

She woke up, to find herself in her old room. Which was weird for multiple reasons. 

One, she hadn't gone to sleep. There was no need to sleep when you were dead. Which left hours in the day that her and Ben used to their advantage. They could talk all night without feeling weird that the kid, well adult now, was just there all the time. So it made no sense for her to have anything to wake up from. 

Two, her old room had been destroyed in 2019. When the apocalypse happened and killed everyone. 

Rowan sat up straight, looking around for her love. He wasn't in sight anywhere. 

She did notice a calendar though, which luckily enough was all marked up so she knew what date it was. 

That didn't matter though. 

She felt an emptiness start spreading across her. She was usually always with him. He wasn't here. He wasn't here. 

"Ben? Ben?" She practically screamed out.

She then got up, it was useless to panic. She had to find him, figure out what was happening with her mind. It was obviously playing tricks with her. 

Her brother was standing outside of her room. 

A cruel smirk was on his face, "Who's Ben? Your pretend boyfriend?" 

She simply stared at him, whether it was in disbelief or pure rage she had no idea. Perhaps a mixture of both. 

"Makes sense that you'd make one up. Help you keep on living," He placed a hand on her shoulder.

"Don't,"she swatted his hand off of her. 

He rolled his eyes, "What exactly would you do if I don't stop? Commit suicide? Tell Dad?"

She punched him in the face. It was weird to be alive again, but the physical contact did feel pretty good.

"What the fuck bitch?" He hissed.

She sidestepped him, having plenty of experience not touching someone and getting past them. She then proceeded to run away, getting as far as possible away from this house. She didn't know what exactly was happening but she knew when it was. 

And where Ben would be in a couple of days.

It was worth a shot. What was the worst that could happen?

Chapter Text

It was a bit chaotic. No. It was a lot of chaos. Everyone around her was screaming or randomly disappearing. She didn't know what was happening. 

All she knew was that she was dead. And they were too. 

She was handling it much better than they were, that was obvious. 

It had been hours, she deduced. Perhaps three. 

It was weird that with humanity ending, that the world didn't stop too. The sun kept on shining, it was still a beautiful day. Even if fires were burning brightly and every alarm that could be going off was. The machines had kept on. Perhaps they would rise up, create a new world from the ashes. 

But until then, she had no idea what to do. 

She felt a bit of grief, but not enough to render her inconsolable. She mostly felt at peace, but for some reason she couldn't move onto the afterlife that people were praying for. 

So instead, she sat at the famous Hargreeves mansion. That was the best place. It had the most flames around it, and only a few ghosts were there. Most that had died in that building seemed to have moved on. And they seemed relatively quiet. 

There was one, who had been completely silent. 

Rowan had approached him, feeling led to talk to him, if only to clear up a question that was on her mind, "Are you alive?" 

He looked up at her, "No. Are you?" 

"How could I talk to a dead person if I was alive?" She tilted her head slightly.

If ghosts would cry, he would have teared up. That much was obvious.

"My brother could. He was gifted like that. But he moved on," the boy had practically whispered. 

She nodded, "That's cool. My brother's only talent was for being an asshole." 

He smiled at her, "I sometimes feel that way about some of my siblings. I'm Ben." 

"Rowan. Why haven't you moved on?" 

He shook his head, "No idea. I died a while ago. Think I might have missed my window." 

"Is there a time limit for this sort of thing?" Rowan asked, smiling at him. 

"No idea," he shrugged, "Not an expert." 

She rolled her eyes, still smiling, "You should be, Mister 'I died a while ago'." 

Ben crossed his arms, "Why haven't you moved on?" 

"I was a bit crazy, could see things normal people didn't. Knew people really well who had no idea who I was. It just sort of popped up in my brain, like a fact sheet about random people. Think if there's a God, he probably doesn't want my type in the afterlife." 

"There's a God. She took my brother Klaus in, she'd probably take you."

"I can't believe I assumed God's gender. Now I feel like a dick." 

Their banter was interrupted by a living person appearing. 

"Ben? Vanya? Dad?" The person called out. 

"That's my brother," Ben said, his eyes wide.

She raised an eyebrow at him, "Oh?"

//

She knocked on the door of the mansion, taking in it's wonder. 

She had never seen it standing up before. Last time she had seen it, it had been caved in and on fire. Not smashed and ablaze definitely made it look better. 

Rowan was expecting a lot of things, maybe an angry Luther okay perhaps entirely an angry Luther, but she wasn't expecting a chimp to answer the door. 

It was Pogo, she realized. Their butler of sorts.

"Can I help you with something, miss?" He asked, sounding exactly as a butler would. 

She nodded, "Is Klaus home?" 

Pogo shook his head, "Unfortunately, Master Klaus has not resided at this address for many years. I cannot assist you in finding his whereabouts."

"Fine. I'll wait for him here. There's surely a spare room in this massive house?" She mostly told but pretended to ask to seem polite.

She didn't want to seem rude or insult the monkey after all. That would get her nowhere. 

"I really cannot let you in, without having someone vouch for you, I'm afraid. I could never let a stranger into the house after all," He seemed mock sorrowful at that remark. 

He was being that polite sad that people did when they really couldn't help you but didn't really want to in the first place. 

This meant the polite kid act wasn't going to work. So instead she used information as a bargaining trick.

"Reginald Hargreeves is dead. No one knows except you and Grace at the moment. I know it was a suicide and I know that Grace currently has the monocle. I need to speak to Klaus and he'll be here in two days for the funeral. Please allow me to stay," She stared at him, hoping he would let her in. 

"I see," Pogo slowly nodded, "Come inside, won't you? I will see what arrangements I can make for you." 

She grinned, "Brilliant." 

She then followed him inside to the kitchen where Grace was. 

Grace was exactly as she had imagined her, if not more beautiful.

"I'm Grace, what's your name?" Her technical mother in law asked, smiling at her. 

"Rowan ma'am," She responded, sitting down at the table where Pogo had pointed. 

Grace smiled even wider if that was possible, "What a nice name. It is nice to meet you, Rowan. It's so nice to see a child around this house again."

She smiled in response, "It is nice to meet you too. I've heard a lot of good things about you." 

"If you won't mind, please explain exactly how you know those things you said," Pogo said, his tone now cold. 

Rowan sighed before launching into a story about timelines and ghosts. It took a while to tell but she eventually told both of them everything.

"I believe your story is true. You may sleep in Number Six's room," Pogo announced, before hobbling away to call the police to tell them about the heart attack.

She nodded, biting into the filet mignon that Grace had cooked for her.

"I am glad my Ben found someone as lovely as you," Grace hummed, "Call me Mom."

Rowan smiled, "Thank you." 

She had successfully arranged it so she could stay at the mansion as long as she needed to. And it would only be two days until she could see Ben. Two days until she would be reunited with the love of her life and work with him to stop the apocalypse. 

She supposed she could wait that long. 

Chapter Text

The boy had stopped crying and was instead building a shelter. He had been gathering supplies for the last couple hours, way into nightfall. He was extremely efficient for a thirteen year old boy. 

The remnants of the moon still shone, as if taunting the world it had destroyed. It was poetic almost. The moon shining upon the corpse of its enemy. Spiting the world if had wrecked havoc upon. 

She turned towards the quiet ghost, "Mind if I stay?"

He shrugged, "Do whatever you want. Do you want to stay?"

Rowan simply nodded in response. 

"Why?" Ben raised an eyebrow.

She shrugged, "Nothing else to do. Plus you seem rather interesting and the not screaming about being dead is a bonus." 

He nodded, "Makes sense." 

He then turned to watch his brother.

"He's smart," she attempted to have a conversation with him. 

Ben smiled slightly, "Yeah he is. He's too smart actually. Never listened to anyone when we were kids, thought he knew better than them. He did though, in his defense."

"Isn't he still a kid? People call me a kid still and I'm older than he is, I think," she raised an eyebrow.

He sighed, looking down for a moment. 

She looked away from him. She had messed this up. Perhaps she was as useless as her brother had said. Perhaps she could truly never find companionship. That would be depressing. A lonely ghost, doomed to forever 'live' in a world that held nothing for her

He looked at her, "We grew up together. There were seven of us kids, all born on the same day. We all were raised together in the same house. Five, that's his name, disappeared when we were 13. No one knew where or when he went. I guess he went straight to the apocalypse. That's when we stopped being kids. Then I died later on, when we were 17."

She nodded, trying to bring the conversation back to something besides people dying or disappearing, "I'm not even surprised at time travel at this point. You said your one brother could speak to ghosts? Are all seven of you special?"

He rolled his eyes but grinned, "My siblings are special alright."

"Elaborate," Rowan leaned in closer too him. "I want to hear about this." 

"Fine. I have six siblings. Luther, Diego, Allison, Klaus, Five and Vanya. Luther is super strong, thinks everyone should listen to him because of that. Diego can throw things really well. Mostly knives. He has an obsession with knives and pretends he's Batman. Allison can manipulate people into doing what she wants, she uses it to get ahead in life. Five can teleport and travel through time. I'm glad he's alive. Vanya we thought didn't have powers, but she does. She's the one that struck the moon and wiped out humanity. We were really close though," Ben stared into space. 

She noticed how he didn't talk about Klaus but decided not to bring it up. It would not be a good idea to annoy her only possible acquaintance. 

She also noticed that he didn't say anything about his own powers. Perhaps he had none and felt bad about it. 

" Were you all adopted or were you a sept-tuplet?" She asked instead.

"Adopted. Raised by the same mom though. She was turned off right before the attack on our house. We all loved her," He smiled, still looking out into the distance.

She smiled slightly, "I was adopted too. My dad found me in the streets, literally in an alleyway. I didn't have a big family like yours though. Just me, Dad, and my brother."

"My father bought all of us. He says that he adopted us and suitably compensated the mothers, but no. He bought us," Ben crossed his arms.

"Wow. Tell me more about that."

"Well on the twelfth hour of the first day of October 1989, 43 women around the world gave birth," Ben launched into his story.

//

It had been extremely hard for her not to cry that night. Being in his room, but alone? It felt horrible. 

The only thing that stopped her from crying was knowing that soon he'd be here.  And she wouldn't be so alone anymore. 

She had grown dependent on him. Being around him 24/7? Being in his arms? Just hearing him sigh as Five made questionable life choices? She needed those to survive. 

It was weird. She wished the world was over again and she was dead again. Just so she could be with him. 

That was probably unhealthy. 

Shouldn't she have a desire to live? Healthy people did. 

But no.

She had a desire to exist with him. Whether that meant her dying or not. Which most definitely was not healthy.

But that didn't matter. 

Instead of focusing on her mental health, she headed down to the kitchen. 

Grace was sitting at the table, staring into space. 

She sat next to her, "Good morning, Grace."

"Good morning, Rowan dear. Please call me Mom, all the other children do," her smile seemed a bit fake. 

Rowan had seen the distraught expression in her eyes, so naturally a smile seemed very put on. 

"Okay Mom," she smiled in response. 

"The news will be released tonight on the television. I expect Diego will come tonight, the rest probably tomorrow. You'll like Diego, he's very sweet," Grace stood up, "Would you like to help me make breakfast?"

She nodded, "I've never cooked before though, I think I might just get in your way."

"Nonsense. Everyone needs to learn at some point," Grace smiled, before pulling out a recipe book. "Rowan, will you please read the recipe on coffee cake out loud to me?"

"Yes ma'am." She started reading. 

They worked together for about a half hour, Grace gently guiding her through it. 

Rowan felt at ease. 

This was nice. She loved Grace already. She could see why everyone called her Mom. She had barely known the woman, but she wished that Grace had actually been her mother. 

They were sat at the table again, the human of the group nibbling on the coffee cake. 

"It's amazing, Mom," She gushed. 

Grace smiled, "I thought it would be. You're a quick learner. You remind me of Ben, he was an excellent cook. He helped me the most in the kitchen."

She looked down at that, her smiling fading away. 

It had only been really a day but it still hurt not to be with him. After 40 ish years together, being apart felt wrong. But soon that would change. He would be back. Sure, he'd be a ghost and Klaus would have to translate, but it would work out. 

It had to work out. 

"Tell me more about Ben please," she whispered. 

Grace heard and nodded, launching into a story. 

Chapter Text

She watched in curiosity as the boy exited the department store.

His wagon was full with several items, all which would be useful for surviving. All except for one thing. 

"Is that what I think it is?" She asked.

Ben nodded, "That is a mannequin yeah." 

"Wonder why he has it," she mused. 

He shrugged, "Maybe the plastic off of it will melt easily and he can re purpose it." 

"That seems legit," she nodded. 

They both sat there, watching as the boy pulled the mannequin off of the cart. 

"I'm Five," he paused for a moment, "You gonna introduce yourself or not? It's rude to stare, anyone tell you that?" 

"Please tell me he's not talking to the mannequin," she turned to Ben. 

He sighed in response. 

"Oh god, he's insane," she muttered. 

He shook his head, "It could be only temporary? Just a bit of a conversation to simulate human interaction and then he'll get rid of it." 

Ben sounded desperate. Probably didn't want to admit that his kid brother had gone completely and utterly insane in the apocalypse. 

It wasn't that surprising that Five'd go crazy, but Rowan had thought he would last a bit longer. 

"Dolores, that's a lovely name," Five smirked, "That's where you're wrong, flattery will get me everywhere." 

Another long pause. 

Ben sighed again, "My brother's insane. The most sane out of my family has finally become insane."

"If it helps, she is a very cute mannequin," she smirked. 

He glared at her. 

Okay so maybe it wasn't time for remarks about Dolores' appearance. 

Five looked down, acting shy,"Dolores, will you come with me? There's no one else around. You can survive in my home with me, if you want." 

"Cute. It's like puppy love," Rowan grinned. 

Ben rolled his eyes, "That'd be like me professing my love to a rock. It's not sentient."

"You have companionship though. I'm here," she protested, "No need to bring a rock into the equation." 

He stared at her a moment before grinning, "Oh yeah, you are aren't you?" 

"Rude," she crossed her arms. 

He placed a hand on her shoulder, "I'm sorry?"

She stared at him in shock. 

He stared back at her, "I didn't realize that I could actually touch you." 

"I didn't think about that either," she responded softly. 

Dolores and Five had retreated inside, but neither of the ghosts moved. 

"I haven't had any physical contact in a long time," Ben admitted. 

She nodded, "You're touch starved. I'm starting to feel that way too." 

It was hard to tell who had initiated it but before either of them knew it, they were in a hug. 

They clung to each other desperately, either not wanting to let go. 

Ben was the one to let go, "Let's go check on Five."

"Gotta make sure him and Dolores don't get up to anything," she agreed. 

He stared at her, shaking his head, "Now I'm picturing that, thanks Rowan." 

"Anytime," she grinned. 

//

She was sat on the armchair, watching the news.

She had remembered seeing this in her last life, or last timeline whatever it was called. But back then she didn't give a damn about the Hargreeves. 

Now she was invested, for better or worse, in this family. In Ben. 

She really missed him. She felt rather empty without being in his embrace. They always were touching each other in some way, it helped both of them feel more grounded in a world where they in no way were grounded. Even before they had fallen in love, they were always engaging in some sort of physical contact. 

Pogo entered the room, making her focus on the present timeline. 

The one without Ben. 

"Did Number Five force you into this timeline when he jumped or did you jump yourself into the timeline?" Pogo asked, sitting next to her. 

She blinked, "I have no idea?"

"It's my theory that you also have powers somehow. It would explain your constant deja vu. After all, if the same you exists in different timelines naturally some things would blend over," he announced, studying her closely, "I'd like to run some tests."

She shook her head, "I don't want to be experimented on." 

"If that is truly your wish, I'll leave you. Perhaps we can discuss this further later on," he removed himself from the room. 

She sighed. This was a truly bizarre interaction. Which left her thinking. 

Did Five send her to the timeline or was it some sort of outside force?

When he left was when she had switched over. It had seemed like it was from him. But what if it wasn't? Who would've done such a thing? 

It almost seemed possible that it could've been her. But that was impossible. 

She didn't have powers. If she had powers, she should've been able to use them. But if she didn't know she had powers, she certainly wouldn't be able to control them.

Perhaps she was like Vanya. Thought to be ordinary and then turning out to actually kill everyone. 

Maybe not that much like Vanya now that she was thinking about it. 

A knife whizzed past her face, piercing her shirt and pinning her to the chair in one move. 

She looked up. 

Diego.

"You have a minute to explain what the hell you're doing in my house before I throw the next one between your eyes," he announced calmly, glaring at her. 

She nodded, "I'm here for Klaus. I knew he'd be home after seeing the news program. I didn't want to try and track him down in an alleyway. This seemed the best option."

"Why are you looking for him?" He raised an eyebrow, still obviously suspicious of her. 

Rowan shrugged, "I need his powers."

"He hasn't been able to summon ghosts for ages," Diego informed her. 

She nodded, "Yeah but this one I know he sees most of the time." 

He grabbed another knife out of his pocket,"For some reason I don't believe your bullshit story, so try again kid. Why are you here?"

"She's a guest, Diego. And we don't throw knives at guests," Mom entered. 

He put away the knife, "Sorry Mom. But seriously why is she here?"

Mom raised an eyebrow, "Rowan, haven't you told him that you're waiting for Klaus?"

"I did," she confirmed. 

"Thought that was a lie," he muttered sheepishly. 

Mom smiled, "I'm glad you're home. There's cookies in the kitchen. Diego, Rowan, you may both go get some. Make sure you leave some for the rest of the children."

He nodded, "Thanks, Mom. You're the best."

"Thanks, Grace," She grinned. 

Mom shook her head, "We've talked about this dear. Call me Mom." 

Diego's glare grew stronger, pulling the knife from the chair.

Rowan headed into the kitchen with Diego coming with her. 

"You're not just a guest. Mom doesn't adopt just random children that burst in looking for one of us," He stared at her, grabbing a cookie and tossing it into his mouth. 

Crap. 

She didn't know what exactly to say. Ben would know what to say. 

"I have powers. Don't know exactly have they work but Reginald Hargreeves took me in to try and figure them out. Then he died. I'm still here to talk to Klaus," she looked down, lying through her teeth. 

Diego softened, "Another one of our father's text subjects. I get why you wanted to pretend to just be a guest." 

"Yeah," she grabbed a cookie as well. 

"How old are you?" He asked, conversationally as if he hadn't been threatening her for the entire time he'd been here. 

She raised an eyebrow, "How old are you?"

He rolled his eyes, "I asked you first kid."

"14, almost 15," she responded.

He stared at her, "That's young. You gonna stay here for long?"

"Depends on what Klaus tells me," she replied honestly. 

Diego nodded, "I'm going to check out the death area. Don't come with me."

"Okay?" She raised an eyebrow as he left. 

Now to tell Pogo and Grace her cover story. Make sure they were on the same page as her. 

She had to fool all the Hargreeves and save the world. 

Rowan only hoped Ben would be up to that task.

 

Chapter Text

The clumps of stew being stirred made her quite glad that she was dead and therefore did not have to eat that. 

There wasn't a lot of options for Five to eat as most food was perishable, so he had to consume the most disgusting things she had ever seen. He had handled them better than she could have. She had to look away from them and she wasn't even the one eating it. 

At least it was easy for him to cook things so he didn't get salmonella. The world was still burning and turning even though there was only one person left on it. 

She started humming, being reminded of a tune. 

Ben sighed, "Music time with Rowan?"

"I hum one measure and suddenly it's music time? I'll do it to annoy you if you keep on teasing me," She remarked, placing her head upon his shoulder. 

He wrapped an arm around her as he often did. Ever since the revelation that they could touch each other, they hadn't stopped. Clinging to each other, perhaps too intimately for ghosts that barely knew each other. But they were just friends, leaving all their caresses to be purely platonic. 

He rolled his eyes, "Like you wouldn't continue music time anyway." 

"Okay, I came out here to have a good time and now I feel attacked," She crossed her arms, pouting.

Ben smirked, "You came out here because you died, I'm not an expert but I don't think that's exactly living it up, or rather living at all."

She rolled her eyes, "Well just because you're a bore doesn't mean I'm not having a great time dead."

"Are you having the time of your life?" He raised an eyebrow. 

She smirked bursting into song, "I had the time of my life, no I've never felt this way before." 

"Knock it off," he interrupted. 

She leaned more on him, pouting once again, "You don't approve of my music tastes?" 

"I have to say every second you're dead your music tastes devolve. It went from Billy Joel to Dirty Dancing, any second now and we'll lose you completely," he shrugged. 

She rolled her eyes, "Guess that's just you rubbing off on me, making me a boring person." 

He pushed her off of him, "Rude." 

Rowan grinned, sitting up straight again. With being dead, she felt no pain so him pushing her to the ground didn't bother her at all. 

They sat in silence for a moment, just staring at each other. 

Both of their lips struggling to resist the temptation to curve into a smile. 

Ben broke first, "Damnit, that was actually decent." 

She burst into laughter, dodging him shoving her again and instead launching herself onto his lap, "Ha! I got you to admit it!"

"Doesn't change the fact that you're a huge dork," he retorted. 

She crossed her arms, "No one has ever described me as a dork before you, so... Think you're outvoted."

"Ben shrugged, "No one knows you like I do. They fall for that cold and distant act, not seeing you're actually like a puppy not some lone wolf." 

She stared at him and he matched it. The dynamic instantly changed. 

She moved herself out of his lap, distancing herself both physically and emotionally from him. She was supposed to be guarded and he was proving she was not. So she would have to pull a Trump and build a wall.

"You don't know anything about me," she responded quietly.

He looked away from her, "Okay." 

They sat there in silence, the only sound being Five's mutters and the crackling fire. Well besides the screams coming from the other ghosts, but Rowan had long learned to tune that out. It was white noise, unimportant, nothing to be concerned about. They would pass on eventually, or learn to cope. That's what they all had to do, and she had no pity in her heart for them. 

All of humanity was dead, they weren't special. 

"Awe look, he fixed her a little plate of food," she exclaimed, gesturing to Five and Delores. 

Ben shook his head, "Never thought I'd see this brother go completely insane, but here we are." 

Rowan raised a mock glass as if in a toast, "Here we are." 

//

After people started arriving in the house, Diego had given up on the 'stay put' tactic. Instead, he was treating her as if she was a little lapdog that needed to be at his heels. 

Klaus wasn't there and she didn't particularly want to socialize with any of the Hargreeves. Also she didn't have the energy to protest Diego ordering her around. 

"Come," he gestured to her as he exited the kitchen. 

She followed, trying to avoid looking at the way he walked. She didn't know why but his way of walking seemed ridiculous to her, just straight up ridiculous. She definitely was always internally judging it but not looking at it helped her to forget for a moment. 

They passed into the entry-hall, at least that's what she called it she wasn't a rich person who knew titles of rooms in mansion, where there were two girls talking. Allison and Vanya, she presumed. 

"Ah, what is she doing here?" Diego remarked as they walked towards the girl.

Rowan muttered, "Please don't do this." 

He ignored her, "You don't belong here. Not after what you did."

This was why Vanya killed everyone because Diego had to be a prick to her. They needed to make sure she didn't start the apocalypse, not antagonize her into destroying the world.

Rowan sighed, "Please don't do this."

"You're seriously going to do this today?" Allison demanded.

Diego continued walking up the stairs, "If you don't like it Ro, you can go find someone else to follow after." 

She shook her head and followed Diego up the stairs, mouthing an apology to Vanya. 

Vanya looked at her questioningly but turned away, probably not wanting to get into it.

Allison basically ignored her, "Way to dress for the occasion by the way. And who's the teenager?"

"At least I'm wearing black," Diego muttered, disappearing into the upstairs.

Rowan paused on the stairs momentarily, "He's an asshole, I'm sorry."

"You know what? Maybe he's right," Vanya muttered. 

The teenage once ghost but now not shook her head, "No. If he can accept me he should be able to accept you. You belong here more than me." 

Before Vanya or Allison could respond, Rowan took off upstairs, not wanting to continue the small talk.

Unfortunately, Diego was in a room talking to another sibling of his. They weren't yelling but it was fairly obvious they were arguing. The venomous whispers made her feel almost awkward leaning against the wall in the hallway.

Diego exited the room and stood next to her, "Surprised you're not downstairs, being Vanya's little pet."

She rolled her eyes, "She belongs here, stop being mean to her." 

"She doesn't belong here and you don't get to make that call. You're not part of the family. Sure my father might have fucked you up but that doesn't mean you belong here. Because you don't. Honestly, I don't know what you're still doing here," he hissed. 

The hostility was unexpected but she was used to that. It didn't really bother her, just stung slightly that someone who had decided to protect her was telling her to get out.

She crossed her arms, "As soon as I get to talk to your brother, you'll never have to deal with me again."

He simply stared at her before walking away. 

It was fairly obvious that she wasn't supposed to follow, so she didn't. She instead, stood there in the hallway. 

This was taking a toll on her. She had only been there a couple days but already she was tired of it. She was tired of interacting with people, of trying to act like she knew who she was. 

Ben had changed her, made her more open and lovable. She had become her best self with him, but now she had to find the person she was before him. The person who was closed against the world. The one who didn't care about anyone, much less what they did to her. The one who didn't care if people said harsh words to her because that was the norm. 

And that person seemed ages away, a different lifetime from her one with Ben. Which was true. She had spent 15 years being closed off but 40 ish with Ben being open to the idea of people loving her. So naturally she wouldn't be able to fall right into it. 

She really missed him. Seeing his siblings only made her loneliness grow. But soon he would be here, and soon she would be complete again. 

She couldn't wait to be reunited with the love of her life. 

Chapter Text

Five was sleeping, the teenager was curled up next to a fire clutching Delores as if she was his security blanket. 

And perhaps she was. 

Ben was clutching Rowan in the same way. 

They had been inseparable. It wasn't exactly a mystery as to why. 

They had no one else. The other ghosts were basically remnants of themselves, only a few calm ones showing up but those typically leaving to 'move on' as they said. 

Which meant that the only person Ben had was Rowan and the only person she had was him. 

So naturally they clung to each other, both a little touch starved, both a little afraid what would happen if they let go from each other. 

"It's weird not needing to sleep," she remarked, her head resting comfortably on his shoulder. 

He shrugged slightly, "Is it? I guess I got used to it. I've been dead for a while so." 

"Don't flex at me," she rolled her eyes. 

He raised an eyebrow, "Is being dead truly a flex? Because that sounds sad in that case." 

"Maybe I'm just a sad person," she muttered. 

He brushed a hair from her face, "I don't know what to tell you. I would tell you to cheer up, but you're dead and so is everyone you ever cared about so I think it's okay that you're wasting your afterlife moping right now." 

"The shade. Geez. Fine, I'll bite. How do I not waste my afterlife, if you can call this shithole an afterlife?" She crossed her arms and looked up at him. 

He rolled his eyes, "I don't know. By doing something besides calling yourself sad I guess." 

"Well we have all night while the kid's asleep, what do you want to do?"  She asked.

He raised an eyebrow, "Are you propositioning me?" 

She sat up straight, pushing herself off of him, "Oh god no, Benjamin. Clean your mind." 

"Sorry, hung around my brother for way too long. We could play a game or something," he offered. 

She shrugged, "Twenty questions?" 

"Sure. I'll come up with something first." 

"What do you mean? Are you going to ask the first question or?" 

He shook his head, "No. I'll come up with the item first and you can ask the questions." 

"The fuck are you talking about?" Her face wrinkled in confusion. 

Ben stared at her, "Twenty questions? I pick an item and then you ask twenty questions to narrow it down until you can guess." 

"That's not what twenty questions is. You just ask questions back and forth to get to know the person," she stared back at him. 

They sat in silence for a moment, just staring deep into each other's eyes, hoping the other person was joking or something. 

"No. That's not twenty questions," Ben broke the silence. 

She shrugged, "It is now." 

"Why would they change a classic game?" He loudly demanded.

She flinched at the noise. 

Rowan looked down, "I'm sorry. Please don't be mad." 

That startled him. 

Again a silence fell over them. 

"Did I scare you?" He asked, his voice soft. 

She didn't really want to answer but she did, "Yeah." 

"Oh." 

"Sorry. Just not a fan of people yelling, instincts and all that." 

Ben put a hand on her shoulder, "Don't apologize for something bothering you. I'm glad you told me." 

"Sorry," she muttered. 

He rolled his eyes, his expression still concerned, "Ro. It's okay, geez." 

"Okay. So twenty questions?" She looked up at him. 

He just sighed in response.

//

She quickly removed herself from the upstairs and started searching for Klaus. 

She wasn't really looking for Klaus but she couldn't see Ben right now. 

The reuniting was definitely freaking her out a bit. 

He was a ghost, she was still alive, how would that even work? 

They would have to depend on Klaus to translate, unless she wanted to die. 

Which she did. 

Sort of but not really. 

She didn't want to die, but rather be dead without that hassle.

Dying was the unfortunate part, she had no problem with being dead. 

The search did not last long, her picking up the sound of rummaging in a closed off room.

The house was unusually quiet, void of the sounds of screaming that usually filled her ears, making the sounds easy to pick up. 

She opened the door, closing it behind her. 

A figure bolted upright. 

She hadn't seen him in a long time and then he had been a corpse but it was recognizably Klaus. 

None of Ben's other siblings would be fidgeting so much or wear so much eyeliner so it wasn't a hard assumption to make. 

He stared at her, blinking a few times. 

Rowan scanned the room and then instinctively turned to a corner. 

She felt as if Ben was possibly sitting there, so she let a smile slide onto her face. 

She was going to be reunited with her love again. She was going to get to be with someone who actually knew her and didn't think she was fucking crazy. 

"Weird question, but little girl, are you alive? Because I thought I was too high for ghosts but also there's typically not kids roaming around daddy dearest's mansion. Or maybe there are, who knows," Klaus gestured towards her.

She raised an eyebrow. 

He was much more than she had expected. She had heard stories about him, of course, but actually experiencing him was a lot to take in. 

Ben was a saint for dealing with this everyday. 

She turned back to him, she would focus energy on Ben later, "I am alive. I need to talk to your brother." 

"I'm sure they're somewhere in this house. Which one?" He gasped, "Are you Diego's daughter? Oh my god you totally look like him, since when did he have a kid? I feel so left out of mo dheartháir's life wow." 

Way more than she had expected. 

She rolled her eyes, "I'm not Diego's child, that's disgusting to even think about. And I don't need to talk to those two brothers, I need to talk to Ben." 

"Oh he's dead sorry," Klaus shrugged.

She was starting to lose her patience. 

Perhaps it was only talking to Ben for most of her life but someone this extra was starting to annoy her. He was just so high on top of his already eccentric nature. 

Rowan nodded, "Your point? I know you can see him, it's what you do. And I know he's here right now." 

She just wanted to talk to the person she loved. 

"Well in that case, may I have your name and your reason for this visit so I can get you set up with an appointment?" He propped his head up on his hands, looking expectedly at her. 

The reason for the visit was she needed to see him again, feel his embrace, let him tell her that it was okay and even though she was alive again nothing had changed. She needed him to tell her he loved her and for her to get the opportunity to say it back. She needed to talk to him about the apocalypse and try to stop it together, even though she didn't mind death. She needed to talk to him about these powers she could potentially have and what this meant for her life. She just needed to talk to him and get her security blanket back again because right now she felt pretty fucking alone. 

She stared at him, "Rowan, and I just...need to talk to him." 

He drummed his fingers against the desk for a moment before glancing over at where Ben must be standing.

She could feel her body trembling with nerves as she prepared to get to interact with her husband again. 

"Rowan? And how do you know Benny boy?" Klaus asked. 

She sighed, smiling slightly, "It's a long story." 

He flung himself onto the desk chair, "Well pray do tell, because Ben and I have no idea who you are." 

Her smile slid off of her face. 

Had she heard correctly or had her ears been corrupted from years of listening to the damned scream? 

Because she couldn't have heard correctly. 

Ben had to know who she was. 

He was her everything. 

He was her love, they had lived a fulfilling death together, they belonged together forever. 

She needed him. 

He had to know who she was, because at one point they were everything to each other. 

Except he didn't have to know that. 

She was an idiot. An absolute idiot. 

The timeline had reset and so had everyone in it. 

This was before she had met Ben, before she had died. 

It was foolish to hope that Ben had also replaced his past version. 

It was foolish but she had become so overwhelmed with hope that she had forgotten to prepare for the alternative. 

The alternative she hadn't even considered. 

The alternative that was the current situation. 

Ben had no idea who she was, because he had never met her. 

Their 40 plus years together meant nothing. 

She was nothing to him. 

"Oh," was all she managed to stammer out. 

She had died, she had watched the end of times come down, she had come to terms with her own inevitable destruction and had said fuck you to her killer. 

But this was something she couldn't deal with. 

Klaus, unaware of her crisis, kept bothering her, "Is that all you're going to say? Why are you here anyway? That's a little strange. Were you even alive by the time that Ben had died?" 

"Just forget it, and forget me, because apparently I'm nothing once more. Damn timelines," she scurried out of the room, before the tears could flood her eyes. 

She knew Ben had been watching and didn't want to cry in front of him. 

She knew that would make him feel bad and she didn't want his empathy. 

She wanted her Ben, not the stranger she currently was faced with. 

But one can't always get what one wants, and Rowan would never get what she needed. 

Chapter Text

Something felt off in the house. 

Maybe it was just the fact that they were back in the house that was weird. 

He never thought that Klaus would ever go back, but their dad was dead so here they were.

Ben was almost glad to be dead to avoid the family drama. He knew Diego was starting fights with everyone, like Batman did typically. 

But on the other hand, he wasn't glad to be dead. 

Because it meant he had to watch Klaus raid the office for money instead of hugging the people he cared about. 

Klaus was muttering under his breath as he rummaged. 

But the ghost was aware of what was happening and the door sliding open meant someone was coming in. 

He hoped it was anyone but Luther if he was being honest. Luther was a great brother but as Klaus put it, he did have a stick up his ass when it came to Dad.

He rolled his eyes, it was a good thing he hadn't said that aloud. He didn't need Klaus knowing he was rubbing off on his spiritual companion. 

"We could be talking to Mom right now, when's the last time you got a homemade meal? I bet she made cookies," he pointed out, leaning on a wall. 

Klaus simply shook his head and continued on his search. 

A figure stepped through the door and closed it behind her. 

It was a girl, rather young. Probably somewhere near what age he would be in if he wasn't, you know, dead.

Which was strange, there typically wasn't attractive living girls in the house and she had to be living to interact with the door. 

Things had certainly changed around the house.

"Klaus. A girl just walked in," He informed his brother, sitting on the floor now. 

Klaus bolted upright, turning towards the door. 

Him and the stranger stared at each other before the stranger's gaze shifted. 

She stared right at Ben and smiled. 

This was a little creepy. 

Ben raised an eyebrow, "I think she can see me, she just smiled at me." 

"Weird question, but little girl, are you alive? Because I thought I was too high for ghosts but also there's typically not kids roaming around daddy dearest's mansion. Or maybe there are, who knows," Klaus gestured towards her. 

He sighed, "Good job." 

Klaus did not acknowledge that. 

The girl stopped her staring at Ben and turned to Klaus. 

Finally. 

It was strange and he felt unnerved by her. There was something wrong about her and he was getting the strangest sense that he knew her but at the same time his brain was screaming that she had never met him. 

He had no idea who the hell she was and that bothered him for some reason. 

The girl spoke, "I am alive. I need to speak to your brother." 

"If she's alive, how did she see me?" Ben muttered. 

"I'm sure they're somewhere in this house. Which one?" Klaus gasped, "Are you Diego's daughter? Oh my god you totally look like him, since when did he have a kid? I feel so left out of mo dheartháir's life wow." 

The ghost sighed again, "What the fuck, Klaus? She's not Diego's daughter, we would know if he had a daughter." 

A pause. 

"We would most likely know if he had a daughter," he corrected. 

Klaus glanced at his brother. 

"Diego doesn't have a daughter, and his daughter would not look like that," Ben clarified.

They both knew that they weren't on high priority in their siblings' life so that wouldn't know even if Diego did.

The girl rolled her eyes, seemingly done with Klaus, "I'm not Diego's child, that's disgusting to even think about. And I don't need to talk to those two brothers, I need to talk to Ben." 

That took him off guard. 

Okay the whole situation was unsettling but her requesting to talk to him was extra unsettling. 

She could see him. 

She knew him somehow, but he didn't know how. 

"I didn't think the first person to ask to talk to me was going to be some teenager I've never met," Ben muttered. 

Klaus smirked slightly before shrugging, "Oh he's dead sorry." 

"At least see what she wants, geez," he rolled his eyes. 

Klaus ignored that, like he typically ignored Ben. 

She tensed up, "Your point? I know you can see him, it's what you do. And I know he's here right now." 

That was extremely strange. 

The brothers exchanged glances again before Ben shrugged. 

He didn't know what was happening or who she was, but she was angry about the fact that Klaus was being Klaus. 

Which was understandable for first experiences with dealing with his brother. 

"Well in that case, may I have your name and your reason for this visit so I can get you set up with an appointment?" The Ouija Board propped his head up on his hands, looking expectedly at her. 

A long pause in which the girl seemed to be lost within herself. 

She spoke again, trembling a bit, "Rowan, and I just...need to talk to him." 

Rowan. 

He had never met anyone with that name. 

He wouldn't have forgotten her, he wasn't like that.

He had never met the girl before in his life, or death,

Klaus drummed his fingers on the desk, before glancing over at Ben. 

"No idea who she is," He remarked. 

"Rowan? And how do you know Benny boy?" Klaus asked, subtly fishing for information. 

She sighed, smiling slightly, "It's a long story." 

If it was a long story, he should know it. But he didn't. 

She had never been in his life. 

Klaus flung himself onto the desk chair almost falling over, "Well pray do tell, because Ben and I have no idea who you are." 

Rowan's smile was removed from her face instantly. 

She seemed in shock. 

"Way to be tactful. She's a kid, don't be an asshole to her," Ben crossed his arms. 

He didn't know why but he wanted to protect her.

She was upset and he didn't like that. 

Klaus simply shrugged. 

Politeness and drugs didn't mix well and Klaus could be pretty blunt. 

"Oh," was all she managed to stammer out. 

Ben got up and walked over to her, examining her closely, "Good job. You made her upset." 

This was meant to stop Klaus from asking questions, but Klaus ever the oblivious missed the hint. 

He assumed it meant to continue asking questions to figure out who she was, so he would know how to make her not upset. 

Klaus kept bothering her, "Is that all you're going to say? Why are you here anyway? That's a little strange. Were you even alive by the time that Ben had died?" 

Ben could tell that the interrogation wasn't going over well so he shot a glare at Klaus who shut up instantly. 

It was too late though, Rowan was already upset. 

"Just forget it, and forget me, because apparently I'm nothing once more. Damn timelines," she scurried out of the room, her eyes threatening to spill over. 

That was a lot to unpack, but instead of focusing on that, he followed her. 

He didn't know why but he wanted to see her not be upset anymore. 

It personally bothered him seeing her cry and he wondered why the hell she was so upset? 

They had never met before, after all. 

Chapter Text

Another reason she was glad she was dead was because she couldn't smell the godawful stench that must be existent. 

Five was currently emptying his stomach into one of the literal dumpster fires that was nearby. 

"I told him. I told him not to eat that Twinkie. How could it possibly be good? It's been ages since the apocalypse, who decides to bank their personal safety and well being on a market strategy? Twinkies obviously do not have an endless shelf life, who would believe they did?" Rowan muttered, pacing furiously. 

Ben raised an eyebrow, "You gonna continue on with your little rant about Hostess and their lies Ro?" 

"I wouldn't have to rant if he just listened to me," She stuck her tongue out at him.

He smirked, "He can't hear you. We established this. Dead, remember?" 

"It's frustrating not being able to interact with someone just because you're not the same living status as them. And I'm over it," she stopped pacing and sat down next to him. 

He immediately wrapped an arm around her, "Oh yeah?  Tell me more about how irritating it possibly is to be dead." 

"Okay. I get your point, I'll stop," she rolled her eyes. 

He rested his head on her shoulder, "What? Am I irritating you?" 

"No. You could never," she remarked, smiling slightly. 

They sat there for a minute, just enjoying each other's company. 

There was a slight breeze, pushing the smoke around but not effecting them. 

Another benefit for being dead. 

The more Rowan thought about it, the more she was actually content with being dead. 

Sure she had died in a gruesome way but so had the rest of the world. 

And her life now, or whatever it could be called, was so much happier than when she was alive. 

No one making fun of her, or forcing her to do things she didn't want to, over and over and over and over again. 

No one insulting her. 

No one telling her she was a waste of space and that she should go kill herself since that would be the only impact she would ever have on the world. 

Death held none of that. 

Instead, it had brought her companionship and happiness. 

Someone who hugged her and held her, and teased her in a way that made her smile. 

Someone that genuinely cared about her and someone she genuinely cared about.

It had let her form faster friendships than ever, mainly due to the fact there was 24/7 contact with each other which meant that normal things such as sleep didn't stop the socialization. 

It provided her with the life she would have wanted to live. 

So basically everything was a benefit for being dead, as long as she had her best friend with her. 

And it wasn't exactly that Ben would be leaving her at any point. They didn't have to worry about their lives being dragged in different directions. 

She never had to lose her only friend. It was nice. 

"You're being quiet," Ben remarked. 

She raised an eyebrow, "Like you're much better. I don't see you making conversation." 

A sigh. 

"Okay just ignore what I said, I realize my mistake," she pushed him off of her shoulder, his arm still wrapped around her. 

He grinned, "Ignoring how me making a conversation is apparently not me making a conversation, what's wrong? Are you sad about not being able to help Five, because it sucks but at least he's not puking on you which he would be if you were alive." 

"Just thoughtful about life," she halfheartedly explained. 

He nodded, "Okay. I'm here for you, if it's what did you call them?"

"Sad boi hours. Get the slang right, old man," she laughed. 

He rolled his eyes, still smiling, "Back in my day we just called it depression not whatever hours." 

"Yeah whatever," she sighed. 

It was nice just to be with someone you cared about. 

//

She could feel her eyes itching with tears threatening to spill out. 

But somehow she didn't feel like she could cry, even though there was no one around she still felt as if someone was. 

Probably an irrational thought, since she knew there was someone in this household she couldn't see. 

It would be irrational. 

Ben had no idea who she was. 

Why would he follow her?

Even so, she felt as if this space was too open to cry in. 

So she started heading back upstairs to Ben's bedroom. 

She didn't have to stay in Ben's bedroom, there was an ungodly amount of bedrooms in this house, but she wanted to. 

It felt right even though this whole situation was wrong. 

She just wanted to go home, and being a little close to the idea of him felt better than being completely alone, like she actually was. 

Something had happened but the timeline had reset with Five leaving and her being drug into this world she didn't want to be in. 

She just wanted to be dead with the love of her life. 

But she was alive and with him but he had no idea who she was. 

And that hurt the most. 

Rowan was almost to the stairs when she was stopped. 

"You need to explain some things," Allison spoke, halting her in her tracks. 

She raised an eyebrow, "Talk to Pogo or Grace, they have the answers." 

"I did speak to Mom, so I know why you're here. I have a different question for you to answer," the woman stared at her. 

Rowan sighed, "Okay? Shoot." 

"Why did you stand up for Vanya?" She asked suddenly. 

That question took her off guard. 

She had assumed it would be something like 'why are you still here' or 'why do you look like you're upset' or something harder to answer. 

The fourteen year old didn't even have an answer for the first one, which would have made it the perfect question to ask to interrogate. 

But no. 

Instead, Allison was asking about why she wasn't a major asshole which was slightly weird. 

Because Vanya was a ticking timebomb about to explode any day now?

Because Vanya was a sweetheart that deserved better?

Because Rowan had also been in the position where her sibling hated her and made her life a living hell? 

Because Vanya was one of Ben's favorite siblings?

She shrugged, "Because she deserves better than the hate she's given. She shouldn't be left out of the family, especially if Diego already relatively accepts me." 

A pause where Allison stared deep into her eyes, analyzing seemingly everything about her. 

This was weird. 

So weird. 

Rowan wasn't used to having adults pay so much attention to her, especially not females. 

"Okay. How long are you staying?" Allison seemingly softened. 

She shrugged, blinking furiously to try and keep her tears from slipping out. 

She didn't want to cry in front of anyone, except people she felt comfortable around. 

The list of which consisted of four people. 

Grace. 

Her Ben, not this Ben. 

Five. 

And Delores. 

Three of which were not here, and the other one wasn't even a person, which probably said a lot about Rowan. 

With a nod Allison walked off, heading towards the room Rowan had previously left. 

Which left the teenager to dart upstairs and into Ben's room. 

She instantly collapsed into tears, clutching a pillow, once she flung herself on the bed. She couldn't help herself from crying. 

It was pathetic. 

She had died, her family had died, the world had ended but she was up here being a stereotypical teenager crying out heartbreak. 

But it wasn't just a simple crush. 

She had loved Ben, and he had loved her. 

They were almost married, soul mates. 

But that was all gone. 

So who could blame her for crying her heart out at the first opportunity. 

She hadn't cried in years, and it almost felt good to be alone. 

It gave her some time she needed to acknowledge the fact that Ben didn't know who she was. 

She sat there crying for several minutes, until her eyes could no longer cry. It felt like she was dead again, her eyes unable to produce liquid. 

It was almost nice. 

Was that messed up? Probably. 

The door swung open, interrupting her thoughts. 

A giant man walked in, storming next to her, "What are you doing in this house? Who do you think you are?"

This must be Luther. 

Aka the one clutching the bloody eyeball. 

He stood over her, looming with a glare on his face. 

She flinched. 

This wasn't good. 

She didn't like this. 

She didn't like someone standing over her like this. 

She didn't like it. This wasn't good. She wasn't safe. 

She was in danger. 

"Stop," she muttered. 

He crossed his arms, "You can't just be here, how'd you get in here?" 

He was still standing above her, still angry.

He was going to hurt her. 

"Stop," she muttered again, it coming out a bit weaker than before. 

He stood there until he suddenly recoiled, "Ow."

Diego stood in the doorway, a knife stuck out of Luther's arm, "She said stop, brother. Leave her alone." 

As they started to get in a fight, Rowan snuck out of the room. 

She was starting to hate this family, and she had only been there for three days.

The Hargreeves were a lot and she was said her two favorites were somewhere in the apocalypse while she was stuck here with the rest of them. 

But life sucked like that. 

Chapter Text

She glanced around, a smile sliding upon her face as a thought entered her head. 

"Enjoying the view?" Ben asked, his tone a teasing one. 

She rolled her eyes, still smiling, "Not really. I was just thinking how much this place'll look like Earth from Wall-E as soon as all those fires stop." 

"Wall-E?" He raised an eyebrow. 

She turned to him, sighing, "You have to know what I'm talking about." 

"No idea," he shrugged. 

She shook her head in mock disbelief, "The Pixar movie? With the little Robot? And music from Hello Dolly? Come on. It's a classic." 

"We didn't watch many movies as children, and Klaus never really stayed in a place that had a free television," he explained. 

"Ah okay."

They fell into a silence, the only noise being the sound of Five muttering as he wrote down equations. 

"I know that's not right Delores, but do you have a better idea?" Five's voice became much more apparent now that the two ghosts were silent. 

The mannequin sat there, unmoving because she was a mannequin. 

The living person raised an eyebrow, "That is a better idea, huh." 

"This is how people must have seen Klaus, seemingly talking to himself like a lunatic," Ben shook his head.

She moved closer to Ben, "I mean only crazy people would have a conversation with you." 

He crossed his arms, "Wow okay. I'm feeling attacked right now." 

"Good," Rowan gently uncrossed his arms and took his hand in hers. 

Ben smiled slightly, "Tell me about this Wall-E movie?" 

"So basically, there's this little robot who's like a trash compactor. He's adorable. He lives in this basically post apocalyptic world where there's only cockroaches and trash," she launched into an explanation.

He nodded, "So...here." 

"Yup. He lives in this bunker that's really intricately set up with a whole bunch of technology. He has one movie, Hello Dolly, that he loves to watch. He's a big fan of it and does some dancing to the songs," she smiled slightly, remembering watching it. 

He rest his head on her shoulder, "Tell me more." 

"Basically, he's all alone because humanity is gone until one day a spaceship comes from well space, and this robot comes joins him. She's much more serious and is rather analytical to his goofy side, they balance each other out. She's also on a mission to find a plant," she continued on with the synopsis. 

She didn't have to look over to know that he was smiling and paying attention to her. 

It was nice. 

Extremely nice to just get to ramble about one of her favorite movies and have someone who actually cared rather than told her to shut up. 

She was getting spoiled by having someone who actually cared. That was a little bit sad but at least somebody cared. 

//

At least somebody cared. 

It was only Diego who probably only cared because it was an easy way to piss off Luther but at least somebody cared. 

Even if it wasn't her husband. 

She rubbed at her eyes, sitting on the floor in one of the countless spare bedrooms in the mansion. 

It felt weird to be in a body again, alive again, able to interact with people. 

She wasn't used to being seen by people and it was taking a while to get used to again. 

She used to only be able to interact with Ben and Delores, after several years of having her around she had starting interacting with the mannequin yes, but now it was everyone but Ben and Delores that she could interact with. 

The mannequin was probably in her shop still, Rowan assumed she could find the store easily but did she want to?

Not really. 

She didn't need Delores after all, she needed her husband. 

Her soulmate, her love. 

And he had no idea who she was. 

She was also fourteen again which was weird. 

Sure she hadn't aged physically before but she had mentally and her and Ben basically pretended that they physically aged as well. 

Now to be where people thought she was a fourteen year old and treated her as such?

It was weird. 

A knock on the door, she flinched before taking a deep breath. 

It was okay. 

She was in the Hargreeves Mansion, not at home. 

Neo wasn't going to get anywhere near her. She would be okay. 

"Rowan dear?" Mom called out. 

She smiled even though Grace wasn't in the room with her, "Yeah Mom?"

"There's a family meeting downstairs," she informed the teenager. 

She raised an eyebrow, "I'm not their family." 

"Sure you are silly, you're Ben's wife. That makes you part of this family to me," Mom opened the door at this point. 

She crossed her arms, "They don't see me that way." 

"They asked specifically for you to join them downstairs for their family meeting. I wonder what it's about," she hummed in thought before turning around and walking out. 

Rowan stood up and started heading downstairs. 

Why would they ask for her to join the family meeting? None of them really knew her. 

Perhaps the family meeting, since it probably had to do with the death, also covered what to do with a fourteen year old that just lives here now. 

That would make sense. 

She needed to start preparing for what to do in case they kicked her out. 

She needed to start actually preparing to fight the apocalypse and that would be inconvenient to do from the streets. 

But they didn't know her, and they didn't know about the apocalypse and she knew better than to tell them. 

If she told them the whole truth, they would overreact and hurt Vanya, perhaps activating her powers too early and destroying the world 8 days before it was supposed to end. 

Klaus liked Vanya well enough but it wasn't like she had anyone really standing up for her. Not since Five had disappeared and Ben had died. 

So Rowan telling them to guarantee a spot in the household would be a suicidal move. 

Which meant at this family meeting they were going to kick her out. 

She walked into the living room, probably called a parlor because they were rich, and sat down on a chair as far away as possible from everyone else. 

She could see Vanya and Diego both glancing at her for different reasons. And then there was Klaus mixing a drink in the background. 

"Um I guess we should get this started," Luther awkwardly stood there. 

Rowan stared at him, waiting for the ultimatum to get out. 

"So, I figured we could have a sort of memorial service...In the courtyard at sundown...Say a few words, just at Dad's favorite spot," Luther continued, still being extremely awkward. 

Apparently, they were doing funeral planning first and removing of ghost second. 

Allison raised an eyebrow, "Dad had a favorite spot?"

"You know, under the oak tree. We used to sit out there all the time," Luther looked around, "None of you ever did that?"

Practically everyone shook their head, except Klaus who had just entered the room. 

He balanced the drink and a cigarette in one hand as he stood in front of the couch, "Will there be refreshments? Tea? Scones? Cucumber sandwiches are always a winner." 

The fourteen year old could practically see Ben deep sighing, 

Except she couldn't and it didn't matter because it wasn't her Ben. 

"What? No! And put that out. Dad didn't allow smoking in here," Luther seemed taken aback by Klaus as if he had never had to deal with his extraness before. 

Allison stared at Klaus, "Is that my skirt?" 

"What? Oh yeah, this. I found it in your room. It's a little dated, I know but it's very breathy on the bits," he circled his hips before sitting down on the couch. 

Luther sighed, "Listen up. Still some important things that we need to discuss, all right?" 

"Like what?" Diego stared at him intensely. 

Luther matched the stare, "Like the way he died." 

Rowan sighed quietly. 

Diego rolled his eyes, "And here we go."

"I don't understand. I thought they said it was a heart attack," Vanya scrunched up her face. 

Luther nodded, "Yeah according to the coroner." 

"Well wouldn't they know?" Vanya asked, still being the voice of reason here. 

"Theoretically." 

Allison raised an eyebrow at the tallest Hargreeves, "Theoretically?"

"I'm just saying at the very least, something happened. The last time I talked to Dad, he sounded strange,"Luther tried to explain his theory. 

"Oh quelle surprise," Klaus gargled. 

Rowan shrugged muttering, "Your father always sounds strange." 

"Strange how?" Allison asked, her face mirroring Vanya's in term of confusion. 

Luther responded, "He sounded on edge. Told me I should be careful who to trust." 

"Luther, he was a paranoid old man, who was starting to lose what was left of his marbles," Diego made eye contact with Ro, nodding at her slightly in acknowledgement. 

Luther shook his head before turning  to Klaus, "No. He must have known something was going to happen. Look, I know you don't like to do it but you need to talk to Dad." 

Which wasn't going to happen because Klaus wouldn't summon his father and he was too high to do so anyway. 

"I can't just call Dad in the afterlife and be like, 'Dad, could you just'," he paused before continuing, "'stop playing tennis with Hitler for a moment and take a quick call?'"

Rowan couldn't stop herself from smirking at that. 

"Since when? That's your thing," Luther demanded, starting to get annoyed. 

She crossed her legs and pulled them onto the chair, making sure she scooted a bit further back from the angry tall man. 

Klaus gestured wildly, "I'm not in the right...frame of mind." 

"You're high?"

He laughed, "Yeah! Yeah! I mean, how are you not, listening to this nonsense?"

"Well sober up. This is important," Luther muttered. 

A moment of silence where multiple pairs of eyes met Rowan's again.

She looked down. 

"Then there's the issue of the missing monocle," Luther broke the silence. 

Rowan raised an eyebrow. 

She had seen the monocle with Mom's supplies. It wasn't exactly missing. 

Diego shook his head slightly at her before glaring at Luther, "Who gives a shit about a stupid monocle?"

"Exactly! It's worthless. So whoever took it, I think it must be personal," Luther explained his theory. 

Rowan felt a pit in her stomach appear. 

Oh god. 

He was about to start accusing people, and she was probably on that list. 

"Where are you going with this?" Klaus asked. 

Diego glanced between his brothers, "Isn't it obvious, Klaus? He thinks one of us killed Dad. And he probably thinks little Ro is the one to have done it." 

Luther stood there, looking down not denying Diego's remark. 

"You do?" Klaus looked offended.

Vanya just looked sad, "How could you think that?" 

"Great job, Luther. Way to lead," Diego walked out of the room. 

Vanya also left the room.

Luther protested, "That's not what I'm saying." 

"You're crazy man. You're crazy, crazy," Klaus got up and started walking out as well. 

Luther called after him, "I'm not finished."

"I'm just gonna go murder Mom, be right back," Klaus fully left the room. 

Luther sighed, "That's not what I was saying."

Not wanting to be in the room any longer, Rowan also trailed out. Not with any quip unfortunately. 

She didn't know what else she could say. 

Klaus and Diego had basically said it all. 

She stood in the entry room for a moment, contemplating the meeting.

"Um, hi," Vanya spoke. 

Oh yeah. 

That was right. 

People could see her. 

"Hello." 

Chapter Text

Five lay on the ground, obviously shivering. The fires had died down so now there was only extreme weather conditions. Hot with ash in the morning and cold with ash in the evening. 

Rowan glanced over at him, "I want to be able to hug him, and hold him tight. Make him a little less cold." 

"I know. But if you tried to touch him, you'd probably just make him extra cold. Klaus always said ghosts were cold to the touch," Ben remarked, placing a hand on her shoulder. 

She nodded, "Yeah. Doesn't change the fact I feel useless watching him shiver." 

"I feel the same way. I wish I could just give him some advice, tell him to go into the corner instead of out in the open," his hand moved from her shoulder, wrapping around her waist. 

She raised an eyebrow, "Is it warmer in the corner?" 

"It is. Most corners are 90 degrees in fact," he informed her. 

She nodded before staring at him in realization.

A smirk slid on his face. 

She rolled her eyes, pushing him off of her, "You asshole."

Ben just chuckled. 

"You're an asshole, I swear. Making me think that you had actual scientific info and then telling a dad joke? Are you kidding me?" She sighed, smiling slightly though to signify there was no actual anger in her words. 

He raised an eyebrow, "Do you have a problem with dad jokes?"

"Nah. My dad would tell them all the time," she glanced down. 

Her mind went to her dad, someone she had not thought about in a long time. 

He was dead. 

Everyone was dead though, she was even dead herself. 

But she hadn't thought about him dying. Sure he hadn't really been there for her, but he didn't deserve to die. 

She felt as if tears would stream down her face, but they didn't. 

Hands gently lifted her face up as Ben crouched down a bit to be completely eye level with her, "It's okay Ro. I got you. You're with me, it's okay." 

"It's weird. He wasn't really part of my life, he didn't do anything to stop my brother and just was oblivious to everything I went through. But I miss him," she rubbed at her eyes instinctively, even though the tears wouldn't come. 

He pulled her into a full on hug, "I know. It's okay. He's in Heaven now, he doesn't have to deal with this apocalypse thing. He's probably telling dad jokes to God right now." 

"I just miss him so much, he didn't deserved to die," she muttered. 

Ben gently rubbed her back in circle, "None of us did. You didn't deserve to die either. My mom was the best parent, and she's gone now too. Someday, you'll see him again. I'm sure." 

"Okay," she hugged him back. 

And they just stood there for a while, holding onto each other. 

The people they loved might have been gone, but it was okay. 

They had each other to love instead. 

//

"So..." Vanya started off. 

Rowan raised an eyebrow, wondering where she was going with this, "So?"

"That was a lot," she remarked, her hands going to her pockets awkwardly. 

She grinned slightly, "Yeah. It was. Is your family always this chaotic?"

"This is them toned down. Usually it's worse," Vanya admitted. 

The fourteen year old glanced at her, "Wow. Must've been rough." 

Vanya looked down at that. 

Rowan wasn't really that empathetic or anything but the change in mood was obvious.

She had fucked up and made Vanya sad. 

She didn't know what she had done but she needed to fix this. 

"I don't like talking about them. They don't want me here, I don't belong here. It feels like if I talk bad about them I'm just making everything worse. I'm sorry, I don't know why I told you this," she sighed slightly. 

Rowan placed a hand on her, "I know. It's okay. I never felt like I belonged anywhere, at least in this world. But we're here now. And if they're going to be slightly okay with having me be here, then they should be more okay with having you here. You belong here. You have every right to be here and if they have a problem they can go and fuck themselves." 

"Thanks," Vanya looked up, speaking softly. 

"Of course."

A smile started growing on the woman's face, "How old are you by the way?"

Ro shrugged, "Fourteen legally, but I feel older than that. I feel like I should be in my 60's but my body didn't catch up."

"You remind me of my brother, Five. Even from a young age he still acted like he was older," she laughed slightly.

She nodded eagerly, "Yeah. He always was a middle aged sailor, grumpy and could curse like no tomorrow." 

It was nice having someone to talk about this with. 

Vanya froze, "You know Five?"

Well shit. 

Chapter Text

A pause. 

"That's a horrible way to die. You died so young, that's not fucking fair," Rowan muttered. 

Ben shrugged, "You died younger. Anyway is a horrible way to die, because you're dead at the end of it." 

"I was ready to die though," she remarked, glancing up at him. 

His expression went from storytime to concern, "Ro, don't say that." 

Another silence fell over them. 

She glanced at him. 

He stared at her, his eyes giving that look she recognized when he was upset. 

Her focus went to her thoughts, where she was currently analyzing his death over and over again in her head. 

It didn't seem right. 

Perhaps it was the way that he died, or even the fact that he had to go through such suffering. 

Wait no. 

That wasn't why at all. 

It was because it conflicted with how she already assumed he had died. 

He was Benjamin Hargreeves, the Horror. He was the one that had conspiracy videos about his mysterious death written. 

He was the one she had stayed up watching videos about.

And she couldn't believe it had taken her so long to realize. 

"That's not even close to Ryan's theory wow," Rowan remarked.

He raised an eyebrow, "Who?"

"Ryan Bergara, from Buzzfeed Unsolved," she gestured wildly as if that would help explain this.

He stared at her, "I have no idea what you're talking about." 

"You're so uncultured," she shook her head. 

He rolled his eyes, "I was dead. Not everyone had the privilege of being alive recently." 

"Yeah yeah, anyway Buzzfeed Unsolved is this Youtube series where they talk about conspiracy theories and weird occurrences. They did an episode on you."

Ben leaned in, "Tell me more." 

"Another storytime with Rowan," she smiled slightly. 

He nodded, "Yup. Best part of the day." 

And thus she launched into an explanation of Buzzfeed Unsolved was and the fan theories about how he died.

//

"Well..." She trailed off, hoping Vanya would forget about it. 

Vanya raised an eyebrow, "He's been missing longer than you've been alive." 

She didn't know what to say. 

Oh we all die in like 8 days and your brother teleported into the apocalypse also I died and was a ghost who ended up promising herself to your dead brother forever?

No. 

But there had to be some story. 

So she came up with one on the fly. 

"Five and I have similar powers, we both ended up at the end of the world for a period of time. I got to know him really well before my powers sent me back to present time," she informed the woman. 

It was a lie but it wasn't like Five was exactly going to time travel back to this time and expose her. 

Vanya nodded, seemingly believing this, "Oh okay. Was he okay when you met him?"

"Yeah, he was okay. Really scared at being alone but okay," Rowan responded. 

They fell into a relatively awkward silence where they just kind of stared at each other. 

That silence ended with the loud noise of music being blasted from upstairs. 

A beat that Rowan didn't recognize but Vanya did fill the room. 

The woman smiled slightly, "This was our song as kids." 

"I can tell. Whoever is playing it is really blasting it. If it's audible from here, I don't even wanna know how loud it is upstairs," Rowan smiled slightly as well, moving her body to the beat.

Vanya stood up, walking down the stairs so she was closer to the teen, "It's probably Allison, she always plays her music too loud." 

The lyrics started flooding in at this point. 

Children behave

That's what they say when we're together

Vanya started moving a bit to the beat.

In an interesting way. 

And watch how you play

They don't understand and so we're

Some arm movements got in on whatever dance Vanya was doing. 

Running just as fast as we can

Holdin' on to one another's hand

Tryin' to get away into the night

And then you put your arms around me

And we tumble to the ground

And then you say

Rowan's smile grew as she started pacing steps for the dance style that her and Ben always did. 

It came instinctively with the idea of music itself.

Vanya's feet started scooting around as she bopped awkwardly. 

I think we're alone now

There doesn't seem to be anyone around

I think we're alone now

The beating of our hearts is the only sound

The beats took over for a moment as the lyrics faded out. 

"Not that I don't appreciate your moves, but I have an idea," Rowan offered her hands.

Vanya raised an eyebrow but took both of them. 

They bobbed to the beat for a moment as the teen made sure she was in time. 

Look at the way

We gotta hide what we're doin'

Rowan started leading her through the steps, gently turning her hand when necessary. 

The smile grew on Vanya's face as she closed her eyes.

'cause what would they say

If they ever knew

And so we're

"Me, Five and Ben would dance like this," the Hargreeve announces as she moves through the steps about as easily as the used to be ghost is doing. 

She simply nods, her thoughts on memories from long ago as well. But her memories her from longer ago than Vanya would ever understand, and it didn't look like she would ever get a chance to go back there. 

Running just as fast as we can

Holdin' on to one another's hand

Tryin' to get away into the night

And then you put your arms around me

And we tumble to the ground

And then you say

Ro stepped in and attempted to twirl her. 

Vanya opened her eyes as she got tangled up with Rowan. She tries to step forward and help but that doesn't work. 

A moment later and they're both on the ground, laughing. 

I think we're alone now

There doesn't seem to be anyone around

I think we're alone now

The beating of our hearts is the only sound

The beating of the heart was not the only sound as the music died away. 

A loud booming noise shook the mansion. 

Rowan sighed, standing up and offering a hand to Vanya. 

"Thanks," Vanya looked around. 

Rowan nods, "Let's go outside." 

She hadn't heard of a loud boom happening last time but maybe Ben just wasn't aware of it. 

Or perhaps it hadn't even happened in his timeline at all. 

Chapter Text

"Teenager tries to operate c.d player for ten hours straight," Rowan remarked from her perch on a pile of books Five had neatly stacked.

Ben rolled his eyes, "We didn't have c.d players, just record players. Don't get mad at the kid for not knowing how technology we didn't have around the house works." 

"I'm not mad, just... I miss music and him being able to maybe work this and play whatever inside of it is so interesting. I'm just anxious to hear some music," she grins.

He nods, a smile on his face as well, "Any guesses on what's inside?"

"Probably a c.d, who knows though," she smirked, dodging his shove at her.

He simply sighed.

Five was muttering as he fiddled around with it, "That would make a lot of sense Delores, but I don't think that's the case." 

"She's right, it would be easier to play the current c.d rather than actually trying to eject it," She chimes in. 

Ben shakes his head, "Oh no. We've lost you too. You're agreeing with the mannequin now?"

"If she's right, she's right. Don't be racist," she leans against the other ghost, ignoring him rolling his eyes...yet again. 

Five rolled his eyes as well, apparently a Hargreeves trait, before pushing a button, "There. I did what you wanted, I don't think that's going to..."

His words were drowned out by the sound of a familiar upbeat melody starting to play loudly from the speaker. 

"Shrek?" Rowan raised an eyebrow.

Ben glanced over at her, "What?"

"Shrek Two. It's from the Shrek sequel I think," she responds, as if that answered any of his questions.

 Five's face lit up into a smile, "A bit more modern than I wanted but this will work just fine. Delores? May I have this dance?"

"Awe," the ghost girl coos.

Apparently, the mannequin said yes as moments later they're doing some complicated dance moves. 

A tap on Rowan's shoulder.

She glances over.

"Ro? May I have this dance?" Ben asked.

She shook her head, "All I can do is Default dance, and no one deserves to see that."

"I'll teach you," Ben offers, a smirk forming on his face, "Don't be a pussy about it and come dance with me."

She sighs before standing up and following him to the impromptu dance floor.

He offers his hands, "So you're gonna step left..Wait no. You step right, left and then rock step."

"The fuck is a rock step?"  She asks, taking his hands.

He laughed at that for a moment, "So basically take your right foot behind your left and lean onto your right foot before leaning back onto your left. Like this." 

"Okay?" She raises an eyebrow.

He smiles, "I'll lead you. Just follow me. I got you Ro."

"Okay."

They start dancing, but it doesn't last long as she immediately steps with the wrong foot. 

"Sorry. Don't mean to be such a fuck up, just comes naturally," she shrugs.

He lets go of her hands for a moment and gently cups her face, "You're not a fuck up. You're an amazing person who makes occasional mistakes." 

Before she could respond, he grabs her hands again and starts dancing with her. 

It goes better this time as he gently guides her through the steps. 

These lines of lightning mean we're never alone

Never alone, no no

"There. Much better," Ben remarked as they continued dancing, him slightly turning her hand to properly guide her through the steps. 

Come on, come on, move a little closer,

Come on, come on, I want to hear you whisper.

She smiles slightly, "You're a good teacher."

Come on, come on, settle down inside my love. 

"Five taught me how actually, believe it or not," He informed her.

Come on, come on, jump a little higher,

Come on, come on, if you feel a little tighter.

Come on, come on, we were once upon a time in love.

She raised an eyebrow, "Really? I don't believe it, yet also watching them I kinda do."

We're accidentally in love.

"Vanya expressed a desire in dancing and so he stayed up all night learning how to dance and taught her and I the next weekend during our free time. And then we would just dance to things, at one point Diego found us and he joined our group. That didn't last long. Once Klaus found me and Diego dancing together, we disbanded our group. Klaus gave me crap about that for years," Ben explains.

Accidentally in love.

She laughs, "That sounds amazing." 

Accidentally in love. 

"It was," he twirls her. 

Accidentally in love.

She, not being prepared for the twirl, ends up wrapping herself around him before falling over. 

It's a moment before she emerges from the ground she just sank in to. 

Ben looks down, "Sorry."

"It's okay, my fault. Totally," she brushes off the dirt for a moment before realizing dirt didn't stick to her because she wasn't physical. 

Big brain time. 

"You'll get the hang of it. Next time, you'll be prepared for when I spin you," he glances at her. 

Rowan raises an eyebrow, "We're doing this again?"

"Might as well, we have the rest of eternity to spend together. We can fit in some dancing." 

A smile forms on her face. 

The rest of eternity. 

What a lovely phrase. 

She couldn't wait to spend it with him. 

//

They all walked sort of quickly outside. 

There was a giant blue force of energy there, crackling and illuminating the sky. 

"Oh," Diego commented as he filed out into the courtyard.

Rowan stared at it, it looked sort of familiar for some reason. 

She didn't know why though. 

"What is it?" Vanya asks.

Allison warns, "Don't get too close." 

"Yeah no shit," Diego stares up at it. 

Actually, all of them are basically staring up at it. 

But Rowan feels like she knows this. Like this is something familiar, which with her special way of walking around almost everything can be seen as familiar. 

"Looks like some kind of temporal anomaly. Either that or a miniature black hole. One of the two," Luther suggests. 

Temporal? Like time? 

Wait. 

No that couldn't be right. 

He couldn't be. 

Diego rolled his eyes, "Pretty big difference there, Paul Bunyan." 

"Out of the way," Klaus barrels through, throwing a fire extinguisher into the vortex. 

Rowan shook her head in disbelief, continuing to stare at it. 

There was someone in the anomaly, causing it. 

And sure he had shaved but it was obviously him. 

"Five?" She asks, her voice being easily drowned out by the Hargreeves bickering about who should be the one in front. 

A hand grabs her and pulls her behind the rest of the group. 

Vanya clutches her, "We'll figure this out. Just stay behind them." 

"I vote for running! Come on!" Klaus yells. 

The face draws nearer, it was definitely Five. He starts pushing through the portal, his features de-aging before he falls to the ground. 

"Five," she whispers again. 

He wasn't supposed to be here, he wasn't in the timeline she had lived through before. 

Damnit. 

This made sense now. 

He had dragged her into this timeline, he had reset the timeline and changed it. 

There was no going back to her Ben, he was permanently gone. 

Vanya glanced over at her before looking at her brother.

The sky brightens as Five gets up. 

"Does anyone else see little Number Five, or is that just me?" Klaus asks as the group approaches him. 

Five looks down at his body, "Shit." 

"The hell?" Diego stares at him. 

"We'll talk inside," Five shrugs before glancing over at Rowan, "Huh. She's new." 

"Yup," she nods.

He didn't know her, but she would fill him in later on who she was. 

And then they could work together, stop the apocalypse. 

After all, her Ben was gone. 

No need for an apocalypse. 

Ben would be happier with his siblings alive. 

He didn't need her, just needed the world not to die.

So she would get that for him.

Chapter Text

"What are your thoughts on death?" Ben asked, perched on a ledge with his hoodie over his hair. 

She raised an eyebrow, "Edgy much? Come down here and we can talk about it."

"Come up here and don't be rude," he responded, smiling slightly. 

She rolled her eyes, "Fine, you emo fuck. I'll come join you. You want me to blast MCR music or nah?" 

"I'm good thanks." 

She walked up to the ledge, perching next to him, "Look, Simba. Everything the light touches is our kingdom." 

"What?" He raised an eyebrow. 

Rowan sighed, "Geez, Ben. Lion King. You haven't seen the Lion King? How have you not seen the Lion King? It's iconic."

"I'm an old man, we've already covered this." 

She shook her head, "That is no excuse this time. It came out in the 90's. You were alive when it came out, which I do realize you weren't alive for long but you should be able to appreciate this movie out of all the endless ones I've mentioned. My head, it is shaking with the disappointment of a thousand angry men." 

Ben rolled his eyes, wrapping an arm around her, "I'm sure it is Ro." 

"It is!" 

"Of course. Are you going to answer my question now or do you have to rant about movies for a long time before then?" He teased, dodging her shove that came right after that. 

She shrugged, "What do I think about death? It happens, obviously. I'm dead, you're dead, death is better than I thought it would be." 

"Do you think there's an afterlife?"  He asked, glancing at her. 

She leaned her head on his shoulder, "There could be. It's either that or the ghosts are just vanishing and I'd like to hope that they're all moving on to somewhere that is happier than this place is for them." 

"Do you want to move on to an afterlife?" 

Rowan shook her head, "Why would I want to move on when I can annoy you here?"

"You don't annoy me, I enjoy your company," he remarked.

She nodded, "I see...I will have to work harder at pissing you off then. Soon enough you will hate my presence." 

"Bet," he said, hesitating a little on the unfamiliar word. 

She grinned, "Ben? Is that a slang? I'm calling the police." 

He rolled his eyes in response.

//

"What's the date? The exact date?" Five started moving around to fix himself a sandwich. 

He seemed stressed, probably upset that Delores had been right and now he appeared to be a child. 

Rowan could understand the whole frustration with not looking how the mind thought you should look. 

She answered quickly, giving him exactly what he needed before one of them could irritate him further by giving him a non-exact date, "The 24th of March, 2019. The funeral's today." 

"Good. Don't know who you are still but thanks," he glanced down at his sandwich. 

Vanya raised an eyebrow, "But I thought..." 

"So, are we gonna talk about what just happened?" Luther interrupted. 

A pause while Five continued making his sandwich. 

Everyone glanced around at each other except for the biggest.

"It's been seventeen years," Luther stood up.

Five scoffed, "It's been a lot longer than that." 

He then jumped behind to get more ingredients. 

"I haven't missed that," Luther muttered. 

Diego called out, "Where'd you go?"

"The future. It's shit by the way," Five responded. 

Rowan rolled her eyes grinning. 

It was shit, but it was her shit and she missed it. 

"Called it!" Klaus remarked, looking awfully proud of himself. 

Five sighed, "I should've listened to the old man. You know, jumping through space is one thing, jumping through time is a toss of the dice. Nice dress." 

"Oh well, danke!" Klaus preened. 

Vanya looked confused, "Wait, how did you get back?"

"In the end, I had to project my consciousness forward into a suspended quantum state version of myself that exists across every possible instance of time," Five explained. 

Diego stared, "That makes no sense." 

"Well it would if you were smarter." 

Diego made a move to get up and kill Five which was stopped by Luther. 

"You could just explain it simpler instead of assuming that everyone here is an expert in temporal science geez," Rowan muttered. 

Everyone's eyes went to her. 

Oh. 

She had forgotten that her remarks were heard now. She was so used to making fun of Five with Ben that she had slipped back into it. 

But she couldn't do that anymore. 

Five raised an eyebrow, "I theoretically could, but they don't require an in depth explanation. Who are you again?" 

"Rowan." 

Diego rolled his eyes, "Remind me why you're still here?" 

"I need to talk to Five," she shrugged. 

Five stared at her, "Do I know you?" 

"Yes but also no. You've seen me before, your first week into the future, the second story with the boy and then me. I was the one with the pink necklace who was flipping off the world," she informed him. 

His brow furrowed, "We'll talk later." 

She nodded in agreement. 

"How long were you there?" Luther asked, still holding back Diego. 

Five shrugged, "Forty-five years. Give or take." 

Luther sat back down in shock, "So what are you saying? That you're 58?"

"No, my consciousness is 58. Apparently, my body is now 13 again." 

"Wait, how does that even work?" Vanya was really confused at this point. 

"Delores kept saying the equations were off. Eh," he took a bite of his completed sandwich, "Bet she's laughing now." 

Rowan smirked, "You should've listened to her." 

"Delores?" Vanya asked. 

Five hummed in response, picking up the newspaper, "Heart failure, huh?" 

"Yeah," Diego said.

"No," Luther said at the same time. 

"Hmm," Five clicked his tongue, "Nice to see nothing's changed." He started heading out. 

"That's it? That's all you have to say?" Allison demanded. 

Five gestured for Rowan to come with, "What else is there to say? The circle of life." 

Rowan followed him out of the room and upstairs into his bedroom. 

He shut the door behind him, "I remember seeing your corpse. How do you know that I saw it, how do you know that you died like that? How do you even know who I am? Or who Delores is?"

"I died in the apocalypse, but I stayed around as a ghost. I met this lovely ghost who I became close with, your brother Ben. We watched out for you during the apocalypse, but neither of us could materialize since Klaus was dead. We lived together for 40 some odd years, until you took the deal with the Handler and reset the timeline. I woke up a couple days ago, alive but with all my memories of the apocalypse. Ben didn't come back with me, he has no idea who I am. I want to help you prevent the apocalypse, and I won't slow you down by asking dumb questions about the future because I've already been through it," she explained. 

He thought for a moment, "Prove that you were there." 

"You and Del found a record player when the first plants had started to spring up and danced to a lot of Chordettes' music. Not to mention the first time you found aloe vera and actually cried from the relief of putting it on your extremely burnt flesh. Do you need more?" She tilted her head slightly. 

Five shook his head, "No. Were you and my brother romantically involved?"

"We got married," she responded simply. 

He glanced at her, "Now he doesn't know who you are?"

She nodded. 

He stuck a hand out to her, "You can help me stop the apocalypse, but not a word to the others. They wouldn't understand. What's your cover? Tell me more about your powers so I know what I'm working with."

The interrogation started and didn't end till a few hours later when he had finally run out of questions to ask. 

 

Chapter Text

Rowan had been listening to Five intently, she was sure of it.

But he was nowhere in sight. 

In fact, the only living human was her brother who she should be far away from. 

"About a week until your birthday, you excited Ro? It'll be nice this year, I promise," Neo smirked, placing a hand on her shoulder. 

She flinched before hitting it off, "How am I here? Leave me alone." 

"What on earth are you talking about Rowan? Don't be dumb. You're always with me and Dad, it's not like you can just leave. You can't do anything," he sneered, obviously confused by her response though. 

She raised an eyebrow, "How did you take me from the Hargreeves' mansion? I was just talking to Five." 

"Don't be weird, bitch," he pushed her on to the ground. 

She rolled her eyes, "You can't talk to me like that."

Before anything else could happen the scene changed.

//

She was alone now. 

The room was dark, gray.

The cold spiked walls seemed to be closing in on her. 

She couldn't breathe. 

Her heart was racing, her chest pounding as if she had just had a panic attack which didn't make sense because she hadn't just had one. 

She had had a weird experience so far and her grip of reality was certainly slipping but she certainly hadn't just had a panic attack.

She had been with Five, and then with Neo and now she was alone and feeling weird. 

Basically, Rowan had no clue what was happening anymore. 

Had she fallen asleep?

Did alive bodies randomly pass out? 

She had forgotten if they did or not, it had been a long time since she was properly alive. 

Or maybe this was something different. Maybe this was some kind of premonition?

But what premonition would have her brother in it? She wasn't going to see him again. 

Maybe it was ptsd. 

Maybe her body couldn't handle the horrors she had experienced in her living body anymore so her brain was freaking out. 

And this....

This could be her safe space?

An isolated space where no trauma was there and she could deal with her feelings. 

That theory was broken with the door swinging open and the Hargreeves family piling in. 

"So you're our father's little secret, huh? " Diego raised an eyebrow.

Rowan shook her head, "I have no idea what's happening right now." 

"You killed Dad and then Pogo had to lock you in here. Pogo told me, don't play dumb. Why'd you kill him? Are you dangerous?" Luther crossed his arms. 

She instinctively took a step back, "I didn't kill your father, it was a heart attack."

"I say we let her out, see if she's an asset to us. If she proves dangerous, we can just kill her," Five shrugged. 

Rowan raised an eyebrow, "I'm sorry, what the hell Five? You're gonna kill me?"

"She knows our names. She probably knows everything about us, she's a threat. We shouldn't let her out," Luther remarked. 

Rowan was extremely confused at this point. 

"Ben says we should let her out. He likes her," Klaus remarked before turning to Rowan, "Ro, right? You've hung out with my brother before." 

She sat down, her hands clasping each other as she did so. 

This was confusing. 

This wasn't real. 

This couldn't be happening.

This wasn't the right reality.

She needed to get back to the right reality. 

//

She and Vanya were sitting on a couch together. 

Friends was playing on the tiny television in front of the couch. The picture was staticky but easy enough to make out. 

"I'm glad we skipped Dad's funeral. Right now, we would be in that house and everyone would be talking about how I shouldn't be there and someone would probably bring up the last funeral we went to. Instead, we don't have to put up with Luther and Allison's unresolved sexual tension, or Diego acting like a vigilante. I'm so glad we're not in that house right now, you don't even understand," Vanya paused from her rant to glance over at Rowan, "You okay, Ro?" 

She shook her head. 

She did not know what was happening. 

Why was reality changing for her? Why was everything freaking out? Why couldn't it just settle down? 

"You're not my Rowan, are you? Another dimension's traveler. Have I met you before?" Vanya scooted a bit away from Rowan but offered a small smile to her. 

Rowan shook her head again, "What do you mean dimension's traveler?" 

"Ohh...This is your first accidental jump. Just take a deep breath and concentrate on what was happening on your life before you started hopping. Calm down. It'll be okay." 

She raised an eyebrow, "What do you mean by jumps? What is happening, Vanya?" 

"Who were you with before this?" Vanya asked calmly, Rowan's freaking out not seeming to phase her at all. 

Rowan shrugged, "Five I guess. That's who I was with in the last real one." 

"Huh. Go back to Five then," Vanya placed a hand on her, "It's okay."

//

Five sighed, "I know you aren't paying attention to me anymore Rowan. It's bad enough you look like a teenager, you don't have to act like one too. Focus." 

It was disorientating, switching scenes like that. 

She felt as if she might be sick from it. 

Physically, her body felt horrible and well her mind was just straight up freaking out. 

What was happening? 

What did dimension traveler mean?

"Sorry," she muttered, forcing her heart rate to slow down. 

It was okay. She was okay. She was here now. 

He rolled his eyes, "Just don't let it happen again. If you want to help me stop the apocalypse, I need you to be here with me. It's not a hard concept, you should be able to understand that. Anyway, I believe there is a strong possibility of you having powers. My powers have never indirectly brought someone with me. It is my theory you have timeline jumping powers similar to the powers that I possess and they, therefore, were activated when I used mine. You should undergo testing after we stop the apocalypse. In the meantime, do you know how to use a gun?" 

"I think you're right about the powers thing and no. I've never shot one," she glanced at him. 

He stared at her, "I'll teach you after the funeral." 

A pause. 

She nodded in agreement. 

"Are you okay?" His voice was uncharacteristically soft. 

She nodded again, "It's just a bit weird being alive again. Having a body is disorientating me." 

"Get used to it. I'm going to talk to Vanya. You stay in the house. Don't wander off. I don't want to have to track down a teenager," he smirked. 

She rolled her eyes, "Asshole. You know I'm as much as a teenager as you are. In fact, this body is older than yours right now." 

"You died as a teenager, leaving you with an undeveloped brain for the rest of your life. Or death if you prefer. Therefore, you have the brain of a teenager, making you a teenager. You can't argue with facts," his smirk grew wider as he left the room. 

She stayed in the room for a while, sitting on the bed. 

Rowan needed some time to think about what the fuck had happened, and it would be best to do that alone. Especially, since she wasn't exactly sure what to think of the siblings now that they had accused her of murder. Or some version of them had accused her of murder. 

She just needed to sit and try to figure out everything. 

It would make sense. 

It had to make sense. 

"What the actual fuck," she muttered before leaning back completely on the bed in a frustrated defeat.