Chapter 1: and so it begins
this chapter could also be called "nobody knows what the hell they're doing. not even the author."
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
Travelling through time, Klaus had found, was not a pleasant experience.
He thought he had more than enough time travel after returning from Vietnam, with the full body itch and horrendous headache. He would have been happy to live out the rest of his days as far away from time travel as possible, as just the thought of that briefcase brought aching pain to his heart and loud noises sometimes took him back to the trenches and gun fire that made up ten months of his life.
But Klaus had forgot to consider the possibility of the moon getting destroyed and triggering the apocalypse, and Five pulling all of them along with him in a last stitch effort to save the human race. Klaus was not sure what exactly they can achieve in the past to stop the moon from exploding, but it was too late to turn back now.
That was how Klaus found himself travelling through an endless expanse of blue nothingness with Luther beside him, holding Vanya and holding on to his hand so tightly that he would be surprised if all his fingers remained unbroken; and Diego holding onto the other, knuckles turned white from grasping so hard. Ben was holding on to his shoulder, his fingers digging into his skin to make sure he doesn’t get thrown off. If he was not so preoccupied, he would have been overjoyed with the fact that Ben could still touch him.
He thought he heard someone screaming in his ear but he could not register a word through his rapidly growing headache and nausea. His stomach was spinning and Klaus was sure that he would throw up if they did not land soon. The lights were blinding, the sounds were all mixing together, and the air was getting thinner and it was all making Klaus less aware of his surroundings the longer they were there.
He thought he must have passed out at one point from the overwhelming sensations as the next thing he was aware of was collapsing in a heap on the ground alongside all his siblings, with Luther landing on top of his leg with a grunt and Diego’s torso cushioning his fall, judging by the pained hiss he let out. Vanya’s legs, still in all-white, ended up on top of his lap. Taking a glance around, he found that Vanya’s head got cushioned by Allison’s body, Five was sprawled over Diego’s lower half, and Ben was phased half through Luther’s chest.
After having accounted for all of his siblings, he took a moment to take a deep breath and appreciate the steady ground beneath him. He made his nausea go away through the sheer force of his will.
After he started losing feeling in his leg, Luther took mercy on him and got off and readjusted Vanya until her legs were off of him. It left his leg cramping up from the fall. He rolled off Diego and onto solid ground once he got his bearings, and he reached up to massage his temples and try to reduce the skull splitting headache going on inside his head. Klaus dealt with plenty of headaches in his life, but this one took the cake for being the worst. It felt like five different bands were banging drums inside his skull, each one trying to out-play the other. He let out a groan of pain.
Yeah, Klaus thought as his head kept throbbing, time travel sucks.
Klaus was not aware of how long they lied there, everyone with their own individual headaches judging by the occasional groans they let out. If Klaus had to guess he would say that everyone was still coming down from an adrenaline rush and trying to come to terms with the fact that they all managed to survive the end of the world, against all odds. No one tried to speak and of that he was grateful as that allowed him to close his eyes, ignore everything around him and just focus on trying to repel his headache. It seemed like his mind was operating through a fog, and everything seemed fuzzy. He felt rocks digging into his skin through his vest and the ground was moderately wet, but that was easy to ignore. There was a cool breeze touching at his skin and giving him goosebumps along his arms.
Then, after what could have been five minutes or an hour, he felt someone shift beside him. Klaus could not be bothered to open his eyes to see who it was.
“Is everyone alright?” Luther’s voice ran out after a few more moments of silence, because of course it would be Luther who would speak first. His voice was quieter and softer than normal but still seemed to echo around them, causing Klaus to wince from the noise that sent a wave of pain to his head.
With a silent groan, Klaus pushed himself up with his elbows and looked up to see the others trying to gather themselves. Now that he was more aware of his surroundings, Klaus could see that they ended up in some alleyway with a dead-end. There were trash cans against one brick wall. Some graffiti could be found on the walls and the ground was filled with different kinds of rubbish. This was more the kind of place Klaus would go to get something to take the edge off, or where he would pass out after a party, not the place he would expect to land after time travelling.
Allison still supported Vanya’s head on her lap, using one hand to go through her hair, while using the other to dust herself off. She smiled briefly at him when she saw him looking in her direction. The bandage on her throat stood out against her skin. It seemed that not even time travel could heal a slit throat, Klaus thought with a sympathetic wince.
Klaus saw Ben sitting down beside where Luther was trying to get to his feet. Ben had his head in his hands and seemed to be gathering himself. Diego was already on his feet and leaning heavily against the brick wall, rubbing at his temples. The only two people who did not move were Vanya and Five; but Klaus could see Five’s chest moving up and down with his breathing, so he knew Five was alright.
Klaus decided to push himself up further until he was sitting against the wall, his back leaning against the rough texture of the wall. He leaned his head back until he was staring at the sky above him. It seemed to be nearing sunset, with the sky turning orange and pink with a few clouds scattered around the sky.
He decided that he should be a good brother and help Five, as lying on the ground must not be comfortable, or good for his back. No one else looked like they were going to help and he was not going to leave his brother there. He maneuvered Five’s small body and allowed himself to laugh a little on the inside about the fact that they all remained in their adult bodies while Five still looked thirteen. Five was going to be pissed. He placed Five’s head on his lap and supported his neck while refraining from running his hand through his hair. He looked strangely adorable when he was sleeping and not planning murder. If the little psycho ever found out about this, Klaus was sure he would get his hands chopped off, or worse.
A low murmur of confirmation from Diego was the only answer Luther received for his question. Klaus nearly forgot Luther had spoken at all. Luther stared at Allison until she gave him a smile and a thumbs up and only then did Luther look elsewhere. Klaus had to physically hold in a snort. Ben, on the other hand, had no problems letting out a snort. They shared a teasing smile.
They remained quiet for a few more seconds until Diego nodded towards Five’s still body, with his head on Klaus’ lap and asked, “what’s with him?” His voice was low and scratchy and he appeared out of it, but he still looked amused, as if he knew the hell Klaus would have to pay if Five ever found out about this.
“I don’t know,” Luther answered, still keeping his voice quiet. He rubbed at his shoulders once he was fully steady on his feet. “My guess is that he passed out from overworking himself.”
Diego’s grunt was the only answer he received.
“Klaus.” His head snapped up at the mention of his name to see Luther glancing around the alley before stopping where he was sitting. “Did Ben make it with us?” He sounded almost hesitant to ask.
He was a little surprised at the question but answered regardless. “Yeah,” he answered. His voice was still a little shaky but he carried on and nodded to the space beside Luther, “he’s sitting to your left.” Luther’s head turned to where Ben was sitting, but he saw nothing more than empty air. He grinned at Ben, relieved that he did not get thrown off during the travel. “You doing okay, Benny boy?”
Ben grinned back at him, “still in one piece.”
“He said he’s just fine,” he said. Luther nodded his head, seeming satisfied with the answer.
“Glad you made it, Ben,” Luther said quickly, before turning around and not waiting for Klaus to deliver his answer. Ben furrowed his eyebrows but shrugged his shoulders and leaned back, closing his eyes.
Klaus still had a throbbing headache that he felt in every crevice of his head, and he doubted that it will go away anytime soon. Even so, he still went to massage his head some more. What he wouldn’t give for an aspirin right now. Or a quick fix. He would take any cheap pill at this point. His hands were shaking and Klaus was pretty sure that he could almost feel the itchiness coming and swallowed down a groan. He was way too sober for this.
He patted down his pockets and found nothing more than some loose coins, an empty cigarette pack, a lighter and empty drug bags. Klaus closed his eyes and tried to will his irritation away.
Finally, after everyone who was conscious had regained their bearings, and Klaus could finally think straight, Diego spoke. “We need a plan.” He looked around, like he expected someone to attack them out of nowhere. Thinking back to the bowling alley, maybe he had a point. “We can’t stay here.”
Luther nodded, already taking on the role of the leader, “I agree. We will need to find out what date it is. Then we need find out where we are and the closest way to the Academy. Depending on how far away we are, we could make it by the time the sun sets as we should not have landed too far away.”
“Why the Academy?”
“To tell Dad what happened.” Luther said as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. Klaus was pretty sure that sentence tripled his irritation. Ben groaned out loud and Klaus was inclined to agree.
Four sets of eyes turned to stare at Luther with incredulousness written all over their faces. Allison looked like she really wanted to speak, and her hands were probably itching for the notepad she no longer had. Klaus wanted to say something too but before Klaus could even open his mouth, Diego already beat him to it.
“Are you serious?” he exclaimed, his disbelief turning into anger, his hands already curling into fists. “Even after everything that happened, even after you found out what he did, you still want to run off to him?”
“He will know what to do in this situation!” Luther answered back. “More than any of us will.”
“No, Five will know what to do if we just wait until he wakes up.” Diego answered in a deadpan voice, as if talking to someone extremely dull. “In case you forgot, Five has actually time travelled before. Many times.”
“He will just make the situation worse!”
Luther looked like he was starting to get angry. “Oh yeah? How?” He looked to Allison for support but she was watching the fight like a game of tennis, looking like she tasted something sour. Her hand had stopped running through Vanya’s hair and were stuck in one of Vanya’s knots instead. Ben looked like he was five seconds away from banging his head against the brick wall, not caring if he would phase through it or not. Klaus never wanted to leave a conversation so badly.
Diego rolled his eyes. “How do you think Vanya will react when she wakes up and sees the man who imprisoned her and suppressed her powers for her whole life?” He looked up to the sky, as if asking some higher power for patience, or a will to live. “She definitely won’t be happy about it. Just in case you forgot, we are here to prevent her from ending the world again!”
“That won’t happen if we just explain the situation to-”
“How do we know that Reggie is still alive, anyway?” Luther was starting to turn red from getting interrupted twice, but he was getting really tired of the fighting. They were not doing his headache any favors, so Klaus decided to add to the discussion. “He could still be dead for all we know.”
“Huh?” Luther blinked at him, the beginning of a scowl appearing on his face.
Klaus resisted the urge to roll his own eyes. “For all we know Reggie is already long dead if we got transported back to any of the eight days leading up to the apocalypse.”
Diego nodded at him, letting him know he agreed with him. “And even if he were still alive, I’m not going back to him, even if I have to go on my own,” he added. “Klaus, what about you?”
“Yeah, there’s no way I’m going back to him,” he answered easily. Luther was fully scowling now, with his arms crossed over his chest. Klaus would have thought that Luther knew better, after finding that he was sent to the moon for no reason, but he must have been giving Luther too much credit.
Diego nodded again, satisfied. He turned his head towards Allison. “Allison?”
She looked back and forth between Luther and Diego. Klaus knew she was stuck between wanting to support Luther and going with what she wanted. Finally, she made up her mind and nodded towards Diego. Luther’s scowl disappeared and was replaced with a hurt look that made him look like a big, overgrown kicked puppy.
Diego was smirking now. He turned back to Klaus and asked, “what does Ben want?”
Klaus looked over at Ben with a questioning look and said, “well?”
Ben didn’t hesitate when he replied, “I don’t want to go back to him.” He seemed pleased that his siblings finally realized that he was there.
Klaus was more than happy to deliver the message, “he agrees with us.”
Diego nodded, crossed his arms over his chest and leaned back against the wall. “see? That’s four to one. And I could bet that neither Five nor Vanya fancy going back to Dad. So, you can either go by yourself or you can suck it up and stick with us.” He shrugged his shoulders, “Your choice.”
Luther curled his hands into fists again. Klaus was worried he was going to throw a punch and start a fight, but instead Luther said, “fine,” reluctantly and through his teeth. “This is not the time to split up. We will need to work together.”
“Good. I’ll go find out the date and try and figure out where we are. Luther stay with the others; I shouldn’t be long.” And with that, Diego walked through the alleyway and exited into the street. Klaus watched him go before turning back to Luther, who had a surprised look on his face.
Klaus couldn’t keep his straight face after that and laughed at the irony of Number One getting owned and getting told what to do by Number Two. Ben smirked at him, but Luther looked confused at what could be so funny.
As it turned out, they ended up in May 1982.
Diego came back after approximately thirty minutes, white as a sheet, and told them that they were nowhere that was familiar, that they were in some random forgettable town in upstate America. They ran around like a bunch of headless chickens for a good few minutes trying to figure out what they were supposed to do with that information, all while butting heads and arguing.
Luther tried to suggest finding Reggie again, to everyone’s annoyance. Diego had to tell him, slowly as if talking to a child and looking like he wanted to rip his own hair out, that they did not want to influence the timeline so much as to screw everything up. And telling their adoptive father about themselves over seven years before they were even born was definitely something that would screw everything up. Klaus was almost certain that Five managed to possess Diego somehow, as Klaus did not think that Diego knew anything about timelines and time travel. Ben made a comment on how it was about time that Diego got some brain cells that had Klaus biting the inside of his mouth to stop himself from laughing.
Diego told everyone that if they went out, they would all stand out like sore thumbs against the eighties fashion. He received plenty of weird looks, and he was out for only thirty minutes. They, by all intents and purposes, would not legally exist for seven more years (though Klaus would be surprised if any of them ever even had a birth certificate at any point in their lives). Therefore, it would be in their best interest to stay out of sight and not bring any attention to themselves.
Klaus tried his best to stay out of the arguments, sitting in-between Ben and Allison with Vanya and Five on their laps and throwing unimpressed looks to Ben every now and then, but the two meatheads would occasionally ask for his input and suggestions. It would confuse Klaus each and every time, as he spent most of his life getting written off as useless that he would not even know what to reply with. But he supposed that since neither Allison nor Ben could speak with them, Klaus was the only one left.
As time went on, Klaus noticed the ghost of the man, who looked to be in his twenties, who was stabbed in this alleyway. If Klaus had to guess, he would say that the ghost appeared once his head was cleared enough and Klaus almost wanted the bad disorientation and fog that clouded his mind back when the ghost started wailing at his earliest convenience. Klaus never wanted to run off and get high so much in his life. His hands were shaking, begging for a pill or two, but he stayed put. At least for now.
After throwing around dozens of ideas and arguing about the dumbest things, after nearly three different fights broke out between them (all of which were stopped by the force of Allison’s glare alone) and after Klaus was certain his brain was going to melt and drip out of his ears, they came up with a reasonable plan that everyone was willing to follow.
Lay low, rest and wait for Five to wake up.
As night steadily approached, they would need a place to sleep. All of them were exhausted after the events that took place today. None of them were eager to sleep on the ground of an alleyway. Even Klaus, who did it so many times that he was used to it, did not want to sleep in an unfamiliar area with two of his siblings unconscious and defenseless. And so, they decided that they needed a place to sleep for when the night fell.
Diego told them that he ended up being out longer than intended because he was searching for a place for them to sleep. He found a trashy and low-quality motel about ten minutes away that they could stay the night in as long as they manage to sneak out tomorrow without paying, as their money would not work in 1980s America. Luther looked almost ready to argue about leaving without paying, before he realized that they had no other choice. They will figure everything out once they have rested and once everyone was awake to have a say. Klaus didn’t think the fact that they were in the 1980s fully dawned on them yet, and he knew that once they were awake tomorrow, they would be due for more panic, tension and fighting. They also needed to find a place to eat, but that would have to wait to tomorrow.
They split into two groups in order to bring less attention to themselves. Luther would carry Vanya, and go with Allison, while Diego would carry Five and go with Klaus and Ben. They would have to stick to shadows and away from people, so no one would get concerned that they are carrying unconscious people with them. Klaus’ group would go first as Diego knew where the motel was, and Luther’s group would follow a distance behind.
Diego, after he made sure he had enough knives on his person and with Klaus’ help, ended up carrying Five on his back. He supported Five’s body as Five’s head and arms lolled to the side. And then they were on their way. Klaus’ bones cracked as he pushed himself up and he was finally feeling the body itch that was long overdue. Leaving the alleyway and into the streets beyond was like stepping into an old movie. Old cars lined the sidewalks and drove on the road, shops that Klaus had never even heard of were on both sides of the street and people with outdated clothing styles walked by, minding their own business. The sun was already setting, and they seemed to have less than an hour before the night would fall.
They did not stick around to take in the view, however. Diego turned left immediately and Klaus went to follow him, with Ben tagging behind. Ben had his hands stuffed in his pockets and seemed to be on the lookout for anyone that could cause them trouble. They made sure to act as if they belonged, even if their clothes and hair could not be further from subtle.
“Are you sure they’ll let us have a room with you holding someone unconscious?” Klaus asked Diego, keeping his voice steady and low. He scratched at his arm, leaving red marks behind on his skin.
“We are going to say that he is our little brother and he fell asleep on the long trip here,” Diego answered easily, shifting Five’s weight to make sure he didn’t drop him. “We’ll improvise any questions they might have.” They avoided a large group of people, and stuck to the sides.
“Okay,” Klaus replied, not fully believing that it will work. He already had a backup plan in case things go south. “Let’s hope your plan works.”
“Have a little faith,” Diego answered with a roll of his eyes. Klaus did not reply, and the silence stretched between them for a few more minutes, spent with following Diego, making sure that Luther and Allison were following them and that nobody gave them much attention. Finally, Diego broke the silence with, “Ben’s with us, isn’t he?”
Klaus blinked slowly, and nodded behind them, “he’s on the lookout.”
Diego took a steadying breathe and turned to look behind them and gave Ben a brief smile, “hi, Ben.”
Ben smiled back at him, but it looked sad. He waved, even though he knew he wouldn’t be seen, “hey, Diego. I missed you.”
“He said that he missed you.”
Diego looked almost ready to burst into tears, “I missed you too. So much.” He took a deep breath and it took him a minute before he continued, “so, uh, you’re really serious about getting sober? Since you can conjure Ben now?”
Klaus winced and shared a look with Ben behind Diego’s shoulder. He shrugged. “Um, yeah. Haven’t had anything for two days. Three days. Something like that.”
“And how are you, y’know, coping?” Diego asked, looking as if he might actually care how Klaus was doing. “With the withdrawal?”
“It sucks,” Klaus replied, and that was a big understatement. Klaus felt both too hot and too cold in his skin and he was shaking all over. Klaus was sure that his cravings were just going to get worse. “Since we got here all I have wanted to do was run away and get high on anything I could get my hands on. Though, last time I tried, Ben punched me in the face. It was the most bizarre thing I've ever seen.” Ben gave him an unimpressed look for trying to play it off, to which Klaus responded with an innocent smile.
Diego closed his mouth, and looked forward. He seemed to need to gather his thoughts. It took about a minute for Diego to say, “well I'm glad that you didn’t. And I'll support you through it. I know it’s not easy. Thank you, Ben, for looking out for this idiot for the past few days.”
Klaus almost didn’t know what to say to that. “Uh, yeah.” He swallowed the lump in his throat. “Thanks.” He shifted awkwardly. After hearing Ben’s response, he said, “the asshole said that someone has to.” Ben looked smug.
Klaus looked down at his feet, which were stomping against the concrete of the path. He was still wearing the bowling shoes. It had been a really long day and he had no chance to change, and he could have really used a shower. He trusted Ben to inform him if anyone noticed them as he focused on keeping his head down, stuck in his thoughts, his hands shaking and his headache not getting any better. His arms were also continuing to itch. He wondered if Diego still had his headache.
“Why now?” Diego asked after a few more minutes spent in silence, and when Klaus looked up and raised an eyebrow, he expanded, “If you don’t mind me asking? When the end of the world was coming, I would have thought you’d be out partying and getting so high you forgot your own name.” Diego must have realized what he said, because he winced and said, “sorry.”
Klaus could have lied easily and made it out to be nothing, but he found himself telling the truth almost involuntarily. “I suppose I was tired of being pushed aside as the useless junkie brother who nobody takes seriously. Don’t get me wrong, I would much rather be numb again as opposed to having ghosts wailing at me constantly, but there’s a ghost I’m determined to conjure. What’s the point of having these stupid powers, if I can’t use them when I really need to?”
Both Diego and Ben seemed oddly shocked by his answer. Ben looked almost painfully proud of him, while Diego looked as if he was seeing him for the first time. Diego nodded his head and said, “alright. Let me know if you need any help and I’ll be there.” His voice sounded almost choked. Klaus did not know how to reply, so he didn’t.
Five minutes later, they arrived. The sunlight was rapidly disappearing, leaving only the light from the moon. Diego was right when he said that the place was low-quality. The sign had two functioning letters that still lit up, the main reception building’s roof had a hole in it, and the windows were almost black with dirt. There was a rotten smell in the air that made him want to gag. Just from standing in front of the motel, Klaus could spot three different ghosts around the area, bloody and shrieking. They neared the reception and Klaus took a deep breath, ready to put on a performance of a lifetime, if necessary. Diego readjusted Five on his shoulders and went to open the door.
Inside, if possible, was worse. Trash littered the place, the smell from outside was still strong inside but it was combined with a stench of alcohol and the floor creaked as they walked inside. The walls were all yellowed with age and the only light came from the lamp on the desk in front of them. The receptionist that sat behind the desk, a brunet middle-aged man who looked well on his way to being drunk, looked up at them and raised an eyebrow at how odd they must look. He had a bottle of some kind of whiskey and Klaus had to physically refrain from asking for some.
“Can I help you?” his speech was slightly slurred, but still understandable. He had blue eyes that seemed to focus on to him as soon as the man noticed him and the intensity of the stare made him uncomfortable, but he tried to keep the tension out of his face. Klaus supposed, with how sketchy the whole building looked, that getting in would not be all that difficult. The whole place did not seem to have a big budget, or any budget at all, honestly; and was just a cheap place for hookers and serial killers to meet up with whoever. But Klaus knew better than to let his guard down, though. Ben stayed beside him, not taking his eyes off the man, as if to make sure he did not do anything sketchy.
“A room for three, please,” Diego answered, trying to seem as inconspicuous as possible, while wearing an outfit that looked more fitting on the cover of a BDSM magazine, rather than in a trashy motel. Klaus tried to bite down a snort that threatened to spill out. He made sure his poker face did not slip and he hid his shaking hands behind his back.
The man pulled up his chair and looked over the list of available rooms, “how long are you planning on staying?” He sounded bored.
“A night or two.”
“You will pay nightly upon checkout; I hope that’s alright with you; what name should I put you under?” He asked with the same deadpan, raspy voice.
Diego and Klaus share a look, quickly wondering what name they should put themselves under. Knowing Luther, he will sign the room under their family name, so Hargreeves was out of the question. The man still watched them with a deep look that was better described as a glare. Klaus was almost sure he heard cockroaches on the walls and that there was a stain that could very well be blood on the blank wall. He was just thankful that there were no ghosts inside that he could see.
“Ah,” Klaus cleared his throat, his throbbing mind quickly coming up with random names and saying the first one he could think of, “Harrison.” He cringed inwardly about the stupid name, but went along with it, as if it was what he meant to say all along. “Put it under Harrison please, if you’d be so kind.” He gave the man his most charming smile that he perfected throughout the years.
The man nodded, reached under the desk and took out a key. “Enjoy your stay. Your room is number 34.” Klaus reached out with his GOOD BYE hand and grabbed the key, even if he was still uncomfortable with the man’s deep stare. As they turned to leave, the man called out, “Is the child yours?”
Diego was quick to answer, turning his head to look at the man. “Our little brother.” He turned back and walked to the door, opening it and gesturing for Klaus to go first.
The man did not look like he believed them, but shrugged regardless and replied, ”fair enough. See you around.”
They were quick to leave.
The motels weren’t any better.
Some of them had broken windows and broken doors. The stairs had missing steps and the wood creaked by itself. It was almost fully dark and the ghosts only added to the creepy, horror movie aesthetic that this place had going on. Klaus had tried to joke about the vibe that he was getting from the place, but neither Ben nor Diego seemed to appreciate his comments.
Klaus and Diego walked together, with Ben bringing up the rear, up the stairs to the second floor where their room was situated. The entire building brought unwanted memories of red and blue masks, and endless torture to the front of his mind that Klaus had to drag back into the deep dark depths of his mind. Diego didn’t seem any better, with his rigid posture and clenched fists.
Klaus unlocked the door and with a sweeping gesture and a bow, allowed Diego and Ben inside. Diego rolled his eyes but Ben just shook his head good-naturedly and entered after Diego. Klaus entered after them, closing the door after himself and locking it. He turned to take in the room.
This motel clearly didn’t pay their cleaning staff well, judging by the state of the room. It had three beds, as promised, but the sheets looked old and ugly. The curtains on the windows were half ripped off and the carpet had seen better days, looking brown and aged. The walls look bare and cracked, and the ceiling looked grey.
There was not much else in the room other than two nightstands between the three beds, with lamps on top and Klaus would be surprised if they worked. The room was dark, the only light coming in from the dirty window and the air smelt of decay. What really made the room, at least in Klaus’ opinion, were the two ghosts kneeling in the corner, looking young and bloody.
Klaus walked up to the two nightstands and turned on the lamps. Only one of the lamps worked but it gave enough light into the room to make everything more visible. Klaus could now see the stains on the wall and on the ceiling, as well as the layers of dust covering the lamps. There stood a yellowed door across the room that led to the bathroom, and a cracked picture frame of the ocean decorated the wall. There was a lone coat hanger on the main door, where the paint was chipping off.
Diego gave the room a look over, grimaced, and walked over to the far bed where he placed Five. With Klaus’ help, they soon had Five’s shoes off and Five under the covers. Klaus walked over to the bed next to him, and fell face down onto the bed. Ben walked over and sat on the edge of the bed, looking around. Diego stretched his arms after carrying Five for so long and turned back towards the room.
Diego walked around the room, checking the bathroom, door, and windows and once the silence stretched long enough, Klaus turned and laid on his back and said conversationally, “did you know at least two people died in this room? One was shot in the stomach from what I gathered, and the other has a knife imbedded in her head.” He checked his nails and found that he would need to find a way to repaint them soon. He started scratching at his arms. He was pretty sure he saw Diego scratch his back a few times as he went around the room.
Diego stopped what he was doing and looked over to Klaus, “there are ghosts in here?” He looked around the room as if he could see them.
“Oh yeah,” he answered dryly, still holding up his hand. “They are ghosts everywhere. There were three just wandering outside the building. There are possibly dozens more in this building, I'd bet.” There are two in this room. Three, if you count Ben. He’s sitting at the edge of the bed.”
Ben waved again, and Diego nodded towards his direction.
Diego didn’t seem to know what the right response to that was. He kept opening and closing his mouth until he just gave up and went back to what he was doing. Klaus honestly did not know what it was that he was doing. Maybe checking to see how sturdy the door was. Finally, he asked, “are they saying anything?” His voice was soft and low.
“No,” said Klaus, pointing over to the corner. “They are over by the corner, crying their eyes out and wailing. I don’t think they noticed I can see them. Once they do, they will start bothering me,” he sighed and turned to his side, supporting his head with his hand and elbow. “The ghosts seem to think I can bring them back to life or something, just because I can see them.”
“Is that why you got into drugs?” Diego asked, looking concerned. “To block them out?”
“Among other things.” Diego looked like he wanted to ask more but his tone suggested that he did not want to talk about it. Not now. Maybe not ever.
Diego nodded. He walked over and sat down on the bed closest to the door. “So now we wait for the others. Once we make sure that they got in, we can sleep.” He looked tired, with his messy hair and heavy eyes. Klaus felt tired too, after the day he had. Trying to save the world, failing and getting stuck nearly forty years in the past would drain all of one’s energy. What Klaus wouldn’t give for a nice, long and hot bath. Preferably with bubbles. And scented candles.
“I would take a shower, but I doubt his place has warm water. Or clean water, for that matter,” Klaus shrugged his shoulders, and fell back on the bed and stared at the dirty ceiling with leak stains. “Plus, I have nothing to change into.” They were stuck in the past, with no money, no extra clothes or any food. Splendid. Klaus would make a corny comment that at least they are all together, but he would probably laugh hysterically or throw up a little if he did.
“Good point.” Diego answered, but he sounded distracted.
The silence spread between them, until Klaus broke it with a simple, “I can’t believe we’re in the 1980s.” He chucked quietly.
Klaus could hear Diego snort. “Believe me, I know. When the guy told me the date, I thought he was messing with me,” he laughed humorlessly. “He must have thought I was crazy when I asked for the real date.” Klaus then heard Diego try and stifle a yawn.
“I can imagine.” He muttered back.
Ben decided to join the conversation after staying quiet for so long and said, “I don’t think Five intended for us to end up here. There is nothing for us to change here when none of us even exist yet.”
Klaus hummed, sitting up to look over at Ben, drawing in Diego’s attention once more. “Yeah, I suppose not. Not much we can do until he wakes up, hmm Benny?” Diego seemed content with letting Klaus talk with Ben, and went back to staring at nothing. Probably stuck in his thoughts. “At least this is something to tick off the bucket list, don’t you think? Survive the literal end of the world and travel back nearly four decades.” He laughed at himself to try and take the tension out of his shoulders.
“Yeah,” Ben replied casually, not finding his comments funny. Asshole. He changed the subject and said, “I hope Vanya wakes up soon. She will be so frightened. I hope this won’t overwhelm her too much.”
Klaus yawned. “I just hope she won’t wake up when she’s with Luther and Allison. Allison can’t speak and Luther was the one who locked her up,” Klaus paused for a moment before continuing. “I think Five could manage to calm her down. They were close before he disappeared.”
“Yeah,” Ben nodded. He didn’t seem to have more to say. He seemed subdued, with his head down and hands stuffed into his pockets. Klaus did not know what was wrong, and made a note to question Ben once they were alone.
Finally, after Klaus took off his bowling shoes and started debating whether he should just ignore everyone and try to sleep now, they heard footsteps outside their door. Diego stood up immediately, grabbed a knife just in case, and went up to the door. Diego unlocked their door slowly, and carefully looked outside, with the knife firmly in his hand, ready to throw it if necessary. Klaus watched him with disinterest and one eye open.
After Diego confirmed who it was, he brought a finger to his mouth and opened the door fully. He gestured for Allison and Luther, who still carried Vanya, to enter inside. Luther did not even seem tired. Klaus waved with his HELLO hand once the door closed behind them, and gave them all a lazy grin. “Glad you could make it.” Allison gave him a small smile before looking back to Diego. Luther did not even glance his way.
“What’s your room number?” Diego asked, straight to business. He seemed to want nothing more than to go to sleep. Klaus could relate.
“39,” Luther replied.
“Wait,” Klaus called out. “What did you sign your name under?”
“Hargreeves,” Luther replied slowly, as if wondering if that was a trick question. Klaus shared a look with Ben and silently cheered for calling it. Diego rolled his eyes. Luther decided to continue. “We should try to get as much sleep as we can, so that we can start figuring this situation out tomorrow.”
Diego nodded, “yeah yeah. We were gonna do that anyway.” He did not seem to have any more patience to deal with Luther, as he cut the conversation short. “Okay, we’ll meet up again in the morning. Now get the hell out.” He opened the door and gestured for them to leave.
“Goodnight,” Luther called out before leaving with Allison, who waved at them and mouthed a quick goodbye. Diego closed and locked the door again, closed what remained of the curtains, and sat down onto his bed and began taking off his shoes.
Klaus took the time to head to the bathroom, which was just as dirty as the main room. The sink and the shower were brown with dirt and there was a moldy rug on the tiled floor. Klaus was pretty sure he saw a colony of spiders in the corner. The light flickered overhead while Klaus washed his hands. He was correct about this motel having no warm water. At least the plumbing worked, but that was all there was for the positives.
“Well, this ended up being one hell of a day,” he sighed as he walked back to the main room and took off his army vest. He placed it on the hanger on the door and walked over to his bed. He could not make himself take off his dog tags. Diego seemed to be taking off his knives and straps and placing the knives within reach on the nightstand. Five did not moved from his position on the bed.
He crawled under the covers. They were itchy and scratchy on his skin, but he will have to make do. The texture of the covers made his itchiness worse and Klaus bit down a groan. Ben seemed content with staying at the end of his bed and Klaus was not going to make him move. Diego stretched his arms above his head and finally got under the covers. Once he got comfortable, he reached out to turn off the lamp, bringing the room to darkness.
“I hope you don’t still snore in your sleep,” Diego muttered into the dark as they tried to make themselves comfortable. Klaus was too busy trying to block out the ghosts in the corner and it took him a moment to register what his brother said.
“Oh please, brother of mine. You wound me. I don’t snore in my sleep. You, on the other hand, snore like a bear,” Klaus responded. “You might even manage to wake up Five with your snores.”
“You do snore in your sleep,” Ben felt inclined to comment, and Klaus was sure there was a smirk on his face.
Klaus hissed at him, and said without any malice “oh, no one asked for your opinion.”
Diego seemed to be thinking hard about something. “What if Five snores in his sleep?” Diego wondered out loud. Klaus looked towards where Five was sleeping, not a peep out of him since they landed, and shrugged.
“Then you and him could have a snoring contest,” Klaus replied immediately. “Ben and I could be the judges. Winner has to buy me dinner.” Klaus could see Ben rolling his eyes as he leaned back on the bed. “You would be a judge with me, wouldn’t you Ben?”
Ben did not grace him with an answer.
Diego chuckled lowly and shifted in his bed. “Sure thing. Night Klaus. Night Ben, glad to have you back.”
“G’night Dee. Goodnight Benjamin.”
And so, Klaus eventually managed to fall into a restless sleep to the sounds of two ghosts wailing and the sound of his brothers’ even breathing.
From my research, the series was filmed in Toronto and Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. And because i was not able to find any information on where the story is meant to be set, I decided to make the show set in Canada.
Chapter 2: dawn disputes
*Five and Vanya have entered the chat*
Beware that this chapters has a hell of a lot of dialogue in it.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
As Klaus expected, the next day was full of tension and panic.
He ended up waking multiple times during the night. Be it from the old mattress that dug springs into his skin, the loud wailing of the ghosts in the corner or just the dawning realization that he got stranded years in the past, once again. Only this time, he ended up with his estranged family that, prior to their father’s death, he hadn’t seen in years. At least when he was in Vietnam, he had the briefcase and could have returned at any time. Now, he got stuck here because his darling sister blew up the moon and he did not have any way out until his psycho of a brother decided to wake up. He tossed and turned and buried his head into the scratchy pillow in the hopes of suffocating himself long enough to silence his thoughts and sleep for more than an hour at a time. He missed the numbness his drugs guaranteed.
He decided to get up, feeling more tired than when he went to sleep, when the sun finally brought some natural light into the room, showering it with hues of orange and yellow. The morning breeze made the room feel chilly, causing him to shiver slightly.
He pushed himself up in his bed with his elbows. Greeting him was the sight of Diego aggressively digging a hole into the carpet with his pacing. Klaus did not know that Diego was even awake. His shoulders were tense, he held two knives in his grip, still had his bed hair, and the eyebags under his eyes suggested that Diego did not get much sleep, either. Klaus could almost convince himself that he was hallucinating, as he had never seen his brother like this, but Diego stayed like that after he shook himself a little and rubbed his eyes with his fists. Klaus guessed that Diego was having one of his angsty brooding sessions, only more extreme than normal.
Ben stood against the wall across from his bed, looking more disheveled than Klaus ever remembered seeing him. Five was still dead to the world and Klaus did not think he even moved during the night. The ghosts from last night stayed in the corner, still crying loudly and they did not seem to be stopping anytime soon.
He shifted and pulled his feet off the bed and onto the floor, his bare feet touching the carpet. He nodded towards Ben in greeting, and stretched his arms above his head. His bones cracked satisfyingly as he let out a wide yawn. He pushed himself off of the bed and walked to the bathroom. He ended up splashing some cold water on his face to get rid of the remaining tiredness that was clinging on.
He returned to the main room after he dried his face and saw that Diego continued pacing. He turned towards Ben and asked, “has he been like that long?” Diego did not seem to notice him at all. He looked like he was on a whole other planet.
Ben nodded, “hasn’t stopped pacing since he woke up.”
“Well.” He walked towards Diego. Klaus yawned again, cleared his throat and said, “Uh, Diego?” Diego just kept pacing. Klaus raised his voice and tried again, “Diego! Earth to Diego, do you copy? Hello!” Diego finally came back to the present when Klaus snapped his fingers in front of his face. Diego stopped in his place and turned towards him. Klaus smiled at him. “Oh! Welcome back!”
Diego blinked at him once he saw him, “oh, I didn’t know you were up.” He looked down at himself, to the knives in his hands, then back to Klaus.
“Didn’t notice,” Klaus muttered as he walked back to his bed. “How long have you been like that?” He sat cross legged in the middle of the bed, his knees resting on his thighs. He supported his head on his hands lazily.
“Not long.” Diego responded nonchalantly. “Five minutes. Maybe ten, max.” He walked over to the window and pushed open the curtains, letting more light into the room.
“Longer than half an hour, I’d say.” Ben countered, still standing across from him, arms crossed. His had his hood down and appeared stressed. He probably spent the whole night worrying about their situation.
Klaus hummed. “Ben says that you’re a dirty little liar.” He winked at Ben, who winked back.
Diego scowled and glanced around the room, probably thinking that if he glared hard enough; he could make Ben materialize in front of him. “Not even back for one day and you’re already a traitor, huh? I see how it is.” He walked back over to his bed, which was messy and unmade, and dropped down.
Ben did not look the least bit apologetic.
“So,” Klaus said once Diego was situated on the bed, sitting on one leg and the other leaned over the side of the bed. “What were you thinking so hard about?” Diego reached out and placed the two knives back on the nightstand with the others.
He regretted asking the very second Diego opened his mouth to answer. He started rambling about how he nearly drove himself into a panic while he was thinking about their need for a plan, the fact that they all could use some food as nobody had eaten since before the apocalypse happened, that they needed money, supplies and disguises and how he still could not wrap his head around the fact that they were in the 80s after watching the world end. Diego then proceeded to say that he did not know how to process that Mom and Pogo were gone.
Klaus tried to pay attention, he really did, humming and nodding in all the right places but eventually Klaus’ mind drifted off. He could not help but think about how badly his body was craving some pills and how he could still feel traces of his headache from yesterday at the back of his skull. The crying of the ghosts was sure to give him another headache. He wondered if anyone would notice if he went off to find some dealers in the area. He could probably pick-pocket some unfortunate soul on the street to pay for it. He did not know what he was thinking when he decided to go sober.
Finally, Diego must have asked him a question as he snapped at him, “well?” It knocked him out of his sweet thoughts of sneaking out and getting high and into reality, looking at his brother’s tired and scowling face. Diego did not move from his position on the bed.
Klaus clapped his hands and sent him a cheeky smile, “I totally agree, brother dearest.”
Diego sent him an unimpressed look, “I asked whether you had any suggestions.”
“Ah, yes, of course.” Klaus cleared his throat. He looked towards Ben for help but he had an equally unimpressed look on his face and was of no help. Time to improvise. He took his arms off of his knees and gestured widely, “So, I was thinking huge disco balls and fancy fairy lights. Maybe some banners. Some glitter, too.” He paused. “Actually, no glitter. I snorted some glitter when I was high once and it put me off. Made me feel woozy. But we could have confetti instead. And, a whole DJ stand!” He exclaimed excitingly. “Oh! Can I be the DJ? Please? Pretty please with a cherry on top?”
“What?” Diego had a look of utter confusion on his face, and Klaus sworn he saw his eye twitch from irritation. Ben still looked terribly unimpressed.
“I asked whether I could be the DJ,” Klaus replied, as if it were obvious. “Keep up. Where was I? Oh yeah. DJ Klaus has a nice ring to it, don’t you think? If I were the DJ, I would play the biggest bangers of the century. Everyone would want to hire me. I could have some headphones around my neck and awesome sunglasses on my face! And... what else do DJs have?”
“What the hell are you talking about?”
He frowned. “Are we not talking about organizing our next birthday party? I could have sworn-” He looked over at Ben. He had his arms crossed over his chest and looked like he could see straight through what Klaus was doing and was done with his bullshit. He even shook his head when he saw Klaus looking at him.
"Huh? No, no what the hell?” Diego had another scowl on his face, this one directed straight at him. He had his hands curled into fists. He sat up straight on his bed. “Why would you even think-, how-, were you even listening to anything I was saying? I asked whether you had any suggestions on ways we could get clean clothes.”
“Oh,” Klaus frowned with a deadpan tone and brushed him off. “Boring.”
“Boring?” Diego repeated, looking like he had to try hard to not get angry. “Klaus, this isn’t a joke. We need new clothes if we are to stay here.”
“Yeah, I know that,” Klaus rolled his eyes. “Doesn’t make it any less boring.” Ben groaned into his hands. Klaus thought he was acting dramatic.
“Klaus.” Diego took a deep breath to steady himself and continued. “You told me yesterday that you were tired of us not taking you seriously and thinking that you’re useless,” he spoke slowly, making sure Klaus got every word. “Well, now I’m giving you a chance to have a say and free rein to help plan our next plan of action. Are you really going to throw that back in my face?”
Oh. Klaus groaned and ran his hands over his hair, messing it up even more. “Okay, okay. Look. I'm sorry,” Diego’s face softened a little. “It’s just easier to bullshit my way through conversations as it’s really hard for me to concentrate when my entire body is aching for some drugs. The cravings are just getting worse and I don’t know how much longer I can resist.” He looked down at his lap and fidgeted with the hem of his top to help with his discomfort. “Plus, the ghosts have not stopped crying since we got here. They are giving me another headache and I'm quickly running out of patience.” He looked up and continued, “I’m sorry I drifted off. Thanks for letting me have a say.” Then, to Ben, “are you happy now? You can stop looking at me like that.” And finally, he muttered, “asshole,” towards Ben under his breath.
Ben gave him a nod of approval. Klaus hated how much he appreciated it. Klaus never had such personal conversations with any of his siblings, not including Ben. At least, not since they all left. A part of him felt uncomfortable about opening up to Diego. But after the wild week they had together, with fighting a bunch of asshole veterans, stealing and riding an ice-cream truck and trying to stop the apocalypse, Klaus found himself getting close to Diego.
Diego’s scowl got replaced with a look of understanding and he nodded. “I get it. As I said, I know it’s not easy. I just did not know how distracting it could be.” Klaus was about to reply when Diego opened his mouth again, smirking. “But don’t worry. I won’t let you go back to drugs, even if I have to physically restrain you. I like the sober you.”
Ben turned to him with a shit-eating grin on his face and smugness basically radiating off of him. “See? What did I tell you?”
Klaus groaned. He flopped backwards on the bed and stared at the ceiling. He side-eyed his brother, “Goddammit, Diego.”
Diego smirk fell. “What?”
“Ben said the exact same thing. He’s being a little shit about it now.” Klaus looked back up at the ceiling and guessed Ben that was either rolling his eyes or sticking out his tongue at him.
“Well, you should just accept that I’m always right,” Ben added, jokingly.
“Oh,” Diego replied. By the tone of his voice, Klaus could guess that he was smirking again. “Now you stand no chance. Ben and I will drag you into permanent sobriety.” Klaus groaned again. “Plus, didn’t you say that Ben punched you in the face when you went to take drugs again? Well, next time you think about running off to get high, it will be me punching you. And no offense to Ben, but my punches will hurt three times more. So, take that as motivation to stay sober. I’m not letting you keep poisoning yourself.”
Klaus looked up and saw that Ben did not seem offended in the least. He kept on nodding to Diego’s speech. He raised an eyebrow at him and Ben shrugged, “what? It’s not like I had any punching practice in years.”
He dropped his head back down. “Whatever.” Diego followed his example and dropped back onto his bed, also facing the ceiling. Silence stretched between them until Klaus called out, “clothing bins.”
Klaus could hear Diego shift in his bed, “what?” One look at Ben showed that even he seemed a little confused.
“You wanted a suggestion on a way to get clothes.” Klaus explained and realization dawned on Ben. “When I was on the streets and needed some clothes but had no money, I would go to these bins. People would drop off their old and unwanted clothes and shoes and they would be recycled and given to charity and homeless people. We could go there.”
Diego did not reply for a few moments. “Did you do that often?” His voice sounded softer than normal, almost hesitant.
“Get your clothes from these bins.”
“Eh,” Klaus shrugged and replied nonchalantly. “I went a few times. Didn’t want to freeze to death in the winter. Frostbite totally doesn’t match my leather pants.”
“Why didn’t you reach out?” Diego wondered aloud. “I would have helped you.”
“You say that now, after we’ve had some quality bro time, both before and after the end of the world,” Klaus responded as if it were obvious, rolling his eyes. “Before then we didn’t talk in years.”
Klaus blinked. “Are you telling me that if I came to your house, let’s say five years ago, and asked you for some money, you would have given it to me?”
“Not money, no,” Diego answered after a moment to think. “I’d have known that you would have spent it on drugs, even if you needed clothes. I wouldn’t have funded your addiction. But if you said you needed clothes, or a couch to sleep on, I would have helped you. I would.” He sounded determined and convinced of what he said, but Klaus still felt doubtful. “I had plenty of old clothes I could have given you.”
“Yes, really,” Diego scoffed, sounding almost offended. “I don’t know whether it slipped your mind, but you’re my brother. You may test my patience and I may feel like banging my head against the wall whenever I'm with you, but you’re still my family.” His voice seemed choked, like he was sharing something personal.
Klaus had a petty urge to remind Diego of the time he got kidnapped, and no one, not even Diego, noticed. But Klaus did not want to be petty right now, so instead he asked, “is that why you always gave me a ride?”
“Yeah.” Diego let out a small chuckle. “You always managed to make the car rides more interesting.”
“Is that your way of saying that I'm your favourite brother?” Klaus teased, wanting to steer the conversation away from the deep, emotional shit he was way too sober for.
“Who else is it going to be? The monkey man or the grandpa?”
“It could be the ghost.”
“Well then, for all it’s worth, you’re my favourite living brother,” Diego admitted and Klaus felt lighter than he had in days. “Don’t let that go to your head, though. I’m only saying that to let you know that not all of us think you’re useless.”
“Aww Diego,” Klaus cooed. He sat up and gave his brother a big, charming smile. Ben watched the both of them with an amused grin, enjoying the show, while Diego was beginning to look fondly exasperated. “You do have a heart after all! Ben, did you hear that? I’m his favourite! Me!”
“Congratulations,” drawled Ben.” “Would you like a sticker?” Klaus stuck out his tongue at him. Ben stuck his right back.
“Don’t make me regret it,” Diego warned, pointing a finger at him.
“I wouldn’t dare, brother dearest.” Klaus responded in a sing-song tone. “Y’know, you’re my favourite living brother, too.”
Klaus could see the smile on Diego’s face as he joked, “I better be. After all the shit you made me deal with.”
A comfortable silence spread between the two of them as Klaus laid back down. It felt pleasant to just exist for a while with his brothers, not having to say anything. Klaus was no hurry to break the peace. He knew that Luther and Allison would arrive soon, and that Five and Vanya could wake up at any time and everything would get complicated, so he just wanted to enjoy the small tranquility now.
Diego eventually broke the silence with, “can we all agree that this conversation never happened?”
“Agreed.” Klaus hummed, “it was getting a tad too emotional for my tastes. That alright with you, Benjamin? This never happened.”
“Whatever you say.”
“Good.” Diego went back to being silent. At least for a few moments, as he broke the silence again with, “although, I do have a question.”
“Did you really snort glitter?”
As they went to sleep as soon as the sun set, and woke up once the sun rose, it was still terribly early by the time Luther and Allison decided to grace them with their presence.
They knocked on their door, entering with a still unconscious Vanya in Luther’s arms. They did not seem to have gotten much sleep, either. Allison’s hair appeared to be knotting, pulled up into a messy and uneven bun on the top of her head and she slouched when she waved at them. Luther looked frazzled, grumbling a greeting to them once he entered. They walked in and Luther placed Vanya gently onto Diego’s bed as Diego got up from his bed, and sat at the end of his. Klaus ended up sitting right beside him, their shoulders touching while Klaus was cross legged in the middle and Diego sat at the side. The ghosts over by the corner seemed to be happy to just continue crying, not paying their surroundings any mind. That didn’t mean they weren’t horribly distracting, though.
Allison leaned against the wall, crossing her arms over her chest. She ended up right beside Ben, who looked tense, already. Luther stayed standing in front of Vanya’s bed, his eyes glancing to and from everyone in the room. Klaus looked at his unconscious sister and thought how hard it was to believe the power she had locked away, buzzing and bubbling just under the surface, yet never allowed to be unleashed. But the all-white get-up with the hollow, white eyes did make her look a little creepy. Poor Vanya was pure proof of how much of an asshole their father truly was. Or will be. Time travel was confusing. Reggie attempted to put together a group of super-powered children, to train them for something bigger than themselves and to save the world, while being the one that triggered the end of the world to begin with. Klaus wanted to laugh at the irony.
Now that Klaus thought about it, it felt strange to have the whole academy crammed in this small, shitty motel room. Everyone else could only see six people spread out around the room, but Klaus saw nine. For such a tiny room, it seemed suffocating. He really wanted to open a window and let some air in.
“First things first.” Luther cleared his throat after everyone finished their greetings, causing Klaus to look over to him. “Klaus. Where is Ben right now?”
Klaus was still getting used to being asked about Ben. He rested his elbows on his knees and pointed to Ben, regardless. “Beside Allison.” Allison snapped her head towards Ben, her eyes widening and looking like she didn’t know whether to start crying or cheering.
Ben waved awkwardly. He turned his head towards Klaus and admitted, “I really don’t know what to do in these situations. Tell them I said hi.”
“He greets everyone,” he repeated. “Very awkwardly, may I add,” he added cheekily. Ben rolled he eyes and Klaus winked at him. Allison smiled sadly at the space beside her, and waved. She mouthed a greeting back at Ben.
Luther nodded. “We should start planning.” He stood in the middle of the room, an imposing figure with his huge arms and shoulders. He could probably snap Klaus in half with one finger.
“What about Five and Vanya?” Diego asked, nodding towards their two unconscious siblings. “Five’s not awake yet. I thought we were meant to wait until he wakes up, as he’s the deciding factor.”
“Yes,” Luther answered. “But we need to figure out what we should do. We’re in completely new territory and in a completely different time. The sooner we have a plan, the better. We will include the others once they decided to wake up.”
“Alright then, Number One,” Diego muttered sarcastically, flippantly gesturing for Luther to get on with it, “what shall we do, oh humble leader?”
“Diego, please, don’t start.” Luther eyed him, looking drained. “Now’s really not the time.”
“I’m not starting anything. I’m telling you to get on with it,” Diego rolled his eyes, crossing his arms and raising an eyebrow. “Or are you just going to stand there?”
“Yes, I'm planning to get on with it.”
“Then what are you waiting for?”
“Is there a reason you’re so pissed off, or it is just to annoy me?” Luther snapped, irritated. “Because there are way more important things right now.” Diego opened his mouth to reply and probably start a fight, but Klaus elbowed him in the side. He agreed that there are more important things to be focusing on right now. Afterwards, Diego could fight Luther all he wanted and Klaus would happily cheer him on, but not right now. Klaus knew how much Diego enjoyed butting heads with Luther and hoped that he could keep his cool for a bit longer. Diego ended up staying quiet and gesturing for Luther to get to a point, of which Klaus was grateful. Luther sighed, and seemed to be gathering his patience. “Fine, I think our first course of action should be to get some food. We’re all hungry and will function better on a full stomach.”
“Sounds good,” Klaus commented when Diego stayed silent, starting to feel the hunger kicking in. “How are we going to do that?” Allison followed the talking with her eyes, her facial expressions changing almost every second. Ben, on the other hand, leaned back and looked at the ceiling, seeming to be done with the conversation already.
“Well, firstly we need money.”
That should be simple. “I could easily get us some money.” Klaus raised his HELLO hand, bringing the rooms attention to himself. It would take him approximately five minutes to find a target and take their wallet.
“How?” Luther raised an eyebrow, unimpressed. “Stealing?”
“Well, yeah,” Klaus replied, not understanding his point. He raised an eyebrow. “Do you have any better ideas? Do you expect money to just drop from the sky?”
“We can’t just steal. Unlike you, we aren’t a bunch of common thieves.” Ben snapped to attention and seemed to take personal offense to Luther’s comment. Ben and Klaus shared a glance from across the room. Allison radiated disapproval towards everyone in the room.
Klaus blinked and frowned. He knew that Diego was itching to intervene, but Klaus replied before he had the chance. “Hey excuse you, you won’t be doing anything. I will. Then I’ll treat all of us to a good meal at some fancy restaurant, or something. It’s not complicated.”
Diego apparently could not stay silent any longer, and exclaimed, “please, Luther. If you have any alternate suggestions, we’d love to hear them.” Klaus was not sure if he should be surprised that the Batman-esque vigilante of their group agreed with him about stealing some poor dude’s cash, but appreciated it regardless.
“We could get a job?” Luther suggested, though it sounded like he was asking a question.
“A job?” Diego scoffed. “And how are you planning on getting employed when none of us legally exist yet and therefore, have no IDs. No valid driver's license. No birth certificates. No nothing. And also, we don’t even know how long we’ll be staying here. We could be leaving tomorrow for all we know.”
Klaus raised his HELLO hand once again, “I'm sure I can get everyone some fake forms. I know how to find the right people and get them to do it, easily. It would cost a lot, though. And it’s definitely more illegal than stealing.”
“There you have it,” Diego stated, shrugging his shoulders. “We can either steal and be done with it, or go through the trouble of forging forms that will require us to steal anyway to afford them.”
“Why are you so willing to break the law?” Luther asked as if Diego did not spend the last however many years operating outside of the law in order to be a vigilante. Klaus just thought that it was tragic, how separated Luther ended up. Klaus thought back to Luther confessing how much he wanted to be Number Four and sighed. “We are supposed to stop crime, not partake in it.”
“Luther, grow up. We aren’t children anymore. Desperate times call for desperate measures,” Diego replied as if it were obvious. Klaus elbowed him again to make him shut up but Diego ignored him and taunted, “which you would know if you weren’t still under Dad’s conditioning.” Klaus blew a raspberry. At least Ben couldn’t say he didn’t try and prevent a fight.
“I’m not under-, why would you even say that?”
“Not thinking you’re under his conditioning is exactly what being under his conditioning would make you think!” Diego pointed out slowly, enunciating every word. He stood up from the bed and walked towards Luther, “I get that you think you’re free from him after finding out about your mission to the moon, but you can’t erase years of brainwashing in a few days. The rest of us had years to find ourselves. If Dad materialized in this room right now and gave us orders, you would still follow them, no questions asked. You said you were done with Dad, but yesterday you proved the exact opposite and wanted to run back to him.”
“What are you saying?” Luther demanded through clenched teeth. Klaus wondered how most family meetings turn into fights between Luther and Diego. Allison and Ben looked thoroughly done with their antics. He flopped backwards onto the bed with a dramatic sigh and brought his hands up to his face, digging his palms into his eyes. “What does this have anything to do with our situation?”
“What I’m saying is that you need to start thinking things for yourself. Dad’s dead. Or, at least our Dad is. His damage is done, but you need to learn to move on.” Diego explained, his voice was confident and loud, making it travel around the room. “Stop spouting Dad’s words and defending him when he has done nothing to deserve that kind of loyalty from you.”
“I mean, he taught the six of us twelve different ways to kill an armed man with anything we had on hand when we were ten. We all killed people on missions as children and you’re drawing the line at stealing? Especially when it will be used to help save the world from ending? Stop being Dad’s perfect little soldier for a minute and think for yourself.”
“I mean-, I don’t-, what does-”
Luther did not seem to have anything to say. Klaus really wished he had some popcorn to snack on as he kept his eyes closed. He was getting tired of continuously listening to those two arguing. Before Luther could formulate a coherent response, and before Diego could have another go at Luther, a new voice could be heard.
“Jesus Christ, do you idiots ever shut up?” Five’s grouchy and tired voice rang out across the room, causing every head to turn in his direction. He seemed to have woken up only moments before, as appeared to be getting used to the light of the room. He sat up in his bed and took in his surroundings with half opened and unfocused eyes. His hair, that was usually styled perfectly, looked messy and fluffy. Klaus could spot the exact moment that Five remembered yesterday's events as his eyes widened, he shot up straight, examined the room and exclaimed, “what the fuck? What happened? Why are we in some shithole?”
“Welcome back to the land of the living bro,” Klaus greeted cheerfully, waving at him. He was grateful to have a distraction. He sat back up and replied, “we must have crash landed.”
“What do you mean by that?” Five snapped, and wow, not even awake for a minute and he already had an attitude. Okay then.
“What Klaus is trying to say,” Diego took over, his fight with Luther put on hold for the time being, thankfully. “Is that we must have ended up in the wrong time, unless it was your plan all along to drop us off here. We decided to come here for a place to sleep.”
Five seemed to be processing the information. “What’s the date? The exact date? And where are we, exactly?”
“May 12th, 1982. Minnesota, America.” Diego replied.
“Motherfucker.” Five hissed, scrambling to get out of bed. He struggled to get steady on his feet before patting down all of his pockets and pulling out a marker from one in the front. Klaus was not surprised that Five kept a marker on him. Five looked around before walking over to the nearest plain wall and taking off the cap off the marker. He began to scribble equations Klaus could not even begin to understand. “What the hell happened? I could not have miscalculated that badly.” He mumbled, distracted, “unless there was a time vortex I did not take into consideration-”
“You were passed out when we landed,” Klaus supplied, his legs pulled up to his chest. Everyone in the room looked on edge, all tense shoulders and straight backs as the squeak of Five’s marker filled the silence, awaiting his response.
Realization dawned on Five a few moments later. “Shit, the strain of transporting so many people must have knocked me out. We must have gotten dropped off in the first random location after I passed out. We are about a decade off target. Goddammit!”
“Can’t you transport us back?” Luther asked once he regained his bearings.
“Not if I keep passing out during the travel, I can’t,” Five drawled, continuing to fill up the wall. He looked back over at where everyone else was located. “We would just end up in another random time and place. Did Vanya wake up yet? Where is she?” Klaus leaned back, allowing Five to see Vanya still asleep on the last bed. Klaus was impressed that she did not wake up with all this noise. Five nodded, satisfied and went back to whatever it was on the wall. Finally, after Klaus nearly broke the silence by telling them about the time he tried acupuncture with lollipop sticks, Five looked back at them and asked, “so why are we here?”
“T’was the easiest place to get into,” Diego answered. “We needed a place to stay the night.”
“It’s a little shady,” Klaus added, nodding and picking at his nails. “But it does the job.”
“So, what you’re telling me,” Five hissed, condescension dripping from his voice as he put the cap back on the marker and turned to fully face them, “is that we get dropped off in a random time and place, and the first thing you do is go get a motel?” His glare could have melted ice. “Did anyone see you? Did you check if you were followed? People could be watching us right now and you have the curtains open, I can’t believe this.” Five stomped towards the window and yanked the ruined curtains closed aggressively. He looked like a child throwing a temper tantrum. The room got a shade darker. “None of you is going to last a day preventing the apocalypse like this.” He walked back over to the group; a scowl directed at each one of them.
“Why would people be spying on us?” Luther asked, furrowing his eyebrows. Klaus did not allow Five to answer. He interrupted as Five opened his mouth and asked the question that had been bugging him since they landed.
“But do we have to prevent the apocalypse?” Klaus asked casually. “Why can’t we just, I dunno, live out the rest of our days here? I’m sure we’ll learn how to fit in sooner or later. I know about two slang words from the 80s, but I'll pick them up quickly, I'm sure. The apocalypse doesn’t happen until 2019 so we have,” he did the math in his head, “less than forty years to live out our lives. By then we’ll all be old and wrinkly so we can just die along with everyone else.” Klaus explained simply. “Some of us don’t want to play the hero anymore.” He looked over to Ben for support but Ben just shook his head in exasperation. Screw him.
“Klaus!” Luther scolded, looking disappointed. “How could you even suggest something like that?”
“What?” Klaus defended with a roll of his eyes. “That’s a valid option!”
“None of you get it, do you?” Five growled through gritted teeth. “All of you are useless!”
“What are we not getting, exactly?” Diego asked, gruffly.
Five took a deep breath. “There will be no ‘living out the rest of our days.’ Not anymore. From the moment you all got involved with the apocalypse, the Commission saw you as threats to the timeline. That’s why they sent the shooters to the bowling alley and the theatre. That was why Hazel and Cha-Cha were after me. They wanted to make sure we did not change what is supposed to happen,” he took a seat on the bed again, facing all of them as he explained. “There is a huge target on all of our backs. Now that we are years in the past, the Commission will know we will try to change the timeline and they are not just going to let us walk away with it. They will do everything in their power to ensure that Vanya destroys the moon each and every time. Our Vanya already did her job so she’s no longer of any use to the Commission. But the Vanya that’s going to be born in seven years? She’s important. They will hunt us down to every corner of the globe to ensure the timeline stays the same and Vanya is not influenced. From now on, you better get used to looking over your shoulders and sleeping with one eye open, because there’s no going back now as the Commission won’t stop until every last one of us is dead.”
The silence that followed Five’s speech was so cold and tense that Klaus felt it in every inch of his bones. Everyone stared at Five with wide eyes and panic written all over their faces. Luther’s face paled and Diego had his mouths open in shock. Allison’s hands were shaking. Ben looked like he was on the verge of a panic attack. Klaus felt his entire world tilt off its axis. He couldn’t believe his ears. This must have been some sick joke that Five decided to play. It couldn’t be real. Everything went quiet other than the beating of his heart, which tripled in volume. He felt sick and nauseous. At once, after everyone got over their shock, they all looked at Five and exclaimed their own variations of curses and demands in unison. Allison, who couldn’t speak, said more than enough with her fiery glare alone. They were all shouting over each other, trying to be heard over the other. Klaus ended up scrambling up and onto his knees to be seen better.
Five did not seem to be the least bit affected by the four murderous gazes he could see directed at him.
After everyone had their outburst, Diego barged forward, fury written on every part of his face. He pointed at Five’s chest harshly and spat out, “I’m sorry, but did I mishear you or have you really just informed us that, at this very moment, we are being hunted like animals?"
“That is correct.”
Diego snarled, pushing his finger further into Five’s chest, “and you did not think to mention this before? So, we would have known what we were dealing with? That way we could have been more prepared because right now we are sitting ducks and practically defenseless!”
“When? When the world was falling apart or when I was unconscious? I thought you had enough common sense to figure it out by yourselves without me there to hold your hand. Clearly, I was wrong.”
“You little asshole-! I gonna-”
“In my defense,” Five interrupted, taking a step back from Diego and placing his hands in his pockets, “I thought we would be able to succeed with preventing the apocalypse. Then the Commission would not have been able to do anything as the event was stopped. If I did not pull all of you along with me, you would have been vaporized.”
“What’s the better of the two evils, though? Getting vaporized or getting hunted and shot to death?” Klaus asked, bitingly. “Oh jeez, I don’t know.” He moved from his position on the bed and sat at the end, feet touching the ground. They ended up forming a small semi-circle, with Five in the middle. Everyone looked deeply pissed off other than Ben, who had his hands stuffed in his pockets and seemed deep in thought.
“None of us are getting shot to death if we are smart about this,” Five responded dryly. “I’ve outsmarted the Commission twice now. We could do this together if we agree to work with each other and not be at each other’s throats all the time. Ben made it with it, right?”
Klaus held in a mocking comment and pointed to where Ben stood silently, seeming to be lost in thought. “Yeah, he’s over there.”
Five nodded, avoiding looking in the direction Klaus pointed to. “That means that we have the seven of us back together. This stupid family is all we have and if we combine all of our skill sets, we could make it work.”
“Just so we’re clear,” Luther inquired, looking even more drained than he did at the start. “This Commission will leave us alone once the apocalypse is averted?” It looked like Klaus did not have a choice in the matter of whether or not to stop the apocalypse. He swallowed down a whine of complaint at being made to play the hero again.
“In theory, yes. They will have no reason to hunt us down as the timeline will already be changed and killing us will not change that. They would be too busy trying to manage all the new information regarding this new timeline.”
“Is there a reason we can’t just storm this Commission place and bring the fight to them?” Diego demanded with a sweep of his arm. “Or, better yet, why can’t we just go back to the week before the apocalypse and ensure Vanya doesn’t end up locked in that vault?”
“Excuse me? Vanya was in a vault?” Five asked, in a scarily calm tone. He turned to the rest of them and demanded, “what vault?”
“Luther thought it would be a smart idea to lock her in a soundproof vault under the house that Dad built for her,” Diego answered, glaring daggers at Luther. Allison quickly joined him and glared at Luther, too. Klaus watched the talking with his eyes, already knowing that another fight was underway. “That was why the house got destroyed as Vanya managed to break out.”
Five looked like he could not believe what he was hearing. He asked, “you locked up our sister? Why?” His voice sounded slow and cold.
“Yeah,” Diego continued, turning to fully look at Luther. He gestured at him, “that’s what I have been wondering. You’re over here trying to play the leader and decide what we should do when you’re the one that caused Vanya to go berserk.”
“Being a leader means making the difficult decisions in the times of need,” Luther explained. He still seemed to believe that locking Vanya up was the correct choice of action. Klaus nearly scoffed out loud, memories of the hours he spent locked in the mausoleum surfacing to the front of his mind. “I wanted to make sure she did not hurt anyone else until we understood more of what her powers were capable of.” His voice sounded soft, but Klaus could tell that Luther felt angry at being blamed for Vanya’s actions.
“Oh yeah?” Five exclaimed, glaring so harshly Klaus was surprised that Luther did not melt on the spot. “She’s not just some animal you can lock up in a cage! She’s our sister!”
“I know that!” Luther snapped, through gritted teeth. “She was still a threat! You saw what she did to Allison and Harold Jenkins and how she caused the Academy to collapse! I did not want anyone else in my family to get hurt!”
“She’s lying right there, you asshole, and she’s part of your family!” Diego chided, pointing a finger to Vanya’s small figure, sleeping motionlessly on the bed. “You should have helped her, instead of locking her up. The only reason she brought down the Academy was because she lost control after you locked her up!”
“Yeah.” Klaus stood up from the bed and pointed out, “based on what I saw, I think her powers could be tied to her emotions. And instead of calming her down, you made her so distressed she destroyed the world.” He clapped his hands mockingly, “kudos.”
“You didn’t seem to be so against it at the time,” Luther grumbled loudly.
“Oh really?” Klaus drawled. “I told you,” he ran out of patience and decided to add, pointing a shaking finger at Luther. “I told you to let her out so she had a chance to explain herself. Instead you decided to play the judge, jury and executioner all on your own because Vanya accidentally hurt Allison! If you just showed some understanding, our world would not have ended!” Klaus could feel anger growing just under his skin, his palms becoming sweaty and his heart rate picking up and he knew that the others felt the same, judging by how red their faces were turning and their shaking hands. Allison looked about ready to rip her own hair out from being unable to speak. Klaus’ hands were itching. Whether for a cigarette or a pill or maybe to punch something, Klaus didn’t know.
“And what do you call Allison blatantly telling you to let Vanya out?” Diego reminded him. “Is that what you call not being against it?”
“You can’t just lock someone up because you’re scared and expect everyone else to agree with it,” Five crossed his arms over his chest. His glare had not softened at all. “I can’t believe you did something so idiotic!”
“You act all holy now,” Luther scowled and narrowed his eyes. “But you have done nothing to include Vanya since we got back together! Allison told me that you,” he pointed at Diego angrily, “said she was a liability and that she did not belong with us anymore,” he gestured to all of them now, “and none of you even thought of inviting Vanya to that family meeting either! All of you excluded her all her life and now you act as if you’ve been the best of friends!”
“Don’t you try to pass the blame on to me or to any of us!” Diego shouted, getting all up in Luther’s face. “I only said she was a liability because shooters attacked our fucking house and she got injured! I did not want her to get killed!” Diego fumed, “she may have written a shitty book about our family for the whole world to see but she’s still my sister! I would never- I could never lock her up! I don’t care whether she has powers!”
“We all did stupid things as children! And even now as adults!” Five acknowledged, giving Luther the stink eye. “We left her out of everything and made her feel lesser than us. So, when she finally started showing signs of having a power like the rest of us, her entire world must have fell apart! She felt lied to and manipulated after Allison and Harold Jenkins, and all she wanted was for her family to help her and to understand her. And what did you do? Made her less even worse about everything! Made her out to be some sort of villain. You even wanted to leave her behind to die instead of taking her with us!”
“I saw her in that cage,” Klaus retorted. “I saw how she how scared she was of her powers! She needed our support and you couldn’t even give her that much! She was in tears and hyperventilating and crying out how sorry she was you just left her there to rot and stopped any of us from letting her out!”
“I did what I had to in order to protect my family!” Luther bellowed, fully red in the face and with a clenched jaw.
“How is locking up our sister supposed to be protecting her?” Diego shouted back, tense as a bowstring.
“I was trying to protect her from herself!”
“And look how that turned out!” Diego chastised angrily, both of them getting louder and louder. “The moon broke apart as a result of your great leadership skills!”
At that moment, the lightbulb above them burst apart, spraying them all in small glass fragments. Everyone flinched and silence enveloped them all like a wave. Then, as one, they all turned behind them to where Vanya was sitting up in bed. Her eyes, which were thankfully back to normal, were wide and fearful and she looked like she was about a second away from having an anxiety attack, her breathing fast and deep.
“Vanya,” Five whispered softly, breaking the silence.
“W-what’s going on? Why is everyone shouting?” Vanya’s voice sounded unsteady and quiet. She looked from one person to the next, noticing their rigid postures, red faces and fast breathing. She looked down at herself, then back at them. Her hands were clutching the bed sheets so tightly that her knuckles turned white. Her gaze stopped at Allison and her voice broke when she asked, “Allison?”
“What’s the last thing you remember?” Five asked in a forcefully calm tone, slowly walking up to her and sitting beside her. Allison walked up behind Five, looking like she desperately wanted to give Vanya a hug. She had a heartbroken expression on her face and looked close to tears. Everyone else stayed put.
Vanya hesitated, “I was in the vault, and I couldn’t breathe. It was dark and I think- I think I was hallucinating.” She struggled to find words. “I- I don’t know. I just wanted to get out and-.” She looked up at Allison and reached out to her, taking her hand in hers. She cried, “Oh Allison, I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to!” Allison pulled Vanya into a hug as she began to sob, sitting beside her and wrapping her arms tightly around her. Vanya kept muttering apologies under her breath, tears running down her cheek. The scene was causing Klaus’ own heart to contract and squeeze.
Five placed a hand on Vanya’s back, trying to offer his own sort of comfort. “Are you pleased about what you did, Luther?” Luther looked at the broken Vanya in bed with an unreadable expression on his face. “Look at her and tell me you feel pleased.” Luther stayed silent, avoiding eye contact with Five. Five nodded and looked back to Vanya. “Vanya?” he asked softly. “Can you hear me?”
Klaus decided to walk around the bed to sit closer to Vanya’s bed. Vanya did not seem to be paying any attention to the world around her, lost in her own world of muttering apologies to Allison as she did not answer Five.
Klaus looked around to see where Ben ended up and found him standing on the other side of Vanya’s bed, watching her with a look of deep concern. He looked over at Klaus and shrugged his shoulders, looking back at Vanya almost immediately. Neither of them knew what to do in this situation.
“I understand that my actions may not have been the best, but it was a necessary evil as she was an unknown threat. That vault was a temporary solution to try and minimize the damage,” Luther spoke into the tense silence, trying to resolve the situation. “It was an awful situation and-”
“Is that you talking, or Dad?” Diego challenged, getting into Luther’s personal space again. Klaus knew that a physical fight was going to break out soon, but Klaus lost the ability to care about ten minutes ago.
“Yes, this again,” Diego mocked. He jabbed Luther in the chest, “Answer the question, brother. Did you lock Vanya in that vault because Dad thought she was a threat?” Luther opened his mouth, but Diego interrupted him lowly, “and don’t you dare try to bullshit me.”
Luther stayed silent, before swallowing and replying slowly, “Dad would not have declared her a threat for no good reason.”
Diego looked almost disappointed. He sighed a long-suffering sigh and stepped back. Allison was running her hands through Vanya’s hair gently, while staring blankly at Luther. Vanya hiccupped quietly after she ran out of tears to cry. Five looked royally pissed off. Klaus debated taking a page out of Ben’s book and taking a swing at Luther’s face just to satisfy his anger. His punch probably wouldn’t even phase Luther, but damn if it wouldn’t make him feel better. Even Ben looked downhearted, shoulders drooping.
Klaus sighed, resting his head on his hand, “what happened to the Luther that found all of Reggie’s research? The Luther that realized just how little Reggie actually cared about any of us? You were so upset that you got pissed drunk. You realized how much time you wasted following him blindly and you were ready to completely let him go, what happened to that?”
“Yes, he was wrong to do that. But he was right about some things as well,” Luther answered, taking a step back.
“Like locking up our sister? Unbelievable,” Diego fumed, throwing his hands in the air. “And here I thought you finally saw some sense, before the world went to shit,” he laughed humorlessly. “Joke’s on me then, huh? Looks like you’re always going to be Dad’s loyal little lapdog!” He spat out venomously.
“I’m not Dad’s lapdog!” Luther protested loudly. “But I know that I followed him blindly for years, thinking he had our best interests in mind, but I do believe that Dad built that vault because he knew how destructive Vanya’s powers can be if unchecked. He put her on those pills to prevent her from losing control.”
Klaus felt like they were going around in circles. He replied with disinterest, “because it’s so much easier to build an underground vault and put Vanya on medication for her whole life than it is to properly train her to control her powers,” he rolled his eyes and scoffed. “of course, silly me for thinking otherwise.” But then Klaus remembered his own training and thought that Vanya may have dodged a bullet, in regards to training with Reggie.
Five spoke up from where he was holding one of Vanya’s hands in his. “I’m tired of this. We have more important things to be focusing on. Luther clearly won’t change his mind so all of you are just wasting your breath.”
“I don’t know about you guys, but I don’t trust Luther to make any more important decisions for us, at least not for a while.” Diego raised his eyebrow at Luther’s offended face. “In case he decides that anyone else needs to be locked up for our protection.”
“I say if anyone needs to be locked up next,” Klaus muttered angrily under his breath, “it’s Luther, so he can see what it feels like.”
“You can’t just-” Luther protested loudly, clenching his hands into fists. “I’m Number One!”
“No. Dad made you Number One. We never chose you as our leader,” Diego responded without missing a beat.
“And he’s dead, so what he says no longer matters,” Klaus felt inclined to remind them.
Luther shot him a dirty look, and went to respond before Diego cut him off. “Exactly. You’ll need to earn the title of leader from us. So, I propose a vote,” Diego declared suddenly. “Instead of following orders we don’t want to follow,” he side-eyed Luther, “I propose that we all get equal say in deciding things and vote on the best course of action so that the majority will be satisfied. If the vote is split, we could arrange a compromise. Now that we are going to be fighting for our lives, we should not argue about decisions made by our trusted leader.”
“Oh, like we’re doing right now?” Klaus grumbled.
Diego looked around and raised his hand, “all in favour, raise your hand.”
Almost immediately, everyone in the room raised their hands. Klaus raised both hands for his vote, and ended up raising a foot as well after he saw Ben lift his own hand in favour of the idea. Even Vanya, who Klaus thought was still too far out of it to even hear Diego, raised her hand. Klaus could tell she felt confused about what was going on and probably did not fully follow the conversation, but she raised her hand regardless. Even Allison and Five raised their hands, but Five had a scowl on his face. Diego appeared satisfied with the outcome and sent Luther a smug grin.
“You’re going to have to regain our trust,” Diego told Luther. “You want to remain being our leader? Fine. But you’re going to have to prove to us that you’re not just repeating Dad’s words and that you’re actually capable of thinking for yourself and making better decisions. We can help you because we are your family.” Diego continued gesturing to everyone in the room. “Even though you have not given one of us the same courtesy. We can help you get over Dad’s brainwashing and help you become your own person, but the majority of the work will have to come from you.”
Luther stayed silent, looking anywhere but at Diego.
“You’re going to have to hope and pray that Vanya finds it in her heart to forgive you someday, because until you have all of our votes, you’re not leading anything. You’ll have the same amount of say as the rest of us.” Luther looked like Diego just kicked his puppy. “Understand?”
Luther nodded reluctantly after a few moments.
Five cleared his throat. “Now that our dirty laundry has been hanged, can we please go back to the fact that the Commission is going to try to kill all of us?” Klaus knew that they all had a lot more dirty laundry to dig through, but decided now was definitely not the time. As the anger began to dissolve, Klaus realized how much time they wasted arguing when they could be attacked at any second. He sucked up the fact that the last thing he wanted to do was discuss the fact that the Commission was after their hides and nodded alongside everyone else.
Vanya pulled away from Allison and Five, but stayed beside her and put her head on Allison’s shoulder, listening to the conversation. She was still jumpy and shaking, but seemed to be getting better. She stopped hiccupping, finally. They all gathered around Vanya’s bed and listened as Five proceeded to explain how the Commission worked. He told them about his brief stay there that resulted in him finding out about Harold Jenkins, and how he managed to blow a lot of it up, including their supply of briefcases, which they need in order to travel through time. Five answered Diego’s previous inquiry of storming the Commission with the fact that they wouldn’t stand a snowballs chance in hell of making it out of there alive as the Commission has dozens of shooters and fighters and they would be crazy outnumbered, not to mention the fact that some of them were years out of practice in regards to fighting and defending themselves. The only reason Five managed to blow up the Commission was because he was already inside and had the element of surprise, at least partially.
He revealed that he was gone from the bowling alley when the shooters attacked because the Handler called him away as a way to separate him from the others. Apparently, the Commission went under a lot of changes after Five blew it up, so Five was not exactly sure how they ran the place nowadays, but if the number of shooters that were after them was any indication, the Commission relied on a lot more firepower and less stealth. That wasn’t to say that the Commission did not send any stealthy assassins after them, so they had to be careful and on alert at all times.
Five also explained how, because he can time travel without a briefcase, the Commission was going to have a harder time tracking them to any moment in time. But the Commission had field agents on the ground and so they would have to ensure that they are not spotted by getting disguises and laying low.
Finally, Five explained how in order to change the timeline, they had to alter very small, specific things in the past. Making huge changes, like going back to the week before the apocalypse and changing what happened to Vanya, would be too risky. They would be revealing their exact location to the Commission, and they had no way of ensuring that they would succeed and not freak out Vanya even more, causing them to travel back once again. Five explained the butterfly effect and how it is the idea that a small change in the past can cause much bigger changes to happen in the future. They would be relying on the butterfly effect and Five’s calculations in deciding what events needed to be altered in order to bring about their desired outcome. They would need to work swiftly and stealthy and Five stuck to his statement that by combining their skill sets, they would be able to beat the Commission and that their only problem would be not killing each other before they managed to accomplish their goal.
Five admitted that he did not know how long it would take him to perfect his time travel to successfully transport all of them to their target time, but until he figured it out, they were stuck here.
Everyone grumbled out their understandings and once everyone started to get sick of each other’s company, they decided that they needed to get their shit together and get supplies at long last. Klaus began to feel hungry and suggested that they get should get food first and new clothes, first.
Everyone began to throw around ideas on how and where to get food and clothes. Diego shoved Klaus and made me tell the group of his idea of using the clothing bins to get clothes. Disregarding everyone’s surprise that Klaus had a decent idea, everyone agreed that these bins were their best bet.
After more brainstorming, they decided to use the laundromats to clean the clothes. They voted on the best way to get money to pay for the laundromats and get food and the majority settled on taking some money from some wealthy-looking person, who surely wouldn’t miss it. They were going to use it for the good cause of saving the world anyway.
They decided to split into two groups.
One group had to stay with Vanya, who was still regaining her strength. Allison volunteered herself to stay with Vanya immediately, but as she couldn’t talk, Five was chosen to stay with them. Five protested at first, saying that they were going to need him out there, but eventually they convinced him to stay and be the one to explain the situation in more detail to Vanya and fill in the blanks and answer any questions she may have. Plus, Five also had to save his energy for their next jump through time. Five would also be able to quiz Vanya about her powers and get started on figuring out easy ways of getting her to control them.
That left Luther, Diego, Klaus and Ben to venture out into the wild to scavenge for supplies. Five gave them a list of necessary items they needed to bring back and insisted on them finding a new place to sleep as he refused to stay another night in the shady motel. They were warned to be careful, stay out of sight and not do anything stupid, and told to come back before the evening.
Klaus thought Five was being too dramatic about the whole thing, but agreed. He quickly put on his shoes and army vest while Diego strapped on his knives, and sent Five a kiss jokingly on the way out, ignoring the dirty look he got in return. Everyone exchanged goodbyes and, they were off.
Diego was the hero that we needed in this chapter. Praise be.