Chapter 1: If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next
And on the street tonight
An old man plays with newspaper cuttings of his glory days
And if you tolerate this then your children will be next
The news that eccentric billionaire Reginald Hargreeves had died broke on the twenty third day of March. It was a cold, gloomy day but despite this the amount of people who were sad about his death was minimal. The man had raised seven children and of those who had survived into adulthood only one cared, though even he only cared out of a sense of duty.
Vanya Hargreeves heard of her adopted father’s death on the way home from violin practice at the theatre. Vanya was a petite woman with thin brown hair and forgettable features, in fact everything about Vanya was quite ordinary. She was an okay violinist in a mediocre orchestra, she live in an area that was fine in a flat that was bare and just enough. She led a modest life, playing and teaching violin and taking her pills on time.
A whispered “Dad.” was her only reaction to his passing.
Klaus Hargreeves was very unlike his sister, he was the definition of middle child syndrome, which is to say very bloody annoying. He was a very tall and thin man with thick curly hair and a very bold taste in fashion. He was also almost never seen without some kind of illness, a result of drug use and homelessness that had plagued his younger years. His life was also far more manic than his sister’s, flickering from commission to commission as a sort of artist. His reaction to his father’s passing was a simple text sent to his favourite living brother.
Allison Hargreeves found out in perhaps the cruelest way. Very early on in her youth she had become obsessed with the idea of fame, of acting and making a living making others’ stories come to life. She lived in California, as all good actresses should, with her husband Patrick and her two children, Claire and James.
She floated along the red carpet, a wooden smile carved into place upon her painted face, as she heard the news. Faceless flashes blinded her as voices called out until one broke through the sound.
“Allison, have you heard the news?” The voice had called. “When was the last time you saw your father?”
Her assistant finally got to her and she quickly walked away.
Diego Hargreeves was placing towels and cloths over the last of his doughs when the text came through from his brother. In their youth Diego had been one of the most violent and quick to anger of the siblings but as an adult he had found peace in baking, a career he had been encouraged to pursue by his girlfriend. Diego was well built and tan with hair cut short to his head and a thick scar running along his face towards his eye, for a baker he did not look like one to me messed with.
He read the text with a smile, biting into a doughnut he muttered “I hope you burn, father.”
Luther Hargreeves sat alone on the moon, as he had been for the past for years. He was a tall man, once handsome but now corrupted by the toxins that had saved his life, and so dreadfully lonely. He had no direct contact with another living being for four years but as the new cane to him of his father’s death he was somewhat relieved. He could not do research for a dead man. He mourned the loss of a father but was hopeful to come back down to earth.
Vanya arrived at the house by taxi the following day to find it exactly as she had left it twelve years before. It was as dim and lifeless as she had remembered, full of priceless ornaments that held no purpose and musty rugs and curtains that soaked up any natural light. It was an expensive hell.
She entered slowly, scared to disturb anyone or announce her presence. Vanya was well aware she would not be welcomed warmly after what she had done. Good, she thought, they deserved it and far worse.
She found her mother by the fire in the living room, as synthetically beautiful as ever. But her calling had the undesired effect of alerting her sister to her presence.
“Vanya?” Allison called, not unkindly. Of her living siblings Allison’s chapter had been perhaps the least cruel.
“You’re actually here.” So perhaps her sister was less okay with everything as she had first thought.
“Hey sis.” Allison approached her, lingering a few feet away as if debating whether to hit her or not, before pulling her into a very awkward hug. It was impersonal, almost clinical, as if Allison was just going through the motions that’d keep the peace.
“What is she doing here?” And just like that all sense of peace was gone. Diego walked in to the hall, dressed in black jeans and a soft black jumper which surprised his sister’s who had expected a police uniform or vigilante gear. “You don’t belong here. Not after what you did.”
“Diego.” Allison turned to her brother, her voice that of a weary mother. There was no defence of Vanya in that tone, Vanya noted, just that of someone who wanted to be done with it all as soon as possible.
The sisters watched as Diego stalked through and up the stairs, probably to get reacquainted with his childhood room. Or his brothers.
“You know, I uh-“ Vanya stumbled. I’m a grown woman, Vanya thought, getting ready to leave. I don’t have to deal with their bullshit. “Maybe he’s right-“
“Forget about him.” Allison said softly. “You have as much right as the rest of us.”
They lingered awkwardly for a few seconds before Allison walked away.
“I can save you some time.” Diego entered the room where his brother stood, searching through their father’s room for any signs of foul play. It was strange seeing his brother again after so long, strange seeing any of his family outside of Klaus but seeing Luther was something else altogether. Gone was any bitterness he still held in regards to their childhood rivalry and all that was left was pity, pity for the one left behind.
Luther was far bigger than he remembered and also far clumsier but the looks of things. He looked strange, as if his whole body had been stuffed like a teddy bear and they had just forgotten to do the same for his head.
“They’re all locked, no false entry, no sign of struggle, nothing out of the ordinary.” He strolled into the room to lean against a cabinet, he wasn’t there to start a fight. Not this time.
“What do you want?” It’s a shame Luther didn’t hold the same sentiment.
“The autopsy report.” Diego held the crumpled paper out to his brother, tugging it away before actually handing it over. He may not be there to start anything but he couldn’t resist teasing.
“And you have this why?” Luther asked, skimming over the page.
“My girlfriend was in charge of his case when they still suspected something.” He couldn’t help but smile at the thought of Eudora. “And surprise surprise, dad’s death was normal. Just a boring old heart failure.”
“Yeah, so.” Luther asked, tense.
“So why are you in here,” he responded “checking all the windows?”
“Was she the first one on the scene?”
“Pogo found him.”
“Yeah I talked to Pogo.” Luther said, less tense this time as if he was getting used to his brother again. “He said he couldn’t find dad’s monocle.”
Oh, shit thought Diego.
“And your point being?”
“Can you think of a single time you saw dad and he wasn’t wearing that monocle?”
“No.” Diego replied, reluctantly.
And so Luther launched into a theory about how that proved their father had been murdered. Diego had always believed it was childish pettiness that had led him to resent his brother, now he was starting to think it was his apparent love of conspiracies. Diego grew tired quickly and wished his brother good luck in his murder mystery, going to find his mum and maybe the missing monocle.
To say Vanya was surprised when Pogo told her that their father had never read her book would be a lie. Whilst her siblings, or at least the two she had come across, obviously had she had no expectations that her father would do the same. That didn’t change the well of anger that bubbled up inside of her when she saw a mini shrine to her siblings, photos of her siblings at the height of the academy and not a sign of her existence anywhere in the house outside of her closet-sized bedroom.
Seeing Pogo again washed away a lot of the bad memories of the house. He had always been unendingly kind to her, slipping her treats and turning a blind eye to any of her rule breaking where he wouldn’t for any of the others. He seemed nostalgic when they discussed Five, whilst Vanya could feel the bitterness crawling through her bones.
Klaus had heard the door open to his father’s study he just chose to ignore it. He had realised that he would look suspicious just on merit of being the family junkie in his father’s office, despite not having even drunk for the past four years or so. In fact he wasn’t looting the office, as tempting as that thought was, but rather searching through their father’s notes; if he found the ones on his powers he might finally get a good night sleep that wasn’t drug induced, four years of poor sleep was not good for the skin.
“Klaus.” Oh, Allison, great. “What you doing in here?”
“Oh, Allison,” Klaus breathed the words “Wow, is that you? Hey, come here.”
He pulled Allison into a light hug, barely touching her in fear she’d push him away but she didn’t just lightly hugged back for a second before they both pulled away.
“Long time. Too long.” He held her back as if to get a good look at her, his smile becoming less fake as she giggled at his antics. “Hey I was hoping to, uh, see you actually cuz... I was hoping to get your autograph added to my collection.”
Klaus upped the anti steadily. He was testing the waters, seeing where his different siblings’ lines were at for his bullshit. He long ago found that whilst Diego was with Eudora his was infinite but beyond makeovers and gossiping he could not remember Allison having a similar sort of patience with him.
“So what are you doing in here Klaus?”
“I just came down here to prove to myself that the old man was...really gone.” Klaus said, mock-sadly. “And he is! He’s dead! Yay!”
Allison rolled her eyes as Klaus danced around clapping and joking about their dad who had been dead for less than a week. She laughed at some of his jokes and drama, doubtlessly believing him to be drunk or high or both but nonetheless humouring him. Klaus was, dare he say it, touched.
“Get out of his chair.” Ordered Luther from the door.
“Oh, wow Luther.” Klaus stood, gesturing with his thin bare arms. “You really filled out.”
“Klaus.” Luther’s tolerance had apparently not changed in thirteen years.
“I- save the lecture. I was already leaving.” He headed towards the exit “You guys can, uh, talk amongst yourselves.”
Luther grabbed his collar. “Drop it.”
“Ex-squeeze me.” Oh, so that’s what he thought he was in their for. “From where?”
They both looked down at his slim waistcoat and skin tight leather trousers, his coat was hung on the rack in the hall with his shoes below it because he had manners unlike the rest of his heathen siblings. Just like that he was let go but not before his dear siblings started talking.
“So Klaus is still Klaus, in case you were wondering.”
Well wasn’t Luther sweet.
They all sat in silence, the tension thick as custard. They were waiting for number one to start leading, or the funeral to start depending on which came first. Occasionally Diego and Klaus would exchange a look, a raised eyebrow between the only two who had stayed in contact, or Allison would take a drink from her glass. Beyond that the room was still and quiet.
“Um, I guess we should get this started. So I figured we could have our sort of memorial service in the courtyard at sundown.” Luther stood, taking control whilst Klaus fiddled in the bar making some strange mocktail. “Say a few words, just at dad’s favourite spot.”
Once again everyone became startlingly aware of the inequality they were treated with. Everyone looked blankly at Luther, the favourite child, who of course new their father beyond observations and training.
“Dad had a favourite spot?” Allison asked blankly.
“Yeah, y’know, under the oak tree.” He paused as everyone continued to look blank. “We used to sit under there all the time, none of you ever do that?”
Klaus interrupted, taking pity on his brother and chasing away any awkwardness with a quip about sandwich. The conversation quickly derailed into how he’d stole Allison’s skirt, which also begged the question of where was what he had on previously.
Luther quickly plunged into his conspiracies about their father’s death whilst the others tried to dissuade his theories. Luther asked Klaus to summon their dad but before he could begin to actually refuse and finish his, admittedly bullshit, excuses Allison was already accusing him of getting high. Luther went on about the monocle and how it proved them as suspects in their father’s death, causing Diego to storm off with Klaus close behind. Soon only Luther was left standing there, realising he’d messed up.
A tremendous thunder-like sound shook the old mansion as blue light sparked as if in some sort of flash storm. The five siblings charged outside to see what had caused the ruckus only to find a huge ball of fluorescent energy sparking and spluttering.
“What is it?” Called Vanya.
“Don’t get to close.”
“Yeah, no shit.”
“It looks like some sort of temporal anomaly.” Luther said “Either that or a miniature black hole. One of the two.”
“There is a slight difference there, brother dear.” Klaus pointed out.
It began to splutter more dramatically causing the siblings to back away and for Luther and Diego to step in front of their less testosterone-fuelled siblings. It began to look like a figure was emerging from the vortex but before any of them could work out who or what it was the light closed up, leaving just a small figure in its place.
It was a young boy, about twelve or so, dressed in an oversized suit and with his dark hair in disarray. The child got to his feet at the others began to approach him, the sky cleared up so they could finally see his face all coming to the conclusion that the boy was...
“Does anyone else see little number five or is that just me?” Klaus asked.
“Shit.” Five said, looking down at himself.
The siblings sat around the table as Five hopped around the kitchen making a sickly sweet sandwich. He explained how his consciousness had been projected through time into a far younger version of his body and how he had been sticking in the future for forty five years making him the oldest of his siblings whilst still looking thirteen.
Klaus had expected his brother to change in the time that he had been gone but he hadn’t seemed to. He was as blunt and sarcastic as he had ever been, though Klaus would admit he was a little harsher, a little rougher around the edges. Klaus saw the glint in his eye, the one he’d only ever seen on the faces of men in the streets when he was in deep shit. In his time away Five had begun to unravel.
The compliment on his attire was welcome though.
Vanya was cautious when approaching her brother. It was strange seeing him again but she was worried too. All the rest of their siblings hated her, for speaking the truth about the abuse she had endured in a house where the only way to get by was with powers. If Five hated her too then she’d be distraught.
She doubted he would though. He had always been so nice to her and besides he was always the smartest so would probably be on her side, he’d see that they were being selfish and that what she had faced was way worse than what they could even begin to imagine.
“Nice to know Dad didn’t forget me.” Five said, still staring up at his portrait. His tone was neutral but Vanya had always understood him better than the others, to her he was smiling. He must of missed her as much as she missed him. “I read your book by the way. Found it in a library that was still standing. Ballsy, giving up the family secrets. Sure that went well.”
“They hate me.”
“You went too far.” This comment surprised her. Out of all of them she had been sure that Five would understand. “Especially what you said about Ben.”
That confused her further. She had been complimentary about Ben, never saying a word against him. He had been a good brother, led astray by Klaus sure, but always kind and welcoming. Before she could ask Five to explain he was gone.
She didn’t see anyone again till they were in the courtyard for the funeral. Luther tipped out the ashes and they landed with a thud on the wet ground. Vanya looked across at her siblings, taking in their reactions to the affair.
Five was neutral, as to be expected, whilst Luther looked a little bit upset but not greatly as Vanya had thought. Allison looked concerned at their mother but nothing more. Diego looked smug but also like a drowned rat, his delicate masculinity to fragile for an umbrella, Vanya narrowed her eyes slightly. She glared harder when her eyes turned to Klaus.
He stood in that stupid skirt that he had stolen like some sort of hobo, shivering in a thin coat that was once again made for a woman, holding that ridiculous pink umbrella like some sort of child playing dress up. This all coming to a head with his stupid cigarette because her brother couldn’t even be bothered to stay sober for their father’s funeral.
Vanya listened intently to Pogo’s words, enjoying his calm voice explain who he had known. She knew she wasn’t the only one listening so carefully. Luther was standing there probably agreeing with every word, she shook her head at her brother’s naivety. It still seemed rude when Diego cut across Pogo’s lovely speech with a comment that he knew would only end in an argument.
The destruction of Ben’s statue was awful, her stupid bull headed brothers had destroyed one of the only relics of their dead brother. The head tumbled away with a clang and Vanya gasped in pure horror at what her brothers had done. Klaus and Diego stood looking apathetic whilst the rest of them were rightfully shocked. Vanya could not stand to be out with the careless stupidity of her family so stormed in, hoping that Five would follow and she could catch up with one of the only people she could honestly say she still loved.
Pogo watched as Vanya stood alone in the entrance hall taking her pill. He was surprised she still took it, having read her book and finding little respect for the man who had placed her on it. It concerned him, somewhat, that she still had such a reliance on the pill despite her deteriorating mental state that had been clear to him in her book. It seemed Reginald had misjudged the long term effects of such a drug and that her powers being suppressed had begun to put pressure on her brain.
He walked in loudly, not wanting to surprise his most delicate charge.
“Don’t waste your time,” she said, resigned “Diego’s right, I shouldn’t have come.”
Despite half wanting to agree with the knife flinger Pogo said “This is your home and always will be. Should I get you a taxi?”
“I already called one but thanks.” A car beeped outside. “That’s me.”
“I hope you know your father loved you very much.” Pogo lied, hoping some positivity may help the girl in some small way. He also wouldn’t admit it but he was growing sick of all the abuse that was being aimed at his dear friend. “In his own way.”
“Yeah well, that’s kind of the problem isn’t it.” She mumbled. “Take care of yourself.”
“You as well miss Vanya.”
“Where’s Vanya?” Asked Allison, walking into the kitchen where Five was hunting through all the cupboards.
“Oh, she’s gone.” Klaus replied, hugging the guitar that Diego used to play. The annoyance of her druggie brother never failed to amaze Allison.
“That’s unfortunate.” Five said in a tone that made it clear it wasn’t.
“Yeah.” Allison agreed, coming to stand at the table.
“An entire square block, forty two bedrooms, nineteen bathrooms but no, not a single drop of coffee.” Five complained. It seemed shocking to Allison, her brother had never used to drink coffee but he complained about it in the exact way he used to complain about other things in their youth, like if there were no eggs left or they only had the cheap cereal.
“Dad hated caffeine.”
“Well he hated children too and he had plenty of us.” Klaus gave a painfully fake laugh.
Allison stood, unsure of how to respond to the bitterness of her brother. Klaus had never been harsh, careless and dark sure but in no way sardonic or cold. He had always been the most caring, ready to comfort or give physical contact in a way the others had never been but it seemed that being away from the academy had changed him. To Allison it seemed almost as if he was done with letting others treat him like shit, as if he had acknowledged how bad their childhood was in a way that only Five and Diego had in their youth, in the way that Allison herself was now only just working through (with the help of her therapist).
“I’m taking the car.”
“Do you even know how to drive?”
“I know how to do everything.” And with that he left.
“I feel like we should try and stop him,” Klaus got up as if preparing to do so, “But then again I kind of wanna see what happens.”
Diego entered, now wearing a coat and carrying Klaus’s. He turned to Allison and said “Alright, guess I’ll see you in what? ten years when Pogo dies.”
“Not if you die first.” Allison teased.
“Yeah, love you too sis.” He took a marshmallow. “Have fun playing housewife. Klaus, you ready to go?”
“Yeah, give Clare and James our love, sister dear.”
“Has Ben been around?” Diego asked as they got in the car.
“No, he stayed home.” Klaus replied with a grin. “There was an all day Harry Potter marathon on ABC he wanted to watch, he’ll be happy to hear about the statue.”
“Good, you think you’ll be free to come for dinner tomorrow? Patch misses Ben, something about civilised conversation.” Klaus laughed and agreed to come round.
Diego knew Klaus would be suspicious but he still stopped at the dock to ditch the monocle, he knew that Luther’s suspicions would be far more annoying than his annoying brothers. He stood there for a few minutes, unsure. It was the last thing of his father’s that actually meant something, it was complicated. The hand that hits was also the hand that feeds, so do you bite, run or accept? Diego had never been sure.
He dropped Klaus off and declined the invite to come in for a coffee and a catch up with Ben but instead went home to the flat he shared with Patch, unsurprised that she wasn’t in yet despite her shift ending a half hour prior. He knew she’d be there in the morning when he got up to open the bakery and he knew she’d be free for dinner with Ben and Klaus. They saw less of each other after his career change despite living together but it was good, they had time together and were living the good life. Her mother came round regularly with pies and casseroles and Christmas was no longer the rigid affair it had been in his youth.
Diego was happy.
In another universe Luther truly mourns his father, searching for answers to it all from the moon he was sent to. He resents it.
In this one he mourns who his father could have been but welcomes the love from his siblings. He misses the moon some days.
In another universe Diego is bitter and cold, with no one to return home to and nights spent saving those who the police could. He hasn’t seen his siblings since he was seventeen.
In this one he goes home to Patch and wakes up early to open his bakery where old ladies coo and call him a gentleman and a sweetheart. His brother has an open invitation to his house and was the one who named their pet cat.
In another universe Allison is divorced and not allowed to see her baby girl grow up. The man she loved had the locks changed.
In this one she has two beautiful children who are growing a little more everyday. The man she loves waits up for her return.
In another universe Klaus hasn’t been sober since he was thirteen and hasn’t had a home since he left his father’s. His dead brother is the only one who can stand to look at him.
In this one he manages the ghosts and the call of drugs from inside his crappy apartment. His fellow students tease him for being a teachers pet, despite already failing the course twice.
In another universe Five gets home to the past and a doughnut shop gets shot up. He then goes to his normal sister and tells her Armageddon is coming; she doesn’t believe him.
In this one the doughnut shop still gets shot up. He then goes to Klaus’s apartment as his sister’s book makes him scared but reading between the lines made him reconsider the others.
In another universe Ben has to watch his brother self destruct, unable to do more than nag from the sidelines.
In this one he has long conversations with his other brothers girlfriend about books and tv shows they like, he watches his brother fail but he also watches him try again anyway.
In another universe Vanya is okay, she teaches violin and her new student is older than the others, he smiles at her in a way no one ever has before. She says yes to a date.
In this one Vanya is not okay, she teaches violin and her students begin to quit. They tell their parents that Miss Vanya is scary, she grabbed their arms to hard or yelled to loud. No one asks her out, no one talks to her if they don’t have to. She starts to lose her grip.
A miscalculation was all it took, a number that hadn’t been carried mid way through and Reginald had messed up the suppression drug. A butterfly began to fly. A bat of the wings and Vanya wrote a book worse and more naive than what was possible before. Another and Diego picked up the book and decided to save his brother. Another and Five picked up the same book and a few more on mental health and child abuse, he studied and grew to fear his sister and want to save his other siblings. A bat of the wings of a butterfly and a hurricane did not begin turning but stopped. No books flew out of windows but a domino effect had begun.
Chapter 2: Dear God
The fun(eral) is over and life begins to get a tad stressful for our heroes
Featuring love, self destruction and a morally ambiguous monkey
Much of this is lifted from the show and the format isn’t great (though I’ll edit soon) because I’m posting on an iPad not a laptop so I can really bold/italicise. It shouldn’t be too bad and sorry for being a few days late. I’ve had writers block and a bad month
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Those lost at sea and never found
And it’s the same the whole world round
-Dear God , XTC
Harold Jenkins had expected drawbacks from his plan, of course he had but this was something else entirely. He had imagined that things would go wrong but he had at least expected that the Umbrella Academy would be more interesting. They have done little but show up at the house and then leave when in fact he had expected more drama and for at least something that could benefit his plan. Instead he had stood outside and waited for nothing. Vanya, the sister with the book, seemed estranged from the rest but she was uninteresting, the rest could be useful but if they truly resented her as she believed then the girl was quite useless.
The junkie was the one that Harold liked his chances with, he could be the way into the academy and if Harold was lucky Klaus would be great at ripping the academy apart. The man, to Harold’s knowledge, had not changed since he was twelve. He was a childish junkie, just neglected enough to find love in any who would offer it and Harold was sure that he would easily charm the other man. Even if it did mean having to pretend to be a fairy.
Klaus could feels eyes staring at him all morning, he was unsure what it could be. He knew he was alone since Five had left early that morning, before Klaus had even woken, and only Ben remained in the apartment since he had learned how to get rid of the ghosts he didn’t want hanging around. He honestly just wanted to leave but knew that he had some commissions to be getting on with. After the day he had had previously he knew the work he got done would not be up to his usual standard however he felt useless just sitting there doing nothing.
Klaus was really just killing time until he felt it was appropriate to go back to the house. The house that he had been avoiding his entire life, the house he was raised in and the house he feared he would die in. What Five had revealed the night before added another bit of darkness to as it became clear that the father has known something, something he shouldn’t. Chalk and paint hit the paper in a flurry of movement, the noise in his mind finally shutting off as he released the darkness. Ben said it was an unhealthy coping mechanism but Klaus felt cleaner, lighter every time pen hit the page. Art felt like home in a way that his own house had never. To him it wasn’t a second language like English or German or Vietnamese or any of the many others he knew from the ghosts. To Klaus art was the first language, the one that his father had tried to stop his tongue from ever learning.
Despite Klaus’s belief in his brother the night before, and Ben’s silent approval of this support, Five had left early in the morning in a huff. For some reason his agreement to help had not been enough for Five, that or he was just going through puberty again. Klaus felt weird about the whole thing, he was hardly the best help for such a huge thing and when he raised that Five’s callous assessment of his uselessness was painful. Five still only knew him as a useless druggie, that’s all any of them but Diego knew him as and it wasn’t fair. He had changed, been changed for years but that still wasn’t enough for his family and most likely never would be.
Patch wasn’t home yet.
Diego entered his empty house in a daze, half wishing he had invited Klaus to stay the night so that neither of them had to wallow in the complexity of their dead abusive father but he had felt optimistic. If Patch was home she’d know just what to say to cheer him up or comfort him or whatever he needed but she must have been on a case, she was over an hour late just when Diego needed her.
Instead he went into the kitchen, warming up some of last nights lamb curry in the microwave before turning the TV onto some mindless reality show; if Diego was entirely honest he was still tempted to call Klaus but he wasn’t sure if he could deal with his brother’s careless jokes and comments. As much as Diego loved Klaus he would be the first to admit that it had never been the drugs that had made him such a pain. Klaus was, and always would be, annoying.
“Diego?” Patch’s voice called through the apartment along with the sound of the door slamming shut. “Babe?”
“In here,” Diego called.
“How was it?” Patch sat next to him on the sofa, curling in towards him.
“Tell me about your day?” He felt pathetic deflecting but he just couldn’t go into the feeling of seeing his siblings after so long without crying, especially not Vanya.
“Pretty standard at first, just the normal thefts and Miss Dena calling about her mysterious stalker who is definitely not just her neighbour but the late case was interesting. Y’know the doughnut place heading out of the city?” Diego nodded “There was some sort of shoot out, never seen anything like it. These guys all in uniform shot up the place but it’s weird. Their bullets were out dated and they only killed each other.”
“No other casualties?”
“Not a soul.”
Luther woke up at the same time he always did, slipped on his thick heavy coat and made his way out of his room. It was strange being back at the house after four years, stranger still to know that his siblings may still be there - well some of them at least. He’d missed them all even though he felt he never truly knew them. In his youth he had spent his time chasing after Allison so he had neglected his other siblings and now he felt regretful.
He didn’t know how to talk to Diego calmly, didn’t know how his police career was going or if he was with anyone. He didn’t know how Klaus was, didn’t know if he still saw the ghosts or if the drugs had taken away what little power his weakest brother had had. He didn’t know anything about Five but then again none of them did. He didn’t know how Vanya’s violin was going, didn’t know what made her hate them enough to write that damned book. Worst of all, he hadn’t known Ben. Ben’s death had torn all of them apart but Luther hadn’t known his brother enough, didn’t know his favourite book or who he wanted to be when he grew up. Who Ben could have been but never would be.
He found only Allison.
“It’s funny,” said Luther, trying to start conversation “I’ve had the same routine for the last four years, now that I’m back down here I’m not quite sure what to do with myself.”
“I know the feeling.”
“You must be eager to see your family.” Luther smiled at the thought. He would love to meet Patrick and Claire and James, to see what a real family was and to see the ones his sister loved so much.
“Maybe some day, I’d really love for you to meet them.”
“Me?” Luther blinked in shock. He was monstrous, why would she want a freak like him around her family?
“Yeah, you.” She laughed. “Why not?”
“Do they even know about me?”
“Of course they know about you, you guys are the kids favourite bedtime story.” Allison laughed. “You’re Claire’s favourite but James can’t get enough of Klaus. Don’t tell him I said that.”
“Of course.” Luther smiled, trying to ignore the tears that were pooling in his eyes.
They kept talking for a while after that. Luther couldn’t help but soak up all he could about Claire and James, of the family that he would never had. He was surprised to hear that the marriage between Allison and Patrick had been rough for a while. After the catalyst of Vanya’s book Allison hadn’t trusted herself to be near Claire, seeing herself as only the selfish manipulator that Vanya painted her as. Patrick had believed Allison had started to resent their daughter and it wasn’t until they went into couples therapy that Allison had been able to deal with the book and her childhood. Luther found that as the conversation went on it became easier to not rush to defend dad. The stories Allison told showed him that they had been raised badly and whilst Luther thought it was for the greater good, he couldn’t deny that Claire and James’s childhood sounded far happier than his own.
If Five was honest with himself he regretted leaving Klaus’ so early that morning. It wasn’t the nicest apartment by any means but there was something calming about the crapped colourful walls and the piles of books and canvases that seemed to be laying everywhere. Klaus’s apartment was not what he had expected but it was warm and cozy and welcoming.
Instead of soaking up that homey feel Five had missed for so long he was stuck dealing with idiots in an office block.
It was just weird being back after so much time, stranger still as his siblings had grown up without him. The only clues he had about how his siblings were had come from Vanya’s book and he knew from the stories he had been in that his sister did not remember things how they had actually happened. Some thing was very wrong with Vanya, she seemed unhinged in a way that she had never been. When she wasn’t talking directly to others her face would be completely blank or she’d be glaring daggers at his other siblings. His time at the commission and in the apocalypse did not suggest an issue with her mental state, she was insignificant. Five vowed he’d try to help his sister later. Stopping the end of the world came first.
And to stop the end of the world he needed to figure out what ever the hell was going on with the eye that Luther’s corpse had been clutching, the one thing that had kept him sane through all the years.
“Uhh, can I help you?” Asked a middle aged man in a suit.
Five turned and answered “Do you know who this belongs to?”
“Where dis you get that?”
“What do you care?” The man looked taken aback. “I found it, at a play ground actually, um, must of just popped out. I wanna return it to its rightful owner.”
The woman at the desk cooed. “What a thoughtful young man.”
Five struggled not to snap at her.
“Yeah, look up the name for me will you?”
“Uhh.” Interjected the suit. “I’m sorry but patient records are strictly confidential. That means I can’t tell you-“
“Yeah” Five cut across. “I know what it means”
“But I’ll tell you what I can do, I will take the eye off your hands and return it to the owner. I’m sure he or she will be very grateful so if I could.”
That’s where things went south. Fast. Five lost his temper and it quickly turned to a rather unsuccessful threat that Five knew was pointless. What did it matter? He’d never find the owner to the eye. Little did he know that the days in which the owner mattered were long gone . Vanya was to insane now and the man had another victim to be his.
Five hadn’t wanted to ask Klaus for help again but the world rarely worked how Five wished for it to. Which is how he found himself back at the offices talking to the same idiot he had just hours go but this time with his erratic brother raring to help. Whilst it was obvious to Five that Klaus was sober it was also obvious the man wasn’t all there. It seemed to be a theme among the Hargreeves siblings. It’s almost as if rampant child abuse isn’t conductive to tasing productive members of society, Five mused as his brother introduced himself.
“Like I said to your son earlier, any information about the prosthetics we build is strictly confidential. Without the clients consent I simply can’t.” The manager said.
“Well the client can’t consent if you don’t give us a name.” Five was steadily growing more frustrated. He had been convinced that by bringing Klaus as a guardian figure they would relent but apparently they valued their contracts far more than most companies; that or they were hiding something.
“It’s not my problem.” The man muttered. “Sorry, now there’s really nothing more I can do so-“
“What about my consent?” Klaus cut across.
“Excuse me.” Five looked at his brother confused. He remembered this tone of voice. This was the tone that Klaus used to use whenever he was about to do something mental.
“Who gave you permission to lay your hands on my person?” Klaus’s voice cracked towards the end with obviously fake tears.
“What?” Five and the man asked in unison.
“You heard me.”
“I didn’t touch you.” Just like that Five caught on. Oh, god Klaus.
“Oh really, well how did I get this swollen lip?”
Five looked at Klaus for a second and wondered why his brother felt he had to take on the whole of the blackmail role. Why was he not using Five?
“You don’t have a swollen lip.” The man began to sound agitated and Five just preyed his brother wouldn’t hurt himself too bad.
Klaus walked his face onto the corner of the table, blood gushed down his chin just second latter. Five stood, staring in shock at his brother who barely knew what this was about. Oh god, he really should have bought Diego.
“Name please, now.”
“You’re crazy.” The man was a few shades paler than he had been, Five was half sure he’d be the same.
“You got no idea.” Klaus laughed. He then reached for the snow globe on the desk. “Peace on Earth’ That’s so sweet.”
A second later Five found himself recoiling in shock at more blood dropped down his brother’s face.
Five knew he wasn’t fully okay but something about Klaus’s complete lack of self preservation scared him. It was as if Klaus was just viewing himself as a tool to be used and disposed of in Five’s plan. Five swore then that if they all survived the next week or so he would do whatever he could to help Klaus. The man may not have been on drugs but his issues seemed far from over. The prison comment did not escape the time traveller either.
In fairness to Klaus his plan worked.
Allison put down the phone with a sigh. She was trying to get Patrick to fly Claire and James over so they could meet their uncles but Patrick didn’t want them near or all the family drama especially so soon after the funeral. Allison had been trying for a good twenty minutes but hadn’t managed to wear him down. It didn’t develop into an actual argument (they hadn’t had one of those since before they went to couples therapy) but it was a close call. Patrick was just worried about the kids getting hurt whilst Allison knew her brothers would do anything to protect her kids, even if their ideas about what is and isn’t child appropriate was some what twisted.
Allison couldn’t help but smile at the thought of Luther making dens with Claire and play fighting with James, of Diego teaching them how to bake or reading them stories with all the voices, of Klaus playing dress up with the pair, and of Five teaching them all sorts of facts that were so strange they were their own entertainment.
“Are you okay?” Vanya interrupted Allison’s musings. She thought the urge to wince at the sight of the sister who was the reason for her husband’s hesitation.
“Yeah.” Allison replied, harsher than intended.
“Well I’ve never met your husband but sounds like an asshole.” Vanya said. “You know what he’s probably better off there.”
“No, we’re probably better off as a family.”
“Really?” Despite the quiet tone Vanya’s voice had a clear edge of malice.
“If I wanted advice, Vanya, no offence it wouldn’t be from you.”
“What is that supposed to mean?” Vanya sounded hurt but Allison still couldn’t shake the edge that her sister’s voice held.
“You’ve never been in a relationship.”
“That’s not true.”
“It is, you separate yourself from everyone and everything you always have and then you turn around and blame that on us?”
“Because Dad made me.” Allison resisted the urge to laugh.
“Did Dad make you write that book about us too?” Allison began to walk away but then turned. “You’re an adult now Vanya, you don’t get to blame your problems on anyone but yourself.”
Klaus just needed a walk to clear his head. Not of glass, Five had been surprisingly gentle with helping him get that out, but of the thoughts that he was stuck with. The world was ending in a week and what did he have to show fo it? Sure he had a stable(ish) job and his own place, in fact he was doing better than he ever had but his only friends were his colleagues and his brother. He had never been in a real relationship since getting clean despite his best efforts, the one he had that came closest had ended in Patch arresting the woman on charges of assault but he didn’t like to think about that. He was lonely and felt even more isolated as he was the only one Five had explained the full ‘end of times’ thing to.
So he went out.
He wasn’t going anywhere specifically and had no cash on him to even consider doing anything really but just being out of his flat or the old mansion was enough in itself. He had a lot to think about.
“Hey, I think you dropped this.” A voice called from behind him. Klaus turned to see a man about his age smiling at him. The man was short, about Vanya’s height but fairly stocky. He had a kind face and his smile reached his eyes easily. The man was holding up Klaus’s key.
“Oh, thank you.” Klaus grinned at the man.
“Hey, I uh, don’t usually do this but do you uh, want to get a coffee?” The man asked shyly. Klaus’s face lit up.
“Sure, I’m Klaus.”
“Leonard.” The man smiled again.
The coffee shop Leonard took his to was quiet, not one that Klaus frequented but it was small and cute. Klaus couldn’t help but think it suited the man. They sat awkwardly for a few minutes, shy in the beginnings but soon started talking about art. It was an easy topic for Klaus to fall into with the man as he found out the man made wooden sculptures but conversation moved quickly between them as they traded anecdotes and jokes like old friends.
“So tell me about your family?” Klaus asked, interested in finding out what a normal childhood was like.
“Uh, it was just me and my dad growing up, I mean my grandma was around a lot but my mum died when I was a kid so it was pretty lonely. I have no siblings and neither did either of my parents so I was a pretty lonely kid.”
“Oh trust me, having siblings doesn’t change that.”
“Oh? Do you have many?” Leonard asked, leaning forward a bit.
“Too many darling.” Klaus purred, placing his hand on the others arm. “Do you remember that Umbrella Academy?”
“The comic book thing? Vaguely.” Klaus fought the urge to cheer at the nonchalance with which Leonard replied. “Wasn’t there that book out a few years back?”
“Yeah, well you’re looking at number 4.”
“No way?” The man sounded shocked and a little impressed. “What power did you have?”
“Oh.” Klaus tried to cover the flinch at Leonard’s disappointment, mentally kicking himself Klaus changed the subject. Of course Leonard was disappointed, everyone was when they found out that the only member of the academy they met was the druggie look out.
As the conversation changed again Klaus leaned back into the flirting and teasing they had been doing before. Leonard was so sweet and Klaus felt the coffee date had gone really well. As he left he gave Leonard the address to his flat and the academy whilst Leonard told him where the shop was , the hug they shared as they left wasn’t even awkward.
“Ah, Miss Allison.” Pogo’s voice came from the door way. Allison wasn’t quite sure why she rushed to put out her cigarette. “I was looking for you.”
“How did you, uh, how did you know I was up here?”
“It wasn’t hard, this is always where you used to come when you were upset.” Allison was unaware that Pogo was aware of that. He had never came after her in her youth.
“Who told you I was - Luther.”
“Actually, it was Miss Vanya.” Snitch. “She called me to make sure you were okay.”
They stood in silence for a beat too long, as if Pogo had expected her to address the mention of her sister.
“Come with me. I want to show you something.” Pogo relented after another few seconds. “It might just cheer you up.”
Something turned out to be tapes.
Tapes of their childhood, or what could have been their childhood. Pogo was right the videos helped. She missed her kids of course but watching herself as a child play around with her brothers, especially Ben, was a treasure. She didn’t think it was a coincidence that Pogo was showing her the happier times in their youth. She also couldn’t help but feel it wasn’t a coincidence that the only video she saw of Vanya was her practice time.
As a child they had asked Vanya to play with them often enough, not as much as each other perhaps but if they were doing something as a whole group she was always invited. It was hard though, their sister had not had the same exposure to the abuse as they had. She was also absent in a way the rest weren’t. Sure she’d smile and laugh when it was appropriate but Allison would admit she often feared her sister. Too often she had seen the small girl staring at nothing with completely dead eyes.
Pogo handed her the keys and left her too the rest of the videos of their childhood, all of which were meticulously sorted and in pristine condition. Allison noticed, however, a single video out of place. It was hidden away on top of the monitors like a beacon screaming at her to watch it and as she did she knew why.
And so we press on as more mysteries uncover themselves.
We leave the seventh day till the apocalypse with the recovery of a video and a mannequin, with the start of a family meal and a relationship, with a look to the past and future and with the end of a kindly man’s life at the hands of an organisation hell bent on taking everything from everyone.
We leave Luther ready to love and defend.
We leave Diego ready to feed his found family.
We leave Allison ready to reveal the truth.
We leave Klaus ready to start something new.
We leave Five woefully unready.
And we leave Vanya, quickly and hopefully unharmed by her ever slipping sanity.
Ben watches on, the mostly silent guardian ready for his brother to clear his own name so he can reunite with his siblings from the other side of the veil.
And still the commission stands separated, unaware of the miscalculation that has already set into motion the undoing of their dastardly plots.
But the question still remains of if the world will still stand by the end of the week.
This is three days late but also this month has been hell.
Why September was bad (a list so I can vent): school started, a girl in my year died, I sprained my ankle, I’m stressed, homework, annoying siblings, drinking every night for a week, homework, pain, migraines, my boss, bad weather. I could go on.
Hopefully the next chapter will be out in less than a month but probably not.