CHAPTER 1: NEWS ARRIVE, NO ONE'S HAPPY
It's Saturday when Reginald hears about it. He is with the children having breakfast, the only sound, the morning radio set on the news. The kids are silent. This should be normal due to the no-talking rule that only applied when they were eating, but today's peace and quiet was someone's else to blame.
Number 4 was missing, he remembers looking at the void chair between Number 1 and Number 7. He had been gone yesterday too. Since Thurday's night, he reminds himself. I should let him out soon, he thinks briefly before letting his mind go somewhere else.
Not long after that, Pogo comes in with a sealed letter on a silver plate. Respecting the non-talking rule, he sets the letter and a knife in front of him and goes away without looking back.
When Reginald opens it, he isn't expecting a threat, and it isn't as much as it is a generous offer he cannot reject. Let the children go to a public school or we will take them from you.
The letter goes on, explaining how the Children Care Centre is worried about them being homeschooled and not having contact with other children their age. About how, knowing they are studing to be heroes, they deserve a free year in the best Hero School of the country. He knows better.
He can read the words they didn't dare to write. He knows they probably suspect something about his...rutines and methods of raising the kids. He also knows it doesnt matter. This letter, these orders, are the most they can make him do. He knows as well as them that money can ruin their lifes and declare him innocent whether there were proofs against him or the damn kids decided to confess. In the end, he would always buy them back to him.
So he will have to lose this battle in order to win the war. He doesn't mind, he knows who the winner will be anyway. After all, they could only afford a year of his time.
Having decided it, and more pleased than pissed, he lets the envelope down and looks up to the faces of his sucessful subjects. They had cost him 15 years of his life, but it will be worth it, if they get to, one day, save the world from destruction.
He gets up.
-Hear me out, children, for you will be attending a Hero School from next Monday and for a year. It is sudden, but you will live there, in apartments, for the week and return to this house to continue your real training on weekends. I expect you all not to forget all I've taught you and, therefore, not to believe anything they tell you that contradicts what you already know. Have I been clear?
For a moment, he contemplates punishing them for breaking the non-talking rule, but then he decides against it, he has too many things to do.
-You are dismissed.- he finishes, getting up and calling Pogo. If he has to let the kids go, and even though he's confident of the protection his millonaire possition grands him, he isn't willing to risk it all on a starving, terrified and drug addict boy. He'll have to sober him up. And quickly.
The boy had been locked a day and a half ago, same timing of his last dose. When his father finally opened the door and let him out, he was in the middle of detoxing and suffering a fever.
The father knew he had to accelerate his detox if he wanted him clear and feverless by Monday. If they knew about the boy's addiction, he would need to waste time and money to avoid consequences. He wasn't willing to sacrifie that much for the weakest of them all. So he had to come up with an alternative. Back in the day, he had come up with a formula to numb the most powerful of the quirks, so it wasn't hard to make a pill for Number 4's...situation.
The kid spent the rest of the day and half of the following in the infirmary. On his first day there, Grace checked his vitals while Pogo looked troubled at the kid's increasing fever and tried to convince Reginald, in vain, to stop this, to come up with another solution that wouldn't potencially kill the kid. That same night, while everyone was sleeping and Grace charging, the machines attached to the little boy in the infirmary started beeping. His fever was increasing, his body collapsing, he went into shock, his heart stopped. No one was there when it happened. No one was there when, ten minutes after, his heart started beating again. The next day, though, reading the registers and watching the cameras, it became no secret anymore. Pogo called it a miracle, Reginald didn't believe in those. Still my greatest disappointment, he thought crudely and uninterested, looking at the IV in his pale-looking arm. Later that day, althought, opposite to his words, he took notes about this possible new power. This was a big matter. He would need to be sure.
Monday arrived too soon for Luther. He was the only one hating this change of planning, his other siblings loving the idea of meeting other people with quirks and a real school and a normal teenage life, and another library, in Five and Six's case. He wasnt that optimistic. He also was sure that it wasn't his father's idea and was looking for discovering who made him do it and maybe hitting them in the face...definitely hitting them in the face.
Yesterday, his father had let them know that they should be calling each other by their names and in no case use their numbers. He was angry about that, too. After all, he was Number 1, and how could he show that using only Luther? He didnt like it at all, and the worst was that Allison wouldnt agree with him. She was super excited because she would get to see more girls and all that. He couldnt get it, wasnt his company enough? But he couldnt be angry at her, so he tried to be happy instead. It wasnt working and the only thing holding him up was his father's words last night, directed only to him, saying that he was the one in charge now, and that his mission was to assure the others behaved and didnt go against him. He didnt understand why his siblings would go against his father, but he believed in him, his father thought he was worth the trust and he wasnt letting him down.
When they entered the school, he felt like entering the enemies' land.
When his father left, he felt left alone to die.
Reginald was alone in the back of the car, Pogo driving them back home, an uneasy thought crossed his mind, maybe it wasn't a good idea to let Number 7 assist the school too, even though he didn't really had a choice.
Now it was too late, and it was useless to wonder about what if's. The only he could do was wait for the weekend to arrive and the children to return to him. Until then, he only could let the time pass.
Meanwhile, in some classroom, someone knocked the door and whatever the teacher was saying was left for later.
-Come in.- he called, and as the door opened, seven new students entered and without making a sound stopped, forming a perfect line next to Aizawa. He simply raised an eyebrown. Then, looking back at the classroom, he spoke:
-As I told you last week, today seven students are joining the class. They will be here for the rest of the year. So behave and be nice to them or whatever.
Then, after several nods of some students, he directed himself to the new kids.
-You can now introduce yourselves if you want to.-he said tiredly, sitting in his chair and closing his eyes, always tired.
With a proud grin and suspicious in his eyes, Number 1 took a step forward.