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Little Number Five

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As Five’s power supply ran completely dry and he felt unable to budge, panic began to set in. He didn’t even know what year he was currently in. Five assumed people’s clothing fashions would be significantly different from 2003, but he had no idea how ordinary people dressed to begin with. All they had were their stupid uniforms. Maybe he would just have to rest and recharge... he’d be able to go back. He’d definitely be able to go back, Five tried to convince himself. Dad couldn’t be right. Five wouldn’t give him the satisfaction.

Wanting to know when he was actually trapped for the time being, Five approached a nearby newsstand to check the date. “Holy crap...” he whispered, finding his dad had apparently died. It wasn’t remotely upsetting, he hated that man. It was just a shock. Five had to go back to the academy to find out what was happening, it wouldn’t change things if he turned up - since Five was going to go back and reset things anyway. He needed somewhere to sleep for the time being too, as it usually took a day or two to rebuild his energy.

“Klaus!” Ben yelled so loudly that it nearly gave Klaus a goddamn heart attack. “What?!” he snapped back, wondering what could be so important. He needed to empty and pawn this pretentious box as soon as possible. “It’s Five...” Ben murmured, like he was in some kind of trance. “Five of what?!” Klaus groaned, too impatient for this. Ben stopped his staring down the alley to glare at him with annoyance. “Number Five, you idiot.” Klaus reluctantly decided he’d have to get rid of the junk inside this box and pawn it later, since apparently their brother had miraculously returned. Unless maybe Ben had finally turned as cuckoo as the other ghosts.

Approaching the academy doorstep, Five felt nervous - which wasn’t something he truly ever felt. He usually had enough confidence for the entirety of America. He froze when someone grabbed him by the shoulder, knowing he couldn’t just spatial jump away. He was also too fatigued from his time travel to fight someone. Turning to face the person, he found a man in extremely peculiar clothing. “I told you it was the future!” he smugly stated to nobody. Five tried to shuffle away, aware that people who talk to themselves should generally be treated with caution. The half-dead looking man grabbed him again. “It’s me! Klaus!” he exclaimed ecstatically. Five narrowed his eyes at the grown up, judging if that looked like it could be accurate. “I see you’re still a moron.” Five uttered with an obnoxious smirk.

Sitting in unbearably awkward silence, a multitude of amazed and startled noises were released when Klaus bizarrely entered with little Number Five. All four of the other siblings rushed over to crowd around their brother, who was presumably now the youngest.

Wishing he could spatial jump away from these grown ups and them all talking over each other, Five breathed out grumpily. “Leave the little rascal alone, he’s tired!” Klaus yanked him over into a dramatic hug, as though he were his mother. Five frantically wriggled away, scowling up at this weird man. One of the women grabbed him immediately, giving Klaus a look so filthy even bleach couldn’t clean it.

Pulling her baby brother aside, Allison crouched down a little to be at the same eye level. She placed her hands on his shoulders, assessing how young and vulnerable he looked... just like Claire. Allison looked down to the floor for a split second to try and get her thoughts back on track, she had to focus on Five right now. Why the hell had he been with Klaus of all people? “Are you okay?” she whispered. He nodded stonily, looking even more uncomfortable than Vanya did. “Did you just arrive here?” Allison checked, assuming this was disturbingly where he’d been for all of these years - them just unknowingly waiting to get to his arrival. “Around half an hour ago.” Five confirmed, glancing down to her hands disapprovingly. Allison removed them from his shoulders, recalling that he was always standoffish.

Relieved that the woman who he assumed was Allison had let go, Five awkwardly gazed at the others. It was quite obvious who was who now. It was strange to see them all as adults. Vanya looked so depressed, even more than the Vanya he’d left in 2003. “Where’s Ben?” Five murmured with a frown, eagerly wanting to see how his favorite brother had grown to look in 2019. His siblings all looked to each other shiftily. “Where’s Ben?” Five repeated with anxious anger, wanting to know what they were keeping from him. “Five... maybe you should sit down.”

Five was thirteen, not five, he couldn’t cry. That would just be embarrassing, tears were irrational and changed nothing. They were just a hinderance. “Was it bad?” he solemnly addressed Vanya, wanting to hear it from his favorite sibling. She nodded nervously as response. You could hear a pin drop, the only noise being the crackling of the fire. Five needed to know everything he possibly could, so he could go back and prevent Ben’s death. He didn’t deserve to die a gruesome death, he deserved to grow up and be a writer like he always nattered about. Five rolled his eyes to himself when he realised how much of an imbecile he was being, Klaus was right there.

”Was that who you were talking to?” Five asked Four, comforted that Ben was still around - even if he couldn’t actually interact with him. The room fell even more silent than it already was. Klaus winced and scrunched his eyes shut with a heavy exhale. Five looked to Vanya with confusion, who was now frowning down at her shoes. He next looked to Number One on instinct. “He doesn’t see ghosts anymore.” Luther explained with a thick layer of reproach. Five furrowed his brow tightly, not following what these people were saying.

”Yeah. No ghosties.” Klaus flatly quipped. Ben sighed, wanting to comfort his tiny brother. It was frustrating that understandably no one would believe he was here. “But how?! That’s your po-“ Five began to snarl with distress, before Allison sat down beside him and tentatively placed a hand on his head. “It’s a long story. Why don’t we make you something to eat?” she tried to steer the conversation onto a more child friendly topic. Five nodded glumly, his eyes looking glossy with the tears he was clearly blinking back. It was devastating for Ben that Five was so upset over him. He didn’t want to cause suffering. Five never really displayed emotions when they were kids, he was of the belief they were useless; so it was especially harrowing to see him barely containing them now. Ben resented Klaus more than ever for behaving in such a way that made him impossible to be trusted. His seance brother skulked off to the bar and discarded of the box’s documents behind there, clearly still prioritising pawning the thing.

Although he was curious how dad had died, it didn’t matter anymore. All Five could think of was Ben. Vanya placed his favorite sandwich on a plate in front of him. He forced a smile as a thanks. “I used to make you these every night...” she admitted diffidently, appearing both forlorn and relieved to be able to see Five again. “Really?” Five chuckled, finding that adorable but also wildly illogical. Vanya smirked and nodded nostalgically. “Well thanks.” Five replied jokingly, touched by her silly routine. Luther and Diego were having some kind of hushed argument from across the room, which wasn’t surprising. Obviously things weren’t that much different. Besides Ben...

“Do you still play the violin?” Five questioned between mouthfuls, hoping the answer was yes. Vanya was so talented. “Yeah, I’m not that great at it though.” she shrugged self-depricatingly. Five scoffed, knowing that definitely wasn’t objectively true. His sister had never had an ounce of self confidence. Not this one at least... Allison was another story entirely. “Are you famous?” he asked his glamorous sister, assuming the answer was definitely a yes. It was all she ever wanted, and she could quite easily just rumor her way into it. “You could say that.” Allison confirmed with a sly smirk. “She’s one of the most famous people in the world.” Vanya elaborated in a way that sounded rather bitter. Five noticed there seemed to be even more animosity between Vanya and the others than usual, for some reason.

The inclination to stab Luther was growing stronger by the minute. “If I was going to murder dad, don’t you think I’d have used a knife?!” Diego whisperingly snapped, wishing he wasn’t so much scrawnier than Number One. Five called Diego’s name before Luther could furiously respond. They both turned to look at their adolescent brother, still kind of weirded out by his sudden presence. “What do you do now?” Five seemed less distressed by this distracting conversation. “I...” Diego drawled, twiddling a knife “...I’m a vigilante.” he nonchalantly stated, definitely not going to fess up to being a janitor. Diego glowered at Allison when she clearly stifled a giggle with a fake cough. “We can’t all rumor our way into everything, sis.” he replied with heavy snark.

Five rolled his eyes pettily and glanced up to Luther. “I’m Number One.” he grunted, wondering why Five even felt the need to ask. Of course he was still Number One. What else would he be? Five turned back around to face their sisters, so Luther glared down to Diego again with intense suspicion.

Scanning his vision across the room, Five found Klaus had apparently left. That was kind of disappointing, he was interested in what such a weirdo did for a living. “This place looks like shit.” Five muttered, taking in all the cracks and neglected maintenance. It was surprising that their dad had let the standards fall so much. “Hey, language!” Allison scolded playfully, pretending to look offended by his cursing. Five snickered, finishing off his sandwich. Apparently bread, peanut butter, and marshmallows hadn’t changed in taste in the last sixteen years. He had so much to ask Vanya.

Even though Five being here had broken some of the tension, being around her family was still extremely awkward for Allison. Especially Vanya. She still felt so guilty for how they’d all treated her. Allison should’ve reached out to her after the book, but she’d just continued to be selfish. She decided to get another drink from the bar, she could do with some Dutch courage. Five was happily chatting to Vanya, something that made Allison smile despite herself. It must’ve been devastating for him to have found Ben was gone. He was just a child, even younger than they were when they’d lost Ben.

Noticing a bunch of documents and a book on the floor, Allison shook her head. “Klaus...” she mumbled with disapproval, assuming he’d successfully stolen something whilst he was rifling through their dad’s study. He’d never change. The diary that presumably belonged to Reginald caught Allison’s attention. She ducked down behind the bar and sat herself on the floor so she could snoop in privacy. Luther would just turn it into a huge drama if he knew. Allison skipped right to Number Three, obviously. It would probably be quite traumatic to read, but curiosity was getting the better of her.

Her mouth agape with affronted shock, Allison decided to stop reading her section. She assumed the entire thing would just be dad shit talking her. She wasn’t that much of a narcissist, right? Going back to Number One, Allison sniggered, finding Luther had always been a goody two shoes. That was no fun. Number Two predictably showed Diego had always been inclined to stir up trouble, especially in his fierce rivalry with Luther. Allison wished they’d get over their rankings, it was all meaningless anyway. It was sad it still controlled Luther’s life to such an extreme...

Flicking through to Number Four, she braced herself for enthralling drama. Ironically, the man himself walked directly into her and nearly toppled over. “Is that my skirt?!” Allison gasped, enraged that he’d been through her things and bare faced stolen it. It was so expensive! “You conniving little shit!” Klaus drawled with outrage, pointing down to his section of the diary. Allison slammed the book closed sheepishly. Her brother slumped down beside her, mischievously checking no one could see them hiding. Klaus snatched it from her hands and excitedly opened it back up. “This is the best day of my life!” he giddily whispered, haphazardly flipping through the sections.

”Wait, wait, wait!” Allison stopped her brother’s enraptured page turning to flip back to the section titled Number Seven. Why would Vanya be in this? She was the one who recorded the notes, she wasn’t the subject of them. Klaus turned to look at Allison with an expression mirroring much her own, engrossed bewilderment. Klaus was no good for Allison, he always just enabled her gossiping. They both glanced back down to the book, Klaus making a shooing motion to thin air. Allison chose to ignore that. Running her finger underneath the words to keep up with the scrawling, Allison released a sudden sharp breath when she came across the last thing she possibly expected to read. She stole the cigarette from her brother’s mouth, desperately craving the soothing nicotine. A few seconds later, Klaus finally caught up and gasped too - much more dramatically than Allison had.

Allison suddenly forcefully threw a hand over her mouth, which Klaus thought was overly theatrical - even for an actress. This was shocking though, he had to admit. He grabbed a bottle of liquor to chug from, blanking the judgemental glare from Ben. Allison yanked it from his hands and chugged from it too. “Hypocrite.” Klaus hissed, yanking it back again. She had the audacity to call him an alcoholic! “I rumored her.” Allison admitted in absolute horror. Klaus stared at her whilst he drank, completely unimpressed by that comment. Of course she rumored Vanya. She rumored all of them. His sister gave him a side eye and gently hit his arm. “I rumored her about this!” Allison quietly explained, frantically pointing down to the diary. “Dad made me make her think she was ordinary!” Klaus threw his hand over his mouth too, deciding it wasn’t an over the top reaction after all.

Vanya frowned with anxious self-loathing as Allison asked for Luther and Diego to join her, ignoring Vanya entirely. She was always ignored, it was like she didn’t even exist. Vanya was never part of the family. Except... Five was back now. Frankly she’d prefer to stay in his company than spend time with her other siblings, maybe every cloud did actually have a silver lining. This was one of the only times she didn’t actually want to be included. She and Five had a lot to catch up on. He was deeply unhappy with the current president, and was struggling with the concept of Vanya being an adult. “He wasn’t even a politician!” Five grumbled, incensed by his findings. It made Vanya chuckle, even though she felt so anxious she was practically shaking. It was so good to see Five again, it hardly even felt real. She’d literally pinched herself when no one was looking, just to check this wasn’t all a vivid dream.

”Bullshit!” Diego scoffed, spinning a knife in his hand rapidly. “If Vanya had a power then why would she have written that goddamn book?!” he spat, pacing around the room with anger. “Get over the fucking book, Di!” Klaus groaned, for some reason wearing a skirt and not much else. How the hell could he just get over the book? It was unforgivable.

Shoving the diary in Luther’s hands, Allison bit her lip as she anticipated their reactions. Diego sauntered over to read it from Luther’s side, them both looking revolted to have to stand so close to one another. To be truthful, Luther did smell kind of weird - but Allison wasn’t going to say anything.

Trying to drown out the noise of Klaus disgustingly gargling liquor, Luther couldn’t believe what he was reading. “This can’t be true. It must have been falsified.” he remarked with certainty. Diego scoffed once again, though this time for the opposite reason. He’d clearly changed his tune. Luther wouldn’t be surprised if Diego had altered his opinion just to oppose Luther’s. “Who would falsify that?!” Diego snidely replied, attempting to grab the diary from his hands as if Luther didn’t possess super strength. “Let go, you mutant freak.” Diego breathlessly hissed, pulling on it with all his might.

It was difficult not feeling confident to rumor people anymore, it would be so easy to resolve Number One and Two’s childish antics. Allison realised neither of them knew she no longer felt comfortable using her power, she could use that to her advantage. “I’ll rumor you.” she made her empty threat, scaring them both into stopping instantly. Diego threw his hands up with defeat and ambled across the room. “We have to tell her.” Allison dared any of them to disagree, it was Vanya’s right to know her own power. The guilt was overbearing, making Allison hate herself intensely. “She’s clearly dangerous, Allison. We can’t.” Luther responded bluntly, shutting the diary and tucking it under his arm.

“You’re dangerous too, dipshit. You look like The Hulk!” Klaus exclaimed amusedly, still baffled by just how goddamn ginormous Luther was now. He looked like three ordinary Luthers combined. Luther bashfully looked to the ground, apparently sensitive about his brawn. “I don’t know, Klaus.” Ben muttered nervously. “I was the most dangerous when we were kids, and it killed me.” he said from beneath his emo hood. That was true, but it still wasn’t right to keep Vanya in the dark. “She’s still on the medication, plus Five’s here now to comfort her. She’s not going to hurt anyone.” Allison insisted, which sounded accurate.

This was way too much for Diego to accept. Vanya had had a power for all these years? A power so strong it had to be suppressed? “Let’s vote.” Allison suggested, her arms crossed cockily. Diego wasn’t sure he wanted to vote on this, he couldn’t decide what he believed they should do. Vanya should know, but if she was that dangerous... something really bad could happen. Could Vanya really hurt anyone though? She wouldn’t hurt a fly, literally. “I’m Number One and I’m against it.” Luther grunted, sharing tense eye contact with Allison. Diego grimaced, not wanting to think about their history. It was kind of entertaining to see them disagree though, that was a new one. “I’m for it.” Allison confidently commented. They both snapped their vision to Diego. He pointed to Klaus in an attempt to stall, he needed more time to decide. “I’m-“

“He shouldn’t vote.” Luther bluntly interrupted Four, knowing he was going to side with Allison and likely Diego. “Why the hell not?!” Klaus scowled at him, stupidly resting his tumbler on his bare stomach. “You’re high.” Luther declared haughtily, still annoyed that it was clearly him who found this diary to begin with. “I’m not operating heavy machinery, you prick!” Klaus bit back mockingly, glancing over to Allison “I’m for it too.” They all looked over to Diego expectingly. He looked like he’d been asked to pick his favorite knife.

The memorial had been almost silent, Numbers One to Four too thrown by the revelation to say much, Five too out of place to utter a word, and Vanya too shy to make even a whisper. Filing back into the parlour now, Numbers One to Four looked to one another nervously. Vanya plonked herself down next to Five, still finding their abrupt age difference strange. It would be kind of sweet to have a baby brother, though. At least she wasn’t the baby anymore...

”Vanya...” Allison timorously stepped over to her sister, hoping things weren’t going to quite literally blow up in her face. “We weren’t being nosy... we just... happened to read it.” she shrugged, glaring at Klaus from the corner of her eye for encouraging Allison’s prying. She placed the diary onto Vanya’s lap, it being open on the first page of her section. Vanya looked from the diary and back up to Allison again with a confusedly half-open mouth. “What...” her sister murmured, seeming like she wanted the ground to eat her. “We’ll give you some privacy.” Allison beckoned for One, Two, and Four to follow her across the room. They were tentative to leave the room entirely, just incase things went awry.

Feeling utterly ganged up on and humiliated, Vanya picked the book up to read it. Her mouth hung even further open when she discovered what it said. This couldn’t be true. “This can’t...” she looked to Five for support, forgetting he was merely a child. He looked just as alarmed as her. They both put their sights back on the scribbling. It felt like Vanya’s entire world was breaking around her. She felt like she’d been in The Truman Show, but much much worse. Had everything she’d ever known been a lie? Vanya hastily swallowed a pill, even though she now loathed them as she’d learned their true intent. “I can go back. I can tell you when you were thirteen.” Five offered naively, his age showing as clear as day. Vanya shook her head, tears spilling from her eyes. There was no way he’d be able to go back, dad had always been certain he couldn’t control time travel. If he even attempted it, he’d definitely end up in some form of trouble. It was a miracle he’d gotten to 2019 in one piece, and even then he was stuck here. “No, you have to stay here.” she snivelled to her brother decisively, unable to tear her eyes from the diary. “But-“ he began to reply. Vanya forced herself to look away from the book to blearily glance at Five. “I can’t lose you again, Five.”

Five nodded, but he wanted to shake his head. Although these people were his siblings and he loved them, they weren’t his siblings. They were different, jaded and older. He’d missed out on so many years with them, things would never be the same. Ben wasn’t here. He couldn’t lose Ben. Five had to save his brother. Noticing how devastated Vanya rightfully looked, Five nodded again. He meant it this time. He couldn’t leave her alone like this. “I’ll stay.” Maybe he could live with Vanya, it would be better than living under dad’s roof anyway, Five supposed. “We can figure your power out.” Five’s arrogance was rearing its head again, he knew he could work out a way to control it. He was smarter than their dad. Vanya nodded as she wiped at her eyes, though she looked unconvinced.

The other five siblings all looked on in disbelief as Five briefly hugged Vanya. He was never a hugger. Vanya wasn’t really a hugger either. What goddamn alternate dimension had they slipped into? “Did I die?” Klaus mumbled, wondering if his overdose hadn’t been stopped after all. “Do you think she’ll forgive me?” Allison whispered, tears welling up in her eyes. How could she do something so heinous to her own sister? “She’ll forgive you. We’re family.” Diego uttered with confidence, finally forgiving Vanya too. They were family. It was about time they started to act like one, Diego had been an asshole to Vanya and it needed to change. “Maybe we should give them some space?” Luther suggested uncertainly. They all nodded their agreement, cautiously heading off to different sections of the mansion. Ben sighed, wishing he could be hugging Vanya too. It had been twelve long years since he could do such a thing. It broke his heart into a million tiny pieces. Maybe Five’s return could finally be the thing to convince Klaus to get sober, that way Ben could actually comfort Five in his grief.

”I’m gonna have to cancel my violin lessons...” Vanya sniffled through a laugh, feeling overwhelmingly comforted by Five finally being there to hug. Maybe things would be okay. She only had a couple of students booked for the next few days anyway, she wouldn’t be missing out on much. “Can we go to Griddy’s?” Five whispered with childish enthusiasm. It was so weird to see him clearly as a kid now Vanya was an adult, Five had always seemed so old beyond his years back then. “Sure.” Vanya softly agreed, kind of enjoying the new task of being a big sister. Five could be her reason to get through this, he was a bossy brat - she was certain he wouldn’t let her wallow or give up. It was perfect.