Dad was dead. Thank fucking Jesus. Or whoever. Thank the Lord Reginald really, because if ever there was a gospel they were supposed to look up to and worship (some took this more seriously than others, cough, cough Luther) it was dear old Dad. That utter tyrannical dickface weeb.
And you know, in a way it was nice to have a family reunion. It was great to see Vanya looking all small and innocent, swathed in oversized clothes like she had never exposed them all and assumed their thoughts and feelings in that stupid book she wrote.
It was a treat to see Luther after all this time, hulked out from spending all that time on the moon, and from the looks of things, eating half of it, or shoving literal moon rocks into his body. Luther was huge now, but Diego thought he could still take him in a fight.
Allison was all swish and starry, a celebrity these days. Diego had seen her on numerous magazine covers. She had got married to someone who was not Luther so Diego applauded her. If it were a competition she would definitely be winning.
“Of course it is a competition, Number 2,” Reginald’s portrait informed him scornfully. Diego snorted. He was getting as bad as Klaus.
Who was kind of the same but different. More eyeliner. Same flourish of the hands. He was very entertaining compared to the others, but Diego had a long practiced poker face. Klaus wouldn’t crack him. Kraken. Haha. Diego was unappreciated and hilarious.
The house was so big. So many rooms. Not enough people for them anymore. Five. Ben.
Diego wondered if things would have been different if the two of them were still here.
Would the family be as splintered, broken?
Not that Diego was remotely splintered or broken. Diego wielded knives. He was a vigilante. He was living his best life.
He saw Mom and he wanted to cry. She looked as unchanged and unruffled as every, her hair perfectly placed, her smile ready. Diego couldn’t believe he’d left her here with him. He sneaked in, yearly at the very least, and she always treated him like no time at all had passed; he was just the very person she wanted to see.
He hugged her and she cupped her hand under his chin.
“You look sad,” she said, then brightened suddenly. “I’ll make pancakes.”
He watched her bustling around for ingredients. He wanted to say so much. So all he said was “thanks mom.”
Klaus entered the kitchen with a spin and clapped his hands in delight when he saw the pancakes. He took Diego’s plate and began eating beside him. Diego turned and fixed him with a murderous stare. He had it on high authority that it was a hard-core and realistic murderous stare. A murderer had told him.
Klaus barked out a laugh, which made Diego’s jaw tighten involuntarily.
“I’m his brother,” Klaus stage whispered. “What’s he going to do, murder me?”
Diego lifted a knife. “Yes.”
Klaus looked surprised at Diego’s input.
“Oh,” he said, looking around furtively. “I mean, well, I’m just in a spin you know.” Klaus wound a finger in the air. “ Because of...”
Because of Dad, Diego thought, but Klaus produced a mirror from somewhere and stared at his reflection, aghast. “My eyeliner.”
Diego thumped his head against the table.
Eurgh chapters will get longer I promise. And also everything is a bit out of sync/ not in order but its definitely to further the plot, not because I have no current access to tua and kinda got confused.... anyway five isnt on the scene yet but will be soon!
They had the memorial service or whatever it was supposed to be, on the grounds beside Ben’s statue. Diego wanted to laugh everytime he saw Ben’s statue because it was the opposite of who Ben was. Ben hated standing out. But anyway.
It was raining. Diego didn’t have an umbrella. He didn’t care, the funeral was hardly going to last long. What do you say at a memorial service about someone you don’t want to remember?
For once everyone was silent. There was no bickering, no jostling for attention. Silence. Just the way he would like it.
Pogo spoke up in the end, making Reginald sound dignified and some sort of pioneer. Diego spat words out, a counter argument.
It was unsurprising that he and Luther fought. Diego had been itching for a fight ever since he got here. It was surprising that Luther had just walked off after Diego sliced a knife through the air and it nicked his arm.
“You always take it too far,” Vanya shook her head at him.
But of course he took it too far. That was what they had all been taught. Win at any cost. And something about Teamwork, but Reginald glossed over that part pretty fast.
Dad was experimenting on them again. Only he didn’t call it experimenting. It was assessing. He was assessing them to see where their powers lay. Ben’s was pretty obvious. He had... things living on him. It was all very hush hush for now. Dad wanted to unveil Ben to them on their first mission, and Ben didn’t want to talk about it. He talked about it to Klaus though. Diego was pretty sure of this because he walked past Klaus’s room and Ben was sitting beside Klaus. Crying.
Five too had already passed the assessing stage and was onto the improvement level. He could skip through space, and maybe someday through time. Already he had the air of someone who knew far more than he should.
Luther had super strength but Dad wanted to see if he could do anything else, and Allison could persuade you to do stuff but they weren’t sure yet if that was down to power or just personality.
Vanya was off doing some secret assessing/ improving with some unknown figure. She didn’t like talking about it either.
Which left Diego and Klaus. With Dad.
“There must be some kind of discernible power we can muster up from the two of you.” Reginald Hargreeves looked at them disapprovingly over his monocle.
Klaus made a joke. Diego sweated. Reginald ignored them and jotted notes into a hardback book, ink scratching the pages.
He closed the book with a bang. “Let us begin.”
Diego sat in his childhood bedroom sharpening his knives. He found it immensely relaxing. Luther stuck his big hairy head through the door. Diego wondered if he was stupid or... just stupid.
“Family meeting,” he informed Diego solemnly. Diego ignored him. They had already had two family meetings. One where Luther accused them all of killing Dad, then another where he tried to tell them about the moon.
Besides, how could they have a family meeting when they weren’t even a family anymore?
Diego leaned back on his lumpy mattress and stared at the spider cracked ceiling.
“Diego.” Allison was at the door now, her voice coaxing him to come with her.
“Yeh, yeh.” Diego stood up, placing the knives about his person in slick sequence. “But if Luther starts on about the moon again I swear I’m gonna punch him.”
Allison looked at him, and Diego was reminded of the times when they were young and they played occasional pranks on Luther. Like then, she had a sparkle of mischief in her eyes.
“Fair enough,” she said, and lead the way to the study where Hargreeves Family Meeting Number 3 was taking place.
Diego sighed and pulled out a knife to play with.
He was feeling particularly stabby today.
I mean.. I'm not really sure where this is going but I hope you enjoy the ride!
Klaus was as high as a kite. He was planking on the threadbare chaise lounge, a cigarette hanging from his mouth.
“Klaus,” Luther shook his head. “I said no more smoking.”
Klaus stood up and walked toward Luther, sending a stream of smoke around the room. “And why,” Klaus adjusted the collar of Luther’s ridiculously large jacket good naturedly. “Should I listen to you? Hmm?” He cocked his head and smiled at Luther, waiting for an answer.
The effect was ruined somewhat by Klaus spinning offcourse with a shout to the chaise lounge. “He probably thinks it’s Fashun, darling!”
Luther blinked at him. “It’s, I mean. This is Dad’s house. His rules still apply.”
Behind him, Vanya gave a very derisive snort. Diego felt a rush of warmth towards then abruptly shut it off. Bad Writer Vanya of the Zero Secrets Book
“Luther, if you called a meeting to tell us to respect Dad then I’m sorry to tell you but that ship has long sailed,” Diego fixed his eyes on Klaus, who had been jumping on Reginald’s sacred desk mere hours ago. Klaus snickered.
Luther held up a placatory hand. Or a stop sign hand. It sure was a big hand.
“I just wanted to say...” Luther cleared his throat self consciously. Diego settled himself on the windowsill to watch the carwreck ensue. “I think we should use this as an opportunity. To be.. to be the Umbrella Academy again.”
There was a long, painful pause. Allison sighed to herself. Vanya snorted, but less audibly this time. Diego rolled his eyes with such force he felt there was a danger of them exiting his socket.
Klaus broke the silence by agreeing jauntily, “Yeah, he’s definitely lost his mind!”
Which was rich coming from him, but also, you know. True.
Luther looked defensive. “I just think Dad’s death was for a reason,” he mumbled.
Allison gave him a duh! Look. “Yeah,” she said slowly. “Because he was old.”
Luther shook his head stubbornly. “It’s more than that, Allison. He does everything for a reason. I mean, he sent me to the moon-“
Luther broke off as a knife whizzed towards him, missing his head by millimetres.
“What the hell, Diego?”
Diego held up his hands. “Sorry,” he said, in the least sorry tone of voice ever. “ A promise is a promise.”
Then, after that, very unfortunately, they could not continue with Family Meeting Number 3 because an explosion, well exploded, and down they all went like dominoes.
The day Diego found out his power (the useless one, the one he hated) had started off as a kind of good day. Mom had made eggs sunny side up. Luther had somehow tripped on a rug during a training exercise. He blamed gravity and the rug being slightly curled over but it was definitely because Five had space jumped in front of Luther for a nano second and caused him to sprawl into a heap. Diego had laughed and laughed, wishing Klaus and Ben had been here to witness the look of utter betrayal Luther shot at the carpet. He continued laughing until he caught sight of Dad, looking down at them from the top of the stairs. He had watched the proceedings with a thin, grim line on his face.
“Diego.” He said, voice clipped. Diego felt his stomach drop. No doubt a lecture about him needing to spend less time laughing and more time trying to figure out his abilities. Or lack thereof.
Five flickered into the room again, and gave Diego an apologetic glance.
Dad led Diego to the mausoleum, where Diego knew Klaus would be, curled into fetal position, hands over his ears, eyes squeezed shut. Why didn't they help him, Diego wondered to himself? Why did they not tell their father that what he was doing to Klaus was wrong? Diego nodded to himself. This time he could help Klaus.
But Dad had other ideas.
“I’ve been collating my research,” he said. “I’ve found something new for you to try out.”
They went into the dark. Klaus lunged towards them, towards the light, towards escape.
“Not quite yet, Klaus.” Reginald admonished. “You need to face them if you are ever going to have power.”
Klaus gave a whimper and curled against the wall, but he kept his eyes on Diego, questioning. Diego shrugged. Maybe Dad thought he could talk to the dead as well.
There was a tin bath in the corner. Diego didn’t have to test the water to know it was icy cold.
Diego stood beside the bath, unsure of what he was supposed to do.
There was movement behind him, and suddenly he was under the water. It was cold it was cold it was so cold. Diego struggled out of his fathers grip, which was surprisingly strong. He couldn’t breathe, he couldn’t breathe he...
Yanked out of the water Diego struggled to breathe. His hands were slippery with blood where they had caught against the hard angles of the tub. Reginald was consulting his notes, an irritated expression on his face. Klaus was beside him, looking concerned.
“Diego,” he reached for his brother. Diego was shaking.
“Number Four, kindly resume your practising. Number Two’s individual training does not concern you.”
Klaus hesitated. “Maybe he should take a br-“
“Number Four!” Reginald roared, and pointed a finger at Klaus until he had resumed his position at the other side of the room.
“It seems I made a mistake, Number Two.” Reginald took off his monocle which had been splashed with water and polished it.
“This time, before you enter the water, hold your breath. Keep holding it.”
“I..I d-don’t,” Diego couldn’t speak. He couldn’t form words. He felt as though his brain had turned to ice.
“I.. I d-don’t w-wa-“
But it was too late. Diego remembered to hold his breath a split second before his head hit the water.
Klaus stretched and rubbed his eyes. He was... he was in his childhood mansion? Klaus surveyed the damaged room. There had been a large bang. Explosion? Who would want to bomb Reginald Hargreeves home... Oh yeah. Well, him for starters.
Klaus felt blood in his mouth and this jolted him into action. He looked at Ben, an ever present figure at his side. Mostly.
“Guys?” Klaus ventured, to the rubble strewn room. No answer. Ben looked at him and gave a wide eyed shrug that was absolutely no help at all.
“Guys?” Klaus called out again, trying to keep the quiver out of his voice. He wasn’t supposed to ever be the one that was in charge. Or the only one left conscious.
He began a recce of the room. He liked that word. Recce. Recce. Recce.
Ben coughed. “You’re standing on Luther.”
Klaus blinked. “By the devils anus, I am,” he marvelled. Luther was crouched over Allison. He was as still and as unmoving as a statue.
Klaus had a terrifying thought. “The stone angels.” He muttered gravely. “They must have got him.”
“The... what?” Ben asked, looking all furrowed.
“Doctor Who!” Klaus snapped his finger in front of Luther’s face.
“Shouldn’t you move Allison first?” Ben suggested. “In case he topples?”
“Oh, yeah,” Klaus agreed vaguely and pulled his sister out from under Luther by her designer boots. She seemed unhurt, but she didn’t respond to any of Klaus’s patting or clicking.
“Her pulse, Klaus.”
“Well, duh.” Klaus was feeling more panicked by the second. Why were they not waking up. Where was Diego? Vanya?
Klaus continued his wade through the room. He spotted the glint of a knife under a kaleidoscope of glass tinged red. With blood.
“Wait!” Ben stopped Klaus from digging through the shattered glass with his bare hands, and pointed him towards a scarf. Klaus eyed it suspiciously. “It’s not really my style, Ben.”
“Diego,” Klaus gingerly lifted glass of his brother, setting it to the side in a neat pile. His brother was splayed on the floor. Eyes firmly closed.
There was quite a bit of glass in Diego. Klaus’s first instinct was to pull it all out of him, pull out all these sharp pointy things that were hurting his brother. But he remembered some of the training. Don’t pull out (hehe) until you could stop the flow of blood.
A hand was on Klaus’s shoulder and he nearly had a heart attack. He would welcome one at this point to be quite honest.
“Klaus.” Klaus’s impending heart attack receded slightly.
“Vanya!” He was relieved. Most relieved. VV relieved.
“How are you... you’re okay!”
Vanya smiled at him and shrugged. “Well. I mean. You too.”
Klaus went to high five her then realised it probably Wasn’t Appropriate For The Situation.
Vanya knelt down beside Diego. “Oh God,” she said, checking his pulse.
“ Allison and Luther?”
“Out cold. But uninjured. I mean,” Klaus began to doubt himself. “I presume. Or I assume. I always got confused between the two, you know. Pre and Ass.” Klaus felt a bit hysterical.
“Let’s get Mom,” Vanya said, placing her hand on his.
“Oh Christ, yes,” Klaus agreed fervently, thinking of Grace’s calm, loving demeanour and expert medical hands.
“MOM!” He roared at the top of his lungs. “MOM!”
Grace Hargreeves entered the room, looking as serene as ever. She observed the destruction in front of her and uttered the understatement of the year.
“Yes!” Klaus pointed at her, his hand sticky with Diego’s blood. “OHDEAR!”
Vanya gave him a concerned look. “Klaus...” She looked unsure, then put her hand on his shoulder.
Grace leaned over and smoothed pieces of glass from Diego’s head. Klaus wanted to pass her the scarf that was covering his hands so she wouldn’t get cut and bleed, but then he remembered. She was a robot! She had no blood in her. MOM’S A ROBOT EVERYBODY.
God, Klaus needed to get high. Higher.
“Klaus, are you okay?” Grace reached out to touch Klaus’s cheek.
Klaus moved backward. “Mom, please. We need to help Diego.”
At the words “help Diego”, Grace seemed to switch on. She pulled Diego up (crazy strong robot mom) and gestured for Klaus to support him on one side.
“I’ll stay here,” Vanya said quietly. “Try and get Allison and Luther to wake up.”
“Great idea.” Klaus nodded fervently at his small sister. When normality was restored he was going to get Vanya and Luther to stand side by side. Maybe take a picture for optimum hilarity.
They dragged Diego to the weird medical room that was handily located on the same floor. Well, Klaus dragged and Mom held up Diego like he was no weight at all, which was, you know, false.
“Where’s Pogo?” Klaus asked, as they hauled Diego onto the metal table. Klaus shivered just from looking at it, and wrapped the bloodied scarf around his neck.
“Nice,” Ben commented, and Klaus batted him away.
“I don’t know,” Grace replied and Klaus decided to stop talking because she was obviously concentrating. Klaus concentrated too. Like the best squeezed orange juice.
Diego did not look good. He was pale and sweating. He hadn’t been blessed with Klaus’s good bone structure so he couldn’t pull off the look as well as Klaus could. In his opinion.
He had blood on his face, dripping from a gash on his head. He had a REALLY big piece of glass in his left arm and one on his right ribcage. And lots of tiny pieces, but honestly, they looked like small sparkly Diego decorations.
Klaus looked with interest as Grace sterilised a pair of tweezers.
“Darling,” she said to Klaus, and he felt all nostalgic for all his past Mom times. “Can you be my assistant. Nothing too messy, I promise. Just hold the tray so I put the pieces on it.”
Klaus moved to stand beside her. “Doesn’t he need drugs?”
Ben eyed him from when he was sitting on the counter top. “I think you’re projecting, Klaus.”
Klaus growled at him.
Grace was cutting open Diego’s top, and handing the knives she found there to Klaus to put on the tray. Klaus supposed they should be grateful that Diego hadn’t been stabbed by his own knives. They were probably ten times more unsanitary than the window.
Grace began pulling out the shards of glass and stitching Diego up. She was a true surgeon. Could probably be working in a top hospital somewhere. If she wasn’t here, being their Mom.
Typically, Diego, who had been out colder than a cold cool ice igloo, chose the moment when Mom was about the rip the window pane from his arm.
Diego’s eyes flickered open and he opened his mouth then closed it again.
Klaus leaned close to Diego’s face. “Go back to sleep, you dumb knife man.”
Diego almost looked furious, which was quite a feat considering the condition he was in.
“M-Mom?” he bleated, in lieu of punching Klaus (Klaus assumed).
Grace gave him a reassuring smile. “You’re doing great, Diego.” Worryingly, she seemed to be approaching Diego with a pair of metal chopsticks (probably not the medical term) to resume the glass pulling out
“Mom, wait!” Klaus had a stroke of genius.
He scrabbled around in a drawer and pulled out a huge, vicious looking needle.
He walked towards his brother.
“Klaus... What h-“
Diego caught sight of the needle and went out like a light. Klaus gave himself a pat on the back for Planning Und3r Pressure.
“Good idea, Klaus.” Grace said approvingly. “Now lets finish the job.”
Vanya hovered over her siblings. Well, to be exact, she hovered over Allison, because she wasn’t quite tall enough to hover over Luther. And really she could only hover over Allison because she was currently passed out on the floor. Anyway.
Vanya was still trying to figure out how she had escaped uninjured. She had been standing near Diego, near all of them, but had woken up in a completely different room.
Although, if you thought about it, none of this made sense. Going back as far as all of their births, nothing made sense.
Vanya sighed and rubbed her temple. She had such a headache.
She decided to sit on the floor beside Allison. She wondered where Pogo was. Normally he would be in the midst of the action, mopping up their mistakes. She looked at the prone forms of Allison and Luther. Not that there was any action here, really. Everything was very stationary, actually.
Vanya made an impulsive decision to stroke her sisters hair. Allison’s eyes jolted open, and she stared at her.
“What the hell?” Allison sat up, blinking hard. “Vanya! What happened.”
She seemed coherent enough. Vanya had read horror stories of people who got knocked out for too long, but she supposed her siblings didn’t really fall under the heading of normal people.
“I.. there was an explosion. Big one,” Vanya gestured around her. Allison was already standing up, reaching for Luther.
“Luther?” she stared at him, aghast. “Why is he... like this?”
It was a question Vanya had asked herself over the years.
“Maybe.. Some kind of reaction. From the explosion.”
“Like a chemical reaction?”
Once Allison was convinced Luther was still breathing and just unconscious and frozen in place by a hypothetical chemical reaction, she sat back down beside Vanya.
“You’re okay?” Allison asked, looking almost like she wanted to pet Vanya on the head. It was a look Vanya had become accustomed to over the years, by dint of her small size and downtrodden vibe (?)
Vanya nodded. “Yeh. But...”
“Klaus and Diego?” Allison looked worried.
“Just Diego.” Vanya said, and then winced at how it sounded. “I mean. Not just. But Klaus is fine. Diego is... not.”
Allison shook her head. “Jeez, what a mess. How did the explosion happen anyway? What is going on?” There was no real fight in Allison’s voice. Vanya could tell she wanted to settle down for a long nap as much as Vanya did.
“And is Diego with... with Mom?”
“Yeh. There was a lot of blood and glass but Mom knows... I mean he built a surgeon basically, didn’t he? As well as a Mom.” Vanya hadn’t really focused on Diego’s injuries, mainly so she wouldn’t turn into a wobbling pile of mush when trying to look after Allison and Luther.
“He’ll be fine,” Allison said firmly, catching the waver in her sisters voice.
Diego felt like he was in a race. In this race he could not stop running. No matter what. So he ran and he ran as fast as he could. As fast as a gingerbread man.
“What book are you reading, dear?” Grace bustled beside Klaus, checking Diego’s temperature and giving him little pats on the check.
Klaus showed her the cover. It was a childhood book, spine split, pages torn. A huge orange gingerbread man adorned the front cover.
“Oh!” Grace exclaimed. “I remember reading you that one.”
Klaus closed the book with a nostalgic slam. “You read us a look of books,” he said with a smile. He gestured to Diego. “How’s the patient?”
He looked at his brother, who seemed marginally better than whatever o’ clock time ago. As in, he had no blood gushing from him.
Klaus felt a pang of brotherly love for his most reckless brother. Klaus was reckless, sure, but he was calculated reckless, smart reckless. Only drug and alcohol related reckless, which meant barely naturally reckless at all!
Not that he could blame Diego being reckless on what had happened here. No siree. That was down to the explosion that probably someone should be investigating right about now. But not Klaus. He was a good brother, and good brother’s knew that Luther liked a good unsolved mystery.
Also... speaking of unsolved mysteries.. but no. Klaus widened his eyes and blinked then blinked again.
To Ben, he hissed, “Are you seeing what I’m seeing?”
Ben nodded slowly, looking as mind boggled as Klaus.
“Five?” Klaus whispered.
Yay our fave smart snarky number is back in 2019
Klaus thought he must have got hit on the head. Or maybe the shock of the explosion? Because Five was... here? Standing in front of Klaus, looking irritated and... well, exactly like his thirteen year old self.
“Five?” Klaus reached out towards his brother, even though he was standing a couple of feet away. Five was surveying the scene with a look akin to someone flicking the dust off the mantelpiece.
Five furrowed his brow and stepped towards him. He was wearing their ugly Umbrella Academy uniform, which was giving Klaus all sorts of terrible flashbacks. He desperately wanted to shake Diego awake, so he could confirm that Five was actually there. But Diego kind of looked serene in his sleep, so Klaus thought maybe he was having a comfortingly stabby dream, so he couldn’t quite bear to wake him.
“Huh,” Five said disparagingly. “The calculations were a bit off.”
“The. Calculations?” Klaus gave Five a horrified stare. “The explosion earlier? That was you?”
“Only partially,” Five flicked the question away with his finger.
“Great!” Klaus rubbed his head. This day was far crazier than any acid trips he had been on, and that was saying something. “Welcome back! From, you know, wherever. Mom, look it’s Five.”
Grace, who had been smiling benignly beamed at Five. “I know it’s Five,” she said. Her face clouded over briefly. “We’ve all missed him.”
Five ignored all the sentimentalities but he did gesture at Diego.
Klaus raised his shoulders up and down in the universal “who knows” signal.
“Maybe we should wake him,” Grace suggested, in the tone of voice that meant she would.
“Oh, don’t do it on my behalf,” Five said lazily. Or maybe not lazily, maybe tiredly? Five did seem sluggish, wavering on his feet. Klaus jumped off the counter and dragged Five to the fold out plastic chair that was the most uncomfortable chair ever invented.
Five protested a bit, but he didn’t get out of the chair. He steepled his hands together, then closed his eyes.
“Ah,” he said drowsily, before falling asleep. “Home at last.”
Diego groaned. His head was thumping. His body was sore. He opened his eyes and Klaus’s face swam towards him.
Diego threw up. On himself more than anyone else. Great. Klaus recoiled, gasping “Diego!”
Diego sat up. He was on the dreaded metal table. The family meeting. The explosion. Shit.
“What are you doing?” Klaus was by his side.
“Getting off this crappy, uncomfortable table for starters,” Diego huffed, but didn’t move further. He seemed like he was really high up from the floor.
“What happened anyway?” he groused, to deflect attention from the fact that he wasn’t being his normal badass self and jumping to the ground.
“I’m sorry, but does something about my look scream official Explosion Spokesperson?” Klaus tossed his pink feather boa over his shoulder.
“It certainly screams something.” Diego muttered, stretching his arms experimentally. Ouch.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you, stabby mc stab stab.”
“What did you j-“
“Whole lotta stitches holding that arm together, let me tell you.”
Diego looked around for Grace to give him a more cohesive run down of his injuries. She was perched on the floor beside the chair, a chair which held F-
“What. The fuck?” Diego gawped. Klaus laughed merrily.
“Language!” Grace admonished but her tone was soft.
“Get me down from here,” Diego commanded Klaus, and Klaus helped him down with a roll of his eyes and a swish of his boa.
Once Diego was upright (and cursing under his breath) they walked over to sleeping Five. He looked so innocent and sweet, almost adorable.
“When did he get here? H-how?”
Five blinked one eye open and fixed it on Diego. “If you would be so kind as to stop with all your asinine questions, I’ll answer them far more coherently than Klaus. Once I have finished sleeping.”
“Okay,” Diego put a hand up in surrender. “Prick.”
“Dumbass.” Five volleyed back, but with a slight grin in his voice.
“Maybe we should check on the others?” Klaus asked, in the loudest stage whisper known to man.
Oh, yeah. The others.
“If you’re up to it, of course?” It wasn’t asked in a challenging way, but Diego was sure as hell going to take it as one.
He snorted derisively. “Of course.”
Vanya and Allison had succeeded in reviving Luther, although not by strictly speaking classic methods. After an age, Allison had rolled her eyes to herself and said to Vanya, “I know this is unethical and immoral, but if it works, it works. Y’know?”
Vanya had nodded, a little sceptically, watching as Allison rumoured Luther to regain consciousness.
And it did work. Luther thudded to the floor (potentially causing an earthquake elsewhere) and few moments later he sat up, a large bump on his forehead.
“Is everyone okay?” he asked, immediately in leader mode.
“Yes!” Klaus trilled, from what remained of the doorway. His arm was slung under Diego’s shoulder. Diego looked not so great. And he was wearing... orange?
“He vomited on his top,” Klaus filled them in, “which was already ruined beyond repair.”
“Okay,” Allison said slowly. “I guess-“
“Let’s reconvene the Family Meeting,” Luther interrupted.
“But, uh, maybe somewhere else? With seats.” Vanya suggested for Diego’s sake, and also Klaus’s because he was the one holding Diego up.
Everyone simultaneously rolled their eyes, but nodded their agreement.
“Family meeting!” Klaus clapped his hands together. “Have we got news for you!” He seemed disproportionally gleeful.
They all settled themselves in the living room. Klaus deposited Diego onto a sofa, and sat on the floor beside the sofa. Vanya sat on the chair opposite, Allison in the chair beside her. Only Luther remained standing, making him look huger than he already was.
Everyone looked at him expectantly. He opened his mouth and closed it again.
“I’ll start.” Klaus bounced off the floor, and did a pretty decent pirouette in the middle of the room.
“I know how the explosion happened,” he told them, mid twirl.
Vanya glanced round. Luther looked irritated, Allison doubtful. Diego wasn’t even looking at Klaus, instead facing the cushions on the sofa.
“This isn’t a joke, Klaus,” Luther told him sternly.
“Fine,” Allison said, crisply. “I’ll bite. How did the explosion happen?”
There was a long pause. Klaus knew how to play to an audience.
“Because of Five.”
There was an even longer pause, then everyone spoke at once.
“I said this wasn’t a joke, Klaus!”
“How would that even be possible?”
“Maybe... maybe you should go see Grace, make sure you’re okay?”
Klaus tsked at them all.
“Diego?” Allison said, because he was the only one who hadn’t spoken.
“He’s telling the truth.” Diego confirmed, his voice harsh.
“Diego!” Luther sounded disappointed. “Don’t lie.”
Diego muttered something, then threw a knife at Luther. It sailed right past him.
“Ooh, I’m so scared.” Luther mocked, and Allison glared at him. “Grow up,” she said.
“He’s in the medical room place thing. With Mom. Go check if you don’t believe us.” Klaus had finished his ballet show, and was sitting on the sofa beside Diego, arms folded.
“I believe you,” Vanya said, and Klaus leant forward, looking delighted.
“He’s asleep at the moment, but when he’s awake we are to ask him any and all important questions that have been on our minds for the past seventeen years.”
Vanya blanched. Surely it hadn’t been seventeen years since Five had disappeared. Or left, as the case now seemed to be.
“I won’t believe it until I see it,” Luther was saying, but he was moving toward the door, Allison hot on his heels.
“So go,” Klaus ushered them out. “See. Seek and ye shall find. Or something.”
Vanya got up and followed their procession. To Klaus she said, “you guys coming?”
“No,” Klaus sat on her vacated seat. “He was very cranky. And asleep. We’ll wait til he’s back on better form.”
“So, uh, cranky and not asleep?” Vanya laughed, suddenly overcome with excitement at seeing her brother after all these years.
“Did he look like. Like Five still?”
Klaus creased up with laughter. “Oh yeah,” he said. “Totally like himself.”
“Vanya, you coming?” Allison called, and Vanya steadied herself, then joined her siblings in the hall.
Ready to see Number Five again.
They decided to eat out at a restaurant to celebrate Five’s return. Five seemed venomously against this idea, but because he was now the youngest-
“I’m not the youngest! I’m FIFTY EIGHT!” –
His vote was vetoed.
There was much discussion (arguing) about where they should go to eat.
Luther had been on the moon for four years (had you heard?) and felt he didn’t know the area anymore. Allison had something of the same problem, giving she had been off gallivanting in superstardom for the past decade. Klaus wanted takeaway pizza, which Diego could get behind. His body was a temple, but sometimes that temple could be filled with pizza.
Five just wanted a decent fucking cup of coffee.
It was down to Diego and Vanya to decide, given that they both still lived in the area. Weird to think that actually. Diego felt so apart from Vanya now that it was tricky to imagine she lived in the same city as him. Along with thousands of others.
Diego was tired. He had been tired for years now, but now he felt like he was the most tired he had ever been.
“You choose.” Diego said. “I don’t care.”
Diego had sent Patch a message that morning. She had replied saying, “we don’t do that anymore, Diego.” So. That was nice.
Plus his stupid arm hurt, and his chest, and really he needed to shower but he didn’t want to because, effort.
“I hate this fucking house,” Diego said. He blinked. He had not meant to say that out loud.
Vanya made eye contact with him. “We all hate this house,” she said, a half smile on her face.
Luther began to talk, but everyone silenced him with a look, and he put his hands in his pockets dejectedly.
Five stood up. “We don’t have time for a family dinner.”
Allison looked at him, amused. “Don’t you have all the time in the world?”
Five glared at her. “Obviously some people are too stupid to understand what I’ve told them.”
Klaus raised an eyebrow. “Bit cranky, hey Five?”
“We’ll go to The Mangiare.” Vanya said swiftly. “It’s italian.”
“Pizza.” Klaus intoned happily, and high fived the air.
“Sounds good to me,” Allison agreed, leaving to get ready. Why did she need so many clothes? So many colours? It didn’t seem normal.
Luther grunted his ascent and left the room as well.
“At least the coffee should be good,” Five grumbled, doing his little space time hop jump from the room.
“What time?” Diego asked Vanya.
“What t- Oh, for the restaurant? Like. Seven. Most likely.”
Klaus followed Diego from the room.
“You okay, bro?”
Diego spun round, then winced. Then hid the wince by throwing two knives to hit the dumb empty armour in the corner of the corridor. Thankfully both knives hit the mark this time, but Klaus didn’t seem all that impressed.
“What did Florence ever do to you?” he whispered, eyes solemn.
“What did... what?”
Klaus was pointing at the armour. Oh. Florence.
“You know, Klaus, I’m really sick of your bullshit.” Diego wasn’t sure why he’d just said that. It was a line from a different scenario, years ago.
Klaus took a step back, looking hurt. Then he gave a violent sniff. “Well, I think I’ll go somewhere where my glowing personality and expertise are wanted!” He clicked his fingers and then exited. Stage left.
He had forgotten about Vanya. She came from the room a moment later, looking sad.
“Diego,” she began.
“Don’t.” Diego said bluntly, and went to have a shower.
The thing about blood was... it was dramatic. Diego used to get nosebleeds when he was younger, and it always surprised him just how red and violent it was, spurting down his chin.
He had mentioned this to Patch once, and she had placed her hands on her hips and given him the “dare fuck with me?” look. “Imagine being a girl, Diego.”
Diego had looked blank, because he was blank, because when Patch gave him that look he just wanted them to be making out a minute ago.
“Periods, Diego!” Patch had said, raising her arms out wide. “Drama in the shower.”
Then Diego had suggested drama in the shower.
Anyway. That was in the past. They were never ever getting back together, according to Patch. And Taylor Swift. Not that Diego had even heard of Taylor Swift, let alone listened to her music.
There was dried blood on his arms and on his chest. Caked onto some nicks and scratches that hadn’t needed stitches. Diego turned the shower on. It was thankfully not as antique as the rest of the house. Reginald had seen a need for proper working showers after they had been on the field the first few times. No one was ruining the Hargreeves’ Mansion carpet.
The room heated up pretty quickly, because it was small and Diego hadn’t bothered to turn the fan on because he would have to jump to reach the Luther height string. Diego really wasn’t in the mood for jumping.
As the room got warmer, Diego decided he wanted a bath instead of a shower. What could be better than sitting in a tub of his own diluted bathwater blood?
Mainly he just wanted lie down in the warm water and sleep.
So he did. Diego sank into the water, and let it float over his scarred up skin. He had emptied half a bottle of Allison’s bubble bath into the tub, and it smelt of candyfloss and glitter.
Diego leant back, and began the important business of falling asleep.
Klaus was somewhat... sober? In his defense, it was completely accidental. He had been so distracted by the explosion, then Five, then the thought of pizza, actually fresh from the oven, instead of scrounged from the dumpster or left behind on someone’s table, edges curling. Mmm. Pizza.
Ben was hovering beside Klaus’s side but he wasn’t being very talkative. Klaus wondered if it was the shock of being in the house again. Or maybe seeing all of his emo dramatic siblings again. So. Klaus was bored. And lonely. And nearly sober. Gasp!
He trailed round the house looking for someone to hang out with. (And, also, let’s be real, he was keeping an eye out for any illicit substances that may have gone astray.)
Five was nowhere. For someone who had been away for so long, he sure didn’t seem at that bothered about hanging around. Klaus sighed sadly. Five had been to the future, and he had been in Klaus’s past, but he didn’t seem to want to make a place for himself in the present.
Luther and Allison had reverted to their childhood ways and were sitting on Allison’s bed. (Klaus had to give credit where credit was due to these bed engineers, Klaus had peeked in and the bed frame wasn’t even bending that’s how good of a design it was). He had clocked the moony expression on Luther’s face.. haha, moony, Klaus was a comedian, and gently shut the door because yeuch.
He followed Pogo round for a while (Pogo had returned after the drama of the explosion with a huge bump on the side of his ape skull) which was both hilarious and depressing- Pogo kept turning to give Klaus annoyed looks: “If you have a question for me, Master Klaus, please ask and I will answer as best I can,” but Klaus had far too many questions so he didn’t answer any. Eventually to Pogo’s British politeness failed in the wake of Klaus’s own annoyingness, and Pogo turned and shouted, “Please return to your room at once, Master Klaus!” It was such a childhood throwback that it made Klaus positively giggle in delight, and he skipped to the kitchen.
Mom was there (when was she not). She smiled at Klaus, and Klaus smiled back automatically. Vanya was sitting at the table, scribbling something in a sketchpad.
“Whatcha doing?” Klaus asked, sauntering over. In his adventures with Pogo, Klaus had raided Pop’s liquor cabinet so he was decidedly less sober. Pop! If any of the children had dared called Reggie the Vegemite such a term of endearment, he would have had a coronary on the spot. It was annoying, the way you got all the good ideas about how to kill someone after they were already dead.
Vanya shifted in her seat, and turned the page over. “Just. Nothing.” Vanya gabbled.
“You said a lot of shit in your book, but I forgive you,” Klaus told her, leaping up on the table beside her. Mom tried to shoo him off with a tea towel but she was very half hearted about it.
Vanya raised an eyebrow.
“Okay, fine,” Klaus harrumphed. “So a lot of it was the truth. But, honestly Vanya, it was not a good idea. You know Diego hates you, right?” Although even as he said it, Klaus knew he was telling lies. Diego might be all mr leather I’ll stabby mc stab stab you twelve times, but Klaus wasn’t sure he was capable of hatred. Especially towards Vanya. Luther he suspected was a different story. Poor Luther.
Vanya looked down at her sketchpad, crestfallen. “It was only meant to hurt Dad,” she said. “Not the rest of you.”
Klaus patted her on the shoulder. “Anyhoo, Diego’s being an emo turd at the mo with me and I didn’t write a book, so who can win?” Klaus shrugged rhetorically.
“We’re leaving in fifteen minutes,” Vanya told him, a small smile on her face.
“Yes, we are!” Klaus agreed and twirled in his beautiful fur adorned black coat, glittery tank top and purple skirt.
Klaus was feeling GREAT.
The restaurant was a goddamn awful idea. Diego had to hand it to Five, his old younger brother could smell a shit sandwich before it was made.
They had convened in the hall in their restaurant appropriate finery. I.e. Allison looked sophisticated and put together as always. Luther looked like a well groomed homeless guy on steroids (did he not own a different top? When did it get laundered? When?). Klaus looked like Klaus, that is to say, a trashy panda and Vanya looked like she was planning to set sail with all the fabric she was wearing.
Diego looked nearly the most normal out of them all, because he was wearing a dark blue top and black jeans with no knife holster in sight. This rule was put down by Allison, and vehemently by the rest of his siblings. Buzzkills. He wasn’t going to let them know about the knife down his boots, or the one hugging the curve of his hips. They didn’t deserve the information.
Five had appeared at the last minute. Ironic. He was still in that stupid dumb ugly uniform that he had been wearing since he landed in the present. Diego’s eyes zoned in at the dark smear on Five’s collar. Five fixed him with a steely look, and Diego shrugged to himself and didn’t press the matter further.
Diego had had a relaxing time in the bath tub. He had fallen asleep as he intended to. Everyone (no one) expected Diego to have deep rooted trauma relating to bathtubs but he hadn’t wanted to give Reginald the satisfaction. Diego preferred to save his deep rooted trauma for deep, enclosed pools. He despised swimming.
He was considerably less bloody than he had been earlier, which he felt deemed him restaurant worthy. Not that, Diego thought sneeringly to himself as he gazed round at his siblings, he should have made the effort.
They piled into a cab, and ended up at Vanya’s pizza place. A man with an obviously fake moustache greeted the party enthusiastically then led them to a slightly secluded table.
There was a pause then a scramble as everyone rushed to get the best seat. Diego had really just wanted to sit next to Five or Allison, because e he was kind of fighting with Klaus, and always fighting with Luther and didn’t want to get into an argument with Vanya.
So guess who he had ended up between? This was why they didn’t do family dinners anymore. Too much tension.
They ordered their food (pizzas all round, except for Vanya who had a seafood pasta dish, and Five, who ordered four different starters as his main).
Once the waiter had left, a large silence loomed over them, and everyone busied themselves by taking sips of water, or adjusting napkins, or- in Klaus’s case- placing his fingers above the candle. Diego snatched the candle away and blew it out. Klaus pouted.
Diego almost wanted to apologise for his outburst earlier, but also he didn’t want to draw attention to it. He much preferred just drawing blood.
Five ending up breaking the silence. He was sitting at the head of the table, looking like he considered it his rightful throne.
He cleared his throat. “We need to stop the apocalypse.”
Everyone gaped at him. Diego shook his head. Five was definitely losing his marbles. Although... he had been to the future. And he had said that Earth was basically destroyed. So, it was entirely possible that he had future insider knowledge. But, the apocalypse?
“It’s in three days.”
“The, uh,” Luther’s voice got louder as he continued his sentence. “The apocalypse is happening in THREE DAYS?”
Five looked unperturbed by their reactions.
“And... have you got a plan?” Allison asked, frowning at her glass of water.
Five gave a derisive snort. “Obviously.”
Klaus guffawed. “Well, as long as he has a PLAN.”
“What is it then?” Diego asked. “The plan?”
Five rearranged his cutlery. “I just have to figure out who to kill to alter the timeline.”
“Oh,” Allison said sarcastically, “is that all?”
“Kill someone?” Vanya asked, sounding concerned. “Are you sure that’s necessary?”
“Nobody is killing anybody,” Luther announced authoritatively.
“Hate to break it to you Luther, but we all have extensively killed before,” Five pointed out.
Luther bristled. “Not since missions... and that was needed to-“
“This is needed too,” Five interrupted. “And I think you’ll find I’m a highly skilled assassin. Many, many kills.”
Diego snorted. The idea of snarky, grumpy, irritating Five being some kind of masterclass assassin was just... absurd.
“And Diego here,” Five bared his teeth in Diego’s direction. “Pretty sure he’s killed a fair number in his quest to clean up the city.”
Diego glared at his piranha like brother. “I save people asshole.”
“You kill people as well,” Five said, and Diego couldn’t really dispute it, so he settled for holding up his cutlery knife threateningly.
“So who do we get to kill?” Klaus wanted to know, sounding alarmingly bloodthirsty.
Five pinched the bridge of his nose. “Well, I would know that, if I hadn’t been forced to come and have dinner with all of you dipshits!”
The waiter returned to the table carrying plates of pizza. Thank God. Diego was ravenous. And possibly murderous. Depended.
Everyone dug into their meals. Luther began eating his pizza with a knife and fork. What the hell was he, psychopath?
“So, what exactly happened?” Allison dabbed at her mouth with her napkin. “You know, when you went to the future? That first day... the apocalypse had already happened, right?”
Five waved his hand, “That doesn’t matter,” he said fiercely. “All that matters is that we stop it this time round.”
“It kind of does matter, though.” Vanya’s voice was soft, and she was looking at Five with concern. It annoyed Diego to see her acting so.. human. In his mind, she was caricatured to evil villain status.
“You were out there all alone, for years.”
“I wasn’t alone,” Five tilted his chin up, and his eyes looked almost soft. Diego looked away. Must be the lighting in here, making everything distorted.
Five looked like he was going to say something more, then suddenly his features sharpened.
“We need to go. Now!” he snapped.
“We haven’t even had pudding yet,” Klaus clamoured.
Then the bullets started flying.
Luther pulls Allison to the floor. Five has already disappeared and Diego thinks coward but before he can finish the thought Five is on the back of one of the crazies, the one with the pink mask on. The other is raining bullets down like they are the restaurants personal storm.
Diego pulls his knives from his hidden places and flings them at thee larger of the two gun wielding threats, feeling the small tug of satisfaction as they hit their mark. Klaus is under the table watching everything unfold. He has snaffled a mountain of melting ice cream from a nearby (now deserted table) and is eating it with gusto, eyes swinging between his siblings like he is watching a particularly violent tennis match.
Luther rises from the floor and charges at the two. Five disappears again but he has lodged a fork in pink masks neck and has removed her gun. Allison begins hand to hand combat with fork in neck. People have stopped screaming, Diego realises, because they have left the restaurant.
Who the hell are these freaks anyway? Diego wonders, as he scrambles behind a chair. In a weird way, the whole thing is gratifying because it’s like they are all finally them again. Diego thinks this for a full minute until his arm starts aching. Goddamn it, couldn’t they even have a meal out in peace?
Luther has thrown both of their assailants to the other side of the room, buying them all some time. Good job, big guy.
They assemble a makeshift.... and crowd behind it.
“Jesus Christ,” Five scowls. Klaus offers him the near empty bowl of ice cream. Five responds with the dirtiest look imaginable. Vanya looks wide eyed and concerned.
“You should get out of here,” Diego says, and somehow his voice comes out sneering. “You can’t help us or anything.”
“Diego!” Allison admonishes with a flick of her hair. It’s the conditioner that makes the flick all it is. Diego knows. He used the conditioner and his hair can do the flick as well. He tested it out.
“Yeah, we need to stick together,” Luther said, in his best leaderly voice.
“Uh, how about we stick together and get the hell out of here?” Vanya suggested.
Everyone peeked out at the gun wielding assassins and nodded. Excepr Five.
“I think I know these guys,” he said, still staring intently at them.
“How could you know them?” Allison snapped. Her nose was bleeding slightly.
“From my work. You know, as a master assassin.”
Klaus hooted with laughter. “Oh great! And those two.. I’m guessing those two are tip top merry merry master assassins as well?”
Five shook his head derisively. “They aren’t as good as me.” Then he added, grudgingly “but they aren’t bad. Assuming it’s Hazel and Cha-cha.”
“I think they’re coming over.”
The unmistakable whine of a police siren rang out.
“Well, shit, now we really have to go.”
Five was already gone. Diego swore. Klaus took the opportunity to inch his fingers along the table and flung a plateful of half eaten spaghetti at the assassins.
Vanya watched her meal splatter over the floor, her mouth a tiny line of disappointment.
"They have guns," she said, then reddened as she realised the redundency of her statement.
"Fucking understatement of the year, Vanya!" Diego hissed, as another volley of bullets raced past them.
Klaus was watching the drama with a distracted concentration. "Guess they'll have to redecorate, huh," he said.
Diego continued flinging various pieces of cutlery, and Klaus was chucking plates. Luther and Allison looked like they were about to charge.
But in the end they didn't have to do anything.
Hazel and Cha-Cha disappeared
And the cops entered.