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Growing Pains

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It had been one week since Five had left.

 

After the second day, Reginald had stopped grumbling about childish behaviour and the extra training Five would be enduring upon his return. On the third day, the kids caught on that Five wouldn’t be coming home anytime soon. On the fourth day the portrait was commissioned. On the sixth it was hung on the wall, it didn’t look anything like Five. By the seventh day they were expected to fall back into routine, their mourning period was over, Five was gone and they had work to do.

 

Breakfast had begun the same as it always had and always would. Mom rang the bell and they all filed in slowly, standing behind their chairs completely still as they waited for Reginald to tell them to sit.

 

They sat in silence. They ate slowly. The empty chair beside Diego reminded them all of exactly what had happened. There was no way to pretend it didn’t, no way to pretend that Five was still here. Not when there was an empty chair, a glaringly obvious fracture in their makeshift family.

 


 

Five felt the world bend and shift around him, he felt the ground trembling and his siblings hands tighten around his own. The sounds of the world dying, of the people screaming and crying as everything burned was muffled, drowned out by the thrumming, swirling power that encased them.

 

Five felt like he was being torn to pieces slowly, then mashed back together rapidly. He didn’t know if this would work, he didn’t know if he’d live to see the outcome. He knew he had to try.

 

He’s sure if he had the energy, he’d be screaming but as soon as it started, it was over. The energy faded and Five felt weak. He couldn’t feel his siblings hands in his own anymore.

 

And suddenly, he was free falling.

 


 

Something in the air changed about midway through breakfast. It started with Vanya.

 

Her fork clattered against her plate and her eyebrow furrowed. The others paid her no attention. Then Klaus did the same thing, his glass knocked over spilling water across the table. He didn’t even attempt to clean it up. Diego was shifting in his chair, his knife gripped in his hand tightly. Luther was tensed, ready for a fight. Ben choked on the water he had been drinking and Allison gasped loudly, hand on her throat. Before they could be admonished for their disruptions, the sky opened.

 

Crackling blue flashed in the sky, wind whipped through the room. Pained screaming mixed with the sound of buzzing electricity. Then Five fell.

 

The sky closed, the wind stopped. The screaming and electricity silenced. Leaving Five, pale and shaking, gasping for air with his hand pressed to his side, blood soaking through his shirt and onto his hand.

 

“Number Five! What is the meaning of this!” Reginald shouted. Five looked at Reginald, then to his side, then back to Reginald.

 

He grinned, then he lurched forward suddenly, spitting blood and bile onto the floor and all over Reginalds shoes. Five slumped over, eyes closed and a sheen of sweat on his face, trails of blood still leaking from his mouth and nose.

 

The others stood, stock still and silent.  

 

It had worked.

 


 

Vanya felt like she was going to hyperventilate. She could barely remember what happened, flashes of people screaming, of her siblings in the air, of a gunshot ringing in her ear. Of burning anger seering at every part of her skin, tearing her apart from the inside out.

 

She had started the apocalypse. She had killed everyone. Blown up the moon.

 

Grace ushered them out of the room with a sweet smile. Vanya had killed her.

 

Five was on the table, bleeding and shaking because he had tried to get them out of there. Away from the mess Vanya had made.

 

Pogo rushed past them. Vanya had killed him too.

 

Grace closed the doors. The others stood outside of them. Allison was trying to see inside, looking worried as she tried to look through the crack in the door. She had hurt Allison, slashed her throat and left her to bleed out. Vanya felt like she was going to be sick.

 

She had hurt them, all of them. She had killed, hundreds, thousands, millions, billions of people. She was going to be sick.

 

“Vanya? Are you ok?” Klaus was by her side and Ben. Ben was alive, there and real and oh god. Vanya sobbed and choked. Air wasn’t coming into her lungs.

 

“Hey, Vanya, you have to breath ok?” Klaus guides her hand to his chest, taking a deep breath. Vanya doesn’t know when she had sunk to the floor. Her back pressed against the banister of the stairs.

 

Klaus held her hand to his chest, breathing in deeply and counting.

 

“Come on Vanya, breath, just like this” he says. Vanya copies him. She counts her breathing, in and out in time with Klaus.

 

She focuses on the feeling of Klaus’ hand on hers, on the cold floor beneath her, on the wood of the banister digging into her back.

 

“I’m sorry” she sobs, when she has enough breath to speak again “i’m so so sorry”

 

Ben wraps his arm around her, holding her gently. Klaus joins in, then Allison and Diego.

 

“Touching people is weird” Ben murmurs. Vanya laughs, watery and broken but she laughs. The others join in.

 

Luther is standing awkwardly to the side and Vanya looks at him. She remembers being angry at him, she remembers being in the vault and feeling like she couldn’t breathe.

 

She’s still angry at him but anger wasn’t going to get her anywhere good. It just got people hurt, herself included.

 

“Luther, don’t be a dick. Join the cuddle pile” she says, her voice small and wavers, holding no real authority at all. Luther complies anyway, wrapping his arms around Allison and Ben.

 

Vanya is angry, she’s upset and pissed off and guilt eats away at her insides but right now she’s ok.

 

They would all be ok.