“I’d like to speak to Reginald Hargreeves, please,” The woman that stood before Pogo on the steps of the Academy wore a maroon overcoat that draped to her knees. Her black kitten heels clicked impatiently where she tapped her foot on the stone.
“He’s a very busy man,” Pogo offered.
“I’m a very busy woman,” She said. “I want to see my daughter,”
“Your… daughter?” Pogo looked more closely at her, taking in her black hair falling in loose iron-made curls around her face. Her round face, her dark eyes.
“Yes,” she said crisply. “My daughter, I came all the way from Russia,”
The woman had hardly an accent.
“I think,” Pogo hesitated. “You should come in,”
Reginald did not look up from his folders as the woman crossed into his office.
“Mr. Hargreaves, you bought my daughter off of my thirteen years ago,”
“I bought seven children thirteen years ago, you’ll have to be more specific,” Reginald hardly glanced at her before continuing to write in his red book. He recognized her instantly. The mother of Number Seven.
“You bought her from me in Russia, I thought she had died when you announced you only had six children and none of them could have been mine. But then I saw her on a press release, just six months ago, in the background of a photo of your “Umbrella Academy”,”
“Number Seven is ordinary, she could not be a member of the academy,”
“I’m here to take her off your hands,”
That made Reginald pause. He put down his pen and closed his book. “I’m afraid she is under my sole custody Ms-“
“Mila Popov, and I’m afraid Mr. Hargreaves that with the money you gave me I went to law school in New York. I’m fully within my rights as biological mother to contest custody. Especially when I suspect neglect, case one naming her with a number,”
“The children have given themselves names,” Reginald waved her away. “She goes by Vanya, I believe as well. And Ms. Popov, you signed away your rights that day I bought Number Seven, you have no case,”
Mila moved closer to the desk, her hands clenched to fists. “I was seventeen when I signed those documents, not legally if age, they can be contested especially with a case for neglect. I’d like to see her, now,”
Reginald blustered, standing up from his ornate wingback chair. “Do not order me in my house or demand to see my wards,”
“She’s my daughter,” Mila hissed.
“Who’s your daughter?” A voice stood at the door, just toeing the threshold but never stepping in. It belonged to a gangly boy who leaned on the door frame. Behind him fell into line the rest of the Umbrella Academy and little Number Seven.
Mila and Reginald so caught up in themselves had missed the appearance of Grace and seven children.
“Sir, the children are here to say goodnight,”
“Yes goodnight,” Reginald moves quickly to shut the doors.
“Which one is Vanya?” Mila asked, hushed and her hand to her heart.
The Academy parted to show a girl with long hair and bangs that she hid behind.
“M-me,” she said, stepping closer to the front of her siblings.
“Oh,” Mila said. “Hello дорогая (sweetheart), I’m your-“
“I will not stand for this,” Reginald said.
“Grace put the children to bed, now!” Reginald ordered.
The children didn’t move.
“I believe you’ll find the children call me ‘mom’” Grace told Mila, and even for a robot it sounded cold.
“Are you here to take Vanya away?” Klaus asked. All of the children were stiff, their mouths open, none more than Vanya who had yet to blink as she stared at her mother.
“Oh yes, if I had my way I’d get all of you away from here,” Mila said, taking in the bruises on the children, the obvious yearning they had showed when she had said she was one of their mothers. It hurt to see the disappointment from the others.
“You hardly have a case to try to take Number Seven,” Reginald snarled. “Children. Go. To. Bed.”
Grace began to usher them from the room, but they all looked over their shoulders until they turned the corner. Vanya was the last one there, and she and Mila stood staring at each other like there was an invisible divide between the hreshold of the office, but Grace came back and pulled her away too.