Five Hargreeves is having the worst week of his life (including the estimated 2,190 weeks he spent alone in the post-apocalypse), and it’s entirely because his siblings, despite claiming to be thirty years old, were incapable of acting their age, getting over themselves for the sake of the Greater Good, and the list could go on indefinitely.
After reluctantly leaving behind the Addams family, he had crash-landed in the parlor of the Umbrella Academy, where he was almost attacked by Luther and Diego, with Allison standing alert to the side, Klaus brandishing a fire extinguisher as if it were a weapon, and Vanya hiding nervously behind Allison.
Turns out he popped in just in time for a funeral, because Sir Reginald Hargreeves’ first and only genius method of organizing a family reunion involved killing himself (although that did say everything about their dysfunctional family that Five thought needed to be said). Funeral aside (much to Luther’s dismay, no one else was keen on remembering their dead dad), Five quickly gets to work explaining where and when he had been, for how long, and most importantly, what was to come: namely, the end of the fucking world.
He hadn’t originally been planning to involve his siblings, having normally been a “lone wolf” type of person, but that year at Cemetery Ridge had changed him. He knew now what a family could (and probably should) be like and he knew change wasn’t miraculously going to happen on its own. So, he was trying to start small (“Nice dress,” he says to Klaus. “Oh,” Klaus responds, genuinely surprised, “well, Danke!”), which was more than he could say for the others, who were still making snide comments about one another, looking judgmentally at each other, and coming to blows over the pettiest shit (“There goes Ben’s statue…”).
Focusing on the apocalypse, he unfortunately doesn’t really have any leads, other than the fact that his siblings had died together, Vanya surprisingly included, so that meant they were probably attempting (and failed) to defeat whoever or whatever did manage to destroy all life on earth. He hadn’t been able to discern what Vanya was doing there, but it’s not like he could ask the current her anyhow, so he left that particular topic alone. Instead, he figures sticking around the mansion (as well as mandating that his siblings stay, at least sleeping over, since Vanya insists she has lessons to teach and orchestra rehearsal and Diego refuses to stop listening in on the police scanner) and keeping an eye on the emotionally-stunted children would get him somewhere. Which it does, because a couple days later, two freakishly-strong masked strangers with machine-guns break into the Umbrella Academy looking for him.
The Umbrella Academy hasn’t fought as a unit in over a decade and it shows in their performance against the two attackers. There was a lot of fumbling and shouting at one another in the midst of battle and too many near misses, where one of the siblings had almost killed another instead of one of the masked intruders. They just barely manage to chase off the attackers when they get into another fight amongst themselves. Five points out that Klaus is missing and Luther and Diego dismisses him, saying Klaus had become more of an addict in the years since Five had disappeared, so they weren’t really anticipating Four being around. Five nearly blows a fuse when they say that and the remaining siblings get into a heated squabble amongst themselves about their teamwork and their family, devolving rapidly into insults and passive-aggression, which leads to Allison, Diego, Five, and Vanya leaving the mansion in varying states of anger (Diego and Five) and hurt (Allison and Vanya).
Five lets Diego stomp away to cool off and Allison slips away to call Claire (making a mental note to go talk to him and Allison later; he’s too angry to think about reconnecting with Luther at the moment, but eventually he knows he’s going to have to talk to One), but grabs Vanya’s arm before she can get in a taxi.
“How are you doing, Vanya?”
She blinks at him owlishly, big eyes flickering across his face as if they could read his features. It’s easy for them to make eye contact because they’re roughly the same height, though Five is an inch or two taller.
“I’m fine, Five. Just tired. I shouldn’t have come here after all.”
Five puffs up indignantly at that comment.
“Are you really going to let what Luther says get to you? And Diego’s just being a hot-headed idiot like always. We’re a family, Vanya, and you belong here. No matter what Reginald said.”
Vanya’s eyes look watery, but she gives him a small smile, which is better than the anxious look she’d been making since he first laid eyes on her.
“I read your book, by the way,” he mentions. He hadn’t thought to bring it up in front of their other siblings, because it’s clearly another touchy subject for them. Before she can look guilty about it, like he knows she will, he says, “It was ballsy. Giving up the family secrets.” He grins at her. “I think I’d have done the same if I hadn’t left.”
She bites her lip, trying to stop herself from fully smiling, and ducks her head so he can’t see.
“I won’t keep you from leaving, I have to look for Klaus anyway, but we’ll talk soon, okay?”
“Okay,” she says, not smiling, but looking happy all the same, and Five’s gone in a flash of blue.
Five goes looking for Klaus and also starts trying to find information on the weird intruders from before. He doesn’t find anything particularly useful, until he is approached by a woman who calls herself the Handler and carries a thick black briefcase. This is how Five first becomes acquainted with the Commission and learns why he is of particular interest to them. He agrees to the Handler’s offer of employment, mostly because he needs a better idea of who or what was going to cause the apocalypse and he wants to ensure his family’s safety from other lunatics with guns. He does say he needs some time to find his brother first, which she allows, saying she’d come get him as soon as Klaus was located.
Klaus shows up at the mansion a day later, covered in blood, vacant eyes staring at everything as if he were blind. Five interrogates him, concerned about his well-being, and he slowly finds out the two murderers (“they called themselves Hazel and Cha Cha”) had abducted him, tortured him (Five can barely contain his anger, smashing a fist through the wall of Klaus’ bedroom), and then he had Ben’s help escaping (“Ben’s around?” Five asks, a fond smile on his face as he recalls his ramble in the graveyard with Wednesday. “Yeah, he’s been around since he died.” “Can you tell him I said hey?” Klaus shoots him a look that Five can’t decipher, before saying, “He’s right there, he can hear you.”), and he stole their briefcase (“I thought I could pawn it for money…”) and tumbled directly into the Vietnam War.
“How long have you been gone?” Five asks, a concerned furrow in his brow. He of all people knew what time-traveling would do to a person.
“It’s been 10 months,” he responds quietly.
“Why didn’t you come back when you figured out what was going on?”
“I met someone.”
The way Klaus says it explains everything he doesn’t clarify.
“Oh.” A minute of uncomfortable silence, of trying to figure out the right thing to say, of walking the line between the intrusive and necessary. “What happened?”
There’s another silence, not awkward this time, as Five looks at Klaus with eyes that don’t pity, that don’t judge. He reaches out and puts a hand on top of Klaus’ trembling fists.
“I’m sorry, Klaus.” He says it softly, probably the gentlest he’s ever been with the Séance.
(Klaus cries, not because he’s thinking about Dave, since he’s been thinking about Dave non-stop since he got shot, but because Five is actually listening, believes that Ben’s actually there, and is caring about him. Five, who came back from the future looking wary and hardened, but always gives him the time of day no one else will and is looking at him with concern and acknowledging he’s struggling. It’s never happened before with the rest of his siblings, especially after he started doing drugs – he’s only ever felt judgmental eyes when he’s amongst family and he’s only known the empty, haunted stare amongst ghosts.)
The Handler comes for Five before he can say much else to Klaus, before he can explain he’d met people in the wrong time too and how hard it was to leave them.
“I’ll fix things. I’m going to fix things, just stay here with Ben, okay?” Five says as he and the Handler disappear in the next blink of an eye. Klaus just curls up in his childhood bed and cries himself to sleep, murmuring Dave’s name. Ben sits at the edge of his bed and runs his hand through Klaus’ hair in an attempt to soothe him (neither of them even notice they can both feel it).
The Commission is like almost every other office building he’s ever seen, so he finds it rather lackluster for what it is supposed to be. He’s given a desk and some paperwork, but he quickly abandons it once the Handler takes her leave and starts rifling through any and all files he can gets his hands on. He intercepts a message intended for “Hazel” and “Cha Cha”, who he recalls from the conversation with Klaus, and finds the kind of information he’s looking for.
“Protect Harold Jenkins,” he reads aloud. “Who the fuck is Harold Jenkins?”
“That’s an excellent question, Five.”
He whips around and finds the Handler standing in the doorway, a feral smile plastered on her face.
Thus, commences the complete destruction of the Commission, at the hands of a physically-thirteen-but-mentally-fifty-six-year-old who claws and stabs his way out, but not before setting up an explosion (that he learned about from Fester) that brings down the terribly ordinary-looking building suspended in time. As reality crumbles around them, Five leaps through space and lands on top of the counter in the parlor of the Umbrella Academy.
He’s surrounded by some of his family in the next second, namely Luther, Diego, Allison, Klaus and Ben (he’s assuming).
“Nice of you to join the family meeting,” Diego says sarcastically.
Klaus still looks possessed, sitting with his knees against his chest on the sofa, but when the question is posed, he looks up at Five and subtly shakes his head, a touch of sadness in his stare. Allison looks exhausted and guilty, while both Luther and Diego won’t make eye contact with him.
“Why are you having a family meeting without Vanya?” His voice is deceivingly calm, but the fury underneath it isn’t well hidden, because his siblings seem afraid of him in that moment.
“She left,” Klaus says. “She left, because she found out we were having a family meeting without her.”
“You’ve got to be fucking kidding me! I leave and you idiots can’t even include our sister if I’m not here to babysit!”
Diego snorts. “Why should we include her? She’ll be nothing but a burden when the time comes. She doesn’t have powers.”
Five is next to Diego in an instant and his hands are gripping the front of his all-black vigilante ensemble, yanking him down to his height.
“She’s family,” he snarls, “And that’s more than enough reason.”
Luther grabs Five and pulls him off Diego with his monstrous strength. “What’s gotten into you, Five? You didn’t care when we were thirteen, how are things different now that we’re thirty?”
“Well, Number One,” he sneers, smacking Luther’s hands off of him, “someone has to take the lead on mending our dysfunctional family.”
Luther scowls, crossing his arms. “I’m Number One, Five. If I don’t think she should be here, she shouldn’t be.”
Diego, Allison, and Klaus (and Ben) roll their eyes near simultaneously.
“This isn’t a mission, One, and I don’t take orders from you.”
Before Luther can start yet another argument, Five turns to Klaus.
“This is a family meeting, so if Ben has anything to say, speak up for him, will you?”
Klaus nods, the corners of his mouth turning up. In the same moment, Luther, Diego, and Allison give disbelieving looks first at Klaus, then at Five, and then back again.
“You know he just says that for attention, right?” Luther says, insensitive as ever. “He’s too high to see a ghost, let alone Ben.”
“Fuck you, One,” Five replies. “Actually, fuck all of you. Klaus said he’s seen Ben since he died and I’m positive that he’s mentioned it to you guys at least once. Why can’t you just take his word for it?”
“Because he’s a drug addict!”
He shoots Luther a withering glare and the impossibly large man shrinks. “I’m going to pretend you’re not so fucking stupid that you can’t get over yourself enough to believe that a drug addict is still a human being worthy of respect like anyone else, especially when this drug addict is our brother, and move on, because we have more important things to do.”
Klaus interjects suddenly. “Ben says thanks for speaking up for me, because, and I quote, none of these chuckleheads believed me before and I couldn’t say anything to them, ‘cause you know, I’m dead.”
Five smiles a little. “Any time, Ben.”
Klaus smiles back.
“Anyway,” Five says, now addressing all of his siblings who were present, “first things first, we’re all going to find Vanya and we’re going to apologize, because that was a shitty thing to do to a family member. No buts!” He snaps when he sees both Luther and Diego opening their mouths, but Luther continues anyways.
“I still think this is related to the moon. Why else would Dad have sent me there?”
“Maybe because ‘Dad’ was a horrible fucking father who didn’t give a shit about anybody?” Five says, unable to deal with Luther’s selfishness right now.
“Whatever, Five. I’m going to look for the samples I sent him.” Luther stalks out of the parlor and Five doesn’t bother to stop him, because there are more important things to be doing.
Turning to the remaining siblings, he says, “Anyone else want to go? Now’s the time.”
Diego cracks his knuckles. “I’m not apologizing. She wrote that fucking book about us and Luther’s right. She’s useless in this fight. In any fight.”
Allison speaks up. “I’m not agreeing with them, it’s just that if the world is really ending, I need to be with my daughter.”
“Fine,” Five sneers, his patience worn through. “Leave then. You know what? I’m going to go talk to her myself and maybe once all of you can pull your heads from your asses, we can have this conversation again.”
Before anyone else could say anything, he slips away, popping out inside Vanya’s apartment. She’s not there though, and he has no idea where else she could be, so he debates going on a fruitless search for her or doing some research on Harold Jenkins, whoever he was.
He discovers Harold Jenkins was recently released from prison, after serving time for murdering his father. Five doesn’t know what to think of the man, who looks like a pretty average human being in his mugshot. He tries to get in contact with him on the phone and goes to his house, but upon finding no one home, teleports inside.
He finds a pair of corpses in the attic, as well as what can only be described as a shrine to the Umbrella Academy, which completely weirds Five out. He leaves as fast as he can, and in a moment of uncertainty and exhaustion, heads to the department store he knows Delores is in.
She actually has both arms, as well as legs, which is kind of hard to get used to.
“Hi Delores,” he says, looking at her fondly. “You’re looking well.”
He talks with her for hours, describing his year with the Addams family, recounting some of his favorite memories of Wednesday (“Don’t be jealous.”), and explaining the situation he currently found himself in.
The store closes and he gets kicked out by an employee who’s been giving him odd looks since he started talking, but he just waits until everyone leaves and hops back inside. He and Delores talk until it’s deep into the night and he falls asleep at her feet, the most relaxed he’s been since he arrived.
He returns to the Umbrella Academy the next morning (after a bittersweet farewell to his longtime friend) and finds all of the siblings minus Vanya throughout the mansion.
“Family meeting,” he says, “Now.”
Luther is shirtless, exposing the full glory of his ape-body, and looks (and smells) like he’s hungover; Five’s tempted to say something, but is not willing to antagonize him now that everyone is settled down.
“So, I found some information concerning the apocalypse during my brief time at the Commission.”
He holds up Jenkins’ mugshot. “Do any of you know Harold Jenkins by chance?”
His siblings gape at him.
“Wait, do all of you somehow know him?”
“That’s, this can’t be, I knew something was weird about him!” Allison is shouting at them.
“You do know him then,” Five prompts.
“That’s Vanya’s boyfriend!”
“Vanya has a boyfriend?” Five doesn’t care if his sister wants to date, but he’s almost certain he remembers her saying she liked girls when they were younger. He’s not sure if she’s ever said that to the others though, and maybe she’s bi, so, even at a time like this, he won’t be the one to out her.
“Yeah, he called himself Leonard when we met him,” Diego says.
“Did all of you meet him?”
“Kind of? He was with Vanya right before she stormed off…”
Five is pinching the bridge of his nose and the rest of the siblings are silent. He lets out a long sigh.
“Let’s go find Vanya.”
They couldn’t find her. There’s no one in her apartment and none of the Hargreeves know her phone number.
“Are you serious,” Five grumbles, absolutely irritated with everyone and everything. “Wednesday would kill all of you if she were here.”
“It’s actually Friday,” Allison supplies unhelpfully, completely mishearing his comment. He ignores her.
“Alright, we need to find Vanya and Leonard, and fast.”
They look all over town, but can’t find any trace of the pair. Five is afraid that when they find them, their sister will be nothing but a corpse.
Diego, Allison, Klaus, Ben, and Five discover where Vanya is the day the world is supposed to end. Because it turns out (like father, like adopted son) Luther had the genius idea to confine her in a disturbing sound-proof vault in a basement floor none of them knew about.
Vanya had come home to the mansion, covered in blood, sobbing, making the portraits fall off the walls and the chandelier shake ominously, as she detailed to Luther, her brother, that she had powers, that Leonard had been trying to use her, manipulating her, coaxing her to use her newly-discovered (but always present) powers to maim and murder, to get revenge. She’d discovered he had Dad’s journal and that’s how he knew the truth about her and why he came looking for her under the pretense of learning the violin.
“I, I was up-upset, and I, I, I c-c-couldn’t control it, and n-now he’s d-d-dead and it’s, it’s my fault,” she had cried.
“It’s okay,” he had lied, embracing her. “It’s going to be okay.”
And then he had squeezed her until she passed out, ignoring her cries (“You’re hurting me!”).
Now, all the siblings were gathered in front of said vault, Luther explaining everything that had happened as they watched Vanya desperately pounding on the glass of the door, tears streaming down her face as she soundlessly cried for what must have been help.
“Luther, I’ll kill you,” Five says once One finishes his retelling. His voice is flat, yet it sounds the most dangerous it ever has. “Let her out before I do it myself.”
“Are you kidding me, Five? Didn’t you hear anything I said? She’s dangerous! She could kill any of us! She just killed her boyfriend!”
All of the siblings are looking at Luther with dismay and disgust.
“She’s our sister!” Allison snaps when he looks pleadingly at her.
“Ben and I both think you’re fucked in the head, Luther. You don’t, you don’t do this to another person,” Klaus says. He’s trembling, his arms wrapped around himself in a way that makes Five wonder if there’s more to his comment than he’s actually saying.
“Even I think this is the stupidest thing you’ve done in a long time, and you’ve done plenty of dumb things.” Diego scowls. “Let her out.”
Luther stands in front of the door, arms crossed and scowl crinkling his face.
“I’m Number One,” he says, “I’m the leader. And as the leader, I’m saying she’s too dangerous to be let out.”
That’s all it takes for Five to launch himself at Luther.
It’d be a good time to explain that despite how dysfunctional the Hargreeves family was, they hadn’t seriously fought one another before. Sure, Luther and Diego had their temper tantrums over the years and it would be a lie to say they hadn’t attacked without the intention of causing harm, but none of them had ever started a fight with an intent to kill.
Until now. Here they stood in Reginald’s secret prison, Vanya collapsed on the floor of the vault, shaking, as Five gives his all to kill, or at the very least maim, his brother. He’s jumping out of reach when Luther’s fingers almost grasp his clothes, he’s punching and kicking Luther without an ounce of mercy. He pulls off his tie from Gomez’s funeral suit and yanks it over Luther’s head, fully committed to strangling the monkey bastard, when Luther suddenly throws Five off of him, tossing him into a wall without holding back. Five’s head slams against the concrete with an alarmingly noticeable thud and then he’s crumbled in a heap of teenage limbs on the floor, knocked out. Diego, Allison, Klaus, and Ben all turn to gawp at Luther, who hesitates for a second before furrowing his brows into a serious look.
“I’m not kidding, you guys. We keep Vanya here until we have a better understanding of her powers. I’m not saying it’s forever, it’s just until then. Got it?”
“Sheesh, clearly you’re not kidding,” Ben retorts, which makes Klaus smile crookedly. He’s still afraid to leave Vanya there, locked in the vault that reminds him so much of the mausoleum, but he’s not really in the mental state to do much, nor would he pose much of a threat to Luther.
The other (conscious) siblings weren’t about to argue with Luther after having seen him concuss their youngest (or should that be oldest?) brother with barely any regret. Technically, they knew Allison could rumor Luther into opening the door, but they also know she’s been having some kind of internal struggle with her own powers ever since the divorce.
(She hasn’t rumored anyone since that night Patrick caught her rumoring Claire to sleep. Not that her siblings know about that.)
Luther picks up Five’s limp body and begins heading to the elevator and the others follow him reluctantly. They give Vanya’s desolate form a few pitiful glances and Klaus mouths sorry as they trudge into the elevator.
* * * * *
A few hours later, when Five wakes up, he’s not in the mansion. He’s laid out on a couple uncomfortable plastic seats, fluorescent lights flickering dimly above him. It’s too loud and he groans as he pulls himself into a sitting position and he’s confused to find himself at a bowling alley.
“What the fuck.”
“Oh, you’re awake. Good,” Luther responds and in the next second, Five throws himself on top of him, his hands too small to wrap all the way around Luther’s throat, but that doesn’t stop him from trying.
It takes both Diego and Klaus to drag Five off of Luther, who gingerly rubs his neck while glowering at Five.
“What the hell is going on?!” Five snarls, still itching to get his hands around Luther’s neck.
It’s Allison who explains what had happened after he’d been knocked out. They had let Luther keep Vanya in her cell and his brilliant plan backfired half an hour later when she had broken out using her powers, collapsing the entirety of the mansion on her way out.
“She killed Pogo,” Allison says. “And Mom didn’t make it out of the house.”
They had regrouped in the bowling alley because they didn’t know where else to go. Their home was in shambles and their sister was now a royally pissed-off, insanely powerful, inexperienced superhuman.
“Maybe I can help,” Klaus speaks up. “Earlier, when the academy was falling down, you know how I pulled you out of the building?”
He looks at Diego, who nods, a rare but incredibly fond smile tugging at the corners of his lips.
“Well, I wasn’t the one who pulled you out.”
Diego immediately looks lost and Klaus wrings his hands nervously, jittery as if he were still coming down from his latest high (which Five knew he wasn’t).
Luther sighs in exasperation. “Do you have to make everything about you, Klaus? Can’t you ever stop that part of you that just has to be the center of attention?”
Five yanks one of Diego’s knives from his halter and throws it at Luther, making sure it just barely misses cutting his ear off.
“Luther,” he says, grinning without an ounce of humor. “You’ve made things about yourself plenty with your stupid, god-damn ‘dad sent me to the moon’ pity party! And we’re only in this mess, because of your stupid fucking idea. Believe it or not, I’ve been patient with you thus far, but I’ve had it with your attitude, personality, and existence, so, shut up or the next knife is going between your eyes.”
Luther turns red, and Five can’t tell if it’s because he’s embarrassed or he’s upset, but he couldn’t care less about Luther’s feelings right now – he would consider making amends later (not apologizing, because he absolutely wasn’t sorry for what had just occurred).
“Ben,” Five says instead, scarily looking right at Ben as he addresses him blindly, “would you be willing to help out if Klaus can manifest you?”
Ben is pleasantly surprised that Five chose to address him before asking Klaus if he was even capable of doing it again. Realistically, no matter how much he wants to help, he isn’t exactly his own person. Klaus would never say so, but Ben never forgets that he’s technically a part of Klaus’ powers; death took away his right to just be “Ben”. It’s also nice because it means that Five is acknowledging Ben’s own discomfort with his powers and asking his assent in using them, rather than commanding it as Luther used to do when they were younger.
He nods to Klaus, who’s smiling at him in a way he hasn’t since he was last sober, almost two decades ago.
“He’s agreed!” Klaus cheers, clapping his hands gleefully.
“Right. Then, Klaus, do you think you can manifest Ben again? We could really use his help.”
“I can try? I’ve never done it on purpose before.”
“Okay, so we won’t rely on Ben’s help, but if you’re able to, that’d be great.” From anyone else, Klaus would have felt dejected and ignored as he usually was, but coming from Five, Klaus couldn’t help but grin while exchanging high fives with Ben (Luther rolls his eyes when he watches Klaus raise a hand to the air).
Agreement from Klaus and Ben confirmed, Five begins to pace, his hands rubbing his face with exasperation.
“Do any of you know where Vanya is now?”
“She could be anywhere, Five. She’s unhinged. With that said, I say once we find her, we should be prepared to…do what is necessary to stop her.”
Five raises eyebrows at Luther’s words.
“What are you suggesting exactly?” Allison asks.
Five answers the question, since he immediately understood what Luther is hinting at. “Harold Jenkins is already dead, so he’s not the cause of the apocalypse, he’s the catalyst. That means Vanya causes the apocalypse and our dear brother is suggesting we kill her.” He can’t stop the curl of his lips into a sneer.
“It’s not like she hasn’t killed anyone! She killed Pogo! She indirectly killed Grace! She’s not innocent in this.”
“Yes, but we’ve all killed people, Luther, and justified it by saying they deserved it. Don’t you think in Vanya’s eyes – with the way we treated her growing up and continued to treat her even now – we deserve it?” Five says Luther’s name, but he’s staring at all of his siblings as he talks.
None of them are innocent in this, not even him.
“Regardless, we need to find her,” Diego deflects while shifting uncomfortably. Typical. “We can make amends after we’ve stopped the end of the world, alright?”
“That still requires us to find her,” Luther points out.
“Holy shit, I found her!” Klaus yells. His siblings are automatically scanning the vicinity, looking for their potentially murderous sister waltzing into the bowling alley, but don’t see her. Klaus points to an advertisement in the newspaper he had just been flipping through.
“Tonight’s her concert? Why didn’t any of us know that?” Five says, growing frustrated with himself and the others with every minute that ticks by. God (if They’re out there) only knows how hard he had been trying to build bridges ever since he came back, but he’s been watching every single one of his siblings willfully set fire to them before he can establish anything stable (and more importantly, permanent).
His family shrugs in response and pretend to busy themselves, so they can avoid making eye contact with one another.
“Excuse me,” a random lady interrupts their meeting. She looks nauseatingly friendly and Five scowls at her, not in the mood to play nice with strangers.
“It’s my son Kenny’s birthday today and wouldn’t your son be happier playing with kids his own age? Assuming it’s okay with your two dads.” She gives a pointed glance at Diego and Klaus, who look at one another in confusion.
“I’d rather chew off my own foot,” Five bites out. He can almost hear Wednesday’s response: And I’d love to watch as you do it.
The woman looks startled and then indignant, but she quickly leaves with Kenny in tow as Klaus waves his “goodbye” hand at them.
“Let’s go,” Five says, easing himself up. “And no killing our sister.”
He hasn’t fully recovered from his concussion, but he’s running out of time, and all things considered, life could potentially be a lot worse right now. Diego and Klaus are now bickering about who would be luckier to date the other and Five scoffs at their childish banter, but is glad that at least some of his siblings are making an effort to get along (even if it was thirty years late).
The family, with Five in the lead, rush over to the theater where Vanya is performing. There’s some argument about the plan of attack, as Luther is still leaning towards murdering Vanya, while Allison, Klaus, Ben, and Five are against it, and think they should make an effort to extend her an olive branch. Diego isn’t exactly saying no to either plan, but is instead urging everyone to act now and think later (which is not a great plan, but very Diego of him to say).
Five threatens Luther to back off and at least let the rest of the siblings try to talk to her first, which he agrees to (just barely).
Then there’s another argument because everyone wants Klaus to play lookout, which is quickly ended by Five glaring at his younger siblings with a promise that is just short of waterboarding followed by slow death.
“We’re all going, Klaus and Ben too.”
No one wants to argue with Five when he’s pissed, so they let it go.
They sneak in, as the performance is well under way, and Five makes eye contact with Vanya, who is standing center stage, dressed to the nine’s in a dashing black suit.
It’s beautiful, her playing is beautiful, and Five can hear it without knowing a thing about music or violins. Five gazes at her fondly and she returns the warmth in his gaze with a small-but-not-meek smile. Her eyes are the silvery grey of a steel knife, but they shine like stars.
And then it happens. Luther rushes out and swings his fist as if to punch Vanya across stage, Diego standing off to the side with a knife out, hesitating to attack, but there all the same.
“Idiots!” Five shouts as the pandemonium begins.
The White Violin – Vanya, Number Seven, their sister – now stands upon the stage and looks down on them with cold, indifferent eyes.
Five feels like vomiting because he can practically feel her animosity curl around him in the air and slither around his neck. (Given her powers, it probably is doing that.)
“Vanya!” he yells over the screaming and panic that’s barely audible over the sound of her violin. It’s not beautiful anymore – it’s terrifying. It’s as if the instrument is wailing and Five thinks he might cry with how painful everything feels when he’s surrounded by the furious and betrayed shriek of Vanya’s weapon.
“Please! We just want to talk to you, with you!” he tries again, still struggling against the flood of her emotions overpowering all of them.
There is only the Hargreeves siblings in the theater now, just the Umbrella Academy.
“Vanya, please stop.” A voice whispers. It’s soft, muted, but it somehow rises over the djinn and captures everyone’s attention, because while it may be new, it’s familiar.
Standing in the middle of the theater is Klaus, fists clenched and shrouded in wispy blue light, completely focused on something off in the distance. And right next to him, flickering blue, a sorrowful expression on his face, is Ben.
He looks young. His manifestation is unmarred, the skin of his face smooth, which all of the siblings are thankful for, because no one knew what they would do if confronted with Ben’s mangled remains. The horrors in his stomach are equally ghostly, but they are writhing, crawling out slowly, waving to and fro as if tasting the air, and his pale hands are clutched to his abdomen, as if that alone could prevent them from running rampant.
“Please, Vanya,” he says again, his voice still registering as if whispered in everyone’s ears. “I know it hurts. I know you’re hurt. But that doesn’t mean you can take it out on other people.”
She falters for a moment, her playing becoming uneven, as she takes in the sight of their dead brother’s ghost.
He speaks again, his voice echoing and unearthly, yet completely, totally Ben’s.
“Our family’s been awful to one another, not just to you. We all have things we need to apologize for and we all have things we are burdened by.”
The horrors are starting to thrash against Ben’s hands and the rest of them, Vanya included, remember the times Ben didn’t want to use his powers and was coerced by the others to do so. They all inwardly cringed as they thought of the many times Ben cried about how it hurt to feel them under his skin, how opening the gate in his stomach felt like ripping himself open, and recalled how he was beaten by a disappointed Reginald for refusing orders to train or use the horrors. And they couldn’t forget how they turned a blind eye to it all.
“Let’s talk, let’s talk about it, about everything. We want to listen to you and we want you to listen to us. You’re our sister and what you say is important, but we won’t ever get a chance to fix this, to hear you out, if you don’t let us.” Five takes advantage of the momentary calm, shooting Ben and Klaus grateful looks, as he appeals to Vanya. “And you’ll never get to know us if you don’t stop.”
Her fingers twitch against the strings, her grip on her bow loosening slightly.
“Do you mean it?”
“Why wouldn’t I?” Five responds immediately. The aftershocks of her power are subsiding and he can now see the fear in her eyes, the shame, the guilt, that had been hidden by the blinding anger that had obscured her vision before. “You’re important to us, Vanya. You’re important, period.”
There are a few seconds of tension between the siblings, where each of them eye one another with apprehensive expressions. Vanya’s reigned in her power for now, even though she’s practically pulsing with it, and Five takes it as the most of an invitation he’s likely to get.
He teleports to her side, ensuring he does it slow enough that she knows he’s coming and landing far enough from her that she hopefully won’t be startled into attacking. He extends a hand and takes hold of her wrist, gently pulling her bow from her fingers. She allows it, her expression adopting the nervous demeanor he found familiar and yet foreign, due to the paleness of her typically brown eyes.
Five places her bow on the floor with care and then pulls Vanya into a bruising hug. She makes a startled sound, and it takes a minute, but her arms cautiously wrap around him. She starts shaking and Five can feel the heat of her tears bleed through his suit.
“It’s okay,” he murmurs. “It’s going to be okay.”
There’s another person suddenly wrapped around them, a person who’s freezing cold to touch, but whose presence warms Five’s heart.
“It’s good to see you in person, Ben,” he smiles and Ben smiles back.
Klaus throws himself into their little huddle almost immediately after Ben, and it’s not long before Allison does the same. She drags both Diego (who looks like he wants to object to the physical display of affection) and Luther (who looks beyond guilty) in with her.
It’s not the picture-perfect moment it would be in a movie. They all ignore the way the horrors wriggle around them and wind themselves up their ankles and Luther literally is big enough to encircle the entire group hug with his overly muscular ape arms. Allison’s starting to cry a bit and Diego’s faintly groaning and complaining about “sappy shit” (as he tears up) while Vanya continues to silently sob in the middle of it all. Klaus looks like he’s about to pass out, which Five assumes has something to do with manifesting Ben, who’s starting to flicker in and out of sight, like static-y television.
“Alright, that’s enough,” Five says, wrestling his siblings off of him. “We’ve got some stuff to work out and I think that’s the longest hug I’ve ever given in my entire 56 years of consciousness.”
He glances at Ben. He’s barely visible now, pale blue in stark contrast with the darkened theater, but fading rapidly.
“See you around,” Five says cheekily, to which Ben actually smirks, flips him off, and disappears to everyone but Klaus, who immediately slumps on the floor. Five is next to him in a second, catching him just before his head hits the floor.
“Just peachy,” Klaus mumbles, gazing blankly ahead. He’s sweating and dark circles ring his eyes, but he looks as if he’s at peace, for the first time in a long time.
“You did great, Klaus,” Five says lowly, loud enough for only his brother to hear it. He grins at Five’s words and weakly raises his “hello” hand to pat his cheek, which earns him a scowl.
“What’s the plan now?” Diego cuts in.
All of the siblings are crowded around Five and Klaus, who’s starting to push himself up into a seated position.
Vanya’s eyes are still the color of steel, but she holds herself in that same frightened way she’d adopted growing up. She shifts her weight from one foot to the other and her hands fidget against the violin she’s cradling in her arms.
Luther is standing as far as possible from Vanya, eyeing her in a way that has Five glaring daggers at him. He’s not sure if Luther is keeping his distance because of guilt or fear, but his attempted assault on their sister is definitely going to make for some awkwardness between the two of them, not even counting how upset Five is with Luther at the moment (and he’s sure his other siblings have things to say to One as well).
Allison and Diego are going back and forth between not-so-discreetly staring at Luther and then not-so-discreetly staring at Vanya. They also take breaks from doing so to stare pointedly at Klaus, who rambles about how he totally hadn’t been lying about Ben and it’s been years since he first said so, but now he can finally say, “Told you so!”
God (who Five was suspecting more and more of being a complete asshole) was their family messed up. Aside from Five, who had been trying desperately to keep their family together and was still struggling to get along with some of them, the Hargreeves’ family had done a splendid job ripping their fragile bonds to shreds.
What to do, Five muses. We saved the world, but we’re in critical condition emotionally speaking. We’d need a fucking miracle to fix this dumpster fire.
He thinks, not for the first time, of the Addams family. Of their easy, unconditional acceptance, of their unique brand of happiness that had changed his life in just one short year, and of their way of making the impossible possible.
“That’s it!” Five shouts, bolting up from where he had been sitting on the floor. His siblings jump where they stand.
“Okay, everyone hold hands,” he commands, helping Klaus up before taking his right hand and Vanya’s left.
Allison grabs Vanya’s right hand, while Diego grabs Klaus’ left, leaving Luther to hold Allison’s and Diego’s hands.
“Leave room for Ben,” Five insists. He hasn’t ever attempted something like this before, but he isn’t about to leave anyone out, dead or not. There’s been enough exclusion in the Hargreeves family to last a lifetime.
Klaus and Diego separate, and Klaus firmly grasps the air, while Diego less certainly holds his hand out to what feels like empty air.
“What exactly are we doing, Five?” Luther asks, slightly meek. It’s the first time he’s said something since he tried to kill their sister, which he had promised not to do.
“We’re going home,” Five says elusively.
Before anyone can question what he means (seeing as the Umbrella Academy was currently rubble), Five initiates the jump, thinking of that beloved, old mansion, standing on the hill above Cemetery Ridge.
He imagines Gomez saying sweet everythings to Morticia as he kisses her passionately, thinks of Morticia’s wisdom and killer tea, can almost taste Grandmama Addams’ strange new concoctions, and smiles as he remembers Fester’s awkward grins. Five hears Pugsley begging for a story, laughs aloud to a joke tapped out in Morse code by Thing, and sees Lurch looming over him in the foyer. And he thinks of his favorite day of the week, of her sharp wit and dry humor, of her rare smiles.
He thinks of his siblings, growing up broken and unsure of themselves and one another. How even he couldn't help himself sometimes, getting into arguments with Luther and Allison and Diego, who were all headstrong and opinionated and clashed with him in a lot of ways that he didn't always have the patience for. How he could've tried harder to get along with the three of them in the same way he was able to make amends with Klaus, Ben, and Vanya. How the Hargreeves siblings couldn’t get along because they lacked the emotional capacity to do so and were constantly at one another’s throats because that’s how they thought people dealt with their feelings. How they never figured out they were whole, even when broken.
He thinks of his family, Addams and Hargreeves.
And he jumps, pulling his siblings in after him.
* * * * *
One moment, there had been a pulsating blue ring that engulfed the Hargreeves siblings and the next moment, they found themselves somewhere entirely new.
They’re still holding hands, but Five’s collapsed, his eyes rolling back so they could see the whites of his eyes, unconscious. They’re all on the ground, and Vanya shifts Five so that his head is on her lap and she brushes the hair away from his eyes.
The others look at one another, still dressed in the bloody and dusty clothes from before, but no longer on the stage of the partially ruined theater. They’re on the floor of what looks to be an old mansion, judging from the décor and the spider webs hanging from the ceiling. It’s impressive, though, and looks to be potentially bigger than the Umbrella Academy, which they all would have thought is impossible.
“Where are we?” Allison asks, taking in the incredibly expensive relics littered around the entryway they had landed in.
“I don’t know,” Luther says, annoyed. “Five didn’t exactly ask us our opinion before bringing us here.”
“Oh, don’t start,” Diego scoffs. Luther sneers and begins to retort, when Klaus interrupts him.
“Guys? Maybe we should be worried…”
They turn to look where Klaus is staring and stiffen when they are confronted by a young girl standing on the staircase, dressed entirely in black, and holding a loaded crossbow.
Aimed directly at Five’s head.