She has to get out of here. Vanya knows now what Sir Reginald Hargreeves spent so long hiding from her, from all of them. She knows why he crushed her spirit, tore her down, made her into nothing. She knows why she has the pills, the bottles now rattling like maracas in her pockets.
Vanya is a monster.
She has to go; she can't stay here now, not with what she's done to her own brother hanging over her head. There's no way Vanya will ever allow that to happen to her other siblings. While there is breath in her body Vanya will not ever allow herself to harm her family. Never again.
She hasn't washed the blood off yet. Everything happened so fast; seconds after she sat holding Ben's lifeless body in her arms, the shouting and shooting downstairs had petered out. She'd shifted Ben to lie as comfortably as she could manage on the floor and run for her room. Unbeknownst to the others, she'd hoarded her medicine rather than throw it away. Vanya knows Five would scold her for being stupid- what if their father found it all? But maybe she'd wanted to be caught. Maybe she'd wanted a safeguard against herself. Maybe she was stupid.
It doesn't matter now. She has the pills and the clothes on her back and Ben's blood on her hands and that's all she needs.
Allison catches her around the shoulders in the courtyard. Vanya's lungs are burning, her legs are jelly, her stomach twists into knots. She has vomited twice, once on her own bed and once in the bushes right outside the kitchen door. The stink lingers in her mouth, makes her eyes water, and mingles with Ben's blood to make her gag again and again.
"Vanya, oh my God, are you okay?"
"I have to go. I have to go. Let me go, Allison."
Her sister's pretty face flinches. There's a cut at her brow and one under her right ear. Gunpowder darkens the tip of her nose, which she wrinkles. "What? Whose blood is that? Vanya, are you alright? Are you hurt? Where's Ben?"
Vanya retches again, tearing away to spit bile into the grass. Allison makes a worried noise behind her but Vanya can't say it. She can't face what she has done. Not yet. Maybe not ever.
"I hurt them, Allison," she admits instead, because faceless strangers are easier to carry to the grave than her own brother. "I- I tore them to pieces."
"Oh, God." Allison's paler than Vanya has ever seen her. She looks as weak as Vanya feels, but her hands still fumble at Vanya's shoulders. "I'm so sorry, Vanya, we never meant for you to be caught up in this."
That- that sounds all too familiar. "What do you mean?" When Allison blanches, hesitating, Vanya surges forward. "What are you saying? What did Ben mean when he said you weren't who I thought you were?"
"I- oh God- shit- there's a reason Dad won't let you see the news when we go out Vanya. We're not heroes."
It is inconceivable. For a long second, Vanya stares, uncomprehending, feeling at a total loss. Allison hurries to continue, looking for a way out. "Look, Dad is in charge, and he- you know how he is. Selfish, borderline insane. He- makes us do things, Vanya. Bad things."
"No…" She can't accept this. Not her family, not her siblings. Not her Ben. "No, you're superheroes. Your powers…"
"We're super alright," Allison laughs derisively. Her fingers are clawing into the flesh of Vanya's shoulders. "Just not the good kind. It's why this all happened, we think. These guys in animal masks-"
She can't do this. Not now. Not ever. Vanya is vividly aware Ben's body lies cooling three floors above their heads. She can't be here any longer. She shrugs out of her sister's hold, readying herself to run faster than she ever has in her life. But-
"Do you want to be a hero, Allison?"
Allison clutches her tighter. "What do you mean?"
"Do you want to be my hero?"
"More than anything," Allison admits after a pause. She has never seen her so vulnerable and small. "After what Dad had me do to you- I always want to save you, Vanya. You're my sister."
"Good," Vanya says. She feels so far away all of a sudden, as if she's hearing and speaking with Allison from down a very long metal tube. Everything sounds tinny in her ears. "Then can you do one thing for me? Just one thing, Allison."
"I'd do anything for you."
"Rumor my powers away."
It looks like her sister's heart stops. She lurches forward and Vanya steps back from her clutching hands. She raises her voice over the other girl's protests. "Take them away, please Allison. Please, please Allison, please. You have to take them away."
"No! I can't- can't do that to you again! Not after-"
"I want you to," Vanya pleads, hysteria edging her voice. Something in it stops Allison short. "Please Allison, if there's one heroic thing you could do in your entire life, do this for me and don't ask me why. Please. I'm begging you, Allison."
Allison's eyes shine with unshed tears. Vanya is reminded that they are both very young. Then her beautiful sister opens her mouth and says, "I heard a rumor your powers stopped working."
"Thank you," Vanya whispers. Then she turns her back, and sprints away from all that she has ever known.
"Can't you make this thing go any faster?" Her cry is barely audible over the roar of the engine. The tires squeal in protest as Klaus takes them around a corner too sharply.
"I don't even know how to drive!" He reminds her. "You want to give it a go?"
"I don't know how to drive either."
"Then shut up and stop judging me!"
Vanya shuts up and directs her anger- her fear, roiling in the base of her stomach- out the window. There's a flare of light and a crash as half the streetlights lose their bulbs.
"Oh, real mature," Klaus snarks. Vanya scowls. The radio flips through several stations on its own before settling on heavy metal. As a guitar riff screeches in their ears Klaus sends her a sneer. Okay, maybe she deserves that one. Vanya reaches over and turns the radio off.
"Exactly how powerful are you, sis?" Klaus asks, and the way he says it she can tell he's quoting the ghost in the back seat.
"I don't know," Vanya tells him honestly. "Pretty strong, I think."
"Good," Klaus replies, expression grim. They're rounding the corner from the Academy and Vanya can see the unnatural orange glow of the fire brightening the pitch dark sky at the end of the road. Smoke plumes across the horizon and the smell permeates through the car. She tries not to gag; it will only get worse from here. "I think we're gonna need you."
"Do you know what's happening?"
"It's those guys who killed Ben." Klaus's face looks grey in the dim light, mouth set into a thin line. Vanya's stomach turns and it has nothing to do with the ash she's inhaling already. The Academy driveway comes up on their right and Klaus swerves the wheel. "Five said they had to do with where he was all this time-"
"I know, he told me. What's happened?"
Klaus has the good nature not to be offended by her interruption. He shrugs, causing the car to wobble violently. "They were tracking him."
Shit. This is going to be worse than she thought.
The Academy is holding up well for as old a house as it is; the west wing has crumbled to nothing more than a blackened skeleton of itself, the frame still smoldering. A few of the upper windows had burst outward as they traveled up the road, and Vanya can see flames lick out into the night from the openings. But the rest of the house is still standing, albeit groaning under the assault. Already she can hear the pop of gunfire and what could possibly be Allison screaming. Her heart tightens and Klaus has to speed up to avoid a tree falling into their path from the force of her terror.
"Klaus, that's the gate," Vanya says. Klaus grins wildly and the car does not veer away. He presses down on the gas pedal. For a moment she sits stunned before she hastily pulls her seatbelt across her body, bracing herself against the seat. Okay, so this is how they're going to do this.
"Going in loud, huh?" She bites out just as they impact with the wrought iron. Klaus's teeth flash white in the dark and she can't help the slightly hysterical laugh she gives in response.
"No better way, sister dear."
The gate crashes aside as their engine revs. The car swerves, fishtailing for a few brief, agonizing seconds, before Klaus slams on the breaks. They roll forward some yards, tires screeching, finally coming to a jolting stop halfway up the lawn. Vanya throws open the door and launches herself out before Klaus even takes his hands off the wheel.
Some distant part of her brain is registering how funny the situation is as she searches frantically for a way in. The front door is blocked by flames and a fallen support beam- even if she did manage to get through, the entrance room is structurally damaged and she'd be in danger of it collapsing. All this week she longed to be out of this house and yet here she is, desperate to get in. Glass rains down on her head as she sprints around the corner, and a body flies from the second story to land in a crumpled heap a yard or so to her left.
She veers away for a second before recognizing the silver knives strapped to the man's back. Vanya grabs her brother around the bicep and hauls him up from where Diego was in the process of getting to his hands and knees. A second later, his weight shifts and Klaus is beside her, helping sling their brother's arm (oh, that's not the angle it's supposed to bend at) around his own neck.
"You okay, bro?"
"What are you two-" Diego cuts himself off, turning his head to cough and retch onto the lawn. Both Vanya and Klaus wrinkle their noses, but neither drop him. Diego gasps for a second. "It's n-not safe- y-y-yo-you gotta get outta he-here."
Klaus looks at her. Vanya looks at Diego. Diego looks at the house, then back at her. Something solid and warm slots into place in her chest and it feels like coming home like nothing else ever has.
"I'm not leaving without you," Vanya decides. Some unnamed tension releases around his eyes and Klaus laughs, high and loud like a hyena. She smiles, just a little.
"Let's g-go g-get the ot-thers, then."
The back door into the kitchen is still more or less intact. The doorknob proves too hot to touch and the broken glass of the window threatens to shred the flesh of any stupid enough to reach through. Klaus curses and Diego growls.
Vanya raises one hand and the door flies inward off its hinges, flipping over the kitchen counter and landing with a crash on the table.
"Holy shit," Diego says.
"Let's go," Klaus says.
Somewhere on the second floor, their sister is screaming. Gunfire comes from higher up, and Vanya's ears are popping- a clear sign Five is blinking in and out of existence at such a fast rate he's breaking the sound barrier. Their father used to hate it.
"We've got to split up," she tells her brothers. "Regroup in the courtyard, get out as fast as we can."
"See that's what they all say in the horror movies and look how those turn out," Klaus replies. They keep low as they creep into the entrance hall, heading for the staircase, which is looking more rickety than she's ever seen it. The steps are burnt and half crumbling, and the handrail is a blackened skeleton of its former self.
"We don't have time for this," Diego snaps. "What are you two going to do if you get into a fight, huh? Leave it to me."
"Uh, I'm pretty sure you've got internal bleeding, my dude." Klaus is sweating, shaking and red, but his hands glow blue. "If anyone stays behind, it should be you. And did you not see the thing with the door? Our little sister is a badass now!"
Diego looks at her and Vanya rests a hand on his shoulder, schooling her expression into a calmness she does not feel. "It'll be alright."
Diego opens his mouth, obviously about to protest, when a figure rounds the corner from the living room and opens fire on them. All three duck and Vanya feels Diego shove at her shoulder roughly. "Get out of here!"
She knows he means to leave the house. The smoke is collecting near the ceiling, the wood beams are creaking ominously, and she can barely see, let alone breathe. She heads upstairs with Klaus anyway.
Halfway up, Klaus's leg goes through one of the steps and he staggers, yelping. Vanya barely has time to turn and catch him around the elbow before he goes pitching into empty space. The railing- what's left of it- splinters and falls away. There's a loud crack beneath them on the first floor- she hopes it landed on someone's head. Klaus leans on Vanya and tugs his shin from between floorboards.
"Careful," she warns. Klaus groans. His pants are all torn up, and Vanya can see red seeping from the pale skin beneath. That paired with the beating he took from Leonard earlier can't feel nice. The familiar sounds of Diego's knives cutting through air drift up from downstairs.
They manage the rest of the stairs without incident, but as soon as they get to the landing, Klaus stops her, nodding to the corner. "Someone's there."
Vanya opens her mouth to ask how he knows, but is stopped by gunfire from the end of the hallway. Klaus shoves her to the ground, rolling on top of her and it's all too much, too reminiscent of Ben. Vanya grabs at him, rolling them over and into another room. It's only when she stands that she recognizes it as Luther's old childhood bedroom.
Klaus peeks around the doorjamb as footsteps approach. "Two of them," Klaus whispers. He grimaces. "Still wearing those creepy masks, ugh."
"Don't go out there."
"You got a better idea? I'm all ears."
Vanya closes her eyes, concentrates on his harsh breathing, the loud pop of Five's teleportation from upstairs, the sound of Allison's rumors floating from down the hall and-
"Holy shit," Klaus breathes. Vanya opens her eyes.
Waves of sound or air or something are rolling from her outward, pulsing in the space between them. The same fuzzy whiteness from Leonard's house covers her eyes.
"Move," she orders, and that same voice-that-is-not-hers resonates from somewhere deep. Klaus moves.
The blast she sends down the hall has both gunmen flying down the stairs, tumbling ass over elbows. She raises a hand and their guns soar into the air and crumple like paper when she closes her fist.
"Holy shit ," Klaus repeats with feeling. "Ben, did you see that?"
"Let's go." Vanya cuts him off. She feels nausea tickle the back of her throat but swallows it down impatiently. Now is not the time for a freak out.
Allison bursts from the music room- thank God, Vanya was not looking forward to going back in there- as soon as they start down the hall again. She doesn't even look surprised to see her siblings rushing towards her. "Luther's downstairs securing a way out. Diego was trying to stop the guy with the flamethrower, I don't know where Five is-"
"Flamethrower?" Vanya gets stuck on this while Klaus replies at the same time, "Diego fell out a window and Five is upstairs. I think."
"You guys get Diego and Luther out of here," Allison fires back rapidly. "I'll go get Fi-"
She doesn't finish before the butt of a machine gun slams into the back of her head. As Allison falls to the ground, groaning, she reveals a woman in a pink, cartoonish dog mask ready to fire on them. She pulls up short at the sight of Vanya.
"Step aside," comes muffled from under the mask. Vanya glowers, feels that white hot power shooting through her veins. She could get used to it. Maybe. If she could only stop it from killing…
"Or what, you're gonna shoot me? Do it, then."
"Uh, Van? Not usually advisable to ask someone to shoot you."
The woman is trying to train her gun on Klaus but Vanya shuffles to the side, shielding him and putting herself between the woman and Allison in the process. The woman backs up a step.
"Klaus, take Allison and get out of here."
" Go ."
He must know that at this point, with Allison sporting a likely concussion and his own bad leg, he's dead weight for her. Klaus scrambles to haul their sister up, takes her weight and backs them down the hall. Allison's fingers try to catch Vanya's shoulder, but she's still weakened from the blow. Vanya shakes her off and makes sure the woman can't get a clean shot until their eyes leave her back as they round the corner.
The woman curses, the barrel of her gun lowering.
Vanya cocks her head. "So is there any reason why you won't shoot me?"
"You afraid?" The woman slides her foot to the left and Vanya mirrors her. In moments, they're circling each other like wild cats, waiting to pounce.
"Do I look like it?"
The woman snorts. "I don't get paid enough for this shit."
"Tell me the reason why you're doing this."
" You ."
Vanya's anger lashes out before she even processes it and the gunwoman goes flailing into the wall. Picture frames shatter on her impact, crushing glass between her back and the wall. She cries out, writhing; the wood must be hot- Vanya can feel the flames licking from inside Klaus's room without even needing to look through the doorway. "Why me?"
Through screaming, the woman grunts. "The apocalypse...must..be..preserved."
"What does that mean?" She hauls the woman away from the wall finally, dropping her at her feet. Vanya's stomach turns at the sight of her bloodied, blistering back, but she can't feel too remorseful, not when she saw the blood leaking from the back of Allison's head moments ago. "What are you saying- that me and the apocalypse are-"
"One and the same, you stupid bitch," the woman snaps. After a second where Vanya stands there, stunned, the woman goes for the gun at her hip. She barely gets off a shot before Vanya flings her down the stairs like she did the others.
"Not today," Vanya calls after her tumbling body. "I'm no killer."
There's a pop just as Vanya gets to the third story landing using the back staircase. Only one other sibling used those, and only ever to meet her after hours and read together.
Five is speaking before she even fully turns to him. "What are you doing here? You've got to get out."
"I could say the same to you," Vanya replies, coughing. The smoke is getting worse up here, she's sweating like she has a fever and her eyes are leaking tears continuously now. The smoke is so thick she can hardly see him but what she can make out of her brother shows Vanya Five is not faring much better. He's also listing to the side, clutching his ribs.
"Mom was up here."
At the look on his pale, drawn face Vanya's stomach drops. "Is she-"
"They killed her." He says shortly. "Just like they killed Ben."
"We've got to get out of here." Focus up, Vanya. Make it count. Get to safety. Be a hero.
( Do you really think you can pull this off? Sir Reginald sneers.
I'm getting real tired of you, old man. She snaps back.)
"Diego and Luther are going after the fire starter-"
"They're outside," Five tells her. "I got them out. They didn't manage to kill him, but I got the rest up here. Second floor?"
"Taken care of," Vanya assures him and hopes that her brothers had the decency to pull the unconscious bodies out too.
"Good. one less thing to worry about." Reaching out, Five seizes her arm in a grip too tight to come from a thirteen year old, and says unceremoniously, "Let's go."
Vanya spends the next half a second wishing she was never born as her insides get sucked through a hole in space and reemerge in the kitchen.
"Was that really necessary?"
Five sends a pointed look to the flaming, crumbling remains of the stairs and she has to concede the point. "Get out, I'll be right behind you."
The rest of the Hargreeves are sprawled out on the grass of the courtyard, in various states of distress. Allison gets to her first, followed by Klaus, who had been sitting in between some rose bushes and prodding at his bad ankle. Their other brothers are some distance away, shouting incomprehensibly and gagging on smoke. Vanya wonders vaguely if anyone thought to call the fire department.
"Vanya, are you alright?' Allison clutches at her shoulders just like she did all those years ago, and this time Vanya holds her back. Her sister's skin feels too hot under her hands. Blisters are forming on the back of her neck and they draw Vanya's attention to her own burns, on her side when she collided with a wall trying to get up the back stairs and on her own palms. She doesn't let go.
"I'm okay." Vanya is not sure she is, actually, but her family is alive. As long as Five can get out after finding the one who set the Umbrella Academy aflame, they're all going to be fine. Adrenaline courses through her and she's sure she's going to crash hard later.
Klaus claps her on the shoulder and Vanya barely suppresses a wince. "Look at you, superhero! You got me and Allison out just in time. They award medals for that, you know."
Vanya starts to reply, maybe suggest getting away from the still on fire building when Allison gasps and draws her back behind her. Klaus looks up sharply and they close ranks around Vanya before she's even caught sight of the gun.
There, in the doorway, is a man with the largest gun she's ever seen outside of T.V.
(It's the flamethrower, her father points out.
Now's really not a good time, Dad, she replies.)
"The apocalypse must be reignited," he says from behind another one of those Godawful masks. This one looks like a frog. "The catalyst must be reset."
"If you're talking about me," Vanya pipes up. She tries to force her way to the front- what are her siblings thinking, she's the one with untold powers here, and they're already injured- but Allison pushes her back, baring her teeth at the gunman. "If it's me, then no can do. I'm not in the world ending mood these days. Check back next week, won't you?"
"Oh, you will be," he assures her, right before his finger tightens on the trigger.
No. It's barely even a thought, just a coiled anger in her gut before Vanya screams. A wave of sound explodes out of her, knocking aside her siblings. A gale starts up, tearing trees free from the roots, shaking the already weak foundations of the Academy. The milky white blinds Vanya once again.
By the time the wave hits the pyromaniac in front of her, it's so strong that his gun simply explodes. Shrapnel and debris blow out in every direction with the force of her power. The man stumbles back, falling into the flaming house and the walls of the kitchen collapse inwards on him.
There is a second in which the world is totally silent around Vanya. She breathes freely, not tasting ash or smoke but sweet, clear oxygen. It is so peaceful, here at the eye of her own storm.
Luther yells, Diego cries out, and her calm is shattered when Vanya turns to see Allison and Klaus lying motionless on the ground. Blood pools from them both.
Allison's blood pours, hot and slick, over her hands. Vanya swallows back bile. Her sister's eyes are searching frantically, darting from side to side and Vanya leans over her, tries to smile. "Hey, hey, it's okay. It's okay. You're going to be okay."
"She's losing too much blood," Diego snaps from somewhere behind her and Vanya grits her teeth.
"You're not helping," she tells him sharply and Diego drops down to one knee next to her. He's got some strip of cloth in his hands that Vanya realizes belatedly must come from his shirt, which is torn to shreds. She takes it in one hand, keeping a firm hold of her sister's throat in the other, and presses it to the wound. One of Allison's hands comes up to grab at her shoulder and Vanya meets her eyes. She's trying to form words.
"I love you too," Vanya answers Allison, the sincerity in her voice nearly choking her. "I always did. I love you so much."
Allison can only blink at her, a terrible gurgling coming from her mouth. Vanya shushes her. She blinks again and tears make their way down her cheeks; Vanya wishes she could wipe them away but she's terrified of moving her hands. Allison reaches out again and this time clings onto Klaus's wrist, the only part of him she can reach. He doesn't even twitch but Vanya had seen his chest rising and falling before she scrambled to her sister's side.
There's a roar from behind them and Diego turns but Vanya doesn't. She can't, not when her sister is dying in her arms. Why is it always her who holds them as they die?
A body is flung across the courtyard to their right and Vanya catches a flash of blue- the man in the bear mask is down for the count, then. Good. She can't afford to get distracted.
"No, no, no, Allison ." Luther is there in the next second, looking as if he is the one at death's door.
"A hospital, she needs a hospital," Diego tells Luther. "Does anybody have a phone?"
No one does.
"Check Klaus," Vanya tells her brothers. They don't move. "Check him, he was in the same blast radius as Allison. Now!"
Diego stumbles away. For a moment there's silence and Vanya hates it because now she's just sitting with her dying sister and her fear making the trees around them crack and bend beneath its weight. She can see the vibrations coming from her body in the air, clear and wavy. On the street, car alarms are going off, lights are flickering rapidly and at least one vehicle is floating.
She is so scared.
Diego rolls their brother over and hisses. Vanya's stomach drops and Luther pales even further.
"What is it?" Their big brother asks; the way his voice cracks makes Vanya's heart twist in her chest. She doesn't want to know either.
"Sh-sh-shrapnel," Diego reports. Out of the corner of her eye Vanya can see his hands fluttering uselessly at Klaus's chest. Something silver and black and bloody pokes from Klaus's ribs. "A l-lot of i-it. Shit."
"He'll be okay, though, right?" Vanya's own voice sounds small in comparison to the wail she can feel building inside. Something desperate claws at the back of her throat. "He'll be okay."
"It doesn't look good," is all Diego is willing to stress. A sob gets caught in her throat. Allison's eyes have closed.
"Where's Five?" they have to all be here. It'll be okay if they're all together, she knows it will be. It has to be.
"I thought you went to look for him?" Diego says tightly. He's got his hands pressed to the worst of it on Klaus's midsection. She can see the scarlet already staining his gloves.
"He was right behind me."
And speak of the devil, there's a loud pop from just across Allison's body. Vanya doesn't have the strength to look up from her sister's slowly slackening features, but she can feel Five's hands (smooth and young and so old) cover hers on Allison's throat.
"No," Five gasps. "No. It wasn't supposed to be like this."
"Five," Vanya says. But she stops. What could she possibly say to make this alright? The more seconds tick by, the more Allison's eyes flutter closed, the more she's realizing that she might lose two more siblings today. She might lose everything. The human voice can't express that.
"I fixed it," Five shouts. His voice is wreaked. Vanya realizes distantly that he is going into hysterics. "Years I worked to fix it. It wasn't supposed to turn out this way. I fixed it!"
And just like that, a light bulb flickers on inside Vanya's head. It can't be easy, it won't be nice, not for anyone. But if it works, if Five could pull it off…
What she wouldn't give for a second chance. What she wouldn't do to give that to her family, to grow up right. To be a hero. To be a family, what wouldn't they all do?
Five looks up and the ash on his face makes him look all of his thirteen years. She wants to reach out to hold onto him but Allison's eyes are closed and her pulse is slowing beneath Vanya's fingers. Five is trembling, Luther is crying softly somewhere to her left, holding Allison's head in his lap. Klaus hasn't moved. Diego is the only other one who looks up, staring right at her. He was always so good at knowing when she needed to speak.
"You can still fix this," Vanya says. "We still have a chance. Take us back."
"Wh-what?' Diego blinks at her, not moving his hands from Klaus's chest. "Wh-a-at do y-you mean?"
"Take us all back to before it began," Vanya tells Five, locking her eyes on his and not wavering. "It can be better than before. We can be better than before."
She can see the moment he gets it. He doesn't even shake his head. "It's dangerous- I've never tried time travel with so many people-"
"It's the only way to save our brother and sister, Five."
Diego sucks in a breath. Luther's hand falls onto Vanya's shoulder; he's stopped crying at some point, eyes stunned. They are all looking at her and Vanya feels something strong and hot and protective swell in her chest until she's fit to burst. Allison breathes faintly under her hands.
"Are you serious?" Luther asks.
"What other plan is there?" She rejoins and he has the decency to look away. Luther squeezes her shoulder and Vanya drops her head to the side, brushing her temple against his wrist. "We're running out of time."
"You'd do that for us? Go back with us?" Diego clarifies, gaze as sharp as his knives. He takes one hand off of Klaus to wrap bloody fingers around Vanya's own wrist. His touch is warmer and softer than she'd thought it would be. "You'd do that?"
"I'd do anything for you," Vanya gets out hoarsely. The truth burns on the way up but it leaves a pleasantly cool sensation in her throat when she releases it. She has loved her family from afar for so long and now- now she might have a chance. Diego's eyes shine and he clears his throat gruffly, nodding.
"Then what are we waiting for," he mutters, looking expectantly at Five. "be a big damn hero and save our siblings, Five."
Five looks at Luther, who doesn't release Vanya's shoulder. He nods. Reaching out, Five tucks a hand into Klaus's still elbow and keeps the other wrapped around Vanya's on Allison's throat.
"Get ready," Five warns them. "This is gonna get bumpy."
Vanya wakes up in the same place she sat in the courtyard approximately fifteen years younger. She forgot how much she'd hated her bangs getting into her eyes.
Allison is struggling upright next to her. Without thinking, Vanya throws too short arms around her sister's neck. Allison is quick to clutch her back.
"I thought I was dead," she mutters into Vanya's hair. Vanya holds on tighter. "I thought I was dead. "
"It's okay, you're okay."
"Whoa, talk about deja vu." She has never been happier to hear her brother's annoying humor. There's shuffling from around her, and someone retches into the grass. Vanya can't blame them- Five's traveling is sickening at best. She doesn't know how he does it.
"Holy shit, it worked," Diego says. He sounds shocked. "Hey, did you have to turn us all young again, Five? Couldn't we have gone back like, a week?"
"Not if he wanted to fix all of this," Vanya answers, pulling back from her not-dead sister reluctantly. Allison twines their fingers together. Vanya marvels at the fact that only seven days ago- eight now, she supposes, and a number of years into the future- she'd pulled away, reluctant to give into the familial affection she craved. Life threatening situations sure did change a lot.
"She's right," says a voice that makes Vanya freeze in her tracks. A hand squeezes her free one. She's almost scared to look up.
"Hey, V," Ben says. His smile is wide and bright and alive. His eyes are such a warm shade of brown. "Thanks for the resurrection."
"Hey, I thought I was the necromancer in this party," Klaus calls, but he sounds cheerful and clear and not like he's about to die any time soon.
"It was Five, really." Vanya smiles, though, and squeezes his hand back.
"So," Luther starts from where he's helping a weakened Five sit up. Five bats his hands away irritably. No lasting damage there, then. "What now?"
That decision is taken from their hands, however, at the voice that shouts at them from over Vanya's head.
"What do you children think you are doing?"
Vanya turns, trying to ignore the dread that settles deep into her gut. Neither of her siblings let go of her and she does not let go of them.
There, standing in the doorway of a perfectly intact Umbrella Academy, is Sir Reginald Hargreeves. His jowly, angry face is as healthy as ever. His eyes are cold steel. Vanya's stomach flips, but she guesses she knew what she was asking for when she convinced Five to do this. Time to face the music.
But Vanya is not going to shrink back from the fire this time. She is done hiding.
None of the others speak up, the shock of their travel and the reappearance of the worst man alive prompting speechlessness. Sir Reginald glowers, stalking forward to their little circle on the grass under his favorite tree. She wouldn't be surprised if he thought they were sullying the place with their presence.
"Play time is reserved to a half hour between twelve and twelve-thirty on Saturdays. Get up and go back inside this instant!"
Vanya looks at her father and thinks about her life. She thinks about the pills and the pain of betrayal. She thinks about her siblings trying to protect her from their father. She thinks about how they could never quite escape his influence, even after his death. She thinks about how desperately they wished to be her heroes, as if they knew she was the only person in the world who would ever look at them like that. She thinks about the atrocities Sir Reginald forced her family to commit all in the name of his own greed.
Vanya thinks about what it means to be a hero.
She rises, trying to block her family from his glare. "Leave us alone." It's that same voice as before, when she used her powers; deep and powerful and Vanya is just now realizing that maybe it is hers, after all.
Sir Reginald blanches for a moment, before scowling at her.
"Do not talk back, Number Seven. I gave you all an order and you will obey. Now move!"
Sometimes to be a hero doesn't mean you have to save the world. Sometimes you can just save yourself. Sometimes you can just save seven young children.
Sometimes being a hero means giving your loved ones the chance to be heroes too.
Vanya takes a deep breath, looks the man who claims to be her father dead in the eye, and plants her feet. "No. You move."