There were few things that Vanya was too worried about with the house now in place. It may not have been conventional, but it was something that she was comfortable with when the inevitable chaos of the family she found made their way to visit her.
"You think I should get a violin?" Vanya asked Jumoke causally.
"A violin? It's your money little sis," Jumoke responded. "And you seem to enjoy playing it."
"I did. It's been a while but it is a beautiful instrument. It's something I enjoyed in my childhood before... well you know."
"Fair point. Hmmm. Think I could learn to play something too?" he half-joked.
"Yeah. Just pick something out and we'll get lessons."
Their conversation was interrupted by a knock on their front door. Vanya rolled her eyes.
"So, killer? Family? Maybe me dad?" she asked.
"I'll put twenty on the family. Killers don't have a tendency to knock," Jumoke responded.
"Neither does our family," Vanya cheekily replied as she grabbed a kitchen knife. "If I don't come back, assume the worst!"
"Will do," Jumoke said as he stood up, an illusion of him remaining sitting in the chair. He shrouded himself in the shadows and moved slowly as he heard Vanya open the front door.
March 24th. Twenty four hours earlier.
Ben arrived at the home and site of the Umbrella Academy. He hadn't been back to the place since his eighteenth birthday and didn't regret it. But knowing about the death of Reginald Hargreeves had brought him back like a moth to a flame. There was something final about it like he needed to see that Reginald was dead for himself.
He hoped that he wasn't the only one who felt that way.
No doubt Luther would be inside. He hadn't bothered to leave when they turned eighteen, instead, he remained as their father's Number One. It was depressing in a way. Diego hated their father but loved mom. He was sure he would come back to see her now that Reginald was dead. Allison, maybe wouldn't show up. She was a famous actress living her own disaster of a life with her divorce and daughter. Klaus, he'd be there. If only to support his drug habit.
Which left him walking into his once home.
Still as grand and epic as the day he left so many years ago.
"Allison?" Ben responded.
Both embraced in a hug.
"It's been a while," Ben said with a slight smile.
"Is it just us?" Ben asked.
"Nah. Diego and Luther are here. I don't know about Klaus though."
"I have a feeling he'll be here," he stated. They both knew how he was. The talk was shorter than he would have liked, but he was certain there were other individuals Allison would rather talk to. He wanted to see if the book collection had changed since he had left. He entered the family-styled room and looked over the books to see one book in particular that had been added to his collection. He slipped the odd book out from its place on the shelf to come face to face with a familiar face.
It had been over a decade and he could still recognize his "youngest" sister on the cover of her book. Tripping on Umbrellas.
He opened the book to the inner cover and saw writing directed to her father.
I figured, why not? I think keeping this inside is toxic. The best medicine is to just let it out,
-Your unremarkable daughter =D'
Ben raised a brow at the message. Even after all these years, he still couldn't connect the quiet and meek violin playing girl with the somewhat snarky writings of a particular author telling the world about the remarkable individuals in the world.
"Master Ben," a familiar and aged voice spoke through his thoughts. He turned around with a smile to see Pogo
"It's been a long time huh?" Ben commented.
"Indeed. Ah, I see you've found Miss Vanya's book."
"Yeah. You know, it was so strange seeing this on the bookshelves after leaving home. Dad was certain that Vanya was dead, and then her book appeared out of nowhere."
"Your father never thought she was dead. Neither her nor Master Five."
"Could've fooled us with how he acted when she disappeared."
"Your father was a man of mystery," Pogo replied diplomatically. "Unlike with Master Five, Miss Vanya had far fewer resources to disappear."
"You'd think we'd know more with her book," Ben sighed. It both answered questions and denied answers. It was more an anthology or a small gathering of stories of people she met or places she had been to, it was hard to always tell. "But it feels like I know less of her with this than I did when we were kids."
"I can understand that feeling."
"Did dad ever find out where she went? Or where she might be now?"
Pogo had a forlorn expression on his face.
"Not that I am aware of."
"That's okay Pogo. Thanks anyway."
He kept the book in his hand though. He didn't have his own copy, and it wasn't like their dad was going to use it anymore. He sat down and began to skim over the introduction of the book. The dedication to so many people without being named, the very beginning of the Umbrella Academy in a sardonic tone. He skimmed over his siblings and their shortcomings and their positives in Vanya's eyes, only pausing when he found his own.
'I did love my siblings, as much as anyone could love people who grew irritated with how simple I was among them. We would tease each other fine enough. Ben though, was a special kind of warm in the family.
He could be as rowdy as Diego or Klaus or respect the rules like Luther and our father wanted. He was also the scholar once Five left. I think that we bonded most over our choice of books. We never were too open about it. Ben was usually reading when he wasn't brought into someone else's chaos. It was something that we both could share. He enjoyed reading, and with me being home so often and limited in how much violin music I could stand, I made myself read them too. I admit I did enjoy a few of them, but I never told Ben I didn't like a book he liked. It was our way to bond.
And the books held the best way to pass along messages. I was anxious at first, thinking that he would just throw it away, but instead, he replied. It became a game between us. He would read a book, leave a message in it, and I would find the message and respond in another book.
It was the thing I missed the most when I left home.
But looking back, I never regretted leaving. For the world had more secrets for me to discover.'
"Good, you're already here," Luther spoke up. Ben looked up from the book to see a far taller form of Luther than he remembered.
Ben raised a brow as everyone came into the room. Well, all the remaining Umbrella Academy individuals. There was still no sign of their missing brother or sister. More likely, Vanya would have appeared given that they had proof that she was alive from childhood with her book, but still...
Ben felt his focus drift as Luther seemed to try and get them to agree to some kind of service in their back yard for their dad. It was only when Diego pointed out that Luther was accusing one of them of killing their dad did he refocus. His eyes narrowed on the sibling that had been their leader under their dad's orders. He scoffed and left the room in favor of going outside. He wouldn't stand there only to be accused of killing their dad. He didn't like their dad. But he wouldn't have come back to kill him. Even if he had, he would have left it to the horror.
He sat outside just taking deep breaths to calm the horror within. The day was grey, all too fitting with the accusations and the whole death of their dad.
He was finally at a peak of calmness when a bolt of energy lit the yard up a bright blue. He stood and stared at the anomaly, keeping his siblings back from the unknown energy.
It was when Klaus did something chaotic that craziness did occur. In went the extinguisher, out came young Number Five. Ben couldn't believe what he was seeing. It was surreal. The day felt like an insane dream that he wasn't going to wake up from.
He stated he had been gone for fifty years. That the future was hell and he wasn't going to go any further into it as he made a peanut butter and marshmallow sandwich. He recalled Vanya writing something about it in her book.
He was grateful his brother was back. But he was more than a little confused.
Five's condescending tone didn't really help matters either. The little service following didn't either. Of course, Diego and Luther had to get into a fight during the service. Of course, everyone left feeling a little put-off or bitter.
Five wasn't thrilled being back in his childlike body. It stripped him of the hard work and calluses that he had gotten from roughing it in the apocalypse with his future motley crew. All the aches and pains he had associated with his knowledge just gone.
It would be worth it to stop the apocalypse and the deaths of his family. The death of...
It wouldn't happen again.
He reached into his pocket and pulled out a piece of paper. It was well worn and nearly falling apart, only kept together by intense willpower and care. He unfolded it to reveal an address and a key he had found in the future. It had been in Ben's hand when Five had found him in the rubble. It was his only clue to the end of the world.
Well, it was more than a clue.
Delores had known the address. She didn't speak of it fondly, more as a matter of fact. She said it might be important if he ever made it back in time. She never explained what the key was for or why she kept him from throwing it away in a fit of anger or from burning the small scrap of paper.
Until he knew, he would at least get some coffee. It had been too long since he had been to Griddy's.
And well, it was a crap fest. At least he removed the tracker and had gotten directions for the address.
He teleported back to the academy to stitch up his arm from his little field removal. He kept quiet in case anyone tried to get information from him about where he had been or what he was going to do. He may look like a child, but mentally he had more of a capacity to do what needed to be done more than any of his siblings.
It was morning when he left to go to the address. If it were a business, it would be open. If it were anywhere else, well... it would be less rude to be knocking during the day when people were awake than when they were asleep. And while he could handle whatever was thrown his way, he would rather be discreet than daring.
So he approached a large building that had a similar outer layout to the Umbrella Academy in the outer appearances. He forced his face into as innocent as a newborn puppy kind of smile that he loathed. The same kind of smile that made Delores laugh and made her nose crinkle ever so slightly-
No. He didn't have time for that. Once he saved the world, then he could find her again.
With that in mind, he knocked on the door. He heard movement inside as well as multiple locks being undone. He kept his look of innocence on even though his curiosity was now peaked. Was it some doomsday prepper? Someone who knew about the commission? Was it Delores' home?
The door slowly opened and a familiar face he hadn't seen in decades peered out.
"Vanya," he breathed.
The Umbrella Academy had 42 bedrooms... huh. Such an odd thing was thrown out casually in episode one. He had enough rooms for a lot more children. So that kind of layout would work for Vanya's "little" home. Ah well. Now there is Five. What will happen next? Chaos.