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Ask Yourself Now Where Would You Be (Without Days Like These)

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She had a dream that he went too far.

Number Five had been talking for days about pushing himself further. Father was refusing to let him try time travelling yet, but Five was convinced he was ready to go for it. He told her that as they separated into their rooms for the night.

“I’m stronger than he thinks I am,” he insisted to her, cutting off her goodnight.

“I know you are,” she told him instead, wanting to be supportive in a way no one else ever was. Besides, she thought, it wasn’t like she was lying.

But when she closed her eyes a few minutes later, she saw him losing it over breakfast, banging his hands on the table and leaving the house, ignoring Father’s call to come back. She saw him flashing himself forward and forward in time, until everything was dust and ashes around him and he found four dead bodies buried in the rubble. She saw him get older, alone. She saw him kill for his life. She saw him come back. She saw him try, in vain, to save the world.

She woke up gasping for air, thinking only that she had to stop him.

When Number Five almost walked right into her when she left her room in the morning, she pulled him aside before he could walk past her.

“I need you to promise me you won’t try to time travel until Father thinks you’re ready.”

She could see the protests on his lips, but she stopped him before he could utter them.

“I’m not saying you aren’t ready to time travel, because I know you are. I know how strong you are. I just don’t want you going so far that you can’t come back.”

“I won’t-”

“No, you won’t. Because you aren’t going to try.”

He was glaring at her then, but she let the tears flood her eyes.

“Please, Five. Promise me you won’t leave me. Promise you won’t time travel until you know you’ll be able to come back.”

Number Five’s eyes widened when he saw the tears spill out of hers. Then, unbelievably, he was agreeing. “Okay, Seven. I promise. Just don’t cry, okay?”

She nodded shakily, and they waited for the puffiness in her eyes to deflate before they went down for breakfast together.

Father yelled at them for being late, but when they made it through breakfast without Number Five disappearing, Number Seven decided she’d take as many lashes as Father doled out, as long as she kept her brother home.

On their thirteenth birthday, when Grace ( Mom, she always had to correct herself. She wants us to call her mom.) decided to give them names instead of numbers, Five was there to receive his. He became Quentin, and Seven ( No, it was Vanya now. She had a name now too.) wasn’t religious, but she still whispered a thanks to whoever was listening that he wouldn’t end up seventeen years in the future, over fifty years old and still without a name.


It was five years before she had another dream like that.

They were fifteen then, and she was lonely and scared and missing her siblings more than anything, but fighting crime was keeping them all more busy than she could ever hope to be, and the few tired smiles she received when she quietly helped them in mundane ways was worth all of the solitary violin practices in the world. She had Quentin, anyway, who for some reason still insisted she was special, and Ben and Klaus were kind and welcoming more often than not. So what if Allison and Luther were ignoring her more and more every day, or if Diego started viewing her more as a liability than as his sister that he loved and wanted to protect?

But then she went to sleep one night in the middle of spring and watched Ben get hit by a crane, sending him flying through the air, the monster in his chest not enough to save him from the rebar that speared him through the stomach when he landed. She saw a funeral on a rainy day, and Klaus’s eyes fogged over by all the alcohol he’d had to drink to stop himself from seeing his brother’s ghost. She saw her siblings look accusingly at her, and heard more than one of them tell her that it wasn’t fair that she, unimportant, ordinary Vanya was still alive while Ben, sweet, charismatic, special Ben, was turned to ashes and immortalized in a metal statue. She watched her family fall apart as everyone blamed themselves for a death they couldn’t stop, watched as Klaus finally lost his mind to the addictions that had been trying to claim him since they were thirteen, only to lose in the face of stalwart Number Six. She watched her family die to a falling moon and faint violin music, as she laughed at the knowledge that it wouldn’t have happened if she’d died instead of him.

There were tears streaming down her face when she awoke, gasping once again for air that refused to come, unable to remove the image of her brother’s mangled body from her mind. It took her an hour to calm down again, and she missed breakfast in her desperation not to let her family see her unhinged by visions too real to be dreams.

She was on her way to the library to find sheet music for her morning violin practice when the alarm blared, calling the Umbrella Academy to action.

Father stood with her up on the scaffolding overlooking the battle, and ignored her as she choked on her breaths, the scene too familiar for comfort. Ben was so close, too close to the crane, and she wasn’t sure of what happened next, only of the desperation to save him and the pain as he ended up flat on the ground beneath her when the crane’s arm swung his way.

Then she was looking up at Quentin as he pleaded with her to stay awake.

“Dun worry…” she slurred, darkness crowding her vision like a swarm of ants was crawling in her eyes. “‘S be’er ‘is way…”

And despite all of her siblings joining in the fight to keep her awake, the ants won, and she slept.