There wasn’t much good he could associate with the mansion that now loomed before him, casting him in an imposing shadow that seemed all too long to belong to the building – a place of childhood agony rebuilt by otherworldly forces in San Francisco, concealed in a veiled frame of something of historical value: It seemed almost too perfect a location had Sir Reginald Hargreeves established a presence in San Francisco, taking The Academy across the continent for a wider sphere of influence that they had ever made in their youth; but what had they been then? A bunch of adopted children, taken or otherwise bought from their parents, to join his cause that was uncertain at best, forging a self-fulfilling prophecy of an apocalyptic nature brought on, in one way or another, by their own mistakes rather than some outside force – by the mistakes of his father’s and those who played puppeteer behind the scenes of time and space itself.
Where he could have found sound reasoning to bring the whole thing down to the ground, to rip it apart with the very limbs that had become subject of much experimental observation by the very person who was supposed to care for him, there were other gears turning in his mind, forged of not an intent to destroy, but subvert and overcome the established system – not that his siblings had ever needed much persuasion in destroy themselves or each other. They were, beyond a doubt, the masters of their own catastrophes and creators of their own tragedies, broken apart year by year from one tragedy and the next, losing their own to the traverses of time and natural forces of life and death; and he had been the one tired of standing in the background, sixth in line, present, but unnecessary and just a step above simply not being special.
But if Vanya had displayed anything with her manipulated temper tantrum, strung up as tight as the violin she wielded against them, it just meant he was one of the more powerful, and he had plenty more in his repertoire to prove it, something that had only grown with time, branching into new horizons and dimensions that ripping open portals in his stomach couldn’t reach – not that there had been anyone to prove it to but the ghosts that lived within the halls of the mansion; ghosts that he could only hope Nick or Klaus, whoever might have been at the helm, could conjure.
He did not walked into the building so much as he had broken into it, slipping past the old wood only to solidify once more in the foyer, looking around the rather ghostly interior, only a couple of individuals there on any given day – individuals who very well couldn’t see the light of public day without there being some inquisitive lines of questioning considering the zombie's - Leonard's - status as one of the undead and his mother’s robotic nature, nurturing and caring and appearing easily the part of a human being out of the 1950's despite the mannequin frame, but definitely in some level of poor upkeep from a technical perspective, and robots after, after all, were prone to malfunctioning; but there was something that wasn’t quite registering with Henry as he was now, looking over the interior with some unfamiliarity.
After all, when had they had a picture of Five on the wall?
There was a moment of staring at it as he moved into the library, his father’s desk where it typically was though there was no living body behind it which was a peculiar notion that clashed with the fringe memories that brushed up against his own without comprehension. There hadn’t been a body there for some time for some time – he knew that in some part of his mind – but whatever had gone into bringing him back hadn’t exactly screwed everything together as it should have. Maybe it was the blame of a baby behind the wheel of resurrection or maybe it was simply because of the universe Lily had to pull from; one that might not have seen Ben Hargreeves as the designated Number Six, but someone more important to Sir Reginald Hargreeves than a scared boy with a tentacle problem.
He didn't feel like Number Six, the numerical designation something that paled in comparison to the almost boastful nature he carried in stark contrast to the Ben Hargreeves that had left the mortal coil not long ago.
It was the sound of someone approaching that had turned him into immediate action, hands grabbing the bottom hem of his shirt to launch one singular, but powerful limb out to immediately wrap around whoever had disrupted him; and when he realized it had been Leonard, it was all he could do but continue to squeeze.
He had grown accustomed to the oddities throughout the mansion that belonged clearly to a family that wasn’t currently around. If he wanted to call it a family, Nick wasn’t entirely sure what to classify it as but then again he had learned quite a bit more about the Hargreeves than he had from the start. Initially, there was some sort of act of disdain he had whenever Klaus was pushed to the forefront of his mind and Nick was forced to watch and remember everything that he did. Everything that Klaus failed to do, which had been a lot from the start. To say that he was a trainwreck wasn’t being put lightly. He truly believed that Klaus could be better if he wanted to be. But the memories of the Umbrella Academy and honestly...media proved that he might have been justified in the way he muddled through life. Not exactly heroic, not exactly the person who was saving people as much as he was just trying to scrape through life.
They were both the other half of the same coin to Nick now. Despite the fact he hated it. Nick was more of the controlled, reserved individual whereas Klaus was very much marching to the beat of his own drum with nary a care in the world. There had been little things, things that had been put out of his way to make it seem like he did worry for Nick’s well-being as much as Nick had to quietly put out any fires after Hurricane Klaus blew through his life again. Letters, a condolences card when Nate had “died”, making the attempt to make sure that Nick didn’t lose his job over anything that Klaus could manage to fuck up.
Nothing ever really seemed to have much effect on him. That was until last month when Ben had died...again.
This time there really was no one else to push blame on. No one else to carry that guilt along with him as when Ben had died originally. He couldn’t drift away from family because the rest of the Hargreeves weren’t there; all he could really do was self-destruct in the only way he knew how. Nick couldn’t say he blamed him. He wasn’t there...again. He had been off doing his own thing and lost Ben again. He felt sorry for him in some way or another, what he really didn’t expect was his own grief of the situation. He wasn’t someone to presume things when it came to someone else but he had grown to love Henry like a brother, in some way they were. And he’d lost another one.
If the temptation wasn’t there when Nate was “dead” or meeting the person who...was essentially Nate still hadn’t driven him back to the liquor store, certainly this could be the tipping point. He wasn’t going to lie if someone put him in a corner that he hadn’t spent hours staring at a bottle that had been left over by Klaus’ raging addiction problem and thought to himself ‘one little sip won’t hurt anyone’. He didn’t even think it’d hurt him that much. Not as much as he already hurt. Restful nights had been a thing of the past when he started seeing the dead but now it was something that was addled with guilt. Making it worse in his mind. He’d spent hours staring at the ceiling, in the dark...waiting for a distraction of some kind.
It really didn’t help that occasionally the light from the day would peek through the sides of the curtains and he would be forced to forget sleep for the time being. Just as he had right in the moment when he had been coming down the stairs when he heard some sort of struggle. His reflexes weren’t as...sharp as they could’ve been if he had been able to sleep from working all night the night before as he headed down the stairs. “Len?” He shouted before stopping dead in his tracks. “Henry? Wh--What are you doing? Stop it.” He wasn’t going to demean himself by saying that Leonard might be his only friend who knew the ins and outs of dealing with himself and Klaus but...he really didn’t want to see the undead become wholly dead. “He isn’t doing anything, just let him go.”
It would have been so easy to twist, to simply cast Leonard, someone who shouldn’t have been in the world as he was, into the dark void of death again where he arguably belonged, but didn’t Henry belong there as well? Maybe he had thrown the idea of his resurrection into the ether on promises to his mother, his father, through discussions with ghosts that had bred some sort of dissonance within, and the ever-lingering presence of his incorporeal energy, but it hadn’t quite been his choice to be back, some skewed version of who he had once been with a great letdown gnawing at him; and maybe it hadn’t been Leonard’s either, brought back to life by those abilities wielded by Klaus’ own hands. He supposed he could understand, but even as Nick addressed him, Henry remained steadfast, still gripped onto Leonard tight.
Leonard, at this point, was leverage, hoisted up into the air and all but dragged about the room where Nick couldn’t reach him - not that he was sure what Nick could actually do despite his familiarity with his brother’s powers. No, he hadn’t planned on killing him - again when someone got into the deeper details of what had happened while he was infected with the mutant growth hormone - but rather keep him in a precarious balance and for him to do something that hadn't been done for one brother in this place, not that Nate's specter had been so readily available for conversation given the obscure nature of his temporal death.
“No,” he said, simply enough as he regarded Nick with a similar curiosity, a similar unfamiliarity, that he had the picture of Five, the boy that had thrown himself into time only to bring back word of the apocalypse that had been wrought by the melodic crash of a violin. A cautionary tale perhaps of just how hubris and rebellion could turn out, gone for years while the family slowly pulled themselves apart. First, Five had gone. Then, Ben died. Soon, Klaus had been kicked out and Vanya had left, and finally, the rest followed, not so much a team anymore and surely ‘family’ was questionable; but while he could put together the pieces of the timeline easily enough, Henry couldn’t help but feel it wrong.
“I need you to call him,” Henry said in no particular specificity when he didn’t feel it was needed if the bleed through of abilities and memories had affected Nick. He’d know well enough who Henry meant or had it been Ben at the helm of this moment, vigilance kicked up into high gear with one death too many and an indeterminable amount of time in the cold, locked away, and unvisited by anyone other than a judgmental old man with what were stern riddles in the end? Though that had been enough of a piss off to him, that the ability was right there, but no one had called, for the moment, Henry remained focused on the task at hand; on something that was arguably better than the disjointed heap The Umbrella Academy had become. The problem was that he needed to find them.
“I need you to call dad.”
It wasn’t quite the welcome he wanted to give the resurrected individual in front of him. The relief that he was feeling was washed away by panic and something else he couldn’t really put his finger on, not that Henry knew that exactly. All he probably saw was a look of utter confusion on Nick’s face as he watched Leonard be picked up off the ground and being used in a way that he couldn’t entirely say that he wanted to believe that Henry was capable of. He could have just asked. Not that the answer wouldn’t come without some sort of conversation between them and why he was requesting for him. The familial disdain was always a new thing that crossed his mind when it came to “dad” and Nick really didn’t think they could classify him as that with Klaus’ memories echoing along with his own when through adolescent memories. Nick’s memories of growing up while being moved around by a military family, Klaus’ memories of being trained to be “heroes” and “save the world” if it meant sugarcoating the fact that it was borderline abuse, emotionally abusive for sure. Screaming into the empty space around him when he would be locked away to face the wraiths that only he could see.
To say if he was readily available to test the boundaries of his abilities by reaching out to the other side to speak to Reginald Hargreeves the short answer was: no. The long answer was: fuck no. But the hostage situation that seemed to be unfolding in front of him sent panic throughout his body. To most, if they’d known about him...Leonard wasn’t exactly going to be viewed as the wisest choice to keep around. Even if Nick could communicate with him. Zombies, infection, the chance that something could happen that could potentially cause a zombie apocalypse. But Nick had spent close to a year living with him with only learning that he would watch his back, keep Klaus out of trouble when he could. There was safety in having Leonard around and he did wonders in quelling the loneliness that threatened to creep up.
“Or you’ll...what?” Nick looked from Henry to Leonard then back to Henry with an incredulous expression on his face. Pushing back the mixture of panic, confusion, and anger. “Kill Leonard? You don’t have to hold a hostage to get me to do something.” He looked up at Leonard for a moment knowing that even if he managed to convince Henry to let him down the damage would already be done, Leonard’s heckles would already be raised enough that he wouldn’t just let it slide. He may have been dead but he wasn’t a placemat.
“For fu--and because of him? Why?”
“All I have to do is squeeze,” Henry pointed out, Leonard’s importance to him existing only on the notion he could possibly get Nick to do what he wanted in return for the safety of a friend and take care of a potential threat before it had the chance to become one. Zombies weren’t particularly known for their friendship or bedside manor, a few young adult novels making for movies that might have suggested romance was just around the corner if one loved the undead enough, but they were few and far between against the assortment of medias which labeled them only flesh-eating monsters, full of rage born of primal hunger and infection that caused the condition - however it might have been caused - to be spread. That Henry had familiarity with Leonard’s brand, had been the indirect cause of it, never quite settled well, but all the same, Leonard had been widely kept under the radar of someone who might have actually done something about it.
“Not for fun, not because of him, but because I knew there would only be objection.” It was valid, that objection to calling forth someone who had only ever been, in so far as Henry could remember, borderline abusive, emotionally so, to all of them in his efforts to save the world; but there had been some wires crossed. Somewhere in the ether, pulled out the abyss, and packaged together again in a form that was and wasn’t quite his own, Lily had done her best to rectify an unfortunate situation when he had been that ghost lingering about the Saylors knowing Mally would have been able to help. He just hadn’t counted on time travel getting in the way, years spent elsewhere thanks to some malfunctioning technology creating such a time divide that even if it had only been a day, the intended maker of his potential resurrection had plenty to catch up; so when the time came and he had been pulled back, maybe it hadn’t exactly been him.
It was telling enough in just how readily he had called Sir Reginald Hargreeves “dad” and not the intended title they had always been told to refer to him as: The Monocle. That had just been scratching the surface of matters though, Henry knowing well enough to keep the rest of his cards close to his chest lest he become the villain spilling out his master plan in a monologue that no one needed to hear, at least able to keep those crossed wires in some order to do that.
“I’ve got questions for him,” he said, brow furrowing, “and before anything comes out about childhood trauma, no, it isn’t about that.” While a shared question among the Hargreeves, one they would never have an answer to wherever the others were, that hadn’t been the intention at all.
All he needed to do was find some birds.
To put things quite plainly, Nick was well aware his attachment to Leonard was quite unhealthy and the reasonable side of his mind had articulated as much the last time Leonard had ‘defended’ him and threw a would-be mugger clear across the street. But he was lonely. If this had been before Nate had killed Nate, Nick’s attachment to the undead wouldn’t have been so concrete. He would’ve been a little sad about it but it would have been something he could have dealt with. Being a doctor had filled him with some sort of empathy for the world around him and the optimism that he could make a difference in someone’s life. Up until it didn’t and he was left with this. Leonard was just a new project for him to restore that empathy in his life. Or attempt to.
Nick really couldn’t lose him. Just like he couldn’t have handled the loss of Nate. Or Henry.
A part of him was fractured and was going to remain that way. He had already been toeing a line of what he had worked over the past five years building to stabilize his own addiction struggles when Klaus had come crashing through his life like a bull in a china shop. “Please…” Nick wasn’t going to be above begging for the life of the zombie and the fact that Henry seemed alright with putting him in this position was breaking his heart. He wasn’t entirely sure how he had come back but he wasn’t sure he was brought back the same way he had gone. “I just want to understand and maybe realize the...risks of it. Have a conversation not a damn hostage situation, Henry.”
Nick looked between both of them for a moment before clenching his hands. “I’ll do it. Just don’t do anything…” He’d regret, not that there’d be much regret for Leonard. It wasn’t as if anyone else would mourn him but Nick. The family Leonard had left behind had all but believed their loved one already lost once. They hadn’t really come into the knowledge that he was still in San Francisco but far less of the man he had been before. Nick didn’t have a leg to stand on when it came to trying to get Leonard free; it wasn’t like he wanted to hurt or fight Henry. The most he could do was...what Henry wanted. And sort of hope that once Reginald’s spirit was there it would depart when Henry was done with what he wanted.
Nick focused on...Sir Reginald Hargreeves and felt his stomach twist at the thought of having him there. But there wasn’t many options on his side when it came to getting Leonard out of a risky position and he wasn’t entirely looking forward to channeling ‘The Monocle’ but he knew he could do something so this ended up far less like he was just a conduit for the conversation as much as he wanted to be part of it in some way as the palms of his hands lit up, Sir Reginald Hargreeves materializing between them but Nick’s gaze didn’t really stray from watching Henry.
“He’s not much of a hostage when he is already dead,” Henry pointed out, knowing well enough that the cops may have come on the mention of a hostage situation, but they surely wouldn’t have come if they had been told that the said hostage was a zombie born of a rotten universe that only ate and ate and ate some more as The Rot took hold. It had been one twisting point of many seared into what memory he had versus what he was recognizing now in this new form, the start of his life’s ruination that, as the cards could have suggested had he known how to draw them earlier, had been the turning point towards something new; something that he could have an active part in; and didn’t just see him as the long-dead son, mourned until he had been found new again.
But he hadn’t died, had he? Not as Ben Hargreeves, not this time, simply another version found in the great expanse of strings connected to one’s life and put whole again by the magics of another. A zombie in his own right, but a living, breathing, and living being, not born of his own mistakes, but the innocent inclination of another - maybe that was what had him putting Leonard down, extending that foreign limb of eldritch origin further across the room so the creature would all but drop him on the ground. It surely hadn’t been the begging; it hadn’t been in an attempt to explain himself, his woes, or his reasoning; and it hadn’t been the ghostly visage of Reginald Hargreeves, Henry’s attention turning forthright to him as soon as there had been that successful reach to the other side.
“You move,” Henry said with a finger pointed in Leonard’s direction as if to halt him in any tracks he could have made while Henry was observing the form of his father, addressing him whether the zombie could understand common dialect or not, “and I am sending you to Limbo where they will eat you alive.” It was easy enough: A limb, an incantation, and a portal that dropped into the abyss that anyone who didn’t have familiarity with the alternative dimension and couldn’t traverse it on their own - not without a guide - would have been a fool to go into. He, too, had been such a fool, but his council seat under the rule of Darkchilde only stood to reason it hadn’t been a decision made in vain.
That properly addressed, he pointed back to the portrait on the wall which it didn’t see The Monocle had actually paid attention to - as far as he knew, Five was just another ghost of a different form, jumping through portals in time and lost to the stream while he had been living out his last days. It did, however, provide some surety that he wasn’t even in the same time he was supposed to be in and The Umbrella Academy? That hadn’t been the band of super powered individuals he had been expecting to find, even if their numbers were woefully low; and this Reginald Hargreeves? He might have not even been the one he knew, but he had been the one he spoke to on the other side though the conversation erred so readily on promises of being something more - promises that for all his lows, death being by far the worst, there was still some need for him, not at Number Six, but Number Two.
“Who is that?”
Nick didn’t truly want to admit the sight of Reginald Hargreeves made his blood boil, even when he was a spirit. The fact that he had summoned him when Klaus was more than adamant that he would never made his stomach twist in knots at the sight of the father of the Hargreeves who had done nothing but traumatize the children in the name of creating “heroes” but really they just all turned into a disaster with daddy issues and childhood trauma that could make most people flinch.
His attention wavered from Reginald to Henry, trying not to grit his teeth too much. “It’s fucking Jesus, who the hell do you think it is?” He had been asked to summon The Monocle, it wasn’t like there were many running around in the afterlife going by that moniker and if there had been more, Nick would pleasantly just inform them that he was surprised that someone had been pompous enough to try to go by something that seemed like they were so full of himself such as the “man”, the spirit that was illuminated standing to the side. Nick was about to open his mouth again to try to find a way to convince Henry that this was the person that terrorized them in their childhood.
Reginald seemed to be done with observing the sibling squabble for the astounding amount of time that he had, eyes scanning his mansion and the thin layer of dust that had gathered along some objects that were neglected by the absence of any of the other Hargreeves siblings within the house. Or just by sheer negligence by the current occupants of the home who usually seemed more invested in something else. “The same could be asked of either of you two. The last time I checked one of the children wasn’t a middle aged man and you were always so hesitant to use your ability.”
“Are you truly this desperate for attention you would summon me to save that?” Nick, honestly, might have preferred just trying to punch Henry to knock whatever sense into him that he required. It seemed a lot better than to feel like he was being eviscerated by someone who just haunted him in Klaus’ memories and be done with it. Be done with all of this to the point where he didn’t feel as though an attachment was something to be used either between Henry or Reginald.
“Whatever you need him here for, make it fucking quick Henry.”
Henry had wanted to correct Nick; had wanted to point out that he was confused about Five on the wall and not Sir Reginald Hargreeves in the middle of the room; but as such a symbolic apparition of the divide that was becoming more and more clear to Henry as the gears in his brain continued to turn, he felt the wind for a sibling squabble leave his sails. It wasn’t that Sir Reginald Hargreeves had taken a deep diving jab into his avoidance of abilities that literally ripped portals into the unknown or that he had pointed out Nick was a middle-aged man - that was true and there was no arguing with that one - but because of how loud the difference had been becoming.
“Where are they? Where are the Sparrows?” Henry asked, his jaw setting hard as he waited for an answer he likely didn’t want to hear, already knowing the answer when the house itself, no matter who owned it or lived in it currently, was as unlived as could be.
“What are you talking about, Number Six? There is no Sparrow Academy. This is the home of the Umbrella Academy or did you somehow forget that in death?” Sir Reginald Hargreeves asked, giving Henry a rather pointed look though the answer, it seemed, had been genuine. There hadn’t been a Sparrow Academy - not here, not in the established timeline for this Monocle - which felt just as crushing as being called out. There was a moment of silent tension that settled over the room, and Henry had wholly expected Nick to shoo the Monocle back into the void, but his voice was still there despite Henry not looking up to him.
“It seems you’ve let your life run away with you, Number Six,” he continued, “and what has that left you with? Disappointment and resentment and no control.”
His answer wasn’t one of significance, but it was the one that came to Henry’s mouth as beckoned by that ghost on the other side: “I’m not Number Six.”
Nick’s anger was still silent, not abided by Sir Reginald Hargreeves standing there and breaking between whatever disagreement that he had been brought into. He didn’t imagine him to care much if there seemed to be tension in the room, it’s not as if he had noticed it before when there was anything between the siblings. Why even start now? It was really no surprise to Nick that if there was something that needed to be figured out, the person who wouldn’t give Henry any answers was The Monocle. He wasn’t exactly a fountain of information in life, he wouldn’t exactly be so in death.
It wasn’t exactly the best circumstance to get some insight in what was going on with Henry or who exactly the fuck the “Sparrows” were. Nick wasn’t pretending that he knew what was going on, he was just there to be used as a catalyst to summoning someone who could potentially have the answers to where the Sparrows were. Nick looked between both of them before focusing his attention back on Henry. “Oh for fuck’s sake.” Nick rolled his eyes in a genuine exasperated sigh before Sir Reginald Hargreeves could continue whatever onslaught of verbal abuse that could come out of his mouth, the spirit dissipating into the air like a draft had taken away the dust.
“And who are you exactly, Henry, if not Number Six? If not, Ben? Are you seriously going to just expect I stand here while that asshole berates and throws fucking insults at us and not have questions of my own?” Nick would say he wasn’t a mind-reader but to some small extent he was, he just chose to ignore the occasional whisper. Believing them to be something quite more personal than he believed he was allowed to listen to when people were around him, the life of isolation was treating him well enough but he wasn’t going to be willing to let another brother, blood-related or not, leave him in the dark once again while they ran off to look into something that he was far less aware of. He already had a small grasp of the reality he had made for himself that allowing it to slip through his fingers was going to drive him into the wall.
“Clearly he’s not going to give you shit or are you just wanting to listen to his insults, he’s not exactly the most forthcoming when it comes to questions we have or did you forget that?”
Henry watched the apparition fade, his posture shifting where he stood since, no, he hadn’t gotten any answers and while he might have in the time and place he belonged, this hadn’t been it; but while the Monocle wouldn’t give him answers, that didn’t mean he didn’t have the answers somewhere when Sir Reginald Hargreeves had to find the rest of them somehow - be it something as simple as a list or convoluted as any one of his inventions that he had made a name off of. His eyes flicked around the room in consideration of just where he might have hid something of the sort, but he moved not away from the spot he stood, Leonard on one side of the room and Nick in front of him, now the focus of his attention.
“I’m Number Two,” he said, easily broadcasting a sense of bitterness about it since, in his head, he could certainly do better at leading the team than his brother - not that it was Luther that he was thinking about. “And I’m looking for the others. The rest of us.”
It wasn’t hard to conjure from the unknown by this point, something that fell into place as easily as Lily had pulled him out of the void after meeting his end by Hecate; but it wasn’t something foul, it wasn’t something horrible, it wasn’t something that should have been of any concern, rather a jacket of burgundy material, stylized much like the school uniforms of the Umbrella Academy, but bearing a more fitting coat of arms to this second team. Once it was in his hands, he threw it over to Nick so he could give it a look over, see for itself that he wasn’t talking nonsense thanks to the inherent changes of the Black Vortex or death - not that either of those couldn’t be the reason for the disjointedness as well.
“The Sparrows are my team,” Henry said, “which obviously means dad found more of us and now, I want to find them.” Of course, it wasn’t like they had been able to find the others, the rest of the Umbrella Academy, but that didn’t mean there wasn’t a chance that they could be. What happened after that… well, it was hard to say.
He wasn’t exactly going to lie to himself when he wasn’t entirely sure that Sir Reginald Hargreeves would most certainly keep out the fact that there might have been more of them than just the Umbrella Academy. The Sparrows weren’t something he was all too familiar on. He remembered reading about them in the comics and from occasional memories of Klaus’ but they weren’t important...and he was sure they died. Or they didn’t die? He really couldn’t bring it up as something he paid too much attention to. Nick straightened his back, squaring his shoulders not like he was looking for a fight but rather making the attempt to compose himself from everything that had transpired in this moment while not letting it go too swiftly to his head that he could easily just pick a fight.
Firstly, he really didn’t want to. Secondly, he was trying to work through the information that was being given to him and attempting to make sense of it all. He held the jacket in his hands, inspecting it slightly as his thumb ran along the coat of arms that belonged specifically to another “organization” other than The Umbrella Academy. “Number...two? So...not the Number Six that I quite remember, right?” He pushed out of his own thoughts that somehow something had happened between death and resurrection for Ben that wasn’t something he was ready to deal with. At the very least, he wasn’t running off. Nick had that going for him right now. He could certainly try to address the changes when things weren’t as tense, or just not address them directly to Henry at all. Attempt to find someone else to help figure out what was going on.
“Because looking for the rest of the Umbrella Academy was so successful,” Nick said with a somewhat incredulous expression on his face. It seemed more like whoever turned up was by chance rather than orchestrated as he was positive no one would openly choose Klaus to be anyone’s back up in anything. “So the Sparrows are just the Umbrellas but…” He waved slightly at him. “You’re Number Two instead? I’m trying to make sense of this because...you know, you don’t tell me anything you just assume I won’t help so you hold my friend hostage. It might’ve taken convincing for The Monocle but use your words, Henry. I would have helped before it got to that. And been slightly prepared for him.”
Nick’s expression at the end was a little sour, just like the taste of being around Sir Reginald Hargreeves had left in his mouth. “We’ve never had shit handed to us, we’ve always had to look into it ourselves. I could’ve warned you he would’ve told you nothing even if he did know anything.”
“When do you ever help instead of hiding out with your zombie friend while the rest of us do something about everything that blows through the city?” Henry pointed out as he attempted to cast out some of the experience with The Monocle as known by Klaus and The Umbrella Academy from mind while keeping an keen mental eye to the similarities that might have been present. It was the same Reginald, just maybe not from the same string timeline that he was - not that Henry was entirely sure when that was supposed to be. The room, too, was similar with the exception of the different paintings, something he easily brushed aside as his attention turned to the desk to start rummaging through the drawers. Did he think he would find anything? No. Nothing was necessarily where it logically could have been, hidden under floorboards or folded into the pages of books or kept in safe cases that they couldn’t access for one reason or another that probably tied to conspiracies and apocalypses.
“I died. I died again,” he stressed even as he head remained down in the paperwork, reading over pieces of it to see if any of it made any sense, to see if any of it corroborated with even the presence of the Sparrows in the first place, but true to expectation, none of it seemed particularly forthcoming with information - at least not anything that he was actually looking for.
“And you know where, there was no light at the end of the tunnel this time,” Henry added, shifting to another drawer even though it would have been a mad search for something that might not have even existed - a list, a name, something to investigate, anything that would have helped. “I saw my funeral, I watched myself burn, and there was nothing I could do but float around in Limbo until I was ripped out of the cold with nothing but existential confusion and nothing - again - to my name.” Whether this meant anything, he didn’t know, but it was enough to fill the void between them with something other than silence until he was done going through what he wanted to in that moment. “You’ll have to forgive me for not appreciating your undead friend,” he sliced, hands going to his hips in what was clear frustration. A dead end - of course it would be a dead end.
But wasn’t it always?