I heard a rumor ...
She doesn't quite remember how it started. Or when. Maybe she's trying to protect herself from the truth, from what she might have done. But …
It started too early. When Allison Hargreeves was around three and language development had really taken off, her words were often running away with her. She was a little doll of a girl, yet with a mean streak - she's not going to deny it. She just … liked pretty things, and she didn't like sharing.
Sometimes she and Vanya would get into it over a toy, or a necklace or a dress, poor Klaus getting caught in the crosshairs. And at some point, she doesn't quite remember how or why or when, she had started willing her way to things.
"That's my bracelet!" Vanya might have yelled, tugging at the thing, Allison clutching a fist around it.
"No. It's mine!"
"So is! Go get your own things!"
"I want it! I. Want. It."
Had the air wobbled? Had her voice painted weird swirls into the air as it left her? She's probably imagining that part. But it would be so fitting.
With a snap, Vanya had stopped tugging, her eyes going blank, and white, before she'd handed the bracelet over. And Allison's world had stuttered to a halt.
The girls had looked at each other as Vanya had come out of her odd little episode, neither of them saying a thing. Allison wasn't even sure Vanya had registered what had happened, and she sure as hell wasn't going to point it out.
It had taken her years to find a way to enhance her powers, to understand them and hone her skills. She'd had so many … accidents.
"Look at you cuties," Ben said, swaggering into the kitchen one morning to point at Allison sitting next to Luther, having breakfast. Just innocent breakfast. Grinning from ear to ear, though, he nudged Diego beside him in the ribs. "Rumor has it daddy's favorites are developing a thing for each other, have you heard?"
How old had they been? Ten? Twelve? Older …
"Shut up," Luther growled, squinting at his two brothers. But their smirks only grew.
"Doesn't surprise me." Diego winked at her, then zoned in on his constant rival. "Our dear number One never strays far enough to find himself a girl outside of his own family. Didn't think Allison would fall for it, though. Kinda weird if you ask me. Does it count as incest if we're not technically related? Whaddya think?"
"I said, shut up."
Luther squared his shoulders, sitting up straighter. Allison felt the tension emanating from him as if it was a living thing enveloping her, too.
"Just ignore them," she mumbled. And had it only been Ben, it would have probably worked. But this was Diego. The two of them were always pushing each other's buttons, always going for a reaction.
"What?" Diego lifted his arms, an innocent grin on his face. "It's just a rumor, big guy. You know what a rumor is, right?" He swaggered deeper into the kitchen, leaning against the counter opposite them. He pulled out one of his stupid knives - his crutches as she likes to think of them even now - and leaned over to Ben beside him conspiratorially. "Rumor has it, Luther's never done 'it,' can you bel-"
"Shut up, Two! For the last time!"
"Rumor has it, you're just jealous. You can't stand that dad holds me in higher esteem than you with your sad excuse of a power. Had to learn to throw some cutlery around so he wouldn't throw you out, and now-"
"Guys …" Ben looked a bit helpless, and alarmed. Allison couldn't blame him. She was not fond of the two boys' constant battles either. It always ended in one of them getting hurt. Or both of them. Not to mention what Reginald would do to them after …
With a sigh, she pushed her chair back.
"Stop with the macho attitude, both of you. I'm so tired of this.
"Rumor has it, you are just a big oaf. Your number actually only means that you're the least threat to dad. Can you imagine? Less of a threat than our dear ordinary Vanya."
Luther's scoff cut through the suddenly ice-cold kitchen.
"Well, that'll make you just as little of a threat, number Two …"
"Guys. Let's just move on, yeah? It was a stupid joke. Diego, come on, we'll give the two lovebirds - sorry! - we'll leave you two to it and-"
Diego didn't look like he was ready to let it go yet, and why, Allison had no idea. Sometimes, he was just such a little punk.
Running a hand across the smooth side of his knife, he smirked over at Luther, not even gracing Allison with a sideways glance. She might just as well have been invisible.
"Why don't you and I go outside, huh?"
"Why? So you can slice me open with your stupid circus tricks again? No thanks, Diego."
Diego threw his knife in the air, just above him, and caught it easily. Across from him, Luther shook his head.
Allison exchanged a glance with Ben, her eyes imploring him to take their hotheaded knife-loving brother away before the situation escalated yet again. She was so tired of this. To Luther's credit, he was trying his best not to engage too much. But it was still Diego, so …
"I'm not scared of you, Two."
Diego threw the knife again, its trajectory leading it so close to Luther that it sliced through his sleeve, then came straight back to Diego.
Gritting his teeth, Luther clutched his arm. Thankfully, it didn't come away bloody. A shaky breath escaped Allison, as she shot him a glance.
"Fine," he bit out. "But if he doesn't stop this, I'll …"
"I know," she muttered. "I'll make him stop." And she meant it. Clenching her hands into fists, she faced Diego and Ben, noticing Ben tug at his brother's arm.
"Dude, let it go. Come on."
"Heard a rumor little Luther was scared," Diego said in a sing-song voice, and before Luther could lunge at him, finally giving in to the temptation, before Diego could throw his knife again, Allison jumped up, and brandished her fists at him.
"And I heard a rumor that you, Two," her voice was getting away with her, shaking, reverberating, making her insides churn and surge with an odd sensation, "sliced nothing but your own thick head here today, spilling only your own friggin blood. And lots of it!"
The instant she was done, she slumped in on herself, oddly spent and shaking. This was different than before. Stronger. Had she just … used her power? On her brother?
Watching in horror, she saw Diego - wide-eyed - lift his arm, his hand, clutching his knife in an iron grip, and bringing it to his own head, cutting into the skin where he could reach, a little behind and above his ear, moving the knife across the skin until it had reached a spot under his eye. It was then that Ben managed to clamp his own hand around Diego's wrist, tearing his hand away.
She doesn't remember who said that. Ben? Luther? She? It wasn't Diego, she knows that much. The poor kid had stared at her, shocked, hurt in more ways than one, before his knees had buckled and Ben had helped him sit down on the cool tiles of the kitchen floor.
"Someone get Mom!"
Her brain stuttering, then whirring, restarting itself, she woke up out of a weird stupor and sprang into action.
As Luther raced to grab Mom, she rushed over to Diego, falling to her knees before him.
"Oh gosh, I'm so sorry. I didn't. I didn't mean …"
There was so much blood. So much blood. She had done this.
"Diego, I'm …"
As she extended a hand, her fingers hovering over the side of his head, Diego pulled away until he half-crashed into the cabinet behind him.
"I'm so sorry, I …"
"Don't touch me. Don't open your friggin mouth!"
A sob broke out of her. Her face was scrunching up, her vision growing blurry as she looked from Diego to Ben, who shook his head at her, mouthing, "You should go. I got him."
Pressing her lips together, she nodded, forcing the sobs down as she pushed herself back up.
"Okay," she said-or tried to, because her voice was gone. And wouldn't come back for a good week or so.
She found her phrase that day. But it would be a while before she was confident enough to use it again. Because that satisfying powerful surge she had felt when she had used that combination of words, it had been stronger than anything she'd felt before-and she had loved it. But it had marked one of her brothers forever.
"He'll forgive you eventually."
Klaus was smiling at her, both of them trying out an iridescent nail polish he had gotten from somewhere. (Probably stolen ...)
She rolled her eyes, watching as Klaus inspected his newly painted nails.
"Diego? Forgive? Never."
"Aw, he's a big marshmallow deep down. You know that."
"He lost a ton of blood. Mom couldn't heal the skin. She said it'll scar."
"Boys and scars. He'll look even more mysterious than his ridiculous couture could ever accomplish."
The beginnings of a smile made the corners of her lips twitch up. Somehow, Klaus always knew the right things to say.
"Come on, better get it over with. If you want, I can talk to him first …"
"Nah. It's okay. I'll do it. Just …"
"Finish painting your fabulous nails first? I hear ya. I'm sure Diego will appreciate it."
"Do Five and Vanya know?"
She shook her head.
"Please don't tell them."
Klaus gave a mock-salute and Allison was grateful. She didn't quite know why, but somehow, she didn't want the other two to know about this. Not yet.
Thanks for reading. I may add another part to this, where Allison goes to Diego. Where Mom patches him up. Or where we see the other siblings' reactions. Five and Vanya don't even know yet, after all ...