If Home Is Where the Heart Is

Note: Written for Kati-Lara in the Yuletide 2008 Challenge. I read the trade of The Apocalypse Suite only last week, so this was very tempting. Title from '27' by Fall Out Boy (continues '...then we're all just fucked').

Vanya left home as soon as she could. Allowing her to finish school away from the Academy was possibly the one kindness her father - pardon, The Monocle - had ever shown her. When she had gathered the courage to ask him, he had only peered at her through his glass, cold as always, and, after an almost imperceptible pause that still seemed to stretch out infinitely for Vanya, had nodded and said: "Yes. This might be for the best, after all."

That very day Vanya packed her bags, gripped her favorite violin, and closed the door to her room, leaving it bare except for her uniforms. She had no intention of ever coming back, although she had not told anyone. On her way out she was met by The Seance, his pale skin and dark hair set off by the dramatic black clothes he favored even when out of uniform. He was all Vanya had ever hoped to be, completely at home in his otherness, despite the troubling signs he had shown since he had discovered that he could speak to the dead. Vanya did not understand how he could let it affect him so - if she'd been able to do what he could do, she was sure she would never be anything but happy, knowing that she could truly make a difference and be a part of the team. Be a part of the family.

Right now he was his usual four foot off the ground, gazing at her thoughtfully with pupils dilated by some drug or the other. But all he said in the end was: "Do you need help with that, Vanya?"

Vanya felt her bags, which she'd hardly managed to lift so far, suddenly weigh no more than a feather as The SŽance gestured negligently. She remembered that they'd been close, once, when he'd still been Klaus, 00.04 to her 00.07, before the code-names and the individual uniforms and the secret missions she was no longer privy to, but now all she could do was jut out her chin and grit out a barely-civil: "Thank you, Kl... Seance, but I'll manage."

As she walked out the door that magically opened in front of her, she could still feel his eyes on her. She stood up straighter and fought the temptation to turn back and hug him goodbye properly. Maybe once she was away it would be easier not to taste bitter gall in her mouth whenever her sibling's gifts separated her from them so glaringly.

"Suit yourself, V!" The Seance called after her, just as the door to the Academy banged shut between them. Her luggage suddenly dropped, and Vanya stumbled. But she kept going, hugging her violin to her chest.

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