You take a deep breath as you walk down the seemingly endless corridor of the hospital, one hand clutching Felicianos, the other clutching Gilberts. You never wanted to receive the phone call that you just did. Ever. Even though you werent the one who picked up the phone, you knew exactly what it was for, ready to deliver the heartbreaking news.
Feli wont stop sniffling, attempting to keep the tears from dribbling down his cheeks without much success. You had been comforting each other on the drive here and Gilbert had stayed quiet, as usual. Its always the same, resulting in you wondering if this is the last time youll walk down this corridor. The only difference about this time is that it is probably true.
The three of you pause outside of the too familiar hospital room, too scared to move any further. You know you have to go in, have to face the horrible truth of the situation.
You glance up at Gilbert, as if asking permission to go in. Hes staring at the floor, clearly waiting for someone else to make the first move. Feli is now holding your hand with both of his, eyes shut.
So, that leaves you. You slip your hand out of Gilberts, realising that Feli isnt going to let go, and open the door slowly to reveal Ludwig lying in the bed, sleeping. You grab Gilberts hand again before the three of you walk over to stand by his side. Gil pulls a chair over and says, ________, sit down.
You do as he says, letting go of both of them to take Ludwigs hand as softly as you can. As you do, he wakes up, opening his blue eyes to look at you. A gentle smile appears on his face as he whispers, ________.
Hi, Ludwig, you say back, smiling encouragingly.
He looks up at the two men, Gilbert
Feli whispers, dropping to his knees.
Hallo, Bruder, Gilbert says, kneeling in between you and Feli, Wie fühlst du dich?
Nicht gut, Bruder, Ludwig replies before coughing violently and then wincing. You can tell hes in agony. Hes never looked weaker than he does now, his blue eyes also having lost the brightness they once had. Looking at him just starts you crying.
Ludwigs attention turns back to you, Dont cry, Liebe. Please.
Im sorry, Ludwig. Its just
I cant help it. I wish I could be strong for you
but its so hard and- your voice cuts off as you start to sob, closing your eyes to try and stop yourself. You feel a hand run across your cheek, wiping away your tears.
Opening your eyes, you watch Ludwig take your hand again, saying, ________, you have been strong, and you still are. Thank you. Im just sorry I have to leave you. He pulls your hand towards him and kisses it, Meine Liebe
Feli has started to whine quietly, staring at his best friend. All three of you glance at him.
he mumbles quietly before saying, all in one mad rush, I dont-a care if you make me get up early and run hundreds of laps! You can make me do whatever you like if you just get better!
I dont-a want you to leave us alone! Dont-a leave me! Im sorry for not listening to you in the mornings and-a not doing as you say all of the time!
Youre my best-a friend, Ludwig! I just dont-a want you to die and leave me, and leave ________ and Gilbert and Kiku and-
Feliciano! Ludwig raises his voice to stop the Italian, causing another painful coughing fit. You stroke his forehead gently once hes calmed down a little, his breathing shallow as he clutches the side of his waist.
Feli says, covering his face with his hands.
Ludwig says, Its fine, Feli.
Ill still train every day, Ludwig! I promise!
Ludwig chuckles quietly.
Ludwig, sweetie, do you need anything? you ask.
Im just glad to see you all, he smiles at you and you lean forward and kiss him. Then he suddenly winces, trying not to cry out in pain.
Ludwig! you and Feli say, you clutching his hand.
Bruder, was weh? Soll ich einen Arzt rufen? Gilbert asks, the absolute panic present in his wide crimson eyes as he stares at his younger brother, tears gathering, threatening to spill.
they cant do anything
Ludwig shakes his head, I know I havent got long, so listen
he looks at Feli, who is still crying rivers, Feliciano
dont be upset.
H-how can I not be upset? Ludwig, youre my best-a friend! Im-a going to miss you
the Italian says, shuffling forward so he can take Ludwigs hand, I cant imagine what its going to be like without-a you.
Ludwig smiles, And youre my best friend too. Thank you for being there, even if I worked you to the ground every morning
Italy laughs, his voice unsteady from the tears. I dont mind. Its
fun, he lies, trying to cheer him up.
Ja, Im sure it is, Ludwig smirks, shaking his head. He then looks at his brother, Gilbert
Im glad to have had you as my older brother. No matter how we used to argue, ich hab dich lieb
Youre the best big brother anyone could ask for and I wouldnt change you
Oh, Ludwig, ich hab dich lieb. Of course I love you
I always thought I wasnt a good big brother, but Im so glad you think that I am, Gilbert says, the tears freely running down his cheeks, I love you too, Ludwig.
Im counting on you both to lead full and happy lives
and to make sure ________ is okay
and that she leads a full and happy life, he then looks up at you. You arent sure if youre ready for this, to say goodbye
Hes your Ludwig, the man you love. You dont want to say goodbye.
Ludwig, I dont want you to leave me, you say, clasping his hand.
________, please do something for me. Live your life.
I dont want to live my life without you, Ludwig! you sob, stroking his forehead again. Your grip on his hand doesnt get looser, and his grip, surprisingly, is equally as strong.
Im just sorry, liebe
Im sorry we didnt get married. He touches the engagement ring on your finger and then continues, But you can get married, have a family
Dont waste time mourning for me.
There is no way I would be wasting my time. Im never ever going to forget you. Im only yours. And youre my Ludwig
________... I-ich liebe dich.
Ich liebe dich auch. Always, you say, kissing him repeatedly, I cant
Ludwig, I love you so much
I cant do this without you.
Dont say that. You will be fine
and these two better make sure of that
he winces once more, It
Its hard to
Ludwig, its okay
Ich liebe dich
all of you
he says, before his eyes slowly close, his final breath leaving. This causes you to break down in tears, Gilbert pulling you into a hug and Feli coming to join, and you all cry into each others clothes.
Ich liebe dich, Ludwig, you mumble into Gilberts shirt.
Gilbert fills a glass with cold beer. Well, if you have a problem with it, Frau, Ill just leave it in the glass, he says, smiling as he puts the glass down by the gravestone.
But then itll get all
you reply, wrinkling your nose.
Fine, Gilbert picks it up and tips the contents of the glass over the ground, smiling thoughtfully, Here, West, we brought this for you. Its the good stuff. He winks at the gravestone and then winds his arm around you, We miss you, kleinen Bruder.
Every day, Ludwig, you say,
Happy Birthday, sweetie. I love you.
The two of you stand in silence for about five minutes, you resting your head on Gilberts shoulder.
I think you killed the grass, you say, tapping at the ground with your shoe.
Hey! This is good stuff!
You take that back! Gilbert grabs you around the waist, causing you to giggle.
Quit it! you laugh, trying to push him away, Look, cant you ever be serious?
You were the one who said Id killed the grass!
You grin at him and turn back to the gravestone, Your brother is a moron, Luddy.
So is your fiancée, West! Gilbert says, shaking his head at you. You touch the cool rock, running your fingers gently over the words Ludwig Beilschmidt, the sunlight glinting off of your engagement ring.
Ill never take it off, Ludwig. Im only yours, no one elses
you whisper. Gilbert rests his hand on your shoulder.
Shes doing good, West. We all are, I promise.
You stand up and turn back to Gilbert, kay, lets go.
You all done? he asks. You nod, hugging him for a moment before slipping your hand into his and walking away.
Well be back soon, Ludwig