Holding Warmth's Hand

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By the time the trio had reached Ivan's residence, both Gilbert and Ludwig's eyes had grown to the size of saucers. Before them stood a mansion roughly twenty above the ground, with yellowish paint peeling off the bricks, which told that the house had a few decades on it. The bushes were trimmed neatly, not a single leaf out of order. The patio had the typical set of a table and chairs. The real eye-catcher for Gilbert was the sight of a tarp-covered pool that just barely peeked out from behind the large house. The newer, little details overwhelmed the original house that clearly had renovation done on it.

It seemingly took minutes before Ivan was kind enough to snap them from their otherwise ongoing trance. The man smiled innocently and asked, "Is something the matter? I really believe we should be going inside before one of us catches cold."

The two Germans turned their heads in unison and nodded mechanically and loyally followed the Russian inside their dream residence. It was even better on the inside. A chandelier hung from the ceiling directly above them, light flickering from the diamond-like objects attract he'd to it. The kitchen was tile-floored, and the table marble. The rest of the house sported shiny, mahogany floorboards.

Ivan took notice of the boys' fascination, and giggled quietly. "If you'd like, I can give you a tour." he offered.

As much as Gilbert would've loved to accept that offer, he couldn't bring himself to feel comfortable enough to do so. "It's fine. My brother and I were hoping to get some sleep." He motioned towards Ludwig.

Ivan grinned brightly and clapped his hands together. "Why, of course! Right this way." As he led them up the fancy set of spiral stairs, he hummed happily to himself, practically skipping from one step to another. "It used to be my sisters', I hope you don't mind."

"Not at all." Gilbert assured the Russian.

Flashing one last sickly sweet smile at them, he added, "I'll be downstairs in the kitchen if you need me. Sweet dreams!" With that, he (seemingly) glided down the stairs, leaving Gilbert to slam the door and lock it for a sense of security. Once he turned around, his brother was already laying face up on the mighty king-sized bed. He scooted in next to him and pulled the blankets over his body, gleeful to notice the soft cotton that it was manufactured with.

"Mister Braginski is strange." Ludwig stated from out of the blue.

Gilbert rose an eyebrow, not quite from the statement itself, but to the suddenness of it. "Him? Yeah, I guess you're right." With a shrug, he laid down on the mattress with his arms supporting his head from above the pillow. "But it's still nice to know that we won't be freezing to death, right?" He attempted to sneak a bit of a joke in it, but he couldn't bring himself to do it properly.

Ludwig merely grunted in agreement, clearly sensing the thick tension that now rested between the two.

"Let's not think about that now, 'kay? I don't know about you, but I can barely keep my eyes open." That was mostly untrue. The main reason he had insisted on sleeping was to have a break from the gleeful man known as Ivan. In his book, being optimistic was a good thing-but there were still limits. Even so, sleeping would be a better option than pondering on their deaths.

Much to Gilbert's thankfulness, he saw Ludwig nod from out of the corner of his eye. He smiled softly and stroked the younger's golden locks as they both let their eyelids weigh down over their eyes.

As Gilbert sat with his arm loosely draped around his little brother, he felt far better than he had previously. He could feel the small shape of his shoulders, for his fingers were no longer numb. He could hear the breath of them both, but couldn't see it drifting off into the sky. He felt secure knowing that his brother was in his arms, as warm as can be, and safe. That was truly what made him able to drift off into a dreamland that held some hope.

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