|My Manipulated Misfortune
Author: CreamPuffBunny PM
Ludwig is a young doctor at a human testing facility. He meets a patient named Gilbert and is assigned to him. Upon seeing the dark acts that go on behind closed doors, Ludwig will have to make a choice between his career or his humanity. AU/GermancestRated: Fiction M - English - Hurt/Comfort - Germany & Prussia - Chapters: 16 - Words: 96,369 - Reviews: 236 - Favs: 134 - Follows: 91 - Updated: 07-28-12 - Published: 05-24-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8147392
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
***Thank you for the continuous support and reviews everyone! XOXO
***I have just started a tumblr blog page for all my Hetalia stories! ^_^ Please feel free to visit it! Fanfiction does not allow links so my tumblr name is: creampuffbunny
***Warnings: Language, minor violence
***Disclaimer: I do not own Hetalia. This fic is for fun and I am making no money off of this fic.
"I'm sorry but he is still in surgery." One of the orderlies said to Ludwig when he asked about Gilbert.
"Do you know when he will be in recovery?"
The orderly shook his head. "They don't tell me those sorts of things. You're just going to have to wait." Ludwig nodded.
Ludwig left the surgical floor to make his way to the medical supply room. Before he would speak to everyone about the escape, Ludwig wanted to have their masks ready to give. The only one who would have a difficult time understand him was Ivan, and maybe Antonio. Ivan had his own mental issues but Antonio's was being brought on by his failing kidney and constant fevers. Ludwig would have to make sure he was in Ivan's room first when the gas was released and then shoot straight to Antonio's room. Once he had those two by the hand he could successfully reach the others.
The medical supply room was large but Ludwig found the masks right away. One of the workers asked him what he needed with so many masks and he made up a lie. He told the worker that he needed to borrow some for school, which the person happily gave him. Ludwig recounted the masks three times to make sure he had twelve. Successfully counted, Ludwig shoved them into his lab pockets and proceeded out of the storage unit. He had to admit to himself that as risky as this escape was, it was rather exciting. This may be the biggest excitement he has had his entire life.
With the masks set, Ludwig went back to the Red Apple Hall to begin spreading the word. He wanted to specifically talk to a few of the patients and give them individual tasks. The first room he stopped at was Francis' and he peeked in to see if the man was there. Francis waved him in and Ludwig opened the door with his card. Francis smiled brightly at him and held his arms out to Ludwig.
"I could just kiss you! You handsome devil you!"
Ludwig twitched and cleared his throat. "Nonsense aside…" The blonde went into Francis' bathroom and placed the mask on top of the toilet tank. "The camera's can not see." He went back over to Francis.
"So what's the plan, handsome?" Francis asked, giving the other a dreamy (yet eerie) look of adoration.
Ludwig swallowed hard, feeling both uncomfortable and awkward. "We leave this place tomorrow night." He said softly. "When I leave this room, go into the bathroom, take the mask, and hide it. Preferably in a place were no one will look."
Francis winked. "Got it. I'll conceal it as I leave the bathroom, climb in bed, have a little fun, and take care of it there."
"Y-Yes." Ludwig took a deep breath. "Please, let us be serious now. I am counting on you to be an extra set of eyes for us as we escape. And should something happen, as in we get delayed or the like, you are to help keep everyone still and calm. Can you do that?"
Francis gave him a soft smile. "Sure, I can keep everyone together. But what if I…keel over?"
"I have thought of that." Ludwig held up his finger. "I will have two companions with us to help. Three in total but one will be waiting outside. I would like you to stay as close to Roderich as you can, for he will be hosting some immediate light drugs that will help you. He has something for everyone, so do not worry. Are you prepared for this?"
"Very good. I must go and speak to the others now."
Ludwig was thankful to be out of there for the Frenchman looked ready to latch on to him like a leech. He stepped across the hall to Antonio's room, finding the man panting from a heavy fever in the bed. "Good morning, Antonio. Please tell me they gave you something for that fever?"
The man nodded. "Si."
Ludwig pretended he was tucking in Antonio's sheets when really he was strategically hiding the mask. He repeated to Antonio what he said to Francis but this man's request was a bit different. "Can we take Lovino? And his brother?"
Ludwig cleared his throat. "The good news is that they are still alive. However, we will have to come back for them at a later date. Once all of you are safe the police and hospitals will come here to take care of everyone else. But if we want this to work and you want to see Lovino properly cared for, then you have to be set to leave this place tomorrow, okay? We can not help Lovino if you are sad and holding us back."
Antonio just nodded. "Si. Si. I won't say anything to anyone."
"Thank you. Try to hang in there until tomorrow night, okay?"
"Dr. Ludwig…I don't think I can run though…" Antonio said sadly.
"Do not worry. I will have others here to help carry you. If I have to, I will carry you on my back. Everything is taken care of, so please do not worry. Just try to rest."
"Si…but then what will happen?"
"We will hide all of you until the hospital ambulances come. They will give you a kidney transplant and you will be better in no time." Ludwig saw the weak, yet happy look spread across Antonio's features.
"Okay…sounds good, Dr. Ludwig."
"Hang in there."
Ludwig continued down the line, handing out the masks and letting the others know what to expect. The last room was Arthur's and he found the Englishman grunting loudly at Alfred, who was running around the room. The moment Ludwig entered Alfred stopped in his tracks.
"You. Sit down." Ludwig scolded the young boy who did just as he was told and hid behind his father. Matthew was sitting in Arthur's lap with his little bear and waved a tiny hand at Ludwig. Ludwig waved to the boy and told them about the plan. "I am concerned about your boys, Arthur. I would like for you to carry Alfred and I would have Yao carry Matthew. You can not run and hold two boys." Arthur gave him a nod. "So you are clear on what is to be done?" Another nod. "And boys, this is a secret so do not tell anyone about it. And I mean no one."
"We fix daddy's tongue?" Alfred asked, peeking around Arthur to look at Ludwig.
"Only if we get out of here, so do not ruin things by blabbing, okay?"
"No sir! Nuh uh! Me no tell nobody!" Alfred covered his mouth.
"Good boy." Ludwig turned to leave but Arthur pulled his sleeve, stopping him. "Hm? What is it?"
"HURT!" Arthur spoke the word clear enough yet it sounded as if his tongue was swollen in his mouth. This was the first time he had heard Arthur speak any sort of words with his burnt tongue.
"Your fingers hurt today?" Ludwig asked him and Arthur nodded, holding up his left hand. He showed Ludwig how he was unable to bend his fingers and showed a look of pain when he tried. "I see. Let me do a few more things then I will be back to help you." He looked at Alfred. "Be good for your father."
Ludwig left the room and wiped his brow, thrilled that the first part of the plan was successful. Now he just had to see Gilbert and hoped the man was in his room. When he peered inside the room, he was relieved to see his brother there. He entered the room and hurried over to the bed, looking down at Gilbert's pale form. The bruises were still present on his cheek and now a thick bandage covering his left eye. Ludwig could just picture what Carty had done to his brother and the rage in him started to grow again. He had to keep a level head for there was too much at stake to be hunting people down to mutilate them.
"Yes, Gilbert, I am here." He sat on the bed beside him, stroking the pale white hair. "What did he do to you, brother?"
"…it's all my fault." Gilbert whispered, lifting his own hand to hold Ludwig's wrist.
"Nothing is ever your fault. Do not speak that way!"
"But it is." A single pink eye gazed up at him. "I attacked Dr. Carty…I stabbed him with my I.V. needle…in the back of his knee. Now I am forever blind in this eye…he used the needle to slit it."
"Gilbert, I swear this to you." He squeezed Gilbert's cold hand in both of his. "We escape tomorrow. Once you are safely tucked away in a real hospital, I assure you that the true doctors will heal you. When you are well, you can come and live with me." Ludwig said with a smile.
Gilbert blinked back some tears. "Yes…yes I want that. I want to live with you. I want to sleep in the same bed as you. I want to wake up to your face very morning and make you breakfast!" He chuckled weakly. "I'll even wear an apron."
Ludwig bent his forehead down to rest it against Gilbert's. "I think you will have to compete with Roderich for that."
"I could take him." Gilbert laughed softly.
"All joking aside," He 'tucked in' Gilbert's sheets with the mask. "Tomorrow night we leave." He whispered to the other and told Gilbert the plan. "Be prepared to have Ivan carry you."
"What about my I.V.'s?" Gilbert asked.
"Fear not. I have two fellow students from the university helping me. As we speak, the two of them are sneaking some medical supplies and food into our hiding place. Even Roderich will have medicines for all of you. So please do not trouble yourself."
Gilbert lifted his hand to play with a few strands of Ludwig's hair. "Can we trust them?"
"Yes, we can. Just try and be strong. Be on your best behavior so you do not get yourself in trouble and hurt. You are battered enough."
"Okay. Next question. When do you get to screw me again?"
Ludwig sat up and cleared his throat. "When you are healthier and in my apartment. Keep in mind you will have to testify in court as well, so it may be a while before we couple again."
Gilbert pouted playfully. "Fine then. I'll have Francis and Antonio with me so they can work to help get me off." He managed a smirk. "Would you like to watch?"
Ludwig sputtered and nearly leapt off the bed, looking appalled. "W-What? Absolutely not! There is nothing logical about something like that! Speak not of it again!"
It hurt him to laugh but Gilbert couldn't hold it in. "Yes your majesty!" He said in a mocking tone. "Oh Luddy…" he smiled softly at him. "I have so much to teach you about sex…"
"I know about sex." Ludwig frowned.
"No, you don't." Gilbert chuckled and Ludwig sat beside him once again.
"Regardless, I want you to rest now. We are to contain and control ourselves until we are out of this place. Now go to sleep. I will remain here with you for a while longer."
"Okay." Gilbert smiled and closed his eye. "You don't know how happy I am right now…"
"I have a fairly good idea." He stroked Gilbert's cheek. "Rest brother. We have a lot to prepare for."
Ludwig sat back in the bathtub with a hot towel over his face. The clock on the mantel chimed eleven and he still was not tired. He kept wanting tomorrow night to come so he could finally relax with everyone safe and sound, especially Gilbert. He couldn't wait to have the man living in his apartment, free to do whatever they wished. Never again would anyone have to suffer at the hands of VOX and their cruel experiments. Ludwig knew he could turn that place around. Their plan was foolproof and victory was assured.
"Ludwig? May I enter?" It was Roderich.
"Yes." He heard the door click open. "What is it?" Ludwig kept the towel over his face.
"I just finished speaking to my father. Everything is set on his end. I am to call him from a payphone after we have everyone at the warehouse. From there, he will dispatch a few ambulances to come and pick them all up, bringing them to the nearest hospital."
Ludwig removed the towel from his face. "Thank you, Roderich. I do hate having to put you through all this."
The other shrugged his shoulders. "It is for the best that we save all of them. VOX is…well, it is a horrible institution. We are doing the right thing. Still, something is troubling me."
"What is it?"
Roderich sat on the toilet lid, crossing his arms and legs. "I fear that we may not have the proper equipment on hand at the warehouse. We have to remember that their conditions are very serious. Some of them may even have mental breakdowns from the change of atmosphere. They are not used to the type of food we have stored there. Many of them are on daily medicines that we have no knowledge of because of their locked files."
Ludwig stared at him. "What are you trying to say, Roderich?"
He gave Ludwig a serious look. "Ones like Antonio and Gilbert depend highly on their constant medicines. Some I do not even have in my part of the lab. The ambulances will get there as soon as they can but we have a chunk of time in-between. It is a long ride to the warehouse, I looked at the coordinates. Gilbert is really my biggest fear of something hap-"
"Nothing is going to happen to him!" Ludwig cut him off. "Gilbert will be just fine."
"I did not mean to offend you. I am simply expressing my concerns."
"I appreciate it, but they are not necessary. Thank you."
"…will Gilbert be moving in with us, then?"
Ludwig nodded. "He will. Do not worry he will be staying in my room. He has no belongings so he will not make a mess."
"Oh, I am not worried about him being here. I was just checking to make sure. I have a feeling you will keep him here on hospice while the others remain in the hospital. I will need to start making room for it."
Ludwig looked at him and raised a brow. "You know me too well. Gilbert has many months of healing ahead of him and I do not want him alone. Once this is over, I will help you arrange my room for Gilbert."
"You are aware of the fact that Gilbert may never be cured?" Roderich gave him a serious look. "He will get better, but he will never be healthy."
The other nodded. "I am aware and prepared for it. I have a lot planned for Gilbert. Once he is better he will go back to school and get a proper education. From there I will get him in to the workforce."
Roderich nodded and stood up. "Seems good. You should not be awake for much longer. We have a long night ahead of us tomorrow as it is. We all need our strength and wit. Sadiq will be there at five o'clock. He estimates at least an hour or so to rewire the necessary parts. He even said he was going to set a timer for the gas to leak, giving us more time to gather everyone. Approximately fifteen minutes. Just so you are aware, the gas will look like white smoke."
"Right. I believe he told me that too. I will pass the word on to the patients tomorrow. We must make sure that Heracles is aware that he can not fall asleep in the van while waiting for us. We are depending highly on him for our escape route."
Roderich stood beside the tub. "Should we have Heracles with us instead of Sadiq?"
"No." Ludwig shook his head. "Heracles PHYSICALLY moves too slow. He is better off driving. Sadiq is fast and strong like me. I need more fists and speed should we encounter anyone."
"Fair enough. I will be heading to bed after a cup of tea. Goodnight, Ludwig."
Ludwig remained in the tub for another hour before finally getting out. His hands and feet were wrinkled so he roughly dried them. He brushed his teeth and cleaned his ears, a normal nightly routine. Afterwards, he had a quick cigarette by the window then headed to bed. For twenty minutes he gazed at the numbers on the clock. The anxiety and thrill of what tomorrow will bring would not give him any rest. He thought about Gilbert being in this room right now and what they would do. The hospice would be necessary but that did not matter to Ludwig for he just wanted his brother with him.
"Then I can protect you. Mom and dad failed to protect you. The government failed to protect you. Yet I will not. I will keep you safe."
By the afternoon of the next day, Ludwig had busied himself in the office for most of the morning so he could be in the halls later. He looked at his watch, which read 'five o'clock'. Sadiq should already be here. Ludwig went to the main office to 'get coffee' while searching for his schoolmate. The elevator door opened and he looked over to see Sadiq walk in with an electricians uniform and tool box. They made eye contact for a second just to acknowledge each other.
"Excuse me, miss?" Sadiq asked the young girl. "I'm here to inspect the ventilation system."
Ludwig mixed his coffee while trying to listen. He hoped Sadiq thought of a proper company name.
"I don't recall anything of the sort?"
"Yeah, my company called yesterday. Maybe you weren't here. My boss didn't give me the name of the person he spoke to. I won't be long, just a simple inspection."
"Ah, yes." She smiled. "No problem. Just go to that other elevator and hit the 'B' button for basement."
Sadiq smiled at her and tipped his hat. "Thank you, miss." He walked past Ludwig and they glanced at each other again before he went to the elevator.
Inside the machine, Sadiq pressed the number for Roderich's floor. The man had given him the number last night. The door chimed and opened so he peeked his head out to observe. He saw nothing but could hear people talking. Sadiq followed the voice and came upon some doors. 'Where are you, Roderich?'
"Excuse me, sir. Can I help you?" Roderich said in 'annoyance'.
"Ah, sorry. I'm looking for the basement." He moved close to Roderich. "Can you tell me where it is?"
"Yes. Press the button that says 'B' on the elevator." Roderich dropped something into his pocket. Purple eyes looked at green.
"Thank you kindly."
With the gas capsules in his pocket, Sadiq made his way to the basement floor. No one acknowledged him as he searched for the heating system. He smiled when he saw the sign labeled 'boiler room' and entered. Someone was in there but they only gave him a wave as they left. Sadiq hurried over to the system and examined it carefully.
'Simple enough.' He said to himself, opening his toolbox for a screwdriver.
Quietly and patiently, he rewired the system and attached the timer. Once the back was screwed shut, he went to the front and opened the heater door. Sadiq pulled the capsules from his pocket and lay them inside. When the main part was done, he took out his phone and text 'hi' to Ludwig's phone. 'Now to meet him.'
Ludwig heard his phone beep and read the message, giving a tiny smirk of victory. 'Part one complete.'
Ludwig looked at the furnace and took out the capsules Roderich had given him. He stood around for ten minutes, using the last five to toss the capsules in to the furnace. Ludwig rushed to the stairs, bursting through the door to take them two at a time. He power walked through the halls until he entered the Red Apple. The first stop was Ivan's room. The large man was sleeping on the bed and Ludwig shook him awake.
"Ivan, wake up!"
"mm…sleepy." Ivan whined.
"Ivan, up! NOW!"
Ivan whimpered and sat up. "Why do you yell at me? I was napping."
Ludwig sighed. "I am sorry. Just get out of bed and use the bathroom."
Ivan got out of the bed. "Why? Where are we going?"
"We are leaving this place. Use the bathroom and do it quickly!" Ludwig stared at the vent as Ivan went into the bathroom for a moment then flushed.
"Okay. I'm ready!"
"Good." Ludwig looked at his watch. 'Two more minutes…come on, come one!' He stared at the vent until he saw the first stream of white. "THERE!" He reached under the bed and took out Ivan's mask. "Ivan, wear this! Simon says do NOT take it off!"
"Huh?" Ivan mumbled as Ludwig put the mask on him, covering his nose and mouth.
Ludwig put his on as well and gripped Ivan's wrist. "Simon says stay with me!"
Ludwig pulled Ivan out of the room and kept him closely behind as he ran to Antonio's room. He slid his card and opened the door. Antonio lay in the bed, struggling to sit up and did not have his mask on. Ludwig easily helped him put it on and had Ivan maneuver Antonio onto his back. The next room had to Kiku's for Ludwig knew the man would not be able to see the gas. He entered the room with Antonio on his back and was relieved to see Kiku had the mask on.
"Take Ivan's hand." Ludwig commanded, shoving the larger man over to Kiku.
"I'm ready." Kiku held his hand out and Ivan took it.
"Good. Follow me." As they left the room, Ludwig heard his name shouted. He turned to see Sadiq running up to him with Roderich close behind.
"I got a bit lost but I'm here!" Sadiq said with a huff.
"Take Kiku on your back. He is blind." Ludwig gently ordered.
Sadiq nodded and lifted the smaller man onto his back, following behind Ludwig as he let the others out one by one. When he let Arthur out, the man gave Matthew to Yao and held Alfred close. Roderich made sure he had a firm grip on Francis' hand as they all continued to Gilbert's room. Ludwig carefully placed Antonio onto the floor for a moment to open the door and pull Ivan inside with him. There was an orderly passed out on the floor and Gilbert had the sheets up to his nose.
"Stay still!" Ludwig quickly found the mask and put it on Gilbert's face before detaching the I.V.'s and machines. "Ivan, carry him!" Ivan carefully picked him up in his arms and looked at Ludwig. "We have everyone! Let's go! Hurry!"
Ludwig lifted Antonio onto his back once again and ordered Roderich to take the lead with Francis. He and Sadiq brought up the rear together. There were too many of them for the elevator so they had to take the steps. As they ran through halls and the staircases, they passed numerous bodies, each one knocked out from the gas. Roderich lead them a different way to a set of back stairs so they could exit out behind the building, not the front. Everything was working perfectly. Everyone had followed the directions and they were all here.
'We are almost there!' Ludwig said to himself, lifting Antonio higher onto his back as they entered the final hall. 'Soon…we are going to make it!' He looked over to see Sadiq take out his phone, knowing the man was texting Heracles. Sadiq had told him before he would have the message set so all he had to do was send. They were at the home stretch now.
"Bad doctor!" Matthew suddenly shouted from his peeking spot over Yao's shoulder. Yao had been running in front of him, clutching the young boy tightly to his chest. Both Yao and Ludwig stopped to glance behind in the direction Matthew as pointing.
"EVERYONE STOP!" Yao shouted and the others came to a halt, all looking back at him.
Ludwig saw Dr. Sweets a few steps behind them, his face covered in that black mask. The realization hit Ludwig immediately. The bastard doctor always wore that mask, which would have blocked out the affect of the gas. It was the one thing Ludwig did not even think of or consider. It had slipped his mind. 'Oh no…' Was his only thought.
Dr. Sweets turned from them and ran down the hall.
Ludwig cursed and called Sadiq to him. "Take Antonio! Hurry!"
Sadiq, while still carrying Kiku on his back, struggled to hold Antonio on his hip like he would a child. "What about you?"
"Do not worry about me! Get the others to the van! GO!"
Without a second thought, Ludwig took off in the direction of Dr. Sweets, determined to run the man down before everything was spoiled. He could faintly hear Gilbert shouting his name, but he had to ignored it.
Heracles sat in the van's driver seat, playing Angry Birds on his phone. His phone beeped with an incoming text message, freezing the game. "Drat." Heracles opened the message that read 'hi'. "From that jerk. Time to roll." He said softly and calmly as he turned on the ignition. Heracles put it into drive and started down the street, but missed the turn.
"Everyone, this way!" Roderich waved them on as he held open the back doors, allowing the others to run through. He did a quick head count, counting eleven. 'Be careful in there, Ludwig.' Roderich said to himself and let the doors slam shut. Sadiq had made his way to the front and had everyone follow him to the bend of the road.
"Where is the van?" Francis asked, looking with him.
"I don't know!" Sadiq hissed. "Come on, Herc!"
"Now I know I took a wrong turn." Heracles pulled into a side street to do an illegal k-turn. "Cop didn't see it, I didn't do it."
"Goddamn it!" Sadiq cursed. "I bet that bastard fell asleep!"
"Maybe he got lost?" Roderich offered. "Everyone, hide behind this wall!" He ushered all of them to crouch behind a decorative brick wall that read VOX Corp. "Stay out of sight!"
Sadiq had put Kiku down in order to call Heracles' phone. "Where the hell are you?" He hissed into the phone when the other picked up.
'I missed the turn, but I'm coming. I can see the building.'
"Just step on it!" Sadiq slammed the phone closed and joined the others behind the wall, keeping his eyes peeled for the headlights of the van.
"Daddy, I'm scared!" Matthew whimpered, leaving Yao's arms to go to Arthur. Arthur held both his boys close and nuzzled them.
Gilbert looked at the building. "Where is Ludwig?" He asked with worry. "I want him here! We can't leave without him!"
"We will not." Roderich assured him. "I am certain he will be here soon."
Gilbert just rest his head against Ivan's chest and stared at the doors, waiting to see Ludwig rush out of them.
Ludwig ran after the doctor and caught up with him. He tackled the man to the ground and held him there as the other struggled. The gas was still heavy in the building but Dr. Sweets gripped his mask so Ludwig couldn't pull it off. This was something he never had to do, and Ludwig wasn't even sure if he could pull it off. With a grunt, he rolled the man over and gave him a solid punch to the face. He knew how to punch but never actually had to do it. Ludwig gave the man another punch and remembered that his doctor brutally beat his Gilbert.
With that newfound rage, Ludwig growl and lifted his fist to strike again. He let all his anger and frustration come out in his assault. As much as he was enjoying beating the man, he knew he had to get back to the others. The bastard doctor was twitching on the floor from the beating and Ludwig stood up, only to glare down at him. The word 'diplomatic immunities' came to mind so Ludwig allowed himself a few more swift kicks to the man. He reached down and pulled off the mask so the gas would take its affect. Ludwig looked at the bruised and bleeding face for a second before turning to leave in a run.
'That was for you, Gilbert.'
"I see the van!" Roderich said and pointed to the approaching headlights.
"About time! Come on everybody!" Sadiq picked up Antonio instead and had Francis lead Kiku as they hurried to the van.
Heracles pulled up along the sidewalk and parked when he saw the group coming. He rolled down the window. "Sorry I'm late."
"I'll deal with you later!" Sadiq warned him and opened the back of the van.
Roderich hopped in first and helped the others in, settling them down against the van walls. Ivan climbed in and settled down with Gilbert nestled in his lap. Francis offered to take Antonio from Sadiq so the man could look for Ludwig as well as keep an eye out for anything suspicious. Gilbert tried to stretch his neck to see outside the van but Ivan had him in a iron grip.
"Do you see Ludwig?" Gilbert asked Sadiq.
"Not yet…should I go in?" Sadiq asked Roderich who shook his head.
"No. Stay here with us. Ludwig can take care of himself."
'Ludwig, where are you?' Gilbert brought his fingers up to his mouth, nibbling on the nails. He hated when he would start to panic.
"I SEE HIM!" Sadiq alerted the others when he saw the other come through the door. However, their victory was cut short by the sound of building sirens. "That's not good…"
"Are we ready to leave?" Heracles called through the braided window bars behind the seat.
"Get ready to go the moment Ludwig comes in!" Roderich replied.
Ludwig rushed up to the van and hopped in the back. Everyone shouted his name in relief and happiness that he had come back. "Let's move!" Ludwig shouted and Sadiq closed the doors behind them. The other ran around to the passenger seat and jumped in.
Heracles put the car into drive and the tires screeched as they drove off. The moment they were away from the building and down the block, Herc slowed down to the speed limit.
Everyone in the back was quiet, not one person moved or made a sound. They were all relieved that the escape plan had worked, but now they had to come down from the adventure high. The realization of their freedom had yet to strike them.
Ludwig sat down beside Ivan and took Gilbert from the larger man. Gilbert smiled up at him and settled himself in his brother's arms. Ludwig just wrapped his arms around Gilbert's slim body and held the man close. This was not the first time he had held his brother but it was defiantly more intimate. He rest his cheek against the soft white hair and took the cold hand in his, rubbing the top with his thumb. Ludwig had seen dead bodies before in a morgue as part of their studies and to him, that is what Gilbert looked like right now. He squeezed the man tighter, thinking about Roderich's words last night. The extreme feeling of possessiveness and attachment to this helpless man in his arms was alarming. Ludwig was uncertain of how he would react should 'something' happen to Gilbert, whether it be now or a later date.
To his shock, another pair of arms wrapped around both him and Gilbert. Ludwig frowned deeply at Ivan's massive bear hug and goofy smile. He could swear he saw little pink hearts above Ivan's head as the man nuzzled him. Gilbert did not seem to care so Ludwig let it go. Then, Ludwig felt something climbing up his arm. He turned his head to glare at Alfred as the boy made his way to sit on Ludwig's shoulders. Ludwig just sat there, staring straight ahead as the old familiar feeling of social awkwardness began to grow. Alfred fisted his tiny hands in Ludwig's blonde hair and kissed the top.
Roderich took out his cell phone and snapped a picture. "That is an adorably odd picture."
"If you put that on your Facebook page, I will give Gilbert your room." Ludwig warned him then smirked. "Oh wait, you do not have anyone on it that isn't me or a family member."
"Excuse me?" Francis spoke up. "Do you have something for Antonio? He's really shaking and very hot." Francis asked with concern for his friend.
Roderich reached into his pocket and pulled out a container of pills. "He only has a fever." He felt Antonio's forehead. "The pain is not helping either. However, I do not have a strong enough painkiller for what he is going through."
"Please, something is better than nothing." Francis begged him and Roderich nodded, getting the two pills for Antonio who swallowed easily.
"How much longer until we get to the hiding place?" Yao asked.
"We'll be there in about twenty minutes." Sadiq said from the front. "Maybe fifteen if Herc didn't drive like an old broad!"
"We are illegally carting around twelve human beings without seatbelts." Heracles pointed out. "Sticking to the speed limit is a necessity at the moment."
"Just stop complaining and drive."
Most of them had fallen asleep from exhaustion during the ride to the warehouse. It was dark enough when they arrived to the building and Heracles carefully backed the van inside the side ally where there was a back door. The only problem that made itself aware was that neither Heracles or Sadiq could exit the van. Their doors hit the sides of the building walls.
"Real smooth, Herc." Sadiq rolled his eyes.
"Bite me." He said softly and slid the window open. "We're here. Everyone grab a partner." He climbed through the back window to join the others and Sadiq quickly followed.
"Lead the way." Ludwig said to Heracles while he lifted Gilbert into his arms. The only other person that needed to be carried now was Antonio and Ivan took him.
Heracles opened the door with a loud metal creak and held it wide for them. Everyone ushered inside the dark building, keeping close together. With the door secured shut, the group followed Heracles up some old steps to the second floor and entered a room. The room was small and had only one window. To the far right was a couple of boxes filled with packaged food and a few cases of water bottles. A pile of sheets and blankets stood beside the boxes and on the opposite end were some medical supplies.
"It is not a big room, but it is the most concealed and they will all be hidden well here." Heracles said, letting them enter the room.
"I will go and call my father now." Roderich said to them.
"Take someone with you." Ludwig offered, still holding Gilbert in his arms. "Just in case."
"I'll go." Sadiq offered and the two left the room to make the call.
"When they come back I'll leave to return the van." Heracles said to Ludwig who nodded in response.
Ludwig sat Gilbert on the floor so he could help the others lay out sheets and blankets. Francis went to the food boxes and looked through, finding boxed snacks, cans of various vegetables, and small cereal boxes. Alfred was already into the food, opening a box of cookies and shoving one in his mouth. He hurried over to Arthur and offered a cookie to him and Matthew. Ludwig had finished laying out all the sheets with Yao and carried Gilbert over to them. He went and lifted Antonio up while taking Kiku by the hand and leading him to the sheets. Yao covered up both Gilbert and Antonio, the Spanish man immediately curling in to the familiar comfort of his friend.
"Is everyone accounted for?" Ludwig asked, checking the room and using his finger to point as he counted. They were short one patient. "Where is Ivan?"
"He was here a moment ago?" Francis said, looking around.
"Damn it all!" Ludwig stuck his head out of the room and found the large man grinning manically at some exposed pipes in the wall. "Just perfect." Ludwig remembered reading in Ivan's file that the man killed hundreds of people with a pipe. He rushed out and shoved Ivan away from the pipes, who was still grinning. "No wondering away please." He forced the man back inside.
"Ivan. Here, eat." Yao handed the large man a box of Cheerios.
"Everyone start settling in." Ludwig announced. "We should not be staying here for long."
"You said these other doctors are nice, right?" Kiku asked him softly, taking the bottle of water Francis put in his hand.
"Yes. All of you will be going to the same hospital. Remember, we are not done yet. There is still a lot we have to do if we are to save everyone else at VOX. So can everyone be patient and strong?" His words were greeted with soft cheers of 'yes' and nods. "Alright. Let us rest up and eat. And Ivan, Simon says sit down." Ivan did as he was told. "Good." Ludwig went over and sat beside Gilbert.
"Ya did good, Luddy. Big brother is proud." Gilbert smiled when Ludwig stroked his hair.
"You are safe now, brother. Just rest."
They heard footsteps as Roderich and Sadiq came back into the room. Roderich cleared his throat. "It is all taken care of. My father is dispatching the ambulances now. Only Antonio and Gilbert will ride in separate ambulances since they need the most medical attention. Everyone else will gather in groups of three or four."
"Thank you, Roderich." Ludwig nodded to him and then looked down at Gilbert. "I will ride in the ambulance with you."
"And you won't leave when I'm at the hospital, right?" Gilbert needed to be reassured.
"Yes. I will stay there. You have my word."
Gilbert slid his body away from Antonio's sleeping one to rest his head on Ludwig's thigh. He nuzzled his cheek into the other's thigh and gave a sigh of content before falling into a deep sleep.
End Chapter 11 TBC