Twins and Apple Strudels
Disclaimer: I don't own Monster, now get those Lawyers away from me!
Warnings: Incest, but if you are reading this, surely you know that by now. Also, prepare yourself for attempts at fluff, waff, humor, and all that stuff that rots your brain and warms your soul.
Rating: Strong T, bordering on M. Mostly for an attempt at something that could be related to lime.
Authors notes: This is an optional part of the story. I have tried to keep Johan in character, but there may be a little OOCness, Johan is hard enough to write. Imagine what a combination of Johan and Waff would be like.
Still I enjoyed the challenge. Tell me if you think I was able to pull it off. If I was not, tell me… nicely.
As always, I live to improve!
Or Monsters and Rodin
"You have a lovely apartment, Anna"
He was standing in front of the faux fireplace, hands clasped behind his back, studying her figurine collection while she sat at her computer, checking her personal mail.
She had started a collection of copies of Rodin's sculpture. So far she had The Thinker, The Kiss, and Eternal Idol.
One for each year of peace she had enjoyed so far.
She doubted she would be getting Eternal Springtime this year.
"But my place in Munich is much better. Move in with me."
Johan was unbelievable sometimes.
He had taken over her whole weekend, causing her to rearrange her entire schedule. She'd even had to cancel her plans for dinner at Dr Reichwien's, and she had been looking forward to that. Of course the doctor had no idea why she had canceled. He had jumped to the conclusion that she was finally seeing someone, and she did not bother to correct him. He probably would have had a heart attack if he knew the truth. It certainly was a good thing Dieter was away in school, the boy would probably have insisted on coming over to meet her new 'boyfriend', and that would have caused more problems than she was prepared to deal with.
Johan was still the same older brother she remembered, thoughtful, well mannered and even sweet… in his obscure, slightly eerie way. He helped in the kitchen and kept things as tidy as she did. He spoke little, as usual, but he liked to listen to her talk as they worked together. Having him around was familiar, and oddly comfortable. It reminded her of how things had been when they were children, before everything had changed.
But his presence had distinct disadvantages.
For one thing, he refused to stay in the house like a good little fugitive should. He insisted on taking her out. That was bad enough. To make matters worse, he did not go dressed as himself, or even as remotely male. Instead he borrowed her lip gloss, donned a wig, heels, and a dress that managed to be both classy and sexy at the same time, and designated himself her visiting sister. He took one look at her simple jeans and t-shirt, smiled tolerantly, and then raided her closet in search of something better. Eventually, he had her exchange her comfortable jeans for a slender, knee length black skirt, her t-shirt for a sleeveless, formfitting blouse with a plunging neckline, and her loafers for a pair of black high heels. She looked in the mirror and could not believe what she saw. He took her to see a movie, then to a restaurant, and, to her utter mortification, a lounge. She lost count of the number of men who tried to pick both of them up. Her brother watched, clearly amused by the whole thing. It had been, in its way, a very interesting outing, once she got over the creepiness of it all, but it was not an experience she wanted to repeat anytime soon. It was hard for her, most especially, to come to terms with the fact that even her brother made a sexier woman than she did, judging by the response of eligible males to his presence.
The whole thing had been disheartening enough, even before Johan's remarks.
"You are beautiful, Anna." He had said. "You have no idea how incredibly lovely you are. Of course men want you, but you do not really want them, and it shows."
Lotte had often told her the same thing, but for some reason, Johan's analysis was far more depressing.
It did not help that he sounded so incredibly happy about it.
Another thing was that they were no longer children, and her apartment was small, with only one queen sized bed. She had no problem sharing the bed with Johan; they had often done so in the past. Besides, fixation or not, it was difficult to consider him a serious threat to her annoyingly ever present virtue when he looked even better than she did dressed as a woman. She knew, of course, that cross dresser or not, he was a physically healthy, sexually mature male, the same way she knew that the sun was generally hot. It was a fact she was aware of, but did not consider truly important in the scheme of things.
So it had come as a rude shock when she woke up, sometime in the small hours of the morning, to find him spooning her in his sleep, his hand tucked underneath her t-shirt, with his fingers splayed over the bare skin of her stomach. That was bad enough. She squirmed about very subtly, trying to extricate herself from his grasp without waking him. In the process, she became conscious of the presence of a very hard, disconcerting object, wedged firmly against her bottom.
And her wriggling about was not helping matters.
She went very still, and fervently hoped that that thing was not what she was beginning to suspect it was.
That hope began to fade when her brother pulled her closer, his grip on her tightening. It died a swift death when he began, sleepily, to rub against her; subconsciously searching for the friction she had unwittingly induced. It was completely buried when the hand under her shirt began to slide, slowly and deliberately running over the bare, sensitive skin of her stomach.
He sighed, murmuring something that sounded too alarmingly like 'Little Sister' for her peace of mind, and pressed a kiss on her neck.
Of course, she had known that he loved her, and that there was a physical element to his love that was utterly unconventional. But for some reason, knowing this, in a vague abstract way, had not prepared her to deal with the immediate crisis. In her eyes, her brother, for all his looks, sex appeal and charisma, had always seemed to be a purely intellectual, vaguely asexual creature.
It simply had not occurred to her that his love for her had aspects were so primal, so blatantly sexual, which was stupid of course, considering that whatever else he was, he was also a man.
Given the right stimulus, men got horny. It was a fact of life.
It was truly amazing that he'd had to start humping her in his sleep for her to figure this out. It would have been amusing if it was not so downright scary.
Scarier still was the fact that she was not as repulsed by this as she should have been.
She realized that she had to extricate herself from his sleepy grip, before things got out of hand.
Slowly, carefully, she started to move again.
Then he cupped her.
It was a very light touch, but her body's response was immediate. Her heart pounded, her entire body tingled, her nipples grew harder, a massive flood of wetness surged between her thighs.
This was very bad.
Alarmed, she swiftly extricated herself from the sleeping man's grasp, not caring whether she woke him or not, and fled the room.
It took her the best part of fifteen minutes to stop panicking and calm down enough to process what had just happened. It took even longer for her to get her speeding heart rate under control enough to think rationally about its implications. When, after thirty minutes, she realized that her body was still tingling, she knew she was in trouble.
There was no way she was going back into that bed, not while he was still in it.
5: 23 a.m. on a Sunday morning was a very good time to be awake anyway, she told herself firmly, and then headed to the kitchen to brew a pot of coffee.
There was no doubt about it in her mind. Her brother was far more trouble than she was prepared to deal with.
And yet there he was, giving her orders; commanding her to move in with him as if his short visit was not enough trouble.
Apparently, he remembered nothing of the night before, a fact for which she was profoundly grateful.
"I am happy enough here."
Her eyes met his own.
She thought of her crippling work schedule, her demanding boss, her non-existent private life, the frustrating does-he -like -me- or- not- and -if -so –when-will -he –ever-make- a –move- relationship she had going with Tenma, who was hardly in town to begin with. She thought about the crushing loneliness she felt, alone in her apartment, on those rare evenings when she was not killing herself with work.
And then she thought about him, touching her in his sleep, and the scary, starving way her body responded.
"Yes" she said firmly.
He studied her silently. She refused to meet his gaze.
They both knew she was lying, but thankfully, he decided to drop the subject.
"Why Rodin?" He asked instead. "It is not really like you"
She blushed and looked away.
He tilted his head slightly, still studying her.
Then he walked over, sat beside her on the sofa, and pinned her with his most intense blue stare.
"What is wrong, little sister?"
"Nothing!" She replied immediately. "I just don't like to talk about it. It is embarrassing."
It was not what he was asking about, but thankfully he played along.
"It was Lotte's idea, wasn't it?"
"You did not have to ask if you already knew." She sounded put out.
"It was a lucky guess. How is Lotte?"
"She is doing well. She got married to Karl shortly after you…well… vanished. They are expecting their second baby in about six months."
"That's a relief," said Johan.
"Yes. Lotte liked you."
"Of course she did, we were best friends"
Johan looked thoroughly amused at that one, but he changed the subject.
"Tell me about your Rodin collection."
"The Kiss was the first." She said "and yes, it was Lotte's idea. She felt it projected an air of sensuality that made the entire room look more sophisticated." She smiled wryly "I guess she was only trying to help."
The truth was that Nina had negligible experience when it came to things like love and romance. So, like many other women in her position, she had turned to her more knowledgeable best friend for advice on how to move her relationship with Tenma forward.
And the little statue had been just one part of the embarrassing fiasco she had named 'Hurricane Lotte'.
Still, at that point, she had been desperate enough to try anything, and once Lotte was done with her, she was having a candlelit dinner with Tenma, dressed in a wine red, strapless dinner dress that reminded her uncomfortably of the far too revealing purple outfit she had worn while acting the part of a whore at Candy. It did not help matters that as they talked, his eyes would stray down to her cleavage, and then guilty jerk away.
Far from being enchanted by her, he seemed more uncomfortable than a cat on hot bricks, and would hardly even glance in her direction.
She did not blame him; she was barely comfortable with the situation herself.
That evening had been awkward to say the least.
And the statue had been the last straw. He had stared at it as if it was the very incarnation of the devil, and then, no other words could do justice to what happened next…
The man fled from her apartment.
In all the years she had known him, and this included the long months spent on the run from the authorities, she'd had no idea he could run so fast.
One would almost think that some relentless, bloodthirsty psychopath had deliberately scared him off.
It finally began to make sense.
"Johan" She said through gritted teeth.
"Yes, dear sister?"
"What did you say to Tenma?"
Her brother smiled innocently.
"You threatened him, didn't you?"
"Why would I? Our dear Doctor is a decent, reasonable man. I admire him a great deal."
Translation; Tenma was a walking bundle of guilt, and very easy to manipulate.
Nina's heart sank.
"Tell the truth, Older Brother."
"I bought him lunch, and we talked."
"And what" she asked patiently "did you talk about?"
"Nothing much, just some basic psychology"
"I forget the details" he went on "but I am fairly certain we talked a bit about Lolita complexes."
Nina was horrified, and then deeply offended.
"I am not a child!"
"You were ten when he met you." He said irrefutably. "I believe we also talked about what would constitute inappropriate behavior on the part of the older male involved. It was nice to know he agreed with me."
Nina gritted her teeth.
So that was why he never called back.
Three whole years, and all she got were postcards, and the occasional e-mail.
"You really should think about moving to Munich with me. I am sure you will like the suite I've prepared for you."
There was absolutely no doubt about it. Nina thought. When he was not busy being a mysterious, terrifying serial killer, her brother was positively the most infuriating, stubborn and quietly overbearing creature that ever walked the planet.
She slammed the lid of her laptop shut, stood up, and advanced on him, furious.
"Johan, why do you do things like this to me?" she glared at him. "Has it ever occurred to you that I just might have my own life? That I might want a normal, stable relationship with a man like everyone else? I want a home! I want a family! It would be nice to have children of my own at some point!"
Her brother was unfazed by her outburst.
"Then why don't you have them?" He asked curiously.
"You have had three years, Anna." He went on. "There are fourteen different men who are currently interested in you. Six of them are masquerading as your friends. Four managed to dig up the courage to ask you out, and have been turned down. One proposed to you outright… I applaud his courage. Three have been reduced to stalking you. There was even that one who was desperate enough to break into your room to steal your used underwear. Sadly, he did not live long enough to put it to any use." Johan's grin was shark like, and brief. "You say you want a relationship, a home, you want a husband and children. These men are willing to kill themselves for the opportunity to give these things to you. I have often wondered; why is it that you have not let even one of them try?"
The fact that he knew more than she did about her own private life did not surprise her anymore. She would not let it distract her.
"I do not want fourteen men, Johan." She said through clenched teeth. "I want Tenma, you know, the one you scared away three years ago!"
"Tenma is too old for you," He pointed out with infuriating calmness "That would not necessarily be a problem, but he also happens to be married to his work. You know this. You keep clinging to his image because you think it is safe. You think he is unavailable. You want him because, in that part of your mind that you hide from the world, you are absolutely convinced that you will never have him. I often thought that it was such a sad thing, little sister, that you could not see how much he loved you."
Nina went very still
"He… loved me?"
"Of course he did. Tenma wanted you. He wanted you very badly. You should have seen the way his face lit up when we talked about you. I almost felt sorry for him. But there was no way I could let my precious little sister tie herself to a man she only imagined that she was in love with. You know, you were so cruel to him, Anna, hiding behind him, using his image to shield yourself from other men like that, when even he could see that you did not really want him."
Nina hit him. Hard.
"How dare you?"
Her red handprint stood out vividly on the pale skin of his cheek.
She was so angry her whole body shook.
A part of her mind was trying to remind her, nervously, that the she had just hit a mass murderer.
She did not care.
"This is too much, Older Brother, even for you!" she raged "You cannot presume to know how I feel!"
There was a very long silence. To her surprise, he was the first to break it.
"You are right, little sister" His voice was soft. "As you say, I don't know anything about love. I only know what you have taught me." He looked straight at her. "I know that when you look at a man who loves you, he cannot look away from you. No matter how strong he thinks he is, against you, he is completely powerless. He would do anything you wanted him to no matter how much it hurt him. He would be content to die if he knew his death would make you happy."
Nina stepped back, physically shaken.
"It is a terrible thing, Anna, don't you think so?" his voice became even softer "I often thought, while I was away, about mother… and that man. I hated him, you know, almost as much as she did. I think I inherited it from her… the capacity to hate so intensely… if it is even possible to inherit such emotions. I remember how her hate actually felt, how deep it was. He felt it too. He knew how much she despised him. But he loved her. He could not stop loving her. He threw away his life's work, slaughtered his colleagues, his associates, and even his friends, for her sake, even though he knew that she would never love him… or even forgive what he had done to her. Pathetic, wasn't it?"
Nina was undoubtedly naïve about many things, but even she could detect hints of self mockery in his tone.
The bloodbath at Ruhenhiem, the massacre at the Red Rose Mansion…
To him, these events were parallels of each other.
"You have it too you know," He went on "that power mother had." Johan smiled "Isn't it funny how life repeats itself? Even his son is just as wretchedly in love with you"
"One of your supposed 'friends'. You lived with the man for three months. His most famous puppet is a replica of you. It baffles me that you did not notice. But that is beside the point. I may know nothing about love, but I know you. I know how effective your power is. It is bad enough when you do not encourage men. It is worse… so much worse, when you look at them with those eyes…the eyes of the true woman inside you, the one you always hide."
Johan's words frightened her. She knew where this was going, and she did not like it.
"I have seen those eyes, Anna. I know the power they have. If you really wanted Tenma, you would be with him right now. He would have felt guilty about it, of course, but his guilt would not have been strong enough to tear him away from you. You love him, no doubt, but your love is a child's love. He loved you as a man. He wanted a woman's love, not a child's adoration. You already built the barrier that kept him out. It only took a few words from me to convince him that his lust for you was perverse and unforgivable. I did not drive him away. You did."
"No…" she said. "You are wrong."
"Am I?" His gaze held her own, eyes challenging. "Tell yourself the truth, little sister. Did you ever, at any point in your relationship, really want him to touch you? Did you ever look at him and imagine what it would be like if he did? Whenever he looked at you with all his hunger in his eyes, did it arouse you? Did it make you want him inside you? Did you even notice? Or were you just desperate to do whatever it took to keep him by your side?"
This time, she was the one whose gaze fell .
Mercilessly, he waited for her answer. He watched her fists clench, watched her breath quicken as she forced back tears.
"I hate you so much sometimes" She murmured under her breath.
He did not reply immediately. She looked up. He was watching her, eyes narrowed in a way that she clearly recognized. It was the same way he had looked at her, three years ago, before he turned his back on her and walked off, leaving her on her knees, pointing her gun at her own head.
"I understand. I cannot pretend I do not deserve it." He said, his voice soft. "Hate is natural, especially to us. I hated you myself for a very long time. " He smiled. "We met, you and I, just before Ruhenheim. I was finally with you. I could have died from that happiness. I did not realize then how far you had gone from me. You could not see what I had seen. You did not understand at all. You, even you, could only see the monster, like everyone else."
It was amazing, she thought, how casual he managed to sound, and how distant, as if he was not talking about himself at all.
Johan tended to distance himself from things that hurt him. This was why he could hurt others, and kill with absolutely no pity, no remorse. He felt none for himself to begin with.
But he could not hide his pain from her. It showed in the subconscious way his body folded slightly in on itself, the way his trembling arm was wrapped around his chest, the way his hand clutched desperately at a wound on his upper arm that was not there, cradling scars that were on her arm and not his own.
The wounds were hers, the pain was his.
This was Johan, her Brother.
He was twisted, sick, so accustomed to his own pain that he had numbed himself to it, so used to carrying her pain that he did not realize it was not his own. In his mind, the two of them were the same. She was a part of him that he could not live without.
Which was why, when she rejected him, he had made up his mind to die.
And apparently now, three years later, those wounds were still bleeding.
The tears she had been fighting back suddenly began to fall.
Her soft heart, she knew, was surely going to be the death of her.
Impulsively, she moved closer. She wrapped her arms around him.
His arms closed around her. His grip was like a vice.
His entire body was trembling.
Oddly, however, his voice remained calm. He spoke his next words very softly in her ear, making her shiver.
"You talk of hate, Little Sister; do you even know what that word means? I hated you so much that I wanted you dead. You had your gun to your head and I hoped you would pull the trigger. I would have killed you myself. I wanted to, but my hands would not move. I could not even stay to watch you. I am weak that way I suppose, but that does not change the fact that I hated you."
How odd it was, she thought at random. He sounded so detached, talked so casually about hating her, yet he held her body so tightly against his own, clutching her with all the desperation of a frantic child, shuddering with all the hunger of a famished lover.
It was almost as if he wanted, literarily, to absorb her body with his own; to swallow her whole, like the monster in the fairy tale, so that she would always be there, inside him, unable to run away or to leave.
"You should be very careful when dealing with monsters"
"They are always hungry, always starving. They want everything and cannot be satisfied."
Even as a ten year old, he had warned her.
But she did not attempt to pull away. It would have been useless to. He was far stronger than she.
Besides, even if she could have, a part of her did not want to.
The monster in her that was a shameless, as wanton, as needy, as the demon that drove her brother, wanted nothing more than to be taken by him.
Consume me, if it will quell your insanity. Eat me, if it will fill your hunger. Devour me, if it will calm your madness. Swallow me, if it will make you whole.
munch, munch, crunch, crunch, snap, snap, gulp
You are me. I am you.
Terrified, she clutched at his shirt, trying not to panic, not to scream.
But she had no reason to be afraid.
The monster made no move to feast, to sate the hunger that even she could feel. His hunger raged, but he did not accept the invitation her wanton side offered to satisfy it.
Her Brother simply held her.
It was just a hug, something that both of them desperately needed.
But it felt like more.
A little monster nibble, rather than a full out monster bite.
"Love means nothing." He continued quietly. "Hate means nothing. In the end, they are just emotions, hungers that can never be truly fed. They do not change facts." his hands moved over her back, pulling her, impossibly, even closer, "Without you I am not complete, this will not change, whether I hate you or not. It is the same for you, isn't it? This is why you build those barriers; you keep men away because you know they cannot complete you, the way other women just do not fit me. You say you are happy, but you know you are not. You say you want a home, a family. I am your home. I have always been, just as you have always been home for me."
This was getting dangerous. Johan was leading her unto treacherous ground, bringing up issues she was not prepared to deal with.
Consume me, eat me, devour me; feast on me, my darling monster. Sate your hunger and satisfy mine.
"You are my brother, Johan." She said quietly, but firmly. "You cannot be more than that."
Johan went very still.
His grip about her loosened and she pulled away.
He looked away from her, bangs partially obscuring his face.
She placed her hand against his jaw, made him look at her.
"Older Brother, I love you. I will always love you. Understand this. No matter who I end up with, that will not change. But you are my brother; I cannot see you as anything more."
She closed her eyes.
"You have to move on, Older Brother."
"I can't love any woman but you."
She took a deep breath, let it out. She had to calm down. She could be cool and logical about this, with a little effort. There was no way she was going to let him manipulate her. Not when she knew that, consciously or not, it was what he was trying to do.
She would not give in to her monster, could not give in to his.
"Then what are you saying, Older Brother?" She asked "What do you want from me?"
"Everything you are willing to give."
"And exactly what does 'everything' mean?"
"Whatever you decide"
There was something in his voice, an inexorable finality that made her blood run cold.
She thought of General Wolfe as he had been in his last hours. He had died a terrified old man, completely alone in his hospital room, because all the people he had loved, his friends and family, his wife and children and siblings, had been killed by her brother.
And Johan had isolated her that way before, many times. He had killed everyone around her until she had no one but him.
She was wise enough to recognize a threat when she heard one.
It was true that she had forgiven him, and that he had accepted her forgiveness. But Johan was still a very dangerous man.
In his usual way, he had placed the gun in her hands. It was up to her to decide what role he was going to play. He could be her brother, her friend, or even her lover. He would be a part of her life, or completely destroy it. There was only one thing that was certain; no matter what choice she made, Johan would not be ignored.
She thought of Dieter and Dr Reichwien, of Karl and Lotte and Dr Gillen, of the people who were her friends, her new family. Johan had vowed never to kill Tenma, but that did not mean that the others were safe.
So much for not being manipulated...
Still, she had chosen to forgive him, hadn't she?
And she did want to help him. She could not do that by running away.
Now that General Wolfe was dead, she was the one person alive who understood Johan the most. If anyone had the slightest chance of reaching him, she did.
Johan was her responsibility. But this was not just about duty.
She loved him.
It was that simple.
No matter how numerous his sins were, he was her brother. No matter how many people he killed, and how red with blood his hands were, she would not turn away from him.
She had made a promise, standing under the rain at Ruhenhiem.
"I forgive you. Even if we were the last two people in the world, I would forgive you."
"What do you want me to do?" she asked.
"Come to Munich with me." He said. "If you like, we could even arrange to go to France and visit mother together."
Nina wanted to help Johan, she truly did. She had forgiven him, really.
But forgiveness was one thing. Living with him was something entirely different.
Consume me, Eat me, Devour me.
She knew her own weaknesses too well. She was no longer the oblivious child she had been.
And her brother had never been one to begin with.
But how on earth was she to explain this to him?
There had to be some other way to make the man see reason.
"Johan, why do you even have an apartment in Munich?" She asked. "Shouldn't you be trying to avoid the authorities?"
"It's a penthouse."
"That's even worse!"
He just smiled.
Nina sighed tiredly. She really had her work cut out for her.
I will be logical about this. She reminded herself.
"I can't just leave my job, Johan."
"Why not? Your boss had no objections when I spoke to him on Friday."
Nina's blood ran cold.
"You talked to my boss?"
"I like your Rodin collection. I think I will start one too, for your rooms in Munich."
"What did you tell my Boss?"
"I told him I wanted to retain the services of his firm."
"And you told him you had to have me."
"I did not. He offered you… eventually. You should check your e-mail more often"
"I just did"
"Not your personal mail, darling, your official mail."
She frowned. It was rare for her to receive official mail on weekends, unless there was some sort of emergency. She usually checked anyway, just in case. However, this weekend had been far from normal, so she had not gotten round to doing it yet.
Her heart sinking, she walked back to her chair, and powered up her laptop.
It was there, in black and white.
It was an official letter, marked urgent, informing her tersely that the services of their firm had been retained by one Erich Vogel, business man, resident in Munich. She had been permanently assigned to work with him, effective immediately. The client's secretary, Georg Huber, would be contacting her soon with her travel itinerary and accommodation details.
The question was unnecessary, but she had to ask it.
"You are Erich Vogel?"
He inclined his head courteously "At your service."
She closed her eyes, and took a deep, calming breath.
Her Brother was now, officially, her employer.
Anna was a realist. Emotions aside, she knew when she had been defeated. Johan had successfully backed her into a corner. She had no real choice but to do what he wanted. Indeed, if the circumstances were normal, she would have had no objections. He was family, he needed her, she had forgiven him, and she wanted to do what she could to help him.
But the circumstances were not normal. It was not normal for twins to feel sexually attracted to one another. It was not normal or right for her to encourage his obvious fixation. There was no way they could live together, in the same house, probably sharing the same room at night, without something regrettable happening.
She had enough regrets already.
She had to find a way to stop this. Obviously, logic was not working.
"You can't just barge into my apartment and take over my life like this!"
Johan smiled gently at her.
His smile was tranquil, and completely shameless. It was the same way he had smiled at Junkers right before putting three bullets in his brain, the same way he smiled at Karl while brazenly admitting to receiving correspondence from Red Sophie, one of the most successful … and notorious prostitutes in the country.
Nina, unfortunately, was very familiar with that smile. Its meaning was quite simple.
I want to do this, so why not?
Or more specifically; I thoroughly understand your opinion. I really do. I just don't think it counts. In fact, it amuses me.
"I know that you will need some time to think about this," he said, as if she was the one being unreasonable. "So we will not talk about it anymore for now. Though…"
He suddenly stopped, hesitating. She looked at him with some measure of astonishment. Johan never displayed any form of uncertainty, not if he could help it. Especially not when he had won so clearly …
Yet there he was, noticeably uneasy, and refusing to meet her eyes.
And wait, was he actually blushing?
"… you should probably know that you have your own suite. You will not have to share mine unless you want to."
She turned even redder than he was.
"You were awake?!"
"No!" he defended hastily, "At least, not until you pulled away. I am sorry I made you uncomfortable. I really am, but I cannot help that I dream about you."
She closed her eyes and heaved a deep sigh.
Really, this was just too much.
"It does not happen that often, I swear."
She eyed him skeptically.
"Okay, well, maybe it does. But it will not be a problem, I promise. Having you around is more important to me."
At that point, Nina made up her mind.
They were going to end up living together; she simply had no choice in the matter. But she'd be damned if she did not lay down some ground rules first.
"Pretend, for just one moment, that I said yes. What would you do, Older Brother?"
He clearly recognized her question for what it was. He would not have been Johan otherwise.
Without a word, he pulled her into his arms.
She had to struggle not to smile. This was a very serious matter.
"What if I met someone and fell in love? Would you let me go? If I had children with this man that I loved, what would you do?"
"We are the same. Your children would be mine also, I'd never hurt them." He grinned "Besides, I like children."
For some reason, coming from Johan, that just sounded wrong.
"You will not teach my children to go jumping off people's roofs, Johan."
"I will not teach our children jump off people's roofs."
"My children, Johan, mine. I will have a husband, and we will have kids, and you will be their slightly eccentric uncle. You will find some woman and produce cousins for them to play with. And you are not allowed to brainwash them, or hurt them in any way."
"I shall have to approve of your husband first."
She narrowed her eyes.
"You will not sabotage any attempts I make to meet guys"
"Only if I think they deserve you."
"And you will get yourself a girlfriend."
"Let's cross that bridge when we get there."
"I am serious"
"So am I"'
"Please stop being difficult"
"I love you."
Sate my hunger
"I am your sister."
She took a deep breath and prayed for patience.
There was just no point arguing the finer points of public morality with a psychopath. It was unfortunate that her brother just had to be even more amoral than most.
It was hard enough arguing with herself.
"You have to try to stop hurting people, Johan, and in order to do this, you will agree to get some form of therapy."
"That sounds like fun"
"And you are not allowed to screw with your therapists head."
"What a demanding woman you are."
"I mean it. I will not go anywhere with you unless you seriously agree to get help. I cannot condone senseless murder. I don't care whether you are my brother or not. If you are not going to get help, then you may as well shoot me right now, because there's no way I will go to Munich with you."
She was completely serious now. Johan clearly recognized this.
He looked at her gravely.
"If I make this promise, Anna, will you promise, in return, that you will not run away from me?"
And there it was. The chance she had hoped for. Staying beside him was not too great a price to pay for this opportunity. They had survived nightmares together in the past; this was not really that different.
"I know that I am probably going to regret this decision many times over. But as long as you sincerely try your best to get better, I will not leave your side until you do."
Johan smiled. It was a genuinely happy smile. It was startling how much younger it made him look, almost like the little boy he had never been.
"But you will have to give me some time." She went on." I must say goodbye properly to all my friends, or they will worry about me."
"Come to Munich when you are ready." He said "I will be waiting for you."
In the end, it took her three weeks to prepare.
Dr Richwien was unhappy with her decision and made no attempt to hide his worry. Karl and Lotte both concluded she was crazy, and did everything in their power to stop her. On the other hand, Dr Gillen could not hide his interest in the whole thing. To him, Johan was a very interesting subject, one that deserved to be studied at length.
"I would like to know how he progresses." He said. "If you ever need my help, let me know. I will not say anything to the police or press that you do not want me to."
Dieter turned out to be the one who understood her decision the most. He was a survivor, to a smaller extent, of the same type of nightmare Johan had faced.
"You are too soft for your own good." He informed her. "But I guess it is the only thing you can do. He can only get better if he has you."
The only person left to tell was Tenma.
The night before her flight, after all her things were packed, she sat at her computer, and composed a very short, simple e-mail;
"…I have decided to stay with my brother now, because he needs me. Please do not worry about me. I will be fine. We will all be fine now, because of you. Thank you so much for saving his life, and for finding mother. You have given us all a chance to be a real family. I will do my best to make sure that this opportunity is not wasted.
I love you; I think perhaps I always will. But you have your patients, who truly need you, just as my family needs me now. Let us do the best we can for them.
I hope we will get a chance to meet again soon. There is so much I want to tell you.
It was a cold, windy day in Munich when she arrived.
Johan was waiting for her at the airport. He stood out from the crowd, pale and starkly handsome in his black overcoat.
He held out his arms as soon as he saw her.
Willingly, she went to him.
He was warm, so very warm.
It was not mere physical warmth. Her brother, she felt, was becoming human.
"I am back." She said softly.
"Welcome home." He replied "I made apple strudels."
So there it is. I hope you liked it. Please review and let me know what you think.
Does fluff really work with Johan?
Thanks for reading!