Chapter 9: Happy Ending
Ivan walked quickly through the hospital's double automatic entrance doors. He saw Vash and went up to the young detective.
"Oh, hi, Ivan," Vash said when he saw the worried-looking man.
"Detective," Ivan said, struggling to breathe normally. "You called me…about Gilbo? He's here?"
"Yeah," said Vash.
"Well, where is he?" Ivan asked. "I want to see my son."
"I'll take you to his room," Vash replied. He led Ivan to an elevator, and the two of them took it to the third floor, where the children's ward was.
"Uh, where are the other two guys who were with you?" Ivan asked as Vash led him down a corridor.
"Alfred was shot by one of the guys who took your son," said Vash. "Arthur's picking up Alfred's little brother from school, and bringing him here to see Al." Vash stopped at a room numbered 210. "Here we are."
Vash and Ivan walked into the room and saw a little girl sound asleep in one of the two beds. This was one of the kids Vash, Arthur, and Alfred saved.
"Gilbo," Ivan said in relief when he saw his son in the other bed. He rushed over and hugged a sick-looking and still-drugged Gilbert.
"Papa," Gilbert said. "I was scared." The boy started sniffling while burying his face in his father's shirt, then coughed a little. "The mean guys tried to sell me. And they shot Al."
'Oh my God,' Ivan thought. 'Poor Gilbo.' "It's okay," he then said gently. "You're okay now, it's gonna be okay." Ivan felt sick to his stomach when he saw the bruises on Gilbert's wrists and neck from the collar and shackles; he also saw the needle marks on his son left by Sasha and his men when they drugged the child.
Vash's phone vibrated in his pocket, as he didn't want to disturb Gilbert's roommate, or Gilbert, if he was asleep as well. He took the phone out and flipped it open. "Zwingli. Okay, I'll be down there in a couple minutes; I'm with Gilbo's dad right now. Right. Tell him that Al's gonna be fine. I'll be down there in a couple minutes. Bye." Vash hung up and flipped his phone shut.
"Who was that?" asked Ivan. Gilbert was now sitting in his lap and still clinging to Ivan.
"That was Arthur," Vash replied as he turned to leave the room. "He called me and told me that Alfred's brother's here now. I've gotta go; I'll be back soon." Vash left the room, leaving Ivan with Gilbert.
Vash took the elevator to the second floor, where Arthur and a very worried and upset Matthew were waiting for him.
"Sorry I took so long," said Vash. "I brought Ivan up to see Gilbo."
"That's good," Arthur said. "Now, Mattie wants to see Al."
"Is he okay?" Matthew asked, his purple eyes wide with worry. "Please tell me he's alright!"
"He's okay," said Vash. "This way." He led Arthur and Matthew down to a room numbered 137. He, Arthur and Matthew walked into the room. They saw Alfred on one of the beds, pouting while flipping the channels and mumbling about there being nothing good on.
"Al!" Matthew said. He went over to Alfred and gave him a hug. "I'm glad you're okay. I was afraid you died."
"Hey, Mattie," said Alfred. "This is pretty cool, huh? I have this room to myself." Alfred laughed a little.
Matthew gave a chuckle. "I'm glad you got that kid back, too."
"Thanks," said Alfred.
"Hey, Al," said Vash. "Arthur and I have to go back to the lobby. We've gotta see if Claus, Elise and their other kid are here."
"Uh, the kid's name is Mudgig, right?" Alfred asked.
"No, you bloody dolt," an annoyed Arthur replied. "His name's Ludwig." Despite his annoyance, Arthur was actually relieved that Alfred as back to his kind-of-stupid self.
"Oh," said an embarrassed Alfred. "Okay, go on. Mattie's here now."
Vash and Arthur exited the room, got in the elevator and descended to the lobby.
Meanwhile, Claus, Elise and Ludwig were nervously waiting for at least one of the detectives to show up. Claus was holding a teddy bear: Gilbert's stuffed animal from home, the one he brought to the playground the day he was taken. Elise was having a hard time getting the receptionist to spell her surname correctly. The whole family had dark circles under their eyes, and they looked like they only got very little sleep—if any at all—for the past few days.
"No, not Weillschmidt!" Elise said. "Beilschmidt! B-E-I-L-S-C-H-M-I-D-T."
"Beershit?" the receptionist asked again.
"No, not Beershit," said an annoyed Elise. "Why does everyone always say it like that? It's Beilschmidt! Now, where's my son's room?"
Claus and Ludwig looked at each other and rolled their eyes.
"Hey, Lui, I'm gonna get a soda," said Claus. "Want one?"
"Sure," Ludwig said. "Oh, get one for Gilbo, too. He'll probably want one."
Claus walked away and went to find a soda machine.
Just then, a boy about Ludwig's age came up to him, seeming to know him.
"Hey, Mudgig," the boy said in a mocking tone.
"I'm not listening to you, Viktor," Ludwig said in a singsong voice. He kept watching his stepmother argue with the lady at the desk. Viktor's full name was Viktor Krum, and he was Ludwig and his friends' bully in school.
"I'm talkin' to ya, Dudwig!" Viktor said. He grabbed Ludwig by his shirt.
"That's not my name," Ludwig said calmly. He was trying not to let Viktor get to him.
"Hey!" Arthur said. "What the bloody hell is going on here?"
"Oh, nothing, officer," said Viktor.
Vash wrestled Viktor off Ludwig. "Get out of here, kid."
Viktor walked away, grumbling under his breath.
"You okay?" Vash asked.
"Yeah," Ludwig replied. "Hey, Mom, Vash and Arthur are here."
"Oh," said Elise. She walked away from the receptionist's desk and went up to her stepson and the detectives. "Lui, where's your father?"
"He went to get a couple sodas," said Ludwig.
As if on cue, Claus came back, holding four sodas: one for him; one for Elise; one for Ludwig; and one for Gilbert. He still held the stuffed bear. "Detectives. Where's our son?"
"Third floor," Vash replied. "I'll take you there now."
"Did you get the bastards who did this to him?" Claus asked.
"Yes," said Arthur. "They're in custody, and they'll be going away for a long time."
"Good," Elise said as she took the soda Claus handed her. She opened it and took a huge sip.
"We'll take you to Gilbo," said Vash. He, Arthur and the family took the elevator up to the third floor, and went to room 210. They all walked inside. There was one difference this time: Ivan wasn't in the room anymore.
"Gilbo!" Claus and Elise said as they went over to their son.
"My baby, I'm glad you're alive," said Elise.
"Mommy, Daddy," Gilbert said.
"It's alright now, son," said Claus. He and Elise embraced Gilbert, and afterwards, he gave the boy his bear, putting the can of soda on the nightstand.
"You brought Prussia," Gilbert said happily.
"Hey, Gilbo," Ludwig said.
"Big Brother! You're alive!" Gilbert said. He was now clinging to Ludwig like the older boy was a life raft. "The bad men told me they killed you."
"They didn't," Ludwig said quietly as he hugged Gilbert. "I'm sorry…I'm sorry I called you squirt, I'm sorry I couldn't stop the bad men from taking you." He let go when he heard Gilbert coughing and let the child lay down.
"Gilbo, where's Papa?" Arthur asked.
"Potty," Gilbert replied.
"Wait…Ivan was here?" Elise asked. Her eyes narrowed slightly as she continued tending to Gilbert.
"Yes," said Vash. "He came here before you did."
Ivan came back into the room, where he saw Claus, Elise and Ludwig gathered around Gilbert. He rushed back to his son's side, not caring that his ex-wife was glaring at him. A doctor came in to check on Gilbert.
"Doctor, when will Gilbo be able to come home?" Claus asked worriedly.
"I want to keep him here for the week," the doctor replied. "He's sick, and his injuries need to be treated. He also needs to get some food in him, because he looks like he hasn't eaten in days." He then bent down to Gilbert's level. "Hey, Gilbo. You must be hungry."
"Yeah!" said Gilbert.
"Well, what would you like to eat?" the doctor asked.
"Um…" Gilbert said. He looked at his parents and stepfather, and then his big brother, as if to ask, 'What should I get?' "Um…can I have a cheeseburger and fries and chocolate ice cream and orange soda?"
"Sure," the doctor said and smiled. He got up and walked to the door. "I'll be right back with food." He walked out, leaving Gilbert with his family, and Vash and Arthur.
"We're gonna go check on Al," said Vash. He and Arthur left to go to the second floor.
"Ellie, I'm taking Lui to get some food," Claus said. "Want anything?"
"No, not right now," Elise replied. "Maybe later."
"Okay," Claus said. He and Ludwig left for the cafeteria, while Elise and Ivan stayed with Gilbert.