***This is the final chapter everyone! Thank you again for sticking with this story and for all the generous support in reviews and on tumblr! You guys are truly amazing and I thank you! I put the final chapter and epilogue into one, so be prepared for a LOOONG read! I really enjoyed writing this fic, and I'm sad to see it end. So read on and enjoy! I promised a happy ending, didn't I? ^^

***Warning: Violence, blood, hardcore yaoi, language, sap, fluff, humor

***Disclaimer: I do not own Hetalia. I am making no money off of this fic.

Chapter 16

Ivan lurked in the dark shadows under the balcony with his pipe in hand. He chose to hide when he saw Callaghan come out with an umbrella to have a cigarette. Above him the man was walking and whistling carelessly. The man had no idea Ivan was watching him and that notion alone made him smile. He moved closer towards the steps as he heard Callaghan retreat back into the house. Ivan waited a moment or two before ascending the steps one by one, slowly, as to not make any sound. The heavy drumming of the thick rain would help to mask any unwanted sounds. There was one issue he had failed to notice right away, and that was the motion sensor light on the balcony. He cursed under his breath, realizing that now he had to find another way in.

Sneaking back down the steps and under the balcony Ivan started to scope the perimeter of the house, looking for a basement or side door. The heavy rain made it hard to see but he found what he was looking for when he tripped over something. It made a heavy mental clanking sound beneath his feet when he balanced himself. Curious, he crouched down to inspect the item he was on and concluded it was a basement door. The doors were locked from the inside and he let out a stream of curses in aggravation. He began feeling the doors for any signs of a weakness, like the hinges or a bent corner. As luck would have it the bottom left corner was bent. It wasn't big enough for Ivan to stick his hand through and unlock the doors, so he took the hooked end of the pipe to use as a crowbar. The wet ground continuously made him slip and fall while trying to bend back the thin metal. It had taken longer than he had wanted but soon enough the door corner was bent back.

Taking a moment to catch his breath and promising himself to work out more, Ivan knelt on the wet ground in front of the doors. Slipping his arm in and up Ivan searched for the latch. When found he had to use all his strength to push the old rusty latch down and open the doors. Now that the doors were open he could enter the house, unnoticed, and give himself a chance to dry off. It was a good thing he came in through the basement for if it were through the balcony doors the mud and puddles would give him away. This way would be much easier for him.

Testing the first step for stability purposes, Ivan carefully made his way down and closed the doors behind him. The basement was dark and chilly, but luckily Ivan had thought ahead and brought a few items just in case this happened. Reaching in to his soaked coat he pulled out a small flashlight, turned it on, and looked around the area. He was in the wine cellar judging by all the barrels. To the far right was a wall of bottles, which he had to investigate for other purposes. He ran the circle of light along the labels, finding some expensive brands of vodka. He made a note to come back here and take all these when the bastard was dead. Next, he searched around for a door that should lead to another room. The basement had to have multiple rooms due to the size of the house. He walked past three rows of barrels until his light found an open door. Ivan peeked inside before stepping in, flashing the light all around. This was the furnace room along with the hot water heater and other machines. Everything was eerily silent until Ivan heard a sneeze. He jumped, nearly dropping the flashlight at the sudden sound. Who was down here with him?

"Be quiet! He might hear you!" The voice was a hushed whisper, yet sounded vaguely female.

Brows knitted, Ivan looked around the room and found double doors, which were sealed with a chain and padlock. The closer he got the more whispers and cries he could hear. Ivan had the sinking feeling that he may have just stumbled upon part of Callaghan's human trafficking victims. This would change things. Ivan knew he had to get in that room and help the others behind the doors. The key to the padlock was set on a nail beside the doors, so Ivan was easily able to unlock it. He heard the victims gasping and trying to hide their choked sobs. Ivan had to slowly remove the chain through the handles so as to not make much noise. Once the doors were unlocked he entered, peeking inside with his flashlight first. He was met with shrieks and gasps.

"Shh! Please, don't make any sounds!" Ivan whispered softly. "I'm a friend!" He moved the flashlight around until it settled on a huddled mass of young women and children. There were about seven women and four children; all had looked somewhat abused, and they were utterly terrified. "Why are you all here? What happened?" No one would answer him. "It's all right, I promise you. I'm actually here to nab that bastard and I have the cops on my side."

One young girl, who looked to be no more than twelve spoke first. "Will you get us out? I want to go home to my mom and dad!"

Ivan nodded. "Yes, of course. I need to get that bastard Callaghan first, though."

"Don't let him come in here!" said a little boy, looking to be six or seven. "Don't let him in!"

"I won't. How long have you all been here?"

"We don't know," said another girl child. "It feels like forever!"

Another young woman spoke up who appeared to be the eldest of the group. "What's your name?"

He didn't want them to know his real name, so he offered a fake name. "My name is Benjamin." It was the first name to come to mind, as well as being the name of Callaghan's agent. "What's yours?"

"I'm Rosaline."

Ivan remembered the name as the woman Callaghan was having an affair with that time he spent the night with Gilbert. Now he had to wonder just how many women and men that bastard had lured into this life with charm, money, and power. It had worked on Gilbert too. "All right, everyone, listen to me. I'm going to get this bastard, and I'm going to hurt him. But, I need all of you to remain here, very quiet, until I come back. The plan is I will lock him in here until the police arrive." He really just wanted no witnesses when he killed the man here. "When I come down with him, all of you can leave. But you MUST remain in the house until the police come. It's raining heavily and it's night. We're in the middle of the woods so you will likely die before you're found! So you all MUST remain here. Do you understand?" Many of them nodded but still looked scared. "Rosaline, you're in charge."

"Yes, I understand."

Ivan stood up. "I won't lock the doors but you must promise me that no one will leave until I have Callaghan in his hands, okay?"

"We will," said another little boy.

"He's in the shower right now!" said another teenage girl as she pointed to one of the big pipes above them. "That's the bathroom pipe!"

Ivan smirked. "Perfect. That gives me time to plan my attack." He turned back to the others and gave them all a reassuring smile. "Just stay put. I promise to be as fast as I can, okay?"

"Be careful, mister!" said another little boy.

Ivan gave a nod and left the room, gently closing the door behind him. He had all the more reason now to kill that bastard for what he's done. It would have only been a matter of time before his Gilbert was shipped off to some strange place and sold as a sex slave. It's no wonder now why the man was so private about his name, hiding behind a modeling company that helped to lure in young teens. Ivan couldn't save them all, but at least he could save this group from a dark fate. He found his way to the main stairs and saw the door up top. It was unlocked and when he opened it he had to shield his eyes from the light. Peeking around the side he noticed that he was in a foyer of some kind with another door to the far right. It was a very odd set up, but Ivan didn't bother to think any more about it. Going through the next door he stumbled upon the kitchen. Now would be a good time to take off his muddy boots and coat, so he did. He placed the boots and coat on the top steps to hide them. Ivan remained still while trying to listen for the sound of running water but the house was just too big.

Wandering through the extravagant rooms Ivan had finally found the main staircase. Now he could hear the water running and grinned madly. The classic shower scene from 'Psycho' flashed through his head, but he wouldn't do anything like that. Or would he? The idea of a red drain excited him and one could say the man simply 'slipped' in the shower. But Ivan would have to make it more convincing than that. Even though Alfred told him to make it look like an accident Ivan still wanted to make the man suffer. He could always claim 'self-defense' as he was trying to help the captives down in the basement. Or, he did see a few episodes of the Sopranos and watched the Godfather series a few times. If they could make someone 'disappear' then so can he.

"Your reign ends tonight, Callaghan," Ivan whispered and began climbing the steps. "You will pay for hurting and damaging my Gilbert, along with anyone else whose lives you destroyed."

He followed the sound of running water to the bathroom, seeing a bit of steam sneaking out from underneath. He checked the knob, finding it to be unlocked. With a smile he gently opened the door, looking around for the shower. The side walls of the shower were encased in black marble, but the front and door was frosted glass. 'Perfect'. Ivan said to himself, grinning menacingly as he stalked over to the shower, focusing on the pale naked outline of Callaghan. The form was turned away from the glass, giving Ivan the view of his back. For this, Ivan would need two hands and had to move fast. Placing the pipe down on the blue shower rug, Ivan gripped the glass sliding door, threw it open, grabbed a head of dark brown hair in his hand, and slammed Callaghan's face in to the marble. Ivan grinned and did it again, slamming his face four more times against the marble before dragging the bleeding mass out of the shower.

Ivan tossed him to the bathroom floor, watching in glee as the blood spread along the white and blue speckled tile. Callaghan's body was twitching and convulsing, his face such a battered mess that it was unrecognizable. "You're going to suffer for everything you've put Gilbert through! Evil such as you does not deserve to breathe the same air as I do!" Ivan picked up his pipe, held it over his head, and brought it down on the man's back. Callaghan let out a choked scream but Ivan didn't stop the assault, grinning as he heard a rib crack. Pulling the pipe back to strike again he accidentally hit the shower glass, shattering the door. The sound echoed beautifully in his ears, but he didn't care. He needed to keep the man immobilized so he focused his beating on the legs, hitting the limbs repeatedly to fracture and damage the nerves. The way Callaghan was trying to crawl without the use of his legs was amusing. Ivan ceased his assault to let out a laugh.

"I bet you're regretting ever having touched and raping my Gilbert. You're a filthy, dirty old man and I can't bear the sight of you!" For good measure he landed another blow to Callaghan's neck. "You just wait here while I make a phone call to police to save all those victims you have in the basement." With a smirk he used the pipe as a cane on Callaghan's back and leaned all his weight on it, watching the man squirm in agony. "When I come back we will continue our little game of 'good guys, bad guys'. You're in for a world of hurt. When the cops get you with everything they already know you'll be murdered in jail. That is, if you get the chance to even GO to jail after I'm through with you. Your life is over." He removed the pipe. "I'll brb!"

Ivan chuckled and hurried out of the bathroom, looking around in the other rooms for a phone. He found one in what could only be Callaghan's master bedroom. The first person he called was Alfred's cell. 'Pick up, Alfred! Hurry!'

'Hello?'

"It's me. I need your crew over here at the house.'

'Uh oh, what's happened? What did you do?'

"Well, I found a group of young women and children in the basement, all whom are going to be sold as sex slaves."

'What?! That fucking bastard! I knew it! Where is he?'

"Currently I had to 'hurt him' before he did anything to me or the victims."

'I see. Alright, I'm heading over now and I'll call my crew along the way. That gives me time to get there and help you out. I'm leaving now!'

"I'll be here." Ivan hung up and whistled his way back to the bathroom, bloody pipe in hand. In the back of his mind Ivan knew that there was a better way to punish Callaghan without killing him, but the man had too many connections and a lot of money. Money always finds a way to win any case. Some people were just evil and deserved death. This man was one of them. 'Emotionally damage and scar my Gilbert, will you? Well, not any more. Gilbert, I will free you from the dark, looming shadow he has over you. You will be free of this man and have a chance to start your life over, as a new man.' He opened the bathroom door. 'We'll be together as one. Forev-' Purple eyes widened at the scene before him.

Callaghan was dead, but not as a result of Ivan's assault. The man had crawled his way to the shower door and killed himself by throwing his weight onto a large shard of glass. The shard had gone through his throat and out the back of his neck, the tip of the glass peeking out ever so slightly through the skin of the neck. Ivan hurried over to examine the scene closer, wondering why Callaghan would make such a fatal decision on his own. The only reasoning Ivan could figure was that the man knew what consequences awaited him and, along with the amount of pain he was in, chose to kill himself. Ivan dropped the pipe to the floor, hearing the clatter echo in his ears. It was over now; Callaghan was dead.

Maybe Callaghan taking his own life will work out better than him murdering the man. This was the exact reason why he had left the forensic field. That shadowy part of him was deep within his psyche and to let it loose was to unleash a monster inside of him. He felt no remorse for beating Callaghan but rather thrilled with the idea of having made the man suffer in excruciating pain. Ivan looked down at his hands, stained with blood, and chose to frown. 'I can never tell Gilbert of what I've done. He may never look at me the same again.' That thought sent a shiver of fear down his spine. 'My Gilbert…I only did it to avenge and protect you, my lovely Snowbunny. I did this so we can be together in peace.'

Turning away from the bloody scene Ivan washed his hands and face free of any blood before going in to Callaghan's room to change his clothes. Looking through the massive wardrobe he found a simple long sleeved black shirt that was a little too sung for him. Pants were going to be near impossible since he was a few solid inches taller than Callaghan. As he fumbled through the drawers and passed what seemed like thousands of dress pants he came across some jogging ones. Simple navy blue sweatpants, that bunched at the bottom and had a drawstring waist. He threw the bloody clothes into the wastebasket and tied the bag, bringing it with him. Afterwards, he went back to the bathroom to check and see if Callaghan was still there; and he was. Ivan's eyebrow twitched and for a few seconds, looking upon the bloody scene, he felt regret. Every sinister and perilous thought he had of Callaghan since the beginning had driven him to seek revenge. Now that Ivan had achieved his promised revenge on the man he should feel content and complete.

'So why do I feel some regret? This man deserved death and more. I should be dancing on his corpse.'

Unexpectedly, Ivan had a flashback to a time in high school when he had a particular violent thought to a certain pink eyed bully.

"Hey! Marshmellow! You gonna hit the ball or what?" Gilbert shouted from second base of their gym class baseball game.

Ivan was up at bat and already he had two strikes. His teammates were flashing him looks of pure annoyance and they would terrorize him if he missed this one. Preparing the batting stance, Ivan kept his eye on the ball as the pitcher (the tall kid who was the actually pitcher on their official high school team) threw the ball. Ivan gave a mighty swing and hit the ball. He was stunned for a moment but the gym teacher shouted for him to run, so he did. However, the girl playing short stop got the ball and tossed it to first base who tagged Ivan.

"YOU'RE OUT!" shouted the teacher.

Ivan sighed and lumbered his way over to the bench, took a seat, and watched the rest of the game be played. He hated sports, he hated this school, and he hated every single classmate in this gym class. There was not one good one out of the bunch even if he did like Gilbert. Gilbert was the worst of them. EACH AND EVERY ONE was loathed in one way or another. Ivan glared at the pitcher, Josh Green, tall and lanky with a great pitching arm and little brain functioning. He remembered a time in Ultimate Frisbee when he caught said 'Frisbee' and slammed in to the Josh kid, knocking him flat on the ground. They had both leapt to catch it, but Ivan's solid girth knocked the braggart to the ground. But the bastard gym teacher called it a foul, and the point was given to the other team. Oh, how he wanted to repeatedly smack Josh Green with the Frisbee when the braggart gave him a 'yeah, whut up' sort of look. And then there was Molly Bucknell, a ginger who liked to roll her sporty EVERLAST gym shorts down to show the tip of her thong. She would always 'taunt' him about 'looking at her' when he never was. She even liked to make up stories about he was always staring at her ass and flashing her vindictive looks. Ivan was fuming the day the guidance councilor called him in, saying that she afraid to come to school because of him. When Ivan asked why the councilor said she feared he would do her harm, even so much as along the lines of rape. After hearing that Ivan wanted to find the red-head and beat her senseless. Grip her by that fiery red hair and smash her in to the lockers for making up such lies only to get him in trouble.

On third base was Mike Monrone, the president of the school newspaper and head of the literary club. Mike took immense joy in calling Ivan "Lenny, from 'Of Mice and Men'. For a short while the big joke on Ivan was to place fake mice or pictures of rabbits where he could see them. Such as in or on his locker, on his homeroom desk, in the gym locker, and even in his cello case. Always the mice and rabbits. But what he hated the most was when Mike would spot him noticing the fake mice and say, in Lenny's voice, 'It's only a mouse, George'. If Ivan could have stuffed those fake mice down the dork's throat he would.

And then, there was GILBERT. GILBERT BEILSCHMIDT, Bully Extraordinaire; the boy he wanted to beat, fuck, and then kill. Ivan never knew which he wanted more sometimes. The very first incident of bullying from Gilbert was when they were in middle school sharing a literature class together. Everyone had to move to different desks to be with their group members for a report. Ivan sat in Gilbert's seat. After they returned to their seats, he saw Gilbert making gagging noises and squirting hand sanitizer on the seat. Ivan sank down in his desk, trying to disappear. But that was short lived because soon he was raging with the desire to pummel the man to the floor. He imagined beating Gilbert to death with their textbook and forcing hand sanitizer down his throat. Or better yet the bug spray the teacher kept in her desk for the ants. Very few people knew she had it, and Ivan was one of them. How sweet it would be to sit his weight on that albino's chest, force the funnel cap between his lips, and spray in the poison.

All of these memories and images of death for people who had done him wrong always helped to keep him moving forward. Never had he actually ACTED on any of them, even though he desperately wanted too a thousand times over. Ivan always wondered what it would feel like to actually carry out these daydreams of death but now that he has, it wasn't at all what he had hoped. It was an empty, numbing feeling. He couldn't explain it and wasn't sure if he even wanted to. This man deserved death, but should it have really been him who carried it out? Maybe Callaghan committing suicide was a blessing in disguise for Ivan. Perhaps this was fate playing a joke on him, or trying to warn him of a possible path he may end up taking. He wondered if he had taken every age-old feeling of anger and frustration out on Callaghan tonight. Maybe Gilbert was the straw that broke the camel's back.

'Is this closure?' Ivan wondered to himself, staring down once again at his now clean hands.

"Yo."

"GAH!" Ivan shrieked when Alfred slapped a hand on his shoulder. "Alfred!"

"I let myself…in…!" Alfred's eyes widened and his glasses slipped down the bridge of his nose at the bloody scene before him. "Ivan…? W-what on earth-?"

"He killed himself. It was a struggle, but I won. While I was on the phone with you was when he chose to end his life on that shard."

Alfred stepped around some blood marks. "Are you sure?"

"I wouldn't lie!" Ivan raised his voice. "I told him of all the bad things that would happen after I call you…and he knew he couldn't win so he'd rather be dead." He looked at Callghan's bleeding body again.

"Yeah but…holy shit, dude! I don't know if I can let his go!" Alfred gave him a sharp stare.

Ivan folded his hands in front of him. "Self-defense."

"You don't actually believe that will work in court, do you?"

"Why can't I punish a man who steals people, young women and children, to sell them in the underground sex world? Why should that type of person, who has no consideration, remorse, or a shred of humanity be handled with kid gloves? Do you know how many innocent girls and children die from living drug filled lives of forced prostitution?"

"I know the fucking statistics of that, alright? That's not what I'm talking about! I'm saying that…it's not right."

Ivan glared at him. "Why? Why isn't it? He allows women and children to be raped, drugged, and beaten throughout the day. Why should I be kind to him?"

Alfred looked down at the corpse, his shoulders stiffening. He let out a deep, aggravated sigh. "You're right, Ivan. He should be punished…but it shouldn't be by YOUR hands. I should have never let you do this. I was just so goddamn mad at what I found out about him that…I'm guilty of this mess too."

"So…what can we do?"

Alfred thought for a moment, and then turned to him. "Callaghan had many, many enemies. Anyone could have done this. We'll stick with that story."

Ivan gave a nod. "The victims are in the basement. I told them my name was Benjamin, like Callaghan's agent. It was dark enough where they couldn't fully make out my features."

"Well then, 'Benjamin', I suggest you leave this place before the rest of the police come. I'll take care of it from here." He crossed his arms but flashed Ivan a smile. "Some may argue this was wrong. Others may say it was karma, while others will say it was justice. In a weird way, Ivan, you're a hero. Think of all those young girls and children in the basement you're saving."

Ivan felt himself smile too. "That's true. Sometimes you have to sacrifice one to save the many."

"We'll talk later. You'd best leave. Hurry!"

Ivan took one last look at the scene before fleeing the house and back out in to the freezing rain. First thing was to get rid of his clothes so he ran to the bank of the lake. It was near impossible to find a big enough rock to sink the clothes to the bottom but eventually he came upon one. Dropping it in the bag he tied it tight, lifted it high, and with a grunt tossed it far into the lake. He watched as the white bag slowly disappeared from the surface and into the murky depths. Satisfied, he ran back down the muddy road to where his car was waiting for him. Jumping inside he wasted no time in high-tailing it out of there, traveling down the dark deserted road. Once he turned back onto the main road he could see blue and red flashing lights coming up the way. Ivan found himself holding his breath as the police cars sped by, heading to the 'crime scene'. He wondered what Alfred would tell them.

'I think I'll stop at the drugstore, get something to help me sleep, and then I'll look at all of this with new eyes tomorrow.'

/

The following morning, Gilbert was watching Maury while shoveling down his breakfast waiting for his friends to show up. So far only Francis had come to stay with him most of the time. Antonio was tied in to business and Ivan was out taking pictures. He had made friends with Brett in the next bed over, who, at the moment, was still sound asleep. He was starting to go stir crazy in the hospital and begged Doctor Hamilton to send him back home with Ivan. However, today was to be his first counseling session that is held in another room, so at least he'd be able to look at some different walls. Even the light floral pattern on the wallpaper was starting to get to him. Last night he dreamt taking a torch to the wallpaper and burning off all the flowers. Only when he woke up from that dream did he realize it was time to leave the hospital.

"Gilbert, your friend Francis is here to see you." Said a nurse, peeking her head in with a light blush across her cheeks. Francis must be flirting again.

Francis walked passed her with a charming smile but it turned worrisome when he looked at Gilbert. "Have you seen the news?"

"I don't watch the news. It's full of bullshit. And what's with you? You look like you've just seen a ghost!"

The blonde tapped on his cell phone screen and then handed it to Gilbert. "Read the article."

Gilbert took the phone in his hand and read the headline: 'Millionaire C.E.O. Found Dead In Lake House'. "What is this?"

"Just keep reading." Francis watched Gilbert's face go from confused to utter shock.

"Callaghan's dead." He breathed. "Murdered." He turned to Francis. "This is…I…I don't know what to say?"

"How do you feel?" Francis sat next to him on the bed, rubbing his back.

"I…I don't know. I'm just shocked I guess."

"Did you…read further down? With what the police found in the basement?"

Gilbert continued to read until he finished the entire article. "I swear to God I never knew that's what he did." He whispered to Francis, tears in his pink eyes. "I had no fucking clue!"

Francis put his phone back in his pocket and wrapped his arm around Gilbert. "You couldn't have known."

"But…now that I think of it, this makes sense! I mean, I would meet a lot of the young models coming in to the agency, and sometimes they were just gone. When I asked Callaghan he always told me he offered them to another modeling company or their parents came to take them." He leaned in to Francis. "Now I know the truth. Some of those girls were sixteen, Francis! And I fucking LIVED with him! All those cocktail waitresses and mistresses were all a ploy too, I'll bet!"

"What makes you say that?"

"One of the women mentioned in the article was Rosaline, someone I knew Callaghan was cheating on me with. She called the house one night saying her plane was going to be late for their Florida trip, and he told me he had business. So that means he lured her down there the same way he lured me…but I guess I was one of the lucky ones." He scoffed. "Me. Lucky. Imagine that."

Francis kissed his cheek. "You're almost thirty and a male. That's not quite what the scum of the underworld is looking for."

"Is that supposed to make me feel better?"

"No, it's just a simple fact. Let's not get in to a debate about fate, Gilbie. Be thankful you're alive and healthy." He kissed his temple. "He's out of your life now."

"Did you…read what Alfred said? He was there. He thinks that it was one of Callaghan's business rivals who attacked him…but then he committed suicide."

"Maybe he saw all the evil he has done and chose to kill himself for it. Are you upset about his death?"

Gilbert gave a tiny smile, and whispered "You know what? I don't feel anything at all. I was shocked at first but now…I don't know. I'm more upset about all the underground work he was doing rather than his life." He sighed. "I need Ivan here. Have you heard from him?"

Francis shook his head. "No, I haven't. I'm sure he'll be here soon, though. Especially if he's seen the news this morning. I'll text him and see where he is, okay?"

"Thanks."

/

Ivan stared at himself in the bathroom mirror, leaning over the sink to gaze closely at his reflection. The effects of the sleeping pills had done a number on him and it showed. His eyes were still hazy, along with his head and the memories of last night. This was the first time he had slept in until ten since holiday breaks in high school. It really knocked him for a loop. Gilbert was probably wondering where he was and Ivan wasn't sure how he was going to approach his lover. Gilbert would know something is wrong so he had best have a story made up. He heard his cell phone beep with a text message and went to look at it, seeing it was Francis' number. The text simply asked where he was, so Ivan wrote back that he was on his way. He put on his snow boots, coat, and hat, along with black gloves. Rarely did he wear gloves but after last night he didn't want to look at his hands. Before he could open the door there was a knock. Looking through the hole he saw it was Mr. and Mrs. Bradley. He opened the door and forced a smile.

"Good morning." He greeted them.

"Hello Ivan, we thought we'd stop by for a moment and see how everything is working out?" Asked Mrs. Bradley. "You look terrible. Are you sleeping well?"

"Ah, I'm a little worried about my friend in the hospital. I'm heading there now."

"Oh, well, I made a fresh batch of cookies for your lady friend for you take to the hospital. I hope she likes chocolate chip! You can't go wrong with chocolate chip!"

Ivan looked at Mr. Bradley who just shrugged his shoulders in that 'don't bother to ask' manner.

"Thank you. I'm sure 'she' will love them." Ivan took the plate. "I'll just put these in a bag and bring the plate back to you, okay?"

"Don't worry, it's a disposable one! Keep it or toss it, I don't mind. If you two are going to be living together than a young woman needs to start building up some things to keep house, yes?"

Ivan briefly pictured Gilbert in a frilly apron over top of a 1950's white polka-dot short dress making waffles. "I…don't really think that's her style, but I'll let her know your intensions and I'm sure she'll appreciate them. Thank you."

Mr. Bradley spoke next. "If there's anything we can do just let us know. Mandy is doing great. Tell Gilbert that my wife brought her to the pet salon and…well…"

"I got her little nails painted red! Oh! And the matching ear bows with the pearl loops! She just looks so pretty!"

Ivan's brows went up in amusement. "I'm sure Gilbert will appreciate you taking such good care of his dog."

"His dog?" Mrs. Bradley blinked. "You both keep referring to her as 'him'."

"That's because Gilbert is a man, my sweet. Not a woman. They're two men living together."

"You lived with your brother for some time." She pointed out.

"It's not the same! Oh, never mind." He sighed. "Thank you for being patient, Ivan."

He chuckled. "It's no problem at all."

"We're just so happy to see that you have some friends." Mrs. Bradley stroked his arm. "We were worried that you were alone too much and it's not good for a young and talented man to be alone all the time."

"I'm not alone anymore and I never really was. But it's nice to know someone was worried about me." He smiled. "Now if you'll excuse me I would like to bring these cookies to Gilbert. I know he'll love them."

"We'll keep an eye on things here." Said Mr. Bradley.

"Thank you." Ivan locked the door behind him and thanked them again before leaving for the hospital.

Upon arrival he stopped at the gift shop to by a single pink rose to bring to Gilbert along with the cookies. When he arrived on the floor the nurses greeted him, complimenting on the gifts. Ivan just smiled softly at them, signed in at the desk, and then went to Gilbert's room. He could hear Francis' voice speaking with Gilbert, so he tapped on the open door. "Good morning."

"There you are!" Francis smiled. "I was just getting ready to leave."

Gilbert looked at Ivan with a grim expression. "Have you seen the news?"

Ivan's blood chilled. "The news? What do you mean?"

"Callaghan's dead." Gilbert blurted. "He was beaten brutally and committed suicide. The police say it was one of his business rivals."

Francis chimed in. "Who found out about the human trafficking he was doing. It must have gotten ugly."

"That's horrible news. I'm quite…shocked really." He handed the rose to Gilbert. "Oh, this is for you. And Mrs. Bradley baked you chocolate chip cookies."

"Hey, I like cookies!" Gilbert smiled, smelling the rose. "Gotta tell her thanks for me."

"I will."

Francis gathered up his coat. "Well, I'm heading out. Going back to the restaurant. I'll call your room later tonight." Francis gave him another kiss. "Take care."

"Thanks for stopping by."

Ivan waved at Francis as the Frenchman left and then turned to Gilbert. "How are you feeling? I mean, after hearing this news?"

"Like I told Francis…I really don't feel anything. Mostly shocked, really. But I have to be honest," he whispered "I'm glad he's dead. Does that make me a bad person?"

Ivan took his hand. "No. He was a very cruel man who did terrible things to you and to so many other people. Perhaps this was karma." He pictured Callaghan's blood all over the tile. He shook the image from his head. "At least we don't have to worry about him bothering us anymore. You're free now, Gilbie."

"But will I ever be free?" Gilbert gave him a troubled look. "I'll always have my memories, you know."

"Well, yes, we all carry around our bad memories, but as time goes on it gets better." He sat on the bed and pulled Gilbert into a bone-crushing hug.

"GAH! Ivan!" he gasped. "You're crushing me!"

"I swear I will never hurt you, Gilbert." He remembered the image of the bug spray and the disfigured face of Callaghan. "Never will I hurt you in any way that bastard did! Even if you want to leave me I will never be angry or wish you ill! I want you with me forever, to be one with me and to live happily together making new memories. I want us to wake up every morning together in each other's arms without a care in the world! I want to grow old with you! To always be safe and happy! I want to take care of you and protect you! I won't EVER hurt you, Gilbert!" He felt tears stinging his eyes. "I love you so much…I want you always to feel safe and happy!"

"Okay! Okay! Just let me go!" Ivan pulled away, showing Gilbert the moisture in his violet eyes. However, before he could comment, Gilbert noticed the people watching them. There were three nurses, all looking love-struck and starry eyed. Brett had pulled the curtain back to stare and Doctor Hamilton had also appeared near the door.

"I need to call my wife." Doctor Hamilton said softly, taking out his cell phone and walking away.

The chubby nurse started to tear up. "I'll never find love like that! I want to be a gay man!"

The second nurse grew angry. "That's it! I'm telling Steven tonight that if he doesn't commit then I'm leaving! I'm not going to wait around for him! I have options!" She stomped off. The third nurse blew her nose into a tissue and walked away.

Brett was on his cell phone, calling his girlfriend's work. "Is Sheila there? Can I speak with her real fast? Thanks."

Gilbert smirked. "I'd hate to be Steven right now." The look on Ivan's face made him smile. "You big dumb lug! Of course I love you! You're stuck with me now, Pooh Bear! I'm never going to let YOU go, so hang on because it's gonna be one hell of a ride!"

Ivan grinned and pulled his head over to shower kisses all over Gilbert's face. "I'll be with you all the way! Even if our ride runs off a cliff! I'll still be there!"

Gilbert laughed. "Then you be Thelma and I'll be Louise! Minus Brad Pitt in the back of our car."

Ivan pulled him into another hug, only this one was gentler and the humor drained from his voice. "You do promise to always love me, right Gilbert?"

"I will, Ivan. Why? Do you have some doubts in that? I know we haven't been together for long, but-"

"If I ever…did something 'bad', would you forgive me? I mean, not bad to you but just 'bad' in general. Would you ever…hate me?"

Gilbert was confused by Ivan's strange statement but nonetheless rubbed his back and stroked his hair. "If you can't find it in your heart to hate me after all the shit I put you through in high school and to the present then I can do the same."

Gilbert thought about Callaghan's death for a moment, and then something made a connection. He knew where Callaghan's lake house was, and this city's police department wouldn't have been called first. Alfred had been the first on the scene, but why would the 911 call go to their city police instead? The article said both districts were there, but why Alfred's first? Then, Gilbert's eyes widened when the possible realization of his thoughts crashed together with Ivan's last statement about doing something 'bad'. Ivan was acting strange; Alfred was the first on the sight; Callaghan was beaten and then killed himself. Was THAT what Ivan was doing last night when he couldn't contact him? When he told Ivan about Callaghan's death the man didn't seem too surprised. 'Ivan…was it you who attacked Callaghan?'

"Gilbert?" He felt himself start to tremble in Gilbert's arms, fearing the man's sudden silence meant something terrible.

"No, I won't hate you if you did something bad so long as there was justice behind it and you had a damn good reason." Gilbert didn't want to ask Ivan if his intuition was true. Some things were better left unsaid. Sometimes awful things happen to evil people and they have to suffer for their crimes. He felt no remorse for Callaghan's death. Everything was over now. The demon in his life was gone from this world and he had someone in his arms right now that loved and cherished him. He didn't care if it was wrong or if it was right, so long as that bastard is out of his life and not damaging any others. "I'll always forgive you, Ivan."

Ivan pulled away to gaze at him with a genuine smile. "You really mean it?" If Gilbert's words held true then he would never have to worry any further about the brutal scene from last night.

"Cross my heart and hope to die and stick a needle in my eye!"

Ivan nearly squealed and tackled the man to the bed in another bear hug, nuzzling their cheeks together. "We're going to start fresh and new, Gilbie! You and me and Mandy! Just the three of us! We're moving!"

"Moving?" He blinked. "Where're we going?"

"To Russia!"

"Russia? What the hell for? I don't want to get struck by a meteor!"

Ivan laughed. "No, we're moving to my grandparent's farm in Russia! We're going to live there for a while. The doctor thinks a change of scenery and way of life will help to improve your emotional and mental state. So we'll be moving to Russia for a couple of years!" He grinned.

"Wait. Farm? Farm as in, smelly animals and their shit and getting chased by geese?" Ivan nodded happily. "Uh…"

"It's better than you think, I swear it. I know you'll come to love living there, and we don't have to stay forever! We just need to make some new memories in a whole other world that is different from the one you've known. My family is very warm and loving, and they will accept you with open arms. My grandmother will eat you up and say you're too skinny while forcing some sort of buttered meal on your plate. My grandfather fought in World War two so forgive anything mean he says about Germans. And my parents are sort of like me."

"Is this place near a city?"

"Nope. The city is a far drive and we're set in the beautiful countryside of Russia! It's a big log cabin, two levels high, and lots of farmland and forests. I promise you the living area is gorgeous. Everything is homemade! The beds and furniture, even the blankets and curtains and-"

"Why do I suddenly feel like Goldilocks going to live with a bunch of bears? Is this going to be like 'Little House on the Prairie?"

Ivan thought, and then chuckled. "More like Jan Brett. Surely you read those books as a child?"

Gilbert rolled his eyes. "I did. But I'm not going to be wearing any of those ugly skiing sweaters or anything like what Bill Cosby wears! No ugly sweaters! Got it?"

Ivan laughed and gave him a kiss on the nose. "No ugly sweaters." He kissed him again. "I promise that I'll play the cello for you every night by our bedside…maybe I'll even sing to you. Would you like that?"

"Normally I would say 'no' to something like that. But when you say it…it just holds a whole different meaning. I would love that." He smiled.

"So you will come with me, then?" Ivan pressed their noses together. "Leave everything of this life behind us for awhile and start anew?"

"Ivan, I can never fully escape the past and neither can you. But I would like to forget about it for as long as I can. It's been a rough twenty-seven years for me here…but leaving with you is sure to be my greatest happiness. And I forgive anything 'bad' you've ever done if you'll forgive everything that I ever did. That includes my bad choices."

"I already have." Ivan kissed him.

Gilbert tilted his head away to snicker. "You know, it's funny. So many snap judgments have been made of me and yet you love me just as I am. Nothing I did changed the way you feel for me. Does that sound really sappy?"

"Not to me it doesn't. Although, I think I deserve a little apology from you for all of the snap judgments YOU'VE made about me over these last crazy weeks."

"Fine. I'm sorry being an ass to you. Okay?"

"Okay." Ivan nuzzled their noses together and Gilbert batted him away, saying it was too cute. "So I will make that call to my family today. Yes?"

A nod. "Yes. Call your family of polar bears." Gilbert pinched both of Ivan's chubby cheeks. "I want to start a new life with you! Let's wipe the slate clean!"

"Yes, lets! And I'll be snapping new pictures all along the way!"

They lay together in the bed, wrapped tightly in each other's arms to share a passionate kiss. The old saying was true, 'good things come to those who wait'. Some bad choices have been made but now that would be in the past and they will have learned from it. While both had a difficult time achieving happiness they had finally found it in each other's arms; and that was one image no camera could ever capture.

The End.

Epilogue

It had been a week since Gilbert had moved to Russia with Ivan and his family. When he had first seen the farm from the taxi window he frowned. It was indeed something like a pioneer would live in. The house was a rather large cabin that looked homely enough, with three big barns and animal pens. Gilbert had never been on an actual farm before, so when he stepped out into the cold smelly air, he nearly puked. He thought there was no way he would ever get used to this. Chickens had crossed his path, which Mandy took great joy in chasing. A gaggle of geese seemed to eye him viciously as he passed by. Many a 'moo' and 'bleats' filled his ears. Would he have to hear these animals all day? But to his surprise he had learned to tune out the animal sounds and got used to the smell of the farm.

Ivan's family was not what he was expecting. All four of them were short; much shorter than Ivan. Ivan looked just like his mother, but she was small and thin. His father was the tallest of the four, but he too was of average built. Both his grandparents were small as well, about an inch or two shorter than Ivan's parents. His grandparents were plump from age, but they were friendly. Where the hell did giant Ivan come from? Ivan's grandfather did give Gilbert a glare and asked about his background, mostly if any of his family were Nazi's. Gilbert had to be honest and say he really didn't know but doubted they were. But as Ivan had promised they were very friendly and welcomed him as if he were their own. Ivan's parents spoke English to him but his grandparents spoke very little of the language, so Ivan had to translate everything. And they knew nothing of German.

Gilbert had his first home-cooked meal on an old fashion wood stove and was stuffed sick. Against his wishes, Ivan's grandmother, or 'Baba' as he called her, made him a knitted sweater of dark colors. Gilbert always hated 'hunter green' and 'burgundy', but he still accepted it with a thank you. The sweater was quickly followed by a knitted hat, socks, mittens, scarf, and even, surprisingly, undergarments. Gilbert wore them under his pants to go outside to help with the animals and was truly grateful to have actually put them on that day. He had fallen into the snow and the heavy knitting helped to keep him warm. This was also the day he had learned to milk a cow, something he thought he'd never do. Ever. But when asked to milk the goat he refused because the animal screamed at him, and he just plain did not like the rectangular shape of its pupils.

But he had grown accustomed to living at the farm even though it was unlike anything he was used to. Not that long ago he was swimming in a heated pool while drinking expensive liquor and shopping for designer clothes. Now he would sit on the back porch with the Braginski's, drinking vodka or hot toddies. Ivan would play his cello for them before bed in front of the fire. Sometimes Ivan's grandfather joined in with his violin or his mother with the piano. Ivan's family was certainly musical. Gilbert had a fireplace in his old house with Callaghan but it never felt so warm and homely like this. Mandy loved to lie in front of it or next to the wood stove in the kitchen. She was loving it here and so was he. Although, there was one small problem that would take some getting used to, and that was bathing. Since everything was gas powered hot water was scarce so less baths were taken. They seemed to have a 'bathing day' where everyone took a very quick shower. Ivan's mother told him to heat some water in a basin over the stove and take a sponge bath to keep clean if he wanted. Gilbert had Ivan help him.

Later that evening it had begun to snow and everyone had gone to bed. Only Ivan and Gilbert were still awake, sitting in the dark with Mandy while the fire slowly burned down. Gilbert looked out the window at the snow and asked if he could go outside. Ivan said he would join him after he made some hot chocolate. It wasn't the packaged chocolate but rather melted chocolate mixed with milk and heated. Gilbert had never tasted anything so good before, not even in Francis' restaurant. So while Ivan was making the hot chocolate, Gilbert dressed in his warm clothes and outerwear to stand out on the deck. The night was quiet with only a whisper of wind. Gilbert turned on the outside oil lamp to give him a bit of light. Ivan had been right when he said a complete change of life and scenery would be good for him. He closed his eyes and tilted his head to let the cold snow kiss his face. All his life he wanted the best of everything material just because he thought he deserved it. Yet now he kicked himself for being so shallow like that, and it was only an escape from the emptiness he felt at that time. Materials helped to fill the empty void of loneliness. If only he could go back in time and tell his past self how wrong that was. Could he have avoided so much heartache if he did?

"But then I would have never met Ivan nor had the chance to live here." He smiled as he caught a snowflake on his tongue. The deck door opened and Ivan stepped out holding two steaming mugs of hot chocolate.

"Want to take these? I'll get us a blanket and sweep the steps."

"Sure."

Gilbert took the mugs by the tops so to keep the snowflakes from falling into the beverage. His knitted mittens lined with some sort fabric kept the steam from burning him. He watched Ivan come out in that real fur ushanka on his head and tied under his chin. Gilbert loved that hat and would have to ask Ivan's Baba to make him one. Ivan swept off the top and second step for them so they could sit. He went back inside to retrieve the fluffy afghan blanket to shield them from the snow. Gilbert sat down first with Ivan right beside him. Ivan wrapped the large thick blanket around them, covering their heads and bodies to keep them dry and warm. The afghan was sewn around some extra large white quilt that was stuffed with a certain feather to help keep in the warmth. And it did. Gilbert blew on his cocoa and cuddled in to Ivan.

"This is beautiful, Ivan. Thank you for bringing me here." He pulled the blanket tighter around them.

Ivan kissed the top of Gilbert's woolen hat. "I knew you would like it. It's nothing like what you're used to, right?"

"No, far from it." He chuckled. "But I think I like this a little more. I mean, I will eventually need television and internet, but this is a nice change of pace. It's so beautiful here."

"I'm glad you like it." Ivan sipped his cocoa and then gasped softly. "Gilbert!" he whispered, "look ahead! It's a herd of deer!"

Gilbert had to squint and focus his eyes in the dark snow but eventually saw the outlines of deer moving along. "Oh wow! Real deer!" He smiled and continued to watch them. "Beautiful."

Ivan nuzzled his ear. "How are you feeling?"

"Much better. This is a great escape from that life and I'm glad to be experiencing it. Your family is so caring, they accept me as their own. You don't know how much that means to me."

"I have a pretty good idea. I notice you like to wear my Baba's knitting. What changed?"

"It's fucking freezing in this part of the world and these clothes are the only things keeping me warm!" he chuckled softly so as to not scare the deer away. "I guess I really just like the feeling of having a home. A nice, warm home where I am appreciated and cared for." He buried his face in Ivan's neck. "I wonder if that's what I've really been searching for all this time. A place to call 'home' and feel loved. And I've found it with you."

They turned to share a chocolaty kiss.

"There's no place I'd rather be than right here with you, my Snowbunny."

Gilbert snorted at that and the sound made the herd of deer run off. "Ah, shit. I scared them away." A wolf's howl traveled along the wind and Gilbert yelped, curling in closer to Ivan. "Okay, I haven't gotten used to the sound of the wolves yet!" Another howl came along with a few others. "Oh great, now the pack is starting!"

"Be thankful they aren't a bear!"

"Oh God! I've yet to see one here! Do you have them?"

"Not that much." Ivan assured him. "And don't worry. If the wolves were to come here the farm animals would warn us."

"Great." He rolled his eyes and then shivered. "Brrrrr! Getting' cold. My hands are numb." He smirked as he let his gloved hand travel between Ivan's legs.

"Whoa!" Ivan gasped at first and then grinned. "Well, it's certainly warm there!"

"I know, and I'm cold all over." He nibbled the tip of Ivan's nose. "I need to be warmed up."

Ivan smirked. "Then we should go in front of the fire."

"Or your bedroom." He pressed his cold lips to Ivan's, giving him a deep kiss and pulling away. He tugged on the bottom lip and felt Ivan shudder. "I'll be warmest there." Gilbert used his palm to rub Ivan through the heavy pants.

"We really shouldn't. Everyone is asleep upstairs and you make too much noise."

Gilbert pouted. "I can be quiet." He rubbed harder. "Come on, Ivan. We haven't done it since I left the hospital! I'm horny, and this perfect movie atmosphere got me goin'!"

"Oooh!" Ivan whined as Gilbert squeezed him through his pants. "Alright, fine. So long as you are quiet."

They hung the wet blanket in the laundry room and removed their wet clothes, leaving on only their undergarments. The cocoa was placed back in the kitchen, wasted, but not without a good reason. Mandy wanted to follow them but Gilbert's command kept her nestled in front of the fire. They tiptoed on the floorboards, making sure the room doors were closed. Ivan opened up his and locked it behind them so they wouldn't be disturbed. Ivan's room faced the back of the woods where the wolves could still be heard howling. Gilbert yelped and jumped into bed, crawling under the plush comforter with a most hideous print of moose and bears. Ivan turned on the gas lamp and closed the curtains.

"Don't be such a sissy!" He teased.

"Hey, better to be safe than sorry!" Gilbert peeked out from the covers. "Coming to bed?"

"Yes!" Ivan slid in beside him and let the other burrow into him for warmth. "The little Snowbunny is trying to get warm?" Gilbert squeaked, making Ivan squeeze him tightly. "So cute!"

"Gah! Suffocation!" Gilbert wiggled his way out of Ivan's hold but instead moved to straddle his waist. "Hey, can you put that nightcap on?"

Ivan raised a brow but reached over to the bedside table to put the nightcap on his head. "Why?"

"I love that nightcap. It's sexy." He smirked and purred.

"So my nightcap turns you on? Oh." Ivan grinned up at the beautiful imp slowly rocking against him. "I guess it does."

Gilbert put a finger to his lips as he circled his hips, feeling Ivan's cock pressing against the seat of his pants. With expert skill Gilbert lifted himself to remove the pants and only kept the undershirt on. The old-fashion feel of the material and style of clothing was strangely turning him on and he didn't know why. Ivan just looked so fuckable in a nightcap and sleep shirt. Before going further Gilbert reached over to the bedside table drawer and pulled out a bottle of lube. Their current living arrangements wouldn't allow adventurous foreplay so sex would have to be kept simple but still pleasurable. He kept the bottle in easy reach for when he was ready. Ivan had his hands settled on his hips, prepared to go all the way right now but Gilbert wanted to have a little bit of fun first. He bent at the waist to settle his chest atop of Ivan's, his body still flexible after Baba's extreme home cooking. Pale hands rest against Ivan's puffy cheeks, framing the man's face perfectly in his hold. Not long ago Gilbert was making fun of this face; a face that holds a childlike innocence filled with love and just a hint of cruelty. He could not forget about Ivan possibly being the one who attacked Callaghan, but that was in the past. Forget it. There was nothing from the past that could hurt him now.

"I love your face. Especially these chipmunk cheeks."

"Yours is much more beautiful than mine. You have a face to kill for." Ivan wished he hadn't had said that for bloody memories of that night filled his thoughts.

"Well, it's true. I've got a face that launched a thousand ships."

Ivan smiled. "I would launch two-thousand ships for you."

"Flatterer."

Gilbert leaned down and kissed him full on the mouth, slipping his tongue inside. He felt Ivan's hands slip under the nightshirt to caress his back. He pulled his mouth away only to remove his nightshirt so he was naked for Ivan. Gilbert grinned when Ivan licked his lips at the naked sight of him and returned their mouths to the previous kissing state. Ivan was growing larger against him and Gilbert moaned while rubbing himself against the other. The other's nightshirt had to be lifted so their bare cocks could touch, which added another level of pleasure to their sweet foreplay. Gilbert let out a soft, quiet moan that Ivan eagerly swallowed in their kiss. When Ivan tried to roll them over Gilbert stopped him, holding the larger man in place with his legs.

"No. Just like this tonight. I want to ride you."

Ivan pouted. "But I like how you disappear underneath me as I fuck you senseless." He finished with a smile.

"That so?" Gilbert sat up so that Ivan's cock was resting along the length of his own. "Well tonight the Snowbunny is going to ride his polar bear and if the polar bear doesn't like it then he can just wiggle on back to his cave."

"Nooo!" He whined softly.

"That's what I thought. Now sit back and enjoy."

Gilbert flashed him a mischievous smirk before disappearing under the blankets to setting his head near Ivan's cock. The size and length of Ivan never ceased to amaze him, and it still made him a tad bit jealous. But Ivan's erection was all for him and nothing delighted him more than knowing he had full control over his lover. He brought his lips to the tip, giving a tight suck and little nip at first. Then he opened his mouth to take the tip in while Ivan could be heard moaning above him. The larger man lifted his hips to try and force more of him inside but Gilbert only pulled back. The silent message drew forth a whine from Ivan and the man laid his hips still, giving Gilbert full control. With Ivan's hips secure, Gilbert continued the slow, hot descent down the engorged length. His jaw ached to stretch around the width but the dull sting only heightened his own pleasure. Ivan's moans were deep yet quiet, so as to not wake up the family. Gilbert knew it must be torture for his lover to remain so quiet during this, and he wanted to further the playful discomfort of Ivan. When the tip hit the back of his throat he moaned around it and felt Ivan tense up beneath him. Gilbert purposefully deep-throated him, using the muscles to massage the tip. The teasing had Ivan writhing on the bed, still forced to keep quiet. He sucked hard all the way back up and flicked his tongue over the tip, taking a moment to admire how painfully hard Ivan was. Gilbert didn't expect it to grow so quickly like this and using his mouth would only prove boring from here on out. Nothing felt better than Ivan's rock hard dick plowing into him. The harder the better, and it helped to make penetration easier.

Ivan whined when he felt the hot mouth leave his aching erection but hoped Gilbert had something else up his sleeve. His lover was being a feisty little bunny tonight. The covers were flipped up to reveal his Snowbunny with moist lips and a soft blush along his cheeks. His white hair was ruffled this way and that, making him appear coy and playful. But Ivan's main concern was his aching hard-on sucking the life out of him and if Gilbert didn't do something soon he may just have to take matters into his own hands. The smug look on Gilbert's face suggested that the man was thrilled to have this kind of control, and that was okay. Ivan never wanted to control Gilbert in that way, but the man was making him hurt!

"Lube."

Gilbert demanded, which Ivan was quick to give him. He poured some onto his hand and rubbed them together before encircling the length with the oily substance. He rubbed and twisted his hands around Ivan, making the dark skin shimmer in the lamplight with the lube. The rest remaining on his hand was used to prep himself, which he didn't take much time doing. This concerned Ivan because he did not want Gilbert hurting himself in the name of lust.

"Gilbert, take your time."

"Oh, I will." He positioned himself over Ivan's cock, resting his hands on the other's strong chest. "I want to feel every hard inch of you. It's a mind-blowing feeling." Gilbert started to lower himself onto Ivan, feeling the tip press through the first ring to start stretching the rest. He had to go slow, not just for the pain factor but also for the intense pleasure of feeling his body stretched beyond belief. "Fuck…" he whispered, "I love this."

Ivan let his head tilt back as a moan escaped his throat when the feel of that velvety heat slowly started to swallow him up. He looked up at his lover; eyes clenched shut and pale brows knitted in pleasured concentration. Gilbert let out soft pants and gasps of air as he continued with the penetration. Ivan didn't mind for he never grew tired of the feel of his lover. Gilbert's current face of pleasure was his biggest turn-on and he found himself whispering a plea for his lover to move faster. His plea went unanswered, but a second later Gilbert had stopped when fully seated. Violet eyes looked into pink, both faces flushed and panting.

"Really…how could you have gone…so long without…without doing this with anyone?" He lifted himself to gently thrust back down. "You've been holding out on so…many people…before me!" Pink eyes flew open when the tip rubbed against his prostate. "Fuck…"

"I never cared to have anyone else unless they were you. I only ever got this hard for you, Gilbie."

Gilbert smiled and raised his hips higher to descend with a little more speed. "And we'll keep it that way!" He rocked his body forward and gasped. "So good!"

Ivan gripped the pale, narrow hips and forced Gilbert further off his cock and pull him back down. Gilbert had to silence his cry by clamping a hand over his mouth. When the first shock of pleasure was over he removed his hands to allow soft pants to accompany Ivan's thrusts. The rocking was slow at first to get Gilbert's muscles accustomed to the width, and then began to pick up speed. Being forced to remain silent was the biggest challenge in their lovemaking. Ivan had to bite his lip from voicing his cries while Gilbert was forced to swallow most of his, letting out only choked gasps. Their rocking increased, as did the sounds of their cries, which had to be controlled. Gilbert cursed his force silence by biting through his lip when Ivan's cock started to slam in to that special bundle of nerves.

Ivan couldn't let this go on any longer for having to control his voice kept him from delivering the pleasure Gilbert deserved. So ignoring the other's means of control, he flipped them over so Gilbert was sprawled out on his back. This way, Ivan could bury his face in the pillow to muffle his grunts and sped up his thrusts, using the 'jackhammer speed' as Gilbert had dubbed it. Now THIS was much better! He could feel the inner muscles tightening around him as they tried to keep the foreign invader from entering. It was a natural reflex of Gilbert's that only helped to heighten Ivan's lust. He was certain the bed was making noise but he could think of an excuse tomorrow. His parents probably wouldn't say anything out of pure embarrassment and his grandparents were slightly hard of hearing. But the trail of thoughts disappeared when a flash of pain traveled through his shoulder. Without stopping the thrusts he glanced over to see that Gilbert, flushed with pleasure, had bitten into his shoulder to muffle his cries. Even the thin nails were scratching down his back, making him groan and growl like an animal in heat. His hair was plastered to his forehead with sweat from overexertion of his thrusting yet still he pounded in to his lover, urged on by the constant clawing of nails and teeth. He felt Gilbert's muscles tightening painfully around him with the promise of release and sure enough his lover exploded between them. Those same nails and teeth bore into his skin with the force of the climax, and it was enough to send him over the edge as well. He arched his back and came deep inside, holding himself still to enjoy the feel of his cum coating Gilbert's muscles.

Gilbert fell back on the bed panting, sliding his hands down the length of his body to toy with the cum on his belly. After they slipped between his legs to feel the stretched ring of muscle where Ivan's cock was still buried, dabbing at the cum that leaked through. Being able to feel just how stretched and full he was of Ivan threatened to make him hard again but he just couldn't muster the energy needed to do so. He leaned up and brought Ivan's lips into a kiss, letting their tongues meet. When he pulled away Ivan was pulling out and he whined, feeling his lower half now cold and empty. He brought two fingers down to circle and rub the slightly swollen ring of his entrance still dripping with cum. The simple little touch sent a shiver of delight through his body, making his nipples grow hard as a reaction. Ivan covered them both with the blanket.

"Stop being a naughty little bunny! Trying to get hard all over again and tempt me!"

Gilbert stretched and writhed on the bed. "But it just felt so good! I want it more and more and more! Can't you send your family out to the city for a couple of hours so we can fuck like rabbits?"

Ivan chuckled and pulled his lover into an embrace, snuggling together with him under the blankets. "Trust me, my lovely little Snowbunny. I would gladly fuck you all day and all night until you forget how to walk, but at this time we can't do that."

"Aww! Why would you TEASE me with that?"

"Because I'm a mean, mean, jellybean!"

"Oh, you're full of jelly, all right!" Gilbert slipped his hand down to pinch Ivan's belly.

Ivan whined. "Nooo! That's my belly!"

"Well, it's mine now and I'll do what I want with it!" He grinned and pinched it again, but then pulled Ivan into a hug. "I love you so much, you big doofus!"

"And I love you too, Gilbie. You're my everything."

Gilbert buried his head under Ivan's chin. "Thank you for protecting me, Ivan. I'm glad to have given you a chance. I don't know where I would be if you hadn't come in to my life."

Ivan took a deep breath and smiled, making sure to hold Gilbert close. "I love you." He nuzzled him. "Thank you for choosing me."

Gilbert yawned and stretched. "Mmm…goodnight Pooh Bear."

"Goodnight Snowbunny."

Together they fell asleep in a warm embrace, listening to the sounds of the wolves howling in the distance.

/

Two days later…

"Where are we going?" Gilbert asked. "We've been in this car for God knows how long and you STILL won't tell me! I don't want to fucking drive all across Europe and not stop to see anything!"

Ivan just smiled. "I guess I'll tell you so you can start preparing."

"Preparing? What do I have to prepare for?"

"Well, one of the jobs my mother does is find people. She helps to reunite families and the like." He reached into his coat and handed Gilbert a paper. "We're going to see your brother. Ludwig."

Gilbert took the paper with a trembling hand, not believing his ears. "Ludwig?" he unfolded the paper. "You found him?"

"My mom did. He still lives with his mother and we're going to see them. I called ahead yesterday so they are aware of your arrival. I only spoke to Ludwig, though. He's very excited to see you again."

Gilbert swallowed and stared at the address. "I don't…remember much of my step-mother. She was never allowed in the house when she would drop off Ludwig. My mother wouldn't allow it. I rarely saw her. I doubt she'll want to see me now. I'm my father's first son…technically his legal son."

Ivan glanced over at him. "You don't know that for sure. I mean about how your stepmother will react to you. If you've never spoken to her or seen her before then how do you know?"

"Just a guess." Gilbert stared at the window. 'What the hell am I going to say to them? Do I bring up dad? Maybe not at first…'

It took nearly a day and a half to arrive somewhere in Berlin. They came up to a small house on a city street and Gilbert could read the name on the mailbox next to the door. 'Beilschmidt'. This must be it. Gilbert got out first and Ivan followed. He let Gilbert go up to the door and ring the bell. Gilbert had enough time in car to think about what to do and say. Now he was eager to once again see his baby brother after so many years. He wondered what Ludwig looked like now? He glanced back at Ivan, who waved from the car. The door clicked open and a tall, young blonde man appeared. He knew who it was right away.

Gilbert grinned. "Ludwig! Bist du groß geworden! Ich bins, Gilbert! Erinnerst du dich noch an mich?" It took a moment for his brother to recognize him, but when he did, he was greeted with a small smile.

("Ludwig! Wow, you've grown up! It's me! Your brother, Gilbert! Do you remember me?")

"Gilbert! Natürlich erinnere ich mich an dich. Wie geht es dir?"

("Gilbert! Yes, I remember you. How are you?")

Gilbert threw his arms around Ludwig. "Du hast mir furchtbar gefehlt! Ich dachte, ich seh dich nie wieder!" ("I've missed you! I thought I'd never see you again!") Someone else came to the door and stood next to Ludwig. Gilbert recognized her as Ludwig's mother; his stepmother, having only seen one picture of her when she was young. "Hallo..." He said softly, pulling away from Ludwig.

She looked at him and smiled, holding open her arms to him. "Gilbert. Es ist sehr lange her." ("Gilbert. It's been so long!") She brought him into a hug. "Du bist hier immer willkommen. Wir sind eine Famile." ("You are welcomed here always. We're family.")

Gilbert hugged her as well, completely taken aback by what she had said. Ludwig offered for him to come in, and Gilbert turned to look back at Ivan. His brother and stepmother welcomed Ivan in as well and they spent the rest of the day talking and catching up. Gilbert ended up asking about their father and his stepmother said that he was never the same after he moved here. She didn't want to go in to it any more so they changed the subject. Gilbert was pleased to learn that she had always wanted to see him but feared upsetting his mother. He had learned a lot about Ludwig's mother that he had never known, and she was nothing like what was told to him. He almost felt like crying when she asked if he would allow her to act as a mother, knowing the complications he had with his biological mother. Gilbert was pleased to accept and thanked her a hundred times over. Ludwig was a little stiff and Gilbert promised that when he came back to visit he would take his baby brother out for fun. Ludwig looked worried about that but agreed to do it nonetheless. It was a heartfelt goodbye when he had to leave but was eager to come back soon.

"I can't thank you enough for this, Ivan." Gilbert said on their way back. "I have a mother again, a sane one, and a brother." He fought back his tears. "And I have your family as well. I can't believe how good things are turning out for me. It's like a dream."

"Everything's going to be alright now, Gilbert. I promise you." Ivan took his hand. "Some bad choices were made but they are in the past. We need to keep looking forward. Let's take what we've learned and make the most of it."

Gilbert scoffed. "I'm just afraid I'm going to wake up from being in a long coma brought on by his beatings."

"Don't mention that bastard's name anymore." Ivan said, his voice harsh. "He's dead, gone, and buried. He can't hurt you anymore. You can count on that."

"And just how do you know?" Gilbert was curious to see what his answer would be, but Ivan chose to remain silent. "Nothing was your fault, Ivan. I'll never blame you." He squeezed his lover's hand, feeling the larger one squeeze back with equal force.

/

The farm was coming into view from the hilltop and Ivan stopped at top, putting the car in park. The sun was about to fully set and Ivan told his lover to get out of the car. "I want you to see just how beautiful this sight is from up here."

Gilbert took his hand and stood beside Ivan, looking at the sunset over the vast forest of pine trees. "Oh wow…it's so…orange."

Ivan laughed. "And a bit of red. Hint of purple. See? That's the night sky coming in. If you look closely you can even begin to see the evening star appear." He pointed to the sky. "Look."

Gilbert followed the direction of Ivan's finger and he saw the star twinkling faintly in the early twilight. "Oh yeah…I see it. Wow." He smiled. "Fucking hell…this has been a damn good day!" He grinned at Ivan. "Where would I be without you?"

Before Ivan could answer, he heard his mother and Baba calling them from the front door. They were calling them in for dinner. Mandy came out and began barking, her tail wagging in greeting. Ivan saw Gilbert's face light up as he shouted back at them.

"WE'RE COMING!" He turned to Ivan. "Come on, Ivan! Let's go eat!" His smile was bright and true, his pink eyes moist with tears. "I'm…I'm being called home!"

Ivan watched as Gilbert ran down the snowy hill with Mandy running out to greet him halfway. He smiled as the dog tackled Gilbert to the snow and he hugged her, wrestling on the ground. He took a deep breath and closed his eyes, trying to hold back his own tears of happiness. After so long he finally had his Gilbert back; and it was the old Gilbert. Proud and happy. He looked up at the evening star and gave a little sigh. 'Everything's going to be all right from here on out.'

"IVAN! ARE YOU COMING?" Gilbert called up to him, grinning like a maniac and waving his arms.

Ivan smiled and left the car where it was, running down the hill to launch himself into Gilbert's arms and send them both tumbling to the snow.

Mandy proudly threw herself on top of them both and gave a howl of triumph.

The End.

*****There you have it, folks. Snap Judgment has come to an end. I said it was going to be a feel-good story, didn't I? I never lie. ^_^ I would like to thank (as usual) Odin, my dog, and Itty Bitty, my cat, for always being with me whenever I am writing. My husband for bouncing ideas off of, and my friend 'Huntershivers' for translating the lines into German for me! XD And to my beta for all her hard and patient work with me! 3 You both rock! And once again, I also want to thank all of you for sticking through to the end! It means so much to any author, it's what we crave! Knowing so many are reading and enjoying is one of our greatest rewards! Thank you so much! XOXOXO ***

***So you're probably wondering, why wasn't Callaghan murdered in a fully brutal way. Well, to start, remember he was an invisible OC so I couldn't very well have him fully interacting with the murder scene. Also, I didn't think it would be necessary for Ivan to have murdered him. The way I had Ivan written it just didn't seem fitting. But justice was fully served!

***Just for fun, I think Ivan is damn sexy in an old-fashion nightcap! I spent a lot of time in Maine in my family friends' lake cabin, where everything was gas powered, bathing was limited, the wolves were always howling, Loons were laughing, the sky was perfectly clear (enough to see just how many fucking satellites the world has out there!) and good ol' home style cookin'! I had to chop my own wood! XD I've never been to the Russian countryside, so work with me here, okay? ^^ I did enough research where I think I'm pretty set. And it's all for the effect of the story.***