Wednesday. Mail day.

Usually, I don't even go downstairs on wednesdays, theres no one to send me a letter Today for some reason something pulled me out of bed and led me down the halls to the main foyer. A stocky man with a deep voice and a scruffy beard was pulling out one letter after another and bellowing out names to the croud of people in the foyer. I noticed how Gill's name was called twice and a twinge of worry caught me in the gut. I shook it away just as I heard my name called.

"Matthew Williams" The man's voice rang in my ears annoyingly as I plucked a rather large envelope from his meaty palms. I tucked it into the waistband of my sweatpants and headed towards Gill's room without glancing at it. If it's bad news, I don't want Francis to see it.

"Hey Mattie! Check it out" Gill bounced towards me, his nose runny and his voice still hoarse from being sick. He held a letter in his hand written in German.

"What does it say?" I asked hoping onto his bed with him and snuggling under the covers with my letter in my lap.

"Oh, it's just my uncle seeing how me and Ludi are doing. He's getting out of the institute in three years and he misses us blah blah blah" he chuckled, "What does yours say?"

"I don't know" I said, lifting up the letter to rip it open:

Dear Mattie,

Hey! How ya hangin in there? I miss you so much it's not even funny. You and Franny both. Iggy won't admit it out loud, but he misses you guys to. You know how he is. Hey, If you can sneak up and over, we'll be out at the shopping center on the friday after Thanksgiving around noon. It would be so sweet to see you guys again, and bring Gill and Ludi if ya want. We want all the latest gossip, I can't be the hero if I don't know who's the bad guys.

Gotta go before lights out, hope you get this on wednesday like usual.

Alfred F. Jones

"Hey Mattie, you okay?" Gill asked and when I turned my head I felt a tear run down my face. I smiled and wraped my arms around his neck, tackling him in a kiss.

"Urg Mattie your going to get yourself sick at this rate" he chuckled, his hands wrapping around my waist. I shifted my weight so I wasn't crushing him and sighed in content.

"It was a letter from Al, he wants to meet up. I guess they live in town now or something."

"Thats cool" Gill grinned, "I'm glad your finnally hearing from them, keep the envelope so you have his adress."

I nodded and leaned up to kiss him again, his hair tickling my nose and the sides of my face. My hand trailed up his arm and our fingers intertwined together in a beautiful zipper.

This is it, this is how I want to spend eternity.

Unfortunatly, all good things must come to an end.

"Hey Mattie?" Gil asked, pressing his forhead into the crook of my neck. I could feel his fever against my skin, raising concern in the pit of my stomach.

"Yea?"I said softly, stroking his hair.

"I love you."

/

Thanksgiving day is only a few days away, so everyone is both excited and super busy. Everyone seems so lighthearted and the halls silence themselves at night. A peacefulness envelopes everyone in the orphanage that clings to me and relaxes me for the first time in a long time. Even Gilbert seems at ease lately, his illness slowly diminishing, and Ludwig even starts to smile every so often.

Even Ivan seems to be coming out of his shell. He and his sisters came into our room the day after I asked him to. At first, they were all stiff and Yat even cried a bit next to Nat while Ivan was taught how to play spoons with us (we managed to steal some silverware from the kitchen to actually play). After about a week, Yat started smiling and watching the games and Nat began to play with us. She was a bit of a sore looser, but we all slowly mingled into one big happy family.

It was heaven, this calm. A good change from the usual drama and sadness that seems to carry on our backs.

Tuesday, two days away from Thanksgiving, I got a note under my door from Ivan. It was a simple "Meet me this afternoon after chores" but it left me very confused. Why would Ivan want to talk to me? What is this about? I decided not to worry about it and simply threw the note away and carried along with my day.

I looked at my chore list, library duty. Perfect.

Library duty is simple, weed out all the books that are falling apart, throw them away, and then put all the stray books back where they're supposed to go. I never throw away the old books, instead I use saturday's craft time to glue the spines together and try to make them readable again. I have three stacks in my room of old books I've repaired. I would have more, but I found out that Antonio likes to read so I gave a whole bunch to him.

It works really well, so long as you can find all the pages and put them in order. I don't know how many of my books are out of order or missing pages, but I can get the general gist from what I have.

On my way back to my room I could hear the clattering of pots and pans in the kitchen. They're starting to cook Thanksgiving dinner early to get enough food done on time. Here, we usually have to have three turkeys to feed everyone, not to meantion the surplus of side dishes. We usually have leftovers for two to three days, then everyone prepares for Christmas.

I knock on Ivan's door, but don't bother to wait for a response. Ivan's made it quite clear that I'm welcome in his room at any time for anything I might need. I stop dead in my tracks when I enter this time, trying hard to keep my jaw shut. Ivan's sitting on the windowsil in only a pair of jeans, his eyes red rimmed. Along his spine and down his arms is a network of scars that extend past his pantline. There's a rather large burn scar on his right shoulder blade that is the color of strawberry milk. The first thing that comes to mind is Gilbert and his scars. His father's ring on his hand, twisting it nervously while he talks to me about his life.

I want to back away, but I know that's selfish.

"Ivan?" I croak and quickly regain my composure, "Ivan?"

He flinched at the sound of his name and looks at me like he's seeing me for the first time. He quickly straitens himself up and pats the spot in front of him on the windowsil.

"Sorry Matvey" He smiles at me and my mouth goes dry, "I didn't hear you come in."

"Didn't seem like it." I curl up on the windowsil to fit. He's not a small guy by far, not fat but stocky. He takes up most of the windowsil and he's not even streatched out. He looks outside and sighs.

"I'm sorry to put this on you" he seems to stumble over his words and I feel adrenaline course through me, "but I don't know who else to turn to."

This catches me off guard and I stumble through my brain to come up with a response. Ivan's the toughest, most feared guy in the orphanage besides Mathais. What does he need my help for?

"I found my sister yesterday" he continued, snapping me back to reality, "Nat was curled up on the bathroom floor. She wouldn't respond to anyone, only stared ahead and cried silently. She was clutching our mother's pendant so hard she split her hand open. I don't know what to do Matvey." His voice quivered a bit and a single tear slid down his face.

"You have to be there for her," I said, but I couldn't recognise my own voice. It was like I was on autopilet.

"You have to be her strength, hug her tight and tell her you'll always be there for her. Stay up with her and punch away her nightmares. Your good at punching things." He gave a low chckle that slowly turned into a full laugh.

"I never was able to apoligise to Gilbert for that," he sighs, "and your right Matvey." He smiles at me again and I flinch at the sadness behind his eyes. I never noticed how alike he and Gil are until now.

"Don't worry about it" I sigh in content, " Gil's probably already forgotten it."

"Family," Ivan says, hopping down from the window, "is something no one forgets."

/

Alrighty then, chapter 13 up woot!

I just want to give a big THANK YOU to all of my Followers and reviewers for helping me along to this point! Seriously guys, the only reason I bother with this is because of you all! I gotta say, this story is so fun to write because there's a lot to do with it.

Also, for anyone interested, I'm thinking of making a side story from Gil's POV telling his past, maybe even making one for Ivan or Lukas. If your interested, please send me a review or PM saying so because if I can get a certain ammount of people saying they'd like to see it, then I'll make it.

Other than that...

Please R&R my lovely sunflowers!

~Yulie