It's been already twelve years you heard nothing about him. You were just a little girl when he left to war and you heard nothing about your stepfather anymore since then. And because he couldn't take care of you anymore, he asked Elizabeth to let you live with her. So she raised you, she was your stepmother, a wonderful one. She took care of you instead of Ludwig in the past twelve years and you still lived at her.
And as time passed, you slowly forgot about your stepfather, you knew he was either dead or he simply abandoned you. He never sent letters so you could never know what happened to him. You forgot what he looked like and you only had faded memories of your life with him before you got to Hungary. But you didn't care anymore. You had a happy life in Elizabeth's house and you thought you'd never ever leave her.
That morning started just like the usual ones. Sleepily in your sleepwear and rubbing your eyes, you walked slowly into the kitchen. "Reggelt... (Morning...)" You groaned, expecting to meet your mom in there but as you opened your eyes, you stepped back immediately.
Elizabeth was nowhere to be found, but there was a stranger sitting at the table, a blond man with icy blue eyes and he seemed just as surprised as you were. You quickly pulled your arms in front of your chest as you were trying to think of something to say.
"I-I'm s-sorry, I th..." "Guten Morgen." You were cut off by the calm greeting. This stranger smiled at you but you were just looking down, blushing deeply, you didn't like to be seen in your sleepwear my strangers.
"Guten Morgen." You mumbled in German, in the same language the man spoke to you. The same language your stepfather taught you. "Tut mir leid, ich wusste nicht, dass wir Gäste haben. (I'm sorry, I didn't know we're having guests.)"
And you stood there still nervously but you decided to look up at the man again to see how he really was. He seemed pretty tall and strong and along with that, he was quite handsome too. But the way he looked at you was somehow weird.
"Kein Problem." You heard from him before noticing Elizabeth who stepped into the kitchen with a wide smile on her face. You looked at her, waiting for explanation.
"Ó, végre felébredtél, örülök neki. (Oh, you're finally awake, I'm glad.)" She walked behind you and put her hands onto your shoulders and you just blinked in confusion again. What was going on? "____________, Ismered itt ezt a férfit? (Do you know this man here?)" You shook your head. "Nem, még sohasem láttam, fogalmam sincs... Ki ő? (No, I have never seen him before, I have no idea... Who is he)?" You looked at her.
She waited a bit longer before answering your question. "A neve Ludwig Beilschmidt." That name hit you. He had the same surname as you did. Why? You quickly looked at the man who was now standing not very far from you. "Ő a te apád, kedvesem. (He's your father, my dear.)"Elizabeth said finally. "Visszatért a háborúból és érted jött. (He has returned from the war and he came for you.)"
You simply couldn't believe your ears. You looked at her again, then back at the man who was now called your father. Did she really just say what you heard? Was it just some bad joke? He seemed pretty serious. He slowly opened his arms with a gentle smile on his face. "Erkennst du mich jetzt? (Do you recognize me now?)" He asked softly.
For a few seconds it all was just too much for you. You just woke up five minutes ago, a stranger saw you in shorts and a loose shirt and now you were told it was your father who returned to you after twelve long years.
As you soon realised what happened, tears welled up in your eyes. After looking at the ground for a while, you looked back at Ludwig and you bit your lip. "Vati?" Your lips trembled as you asked that one word, a word you couldn't be able to use in the past years.
"Ja." He nodded. "Es ist schon lange her. (It's been a while.)" You bit your lip again before you bursted out crying, ran to him and glomped him, almost tackling him. You were happy, infinitely happy. You never thought you'd ever see him again and now there you were, crying in his strong arms that wrapped around you and held you tightly against his warm body.
You screamed into his shirt and sobbed as loudly as never before. You were close to twenty and you cried like a baby. But who cared then? Elizabeth behind you was just watching you two and wiped small tears off of her cheek and he buried his face into your hair too as he held you in such a tight hug that it made you a bit wonder how he didn't break you.
Only after a few minutes could you lift your face up but you were still crying. Ludwig wiped your tears away from your red cheeks as you stared up at him. "Alles ist in Ordnung. Ich bin hier jetzt. (Everything's alright. I'm here now.)" He whispered and you gulped before you could speak again.
"Vati... Wo warst du? Ich dachte, dass du schon lange tot bist! Weißt du wie sehr ich dich vermisst habe?! VATI! (Dad... Where have you been? I thought you were dead for so long! Do you know how much I missed you?! DAD!" And you kept crying and crying uncortollably. And it felt so good to speak the language you have almost forgotten after not using it for such a long time. Well, Elizabeth only taught you Hungarian and that's how you two only talked since you learned it pretty well.
Ludwig didn't answer long, he gave a few soft kisses onto your face and promised that he will tell everything later. He wanted to make you calm first, he hated how he had to see you cry again, just like on the day he left you. There was only one big difference, that the little girl disappeared and now a beautiful lady replaced her. And she was the most wonderful in his eyes.
On the same day he took you home, back to the house you two lived at before. You could see your old room again, with toys on the ground, a castle painted on the wall and your small bed you spent so many peaceful nights in. The only problem with the bed was that it was way too small for you now. It was designed for a little girl which you weren't anymore.
It was decided quickly, Ludwig said he was fine with sleeping on the couch until he got you a new bed and you could sleep in his. But that didn't mean you had to stay away from the couch. You were sitting on it too when Ludwig walked to you and first he just sat next to you, then he laid his head just above your chest and he lay comfortably on the couch. He wrapped his arms around your waist too and he kept you close to himself again.
It was still somehow weird, you still couldn't really get used to the thought that he was your father whom you missed so much all the time. And the way he held you and snuggled you was something you rather imagined with your boyfriend, which you didn't have. He was still a bit just an attractive man who was now holding you in an affectionate way. But you didn't mind at all.
You could see how tired he was and you gently stroked his hair, trying your best to make him relax. Without thinking too much about yourself, you knew that you were the most important to him now. And you had no idea how much he worried about you too while he couldn't be with you.
You held him, your hero, tightly to yourself and lay your head on his. You only realised how much you missed this while resting on that couch. He was the one who meant the most to you, even though he couldn't raise you. And he also hated how he couldn't be there with you to watch you grow up.
You two just wanted those years back and it hurt to think of that that will be never possible. You had to start a whole new life that was completely different from the one you led before. And it was like you have already felt the changes.