Epilogue: A new home
A soft, sweet humming voice coming from a closed room filled the air. Inside the room was a woman with long blonde hair, she was inside a metal bathtub relaxing and enjoying her bath in the warm water.
"Hngh! It feels great!" Nathalie stretched her arms and back before getting out of the bathtub.
She continued to hum a warm and beautiful melody as she dried herself with a bath towel. It was her favourite song, the song that her father had composed for her birthday when she was still young. She dried and wrapped herself in bath towel before opening the door.
Exiting from the bathroom, she entered the main room of a small house about 30 square feet in area. It was Reinhard's home in Liegnitz. There were only two rooms in his humble house, the smaller bathroom in which Nathalie had just taken her bath in and the main room which contained a bed, a dining table with four chairs, a fireplace and a few dressers and cupboards for storage. Two windows on opposite sides gave a great view of the outside whilst a single door was the only way in and out of the house.
"You have such a soothing voice as always... Nathalie." a soft voice said. The voice had a warm, big sister like feeling to it.
Nathalie's eyes widened as she looked at the source of the voice, she saw Claire sitting on the bed. Her heart began to beat faster in joy and she instinctively ran towards her friend, giving her a tight embrace.
"Y-you're awake! You're awake! Thank goodness!"
"Well duh! But Nathalie... it's too tight! And... also... too wet!"
Claire had just recently awoken from her long sleep after she was shot during the battle for Hanau. Reinhard decided to shelter them for a while as Claire recovered from her injuries.
"Oh! Sorry. Sorry. It's just that I'm so happy that you're awake now!" Nathalie released Claire from her hug and fetched a cup of water for her newly awakened friend.
"It's so good to see your face once again Nathalie... wait let me get my glasses so I can see you better. Wait... where is it anyway?"
"The guys brought your glasses yesterday into the town to get your glasses fixed. You kind of broke it in Hanau. Don't worry they said they will be back by today so you'll have your glasses back soon."
"The guys...?" Claire softly uttered as she tried to remember, she only had fuzzy memories of the events in Hanau because of her injury, "I remember now, two people helped us."
"So... how is your wound feeling?" Nathalie asked as she sat beside her friend.
"It feels fine now, although it feels a little weird, I see that you have fixed me well."
Claire sipped a little water from the copper cup Nathalie had given her, "I don't recognize this place. Where are we anyway?"
"We're somewhere in Silesia in Prussia... I believe in a wood about a few miles from Liegnitz."
"Ah...Silesia huh, Prussia eh."
Claire suddenly spat out a jet of fine mist of the water she was drinking when she heard Nathalie's answer. Her eyes widened and her pupils dilated. Her arms and hands shook and trembled from shock."P-P-P-P... P-Pru... P-Prussia!?" she screamed in total bewilderment.
"It's alright, those two aren't part of the Prussian army, and also..." Nathalie stopped for a moment. She looked at her friend seriously in the eyes, breathed deeply and swallowed before continuing to speak. "We... no longer have a place to call home anymore in France. I-I'm so sorry I had to make your decision for you. I just didn't want you to..."
"It's okay... I'm alive because of you." Claire leaned slightly forwards and reached for Nathalie and petted her on the head, extremely grateful for her younger friend's efforts to save her.
"B-B-But... what about Denis?" Nathalie's voice was filled with worry as she asked about how Claire feels about her lover's recent death.
Claire just shook her head from side to side, "It's not easy, and I know I will still sometimes cry because I lost him... but I can't stay crumpled up into a small ball forever. I also need to move on somehow."
Without words to reply, Nathalie's eyes began to water. Her cheeks reddened like ripe tomatoes and her chin curled and crumpled as she tried to prevent herself from crying.
Claire ran her hand from the top of Nathalie's head towards her cheeks and gently rubbed the tears off her friend's eyes with her thumb. "Don't cry... or we'll look like cry babies now." she said, smiling with the warmth like that of an older sister towards her younger friend. "And Nathalie, put some clothes on, you'll catch a cold if you stay any longer with only that wet towel wrapped on you."
Just as Nathalie was about to stand up, the only door of the house was unlocked from the outside and opened as Reinhard and Erich returned from town. Reinhard has Musky strapped onto his back, with Erich right behind him. They were carrying with them bags filled with food, clothing and bottled beverages. It seemed like they had a successful hunt and earned a reasonable amount.
"Hey Nathalie! We're home, Erich managed to fix Claire's glasses and... we also... got... food..." Reinhard just stopped and Erich bumped into his back.
"Hey Reinhard! Get a move on! It's starting to get really cold in here."
An awkward silence filled the air. The silence was so deep that one could hear their own heart thump within their chest.
Nathalie's heartbeat was so fast and so strong that she felt as if it was about to jump out of her chest. Her face became so red it looked like tomatoes as she stared at the two men standing by the door looking at her with only a towel on.
Reinhard saw Claire holding onto Nathalie's face and suddenly shouted as he pointed at them, "Oh shit! We took in two lesbians! Two of them!"
"BASTARDS!" Nathalie yelled back as she grabbed the copper cup from Claire's hand and threw it at Reinhard as hard as she could. It flew at high speed, headed towards the hunter's face.
Reinhard managed to duck down just in time and the speeding cup slammed into Erich's face.
"That was close." he sighed in relief as he witnessed Erich fall to the ground.
"DON'T DODGE!" Nathalie then grabbed the nearest object that she could get her hands on and threw it again towards Reinhard. It was one of the chairs by the dining table. It struck him with such force that he was thrown backwards and landed on top of Erich.
"Jeez! Why is it that men don't knock?!" Nathalie said as she slammed the door shut.
"Oh?! Hahaha! What's with this reaction? You got quite flustered when the Prussian idiot saw those voluptuous curves of yours didn't you?" Claire squinted her eyes and partly covered her smile as she giggled, teasing her embarrassed friend.
"Oh shut up would you?!" Nathalie exclaimed as she walked towards a dresser by the bed.
"It's a good thing I managed to persuade the Prussian idiot to buy us clothes when I went to Liegnitz with him a few days ago." Nathalie said as she puts on a change of clothes.
"A few days ago?" Claire asked "How long have I been out?"
"A little over one week. It's now mid November."
A few minutes after Nathalie changed her clothes the men were allowed inside and the group ate what the guys brought home. Enjoying their meal, teasing and yelling at each other, one would not think that they were total strangers to each other to each other a few weeks back.
"Hey woman, I've bought the lenses and fixed your glasses myself. You better pay me up later." Erich said as he gives Claire her glasses back.
"The name is Claire! And don't worry you greedy Prussian I'll pay you back... well... someday." She replied, twirling her glasses before putting them on.
"Is your wound okay now?" Reinhard asked her in confirmation of her well being and her recovery.
"Yeah. It's okay now. I thank you both for saving my life."
"Hehe. It's nothing. Just take care of yourself. You don't want that wound to open again."
With those words, Reinhard finished his meal, excused himself, stood up and walked out of the door. The intrigued Nathalie followed him outside, leaving her hot meal on the table, taking only a piece of bread in her hand.
"Hey! Where are you going?!" she asked as she ran after him.
"I'm going to gather some firewood. We need them for the days to come."
Nathalie threw the piece of bread towards him. "Here! Take this and eat some more!" she said before quickly ran back towards the house.
"What was that about?" Reinhard asked himself, wondering about the woman's action as he looked at the piece of bread that she threw to him.
Halfway through the way towards the house, Nathalie stopped and took a deep breath.
"Reinhard!" she called out without even turning around, "Thank you! Thank you so much! Thank you for everything!" she shouted her gratitude before quickly running back towards the house with a satisfied smile and a slight blush on her face.
"Well... that's a surprise... she actually called me by my name now." Reinhard whispered to himself as he continued to walk to search for firewood, biting a piece off the bread.
With the end of the conversation, the wind started to blow colder and the red and yellow leaves of the trees fell towards the ground. Winter was fast approaching. Reinhard looked up at the sky and thought about the people in his home, a slight smile appeared on his face.
"It looks like this winter will be warm and lively."