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cold kiss, colder heart

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Someone cradles Rudolf in their arms. He feels—safe. At peace.

...he must be dreaming. No one has held him like this since he was a little boy. But he can’t open his eyes. How… why was he being carried?

Pain lanced his skull.

The gun. He had… blown a hole in his head, amidst a swirling miasma of madness.

It comes back to him now: the nationalists. Mama. Her stinging rejection.

His mouth feels the ghost of a kiss. The memory of it dissipates like smoke.

But he cannot deny the feeling of cold lips and an even colder caress of his face.