After a few minutes of silent walking, you arrived with Ludwig at __[favorite restaurant]__. A waitress came over and brought you to a secluded table before flirtatiously smiling at Ludwig and walking off with a little more swing in her hips then was probably necessary. A stab of annoyance pierced your heart, twisting into an almost physical discomfort as you noticed your dining partners face becoming increasingly flushed. You averted your gaze to the menu in front of you, despite already knowing what you were going to order, just to keep from looking at Ludwig. Your thoughts began to drift as the rest of the world faded away, leaving you calm and carefree for the first time in a very long time.
"You can order vhatever you would like," the thickly accented voice sliced through your thoughts. "A friend of mine has requested to join us, he should be here soon. It vould be best for you to tell your story now, instead of in front of him. He tends to be...overdramatic about things." Ludwig had a thoughtful look on his face, like he didn't really know what to make of you. Heck, you didn't really know what to make of yourself.
"Oh god, where to begin..." you muttered, half to yourself, half to Ludwig.
"The beginning?" the ever-so-helpful man offered (kindly note the extreme use of sarcasm).
"Yeah, I guess I'll start there. About a month ago, on the way to the movies, my..." you hessitated for a moment, it was still extremely painful to think about, let alone talk about. "my little brother and I got in an argument. My dad turned around for just a few seconds, blew a red light, and out of no where, BAM!" You mimed a collision with your hand, tears prickling at the corner of your eyes once more, "The next thing I know, I'm at the hospital and no one will look me in the eyes. They wouldn't tell me right away..." A strangled sob broke through your carefully constructed composure.
Ludwig seemed almost hesitant to ask, but after a moment of what seemed like internal debate, he asked it anyways, "Vhat happened?"
"T-t-they were dead!" you gasped, as if the words themselves were strangling you, "They all died! My mom, my dad, my little brother, all gone! I was the only one who survived..." Your voice was quiet, scared, like a little lost child who couldn't find its mother.
Ludwig's expressionless face morphed into one of compassion, at least that's what you thought it was (but then again, it could have been pity, and you would have none of that), as if your story physically hurt him to hear. "So that's why you were on the bridge..."
"I couldn't live with myself..." you whispered. "It was my fault they were dead, and I couldn't live with the fact that I was the only who lived. It should have been any one of them, just not me..."
"Stop that." You looked up, shocked at the German man's words. He continued, ignoring your shock, "This is not your fault. It was simply a bad set of circumstances that played out into an even worse situation. There is no one to blame, and if there vas, it would not be you."
"But-" you tried to interject, but you were quickly shot down.
"Nein, you need to hear this. You shouldn't try to take all of the blame onto yourself vhen you do not deserve it. That vould be cruel. And most importantly, you should live. You owe that to them."
You nodded, letting the words sink into your head, and you realized that he was right. You had lived for a reason, and you shouldn't waste the precious gift you were given.
That didn't mean you didn't have questions of your own. "Why did you stop me?"
Ludwig's expression became unreadable. "I...do not know. I don't think I could have let you just jump, not vithout trying to stop you. That would be a guilt I vould be unwilling to live vith. So I stopped you."
A small smile graced your lips for the first time since the crash. "Thank you. Thank you for stopping me."