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Title: To Outlive (1/1)
Author: Antigone a.k.a. Anty
Fandom: Swing Kids
Characters: Thomas Berger (Christian Bale), Peter Müller (Robert Sean Leonard).
Keywords: Short, Vignette, Angst, Dark, (likely) Character Death.
Summary: Thomas has to live with the guilt.
Disclaimer & Notes: I don't own Swing Kids. I saw it once, eight years ago (and part of it again last year on German cable), and thought it was ridiculous. I was exposed to the story of the White Rose too much to take unpolitically motivated dancing to swing music as the admirable form of rebellion the movie tried us to tell it was. However, the idea of RSL dying again currently never fails to move me. This fic was inspired by the last paragraph of André Schwarz-Bart's novel The Last of the Just (I also shamelessly adapted a sentence from it), a paragraph from Tanja Kinkel's book Unter dem Zwillingsstern, something my father said about the hush he experienced growing up after the war, as well as the arrogance of all those – Germans and non-Germans, judges of the ones living under totalitarian regimes anywhere in the world – who declare they would have been brave, unafraid, suicidal, and, towards their loved ones, ruthless enough to defy a dictatorship. Not to mention politically aware, because – already many years prior to the war – Hitler was, not only to Germany, but the politicians and people of France, Britain, the USA, and many others, the story of his underestimation. Finally, the NSDAP is associated with brown. The CDU's traditional color is black. Thanks again to Nom de Plume for the beta.
© Antigone, December 8th, 2006
Sometimes, when Thomas walks by the Alster, or through the cobbled streets of Hamburg's Old Town, he has to stop in his tracks because his heart wants to burst from despair. Peter, he thinks then, Peter who should have been back long ago yet never came, who exhaled his life against a wall or dropped dead, surprised he wasn't shot after all. Peter, who had become a number, and an empty cot for somebody else.
Peter! he wants to scream, because the world has gone into oblivion; they now have Adenauer and the economic miracle, the people who once voted brown now vote black (Democratic! And Christian! The irony!), and though he himself is still young, his youth seems like a lifetime ago.
Forgive me, he sobs, and this time would have toppled over, had not a youth from across the street yelled at him and asked if he was alright. He pulls himself together and straightens up again, thanking the kid and sending them on his way. He watches the boy and his friends stopping at the trimmed shop windows, their girlfriends hanging onto their arms, and wonders how it can only have been fifteen years since they were like them.
The mercy of being born after; oh God, the mercy of not being born then!
He raises his head heavenwards and feels a drop of pity fall onto his face from the grayness above; but there is no unreal breeze in the air, no single white cloud in the sky… there is just the present.