They'd sat in silence for the past few hours. All he could hear was the pound of his heart against his ribcage. It was faster than normal out of fear from the footsteps above them. His hand was gently over her mouth, as she had woken and almost screamed from the surprise of them in the house above. When she relaxed he slipped his hand away, but she stayed curled in his arms petrified to make the tiniest sound if she were to move. He could feel her heart pounding also against the skin of his forearm.
He remembered a time before they were hiding in this basement. When his mother and Willie were still in Germany. When he wasn't a Nazi on the run for helping enemies of the Fuerher. When she used to sing a long as they'd dance together at the Café Bismark, and she'd finish in a beautiful, harmonic laugh that was better than anything Benny Goodman could compose. He remembered when her hair was a shiny mix of brown and blonde under the lights, her eyes sparkled with life and her clothes were bright and new.
She'd been wearing the same red dress since the night they went into hiding. It was now dirty, almost black with dirt and soot from their place under the house. Her hair was tangled and in a messy ponytail behind her head. Her face dirty, her make up long washed away by tears and attempts at bathing in what little water they could manage to sneak in. He knew he looked no better in his tattered uniform that no longer held any Nazi symbolism. He was just as dirty just as she was. He'd told her once that he smelled. She told him she didn't mind and she didn't think he smelled bad. He always smiled at that. Her eyes still sparkled.
Peter knew their days were numbered here. They eventually found everyone who went into hiding. And when that moment came, he knew he'd do everything in his power to keep them from taking her.
"You're a fool Peter." She'd mocked. "What good is saving me if you kill yourself in the process?"
"It'd be worth it. Everything would be worth it if you could get out of here alive." He'd told her.
She laughed softly. "What fun will I have without you?"
He smiled and moved the hair out of her face at the memory. The moment loomed closer where he'd have to make good on his word. The thought of leaving her was getting harder every time she smiled. He marveled at how she managed to smile even now, with her life and his hanging in the balance, depending on silence and luck. He held her against him as the boots stopped as he heard them get near the door. Experience taught them to be quiet at least another hour after the last boot fell on the wood floor above them, just incase.
Analise looked up at him with her pretty green eyes, some smudges of eyeliner from the night they escaped still tracing them. She leaned in, her lips pressing softly against his, her tongue worming her way into his mouth and wrapping around his own. He suppressed the moan that threatened to escape from him, because he wasn't entirely sure the Nazis were gone yet.
An hour later she was asleep again. Her head in his lap, his fingers in her hair and he was just on the edge of consciousness himself. She stirred slightly so that her eyes looked up at him, and he smiled down at her. She took his hand in her own, lacing their fingers together with all the care of a lover.
"Peter," Analise whispered. "When we get out of here, we should go to America."
He laughed. "Sure Ana. We'll go to America."
"Don't placate. I mean it." She smiled.
"And we'll get jobs working in Harlem at the best swing club there is. I'll be a singer. You can tend bar. We can dance together on our breaks and our nights off. And we'll dance our way home in the early morning, under the stars."
"That sounds good." He whispered.
She got on her knees and leaned in, kissing him, pressing him against the wall, the stone cold against his neck and the back of his head. Her fingers went into his hair, his own resting on her waist. There wasn't a thing in the world but him, and her and that cold cellar where they hid. Before he knew it, they were in the throws of making love. And they fell asleep intertwined in each other. Legs and arms tangled together as if for that moment they'd become one, single being. She was curled up against him, her chest against hers. It was almost certain, that their hearts were beating together, in time with one another.
"I won't let them take you." He whispered, it was breathy and muffled by hair.
She ran her fingers along his bicep. "I won't let them take you either. You can't leave me. It won't be worth it to rescue me and be taken yourself."
"Why do you think that?" He lifted her chin.
Her eyes were filled with tears. "Because I love you. I would rather die than know that if they find us and separate us, I lived while you died for my safety. If they catch us, I want to go wherever they have me scheduled to go. At least then I can die knowing I loved. And I died loving."
He felt his nose sting with the tears forming in his own eyes. He stroked her cheek, pushing aside some of her hair so he could look at her face better. Peter leaned in and kissed her softly on the mouth.
"I love you too. And I will do anything to save you. Ultimately there's nothing I can do to make you save yourself. I just wish you would… because if they take me, I want to know it wasn't in vain."
"It won't be in vain." She smiled. "You saved me just by doing this. I'd already be dead if you hadn't risked everything for this. And that for me, is enough. This will always be enough."
She snuggled back against him. He stroked her hair, wordlessly. Her confession made him feel bittersweet. She was right. It was pointless to sacrifice himself. It would be ridiculous to imagine that she would be better off with him going off to the work camp or worse for protecting her. In the end, they'd likely find her again and she'd get it ten times worse. She was always right. He kissed her forehead.
"You're right. We'll always have this. And we'll let that be enough. For now."