Title: Can't Understand

Summary: Post-Movie. Bruno's parents' POV. Neither Elsa, nor Rupert, could come to terms with each other. Oneshot.

Disclaimer: I own none of the plot, characters, or ideas for The Boy in the Striped Pajama. All rights belong to their original owners.

Author's Note: Well, gee. I saw The Boy in the Striped Pajamas a few weeks ago for the first time when it was on TV. I had not read the book, but I had heard nothing but wonderful things about it and thought I might give the movie a shot. Simple to say, when the movie was over I was bawling my eyes out. I covered the corner of my blanket with mascara! Anyway, I was extremely fascinated with Bruno's mother—portrayed marvelously by Vera Farmiga!—and had been wanting to create some kind of tribute to that character ever since. Hence forth, I came up with the idea for this fanfic. The way it is written is a little confusing to the reader if it is not preceded with an explanation, so I hope everyone reads this author's note! The story switches back and forth between Bruno's father and Bruno's mother. Each separate paragraph is a switch of point of view. This may be confusing, but I hope it's not too confusing! Hope you enjoy! (I have decided to label the parts, though I think it takes away from the experience…=P Oh well, hopefully it doesn't completely ruin it!)


Elsa: Why? Why did it have to end that way? He was my little boy…

Ralf: Why? Why did it have to happen to him? He was just a child…

Ralf: He was just a little boy!

Elsa: He was just a little boy!

Ralf: Elsa doesn't understand. She cannot understand. He was my son, yes, but things happen. It has been over three months now, and she still hasn't gotten out of bed. Not even her hatred of me can motivate her enough to get up and get away anymore. Of course, I find it all so vile that I sleep in the guest room now.

Elsa: Bruno… Oh, my Bruno. I love him so. It seems only yesterday I held him in my arms. I knew, even before he was born, that he would be mine. Only mine. Nothing could take him away from me. Gretel is different…she always has been. She has been her father's daughter since the day she was born. I do love her, as any mother should. But Bruno… Bruno was mine.

Ralf: The woman whom I once loved? She is not the same. My career has torn us apart. She cannot and will not accept the truth about those filthy vermin. Now, this. For awhile, it seemed that the enemy that the only thing holding us together at all was the children. Oh-ho, how wrong I was! We weren't being held together at all. However, the shattered pieces of her were being held together. By Bruno. He was the only thing keeping her from pitching over the edge; delving completely into the depths of despair. Without him, it's as though the last thread of self that she possessed has been whisked away in a passing gust of wind.

Elsa: Gretel is horrible. Since…what happened, she has been more like a soldier herself than ever before. If she were allowed, she would go off into the camp to slay those people herself. She blames them, as does her father. As for myself? I blame him.

Ralf: And what about Gretel? Elsa has practically disowned her! I always knew that she favored Bruno, but she never did so much as to make this apparent to the children! Now? Not only has Gretel lost her only sibling, but she's as good as lost her mother as well.

Elsa: I've always known he favored Gretel, this wasn't a question. But I never thought so much as to foresee how dangerous this was. His affections on the child have all but driven her away from me. He acts as though I am the perpetrator. As if I could ever imagine my own child despising me in such a way! And why? Because he despised me first.

Ralf: She acts as though I killed him. My own son! She may not accept it, but I did care for him. It wasn't me. As if I could ever imagine killing my own child! And why is the child gone? Because those animals were stupid enough to mistake my boy—an Aryan!—for a filthy Jew!

Elsa: So why him? Why my Bruno?

Ralf: Why my son?

Elsa: This shouldn't have happened.

Ralf: There is no way this should have happened.

Elsa: And all these feelings just fester inside because--

Ralf: And I suppose these feelings ebb at my mind because--

Elsa: I loved him, and that's just something he can't understand.

Ralf: I loved him, and that's just something she can't understand.