Hello everyone! So it's been a very long time since i've submitted a fanfiction...but now that summer is here and i have time again, i decided to go digging through my old stories and i found this little number. I hope you enjoy it, and please, don't ridicule my cruddy German...i don't speak it and neither does the translator i used! :D Have fun!

The fire was burning high. From where I stood, it seemed to be licking the clear, dark night with its bright orange flames, the smoke plume incredible as it dissipated endlessly into the air. It seemed like the sort of night made for silent wonder, the stars shining brightly, uncovered by even the most miniscule clouds…If not for the screams of pain and terror before me, I might have believed all was right with the world.

Temporarily distracted from my star-gazing, I surveyed the scene, my stomach clenching with the filth of this institution. Eyes narrowing, I watched as a new truck filled to the brim with the unwanted pulled up to the gates of Auschwitz. Forced into silence, I could not tell these terrified Jews, Catholics, gays, gypsies, whatever it was they were, to run. I could not tell them to lie about their ages, occupations, health. I was obedient. A well-trained and disciplined Nazi officer. I was the one who determined who lived and who died.

The new cart was emptied, the occupants lined up before me.

Victims. Most who would never see another day. Many who would die in the process of working for their freedom. Many who would survive to the very end of this war, only to suffer death not much long after. Many who would be gassed, burned, starved, diseased, experimented on, worked until there wasn't a single part of them left. With the sturdiness of any other German soldier doing his duty, I let my eyes graze all of their faces, committing to memory the mass of lives I was just moments from ending.

In my own language, I ordered the first man to come forward. After a thorough investigation, I deemed him suitable; his age, past occupation, and health were all in order. Sighing in relief, I barely had time to think before the next person, a little girl, came forward. Closing my eyes and gritting my teeth, I spat furiously for a fellow officer to get rid of her, feeling the guilt building.

By the time the last men in the line had reached me, I was physically exhausted from the pain in my heart. Miserably, I examined the first one of an apparent set of twins…he was absolutely pathetic for the age he appeared. His body was slim and girlish, and he was pleading with me in Italian to spare his life, sobbing endlessly, which made it difficult to give him any form of thorough health examination.

"Halt die Klappe!" I ordered, but this just seemed to frighten him more.

"Please, please, don't kill me!" he cried, suddenly changing to English. "I'm too young to die! I don't have a job, but please I'm good and healthy and I won't cause any problems! I can work really good and as long as I have my pasta, I-"

Confused, I felt as if I had no choice but to shove him with the butt of my gun to silence his babble. "Quiet! You will stop moving for examination!" I demanded, also using English in an attempt to calm the man down.

He stared up at me, tears still leaking out of his amber eyes. Quivering, he stood as still as he could in silence, watching me in fear as I assessed him. After determining him healthy enough, I decided to keep him around, despite his useless appearance. There was no way I could make myself burn this man…Something about his unusual innocence made me reluctant. Switching back to German, I called for my comrades to take both twins to a block.

They seemed relieved, both brothers wailing in joy that they'd lived as they were taken away.

If only they knew the fate that awaited them…

Sighing, I removed my thick, black leather gloves and rubbed my temples, straightening my hat as I strolled over to where my fellow officers were waiting. With the same piercing blue eyes that I possessed, they looked me over, clearly judging my weakness in letting so many of the unwanted survive. I had always been the weakest member of the Nazi regime in their minds.

"Beilschmidt, you let the Italian twins in?" scoffed the Colonel. "What do you think this is, a game?"

I remained silent, staring into the fire pit of the dead tensely.

"Personally, I would have killed them on the spot!" said another. "They were weak, pathetic Catholics from a tiny village we ransacked in Italy! But you…you're sadistic." He grinned at me, giving my shoulder a shove. "You prefer to let them live just to watch them suffer later! You like to watch them struggle through every day, starving to death, working from dawn until dusk!"

The other men cracked up laughing; I stared at them tersely, not finding their sense of humor amusing. "Maybe they can become useful to us."

This statement sent them into even deeper hysterics.

"Yeah, Ludwig, keep dreaming! Ah, here we are, a new load! This time, I will be the one to show you what real selection is like!"

Displeased, I watched as my fellow Nazi left to begin his duty, before turning away, more than ready to be assigned to a block. This would be the last truck full for tonight; tomorrow, we would begin working them. We would each be assigned a block of these undesirables to discipline and do with them as we pleased; the more painful it was to them, the better. For the weak and feeble, the first few weeks would mark their graves. As our blocks occupants grew weaker, we were required to dispose of them. In this way, many would be promised showers and then promptly and unexpectedly gassed.

Just as the last of the cart was thrown into the fire to burn, the highest commanding officer, General Schnitzel, arrived, shouting stark, short commands for us to line up so we would therefore be assigned to our groups. He strode by, and I was ordered to take on block number seven. Shortly after, we were dismissed to go check on our own blocks before forcing them all to the dining hall.

I arrived at block seven with my gun erect and ready at my side, my uniform straight, all business as I strode in. The people cowered away from me as I entered, as if one wrong move would cause me to explode. Meticulously, I studied the familiar faces; these were all ones that I had saved today. And there, in the very back with his twin brother, was the man who had pled with me to spare him. His eyes were closed now and he was lying back on his bed, his brother curled up close at his side.

Were they….sleeping?! At a time like this?!

"Everybody UP!" I demanded, staring ferociously at the two Italians in particular.

Nothing seemed inclined to make them move, not even my shouts. Enraged, I made my way over to them and yanked them both up by their shirts, spitting in their faces, "Steht auf!"

The smaller one's eyes bolted open, the absolute terror I saw in his amber irises startling me. Who was this man? Shocking me motionless, the little Italian easily yanked himself out of my grip and was suddenly on his knees in front of me, pleading for his life yet again. His auburn hair stuck out haphazardly in every direction, giving him a look of incredible innocence and child-like composure as he cried at my feet. I blinked in confusion, an unfamiliar feeling coming into my heart as I registered.

How could any man possibly be so…girly?!

Even more aggravated, I threw the other brother, who had awoken and started yelling profanities at me, onto the floor and pulled the smaller one up yet again. "What is your name?" I found myself asking this lowly little abomination.

And as suddenly as it had started, his crying halted, and he gave me a happy, very strange smile. "I'm Feliciano Vargas!" he told me, an absolutely idiotic smile stretching his lips.

I stared hard at the overall brightness of him, taking in everything... yet registering nothing. "Put on your clothes!" was all I could manage, shoving a dull gray jumpsuit at him.

He stared at the hideous clothing with a hint of sadness, but stripped down naked in front of everyone carelessly to put it on, clearly in no way self-conscious. For some odd reason, I found myself turning away from him nervously when he was down to just his underwear…instead of watching, I ordered the other prisoners to line up at the door, casting my voice in a threatening fashion as I had been instructed.

In no way should these people feel comfortable. They were here only to work for Germany, and nothing more. They would create the items we required to win this war, no matter the cost. The more that perished, the better. After all, there was an endless supply of worthless Jews in the world. It didn't matter. They didn't matter. And that was an order.

After getting my block lined up, they were taken to the dining hall to enjoy their very first helpings of soup, stale bread, and coffee. I felt a pang of pity for Feliciano as I sat eating my own much more nutritious meal with my fellow soldiers…he was staring down at his food with more distaste than I assumed such an effeminate man had. His brother, meanwhile, was wolfing down his own dinner, too hungry to care that it wasn't their beloved pasta.

I was quickly reminded of my own brother, stuck in my cellar at home, hiding from the same Nazi regime I belonged to. In fear that Gilbert would be taken away, our mother had, in a last attempt to save him, hidden him below the ground and let the officers take her away instead…As albinos, they were considered undesirable pieces of garbage. Now he could do nothing but wait for me to come home and care for him, though despite this, he seemed to be living his life to the fullest by transforming the cellar into what he referred to as "the awesome chamber."

I found myself unable to look away as I watched Feliciano take that first bite of putrid soup. He shivered and gagged, but continued to eat, closing his eyes so he didn't have to watch. Shifting uncomfortably, I imagined myself taking my plate over to him, watching his gratitude as he took a bite. Would he…accept it or reject it? I shook myself hurriedly, realizing there was no way I would be able to get away with giving him anything.

"Beilschmidt!"

The sound of the General's fury woke me from my daze and I found myself on my feet and saluting before it had even fully registered. "Sir!"

"Take your vermin back to the block!" he demanded, his pudgy face wrinkling and turning an ugly shade of red.

"Sir!"I repeated, embarrassed that I had been so caught up in my thoughts of saving that same "vermin" the General was referring to that I hadn't heard him. Without wasting anymore time, I escorted my group back to their block, ordering them into their beds.

"Two to a bunk!" I demanded, hoping fervently the group wasn't so large I would have to push the number up.

Thankfully, when I studied them again, they were all safely tucked away, staring at me with burning hatred in their terrified eyes. I sighed, avoiding their gazes as I noticed someone coming up to the door through a filthy window. Hurriedly, I opened it to find a younger soldier standing on the stoop, his eyes alight with mixed emotions.

"Word from the General!" he announced, speaking in German so as not to alarm the prisoners more.

"Yes, what is it?" I asked, eyeing the other blocks warily as my fellow soldiers shoved our hostages towards the "showers" to be gassed.

The young soldier looked slightly disturbed as he said, "Well, it seems that your block is to work NOW."

I stared at him, speechless…relieved. Unable to help myself, I glanced in the door over my shoulder at the little Italians cowering in the back corner, their eyes on me. Seeing that I was looking at him, the small one gave a quick smile and uttered a quiet, "Ve~!" I turned back to the soldier and robotically saluted him, watching his back as he scuttled away to deliver more orders.

"Alright!" I hollered, startling the group of men into silence. "I have received orders! You are to work tonight!"

A few of the new arrivals groaned, but the older ones knew better; they silenced themselves quickly as I glared ferociously at them. With no other options, they began to line up.

"Ve~," the little red-head sputtered again as he sauntered up beside me, the smile still on his face. "Where are we going, Mr. German, sir?"

I glared down at him, appalled by how stunningly childish he was. "You will not call me Mr. German!" I demanded, my voice rough. "And you will not smile!" I added, as he grinned up at me, causing my heart to race.

As a result, his smile turned down a little, and he gazed up at me in confusion. "But I'm happy! And when you're happy, you've got to smile!" he informed me, grinning boldly again.

The other prisoners gaped at him as if he'd gone insane.

I felt my control slowly slipping, his innocent demeanor quelling my resistance. Finally, after staring at him for what felt like hours, I shoved him back in line and hollered angrily, "You will not be happy!"

He gave me a salute, his eyes squidging shut as if he were mocking me, and said, "Yes, sir!"

I tried not to dwell on him as I led my group to the fields where they would be working tonight, digging graves for the mass of bodies piling up around the camp. All throughout the night, I kept watch as they dug and pulled, saying nothing to each other as they shoveled the rancid, blood-stained dirt. Though it was my duty to keep my eyes on the group as a whole, my eyes couldn't help but shift to the Italian once again.

He was pulling as hard as he could at the rocky ground, his skinny arms not even strong enough to pull a single clump onto his shovel. Even after being at it for hours, he hadn't moved a single grain. An alarming thought pulsed through my mind; the Nazi's always targeted the weak to dispose of. If they found this boy, who was too weak to move a single section of dirt, he wouldn't last long. They would kill him, maybe even bury him alive.

"You!" I shouted, acting as if to scold him so as not to attract the attention of the soldiers. I came up behind him, blocking everyone else's view with my body, and whispered, ignoring the way he began quivering, "Do you want to die? No? Then you will not say anything!"

Hurriedly, I took his arms and guided them to the shovel. Then, using my own strength, I helped him break the ground and scoop the dirt into a pile. Having no choice to press hard on him to make him cry out, to fool the other guards, I continued to help him until he'd caught up with the other prisoners work. Then I released him and, not daring to look down and see his face, I gave him one last smack with my rifle and walked away, wiping my face clean of emotion as I stomped back to observe the others.

Far away, I risked a glance at him and immediately wished I hadn't.

He was crying and trembling, his face filled with fear as he feebly scooped. His smile had vanished, along with his childish ecstasy, and he was halfway cradling his arm, a bright purple bruise now forming across his skin.

Had I really caused that?

I looked on in horror as he continued to struggle, until someone gave me a brotherly punch on the arm and laughed, "You really showed that one, Ludwig! What did you say to him?! Look at his face!"

I turned on him, grabbing him roughly by the front of his shirt.