A/N: I don't own The Book Thief. I wish I did. One-shot. Reviews and feedback will be welcomed.
The world is knee-deep in the soup of the Second World War; the country is holding its breath; the air still pregnant with the new day. Himmel Street is a ribbon of moonlight against the backdrop of a steaming blood red sky. The skyline of Berlin is like shattered glass, fragments pointing towards the sky: accusing fingers. Rudy Steiner lies on the edge of his bed, the dead weight of his sister's arm flung across his chest. He's thinking of Liesel. He's thinking of the kiss that he will eventually get because although sometimes he feels like he should just give up, Rudy Steiner wants that kiss. Badly.
Up above the world a young man sits in the cockpit of a plane. He's going to bomb the docks, of course. The young man closes his eyes, just for a second, to pray he has the right place. Then the underbelly of the metal monsters begins to open and the bombs begin to fall. The silence is punctuated by the sounds of explosions, both near and far. There is no siren.
*** Here's a Small Fact: ***
Heaven was never meant
Himmel Street is peaceful. Rudy Steiner smiles as an imaginary Liesel leans down to brush her lips gently against his own. Somewhere across the street a young girl sits in a too shallow basement and somewhere in a watchtower a man who is barely more than a boy, squints into the darkness. He's tired. It would be okay just to close his eyes for a few seconds, right? Only a few seconds.
A lone wail escapes into the air. But it will do little help now.
A Jewish first fighter drifts into a fitful sleep.
Rudy Steiner thinks of Liesel.
Liesel thinks of Rudy Steiner.
A Plane lands on a runway all the back in Britain. A tired pilot shades his eyes as he climbs from his little mechanical bird. Others come to congratulate him. A successful mission, they say. We'll show those Germans. He spares a thought for his beautiful young wife and his two new-born little girls before letting his comrades commandeer him away. It is not until much later that the news is spread of the previous night's bombing. Not until much later that it is revealed that he didn't hit his target at all. That his cargo landed on children and families just like his own.
"Not your fault." They say. You're a "Hero of war."
And, of course, in time the young man learns to forgive himself – what else can he do, this is war. It is not until four years later that he returns to his wife and children to find he no longer recognizes them, to find his street too has been bombed. He does not hate the pilot who dropped those midnight packages. How can he?
Some people are not so lucky. And I, for one, will never forgive myself for the fact that Rudy Steiner never got that kiss. Never. At least, not while he has breath to feel it.