(Note- Marzin, at one point, was taken away from her adoptive family while traveling, being told she was 'an enemy'. She barely made it out of the camps alive.)
Elke stumbled forward as someone, a tall Russian, lead her out, her frail arms and tiny shoulders aching as she was pushed into the arms of someone she knew.
She made it.
The chatter deafened her. Families reunited, friends sobbing into shoulders.
She was out. Berlin, maybe? Vienna? She couldn’t tell. Nor did she care.
A quiet set of words was whispered into her ear.
"Ich habe dich vermisst... So viel, Kätzchen.”
Flawless German in her head. Thin, scarred pale arms around her tiny shoulders, like she was glass.
"Ich habe dich...auch vermisst, Gil…Auschwitz…”
Broken, slow German passed her paper-white lips. Her ribbon arms wound around his neck, and she buried her face in his shirt. It smelled of soap, and beer.
And she sobbed.
He held her as he walked home, holding the frail girl to his chest and petting her stringy, chin length blonde hair that fell into her dull looking purple eyes.
Eyes that used to shine with sixteen year old joy, when running down the snowy ground, her waist length hair tied up out of her face, besting Ludwig at football. -Theyd play in any weather, no matter the rain or sun-
Her long coat brushing the iced flowers in the garden, her gloves soaked in snow and Roderich scolding her for that.
Cake being snuck by Lili, exchanged to the quieter Austrian girl.
Gilbert made his way into the big, windy manor, hearing nothing but sobbing from one room.
Adjusting his hold on Elke, he pushed the music room door open, to find a sobbing Roderich, leaning against one of the legs of his piano, mumbling that he "couldn’t, it hurt too bad to play, Gilbert /help me!/"
It was ceased when he heard a barely said word.
Roderich stiffened, his eyes wide as he saw the half asleep girl in Gilbert’s arms.
“Elke?…sind sie das?”
The words were whispered, as if the Austrian thought he was dreaming.
The smaller girl dis-entangled herself from Gilbert, standing shakily. Roderich pulled himself to his feet, basically falling into her and pulling her against his chest.
And Elke sobbed again, staining his shirt.
He rocked her back and forth, soothing her quietly as they were joined by the albino from before.
And they all sobbed together.
The lost nation who wasn’t all that awesome, here in post war.
The quiet micro-nation who admitted defeat in the clutches of a German death camp.
And the Austrian who did nothing wrong, but helped the wrong people at the wrong time, and nearly died for it.
"Ich habe dich vermisst... So viel, Kätzchen.” - I missed you…So much, kitten.
"Ich habe dich...auch vermisst, Gil…Auschwitz…” - I missed you too, Gil…Auschwitz...
“Elke?…sind sie das?” - Elke? …is that you?