Chapter One-- Can Kill Not

Leif was still and peaceful as he let his sub-consciousness take control over his hands as if in a trance, slow and mesmerizing. Beautifully hypnotizing, yet confusingly wrong. As if in a ritual, he let his soul dance and chant inside of him, and let his bodily shell portray it. He sang a pure tune as he let his soul guide his hand to the center candle of the menorah, and as each second crept and passed; his singing slowly grew louder and more beautiful. Once he had lit the first candle, he smiled, and retired the center flame-wielder to its place in the menorah. As this all happens, Hans is silently studying him from the fire. His face and his front side of pale blonde hair looked silver by the light of the moon peering in from the magnificent window with the velvet curtains, the color of fresh blood. Its aura gave off rays in the dampness of the air outside, as they seemed to melt off the moon and drip onto his hair, where the metallic liquid drops would rest and comfort his handsome face like dew does so to a flower. The back of his head glowed golden by the light of the flames he was so fond of, casting shadows of him on the wall, where you can see the drops of the moon in his hair, and the gleam of the lost sun's reflection in his eyes. Yes, all that only found on his face, but more so, in his shadow. As a lost child of what appeared to be a haunting shadow over his life, he had everything to hate, the right to hate everything, but somehow, chose not to hate what doesn't hate himself in return. One of these things being Leif; the singing boy, the faithful Jew, the love of Hans' life.

As a child, a broken one at that, Hans was abandoned by his young parents, and left on the streets of what would become part of Nazi Germany, to die, and hopefully be reborn into a better life, with parents who could afford to keep him, and a neighborhood without a mortally high rate of violence, murder, crime, poverty, and hate, which this one had. He was nameless. Even as a baby, he was a silent child, and saw no reason to cry. He was both naïve and innocent, being what all infants are, thus saw no darkness in the world around him. Babies are said to be more connected to Heaven than any other people, because they are pure innocence. If you had ever smelled an infant's breath, in that pure, calm, mild, yet slightly, oddly crisp scent, that is where the scent of Heaven can almost be found. He refused still to cry, just to watch the stars. Unknowingly, he reached up to them, and tried to catch the brightest one, when a larger hand came upon his. Hans' wide blue eyes came upon one green one, and one black eye- patch, belonging to his future guardian and adoptive father, Andreas Schafer, the young Evangelist priest. At this time, Andreas was merely 21 years of age, yet willingly became a priest of his Evangelism beliefs. He brushed his hand against Hans' soft cheek, as Hans still made not a sound. Andreas had known not what to do, but what to make of this situation. This child was surely abandoned, yet had made the best of it by dreaming of catching a star to keep him company until someone would return for him. Someone had.

Andreas carefully picked up the infant which was wrapped in a thin sheet, and placed him in his arms. He gazed lovingly into Hans' nameless sky eyes, and started walking to his small chapel, which would become Hans' childhood home, the only place on earth he ever loved. There, and being in Leif's arms. Andreas was as kind as he was gay, and as gay as he was gothic. Nobody ever came close to him, for they all thought he was a cursed demon-child, being not only a priest, but an alchemist and shaman as well. Everything about him and his occupation of priesthood clashed, which made him all the more mysterious, and all the more loveable. He was hated by most people of the town, and not liked by the rest. He was loved and absolutely adored by the rest. He was beautiful and pure and charming, not to mention scarred with more wounds on his past as anyone could know. His chapel was of an unknown saint, Saint Braska, whom Andreas loved. Loved as in lusted for. There would be times you would see Andreas asleep in the stone arms of the statue of Saint Braska. Yet, somehow, Andreas managed not to break the statue whenever his weight shifted onto it. There would be secret midnight make-out sessions with the statue, when Andreas would swear both his loyalty and his love to Saint Braska. There would be praying, in which he talked to Jesus, and then to Braska, as if with another human. He would joke and cry and show evident emotions in their conversations without shame. He would always confess his love for Braska as if it were his first time admitting it. To be in love with a holy, dead saint, some would say, is unhealthy, and showed signs of mental illness, but for Hans, it seemed perfectly normal. "Hans" was Andreas' favorite name after "Isaac", and since this child was a German, Hans would fit. Andreas' first pick was indeed the name "Isaac", but it was a Jewish name. Andreas had absolutely nothing against Jews, and this was a time before Hitler's reign, but being a shaman, he had chosen a focus besides his healing. He had specified in shamanic flight, but a specific type of flight; a flight through emotions, minds, feelings, the human soul, but with that power, he had a bonus gift. He could also fly through memories. He could reach into a person's past, and he could even do this with the dead. He was said to, on the nights of the crescent moon, dig a body from its grave, and bless it. He had been given requests from the spirits that still walked the earth, hesitant to get judged by the lord himself. Andreas would bless the remains of the deceased, and see into its past, and then renew its baptism. One night, shortly before Hans was abandoned, Andreas had a dream, that Braska had come to him. Braska had said that it was not a dream, but a consequence of things to come if things were to continue on this earth, inside the human mind, as it did. Braska wore a black, haunting coat, with a hood to his head, and showed Andreas, in his sleeping trance, what horrible things were to happen. The mortifying scenes he saw were those of the Holocaust. Andreas knew what Hans was to become in those years, and with a Jewish name, it would be torturous. Andreas, throughout Hans' childhood, warned Hans about what could happen, via shamanic flight. Hans was given the premonition piece by piece when he told Andreas he was ready. On a child, seeing scenes like those were confusing and horrifying, but Hans' town was much like what was to come. Being raised by a youthful priest, he learned both that the world was ignorant, and to never hate people because they were born or raised that way.

"They had no control over the quality you may despise, Hans. Look at me.", Andreas calmly ordered at a young Hans, no older than that of nine.

"What is it I'm supposed to be looking at?"

With that, Andreas smiled and pointed toward his eye-patch. "This. Why do I wear an eye-patch? Do you know?"

"Someone poked it out, right?"

"No. I was born without a second eye."

Hans' eyes widened as Andreas lifted his black eye-patch off the side of his face as his golden hair flew about in the breeze. Hans' hands quickly came up to his mouth, at the sight of the red gash of raw, exposed muscle tissue where his right eye was supposed to be. The skin around the permanent wound was black and dead, whilst the rest of his face looked fresh and alive.

"I was born instead with shamanic powers. An inner eye."

"Oh…," tears seemed to drown Hans' eyes as he spoke, "… oh Andreas, I… I…"

Hans was desperate for Andreas not to see him cry, but he couldn't out-see the shaman, and Andreas held him close for comfort. "Don't hide your tears, Hans. It's all right."

"D-does it hurt?"

"Only if people hate me for it."

"I'm… sorry."

"Do me a favor, Hans…"

Hans looked up at his "father" with eagerness and compassion, awaiting his mission.

"… and never choose to hate anyone. Nobody deserves it."

Hans nodded, and continued to cry into Andreas' sleek, muscular torso. His tears felt as if they were burning his skin on contact. Andreas, seeing this, leaned down into Hans' face, and gently brushed his lips against the boy's, and leaned away. Hans just sat there with fear, confusion, and wonder filling his heart.

"That was a gift from Braska."

An older, darker Hans let his forefinger settle on his lips, where the kiss from Saint Braska, through Andreas, was given to him. Hans wondered if Braska still loved him as a father, and if Andreas was still alive. He hoped he wasn't dead, murdered. He still had to be there, to be for Hans when he had no where else to go. Hans wanted to go see him again, for he loved him as any son, adoptive or related, would. But Andreas would surely frown upon greatly what Hans had become. All the father-son pep talks, what happened to those? Hans had forgotten about everything Andreas had taught and preached throughout his childhood the moment he got recruited for the Hitler Youth. Andreas would be hurt more than he ever would in his life, and Braska would shake his head solemnly from afar, if they were to see what he's become; a Nazi. A violent, cold person, with a shockingly soft, sensitive interior. What happened to the carefree, peace-loving boy we all used to know and love, and what is that heartless thing in place of him? Hans was too ashamed to show his face to his father again. He knew Braska knew. And with Braska knowing, Andreas would surely find out through him.

Andreas, I'm sorry. I'm so very, very sorry. Just so you know, I have not killed a man, and only wounded one once. I had cut him with a machete on his arm, and once I saw the thick, crimson, velvet-like blood creeping out the fairly deep cut I'd bestowed, I flinched, and felt tears stinging behind my eyes. I had, being a medic, on the spot, wrapped bandages around the wound, as he winced at the pain, and stared at me, myself starting to cry, as I did so. My comrades sneered and spat at me for it, called me a traitor, and I no longer had anyone. No one, until I met him.

Leif.

Hans once again looked over his shoulder quietly at the Jewish boy, now getting up from his prayers. Leif closed the Torah, and looked over to Hans, smiling, and stood up. Hans stood up as well, but sat back down as he saw Leif running in his direction. Leif leaped into Hans' warm strong arms and kissed him gently on the lips. Hans breathed the kiss in, to become one with it, to become lost in it. He could never hate Leif for his beliefs. Not now. All Hans wanted to do was to become lost, lost in a world away from the material one, the one claiming to be real. Who said Hans liked reality? He loathes it, hates it more than he could hate any Jew. That's what Hans could find in his lover's gentle, carefree kiss; a sense of illusion, a world he can drown himself in and find Heaven thereafter. But that isn't what attracted Hans to Leif, no; it goes much deeper than that. So much more deep it cannot be explained, for Hans doesn't know what had compelled him to Leif that night. Leif broke the kiss softly as he stared up and gazed into Hans' eyes. Hans' eyes were silver in the light of the moon, and pale blue in the light of day. The moon seemed to love Hans like a father, that is what Leif would always think at nights, where he would compare the beautiful moon to Hans' eyes, seeming to drip with silver lining and swim with odd grays and light blues. Hans was so much like the moon inside, always stuck in its shadow. Or was it, rather, that he is the shadow of the moon itself? Hans, like the moon, needs a sun, a happy place he can reflect upon and enlighten himself with. That is the only way he could truly shine, with his sun, his love. Leif ran his delicate, skillful fingers through Hans' slicked-back golden hair. Or was it silver? Leif couldn't tell, for the clashing light of both the fire warming his back and the dripping rays of the moon in the huge, arched window behind Hans melded into two different hues, painting Hans' hair with their wild, artistic gifts. In return, Hans ran his own fingers, which have painted so many pictures that had compelled Leif to him, up Leif's cheek, as Leif's eyes closed and smile widened slowly. His fingers ran up into Leif's soft brown hair, as his chin rested atop Leif's forehead. Hans dipped his face into Leif's hair, and took in beautiful pine scents, lined with hints of mint. Leif's very own shampoo: his own variation of his gypsy mother's recipe. Leif grew up a gypsy, in a little colony out on a small island belonging to Denmark. He grew up knowing he was Dutch, but more so, a gypsy. His tribe was modern as well as everyday life went along, each member of the clan an artisan, led by a council of elders, with technology, plumbing, the entire sort. There were no motor vehicles, only bicycles and such, nothing that could harm nature. There was a ship that would trade with other clans and tribes, as well as the mainland of Denmark, but the colony had a very mystifying twist to life: rituals. That is what had compelled Hans to Leif that night…

… It was a mission. Hans' troupe had to invade the island and kill the residents, being, if not Jewish, rather gypsies. At that point, Hans' skin was gray with distraught, and his heart was both cushioned with pins and needles, for each time he would see another man die, woman scream, gypsy burn, or child cower for dear life at his Nazi comrades, another pin would stab and prick his heart. His pincushion of a heart, though, has no space left for any more needles. He felt if he would see another man die again, he would commit suicide. Why did he have to be drafted for this? At only 18 he had lost control over his own life. As the night progressed, the troupe prepared for assault, all except Hans. Hans was assigned to spy on the gypsy colony. What Hans found was what he had always looked for, a happy place he could get lost in. Everything about the colony and beauty reminded him of Andreas. Andreas had fought so hard to keep Hans, to not let him get drafted by any means, for this was all what his premonition was: a hell on earth, the Holocaust. Andreas would rather be killed than have Hans become a member of evil. What Andreas did not know was that Hans, even though drafted, had no faith in the Nazi army, and would be ready to rebel at any moment. Now that he had seen this beautiful place, he wanted to become part of it. Alas, all he could do is watch, unseen, from the foliage. There was a ceremony going on. A bonfire was valiantly burning in the center of the group of about five-hundred people, with long staves burning bright red flames at their tops. The people wore bright, long clothing, all of it beautiful and fit for a party, yet strangely mysterious in its own respect. Their faces had stripes and triangles painted on in an array of bright colors. An old, big man stood in the center of his people, next to the bonfire. He was fat, yet had a very cheerful face, and looked very loveable, for Hans saw children cling to him. He joyfully said something in a language Hans could not understand, as the crowd cheered and hollered in return. Then there were dancers. One by one a young group of dancers, all of them about Hans' age, danced to the musicians' wild, free, beautiful music. Hans was deeply intrigued and mystified by this, and he could feel his entire body pulse to the beat as if it was a part of him. He felt compelled to dance.

The urge was the strongest he had ever felt. He choked back the desire, but could never rid any of it. About twenty of them danced before Leif had, and finally, it was Leif's turn. The music started differently when he approached the great fire to perform, as if it was leading up to something. With growing tension, the music started getting faster and louder, and it was then where Leif would start to dance.

With controlled steps he approached the bonfire, each seeming to be gentle enough to walk atop water, and with a gentle wave of his right arm, his dance began. With magical swaying motions of his arms, cloths of a rusty, yet shiny orange floated on the air, and followed his arms, wrapping against them, making elaborate illusions as Leif twirled about, sometimes those of wings. He followed the pulsing beat of the drums with his breath, the rapid pattern of the sharp, mystifying violins and fiddles with his footwork, going horribly fast, working hard, yet, above all, being pure. As he was gifted with doing, he let his soul and heart dance inside him, while his beautiful shell of a body would flawlessly portray the raw, pure feelings bursting from his chest as he danced. His feet, though swift, were graceful, and his footwork was not at all false, choreographed, planned beforehand, no. His dance was new even to him, and would not be remembered or performed again, so, subconsciously aware of this, he embraced the moment with a joyful soul and open arms, not to mention a stimulant which made his throat choke with excitement and a tingling rawness, a feeling unknown. Pure ecstasy, shamanic ecstasy, a stimulant known to him as lust, was choking at the inside of his neck, muting him, stretching his vocal cords. It was pushing at the inside of his chest and pulsing at his head. It tested the strength of the heart. Seeing if he can keep up, wanting to control him, but failing, for he was too numb and lost in dance for it to penetrate his immune aura. He was the definition of pure beauty, and his entire clan knew so, taking great pride and happiness in him. He knew not of a mesmerized stranger among them, though, he was aware not of the captivated soul pulsing and beating with the lust to dance, so powerful, that it cannot be denied. He saw not of Hans, until his dance brought his amber eyes to the foliage in which Hans was concealed, but burst out of at that moment. The feeling was much too strong. Leif, knowing the presence of the approaching enigma, twirled around swiftly in place, his arms bending just over his head, and spread his feet and his arms thereafter. Catching the Nazi in his gentle arms, he held a dazed, blank emotion, with pure wonder written in his eyes. Who was this stranger? The music pulsed on, but weakly, and the crowd began to whisper harshly. Hans found bliss in Leif, the dancing star, the sun of his life, which he could happily reflect upon. He found a world of wonder inside him, and didn't want to let go of his delicate waist so soon. Leif felt confusion. So many questions running through his dazed mind: Who is he? What is he here for? What does he want from us? Here, in his arms, why do I feel as if I've found treasure? Why do I feel as if I'm home? Why… am I liking this moment so much… and who… who is this handsome man…? I want never… to let go of him…

… you.

And with that, all the confusion and wonder and excitement, his soul finally sputtered out like a dying flame, and his body portrayed this, by feeling his aura being ripped from his body, and then pulled back again, by fainting into Hans' firm, reassuring arms.