A/N: This is my little attempt at something twentieth century. I don't know the period very well (albeit being born in 89), so any historical faults are my own.

When the Music's Over, Turn Out the Lights

By Faery Tragedy

Herr Wolff. I glanced sideways at the pacing man to my left, smiled a little, and pulled my legs up to my chest. Rather a sad smile, I thought to myself; one of those tiny upturned lips one could find in a film when the damsel discovers something entirely hopeless and ironic about the situation. My mind had strayed of course, and lost my body for some moment in time. No doubt I was thinking about the sky. It had been hours since I had seen the sky. I wanted to see it overhead, sometimes torn by war planes darting to and fro. It would not bother me to see the sky if it should be cloudy, perhaps raining, so long as it was the sky.

"Eva, come here and sit by me." I turned. My Herr Wolff was sitting opposite me upon a somewhat botched cot. He had this wild look about his eyes, and I could easily tell he was alert, waiting for a sign. As I positioned myself next to him, he rested his arm around my shoulder like a teenage boyfriend would, and I sighed.

Joseph Goebbels, his wife who I did not know very well, and his hoarde of children sat in another corner. The man himself, clad in a dashing military uniform and a felt hat that he momentarily removed, had a wild look in his eyes. His hair slowly turned deheveled, face longer with the passing hours. Once every so often, a bomb detenated far off and everyone in the room shook a little. Except Herr Wolff, who remained perfectly still, alert as a wild animal. His eyes were almost as wild as Joseph Goebbel's were, but in them reflected a stillness.

In all my years since I had known him, that certain stillness always played in his eyes, whether they were—from an audience member's view—sharpely angry or aggressive with nationalism. I knew, in a very secretive manner, that he knew what he was doing entirely. Nothing strayed from his conscious.

I met him at an extravegant dinner party hosted by my patron photographer, Hoffman. My body ached, the muscles of my shoulders bound as tight as an animal's jaw, feet blistering from hours of standing in a dark room, but I refused to stay home. The room was stately—I had seen it a countless times before—but that night it resembled a diamond. Waiters were going to and from the kitchen, bringing entrees and fingerfoods and buckets of glistening ice where the champagne rested. The tablecloths were white and without a crease. The jewels upon the necks of wives were a stark contrast to the black of the tuxedos or dark military outfits. Everyone resembled little porcelin figures girls would receive as presents from their grandmothers.

-

While Goebbles, in his corner, frightened as a dog who had been scolded, had lost this grace, my Herr Wolff did not.

-

"And who is this?" He asked. I was not paying any particular attention to him, for my eye was caught on the light the chandalier made at this certain angle. I recall thinking to myself that it would make an excellent photograph.

"Eva Braun," replied Hoffman. "She's my lab assistant. You should see some of the photographs she develops. They are truly worthy of praise." Affectionately, he patted me on the back, almost as if I was his son, and I had just been promoted to lietendant.

He was a man of unremarkable features really and that silly moustache that resembled a box. I don't quite understand how they became a fashion, but I suppose the men who followed him would murder their own mothers if he requested it. He carried with him a felt hat with a thick black rim. Across the sleeve of his military jacket was an early symbol for his organization.

"Eva, this is Herr Wolff, leader of NSDAP. He has been a close confident to my companions and me for years." Hoffman made an offhand gesture.

"So this is the man from those many photographs. I'm surprised I did not recognize you. It's a pleasure, Herr Wolff," I said and put out my hand for the expecting, rudementary shaking.

Herr Wolff smiled a little, as if he was finally breaking free of a frown that had dominated his face for years. For a moment, my eyes rested on his and I felt a jolt in my body. Unremarkable features, not a standard male beauty from the film pictures by any means, but there was something about the stillness in his eyes.

As soon as Hoffman was introduced to a newly initiated member of the NSDAP party who I did not know very well—Rudolf Jung was it? —Herr Wolff stood with one hand on his hips and the other clasped round his champagne glass. He swished it around awkwardly before taking a drink. I looked at him through a sideways glance, him peering almost as gracelessly at me.

"How long have you known Herr Hoffman?" He mustered a voice.

I made an attempt to smile flirtatiously. "Since I was very young. He was a friend of my mother's and she introduced us at a little dinner party long ago." His eyes were relentlessly bright. "My mother always said I had a way with photographs. She said I noticed very small things that no one else did…I suppose that's a good thing."

"And what small things have you noticed about tonight?" Herr Wolff asked.

Doubtlessly, my throat swelled up. I needed to say the right thing, but the only thing I could utter was, "Diamonds." His brows furrowed. "Yes, diamonds. Everyone is like a diamond. Cufflinks and teeth and glossy eyes."

Herr Wolff nodded his head in approval. "I see."

Although I assumed a real conversation was out of the question, I remember gentleman and their wives gathering their hats and coats and leaving. Little by little, Hoffman escorted them outside into the snow-ridden streets where the streetlights made the snow illuminate like jewels.

Herr Wolff was holding my hands within his and we were speaking of little matters like the weather and our families. There was an uproar of laughter from across the room. I looked over to see some unknown NSDAP member. It finally hit me that I associated with none other than Herr Wolff all night. I had not even realized the time. My head was spinning deliciously. What a gentleman he was.

"Herr Wolff," I began, "I'm afraid the night grows darker by the minute. If I should wait any longer then I will get adrift on the way home. If you will, excuse me for the night."

"Certainly," he said, the biting air of the room replacing his hands. "It was a pleasure meeting you, and I hope to see your face in later days."

I nodded in response, blushing I'm sure. "Goodnight."

-

The bunker shook with the shrill shaking of another bomb. I could faintly hear the marching of soldiers, gunshots, the yelling of orders here and there. Some were German and an almost unrecognizable Soviet. Goebbel's children clenched to one another and whimpered, which began to annoy me. I sat with Herr Wolff's arms around me, yet I could easily tell he was lost in his world, as I would have been lost on those barren German streets twenty years ago.

I touched my face, aware of the lines that creased upon it. I had not bathed since before our wedding, but I knew I could smell no worse than that of urine and rodents that infested the bunker. Water slithered down the concrete walls and there was a slight dripping sound. At this point, I felt as though my brain would turn to mush and melt out my ears and down the sides of my face. Gray as the concrete and the worn cots and the dusty military uniforms. Goebbel's began smoking a cigar, which drifted into my nostrils.

-

He was smoking the same top-notch cigar brand before we heard news that the Red Army was marching on Berlin. I was huddled in the Führerbunker, having settled my things nearly a week before. I had been casually visiting the Führerbunker since the beginnings of April, but only now did I feel the weight of my fate: There was nowhere to go in all of Germany but here. My head was resting on the pillow. It was nice and rid of soot in the beginning. It was April 29th and I was to be a newlywed.

Herr Wolff approached me, his rather ordinary figure casting a shadow against the concrete walls. I sat up, attentive. He said, "The alarms are sounding. I have distressing news."

I had not noticed the bombs, truth be told. He sat down beside me and rubbed my back. He, too, was aging with less than grace. "What is it? Another air raid?"

Somberly, he shook his head. "Come outside. This may be your last time seeing the sky if you don't leave now."

"What?"

Herr Wolff did little to reply, only take my hand and lead me up the metal, rusted steps to the daylight. For all the hours spent in the night or at least the bunker, I squinted and shaded my eyes. Herr Wolff took my arm rather violently and stretched out his arm. He pointed to the unsound street. He told me, "Eva, my correspondents have informed me that the Red Army has infiltrated Germany…Berlin, too. I have sent for an automobile to get you out alive. It should be here any minute."

Several other men approached him, but he dismissed them with the flick of his hand. They were useless now, since he knew his fate. He would not get farther than Potsdam before being turned in.

"I don't want to leave Berlin. I belong here, no different from you. And nowhere away from you." I touched his hand, not so much out of an affectionate act as one of pleading.

"Here is the automobile now. Go, Eva. I cannot have you by my side at my end," Herr Wolff said in a distant tone. I could think of nothing else but staying there.

Angrily, I pulled at his arm. He signaled for the driver to pull me from him. I suppose he was too weak to do it himself. He was a limp body, though numb not dead. My palm drew sweat from his as I felt the cold air rush between us. "I won't leave your side. You have so few who are loyal to you! Don't let them take me, Herr Wolff. I am the most loyal face you have ever seen and will ever see." The grip the driver had on me grew tighter, almost suffocating. "No! I won't leave your side! Even if I have to escape from the automobile. Even if I have to face the Red Army myself. Driver, let me go! I demand it! Let me stay with you."

There was that stillness in his eyes, obvious now. With the wave of a hand, the driver let me go, let me breath, let me fall onto the gravel before us. Herr Wolff lifted me up, and I knew he would never forgive himself for allowing me to descend with him.

The sirens were roaring from every direction. They were piercing, sticking into my eardrums like needles over the tenderest skin. I covered my ears and followed my Herr Wolff into the Führerbunker.

-

"I don't want them to find you alive," he said. I lifted my head from his shoulder, having accidentally fallen asleep as such. My eyes adjusted to see that Goebbel's children were curled up in their cots like little piglets almost. Except they were hardly pink, more gray from the dirt. "Eva, look at me." So I did. "I said that I don't want them to find you alive. Will you do this for me?"

"Do what, ehemann? I'll do anything you ask." Something in my body froze a little, felt numb and lifeless.

Then he opened his palm revealing a small off-white tablet. It was perfectly molded. He'd probably requested it long ago. "Take this. I'll take one after you do, after I make sure you've kept your promise." God, his voice was so unfeeling.

"Cyanide? You want me to take…this?" He emptied the capsule into my palm. "What will it do?"

I could easily tell he clenched his jaw. "Don't be so dumb, Eva. Maybe there'll be some convulsions, vomiting. You will feel little after that. I promise. It isn't my intention to hurt you in any way." He tightened his lips, forming a thin line across his face. "Did you eat anything since our wedding?"

"Little. Just some sweets."

"Good," he said, watching as I stared at the pill. "It works best and fastest on an empty stomach."

"One last question…What will happen to the others?"

Herr Wolff presented a little frown. "Mrs. Goebbels has already disposed of her children. No, Eva, they aren't sleeping, though it make look as though they are." I drew a deep breath; I knew it. "And after you take the capsule, then Joseph and I shall do the same." He looked at me in the eye, the stillness somehow calming me. "I'm glad you stayed with me. I would have it no other way."

We embraced, the cyanide pill pushing into the soft flesh of my palm. My eyes scanned the room a final time, the light seeming to dim even prior to swallowing the poison. And then I accepted his demand, and swallowed the capsule in a vicious gulp. I could feel no effects at first.

"Shh…shh…" he murmured, petting my hair soothingly. "I need you to wait for me."

I nodded my head vaguely. Or did I? It felt as though I was in a dream—God was my head spinning. I looked up a little at the concrete, the bunker, Herr Wolff's calm, knowing eyes looking down upon me. Little jolts slipped into my limbs until I knew—somehow—that I was shaking rather forcefully. Still, Herr Wolff clutched onto me.

The sounds outside the Führerbunker seemed distant, almost gone. At last, Herr Wolff looked away from me poignantly. "When the music's over, turn out the lights."