Wolf tapped lightly on the door of his childhood home, having come directly there from work. He was still dressed in his less-than-comfortable work clothing, but he didn't seem to mind. He could always appreciate a sharp and professional appearance. But he didn't really have a choice, having left all his clothes at home.
The door opened shortly after he knocked on it and his elder sister appeared in the doorway, a bright smile upon her face. "Wolf, come in. He's very excited," she said, stepping aside to hold the door open for her brother.
Wolf entered the farmhouse and a flood of memories washed back to him. The normally grim scientist found himself smiling a bit; the majority of the recollections were pleasant, thoughts of days spent with his siblings in the verdant, green fields that surrounded the small structure.
The flooring was a lightly colored wood, and could be called "blonde." It hadn't changed since Wolf was a child; it had remained the same, like so many other things. The plain sheer curtains that covered the large, rectangular window were the same. The mahogany piano pressed up against the far wall was the same. The whole living room to his left was the same. The grandfather clock rested near the wall, perpendicular to the piano, and the coffee table in front of it hadn't changed. The chesterfields on either side of the table were the same dark brown seats they had been all those years ago. Even the carpet, which should have worn out by this point, was still in pristine shape, and had kept its rich, brown colouring. The walls, the most memorable feature of the whole house, were a cheerful green with white crown molding near the ceiling.
"Wonderful, it is good to know the younger generation is taking an interest in the ancient," Wolf stated, actually wearing a full smile now.
"Why do you insist on speaking English whenever you come over?" his sister questioned, chuckling lightly. She looked toward the stairs, her dark brow furrowed. "Alexander, where are you? You should not keep your uncle waiting!" she called grumpily, and made her way to the first step. "He told me two minutes, and off he goes, taking his sweet time as always." She began hiking up the flight, when, finally, a short, blonde-haired boy came barreling down the rigid incline, his white rocket in hand. He nearly knocked his mother over, but she was clearly practiced at this and managed to keep her balance. "Alexander! Where have you been, boy? You had all that time, and still you were not ready."
"I'm sorry, mother," Alexander apologized, attempting to halt once reached the base of the stairs. He nearly slammed into Wolf as well, but somehow managed to stop just before he made contact with his uncle. The boy stared up into Wolf's blue eyes, shrugging a bit. "She does not seem to understand that I forget things. I know she forgets things all the time."
Wolf shook his head, patting his nephew's shoulder. "That, my friend, is not something you discuss in her presence…" he stated, giving his favorite and only sibling a wink. She simply rolled her eyes at him, pretending to be irritated.
"Be back in time for supper, or both of you will be sent to your rooms," she told them, giving Wolf a stern look.
Wolf raised an eyebrow, nodded to her, and opened the door. Alexander exited first, and Wolf followed stayed on his heels. He stopped on the doorstep, however, pressing a palm to his forehead. "You have forgotten the launch pad, igniter, and the engines. Go get them, I have no idea where they would be."
Alexander nodded and hurried back inside to retrieve the said items, his eyes bright.
Wolf, feeling guilty about this, was quite glad he was alone now. He loved Alexander, of course, but this place held such memories that his presence only contaminated. He'd never heard the sounds here anywhere else, nor seen the shade of blue the sky took on.
But now the sky was grey, and large flakes of ash fell from it like snow. The fields were absolutely silent and covered in layers of the substance, and it was all his fault. No…no, he had to keep remembering it as it had been, not seeing it as it was now. Quite sure he didn't want to take in reality, he continued to remember it as it was.
Alexander reappeared, a backpack full of equipment in hand. Wolf glanced at him for just a second, then left the porch and began into the field. The breeze blew through his thick hair and past his ears, a warm, familiar breeze that carried the scent of man
But…no, that was the smell of black powder.
A quick "no, I will not stay here," brought him back to his fantasy, and he was free to go on dreaming. He vaguely remembered what was happening in the real world; he was suffering from a concussion, or something along the lines of that. He didn't much care; he didn't want to go back. No, too many horrid things had happened in the real world, and those things were all their fault. Not only did he not want to go back, he couldn't go back. He couldn't face his allies or the consequences of the trouble he'd caused.
So they kept walking through that field, accompanied by the model rocket, ready to be launched. It was a short walk to the spot Wolf had selected, the spot he'd come when he was a child to cause mischief and launch unidentified flying objects into the atmosphere. It seemed to be a favorite pastime of the Eisenhauer men.
Had they been anywhere else, the sun would've been beating down upon Wolf's shoulders, but not here, not his home. Here, the sun smiled down at them, casting a gentle, loving warmth on their backs as they continued into the dawning twilight.
It was just a short walk, about a quarter mile, to the place Wolf had selected for the launch. It wasn't much different from the rest of the fields; the only real difference was that this spot was the spot, and the rest of the field was the rest of the field.
When they finally reached it, Wolf pulled the backpack off Alexander's shoulders and set it down on the moist, soft grass. He opened it, rummaged around inside it for a moment and pulled out the launch pad. The object was old and covered in black powder, but it functioned. He continued to fish things out of the bag, including an igniter, an engine, and the launcher itself. He stepped back and motioned to the equipment he'd set on the ground, looking at Alexander. "Can you do it yourself?"
Alexander rolled his eyes and began setting things up, beginning with the launch pad. Excitedly, he set up the rest of the equipment, shoved the engine in the rocket, and slid it down the rod.
The boy attached the igniters, and was about to run back to the launcher, when Wolf stopped him. "No, you are currently sending your rocket off on a suicide flight," he snapped. The scientist approached the rocket, pulled off the igniters, and took the rocket off the rod. He gave a slight sigh and off came the payload, inside which he discovered no wadding to keep the engine from burning through the parachute's strings. "'Burn' and 'crash' would be an accurate description of what would have happened to this." Wolf held out the rocket to Alexander, who immediately took it from him, his cheeks turning red in embarrassment. He pulled a bit of tissue paper from the backpack and shoved it in atop the engine, not making eye contact with his uncle.
When he finished, Alexander replaced the payload and returned the rocket to the pad.
Wolf gave his nephew a small smile. "Mm, next time, perhaps. Try not to become too excited. It often results in error."
The boy huffed, attached the igniters, and stalked back to the launcher, which sat at attention, ready to be used.
Wolf took a few steps back so he stood behind the launcher, and folded his arms over his chest. "Whenever you're ready," he said, watching the bird now perched atop the pad intently.
"Ten, nine, eight…" Alexander began the countdown, his expression of embarrassment transforming into an eager grin once again.
This was a countdown to the end of his life as he knew it.
"Seven, six, five…"
Wolf had forgotten this particular memory was a horrible one.
"Four, three, two…"
He heard the shiny-shoed feet approaching behind him, but he paid them no mind.
"One." The rocket left the pad with a loud hiss and had climbed six hundred feet in a matter of seconds. Wolf shared the same smile Alexander did, not letting his gaze leave the object. Rockets were old news, old technology; there would never again be any use for them, besides, of course, recreation.
Or so he thought.
He was about to go running off with Alexander to help him catch his tumbling toy, but he felt a hand on his shoulder from behind, so he simply watched his nephew gallop off, unable to follow.
"Mr. Eisenhauer," a deep, American-accented voice greeted grimly, "We require your dedicated assistance."
"I thought this was over," Wolf snarled, shoving the man's hand off his shoulder and turning to face him. He recognized the fellow; this was the agent that had torn him away from this place before with promise of "fame" and "glory." "We were dispensable to you, find someone else. I am busy."
"Doesn't look like it to me," the man scoffed. He looked prepared for this response, because he drew a slip of folded paper from his coat pocket. He unfolded it and pointed to a specific sentence. This performance was clearly rehearsed and tailored to Wolf, intricately designed to anger him beyond belief, a precursor to what he'd have to deal with in the coming weeks. "If you'll read here—"
The German snatched the paper away from him, giving the not-so-newcomer an icy glare. "'By signing this contract, you are therefore dedicating yourself to the Allies' cause, during and after wartime, until death. Breaking this covenant will result in your execution by the affected nation(s),'" he read aloud. Wolf found his eyes drawn to his own signature at the bottom of the page, and he began to feel sick. How could he have signed this? Was he really that angry at his enemies that he didn't bother to read through this thing? Whatever he'd done, it was incredibly stupid, and the realization of what an imbecile he was for agreeing to this finally set in, but much too late.
"So what do I do?" he snapped, shoving the paper back at the American, rather forcefully. "Are you just going to take us all away from our lives, like last time?"
The agent nodded, shoving his hands in his pants pockets. "You leave tomorrow morning, nine AM."
"No…" Wolf muttered, pressing a hand to his temple. "We just started, and now you are demanding I come back because of some quick and unconsidered decision your government made. You have gone to war, and now you are dragging the rest of us into it with you. I think I can safely say I hate you, Mr. Hamilton."
"Uncle Wolf, what's going on?" Alexander asked, standing a few yards away with a perfectly intact rocket grasped in his innocent palms. He looked afraid, but afraid of what, Wolf had no idea. This man wasn't going to harm him, at least not physically. He was, however, taking the child's best friend and relative away from him without any consideration
"America went to war again, now they expect us to follow them," Wolf explained, his eyes never leaving his new enemy. Hamilton and Wolf stood locked in each other's gazes for quite some time, before Alexander finally broke the silence.
"You have to go?"
This time, Wolf turned to the child, breathing a deep sigh. "Yes, Alexander, I have to go. I will send you letters," he promised, attempting to make his expression a bit brighter. It didn't work too terribly well, however, and the emotion appeared very hollow. His disappointment shone through the mask quite vividly.
"Go pack up, I know you live far away. Arrangements for your car's transportation will be made at a later time."
"Wolf, Wolf!" The scientist saw Alexander's lips moving, but the words weren't his. They were from some far off place, some far off place whose name was reality. That awful, cold, far off place called reality.
Alexander kept calling his name until the images faded and he found himself being shaken awake by his best friend of four years. His cheek was resting on some cold, hard surface, and everything currently in sight was blurry, including his favorite ally. "Get up, Wolf. They're coming."
"Lassen Sie mich alleine," he muttered, not yet aware enough to say anything in English. He felt a hand on his arm, and suddenly he was being pulled to his feet, much to his dismay. This throbbing in the back of his head…it was awful. He simply couldn't think.
"Whatever, Wolf, we've just got to get out of here," Phoenix said, sounding rather worried. Somehow, he managed to get Wolf up off the floor and began dragging him to someplace much too far away for his liking. "Where…where are we going?" he asked slowly, almost unintelligibly.
Paramedics rushed to the scene, bustling about and performing whatever duties they thought was necessary. The plane had gone in hard, but, luckily enough, the pilot had survived.
Only just, though.
The small thing that had accompanied him in the air was now lying somewhere in the grass a few meters away from the wreck itself, but no one seemed to notice or care. The pilot's much "beloved" and "useful" device was dying there, but all the attention was going to the human. Yes, it was all going to that disgusting, imperfect human that had managed to perhaps fatally injure himself and send another to certain death. Death for the other, however, was not nearly as pleasant as death for the human. Death for the other meant nothingness, blackness for all time and eternity. So the other waited in fear for the end, knowing there was no point in hoping, or praying. Besides, whom was it praying to? According to every intelligent being currently in existence, the other was just a tool, a slave, nothing more, nothing less.