19 December 2010 @ 03:18 pm
King For A Day, part 8/?  
Title: King For A Day, part 8/?
Character(s)/Pairing(s): Shosanna/Fredrick, mentions of Marcel and the Zoller sisters.
Rating: R
Word count: 5,022
Summary: Munich bound, Shosanna and Fredrick move forward with their lives, but not from their pasts.

The story so far: | information/cast post | 01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 | 06 | 07 | 08 | 09 | 10 |

The two had spent their time confined to their room, whiling away their time with each other; making love.

Shosanna was now sitting up in bed, her back against the wall and a lit cigarette between her fingers. Fredrick sat slouched between her legs, resting against her. Both relaxed in the comfortable stillness, with nothing but the sounds of their breathing and the smooth jouncing of the train as it carried them to its destination. For the time being, they were safe. Once again, they had found their solace with one another.

Closing his eyes and taking in a breath, Fredrick smiled. Shosanna ran a hand through his hair, taking notice of his contentment.


Eyes still closed, his smile widened.


She pursed her lips; almost hesitant, yet curious.

"Will I like Munich?"

Fredrick nodded his head.

"Oui, you will."

Brushing back his rogue forelocks, she tilted her head to the side.

"How can you be certain?"

Opening his eyes, he turned his face up to her, smile still in place.

"Because," he told her, with an edge of playfulness, "I will be there with you."

Though she laughed, Fredrick could feel Shosanna shifting against him. Straightening up, he repositioned himself so that he was now facing her. Shosanna's brows were knitted together, her mouth set in a thin line. Fredrick bent forward, taking her face in his hands, his voice sincere,

"My sisters - my family - are there; they will welcome you with open arms, Shosanna."

She softened, if only somewhat; her features were marked with concern.

"How do you know that?"

The corners of his mouth turned up, and he gave a small shrug.

"I had written to them about you. They know of you; of what I feel for you."

Shosanna lowered her eyes, taking a moment to absorb his words before looking back to him.

"But Fredrick," she prompted him, "that was Emmanuelle. Not Shosanna."

He was steadfast, moving his hands from her face to her waist. Leaning forward, Fredrick rested his forehead against hers. His voice was low, gentle,

"You are still the same person. I still feel the same as I did before."

Shosanna placed her hand on the side of his face. Her voice, too, was quiet,

"But what of them?"

"It doesn't matter," he replied bluntly, "but I told them all about you. About Le Gamaar. About us."

She closed her eyes at the feel of his breath against her skin. Her fingers now traced over the side of his face; features she had come to memorize.

"If you were to step foot into Das Kino Haus," Fredrick went on, "they would know who you were. It's all from my letter; sheer description. I think of that, Shosanna, all I had written…"

His voice drifted off, briefly distracted as her hand slid to his neck and trailed down to his chest where she held it there, palm flat. He took in a breath.

"…I could only think then, of how it would feel for me to be with you."

Shosanna opened her eyes, fixing them on her hand on his chest; his heartbeat.

"It almost seemed impossible to be with you, Fredrick. Almost wrong."

"It's not, though," he stressed. "It's not. That moment I had first laid my eyes on you, in the lobby - you were so striking; like a dream. I had almost thought as though I were being punished to find you. It seemed like a deserved fate for what I had done, to find you; to love you."

She looked up at him, her eyes searching his.

"I don't know why it is that we have had to hurt so much, Shosanna, why it's been so hard for us. But we can't turn back, you have shown me that much. No matter what is placed in front of us, we have to get through it."

There was more that he wanted to say, but he held back. Shosanna said nothing, prolonging the silence.

Fredrick sighed.

She spread her fingers wide on his chest, flexing them; squeezing. His heart beat faster against her palm.

Finally, she spoke, her voice small.

"Everything's so different."

She watched as his jaw clenched.

He nodded.

"I know," he breathed.

Shosanna inched closer to Fredrick.

His fingers bent at the knuckle and opened out again, moving further down from her waist to her hips. Gripping; not pulling her toward him, but clearly intending to.

Her hand left his chest, and was now again on the side of his face. There was a kind of sadness in her touch; Fredrick gripped harder, holding on. Flicking away the end of her cigarette, Shosanna brought her other hand up to his cheek, now cradling his face in her hands. Her forehead still against his, she slanted her head to the side, and her lips moved forward, kissing him; lightly, shyly, briefly.

His body reacting immediately, he groaned.

Fredrick pulled Shosanna to him, crushing himself against her. She wrapped her legs around him, feeling the warm pulse of him, of his arousal. He buried his face in the curve of her neck; he wanted to look her in the face, but she held him fast.

"I want you, Shosanna. To be with you," he murmured into her skin, "all of the time."

"Fredrick," she sighed with a sting of impatience, wanting for what was between them to declare itself.

Shosanna rocked her hips against him, and instinctively, he thrust back; feeling, touching, but not yet joining. The two found themselves within a physical desperation, and it seemed that nothing more had to be said as it was of a lesser importance; something that could wait.

They leaned back from each other, to face one another. With his forelocks falling into his face and his wide-eyed countenance, Fredrick appeared so completely innocent; something untouched and unspoiled by their harsh reality. And yet, there in his gaze was that glint, that flicker.

The world outside was far too simple, far too cruel to claim his allegiance, and to an extent, to be taken seriously.

Shosanna was all that he wanted, all that he needed. She, too, knew that she felt the same for him. The two experienced the confusion of people whose lives moved on a faster course than their imaginations. Collisions of will from two people who were both very different, but so completely similar. Their shared lapses into silence and private moments - such as the one they now had found themselves within - exposed just how fragile they were.

Shosanna wrapped her arms around Fredrick, holding him with such a sudden fierceness that it broke his breath in two. Fredrick moved his hands down her back, and Shosanna remained perfectly still, embracing him with unyielding strength.

They held each other.

He knew that she was with him and he could feel how much she wanted him.

There were times, in their short relationship, in which Fredrick felt as though he were destined to love Shosanna. He had felt foolish about that for the times, such as in the restaurant, when he tried hard in vain to appeal to her, all while wearing his dress uniform decorated with his medals. Even that night, when returning to his quarters after the screening of Glückskinder, Fredrick looked himself over forlornly in that grand, wide mirror and it was then that he knew.

He knew that if there was any justice in the world, if it did indeed have anything to do with the unfolding of the universe and the workings of human life as he knew it, then he did not deserve to be with Shosanna. He was Fredrick Zoller, the unintentional German War Hero and she was outside of it all; separate, something special. Loving her was not his birth right, but something he would have to get away with.

He could not yet bring himself to tell her about the nightmares and the terror and the rage that could have such a stranglehold on him. She had glimpsed that in the projection booth the night she saved his life; the mere thought of it made him sick.

"I want to make love," her voice hushed and fraught, "I want to feel you, Fredrick."

"I want to, Shosanna," he responded, his own voice barely audible and his heart beginning to break.


It was all so wonderful, so perfect when they made love.

They didn't talk of anything. They were beyond thought, beyond speech, communicating by touch alone. There was nothing but the two of them; his mouth on hers, with skin against skin, their limbs entwining and bodies moving.

It was overwhelming, to feel each other so close.

When she cried out, with her skin flushing and body shaking, he too, found his own release. As she snuggled into him, laying upon his chest, he wrapped his arms around her, holding her to him. There was never anything more than the two of them.


His mind wandered.

Her face nestled into his chest, Shosanna slept soundly, the sound of her hushed breathing a quiet comfort.

Though he, too, was fatigued, he could not yet sleep. Fredrick loved these moments.

Moments from when he moved within her, his fingers threaded through her hair, their eyes locked on each other, to now; moments in which they shared their mutual silence, with her body entwined with his. In these moments, the trauma and nightmares were soothed as he lay beside her.

He loved her.

Yet still, Fredrick's mind wandered.

It was almost too much to have her there with him; to even be with him at all. When Fredrick was fifteen, there was a girl, Lena, whom he cared for very much. She lived in the city with her parents and three older brothers. In a way, Fredrick could relate to her on that level, which allowed for them both to connect almost immediately. No matter what was playing at Das Kino Haus, Lena was always in attendance as long as Fredrick was there in the projection booth. In turn, his attention was focused less on the film and more on her presence; watching her as she watched the story unfolding onscreen, attempting to gauge her reaction. Lena, admittedly, was not a film fan, but she clearly adored Fredrick as he adored her.

Their relationship, however the two defined it, never did grow beyond holding hands and stealing glances. Fredrick was hesitant to, for as tender as it was, he feared overstepping his boundaries, of somehow damaging it; what he had with Lena, he determined, was something special. Though once he reached the age of sixteen, all folly was forced aside, as Fredrick had no choice but to begin militaristic training for Wehrmacht.

He never did see Lena again.

Fredrick thought of her periodically, when huddled in the trenches and seeking rest in his cot, surrounded by equally frightened, uncertain young men. However, she soon faded from memory. Most nights, he sobbed quietly to himself. There was no comfort, and no matter how much he sought it from his memories, there was none to be found. Trapped in the bell tower, Fredrick thought of his family and he thought of home. There was nothing else.

That all changed that night in June, when he locked eyes with a theater proprietor in Paris, France.

Fredrick may have known her then as Emmanuelle, but Shosanna became his comfort. Upon returning to his quarters, his body flushing with warmth, Fredrick thought of her; her body as warm as his, soft, bare, and pressed against him, her voice melodious and breathy in his ear. The thought of her gave him a release he hadn't - if ever - felt in so very long. Fredrick almost could have felt guilty for thinking of her in such a way if he weren't convinced that he was meant to have found her.

She was the reason he had to wear the uniform. She was the reason he was left chilled and trembling in a tent in unfamiliar territory. She was the reason why he was in that bell tower. She was the reason why he relived the ordeal on film. She was the reason. Shosanna Dreyfus was the reason. Shosanna Dreyfus was everything.

It was a divine madness to love her.

Fredrick wondered then, as to how his life would be without her. It was, in all honesty, something he didn't like to dwell upon. But now, with their relationship defined and acknowledged, the two of them on their way to his home in Munich, he could not resist.

If he had made it this far without Shosanna - I wouldn't have - would he be returning to Lena?

If anyone at all?

Fredrick decidedly did not like such a possibility.

It was then that he took on a different line of thought; the notion of Fredrick, age sixteen, knowing Shosanna at age nineteen.

Their circumstance would not have allowed for such a course of events, but still he pondered.

Such a time was a difficult transition for Fredrick. Seemingly overnight, he was thrust from boyhood into adulthood; training militaristically, he saw less and less of his family as the powers that be were intent upon indoctrinating him to believe in and fight for their cause. Internalizing his emotions, Fredrick followed orders and over-exerted himself physically and mentally in order to survive. There was no rest, no peace.

How different it would be, Fredrick thought, if only I had known her then.

If he had the mind to and the will for it, he would have deserted. He had given thought to it, on certain nights when the tears weren't enough, when he was sure that he'd finally reached his breaking point.

Only it never came.

It was the thought of his family that made Fredrick see it through. If he were able to leave it all behind and survive, after all, he doubtlessly would not have been able to see Munich ever again.

But if I had.

Perhaps then, Fredrick could have escaped to France. To the countryside. To the Dreyfuses.


Perhaps then, he could've been of some help to them. Perhaps Shosanna wouldn't have lost her family.

The two would have been lovers, even then. It wouldn't have been wrong.

We'd need each other then, too.

He thought of how it would have been, if he had been her only lover, as she was his. To become newly acclimated with each other, to feel and experience every touch, every sensation together for the first time.


Fredrick held no ill will toward the projectionist; he hardly even knew him. He was, however, grateful that Shosanna had someone she could be close to; a confidant. The life she had lived for the previous four years was tenuous enough. To be alone for all that time would’ve been enough to drive anyone out of their mind.

But the fact remained that Fredrick and Shosanna would have loved each other then as they loved each other now. No matter where and when they had met, that would never change.

He now watched her as she slept, watched her rise and fall with his chest; with every intake of breath.

Fredrick sighed.

There was much he wanted to say, to tell her. Now, though, was not the time. For now, she very much needed her rest.

For now, the two would have their consolation.

When, and exactly how he’d broach the subject, he was not yet certain of.

Perhaps he would wait until Munich.

Perhaps until after she met his family; he very much wanted Shosanna to meet Helga.

Perhaps until after they got settled. He looked forward to having a stable home life again; to have that with her.

Perhaps, until then.

Then, he could tell her; of young dead men, of huddling into a corner of the bell tower where he cowered and wept. Of the constant point, aim, and shoot; of not wanting to spill blood, but of very much wanting to survive. Of how he could leave that bell tower, yet not leave it behind; of the nightmares, of just how deeply within him the trauma was rooted.

Perhaps until then.

Not now.

Not with her curled into his side, her faced buried in his chest.

Not with her soft breathing and the gentle thrum of her heart.

Not now.

Closing his eyes, Fredrick gave himself up to the steady rhythm of Shosanna’s body.


It was evening when they had awoken, and both were in need of sustenance. Fortunately for them, the dining car was still open. They redressed in their clothes from that day, which were now a bit rumpled from having been strewn about the floor for a period of time. Shosanna, now wearing her hair down, loose and tousled - which was endlessly alluring to Fredrick - helped him put his cap in place, which he had grown quickly to dislike.

"It's uncomfortable," he complained.

"It's necessary," she reminded him.

"Fine," he conceded with a grin, "it's uncomfortably necessary."

Rolling her eyes, Shosanna took Fredrick's hand in hers, and the two set off for dinner.


There were only a few travelers in the dining car at that time of evening, which neither minded. Seated at a table for two - with Fredrick's back to the rest of the car - they were seen to by a waiter. As they looked over their menus, Shosanna eyed the rest of the passengers, which consisted of a single, older gentleman, and a middle-aged couple. Relaxing, she and Fredrick both ordered: chicken with a side of vegetables and red wine for her, a sandwich and - much to his delight - German coffee for him.

As they waited, Fredrick leaned forward, setting his left elbow on the table and resting his chin in his hand. Shosanna sat back in her seat and regarded him amusedly.

"You do that quite a bit," she observed.

Fredrick raised his brows.


Smirking, Shosanna sat forward, giving a nod of her head.

"Your hands. You give yourself away with your hands."

Looking to his hand, Fredrick sat up straight and then lowered it to the table, a blush rising to his face.

"Non, non, I like that," she assured him, her voice softly lilting.

Fredrick looked at her sheepishly from beneath the brim of his cap.

"You do?"

Shosanna smiled in confirmation.

"I do."

Fredrick brightened, his left hand raising back to its prior position in an attempt to mask the grin spreading across his face.

Now encouraged, she moved in closer, her voice taking on a more intimate tone as she elaborated,

"It's all of the little details about you, too. Such as how you dress; the way you button your shirts and how you pay such close attention to your fingers as you go along. Then you tuck it into your slacks and smooth out all the material. And your hair - "

Shosanna paused, her head slightly to the side, eying him.

Fredrick brought his right elbow to the table, clasping it with his left as he listened to her.

" - you brush it back with such brisk motions, and so frequently, as if not one strand can be out of place. That's how it is with you: feeling, seeing. From how you dress, to your posture, and how you style your hair, everything must always be so presentable..."

Like a soldier.

Without finishing her thought aloud, Shosanna sat back, both of them thinking on her words; a change in mood taking over.

The reality of their situation, of who they were, never failed to startle her. It was always there, trickling into every thought, every detail; bleeding and staining. As he watched her, his eyes warm and dark, Shosanna knew that on some level, he felt it, too.

She then laid her hand flat on the table. Without reproach, Fredrick let down his left hand, sliding it across to her; their fingertips touching.

Almost timidly, he reached out further to her, his fingertips running up and over hers, over the nail beds and farther up, smoothing over her knuckles. Fredrick then withdrew, only to repeat the action; the touch.

Shosanna held her breath; waiting.

Emboldened, Fredrick went further, laying his hand, warm and firm, over hers. His eyes darted from their hands to her face, and settled there; their eyes meeting.

It was then that Shosanna felt something within her distinctly break, flooding her with a warmth that settled in her very core.

There was more, she knew, that he wanted to do, wanted to say; it was clear in his actions, within his eyes, and plain upon his face. But before he had that chance, the waiter arrived with their orders.

Fredrick retracted his hand from hers. The moment, for the time being, had passed.

The two ate their meals in near silence, occasionally stealing glances from each other. It was in all the little things, as Shosanna had explained to Fredrick, that made them realize just how much neither could ever part from the other; from how Shosanna drank her wine with her eyes looking up and into his over the rim of the glass, to how meticulous Fredrick could be, even with his food. It was these details that they memorized; the secret parts of themselves that both revealed more and more to each other.

Having been accustomed to fine cuisine for some time now, Fredrick took his time, whereas Shosanna, having lived on rations, was ravenous. It was something he hadn't taken the time to consider before now; watching her, he thought of Shosanna living her life as Emmanuelle, sequestered away in Le Gamaar.

Reaching for her glass of wine, she raised her eyes to see that Fredrick appeared distracted; his jaw set, he rubbed his fingers together agitatedly.

Eyes meeting hers, his trance was broken and he snapped to attention. Giving her a kind smile, Fredrick said not a word. Watching as he picked up his coffee cup, Shosanna decided that whatever it was that was on his mind, she would not press him; not there, not now. Instead, she opted for light banter.

"That's an interesting choice."

With the cup at his lips, Fredrick looked to her, puzzled.


"Coffee. Isn't that a bit much to have with dinner?"

Taking a sip, Fredrick shook his head.

"It would be, if it were like the coffee in France."

Shosanna lifted a brow.

He smiled - she could be so easily riled - and brought the cup back to his lips.

She watched him expectantly, awaiting a clarification.

"This is German coffee, which is quite different," he carried on, "it does not have a bitter taste, unlike other coffees."

Fredrick then held the cup out to Shosanna, offering it to her. She willingly accepted it with both hands, looking into the cup before taking a sip. As she tasted it, Fredrick watched her, gauging her reaction. Shosanna was pleasantly surprised by the coffee, as it was not bitter, but sweet and rich.

Bringing his head to rest in his hands, he recited,

"The coffee must be as black as the devil
As hot as hell
As pure as an angel
As sweet as love."

Shosanna screwed her face up at him in jest as Fredrick smiled, almost smugly.

Placing the cup back into its saucer, she looked over their empty plates.

"We can manage dessert, can't we?" she asked.

He was immediately struck by her words; incredibly moved that she had said we, especially so casually, that he could not quite vocalize a response. And before he had a chance to, Shosanna sat up and stiffened, her eyes looking past him.

Without giving a second thought, Fredrick turned and looked over his shoulder, at the older couple approaching their table.

He turned back to her, his expression eerily calm, but Shosanna could see that within his eyes, he was panicking. Squaring her shoulders, she put her hands in her lap and took in a breath; she would be the one to take control of this situation.

The couple appeared friendly enough, though both - especially the man - were clearly tipsy, if not entirely drunk. Their chances of identifying Fredrick, Shosanna deduced, were slim, but she remained uneasy at having to engage the couple.

The man, heavy-set with graying hair, was practically teetering. His wife, short and thin with a dark bob, stood close next to him; she was obviously supporting the weight of him against her small frame. Though she slurred her words a little, the woman was polite. She was English, and spoke in accented French,

"Excuse me, I… we don't mean to be a bother, but my husband here saw the two of you and - "

The man, her husband, barged in, loud and abrasive. He was, unlike his wife, French.

"The war is over! Isn't it so beautiful?"

The woman gave him a smile, as if he were charming Shosanna and Fredrick rather than annoying them. She picked up where she left off, as if their presence wasn't at all a nuisance.

"Yes - er, oui. We overheard you talking, and he could not help but hear that you're French! He - and me, of course - is just so happy with the end of the war and the occupation."

Her husband, "We drove them out, those beasts! It's so beautiful! So grand!"

Shosanna, eyes wide and openly alarmed, gave Fredrick a quick look; both of his hands were on the table, balled into fists, his eyes downcast. She knew she had to keep the couples' attention onto her and away from him.

Giving her best, convincing smile, Shosanna brought their focus onto her,

"Oui! We are, and we are very relieved. Now we can get back to our lives."

The woman smiled, but her husband awkwardly gestured to Fredrick.

"What of him? Did he not fight for our country? Our beautiful France?"

Fredrick, at a loss, raised his head, his eyes widening. Swallowing hard, Shosanna cut in, nearly panic-stricken,

"He is Jewish! As am I; we lived in hiding - "

Swaying now, with his wife striving to sustain him, the man interrupted, his voice emotional,

"What a crime! What a crime against you! Those hun bastards! Those Krauts!"

Then, bending forward, the woman made an attempt to speak conspiratorially to her, but it came out garbled and loud,

"If it were not for my brother in Munich, we would never step foot in that country!"

Mouth agape, Shosanna could see out of the corner of her eye that was Fredrick wilting from their words. Her demeanor now faltering, she worked to keep the conversation as neutral as possible,

"Oui, monsieur, madame, oui. But we are now looking forward to living our lives."

The man grew more emotional, and his wife gave them a smile; meant to be a demonstration of camaraderie, it instead appeared quite nearly demented.

Is this what has become of the world?

The wife, too, was now losing her composure.

"It is a shame that two young people such as yourselves have had to live through this war."

"It is a crime!" Her husband repeated.

"Oui, it is a crime," she echoed, her eyes on Shosanna.

She understood that the married couple, much like she and Fredrick, were thrilled that the war was over, but they had worn out their welcome and were now overbearing. Shosanna had no patience for it. She wanted to end this, she had to end this, but the man had become more impassioned, his voice growing louder. The other gentleman in the car, she had noticed, had grown as weary of this as she had, and quietly slipped away, leaving Shosanna and Fredrick with the couple.

The man was now leaning forward, toward her; bellowing. Shosanna could smell the pungent aroma of alcohol on his breath as he let loose a tirade against the Germans. None of it made any sense to her, as his words were running together. She shrank back from him, no longer concerned with offending the strangers. The woman held onto her husband, nodding along with his every word.

Shosanna could not help but look to Fredrick; the tension in his face and body was now visible. With his brow creased, there was a tightness in his face and jaw, and his hands were clenched hard enough that his knuckles were white. She thought of the Luger; how he still must have had it on him.

Her mind now turned to ugly possibilities. Possibilities that left her ashamed; ashamed for associating such violence with Fredrick, and ashamed for being so frightened by it.

"…Good riddance to them all," the man ranted, "they all burned. Even the war hero! Every last one of them. Filth…"

Shosanna watched Fredrick with bated breath, watched him as he closed his eyes and lowered his head. The man went on, unleashing an inarticulate string of profanities directed at not only the Nazi hierarchy, but at the German War Hero, as well; a young man he was unaware was in his presence.

He inhaled and exhaled hard through his nose, and flattening his hands on the surface of the table for leverage, Fredrick noisily and forcibly stood from his seat; the legs of the chair scraping against the floor, the table shaking, rattling the glassware and silverware. He then reached into his pocket - Shosanna tensed, waiting - and threw down a handful of franc notes to pay for their meal. Fredrick's eyes met with hers, and he could see her apprehension, her fear; could see as it faded upon her sudden realization that he intended no harm.

Fredrick turned away from her and shoved his way past the couple - both were too wrapped up in themselves to be nonplussed - and hurriedly made his way out of the car.

Shosanna, blanching at herself for her reaction, rose from the table. Without bothering to give the couple any reason or explanation, she left after Fredrick, her heart sinking.

se sentent: exhausted
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[identity profile] sweet-iolanthe.livejournal.com on December 21st, 2010 02:18 am (UTC)
(i was so jealous when i noticed your journal was in french but then i realized i could change it... so i did. :D)

onto the next.

also. pretty interesting points your raising, what of frederick, the war hero after the war. hmm.
http://suspiriorum.livejournal.com/: I've seen things you wouldn't believe[identity profile] suspiriorum.livejournal.com on December 22nd, 2010 12:51 am (UTC)
I decided to make the change after seeing someone in a layout community do the same. I thought, "Well, hey now, I want to be pretentious, too!"
One day, I'll tell the story of my dad's plot to turn me into a little Francophile.

Thank you! You know, I felt a bit strange with writing the interactions on the dining car, as it was almost villainizing the married couple for their joy over the end of the war, but I can't help but think of how that would be for Fred. He's never going to escape what he had done and who he was; any little detail or mention is going to dredge it all up for him. Crawling into his head and figuring out he'd function in the world if he had survived that night brings me much enjoyment (and figuring Shosanna out, too; her trauma gets center stage in part 10).

Also, I had recently read a memoir from a French woman who worked with the resistance, and her outright hatred of the Germans was amausing, though jarring. I understand how she felt that way, but I can't help but feel for the average German citizens, too.