Arbeit macht Frei: Work will set you free. Three famous words that greeted those the Nazis sent to Auschwitz. Three words that could not have been a bigger lie. Tomas Kaulitz is a talented young violinist reduced to playing in empty concert halls for Nazi officers. The war has stayed relatively far away until now, when the horrors of the Nazi era take him and his friends away from a ruined Magdeburg.
Tomas and Wilhelm slipped off of the train at the Hauptbahnhof in Hamburg. Tomas carried their suitcases, his violin case strapped to his back.
“Slow down,” he hissed to Wilhelm as his younger brother danced ahead of him, “Do you want them to notice us?”
“Who?” Wilhelm asked cluelessly, his lips held together in a tight ‘O’.
“Stop that!” Tomas snarled.
He shoved his suitcase into Wilhelm’s hands.
“There, keep your hands busy with that,” Tomas said, “You’re drawing too much attention.”
“Am not!” Wilhelm protested.
“Be quiet! The faster we reach the exit, the better.”
They picked up their pace and reached the Hamburg streets quickly.
“Where are we going?” Tomas asked.
He grabbed Wilhelm’s elbow, stopping the boy from crossing the street. Wilhelm peered up at the signs around them.
“There,” he said, pointing several city blocks down, “The club should be five minutes from here walking.”
“You didn’t get a boarding house?” Tomas asked angrily.
Wilhelm shook his head.
“I’m supposed to meet someone there and he’ll give us a place to stay.”
“Wilhelm, that doesn’t sound safe at all!”
“It’s all I have, Tomas. Just- come on.”
Wilhelm started off down the street, forcing Tomas to follow him at a fast trot. They made their way through the busy streets, passing pedestrian and vehicle alike, Tomas snarling all the way. Wilhelm kept his head high as he looked back and forth. He moved with an easy grace and a proud air, a striking comparison to his growling twin brother.
It took more than five minutes and more than one turn to get to the club. It was a low building surrounded by cement blocks of apartments and dark sidewalks. Little light came from the overcast sky and little sound was to be heard. Tomas scrunched his face up.
“I don’t like the way this looks, Wil,” he whispered.
The street was oddly quiet and completely devoid of passersby. A cold breeze blew among the high apartment buildings. It blew bits of trash and newspaper about, and stole the warmth from the twin’s thin bodies.
“Come on,” Wilhelm whispered, not bothering to look before crossing the empty street.
“Wil,” Tomas whined as they sidled up to the front door.
Wilhelm ignored him. He rapped on the door hard, the sound surprisingly loud. Tomas winced and leaned towards Wilhelm, ready to grab him and run should something go wrong.
There was no answer at first though Tomas could hear the sound of footsteps and a bolt being pulled back. Tomas sucked in a breath- and felt a hard pull on his wrist before he was slammed against the alleyway wall.
Gustav sat huddled beside his fellow soldiers in the coach. The company shivered as one, a cough coming from one of the men now and again.
It was cold, so icily cold, like only a northern winter could be. The company had left Magdeburg long since, Kiel following soon after on a hellishly long and cold journey. The train stopped every four hours. It was barely enough time to stretch and relieve oneself but it was all they had.
Gustav traced his fingers over the wooden floor. The wood was smooth from many journeys and many passengers but every now and again he would find a rough patch or a splinter. He pulled his pocket knife out and carved his initials into the soft wood. The soldier to his right grinned and carved a grid into the floor. They amused themselves for a time in that manner, perhaps an hour, perhaps three.
The air grew colder with every station the train stopped in. The coats that had been so warm in Magdeburg now felt like a second skin to Gustav. Stripping even one layer off would mean frostbite now.
Gustav sighed and stared up at the ceiling with its open air hatch. He sent a silent prayer heavenwards for protection in the fighting soon to come. It would not be weak French soldiers or British infantry they would be fighting; no, their enemy would be much worse.
They were headed to Russia.
“Nazi piece of shit!” a tall blonde man in a tattered leather coat snapped.
Wilhelm wheezed and slumped against the wall. Tomas yelped and tried to reach for him but was stopped by the man holding his shoulders against the bricks.
“What do you want?” Wilhelm squeaked, his breath short.
Tomas looked at his brother in panic, thinking that Wilhelm was hurt and bleeding, or worse. Another man knelt next to him, murmuring something to Wilhelm. The man holding Tomas grabbed Tomas’ chin and forced his head up. He gave Tomas an appraising look. He did not seem to like what he saw.
“How do you know him?” he asked, nodding to Wilhelm.
“He’s- my brother,” Tomas gasped.
“Liar,” the man snarled, “You brought him here. What were you going to do with him?”
“N-nothing,” Tomas said, his anxiety quickly turning to trepidation and outright fear.
He turned his head to look at Wilhelm, who looked back up at him with frightened eyes.
“Stop lying!” the man snarled again, shoving Tomas against the wall, “What did you plan to do with him. Are you a supporter? Were you going to turn him in for blood money? What were you going to do?”
“Nothing!” Tomas yelled as he struggled against the powerful man, “I swear, he’s my brother. We’re twins!”
The man’s eyes narrowed at the dubious claim.
“It’s true!” Wilhelm yelled, standing up with the other man’s gentle help.
He towered over the short blonde man and met the taller one square in the face. Wilhelm put a light hand on the tall man’s shoulder and looked at him calmly. Tomas marveled at Wilhelm’s control.
“Please, he’s my brother, Tomas. We came here because I asked him to come with me. We’re a long way from home and were going to stop at the club to meet someone. Please, let him go.”
The man studied Wilhelm for a second, and then looked at his partner. The shorter man shrugged and Tomas was let go. He groaned and leaned against the wall. Wilhelm rushed to his side, wrapping Tomas’ arm around his own shoulder for support.
“Who told you about this place?” the man asked.
“A friend,” Wilhelm said as he checked Tomas for injury, “I’m a singer and I was told this would be a good place to get a break. We traveled by train from Magdeburg this morning. I’m Wilhelm Kaulitz, by the way, and this is Tomas.”
Tomas winced and wished Wilhelm would hush. Now was not the time for idle chatter.
“Some friend,” the shorter man snorted.
“Jan,” he announced, jerking a thumb at the taller man, “He’s Christian. Your ‘friend’ set you up. The club is a trap. People like you hear about this place and they come from all over. You go in, you don’t come back out. You said you weren’t from around here. Do you have a place to go?”
Christian glared at his companion.
“Enough, Jan,” he hissed, “We don’t owe these two anything. We need to get going.”
“I can go alone,” Jan said, giving Christian a perturbed look, “You take them back and we’ll figure something out.”
“No-” Christian began.
His friend ignored him and handed Wilhelm Tomas’ violin case. He looked at the tall singer.
“We can give you a place to stay until you can get a train back home. Christian will take you. You’ll be safe with him. I need to do something but I will come back.”
Wilhelm nodded. Jan smiled and ducked out of the alleyway, disappearing quickly. Christian looked at Tomas uneasily for a moment, then motioned for the twins to follow him.
A/N: I'm such a cheater. I needed more characters and, instead of having four blonde and blue-eyed OMC's, I just added the Panik boys. And the Killerpilze boys might show up, too. lqtm.