She felt Hans rest his chin on her shoulder, and she stiffened for just the barest of moments. But then she relaxed, welcoming the closeness she had missed so much. It made her stomach flutter in a way she had forgotten. She hoped that in time, they would be like they were, but maybe the boxes of mail was a good start. Maybe the boxes were a godsend.
"Really?" she said, turning to gaze at him. He drew back so he could see the hopeful expression on her face. "I want to, Hans. Just you and me."
Amaya then dug out another letter and among those were pretty postal cards with all of Germany and Austria’s greatest landmarks printed on glossy paper. She noticed a picture of Neuschwanstein Castle on one and another of Hohenzollern Castle. She loved castles.
"Hans, these are so pretty," she said, turning all of them over to read the short messages on the back. "Will we get to see all of these places together?"
Hans turned to look at Amaya, his eyes gently gazing into hers. His face was so close to hers that his heart raced. It was a good kind of racing that happened when one was near someone they loved. “Of course we will,” he said to her. “I promise. We’ll see all the places we can. Then I can take pictures of you next to these places.”
He smiled a bit longer before he pulled out a larger envelope. It was a flat packaging, and Hans wondered if it held some piece of art that Amaya made for him. He excitedly, yet carefully, ripped open the top. He pulled out what was a matted painting. She had painted a still of Hotel Sacher at night, with all its lights glowing. It had a soft and warm ambiance to it, and it was absolutely beautiful.
"Wow, this is really amazing, Amaya," he said. Amaya was opening a package, as well. It was a smaller box, and Hans couldn’t remember what was in it. When she opened it, she revealed a box of Mozartkugeln. She had found one of many.
The mention of a lifetime supply of Mozartkugel made her softly snort in amusement. Ever since he had found that specialty candy shop back home, the Mozartkugel had always been a gift-giving tradition. Five years worth of Mozartkugel was going to take a while.
"Well, we could always share them like we used to," she replied. "Maybe we could eat one together every time I come to visit." She glanced up at him. "I missed that. I never ate another one since that last box I got for Christmas. I knew where I could go to buy them, but it wouldn’t have felt the same. That was our tradition.”
He showed her the prom picture she had sent; she was wearing a glittery black prom dress this time, and around her neck was the amethyst necklace. She had found a pair of earrings to match the necklace for that night, and she still had them somewhere.
She smiled faintly as Hans looked at the picture; she was all by herself in that picture, just as she had been in her junior prom picture. “Senior prom,” she softly said. “I went but I didn’t stay the whole time. You had lost contact with me by then, and I couldn’t stand to be there watching everyone else enjoy their boyfriends and dates. I had my picture taken to appease Mom, our friends…and you, really…but I left about an hour before it ended. When I got my pictures in a few weeks later, I wrote that letter and sent it off.”
Amaya opened a letter from Hans and she, too, noticed some photos inside. One of them was a selfie Hans had taken by the Brandenburg Gate, and another was a picture of him and the Spree river with ferries quietly roaming its surface, most likely tour ferries.
"Aww you’re so cute here," she remarked as she picked out the letter. She sighed. "I haven’t had the slightest chance to go sightseeing."
So much of their lives were kept in those boxes. Even if they had been apart for those 5 years with contact remaining, it might have been just a bit less difficult to endure. They still would have been able to talk to one another, and share their experiences together through their letters and photographs. That’s what Hans was hoping to do until all of those chances got taken from them.
Hans still stared endearingly at the photo of Amaya in her prom dress, even though she told the story in such a solemn way. He could see in her eyes that, even though she smiled, she was not happy. But She still looked so beautiful. And she was the Amaya in high school that he missed so much. If Hans was able to go to prom with her, he would not have let her go that entire night. He’d adore her in that dress until they went home at night, where he’d have every pleasure of taking it off.
Amaya found the photos he had taken of himself at the Brandenburger Tor and other landmarks. He had almost forgotten about those. He knew those were things Amaya would eventually love to see when she arrived at Germany, and he had every intention of taking her there. Perhaps it was not too late. Hans smiled and leaned in to her, resting his head on her shoulder, as he looked at the photos.
"Well, whenever I’m out of this place, we can go. We’ll see everything you’ve wanted to see. Just you and me."
"I know," she said, opening a letter. "It’s so ironic, but I feel the same. All I want to do is read every single letter you wrote to me."
Her eyes filled with tears and she slowly slid her arms around him. Hugging him still felt familiar but foreign at the same time; the time had pushed them so far apart that it would take getting used to holding him again. But she was so touched by these letters, touched that he had still loved and cared about her all those years and yet they had no way of telling each other. This was better than any gift she could ever get.
"There’s so much I sent you," she said. "I won’t tell you what’s in the packages, but…I drew you so many pictures and sent so many pictures." She wiped at her eyes. "We have so much to catch up on…so much we missed. And it’s all right here."
She picked up the letter she would have gotten after Christmas and began to read it. This would be emotional for her, she just knew it.
It was a bit strange to feel Amaya’s arms so instinctively wrap around his waist like she used to do those years ago. It felt strange to feel the affection when there was so much time they were both without it. Not even their attempts at a sexual escape could give them any temporary feeling of affection. If anything, all it did was make them feel worse. But the feeling of Amaya so close to him returned the feeling he thought he had lost. Hans smiled weakly and his heart began to race.
"There are plenty of packages for you as well. I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but you may also have a lifetime supply of Mozartkugeln." He grinned, the emotion showing vaguely stronger in his expression now. "But there are other things as well."
Amaya picked up the first letter and began reading, so Hans did the same. It seemed to be one of the earliest letters in the bunch. He opened it, and before he could read the letter, he noticed a photo inside the envelope as well. It was Amaya in her prom dress. She was just how she remembered her before they left. He felt an aching feeling in his chest, but he also smiled.
"You look so beautiful here," he said, his eyes not leaving the photograph.
Christoph Waltz at Volkswagen Electrified!
"Where is that even at?" Amaya asked as she dug around in boxes. She found one for Hans and set it on his side of the table. Tears formed in her eyes as she rummaged through the postal boxes and pulled out bundles of letters and package after package. "God…my God…this is better than Christmas." She shook her head. "Look at all this…our lives…right here. All the letters we never got…"
Amaya sniffled and began pulling out shipping boxes; she shook them, the contents unknown, but judging from the postmarks, they were gifts for her birthday, Christmas, and Valentine’s Day. Some postmarked boxes were small and showed no special occasion at all.
Then she reached the bottom of her boxes where she pulled out the oldest letters, the ones she had sent after Christmas her senior year. She recalled that all the letters she sent had pictures and drawings and words about her daily life, school, basic training, flight training, how her family was — everything.
"God…Hans…" She gazed over at him. "This will take forever." She gave a weak smile. "But I guess time is all we have right now."
Hans couldn’t believe how much was really there. They had been apart for a long time, but it almost didn’t feel like he sent that many things. Hans just wanted to get into contact with her so much. He continued writing and sending her gifts in hopes she’d one day receive them. It seemed as though this was that day. Everything came all at once. And then there were the letters and gifts that Amaya sent to him in return. There was just as many from her as there were from him.
There were so many gifts alone, but is was unbelievable how many letters there were. Many of them were held in stacks with rubber bands and stacked in the boxes. When Amaya gave him a letter to start with, and she had one in her own hand. They must have been from relatively the same time frame.
"Seems funny," he started. "That all we have is time, when we fought for so long just to get it." He smiled softly, taking his finger to the envelope to open it gently. "But I won’t be satisfied until we’ve opened every last one of these."
Amaya sorrowfully parted ways when it was announced that visiting hours were ending. She let Hans hold her to him, not wanting to let him go. The last time she had let him go, she had almost lost him. She prayed it wouldn’t be the case here.
The following day, Amaya couldn’t come visit Hans directly, for she still had to be on duty and function as a lieutenant and a commissioned officer. But she sure thought of Hans and she could hardly wait until she got off duty to see him. And she did because she could not stay away. She had to see him because she wanted that assurance that he was still there, that he wasn’t going anywhere.
It was a few days before Amaya could get a lawyer for Hans, and she subsequently introduced Hans to both her C.O., James, and the lawyer who volunteered to take Hans’s case. The lawyer’s name was Bill, and after questioning Hans and much deliberation, it was agreed that the lawyer would try to shoot for some kind of deal to get Hans off the hook.
Talking to one another had started to get easier. Hans had wanted to know what kind of piloting she did, so she took her iPhone to the airfield with her and showed him pictures of the C-130 Hercules she flew. It was a big plane, and it was surprising that Amaya was in command of something that huge. She was hoping to move up to the Globemaster, which was even bigger than that.
Specifically, she was a Mobility Pilot; she was in command of a flight crew that was responsible for transporting needed supplies, troops, and sometimes civilian passengers from one point to another. She was also a graduate of the weapons school the Air Force had to offer, which was why she was chosen to come to Europe. Normally, her job during the emancipation mission was simply to transport pilots and return to a base. However, Amaya had the training to volunteer for the ground mission, thanks to her knowledge in weapons and explosives. She had literally put her life on the line to get to Hans. She had been shot at during her journey and she shot some HYDRA members, though she did not kill them. Amaya was no killer, but she knew she would if she had to. She was trained to.
On this particular day, Amaya and Hans sat at the table, and she had been telling him about the reinstating of the German government with non-HYDRA affiliates. Apparently Johann Schmidt had gotten away but that was now in SHIELD’s jurisdiction.
As she spoke, the door squeaked open, and some soldiers entered carrying about four large boxes, and they were making their way over to Amaya and Hans’s table. She stood to her feet, a questioning look on her face. The soldiers saluted their ranking officer and she returned.
"What’s all of this?"
"Mail, sir," the airmen said. He glanced at the boxes. "We found letters addressed to you stored in the warehouse and brought them here as you asked, sir."
Amaya had found out that they were going to sort out the mail and get the post going again. She had asked her fellow officers that if they should find anything for her or for Hans Landa, they were to bring it to her. She didn’t think she would get her wish, and so she looked at the boxes, astonished.
"Are…are any of these for Hans?"
"Yes, sir." He pointed to a couple of boxes his colleague had placed on the floor. "Right there."
"Thank you," she said. "If you find any more, you know where to bring them. You are dismissed."
The soldiers left and Amaya stared at the boxes. She picked up a bundle of letters and gazed at them. There were letters and packages of all sorts — five years of their lives chronicled in these boxes. She put her hand up to her mouth.
"Wow…God, Hans…" Her eyes teared up. "…where do we even begin? All of the letters…everything…"
While Amaya was away doing her work, Hans had time to meet with the Lawyer one-on-one, and simply get to tell his side of the story. The lawyer told him that it was helpful Amaya was willing to testify in his favor. It would look good on him, especially with their personal story. But it was also good that Hans had little to no affiliation politically. Those who were higher ranking officials, ones who helped keep the HYDRA regime in tact, would not fair so well. It was even worse for those who were violent, and it was in HYDRA’s nature to be violent. They were a terrorist organization after all.
However, Hans had no involvement in that aspect of the organization. In fact. the lawyer even commented on how lucky Hans really was, that he got to reap all of these benefits while not having to do any of the dirty work. Hans was nothing more than a detective. What he didn’t have going for him in his favor, was the fact that he actually was a damn good detective. That being said, Hans did aid HYDRA in their efforts.
The lawyer explained that, while he had lots of things to keep him from being executed or held for life, there was still a chance that Hans would be kept in jail for war crimes simply because he aided the enemy. Unless, that is, if Hans was able to give up valuable information. Hans did have something valuable, however. He didn’t get a chance to talk to Johann much, but given his promotion to Colonel, and how important he had become in his efforts, Hans did get to know some valuable information about HYDRA members, including Johann. Hans knew of a few likely places that Johann Schmidt would be hiding out. If Hans could give up that information, his sentence would likely be chopped to nearly nothing.
Finally getting to see Amaya was Hans’ greatest relief. Though, he was pleased that his lawyer was a very kind and helpful man, all he wanted was to see Amaya again. It was almost like Hans was afraid to lose her again. He couldn’t lose her. Hans wished he could curl up with her in bed and fall asleep, but that couldn’t happen.
The two were having an interesting conversation until the boxes were set between them. Hans didn’t recognized what it was right away, but he recognized the kind of boxes that HYDRA often used for storage. When he realized what they were, his eyes widened. at least 4 years worth of lost time had been put into those boxes, and kept hidden from the both of them. If only he had known where they were kept.
"Mein Gott…" he said, not even realizing he was speaking in German. "I guess… I guess we start from the beginning?"