A Punishment for a Traitourous German Actress

BY : CrystalRose
Category: G through L > Inglourious Basterds
Dragon prints: 5387
Disclaimer: I do not own Inglourious Basterds, nor am I making any money from writing this fanfic.

Bridget von Hammersmark's limited grasp of French did not turn out to be an issue in understanding Hans Landa's message—all that was relevant in his silkily spoken sentence were the words adieu, signifying a permanent goodbye, and traître—a word needing no further explanation. He had fooled her. He had fooled her the way he had fooled the countless families and individuals he had hunted down over the years. His strategy was consistent. First, he'd fluster his victims, painstakingly breaking them down and watching them squirm. Next, he'd completely back off, getting their guard down, making them feel as if the danger was over, allowing them to breathe a sigh of relief, a grateful prayer—and then striking.


She had not altered him or his final plans for her in any way. Everything that had occurred in this room had been tailored to his wishes. And now she was going to die. She looked at Landa's right hand, which was suddenly holding his Luger, his finger on the trigger.


He smiled at her as his silky words left his lips, and she could swear there was a trace of sadness in his eyes, a sort of pity. His gaze never leaving her face, he stood up quickly so that he was now looking down at her, his face shadowed and eerie in the harsh lighting of the cinema office. He now aimed the Luger at her forehead, his arm unbent and finger ready for the final squeeze. She remained on the floor frozen with shock, gaping up at him as she grasped for words that would not come. He had expected tears, perhaps a sob, at the view of him above her with the weapon of death. Her muted reaction disappointed him. This anticlimactic response was not fulfilling the checkmate he wanted to enact on her.


"Fraulein," he said, returning to German, "I have decided to spare you…" he added with a grim smile, inserting a dramatic pause after the first phrase as he watched for any transformations in her composure. Her expression didn't change; she knew him better than to assume he'd stop there. She knew what was coming and certainly didn't want to give him what he wanted—in this case, a tearful confession.


"—from the painful, lengthy death I had originally intended for you," he continued. The expression of horror he hoped would subsequently appear on her face was also absent, a fact which again greatly disappointed him. Was she not going to give him the satisfaction of watching her cry at his feet, begging for mercy?


"Now, being as the show will be ending in…" Pausing, he glanced down nonchalantly at his watch, "—oh, twenty minutes from now; and being as I have other things to attend to—I'm sure you understand these things, being as you yourself had several roles to play here tonight as well, none of which you fulfilled, may I remind you—I must bid you adieu."


With his left hand, he tipped his hat at her, his mouth now shut. Of course he wouldn't ask her for any last words. She kept her expression impassive, which was rather difficult to do—but the extended time of their encounter had shaken around her emotions so violently that now they were essentially numbed. Her fate been set as soon as Landa had laid eyes on her from his position on the balcony above the cinema lobby.


"Oh," he suddenly said, remembering something. His eyes lit up with recognition, an odd half-smile appearing briefly across his lips. With that, he began fishing around in his pockets, allowing the hand holding the pistol to drop to his side.


She watched his hand moving towards whatever he had forgotten, his head now angled down and to the side in the direction of his target. His left hand fished around in an inner pocket of the right side of his leather overcoat.


Suddenly she was grabbing his pistol, wrenching it about to shake from his grip, one hand around the barrel, the other digging her manicured fingernails into his flesh. In addition to forgetting about the item he had been looking for, he opened his hand and released the Luger, which she quickly snatched, now aiming it up at him.


Landa just watched her quietly, standing above her nonchalantly as her feeling of triumph dampened slightly. She might not have a good angle, being on the floor with him standing above her, but she now had a gun and he didn't!


Feeling a surge of adrenaline at the development, she scooted her body away from Landa as she held the pistol steadily on him, and then stood up, leaning her left shoulder against the door. As he watched in surprise, she without hesitation pulled the safety lever forward and up before cocking the weapon and aiming it at his head. He hadn't expected her to actually know how to operate a pistol, rather, he expected more along the lines of her demanding him to tell her how to use it.


Before she would pull the trigger she looked one last time at Landa—who was inexplicably smiling at her, not a trace of fear in his eyes. What the hell is wrong with him? I killed a young German soldier, a brand-new father at that, just yesterday, and I've no reservations about shooting this despicable man. Does he not realize that?


"I must say," Landa remarked, his voice almost giddy, "you impress me, Fraulein. You've defied my every expectation—very impressive indeed. Now I realize that you are ruthless, just as I am. I have not given you enough credit, all this time merely considering you to be a beautiful if not sub-par actress."


A frown instantaneously appeared on her face. It was a blatant insult poorly disguised as a backhanded compliment. She narrowed her eyes at him as he continued to speak, taking a step towards her steadily aimed weapon. Was he crazy or just overly presumptuous?


"Yes, sub-par, Fraulein von Hammersmark," he continued boldly, his smile never wavering, "being as you could not even act as if you were revolted by my touch. I guess your success on the screen is not easily translated to real life, eh?"


The audacity! Not only was he insulting her to her face, but he was moving towards her! Did he not expect her to fire the weapon? He had obviously been wrong about her just a moment before, so why was he under the assumption that she'd not kill him now?


"Stay where you are," she warned him, her voice taking on an odd, sinister tone that she had never used before. The sound of her own voice triggered a new surge of adrenaline flooding through her veins. All the while Landa completely ignored the command, watching her intently, a naughty crooked smile on his face as he took a deliberate step towards her. He even failed to stifle a rather obvious yawn in the process.


Suddenly, several gunshots exploded from somewhere above them, perhaps in the projection booth, perhaps in the opera box seats. She felt panic rise in her throat. If she didn't leave the cinema soon she would be killed by the ensuing explosions and all of this submitting to Colonel Landa's wishes will have been for naught. The four explosives her comrades were toting around their ankles were soon to go off—of that she was certain. Obviously, she mused, the guise of her American comrades as butlers, with guns hidden under their towels, was already being enacted, the gunshots from above all the proof she needed. They probably saw that their ankle bombs were soon to explode and moved on their plans. Her mind returning to the current situation, she looked back at Landa, noticing that his eyes were looking in an upward direction and that he had ceased to move for the time being. He had heard the shots as well.


"It's beginning," she heard herself say, her voice somber and eerily unearthly. The gun she held steadily aimed right between Landa's eyes, below the scabby remains of where she had pummeled him with her shoe. She looked right at the man in front of her, a grim smile on her lips. "And for you, Colonel Landa, it's ending."


With that she pulled the trigger.

________________________________________

A click. Barely stifled laughter from the colonel.


Silently scoffing, Bridget von Hammersmark pulled the trigger again. Another click. The smile on Landa's face grew with each click. Six more times she pulled the trigger, to the same effect. The magazine was empty.


With a toothy grin he fished in his inner right coat pocket, lifting his hand from the pocket to reveal a bullet.


"You looking for this?" he murmured, a naughty smile lighting up his entire face.


"You cowardly bastard," she hissed, utterly disgusted. His eyes flashed with humor, and he chuckled good-naturedly at her irritation.


"Quite the contrary, my dear. In fact I rather enjoy knowing I can order anyone to do anything using my interrogation techniques alone. The gun is merely a backup, which I only wave about when my word alone doesn't produce results: a rarity, as you can certainly imagine. I didn't even bother to switch to a Walther like the other officers, being as my Luger has served me well thus far—wouldn't you agree?"


They were both even now, essentially weaponless—him with the bullet, her with his gun. It was a weaponless standoff with each just out of arms' reach of the other. She held her breath, remembering the impending explosions, the pistols that had been fired upstairs in the cinema. It would all be over soon—didn't he realize that as well?


Promptly she tucked the Luger between the shackles and moved her shackled hands to the door, deftly batting the fox wrap away as she unlocked the door with a resounding click. She gave Hans Landa a brief, expressionless glance as she turned the doorknob, pushing the door open with an elbow…


She felt the rush of air blow across her face as she moved through the threshold, felt the lights of the lobby upon her and heard the murmurings of a cluster of Nazi guards standing by the cinema entrance, another several ascending the stairs in a hurry, most likely to determine the source of the gunshots. She would be free; she would get away intact from this—the cinema entrance was so very near—it was as if she could reach out and cross through it. But then, her shackles. How would she explain that? Her fox wrap she had left behind in the office would have been a perfect hiding place. Of course, she did have a gun—and no one but she and Landa knew of its emptiness.


As she took her first hasty steps across the lobby, a hand gripped the single strap making up the mid-back region of her evening gown, its fingernails digging into the sensitive flesh of her back as it clutched the fabric of her clothing with a death grip. She pulled forward doggedly, hoping that with her now elevated heartbeat, the determination flooding through her veins, that she could pull away.


"Give me the gun," she heard Landa growl behind her.


"Do you take me for a complete imbecile?" she retorted in a raspy whisper, hearing the fabric tearing as Landa's left hand grabbed her by her right upper arm. After a silent moment, Landa violently spun her around so that she was now facing him, almost losing her balance and throwing out her hands to steady herself, an easy feat being as she was half barefoot and with her other foot mounted on a heel inside its cast. Of course, she hadn't realized her steadying hands landed right in the center of Hans Landa's chest.


It was then that Landa noticed movement in the form of a smattering of guards at the entrance as they stood outside the doors of the venue, and, his eyes now glittering with glee, one hand gripping her firmly by the arm, began to drag her towards the entrance, all the while holding the copper bullet beneath a finger. She could picture it now: even if she could escape his grip, she'd be mowed down with bullets as she fled the cinema, cheerfully condemned to die by Landa as he yelled for them to fire upon her. She imagined lying facedown on the road in front of the cinema, blood oozing out of her back, her mouth, pooling on the road as her final earthly sounds, namely, Landa's voice and gunfire, would become a generalized ringing of her ears, a buzz that would quickly overwhelm all other sounds; she'd struggle to breathe, to move, perhaps seeing a rapidly dimming view of Landa's boots moving towards her as her senses would fade into nothingness.


She was torn. If he yelled loud enough the guards would be able to hear him through the door. The fact that they hadn't heard the gunshots upstairs was encouraging, but she couldn't let Hans Landa get their attention—or bring her to the guards.


It was only a moment before Bridget von Hammersmark was in front of Landa, rather than dragged alongside him. And only a moment more before her mouth was upon his again, her tongue working its way into his mouth with desperation, the Luger planted between the heels of her hands as she used her nails to tear into Landa's decorated green uniform shirt, the silvery buttons flying off in different directions as her manicured fingernails made their way for the collared white undershirt he donned underneath his green uniform shirt. She shoved herself flush against him, his chest against her chest, her hips grinding into his own, pushing him back in the direction of the office.


Landa's eyes went wide momentarily at the sudden intrusion, but of course, he knew the last minute desperations caused them to act hysterical—not unlike this famous actress's final performance. He allowed for her to kiss him, not even trying to stop her vicious assault on his uniform. Besides, he had several more at home and this was rather fun—like watching the last twitches of a beheaded chicken—only, Bridget von Hammersmark was the chicken—and certainly not beheaded at the moment.


All the while she continued her assault on Landa's mouth, shirt and body, Landa stubbornly retained his grip on her arm—which he presumed she wanted him to release with this last rush of desperate public affection—his other arm now attempting to shove her backwards, to no avail. She was utterly frantic, completely maddened with a burst of strength that enabled her to attack him in such a way, assaulting his clothing and shoving herself against him as close as any two people could be. If he should call on the guards, she'd be dead in an instant; he need only speak the words— töten sie diesen Verräter. As soon as he was able to speak again he would. Even so, he let her continue her aggressive kissing, feeling the buttons of his collared shirt snapping off, a new draft as the cool lobby air breezed across his exposed chest.


________________________________________


Meanwhile, two Basterds stood beneath the steps of the balcony, thoughtfully witnessing the scene unfolding before them, a splendidly dressed woman and a Nazi kissing. Aldo Raine and Smithson Utivich had been instructed to be kept in the lobby by an earlier remark of Landa's to a guard before Bridget was whisked away into the cinema office. It had been rather uneventful for the two American men thus far, what with the guards standing near them speaking to each other in their harsh German accents for more than an hour now, but now that gunshots had gone off, the guards were gone. And for some odd reason, when Raine and Utivich had moved to re-enter the cinema only minutes before this kissing scene, they found the doors to be locked.


Suddenly it dawned on Raine. This was no random coupling: Bridget von Hammersmark, a supposed ally of theirs, the woman who was allegedly responsible for Operation Kino, was the woman full-on kissing a Nazi. And not just any Nazi; Colonel Hans Landa, the Jew Hunter, the man they had just spoken with earlier. Not only was she kissing him, but she was tearing his shirt off as well. What the hell was she trying to prove?


Utivich quickly put his hand over Aldo Raine's opening mouth. Now was not a good time to attract Nazi attention. Another fifteen minutes, and Operation Kino would be in effect—that is, of course, if it was indeed an Allied operation. Keeping silent, they both narrowed their eyes at the sight—was she a triple agent? Their rendezvous at the French tavern, a meeting place chosen by Bridget, had ended in the death of two Basterds and a British Lieutenant. And now she was kissing the enemy.


Landa was facing the entrance of the cinema, so he could not see the two men that had been pacing around under the balcony stairs, Raine in his white smoking jacket, Utivich in his black tuxedo. The guards that had been associated with the Basterds had since gone away to investigate the source of the gunshots. The unfolding events—the gunshots, the locked cinema—had made them edgy and this scene wasn't going to help their edginess go away. Still locked in a kiss with Landa, Bridget suddenly spotted the pair, her eyes widening in surprise. When Landa's eyes appeared to be opening again, she instantaneously shut her eyes, hoping for another break to convey to them the trouble she was in.


Raine and Utivich could save her—they should easily see that this very public kiss was merely a ploy to stall Col. Landa. She thought of a silent prayer. But are they smart enough to see that…


When she opened her eyes again, she saw that Raine and Utivich were shaking their heads disapprovingly at her, Raine's arms crossed aggressively across his chest, his chin arrogantly thrust outward and upward. No, they aren't.


Her eyes widened again but she could do no more. A lopsided I-gotcha grin on his face, Raine looked down at his watch. Now was the time that he'd rendezvous with the other Basterds in the upstairs bathroom. In fifteen minutes the bombs would be exploding. Raine then pointed at her accusingly and shook his head, one eye narrowed as if readying for a shot, a crooked grin under his bushy moustache. She shut her eyes again, lest Landa see the focus of her attention. When she opened her eyes again Raine and Utivich were gone.


Bridget's heart sank in her chest, and she felt a wave of hopelessness wash over her. To be so fortunate as to have her allies in the same room as her, only to have them take it the wrong way. She alone was responsible for her own survival.


As she continued to kiss Landa, preventing him from speaking but feeling utterly crestfallen at the failure of her comrades, her hands ran up and down his exposed chest, fingers combing through his light-colored smattering of chest hair as he felt the side of his cold Luger pressing fully against his chest, a stark reminder that the upper hand was still yet to be won. Now that she would have no help from Raine and Utivich, she had to take matters into her own hands. Now Landa attempted to move his free hand, to wrench the weapon from her, but she had a firm grip on his chest hair and frankly, it hurt quite badly for him to pull away from her even though his hair was still amazingly intact. He'd get his gun soon enough, when she lay crumpled on the floor in front of him like a discarded coat, bullets from the guards buried in her back.


It was then that Bridget's hands rapidly wandered upwards, roaming over the fine curls of blond chest hair between his collarbones, over the bump of his Adam's apple, one hand snaking under his red, black and white striped tie, one hand moving for the button at the collar of his shirt. Was he going to strip him right here in the middle of the lobby? Was she attempting to make it look as if they were some passionate couple newly discovering their love for each other on this important night for Germany, and so escaping the suspicion of the guards?


One of Bridget's hands closed around Landa's highest war honor, his gold Knights Cross of the War merit cross, and the other on his tie, and suddenly the kiss ended and she was yanking down with all her might, a force and jolt so unexpected that Landa couldn't help but let out a choked yelp, catching out of the corner of his eye her body moving away from his as his head followed her tugging. His hat fell off of his head, skimming to the ground like a Frisbee, settling several feet away from the silent mêlée. The bullet flew out of his hand, a metallic clink as it hit the ground and rolled away from the pair. His eyes widened then shut tightly as Bridget von Hammersmark savagely snapped his neck downwards by his medal and tie, viciously twisting the ribbon about so that the cross was more snug against his neck, and pulling down again with both hands, his head helplessly following. Unable to breathe, he felt his heartbeat pounding in his head as instinct kicked in. His hand released her upper arm, racing his other hand in a beeline for his neck, but she was too fast, jerking the cross downwards, again forcing his head downwards—but this time, his forehead connected with her bent knee.


He fell to the ground in a heap, feeling her release his cross and tie as his hands went immediately to his injured neck, rubbing them as he gasped for breath. He blinked indignantly and in utter shock as she stepped around him, returning in an instant sans Luger, the fox wrap disguising her shackled hands.


Landa looked up at her from his position on the floor of the lobby, a hint of fear and admiration in his eyes, observing her warily as she strode past him with the serenity of a person who knew no worry. His breathing was ragged and shallow, hair askew, face a deep red with a not-so-subtle sheen of perspiration. He attempted to speak, but his voice came out an unintelligible choked rasp. She had never seen him in this state and the thought of it amused her to no end. Oh, how she wished she could be holding a loaded pistol now, putting a bullet in every limb but his head and chest just to hear his screams. If the both of them survived this evening, he'd get his due; that she would guarantee.


She peered up at the guards, who were still standing unaware at the cinema entrance, a smile appearing on her face as she then glanced at the empty stairs to the balcony. Her smile didn't falter as she again looked at Hans Landa, who couldn't help but rub his throat continuously to assuage the pain, his head probably still spinning as his current inability to speak sunk into his head. He snapped out of his reverie at the sound of Bridget von Hammersmark's voice, now barely above a whisper, as she leaned towards him, though keeping a safe distance away from him.


"Colonel Landa, the reason I laughed earlier at your self-proclaimed expertise in detection was because I in fact have been a double agent for two years," she remarked, her voice quiet yet confident. She watched his expression very subtly change, his eyes taking on a look of astonishment, his jaw dropping ever so slightly, and then continued.


"It seems the many that pointed out your true forte may have been correct, because you are only a sub-par detective, at best." She straightened her back, beginning to turn away from him now. With a final smile gracing her now-bare lips, she murmured one last sentiment. "Au revoir."


And with that, Bridget von Hammersmark limped quickly out of the lobby in full view of a weaponless, voiceless Hans Landa who could do nothing but watch in disbelief as she strode by the guards without so much as a second glance, becoming smaller and smaller then altogether disappearing into the night.


Fin


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