The Painter sat in a chair, facing the desk behind which three imposing figures sat. The Painter nervously fidgeted with a coin in his pocket as the three men inspected the canvasses.
"Hmm..." the fat one muttered, examining a painting of autumn trees beside a lake with a waterfall in the background. It had been a beautiful day when the Painter produced that picture, and he smiled fondly of the memory.
They shuffled through more of the Painter's works: portraits, still lifes, and landscapes. The three men were clearly bored by the Painter's masterpieces, and they shook their heads distressingly often. Each shake was a savage blow to the Painter's esteem, and he felt his cheer evaporate.
Finally, the fat man spoke: "Well, you seem to have some minor talent, but your paintings lack soul. You need conviction, and I cannot see it in your work. I'm sorry, but there is no place for you at the Academy, Herr Hitler."
Dieter Heydrich had no idea what had happened. One moment he was reading Chapter One of Mein Kampf
while absentmindedly fidgeting with his wand, the next he was irresistibly plucked out of Durmstrang in a swirl of colours and wind, and dropped in the middle of a cobbled street. Had he accidentally Apparated?
Dieter hastily walked from the centre of the road to the pavement, and took in his surroundings. It didn't take him long to realise that he had no idea where he was: all he knew that he was in some city, next to some park and some large building.
He spotted a man sitting on a park bench, and decided to ask him where he was. Dieter knew it would sound like an extremely stupid question, but he had to start somewhere. As he approached the bench, the man's features swam into view, and Dieter suddenly stopped, stunned.
It was the Führer.
There were no crowds of admirers, or soldiers to restrain them. Neither was there Himmler, Hess, or any other great men of the Movement. It was only Hitler, sitting alone and morose on the park bench.
"M-mein Führer?" Dieter stuttered in awe.
But the Führer didn't even look up.
Dieter walked closer, and noticed how young
he looked. His hair was fuller, jaw sharper, and his characteristic moustache non-existent.
"H-hello?" Dieter said when he was standing in front of him. The Führer tore his eyes from the ground and looked at Dieter with a morose expression.
"Oh, hello," the Führer replied heavily. There was none of his vigour or conviction in his looks and voice, and Dieter could not help but feel alarmed by his uncharacteristic despair.
"Can I ask what's wrong?" Dieter said.
Hitler sighed and shrugged, as if to say, "why not?"
He gestured to the large building across the street, and explained how all of his hopes had been dashed. The Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna, had flatly denied his admission, and not for the first time. Once finished, he looked relieved to have shared his woes with someone sympathetic enough to listen.
It suddenly dawned on Dieter - he had been sent into the past. Was this just a random act of fate, or had he been sent back for some purpose?
It was the latter. It had to be.
"Well, don't let those Jews get you down, Sir!" Dieter said with conviction.
Hitler chucked dryly. "Hmpf
. I thought those men looked Hebraic..."
"Of course! You're better than them - don't let anyone tell you what you can and cannot do. You're stronger than that - you know you are, but no one would know unless you prove it!"
The would-be Führer gave Dieter a weak smile - weak, but genuine. He was surprised and perhaps amused by how much confidence the boy had in him, and stood up.
"You are one interesting kid. What's your name, son?" he asked.
Automatically and without thinking, Dieter snapped a perfect National Socialist salute. "Dieter - Dieter Heydrich, mein Führer!"
Hitler looked at him in shock, but a moment later, he burst out laughing. "'Mein Führer?'
I suppose I am much more than a poor artist! But please, Adolf's my name. Just Adolf..."
Still chuckling, Adolf Hitler reached into his pocket, gave Dieter a coin, and walked away in a considerably improved mood.
Dieter watched the future Führer, amazed, until he disappeared from sight. He then looked at the coin Hitler had given him, but at that moment it glowed purple. Dieter was pulled into the swirling storm of colours and winds, and landed on his bed at Durmstrang with a thump.
He sat there, stunned for a long time. He noticed that the coin was still in his hand - what had happened was real
Dieter smiled. He had made a difference.