Disclaimer: This oneshot is based on The Final Countdown scene of the Rock of Ages musical. The writers own the musical, Europe owns the song. I own Franz's opinion.
If you're curious, while writing, the actors I had in mind for Franz and Regina were Cody Scott Lancaster and Josephine Rose Roberts – the rest are fairly interchangeable, but I find those two had amazing chemistry and therefore can't get that couple out of my head.
Bang! Bang! Crash!
When the dust finally settled, Franz got a clear view of his father standing up on the scaffold. The older man was shouting at the top of his lungs in German. Then he yelled at the man steering the wrecking ball, "Go back, back... now!" Crash! Franz ducked and was thankful for the yellow hard hat they both wore, or the rubble and dirt could have blinded him.
"Papa!" Franz shouted up at his father from his slightly shorter scaffold. "Papa, I didn't realize we were doing so much demolition!" When his father had first explained to him the process of what they would be doing, he left out the detail about destroying all the businesses that called the Sunset Strip home. It had only been brought to his attention once Regina had spelled it out for them in the mayor's office...
Hertz cackled as another wall came crumbling to the ground. "It's it beautiful, Franz? Ziss is zee future 'appening before our very eyes! Now back to work!"
The sun had barely begun to set before the shadows of two men were magnified onto a nearby building, making Franz jump into the air and cling to his flashlight. Once he'd shone the light onto the two figures, he was less intimidated (though the feeling had not totally evaporated).
From up on his scaffold, Franz could only see the tops of their heads, but he knew exactly who had just trespassed on their demolition site; it was the owner of the Bourbon Room and his friend.
"The whole strip's comin' down!" The hippy said to the guy with the moustache.
They exchanged worried glances and clung nervously to each other. "Dennis, what's happening?"
"You are not to be here!" Hertz called at the sight of them. "Go avay! I vill call zee police!"
Franz could tell by the looks on their faces that the Bourbon Room workers were not looking forward to seeing their beloved Strip come crashing down. They weren't as excited as his father to see the companies that would be rolling in once demolition was complete and their facial expressions finally explained to Franz why exactly that was.
They hugged each other tightly and fell back in a corner close to the home they were aware was going down within the week. "Will things ever be the same again?" Dennis shook his head and shrugged at the question he was presented with.
Franz could see his father was coping with them being there; they weren't disturbing anybody. But someone rounded the corner that Franz knew was not about to forfeit so easily...
The squeaky voice that sounded over a megaphone was all too familiar. "We're not gonna take it! Save your strip!"
"Vat zee hell is that?" Hertz hollered over the racket of the group. Maybe a hundred people had just entered the site that was now only lit by the glow of the full moon.
Franz's eyes widened as he saw her leading a mob. "Regina!" She was carrying a megaphone and hoisting a sign high up over her head that read 'SAVE THE STRIP'. Many members of the crowd had also brought signs. She had stepped over the line this time – they were even chained together.
"LA, if you don't stand up, it's all coming down!" she cried, pumping the sign over her head to the rhythm of their chants. Regina stared Hertz down through the spectacles that made her eyes look far too big for her head. "We will stand strong, Mr. Kleinman!" she shouted through the megaphone. "We don't need your strip malls or discount yogurt shops! Who's with me?" Her question sent a wave of cheers through the mob following her.
He couldn't understand how one tiny person could have such a loud voice and still be so strong-willed. This city must really love their Sunset Strip. "Get zem out of here now!" his father instructed.
"But Papa, I..."
Franz climbed down from the scaffold and scurried up to Regina, who had now encouraged the entire group behind her to chant, "Save the strip!"
"Please, you 'ave to go! Zee police are on zere vay!"
Regina stared in Franz's blue eyes as though a machine had taken over her soul – all she knew how to do was chant and fight. This monster wasn't going to go away until they had given up and stopped demolition, but he couldn't disobey his father...
Finally, she'd stopped chanting, but the mob went on: "Save the strip! Save the strip!"
Regina put down the megaphone and touched his arm with her newly freed hand, then sighed. A confused look in his eye must have made her feel pity. "You know this is wrong!"
"Look, it's not me!"
Suddenly a noise compelled the pair to whip their heads toward the wooden fence to Franz's left. Wood splinters went flying in every direction as the police tore through the scene, but Hertz seemed unaffected. "Bring in zee wrecking ball!"
"Regina!" Franz called, not allowing the surrounding chaotic mob to tear them apart. He grasped for her hand. "Regina, I don't vant you to get hur..."
But she was more concerned with the cops rushing at their group wielding a night stick and a riot shield. "Go!" she roared, but he didn't move. "Go, Franz!"
Without thinking about anything else but his own survival, Franz dropped to the dirt, curled into a ball and guarded his face with his arms. It was scarier not being able to see the disorder around him. He knew the police had come to get rid of Regina, the mob, and the owners of the Bourbon Room; he knew the wrecking ball had just struck another building; and he knew there was a chance he could get hit with the copious rubble that was falling all around him or a stray bullet. At the thought of the cops shooting at Regina, his stomach turned, but she told him to go – so he did.
When the site fell silent once more, he held himself up just enough to peek over his folded arms. Regina and her chained accomplices had fallen on one side. The two men had fallen on the other. Hertz stood up on his scaffold, laughing maniacally at the destruction of not only another building, but the forces trying to get rid of them. This is their lives. This is their home. What the hell are we doing? They built this city on... "Oh God."