Pairings/Characters: Hans Schultz, Johann Schmidt, Hans Mueller, Karl Langer, Robert Hogan
Fandom: Hogan’s Heroes
Genres: Angst, Drama, Historical, Hurt/Comfort
Warnings: Implied sexual assault.
Summary: When Hogan is in desperate need, Schultz is there for him.
Date Of Completion: December 28, 2014
Date Of Posting: December 30, 2014
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, Paramount does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1779
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Note: Written in tribute to the many scenes in which Hogan and Schultz share obvious affection for each other. :)
You must know,
That what has
Shall not be spoken.
No one shall learn
That you are broken.
Sergeant Andrew O’Day
The Fighting 69th
"Dispatches From The Great War"
Sergeant Hans Schultz strolled through the compound as he made his rounds. It was his favorite time of the day (besides breakfast, lunch and dinner) when the night shift gave over to the day. The air was cool and birds sang in the woods outside the fence as fat, white clouds scudded across a blue sky.
Life at Stalag 13 was no bed of roses, but it beat the Russian Front, or any front, for that matter. He had served in the trenches in the last war and he was more than happy to serve in this backwater. Here the food was plain but plentiful, the company good, and men were not dying in No Man’s Land or the trenches.
Schultz spoke to Schmidt at the front gate. The men here were referred to as the dregs, but they did their best. A few bad apples had come through, but he had made sure they did not last long. He had learned a few things in military service over the years.
Schultz next went to the guard tower and received Mueller’s report. Like Schmidt, nothing of any importance, which suited him just fine. That meant no shenanigans from Barracks 2.
It was quiet at this time of the morning. The Kommandant would still be asleep if he was in camp (he had gone to a conference in Berlin) and all would be peaceful before the start of the day’s activities. As soon as the shift changed, morning roll call would begin, but that was forty-five minutes away. Right now his mouth watered as he smelled Sergeant Schneider’s potato pancakes cooking in the mess hall.
Schultz ambled toward the next tower. He enjoyed a good fellowship with his fellow noncoms. He was respected as Sergeant of the Guard by the enlisted men and while Klink did not think much of him, he still relied on him for a lot of duties.
“What is your report, Langer?”
The young private called down from the tower, “Nothing unusual, Sergeant.”
Schultz started for his barracks. He had forgotten his pocketwatch and wanted to get it before roll call.
Fraternization was impossible with any Germans except noncoms here in camp, but he managed to fraternize quite a bit with the prisoners, verboten as it was. He had always been fascinated by Americans. He had met a few over the years, mainly tourists or the occasional academic or businessman. He had encountered them toward the end of the last war in combat, but that was different, of course. He was learning about them with close contact here at Stalag 13.
They are brash, irreverent and cocky. Not so bad, Schultz thought fondly.
Colonel Hogan was a fine commander, able to earn his men’s respect and loyalty, and if truth be told, held the respect of some of the guards, too.
He really runs the camp, he chuckled. He thought of all the little moments they had shared: enjoying the Kommandant’s good brandy once he had left the office, or perhaps his cigars, or speaking of inconsequential things while strolling through the compound. He had watched Hogan’s command of his men and even of the guards, who with few exceptions saluted him instinctively as a leader. He had watched the American run rings around not only the Kommandant but General Burkhalter, the Gestapo, and the S.S. Always ready with a quip or smile whether running his schemes or not, Schultz had never known anyone quite like him.
The sound of a car approaching caught his attention. From the safety of the alley between the storage building and the dispensary, he observed that it was a staff car. The passenger door was opened and a familiar figure shoved out.
What Schultz had tried hard not to think about this fine morning was the Gestapo holding the colonel for questioning after the sabotage of a vital munitions shipment last week. ‘Questioning’ could mean anything in Gestapo hands.
My men will take care of him. I will check on him after I get back from the barracks.
Hogan looked all right, so Schultz hurried to his quarters. He quickly scooped up his watch and his blue woolen scarf as the weather might turn colder later in the day. He headed back out, cutting through the same alley.
He stopped short. “Colonel Hogan?”
The brash American was sitting on the ground, his knees pulled up and his head resting on his arms. As Schultz approached, he could see a slight tremor in Hogan’s body.
“Colonel?” Why had he not gone straight to his barracks? “Are you all right?” He touched Hogan’s jacket-clad shoulder.
Hogan flinched violently, startling Schultz. He drew back and Schultz was shocked to see fear in his eyes.
And that was when he really looked at the man he knew so well after two years. Hogan’s face was drawn, his right eye dark and puffy and an ugly bruise on his left cheek. His mouth was bruised and slightly swollen, and what looked like dried blood was on his collar. Schultz could see deep scratches on his throat.
What shocked him most were the eyes: fear and shame radiated from eyes that usually held a glint of mischief. Schultz’s stomach tightened. He did not like the look of this.
“Colonel?” he gently asked again.
Hogan seemed confused, as if unsure of where he was. Finally his eyes focused. “I…Schultz?”
“You are all right now.” Out of Hochstetter’s clutches.
Hogan’s teeth chattered. “I can’t…can’t let my men see…”
The haunted look in his eyes was one that Schultz would never forget. He had seen this young American in many situations (and he was very young compared to the responsibility he held, reminding him of the men he had served with in the last war, barely out of school) and had observed him jovial, teasing, conniving, angry, protective and defiant, among other things. He had never seen him so terrified before. “Take your time.” He wished that Colonel Klink had been able to go with Hogan but he was away in Berlin, and his second-in-command had been intimidated by Hochstetter into staying away.
Hogan was having difficulty breathing. He grabbed Schultz’s hand and the sergeant winced as Hogan’s grip was bone-cracking. “How can I face them?” he whispered through those torn lips.
Schutlz now saw the imprint of a livid bite mark on Hogan’s collarbone as his worn shirt shifted. He was sure he saw another on his chest, but it was difficult to be certain as they were in the shadows. His stomach turned at the implications.
“Listen to me.” Schultz carefully touched Hogan’s shoulder, ignoring the younger man’s flinch. “You are well-respected by your men, and rightfully so. You are the colonel who really runs this camp.” Schultz smiled slightly. “You are the strongest man I know. I have seen how you shoulder the burdens of command all this time, how you protect your men and treat mine as men, not monsters.”
Hogan’s eyes were fixed on Schultz’s face as he listened intently.
“Your strength is here, Colonel.” Schultz indicated Hogan’s chest. “Your heart is here.”
Hogan blinked, trying to hold back tears. Schultz decided he needed something else. “But let me protect you for a little while, ja?”
And with that Schultz gently drew Hogan into an embrace, the younger man releasing his hand and clutching Schultz with both hands like a drowning man. He shook violently as a sob escaped. Schultz was not certain if he heard him say, “It hurts,” but whether he did or not, there was no doubt pain was his constant reminder as to what he had suffered.
Schultz carefully rubbed his back (mindful of possible wounds) and rocked him as if the young colonel was his little nephew Wolfie. The colonel was young, definitely so to be a full colonel, a testament to his intelligence, command ability, and the acceleration of wartime. He said nothing, just letting his considerable bulk envelop Hogan in a non-threatening, protective way.
Hogan cried silently, needing this release before he faced his men. Somehow he would have to deal with what had happened to him in Gestapo custody.
Schultz carefully did not give into his anger. This broken young man in his arms did not need anger, he needed calm and a chance to prepare himself to meet his men.
Finally, Hogan pulled back. He looked down, embarrassed at his breakdown. He was still shivering.
Schultz took his scarf out of his greatcoat pocket and wound it around Hogan’s neck. At Hogan’s startled expression, he said, “You can return it to me later.” He saw the realization of why his neck needed to be covered cause a red flush across the American’s fair skin.
“Now, Colonel, when you are ready, go to your men. They are worried about you. And if ever you need to talk, I am here, ja? And do not worry: I see nothing; I know nothing!”
Hogan let out a sound that was half-sob, half-laugh, and dragged his arm across his face to wipe his tears.
“Okay, Schultz,” he rasped.
A single tear slid down Hogan’s cheek. Schultz restrained himself from using the end of the scarf to wipe it away. Wolfie-time was over. Robert Hogan needed to be a leader of men again, jumble of emotions or not. He remembered when he commanded men in the trenches and they needed him to be strong despite his own feelings of horror at the nightmare they were trapped in.
He helped Hogan to his feet, staying close as the American swayed slightly for a moment. Hogan winced, from what pain Schultz could only guess at, and he wished that he had not.
Hogan squared his shoulders, smiled a little, and put his hand on Schultz’s arm. “Thanks,” he said simply, then turned and walked across the compound, slow but steady. Schultz tried to ignore how Hogan’s usual grace was marred by a stiffness that kindled his anger again.
Schultz knew that Hogan would be all right for now. He probably would confide in Kinch, the man closest to him, but if he needed someone outside the barracks, he knew where to find him.
Schultz headed for the mess hall. Just enough time to have some coffee and chat with Ludwig Schneider and forget his anger and bloodied, broken young men for a little while. Time for another day at Stalag 13.