Pairings/Characters: Robert Hogan/James Ivan Kinchloe, Hans Schultz, Louis LeBeau, Peter Newkirk
Fandom: Hogan’s Heroes
Genres: Angst, Drama, Holiday
Summary: In December of 1944, Hogan and Kinch hear disturbing news on the radio while the men prepare for Christmas.
Date Of Completion: December 27, 2014
Date Of Posting: January 19, 2015
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, Paramount does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1147
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Notes: Happy Birthday, khylara! This fandom brought us together and it’s still going strong, just like us! :)
The entire series can be found here.
Like flakes of snow,
As men wait
In their hearts.
“The Germans have pushed the Allied lines back in Belgium, France and Luxembourg for several miles. American troops are in retreat from Hitler’s elite panzer troops. The key town of Bastogne is in danger of capture by the Germans. Losses are heavy as a blizzard is preventing Allied planes from becoming a factor. Europeans declare it to be the worse winter in living memory.”
The crisp British voice on the contraband radio faded in and out as Colonel Robert Hogan rested his forehead on his arm against the tunnel wall. His shoulders slumped as his worn leather jacket creaked.
Kinch understood the despair in the raspy voice. He could feel his heart grow heavy as he thought of the major setback in the Allied push toward Berlin and victory.
“Shut if off.”
Kinch obeyed. He could see his commander’s hand tremble as he tugged on the ragged scarf around his neck.
“What do I tell them, Ivan? That they’ll be stuck in this dump at least another year?”
“Blame it on the weather.”
“Sure.” Hogan’s tone was bitter. “It was the worst storm in living memory after D-Day, too. Destroyed LSTs and supplies and could have driven us back into the sea (cough, cough) if we weren’t careful.”
Hogan bent over, coughing violently. Kinch hurried over and held his thin shoulders. He said nothing. Even since cargo drops from London had stopped, they were without access to pencillin or anything other medicine. LeBeau couldn’t get to town anymore to shop for fresh food, and rations had been severely cut at the stalags. Even the guards were scraping by on subpar food.
There’s some irony here that after the Allies invaded Europe, H.Q. got too busy with the troops and after our radio went on the fritz, we’re on our own.
The S.S. had tightened security around the camp, paranoid about the Allied prisoners in their midst. Kinch just hoped that they didn’t decide it was easier to just kill them all. He and the other P.O.W.s had heard the rumors of what the S.S. had done to helpless civilians in the Soviet Union during the regular troops’ push toward Moscow.
Hogan finally stopped coughing. He straightened up, smiling briefly at Kinch for his help. He took a seat behind the defunct transmitter.
“Should I tell them?” Hogan rasped.
“That’s a tough one.” Kinch rubbed his chin. Upstairs in the barracks the men were decorating a tree and feeling upbeat despite scarcity of food and some of them being sick. “If it was Christmas Eve I’d say hold back, but it’s only the 18th. The news is bound to get out.”
Hogan shook his head. “It took at least two days for the information to be reported on the BBC.”
“You’ve always been upfront with us, sir.”
Hogan noticed the ‘sir’. Kinch wanted to make sure that his lover understood his respect for him as his commanding officer in this moment.
“True, Sergeant.” Again that brief smile that tingled Kinch’s toes. “I guess you’re right.” Hogan squared his shoulders. “Okay, let’s join the party.”
Kinch followed Hogan up the ladder to the barracks. The men were indeed enjoying a little party. Their tree was decorated with bits of tinsel and handmade ornaments, meticulously sewn from scraps of cloth and other materials scrounged up. Stars and snowmen and other seasonal figures decorated the branches. Kinch loved the smell of evergreen.
He watched Hogan closely. The man he loved was being worn down by a perilous command, and just when they had seen light at the end of the tunnel, the Germans had started their push. Would this break everyone’s spirits, including Hogan’s?
The barracks door opened and Schultz slipped in. “Here, LeBeau. I have a few pastries I managed to set aside, and a bit of sausage. I am sorry it could not be more.”
“It is fine, Schultzy,” said LeBeau as he took the precious foodstuffs.
“Thanks, Schultz,” said Hogan with a small smile.
“Glad to help. Ach, our mess hall is down to scraps and a few potatoes.” The big guard shook his head. “Food is getting more scarce. I have lost twenty pounds!”
“Good for the waistline, Schultz,” Hogan said affectionately as the prisoners grinned at the sergeant’s indignant outburst.
“Here, Schultzy, have a little strudel,” LeBeau offered.
“Danke, LeBeau!” Schultz happily ate the small portion of apple strudel. “Oh, what a nice tree. Corporal Langenscheidt is setting up a tree in the mess hall.”
“Finished your shopping, Schultz?” asked Newkirk.
“There is not much in the stores. I made most of my presents this year.”
“Should be a cinch for the president of the Schotze Toy Company,” Hogan said with a smile as he sat down at the table.
“Ha, you are right, Colonel Hogan.” Schultz accepted a mug of coffee to wash down the strudel. “I made toys for my nieces and nephews.”
“What kind of toys?”
“Oh, a wooden duck on wheels, a train set, and a set of toy soldiers. I made a Raggedy Ann doll for my niece Greta.”
“Sounds great, Schultz. Your family’s pretty lucky.”
“Ja, Colonel.” If Schultz was distressed about the economic pinch his family must have been feeling, he kept it to himself. “We have a fine tree.”
Schultz stayed a little white longer, then left to make the rounds of the guards. Before he left, he pulled LeBeau aside and dug into his greatcoat pocket, pulling out a small jar. “Honey for the Colonel’s tea.”
“Would you like some tea, Colonel?” Newkirk asked as if on cue.
Newkirk got busy preparing the tea. LeBeau was a master chef and could make excellent coffee, but tea was an Englishman’s provenance.
Kinch saw Hogan enter into the spirit of the party, and he knew that his lover was not going to say anything today. He couldn’t blame him. One more day wasn’t going to hurt.
Kinch pushed away the thought of what was happening in Belgium and the rest of the front. There was nothing he could do about it. Instead, he could give Hogan his silent support.
You know I’ll always be there for you, Robert.
Hogan laughed at a joke from Newkirk as the Englishman handed him his tea with honey. He sipped it and his eyes met Kinch’s. A small smile curved his lips.
“’Ere now, let’s sing some God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, mates!” Newkirk began and the others joined in.
Gradually Hogan and Kinch drifted to Hogan’s quarters with a gleam in their eyes as they closed the door behind them and the revelry continued as snow started to come down with fat, white flakes as the worst winter in living memory fell on Allies and Axis alike.