trista_zevkia: (Hogan)

Klink knew the way back to his Stalag like the back of his hand. The trouble was, he had never studied the back of his hand on a moonless night, with thick clouds between his eyes and the back of his hand. How many people had? He had been at the monthly meeting for Kommandants, which consisted of Generals yelling at the others for letting prisoners escape, while the Kommandants shot Klink hateful looks. The stupid meeting had run four hours late, giving him a pounding headache. Their host, General Burkhalter, hadn’t even felt the need to offer hors d'oeuvres, so Klink was starving.

Now, in the dim light of his headlamps the road was disappearing and Klink’s dread was increasing. As the bushes crowded the road, concrete gave way to gravel. Klink knew he had made a wrong turn but could see no place to turn around. Backing up in this darkness would be stupid, stranding him out here when he backed into a tree. So Klink eased forward into the road and grinned like a loon when he saw another trail cross it. Slowly he turned the car around until he was pointing in the right direction and headed back to the main road. He had just come down that road, so he figured it was safe to speed up a little. Smiling now, he was thinking about the little Frenchman’s cooking. He was the Kommandant after all, so maybe he would wake LeBeau and get a decent meal when he got back to camp. He could even bathe while LeBeau cooked!

When the bang from the front right of the car forced him to fight the car to a stop before he slammed into a tree, Klink was too busy to wipe the smirk off his face. The smile disappeared as he sat for a few minutes and recovered from what had just happened. His mind calmed as he shut off the engine, but his hands were still trembling as he searched the car for the flashlight. Klink was enormously relieved to find the thieves hadn’t taken it yet, probably because it was harder to find batteries than flashlights. He’d requisitioned a new radio months ago to replace the one that had been stolen. Getting out, Klink confirmed the right front tire had blown out and went to get the spare. It couldn’t be that hard to change a tire, could it? But apparently he wasn’t to find out tonight, since thieves had gotten to the spare tire.

Opening the car door, he sat on the seat for a few moments to consider. Once he made it back to the main road, he was less than five miles from camp (he believed). The main road also made it possible that he could get a ride, something that would never happen on this wagon track he was on now. He could sit here, tired and hungry all night or walk in the dark. The thought that moving would be warmer than hiding in the car made up his mind for him. The flashlight helped him find the two papers in his briefcase that were important and he stuffed them in his coat. He only carried the briefcase to make him look important and busy, but for now he shoved it under the front seat so it wouldn’t get stolen. Always a chance somebody would find the car before he could come back for it in the morning, but only if he wasn’t there to be rescued with the car.

It was an hour later when he was despairing of finding the main road that the heavy, solid wall of rain started. What had he ever done to deserve the luck of the damned? His whole life had been like this, and there were times he really hated being who he was. Little Wilhelm had been a Momma’s boy, simply because she was the only one who ever thought he was special. Both parents had instilled the importance of his aristocratic heritage in him, even as they had little or no money to go with that grand name. Wilhelm had never shown a talent or aptitude for anything, even as their money situation had gotten desperate. His father had been right, about the army being the only place for great mediocrities like Wilhelm. If Germany hadn’t been desperate for fighters in the Great War, he probably wouldn’t have made it into the Luftwaffe!

In running the only escape proof prison camp in Germany, and perhaps the world, Colonel Wilhelm Klink had finally found his calling. The sad part was, he hated it! One of his main reasons for bucking for general so hard was to get away from the thought that all he was good for was holding people against their will. The other main reason was Hogan, whose natural skill and brains commanded respect from everyone. It would never be that way for Klink, the pathetic fool. Because of his luck, who he was and what he was, Wilhelm was lonely. He only wanted to find somebody who would stay with him of their own free will. Every prisoner at roll call mocked his inability to find such a companion. Right now, he was stumbling thru this world as best he could, trying not to see himself as other saw him. Wilhelm’s fantasies of ability and control were all that kept him breathing.

Something loud popped off to his right, and Klink turned his flashlight to see what it was. Shouting German words pointed out his light and more popping came his way. Realizing it was gunfire, Klink dove for the ground just as something bit into his head. Vaguely aware of landing on his side, Wilhelm was blinded by the light of the flashlight pointing into his eyes. Somewhere a familiar voice whispered words he couldn’t seem to understand, even though he knew the language.

“Blimey, that’s not our contact, that’s Klink!”

“Do you think he’s dead?” Wilhelm was sure his hunger and earlier thoughts just made him think that second voice had a French accent.

“Don’t know.” The third voice confirmed this wishful thinking, because the third voice was Hogan’s. “Lead the SS away, then get home. I’ll see to Klink.”

“Why not leave the kraut for his buddies to find?” Annoyance and dislike made the British accent even thicker somehow.

“Taking bets on what his replacement will be like? Do what I said. And stay safe.”

“Yes, sir.” This acknowledgement had a ringing quality, like more than two voices answered at once. Wilhelm knew he was delusional, near death or unconscious, simply because he was hearing what he most wanted to hear. Hogan could do anything! With skill and wit, grace and charm, Hogan made even extraordinary men feel foolish. For whatever reason, Klink’s dreamed up voice of Hogan was taking care of him, so Klink would be fine. He wanted to thank the voice of Hogan, but his voice wasn’t working. Wilhelm didn’t have it in him to care.

Bushes softly rustled, before gloved hands gently examined his head in the light. Wilhelm could only let it happen, as whatever commands his sluggish brain could conjure up were steadily ignored by his body. Arms wrapped around him and moved him away from the light. It was the silly logic of a dream, because moving the flashlight would have been easier in the real world. Or maybe the light made them a target for the shooters, but he didn’t care about that either. The body he was cradled to was warm and Klink was glad to let the source of that warmth do whatever it wanted to him.

“Come on, Klink! Open your eyes.” Only this command made Wilhelm realize he had closed them at some point. Laying on his back, he was aware of warmth over him and floor beneath him. There was pain in his head now, where before there had only been numbness. He missed the numbness, but the worry in Hogan’s voice was a nice distraction. In his dreams, Hogan wasn’t an enemy, so he had to be dreaming still. But Wilhelm’s dream body was now responding to his instructions, so he could grin up at Hogan as he opened his eyes. “Way to follow orders, Colonel Klink! You have a head wound and need to stay awake. Talk to me, tell me what you’re doing out here.”

“Long meeting, dark, tired, lost, flat tire, wet. In dreams, I don’t usually have to explain.” Words came out before he could censor them, but who would his dream tell?

“Dreams?” Hogan seemed to hesitate a moment before continuing. “Oh, yes, this is defiantly a dream. I’m safely sleeping the night away in my bunk. But talk to me anyway.”

“Dream. I’m no longer wet or cold, so I’m probably freezing to death.”

“For the purposes of this dream, I brought you to this collapsed barn to hide from the SS. There were more of them in the woods than I thought. They tend to shoot first, ask questions and then shoot again. I took off your wet clothes and am keeping you warm with my body heat. The bullet wound is deep but your thick skull saved your life.”

“Hey! In my dreams people are supposed to care about me.” Klink felt a little giddy as he replied to the face floating above him. Hogan’s face was floating free of a body, and even the sides of his face were lost to darkness. The Luftwaffe trained colonel said Hogan was simply wearing all black and had removed the blackout camouflage grease from the front of his face, but why would Hogan have done any of those things? Silly dreams, silly dream logic.

“I care, Klink, in my own special way. Now talk to me.”

“People in dreams always know all the answers.”

“But you don’t, and dreams help you figure them out. So talk to me about your deepest problems.”

“Funny. What problems could I possibly have?” Wilhelm actually did laugh at that. Giddy laughter that sounded hysterical even in his confused state. Hogan slipped a gentle hand over his mouth as he looked away. Wilhelm couldn’t focus on anything beyond the concern on Hogan’s face and wishing it was real. Klink stopped laughing to consider that idea and the hand was removed. “Hogan, I had all my problems trapped in a corner of my mind, where I didn’t have to deal with them. I could pretend to be someone liked, normal or useful. Then I met you and my problems multiplied. So much of my effort is directed toward not talking to you that I can’t even do it in dreams, so leave me alone.”

Hogan looked down at him with a confused look for a long moment. “Fine, nothing too personal then. How about politics? Why don’t you tell me why you never joined the Nazi party?”

“Hogan!” Wilhelm shook his head at that very personal question, but stopped when it sent waves of pain thru his head. After they passed Wilhelm opened his eyes to see Hogan’s worried expression. “I’m stupid, I know. I can only dream of being good at something, anything! But not even I am stupid enough to think I could be open about myself. It’s always been very clear what is done with the likes of me, and that was before the Nazi party! My ‘beloved’ Fuehrer would imprison, torture, shame and kill me if he knew what I was.”

“You have Jewish blood? I’ve heard those camps are nothing like the propaganda films, but few things ever are as the films show.”

“It is not just the Jews we must hate now. The American expression I heard, stuck with me. Gypsies, queers and David’s stars. It doesn’t even cover the Blacks, but we never had many of them here. Your Sergeant was the first one I ever met and I recognize that he is more competent and intelligent than I am.” Klink heard a soft, girlish giggle escape his throat and wondered at it for a moment. “If head wounds make me have dreams like this, maybe I should get shot more often!”

“What, a talking dream?”

“Usually you know everything, just like you do in real life. You come to me and take what you want and I let you. Most all of my dreams are variations of that, and my nightmares are when you mock me or turn from me in disgust.”

 “Did you hear that? Footsteps in the rain?” The face floated away, to look for the footsteps.

“No, I hear only my dream asking me to explain the facts of life to him.” The face still wasn’t looking at him, so Wilhelm reached for it. His hands had been waiting for permission and for a free-floating face it was surprisingly hard to pull it down to him. “For this one dream, I have found something I know more about than you.”

Wilhelm grinned at Hogan’s not close enough face for a long moment before bringing their lips together. The smile disappeared quicker than it had when the tire blew, as Klink realized his dream was turning into a nightmare. Hogan wasn’t kissing him back. Pulling their lips apart, Wilhelm leaned to where Hogan’s ear should be and made his argument.

“Please Hogan! Kiss me and I swear to believe everything you say, no matter how outrageous! Touch me and I will feed your men caviar and champagne! Let this dream continue, because here my noble family isn’t dirt poor and I can furnish our bedroom with luxury so we never have to leave it.” Somehow, the bodiless head was moving him and Wilhelm found his back on the dirt floor once again. He closed his eyes, not wanting to see the disgust on Hogan’s face.

“Stay with me, Klink. Colonel, open your eyes!” The voice was whispering, but the command was clearly there.

“We are of equal rank, so you can’t order me to face my nightmares.”

“You need to stay awake, but there’s somebody out there. We’re not safe.”

“I’ve never been safe, that’s why I’m scared all the time.” Wilhelm let himself get angry, but kept his voice soft so as to not make his headache worse. Opening his eyes allowed him to show his nightmare that he had survived worse. “The kids teased and called me names, but they would have gotten really cruel if they knew the truth. When I understood how perverted I was, I knew I’d never find love. Sex was the best I could hope for and I’ve only ever had sex with one guy. During the Great War, my roommate in the barracks would make me do things to him. If he had known how much I enjoyed what he made me do, he would have turned me in. I was resigned to a life alone, lying about who I was and feigning interest in girls. I didn’t want to be Kommandant, but I thought at least I wouldn’t be the only one not having sex. My biggest challenge was going to be limiting the fantasies I had about the men in camp, at least that’s what I thought.”

A hand reached up to trace the floating face, the one that felt so real under his hand that the other hand had to touch it too. Klink’s anger dissipated at that touch, leaving regret in its place. “But the devil sent an angel to tempt me, and I gave in to that temptation. My biggest challenge has been keeping the Gestapo away from you. I don’t know all the things you get up to, but I know they would kill you if they knew what I know. A docile, subservient Colonel Hogan would have been handsome, but unremarkable. If you had accepted the role of a prisoner to his captor, I would have been fine. But you challenged my betters, talked circles around me, stole my schnapps, cigars and heart. Love between men is impossible, but you make the impossible work for you all the time!”

“Klink, um, Wilhelm. You’re injured, so you need to stay positive.” Hogan’s soft voice held concern, which caused Wilhelm to wonder if a dream that turned into a nightmare could turn back into a dream. “Why don’t you tell me about your happiest memory?”

“Nope, still a nightmare.” Klink laughed a little at Hogan’s confused look, like the dream man hadn’t known about the question Klink had just found an answer to. “My happiest memory, is when we were in London. Walking down the streets with you beside me, I could pretend our reasons for being there were different. I was afraid of capture, torture and death, but those are still my happiest days. I wanted to tell London High Command the truth and beg for asylum. I even considered getting you to sponsor me, but I knew better than to speak of it. You care for your men, which is rarer than you think, and you would not have left them to Burkhalter’s mercy. Had they granted me asylum, you would have returned to the fight, or America, but you would have left me. I hate this war, but I often wish for it to continue simply because this is the only time I will get to spend with you.”

“Wilhelm, I…” A loud thump a few feet away was followed by a muffled groan and stopped Hogan’s words.

“Could you at least learn to fall quieter, Andrew?” Hogan was grinning at the whispered voice with the British accent, and left Klink to go toward that noise. Klink closed his eyes to the sudden chill and wished the bullet wound would hurry up and kill him already, anything to get out of this nightmare.

“Guys, where are the patrols?”

“We lost ‘em, Sir, and split up to find you. The others will head home in twenty minutes if they don’t find you.”

“I give orders for a reason.” A heavy sigh that was somehow affectionate. “Your punishment for not following my orders is you get to help carry Klink back to camp. Wilson will decide if he needs a doctor or hospital. Don’t listen to Klink, he’s delusional and making even less sense than normal.”

The anger was back, overwhelming Klink’s physical pain and heartbreak. Here he was, pouring out his heart to a figment of his imagination and that figment was passing him off to others! He wasn’t a weakling, and he would rather walk then be treated this way by his own nightmares. Deciding that, Klink bolted straight up and slammed into something that registered as wood before he blacked out.



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May 2014

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