A/N: Too much work leads to crazed plot bunnies.
Complete, unbeta-ed and as always, there is no profit being made here and no claims being made by this author on anything related to Hogan's Heroes.
To Everything, There is a Season
"I don't believe it. I just don't believe it. How could this have happened?"
"Stop making such a bloody big fuss about it, Andrew. Stuff like this happens all the time."
Carter looked up from his seat at the common room table, desolation adding years to his features. "How can you be so cold? This is horrible! We've lost an important member of the team!"
"Oh, for the love of --" Newkirk muttered, tossing a pleading look heavenward.
"This is indeed a sad day, Carter." LeBeau's expression was somber, but his words carried distinct tongue-in-cheek overtones. Tossing his towel onto the end of Newkirk's bunk to dry, he took a seat beside Kinch at the table. To everyone's surprise, he reached into his pocket and pulled out one of the much-coveted chocolate bars included in the Red Cross packages they each received. It had been some time since the last delivery, making chocolate a hot commodity around the P.O.W. camp. They looked on with jealous interest while LeBeau peeled the paper from one end of his chocolate bar, broke off a piece of the candy and popped it into his mouth. A blissful smile spread over his face.
Newkirk's eyes took on a larcenous glint. Silent as one of the fleet-footed mice that shared their barracks, he took a meandering path around the room and came up behind LeBeau. Knowing what was coming, the other men watched without voicing a warning to the intended victim. Before LeBeau even knew what was happening, Newkirk reached around him, deftly plucked a corner off the chocolate bar and fled to safety on the other side of the woodstove. LeBeau uttered a gargled sound of outrage and his chewing grew agitated, but he left Newkirk to happily munch upon the bit of pilfered candy.
Heaving a mournful sigh, Carter reached up and removed his cap. "This is just awful."
Olsen, Braveheart and Paxton traded smiles. Leaving his bunk and fighting to keep his amusement from showing, Olsen walked over to the table and landed a slap to Carter's back.
"Buck up, buddy. It's tough losing a member of the team, but somehow . . ." he thumped a fist over his heart and his voice deepened with high drama. "We'll find a way to go on."
Kinch reached a long arm across the table and gripped Carter by the shoulder. "Pull yourself together and put on a brave face."
LeBeau's lips trembled with suppressed laughter. He quickly bit off some more chocolate, pointedly kept from looking Carter's way.
Newkirk paused licking chocolate from his fingers and swept the table's occupants with a look of disgust. "You've all gone potty."
Carter's gaze turned inward, sadness muting his voice. "Everything seemed fine a few days ago, and then last night, it was too late. If only we'd paid attention, maybe we could have done something."
Kinch frowned. "We've been busy, Carter, and besides, it isn't something we'd be on the look-out for in the first place." His gaze swung toward the other end of the barracks when Hogan walked out of his quarters. Their CO poured some coffee and ambled to the table. "Could you tell anything was wrong, sir?"
"Nope." Hogan waved off LeBeau's offer of some chocolate. "Forget about it, Carter."
Sorrow still lined Carter's face. "But what are we supposed to do now?"
Hogan sipped at his coffee. "Find another hollow tree stump. And this time, we check for termites."
Thank you for reading. Reviews are savored like chocolate. Flames are given the same consideration as brussel sprouts.