I don't own anything related to Hogan's Heroes. I do, however, own the text, storyline and original characters created herein. Thanks.
"I'm going to England."
His mother's eyes immediately changed from expectant to concerned, and a little fearful. She knitted her brow and swallowed before she spoke. "Rob?" Her tone indicated that there was more to say; her face, that she couldn't say it.
"They need men to teach flyers how to pilot the B-17s." He shrugged. "I happen to be pretty good at that."
She nodded, words still caught in her throat. It wasn't like her to be speechless; it was something Hogan knew meant she wasn't saying everything on her mind, and what was on her mind probably wasn't happy for him, or she'd be saying it. "Mom?" he prodded, gently.
"When do you go?" she asked.
Hogan wished his father was home. He would have liked there to have been support for his mother when he told her, but his father was away on business, and he wouldn't be back until it was too late. "Thursday."
"Two days?" she protested. "That's not enough time for—"
"It's just enough time for me to come out to pack up my long johns, pat the dog, and say goodbye," he said. He smiled. "Mom, I'm in the Army. I'm lucky they gave me this long."
She smiled back at him, self-deprecating. "I know. It's never long enough for me, though," she said, almost apologetically. She stopped smiling. "England."
Hogan stopped, too. "Yeah. England."
"You want this, Rob?"
He shrugged. "I love to fly, mom. And the B-17s are such great planes. They have so much power, so much potential. Imagine how much sooner this war could end if we could use them properly."
"We're not even in the war," his mother said, almost accused.
"No," Hogan admitted. "But we need to help England. We need to help the countries that are falling to Hitler. We need to do our part."
"You mean you need to do yours." She smiled softly at her son. He believed every word he was saying, with every cell in his body. And she had always promised to support his love of flying. But that didn't mean she had to forget that flying in the military meant danger. "You'll end up flying over Germany, won't you?" she said. It wasn't a question.
Hogan dropped his eyes. Apparently he had thought of that, too. "Probably."
She arched an eyebrow, tried to stay cheeky. "Under some other country's flag."
"Maybe." He laughed softly. "At least it'll be one of the good guys."
He relaxed slightly as a small bit of the tension left his mother's face. He had feared this part of the situation: telling her that he was heading closer to the action. They had always been close, and could read each other like a book. She wasn't fooling him, even now, but he knew she was bringing herself under control for his sake.
"Hooray," she said with a smirk.
"Aw, mom," he said, coming into her arms. It was always easy to hug her, and always comforting to be held by her, no matter how old he was, or how much bigger than her he was. "It'll be all right."
"I know," she said as she leaned against his arm. The waiver in her voice made Hogan glad he couldn't see her face. He felt her clutch him tighter. "I'll just… miss you, that's all. You won't be able to call as often."
"I'll write," he said.
"Then you'd better improve your handwriting," she teased, her words lighter than her tone.
"I'll print," he quipped. They released their hold on each other. "Mom, I'll be all right," he promised.
"You told me that you're good," she said, with a smile she was forcing to stay on her face. "You'd better be as good as you say."
"Scout's honor, mom. They asked me to go because I'm good. If I wasn't, I'd be messing up a whole lot of other people's lives. And I wouldn't want to do that."
"Teaching them all your wicked ways," she said, acceptance coming slowly, even if happiness about the situation never would. She smiled a more genuine, but hesitant, smile now. "Teach them well, Rob," she advised. "Teach them so well that you never have to go yourself. You understand?"
"Yes, mom. That sounds pretty good to me."
"Good. Now, go upstairs and get washed up for dinner. Without your father here, it'll be your job to carve the roast."
"And to give thanks, before you demolish that poor meal without even having a chance to taste it!"
"I'll do it!" Hogan agreed, heading up the stairs. Half way up, he turned and watched as his mother fidgeted and then went back to her preparations of the evening meal. "Hey, mom."
She looked up, paused. "Yes?"
"I love you."
A real smile that warmed the young man right through. "I love you, too."
He smiled and turned back up the stairs.