Title: Silent Night

Author: Settiai

Disclaimer: "Hogan's Heroes" and other related characters are not properties of myself. No infringement is intended. This story, such as it is, was written as a sign of respect and love for the characters, the show, and their creator. I claim no ownership of the aforementioned show and characters.

Rating: PG

Summary: The work of a hero is never complete--even on Christmas Eve.

Feedback: Comments and helpful criticisms are always appreciated.

E-mail: lynn_foster@settiai.com

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The cold wind of winter blew through the forest. The branches on the trees creaked and rattled, making a noise loud enough to cover the footsteps of the five men walking below them. A crescent moon shone high above them in the sky, illuminating the forest enough for the band of men to see where they were going.

After a few moments, the sound of men and machinery was heard. One of the men held up his hand and motioned for the others to split up and head in various directions. Nodding their heads to show that they understood, the men headed towards the edge of the forest.

When they reached it, they were met by the high fence surrounding a munitions depot. None of them seemed very worried though. Perhaps it was the fact that they had done this a million times before. Or maybe the fact that it was Christmas Eve played a small role in it. Then again, the fact that at least half of the guards were celebrating the good "cheers" of Christmas in a tent on the other side of the place might have had something to do with it. Whatever it was, they seemed unafraid.

At the flick of their leader's wrist, the men set out in opposite directions. The lead man stayed at the edge of the forest, keeping his eye fixed on the watch that was on his wrist. He ducked several times as the lights of a nearby guard tower swept too close to where he was standing.

After half an hour had passed, the man was becoming obviously agitated. What was taking them so long? His worries turned to relief after a few more minutes had passed, however. The four men were all sneaking quietly back towards him, keeping close to the ground to avoid detection. When they reached him, the all snuck back to the forest as quickly, and silently, as they could.

Their retreat was hindered by the loud explosions coming from the depot behind them. As they threw themselves to the ground, the leader shot a look at the explosives "expert." The young man just shrugged his shoulders, a slightly bewildered look on his face.

"Sorry Colonel... It must have taken more time than we expected."

The colonel gave an exasperated sigh, and then shot his head up. Looking behind them, he gave a silent curse.

"Come on, I think we've been spotted."

As the men dashed back into the woods, bullets shot past them. Several times, curses rang out in French as a bullet came too close for one of the men's comfort. The men twisted their way through the trees, losing their pursuers after a few minutes.

About ten minutes later, the men were back at their "home" Stalag 13. They slid through the secret entrance to their underground tunnels, and then headed towards the entrance to Barracks 2, which was above them.

Quietly, the men slipped back into the barracks. Motioning his head towards their bunks, Colonel Robert Hogan slipped into his quarters. The four men looked at each other for a few moments, and then went to lay down on their bunks.

In a few minutes they were all sound asleep, dreaming of home, family, friends... One man lay there with his eyes open wide however. After a few minutes, he climbed off of his bunk and walked over to the colonel's door. Taking a deep breath, he gingerly opened the door--knowing very well how much the colonel liked to be woken up.

To his relief, Colonel Hogan was sitting on his bunk with a smile playing on his face. It looked almost like he was expecting him. Hogan motioned for the young man to come over, but he merely shook his head.

"I just wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas, Colonel Hogan. I mean, since I messed up with the explosives earlier and..."

Sergeant Andrew Carter trailed off, giving the colonel one of his infamous "puppy-dog" looks. Hogan merely rolled his eyes.

"Merry Christmas to you too, Carter. Now will you go to sleep?"

A mischievous twinkle appeared in his eyes.

"You know that Santa won't come if you're awake."

Carter flashed him a large grin.

"I'm not a kid anymore, Colonel. I know better than to believe in San..."

His voice trailed off and a worried look came to his face.

"Um... Night Colonel Hogan!"

The young man practically rushed back to his bunk, and Hogan gave a weak laugh as the boyish young man hastily left his quarters. Then, wincing slightly in pain, he went back to wrapping a cloth around his shoulder. He had been glazed slightly by a bullet, but he hadn't mentioned it to his men.

"That's one of my Christmas presents for them. No need to make them worry over me."

Walking over to his window and looking out onto the silent night outside, he gave a weak smile.

"Who knows... Maybe by next year we'll be home. Then we'll actually be able to say that we had a "silent night." Humming quietly to himself, Hogan walked away from the window.

"Silent night, holy night,
All is calm, all is bright..."