A/N: I do not own Hogan's Heroes or any of it's characters. However, I do own the DVD set and play them often. This is a short one-shot in which the men have no idea that Hogan's rendezvous with Tiger has led to tragedy.
The Night The Colonel Died
LeBeau, Kinch, Carter and Newkirk were all sitting at the table in the common room, each with a cup of hot coffee in front of him; Newkirk also held a lit cigarette between his fingers.
Checking his watch before picking up his coffee cup, Kinch took a sip of the hot brew. "Colonel Hogan should've been back thirty minutes ago," he said.
"I wish he'd let one of us go with 'im," Newkirk added.
LeBeau make a clucking noise as he rolled his eyes. "I'm sure the Colonel would love you being there on his date with Tiger. You would be, how do you Americans say, a third wheel."
"LeBeau, if there's one thing ole Newkirk knows how to do is keep me eyes shut at the proper times," Newkirk replied sarcastically.
Outside, the wind could be heard howling with intensity as the downpour continued, the thunder crashing like a pair of cymbals and the intense lightening lit up the inside of the barracks as it did the outside. It wasn't a fit night to be outdoors, not for man, beast, or Colonels on romantic rendezvous with French resistance leaders.
Suddenly the lights inside the barracks flickered and briefly went out as a strong gust of wind blew open the barracks door allowing the wind and rain inside. LeBeau jumped to his feet and ran to the door. With some effort, he struggled to get the door closed as the lights came back on. But when the lights came back on, there was someone else standing near the table soaking wet; it was Colonel Hogan.
It took a few seconds for LeBeau to walk past Hogan and sit down. He blew on his hands and rubbed them together before grabbing his coffee cup and taking a sip.
"Sacre chats, that is quite a storm outside," he said. "Perhaps the colonel is waiting for the storm to ease up before he comes back."
"Boy, if I was with somebody like Tiger," Carter replied with a goofy grin. "I sure wouldn't hurry back."
"Andrew, what are trying rather poorly not to say if you don't mind me askin'?" Newkirk asked.
Carter shrugged. "All I'm sayin' is that if I was with somebody who looked liked Tiger, I'd be in no hurry for the storm to end."
Newkirk stared at Carter. "Why does that make sense to even me?" he asked the others.
"Still, I can't help but worry when the colonel's out alone," said Kinch. "Especially tonight with all the heavy Kraut patrols in the area since the last sabotage job we did."
"Ah amour," LeBeau said with a sigh of contentment. "You two peasants can't see the colonel needs no excuse to be with Tiger nor she with him. But they both know how long they can be with each other and that it would be dangerous to stay even a minute longer." The little Frenchman sighed as he thought of the beautiful French underground leader, and the romance that had blossomed between her and their commander.
"Still," Kinch said, checking his watch again. "I'll be glad when Colonel Hogan gets back. I'm beginning to worry."
Hogan sighed wearily and shook his head sadly. "I wish I could come back," was all he said. "But I can't. Not this time. You won't find out until morning unfortunately. But I needed to say goodbye and to thank you." He sat down slowly on the bench. Removing his crush cap, he ran a hand over his damp black hair, strands of which were plastered to his forehead. "You'll also find out come morning that I was caught by a Kraut patrol after I left Tiger. She's safe by-the-way, but she doesn't know. I managed to take out a couple of them before they got me."
"Something feels wrong," Kinch said. "I can't explain it, but something doesn't feel right."
"Oui, I feel it too," LeBeau added. "And I can't explain it either. It just feels like the colonel is trying to make contact with us somehow. But that can't be it."
Kinch looked at the little Frenchman with concerned eyes. "That's the same thing I was feeling, LeBeau."
Newkirk took a drag on his cigarette. "Now that you chaps mention it, I feel the same way."
"That's really weird," said Carter nervously, "So do I." He looked around and seemed to look right past Hogan. "What do you think it means?"
"Take care of Tiger," Hogan said. "Make sure she knows I loved her with all my heart. Also, take care of the child she's carrying." He smiled sadly. "She told me tonight. We both think it's gonna be a boy. But even if it's a girl, it doesn't matter. I trust you fellas to be there for my son or daughter, and for you fellas and Tiger to tell my child about me. I know all of you will make certain my son or daughter will know about me."
LeBeau suddenly wiped his face with both hands as his lower lip trembled.
"What's wrong, Louie?" asked Newkirk.
"You know what's wrong just as we do, Pierre," LeBeau answered. "My grandmother always said a person could tell. She knew when my brother had died before we were contacted and told. Mon Colonel is not coming back. Not tonight. Not ever."
"What d'you mean Colonel Hogan's not coming back?" asked Carter. "Colonel Hogan wouldn't abandon us and leave."
"He didn't abandon us, Carter," said the Frenchman. "He was taken from us."
"I didn't have a choice, Carter," Hogan said with a grim smile. Touching the neck area of his khaki shirt, he pulled his hand away and saw his palm wet with blood and water. He knew his time was growing short. "Fellas, I don't have a lot of time, and I need to say a few things. Kinch, I need you to write my parents. Let them know I loved them, and died doing what I wanted to do; what I had to do. Be the leader of this unit; be the leader I know you can be. Also, make sure Klink's no-escape record stands. Don't let my death lead to Klink's trip to the Russian front. Newkirk, look after Carter. I know he gets on your nerves sometimes, but try and be patient with him. You'll have to take him under your wing as I did. Be patient with him. Carter, be confident in yourself. You don't give yourself enough credit. I expect to hear great things about you. And finally, LeBeau. I never met anybody with more passion, more love, or more commitment than you. Don't ever lose that passion or love you have. Use it to rebuild France as I know you can." He sighed again. "I wish you fellas didn't have to hear the news of my death in the morning." He slowly got to his feet. "I have to go now. But I wanted to see you all one last time and to say goodbye. I'm very proud of all of you and what we accomplished here."
The lights suddenly went out as another gust of wind blew open the door again. This time Kinch got up and hurrying to the door, closed it as the lights came back on. Hogan was gone.
As Kinch started back towards the table, he suddenly paused. Something shiny on the floor caught his eye. Bending down, he picked it up and held it in his hand. The others turned in their seats and looked at him, puzzled.
"What did you find, Kinch?" asked LeBeau. "What is it?"
Kinch looked pained as he ran a finger over the object before he handed it to LeBeau. A single tear rolled down Kinch's cheek. LeBeau gasped when he saw what it was.
"What's wrong, Louie?" asked Newkirk becoming frightened. LeBeau took Newkirk's hand and dropped the small object into it. "Blimey," was all he could say. He swallowed the lump in his throat as his eyes became moist.
"What's wrong?" asked a confused Carter. Newkirk put the tiny object on the table in front of the young sergeant who, after he saw it, felt his eyes brimming and his lower lip trembling. "Damn," he muttered quietly.
The tiny object on the table was a silver eagle insignia from Hogan's shirt collar and was not only stained with blood, but was wet as if it had been out in the rain.
"What do you think this means?" asked Carter, choking on his words.
The men all stared at the tiny silver eagle insignia. Each man had similar thought as did his friends.
"What does it mean, Andrew?" said Newkirk as he wiped something from his eye with the back of his hand. "I'll tell you exactly what it means." He fingered the insignia in such a way as to be afraid he would break it. "It means the night the Colonel died."