Life is but a Dream

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.

When Klink woke up in the hospital, it was the empty room that let him know he was awake. No flowers or get well cards littered the private room and he had laid there for two hours before a nurse came to check on him. Alone, forgotten and in pain, so it was life as normal. The doctors released him for full duty five days later. They didn't say it, but he could see from their faces that they believed he was faking the continuing pain in his head. Klink had sighed and accepted their condemnation. He had stayed in the lonely room, recuperating and thinking about ways to die. His dreams and puffed up arrogance had deserted him, so he had only reality to spend time with.

A private from Stalag 13 had picked him up in the same car that had caused this mess, but Klink was too tired to ask how they had found it. They arrived in camp after evening roll call and Klink had made it to his quarters without seeing anybody. He changed clothes and carried a large glass of schnapps to bed with him. Sitting on the edge of the bed, he stared at the alcohol instead of drinking it. The room was silent, so Klink was visibly startled when a large hand took the glass from him. Heart pounding, Klink watched the glass lift up so Hogan could drink it. Wide-eyed and mouth open, Klink watched Hogan shiver a little from the burn of such a large glass.

"That'll help me warm up, thanks." Hogan kicked his shoes off as he sat next to Klink, who finally found his words.

"Hogan! Get back to your barracks this minute!"

"Normally I would, you know how I love following orders. But everybody would get in trouble if I was in my bunk come morning. How's your head?"

"The headache won't go away, but the doctors think I'm faking." Klink reached up to rub at the spot that had impacted on the wood. It was a wound he couldn't explain to the curious doctors, since he didn't understand how he could hurt himself so bad while unconscious. "Wait! Why would there be trouble if you were in your bunk?"

Hogan didn't answer right away, as he was changing position on the bed. Klink was still rubbing his head and only realized where Hogan was shifting to when he felt warmth surround him. Klink dropped his hands to the legs around him and turned wide eyes on the body behind him. Gentle hands turned his face back to the front and began massaging Klink's head.

"Hogan, your hands are like ice!"

"Yeah, the cold might help your headache. If not, they'll warm up shortly. I didn't have my gloves on me when your replacement sent me to the cooler."

"Why did he send you to the cooler?" Klink had a hard time forcing those words out, he was trying to decide if he was asleep or not. This felt real, but Hogan was touching him so it had to be a dream again.

"Because he could. That's why I didn't visit you in the hospital, so I hope you weren't disappointed." It didn't even occur to Klink to doubt that Hogan could have come to see him in the hospital if he wanted. Klink was trying to decide if he should admit to wishing for death to ease his loneliness or pretend he had people lined up to see him. But he couldn't think well enough to form even a partially coherent lie, he was mainly concerned with feeling Hogan wrapped around him.

"Hogan, is this a dream?"There was a long moment of silence as the massaging hands moved down to Klink's neck.

"Life is but a dream, Wili, so you can call me Rob."

"In dreams you are Rob, but I can't imagine being Wili in this or any life." Klink could hear his normal level of despair creeping into his voice. Even as it embarrassed him, Klink wished Rob would fix it.

"Wili, I don't think you're going to believe me, but what I am about to tell you is true. Even skilled people can get lonely." Klink's breath hitched at the words being whispered into his ear, but Rob kept talking. "I can talk people into doing almost anything, but the most seductive thing I ever heard came from you. You said that you saw my manipulations and still wanted me. Most people get close enough to see that part of me and leave, but you understand it's part of me. I've searched my whole life for that kind of acceptance, and I can't let you get away just because we are enemies."

"Beautiful words, my dream." Wili sighed, and closed his eyes as he leaned into the strong torso behind him. Hands other than his own hugged Wilhelm for the first time in a long time and Wili smiled. "Your hands have warmed up."

"So they have." Replied a soft voice and then Hogan began to move. Klink had just started cursing himself for a fool for disturbing his dream when he realized Rob was taking off his clothes. Wili could only stare as a broad chest emerged from the uniform. As he took off his socks and pants, Rob started speaking. "I've often laughed at the old fashioned nightgown you wear, with the pointed little hat, but I finally understand its appeal."

Wili had to swallow a couple of times before he could speak. "What appeal?"

Rob had his hands at the waistband of his underwear, so Wili's wide eyes almost missed the mischievous look on Rob's face. "Easy access."

"Easy…" Wili was trying to ask what Rob was talking about accessing, but a naked, mostly hard Rob drained the blood from Wili's brain. A large hand shoved Wili's back onto the bed, while another pulled up the nightgown for access. Then Colonel Robert Hogan, enemy of the Fatherland, was kissing him and all was right with the universe. Rob stroked Wili's erection and ignored his own, which stopped Wili's brain from working. Nobody had ever been concerned with making Wili happy, not even during this intimate act. Rob trailed kisses down Wili's jaw line to do something exotic to his throat and Wile moaned his pleasure. He wanted this to last forever, but his luck held and put a thought into his brain. This wasn't sex, it was making love and Wili could only gasp as this knowledge put him over the edge.

"I guess you like that." A husky voice murmured into Wili's throat and caused his penis to twitch hopefully. Wili looked down and confirmed Rob was physically interested in him. Wili's response was in a commanding voice that would have made the army proud if he had used it in other circumstances.

"Lay on your back." Rob looked up at him in surprise, but grinned and did as he was told, for once. Wili turned perpendicular to Rob and positioned himself to taste the erection in front of him. Salty, but wonderfully responsive to the things Wili was doing with his tongue. As Wili slowly took more of the large cock in his mouth, Rob was too far gone to notice if Wili moistened his own fingers. When a wet finger slowly shoved its way into Rob, that he noticed and bucked wildly in response to. Wili's normally klutzy hands had long, graceful fingers and the second finger touched a spot in Rob that had him biting his own hand to keep from yelling. A sweet eternity of probing and sucking before Wili buried his aristocratic nose in Rob's pubic hair. Biting hard enough to draw blood, Rob found completion.

Rob could only lay on the bed and pant for several minutes. Wili was perfectly content to lay on Rob and watch him breathe, trailing fingers across that broad chest. In the dim light from the fire, Wili wondered at the fading bruises Rob had, but was unwilling to ask about them. When Rob shivered, it seemed to bring him around. Pulling Wili with him, Rob arranged them under the blankets, facing each other, arms and legs entwined. With a soft kiss on Wili's forehead, Rob spoke before he could fall asleep.

"I think, Wili, we've finally found your talent."

"I guess you liked that." Wili allowed himself a smirk; it was really nice to be appreciated!

"Never had better." Rob was mostly asleep, so Wili could accept the words as true. Wili watched Rob fall asleep, wonder, excitement and hope swirling in his mind and keeping him awake for a long time. With Hogan, the impossible was accomplished daily!

When his alarm went off, Klink had been surprised to see he was alone. The scale of dried semen on his stomach glued his nightgown to his body and hurt to peel off. He was so angry at his dreams for getting his hopes up that he stomped about until roll call. He planned on using any excuse to order Hogan to the cooler, since the damn man was the cause of all his pain, but Hogan wasn't there. A startled Shultz had to tell him Hogan was in solitary and a confused Klink had wondered how his imagination knew about that. Dismissing the prisoners, Klink had retreated to his office and found his replacement hadn't submitted a single piece of paperwork the entire time he was gone.

It took an hour of searching to find the report that sentenced Hogan to thirty days of solitary for an attempted escape. The sentence started four days after the Kommandant's meeting, but it took another twenty minutes to find the report on those four days. Another half hour passed before Klink could calm himself enough to call Shultz and have Hogan released from the cooler. From his window, Klink watched as excited prisoners ran to greet their leader and escort him to the barracks. Talking to the men that surrounded him, Hogan didn't look in Klink's direction. Klink stared after Hogan long after he was out of sight, trying to figure this out.

How much of his memories, since that damn meeting, had actually happened? Had Hogan been too busy to look at him or had he gotten what he wanted and was no longer interested in Wili? Or was last night another dream, vivid and bright but gone when the sun came? How would Hogan have even gotten out of the cooler to see him, and if he could do that, why did he go back? Klink sighed and rested his forehead against the window. He was Wilhelm Klink, and Hogan could get him to do whatever he wanted. Hogan ran this camp and only stayed to annoy the Germans. If he could accept being Hogan's pet kraut, Klink wouldn't have to worry so much.

Another sigh and Klink turned to sit at his desk, hiding behind the mounds of paper. The headache that Rob's fingers had taken away came back at the sight of that tedious work. Pulling a small glass bottle out of his drawer, he allowed himself two of the rationed aspirin. Putting the pills in his mouth he reached for his water glass, only to find it empty. The water pitcher was also empty and a bitter taste was expanding in his mouth as the pills dissolved. Desperate, he almost ran to the decanter to pour two fingers of schnapps. That got rid of the taste, but before he could put the glass down the office door burst open. Klink turned and almost dropped the glass at what he saw.

"Not even after lunch and you are already drinking on the job!"

"My water was empty and the pills…"

"Bah! I do not want to hear your feeble excuses! Just know this will go in my report."

"What report, Major Hochstetter?" Klink set the glass down, knowing the Gestapo wasn't interested in the truth.

"I will ask the questions here, Klink! The doctors would not let me interrogate you before, but now that you are on full duty, you will explain this to me."

"Explain what?" Confused, Klink made his way over to his desk. The paperwork would make a nice buffer between him and Hochstetter's temper. If he was lucky, it might even absorb some of the noise the shouting Major made.

"Your injury and miraculous rescue."

"All that was in the doctor's report."

"Bah! Cowering doctors who believe in mercy and compassion. You will tell me. How did you get injured?" Klink sighed and sat in his chair, hoping that answering the questions would get rid of the Major.

"I was at the monthly Kommandant meeting. On the way back, I got lost and had a flat tire. There was no spare, so I took a flashlight and walked back to the main road. When I heard voices, I thought I was saved and turned to signal to them." Not exactly true, but Klink saw no need to tell the Gestapo he was looking around without considering it made him a target. "They shot at me, before asking questions, so I think they might have been Gestapo." Hochstetter stiffened at that remark and Klink wondered what possessed him to say it. "I lost consciousness, had some strange dreams and woke up in the hospital. I don't know how I hurt my forehead, it must have happened when I fell to the ground. I don't know what else I can tell you, Major."

"What you can tell me, Kommondant, is what you did to Hogan." Klink really hated the way Hochstetter made his title so sarcastic and demeaning. "Why did he attempt to escape, successfully leave camp unnoticed only to let himself get captured when he drove you to the hospital in your staff car?"

"Americans are soft and cannot even leave an enemy to die in the road." It was the official party line, so it should have served as an answer. But Hochstetter dismissed it with a wave of his hand.

"You told the doctors you had a flat tire and no spare. So where did Hogan get a tire to fix your car? Why did he drive you to the hospital instead of letting your staff call for a doctor? He could have left, but instead stayed around to make sure you were seen to. When the loyal hospital staff called my men, he did not resist arrest. The man never says anything useful but never shuts up, so why did he come quietly?"

"Major, I don't know." Klink tired not to shiver at the thought of Hogan being held by the Gestapo for four days. "I was unconscious and have never been able to understand the workings of Hogan's mind. What would you have me tell you?"

"You will tell me when his thirty days of isolation are up. My men did not get sufficient answers out of him, so after the cooler freezes his brain, I will be taking custody of him, personally." Klink resisted the urge to plant his aching head in his hands. No good deed goes unpunished, it seemed.

"Major, I released Hogan from solitary this morning."

"You imbecile! I am going to break that man if I have to kill every prisoner in this stalag! Put him back this instant." Klink was still wondering why he was standing on his feet when he heard his voice shouting at Hochstetter.

"That man is mine! The other prisoners are also under my protection from the likes of you! I cannot tell you why he saved my life, but the least I can do for him is to stop you from beating answers out of him. You decide you want any of my prisoners, you'd better have more authority than your condescending nature."

Hochstetter was flabbergasted by Klink standing up to him. Klink was almost as shocked as Hochstetter. A hysterical part of Klink's mind wondered if he had absorbed some of Hogan's willpower when Rob came in his mouth last night. Or maybe, since he never considered himself worthy of fighting for, having someone worth protecting brought out a new side to Wilhelm Klink.

"Keep the others, just give me Hogan!" Hochstetter was trying to get back to the wimpy Klink he could bend to his will, but a distraction opened the door.

"Did somebody call my name?" Hogan entered the room, like he was oblivious to the tension and anger between the German officers. Hochstetter whirled on Hogan and shouted at him.

"Yes! Klink is releasing you into my custody. I am taking you to headquarters, so we can find out all about you."

"Hochstetter! I am not giving you custody." Klink knew to back off and let Hogan take care of the Major, but the new protective streak was strong.

"Hey guys, I don't want you to spoil your friendship over little o' me."

"Friendship?" Hochstetter spat out the word, like he thought it would poison him. "I want to shoot Klink between the eyes!"

"Exactly." Hogan's reasonable tone was bliss after the emotional nature of the major. "Your enemies you would torture before killing."

"And you are my enemy, Hogan!"

"Apparently not, or else you would have killed me when I was your guest a few days ago."

"You are an enemy to the Third Reich and I will see you dead if it's my last act in this life!"

"I bet it looks something like this." Hogan cocked his head to the side, closed his eyes and let his tongue dangle out of his mouth. Klink swallowed a laugh, but couldn't hide the smile. Hochstetter was not amused and stalked over to poke Hogan in the chest. Hogan flinched, like Hochstetter had gotten him in one of his healing bruises and Klink felt a new desire to kill the major. Shot him between the eyes and see how he liked it.

"You will tell me where you got a tire to fix the car. Then you will tell me why you saved Klink."

"Well, it sounds silly when you say it out loud."

"What?" Klink was glad Hochstetter had asked that question before he could. He trusted Hogan was smart enough to not mention whatever they might have been up to last night, though if it was a dream he wouldn't know what not to say. Klink sighed and sat back down in his chair, still confused.

"I was afraid the Iron Colonel would come back from the dead to torment my men further."

"Hogan!" Both Germans protested that statement, but Hogan only gave them an innocent shrug.

"As for the tire, it was just laying on the side of the road, twenty feet behind the Colonel's car. I thought maybe it had fallen off of somebody else's car, like yours Major. Have you seen your spare lately?"

Hochstetter looked between them for a long moment, before making a dismissive gesture with his hands. "Bah! I will get you both for this!"

Klink watched Hochstetter storm out of the office, but still jerked when the volatile major slammed the door behind him. Hogan took the time to walk over to Klink's side of the desk and start riffling thru papers. Reflexively, Klink slapped his hand away from the papers, only to realize how much he wanted to touch the rest of Rob. There was so much he wanted to say, but Wili wasn't even sure if last night had been real so he had to stick with reality.

"Hogan, you didn't really steal Hochstetter's tire, did you?"

"Why Colonel, do you think I'm capable of a thing like that?" Hogan said with a hurt expression, but he was grinning when he leaned down to kiss Wili. It was a short, silent kiss, as though Rob thought they might be overheard. Wili was still half hard when Rob pulled away. Hogan left the room, offering Klink a sloppy salute from the doorway before he closed it behind him. Klink could only speak to his empty office.

"Hogan, I think you're capable of anything. Thank God."