Fröhliche Weihnachten

Standard fanfic disclaimer that wouldn't last ten seconds in a court of law: these aren't my characters, I'm just borrowing them for, um, typing practice. That's it, typing practice. I'll return them to their actual owners (relatively) undamaged. This is an amateur work of fiction; no profit beyond pleasure was derived from the writing. It is making its debut as 'netfic, and has not been previously published in any fanzine.

Fröhliche Weihnachten

by Susan M. M.

Hogan's Heroes

Chapter 3

The phone rang four times before Klink remembered that Fraulein Hilda had the day off. "Stalag 13, Kommandant Klink speaking. Mama! I was beginning to get worried; I expected you'd be here by now. What? The snow is how deep? No, no, I wouldn't want you to risk your life on icy roads. Ja, ja, a hospital would be a terrible place to spend Christmas. No, it's all right, Mama. Your safety is the most important thing..."

They chatted for twenty minutes. "I miss you, too, Mama. Frohe Weihnachten. Auf Wiederhören. Tschüß." He hung up the phone and wiped a tear away from his eye.

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Hogan knocked on the office door and stepped inside before the commandant finished saying "come in." He tossed a sloppy salute. "You sent for me, sir?"

Klink glanced up at him, unable to help comparing Hogan's usual lack of military decorum with the way he had acted last week. He suppressed a sigh. It was useless to expect an American to have the discipline of a German soldier ... although he suspected Hogan was lax even by American standards. "Yes, Hogan, I did. I wanted to ask you to be my guest for Christmas dinner."

"I wouldn't want to intrude with your mother coming, sir."

"Oh, no, you wouldn't be intruding, Hogan. No imposition at all."

"Christmas is for family, sir. You and your mother deserve some privacy."

"She's not coming," Klink said quietly. "The roads are blocked by snow."

"I'm sorry," Hogan replied.

"There's no point in wasting LeBeau's good cooking. You'll share Christmas dinner with me." It wasn't quite an order, and it wasn't quite a request.

Hogan's honor warred with his hunger. Honor won. "Thank you for the invitation, sir, but it wouldn't be fair for me to have a proper Christmas dinner when my men can't."

"This isn't a proper Christmas dinner. This is baked chicken, canned sauerkraut, and underdone potatoes."

Hogan pretended to be offended on the Frenchman's behalf. "Sir, LeBeau is a very good cook. I'm sure the potatoes won't be underdone."

Klink continued as if he hadn't heard Hogan. "A proper Christmas dinner is roast goose and potato salad and cucumber salad, sauerkraut - homemade sauerkraut - and Würstchen with potatoes. Maybe a duck or some rabbit. Two or three cheeses."

"Roast turkey when I was a boy," Hogan reminisced. "At least, most years. Sometimes roast beef - I remember one year when I was a kid, and a lot of cousins were coming over, we had a beef roast that would have satisfied even Schultz. I was surprised it fit in the oven, it was so big."

"Stollen and Lebkuchen," Klink remembered, "and Sachertorte. Black Forest cake."

"My mother used to bake sugar cookies. She had cookie cutters shaped like trees and stars and angels. The angels' necks always broke," Hogan remembered. "My sisters and I used to frost them. We'd have contests to see who could make their cookies the fanciest."

"And did you steal raw cookie dough before everything was rolled out and baked?" Klink asked.

"Doesn't every kid?" Hogan grinned at the memory.

"My grandmother gave us Advent calendars every year. Do they have Advent calendars in America?" Klink asked.

Hogan nodded. "Yeah, sometimes there's a Bible verse or a line from a Christmas carol printed inside."

"Großmutter always bought the good kind, the ones with a piece of chocolate inside."

"That beats the heck out of a Bible verse, at least as far as a kid is concerned," Hogan said. "We used to go caroling door to door, and then have hot chocolate afterwards. "

"We did that, too, at the Christkindlmarkt."

"My sisters and I always asked if we could open just one present on Christmas Eve, and my parents always said no, we had to wait."

"I loved going to the Christkindlmarkt when I was a boy. The Nativity scene, the giant Christmas tree, all the food - Bratwurst and Stollen and Glühwein - and all the things to see and buy. It was freezing cold, but I loved it."

Both fell silent, remembering Christmases past in better years.

"Hogan, your family is far away, and mine can't come. LeBeau is already baking the chicken. Please, Hogan," Klink asked quietly, "I don't want to eat Christmas dinner alone."

Hogan hesitated only a second, then nodded. "I'd be honored to share Christmas dinner with you, sir."

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LeBeau wore a white apron and chef's hat over his usual uniform. He gestured to the dining room table. "Mon Colonel, Herr Kommandant, bon appetit et Joyeaux Noel." He opened the wine bottle and poured for them.

Klink looked at the table. A somewhat scrawny chicken, sauerkraut, boiled potatoes sprinkled with rosemary. A bottle of Riesling. He nodded a dismissal to LeBeau; the little cockroach had done the best he could with the materials he had. "Danke, LeBeau, that will be all." He raised his wine glass. "Happy Christmas, Colonel Hogan."

Hogan picked up his glass and saluted the commandant with it. "Froeliche Weinachten, Herr Oberst."

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Author's Note: Again, thanks to Lizzi for correcting my German and suggesting suitable foods for Christmas dinner. All remaining errors are mine.