Characters: Sgt Troy, Sgt Moffitt, and SS-Captain Erich Wiesenland

Warnings/Spoilers: none

Author's Note: The characters of Erich Wiesenland and Frau Anna are my own and may not be borrowed. Everything else belongs to "Rat Patrol", which I do not own in any way.

Summary: Sergeants Troy and Moffitt sneak into a German field hospital to retrieve medical supplies but are confronted by familiar foe, Erich, who may or may not be inclined into giving away their identity.

When Moffitt and Troy entered this portion of the medical tent, neither expected to encounter a soldier, much less one they knew. It was Captain Erich von Wiesenland of the dreaded Waffen-SS, but from previous encounters, Sergeant Troy knew that Erich was not a cruel man. This did little to settle their nerves as they saw that he was tending to a patient in the tent, and more worrisome was the fact that the patient was a woman.

At first the Captain didn't even notice them, perhaps dismissing them as ordinary soldiers coming in for supplies. After all, Erich wasn't the medical officer therefore there wasn't much that he could help with, at least, that is what Troy had assumed. For the moment, Erich was preoccupied with sitting on the cot alongside the woman, holding her hand and gently stroking her hair. The woman had her eyes shut but the fresh tear stains on her cheeks indicated that she hadn't been asleep for very long.

"Ich liebe dich, mein Schatz," Erich whispered as he bent down and kissed the woman's brow.

Moffitt risked a glance at Troy. It didn't take a translator to understand the tenderness between the two Germans. Suddenly, the situation had made a turn for the worse and both sergeants tensed.

Knowing that there was little else he could do, Moffitt inquired quietly, "Was ist passiert?"

"She was stung by a scorpion but she is going to be just fine," said Erich in his native tongue, his gaze fully upon his beloved, whose hand he was still stroking. He smiled fondly at her and stroked her cheek. "She was just given a terrible fright, and of course, it did hurt, but she's calmed down quite a…"

His words trailed off as he turned and got his first look at the men who stood before him with their automatic weapons trained on him. At once the German officer looked more frightened than angry. Though his sidearm was plain to see, he did not reach for it. Instead he remained perfectly still, his gaze going from soldier to soldier.

"What do you want?" he continued in quiet German.

It was evident to even Troy that Erich was trying not to alert anyone else who might be in the area to the presence of an American and British soldier. With the three of them locked in this face-off, it would take one singularly foolish move to cause disaster and tragedy. From the look in Erich's eyes, the one that seemed to be praying for quite resolution, Troy knew that they had to get out of there fast.

Moffitt replied in an equally calm voice, "One of our men is wounded in the field and we need supplies to help him."

"I am not the medical officer," replied Erich. "But if you know what you want, I trust that you will take only what you need and then go about your business."

"It is all we came for."

Erich nodded his head and then followed Troy's movements as he went and got the supplies. It didn't even take a minute for him to get everything that they needed into the rucksack. As Moffitt stood guard, anxious to see if Erich would remain characteristically sensible, he began to notice something in him. The way Erich was sitting and his eyes remained alert and calculating, it was as though Erich had turned into a human grenade. As long as nothing was done to pull the pin, Erich was harmless. However, should anyone attempt anything rash, Moffitt was most certain that Erich would do everything in his power to protect the one he loved.

No one could blame him for that.

Troy moved next to Moffitt and nodded for him to leave. Moffitt said to Erich, "We won't trouble you anymore."

Erich only stared at him, then said at length, "I hope your man pulls through."

Despite himself, Moffitt smiled. Troy then stepped closer to Erich, then said in the only German he knew well enough to attempt, "Es tut mir leid."

Then he slammed the butt of his rifle against Erich's head, immediately knocking him off the cot and rendering him unconscious on the ground. Quickly Troy lead Moffitt out of the medical tent, knowing that it wouldn't take long for Erich to recover and sound the alarm. As Moffitt got into the vehicle and drove out of harm's way, he smirked again. There wasn't any need for them to knock Erich unconscious, for Moffitt was certain that even if the woman hadn't been there, Erich would have let them take the medical supplies on the sheer act of bravery. That was Erich's concept of loyalty.

Knocking him unconscious meant that no one would fault him for the missing supplies, thus saving him from getting into trouble for an act of compassion.