A little something that's been sitting on my computer for two and a half years that I never got around to posting until now. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: I don't own Hogan's Heroes or any of the characters; I merely borrow them and play with them for a while.
He was there in the Great War, right in the theatre where it all happened, where battles deciding the fate of entire nations played out, and men from all walks of life fought for their countries, homes and lives. That was a long time ago, however, and his memories of those days are rather vague now, covered by the dust of time. What he does remember though is mostly chaotic, filled with acrid smoke obscuring everything and the voices of hoarse men shouting to be heard over the relentless noise of battle. A jumbled patchwork of recollections that sometimes float up in his mind for a brief moment, and then sink back again and revert to the usual silent, faded images whose impact have been dulled by the passage of time.
He's not sure whether it's good or bad that the memories have faded over the years. Perhaps it's the natural way of things. Maybe such memories are supposed to fade with time.
One thing he does remember well, though, and that is the commanding officer of the unit he was in. He spent a lot of time with that man, only ever rarely leaving his side. The officer was very brave, the kind of soldier that would laugh in the face of danger, and it was a small miracle that he survived the war with the way he would charge headfirst into battle no matter the odds. Occasionally, he thinks about the other officers that were there and fought too; men whose names he can't really recall any longer but whose faces still stand out clearly and vividly in the fog of those memories past.
Those officers that just like him are now old and worn. Unfit for duty on the front. He wonders if they miss those times, if they longingly reminisce about them or think back of them with horror.
If they remember at all, that is.
But memories aren't the only things that one can lose in a war, and many lost so much more than that. He was lucky, though. Was only grazed by a bullet once, despite being right there in the midst of it all for so many years. Not everyone got away as easily as him.
Things have changed since then, however, and nowadays he doesn't get to see much action.
Or any action at all, if truth be told. That is fine by him, though. He's done his duty, and admirably so, and no one can ask anything more of him.
And now he's ended up here in Stalag 13, far away from the fighting taking place all over Europe. Perhaps on the very same battlefields that he once served on.
He likes Stalag 13, he has to admit. It's a nice, quiet place – at least compared to the days of old – but the tranquility is often interspersed by officers who come and go, so it never gets tedious. Sometimes he can't help but compare those officers of today to the ones he served with during the Great War, secretly thinking to himself that they don't make them quite like they used to. And occasionally – just occasionally – a small part of him longs for those glorious days of the past, for the excitement and thrill of battle. But the feeling quickly passes, then, leaving only a faint, lingering sense of war and chaos and long ago in its wake.
But sitting here quietly on Kommandant Klink's desk isn't half-bad either. The only thing he doesn't like is when that infernal American colonel comes barging into the office and throws his brown crush cap all over him. He really wishes the man would stop doing that. After all, he never did much like the dark.
End note:. For someone we get to see in every episode (at least in the credits, if nothing else), there's been very little fic about the pickelhaube helmet that Klink keeps on his desk. So somebody had to write it. ;)