A Hidden Past
SettiaiThis is a "Work in Progress" posted so that readers can provide the author feedback to aid in the development of the story.
“Push.“ A cold wind blew through the cracks in the walls of the house, scarcely noticed by the people standing around the small bed in the center of the room. A young woman, no older than seventeen, lay on the bed. She gave a weak smile as the young man beside her clutched her hand tightly. The doctor standing beside her smiled gently as he said the words on more time, “Push.”
As sweat poured down the woman’s face, her husband squeezed her hand even tighter. “Come on ‘Lisabeth, you can do it. Just another couple of pushes, and we’ll be parents.”
Even with the pain of childbirth bearing down on her, Elisabeth had a mischievous twinkle in her eyes. She pushed her fingernails deep into her husband’s hand, causing him to yelp in pain. “If you think that this is bad, why don’t you try and have this baby. I’d love to see you try, darling.” She drew out the last word, daring him to say another word.
He gave an exasperated sigh. She stuck her tongue out at him, and then cried out in pain. Her grip on his hand tightened considerably, and he looked at the doctor worriedly. His fears were increased when he saw how pale the doctor’s face was. “Doctor Johnson?” Elisabeth whispered in a small voice.
The doctor quickly turned to Jack McHenry, her older brother, and motioned towards the door. He nodded, and gently steered his brother-in-law out of the room. He looked back at his wife, Anna, with a worried glance.
In the German POW camp, Stalag 13, one of the prisoners moaned in his sleep. He tossed and turned just enough to show that he was having some sort of nightmare, but not enough to wake up any of his fellow POW’s.
The two young men sat in the rickety chairs right outside the room. Jack was just starting to nod off when a sudden scream broke through the night. He had to almost tackle his brother-in-law to the ground to keep him from dashing into the room.
As Jack wrestled him to the ground, the loud cry of a baby cut through the air. All else was forgotten when they looked into each others eyes in shock. The door opened slightly, and Anna stepped out with a large smile on her face. “It’s a girl.”
Suddenly a bloodcurdling scream split the air. Eyes wide, Anna dashed back into the room, shutting the door behind her. Jack stared at the door in shock, mouthing the same word over and over. “No.” Elisabeth’s husband just dropped to his knees, silently praying that everything was alright.
A few minutes later, even though it had seemed like hours, Anna slowly stepped back into the room. The expression on her face told them all they needed to know. Jack’s face went pale, and his brother-in-law, Elisabeth’s husband, just sank to the floor. Tears were streaming down his face as he called out the name of his wife.
At Stalag 13, the prisoner once again moaned. This time, words came out too. In an whisper so small it could barely be heard, he called out one name. “ ’Lisabeth.” On a nearby bunk, one of his fellow POW’s stirred slightly before gingerly opening his eyes and looking over.
Jack McHenry stared at his brother-in-law with amazement in his eyes. “You can’t be serious! Beth ‘ere is your daughter, you can’t just abandon her like this!”
He was met by a pair of sad eyes. His brother-in-law looked down at the sleeping four-month-old in his arms. Then he looked back up at Jack, tears threatening to start falling any time.
“Jack, I’m only eighteen. If ‘Lisabeth was still here, then I might be able to provide for Beth. But, as we both know, ‘Lisabeth isn‘t ‘ere. I can’t do it Jack. I’m doing this for my daughter’s sake. She needs a good home, and I can’t provide her with one. You and Anna can raise her much better than I can.”
Jack looked at him seriously. The face he was staring into was the face of a boy, but his eyes were those of a man. He sighed gently. “I guess that you’re right.”
Once more, his brother-in-law stared down at his daughter. She stared back at him with bright green eyes. “You know I am, Jack. I want you to promise me something, though. I want you to tell her about me, but I don’t want her to have my name. She doesn’t deserve my name.” He stared into Jack’s eyes. “Tell Anna that I love her. And tell her that this is Beth Anne McHenry.”
Slowly he turned to walk away. Jack stared at him in surprise. “Wait a second! What do you mean by that? She’s your daughter! Are you going to just forget about her? Well, answer me.”
He didn’t get an answer. All he saw was his brother-in-law, turning his back on his past, and seemingly embracing his future. Jack didn’t see the tears rolling down his face, or hear his quiet words. “Goodbye.”
Sergeant Andrew Carter gave a slight sigh. He could tell that something was wrong with his friend. It wasn’t like him to be a restless sleeper. Carter slowly pulled himself out of bed, and walked over to the other bunk. He gently tapped his fellow POW on the arm.
He woke up immediately. The first thing he saw was Carter’s face. “What in the... Carter! What the bloody ‘ell are you tryin’ to do, give me a heart attack!” he exclaimed quietly, so he wouldn’t wake up the others. A small grin played on his face.
Carter gave a large smile. “You were having a nightmare or something. You were tossing and turning, and I could hear you moaning from my bunk.” Suddenly his smile faded. “By the way... Newkirk, who is Elisabeth?”
Corporal Peter Newkirk turned visibly pale. What had he said out loud? He gave a small grin. “No one, Carter. No one.”
Carter stared at him slowly, then shrugged and went back to his own bunk. He could tell that Newkirk was hiding something, but until Newkirk wanted him to know, he wouldn’t know.”
Meanwhile, a young woman was dashing through the forests of Germany. A pilot in the RAF, she had been shot down several hours earlier. She was trying her best to escape from the Krauts she knew were all around her, and so far she had been lucky. Suddenly, a bright light was shined directly in her eyes.
Instinctively, she covered her eyes, grimacing in pain from the bright light. As she pulled her hands away, she found herself staring in the business end of a German gun. “Uh, ‘ello,” she said nervously, in German. “Would you believe that I’m sellin’ biscuits for Girl Guides?”
She looked down at the crudely drawn map her escape officer had given her. Even though it was night, there was enough light for her to read the map. That made her nervous. It would be so much safer if there was no moon.
She had been a prisoner in a women’s POW camp for almost a month, and that month had been the closest thing to hell she hoped she would ever see. She was finally free from it though, if she could reach the destination marked on the map. She was to meet up with the Underground, who would, in turn, help her get to the great ‘Papa Bear.’ “Piece of cake,” she whispered with a wry grin.
“ROLL CALL!!!” Sergeant Hans Schultz stood in the doorway to Barracks Two, waiting impatiently for the prisoners to get into formation outside. “The Kommandant is not in a good mood this morning.“
Colonel Robert Hogan gave a small grin as he listened to his men groaning as they pulled themselves out of their bunks. He was already pulling on his bomber jacket and walking out the door. “Come on guys, you heard him.”
Most of the men were still grumbling as they walked outside. They stood in a sloppy formation as the largest German at the camp, Shultz, checked to make sure that all of them were there. His eyes widened as he noticed an empty spot in the line. He gave a sigh of relief as Sergeant James Kinchloe hurried out of the barracks and stood in his usual place. His smile faded as the voice of Kommandant Wilhelm Klink rang across the compound. “Shultz! Are all the prisoners here?”
Shultz almost dropped the clipboard that he was holding. “Yes, Herr Kommandant. All men are present and accounted for.”
“Fine then. Dis-missed!” Klink said in his usual sharp manner. After he had walked away the prisoners turned to go back into their barracks. As soon as he was in the door Hogan grabbed Kinch by the arm and steered the startled black man into his office. They were followed close behind by Corporal Louis LeBeau, Sergeant Andrew Carter, and Corporal Peter Newkirk.
Hogan stared at Kinch expectantly. “Well?” he asked impatiently when he didn’t say anything.
Kinch gave a weak grin. “Well Colonel, we have a new job if that’s what you want to know. We‘re supposed to meet the Underground tomorrow night and pick up an escaped prisoner. We‘re supposed to get her out of the country.”
“That seems pretty ordinary. Exactly who is this prisoner that we’re supp... Wait a minute. Did you say her!?” Hogan asked, a slightly shocked expression on his face.
“Yes sir. She’s a captain in the RAF. She was shot down around a month ago, and she just escaped from a women’s POW camp a few days ago.” Kinch gave a grin when he saw the expression on Hogan and the other men’s faces.
LeBeau and Carter had both started listening intently when he had said the word “her.” The expressions on their faces said that they were pleased with the news. Newkirk, on the other hand, was very happy to state his opinion . “Colonel, I ‘ereby volunteer to go an’ meet the Underground tomorrow. In fact, I insist.”
LeBeau’s eyes grew wide, and he quickly threw in his plea. “Mon Colonel, I also volunteer. It would be a great... honor... to pick up the captain.” Carter nodded his head vigorously in agreement.
Hogan rolled his eyes slightly. “I’m sure that all of you would be more than happy to meet with the Underground tomorrow. Because of that, Kinch and I will go and pick up the captain.”
She stood beside the woman who had introduced herself as Helga. ‘Papa Bear’ was supposed to meet them at this abandoned barn in just a few minutes. She could hardly believe that she was finally leaving Germany behind her.
The sound of footsteps coming towards them caused both women to tense. Two men walked slowly through the barn door. They both gave grim smiles when they saw the women. “Have either of you heard the story of the Papa Bear?”
Helga smiled and gave the reply to the code. Then she pushed the young girl beside her into their view. “Here is the person you are supposed to get out of the country,” Helga said with a very thick German accent. Both men seemed to become much more cheerful after they were sure of who they were with. The older man stepped up with a warm smile on his face. “I’m Colonel Robert Hogan, and this is Sergeant James Kinchloe.” The black man grinned, his eyes studying her. “Most people call me Kinch. And your name is?”
Back in Barracks Two, the men were getting cleaned up for the arrival of the woman captain. Carter was sitting on his bunk, watching Newkirk very closely. He was just a little worried about his friend. The Englishman was usually a very sound sleeper, but for the last several weeks, he had been barely sleeping at all. Carter knew that something was up with him, but he just couldn’t put his finger on what it was.
Newkirk suddenly felt like he was being watched. He gave an irritated sigh. “Andrew, why the bloody ‘ell are you starin’ at me again?” Carter face turned red as he mumbled an intelligible answer.
The argument was stopped before it started when one of the bunks rose, revealing the secret tunnel beneath it. LeBeau’s head popped up and he gave the two of them a sly grin. “Mon Colonel and Kinch have returned. You must come and see the girl who is with them.” He gave a very loud sigh as he pulled his head back down. Carter and Newkirk both stared at each other before they rushed after LeBeau.
All three of them were waiting in the tunnel by the time Hogan and Kinch had gotten there. Hogan stepped up and held out his hand before they could even say a word. “She is here until we can get her safely out of the country. She is only nineteen, and you WILL leave her alone. Do I make myself clear?”
All three of them nodded meekly. Hogan grinned and motioned for Kinch to bring the girl forward. The men’s eyes widened considerably when they saw her. She was about five feet, six inches tall, and she was curved in just the right places. She had rich, chocolate-brown hair that reached to right below her shoulders. It was pulled up into a small bun on the top of her hair. Her eyes were a bright green, and she had long, thick eyelashes.
She smiled at the expressions on their faces. “Um... Are you goin’ to tell me your names, or are you goin’ to make me guess?” Their faces turned red as they stepped up to introduce themselves.
A young man, whom she assumed was an American, stepped up first. “I’m Sergeant Andrew Carter, and I’m glad to meet ya’.” He didn’t seem to know how to welcome her until she held out her hand. He quickly grasped it, and shook practically her whole arm.
The older man who was wearing the RAF uniform, finally walked up and pried Carter’s hand off her arm. “What the bloody ‘ell are you tryin’ to Andrew, break ‘er arm?“ He brought her hand up to his mouth and kissed it gently. “I’m Corporal Peter Newkirk. Pleased to meet you.” He stared at her eyes for just a moment. That was strange, he would almost swear that he had seen her before.
She stared at her fellow Englishman for just a moment. That name, Peter Newkirk, had seemed so familiar. Where had she heard it before? She pushed the thought out of he mind as the third man, obviously French, stepped up.
“Welcome to our humble abode, mademoiselle.” She leaned down as he placed the customary French welcome on her cheeks. “I am Corporal Louis LeBeau.” He shrugged his shoulders before placing a kiss directly on her lips. After he pulled away she kind of stared for a moment before smiling. Hogan, on the other hand, didn’t seem very pleased. “LeBeau...” he said in a warning voice.
The Frenchman smiled before responding. “Do not worry Mon Colonel, I will not do anything such as that again.”
The girl gave a small laugh. “Would any of you like to know my name, or do you want me to just answer to ‘mademoiselle’?” The men’s faces once again turned red.
She burst out laughing. “I am Captain Beth Anne McHenry, of the RAF.” Newkirk’s eyes suddenly widened in surprise. At that moment, Beth remembered exactly where she had last heard that name.
An eight-year-old Beth sat in her uncle’s lap. She looked at the small picture in the locket he had given her for her birthday. “Uncle Jack, this is my mum, right?” she asked pointing at the beautiful young woman in the picture. Jack McHenry smiled back at her. “Yes ‘Beth, that was your mum.” His eyes grew slightly misty. “She was my little sister, ‘Lisabeth.”
Her eyes grew wide. “She ‘ad the same name as me, didn’t she Uncle Jack?” He smiled at the shock on her face. “Yes ‘Beth, she had the same name as you.”
Her eyes lingered down at the picture again. “This is my father, isn’t it Uncle Jack?” She looked up at him, questions burning in her eyes.
Jack gave a small sigh when he looked at the picture of his brother-in-law. “Yes ‘Beth, that’s your father. My brother-in-law, Peter,”
She stared up at her uncle for a moment. “Is ‘e dead like my mum? Is that why I live with you and not ‘im?”
Jack stared at her for a moment. The he gave a weak smile. “No ‘Beth, he isn’t dead. I don’t think he is at least.” She stared at him for a moment. “I don’t understand Uncle Jack.”
He sighed and pulled her closer to him. “Your parents were very young when you were born. Your mum, as you know, died when you were born. After that, Peter couldn’t take care of you. ‘E was just a kid ‘imself.”
Beth stared up at him with misty eyes. “So, ’e didn’t want me?” Jack shook his head quickly. “No ’Beth, that isn’t it at all. ’E wanted you so much, but he couldn’t raise you. ’E asked me and your Auntie Anna to take care of you until he was ready to come back.”
Beth stared up at him with sad eyes. “But Uncle Jack, I’m already ’eight. ’E’s never comin’ back, is ’e?” Jack just stared at her sadly. “I don’t know ’Beth. I just don’t know.”
She looked once again at the small picture. She carefully ran her fingers across the gold writing at the bottom of the picture. ’Peter and Elisabeth Newkirk, 1924.’
Beth stared at the man across from her. The man whom she recognized now from the picture in the locket that she still wore around her neck. The man who was, by blood, her true father.
The other had noticed that something was going on between them. Hogan cleared his throat to get their attention. Neither of them even looked at him. He looked a little angry at that, but before he could say anything Carter grabbed his arm. He looked at the young man in surprise.
Carter stared at the two of them for a moment before he said anything. “Newkirk?” Newkirk glanced at him for just a moment. “Does she have something to do with the Elisabeth person that you’ve been having dreams about?” The other prisoners looked at him in surprise.
Newkirk shot him an angry look. Beth, on the other hand, looked very surprised. “Elisabeth? As in Elisabeth McHenry Newkirk, my mum? You are ‘im, aren‘t you? You‘re my father!?”
Newkirk was well aware that his friends were staring at him in shock. He was also aware of the young woman in front of him. He looked at her for a moment, not saying a word. How could he not have known who she was? She looked exactly like her mother. For a moment her eyes caught his, and he saw the hurt look in them. He turned his face away from her, before he mumbled an answer to her question. “Yes, I am your father. I don’t bloody well deserve it though.”
Hogan knew better than to say a word when Newkirk turned and climbed up the ladder that led to the barracks. He could tell that the Englishman needed time alone. He quickly turned his attention back to the girl, Beth, when he heard a quiet sob.
She was still standing in the same spot. There were tears streaming down her face, and a shocked look on her face. Her skin was positively white, and she looked like she might faint any second. Hogan wasn’t the only person who noticed that though. Kinch grabbed her as she started to slump to the floor.
Beth opened her eyes slowly. Where was she? As the memories of the night before came back to her, she quickly sat up. She was laying on a small cot in the tunnel she had been brought into. She sat there on the cot for a moment, just thinking about all that had happened.
She had always pictured her father as some sort of scoundrel. Someone who couldn’t be trusted for anything, and who wouldn’t have anyone in the world to call a friend. He had abandoned his own daughter, for Christ’s sake.
The man she had seen the night before hadn’t seemed to be any of those things. He seemed to be close friends with the other men there, and he was being trusted with a secret that could have him, and hundreds of other people, killed on the spot.
She was so confused. Peter Newkirk seemed like someone who she would love to have a friend. Why then, had he refused to be her father for the last nineteen years? “Why the bloody ‘ell didn’t ‘e want me?” she whispered quietly.
“I think that he did,” a loud voice from behind her called out. She fell off the cot onto the floor as she spun around. The young American Sergeant was standing there with a tray of food in his hands. She thought wildly for his name.
“Oh! I’m so sorry Captain McHenry. I thought that you saw me. Oh, by the way, I’m Sergeant Carter. You can call me Carter though. Or Andrew too, I guess.” He lay the tray of food down on a small table beside the wall, and hurried over to help her up off the ground. Beth gave him a small smile as she dusted off her clothes.
“I’m fine, Carter. You just surprised me though. I wasn’t expectin’ anyone to come in ‘ere this early in the morning.” She gave a sheepish grin. “It is early in the mornin’ isn’t it?”
Carter laughed at that. “Yeah, it’s still pretty early in the morning. LeBeau, he’s the Frenchman who gave you that warm welcome last night, made you some breakfast. The Colonel will be down here in a minute to talk with you about getting back to England. Kinch is on the radio right now.”
His eyes kind of lost their smile for a moment. “Are you really Newkirk’s daughter? I mean... You don’t look anything like him or anything... And.... Sheesh Captain, I don’t think any of us know what to make of it. Newkirk‘s not talking, and you haven‘t been talking, and I wasn‘t supposed to mention any of this...” He broke off when he suddenly realized what he had just said. “Oops...”
Beth gave a weak grin. “That’s fine, Carter. I promise not to faint again. I was just a little overwhelmed last night. I really wasn’t expecting to meet my long-lost father or anythin’.” Her eyes grew slightly distant. “Please, just call me ‘Beth. The only reason I’m a Capt’n is because I volunteered for a dangerous assignment or two.”
Carter stared at her for a minute. “So you really are Newkirk’s daughter!? Sheesh, who would guess that someone like him would have a kid. He couldn’t have been very old when you were born though. Newkirk’s only...”
“Thirty-six.” They both turned around in surprise when they heard a voice coming from behind them. Newkirk was standing there, an expression on his face that was impossible to read. “I was only eighteen when she was born.” He turned and walked on down the tunnel.
Beth turned to Carter with a slightly shocked expression on her face. “I never realized that ‘e was that young when I was born. Uncle Jack never mentioned that.”
“Who’s this ’Uncle Jack’ of yours?” Carter asked with a grin, trying his best to lighten the mood. Beth smiled gently. “Uncle Jack was my mum’s older brother. ’E and my Aunt Anna practically raised me. If it ’adn’t been for them, who knows what might ’ave ’appened to me.”
Carter nodded in agreement. “I understand. They took you in after Newkirk...” He was interrupted by a very annoyed Hogan. “Carter!”
He flinched at the tone of the colonel’s voice. “Um... I was just leaving Colonel Hogan. See, I was just delivering Beth her breakfast.” He suddenly realized that the try of food was still sitting on the table where he had laid it down. He gave a sheepish grin as he slid past the colonel and hurried on down the tunnel.
Hogan gave an exasperated sigh. He picked up the tray and handed it to her. “I’m sorry about that Captain, sometimes Carter seems to have his mind in another...“ Suddenly something Carter had said clicked in his mind. He raised his eyebrow as he turned to her. “Did I just hear him call you Beth?”
She burst out laughing. Hogan gave her a confused look, but didn’t comment. He just shook his head in amusement. Her face grew somber after a few moments though. “Do you know ’ow long until they can get me out of the country?”
Hogan gave her a sympathetic look. “London says that it will be at least a week, maybe more. So, I guess that you’re stuck with us for awhile.”
“Well then, I guess that Corporal Newkirk and I will ‘ave to work somethin’ out between us.” She emphasized the word ‘corporal’, flinching just a little at how cold her words sounded even to her.
“Do you want me to send him here to talk with you? I can order him to come if you want me to.” Hogan’s face showed that he really did not enjoy the idea.
Beth shook her head gently. “No, I’ll talk with ‘im. I’m sure that we can work somethin’ out. We’re both adults.” She didn’t look very sure about that though.
As she was standing up, a look of curiosity shone on her face. “Colonel Hogan, may I ask you somethin’? Can you tell me some things about ‘im? I mean, ‘e is my father, and I don’t know almost anythin’ about ‘im. I am a little curious about what kind of man ‘e is. You know, it‘s just a little strange for me.”
Hogan gave a nod of understanding. “Well, Newkirk is definitely someone to be curious about. I don’t even know that much about his past, but I’ll tell you all that I know. Let‘s see, the first thing that you should know about him is that he can pick any lock made by man...”
Newkirk sat on his bunk. A million thoughts were racing through his mind. He was muttering quietly to himself. “Why the bloody ’ell did it ’ave to be ’er? I ’ad put all of that behind me. I ’ad finally out ’Lisabeth out of my mind. At least, mostly. Then she showed up. I wasn’t ready to be ’er father nineteen years ago, and I sure as ’ell aren’t ready now.”
He jumped slightly as a nearby bunk rose, revealing the secret tunnel below. He shook his head, waiting for one of the other men to pop up. He was shocked when the girl, Beth, popped her head up.
Beth looked around before she pulled her entire body out into the barracks. Several of the men were staring at her, but she just glared at them. They quickly stopped their staring. She quickly walked over to the table in the middle of the room.
Newkirk glared at her. “What the ’ell do you think you’re doin’ up ’ere? What if one of the guards comes in, ’ow do you expect to explain that?” He quickly stopped talking when he saw the look on her face. He had seen that very same face on Elisabeth before, and he knew better than to say another word.
“We are goin’ to talk about this, one way or another. I am goin’ to be ‘ere for a while, and I would appreciate it if you would at least be civil to me.” She was about to really let him have it, when the door to the barracks opened. A very large German sergeant walked in the door, and immediately stopped to stare at the scene before him.
Sergeant Hans Shultz gaped at the beautiful young girl sitting at the table in the middle of the room. Then he gaped at Newkirk, who was looking like he was ready to explode at any second. “What!? Who!? When!? How!? Newkirk!!!”
Newkirk quickly seemed to come to his senses. He jumped up and rushed over to the door. “’Ello Shultzie, now you know why you should always knock before comin’ in ‘ere. Now, if you don’t mind, my daughter and I are in the middle of an argument, and we would greatly appreciate it if you left.” He quickly steered the enormous bulk of the German towards the door.
Newkirk gave a small grin as he pushed the soldier out of the barracks, and slammed the door. Shultz just stood there for a moment, staring at the door. Had he heard Newkirk say that the gorgeous young woman was his daughter!? He quickly shook his head. “I see NOTHING! I know NOTHING!”
Newkirk gave a quick sigh of relief when he heard Shultz call out his motto of “knowing nothing.” However, there was fire in his eyes as he turned back at the girl. “You were lucky this time! What would you ’ave done if the Kommandant had walked in that door instead of Shultz!? ’E would have shipped you back to that women’s POW camp before you could say a word.” He stopped when he saw the tears streaming down her face.
Beth stared up at him for a moment, not looking away. “I know what I just did wasn’t the smartest thing in the bloody world to do.” Her voice started to crack as she stood up from the table and looked him in the eye. “Why don’t we just pretend that we didn’t even know each other until last night? Will that work for you, Corporal Newkirk?”
Newkirk gave the girl a cold smile. “Whatever you say, Captain McHenry.” He gave a quiet sigh as the girl turned her back on him and hurried back down the tunnel. What on earth had made him call her his daughter when he had been talking to Shultz?
Beth sat on her cot, down in the tunnel. A few tears streamed down her face as she sat there thinking. Why was life always so unfair? She had always pictured her father as someone that you would automatically hate, but that just wasn’t the case. There was just something about Peter Newkirk that made you want to trust him. Why was life so cruel? She suddenly sat up straight though. Had it just been her, or had he called her his daughter?
She gave a weak smile. She must have been imagining things. She knew that he wouldn’t have called her that. She gave a sad laugh as she slowly fell asleep.
Beth woke up with a start, when she heard the Frenchman, LeBeau, calling for Hogan to come up to the barracks. “Mon Colonel! The Gestapo is here, and Major Hochstetter is with them!”
As soon as she heard the word Gestapo, Beth had jumped up from her cot. When she heard several people go running by, she quickly rushed out into the main tunnel to see what was going on. She definitely wasn’t expecting to get ran over by Sergeant Carter though. “I’m so sorry, Captain. I didn’t see you there. Excuse me.” She quickly started pulling herself off the ground as the young man kept throwing apologies at her.
“That’s perfectly fine... Andrew. I know that you didn’t mean to knock me over. Again. And please, call me Beth.” She hesitated for a moment about calling him by his first name.
Carter quickly grabbed her hand. “I’m still so sorry, Beth. I was just in a hurry to get back to the barracks, because whenever Major Hochstetter comes here, he always throws a surprise inspect...” He was cut off when Kinch came dashing by and grabbed him by the arm.
“Come on Andrew, unless you want Hochstetter to notice that two certain Sergeants are missing when he inspects the barracks.”
Beth quickly followed the two of the down the tunnel. As the door at the end of the entrance closed, she quickly climbed up the ladder and perched at the top of it. She wanted to hear everything that was going on.
Klink gave a nervous glance at Hochstetter as they walked towards the entrance to Barracks 2. “What exactly are you hoping to find here, Major?”
Hochstetter glared at Klink, his face its usual bright red (slowly turning purple with rage) color. “For the last time, Klink, I am here to prove that your Colonel Hogan had something to do with the escape of a female Captain from a nearby women’s POW camp! I know that man had something to do with this! And this time, I am going to prove it!”
Neither of the men noticed the slight change of expression on Shultz’s face, as he followed behind them. For a moment, he looked almost as if he was deep in thought. He quickly shrugged off the idea that was forming in his mind. It was always better to know nothing when it came to matters such as these.
Inside the barracks, the men quickly threw themselves on their bunks and grabbed the nearest thing they could reach as the door to the barracks opened, and Kommandant Klink walked in. Newkirk gave a quick glance over at the hidden door to the tunnel. He could have almost swore that he had heard something under there.
He rolled his eyes skyward as he realized what was going on. That girl definitely had her mother’s blood in her. Elisabeth was one of the best damn eavesdroppers he had ever met, and it sure seemed like their... no, not their, HER... daughter had inherited the talent.
Newkirk flinched slightly when he heard the “ever-cheerful” voice of Major Hochstetter coming from behind Klink. “Get out of the way you bumbling idiot!” He just hoped that the girl was quiet. And, from the look on the Colonel’s face, he wasn’t the only one.
Hogan quickly looked away from the tunnel entrance as Hochstetter pushed his way in front of Klink. “Move over, you imbecile! That man had something to do with the girl’s escape, I know he did!”
Hogan gave a small grin as Hochstetter rushed over to the table where he was sitting. He didn’t even give him a chance to speak. “Why hello Major, I didn’t notice that you were here. What can I do to help you?”
Hochstetter glared at him, rage slowly building on his face. “You had something to do with the girl’s escape, and I am going to prove it!”
Hogan gave him an innocent looking grin. “First of all Major, I have no idea what you are talking about. And second...” He stopped short when Major Hochstetter punched him in the stomach with the butt of his gun.
For a minute, time seemed to stand still. Then Hogan took a deep breath, trying his best to not let Hochstetter know that he had hurt him. Still, his face flickered with pain for just a moment.
“Why you bloody...” Kinch and Carter both grabbed Newkirk’s arms as jumped up from his bunk. His eyes flickered with anger, and he looked like he was about to personally strangle Hochstetter with his own two hands. He gave an angry sigh as Hogan looked him in the eye and shook his head.
Kinch looked at him with a knowing glint in his eye. “I know how you feel Peter, but that isn’t going to help.” Newkirk gave a defeated sigh. At that Carter and Kinch slowly let go of his arms.
Hochstetter stood still for a moment, obviously enjoying the flicker of pain that had crossed the American’s face. A quiet thumping sound took his attention away from Hogan though. A slightly curious expression crossed his face though, as he looked towards one of the bunks. He started to walk towards it, but was stopped by an angry cry coming from the doorway.
“Major Hochstetter!!!” Everyone in Barracks Two looked towards the door in surprise. Klink was standing there with an annoyed look on his face. “It is obvious Major that there is no woman here. So unless you have some sort of proof that one of my prisoners had something to do with the escape of the Captain, I suggest that we go to my office and discuss exactly what you a doing here.”
The prisoners all stared at Klink with amazed looks on their faces. Had he really said what the had thought he said? Hochstetter, however, glared at Klink. His face was slowly turning a dark purple. “One day Klink, you will go TOO far. And when that day comes, I will be happy to be in charge of the FIRING SQUAD!!!”
With that, he shoved Hogan out of the way and barged out the door. Shultz walked out of the door, holding the door open for the Kommandant. Klink turned to follow him, his face now almost transparent. As they walked away, the prisoners could hear him giving Hochstetter every excuse and apology he could think of.
As soon as the door shut, most of the prisoners gave a sigh of relief. Hogan, however, was looking very pale. As he started to slump to the ground, Kinch grabbed him by the arm and steered him into the nearest chair.
Hogan gave a weak grin when he saw the worried expressions on his men’s faces. “Don’t worry, I just had the wind knocked out of me. That’s all.” For a moment, he seemed to be deep in thought. “Kinch, you better turn off the radio for awhile. Knowing Hochstetter, he’s probably already looking for a signal.”
Kinch nodded and turned towards the tunnel. Newkirk quickly grabbed his arm. “Wait a moment mate... Let me do somethin’ first.” He walked silently over to the tunnel and quickly opened it. As soon as he did, a very loud crash was heard, followed by a stream of profanities that most of the men wouldn’t even be caught using.
After a moment, a familiar head with chocolate-brown colored head popped up through the entrance to the tunnel. “You did that on purpose, you bloody bas...” She difficultly refrained herself from telling him exactly what she thought. The small smile on her face showed that she wasn’t too upset with him though.
Hogan caught Kinch’s eye and rolled his eyes in exasperation. Then he carefully pulled himself onto his feet. It was pretty obvious that he was still in some pain, but he tried not to let even a flicker of it cross his face. “Kinch, Carter, LeBeau, Newkirk... Meet me in my office in a couple of minutes. Captain McHenry, I want to talk to you, in the tunnel, right now.”
Beth stood very still as Hogan lectured her about not “risking the lives of everyone in the camp.” She was trying her best not to start laughing though. It was pretty obvious that he wasn’t too upset with her, mainly from the amazed expression on his face when he mentioned Newkirk’s manner of “punishment.” Besides, she was trying to listen to a conversation going on outside in the tunnel between several of Hogan’s men.
Hogan tried his best to give the young girl in front of him an angry scowl, but his heart just wasn’t in it. It was pretty obvious that she was sorry for almost getting them caught. He could tell that she wasn’t sorry for eavesdropping though, especially since she was trying to at that very moment.
He gave a sigh of surrender as he sank down onto a rickety stool that was sitting in the room. “Fine then, I give up. It is obvious that you are just as stubborn as your fath..” Hogan trailed off as a slightly dark expression crossed her face. “I mean... I thought that the two of you were finally getting along. Since you were joking and everything...” Once again he trailed off, letting the curious expression on his face ask the questions.
Beth gave him a weak grin. “We are startin’ to get along. Just not as father and daughter.” She slowly sat down on her cot. “We are actin’ as if we ‘ad never met before las’ night. It is better that way. Because of the way ‘e left me...” This time, she was the once who trailed off.
Hogan gave the girl in front of him a brief smile. “I think that I understand... I’ll send someone down in a little while with some food.” He carefully pulled himself up, wincing slightly as he did. “I better go and see what Hochstetter is up to.”
As he walked off, Beth called behind him. “Colonel Hogan, are you sure that you are fine?”
He turned to her with the usual roguish grin on his face. “Don’t worry about me, Captain. I’ve been through a lot worse. Of course, at the time I didn’t know that letting my brother tie a string to my front tooth, and then attaching it to the door of the car would be painful.” He had to laugh at the shocked expression on her face. “I was only eight at the time...”
While Beth’s “discipline” was being taken care of by Colonel Hogan down in the tunnel, the others were waiting for him in his office. Kinch was listening to the conversation going on in Klink’s office, via a small coffeepot. LeBeau was leaning against the wall, shooting glances through the window every now and then to make sure no Gestapo agents were hanging around. Carter was standing beside the door, shooting glances at Newkirk, who was leaning against the opposite wall, every few minutes.
Newkirk gave an exasperated sigh when he saw Carter staring at him again. “Andrew, will you tell me what the bloody ’ell is so interestin’ about me that makes you keep starin’?” Carter mumbled something and quickly decided that it was much more interesting to watch Kinch and LeBeau.
Newkirk gave a sigh as he muttered several “colorful” remarks about Carter. The young American’s face fell just a little, until he saw the smile playing at the corners of Newkirk’s lips. Carter rolled his eyes and threw Hogan’s pillow at Newkirk, hitting him right in the face. Of course, he had to throw it back to Carter. And then Carter threw it back to him. And then he threw it back to Carter. And then he threw it back to Newkirk...
Hogan shook his head in an amused way as he opened the door to his office. LeBeau was standing by the window, trying to stand guard and not be hit with a flying pillow at the same time. Kinch was listening to whatever was going on in Klink’s office, an amused smile on his face. Newkirk and Carter were acting like schoolchildren, throwing a small pillow with a slit down the middle of it around the room.
Hogan’s eyes grew a little wider when he finally recognized the pillow that they were throwing. He groaned slightly as about half of the inside of the pillow suddenly appeared on his floor. Hogan cleared his throat loudly, his eyes focused on the part of his pillow that was now laying all over the floor.
Carter and Newkirk both seemed to realize at about the exact same time why the colonel was glaring at them, obviously slightly annoyed. They looked at each other slightly sheepishly. “I’ll be ’appy to sew up your pillow for you, Guv'nor. It will give me somethin’ to do.”
From the look on Newkirk’s face it was pretty obvious that he was hoping that Hogan would tell him not to worry about it. One look from the colonel told him that he wouldn’t be that lucky. “Of course, Guv'nor, Carter ‘ere volunteers to ’elp me.” This, of course, was met by a very loud, “I do?”
The conversation was cut off pretty quickly by Kinch, who had taken off the small headphones that he had been wearing and laying them on the table. He looked up at Hogan with an unreadable look on his face. “Well, there is good news and bad news. Except for Louis...” Kinch looked over at the Frenchman with a slightly amused look on his face. “For him there is good news, and, for some strange reason, better news.”
At these words, Hogan gave a slight groan and leaned against the wall. “I guess that the old saying is right. It never rains, it pours. Or in our case, it becomes a hurricane.”
Seeing the bewildered look on LeBeau‘s, Carter’s, and Newkirk’s faces, he gave a wry grin. “Think about what Kinch told us, and then think a little harder.”
Newkirk’s eyes grew wide as he too groaned and leaned heavily against the wall. LeBeau, however, acted like he had just been told that the war was over. Carter gave them all a wide-eyed look. “I still don’t get it!”
Carter looked around at the annoyed faces on everyone but LeBeau. “Come on guys, someone tell me what’s going one. Colonel? Kinch? Newkirk? LeBeau?”
No one bothered to answer Carter. They were all too preoccupied by the same question. Newkirk looked around and gave an exasperated sigh. “Kinch if you don’t mind me askin’, what in the bloody ‘ell does Marya ‘ave to do with anythin’?”
As soon as those words left his mouth, Carter reacted. “Marya? The Russian? The one who always causes trouble for us? Boy, I can see why LeBeau might be happy to hear that. Wait a sec... What does she have to do with anything?”
Newkirk looked over at him with an amazed expression on his face. “Mates, I think that Carter ‘ere has finally flipped ‘is marbles. ‘E’s gone completely balmy. All that spoutin‘ off, and all ‘e wanted to know was exactly what I asked in the firs‘ place.” He shot Kinch a quick look. “An’ someone still ‘asn’t told us that.”
Kinch gave a slightly exasperated sigh. “If a few people would give me a chance to speak, I might be able to tell you what I heard...” He grinned at the slightly sheepish look on Newkirk and Carter’s faces. “As I was trying to say, I’m not really sure what she has to do with anything. All I know is that for some reason Hochstetter mentioned her, and we all know what that probably means...”
“Uh-huh,” Hogan broke in with a slight frown playing on his face. “It means that we’re about to be dragged into the middle of whatever she’s up to.” He motioned towards the other men as he headed towards the tunnel.
“Major Hochstetter, will you tell me what exactly you want here?” Klink sat behind his desk, nervously wiped his monocle with a small cloth. “You come here demanding to see Colonel Hogan because you are convinced that he knows something about a missing prisoner, who just happens to be a woman. And now, you claim that this has something to do with the Russian, Marya.”
Shultz spoke up from the door where he was standing guard. “It makes sense to me, Herr Kommandant.” Klink’s face turned almost as red as Hochstetter’s. “Be quiet, you dummkopf! You‘re not supposed to be in here anyway. You are supposed to be guarding the door from the outside!“ Shultz shouldered his gun and walked as quickly as he could out of Klink’s office, muttering under his breath the whole time.
After the large German had left the room, Hochstetter stood up and glared at Klink. “What I want here is none of your concern, Klink. I am here, and you are going to cooperate with me. That is all that you need to know.” Hochstetter turned his back to Klink and walked towards the door. He started to open it, but then he stopped and looked back at Klink. “I suggest that you do cooperate. It would be very - unwise - to go against me. Do I make myself clear, Klink?”
Klink gave a quick nod to Hochstetter. However, as soon as the man left his office, his face darkened just a little. “Of course Major. Whatever you say.”
Beth jumped a little as several of the men came stomping by the room she was in. Shooting a worried glance towards the hallway, she gingerly stood up and walked towards the doorway. As she stepped into the hallway, she was once again ran over by one of the men. This time, however, it wasn’t Carter. “Um... Sorry about that, Corporal Newkirk.”
He just nodded as he pulled himself up off of the ground. He turned towards her with a grim smile on his face. “That’s fine, Captain McHenry. Now, if you’ll excuse me, we ‘ave a slight problem.” He gave her one more look, before he turned to walk on past her.
“Problem? What kin’ of problem?” She glared at Newkirk as he walked on. ’Excuse me... I asked you a question. ’Ello, do you ’ear me? What kin’ of problem?” He looked back at her with a firm expression on his face. “It’s none of your concern, Captain.”
With a determined expression on her face, she prepared to run after him. She was stopped, however, by a firm hand placing itself on her shoulder. She turned around and found herself staring into Kinch’s eyes. He gave her a sympathetic smile as he shook his head.
She looked into his eyes, and then gave a weary sigh. “Fine then, will you tell me what the ’ell is going on? First, Colonel ’ogan comes stompin’ by, an’ then ’e does. Am I correct in assumin’ that they ’ave a good reason for bein’ upset?”
Kinch looked at the young woman standing in front of him. She was trying to make it seem like she didn’t really care what was going on, but there was a hint of curiosity in her eyes. Actually, it was probably a lot more that just a hint...
He grinned as he walked by her. With a quick motion of his hands, he told her to follow him. As they walked, he slowly began explaining why everyone (except LeBeau) was in such a bad mood. “You see, there is this Russian - Marya - who is usually a very large pain in the...”
Marya looked over at the German general that was sitting beside her. Smiling wickedly, she leaned towards him and gently kissed his ear. They would be at Stalag 13 within the hour, and she wanted to make sure that it would be perfectly safe for her when they arrived. This was the easiest way to get the general to believe anything she said.
Slowly she let her finger caress his face, and then they moved down towards his chest. Knowing that she had gotten his attention, she tenderly moved her lips towards his. A thought crossed through her mind as their lips met. ‘Men - they are so easy to trick... I mean persuade.’
Beth walked quickly beside Kinch, letting him tell her - briefly - everything that he knew about the Russian. Her eyes twinkled with merriment as he mentioned the fact that Marya would - to the Colonel’s horror - pursue him every time she appeared, and the fact that LeBeau wouldn’t let a word be said about her.
She was about to ask him a question when they reached the main radio room. The words never left her lips when she saw the look on Hogan, Newkirk, and Carter’s faces. Noticing that LeBeau wasn’t with them, she shot a quizzical look at the tall, black man standing beside her. Kinch just shrugged his shoulders, an amused look on his face.
The missing corporal suddenly came rushing past them, smelling quite strongly of what seemed to be some sort of aftershave. The young woman bit her tongue to keep from bursting out in laughter. LeBeau stopped in front of the colonel, running his fingers through his hair as he tried to catch his breath. “Mon colonel, may I be the first to volunteer to meet with Marya when she arrives at camp.”
Hogan just looked at him, his eyes wide with amusement. “You have to be kidding, LeBeau. Do you not remember what happened the last time that she was here?”
LeBeau’s eyes widened in confusion. Newkirk gave him one look before giving his two-bits worth. “Blood ‘ell, Louis. She almost got us killed, remember?”
LeBeau’s eyes widened slightly as his friend’s words connected with his brain. “It was not her fault! It was... It was...”
Carter caught Beth’s eye as he walked over and tapped the small Frenchman on the arm. “I think that the words you’re looking for are ’her fault.’ Right?” Newkirk gave a loud burst of laughter as LeBeau’s face started to turn a deep shade of purple - not that much different than the color of Hochstetter’s.
Before anything had a chance to escalate into a fight, a young black man came rushing into the radio room. “Sorry to bother you, but that Russian woman just came in the front gate with a German general.”
The men gave each other quick looks before they turned to quickly hurry back to the barracks. Hogan turned and gave Beth a quick look. In a slightly sarcastic voice he told her exactly what he wanted her to do. “Why don’t you stay away from the tunnel openings this time? It will probably be safer for all of us.”
Carter gave her a sympathetic look as he walked by. Beth just smiled at him, trying to blink back the tears that were threatening to fall down her face. She started slightly as Kinch placed a firm hand on her arm. “Don’t feel bad, Captain. The colonel is just a little upset about having to see Marya again. The last time she was here wasn’t exactly much fun, as you can probably guess.”
Klink sat behind his desk, trying his best not to appear nervous. There was nothing to be worried about. Only the fact that General Frolich was sitting in front of him, the Russian woman - Marya - practically sitting in his lap. And, of course, Major Hochstetter standing behind him wasn’t exactly his idea of fun either.
Of course, there was nothing to be worried about though. Just the chance of death, being sent to the Russian front, being pursued by that... that... woman. He shuddered slightly as that thought crossed his mind. Maybe death wouldn’t be that bad.
Klink carefully stood up and smiled at the general. “If you would like sir, I can have Shultz take your things to the guest quarters. I’m sure that the two of you must be tired after your drive.”
The general looked at Klink for a moment, the look of distaste in his eyes obvious even to the Kommandant himself. It was quite obvious that the general didn’t appreciate Klink’s groveling. With a sigh, the general stood up. “You can take Marya to your guest quarters. I need to place a call to Berlin.”
Marya stood up as Klink shot her another nervous glance. She merely winked at him as the enormous bulk of Sergeant Hans Shultz walked through the door to accompany her to the quarters. As she left the room, she glanced quickly at the picture of Hitler that was hanging on the Kommandant’s wall. Hogan should be getting to the guest quarters in a few minutes.
Hogan looked at the slightly angry look on Kinch’s face. Finally he sighed deeply. “Fine... I’ll go and talk to Marya, and then I’ll apologize to Captain McHenry. Why don’t you send that new guy - what’s his name, Stevenson - to try and find her. She got to be down in the tunnel somewhere.”
Kinch looked at Hogan for a moment, laughter twinkling in his eyes. “I agree with the apologizing part, but are you sure that you want to talk to Marya? I mean, you could always send LeBeau like he asked...”
The colonel stood up and walked out of the room before Kinch even finished his sentence. The sergeant smiled gently as he stood up and followed him. Motioning for a young, dark-haired man sitting on a nearby bunk to follow, he quickly climbed down into the tunnel. “Stevenson, I need you to go and find Captain McHenry. She’s around here somewhere.”
As Kinch walked off, he didn’t see the look in the man’s eyes as the word “she” registered in his mind. Stevenson gave a grim smile as he walked off down the tunnel, looking for the girl. In his mind, however, other thoughts were playing out.
Marya sat in one of the chairs that sat in Klink’s guest quarters. A slightly impatient look crossed her face as she looked wearily up at the clock that was hanging on the nearby wall. “Hogan should be here in five, four, three, two, one...” Her voice trailed off the stove near the wall swung open and a familiar face popped up. “Hello, Colonel Hogan. I expected you to be here sooner than this.”
Hogan gave an exasperated sigh as he pulled himself up out of the tunnel and into the room. Giving her an annoyed look, he slowly walked over towards the Russian woman. “This better be good, Marya.”
Beth leaned against the walls of the tunnel, an annoyed look on her face. She wasn’t as helpless as they thought she was. God, if they knew half of the things she had done back in London... She shook her head quickly to clear those thoughts from her head. No, she couldn’t tell them about any of that. Not yet anyway.
She was so preoccupied with her thoughts that she didn’t even hear the footsteps coming up behind her until a firm hand was placed on her shoulder. Spinning around with a gasp, she stared into the face of a handsome, American sergeant - obviously one of Hogan’s men. She weakly grabbed her heart. “God, you scared me. What are you doin’ wanderin’ around down here? Trying to terrify me?”
The man shook his head, a smile crossing his lips. “Sorry about that, Captain. Sergeant Kinchloe asked me to come looking for you. I thought that you would hear me coming up.”
Beth gave a weak smile. “I guess that my thoughts were somewhere else other that ’ere. Kinch wanted to see me, Sergeant...” Her voice trailed off, not knowing the man’s name. She looked at him with a curious expression on her face.
“Stevenson, ma’am. I’m Sergeant John Stevenson.” His eyes twinkled mischievously as he gently placed his hands on her shoulder. “Why don’t you come with me?”
Beth shrugged as she let the young man lead her. After a few minutes, however, her eyes widened slightly as she realized that they weren’t heading towards the main tunnel. “Hey! What the ’ell are you doin’!? We’re headin’ towards the abandoned part of the tunnel! Let me go!”
Stevenson looked into Beth’s eyes, the longing in them now noticeable to her. She struggled for a moment as he roughly placed his hands over her mouth. Wild thoughts ran through her mind as she struggled to loosen the grip the man had on her. ‘Please, not again. I don’t think that I can stand it again.’
Wildly, she flailed her arms - loosening the grip on her shoulders. She automatically turned and kicked the sergeant right below his belt. He gasped for a moment, and stumbled before grabbing her again. Knowing that she stood no match against the larger, heavier man, Beth did the only thing that she could think of... She screamed at the top of her lungs.
Hogan sat across from Marya, the look on his face one of slight anger and annoyance. He folded his arms across his chest and stared at her - fire practically shooting from his eyes. “Well? Are you going to tell me what the hell is going on, or not?”
She gave his a seducing smile as she stood up and walked over to him. Sitting down beside him, she gently ran her finger across his chest. “I need your help, darling. Could you not have guessed that by now?”
As her lips came closer and closer to his, Hogan abruptly stood up. His eyes were cold as he looked into hers. “Damnit, Marya... The last time you were here, you almost got me and my men killed! Did you really think that I would just forget about that?”
The Russian pulled away, anger and longing both burning in her eyes. She quickly stood up to face him. For a minute, the two of them looked like they were about to kill each other. Suddenly though, Marya grabbed him and pulled his lips onto hers.
The kiss lasted for a few moments before Hogan pulled away, his face livid with anger. Marya looked at him with a challenge burning in her face. He looked at her face, studying it for a moment before saying a word. “Damn... I’m going to regret this, but I’ll help you. Again.”
She smiled at him, an almost invisible trace of surprise in her eyes. Slowly she leaned back towards him for another kiss. This time, though, he quickly dodged her. “Oh no you don’t. Not again...”
Marya gave an annoyed sigh as Hogan turned back towards the hidden tunnel. As he pushed the lever that would open the entrance to the tunnel, however, both of their eyes widened. The sound of a quite feminine scream could be heard from the underground maze. Marya looked towards the tunnel in shock - a woman, here? “Hogan!?”
The American colonel didn’t even look at her as he swung himself down into the tunnel. As the stove swung back into its original position, Marya stared at it for a moment. A rare worried look appeared on her face. “Another woman? Here? This could be a problem. Yes, this could be a very large problem.”
Newkirk looked up sharply as the sound of a woman’s scream echoed through the tunnel system. Looking over at Carter, he could see without asking that he had heard it too. Neither of them said a word as they dropped what they were doing and raced down the tunnel.
A mixture of worry and anger shone in the Englishman’s eyes as he ran. Looking at Carter, he saw pure worry in the young man‘s face. “The girl probably saw a rat or somethin’ in the tunnel and screamed. Damnit! If the Krauts hear her, the whole operation could be discovered.”
Carter looked at his friend for a moment as they ran. He had gotten to know Beth pretty well over the last few days, and she didn’t really seem like someone who would start screaming over a rat. As a thought crossed his mind, he quickly picked up the pace.
Beth struggled as Stevenson shoved her against the tunnel wall. Tears were streaming down her face, and several colorful profanities were coming out of her mouth as the American sergeant pushed his lips against hers.
She felt blind panic shoot up her spine as he fumbled with the buttons on the front of her shirt. Memories of past events went through her mind as she tried her best to push him off of her. Finally, as she flung her fists wildly, she managed to land her clenched fist right on the man’s nose. Giving out a cry of rage, he practically threw her onto the floor. She lay there in a daze, vaguely aware of a sharp pain shooting up her arm.
Looking up at him with terror in her eyes, she tried to pull herself up into a sitting position. When she put pressure on her left arm, however, it collapsed underneath the weight she paced on it. Knowing that there was nothing else that she could do, she slowly relaxed - quiet sobs shaking her body as she lay there unmoving.
She felt him grab her shirt and roughly pull at the buttons. As he yanked on the shirt, the sharp pain once again shot up her arm - causing her to cry out in pain. With an angry cry, he slapped her in the face and placed one of his hands over her mouth.
Suddenly, she heard the sound of footsteps heading in their direction. With a burst of energy, she bit the man’s hand as hard as she could. As his hand flew off of her mouth, she opened it and gave out another scream. As darkness started to come over her, she noticed a vague form running towards her. At the sound of some yelling, she let it overtake her completely.
As Hogan rounded a corner of the tunnel, he was shocked to see the young woman lying on the floor, her shirt ripped open. With an angry yell, he threw himself at the man, Stevenson, who was standing over her. “What the hell are you doing!?”
The sergeant nimbly stepped to the side, grabbing the colonel by the arms as he missed him by inches. With a murderous look in his eyes, he flung Hogan into the wall of the tunnel - knocking the man to his knees.
Hogan quickly pulled himself to his feet, stumbling just a bit as he did. He placed his hand on the tunnel wall to steady himself as Stevenson punched him in the face. The colonel gave a muffled cry as the sergeant’s fist plowed into his face. Still, he managed to keep on his feet as he punched back.
Stevenson gave out a yell of rage as the colonel’s fist caught him in the chest. Suddenly he gave a quiet laugh - a maniacal laugh. Grabbing a small piece of piping that was laying on the floor of the tunnel, he brought it down on the colonel’s head with all of his might. Hogan’s legs seemed to collapse as he fell to his knees. After a moment, though, he looked up in anger, a thin line of blood trickling down his face.
Grabbing the man by the arms, he practically drove him into the wall. Forcing himself to his feet, he grabbed the sergeant’s arms and forced them behind his back. With an angry cry, he then pushed Stevenson’s face into the wall. Ignoring the man’s cries, Hogan weakly leaned over and picked up the piece of pipe. He was just about to smash it into the sergeant’s face when he heard the sound of footsteps coming from another branch of the tunnel.
He looked at the pipe in his hands, an expression of shock on his face. He quickly dropped it, as if it was on fire. He didn’t release his grip on the man he was holding though. As Carter and Newkirk came running up, he looked at them with a weak grin on his face.
Newkirk stared at the scene in front of him in shock. Hogan was holding Stevenson, a new American prisoner, against the wall of the tunnel. There was a steadily increasing stream of blood trickling down the colonel’s face, and he looked like he was about to collapse. The Englishman was about to rush over to him when he heard Carter‘s voice coming from behind him. “Oh my God! Beth!”
The young American practically dashed to the still form that was lying on the ground behind the colonel. Newkirk felt a slow sense of dread creep up him. He hadn’t even noticed her there. Shaking his head to clear his thoughts, he quickly hurried over to the help.
When he reached Hogan, he quickly placed his hand on the man’s shoulder. Looking him in the eyes, he asked the question that he already knew the answer to. “What the ’ell ’appened ’ere Guv’nor?”
Hogan just stared at him, the look in his eyes telling Newkirk that he was right about what had taken place. Suddenly, his eyes seemed to go blank as the colonel’s legs seemed to collapse. As he fell, Stevenson suddenly tried to pull free. With an angry cry, Newkirk grabbed him and forced him back against the wall. Looking over towards the girl’s still form, he saw that Carter was kneeling beside her - a worried look on his face.
Newkirk looked around him, quickly summing up in his mind what had happened. Then he turned towards Carter. “Damnit Andrew, don’t just sit there. Go and get some bloody ‘elp!”
Carter knelt there a minute, staring at the unconscious girl. Then he quickly pulled off his jacket and lay it over her. He slowly looked over at Newkirk before he stood up and hurried back down the tunnel.
Newkirk looked over at her unconscious form and then down at Hogan, who was weakly climbing back to his feet. He quickly called after the departing sergeant. “I suggest that you ‘urry about gettin’ that ‘elp mate. It looks like they might be needin’ some medical attention.”
Marya sat alone in the guest quarters, pondering over the scream that she had heard. It had definitely came from a woman, that she was sure of. Who was it though? Perhaps a member of the local Underground?
Suddenly something that the Gestapo agent, Hochstetter, had had said as she left the room came into her mind. He had been convinced that Hogan had been involved with an escape from a nearby women’s POW camp. Maybe he hadn’t been that far off after all. A smile came onto her face as everything started to fall into place.
The Russian gave a quiet laugh as she thought about how she could work this new fact into her mission. “This could very well work to my advantage. Another woman could make everything much more... interesting.”
Kinch stood in the radio room, quietly overlooking the other black man who was sitting there. The colonel had wanted him to teach at least one other prisoner how to use the radio, in case there was ever an emergency and he wasn’t there. Baker had volunteered almost immediately to become his protegee, and he had been a very good student. Usually, at least.
Kinch held back a laugh as he tapped the young man on the shoulder. He couldn’t help but smile, however, as he pointed to the practice message that the young man had just copied down. ‘Attack on ammo dump cancelled. Stop. Reschedule for three days later. Stop. Wait for flying monkeys. Stop.’
As Baker looked at what he had written, he burst into laughter himself. He quickly sobered and gave a sheepish grin. “Sorry about that, sir. I guess that I made a... slight error.”
Kinch gave him a sympathetic look before patting the young man on the back. “Don’t worry about it, Baker. You should have seen some of my messages when I started out. ‘Watch out for patrols, penguins, and flying saucers. Stop. Pirate ships spotted in Grand Canyon. Stop.’ And those were some of the more correct ones.”
Baker burst into laughter as Kinch gave him a reassuring grin. Slowly though, Kinch’s chuckles faded away as he looked down at his watch. “Where the hell is Stevenson? He was supposed to be here with Captain McHenry ages ago.”
Kinch slowly shrugged his shoulders. He was about to say something else, when he heard the sound of what sounded like French curses coming from the main tunnel. As he picked up on the meaning of a few of the words, he quickly excused himself and rushed out of the room.
LeBeau was standing in the tunnel, looking at his watch and cursing very loudly in his native language. Kinch quickly grabbed his arm, and twisted it ever slightly. The curses quickly changed into cries of pain and hurried explanations. “What do you think you are doing!? Do I not have the right to state my opinion? Mon colonel has been with my love for much too long, and I have yet to see her. Can you not understand my anger?”
Kinch let go of the small Frenchman’s arm and rolled his eyes. Then he quickly looked at him. “What are you talking about? The colonel isn’t back from meeting with Marya yet? I thought that he was planning on getting that done as quickly as he could.”
LeBeau looked at him with an indignant look on his face. “So did I, but it seems that mon colonel is enjoying his visit with her more that he usually does.”
Kinch gave him a disbelieving look. Then he gave a quiet laugh. “You can trust me on one thing, LeBeau. the colonel is definitely NOT enjoying anything whatsoever about being with Marya. He probably already came back and then left to get some information from either Klink or Shultz.”
“Or maybe Sergeant Stevenson went crazy and just attacked Beth over in the abandoned part of the tunnel, and the colonel got hurt trying to help her, and she’s lying on the ground unconscious, and Newkirk sent me to get help, and why are you guys just standing around?”
Both of the men turned around as Carter, gasping for breath, appeared behind them. He grabbed hold of the wall to keep his balance as he stared at them. “Well, are you coming or not?”
He quickly turned and started back in the direction he had come from. Kinch and LeBeau looked at each other for a moment before dashing after him. As he passed by the radio room, Kinch stuck his head in the doorway. “Baker, go and find Wilson. He’s had a little bit of medical training, and we need some help here. Meet us in the abandoned part of the tunnel. And hurry, will ya.”
Newkirk looked over at Hogan, who was kneeling beside the girl. With a worried tremble in his voice, he opened his mouth to ask the question that had been plaguing him for the last several minutes. “’ow bad is she ‘urt, Guv’nor?”
Hogan looked over at him, surprised to hear genuine worry in the Englishman’s voice. He gave a weak smile. “I think that she’ll be fine. The only thing that I can see wrong with her is a few cuts and bruises.”
He ran his hands over her arms and legs, making sure that nothing was hurt there. He flinched slightly was he felt something hard under the skin of her left arm. “And possibly a broken arm.”
Newkirk looked over at him, the relief in his eyes quite apparent. Then he looked at the colonel with a questionable gaze. “What about you, Guv’nor. Are you sure that you’ll be fine?”
Hogan gave an annoyed sigh as he gently rubbed his throbbing head. “Like I’ve told you the last five times you asked, I’m pretty sure that I’ll be fine other than a throbbing headache.”
He looked over at Stevenson, who had given up on trying to fight his way free from the iron grasp that as on him. “Of course, I’m not really sure what the hell to do with him. If we send him back to London, then Klink’s prefect record would be broken. And if we try to get him transferred, he’ll just rat us out.”
Newkirk gave him a malicious grin. “You know Guv’nor, ‘e could just ‘ave an... unfortunate accident. ’e could accidentally step in front of a jeep, or ’e could accidentally get shot while tryin’ to escape.”
The colonel looked at him sharply for a moment before giving a sigh of resignation. “We might have to do just that.”
The Englishman’s eyes almost popped out of his head at that. “We could!?!? Guv’nor, I was just... I mean... Would that not be like murder... Or...”
Hogan looked at him and gave a sigh. “I know Newkirk, but that might be the only way. For the moment, though, we have more important things to think about. Like where the hell Carter is.”
Newkirk gave a tender look at the unconscious girl. For a moment, Hogan thought that he was about to start crying. At the sound of hurried footsteps headed in their direction, however, his eyes quickly changed back into their usual coldness. If he looked carefully though, a tiny bit of tenderness could still be seen in them.
Carter, Kinch, and LeBeau came dashing up, the latter two pausing at the sight before them. Carter quickly ran past Newkirk and dropped to his knees beside the colonel. He looked at Beth for a moment, running his hands gently through her hair. Then he looked up at the colonel. “How is she?”
Hogan gave a weak smile at the concern in the young man’s voice. “I think that she’s going to be fine. Oh, and thanks for your concern about my well-being, Carter. It really means a lot to me.”
The young American’s face turned bright red. “Oh, I’m sorry Colonel Hogan. I mean, I wasn’t trying to ignore you. I was just worried about Beth, and...”
Hogan gave a loud laugh, but it was quickly replaced by coughing. When blood started coming out of his mouth as he coughed, it quickly brought Kinch and LeBeau to their senses. Kinch quickly grabbed Stevenson and tied some rope around his wrists while Newkirk held him still. Then the two of them hurried over to where Carter and LeBeau were helping the two officers.
Kinch gave a good look at them and headed back towards the main tunnel. “I’m going to go tell Wilson to hurry up and get here. It looks like you could have used some help about ten minutes ago. Newkirk, you grab Stevenson and follow me.”
As they hurried off, Kinch looked behind him once again. Then he motioned for Newkirk to stop. The black man gave a smile, and then shoved Stevenson against the wall. “Trust me pal, if either of them is hurt badly - you’re going to wish that you were never even born. Do I make myself clear?”
Stevenson looked him squarely in the eyes before spitting on the ground. “Yes sir, I understand. If they’re hurt, then I’m going to be beaten up by a nig...”
His sentence was cut short by Newkirk’s fist plowing into his face. The Englishman looked over at Kinch with a wry grin. “I’m gettin’ tired of ’is mouth. ’ow about you?”
Kinch looked at him for a moment, a grim expression on his face. Then, with a agreeing nod, he carefully ripped some cloth from his shirt and shoved it into the man’s mouth. “There, now we don’t have to listen to him anymore. Now, let’s go and get Wilson to hurry his ass up.”
Colonel Hogan sat on one of the rickety chairs that was kept down in the tunnel, flinching very now and then as Kinch cleaned out the cut on his head. When it was cleaned up to the black man‘s approval, he tried to stand up. However, as soon as his feet touched the ground the world started to spin around him. Dejectedly, he sat back down and waited for everything to stop moving.
As everything came back into focus, Hogan turned around in the chair so that he could look at Captain McHenry. She was lying on “her” cot, and Wilson was carefully putting a bandage on her left arm - luckily the bone wasn‘t actually broken, only cracked. There were a variety of cuts and bruises on her arms and face, but she actually looked quite peaceful lying there asleep.
After sitting there for a few minutes, Hogan once again tried to stand up. This time he was expecting it when the world started to spin, so he just grabbed the back of the chair and let his head clear. “Wilson, is she going to ok?”
When the medic looked at him and gave a reassuring smile, Hogan motioned for Kinch and Newkirk to follow him. As they stepped out into the main tunnel, the colonel looked at them both for a moment. Then he turned to Kinch. “Did you find out anything about Stevenson? Anything that might explain his... behavior.”
The black radioman gave him a grim smile. “Actually, I did. While Wilson was checking you up over in the abandoned tunnel, I talked to a couple of Sergeant Stevenson’s friends. It seems that there have been a few... problems with him before. That’s part of the reason he was assigned to his position - no women.”
Hogan looked up at the sky, an exasperated expression on his face. Finally he looked at the two men again. “Damn. Why couldn’t people tell us these things beforehand. I was thinking about assigning him to go and meet with some Underground agents next week. God, wouldn’t it have been just terrific if he had pulled this stunt then.”
Newkirk looked over at the colonel for a moment, a concerned expression on his face. “Guv’nor... What are we goin’ to do with the bloke? I mean, us tellin’ Klink that ’e went nuts and attacked you will give us an excuse to keep ‘im locked up in the barracks for a little while, but even our wonderful Kommandant won’t let us keep ’im there forever.”
Hogan looked at the two men for a moment, a thoughtful expression on his face. After a few minutes, his eyes seemed to light up. He turned and hurried down the tunnel. “If Marya wants our help this time, she’s going to have to pay for it with a little help of her own. I’m going to go and pay our Russian guest another visit.”
As he hurried off, Kinch and Newkirk gave each other worried glances. “Do you think the Guv’nor ‘it ‘is ‘ead a little ‘arder than we thought, Kinch? Or maybe I ‘it mine. I could ‘ave sworn that I just ‘eard ‘im say that ‘e was goin’ to go visit Marya again. And we both know that ’e wouldn’t ’ave said somethin’ like that. Would ’e?”
Marya sat on the edge of the chair, pondering about the mysterious woman that she had heard. She was now convinced that it was the escaped prisoner Hochstetter was looking for that they had down there. Her thoughts were interrupted by a scraping sound coming from the stove. A grin spread across her face as a familiar face popped up out of the tunnel underneath it. “Hogan, darling! I was not expecting you back so soon.”
Hogan gave her a long stare, not even cracking a smile. “I’m not in the mood for this, Marya. I want some details on what you’re doing here, and then I’m going to tell you what we want in return.
The Russian gave him a quick look. “Of course, darling. I will be happy to tell you what I am here for. I would like a few questions of my own answered first though. Such as, who is that woman I heard earlier?”
Beth’s eyes opened suddenly, and she shot up from where she was laying. She probably would have fell right off of the cot if she hadn’t been grabbed by four pairs of hands. Carter was sitting on her left, and the medic - Wilson - was at her right. She looked at the two men with a terrified expression on her face. “Stevenson? Where is ‘e? What ‘appened? What... Where... ‘ow...”
She was starting to hyperventilate when Carter gently placed his arms around her shoulders. “Calm down, and try breathing slowly. Everything’s going to be fine, Cap... Beth. Everything’s going to be fine.”
She slowly gasped for breath as she tried to calm down. After a few minutes, she was mostly calmed down. Finally, she looked up at Carter with terrified eyes. “Where is ‘e? What ‘appened?”
When her answer came from behind her, she practically jumped out of her skin before she realized that it was Newkirk who had answered. “The Guv’nor got to ‘im before anythin’ ‘appened. We ‘ave Stevenson locked up. Are you... ‘ow are you doin‘?”
Beth looked up at him for a moment, unsure of how to answer. Finally she gave out a loud sigh. “I’ll survive. At least... At least this time someone stepped in and stopped it from goin’ any further than it did. That last time...” She stopped short, obviously horrified about what she had said. “I mean... Damn.”
Newkirk stared at her for a moment, shock registering on his face. After a few moments, he spun around and hurried out of the room. Beth watched him leave, and then turned around to face the young American soldier standing behind her. There were tears of hurt swimming in her eyes as she looked into his. “Andrew, will you talk to ’im? ’E probably doesn’t want to talk, but still...”
Carter smiled at the girl and stood up. As he walked after the retreating Englishman, his eyes suddenly glazed over. He muttered under his breath as he hurried to catch up with his friend, “What am I doing? Newkirk’s gonna kill me.”
Hogan looked over at the Russian woman beside him with a grim look on his face. “She’s an escapee from a woman’s POW camp. That’s all you need to know, Marya. Now, are you going to tell me why you’re here or not?”
The Russian woman looked at him with a smile. “Actually darling, the reason I am here is mostly routine. You saw the general I arrived with, did you not? He has some... valuable information... in his possession, and I must get hold of it. Then, perhaps, he will have a unfortunate accident.”
Hogan looked at her for a moment and the gave out a loud sigh. “Fine, we’ll help you - as long as it won’t get any of my men killed. You’re going to pay us back this time, though. I have a prisoner here who... Well, let’s just say he won’t be here much longer.”
Marya looked at the American colonel for a moment, studying the seriousness in his face. “Just tell me what you want done with him, darling, and I’ll arrange it. Do you want him to suffer an unfortunate accident?”
Hogan gave her a stare, and she merely shrugged. “No, I don’t want him dead. It might be helpful if you could make it seem like he was though. Then we could ship him back to London without Klink’s ‘perfect’ record being broken.”
Carter walked up to his English friend and hesitatingly placed his hand on his shoulder. Newkirk spun around immediately and actually drew his hand back before he saw who was standing there. He slowly let his hand drop as he looked at his friend. “Bloody ‘ell mate, don’t do that.”
The American just shrugged his shoulders and gave Newkirk a hapless look. Slowly though, the twinkle in his eyes faded. “Do you wanna talk, Newkirk? I mean... Beth asked me to come and talk with you, and...”
Newkirk suddenly looked at him. Carter‘s eyes widened at the sadness in his eyes. “There’s nothin’ to talk about mate. It’s pretty obvious that she’s been through ‘ell - and mostly ‘cause I wasn’t there to be a father to ‘er. Just like my own father wasn’t there for me or my sister.”
He turned away from Carter and slowly walked over to the wall. He leaned against it and looked at the young American sergeant standing in front of him. Carter looked at him for a moment, as a strange expression came into his eyes.
“You might not have been there for her then, but you can be there for her now. If the two of you weren’t so damn stubborn, then maybe none of this would have happened.” Newkirk looked over at Carter, a surprised expression on his face. Carter, however, wasn’t finished yet.
“I don’t care how bad you feel for yourself, you’re hurting her by doing this. Go back in there and at least be civil to her - and that’s an order, Corporal.” As he finished, a shocked look came into Carter’s eyes - like he couldn’t believe what he had just said.
At the last part, Newkirk’s eyes blazed. He walked over to Carter and punched him right in the nose. Carter reeled back for a moment and tried not to faint. “That, mate, was for mentionin’ all of that in your little speech.”
Suddenly Newkirk looked at the young American who was looking at him in shock. He then gave a weak smile and placed his arm around the shoulders of the surprised young man. “And this, Andrew, is for being right about all of it. Come on, let’s go... Sorry about losin’ my temper there. You just took me by surprise with all that. It’s ‘ard to remember that you actually know what you‘re talkin’ about at times.”
Beth quietly sat on her cot, trying to block out the memories that had been drudged up by the attack. She knew that Wilson was still in the room, watching her with worried eyes. ‘The man probably thinks that I’m havin’ some type of emotional breakdown... God, ‘e’d probably be right.’
She felt the tears start trickling down her face before she could do anything to stop them. Choking back another quiet sob, the young woman quickly placed her hands over her face to hide the streams of salty water that were now streaming down her face. Why was she crying now? It wasn’t like this was the first time something like this had happened to her. Still, there was something different...
Deep down, Beth already knew why she was crying. It was because of the look she had seen in her fath... Corporal Newkirk’s face. When she had blurted out that stupid sentence, there had been so many different emotions flashing through his eyes. She had seen shock, pain, understanding, guilt... and disappointment. God, what had she expected from him?
The answer came to her mind before she could stop it - love. ’Bloody ’ell, what was I expectin’? The man ’adn’t even thought ’bout me in almost twenty years. Now, I walk back into ’is life suddenly and expect ’im to welcome me with open arms and an open ’eart?’
As the last of her tears finally trickled down her face, a quiet sigh escaped her lips. She gave a weak, tired smile as she wiped her eyes and looked back up. “God almighty, I’m such a bloody fool.”
Beth jumped into the air as a quiet laugh came from behind her. This time, however, she wasn’t the only one. Wilson, who had been kneeling beside her with a worried expression on his face, had also jumped. Since he was already halfway sitting though, he fell to the ground with a loud thump.
His face red, the medic pulled himself to his feet and glared at the person who was still standing in the shadows of the doorway. “I swear, my patient’s never going to get better if people don’t stop sneaking up on us... her.”
Carter gave him a wide grin as he walked on into the room. “Sorry ’bout that. I didn’t mean to scare, but just the thought of Beth calling herself a fool... Trust me, that’s the last thing that you are.”
The girl smiled gently before turning around to face him. “I wouldn’t be too sure ’bout that, Andrew. If I ’ad just kept my mouth shut... What the bloody ‘ell ‘appened to your face!?”
Carter gave her a wry grin as he rubbed his already swelling nose. “Well, I guess that you could say that I ran into something hard. And fast-moving... And really painful... And...”
Beth sighed quietly as she looked at the young American standing in front of her. It was obvious what had happened, but he was still trying to not come out and say it. “And would that somethin’ possibly be known as a fist belongin’ to a certain Corporal Peter Newkirk?”
Carter grinned at her as he motioned for Wilson to meet him outside of the room. “Well... It might possibly have been something like that. I sort of remembered something that I hadn’t thought about in awhile.”
As he started walking towards the doorway of the room, Beth looked at him with a curious look on her face. “And what would that ‘ave been?”
The young American looked back at her for a minute, a look on his face that almost seemed... proud? He didn’t say a word though. Instead, he merely shrugged and walked out of the room. “Andrew Carter, you better get back in ‘ere and tell me why ‘e ‘it you!”
She jumped just a little as a voice that definitely didn‘t belong to the American sergeant answered her. “For the first time in ‘is life, Andrew remembered something that is actually pretty important... A sergeant outranks a corporal.”
Beth took a deep breath as she turned to face the British man who was now standing in the doorway of the room. Newkirk gave her a nervous smile as he walked in and sat down in the chair that Wilson had previously occupied. “I think that the two of us should sit down and ’ave a ’eart to ’eart... What do you think?”
The girl gave him an equally nervous smile before nodding her head. “I guess that it might be a good idea if we did. So... What do you want to know ‘bout?”
At Marya’s words, Hogan shot up from his chair with a livid look on his face. “You want me and my men to do what!? God, are you crazy!? How the hell do you think we’re going to get away with that!? Look around you, Marya!”
The American colonel’s voice suddenly grew quiet. There were flames burning in his eyes as he slowly started to speak in quiet, calm, deadly-sounding voice. “We are prisoners in a German POW camp. How in God’s name do you expect us to get away with a stunt like that? No... Don’t even tell me how you expect us to get away with it. I will not risk my men’s lives on such a crazy, suicidal...”
The Russian woman stood up and quickly covered his mouth with her hand. There was a fire shining in her own eyes, and she looked like she was ready to kill. “This plan might be, as you say, crazy and suicidal. If we succeed though, it could - quite possibly - cause...”
Hogan‘s eyes flashed as he held up hand. “It could quite possibly he death of me, you, all of my men, most of the Underground in this area...”
Marya glared at him, her eyes shining with loathing. “And several high-ranking German officials. The price we pay will be well worth the end result.”
The American colonel’s eyes flashed with anger. “The hell it will. I don’t care how many Krauts we can take out with this plan of yours, it isn’t worth the price.”
Her eyes flashed with anger as she glared at the man who was now standing in front of her. She leaned towards him so that her eyes were looking into his own. “Why you pompous, self-righteous, cowardly...”
Hogan leaned towards her, his eyes burning like fire. He let his eyes burn into hers as he continued his own ranting. “You crazy, suicidal, murderous...”
Before either of them could say another word, their lips connected. For a moment they stood there, their hatred for each other replaced by passion. After a moment though, Hogan pulled away with anger still shining in his eyes.
Marya pulled back and glared at him. After a moment though, she grabbed his arm and pulled him down with her into the chair where she had been sitting. Neither of them noticed a quiet scraping noise came from under the stove. After a few minutes, however, they did notice the African American man standing near the wall with an amused expression on his face.
Newkirk sat back in his chair, an unreadable expression in his eyes, as the young woman in front of him once again started talking about her past. He could see the haunted look in her eyes, and once again he wished that he could have been there to do something about what had happened to her.
“Now, where was I? Oh yes, I remember... Well, I was fourteen when I met Billy, and ‘e was sixteen. ‘E seemed like a calm, sensible person - even Auntie liked him - and you know ‘ow rare it is for ‘er to like someone. Anyways, we dated for almost two years. It was a few days before my sixteenth birthday - right before the Blitz - and ‘e told me that ‘e ‘ad an early present for me. Well, ‘e took me to the...”
A haunted look came into both of their eyes as she continued on with her story. It took only a few minutes, but in those few minutes so many things changed. After she finished, Beth looked over at him with a shamed look in her eyes.
“The only person I told was Uncle Jack, and I made ‘im promise no to tell anyone - even Auntie. I just... With the war, and the bombings, and everything else... I thought it best if I didn’t bring it up. Billy went into the service just a few weeks later, so there really didn’t seem to be a point in ‘urting so many people.”
Newkirk looked at her for a moment, his eyes still void of emotion. She gazed into his eyes for a moment before quietly looking away. After a moment though, he took a shaky breath and reached his arm out towards her. Gently, with shaking hands, he pulled her head up to face him.
Their eyes met for just a moment before he gave her a small, reassuring smile. Her eyes widened slightly, just before the tears started streaming down her face again. This time, however, they weren’t tears of sorrow - they were tears of joy. And this time, she didn’t try to hide them.
Neither did her father.
Kinch grinned at the guilty look on the Colonel’s face as they walked down the tunnel. “I thought that you might like to know that Captain McHenry is awake. And that she and Newkirk are having a civil conversation with each other after a... um... suggestion, from Carter.”
Hogan looked over at Kinch with a slightly worried look on his face. “A suggestion from Carter? Why does the sound of that make me worried?”
The sergeant grinned at him before shrugging his shoulders. “I really don’t know, Colonel. I mean, it’s not like Newkirk would punch him in the face or anything for pulling rank on him.”
The Colonel stopped walking and turned towards the black man with his eyes wide with surprise. “Carter pulled rank on Newkirk!? Carter!? God, I wish that I had been there to see that... Newkirk punched him in the face!?”
Kinch gave him a weak grin before walking on down the tunnel. “I didn’t say that, Colonel. And neither did Carter. According to him, he accidentally walked into Newkirk’s fist.”
At those words, Hogan looked up towards the ceiling and rolled his eyes. “Of course, he walked into his fist. And if I know Carter, he isn’t going to change that story for anything. No, not a thing.”
Text and original characters copyright by Settiai
This copyright covers only original material and characters, and in no way intends to infringe upon the privileges of the holders of the copyrights, trademarks, or other legal rights, for the Hogan's Heroes universe.