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FIC: Postcards (Hogan's Heroes, PG)

Title: Postcards
Fandom: Hogan's Heroes
Characters: Hogan and the gang
Rating: PG
Word Count: ~1100
Warnings/Spoilers: None
Disclaimer: Fanfic, for fun, not profit.
Notes: Written for a challenge over at tv_universe. We had to write a fic around the theme "Vacation".

Also: Apologies if you read this in the first 12 hours it was up, I didn't copy and post the whole thing! It's fixed, now!

Postcards

The postcard arrived at the barracks six months after it had been sent. Battered and beaten and stained with something that was a rather awful shade of green, it hadn't been redacted in any way. Not that much of a surprise, really, even the worst of the German censors probably couldn't come up with a reason to mistrust any of the eleven words on the back of the card.

"This could be what paradise looks like. Wish you were there."

Hogan flipped the card to the front. It was a beautiful, if somewhat stained, picture of Monterey Bay. The sun shone in the sky and all looked right in the world. He frowned and looked at the back again. It was addressed to him, but there was no salutation, no signature, no sign of who would have sent it.

"Who's it from, Mon Colonel?" LeBeau stood on tiptoe and peered down at the card. "A Mademoiselle perhaps?"

Hogan shrugged. "I have no idea. I don't know any one from Monterey Bay." And while that was true, the picture did make him feel better, so he tacked it up on the wall next to his door.

His men didn't believe him, thinking that he was holding out on them, but the mystery died in a few days, once they had a mission to distract them.

The second postcard arrived the next week. This one only five months delayed. The same eleven words, the same lack of salutation and closing, however, this time the picture was of the snow covered mountains of Jackson Hole. Despite it being 30 below outside and barely above freezing inside, Hogan thought the view was paradise worthy.

"Another one, Colonel?" Carter peered at the picture. "Jackson Hole! Boy, I've always wanted to go there. My great-grandfather, One Who Runs Like Lightning, was one of the native guides for the mountain men when they first explored the area."

"We don't care about you travel plans, Carter," LeBeau said. "We want to know who's sending them. Tell us who she is, s'il vous plaît?"

"I told you, I don't know who's sending them." Hogan pinned the postcard up next to the other one.

There weren't any more postcards for two weeks, then three came at the same time. They had been sent on different days, still several months in the past and all identical save for the pictures on the front: the beaches of Key West, a panorama of Kansas wheat fields and the Statue of Liberty standing tall in a deep fog. They were added to wall.

When he received one a week for the next three months, even Hogan began to wonder what they meant. The wall was becoming covered with beautiful pictures -- some famous, like the Alamo, some newly novel like the spectacular view of Mount Rushmore, and some none of them had ever heard of, like Rhinelander, Wisconsin.

It was Schultz who asked about the oddness of the phrasing, wondering if "Wish you were there" was a common phrase in America. It wasn't, of course, but no one could explain why each card said just that.

It was Newkirk who noticed that all the postmarks were from Klamath Falls, Oregon. No one in the barracks had any special connection to the area.

It was Baker who pointed out that not all the postcards were new; some of them were old and yellowed with age even before they had been sent through the nightmare network of POW mail.

Hogan finally managed to convince them that he had no idea who they were coming from or why he was getting them, but that just added to the mystery. They would spend hours scouring over the postcards, searching for some clue as to what they were supposed to mean or what secret message they could convey. None of their speculation ever came up with any reasonable theories, and soon the talk would devolve into where each of them would rather visit. Which place would be best for a summer vacation and which would be better seen with a weekend pass.

When someone had visited or grew up near one of the scenes, they became instant celebrities, sharing their personal stories of how much like paradise each place was and how much they, indeed, wished they could be there. Many a night was spent contemplating the places they’d much rather be.

By the time Hogan tacked the 20th card on the wall, he contacted London, asking if there was some official reason for the cards. They denied any knowledge and passed the request on the to American forces who had same response. There was some thought of further investigation by tracking down the postmark and seeing who was behind it all, but the war was heating up and mysterious postcards just didn’t rate high on the ‘to-do’ list for the Allied war machine.

By the time Hogan tacked the 30th card on the wall, Klink himself came to the barracks and asked that the cards be taken down, saying that the collage was an invitation to have Major Hochstetter and his Gestapo thugs investigate Stalag 13. The Kommandant, more nervous then usual, had been spending more and more of his time locked in his office. Hogan, having a direct line to the front line, knew that the war wasn’t going well for Germans and that Klink had every right to be worried.

However, he also had a point. Even though the arrival of postcards had trickled down to one every other month or so, with the chaos that was advancing on Germany, Hogan could see the wisdom in not drawing attention to their operation. The problem was, he didn’t want to take them down. The wall had become too important, too personal just to take them down and toss them away.

It was Newkirk who solved the problem. “If you don’t mind, guv'nor, I’ll take this one.” He held a card with a panoramic picture of the Grand Canyon. “It’s like carrying a bit of a holiday around in my pocket. Maybe, someday, I’ll visit.”

Over the next few days, the cards slowly disappeared into pockets and journals. The few postcards that arrived in the mail after that, battered and worn, were passed to those who still wanted them. Hogan claimed one of the last cards to arrive. The picture displayed blooming lilacs by a small lake, with mountains looming large in the background. The writing on the front identified it as 'Klamath Falls, Oregon'. Hogan tucked it away in his pocket. He knew the end of their mission – and the war – was approaching fast. If he ever made it back to the states, he knew where he was going to go on his first vacation.

Comments

( 2 lines — Drop a line )
catko
Jun. 26th, 2014 04:16 pm (UTC)
Wow
1) I love that you are in the Hogan's Heroes fandom.
2) This is such a great reminder of the different personalities and backgrounds of each of the characters.
3) Great story, really heart-tugging.
partly
Jun. 27th, 2014 02:08 am (UTC)
THANK YOU!
Thanks for reading. Thanks for the kind words.

Hogan's Heroes is the best!
( 2 lines — Drop a line )

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