Summary: A German college student living in 2012 somehow ends up in the Hogan's Heroes' universe, in 1943. Frightened and alone, who is she going to turn to? Is it safe to reveal her identity to anyone or better to just lie? Are the Heroes even going to believe that she is from the future and not a Nazi spy? -Possibly romance.
Some days are just better than others.
With some you kind of know the moment you wake up that it's only going to go downhill from there, others come along in a more subtle manner. Over the course of 23 years I had had my fair share of both.
Until December 4th, 2012, though, I never knew what a truly crappy day could look like.
Probably because until that day I had never woken up freezing and disoriented, lying on the cold ground in the middle of a nightly forest that I had never been in before, horrified by the sound of gunshots and screaming in the air.
I don't know how it happened.
It was a Sunday afternoon just like any other. Outside my little apartment, the last light of another gray winter day was quickly fading. I remember I was working on a paper for one of my American literature classes, my TV turned on for mere company but muted so that it would not break my concentration.
It had been a slow week. University had kept me busy during exams and between that and my half time job of tutoring, I was almost too tired to properly see the letters I was typing out on my laptop. Another paragraph, then I yawned, stretching under my blanket. Deciding on a short break I glanced at the TV, smiling when I found that the formerly rather boring program had been replaced by a rerun of one of my all-time favorite shows since childhood, Hogan's Heroes.
I smiled, turning up the volume to be able to follow Colonel Hogan and his men as they managed yet another sabotage mission. Just as I was getting into the show, my phone suddenly rang.
“Hey, Elsa, what'cha doin'?”
“The usual. Studying while trying to pretend it's not winter out there and we're still on the beach.”
Sarah laughed, “Tell me about it. I told you we shoulda stayed there.”
Sarah and I had just returned from a semester spent -mostly- studying in California. It was a tough transition so far. There was just so much to miss: the climate, the culture, the big city life.
“So what are you really doing? I can hear the TV in the background.”
I chuckled, “Yeah, you got me, I'm watching Hogan's Heroes.”
“On TV? I didn't know that was still on. Are you watching it in German?”
“Hmpf,” I frowned although she wouldn't be able to see it, “Of course. It's on TV, not my computer.”
I felt a small pang of regret at that. I knew why Sarah was asking. It was odd watching the show in German; usually we both much preferred watching American shows with the original audio, especially since our stay abroad.
As a child, I had had no choice but to watch the show in German because of the language barrier, but now hearing American English was a comfort rather than a strain; a warm reminder of a culture that at times had been my home as much as the German one.
“It's kinda nice watching it now,” I told Sarah, “Hogan and the others miss America, too. Somehow makes me feel integral to the story.”
She laughed at me, “You wish. Admit it, you're just watching it because for some reason you’re weirdly attracted to old guys.”
“They're not old,” I pouted, not denying anything. On the screen, Newkirk was on an outside mission. He was wearing a jacket that I could have sworn my grandfather owned as well. I focused on his face resolutely. “And I simply enjoy the show for its humorous elements.”
“Right, and its educational value,” Sarah scoffed, “Well, I'll leave you to your guys. I'll find a show with guys from this millennium to fawn over.”
I watched the show for another while after she'd hung up, deciding to leave my paper for the next day. My eyes began to droop as I watched Sergeant Schultz usher the faux-prisoners out of their barracks, smiling tiredly as Hogan yet again managed to pull one over Klink. Silly and unrealistic as the setting was, I couldn’t help but love the show, the humor, the actors, the whole universe...it was too bad I had been born too late to see them for real...
With that fleeting thought, I must have fallen asleep.
The next thing I knew, I wasn’t in my apartment.
'Oh God, what's happening?'
I was awake within an instant, scrambling to my knees. There was just enough moonlight around me to make out the outlines of a forest. Not my bed, not my apartment. No. A forest.
My mind was instantly reeling. There were no woods close to where I lived. How had I gotten here? Why?
A gush of cold wind hit me and I shivered, suddenly realizing I was in my pajamas. Shit, shit, what's happening?
I struggled to my feet, whimpering when icy rocks and branches dug into my bare soles. Freezing and disoriented, I looked around. Nothing looked familiar...
“Hello?” I started, but then snapped my mouth shut again just as quickly, morbidly reminded of every horror movie I'd ever seen. The mental image that provided didn’t exactly help me not panic. I looked around hastily, but there was no one in sight. Just darkness and trees.
'Okay, a dream. It's obviously a dream. You're still in your bed. Just close your eyes and when yo open them again this will all be gone.'
When I blinked the forest was still there, as stoic as the sharp pebbles under my feet.
Okay, a very persistent dream...a very realistic, freezing, frightening dream....any second now...
I was just about to pinch myself when suddenly a loud noise made me all but jump out of my skin. I flinched, whirling around just in time to hear a second explosion, this one closer than the first. Gun shots, my brain supplied. Gun shots and shouting, angry voices...
I was running in the opposite direction before my brain had caught up to my legs, suddenly finally winning out over rationalizations. Whether whoever was running around a nightly forest, shooting, was just part of a really scary dream or a real threat -I sure as hell wasn't going to just stand around waiting to find out. I ran and ran, not minding the branched scratching my bare arms, legs and face; I ran until I could no longer breathe, forced to cower behind a tree for cover.
I did my best to stay silent as I caught my breath, trying to listen to the sounds of the forest and determine if I had gotten away from whoever was out there. There was silence, nothing I could hear besides the whispering of leaves and my own blood rushing in my ears.
I breathed out in relief, straightening up as quietly as possible as I peered into the dark. I saw him first. A black silhouette between two trees, moving quickly and silently.
I made a startled sound before I could stop myself. The figure spun around instantly, two eyes flashing in the darkness as they found me. I had no time to think or do anything; before I could blink he was already right in front of me, a heavy hand grabbing my arm. I flinched back fearfully, my back hitting the tree trunk, but the grip only tightened.
“Bitte-” I couldn’t stop my voice from shaking, too afraid to think clearly, “nein-”
At my words, the man drew in a sharp breath. Before I could say anything else I was pulled away from the tree and into a little clearing.
Moonlight hit both of our faces at the same time. I was so shocked that I froze on the spot, forgetting that I was trying to get away.
No. That couldn’t-
Standing right in front of me, in the flesh, was Richard Dawson aka Corporal Peter Newkirk.