In The Watches of the Night -

Chapter 4 - The Beginning of the Fairy Tale

January 2, 1970

Bound Brook, New Jersey

Mid Afternoon

Three Peters and a Rob were breaking down a spare room, the elders doing the heavy work in silence, while the much younger men were carefully packing their Uncle Wilhelm's things to be brought to Westchester.

Three Peters were also watching one Rob very very carefully.

Of the three, Newkirk was the best at it; he didn't need to use his eyes to know what his Guv was doing from moment to moment. For years now, it had been his job to know when, where, what and why (the 'how' of the man was a puzzle he'd given up on long ago) of General Robert E. Hogan, and Colonel Peter Newkirk was extremely good at that job.

The 'lads' on the other hand, were trying so hard to keep their uncle/father under surveillance and yet seem natural - trying and failing, Pete E. nearly cross-eyed from the effort.

Pete R. broke the silence at last: "Hey, Papa Bear, I'm kinda hungry, could you go get us some pizza? So Aunt Betty doesn't have to cook tonight?"

Rob looked at his son and tried for a smile: "Sure. Newkirk, do you know a place?"

" 'Course I do, Rob. Boys, you blokes 'old down the fort, and we'll be back. Right back."

With a grateful smile at the young Hogan, Newkirk ushered his commander out of the room, leaving the two cousins to exhale dramatically.

"Boy, I've never been this nervous around your dad, Pete, never. What are we gonna do?"

"Nothing we can do Pete E. We just have to keep a lid on it until after the funeral. Hopefully the brass will give him the rest of the month off, maybe let him actually retire. Mom's gonna need him home, especially after she tells him what's what."

"You mean he still doesn't know?"

"Nope, Mom said that this was gonna be hard enough to get through, so she's saving the news for after everything is done, so he could be here without feeling like he was choosing between them."

"That's nice of her, but," the younger shakes his head, "you know Uncle Rob will try to 'fix it'. You know that. And this he can't fix. Uncle Wilson, Dr. McCoy, Dr. Chen, they've all been trying and if the Professor can't find someone with the right Talent, then"

"Hey!" The dark haired young man (a dead-ringer for his famous father) growled, "There's still time for Mom. They haven't given up. WE haven't given up. There's still time" he whispered, "still time."

"Yeah, yeah, I know, and you're right. But when our Papa Bear does find out,..."

The teenager then looked at his eldest 'cousin' and asks a question that had been bothering him:

"What you said before...about the government letting your Dad go... Do ya think they're holding Papa Bear hostage, for us? Not one of us have been drafted; I don't turn 18 'til mid-month, but I already got my deferment in the mail...and I haven't even applied."

The blonde, too focused on the conversation, failed to notice that he was trying to shove a book in to a leather sleeve sideways and both sleeve and book fell from his hands. And out from the book fell a few loose leaves, letters in various hands, some that seemed finished and others that were just notes.

"Finally! I'll bet these are from the war! Or maybe just talking about it, look here's a letter Uncle Wili wrote" and Pete E. began to read -

My Dearest Rob:

It is less than 24 hours since you have left; less than a day since you have returned to the States. The sale of the buildings are final; everyone making all arrangements to start a new life in New York.

Schultz and Gretchen are enamored of the new home that you found them in Westchester; Langenscheidt and our little bird cannot wait to move into their townhouse in North Salem. The same for the rest of the old group, all are anxious to leave Germany as quickly as possible. Thanks to you, we will no longer have to fear the long arm of the Odessa. Or any Nazi ever again.

There wasn't any more to that letter, but there were others. Two letters paper-clipped together caught Pete E. eyes, and they seemed like the oldest in the bunch. So Pete E gave one to his cousin and they both began to read.

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Here are the letters which form the tale called: A Fairy Tale -

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So engrossed with finally finding out more, they didn't hear the men return until Newkirk's Cockney voice broke through as he bounded down the hall to the back bedroom: " 'Ello, 'ello! Earth to lads, earth to lads! We been callin' and ..."

One look and Newkirk knew that certain discussions were no longer going to wait on the comfort level of the adults.

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A/N: My endless thanks to Wolfie, Kat, Snooky and Goldleaf83 for their invaluable input.

As you can see, this is the first of hopefully many links to the 'Dear Rob' 'Verse. Think of this as a central clearinghouse, the spider's web, that brings the incidents and tales like threads together to form and inform part of the greater whole.

And yes, Klink has already passed in this scene – he will get a proper send off, but this is a place of aftermath, a calm before storm of various types.

I don't know which fic will be next in the chain, but I do know that we will find out what Pete R. thinks about all this.