Welcome back! I hope everyone is having a wonderful New Year.
The war's end brings joy and heartbreak for our favorite Englishman...plus a surprise:-)
I'm going home!
He watched the Americans - two tanks and a jeep - roar up the road before slowing to a halt before the main gates. After a moment, one of the heavy tanks lurched forward with a loud roar before slamming itself against the wood and barbed wire. With a sharp crack, the panels quickly gave way and fell to the ground moments before the tank treads chewed the remains into splinters.
For as long as he lived Peter Newkirk never forgot the white star on the front of the dirt-crusted tank. And I never thought I would love the color green either! His cries of joy were drowned out by those of the other prisoners as they celebrated their liberation.
At long last, they were going home!
No more lousy food or Luftwaffe guards; no more cold bunks and chilly showers. And no more-
Time seemed to slow as Newkirk's cheerful facade crumbled into a sorrowful realization.
No more Colonel Hogan.
The American officer, he quickly noted, was talking to several of his newly arrived countrymen. It wouldn't be long before the American would be back in England and then onward-
Just thinking about it made his heart ache; a jumble of thoughts began to cascade through his suddenly lightheaded mind.
I'll never see him again. Well, maybe every so often. Another happy thought suddenly popped into his head. There's always hope! I could move to America and...and...
...what would I do?
At that moment, he felt like crying. It's not fair! he raged silently. It's not!
Face it, Peter: He'll never be yours, a hard voice whispered out of the corner of his mind. Ever.
Oh shut up! he retorted. I can always wait. Things will change!
And do you really believe that? the mocking voice whispered again. He's a man about to be returned to a land of women. Why would he want you when he could have all the delights any man could want?
Because none of them could ever know him! the Englishman shot back to his unseen tormentor. They'll see only the outside of a great man. They'll never see what I've seen-
-And yet, you'll destroy him both inside and out if you pursue him, the snide whisper challenged. What of his career? His life? He can never have a relationship with you. Accept it, and move on.
Never! Peter snarled. Just then, he looked up to see the Senior POW walking in his direction. The American was being mobbed by happy men who reached out to shake his hand and clap him on the back. Steadily, he drew closer-
-and at that moment Peter had to know. Without warning, he grabbed the Colonel as he passed by and kissed him on the lips.
It wasn't a long kiss at all. In fact, it merely lasted seconds. But in that short space of time-
-a wave of joy rushed through him as his soul merged with another-
-and then cried as the other withdrew, leaving an empty stillness in the void of his heart. Colonel Hogan looked at him oddly for a moment before a grin broke out on his face.
"I think you have it backwards, Newkirk," his cheerful voice finally said. "The French kiss each other on the the cheeks instead of the mouth."
"That may all be true, Guv'nor," the RAF Corporal cheekily replied with a cocky smile. "However, we English like to think we do things better than the French." LeBeau, standing nearby, snorted in mock derision before shaking his head.
"And as usual, the English get it wrong," he said loudly, jibing his friend. Uncharacteristically, Peter said nothing. Instead, he made a mock bow towards the Frenchman before cutting his eyes in Hogan's direction. This time, the man was laughing.
He's so beautiful when he does that!
"We're really going to have to find you some girls, Peter," he chuckled. "If you're kissing guys then you've been here way too long,"
"Maybe so, Colonel," Newkirk joked back. "Maybe so."
But it was worth it!
A/N: Thanks for reading! One more chapter left.