This is a fanfic I wrote myself after being inspired from the Return of 'Allo 'Allo! - special episode that aired on 28th April on BBC2. It contains major slash between Gruber and Rene.
Download the Word file here.
Or read the story directly as it follows.
After the war was over
It was only yesterday that he left cafe. He was now at the station, ready to get on the train to
Now he was already a full day away from his last glimpse of his dear one and he was about to make the distance even longer by getting on the train and leaving. He didn’t want to think back, he knew it would only make it more difficult to leave but he couldn’t help it. He thought back at all the great times they all had together at the café. All the fun, laughter, entertainment, joking about madam Edith’s awful voice, dealing with the paintings disguised as knockwurst sausages and their forgeries… It was all quite a lot of trouble at the time, but looking back at it now he realised how varied and interesting his life had been all this time. And of course every time he got a chance he would visit René, to warn him about something, always making sure he is safe, or to pass a message to him. Gruber never missed a chance to have some chat with the café owner.
The memories came flooding back as he stood there side by side with the colonel and Helga on the platform, waiting for their train to come. The other two were quiet, each one seemed caught up in their own world. Gruber took a glance at the railway – there was no sight of the train yet. Then he moved his gaze over the rest of the platform. His eyes were now looking at the direction of the platform’s door. For a moment his heart stood still. He felt dizzy. Then all of a sudden his heart started beating furiously and he felt like embers wrapped his body. He thought he was hallucinating. But it was true. Somebody was walking in their direction quite hastily. The Lieutenant couldn’t hold himself.
“RENÉ!” he shouted out over excitedly.
Helga and the colonel got startled by his exclamation and instantly raised their eyes to see what was going on.
It was true – René was walking in their direction.
As the café owner got close enough to the trio he stopped struggling for breath.
“Colonel, Lieutenant, Helga!” he started while still trying to calm himself down, “I am so glad I caught you here!”
“René, what is going on? Vhy have you come here?” asked the colonel surprised.
“Oh colonel, it is terrible. You cannot leave. We need you very badly.”
“Vat do you need us for?” asked Gruber.
“The resistance have come back and are asking for the painting. They have found out that we had been hiding it during the war and now they want me to hand it over to them. And if I do not they will have me shot!”
”No!” exclaimed Gruber.
“But René, you know that ve sold the painting in order to get money to get to
“I know, colonel. And they also know – ask me not how – that I have been involved with you and that you have been hiding it. Now they want me to take it back from you and give it to them. What am I going to do? Oh please, Colonel, Lieutenant, you have to help me!”
“Colonel, perhaps there is a vay to retrieve zhis painting again.” Gruber’s mind started working fiercely.
“But how? Zhat painting is in
“No, colonel, this is the communist resistance, we are talking about. They are vicious and cruel and do as they wish.”
The colonel didn’t know how to answer now… Gruber’s mind kept on working intensely as he tried to find a way out of the situation.
“René, if my memory is correct, vhen I was working on zhe forgeries… I created a lot of modelz vhich I used as a reference in order to make zhe new paintings. I dare not be too positive but zhese modelz might still be available back at my room in zhe Château. If I vere to get zhose and use zhem…”
”Oh please do so, Lieutenant! That would be wonderful!” René, couldn’t resist interrupting him. Gruber was delighted with the fact that he was able to help René and more over that René was begging him to do so. He now felt how quickly his leave for
“But Gruber, our train iz just about to come. You have no time to do all zhat!” exclaimed the colonel.
Gruber looked at him and then at Helga and then back at René with a thoughtful look.
Helga kept her gaze on him for a while and then her voice was heard for the first time:
“Colonel, I do not think we can rely on lieutenant Gruber’s company on the train.”
The colonel looked stunned.
“Though you will not be able to go back to zhe Château. Novhere iz safe for us anymore.” she continued with a slight grin on her face.
This thought hadn’t occurred to the Lieutenant yet and now that he thought about it, it did represent quite a big of a problem. There was silence for a few minutes among the four people while various thoughts circulated through their heads. At this moment a certain sound caused a slow rising of panic.
“Zhe train is coming, colonel. Ve have to go.” she said out loud what everyone was already thinkig.
“Vhat are you going to do, Gruber?” the colonel asked him.
The Lieutenant looked as though he was in a great dilemma. Whatever his final decision, he had to make it quick.
“Perhaps…” Helga’s voice was heard again, “René could give lieutenant Gruber a room at zhe café…?”
The thought alone over excited Gruber while René didn’t look very fond of the idea. However their time was running out and no other solutions were at hand. The former German officer looked hopefully at the bar tender who seemed to be struggling with his own will while the train made a halt right next to the group. The next moment colonel Von Strohm took his suitcase and his coat and hat in hand and threw a last questionable look at the Lieutenant.
“Vell? Are you coming or not?”
Helga followed his example and also headed for the door of the train.
“All right! He can stay.” René suddenly exclaimed, seemingly struggling with the control over his own words, obviously realising the serious need he had for the Lieutenant’s help. “…at the café that is.”
Gruber could sense a great wave of relief washing over him followed by immense happiness.
“All right zhen.” the colonel was now almost in the train. “Goodbye Gruber! I vish you all zhe best.” and with that he disappeared behind the door. Helga delayed her exit with a few moments and gave the former German officer a one last look, very direct this time.
“Vatch after yourself.” and with that she also disappeared behind the door.
The two men left on the platform stood and stared at the closing doors and the slowly leaving train in silence. When the machine was already out of sight the German turned towards the other one.
“Let us get to the café!” René hurried with his words before the Lieutenant was able to say anything.
Gruber was warmly welcomed by the others especially after they heard that he is going to help them get a new painting. He received the room next to René’s for which he was most grateful. On the next day he went back to the Château to get his models for the painting. He knew it was dangerous for Germans to be lurking around these times but he was ready to risk himself in order to help René. He wondered whether René ever recognised all the signs he gave him to show his affection. Everyone from the Château had been lead out already but there were still a couple of people patrolling and searching for if anything valuable was left. Though with some really dangerous situations, Gruber managed to get himself out of there successfully and returned to the café.
“Here are zhe models.” he announced upon his arrival. Yvette and madam Edith were the first ones to congratulate him.
“Oh well done, Lieutenant!” even though he was no longer an officer of the army, everyone was so used to calling him Lieutenant that they found it difficult to get out of the habit. René was also smiling with joy and this made Gruber even happier.
“I vill begin vork momentarily.”
The days went by and his work was progressing steadily. Life at the café turned out to be much more peaceful and enjoyable than it ever was while he was an officer in the Château. Of course the fact that the war was now over contributed even more to this but even so he felt slight sorrow at the thought of why he never got a chance to spend more time at this place before. Everyone was surprisingly hostile to the former Nazi German officer and made him feel at home. Nevertheless among all the people there was one person who’s attitude mattered the most to Gruber. René still seemed a bit uncomfortable with his presence all he time. Gruber tried not to hang around him too much as he knew it wouldn’t be appreciated but instead concentrated on his work. Nonetheless he was happy and grateful for this wonderful opportunity to spend so much time closer to René than he had ever been before.
And close it was! Incidents such as the one last week might as well be, as Gruber thought to himself, the reason why René was always so tense when the German was around. It had happened late in the night. The former officer had gone our of bed in need to go to the bathroom. In the corridor and in the bathroom it was dark so all he could make out were outlines of basic shapes. Little did he know that while entering the room somebody else was on their way out. In the dark Gruber instinctively started moving his hands about in order to feel the surroundings and make out what it was that pressed against him so softly but intensely.
“Who is zhere?” he asked but before he could hear a response his question was answered in a different way. It seems that with one hand he was feeling about René’s chest and face, but with the other hand, positioned much lower he was feeling about… some other parts of René’s body…
“René? Is zhat you?” he asked again though he was already certain of the answer. Before anything further could happen Gruber sensed René’s body brushing against his side as the Frenchman hastily made his way through and out of the bathroom.
On the next day René completely ignored the former officer and come to think of it – Gruber was glad as he himself did not have the courage to face René after their little ‘meeting’ last night. The incident was never actually mentioned but its presence in the thoughts of the two men while they were around each other could be felt.
Yet as days went by René grew to be much more relaxed in Gruber’s presence. He got used to him as a part of the usual inhabitants of the café which didn’t bother him to continue his normal everyday work as a café owner. As for Gruber, he not only continued working hard on the painting but he also helped around a lot with the work at the restaurant in order to pay back for the provided for him food and care.
Everything seemed to be turning out fine until one day the moment everyone feared the most came. The girls from the former communist resistance entered the café with their leader ahead and demanded to speak with René. He came forward all pale of worry and mentally prepared himself for what was to follow.
“René! We are ‘ere to take what belongs to us.” she announced.
-“Actually it doesn’t, you churl!”- Mimi, one of the waitresses, answered but luckily she said it quietly enough so that only madam Edith who was standing next to her actually heard it.
“Ah… of course. We have not forgotten about that.” René rushed to give them an answer. “But… wouldn’t you like to sit down for a drink first and then we can discuss the matter at peace?”
“Verry well then,” she gave in to the offer, “give me some of your best wine!”
“Of course! Girls, wine for the… girls… -the former communist resistance girls!” René hurriedly went behind the bar to calm himself down. At that moment former lieutenant Gruber opened the door behind him and whispered so that only René could hear:
“René, I need to speak to you. Would you please come to the back room?”
The bar tender sensed a familiar nervousness but did as the other man told him anyway.
The Frenchman closed the door behind him as Gruber was waiting for him inside the small room with a worried look on his face.
“Ah, Lieutenant! No means to worry you but the girls from the communist resistance are here and want the painting. Are you ready with it?”
“Zhat is exactly vhat I vanted to talk vizh you about, René… Zhe painting is almost finished but I have a little problem – zhere is not enough paint to finish it off.”
René’s hopes for good news and perfect carried out plans quickly faded away.
“But then we could go and buy some more at the store?”
“I already zhought of zhat, René.” Gruber seemed reluctant to bring all the bad news to the ears of other man. “But today iz Sunday and zhe shops are closed.”
“Oh no…!” the Frenchman started to panic. “What are we going to do?! The communist resistance is here and they want the painting now otherwise they will shoot me! And we cannot give them the unfinished painting -he threw a glimpse at it- because they will immediately notice that it is not completely done yet. This way they will find out that I have been double-crossing them and they will shoot me again!” his thoughts of worries came flooding one after another and he didn’t see a way out. “If only there was a way to make them wait for a little longer, you would be able to finish it, Lieutenant.”
At that moment Gruber knew it was time for him to act. He opened the door and entered the main café room.
“So you are zhe former French communist resistance, is zhat right?” he spoke loudly and with confidence in his voice. René only stared at him, stunned by his bold approach and was awaiting the unfolding of this too unrealistically dangerous looking situation.
“That is correct.” the leader of the girls answered by turning her head towards him, without bothering to stand up from the chair.
“My name is Friedrich von Jungemann, I am a former German lieutenant.” at this the girls made sour faces. “Zhis man here, René
“Is that right?” the leader girl now finally rose from her chair. “Well then I shall inform you that – it is our intention to take this painting.”
“Zhough, I did not mention it before but I am villing to give it for something in return.” Gruber continued.
“Hm.. now you are talking sense. What do you want?”
Gruber paused for a few moments. He realised that he had gained himself a chance he wasn’t to miss. He remembered all the times René complained about the shape of the restaurant – how old and unstable it was.
“Ah, zhat is a good question, indeed. -he made a few steps closer to the girl- Usually I vould ask you for money, but at zhis moment there is something better you could do for us. -the former resistance member who was listening attentively made a face at these words- I vould like you and your girls to do a zhorough restoration of zhe café.
“It iz really not zhat much of a work – a little paint here and zhere, a few windows to be repaired… truly you vould finish it for no more zhan a few days.”
“We are no workers! We would not allow to be humiliated like that. We are the proud former members of the communist resistance! We do not do restoration work for café owners and nazi swines!”
”Alzhough it seems to me -Gruber continued without paying any attention to the insult he just received- you are pretty desperate to get zhat painting… Must be of a high value for you…” he knew how to strike their weak spot.
“Mind your own business! What we need that painting for is none of your concern!”
“In zhat case I shall not give to you unless you do for me zhe favour I asked for.”
The leader didn’t say anything for a while. Then she returned to the other girls and all of them bended over the table in order to discuss the matter secretly. René was still observing the scene from a safe distance, finding it difficult to believe how positive for him everything was unfolding. Madam Edith and the girls were standing quietly in the other corner of the room also attentively following what is going on.
After a few minutes the leader girl rose from the chair again and faced the former Lieutenant.
“All right,” she said, “we accept. But no more work than is necessary and no more than a few days.”
“Of course. And be sure to make zhis place look pretty.” Gruber concluded with a feeling of dominance and pride.
Without saying a word no more and without further delay the former communist resistance girls exited the café with René hurriedly closing the door behind them. Madam Edith and the girls burst out in joy and laughter.
“Lieutenant Gruber! You were fantastic!” they cried out in excitement. “You were very convincing in your role and made them believe everything you said.” exclaimed madam Edith.
”My role vasn’t very far from zhe truth actually.” he remarked with a complacent smile on his face.
“But still”, this time it was René’s turn to express his appreciation, “not only did you earn more time for the painting to be finished but you also provided thorough restoration for my café.” To see how happy René was now gave Gruber most satisfaction out of everything. “Oh thank you, Lieutenant! How can I ever repay you?”
There were a few moments of silence and René quickly realised the dangers of the question he had just asked.
“Vell no doubt I shall zhink of something…” were Gruber’s final words accompanied by a mysterious grin.
The missing paint was bought straight away on the next day and Gruber continued his work on the painting. One evening he decided to stay up till late in order to finalise it completely. It was about one o’ clock when he realised how tired he felt. He got up from his chair and headed upstairs to get to bed. When he opened the door of the small backroom though in the main café room he saw none other than René – in his nightgown.
“René!” he exclaimed with surprise. “Vhat are you doing down here so late at night?”
René was caught by surprise himself as well, as he was certainly not expecting to see the former Lieutenant still up at this time of night either.
“Ah, Lieutenant… I was eh… I was having troubles sleeping so I came down here to have something… to help me get to sleep.”
“Zhat is most distressing! I vonder vhy it is zhat you are having sleep problems… zhe var is over and zhere is nothing to vorry about……is zhere?”
“You are right, Lieutenant. Now I come to think of it there is nothing to worry about. I still find it difficult to get used to this peaceful lifestyle. I do not know though why it is that I am having difficulties with my sleep. It usually doesn’t happen very often.”
“You need somezhing to relax you…” with these words Gruber moved closer to him and placed his hand on his shoulder.
“Eh… I think I will be okay now…”
“Oh! I have good news for you, René! Zhe painting is ready. I have just finished it.”
These words brightened René’s face greatly.
“Are you serious?!!” he exclaimed with joy not for the first these last couple of days. “That is fantastic! Oh Lieutenant, how can I…” though there he suddenly stopped realising the repeat of an old mistake.
”Vell…” again a satisfactory grin accompanied the former officer’s suggestive tone. “…for a star pleaze call me Hubert!” The position he found himself and René in was most opportune. The hand which was on the Frenchman’s shoulder Gruber slid along his neck and up to his cheek. He took the opportunity to move even closer – in fact that was the closest possible he could get.
“Aehghh……I think I will be off to bed now…..” René stuttered.
“Now, now, René. Zhere is no need to hurry. Didn’t you ask me about a way to repay me..? …….. Zhough if you vant to go to bed you are velcome in my room!”
René was looking really pale now. He looked around hoping to find a way out but he was trapped between the Lieutenant and the bar. Gruber drew up his other hand and began sliding it up René’s chest while with his right arm he was stroking gently the café owner’s cheek. He kept his gaze firmly locked on the other man’s eyes. René panicked more and more as the former Lieutenant began leaning in closer to his face. The bar tender automatically raised his own hands, put them on his oppressor’s shoulders and pushed him back with the words:
“Suddenly I am feeling very ill! I think I must go and lie down.”
This move left the German’s grip somewhat weakened which enabled René to break free. Before Gruber even realised what was going on the Frenchman had already slipped away beside him and disappeared upstairs.
‘Perhaps I am being too forceful.’ the former German officer thought to himself while standing without changing his position for a few minutes. After a while he acknowledged the fact that he had nothing else to do here and so headed upstairs as well.
René was burning from head to heels as he slipped in his bed where beside him Edith was already deeply asleep. After a while he heard the former Lieutenant’s footsteps in the corridor just outside his room. At one moment while they could be heard closest to the door they stopped and so did René’s breath. But then they carried on followed by the sound of next room door’s closing.
On the next day the two of them didn’t see each other much. René was busy with his work at the café and Gruber decided to go out for a walk. Being alone for some time gave him a chance to think things over. He certainly needed to change his approach to the Frenchman but it was not only this that bothered him. He needed to talk to René. Though he was uncertain of what exactly would be the best way to do it.
When he returned to the café in the evening he was warmly congratulated by the girls and Madam Edith for having finished the painting. They were very grateful to him because he ensured their safety and peace in life. He dearly hoped he had achieved the same for René.
On the next day the crew of ‘communist resistance workers’ arrived at the café and began their work on restorations. The process didn’t bother the inhabitants of the restaurant since it was done mostly from the outside. Everyone went outside as well to see how beautiful it was becoming and they were stunned by the results. René wondered why the girls would even put so much effort into it. Then he figured that most probably Gruber gave them a very strong impression of a powerful ex-officer who demands his work to be done at his best. The café owner imagined the situation he might have been in if the former Lieutenant hadn’t come in to help. Suddenly he felt most grateful though he was even embarrassed to admit it to himself.
At the end of the day the work had been completed and the girls walked in the café. Gruber was waiting for them.
“There you go, you German swine! All the work is done. Now give us the painting.” the leader demanded from him.
“A stipulation is a stipulation.” Gruber answered and handed over the painting he had worked so hard on. The leader examined it carefully reassuring herself that everything was ok and then made a sign to all the other girls to follow her while she headed towards the exit.
It had been two or three days now since the girls got their painting and there was no more threat over René and the rest from the café. Gruber still remained there. Thought he started to feel uneasy realising that his reason to stay till now is no longer valid. Thus the more he needed to speak to René confidentially. He was still concerned with what exactly the best approach would be.
“René?” he gathered his courage one day and decided to act. There happened to be no one else around in the café beside the two of them – quite a rare occasion and a chance Gruber couldn’t afford to miss.
“Yes?” the barman answered, while cleaning some glasses at the bar, a short moment of silence upon the other man’s words.
“I eh…. I need to speak viz you.” he said a bit hesitantly though still bravely even though he was aware of the impact of worry his words carried onto the other man.
René’s answers kept on coming on little pauses each time after Gruber’s words.
“Oh really? What about?”
The former Lieutenant who until now had been sitting at one of the tables got up and moved to the front of the bar just as he used to do so often before when in need for a little chat with René. This time though the setting was a lot tenser. René followed the German’s move carefully and with the same sign of worry in his eyes.
“René, I… I do not know how to put zhis…” -Gruber found himself having even more trouble talking than he expected- “I am really sorry for vhat happened zhe other night… I… I let myself slip out of control!” he added with a nervous laugh. “I hope you vill forgive me.”
“Ah…well, it’s okay Lieutenant… Just don’t mention it!”
Gruber looked down so as to formulate his thoughts better and then continued:
“Zhat is not vhat I vanted to talk to you about, zhough.”
René gave a questionable, yet also relieved in the same time look.
“…I am avare zhat now zhat zhe painting is gone and so are zhe communist girls, I have no further… excuse to stay here in zhe café.” René didn’t answer immediately. “Alzhough I vould be most happy if you let me stay on.”
’I am certain you would…’ remarked the Frenchman more to himself than to the German. He really didn’t know what to answer. It would be rude to just tell Gruber to leave, especially after seeing how much he was hoping to be let to stay. But on the other hand René never imagined that he would be living together with the former German officer who had always fancied him under one roof. He never felt comfortable around him in the first place and having him around in his own house was already too much.
The former Lieutenant noticed René’s difficulties to give an answer straight away.
“René…” he continued even without planning this initially; but he wanted to be honest, “…you know zhat I… have feelings for you..?”
The glass which René had kept on scrubbing on the same spot for the last couple of minutes slipped out of his hands and rolled over the bar. He reached out to get it but before he could do so Gruber’s hand was on his. The former Lieutenant drew it closer to himself and while holding it gently with his own two hands he gazed deeply into René’s eyes.
“I vant to be close to you.”
Suddenly as if just come to his senses René drastically withdrew his hand and placed the napkin he had used to clean glasses with on the bar.
“I will think about it.” he said and turned around heading for the door to the back room. He had barely opened it when he felt a hand grabbing him by his upper arm and turning him around. Before he knew what was going on the next thing he felt were another lips on his. Gruber pushed him back gently against the wall and intensified the kiss. At first René tried to oppose but then came a certain moment when he cracked. His entire resistance system stopped working. He remained motionless and had no control over his own body any more. Though from the inside it was one hot wave after another. Even though he sensed that he was giving something up he was surprised that it wasn’t related to any negative emotions. Gruber kissed him with more and more lust still unbelieving that this was really happening. His passion was endless and what’s more – it was infecting René as well.
This continued for a few more moments until the door of the café was opened and a loud shout broke the perfection of the moment.
“RENÉ! WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH LIEUTENANT GRUBER, BOTH OF YOU IN EACH OTHER’S ARMS?!!” Edith was shocked at the scenery she had found after entering her own café.
‘Oh dear… this would be quite difficult to explain!’ René thought to himself.