Strangers In The Church

Who: Claude, Henrik, and Genevieve
Where: L'Eglise de Saint Boniface
What: Claude brings information of a clandestine nature.

Claude trails out of the cafe a step behind Henrik, gaze shifting at the streets around him.

Genevieve steps out of the cafe with the men, her fingertips reaching for a crumpled pack of cigarettes from her back pocket, pulling one out and then offering to to the men as they walk in the direction of the church. She flickers her gaze upwards as well, doing her best to make certain no patrols are in hearing distance as she whispers, "I am not certain what I am missing about this song or whatever is going on between you both, but if I am going to participate in this sedition, I at least wish to do it knowingly. Beside… it is better than sitting around and being depressed." That last comment is given in Henrik's direction with just a hint of a smile.

Henrik eyes Genevieve flatly as she tries her hand at irony. He shakes his head once to the offered cigarette. Of Claude, he asks levelly, "What happened to your hand, monsieur?" as he starts steps to the west, not intent on loitering around the street for long.

Claude takes a cigarette from Genevieve, muttering "Merci" as he fits the thing between his teeth. "It has been far too long since I had a good smoke, Mademoiselle." He lights up before replying to Henrik, rather evasively. "Clumsiness on my part. I have been traveling and I was trying to start a cook fire. Burned myself. Foolishness."

Genevieve has offered her excuse for coming, and with the acceptance of her cigarette she apparently takes it that no one will complain of her company. She nods to the man, but then pauses long enough to draw out her lighter and strike it for Claude, using her opposite hand to shield it from the wind so he can get the cherry going.

Henrik gives a level, "Hrm," to Claude's answer, before answering Genevieve, "You miss nothing of the song, madame. It is what you know, and it means what you know. To some old comrades it means more, but I do not lie when I tell you I don't know this clumsy frenchman," with a toss of his head toward Claude.

"Indeed," Claude says, smoking as he goes. "Nor do I know you, Monsieur. Though I am curious to. Few will speak of The Internationale in these times. I fear it will be long before I hear it again."

Genevieve takes another deep breath of her cigarette, content to listen for the time being. A wiry smile touches her lips, "It's a song with power. That makes people scared." She adds quietly, her ice coloured eyes keeping a keen eye upon the road around them.

"I've bled enough to speak of what I wish," Henrik returns curtly. As they pass westward and through a bomb-town portion of Arras, he states without looking aside. "I fought the fascists in Spain under that song. I passed months in your french prison camps under that song. Singing it now would bring the goddamn germans down on us, and I've a sour voice anyway. But goddamn if I'll forget it," the big man growls.

Claude stumbles, blinking at Henrik anew. Spain? Prison camps? The Frenchman actually /smiles/ at that horrible tale. "You fought with the Brigades?" He drops his voice to a whisper, excited. "Monsieur, it is an honor. I heard stories of Spain from my comrades when I was in Paris. To have stood against the fascists…it is an honor I would have gladly died for." To Genevieve, he bows his head. "It is the ideas in the song that are powerful, Mademoiselle. And those, I hope, still have voice in France. If a quieter voice now."

Genevieve looks upon Claude for a few heartbeats, "I know there are many of us.. if we knew one way to rise up… or even where to start… that voice would not be so quiet within." Genevieve admits, her own husky tone throaty for just a moment. It was rare she actually got serious about things and her eyes turn away a moment later, breathing her cigarette like some sort of lifeline. For a single moment, though, her fingertips reach out and brush against Henrik's arm at his own emotional outburst. It's not meant as comfort but a simple motion of support. Her hand is gone within a heartbeat.

"Very many did die," Henrik voices colorlessly to Claude's enthusiasm. "And very many more will, if tongues flap on like this." Stonefaced, he walks on toward the destination.

Claude's smile widens at Genevieve's words. "Such things are what have brought me here, Mademoiselle. I promise you, you are far from alone in your feelings. But we should not speak of them here."

Genevieve might be drunk, but she's not stupid, and so her lips seal shut after that brief exchange as she continues on the quick walk for the church, lighting another cigarette as she goes.

Claude trails Henrik to the church. He manages to keep his lips shut but he's clearly very enthusiastic about the direction all this is headed.

Henrik braces a calloused and scarred hand on the doors of the church and draws the portal open. PRedictably, the interior is empty at the day and hour and the big man's footfalls- making little sound with his passing as he turns about in place, blue regard passing over the lines of pews and walls.

Genevieve is respectful enough to toss out her last cigarette before they step into the church, but then she slips into the area and just breathes in slow and deep. It'd been… so long since she was in a place like this. Some of the sauciness falls away from her as she just gazes over the place…

Claude only remembers to put out his cigarette when Genevieve does. Not an overly reverent sort. But he's earnest enough not to want to put a foot wrong at the moment. "As you have likely guessed, good comrades, I am not an old friend of Monsieur Chevalier. In truth, I have never met the man, but I have heard it said that he may be sympathetic to the cause of France. True, free France. And, I suspect, you may be as well."

Henrik's inspection is more clinical than reverant and his eye settles on Claude. The big man's light steps move into one of the pews toward the middle of the chamber, before he answers in measured and quiet voice, "You are one of the French communists, I guess. Did you burn the hand cooking supper?" he asks flatly again, with a sidelong look at the newcomer.

Genevieve frowns a bit as the man admits he's never met Chevalier. It makes her briefly leery, but then the walk has sobered her some also and allows some healthy paranoia to set in. Still, Henrik has more experience in such matters, so she remains quiet, arms folding across her chest as she studies the new man.

Claude nods. "Before the war I was active in the Party in Paris, though I managed to escape France before the Germans overran the city." To where he doesn't say just now. He's obviously back, wherever he's been. "But this cause has moved beyond communism." He smirks wryly at the religious symbols that surround him, as if he half-expects to be struck by lightening. "And no. I did not burn my hand cooking supper. I was perhaps…over-eager to move against the Germans. Others in this town have clearly been more successful than I."

"You'd said your friends spoke of Spain," Henrik returns, drawing a slow breath and letting it out as he turns an eye again upon Claude. "In what corp did they serve. Thier general's name. Anything." Phrased as a question, the words are more demanding than inquisitive.

Genevieve relaxes, just a touch, at Henrik's question. Her eyes remain ping ponging between the gentlemen, but now she watches Claude for his response — and hopeful truthfulness in his face when he says it.

Claude takes a moment to recall. "I was not able to serve in Spain myself, comrade." He sounds like he's apologizing for that. He nods a little to Henrik, as if to convey some understanding of the importance of his answer. "A comrade of mine served under a Russian general called Wilmhelm Zaisser in Madrid. Gomez, some called him, in the XIII Brigade. And you, Comrade Foreigner?"

Henrik inclines his head slowly. "Never knew his real name," the big man rumbles in his strongly accented french. "Corporal of K Company, XI International, under General Kleber." He nods a second time, more curtly. "Don't try the fire again. It was a clumsy effort, that made the next work harder." Frowning in a moment's thought, he asks, "You have information? Contacts. Anything."

Genevieve doesn't relax much more, but as Henrik seems to trust the man enough, she nods in affirmation to the words, "I do think you will find those more than willing to help here." She admits quietly, doing her best to hide the eagerness from her voice. It wouldn't do to look too hopeful.

"I am here, Monsieur, in the hopes of establishing such contacts," Claude says. "There are…people, like myself. People who are in sore need of information from towns all over France. Life is strange. Many of my former comrades would not believe that, for all my youth spent ranting against them, I now work for the government. Of a sort. You will forgive if I do not reveal too much about myself. What you need know is that I am in the employ of the government-in-exile in Britain. I suppose you could call me a spy, of sorts." Obviously new at it, as the novelty of being a spy hasn't quite worn off for him. He flushes at Henrik's words. "The fire was an act of impetuousness, I admit. But it was valuable. It brought Monsieur Chevalier to my attention as he tried to seek me out. And now, you two as well."

Henrik answers levelly, with an ill temper tightly restrained beneath, "And it raised the fascist guard. Had it not been so small, getting the English pilot out of town may have been impossible. He is alive, in hiding. The fascists believe he killed thier two men and destroyed the petrol, but that raid was just diversion." Aside, he regards Genevieve, "Not surprised, madame?"

Gene wasn't surprised until she heard of the English pilot and the raid being a diversion. That makes her blue eyes go wide, "…No… I think I will confess a little bit of surprise. Though, more so, curiosity. I take it you had some sort of hand in it? Well…thank god he got out, at least." Gene's previous attitude is now, simply, gone. It seems she can be business like on occasion.

Claude nods as Henrik speaks of the pilot. "Yes. It was word of that which motivated me to seek you out. I must meet this Chevalier. Any man who is capable of planning that would be of great use to us." Yes, he credits Chevalier for the pilot operation. "As you would be as well, of course, comrade."

Henrik eyes Claude for a long, long, silent moment. Nostrils flare with a slowly drawn breath, as he states in tightly controlled french, "No doubt." Slowly turning his head back toward Genevieve, he mutters, "Yes. I had.. some small part in it." Sniffing once, the big man shakes his head, rumbling a few choice words under his breath in a foreign tongue, before voicing again in french, "I'll arrange for you to meet Chevalier. Madame Alice Chevalier- no relation, will also be worth speaking with. She has a radio and knowledge of where the Englishman has been hidden."

Genevieve knows Henrik well enough to at least get that she's missing something. She furrows her brow at the silence between the men, a frown crossing her lips, but she doesn't inquire yet. Henrik admits a small part and leaves it there, she won't poke the foreign beast. She nods quietly at those words, "Good. I suppose it's a start. Not… not certain where I can help at all, I've not had a hand in things yet, but… if you need me, I'm around the cafe."

"Alice…the young woman who was carrying my Camille?" Claude amends. "The white cat. I found her in the country not long after I was dropped in from London. A refugees animal, I suspect. She was too fine an animal to be any stray. She was good company for a time." He sighs, sorry to have lost the cat. "But perhaps it is best she found a proper home. I am no fit master now. Anyhow, yes. A radio would be most useful. We are unsure how long the British airmen can hold out. The Germans are preparing for a sea invasion to finish the island once they've weakened it from the air. I am on my way to Calais, to the coast, where I can get as much information as I can about their sea preparations. But we are in great need of volunteers from the country to feed us any and all information they can. We must cut off the head of the German sea lion before she sails."

"Goddamn french and thier cats," Henrik murmers, incredulous. "Right. Information," back on topic. "How long before you move to Calais? Or you want information done by radios?"

Genevieve nods quietly, though she seems a bit more taken in about the feline story. She was French, she liked the cats. "Information. Alright then… Anything we can get, I take it, or mainly about this operation?" Gene inquires smoothly, some gears turning in the back of her head and voice a touch more distant with thoughtfulness.

"Soon," is Claude's only answer, as to when he's going to Calais. "I have lingered too long already in this part of the country. But I am charged with having some sort of reliable contact in place before I go. If you have a skilled radio operator that will make things much simpler." To Genevieve he answers, "You are far from the German front lines but they still have a barracks here. Any information of what is going on in that airfield would be helpful. But any plans you might overhear in your cafe, any snatch of conversation betrayed by a German, any map or list or rumor…France will not be freed from London, Madame. Not alone, at least."

Henrik draws a slow, silent breath as he hears out the words of the other two. A deliberate nod, as he notes, "A fighter squadron. Big enough for bombers, but none yet. Talk to Madame Chevalier. She can show you to pilot. And get him out of zone when you go. Been here too long already." Genevieve is regarded with an even eye when she speaks.

Genevieve nods quietly to Claude, still lost in a bit of thought. "Alright. And when we have something, how do we get it to you? Over the radio?" It's her last question, hopefully, just ready to work, truth be told.

Claude nods, as to the radio. "If your information proves reliable, BCRA agents like myself may be in contact with you from time to time. But, as I am sure you can understand, we must maintain some distance. It is best if we do not know too much about the movements of the volunteers in the countryside. If one of us were to be captured…" He leaves it hanging at that. They can fill in the blanks for themselves.

"Just give objectives, when you have them. Need information, we'll get information. Need rails torn up or fascists papers, we'll tear up rails and get papers," Henrik states with intensity undiminished by lower volume. "Just send word."

Genevieve nods in immediate agreement to Henrik's words, "Absolutely. It… it was good to meet you, Monsieur… I am sure we will meet again." She offers her hand in his direction, making certain to offer the hand opposite his good one so he can easily give a shake to seal whatever sort of deal has happened here.

Claude nods to Genevieve. "You may call me Claude." Whether that's his real name or just one he's adopted, he doesn't say. He reaches out, taking her hand and clasping it gently. For a moment he just regards her, hesitating. As if gathering the courage to ask something. He nearly doesn't. But, finally, it seems he thinks he has nothing to lose. "If I could ask one small favor of you. It was quite lovely when you sang in the cafe…I have not heard The Internationale since I left Paris…If you could sing, even a bit of it…"

Henrik crosses his arms as he watches the interaction and request between Claude and Genevieve. The singer holds his eye until the request is answered, one way or the other.

Genevieve allows her palm to linger in his a few moments, a touch of nervousness crossing her face as he builds up to this request, he so nervous about it she's momentarily perplexed at what could be the issue. At his question, however, a soft chuckle brushes her lips in relief and she nods, "Of course… of course. Though, it is not a song for one person. If.. if either of you would join…well…" She leaves the offer open. She's not used to singing alone, like this, rather far more on the spot than even back at the cafe.."Arise ye starvelings from your slumbers, arise ye criminals of want. For reason in revolt now thunders and at last ends the age of cant.

Claude sits, settling his back against the pew as Genevieve starts to sing. For the first line he just listens, taking it in, a wistful expression coming to his face. But by the time she gets to the "…servile masses, arise, arise…" part he's joined in. He doesn't have a great voice but there's an earnestness to the song that's compelling enough.

Henrik hears out the woman's voice as she strikes up the verse. For such a famous song, minor differences of phrase or word are almost as common as the people that sing. Throughout the verse, he leaves the singing to the others, raising his own basso voice only once the chorus comes about. Narrow blue eyes are staring through the pair that stand before him when breath is given to the words: "This is the final struggle.. Let us gather and tomorrow.. the Internationale will be mankind."

Genevieve slips into the second verse, because it is, in the main, her favourite. And it will give the boys once more time with their chorus too. She cannot help but smile to see both of them joining in, even if just a little bit. "We peasants, artisans and others, enrolled amongst the sons of toil, let's claim the earth henceforth for brothers, drive the indolent from the soil. On our flesh for too long has fed the raven. We've too long been the vultures prey. But now farewell to spirit craven, the dawn brings in a brighter day." And for the last bit of it, this final chorus, she falls quiet to just let them sing. It was their song more than her's. At least they got to hear it again.

Claude sits a moment after the song is done, savoring the music. If he feels the irony of singing it in the church, he doesn't seem bothered by it. But finally, he stands. "I should go. I shall meet you back here soon, with Monsieur and Madame Chevalier. Thank you, Mademoiselle." That last is to Genevieve.

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