Truth And Wine

Who: Henrik and Genevieve
Where: The d'Artois Estate north of town
What: Henrik comes over to try some of Xavier's wine. Some wine induced hard truths are spoken.

The d'Artois Estate. It's actually…VERY well off. One of the biggest wine suppliers in this area of france, it's a good walk through long vineyards surrounding the central house and more rows of grapes spill over the hills behind. The house is three levels, though isn't lit at all save for a few rooms. It's from an era before this time, all stone and elegance. It's probably a pain in the ass to keep warm, but it's fared the war well at least. When he knocks upon the door, there will actually be the sound of small feet running up to get it and Gene's voice behind calling, "Don't open that, you don't know who it-" But, sure enough, the door is opened and Henrik is presented with two children, a 10 year old boy and 12 year old girl. They're pale in face and the boy has dark hair and blue eyes like Gene, but the girl is blonde. She smiles about nervously, "It's a -man-, Gene."

A frowning man, no less. Tall, scarred and stern, Henrik regards the two children with a steady eye. "Whoever it is," the big man states in his deep, accented voice, "Leaving the door closed won't make them go away. More the pity." Narrowed blue stare remains on the two, asking brusquely with one raised brown brow, "Who are you, then?"

Genevieve dashes up a moment later, still looking stern but a bit relieved as she sees who the man in. The girl, however, seems to have gained some of her sister (mother's??) sauciness a she looks him up and down and says in quick french to Gene, "A handsome man." She then offers her hand to him, "I'm Marie. This is Tomas, he doesn't like to talk, but Uncle Xavier showed him how to use a gun. You don't talk like them." She then looks at Gene again, "He doesn't talk like them. Can we let him in?" Gene smirks, half chuckling, "Yes, yes, then shut the damned door!"

If Henrik understood the quick french from the little girl, he makes no comment on it. After a moment, he gives his hand to the offered shake from 'Marie'. "You talk enough for both," he rumbles dryly. A brief look at Tomas briefly, before stepping into the overly affluent house and regarding Genevieve. "Your Xavier some kind of lord?" he wonders flatly.

Tomas gives a shy sort of nod towards Henrik, though the man's rumble about Marie actually makes the boy smile. He almost laughs, but doesn't quite get the noise in his throat. Marie looks momentarily stricken and just storms off. That's a pre-teen girl for you. Tomas follows a moment later and Gene just sighs, shaking her head, "Now you have met the youngest of my siblings. Anyway… he… Might be? Not that I'm aware, he just provides the wine. It is a good business. Shall we go sit somewhere warm? I have a fire going…"

"Hrm," he mutters as the girl storms off, with her brother close behind. "Thin skin, that one," An unconcerned shrug- the delicate temper of a pre-teen girl doesn't seem to distress him much. "Goddamn rich, this place.." he notes, turning an eye about, before looking back sidelong to Genevieve. "Be glad the fascists took Arras and not the Communists. Communists would burn it down with the wealthy still inside. Where's that fire?"

Genevieve laughs faintly, "Rich… but it's saved mine and my family's lives, Henrik. You should have seen the shack we were living in before this. It barely survived the bombs and wasn't even fit to reside. We… we got lucky to find Xavier." Gene states with full confidence in her voice, and just a bit of tenderness for the man which isn't at all sexual. Close, perhaps, friendly, but not intimate like that. She leads the way down a long stone hall towards the great room. It's wooden floors, but covered with rugs. There are leather davenports surrounding a comfortably burning, large country fire place. "Sit. I… I think there are a few beers, if you absolutely do not wish wine?"

"The rich should be generous," Henrik opines, with his eye catching for a moment on one of the davenports. "But then they wouldn't be rich for long, would they?" To the subject of a drink, he notes, "Wine will do. So will beer. Tastes aren't too proud," he notes dryly, adding, "Have drank wine that was half vineagar before." He stands facing the grand room for a moment, just feeling the warmth of the fire, before selecting a seat. "Goddamn palace, this.." he murmers under his breath.

Genevieve might not own it, but she's very much become lady of the house, walking with a comfortable elegance through the rooms and fitting the style of the place well. She nods, disappearing momentarily into the kitchen that is off of the great room. She finds one of their better reds and pulls it out along with two glasses, "Well, in the d'Artois home, you must drink wine. And it will be infinitely better than half vinegar." She grin a hint as she sets the glasses down on the pewter and glass coffee table between the couches and grabs at a wine opener on the table. There are more than a few empty wine bottles around the room in various places. This is a household that -drinks-.

Henrik looks up and aside as Genevieve brings the drink. "Hrm," he mutters, wordlessly at first. A curt nod of thanks as calloused fingers close about the glass. He holds the graceful glass like the vessel should have a recoil. With an edge to his words, he raises the wine and offers aloud, "Lng live the Spanish Republic," taking a deep first drink of the wine, not knowing to let it 'breathe' first.

Genevieve mirrors his motions, not letting her wine breathe for the sheer fact that she's rather too eager to drink to really wait for her wine. "Long live the Spanish Republic." She echoes, though there is a hint of perplexion across her face as she is fairly certain he is not spanish. So… with that, she smoothly sinks down into the davenport across from him, kicking her ripped stocking clad legs up and looking over to him…"The Spanish Republic? But you are not from Spain…"

"For three years I was," Henrik replies flatly, taking a second deep gulp, utterly unaware of the quality of drink he is consuming. "Not so long ago, any man or woman with the courage to fight fascists was a Spaniard. No matter. Between Stalin and Franco, spanish liberty died. It was not swift, and it was not just. An ugly, ugly thing." He regards the woman across from him, downing the last of the glass.

Genevieve turns her head, looking towards the sky beyond through a bay window, half of which has been boarded up after the bombings. "You will stay here tonight. We can drink and relax and forget the damned curfews." It's not a question, just a simple statement as she takes another sip of her wine. "…Tell me about it? I… I feel damned out of touch, frankly. I missed so.. damned much. And now you're here, fighting anyway.."

"I'll stay. If you give more drink," Henrik returns deadpan. Drawing and letting out a deep breath, he leans forward in the seat, considering her request. He begins evenly, after another moment. "The spanish fascists made a revolution. They had the Army, and the Africans. Moro killers, who would creep up on our sentries at night, and cut thier throats before an attack. You cannot imagine the dread of staring out at nothing all night, wondering if each little sound behind you could be a moro coming to take your throat." A slow shake of his head. "The fascists had the guns and the bullets. The Republic had the workers. They rose up in corners of Spain, and came from foreign lands to defend the just government. To throw back the fascists." A slowly drawn breath as he shakes his head, a bitter expression upon his face. "The hope of those first days.. the justice, the absolute sense of *right*- It was.. beautiful."

Genevieve leans over, happily picking up the bottle of cabernet. She pours it out, half filling his glass so the wine can breathe but he's not being short changed. They're big glasses anyway. She tops off her own glass, easily finishing the bottle. At least there was more where that came from. She listens quietly, her legs crossing at the ankles and body sinking a hint deeper into the couch. "…I cannot imagine how they ever lost a fight like that."

Henrik takes a good long drink before letting a breath out and answering. "A thousand ways," he states colorlessly. "The german fascists, and the Italian blackshirts. They came in tens and hundreds of thousands. They brought tanks, and planes in such numbers.. But it was more than that. The Soviets.. the communists.. the anarchists. They turned upon the Republic within, and each tore the other apart. We.." A pause as he drains the glass in a drawn out gulp, mutely holding the glass out for another. "Innocents suffered. Common people, lined up and shot. Because thier houses were too fine. Traitors within were stood against a wall and shot through the heads. Generals.. throwing away men by the thousand, in some empty chase after a victory the Party could trumpet. All the while we fought. When we ran out of bullets, we picked up the guns of our dead attackers. When those ran empty we used bayonets and rifle butts. But there were always more fascists. And the free nations never came. England.. France.. they gave Spain over to the fascists out of fear. They left us to fight alone."

Genevieve frowns, her casually warm smile unable to linger through this conversation. Even some of her pride is gone, the country that she's loved unthoughtfully but always. She takes a deep, long gulp of her wine, almost half draining the glass. They'll need a new bottle quicker than she thought. "I am sorry… for the nothing that it is worth. I am sorry people were… worthless and thoughtless, sorry for all you men who were not. Sorry for this whole… damned world…" Gene breathes out, shakey for just a moment. Her blue eyes are lost in her wine glass more so than his handsome, if somewhat rugged features. "We'll fight now. It might be too late… but we will fight."

Henrik shakes his head. "It wouldn't be so bad.. if at least I knew that we were right. Fascism is a soulless evil, a new slavery to crush the free spirit of honest people.. But even now- afterward.. After I crossed into France and spent months rotting in your goddamn prison camp- I can't look you in the face and say that Spain would have been any better served under the Soviets. The Spanish Republic died long ago, buried by fascists and traitors. I've *hated* your France," he notes, looking back up and holding Genevieve's eye with his own keen stare. "For robbing me of my home.. for never coming. But.." Scowling, he looks back down the hall he'd walked through. "No one deserves the fascists. I *know* fighting them is right. And.. after all this time, I NEED to know I'm on the right side," that last spoken with a hard look returning his own eye to hers.

Genevieve sits up immediately, facing him dead on now, her eyes narrowing a bit, "You ARE on the right side, Henrik, you know it. These men are -evil-… who have taken your country, your bit of innocence and now ours. Fighting them is the only chance left for us. Or, even more so… for people like Marie and Tomas. What are their lives going to be like in 5… 10 years?" Gene looks half sick at the thought, the gaze in her eyes surprisingly as passionate as his as she speaks of attempting to give something more to those children.

"Thats why I'm still here," Henrik mutters back flatly. He doesnt ask this time, instead reaching for the bottle himself to refill the glass. "Could have slipped off with the Englishman," he mutters, incautious enough to broach the subject. "Made a run to England with him, where Lovisa is waiting. Instead, here I still am. Fighting another war thats already been lost. Bah!" He snorts and swears in a gutteral, foreign tongue, before taking another swallow of wine, and falling back into french. "Should have died before this, anyway. Should count lucky for every fascist I bury after this. No surrender. No Pasaran!" he offers decisively aloud, raising the glass in a sudden and vehement toast.

Genevieve lofts her glass in turn, fierceness coming to her voice again, "No surrender." And she downs her wine in one last gulp. Now, just a touch tipsy, she stands up and heads for the kitchen to find another bottle. The children know better than to intrude on downstairs when big discussions are happening, though usually it's Gene and Xavier drinking the night away in the great room. She returns with a bottle of the same, twisting the cork out with a praticed hand. "Henrik, tell me how to do this… tell me what I can do to fight. I am… lost as to these things, but I want to fight! Perhaps I should ask that Chevalier.."

Henrik scoffs once. "Chevalier! A thinker. Loves his own voice, pats himself on the back for little. He has no idea what he's doing," the big man growls. "You heard what the frenchman said- information. Send information to the English with radio.. The USEFUL Chevalier- the woman, she knows how. Need numbers of planes, and men. Movements, where they're going.. And if the need comes again, I'll cut more of their goddamn throats. Reminds me- you ever find a pistol?"

Genevieve shakes her head quietly, "No, I haven't. I'm sorry. But… I think I have made head way. There is a certain german who has an eye for pretty women and wine… I have already promised him a bottle. I might have to try and pursue this relationship a bit… deeper. If I can get information from it, it will be worth it." She admits quietly, her voice a bit numb at the thought, but then she shakes it off. her brows furrow, "I though that man helped get the English man free? The man we spoke with last night seemed to think so."

Henrik shrugs and notes, with a trace of scorn, "Of course the frenchman thought a frenchman was behind it. Of course it couldn't be a foreigner. Havn't you heard? The only real men in all the world are French?" A sharp barked laugh, and another gulp drawn, as he goes on, "Chevalier has no goddamn idea. Alice found the man and hid him.. I killed the guards, burned the fuel tanker, and stuck the Englishman's knife in the dead fascist's body. Chevalier? Probably slept through everything, and woke up from a dream of being useful." He interrupts another drink to add, "Have some guns now. A pistol and a small machine gun." Then he drinks.

Genevieve stares at him in silent shock for a moment, all of her mind whipping through the various decisions that could be made. She blinks thoughtfully, "Ah… Why… why didn't you tell him so? Dammit, Henrik, you helped save that man's life. It was YOU who took the first steps? Letting him think that idiot did it…" Gene scoffs quietly, her respect for the man across from her suddenly having doubled, but also there is a vague touch of fear in her voice as well.

Henrik tosses his head and sniffs once. "Bah. the frenchman is half an idiot. If he gets caught and tortured, of course he'll talk.. Better let him think Chevalier is worth something if it keeps fascists off me." Brutally practical. "I'll do what I'm good at, whether or not some frenchman in London thinks I am. Makes no difference. None." Another gulp taken of the fermented grape as he adds, "Just glad the fascists fell for it. If they thought a local killed thier men, it would be firing squads by now."

Henrik shakes his head, and comments curtly- but without venom, "No, no, and no!" Taking a quick swallow of the fresh glass he leans forward, setting one elbow on a knee to instruct Genevieve, "If they catch you and demand answers, tell them about me. They'll find out anyway and if you cooperate, it may keep your brother and sister alive. No shame in that. And when- no if, I think WHEN I next go to creep about and cut throats, its better to go alone. I survived the moros, these clumsy sausage eaters are simple enough- but if they spot another.." Another gulp, and pass of his hand across the lower face to wipe away the lingering wine, as he considers.. "But maybe.. Not for sneaking and killing, but for SOMETHING, yes, I will find you."

Genevieve frowns doubtfully upon him for a few heartbeats, her expression torn as he speaks about her giving the information up so easily. She doesn't say anything in agreement or denial. It's not something she could ever really know the truth of her reactions until that situation anyway. His final words, however, draw a touch of interest to her features. "Oh? And… what is that? If I might ask."

"Don't know yet," Hernik mutters, frowning as he leans back in the fine seat to think. "Trick is.. need to move for something very important.. Next time fascists get killed or beaten, they'll know and they'll get worse." Brows knitting as he draws a slow breath. "Need same thing the goddamn frenchman needs: information. Need to know what's worth sticking our necks out for." Lip curling in a wry smirk, he notes, "Wouldnt do to get that throat of yours cut for nothing, huh?"

Genevieve shrugs slightly, a cool smile crossing her lips, "Oh… I do not think they will cut my throat… I am going to be a dear friend to the germans, after all. At least to one of their men. We will see what will grow from there." She tries to smile slyly, but this drunk her heart really isn't in it. She takes another, last, good gulp of wine. "…we should both sleep before this wine makes us worse. I have no control with this stuff."

Henrik snorts, and mutters back, "Drink never makes worse. Just makes more honest. Hrm. Can't have that, can we?" chuckling flatly, he adds, "Not sleeping any time soon. You can go sleep if you like," he adds with a questioning look back at Genevieve.

Genevieve stares back at him, quiet for a few moments, listening for voices or sounds upstairs. There is nothing. The children are good about tucking into warm beds alone these nights… though she always checks on them when she retires eventually. Once she's certain they are asleep, she looks back at him, "No… I'm not tired, in truth. I could finish off another two bottles…" She admits with a husky little laugh. "Hmm. Honesty. A dangerous thing indeed."

Henrik chuckles shortly, once. "Nothing more dangerous than truth." Even though he's nearly stopped tasting the grape, Henrik takes another swallow. "I've been talking too much. Said too many truths to get me killed. What about you? Whats your dangerous truth, woman?"

"Dangerous truth? I think you overestimate me. I… I am nothing but an artist, Henrik. I grew poor and starving, the child of artists who could not keep their hands off of each other. Five of us…I'm the eldest. Tomas up there, the youngest. Never made it out of Arras, though our parents always talked of Paris. Truly…" Gene shakes her head, just a touch of shame crossing her brow, "There is very little dangerous or secretive about me. I like drink… I like men. All of that is obvious."

"Huh. Well, you can have a few of my secrets. There, now you know dangerous things to never speak of, except when drunk, and stupid, and honest," Henrik returns with a flat humor.

Genevieve looks up to him with a small, betraying smile, "I think you are horribly attractive, if you want something too honest. If you did not have your lady love and I was not supposedly married, well… " She laughs into her wine glass. "Another bottle and that might not matter either." She's joking, mostly, but she did have to say it. Her cheeks heat with a blush ontop of the warmth from wine.

"There aren't words for how badly I miss her," Henrik mutters back. "At least, not in this goddamn language." A blue eye regards the woman's, unabashed. "I'd close my eyes and see her face if I lay with you. Hardly fair to you, Genevieve."

Genevieve shakes her head quietly, "No… if you did not, it would be even more unfair to her." There is a sudden touch of respectful sadness across her face. The way he speaks of his lady is beyond how most women are ever regarded. It's touching, to say the least. "She is a very lucky woman. And I do have my Xavier, he is a sweet man… A good man. He deserves more than a whore."

"Then be more than a whore," Henrik advises simply, shaking his head. "This isnt the old world, where people are born noble or common. Blood is for shedding, not measuring. He could do much worse," the foreigner notes, letting out a slow breath. "Losing taste for wine. You may have been right, before.."

Genevieve laughs coldly, "I am working on it." She admits, those words indeed bitterly honest — but at least they are honest. She nods to his comment and unfolds herself from the couch, nodding to the stairs, "You can take my room. I haven't used it in ages and the bed is comfortable enough. If the children wake you in the morning just growl and they will go away." She leads the way up the iron railed stair case towards the upper floor. The bedroom which she claims has a cherry wood, four poster bed with mostly clean sheets and two warm blankets overtop for the chilly nights. "The bathroom is down the hall. I shall cook breakfast in the morning. Perhaps Xavier will be back by then."

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