Disclaimer: Do I look like JK to you? Or Frankenheimer?
Rating: T - Thus far.
Summary: Requires some knowledge of the film Ronin (with Robert de Niro + Jean Reno). After the 1st fall of the Dark Lord, Moody goes a-hunting run-away Death Eaters in Europe, and receives some help of the Muggle persuasion. I wrote this in tandem with a fan of Ronin. We decided to meld our interests for this fic.
The Cafe du Sol was filling up as the 8:30 from Lyon pulled in. A stream of humanity flowed by the plate glass windows; tourists, families, businessmen; people of every possible denomination. The man in the corner booth watched them idly, hands wrapped around the warmth of a coffee cup. His survey went unregarded: few paid attention to the quiet fellow in the rumpled coat whose eyes skipped over them in search of something on which to focus his gaze. Each went on about their own business, oblivious. As they were meant to.
Across the way, in the Creperie Martin, another man watched the incoming traffic, with more apparent interest. It was to him that Vincent's eyes returned after every sweep. The mark. Or rather, the mark's contact. The mark himself had yet to show. It shouldn't be long more, though, judging by the avid expression on his opposite's face.
'Excuse me? Is this seat taken?' Vincent looked up at the source of the gruff voice. The old man stood at the edge of the booth, breakfast tray in hand, his one workable eye on Vincent. The other one was obviously glass, and a bit loose in the socket if the way it was jiggling around was anything to go by. He shifted uneasily under Vincent's regard, balanced somewhat precariously on what looked to be a wooden leg. Been through the wars, this one, Vincent thought, and was suitably wary because of that. He nodded towards the other side of the table. 'No, it's free.'
The old man sat down, nodding his thanks. 'Sorry. Everywhere else was full.' Vincent shrugged. 'Pas problem. You are in from Lyon?' His new companion shook his grisled head. 'No,' he said brusquely, caution evident. Again, Vincent shrugged, and let it so. After a moment, the other relented. 'Sorry for my rudeness. I'm only waiting for a friend. It's been a long couple of days.' Waiting for a friend? Alarm bells were beginning to sound for Vincent. For an old man with a missing eye, shaky on his feet, the movements of his hands around the food were competent and sure. Vincent shifted slightly, freeing himself to move if need be. His companion ignored him, focused on his food. But the glass eye seemed to drift to the mark's contact across the thoroughfair unnervingly often.
'Pardon, Monsieur? You are English?' he queried, a curious stranger, innocent in his regard. The old man's movements stilled briefly as he looked up. 'That obvious?' he asked with strained lightness. Vincent shrugged. He had found it often to be an adequate response. 'Yes, actually. I am English. I come to France to see a friend. You?' Vincent tried out a smile. 'Non. Francais, born and bred. And proud of it.' A smile in return, a nod of acknowledgement, before the other man bent himself once more to his meal with a single-minded intensity that brought an amused and slightly awed smile to Vincent's face.
Vincent tried another conversational gambit, trying to draw out the taciturn stranger. 'Your friend?' stilling of movement again noted. 'He is also English?' An assessing glance was sent his way before the meal again became the other man's focus. 'Why do you ask?' A friendly smile, another adequate response. 'It is nothing, only that you seem not to speak French so well. Pardon. Forgive me if I insult you.' Another assessing glance. Vincent kept the friendly, open smile that was his second nature, the best of disguises. At last, the other relaxed slightly in his presence, though the inherent wariness was never far away. 'No. Pardon me. I am being rather rude. No insult was taken. My ... friend ...' He paused as, in the Creperie Martin, a commotion arose. All eyes gravitated towards it, none so quickly as those of Vincent and his companion. Inside the other cafe, a vicious arguement had broken out between one of the patrons, and a red-haired man clutching a woman possessively. From along the thoroughfair came the unmistakable sound of a gendarme's whistle. Swiftly, the contact had assessed the situation, and was making a calm, yet hurried, exit.
'Merde!' Vincent rose to leave. His sentiment was echoed, in English, by his companion. Vincent glanced at him sharply, but the old man's gaze was focused on himself as he riffled through pockets. 'No damn change!' he muttered. A quick glance out the window, noting the contact's absence, caused Vincent a further round of obscenities. Hurriedly, he pulled a fistful of change from his pocket, and laid it on the table in front of the old man. 'It's alright, grandpere,' he said. 'It's on me.' With that, he left in persuit of his target, leaving a confused but grateful old man in his wake.
Pas problem - No problem.
Non. Francais - No. French.
Pardon - rough approximation, forgive me, excuse me.
Gendarme - local police
Merde! - rhymes with bit, self-explanitory.
Grandpere - grandfather, term of respect for aged man.