As you might have guessed, this is a story centered around a Michelle/Officer Crabtree pairing. I feel that these two characters were done a huge disservice in the show as they were hardly developed beyond the typical catchphrases and trademark behavioral patterns. I also believe there was potential for, if not an actual presence of a relationship between the two. However, as we are all aware, the possibility was only occasionally and vaguely hinted at. Personally, I think this was not explored because of who the characters were.
Both Michelle and Crabtree happen to be two of the more moral characters in the show and, in my opinion anyway, any relationship they might have had (although evidently secret) would be one of genuine affection and mutual respect, unlike the other carnal arrangements of the show. Of course, this wouldn't add to the humor any and would destroy the ridiculousness.
Anyhow, due to their underdevelopment, I have found a lot of room to help these two characters grow. My depiction of them will hopefully not waver too far off the path of familiarity, but will ideally evolve the two to become more three dimensional and create some depth. It should be noted that in this beginning "chapter" and, assumingly, the additions to follow, Michelle and Officer Crabtree are talking to one another in English (as suggested by their use of "chap" and such other British colloquialisms.) to avoid the obvious absurdity of Crabtree's "frog".
Anyway, let me know what you think and if I should continue, etc. etc.
If it wasn't for the gloves, he knew he'd be slipping off of his bicycle. His hands were soaked with the sweat of anxiety, rendering them unable to create enough friction to keep a hold on to anything by themselves. His knees had made a miraculous conversion to pudding, making it a wonder he was able to peddle at any speed, albeit slow and erratic. Perhaps it was the sheer determination to finally accomplish what he set out to do this morning, and many other mornings past, that supported his ability to continue on this mode of transportation, despite his momentary handicaps.
Though it was a hot, gorgeous summer's day in the small French village and the thick fabric of his copper's uniform was becoming almost too much to bear, he knew his excessive production of sweat could not be blamed on the weather or his clothes. He had to pause a moment, cease his peddling, support the bicycle with one quivering leg and produce a light cloth to dab the moisture from his brow. He squinted through the over-powering rays of the sun as he dried his face, attempting to survey the country path before him that lead to the familiar country home, the gables of which he could see from where he stood.
It was 9:30 AM, and he knew she was awake. He knew she was somewhere inside, plotting and scheming over coffee, her dark brown hair tousled from a sleepless night and falling in her sharp, dark eyes. Or perhaps she was pacing again, as he knew she often did to push unpleasant thoughts away, accomplishing household tasks all the while. He had more often than not come to find her breathless, realizing after repeated visits and from catching a glimpse of her in an open window that she had been pacing more and more frequently. Less and less time was spent at the kitchen table or at her bedroom desk brainstorming attack plans, which for her, he knew, was a sign of contentment. She was disturbed by something, that much he knew, and he couldn't help but pine to remedy the issue. But he knew she was a personified brick wall and he could find no other solution to break down her defenses then to finally be drastic and tell her, this very morning, how he truly felt about her.
"The trick is not to think about it, old chap…" he reminded himself when the thought of his goal began to make him sick. "The harder you think about it, the harder it is bound to be."
He continued on his way, bicycle weaving, vision becoming hazy, heart pounding so loud within the confines of his chest that he began to develop a headache. The only thing that was missing from this top notch situation, he thought sarcastically, was nausea. He arrived at the front step sooner than he anticipated and immediately had to suppress the urge to turn around and furiously peddle back to town. A force not of his own consciousness lifted his arm and made his fist knock lightly against the wooden door.
An irrational, illogical hope grew when the response to his knocking was not immediate that maybe, just maybe she hadn't yet woken up and he would be temporarily postponed from accomplishing the possibly most daunting task ever faced by a member of the Resistance. All bets were off, however, when he heard the familiar rhythmic thumping of feet across the wood paneling, making their way purposefully to the door. His heart beat in time with the footsteps, again ringing in his ears and evolving his minor headache into a splitting migraine. His stomach began flip-flopping.
"Oh, I'm so glad you're here, old chap," Michelle sighed with relief as she poked her head out of the slightly opened door. "You have no idea how stressed I've been waiting for your report of the situation in the Cafe…I could hardly sleep at all…"
"Actually, I think I can relate…" he mumbled half-heartedly, avoiding eye contact. She apparently didn't hear him or was too wrapped up in the issue at hand to focus on such trivial issues, as she hastily ushered him in to the front foyer of the house, shutting and locking the door behind him.
"Did Rene do as I instructed with the airmen?" she asked eagerly, gazing up at him with anticipation. He could hardly focus on the simple question. He absorbed the sight of her standing there vulnerably before him, clad only in a thin nightgown, hair tousled as he had anticipated. Her full lips were devoid of the usual dark red lipstick, making her look exceedingly more approachable and less severe. He had seen her this way many times before and nothing had been different. He had just begun to notice, one unspecific morning, how beautiful she looked without her make-up, prepared hair, and other falsities that contributed to her metaphorical brick façade. The early rays of the morning sun glinting off of her dark brown pupils, making them appear a slight bit lighter in color, did nothing to help his slow descent into this completely arbitrary fascination with her.
"Crabtree…" she spoke sharply, tearing him from his reverie.
"Oh, so sorry…" he stumbled, trying to spit out something that would be relevant to the situation. "…do remind me, what was the question?"
Her impatience was blatant in her expression, causing her to look even more intimidating than normal.
"I would really regret becoming cross with you, but if you were unable to inform me of the airmen's status simply because your awareness this morning is not all that it should be, I would take the action necessary to extract the information I need."
Oh do threaten me again, he thought as he caught a glimpse of an attribute of Michelle's that he found particularly endearing. She didn't normally take out her frustrations on him. In fact, he found that she reserved a majority of her patience and kindness, which was sparse to begin with, for him and the other two British gentlemen she dealt with every day. The airmen's need for courtesy was obvious, but why she offered it to him was a mystery. Perhaps it was because he was so supportive of her ideas, much more so than anyone else involved. Regardless, he appreciated her thoughtfulness but somewhat missed her merciless side. He would sometimes wish that the same force that could make her point a gun to someone's head and demand cooperation would be used upon him. He admired her for that same fearless resilience and enjoyed seeing it come out. Besides, it would be the most personal one-on-one attention he would have ever received from her.
"No, no…that won't be necessary. I can assure you that everything so far is spot on…" he assured, waving away any uncertainties.
"Excellent." she responded with less relief than he expected. "Then we're ready for the next phase. I'll have to ask you to listen very carefully so that you can relay the process to the Café later on my behalf. You know that I'll be too occupied to explain to them myself and after all, for purposes of secrecy, I can say this-"
"Only once." he interjected, nodding his head. "I know, I'm listening…carefully, that is, as always."
She paused to eye him uncertainly, taken aback, he imagined, by his sudden and unexpected assertiveness. Well for heaven sakes, he was getting rather impatient, and Michelle seemed to have little insight into his intentions. She was giving him no opportunity to switch the topic of conversation to something more personal. Not that she ever did, but today was his selected day and by god, this woman was going to know how he really felt about her whether she liked it or not. But he sincerely hoped she would like it.
"Michelle, I do hate interrupting your instructions, but I came today with the intention of letting you know something drastic-"
"Now see here, just who do you think you are?" she demanded, all of a sudden morphing from a state of shock to anger. "Do you think your personal agenda is more important than the success of the Resistance?"
He stepped back from her considerably shorter frame, intimidated by the growing spark in her eyes.
"Certainly not, I simply wanted-"
"You're all the same!" she exclaimed, turning from him to massage her temples and pace the length of the parlor, which was only a few steps from the entrance foyer. "You all call yourselves fighters for France but would rather satisfy your own selfish desires than do what is necessary to help!"
He clenched and released his fists nervously; desperate to know what had set Michelle on edge. As mentioned before, it was not common for her to be so hostile, at least not with him. Things were not going as he had hoped, but certainly similar to how he had imagined in his nightmares.
"You know that's not how I feel…" he responded softly, attempting to counter her anger. "If you would just listen you would understand exactly how I-"
"Oh?" she challenged, shooting him a penetrating glare. "Well do tell, chum. Why don't we both have a deep discussion concerning such things over tea while your mates are taken off to a POW camp?"
He sighed, soaking up the futility. She would never open up to him, that much he was now sure of. He expected she would eventually apologize, continue to treat him with platonic pleasantries and a stinging indifference, just as she always had. This anger was not directed at him, which hurt even worse. Was it too much to ask for her to experience genuine, powerful feelings for him, positive or negative? Perhaps so. He was simply not worthy of her. He scolded himself for not knowing any better to begin with.
"You're absolutely right, Michelle." he confessed solemnly. "I've made a fool of myself. This matter is about the Allies, and I must not lose sight of what I am fighting for. Please inform me of the plan, Rene and the others must know as soon as possible."
Her features softened, almost to a point of recognizable remorse. She backed away slightly, looking somewhat shamefully at the floor. He could have sworn she was on the brink of an apology, but as was typical for Michelle, she couldn't have herself appear so easily defeated.
"Well…thank you…" she began uncertainly, feigning confidence. "I knew you were better than that…"
"What do you mean?" he pressed, developing a sudden interest in her complimentary words.
Her lips pursed as she straightened her posture and adjusted the hem of her nightgown, attempting to look as professional as possible.
"I only mean to say that you are a very dedicated and honorable member of the Resistance, exceptionally more so than many of us. Your behavior just caught me off guard..."
"I certainly do not exceed your honor. None of us do. Your dedication and bravery amaze me, Michelle."
Michelle quickly turned from him to check the clock, but not before revealing the blossoming rosy blush on her cheeks.
"It's late, and I have yet to inform you of the plan with the airmen." she mentioned softly, avoiding eye contact as she turned back around.
"Of course." he responded, gazing fixedly at a smudge on his boots. " You have my full attention."