(1939-09-03) The Hour Has Come
Details for The Hour Has Come
Summary: People gather in Blackfriars' Pub to hear whether the nation is at war with Germany.
Date: 3 September 1939
Location: Blackfriars' Pub, London
Related:
Characters
RenaGrahamGuySigneSimonClaytonArthur

Guy has arranged to meet up with the two girls from the previous days, for another pint. And possibly another drive. He is already perched at the bar, glancing occasionally towards a wireless radio set the publican has brought through to the saloon bar for the day.

Normally composed, Rena has very little control of how upset and unsettled she feels today. Her nerves are absolutely frayed due to a number of letters she's received in the last twenty-four hours, and she has the worry of all-out war looming over her head. It's only a few minutes before 11am… the time when they will discover whether or not Germany will peacefully withdraw from Poland.
"There you are!" the little redhead cries, dodging between foot-traffic as she spots Signe. Quite unceremoniously, she grabs the other woman's hand and makes a sharp turn to trot into Blackfriar's Pub. Her other hand just barely holds her hat in place, and she jumps up on her toes to try and spot a familiar pilot. Bouncing a couple of times, she finally sights Guy and tugs poor Signe with her.

"Are we in time? Did we miss anything?" Rena asks breathlessly of Guy as the arrive.

The loud rumbling of of a car's engine can be heard peaking outside just before it's silenced. A few moments later, a man walks in, obviously of the Muggle brass. A Major, by the pin on his lapel, if anyone is so inclined to know such a thing. Simon offers a nod to the few folks gathered in the building before he moves to stand at the bar near the RAF man where he orders a pint for himself.

Signe lets out a startled squeak as she is unceremoniously grabbed and rushed into the bar. She does her best to keep up, and not fall flat on her face in her heels. "M-miss Lee! Slow down!" she begs quietly, but it's not long before they're at the bar, and Signe greets Guy with a shy, nervous smile. "Umm… Hello again." She starts smoothing at her jacket and skirt, quietly making sure they haven't become disheveled in her dash.

Graham hated getting called away for work the previous evening but alas it happens. He's out in London today it would seem dressed quite plainly no robes just his usual clothes for being out and about. He'll enter the pub which seems to not be an uncommon place for a gathering today. He doesn't wear his usual grin or anything as he moves through the crowed. "Rena, Signe." he greets them each manging to look friendly though still.

Arthur has been sitting quietly in the corner for a while, with everyone so on edge most people don't even notice him sitting sipping his rum watching the happenings slowly. His hand moves through his hair slowly before he removes his crumpled pack of Chesterfields from the inside of his brown Duster, pinching it between his lips he lights it and takes off a rather long and hard drag.
Shortly after the arrival of Simon, a Motorbike engine can be heard also pulling up, with yet another Brass entering this time, his rank clearly identifies him as a Squadron Leader in the Royal Air Force. His hand moves through his hair slowly as he straightens out his RAF Great Coat and moves over and takes a seat at the bar, though he doesn't order just yet, he just sits there, quietly for now.

Guy turns at the words, and stands, with a little grunt. The other officer gets a nod, and his attention is back to the ladies. "No. You've missed nothing yet. It's a touch too early to know." He picks up his pint, and takes a long swig. "Can I get you something?"

"Sorry," Rena says to Signe with an apologetic smile. "Didn't mean to yank you 'round like that. But I was worried…"
She looks pale and wan, yet relieved to have some place to sit down. Who knows how many blocks she ran before she got here. "I don't think I'd better, Guy - but thanks. I ain't eaten all day. I 'aven't been able to stomach the idea of food." She rests her elbow on the bar and leans her head into her hand, closing her eyes for a moment.
Graham's greeting is met with a tired smile. If she had more energy to expend, it would be helpful. For now, she doesn't even notice that Arthur is nearby, let alone take stock of the other military men filling the pub.

Simon looks over to the man beside him and asks, "Grovsvenor, right?" The Major offers a kind smile to the bartender as his pint is delivered and takes a short sip from it, looking back over to Guy. Upon asking his question, his eyes, too will return to the radio, awaiting the inevitable.

Guy starts to answer, and then holds a hand up towards Simon, as the radio crackles to life. Just in time to hear the beginning of the Prime Minister's words….

"Do they serve tea?" Signe answers uncertainly. It's much too early for a drink in her opinion. "I'm sure Miss Lee wouldn't object to a bit of tea - and neither would I."
As Graham speaks, she turns to give him a surprise look, then greets him with a smile. "I'm glad to see you again. So glad you could make it last night."

Graham nods to Rena he does understand truly too much.. way way too much. He looks to Signe though as she speaks and he cant help but return the smile "Me too, but so sorry I had to run off on you and Sorcha." he says motioning "Mind if I sit with you?" he'll ask though he turns at the sound of the crackle and may just sit once she accepts.

Arthur finishes off his the last of his rum and idly spins the tumbler on his table. He spots the people he works with but he doesn't really feel like dealing with them right at this moment. A older man that is a regular at this pub as is Arthur comes and takes a seat with him. The start to idly chit chat, about this and that, though as the radio starts up they both go silent and just stare at it. Arthur knows that if this starts, lads he grew up with will be taking up arms.

Clayton finally orders just before the radio flickers to life, a pint. His hands move and he removes a pack of Lucky Strikes and some matches from his great coat. Lighting one he stares at the radio, he knows it is coming.

Simon, too, quiets anything he might have started to say as the Prime Minister begins to speak. His hands rest calmly around the mug that rests in his hands and he watching the surface of the bar, effectively tuning everyone else out for the moment.

Rena remains dead still as the radio comes to life. An eerie hush falls over the room. What would normally be a bustling and boisterous pub, has suddenly lapsed into the silence of a grave. If she was pale before, her face seems to become drained of colour.

"This morning the British Ambassador in Berlin handed the German Government a final Note stating that, unless we heard from them by 11 o'clock that they were prepared at once to withdraw their troops from Poland, a state of war would exist between us.

I have to tell you now that no such undertaking has been received, and that consequently this country is at war with Germany. You can imagine what a bitter blow it is to me that all my long struggle to win peace has failed. Yet I cannot believe that there is anything more or anything different that I could have done and that would have been more successful…"

Guy has paused, his glass half way to his lips. As those words unfold, he lowers it carefully to the bar, and reaches for his cap, which had been sitting there.

As the radio crackles to life, Signe reaches out to Rena, gripping her hand firmly in her own. She's as silent as the other's, nibbling the inside of her lower lip - and letting out a quiet gasp as the state of war is declared. "Oh no," she whispers, squeezing the hand in hers all the tighter.

"Well…fuck me, then…" responds Simon sorrowfully to the broadcast. He tilts an eyebrow up and shakes his head softly before he takes another, much longer sip from his pint.

Clayton runs his hand through his hair slowly again as he takes another sip of his pint, listening to the words. His heart sinks, but he knew it was coming, they all did. His eyes close for a moment, "Through Struggles to the Stars" he says slowly, before taking another sip of his pint before, reaching over and patting Simon on the back.

Arthur's lips curl into a frown as he shakes his head slowly, his mind going through all the chaos of both worlds right now. Before letting out a small pained sigh, the older man frowns and says, "Don'd worry lad, won'd be as bad as da Great War yeh know?" he says trying to reassure him. Arthur doesn't reply, he just takes a long hard drag off his cigarette, exhaling the smoke slowly as he leans back slightly.

He doesn't wish to stand or perhaps worries he'll not be able to, and so will sit quickly the radio doesn't take long to tell the news of war and the auror will shake his head in disbelief he reaches over though if allowed he'll grip Signe's shoulder lightly while the broadcast continues. Graham doesn't have much to say though at the moment there is really nothing to say at the moment.

Rena notices the feeling of Signe's hand slipped into hers, and she offers a squeeze in return. Like the relentless grains of sand through an hourglass, the broadcast continues:

"Up to the very last it would have been quite possible to have arranged a peaceful and honourable settlement between Germany and Poland, but Hitler would not have it. He had evidently made up his mind to attack Poland whatever happened, and although He now says he put forward reasonable proposals which were rejected by the Poles, that is not a true statement. The proposals were never shown to the Poles, nor to us, and, although they were announced in a German broadcast on Thursday night, Hitler did not wait to hear comments on them, but ordered his troops to cross the Polish frontier. His action shows convincingly that there is no chance of expecting that this man will ever give up his practice of using force to gain his will. He can only be stopped by force."

"That bastard. That bastard… I hate him!" Rena says sharply, her eyes welling with tears as she listens. If she could just get her hands on Mister Hitler, there's no telling what she would do.

The RAF mans cap gets carefully placed on his head. Then the pint is picked up, and drained. His lips move, quietly, and those near him, most probably only the two women who greeted him might hear the soft words, over the radio and the hubbub of other reactions. "Absent friends, and friends yet to be absent."

The hand on Signe's shoulder is appreciated, and the singer looks towards Graham with a tight, sad smile. Rena's outburst earns her attention, though, as she helplessly clings to the woman's hand. "Let's have us a nice cuppa… Alright?" she offers encouragingly. Because what else can they do in the face of a war? "We got through the Great War. We'll find our way through this, somehow."

Simon sets his mug down and looks over to Clayton, nodding appreciatively at the pat on the back. To Signe's response, Simon breathes a sigh, knowing that many people did not make it through the Great War. Most notably, to him, atleast; Samuel Moore, his father.

Clayton just offers his fellow officer, though a rank higher a simple nod in return. As guy says his peace, Clayton nods slowly. Taking a long hard drag off his cigarette, he says, "We will make them regret it." he says a bit of anger in his tone, he lost his brother in the last war. Shaking his head, he exhales the smoke slowly.

The tears spill over silently, and roll down Rena's cheeks. She does hear Guy's remark, and she looks at him and the other pilots nearby with an expression of absolute misery. Sometimes words need not be said between friends. Thankfully, Signe interrupts her in time to prevent her from outright sobbing. But, the little redhead can only reply with a sniff and a nod of her head.

"We and France are today," the broadcast carries on, "In fulfillment of our obligations, going to the aid of Poland, who is so bravely resisting this wicked and unprovoked attack on her people. We have a clear conscience. We have done all that any country could do to establish peace. The situation in which no word given by Germany's ruler could be trusted and no people or country could feel themselves safe has become intolerable. And now that we have resolved to finish it, I know that you will all play your part with calmness and courage. At such a moment as this the assurances of support that we have received from the Empire are a source of profound encouragement to us."

Graham tries for a reassuring smile in return to the singer but comes up short at an echo of her sad smile and a bit tired looking. He looks to Rena though as she speaks though he doesn't have anything to make her feel better he'll nod "Signe's right." He manages though he's silent once more as the broadcast continues and he cannot help but have anger himself in many directions though too many at once to focus on properly.

Arthur offers the older man a small nod as he moves to get up, not saying anything. He walks across the pub, his hand moving and softly setting down on Rena's shoulder with a small squeeze, taking another slow drag off his cigarette he exhales it slowly behind her. "Be alrighd, yeh know dha Lee." he says trying to encourage her, "We got his majesty's finnesd yeh know." he says patting her on the back, offering Graham a small nod, "Cohen, hope yeh don't mind da big bad wolf joining yeh?" he says with a smirk.

Guy puts his glass down neatly, "I hate to abandon you ladies at this time, but I think my place is with my men. Just in case there's anything heading over for an early visit."

"And we should have a proper toast," Signe offers helpfully. "To King, and Country, and our brave armed forces." She frees her hand from Rena's to wrap it around the other woman's frame. "We're England. We'll stand tall and proud," she asserts firmly.
Looking up at Guy she adds, "Let us toast you first, Mister Grosvenor? Please?"

Clayton nods as he stands up slowly, looking over at Guy. "Need a ride?" he says with a smirk, his hand moving to run through his hair, "Heading that way myself." he says looking past Guy for a moment at Signe, "Hey Dollface, I'll have to catch you another time." he says as he takes a drag off his Lucky Strike and starts to move towards the door.

Simon rubs his hand down his tired face and looks towards the departing RAF men without saying a word. He breathes an exasperated sigh and polishes off the rest of his pint, laying his head down on the bar.

The broadcast continues for a short while, but almost everyone has ceased to pay strict attention to it. When it draws to a close in the background, murmurings rise from every corner of the pub as silence no longer prevails. As for Rena, she sniffs again, withdrawing her handkerchief from within her handbag to tidy up her face. "I suppose it's better than the endless waiting. Now we know where we stand."
Arthur joins them then, and Rena manages a small, grateful smile. But it fades quickly as Guy is already preparing to take his leave of them. "Please - let's at least do that?" She echoes Signe's sentiment.

At that moment, a strange, eerie wailing sound seems to rise through the air outside like a banshee shriek. "What the bloody 'ell is that?" Rena asks, looking truly terrified.

Guy's face goes pale, "Air raid siren! Has everyone got their gas masks with them?" He's instantly heading for the door. Presumably, as his plane must be miles away, to look futilely upwards.

Signe also looks very unsettled by the sound, and can only shake her head helplessly. "I didn't bring it," she admits. "Gracious - we'll have to have the things with us constantly now, won't we?" she asks.

"Mister Kable?" Signe says in surprise, looking towards the man, and offering him a smile. "Uh- yes, of course. Please take care of yourself?" she calls after him.
As the wailing begins, Signe also looks very unsettled by the sound, and can only shake her head helplessly. "I didn't bring it," she admits. "Gracious - we'll have to have the things with us constantly now, won't we?" she asks.

Graham will order a cider and accept it to Signe's words "For king and country." he raises his glass to muggle soldiers and airmen before taking a drink. He looks as Arthur approaches though he hadnt seen him before now or at least pretended not to. He will roll his eyes to his words "More like to the little pigs Nightengale." he responds but any further jabs the two might share for the moment are cut off by the siren outside. It's a haunting sound sending shivers down his spine a moment though the explanation is worse. He removes his hand from Signe if he'd not before arms crossing one hand gripping his wand hidden in his shirt sleeve until it is absolutely un-avoidable.

Clayton listens to the sirens, "Eh, ah test." he says with a small hand wave. "Making sure they are all working properly before we face any real danger." he says smiling at Signe, before turning and walking out, "Of course I will, Dollface." he says to her with a wink. Noticing Graham now he says, "Hey! Tell Rhyeline I will be doing some flying for her." he says with a wink before he turns and is leaving on his motorbike. If he is scared he is certainly doing his best to make the Civilians feel comfortable.

Simon continues to remain silent, his head still resting on the surface of the bar, despite the roar of the sirens that fills the air.

Guy gives a little grunt, "Practice. Damn fool time to do it." And he returns to the bar, "Of course you may toast me." And there's a twinkle in the eye for a moment, "And you know… I'll be fine."

The tea finally arrives, and Signe promptly pours, offering one to Rena, and keeping one for herself. She nods towards Simon, a little further down, and when another cup is brought, she pours for him, as well. Lifting her glass and her voice she calls, "To King, and Country, and the fine men and women defending the right!" Her voice can carry, too - it's that operatic training.

In truth, Rena is the most Mugglish-Muggle of the Wizard-kind here, and she did indeed bring her mask. The drab little box rests at her hip, crossed from her shoulder on a strap. "Of course I do. But, it can't be an air-raid - not yet? Can it?" She asks fearfully. Clayton, however, seems to have the answer, and Rena drops back down onto the bar seat, looking absolutely haggared. "Thank goodness… for small favors," she murmurs. If she could shrink into nothing and disappear right now, she would.
When Guy returns to them, she works up the courage to smile. "I 'ave faith in you, Guy." She says quietly. "Don't forget your little friend out there, eh?"

Signe makes sure that everyone has their cups ready for the toast when she makes it. And Rena raises her cup with a slightly trembling hand: "To King, and Country," she echoes, making her voice stay strong.

Arthur rubs his chin, put his hand up, "Already drank enough." he says with a nod, "Bud indeed for King and Coundry." he says raising his hand with no glass in it. "Ah, good un Cohen, my second favoride un." he says nodding, then the Air Raid sirens sound, but a RAF Officer puts his nerves on eases as he looks at Graham again, "Hoy mate?" he says with a friendly but fake smile, "Stay ouda meh personal life, iffen yeh cross dhat bridge again, I'll files papers for da Chief, focus on da real bad un eh?" he says giving Graham a small wink.

Guy drains the last few drops from his glass to the toast, "The King." And he puts it down. "But I really must run, Rena. Just in case." And he reaches out to squeeze the young woman's shoulder gently. "I won't forget. And I'm too old, and evil and ugly to get killed. It's the young and handsome and brave who won't see next year."

Simon finally manages the strength to lift his head from the bar and say, "Aye…we'll all make it back." He stands from his seat and turns to address the bulk of the armed forces who have gathered.

After a moment of composing himself, he raises his voice, but manages to maintain the calm air it usually carries, "You know..my father died in The Great War. It was a complete and utter devastation to my family, of course. But…it did teach me one thing. It taught me…that no matter the price, it is our duty as men and women of the Crown to stand up for those who have been given less. A divine right, some might say. I wouldn't go so far, but I will agree that as men…as members of the human race, we are called into action to preserve peace among our brothers. These bullies have taken up arms against people who we have called 'brother'…and I'm for damn sure ready to take the fight to these bastards."

As Guy and some of the other men all begin to stream out, Signe lowers her glass (having drunk to the toast, of course). Still projecting, she begins to sing - hoping and assuming that others in the bar will join in. God save our gracious King, Long live our noble King, God save The King! Send him victorious, Happy and glorious, Long to reign over us, God save The King!"

Rena struggles hard to smile at Guy as he departs, but she wants to stay strong. Ignoring the exchange between Arthur and Graham for the moment, her attention goes to Signe. Now she's on her feet, joining the other woman in her song with full show-girl voice: "Thy choicest gifts in store, On him be pleased to pour, Long may he reign; May he defend our laws, And ever give us cause, To sing with heart and voice, God save The King!"
By now, other patrons in the bar rise to their feet, some unsteady with alcohol, but others standing strong as they too raise their voices to join the girls.

Graham relaxes his grip on his sleeve when it seems to be only but a test which he supposes makes sense, but how many times has he spoken his intentions should bombs fall. Perhaps sooner rather then later he'll be tested. Something he can do which steadies him a bit further. He looks back to Arthur though as he speaks but "Sure sure, because he loves distracted staff." he doesn't seem threatened though in the slightest he'll turn though as the song goes up and lift his glass in cheer to take another drink

Arthur shrugs, "Fine Cohen, ah will file meh repord dhen." he says narrowing his eyes on him. "Because yeh know whad distracts meh? Ah desk jockey trying da interfere witd meh life ouda da office." he says slowly witd a shrug, "Dried da handle dis between yeh and meh, bud yeh wand da play dis game? Leds play." he says with a smirk, squeezing Rena's shoulder again he turns to leave, "Dake id easy, ah got a repord da file." he says waving his goodbye.

Signe smiles at Rena as she joins in, and continues to sing through the remaining verses, a few tears shining in her eyes before she sits back down. She smiles at Rena encouragingly before remarking, "There, see? We're England." Her gaze flicks uncertainly to the tense exchange between the strange (who seems to know Rena) and Graham. She quickly looks away, though, rather uncomfortable with the situation.

He will take another drink enjoying the lighter moment at least from the song and those at the pub. Graham looks back as he's spoken to again, he returns lowered tone only meant for him to hear "I've sworn myself to secrecy by Rena, can you promise as much when we three get hauled to his office?" Its not a threat and it really isn't this time only one getting harmed in that case is indeed Rena. He turns and catches Signe's gaze he gives her a reassuring smile "Lovely voice as ever Signe."

"And England won't go down, come 'ell or 'igh water," Rena says with determination. Now, despair has turned to iron resolve, and that stubborn willfulness of her nature seems to be taking hold again. She slams down the remainder of her hot tea, ready for action, seemingly.
Arthur's abrupt departure and previous words with Graham cause the young woman to look as though she would truly like to facepalm. "Arthur! Wait 'alf a tick," she says hurriedly. A sidelong glance at Signe is accompanied by a shake of her head and a roll of her eyes: "Don't mind them… Men," she says, as if it will explain it all.
Jumping down off the bar stool, she stops a moment longer to smile gratefully at the other woman and say: "Thanks awfully. You've been marvelous. I'll leave you with Graham and 'e'll see you off safely." With that said, she runs after Arthur.

Simon offers a smile to Signe, seeming refilled with English courage and manages to down the rest of his beer, setting the mug down on the bar and sliding his hands into his pockets, "It seems I should also be returning to base."

"I do try to be," Signe agrees with Rena, flashing her an encouraging smile. Her attention is caught by Simon next, and she nods to the man, giving him her best stage smile. "Take care of yourself, sir. God Save the King." It's time to keep your best patriotic face on, and if a performer can't then there's no hope for any of them!
Her attention returns to Graham next as she asks, "Mister Cohen, I do hope you aren't being foolish," she remarks, shaking her head slightly. Just what they need on top of everything else - dramatics.

Arthur turns around, "Da issue Cohen, is id ain'd none of yer bloody business in da first place." he says walking over to him, his eyes moving across him, "Yeh wand da play dhat game, Cohen?" he says slowly, "Iffen meh life is yers da FUCK wid, dhen I suppose yer life is free fer meh da FUCK wid." he says nodding slowly, "Yeh wand da guy who can look however he wands in yer life? Leds play Cohen." he says with a smirk shaking his head, "Whos going da protect her from meh? Huh?" he says looking rather pissed, though he is trying to keep it under check, "Yeh wand da threaten shit like dhat? Fine, Ah gotcha." he says shrugging and turning around, "Gave yeh a chance, Mate." he says waving his hand slightly.

Simon tips his hat to Signe and says, offering the most charming smile in his repertoire, "God save the King." He turns and moves towards the exit. Moments later, the load roar of an engine can be heard and a car peels away.

"Arthur, please!" Rena pleads, grabbing his arm and trying to pull him away from Graham before things get any uglier. Her eyes dart around the bar. Needless to say other patrons are beginning to notice the tension between the two men. "Let's get out of 'ere?" She begs again, tugging.

As Arthur stalks back, Signe noticeably leans away, her gaze going down to the cup in her hands and the counter of the bar. And she'll stay that way until Rena can coax the man away. Just what is that all about?! She isn't sure she really wants to know. Oh, this is awful.

Graham sighs only when the man turns and moves back to him. He listens but stands still all the while, though he notices Rena moving to interfere as well as Signe afraid or ignoring he'll take a deep breath this cannot escalate not here. "It's no game Nightengale, and i've made no threat. Think about what I said exactly You know how the office is. Its the truth, I don't want her harmed with news spreading further than it has to that is IT. Just drop it." he is clearly angry which happens rarely but he has a point to make.

Arthur turns and looks at Graham, "No Cohen, ah gave yeh a chance. Yeh dhink yeh are coy, yeh stuck yer dirty nose in da wrong fella's life. Yeh wand da play, yeh life is mine Mate. Lets see how far I can stick meh nose inda yer life before yeh get annoyed." he says with a smirk. His hand moving dismissing Graham, "Yeh going da see whad id feels like fer someun da be all up in yer life now." he says with a shrug as he turns shrugging off Rena arm as he finally steps out into the evening.

Stunned and genuinely mortified at the scene Graham and Arthur have made of this situation, Rena's cheeks burn red. How could they DO this? And then, Arthur just shrugs her off and stalks away.
Turning back to cast a regretful glance in Signe's direction, she shakes her head a little. She's at a complete loss for words. The other patrons - mostly East Enders - don't seem to be particularly phased by the situation. But still, Rena is mortified. The look she gives Graham is difficult to read… and it lasts only a second before she also turns to leave. It seems she won't be following Arthur, after all.

What a day for the history books.

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