Anya sighed softly as she looked at Dimitri. When he did not look up at her from the newspaper he was reading, she coughed, then cleared her throat, and finally swatted at the paper. "Dimitri!"
"What... Anya, what do you want now?" He glared, rather unrepentantly, at her for the interruption. There were days, he commented safely inside his own head, that she was entirely too Imperial still.
"I am worried about our friends from Russia."
That made Pooka pay attention, as even the pooch thought Anya had fallen and hit her head one too many times.
"Anya, there is war coming. Across all of Europe, and you worry about friends...what friends?... in Russia? Leave them to Stalin and his plans, and remember that we have our own lives now!" Dimitri shook his head at her.
"I did not say our friends in Russia, Dimitri. I said our friends from Russia. Pay attention." Anya shifted in her chair, fingers wrapped around the mug of cafe au lait she had grown accustomed to, living here in the countryside of France.
Returning to Russia had seemed the best idea at first, but Soviet rule was not something the Imperial memories of the restored Anastasia could quite cope with. Vladimir had wished to be in France anyway, and Dimitri had admitted to missing his friend, so they had returned, and settled in a small town, learning to speak French and hiding their heritage as best they could.
It had allowed Anya to say farewell to the Dowager before her death, to pay her respects, by a trip to Copenhagen, where the Dowager had come to finally reside.
"You mean Vladimir and Sophie and the other emigres?"
"Yes." Anya looked very satisfied with his comprehension, and he had to just shake his head at her. "You've heard the rumors."
Dimitri had heard the rumors. All he ever did was hear the rumors. People talked to him, and he used that to build business deals... con jobs as Anya still called them from time to time; despite having proven very capable of stealing confidences from people that let her make a franc here and there that had nothing to do with her needlecraft.
"The Germans don't like people."
"And they are getting nasty about it," Anya continued. "I think we need to listen more. And tell people what we hear."
Pooka whined softly at the very idea, and went to curl her old bones up in the soft bed she had near the fire. This had all the marks of Anya crusading, which meant Dimitri was going to protest, and eventually they would do just what Anya wanted.
The old dog knew it too well to sit through the repetition this time.
Vladimir, and Sophie, were quite happy to hear from their favorite friends. "Darlings!" Sophie chirruped in delight, hugging Dimitri until his ribs threatened to break, before Vladimir pounded him on the back.
"You come as things get interesting. Many stirrings in the city," Vladimir told the younger couple.
"We know," Dimitri told him. "That is part of why we came."
"The Germans are going to invade all the countries!" Anya blurted, making the older pair stare at her, and Dimitri to just cover his face behind his hands.
"Anya...." he chided.
"How do you know this?" Vladimir asked.
"We've been talking to people," Dimitri told him. "A lot of people. And with the rumors of what is happening in Germany itself, I think … we think, that is, that the leaders there have to be planning something big. Something bigger than the Revolution."
All of them grimaced, warding off ill luck in their own way at the mention of such. Then Vladimir spoke. "What do you intend to do with all you have heard? It is not as if there is any power or influence among us to bring about a change, even if Germany is planning such a vile thing."
Dimitri looked at his wife, still beautiful to him now, and so bold, so strong. "Anya thought we should prepare. Ways in and out of the likely countries to be invaded. With all the people we know, that you know, that Sophie knows? Maybe we can be ready for it."
"There is never truly a way to be ready for war, but with all of the emigres in Denmark, France... perhaps," Vladimir said. "Stronger in Denmark, I think. Too many French who love their neighbors, or perhaps see them as the lesser of evils. No love for the English, you see."
Anya nodded, smiling happily as they saw her viewpoint. "All it takes is a little warning, like a boy telling someone a way to go," Anya said, looking at Dimitri with shining eyes.
The one-time servant of the Russian Imperial Family had to blush and duck his head. "We'll pay it forward now, Anya. If what we hear is coming, a little guidance is all they'll need."
"Or so we hope," Sophie said benevolently, worrying about it, but optimistic anyway.
Poland's invasion was the spur that all the plans they had put together needed. Vladimir, despite complaints that he was far too old, had spoken to every friendly ear he could. Sophie whispered in the ears of ladies and gentlemen alike, people who would suffer from the avaricious stance of the German powers.
In Denmark, it was understood that there would be little they could do to stave off the overwhelming power of the German armies, but plans were made in the shadows. In France, Anya and Dimitri were more than willing to risk all they had to be certain that anti-German people, commoners much as they were, would have lines of communication if worse came to worse.
"We could get killed," Dimitri pointed out, late one night as he held Anya close. "They say the Line won't hold."
"Could we do less, Dimitri? This is home, now." Anya looked at him with warmth and love, but also that determination that had seen them through building new lives on their own.
"You're right, Anya. You're right."
Denmark was invaded, but threw off German rule before the war ended. The country was credited with several strikes at Germany from within throughout its occupation. In France, an underground movement of the people against the pro-German government was highly successful in several tasks against the Germans that ultimately helped the Allied position.