Player's Name: S.
Are you over 16? Yes.
Characters Played Here: N/A.
Character: Claude Bérubé.
Series/Canon: Modern AU Silver Wolf canon OC.
From When? 2017, in the wake of the publication of Mireille’s biography.
Previous Game(s): N/A.
(( Information on the original canon. The headcanon for geographical situation still applies, as does a majority of the musical’s plot in the case of Mireille and Jean Louis Duroc. Claude doesn’t appear in the original musical in any shape or form, but was created solely as a part of the modern AU’s character gallery. ))
Claude was born as the youngest child and only son to the Canadian Laurent and his French wife, Nanette Bérubé (née Deslys) and for the first decade of his life, he enjoyed a relatively normal and happy childhood, growing up in the Latin Quarters of Paris. However, the year he turned eight, his father met a woman from the Ivory Coast whom he fell in love with and eventually decided to follow to her country of origin, divorcing Claude’s mother and leaving behind his entire family, consisting of Claude’s two older sisters (Catherine and Céline), Claude and his mother. While growing up, Claude and his mother had always been close, Claude having been somewhat of a mama’s boy, but now that Claude was the only “man” in the family, their bond grew even stronger – a development that would come to an abrupt end once Claude hit puberty. Not that he was a difficult teenager, but it was in those years he began realizing that he wasn’t attracted to the opposite sex like most of his peers were, but instead took an interest in other boys. After a failed relationship to his ballroom dance partner, Liliane, Claude met the openly gay Gilbert Tremblay and the two started dating. The relationship soon became more serious and Gilbert had to reveal to Claude that he was a carrier of HIV. This didn’t deter Claude, but when he finally came out to his mother around the time when Gilbert began falling ill, she never missed an opportunity to openly disapprove of the relationship. Something that cooled the otherwise warm relation mother and son had shared. Meanwhile, Gilbert became increasingly more sick and was eventually sent to a hospice where he spent his last few days in the company of his family and Claude. After the funeral, Claude finished his bac with surprisingly good results, considering the context in which he’d been studying for it and was left at a crossroad. He felt no desire to stay in Paris, now that Gilbert was gone, but he had no idea where else to go.
Until that time, his only contact to his father had been the sporadic letters they had sent back and forth on birthdays and at Christmas. Now the Ivory Coast suddenly seemed like the perfect refuge and for the first time in almost ten years, Claude picked up the phone and called his father. They made arrangements for his trip and after only a month of preparations, Claude quite simply packed all his things and left for Africa – left his sisters and his mother behind, like his father had done before him, but he felt no remorse, considering how his relationship to his mother was currently faring. The Ivory Coast proved a healthy climate for him and he thrived, so much that after only a year, he had settled in enough to find work at the local university’s library. He began reading about politics and journalism, took up writing and his father soon noticed his interests which led him to secure Claude a position as secretary at the French Embassy in Nigeria – an opportunity that Claude wasn’t slow to accept. Once more he uprooted himself and moved, alone, to Abuja where he worked for a year before he was offered a promotion to personal assistant at the French Embassy in Senegal. Although he had already fallen in love with West Africa and although he already felt quite at home here, Senegal should prove to be the place where he finally found rest in the wake of Gilbert’s death. While working at the Embassy, he began frequenting the artistic milieu of Dakar, his own poetry taking on its own distinct style slowly and this was how he met Didier Faye who would later, upon Claude’s return to the city, become his lover. Didier was editing an anthology and when reading Claude’s poetry, wanted him to contribute to the collection which Claude did. At this point, though, Claude’s father started urging him to return home to Paris to get an education. At ease once again, Claude didn’t mind what he knew to be only a temporary separation from Senegal and moved back to Paris where he began studying journalism at Sorbonne University. As he had promised Didier, however, when he had left Dakar – once he had finished his bachelor’s degree, he decided to take his candidate degree in Senegal and enrolled with Cheikh Anta Diop University.
Upon his return to Dakar, he and Didier began seeing each other privately, as friends at first – but they would soon initiate a romantic relationship while Claude attended university lectures and writing seminars, his skills within the field showing quickly. It was a complex life to lead, in a country where homosexual conduct earns you up to five years in prison, but they managed to keep their relationship discreet, known only to those to whom it didn’t matter and Claude considered it to be his personal way of maturing into adulthood, Didier teaching him a lot about himself and life in general. After two years of this sort of existence, however, Claude had finished his candidate dissertation, receiving good grades, and it was time for him to return to Europe and find out what to do with his life from there. Neither Didier nor himself nursed any illusions that either of them would manage to uphold a relation across that kind of distance, between Africa and Europe, Dakar and Bruxelles (where Claude had received a PhD scholarship), so they ended their romantic relationship on friendly terms, returning to being just friends – at times with benefits, when the opportunity offered itself. Everything brought in order, Claude said goodbye to Senegal, to Dakar and to Didier at the airport, taking a late-night plane home to Paris where he would be spending the summer, the degrees cooler and the cityscape cut in half by the Eiffel Tower.
Years went by. Claude finished his PhD in Bruxelles, got a job at Le Monde in Paris where he had been an intern while he had studied for his bachelor’s and where he would now come to work as a (West) African correspondent for the next decade. When he finally found that he urgently needed a change of air and pace, he accepted a position as French correspondent at a local newspaper in Luxembourg and moved there, leaving France and Paris behind for the fourth time in his life. For the last time in his life, it should prove to be. In 2009, after having recently ended a relationship to a local Luxembourgian celebrity on bad terms, Claude attended a course on advocacy journalism where he met Vincent Fortesque whom he soon started dating and would later, in 2010, move in and join in a civil union with. Around this time, he also went freelance, tiring of the tight schedule and the many one-hour notice trips that came with being a correspondent. Instead he began focusing on his passion, writing biographies. After a couple of years of this quiet living, Vincent got hired as publicity advisor for the Centre-Democratic Party, starting a close working relationship with the party’s leader, Jean Louis Duroc. A working relationship that would blend into their private lives and not only because of the high maintenance that Jean Louis and his party turned out to be. Soon he and his wife, Mireille, would begin coming by for dinner and thus, Claude was introduced to the woman with whom he developed a close friendship that would last for the rest of their lives. As they grew closer, he suggested that he write her biography – knowing that many before had asked her and all of them had received a polite refusal. Mireille, however, accepted the idea and for the next year and a half, they would be working on the book that should prove to become Claude’s most bestselling work ever…
There are two, equally balanced sides to Claude. One side is the one that is brought out by the world at large – a calm(er) and more collected persona that fully matches his years in number and has earned him a reputation as a serious journalist with more than a decade of experience on his hands. This side is the one which causes him to bond so closely with Didier Faye, the Senegalese poet and his former lover, as well as with Mireille Duroc, the State Minister’s sharp-witted wife. Both of whom stimulate him intellectually and with whom he can share aspects of his personality that he could, but chooses not to impose on his partner. The other side to him is the side that he has repeatedly shown in the company of his male peers and in particular with his partner, Vincent – the charmingly flirtatious side that, in his own grounded manner, gives him the air of an overgrown teenager with a warm sense of humour and a penchant for puns. Temperament-wise, Claude might sport a typically French temper – quickly ignited, imposing on your eardrum, though just as quickly to die down again, once he’s blown off steam – but actually he is quite the patient and hassle-free type in most situations. Yes, there are subjects that can get him riled up and riled up good (gay rights, harassment, injustice of any kind), but his preference is to talk things over calmly rather than delving head-first into shouting matches. And when all comes down to it, the best way for him to work with his problems is through his writings.
Despite this trait of being a relatively carefree and relaxed person, there are certain aspects to Claude’s characterisation that are less cheerful. Due to the way first his father deserted his family in order to move to the Ivory Coast and later, the way his mother distanced herself from him when he came out to her as gay, Claude has been left with some abandonment issues – further enhanced by how he has had several relationships end on bad terms due to infidelity. Claude hasn’t grown bitter from the experiences and doesn’t as such live his life in ceaseless fear that everyone will eventually leave, but he is aware that everyone might and it’s a knowledge he deals with on a daily basis, making him very much live in the present. At the same time, he has developed a very strong sense of duty as a result – a sense of duty that shows in his relationship to both his parents whom he has persistently stayed in touch with despite the way they’ve failed in their relation to him as well as in his ideologies in regards to his work as a journalist, especially as an African correspondent. Because if there is one thing that describes Claude, it’s moral. Claude is almost neurotic in his beliefs in right and wrong – and things have to be done right, each and every time. There are simply no excuses for lies and deceit, something which often ends him in arguments with his husband, Vincent, whose morals are a bit less well-defined.
Nevertheless, one of the main reasons that Claude doesn’t become somewhat of a split personality (caught between calm and temperamental, mature and childish, balanced and just a tiny bit broken) is no doubt due to the presence of Vincent in his life. Vincent has become the one place where these various different sides of Claude can be combined into one person. The one place where Claude can be both serious and an overgrown teenager. Flirtatious and calm. There is no part of himself that he needs to keep hidden from Vincent, not even – or perhaps especially not – any of the aspects that he is sure will provoke or anger him. They handle their differences like adults for the most part and in every way, they bring out the best in one another.
So that, in the end, Claude embodies a full functionality.
Does your character have any close ties to existing canon characters?
Mireille Duroc (the main female character of the musical) and her husband, Jean Louis Duroc (who is the leader of the Luxembourgian party, the CDP in the modern AU) are close friends of Claude and his partner, Vincent. Vincent works as Jean Louis’ spin doctor and Claude becomes a confidante of Mireille’s as time goes by.
Why do you think your character would work in this setting?
Claude accepts Eli’s offer due to the circumstances around the publication of Mireille’s biography. Thanks to the information that was made public in that book, Jean Louis’ politics were being questioned and in the position of his spin doctor, Vincent took action, instead turning the tabloids’ focus on Mireille and her assumed need for attention. By doing so, he undid all Claude’s efforts in regards to his book, his aim having been exactly that – trying to change the media’s general view of Mireille. On a personal level, this caused a lot of tension and fights between them and on a professional level, they initiated a media war. One that Vincent would eventually win, not because Claude didn’t fight for it, but because of his stronger standing in the political milieu. This war of words, however, makes a six-month “leave” from his own setting seem both appropriate and very tempting. After all, he’ll soon enough be returning home, right? He’s used to being away on jobs and this will just be another one. Besides, as a journalist, Claude will respond to the setting with a certain amount of curiosity and certainly with the intent to gain something from his stay, while he (as a people person) will be in possession of every tool to get along well with most of the others and once he fully realizes how many different worlds people origin from, his inner biographer will undoubtedly come to life, too.
What will your character do for work?
Claude will be working at the library at first and (hopefully) later gain a position as journalist at the local newspaper.
A large suitcase of clean clothes and basic travel necessities (like toothbrush, hairbrush, shampoo, etc.) as well as a couple of CDs, notebooks and most importantly, a flashdrive with his personal writings.
The yurt is insufferably hot at this time of day, when you – like Claude currently – are insisting on remaining seated near the window, with a nice view of the… settlement. That’s the only term that fully covers it, really. It’s not what was promised him, that much is sure, but while he could get pissed (he thought this was a way of leaving deceptive sweet-talking behind, just for a little while) and request his metaphorical money back, Claude has settled in. Pun intended. He misses the cats the most, though. Silly, how attached you get to pets, but he wouldn’t bring them with him, wouldn’t subject them to the change of milieu. It’d only have been for his own sake and poor Plato would have died from fright. No, they are better off, staying home with Vincent. Until his return. Because he is going back, of course – he just needed a break. Needed a change of air. From the constant abuse of words they’d both gotten too tangled up in back in Luxembourg.
As for Vincent – yeah, he misses Vincent. The arsehole, the bastard Vincent. As well as everything else that he is. Claude rarely gets lonely, but there’s a difference (he’s discovered by now) between being in Africa on a job and being… Well, here. In another world, with a ticket out that dates six months into the future. It’s not a problem, he utilizes his time just fine. Fluctuates between the library and the local newspaper where he’s trying to put in a good word for himself, but at times like now his pencil spells out words in one of his polychrome notebooks that hold that gist of longing. He never writes sentimental things like I love you or I’m sorry, although maybe – in reality, he ought to.
What he does write is a string of memories. Scenarios that have no place in his current context, but somehow blend into the sharp sting of the sun falling in through the window. The bustling noise washing in over him from the streets outside it.
(( #1 – TEXT POST ))
In my field of work, there are certain questions you always ask a person when interviewing them. This information serves as the minimum requirement, whether it is to be made public knowledge or not – (full) name, gender, age and country or city of residence if not exact address. I thought I’d use this as the starting point for my own introduction of myself, if nothing else then because they are so familiar on my tongue, these questions. And when everything else is strange and foreign, I’ve heard intelligent people claim that it’s a completely natural reaction to cling to whatever we are most accustomed to. With that in mind:Name: Claude Bérubé
City of residence: Luxembourg City (Earth)
Turning to the subsections, I fall into the category of Settlers who came here willingly, but I’ve discovered that there’s a very distinct difference between inclination and base need. Don’t get me wrong – whereas I didn’t run, I did walk away in order to get here, yet I’m not a man who nurses regrets and it’s not a decision I feel the need to question. It’s had consequences, of course, like everything tends to do.
But I’ve been told I’ve got nice, broad shoulders…