(1939-12-20) Come Fly With Me
Details for Come Fly With Me
Summary: Faulkner (The cad!) gives Rena the surprise of her life when he bends regulations and takes her for a joyride in an aeroplane.
Date: 1939/12/20
Location: Biggin Hill Airfield
Related:
Characters
RenaFaulkner

Flight Leftenant Faulkner has sent word ahead that he wanted to take his Irene "someplace special" and that he would pick her up at the train station nearest Biggin Hill. So, at the appointed hour, he parks the staff car outside, leaving the 'on official business' placard in plain view, puts his hat on his head, lights a cigarette, and heads inside to wait for her. Then, almost as an afterthought, he turns around and grabs a wrapped parcel off the back seat and heads inside the station.

When Irene alights from the train, Birdie is there waiting for her, and he pulls her into a hug regardless of who may be watching. There is only a kiss on the cheek, though, and then he leads her towards the car, but stops along the way, at the Lady's washroom. "Here, dear. Take this, and put on what's inside. Trust me." He gives her a roguish little wink.

Getting away from London and traveling out to the country (most especially Biggin Hill) has become like a breath of fresh air to Irene. Small wonder, knowing that Faulkner will be waiting for her at the station, that she bounces out of the train car with a spring in her step and a bright smile on her face. Pulled into a warm hug, the little redhead returns the embrace with enthusiasm, however, she doesn't want to leave a smear of lipstick on his cheek and refrains from a kiss.

“Birdie, what on earth are you up to?” Irene asks quizzically, quirking one eyebrow and glancing between the parcel and the man with great curiosity. Not really waiting for an answer, she gives him another baffled parting look over her shoulder before slipping through the door. Curiouser and curiouser – as Alice once said.

Apparently, Birdie has called in a favor of some sort, because in the parcel is a uniform, the same shade as his - but it comes with a skirt and a little cap all it's own, and this one isn't scandalous. It's the outfit of a member of the Women's Auxiliary Air Force, the WAAFs that Birdie and Guy have frequently mentioned. It includes everything she might need, down to the 'blackout' dark winter tights and sensible shoes. The note inside says only, 'I know you'll have somewhere to put your regular clothes. -CF P.S. - The tie will look adorable on you." The sergeant's chevrons mean that her rank is section leader.

Faulkner is leaning against the wall across from the loo waiting for her to come out, finishing his cigarette - or perhaps having another one.

“Oh, lor'…” Irene gasps upon opening the parcel and seeing the contents. Fortunately, the washroom is empty, but for herself. Wide-eyed, she goes over each piece of the uniform methodically, and seems torn between panic at the notion of impersonating a WAAF, and overwhelmed by the urge to do it for the sheer fun of it. Even as she argues with herself over what harm it could really do, she begins to unbutton her suit jacket and hurriedly undress. The note from Birdie is what sold her in the end.

Stopping at the mirror to ensure not a hair is out of place, Irene straightens the cap and gives the necktie one or two extra pulls to adjust it. Then, tugging at her sleeves and the hem of the jacket to ensure that everything is proper and correct, the transformed redhead quietly exits the washroom and rejoins Faulkner.

“Well then,” she says with a bemused smirk, trying not to look as conspicuous as she feels, “Does it suit me, Flight Lieutenant Faulkner?”
She certainly can't complain about the outfit - with the WAAF's knee-length skirt, it's quite modest. Quite different from the last time she decided to wear a uniform! But Faulkner smiles and steps towards her, helping her fix a few things - she might have noticed, for example, that the WAAF tunic button's men's style. He helps her correct a few minor things, "There we go. Now you look like Section Leader Irene Lee. We'll have to leave your handbag in the boot for now, too." He nods to her to come with him, and then, rather than opening the passenger door for him, stands there and waits, before prompting with a note of teasing in his voice, "You're a sergeant and I'm an officer. I'm afraid you simply must drive, Irene."

Irene smiles a bit sheepishly while Faulkner corrects a few minor errors here and there, always keeping a wary eye out for any passersby who might take notice of the pair. One can scarcely blame her for being a little fidgety and jumpy, under the circumstances. However, some of the jitters naturally stem from the excitement.
“'Ello, I must, must I?” the young woman asks impishly, quite astounded to find out that she must do the driving – not that she minds. Placing the bag into the boot, she only pauses long enough to draw something small-ish from inside, tucking it into her jacket as surreptitiously as possible. It may be ridiculous, but she can't justify being parted from her wand.
“It'll be a funny switch 'aving me drive you around,” Irene remarks, quickly walking to the passenger door and opening it for Faulkner, primly. “Lucky for you I've 'ad an excellent teacher.”

"Indeed." Faulkner replies, as he slides into the passenger seat, "You're sure that you've got this under control, err… Section Leader?" He sits back and rests his elbow on the doorframe, scratching his temple as if wondering if this was such a good idea, or if perhaps he should have found her a higher-ranking uniform. Still, he's there to coach her through it, and there isn't a lot of traffic to contend with these days. "Alright, well, let's be about it, then. We've got a plane to catch."

Quick as a wink, Irene hurries around to the driver's side of the car. Opening the door, she tucks her skirt carefully before sliding onto the seat and settling in to drive. “I assure you, I know what I'm doing.” She replies with just a hint of feigned haughtiness in her tone, keeping her chin slightly raised. Admittedly, she does have to pause a moment to glance over the controls before getting them started. The little sports car she learned to drive in is a bit different from this machine. However, she prevails upon the motor to spring to life.
Just as the young woman takes hold of the wheel and presses the acceleration with her foot, Faulkner's words sink in. Gripping the wheel, she brings the car to a sudden stop: “We… what?” She asks, her dark eyes quite large with amazement, now.

Faulkner reaches over and grabs the wheel, then says, "Put it in reverse first, Irene." He grins at her shock, "I'll explain along the way." He's all cat that ate the canary as they make their way out of the train station and onto the road back towards Biggin Hill. "We have some new pilots coming in, and they sent us a fighter trainer to do their check flights. It's not a Spitfire, but it's a nice little ride, and you don't have to sit on my lap - for which there isn't really room in a Spitfire anyway!" The cockpit is notoriously cramped for anyone who, like Faulkner, is of reasonable height.

Blushing slightly at her initial error, Irene corrects herself and tries not to look as much of a fool as she feels right now. Pull yourself together! She thinks to herself, inwardly. Once they are on their way, the heat begins to lower in her cheeks, and she begins to relax. She does know what she's doing… it's just that Faulkner truly threw her for a loop.
Only hazarding an incredulous sidelong glance at the Lieutenant, the young woman says nothing for a long moment. Worrying her lower lip, she considers the situation before finally saying: “Aren't we taking an awful risk? I don't want you getting into trouble on my account!” Of course she wants to get in that plane so much that she could burst – but, she doesn't want Faulkner to get into hot water.

"Oh, don't worry about it. It's rather a bit of a prank, but I don't think I'll get in trouble. Or too much trouble. Guy's a good sort, if he finds out, and I'm a bona fide war hero, or something, at least from the last war." Faulkner gives a little grin at that, and, since they're alone, puts his hand on her knee and strokes it softly. "Besides, I promised you, didn't I? And I'll be damned if we have to wait until the war is over and then go up together in a crop duster or something."

Irene smiles thoughtfully. She hadn't forgotten that he was considered something of a hero in the last war – the Great War – as people like to call it; but it isn't something that she thinks of very often. Rather than finding it disturbing that he was off being a hero when she wasn't even a babe in arms yet, she finds it rather charmingly amusing.
“You could always blame me if Guy does get angry,” she offers facetiously, smirking. “He's quite used to me coming up with mad ideas, and going off on wild tangents. But, more than likely, he'll just be amused.”
Feeling his hand on her knee, Irene's expression softens slightly, and a hint of a blush returns to her features. It's odd that she can still be shy, even after all they have been through together. “Is that one of the officer's privileges, Lieutenant?” She playfully asks after a moment.

"Oh, of course. Traditions of the service and all that." Faulkner teases her, though obviously it's not true at all. "But more seriously, I just find that I can't help myself. So I might as well do it now before there are others around to see." His thumb traces small circles over her leg. "And it would be ungentlemanly to blame you. I doubt I'm really doing anything that the Old Man wouldn't approve of. I'm sure he'd take you up if given half the chance."

“Did promise to, one day. Back before we…” She hesitates on that thought and seemingly changes her mind on what she was going to say. But, things 'ave a way of going all pear-shaped in my life.” Irene admits with a wistful sigh. “Then, of course, the war 'appened, and everybody's lives went all pear-shaped.” she adds with a light chuckle. At least it isn't just her anymore.
“I'm good at piloting a broom, you know. Ain't the same thing, of course, but quite tricky to master.” The young woman says, changing the subject a bit. “I wonder which is more dangerous. You sit all pretty inside a cockpit whilst I've got to just balance on a broomstick – side-saddle, no less.”

"Why doesn't it surprise me that you ride side-saddle?" Faulkner teases her, "Always the proper lady. There is, however, no riding on the outside of the plane, unless it's an open-cockpit machine, like the ones we flew in the last war. Cold work, that, especially if you get high up. More than a little draughty, even with those only going near a hundred miles an hour. The Spitfire cruses at more than twice that." By comparison, they're probably going a brisk forty on back roads heading to Biggin Hill. "It's dangerous, of course. At least middling. But there haven't been many Huns over the UK quite yet. I think they're more focused on the Poles right now."

Irene knows that brooms don't go nearly that fast, and she swallows hard, just thinking about it. She enjoys Guy's speedy little sports car, but how will it feel when they're up there in the clouds going faster than she's ever gone before?
“Those poor people,” Irene murmurs, thinking of the Poles and others being tormented by the machine of war that is Nazi Germany. “If only the people on my side of things could DO something. Most can't or won't even join the service because of the secrecy issue. Also, being utterly unequipped to manage…” That's a depressing thought.
“It's funny. I remember you saying 'ow much you dislike Biggin Hill.” The young woman then remarks with a smirk, glancing at Faulkner briefly. “That day when you gave me a shooting lesson and we talked, afterward.” Here, she stops and nudges her chin in the direction of the airfield, now coming into sight quickly before continuing. “To me, I see that place on the horizon and just want to burst out singing. That place is like freedom to me. Maybe it's just the country air. Who knows.”

"The Nazis aren't the same as the Huns were under the Kaiser. There, it was pretty simple - they wanted French and Beligan land, and we wanted to stop them, and… well, things just sortof spun out of control. And then Lloyd-George and the French and all the rest of the old men at Versailles decided to try and destroy Germany - and this is the result, isn't it? Something even worse. A parasite that will devour all of Europe." Faulkner grows grave for just a moment, and then shakes his head, and looks towards Irene for a moment, smiling at her - she at least makes the uniform look good. "Oh, there's nothing wrong with Biggin Hill, it's just… out here. Do you think it strange that I just want the waiting over? We've been at war and now it's just a matter of waiting for the fighting to start."

The young woman listens solemnly, and remains silent as she drives for a few moments. Faulkner's question is the only thing that causes her to stir in the end. As he happens to be looking at her, he will plainly see her jaw tighten slightly, and her fingers grip the wheel of the car more firmly before working up a reply.
“Do you think it strange that I selfishly want the waiting to continue?” Irene answers with a question of her own, not daring to look at Faulkner, now. “As long as you're waiting, you're /here/. As long as you're here, I don't 'ave to worry about you flying off and not coming back.” Realizing she's said too much, her cheeks redden and she shakes her head at herself slightly. “I'm sorry. I'm selfish, Birdie.”

Faulkner nods, "Of course it's not strange. I joined to fight, but that was before I met you. Now I have that in the back of my mind, too. That I want to see you again. Rest assured, it gives me extra incentive to come back in one piece." He pulls his cigarette case out of his tunic pocket as he talks to her, Biggin Hill finally appearing on the horizon. "I guess the fact that we both do dangerous things for a living is something we'll have to live with, if we're to have a long term relationship." At least he doesn't tell her not to ride a broom, or chase bad guys, or save the world, or whatever else it is that she does.

“Birdie…” Irene begins to speak, hesitating to go on. Again, she hazards a glance in his direction – a guilty one at that. He always refutes her statement whenever she admits to being a horrible person. If she tries to make him understand again, the conversation is liable to go the same way.
“We're quite a pair, aren't we?” She asks at length, flashing a small, wry smile. “You're waiting for the Nazis and all hell to break loose. And I'm over on the other side, waiting to find out just 'ow angry a crime family is at me for foiling their plans a few months back. The silence is making me uneasy. And really, that's why I gave you the letter… Which I 'ope you've been a good boy about and not read, yet.”

"Not yet, no. RAF officers aren't supposed to cry, and so I need to find a private moment." Faulkner says, smiling at her, "So, no, I haven't read it quite yet." He nods sadly at what she just said, and then, "Well, that's the best possible reason for us to take advantage of the time we have together, Irene. Live for the day, and all that."

Irene takes her eyes fully off of the road for just a moment to rest on Faulkner. Her gaze meets his, and surely he knows her well enough by now to know that look. Were she able to do so, she would hug him. But, she has a job to do – and that is to get them safely to the airfield.
“When we get there,” she says quietly, turning her attention back to the road,“Any special instructions on what I should do or say to make sure I'm convincing as a WAFF? Aside from avoiding Guy at all costs, if I 'appen to see 'im, I mean.” It's a fair question. Given how close they are to the gates, she had better know what's to be said. “Back when I was on stage, us girls often said the best way to muddle through a situation you didn't belong in was to keep your eyes down and your mouth shut.”

"That's about right, and it's the reason I have you an NCO's uniform. All you have to do is follow my lead, and call anyone with officer's stripes 'Sir'. Just… err… let me do most of the talking." Faulkner reaches into his pocket for his identity card, but it proves unnecessary - the Guard is familiar enough with him that a cursory inspection - two people in uniform in a staff car - gets them through. As he tucks the card away, Faulkner remarks, "Sloppy, that. Someone should say something." Not him, of course, he's breaking the rules. "Follow the road around to the hanger, just there." he says, pointing for her.

“Right,” Irene replies with a tense nod, flexing her fingers over the wheel briefly. “Follow your lead; keep an eye out for stripes; speak when spoken to, and answer with Yes or No, sir… but generally let you do the talking.” Yes, she's got that. However, the whole not-talking thing may be a struggle. If there's one thing Faulkner has surely learned about this woman, it's the fact that she just can't shut up. Their brief encounter at the gate leaves the young woman practically holding her breath until they are ushered through. Keeping a cool head under these circumstances is not easy!
“I'll see to it after we're done, sir.” Irene jokes, glancing at Faulkner as she drives the car along the road indicated. Not that she would – even for the sake of hilarity.

"Indeed." Faulkner replies, with a little nod to her. He waits while the car is parked, and then passes a ground crew, one of whom whistles at Irene until silenced by a glare from Birdie. The hangar door is already open, and the two-seater Miles Master - a high performance trainer aircraft with two seats - is being rolled out onto the tarmac. The Flight Lieutenant leans close and says, "Fortunately, there was a barrel of beer in this for them, so they know on which side the crumpet is marmalade, so to speak." He waggles his eyebrows, and then pulls his flying jacket and helmet out of a locker. He hangs up his uniform blouse and puts the jacket on, then has a smaller one for Irene, "Thank goodness for cadets, or I wouldn't find anything to fit you."

Irene has spent a fair bit of time around these military men. She knows enough to walk a little differently than she normally would. Keep it straight, all very clipped and down-to-business-like. Of course, the wolf whistle draws her attention and causes the cadence in her step to falter slightly. A little gratified smile tugs at her lips until she notices Birdie glaring at the man in question. Oh, right - scowl. For shame! And all that sort of thing…
All of the composure that Irene has tried to hold onto just vanishes when her eyes fall upon the plane that they are apparently going to go up in. She stops in her tracks momentarily, wide-eyed and agape. Faulkner's voice brings her back into the moment, and she hurries back to his side.
Following his lead, the little redhead slips into the jacket provided for her, and she chuckles softly: "Cor, I can't 'elp it that I'm about the size of a ladybird compared to you. What'd they feed you on when you were growing up, anyway?"

Who can blame Birdie for being just a hint territorial? But it's all well and good, and his dominance in the pack momentarily assured, the men are properly respectful thereafter. "Roast beef and the blood of Frenchmen, like any good Englishman." Faulkner replies, deadpan to her question about what he was fed as a child, as he gets her buckled up into the flight jacket and then show her how to work the radio headset in the flying helmet. A pair of fur-lined boots go right over her sensible shoes. They didn't really do flight suits in this era. "Aren't you just a picture." he says, with a little grin at her. "Now, this is a trainer, and the student pilot sits in the front. I'll be able to control everything from my seat to get us up off the ground and whatnot. So don't worry. On the other hand - your controls work, too, so don't touch anything." He gives her another little wink and then leads her over towards the plane which has been pushed out and onto the taxiway. It bears full RAF markings, and is painted the 'camouflage' of the home service pattern. He offers her a boost up into the front cockpit.

"I'm quite sure that I look absolutely silly," Irene replies wryly, looking down at herself in this new, somewhat cumbersome layer of clothing. It's probably the most she's ever worn in her life. However, she doesn't seem to mind it. The smile she flashes is a genuine one that can scarcely keep her inner excitement from showing all too plainly. Doing her level best to act confident and calm, she keeps up with Faulkner as they walk out to the plane on the runway. It's nigh on impossible for her to hide the awe-struck expression as they approach the plane. She's used to flying a broom; and, compared to that, this thing is MASSIVE!
"Yes, sir," Irene replies with a hint of a roll of her eyes when he admonishes her not to touch the controls. She wouldn't dream of meddling with them…
Once Faulkner has helped her up to her seat in the front of the plane, the young woman quickly settles herself in, being very cautious not to bump ANYTHING that looks like a control. Time to strap in, hold onto her 'hat' and trust in Faulkner's skills as a pilot.

The ever helpful - and bribed - ground crew close Irene's canopy as Faulkner gets into the back seat, behind and a bit higher. Even Rena might notice that the cockpit is a tight fit, and there are two foot rests - one below the controls, and one further up, to press knees to chest in the event of violent maneuvering. Faulkner's voice is in her ear, "Okay, Section Leader Lee. Are you ready for your familiarization flight?" There's the impression of a little grin, and then she can hear him talking to the tower, requesting permission to taxi. The powerful engines of the Miles come to life, and when permission is granted they roll to the runway. Permission to take off is granted. Flaps down, brakes off, and the throttles slide forward almost all the way. The pick up speed. The buildings and trucks go past in a blur and the dashed line in the middle of the runway turns solid as the needle showing their speed climbs. Then… they're off, heading upwards at a gentle angle, the stick pressing back into Irene's knees. She can feel the plane shudder as the landing gear come back up under the fuselage and the flaps retract. They're flying now.

The impish little redhead can't help but be herself. The helpful crew members are the happy recipients of a warm smile that is flashed to them as they close her into the tight little compartment. After this however, her attention is fully on Birdie's voice in her ear. "Ready when you are, Flight Lieutenant Faulkner." She answers back quickly, remembering how the radio works. She's a decently good student and a quick learner - Faulkner knows that already.
Eagerly, Irene watches everything that she can see of the plane from her seat, completely abandoning all attempts to not look like a complete and utter rookie. It's all so strange, feeling the massive, raw power of the engines vibrating through the machine as they rev up and begin to move. The feeling of speed picking up is not lost on her; and she presses back into her seat feeling quite small in the grand scheme of things, suddenly.
For a second, she closes her eyes, cringing a little. Then, realizing they are no longer clinging to the ground, her eyes pop open and she emits a girlish squeak of excitement that mingles with laughter. Craning her neck to look out the side at the world falling away gradually, she exclaims through her radio: "This is amazing!" And they haven't even really started, yet.

"Yes it is." Faulkner responds, before switching back to the tower and informing them of his flight plan. He takes her up several thousand feat, cruising, the countryside below now a checkerboard of squares, some still greenish, but mostly browns and yellows and earthtones in the winter afternoon. She'll soon realize the reason for the jacket and boots, too - it's cold up here! They gain altitude as they circle. "Cormorant Lead, Angels One-Zero." he finally radios the tower, who acknowledge. "That's ten thousand feet." he explains to her, "At a speed of about two hundred miles an hour. Now, are you ready to learn how to fly?" And not on a broom, either.

He then has her take the stick, and says, "See the little blue and white ball in front of you. It's got a little aeroplane on it. You want to keep the aeroplane's wings level for now, and the nose a little up into the blue part of the ball. That means you're flying straight and level…" He's there, of course, to keep an eye out, but says, "Ready? I'm taking my hand off the stick now…"

All the while during their ascension into the skies, Irene seems to fall into awestruck silence – a very unusual thing for her, indeed. She's flown high on a broom, but this all feels so different. And she certainly has never gone anywhere near as fast as the plane. It's easy to forget that powerful machinery and fuel is keeping them suspended between the blue sky and its powder puff clouds, and the earth that is now so very far below.
“W-what?” Irene stammers, snapped out of her reverie by Faulkner's words. “No!” She replies with absolute honesty. However, she clutches the stick tightly and listens to his instructions carefully. Nodding, she radios back with a simple: “Yes, sir.”

Never before in her life has she hoped more to not make a mistake.

"Good, there you go. Just pull back on the stick a hair to keep the nose up." Faulkner gives her pointers as they bore holes in the sky, teaching her a little bit of how the stick and pedals make the plane move, stick and rudder, gentle turns, that sort of thing. So she can go back and say that she's flown a plane. The sort of thing that thousands of pilot instructors do in introductory lessons all over the globe. "Well done!" he says, when they've finished a few little maneuvers. "You'll be ready for Jerry in no time, I'm sure." His firm hand takes hold of the stick. "I've got the controls." he says, letting her know she can release any white-knuckled death grip she may have.

Faulkner gooses the throttle a little bit and pulls back to gain some more altitude. "Now, you should know that the Miles Master is the sort of plane we use to start training fighter pilots. We have smaller, slower ones for people just starting out. Which would probably be better for you. But would you like to see what this can do?"

This may be run of the mill stuff for any pilot just starting out; but poor Irene is more than a little flustered by the notion of being ten thousand feet in the air and going at breakneck speed inside of a metal hulk - and what's more, being "In control." However, knowing that Birdie is behind her and able to take over again at any moment is a comfort. In time, the tension eases out of her shoulders and she begins to smile again at the wonder of it all. He's a good teacher, and that's a fact. But still, it's a relief to let go of the stick and let him do the flying again.
Relinquishing the control, Irene closes her eyes momentarily, breathes a sigh and slowly eases back into her seat. Faulkner's question perks her attention, and she tilts her head slightly. Smirking, she calls back over the radio: "Sure! Show me what this baby can do." …Poor girl has no idea what sort of ride she's in for, now.

Faulkner clicks the radio and answers her, "Challenge accepted, my dear." He begins with a much sharper series of turns than when he allowed her to do. The wings of the advanced trainer turn over effortlessly, and they swoop sharply in one direction before breaking out of it to dive in the opposite. As he gathers speed in the descent, he suddenly pulls back hard on the stick. They go up, and up… and the nose continues to come around, and soon, they're inverted, and she's looking through the canopy at the ground. Only a few seconds of that before be puts them back upright and they are climbing again. "Now, you might want to hold onto your hat for this next bit…" he says. This time, they wing over again, but inside of the nose going up, it goes down, like a dive-bomber. The engine makes an impressive sound and the ground comes up with frightening speed before they again pull up, this time into a full, corkscrewing loop-de-loop.

Oh regrets - regrets can be a thing of beauty in a situation like this. Part of Irene wants to yell: I take it back! While the other side is shouting for MORE! Who knew that a machine this size could be manipulated into doing such terrible (and wonderful) things up in the sky? She certainly did not - although she knew very well that Faulkner was an excellent pilot. But this? This is phenomenal…
It's an awfully good thing for her that she hasn't eaten in a fair few hours. As they turn upside down at a dizzying angle, she feels like her heart leaps into her mouth. She can't even squeal or cry out. Despite the slightly head-sick feeling, she watches the upside down world below with wonder and soaks it all in.
Once they've leveled out, Irene doesn't even really feel as though she's had time to catch her breath and regain her equilibrium before Faulkner turns things topsy-turvy again. Unfortunately for him, she had been ready to speak into her radio, and the thing is left open for him to get the full effect of words that slip fast into a scream that is once more, mingled with giddy laughter. "Birdie, What the bloody he-E-ELL!?"

"Well, you were the one who wanted to see what it could do." Birdie responds, a bit defensively, though he laughs at her combination of glee and terror. "We can't stay up here too much longer, but I wanted to give you a little taste." Then, before she can say no, he wings over again and starts into a series of spirals, before gunning the engine to full power and climbing almost straight up until they stall, resulting in the whole plane falling straight 'backwards' so that they briefly invert again and are headed towards the ground until they regain the speed to pull out. Finally, she can hear him calling for landing permission, the showy acrobatic flying over and replaced with a more sedate series of turns and descents as they line up for landing. Almost in reverse of the way they took off, the runway approaches, the plane slows, and the flaps go down, along with the landing gear. She can almost feel the air resistance holding them back as the nose goes up a bit, and then, with a SCREECH! of tires on the macadam they touch down onto the ground again. The engine throttle reduces, and soon Faulkner is steering them towards the taxiway. "See, you survived your first flight. Though any landing you can walk away from is a good one, they say." He made this one look easy, but he's done it a lot of times, and even then, there's still a risk.

Completely and utterly blown away - that's what Irene is. Flying on a broom is nothing like flying in a plane. "I don't wonder that you boys get such a thrill out of flying, now… Never in my life-" Well, there they go, off and doing insane acrobatic tricks through the sky, all guided by Faulkner's skill and experience. Naturally, a few more exuberant girlish squeals of delight slip by before the begin their descent to the ground. She has mixed feelings as they drawn near the ground and the wheels touch pavement once more. Of course, half of her is relieved to be back on solid ground; but somewhere inside, she wishes it could have gone on much longer.
"Survived it? I actually flew a bloody plane for a few minutes. That was smashing!" The excitement in her voice is more than a little evident.

Needless to say, the experience has been quite the most thrilling and unintentionally fantastic Christmas present she has ever been given. And, it is not an experience she will soon forget.

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