(1940-02-04) Worlds Quietly Collide
Details for Worlds Quietly Collide
Summary: After the emotional event of finding the grave of Rena's mum, Faulkner takes her for a bite to eat, and they happen to run into a Wizard.
Date: 1940/02/04
Location: Blackfriar's Pub
Related: Mum's the Word Part II

The end of a long, emotional journey has left Rena hungry for a change. In fact, it's the first time in ages that she's felt hungry at all. Faulkner, having helped her locate her mother's grave, stood by her through a bitter-sweet sort of reunion. And, after leaving the chuch-yard, he suggested that they find a place to warm up and get a bite to eat. Naturally, the young woman gravitated toward the familiar, and asked that they go to Blackfriar's pub.
Upon entering the warm pub with the pilot, Rena shivers a little and smiles, sniffing the air slightly: "You know, food 'asn't smelled good to me for a long time. It does, now."

Faulkner removes his peaked officer's cap and puts it down on a table as they walk in that direction. He helps Irene off with her coat, and then takes his own off, revealing the RAF uniform beneath. "I'm sure it's an enormous weight off your shoulders, Irene, dear. I'm glad that I could help you with it." He rubs his hands together, trying to warm the subconscious chill, and says, "So, you've been here before. What's good?"

Graham it seems is sticking to London this evening, instead of being a regular elsewhere. The young man has moved about trying to decide where to eat though he finally finds a pub well more restaurant than anything once he steps inside. He looks about over the place seeming to think he's made a good choice he pauses stopping as he spots the familiar red head and then over to the man in the military uniform. "Well, I'd say small city, but that just wouldn't be true." He says once he's approached "Evening Rena." he says brightly looking to the other "Don't think we've met. I'm Graham Cohen." he'll offer a hand.

Something of the old brightness has returned, judging by the redheaded woman's general demeanor and attitude. Once she is sat down in her chair, she quickly smooths back her hair with a light touch of her hand. "Hmm?" She looks at Faulkner curiously. "Oh, the food - well, absolutely everything is good. At least, it always seemed that way to me. You know everything seems like riches to me, given my upbringing."
Pausing for thought, she considers before adding: "Sea Bass 'as always been my favorite, though…" It is then that Graham arrives, causing her to give a little start of surprise.
For a moment, Rena takes on that deer-in-the-headlights look in her eyes, glancing between Faulkner and Graham. Then, recovering herself, she manages a smile: "Birdie - this is a friend of mine, and a co-worker." There is a bit of emphasis placed on the fact that he happens to work with her before she continues, warmly: "Graham, this is Flight Leftenant Charles Faulkner."

Faulkner takes the offered hand in a firm shake, "A pleasure, Mr. Cohen. I'm sure that you and Irene do important things for King and Country." After all, things are rapidly getting to the point where nearly every military age man in Britain will be in the military, the civil service, or working for a war industry. He smiles lightly, "And please, call me Birdie. Everyone else does. Have you been here before? It seems I'm about to try the sea bass."

The young man looks to Rena, a brow arching slightly. He smiles "Didn't mean to startle you there." clearly he wasn’t expected to be here, but oh well. Too late now. He turns to shake the hand as well. "Like wise Birdie, and I do what I can at least nothing like to yourself though. Rena does more so than myself even." He says friendly though he looks about "I've been here a couple times its nice though I'm not a regular I might join the sea bass club though."

Rena closes her eyes briefly and then casts an appreciative glance in Faulkner's direction. He caught her drift well enough, and he's keeping things as calm and quiet. "Birdie knows all about working for the government and all like we do," she remarks to Graham, keeping her voice low. "Being a military man, 'e's good at not prying."
For a fleeting moment, Rena's dark eyes drift around the pub. What she wouldn't give to be able to not have to watch everything she says and does. "Please do join us, Graham. More the merrier, as they say." She offers with a smile as her attention returns to the table. "And Birdie," she adds on a slightly more solemn note, "Graham was very kind and visited me while I was in hospital. He brought me flowers, too. It was very sweet." If that doesn't cement the fact that Mr. Cohen is a good egg (unlike the other man Faulkner had the misfortune of meeting) nothing will.

"I'm pleased to hear that. I don't know much about Irene's work, but she tells me that it's dangerous and calls her away sometimes." Faulkner confesses, as he sits and motions for the server to come over. Drinks all around, it seems. "I didn't even know you were in hospital recently." He gives her a Look, though he nods in understanding to the message she's sending. "That was good of you, Mr. Cohen. I wish there were a way word could reach me if something unfortunate were to happen. The not knowing is the hardest part, but I suppose that goes both ways."

Graham nods to Rena's words about working for the government though he looks between them a moment before he answers the next bit "I'd love to if I'm not interrupting anyways, just happened by and all, if this was a planned evening." He says not wanting to be an annoyance or anything though he looks to Rena now as she speaks again. "I was glad to, though I did make you endure my cooking." He smiles looking back towards Faulkner. "It is dangerous at times, yes. I'm afraid that's the nature of it." He says simply though the last part catches his attention. "I might be able to help there though. Hopefully it wont be needed. To get a message across, that is." he offers.

It would be a strange world if they could all just speak openly about their occupations. A slightly more comfortable world… but, a strange one. It's so difficult having to speak around corners and make sure they're all generally on the same page about things without actually giving information away.
They place their orders and the server heads off, leaving them to themselves once more. "I suppose there's no point in beating around the bush," Rena says at length, flashing a slightly sheepish smile. "Birdie is the gentleman I mentioned before." This explanation is directed at Graham. "I told you 'e was a good man, and a gentleman. 'E's been kindness itself to me since the day I met 'im…" here, she pauses and glances at Faulkner, hoping he isn't annoyed at her for speaking so candidly.
Fearing that she's perhaps said too much in that regard, Rena looks down: "I would've never learned anything about my mother without 'im. Do you know, because of 'im, I know where she's buried, now. It's such a weight gone from my shoulders to know."

Faulkner does flush briefly at the unabashed praise, but he says, "It was nothing, really." He stops while the drink arrives, which gives him the opportunity to swallow his embarrassment with a gulp from his pint of bitters. He continues with the breezy casualness of a fighter pilot, "It was all part of my devious scheme to make poor Miss Lee here fall for me, you see. Unfortunately, I was a victim of that very British of flaws, being too clever by half, and didn't realize I'd feel the same way in the end."

He is still looking between them though he's settled into a more just following conversation type thing. Graham looks to Rena at her explanation before to the military man "I had guessed as much, though that really is a remarkable kindness doing that research and helping Rena." He says thankfully towards the pilot. "Ah, such fate. Victim to your own trap." he grins a bit at this "Well, I'm still of the mind I was then, if you are being treated well (and you do seem to be) I'm quite glad for it."

Irene blushes and ducks her head slightly to conceal a self-conscious smile. There is nothing forced or uncertain in her attitude toward the pilot. Even if she had not said as much, it's easy to see that she is very much in love with Faulkner. And what's more, she is happy.
"Oh, nonsense," she protests, "You 'aven't got a devious bone in your body. You're just like all pilots - or men, if it comes to it - and you don't like to admit you've got a sweet side."
Smiling, she adds for Graham's benefit: "If you can't tell by the way 'e talks, 'e's a proper gent and a scholar. Some might even call 'im a toff. When 'e ain't flying for the king, 'e teaches privileged boys the classics and all." Now she's just giving Faulkner a hard time on purpose. She's even making sure to use absolutely dreadful English to boot.

"Didn't you say you went to boarding school?" Faulkner counters, "The English Master should be taken out and hanged. I mean, they do speak the King's English in Scotland, don't they? At least mostly?" He shakes his head, knowing she's rather putting him on - taking the piss, as the lower classes might say. He does, however, smile a bit at the end. "Yes, I was a schoolteacher between the wars. I read Classics at Cambridge." He reaches into his pocket for his cigarette case and lighter and puts them on the table. Then he adds, deadpan, "It doesn't make me a bad person, not matter what my students think of Latin and Greek."

"That sounds exciting, actually. So many books… not enough time to read them all, alas." Graham says with smile "I'm often on the other end of that, some of my co-workers like to think of me as boring due to my enjoyment of reading. Rena usually isn't one of them." he throws a grin her way though he looks back to the pilot "Aye, this boarding school though long as you can write lines lots of lines they aren’t too fussed by manor of speech." He says lightly.

"Latin is a dead language - as dead as it can be. First it killed the Romans, and now it's killing me." Irene recites, casting her gaze up to the heavens in an angelic way. "That's the extent of my education in the classics, so far." Smirking, the young woman shakes her head and relents: "I'm joking, of course. Birdie bought me a copy of the Iliad by 'Omer. It was quite something!"
A bit of a wry smile is flashed toward Graham. Rolling her eyes, Irene sadly agrees: "If you can't tell, we went to the same school, believe it or not. 'E graduated a year or so before I did, though. And, as 'e says, they're not terribly bothered about manner of speech, there. More's the pity, I suppose. I still sound like a guttersnipe, all these years later."

"That's a strange kind of school indeed." Faulkner says, shaking his head. Every dropped 'h' is like nails across a chalkboard at times. "Must be one of those new type. But still, it's a skill - speaking that is. You'd be surprised to learn where some of those chaps on the wireless came from before they learned to speak in the way the BBC requires." Received Pronunciation, as it's called. "Not saying that you need fixing, Irene. I just get the sense that you'd like to have learned better and didn't have the opportunity. And I am a teacher without a school, at the moment."

Graham looks to Rena as she speaks and grins "Ah, the Iliad, I've heard that's interesting read, perhaps I'll have to look it up sometime." He comments though he grins over at speaking about the boarding school they attended. "You sound just fine, Rena." he rolls his eyes though. Looking back to the pilot, he cannot help but chuckle at it being a strange school. "A very strange school indeed, though I think we've turned out alright. But, too bad about not being able to continue to teach, blasted times being as they are."

Irene seems to be more like her lively old self than she has in ages. Even talk of the war doesn't dampen her spirits. At least, that is the impression she gives at the moment. She's determined not to let sadness creep into the conversation, yet.
Shifting a little in her seat, the redhead perks up and offers: "I can be your student for the time being. Sure, it's not the same as educating a bunch of well-off boys, and I'll brutalize the English language 'alf the time - but you'd 'ave a pupil, at least." It seems like a good idea to her. "Experientia docet, after all."

Leaning in toward Graham, Irene speaks in an undertone behind the back of her hand: "That means Experience Teaches."

"See, you have remembered something." Faulkner says, with a little laugh. He points towards one of the carvings - the one that says 'Haste is Slow'. "Here's another one. That's probably a take on the Emperor Augustus's motto - festina lente. Or 'Make Haste Slowly'. Though he didn't coin it. It's actually much older and comes from the Greeks, but I'll spare you that. As to the rarity of wisdom, well, various expressions of that sentiment date back to early antiquity, and are probably as old as the human condition." Faulkner pulls a cigarette out of the case, taps it twice, and then leans back to light it.

He looks to Rena at the words she speaks "That's excellent, and usualy quite true on top of things." Graham says he follows about the restaurant at the other phrases as they are read off and the words. The Roman Empire is one of his favorites and so its interesting to listen though he will also look back to Rena a moment and is glad to see her much as she used to be like when he'd first met her almost and he'd not seen that in a while. He cannot help but smile.

"How do you say Wisdom is Rare in Latin then?" Irene asks, genuinely curious. "I'm afraid that one applies most to me. Graham can tell you just how many times I've managed to make a mess of things on the job. It's what I do best, in fact." Naturally, Faulkner will object to her harsh characterization of herself, but she feels rather strongly that she is a walking disaster.
Before Irene can engage in any further self-deprecation, the food arrives. Steaming hot, and smelling absolutely delicious. "Cor, that's lovely, that is." She says appreciatively, picking up her napkin. At least she's had enough training in manners to know to put it over her lap instead of tucking it under her chin. "If I could've eaten this well as a kid, I might not be so damn tiny."

"Sapientia rara est would be the literal translation." Faulkner supplies, ignoring his sea bass for the moment as he finishes his cigarette, "That does smell delicious, yes. And we prefer to think of you as 'delightfully petite." Faulkner is hardly a man mountain himself. Half an inch under six feet, but thin. "As for making a hash of things - well, none of us like to have things go pear shaped, but it's the rule, rather than the exception. Another old aphorism is 'no battle plan survives first contact with the enemy'. A paraphrase of Moltke the Elder, who, despite being a German, was a very smart chap, and was explaining what Napoleon meant about never having a plan of operations."

Graham chuckles at the words of Rena a moment shaking his head "We all have those moments Rena, you do tend to have a fair number of them but remember I got bit by that.. dog during that case now that was quite the mess?" he hopes the pause between the words isn’t noticed. He glances over while listening at the same time "That's very wise. One must always be adaptable to changing situations.

Irene tilts her head and repeats softly: "Sapientia rara est," to herself, trying to commit it to memory. She must have a fairly sharp memory, despite her low opinion of herself, or she wouldn't hold an important position.
Carefully cutting into her fish, the young woman savors the first bite - really savors it. She's actually enjoying eating for a change. However, Graham's remark about the "dog bite" causes her to nearly choke on stifled laughter. Shifting her eyes, she "ahems" quietly and focuses on her food again: "It were a very… /large/ dog." She murmurs in a lame attempt to explain her reaction.
Pausing between bites, Irene stares quizzically at Faulkner and says: "Blimy, you mean I think like Napoleon? I don't ever 'ave much of a plan."

Somewhere, Napoleon is turning over in his grave.

A the Invalides, actually, in a big sarcophagus. Faulkner stubs out the cigarette and snaps his napkin before he puts it in his lap, "Well, I think the point was that because contact with the enemy disrupts The Plan, it is unwise to cling to The Plan in light of changing circumstances - your strategy and tactics must be fluid to respond to the enemy's actions. One shouldn't just leap in without any idea of where one is going. You have goals, long term strategies, and short term tactics. 'Defeat Hitler' is a goal, not a strategy." the pilot explains, "Something that we didn't do very well in the Great War. There was a good reason that people considered Field Marshal Hague to be a butcher." He picks up his fork and begins to separate his sea bass into edible chunks. "Anyway, I shouldn't be boring you all with talking shop, especially since I'm not even a field-grade officer."

A Witch, a Pilot and a Wizard. As patrons of the pub go, this must be one of the more unusual trios that ever shared a meal. Fortunately for all involved, they are a fairly innocuous looking group, and they are able to enjoy their meal together in peace as they get to know one another a little better.

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