(1940-08-15) Jerry Comes to Call
Details for Jerry Comes to Call
Summary: After three weeks, Rena makes an unwise foray to the airfield to beg Guy (or go over his head) to see if any information has been found regarding her husband. Everyone involved gets more than they bargained for in the end.
Date: 1940-08-15
Location: RAF Airfield
Related: Breaking Bad News
Characters
GuyRenaFaulkner

As Rena arrives at the airbase, there's a few planes coming in. And a rather unsteady plane trailing black smoke and glycol fumes. It would appear it's going for a landing, though, rather than a belly flop, for the wheels are down.

Things are heating up to a boiling point. Channel battles seem to have decreased, and a general sense of disease permeates the very air over Britain. August is at its height, and the day is hot and clear. Not exactly the most comfortable weather to be traveling in for someone five months pregnant, but Rena - or Irene as she prefers outside of the Wizarding world - has traveled all the way to the airfield to try and find some kind of information about Faulkner. She got through the gate on pity alone, due to her status as a missing officer's wife, and the fact that she is expecting. Sometimes, it's acceptable to use one's wiles in a pinch.

Worry shows plainly in the young woman's face as she shades her eyes and follows the damaged plane's erratic flight. "Lor' are they going to make it?" She asks of her escort, suddenly very alarmed for the pilot.

The Guard looks unconvinced, and is a _dreadful_ liar, "Uh… that's A for Apple. The Old Man will be fine…." Cos, an ambulance and firetruck starting to accelerate over the grass is totally not giving the lie to that assessment.

As for Faulkner? Well, at the moment, he is sans his identity discs, but apparently still at large - at least, there has been no notification from the Red Cross yet that he's been killed or captured, and no ominous visit from an officer and a CoE clergyman. At least he's not in (another) crashing plane?

Rena's eyes go wide with horror as the guard's words sink in. Her lips part, and her dark eyes dart frantically between the plane and the guard, and then back again. "Wh-what? You don't mean that's… Guy?!" She exclaims, her voice suddenly thin with fear. She can't exactly run easily anymore, but she's damned if she isn't going to quick trot in the direction of the oncoming chaos. Her poor escort probably wasn't expecting that.

The plane lurches towards the ground, and is caught just in time.
And…. still spewing glycol, and smoke, and with visible cannon holes across both wings and the tail, it lands, in what passes for a neat three point landing under the circumstances, and starts decelerating on the grass.

Rena's frantic run slides to a halt as the plain lands - miraculously with its wheels down - on the grass, and it begins to slide. Holding the back of her hand to her lips, she closes her eyes briefly, stifling the inclination to cry out again; and, directing her anxiety into an unspoken prayer. Once the noise stops, she opens her eyes again and continues toward the plane, undaunted. "Please be alright… please be alright." She begs.

The canopy pushes open as soon as the wheels are on the ground, and before the plane has completely stopped, a figure is fighting his way up in his seat, "My bloody plane's dead! Find me a bloody new mount, Flight Sarn't!"

Civilians have no place in such situations… but when does Rena ever follow the rules like a good girl should?

"Guy!" She cries out over the din, completely flushed and out of breath by the time she reaches the scene. Her guard escort has had a surprisingly difficult task keeping up with her. "Mrs Faulkner, get back!" He says, sternly, grabbing hold of her arm. "I'm going to have to ask you to come away from…"
Rena disregards the warning with a desperate glance, pulling against him before anxiously calling out again: "Guy! Thank God… That were too close. Are you alright?"

An airman comes running out of the command building a few minutes later, carrying a paper in his hand. Holding his garrison cap on with one hand, he runs in the direction of the flightline, making a beeline for Guy. "Squadron Leader Grosvenor!" he calls.

Guy swings down from the plane, and slides down the wing to land heavily on his bad leg, stumping away form the plane at a reasonable speed, "Re… Irene. Get back! Not quite sure how long the kite's got before it goes 'woof', eh?!" He hurries a bit further away himself at that, and turns to the airman, "Report!" And then over his shoulder he yells, "Flight SARN'T! I want a new bloody kite ready to go in five! There's bloody hordes incoming!"

Now, at least, the young woman pays attention. If she'll obey anyone without question, it's Guy. She hurries back with him, now shed of the well-meaning guard, who is fairly fed up with his charge. Were the situation different, Irene would throw her arms around the Squadron Leader - as she always does - and make a fuss over him. However, under the circumstances, she realizes that things aren't exactly alright.
"Wh-what do you mean?" She asks, sincerely frightened. "Guy, you can't mean they're coming inland - we're 'olding them off. Over the channel…aren't we?" This can't be happening. He has to be wrong. She even glances to the other airman for reassurance here. Anybody??

The airman gives a salute with a bit more polish than most of the pilots would have, and offers over the folded sheet - a wire, obviously, and hot off the presses from the way he's out of breath. "From the Ay-Oh-Cee, Sah!" He looks at Faulkner's wife - a not unfamiliar figure around the airfield, and says, "You might want to hear this, Mrs. Flight Leftenant, Ma'am.

Guy snatches it, and opens it. He doesn't return the salute. After all, not in a hat. Or at least, not a uniform one. Just the leather flying helmet.

Suddenly, Irene goes very pale. The hot wind blowing across the airfield forces her to keep hold of her hat with one hand, but the other clutches instinctively at nothing. News about her husband… perhaps? Prisoner of war, if she's lucky enough to not be a widow. She doesn't even dare hope at this point that he's come back home to carry on the fight. "What…what does it say?" She asks Guy, finally tearing her eyes away from the airman.

TO OFFICER COMMANDING, 802 SQUADRON. PLEASED TO REPORT THAT FAULKNER CHARLES K FLT LT RAF ARRIVED THAMES PATROL AREA 0400 HOURS VIA COMANDEERED FRENCH FISHING VESSEL STOP FLT LT FAULKNER IN GOOD HEALTH AND HIGH SPIRITS STOP EN ROUTE VIA TRUCK STOP SIGNED BRIDGEMAN CAPT RN *MESSAGE ENDS*

Guy chuckles, "Bloody lucky bastard. He's alive." He looks relieved, and hands the cable to Rena, turning to bellow, "Where's my fu….. blasted remount!" The Flight Sergeant emerges, rubbing his oily hands on a yet oilier rag, "Sorry, Skipper. Got nothing. Z Zulu's coolant lines are leaking. That's it." Guy curses. Rather emphatically, then pulls himself together. "Alright. Get the others turned around as they come in. And tell Jones he's sitting the next one out, I'm taking Y-Yankee." Which is the point he notices that the NCO is staring towards the south, head tilted to one side, "Those aren't Merlin's, Sir."

The young woman's face is expressionless. It takes a moment for her to understand… to let the words sink in fully. With trembling hands, she accepts the cable from Guy, and reads every line slowly as he gives orders and makes demands. To her, it's as if the whole world stopped turning for a few seconds, and she hears nothing around her.
Holding the paper to her heart, she closes her eyes. Tears silently roll down her cheeks before a tiny hint of a smile touches her lips. Then, a small, reflexive burst of laughter comes, and she smiles radiantly: "He's coming home. He's…"
Catching on to the seriousness of Guy and the others, Irene looks toward the oncoming planes, puzzled. "What's wrong?"

Guy tilts his head in turn, listening, and pulling off his flying helmet, and then firmly he says, "Ring the alarm. Men to the AA. Mrs Faulkner. Lets get you to a shelter, what?|" And he hurries her along.

Again, that look of horror slips into Rena's expression as the realization comes over her like a wave. Those oncoming planes aren't their planes. She's never seen the Germans before. They've been the boogieman hiding under the bed for years… and now, they are very, very real.
Being hurried along, Irene tries to reason with Guy, keeping her voice down in hopes of no one else hearing: "Guy, I can help… I can do something, surely. Please!" Meaning magic, of course.

Guy hisses, "Shelter! I don't want you getting arrested! If needs be, then do something bloody subtle, but… " He's hurrying the woman already down a set of stairs. As the bofors guns and then the Lewis gun AA guns start up their boom and rattles. "Without a mount, I'm just as bloody helpless."

Irene stumbles at the last step and catches herself against the wall of the shelter. The deafening booms of the guns cause her to jump back toward Guy, terrified. She has never heard such noise in her life, nor felt the ground shake like this before. Clinging to the unfortunate Squadron leader like a child, she says: "I'm frightened! This is horrible!" Stating the obvious. Even in her terror, her mind is working overtime, trying to think of anything she could possibly do. It's becoming painfully clear, however, that she may be completely and utterly helpless to give assistance to the men.

Guy guides the woman deeper into the shelter, as more of the base occupants join them. "War is. But if they're hitting us, they're missing the planes in the air, they're leaving along the…. coastal installations… and they're not hitting London."

She knew war would be bad if it ever came to a head; but, why wasn't she ready for this? Nothing has really even happened. Get a grip on yourself, Irene!

The young woman braces herself and just focuses on breathing for a few seconds. Unfortunately, in that brief moment of time, she begins to think of Faulkner. "But… but he's out there! The wire - it said 'e were on 'is way 'ere." Irene says, panicked, and slipping completely back into cockney. "If 'e's on the road, then… Charles!" She now tries to pull away from Guy to run back up the stairs. Rational behavior doesn't seem to be in the cards today.

Guy grunts, and grabs the woman around the shoulders, "Come BACK! He'll take cover in a ditch! He'll be fine! He'll also shoot me if I let his wife get blown up!"

Irene could struggle, but she doesn't. She's no match for Guy, and besides, she has to think about someone besides herself and her husband. She's the only one who can keep the baby safe… it doesn't exactly leave her with a lot of options.
For a long moment, she remains still; and then, she slumps in complete resignation and defeat to the situation. "I'm sorry." She murmurs, deeply disheartened. "I'll behave."

Guy gives a little nod, and sinks down onto one of the benches. He listens. There's the faint crump of an explosion. More AA and machine gun sounds. Remarkably he doesn't wince. His general air is one of mildly detached interest, "Sounds like a plane going up on the ground. I rather fear that was A-Apple getting a funeral pyre. No spares for Flight…." He looks around, checking that the NCO is in the shelter, and relaxes. "Fuel dump goes up, and we're jiggered until they get some more down to us. Same if the Armory bunker goes."

This may be old hat for Guy - and many of the people present in the room - but it is all very new and terrible for Irene. She hunkers down on the bench beside the Squadron Leader and cringes deeply from the explosion. Her eyes, for the most part, search upward. She can't see anything past the low ceiling, of course, but human instinct does not always make sense.
Hugging her arms around herself tightly, the young woman clenches her jaw before saying something she knows will anger Guy: "Good. It means neither of you can go up there and get yourselves killed."

Guy chuckles, "Quite capable of getting killed on the ground, Rena, old thing. At least mounted, I've got a chance to stop 'em!" He looks philosophical. "I hope Dowding's letting 12 Group come down, if this isn't just us getting this sort of attack."

Again, Irene finds herself apologizing, feeling immediately remorseful from the moment she says it. "I'm sorry, Guy. I just… I wish it were over and everyone were safe. I don't want anyone to be hurt ever again." Unfortunately, such tender-hearted ideals aren't very realistic in a world where men like Hitler wield absolute power. Laying her head against Guy's shoulder, the young woman settles in to wait it out; and, to hope and pray that Faulkner doesn't get caught up in the crossfire so close to making it back alive.

And, as all such things do, eventually, it passes. There's the scent of dust, and burning, but there's no more explosions, or shooting, or aero engines, and mole-like, the people of 804 squadron emerge from the depths

"How many…" Irene asks pensively, and not to any one individual particularly. How many wounded? How many dead? How many families were lucky today, and how many will suffer the agony of loss and grief. And yet, despite this question, her eyes are only searching for one person; and, she is not going to leave until they find each other again.


The imminent peril has passed, and the German planes have vacated the skies; but, the airfield is not as it once was. The smell of burning oil and fuel permeates the air while smoke and dust swirl and drift on the hot summer wind. Fires are being put out by crews, and medical personnel are combing the area for the wounded as chaos slowly subsides into the unenviable task of cleaning up the mess left behind by the Jerries.
Looking very lost, worried and out of place, Irene hangs close to the shelter she and Guy took refuge in before the attack began. It's a miserable thing to know that she is both helpless and useless to these people. All she's done is cause problems by showing up today… but, at least she has the cable telling her that Faulkner was en route to the base a few hours ago. Holding it to her chest, the somber little redhead falls to thinking.

Some time before dusk, an army khaki truck pulls up at the gate, and after it moves over towards the Officer's Mess, a man jumps off. His uniform is a disgrace. He's lost his blouse at some point, and the sleeves of his shirt are rolled up above his elbows. Salt stains mar his trousers, and his boots are never going to take a polish again. He looks like he hasn't had a shower or a decent meal in a week, and he smells strongly of day-old channel fish. But none of that would stop Irene from recognizing her husband. He smacks the driver's door as he passes, "Cheers, Sargn't. Safe travels, and thanks for the lift." He comes around the front of the truck and starts to head towards the door, "Irene!" he says, when he sees her.

After the hours of stress and fear, the adrenaline rush has long since passed, leaving Irene feeling sick and somewhat confused. With everything going on around her, she scarcely notices the arrival of the vehicle through the fog in her mind. However, something tugs at instinct, and she raises her dark eyes to look. For a moment, she doesn't quite process what she is seeing; but then, the look on her face changes from disbelief to sheer, inexpressible joy.
"Charles.." She breathes, taking an unsteady step toward him. Then, she breaks out into a dead run to quickly close the ground between them. "Charles!" She cries, throwing herself into his arms, not giving a damn about how filthy and disheveled he may be.

Faulkner pulls Irene into his arms and gives her a fierce hug, "I told you I'd be back." he says, lifting her off her feet for a moment and pressing her against him. Before realizing how filthy he is, and putting her down at arm's length. "You'll ruin your dress, darling. I'm sorry." She's probably never seen him with a beard before, either, but almost three weeks without a razor will do that. It must be hard for someone who takes such care with his personal appearance. "What happened here?" he looks around the airfield, "And what are you doing here?"

"Oh, to hell with my dress!" Irene answers as Faulkner pushes her to arm's length. She won't have it, by god! She wriggles free immediately and clings to him again. Lord, the smell is enough to knock anyone over - but all she cares about is the fact that he's alive and here with her, now.
Backing up enough to touch his face with her hand, the little redhead gives him a quizzical look and can scarcely stifle the laughter through her tears: "I know beards are professorial, but they don't suit you at all, dear."
Sobering down, Irene glances at the dreadful mess around them briefly before returning her gaze to Faulkner: "I came out here to beg Guy for any information he might have about you… or start climbing the chain of command - anything I had to do to." Biting her lip, her glance drops away: "It's like you said… they're past the channel, now. Coming inland. Jerries attacked.. Oh, Charles, it was awful." Irene finishes, laying her head against his chest.

"War is." Faulkner agrees, with a nod, running his hand along her hair and pulling her against him again. "I need a shower, a razor, and about a day's sleep. But I made it back to you, and that's all that matters." He lowers his voice and murmurs, "But my identity discs decided to snap off and fly away at the oddest moment, while I was hiding in a ditch from a Jerry patrol. It's a good thing I didn't yelp." A pause, "You wouldn't know anything about that, would you?"

Looking up at Faulkner once more, Irene doesn't know whether to weep or smile. Three weeks of not knowing whether he was alive or dead; three weeks of wondering if he would never see their child born… and now, for this moment in time, they have each other again.
"I don't suppose I can take you home and spoil you, can I?" She asks, wishing - but not getting her hopes up - that they might be allowed time together, now that things are truly starting to go to hell.
The remark about the identity discs causes Irene to give a little wide-eyed start. Sheepishly, the young woman undoes the clasp on her handbag and slips her hand into the thin fold. A moment later, she produces the missing discs and offers them to her husband with a slightly ashamed expression. "It… it were my fault, but I didn't actually do this. I swear, I didn't… It's hard to explain."

"Let's… Just not for now. This probably isn't the place for it." Faulkner says, though not reproachfully. He gives her a kiss on the forehead. "Thank you, though. It would have been a little hard explaining what happened to them, considering they're supposed to be around my neck." He waggles his eyebrows, and says, "I need to report in, but I think I'm entitled to a day, at least. If Jerry doesn't interfere. I think you should probably go home, though, darling, and I'll meet you there."

"I am awfully sorry about the discs," Irene murmurs. This is what happens when she can't go along to supervise people on missions.
"I suppose it's a good thing I couldn't drive the car. It might've been wrecked in all this," she muses, motioning at the damaged airfield. Small blessings.
Irene doesn't want to leave Faulkner's side. If she could, she'd stick to him like a burr caught in his clothing; but, she knows it's for the best. Judging by her expression, she wants to argue - in the end, however, she relents: "Alright, I'll go home and make sure that everything's ready so I can absolutely spoil you rotten when you get there. How's that sound?"

"Nothing done, so don't be troubled about it." Faulkner says, with a little shrug. "And that sounds wonderful. Maybe I might even get to take a bath. After I shower so that I don't make a horrible stinking mess of it."

Irene laughs softly and gives Faulkner a look as she steps back from him at last, only leaving her hand in his for the moment. "I said I was going to spoil you rotten, didn't I?" She asks, coyly. Then, giving his hand a gentle squeeze, she reluctantly slips away to go home.

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