A/N: Here's the second and last part of my little Airman fic! This chapter's a little more humorous than the last one, hope you enjoy!
Disclaimer: The only part of Airman I own is a copy of the book ^^
Sailing back to Great Saltee was pretty easy. The waves and wind were favorable tonight, for both flight and sailing. Conor manned the sails and rudder expertly, thanks to his father's teachings, and, after all, a sail was just a giant wing.
By the time he reached the island's dock, the moon was low in the sky, and in the east, he saw a hint of red. It had taken him more than twice as long to reach Kilmore with all of his turns, dives, and climbs, but Conor wouldn't have flown it any other way.
He tied up the boat and removed the folded-up glider. This one was a bit bigger than the last one, better for long flights, worse for turns, he'd learned, and was slightly bulkier to carry.
Conor walked up to the wall's guard, folded glider tucked under one arm, and greeted the man.
The guard looked quizzically at the glider, then at Conor. Conor was just glad he'd remembered to take his goggles, cap, and scarf off, or else the odd look he was getting would have been even stranger.
"Are you the Airman everybody's talking about?" the guard asked after a few seconds.
"A straight answer, please," the guard growled.
Conor ran his free hand through his hair, finding it very messy. That didn't really help his appearance, with groups of blonde strands sticking out everywhere. "Yes, I am."
The formerly-gruff guard's face softened slightly, and he stuck out a hand. "Thank you for saving the Queen."
The response startled Conor; he still wasn't used to this kind of thing. Shaking the guard's hand, he asked, "May I pass, now? I'd really like to get some sleep."
The man nodded and opened the gate, letting Conor walk through to the streets of Great Saltee.
Normally, Conor would have found the walk back to his family's house short, but by the time he reached the door, his feet were dragging pretty badly. "I really need sleep," he decided as he reached for the doorknob.
His hand was only a centimeter away from the metal knob when it turned, seemingly of its own accord. He watched it in disbelief, tired mind moving a bit more slowly than usual.
When the door opened and his mother's face appeared, Conor sighed. "I guess sleep is out of the question."
She laughed. "Of course! We want to hear all about your flight before you sleep half the day away." His mother was correct. After the fight in Bonvilain's tower, Conor had slept until after lunch the next day.
He rolled his eyes, peering around her into the main room. "So, who else is gathered here to interrogate me?"
"Come in and you'll see," she said, opening the door wider, allowing her son room to pass.
Conor grumbled something about pushy parents as he tried not to get various pieces of his glider stuck in the doorway.
As he entered, he was greeted with various forms of, "Hello, Conor!" from his father, Isabella, and Linus.
"How'd it go?" Isabella immediately questioned.
Before he could say anything, Linus cut in. "Wait a minute or so. He still needs to put that contraption away."
"Thanks, Linus," Conor said, walking past his family-who had managed to squeeze themselves onto a small couch-to his room. As he put the glider away on a shelf across from his bed, he looked longingly at the mattress, wondering if he could just slip under the sheets and fall asleep. He shook his head sadly. Not a good idea, Isabella would probably enlist his father to drag him out of bed. Though...a little sleep was better than no sleep...
He suddenly felt a small hand tug at the leg of his pants. Conor looked down to see his two-year-old brother standing there, a handful of fabric in one hand. "Conor home," Sean said happily, releasing him.
Conor crouched down to Sean's eye level, smiling. "Yes, I am," he said.
"Tell about flying?" Sean asked, eyes big and hopeful.
"Later," Conor said, patting the blonde boy on the head. "Mother and father probably wouldn't be happy with you staying up any later."
His brother pouted, but offered his arms out to Conor to be picked up. Conor laughed at the expression. It was still strange for him to have a brother. At first it had seemed like his parents had replaced him and he'd resented the little boy, but Sean was just too adorable to hate. Smiling, he scooped Sean up in his arms, the two-year-old squealing with joy.
"What're you two doing in there?" called his mother.
"Conor, you're taking forever!" Isabella quickly added.
He walked out of the room, holding Sean. "This one distracted me, staying up past his bedtime."
His father laughed when Sean started tugging at Conor's hair. Conor looked down at his brother. "I know it's messy, but I'd still like to keep it on my head."
Sean gave him a mischievous smile before he let go.
After depositing Sean in his bed, Conor finally had the chance to sit down in the chair across from the couch his family was crammed onto, gazing over the small coffee table between them.
"How was your flight?" His father asked.
"It was very informative," Conor said through a fabricated yawn. Maybe they'd take pity on him if he was played up his tiredness?
"How so?" Linus pushed, immediately detecting the false yawn.
This had the potential to be very awkward...though Conor was pretty sure it already was. "I tested the limits of the glider."
"So that's what all those dives and turns were about!" Isabella exclaimed. At his quizzical look, she elaborated. "Linus and I stayed up there for a bit after you took off."
Conor's mother looked over at Isabella, sitting next to her, "How did it work out?"
"He was a natural at it! Most people would have mistaken him for a bird." ...or a dragon, Conor silently added. At the thought, he gave an involuntary grimace.
"What are you thinking about?" Isabella asked, seeing the expression.
His mother crossed her arms over her chest. "Really, Conor? I thought Victor would have taught you to lie better."
Sighing, he explained, "Somebody saw me on Kilmore."
"Ah, so they got to meet the legendary Airman. What did they say?" Linus inquired.
"Well...it wasn't exactly the Airman they thought they met."
"Who did they meet?" His father asked, confused. His son had another persona that he hadn't told them about?
What was it with all these question words? Conor's tired thoughts were annoyed. When he realized that he'd just used a question word himself, he gave up and decided just to answer. "A dragon."
"A dragon?" they echoed.
Once again, Conor sighed. "Yes, a dragon."
"Why would they think something as stupid as that?" Isabella asked, raising an eyebrow.
"I kind of...suggested it."
Linus frowned. "Why on Earth would you do something like that, boy?"
He decided to just say it all at once. Maybe then they wouldn't have so many questions for him. "As you already know, I'm extremely tired, and I didn't feel like explaining to the most-likely drunken man about how I'm the Airman, so when he noticed my wings and the glider's tail, I...told him I was a dragon."
His family and friends were silent.
"I wanted the best way to make a quick exit!" Conor said hopelessly.
"Did it work?" His mother's voice was skeptical.
"Well, the goggles did help to enhance the image, and...it was dark! And I'd just seemingly fell from the sky! He seemed likely to believe anything that I said."
"So you chose...a dragon," Linus said flatly.
"Hey, it worked!" Now Conor's voice was defensive. Sometimes it was very hard to be around intelligent people.
His father smirked, a corner of his mouth going up in a lopsided smile. "Think of the rumors. I can just imagine people talking up a storm about the Kilmore Dragon."
Isabella joined in the fun, much to Conor's chagrin. "Yes! Every fire in Kilmore will be blamed on it!"
"Declan, Isabella," Conor's mother said, and he'd thought he was saved until she looked at him with a smile of her own. "I think the Airman's got some new competition."
"You'd be your own competition. Amusing thought, don't you think?" Linus teased.
Their banter was not helping Conor's sleep-deprived state. He put his head in his hands. "Please stop," he said weakly.
They didn't listen. "Who would win in a fight, do you think? The mysterious French Airman, or the fire-breathing Kilmore Dragon?" his father asked.
"I'd go with the dragon," Isabella stated. "They can both fly, but the dragon can breathe fire."
"Though the Airman's pretty well armed, too," Linus reminded Conor's tormentors.
"I don't think a bullet or a blade would do much damage against those scales," his mother informed them.
Isabella shrugged. "True."
Conor looked up at them, sighing once more. "Now I remember why I'm going to Glasgow. All of you are driving me absolutely insane."
Linus grinned at the statement. "Insanity could be useful. I'd bet a lot of the famous inventors weren't completely right in the head."
"Hmm...I'd rather keep my son sane. How about we let him sleep for a bit before we resume our conversation?" his mother suggested.
"All right," Isabella groaned. She'd enjoyed teasing Conor.
Conor stood up and hugged his mother. "Thank you!" he said hurriedly before heading back to his room.
"Oh!" Isabella's voice made him turn around. He regretted the move when she continued. "So what is the story about your diamond-smuggling?"
"What?" Conor's mother and father gasped together.
His eyes widened. Whirling around, he said, "Erm...I'll tell you later?"
Despite a few calls of "Wait!" he dashed into his room and shut the door.
Someday he needed to get back at Linus, but in the meantime, getting some sleep would probably be good.