Swim! Swim!

Author's notes: Sorry about this one, folks. It was sparked off by one line in my 'Ordeal' story and I just had to write it down.

The year is 2045 (all dates and ages based on the Chris Bentley 'Complete book of Thunderbirds'). Jeff has left the Space Agency, and, with a wife and young family, is well on his way to making his first million in the aviation industry.

Standard disclaimer: My acknowledgement to Carlton plc as the copyright holders of the characters, and my thanks to Gerry Anderson and co. for creating them and making them all so believable we can do things like this with them.

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Young Gordon woke to see daylight coming through the curtains in his room. Good - that meant it was morning, and John had promised they could go swimming again in the morning. Climbing out of bed he quickly dressed in his swimming trunks and dressing gown, then picked up his towel. Dragging open the door of his room, he made his way along the corridor to John's room, some instinct of self-preservation making him tiptoe past the room where his parents slept.

John awoke to feel someone shaking his arm. He looked down to see his younger brother, his head hardly level with the bed. "Swim! Johnny, swim!" said the small form.

John looked round. "Gordy! What are you doing here? It's still the middle of the night!" Young Gordon shook his head firmly and pointed to the window where the early morning sun was just beginning to peep through. "Nuh-oh" he replied. "Daytime. Swim. Promised!". He stamped his foot.

"Yes, I did promise you, didn't I?" John sat up. He was clearly not going to get any more rest. "All right. Just let me get my things." Rubbing the sleep from his eyes, he reached for his dressing gown, "Come on then."

Hand in hand, the two small figures made their way through the darkened house down to the basement where the indoor pool was. When Jeff had bought the house a couple of years before a pool was not something he had been looking for, but it was a large house, which he needed for his ever-growing brood, close enough to his aviation plant, and Lucille had fallen in love with the garden.

None of this worried the two boys as they pushed open the door to the pool room. "Johnny swim?" asked Gordon, looking at his older brother.

"No, you swim," said John, yawning, " I'll just sit here and watch"

"Ok-ay" replied Gordon happily, pulling on his water wings and slipping into the water.

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Lucille had woken early, and as was her habit, had gone to check on the boys. She came rushing back into the bedroom. "Jeff!" she called, panic in her voice, "John and Gordon aren't in their rooms - their beds are empty!"

With a muttered curse Jeff sat up and reached for his clothes. "Come on then, we'd better search the house."

After looking through the upper rooms they came downstairs, where the sight of a light on in the pool room soon drew them close. Looking in, they could see John, in his pyjamas and dressing gown, sitting on the edge of the pool, with his feet dangling over the water, while Gordon chugged across the width of the pool and back like a little red-haired clockwork toy.

"John Glenn Tracy!" Jeff thundered "What the hell do you think you are doing?"

"Jeff" hissed Lucille "I've told you before - I don't like you swearing in front of the boys!" She went to the edge of the pool, calling softly to her younger son, "Come on, Gordy, time to get out now."

Gordon looked round "No more swim?" he said, wistfully.

"No, you can swim again later. Come here now"

. "Ok-ay" he replied and she held up his towel as he climbed the steps at the end of the pool.

"John, I'm holding you responsible for this. How dare you bring your brother down here at this hour!"

John stood there, his lip trembling. "I didn't bring him!" he protested, "he brought me! I'd told him yesterday we could go swimming again today, and he came and woke me up. He said it was morning and I'd promised, so I had to come". He looked up at his father. "You say it's important to do what you promise".

Jeff was taken aback by his son's logic. Lucille intervened. "Let me, Jeff" she said. She knelt down in front of John, putting her hands on his shoulders. "John" she said gently, "you love little Gordy, don't you?" John nodded, "and you try to look after him". Another nod. "It was very good of you to come down here and look after your little brother. I'm proud of the way you take care of him. But you have to realise that swimming can be dangerous. If Gordy got into trouble in the water you might not be able to help him".

John shook his head "He won't get into trouble. He's good in the water."

Lucille smiled. "Yes, he is. But I want you to promise me that you won't let him come down here again without me or your father. He's too young to understand, so you must look after him. Will you promise me that?"

John nodded. "Good boy. Now you go back to bed and try to get some more sleep." John looked warily at his father. "It's alright, son," said Jeff, giving his son a pat. "I'm not mad at you any more."

Lucille picked up Gordon, still wrapped in his towel and burbling happily to himself. As they left the pool room Jeff turned to her. "I'll have a lock put on this door by evening"

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Next day Lucille was in the kitchen, feeding baby Alan in his high chair. She glanced through the open door to the lounge where she could see Scott and Virgil playing some elaborate game, and John looking at a book. She froze - where was Gordon? A minute later she relaxed as he came back into the room and approached John. "Swim, Johnny?" he said, hopefully.

"No, Gordy" said John, "I'm not allowed to take you swimming unless Mom or Dad are there."

"Oh," said Gordon, and came into the kitchen. "Swim?" he asked his mother.

"Sorry, Gordon, I can't come swimming right now - I've got the baby to feed." Gordon turned away. A few moments later Jeff glanced up as the door of his study opened, but when he didn't see anyone enter he went back to his work. A moment later he felt a tugging on his sleeve and looked down to see his second youngest son standing beside his chair dressed in swimming trunks, clutching a towel. He gave an exasperated sigh. Couldn't the child stay in normal clothes for more than five minutes?

"Swim, Daddy?" said the little form, cocking his head on one side, "Please, Daddy?" he said, with his most winning smile. Jeff looked down, straight into a pair of amber eyes that were so like Lucille's. Something him melted. He glanced at his watch. It was still too early to phone his business contact in Tokyo, so he supposed he could spare an hour. "Alright, son" he said, taking hold of Gordon's hand "Let's go for a swim."

Lucille, busy cleaning up Alan after his feed, saw her ginger-haired son, a determined expression on his face, towing his father into the room. She smiled to herself. She knew where that particular expression came from, having seen it all too often on her husband's face. "Well" she said, with a laugh, "no need to ask where you two are going".

"He came and dragged me out of my study" protested Jeff.

"Well, you've only got yourself to blame. You're the one who insisted he could only swim if there was an adult present."

"Maybe we should think about getting that 'au pair' girl you talked about earlier."

"Good idea" replied Lucille, "but we'd better make sure we get one who can swim."

Gordon had paused during this conversation, looking from one parent to the other. He now latched onto the word he recognised "Swim!" he exclaimed triumphantly, tugging at his father's hand.

Jeff halted, and with his free hand caught Lucille round the waist and pulled her in close. "Lucille Tracy" he murmured, inhaling the scent of her perfume, "have I told you yet today how gorgeous you are?" He kissed her on the lips.

"Get away with you, Jeff" she replied, giving him a little push. "You're keeping our son waiting."

Jeff looked down at the small figure. "Are you sure he's one of ours?" he said, teasing, "he's not just something we brought back from Marine World by mistake?"

"Well, with that hair, he's definitely one of mine" said Lucille, tossing back her own auburn curls.

"Never mind the hair - if he goes on like this he'll have webbed feet"

"Oh, this is probably just a phase" replied Lucille. "The novelty will wear off soon"

Jeff was to recall that scene nearly twenty years later, when, misty-eyed, he watched Gordon climb onto the Olympic podium to receive his gold medal.

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