Summary: some old wounds can take a long time to heal. A Gordon story that follows on after 'Family ties'

Authors note; this story starts about a year after the end of 'Family ties' and contains spoilers for that story. Being a Gordon story, it also links back to both 'Ordeal' and 'Olympic games'

I would like to thank Closetfan, Assena and Purupuss for their help with the geography in this story – never my best subject at school. However, any liberties I have taken are mine alone.

Standard disclaimer; I acknowledge Carlton plc as the copyright holders of the 'thunderbird' characters, and my thanks as always to Gerry Anderson and his team for creating them.



It was the early hours of the morning, with the sky just beginning to turn light, as the Tracy family returned to the villa. John, Gordon, Alan and Tin Tin threw themselves down on the sofas with a collective groan. Ruth Tracy looked at her grandsons, "Well, I don't know about you boys, but I'm not used to jetting halfway round the world – I'm off to my bed."

"Good idea, mother," said Jeff. He turned to the boys. "Alan, I want you and Tin Tin to take John back to the space station later today. Aim to launch about midday. That should give you all enough time to have a few hours sleep. I don't like International Rescue to be out of operation any longer than necessary."

Scott and Elizabeth entered the lounge, walking carefully. Jeff looked over "Is she still asleep?"

"Just about," said Elizabeth in a low tone, looking at the bundle in her arms. "If I'm lucky I'll be able to get her back in her cot before she stirs." She crossed the room, heading for their quarters.

Jeff looked at Scott. "You're luckier than we were, son. I remember once you woke up you'd be bawling your head off for hours."

"Aw, Dad!" protested Scott, to the laughter of his brothers.

They watched their father leave. John said, musingly, "You know, I think the Old Man likes being a grandfather."

"He certainly seems to be taken with his new grand-daughter," replied Scott. He paused, remembering the day they had brought the baby home. As he and Elizabeth had entered the lounge carrying their precious burden, the family had all crowded round to look, Grandma and Tin Tin making appropriate 'Ooh' and 'Aah' noises. Then John, from his picture on the wall, had asked if they had chosen a name yet. Scott had looked at his father. "We'd like to call her Ellen – if that's OK with you, Dad." There was a sudden hush. Ellen had been his mother's middle name, and he was not quite sure what his father's reaction would be. Jeff leaned over and peered at the tiny bundle, with its little fuzz of dark, curly hair. He put his hand on Scott's shoulder. "I'm sure your mother would be very proud, son." There was a moment's stunned silence. As far as anyone could remember that was the first time Jeff had made any reference to Lucille in his sons' hearing since her death. Since then he had started making more comments like the last one, as if having a baby in the house was reminding him of the happy early years of his own marriage.

Scott glanced across at Gordon and Alan. "You know, it suddenly occurred to me the other day – if John or Virgil had been a girl, you two might not even be here."

"Oh cruel fate!" said John, dramatically, throwing up his hands. The younger two pelted  him with cushions.

The discussion turned to the day's events. Virgil's wedding had been a grand affair in London. Jeff had made the decision to close down International Rescue for the day and the whole family had attended. So had most of the English aristocracy, or, as Gordon had quipped 'more –ships than you could fit into Pearl Harbour.'

"So," said Scott, stretching out his long legs and looking at John and Gordon, "who's going to be next?"

"Don't look at me!" exclaimed John in mock horror, "I'm a confirmed bachelor – after all," he grinned at Scott, "I've seen what marriage does to you!"

"Nor me!" said Gordon, "I'm the typical sailor, remember – a girl in every port?"

"Besides," said Alan with a smirk, "who'd have him?"

"True," replied Scott, "they'd have to have an extremely warped sense of humour -"

"No taste in men," cut in Alan

"And the patience of a saint" finished off John.

"Hey, guys, three against one – this isn't fair!" protested Gordon to their laughter.

As the laughter died down Alan looked at Tin Tin. "Well, if we've got to take 'bachelor boy' here up to the tin can at midday we'd better get some rest, so if you'll excuse us guys -"

Gordon vacated the sofa, leaving it to Alan and Tin Tin. The boys called their 'Good nights' as it dropped down the shaft. Following the strange circumstances surrounding Kyrano's death the previous year, Alan and Tin Tin had married a few months later. Tin Tin had requested a quiet ceremony, so the family had just taken a trip to the mainland where the couple were married in the local registry office. Once back on the island, by common consent Scott and Elizabeth had taken over the flat once occupied by the Kyranos, while Tin Tin and Alan had taken up residence in the Round House. Plans were already in hand to have the Cliff House ready for Virgil and Amanda on their return.

Scott also stood and stretched his long frame. "G'night then, guys, see you all in the morning."

Once they had gone, John stood and moved to the balcony. The early morning sun was just turning the tops of the cliffs pink. Gordon followed him. "Did you mean that – about staying a bachelor?" he asked quietly. He alone knew the reason John had never found a girl. "Haven't things changed now she's married Alan? At least you know she's happy now."

"I don't know, Gordy," replied John, leaning his elbows on the balcony rail. "It would have to be someone pretty special to take Tin Tin's place." He looked at his brother, "and she must never know – ever. If she or Alan ever found out, I would have to leave here for good – I wouldn't be able to face them again."

"Don't worry, bro'" said Gordon, "they won't find out from me. I gave you my word."

"And what about you?" asked John, glancing sideways at his brother. "Surely there's someone out there for you?"

"I'm not sure, John," replied Gordon "I find it hard to trust any girl – I'm always wondering if they've got some hidden agenda."

 "Not all girls are like that one at the Olympics – what was her name – Carrie?"

"Cassie" said Gordon, shortly. It had taken some time for him to tell John about the events at the Games. John had been shocked by his brother's revelations, but at the same time impressed by the maturity that his younger brother had shown. Since then Gordon had kept all his relationships on a strictly casual basis.

John patted his younger brother on the shoulder. "Meanwhile, we bachelors'll have to stick together, eh? Come on, kiddo. I've got to get back to the station later today, and you're on duty for Thunderbird 2 if a call comes in, so we'd both better get some sleep."

The two boys headed down to their rooms.