A/N: Finally chapter you guys! I have to admit we've really enjoyed this story, and have started several others. When they're done we'll post them, so you can see! Keep a look out, though, for my upcoming solo fic 'Fallen Stars'. Hopefully coming soon!
Chapter 4: Repetition
"Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it." Mark Twain
It had been two days since Scott and Virgil had said more than absolutely necessary to each other, and it was beginning to drive Gordon mad. They would be this immature over one ridiculous little fight? Mind, he wasn't one to talk, really, but still someone had to do something, and since Jeff was still mostly lost in his own grief, Gordon decided to take matters into his own hands. With a reluctant heart and small, tentative steps he approached his older brother as he sat by the pool.
Scott tensed a little, but managed to reply with a, "what" though his voice was practically emotionless.
TinTin, who was swimming nearby, watched Gordon flinch at Scott's voice, but then set his face again and step closer, barely in arms reach.
"I just...I...I wanted to see...if you were okay."
"Oh yes, sure," Scott mocked. "I have my younger brother accusing me of not being a good big brother, I have you asking me stupid questions, and I have one brother who's dead. Yeah, life is good."
TinTin could see what Scott couldn't, as he had his back to his younger brother, and she thought the look on Gordon's face was heartbreaking.
"Scott, I...I'm sorry. I didn't mean to turn Virgil against you. I didn't mean for any of this to happen."
"Easy for you to say," Scott muttered.
"Just get off his back, Scott!" Virgil intervened, walking outside.
"No, Virgil," Gordon whispered. "I...I need to do this on my own." He took a deep breath and stood directly behind his oldest brother. "I'm so sorry, Scott. I don't mean to fight with you or Alan. I think I just want attention, or something. I don't know. I don't know why I do the things I do but...I'm sorry."
"I'm sure you age, but it's a little late isn't it?"
"Scott! He's apologizing, just accept it and let's move on!"
"I'm sorry, okay! I don't know what else I can do to make it up to you, to Alan! I'll do anything!"
TinTin sighed in disgust and swam away from the three arguing brothers and headed for the side of the pool. She suddenly paused when she saw something shining at the bottom, and she dived down to retrieve it. When she surfaced again she opened her hand and found the star pendant that Alan had lost on the day of his fight with Gordon.
"Scott, please. I know I can't make everything right, but at least tell me where I can begin to try." Gordon was pleading to his brother's back now, fighting tears. Before Scott could open his mouth again there was a shout.
Scott, Virgil, and Gordon all turned to face TinTin, who looked angrier than she had done in a long time.
Gordon took one look at her, and then looked away. 'Great, who haven't I got mad at me now?' he thought, the feeling of sadness and self-loathing returning full force.
"All three of you, just stop it," TinTin said. "All of this fighting is getting you no where! Do you think John would like to see you at each other's throats? You need each other, you're brothers. Do you want to find out how much you mean to each other by another brother dying? And besides..." TinTin held out the star pendant in her hand. "You have another brother who needs you."
Scott and Virgil stood completely still, while Gordon reached out and took the pendant. "Alan," he whispered, and then looked at TinTin, "where did you get this?"
"I found it at the bottom of the pool," she replied.
Gently, Gordon closed his hand around the silver charm, "I need to see Alan. Now. I'm going to tell dad where I'm going, and then I'm going to see him. You two can go with me, or not. It's up to you, but I am going."
As Scott and Virgil stood up, ready to follow Gordon, they heard their father's voice.
"I'm here, Penelope, go on."
The three brothers, and TinTin, crowded by the door of their father's office to listen in.
"Jeff, I'm afraid Alan has gone."
"What?" Gordon whispered.
"He left about two hours ago," Penelope continued. "I went to check on him just now. His room was empty and all I found was a letter, which reads:
To Lady Penelope,
Thank you for your hospitality and patience with me, but I can't stay any longer. The thoughts of John and what could've been are driving me to hell and I just want it to stop.
Please tell dad I love him and my brothers too, and please tell Gordon I'm sorry I took John away from him. I never meant to, and I hope he believes me.
I'll tell mom and John how much you miss them when I find them.
Jeff swore loudly, the first time his boy's had ever heard him do so, and jumped to his feet, "I have to find him!"
Gordon, however, was faster. The minute Penelope had finished, he too off so fast, and so blinded by unshed tears, that he nearly tripped right over the couch that lead to Thunderbird 3. As he raced toward the Thunderbirds he whispered, "hang on, Alan. I'm coming."
Alan had walked as far as he could walk, gone as long as he could go, and now he was standing on the plateau. The ocean waves crashed roughly around the rocks below him and the spray showered his face. His eyes were filled with unshed tears as he stared over the cliff edge and down below.
It would be so easy. Just one more step and no more guilt, no more pain...
A whoosh of air and the roar of engines behind him caught his attention. There was Thunderbird 2 landing, but before it had quite touched down, Alan could see Gordon jumping out and running toward him.
"Alan, stop please! Don't!"
Alan blinked slowly before turning his head so he could see Gordon, but he didn't step away from the edge. "How did you find me?"
"Does it matter? Alan, this won't solve anything! Don't jump, please, we need you still!"
"John told you, didn't he?"
Gordon had almost reached him by now, and was about ready to reach and pull him back. "Alan, stop this. Come home with us. We love you. I love you, Alan!"
"Just answer me!" Alan yelled, wanting to step back. "Did John tell you?"
"Yes, he did, if it makes you happy! I just knew where to find you, if you wanna' believe it was John, then do so."
"I thought he might, feared he would." Alan replied. "Gordon...I don't belong."
"Yes you do, Alan!" Gordon was confident he could reach him now, especially with Scott and Virgil right behind him. "You're our brother, Alan. You'll always belong!"
"Maybe...maybe if I go...John will come back..." he stepped off the edge.
Virgil froze, "no...No!"
"Alan!" Scott yelled. He and Virgil both ran forward, but Gordon was closer and faster. Without hesitation he raced toward the cliff's edge, and dove off after his brother.
"Gordon!" Virgil and Scott raced to the cliff edge and just saw Gordon disappear into the water in a flawless dive.
"Scott, look." Virgil pointed out a path down to the small stretch of beach nearby.
"Come on!" Scott lead the way down, feeling sick to his stomach and watching the ocean the whole time.
Underwater, Gordon was searching the salty, dark water with stinging eyes. Anything, any sign of Alan, he had to find. He couldn't let Alan die! He had let John die, by not saving Alan. He would not make such a mistake again. Suddenly, in the murky water, Gordon's fingers came into contact with material. He grasped it tightly and pulled. Alan's unconscious face came out at him from the shadows.
Wasting no time, the aquanaut pulled Alan up toward the surface, conserving as much of his quickly dwindling oxygen supply as possible while checking Alan's vital stats. He noticed he still had a fairly steady pulse, but he wasn't holding his breath. Gordon supposed the shock of the cold water had forced him to inhale, because the body's natural instinct was to survive.
Gordon looked up at the surface and frowned. If he didn't get air into his brother he would die before they got there. Making sure Alan's arms were down, so he would naturally float up (though he would still keep kicking), he placed his hands on Alan's arms to hold him still, and firmly placed his mouth over Alan's mouth and nose. He released a bit of his own held breath, forcing oxygen, and albeit a little seawater, into his brother's lungs.
Gordon kept this up for so long, thinking only to keep Alan alive until the reached the surface, that by the time they actually got close he was depending more on Alan's floating than anything, because he was nearly unconscious himself. He looked up and thought he saw a hand reaching down to help them. With one final strong kick he reached up and grabbed the hand. It pulled him to the surface and, as he struggled to breath, Gordon only dimly noticed that no one was there.
Quickly he held Alan to him, keeping his head above the water as he checked his vital signs again. The first thing he was aware of was that Alan still wasn't breathing, but he did have a pulse, even if it was weaker than the last time.
As quickly as he could, Gordon swam to shore, meeting Scott part of the way and the two brothers got Alan to shore.
"H-he's not breathing," Gordon gasped as Scott lay Alan down on the sand. Scott wasted no time. He tilted Alan's head back, pinched his nose shut and opened his mouth wide as he took a breath and fit his mouth over Alan's forcing air into his lungs.
Gordon wanted to help, but it was taking all his strength to remain standing and force himself to breath. He wouldn't allow himself to fall until he was sure Alan was okay, but he really didn't feel well...
Scott continued breathing air into Alan's still lungs, hoping his younger brother would start to breathe again, praying he would not lose another younger brother.
Suddenly Alan jerked upwards, gasping deeply for air and the three brothers couldn't hide their relief, but Alan's breathing was terribly laboured and there was a gurgling sound every time he inhaled and exhaled.
"Hold him over your knee, Scott," Gordon instructed. "We need to get the water out of his lungs. Make sure he's face down."
Scott nodded quickly, and eased Alan to rest against his knees while Virgil held his unconscious brother's shoulders, keeping him in place. Trying to be as gentle as it was possible to be, and still have it work, Gordon hit Alan in the middle of his back with his palm, trying to force him to cough up the water.
"Come on, Alan," Scott murmured. "Cough up the water."
As if hearing Scott, Alan suddenly burst to life. He coughed very hard, bringing up a lungful of water, his breathing gradually getting clearer.
"Thank goodness," Virgil breathed, helping Alan sit up and then holding him close. Gordon just sat on the wet sand, coughing and blinking. He felt dizzy, and he was sure he had swallowed enough seawater to fill a good sized lake, but as long as Alan made it, he'd be okay too...he hoped.
While Virgil moved to take Alan back to Thunderbird 2 and tend to him, Scott noticed Gordon slump down on the sand, coughing. He knelt beside him, and gently patted his back. "Gordon?"
Gordon looked at Scott, and tried to offer some reassurance, but found that nothing would come out. He struggled to inhale but found he couldn't. Fighting panic, Gordon looked at his eldest brother with frightened eyes. A shout from Virgil, however, soon had both of their attentions.
"Scott! Gordon! Watch out!"
Scott and Gordon both turned sharply and came face to face with the Hood. Scott felt pure rage build up inside him, and Gordon could think of several very nasty things he wanted to scream at him, but since it was all he could do to take short, loud, gasping breaths he figured he was going to miss his chance.
"Leave my brothers alone!" Scott snarled. "You've already taken one, I won't let you take another!"
"Touch him then, Scott," the Hood smiled. Gordon, understandably shocked, found himself in the air, trying harder and harder to breath.
Scott's eyes widened as he looked up at Gordon, a feeling of déjà vu sweeping over him, only now he was in Alan's place. "I won't play your sick games! Let them go! NOW!"
"Scott!" Gordon managed to wheeze out. "Scott, help me!"
Scott looked up at Gordon and, grinding his teeth together and gathering his strength, he began to jump to reach Gordon, but whenever he got close the Hood would lift Gordon higher. Scott yelled in frustration.
'I'm going to die,' Gordon thought in a wild panic. 'I am going to die.' He looked at Scott with terrified, pleading eyes. 'Scott...help...please...'
"Come on Scott!" Virgil screamed. This couldn't be happening. Wasn't happening. Not again.
Scott was oblivious to the tears slipping down his cheeks as again he jumped for Gordon and missed. Then something caught his eye, and he froze, staring towards Virgil and Alan with wide eyes. Standing, though that wasn't exactly the correct word because his feet didn't touch the ground, next to oblivious Virgil was John. His face was calm, and his blue eyes focused on Scott.
In his head, Scott heard John's voice, 'You can save him, Scott. I know you can.'
"John..." Scott whispered. John just smiled knowingly and nodded. Scott was able to tear his eyes away from John to look up at Gordon and once more set his features into a determined expression. He was Scott Tracy, eldest son of Jeff and Lucille Tracy; he would NOT lose another of his beloved brothers! And Scott felt John's quiet strength flow through his veins, setting them alight.
Scott jumped one last time, and never again would he jump as high as he did in that moment.
Gordon, now focusing on staying awake, didn't feel Scott's hands grab his ankles, but everyone else saw it.
The Hood let out a yell of rage, but Virgil cheered.
"Yes! Scott! You did it!"
The Hood, though evil, was a man of his word. That did not, however, mean he had to like it. With another yell of rage he pretty much threw Gordon and Scott to the ground, and walked away. More worried about his brothers' safety then revenge, Virgil let him go.
Scott coughed as he slowly pushed himself up from the sand, blinking the tiny grains from his eyes. He looked over and saw Gordon lying very still.
"Gordon!" Scott took Gordon into his arms and felt dread wash over him as he looked at his pale face. "Gordon...wake up, oh please wake up!" With shaking hands Scott checked Gordon's breathing and pulse. Such was his panic, and so faint Gordon's breathing and pulse, that Scott felt nothing. 'I was too late. I was to late again.' Scott began to cry, holding Gordon's head against his chest. "I'm so sorry, Gordon! I don't hate you. I love you, Gordon, do you hear me? I love you! I'm sorry I never told you enough. I should have taken ever opportunity to tell you just how much I love you. I'm sorry, Gordon. So very sorry."
"I...I love...you too...Scott..."
Scott inhaled sharply and looked down at the half-conscious Gordon through tear-filled eyes. "Oh thank you," he whispered to the heavens as he continued to hold Gordon up against his chest. He then looked around and saw that Virgil and Alan were all right, but it was then he noticed that John was gone. "John?"
Virgil walked over, Alan leaning on his shoulder, "you okay, Scott?"
Slowly, Scott nodded, "I'm fine, Virg'"
"I want to go home," Alan said.
"Lets go...home...Scott. Please?" Gordon whispered tiredly, leaving his head where it was.
Scott smiled, ruffling Gordon's hair and kissing his forehead. "Sure, squirt," he said fondly, "we'll go home." He carefully picked Gordon up and turned to Virgil and Alan. "Come on, let's go home. Where we all belong."
Virgil smiled at Scott, and at Gordon, who looked happy and safe being held by his big brother. He shifted Alan's weight slightly so that he was practically carrying the younger boy, and then turned to get back up the cliff to his beloved Thunderbird.
"Thank you, Scott," Gordon whispered, his hand clutching tightly to Scott's shirt. "You're the best big brother."
"Couldn't agree with you more, Gordon!" Virgil called.
Scott and Virgil's eyes met and the two smiled. The rift between them was instantly sealed. Still smiling, Virgil half-carried Alan back up to Thunderbird 2 and helped him to lie on one of the chairs. "Don't worry, Alan. We'll take care of you now. You're safe."
Alan managed a weak smile and nodded. Scott followed Virgil into Thunderbird 2 with Gordon, and he sat down next to Alan, reluctant to let him go. He smiled and turned to Virgil in a teasing voice said, "Hey Virg', do you know how to fly this thing by yourself or do you need big brother's help?"
Virgil rolled his eyes, taking his seat up front. "I don't know, Scott. It may be tricky, but I think I can manage." His voice adopted a more serious tone. "How's Gordon?"
"He's fallen asleep."
"You did what I couldn't, Scott," Alan said quietly. "I can't help but feel I failed him." Scott looked at Alan and reached over, touching his face gently.
"Everything happens for a reason," the eldest brother replied, "and we may never know the reason or understand why, but it was John's time to leave. If it hadn't have been, then you would have saved him, I know it."
Alan smiled slightly, finding comfort in his words, "thanks, Scott."
"And John knows you would've saved him, too." Scott added. "You maybe the youngest, but you're still a Tracy and we love you, whatever may happen, remember that."
Alan smiled again, and laid his head on Scott's hand. He was asleep before Virgil got Thunderbird 2 in the air.
Virgil walked out to stand by the side of the pool and smiled as he watched Alan, Gordon, and TinTin try to dunk each other under the water. Fermat was sitting on the edge of the pool, laughing with his father, and Scott was laying on a deck chair nearby. Virgil walked over. "Hey, Scott?"
"Hm?" The oldest Tracy brother responded lazily, feeling contented. Two weeks had passed since their second scare, and Alan and Gordon had quite recovered. Stormy nights were still hard for Alan, but he was healing. All in all, things were looking better.
Virgil sat in a chair next to him before giving him a canvas with a painting on it. "I found some old photos of us as kids with mom, so I just...did that for you." The painting was of Scott as a child with their mother, laughing and hugging.
Scott stared at it for a moment, before smiling up at his brother. "Thanks, Virg'. This, well it means a lot to me."
Virgil smiled in return and nodded, "Dad seemed to like it too when I showed it to him. You defiantly have mom's eyes, Scott."
Scott smiled at him, pleased at the comment, and ran his hand through his hair. "You should do more of these, Virg'. This one is going to hang in my room."
Virgil chuckled, "I should've become an artist!" Virgil looked back to Scott. "Yeah, I may do some more."
"You are an artist," Scott lowered his voice so that Alan and Gordon couldn't hear. "Can I make a special request for a picture, Virg'?"
Virgil blushed a little at the compliment, but nodded, "sure, what would you like?"
"John had a picture of him and mom that I always loved. Would you be up to painting it for me?"
"Sure, Scott, I'd love to," Virgil replied fondly.
Scott reached into his pocket and pulled out his wallet, and then removed from it the very same picture John had shown Alan on the day of his death. He reverently put the picture in Virgil's hand. "That's my very favourite picture of both of them. Mind that you take care of it."
Virgil fingered the picture very carefully, "I'll be extra careful with it. I'll get started right now." He got to his feet and began walking inside.
"Hey, Virgil, why don't you stay a while? You're the only one not here. Just, stay a while."
"Sounds like an invitation," Virgil grinned. "Don't mind if I do." Virgil walked back and sat down beside Scott.
Scott grinned back, and then he turned to watch his brother's again. Gordon had managed to force Alan underwater, but had paid for it by having TinTin dump a bunch of water over his head. Alan surfaced again, laughing and spluttering at the same time. He then looked to the side and froze, his eyes becoming wide and his mouth fell open.
Gordon wiped the hair out of his eyes, and was about to seek his revenge when he noticed his brother. "Alan? What is it?"
Alan said nothing so Gordon and TinTin swam over, and then they saw what Alan could.
"Mom? John?" Gordon whispered in shock, catching Virgil and Scott's attention. The two eldest looked to where the others were, and froze. There, on the very edge of the terrace stood a young woman, her long blonde hair pulled into a low, loose ponytail. Her blue eyes were soft and sparkling as she looked at the boys before her. Next to her stood a young man who could have been her twin. He was smiling at them.
"Mom...John..." Virgil breathed softly. The two figures seemed to hear, for they smiled all the brighter. Then, they both raised their hands in a gesture of farewell, for now at least. The four Tracy boys all raised a hand in reply. They understood that while this was the chance for a proper goodbye, it was also a reminder that they would never be alone.
'Alan,' Alan jumped as John's voice intruded into his head, 'I don't blame you, Alan, and I love you. I'm always with you, brother mine. Always.'
Alan smiled and stared right at John, seeing the knowing look in his eyes. "I love you John," he whispered.
'I love you too, Alan,' John looked over at Scott and gave him a special smile. 'Take care of them, fearless leader. Especially Gordon, you'll never realise how special he is, until you lose him. I didn't. You look after yourself, Scott, and I'll see you on the other side.'
Scott smiled proudly, tears glistening over his eyes though not from sorrow, but joy. "I will, I promise." He whispered, "I'll see you there, someday."
With one last smile for Virgil and Gordon, John looked down at his mother. With tears in her blue eyes she nodded. She blew them one last kiss, and then the two of them disappeared.
And all was silent as minds tried to comprehend what their eyes had seen. There were answers that had been given and many questions yet remaining, but one thing was clear above all others; the Tracy family would never be separated, not even by death.
The Thunderbirds would forever be go.
End A/N: Well, what do you think? The story is done, and our wrists hurt. Please, join our wrist hurting club, and write a review ;