Dislcaimer: Thunderbirds is the property of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, as well as Carlton and Universal. No profit is intended to be made from this story; it is for entertainment purposes only. No copyright infringement is intended, and none should be inferred. All original characters are the property of the author. This story should not be used or copied without the expressed written consent of the author.
A/N: The final author's note can be found at the end of this chapter. Review responses to Chapter 34 (and full author's notes) can be found on my author's page, and will also be 'mailed' to all that reviewed.
Reflection and Final Thoughts
The view out the bay windows was spectacular. Jeff Tracy, sitting in a relaxed fashion by his study desk, gazed out at the landscape before him, awed by the way the water stretched out infinitely to the horizon until it seemed to touch the sky. After spending the last four hours walking around in the artificially lit cavern underneath the home, he appreciated the simple gesture that the sun and the waves were giving him.
The amber hues of the sun gave him all the light that he needed in the room. Long pumpkin-coloured shadows wrapped around the desk and the filing cabinets, until they touched the spot on the wall where the hidden entrance to the hanger lay. Jeff's eyes darted to the wall for a moment, lingering on the sprawling mural of his family that adorned the wall.
It was an incredible thought when he truly considered it. What had been merely a passing dream almost nine years ago was now a reality, a plausible and thriving organization that was truly doing what it had been created to do.
How much had things changed! Not only the mural, but so many other things had been altered over the course of time. What had once been a ragtag study was now headquarters for a secret organization. What had once been a pool was now the roof over one of the most advanced air ships ever designed.
A tiny smile crept onto Jeff's face, a smile that spoke of both contentment and sadness. His eyes, having left the safety of the cavern door, had slowly drifted to a set of photographs on his desk. One, taken eight years ago, showed him and the boys in an old car, parked by what he remembered to be the ocean.
The other, taken ten years ago, showed the boys dressed up in skiing gear, surrounding a person who Jeff knew all too well and missed all too dearly.
If you could see them now, he thought, the sadness in his smile deepening as he looked into the glimmering eyes of Lucy Tracy. The picture had truly captured her spirit - the mischief there, the humour, and the endless springs of compassion that had been her heart. But it was not only in her face that he saw those characteristics. They were plainly visible in the children around her, their faces each reflecting something of their mother.
Many things had changed since that photo had been taken. Chances had been lost, family had been gained, and so much had been given away in return for something more.
When he thought back to that moment ten years ago, Jeff was amazed to see that his children really hadn't changed that much. The mischief, intelligence, and the love that ran so thickly in their veins was still there. Even now, while most of them were independent and self-assured adults in their own right, he could still see the flickering remnants of their childhood buried deep within their eyes.
"What have we gained?" Jeff asked quietly, he eyes holding the face of his wife, gently following the curve of her chin, taking in the details that he could remember distantly in the back of his mind. "How much have you given them?"
Everything, he knew – more than he ever would have dreamed. Nine years ago he had knelt at her bedside in fear, wondering how he would raise five young boys without her help. But she hadn't abandoned him. Her presence, invisible as it was, was always there, in the memories of her children, and it had driven them and directed them along a path that made Jeff proud to think about.
"Lucy," he sighed, pursing his lips as the moisture grew in his eyes. He tried to stop it from coming, tried to will the tears away, but they came anyway. Wiping his face, Jeff stood up from the chair and walked to the window.
The warm glow of the sunset danced across the waters of the South Pacific, casting golden rays onto the pool below and the figures that lay within. There they were: his family, enjoying the first day of a summer when they would all be together under one roof.
It was time to join them.
Turning away from the window, Jeff quietly walked to the door. His hand brushed the door latch as he went out, but something pulled at him and he was unable to leave. Looking behind him, he gave one last glance at the picture that rested on his desk. Even from a distance, in the fading sunlight, he could clearly see Lucy's radiant hair and her glowing eyes.
The door slid silently behind him, Jeff having finally been able to will himself to close it. Even from the upper room he could hear the faint sounds of his boys at play, their strong voices mixing and melting into a joyous tumult that pulled him down the stairs to the outside world.
He went towards his children, the part of his world that brought him so much joy and happiness. They were his boys, young men with minds of their own, whom had given their own blood to his cause. And he went to his friends, old and new, who were joined with him as deeply as any blood relative.
Towards his world, filled with promise and hope that was perched so carefully on the memory of the woman who he had left in the picture frame. He thought of the ships, thought of the past nine years, and allowed a truly warm and wonderful smile to drift onto his face. For all that he had lost that night in December, he had gained the world.
Advent, he thought suddenly, was a time to prepare for birth. What had been born for him had not been a child, however, but a future. The winds of change had swept through his life on that dark day nine years ago, bringing soft December snow to the Swiss Alps and a fresh beginning for them all.
"Thank you, Lucy," he whispered quietly, "for everything."
With that, Jeff Tracy walked from his home on his own little island, and rejoined the world that had been created for him by his wife.
Upstairs in the study, the photo of Lucy Tracy continued to smile.
A/N2: Thank you everyone. Thank you, thank you, thank you for the tremendous response you have given this story, and to your patience during the months when I did not post. Several things happened to me last year, and although writing was a nice break, it was not always possible.
Since I will not be posting review responses for this final epilogue, I would like to thank everyone heartily here. Reviewers are precious people, especially those who review again and again. I also hope that all of you who read, but did not review, enjoyed the story, and I appreciate you reading all the same. Your words give me inspiration to keep writing.
And last but not least, the biggest thank-you goes to my friend and beta reader Ariel-D, who took the time out to wade through 250 plus pages of single-spaced, size ten font. John Tracy may rule the stars, but you rule the world of pencil, paper, and red-pens of editing plus ten. Please everyone; extend your utmost gratitude to her, for without her help, this story would not be the quality that it is. (I swear, the next one won't be as long! I think!)
I will freely admit that I won't be writing anymore Thunderbirds stories. This is due to both a change in interests and a lack of ideas. I have a few extra one-shot stories written, two of which I may edit and post as an addition to this story. They both happen during or immediately after the movie, so keep an eye out for them just in case. Other than that, this story officially ends the Christmas before the movie. (See my author's page for more details about my other writing in an extended Author's Note posted there.)
Again, thank you for all the support and the kind words. Writing this has been a learning experience, and one that I will cherish dearly. Take care, everyone, and thanks for stopping by. Darkhelmetj out.