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.
In the Hospital
Scott truly did not know what to expect to find at the hospital. He had spoken briefly to the conductor at the station, and from the man had only been able to glean the knowledge that the train had been derailed and that the passengers had been taken to the small hospital that serviced the alpine skiing village. He didn't even know where the hospital was. Thankfully, the woman at the hotel desk had been both kind and knowledgeable and had arranged for a rented vehicle to pick Scott and his brothers up at the front doors and take them to the hospital.
"Are we there yet?"
Shaken from his reverie, Scott turned around from his place in the front of the car and glared at Gordon. "No. Just sit still and be quiet." He really hated to take a strip out of any of his siblings, but given the knowns and the unknowns of the situation, he felt that it was hardly a time to be joking around. Their parents could be seriously injured, or they could be fine - there was no way of knowing.
His face falling, Gordon folded his arms and stuck out his tongue at his brother. "Nyah!"
"Stop it!" The tone of his voice surprised even Scott, for he closed his mouth immediately when the words escaped. "Gordon, I'm . . . I'm sorry. I'm just worried."
Displaying a brief and temporary understanding beyond his age, Gordon held his brother's gaze for a moment, then shrugged and went back to picking at a bandage that was on his elbow. "Okay."
Silence finally regained, Scott turned back around and stared out the front windshield of the taxi. Whether he admitted it or not, Gordon understood the seriousness of the situation. They all did, for none of his brothers made any move to begin another conversation. The feeling of sick dread that had settled in Scott's stomach seemed to permeate the air itself. It wasn't a feeling that had to be discussed to be spread. It was just there.
And then, quite abruptly, so were they.
"We're there, kid," the taxi driver said, breaking Scott's thoughts. "That'll be five of your American dollars."
The hospital, given its small size and relative obscurity to the rest of the skiing quarters, was extremely modern and well kept. A modest outside composed of a lodge style wood panelling gave way to a sharp and sparkling interior that spoke of cleanliness and an attention to detail.
A nurse intercepted the Tracys at the door, taking Scott by the shoulder and leading him to a side desk offset from the main receptionist area.
"My name is Cherise," she explained in a thickly accented English. "The hotel contacted us to tell us that you were coming." When Scott didn't answer immediately, she gave his shoulder a reassuring squeeze and continued, "You boys are very brave to come here on your own. You've handled this very well."
Before Scott could respond, he was interrupted by an unusually forthright John Tracy. His blue eyes radiating brightly underneath a loose lock of blond hair, he stepped up to the woman and took her in his gaze. "Where are our parents?" The words, though softspoken, were not lacking in strength. There was no doubt as to how serious the boy was. "I know you know."
The nurse glanced briefly at John, taking in the boy as if judging how to respond to him. Finally, she nodded and removed her hand from Scott's shoulder. "They are here at the hospital and are being treated right now. You'll be able to see them later."
Startled, Scott snapped around to look at his brother. "John!"
"Bullshit," the blond repeated, his voice rising in intensity. "Tell us what happened now."
"I'm not allowed to-"
"Tell me now."
Feeling the tension rise between the woman and his brother, Scott grabbed John hard on the arm and pulled him away from the nurse. "John, leave the woman alone! She can't do anything."
"Yes she can!" The younger boy spit back, panic seeping into his voice even as he spoke. "Scott, we don't know what happened to them! We don't know where they are. She does. Why can't she tell us, Scott; why can't she tell us?"
He had no answer to that, at least not one that John would accept. And in his own mind, Scott was beginning to agree with his brother. "We're just kids, John. She's not allowed to."
The words stopped John cold. He fell backwards from Scott, taking one step then another until the older boy was forced to let go of him. "No. No, Scott. I'm worried about them! Something's not right . . . Scott, I need to see Mom."
"John, they're probably okay! Listen, everything is just a mess. Give them time-"
"NO!" Shaking his head violently, an action that sent a pair of tears down his cheeks, John looked from Scott to the shocked faces of Virgil, Gordon, and Alan, until his eyes rested on the nurse. "She'd tell us, Scott, if they were fine. If they were fine, she'd let us go see them!"
How could he argue with that? It always seemed to happen that way in the movies, Scott thought, as he watched his brother try to control the hysteria that was threatening to overcome of him. In those shows, doctors and nurses were always kind to people when their relatives were in trouble. They'd try to be polite. They'd try to pretend that things were all right.
They'd act like nothing was wrong.
But something, inevitably, always was.
It was at that moment that John lost the battle that he was waging. With a stifled cry, he jumped from where he stood and sprinted down the long white entrance room. The nurse shouted in surprise and called for him to come back. The other nurses and workers in the room leapt to catch the boy but found their efforts thwarted as Scott barrelled after his brother, knocking a doctor in the face as the man tried to grab him around the shoulders.
From behind him, he could here Virgil yell, "Scott! John!"
He didn't have time to stop and respond. A quick glance behind him showed Scott that the doctors and nurses had stopped his brothers from following.
Maybe it's better that way. Why that thought entered his mind, Scott truly did not know. But he did not doubt the truth of it. As he followed his brother's lithe form into a side hallway, noting that John seemed to be following a growing crowd of snow soaked and grease stained people standing off to the side, he realised that the feeling that he had was not due to some made up sense of clairvoyance. No, the emotion that had flooded in to him as he had entered the hospital seemed to be emanating from the very patients themselves.
Fear and pain were everywhere.
A woman screamed as Scott took a corner and nearly ran into her. She jumped backwards, and grabbed a child below her whose hair was matted and covered in what appeared to be blood.
"There they are! Someone grab them!"
Ignoring the calls of the doctors, Scott turned another corner, praying that John, in his madness, had some idea of where he was going. As he slid around to the other corridor, he saw that his brother did seem to have sense of what he was doing. Having broken through the line of people waiting for rooms, he had entered the wing of the hospital that carried a plain sign declaring it to be, 'Critical Care'.
Four rooms down the hallway, his brother was being held at the entrance way to a closed door room. One doctor had his arms behind his back, and a nurse - Cherise, by the looks of it - was trying to calm him by speaking to him.
The second call caught the attention of the professionals. They turned in Scott's direction, and Cherise calmly announced, "That's him."
In a moment Scott was down the hall and standing in front of the group, his eyes locked on his brother who was currently trying to struggle out of the doctor's iron grip. His blue eyes were reddened with tears, and every motion that he made caused a gasp to escape from his mouth.
"You aren't in trouble," Cherise explained, still obviously in an attempt to bring some form of civility back to the blond haired boy. "We just can't let you in."
"Why?" Making no move to enter the room, Scott simply ignored the other staff and stared down the woman who seemed so intent on helping them. "Why can't you let us in?
"Because-" Cut off suddenly by the click of a door opening, Cherise turned as a doctor exited the room, closing the door quietly behind him. "Doctor?"
"Twenty minutes at the most." He offered no explanation to his words, only a vague nod in the direction of the two boys. "Likely less."
At the words, John moaned and went limp in the arms of the man who was holding him. It was all the doctor could do to keep the boy on his feet. "No. No."
Feeling as though his entire world had suddenly been derailed, Scott simply stared at Cherise in absolute horror. He couldn't put into words what he was feeling. It was impossible to. But there was something that needed to be said. Scott knew it, looking to his brother and seeing the absolute pain that he was in.
"Let us in, Cherise."
"I can't," she repeated, a hint of sympathy entering her voice. "You're underage, we'd need parental permission. We're not allowed-"
"Listen." Shaking his head in an attempt to ward off the emotion that was seeping into his voice, Scott pointed at John and then at the room. "Quit pretending that it's not happening. We know what's going on!" He couldn't hold back the anger from his tone. "We're not stupid . . . And if that's true . . ." Closing his eyes and clenching his fist at his side, he managed to finish, "Let us in. I don't care about your damn rules. Let us in!"
Quietly, Cherise turned to the doctor who held John and whispered something in Swiss.
"Please, Cherise," he continued, "please." He didn't have the strength to say what he wanted to say.
Please, Cherise, let us see them. I don't know how he knows, but John thinks it's Mom. And Mom means everything to him. You can't make this better. It's already as bad as it could get.
Let us go in.
From where he stood leaning against the doctor, John tilted his head slightly and looked up at the adults above him with a look that was purely a prayer. "Please."
The staff traded another set of comments in Swiss, then Cherise took John by the arm and helped him to stand completely upright. Wordlessly, the blond shoved off her help and stumbled towards the door. Whatever anger had possessed him earlier was now gone, and was replaced with a pained-looking determination.
Passing the nurse a quiet thank-you, Scott rushed forward, took his brother by the arm, and helped him the rest of the way towards the door. It was only several feet, but the burden that had been levelled on them both extended it to infinity.
Scott took a moment to wrap John's arm over his shoulder, not a hard act given that his brother was not struggling against him, then reached his other hand out to open the door. The metal of the handle was cold under his grip.
Then the door opened, and Scott helped his brother to take the single step needed into the room. Another, then another step, and soon the door was able to close behind them. As the metal clicked in place, Scott directed his attention to the haphazardly made bed in the centre of the room, and the worn looking and dirty figure seated next to it.
Somehow, he thought numbly as he walked forward with his brother, John had known.
Twenty minutes, the doctor had said. Perhaps less.
And then . . .
"I'm sorry, you can't be in here!"
Then, it was all over. But until then, until it was over . . .
"Dear God! Let them in, good Lord."
He had to keep standing.
"Sir, it could be emotionally traumatizing for them-"
"Could be? It already is! Dammit, man, their mother is dying! Don't you even care?"
Clutching his brother tight to him, Scott moved to the side of the bed, ignoring the words of the doctor and the pleas of his father, instead letting his eyes fall on the weakly smiling form lying on the bed.
And he knew, as he looked down at his mother and saw that she was indeed dying, that he had to stay strong, not just for himself but for his family.
"Dad, what's wrong with Mom? What happened; is she going to be all right?"
She's dying, John. You know that. It's all right to be scared, though. I know it hurts you. It hurts me, too.
"She's leaving us."
Tell him the truth, Dad. You're avoiding it too. But then, perhaps . . . "Oh God, no, Mom, no, don't go. Please don't go. We need you. I need you."
Perhaps I'm avoiding it too.
"Oh God." The words barely escaped John's mouth before he fell against Scott again, sobbing so that his entire body shook.
Helpless, Scott simply stood in shock, supporting his brother with his shoulder. He couldn't make it better. How could he pretend that it would better? How could he believe that John was the only one that would be affected? How could he ever have thought that he would be untouched? How could he have thought that he would be strong enough?
There wasn't enough strength in the entire world to keep him standing now.
God, Mom, I'm sorry. I'm sorry.
"Lucy, I love you." His face creasing in pain, a line of blood dried blood breaking and cracking as his eyes closed, Jeff Tracy leaned slowly down to the bed and lay his head against his wife's cheek. A second passed, then another, until a quiet sob escaped the man's lips.
Then, from beside him, came a quiet whisper: "Scott."
Unable to think, unable to even feel beyond the numbness, Scott glanced down at his brother, whose head was buried in his older brother's shoulder, and whispered, "John, it's over."
"Scott . . ."
"It's over, John. She's not in pain anymore," he answered numbly, trying to give some form of comfort that he couldn't give. "It's okay, John."
But it wasn't okay.
Then he felt the arms of his father, not strong anymore but weak and shaking, around his shoulders, and he let the tears come. They stood by the bedside, three who had seen something they should not have seen, had experienced something that no one should experience.
"My boys," the older man finally whispered, his face wet with tears, his voice hoarse. "My boys."
Off to the side, the doctor looked on, waiting.
FIN Part II
A/N: When I checked my reviews for Part I, I saw that two people asked if I could continue on with the story. So I sat down one night, and in the space of about thirty minutes, wrote the entire text for Part II. Then I read it over, and realised that I couldn't post what I had. To me, it wasn't just Part II - it was a slice of the life of the Tracy's that was very emotional and extremely private. I didn't feel as though I'd written a sequel. I felt as though I were intruding on something real, even though every ounce of the text is completely fictional. I was worried that it went too far, that it showed something that wasn't appropriate in the realm of fiction.
Thank goodness for beta readers. :) I have to thank Ariel D for reading this, to start (I value your opinions on this chapter more than any other person's in the world), and for convincing me that it would be all right to post it. I still feel like a nosey journalist, but at least now I feel like one with a purpose. ;)
That said, if I've offended anyone by this, I apologise. It wasn't meant to be glamorous or sugar coated - it was meant to be realistic, and if I erred in some of my details it was not from a lack of trying. And it hurt me to write this as much as it likely hurt you to read it. But the good news is that where there's death there's always life. And, thankfully, we know the rest of the story from here on in. :)
Thanks go out to all who read or review this story. FAB, and take care.
Note: Although in chapter one of the Winds of Advent Lucymakes silent reference to all of her children,only Scott and John are actually present in the room when she dies. This wasn't made clear in that chapter (as Lucy was disoriented and was not thinking directly about those actually present), which is why it was highlighted here.