Chapter Seven

Harvard University

"Come on John, one more drink! You've got something to celebrate" Sam said with a grin, laying an arm across the blonde Tracy's shoulders.

Liam grinned watching the tipsy antics of their classmate from the other side of the table.

"No Sam, think two is enough for me... anymore and we won't be able to get into the dorm" John replied putting the empty glass down on the table and threw a tired look at his roommate.

Liam shrugged his shoulders, "One more can't hurt, Sam's right... imagine NASA jumping you like that? Or me for that matter!" He said with a grin before throwing back the rest of his drink.

Sam clapped his hands and ran off to order the next round.

"Surely your family must be proud" Liam said quietly, straining his voice as much as he could over the loud sounds of the bar around them.

"They are, they want me to return home until NASA calls for me... I can't wait to see who is there but still" John stopped and sighed before smiling softly.

"Just see your family! NASA will call even before you get your bags unpacked, you'll see" Liam replied with a grin his fingers randomly playing with the empty glass.

John smiled and nodded, "You're right, now we should really leave after this round... I'm the only one with the combination to get into our room" He said with a grin, knowing how his roommate constantly forgot the code.

John groaned when he was poked in the arm, slowly waking up to find that he was up in the observatory leaning against his desk that he used up there.

"W-what?" He asked roughly while yawning with a stretch, wincing as he felt his back complain about how stiff it was.

"Just thought wake you up before I had to help you move" Liam replied with a grin before moving back over to his computer, wheeling over by the wheels of his office chair.

John shook his head as he yawned again and got up, stretching up to his full height before walking over to look over the younger man's shoulder.

"Looks good, right on our calculations... emailed NASA?" He asked, running a hand through his hair.

"Yeah I have, no reply though... so they must not be taking us serious again, wouldn't be the first time" Liam replied.

"Well I could call them, still have a few arms I could pull out of joint to get them to listen" John muttered thoughtfully, they had to contact the National Aeronautics and Space Administration or NASA for short to warn them of Comet Glacia's path.

"Wow Johnny! Like it when you talk like that" Liam replied as he got up, stretching himself. "I'm off for coffee" He added quickly and rushed off down to the kitchen below them.

John laughed a little and wandered over to his own station to look up the numbers he needed to start calling some old contacts, he thought that his Dad had contacts over the planet but the older blond son knew a few important people around.

The smile and laugh soon disappeared from his body thinking about his family again, and realised that he had almost typed the number for the island before putting the receiver down on the phone. He sunk down into his chair and buried his head into his hands with a groan, it had been four months since he had last had contact with his family but John still didn't know if it was a good thing to break the contact like this.

Liam watched silently as his friend continued to try and hide how much leaving his family was hurting him, he just wished that there was some way that he could help asides from doing what he was doing now. Just being there for his old friend, but he was inwardly suffering too, having to push down what they once had.

Inwardly sighing to himself, he walked off downstairs to the kitchen and made up the promised coffees before digging around the cupboards and grinned to himself, he found one way to cheer his friend up.

The wind blew through the tropical palm trees that bent over the white sandy peaceful beaches, the bright blue ocean's waves washing up on the shore with a soft hiss before falling back, taking sand and pebbles with it into the unknown depths.

The humid tropical wind worked its way through the lush, yet deadly tropical jungle. It worked its way through the thick foliage until it found a gap and brushed across a lone body laid out on the sun deck of the expensive looking complex that housed family and friends alike.

The young man groaned and rose his hand up to adjust the parasol slightly before sinking back into his sleep, everyone was resting or elsewhere on the island leaving the oldest Tracy sibling to take it easy in the peace and quiet or to his own thoughts.

Another one of the five sons was out on the sun deck, enjoying the peaceful view of the island but lost within the world of paint and colours as he painted something unseen to anyone except the painter himself. The canopy slowly being covered in the mysterious image, only once has it been completed then would it be ready to be shown to the rest of the family.

Everyone else was scattered around the island, the father of the five sons was lost within his own work with a mixture of thoughts and concerns about things that he wished to have forgotten. A cup of coffee lying on his desk almost cold, his attention long since diverted away from it while he continued to work through the load that kept coming from his business.

He sighed and looked up at the photo on his desk, it looked out of place amongst all of the business work but recently he felt that it should be there along with the portraits that hung up evenly spaced on the wall in front of him.

There were six portraits all hiding a secret communication device, their eyes would flash when one of the channels were activated or hid other monitors for various devices or systems. Five were the sons of the Tracy family while another, a close family friend living a semi-peaceful life in England, United Kingdom.

He kept staring at the photo, his pen hovering over the plans of a new vehicle waiting to be accessed, he was wondering how distant his middle son was when he saw him on the mainland but that was well over two months ago now.

"The answers aren't there or at your desk at all Jeff, I thought you would have learnt that a long time ago" A voice made the man look up and sigh.

"Mother, don't sneak around like that" Jeff replied and straightened up, leaning back into his chair.

"Such an air of gloom fills this place, even the youngest boys haven't tried anything for a while" Grandma Tracy continued as she sat down on the couch, looking towards the sun deck seeing the two oldest lost in their own worlds.

"That's because we're all blaming ourselves for that failed rescue just last month, I know the boys tried their best but I feel that it hit something close to home for them" Jeff muttered softly, "I have offered them a break away from the island, away from active duty but they can't forget it... they can't forget the organisation and their responsibility to the people on this planet"

"I don't think I can either, I have tried and even thought about going back out there with them to help with the rescues even though I may be a burden to them" He continued, standing up and walked about in front of his crowded desk.

"Maybe what John had told us is really sinking in to us, I want to try and invite him back mother but I'm not sure if he will accept... I heard he lives up in the Swiss Alps now, up in one of the observatories with a small team working with him"

The matriarch of the family smiled, "Sounds like he's found himself, that's my Johnny, he was always so confused and lost until he made a small circle of friends" She replied, "He isn't like the others, he doesn't make friends so easily but when he does then it tends to be a very small circle of them"

"However it is time that you went and visited your son once more, but this time try and be more gentle and understanding about it... don't approach him in a crowd that can easily confuse you or him" She suggested with a soft smile, "Try and understand what John does with his life, what he has been trying to do all his life since having to forget a big part of that for the soul responsibility of Thunderbird Five"

"But Thunderbird Five wasn't just his responsibility, it was Alan's too" Jeff interrupted.

"No Dad, I was hardly up there... I could never handle being up there long periods of time, because of the quietness of space, or just because I'm too use to living down here amongst you all" Alan muttered, coming into the room with a towel around his neck. "I did try and stay up there before but you called me down to help cover duties down here when John was quite capable to"

"So what was it Jeff? Is it that you prefer having your ground crew here and John up in that space station? Was it that he wasn't able to run the organisation and the company like you would prefer it?" Grandma Tracy asked looking up at Jeff from her place on the couch.

Alan flinched at the tone in his grandmother's voice and looked to his father, seeing dark circles under his father's eyes and the small glimmer of emotion usually missing from his features.

"I didn't want to lose him mother, I thought putting him up there away from it all would help me keep him out of harm's way... but when he begged me to go out on that rescue" Jeff stopped himself and sighed, rubbing his eyes tiredly before walking over to his chair, sitting down on it heavily.

"He reminds me too much of your mother Alan, I know you've got the same eyes and hair as your mother, just like Virgil shares her gift in the arts... all of you have got some spark of her inside of her but John has most of all..." He continued softly as Alan sat down next to his grandmother calmly.

All the years that had passed since they lost their mother, Jeff has never talked so openly about it to anyone. Well to what everyone knew, occasionally had a small talk with John about it but even then that was rare and strained. Not like now.

They remained silent, wanting Jeff to continue to let his inner emotions come out after being buried deep down inside of him for so long.

Jeff rested his head in his hands for a little while, gathering his thoughts and took a few slow deep breaths to calm his body, his heart and mind down before looking up at his mother and his youngest son.

"I guess I miss her more than I thought, I feel ashamed that I treated John the way I have all these years... what we once had, talking last thing had seemed to have disappeared along with how much we all have changed we first started the organisation" He started softly, "We started this in her memory, we all agreed to it, and that's partially why John went off to become a astronaut to begin with... not that any of us could stop him" He added with a soft smile at the memory.

Alan and Grandma Tracy just returned the smile and nodded, then made themselves comfortable as Jeff continued to talk to them. There were years of hurt, grief, guilt and other emotions to be lifted off the old man's chest.

"What are you doing with that wrench?" John asked, looking up at his friend from his place on the couch.

"I'm going to beat up that boiler with it, it's cut off the hot water enough in the mornings as it is" Liam replied, glaring at his friend.

John sighed and replaced his bookmark in his place of his book, putting it on the table close by along with his glasses. He rubbed the tiredness out of his eyes, "I think if anyone is going to tackle the boiler, then it should be me or Joey" He said as he got up with a stretch.

"So hand over the wrench and I'll sort it, meanwhile you better get dressed before the heating packs in too" He added with a grin, seeing his friend running around in a sleeveless t-shirt and shorts.

"Well thought about going to the greenhouse you've cleverly installed after cleaning the bathroom, which is when noticed that we've got no hot water" Liam replied with a shrug, handing over the wrench and disappeared off to get some clothes.

John smiled and shook his head; he took his glasses off the table and put them in his pocket before going to get his coat to take a look at the main water tank outside. He knew that if it was the hot water tank then the problem could be outside, or one of the pipes down in the basement, which he hated going down into.

Slipping his coat on, he thought about the last few weeks, in how they had slipped into a comfortable pattern while the skies were quiet. They had set up a rota for them to check the telescopes, even though John had set up a computer program to alert them of any activity that wasn't satellites or the very rare and occasional shuttle.

It has gone off once but that was soon sorted by them both, someone bouncing curious signals off their dish just to satisfy their own curiosity but they were able to shake off the attack and soon continued monitoring an incoming meteor shower sending the circuit of observatories into three solid days of mixing and matching data.

Breathing in the chilled air of the Alps, John looked up at the blue skies to clear his head letting the cold breeze sooth him a little before walking around the cabin to get to the shed where they kept the boilers. He found it had been frozen over by the blizzard the previous night, so had to kick the snow and ice away from the door before he attempted to get it open.

A phone in his pocket started to ring, forcing John to stop and answer it. "H-hello" He muttered, leaning against the shed.

"Frozen over again, huh? Want a hand?" Liam's voice replied, sounding smug and warm.

John glared and looked down at his snow covered shoes. "What do you think?" He replied before moving away from the shed and gave it a firm kick, shaking more snow from the frame of the building.

"I think I should get the coffee on for when you get back in, call me if you get stuck" Liam's voice replied and the sound of the kettle being filled was heard in the background.

John switched to his hand free set before working on the door, "Are you cooking tonight? I cooked last night and breakfast" He asked, keeping up conversation while being outside.

The skies were growing dark with clouds gathering, with a strong threat of more snow. The blonde Tracy risked a glance up at it before inwardly sighing, deep down he hated the snow but now he didn't mind living in the middle of the worst place in the world to their family history. The door slowly creaked open under his gloved hands, letting him into the cramped boiler room.

"Hmm depends, what do you feel like to eat?" Liam replied, clinking of him moving around the kitchen in the background.

"Something hot after this, its freezing out here" John muttered as he tried the light but found the bulb gone, so used his torch instead to light up the areas he needed. He followed the pipes, but didn't touch them as he tried to find why the boiler wasn't giving them the hot water they needed.

Finding ice at one pipe, he gave it a whack with his torch, causing the device to flicker dangerously before setting out a dim light. John released a breath he didn't realise he was holding.

"John? Hey, still with me buddy?" Liam's voice called in his ear.

"Hmm? Sorry Liam! The pipes were iced up, what did you say?" John asked as he twisted a few of the valves with a soft groan to get them to move.

"I did ask if my colleague would like to have stew tonight, that would keep us going for a few days and would be nice and warm for you when you get back in... got the fire burning nice and hot too, just the way you left it" Liam replied, sounding cheeky and high spirited compared to how John was feeling at the current moment.

"Well sounds good, just don't put anything else in there asides what we've got written down on the recipe" John instructed with a slight edge to his voice as he moved to leave the boiler room, and groaned in hearing the wind starting to pick up on the other side of the door.

"Ooh the storm is coming in fast, better hurry up or you'll get stranded in there, which I know you will hate" Liam's voice crackled slightly on his hands free.

"I know, better get the telescope in too or we'll suffer with the damages this cold weather will do, again" John replied and took a deep breath, pushing the door open and squeezed through the gap before walking back around to the main door. His head bent down against the stormy weather, the wind cutting through his winter gear before he finally got inside.

"Get that gear off John, no getting snow everywhere! Then you can plonk yourself back in front of that fire" Liam's voice called from the kitchen.

John smiled softly and shook his head, feeling his cheeks sting and throb from the warmth rushing to them as he got rid of his shoes, coat and hands free set before hanging the coat and scarf up on the hooks with his gloves on the heater.

He could hear the pipes slowly warming up from his work on them, and was soon settling down in front of the fire in the main room listening to the storm outside. He stared into the hot flames, occasionally shifting in his semi-comfortable position on the thick rug as he heard Liam busy, cooking away in the kitchen behind him.

Tucking his head on his knees, he soon pushed that away and lost himself to thought of the past like he seemed to be doing often these past few months since New York, and seeing his brothers. His eyes became unfocused as he thought of his family living on their tropical island while he thought he was happy in the Swiss Alps with his long time friend.

John sighed softly and closed his eyes from the sight of the fire in front of him, he shivered a little from the chill on his back but he knew that he would soon warm up once the heating got to the room. This was the part he hated about the snow and ice that surrounded him, the same conditions that cost them something very valuable a long time ago.

Scott and Virgil paused outside the door leading up from the hangers below, listening intently to their father's voice talking softly but full of emotion. None of the family had heard their father talk like this in years, and they all knew it was coming up since John had snapped at them all before leaving the island.

They shared a look in the dim light, sharing a curious question to what triggered the release, and they had been down in the hangers most of the day fixing glitches or dents to Thunderbird Two and were completely oblivious to what was happening up here.

"Sounds like father has finally broke, I'm glad... maybe now he'll be able to go and talk to John" Scott muttered, as mentioning their missing brother was always hard on all of them and often got a snap from their father.

Virgil shook his head, "It won't be that easy, one of my contacts says he lives up in the Swiss Alps now... working at an observatory" He said in a soft whisper as they listened to the conversation.

"Guess we're all too stubborn to admit that we need John, just like he needs us... but then it did take a lot of effort to bring everyone back to the island when we started up the organisation" Scott replied, sitting down on the stairs. "I always thought that John was enthusiastic, we all were when we first started up... but I guess the years we've been at the rescue business has taken its toll on all of us"

"The deaths we've seen, the failed rescue attempts or just trying to be in two places at once... I know it's all happening less as we're slowly giving out money to rescue centres across the world to try and help with that cause..." Virgil muttered, sitting down on the step below his brother's feet.

"But we still got a long way to go, I know Virgil, I've seen the reports too... it has gotten better though, not by much when we see the numbers ourselves but at the end of the day we're human right? And like everyone else, we've got limits... and so have our machines" Scott replied, "I guess John just got tired of the limit being broken too many times... he was stretched beyond it, before all this began he was just beyond tired... I wish I knew what he did up there but when we had that holiday together I didn't want to talk about work or the life here" He continued softly, running a hand through his hair.

"I wish I did now... when we saw him in New York with his friend, that's the happiest time I've seen him in years and I'm really happy for him" Scott said softly with a smile, "That box we found in his bedroom, I can't stop thinking about it really... how many memories or letters were in there, from a life that he had to leave behind" He sighed and ran a hand through his hair, leaving it there to lean against his legs.

They fell silent listening to the silence out in the main complex, with the soft words being muttered by their grandmother or by their youngest brother to try and help their father through something very trying for the leader of the family.

"He won't come back, I know he won't... at least not for a long time, but we'll cope... Tin-Tin wants to become more active, and I've been teaching her about Thunderbird Two" Virgil said softly after a while, receiving a small glare from his brother, "Don't give me that look Scott... things are changing around here so why can't we train Tin-Tin if she's showing the interest? I don't know if she's talked to Alan about it but I'm sure that they'll figure something out"

Scott sighed and looked down, "I guess not, we can try and talk to everyone tonight... I want to try and find John, check on him but I'm not sure where to really start" He replied and groaned as he got up onto his feet. "I just want to get that box to him, as I know it must be precious"

Virgil smiled and shook his head, "I'm heading back downstairs, want to finish the checks on Thunderbird Two before Kyrano calls us up for supper" He said and started climbing back down the stairs, "You know, you can try contacting his publicist... I believe his number is stored somewhere in the phone book"

Scott smiled, "Thanks Virge, I'll go and do that in my room... think I'll use the other exit so not to disturb anyone out there" He replied and joined his brother back down the stairs.

With the stew on the go needing an hour to finish cooking, Liam moved into the main room and looked down at his companion. He sighed softly in seeing that John had not moved at all from his curled up position. But what the astronomer could hear soft breathing coming from the young man.

With a small sigh, he retrieved the thick blanket from the couch behind them and carefully draped it over John's sleeping form to keep him warm even though the fire was really hot to him but as he learned over the years from hanging out with the blonde Tracy. John always felt the cold worse than anyone he knew; he had learnt it when in college then later when he joined him in NASA.

After the training to being an astronaut, John would turn the heating up in the flat to chase away the chills but now he lived here in the Swiss Alps but then he would wear enough layers for both of them when he had to go out there.

He stopped tucking the blanket around his friend when he heard soft mutters coming from his sleeping form. The normally hyperactive scientist strained to hear the soft talking before shaking his head.

"Best let you sleep for now John" Liam muttered as he stretched up from his crouch, settling himself down on the couch to read a few of the electronic journals he had printed out earlier that day.

"Am so so sorry... wasn't able to... please forgive me..." John muttered in his sleep, his tall form shrinking into a tighter ball under the blanket.

Liam frowned and looked up from his papers, he put them to one side and slowly moved down to John's side. "John?" He spoke softly, daring himself to put a hand on the man's shoulder.

"I'm really sorry.... I failed you again... I tainted her memory..." John muttered, caught up in his nightmare.

The scientist frowned and moved to put himself between the fire and the sleeping young man. "What have you done John? Who's memory have you tainted?" He asked, resting his hands on the sleeping man's shoulders.

"I failed you Dad... I failed to save that village... I didn't respond quickly enough..." John's voice turned weak and croaky, "I failed to honour mom... to why it was set up to begin with... " He croaked.

'He thinks I'm Jeff Tracy?' Liam first thought sitting back and shook his head, 'No... It's worse' He took a deep breath and replied to his friend.

"Now listen to me John, no matter how many times you have failed or how many lives have been lost, you have to remember that at the end of the day that you are a human being and humans have limits"

"Now how about moving up off this floor and onto the couch where it'll be more comfortable?" Liam asked before shaking his friend, to wake him enough to get him over to the couch and watch him all into a deeper sleep.

"Hmm thanks Li" John muttered before falling into a deeper sleep.

Liam sighed rubbing the back of his neck. "Any time Johnny" He replied before going off to attend to the stew.

He thought about what John had said in his sleep as he stirred the stew, adding a few ingredients while checking the recipe.

'Failed them? Wonder if it's something to do with his family, they use to be so close...' He thought as he continued to stir the stew.

He had thought about hacking into John's computer a few times to try and find out more about what was happening but he didn't want to be too nosey or ruin anything that was going on in the young man's private life.

"It's starting to burn" A groggy voice muttered over his shoulder, making the scientist jump nearly spilling their cooking meal.

The spoon was caught and the heat turned down with a soft click. "Something on your mind?" John asked, sounding groggy and croaky. As the scientist looked up, he could see that the man did look tired too.

"Just a few things that I read in one of those emails I thought could do with looking over, nothing unusual" Liam replied with a smile, wondering if John remembered talking in his sleep.

John yawned and itched the back of his neck, it was then that Liam noticed the blanket resting on the astronaut's shoulders. "If you say so" He muttered and shuffled back off into the living room.

Liam shook his head and took a deep breath to calm himself down, "Better not be falling back asleep in there, food's ready!" He called after his friend, getting two big soup bowls out of the cupboard before starting to dish up the stew.

"You can't be serious Dad? We have tried hundreds of times before in getting Thunderbird Five to run automatic and we never could... not with a decent stable system anyway" Scott spoke up after their father's speech.

Jeff had been thinking over a few days since talking to Alan and his mother, having decided that they must carry on with their lives and especially the rescue business instead of secretly helping out the rescue organisations around the world getting more organised.

As his mind turned that, he thought about the grants and how they were being used for the much needed upgrading of the current rescue equipment most of the rescue organisations had in the current situations but over the last year or so they have gotten better and had to rely on International Rescue less and less.

"Yes Scott, I am serious... I want to try and switch Thunderbird Five to automatic, just like any other satellite" Jeff replied, earning weary glances from his sons. "It will require all of you, including Brains to go up there and replace most of the circuit boards on the consoles... we have been working together to configure a computer down here for Thunderbird Five only, networked to the station" Jeff explained, "Isn't that right Brains?"

"T-t-that is c-correct M-Mr Tracy, t-the d-d-d-blueprints are r-right here" Brains replied, picking up the rolled up blueprints for Thunderbird Five's new circuitry. There were notepads with diagrams and notes written in the genius's curvy writing.

Scott glared at the prints, "So what? Are you giving up that John will return back to the island, back to this family?" He asked, looking up at their father feeling his brothers sat around the room. "I have seen John on mainland the last time we were there and I know he looks happy, happier than have ever seen him since we started up International Rescue... but I thought that given time, he may return"

Virgil sighed from his place at the piano, "I don't think John will yet Scott, we do need to continue on with the organisation... I'm with you Dad, let's get the space station back up and running" He replied, earning a soft sigh from the couch where Alan sat with Tin-Tin.

"I don't like playing with her systems without John's say so but if we haven't got him here..." Alan muttered and looked at Tin-Tin, who gently squeezed his hand. "I'm going to send him an email to say that we're going ahead with this, just want him to know what we're going to" He added.

"He does have a right to know, we do need to get back to work in the organisation... wonder if that'll help John figure out what he needs to do" Gordon muttered quietly and felt the room fall into a uncomfortable silence.

Grandma Tracy broke the silence, "John will choose his own life like he is at the moment, and if he's happy in that then I say then who are we to stop him enjoying his life here on earth?" She spoke softly, looking around at everyone from her seat near the desk. "I for one am glad that you boys want to get back to the rescue business but as for your brother, then how about we let him choose what he wants to do"

Alan and Gordon shared looks at each other before looking over at Virgil, who nodded before looking at Scott.

The eldest son sighed and ran a hand through his hair, "You're right Grandma, we do need to get back to business... so Brains, what do we have to do?" He asked, walking up to the genius to learn the plans of action.

"Got it all down? Yeah that's all the parts we need for here, I'll give Kira a call to see if he needs anything but for now can you get that order done for us?" Liam asked, tapping his pen on the pad of paper that had a list of essential circuit boards and parts that needed a desperate replacement.

"So when are we able to collect it?" He asked and listened to the lady on the other end, he sighed wondering how long it would take this time. "Three weeks? Are you flirting with me, because it sounds like it" Liam asked, leaning back in his seat.

"Yeah well sorry darling, you definitely don't sound like my type... I've got work to do, so if you can send that email with the invoice then that'll be great" He said and nodded, "Yeah, that's right... thanks, bye" He added and put the phone down with a sigh.

"Ugh" He moaned, throwing the pen on the desk and rubbed his eyes.

A low chuckle got his attention behind him, "You'll get grey hair if you continue that" The voice spoke.

"Like you, you mean?" Liam teased, opening his eyes and looked at his companion upside down before straightening, turning around to face him.

"I'm blonde, I can get away with it and not as vain in looks as you are" John replied, spinning his friend around and leaned on the back of the chair to look at the messy desk. He read the notepad with a small frown, "Looks like we'll have some hard work ahead of us if we're to get our telescope back up and running on this new network"

"It's been a month since the network has first been announced, it's a real pain! Why do we have to join it?" Liam asked and waited for the answer he had heard a few times in the past month.

"Well you know the main reason, but the real reason is that we're probably assisting International Rescue... don't ask me how I know, but I believe that we are, just think of how this network is being set up" John replied leaning against the desk.

"How every small rescue organisation has suddenly joined this growing internet community, to be more connected with each other and getting help in upgrading their equipment... their communication systems have been upgraded too, not as good as some companies but enough to get rescue calls through to someone that could handle it quickly and safely for the rescuers" He continued and wondered about contacting the island to confirm his suspicions.

He shook his head and stepped away from his friend, "But for now we just have to integrate our systems and install some very special firewalls that I've got in mind, so that we can continue doing our own work without anyone else knowing"

Liam spun around and looked up at his friend, "There's the college Johnny I know of, so how about we drive down to the village and get supplies before we start work? You know that once you start then there's no stopping you until it's complete" He replied with a grin, jumping out of the chair with a stretch.

John smiled and shrugged, "Why not, checked the weather this morning and we're not due to have a storm for a while yet... so let's just stock up while we can, right?" He replied and walked off to get changed into some warmer clothes for their journey down into the village.

It took just over two months but the world had changed, the rescue organisations around the planet had been organised or had received generous grants to update their equipment to carry out more rescues in awkward situations but that didn't stop them calling out International Rescue when things were too much for them.

It seemed that the amount of rescue calls International Rescue were receiving had dropped, or were requesting advice from a rescue unit just starting out. It wasn't easy going but then this was only just starting up properly and nothing like this has been tried before.

Thunderbird Five was updated to handle all the calls and information it was receiving and sending to different units across the world, needing a regular maintenance to keep all its systems running smoothly. Brains had made himself at home amongst the computers and processors up there while working out all of the bugs and complications on the satellite, he was starting to feel how John must have felt as the Tracy family was his family too.

He received regular calls from the island, almost daily to help keep him occupied along with his work. The Tracy family was kept busy with the updates of the other Thunderbird machines and rescue equipment but what the genius discovered one day while exploring around the workshop of the geostationary satellite was blueprints of a vehicle in the works.

It was really hard to make out what it was suppose to be with calculations and sketches all over the plans with rushed writing on it but he could try and recreate what it was suppose to look like, he wondered what the older blonde Tracy brother was trying to create in moments of loneliness and boredom.

He would remember to take this with him when he got off the satellite, when Thunderbird Three arrived with the new components he had asked for to recreate some of the computer systems up here to run more smoothly.

Hearing a bleeping sound from the main console, he recognized it as Thunderbird Three requesting docking and knew that he had to get to work with the crew quickly so they all could return to the island.

"Li, come on! I've got everything... yes, I've got that" John spoke into his phone as he leaned on the trolley looking down into its contents. "Yes, I've got the wine but why do you use so much?" He asked and sighed, rubbing the back of his neck.

"So is that everything on the list up there? I've got almost everything but the vegetables on this list" He continued the conversation as he navigated around the shop, all he wanted to do was get back up there especially with the threat of bad weather later in the day.

The blonde Tracy looked around the shelves as he walked by them, looking for inspiration for what to cook tonight before sighing. "Liam, come on man... we can't have that again! If I see another jacket potato for the fifth night running then I think I will go insane..." He replied to his friend's chatter.

"I'll cook, and I mean it this time... no computer work for me tonight, just cook and help you wash up before settling down in front of the fire" John said with a smile and waited for the bad acting to come down the phone.

As it arrived he laughed and shook his head, "Li, come on! We've been at that for months; we do need a break now and then! I know that our telescope isn't just right at the moment but we can't do anything with all that cloud cover at the moment" He continued and walked around the shop once more to check for something.

Jeff Tracy couldn't believe he had allowed himself to get talked into coming here, it was something that he could always find a way to talk himself out of when it came to visiting snow filled towns such as this. A lonely little town tucked high up in the Swiss Alps, he wondered what possessed his son to move from a tropical paradise to here.

He sighed and looked at the address that was written down for him; he brought the hired land rover to a stop and looked around at the village. He couldn't see any road signs to point him the right direction and sighed, hoping that he could find someone to give him directions to the observatory.

The wind blew harshly, banging loose blinders on the windows against the side of the buildings. The signs outside shops and the local pub banged and twisted in the same wind, giving the whole abandoned feeling to the area.

He tucked his hands into his pockets after locking the SUV and walked towards the small store, he felt the bit of paper in between his fingers as the warmth of the shop hit him through the thick Arctic coat he had brought before coming up here.

Jeff thought about how his mother had gotten this information and practically forced it on him, after these few months he felt that he should visit his son to try and talk to him. Although last time it wasn't on friendly terms, he thought about how cold his son had been to him.

'What I've done to him, how I pushed him away in fear of him being hurt out on a rescue... wonder if I can get that through to John' He thought to himself and looked around, He took a deep breath and headed over to the checkouts, ignoring the children playing around their parents or other people of the village all hiding in here from the cold.

"Excuse me, I was wondering if you could give me directions" Jeff asked softly, trying to keep his voice calm while inwardly there was a emotional battle going on as he tried to prepare himself for coming face to face with his son since that meet nearly a year ago.

"Oh hi, that's good that most of us speak English here isn't it?" The man behind the desk replied with a grin and waved at someone walking behind Jeff.

"Um, yes... quiet" Jeff replied, surprised by the energy coming from this staff member. "Can you help me find the observatory?" He asked, ignoring the laughter behind him as the people passed by him to go outside. Their arms loaded with shopping, he glanced at them but they both had hoods up with thick coats and gloves on.

"Which one? There are two, one to the south of here while the nearest is up in the mountains" The man replied watching the people that just left walk over to a beaten up SUV. "But if you're looking for the nearest one, then I suggest you run before they leave" He nodded at the two men that had just left the store.

Jeff looked at the young men, as they loaded their truck. "Those two? OK, thanks" He replied and left the store feeling the cold wind hit him hard causing him to shiver before taking a deep breath, walking over to the couple.

John looked at the top of Liam's SUV and saw the thick snow, he glanced at his friend who was focused on checking the list and the open paper bags of shopping. He quickly scooped up some snow and threw it at his friend, laughing at the surprised reaction.

Liam was shocked and surprised by the snowball coming from his mature friend, "What the..? OK buddy, this means war!" He replied, grabbing some snow and threw it back at his friend who ducked and continued to laugh.

"You missed" John replied with a grin, and got another snowball ready.

"I know it's a month before Christmas, but this energy is new to you! I should get you out of that observatory and workshop more often" Liam replied with a grin, dodging the snowball and retaliated with his own. He whooped for joy when it hit his friend and dodged behind the SUV.

"Well it's a month before Christmas I know, but just glad to be down here and shopping with you" John replied with a grin and threw the snowball in his gloved hand over his friend's shelter, missing with a small plop as it hit the ground.

"Well you have locked yourself away in there for well over a month now, fixing all those busted circuits and programmes... just who sent you all that work anyway?" Liam asked, remembering the mysterious email that ruined their movie night well over a month ago.

"Can't really say at the moment Li, want to but just not sure if can" John replied and sighed, dusting himself off. "What else have we got on the list?" He asked surrendering the game to his friend, for now.

"Just the post office check and we're done" Liam replied with a shrug and pulled his hood back up, "Ugh, I'm all cold now! Thanks Johnny" He added, feeling the snow melt on the back of his neck from where it fell into the hood of his coat.

John grinned and shrugged, finding the keys in his pockets. His cheeks flushed from the cold and the small snowball game. "I'm sure you'll get revenge later, you always do" He replied and pulled his gloves off, moving closer to his friend and put his warm hands on Liam's cheeks.

"Is that any better?" He asked softly, letting his hands cool down the same time as warming his friend up.

"Much, fancy the post office run or stay here with the car?" Liam asked softly, feeling his cheeks flush from the close contact and not the warmth from his friend's hands.

John sighed, "I'll stay here, don't fancy the talk of us being single from those ladies today" He replied, taking his hands away and quickly put his gloves on. He looked up at the blue sky, watching a few fluffy clouds pass by. "Besides, you're always quicker than me to get the mail if there's any"

Liam looked up and shook his head, "Whatever Tracy, you just don't like to flirt like me" He replied and walked off towards the post office.

John moved his eyes away from the sky and watched his friend go, leaning against the SUV. He sighed and lowered his hood to rub the back of his neck, wondering a few things before looking around and felt someone watching him.

He frowned as he saw the figure standing outside the store, having just watched their snowball fight and now just stood watching him.

The blonde Tracy sighed and looked down at his boots, "Got something to say to me... Dad?" He asked loudly, looking up as he said the last word.