Author's Note: Thanks to Quiller and Lynn for their betas - Sine qua non. Couldn't resist a teeny, tiny Virgil chapter.
Talking Cure - Chapter 3: Virgil
"Will you just…" Scott struggled to remain in control, "…leave me alone!" Despite the moderate tone of Scott's language, Virgil still looked like a puppy whose nose had been hit with a rolled up newspaper for no apparent reason. He turned and walked away from Scott knowing that if he stayed it would lead to trouble. Scott watched him go with an expression that seemed to tell of a deep, physical pain.
Virgil was sitting on the floor of Thunderbird 2's hangar, fiddling with the radio equipment in front of him. He felt uneasy and out of sorts. Beside him loomed the enormous green bulk of his Thunderbird. Despite the fact he would have been more comfortable in his small office, he found some peace of mind from being next to his beloved aircraft. She was solid, reassuring, got him out of trouble on a regular basis and never let him down. That was the same description he would normally use for Scott.
Virgil sighed for the sixteenth time that morning and continued fitting the small components together. What was he going to do about Scott? Scott was always so…well…Scott. Reliable, determined, flexible enough to consider other people's points of view but confident in his own abilities. He had endless patience with all of his brothers, even Alan. When Scott had been off around the world at college and then with the US Air Force they had not seen much of each other. In a way this had been a good thing as when they had moved to Tracy Island they had resumed their relationship but this time as two adults and the sibling rivalry and squabbles were left behind in another lifetime. He could say with honesty that Scott was his best friend as well as brother and it had upset him to see him in such emotional distress.
The situation had, at first, crept up on Virgil and he now realised that this was because Scott tried so hard to be the best big brother and Field Commander he could. He hadn't wanted to let Virgil see that he felt troubled. Virgil hadn't connected it with the Nebraska rescue because, at the time, Scott had shown his concern at Virgil's near miss, not with relief, but by admonishing him to be more careful and alert at every moment during a rescue, even when the danger seemed to have passed.
Over the next couple of months Virgil had found Scott less and less communicative. Scott would discuss rescues and maintenance and development of the Thunderbird craft, but when it came to something personal he could clam up. Virgil began to miss mulling over the state of the world with his big brother. It was when Scott started to become unsure on rescues that Virgil really began to worry. 'I don't know', 'What shall we do?", "Ask John" were phrases that started to crop up way too often on the comms link from Thunderbird 1.
Virgil didn't know how to help his brother even though it was apparent that things were very wrong. He attempted to jolt Scott out of his moods by suggesting day trips to air shows on the mainland, jamming together on the piano or schemes to wind up Gordon and Alan. Scott had tried to respond but Virgil heard 'Not right now, I'm busy' too many times and he had lost heart.
Virgil knew he had to do something for Scott but he couldn't work out what. All of his approaches just seemed to make his big brother more and more irritated. In the end, Virgil had turned to Tin Tin for advice. They had a long talk which had ended with her suggesting to Virgil that he wrote Scott a letter. The letter could express how he was feeling and how he wanted to be supportive but would allow Scott to read Virgil's thoughts in his own time and without pressure.
At first Virgil had decided this was a good idea. He had sat at his desk and begun the letter. After his fifth attempt had ended up in the trash he had leaned back in his chair in despair. This was stupid. He wasn't a writer, he was do-er. He needed to do something that he was good at to show his support to Scott. But what action could he take that would get across how he was feeling and still retain both their dignities?
"What? What is it?" mumbled Scott as he stirred from his sleep and found himself lying on his bed with Virgil standing over him. He had been taking a nap and had thought he had locked the door but then Virgil could probably take apart the outer keypad and disable it in less than thirty seconds.
"Get up; I need you to come to TB2's hangar."
"Why? Is there a problem?"
"Just come on!" replied Virgil and started to walk towards the door. Scott was still too sleepy to put up an argument and followed his brother. As they walked along the corridor Virgil glanced back at him.
"Not like you to sleep during the day," he remarked.
"I was tired," Scott replied in a sour tone. Virgil cursed himself. Action, not talk he repeated to himself as they took the lift down into the hangar.
As they walked towards Thunderbird 2, Scott observed that the aircraft did not have a huge hole in the side and wondered what it was that Virgil had woken him to see with such urgency. Virgil walked over to a small box on the floor, picked it up and handed it to Scott.
"For you," he said, smiling at his big brother. Scott looked at the box.
"Thanks, Virg, that's great," he replied, trying to sound enthusiastic. Virgil rolled his eyes in amusement.
"Not the remote, you idiot. Push that lever up and watch the crate." He pointed to a plastic crate a few metres away. Scott was even more puzzled but duly pushed the lever forward and looked at the crate. It shuddered for a few seconds and then a pointed nose cone could be seen emerging, closely followed by the rest of a small aircraft. It was a scaled model of Thunderbird 1, perfect in every way.
Scott watched transfixed as the model plane rose upwards. Virgil couldn't help but give a smile of satisfaction at a technical job well done. Scott seemed unable to speak but kept his finger on the lever as the baby Thunderbird climbed higher and higher. Belatedly, Virgil realised that Scott was not going to change the direction.
"Horizontal flight!" he yelped as he leaned over the remote and yanked the lever to one side. Thunderbird 1 turned on its side and flew parallel with the ceiling.
"She's beautiful, Virg, just beautiful."
Scott's words were so softly spoken that Virgil only just caught them but they gave him a sense of relief. The fact that he had called the model "she" rather than "it" showed how impressed he was.
Scott started to use the controls to manoeuvre the model as Virgil watched in silence. He flew it up and down and was soon competent enough to try acrobatic moves. Thunderbird 1 flew around the enormous hangar, under the big Thunderbird 2's tailplane and over and around the equipment. Then Scott, being Scott, landed her back in the crate in her original position. He turned to Virgil.
"Thank you," he said simply.
"Something to play with until you're back in the real thing," grinned Virgil. A look passed between the two brothers. The look told Virgil that he'd achieved exactly what he wanted to achieve. Scott understood the love, care and time that had gone into the construction of the model. He knew that Virgil had made it as a gesture of support and a show of confidence that he would soon be back as Field Commander. To Scott the gift had said "Say what you like to me but you can't push me away. I'm staying right here beside you until you're ready to talk."
Virgil hoped that time wouldn't be far away.