We'd always said that wild love of speed he had would be the death of him, but none of us ever really believed it.

How could we? Dad and Scott were both the same way, and all of us are adrenaline junkies to some degree, but Alan… Alan was something else. Wild and impulsive and charming and so very, very vibrantly alive. Alan made colors seem brighter and laughter sweeter; he really lived. And that made it okay that he was kinda immature and self- absorbed, because hey, he was a teenager still and he was the youngest and there was all the time in the world for him to grow out of it.

And… and buried deep was the baseless assumption that because our mother died giving him life that we'd sacrificed our quota, that it somehow gave him some measure of protection, that he could afford to be reckless. We weren't going through that again.

We couldn't take it again.

I suppose it's an irony too giant for me to appreciate that that was the only thing we were right about.

Dad… Dad's completely withdrawn. Grandma makes sure he gets fed, but it's wearing on her too. Scott tries to help her, but the three of them were all his parents. After Mom died Dad hid himself away. He didn't have much to do with the baby; he'd bury himself in work and every now and again, when he couldn't bear Mom's complete absence, he'd find Alan and play with him or, at night, run his hand over his hair and kiss his forehead and just watch him sleep. The only time he comes out of his office is when there's a rescue. He leaves Brains to run things; he can't face Alan's portrait.

I'm worried about Grandma. It's aged her; she's exhausted all the time, she's gotten careless with things she never would have before. Cooking has become a chore; she actually lets Kyrano do the dishes, and she hasn't done any cleaning since Alan's… accident. She stoops and shuffles and I've seen her cry at least three times.

I'd never seen Grandma cry before. Not even when Mom died.

Scott's not much better. He's trying to hold both the family- what's left of our family- and International Rescue together, but it's too much for one man. He's going to wind up collapsing soon.

When Scott falls, so too will Virgil. Virgil's always been Scott's wingman, but he's what has made it possible for us to limp along this long.

Virgil eats, and makes sure everyone else does. Virgil follows Scott's orders to the letter on a rescue without taking issue at Scott's abrasive manner and somehow manages to coax everyone else into doing it, too. Virgil went with Scott to identify the body, and when Scott came out of the room (because he wouldn't let anybody else, not even Virgil, go in there with him,) it was Virgil that caught him as he stumbled out the door, Virgil who found Scott and held him as he cried later that night and threw away the whiskey bottle, who bundled Scott off to bed.

It was Virgil who had the strength to wait until then to walk out to the beach and scream into the endless noise of the surf.

Gordon is… lost. Now he's the youngest, now there's no Terrible Twosome and no pranks, no laughter, maybe no laughter ever again. He walks around with no purpose, only this look in his eyes, and he's admitted to me that he feels like he's been hollowed out. Like a Jack o' lantern.

And I… I flaked out. I spent about a week planetside before suggesting that I return to Five, where I can pretend that he'll be there when I get back and I didn't bury my baby brother. Where all I have to do is listen, because there's nothing I can do. Nothing to be done.

And that's the hardest part, not doing anything but living.

A/N: I wrote this a while back when I first dove into Thunderbirds fanfiction. It's mostly movieverse, as I've never seen the TV series, but I took elements I liked from both of them to create a sort of tweaked AU. Characterizations are based entirely on fanfiction, so forgive me if they're off.