A/N: So here it is, the last chapter of the story!! wow, its taken me a lot longer to finish this than i thought it would! thank you to everyone who has stuck with it, i know it must have been trying at times to wait for me to update! REMINDER: if you need a refresher on the Jeff/Alan blow-up, go back and read GROW UP. oh, and see if you can pick out the characteristics that Alan gives to each of his family members during his "thought process", but don't worry, i'll tell you at the end which goes with who! happy reading...
By the way, still not mine, i just get to take them out for a spin every now and then...
Tracy Island was quiet. It had been for days now. The family hardly spoke to each other, so caught up in the emotions and grief of the past week. They had even cut down on the number of rescues that they went out on, only leaving when the situation absolutely called for it. Nobody wanted to be away for too long.
Nobody wanted to leave his side. It had been more than a week since they had gotten Alan out of Thunderbird 2 and brought him home. It had been touch and go for a while on the ride back, the broken ribs puncturing his lung, causing the irregularity in breathing that John had heard. It had taken a while to get him completely stable and patched up, but it looked like Alan would be able to make a complete, and very slow, recovery.
If he woke up.
They had taken Alan off of the respirator, his lungs strong enough once again to breath without assistance. They had hoped that that had been a sign that he would soon open his eyes, but after almost two days, they were still waiting. But Alan was here, with them, and that gave them hope. They would wait for him as long as he needed.
Not to say that they would do it patiently.
The moment that they had landed, Jeff had told Scott to refuel Thunderbird 3 and get Brains sown from Thunderbird 5, much to Scotts chagrin. He had been moody ever since. The injuries that Virgil and Gordon had sustained had made them grouchy to say the least, but for several days now Virgil had been able to take out his frustration at the whole situation on his piano. Gordon, on the other hand, could only stare longingly out the window at the pool, and unable to take out his frustration that way because of his cast caused him to get in peoples faces quite a bit more than usual. And John was just…quiet. More quiet than usual in fact. He could be there, in the room with his family, and not say a word, or acknowledge their presence, for hours. A look at his face told Jeff that John was still feeling the emotions of the previous week, and deeply at that. Jeff had heard him several nights this week moving around the house, seemingly avoiding his bedroom.
Jeff wasn't fairing that much better than his sons, but took out his fear and frustrations only in the privacy of his own bedroom. He couldn't afford to fall apart in front of his children, not now, now again. So he went about his day, letting his children vent in their own way. He slept and he ate, and he sat with Alan, hoping that each day this melancholy existence that he Tracy household had taken on would end, and that Alan would wake up.
It was on day 10 that Jeff walked down to the med-bay, and paused at the doors. The voice he heard on the other side soothed part of his frayed nerves, and while it wasn't the voice that he had been waiting to hear, it made him smile a little none-the-less. He stood there and let John's voice wash over him, listening to the pitch rise and fall with the emotions of the story he was weaving. The books John authored were best sellers, and the eloquence with which he spoke now reminded Jeff just why that was.
He opened the doors and walked over to his two blond sons just as the story was coming to a close, and gently rested his hand on the back of John's neck. He gave it a gentle squeeze and moved around to the other side of the bed to take a chair on Alan's left side.
"I was just retelling Alan about how he saved the day," he said with a small lopsided smile, and then leaned in closer to Alan. "But I'll tell you the part about how you celebrated your victory over the Hood in a sea of adoring women fans some other time, when dad's not around, alright sprout?" It was whispered loudly, intentionally meant for Jeff's ears, and made him smile, which he suspected was the intended purpose.
"Interesting choice of story material son." He caught John's eye, and immediately saw that John's spirit had dampened somewhat by what he had said, and chastised himself. He was just glad that John was finally coming back to being his old self again. The restless nights had gotten less frequent, and some life was coming back to his gaunt face. He was about to say more on the subject when John beat him to it.
"I just wanted him to know how much of a hero he really is. I just…I needed him to know. He deserves to know." He walked around and behind his father on his way out the door, and Jeff caught his arm and gave it a little squeeze of agreement. "Besides, the papers never do it justice anyway." He nodded his head in the direction of the foot of Alan's bed, and Jeff saw the news sheets of the rescue. "I'll bring you down some coffee or something in a little while."
Jeff caught his eye before he made it through the door. "John, thank you." And they both knew that Jeff was not only talking about the coffee. John smiled at his father before exiting, leaving Jeff alone with his youngest son.
For the past several days, every time that he had sat here with Alan, he had regaled him with stories, much like John just had. Stories from when he was a kid, or how he had met Lucille, or the antics of his older brothers that they had never wanted Alan to know. But today he sat by this son in silence, thinking about that day. If Penny and Parker hadn't arrived when they did, then the Hood would have gotten away with the devastation he had tried to cause in the Thunderbirds name. They had taken him down from a distance, tranquilizing him as soon as he had come within range, heading straight for Thunderbird 1 to make his getaway. But he was now in custody, in a maximum security cell. They had also been a great help in returning all of the birds and equipment back to the island. But John was right when he said that Alan deserved to know how much of a hero he really was.
"Alan." Jeff shifted a little closer, so that he could rest his elbows on the bed. "Son, I need you to wake up. I can't tell you how proud I am of you if you don't wake up. Please Alan. Come home." And that was how he spent his time with Alan that day, holding his hand and asking Alan to come home, come back to him.
--FAB FAB FAB FAB FAB--
Am I dead? Mom? No, not dead
Pain. Dull, pulsing. Should be more
Not alone? Warmth. Voices. Presence. Feelings of……….
Family. My family
Anger? No anger. Love. Me? Them? Both
Fear? Beg. Plead. Ask
Love it. Want it. Need it
--FAB FAB FAB FAB--
Opening his eyes took much more energy than he thought it was supposed to. In fact, everything took more energy than he thought that it was supposed to. His eyes felt gritty, but blinking them several times seemed to help that along. He felt like his mouth was full of cotton, and his head too, now that he thought about it. And his limbs felt heavy. He knew that he should feel pain, but it wasn't there. Drugs? Probably. And now that he was awake, all he wanted to do was close his eyes and go back to sleep. He was just so tired. Wait, who was that? He turned his head slightly to see Scott slumped down in a chair sleeping. See, I'll just follow Scott's lead, and maybe take a little nap…
The door opened though, and he turned his head to the left to see who the newcomer was, and saw John backing into the room, two cups of coffee occupying his hands. He rounded on the bed, and in that instant caught Alan's gaze. The shattering of the coffee mugs as they met the floor woke up Scott with a start.
"Wha..? John what hap…?" But John was already at the bedside, grasping Alan's hand, and just looking into his eyes. "Alan! Oh my God, Alan!" Scott grabbed his other hand, and Alan shifted his gaze to meet Scott's.
"I'm getting dad and, and everybody! I'll be right back!" And John was off like a shot. Scott turned back to Alan, to find that his gaze was still fixed on him. "Alan, can you hear me? Are you alright?"
Alan opened his mouth to answer, but all that seemed able to come out was a croak. He tried again, with the same result, until Scott took the hint and grabbed him a cup of ice chips, giving him a few at the time. Hmmm, much better.
"Scott…" So much was conveyed in just that one word. What happened? Am I alright? Are you alright? What's going on?
"Yeah, Alan. I'm right here. You're home, you're safe. Don't worry, dad should be here any-" The door slammed open and the rest of the family was suddenly there by his bedside.
His dad immediately gathered him up in a hug, both gentle and fierce at the same time. "Oh Alan." The hug continued, and Alan realized that his dad was muttering something into the crook of his neck. "…stupidest, brainless, selfless, bravest thing that you have ever done." He pulled back so that he was looking Alan in the eye. "And I have never been more proud to have you as my son." Tears were steaming down his face, and as he looked around he saw that his brother's eyes were deceptively bright. He felt his own eyes start to well in response. The heaviness of his limbs and the foggy sensation in his brain seemed to lessen a great deal with his family by his side.
"Alan, before anything else happens, we need to talk. What happened last break, I am so sorry, please believe that. What you said, it was the truth. Part of me will never want you to become a part of this organization for exactly that reason. You have more of your mother in you than you realize. Believe me, I wasn't the only one with a stubborn streak and a sharp tongue. But it's also because you are my youngest, and that will never change."
He paused, letting out a sigh. "I know that I have not been much of a father to you. Creating this organization, running the business, took me away from you more times than not, and that I will always regret. But letting you become a part of International Rescue means that I have to admit that you are growing up. That the little time that I have left to be an active father will be replaced by my becoming an observing father. You won't need me the same way that you need me now. You're growing into a fine young man Alan, and you're doing it without a lot of help from me, and I wasn't ready to accept that."
"Dad…" Alan looked at his father, and gently squeezed his hand. "You have helped me dad, more than you know."
It was here that his brothers took up the conversation. Scott held his gaze as he spoke. "Alan, we're sorry for treating you like a kid so much. I guess we never realized how much it really hurt you. But in your eyes, you are always going to be our youngest brother."
"Yeah," said Virgil. "There is always going to be that feeling in all of us, giving you a bit of a hard time, but a fierce need to protect you at the same time."
"Yeah bro!" Gordon leaned over and mussed up his hair a little before he continued. "It's all part of the big brother code, and you're the only younger brother that I've got!"
He smiled, and nodded his head at his brothers, knowing in his heart that what they said was true. His father spoke again. "We never wanted to drive you away Alan, and I never wanted you to change who you are. You are Alan Shepard Tracy, headstrong and argumentative, but unique and selfless, and an integral part of this family. I don't want you to be a copy of your brothers. There is nothing that I love more than having 5 very different sons. This family just wouldn't function properly if it was any other way."
"Dad…" Hid eyes welled with tears once again. "Dad, I'm sorry. I thought it was what you wanted. I mean, you're always comparing everything I do to my brothers. It felt like that was the only way that I would really be accepted."
"Never, Alan. I guess that's just my way of taking the easy way out. You are so different from your brothers. Sometimes I just don't know how to react to the arguments that we have. But I never wanted you to change who you are. I saw how unhappy you were. Nothing that makes you that unhappy would ever be what I wanted. What any of us would want. We love you for who you are. Understand?"
All he could do was bite his lip and nod his agreement, afraid that if he opened his mouth he would not be able to stop the sob that was threatening. That was what he wanted, what his heart had been waiting to hear for several long months.
"All right, let's let Alan get some rest. He still has quite a bit of recovering to do." Jeff noticed Alan's eyes go a little wider, and felt him tense for a second. "But I think that I'll stay here for a while and sit with you until you fall asleep. If you don't mind."
Jeff felt Alan relax, and was happy to realize that they were well on their way to mending the rift that had formed between them. His four other sons made their way out the door, each promising to be back in a little while. But Virgil paused at the door.
"Hey Alan?" He held the door open, halfway through already. "Yeah Virg?" Virgil gave him a little half smirk. "Don't think that you're off the hook for crashing my bird. That was so uncalled for!" And for the first time, he was glad that Alan didn't yet have the strength required to throw something at him as he scurried out the door.
Please Review and let me know what you thought!!
Strength- Scott , Serenity- John , Passion- Virgil , Vibrance- Gordon , Home/Safety-Jeff
i am thinking about doing a short story focusing on John and his nightmares/restless nights that Jeff comments on. Good idea/Bad idea?