By Spense

Description: In the immediate aftermath of the eventful spring break, Alan finds that things are not going as he expected, and in consequence, his world begins to slowly unravel. Movie-verse.

Disclaimer: The usual - I don't own, I'm making no money, I'm writing for the enjoyment, and please don't sue me!

Author's Note: I'm not big on author's notes, but this one does require a couple of comments. First off, this has been sitting in my computer for well over a year. And if I don't do anything soon, it will probably here forever because there is still a chunk out of the middle (about one chapter) that isn't completed. This is very unusual to my manner of posting - I usually don't post until a story is completed. However, the remainder IS finished. Hopefully, just posting will spur me to get the 'nuts-and-bolts' connecting chapter finished. It isn't an exciting chapter - just moving characters from one place to another and I just have to do it.

Secondly, I am on the road a lot for work (and have been for the last couple of years) leaving little time for writing for pleasure. Also, I only have access to my computer (and time) for pleasure writing on the weekends, among the other things that I do. Therefore, posting wouldn't be nearly as often as I usually choose. So expect a chapter once a week. I seriously doubt it will be more than that.

Third, this is un-betaed. So all mistakes, shortcomings, and plot issues are mine alone. Don't blame anybody else!!!


(Note: These events occur within days of International Rescue's defeat of the Hood.)

The letters felt hot in Alan's hand. A part of him not stunned senseless thought how ironic it was that he should find them now. Now that things were finally going right in his life. Now that he felt accepted. Now that he was finally part of International Rescue, and not just an inconvenient add-on to the great Tracy family.

The shock was tremendous, and he was having a hard time grasping it. This week had been one big shock, really. It had begun with the Hood taking over the island. Alan had gotten a whole new view of his father by way of the villain's comments. Always the hero in Alan's eyes, he'd seen the bitterness of one man who'd been left behind. And Jeff telling him that 'you can't save everybody'.

Alan had thought a lot about that this past week. His father had always been perfect in Alan's eyes. But what the Hood had told him, and what his father had said himself bothered Alan. He'd talked to Scott about it once everything had calmed down and life was returning back to normal. Scott had treated him and his inquiries about it as he would treat an equal. Alan had liked that. Alan had a new view of what they did. It wasn't all just heroics. Rather, it was more about balance. Saving and giving a chance to those who could be saved. Making the hard decisions about who would be saved. Those best equipped.

He had thought that he was coming to terms with that idea. And now this. The world was shifting once again, and Alan didn't like it one bit. Sitting in the cool, dim basement of the Tracy villa, behind boxes of old business records and family furniture from the old Kansas farm, Alan had found the letters.

He'd come in search of his mother. Scott had told him more about her when they'd talked. Alan could barely remember her. The avalanche that had killed her had happened when he was just three. He had vague memories, more a sense of a loving presence that actual specifics. Jeff had said he was like her. But Alan wanted to know more.

And he had found it. A week after the Hood's invasions of their idyllic life, Alan's world was shattered even more successfully than that villain had managed.

' . . . You know this isn't a good idea. The doctor said that after Gordon, any more children would be dangerous to your health . . .' Alan read the words written by his father once again. Jeff had been in Europe on business, and had written to his wife via email. The dates and addresses were clear on the printout.

'I'm sorry we fought before I left, but you know my views on this. Four children were all we planned, and you know how difficult Gordon's birth was on you. I came so close to losing you then, and the other time as well, and I won't risk that again. Dr. Ellerson made it clear how much of a risk any additional pregnancies would be to you, and I can't chance that. I can't imagine living life without you. I think his recommendation of terminating the pregnancy needs to be undertaken as soon as possible.'

Alan gazed at the much folded piece of paper. It was soft, and the creases where the folds were had become so thin to be almost transparent. The date on the e-mail was seven months before his birth. Five years after Gordon's birth.

He'd always wondered why the large gap. Gordon was nineteen to his fourteen. Five years. There were two to three years age difference between each of the others, beginning with Scott currently at twenty seven, John at twenty four, Virgil at twenty two, then Gordon. He'd asked his father once, and Jeff had just laughed and said children came when they wanted to, not when it was convenient. That had been enough to reassure Alan. Now he was seeing a whole different light on things.

'I know how you feel, but so much of it is hormones, my love. You are biologically made to protect the new life inside of you. But I'm not the one carrying the child. I can think more logically about it. We'll talk more when I get back. Please, please consider me and our sons. The loss would be far too great. I'll be home soon. Love always, Jeff.'

Alan had found the letter in a small book of poetry tucked into the bottom of a trunk with his mother's wedding dress. The book was clearly a favorite of hers judging from the wear and tear. Her name was written inside - her maiden name - and all kinds of small mementos were tucked into the pages. A pressed flower, small locks of hair in blond, chestnut, red, and deep brunette. A scrap of fabric and lace. A ticket stub from what looked to be a concert. Alan couldn't make out the name of the group, but the date corresponded to when his mother and father began dating. A few love letters from Jeff. And the printout of the e-mail, much worn, that he held in his hand. The printout had been read many, many times and looked to have stains from drops of water. Tears? Alan knew he was holding something that he was never meant to see.

His father had wanted the pregnancy terminated. His own father had wanted him aborted. Given a choice between himself and his mother, Jeff had irrevocably chosen his mother. But, it seemed, his mother had chosen him.

Almost in spite of himself, Alan set the paper down and thumbed through the book again. He found another much folded piece of paper. This time it was in pen and ink, on a lined sheet of notepaper, the words written with a hard slashing motion in a familiar hand. With a fatalistic feeling, and shaking hands, he opened it as well, swallowed hard, and began to read. There was no opening. The words began, stark and clear.

'I am forever astounded at your damn stubbornness. How you can be so selfish is beyond me. Isn't the reaction of the boys last night enough? Just our yelling was upsetting to them. I finally found Virgil in the attic, hiding, after you locked yourself in our room. He'd been frightened by the violence. Gordon didn't go to sleep until two in the morning, and I seriously doubt Scotty or Johnny slept at all. That you would so bull-headedly protect the life you are carrying despite knowing that it will, in all probability, kill you is unfathomable to me. I had a taste of trying to care for four boys by myself last night, and I know I can't do it. If you leave me, I won't be able to go on without you. My life won't be worth living, especially knowing it was my seed that did this too you. I'll see you tonight, and try, once again to talk some sense into you. Please, please, see reason, Lucy!'

Behind the note Alan found was a newspaper clipping. It was a short note about 'astronaut Jefferson Tracy's wife hospitalized'. While carrying him, Alan's mother had collapsed while out shopping, and had been hospitalized. This had occurred during the fourth month. She'd remained hospitalized until his birth.

The only other thing Alan found was a card.

'My darling wife, I love you beyond all measure. Please understand that. Please forgive me for my anger yesterday. I was so frightened for you, and I still am. Daily I wait for a call from the hospital telling me that something has happened. It frightens me past all rational thought. I'm so sorry I upset you, pushing you to end the pregnancy. We are both such stubborn people. Please forgive me. Love Jeff.'

Alan slowly thumbed the pages once again. But nothing more was there. He leaned back against the concrete foundation of the villa, staring unseeingly into the dim, murky basement. The picture painted by these few, brief pieces of correspondence was so clear. Devastatingly clear.

Sitting with the debris of Jeff and Lucille Tracy's early married life all around him, Alan Tracy, their youngest son, understood for the first time the circumstances of his birth. That he'd been born amidst conflict, heartache and fear. A clash between two people, one who would chose the life growing by mistake inside of her, and the other trying to end that life in order to save the carrier. How unbelievably ironic that after the apparently miraculous outcome of both living through the birth, that Lucy Tracy would be taken by an avalanche only four short years later, leaving her husband who hadn't wanted to cope without her, with five children now, instead of four.

'You can't save them all', his father had told him. And his father had clearly chosen his mother over him when he had had the choice. Alan himself was the one chosen not to be saved.