A/N: so here is the final story in the Grow Up arc that i have been working on. if you have not read Grow Up, or Grow Up The Sequel, then you will be very confused by this story. this is a look at John and how he is handling the whole situation with Alan and the Hood. Hope you enjoy, and let me know what you think!
I don't own any of these fabulous characters...
Jeff was concerned. He knew that John was taking this whole situation very hard, but he wouldn't open up to him, or to any of his brothers. He knew that John had not been sleeping well, often times finding his bed empty, and sometimes even untouched. He had heard him late at night, moving around the Tracy compound, avoiding his room. The few times that Jeff had found him asleep, it seemed anything but restful. There was nothing more that Jeff could do for his son. He just hoped that John would find a way to work this out himself before he ran himself into the ground.
Things were not sitting well with John. The situation was eating him up inside. No matter what he did, he could not get his mind to start coping with the fact that he was the one to find Alan like that on board Thunderbird 2. Every time he closed his eyes he saw Alan's broken and bloodied body. Because of this he had taken to not sleeping more that 2 or 3 hours a night, and it was starting to catch up with him. But he just couldn't, not yet. Damnit! Why can't I wrap my head around this? I'm a Tracy, a NASA astronaught, and a Thunderbird. I should be able to process this! But no matter how hard he tried, he just couldn't. And he knew why. This was family. It was different when it was family.
Each of his brothers had a different way of dealing with stress, and he was no exception. Normally his nerves could be soothed by the sight of the stars and the sound of the ocean. Almost every night he had spent time out here in the garden, but it never seemed to do his mind any good. And this night was no different than any of those.
Morning, he thought to himself. He had only just noticed that the stars had faded and the sun had made its way over the horizon. I've been out here all night. But he just couldn't muster up the energy to move.
"Good morning John." John jumped at the voice that had sounded behind him. He turned his head and saw Kyrano standing in the path several feet behind him. "I'm sorry. It wasn't my intention to startle you."
"It's okay Kyrano, I just didn't hear you walking." John suddenly felt very out of place in what the brothers had termed "Kyrano's Domain". John knew that the gentle man enjoyed his solitude and quiet as much as John did, and he started to get up. "Sorry Kyrano, I'll get out of your way."
Kyrano held up his hand, halting his progress. "On the contrary John. It is I who feel like I have interrupted you. Your thoughts seemed very far away." John sat back down, and Kyrano came over and took the seat indicated by John. "Would you like to speak of that which is bothering you?"
John shook his head. "No Kyrano, its fine. I wouldn't want to trouble you."
A small smile graced Kyrano's face. "If it was a problem, I would not have asked. Besides, burdens are best carried between the shoulders of friends."
John glanced over at him, and saw only genuine concern and interest on his friends face. So he talked. And talked. And talked. He told Kyrano everything, about his phone conversation with Alan during school, the homecoming, the cave in, the rescue. On and on he talked, Kyrano sitting there listening, until there was nothing left for John to say. When he was finally finished, he just sat there, trying to get his breathing under control, and waited for Kyrano to speak. He was expecting advice, comforting words, something. But what he got was silence. Kyrano just continued to gaze out at the ocean. Finally, after several minutes, Kyrano reached over and gently squeezed John's hand where it rested on his leg.
"You found him."
John looked at him, confused. "I know I found him like that Kyrano. That's the problem, I keep seeing.."
"No John," he said, silencing him. "You found him." The look of confusion had not yet left John's face. "You close your eyes, and see pain and loss. I see life. You found him John. You found him and preserved his life. Because of you, Alan had a chance to gaze upon the water, to enjoy a sunset."
"He could have died in there," John said softly.
"You have given him the best chance to pull through."
"We could have lost him without being able to make things right."
"He is still here to make amends."
John's next words were pain-laced. "He may never wake up."
"The support of a loving family can do wonders. And besides, just because the body is not awake does not mean that the mind is not ready to listen."
And with that the silence returned, John pondering what Kyrano had said. The more he thought about it, the more sense he saw in what his friend had told him, and he began to see what had happened in a different light. He had found his brother. Found him and brought him home. And that, he realized, was what mattered. "You're right," he murmured, so softly that he didn't know if he had even said it out loud. "You're right," he said again, louder this time. Kyrano said nothing, just reached over and gave his hand another gentle squeeze. They continued to sit, now in a comfortable silence, and John could feel some of the tightness in his chest start to loosen. After a few more minutes, Kyrano stood up, placed a hand on John's shoulder, and started to make his way down the path.
"Kyrano, thank you."
A small smile graced his face. "It was my pleasure John. I hope that it helps." He turned away, but faced John again a second later. "And if you don't mind me saying so, you should get some sleep. You look like you could use it."
At this John had to smile. "You know what Kyrano, I think that I may be able to now. Thank you." Kyrano gently bowed his head in response, and continued on down the path. It was mid-morning before John made his way into the villa for breakfast.
His three brothers were moving around the kitchen area, and soon they were settling in at the table to chow down. Grabbing a bowl of fresh fruit and one of Ohana's home made muffins, he sat with his brothers. He could feel their eyes on him, taking in what must surely be a haggard appearance. He knew that they were concerned about him, and that was exactly what he hadn't wanted. All through out breakfast, he kept thinking about what Kyrano had said. And in all of the times that he had been down to sit with Alan, he had never really talked to him. Not from the heart. But that, at least, he could fix.
The brothers sat there together for a while, not saying much, but not really needing to. Scott rose first, the Gordon shortly after. Virgil stood, interlaced his fingers and stretched, and muttered something about working out the ivories.
He was almost out of the room before John spoke. "Hey Virg?" Virgil turned around with raised eyebrows. "Do you mind if I come and listen?"
Virgil looked at his older brother with a mix of happiness and surprise. "You know Johnny? I think that I'd like that." He wrapped his arm around Johns shoulder as he met up with him at the door; Johns left arm wrapping around his back instinctually. "Besides," he said, tightening his hold a little, "it's been a while since I've had a captive audience."
John settled himself on the couch next to the piano as Virgil readied himself to play. As the first notes washed over him, John let a small smile make its way onto his face. He had missed this. Since the accident, John had not really been able to focus on anything other than Alan and his situation. But he missed the feeling in just being able to take comfort in the presence of his brothers. They were hurting over this just as he was, and they needed him just as much as he needed them.
So he sat, and listened, and let Virgil's musical creations wash over him. It was several hours later that John recognized several things. The knot in his chest that Kyrano had started tugging loose had unraveled a bit further, knowing that the highs and low portrayed in Virgil's music were the emotions that the artist himself felt.
And God, was he tired. He could feel his eyes drooping, and his body wanted to give in and just sink into the comfortable couch. But he pushed his body upward, intent on making it to his own bed. He stood behind Virgil, right hand resting gently on the back of his brother's neck, as he waited for him to finish. When the last notes sounded, he gave his neck a gentle squeeze, and moved around the piano towards the door.
"Johnny? You okay?"
John turned and gave him a small smile. "Yeah Virg, I'm just tired. I think I'm gonna go and grab some shuteye." Virgil held his gaze for another second, and then nodded his understanding, smiling softly at him.
Once inside his room, he didn't even have the energy to change into his sleep clothes. Kicking off his shoes was about as far as he was prepared to go. He crawled between the cool, crisp sheets, and let his exhaustion take him.
When he woke next, his room was an inky black, the kind of darkness that only comes during the wee hours of the morning. His sleep had not been uninterrupted, but he could feel that the rest had refreshed him. He glanced at the harsh red numbers staring at him from the nightstand. 3 a.m., that was almost 12hrs. in bed. I guess that I was more tired than I thought. Even though it was the middle of the night, he new that he wouldn't be getting any more sleep for a while.
He slipped out of his room and padded down the hall down to the infirmary, taking care not to disturb the others. When the door slip open, he saw the slumped form of Virgil sitting by Alan's bedside, sound asleep. He laid a gentle hand on his arm, trying not to jar him awake. Virgil muttered something to himself, then eyed John blurrily.
"Hey Virg, go on up to your room and get some proper sleep. I'll sit here with him." Virgil, never one who liked being woken up, mumbled something under his breath that sounded suspiciously like you're one to talk, but got up and shuffled out the door.
John sat down in the vacated chair almost gingerly, half afraid that the added noise would wake Alan, and half hoping that that would be the case. For a while he just sat there, staring at his brother, running his fingers through his hair. Finally he just started talking.
"Allie, I have to tell you, you really scared the crap out of me back there. And I'm not even just talking about the incident with the Hood. I mean all of it, when you were at school. You were so distant, Al. You used to call me when I was on 5 al the time, just to talk. But you stopped calling. The couple of times that I did hear from you, it was all business. You never looked happy, and it was killing me inside. And not just me, sprout. Dad, Scott… nobody's been the same since you left."
He took a deep breath before continuing. "And that rescue. I was so scared for you Alan. I mean, none of us have ever really experienced a rescue by ourselves, and I was scared for you, scared that you didn't have any of us there, watching your back on your first time out in the field. But you and Fermat…what you guys did was amazing. You saved us, and you saved all of those people. Do you hear me Alan? Thousands of people are alive right now, because of you. I was so proud of you."
Again, John just looked at his brother, and let the silence stretch out for several minutes. But John knew that there was still more to get off of his chest. With a deep breath, he continued.
"Seeing Thunderbird 2, finding you like, I had thought that I was scared before, but that made my heart just stop. I still see it, you know. I still play it over and over again in my head, when I'm awake, when I'm asleep. Not that I sleep much anymore, but I figure that you're doing enough of that for both of us, huh little brother?" He gave Alan a small smirk, hearing the retort that Alan would have made echoing in his head. The smirk faded away as he continued.
"I thought that nothing could be worse than that. But I was wrong, Alan. Finding you injured, you lying on this bed, that's hard, and I will be the first one to admit that I am not handling it very well. Well, better now, but still. But if we had lost you? If you hadn't made it out of that crash? Well…well I don't know what I would do."
"But you're here, and you're alive, and you are going to wake up, because you are a Tracy, and that means that you are stubborn and bull-headed. Because inside you are just dying to rub the fact that you had to come and rescue your big brothers in our faces. I mean, come on, Scott's indignation alone will be worth it. And I can't wait until you do, Alan. I really can't." He paused again, getting his voice back under control. "You did well Alan. Really well. I'll make sure to tell you that again when you wake up, but until then, I just wanted you to know."
John noticed that the sun was coming in through the windows. Dad will be coming down in a little while, he thought. He turned back to Alan, and noticed the news sheets that someone had brought down with them, regarding the rescue. He scanned them quickly, and baulked at their inaccuracy. Putting them down, he took a deep breath, and started regaling Alan with his own rousing version of what had happened.
Today is going to be better…