Oh wow. I am totally stunned by the response to this. THANK YOU so much for all your kind words and 'cause Sam1 asked so nicely, I'm posting this tonight. So I hope you enjoy and let me know what you think. Aren't these young men just so awesome? Phx
Water Pressure 2
Chris Manners was a big man. At just over 6'2, the muscular coach prided himself on keeping fit which was why, while most of the students at Wharton's were home for the week visiting family, he was in the school gym running laps. Normally he ran outside but it was pouring rain and, as much as he enjoyed swimming, he hated getting wet unless it was in a pool.
His mind churned as he ran, anger still simmering over the run-in he'd had with an insolent young swimmer the day before. How dare Alan Tracy tell him he didn't want to swim; and how dare the little bastard throw the meet because Manners was positive that was what Alan had done, lost on purpose, and that if he'd really wanted to, Alan could have won.
"Did it to spite me," he growled as his running shoes pounded out a rhythm on the shiny flooring and echoed through the empty halls. "Kid has no idea who he's messing with!" Although he was pretty sure that after his 'talk' to Tracy, the teen would think twice about screwing things up again. The look of fear on the blond's face when he'd slammed him against the lockers and held him there, and the absolute defeat that quickly followed when Manners had brought Fermat into things convinced the man that Alan would be seeing things differently now. Screw the track team. Sure the boy could run but in the water was where'd he excel. After all he was Gordon Tracy's brother so swimming was in his blood.
Thinking of Gordon made Chris smile. Man, that kid was talented. More fish than human, the man was pretty sure chlorine coursed through the red-head's veins in place of blood. The highlight of his coaching career had been standing next to Gordon after he'd received his Gold Medal. And all the attention Manner's had received in the following year had kept his pockets well lined and his reputation unquestioned in the coaching world.
A find like Gordon Tracy was a once in a lifetime thing so when he heard that there was a younger brother, a second athlete, studying at Wharton Academy, Manner's just had to get to him. And now that he had, the man refused to let his next success be stymied by a petulant teenager who had no idea what was best for him.
So if threatening Alan and his best friend was the only way to do it, the coach had no problem doing so, firm in his belief that when Alan got his gold, he'd be thanking Chris, just as Gordon had. They just had to get past the kid's insistence about running on the track team first.
Picking up the pace, Manners decided he'd do five more laps then hit the showers and call it a day. Maybe he'd even pop in the video of Gordon's Olympic winning swim for old time's sake. It had been a week or more since he'd last watched it after all.
"I'm going to throttle him," Scott had been at it since taking off from the island a couple hours before. "Wrap my hands around his throat and see how he likes to be pounded into the lockers."
Gordon rolled his eyes, easily keeping stride with his taller brother as they moved across the campus and towards the gym. Security had told them Coach Manners was still there. It was still raining but neither young man noticed, too used to working in the worst climate conditions to be bothered by a bit of drizzle. "Actually I'd kinda like to do this without a whole lot of violence. Explaining to Dad why you need bail money is not exactly on the top of my to-do list today."
"Oh I won't kill him…" Scott promised darkly, "much. You can live without a lung right?"
The younger Tracy was beginning to think that maybe bringing Scott with him hadn't been the brightest idea. Virgil or John were more even tempered and might have been the wiser choice. But if Coach Manners did refuse to listen to reason, and remembering very well just how big the man was, Scott was still the best man to have at his back. Gordon always considered himself more a lover than a fighter. And then his ears turned bright red at that thought. All right, so maybe he was still working on that part…
"Just let me do the talking, okay?" Gordon beseeched. "You can stand behind me and look intimidating or something."
Scott huffed, very obviously not liking the idea. He was used to leading but on this one Gordon really felt it'd better for Scott to follow. After all Gordon had once thought very highly of the ill-fated coach and had considered him a good friend.
"Scott?" This was very important to the younger Thunderbird.
Another huff, this one more long-suffering followed by an eye-roll. "Fine," he dragged the word out. "For now." And that was about the best Gordon could hope for.
The coach really had no idea just how badly he'd messed up when he went after Alan. The young Olympian almost pitied the man but then remembered the nasty bruise on Alan's arm, on both his arms actually Gordon had seen later, and his countenance darkened.
"C'mon," he encouraged. "Let's just get this done."
They heard the coach before they saw him, easily following the sound of pounding feet through the empty halls and into the large gymnasium. The man himself was exactly as Gordon remembered. Large. But whereas before, the second youngest Tracy had thought of him like a big old teddy bear, this time he saw him through Alan's eyes and did not like what he saw. A bully.
"Gordon?" Manners saw them immediately, "Gordon Tracy?" He hurried towards them, one beefy hand held out to shake. "What a coincidence!" he beamed then wiped his hand off on his shorts when neither of the younger men reached for it. He held it out again. "I was just thinking about you."
"I bet you were," Scott growled from beside Gordon and the younger brother shot him a daggered look. The pilot met the glare with a totally unapologetic shrug.
Instantly the warmth and friendliness were dropped, as was the coach's unshaken hand, as the man seemed to realize that this was no social visit. And it didn't take much to figure out why the men were here.
"Ah, this is about Alan then," he speculated, his smile much more predatory now. "Guess you saw the bruises."
"You might say that," Gordon stiffened at the dismissive tone in the big man's voice. "Care to explain?" He wasn't interested in listening really but curiosity pressed the question. He just hoped Scott could keep his cool over whatever bull Manners was about to try to feed them.
"Things happen in training," the man stated dismissively.
"Things like my brother not wanting to actually be on the team?"
Gordon shoved at Scott. "Out. Now," he whispered harshly as he tried to maneuver the older man away from the coach, "Go glare at him from the doorway or something!" Scott opened his mouth to protest but the younger man shook his head in exasperation. "I said I wanted to handle this, Scott. Me!"
"He's my brother too!" Scott shot back even as he did let his brother push him closer to the entrance.
"Yes, but I'm the reason he's getting harassed!"
That shut the older man up.
"Let me do this my way, man, please?" Gordon knew his brother had caved even before Scott locked his eyes on the coach, leaned against the side wall and folded his arms. The swimmer took it for what it was and nodded his appreciation.
"Gordon?" Coach Manners approached them but Gordon quickly moved to meet him. He didn't need the man getting too close to Scott knowing his big brother's restraint was tenuous at best. "Is there a problem?"
"Yeah, actually there is," Gordon cut through the crap knowing Scott would only indulge him for a short while. "Alan isn't me. He's a good kid, an awesome runner but he isn't me, and making him swim on a team he doesn't want to be on isn't only unfair to him, it isn't right." Manners opened his mouth but Gordon spoke over him, not interested in anything his former coach had to say. His voice was low and hard. "Threatening to fail Fermat if Alan doesn't win is blackmail. Slamming my brother against the lockers and pinning him there so tightly that his arms are bruised is assault. Child abuse." His hazel eyes were dark brown with intensity. "My father doesn't know about this yet, but he will and when he does… well, consider this a friendly warning. One I'm only giving you out of respect for the man you used to be… but if you're still coach of this fine facility when Alan comes back to school on Monday, all bets are off."
"It'd be my word against his," the coach bit back. "No witnesses. You think I'm that stupid? And with your brother's track record for trouble-"
Gordon had the man slammed against the side of wall before he even realized what he was going to do. His hands fisted in the coach's shirt and he held the larger man in place. "Don't!" he snarled as Scott hurried towards them. "Don't you even dare! You think I'm fooling around about this? You think he is?" he tipped his gaze towards a furious looking Scott. He waited a heartbeat then with one final shove, let the man go and moved back to stand by his brother.
Side by side, granite featured and angry he knew that he and Scott made a formidable force. And he was pleased to see the confident arrogance on Manners' face shift to barely concealed concern and finally edging towards fear. The man was finally starting to get it.
"You really do not want the full wrath of my family coming down on you 'cause let me assure you that when Jefferson Tracy finds out what one of his sons has been subjected to, there won't be any place on this planet or the next that you'll be able to hide… So take this for what this is – a head start."
Scott glanced at Gordon probably surprised by the amount of venom in his younger brother's voice. Gordon didn't very often play the heavy; then again he usually didn't have to. But this time things were personal. Someone Gordon had once respected and thought a lot of had harassed, hurt and made Alan's life miserable and all because of Gordon… The gloves were off.
The coach looked from Gordon to Scott and then back to Gordon again. "You know," he snorted bitterly, "he was never even half as good as you anyway."
"He doesn't have to be," Gordon growled back then turned to leave confident the message, and warning, had gotten through.
A flash of movement had him twisting around again in time to see Scott slam the other man back against the wall, a forearm pressed hard against Manners' throat. Gordon almost moved to stop him. Almost. Alan was Scott's brother too.
"My brother is much nicer than I am so let me just add my two cents worth." And then too quick for the man to defend against, Scott pulled back his fist and rammed it into the coach's stomach, releasing him and watching with satisfaction as the big guy dropped to his knees, his arms wrapped tightly around his stomach. "If there is any backlash for Alan or any of his friends over this in any way, I'll be back." He leaned over; his voice dropped, his tone sending chills even through Gordon. "And let me promise you this, you sadistic sonnovabitch. You don't want that to happen."
Coach Manners swallowed hard and slowly shook his head. His face was pale and Gordon was pretty sure he was trying not to throw up.
"Yeah," he rasped out breathing hard, "'Got it."
"Good," Scott's smile was feral and then he nodded at Gordon. "I think we're done here."
Gordon agreed and led the way out of the gym confident that come Monday morning, Alan would become a star member on the Wharton Academy track team… or whatever else the kid wanted to be.
"So, Gordo," Scott was practically bouncing as he walked beside the younger man, cowering a bully was always a high for the Thunderbird leader. "When you gonna tell Dad?"
Gordon froze. Oh crap.
"After all," Scott continued with a big grin, "And I quote," he cleared his throat and did his best 'Gordon' impersonation, "Just let me do the talking, okay? You can stand behind me and look intimidating or something."
The younger man narrowed his eyes. "You know…" he stated slowly, "sometimes I really hate you."
Scott started laughing and slung an arm loosely over Gordon's shoulder, "Would it help if I gave you a hug first?"
"Oh, you are so dead!"
But Scott was already running, hollering over his shoulder something about 'short brothers' and 'promises, promises'.
Gordon shook his head and gave chase. He had four brothers, three older, one younger, and he wouldn't trade them for anything.
The image of a pool full of naked chicks had him smirking though. Okay, well maybe not for most anything.