Disclaimer: I do not own Thunderbirds. The following story has been written purely for entertainment purposes - no profit is being made by the author.
Warning: If you suffer from Arachnophobia, continue reading at your own risk!
Rated T for strong language. Also contains a brief reference to steroid abuse.
This is my first ever FanFic. Hope you enjoy!
There are very few things that could make either myself or any of my four younger brothers cry out in horror. In fact, when I think about it, it's usually when we've fallen victim to one of Gordon's practical jokes. And if Gordon is the one shrieking, it's normally due to him receiving a dose of well-deserved payback. So, when I heard the high-pitched scream coming from Virgil's bedroom, I half expected my mischievous, copper-haired sibling to have had something to do with it.
What's that little twerp done now? I let out a slight chuckle as I quickly make my way along the corridor towards my music-loving brother's room. Switched Virgil's shampoo with hair-dye again? Replaced his toothpaste with chilli-spiked mayonnaise? Ouch! Well, whatever it is, I'll find out soon enough.
I knock on his door. "Virgil? Are you okay in there?"
"Scott, is that you?"
"Yeah, it's me. C'mon, Virg, open up."
I stand with my arms folded, waiting. Well, his voice sounds okay, so I guess it's not the mayonnaise this time. I glance at my wristwatch. Almost dinner time. No wonder my stomach's growling.
"Virgil, open the door!" Patience never has been a virtue of mine.
"I-I can't!" he finally replies.
"Why not?" I ask, slightly amused at the hint of desperation in his voice. Oh, boy, Gordon must've got him good this time.
He doesn't respond and, as usual, my curiosity gets the better of me, so I key-in the access code on his electronic door lock. With a faint hiss, the door swiftly slides open and I walk into my brother's room - only to find him standing on his bed, clutching a rolled up magazine in one hand and tightly gripping a pillow in the other.
"What are you doing up on the bed, Virg?"
I then notice his face is a deathly shade of pale grey, beads of sweat are visible on his forehead and his breathing is rapid and unsteady. I feel my big brother instincts begin to kick-in as I try to figure out what could have caused my normally calm and self-controlled brother to appear so shaken up. I've not seen Virgil this upset for a long time, and it disturbs me.
"Hey, what is it? You look like you've seen a ghost or something."
Virgil doesn't look at me. Instead, his gaze is fixed upon the large chest of drawers situated a few feet away from his bed.
"There! Behind the chest!" He frantically gestures towards the chest of drawers, still holding the magazine firmly in his hand.
I momentarily glance over to where he's pointing. "Virg, what are you talking about?"
"Scott, it's-it's huge!"
Although, at this point, I now think I have a good idea of what's made my brother so close to having a full-scale panic attack. Looks like Gordon's off the hook.
"Spider!" he suddenly blurts out.
Yep, it all makes sense now. Poor Virgil. He's been frightened of spiders ever since he was old enough to walk. In fact, his phobia once got so bad, Dad considered taking him to see a therapist. But being a teenager at the time - and a stubborn, determined one at that - Virgil managed to talk Dad out of taking him by claiming he could overcome his fear with the aid of relaxation techniques from self-help books. Well, he might have been able to fool our father, but it takes a hell of a lot more to fool a big brother. I promised him I'd never mention his phobia to anyone, especially our youngest brothers, Gordon and Alan. The terrible two would rip Virgil to pieces if they ever found out.
"It's all right, Virg." I reach up and rest a reassuring hand on his shoulder. "I'll go get it, okay?" I know he's not gonna be happy until the eight-legged critter is caught and disposed of. Humanely, of course.
He nods and swallows hard. "Okay. But please hurry, Scott. I don't want that-that thing in here any longer."
"Hey, guys. What's going on?"
I turn around and see a tall, slender, blonde-haired figure standing in the doorway. I guess John must have heard Virgil's scream, too. Well, it was kinda loud.
"Wanna come and help me catch a spider, John?" I ask, knowing this sort of thing is more his forte than mine.
As well as Astronomy, John also has a keen interest in nature. When we first moved to our tropical island paradise, he would often go on long walks, taking his camera along with him to take snaps of the wildlife. John rarely has time to indulge in his passion now, though. He's recently spent an extensive period of time in space setting up communications equipment aboard our 'Eye-in-the-Sky' Thunderbird Five. In another couple of weeks, he'll be officially taking on his role as International Rescue's Space Monitor.
I smile at the brief flash of intrigue in John's bright blue eyes.
"A spider? Cool!" His eager eyes immediately set about scanning the walls and the floor as he walks in. "Where is it?"
"There's nothing cool about it, John!"
John frowns at Virgil's uncharacteristic tone. "What are you doing up on the bed, Virg?"
When Virgil doesn't answer him, John looks to me for an explanation. I raise my eyebrows, hoping he gets the hint. Thankfully, it only takes him a few seconds to figure it out.
"Oh, I see." He gives me a subtle, knowing nod and doesn't say anymore. Wise.
I make my way over to the chest of drawers, with John following close behind. Actually, I'm glad he's here. Spiders don't bother me too much, but in all honesty, I'm not particularly fond of them myself. So, I casually move aside and let John take over.
He peers behind the chest. "I can't see anything, it's too dark. How 'bout you, Scott?"
"Nope," I reply as I take a quick look.
John stands silent for a few moments, one hand rubbing the back of his neck. "Okay, well, I don't think we should move the furniture. Wouldn't wanna end up squashing the poor little thing."
"It's far from little!" cries Virgil. "How can you guys not see it? The darn thing looks as if it's been taking steroids or something!"
Oh, no. I now have a mental image of a spider lifting weights. I can't help it! I fold my arms and put a hand up to my mouth, suppressing the laughter that's now threatening to escape my lips.
"Take it easy, Virg. Anyway, it's probably more frightened of you than you are of it."
"That does not make me feel any better, John!"
"Are you sure it's behind here, Virg?" I ask, after clearing my throat and regaining my composure.
He nods vigorously. "Positive. I was sitting at my desk reading my magazine, minding my own business, when I caught a glimpse of it over by my guitar case. I freaked out and it ran behind the chest."
I turn around to face John, but he's already kneeling down on the floor, slowly inching his left hand through the gap between the wall and the chest. Gee, he's brave. I couldn't do that. What if it bites him? I crouch down beside my brother and study his face intently. His eyebrows are tightly knitted together as he concentrates.
I'm so busy watching John, I fail to notice our two youngest siblings enter the room, until I hear Gordon's wise-ass comment.
"See, Alan, I told you it was Virgil. Apart from Tin-Tin, who else on the island screams like a girl?"
Oh, great. Now we have an audience. I look over my shoulder, just in time to see Alan duck and Gordon get hit square in the face by a pillow. Nice shot, Virg!
"Haven't you two got anything better to do?"
Alan grins at me and folds his arms. "Well, no actually, Scott. We wanted to see what you fellas were up to." He turns his attention to Virgil. "What are you doing up on the bed, Virg?"
"If anyone else asks me that again, I swear, I'm gonna-"
"I see it!"
John's rather loud announcement startles me, and I almost lose my balance as I tilt back on my heels. Luckily, I manage to put one hand behind me, just in time to stop myself from unceremoniously falling on my butt. Phew, that was close.
But John's triumphant expression suddenly turns into one of anxiety. He quickly jumps up and moves to stand next to me.
I find myself springing to my own two feet. "What's wrong, couldn't you get it?"
"No. I tried, but it got away. I - no wait, there it goes!" He dives under the bed and mildly curses under his breath. "Look sharp, guys. It's heading your way!"
I look down as the elusive creature emerges from beneath the bed. Virgil hadn't been exaggerating. That is one big spider! It kinda looks like a Tarantula, but instead of the usual black body and yellow markings you'd expect to see, this one is dark brown all over. It's also hairy, real hairy. It scurries across the floor to where my two youngest brothers are standing. The speed at which this thing moves surprises me, especially considering its size - the body alone is the size of an oval shaped baseball! Virgil lets out a panic-stricken yelp, while Gordon and Alan both take a step backwards as the spider darts between them and out through the doorway, John hot on it's trail.
"Holy shit! That thing's huge!" Gordon never was one to mince with words. I make a mental note to reprimand him about his language.
"It's okay, I got it!" John calls from out in the hall. "Wow, she sure is a beauty! Oh, and don't worry, Virg. I'll make sure I take her outside and well away from the villa before I let her go!"
Virgil mutters words of relief.
"Hey, Virg, maybe we should have Brains install an Automatic Spider Detector in Thunderbird Two for ya, huh?"
"Shut up!" Virgil throws the magazine, but misses his target this time. Gordon ducks.
"Well, look on the bright side, guys," announces Alan. "At least John's managed to find himself a girlfriend."
I place my hands on my hips and shake my head as both he and Gordon erupt into a fit of giggles. Time to usher the terrible two out of Virgil's bedroom.
"Okay, you two, that's enough. The show's over, off you go."
"Aww, you're no fun, Scott. I was just gonna ask Alan to go make us all some popcorn and-"
"Gordon, I said GO!"
He chuckles, raising his hands in defeat. "Okay, okay, we're going. Come on, Alan."
After they disappear from sight, I hear Alan shout, "Hey, John! Have you set a date for the wedding yet?"
Their laughter echoes down the hall. I wonder how John's gonna get himself outta that one?
I turn my attention back to Virgil. He's now slouched on the edge of his bed, staring at the floor, looking somewhat sorry for himself. Can't say I blame him. Alan and Gordon are never gonna let him live in peace now his phobia has been exposed. I'll have words with those two later. Poor Virg.
I walk over to him and put my hand on his shoulder, squeezing it gently. "Hey, you okay?"
He sighs heavily, then looks up at me and manages a weak smile. "Yeah, I guess so."
I help him to his feet. "C'mon, buddy. Let's go to the kitchen. I'll fix you up a drink."
"Why did Dad have to set up a secret base on a tropical island, Scott? You know, if I had my way, it would be someplace like Antarctica. At least you don't get spiders there!"
I laugh and put my arm around his shoulders as we head out the door.
"Say, Virg, a very good friend of mine on the mainland knows of a great therapist. Want me to get his number for you?" An elbow firmly jabs my ribs. "Ouch!"
Okay, so I guess I deserve it. I was only trying to help, but subtlety never has been one of my strong points. Heck, nobody's perfect.
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