Disclaimer: I don't own the Tracys, Thunderbirds, or International Rescue. I'm just borrowing them for this story.
A/N: Thanks to Lissysue85 and Criminally Charmed for reading over this story for me. Oh, Lissysue85 said that there should be a tissue warning. sam1
Who You'd be Today
Ten years and the hole in my heart is still there. Whoever said that time heals all wounds was full of it. Not a day goes by that I don't think of you. How could I not? You are…were my brother. God, that sounds so wrong. Like you never existed but I know you did. Your memory lives on in my heart and soul. I can recall your grin and it amazes me even now how it changed depending on what you were doing or watching. I remember you cheering me at the Summer Olympics and I could see the pride in that grin. The contentment when you relaxed on the beach, watching the dolphins in the cove. My personal favorite was the mischievous grin you had when you thought up a great prank.
Staring out at the endless miles of ocean, I let a handful of sand trickle through my fingers. Sighing, I glance up at the evening sky and can't stop the tears that had been stinging my eyes. "WHY?" Just like that I erupt into a furious tirade at the heavens. "Why did you take him from us? We never hurt anyone. We put our lives on the line with every call out. What the hell did we ever do to deserve the pain of losing yet another loved one?"
Sweaty and red-faced, he wiped his glove across his face leaving a soot trail. "Nice look, Johnny, just like a raccoon." I grinned when he flipped me off. "I'm telling Dad that you're using bad sign language again."
"Whatever, fish-face, I'm hot and dirty," he replied, grinning evilly. I should have known then that he was up to something. Now that the rescue was finished, we were able to relax a bit.
All of a sudden a bucket of ice cold water was dumped over my head. Shaking my head, I managed to get him a bit wet as well. "Ahh, that was refreshing."
Scott shoved the bucket on my head, muttering something about me being a fish out of water. As if he should ever be able to forget that. A loud crackling sound reverberated through the wooded area we had gone to rescue some campers who had gotten trapped by a forest fire. I saw one gloved hand on Scott's back just as I felt one on mine and both of us were shoved clear of a tree that had caught fire and was falling towards us.
I'll never forget the screams of my brother as the tree held him pinned to the ground and the fire burned his exposed hands, neck and head. Somehow, Scott and I got the fire put out and miraculously our brother still lived.
Eyes closed, his breath hitched and whimpers of pain sounded from his burnt lips. Rushing about as fast as we could to get him into Two, we both heard his whispered pleas of going home. "We're going to take you home, Johnny. Brains will have you fixed up in no time," Scott choked out. He knew as well as I did that it was unlikely that John would make it home. The one thing I was grateful for was that Thunderbird One was out of commission and Scott would go home the way he came, in Two. I did what I could to help get John situated and then loaded the Firefly in her pod. After getting word from that he and Johnny were ready, I had Two in the air and heading for home. I sat in the cockpit and listened for Scott, tears already streaming down my face.
Feeling Two land, Scott leaned over our brother, "We're home, Johnny. You can let go, now." I heard those words on the intercom followed by the anguished cry of my oldest brother.
Kicking at the sand, my anger at a God I'd believed in all my life intensified as it always did this time of year. In Kansas, it would be Fall and that had been his favorite time of year. "Wasn't it enough that you took Mom from us when we needed her most?" My tears fell faster and my sobs grew harsher until it hurt to breathe. My voice wavered and dropped to a whisper, "I wasn't ready to let him go and you snatched him from us. What would he have been like today? Would he have had a wife and children? Would he have still been part of IR? You didn't give him a chance to do any of that." Dropping down onto the sandy beach, I laid back and looked up to where Five would be. No longer manned by a live person. Brains had refitted her so that a serious call for help would be rerouted to Tracy Island. After our brother died, nobody felt it right to be on Five. That was his 'bird and it hurt each of us to be where he had spent so much time.
Forgetting all protocol for post-rescue maintenance, I rushed back to the infirmary only to stop short at the sight before me. Scott was kneeling on the floor his head on Johnny's chest, sobs racking his body. But it was Johnny's final attempt to comfort Scott that shattered my heart and drove me to my knees…one of his badly burned hands that Scott had treated and wrapped with something Brains created was on Scott's shoulder.
We honored his final wishes and he was buried back in Kansas next to Mom. No major fanfare as this was Johnny, our quiet brother.
"We took you home, Johnny. For all that was good on the Island, Kansas was home in your heart." Wiping the tears from my face, I tried to smile. "The pain of losing you just hasn't gone away, big brother. Some days are more bearable than others but today," a sob escaped my mouth before I could stop it, "but today isn't just any. Today is the day we lost you."
"We haven't lost him, Gordy." Scott walked up to me and gracefully sat down. "We haven't forgotten or stopped loving him so we haven't lost him. He's always with us." Draping an arm over my shoulder, he pulled me against him. "He wouldn't want us to isolate ourselves like this, Gords. Family meant everything to him no matter how crazy we made him."
Giving up on wiping the tears away, I looked out over the ocean. "Scott, do you ever wonder who he'd be today?"
Chuckling, he pulled me closer. "Gords, you have to stop listening to that song. Johnny would have been like the rest of us…married with a kid or two. Still working with IR and still writing books both fiction and nonfiction. He'd probably have earned a few more masters degrees."
A shout from up the beach had us both looking up at the strawberry blonde child, running towards us, "DADDY, I WANTS TO GO SCHWIMMIN'!"
Scott stood up, offering me a hand. "Life goes on, little brother, and John would want you to enjoy it to its fullest." Nodding in the direction of the little boy running for us, "Johnny there is proof of that. How you ended up with a child that looks a bit like John, I'll never know."
My son threw his arms around my legs, looking up at me with those same piercing blue eyes that John had and I knew then that while time doesn't heal all wounds, it does help us move on.
"Daddy, is you sad cos Uncle Johnny not here?"
Bending down to pick up my boy, I nodded, "Yeah, Johnny, I am." I hugged him close.
Pushing back, he stared in my eyes, "Him not gone, Daddy. Him is right here." He placed his small hand over my heart.
A sense of peace flowed through me at his touch and though I still missed my big brother, the pain I'd felt earlier had lessened to a dull ache. The pain would never go away but maybe the idiot who said time heals all wounds was a little bit right. Glancing up at where I knew Thunderbird Five to be, I gave a half-hearted grin. "I'll see you again someday, Johnny."
A/N: The song that Scott was referring to was Who You'd be Today by Kenny Chesney. Which I don't own or have any claims to.