Disclaimer/: If I owned Thunderbirds, there would be a new series based on the movie, and there would be far more brotherly snuggles and brotherly-ness in general involved. Since none of these things have happened, the correct answer would be no, I don't own them. -Sulks-
Author's Notes/: Re-watching the movie yesterday made me notice a few things that I hadn't before, and this addresses one of them. I may or may not write more for this fandom; while I adore the Thunderbirds, I really don't know too much about them. So this me tentatively sticking a toe in the fandom to check out the water. Feedback and constructive criticism are appreciated.
The party had long since wound down. Tin-Tin had been the first to leave, claiming she was still suffering from a headache and worn out from the day before. Eventually Brains had dragged Fermat off after that, and so on until only Lady Penelope and Jeff had remained to watch the five Tracy brothers roughhouse in the pool. But even their boundless energy finally began to tire.
Now Scott and Virgil bickered quietly over the remains of dinner while Gordon floated lazily on his back, still refusing to leave the pool completely even though everyone else had. Alan had retreated to one of the chaises and dozed off, his sore throat producing a faint wheeze whenever he breathed that made everyone who heard it wince. John had found his way to his baby brother's side at some point, sharing the chaise and petting the younger boy's hair as Alan snuggled into his side. His expression was fond as he watched Alan sleep, and Alan looked blissfully content.
The sight of the two boys together made Lady Penelope smile at how precious they were, and reminded of her of something that had been bothering her. She'd been forced to put the question aside during the past days' events, but now ... "There's something I've been meaning to ask," she spoke up, keeping her voice soft as she watched Alan.
"What is it, Penny?" Jeff seemed distracted, but then, she noted, all of the Tracy men were. Save the one they were looking at, who was too busy snoring to notice the attention.
She looked down at her glass as she stirred it the straw, fighting back a smile. "I noticed that Alan was rather ... adept, at piloting in all this mess."
Now she had their attention.
Jeff frowned at her. "You know he's obsessed with the simulators, Pen. Why's that a surprise?"
She shook her head. "No simulation can ever match the real thing, Jeff - not really. And even if that really was the reason, it still seems a bit odd to me that he was able to pilot four Thunderbirds with barely a blink in between. Like he'd been doing it for years. Simulations and schematics are one thing, but it almost seemed like he's been out on the 'birds before."
Jeff's frown deepened, turning decidedly unhappy. "You think someone's been teaching him?"
" ... I have."
The reluctant response startled her, and even more so, she realized, Jeff. But it was more than that, because all four of the elder Tracy brothers were now looking at each other in surprise.
"No way," Gordon protested. "I had to show him. The poor kid was gonna go nuts if he didn't get any experience, and no one else would!"
"Excuse me?" Virgil's eyebrows went up, and he looked decidedly less than pleased. "Do you really think I'm that cruel? Besides, with the way he's been staring at Thunderbird 2 - "
"No, I'm the one who taught him," Scott argued. "We all know Alan's had his eyes on Thunderbird 1 since the day she came online."
"We don't just sit around discussing his homework when he and I talk, you know," John hissed. "And keep it down!"
"Boys," Jeff cut in, and now she really had to try not to laugh as he reached up to put a hand over his face. "Are you telling me that you've all been secretly training Alan behind my back?"
There was a long, awkward silence.
"I had to teach him to fly, Dad," Scott spoke up at last, looking distinctly guilty. "He was always staring at the controls, trying to mimic what I was doing. And with all the questions he kept asking, it was only fair to answer."
"No, I had to teach him," Gordon argued. "You're all so overprotective he'd never learn anything if I didn't. And it's not like Thunderbird 4 is hard to run test runs - " He cut himself off abruptly as he paled, shooting Jeff a look of horror.
Jeff's hand had not come off his face. "Virgil? John?"
"Found him studying the control panel," Virgil admitted. "I didn't have anything better to do, and he was so interested ... "
"He was looking at blueprints and started asking questions," John answered quietly, looking down at Alan a hint of exasperation now, even as he continued to stroke the top of his brother's head. He smiled reluctantly, but there was almost a hint of pride to it. "He's been asking a lot about 5 and 3, actually."
Scott nodded, and now he was giving Alan the fondly exasperated look. "1 and 3."
Gordon shrugged, but he grinned at over at Alan as well. "Anytime I go on a supply run, he's full of questions."
Virgil chuckled faintly, shaking his head. "Alan's always full of questions," he reminded them all.
Lady Penelope allowed herself a faint smile. "Lucky for all of us," she reminded them softly. Alan had saved the day, after all. Tin-Tin and Fermat had pitched in as well of course, but they clearly took their cues from him.
Jeff let out a long sigh, rubbing the hand over his eyes for a moment before turning to stare at Alan. "So who else has he been getting information from?"
Now it was John laughing softly, giving his father an amused look. "Do you really want to know the answer to that, Dad? Think of how many people Alan hangs around. The kid's probably learned more than he'll ever tell us."
Scott sighed and shook his head as well. "Sprout's trying to grow up behind our backs."
"No," Jeff said softly, and his expression was reflective as he watched Alan again. "He's been growing up right in front of us. We just weren't ready to see it."
Almost as if to contradict Jeff's words, Alan let out a soft sigh, rolling over to bury his nose against John's shoulder. He muttered something inaudible, and one hand reached up to curl around his older brother's neck. She could almost see John melt, reaching with his good arm to rub Alan's back, as the other was still recovering from the injuries he'd suffered in the attack - most likely half the reason he'd ended up next to Alan at all.
All five Tracys had softened as they watched their youngest, she noted again. She wondered if they were ever consciously aware of their tendency to do that. She had a feeling Alan was; when he was awake, at least. It was half the reason he protested the smothering.
She'd always known the Tracys were surprisingly physically affectionate with one another, especially for young men. They roughhoused and played, yes, but they also hugged one another freely, and had a tendency to fuss - especially in relation to young Alan. It wasn't always there, but there were times when one of them was hurt, like now, when she'd find a pair of them cuddled together somewhere.
She fought to hold in a shudder. There had been too many close calls over the last adventure, most particularly for Alan. Brains had assured them he would be all right: he was mostly battered and bruised, with a minor need for dental work. The worst was the fact that his windpipe had nearly been crushed, and if she hadn't seen it with her own eyes she would never have believed how it happened.
But Alan was a rather hardy young man, and a Tracy to boot. He'd pull through just fine, and be back to his old self in no time.
"We'd better get the sprout to bed," Virgil spoke up finally, watching Alan with a look of concern.
"I'll get him," Scott spoke up, moving to his side. He shook his head at John's frown even as he reached for their younger brother. "You're still healing, Johnny. Let me carry the kid for now." He grunted softly when he lifted Alan into his arms, but she could see it was mostly for show. "You need to lay off the potato chips for awhile, Sprout," he choked out.
Alan mumbled something, reaching up to wrap an arm around Scott's neck now as he buried his face against his oldest brother's shirt.
Scott shook his head with a smile, heading into the house. It seemed to be a silent signal for Gordon to finally haul himself out of the pool, and Virgil to give John a hand up.
Jeff was watching her, and she glanced up at him. "Yes?" she asked calmly, raising her eyebrows.
"Do I even want to know what he picked up from you?" he sighed.
She smiled, feeling faintly smug. "Somehow, I think that any knowledge I may have imparted to Alan is the least of your worries."
Jeff stared at her for a moment before letting out a long groan. "Parker ... "
She sipped her drink idly in response. "I do wonder how long Alan plans to pretend to be asleep," she remarked. He had, after all, been conscious as soon as she'd asked her question.
Jeff snorted, looking amused. "A better question is how long he thinks he can get away with it."
A loud yell from the house, followed by a hearty round of boyish laughter, answered his question.