Bit of background first. This story was written as an extra response to the Tracy Island Writers' Forum ficswap challenge, written to help a fellow member when it looked like she might not be able to complete her assignment.
So with thanks to Laura for the original idea, Gerry Anderson and his team for Parker and Granada for not suing me, here's my version of An in-canon scene where Lucille Tracy meets Parker.
The girl on the number 7 bus
Aloysius Parker, 'Nosey' to his friends, gazed out of the rain-specked window from the top deck of the bus that was inching its way through the London traffic. His grandfather had told him once that when he was a young lad, London's underground train network had been replaced with monorails. At the time this was heralded as the solution to the city's traffic problems, but it hadn't seemed to have made any difference. Londoners still seemed to be crawling along at the pace of a horse and cart.
The young man stifled a yawn; the events of the previous night were starting to catch up with him. Last night had been his first big job; driving the getaway van for the Carson gang after their raid on a security vault. No more petty pick-pocketing and housebreaking for Aloysius Parker; from now on he would be where the big money was. Yes, he had finally made it into the first division of major crime. As a young man he had rejected the idea of going into service like his father; there would be no bowing and scraping to the nobs for him! Now he saw himself in the role of a latter day Robin Hood; taking the money of those who could afford it, and if not exactly giving it to the poor, at least redistributing some of it between himself and his friends.
The bus lurched to a halt at its next stop. He watched several new passengers make their way up the stairs in search of seats. His eye was caught by a striking girl of about his own age, carrying a violin case. For a second he thought her welcoming smile was directed at him, but then she walked past his seat and he realised she had been looking at someone in the seat behind him.
"Hallo, Lu," came another girl's voice. "Just a minute, let me move my clarinet." Parker had noticed several passengers carrying oddly-shaped cases and had guessed they were all heading for the music college further along the route.
"Hi there, Tina," came the reply. "Looking forward to this week's rehearsal?"
There was a snort of derision from her friend. "I just hope we get a bit more action today than we did last time. Professor Barnes spent so much time on the brass section I'm sure I can't have played more than three bars! How about you – are you ready?"
The first girl gave a sigh. "Well, I'm not exactly in the mood for music today."
"Oh?" replied her friend, "What's up? Are you missing that American fly-boy friend of yours? What's his name – Jerry?"
"Jeff? No, he's emailed me a couple of times since he got back to the States. No, It's this bank robbery business."
"What? Don't tell me you had something in a safety deposit box? I thought that was just for millionaires to keep their jewellery!"
Lu's voice was bitter. "Just one thing. When my Mum died last year I put most of her things into storage because I was still living in digs. But I didn't think that was very secure, so I rented a deposit box for my father's VC."
"I never knew your father had won a VC!"
"Yes." The voice held a tinge of pride. "He was killed saving his patrol from an ambush. I was only three years old at the time and it's one of the few things I have of his."
Parker shifted uneasily in his seat. The anguish in the girl's voice didn't sit comfortably with his new image of himself, and he was relieved when the bus reached the college and the girls disembarked.
The following day, Parker knocked on the door of a house in a terraced street in the East End.
The door opened. "Wotcher, Nosey!" said a voice.
" 'ullo, Ernie," replied Parker. "H-is the guv'nor h'in?"
The other man shook his head. "Nope, 'e 'ad to go aht. Ma's 'ere, if you want a word."
Parker nodded. Ma Carson was the real power behind the Carson gang, and though she put up with no nonsense, she was probably easier to deal with.
Parker soon found himself sipping tea out of a fine china cup opposite a large lady of indeterminate age who held the small cup delicately with her bejewelled fingers.
"Now, what can we do for you, young Nosey?" she asked.
Parker took a deep breath. "H'I'd like to take one item h'as part of me share of the loot." He described the item he was after and her brow wrinkled.
"Are you sure? You won't be able to flog it, y'know. Everyone will know it's been nicked."
Parker nodded. "Yes, I know. I just want h'it; you can take h'it aht of me share."
Ma Carson nodded. "You did good the other night, young Parker. You can 'ave this one on me." She raised her voice. "Ern! Take young Nosey down to the lock-up. He's to be allowed to take one item from the stash."
It had taken a bit of searching for Parker to find the item he was looking for. At last he spotted a small, rather worn, padded red box. He opened it and looked at the object inside. It didn't look like much; a small, plain cross of dull metal, with the words 'For valour' stamped across the centre, hanging on a bit of crimson ribbon. Nodding to Ernie, he slipped it in his pocket and walked away.
A week later, Parker had timed his journey so he was riding the same route at the same time. He felt in his pocket for the envelope containing the small box. A Victoria Cross; the highest award for bravery in the country, given to a soldier who risked his life to save others, and the one that outranked all other honours. Even a general would salute a soldier who had earned one of these. Just holding it made Parker feel very small and insignificant.
He scanned the queue waiting to get on the bus. Yes, she was there. He watched her enter the vehicle, cursing under his breath when she sat on an empty seat next to the door and an elderly man immediately sat down next to her. To make things worse, more and more people crowded onto the bus making it impossible for Parker to get near her. He'd been hoping to slip the packet into her bag without her noticing but it didn't look like he was going to get a chance.
The bus lumbered to a stop outside the college and the girl stood up, grasping her instrument case. As she stepped through the door, Parker pushed his way through the crowd of passengers. "Miss! 'Ere, Miss!"
The girl turned and Parker held out the envelope. "You dropped this, Miss."
The girl shook her head, looking puzzled. "I don't think that's mine."
"Yes, Miss, h'it is." He pushed it into her hand just before the doors closed. He looked back as the bus pulled away. She had opened the envelope and was looking inside it, then looked up at the departing vehicle with an expression of amazement. Her smile made Parker feel like a rich man.
Perhaps he wasn't cut out for a life of crime after all.