Sorry about that last chapter – it all got a bit intense. So much for my 'be nice to Virgil for a change' story! Thanks to everyone who reviewed or added this story to their alerts list. A special thanks to Loopstagirl for all the support throughout the writing of this and to Math Girl for giving me some great inspiration. I've had a lot of fun writing this and I'm a bit sad it's over. I've got a few ideas for more stories though – including the one about how Gordon managed to break Virgil's nose! Bee
In the bungalow, things had finally calmed down as Rob Hall, realising he was well and truly outnumbered, finally gave up the fight. Jeff left him to Scott and came over to kneel beside Virgil, frowning in concern.
"Are you alright, son?"
"Yeah, Dad," Virgil was finally getting himself under control. "I'm okay."
Jeff didn't look convinced. "I want Gordon to take you over to the hospital. I sent you here for a rest, not to be knocked out again. Brains is going to need to open another file for you at this rate."
"Dad, there's no need. I'm fine, honestly. I just want to go and see Amy, make sure she's okay."
Virgil's reluctance to accept he needed to see a doctor came as no surprise and Jeff simply tuned out the objections as he'd done so many times in the past when one of his sons was complaining pointlessly about something.
"Virgil, you're going! Now either Gordon goes with you or I'll take you. And I warn you, if I get talking to those doctors I'm going to insist they admit you. It's your choice."
That shut Virgil up, as he knew it would and he watched as his son allowed Gordon to steer him out of the door towards the golf cart. Why he'd ever sent his boys on this mission he didn't know. Next time they were grounded he was locking them in their rooms on the island. It would be far less stressful for everyone. Then he had a better idea.
"When we get home Brains is going to microchip the lot of you. I can't be doing with this every five minutes. From now on I want to know where you all are every minute of the day."
Realising he'd spoken aloud he braced himself for a barrage of protests from Scott, but to his surprise his son was oblivious, staring down at Rob Hall with a faraway look on his face.
"Scott? Did you hear what I just said?"
"Huh? No, sorry Dad."
Virgil and Gordon spent the next couple of hours at the hospital. Virgil continued to complain about missing out on the chance to interrogate the man who'd attacked him twice, although his rant was eventually superseded by grumbles over the length of time he had to wait to be seen. Finally however he was given a clean bill of health and allowed to leave.
"Told him there was nothing wrong with me," he said as he headed out through the hospital doors.
"Come on," said Gordon, pushing him towards a waiting taxi. "Let's go and see if they've found the blackmail tapes. We still have International Rescue's security to worry about. If our identity gets out you might be looking for a full-time job at the hotel."
He took Virgil back to Bailey's. On looking for their father and Scott they learned that both were still at the police station. There was no sign of John.
"Why don't you go back to your room for a bit?" Gordon suggested.
Virgil cast him a look of frustration. "I'm going to check on Amy."
With nothing better to do Gordon followed him to Amy's room. She'd been desperately worried and when she saw Virgil she threw herself at him and held him tightly. Virgil returned the embrace with equal enthusiasm. Gordon stood and watched in amusement for a moment before settling himself down in a chair.
"Don't mind me, guys."
Virgil removed one hand from Amy, making it quite clear that he'd like Gordon to leave them in peace.
"Charming! I didn't save your hands just so you could make gestures like that." Gordon didn't move. It was only when Virgil moved backwards, grabbed him by the collar and dragged him towards the door, all without breaking away from Amy that he finally gave up.
"Well, Virg, guess I'll leave you to it then. I'll close the door on my way out shall I?"
With a grin, he left the room and made his way to the pool.
An hour later Scott and Jeff returned, meeting up with Gordon in Scott and Virgil's room. Jeff still intended to head for home, putting in a call to Alan to come and get them in the family jet.
"How's Virgil?" Scott asked.
"Well, he definitely didn't have a headache when I saw him last," Gordon smirked.
Jeff shot him a quizzical look before deciding he didn't want to know and turning his attention back to business.
"Hall confessed to the attacks on Virgil and admitted to being part of the blackmail ring. But he's refusing to say where the evidence is. Unless we find it we're still in danger of being discovered and a lot of people are going to be left wondering if they'll be blackmailed again."
"He wouldn't give up the tapes?" Gordon asked.
"No," said Scott. "In fact, when we asked him about them he started laughing."
"He nearly fell off his chair he found it so funny, " Jeff agreed. "I don't know boys, there's something we're missing here."
They were all silent for a moment.
"So who's Penny chasing?" Gordon asked.
"He paid one of the fishermen to take his boat. He was supposed to sail around for a couple of days before landing at one of the other islands. Hall just wanted to distract us so he could come back here without suspicion. Come to think of it, Scott, you'd better get onto Penny and tell her what's happened."
When Scott didn't reply immediately, Jeff tried again.
"Huh?" A startled Scott jumped at his father's raised voice.
"What's the matter with you? You've been distracted ever since we caught him."
"I've seen him before," he said finally.
"Hall? Where?" Jeff asked.
"That's just it, I can't remember. I just know that when I saw him I had this flash of recognition and then it was gone."
"Well he's been lying low so there aren't that many places you could have seen him," Gordon pointed out. "By the pool, maybe? Somewhere on the grounds?"
Scott shook his head. "It's driving me crazy!"
"What is?" Virgil had just come into the room.
Relieved to see Virgil safe and well, Scott forgot about Rob Hall for a moment. He was reminded when his brother asked again,
"What's going on, Scott?"
"That wasn't the first time I'd seen Rob Hall! I just can't remember where..." A huge grin appeared on his face. "Got it!"
"So where was he?" Gordon asked.
"He came into the ballroom when the band was playing. He was standing near our table, talking to Jason Kerr. I thought at the time Kerr looked annoyed about something – he practically pushed Hall out the door. I just assumed it was a guest who'd had too much to drink. I'd love to know what they were talking about, though. I mean, there must be a reason Hall was out and about that night."
"Didn't you hear anything?" Jeff asked.
"No, they were standing fairly close, but the band was too loud."
"That's a pity," Jeff said. "The more evidence we have against those two the better, especially since we still haven't found their blackmail material."
"There might be a way to find out what they said," Scott mused, glancing across at his middle brother a little uncertainly.
"How?" Virgil asked.
"Well, I transmitted the band's performance to John through my watch so that he could send it on to the island."
"What? Why didn't you tell me?"
"Well, you were too nervous before and I didn't want to stress you out even more. Then, afterwards, I thought you'd be annoyed that I hadn't warned you," Scott said reasonably.
"Virgil, you were great, everyone loved it – all your performances," Jeff reassured his son.
"All of them?" Virgil asked.
"Oh yes – I even put Amy on visual when she was sliding all over your piano. I think the boys liked that one the best," Scott grinned.
"Sure did," Gordon agreed. "What did you think, Virg? You used to tell me off for climbing on your piano when we were kids. Bet you didn't complain about Amy."
Virgil went red. He'd liked that song the best too – especially since he'd had a much better view than his brothers! Plus, it brought back memories of later events that he certainly wasn't going to be sharing with Gordon or his father.
"So let's get hold of John and see if he can restore all the background noise he took out before he broadcast it," Jeff said, once again pretending to be ignorant of his middle son's embarrassment as he keyed in the code on his watch.
"Where is John anyway?" Virgil asked.
"No idea," Gordon told him. "I called him after I left you but he didn't seem to want to talk."
The three brothers exchanged knowing looks as John's voice was heard, sounding reluctant as he informed his father he was on his way.
Finally John arrived and set up his equipment. Turning up the background noise as far as it would go, he signalled to the others that he was ready.
"It's not going to be very clear. You'll have to listen carefully."
Sure enough, the sounds of conversation were muffled by the noise of the band, though various voices were decipherable. Straining to hear anything important, they were startled when Virgil suddenly jumped up, almost shouting,
"That's it! Right there!"
"What did they say?" Jeff asked, sure that he hadn't picked up anything relevant.
"Say?" Virgil looked confused. "No one said anything. But I knew I'd missed a cue in that song. I was just a beat behind."
The others looked at each other in amusement. Scott cuffed his brother across the head, quickly apologising when Virgil let out a yelp of pain.
"Boys!" his father sighed in exasperation. "Let's start again. And this time, Virgil, concentrate!"
Rubbing the bump on his head and glaring at Scott, Virgil sat back down and John restarted the tape. Finally they heard it – Rob Hall and Jason Kerr discussing the whereabouts of their evidence. John stopped the playback and everyone turned to look at Virgil.
"Oh..." was all he could say.
"So you had it all the time?" Gordon was practically falling off Virgil's bed he was laughing so hard. He couldn't wait to tell Alan about all this. Scott and Virgil hadn't exactly covered themselves with glory on this mission.
"And you didn't think to look inside our main suspect's music case?" Jeff asked despairingly.
"I did look inside!" Virgil protested. "I was looking for music though, not blackmail material."
"Didn't you have a look, Scott?" John asked.
"Virg said he'd done it," Scott glowered at Virgil as his brother ducked away from him, arms up to protect his head.
"It's a stupid place to hide something anyway," he said sullenly.
Scott sighed. "Virgil, where did you hide your bugging equipment?"
"In my music case..."
"And it didn't occur to you that Rob Hall might have done the same thing?" John shook his head.
"Well, I was nervous about Saturday," Virgil said defensively. "And when Amy brought me Rob's music all I could think about was how it was going to help me with the songs I'd been struggling with. I just took out the music I needed and left it on the piano in the studio. I put it in my own case the next day."
"So what did you do with Rob's case?" Gordon asked.
Virgil thought for a moment before a panicked look appeared on his face. "I, er... I can't remember."
Scott jumped in before Jeff could explode. "You gave it to me to look after."
"And what did you do with it?" Jeff asked wearily, wondering if the music case was ever going to turn up.
"I gave it to Parker," Scott told him. "I guess he must have taken it away with him."
"No he didn't," Gordon said. "He asked me to tell you that he'd found something of yours while he was packing and he'd returned it to your room. I must have forgotten to mention it."
They all looked around the room. Finally their eyes came to rest on Scott's bedside table. Propped up against it was a leather music case.
"We've been sat next to it all this time?" Jeff buried his face in his hands, trying to fight the temptation to start banging his head against the wall.
"Well come on then," said John, reaching over and picking it up. "After all this we're surely not just going to admire the thing."
Handing it to his father he watched as Jeff reached into the front pocket and pulled out a bag. Through the clear plastic they could see a number of memory cards. Each one had a set of initials inked onto it.
Virgil stared at it. "There must be twenty cards in there at least."
"A lot of people are going to be relieved that this is over," Scott commented. "So what do we do? We need to give these to the police if they're going to prosecute Rob and the others."
Jeff opened the bag and tipped the contents out onto Scott's bed. Hunting through them he selected one with the initials WB before handing it to John.
"You'd better make sure this is Bill."
It only took a few seconds to establish that it was indeed the recording of Bill Brand. Extremely thankful to be able to turn it off before things got too involved, Jeff pocketed the card.
"What was the Duchess's grand-daughter's name again?" Virgil asked, sifting through the remainder of the cards.
"Diana King," Scott said, nodding approvingly as Virgil removed the card marked DK.
"Well, it seems our work is done," said Jeff, putting the remaining evidence back in the bag and returning it to the music case. "Gordon, John, we'd better get back home. Scott, Virgil, are you sure you're going to stay on?"
The brothers exchanged glances. "Absolutely," Scott said. "And if you'll excuse me, I'm on duty in ten minutes." He grabbed his kit and with a quick goodbye to his father, John and Gordon, he was gone.
Virgil walked back to the hotel lobby with the others.
"See you in a few days," he said as they prepared to leave.
"Not me," said John. "I'm off back up to Five tomorrow."
"It will be good to get back to normal," Jeff said cheerfully.
"Sure will," Gordon sighed. "The sooner you and Scott are back home the better."
"Do you miss us that much?" Virgil asked in surprise.
"No!" Gordon pulled a face. "I just hate to think of you two having fun while I'm stuck with Dad and Grandma!"
"Hey!" Jeff said, not sure whether he was really insulted or not. "I'll remind you that I still have to agree your leave next week. I'm sure there are a lot of jobs which need doing on the island. I might not be able to spare you."
"Sorry, Dad," Gordon smiled, ruffling his father's hair affectionately, much to Jeff's annoyance. "You know I love you really." He picked up the suitcases and headed over to the taxi which had just pulled up. With a cheerful goodbye to Virgil, John followed him.
"Hm," Jeff said thoughtfully watching Gordon get into the car. "Maybe I'll give him two weeks off not one – give us all a break."
Virgil laughed. "Make it three – and send Alan along too."
Jeff sighed. "It might be a while before Alan gets any leave. Take care, Virgil. And before you come home, make sure you get a haircut – you might look the part here, but our outfit has a reputation to maintain."
Virgil groaned. "I like it like this. Besides, it's not like anyone ever takes my picture."
"Just do it," Jeff instructed. "Or I'll let Grandma do it."
Virgil looked horrified. "Grandma? After all you said when we found those photos of you as a kid! What happened to them anyway? They'd disappeared the next time we looked for them."
Jeff smiled. "I hid them. Just in case Gordon and Alan decided to have some fun with them. I really didn't want to see them in the next issue of the company newsletter. No, you're right. I wouldn't inflict that on you. Though since Alan will be stuck on the island for the time being..."
Virgil stared at him. "You wouldn't? Would you? Actually, I think you should. Remember what he did to me and Scott – all that pain and suffering..."
Jeff laughed. "I thought you were more forgiving than that, Virgil. We'll see. Maybe if he's learned his lesson I'll let him off."
The taxi beeped its horn and Jeff moved towards it. Then a thought struck him and he gave Virgil his watch. "Just in case. Try not to break this one though. See you soon, son."
Virgil watched as the taxi moved off. Then he headed off to the rehearsal studio. Three more days and now the problems at Bailey's had been resolved he could finally have some real fun.
Gordon flung his case down in his room, frustrated after failing to extract any information from a smug John as to his escapades at Bailey's. Heading off in search of his younger brother, he knew just what would cheer them both up.
"Hey, Alan. How's it going?" Gordon was surprised to find Alan in his room, apparently tidying up.
"Oh, hi, Gords," Alan shoved a pile of clothes into a drawer and turned to face his brother. "Just thought I'd make sure my room was tidy so Grandma wouldn't have so much to do later."
"Still trying to make up for the other day, huh?" his brother asked. "Dad's calmed down a bit now and Scott and Virg are fine. I guess you might have to take some of their maintenance duties for them for a couple of months, but they'll forgive you."
"I know," Alan sat down on the bed and sighed. "They've been really good about it but I still feel bad."
"Is Tin-Tin talking to you yet?" Gordon asked.
"Well, she's talking, but that's all she's doing right now," Alan said sadly, frowning when Gordon turned away just a little too late to hide the grin which spread across his face. "It's not funny, Gordon! I nearly ruined everything. I tell you, these last few days stuck here with just Tin-Tin, Grandma and Kyrano haven't been a whole lot of fun."
"Well, if it's fun you want..." Gordon turned back, the grin wider than ever. He held out his hand, unclenching his fist to reveal a memory card.
"What's that?" Alan asked. "Gordon, you didn't swipe one of the blackmail tapes, did you?"
"Oh, better than that," his brother told him, heading across to Alan's computer and inserting the device. "This, little brother, is a copy of Scott and Penny's attempts to get the blackmailers' interest. Want to see our Scott in action?"
Alan joined him at the desk. "You're kidding. How did you get hold of that?"
"Penny asked me to get it out of the camera for her. You'd have thought she'd know better, but there you go. I had time to make a copy before I gave the original back." He reached out to press the button which would start the playback, then withdrew his hand.
"You want to do the honours? You could probably do with a good laugh right now."
Alan was silent for a minute. Then he reached out his hand...
"Alan! You deleted it! What did you do that for? I haven't seen it myself yet!"
"Gordon, you're looking at the new, improved Alan Tracy. No more jokes, no more messing around when I should be working." He stared at the screen for a long moment then dropped his head into his hands with a groan.
Gordon sighed. "I'm guessing that right now you're really regretting doing that."
"Yep," Alan moaned. "What was I thinking?"
"You know, I kind of preferred the old Alan. Any chance he might make a comeback? I could use his help planning a 'welcome home' surprise for the boys."
"Well, I reckon I've paid my debt to Scott at least. Tell you what, put in a good word for me with Tin-Tin and I just might give you a hand." He grinned. "You know, Scott doesn't have to know that I deleted it before we watched it..."
Gordon smiled. "Good to have you back! Now, what can we do for Virgil...?"
A few days later Virgil would fail to see the funny side when he found his uniform liberally embellished with sequins. Having to entrust Two to Gordon while he picked them off one by one didn't make him any happier.
But that was several days away. In the meantime Virgil was enjoying his last few days at Bailey's. He had plenty to occupy himself with between the band and Amy. He'd become firm friends with Miguel who, delighted that Rob Hall was permanently out of the picture, had taken the reins of the band with relish. Despite the imminent arrival of a permanent pianist, he still had plenty of new material for Virgil to work on and the two had begun writing a few songs together, something they intended to continue even after Virgil left. Miguel made him promise that he'd play on his first recordings. For his part Virgil was happy to agree – as long as he could get some more leave, of course.
Scott too had enjoyed the last few days of his break from International Rescue, though he had to admit he was more than ready to get back into action. Tactfully leaving Virgil alone to say a last goodbye to Amy, he went over to speak to Connie who had come to see them off. They chatted for a while until Scott finally got bored of waiting for his brother.
"Virg!" he called. "We have to go."
"On my way," his brother replied, making no attempt to detach himself from Amy.
"Will you come on?"
"In a minute."
Connie laughed as Scott sighed resignedly.
"You know, if I didn't know who you two really are I'd offer you both jobs. I don't suppose you're ever going to tell me just how you ended up here?"
"It's a bit complicated," Scott told her. "But it makes a change from the day job."
"Well, I'm very grateful to the pair of you. Penny, too. Anytime you need a break there'll be a room for you here. Well, not that Virgil will need me to provide him with somewhere to stay if he comes back."
Scott looked across at his brother then at his watch.
"We really do have to be going. Virgil! Come on!"
Virgil finally broke free of Amy and wandered over, picking up his case.
"Finally! Let's go."
Settling themselves into their taxi, pulling the glass partition across to give themselves some privacy, they watched as Bailey's faded into the distance, Amy and Connie waving until they were out of sight. Virgil settled himself back into his seat and yawned.
"Tired?" Scott asked.
"Yeah. I'll be glad to get back to the island for a rest."
"John says there's a hurricane brewing. You might not get time for a rest."
"Fine by me. Heard from Penny?"
"No. Why would I?"
Virgil shot him an amused glance. "You know, you never told me what went on between you two."
Scott couldn't stop himself going red.
"Come on, Scott. You can tell me. Wouldn't it be good to have someone to talk to?"
"And give you some blackmail material of your own?"
"So there is something I could use to blackmail you?"
"Oh well, I'll just have to use my imagination."
Virgil leaned back in his seat and closed his eyes. "I've got a vivid imagination, you know," he told his brother. "Very, very vivid..." A wicked smile spread over his face. "Hm, I'd never have thought Penny would- "
"Stop it! Alright, I'll tell you."
Virgil opened his eyes and waited eagerly.
"You promise you won't say anything to the boys?"
"Of course I won't."
"Well, it was all going pretty much according to plan, but then, I don't know, we just-"
An urgent beeping came from their watches and John began outlining details of an imminent disaster, informing them that Alan was on his way to pick them up in Thunderbird One.
Scott, immeasurably relieved at the unexpected rescue, was straight back in command mode, directing a decidedly confused taxi driver to a new destination, this time in the middle of nowhere.
"Sorry, Virg. Maybe later."
Virgil glared at him even as he activated his own watch to berate a startled John. Scott sat back, the smile on his face growing wider as he thought about that night at Bailey's. Virgil could imagine whatever he liked - only he and Penny were ever going to know the truth...