Disclaimer: I own nothing!
Hello again! *waves* I'm back already! This one is for a very special person on her birthday, after she requested a Gordon story! Happy Birthday Once. A. Queen. Of. Narnia! Hope that you like this after everything!
Hope that everyone else enjoys as well!
1, 2, 3, 4, turn, 4, 3, 2, 1, turn…
Setting a steady rhythm in his head, Gordon strongly pulled himself through the pool, allowing the water to cascade gracefully over his tanned back. A fierce grin occupied his face as he once more turned, his speed increasing as he eased the aches out of his body. There was no finer way to start the morning, and with waking up stiff because of last night's rescue, Gordon had by-passed breakfast altogether, heading straight for the pool. He would eat when he was done, but the red-head had been so desperate to get swimming that he didn't want to have to wait not only whilst he ate, but then waiting the hour or so afterwards. Knowing his luck, a rescue would come in before he had been able to reach the pool, they had been busy like that recently. Gordon didn't know what it was with the world, but he could have sworn that they co-ordinated their disasters. No sooner were the boys back from one rescue when they were whisked away on another. A couple of times, they hadn't even made it home before they were called to another accident. Things were so bad that their father had even banned Scott from a couple of rescues, giving Alan the chance to pilot One whilst his brother got some rest. Not that that had gone down too well, in the end Jeff had been forced to get Brains to administer a light sedative in order to allow his eldest son the respite he needed after practically collapsing at a rescue. Gordon knew it would only take another couple of rescues before Virgil was in for the same treatment, the two main pilots having been involved with every rescue. Even he and Alan were finding themselves going on more and more, simply as another pair of eyes because the normal pairs were too tired to see properly. As he flipped over once more and sent himself propelling through the water, Gordon couldn't help but wonder what would happen if that was the case. He and Alan could pilot One and Two no problem, they all had the training. No, what Gordon was concerned about was his other blonde brother. John had looked as bad as they all felt when he called through the rescue last night. He may not have been involved as physically as the rest of them, but the astronaut had instead had hours worth of calls coming in, being forced to listen through the more major ones and make a decision about who needed their help more. Physically, John may have been fine, but Gordon couldn't help but wonder whether he was more exhausted mentally than the rest of them put together. And with all hands needed here, they couldn't spare Alan for long enough at the moment to go up and collect him.
"Here we go," the aquanaut muttered to himself, tensing his arms as he pulled himself out of the water. He had no idea what was going on this time, but with the whole family being tired and on edge, it wasn't taking a lot to test even Virgil's normally placid temper. This time, however, the yell had come from his father, and judging by the tone of his voice, he was not happy. Reaching casually over with one hand, Gordon plucked his towel from the sun lounger as he strode past, flicking it quickly over himself before draping it around his shoulders. Stepping into the villa, Gordon let his eyes adjust to the change in light before glancing around for his father.
"Dad? Where are you?"
"My office. Now." Groaning, Gordon rolled his eyes as he slowly made his way across the room. If he was being summoned to the office, he was definitely in trouble. Only problem was, the prankster had no idea what it was he had done. He hadn't had any time to plan anything for weeks, the constant rescues meaning he was either off the island or frantically doing maintenance or stock checks on the 'birds, desperately trying to keep them in shape for the ever increasing rescues. If he wasn't doing that, he was either trying to alleviate the tension by swimming, or was sleeping. He had neither the time nor the energy to plan anything else. Pushing the door to the office slowly open with one hand, Gordon was hard pushed not to groan out loud. His father did not look the slightest bit happy.
"Dad? You wanted to see me?" Gordon asked, somewhat tentatively as he cautiously entered the room, perching on the edge of the nearest chair. Not knowing what he was supposed to be guilty of, the red-head didn't know how to play this. Normally, he had a whole line of defence on hand when he had something planned; it was what - if he did say so himself - made him so good.
"I thought you have grown past being irresponsible, Gordon. Especially considering how hard the last few weeks have been on your brothers."
"Hang on!" Gordon interrupted, staring at his father in something that was closely bordering on anger. He had no idea what his father was talking about, and yet was being accused. Not to mention it wasn't just his brothers that the last few weeks had been hard on.
"Whatever is going on had nothing to do with me. Scott and Virgil aren't the only ones suffering here!"
"Scott nearly twisted his ankle because of your prank. Is your job that unimportant that you can endanger your field commander for kicks?"
"Dad!" Gordon yelled, jumping to his feet and glaring at his father. How dare the man sit there and tell him what he thought of his job! It wasn't Scott or Virgil that had been knocked out and nearly drowned in the last rescue. "Whatever is going on here, I swear it has nothing to do with me…"
"Alan said he saw you," Jeff interrupted coolly. He was frankly surprised at Gordon, normally his prankster of a son made sure that the boundary between home life and International Rescue would never be crossed when he planned something. Much as Jeff didn't want to admit it, Gordon was good. This time, however, he had crossed the line.
"Alan's lying then," Gordon shot back, not missing a beat as he stared his father in the eye, willing the man to believe him. Whatever had happened obviously had been dangerous if this was the reaction.
"Who am I supposed to believe, Gordon?" Jeff sighed, wearily sitting back in his chair. He had wondered how long it would take before the tensions came to the surface. The boys argued anyway, they were brothers, after all. But in times of stress, the light hearted teasing tended to get nasty. "You may not have meant anything by it, Gordon, but I know you are stressed, and something like this is right up your street…"
"Dad. Listen to me. It was nothing to do with me!" And so saying, Gordon Tracy turned his back on his father and walked out, knowing the second he did so that that was probably the worst thing he could have done. Jeff had never taken disobedience well, but Gordon found at this particular moment, he didn't care. He would not be blamed for this, especially not if one of his brothers had gotten hurt.
"Gordon Cooper Tracy, don't you dare walk out on me when I'm talking to you!" Sighed, Gordon stopped still, taking in a deep breath and squaring his shoulders. Very slowly, he swiveled on the spot, turning to face his absolutely fuming father. Before anything more could be said, however, the klaxon went off, drowning the villa in its distress call.
Saved by the bell, Gordon couldn't help but think, an ironic smile ghosting across his lips. He turned to head towards the lounge, already hearing the thundering footsteps of his brothers, but before he could take another step, a strong hand grasped his upper arm.
"Don't think you have gotten away with this, Gordon," Jeff growled, practically frog-marching his son into the lounge, ignoring the looks his three eldest boys were shooting the pair of them. Wrenching his arm away from his father, Gordon crossed the room, a deep scowl taking place uncharacteristically on his face.
"Three children trapped in a cave," John was reporting, his eyes flickering over the information in front of him as he filled in the rest of the family via his portrait. "The entrance has collapsed, and local authorities can't get there for a few hours, everything is tied up with the forest fire further east."
"The one they were adamant they didn't need our help for?" Virgil muttered darkly, sharing a scowl with Scott. Gordon knew what was going through both of their heads. If the authorities had asked for their help with the fire, not only would it be extinguished by now, there would have also been people on hand to help with the children. For a family of stubborn men, the Tracy boys didn't like stubbornness in anyone else, it made their job harder.
"That's the one," John sighed, his eyes flickering up again to gaze at his brothers apologetically. "Sorry guys, looks like you are needed."
"I'm on my way," Scott mumbled, exhaustion more than evident in his face.
"Scott, wait, are you sure you are up to this? I can send Alan…" Jeff suggested, holding out his arm to stop his eldest son from activating the lamps.
"Alan's not here, I am," Scott responded, shortly, shrugging off his father's hand and sending himself spinning around and out of sight. It was as Scott uttered the words that Gordon noticed for the first time the absence of his kid brother. And with that came the realisation.
I'm gonna kill him, Gordon thought darkly, moving simultaneously towards the hidden entrances of Thunderbird Two as Virgil. Just before he disappeared from sight, he caught his father's eye.
"Ask Alan what happened." And so saying, Gordon vanished, not waiting to hear what would no doubt be another angry retort. He didn't get why his father automatically trusted his youngest son over Gordon, Alan was responsible for more than his fair share of pranks, not to mention the amount of times he had helped out Gordon. They weren't known as the Terrible Two for nothing, but this time, Gordon couldn't help thinking bitterly, Alan had let him down. He had attempted to frame his brother. They were supposed to be partners, constantly having each other's back. When things calmed down, Gordon was going to make him pay.
"Oi, Gordon, you with me, bro?" Hearing Virgil's voice snap through his musings, Gordon blinked to find himself already strapped into Thunderbird Two, Virgil with his hands on the controls, but a slightly concerned expression on his face as he watched his younger brother.
"What? Yeah, I'm good."
"Thunderbird Two requesting permission to launch."
"You are clear, Thunderbird Two."
"F.A.B." With a great rumble, the giant green machine was sent slowly forward, the trees moving simultaneously out of the way. As the speed picked up, Gordon braced himself, and within a matter of seconds, Thunderbird Two was climbing. For a few moments, there was silence fell across the command deck as Virgil masterfully brought his baby to her best height before leveling off. As soon as he had done so, however, he unclipped his harness and spun his chair around to face his brother.
"So what went down between you and Dad?"
"None of your business," Gordon muttered tonelessly, leaning back in his chair and shutting his eyes. He was so tired; the last thing he wanted was to be whisked off on another rescue. Not to mention he was annoyed at a certain younger brother. Alan had certainly not picked a good time to try and carry out a prank, especially considering it had nearly gone wrong.
"Come on, Gords, the whole house heard that."
"Really?" Opening one eye, Gordon peered at his brother, wincing slightly as Virgil nodded. He really was hoping that he would have been able to just brush it away, but apparently not.
"What happened to Scott?" Hoping to find out a little more of what he was being blamed for, Gordon opened his other eye, sitting up straighter as Virgil rolled his eyes.
"Trip wire. Was supposed to break and cover him in flour and water, only it didn't and Scott fell over it."
"And does he blame me for that as well?" Gordon asked bitterly, wondering whether he was dealing with an angry older brother as well as a fuming father. Looking slightly astonished, Virgil shook his head.
"Heck no, far too primitive to be you. That had Alan written all over it. There is no way that you would muck up something as simple as a trip wire…wait a moment…." Sitting up slightly straighter, Virgil looked his brother directly in the eye.
"That's what's up between you and Dad? He thinks it was you?"
"Alan apparently saw me," Gordon mumbled, thankfully relieved. He was glad that his brothers at least could tell when credit was due to him or not. Hopefully that would mean their father would be convinced, Gordon was not looking forward to having to face him again otherwise.
"That little tyke," Virgil said, spinning his chair back towards the controls as the instruments started flashing at him. Hitting a button, he found himself face to face with Scott, the pilot's face puckered in concentration.
"I'm at the danger zone, Virg. It doesn't look too bad, the Mole should be enough. I'm trying to patch my way through to the kids, I think fright is going to be our biggest problem."
"F.A.B, Scott. ETA two minus three minutes."
"F.A.B. Virg, did you find out-?"
Rolling his eyes, Scott disconnected, leaving a flabbergasted Gordon staring at his brother in astonishment.
"You two are scary, you know that, don't you?"
"What the hell were you talking about?" Laughing slightly, Virgil glanced back over his shoulder at the expression on Gordon's face. His red-headed brother didn't seem to realise that he and Alan also often had conversations with neither of them expressing themselves, yet the other knowing precisely what they meant. He and Scott had developed it on rescues, but Virgil could only shudder to think where the Terrible Two had picked it up from.
"I was telling him what happened between you and Dad, he was worried."
"So why didn't you tell him?"
"I did." Virgil responded with a frown, adjusting a few dials as he began the descent. He only hoped that there was somewhere secure for him to park his baby, he didn't like it when he wasn't certain of her safety.
"No you didn't. You said squealing. What is that supposed to mean?"
"That Alan had attempted to set up the prank and then had told Dad it was you, hence why he was so mad at you and why you were so annoyed at him." Blinking, Gordon shook his head in bemusement. How Scott had managed to understand that from just one word was beyond him.
"Like I said, scary."
"Buckle up, kid, we are coming into land." Casting his eyes down, Gordon was now glad that he had never bothered to undo his harness in the first place; their destination had been a lot closer than he had dared hope for. He only wished that meant this whole operation would be a lot quicker than he was anticipating. For although he didn't want to face his father again, Gordon didn't particularly want to be stuck out on another rescue either. Unfortunately for Gordon, however, it was going to be quite a while before he would be able to return home.
"But surely Dad believes you as much as he believes Alan?" Virgil asked conversationally, his teeth chattering slightly through the vibrations of the Mole. He and Gordon were aboard, Scott directing their progress from Mobile Control whilst trying to keep the children clear from where they would emerge. By the time his younger siblings had disembarked from Two, the Field Commander had finished setting up, and had been attempting to make contact with the children. Strangely, he hadn't been able to get anything, but rather than cause for concern, Scott was sure it was because the signal was not getting through, rather than the rather darker alternative of there being no one conscious to respond. Not sure what they were expecting to find, the boys knew that they had to get a move on, but progress was somewhat limited by the uncertainty of the rock they were drilling through.
"You'd think," Gordon commented lightly, his eyes glued to the screens monitoring their progress. It may have been up to Scott to direct them, but it was up to the aquanaut to keep them under control. "But apparently… drop back by point two, Virg… apparently somehow Alan has more believability than me."
"You gotta admit, though," Virgil began, his hands instinctively darting around the controls as he followed the instructions coming from both of his brothers. "Alan doesn't lie to Dad as much as you."
"I don't lie to Dad!" Gordon responded, pretending to sound offended, yet knowing that his brother had a point. "I just bend the truth slightly now and again. Hey, if Scott knew it was Alan, how come he hasn't killed him yet? If it was me, I would be toast by now."
"Oh don't worry, he'll be toast. Scott just hasn't found the Sprout yet. Alan definitely has better hiding skills than you."
"I'm just too wonderful to stay low," Gordon said with a grin, earning himself a snort of amusement and a disbelieving look from his brother. Strange as it was, stuck in a drill digging towards three terrified children had resulted in Gordon feeling more relaxed than he had all morning. It was nice to simply be able to talk to Virgil; it was not something they had had time for lately. And especially as his older brother held no grievances, unlike some members of their family.
"Whoa, Virg, stop there!" Gordon suddenly declared, rather loudly. In fact, it was much louder than he intended, catching Virgil by surprise and causing him to almost jolt the Mole to a halt in his hurry to respond to the urgency in Gordon's voice. Letting out his breath, Virgil tried to stop the hammering in his chest as he glanced over at his brother, who gave him a sheepish grin in return.
"Any particular reason you decided to try and deafen me?" Virgil asked sarcastically, checking all his readings and making sure they were secure.
"We are about to go through the top of the cave where the kids are."
"How come Scott didn't stop us?" Frowning at his brother's question, Gordon knew Virgil had a point. Scott had been closely monitoring their progress, making sure they weren't going to run into any weak points in the rock he could detect. Thinking, Gordon suddenly realised he hadn't heard anything from his biggest brother in a while. Glancing towards his watch, he lifted it up to his ear almost at the same time as Virgil. To his astonishment, however, he was getting nothing back but static.
"Brains said it went through anything," Gordon said, his voice lined with confusion. Virgil too was staring at his watch in surprise, but at Gordon's comment, he shot his little brother what he hoped was a reassuring look.
"We've never encountered this type of rock before, maybe there is something in it which scrambles the signal. Uh oh, I know that look. What?"
For as Virgil had been speaking, a sly grin had slipped onto Gordon's face, his eyes dancing mischievously. It was a look like that, however, that instantly had all of the Tracy boys on edge, wondering if they were going to be the next victim of one of his pranks.
"Can you imagine the look on Scott's face the fact we have dropped out of communications?" Unable to stop himself, Virgil let out a bark of laughter before bringing himself back under control. Scott was certainly not going to like that.
"Come on, let's get this over with before he really freaks out."
"We're probably already too late," Gordon commented lightly, unbuckling his harness and stretching his arms above his head as best as he could considering the confined space. Virgil quickly followed suit, and within a matter of moments, the pair of them were geared up. Clipping the oxygen canister to his belt, Gordon followed Virgil out of the Mole, all joking aside as the boys turned their full attention to the task ahead. Almost casually tossing his younger sibling what looked like a normal drill, Virgil indicated where Gordon should start digging. The measurements known about the cave meant they could not use the Mole to break through, it was too shallow and the chances of hurting – or worse – one of the children was too great. Instead, they would have to do this last bit by hand.
"Fancy turning up the temperature?" Gordon muttered as he activated the device held in his hand, the whirring motors sending shudders up his arms. There could be no denying the penetrating cold that had infiltrated the caves, seeping into the two members of International Rescue and causing them to shiver despite the warmth of their uniforms. Virgil didn't answer him, but Gordon was not surprised. His brother often became silent when working, a direct contrast to Gordon's need to break any silence.
The silence continued for a few more moments, the whir of machinery signaling their progress to such an extent that words were no longer needed. Feeling the tension below his drill suddenly change, Gordon immediately switched the machine off, testing the ground with his foot.
"Virg, I'm through." Without wasting a second, Virgil was by his brother's side, crouching down to test the ground himself. Shooting his younger sibling a grin, he carefully placed his own equipment behind him, out of the way.
"Hello? Can anyone hear me? This is International Rescue."
"I told you they were coming." An obstinate voice suddenly declared from somewhere beneath the two brothers, causing them to share grins. At least one of the children was no doubt fine.
"That's right, we are coming. We just need you to hang on a little longer. Is anyone hurt?"
"Bobby banged his head," the voice yelled back up, trembling ever so slightly. It was a young girl, Gordon reckoned she couldn't be older than nine at the oldest.
"Is he still awake?" The red-head called back, now more than glad he had accompanied Virgil down with the Mole. All of the brothers were good with any type of rescue, but when it came to children, there could be no denying who was the best. With his constant cheerfulness, Gordon had always managed to calm the most hysterical of them down. His brothers' didn't understand how he did it, much to Scott's frustration. After almost single handedly raising all four of his brothers at one point, he had always claimed that he could control children. Gordon, however, didn't know how he did it. He just thought they were a lot easier to calm than adults. A couple of bad jokes and they would be as good as gold.
"Yeah. He says he's sleepy though."
"I need you to keep him awake for me, honey," Gordon called back, climbing into the harness Virgil was holding out as he spoke. The artist had already hooked everything up, all Gordon had to do was carefully work his way through the rock. It was so much easier doing it by hand, the drills weren't able to stop the rocks falling, and not knowing where the children were, it was too much of a risk. Taking the hand drill from his brother, Gordon nodded that his was ready, and ever so slowly, Virgil began feeding him some slack. Placing the edge of the drill against the floor, Gordon lowered himself into a crouch and carefully began turning the handle, manually working his way through the rock.
It wasn't long before the red-head had broken through, and was now swinging from the harness, Virgil lowering him down.
"Reckon we could have some light down here?" Gordon called up through the opening, being careful not to call Virgil by his name. This was the one thing that he hated on rescues, especially when they were hard ones. The boys simply had to de-personalise themselves, something that was not easy considering their strong relations. Virgil immediately responded to his brother's query, passing down some glow tubes. Snapping them in order to release the light, Gordon dropped them below him, thankful he was now not just relying on the light from his helmet.
"Hey, kids, there you are," he called down cheerfully, the light revealing three shapes huddled against the back wall of the cave. Covered in dirt, Gordon could see even from where he was still dangling that despite being covered in small scrapes, they were relatively unharmed. Craning his neck back, the aquanaut could just make out what had been the cave above, wincing when he realised how far the children must have fallen. Letting himself free fall the last part, Gordon dropped lightly to his feet before unclipping himself from the harness.
"Ready to get out of here? Which one of you guys is Bobby?" Striding over to them, Gordon made sure he had his "rescue" smile fixed onto his face. It would do no good for the children to realise that this was going to be a tricky rescue. Gordon knew he would have to send them up one by one to Virgil on the rope. His brother would then have to somehow fit everyone in the Mole, which was going to be tricky, and then make his way up to the surface without running into anymore weaker points on the rock, especially if they were going blind without Scott's assistance.
"This is Bobby," the little girl said, the trembles in her voice more apparent as she pointed to the younger boy on her right hand side. "And this is Johnny." His smile becoming more genuine as she pointed to the boy on her left, Gordon crouched down beside them.
"I know a Johnny," he told the child softly, wincing as he realised that the boy could be no older than about four, clutching to the girl's dress like it was his lifeline. "And he's really brave. Do you think you can be too, buddy?"
Tentatively, the boy nodded, his hold on his friend slowly loosening. Smiling fondly at him, Gordon then turned his attention to the other boy, making sure his face didn't show his worry when he caught sight of the bloody gash on his head. Pulling a makeshift bandage out of one of his many pockets, Gordon smiled at him.
"Do you fancy wearing a hat, Bobby?" To his dismay, however, the boy shook his head, the movement obviously causing him pain as tears filled his eyes and his lower lip trembled.
Time to be the hero Gordon told himself, inching closer to the child.
"Ok, if you don't want a hat, how about a bandana? Then you'll look like a pirate, and that would just be really cool. Do you like pirates, Bobby? I do. They are awesome."
Wondering what on earth he was babbling about, Gordon continued to inch closer to the child, a rush of relief washing over him as Bobby finally let him tie the bandage over his head. Making sure to tilt it so that it covered one eye like an eye-patch, Gordon grinned widely at the small smile the boy offered him.
"Oooh argh," he drawled, sparing a glance over his shoulder towards where the rope was swinging, wondering if he was going to be able to get the children to hold on.
"Now, sweetheart, you never told me your name." Turning back towards the girl, Gordon smiled reassuringly at her. She was obviously trying to be brave for the younger two, and seeing a slight resemblance in their eyes, Gordon wondered whether they were siblings. Knowing what he and his brothers were like when it came to protecting each other, Gordon wondered whether that was going to make his job easier or harder. One thing he did know, however, was that whenever one of them were hurt, the others let the Tracy stubbornness come to the surface, refusing to do anything that didn't involve helping whoever it was. It drove their father mad at times. It had always been joked that Scott was the worst, closely followed by Virgil, but Gordon knew they were all as bad as each other in reality. Those two just showed it slightly more than their siblings.
"Dee," the girl whispered, her anxious eyes keeping a close eye on the boys. Definitely siblings Gordon thought, smiling softly at her.
"That's a pretty name. Are you ready to get out of here, Dee?" Mutely nodding, the girl was unable to hide the relief in her eyes. With the way she was acting, Gordon was forcible reminded of Scott. Her protection, whilst not necessarily through actions, was more than apparent in her body language.
"Wait right there," Gordon commented lightly, giving Bobby a wink as he stood back up and almost casually strolled over to the hole in the ceiling.
"Yo, dude!" Determined to keep his voice friendly and so not worry them any further, Gordon grinned cheekily up at his big brother as Virgil glared down at him.
"Fancy sending me three harnesses? Two 2's and a 3 should do it." His sizes delivered, Gordon shook his head at the questioning glance Virgil sent him, relaying to his brother that they would be alright to be strapped on. It was amazing how much the Tracy boys could say without ever opening their mouths.
"Now, Bobby, you are a pirate. How do you fancy climbing the riggings then?" Despite his tone, Gordon could instantly see the fright jump back into his eyes as he regarded the rope with trepidation. As Bobby glanced towards Dee, clearly intending to seek her advice about what he should do, Gordon caught her eye first. Smiling reassuringly, he tried to tell her without using words that the rope was their way out of here, and as their big sister, she was the only one that had the power to get the boys up it. If necessary, Gordon would simply clip them on, leaving no room for arguments, but that tended to meant Virgil was then left to calm them down again, not one of his brother's specialties, that was for sure.
"But it's so high," Bobby squeaked, his small hands clutching at Dee as Johnny gave out a little whimper. Sitting down, Dee pulled her brothers down with her.
"Bobby, you know you promised Mom when Johnny was born that you would watch out for him?" As Bobby tentatively nodded, Gordon found his face splitting into a wide smile. He should have known the Tracy's would one day meet their match when it came to bonds within a family, and watching the girl whisper how Bobby had to go up first in order to help Johnny, Gordon knew they may have just found it.
"Come on then, Bobby, let's get you up. My mate's up there, he is going to give you a hand, alright pirate?"
"Argh," Bobby mumbled, somewhat half heartedly as Gordon led him over to the rope and strapped him into one of the harnesses Virgil had thrown down.
Ten minutes later, and Gordon only had Dee left to get up the rope. Leading her over to it, the red-head suddenly froze, years of training meant his instincts were telling him that something was wrong long before the ground gave a shudder. Glancing up frantically, Gordon scooped Dee up around her middle, pulling her sharply away as a few lose rocks began to tumble. Loosening his grip and giving her a quick hug of reassurance, Gordon slipped off his helmet and planted it over the little girl's head, trying to make her –as well as himself - laugh as it slipped down over her eyes.
"What's happening?" She whispered softly, fright making her clutch at Gordon for once. Now that the boys were out of harm's way, the child was becoming just that… a child.
"Nothing we need to worry about," Gordon responded casually, his eyes flickering over her head to where the rocks were still falling. There was no way he could send her up the rope with things that unstable, they would just have to wait a bit longer. He could already hear Virgil moving around frantically above them, knew that it wouldn't be long until they were safely out of the cave. Noticing Dee give a little shiver, Gordon set her on her feet again before pulling his arms out of his jacket and draping it around her. It completely swamped the little girl, but the shivering immediately ceased. Exposed, Gordon couldn't believe the children had gone this long, the cave was freezing.
"What's wrong, honey?"
"I'm scared. I promised Mom I'd look after them."
"And you have, Dee," Gordon quickly reassured, pulling her back onto his lap. "They are both up there safe because of you. And in a little while you'll be able to tell your Mom how well you have done."
"I shouldn't have let them in the cave." Sensing the tears coming, Gordon quickly wracked his brain for something that would keep her calm. Despite his words, he was worried. He had seen the light signals coming through the hole from Virgil, knew what his brother was trying to tell him without using words. They were running out of time, the roof of the cave was once more coming down.
"How old are you, Dee?"
"Eight and three months," the little girl declared proudly, making Gordon chuckle to himself. He had forgotten how much those extra months meant when you were that age.
"Do you want to know a secret, since you are so grown up?" At her nod, Gordon couldn't help but notice the way her eyes lit up about knowing something about the mysterious man who was in the process of saving her.
"When I was not much older than you, I nearly left my little brother on the bus." For a moment, there was a stunned silence as the child tried to contemplate how anyone could forget their younger siblings, but eventually, a muffled snort of laughter forced its way out.
"Was your mommy really angry?" Sighing, Gordon tightened his grip around her. He knew that wasn't the best example to give her.
"No," he said softly, remembering how frantic Scott had been when catching sight of Gordon, but no Alan. He wished his mother had been there to be angry. "I knew that she was watching over him, and is still doing so now, even if she isn't directly with us."
"My mommy always says things like that too," Dee mumbled, snuggling further into the jacket before yawning suddenly, the warmth and comfort making her feel how long she had been stuck down this hole. Glad that she was too young to properly understand the meaning of his words, Gordon smiled sadly. It was one of the last things his mother had ever said to him, that she would always be watching over him. Sniffing suddenly, Gordon glanced once more towards the ceiling, climbing to his feet with Dee balanced on his hip when he caught sight of the rocks. All was still.
"Come on then, young lady, time to get you back to your brothers." With swift hands, Gordon quickly attached the last harness onto the rope, swinging Dee into it. Tugging sharply on the line, Gordon signalled to his brother that he was ready, and as he watched, Dee was carefully hoisted up through the hole. For the first time, Gordon was glad that he had dropped the glow lights down, for with taking his helmet, Dee had also taken his strong torch, something he hadn't noticed how much he had been relying on. Hugging himself to try and keep warm, Gordon bounced impatiently on the balls of his feet, waiting for Virgil to give him the all clear to hoist himself up. He may not have been in the cave that long, but it was already starting to give him the shudders.
"Gordon, move!" Hearing Virgil's yell, Gordon reacted instinctively; knowing that his brother wouldn't chose to use his name unless it was something urgent. Throwing himself backwards, the prankster could only watch in horror as the rocks came flying down once more. Trying to back away from the hole, Gordon attempted to find somewhere a bit more protected as the rocks continued to rain down, now wishing that he hadn't given his helmet to Dee. As one caught him on the back, Gordon gave a hiss of pain, the contact flaring up the old aches as he was driven forward.
"Gordon!" Hearing Virgil's frantic scream, Gordon peered up through the dust, coughing in an attempt to clear his lungs. He could no longer hear his brother. He could no longer hear anything that was going on above him, for the hole had been filled in once more, the rope that was supposed to be now swinging him to safety lying in a heap by his feet. As the rocks continued to fall, Gordon mildly wondered how he was going to get himself out of this one, before something solid struck him on the side of his temple and he wondered no more, falling instead into the blackness.
Aha, the cliffhangers are back! More coming soon, promise! What did you think?