Desolation, Destruction, Danger, and Despair.

Summary. . . . . . . . . . The mood is somber, it's not a good day, and it's about to get worse as a call comes in for help.

Disclaimer. . . . . . . . . Not mine just borrowing, I promise to return in one piece. . . . . . .well eventually, and maybe dented a little bit.

A.N. . . . . . . . . Okay so this is my first attempt at a Thunderbirds fic, so please forgive me if I get any technical details wrong. I know there's numerous thoughts as to who's older out of Virgil and John, but I personally like Virgil as the middle brother, so I'm gonna go with that. Also to fit in with this fic, I'm going to have a twist in the first chapter that is definately wrong, but I needed a somber Virgil, and this twist seemed to work the best.

I have to send a big shout out and huge thanks to Sammygirl1963, for looking over this for me, that being said I have messed with it afterwards so all mistakes are mine.

This is for my Mum, the greatest lady in the whole world.

I think I should stop talking now, so without further ado let's get on with the show, make yourself comfortable, and enjoy chapter 1. Peanut x

A delicate breeze drifted through the open patio doors, stirring the soft drapes, and filling the room with the scent of the ocean and the bouquet of flowers, made all the more potent by the fresh rainfall that had coated the island overnight. It roused the man sleeping upon the queen sized bed, bringing goose bumps to his bare skin and making him pull the sheets up higher until all that could be seen were a few disheveled tufts of chocolate brown locks. The sound of distant waves crashing against rocks competed against the gentle noise of the man's breathing in the otherwise quiet of the room until the soft chords of classical piano beckoned for a new day to begin. A tanned and muscular arm quickly reached out, digits which normally sought out snooze fumbling to find the off button, a need to end the sonata that usually brought such happy thoughts and memories, but which today brought nothing but heartache. Disturbing the sheets slightly, Virgil Tracy turned beneath the covers, the hand that had sneaked out, returning to be placed over his eyes blocking out what little sunlight filtered through the cotton, whilst at the same time, hiding from sight eyes that had turned damp as the first chords were struck. With a weary sigh, he slowly composed his features, and gradually removed the sheet further down his body, knowing from past experience that if he didn't show some sort of sign that he was awake and up, one or more of his brother's would soon be paying him an unwelcome visit.

He shouts out as he hears footsteps approaching his room, knowing from the chuckles that follow his announcement that it was Gordon that had picked the short straw and lost the bet this time. None of his brother's relishing the chore of entering his room and trying to rouse a sleeping Virgil, a chore that resembled wrestling with a Mother bear at times, as Virgil's usually calm demeanor deteriorated into aggressive anger at being torn from the sleep he loved. The thought of a Mother bear turns his attention to the photos that adorn his bedside table, and one picture in particular; a picture that brings back all the hurt and sorrow of the sonata, tears springing to his eyes once more as he removes his arm and stares at a face that so closely resembles his own, his thoughts drifting to another time, another place. A time and place where on this day, everyone was happy, where on this day music and laughter could be heard from sunrise to sunset, where on this day a warm body sat next to his own on the small leather bench, as hands moved gracefully across ebony and ivory, where on this day love shone down from a face bathed in happiness. A splash and a cry of injustice from outside, break through his reminiscing, his eyes tearing away from the photo of his Mother and onto the digital readout that stands beside it, signifying the time and the date for all to see. "Happy Birthday Mom," he whispers morosely before standing and making his way through his pristine room and over to his private bathroom, glancing at the mirror as he does so, sweeping away the errant tears that had fallen and replacing the mask upon his features, the least he can do is pretend to be happy.

He hurries all the more as he hears footsteps returning to his room, knowing instinctively this time that it is his eldest brother Scott that has been sent to wake him. Locking the bathroom door he quickly divests of his shorts and turns on the shower before stepping in, knowing the mask he is wearing, is still not good enough yet to fool his closest sibling. He relishes the minutes he spends standing under the hot spray, allowing the forceful rivulets to pound against his tense shoulders before stepping back slightly, his hands braced against the cool tiles, the water now drenching his chestnut hair, the excess running down his features mingling with the salt water now dripping in earnest. He stays that way a few minutes longer before releasing a held in breath on a deep sorrow filled sigh. Grabbing the soap he washes away the sweat, tears, dirt and grief. Prolonging drying, he rearranges the mask that has once more fallen, before wiping at the moisture filled glass of his mirror, still not wishing to set eyes upon himself, but knowing that Scott would not stay patient for much longer, Virgil knowing without a doubt that his brother now lounged upon the bed he himself had not so long ago slept upon. Picking up his razor, he hesitates as he catches sight of his haunted features, blurred by the moisture that refuses to give up without a battle. He gives himself a wry grin before muttering once again words he had spoken earlier, only the last one changing "Happy Birthday Virgil."

Finishing the rest of his morning routine, he wraps a towel around his waist before reaching for the handle, his hand hesitating before turning, wishing he could stay locked in here for the rest of the day, sleeping here and waking with a new day, a new day that didn't bring with it such sorrow, but deep down he knew that dream was yet another in his short life that would never come true, so forcing a smile upon his face he turned the handle, the smile falling as his eyes rested upon his eldest brother.

"Damn it Scott! I hate it when you look through them without permission." Virgil shouted, rushing across the room and snatching one of his sketch books from his sibling's hands, smoothing down the pages reverently, as he places it back upon his desk.

"Yeah, I know, but if I can't wind up my kid brother on his birthday, when can I?" Scott replied joyfully trying to lighten the mood, surprised at the extent of his brother's anger. Sure Virgil didn't like anyone looking at his sketches, but he'd never gotten that angry before. He looked at his brothers back as Virgil rooted around his drawers for something to wear. He noted the scars that lined the otherwise smooth tanned skin, some a testament to their dangerous work, some not. He noted the tenseness of his muscles, wondering if he should ask what was wrong, but knowing that it really wasn't worth it. His brother's defenses were risen, he could tell from the firm set of his shoulders, and he didn't care what the others said about himself, Scott knew the real truth, Virgil was without a doubt the most stubborn of all the Tracy's, well once you took Grandma out of the equation. He had an idea anyway, and did he really want to reopen those never to be healed wounds? No, he sighed to himself, just like last year and all the years previous they just had to get through the day, trying as they did so to make it as pleasant as possible for his brother.

"You gonna be practicing after breakfast?" He asked, once again trying to lighten the mood, knowing he had failed as he watched his brother's back stiffen even more, his hands pausing in their task.

Virgil took a few minutes to steady his voice before replying, trying to calm the stutter he could feel working its way out. How could they never see that the piano was, on this day, always avoided, just like his brushes and paints? "No. . . . . . . . . No." He coughed to clear his throat, before adding. "I think I'll give it a miss today, my wrist is still a bit sore from that last rescue, you know?"

"Oh, okay." Scott replied, shocked to hear that his sibling would not be trying to get some practice in on their downtime. Also at the fact that Virgil had injured himself, he'd never mentioned it at debriefing, and hadn't he been using it to play yesterday? Choosing to ignore the obvious lie, Scott added. "You want me to take a look at it, or maybe Brains?"

"No, it's just a bit tender. It'll be okay. Scott, do you mind, Grandma will send up a search party in a minute if we don't get down there." Virgil stated, holding out his clothes so that his sibling would get the message and leave while he dressed, his eyes unable to meet his brother's.

Scott stood as he looked back at his brother, unease growing within him, what was going on? What was troubling his sibling so? Was it just the day, or was there something else going on? Deciding to take a chance he asked. "Are you okay Virg?" Stooping a little to try and meet those brown orbs that could never lie to him, unable to see them though as Virgil turned away.

"Sure Scott. I just didn't sleep well; maybe I'll feel more alive after some of Grandma's pancakes." Virgil replied, planting a fake smile upon his face and praying that it came across in his tone for his brother to hear.

Scott through could read right through the disguise, his legs moving as though to go towards where Virgil still had his back to him, but what would he say? Somehow all the words that felt right seemed to become stuck in his throat, the Tracy way of dealing with feelings preventing him from saying them, so instead he turned away from his sibling and towards the door, glancing back as he reached for the handle, saddened to see his brother's back still turned towards him. "I guess I'll see you down there then. Don't be too long, otherwise those pancakes you so desperately want might not be there." As he walked through the doorway he added. "Happy Birthday Virg."

Virgil's hand flung out at his sibling's last words, gripping the desk he stood next to, his fingers curling around the hard oak until his knuckles were white, his breathing stuttered and harsh as he choked back yet more tears. He could do this, it was just one day, and it wasn't like he hadn't done it before. He could get through it, just like he had every other year, avoiding everyone after he got through breakfast, by locking himself within his studio with the excuse that an idea had formed and needed to be written down, or drawn, only for him to lock the door, retreat to the couch within and stare morosely at a view that would normally enthrall him. With that blessed relief in mind, he dressed quickly and started for the kitchen.

Virgil sat back as he listened to his siblings laugh and joke at the breakfast table, his hand mindlessly toying with the food upon his plate, his mind wondering how long he would have to stay before it would be polite to excuse himself. Not even his Grandma's cooking, which normally would be an excuse for him to linger all the longer, could break through his somber mood, the food tasteless and dry, his orange juice drained and topped up twice now in an effort to choke down his meal. He wanted to join in his brother's fun, wanted to laugh along with them as Alan retold of his payback earlier on his next oldest brother, but laughing seemed to take too much precious energy; precious energy Virgil couldn't spare, all his strength being used to keep up his façade.

He startled as Scott nudged his leg under the table, his hand knocking over his juice glass, spilling what little contents remained. "Damn it!" He swore before turning apologetic eyes his Grandmother's way. "Sorry Grandma." He whispered as he attempted to mop up the mess with paper napkins.

She looked at her middle grandchild with concern as she replied. "That's okay Virgil, you finish your breakfast you've hardly touched a bite. I'll go get a wet cloth and this will be all fine in a jiffy."

Concern was also etched upon Jeff Tracy's features, as well as those of his eldest boy. The patriarch knew full well just how painful this day was for his middle son, it wasn't as if today was a walk in the park for himself, it was hell; knew that even though all the boys were more somber than usual, it was Virgil who felt it the most. He had watched over the years as Virgil treated this day like any other, shying away from even the thought of parties and presents, for reasons Jeff could only guess at. Oh, he thought he knew, but Virgil whenever he was asked would always reply with the same answer, "Nothing's wrong, everything's fine Dad." Jeff though knew better, but as much as he wanted to help, to make this day a joyful one, he too was filled with sorrow, sadness and pain. So he had accepted the answer he knew to be false and had allowed the façade his son wore to continue on from year to year, ignoring his Mother's attempts to get him to mend things.

He stole a quick glance at his eldest boy before turning to his middle child and asking yet again. "Is everything okay Son? You seem a bit distracted?" Gaining the usual response in return he pressed on. "So what do you guys have planned for today, something special?"

"Well we was thinking for Virg's big day we would . . . . . . . . . . . ." Scott began, only to stop as Virgil cut in.

"Actually guys I have some notes stuck in my head and I really want to get them down before I forget them, that's if you don't mind?" When he got unhappy looks from his younger siblings, along with reluctant mutterings of "okay", and a confused look from his elder brother at his blatent lie, Virgil felt guilt rise within him and figured it time enough to attempt to be excused, truly smiling for the first time all day, although it still didn't meet his eyes, when his Father acquiesced, practically sprinting from the room in his haste to be alone and away from the stares.

He leaned against the door of his studio once there, and slowly slid to the ground, his knees bending automatically, his elbows resting upon them, his head falling limply into his hands, his mask dropping and his tears once more erupting, stronger feelings of guilt coursing through him. When he was younger and his Mother had still been alive, he had been proud to share this day with her, feeling more closer to her because they did so, feeling that in a house of five boys he was her number one, the favorite for just one day, a feeling that was intensified as he felt for the rest of the year he was forgotten most of the time; not the eldest, nor the youngest, not the quiet genius, nor the playful mischievous athlete, just Virgil, plain old boring Virgil. Sure they shared the same passions, music and art, sure he made her smile when he got a particularly difficult piece right, or drew an amazing picture, but those times were few and far between and sometimes lost as the other siblings accomplished, at least in Virgil's eyes, so much more. Scott succeeded in everything he attempted, and was the apple of their Father's eye; John was the straight A student who was in advanced classes for every subject; Gordon had letter jackets for numerous sports and competed in swimming against boys who were much older; and Alan, well Alan was the miracle baby, the one that shouldn't have lived but battled to do so, the one that could do no wrong and if he ever did, could disarm you with one look of those baby blues, the one that had the makings of a master mechanic and could turn his hand at fixing just about anything.

Swiping once more at his eyes, and feeling emotionally drained, he stood and stepped over to the sofa, once more just wondering if he could just sleep the day away, his head just hitting the soft pillows, his eyes already closing, as the shrill tone of the alarm began to ring. Shooting back up he raced for the living room that he knew without a doubt was already turning into a command center.

Scott was already heading for his portrait and the hidden passageway behind, as Virgil hurried into the drastically changed living room. "What's happened? What have we got?" He asked, all previous feelings pushed aside as his natural instincts to save people rushed forward.

"An old mine has collapse in Northern Russia. Heavy rainfalls have weakened the foundations and washed away the safety precautions put in place. Virgil, it's bad. The politicians and money people decided it was safe to build a community there. It wasn't. Scott's on his way, I want you to take Gordon and Alan, you're going to need all the help that you can. Take pod 5, you'll need the Mole."

"F.A.B Dad." Virgil replied, heading for his own chute, a sudden sense of foreboding churning inside him.

A.N. . . . . . . . . . I hope that wasn't too slow for you? Things will get quicker once we head into the rescue, I promise. Thank you so much for taking time out to read, will be back soon with more, but please bear with me as I am in the middle of a huge move, so updates may be sparse for a few weeks. Catch you later, Peanut x