Light and Shadows

by Criminally Charmed

Disclaimer - Sigh. So not mine. Still...


The following May…

The family all were laughing at the stories Alan was relating about earlier Track Meets.

"So then this idiot from St. Francis Academy keeps insisting that the track was fine, forget that it had been raining all of the night before. Totally ignoring the coaches, he decides he'll show us."

"Was that the one who broke his arm?" Gordon asked as he buttered a roll.

"His arm and one of the hurdles he was trying to jump," Alan laughed before sighing. "I will never understand some people."

Kate laughed and took another sip of ice tea before smiling warmly at both the oldest and youngest Tracy sons. Addressing Alan, she patted his hand.

"Trust me, Kiddo,' the FBI agent smiled. "The best minds in the FBI still have to wonder about a few people out there."

"So," Emily asked, "how did you go from Computer Crimes to Fugitive Recovery? If your dad was being over-protective, I would think Fugitive Recovery would be more dangerous, not less?"

"OK," Sarah interjected. "Take pity on the girl who came late to the party. HUH?"

"Yeah," Gordon asked, "why were you late to Alan's track meet?"

"I'll explain once someone gets me caught up to speed," Sarah argued.

Amazingly, it was Scott who answered. "Well, if I understand everything correctly, Emily was dating Kate's cousin, who is also a doctor. At that time, Kate worked for the Computer Crimes Division of the FBI. In between then and now, Emily dumped the doctor, married our brother and got pregnant. Kate, on the other hand, stopped someone from selling some national security software from Tracy Enterprises, got shot in the doing of it, and her father – who is the director of the FBI – transferred her to Fugitive Recovery which, I have to agree, sounds more dangerous, not less. Did I get everything?"

Kate threw her head back, a deep, throaty laughter rippling out as silkily as the strands of her inky black hair that pulled free from the clasp at the base of her neck. Scott seemed mesmerized by the sight but still listened to Kate's humorous response.

"When you consider how many fugitives I can track down using the Internet? Trust me, I rarely left the office. Mainly, I was creating reports to forward to field agents while I was tied to my desk."

"So you must be pretty good with computers," John commented. "What's your background?"

Shrugging, Kate took a sip of tea before answering. "I have dual bachelors in Computer Science and Criminal Justice and a Masters in Computational Mathematics. I'm also only the second person to have the age requirement waived to join the FBI. Considering the first person was Spencer Reid – and that man is a legend at the Bureau – and he had three doctorates before joining, well, I guess I got lucky."

"Must help to have your father be the FBI director," Virgil muttered before realizing the three women were all glaring at him. Surprisingly, it was Emily who answered.

"Actually, Mr. Eppes wasn't the Director when Kate was accepted. He had been about to retire when the Director died suddenly and he was appointed. If he had been Director, he would have never signed off on it."

Kate shrugged again. "Like I said, Dad is kinda overprotective of me."

Jeff was looking very thoughtful through all of the conversation and Scott happened to catch the expression on his father's face. He knew Jeff had wanted to get a computer security division off the ground at Tracy Enterprises. They just needed the right person to lead the division. From the look on Jeff Tracy's face, Scott couldn't help but wonder if they had found their man.

Urgh – their woman.

Suddenly, Kate changed the subject. "Alan – who was that kid in the next section? The one in the blue jeans and t-shirt that would have cost me a week's pay?"

Alan sighed. "Let me guess – he was also wearing designer shades the entire time and spent most of his time texting or watching videos on his i-phone?" When Kate nodded, Alan looked like he had eaten something sour.

"Probably Kyle Westcott. Ever since I came back to school after Christmas, I have been picking up on some really creepy vibes from him. I know he applied for the AP program and was turned down, in part because several younger students, including myself and Fermat, are taking Senior classes, so they aren't allowing any of next year's graduates, who aren't already in the program, to join. Also, he wanted to join the track team but the coach passed on him, saying he had a full roster. He plays soccer, however, so hopefully that keeps him busy."

Playing with his food for a minute, Alan shrugged. "I don't know why he should hold any of that against me. I didn't prevent him from doing anything. I just got there first."

Sarah touched his hand gently. "Baby, sometimes we can't understand it. People decide they don't like something – or someone – and all of the sweet reason in the world won't sway them."

Everyone knew how much Alan was still bothered by the fact that David Turcotte – a boy he barely knew – had hated him enough to want him dead. The fact that Alan had survived was irrelevant. His soul had been scarred even if his body had healed.

"Was Kyle friends with David Turcotte?" John asked, wondering if there was a connection.

Alan made a dismissive sound. "Westcott would never be friends with a scholarship student. You should see how -" He broke off as he glanced at Fermat.

"I m-may not b-be a sc-sc-scholarship student," Fermat explained shyly. "But I n-never h-hid the f-fact th-that Mr. T-Tracy pays for m-my school f-fees."

Jeff shrugged. "It's part of your father's contract. Onaha and Kyrano have the same clause in their contracts."

"Well," Alan explained. "In Kyle's eyes, it makes Fermat a "charity" case."

"If he's a class snob," Virgil wondered, "you would think he would be fine with you."

Frowning, Jeff wondered aloud. "Well, to some, I am considered Nuevo Riche. If he is old money, he could object to the fact that I earned my money."

Alan shook his head. "His father is Gilbert Westcott. And his mother was his father's secretary before they married."

Jeff's frown deepened. He hadn't really had business with Westcott, a hedge fund wizard who had exploded onto the business scene twenty years ago. They had barely crossed paths and he knew the other man by reputation only as a hard, business driven man whose one soft spot was his wife of eighteen years. He had never heard mention of a son at all…

"Well," Alan sighed. "I have no clue what Westcott's problem is. But he's a senior next year and I won't have to deal with him after that."

"That's the spirit," Gordon said cheerfully.

"More to the point," Emily said happily, "we are here for a much more important reason - for Alan's birthday." Raising a water glass, she smiled at her youngest brother-in-law.

"So happy birthday, Sweetie."

Alan blushed as most of his family echoed the sentiment before turning to his father.

"So, Dad – Tomo is taking me into Springfield on Tuesday to take my driver's exam. If I pass, any chance of helping me get a car?"

Jeff frowned. "Alan, you don't need a car." Seeing his youngest son's disappointment, he grinned. "Not yet."

When Alan looked up in confusion, Jeff reached over and ruffled the teenager's blonde hair before pulling out his phone. Punching a few keys, he brought up an e-mail. "Here – take a look."

Alan took the phone and looked before giving his father a puzzled glance. "Dad – that looks like…" His face screwed up before a light seemed to go on behind his eyes and he beamed at Jeff. "Is it?"

Jeff grinned and leaned back as Alan jumped from his seat. Following his son – and being followed by the rest of the family – Jeff was chuckling the whole way to the garage.

Alan leaned into the door frame, grinning from ear to ear. He smiled at his father when Jeff put an arm around his youngest son's shoulders.

"A nineteen fifty eight Thunderbird convertible that needs some major tune-ups, a bit of body work, but for the most part it's pretty solid. I figure we can work on it whenever you come home and by the time you head off to college, it will be ready to be hauled back here."

"It's perfect, Dad," Alan sighed in rapture.

"OK," Kate mumbled. "That car needs more than a "bit" of work. It needs LOTS of work. How is that a great gift?"

Sarah and Emily smiled at each other as well as the six Tracy men as they checked over the vehicle. They had a feeling it was set to become a family project for all of them.

"It means Alan gets some one-on-one time with his father," Sarah explained softly, thrilled to see her baby so happy. "To him, that is priceless."

Emily nodded. "To them, it will be fun." Nudging Sarah, she grinned. "And with you busy with school and me with the baby AND the clinic…"

Kate continued to watch the Tracys as they intensely checked out the engine, good-naturedly arguing if parts or the whole engine needed replacing, before asking Sarah, "What school?"

Sarah turned to Kate even as she gestured at Emily. "Em helped get me into a Physician's Assistants Training Program in Auckland. It's run in cooperation with Mercy General and I am even living in her old condo since it is so close to the hospital. I should be finished the first part by the end of August, which is why we put off the wedding until September. Then I will be doing the practicals as part of my second half of training."

"Why didn't you go to school here in New England?" Kate asked.

Sarah smile turned sad. "I was still on desk duty when I had a good, long talk with Chief Gage. Being a Tracy girlfriend had drawn the media who are already a pain during rescues. A Tracy fiancée? I would be too much of a focus and could put people at risk. So I resigned from the fire department and started with the January class in Auckland. On the up side, I do see Virgil a lot more than I would have."

"On the down side," Kate grumbled, "those leeches are the reason you couldn't stay as a firefighter."

"But also on the up side," Emily grinned, "Sarah has become a Thunderbird in Training."

"And I am never getting behind the controls of Two again," Sarah mumbled. "One little scratch on the big, green bug and Virgil freaked."

Emily chuckled as she nudged Kate. "That means you have to be nice about Thunderbird One or Scott will be the one to go ballistic."

Kate grinned. "Boys and their toys, huh? I'll remember that."

Once she said that, Kate stepped into the garage and began to debate repair versus replacement for the interior of the classic car. Sarah shot Emily a puzzled look, which only intensified when the petite blonde chuckled.

"Kate always was a tom-boy according to Edward."

Sarah smiled. "She's going to drive Scott insane won't she?"

"Oh, yeah," Emily sighed. "Remember how we've always said Scott needed someone who would, in equal parts, drive him insane and make him happier than he's ever been?"

At Sarah's nod, she continued.

"Problem – meet solution. Kate will be perfect for Scott," the young doctor laughed even as Scott casually put an arm around Kate, apparently unaware that he was doing so.

Sarah grinned. Life wasn't perfect, but they were happy, they were together…And together, the Tracys could do anything.

A/N - OK, so ends this tale. And you may notice, all three stories - Left by the Wayside, Alan and John walk into a Bank and Light and Shadows - end the day of the track meet (also Alan's sixteenth birthday), just at different stages. So, John and Emily are married and expecting the first Tracy grandchild. Sarah and Virgil are engaged to be married. And Scott has now met Kate and things can only on from here. They'll get their own story soon.

Scott - How soon?

CC - Um, actually, I am taking some time off. I'll start your story around Labor Day.

Alan - Oh, man. Scott doesn't get lucky for three weeks?

CC - Hey - I go on vacation soon. I want to spend some time with my family.

Scott - Hmm. I guess I can accept that.

Alan - You can?

Scott - I guess. It will also mean no Alan Whump for three weeks.

CC - Nah, Writer with Sprite is taking care of that. Oh, but I will be doing a one-shot wee-Tracy story for Sammygirl1964's birthday August 18th.

Scott - Wee Tracy? So...Agnst?

CC - Pfftt. Do I look like Sam1? My WeeTracys are cute and sweet, no agnst.

Alan - Wo-Kay.

CC - And my daughter made strawberry cake with buttercream frosting. Want some?

Scott - Why is it shaped like a donut?

CC (glares) Because she likes the pan. I bought it from Avon. Live with it.

Alan (whispers) - Scott, eat the cake and hush. She may not be posting but she could be plotting out the story. Keep the crazy lady happy.

Cc - That's a clever boy, Alan. Oh, don't look so surprised. I write what you say - of course I can hear you. Eat up and see you in September. Scott, I'll see you sooner. But you'll be kinda young. Laters!