This fic looks at the relationship between Alan and his father, Jeff. It focuses on Alan a lot more than my last fic and plays heavily on the consequences of choices made after Lucille Tracy's death.
As requested, this fic is a chapter by chapter update. Reviews make my day and keep me writing, so if you like it let me know!
I do not own the Thunderbirds or any of the characters associated with them, this applies to all of my Thunderbird fics and to all of the following chapters.
Thank you x
Alan made his up into bed, his short legs making it a mountainous climb which made Lucille Tracy laugh out loud, a light sound which resonated in the air and made him pause in his ascent. She moved in from the doorway in which she'd been standing to help her youngest son, easily lighting him up into the double bed, pulling back the covers and getting him comfortable.
He was growing quickly but still stumbled in his elder brother's footsteps, he needed his mom and she felt that her life had always needed him. He was unplanned, but he was her little angel and there wasn't a moment which passed where she wasn't glad to have him in her life.
The holiday cabin was warm and welcoming, clad in a dark colored pine which made the stark white of the snow on the slopes outside the windows seem unappealing in the darkness. Thick carpets and the steady crackle of the fire in the main living area seemed to slow down the pace of life.
She knew that as soon as the sun came up she'd have a house full of ridiculously excited boys wanting to go outside and explore, they'd be arguing over who was skiing and who wanted to snowboard. Jefferson would pretend to be stressed by it all, yet he'd have been the most excited of them all. His sons were his pride and joy and they had all awaited this holiday with a heightened level of glee. Days had been counted down from and phones had been switched off, a family holiday meant that they'd all be together and no work commitments were allowed to stop that.
Five sons. If someone had told her that she'd one day marry a billionaire and have five sons… well, she would never have believed them. She loved each and every one of her boys so much that she often thought her heart would burst with pride, she wanted the world to know just how wonderful they were and was beyond sure that one day they would. Of course they could drive her crazy at times yet the passion they had for life forgave all wrongs.
Alan was her baby, Lucille hadn't planned on having another child but he was a happy mistake who brought nothing but joy. His bright and forever wide blue eyes shone out like sapphires and his mop of unruly blonde hair that was the color of a hay meadow, as pleasant as the summers and as warm as his heart.
As she tucked him under his thick duvet she breathed in the scent of his kid's shampoo and that wonderful smell of small children that seemed a mix of baby lotion and life.
"Mom, Gordy said that I'd get lost in the snow," Those startling blue eyes stared up at her, a mix of worry and apprehension as he chewed his bottom lip, "and you'd lose me because I'm a polar bear."
Lucille repressed another chuckle at Alan's worry, his elder brothers often teased him, calling him baby bear of all things. The polar bear comment had come after a particularly hot summer in Kansas where she had made sure he was constantly smothered in sun cream to protect his skin. A combination of bright blonde hair and sun cream smothered skin had come to the attention of brothers out to poke fun and tease. For such a young child he'd quickly allowed himself to become concerned at the prospect of turning into a bear.
"Oh, Allie baby. He's just trying to scare you. How about you stay with me whilst they go out onto the slopes? We can look after each other." She stroked his hair back from where it had begun to fall into his eyes, reminding her that they really did need to get it cut.
"Don't you want to ski, mommy?"
She didn't want Alan out with his brother's just yet, she knew he was at a good age to learn (as Jeff kept reminding her), but she wanted to hang on to the time she had with him whilst he still needed her as much as she felt she needed him. She easily ignored Jeff's comments of how she babied the kid and how he needed to grow up.
Alan had all the time in the world to grow up and face the harsh realities of the world around him, but it wouldn't be today or for tomorrow, and she'd have liked to hope it wouldn't be the day after that either.
"I'd much rather sit by the warm fire, drink hot chocolate with sprinkles, eat melted smores and play games with you. How does that sound baby?"
He frowned up at her sleepily, considering her words and watching her soft features for any sign of deception. "Just me and you mommy?" He was sleepy, his eyes were drooping closed as he relaxed into the soft bedding.
"Just me and you Allie. How does that sound?"
"Just me and you." He smiled in contentment as his eyes drifted closed, her hand stroking his warm skin. "Love you Mom."
"Love you more, baby."
He remembered her screaming his name and her warm arms surrounding him and pulling him close, the thunder in his ears only getting louder and louder and soon her warning cries were drowned out by screams and the engulfing snow which tore through the chalet as though it were made of nothing but matchsticks.
He could remember a stark series of images. The fire's soft flames once calm suddenly turning to dust and smoke as debit crushed down, sparking up in defiance but no match against the onslaught which hit. He was being carried back by safe arms, her perfume reassuring and strong as he clung on from fear and the need to be with her no matter what. He didn't fully understand, but he was carried back and back in flashes of the building structure crashing around them and color until there was no where else to go. Trapped by the front door which refused to open, wide eyes filled with matched fear as what they ran from easily caught up and converged upon them with a frightening inescapable speed.
She'd pulled him back, mere milliseconds must have past but it seemed much longer, everything drawn out painfully slow in every sense of the word as he was pulled between his mother and the door, her eyes finding his own and she created a bridge above him, blocking his view and shielding the worst of the sound. Filled with fear, filled with love and pain.
"I love you Alan."
And then it engulfed them.
I love you more, Mommy.
They were all at ages at which the death of their mother had effected them all in an earth shattering way, she had been the centre of their world with life as they'd known revolving around her. Being so young the idea of death had barely glanced their horizons.
Jeff Tracy had been a mess, for over a month he hadn't spoken and had taken to long drives which took him miles away from home and familiarity. Their grandmother had stepped in to take command of the five Tracy children, she had tried her best to explain and be open to their grief.
Alan was five, very young but also in desperate need of his mother who wasn't returning and wouldn't answer his cries. Scott, on the other end of the brother's age scale, was fifteen and had taken it upon himself to play substitute father until their own returned to the role.
By the time their father had eventually returned he had gotten himself together in the sense that he had directed all his grief into different sources and motivations, he'd gathered the five children before him in his large oak paneled office, the dim lighting sending shadows over their already shadowed faces as they shuffled in the silence before he spoke.
"Your mother's gone and we can't change that, but we can unite and make her proud of what we are to become."
It must have been rehearsed, his eyes didn't shine with the life or love they once had and it would be years before that spark would return, but Jeff Tracy was a strong man and he would not abandon his family. Rehearsed or not he had to push through and survive, for Lucille's sake at the very least.
"Our family is the most important thing in the world, it always has been but now we realize that more than ever before. So we will stand together and create something which shares each of our names, we will represent all the things your mother stood for; Strength, kindness, loyalty, and although we don't see it so much now, happiness."
He'd looked at each of the boys in turn, his glance lingering on Scott who hung onto each word as though he were being thrown a lifeline. Something we could work with, a way out of the grief.
"This has been an idea of ours for a long time now but we never put it into motion, and we never discussed doing it on the scale I have since planned. But I have spoken to a close friend and brilliant engineer, Hiram Hackenbacker, and he's going to be coming to the house to help start the cogs of this new project. When we move he will hopefully agree to follow us on our new adventure."
"Move?" Virgil stood in the middle of the line of boys, looking sheepishly up at his father from wide hazelnut eyes half hidden by his unruly and long unbrushed hair.
"I don't want to move." Gordon had muttered, clinging on to Scott's arm and staring pleadingly up at his eldest brother. "I don't want to move Scotty."
Their father had waved a hand as though dismissing their worries, he'd smiled but it didn't quite reach his eyes. "We're going to be moving to an island, you can't get much more exciting that that now can you? We'll all be together for our new start, it's what we need… Together we'll be happy again, like your mother would want. We have to live for her now, and each one of you will make her proud."
"Grammy to?" Alan had asked, coming towards the desk, his eyes just able to see their father, arms scrabbling to grab his hand.
Jeff had looked down at Alan for a long moment before replying, withdrawing his hand so Alan stopped reaching for him. The kid was always so clingy.
"No, not Grandma, she'll stay here."
"I stay too then." Alan had declared, turning around as though to leave the room, ignoring the brief glare Jeff sent his way. John had caught the small blonde before he got to the door and pulled him up into restrictive arms.
"No Allie, we have to go together."
Their father had nodded in thanks at the young but already promising astronomer.
"It won't be for a little while, I need to get the island ready first. But you will love it, you all will. Your mother would have to, so we have to do it for her. Ok?"
A series of 'Yes sirs' had followed, Alan's complaints combined with a few of Gordon's mixed emotions but Jeff had been pleased to lay the cards on the table so to speak, he was doing this for his family. Together they would be the strongest they could possibly be after such a tragedy, each a pillar of strength to get one another through the darkness that had been brought upon them.
The new house was ok, Scott could see promise in the large empty rooms and open layout of the main living areas, but it wasn't home as they knew it. There were no memories there, the wall with notches matched with names which worked as a timeline for each of his brother's growth spurts - it remained in the old house with their grandma, as did many of the memories of their mother.
The island was larger than he'd expected and much, much warmer. It would certainly take some getting used to but in a sad kind of way he looked forward to the challenge and distraction, it had been eight months since their mother's death but the pain was still raw.
Looking around his new room Scott sighed and turned to the pile of boxes waiting to be unpacked, that would take a while, at least his bed was already there.
He could hear the distant screams and squeals of excitement from a ten year old Gordon, it had taken him a whole fifteen minutes from the plane landing on the island to him finding the large pool. Part boy, part fish, the kid was ridiculous when it came to water.
Though it was so good to hear the sound of laughter in the air again, it seemed so seldom since their mother had left their lives. Gordon certainly had the knack of bringing them together and getting those smiles to show.
Ok, big boxes first - desk, computer, printer, shelves, books, the smaller items could wait. He pulled of the brown tape from one of the larger boxes and shifted through ascertaining what it contained, noting for future reference that labeling them would have been a smart idea when he'd packed them.
"You need a hand?"
John leaned in the doorway, eleven months younger than Scott but quickly catching him in height. His blonde hair the opposite to Scott's ebony, he carried more similarities to their late mother than the eldest Tracy son.
"Sure, you can help me rig the desk and computer. You not unpacking your stuff yet?"
John smiled, it was his usual smile which was sincere yet sad and reflecting, it had a calming notion to it. "You can help when we're done here, it's easier if there's two of us."
He was thankful for the help, the desk went up quickly and Scott didn't have too much time to dwell onto the memories white items from the old house held. Soon they'd be heading off to boarding school on the mainland; Scott, John and Virgil together, Gordon would follow in a few years. Life would soon get hectic, memories could take the sidelines.
Standing and dusting his jeans off John inspected their work on the desk, it was a simple project but good to have completed. Only four more brothers to do… and computers, it could take a while.
"Where's Virg?" He asked, wondering if three pairs of hands would be even better.
"I think he's with dad." Scott muttered, head in a box, pulling out wires and the keyboard. "Either that or with Gordy in the pool."
He carefully pulled the computer monitor out and looked up at John questionably when Alan poked his head around the door frame.
"I am lost." He declared, clutching colored crayons and paper in his small hands whilst his eyes seemed to brim with tears. It was a look he seemed to have worn for some long months, the words didn't seem required.
Scott rolled his eyes, gently placing the monitor onto the desk and turning to his baby brother with a sigh. "Where are you heading sprout?"
"I thought you were with Gordon?" John questioned, one blonde eyebrow raised.
Alan stepped into the room and laid the small fistful of papers on Scott's bed, looking over his small form the two older brothers could see brightly colored lines scribbled over them. "I was makings the map." He stated, pointing out his papers with a sigh which matched Scott's own, he waved his arms out in frustration. "I did finds everyone, buts I did not finds mommy."
Irritated, Scott turned away. Part of him wondering whether Alan kept mentioning her on purpose, whether he liked the attention or actually still believed she was going to come back. He'd been there with her for Christ sake! He knew she was gone.
John stood for a silent moment, eyeing the back of Alan's head as the young boy stared down in concentration at his 'maps'. Closing his eyes John knelt besides the bed so he was just about at Alan's level, turning him so they were looking at one another.
"Allie, mom isn't here anymore. You know that."
Alan stared back into matching blue eyes, for a young child he was able to hold the most serious of expressions. His gaze bore into John's before he shrugged and glanced to Scott.
"Daddy did say that she went a longs way away, so I thought she may be lost getting back." He held the maps up for Scott to see, pointing out brightly colored squares which he considered to represent the rooms of the new house.
Smiling weakly, Scott replied. "Allie, mom's with the angels now. She's not going to come back." Not after what happened to her, there was no coming back from that.
Giving Scott the same long and serious stare which he'd given John, he gave another sigh or irritation. "Mommy always said that angels were women, and daddy did say quite a lot that girls have none of the direction sense. So maybes they are lost to."
Alan's first word had been "dad", closely followed by "mom" at an age much younger than his other brothers. Yet since Lucille's death his language had taken a step backwards, he sounded much younger. He abruptly turned and left the room, leaving the two older brothers staring after him sadly whilst his crayons remained scattered on the bed.
The months were long.