A/N: What? A Thunderbirds multi-chapter? We all know how completely off-topic my other two went! Is this wise? Well, probably not. But I've done Scott, Virgil and Jeff (to anyone who didn't read Dilemma or Last to Know... well, you didn't really miss anything - but those of you who did...! We had some times, didn't we?! Remember Virgil in the coma and Jeff's Eric Morecambe impressions?! Ah! Memories. The mega-lulz. Chortle!) and it's only fair that I do Gordon. As it were.
My commitment skills aren't the best, I warn you now - but I will do my darndest to keep up with this. I do love writing Gordon more than anyone else in the whole world though, so I reckon eventually I'll get this finished and it might even hold to some vague semblance of plot. Who the hell knows?
For anyone who read any of Gordon's English Escapades - yes, this is a bit of a rejig, with names changed to protect the guilty. I think they deserved their own story told properly. I got really rather attached to their dynamic.
Dedicated with much love to the other Gordon Groupies out there, and to my non-Groupie chums amongst the Jezabels, Vixens and Sirens who keep me motivated and encouraged with all their kind words of awesomeness - you all know who you are. Also, with significant cap-doffing to David Graham who, when you think about it - basically WAS Thunderbirds.
Disclaimer: I don't own Thunderbirds. I certainly don't own Gordon. I own my OC though. I promise she won't ruffle anyone too much. There may be teeth marks in Gordon's shoulders though... The title is from Robert Louis Stevenson's self-written epitaph, Requiem. The cover photo is a screencap from the ungodly hot first rescue in Operation Crash Dive. Thanks very much for letting me use it, Tikatu!
Home from the Sea
Chapter One - The Beginning
International WASP Conference, Hotel di Buono - Rome, 2065
Gordon had broken the holy trinity of golden rules.
He'd stopped, he'd turned and he'd looked at her.
He didn't even know why he did it. He never stopped. He never looked back. On occasions such as this - not that they happened nearly as often as he pretended they did - he always made sure his clothes were conveniently located so he could get up, pull his jeans on, grab the rest of his stuff and sneak out without disturbing anyone. He shouldn't have looked. He never looked back. They were the rules.
Scott had once told him, "If you look at them sleeping, you run the risk of getting attached to them. You run the risk of someone getting hurt - and although you don't want it to be you, you'd feel even worse if it was her." Gordon had made such a great job of abiding by those rules that he never even asked for names any more.
When a guy was a member of a secret organisation that was hell-bent on saving the world at any cost, he couldn't really allow space for personal relationships. Gordon wasn't the biggest fan of the one-night stand. It wasn't what he was about. He knew it made him look like the bad guy, but he didn't see what other choice he had. Not if he wanted any kind of attempt at a normal life now and again, anyway.
He liked this one, though. She seemed to have taken a lot of chasing, although somehow they both knew they'd end up in the same bed that night. It was like a game of cat and mouse but he suddenly realised that perhaps he'd been the mouse all along. She was one of the WASP secretaries from the London Headquarters and was older than him by quite a few years. She was just as funny as he was and she was almost as sharp. They seemed like a good match. It didn't matter. He couldn't get attached to her, no matter how much he liked her. In fact, the whole reason he shouldn't get attached to her was because he liked her. He was doing her a favour, if anything. Whatever her name was. Rebecca. Rosie. Roxy. Something beginning with R. Maybe. He couldn't remember. It was on her name badge, wherever that was now. He never thought that a boring old WASP conference could be nearly so much fun.
"Rookie error," he scolded himself, letting out a slightly too loud sigh of consternation. On reflection, perhaps he subconsciously wanted to wake her up. Whether he wanted to or not at that moment, that's exactly what happened. She rolled over, opened one eye and he blushed guiltily. "I'm sorry," he whispered.
"Don't let me stop you," she told him, sleepily.
"I'm sorry," he repeated. She shook her head slightly and he could see her shoulders shrugging under the bedclothes.
"It's fine. I like coming round in peace. Go and get a coffee," she answered. He paused.
"I... won't be coming back," he said, even though it was completely obvious that he was in the middle of bailing out on her. He didn't know why he felt he owed her an explanation. She sat up and looked at him, making him feel as though she could see right through him. She didn't frown and she didn't complain, she just smiled, almost imperceptibly, and raised an eyebrow at him. Resting her elbows on her hunched-up knees, she ran her fingers through her hair and rested her chin in her hands.
"What do you want, a gold watch for eight hours' dedicated service?" she asked, coolly. He grinned at her.
"It's been fun," he told her. "I... I never get to say that. But it has." She grinned back at him and he suddenly thought that he'd love to see that smile again more than anything. He really shouldn't have looked back.
"It has. Now go on, sod off," she retorted with a laugh, laying back down and firmly placing a pillow over her face to block out the sunlight. The right side of his mouth curled into a dimpled half-smile.
"You won't cry?" he asked, only half-teasing her. She laughed again.
"I'm sure I'll live, kiddo," she answered in a muffled voice before dramatically throwing the pillow onto the floor. "Go on, go before your mother calls you, wondering where you've been!" she ordered.
Gordon paused. Nobody had even referred to his mother in... a long time. He didn't remember her, really, not like Virgil and Scott did. It still always caught him unawares whenever the idea of her was brought up and he never knew if it would upset him or not for someone to mention her. Of course, how was the girl to know he didn't have a mother any more? It wasn't her fault. She didn't need to know. Why was he still with her? She'd told him to go - twice!
She wasn't the best looking girl he'd ever met. She was a little taller than he was, but most people were, so that didn't bother him. She didn't have a perfect figure by any stretch of the imagination, she was a little clumsy and she'd succeeded in drinking most of his aquanaut buddies under the table the previous night. She swore like a sailor, made the dirtiest jokes he'd ever heard in his life and seemed to be utterly self-conscious and the life and soul of the party all at the same time. He really didn't know what to make of her, but he knew that he liked her. He liked her enough to look back, anyway.
"Rachel!" he declared suddenly, as he finally remembered her name.
"Yes, lovely boy with the incredible chest?" she replied, a little confused. Gordon was slightly taken aback. He always assumed that they remembered his name. Besides, nobody had called him a 'boy' in years! Who was this woman? Wait - did she really think he had an incredible chest?
"Umm. Gordon," he supplied. She burst out laughing.
"Gordon?! Who, under the age of seventy, is called Gordon?!" she asked. He shrugged, looked down at the carpet and glanced back up at her shyly, biting his lower lip.
"I am," he answered. She chuckled.
"Ask a stupid question," she muttered, talking to herself more than to Gordon. "What did you want to ask me, Gordon?" Gordon hadn't actually wanted to ask her anything, he'd just blurted her name out. He had to think of something to ask her, and in his haste to fill the silence with words, he uttered four words he knew he should never have spoken.
"Can I call you?"
The silence was deafening. He heard his heart thundering in his chest, like an army of drummers battering the hell out of twenty-six inch bass drums. He shouldn't have said it, but he couldn't take it back now. He didn't even think he wanted to take it back. He couldn't stop looking at her. The more he looked at her, the better looking she got and the more he ached to stay with her. This was ridiculous. She was just a girl, for God's sake! All he'd done was take one little look back, it didn't mean he had to stay. The rules weren't that you had to stay if you looked back, it meant you could still keep going. If you still wanted to go, that is. He still had time to run. She'd told him to go. Twice. He had no reason to be there, unless he wanted to be. He had no reason to ask for her phone number, unless he wanted to call her. Which would make things very awkward. Unless she was worth the risk.
Rachel frowned at him. "You're not very good at sneaking out in the morning, are you?" she asked him. Gordon smiled ruefully and let out a breath of embarrassed laughter.
"I'm usually a hell of a lot better at it than this," he admitted, rubbing the back of his neck awkwardly. There was no point in hiding how ungainly he felt. Something told him she would've seen through an act of nonchalance anyway. She shot him another look and he felt a little exposed, due to far more than the fact he still hadn't put his shirt on, and he wasn't altogether convinced that he didn't like that feeling.
"You don't have to ask me for my number to be polite, you know," she assured him.
"I'm not being polite," he answered.
"If you want to go, nobody's stopping you. Don't stay on my account."
"I'm not. Maybe I don't want to go," he suggested, caught in some weird emotion between tenacity and bewilderment.
"Fine, then, stay, it makes no difference to me," she answered, carelessly.
"Would you mind if I stayed?" he asked. This really wasn't how it happened in the movies, the woman was supposed to ask the man to stay and he was supposed to be all aloof and cool. He should have stormed over to the bed and said in his most seductive tone, "Hey, lady, I'm staying - assume the position and brace yourself!" But his knees were shaking far too much for all of that nonsense and he wasn't entirely sure that he wasn't going to be sick.
"I'd love it if you stayed, you're extremely comfortable as a pillow and stupendous in all other respects," she replied, so honestly and unflinchingly that his eyes widened in surprise. He blushed violently and grinned to himself happily. "But I'll get my coffee a lot sooner if you go, so please. Make your mind up," she finished, smiling softly at the expression on his face.
Gordon paused before answering, so many different thoughts racing through his mind so fast that he could barely cling onto one of them. His head told him to go. His heart told him it'd be kindest to leave - but his gut had other ideas entirely. Finally, he cleared his throat and met her gaze with a steely look of determination which, he noted to his delight, made her blush a little.
"I can't give you a relationship," he blurted out. She looked puzzled.
"Who says I want one?" she asked, frowning.
"I... shouldn't still be here," he told her, desperately. She chuckled.
"I'm definitely not keeping you captive," she pointed out. He shook his head.
"You are. I don't even know how you're doing it, but you are. Every time I look at you, all I want to do is get back in there with you and not leave the room again," he told her, truthfully. Rachel's face lit up momentarily before she cleared her throat and ran her fingers through her hair again to regain her composure. Gordon's shoulders dropped and he sighed heavily. "I really should go," he finished, his face and voice both resigned to the idea that he had definitely outstayed his welcome, even though he really hoped he hadn't. She nodded and shrugged.
"Okay then," she replied, cheerfully. He waited for a moment, not sure if she'd understood what he'd just said to her.
"I should go," he repeated. She frowned slightly.
"I know, you just said so," she reminded him.
"I should. But I... I think I need to stay with you."
"You need to? Why?"
"I don't know. But I don't want to leave," he told her. "I don't like the idea of not seeing you ever again. I'm not ready for it."
"You want to see me again, but you don't want a relationship?" Rachel asked. When she put it like that, it made him sound like even more of an asshole than if he'd just left before she'd woken up. Still. He couldn't exactly argue with her, she'd summed it up pretty well.
"I kinda want it all, don't I?" he asked, pinching his lips together in a wry grin.
"You certainly do," she answered, her voice stern but her eyes gleaming with mischief. Gordon sighed. He'd never felt more awkward in his life, but he still didn't want to leave. He didn't want to miss anything and he was pretty sure that if he left now, the thing he'd miss most of all would be her.
"It's a lot to ask," he admitted. She nodded.
"It certainly is," she agreed, her voice still stern. Gordon looked at her and he could see she was toying with him. Cat and mouse again. He didn't mind, in fact he liked it almost as much as what he knew was about to happen. Even though he was going to lose, he still felt like he was going to win.
"You're enjoying watching me squirm, aren't you?" he asked. She grinned briefly at him.
"I've not had this much fun in years," she admitted.
"Listen - I may not call often and I may not see you for a while, but if I tell you I'll call you, I mean it. I'm not the nicest guy in the world, but I'm not a liar either," he promised, sincerely. A slow smile took over her face and she nodded her agreement.
"You'd best get your trousers off and get back into bed, then, sunshine," she instructed, grinning impishly at him.