Last chapter! And a short one, at that. Thanks so much, everyone, for the reviews, favs, follows, and just for reading this. Whether you liked it or hated it, I thank you for reading it.
I don't own the Thunderbirds. Nope. I also don't make any profit from writing this.
Alan watched as Fermat tried to swim, mentally urging his friend on with silent cheers. He was as elated as his best friend was when Fermat finally climbed out of the pool. Alan knew how much of a challenge it was for Fermat to overcome his fear of water, and the accomplishment caused a surge of pride to well up in Alan as he watched his friend.
"Great job, Ferm," Alan congratulated when Brains had wrapped a towel around the boy. Fermat smiled.
Fermat and Alan exchanged a relaxed smile. It was Saturday, and both boys had decided to return to Wharton's on the following Monday. The past week had gone entirely without any fighting amongst the residents of Tracy Island, and Alan, finally sure of his spot in the family, had stopped trying to second-guess his family's motives for apologizing and spending time with him. Alan was happy, for the first time since his mother died, and Fermat's spirits soared as he noticed his best friend's elation.
"Alan!" Tintin called. Alan turned to look at the girl, all thoughts of making a sarcastic remark flying out the window. Tintin was beautiful, and it was about time Alan stopped pretending not to like her. Making a comment that instantly had him and Tintin both blushing, Alan winced and turned to Fermat, who rolled his eyes. The moment was spoiled by Jeff.
"I have an announcement to make," Jeff said, exchanging a secret smile with Brains as the scientist pushed the three teens towards the Tracy patriarch. Alan raised an eyebrow, wondering what was going on. Behind Jeff, Alan could see his brothers lining up and giving him a smile.
"No shortcuts, Alan," Jeff smiled softly at his son. "You earned it."
Alan could hardly dare to believe it when the International Rescue pin was hooked to his shirt. For years he'd struggled to fit in, to be as good as his brothers, and now finally his efforts were being acknowledged. He was a Thunderbird. Everything Alan had ever wanted was coming true right before his eyes.
"Yeah, Sprout!" he heard, and then he was shoved into the pool. His brothers splashed him, and Alan once again was hit with the realization that this was home. There was nowhere else he belonged. He was a Tracy, and he was a Thunderbird. He was finally where he longed to be.
"Boys!" Jeff called, and the Tracy brothers jumped out of the pool as their father explained the upcoming rescue. Normally the Thunderbirds would put their uniforms on in their 'Birds, but this emergency wasn't so bad yet; there was going to be a tsunami, and the Thunderbirds wouldn't be able to do anything until the tsunami actually hit.
"Alan!" Jeff turned to face his youngest son, who had gone to sit on a lounge chair as his brothers made their way inside.
"Yeah, Dad?" he asked, confused.
"Saddle up, kiddo. What are you doing?"
"I thought… but Dad… really?"
Jeff and Brains exchanged a look, before Jeff turned to face Scott, John, Virgil, and Gordon. The four older brothers had all stopped to listen to the exchange between Alan and their father. Looking at each son in turn, Jeff received four nods and four radiant smiles.
"Go on, kiddo, the world's waiting for you."
"FAB, Dad!" Alan sprung up from his seat and rushed to his brothers, who raced him into the house.
"Here, Al," Scott said, tossing an International Rescue uniform to Alan who gaped at it in shock.
"For me?" he asked, unable to come up with anything more intelligent. Scott grinned.
"Hurry up and change, Sprout," the oldest brother ordered. Alan didn't hesitate to do as he was told, emerging from the bathroom three minutes later dressed in his uniform, a grin plastered on his face.
"Looks good, Alan," Scott smiled as he emerged from his room.
"Wow, Sprout!" John agreed.
"We'll make a Thunderbird out of you yet," Virgil said, giving Alan a thumb's up before moving to ruffle Alan's hair.
"My baby brother's all grown up," Gordon pouted, causing everyone to laugh.
"Ready, kids?" Jeff inquired, shooting a look of confidence at his youngest son.
"FAB!" Five voices echoed together. Alan's eyes met Fermat's and Tintin's as his brothers stared at him.
"Thunderbirds are go!"
Alan stepped into his elevator and zoomed down to Thunderbird Two's silo. As he helped Virgil and Gordon go through pre-flight checks, he caught the looks on his brothers' faces and remembered their words from the previous week.
"'When Alan's ready', we always say, 'It'll be the coolest moment of our lives. The whole family will be together doing this thing, and it will finally be perfect.'"
Alan smiled. He was truly where he belonged, and there was nowhere else he'd rather be. Everything was perfect. The past had been forgiven. Alan didn't know what the future held, but he did know one thing: he would always be with his family, and as long as he was with his family, everything would always turn out alright.
Once again, thanks for the response. Please review if you want to. I hope you liked it, and even if you didn't, I sincerely thank you for reading.