A Thunderbirds fic by Ro-RoWeasley

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[A/N: Here's a Virgil story now and this one is definitely a multi-chapter, hope you like!]
Disclaimer: As much as I'd love to, I don't own Thunderbirds.

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"When you are busy looking at your next step, how can you see where you are going?"
~ Elizabeth Alraune ~

Chapter One

Virgil was running for his life, pushing and shoving his way through the endless crowds. Later perhaps he would feel guilty, but not right then. He'd be dead meat if he slowed to a walk – They would get him.

It was strictly forbidden to even rush in the maze of corridors that made up the high school let alone sprint, but at that moment he couldn't care less. All he could concentrate on was losing the gang of boys gaining on him.

If people were shouting at him their voices fell upon deaf ears, for all he could hear was the thudding of his own heart. Flying around a corner he skidded slightly, shoes protesting at the sudden change in direction at such speed, before charging up the flight of stairs up to the first floor. He didn't know where he was going; all he wanted was to lose them.

You didn't mean to do it. You didn't mean to do it. His brain chimed in time with his feet slapping hard on the floor as he climbed up and up.

Once he reached the landing he threw himself against the old wooden door. This was the oldest part of the school, the one section that was yet to be refurbished and so the quarter century-old doors stuck on the tiled floor. After a few hard barges it budged open wide enough for him to squeeze through, and he kept on running. Classroom doors whirled past him but he ignored them. If he could just make it to the other end he could disappear and lose them.

Almost there now…

But the sight coming towards him made him stop in his tracks.
They'd found him.

Virgil groaned, realising his mistake. In the time it had taken him to climb up and mess with the door, they had managed to loop underneath him on the ground floor and come up the stairs the other end of the corridor. He cursed himself for his lack of strategy. Out of all the places he could have run he'd headed upstairs and got himself cornered. For an artist, that wasn't a great example of creative thinking.

"Stop right there, Tracy brat," Gary Steelton sneered as he walked slowly towards him, though the effect was somewhat spoiled by the multi-coloured paint splatters on his uniform. The four other boys were wearing identical expressions.

At first Virgil gulped, glued to the spot and unsure of what to do despite knowing he was in for a beating. Then he squared his shoulders as he thought: What would Scott do? Stand up to them, Virgil.

"Got a little something on your shirt, Steelton?" he jeered, more braver than he felt.

In art class that morning Virgil had tripped and sent his tray of paints right into the other boy's chest, who just happened to be walking past him. Everyone in the class had fallen into fits of laughter, even Virgil, much to Gary's embarrassment. Being the year's 'bully', he hadn't taken it lightly, insisting Virgil had done it on purpose and had sworn to pay him back. And at lunchtime, the instant he'd clapped eyes on the middle Tracy, he'd not let him be.

"Look at the state of me you clumsy brat. I'm gonna make you pay. Your daddy's a rich millionaire after all so I'm sure he can spare a few ten-dollar bills. God I hope he locks you away. I'm surprised they let someone like you into this school, a name like Virgil doesn't belong anywhere." And with that, he spat on the floor, still advancing towards his prey.

Instinctively Virgil started backing up. But as Gary showed no signs of stopping he found himself walking almost sideways in an arc so now he had his back to the stairs the gang had emerged from; an escape route. The idiot was too busy taunting him and had failed to notice that Virgil now had the upper hand.

His back hit the door to the stairs but he didn't immediately take a run for it, instead opting for negotiation. A desperate last resort but he was no longer intimidated. They had caused him enough trouble over the last two years but now he had had enough. "It was an accident, you were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Just walk away now and it can be forgotten."

"And where's the fun in that?" Gary gloated as he walked even closer. Being over a head taller than Virgil, right now he towered over him making the artist wince in spite of himself. "Big brother Scotty's not here right now to protect you is he? Too busy truanting school to get his pilot license to care about you. And John could never match me in a fight, he's even worse than you."

That did it. Virgil couldn't hold his anger in any longer. Before Gary could lay a hand on him Virgil had struck out first, his fist connecting with the bully's jaw. No one insulted his brothers and got away with it!

His hand stung but he ignored it as Steelton all but wrestled him to the floor and a short fight ensued, the four witnesses egging their leader on. Virgil somehow managed to get back to his feet, feeling a warm trickle of blood run down his chin from his now split lip and his left cheek was stinging. But Gary, having followed suit, grabbed him around the waist, forcing him through the doors and up against the wall, holding both of his hands behind his back. Virgil couldn't move.

"You apologise right this second for that, brat, or you'll be eating stairs," Gary hissed.

"You first. Apologise for insulting my brothers!" the artist shouted back through gritted teeth.

"No chance."

In one swift and rather impressive move, Virgil wriggled out of the larger boy's grasp before he could begin the painful tumble down the hard staircase. Then, as Gary made to grab him again, Virgil reacted by twisting and throwing his arms out, literally pushing the menace off of him like batting away a wasp.

That however had been the wrong move. Virgil stared in utter horror as Gary Steelton went head over heels down the stairs before hitting the floor in a heap with a sickening thump.

He didn't move.

"…I can't believe you Virg. What on earth has gotten into you? This isn't you at all! You're setting a terrible example to Alan and Gordon, not to mention letting me and John down."

Virgil just sat in the passenger seat of the blue hatchback sedan and sulked as Scott continued his tirade. After being sent to the principal's office, Scott had been called to collect him; it wasn't even two in the afternoon.

"…You knew today was important for me, why did you have to let this happen?"

That stung and Virgil immediately bit back. Didn't Scott realise what he had just been through? Didn't his brother realise he hadn't meant to disturb his day? "I didn't mean for it to happen, Scott, it was an accident!"

"The paint or pushing him down the stairs? The kid's hospitalised, Virg!"

"Both!" the artist protested. "I genuinely tripped when the paint got thrown over him and as for the stairs I was defending myself. He'd have pushed me down the stairs if I hadn't tried to get away! I only meant to push him aside on the landing but the angle he held me at meant he went down the stairs instead! At least I stayed with him until the ambulance came…it was only concussion," he said miserably.

The four cronies had run off as soon as they'd realised what had happened. Virgil assumed they'd gone to get a teacher but they'd never returned – some friends they obviously were.

Suddenly furious, he raised his voice. "It would have been me Scott, and do you think he'd have stayed and made sure I was okay?"

He saw Scott's face harden even more at that before he softened. "I think we both know the answer to that, Virg. Even if it was you who lashed out first, you did the right thing when it all got out of hand. I'm pleased you're in one piece, though that's one heck of a bruise on your cheek," His older brother chuckled slightly before growing serious. "You do know you're grounded for this right?"

"Who am I to argue?" Virgil sulked. He knew he'd gone too far, even if it had been an accident, and so deserved whatever punishment Scott decided to give him, and being grounded was definitely getting off lightly. But then again he knew his eldest brother would have come to his aid in a heartbeat if he had been at school that day.

At that thought a realisation struck him. "Wait, if I'm grounded that means I can't go to the Mall with Dan later for my art supplies, no fair!"

"Sorry kiddo, just count your lucky stars you're not suspended."

"I got detention though. Man, I'm turning into Gordon!"

Scott laughed as he parked the car on the large drive outside their home. The house in the small Kansas town was fairly large, having to accommodate as well as Virgil; his older brothers Scott and John; his two younger brothers Gordon and Alan; their dad Jeff Tracy, plus any guests when they stayed – the usual being Grandma. Each Tracy son had their own room on the first floor; dad had two – bedroom and an office where he worked all hours during the day when he wasn't out the house. Virgil's room was at the rear of the house with a view of their acre-sized garden and the landscape beyond.

"I don't think anyone can break Gordy's record, save maybe Alan. We'll have to keep a close watch on that kid," Scott said thoughtfully and Virgil agreed as they made their way to the house. Even at the tender age of ten, the prankster had stacked up more detention slips than his entire year put together and he had a feeling six-year-old Alan was beginning to take a keen interest in his immediate older brother's schemes.

Once inside, Virgil shoved off his shoes and upon entering the kitchen diner area, unceremoniously slung his bag on the table before raiding the cupboards for a glass and some juice. Scott didn't say anything more, merely leaving the thirteen-year-old to unwind, though Virgil knew he would want to talk more later in the evening.

Seating himself down on one of the padded seats along the breakfast bar, Virgil absently sipped his drink while mulling over the events of the day. Although he'd had another run-in with the current bane of his life, he felt a sense of pride for finally standing up for himself. Scott hadn't approved at all, which had annoyed him, especially when they both knew Scott would have done the exact same thing. But he wasn't prepared to submit himself to more torture from Steelton by allowing Scott to fight his battles for him. No. Today he'd done it for himself. And it was absolutely worth getting grounded for.

The sound of his father's voice however, made Virgil's better mood instantly sour.

"I saw the car, why are you back so early?" the Tracy patriarch demanded, addressing Scott.

"The school called me and asked me to bring him home," big brother replied, a glare evident in his tone. Virgil stayed sat where he was, still sipping his drink.

"What about your pilot test?"

Scott's tone dripped acid. "The call came before we started. I couldn't rely on you to drop your work and collect him yourself, so I dropped my pilot test and got him instead. The school still have me listed as his emergency contact."

Virgil was beginning to squirm, fighting the urge to run upstairs to the haven of his bedroom. His eldest brother and father were still clashing despite Jeff promising he'd be more involved with his family after Mrs Travers had spoken to him, and he'd prefer to be out of the immediate vicinity whenever anything blew up. Things were slowly getting better, but for now were taking a backwards turn.

"Don't talk like that to me Scott. Why exactly has Virgil been brought home early? Is he ill?"

At that, Virgil put his glass down on the counter and hopped down from the seat, turning and walking over to stand next to Scott who was leaning against the table. "I'm still in the room, Dad," he retorted. "And no, I'm fine. I just pushed a kid down the stairs, acci-"

"You did WHAT?" Jeff exploded.

"It was an accident!" Virgil began to protest. He'd known his father would react like this, he needed to explain himself before the rest of the day was ruined. "He pushed me up against the wall and I threw him off-"

"Go to your room," his father said quietly, raising his voice when the artist didn't immediately budge. "Now!"

Virgil looked pleadingly at Scott, who only looked pointedly at him so the thirteen-year-old stormed from the room. Slamming his bedroom door hard and throwing himself down on his bed, he heard the raised voices of his brother and father as they started arguing.

Wonderful. Could this day get any worse?