Never Too Long, Chapter 19
John watched Virgil sleep, his chin propped on one hand, his gaze unfocused as he tried to stay awake. His laptop was open, balanced precariously on his knees, running a background search. He didn't have the focus for anything else. If the cops walked in, he would be in trouble.
But his father wouldn't let anyone into the room without warning. Not even the cops.
Especially not the cops.
He hadn't been able to concentrate since they had arrived at the hospital. Initially, he'd understood why – he'd needed to know if his brother was going to pull through. Then he'd wanted Virgil to wake up. Until Virgil had opened his eyes, they'd had no idea if he had been under water for too long.
Even after they were allowed into Virgil's room, the memory of the following few hours was a blur. John had spent the entire time in a haze of exhaustion. After he had escaped the nurses – smirking as Gordon had to remain and get his leg properly seen to – John had refused to leave the hospital, regardless of what argument his father put forward.
Matt woke shortly after they were allowed into Virgil's room. The three Tracys visited in turn but John knew he was not the only one who didn't feel welcome. Nicole didn't blame them; she made that clear, her hand on John's arm and tears in her eyes. But she was going to be taking care of Matt and John didn't envy Matt's doctors. He knew it was her way of dealing with what had happened and he had left after a few moments of talking to Matt to see what he remembered.
His father was harassing Virgil's doctor, Gordon was getting something to eat and Virgil was asleep. This was John's chance to start searching in earnest without any distractions. But other than setting up a search, John didn't know what to do. He had tried tracking the helicopter but stumbled into blocks rather than finding results. He was supposed to be good at this: he should have been able to get past the firewalls. But he couldn't. His fingers felt clumsy.
The same had happened the day before as well, and that had been before Virgil had made him swear he would find their brother. Gordon had eventually leant over and shut the laptop, taking it away from John and refusing to give it back until John had at least gone for a walk. Gordon's comment about not wanting John to get arrested by hitting the wrong buttons hadn't helped.
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What's worse, when there is a deadly rescue to carry out, or when there is not? Virgil's not sure.
Quic Fic Rec
This one is a great laugh from the wonderful @loopstagirl :D
@chenria More fluff :D
(still poking around)
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Never Too Long, Chapter 17
Ignoring his shaking hands John grasped Virgil's wrist. The soft beat under his fingertips made him exhale sharply, shutting his eyes in relief.
Virgil was alive.
John shrugged off his jacket, pulling Scott's away and draping his own over his brother. Virgil was cold, soaking wet and unconscious. But it was the only thing John could do right now to help. He shifted until his brother's head was resting on his leg, combing his fingers automatically through Virgil's hair, brushing it away from his face.
"You're going to be okay," John promised quietly, knowing Virgil couldn't hear him.
Gordon was sitting, one hand holding him upright as he slumped. There was a faraway expression on his face, as if he had zoned out but John knew differently. Gordon was struggling to understand – and John didn't blame him. They had followed Scott here, and found Virgil and Matt, but not Scott.
John had no answers for Gordon this time. Scott had been here – his jacket was the reason they had found Virgil. But John didn't know what had happened since, or what happened next.
Gordon suddenly stood up.
"What are you doing?"
"Scott might still be here," Gordon said. The gun was back in his hand and he was staring at the house.
"Virgil is alive!" Gordon snapped. "He wasn't underwater for more than a few minutes – it would have killed him otherwise."
John shuddered even as Gordon shut his eyes, collecting himself. They had been far too close to that outcome. John's grip on Virgil tightened.
Gordon took a breath, then continued. "The water must have come in fast. If it was Blag-,"
"It was!" John couldn't believe Gordon could even doubt anyone else was behind it. Not considering where they were.
Gordon glared at him. "- and not one of his henchmen," he continued. John winced – he normally knew what Gordon was trying to say - "then why not drown Matt? Why leave him up here? He must have known there was a chance Matt would come around in time to get to Virg."
"What are you getting at?" John said slowly. He thought he knew but he wanted Gordon to say it out loud.
"He did it for a show. We know Scott was here," he nodded to the discarded jacket. "He was with Virg. Blag would have made Scott watch."
"You think they're still here?" John knew – more than Gordon – what that would have done to Scott. His hand had returned to monitoring Virgil's pulse, terrified his brother would suddenly stop fighting. But Scott didn't know they had been on their way: Blag would make him think Virgil was dead. Scott would have no reason to doubt him, not if Gordon was right and he had seen the water.
"We haven't looked in the house yet," Gordon said grimly. But as he took a step forward, John reached up and grasped his arm.
"You can't go in there."
"Scott's still alive!" Gordon exclaimed, his grip on the gun turning his knuckles white. "Blag doesn't know we're here, Johnny. This is our chance."
"He'll be armed and guarded," John muttered. He was already sliding out from under Virgil though. He couldn't let Gordon in that house. He knew it was luck that had allowed them to save Virgil and he couldn't risk Blag getting hold of another little brother. Luck didn't last forever. Scott had drilled big brother instincts into him since Virgil was born; his brother would kill him himself if he knew John had let Gordon walk into a situation without checking it out first.
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Never Too Long, Chapter 16
The men moved faster than Scott could think. He was in a daze, one thought tumbling through his mind continuously.
This couldn't be happening.
He looked at Virgil, catching his brother's eye. Virgil gave him a small smile and a soft nod. Scott didn't need words to know what his brother meant: Virgil was telling him he had done the right thing.
Blag twisted the rope around his hand as his men advanced on Matt, keeping Scott back. His lackeys unchained Matt's hands from the wall but left them bound together. Two took hold of his arms, drawing Matt to his feet and starting to force him towards the steps.
Matt, however, had no intention of going quietly.
"Don't do this!" He struggled against the hold, his loud voice echoing around the room. "You've played your game; Scott did what you asked. Let Virgil go, let them both go!"
Blag gave a sharp nod and one of the men slammed his gun into Matt's head. His eyes widened in surprise for a second before he slumped, the men's tight grip on his arms stopping him from sinking to the floor.
Scott's mouth was open in a yell he never had time to exclaim. He turned on Blag.
"What was that for?"
"He's played his part: I don't want to hear him whining about it. He's alive, isn't he? Thanks to you. The same can't be said for Virgil. Your brother is going to die, Scott, and it's your fault."
"Don't listen to him!"
Scott glanced over and saw Virgil fighting against his restraints, his expression furious.
"It's not your fault - you know it's not. It's him, it's all him and if you dare think otherwise, I'll…" Virgil pulled a face as he trailed off, uncertain of how to finish his threat. Blag had no intention of leaving Virgil alive for long.
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Never Too Long, Chapter 15
The sound of his cell pinging made John glance at the screen and swear violently. Gordon slammed on the brakes, causing both of them to be thrown forward until their seatbelts did their job. Then it was Gordon cursing as he rubbed sore ribs and glared at his brother.
"You know we're in the rescuing business, right, Johnny?" Gordon said, his tone flippant. "Saving villages from earthquakes, a mall from a fire, our brothers from a madman… Any reason you wanted us to crash?"
John ignored him. Gordon had woken, taken one look at him and held his hand out for the keys. John hadn't argued; he was exhausted. It meant that he could concentrate on working out what they were about to walk into and wait for Brains to make contact: he hadn't put his phone down for hours.
"John? What is it?"
John suddenly realised that, despite ignoring Gordon's teasing, he had also offered no explanation for his initial reaction. Gordon was staring at him, his face pale. John swallowed.
"We're in this alone."
"What do you mean?"
John filled Gordon in on his conversation with their father regarding the cops. Blag might have been covering his tracks and the police might have encrypted databases, but John knew Brains was up for the challenge. With not one, but two Tracys in danger, it would fuel their friend more than any pep-talk could. Brains wouldn't give up.
Considering the data now currently showing on John's phone, Brains' perseverance had paid off.
"The captain has been receiving payments for the last ten years. Small amounts, stuff that won't show up, but it's built up. Brains' tracked it – and had to go halfway way around the world before he found the source. It's coming from somewhere in Russia."
"Using the Russians? Yes. He's been using them to buy cops. The police – the genuine ones - are all in position, waiting for an order that isn't going to come."
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Never Too Long, Chapter 14
Scott's head whipped up at the voice, a sharp gasp escaping him. Despite not being able to see his brother, he would know Virgil's voice anywhere. A large man was blocking his view and even as he watched, the man's arm lowered back to his side. A snarl escaped the back of Scott's throat; this man was responsible for Virgil's pain.
But even as he tried to rise, his body betrayed him. His balance was off as he tried to kneel, alerting the men to what he was doing. A foot pressed against his back, exerting just enough pressure that he collapsed back down again. The foot remained where it was and he knew he wouldn't be allowed to rise even if he physically could.
"Leave him alone!" he yelled, his voice hoarse. The man didn't even look around. Scott fought the weight on his back as the man's arm lifted, clearly preparing to strike again. It didn't matter how much he struggled – he couldn't get up.
But the blow never landed as another voice cut smoothly into the conversation.
"Enough. We need him conscious."
A sharp pain constricted Scott's chest. He also knew that voice. It was the sound that had haunted his nightmares for years, the voice that hadtaunted him night after night, that had driven him to the edge before his family had pulled him back again.
He couldn't breathe, couldn't think straight…
He was in his nightmare again, and there was no waking up.
Then Scott took a deep breath. Virgil needed him. His mind cleared, sharp, cold anger lacing through the fear and allowing strength to flood his body. He didn't have his imagination playing tricks on him this time. This was reality. He was a practical man: he saw a problem, he found a solution, he dealt with it.
He just had to do the same this time.
The large man dipped his head and stepped away. The pilot sucked in a sharp breath when he saw his brother. Virgil was sitting against the wall, his hands tied above his head and his face an array of bruises. He was sitting stiffly, his eyes clouded with the pain he refused to let his expression reveal. Scott knew his brother; Virgil was hurting all over.
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Never Too Long, Chapter 13
John was aware that he was coughing even before he realised he was conscious.
Choking, he rolled onto his side, then up onto all fours, head hanging as he struggled to get air into his lungs. Acrid smoke made his eyes water as he fought for breath.
He didn't know how he was still alive, let alone relatively unhurt. He was bruised all over and his right wrist throbbed painfully. His shoulder was also smarting as the old wound throbbed. But John knew he had been lucky; the explosion had been strong enough to have killed him.
"Scott? Gordon?" His voice cracked, hoarse and painful, as he shouted but John didn't care. To his delight, an answering groan came from his right.
He lurched upright, then fell back with a cry, his ankle refusing to support his weight. A quick inspection revealed he hadn't broken it, though. He didn't try and stand again, but started crawling towards his brother, not wanting to waste any more time while his body decided what else hurt.
He knew it was Gordon before he saw him. John swore when he caught sight of his brother; blood was smeared across his face and there was a beam resting over his legs, keeping Gordon trapped. Still, the younger man grinned when he saw John moving towards him.
Once there, John took a deep breath and managed to stand. But he bit his lip as he looked at Gordon: Virgil had told him more than once that relieving pressure could cause more damage. The way Gordon was swearing at him to hurry up, however, meant John was certain he was the one in the most danger if he didn't lift it.
"I'm not going to be able to hold it," he warned, hoping that Gordon took the hint and moved as soon as he had the clearance. His brother nodded, and John took a deep breath, steeling himself. He knew this was going to hurt.
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Never Too Long, Chapter 12
A cough tore from Virgil's throat before he had properly regained consciousness. His whole body tensed, trying to hold it in. He refused to open his eyes, having no desire to see what position he had landed himself in this time. He knew Blag wouldn't let his escape go unpunished and didn't intend to reveal he was conscious again. He knew he had tried his hardest and not everyone would have got as far as he did.
The problem was they were in the middle of nowhere: there was nowhere to run to. The house was isolated; no one was close enough to realise it was suddenly being inhabited again. Blag was twisted coming back here, but Virgil felt it was working: no one had found them yet. But he didn't let that get to him. His family knew who was behind his abduction and Virgil knew it was only a matter of time before they figured out where he was.
The voice was soft and quiet but Virgil jumped, his eyes flying open. He swore when he realised he wasn't in the house any longer. It was dark and damp: his back was pressed to a wall and Virgil could feel the moisture seeping into his shirt. He shivered, trying to pull away, and realised his hands were tied, lashed above his head to an iron ring embedded in the wall.
He could be in an actual dungeon. Virgil shivered again, then forced himself to think realistically. Blag didn't have a proper dungeon.
As much as Virgil wanted to squeeze his eyes shut and find he was somewhere different when he opened them, he couldn't. That voice was familiar. He looked around, squinting in the dim light. Then he swore again.
Just out of reach – even if Virgil kicked out – but slumped against the wall with his hands tied the same way, was an old friend.
Virgil didn't know what he had expected. Blag had shown him the footage: he knew that Matt had been taken. But he had hoped his friend might have made a miraculous escape or been rescued. There was no denying the figure sitting next to him, though. Virgil lent his head back on the wall as helplessness rose once again within him. Blag was winning and there was nothing Virgil could do about it. He momentarily shut his eyes and sighed. Anger and frustration coiled in his stomach but Virgil was beginning to get the feeling that no matter what he tried, it wouldn't be enough.
Matt attempted to smile, but it was little more than a grimace.
"I would say good to see you, but given the circumstances…" he said, glancing up at his bound hands.
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Never Too Long, Chapter 11
"What the hell you are doing?"
His father's voice was cold and angry and Scott turned.
John and Gordon had finally succumbed to sleep, both of them sprawled over Scott's bed. They had protested, but Scott knew how to handle his younger brothers. It had been easy to turn John's argument back on himself, claiming he was no use to Virgil when exhausted. Gordon was even easier: Scott had always been able to get Gordon to – eventually – listen and do as he was told. The guilt of failing one brother was eating away at him. Scott wasn't prepared to increase that by not looking out for the younger ones, even if they were all adults.
Scott was in the lounge, examining the rest of the kit from John's bag. There was more than one weapon hidden amongst the wires and monitors. He looked up at his dad. The furious expression on the man's face revealed he realised his sons weren't planning on sitting around for much longer. Scott slowly stood, squaring his shoulders. He was glad the others were asleep: it had always been him who had to face their father when something had gone awry. Only this time, he wasn't a misbehaving child.
"Going to get Virgil," Scott said simply.
"You don't know where he is."
Scott knew it was fear that was making his father angry. He kept his voice calm, slipping into the professional mode that he was used to.
"John's still monitoring the hangar. Even if he isn't there, it might give us a clue where to go next."
"The police don't know what they are dealing with, Dad!" Scott cried. He put down the gun he'd forgotten he had picked up and ran a hand through his hair. "Even if they accept it is Blag behind Matt's disappearance, they don't know what they are up against. They haven't faced him. We have to do this. I have to do this."
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