#thunderbirds are go
Thank you very much @flyboytracy for the Virgil screenshots!! I think this might be my favorite so far hahshasa I just love it sm
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Whumpay Day Eight - Passing Out
Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7 |
I feel like this one was a little more angsty than whumpy...? It’s quite Kayo centric because I wanted a short break from the boys 🖤
Thanks to @liseylou @lenna-z and @janetm74 for their continued support :D. And this is for @thunderwing27. I don’t know if your favourite character is Kayo but here ya go anyway XD
As the sun shone its baking hot rays down to Earth, Kayo wasn’t sure how much longer she could cope. Her water supply had run out an hour ago and now her throat was begging. If it hadn’t been for Havoc, her Thunderbird would still be in the air. Heck! She’d probably be back home safe on Tracy Island right now.
But no. That’s not how her life wanted to take her. Instead, it shoved her into a mad loop of survival, hope and desperation.
She needed water.
Dehydration was kicking in fast as the rapidly growing ache in her head got worse.
She’d done her DofE award as a girl. She knew how to survive in the wilderness, nature and the countryside. But a desert? That was another story. Maybe and should’ve listened to her desert survival coach instead of focusing on martial arts...
“Thunderbird Shadow to John,” Kayo spoke into her wrist controller. “It’s Kayo. I have a little situation of my own here. Can you send Scott or Virgil to help me?”
“Kayo? What’s happening? Your vehicle tracker hasn’t moved in over an hour,”
“I know. That’s why I need help. Havoc crashed Shadow in the desert and my water supply has run out. I’m losing myself fast,”
“Understood. I’m sending Scott to come now.”
Then the line went dead.
As soon as Kayo hopped back into Shadow, the cloudiness in her head came forward like a sand storm. Pun not intended.
For a few moments, she lost her balance and her head hit the back of her seat. Luckily it was padded for safety. Then Kayo felt her eyes flutter shut. No! She can’t drop off now! She must stay awake for Scott’s sake.
The heat was too much; it overcame her.
Dehydration took over and Kayo passed out.
Unfortunately, she didn’t hear Scott’s voice shouting, “Kayo! I’m here to help!”
— FIN —
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New chapter is up!
Here’s a little taster of the latest chapter and my boys are pissed! Warning for lots of strong language, harsh and necessary.
The man roughly shook her off, shoving her aside. "What are you trying to do? Defend this pretty boy? What, has he been flirting with you and you liked the attention?" He laughed, a sound that was as cruel and mocking as his tone and the look on his face.
"No, I-" Isla started but Scott jumped in.
"I was doing nothing of the sort and I thank you not to throw allegations around like that."
Scott felt more than saw John appear by his side, obviously drawn by the commotion and his brother’s raised voice, as had a number of other customers who had turned to watch.
“Everything OK here?” John touched his shoulder to Scott’s letting him know he was right there and backing him up all the way. It wouldn’t be the first time that Scott had been recognised by someone and trouble had started, although usually it was a different Tracy that acted as the buffer.
“I think so,” Scott said, giving the man a glare that showed that it was anything but OK, practically daring him to argue.
“No, it’s not OK,” the man said. “This twat has been making eyes at my staff and putting her off her job.” The man swept a look out over the dining floor and the customers that had been looking quickly averted their eyes away from the argument, leaning in to whisper among themselves.
John frowned, something about the man's attitude, coupled with his rough Scottish tinged accent made him pause. Could this be…
“Chris, it’s alright, leave it be,” Isla soothed but once again he pushed her aside and she couldn’t hide her gasp of pain as her hip connected with the counter top behind her.
"Are you OK?" Scott asked her but Chris butted in again.
"She's fine, but you won't be if you don't back off."
Continue reading here on AO3
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Two updates in one day! Next @warmandfluffybingocards prompt is Kiss on Forehead with Lucille and a baby Scott
She was drawn toward the sound of crying. Her back had only been turned for a moment, just long enough to head to the bathroom and hurry back; there was no rest when you were pregnant with your second child.
There was one thing she'd learnt from her first child, and that was that things always happened the moment you turned your back.
That was the case this time, and Lucille rushed back out to the yard to see what had made her son sound so upset.
Scott was sitting in the middle of his toys on the grass, just where she'd left him and told him to stay until she'd gotten back. However, it was clear that he had moved as he was now sporting a bloody knee, which was obviously the source of his crying.
"Oh, Scotty. What happened?" Lucille sat down next to her son. He immediately curled into her side, and she rubbed his back as his tears soaked her shirt.
"I f-fell," he choked out between sobs, and her heart broke at his upset.
Keep Reading on AO3 // FF.net
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Hey thunderfam, specifically virgil fans, could y'all perhaps spare some wholesome Virgil screenshots 👉👈 I need one for my moodboard
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I’ve finally started on my @warmandfluffybingocards prompts! Starting with Feed Them Food with Lady P and Gordon
"This is embarrassing."
"It is not embarrassing."
No matter what she said, he still felt embarrassed.
"You need to look at me."
He didn't want to. He didn't want to see her pity. He knew she was right, though. He would need to look at her for this to work.
Gordon reluctantly turned his head back in her direction, but his eyes were cast down at the sheets.
"We don't have to do this if you don't want to." Penelope's hand entered his vision as it landed on his arm, right where the bandages stopped.
Keep Reading on AO3 // FF.net
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💚 Need the Virg so sharing some random gorgeousness 💚
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KAYO GOT A SAP
STANKY ASS PUSSSSSSSS
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Gordon: So now I'm supposed to do anything that Virgil does? What if he jumps off a cliff?
Scott: If Virgil were to jump off a cliff, he would have done his due diligence regarding the height of the cliff and the angle of entry.
Scott: So yes, if you see Virgil jump off a cliff, by all means, jump off a cliff.
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Things I will never get over: Jeff’s face, and the tinies
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Whumpay Day 8: Wake Up/Passing Out.
There are lots of reasons for passing out, John reflects. The one particular reason that it is happening to him escapes him for the moment – along with a lot of other things like where am I? – but he knows many, many reasons.
A sudden drop in blood pressure. John tries hard to think. Did he stand up too suddenly? Was that what happened? If so, then reasonably he should be on Five and EOS is already in frantic communication with, if he’s lucky Virgil, if he’s unlucky Scott. If she’s really worried then Grandma, and that thought causes John to pause.
If he is still on Five why can’t he hear anything? Sure Five is in space and is a tightly sealed environment, but contrary to popular opinion you can hear in space – well, you can hear on Five, because she is a well-oiled machine, and machines make the barest of noises. He is so in-tune with Five that the noise no longer registers. But it is still there, and here it is not.
Anxiety, fear and emotional stress. Well, John does have plenty to worry about in his day-to-day life. What with sending his four brothers and sister off to daily death and destruction and praying that today is not the day that one of them…yeah, well.
Was there anything in particular today that had caused his anxiety to spike? No, nothing he can think of. In fact, he can’t think of anything he was doing. Were his brothers out without him to direct, to safeguard them, to keep them safe? Now he can feel his anxiety ratcheting up a lot. So, anxiety is not the main cause of his passing out, but if he continues down this path it may well be the cause of the second.
Hunger and Thirst. Yeeeaaah. That is a distinct possibility. John so frequently forgot to eat and drink while working that EOS had taken to locking him out of all electronics until he did. That, and threaten to tell Scott and let him up in the elevator. John shuddered. That was almost a fate worse than death, the threat of smothering older brother up here, contained on Five.
Yet all of these reasons don’t feel right. For one thing, any and all of these reasons still places him on Five, and he definitely isn’t there. For another thing, if he had succumbed to any of these the other place he would be is the island, with his family fussing around him.
And here he is most certainly alone.
There was, of course, one other reason why he might have passed out.
Alcohol and/or Drugs. This one worries him. John isn’t a big drinker, sure he had his occasions – these usually involved Scott, or bizarrely Penny – but they were few and far between events. Had he been on shore leave? There was a tentative flare of memory at that thought. He had been on shore leave.
He’d been shore leave.
And he hadn’t been alone.
He is assailed by a memory so strong, of a bar, bottles of beer. And red flannel. And dancing, not him of course. But Virgil, kicking it back and relaxing, had been asked to dance by a girl sporting more red flannel than his brother was. And John had watched, amused, as Virgil line-danced with the best of them.
What the hell had happened since then? And where was Virgil? John racks his brain. Or, he tries to, his brain is having none of it. Why can’t he remember? Why had he passed out?
Only one thing for it then, John decides. Struggling to sit up, John has an epiphany. Of course, finding out where he is and where Virgil is would be far easier if he just opens his eyes.
One eye peels open at his demand, and John is most definitely on the floor. The room is sparce, even by John’s standard. Just a cot attached to the wall and a toilet. There is a familiarity in the room. Oh, not for him, but yeah. He knows where he is. There is a certain relief in that knowledge. Now John just needs to work out why he is here and where his brother is.
John turns over onto his back and closed his eye again. And groaned. The movement sets off nausea, but he doesn’t have the energy to move to the toilet and thus fights the feeling the only way he knows. Astronomy. Murmuring the equations for calculating the distance, age and composition of pulsars soon has him back in control. And he laughs.
The laugh. He remembers. The girl had been laughing as Virgil swung her around, straight into a fist. And then all hell broke loose. There had been a fight. Of course John had got involved, Virgil was being swamped.
John sighs. All this for a girl. He’d expect that from Scott. From Gordon even, but never from Virgil. Maybe I should just get up off the floor, John thinks. And of course that suddenly brings all the pain to the forefront.
He decides to catalogue the hurt. Bruised cheek, black eye, split lip. Hmm, sore ribs, cracked knuckles. John laughs. It had been a good fight.
There is a clang. The door opens.
A very disappointed Scott stands on the threshold, a very sheepish Virgil behind him. And the policeman is smirking.
‘So, you’re awake then.’
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This week (Saturday 8th May - Friday 14th May) we are rewatching Hyperspeed (S2E25)! To participate all you have to do is watch the episodes and make a post on Tumblr talking about it! Use the tag #TAGrewatch
We want to encourage discussion and sharing the enjoyment of Thunderbirds together, so we’d love to see you join us!
If you’re inspired by the rewatch and want to exercise your creative flair in response go for it!!! Or if you’ve been inspired in the past and want to share your work again that’d also be amazing! Feel free to tag with #TAGrewatch as above, and we will share!
Note: Critiques are welcome! If you read a critique people, please remember it is not a personal attack - the things you enjoy and who you are as a person are not the same thing! Keep it in perspective!!
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Whumpay Day Seven - Rage/Mercy
Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 |
I saw this prompt and I was like “yes!”. So you get an angry Virgil today and a very regretful Gordon. I wish I did have more time to write but I feel like I did better than the last two (three) days :,)
Fic is based around @psychoseal ‘s Rejected Apology universe. Thank you @janetm74 @liseylou and @lenna-z for being patient with me - it’s here now! :D
Sidenote: I’m really sorry this wasn’t posted yesterday. I ran out of time because of family issues. That means I need to write yesterday’s and today’s today! Save me 🥲
Virgil slammed his locker door shut with such force that the two lockers next to his shook. Now that he understood the situation, rage had surged through him and given him a taste for revenge. Why did his pest of a little brother Gordon have to ruin the best day of his life?! This was his once chance to prove himself worthy to his football coach and Gordon had busted it!
“Virgil?” Mark asked quietly, a hand on his shoulder. “You OK?”
“Ha,” scoffed Virgil sarcastically, “no.”
“It’s Gordon isn’t it?”
“Please don’t let it get to you. There’s always next time,”
“Mark, you don’t get it!” Snapped Virgil angrily. “There isn’t gonna be a ‘next time’. This was my one chance and it’s gone! We can’t take back time. I practiced for months on end for this tournament.”
“I’m sorry,” Mark sighed. “What’s your plan to teach Gordon a lesson?” The smirk on his face wasn’t mistaken. But it just fed Virgil’s revenge instincts even more.
“Oh I’ve got a plan,” he smiled. “A really, really, painful one.”
*TB - at home*
“Welcome home boys,” Jeff Tracy smiled warmly as the tank and fish came through the door.
“Hello, Dad,” Virgil managed. During the ride home, his shoulders had tightened and fire had began to burn in his blood.
“Virgil? Are you OK? You seem... tense,”
“Dad I’m fine!” The second oldest brother said sharply. “I’m off to my room to do my homework.”
Virgil pushed past Jeff and stomped upstairs. “What’s up with him?” He asked Scott.
“No clue Dad,” Scott shrugged as he continued to dry the plates. “Do you think it’s something at school?”
“Doubt it. He’s had some serious punishments recently for bullying other students. He should’ve learnt his lesson now.”
Or maybe those punishments gave him even more motivation for revenge, thought Gordon. He shivered. The last thing he wanted was his own brother turning against him.
Virgil was sitting in his room and he wasn’t doing his homework like a good boy. Or he was trying to. The anger in his veins itched too much. God, he wanted to slap the squid out of Gordon so badly.
“Virgil! Dinner’s ready!” Grandma called from outside his room.
“Go away Grandma, send Gordon to me first. I want to speak to him.”
“Erm OK. But why?”
“Just do it!”
Ten seconds later, Gordon was standing in Virgil’s bedroom doorway, looking sheepish and guilty. He knew he’d done something wrong. That thing was destroying Virgil’s football dream.
“Look Virg I’m sorry,” began Gordon.
“Don’t start apologising now bro. Because your apology isn’t going through. I can’t believe you’d do that to me. You know I rule that school, I’m the king of it. Now listen here,”
Virgil jumped up and slammed Gordon into a wall by his shoulders.
“Ow... that hurts...”
“Good. It should. If you don’t start following my rules from now on, you’ll find yourself in a very unfortunate situation, understand?”
“Yes. I understand.”
But Virgil felt he hadn’t done enough to teach Gordon a lesson. With himself boiling with rage, he let it control him and he soon got Gordon into a choke hold. His hand firm around the squid boy’s neck.
“Ah! Mercy!” Gordon screamed. Was Virgil really about to choke him to death? He had a whole life to live!
“This is what you get!”
Gordon could feel the breath being sucked out of his lungs. He could hardly breathe now. Just as his eyes were about to cloud over, Jeff burst into the room shouting, “Virgil Tracy! Get off him at once!”
And Virgil let go of Gordon, letting his strangled body collapse to the floor.
— FIN —
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Started colouring a Kayo sketch, put in all the shadows and highlights and now the problem I’m having is it looks BAD when I try to blend 😩😩
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A follow on fic to @gumnut-logic 's Feel.
Please do heed the warnings of that fic before you read because it is so very very ouchie, and makes many implications including possible character death.
Of course I couldn't leave THAT where it was, and whilst this fic doesn't quite fix everything... it sets it in the right direction at least.
Eos had given her his location and she hadn’t hesitated for a moment before setting off at a jog. All of the brothers were lost, all of them never quite sure what to do when their eldest was out of action. Grandma was on to Gordon and Alan, both having seen the immediate aftermath of what had happened. John had holed away into research, trying to find answers that gave a better outcome than the stated odds. Before long Grandma and Eos would be conspiring to bring him down.
Virgil without Scott was one thing.
Virgil making the choice between his big brother and a bunch of kids, being forced to sacrifice one over the other.
She knew it would destroy him.
Breakfast she had been able to let slide. But when he still hadn’t appeared for lunch, a nagging feeling in her gut had her investigating.
Breaking through the treeline at the top of the caldera, she was glad she had rushed.
His shoulders instantly tensed at his name, the hand that had been against his thigh bunching into a fist.
She sucked in a breath as she saw the trail of red against his leg, only part of her wondering just what he had gone up there to do.
“Go away, Kayo.”
“Alive.” She cut him off before he could finish, “He is alive thanks to you.”
She knew better than to believe the anger was aimed at her. Though rare, Virgil’s anger burned as hot as any of his siblings, and never hotter than when it was aimed at himself.
Even from the distance, she heard his shuddering breath, saw how it shook his whole frame as he bowed his head.
“I couldn’t save him Kay. I couldn’t get to him in time.”
“You did though.” She persisted, “You got to him as soon as you could and--”
“And he was dead!” He snapped, finally spinning to face her. The amber of his eyes was dark against the bloodshot red, all offset by the unnatural paleness.
Dropping her stance to a crouch, she nodded with a gentle smile, “You got him back. You got him to safety.”
The damage was severe. The chemicals that had dowsed the eldest, unknown both in their formula and effect.
Nobody really knew what it meant for Scott.
Which meant none of them knew whether to grieve.
“I pressed the button Kay. It was one room or another, and I put them in there with him. My decision killed him.”
“And would he have let you have it any other way?” She prompted with a raised eyebrow, “Would you have put those chemicals in with those kids?”
The hurt shifted to a glare, his jaw clenching as he watched her.
She dared to shuffle closer, reaching out to cup his cheek, ignoring the continued look of disgust he was throwing at her.
“Scott stood a chance,” She started softly, “No matter how slim.”
“I still killed him.”
Her other hand brushed through his hair as she nodded slowly. There was no point denying what had happened.
“You saved him too, focus on the positives, love.”
“He might still die.”
“Might.” She raised an eyebrow, “And if anyone can beat the odds, it’ll be Scott.”
His frame sunk at the realisation of her words, the glare slipping away to reveal the grief hidden deep below. As he sunk towards her, she caught him, letting his head rest against her shoulder. One hand held on tight to his arm as the other combed soothingly through his hair. Her eyes skimmed over the source of the blood, noting that it would need seeing to back at the villa.
One problem at a time.
“I don’t--” A sharp breath, “If he doesn’t-- I don’ know… without him I can’t--”
“Don’t think about that right now,” She murmured as the breeze whipped up her hair, “Not until we know more Virgil.”
His breath was warm against her neck despite the breeze, “What if--”
“No.” She growled lowly, “No what if’s. All we know right now is that he’s alive and in the best care possible. With any luck we’ll be able to see him soon.”
Virgil didn’t respond, no doubt unsure how to react to that possibility. She didn’t push though, it was impossible to imagine the position he had been put in. To make the decision he had had no doubt ripped him apart.
All she had done was paper over the cracks.
For now though, it would do.
The family couldn’t stand to lose anyone else.
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It’s May, which makes me think of all of my underwater characters. Which made me think of Stingray again, which then made me think of Marina and the redesign I did for her last year. And that led me all the way back to Thunderbirds, and the best BROTP of Gordon and Marina being besties. I haven’t posted any TAG content in ages. My style changed again. Your welcome. 😬🙏
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Second bracelet with Buffalo nickel like fastener.
Leather done in half hitch spiral.
I think Gordon would make this one for sure because it’s a basic boat knot.
I felt this could be the higher up band, though mine is set at wrist.
Takes bit of time to make though because you’re not doing a lot of length per turn.
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Virgil had never really told his old uni friends what it was he did for a job. Some of them knew that he had gone to work for his Dad, but other than that there had ever been the need to go into too much detail. If he was honest, he didn't really put in a lot of active effort in maintaining the friendships, life often got in the way. He had floated around on the peripherals of a group chat, that mostly revolved around people posting photos of posh meals, fancy coffee and more recently a few baby photos. It was grounding in a way, those little snippets of normalcy, it made him feel slightly less remote from it all, and Hell, he could even add his own frothy coffee picture into the mix every now and again.
So it was a pleasant surprise when he received an invitation to the wedding between two of his university friends. It turned out knowing both the bride and groom equated to not just a wedding invite but also upgraded him to attending the joint “Stag/Hen-do” (the British equivalent of a Bachelor/Bachelorette party).
Apparently, they had decided that gender split parties were not for them and as they shared most of their friends, they had combined the bachelor and bachelorette party and the result was a weekend in a cabin with loads of activities planned throughout. Virgil had to admit that it did appeal more than other bachelor parties he had been invited to, but it was unlikely he would be able to attend, life would probably do its usual trick. He was half heartedly checking the rota for those dates when Scott came into the lounge.
continue reading here
Whatcha doing?” he asked, doing his best Gordon impression, even down to the jaunty walk. He glanced over Virgil's shoulder “Rotas? Thinking of actually taking some time off? Shocking! DO IT!”
“Wow you’re surprisingly chipper, what's got you so excitable?”
“5 hours of sleep! But seriously, you should enjoy some time off, it's been ages, I’ll even give you a lift”
So it was that Virgil was dropped off within walking distance of a highwire activity centre on the edge of the Lake District to meet the rest of the party. Even if abseiling and an aerial assault course was something of a busman's holiday, Virgil had to admit that it was nice to get out and about without having to rescue anyone. He listened with maybe half an ear as a spotty teenager took them through the safety talk, he’d be checking his own lines himself anyway. The Bride and Groom-to-be had been decked out in Superhero costumes to complete the highwire course, with the addition of a few “L”plates they were all ready and made their way to the first zip wire set in amongst the trees.
In hindsight the capes were probably not a wise idea as “superman” got stuck by his cape half way down the wire. The teenager in charge went from zero to full blown panic in less time than it takes Clarke Kent to pick out accessories. While supervisors were radioed and accident forms hunted down, Virgil shrugged his shoulders, checked his harness and, with the addition of an extra line, lowered himself down the line gently until he was next to the snagged cape. Once he was lined up he reached down and pulled out a penknife from his boot and cut away the offending fabric, allowing superman to glide gracefully to the end of the zipline. Come to think of it, it was probably just as well Scott had dropped him off because he had completely forgotten about that penknife and it would not have gone down well with airport security. Once the line was clear Virgil slid down the rest of the route and reconnected both their safety lines at the other end, all before the on duty supervisor had even located a ladder.
The three members of the party who’d had a view of action from the platform let off a little round of applause, and Virgil stuffed the penknife back in his boot quickly before anyone could mention Health and Safety.
The next activity was an off road Jeep safari and Virgil was quite happy to be a passenger when they were split into groups. The Jeeps were fairly tame compared to his usual ride, and everyone else seemed so excited it was fun to just sit back and observe. Or at least it was until the Land Rovers engine spluttered out at the furthest point of the trail. Virgil was awakened from his general relaxed daydreaming in the back of the vehicle by rising levels of panic radiating from the front seats. On discovering that mobile phone signal was non existent, fumbling attempts were made to locate the walkie talkie they had been provided with and everyone tried to remember the instructions from the safety briefing. Virgil sighed, got out of the jeep and popped the bonnet up. Wrapping his overshirt around his hands to protect them from the hot engine parts he gave a few well placed wallops, before opening the drivers door, leaning over the still flapping driver and forcefully turning the key in the ignition. Bingo, they were back in action. Virgil quietly got back into the rear seat and relaxed back into his seat. The rest of the occupants of the vehicle, only one of whom Virgil knew from university, were staring open mouthed at their impromptu repair man.
“Virgil, did you just punch the engine into submission?”
“Umm, not far off, we’re lucky it's an older manual model, it's just a bit rattly” And with no further ado they were back on their way. Virgil just knew that if his brothers could see him now they would be mocking him for managing to get grease stained even when on holiday. He ducked his eyes down bashfully and went back to watching the scenery.
It is an old saying that these things come in threes, so Virgil was almost expecting it when they arrived at the cottage they were going to be staying in only to find that the electrics were out. The frothy coffee brigade started doing the phone signal dance, strutting around with their phones in the air trying to find that elusive few bars to call the letting agent. While all that was going on Virgil hunted out the fuse box and flipped the switches, which caused more panic by blinding half the people who had been starting upwards as the lights came blazing back on.
Right, he thought, that must be everything now, surely he must be off the clock now…. Even as he thought it he knew he had probably jinxed it.
Then everyone was milling around, claiming bedrooms , putting the kettle on (there was a sizable british contingent in the party, who seemed to be heavily reliant on tea). One of the girls in the kitchen had cracked open a pack of biscuits that had been left in a welcome basket ( because tea without biscuits was apparently a crime). Not long after the pre ordered Pizzas arrived and everyone congregated around the large farmhouse table to tuck in and reflect on the day. The descriptions of personal bravery grew more exaggerated as the drink flowed. Virgil chuckled to himself, it felt like a family dinner, with everyone trying to outdo each other. Although the adventure stories were a little more dramatic at home. He felt an elbow nudge him in the ribs.
“Tell them about the zip line!” his neighbour insisted, when he only looked confused they continued “you know, how you swung down and cut Darrens cape out, all daring rescue, it was impressive” Virgil shrugged in response, not really fussed about adding his story to the pile.
“Oh were you saying about Virg saving us in the landrover?” his neighbour on the other side leaned across him to converse over him. “We would have been stuck up there otherwise, Might. Have. DIED!” they added dramatically
“No, I was saying how he went full Tarzan and saved our fair Groom from certain death!” Virgil snorted at this one. He obviously wasn't the only one to find it funny as Graham at the end of the table started spluttering. Although a second glance had Virgil reassessing that statement as it became clear Graham was in fact choking, not that everyone else had noticed as the conversation had got quite loud. Virgil jumped up and, before anyone had time to make a joke about his rapid departure from the table, had come up behind Graham and given him a solid whack across the back. As unlike in the movies it is not always necessary to complete a full Heimlich maneuver to dislodge an item in the windpipe. Nothing happened, Graham continued to choke. Ok, so maybe this time it was like the movies, full Heimlich it was to be. One swift movement and the offending olive shot out of his mouth and bounced down the length of the table, effectively drawing the full attention of the rest of the party. Jaws up and down the table hung loose once again. Virgil realised that blending back into the peripheral was not going to be so easy now.
Before he had made it back to his seat there was a yelp from the woodburner behind the long kitchen table. Yes, someone had been faffing about with the fire and managed to burn themselves on the hot metal. Honestly, this lot were exhausting, how could so many university educated, supposedly intelligent people, be so utterly useless?
One choking victim deposited safely in a chair, Virgil went to his next patient and set them up at the sink to cool their burns. Thankfully the burns were fairly minimal and wouldn't require a trip to hospital. Counting this as a success he parked the burns victim in an armchair with a cold compress and went in search of a beer.
A minute or so later and there were panicked sounds coming from the kitchen, on instinct Virgil set aside the “real ale” someone was trying to convince him had a “complex flavour profile” and went to investigate. When he entered the room what met him was the sign of a young woman sat on the kitchen floor apparently having an allergic reaction to a biscuit of all things, another woman was clinging off her arm and telling her to be calm in that high pitched way that makes everyone anything but calm. Virgil ducked into the small space, and crouched down on his haunches to get into the young woman's eyeline. It was Jen he realised, he knew Jen, an energetic livewire who shared most aspects of her life with the group chat, absolutely no filters. Which turned out to be a blessing because it meant that Virgil knew that she had very recently been confirmed as having a coconut allergy. Yep, that would be the biscuits doing then, he eyed the offending half eaten snack where it had been abandoned on the floor.
“Hey Jen, did you get given an Epipen for that allergy?” he asked and she gave a frantic little nod, “Ok, did you bring it?” He really hoped she had, but kept his voice as calm as if he was only asking her to pass the salt. She waved to her bag, the contents of which was half strewn on the kitchen floor. A little light rummaging soon proved fruitful and Virgil placed it in Jens hands. She looked back at him with, if possible, even more panic. “Have you ever had to use it before Jen?” a shake of the head. “Do you want a hand with it?” She tensed up but still nodded, grabbing his wrist.”do you want me to talk you through it?” He had truly never known her to go this long without talking, usually she prattled along so fast that people had trouble keeping track. If the situation had been different he might have been enjoying the quiet, but ever the professional he calmly talked her through administering the Epipen. He then stayed sat on the floor with Jen while she calmed down, and shooed concerned parties out of the kitchen with one hand to stop her from getting too worked up again.
Virgil chalked another one up on the mental list of “at least we didn’t need to go to A&E”, silently cursing the fact that he had such a list, and that it was growing far too quickly. The rest of the evening was fairly quiet from an emergency standpoint. There were embarrassing Mr & Mrs games, lots of drinking and some off key singing. But Virgil was a little on edge throughout, just waiting for the next inevitable thing to happen. That coupled with some ever present jetlet, had him excusing himself before anyone got to the point of dangerous drunk, as he was afraid he might be required to intervene. Sometimes he hated being responsible, but this lot were a liability, and he’d never live it down at home if one of them actually managed to hurt themselves while he was here, worse still if any of the emergency services were required.
The next morning Virgil rolled out of his bunk (he had been too late when everyone was claiming beds and ended up with the bottom bunk in a room set up for family groups). It had been a snug fit. Jen was in the upper bunk and appeared to be hugging a large saucepan and wearing a large fluffy sock over her head, he was glad he had slept through whatever that was supposed to be.
A brief exploration of the ground floor seemed to suggest that nobody had got themselves seriously injured after he had retired for the night. He picked his way through the detritus that 15 adults under one roof seems to create. He let out silent praise to the god of hot beverages when he spotted proper coffee and cafetiere nestled amongst boxes of Yorkshire tea. Virgil would have bet ‘Twos front thruster that this coffee was Matts, if the endless coffee photos in the group chat were anything to go by, so he was fairly confident that he wouldn't get into trouble for stealing some. He nibbled on a biscuit while the kettle boiled, it looked like there were about 10 packs all open, and piled near the kettle. Was this some sort of British “Stag-do” tradition that he wasn't aware of, should he have bought a pack of cookies with him? Although by that logic there were also 5 large boxes of tea bags, he wasn't sure what the official ratio of Brit to teabag should be, maybe Lady Penelope would know.
He settled down on the sofa with his coffee and let the sound of the waking house wash over him. It was a fairly calm morning, he only got drafted in to fix the oil powered boiler since the showers all started running either ice cold or scalding hot, yes that was another grease stained shirt. Then he had to check up on his burn victim from the previous evening (all fine) and bat a pot of coconut yogurt away from Jen, who for someone with an allergy really didn't bother herself with reading labels. Then it was only one small domestic fire from hair straighteners being left on a scatter cushion and one splinter removal from someone messing about with the woodpile near the burner. A quick round dispensing paracetamol and pint glasses of water to the hungover and he was done. So yes, fairly relaxed morning.
Virgil was just sitting down with his hard won second coffee when the day's activities were announced.
If he hadn't been drinking such a nice blend Virgil would have spat his coffee out in shock, but too many years wearing an enclosed helmet had taught him to repress such urges. Who in their right mind was letting this lot near Axes, let alone encouraging them to throw them. He cast his eyes around the assembled persons, until he spotted the glint in Jen’s eyes, he knew that glint, it had definitely been Jens idea - god help them all. Jen was no longer wearing the sock as a hat, she had instead used it to tie her hair back in a loose ponytail. That told you all you needed to know about her really. Virgil was just glad that Jen and Gordon had never crossed paths, he could just imagine the mushroom cloud of destruction that would occur.
As everyone busied themselves with getting ready to go, Virgil resisted the urge to contact John and get the local emergency services on standby. He did, however, go and dig out the small first aid kit that was at the bottom of his bag. For once grateful of Scott’s worrywart tendencies. It only held the most basic of items, but he held onto it like a talisman as if he could ward off misfortune simply with its presence.
When they got to the outdoor activity centre Virgil was relieved to see that it seemed a lot more organised than he had feared. After a safety briefing, which he paid far more attention to now that he knew how incompetent his companions were, they were led to an enclosed range set up with heavy wooden targets.
The “Stag” and “Hen” were the first up to the bat and went to it with much enthusiasm. Virgil was glad the capes had stayed at home today. The axes themselves were not very large and everything seemed to be running quite smoothly. He began to think that he had been overly worried, Scott was right, once you started rescuing people, all you saw was potential disasters. It all continued swimmingly, each person getting a chance to let out some anger by flinging the axe at the wood. Some of the party were getting more theatrical on their turns, letting out the sort of grunts that usually accompany professional tennis tournaments. From these displays of exertion Virgil figured it must take some force to get the axe to bed into the wood. When his turn came around he lobbed the reasonably small axe at the target, momentarily forgetting he didn't have the resistance and additional weight of his usual exo suit to impact his swing. What had felt like a fairly relaxed throw ended up splitting the target down the middle and wedging the axe into the support strut behind it. Well that was embarrassing, even more so when the instructor couldn’t dislodge the weapon thereby taking one lane of the throwing range out of action. Virgil did offer to have a go at removing it himself, but the centre's insurance wouldn't allow it. He quietly excused himself from any further turns and settled down at a picnic bench with a takeaway coffee from a nearby hut.
At least he could enjoy being out in the countryside and it looked like he wasn't going to need the first aid kit after all, maybe his friends had used up their quote of stupid for the trip. He let his eyes close briefly and let the weak sunshine play over his face dappled as it made its way through the canopy of the trees around him. The next thing he heard was a shuffling limping step through the woodchip underfoot and it was getting steadily closer. He cracked open one eye cautiously, be better prepared for whatever new onslaught was coming his way.
It was Jen, of course it was Jen, limping in a pair of clompy boots which looked so box fresh you could still practically smell the shoe salesman's aftershave. In fact, now that he looked closer he could see the price tag swinging where it was still attached to the back of the shoe.
She plonked herself down heavily on the bench and proceeded to chatter away, not in the least put off by Virgil's shut eyes.
“Oh my god, my feet are absolutely killing me!” she exhaled “they said you had to have enclosed shoes for all these activities, which is all fine and good, but did I have any? No! I mean, look at these things.” she lifted one leg up for his inspection and he dutifully opened an eye to inspect said shoe, a bemused smile on his face. No other response seemed to be necessary and she merrily continued “I think I might actually have claustrophobic feet, they don't like to be enclosed, toes are meant to be able to wiggle!” Yes, Jen and Gordon should never meet. “I would sell my own hamster for a pair of flip flops right now”
“That's strangely specific,” Virgil laughed
“Well I just don't feel in the mood for loafers, you know, feel the need to wriggle.” she joyfully kicked her heels into the leaf mulch at their feet. “I think my blisters have blisters now”
Ah, there was his cue! Virgil dug out the first aid kit from the bottom of his bag and held it out to her “band-aid?” he offered.
“Oh my god, you’re my hero!” she enthused “do I have to give you my hamster now?” she looked so serious that Virgil couldn’t help but laugh.
“I don’t think a bandage can quite compare to a pair of flip flops” he said
“Well I can’t give you half a hamster, that would just be weird” Jen carried on still very serious whilst she tugged her boots off and dumped them in his lap.
“You do realise you've left the tags on, that wouldn't have been helping” he pulled the tag off and returned the boots to the floor
“yeah , well I should probably have put socks on too” she giggled bringing her bare toes up for all to see, each nail was painted a different rainbow shade “I forgot to pack any, I always figure that your feet dry out quicker than shoes - see, logic!”
“Seriously, you've got a sock in your hair!”
“ But that's holding my hair back.” she explained slowly as Virgil looked perplexed “It's also not mine”
“Dare I ask whos” he was dreading the answer, but at the same time couldn't stop himself from asking. This was Jens super power, she drew you into her slightly chaotic world as if it was all perfectly normal.
“You can ask, but I honestly don't know, but I guess it's mine now” she reasoned
During this time Jen had been adorning her feet with a patchwork of different plasters. Virgil glanced down and her handiwork and visibly winced
“I am loving these character plasters though,” this was accompanied by another toe wiggle, “Not judging by why do you have princess plasters? And enough for a full princess party at that”
“I honestly don’t know” he replied “but I would guess there's a brother with a unique sense of humour involved somewhere.”
“Oh yeah, there's a herd of you lot isn't there? Have they all got a tinge of the ginge?” he was stumped until he remembered that John had visited him at uni once. “Do you grow a ginger beard? I bet you do, is that a too personal question, I suppose it is really, hmm, ahh well, said it now” she prattled on, seemingly not even needing to pause for breath. Answers didn't seem to be required either. He held out his hand for the plasters and took the packet as she handed it over, all whilst still chattering away. Then he gestured for her foot and when it was deposited in his lap, halfway through a monologue on how ginger people didn't go grey they just faded so maybe his brother would get a Santa beard when he was old, he proceeded to carefully redistribute plasters. Having something to do with his hands allowed him to zone out the enthusiastic babble, also the mess she had made would have only created more blisters. Not wanting to interrupt her conversation he simply pointed to the sock in her hair, thankfully she seemed to understand and she plucked it out and handed it over. It was conveniently oversized so could easily be pulled over the plasters without disrupting them. Once the second foot was also checked, patched with princesses and some tubular bandage used in place of a second sock, Virgil called it done and released Jens feet back into the claustrophobic confines of her boots. This seemed to break Jens concentration and she finally took in what he had done.
“Oh you really are my hero, would you look at that, good as new! Cheers Virg, I owe you one,” and with that she bounded back to the axe throwing range. Virgil let out a sigh, enjoying the return of peace and quiet that settled in her wake. His coffee was now stone cold, the price of a good deed he supposed. The calm that settled after “Storm Jen” allowed the birdsong to be heard again, and the rustle of the leaves was almost musical with its rhythm. Virgil was just thinking how it differed from the crashing of waves on the island when Jen returned with a surprising display of stealth.
“BOO!” she shouted right into his ear, causing Virgil to almost jump out of his skin. If Gordon had been here he would have got video evidence to use as blackmail later, maybe even create a Gif out of it too.
“HA! You jumped quicker than a ferret up a trouser leg!” Jen laughed, Virgil honestly only understood half of what she was going on about at any given time, and that was clear on his face.
“Here,” she said, depositing a large takeaway coffee cup in front of him “since yours is probably more of an iced coffee now” Virgil spied the steam coming out of the gap in the lid, and the smell of roasted coffee beans made their way to his nose. Any anger at being startled instantly melted away and a dopey grin spread across his face.
“That's better, gotta keep you fueled, I think you’re the only thing stopping us lot from becoming an interesting footnote in the next lot of Darwin awards.” She ruffled his hair, getting a grunt in return, and left again as quickly as she had arrived. Jen was more observant then she let on, the string of qualifications really should be a clue, but the ditzy prattle was very good at muffling the academic appearance. Virgil suddenly thought that he should maybe be more afraid of Jen ever meeting Brains.
The rest of the afternoon was drama free. They had grabbed dinner at a pub - and nobody choked. There had been a few rounds of darts - and nobody was impaled. They had walked back to the holiday cottage - and nobody got lost. Although Virgil was a little suspicious that Sian, who was a work friend of the bride, might have been exaggerating the ankle injury that resulted in him having to carry her across the last field on his back. It had looked perfectly fine when he checked it, but how do you politely tell someone, who you're not related to, to “walk it off”? They had been so close to their destination that it hadn’t seemed worth the argument. Unfortunately she had quite strong perfume and had nuzzled into his shirt enough to leave him smelling strangely floral for quite some time after. The smell had got right up his nose, and caused a fair few startled sneezes.
His suspicions only grew when another of the work friends was found artistically laid out on the floor in the kitchen, claiming to have tripped on the rug and wanted to be carried up to her room. He really wished she hadn't been staying in one of the attic rooms. She possibly did too, when he transferred her to an inelegant fireman's lift in order to get through the narrower stairs at the top of the house. He left her with paracetamol and a glass of water, before making his escape. Not surprisingly she quietly reappeared less than an hour later clearly bored of solitary confinement. The final work cronnie declared rather loudly that she had something stuck in her eye, and would Virgil be a darling and take a look. He caught Jens amused look from the other side of the room, she was quite happily watching him squirm, and gave him a jolly wink.
Well, ever the professional Virgil did take a look at the poor girl's eye. Not surprisingly there was nothing to see. But he used a penlight just to be sure, and maybe just to stop her from pouting.
Once he was sure it was all an act, he let the little Gordon on his shoulder take the lead
“Oh yes, you're going to have to flush the eye out, come on, let's get you to the sink” A thorough rinse at the sink and she looked like a panda with mascara running down to her jaw line.
“There we go, bet that feels better. Right where was my beer?” and he left her dripping and slightly put out in the kitchen.
Jen caught up with him at the entrance to the lounge.
“Smooth. Very smooth, I like your style Virg my man. You do know she had paid for those individual lash extension thingies before coming, she's been going on about them since she got here, that and the rest of her beauty regime, which I might add, does not involve getting doused at the kitchen sink” she spluttered as laughter overtook her. Virgil tried to look innocent, but when Jen held her fist up he didn't hold back in bumping it with his own. “Also she insulted my boots!” Jen continued “ I mean, how dare she, what's not to love about these gorgeous bucket boots?!” she tapped her boot against Virgil's own footwear “Got them specially to match my anorak! Height of sophistication this is. Who gets lash extensions to go to the lake district, barm pot, I mean, did you get yours done? Although, maybe you didn’t have time after the fake tan - hey laddie?” she jabbed him in the ribs with her elbow. Yes she was definitely too observant, an Island tan did stand out in springtime England where the corcasian section of the population appeared to take complexion advice from a bottle of milk. Or as it was referred to on Tracy Island - “Spaceman white” (available at all good DIY stores in both matt or gloss finish)
“Right, now. I think there is a game of pictionary planned, and if you promise to be on my team I promise to protect you from the office crew” She stuck her hand out to shake on the deal.
“Throw in a beer and you’ve got a deal” countered Virgil.
“Shrewd business mind you have there, ok!” Jen grabbed his hand and energetically shook it. “But first. Attention everyone, it's awards time!” She fairly bellowed across the room “get your sorry arses in here pronto!” she punctuated this with some frantic clapping to chivvy people along.
Once everyone had been corralled into the living area, Jen took to the stage, or in this case, in front of the fireplace, which to Virgil's great relief was not currently lit. She dragged out a pile of handmade certificates decorated with star stickers and glitter.
“Right, first award, for …..Graham, give me a drumroll, look alive man, we need to build a bit of drama into this. So first up the award for “Most dramatic Zip line entrance” goes to, Captain fantastic, the Stag were all here for!” a ragged round of applause and cheering filled the room as the Groom was solemnly presented with his award.
“Up next!” Jen all but bellowed to get everyone's attention “ The Award for Dangerous Driving, side note ‘Least likely to be allowed in a Jeep ever again’ goes to Lara!” more clapping and hooting, especially from those who had been in that particular Jeep.
The awards followed on thick and fast with everyone getting some sort of mention, the bride even got awarded a paper crown, again with Jens’ trademark glitter and stars. Notable awards included, “most convincing Viking” for the axe throwing. “Bambi award for the most number of trips, stumbles and falls”, “Optimistic packing prize” for the girl who packed a bikini. Virgil was quietly proud of his “Hero of the holiday” award which had a footnote of “ for heroically saving us all from ourselves” across the bottom.
The next morning marked the end of the trip and by some quirk of the laws of physics there seemed to be more half open packs of biscuits and boxes of tea bags than people, so anyone who stood still in the kitchen for too long had a packet shoved into their hands to take home. Because, as Jen pointed out, you couldn’t just leave tea bags, it would be a crime. In fact she went on at quite some length about it. This is why he finally found himself back home on Tracy Island, ever grateful to Scott for a lift home, trying to find a home for a box of yorkshire tea bags in a cupboard that was perfectly proportioned for coffee.
“You look shattered Virgil,” said Scott, who was watching as Virgil struggled to shuffle the coffee packets in a way that would allow space for the tea. “Was it a good party?”
“Yeah, yeah it was. Odd, but good. Only I never knew it was such hard work keeping people alive.”
“You do know that's our job right” quipped Scott.
“Yeah, but honestly, that many degrees and qualifications and yet still they seemed determined to go the way of the dinosaurs, I was beginning to think it was a set up. It was exhausting,” he sighed, “I’m going for a nap, somebody put the world on hold for a bit” and he trudged off, leaving Scott to examine the certificate Virgil had stuck to the fridge with an amused smile on his face.
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