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.
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Kamen Rider Thunderbirds chapter 3 (Bit 3)
(Prologue, Bit 1, Bit 2 Updated, Bit 3…)
Just an updated version of the second bit of the chapter, because it was crap and I thought I should edit some things to make it interesting. Still featured my Kamen Rider OCs and their daily lives before Bit 3 :3
(@myladykayo, @janetm74, @willow-salix )
Taira was standing near his bike, taking his moment smiling at the sky. The wind blew through his hair as a familiar sensation flowed through his spirit like a river. A sensation of warmth and comfort.
As he turned his head to look at his side, there was a crying little boy he had been comforting. He had to stop from the bike ride after seeing this poor little soul crying at the edge of the busy street near a market area. He can’t help but stop next to the
Channeling his positive energy, he began speaking once more.
“When I was a little boy, me and my papa went hiking on a snowy mountain. We went so far; we got lost, believe it or not," he chuckled to himself as he knelt in front of the youngster, "I remember I have been crying so badly, I thought we couldn't go home… I was a wreck that my tears would become icicles. But then, papa told me, and this is something I would never forget as long as I live! He said to me in his usual calm but firm voice: "Son, don’t ever panic. Panic kills you." and then he simply made a bonfire with flint and steel and after what felt like hours of keeping the fire alive, we were finally being rescued and got home!"
Taira smiled fondly when the little boy calmed down as he listened curiously, forgetting about his problem. “So it's going to be fine.”
The child lifted his poor face, looking up to him with his red, tear-filled eyes, "Y-You sure?"
"Trust me!" Taira grinned. He noticed a police officer patrolling nearby, then he pointed in their direction, "You see this police officer, he can keep you safe till your parents arrive."
"B-bu-but I'm scared…" he started crying again.
Taira swiftly jumped into action. Three white balls appeared in his hands and he began juggling. The kid stopped sobbing and watched in amazement as Taira caught and threw the balls with ease, doing impressive tricks that he had honed. He finished off with a 'ta-da' pose after an amazing trick with a face splitting smile.
The little boy clapped in applause.
"Nice!" exclaimed a friendly voice.
In the corner of his eye, his three best friends stood applauding him for the act. The dog jumped in excitement as a way of congratulation as well. He bowed to both sides.
He stood up as the kid's parents finally arrived, relieved to have found their child safe and sound. They thanked him and he returned with a big, wide grin.
Before they leave, Taira gave the boy one of his juggling balls as a parting gift and gave him the thumbs up. The little child had returned the gesture happily and left.
He felt satisfied, the day didn't pass in vain.
"Always here to make people smile, right bud?" laughed Koji, in which Taira had responded with a grin.
"That’s my goal! To reach 2000 skills to make people smile!" he replied proudly, making Koji, Yuuki and Recko chuckle.
The gang took their break on a bench, as they watched the busy streets of New York city. Cars and bystanders pass by and people preparing for Christmas and the New Year. The snow and ice accompanied the mood; a great setting for the holidays! But not for Koji’s cold feet.
"Man, wish we could've just stayed in Cuba; slagging cold!" he whined a little bit, shaking awkwardly to keep himself warm.
"Your dance is ridiculous..." scoffed Recko in a harsh, toneless voice, "It's not Christmas yet."
"I know! It wasn't that bad in Oklahoma, but here in New York, it is a cold, bloody, wet mess!" Koji's commentary made chuckles out of his circle, even for Recko who simply smirked in amusement
As Taira was about to ask Yuuki a question, he heard a sudden beeping noise coming from his Beatchaser 2000. He zoomed towards the bike and pressed a button in his motorcycle’s controls, in which it activated the radio.
“Mosh, mosh* ?” he asked.
“Taira-kun?” got out a soft, feminine voice from the radio.
“Ah, Sakiko-chan~!” He chanted happily, “What a lovely jovely day to hear your beautiful voice! How are you?”
“I'm alright,” he heard her giggle, “How are you, Little Kuwagata?”
“Ah, just a mundane day with a few twists,” he joked as he explained.
"Then it’s not a 'mundane' day if it had some twists," Taira can sense her teasing smile from the other end, “So, what happened?”
“This morning, we had some ramen noodles with bacon and eggs for breakfast, cooked by our generous Yuuki. Nearly ruined by Koji’s clumsiness, but thankfully saved by Recko fast reflexes,” Taira began joyfully, “Raider would’ve been really happy if some of the bacon had fallen, but at least he got his Puppuccino.” he mumbled, giggling to himself before continuing, "We went on a ride for a bit, then we had to stop, because just now I had to cheer up a poor kid while we waited for his parents to find him."
"Typical of you," Sakiko snorted knowingfully, “Ne(Say), how’s the mission?”
“Well…” Taira eyes darted from one side to another before leaning close to the radio to whisper, “Let’s just say we blew the Kaijin skyhigh and got some News points. Standard stuff.” He straightened up again. "So, what's your plan now?” Now its Taira’s ask.
"I am joining you guys in a few weeks, so I can keep an eye on Yuuki," She explained.
"Ah, I see…" Taira smiled sadly as he looked over at his sad friend, who was sulking at the bench at the moment.
"How is he?" Sakiko asked, a bit of worry in his voice.
"Well, he's recovering alright. But very slowly…" Taira
"Hai. Well, when I'll return, I'll bring your favorite beaver tails."
"Oh, I miss them!" Taira grinned. They both laughed wholeheartedly. Just as Yuuki approached Taira and his bike with eagerness.
"Konnichiwa, Sakiko-chan!" He exclaimed.
"Konnichiwa, Yuuki-kun! How are you?" Sakiko greeted.
"I am doing fine, really…"
“Ne, how’s International Rescue? What’s their recent news?” Sakiko asked, causing his eyes to lit up.
“Oh, looks like this week they are having an even tougher time than usual," Yuuki sympathized, "Some of the rescues made me swear my heart had stopped! I hope they are ok..." his voice slowly trailed off as he had a flash of worry.
"Oh, Fruit Jesus… Those poor guys. Well, that comes with the job of saving lives. You know..." She responded.
"Like us…" Yuuki whispered under his breath, his mind momentarily drifted into that thought.
"Alright then, I have to go save somebody. Again..." Deadpanned Sakiko.
Yuuki and Taira both chuckled, knowing who she was referring too, "Hai. Tell him I said hi, well, after you rescued him from whatever bad salad he’s in. Sayonara." Yuuki smiled, the salad joke almost made Taira laugh.
"Sayonara, Taira-kun, Yuuki-kun. Please take care. Oh and tell Recko and Koji I said hi as well! Ciao!" was her last words before she hung up.
Recko and Koji approached the duo shortly after.
"Seems like your interest in International Rescue helped you a little," Recko pointed out, his voice not as monotone as usual. Raider who was beside him nodded his canine head.
"I guess you are right," Yuuki smiled, having been so glad his close buddies always got his back. "I feel bad for them, though. They don't seem to have a break..." Yuuki sighed silently with sympathy.
Suddenly, a shock hit Yuuki like a lightning strike to the head, causing him to freeze into place. He saw flashes of something sinister as a familiar sensation rippled across his body. His face of a shy boy morphed into a face of a man who got unfinished business to be done. His own muscles and senses began moving on their own, as if they had got taken over by something. Something inside of him... His inner warrior… his inner warrior must respond to the call… he must purge the unknown evil...
His friends immediately recognized his strange change of behavior. It can only mean one thing…
“Yuuki, something’s wrong?” asked Taira as he turned serious.
“I sense… danger…” muttered Yuuki, the determination of a guardian awakened in his eyes.
“Does that mean…?” began Koji.
“We must go!” Yuuki wasted no time but to rush towards his bike.
“O-Oi! Matte kudasai(Wait)!” Koji frantically shouted as he too rushed to his bike, tripping himself and fell flat on his face only to get up quickly and got on into his machine.
"Klutz…" scoffed Recko as he and his dog followed suit.
The rest of the gang all hopped onto their motorcycles and rode after Yuuki, who was leading them towards the scene of chaos...
*AN: Japanese way of saying "hello" on the phone
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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.
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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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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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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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Revenge c2: Rescue?
Whumpay Day 7: Mercy/Rage.
Follows on from Day 5: Down
A lot of requests were made, and this is the result, a completely unplanned fic...
Trigger warnings for kidnapping, beating and shooting.
Scott was livid. He was incandescent. In fact, he didn’t think he had ever been in such a rage. They had fallen into a clever trap, and now his two youngest brothers were missing.
It was all his fault.
He should have been the one to go with Gordon to the investment meeting, but the GDF had called with an urgent ‘request’ for a meeting, one he could not turn down. Still, he didn’t really want Gordon to go alone, and Alan had volunteered. TI business may not be on Alan’s agenda just yet, but Scott knew his brother was as shrewd and as bright as the rest of them.
So while Gordon and Alan attended the meeting in California and then spent the rest of the day and night surfing and living it up, Scott was holed up in a stuffy meeting discussing the latest attempt of the GDF to get their hands on iR technology.
Only, it didn’t quite work out like that.
By the time Scott had landed, made sure he was both prepared and presentable, Gordon should have been winding up his meeting. Scott strode with confidence through the halls to the designated room, nodding at people as he passed. His escort was nervous, and possibly a little awed, but they handled themselves well, depositing Scott in a meeting room with three other people, one of which he knew well.
‘Colonel Casey,’ he said, inclining his head in greeting. She gave him a tight smile. ‘Scott. I’m sorry to drag you out here at such short notice. May I introduce you to General Bron and General Grafton. These gentlemen have raised concerns about International Rescue that I have not been able to allay.’
He spent the next four hours repeatedly saying ‘No’ in varying ways and degrees while the two pushed and pulled and tried their best to tear down every argument he used. It was another fruitless and frustrating day. Why they thought that because they were Generals it would have any different outcome Scott didn’t know. What he did know was that he didn’t trust these two men at all.
Looked like iR had more people to worry about.
Still, he put the wasted time out of his mind and, removing his tie as he settled in his jet, he called John. ‘I assume you heard all that?’ His brother nodded. ‘There’s something not quite right about this situation, John. I want you to run those two through your databases.’ John grinned. ‘You already did, didn’t you.’ It wasn’t a question, and it was accompanied by an eyeroll.
‘There isn’t much on either of them, both exemplary records, but I agree, something doesn’t seem right about all this. I’ll get EOS digging.’ Scott sighed. Why they had to go this far to protect themselves, protect their ships, often dismayed him. ‘FAB, John. Can you patch me through to Gordon, please? They should have finished three hours ago I suspect they will be dining out by now.’ And with that he started his pre-flight checks.
‘Scott, they aren’t answering.’ Scott frowned. Sure, they may be living it up a little, but Gordon would never ignore a call. ‘John?’ His brother was frowning. ‘I can’t find either of them!’
It took them 18 hours to track down what had happened and where their brothers were being held. It turned out that their kidnappers were either stupid, or there was more going on here.
If Kayo was white hot with fury over the death of three of her security personnel, it was nothing compared with the rage at what might have happened, be happening, to her brothers. The three of them set off in Two to go get them, Virgil just as angry as everyone else. His bear didn’t often come out, but it was out in full force today.
The building was part of an abandoned industrial estate, and Virgil wondered why those who wanted to harm his family so often chose such sights. Two wasn’t a quiet gal, so she was set down quite a way back, and the three were soon joined by Penny and Parker.
Getting in was easy, which made everyone wary. John and EOS were an unstoppable team on Five, and soon electrics were shorting out and things were going haywire. Distraction was good, and soon John had sent a map pinpointing life signs. There were eight, five going in one way and three in another, and they split up, Virgil, Penny and Parker after the bigger and Scott and Kayo after the smaller group.
Gordon and Alan had drifted off. Despite their injuries, just being together was enough comfort to allow sleep to claim them. But they were rudely awoken by the door slamming open, and all six men rushing in. For a wild moment Gordon thought they were being rescued, but the men wasted no time hauling both brothers up by their bound hands.
The men were livid, he could see that, but as they exited the room, Gordon found himself dragged one way with his three original captors plus one of Alan’s, while Alan was pulled the other way. He tried to shout and struggle, only for the extra man to gag him and cuff him solidly. It left his head ringing. And from the muffled noises that were rapidly diminishing, Alan had suffered the same treatment.
He was dragged by two men, and one in front and one behind. They really wanted to keep him, it seemed. They hadn’t got far though, before the man in front, going around a corner, disappeared. There was no sound, and the man bringing up the rear came forward. Only to collapse and fall backwards the minute he turned the corner. There was the tiniest ‘phut’ sound, one that Gordon was very familiar with. His captors tightened their hold.
Lady Penelope Creighton-Ward was just as at home in a figure-hugging black catsuit and knee-high black boots as she was in her normal attire, and as she rounded the corner with Parker and Virgil in tow, she still looked the glamourous lady she was. Not a hair was out of place. Even the snub-nosed pistol in her hands looked like it was made for her (it was).
Gordon’s mouth dropped open as she dispatched both men in quick succession. God, he loved this woman, and by the twinkle in her eyes as she stepped up to him and gently closed his mouth after removing the gag, he was pretty sure that she knew it. Parker made short work of his bonds and then Virgil was there. Hug first, scanner second. And did Gordon need that hug.
The scanner showed several cracked ribs, none fully broken thankfully, and multiple bruises. His brother looked a mess, and the bruising on his face was vivid. As they moved to get back to Two, Gordon pulled away, trying to go in the opposite direction. It didn’t take much to figure out where he wanted to go, and Virgil grinned at him as he said, ‘don’t worry, Scott and Kayo have gone after Alan.’
With that Gordon relaxed, and with that relaxing came all the aches and pains he had been hiding for Alan’s sake. Thank goodness Virgil was strong enough to help him to Two’s infirmary.
Alan had been treated in much the same fashion, two thugs pulling him along as that man walked ahead. They walked quickly through several corridors until they entered a room. There was a chair and Alan was forced into it, hands undone and bound behind him and ankles tied to the chair too. The two men were sent out and Alan was left alone. With him. And he stood behind Alan, leaving him in no doubt as to what he was. He was a shield.
There was a small noise and then silence. Then his brother and sister entered the room. The man behind him stepped forward, placing his hand on Alan’s shoulder and what felt like a gun against his temple. Great.
Scott’s eyes widened in surprise. This was not the person he was expecting, and the smirk on the man’s face showed that he knew it too. He watched hi squeeze Alan’s shoulder until the teen gasped. Scott automatically stepped forward as Kayo stepped to the side.
‘Enough. Stay where you are, both of you, or I’ll blow his brains out.’ They froze. Both might be very skilled in combat, but they weren’t fast enough for point blank range. ‘That’s better. You know, you never cease to amaze me. You got here faster than I had anticipated, which is a shame, because I’m not quite ready for you yet. Nevertheless, I am a man who can improvise.’
He removed the gun from Alan and pointed it at Kayo, but his eyes never left Scott’s. ‘I wasn’t expecting this one,’ he said, squeezing Alan’s shoulder again. ‘I was expecting you. Well, my intel may have…Stop or I will put a bullet in you.’ He’d seen Kayo inching forward, but she stopped at his words.
Scott needed to get control of the situation, and he couldn’t do that while they were effectively at stalemate. So he did the only thing he could.
‘If you want me I’m right here. Let my brother go and I will come quietly and willingly.’
As expected, that statement was met with various reactions. Alan, despite the gag, was making it very clear what he thought of that, as was Kayo, in her silent way, her eyes narrowing in displeasure.
‘Hmm, I think I could be persuaded to do that. If…’ the man paused, and Scott knew he was being bated. The others had strict instructions to take Gordon back to Two, not to follow them, and even if they had, with Alan in such a position it wouldn’t have made any difference.
‘If what?’ The grin was slightly unnerving.
‘If you shoot your partner.’
Scott had been prepared for all sorts of demands. Shooting Kayo had not been one of them. He knew it was a tranq dart, but still, the thought of purposely shooting her…as if he could read Scott’s mind the grin widened while the grip on Alan’s shoulder intensified.
‘If you don’t shoot her, then I will.’ His finger tightened on the trigger.
Scott looked to Kayo and she gave the slightest of nods. Scott tried to apologise with his eyes, even as he raised his gun.
And shot her.
It seemed that time had slowed down suddenly as Kayo crumpled to the ground, and Scott couldn’t help but worry. The sedative was practically instantaneous and she’d be out for around three hours, plenty of time for someone to get away.
Finally, the pressure on his shoulder was released, and Alan watched with fearful eyes as the man came around to the front of him and aimed his gun at Scott now. His brother smiled warmly at him. ‘It will be alright, Allie,’ was an easy lie that fell from Scott’s lips, and Alan struggled hard against the bonds as the two men disappeared from the room.
Penny was getting concerned. They were taking too long. She looked at Parker and he nodded. Turning at Virgil’s sigh, she offered him a small smile, and he nodded in return. Just as the two started to move, John swore.
‘Scott’s dropped off the scanners and Alan is back up.’ Penny and Parker ran for the building while Virgil asked about Kayo. ‘She’s still there, but her telemetry has changed. She looks like she’s asleep?’ It was Gordon who spoke though. ‘What has our idiotic big brother done now?’ There wasn’t even a hint of amusement in his voice, and John kept the comms open while their London agent and her man investigated.
It took a short while to get to the room where John had pinpointed the signals coming from, and they carefully crashed in to find an unconscious Kayo and a frantic Alan. Rushing over to undo the gag, Parker got an earful of Alan’s shout, ‘he’s taken Scott,’ a completely unnecessary observation since Scott was obviously not here, and neither was the man. Come to think of it, they hadn’t even asked Gordon who the other person was, too intent on getting him treated. ‘Who was it, Alan?’ he asked whilst cutting through his wrist bonds.
‘It was Colonel Janus, or rather, the man we know as Janus.’
That made things a little more complicated. The man was supposed to be in prison, yet again it seemed that the GDF couldn’t hold it’s important prisoners. For the last time Penny had seen him, Janus had sworn revenge, and now it looked like he was going to get it.
‘And Kayo?’ Penny asked, checking her friend over. ‘He made Scott shoot her or he was going to do it himself.’ Penny frowned. She wondered if Janus knew that iR only used tranq darts, but she guessed it didn’t really matter, the end result was the same.
Scott Tracy was now at the mercy of a man who had sworn to kill him.
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You know its Friday when Gordon slides into the kitchen, steals your glass of orange juice and the last slice of pizza on the plate just as Virgil's reaching for it and then shimmies his way out again singing "Poor Unfortunately Souls" like he's in the Little Mermaid...
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The world was blurry as he let his head slide on one hand and stared out through the kitchen window. Gordon was in the pool, swimming his morning laps. The sun had yet to rise and Virgil had broken several laws of physics rising himself. This time of day should not exist. But then it didn’t, because it wasn’t day yet because there was no sun!
But no, supersonic big brother wanted to do some special training today. Training that for some reason had been scheduled at sunrise.
It was possibly important, likely scheduled just to get his ass out of bed at this godawful hour. Occasionally there were some issues with having your brother in command. Brotherly love only went so far, brotherly snark had more mileage, and Scott did have that twist of his lips when he announced the schedule.
Four pairs of eyes had immediately turned to him and his return glare had been insufficient to deflect the amusement that followed.
But it was okay. It was fine. He had his own skill drills up his sleeve. Two am would be convenient for him next time, definitely. After all, they all had to keep their skill sets up, didn’t they?
In the meantime, it was black coffee and repeated attempts to focus on Mateo. Mateo was distinctly blurry, and dark and...
“Hey, Virg!” Alan whacked him on the back.
His face nearly ended up in his coffee. “Alan? What the hell?”
“And good morning to you, too, big bro. Ready for this morning’s run?”
He stared at his bright and peppy, yes, peppy, youngest brother. Augh. “Go away.”
“Aww, did the big bear have to get out of bed a little early?”
“C’mon, Virg, it’s gonna be fun. A race around the island, wind in your hair, blood pumping...it’s gonna be awesome.”
Virgil stared at him, his brain slowly picking up that something wasn’t quite right. “Alan, why aren’t you comatose?”
“What do you mean, big bro?”
A slow blink. “You hate mornings almost as much as I do. Who are you and what have you done with my little brother?” His eyelids drooped all of their own volition.
“It’s called prepared, bro. I’m in it to win it.”
Virgil’s eyes narrowed. “Are you on something? Because if you are, Scott’s going to kill you, and once I’m awake, I’ll resuscitate you so I can kill you again.”
“That’s violence, bro. It’s cool, I promise.”
An arched eyebrow that almost hurt. “What did you do, Alan?”
“Nothing. Well, nothing you aren’t already doing.”
“You drank coffee.”
“What did you do?”
“A little caffeine is all.”
The arched eyebrow flipped into a frown. “How much?”
Virgil’s back straightened. “Alan.”
“I’m fine, bro, I promise. I know what I’m doing. I’m not stupid.” A blond frown. “Besides, it’s not like you don’t do the same with your coffee after coffee after coffee technique.”
Virgil’s lips thinned, but to be honest, the kid was right, he didn’t have a leg to stand on. But... “You’re not yet an adult, Alan.”
“Yet, I take the responsibilities of an adult, Virgil.”
“Your body isn’t fully mature!”
“Well, thanks for that, Doctor Virgil!”
“You have to look after yourself!”
“Hard to do anything else when I have four brothers mother-henning me all the time!”
“We worry about you!”
“Well, don’t! I can look after myself.”
“Hey! What the hell is going on here?!”
Virgil found himself looming over his little brother, one brain cell after another slowly catching up with what the hell was going on. Bright blue eyes were staring up at him defiantly, his little brother’s shoulders tight and fists clenched at his sides.
Virgil forced his own fists to uncurl. There was a reason why he preferred not to see this time of day. Disturbed sleep disturbed his calm, his control, and things like this happened.
Scott loomed over the both of them and Virgil took a step back, slumping back onto his seat and hulking over his coffee almost in a pout. “Better ask Alan, he’s the one being stupid.”
“Speak for yourself, Virgil.”
“Both of you, shut it.” Scott could glare with the best of them, but Virgil had exhausted what little energy he had and ignored him. “Alan, dosed himself with caffeine.”
He could feel the laserbeams shooting out of Scott’s eyes switching targets and landing on Alan. There was no satisfaction, just blergh. Here we go.
And sure enough, Scott started in on his little brother. There was, of course, shouting. Virgil idly wondered how come Scott got to yell and he didn’t. But then Virgil didn’t really like yelling anyway.
Coffee. Its warmth drifted down his throat and spread into his bones. Oh god, he needed it. Maybe a second one after this? But then the word ‘caffeine’ came up amongst the explosions beside him and he reconsidered. No need to become a target himself.
He let his foggy mind drift a little. It was all his fault really. He could have gone to bed early, but he had made the mistake of getting into a discussion online with an engineering idiot. The topic had become heated, chemical formulas launched like bombs and laced with reactive equations enough to take out half the engineering community. In the end, he’d thrown a hissy fit and sat up to three am writing up his argument. He’d chucked it onto his blog with a great deal of satisfaction and was looking forward to rubbing it in the man’s face.
Just as soon as he could boot his brain.
Coffee, give me strength.
Gordon wandered in at some point, a damp towel around his neck. Being Gordon, he prodded the conflagration in progress and got burnt. The argument became three sided.
Virgil considered snoozing on the counter.
Then he hit on the idea that he could possibly sneak back to bed. He stood up slowly.
Brains bounded into the room, tablet in hand. “Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Brilliant, so b-brilliant!”
The argument came to a sudden halt, four pairs of eyes turning towards the engineer.
The engineer didn’t notice, eyes glued to his tablet. Max bounded in behind him, whirring excitedly. It was the robot who prevented the distracted Brains from walking into the kitchen counter.
“Oh, thank you, M-Max.” His eyes didn’t leave the tablet. “Did you see the p-polymer ratio? Amazing! Such elegance. You know, I am quite d-disap-pointed that I didn’t think of this myself. The applications are going to b-be in-numerable.”
The distraction was enough to break the fuel lines of the argument and Scott settled for a final threat, Alan a final glare and Gordon, a snort of derision. The moment to escape was lost and Virgil slumped where he sat.
“Virgil, you going to eat before we run?”
Alan was right, Scott mother-henned.
“Maybe.” Ugh, c’mon coffee kick in. He needed operational braincells.
Scott was peering closely at him. “Earth to Virgil.”
“Shut up, Scott. You got me up at the ass end of the day, I’m here. Don’t expect much more.”
His brother grinned, and Virgil had the odd urge to thump him. Just because this was his element, didn’t mean he had to be a smart ass about it. “Your next physical is going to be hell.”
The grin faltered. Aah, that’s better. Hmm, perhaps his brain was slowly booting. Go, coffee.
“Virgil! You h-have to see these equations. They are brilliant!”
What? Brains’ tablet shifted the remains of his coffee to one side and Virgil found himself staring at a series of numbers that made little sense at this time of the morning. “Brains, looks great. Can I review them later? I’m not all here yet.”
The engineer didn’t appear to hear him. “Look at the polymer decay to reaction ratio! This is a self-healing polymer!”
Huh? He frowned and forced himself to focus. The appropriate neurons clicked into place in his brain and suddenly what he was seeing made sense.
He grabbed the tablet, eyeing the equations and spinning calculations in his head. Brains was right. This was perfect. The polymer would be able to self-heal with the application of a mild electrical current. Give it a pattern to follow and it would populate and keep it populated, even after disturbance.
“Did you discover this, Brains?” He frowned. There was something familiar about this. Maybe they had discussed it recently.
“Oh, no, this is V. T. Green. The man is brilliant.” There was that word again. Brilliant.
But it still took a second for it all to click into place.
V. T. Green was his blog. V. T. Green was his pseudonym online, used for obvious reasons to keep his identity hidden. The blog had been for amusement originally. A place to stash his favourite music and art, but at some point, he had found himself venturing into engineering circles and getting into discussion with the online community. It made for interesting discourse and he was able to keep up to date with some of the latest innovations. Not that he could share his own much and IR was well ahead of the majority of the world thanks to one Hiram Hackenbacker, but on occasion he would fiddle with ideas and make suggestions. It was also a great place to postulate out-there concepts.
The equations on Brains’ tablet were Virgil’s.
“Where did you get these?”
Brains was full of far too much energy for this time of the morning. “Green p-posted them during the night and they have h-hit the world by s-storm.”
Brains frowned at him. “Haven’t you heard of V. T. Green, Virgil? He is o-one of the leading engineers on this p-planet. I have been f-following his b-blog for over a year n-now. You r-really m-must check it out.”
“Um, must have missed that one.”
“H-how could you m-miss such an important s-site? I know you k-keep up to date. The man is at the centre of a massive discussion about polymer cohesion and decay. Last night, Coloncous in Spain had the nerve to challenge him in the most ridiculous manner. I was so close to cutting him off myself, he was embarrassing us all, but Green replied with this. As expected, it is a brilliant explanation and Coloncous had no choice but to concede and crawl back into the hole he should never have come out of in the first place. He was a fool to think he could go up against Green. But this solution has so many possibilities. Do you realise this could be integrated into Two’s cahelium hull and she would be able to heal damage midflight? Four would be able seal herself in an underwater emergency. So brilliant.”
Virgil stared at the engineer. He didn’t think he had ever heard Brains say so many words in a row. And his stutter had disappeared two sentences in.
“What did you say about sealing Four, Brains?” Gordon’s ears had obviously pricked up at the mention of his ‘bird.
Brains’ attention was immediately drawn to the aquanaut, his verbal diarrhoea spilling all over Gordon and freeing Virgil.
Taking the opportunity, he pulled out his phone and brought up the website.
He had notifications enough to clog his inbox. Due to the early hour, his phone was still on silent and he hadn’t heard any of them. A quick glance identified several prominent names and universities.
Shit. His eyes widened.
He glanced up at his family who were now eagerly discussing safety seals for Thunderbird Four. Even Scott’s eyes were wide and enthusiastic.
He needed more coffee.
V.T. Green (one of my absolute favourites :D)
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Heres a prompt if you still want some :D
"The answer is no, absolutely one hundred percent no!"
I totally did it and then forgot to answer your Ask!
(I’m so dumb! XD)
Here it is on AO3 and FF Net!
Big love! 💙
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Random John fact:
He wrote his university thesis on Contact with other planets and matter at the edge of the Universe.
I've managed to read about six lines of it, he's far too smart for me.
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Whumpay Day Six - “Can You Hear Me?”
Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 |
Like Day Five, I struggled to think of a small storyline for this one 🥲. But I still got there! Yay! So here’s my Day Six contribution :P. This one was really thrown together and might not be as whumpy as my others. I haven’t proof read it or anything. I was SUPER short on time this evening :(
With thanks to @liseylou @janetm74 and @lenna-z for their continued support and read through :D
It’d all started off as a simple walk through the forest outside near their family’s house in Kansas. That was all. Just a walk. Not a lot. Everyone else was too busy doing their own thing: Virgil was absorbed in finishing his painting he’d been working on for three months, Gordon was having his hand treated after a tough rescue, John was checking through files with Brains, then Kayo was practicing martial arts in the Training Centre.
That left only Scott and Alan to have their dose of fresh air. They’d both had a really hard day, poor Alan having to watch someone die after they got shot in the heart by a machine gun, then Scott dragging him off away from the gory vivid imagery.
Yeah... it hadn’t been pretty.
So the fresh cool evening air in Kansas was so needed. Scott had always felt very relaxed during dusk - on the island and here. There was just a sense of calmness that surrounded him and made him forget about his life problems.
The forest near their old home was huge but it meant many discovering opportunities. Scott’s mind went back to when he was thirteen and he was always playing a silly game of Hide & Seek with Alan and Gordon. Ahhhh those were the times. Sometimes Virgil would join in and rarely John if he detached himself from the latest astronomy novel.
“Hey Scott! Look at this!” Alan called from ahead.
Jogging up, Scott placed his gaze onto what Alan was pointing at. “What is it?”
“See that? Those rocks across the river there? I want to jump across them,”
“Uh, I don’t think that’s a good idea,” Scott’s voice was shaky as he knew what could happen. Sure, Alan was seventeen now but he was still a little stupid at times.
“Bro, I’ll be fine. Just watch and learn from the pros,”
And before Scott could stop him, Alan was jumping off the low ledge and down into the river. It was only up to just under his knees so not very deep at all. But still...
“Alan! Get back here now!”
“Why? You can’t stop me, you’re up there, I’m down here. And besides, your legs are too long to jump down. You’ll slip on the rock.”
Alan totally jinxed it then.
The moment those words left his lips, he misplaced his footing and his left leg swung over his head. Something crunched gruesomely. Scott cringed at the noise. He’d heard it many times before but it was still... urgh... it gave him the shivers.
“Alan?! Can you hear me?”
“I think I broke something,”
“OK, I definitely did,”
“Exactly. Where’s the pain?”
“My left leg,”
“Near my hip.”
“Ow. Alan you didn’t need to jinx it.”
“What can I say? I’ve learnt most of my stunts from Brandon Berrenger,”
“Who else?” Said Scott sarcastically.
There was awkward silence for a moment.
“Well Scott, here I am. Always trying to make a big splash around here.”
Scott did a huge facepalm. “Alan please,” he groaned. “Leave those dad jokes to Gordon please.”
“Will do! But, uh, can you please help me?”
“OK, sure, I’m coming down. But first I’m letting Virgil know of this occurrence.”
— FIN —
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Whumpay Day Six: ‘Can You Hear Me?’ / ‘I Don’t See You’
Scott shuddered in the cold and damp. At least, he attempted to, but his body was having none of it and protested – loudly. It hurt so much that he wasn’t sure exactly where he hurt, the pain was all-encompassing. And as for the coughing, that was most definitely a bad idea. It was dark too, and that didn’t help either. The lights on his helmet had gone out. Thank goodness he still had his helmet on.
‘Ok, Scott. Time to take stock.’
Breathing hurt, and there was a definite creaking, so maybe a cracked rib or two. Left arm, hmm, left arm hurt to move but he was pretty sure he was moving it, even if he couldn’t see it. He tapped his helmet and yeah, it hurt but it wasn’t broken. A bonus. Right arm and both legs seemed to be pinned by something, probably debris from whatever had happened, so he wasn’t moving any time soon.
It was then that he realised it was quiet. Well, other than the ringing in his ears. Where was John? Or Virgil? He must have damaged his comm somehow. Still, he needed to let his brothers know where he was.
‘John? John, can you hear me?’
That wasn’t good. How was he going to tell them what was going on, where he was, if he couldn’t get through? Sure, they could read the telemetry of his suit and that would give them a good idea, but he needed to talk to John, to someone.
All he could do was try again. And again. And again.
All he got back was nothing.
So Scott waited.
‘I lost him!’ John cried out in alarm. One minute the rescue was going fine, then suddenly there was something interfering with the comms for a minute, and the next thing John knew Scott’s connection was gone. He could, however, read his brother’s suit, and the readouts were not good.
‘Thunderbird Five calling Thunderbird Two. Virgil, how close are you and Gordon from wrapping up?’ Virgil frowned. John sounded a little stressed, even if he spoke in the same calm manner he always did. Virgil could tell. ‘Wrapping up now, Five. What’s wrong?’ He could see John tapping away, and suddenly Virgil felt it. His Scooter sense was going haywire.
‘John, what’s going on? Where’s Scott?’ Virgil watched as John ran his hands through his hair. ‘He went on a rescue, couple of cavers trapped, one with a broken leg. It was supposed to be a straightforward in and out job or I would never have sent him alone.’ Caves were one rescue they tried hard to do together rather than alone, but with Alan and Kayo out beyond the moon, and he and Gordon tied up here John probably had no choice. ‘Don’t worry, John. We’ll be out of here in five minutes. Send us the co-ordinates and keep trying to raise him.’ John nodded. ‘FAB, Virgil.’
Packing Two up quickly wasn’t a problem, and soon the pair were on their way, Virgil pushing his bird to maximum to get there as quickly as possible. It would still take them nearly 20 minutes, and while he concentrated on piloting them, Gordon kept on trying Scott as well.
The longer they went without hearing from their oldest brother, the more concerned they became.
As Two came in to land beside her sister, Gordon busied himself getting the Mole pod ready, just in case. John had reported a temporary disruption in communication, and that could often happen underground, but it also happened when there was a cave-in. John was dubious, though. There were no signs that the cave was unstable anywhere, and he hadn’t picked up any explosions. Whatever had happened, they didn’t know exactly where Scott was nor the situation they were facing, so Gordon was going to be prepared.
The entrance to the caves was clear, and there didn’t seem to be an issue at all so far, so the two made their way to Scott’s last known position on foot. Virgil could always bring the Mole down remotely if she was needed.
Reaching the correct coordinates, Gordon almost fell himself into the hole that was there, Virgil’s quick reflexes saving him from the tumble they were almost certain Scott had taken. Shining his torch down, they could see the bottom, but there was no sign of their brother. Checking with John that there wasn’t a strong possibility of another hole forming, they quickly set about rigging a single rope longhorn 8 system.
Virgil rappelled down first, checking in case it really wasn’t safe, but it seemed that the rock was now holding. He could hear water in the distance, and he guessed there was an underground river that had probably caused the issue in the first place. He signalled Gordon and he followed swiftly behind.
They couldn’t see Scott, though, even with their powerful torches. Testing the vibrations, Virgil gave a low shout, and, thankful nothing happened, raised his voice. Soon the cave was echoing his brother’s name.
‘Scott! Scott!’ It was muffled by his helmet, but he could still hear his name being called, and Scott shouted his loudest, despite the pain it caused. ‘Over here! I’m here!’ It caused a coughing fit that hurt a lot, but the resultant ‘where? I can’t see you?’ was worth it.
It took a bit of doing, figuring out the acoustics to pinpoint Scott’s location, but they got there eventually, only to find him half buried almost in the water. Fortunately, the debris pinning his legs and arm down were not large pieces, and it didn’t take long to clear him.
Unfolding the stretcher, they immobilised Scott as much as possible before setting off back to Two, a journey of almost half and hour. While Virgil settled Scott into the med bay, Gordon discussed with John the whereabouts of the original cavers who were waiting for a rescue. Once John and EOS had managed to find the right frequency to boost Five’s scans they were easily located, not that far ahead of the cave-in that had caught Scott, so Gordon set off to retrieve them.
Soon Virgil was dropping the cavers and Scott off at the local hospital, where they had been ‘guests’ before, and the same song and dance whenever one of the boys was injured began.
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Touches Ask Game: Hugs
27: piggy back hugs, any characters
Thank you for the request! @janetm74
And again sorry, it took too long.
And it was the first time I wrote Wee!Tracys, and yes I wasn't sure. 😅
I hope you will like it! 💜
Actually, the day started very well. His daddy had left the island for a few hours to get Grandma. Scott said it might be a good idea to go to the beach. He could never say no to that, the beach was perfect.
There was a pool, yes, but the beach, sea and sand were much nicer.
After a while, Scott said it was time to go. He didn't want to go. He wanted to stay here until he got bored. Even Alan, who could only say a few words, was whining. But Alan stopped whining with the promise of ice cream and chocolate.
He was on Scott's shoulders and he was happy. But Gordon didn't want ice cream or chocolate, he wanted to stay there. Still, he followed his brothers unhappily.
John realized he was clearly not happy. "Come on, Gords, we can come here later."
Actually, he didn't have to go with them.
He could go to the beach himself and return whenever he wanted. He just had to run in the opposite direction of the way they were going. It would have been difficult for them to find him, as they are currently in the forest area.
Or it would be easier for him to be lost... Couldn't hear the sound of the waves, couldn't hear the sound of his brothers, only the forest...
He had panicked and didn't know what to do. He didn't realize he was stepping on a slippery stone. Annd... he had hurt his ankle. Although he didn't want to admit it, he wasn't sure he could find the way to the beach.
He was lost. His ankle was painful.
"If you get lost, just wait where you are. If you walk away from there..."
It was one of his daddy's emergency lessons. Wish he'd listened all, but at that time... he was busy... But that was enough for him.
Still, how would they find him if he stayed where he was. Time was passing, he could no longer stop him tears from falling. The tears were followed by a few muffled sobs.
A rustle was heard. The voice was getting closer to him. "Gordon..?"
"J- John? I'm here..." He quickly wiped his tears. The voices quickened and finally met eye to eye with anxious aquamarine.
"Sorry- I'm so sorry, John. I will not do it again, promise..."
He wrapped his arms around him gently and brought his face closer to his chest. He savored his warmth and hugged him.
"You okay?" He was going to nod his head, but John was following his gaze and checking his ankle. "Gordon-"
"You scared me a lot." And he kissed his forehead. "Is there anywhere else that hurts?"
The words stuck in his throat, but he could still speak. "No."
He continued, showing his ankle. "Okay. Better not step on it for now."
"So how about you go home?"
He was really surprised by the question. "How... can you not get lost?"
He answered with a real smile, his eyes shining. "Since you promised never to do that again," He started to turn his back towards him. "I can teach you this later." He turned his head back and looked at him.
Later. It was a relative word. But if John said so, he would have taught him.
"Let's go home, Gords."
Softly he slid his arms around his neck and wrapped his legs around his waist.
As he leaned his head on his back, something never mentioned occurred to him.
"Sorry for getting you in trouble."
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Revenge c1: Down
Whumpay Day Five: Collapse/Keeps Getting Back Up
With thanks to @gumnut-logic and @tsarinatorment
The punch floored him. Again. He spat out a mouthful of blood and glanced up at his captors. The three men laughed, and one kicked him over onto his back, a smirk on his face.
‘Stay down this time. I’m not going to warn you again.’
Yet still they waited, and Gordon knew they were waiting for him to try again. He always was an obliging fellow, but this time he needed to stay calm and in control if he was to find out what was going on.
If he was going to find his brother.
There was nothing new about being jumped on a night out. They were rich and influential; it came with the territory. So far he’d only been kidnapped once – this time not counted – and it had been a matter of pride that he shared this record with no-one. All the eldest had been kidnapped several times. Hell, Scott was into double figures.
But Alan, Alan had been sheltered and protected all his life, and Gordon would be damned if he let anything happen to his only baby brother. If only he knew where he was.
So he played the game. And kept getting back up only to be knocked down again. A fist here, a kick there, he could take it. And each time they knocked him down he took longer to get back up.
Until he didn’t get back up. Instead, he stayed collapsed on the ground, wheezing a little from the repeated kicks to his ribs. Gordon was certain one or more were cracked by now. The three left, satisfied that they had achieved whatever it was they wanted, and he crawled to the wall and sat, propped against it. And waited.
He didn’t have long to wait. At least, he thought so, but he could have passed out for a short while. The lock clicked back and Alan was thrown in. Alan, whose blonde hair was matted and whose face was caked in blood on one side. He also crawled over to join Gordon, and they sat side by side, just breathing.
Eventually Gordon turned to him and grinned. His teeth were red, but the grin was reassuring nonetheless. It lifted Alan’s heart and he grinned back, lifting Gordon’s spirits in return. They bumped shoulders. Whatever happened next, they were in this together.
‘Scott’s gonna be livid,’ Alan eventually murmured, causing Gordon to snort. ‘Never mind Scott, what do you think Kayo’s going to be when she realises her security failed?’ he replied, and Alan shivered. ‘And then there’s Virgil. Wouldn’t want to cross the Tank,’ Gordon said, grim mirth in his voice. Yeah, Scott was going to be bad enough. Scott and Kayo? These guys had no idea what they had unleashed, and then they had John and EOS to contend with. Alan almost felt sorry for them. Almost.
The door opened and the three original men who had entertained Gordon earlier stepped in, this time accompanied by two new ones. They were probably Alan’s entertainment Gordon mused, wondering if this time they would get to the point.
Then a fifth man stepped in and both brothers couldn’t help the sucked in breath, or the tendril of worry beginning to curdle in their stomachs.
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Whumpay Day Five - Collapse
Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 |
I dunno if there was much whump and in this one but it involves drunk boys at a nightclub... 😅. They have to much to drink and one collapsed so yeah... oof...
With thanks to @liseylou @janetm74 and @lenna-z for their continued support :D
WARNINGS: mention of drugs and some violence!
Just one pint. That was his original plan. Just one wouldn’t hurt, right? He’d never been a huge drinker in life because of stuff he’d seen on TV as a child that traumatised him. So unlike Scott though. Right now, the pair were at a nightclub and the oldest Tracy was chugging pint after pint down his throat. When would he stop?
“Uh, Scott?” Virgil tapped urgently on his brother’s shoulder. “You’ve had a lot to drink now. I think you should stop and we need to be off home anyway. Dad’s getting worried,”
“Huh whaaa?” Scott turned to face Virgil. His eyes were bloodshot and red. He had a tired look on his face and he was rocking from side to side in his bar stool.
“Scott? Did you hear what I said? I said we need to go home. You’ve had enough beer now,”
“Nooo iiii ‘aven’t,” Scott managed. His voice was scarily slurred. “Must drink more.”
“No!” Virgil slammed his hand on Scott’s before he could reach for the beer glass. “You won’t. Home, now.”
“Sayyyy whaaaa noww?” Said Scott in his slurred tone again. “IIIIII neeee morree,”
“You don’t. Come on.” This time Virgil literally pulled Scott off the stool and slung his right arm around his shoulders. Using Virgil as a support, Scott tried his best to stand up straight. But he couldn’t. His legs had been worn out because of all the alcohol.
“Hey, Tracy!” A voice shouted across the club. “Get over ‘ere,”
“Who that?” Asked Scott.
“It doesn’t matter,” said Virgil. “Just an old friend from school who I don’t get along with. Ignore him. We have to leave.”
“Too scared to have a brawl Virgil?” The guy sneered again. “Just like in high school. You ran away crying every time I stole one of your favourite pens. Are you gonna do the same now?”
Something in Virgil snapped. This was damn embarrassing. He couldn’t take it anymore. “Oi Jason!” He yelled. “Piss off won’t ya? I need to help my brother.”
“Your brother is more important than old friends ‘ey? Ha, I’m surprised. You didn’t care about Alan at all at the football State Championship,”
“That was years ago! I’ve grown up, I’ve learnt my lesson now. Please, just shut up.”
“Words can’t hurt me, boy,” Jason had his fists clenched ready to fight now. He was obviously under the influence of drugs or something. “And you can’t either. You’re too weak to cope.”
Virgil threw - very literally - Scott into a nearby wall where other un-drunk clubbers helped him. Jason had thrown enough insults for one night. “Try me.” He growled.
“Ooh I’m so scared,” said Jason in a silly high pitched voice.
“You won’t be after this!”
Virgil let out a roar and his fist connected with Jason’s jaw. There was the sickening sound of bones cracking. Oh god...
“Viiiiirgilll,” Scott’s voice attempted to shout. “Whaaaa you doin’?”
“Hold on Virg, I coming help youuu,”
“What? No, Scott, no!”
Scott had stumbled his way across the room to where the fight between Virgil and Jason sat. Unfortunately he was too drunk to act fast enough. As Jason threw another punch at Virgil, Scott came in between them and he punched him instead.
All Scott was aware of was the intense throbbing pain in his jaw and Virgil’s screams.
His head hit something hard.
And his vision went black.
— FIN —
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Centre Stage - chapter 9
As ever, massive thanks to beta extraordinaire @willow-salix for all her help on this.
The whole fic can also be found on AO3 here.
“Not wanting to be rude, but can I just ask why there’s so much glitter everywhere?” Selene enquired, ignoring Scott’s snort of laughter as she took in the dressing room surfaces that were all caked in a fine sheen, carefully selecting a seat that seemed relatively free from the worst of it.
“Ugh, it's from The Nutcracker. Sorry, it gets everywhere,” Cat apologised, undoing the ribbons of her shoes and starting to pull bits of tape off her toes. “We'll finally get rid of it all in about October and have a few weeks of respite before we start all over again. I was vaguely sparkly til about February this year which was a new record. Some of it comes home with me every day so just be careful where you lean or sit.”
“Thanks for the warning, I’m not sure glitter is the best look for me,” Selene laughed.
“Yeah, it doesn’t exactly go with the all black, scary witch look does it?” Scott jested, dodging the pointe shoe that Cat had just handed to Selene for the express purpose of lobbing at him.
Virgil and Cat exchanged smiles and rolled eyes as their companions bickered good naturedly, knowing that their earlier peace had been well and truly shattered.
“So, how was it this afternoon then?” Scott asked, effectively changing the subject as he casually flung himself into a chair and made himself at home.
“It was great, wasn’t it?” Cat replied, turning to smile warmly at Virgil as she wondered fondly how Scott somehow always managed to look like he owned the place no matter where he went or what he was doing
“Yeah, Lily had a great time and she’s really excited about seeing the show tonight so I think we made a little girl very happy,” Virgil elaborated.
“I think so,” Cat agreed. “She’s a good little dancer too. She did really well so it’ll be interesting to see how she gets on as she gets older.”
“Do you think you’ll keep in touch with her?” Selene asked, spotting some costumes on a rail in the corner and heading over to investigate, quickly followed by Scott.
“I don’t know,” Cat admitted, looking up as she massaged her foot absentmindedly, trying to release some of the knots in the muscles now that her long day of rehearsals was finally over. “I’d like to but it might depend on circumstances a little. I’m not sure how much I could actually do to help her at this stage aside from some private coaching, but it’s not something I’ve ever done before so I wouldn't know where to start.”
“I’m sure she’d love whatever help you could give,” Scott encouraged, pulling a tutu out from the costume rail and holding it up against himself. “How do I look?”
“Like an idiot,” Virgil declared, turning back to Cat before anyone else could speak. “Based on today, I’d say you’d be a great coach. You did so well with Lily and her mom told me that you were the best teacher she’d had so it’s not just me saying that either.”
“You’re too kind,” Cat blushed, busying herself in her task to avoid having to make eye contact with anyone, uncomfortable with the praise.
“Not at all,” Virgil pressed. “I don’t think I’ve ever had a more patient teacher myself either, so it’s not all one sided.”
“Wait, what?” Scott spluttered incredulously before Cat had a chance to answer, his brain catching up with the implication of what Virgil had just said. “Cat was teaching you, too? I thought this was about Lily getting to be a fairy for the day, not you getting ballet lessons?”
“It was,” Virgil explained equably, rather enjoying his brother's response. “But she was worried that Cat would feel left out if she was dancing with Mark so I agreed to be Cat’s prince for a while.”
“He was very good at it too,” Cat continued, throwing a big smile at Virgil. “Next time I need a partner, I definitely know who I’m gonna call.”
Despite initially feeling that dancing so closely with his brother's girlfriend was perhaps crossing a line that he wasn’t very comfortable with, in the end Virgil had thoroughly enjoyed his time in the studio. It had come as no surprise to him that ballet was nowhere near as easy as Cat made it look; during the afternoon, he had discovered muscles that he didn't even know existed and a nagging suspicion was growing that they would all be aching in the morning.
“I did nearly knock you over a couple of times though,” he grimaced, remembering the shriek Cat had let out as she’d overbalanced and nearly fallen.
“You’ve still got a better record than Mark some days,” Cat laughed as her foot let out a loud crack. “He’s dropped me so many times that I’ve given up even counting any more.”
“OK then big guy,” Selene piped up, jumping up and holding out her hand “Show me some of your moves.”
A knock on the door interrupted any answer, quickly swinging open to reveal one of the ballet masters from the company, on the hunt for Cat.
“Sorry to bother you when you’ve got guests,” Gary started apologetically, nodding a greeting to the other occupants of the room, his eyes widening slightly as he realised who they were. “Irina’s back has just spasmed and she’s out for tonight. Steven was wondering if there’s any chance you could step in for her?”
“Of course,” Cat answered without hesitation, her eyes meeting Scott’s in a brief apology before turning back to her colleague. “Is she OK?”
Having three guests who had travelled a long way to go out for dinner and drinks that night complicated things slightly, but there had been no question in her mind as to whether she would do it. Injuries that meant a missed performance weren’t that common but they were a hazard of the job and it was up to the rest of the company to pull together when they occurred.
“She’ll be fine in a few days. It seems to be nothing that some rest and heat won’t solve,” Gary informed her, watching her shrewdly, knowing what was likely going through her mind.
“Well that’s something at least,” she agreed as she began to wind her hair back into a bun, relieved that nothing more serious had happened.
“Do you think we’d be able to get tickets for tonight?” Virgil asked, glancing over to Scott and Selene and receiving matching nods of agreement.
“I’m not sure,” Gary replied. “I think it’s a full house but I can check it with the box office and if there’s no availability, we can arrange for you to watch from the wings, seeing as it’s exceptional circumstances.”
“That would be great, thanks,” Selene smiled, sitting herself back down and wondering what happened next.
“Right, is there a studio available?” Cat asked, taking charge of the conversation, her mind already running through what she would need to do in order to be ready to perform in a few hours’ time. “I’ve not danced it with Ivan before so we’ll need to run a few things before the show.”
“The Ashton is free for you,” Gary advised, his hand already on the door handle. “He should be on his way up there by now so just pop up as soon as you’re ready.”
“Perfect,” Cat acknowledged, giving Gary a nod as he took his leave before turning to her companions. “Sorry about this. It’s not exactly how I thought we’d be spending the evening. You guys are more than welcome to still go for dinner if you want and I can catch you up later?”
“Don’t be silly, of course we’ll stay and support you,” Scott told her, placing a quick kiss on her cheek, keen not to disturb her too much as she grabbed her phone and started typing out a quick message. “If there’s anyone in the world that knows a thing or two about plans being derailed by work, it’s us, so you really don’t need to worry.”
“Agreed,” Selene added. “Anyway, I’ve always fancied a night at the ballet so it’s worked out pretty well if you ask me.”
“Definitely,” Virgil nodded his agreement. “I wouldn't miss it for the world.”
“What’re we actually going to be watching tonight?” Selene asked, watching Scott carefully as he hovered around, clearly with something to say.
“Coppelia,” Cat replied absently, finishing the text she was sending and grabbing a nearby bag, tipping several pairs of pointe shoes onto the floor before joining them herself, her mind working overtime trying to decide which ones she should wear that night.
“But that’s three acts,” Scott cried, his horrified tone making her look up in surprise as he crouched down beside her. “Are you sure you’re going to be OK doing that?”
“I’ll be fine,” Cat reassured, slipping a hand around the back of his neck and pulling him toward her, their foreheads resting together in a pose that had always brought them comfort. “I’ve just messaged Mark asking him if he’ll grab me some dinner from the canteen and there’s only a couple of pas de deux that I need to go through with Ivan so it shouldn’t take long. Then I can have a bit of a rest before I need to start getting ready.”
“OK, well, so long as you’re sure,” Scott conceded, pulling back to allow her continue what she had been doing.
“It’s not the first time I’ve stepped in at the last minute, nor will it be the last,” Cat smiled, seeing the tension leaving Scott’s shoulders as he continued to sit beside her, now idly playing with the ribbons from a pair of discarded shoes.
Selene and Virgil exchanged looks, impressed at how Cat had seamlessly handled Scott’s overprotective nature.
“Is this something that you have to do quite a lot?” Virgil queried, interested to find out more of the workings of the company now that the tension had died down a little.
“Every so often,” Cat shrugged, finally finding a pair of shoes that she thought would do her for the evening, quickly slipping them on and tying the ribbons as she spoke. “We have multiple casts for every ballet as well as understudies so there’s always going to be someone around to take over if an injury happens. My main concern just now is that I’ve not danced the bloody thing for about six weeks so I might be a bit rusty in places.”
“How do you remember all the steps?” Selene asked as Cat shouldered her bag and hustled them out of the room, handing Scott a rehearsal tutu to carry as she did so.
“Muscle memory,” Cat shrugged, as they made their way down the corridor towards the studios. “We do so much practice that when the music starts you don’t even need to really think about it. In an ideal world, we’d have a chance to run the whole thing before going on tonight but that’s not going to happen.”
She paused as the lift doors slid open, waiting for everyone to get in before continuing, shooting a quick smile of reassurance at Scott as she spoke.
“I do need to have a break at some point so I’ll just need to think my way through it. In the past, I’ve just listened to the music and it’s all come back so I’ll probably do that tonight. It’s like rehearsing but without the sore feet,” she laughed, pleased to see that at least Virgil and Selene were nodding along as if they understood her, even if Scott looked slightly lost.
“Visualisation is such a powerful thing,” Selene agreed as the lift let out a loud ding, signalling their arrival.
“Yeah, it’s great,” Cat smiled, leading them through more corridors and past an impressive looking fitness suite that had Scott and Virgil wishing they could stay and investigate it further. “It was something we were taught at school and I remember thinking it was complete rubbish at the time but the older I’ve got, the more invaluable it’s become.”
“Is that cos you’re getting a bit creaky now?” Scott teased, dodging a well-aimed elbow from Cat.
“You tell me, old man,” she shot back to sniggers from Virgil and Selene. “If I’m creaky, that must make you practically geriatric.”
“Shocking,” Scott countered, clutching his hand to his heart. “That’s no way to talk to your elders.”
“Oh, shut it, you,” Cat grinned, pushing open a heavy door and ushering them into a large, airy studio, nodding a greeting to the young Russian dancer already present who was to be her partner for the night.
Wondering what she had done to deserve such a supportive boyfriend and surrogate family, Cat could only smile as she watched them taking their seats at the front of the studio before turning back to her task, pushing all other thoughts out of her mind.
“Do you think they’ll get the flowers delivered in time?” Selene asked quietly as they waited outside the dressing room for Cat to emerge, all three of them having been kicked out while she got into her first costume for the night.
“I hope so,” Scott replied, checking his watch as a nearby speaker announced that it was fifteen minutes until curtain up. “They’ve never let me down before but I’ve never had to order them on the day of the show either so I don’t know.”
“Is it just me or are they five minutes early?” Virgil asked, his own watch showing twenty minutes until the show was due to start.
“Maybe they’ve met you at some point?” quipped Selene with a wink.
“It’s a theatre thing,” Scott replied knowingly, cutting his brother off before he could defend himself against the accusation levelled at him. “I don’t really know why but apparently it’s just how it’s done.”
“Theatre folk are weird,” Selene agreed with a shrug just as the door behind her opened, revealing Cat looking every inch the ballerina that she was. “No offence,” she added, turning to the dancer.
“None taken,” Cat accepted smoothly. “Shall we get going then?”
Scott smiled, her hand warm as she slipped it into his on their way down to the stage. He could hear his brother's voice from somewhere behind him as they crossed the giant scenery dock, telling Selene about some of the scenery that he had no doubt been looking at earlier in the day. It almost seemed funny to him that these surroundings no longer seemed strange to him when he had only been a part of this world through his association with Cat for a few months less than a year.
“How’re you feeling?” he murmured as they made their way ever closer to the double doors that would lead directly to the stage.
“Bit nervous,” Cat admitted, grateful for the immediate squeeze of support that he gave her. “There’s a lot of people out there tonight and I don’t want to let them down.”
“You’ll be brilliant,” Scott reassured her. “I don’t just think, I KNOW you’ve got this nailed down in your head so just go out there, enjoy yourself and the story will shine through.”
“Thanks,” Cat smiled. “What would I do without you to support me?”
“Exactly what you did before you met me,” Scott grinned. “You’d go out and absolutely smash it because that’s what you do best.”
Unable to argue, Cat just smiled as they reached the heavy doors, letting Scott hold them open as they waited for Virgil and Selene to catch up. Entering the darkness of backstage, it took a moment for their eyes to fully adjust as Cat led the way behind the stage, greeting other dancers as she went.
Virgil found himself completely transfixed by the cathedral like space before him. Everywhere he looked, there was something else demanding his attention. A beautifully detailed town square stood on the stage, illuminated by row upon row of lights hanging on battens high above as dancers clustered in groups performed stretches that made him hurt just to look at, while others warmed up turns and lifts on the stage, hidden from view of the audience by a pair of enormous red curtains.
“This place is amazing,” he whispered to Scott as they walked, letting the girls go on ahead. “I can’t believe you never told me how huge it was.”
“I never really thought about it,” admitted Scott. “The first time I was here I was a bit distracted by a certain someone, and then it just became normal I guess and I stopped really noticing it.”
“Trust you,” Selene called over her shoulder while Cat did her best to stifle a laugh.
Unrepentant, Scott just grinned back, standing by his statement as Virgil shook his head helplessly, knowing that his brother was unlikely to ever change.
“I’m going to have to leave you guys here I’m afraid,” Cat informed them, a member of stage management appearing to usher her guests to their seats in the wings.
“Good luck,” Selene told her, giving her a quick hug, the nervous energy of her friend crackling around her.
“Break a leg,” Virgil added, giving her a hug that she was almost certain could crush the air out of her entirely if he wanted.
Watching as Scott wordlessly took her in his arms, their foreheads pressed together once more, Selene squinted slightly, revealing the black aura surrounding the dancer slowly becoming blue and then red as his presence calmed and grounded her, releasing the nerves and replacing them with focus for the job ahead.
All too soon, Scott had to let go, a final few whispered words of encouragement finding their way to her before she was gone, moving into her world on the stage. His eyes tracked her every move as he was ushered away, feeling strangely like she was going somewhere he could never follow.
“She’ll be fine,” Selene reassured him as they took their seats, seeing the way that his brow was knitted together in worry. “I think you’re more worried than she is.”
“I know,” Scott sighed. “It’s just hard knowing that there’s nothing I can do to help.”
“You’ve already done more for her than you know,” she smiled, giving him a reassuring pat on the leg. The atmosphere continued to crackle around her, reaching a crescendo as the stage was cleared, the unmistakable sound of the orchestra beginning to filter through the giant curtains that separated them from the public spaces of the theatre.
A hush fell on the wings as the overture played, the chatting and joking between colleagues that had been going on around them now replaced by focus as everyone concentrated on their particular roles to ensure the performance went off without a hitch. Sitting quietly, Scott couldn’t take his eyes off Cat as she stood talking quietly with Ivan, hands flying animatedly as they illustrated their discussion, clearly still working out some of the finer details for their performance. When the conversation was over, a quick hug and high five preceded his departure, heading purposefully around the back of the stage and leaving her alone, looking somehow smaller and more fragile than he thought she ever had.
As the whir of machinery beside them signalled the lifting of the curtains, he watched as she took a deep breath, calming her breathing before reaching down to check her shoes one final time. A few steps back and forward on pointe seemed to relax her as she listened intently to the music, waiting for the exact right moment to open the door of the set in front of her and disappear into her domain, a round of applause from the audience greeting her arrival.
It was a different Cat that greeted them at the end of the curtain calls, flying into Scott’s open arms for an all too brief embrace before being swept away again, a multitude of friends and colleagues demanding her attention as she rode the adrenaline high of a job well done.
“How is she even still upright after that?” Virgil wondered, thinking back to his own brief experiences in the studio earlier in the day and how exhausting they had been.
“Sheer bloodyminded determination,” Scott replied knowingly, watching her fondly as she talked to the director of the company, experience telling him that it wouldn’t be long after they got back home that she’d crash completely, likely falling asleep curled up next to him, her head balanced on his shoulder. “At least she said that today had been an easy day.”
“I think her exact words were ‘only five hours of rehearsals’,” Selene chipped in. “Remind me to talk to both of you at some point about what the word ‘easy’ actually means, because I’m not sure either of you understand it properly.”
“Well, the rehearsal I saw certainly looked pretty tiring,” Virgil agreed as Scott good naturedly rolled his eyes at her, the memory of the panting heap of dancers that followed their performance of the pas de deux earlier still fresh in his mind.
“Ya know,” Selene added, a glint appearing in her eye. “If she’s able to do that after dancing all day, I think she might actually be fitter than any of you guys.”
“You’re probably right there,” Scott agreed cheerfully as invited guests who had been seated in the auditorium began to filter onto the stage, their eyes wide with wonder at the sheer scale of it, suddenly remembering when that had been him.
Spotting Cat now deep in conversation with a woman and child, Selene nudged Virgil who had become distracted and was closely inspecting one of the lighting booms standing in the wings. “Is that Lily and her mum over there?”
“Sure is,” he smiled, enjoying seeing her excitement as she inspected Cat’s tutu and headdress, delicately reaching out to touch the material as if it might break.
“Should we go and say hello?” Scott asked.
“Give them a few minutes,” Virgil advised. “She’s so excited about meeting the dancers and I don’t want to distract her attention. They’ve earned it.”
“Good call,” Scott agreed, watching his girl with interest as she hurried into the wings, returning a few moments later with a pair of pointe shoes and presenting them to Lily as a souvenir of the night.
“She’s good with her, isn’t she?” Selene mused as the girl’s squeals of delight carried across the stage to them.
“She's been great all day,” Virgil agreed. “She’ll be a brilliant coach one day, I’m sure of it.”
Scott nodded his agreement, wondering why he’d never even considered what Cat might do once her career on the stage was over. He’d always known that dancers careers were short and that Cat would kill him if he even suggested that she might be more than halfway through hers already, but what might happen next was something that they’d never thought to discuss before.
“There was something I wanted to talk to you about actually,” Virgil said, cutting into a daydream of her no longer being tied to London and moving to the island with him. “It’s not directly related but I think it might be something she might be interested in.”
His interest piqued, Scott’s attention snapped to his brother, wondering what he was about to suggest. “Go on.”
“Well, we had a pretty good chat earlier about funding for the arts and ballet in particular, and she said that there was a real issue with access for kids from deprived backgrounds,” Virgil explained.
“OK...” Scott encouraged, suspecting he knew where this was going.
“She said that there would be lots of kids out there like Lily who are talented but won't ever get the chance to make a career out of it because it’s too expensive,” Virgil elaborated, “so I was wondering what you thought about setting something up that could help with that?”
“Now that’s not something I’ve ever really thought about,” mused Scott, the logistics immediately beginning to run through his head.
There was already a well funded branch of Tracy Industries that was responsible for all manner of humanitarian and conservation projects around the globe, along with providing funding for numerous scholarships and internships to help give talented people from less privileged backgrounds the opportunities that may otherwise be denied them. A fund for the arts wouldn’t be beyond their usual remit, he thought, and it would certainly broaden their horizons somewhat.
“It’s not something we need to make a decision on immediately,” Virgil added, sensing the cogs turning in Scott’s brain. “It’s just something I thought could make a real difference to people.”
“It’s a good idea,” Scott agreed, liking the sound of it more and more as it settled in his mind. “We’ll run some numbers and take a look at what the logistics might be and we can make a decision from there.”
“What’re we making a decision on?” asked Selene, wandering back over from where she’d found herself engaged in conversation with some of the stage management.
“Just an idea for some charity stuff,” Scott answered quickly, keen not to get drawn into a further conversation, especially as he could see Cat beckoning them over.
Looking around the stage as the others made small talk with Lily and her mum, Scott’s mind continued to turn over Virgil’s suggestion, unable to deny that it was a good idea and one that Cat in particular would be excited about. A smile flitted across his face as he thought of how pleased she would be when he told her about it, solidifying his decision to keep it to himself until it became something more tangible.
“I think it’s time to get out of here” Cat declared, gathering up her large bouquet as the group said goodnight and the remaining guests were shepherded off the stage.
Scott nodded in agreement. It had been an amazing night that had given him much to think about but for now, there was a beer with his name on it somewhere out there and he was very keen to get out of the theatre and find it.
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All I can say is sorry for this...
She was tired, so very tired, but still she paced the floor, trying to soothe the ear piercing wails that rattled the walls. How could something so small make so much noise and manage to rule an entire household? This was not something they ever told you when you were pushing your baby dolls around in their strollers and feeding them water that they would pee out later. That was an idyllic fantasy, one where you could stuff the baby in a toy box as soon as you got bored or were done playing and forget about it. She’d never had this trouble with the other two, but this one…
She bounced him gently in her arms, trying every trick she knew, everything she had learned while bringing up her babies, but nothing was working. Her husband, that despicable scumbag who had dared, DARED, to not be here when she needed him, was tucked away safely in space, leaving her to handle everything as she tried to cope with a 5 year old, a two year old and a teething five month old that just refused to be soothed or to sleep because his precious nightlight had broken.
She looked up to the dark ceiling, devoid of the swirling constellations that usually calmed him. He was one of the most lively, inquisitive and alert babies she had ever met, his eyes constantly on the move, always watching, taking in everything that was going on around him.
He was usually a dream, quiet, calm and more than happy to be put down while she sorted breakfast or got one of his brothers dressed, unlike the other two. She’d lost count of the times she had come in to check on him in the night to find him wide awake, watching the little pinpricks of light projected above him, not having uttered a sound, perfectly content with whatever was playing in his own little head. Which was why she was having such a hard time now, she didn’t know what to do, she’d never had this trouble with him before.
“Please, baby,” she whispered, cradling him against her chest, feeling his angry little fists smacking at her shoulder as his body stiffened, going silent for a second as he sucked in another deep breath, ready to scream anew.
“Mommy?” a small voice called to her from down the hall. “Baby OK?”
“He’s fine, darling,” she called back, “just a little grumpy, try to go back to sleep.”
The baby screamed again, almost deafening her and once more.
“I can’t sleep, he’s too noisy.”
“Just try your hardest,” she called back, raising her voice to be heard over the wailing. To her surprise the baby actually quietened down, just a little. She looked at him in shock, would drowning him out actually work?
She looked around for inspiration but the nursery contained nothing of the noisy variety, the baby not being fond of those sort of toys. She glared at the broken nightlight, the cause of all the trouble. The sight of it triggered something at the back of her mind, a long forgotten memory of a TV show she had watched with her Grandfather.
Desperate now she started to hum, finding that the tune was just as familiar now as it had been all those years ago. The baby lifted his head, staring at her as if she were crazy, but his wailing slowly faded into gulping sobs and then a quiet whimpering as he rubbed his tired eyes, his reddened, sore cheeks wet with tears.
The more she hummed the more came back to her and she found herself singing little snippets of the lyrics, the words growing clearer in her head as she repeated them over and over. She paced as she sung, moving from a bouncing rocking into a gentle swaying. The baby's head swayed with her, his eyes starting to droop.
I wish I was a spaceman.
The fastest guy alive.
I'd fly you round the universe,
In Fireball XL-5.
Way out in space together,
Conquerors of the sky,
My heart would be a fireball,
Every time I gazed into your starry eyes.
The baby’s head came to rest on her shoulder, his damp little face nuzzling into her neck, his hitching breaths having calmed into the soft, gentle breathing that she was used to.
We'd take the path to Jupiter,
And maybe very soon.
We'd cruise along the Milky Way,
And land upon the moon.
To our wonderland of stardust,
We'll zoom our way to Mars,
My heart would be a fireball,
If you would be my Venus of the stars.
The little body in her arms grew heavier as he finally gave in to the lure of sleep. She continued her gentle rocking, lulling him into a deeper slumber, singing for another ten minutes before her arms began to ache and she thought it might be safe to put him down.
Carefully, inch by inch she lowered the sleepy bundle into his crib, covering him with the light blanket and tiptoed to the door. Now to check on the other two and then the large glass of wine that was awaiting her.
She was halfway down the hall when the peel of the doorbell echoed through the house. Who could that be at this time of night? She broke out into a run, sprinting down the stairs, skidding in the hall as she grabbed for the door handle, desperate to stop whoever was outside from ringing again and shattering her hard earned peace.
“Mrs Tracy?” the delivery driver asked, squinting in the light that poured from the house.
“Package for you, sign here.”
She scribbled her name on the screen he held out and took the offered package, thanked him and shut the door.
Curious, because she hadn’t ordered anything, she carefully opened the box, pushing aside the packing paper. Nestled inside was a brand new replacement for the broken nightlight.
“I take it back,” she whispered to the quiet of the house, “you aren’t that bad a husband, after all.”
She crept back into the baby’s room and unplugged the broken one, swapping it out for the new. A press of a button and once again the ceiling lit up with twinkling, swirling pinpricks of light.
She brushed a gentle hand over the soft mop of red hair that topped his head.
“Look, Johnny, Daddy sent you a present.”
“It’s OK, Allie, it’ll be alright,” Scott soothed, jiggling his baby brother in his arms as the toddler continued to wail as if his heart was breaking, which was pretty close to the truth. “It’s gonna be OK, just please, settle down.”
He’d been walking the little boy up and down for the past hour and nothing, but nothing, was working to settle him. He was still crying, a tired, wailing scream that tugged at the heartstrings and pierced the ears at the same time and honestly, Scott was only just resisting the urge to join him.
How were they supposed to cope on their own? How were they supposed to go on without the person that mopped up their tears and kissed their pain away? How were they supposed to go on when the pain they were feeling was because she wasn’t there?
“Please, Allie,” he whispered, “please go to sleep, I don’t know what you want, I don’t know what to do.”
His brother declined to answer him, his face as red as a tomato as he sobbed, his little legs kicking as he tried to break free of Scott’s hold.
“I know,” Scott sighed, “I know you don’t want me, you want her, I do too. I wish she was here, I wish-”
“Let me try,” a soft voice offered.
Scott turned to see his middle brother standing in the doorway, the light from the hall painting his tired, drawn face with stark shadows.
“You forgot his nightlight,” John murmured as he crossed over to switch on the little glowing orb that would project its blanket of stars onto the ceiling, although there was no accusation in his tone, just the same weary acceptance as Scott’s.
Alan’s sobs stopped abruptly, his eyes drawn to the ceiling and the gently revolving lights that made up a galaxy above their heads. Wordlessly Scott handed over the toddler.
Instead of standing with him John settled himself in the nursing chair that their mother always used. Scott swallowed the lump in his throat at the sight of someone else sitting there, in her spot, taking her place.
It hurt, more than he could put into words. This shouldn’t be happening, they shouldn’t be going through this, she should be there with them.
Scott turned for the door, unable to keep standing there, unable to watch as his brother attempted to fill a tiny part of the gaping void that had opened up in their lives.
He pushed the door closed, leaning his head against the door frame as the soft, low sound of his brother’s voice floated on the air.
I wish I was a spaceman, the fastest guy alive...
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