A Little Privacy

Title: A Little Privacy
Tales of Sotto Voce
Author: Gumnut
8 Sep 2018
Fandom: Thunderbirds Are Go 2015/ Thunderbirds TOS
Rating: Teen
Summary: “Virgil, give yourself a break. Let someone help you for a change.”
Word count: 3094
Spoilers & warnings: Spoilers for Season 2 and Sotto Voce 
Author’s note: Tales of Sotto Voce is planned to be a series of random fics written in the universe created by the events in Sotto Voce – I highly recommend you read that fic first or these won’t make much sense. There will be no order to the fics or set genre, I’m planning to write whatever comes to mind. Especially since several characters are jumping up and down on said mind. ::rolls eyes:: This first one was just a random thought that managed to jell before the others. It is not necessarily anything that has been asked for, but they should appear later. It is also another example of a fic with a life of its own, though it did eventually go in the direction I wanted it to, it definitely did it with less humour and more action than I had planned. I hope you enjoy it anyway ::hugs::

Disclaimer: Mine? You’ve got to be kidding. Money? Don’t have any, don’t bother.

I don’t like it.

You don’t have to. I
have a right to some privacy, Eos.

But this will remove
you from our sight. John is not happy either.

John will live.

We won’t be able to
help you if anything goes wrong.

Nothing is going to go
wrong.

How do you know?

He sighed, staring up at the trees overhead for a moment. It
was a gorgeous day. The sun dancing through the leaves, the smell of fresh mown
lawn from the parklands over the road, cheers and shouts from the sports field
as a friendly game of rugby tussled its way across the grass. He had
purposefully dumped his hire car solely so he could walk in the sun. It was a
short walk to the doctors’ rooms and he wanted to enjoy the calm of the quiet
before once again facing his demons.

It’s a doctor’s
appointment, Eos. No explosives, no cliffs, no daring escapades, no rescues. I
will be fine.

I don’t like it.

So you have said
repeatedly.

Virgil…

Eos, I have a right to
my own privacy. It will only be for an hour. I will be fine, I promise.

I don’t like it.

Well, I’m sorry, but
you will just have to put up with it.

He reached the ivy-covered fence and the wooden gate to the
medical rooms and stood for a moment staring out across the park across the
road.

See you soon, Eos.

She didn’t immediately answer, probably pouting from his
previous statement.

I’m signing off…

Be safe, Virgil.

I will.

And he reached into his pocket and flicked the switch on the
isolator he and Brains had developed. It was a small device that interrupted
the transmissions of the z-band network. It created a bubble around him that
protected him from any digital contact, it isolated him and gave him some
privacy from, well, Eos.

It also cut him from communication with International Rescue
and wiped him off the grid. Scott and John hated it. Eos, upon discovery of its
existence, had been hurt. He had spent a great deal of time speaking with her –
once she would speak to him again – explaining his reasoning. She still hated it.

He understood that she sensed his presence far more than he
sensed hers. That she was able to be aware of him at all times and removing
himself from that awareness scared her. He wasn’t the only one who had been
traumatised by the Hood’s recent attack. But he needed his privacy. There were
times where he knew he wouldn’t want his niece knowing his every move.

And this was one of them.

The doctor was a high-end specialist, located by Colonel
Casey and vetted by Scott and Penelope with a wad of confidentiality forms and
a massive background check. Virgil needed to talk about what had happened to
him. He was not stupid enough to think he could idly return to his occupation
without some form of counselling or psychological assessment and Doc Slick was
the answer to that problem.

It had also led to the need for the isolator. His first
visit had been cut short because Eos had reacted badly to his emotional state.
The receptionist still gave him strange looks when he arrived for appointments
– her computer had never recovered. The second appointment had seen the fire
alarm triggered by a frantic AI.

Virgil had spoken to her at length, but Eos had only
expressed her worry more. The following appointments were more stable, but
Virgil couldn’t really speak his mind with Eos in the room. And he needed too.

The doctor didn’t know about Eos, there were no
confidentiality forms on the planet that would let Virgil tell anyone about the
AI, but he knew enough to know that Virgil was worried about something.

So, the isolator came into play.

He sighed. It was incredibly quiet when it was turned on. He
could tell something was missing. The thought of what hid behind his forehead
was a disquieting at the best of times, but ironically when he was disconnected
from Eos, it came to the fore and bugged him even more.

He should just get it over and done with. He pushed the gate
open and walked down the path through the small neat garden to the front door.

Candy was the name on the receptionist’s badge, and she
certainly lived up to it with a sweet smile for him the moment he walked in the
door. She had been vetted also, Penelope uncovering all sorts of interesting
facts about the woman, including the fact she was currently dating two men at
the same time. They had been both vetted as well – Penelope was definitely
thorough.

“Mr Tracy, how nice to see you today.” She glanced warily at
her computer.

He dipped his head politely and smiled a little. “Hi, Candy.
How’s your day b-been?” His speech still struggled from time to time and it
annoyed him beyond belief. He had never felt so much empathy for Brains. To
think the brilliant engineer had lived with it all his life.

“All well and good. The doctor is just finishing up with his
previous patient. Would you like to take a seat?”

“Of course.” He walked over to the plush seating by the
front window and sat down. A glance at the security camera and sure enough it
was pointed directly at him. Another sigh. And he used to think Scott was over
protective.

He shot it a very pointed glare and a moment later it
swivelled away.

A count to ten in his head.

And it swivelled back.

He grabbed a magazine and buried himself behind it.

The lights suddenly flickered and died. “And there goes my
computer.” It was muttered and he looked over the top of the magazine to see
Candy glaring at her dead screen. “I’m sorry, Mr Tracy, but we seem to have
lost power. This is the second time this week.”

Virgil stood up. “A-anything I can do to help?”

She smiled. “No, no, I think it has something to do with the
roadworks two streets over. It will come back on eventually. You sit down. The
doctor will still want to see you.”

Sitting back down, he grabbed another magazine and actually
found something interesting to read. The isolator denied him access to the
network, so his tablet and phone were useless while it was on. So, two-year-old
gossip mags were his only entertainment.

He had to wait quite some time. It was unusual and it became
apparent why when an ambulance pulled up outside and some paramedics, dragging
a hover gurney, ran into the building. With direction from Candy, they
disappeared into the doctor’s rooms.

Candy caught his eye and smiled reassuringly, but the worry
behind it was obvious. For a moment Virgil was concerned the patient was the
doctor himself.  He was about to get to
his feet and ask if he could help, but the doors flung open again and a female
patient obviously distressed was wheeled out. Doc Slick followed, spouting obs
and patient background to the paramedics as they walked.

Virgil went back to his magazine.

Eventually the doctor returned and greeted Virgil with an
apology for the delay.

“Understandable. I hope she will be o-okay.”

The doctor half-smiled. “She will be.” He clapped his hands
together. “Now how about we have a little talk.”

Virgil rolled his eyes. “Of course, D-doc.”

Slick grinned and ushered him into his office.

The room looked completely different with the lights down
for the count. “Sorry about the power outage. I swear one of the council guys
keeps reading his maps wrong. Last week they hit a water main and twice this
week the power has been cut.”

“Yes, Candy was saying.”

“Have a seat.” The Doc waved him to the comfortable lounge
where he had bared his soul before. He shut the door behind him, and as Virgil
sat down, took a seat himself. “So how have things been?”

Virgil shrugged. “Okay.”

“I hear your brothers helped with that earthquake in the
Philippines.”

Virgil blinked. “Y-yeah.”

And it began there. Idle talk that eventually cut to the
core of his issues. And there were issues. He still had trouble relaxing around
John, through no fault of his poor brother. He was frustrated that he couldn’t
go out on rescues, particularly like that one in the Philippines which would
have required his specific skill set and equipment load. And, of course, there
were nightmares.

God, the nightmares. With his connection with Eos, the
nightmares took on a whole new meaning. The first time it had happened, the
whole of International Rescue had ended up in his bedroom. Eos had been
terrified, not understanding what was happening to him. She had calmed somewhat
since, once he and John had explained extensively and she became familiar with
the signs. Her help had since become invaluable in waking him up during the
worst of them and reassuring him that he was okay.

Doc Slick was gentle with his words, but it was inevitable
that there were moments of vulnerability in this room that Virgil would dread
to show anywhere else. He needed to do this to get better, he knew this, but it
was hard.

Consequently, he was usually exhausted at the end of the
sessions and today was no different.

He ran a hand over his face as the doctor stood up. The man
held out his hand and Virgil took it, hauling himself to his feet. “Th-thanks,
Doc.”

Slick smiled a little. “You’re doing great, Virgil.”

“Yeah, I g-guess.”

The doctor fixed him with his eyes. “Virgil, give yourself a
break. Let someone help you for a change.”

He had to let out a laugh at that, thinking of his four brothers,
his sister, his grandma, Brains and Eos, all of who had been trying to help him
so much. He didn’t think there was anything he could do to repay them.

“S-sure, Doc.”

Slick frowned, but ushered him towards the door. “Don’t
hesitate to visit when you need to Virgil, but in the meantime, see you next
week?”

“Yeah, I’ll make the ap-appointment.”

He opened the door and walked out into the reception area
only to come face to face with a lounging Scott Tracy, apparently chatting up
Candy. His brother was dressed up in his full IR regalia, leaning on the front
desk with that luring playboy smile of his.

Virgil froze in his tracks, the doctor colliding with his
back. “What?”

“Oh, hey, Virg.” The casual air faded as his brother looked
closer at him. “You okay?”

“W-what are you doing here?”

“Um…” Scott Tracy lost for words. He never thought he’d see
that.

Virgil glared at him before turning his attention to the
receptionist. Pulling out his credit card and speaking nicely to Candy, he
processed his appointment and made the next one. He ignored the doctor greeting
his brother, shaking his hand and making small talk.

With a polite farewell to Candy and a nod to his doctor, he
grabbed Scott by his arm and dragged him out the door. The mum and her kid in
the waiting room stared openly.

Once out on the garden path, he rounded on his brother.
“What the h-hell are you doing here?”

Scott wasn’t looking him in the eye, a clear sign of guilt.
“Uh, there was a power blackout.”

“So?”

“You’ve been gone two hours.”

“I repeat, so?!”

“Uh…”

Something about the sounds from the park across the road
drew his attention. There were yells of amazement and at least one clear word
came through.

“You d-didn’t.”

“Virgil.”

He turned and stalked to the gate opening it to the view
across the road.

Where Thunderbird One was parked in the middle of the rugby
field.

“Scott? Really?” He felt like clawing his hair out.

“Eos and John panicked.” Scott ran a hand through his hair.
“Okay, not my best judgement call, I admit.”

“You’ve g-got to be kidding me. One hour. I asked for one
hour!”

“It was two! And there was no contact. The whole block is
dead, Virgil.”

“It was a p-power outage.”

“It could have been anything!”

“Well, it wasn’t!”

The crowd over the road was getting bigger and there were
more than a few looks darting in their direction. Behind them, both Candy and
Doc Slick had edged out onto the path, catching sight of the Thunderbird across
the road.

“Virgil, are you okay?” Slick looked concerned.

“Ah, sorry, D-doc, I’m fine. Just a mis-misunderstanding.”
He glared at his brother again. “I’m going back to my car.”

“Virg.”

“Not n-now.” And he turned his back on his brother and stalked
down the formerly peaceful street, listening to first his brother speaking over
his comms reassuring some hyperactive voices that Virgil was okay. Then his
doctor speaking to Scott.

God damnit.

And the delighted yells of ‘Thunderbird’ across the park.

One hour, just one hour.

One lousy hour to himself.

He made it to the end of the street, turned the corner so he
was out of sight and let his back lean against the high fence and dropped his
head into his hands.

It was all so hard.

“Hey, sir, are you okay?”

He looked up as a man about his age approached. “I’m okay,
no w-worries.” He forced a smile.

The man looked him up and down a moment. “Are you sure?”

“Yeah.”

“Then please give me all your valuables.” There was a knife
in the man’s hand.

Virgil couldn’t help it. He burst out laughing. “You have
got to be k-kidding me.”

“No joke, mate. Give me what I want or you’ll pay for it.”
Supposedly he thought he was menacing.

Virgil moved. A hand came up deflecting the knife, the other
grabbing the man’s free hand and twisting his wrist, forcing him to turn.
Another grab at the knife arm, and Virgil dug his fingers into tendons, forcing
him to let go. The knife bounced off the pavement as the man yelped. Virgil
pushed his weight forward and the man was flung to the ground. A knee in the
middle of his back and he was contained. “You were s-saying?”

He said a lot of things, none of them repeatable.

“Listen, I’ve h-had a bad day. Could you p-please just shut
up.”

The man fell silent.

Now what the hell was he going to do?

“Virgil?” Scott. Of course, he followed. “What the hell?”

“Can you believe he tried to mug me?”

“Really? Well that was a stupid idea.”

“I think he’s w-worked that out now. Have you got a-anything
in that uniform of y-yours I could res-strain him with?”

A few moments later the mugger was tied up with a jimmied IR
harness. He kept staring at Scott’s uniform. “You’re a Thunderbird?”

Both brothers ignored him. Scott called the police, and
Virgil made a quick verbal statement when they arrived. Eventually they were
left to themselves, the only sounds, the mutterings of the crowd down the road.
Virgil walked them towards his car further down the street.

“I’m sorry, Virg.”

The engineer sighed. “I know. I kn-now. And believe it or n-not,
I can unders-stand.” He caught his brother’s eyes. There had been so many times
when Virgil had been too far away to help and would have done anything to be
beside his brother.

“Forgiven?”

“Sure.” Virgil shrugged. “Though the c-council may never
forgive you after what you’ve d-done to their rugby f-field.”

“I’ll pay for it.” He smirked. “They are lucky I didn’t
bring your ‘bird. Remember what you did to that stadium in Oklahoma?”

“Don’t r-remind me. I’m lucky if they’ll ever l-let me in
the state again.” He smiled, and on impulse, turned around and hugged his
brother. “Thanks, b-bro, for always being there.”

Scott startled, but then returned the hug with gusto. “Always,
Virg, always.”

He stepped back after a moment and looked up at his brother.
“Now go m-move that t-tin can of yours so they can go back to their game.”

Scott smirked. “I suspect the opportunity to see a
Thunderbird outranked their game.”

“Show off.”

“Yeah, them the perks.”

Virgil rolled his eyes. “Go on, g-get out of here.”

Scott touched his arm, his eyes earnest. “Virg, let her back
in. She’s frantic.”

“Aw, hell.”

Scott squeezed his arm. “Yeah.” And with a short wave, he
was off up the street.

Virgil turned to his car, climbing in and shutting the door before
reaching for the isolator.

The moment it was switched off, he was engulfed.

It was a hug, the swirl of a dress, a sob, a welcome, a
jumble of worry, relief and love. Words tumbled through his mind so fast he was
only able to capture a few. His heart froze and his mind stalled. Overloaded.

God.

Eos-

And it stopped. She stepped back. And he was breathing
again.

He clutched a hand to his chest, panting at the lack of
oxygen.

Sorry.

He had never been so glad that Scott had left when he did.
If he had seen what Eos was capable of doing, there would have been
consequences.

A little slower next
time, please. Give me the chance to breathe.

Sorry.

His comm chirped in his collar and touched it with a
slightly shaky hand. “I’m f-fine, John.”

“Good to hear.” John’s sharp tone only spoke of worry. “Scott
reported the mugging. Eos was concerned.”

“I n-noticed.”

“I was concerned.”

“I’m fine, John. A-ask Eos.” And with that he cut the
connection.

Eos, I know you were
worried, but there was no need to send Scott.

You were mugged!

Attempted mugging. He regretted
it immediately.

But I couldn’t contact
you. I couldn’t find you.

Eos, I’m okay.

I didn’t know that!

It never worried you
before our connection.

That was different.

Why?

I didn’t know how…important
you are.

In what way?

In every way.

He shut his eyes for a moment. Eos, we need to work this out. You can’t call International Rescue
every time I go off grid a little longer than expected.
A sigh. Let’s get home and then perhaps we can work
out a compromise or two?

Yes, Virgil.

I’m not your boss,
Eos. I’m just family.

She sent him a smile.

He smiled back.

Pulling out the keys, he started the car.

And yawned.

Letting other people help was hard work.

But he couldn’t help but love them for it.

-o-o-o-

FIN

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