A Little Understanding

Title: A Little Understanding: an epilogue to A Good Day

Author: Gumnut

21 – 22 Jul 2018

Fandom: Thunderbirds Are Go 2015

Rating: Teen

Summary: “I’m fine, Scott, I promise.”

Word count: 2151

Spoilers & warnings: Nothing canon specific, but won’t
make much sense if you haven’t read ‘A Good Day.’

Author’s note: Apparently Scott had some questions and I seem
to have developed a fascination for Virgil and his piano. I think this may be a
little self-indulgence, so I’m keeping it separate from the main fic. I hope
you enjoy it in any case.

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

It was still dark. The moon still in the sky and the stars
still out, hiding the fact that the sun would be rising in the east in the next
couple of hours. 

It was the hour of quiet. An hour he’d seen quite a bit of
lately, but for the first time Virgil could actually feel it.

He felt at rest, his heart calm.

Even though he again couldn’t sleep.

It didn’t worry him this time. He was tired, but it was a
good tired, not the wretched tired of yesterday.

He padded down the stairs from his bedroom into the kitchen
and got himself a glass of water. His socks didn’t make a sound on the tiles,
the slight rustle of his pyjamas and the hum of the refrigerator the only
sounds not made by the night outside.

He didn’t turn on the light. He didn’t need it. Leaving the
glass on the bench, he climbed the back stairs into the comms room, sock-skated
across to the huge open bay window and out onto the balcony.

He stared out at the ocean. Reflected starlight stared back.

He closed his eyes.

It had been a good day.

A very good day.

A cool breeze ruffled his hair.

A breath in.

A breath out.

A moment of stillness.

A moment to breathe.

An unseen presence appeared beside him.

Without opening his eyes, he opened his mouth. “A bit early
even for you.”

A quiet voice. “And even earlier for you. You okay?” There
was still a touch of worry from yesterday in the question.

Eyes still closed. “I’m fine, Scott, I promise.”

There was silence and the sounds of the night regained their
dominance.

“Virgil, how does it work?”

“How does what work?”

“How do you channel all that into the music?”

Virgil opened his eyes and looked at his brother. The
moonlight sculpted his features in silver. He licked his top lip. “I guess..”
How to explain it? He brought his fingers to his chest. “I take it and shove it
out and make it into something. Use the energy.” He flung his hands forward.
“It gets rid of it. Makes it easier.” A lopsided smile. “And hey, sometimes I
get something to show for it.”

Scott’s voice was quiet. “So what happened yesterday?”

Virgil dropped his head and ran his hand through his hair.
“My fault. Hadn’t done it for a while. Got bottled up. I guess no art makes
Virgil a bear head.”

“It’s that simple? All that grump and all we had to do was
make you sit at the piano?” There was just a hint of a smile on Scott’s face.

Virgil snorted. “Simple? When you put it that way…” He
shrugged. “Maybe.”

“Should we call in Kayo and do that hog-tying?”

“Hah!”

Scott’s smirk wrinkled into a more serious expression.
“Really, Virgil, you scared us.”

He frowned. “Why?”

Blue eyes widened. “Did you hear what you played?”

“Yeah, of course, a whole lotta embarrassing key bashing.
What about it?”

His brother stared at him a moment, a little wide-eyed
before grabbing his arm and directing him back inside the house. He led him
over to the couch, palming the comms remote, and sat them both down. “You need
to see this.”

Virgil realised what his brother was up to. “Aw, you gotta
be kidding me, Scott.” He struggled to get off the couch, but Scott dragged him
back down.

“No, you have to see this. Then maybe you’ll understand.”
There was strain in Scott’s voice. Virgil relented.

The holoprojector lit up and Scott flicked between scenes.
Virgil was chagrined to see himself in all of them, until it settled on the
section his brother was looking for.

Holographic Virgil sat in front of his holographic piano and
began to play.

It was no more than a warm up exercise at first, but then
his holographic form frowned and…

Oh, god.

He felt just about every red blood cell in his body crawl
into his face. His whole family had seen that? He had thought they were all
worried because of the talk he and Gordon had had before the piano made its
appearance. Not because of this…

He felt naked.

Kayo had said powerful and she had meant it. The passion
coming off that keyboard was blatant and raw. When he had been playing, it had
just been sound and rhythm. There was no composition, just the chords he felt
he needed to play. He hadn’t really cared what it sounded like, he had just let
it flow.

It hadn’t just flowed, it had flooded.

All over his family.

Oh, hell. No wonder Grandma had been crying. There would be
a pile of apologies to be made when the sun came up.

He frowned. So that is where the split lip had come from.

-o-o-o-

Scott gritted his teeth as the piece played. It got into his
bones and it still hurt as much as it had the first time, but at least his
brother was sitting beside him this time and not an ocean away.

As the music came to an end, Scott flicked off the holoprojector,
leaving the room to the silver of the moon once again.

His brother continued to stare at where the hologram had
been. After a moment, in a quiet voice. “So do we need an exorcist?”

Scott stared at him. “What?”

“I didn’t realise it sounded that bad, sorry.”

“Bad? What the hell are you talking about, Virgil. You
poured your heart into that piano. That music was full of anger and pain. You
were crying. Hell, John was crying. Can you believe that? Mr Spock himself. You
made the Vulcan cry, Virgil.”

His brother was horrified. “I-I’m sorry.”

Oh, goddamnit. That wasn’t it.  He sat up straighter in the chair, turning
himself more fully to his brother, desperate to get his point across. “No, no,
no, Virgil. You don’t need to be sorry. It is us who should be sorry. We’re
upset because you were hurting and we didn’t see.”

A frown. “I was just tired, Scott. It’s been a long week,
that’s all.”

“You’re trying to tell me that all that emotion came from
just this week?”

“Well, no, but I’m not in pain, Scott. It was just a
build-up, a bit of artistic frustration.”

Scott’s jaw dropped. “You’re kidding?”

“Well, okay, sure, I haven’t played in a while, and I was
tired, and stressed and…yeah, okay, I guess I was hurting a bit. But it is
nothing, Scott. I can manage it. It just got a little bit neglected.” Virgil
wasn’t looking at him anymore. “Sorry, I scared everyone.”

He rubbed his hand through his hair. Now he understood why
Gordon had had so much trouble. There seemed to be a glitch in communicating with
his brother. Somehow what he wanted him to hear just wasn’t getting through.

Virgil seemed to realise his frustration, paused a moment
thinking, then placed a hand on his arm. “C’mere, I want to show you
something.” He stood up, gently pulling on him. Sighing, Scott, got up and let
himself be led.

His brother dragged him over to the piano. “Now sit on the
end of the stool. And listen.”

Virgil sat down in front of the piano and for just a moment,
Scott steeled himself for another assault of pain. He realised what he was
doing and forced himself to relax. He was being ridiculous. This was Virgil, he
had heard him play hundreds of times, why should this time be any different?

Back straight, Virgil flexed his hands in preparation. “You
heard me venting, Scott. A simple release of stress. Our job is stressful. You
run. You punch that bag in the gym. This is how I let it out.” He hesitated.
“It is part of the process. But it is not all that can be released, Scott. It
is only one facet. Perhaps you’ll understand if I release another.” He mock
glared at his brother. “No laughing allowed.”

Scott flung up his hands innocent defence. God, as if he
would ever.

Another flex of his hands, a shift in his shoulders, and
Virgil closed his eyes once more. He sat there for a second more, before
reaching out to the keys. His fingers twitched and caught the ivory.

The music came out sweet, daisy Sundays, a jaunty tune, a
hint of laughter. Scott couldn’t help but feel lifted. The contrast of this
music to the piece from the day before was so stark it was as if it was by a
completely different musician.

The tune shifted slightly, a more serious note floating in,
it became faster, more sure, more powerful. A strong rhythm came into the lead.
It spoke of strength, surety and the rest of the tune followed it behind. It
led the pack, while a dancing note ran in circles around it. Then a deep bass
rumble stepped in, re-enforcing the whole composition. It lifted and then it
flew, notes scattering and swirling like snowflakes.

The music paused, a single run of keys keeping the rhythm
true, before the daisy Sundays returned, the laughter, and not a small amount
of love.

Virgil was smiling, his eyes still closed, his body
twitching to the tempo, fully involved in creating his art.

Eventually the music slowed, the last of the jaunty tune,
bouncing across the keys before several soft notes took over, bringing the
piece to a quietly confident close.

Virgil lifted his fingers off the keys and rested them on
his thighs, looking down a moment.
Quietly. “It’s called Big Brother.”

Scott stared at Virgil, who was refusing to look in his
direction, obviously embarrassed. He looked down at the keys and back at Virgil
again. “Really?”

“Really.” His brother looked up but still didn’t look at
him. Apparently, the bookcase was far more interesting.

“Wow.”

“I guess.”

“No, really, Virgil. Wow.” He grabbed the musician by his
shoulders forcing him to turn towards him.

His brother’s eyes were pleading. “Do you get it now?” Under
the embarrassment, there was a desperate need for understanding. The man had
obviously risked exposing himself to try and communicate something important.
“That was pre-written. I – I’ve had it for a while. Planned to give it to you
on your birthday last year, but…”

Scott frowned. “But what?”

A shoulder half shrugged. “I didn’t.”

“Why?”

Another shrug. “Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that it is
not all pain and misery. That piece…” He swallowed, looking like he was about
to jump off a cliff. “That piece is you, Scott. That is what I think of when I
think of you. All light, strength, power, big brother and yes, laughter. You’ve
always been there, always…anyway, do you understand?”

Scott bit his lip. “I’m not sure.”

Virgil’s shoulders slumped. “I’m fine, Scott. There is
nothing wrong with me. Can’t you see?
It is just a different way of managing…things.”

“Hey, I never said there was anything wrong with you.” His lips twisted. “Though I have considered the
possibility of mutant genes to explain the size of your shoulders. Look at
those things, you sure you’re not using that exo-suit to disguise your
super-human strength?”

Virgil thumped his arm.

“Ow, a demonstration was not needed.”

“Seriously, Scott. I am fine.
You don’t need to worry about me. I promise, I’ll take a bit better care of
myself. But there is nothing to worry about.”

“You’re sure?”

“Aaargh!” His fingers hit the piano and a tumultuous jumble
of notes bounced out, a moment of chaos followed by the immediately recognisable
theme to Jaws.

Scott jumped off the seat, hands up in self-defence. “Okay,
okay, I get it.”

Iconic Twilight Zone notes.

Scott smirked.

Virgil glared. The tune morphed into Pharrell William’s
‘Happy’. ‘Because, I’m happy…’

“I get it already!” He grinned. “Going with the ancient
oldies there, Virg.”

His brother rolled his eyes before turning back to the
piano. The first notes of Grandma’s special composition appeared under his
fingers.

Leaning back against his Dad’s desk, Scott was content to
simply listen and watch his brother. No, he didn’t fully understand him, though
he definitely appreciated him taking the time to try and explain himself – and
that Big Brother music was definitely not going to gather dust in the back of
his brother’s head. There was a recording planned in the future.

In fact, recording more of his music might give Virgil the
motivation to play more often. Scott pondered. There were plenty of rooms in
the villa, shouldn’t be hard to convert somewhere into a sound studio. He’d
speak to Brains.

In the very early morning light, Virgil’s face was lit from
within. Eyes once again closed, swaying to the music.

Turning towards the mezzanine above, Scott smiled at Gordon.

The music danced around the walls.

Gordon smiled too.

-o-o-o-

FIN.

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