Title: Attempt: chapter three of Sotto Voce
28-30 Aug 2018
Fandom: Thunderbirds Are Go 2015/ Thunderbirds TOS
Summary: Sometimes the voices are far too loud to ignore.
Word count: 1800
Spoilers & warnings: Mentions of suicide. Spoilers for the end of Season 2
Author’s note: This is the shortest installment so far, but it called for it again. Feel free to join me on the giant cliff of hang again. Sorry ::hugs::
Disclaimer: Mine? You’ve got to be kidding. Money? Don’t have any, don’t bother.
Scott nursed his coffee, staring out into the morning sun. Down below Gordon was lapping the pool, but it was one of the loungers that kept Scott’s attention. Virgil was asleep sprawled on his back, shirtless. Scott didn’t know how long he had been there. He was there at five am when Scott went for his morning run and he was still there when he got back. Nothing seemed to have disturbed his snoring.
It was unusual, to say the least. Why he was out here, Scott didn’t have a clue. Usually Virgil didn’t see daylight until at least past nine unless there was a callout or his ‘Bird needed some extra attention. His brother was more of a late nighter than an early riser. And why the pool lounger?
The purple bruising across his shoulders and torso from the safety harness available for all to view.
Scott’s coffee burned on the way down.
It was the question still hammering the inside of his skull. Why would Virgil purposefully crash that hydrofoil? It didn’t make sense. There was no sign of…well…anything. The concept of Virgil seeking his own end…no, it wasn’t possible! He stared down at his brother. Was it? They say that those closest often don’t see it coming.
Scott had spent the entire night going over everything in his head. Virgil was under stress, yes, but no more than usual. They all knew what their jobs entailed, they all kept an eye on one another for indications of help needed. They talked, they discussed. Hell, everyone knew that if Virgil started pounding the piano keys or getting particularly violent with his paintbrush that he needed to be checked on. It was the same if certain pieces of gym equipment took too much of a beating, or if a tablet went flying across the room, or if Gordon couldn’t be dragged out of the pool. They looked after each other, they all knew each other’s indicators, there were five of them, enough for intervention if it was needed.
Part of him wanted to shake his brother awake and ask him. But there were no signs that Virgil even remembered the accident, much less causing it. John, Brains and himself had decided to watch and wait. They would tell Alan and Gordon if necessary, but for the moment they would keep an eye on their engineer brother.
Down on the lounger Virgil’s head shifted side to side and he mumbled.
“No!” And his brother was in motion, his arms reaching out as if to push something away, his legs scrambling as if to run, his body toppling off the lounger and onto the decking below.
“Virgil?” Gordon was leaping out of the pool and Scott was flying down the stairs. Scott skidded through the kitchen and around the pool, but Gordon beat him to it.
At any other time, Virgil falling off a lounger would have been hilarious, but after recent events, everyone was touchy around the second eldest. They had almost lost him and Virgil was no joking matter.
“I’m fine, Gordon. Just a bad dream.” And then Virgil’s glare hit Scott with a dare for him to say anything else.
Scott obliged and with a sense of déjà vu offered him a hand up. “Pancaking again, Virg?”
The glare sharpened, but he took the offered hand as a wet Gordon stepped back, expression slightly confused.
Virgil grunted as he righted himself. It was obvious his brother was stiff and sore, and he staggered slightly, Scott using his other hand to steady him. “Any reason for sleeping beside the pool?”
“I needed the air.” Virgil didn’t look at him. “I’m going to go have a shower.” He took a step towards the house.
“See you at breakfast.”
Virgil waved a negligent hand in his direction as he walked off into the house.
Scott looked down at Gordon and let out a worried breath. “Yeah.”
Virgil felt so much better after a hot shower. Some of his muscles actually worked now. His head still ached, but that could be ignored, mostly.
He downed a glass of water in his suite and decided to forego breakfast. His stomach just didn’t feel like it. He tried to think back to why he had been out by the pool and why he had yelled himself awake again and came up blank on both scores. Of the two the fact he was beside the pool was the most unnerving. Last he remembered he had been in his own bed.
John’s hologram suddenly appeared in front of him and he jumped. “Hell, John, give a guy a little warning.”
John arched an eyebrow at him, but didn’t acknowledge his protest. “Virgil, we need you, Brains and Thunderbird Two. Report to the hangar bay.”
Virgil didn’t hesitate. “FAB.”
And he was out the door.
Brains was tired.
Since the discovery of Virgil’s sabotage of the hydrofoil test, he hadn’t been able to rest. Of the five brothers, Brains felt he knew Virgil best. They had a great deal in common and they worked together well.
He could see no reason why Virgil did what he did. It was so far out of character it defied possibility. It would be like dropping a hammer in a standard gravitational field and have it fall up instead of down. It was a nigh impossible result.
But it had happened nonetheless.
He was standing amongst the remains of the little hydrofoil at the back of Thunderbird Two’s hanger when he heard the hiss of Thunderbird Two’s pilot delivery gantry deploy far above him. A blink and Virgil came flying out, catching the bars at the end of the ride and flinging himself into his ship.
A moment later the module bay opened and Thunderbird Two lowered herself over Module Four.
Brains frowned. What?
At any other time, it would have been an every day thing, but Virgil was grounded, Virgil had apparently tried to kill himself. Brains hit his comm. “S-scott, Virgil is in Th-thunderbird Two. Is he c-cleared for that?”
“What? No!” There was the sound of hurried footsteps. “Coming down.”
Perhaps Virgil just wanted to do some maintenance? Brains walked over towards the green machine. But then why was he in his uniform? Virgil always wore his daggiest clothes for maintenance as he always managed to get filthy.
“Brains!” And Virgil was running towards him. “We’re needed.”
The young engineer skidded to a halt in front of him, his expression energised. “Unknown. John said he would brief us in flight.”
Brains frowned. “B-but y-you’re grounded.”
Something flickered across Virgil’s face and for a split second there was an expression of pain. Then it was gone. “We’re needed.”
Brains took a step back. “S-scott will be here in a moment. H-hopefully he will h-have more information.”
That flicker again and this time, Virgil grimaced. “I need you on board Thunderbird Two. It is urgent.”
He took another step back. Virgil was a big man, but Brains had never seen him use that advantage in a threatening way, ever. The man was so gentle. But just at this moment, there was something, some potential, that sent a chill up his spine. He kept his mouth shut, hoping to delay enough for Scott to arrive.
Virgil took a step closer. “Please, Brains.”
He swallowed. “I-I can’t, V-Virgil. I-I’m s-sorry.”
Another grimace, another flicker of pain and Virgil closed his eyes, a hand covered his face, his shoulders hunching just a little.
Brains scurried back a few more steps, suddenly afraid.
But Virgil was faster, the larger man abruptly bending down to grab Brains about the waist. The world tipped up and Brains found himself hanging head down over Virgil’s shoulder, his only sight blue and green boots running beneath him.
Brains yelled and struggled, but Virgil was as strong as he was large. The engineer didn’t have a hope. The hanger floor was replaced by the chequered plating of Thunderbird Two’s hatch and then he was swallowed up by the big ship.
Virgil wasn’t sure what was happening.
John kept yelling urgencies at him, yet Brains seemed so blasé about it all, as if he didn’t care that there were people out there who needed them.
God, his head hurt.
“Virgil, you need to secure the engineer.” He jumped at the sight of his holographic brother yet again. John looked agitated, which was unusual and likely a sign of how urgent this callout was.
Brains was still struggling, but Virgil pulled out the co-pilot’s seat and deposited him gently in its embrace. “Please don’t make me restrain you.”
He ignored the expression of horror on Brain’s face and set about pre-flight checks.
“Wh-why are you d-doing this?”
“Because they need us.” He activated the launch sequence.
Virgil looked at his fellow engineer. “Those who need saving.”
“Stop dithering and get moving.” John’s expression was harsh and completely out of character.
“Virgil! What are you doing?!” Scott ran into the launch bay, his expression somewhere between worry and terror.
“Get a move on!” John was snarling now.
Virgil stared at his brother on the floor of the bay. “I-“
And pain exploded in his head.
He might have cried out, he wasn’t sure, the world whited out for a moment and he teetered to one side. “Launch the damn ship!”
In desperation he hit the control for the bay door.
He hit it again.
“You’re not leaving, Virgil.” Scott was staring up at him defiantly. “I won’t let you.”
“No. I have to-“
He hit it yet again with no result.
A knife stabbed through his brain and this time he did scream.
“We must leave now!”
Desperate to make it all stop, Virgil deployed Thunderbird Two’s cutting laser. Red leapt out of the front nozzle of the ship and began carving a hole in the solid rock of the bay door. He was vaguely aware of Scott diving for cover far down below.
“Virgil, why are you doing this?” And it was John’s hologram on the dash that asked. Sitting right next to the same hologram that was snarling at him. Virgil froze staring.
“J-John?” And the pain spiked again. “I have t-“
“Virgil! Launch now!”
He looked between the two holograms, one furious, the other familiar, reassuring and safe.
Virgil’s fingers quietly cut off the laser cutter.
“Damn you!” And the pain hit again.
“No! No, I won’t!” But the words dissolved into screams.
Somewhere outside the pain there was yelling, then hands were holding him, pulling at him, his name was called. But all he could see was John, anger in his eyes, a snarl on his lips, his green eyes blazing.
End Part Three.