Title: Epilogue to Love
Part 7 of 6, directly after Love
19-20 Aug 2018
Fandom: Thunderbirds Are Go 2015/Thunderbirds: TOS
Summary: For the world is unkind and it needs your touch.
Word count: 2426
Spoilers & warnings: None
Author’s note: Gordon had questions. The result was this. Virgil was uncooperative as per usual and I don’t think anyone really got any clear answers. But then, was it really anyone’s business? Eh, make of it what you will, but I hope you enjoy it anyway. Many, many thanks to all the wonderful people who have read, liked, commented and reviewed this fic. You all feed my pen.
Disclaimer: Mine? You’ve got to be kidding. Money? Don’t have any, don’t bother.
Virgil closed his eyes and let the sun settle on his face. It wasn’t often that he lazed by the pool, but since the incident at St Bart’s he hadn’t been particularly mobile. He was still severely underweight, pale and slow moving, thanks to the dark scarring on the right side of his abdomen.
The day was perfect and after his physio in the pool, kindly supervised by Gordon, he lay topless in the sun, enjoying the warmth and the vitalising rays.
He let himself relax.
The sound of birds.
The splash of water as his brother did a few laps.
He was home.
He was slowly getting better.
Tune in to the island.
A moment of relief.
Well, at least one moment.
He refused to open his eyes. “Yes, Gordon?”
“So, you sing, huh?”
It was inevitable.
“No, Gordon, I don’t.”
“But you can?”
“But I don’t.”
“I presume Scott gave you the full story. If not, I’m sure he is available for an update.”
There was the sound of water splashing on the pavers and then soft footpads as his wet brother approached. The creak of the lounge beside him.
Gordon’s voice was quiet. “I’m just trying to understand, Virgil. You…can sing, brilliantly, and, well, you don’t.”
“No, I don’t. I thought we had covered this.”
Gordon sighed, but didn’t say anything further.
Virgil tuned him out and attempted to reconnect with the island. Peace. Relax.
But no, his conscience niggled him. He frowned.
A sigh. “What did you want to know, Gordon?”
A rustle beside him. “Uh, why don’t you sing?”
“Because I don’t want to.”
“You sang that Hollies song.”
“It was the only way to get you guys to stop fighting.”
“You sing and dance to music in your studio.”
“What?” Virgil’s eyes shot open and he sat up. Ow, damnit. Slower. He gripped his side.
“Hey, hey, take it easy, Virg.” Gordon leapt off his lounge and knelt beside Virgil, his hands attempting to support him.
Virgil pinned him with his eyes. “When were you in my studio?”
“Uh, um, never?” Technically.
He narrowed his eyes.
Gordon moved back a little. “Well, you do, don’t you?”
“How would you know?”
Virgil pressed his lips together. “Stay out of my studio, Gordon.”
He held up his hands in defence. “Never step foot in it, I swear.”
The glare continued for a moment before Virgil shifted his weight awkwardly and edged himself back down. So much for the relaxation. Determined, he closed his eyes.
“You sang to those kids.”
Virgil sagged. “What do you want me to say, Gordon? I can sing, big deal.”
“It is a big deal. You could have been world famous. You could have been top of your profession.”
“I was world famous, or didn’t you notice the viewlist on that holo.” He was keeping his eyes closed, damnit.
“Exactly. The world wanted more of you. It was such an opportunity.”
Virgil threw himself into a sitting position, this time ignoring the flare of pain down his side. “It was a tragedy, Gordon. Nothing more, nothing less. The newscasts said it all. ‘Poor little Tracy boy sings his heart out at death of his mother’. They had no idea. No concept. She was-“ Gordon’s eyes were narrowed at him, his gaze flicking to Virgil’s right side, assessing. “Oh, for god’s sake, Gordon, I’m fine!” And he tried to stand up.
Too low, too injured. Too much gravity.
He staggered sideways and would have fallen off the lounge completely if Gordon hadn’t caught him. His brother’s arms seemed to hold him that moment longer before gently lowering him back down to the lounge. “C’mon, Virgil, take it easy.”
He was panting. Between the pain in his side and the aggravation of his mind, he was angry. He glared at Gordon. “I was until you started interrogating me.”
Gordon sighed and stepped back. “I’m sorry. I just want to understand.”
“Understand what? Why I didn’t go for my gold medal?”
“Well, yeah. Why not? It was there waiting for you. We Tracys always reach for the sky.”
“Those are Dad’s words.”
“How does a choral singer end up with his pilot’s license, Gordon? In fact, how did five out of five brothers end up with their pilot’s license?”
Gordon frowned. “You can’t possibly blame this all on Dad. It was your choice.”
“I was ten years old, Gordon.”
“C’mon, Dad has always supported everything we’ve ever done.”
“Yes, and so did Mom.”
Gordon blinked and Virgil knew it was a low blow. His second youngest brother barely remembered his mother. Alan didn’t at all.
Virgil did. And to this day there was a gaping hole where she used to be.
A sigh. “Gordon, Mom was like me. You, Scott and Alan are like Dad. John…” He tilted his head to one side. “Well, John is John. But I’m…Mom understood.”
Quiet. “And we don’t?”
“No…yes…hell, I don’t know and, in any case, it is irrelevant because she is gone.”
“So, you don’t sing because Mom isn’t here.”
“She left, Gordon, okay!”
Virgil froze, realising what he had just said. Gordon’s eyes widened, and suddenly Virgil had to be anywhere but here. He struggled to his feet, shoving Gordon’s worried hands off him, turning only to trip over the end of the lounger.
Another pair of strong hands caught him and he looked up to be pinned by the frowning blue eyes of his big brother.
“Virgil, what the-“
He regained his balance, shoved an arm against his side and waved off his brother’s hands. “I’m okay. Just going inside.” He pointed upwards. “Sun. Too hot. Inside.” And before he could embarrass himself further, headed off to his room without looking back.
Scott watched Virgil stalking painfully back into the house before turning his gaze full strength onto his second youngest brother. “What did you do, Gordon?”
For once in his life, Gordon looked thoroughly guilty…and worried. “I asked him why he doesn’t sing.”
“Why? I thought I made it clear how difficult a subject that was for Virgil.” And this was precisely why both Gordon and Alan hadn’t been told in the first place. Well, one of the reasons.
“I want to understand him, Scott. The guy mystifies me. I can’t understand why he wouldn’t have gone for it.”
Scott’s lips thinned. “Did you find out?”
“He said Mom left.”
“No, he said Mom ‘left’. Something about us being like Dad and him being like Mom and she left. Even accused Dad of forcing us all to get our pilot’s licenses. Dad wouldn’t have stopped Virgil from singing would he?”
The expression on Gordon’s face was almost pleading, as if he was looking for reassurance that the pedestal he had placed his father on didn’t have cracks in it.
Scott looked down a moment and chewed on his lip. Thinking back to that time wasn’t something he enjoyed. “I don’t think so. We were all pretty messed up, particularly Dad. Virgil not talking didn’t help.” He looked up at Gordon again. “I don’t recall him saying anything against Virgil continuing to sing.” A sigh. “But then I don’t remember any encouragement either.” He shrugged. “It was a bad time, for all of us.”
“I just keep thinking, what if I hadn’t pursued my swimming career? How would I have felt?” Russet brown eyes stared up at him. “It would have been…I really can’t comprehend how he has been feeling all these years. It must have hurt. And to think he is still hurting…”
“Of course, it hurt. Do you think I haven’t thought of that? That I haven’t had to watch him go through that? I was there, Gordon. He stopped speaking. Couldn’t utter a damn word to save himself. I-“ Scott threw up his hands. “I almost wish I hadn’t shown you that video. Bringing this up all over again-“
“Well, maybe it needs to be brought up again. He is obviously still hurting.” Gordon’s hackles were up, his glare passionate.
“It will never stop hurting, Gordon!” Now he was shouting. “Mom is gone. She’s never coming back. And there is not a damn thing we can do about it.”
“This isn’t about Mom! This is about Virgil! Yes, we lost her. Yes, he lost her support as well. Why the hell didn’t we step in and help? There was never any lack of support for my swimming. Or for your Air Force ambitions, race car driving, or god forbid those of us who dared to astronaut. But piano, singing, art, where the hell is the career Virgil should have had, and why the hell was it replaced with engineering?”
“Because that is what he wanted!”
Gordon’s voice went deadly quiet. “No, it sounds like what Dad would have wanted.”
Scott stared at his brother, his blood boiling, but his heart breaking. Really? Could it be what had happened. Had they failed him?
A soft and slightly shaky voice entered the conversation. “I chose engineering because it is just another artform. Mom always said ‘Be what you can and make what you will be.’ So I did.” Virgil shrugged. “I can make music, and I can draw and paint, but I can also make a much bigger difference to this world as an engineer.”
Scott stared at his brother. The man looked pale and shrunken, his arm clutched at his side, but his eyes…there was a vulnerability in his eyes. Scott reached out a hand. “Virgil-“
His brother stepped slightly out of reach, obviously not willing to let himself be helped.
“I would have thought that would be obvious considering how many lives we’ve saved.”
“But are you happy?” The words burst from Scott, suddenly desperate for reassurance.
Virgil tilted his head and looked up at his brother. “Is that what is important here?”
“Then I am.”
“Scott, this is old. Water under the bridge. Really, can we please leave it there?”
“If you are happy, then why don’t you sing? You were so happy back then, why not now?”
“I was ten!”
“You were happy!”
“I’m happy now!”
Virgil stood frozen for a moment, his glare defiant, but then something shifted in his stance, his shoulders straightening, his posture standing taller. His glare pinned Scott to the spot.
And he began to sing.
That same song from Vienna, German falling effortlessly from his lips. Gone was the boyish voice and in its place a deep rich baritone equally trained, equally practised, but long hidden. Barely aware of Gordon beside him, Scott was swept up in the depths of his brother’s voice. Pool side was hardly a choral hall, but Virgil projected his voice to his audience. In the house behind him, Alan suddenly appeared on the balcony, Kayo and Grandma from the kitchen.
Virgil’s gaze did not flicker from Scott at all.
The song rose to its crescendo, so familiar to Scott, once, twice and again, Virgil’s voice dipping towards its end, the absent choir not led, but compensated for. And then those two last words, softly sung to an amazed choral hall, translated into English as ‘love you’.
A stunned silence followed.
Until Virgil tilted slightly sideways. “Ow.” Scott darted over to his side, Gordon a split second behind him. Virgil wilted into their support. “Sorry. Don’t quite have the sustaining muscles at the moment.”
Without a word both brothers manhandled their negligent artist over to the lounger, nagging him to lie down.
“Okay, okay, I’m down. I’m fine, relax.”
“What were you thinking?”
“I was thinking that the two of you should stop arguing about me.” He drew in a pained breath. “I was thinking I could shut you up.” Again with the glare.
“Was it worth it?”
“Maybe. Depends. You guys going to stop yelling?”
He could feel Gordon’s eyes on him, but he refused to drop his stare from Virgil. “Maybe.” He was now heavily aware of the extra audience his brother’s singing had harnessed. Grandma, Kayo and Alan now all stood at the kitchen doors. “Depends.”
Virgil stared up at his brother. “What do you want me to say?”
Quietly, ever aware of their audience. “The truth.”
“I need to know.”
“You need to know.”
“Why don’t you sing?”
“I just did. You told me to.”
“Because I wanted to keep it for myself, okay. It is all I had left of her, and it was mine.” He tried not to flinch, but it was hard while lying prone under the stares of his brothers. “She was gone. I was the odd one out. The singing was mine, so I kept it for myself.” If he couldn’t have her, then no one could have him. He glared up at both of them. “Have we finished the psychoanalysis? I’d like to go back inside now.”
“You’re the ‘odd one out’?”
“Of course, I am.” He glared.
“I’m not ashamed of it, Scott. I am what I am. Just a bit different from the rest of you. Do you have a problem with that?”
“Then, for goodness sake, drop the subject and stop worrying.” He flicked his glare to Gordon. “You, too. I’m still the same person as I was before you discovered I was a choir boy. The rest is my business, so, politely, please leave it to me.”
He groaned as he tried to lever himself up on to his elbows. “Though, if you would be kind enough to give me a hand back inside…”
Both Scott and Gordon reached down and helped him to his feet. One under each arm, they walked him past the rest of the family, up to his room and to his bed. Virgil let himself relax into the mattress. He’d overdone it again, but it might have been worth it.
Gordon left, no doubt prompted by his brother, but Scott, as expected, hovered.
“I’m fine, Scott. No need to worry.” He snuggled into the softness of the pillow. Lovely. Relax. “Just leave it. I’m fine.”
A muttered, “And you wonder why we don’t believe you.”
“What? Go, Scott, I’m fine.” And for good measure. “And I’ll even sing at Grandma’s next birthday if that will make you happy.”
“Get out.” It wasn’t quite a growl, but it was enough for the door to open and close rather quickly.
A deep breath.