For @weirdburketeer because you asked for it 😀

Sometimes the rescue itself wasn’t the hardest part. In fact, that was often the easiest. Focussed, pumped full of adrenalin, it happened, he didn’t think he just did. There was a goal and he tunnel-visioned until he achieved it.

Sometimes it was afterwards, when all that adrenalin was spent, when the aches and pains demanded attention, when his body just wanted sleep, that were the worst. Because no matter the rescue, there was always cleanup, whether it was successful or not.

Today was a mixture of both. They’d saved the children, but lost the parents and it just tore at him. It tore at all of them.

The sound of rushing water was the continual reminder. He wanted nothing more than to escape this place and the life taking river beside them. Thunderbird Two stood with him, silent in the rain, cranked up on her struts, the pod bay door open awaiting the pods’ return.

One pod wouldn’t be returning. Not in one piece. Thunderbird One was chasing it down the swollen river in the hope of recovery. Heavy flotsam had been too much for the argument between TB2’s grapple and the current. They had nearly lost Gordon as well, his brother only just managing to grab the grapple himself, before the pod was swept away.

Rain dripped into Virgil’s hair.

Gordon was bundled up in the medical bay. Bruises, a possible concussion, a little battered, but thankfully safe. The children had been handed over to the local emergency services.

Scott was swearing over the comms as he tried to fish the pod out of the river.

The rain continued, uncaring.

And people kept on staring.

Despite the rain, despite the horror of what had happened, International Rescue still had spectators staring at him and his Thunderbird. They had been cordoned off by local police, but there were eyes and muttering as he remoted the remaining pod into the bay. The one use the swollen river had was to protect him from eyes on one side and he took advantage of it as much as possible.

Rain ran down his neck.

Hiding from the crowd he took a moment and lent back against the side of the pod, his ‘bird’s engine and wing protecting him momentarily from the godawful rain. He wished Scott would snag that pod so they could leave.

Another expletive rolled down the comline.

“Mr Tracy?”

He startled. He must be tired. A young woman stood metres away, her dark hair wet, her clothes equally so. He straightened, professional façade falling immediately into place. “This is a restricted area, ma’am. I will have to ask you to leave.” He eyed the river. “It is not safe.”

She swallowed, her eyes also darting to the river. “I know, sir, I just had to speak to you.”

Virgil frowned and she held up her hands placatingly.

“I know, I know. Just one moment. Please?”

He shook his head, taking a step towards her. “This area is not safe, please return to the barricades.” He blinked as he stepped out into the rain again.

“Please, Virgil. This will only take a moment.”

The use of his name set him on edge. “Who are you?”

She shrunk in on herself a little. “J-just a fan.”

She looked harmless, but Virgil knew looks often counted for very little. “I’m sorry, ma’am, but you will need to return to the barricades.”

“I-I just wanted to thank you.” She shuffled closer to him, her gaze somewhat bedazzled.

“What?”

“For everything you do.” And suddenly her hand was on his arm.

He flinched and took a hurried step backwards, but she followed, closer, and then he was being kissed.

A gasp on soft lips and he was stumbling further back, attempting to get out of reach, but his boots slipped in the mud and her grip was stronger than expected.

A brush of a tongue, then she was leaning in even closer, a whisper in his ear. “A shame really, you are quite beautiful.”

Shocked and confused, he didn’t see the knife.

-o-o-o-

Whispers

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