Gentle Rain (Part Sixteen)

Title: Gentle Rain
Warm Rain Series
Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five | Part Six | Part Seven | Part Eight | Part Nine | Part Ten | Part Eleven | Part Twelve | Part Thirteen | Part Fourteen | Part Fifteen | Part Sixteen
Author: Gumnut
23 – 26 Feb 2019
Fandom: Thunderbirds Are Go 2015/ Thunderbirds TOS
Rating: Teen
Summary: Sometimes it is so gentle, you don’t realise it is happening.
Word count: 2583
Spoilers & warnings: Virgil/Kayo, Scott/OC, Gordon/Penelope, spoilers for Warm Rain up to this point in the timeline.
Timeline: Six months after ‘The Proposal’, almost a sequel.
Author’s note: For @scribbles97​ There has been kicking and screaming in the process of writing this. Many thanks to all who have put up with my incessant whining about this fic. I hope you enjoy it anyway.
Disclaimer: Mine? You’ve got to be kidding. Money? Don’t have any, don’t bother.
-o-o-o-

Scott was sick to death of the hoverchair. To be able to climb out of it and walk anywhere he wanted to, to run, jump and throw himself wherever he chose, god, he couldn’t wait.

Of course, as he watched Em ‘scoot down the hospital corridor to go talk doctor to other doctors about Virgil, he felt it in his gut knowing that she had no such freedom to look forward to.

Gerald was on security duty again and the man gave him a small smile while holding out the palm scanner. Scott attempted a similar expression in return, but he really didn’t feel it.

A swipe of his ident card and Gerald held the door for him.

The blinds were still drawn in his brother’s room, but the sun was bright today and it crept around the edges, lighting up the stark space.

Scott came to a complete halt when he found his brother asleep and his sister in a similar state curled up beside him.

His heart lurched.

Virgil was pale despite his sleeping state, dark smudges under his eyes. Kayo held him nestled to her chest protectively even in sleep and he had no doubt that should he wake either of them, the fallout would be unpleasant.

He froze where he was, knowing the smallest noise would likely wake his sister. He was surprised she wasn’t already glaring at him.

It gave him a moment to really look at both of them.

To be honest he had been a little wary of the two of them becoming involved with each other. Sure, he had been the one to point it out to his brother, but there had been an element of fear ever since.

However, he had never seen his brother so happy. Despite the anguish and pain of the last few years. Gordon was right. Virgil’s medical record was a mess. Amongst the injuries acquired during rescues, the two bullet wounds in his back and the most recent injuries to his side, the man had spent a good chunk of the last three years in recuperation.

And during that recuperation, International Rescue had been down one of its most important assets. Could they function without their brother? Probably. Would they be as effective? No. Scott hated the thought of not having his first brother at his back. It had sucked all during the times he had been ill. It sucked right now. Virgil was more than just another operative. He was the heart of the operation.

While Scott could lead without him, the question was, what would he be leading?

And did he want to lead at all?

But what could he do? Beg his brother to keep risking his life? Ask him to sacrifice his health yet again? Virgil’s position on the team was needed more than any other, except perhaps John’s. And while John worked hard, Virgil might find himself hanging off a mountain in the morning, ferrying rescuees over lunch and then battling a fire in the afternoon. Sometimes it just didn’t stop.

They needed help.

The thought was obvious, but it was an epiphany nonetheless.

He didn’t get to examine the thought because at that very moment a nurse burst into the room carrying a jug of water and a cup of pills.

“Good morning, Mr Tracy.” The woman stopped in her tracks as Kayo leapt off the bed and placed herself between the nurse and her fiancé. “Oh my.”

Kayo blinked, frowned and her eyes darted to Scott, immediately settling into a glare. Stepping back, she eyed the nurse as she approached a dopey, fumbling Virgil.

His brother’s voice was little more than a rasp. “What the hell?”

“I am sorry, Mr Tracy. I did not realise you had company, or that you were still sleeping.”

Kayo muttered something under her breath and the nurse raised an eyebrow before turning her attention to Virgil. “Mr Tracy, it is time for your medication.”

Virgil blinked, obviously foggy from sleep. “Don’t want any more pills.”

“These will help you breathe easier, Mr Tracy.” The nurse poured a plastic cup of water. “Here, take a drink to wash them down.”

Scott’s heart hurt at the sheer vulnerability in his brother’s eyes. The man was obviously exhausted despite whatever sleep he had managed.

Kayo looked ready to rip the nurse’s head off.

His brother blinked repeatedly, as if realising he needed to think straight for the situation. Reaching out, he took the cup of pills and downed them one by one, sipping water in turn until all the necessary effort had been done.

Once the pills were gone, the nurse appeared satisfied, and making a note in his electronic file on the wall, left without another word.

Kayo didn’t hesitate to move back to Virgil’s side and his eyes fixated on her in response.

Scott may as well have not been in the room.

A lesser man could have had his ego dented. Scott just rolled his eyes. “Hey, Virg, how are you feeling?”

A slow blink in his direction. “Scott?”

“Virg?”

His brother pushed himself up in bed and winced.

“Hey, no need to straighten up for me.”

“Wasn’t. Uncomfortable.” Kayo fussed over him for a moment until the engineer settled. “What can I do for you, Scott?”

“Oh, I don’t know.” Scott shrugged. “Perhaps explain your plans for the future.”

Virgil frowned. “Got no plans.”

“None at all?”

“Nope.”

“No plans to quit International Rescue?”

The silence in the room was sharp and sudden.

His brother obviously wasn’t all there at the moment and Scott felt guilty. He had come here to discuss his brother’s future. He just hadn’t expected the man to be so out of it.

“No plans. Already quit.” The rasp was sudden and bleak. Virgil closed his eyes and leant back against the pillows. “God, I’m tired. Scott, can we discuss this later?”

Kayo’s glare ripped off three layers of skin. Scott bit his lip. “Okay, Virgil. You get some sleep.” He moved back to the door. A glance at his brother found him asleep already. Kayo stood beside him, already ignoring Scott’s presence, her expression a touch vulnerable as she looked down at her lover.

Scott swallowed, feeling a chasm open up between himself and his closest brother.

Glancing away from the pair, he exited the room in a hurry.

-o-o-o-

Em stared at Virgil’s chart and frowned. “He’s not healing as fast as he should be.”

“No, he’s not.” The doctor in charge of Virgil’s case was a damn good one. Michaels was known as one of the best cardiopulmonary surgeons in Australasia. “There is no sign of infection, however his strength is flagging. His immune system is depressed and I’m not happy with his thyroid response.”

She glared at the numbers. Goddamnit, Virgil, you don’t make it easy. “Could it simply be stress?”

“Stress is a normal response to injury.”

“But what about chronic stress. What if other factors are at play?”

Michaels frowned. “What aren’t you telling me?”

“You’ve seen his records. The man has had a nasty few years.”

“Injuries, yes. But you’re implying something else is in the equation. What are you trying to say, Em?”

She bit the inside of her cheek. “Leave it with me. I’ll see what I can do.”

“Em?”

“Keep me in the loop, I need to speak to someone.” She faked a small smile.

Michaels eyed her, but didn’t say anything further. She handed him the medical tablet and turned away, heading towards Virgil’s room.

The security guard at the door told her Scott had left the room earlier and no one but essential personnel were allowed in.

She couldn’t help but agree with that decision.

Hunting for him, she eventually found the man in the hospital cafe, deploying his alluring smile on some poor waitress. Slipping up behind him, she smiled up at the woman.

She was rather smug when the waitress’ equally alluring expression immediately sobered. Em idly wondered if Scott was even aware of what he was capable of doing with that smile. Then she rethought that thought and elbowed him.

“Wha-? Hey.” And now she was targeted. Oh god, he was good at it. And totally distracting.

His hand found hers.

The waitress’ expression had become almost glacial.

Too bad. She added her own drink to the order and the woman wandered off. Scott turned back to the table and she lowered her ‘scoot to sit comfortably beneath it.

“We need to talk about Virgil.” It was abrupt, but it had to be.

“What’s wrong?” His expression immediately concerned.

She held up her hands. “He’s healing. He’s getting better.” She swallowed. “But you have to let him go.”

“What?”

“Scott, Virgil isn’t healing as fast as he could be. He needs some time, likely some time away from International Rescue.”

She brought their hands onto the table, holding his one in her both. “You can’t keep International Rescue operating like this. As I’ve said before, if it doesn’t kill Virgil, it is going to kill you or another of your brothers. It is too much work, too much stress, too much risk.” She held onto his hand as tightly as she dared, pleading with him to not let go.

“I know.”

His quiet response was so opposite of what she expected, she found herself speechless.

“We need help.”

She swallowed. “Yes. Yes, you do.”

“But how?”

That she didn’t know. She simply squeezed his hand. He was staring at the table top and his expression hurt. “This isn’t a failure, Scott. It is a just a change. I have no doubt your father would be the proudest man on the planet right now.”

Two blue eyes grabbed hers, fire burning deep inside. But then the flame flickered and died and he returned to staring at the patterned tablecloth.

The waitress turned up and literally dumped their drinks in front of them. Em’s chocolate milk spilt, the handling was so rough. Em glared at the woman, but was ignored. She grabbed a serviette to mop up the mess with one hand.

She kept the other gripped firmly around Scott’s fingers. “Perhaps the GDF-“

“Are useless.” His tone was desolate.

Grabbing at straws. “Well, make them less useless. Train them. Put some extra resources in place. International Rescue is the leader in its field. Teach. Share the knowledge.”

Blue eyes were staring at her. “The technology. We cannot share the technology…scum like the Hood-“

“He’s dead, Scott. Don’t let the world suffer any more for that asshole.” She straightened in her harness as his shocked stare tried to pin her down. “Fine. Keep the technology. Share the bare minimum, if you can, but the best resource International Rescue has is its people and its experience. Share that. Train some special squadrons or whatever they call their task groups. You have to have some contacts in the GDF. You’d have to liaise with them all the time. Speak to them. Arrange something.” Another squeeze of his hand. “Save both the world and your family.”

He retreated, pulling his hand back into his personal space.

She let him go.

“Think about it, Scott. Either way, I’m recommending Virgil takes an extended leave of absence. He needs time to recover. And to be honest I would like Kayo to go with him.”

His eyes widened.

“Surely International Rescue has a minimal functional level?”

His mute nod was all the answer she needed.

“Shut it down to minimum for six months. Take the time to remodel the system and start up some GDF links.”

He was still staring.

“Maybe you should only respond to the more dire of emergencies.”

“People will die.”

“People always die. You can’t save them all.” It was harsh, but she had to be. “You know that. I know that. Take the time to put structures in place to ensure less people die in the future.” His eyes were swallowing her whole. “Especially the Tracy family.”

“Your opinion has been noted.”

It was bleak and cold and her heart sank. “I’m sorry, Scott.”

“So am I.” He stared at his coffee for a moment before straightening up. “Please excuse me.” He manoeuvred his ‘chair around the table. His eyes caught hers for a moment and she saw something akin to fear in their depths. She drew in a breath, but then he was turning away and heading out of the cafe.

“Well, that didn’t go very well, did it.”

Em startled and stared up at the waitress. The woman’s smug expression set her blood boiling. A swift movement with her arm and her glass tipped, chocolate milk splashing everywhere, including all over the waitress.

“Oh, I am so sorry.”

“Save it.”

“Sure.” But her heart wasn’t in it. A flick of her palm controls, she paid for the drinks neither of them drank, and she left the cafe in an echo of Scott’s trajectory.

As expected, he was long gone.

-o-o-o-

She didn’t see him after that. She saw his brothers, his sister, his grandmother and the Commander of International Rescue, but Scott she didn’t see.

The corridors of the white house on the hill became stark and lifeless. Kayo cornered her at one point, but she knew the woman had enough on her plate already and Em wasn’t really up to talking about it.

She could understand. She had offered him the truth and sometimes the truth was the hardest thing to hear. Her presence was likely a reminder of that.

That and she was an outsider.

It hurt. She had to admit it. A brief flicker of a flame of a possible relationship and just as suddenly it was gone.

Virgil continued to improve slowly and by the end of the week he was able to be released to the white house up on the hill. She kept her promise and made sure he had everything he could possibly need to recover fully. She sat both Kayo and Virgil down and explained the time he would need to take. He wasn’t happy about it, but then no one in the house seemed happy at all anyway.

Gordon left for the island only to return the polar opposite of his usual demeanour. Alan dropped in occasionally and he always had a smile for her, but it was a dull, lifeless one. The only person who didn’t appear to be affected was John and that was only for two reasons – the first being she only ever heard his voice with the occasional hologram since he was far above on Thunderbird Five and the second was she suspected the man had shields of steel, ever calm and collected in the face of the hell he had to deal with on a daily basis.

Once Virgil was settled and on the mend, she became redundant, and to be honest, she couldn’t bear the sight of the Commander’s blank eyes anymore.

If she cried about it, she cried alone. She was used to being alone. She could handle it.

If she had one last hope that he would dash into Wellington Airport at the last minute and scoop her into his arms and steal her away, she kept that to herself as well.

Just as well, because he didn’t.

So as Wellington grew small behind her as the plane headed west, Em erected her shields again.

She had her life waiting for her a continent away.

-o-o-o-

End Part Sixteen

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