Gentle Rain (Part Twelve)

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 

Author: Gumnut

8 – 9 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: 3614

Spoilers & warnings:
Virgil/Kayo, Scott/OC, Gordon/Penelope, spoilers for Warm Rain up to this point
in the timeline. Possible trigger warning for tall building fires.

Timeline: Six
months after ‘The Proposal’, almost a sequel.

Author’s note: For @scribbles97   It is amazing what a day off work can do 😀 We’re out of
Christmas Eve and things are moving. Many thanks again to @scribbles97  for some
extensive help on this. I hope you all enjoy it 😀

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

-o-o-o-

“You did what?!”

Em entered the comms room and immediately
wished she hadn’t.

Virgil stood glaring at John, tension in
every line of his body. Only the two of them were in the room, both looked
tired, John worried and Virgil absolutely furious. She would never have thought
the man could possibly be that angry, he seemed so calm and gentle.

“I sent Brains.”

“Why the hell did you do that?! Why wasn’t
I called?”

John stepped forward. “Because you aren’t
well. Even I can see the pain you are in. Right now, in fact.”

Virgil flared even more. “And that saved
who how? Now I have to go out and save Brains!”

John looked uncomfortable.

The sun was barely over the horizon. Em was
only half awake, hovering just outside the elevator where the two men couldn’t
see her. She desperately needed to examine Virgil, he was clearly in pain, but
she was hesitant to interrupt their argument. Perhaps she should wake Scott?

“We will discuss this later.” Virgil’s
baritone had dropped to a threat. The man turned and strode across the room in
her direction. She slipped further into the shadows, but he approached the wall
beside the portraits. Turning around, he reached up and grabbed onto two light
fixtures. She heard him mutter something about having to fly the tin can and
then the wall ate him. A rumble of machinery echoed through the panelling.

She blinked.

“Doctor Harris?”

Okay, that made her jump and not a little
guilty. John was looking in her direction, so she slipped out of hiding and
‘scooted into the room. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to intrude.”

John sighed. “You didn’t. Please excuse
Virgil, he is not really approachable before his morning coffee.”

“Where is he going?”

Another sigh. “There was an incident in a
Brazilian skyscraper early this morning. A fire. Thunderbird Two attended with
Alan and Gordon along with Brains for engineering advice.” What? She’d slept
through that? John must have read her expression. “The villa is well
soundproofed for most of our launches. Only one really disturbs the main house
enough to wake those deeply asleep.”

As if in demonstration, the glass doors
onto the balcony clicked and began to close. John smiled just a little. “You
might like to watch this.” He led her to the edge of the room where she could
see the pool just beyond the balcony. Using her ‘scoot to her own advantage,
she raised herself up higher for a better view.

The pool was moving, retracting into the
house, a gaping hole left in its wake.

“There is only one thing Virgil hates more
than early mornings.” Beneath her feet the building made an odd clunk sound as
the pool fully retracted. “And that is piloting Thunderbird One.”

Something exploded beneath them. The whole
house shook in its foundations and to her astonishment, the famed rocket plane
of International Rescue burst forth from where the pool used to be, a blur of
red, grey, blue and white alphabet tore vertically into the sky.

Her jaw was on the floor.

“That’s Scott’s Thunderbird?” She could
barely hear the roar anymore, much less see the craft. It was gone.

“Yes, it is.” But it wasn’t John who answered.

She spun herself around to find a
dishevelled Scott darting across the room. He had obviously dragged himself out
of bed in a hurry. He was still in his pyjamas and his hair was skew-whiff. His
broken leg wasn’t quite on the chair support properly. She headed towards him.
“Hey.”

But his eyes were for John. “What is going
on?” As he fell in beside her, his hand reached out and caught hers. She
couldn’t help the tiniest of smiles. She had never had her hand held so much in
her life. He seemed to have this urge to be continually connected to her.

She didn’t mind in the slightest.

“Thunderbird Two called for assistance in a
skyscraper fire in Brazil. Apparently, the building partly collapsed, trapping
Brains. Alan managed to jump clear. They need Virgil and his exo-suit.”

Em’s eyes widened. “You’re going to let him
strap on that metal skeleton in his condition?!”

Two pairs of Tracy eyes pinned her. The
hand in hers twitched and tightened. “What condition?”

Okay, she was a doctor and these things
were obvious to her, but how could they not have seen the man grimace every
time he moved? “Surely you can see the man is in pain.” One of the reasons she
was up so early herself was so she could grab the second eldest Tracy before he
ran off, but obviously she hadn’t been early enough.

“John, where have you sent him?!” Kayo was
fury incarnate as she strode into the room, Grandma and Kip in her wake.

John stiffened. “I had no choice, Kayo.
Brains is trapped. Who else could I send?”

That halted her pending tirade. Em watched
fear flicker across her friend’s face before it was controlled. “Prep
Thunderbird Shadow. I’m going out to assist.” She turned on her heel, strode
over to the circular lounge and sat down in one of the paired chairs.

Yet another clunk of machinery and both
Kayo and the chairs disappeared into the floor. Moments later an empty copy of
the chairs replaced them.

Em blinked.

That was unexpected. She looked around the
room at the other various pieces of furniture and wondered what else moved in
ways unusual.

Scott’s hand was still in hers.

“Em, what is Virgil’s condition?” His voice
was quiet, concerned, with just a touch of fear.

“I don’t know. I haven’t had a chance to
examine him properly yet. It could just be scar pain, I think in any case that
is a good part of it. What little I have seen tells me we need to work on some
remedy for that, but…damn, I should have grabbed him last night.”

His hand squeezed hers. “He was given the
option.”

She turned to him. “Yes, but I could have
pushed the matter. He’s not the first reluctant patient I’ve come across.
Though he may be one of the most important.”

Scott shot her a look. She could feel his
eyes on her face, but she turned away. Perhaps she shouldn’t have said that,
but it was said anyway. He could interpret it as he pleased.

Somewhere above them, more rocket engines
fired and the island echoed a clunk of release. The ghost Thunderbird fell into
view over the ocean, exhaust flaming, and tore off into the west.

“Good morning and Merry Christmas to you
all.” Penny slipped elegantly into the room.

Em did her best not to glare at her.

Merry Christmas indeed.

-o-o-o-

Virgil Tracy hated flying Thunderbird One.
She was as touchy as a flighty deer and responded to everything. Thunderbird
Two made her presence known. She withstood the elements and made them do as she
pleased. TB1 was slave to every air current, every downdraft, every touch of
turbulence. It gave her the needed agility, the flexibility to spin in the air
at speeds TB2 couldn’t dream of, but she was an ass to fly.

Scott was a hot shot pilot and he loved her
responsiveness and equally derided TB2’s solidity and reliability.

But at least Thunderbird Two wouldn’t
accidentally fly into a mountain if the pilot got distracted.

Virgil wasn’t really in the mood for
wrestling with the Thunderbird. It made his side ache even more.

All she had to do was get him to Brazil,
and Alan could fly her back.

Why didn’t John wake him? Brains was a
brilliant engineer, but his onsite skillset was lacking, particularly for this
kind of fire. And who the hell had let him off Thunderbird Two in first place?

Save first, kill brothers later.

The fire was obvious from miles off. Thick
columns of smoke reached for the sky creating their own cloud cover.

Damn, it was a bad one.

On approach, he mentally ran through his plan
of attack using the information his eyes and TB1 could give him. John had
packaged everything they knew and sent it onto him mid-flight. There was some
suspicious insulation used in the building. He flung up a hologram of the
skyscraper’s structure.

Damn, when were they going to stop using
that cross bar support design. It made the structure vulnerable to capsule
collapse. particularly in hot fires. And this was a hot one.

Thunderbird Two was hovering near an exact
example of why that design should never be used again, one section of the
building had crumpled under the strain, leaving a gaping hole in the side of
the structure, and, in turn, leaving the entire building prone to total
collapse.

Goddamnit!

“Hey, Virg, thanks for dropping by.”
Gordon’s flippancy was forced.

“I’m coming down. Slave TB1.”

The controls immediately shifted to the
blue of auto.

A zip line, the open hatchway of his
beloved ‘bird, the thump of his boots on her deck plates.

“Situation.”

Gordon was at her controls, the harmonics
of her fire dampening systems resuming now he was aboard. Flame flickered and
died. “Alan and Brains went in to rescue a trapped family. We got them out, but
the whole section collapsed before Brains could get free. No space for a pod,
we need your exo-suit.”

“FAB.” As expected, situation unchanged. He
slipped through the cockpit access door, heading for the module. “Oh, and
Thunderbird Shadow is on approach.”

He didn’t have time to react to that.

Slipping on the fire version of his
exo-suit took a few moments longer than his regular setup. Was it logical to
miss his baldric? The retardant suit fit him snug and the thick material
actually provided a little support to his aching side.

He needed to get this job done as fast as
possible. Then perhaps he should ask Em to look at him. It was getting worse.

Returning to the cockpit, he took up his
place on the hatchway again. “Okay, Gordon, get as close as you can and lower
me down.” He secured a line to the hatch as his brother lowered it. Winds, no
doubt hot, buffeted at him.

He aimed the zip line and fired. Sensors
confirmed a strong connection and he clipped in the d-ring of his harness.
Moments of blur and he was surrounded by flame, smoke and general hell.

“Alan, give me your location.”

Data fed to his systems, complete with a
tracker to follow. “Great to have you here, Virgil.” There was fear in his
little brother’s voice.

“We’ll get him out.” His thermal readout
screamed at him. “Fast.”

Virgil ran.

-o-o-o-

Alan Tracy was a highly experienced rescue
operative. In his twenty-one years, he had saved hundreds of people. But he had
his specialities, space rescue being one of them, as did all of his brothers.

Fire rescue was one he dreaded.

Perhaps it was because of that space
speciality that drove it home. Fire in space was a horror. Fire on Earth, well,
it wasn’t much better.

So, it was with no lack of relief that he
looked up to see his second eldest brother, exo-suit geared up, emerge from the
all-encompassing smoke.

“Detail.” Virgil’s tone was sharp and no
nonsense.

“Brains is responsive, but unable to free
himself just beyond this door.”

Virgil looked up, his eyes assessing the
structure. “Gordon, give me a stress readout. Pin lines and supports on this
floor.”

Numbers passed over the airwaves.

“Alan, step back.”

He didn’t have to ask twice.

To Alan’s surprise, Virgil didn’t lift the
fallen masonry. He simply went through the wall.

The bright red laser beam cut smoothly
through concrete and steel alike. His massive primary claw finished the job.

“Alan, you’re on retrieval. Make it fast.
This section is unstable.”

He darted into the room, his helmet lamp
bouncing through the smoke. “Brains!”

“I’m h-here. My ankle.”

His light hit a shadowy figure on the
floor. “We need to move.”

“RAD.”

Alan didn’t have time to roll his eyes.
Reaching down, he lobbed the engineer into a half carry.

“Move it, Alan! It’s coming down!”

And the world rumbled. The half carry
became a fireman’s carry as Alan threw Brains over his shoulders and ran.

Concrete dust. The groan of straining
steel. His brother yelling at him to move. That claw came out of nowhere and
deflected an airborne chunk of building. Virgil grunted over comms and then
swore a blue streak.

“This way!” And there was a stairwell.
Behind them the world crumbled. “Move!” The stairs were shaking.

Smoke and sudden flame. A gaping hole in
the floor.

“Gordon, I need a zip line retrieval, 129th
floor, east wall. Suppress what you can.”

“FAB.”

And there was a view to the outside.
Virgil’s laser lit up red again, the reinforced glazing melting before their
eyes. That claw and the smash of breaking glass.

The roar of VTOL, quickly followed by those
familiar fire breaking harmonics and the green body of Thunderbird Two hovered
into view.

“Stand back. Deploying zip line.”

As Alan moved, the whistle of a grapple
through the opening in the glass, thunked into the concrete  floor. Virgil checked it was secure.

Their world rumbled in warning.

“You’re first, Brains. Alan, you follow.”

“FAB.”

He secured Brains to the line and quickly
followed, prepared to stabilise the other man at the end to prevent further
damage to his ankle.

It was wonderful to be free of the
building.

As his feet hit the deck plating of TB2’s
hatch, the zip line wobbled. “Virgil?”

“This section is going. Gordon, be ready to
move!”

“Alan, hang on!” Gordon yelled into the
comms.

And to his horror, the side of the building
Virgil was standing in, collapsed like a landslide. Concrete, steel and burning
insulation sliding down the side of the skyscraper in a terrifying roar of
finality.

-o-o-o-

“Virgil!”

For a split second, Kayo’s heart froze,
caught between beats and two futures. One desperate and filled with tears.

But then the zip line attached to
Thunderbird Two ripped free of the tumbling rubble, a suited figure dangling
from its end.

Oh god.

“Virgil! Speak to me.”

“Kay?” His voice was breathless. “Need a
hand.”

He was swinging in the breeze, obviously tangled
in the line. “Are you secure?” She was moving without an answer.

“Uh, define secure?”

Damn him.

Thunderbird Shadow spun on her axis and
dove down beneath her sister and gently rose below her lover. “Gordon, keep her
steady.”

“Kayo, I am so not moving.” There was fear
in her brother’s voice.

The clatter of Virgil’s boots on Shadow’s
fuselage shoved her heart into her throat.

“Thanks, Kay.” Still breathless. Scratches
and movement. “Separated and secure. I’m in your hands.”

Did he have to sound so happy?

“Gordon, rendezvous here.” She sent him the
coordinates of a local football field. The order left no room for discussion.

“FAB.”

Ever so slowly, ever so aware of her
precious cargo, Kayo turned her bird towards the nearby sports arena.

-o-o-o-

Virgil took the moment of riding on the
back of his lover’s ‘bird to attempt to lower his heart rate. That had been
close. The floor collapsing beneath him, his mad scramble to connect with the
zip line, concrete catching him on the back of his suit, spinning him around, a
tangle of limbs, line and the plummet below.

The flashback of mountain scape and a
thousand foot drop.

The world tumbling.

Kay’s voice.

His beautiful Kay.

Shadow shifted beneath him, her VTOL firing
as she came in smoothly to land.  Gordon
had both his ‘bird and TB1 following in. A rush of wind and International
Rescue landed as one.

The cockpit in front of him was flung open
immediately. He smiled as Kay leapt up and climbed over the back of her ‘bird
towards him.

He struggled to his feet, hydraulics
hissing. “I’m okay, Kay.”

She didn’t answer, her hands moving to his
helmet release. The rush of fresh air tainted by smoke and her gloved hands on
his jaw. Green eyes staring up at him, desperate for reassurance.

He slid his left arm from the suit and
reaching up, slipped her helmet off, bent down and kissed her softly. “I’m
fine. Thank you for the rescue.” His voice was a touch hoarse, his lungs still
grabbing for air.

Her hands tightened on his shoulders. “You
better be.”

“You okay, Virg?” Gordon appeared beside
Shadow, worry etched into his features.

Slipping his arm back into the suit, he
turned and unclipping his harness, leapt off Shadow and landed with a grunt
beside his brother. Pain lanced up and down his side and he stumbled. For a
moment, he couldn’t catch his breath, spots danced in his vision. God.

“Virgil?”

He gasped and blessed oxygen hit his
system. Panting. “I’m good. I’m good.”

“You don’t look good.”

“Give me a minute.” His heart was doing its
best to catch up, thudding madly in his chest. Okay, he definitely needed to
speak to Em.

In the distance, the skyscraper continued
to burn.

Forcing himself, he straightened up. “We
need to finish this job.”

Gordon was staring at him, worry in his
eyes. “You sure you’re up to this?”

He looked down at the aquanaut. “I have to
be.”

His brother’s eyes didn’t agree, but he
didn’t voice it.

Virgil jabbed his comms. “Alan, secure
Brains if you haven’t already. You’ve got Thunderbird One. I’ll take Two.” He
lifted up one arm and activated his holographic interface. A skeletal view of
the building appeared. “Now the building is fully evacuated – good job with
that by the way – we will use a combination of spike deployed firebots and
suppressant grenades. TB2’s harmonics will take out any surface flares. Kay,
you’re on spot to the east. Alan, you’re spot to the west. Gordon, you’re
onsite spot when we start deployment. Kay, please advise the authorities to
stand clear.”

“FAB.” Alan’s answer was sharp and precise.
A moment later, his brother was running across the field to Thunderbird One.

As far as Virgil was concerned, he was
welcome to it.

His suit hummed as he strode towards his
own ‘bird.

A pair of hands caught his arm and he
turned. Kay was frowning at him. “Virgil…” She obviously wanted to say
something, but hesitated. A flash of movement and she was kissing him. “Fly
safe.” She handed him his helmet.

“Love you.” The words were breathy and said
without thought, simply emotion.

She smiled slightly, worry still in her
eyes. The sooner this job was over the better.

He turned and headed towards his ‘bird.

-o-o-o-

The tactic worked as expected. Starting at
the bottom, Thunderbird Two deployed her laser at specified intervals, piercing
the building to its core, creating a method of entry for hundreds of small
firebots. Preprogrammed to hunt for the source of fires, Brains’ little
inventions took out the fire level by level. This was backed up by strategic
deployment of the suppressant grenades and topical use of the harmonics to
catch surface fires. Alan and Kayo spotted flares before they could take root
and as the team rose higher and higher, the flame lessened. By the time
International Rescue declared the fire defeated, the skyscraper was an
unsalvageable wreck, but it wasn’t going to fall on anyone, and the fire was
out.

Virgil recalled those bots that had
survived and gave the order to head home.

Thank god.

Gordon was still eyeing him with worried
eyes.

He didn’t blame him. Virgil couldn’t seem
to get a good breath without hurting. Something wasn’t right. The moment he was
able to set the course across the Pacific, he switched TB2 to auto and lay
back, closing his eyes.

“Virg?”

“I’m okay, Gordon.”

“No, you’re not. You’re panting while
sitting still.”

“I just need to take a breather.”

“Sick pun, bro.”

Virgil forced a smile. “You would know.” A
deep breath and he tried not to grimace. “I’ll speak to Em when we get home.”

“Now I know something is wrong.”

“Quit worrying.”

“Quit scaring me.”

Virgil frowned and opened his eyes, turning
to his brother. Those eyes, so similar to his own, were staring at him, and
yes, there was fear. “Do I really look that bad?”

“I’m on the verge of locking you out of
Two’s controls.”

Virgil glared at him. “Just try it, kid.”

“I will do what is necessary, big brother.”

“I’m fine.”

“You’re as pale as a corpse.”

Virgil didn’t have an answer to that.
“Fine, whatever. Take control. See if I care. I’ll go and check on Brains.” He
pushed his seat back and forced himself to stand, clutching at the headrest
when his world suddenly spun. Shit.

“Virgil!”

“I’m…I’m…” But suddenly he couldn’t
breathe. Not enough oxygen. He couldn’t…He gasped desperate for air, but none
came.

His legs gave out, hands caught him,
lowering him gently to the deck. “Virgil, c’mon, man, don’t do this.”

His hand flailed and caught uniform. He
wanted to reassure his brother, but he couldn’t draw breath. He was gaping like
a fish out of water. “I…c-“

“Virgil!”

But there was no oxygen and he was
suffocating. Panic rose, he struggled, eyesight narrowing as his brain
desperately tried to function on nothing.

“Goddamnit, Virgil! Don’t do this!”

He couldn’t stop it. There was nothing he
could do. No matter what he did, his body shut down system by system, his lungs
failing to do what they needed to do.

The last he saw was a pair of frightened
brown eyes and a mouth yelling his name.

-o-o-o-

End Part Twelve.

Part Thirteen

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