The ramblings of a Nut who should be doing something else – Adelaide, South Australia

Laugh

Title: Laugh
Part 4 of 6, follows on from Lie
Author: Gumnut
6 Aug 2018
Fandom: Thunderbirds Are Go 2015
Rating: Teen
Summary: For the world is unkind and it needs your touch.
Word count: 1616
Spoilers & warnings: None
Author’s note: This one was a challenge. Virgil, as usual, refused to behave and I didn’t hit the plot points that I needed. Also, he was extremely reluctant to sing, so really I only managed two lines, but the thought was there. Unlike the previous three, this one does lead directly on from Part 3 Lie and follows what happens after that travesty.

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

“You!” A hoarse voice and Scott was pinned to the spot as his brother approached, his finger pointing at him. Virgil’s eyes were boring into his and the next moment, those brown irises were right up in his face. “You…” The faint scent of antiseptic and smoke. “Your eyes are very blue.”

Scott blinked, arching his back a little to get his brother back into focus, but Virgil peered closer, studying Scott’s face. “Very blue. Almost turquoise. Phthalo? A dash of cobalt? Hmm, maybe even some Cerulean. And a hell of a lot of glazing.” A finger was jabbed into his shoulder. “You…” Another jab…and a cough. “You are a lot of work.”

Virgil blinked up at him and it was only then, Scott was able to see the light fog in his brother’s eyes. Scott peered around his brother looking for Gordon, only to have to focus back on Virgil as he swayed a little. “Uh, Virgil, maybe you should sit down.”

“Don’t want to sit down.” And was that childish pout? What the hell?

“Gordon!”

“I’m coming! Virgil, where the..” The blond aquanaut appeared around the corner, his face pale and eyes anxious. “Oh, you have him. Can’t turn your back on him for a second.”

“Gordon, report!”

That did it. His younger brother focussed, his shoulders straightening automatically. “A broken arm, second degree burn on his right shoulder, bruising and some smoke inhalation.” He looked at Virgil who was now poking a finger into the side of Scott’s head. “They gave him some pretty strong stuff.”

Scott eyed the man hanging on to him. “I noticed.”

Virgil ran his hand through his brother’s hair. “So shiny!” He tried to reach up with his right arm but was hampered by the sling. Scott gently restrained him and Virgil frowned. “Ow.”

“Yes, ow, Virgil. Don’t move your arm.”

Again with the pout. Combined with the mussed hair, half his filthy uniform and the medical scrub shirt and sling, Virgil was quite a sight.

If the mudslide hadn’t been enough for this horrid day, Thunderbird Two had been diverted to a factory fire on the way home. John had been profusely apologetic, but there had been workers trapped and International Rescue was the fastest way to get them out. Scott had already made it home when John’s call came in. Virgil told him to stay there, he and Gordon could handle it.

Unfortunately, despite rescuing all five trapped workers, fate had decided that today hadn’t been awful enough and as Virgil was exiting the burning building something exploded, flinging him and the side of the building into the air. Fortunately, he had been wearing his exo-suit and it cushioned his fall. Not so fortunately, the side of the building then landed on top of him.

Gordon had been on board Two attending to the workers. He’d had the pleasure of watching his brother’s body fly past the cockpit windows. Scott knew this because Gordon had yelled it over the comms at the time.

The force had been enough to crack Virgil’s helmet, hence the smoke inhalation. Evidently, he hadn’t inhaled too much as he was once again talking, despite his croaky voice. This time he was zooming in on Gordon. “Now you, your eyes are honey.” Gordon took several steps backwards as his brother approached. “Raw and Burnt Sienna with the fire of Cadmium Orange, with perhaps a hint of Cadmium Yellow?” Virgil frowned. “Your sclera is red. Alizarin Crimson and Cadmium Red for lack of sleep. Why aren’t you sleeping? What’s wrong, Gordon?” And suddenly their more familiar, obviously concerned brother was assessing Gordon with his eyes…leaning into his brother’s personal space…falling forward…

Scott grabbed him. ”Whoa, Virgil, I think it is time to go home.”

His brother glared up at him. “Scott. Ow.”

He let go slowly. “Sorry.”

Virgil straightened up. “Is okay. What’s wrong with Gordon?”

Gordon shook his head. “I’m okay, Virg, just tired. Bad day.”

Just for a split second something flickered across Virgil’s face. “Yeah, bad day.” He blinked. “Virg?”

His younger brother rolled his eyes. “Can we go now?”

Scott eyed his two brothers, thinking. “Gordon, you up for flying One?”

Gordon’s eyes widened slightly. “Can do.”

Scott eyed him. “Not a scratch.”

“Well, yeah, I may be tired, but I’m not suicidal.” With a small smile he clasped Virgil’s uninjured shoulder. “See you back at the ranch.”

Virgil smiled at him. “See you, honey.”

-o-o-o-

Scott managed to bundle Virgil onto Thunderbird Two without too many more paint references. Apparently under the lights of the helipad, Thunderbird Two was somewhere between Olive and Sap Green with a hint of something called Payne’s Grey. By the time they made it to the hatch, Virgil had declared a new paint colour, Thunderbird Green.

Scott just sighed.

Of course, Virgil refused to stay in the medical bay, so Scott ended up strapping him into the co-pilot’s seat. He made sure his brother had zero access to anything that could send them into a plummet. There was loopy and then there was Virgil. He did grab a blanket from the medbay and made sure his brother was warm enough in the comparatively cool cockpit.

Virgil just frowned at him.

Brother finally secured, Scott made ready for take-off, contacting the local air authorities for confirmation.

“Why are you in my chair?”

“I need to get you home, Virgil. You’re injured.”

“Oh.” Silence for a moment. “How did I do that?”

“The usual way. While saving someone’s life.” Scott sighed as he engaged TB2’s VTOL. “A building fell on you.” A frown. “Do you remember?”

“Oh, yeah.”

The city lights fell beneath them as TB2 gained height. As soon as they were clear, Scott engaged the rear thrusters and banked into a climb. Light cloud flicked past the windows, lit by the moon.

For a while the only sound in the cabin was the throb of Two’s engines, and initially Scott thought his brother had finally fallen asleep. But no.

“Gordon has such beautiful eyes. Have you noticed?”

“Uh, yeah, I guess.” Scott shot his brother a sideways look.

“You do, too, of course, but…” Virgil trailed off, frowning. “He used to look at me with such enthusiasm, such excitement. Always ready to go out and explore. Those eyes…like honey to a bear…he could get me to do just about anything.”

Scott frowned a little, glancing over at his brother. “What?”

“When we were kids. Do you remember the fire in the barn?”

His eyes widened. “That was you?!”

Virgil grinned. “Yep. Me and Gordon. It was an accident, of course, so the fire department wasn’t wrong.”

“Dad had the local sheriff hunting for vandals!”

“Well, yeah, we wanted to live. We weren’t going to admit to anything.” Virgil smiled vaguely. “He was too little to reach and he needed my help.”

“So you helped him burn down the barn.” Exasperation.

“Hey, I never said I was a good big brother.”

Scott’s spine straightened. “You are a damn good brother. Of any size.”

“Hah!” The fog in his brother’s eyes was even more apparent now. Scott would be happy once they were home and Virgil was in bed.

There was another moment of silence, but then it was once again broken by Virgil’s whispery voice.

“You know, he was alive when I found him. Awake and everything. With beautiful honey eyes.”

It took Scott a moment to follow his brother’s train of thought. Gordon? But then no. His stomach dropped. The child from the mudslide. His hands tightened on the yoke. “Virg, you did everything you could.”

“He was too broken. I couldn’t save him. God, he looked so much like Gordon.” Virgil ran his hand through his hair.

No, this wasn’t happening. Scott flicked on the autopilot and turned to his brother, grabbing his hand. “Look, Virgil, it was horrible, but in no way were you to blame.”

“I know.” He shrugged and winced. “Ow. Damn. I know. It happens.”

Scott squeezed his hand. “You gave him what you could. He was lucky to have you there.”

Again Virgil shrugged and this time he swore. A good guess would be that the happy juice was beginning to wear off. “Maybe you should…”

“No, I’m staying here.” Virgil grimaced, clenching his eyes shut a moment before forcing them open again. “Someone has to keep an eye on you.”

“Oh, so we’re playing that card, are we? Don’t damage Beautiful Big Green?”

“You can’t talk.”

“Thunderbird One is a precision instrument. She requires skill. Thunderbird Two is a brick with wings.” It was tactical. Still, he may not survive.

Virgil’s eyes widened and for a moment, Scott seriously wondered if it was actually possible for his brother’s head to inflate and explode. To save his life he deployed the only weapon he had left – a shit-eating grin.

Virgil’s eyes narrowed and he deflated. “You brat.”

“Uh-huh.”

Virgil let himself fall back in his seat and closed his eyes. “Just get us home in one piece, you precision wielder.”

“Plan to.”

Scott turned back to the controls and once again there was silence.  They weren’t far out from home now, another fifteen minutes at most. He let himself relax a little. Almost home. Virgil was as good as he could be, considering. This rotten day was nearly over.

Beside him, Virgil gently breathed out a wistful sigh, clearly half asleep, he muttered a few words…

“I am there for you
And will always be.”

There was barely a tune, but it was familiar. From the depths of a long ago childhood.

A whispered, “Love you…Gordy.” And Virgil settled into sleep.

Scott smiled, if a little sadly.

-o-o-o-

Part 5 – Learn

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