Title: What Moms Are For
Tales of Sotto Voce
12-15 Sep 2018
Fandom: Thunderbirds Are Go 2015/ Thunderbirds TOS
Summary: Every strong man needs someone to lean on. Or they will fall.
Word count: 1830
Spoilers & warnings: Spoilers for Season 2 and Sotto Voce
Author’s note: This is more of just a scene than anything else. It was hampered by RL and interruptions, so I wouldn’t consider it my best, structurally, but I do think it is a scene that needs to be added to the universe. I hope you enjoy it 😀 I will now go and have an argument with Alan who has jumped the gun and is currently bouncing around in my head, demanding his turn on the fic writing schedule 😀
Disclaimer: Mine? You’ve got to be kidding. Money? Don’t have any, don’t bother.
Scott Tracy is a strong man. He has suffered the loss of both parents and become the guide and leader for his entire family as a consequence. He is the spokesperson for International Rescue, a role that sometimes sees him toe to toe with world leaders. And he has witnessed some of humanity’s most desperate moments and stepped forward to save those who could be saved.
Sally Tracy knew all this. But she also knew that beneath that façade of dependable leader and caring eldest brother, there was a boy who was only doing his best. A boy who cared so much about his family, he was giving them everything he had and leaving nothing for himself.
And she worried about him. She knew sooner or later some straw was going to break his back.
What had been done to Virgil – her sweet, kind Virgil – had injured them all. But Scott…Scott with his close bond to his younger brother, had borne the brunt again and again. She had watched over the last couple of weeks as it tore down his defences piece by screaming piece. He was there every time Virgil fell, bracing to catch him. There for his brothers, marshalling them to tackle the next obstacle, comforting them when they needed it, keeping International Rescue afloat while they all floundered in the pain and anguish.
She had been shocked when he decided to answer the rescue call earlier today. He was pale with dark smudges under his eyes. She knew he wasn’t sleeping well, but she also knew he couldn’t stand by and let innocent people die simply because IR wasn’t up to scratch.
A very small part of her was thankful Virgil had stopped the launch of Thunderbird One. The rest of her was still continuing her mantra of expletives aimed in the direction of that excrement calling himself the Hood. Death was too good for that waste of space. It had her wishing for an afterlife just so he could rot in it.
Every wince, every grimace of pain on Virgil’s face, every time he stumbled on a word, reinforced that mantra. No matter how many times she kissed her grandson’s forehead, nothing was making this go away. His life had been changed against his will and likely forever.
And his brothers’ along with it.
The discovery of Eos’ access to Virgil’s thoughts was a chilling one. Sally hadn’t worked out exactly how she felt about it yet. She definitely wanted to have a good discussion with the AI some time in the near future. She also wanted to speak to Virgil, but that would have to wait, the poor boy needed to process and heal.
In the meantime, she worried about Scott. It was late at night and everyone was asleep or attempting to do so, but she knew where to find him. Sure enough as she approached the gym she could hear the thud, thud of a pummelled sandbag.
She slipped into the room as quietly as possible and stepped into the shadows.
Scott was angry.
She could tell by the rapid pounding fists, the sweat dripping off his forehead, the strung-taught muscles straining his sodden t-shirt and the pained grunts as he swung. Scott worked off his steam either in this room or on the paths of the island.
Tonight his wrapped hands were leaving red smears on the canvas.
She stared, her hand going to her mouth. Her beautiful eldest, so distressed he was hurting himself. He couldn’t-
Scott stumbled and grabbed the swinging canvas bag. Gripping it between his two bloodied hands, he swore, the muscles across his shoulders rippling as he dropped his forehead against the punching bag and moaned.
The only sound left in the room was the creak of the chain supporting the bag as its swing drew to a standstill.
And a single whimper.
Oh, my baby. She wanted to reach out to him.
The mere power of her thought must have alerted him, because Scott’s head shot up. He straightened, his watery eyes seeking an interloper.
She stepped forward.
“Grandma?!” His embarrassment was immediate. Wiping his face with one hand only to realise the red staining the wrappings. His eyes darted back to her, and he suddenly didn’t know what to do with his hands – attempt to hide them, or fess up. If so much pain hadn’t been in his eyes it would have been funny.
“We’re going to need to clean them, honey.” His broad shoulders wilted, knowing he was in for it. Sally walked over to a bench against the wall. “Come and sit here, I’ll grab the first aid kit.”
He did as he was told, his shoulders slumped as he stepped towards the bench. Sally grabbed the kit out of its spot in the wall and walked back to her grandson.
She didn’t say anything as she unwrapped his hands. Simply attending gently to the abrasions, listening to his hiss as she applied antiseptic and a few plasters on the worst of the injuries.
Finishing up, she pushed the kit aside and took those two large and injured hands into her own. She looked up at him. “Now talk.”
He looked everywhere but at her.
Pleading blue eyes latched onto hers. She didn’t know whether he was pleading to leave or pleading for help.
Whispered. “What do you want me to say?”
“Whatever you need to.”
She saw the resistance welling within him. That stoic leader bullshit that had no place between a grandmother and her grandson. “Scott, I’m your grandmother. Did you miss the ‘mother’ part of that title by getting stuck on the ‘grand’?” She reached up a hand to his cheek and gently cupped his stubble. “Talk to me.”
He paused for a moment, his focus stuck on her, his eyes widening, before he let go and his whole body slumped, his gaze falling to the floor. “I don’t know what to say.”
Okay, go for the jugular. “Then how do you feel, Scott?”
The fire was immediate. “How do I feel? I feel pissed. I feel angry, Grandma.” He slid backwards, removing her from his personal space, her hand left to drop to her lap. But her remaining hand clung to his. He was not going to escape.
His eyes widened as if to say ‘are you kidding me?’ “The Hood, who else.”
His eyes literally bugged out at her. “What? No! Why would I be angry at Virgil? He’s the one who has been hurt the most. That bastard-“
He hung his head. “He’s hurt so bad, Grandma. That thing in his head. I don’t know what to do.”
Quietly. “Is there anything you can do to remove it?” She knew the answer, but she had to lead him into the conversation. He was as stubborn and help-resistant as his father.
He drew in a breath. “No.”
“Then what is the problem? Virgil is recovering, albeit slowly, but he is getting his feet under him.”
“Computers can access his brain! Eos can talk to him at will. Who knows what else she can do. How do I protect him from this? I can’t- He-“ Scott’s head tilted to one side and his eyes teared up. “I can’t-“
She reached up and drew his head down to her shoulder. He put up a little resistance, but with a soft murmured reassurance from her, he let himself be drawn down into her embrace. She ran her fingers through his hair and for a moment she just held him.
Clearing her tight throat. “From what you have told me of Eos’, it sounds like she would defend Virgil as much as you.”
Barely heard. “God, I hope so.”
“Do you trust her?”
“I don’t know.” It was a raw desperate whisper. “But I don’t think I have a choice.”
“There is always a choice, Scott.”
He sat up, his indrawn breath rough, his eyes narrowing slightly. “What do you mean, Grandma?”
“Between you, John and Brains, where technology is concerned, there is always a choice.”
His eyes bore into hers and she stared back unflinchingly. Yes, she did mean what he thought she meant. If there was a choice between Eos and Virgil…well, it would be hard, but there really was no choice.
Scott’s lips thinned, but then he let his head drop into a single nod. He stared at his hands. “I really hope I don’t have to make that choice.” Another ragged breath. “She may be his only protection.”
Sally reached up and brushed a strand of hair out his eyes. “No, not his only. He has you. He has always had you.” His eyes closed and just for a moment, he leant into her hand as if drawing support from her touch. “And you have us.” He looked up and she smiled. “You are a wonderful man, Scott. A wonderful brother. We are so lucky to have you, and I am so, so proud of you.” His brow crumpled at her, those blue eyes laden with unspoken emotion. She let her hand drop to his shoulder and sighed. “You need rest, honey.”
His shoulders slumped. “I know. Not the easiest.”
“Would you like some warm milk?” Her lips twisted just a little at his expression. “I can warm milk, you know. I have done it enough for you boys.” A tilt of his head and a small smile crept onto his face. “That was once, Scott. Honestly, here I was being all grandmotherly and you bring up that incident.”
“I didn’t say anything, Grandma.” But his smile was just that little bit bigger.
“You didn’t have to with those great big blue eyeballs of yours. Hmph.” She turned from him in mock disgust. “It was a weak fuse that’s all. Not my fault it took out the power of the whole island. Brains agrees with me.” And suddenly she found herself wrapped in his arms.
“I love you, Grandma.”
It was her turn to lean into his touch. “Love you, too.” A wiry smirk. “However, you might want to take a shower.” He started, pulling back and she laughed. “Make it a hot one and I’ll grab you that warm milk.”
Sally stood as he did. “Scott, if you need to talk…” She pinned him with her eyes. “Remember, that is what moms are for.”
“Yes, Grandma.” Another small smile.
She narrowed her eyes. “Oh, go on, go get clean. All that manly sweat is bad for the nasal passages.” A smirk at his now mortified expression, and she packed up the first aid kit, returning it to its niche in the wall. When she turned back, her grandson was gone.
She let her shoulders drop, before drawing in a breath and straightening herself up.
Scott Tracy is a strong man. But every strong man needs someone to lean on.
Or they will fall.