Disclaimer: I do not own the Thunderbirds!
A/N: Don't worry folks! This is not a suicide fic. I would never kill Alan. I have too much fun writing about him. That being said this will be the last chapter of this story. The sequel is already in the works and will be posted soon. Happy reading!
Matt and Alan had been studying nonstop since returning to school. They may not have planned to attend graduation, but they wanted to actually get the credits to graduation. Sam and Wesley never considered this part of the plan. That was all Matt and Alan.
"Physics is going to be the death of me." Matt groaned as he slammed his book closed.
Alan stared down at his open book. "Calculus is going to kill me."
"We should have pushed our plan up." Matt commented. "I'm going to fail."
"No you aren't." Alan reassured. "You're mister straight A's."
Matt sighed, "That's the only grades my parents acknowledge."
Matt didn't talk much about his home life. It wasn't necessarily bad. His parents were overprotective, but caring. They came out to all school events and were very involved in the parent organization. A few years before Matt started at Wharton's his younger brother Mason died in a car crash. Matt's mother was driving. From what Alan gathered Matt's parents never talked about Mason. It was as if he never existed. Matt didn't say anything out loud, but Alan knew Matt's home life was difficult. That was why Matt put all of his pent up energy into sports and keeping his friends in line.
"You need pizza." Alan decided.
The two weeks that followed were just as chaotic as the first. Final assignments were being completed and everyone was entering hibernation for studying. Matt and Alan were no exception. John had been busy planning for final exams at Harvard. It made things easier on Alan. He didn't need to explain the distance. The upcoming weekend was the first weekend he was going spend with John since his family left.
"How's school going?" John inquired.
Alan was working on setting the table. Amanda was out of town on a seminar. It was the perfect time for Alan to say goodbye to John. The weeks that followed were going to be crazy busy for both of them. "It's good." He responded.
"How is cramming for finals going?" The older blonde questioned. "I could help you."
Alan always called John when he needed help with an assignment. John had this amazing way of helping Alan without making him feel like an idiot. He was good at building up others. Harvard was lucky to have him as a professor. Alan assumed John would return to the Thunderbirds after he was gone. It was a way of life. John never admitted he missed being up on five, but Alan could tell the transition had been a struggle.
"I could use some help with calculus." Alan huffed. "I have no clue what I'm doing."
John smiled, "I haven't taken calculus since college. But I'll see what I can do."
"I'll take what I can get." Alan sighed. "I'm drowning."
"You should have asked me sooner." John scolded. "What have you been doing the past few weeks? I feel like I've hardly heard from you."
Alan shrugged, "I've been studying."
John met his brother's eyes. "Scott called me a few days ago. He's worried about you and quite honestly so am I."
"I have finals in two weeks." Alan reminded. "I've been kind of preoccupied."
"It's more than that, Allie." John reasoned. "You've completely separated yourself from us."
"That's not true." Alan lied.
"Where are you going to college, Alan?" John demanded. "What's your plan after graduation? Because you act like someone who knows what they want, but you haven't said a word."
Alan had really been hoping to avoid this talk all together. He didn't think that his brothers would catch on this fast. "I can't talk about this right now." He refused.
John was obviously not happy with his brother's response. "Why can't you?" He shouted.
Alan was thrown off by John's bluntness. John never yelled or lost his temper. "I need to make my own decisions on my own terms." Alan explained. "I don't need you guys to dictate what I do with my life."
John ran his hand through his hair. "This is your future were talking about, Sprout. It just seems like something you'd want to talk about with family." He ranted.
Alan couldn't blame John for freaking out. He had been purposely shoving them out of his life for the past four years. It was understandable that they would be concerned. "Can we please not fight?" Alan pleaded. "I know that this is frustrating, but I need you to back off."
John considered his brother's words carefully. "I don't want to fight either." The astronaut resolved. "I just want to be there for you. I can't support you if I don't know what's going on."
"You want to support me?" Alan repeated. "Then help me pass calculus."
John was not satisfied with how the conversation was ended. But he agreed to help Alan with calculus anyway. It was obvious to Alan that he wasn't going to be able to say goodbye to John in person. He was going to have to call him after finals. John would get a straight forward goodbye. He was too suspicious.
"How did things go with John?" Matt wondered.
Alan hesitated, "He was suspicious."
"What did you say?" Matt accused.
"I didn't say anything." Alan excused. "Scott called him."
Matt sat down on his bed to gather his thoughts. "Are you sure you want to go through with this?" He asked. "It's not too late to back out."
"Do you want to back out?" Alan checked.
"No, I'm all in." Matt clarified. "What about you?"
"We made a promise." Alan remembered. "I have no intention of breaking it."
"So we're really going through with this." Matt sounded relieved. "Exactly the way we planned."
"Everything set up," Alan informed. "I called Mr. Pierce and he's still in."
"Let's do this." Matt grinned.
After dropping Alan off at his dorm John called Scott. He knew his brother had been hoping for better news. Scott was the type of person that expected results regardless of the situation.
"Hey Johnny," Scott answered. "How's civilian life treating you?"
"Amanda's at some seminar in New York all week." John expressed.
"Sounds boring," Scott blurted.
"It's been a long week to say the least." John admitted.
"Did you get a chance to talk to Alan?" Scott pondered.
John was dreading this question. Scott wasn't going to be happy. "Yeah, it didn't go well." He stated.
"What did he say?" The older man interrogated.
John took a deep breath before replying. "He told me to back off."
Scott paused, "What do you think?"
"I think Alan knows what he wants to do after graduation." John resolved. "He just wants to make sure he's making the right decisions for himself."
"I'm telling you something else is going on." Scott pushed. "The kid won't even take my calls, John. The last time he was this distant Dr. Lancaster was hurting him."
"If you're so concerned maybe you should call your girlfriend." John suggested.
"Funny," Scott shot back. "I already did."
John rolled his eyes. "Of course you did smother hen. What did Janet have to say?"
"She said Alan has been super busy with finals." Scott huffed. "And that I was overreacting."
"Janet is a smart woman." John agreed. "You should listen to her."
"Just promise me you'll keep an eye on him." Scott requested.
It was like Scott didn't know him at all. "I'll keep two eyes on him. Scouts honor." John committed.
"You were never a boy scout." Scott rejected. "You have to pinky swear or something."
"I'm hanging up now." John cut off. "I'll talk to you later Scooter."
The following two weeks Alan and Matt were still in full study mode. If they weren't cramming they were planning. There were still some arrangements that needed to be smoothed out. John had been keeping incredibly close tabs on Alan since his visit. Alan made it a point to return his calls and act as normal as possible. The last thing he needed was John calling Scott with his suspicious. It would be game over for sure.
The last two weeks flew by. School had been keeping him distracted up until now. Alan had just completed his last final. It felt like a chapter of his life was coming to an end. High school was officially over. Alan got out his phone and called John. It was time to say goodbye. He knew the time table for what was about to happen. He needed to act fast.
"Hey Sprout," John greeted. "How did your finals go?"
"I think I did well." Alan enlightened.
"That's great!" John said excitedly. "I'll be finished here in the next few hours then I will be there to pick you up."
"That's actually what I was calling you about." Alan stated seriously.
"What's going on, Allie?" John interrogated. "You sound weird."
"I was just calling to say goodbye." Alan rushed. "I love you and I'm sorry it had to be this way."
"Whoa, Alan!" John said frantically. "What are you talking about? Why are you saying goodbye?"
"Please, tell everyone that I love them." Alan begged.
"Hang on, Sprout." John interrupted. "I'm on my way. Don't go anywhere. We can talk about this."
"I won't be here, John." Alan let his composure slip. He was going to start crying. "I have to go. This is the last time you'll ever hear from me." Alan hung up the phone and smashed it with his foot. He did the same with his watch. Alan wanted to make sure his family couldn't track them in any way. It was the most difficult call he's ever made. With his other brothers it was easier. He didn't tell them anything straight forward. After he pulled himself together he met Matt back in their dorm room.
"Are you grabbing anything?" Alan questioned.
Matt shook his head. "Everything stays. That was the plan. Let's go, Mr. Pierce is waiting." He enlightened.
"Let's go." Alan agreed.
Sneaking off campus was normally a difficult task in the daylight, but it was the last day of finals. This meant that everyone was too wrapped up to notice their absence. It was easy to sneak out. Between the end of year excitement and family celebrations it was a piece of cake.
He didn't know what Alan was doing, but he had a terrible feeling. The sorrow in his brother's voice mixed with the clear farewell was enough to break John's heart. The first thing John did was call campus security. Being put on hold reminded John of when Alan was in the hospital and the families were forced to wait in the waiting room. It drove him insane. When the headmaster returned to the phone she informed John that Alan and Matt had left campus. They were caught on the security footage sneaking over the campus fence. Both boys left directly after finals and took nothing with them. She called the local police to be on the lookout. John could not believe this was happening. Alan was graduating two weeks. Why would he run away?
He called his father directly after hoping that Alan had reached out to them as well. "Dad, have you talked to Alan today?" John has a horrible feeling in his gut.
Jeff's' heart raced at the worry in his son's voice. "We've been on a rescue call all morning. We just got back to the island. Why?" The patriarch could see how distressed John had become.
"Alan ran away." John divulged.
Scott, Virgil, and Gordon walked into the room. They were still dressed in their flight suits from the rescue. "What are you talking about?" Scott demanded.
"Alan called me after he finished his last final." John recapped. "He kept saying he was sorry and that he loved us. He said it would be the last time I would ever talk to him. Then he hung up on me. I tried to call him back, but it went straight to voicemail. I called campus security. Alan smashed his phone and watch to pieces. The headmaster said Alan and Matt jumped the campus fence and left all their stuff behind."
"I knew something was going on." Gordon thought aloud. "The last time we talked I had this horrible feeling."
"I've had a horrible feeling for the past month." Scott shared. "Alan hasn't been taking or returning my calls since we left."
"What do the local police say?" Virgil questioned.
"They're going to search, but bottom line is Alan's eighteen. If he wants to disappear they can't stop him." John informed.
"Okay, John head to campus. Tear Alan's room apart. He must have left some trail behind that we could follow." Jeff instructed. "We'll get pictures out to the police. After that we will head your way."
"I'll keep you guys in the loop until you get here." John promised.
The hours that followed were the hardest of John's life. He had torn Alan's dorm room apart to no avail. There was nothing there to indicate where the boys had gone. John called Brains and Fermat to start a camera search. He wanted to make sure police hadn't missed anything at the airports, red light cameras, and train or bus stations. That was all John could do at the current moment until his family arrived.
The next few weeks passed by in a blur. Jeff had filed a missing person's report. It was useless considering Alan was eighteen and had left of his own free will. But it gave them some peace of mind. They had turned over Alan's room several times hoping to find something new. It got them nowhere. Wherever Alan had gone he had no intentions of being found. They were forced to return back to the island to use their equipment to get results. Without the local police helping it meant they were on their own. The only comfort Alan have them was the missing cell phone chip he took with him. Scott noticed the chip with all his contacts was missing from the smashed phone. If Alan needed them all he could stick the chip in another phone.
"Have you found anything?" Jeff asked Virgil.
Virgil ran his hands over his face. "Nothing," He sighed. "He covered his tracks well."
Virgil and John had been at the command control computers all day running possible variables. The only thing they did know for certain was that Alan, Matt, Sam, and Wesley had all purchased large quantities of airplane, train, and bus tickets to places all over the country. It was so chaotic that they had to ask Fermat to create a computer code to filter results. It was weighing the computer systems down.
"What about the algorithm Fermat created?" Scott interrogated. "He said it would help narrow things down."
"It does," John acknowledged. "But it's still not enough. It's overloading the computer systems and causing them to freeze. At this rate it would be faster to search by hand."
"That could take months." Gordon fumed.
"We know," Virgil quipped.
"For all we know Alan never used one of those tickets." Scott argued. "They're probably all false leads or he switched tickets with someone last minute and check in under another name."
"It's the only thing we have to go on at the moment." Jeff stated sternly.
"What about rescue calls?" Scott wondered.
"That's what we're saying." Virgil recapped. "As long as this algorithm is running and scanning the Thunderbirds can't receive calls."
"So it's Alan or the Thunderbirds." Gordon snapped as he left the room. "I guess we know what Dad's going to choose."
"Are you fielding any good results with the algorithm?" Jeff interviewed.
"They've all been dead ends so far." John chimed. "Alan knew what he was doing. He knew this would override our systems and cause a complete melt down."
"It's you're call, Dad." Virgil waited for his father's verdict.
"No," Scott spat. "You're not giving up this early. This is your son we're talking about."
"I don't have a choice, Scott." Jeff rebutted. "Innocent lives are at stake."
Scott couldn't believe what he was hearing. "What about Alan's life?" He raised his voice.
Jeff held his hands up to stop Scott. "I'm not giving up." Jeff compromised. "We're going to start searching by hand."
"Gordon's right it could take months." John reminded.
"Every spare moment we have I want us working on finding your brother." Jeff ordered.
Scott breathed a sigh of relief. "Finally something we can all agree on."
A/N: Thank you to everyone who has reviewed, followed, and favorited this story. It makes me so happy! Don't worry this is not the true ending. I have already started writing the sequel.