Disclaimer: See previous chapters!

CHAPTER 14

Alan slept a majority of the way to New York. They dropped Gordon off before catching a connecting commercial flight to Boston. It was easier to leave Tracy Two in New York than arrange for a hanger in Massachusetts. Janet had met them at the airport and taken them back to her house. Scott and his wife had agreed to keep her house near Wharton's and rent it out on holidays.

"Have you talked to Matt at all since he was put under protection?" His former headmaster inquired. Alan always felt weird around his sister in-laws. It was mainly due to his relationships with them prior to his brother's marriages. Amanda and Janet were two women he had trusted and confided in. Now it just seemed strange.

Alan shook his head in response. "I called one of my old contacts, but they couldn't tell me anything." He shrugged as he helped her get dinner ready.

"I don't think seeing Lancaster is going to helpful, Alan." Janet said bluntly.

The younger boy had expected this response. Janet and Scott were very similar in their opinions. They were both protective and direct. Scott had more than likely asked her to talk some sense into him. "He knows Greer better than anyone. Trust me, he can help." Alan reasoned.

Janet put a hand on the boy's shoulder. "That may be true. But getting in the middle of Greer's grudge with Matt may not be smart. What if Greer gets mad or you get caught in the crossfire?" She objected.

"Lancaster wouldn't let that happen." Alan stared blankly.

The brunette woman sighed, "You're putting a lot of faith in a man that abused you for three years. I know that this is the way you are used to dealing with things. Perhaps there is a way we can go about this without involving Lancaster."

The blonde grunted, "I can't go see Greer."

"Why not?" Scott spoke up. "The guy was practically your father in-law. You ran away to help his daughter. I think he owes you one."

"I just can't go okay." Alan snapped. "Stop suggesting it."

Scott and Janet shared a curious glance. "This isn't because Lancaster ordered you not to, right?" The older man questioned. Based on his little brother's face he had hit the nail on the head. "He can't hurt you anymore, Sprout. He's in jail."

"He told me not to go see him." Alan's voice shook.

Janet looked at her brother in-law with sympathy. "Dad and I tell you not to do things all the time. You never listen to us. Why should you listen to him?" Scott discussed. "We're going to see Greer and that's final. Deal with it."

"It's not your decision." Alan argued. "I'm going to see Lancaster, end of discussion." He stormed out of the room and slammed the bedroom door.

Scott ran his hands over his face in frustration. "That kid is driving me insane." He murmured.

"You should go talk to him." Janet suggested. "He needs someone to be there without judgement. That's what Lancaster was to him, Scott."

Scott shook his head. "He isn't going to listen to me. What's the point?" He fumed.

The woman wrapped her arms around him in reassurance. "Please go talk to him. Come up with a solution together." She asked.

Alan was sitting on the bed staring out the window when his brother entered. He was considering just jumping out of it. He was fast enough. Scott wouldn't even see it coming. "Do you remember when the Hood attacked the island over spring break when you were fourteen?" The older man inquired.

The blonde was stunned by his brother's question. Why was Scott bringing up the attack after all this time? Alan would never forget that day. It was the longest day of his life. Alan had learned how truly dangerous international rescue could be. He could live with someone hurting him. But the possibility of him losing his entire family in one mission haunted him. "Of course I remember." He acknowledged.

"We weren't close back then." Scott reminded. "I know I wasn't that great of a brother to you. We were all wrapped up in getting the thunderbirds repaired we completely forgot to ask what you went through."

"What's your point? It was years ago. It's done." Alan snapped.

Scott sighed at his brother's angry tone. "Lancaster was there for you when we weren't. You were a kid that thought he was going to lose his family. We should have made sure you were okay." The brunette spoke.

"Why say all this now?" Alan questioned.

"We had a chance right then to mend our relationship with you and start fresh. It wasn't until you left for school that we realized what we had done. Tin Tin decided to leave the island after the attack and Fermat distanced himself from everything. What happened on the island that forced you three apart?" Scott wondered.

Alan shrugged, "We were never that close to begin with."

Scott snorted, "Don't lie Sprout. Fermat and you were inseparable."

"No we weren't." Alan spat. "We hung out at home, because there was no one else around. Fermat and I got along, but we weren't friends."

Scott seemed surprised by his brother's explanation. "I thought you roomed together at Wharton's before the attack." He interrogated.

Alan shook his head. "We only roomed together, because of Dad. He insisted we room together for security purposes. Fermat had his own group of friends. I had Matt and Wesley." He elaborated.

"Why didn't you ever say anything?" Scott felt horrible. The oldest and his brothers were under the impression that Fermat and their baby brother were inseparable at school and home.

"It wouldn't have made any difference." Alan insisted. "We got along well enough. We just had different interests. It wasn't a problem."

Suddenly a dark thought crossed the older man's mind. "Did Fermat know?" It would explain the separation between the two boys. Alan avoided his brother's glare. Scott grabbed the boy's shoulders to turn him in his direction. "Did he? Is that why you two stopped talking?" He pushed.

"Don't be ridiculous. Fermat couldn't keep a secret if it would save a person's life. I'm surprised he never told someone about the thunderbirds." Alan scoffed. "He didn't know anything. I told him I was being tutored."

Scott felt relieved at his brother's words. If Fermat had known about the abuse and not told them he would be furious. "Then why do you spend so much time with him now?" He wanted to get as many answers out of his little brother as possible.

"I told you we always got along fine." Alan breezed over the question. "Now that we're older things don't seem as complicated."

"I'm sorry, Sprout." The brunette man apologized. "This entire time we thought that Fermat and you were old friends."

"It's not your fault." Alan accepted. "You guys had no way of knowing."

"What's the real reason you want to go see Lancaster?" Scott hoped he wasn't being too forward.

Alan took a deep breath to calm his stomach. He didn't want to have another fight with his brother. "I already told you that he can help Matt." He repeated.

"Come on, Allie. Don't shut me out. Talk to me." Scott draped his arm around the boy's shoulders and pulled him to his chest. It was like Alan was five years old again. His older brother had always been his heroes. Scott had meant everything to Alan at one point. He was his brother, protector, substitute father, and friend. Those feelings seemed so distant and jumbled now.

"I don't want to see him. He makes me sick." Alan admitted.

Scott held his brother closer to him. "Then why are you insisting on going through with it?" He questioned.

"I can't lose Matt too." Alan stated bluntly.

The pilot ran his fingers through his little brother's hair. It had been a long time since Alan had allowed him to be this close. Probably since before he ran away. "You don't have to see him, Sprout." He comforted. "I'll go alone."

Alan pulled away to look at his brother. "You don't have to protect me from him anymore." The boy wiped away his tears.

Scott grunted, "That's not true, Alan. As long as he's still converting oxygen into carbon dioxide you'll need someone to protect you. I know that you don't see him in the same way that I do. I've learned to deal with that. But if you think I'm going to let you in a room alone with him again you're crazy."

The blonde chuckled at his brother's declaration. It was a typical Scott smother hen moment. "You aren't going to punch anyone, are you?" He asked worriedly.

The older man smirked, "I'm not ruling it out. Neither is Gordon."

Alan froze at Scott's words. What did he mean about Gordon? "What are you talking about? Gordon's in New York until tomorrow night." He rationalized.

"Gordon is meeting us at the police station tomorrow morning." Scott revealed. "He wanted to be there for you."

"Great," Alan sighed. "This is going to be fun."

The next morning came all too soon for all three Tracy brothers. Scott called his father to let him know the plan. Gordon called to tell him he was on the way to Boston. The older man did his best to get Alan to eat breakfast. Within an hour they were at the police station waiting to talk to Lancaster. Scott rested a protective arm around his little brother's shoulders to relax him. Alan had been shaking since they arrived.

The police sat them down in the interrogation room on one side of the table. "We can leave at any time, Sprout. Walk out when you're ready." Gordon reminded him before they brought Lancaster in.

This was the first time Gordon had ever seen his brother's abuser in person. Scott had seen him through the police station's thick two way observation glass previously. It didn't stop either man from becoming rigid in their seats. The only people that seemed at ease were Alan and Lancaster.

The older man scanned the three men in front of him. "I would prefer to speak with you alone." Lancaster requested. His eyes never left Alan's gaze.

"That's not happening." Scott spoke up on his brother's behalf. "You don't make the rules here, Alan does. He asked us to be here."

Scott prepared himself for a backlash from his little brother, but received none. "I wasn't expecting you so soon. What's wrong?" The concern in the man's voice made the older brother's want to punch him.

"Greer never called off the hit on Matt. He was almost stabbed to death in his cell the other night." Alan reasoned with the man. "I thought you were handling this."

"Has Greer threatened you?" Lancaster continued to ignore Alan's older brothers.

Alan shook his head at the question. "He hasn't had a chance to. I didn't go see him." The blonde answered honestly.

Lancaster sighed, "Matt's safety is not my concern. I made Greer promise to keep you out of it."

"I'm already a part of it! Katie was my girlfriend and Matt's my best friend." The boy argued.

Lancaster rolled his eyes at the statement. "I already told you I didn't approve of that girl." He stated stubbornly.

"Can we not have this argument again?" Alan snapped. "I'm here for Matt not Katie."

Gordon and Scott shared a sympathetic glance toward their brother. "I'll contact Greer, but I can't make any promises. We haven't been on the best speaking terms since I was arrested. But if you decide that you no longer wish to press charges I'm sure the police would let me go." The former professor pushed.

"That's not going to happen." Scott said in a stern voice. "We're going to make sure you never breathe free air again."

Lancaster laughed and as his gaze fell on Scott. "Have you asked your brother how he feels about that? I mean he must miss me considering how much he's come to visit." The man smirked. "It must hurt to know that Alan trusts me after everything I did to him. You should know something. Alan will always choose me over you."

Scott was out of his seat in a second. Gordon got up and placed a calming hand on his older brother's shoulder. "He's just trying to get a rise out of you. Sit down, Scooter." The cooper haired man ordered.

The older brother brushed his little brother off and slammed the former professor's face into the table. "If you ever contact my little brother again jail time is going to be the least of your worries." He vowed as he released the man.

The officers were quick to come in the room and escort the three brothers out. "What the hell, Scott! We were supposed to be there to support Alan." Gordon scolded.

Scott shrugged, "That bastard deserved a lot worse. Did you hear what he said about Alan? He's lucky I didn't bring my gun."

The younger man rolled his eyes. "Imagine how Alan must have felt watching you two go at it. The kid's under enough stress with Matt's trial and Katie's death. He doesn't need his older brother in jail for assault." Gordon rationalized.

The older brunette snorted, "Assault? I stand by my actions. They know Lancaster is a predator."

"Whatever, let's just find Alan and get out of here." Gordon resigned looking around for his brother.

Scott followed his younger brother's gaze to find the waiting room empty. "Where's Alan?" The commander said worriedly. "He was right behind us."

"He couldn't have gone far." Gordon insisted. "We're in the middle of a police station."

Scott circled around to look for his brother again. He couldn't believe Alan had run off. How could he forgotten to watch his little brother? "Call his phone." The older man ordered.

Gordon pulled out his phone and called his brother's number in panic. "It went to voicemail." He whispered.

An hour had passed between the events at the police station and the present. After talking to the police and hearing no word from Alan the brothers went back to Janet's house and called their father. "We'll find him, Dad." Scott promised.

Gordon ran his hands over his face in frustration. "When we find him I'm going to kill him." The copper headed man groaned. "Why would he just run off like that?"

Scott shook his head as he hung up the phone. "Who knows what's going through that kid's head right now." The brunette reminded.

The younger man was about to try Alan's phone again when the front door opened. The blonde Tracy slammed the door and brushed passed his brothers. "Where in the hell have you been?" Scott said angrily.

Alan continued to ignore his brothers. Gordon caught his brother's arm and forced him to turn around. "We were worried sick!" He emphasized.

"Well as you can see I'm fine." The younger boy turned away.

"I want an answer, Alan. Where were you?" Scott demanded.

The boy shrugged without turning around. "I went for a walk." Alan breezed.

Gordon continued to hold his brother's arm. Something was bothering him about his little brother. There was more that he was hiding. "What's wrong with you?" He wondered looking into his brother's eyes.

Alan pulled his arm away roughly. "You mean other than Scott and Keith going at each other in the police station? Nothing." He insisted.

Scott walked up and placed a hand on his brother's shoulder. "I'm sorry, Allie. I couldn't let him say those things about you." He apologized.

The blonde swayed slightly under his brother's touch. Suddenly Alan pulled away and stumbled backward clumsily. "Whoa, Sprout." Scott grabbed his brother to his chest to keep him steady. He pulled his brother's face up to meet his gaze. His eyes were completely dilated. "What did you take?"

Alan pulled his face out of his brother's hands and attempted to pull away. Gordon stepped in to help Scott control Alan. The younger boy was obviously freaking out. "Get off me!" The younger boy screamed.

"Not until you tell me what you took." Scott ordered harshly. "You're eyes are the size of saucers."

"Scott, let him go sleep it off." Gordon suggested. "We can talk about this tomorrow when we've all had a chance to calm down."

Scott hesitated as Alan ascended the staircase up to his temporary room. The oldest brother took a deep breath to calm his anger. "I thought we were done with this. Alan knows how we feel about him using." The brunette vented.

"I don't like it either." Gordon agreed honestly. "But it beats him running away again. He had a rough day. Give him some space."

The next morning Alan woke up with a twisted feeling in his stomach. Flashes of the previous day filled his mind. He sprinted to the bathroom and started to throw up into the toilet. A knock on the door broke him out of his wrenching. "Go away." He ordered.

Scott smirked before closing the door behind him. "Good morning to you too. I can see your morning is off to a great start." He had just gotten back from his morning run. "I need to grab a quick shower."

Alan groaned at his brother's cheery nature. "Stop screaming at me. You're giving me a headache." He put his head in his hands and closed his eyes.

"You think you have a headache now, wait till you get downstairs." Scott chuckled.

The young blonde groaned at his older brother in anger. What could possibly be worse than coming down by vomiting? After he managed to maneuver himself off the stone floor he stumbled into the kitchen. "Oh crap, that's a chair." He winced sitting down.

The sound of a man clearing his throat forced him to look up. His father was sitting across from him at the kitchen table in Janet's house. "I thought we were done with all this, Alan. I get a call from your brother's saying you left the police station without telling anyone where you were going only to turn up a few hours later on so many drugs you can't walk in a straight line." Jeff lectured.

Alan snorted, "That's an exaggeration. I made it home and up the stairs fine."

Jeff crossed his arms over his chest and gave his youngest a stern look. "That's not the point and you know it." He insisted.

"What are you even doing here?" Alan snapped angrily. "I thought you were too busy to come. Isn't Scott and Gordon enough?"

"I'm never too busy for you." Jeff promised. "Gordon and Scott called and I was concerned about you."

"There's nothing to worry about. I'm fine." Alan insisted again.

His father waited patiently until Alan was finished speaking. "You're not fine. You haven't been fine for a long time. I'm sick of doing this with you son. I want you to be happy and healthy. I don't want you to use drugs to solve your problems. That's not the way I raised you." Jeff put his foot down.

"Do I really have to sit through this lecture again?" Alan sighed. "I've heard it a thousand times."

"Apparently you do, because you are still using drugs as an escape." Jeff argued.

There was a long and piercing silence that followed. Finally the patriarch decided to break the silence. "I'm sorry I couldn't be there for you yesterday. I shouldn't have agreed to letting you see that man. I knew no good could come from it." Jeff apologized.

Alan rubbed his temples in pain. "Scott was right about my headache. It's actually getting worse." He redirected.

"That's enough, Alan. I'm trying to tell you something important." The father interrupted.

The young blonde rolled his eyes before meeting his father's gaze. "What now?" He groaned.

"There's someone here to see you." The older man stated before getting up. A second later Matt walked into the room.

The brunette stood in the doorway waiting for a reaction from his friend. "I don't have long. The Marshalls are moving me to a new safe house before the trial. The only reason I'm here is because your dad pulled some strings." Matt explained.

Alan tensed at his friends words. The last time he was alone with Matt they argued about his drinking. "I thought you were in the hospital." He inquired.

"I was for a few days, but they discharged me yesterday." Matt elaborated as he allowed silence to fill the room. "How are you doing? You know, without Katie."

Alan shrugged, "I'm dealing."

Matt grunted with a smile. "Gordon told me about what happened yesterday. Want to talk about it?" He offered.

The blonde shook his head in denial. "There's nothing to say. It was just Keith being Keith." He ignored.

"You know you're welcome to come with me if you need some distance. I don't know where their sending me this time, but it would be better if you were there too." Matt offered hopefully. Matt and Alan were the only two left after all these years of trauma and secrecy.

Alan silently considered his friends proposal. If he went back into witness protection he could do whatever he wanted. The problem was that he didn't know what he wanted anymore. Since Katie's death he had been stumbling around between his family and his past with no end. He knew his family was counting on him to start his thunderbird training, but a fresh start did sound appealing. Looking at his oldest friend he knew what he needed to do next.