A/N Sorry about the wait for this chapter. I had to rewrite the ending three times because I couldn't figure out how I wanted to set things in motion so to speak. I hope that things will go faster, but then again I do have a life outside of this story that includes finding a full time job. For the sake of legality, I must a disclaimer that I do not own the Thunderbirds. I do not make any money off of it, and I just write this for personal enjoyment and hope to open up a different perspective on some of the characters, particularly Alan in this case.

Chapter 2: Reasons & Regrets, Revelations & Realizations

After the conversation, I knew I really had to get away from Tom's shop. I wasn't angry at Tom or Lisa, but I just didn't want awkward questions that would reveal who I was. I was happy with my life, though living a constant lie through living as Adam, not for the first time was beginning to weigh down on me. Although I did apologize to Lisa for sounding mad, our relationship was still strained because she didn't understand why I was being so secretive, but after a few days she finally let it go. Nonetheless, I waited about a week after that to ask Tom for some vacation time, and he graciously gave it to me, although the reasoning for it still mystified him, associating it with our earlier conversation.

Standing in behind his desk, Tom looked me in the eye, showing his usual grandfatherly concern, "Adam, I'm more than willing to give you some time off, but I just want you to know, that Lisa and I had no intention of upsetting you in any way. I understand that you are a private person which was why I haven't asked about that conversation. But I have to ask, you've been on edge ever since that news report. If there's anything I can do to help..."

Knowing that I wasn't going to get out of this by lying, I replied, "I completely understand Tom, and yes my vacation has something to do with that, but again it's just something in the past that I can't really talk about."

Raising a serious eyebrow at me, the old man asked, "Can't or won't?"

Sighing and slightly frustrated, I replied, "If I'm being honest as I can, it's a bit of all three. I can't, won't, and don't want to talk about it."

Tom shook his head realizing that I wasn't going to budge, "I see. Very well then...I approve of your vacation time. Are you going to use all of it?"

I sighed rubbing my forehead, feeling a stress induced headache building,"Yeah, probably for the best. This has messed with my head, and I need time to think. Three weeks will be more than plenty of time to get my head straightened out."

Tom grinned, knowing I was getting back to my old self, "What are you going to do for vacation?"

I frowned in thought, "I might head to Kennywood* next week. Gabe and some of the other guys got tickets, so I might head out with them, but for the rest of it, I'm going to be working on my locks. It's quite therapeutic you know?"

My boss shook his head in disbelief, "I don't see why you insist on working in a car shop when you can just as easily become as rich as Jeff Tracy himself through your work in security systems! I know of the AT Lock & Security Company, and I can't think of any business owner anywhere in the United States who doesn't want it! You installed it for the shop for a huge discount, and I've never felt safer since I opened this place forty years ago! They are always in high demand, and yet no one seems to know who owns it, or how they make it! You still haven't told me how you managed to get hired by them!"

Now this was a lie I could tell with practiced ease, even at Tom's mention of my father's name, I kept my composure. No one knew that the owner was really me, even John would never be able to figure that out, as that particular information I purposely concealed, and if John couldn't find out with Thunderbird 5 or through Tracy Enterprises, then the government and the police would never be able to find that out. As long as they trusted the reputation of my company, everything was fine. I'd reveal this eventually, at the right time, but security risks sink ships, and if anyone knew I invented the entire security system at the age of thirteen, then it would have been much more dangerous for me.

I answered Tom without flinching,"That's because, as I've told you before, I, Adam Casey, don't own it. I just work for them. I construct and build the system according to the company owner's specifications, they give me the parts, and I put them together. I am paid very well, and I'm technically not supposed to tell you this because it's absolutely secret." I gave a secret smile causing Tom to laugh, although knowing I was actually serious. I installed it for Tom to thank him for allowing me to work for him, "I only work at home part time because I like working on cars just as much as I like building locks. Mechanical engineering's my passion, and working on the locks gives me time to myself to think. I haven't been able to do a lot of thinking lately, so I'm behind on orders."

The old man grinned, "Really? Working during vacation? You never stop do you?"

I crossed my arms and I pouted childishly, "I don't view working on my locks as work. To me, it's the same as doing puzzles. Working with cars is the same thing. They're hobbies that I get paid for, and I'm making good money. I go to church on Sundays, and then the rest of my free time is spent hanging out with the guys or reading. I'm a simple guy leading a simple life. What more can I ask for?"

The old mechanic still couldn't believe I wouldn't be going anywhere for my vacation, "Don't you want to see any place special? I mean most people would go out of state for vacation rather than stick around here."

I shrugged. I really didn't want to go anywhere. Not to mention, I probably probably shouldn't. The three year anniversary of when I had run away had only been a couple of weeks ago, and my Dad's search was back on, and I had no intention of getting caught, "Eh...not my thing. My family did a lot of traveling, still does actually."

Rubbing my chin in thought, "Anywhere that most people go on vacation for, I probably already have gone there, whether it was for work, for vacation, or for kicks. It doesn't matter. I like Pittsburgh, and there will be plenty of things to do downtown considering summer is coming up. I won't lock myself entirely away, but I'll have plenty of things to do." Tom nodded at that accepting the answer, and if you are wondering why he didn't seem surprised about me talking about my family, it wasn't like I never mentioned some things about my family, highly edited versions of course. It would have looked suspicious had I never spoke about them at all, still being as young as I was and living on my own. The thing with the Hood was one thing, that was something I could have never been prepared for, but as much as I was frustrated and hurt by my Dad and...well Dad and Scott mostly, but John, Virgil, and Gordon didn't make it any easier.

Looking back, what really contributed to me running away was not just...well let's just call it World War III with Dad and Scott. It was not so much from being excluded from the big missions that International Rescue regularly performed, as I understood Dad's reasoning for that. I was young, and the rescues were dangerous, and I was fine with that. Easing me into the position was the best way to go. Also, because of when I faced the Hood the first time, I realized I had a lot to learn, and even more so I learned how little I knew very quickly when they actually got around to letting me train.

What was not fine was years and years of negative build up with one sided teasing, lecturing, and bullying from Scott, Virgil, and Gordon. Not so much John as he was always up on Thunderbird 5, but still Johnny didn't do anything to stop it either when he could have said something. It was being sent to Wharton's and being forgotten nine months out of the year by EVERYONE. It was never calling me after a rescue to tell me they were okay. It was for things like lack of involvement in my school activities. I was involved in Track, Baseball, Soccer, and Basketball, and Dad nor anyone else came to see a single game or meet. I was involved in choir, and no one came to see a single concert. It was forgotten birthdays, which had happened every single year since Mom died, after all my birthday was the same day she died in the avalanche. It was the babying, treating me like I was forever just a kid, but then there was their expectation that I needed to grow up, when they wouldn't let me. However, all of that negativity was nothing compared to the explosion with proverbial World War III.

World War III with Dad and Scott I don't want to even remember what happened. It was the worst argument that I believe anyone could ever have with their family. The end result was that Dad was going to pull me out of Wharton's and send me not to military school, but a school that handled "troubled youth". I admitted that I hated to go to Wharton's because I was being pushed aside. I admit I lost my temper that night, and I did and still do have a temper problem. I admit that I said a lot of things that I regret...But when Dad and Scott both treated me like I was a juvenile delinquent when I hadn't done anything wrong, when they did not stand up for me, when they didn't even listen to me, but assumed right away that I had been the one who decided that it was a good idea to set cherry bombs in every single one of the dormitory bathrooms as a prank causing thousands of dollars worth in damages, I would like to see anyone not lose their cool over that! The real individual responsible was later caught and expelled, but since I was under suspicion because I was one of the only ones in the dorms at the time because I was sick and sleeping in my room, Dad called. Dad and Scott assumed. World War III happened, and that was the last straw for me.

I made my condition worse after that argument over the videophone. I was out of class for an extra week, and feeling ultimately betrayed that Dad would even think I would do something like that! The chemistry lab explosion when I was thirteen may have been my fault, but it was an honest mistake and an accident! I may have also pranked with Gordon from time to time, but I would never intentionally do something that I knew that would cause any permanent damage to property that wasn't mine or where people could get seriously hurt! Dad's and Scott's false accusations infuriated me with their lack of trust, and I had enough. That was the last time I talked to Dad, and afterwards I blocked all of his and Scott's calls, ignored pretty much the rest of the family, and over the course of the next month and a half, I set everything up that would basically allow me to vanish into anonymity. I was done with the Tracy family.

Unfortunately, these thoughts of my screwed up past seeped through my facade as Tom then asked, seeing me grimace, "Are you alright?"

Rubbing my head, realizing the headache and renewed heartache that I was now feeling wasn't going to go away if I didn't go home and deal with it, "Oh...yeah, just a headache. I've not been sleeping well. I really need this vacation."

Graciously, Tom waved his hand, telling me to leave, "Get out of here kid...take as long as you need to." and I nodded in thanks.

I left, saying goodbye to my coworkers, Dale and Tyler, as well as Lisa, and I left, walking along the side of the road. My house was only a mile a way, and the walking was good exercise, and saved on gas costs, not that I needed to, plus I got to enjoy the hillside views that made up the little town of Export.

It was an old coal mining town back in the day. The coal used was then supplied to the coke plants, where it was then baked, and then sent on to the blast furnaces in the steel mills and glass factories down in Pittsburgh for well over a hundred years. Then when the steel industry collapsed, so did Export, like so many other towns that dot Southwestern Pennsylvania. Abandoned and forgotten, broken and lost, just like me. Maybe that's why I came here in the first place, I fit right in after I ran away.

My house was up a ways, and as I walked, I looked around seeing the late spring almost summer weather kick up a nice breeze that caused the trees to dance in chaotic movement. It was a gorgeous day, and I knew I had to at least spend some time outside beyond just my walk home.

Arriving on my street, I walked down past several different homes until I came upon a small, two-story, cottage that was hidden in a small forest enclave of sorts with bushes that ran along the front yard that gave me a lot of privacy. It was a quaint little place. Two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a living room, a kitchen, a small entertainment room, attic space, a multipurpose basement, and a garage. I was living the perfect middle class life at the age of nineteen and with no mortgage. The property was inexpensive and considering when I first bought it, the place was a bit of a fixer-upper, I was able to to pay it off with the initial down payment. The house was another one of my pet projects, and when I finished, I had turned it into a real home.

I walked up to my house, put in the security code, entered the front door, and closed it behind me. I sighed, and sat down against the front door. I hadn't realized how exhausted I was, and I hadn't been sleeping well since I found out the Hood had finally escaped from prison. Was I worried that he would find me? I don't really know. I didn't really know what to feel. I was almost completely certain that through any regular means, he'd have no chance in finding me, but his abilities weren't normal.

I had no idea if the psychic powers that he possessed were enough to locate me. I had no idea of what he was capable of now. It was completely obvious that he would search for me for revenge, as I was the one that ultimately caused him to fail in the first place. He also probably knew that I was off the grid and had been basically untraceable for the past three years.

I walked over to the entertainment room, seeing if I could watch TV to take my mind off things, and I sat down on my sofa, and picked up the remote, and tried losing myself in mindless reality TV. I was going insane in here. I may have invented one of the most popular and best lock and security systems currently on the market, but I didn't feel safe at all anymore. I didn't want to go back home...although I would be lying if I said I didn't missed Dad and the guys. I had been out of contact with them for three years now. However, the pain and hurt that that led me to running away in the first place, as well as the fact that I was enjoying the freedom that my anonymity was able to give me without the press watching my every move, and the life that I had built for myself made it hard to leave.

"What should I do?" I muttered as I placed my head in my hands, troubled by the whole situation. "What can I do?" I tossed and turned these thoughts back in forth, finally turning off my television giving up on distracting myself.

"Maybe it's time I should go back?" I said leaning down with my hands clasped over my knees again, but I then shook my head at the thought. The moment that I even revealed myself to my family, my life as I knew it would be over. I'd be trapped, and never get a moments peace again. It would be a prison that I would never be able to escape from, although considering that I had done it once, I could do it again. However, I would rather not have to go through with it.

Sighing, I finally decided that the reality TV show wasn't distracting me, and I was about to turn it off, when all of a sudden, the screen started getting fuzzy.

"Huh? What's going on?" I looked at the screen, the static becoming the background before I realized exactly what was happening. A shadowed silhouette of the man that I feared most appeared within the static.

It was then an all too familiar voice spoke, "Now that I have your attention. You have no doubt witnessed the destructive power of my organization against Belmarsh Prison! Your attempts at capturing me will lead you nowhere and will be a waste of your time and energy! I have taken control of the global airwaves and just so you know this is only the beginning..." his words filled me with dread, and I realized that this was indeed only the start of the Hood's plans.

"Alan Tracy, I know you're out there! If you do not want the world to suffer, I suggest you hand yourself over! If you don't, know that the power that I displayed is only a small taste of what is to come."

"He's bluffing..." I muttered. How naive and stupid did he think I was? I wasn't going to hand myself over simply because he asked me to. Sure, his escape from the high security prison showed how dangerous he was, but to go against the entire world was ridiculous!

As if answering me, the Hood continued, "And if you think I am bluffing, let it be known that I have someone near and dear to you. Someone who you left behind! Say hello to my hostage!" and the screen changed from his static silhouette to an empty room holding the one person whom I didn't expect to be captured.

"No..." I whispered, so angry that I couldn't even form a single real response, "Tin-Tin..."

She was tied up and gagged and her eyes were filled with fear. I swallowed back bile and I shook as she was revealed to the whole world as the bait for the Hood's revenge against me. The psychopath didn't even care about the girl who technically was his niece. She didn't look like she had been physically harmed yet, but the fact that the man had kidnapped her at all was enough to cause my blood to boil.

"When you reveal yourself, you will be contacted. I suggest you do for her sake." the madman cackled in the background, and the screen cut out, returning to what I was watching before, as if nothing happened.

I immediately turned my TV off, and pulled out my cell phone calling the one person who knew who I really was while I had been hiding, "Gabe, it's me...I need your help."


A/N: Kennywood is one of the three theme parks that are found in the Pittsburgh area, and is well known for being a place of fond memories for those who come from Pittsburgh. It has many classic and modern rides; everything from rollercoasters, to the traditional Merry-Go-Round and Pirate Ship, as well as some antique rides that you will not find anywhere else. It is also home to the world's oldest water ride, now called Garfield's Nightmare, the Old Mill has been renamed and refurbished throughout the years, but the ride itself has never been shutdown or replaced. The lines are also usually never longer than forty-five minutes at the most, allowing everyone time to make the most of their time there. It is open all summer, and in September is closed except on weekends to set up for the October Fright Nights which are held on Friday and Saturday nights.