Author's note: This is the final chapter of the fic. Thanks for staying with it and all of the reviews. Who knows, maybe they'll be more fics in the future. It's been fun.
Fingers danced over the ivory keys of the Tracy grand piano, creating a gentle and happy melody which made its way through the corridors of the house. It mixed together with the morning bird song coming from the rest of the island. The sun had been up for quite some time now. It warmed their little island pleasantly. Perhaps the rest of the day might be a little bit too hot but for the time being, it was just the right temperature. The smell of fresh bacon from the kitchen continued to hang in the air despite breakfast having been finished almost half an hour ago. Well, for the most part, a portion had been set asides for the island's resident late riser.
It was a pleasant break to be free from rescues. The entire family found themselves in the slightly unusual situation of all being on the island together, with no emergencies looming over their heads. The peace was something which they savoured, taking full-advantage of it. For some, that had meant a lie-in. The rescues from the day before had taken their toll, leaving them longing for the comfort of their beds to provide an extended period of rest. Alan, true to himself, was still taking advantage of the quiet morning to get as much sleep as humanly possible and maybe a little bit more if his brothers allowed him.
Scott sat behind their father's desk. He occupied himself by reading through some of the paperwork involving the purchase of a smaller company by Tracy Industries. It was a task he had put off for as long as possible. This sort of thing was the exact reason he knew he couldn't have done a desk job. He would have gone mad within a week. Grandma Tracy was in the middle of knitting something, as of yet it was a surprise. Judging by the size, it wasn't much of a challenge to guess just who it was for. So long as she stayed away from the kitchen, they had no reason to bother her. Brains remained in his lab, working tirelessly on yet another project.
From time to time, a member of the family would look up, glancing towards where the hologram of John would appear or towards his portrait. He would be calling any time soon. It was simply a matter of waiting. Initially, they had been planning to watch the news live but when faced with the beauty and serenity of the morning, none of them could face it. Instead, they preferred to allow the Space Monitor to keep track of the days events for them and to let them know when it was time for them to switch on. Until them, they were more than happy to simply enjoy the tranquillity and take full advantage of it.
For all that, it wasn't quite peaceful on the island. There was only so much of Gordon's pacing which his brothers could ignore. The second youngest of the brothers had been restless since breakfast, actually even before then. He kept on rushing around, desperate, panicking. It was excessive, they all knew it but weren't all that surprised by his nerves. As such, they had been patient with him as he rushed in from his bedroom into the living room convinced that he'd missed something which needed to be tidied, before charging back towards the bathroom as he recalled that he was yet to brush his teeth or to apply deodorant. What had started as being amusing was now becoming somewhat grating as he continued to charge around in order to ensure that everything was just perfect.
A stark contrast with the Gordon they had all known for quite some time. Grandma assured them it would be a phase and that a few dates in, he would relax and they would be back to the loud brother who also happened to be something of a slob whom they all knew and loved. Until then, they would have to be patient.
For the past five minutes, he had been trying to find his watch. Looking everywhere for it, no matter how absurd a location it was. He didn't seem to be getting the message from Virgil who was periodically giving him a glare in an effort to get him to stop. It proved to be decidedly pointless. He was far too wound up to notice. They knew full-well what it was about. He'd been in a similar state of virtual panic since some time the night before. They would likely have to put up with a fair bit more of it from him, at least another few hours worth. It proved to be hard not to laugh however when he turned to Grandma in a genuine panic and asked:
"You think Brains has it?"
"Why would he have it?" The elder paused her knitting in order to answer her grandchild's question.
"I dunno. Maybe he wanted to change the battery or something?!"Gordon proceeded to push past Scott in order to check the drawers of the desk.
"And he took it without your permission?" Virgil chuckled at the mere thought. "Seriously Squid, you need to calm down. Penny's coming to help Brains with the outfits, not to perform a spot inspection of Gordon Cooper Tracy!"
"I know that! It's just that last time-"
"Last time you hadn't cleaned your room in almost two months!" Scott methodically closed the drawers one by one after his brother. "You could have gone for a swim in all that trash!"
"Why don't you go and check if he does?" The elder's suggestion earned some silent sighs of relief from the other two brothers. "If he doesn't then stop worrying about it! It will turn up!"
He nodded once before running off towards the genius' lab. Perhaps encouraging their brother to go and bother the engineer when he busy working on a project with a deadline no less was hardly responsible. Still, it would cause him to give them all some rest, for a few moments at least. They knew full-well that he wouldn't be easy until lady Penelope had arrived and he forced himself to try and remain as cool and suave as he was capable of. It was endearing enough in a way to prevent them from becoming completely insane. On his way out, he almost collided with a sleepy looking Alan. The young man made his way out of the corridor, a little startled but still clearly half-asleep. Virgil's eyes flicked up to the clock, this was surprisingly early for him. No doubt it was because he, like all of them, knew they would be welcoming visitors soon. If nothing else, he wouldn't want to miss the broadcast in a few minutes.
He staggered in, yawning loudly as he did so, an action he barely even attempted to mask with his hand in front of his mouth. The youngest of the brothers followed on with a stretch before muttering a sleepy:
"Morning Alan..." Came the replies.
"I haven't missed the broadcast, have I?" The young man made his way over to his breakfast, driven more by instinct than anything else.
"No." Grandma shook her head negatively. "Shouldn't be long though."
"Good. Looks like Gordon's still flipping out." He took a bite of his bagel as he spoke.
"He's just nervous." Virgil spoke more softly now, with a greater understanding of his sibling. "You'd probably be the same if you were in his shoes. Lady P's a big catch."
He nodded slowly, understanding. They would tease him for a while longer until either he got used to it or the fun stopped. Alan wolfed down the bagel which had been set asides for him in a matter of seconds. It was a wonder to his brothers that he was even able to taste it. All of the food he consumed seemed to go upwards, giving him ever more inches, he was coming terrifyingly close in Scott's mind to being able to look him in the eye. The eldest brother took another sip of coffee, leaning back in his chair as he did so. He offered his family a gentle smile, finding himself content to sit back and bask in the morning sun. He was already planning certain elements of his day (as much as rescues would allow) as he sat there.
A beeping drew their attention, it was a familiar sound, one which informed them that the space monitor of Thunderbird 5 was calling. They had been expecting to hear from him. Waiting patiently for his call. Within a few seconds, the friendly face of the middle brother appeared. His relaxed demeanour reassured them that all was well and that they weren't about to be called out for one kind of disaster or another. Alan was the first to greet him, speaking with a mouth full of food:
"Hi guys. You all sleep well?" He gave the youngest a knowing smile.
"Almost… Up twice last night." There was a reason that Scott was drinking coffee.
"Ouch. Well, at least it's getting better." The comment earned a groan. "I take it Gordon's still in panic mode?"
"Just a little bit." Virgil let a knowing smile do the rest of the talking.
John nodded slowly before becoming slightly distracted. His family waited patiently whilst he had a discussion somewhere further away, out of their sights. They couldn't tell just what they were saying. It seemed well natured enough. Some gentle laughter only confirmed that guess. They heard a "good morning" coming from somewhere out of their sight, they responded with greetings of their own. When the middle brother reappeared moments later, there was a warm and contented glow coming from him. A gentle smile which occupied his face. They waited for him to speak, knowing that he would give an explanation in a few seconds:
"Yeah… We're going to need another supply shipment."
"Already?" Virgil looked up from his composition, the music stopping as he did so. "We were up there just last week."
"Yeah… Those rations were calculated for two people on Thunderbird 5." There was a somewhat gleeful smile on his brother's face as he spoke. "Not two and a half."
"FAB" Grandma hid her mouth in order to to muffle a giggle as she read in between the lines. "You tell her to take it easy. A wedding is one thing in zero gravity, giving birth to a baby another."
"Will do." He hesitated for a moment, his mouth slightly ajar but still no words coming out. Finally, he cleared his throat before adding. "The broadcast is about to start..."
He received no verbal response. Those present immediately dropped what they were doing, giving the news report which popped up on the screen their full and undivided attention. A young woman stood before them, behind her was a screen showing live footage from outside an imposing looking building. There was a large crowd which had assembled outside. They stood there, gathered together and waiting eagerly. It was clear that they had been there for quite some time, patience was beginning to run out. All eyes rested on the door, anticipating the slightest hint of them opening. Positioned on either side of it and keeping the crowds back were a large number of GDF soldiers. Seeing that nothing seemed to be happening, the reporter filled the silence with her own words:
"-It's been five years since the GDF admitted that the Mechanic had disappeared. After remaining off of the radar for over four years, he was finally apprehended in September of last year by the GDF and International Rescue's head of security who preferred to remain anonymous. It's believed that they along with Scott Tracy, the eldest of the famous Tracy brothers were called in to testify during the trial. Now that trial has been going on for some months and finally today we heard that the sentence had been- There he is!"
The sudden cry was startling enough to cause a few members of the audience to jump. Finally, those hours of waiting had served their purpose. A man emerged. He was in handcuffs, being lead away quickly by several GDF soldiers. The cameras all converged on the man, flashes going off like a thousand flashes or lightning. Scott felt a slight feeling of unease as he stood there. It wasn't so much the presence of the man as the fact that he found himself in the criminal's shoes. He recalled the fear of being paraded around, tied and bound in front of the media, feeling convinced that these could be his last few moments alive. The sickness in the pit of his stomach caused him to avert his eyes.
His malaise didn't seem to have been noticed, the other's attention remained fixed only on the report. There was the sound of trainers on the floor, causing the eldest brother to turn to see Gordon emerge, face flushed obviously aware that he he'd almost missed the report. The Mechanic's face was harsh. He showed no sign of fear or remorse, looking up into the camera with his dark eyes as if he was starring right at them. A second later, he was pushed into the van which wasted no time in starting up and driving off.
A voice could be heard off-camera. It belonged to Colonel Casey. They were quick to focus in on her. The woman had taken the place behind a podium, obviously intended for the press conference to follow. She was dressed in her full uniform, medals shining in the midday sun. She stood tall and proud but solemn as she spoke, recounting the events of the trial and it's result:
"-The Mechanic has been sentenced to life and the GDF will see that he serves his sentence. It will be-"
"Where's Kayo?" Gordon's eyes scanned the room noticing her absence for perhaps the first time. "I thought that she wanted to see this."
"I haven't seen her all day." Virgil turned his attention to Scott, aware that he had been the first one up.
"She's down on the beach." Scott let out a soft sigh neither regretful nor content. "I guess she's got better things to worry about."
He got up a second later, excusing himself. Even after all of these years, there were some things he would rather not remember, especially not on a day like today.
His family watched him go sympathetically before turning their attention back to the screen. None of any of this came as much of a surprise. Casey had been on the line just the night before to let them know what the verdict would almost certainly be. International Rescue had been linked to the case more than they ordinarily would have like to be. On the rare occurrences of an arrest by the organisation, they almost inevitably simply handed them over, did a small amount of paperwork and then forgot about it. This had been different. Two of their own had been called to testify. They had been made to stand up in court and give their versions of events. A room full of people had seen the pictures taken by the doctors of Kayo Kyrano's injuries. There was enough nightmare juice there to last them a lifetime.
"That's it done and dusted..."
Grandma's words were firm, final. It was time to call it a day and close that chapter of their lives. It was time for them to stop thinking about it. A difficult challenge but one which would hopefully become at least somewhat easier now that they had been given some form of finality. It would still linger in the back of their minds, a haunting reminder that they should never drop their guards. However, it might begin to be less painful and no longer play such a role in their lives. After all, those had changed as well. As their elder had been reminding them periodically since they had first been reunited, they had to keep on going and live their lives accordingly, most importantly, they needed to make the most of it.
Virgil was the first to turn away, returning to his piano. John's hologram blipped off a moment later. Gordon lingered for a few minutes, waiting to hear the last few words of the colonel before they were analysed and recapped by the reporter. It was finally a beeping which informed them that a craft was incoming which drew him away, rushing towards the hangar where he would be able to great the Lady first. Alan slowly allowed his attention to fall back on his grandmother. The woman sat there for a moment before a gentle smile made its way onto her face. It took a second before he mirrored the gesture.
Walking slowly, the youngest of the brothers headed out onto the terrace. It offered a stunning view of the island. In the distance, his gaze quickly found a pink spot which was gradually approaching. Anywhere else, a bright pink flying Rolls Royce would have been a cause for a quick trip to the nearest psychiatric hospital. Here, it was pretty standard. He found himself smiling, imagining the excitement slowly growing in his immediate older brother at the thought of the imminent arrival. They'd all been there enough to witness him practically bouncing around with nerves. His attention only lingered on FAB1 for a few moments however as it was quick to travel back to the beach in the distance. Even at this distance, he could make out the distant figures of a few individuals down there on the sands and near the waves. He was too far away to make out much of what they were doing, much less what they were saying but he could picture the scene. It was enough to bring a feeling of serenity, completion perhaps as Grandma had suggested, knowing that a painful chapter of their history had been closed. Hopefully for good.
Scott approached Kayo carefully. She had her back turned to him, facing towards the blue sea. Her expression was gentle, serene. She was aware of his presence but simply chose not to acknowledge it. She must have been down here for an hour already, having had her breakfast and shower beforehand. Hardly surprising, the woman had always been an early riser. He came over so as to stand by her side. There he remained, saying nothing as he tried his best to get a feel for the woman's nerves. He'd learned that it was always best with her to be cautious. As such, when he finally did decide to break the silence, he did so carefully, "fishing" with a somewhat innocuous statement:
"Grandma's knitting a bonnet."
"Another one?" The woman laughed softly. "It's lovely of her but they're not exactly a must-have in the south Pacific."
"She used to make them all the time for us when we were kids."
Kayo smiled, her attention travelled gradually over to him. She could almost certainly tell that something else was driving him. If she didn't immediately question him, it was only because movement out of the corner of her eye caused her to look away. She contemplated the cause for a moment before judging that it was safe enough to turn back to the eldest of the brothers. The head of security waited patiently until he was completely sure that it was alright for him to bring up a subject which he knew to be somewhat touchy. Considering how relaxed she appeared to be, he decided to none-the-less risk disturbing the harmony of the beach in order to enquire about it:
"They just sentenced the Mechanic. He's getting locked up but then you knew that."
"Yes. I did." She struggled to maintain her concentration as something collided with her legs.
"You didn't want to watch." He deduced forcing himself to look her in the eyes despite the obvious distraction.
"I didn't need to… It's in the past. I've got a whole future to look forwards to now."
He was quiet, sensing that he was about to lose the battle for the woman's attention anyway. Kayo bent down and picked up the infant who had decided to cling to her leg so tightly, a sure sign that she wanted some attention. A series of odd noises followed. It would a while before "mama" came but perhaps not much longer. Until then, they could look forwards to the nonsensical yet prolonged babble the baby seemed capable of generating. The child's green eyes quickly rested on him. She smiled before reaching out, offering him a shell.
"For me? Oh, thank you."
There was a giggle from the child, apparently she was glad that he appreciated his gift. Scott smiled, she stroked the child's head under her mother's caring gaze. Tanusha placed the infant back down on the sands with a kiss to its head. It wasn't long before she was back to playing. She would rush towards the waves and then flee as quickly as possible, letting out a periodic scream of joy as she did so. The adults were content to watch, keeping a close eye on her in order to ensure that she didn't get into any trouble. It was something easier said than done. The girl seemed to have a knack for getting into trouble.
It was some time later that a beeping caused both of them to jump. They found themselves greeted by the familiar face of the Space Monitor:
"International Rescue we have a situation."
"Go ahead John." Scott spoke for the two of them.
"Gas fire off the coast of New Zealand, there's some talk of the Hood being involved. You two up for it?"
"I think we can handle it..."
It was a knowing smile which passed between the two of them. They got to their feet. It was a well practiced maneuver which allowed Kayo to scoop up the child without causing panic. The two of them ran, heading back towards the island where the familiar rumble of rocket engines could be heard.