Told you this one would be short. Just filling in a few missing details really.

2. Follow Up

Having washed and changed, Scott Tracy stood out on his room's balcony, leaning against the metallic top bar of the framing.

It was still afternoon on Tracy Island, with the sun blistering, fiery yellow in the sky; a stark contrast from the dark hours twilight that he had left it in. His mood was rather different too.

A quiet, broken tapping at his door brought the eldest Tracy son out of his personal scrutiny, and Scott headed over to key open the sliding panel, already knowing really, whom he'd find.

The reason for their visit though was much more open; all bets off.

As the white door shifted and moved over, it revealed Virgil Tracy (as Scott had always known it would); hands thrust deep into pockets of his beige shorts, a t-shirt haphazardly thrown on, his hair mussed and head down.

"Hey?" Virgil looked up, brown eyes filled with a strange mix of emotions, clearly unsure.

"You'd better come in."

Scott stepped back, allowing entry, and then closing the door again, headed back out to the sun-baked balcony, leaving his brother to follow behind.

Outside he re-took his leaning position against the barrier, but Virgil deflated, flopped to the floor, knees drawn up to his chest.

"I didn't…" the young International Rescue pilot swallowed and took a lungful of air in, before trying again. "I didn't mean to snap, back, before. I don't want to leave things in a bad state between us either."

"I was just trying to help, Virge." Scott sighed before sliding down the framework to sit on the floor beside his brother, legs stretched out in front of him.

"I know. It's just, everyone keeps asking if I'm okay, but like I said before, I'm still here. What about his family, huh? Someone's going to go around Leo's house tonight; maybe they're already there… See, then his mom will answer the door, and someone's going to tell her that her son is dead. Then trying asking her if she's okay."

Silence hung thickly in the humid, ocean-laced air for a while, before Scott slipped around so that he could look his brother in the eye.

"She will be. She'll understand, and be proud when they tell her what he died doing. He died to save a stranger… the bravest thing I can imagine."

Virgil stared blankly, not understanding.

"Bravest?"

"It's not hard to run into the line of fire for family, and friends. It's takes courage, but you do it because they mean so much to you. To take the shot for someone you don't know, though… that's amazing. To be able to understand that they mean a lot to their family as well, and to forfeit your safety to ensure theirs… Virgil, if I had to die tomorrow, I'd want it to be for something worthwhile. I'd want to know I made a difference to someone, somewhere." He paused, and years later, remembering this conversation, Virgil would wonder if it had been coincidence or for dramatic effect. Either way, it planted seeds in his mind, started the road to understanding. "Leo did."

"We're doing the same, aren't we? Risking ourselves, to help others?"

Scott seemed to struggle with words then, choking on them before they could force their bitter, burnt-ash-and-cinder tasting way out.

"Yeah."

Concerns welled up inside him again, the same as when their father had first proposed the whole idea, but Scott pushed them down inside – yet again, it was not the time to be worrying about them, worrying about just what he had allowed his brothers to step into. His fears were beginning to come true anyway; it was almost too late to stop them.

"I guess it's like all the people that get remembered for doing good stuff."

It was Scott's turn to feel stumped and nonplussed.

"I mean, the normal, everyday people, that get remembered as heroes, are those that die to save other people, in what seems like a hopeless situation, right? They give their lives for strangers."

"Uh-huh. That's what I meant, Virge. His family'll understand in time. Be heart-pounding, lost for words proud, as well."

"Still… It's not fair, Scott."

Virgil once again looked like the lost, doubting, confused boy he'd been when their mother had left, and Scott hated not knowing what more he could say to comfort the terribly bewildered teen.

Instead he placed a hand on his shoulder and gave it a quick squeeze, accompanied with a tight smile.

"It'll be alright."

Brown eyes bore deep into his older brother then, seeking the truth behind the words.

"You promise?"

Even then, three quarters grown-up and very nearly men, Virgil sought the reassurance of his eldest sibling. Strange thing to ask really. Scott could guarantee and swear to that as much as he could promise the open skies and orbiting, muddy earth to someone. However,

"I promise."

And the two brothers sat together, a still hush settling over them for a while, before Kyrano knocked calmly at the door to announce early-dinner was prepared. Neither was aware of how their quiet, private conversation had drifted down to a single figure on the patio below.

Tracy Island flower garden, after dinner;

Sweet smelling petals filled the area that was so beautiful in the sunlight that it almost physically hurt to look at. It was Kyrano's second most stunning, pride and joy, too. After TinTin that was.

Currently it was home to two people. One of them was tending to his flowers, pruning, and petting, whilst the other stood awkwardly, uncharacteristically fiddling with the ring on his finger that he still wore, trying to explain just what he needed help with.

Standing up to admire the dendrobium orchids he'd been tending to, Kyrano spoke for the first time.

"Indeed, sir. I can understand your problem."

"I just, don't want Virgil to think I'm prying. But I really think he might need something more than a pep-talk from Scott."

Leaning down to pull up a stray weed, before it could properly take root, and allow more than just it's first leafy-green head to surface, said Kyrano,

"Then maybe you should consider what else Mister Virgil is in need of, sir."

"That's the problem. I don't know. Maybe he just needs to time, and someone to talk to. I'm unsure if Scott will be enough though. I doubt he'll talk much to me about it, regretfully I fear I've not been around enough in the past for him to trust me. Would you speak with him?"

Now turning to face Jeff, the manservant answered, gently steering his long-time friend back towards the dusty track he should be on.

"Of course. If you would be happier if I were to speak with Mister Virgil, I would be delighted to, sir. However, I was more thinking of something that could offer a little more… closure?"

Raising his eyebrows slightly first, Jeff frowned.

"Closure? I don't understand what you mean, Kyrano?"

Returning to his plants, as much was his way, the retainer paused for a moment.

"When a friend, acquaintance, passes on, normally one would attend a funeral, sir."

"It's not very practical though. I mean, how would we explain his appearance at a very family-focused event?"

"Maybe you would not have to, Mr. Tracy."

"How-so?"

Jeff was now begin to form an idea in his own head, but wanted further confirmation that he was actually heading off down the right pathway; he'd made enough wrong turns before.

"I believe, if I am not mistaken, that you already know the answer, sir."

Smiling a little, Jeff Tracy nodded, and thanked his friend for the advice. Indeed, with Kyrano's cryptic but always cherished and useful help, the father of five still growing and maturing sons knew what needed to be done. Finally he felt like he was beginning to live as the man he'd forever wanted to be to his boys.

Jeff Tracy's office, end of the debriefing, a little later;

"Alright, boys. Now we know the problems we can work through them to ensure a more effective, better operation next time. A more permanent base for Scott to coordinate from is a key matter we need to deal with straight away, as is a further discussion on launching procedure. Right now, I'm very much agreeing with the point Brains brought up about spending just a little more time planning out the rescues here, before flying out. It'll also allow for a more professional front to the organisation."

Jeff Tracy was sat behind his one-of-a-kind, beech wood desk, with a pile of hand-written notes on the desk in front of him, inky drawings and scribbles marring the white pages. Before him Scott, Virgil and Brains sat on couches and chairs, from where they had been recounting the rescue, stopping to highlight issues that had been raised and to bludgeon out plans and new measures.

Brains had spent the meeting keying reminders into his PDA. When they were finished he'd take them into the modern, scientific facilities below the main villa to begin work on immediately.

Despite worries about nasty, vicious turns the debriefing might have taken (all things considered), it had gone smoothly. There'd been few arguments, and all had been more similar to good-natured debating, than cage-fight, brawls.

"Well then, I think that just about concludes things for now. If there are any more queries I'll let whoever it concerns know, and we can always re-band if needs be."

With the subtle dismissal hinted at through their father/employer's words the three men stood.

Still fiddling with the thin, grey, plastic stylus of his handheld device, Brains murmured,

"I… I'll, ah, be h… heading down to the labs if I… I'm needed. I want t… to begin, ah, drawing up p… plans for a central u… unit for rescues."

And then the young, fidgety genius left the office at a hurried pace, ideas already beginning to mill around in his head, itching to reach paper.

"I was thinking of heading down to the pool for a, ah, lemonade before hitting my rooms. You want to join me, Virge?"

Scott looked over to his second oldest brother who had been edging carefully towards the door, hoping not to get called back to speak with his formidable father.

"Yeah. Sounds like a plan."

However, the arrangement and game plan was destroyed as Jeff spoke again.

"Actually, I was hoping I might be able to have a word with you, Virgil?" Then with a meaningful glance in his eldest son's direction, "Alone."

Casting his eyes over to Scott, who shrugged almost imperceptibly, Virgil nodded.

"I'll be outside when you're done."

"Thank you, Scott. Close the door on your way out, would you?"

The ex-fighter pilot obliged as he left, whilst Jeff signalled for Virgil to take a seat on the couch. Then, abruptly, and much to the young man's astonishment, his father got up from behind his desk, and went to sit on a chair closer to his son.

"I've been doing some thinking, Virgil, and I understand that this first rescue must have been very hard on you especially."

Tensing up, like a lion ready to leap and attack, Virgil blurted out,

"I'm fine, if that's what you were going to ask. I've spoken to Scott."

Raising his eyebrows slightly, but near enough controlling his facial expression, not betraying his surprise, Jeff continued, fingers once more finding the gold band on his hand.

"Well, I was going to ask that, but there was something more I wanted to speak with you about."

His son frowned then – he'd never quite managed to master a poker face, his emotions ran too close to the surface, as did his youngest brother's.

"I thought you might like to go to Leonard Clark's funeral."

"But… I thought… Wouldn't that compromise security?"

The artist and musician could barely keep what had become wondering hope so swiftly, out of his voice.

"Well, there'd be conditions. John has a couple of weeks holiday due to him, and if he agrees, I'd ask him to meet you at the airport and accompany you. However, the pair of you would need to remain out of sight. No risks taken. Just standing back and observing."

Virgil nodded slightly.

"I thought it might offer you a little… closure, maybe?"

"It would. Thank-you."

Standing to show that this time his middle son really could leave, Jeff kind of, half smiled.

"I think you'd better go and find Scott then."

The brown-haired mirror of his father stood then, and relatively bounced from the room. Looking for the entire world like a leaden weight had been lifted, he disappeared out the door and round the corner towards the pool.

Scott had been right. Things would be okay in the end. Then again, he was never wrong.