Right, chapter two is up! Thank you to all those who have reviewed thi story so far, I was both surprised and pleased when the response came so quickly! I hope you enjoy this chapter as much as you did the first!


The morning dawned bright and early on Tracy Island, and Alan awoke to the familiar sound of an exotic bird singing a high-pitched tune outside his window. The small boy smiled slightly, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes and sighing in happiness. He loved the summer holidays. It promised adventures and games with his older brothers - a privilege he had been deprived of during the school term. Now he was looking forward to a new day filled with fun. Especially with Scott. He'd missed Scott the most, as his oldest brother had been unable to come home for weekends like the rest of his brothers because of the junior Air-force training sessions he attended. And weekends for Alan hadn't felt quite complete for several weeks when his oldest brother was absent, as he and Scott shared a close relationship together. Alan didn't know quite how to describe it, but Scott wasn't just a brother, he was... something else, too. He wasn't like dad, and yet in a way he was. Alan couldn't put it into words, as he just ended up confusing himself.

Alan sprang out of bed energetically, but he stopped when he felt a twinge in his side. He winced and rubbed it gently, trying to sooth the sting.

Must have pulled a muscle or something, like I did last Saturday when Scotty and I were playing on the beach and I over-stretched my leg. That really hurt. But it went away when Scotty rubbed it, so maybe it'll work for me too.

The pain disappeared as quickly as it had come, and Alan bustled into his small bathroom to wash. He took a quick shower, being sure to wash his hair thoroughly with the sweet-smelling shampoo. His father and brothers seemed to enjoy ruffling his hair more than anything else, so Alan had always taken great care in making sure that his blond locks were clean and soft. He stepped out of the shower and hurriedly scrubbed himself dry, changing into a pair of light shorts and his favourite T-shirt with the motorbike on it. As he began to brush his teeth, he paused and frowned. Something wasn't right. He couldn't quite put his finger on what it was, but something didn't feel quite right. It wasn't a pain or a sick feeling, but it was - plain weird.

Shrugging it off, Alan rinsed his mouth out and grabbed a pair of socks. Pulling them on, and donning a pair of trainers, Alan jogged out of his room and down the corridor. As he rounded the corner, he paused again. There it was, that funny feeling he'd experienced a few moments ago. Except this time it was stronger. He didn't like it, it was starting to make him feel queasy.

"Hey, Sprout!"

Alan jumped violently when two hands grabbed him around the middle. Scott laughed, hugging the startled boy close to his chest and ruffling the damp locks.

"Easy, kiddo. Bounce any higher and you'll go through the ceiling!" he joked. Alan turned around in his arms and tried to glower, but a grin soon replaced the frown and he hugged Scott around his waist.

"Morning, Scotty!" he said, using a hand to smooth his hair back down again. At that moment, another brown-haired figure rounded the corner. Alan stared in disbelief. "Virgil?"

His older brother stopped in his tracks, a questioning frown on his face. "What? What is it, Al?"

"You're awake!" Alan exclaimed. "And it isn't even seven yet!"

Scott crouched down beside him and nodded, regarding Virgil with a mock-worried expression. "Yeah you're right, Al. You know, Virge, you really shouldn't break a sixteen-year-long habit. Are you feeling alright? Maybe you're sick."

He made a show of standing up and feeling Virgil's forehead, until the teenager swatted Scott's hand away in annoyance. "Very funny, Scott." he said. "You know why I'm up. I'm going to say bye to Fermat and dad, they leave in fifteen minutes."

"They WHAT?" Alan demanded, completely flabbergasted. Scott and Virgil exchanged glances, and Scott crouched down again in front of Alan.

"You remember, kiddo, we told you at the meeting last night." he said softly. Alan stared up at him in confusion.

"I knew that dad was going away, but nobody said anything about Fermat!" he complained. Virgil suddenly snapped his fingers as realisation dawned upon him.

"Oh, Sprout, I'm sorry." he apologised. "You fell asleep. I forgot that you might not have heard everything that we discussed. Fermat's going away with dad for a few days so that he can see Brains. He'll come back when the conferences are over."

Alan felt his heart sinking. Fermat was his best friend, and had been for nearly four years now. They did everything together, and Alan had been looking forward to playing games with his older brothers and Fermat, as the young Hackenbacker was just over a year younger than him. This meant that he was not the only one treated like a baby when they played, and Alan found comfort in that fact. Now it would just be him. Life wasn't fair.

"Hey, c'mon, cheer up, Allie." Scott comforted, putting an arm around his shoulders and guiding him towards the dining room. "It's only for a couple of days, and then you and Fermat can spend all the time you like together. Besides, now you and I have the opportunity to spend some quality brother-time together, right?"

That brought Alan's smile back. His eyes sparkled as he grinned up at his older brother and nodded enthusiastically. Scott laughed and squeezed his shoulder, pushing him gently into the room and towards the table. Alan pulled out his chair and sat down.

"G'morning, Sprout!" Gordon greeted, ruffling his hair as he took a seat beside him. "You want some juice?"

"Yes please." Alan replied, accepting the glass from his older brother and taking a sip. He looked around at the breakfast goods on the table, trying to decide which one he wanted to eat. And then he realised that, in truth, he didn't want to eat any of them. That funny feeling he'd felt earlier was still with him, and he found that he wasn't particularly hungry at all. Food just didn't appeal to him at the moment.

"Scotty, can I have breakfast later?" Alan asked, fiddling with his napkin. "I wanna go and talk to Fermat before he leaves."

Scott looked up at him. "Sure thing, Sprout. Just don't leave it too late or I'll have cleared up all the dishes."

"Okay." Alan hopped off his seat and headed for the exit, colliding with John as his older brother rounded he corner. Alan fell to the floor with a loud 'thunk', landing awkwardly on the hard ground.

"Sorry, buddy, you alright?" John asked worriedly, leaning down towards him in concern. Scott appeared beside him seconds later and picked Alan up, placing him on his feet gently and turning him around.

"You hurt?" he asked. Alan shook his head, rubbing at the twinge in his right side. Scott's eyes narrowed when he noticed this. "What's wrong?"

"Nothing, Scotty." Alan soothed. "I just bumped it when Johnny bashed into me. I'm fine."

Scott nodded, seemingly satisfied that Alan was in fact alive and relatively whole. He grabbed John by the arm and yanked him into the dining room, giving the eighteen-year-old a massive noogie.

"Clumsy oaf." Scott muttered fondly. Alan bit back a laugh as John moodily smoothed down his platinum blond hair and sat in the chair furthest away from Scott's. Then the youngest Tracy hurried off down the corridor, the painful twinge completely forgotten.

I need to go and find Fermat before he and dad leave for the conferences. I'm not gonna see him for more than two days! That's forever! I wish I hadn't fallen asleep at the meeting yesterday, then I could've spent the evening with Fermat.

Alan walked quickly down passed the pool and in the direction of the Hackenbacker's small villa. Fermat rarely stayed here when Brains was away, but Alan knew that he was probably packing the last of his clothes in his real room, as apposed to being in the spare room next to Alan's where he'd been sleeping for the past few nights.

"Alan!"

The blond-haired boy looked up when he heard his name being called, and spotted his best friend descending the steps from the small villa, a rucksack slung over his shoulder.

"Hi, Fermat!" Alan greeted, giving his friend a high-five. "You ready to go, then?"

Fermat nodded, pushing his glasses back up onto the bridge of his nose. "Y-y-sure! I can't wait! But I'm going to m-m-miss you."

"Yeah, I'm gonna miss you too." Alan said softly. "But it's only for a few days, right? I mean, you'll be back before you know it."

Fermat smiled and nodded. "Y-your right, Alan. And when I g-g-g-return from my trip, we can race the sp-sp-sp-racing boats on the pool like we agreed, right?"

"Right." confirmed the older boy. "And mine'll win."

Fermat sighed and ran a hand through his hair. "P-p-p-most likely."

Alan hurriedly tried to smooth things over. "I was only joking, Fermat. You're just as good as I am, honest!"

Fermat beamed up at him, then suddenly looked down at his watch. "Aaw, man! I p-p-p-told your dad that I'd meet him in the hanger at s-s-s-now!"

Alan grabbed Fermat's arm, and they sprinted as fast as they could down towards the aircraft hangers, being sure to take the quickest route that was humanly possible. When they arrived, they saw that the rest of the family were already assembled beside the smaller jet plane.

"I'm taking Tracy Two with me, so that means you can use Tracy One if there's an emergency." Jeff was saying. "Tracy Two isn't as fast, but we're in no major rush to get there. Our ETA is around four hours, but I'll call when we are approaching Boston air space. Everybody happy?"

Alan and Fermat skidded to a halt beside the plane, slightly out of breath. Alan leaned against the aircraft and clutched at a stitch in his side, trying to appear as normal as possible. Jeff and the older boys smiled down at them.

"You ready, Fermat?" Jeff asked. Fermat nodded, turning to give Alan a brief hug and another high-five. The small boy then said his goodbyes to the rest of the family, before going with Gordon into the jet to be strapped in.

Jeff crouched down in front of Alan and pulled him in for a tight hug, resting his head on top of Alan's. "I'll see you in three days, son." he said, pushing the boy away at arms-length. "Now, behave yourself and do what Scott says, alright?"

Alan nodded firmly, raising his hand to his temple and saluting stiffly. Jeff chuckled and planted a kiss on Alan's forehead. "Have fun, get to bed on time, and take care of your brothers, okay?"

"Yes, dad." Alan grinned. Jeff ruffled his hair one last time, before standing up and going to say goodbye to his other sons.

"Behave yourselves, don't kill each other, do your chores, and look after Alan."he told them. "And make sure Gordon doesn't blow anything up, you know what he's like."

"Hey! I resent that!" came an angry voice from within the hatch of the plane. Gordon's copper-haired head protruded from within the aircraft. "I only did that once, and that was an accident! The fuses on those fire-crackers were faulty, they weren't meant to go off so soon!"

They all laughed, and Jeff clapped Gordon on the shoulder as he hopped out of the plane. "Whatever you say, Gordon. Take care. I'll see you in three days, boys!"

Jeff closed the hatch behind him, and Alan found himself being dragged back to a safe distance by Scott. His older brother wrapped his arms protectively around Alan's front and held him tightly as the engines of the jet fired up. The aircraft began to move away out of the hanger and down the runway, gradually picking up speed. Alan saw Scott shaking his head out of the corner of his eye.

"Pathetic." the older boy muttered. "Even a G-42 Bottleneck could do better than that!"

John chuckled. "You didn't used to think that when dad taught you how to fly!" he remarked.

"I was younger then." Scott replied. "I hadn't had a taste of what real aircraft are like. And believe me, in comparison with my baby back at the airbase, Tracy Two is a hairdryer."

They watched the aircraft until it had soared up into the blue sky and disappeared from view. Then John ruffled Alan's blond locks in order to get his attention.

"C'mon, Sprout." he said. "You need to eat something before you waste away into nothing. D'you want me to make you cheese toasties?"

Alan turned to Scott, waiting for his older brother to give him permission. Scott's face was skeptical as he gazed at John.

"For breakfast?" he asked, looking hesitant.

"Oh, c'mon Scotty!" protested John, slinging an arm around his older brother's shoulders. "Live a little! It's only a one-off treat. Go on! Pretty please?!"

Scott laughed as John fluttered his eyelids, shaking his head in defeat. "Oh, alright then. But only if you make one for me, too."

John grinned. "Deal. Hey guys, do you want one?"

Virgil and Gordon both nodded enthusiastically. "Race you!" they shouted in unison, before sprinting off out of the hanger in the direction of the villa. Scott released his hold on Alan and gave him a little shove.

"Go on, Sprout." he urged. "Don't you wanna race?"

Alan shook his head. The twinge had only just died down again, and he didn't want to make it worse by running. I definitely think I've pulled a muscle or something. Maybe it was that soccer match we played on the beach yesterday. I did a lot of running and stuff then. Hmmm, I'm still not hungry, but I love John's toasties. I guess I could just try one and see if my hunger comes back after that.

"You know, kiddo, I think we should plan something big for today." Scott continued, as they began walking back towards the house. "I can bring a portable communicator with me, so there's no need to stay in the house all day waiting for dad to call. What do you want to do?"

Alan shrugged. "Anything really. I just like doin' stuff with you guys. I don't mind what it is."

Scott ruffled his hair affectionately, putting an arm around his shoulders. "Then how about we take a picnic down to that great spot on the south beach. You know, the one with that big cave with the massive pool in it?"

John nodded his head eagerly. "Sounds like a great idea, bro." he commented. "We can go swimming, play a little volleyball, explore the rocks, go climbing. Yep, I like the sound of that!"

Scott grinned. "Then it's a plan." he stated. "What do you think, Alan?"

Alan shrugged again. "Sounds okay to me."

In truth, Alan didn't really feel up to doing all that much. He was strangely tired, despite the long sleep he'd had on the previous night. It wasn't utter exhaustion that he felt, it was more like a lack of energy. Still the only thing he really wanted to do was sit down and watch a movie with his brothers. However, he didn't want to spoil their plans just because he was feeling a little sleepy, so he would play along and pretend that he liked the idea.

Minutes later, John set to work in the kitchen that was attached to the dining room, cutting slices of cheese and buttering toast almost simultaneously.

"Can I do anything to help, Johnny?" Alan asked, standing at the doorway to the kitchen. John smiled down at him.

"Sure thing, Alan. That'd be great." he said kindly. "Wash your hands, and I'll find you something to do."

Alan was soon helping his older brother in laying the slices of cheese on the toast. Scott stood in the doorway and watched them fondly, whilst Gordon and Virgil took down some plates from the cupboard and set them on the counter. When John popped the tray of sandwiches under the grill, Alan sighed and leaned against the wall. He now felt as though he could eat a little something, as preparing the food had brought his appetite back.

"They're ready!" John called a few minutes later, placing a toasty onto each plate and cutting them in halves. He purposefully cut Alan's toasty into quarters, as Alan's little hands would find it easier to cope with the smaller pieces.

"Thanks, Johnny!" Alan grinned, taking the plate he had been offered and going to sit down at the table. The others joined him moments later, and soon a lively chatter arose from the older members of the table. Alan sat quietly and watched their friendly banter, nibbling on his toasty.

"Scott and I thought that we could all go for a picnic down on the south beach." John was saying to Virgil and Gordon. "That way, we could swim in that great pool inside the cave, and go bouldering on the rocks in the shallows."

"Sounds good to me!" said Gordon, taking another massive bite out of his toasty. "The current in that area can get pretty strong sometimes, though. You've gotta watch where abouts you swim."

"We'll be sticking to the shallows, Gordo." said Scott. "Not only is Alan too young to go swimming in the rift-run areas, but I don't want you to end up drowning yourself when dad isn't here. Wait until he gets back, then you can go."

Virgil laughed, shaking his head. "That's a nice attitude, Scotty." he joked. "Gordon's not allowed to kill himself when you're in charge, but he can die just as long as dad's here? You're ridiculous!"

Scott merely grinned and shrugged. "I just wouldn't want to be the one who has to give him the kiss of life!"

Gordon pulled a face. "Yeah, well the feeling's mutual." he muttered. The brothers laughed at this, Virgil clapping Gordon on the back affectionately.

Alan grimaced slightly as a nauseous feeling began to congeal in his stomach. He looked down at the last quarter of his toasty, and found that he really didn't feel like eating it any more. His other brothers had already finished eating theirs, and were standing up to clear away the plates.

"I'm full." Alan announced, picking up his plate and walking towards the kitchen. John frowned at him slightly.

"What's the matter? Didn't you like it?" he asked.

"No, it was great!" Alan hurried to assure him. "I've just had enough, that's all. D'you want it?"

"No thanks, Sprout." John said. Then he grinned and pointed to Scott. "But the bottomless-pit over there might appreciate it."

Alan smiled in return, walking up to Scott and tugging on his T-shirt. "Scotty, d'you want to finish my toasty? I'm full."

"Sure, Al, thanks." Scott replied, taking the plate from his younger brother. His picked up the quarter-toasty and placed the whole thing in his mouth. John rolled his eyes and winked at Alan. Scott chewed a couple of times and swallowed the massive mouthful.

"Careful, fatty. Too much cheese can really help to pile on those pounds!" John grinned. Scott glared at him, putting the plate down on the counter and wiping his hands on his napkin.

"That's it!" he growled. "You've had this coming to you for a long time, bro! Prepare to be annihilated!"

"Oooh! Carnage! This is gonna be good!" Gordon chuckled, as he and Virgil finished loading up the dish-washer and came to watch.

"Now Scott," John began, backing out of the room. "Don't get into a state. Too much stress, and you might just burst a fat cell."

Scott let out a war-cry and charged after John, who had sprinted off out of the room as quickly as his feet could carry him. Gordon followed close behind, leaving Virgil to wipe down the table on his own.

"When will they grow up?" he asked, more to himself than to Alan. Alan grinned and perched on the edge of a chair, hoping inwardly that his brothers would always act like this. He liked it when they weren't being serious and working on papers or school assignments, it made him feel more like a part of the family when they were doing what he was doing.

He stood up to go and find his brothers, but suddenly felt a wave of nausea pulse through him. He clutched at the side of the table and grimaced, sucking in deep breaths through his nose in an attempt to fight the bile that was rising in his throat.

"Hey, are you okay?" Virgil asked, dropping the cleaning cloth and putting an arm around Alan's shoulders. Alan nodded, standing up a little straighter as the sickness passed.

"Yeah, I think I just ate too much." he said. Virgil nodded and patted his back gently.

"Why don't you go and take a little walk?" he suggested. "It'll help to relieve the indigestion. You probably just have a build-up of excess stomach fluids and that's making you feel a little queasy."

Alan frowned at the explanation. "I have a what?"

Virgil chuckled and ruffled his hair. "Never mind, Sprout. Just go take a walk and you'll be fine. I'm talking 'medical jargon', as Gordon likes to call it."

Alan smiled and left the room, heading outside for some fresh air. Virgil had been saying complicated things like that for over a year now, as he had started taking online courses in medicine last spring. His tutor was a doctor, and a close family friend, who had agreed that it was wise to have another fully-trained medic on the island besides Brains. As Virgil had always taken a keen interest in healing practices and the study of medicine, Jeff had decided that it was only fitting for him to be the one to train as the island's medic. And, according to Virgil, he was finding the studies relatively easy.

As Alan stepped out into the sunshine, he became aware of another twinge that was growing in his right side. He rubbed it gently with his fingers, trying to alleviate the pain as he walked towards the pool. He spotted his older brothers at the waterside, and noticed that John was lying awkwardly on one of the sun loungers with Scott leaning over him.

"ALAN! HELP!" John was screaming, as Scott tickled him mercilessly. The older blond thrashed around and tried to push his brother away, but Scott was using his upper body to pin John down as his hands skimmed over ticklish ribs. Both were laughing hysterically, although John's was a little more high-pitched as he tried in vain to escape.

"NO! PLEASE! G-G-Gordon, don't just stand there! DO something!" John yelled breathlessly, glaring at his younger brother. Gordon simply lay on the floor and cried with laughter, the tears streaming down his face. Alan approached the group, stopping a few metres away and quickly thinking up a plan.

"SCOTT, SCORPION!" Alan cried loudly, pointing at a clump of bushes next to him. As though electrocuted, Scott shot up in an instant and dived toward Alan, pulling him away from the shrubbery and standing protectively in front of him.

"Run, Johnny, run!" Alan shouted. The startled blond teenager leaped to his feet, darting off around the other side of the pool and up the steps towards the villa. He stopped and turned around, still panting for breath, and grinned at his younger brother.

"Thanks, Sprout!" he called. Scott looked dumbfounded, staring from Alan to the bushes, then up at John, then at the now-empty sun lounger, then back at Alan again.

"You cheeky little devil!" he said quietly. "You really had me worried there for a second. And now you're gonna pay!"

Alan swallowed and began backing up the steps away from his grinning older brother. He didn't like the glint in Scott's eye, as he knew it didn't bode well for him. Luckily, Gordon and John both leaped in front of him and blocked Scott's path.

"If you're gonna attack Alan, you'll have to go through me first!" declared Gordon, waving a long leaf in front of him like a sword.

"And me." agreed John, crossing his arms. Suddenly, Alan's two heroes leaped towards Scott and tackled him into the pool, splashing Virgil, who had come to see what all the noise was about. Alan giggled and darted off up the steps unnoticed. Scott was too busy trying to avoid being squashed by Virgil as he launched himself into the pool, and the other two brothers were trying to drown the eldest Tracy boy, swallowing most of the water themselves as they splashed and laughed.

Alan sat down on the top step and rubbed his side, watching his brothers as they fought each other in the water. He really wasn't feeling so good now. His side ached a little more than it had done before, and he was starting to feel a bit sick.

Maybe I should tell Scotty. Nah, I can't do that. He'd only make me go to bed. But I really don't wanna to go swimming in the caves anymore. It's such a long walk down to the south-side beach, and I'm really tired. My legs are all tired, like I've run a long way or something. But if I say that to Scotty, he'll just get worried and cancel the whole picnic, and then I will have ruined it for everybody. No, I'll just pretend that I'm fine, then Scotty can enjoy himself without getting stressed about me. And anyways, maybe the walk will make me feel better...


Will Alan begin to feel worse, or will the walk help to ease his symptoms? Will the brothers notice anything amiss, or will Alan continue to suffer in silence? Find out in the next chapter!

Okay, that's it for today folks! I managed to get this posted quicker than I thought, but I can't promise the same results tomorrow. But PLEASE REVIEW and give me your feedback on what you like or dislike about my story so far. I love to hear from you!

Until tomorrow, bye bye!