Greetings and salutations!

Yes, it's another one-shot. It's rather long this time, but hopefully you'll enjoy it. And although this one isn't truly bizarre, it's still kinda...different - at least by my standards. Don't quite know what my inspiration for this one was. I think it was partly to do with a line from 'The Lion King' (hence the title), as I was watching the film the other week with my sister-in-law and the idea just popped up and went "Boo!".

If any of you can come up with a plausible explanation for my temporary insanity, I would be most grateful. :^D

Standard Disclaimer:I do not own the Thunderbirds, be it the TV series or the movie, nor any of the characters therein. If I did, there would have been a series three, four and five, and the movie would have been totally awesome. :^D

Big thanks to 'criminally charmed' and all the others who have been a constant support over the past few weeks. Love ya, guys!


Impeccable Timing

"Cutting engines."

Virgil sighed deeply, leaning back in his seat wearily as he dropped his hands from the controls. The gentle vibrations that had been coursing through his body finally ceased as the low rumble of Thunderbird 2's engines faded into silence. On the other side of the command deck, he could hear the distinct sound of Gordon's gloved fingers as they flew over the control boards, running the standard post-flight checks. Like I should be doing right now.

"Don't sweat it, Virge," Gordon's voice called across to him, almost as though the redhead had been reading Virgil's mind. "I'll handle the checks. I'm almost done anyway, I've just gotta make sure the coolant vents have opened; you know what happened last time when we forgot to-" He paused slightly. "Man, bro...you look beat."

Virgil merely grunted in acknowledgement, sagging deeper into the command chair and exhaling slowly. Dammit, why did Dad have to make these seats so darn comfortable? How does he expect me to move from here? That's so not gonna happen. Wait a sec, I have an idea; let's do the debrief over the comm. That way, I can just crash here for the next twelve hours without needing to go back up to the house.

"Gords?" he called, frowning at how slurred his voice sounded. "What's the time?"

Gordon didn't even bother to spare a glance from the control panel as he switched off the hydraulic backup systems. "Dude, you have a watch."

"It's on my wrist," Virgil complained pathetically.

Gordon looked across the room at him incredulously. "Then raise your arm and look at it, dummy!"

Virgil pouted. "But that requires movement," he whined.

Sighing deeply, Gordon raised his left arm and pulled back the sleeve of his uniform slightly, peering at the device on his wrist. "It's about three," he stated.

Virgil raised his head, glancing over at his brother. "In the morning?!"

Gordon rolled his eyes. "No, in the afternoon," he stated sarcastically. "Yes, in the morning! We only received the emergency call at eleven, remember?"

Virgil's head flopped back against the chair, his brow creased into a frown. He was too tired to think. All he knew was that he needed to go to bed. The sooner the better. Except there was one problem with that plan; his bed was bust. That was one of the reasons why he was so tired; he'd only grabbed a few hours of sleep the previous evening because a spring had been poking him in the side all night. It had never really occurred to him before that his mattress contained springs, but that had just been his own stupidity. And then the darn things had come back to seek their revenge upon him for his naivety.

Gordon sat back in his chair, post-flight checks completed, and smiled in satisfaction. Reaching down, he swiftly unbuckled his harness and pushed the straps away, sighing deeply and stretching his arms out to the side. Jumping to his feet, he spun round on the spot, the adrenaline rush from the recent rescue still pumping through his veins. Glancing over at his brother, he let out an amused snort. Virgil was slumped back in his seat, a tired and somewhat sulky expression upon his face. He was the personification of 'pathetic'.

Stepping over to the pilot chair, Gordon reached out a hand and poked Virgil in the side of the head with his gloved finger. "Look alive, peaches."

Virgil opened a weary eye, regarding Gordon mildly. "Peaches?"

Gordon shrugged. "You didn't seem to like 'cupcake', so I figured this was the next best thing."

Virgil shook his head, his eyes closing once more as he settled back against the seat, making himself comfortable. "You're hopeless."

"This coming from the guy who looks about as tough as a teddy-bear," Gordon mumbled, poking Virgil again. "C'mon, we're gonna be late for the debrief. Dad's gonna think one of us has died on him."

Virgil frowned slightly. Although Gordon's comment had been made jokingly, there was actually a certain degree of truth behind the statement. After the last rescue mission - where Virgil had sustained injuries so serious that he really had been within inches of his life - his father had been rather concerned about letting him return to duty. Although he was physically fine, Virgil knew that the Tracy patriarch had been concerned that he son would become injured again. But Jeff needn't have worried. Virgil was fine - well, he was exhausted down to the very last cell of his body, but he wasn't injured.

"Du-ude!" Gordon whined, stretching the word into two syllables as he poked Virgil again. "C'mon! I'm so not gonna drag your lazy butt all the way up to the house."

Virgil let out a groan, opening his eyes and frowning at his younger brother. Then, with a resigned sigh, he unbuckled his safety harness and stood up out of the chair, scrubbing a hand over his eyes as he blinked away the fatigue. Gordon stood in front of him, bouncing up and down on the balls of his feet, an idiotic grin plastered across his face. Virgil raised an eyebrow.

"What kinda pills are you on this time?"

Gordon played along, scratching his chin thoughtfully. "Dunno. The guy at the bar didn't tell me."

Virgil thumped Gordon on the arm, shaking his head. "Don't say that to Dad," he warned. "There are times when he can't tell whether your joking or not. And, for the sake of his health, I'd rather you didn't spill the beans about your little habit."

Gordon grinned, shoving Virgil towards the door to get him moving. "You do realise that this conversation would totally wind up Scott?" he stated. "Baboon-features doesn't always have a sense of humour, either. I should so try this one on him!"

Virgil chuckled softly, striding down the brightly lit corridor of Thunderbird 2 as he pulled off his gloves. "I wouldn't if I were you, Gords," the pilot replied. "Scott has a tendency to channel Dad when it comes to your practical jokes. He'd freak out."

Gordon tapped the side of his nose. "All part of the plan, bro."

Shaking his head in amusement, Virgil stepped out of the side-hatch at the end of the corridor, his feet clanking on the metal platform as he strode towards the elevators on the wall of the hanger. "Fine," he sighed. "On your head be it."

Gordon jogged up behind him. "Don't you mean on our heads be it?"

Virgil turned to look at him, pausing in front of his elevator and staring at his brother incredulously. "Our?" he repeated. "Oh no, you're not gonna yank me into another one of your so-called 'ingenius plans'. Last time I helped you out, John threw me in the pool and Dad called me an 'irresponsible teenager', remember? And all I'd done was make sure the coast was clear so that you could pull the prank."

Gordon patted him on the back sympathetically. "Aw, c'mon bro," he smiled. "That was years ago! And besides, I owned up to it in the end, didn't I? I couldn't stand your whining."

"My whining?" Virgil countered. However, before he could continue, Gordon swiftly entered through the door to his elevator with a cheerful wave, the metal panel sliding closed with a soft but triumphant 'hiss' behind him. Virgil stared at the panel for a long moment, before snapping out of his tired daze and inhaling deeply, stepping into his own elevator as he shook his head and smiled to himself.

I don't know why I even bother with him. As I said before, he's hopeless. But I guess he keeps me awake, so he's not all bad.

What seemed like only a fraction of a second later, the panel in front of him rose up into the ceiling with a dizzying swiftness, letting out another soft 'hiss' that jolted Virgil from his thoughts. Opening his eyes - he couldn't even recall having closed them - the middle Tracy son stepped out into the command and control centre, just as the room was transforming back into his father's office. He walked around the very edge of the room, close to the walls, in order to avoid stepping up onto the rotating platform in the centre. Considering his heavy fatigue, he'd probably only end up landing on his butt when the motion toppled him over. His balance was always a little debatable when he was tired.

Virgil pratically staggered the last few metres over to the large couch on the far side of the room, glancing down at his uniform to make sure it was clean enough not to need changing before the debrief, and then promptly collapsing onto the nearest end of the couch, his body sagging against the soft cushion.

"Wow, Virge, don't we look bright and cheerful this morning?"

Virgil prised his eyes open, gazing across the room at the grinning face of his older blond brother. Virgil momentarily wished that John was earthbound, just so that he could have the pleasure of personally strangling him. Instead, he had to make do with shooting the astronaut one of his more withering glares.

"Careful, squirt," John warned. "If the wind blows, your face'll get stuck that way. You'll have a hard time scoring chicks with that expression."

Virgil averted his gaze from the screen on his father's desk - as always, it had been rotated to face the couch for the debrief - allowing his head to sink back against the soft cushion as he closed his eyes.

"Whatever, Johnny," he mumbled, too tired to keep up the playful banter. Then he frowned, raising his head again and glancing about the room. "Where'd everybody go? Don't tell me they cancelled the debrief?"

John rolled his eyes. "Would I be here if that were the case?" he asked mildly, before sitting up a little straighter and tossing a hand-held datapad to the side. "Nah, the guys will be back soon enough. Dad's telling Onaha that you've all arrived back safely; she's been up the whole night waiting for you. I think she was a little worried about you and the others after what happend - you know - last time."

John suddenly smiled. "But, in true Onaha fashion, she's baked a batch of chocolate-fudge cookies in honour of your safe return." Then the older Tracy's face fell slightly, and a sulky pout replaced the smile. "Which stinks, 'cause I'm stuck up here and can't have any."

Virgil chuckled. "Sucks to be you, Johnny. Don't worry, only another couple of weeks and then you can eat those delicious, warm, sweet, soft, gooey, mouth-watering chocolate-fudge cookies to your heart's content."

John frowned. "Has anyone ever told you that you're a singularly annoying human being?"

Virgil smiled. "Glad to oblige." Grinning at his brother's moody glare, he let out another sigh and glanced towards the door. "So what's keeping the other guys?"

"Scott managed to get his uniform dirty, as usual," John commented casually, leaning back in his command chair and rotating slightly from left to right. "So he grabbed a shower just before you got back. Gordon went to knock on his door just in case he hadn't heard Thunderbird 2's arrival."

"Highly unlikely," Virgil muttered, running a hand through his hair and stretching his aching shoulder muscles. "Scott's got that weirdo super-human hearing of his. And besides, my baby's beautiful, but she ain't exactly quiet."

John grinned. "True. I think Gordo just wanted to run off some excess energy. You know what he's like."

Virgil grunted in agreement, sighing as he slapped his gloves against the palm of his hand. "Wish he'd give some of that freakish energy to me," he sighed. "I'm beat."

"Yeah, I can tell," John replied, eyeing his younger brother in sympathy. "You look like crap. How come you're so tired? It's not like this mission was particularly strenuous. All you had to do was sit in a chair and push buttons."

"Well that's rich, coming from a guy who does nothing but sit on his ass for three weeks straight," Virgil shot back moodily, his patience fraying. He didn't even know why he was bothering to argue; it was draining his energy reserves.

"Whoa, spitfire, I was only joking," John smiled, raising his hands in a calming gesture. "Man, aren't we feeling a little testy this evening?"

Virgil was about to retort with a witty comment - Virgil wasn't entirely certain of what he had been intending to say, but he was sure that it would've been witty - when Jeff strode back into the room, beaming happily.

"Virgil," he greeted, smiling at his son as he wheeled his office chair to the empty space on the right-hand side in front of desk, wanting to be able to speak to all four of his sons at the same time. As he sat down, he gazed at Virgil a little more intently, a slight frown forming on his face as he noticed the slumped position and weary features. "Is anything wrong, son?"

Virgil groaned, letting his head fall back against the couch once more. "Life is wrong," he stated dramatically.

"Aaw, does Virgie need to take a nap?"

Virgil glared at his eldest sibling as Scott strode into the room, his gait relaxed and cheerful. It wasn't as energetic as Gordon's faster pace as the redhead scurried through the door behind him, but it was still enough to make Virgil jealous. How are they so...bouncy? This totally isn't fair.

"Scott, leave your brother alone," Jeff smiled, reaching over to his desk and taking up his datapad. "We're probably all tired after the rescue, so let's get the debrief over with."

"Well I'm not tired," Gordon grinned over-enthusiastically, plopping down onto the couch beside Virgil.

Scott's eyes twinkled with amusement as he mirrored his brother's grin, sitting down beside the aquanaut and running a hand through his damp hair. "Me neither, Dad. In fact, I think there's an awful lot that needs discussing this evening. The debrief could go on for hours."

Virgil let out a pitiful moan, changing position so that he was leaning forwards with his head between his hands.

"You guys suck," he mumbled, the sound muffled by his fingers.

"Alright, settle down," Jeff chuckled, shaking his head at his sons' antics. Once the four men had turned towards him, he cleared his throat. "Another successful mission, boys. The ship's personnel were all accounted for and there were no fatalities. Local authorities have managed to clamp down on all oceanic traffic in that area, so there won't be the danger of another ship getting caught in storm. The rescue procedure seemed pretty straightforward this time around, and you boys seemed to handle everything accordingly. Great job. Virgil? Care to give a brief summary of Thunderbird 2's role in the mission?"

Virgil, who still had his head in his hands, parted his fingers and took a deep breath. "Big boat, big fire, stormy seas," he intoned. "We rescued the crew - go us - then the ship blew up and we dropped the crew off at the mainland hospital. We saved the day again - hurray. The end."

The silence that followed afterwards was short-lived, as both Gordon and Scott, who had being trying their utmost best to contain their amusement, let out explosive snorts. Virgil removed his hands from his face and leaned back against the couch, gazing at his father and shrugging at his siblings' response.

"What? I made it brief."

As John also gave into his amusement, the corners of Jeff's mouth twitched slightly. Trying his best not to smile, the Tracy patriarch cleared his throat again.

"Well thank you for your contribution, Virgil," he said casually. "Care to try that one again?"

Virgil let out a sigh and straightened up. He had already known that his father wasn't going to accept his 'summary' as an adequate report of Thunderbird 2's role in the rescue. After all, they were supposed to be a professional organisation.

Ten minutes later, once each of the Tracy sons had given their summary reports, Jeff ended the debriefing. Tossing the datapad back onto his desk, the father of five sat back in his office chair and regarded each of his sons silently. John was already fiddling with his control panel up on Thunderbird 5, his attention wavering now that the meeting was over. Gordon seemed cheerful enough - go figure - and was impatiently tapping his foot on the floor, clearly eager to leave the office. Scott looked as relaxed and composed as ever, one of his long legs crossed casually over the other as he leaned back with his arms resting on the top of the couch. And Virgil -

Jeff frowned, cocking his head to the side slightly. There's something up with that boy.

"Virgil?" he called softly.

The younger man raised his hand into the air lazily. "Present."

Grinning, Jeff interlocked his fingers and rested his chin atop his hands, regarding the slumped form in mild amusement. "Son, how much sleep did you get last night?"

Virgil raised his head from the back of the couch and scrubbed a hand over his face. "Dunno. Couple of hours, I guess."

The grins on the faces of the other family members immediately vanished, instead being replaced by expressions of concern. Out of all the Tracys, Virgil was the only one who occasionally had to be dragged from his bed against his will if they were due for a training session. It was very unusual for the middle Tracy son to sleep for less than eight hours straight.

"I'm not sick," Virgil stated, knowing exactly what his father and brothers were thinking. "It's my mattress; I think one of the springs has twisted around. It was digging into my side the whole night."

Jeff frowned slightly. "Why didn't you say something to me earlier?"

Virgil sighed deeply. "I forgot, okay? I've been working on something most of the day, and I didn't even think about it 'til we got back from the rescue."

Jeff smiled, recalling how Virgil had spent the majority of the day sitting behind his piano, working on a new piece. And Jeff knew that once Virgil had gotten into the flow of something, only an emergency call could drag him away from his beloved music.

Shaking his head, Jeff stood up, rotating his stiff shoulders and sighing. "Since the guest rooms are being redecorated, you can crash in Alan's room tonight," he stated. "I'm sure he won't mind."

Virgil nodded, smiling in relief. I don't care whose bed it is, as long as I can sleep in it. And besides, the Sprout won't mind me staying in there for an evening or two. It's not like he needs it for anything in particular, since he doesn't come home to visit for another three weeks yet. Speaking of Alan, I haven't phoned the kid in over a week. I was supposed to call this evening, but the rescue kinda took priority. I'll call him tomorrow instead. I wouldn't be able to hold an intellectual conversation with him at the moment, anyway.

"Alright, boys," Jeff smiled. "I think it's time we all hit the sack."

"Actually, "Gordon said suddenly. "I think I'm gonna stay up for a bit, maybe go to the training room. I'm not really tired."

"No kidding," Virgil growled, having been forcing himself to refrain from stamping on Gordon's tapping foot for the last five minutes.

"Sure thing," the Tracy patriarch agreed. "But don't stay up too long. And if you have to go swimming, at least wait until sunrise."

Gordon grinned. "Yeah, because monsters roam the waters during the hours of darkness," he said dramatically.

Jeff chuckled, shaking his head. "Just be in bed by five, okay?"

Then, turning towards the screen, the Tracy patriarch addressed his second-eldest. "John, you should probably be turning in yourself. Put the station on alert and keep me updated on the coastal conditions along the mainland. Call if there's a problem."

"F.A.B, Dad" John replied, leaning forwards to flick the switch that would end the transmission. "Sleep tight. 'Night, guys!"

There came a mixture of responses from the three brother; a cheerful "Night, space-face!" from Gordon, a more composed "Night, John!" from Scott and an unintelligible mumble from Virgil. As the screen went blank, Scott stood to his feet, stepping over to Virgil's side of the couch and hauling his younger brother upright.

"C'mon, Virge," he grinned. "You can't sleep here."

"Just watch me," Virgil muttered, although he began to make his way towards the door as he spoke. He really needed to sleep in a proper bed; a bed that wouldn't keep him up half the night.

Okay, here's the plan: I grab a quick shower, grab my duvet, grab a couple of those chocolate-fudge cookies, crash in Alan's room and then sleep for the next twelve hours. Oh yeah, sounds good to me.

"Later, sleepy-head!"

After that cheerful remark, followed by the light smack to the back of Virgil's head, it took all of the pianist's self-control not to tear Gordon limb from limb as the teenager happily jogged - or was it skipped? - off down the corridor, probably with the intention of changing out of his uniform before he went to the training room.

'At this rate,' Virgil thought darkly. 'It'll be a miracle if Gordon ever gets to see the light of day again.'

... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...

Virgil started awake, sucking in a sharp breath as he was pulled suddenly from sleep. He wrenched his heavy eyelids open, gazing around the room and frowning as the dim light highlighted the shapes of objects that were not his own. It took only a moment for his brain to register where he was, and then the realisation flooded him.

Alan's room. Forgot about that. Man, what time is it? I still fell exhausted.

Rolling over onto his front, he strained to raise his head high enough out of the soft mountain of white pillow beneath his cheek to see the digital clock on the bedside table. After glancing swiftly at the numbers, and blinking just to make sure he had read them right, he allowed his head to flop back down again, letting out a contented sigh as his body found comfort once more.

It's not even five-thirty yet. I've still got another eight hours of sleep left. Wonder what woke me up?

Too tired and too comfortable to be bothered keeping himself awake any longer, Virgil relaxed into the bed once again, pulling the duvet up and over his shoulders, the warmth cocooning him in a bubble of cosy bliss. Letting out another sigh, he closed his eyes an felt himself beginning to drift off into the land of dreams.

'Braaawk!'

Virgil's eyes shot open again. What the heck was that?!

'Braaawk!'

Groaning, Virgil pushed his head deeper into the pillow. "This isn't fair!" he complained, his voice muffled by the soft object.

'Caw! Caw! Caw! Braaaawk!'

Raising his head off the pillow, Virgil grabbed the object, held it up high, then slammed it down on top of his head, burying his face in the mattress. He waited for a long moment, stilling himself and listening intently for the bird-call to sound again. When it did not, he sighed in satisfaction. That's more like it.

'Kah-kah-kah-kah-braaaawk!'

Virgil frowned. That bird was seriously starting to get on his nerves now. Grabbing his duvet in one hand, he pulled it up and over the pillow on top of his head, exposing the lower half of his body to the cool room air. Putting both hands beneath the mound, he clamped his palms over his ears, willing the stupid bird to just leave him in peace. Why the hell was it so damn loud?!

Virgil paused for a moment, contemplating the question. Why could he hear the bird-call? All the walls of the villa were sound-proofed in an attempt to partially block out the sound of the Thunderbird machines taking off. Virgil had never experienced any confrontations with birds before. So how come it sounded as though the bird was less than a few feet away?

Yanking his eyes open once more, Virgil came to a sudden realisation. Aw crap, the bay door. I left it open an inch or so when I first got here 'cause it was too stuffy. Damn. No wonder the stupid bird woke me up.

Virgil sighed deeply in resignation, pushing the pillow and duvet off his head and shoulders as he rolled onto his back and swung his legs over the side of the bed. Getting groggily to his feet, he scrubbed a hand wearily over his face and stumbled over to the bay windows that lead out onto the balcony, pushing back the blue drapes so that he could pull the door closed. He stopped, momentarily surprised, as he spotted the bird that sat perched on the balcony railing opposite him.

It straightened majestically, it's smooth back highlighted by the early sunrise, the light pinkish-red head to the side, blinking its small black eyes as it studied Virgil's face - almost scrutinizing him. Thin blood-red feathers stood up on top of its head like a row of floppy spikes, moving this way and that as the bird shook itself. The middle Tracy son stared at it for a long moment, still too tired to fully register anything other than the fact that he wanted to go back to bed. After a few seconds, he blinked, frowning slightly.

"So that's where you are," Virgil muttered, grabbing the handle and carefully sliding the door into the lock as he studied the bird. "What are you, some kinda parrot? Well you're a pest, whatever you are."

As he released the handle and turned to head back to bed, he heard the unmistakable sound of the bay door sliding open. Glancing over his shoulder, he saw that there was again a gap little over an inch separating the door from its lock. Virgil frowned. Guess I didn't shut it properly.

Returning to the bay windows, he grabbed the handle once more and tugged it firmly, hearing the 'click' as it locked into place. Sparing one last glance at the bird, who seemed to be regarding him in mild curiosity, Virgil let the drapes fall back into place, turning towards Alan's bed and walking slowly across the floorboards, his bare feet scarcely making a sound as he stepped over a book that Alan had left on the floor beside the desk.

Collapsing back onto the still-warm mattress, Virgil sighed happily, pulling the duvet around him and burying his head deep into the pillow once more. He smiled to himself, feeling the pull of sleep on his body as it dragged him back down into the comfortable solitude of his subconscious.

Then, like the whine of an annoying younger brother, the sound of the bay door sliding open echoed in the room once again. Opening his eyes, Virgil glared at nothing in particular, throwing off his duvet and striding back over to the blue drapes. Yanking them aside, he opened the door all the way, before slamming it shut with such a force that he was sure the loud 'bang' would wake Gordon next door. Releasing the handle, he took a step back, holding up his hand as he watched the door intently, daring it to defy him once more.

After several moments, when nothing had happened, Virgil smirked triumphantly. Uh-huh, I showed it who was boss. Oh yeah, I rule. Frowning slightly, he shook his head. Man, I'm pathetic.

Glancing over towards the balcony railings, Virgil blinked in surprise when he saw the empty space where the bird had once sat. Shrugging to himself, he allowed the drapes to fall once more as he stretched out to the side, yawning widely. I guess I scared the bird off, too. Killed two birds with one stone, then.

Grinning at his own bad pun, and reflecting mildly on just how much Gordon was starting to rub off on him, Virgil got back into bed and pulled the covers over his body, snuggling down against the soft mattress with a sigh. He felt a sense of pride at his accomplishments - almost as though he had earned the right to go back to sleep after his epic battle with the bay door. Whatever had happened, he didn't care. He just wanted to close his eyes and drift off into the peaceful land of-

Tap - Tap.

Virgil stiffened, his body tensing beneath the coverlets as the sharp sound echoed through the stillness of the room.

Tap - Tap - Tap.

"You have got to be kidding me," he breathed, frustration and weariness coursing through him as one, forcing him to resist the urge to throw a tantrum. He hadn't done that in almost ten years, but he was damn close at the moment.

Virgil clenched his hands into fists, gripping onto the duvet so hard that his fingers began to hurt. He wasn't a violent man. He had excellent self-control. The bird would leave any minute now. He just had to be patient.

Tap - Tap - Tap - Tap - Tap.

Virgil closed his eyes, inhaling deeply. I have four brothers. I'm used to being antagonised and teased. I'm not gonna lose my temper because of a stupid parrot. Just ignore it, Virge, and it'll go away. Just like Gordon.

Tap - Tap - Tap - Tap - Tap - Tap - Tap.

Virgil let out a low growl, his eyes opening as slits as listened in annoyance to the steady rhythm of the thumps. I swear I'm gonna resort to desperate measures any minute now if that darn parrot doesn't stop-

'Braaaaawk! Caw-caw-caw-braaaawk!'

Virgil threw off his covers and stood to his feet, striding towards the door. That's it, I've had it with being patient! This is the last straw! That bird is goin' down! Prepare to be turned into parrot-nuggets.

Yanking the drapes back, Virgil glared down at the bird, who stood on the other side of the glass in front of him. The parrot - or whatever it was - gazed up at Virgil, shaking its body and flexing its wings in a somewhat agitated manner. Virgil glared at it, grabbing the handle of the door and sliding it open swiftly. The bird let out a frightened squawk, clumsily taking flight and landing rather inelegantly on the balcony railing.

Sticking his head out of the door, Virgil stared at the creature in anger. "Listen, birdie, gimme a break," he grumbled, the anger slowly flowing out of him as fatigue settled in once more. "Just - just go eat bugs or berries or something, okay? Do bird stuff. You can come and bug me later if you like, but I really need to sleep. Go. Away. Please?"

Virgil frowned at himself seconds later. Wow, tough guy, you sure showed him who's the boss of who. Dammit, it's a bird. Just throw something at it!

The feathered nuisance twisted its head around, glancing at something on the ground below the balcony. Then, turning to look at Virgil once more, it stretched its wings and flapped madly, it's loud calls burning the short fuse on Virgil's time-bomb of a temper that had been ticking for far too long.

'Kee-kee-kee-caw-caw-caw-braaaawk!"

Striding out onto the balcony and waving his arms around - almost in an imitation of his squawking enemy - Virgil charged at the bird, slapping his hands against the railing to stop himself from smacking into it. He smirked in satisfaction at the retreating form of the parrot as it swooped down from the balcony and circled to pool below, flying silently over the water that glistened in the light of the early sunrise.

Virgil was about to head back inside when a movement caught his eye. A figure clad in dripping-wet swimming shorts was climbing slowly out of the pool, his movements relaxed as he grabbed a towel that lay on a nearby sun-lounger. Slinging the towel around his shoulders, the redhead stretched one hand high above his head, the other being used to cover his mouth as he yawned.

Virgil raised an eyebrow. Gordon still hasn't gone to bed?! Freak. But it looks like he's planning on heading that way now. Mmmm, bed sounds so good. And I've totally earned another few hours. I am so not getting up until this evening.

Smiling to himself at the ludicrous thought, Virgil began to turn away, his mind already beginning to 'shut down' as he allowed the fatigue to claim his body once more. However, just as he was about to step back inside, a flurry of pink and white feathers in front of his face made him stumble backwards into the rail. The parrot flapped a few feet away from him, just out of arms reach, before taking off again towards the pool area. Virgil followed its movements, glaring, watching as it settled itself atop the diving board. Now, if Virgil owned a gun, he would seriously be thinking of-

"Whoa!"

The soft but startled cry from down down below drew Virgil's gaze away from the aggravating bird. His eyes swiftly flickered over to Gordon's form just in time to see the red-haired Tracy slip on his way up the stairs towards the main villa, the rubbery 'squeak'of his sandals echoing in the sudden tense silence of the morning as the second-youngest Tracy did a semi back-flip, his feet shooting out from underneath him. He fell backwards, his head hitting the deck at the bottom of the stairs with a sickening 'thud' that sent ice-cold tendrils of fear through Virgil's heart.

"Gordon!" he yelled, his eyes going wide as the breath was stolen from him.

Spinning around on the spot, he sprinted back into Alan's room, leaping over the book on the floor as he darted out into the hallway, yelling for Scott over his shoulder as he tore down the stairs. His legs pumped as fast as they could as he sprinted through the main corridor, adrenaline surging through him in his desperation to reach his younger sibling. All thoughts of sleep and bed had been pushed far back into the dusty corners of his mind.

Yanking the screen doors open, Virgil skidded to a halt at the top of the steps, moving to the side before quickly ascending them, his bare feet padding softly on the wooden boards. He dropped to his knees beside Gordon, who was already beginning to push himself upright, and put a restraining hand on the teenager's shoulder.

"Easy, kiddo, easy" he soothed, his heart pounding fiercely in his chest even as relief soared within him. At least Gordon was conscious. Gordon slumped back against the ground without even trying to put up a fight, which only served to heighten Virgil's worry. The younger man's face was screwed up in a pained grimace, his eyes squeezed tight shut as he raised a hand weakly to his temple.

"Ouch," he croaked.

"Yeah, buddy I know. You whacked your head pretty hard," Virgil stated softly, his eyes already running over the rest of Gordon's body, checking for further injury. Gordon grunted, trying to push himself upright once more, and Virgil reached out to hold him down. "Nuh-uh, not just yet. I need to make sure you haven't broken anything. You might have hurt your back."

"My back's fine," Gordon grunted. "My butt, on the other hand, ain't feeling so peachy. So can I please get up?"

"Gordon, I just need to check your-" the medic began.

"Virge, this position's killing me!" Gordon hissed, wincing as he shifted uncomfortably. Virgil eyed Gordon's legs, which were still draped awkwardly over the bottom four steps as the rest of his body lay slumped at the foot of the staircase. It did look pretty uncomfortable. Chewing his lip hesitantly, he nodded.

"Alright," he murmured. "Just lie still a sec. I'm gonna swing your legs round, okay?"

"Gordon!"

Virgil glanced up towards the door as he heard Scott's voice, frowning when said brother did not make an appearance. Then, glancing up towards Alan's balcony, he spotted the eldest Tracy son staring down at them in mild shock.

"Scott, get down here, Gordon's hurt!" he yelled, watching as Scott paled slightly, before vanishing back inside the villa.

"Virge, m'fine," Gordon protested, opening his eyes to glare up at his older brother. "Stop yelling, dammit."

"Sorry, man," Virgil apologised, realising that perhaps yelling hadn't been the wisest of ideas considering the absolute whopper headache he was quite certain Gordon was suffering from at that very moment.

Gordon sighed, pushing himself up swiftly on one hand and swinging his legs around so that they settled on the deck, clearly tired of waiting for Virgil to do it for him. Grunting, he sat slumped against the bottom step, a hand held to his head as he closed his eyes.

Virgil frowned worriedly. "Dizzy?"

Gordon grunted. "You could say that."

Moving around to kneel behind his brother, Virgil reached out to inspect the injury on the back of Gordon's head. He grimaced as he studied the shallow, bloodied cut, his fingers gently probing the egg-sized lump that was forming on the scalp beneath the damp copper hair.

"Ow," Gordon whined, tugging away from Virgil slightly. "Dude, quit prodding me!"

"Sorry, Gordy," Virgil murmured. "I need to take a look at it. It doesn't look too deep, but-"

"What the hell happened?!"

Virgil glanced up in time to see Scott come hurtling down the steps. The eldest Tracy son dropped to his knees beside Gordon, reaching out to clasp his shoulders.

"Gordon, you okay?" he demanded loudly, his face a mixture of panic and concern. "What happened?"

"Dude, shut up!" Gordon growled, wincing again as Virgil probed the lump on the back of his head. Scott, who still seemed to be in a state of shock, merely blinked in response.

"He slipped," Virgil elaborated flatly, still intent on examining his brother's injury.

"You don't say," Gordon grumbled, hissing as he jerked away from Virgil's ministrations again. "Geez, Virge, what part of 'quit prodding me' didn't you understand?!"

Virgil withdrew his hands and sighed, moving round so that he was sitting in front of Gordon once more. Tilting his brother's chin up, he raised his index finger and held it in front of the injured aquanaut's face.

"Follow my finger," he instructed, moving it to the left as he watched the pupils contract and dilate accordingly. After a few seconds, however, Gordon let out a frustrated sigh and batted Virgil's hand away.

"Virge, I'm fine," he groaned, closing his eyes, pinching the bridge of his nose and grimacing even as he spoke. "Just – just gimme a minute, okay?."

Virgil sat back to regard Gordon worriedly, his eyes running once more over the rest of the teenager's body. He still wasn't one-hundred percent certain that a bump on the head was the only injury that Gordon had sustained, and until he verified his theory, he was determined to be on the lookout for any sign of trouble.

After a few moments, Gordon put his hands flat down on the deck and attempted to push himself to his feet, only to let out a pained gasp and slump back down again, clutching his wrist to his chest. Virgil's heart shot up into his mouth.

"What is it?" he demanded worriedly, his hand squeezing his younger brother's shoulder tightly. Gordon waved off his concerns with his good arm, shaking his head and grimacing again.

"Think I twisted it funny," he gritted out, clearly annoyed at his own predicament. "I'll be fine, quit worrying."

Keeping his left arm against his chest, he pressed the palm of his right hand against the deck and pushed himself to his feet stiffly. Once upright, he swayed dangerously, and would have fallen if Scott hadn't shot up after him and grabbed onto his waist at the last moment. Virgil jumped to his feet worriedly, taking hold of his younger brother's arm as Gordon shook his head in an attempt to clear it.

"See?" he mumbled groggily. "I told you I was fine."

Virgil scoffed. "Sure, kiddo. We believe you."

Gordon reached back to rub his behind, wincing in pain and shifting from foot to foot. "Why do I always end up landing on my ass?" he asked bitterly. "It totally cramps my style."

Scott and Virgil shared an amused glance, although the fear and worry still smoldered in both their eyes. Slinging one of Gordon's arms about his shoulders, and looping one of his own about the teenager's waist, Scott turned towards the house.

"C'mon, goofball. Let's get you down to the infirmary," the eldest brother murmured fondly.

"Dad's gonna flip when he finds out," Gordon complained miserably, hobbling up the stairs awkwardly.

Scott glanced over at him and raised an eyebrow. "Why would he do that?"

Gordon let out a small groan. "Because I promised him I'd be in bed by five," he explained. "It's not like I was deliberately going against his orders," the aquanaut continued. "I just didn't notice it was so late – or early, whichever it is – 'til I climbed outta the pool."

"Dad won't mind, squirt," Scott assured his younger sibling. "He's just gonna be relieved that you didn't break your neck."

As he listened to his brothers' conversation, Virgil let out a relieved sigh and ran a hand through his hair. His heart was still pounding ferociously within his chest from the adrenaline rush, his limbs tingling with the sudden explosion of energy that had shot through him the moment that Gordon had hit the deck – in both senses of the word - and his head spinning from the impact of it all.

Turning slightly, he gazed up at the diving board, and was surprised to see that the parrot-like bird hadn't moved from its position. The feathered creature cocked its pink-white head to the side, studying Virgil once more. Then, raising its left foot, it seemed to point towards the villa, inclining its head in a way that almost said 'get a move on!'.

Virgil blinked, eyeing the parrot in a new light as the creature ruffled its feathers and turned its attention away from the human who stood mutely at the bottom of the steps.

"Virgil!"

Scott's harassed call snapped the family medic out of his daze, and he turned towards the villa sharply. Scott stood at the doors to the house, one arm still clamped around Gordon. He was brotherly protectiveness personified, and thus had little patience at the present time.

"I'm coming, I'm coming," Virgil replied, sighing as he hurried up the steps towards the house. Just before entering through the doors, he glanced back over his shoulder at the diving board, frowning as he realised that the bird was gone. He felt an almost illogical sense of disappointment over the fact, but quickly brushed it off as he turned and jogged into the house. After all, he had a brother to take care of. Unexplained phenomena could wait for another time.

... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...

Thirty minutes later, and the remaining Tracy family found themselves assembled in the infirmary. Jeff, who had been woken by Scott soon after the incident, was sitting in a chair at his son's bedside, looking as awake (and worried) as ever. Still clad in a T-shit, pyjama shorts and maroon robe, the Tracy patriarch sighed, shaking his head as he gazed at his second-youngest son.

"What am I gonna do with you?" he asked fondly.

Gordon pouted in response, already miffed at the fact that Virgil had cleaned and sealed the wound at the back of his head against his will. Virgil had also forced him to wear a support bandage over his mildly sprained wrist until further notice. Gordon certainly wasn't a happy bunny. He was still of the opinion that he had been perfectly fine from the very beginning, and that his family had simply blown things way out of proportion.

"Gordon, only you could do something like this at quarter to six in the morning," Scott grinned, the brotherly protectiveness having given way to gentle teasing now that the crisis was over.

Gordon huffed, leaning back against his pillows and shifting uncomfortably, his bruised backside giving him grief.

"You're forgetting about a certain fifteen-year-old who managed to knock himself out at four o'clock in the morning," he countered. "Now that was quite an achievement."

Scott frowned. "He was eleven, that doesn't count."

"Does too," Gordon grumbled, closing his eyes wearily.

"Does not," Scott argued, his expression serious even as his eyes shone in amusement.

"Does-" Gordon began, but was cut off by his father as Jeff raised a hand to silence them.

"Boys," he interrupted. "You all need to go back to bed. It won't do to have a house full of zombies when a rescue call comes in. Gordon, I want you to stay in here for the next six hours or so, alright? I'll sleep on the other bed to keep an eye on your condition just in case."

"Aaw, but Dad-" Gordon whined, immediately rejecting the idea of being – in his opinion – 'molly-coddled' by his father.

"No arguments, son," Jeff stated calmly. "You took a nasty knock back there. Which wouldn't have happened if you had been in bed," the Tracy father continued, frowning slightly. "Like you were supposed to be."

Gordon pouted again, glaring sulkily at his eldest brother. "Told you he'd be mad," he muttered.

Jeff sighed, standing up and gently ruffling the hair of his teenage son. "I'm not mad, Gordon," he soothed. "This wasn't your fault. These things just happen sometimes. But you have to think about the cause of your accident; you may not have slipped if you hadn't been so tired."

Gordon nodded, lowering his gaze somewhat guiltily. "Yeah, I know," he mumbled. "Sorry."

Jeff smiled. "Never mind, son. It's in the past. Now – go on, boys. Time for bed. Virgil, you go back to Alan's roo-...Virgil?"

Scott and Gordon turned to look at the middle Tracy son, who was leaning against the wall of the infirmary as he gazed out of the window through the gap between the drapes. The artist had a faraway look on his face, his eyes staring unseeingly at the light morning sky.

"Hello? Earth to Virgil?"

Virgil snapped out of his daze at the sound of his older brother's voice, blinking the fatigue out of his eyes as he spun around on the spot, frowning as he was met with the questioning stares of the other three Tracy's.

"What?" he asked softly, looking from one to the other.

"Say Virge," Gordon said suddenly, breaking the silence. "How come you were awake when I fell? Not that I'm ungrateful or anything," he added hastily. "It's just that – you know – you seemed so pooped from the rescue, I thought you'd be dead to the world for at least eight hours."

Scott nodded in agreement. "Yeah, Virge, how did you know something was wrong?"

Virgil grinned, scrubbing a hand over his stinging eyes as he tried to fight off exhaustion. Leaning back against the wall, he sighed softly.

"A little birdie told me."

Gordon snorted, closing his eyes again. "Real funny, peaches."

Virgil smiled, pushing himself away from the wall and running a hand through his hair. "Yeah, I guess it is."

Suddenly, Scott grabbed his arm, clapping Gordon on the shoulder and bidding his father goodnight before proceeding to pull Virgil from the room.

"You know, Scooter," Gordon's weary voice trailed after them. "It hasn't technically been nighttime for six hours now."

As the infirmary doors hissed closed behind them, Virgil frowned slightly, coming to a halt in the corridor. Biting his lip in confusion, he pointed towards the door.

"Aren't I supposed to be in there looking after Gordon?"

"No," Scott replied, forcefully dragging his brother down the corridor. "You're supposed to be upstairs in Alan's room, in bed, taking care of yourself."

Virgil wanted to argue, but he knew it would be pointless. Scott could be a stubborn-assed individual when he'd made up his mind about something.

The two boys trudged up to their respective rooms – or, in Virgil's case, borrowed room – in relative silence. Before long, Virgil had arrived outside Alan's bedroom door. Rubbing a hand over his face and letting out another long sigh, he turned the handle and pushed the door open. Just as he was about to step into the room, a hand came to rest upon his shoulder.

"What were you doing up so early, Virge?" Scott's voice inquired softly. "And I want the truth this time. Something's on your mind."

Virgil groaned, leaning his forehead against the cool wood of the door. "Scott, can't this wait until after I've gotten some sleep?"

Scott chewed his lip, inwardly debating the point. After studying Virgil's weary features for a moment, he nodded.

"Alright," he agreed. "But I want the full story later on today. Promise?"

Virgil sighed, wondering how on earth he was going to explain this one to his brother. "Yeah, I promise," he grumbled.

This is gonna be interesting.

... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...

Twelve hours later, and things on the island had pretty much returned to normal. The Tracy family had 'recharged their batteries', as Gordon had so quaintly put, and the atmosphere was as tranquil and peaceful as ever. It was almost as if Gordon's accident had never occurred.

Well, except for the small fact that the copper-haired Tracy wouldn't stop whining.

Virgil sat on Alan's balcony, his legs thrust through the gaps between the bars as he swung them back and forth, leaning his head against the cool metal of the railings. Down below, beside the glistening pool, Gordon lay on one of the sun-loungers, complaining to Alan loudly over the phone. Virgil smiled. The teenage prankster had been mortified to learn that he had been banned from swimming for forty-eight hours in order that the skin glue on his scalp could work its magic. Although the aquanaut had miraculously managed to avoid sustaining a concussion, Virgil still wasn't going to play around with the possibilities of any complications. It was better to be safe than sorry. Not only that, but due to the mildly sprained wrist he has sustained, Gordon had also been banned from the training room until Virgil gave the all-clear. The second-youngest Tracy wasn't amused.

Sighing deeply, Virgil looked out across the dense tropical jungle beyond the pool area, smiling at the familiar warm breeze that blew over the treetops and into his face. Bird calls echoed faintly through the dense vegetation, creating a constant, soothing song in the background. Virgil should have found this totally relaxing. However, his minf refused to allow itself to relax. The only thing he could think about was the incident that had happened that morning. Or, more importantly, about the mysterious bird that had been involved in it all.

It's almost like it wanted me to go outside – like it was trying to warn me. And it deliberately flew over the pool so that I would spot Gordon. I wouldn't have seen him otherwise. No...no, this is stupid. It's just a coincidence. A really, really, really big coincidence.

Virgil frowned, banging his head against the metal railings as his mind argued with itself. On the one hand, his more rational side was telling him that it was perfectly plausible for such occurrences as these to coincide. The fact that the bird happened to draw his attention to Gordon's fall was just pure luck.

However, the other side of his personality was prodding at him constantly, building up the argument against the rational theory. I was about to go back inside the house. I was gonna completely ignore Gordon. But then the bird just – just flew in my face and pushed me back against the railings. Why would it do that? According to John, that particular species of cockatoo are terrified of humans. This one was practically arguing with me! And it was winning, too.

Virgil had told John and Scott all about it, of course. His elder siblings hadn't been as skeptical as he had originally anticipated. John had even gone as far as to mention the word 'miracle'. But Virgil had tried to dissuade them from the idea that anything unnatural had occurred. The only problem was, the facts seemed to be piling up against him. Red-tail cockatoos were known for being late-risers, very much like Virgil himself. They tended to nest until mid-morning before flying off to feed. In fact, according to John, all they ever did was eat and sleep. They were often described as being the 'couch potatoes' of the bird kingdom.

"This is ridiculous," Virgil mumbled, looking up towards the sky as he frowned. "It's just a dumb bird. There's gotta be a perfectly scientific explanation as to what went on this morning."

"Talking to yourself again, Virge?"

Virgil jumped, startled, and craned his neck around to see Scott standing in the bay door behind him. Smiling, the younger Tracy returned his gaze to the jungle and nodded.

"Apparently so."

Grinning, Scott sat down alongside him, sliding his legs between the rails and leaning back with his hands pressed against the ground behind him. "First sign of madness, you know."

"Tell me about it," Virgil groaned.

Scott laughed, shaking his head, before falling silent and regarding his brother for a long moment. He could tell that something was on the younger man's mind.

"What's up, short-stuff?" he inquired softly.

Virgil shot him a half-hearted glare. "Don't call me short." he grumbled. Then, sighing deeply, he leaned his forehead against the bar once more and gazed down at the pool area below. "I'm still trying to get my head around the whole thing."

"What, the miracle-parrot thing?" Scott smiled. "Yeah, it sure gets ya thinking, huh?"

Virgil nodded, glancing over at the green treetops in the vain hope that he would catch site of the bird once more. "It just doesn't make any sense," he mumbled.

Scott clapped him on the shoulder affectionately. "Sometimes these sorta things aren't supposed to make sense," he stated softly. "Sometimes we just gotta accept the fact that we've been sent a blessing. I mean c'mon, think about it – knowing Gordon, he would've just ignored his injuries and gone straight to bed. Things might've ended up being a whole lot worse if that bird hadn't woken you up."

Sighing deeply and shaking his head to rid himself of the frightening thought, Scott looked into Virgil's honey-burnt eyes and smiled softly. "Look, I don't know if this was fate, or a miracle, or even just pure dumb luck – but in truth, in doesn't really matter. What matters is that something good came out of it. So don't dwell on it too much; just be thankful that things turned out the way they did."

Virgil smiled softly, eyeing Scott with a raised eyebrow. "Since when have you been such a learned philosopher?"

"Hey! I can be smart on occasions," the older Tracy protested. "I just decided to take over Johnny's role, since space-face is stuck up on that old tin can of his."

Virgil smirked. "I'm gonna tell him you said that."

Scott turned to look at him, frowning. "Breathe a word of this to John, and miracle-parrot won't be the only one waking you up at unearthly hours in the morning."

Virgil held up his hands. "Okay, okay," he smiled. "I get the message. No telling Johnny that you insulted his baby."

Scott looked genuinely relieved, sighing deeply before grabbing hold of the railing above his head and pulling himself to his feet. Looking down at his younger brother, he raised an eyebrow. "You coming downstairs?"

Virgil shrugged, glancing our across the pale blue skies. "In a little while," he answered softly. "You go ahead."

Scott stepped back through the door into Alan's bedroom. "Suit yourself," he replied lightly. "But it'll be dinner in five minutes or so. Don't be late, okay?"

Virgil snorted in amusement. "Scooter, when have I ever been late for a meal?"

Scott stuck his head back outside again, frowning thoughtfully. "Good point."

As Scott's footsteps retreated back into the silent confines of the villa, Virgil stretched his arms out to the side, feeling his shoulders popping as he loosened his stiff joints. I guess that's what I get from sitting in one position for so long. Man, my butt hurts. Although, thinking about it, it probably doesn't smart half as much as Gordon's does. Poor kid.

Glancing back down at his younger brother beside the pool, he smiled sympathetically. Gordon certainly didn't look his usual, happy self. He had clearly finished his conversation with Alan, and now sat with his sprained wrist settled on his stomach, an expression of longing upon his face as he gazed at the pool, the glistening waters dancing in the light of the late afternoon sun. It must have been killing Gordon, Virgil mused, to sit beside his beloved pool for hours on end without being allowed to swim in it. Virgil felt a pang of guilt over having banned his brother from swimming for such a long period of time. Gordon without water was like Virgil without music – truly unthinkable and potentially catastrophic.

"Braaawk!"

Virgil's eyes widened, and his head snapped to the side as the all-too-familiar call echoed across to him. For there, on the other end of the balcony, sat 'miracle-parrot'.

'Cockatoo,' Virgil reminded himself numbly. 'It's a cockatoo.'

For several moments, neither life-form moved, both too absorbed in staring at one another. Then the bird hopped a few inches closer, ruffling it's pinkish-white feathers and spreading it's wings as though in greeting.

"Hey," Virgil replied softly, his voice little more than a whisper. Oookay. I'm talking to a parrot. This is...weird.

The cockatoo cocked its head to the side, and Virgil once again had the distinct feeling that he was being scrutinized. He shifted uncomfortably. It was remarkable how much the feathered creature resembled John when it stared at him like that. It was kinda creepy.

Virgil had no idea what possessed him to do so, but he found himself shuffling backwards and turning to face the bird, crossing his legs underneath him and leaning forwards slightly.

"Look," he murmured, wondering why on earth he was pursuing the matter and talking to the lesser life-form. "Maybe I'm going crazy, maybe I'm not. But Scott was right about what he said. So I – well – I guess I just wanted to say..."

He paused, finding it immensely difficult to spit the words out. He was talking to a parrot for Pete's sake!

"Well, you know," he mumbled, twisting his hands together uncomfortably. "Thanks."

For a split second, the bird almost seemed to smile – anatomically tricky for a cockatoo, Virgil mused. Then it ruffled its feathers once more, turned its back on the Tracy son and took flight, its wings flapping loudly in the relative silence of the early evening.

Virgil watched its progress until it had flown under the cover of the canopy of trees, vanishing from sight. Inhaling deeply, and feeling a comfortable sense of closure about the situation, Virgil stood to his feet and brushed himself off. Wincing, he rubbed his somewhat numb behind, reflecting on how foolish he had been to stay sitting down for such an extended period of time. Dropping his hands from his rear, he turned to look out across the blue skies once again.

"Well," he sighed, tapping his fingers lightly atop the metal railing. "That was...different."

Suddenly, carried on the deliciously light breeze, he heard a familiar tinkling sound – a welcoming, homely call that signified a very important occasion. Grinning, his stomach growling in eager expectation, Virgil turned back towards the house, all thoughts of birds, butts, miracles and madness forgotten immediately as one word shot to the forefront of his mind, dominating his consciousness:

Dinner!

- THE END -


Ta-daaa!

See, I told you it was odd. But the idea wouldn't leave me alone. And besides, I've loved writing it. I hope you all enjoyed reading it, too!

PLEASE REVIEW and sympathise with my insanity. Lol. Nah, I think we all need to be just a tad strange, don't you? A world full of totally sensible human beings would be as lifeless as a soggy sandwich. And we couldn't have that now, could we? Oops, I'm rambling again. Sorry!

Thanks for reading. See you in another week or so with the next tale!

Little Miss Bump xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox