Disclaimer: They are not mine.

My knowledge of the ThunderBirds comes from watching the movie and the hundreds of stories I have read from this site. I started writing after my daughter forced me to watch the movie(literally) I was helpless on the couch with a HEAVY cast on-couldn't move. Then she introduced to Little Miss Bump and Criminally Charmed's writing - I was hooked. Shortly after I took in my mother after a stroke, with taking care of her(which I felt privileged to do) family and working more than full time hours things were a little stressed to say the least. She suggested writing stories, said it would be a stress reliever - she was right. So now I am on my 4th, but have never posted before because of lack of computer skills, but now she has agreed to beta and show me how. Once I get something down pat - Hope you will enjoy mine as I have yours - just for the joy of writing


Chapter 1

Running, running, finally an exhausted boy sat down in the warm sand. The sun was rising sending orange/red streaks across the sky, it was going to be another beautiful day. But for young Alan Tracy it might as well been dark and grey, as his sat trying to catch his breath. He had thought the early morning run would help him clear his thoughts. He sat on the beach his knees pulled up and his arms wrapped around them. He watched as the waves gently washed up on the beach, beckoning him to forget his worries and enjoy the beauty surrounding him; but alas his mind remained dark as all the conflicting thoughts and feelings of all the events that had happened flooded his mind - he was totally overwhelmed.

It had been just before spring break that he had been forced to go with several other boys to a center to do community work at a center for the under privileged, and special needs kids as part of a detention for missing classes and being sent to the headmaster of the academy by teachers who were totally frustrated with his daydreaming and distracting his classmates when he did show up. It was during the expedition that Alan actually found himself enjoying the work. He was taunted by the others who thought this was very much below they're status and acted as if working with this type of people would somehow rub off on them. Alan had asked Mr. Anderson, an elderly gentleman who seemed to be in charge, if he could come back and was told he would be more than welcome. He found himself sneaking off campus two to three times a week. He seemed to have a knack in this kind of work and his new friends were happy to see him, greeting with hugs and smiles each time he arrived. His best friend Fermat knew of his activities, but Alan had sworn him to secrecy. Even Fermat did not know the extent of what Alan was doing, he just knew Alan would be in a good mood when he would return.

Alan had barely been home for spring break; when, his father again rebuffed him for his poor grades and behavior at Wharton Academy. He told Alan he needed to grow up, and his brothers continued to tease him about his many past mishaps. Because of this he had been on the beach skimming rocks, when the Hood had attacked his home and had almost succeeded in killing his family and friends. He and his brother John had sustained significant injuries, his being contused and fractured ribs; which, still were very sore, when he over exerted himself as he had just done running, (his father and brothers especially Virgil, would be angry with him for this). Together he, Fermat and Tin Tin had managed to turn the tables and save everyone from certain death.

Alan, Tin Tin and Fermat were awarded, by being given 'Thunderbird Pins' at a party to celebrate the victory over the Hood. Alan was ecstatic over finally receiving his Thunder Bird pin, a dream of his since the inception of the Thunderbirds; however, he was disappointed in his own behavior, his arrogance - having "acted like a "JERK" as Tin Tin put it, refusing to listen to his friends, making fun of Fermat's stutter, causing them to be caught early the by the Hoods henchman, Mullian. Although both had told him all was forgiven , that they understood it was just the stress of the situation, he hadn't managed to forgive himself, as only an immature "JERK" would do that to his best friends. Even his pinning, becoming an official part of the team and hopefully raising his status within his family, had not been able to erase the deep down feelings that somehow he was still a failure, and would never be able to be an equal with his brothers, or be able to match their brilliant accomplishments.

The first few weeks after his pinning and the party, he assumed that everything was beginning to work out, as he had even been allowed to go on a couple of missions, though he had not been allowed to do anything but observe, due to his injured ribs they had told him. Then last night his father told him he would be going back to school the following week, that he still could not be a full-time thunderbird, until he finished school and home-schooling was not an option. Instantly his dream of being a member and finally gaining some sense of belonging to his family was torn apart and his heart felt as though it would break in two. He was proud of himself for not showing his shock and disappointment. Instead he just turned and walked out of his fathers' office, though his father and older brother Scott called after him, he kept going, not looking back. He did not sleep well that night and now this morning found himself on the beach, wondering if maybe the pinning was just to pacify him until he was healed enough to be sent off again. Maybe his father had heard about his behavior in the jungle and was once again disappointed in him. Of course he really couldn't blame anyone but himself, he always had felt as though he had been a disappointment to his father. His less than stellar grades, all the mishaps at the different schools he had attended.

His father was a national hero, ex- astronaut, an Air Force Major, self-made billionaire and his brothers achieved a multitude of awards and recognition - Scott, 24, following in his fathers footsteps was a superb pilot and had been an Air Force officer, receiving the MEDAL of HONOR for bravery on one of many missions. John, 22.5 was an astronaut, famous author, Astrologist, Virgil, 21- was a concert pianist/ artist, and valedictorian at a prestige's school of engineering, and Gordon, 19.5, Had won 'GOLD' at the Olympics, had trained and succeeded aquanaut training with top honors, and not only survived a near fatal hydrofoil accident, but worked until he made a full recovery so he could assume a roll as a 'Thunderbird'.

Alan, didn't even seem to apply himself; where, his school work was concerned, He found the classes rather boring; which, led to his daydreaming, also he was teased at school and by his brothers about being a mistake, and although he gave as he received in this department, he had always wondered in the back of his mind if it were true. Especially since there was such a gap between he and his next older brother, Gordon.

Did this explain why his father never seemed to want him around. His father had taken his brothers on business trips and other family functions, but he was always told he was to young, often left in the care of secretaries or Parker, Lady P's man servant, (but at least Parker, taught him some useful tricks of his past trade) but even as he grew, his father never took him on any of the trips. Jeff never came to his school unless he was in trouble. Indeed, it was an extreme rarity that either his dad or brothers ever came to a school function. No, he was just the black sheep, the baby of the family, and even the events with the Hood would not change that. In Alan's mind there just wasn't anything he could do to prove himself worthy to his family. The normally boisterous, outgoing, fun loving, hot tempered boy that ruled the island before the attack, was now becoming a depressed, and unsure of himself, lad.

The one thing Alan was absolutely sure about was that he LOVED his family, and no matter what he would do anything to protect them. He felt fairly certain they loved him, if for no other reason then that he was a Tracy, by birth. Maybe they just didn't like him, didn't want him under foot and that was why he was always sent away. Well, if he couldn't be a "real" thunderbird, maybe he would just have to find another way to prove himself to his father and brothers.

Alan was so deep in thought he didn't hear Tin Tin and Fermat coming up behind him until they actually plopped down beside him; which, caused him to jump like he'd been shot. Sorry they both said, "Yo-You mu-must have been r-re really thi-thinking hard n-not to ha-have he her heard us co-coming," stated Fermat.

"Penny for your thoughts." Smiled Tin Tin. "Everyone missed you at breakfast."

"Sorry, "Alan said quietly, "I'll apologize when I go back to pack for school. I just wanted some time to myself to think things over. I also want to tell you again, how sorry I am for being such a "JERK" in the jungle during the Hood's attack, and "THANK YOU" both, for saving my family."

Fermat and Tin Tin looked at each other in surprise, then back at Alan. Alan continued to stare out at the ocean , never looking directly at them.

"Alan, we we've been through this several times already, you did more than any of us to defeat the Hood, and we've told you we understood it was just the stress, so why are you bringing it up again?" asked Tin Tin.

"Just wanted to make sure you know I'm grateful," he replied again without really looking at them. Then he got up and started back to the Villa.

"Wa-Wait, Alan wha-what's really g-go going on," asked Fermat, as he and Tin Tin looked at each other feeling more than a little confused over his calm, but deflated attitude.

"Nothing, I've just decided I need to change my attitude, you know be more responsible, demonstrate I can be useful."

Again Fermat and Tin Tin looked at each other, they knew exactly what he meant. He wanted to prove his worth to his family. "Wait a minute," they both said in unison . "You've already proven yourself, if your family can't see that then that's their fault not yours."

Alan didn't look at them but replied, "No, I really haven't given them anything to be proud of me for, but I'm going to try and change that. Get my grades up, get involved in more school activities, maybe I'll start going back to the center, though you can't tell them anything about it. You have to promise me that!" he added quickly.

"Alan, I kn-know you can get the grades, he-heaven knows you write s-some o of the b- be-best com-computer pr- programs around, yo-you get along wi-with j-ju-just about ev-everyone, you kn-know h-how to talk to pe-people, put th-them at ease."

Tin Tin added, "you know my dad talked to you about being able to ward off the mind probing of the Hood, that you, have to have some telepathic abilities of your own to do that. Why can't you just tell them?"

"No, I have to do this my own way," his tone that let them know the conversation was over.

They shrugged their shoulders, and accompanied him back to the Villa. One thing they knew for sure - Tracy stubbornness was still well implanted.

Late that Sunday afternoon, Alan and Fermat readied to board Tracy 1 for the flight to take them back to Wharton Academy. Alan had left his thunderbird pin on his dresser, after gently rubbing his fingers over it. He wondered if he ever would be able to really be a needed part of the team or his family.

Brains was going to pilot them to the mainland and then drive them to school, much to Fermat's delight. Alan said goodbye giving his father a brief hug and letting his brothers rub his head and give him some teasing about not blowing-up anymore schools this time.

John put his arm around Alan's shoulders, "call me anytime."

Alan gave them a small smile, hiding the hurt that went along with the whole situation. Had any of them really known Alan, they would have seen the deep hurt in his eyes.

As the plane taxied down the runway, it was John who broke the silence. "Do you really think Alan was ready to go back? He seemed unusually quiet. Maybe his ribs are still bothering him."

Virgil spoke up "No his ribs are healing fine, he might be a little sore if he over exerts, but dad told the headmaster he wasn't to partake in any strenuous activities for another couple of weeks, so it shouldn't be a problem."

Gordon said he was probably just worried about how he could do as little as possible and still pass this quarter, so he could continue on with his thunderbird training this summer, instead of needing to make up his studies in summer school. Scott, Virgil, and Gordon laughed.

John spoke quietly, "Something tells me we're underestimating our little brother. After all, look how he handled himself against the Hood."

"He did okay, true, but he had a lot of help from others, too."

John still did not give in, "I feel as though we're missing something, and I have a very uneasy feeling, he will do something to prove it to us. He is just to quiet, something more must be going on."

Jeff didn't say anything. While he was glad there had been no argument with his son, he wasn't sure if he had made the right decision to send his youngest back. It would be harder to keep an eye on him, but he wanted Alan to have outside experiences, if he could just make him understand. The look in Alan's eyes when he told him he would be going back to school, left Jeff feeling even more anxious. He wished he had a better relationship with Alan. It seemed if they weren't fighting over his irresponsible behavior, and poor grades, then they were just not talking at all.

Tin Tin Just folded her arms looked angrily at her adopted brothers and said, "MEN." Then stomped away. "What?" they asked. But Tin Tin kept going calling out, "you figure it out."

The brothers just shrugged their shoulders, must be a girl thing they thought, and went to start other activities. John started to go after her, having the feeling that something more was going on with his little brother, but the alarms went off and he never got the chance. Two days later he went back up to the newly remodeled thunderbird "5". Tin Tin had made herself scarce, whenever the brothers were around, not wanting to risk getting so angry with their misgivings about their brother that she let slip Alan was doing a secret project to try and prove himself, though even she wasn't totally in the know to what he was invoved.

Brains and Fermat talked and laughed together continuously enroute to the mainland, while Alan remained quiet, starring out the window. On arrival to the academy Alan gave Brains a thumbs up, thanked him for the ride, then turned and headed for the dormitory. Fermat remained at his father's side a bit longer. Brains asked his son if something was wrong with Alan, as he seemed so distant and lost in thought. Brains thought of Alan as a nephew, and worried why he was so quiet.

Fermat replied, "I j-just wish his f-fa-family knew the "real" Alan," but did not elaborate. He gave his father a big hug then followed Alan to the dorm. This was going to be a long twelve weeks he thought.