Chapter 18

John and Alan had barely started on their soup when Tin-Tin and Kyrano began moving. They walked slowly through the hospital together, had a brief stroll around a nearby park and then headed back to the farmhouse.

Tin-Tin remained in the kitchen with Kyrano for some time before finally retreating back to Alan's childhood bedroom where she was staying. When Kyrano and herself had arrived in Kansas, Tin-Tin had automatically put herself in Alan's room while Kyrano had taken Ruth's which was on the floor below.

Tin-Tin hugged her handbag against her chest and lay quietly on the bed. After several minutes she held the bag out in front of her, reached inside it and pulled out an envelope containing the scan pictures that had been taken at the hospital earlier that day. She looked thorough the pictures, gently stroked the image of the baby and then reached down and rested her hand on her stomach. "You're a little trouble maker already," she murmured. "Just like your daddy."


Alan had just returned to the control room after clearing away the lunch items when his watch let out a soft chime. He looked at John who shrugged, "It wasn't me."

Alan chuckled and pressed the button to find out who was calling. Rather than a person he was faced with a black and white picture and he squinted at it for a moment before working out what he was looking at. "How do I get this on there?" he asked, pointing from his watch to the computer screen. "It needs to be bigger."

John rolled his eyes and punched a sequence of six codes into the keyboard beneath the console. With a sideways smirk at his brother, he entered Alan's password, tapped 'return' and stepped backwards so that Alan could see the screen.

"It worked!" Alan exclaimed. "Hey, look. John, just look."

John grinned at Alan's excitement. "Well would you look at that," he murmured softly. "The next generation of the Tracy family." He held an arm out and pulled Alan into a hug. "…and it's all yours."

Alan hugged John tightly before turning to gaze at the screen again. "Wow."

John smiled at his brother. "I'll make myself scarce so you can call Tin-Tin in peace. I'd hazard a guess that she's got quite a bit to tell you. If she wants to send you anything else you press this, this and that and then enter your password and press return. Got it?"

"This, this, that, password, return. Got it. Can we print that?" Alan nodded at the screen.

John nodded. "We can save it, print it or send it on, whatever you want to do with it. Five'll backup anything you do automatically and I'll get everything off the backup for you later on. Call Tin-Tin, Al, and leave me to worry about the technical side of things. I'll be in my room if you need me." John took several steps towards the door and then paused and turned back to his brother. "I don't supposed anyone's said it but…congratulations."

Alan cocked his head to one side, thought for a moment and then grinned. "Cool!" He bounded across the room, gave John a quick hug and then bounced back to the computer screen and dropped himself into the chair. John rolled his eyes and set off down the corridor. "See you later…Daddy."


Alan pinged Tin-Tin's watch and went back to staring at the screen while he waited for her to answer. Tin-Tin connected the call and smiled at the tender expression on Alan's face. "Alan," she called softly. "Aaaalan."

Alan jumped at Tin-Tin's quiet call and lifted his watch up so he could see her. "Hi," he replied shyly and turned the watch so Tin-Tin could see what he was looking at. "That's...that's our baby, Tin. Our baby."

A lone tear trickled down Tin-Tin's cheek as she pressed her lips together and nodded. "I wish you'd been there to see him," she murmured. "You could see his little heart beating and the doctor used a microphone-thing so we could hear it as well. It beats really fast, Alan but the doctor said that's normal and that he's got a good, strong heart." Tin-Tin giggled softly. "I don't think he was impressed with being poked around 'cos he was waving his arms about like a wriggly little peanut."

Alan let out a chuff of laughter. "He does look kind of peanutish at the moment." Alan turned his watch back towards himself. "He's cool, Tin. Peanutish but very cool."

Tin-Tin giggled again. "He might not actually be a he, by the way, he's just as likely to be a she. It's too early to tell but I refuse to call him "it" so he's a he for now. Do you mind?"

"If Dad's to be believed then he'll be a he anyway so I guess he'll be fine." Alan shook his head and laughed. "This conversation's gone kind of weird." He gazed at Tin-Tin and his eyes softened. "How's Kyrano been with you today?"

Tin-Tin shrugged. "He's trying," she replied softly. "Really he is, it's just…difficult." Tin-Tin shrugged again. "He had a long talk with your father last night and I think that helped a lot. This little one though..." Tin-Tin looked at her stomach and patted it. "…is on his way and there's nothing that anyone, anywhere can do about it. Father's got to get his head around that as well as the fact that his only daughter betrayed his faith in her and let him down."

"Don't say that," Alan cried. "You did nothing wrong and if Kyrano can't see that then that's his problem, not yours. There's enough going on at the moment without him piling extra stress on you just because he can't accept what happened between us. It's not like we planned…that…or…this and it's not fair on him to blame any of it on you." Alan jumped to his feet, spun round in a circle and growled. "I hate this. I hate that I'm stuck here when I should be down there with you. I hate that I can't look after you or help you with Kyrano." Alan flopped back onto the chair and let out a sob. "I just want to be there to keep you and Peanut safe and no-one will give me the chance."

Tin-Tin scrubbed at the tears that had begun flowing down her face. "I know," she sobbed. "This isn't fair. I don't want to be here, you don't want to be there and no-one wants us to be together so we can't go home." Tin-Tin scrubbed at her face again and sniffed loudly. "I can see why people end up running aw..."

Tin-Tin silenced herself mid-word when she heard a quiet knock on her bedroom door. "Leave me alone," she called out, trying to sound somewhat calmer than she was. "Father, please. I need time to gather my thoughts so please, let me be."

Kyrano gave a quiet reply which Alan couldn't hear and retreated back downstairs. Tin-Tin flopped onto her bed, curled herself in a ball and dissolved into a flood of tears.


Alan frantically tried to rouse Tin-Tin from the desperately upset state that she'd fallen into but the young woman was too distraught to acknowledge his calls. Alan jumped to his feet and ran through the corridors of Thunderbird 5 until he reached the air lock where Thunderbird 3 was docked. In a state of panic, he punched in the code to activate the air lock and screamed at it when the door refused to move. "NO!" he shrieked. "You can't do this to me. I need to go." Alan kicked the base of the airlock door as hard as he was able. "OPEN UP, DAMN YOU. I NEED TO GO."


John skidded to a halt behind Alan, wrapped his arms around him and dragged him down until he had Alan trapped in a sitting position between his legs. Alan fought for all he was worth but John had both a height and weight advantage over him and eventually the younger Tracy ran out of steam. "I need to go," he sobbed. "I need. To. Go."

John was desperately trying to catch his breath but he hugged Alan to his chest and held him firmly. "I got that," he gasped. "...but breaking the air lock isn't going to help your cause and neither is breaking your foot."

Alan leaned backwards and attempted to flip himself out of John's grasp but unfortunately for him, his brother had pre-empted the move and he ended up pinned even more tightly against John's chest than he had been before. His head was tucked snugly beneath John's chin and his arms were curled in a foetal position in front of him.

"Don't. Do that. Again," John growled. "…or one of us is going to end up getting hurt." He sat with Alan and hugged him until he felt the tension draining from the younger man and then gave Alan a comforting squeeze and kissed the top of his head. "Do you want to tell me what that was all about?"

Alan sniffed loudly and pressed back gently against John's arms. John loosened his grip on his brother but kept his arms around him in case he tried to flee. "There, you're confined without being overly restricted." John sighed. "You were happy when I left you. What happened?"

Alan sniffed again and chewed at one of his thumb nails to delay answering. "Kyrano's giving Tin-Tin a hard time," he said eventually. "She says that he's disappointed in her and that she's let him down. She doesn't want to stay in Kansas, she just wants to go home but she's not allowed, I'm stuck up here so I'm not down there, no-one will let us be together and she was crying and upset and..." Alan huffed loudly and sagged against John who hugged him loosely.

"I hoped that talking things through with Father last night would have settled Kyrano down a bit," John remarked with a frown. "…but it doesn't seem to have done so." John's frown deepened and he reached up to scratch his ear. "God, this is an almighty great mess."

Alan sighed softly and nodded his agreement. He remained quiet and still for several minutes and John found himself supporting more and more of his brother's weight as he began to slip into a light doze.

"Hey," John shook him gently. "Don't fall asleep yet. Help me get you up off the floor and you can go to bed for a bit."

Alan lifted his head and looked groggily up at John. "Bed?"

"Yeah," John replied. "It'll be comfier than the floor. You can have a couple of hour's shut-eye and then we'll work out what needs to happen next."


John coaxed Alan up off the floor, led him into his bedroom and tucked him into bed. He sat beside the bed until he was certain that Alan was fast asleep and then wandered slowly towards the control room where he sat, staring at the scan picture which Alan had left on his screen.

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