Alan wandered in about twenty minutes later. He was sweaty, grimy and only stayed in the lounge long enough to check that everyone was okay. "I'm going to have a shower and a lie down. Give me a shout when munchies are served so I can come and join you."
Jeff and John both nodded and then watched as Alan wandered away. "Well that works out well," John murmured. "If he's not going to come out until after everyone's back then we don't need to worry about him getting wind of what's going on."
Jeff chuckled. "I was thinking something similar myself. I think we'll keep him in the dark for as long as possible and then maybe arrange for him to cross paths with Tin-Tin somewhere in the house once she's back. Your brothers will no doubt be in high spirits if everything goes to plan so I'm sure they won't mind their munchies being a little delayed by the reunion.
Jeff spoke to Kyrano and then once the rescue was completed he spoke to Scott, Virgil and an infuriatingly ebullient Gordon who was bouncing around Thunderbird 2's cabin like a kid on a candy high. The knowledge that Tin-Tin was finally going home and that Jeff was going to trick Alan into running into her didn't help calm the red-head's mood and Jeff ended up apologising to Virgil for what looked to be a lively, and possibly frustrating, journey home.
Scott flew Thunderbird 1 high over the canyon and checked that the area was free of any unwanted sightseers. Once he was sure the area was clear he signalled that Virgil could land and waited, concealed in the clouds until Two was down and safely hidden.
One's engines had barely finished powering down when Scott clambered out and scrambled across to where Thunderbird 2 was standing. Virgil had extended her legs and lowered the pod door so that Kyrano could drive the jeep directly inside. He stepped onto the ramp and handed Scott a mug of coffee as he approached. "I'm going to shut Gordon in here," he announced. "…or I'm going to end up killing him before we get home. He's driving me nuts."
Scott took a sip of his coffee and let out an appreciative sigh. "He's just excited 'cos he's finally getting his little team back together. Let him travel home with Tin-Tin and I guarantee you won't hear a peep out of him the whole way back."
Tin-Tin and Kyrano drove into the canyon a little over half an hour later. Scott walked out to meet them and climbed into the back of the jeep to direct Kyrano into the cavern where Thunderbird 2 was waiting.
Virgil was standing just inside the pod and waved as Kyrano drove onto the bottom of the ramp. He held his hand out towards the far right hand side of the pod and then lowered it to warn Kyrano to take it slowly.
Once the jeep was in place, Virgil and Scott set about securing it to the floor of the pod. Gordon appeared a second later and wrapped himself around Tin-Tin who squealed loudly. "Yes, yes, I've missed you too. Don't squeeze me to hard, Gordon, I do need to breathe."
Gordon buried his face against Tin-Tin's neck as she hugged him back. She smiled at Kyrano and nodded. "Time to go home."
Virgil rolled Thunderbird 2 into place on Tracy Island and shut everything down. He hadn't heard a sound from Gordon the entire journey and as Brains had fallen asleep not long after they'd left Kansas he'd had a peaceful trip back. "Father," he called quietly over the radio. "Father, we're back. Where do you want everybody?"
"Virg," John answered in place of his father. "He's on his way down to you. Give him a moment and he'll be there."
Virgil peered out of the window and watched as the door to the gantry swung open and Jeff stepped out. He gave Virgil a wave and started down the steps towards the floor. Virgil crouched beside Brains and shook him awake. "We're home. Dad's on his way to meet us and I'm going to rouse the others. It's very quiet back there so I'd guess they've slept most of the way back as well."
Brains nodded and unbuckled himself from the seat. "I-I'm going to s-shower. T-tell the other's I'll s-see them later."
Virgil patted his shoulder and smiled. "You did well today. I know you don't particularly like going out but…you did well. I'll see you later."
Virgil stepped through the door to the living quarters and stopped dead at the sight that greeted him. Gordon and Tin-Tin were curled together on one of the single bunks, fast asleep. Gordon had his arms wrapped tightly around Tin-Tin's waist and his face was barely visible against her chest. She had her arms around his shoulders and her cheek was resting so closely against the top of his head that her gentle breaths were disturbing his hair.
Kyrano, who was sitting in a comfy chair, smiled at the expression on Virgil's face. "Master Gordon was unwilling to relinquish his hold on my daughter," he explained. "I know she has missed him greatly but it seems that he has possibly missed her more. I think it would be prudent to wake them before your father or Master Alan arrive."
Virgil snorted. "Yeah, I'm not sure Alan would appreciate Gordon being quite that…close." He crouched down beside the sleeping pair and gently patted Tin-Tin's shoulder. "Time to wake up, Honey. Journey's over, we're home."
Tin-Tin opened her eyes and looked blearily up at him. "Home?"
Virgil nodded. "We landed a couple of minutes ago. You got yourself kind of…tangled up with Gordon while you slept and it looks like might need a hand to get yourself free."
Tin-Tin looked down at Gordon, giggled and then slapped him gently on the back of his head. "Wakey wakey, sleepyhead. Time to get up."
Gordon grumbled in his sleep and buried his face deeper against Tin-Tin's chest. She gave his head another tap and then put her lips up against his ear. "We're back on the island, Gordon. Wake up. Now."
Gordon opened his eyes and flushed red when he realised the position he was lying in. He carefully released himself from Tin-Tin and, with a little help from Virgil, sat up beside her. "Sorry, I guess I was…tired. Sorry for…" he waved his hand in the vague direction of Tin-Tin's chest. "…that as well. I…don't know what happened."
Tin-Tin shook her head and smiled at him. "Me neither. Virgil, where did my father go?"
"He heard someone open the access hatch to the pod and went down to meet them in case it was Alan," Virgil replied. "We thought it best if he didn't walk in on the pair of you all cuddled up like that."
Gordon glanced across at Tin-Tin and smiled sheepishly. "He's missed you, Tin. We all have but he's really, really missed you and you'll be lucky if he lets you out of his sight before the baby's born."
"And that's quite fine by me." Tin-Tin reached over, pulled Gordon into a gentle hug and kissed his cheek. "Thank you for caring, Gordon…and for looking after me today. I don't know how…that happened any more than you do but I felt safe, secure and loved."
Both Gordon and Virgil nodded at Tin-Tin's heartfelt words. Virgil clambered to his feet, held his hand out to pull Gordon off the bed and then stood back as Tin-Tin swung her feet off the bed and stood up. "I don't know where we're going but head out of the pod and see if you can see Dad. He knows what's going on in regards to Alan."
Jeff and Kyrano were standing beside Thunderbird 2 talking quietly when Virgil, Tin-Tin and Gordon stepped out. Jeff gave Tin-Tin an appraising look, smiled softly and then stepped forwards and gave her a gentle hug. "Welcome home," he murmured. "Grandma's upstairs getting some food together. She wanted to come and greet you but the thought of having all six boys clamouring for their lunch made her change her mind. She said to tell you that she'd greet you properly tonight, once everything's calmed down again."
Tin-Tin nodded. "I understand." She rested her hand on Jeff's arm and looked nervous. "Mr Tracy, where is Alan?"
Jeff smiled softly and glanced at Kyrano who nodded in reply. "He's in his room. John's keeping watch on him. You'll see him soon enough, don't you worry. We've just got a…little surprise planned for him first."
Tin-Tin, Kyrano, Jeff, Virgil and Gordon took the elevator up into the house. Jeff urged Tin-Tin to sit on one of the sofas, sent Gordon and Virgil into the kitchen and then nudged Kyrano in the direction of his office where John was waiting.
"He hasn't moved," John murmured as they stepped into the room. "Kyrano, hi. Welcome back."
Kyrano bowed his head in acknowledgement of the greeting. "It is good to be back, Master John. The farm is very homely but it is not home. It is too…quiet."
Jeff chuckled. "I'll bet it was with just the two of you rattling around the place." He patted Kyrano on the shoulder. "Come on, old friend, let's get this done."
Jeff took a final look at the cream spot on the computer and leaned over to flick a switch. "Alan," he said sternly. "My office. Now." He waited until the cream dot to start moving and then switched the screen off. "There's little enough privacy in this house as it is without us watching their every move. Kyrano, we may be here a while. Would you join us for a coffee?"
Alan slunk through the door at the far side of the lounge, took several steps across the floor and stopped. He sniffed the air, cocked his head to one side and took another couple of hesitant steps towards the centre of the room before stopping again.
Tin-Tin slowly climbed to her feet and turned to face him. "Alan."
Alan let out a cry and launched himself towards her. He wrapped his arms around her and pulled her against his chest as they both burst into tears. "You're back," Alan croaked. "How…when…how are you back?"
Tin-Tin pushed herself gently away from his chest and reached up to run her fingers through his hair. "We hitched a ride in Thunderbird 2. We've only been back a couple of minutes. Your father wanted to surprise you."
Alan leaned forward, rested his lips against Tin-Tin's forehead and kissed her gently. "He succeeded." He slid his lips down her cheek and buried his face in her neck. "God, I've missed you."
"Me too. So, so much." Tin-Tin rubbed her cheek against the side of his head and let out a quiet sob. "I…I…Don't let them send me away again."
Alan pulled himself upright and gently cradled Tin-Tin's face between his hands. "You're not going anywhere; at least not on your own. If you need to go for tests or…anything then I'm coming with you. They are NOT splitting us up again. You got that?"
A tear trickled down Tin-Tin's face as Alan leant forward to kiss her. She buried her fingers in his hair and deepened the kiss for a moment before remembering where they were. "Everyone's waiting for us," she squeaked. "Alan, they're probably watching."
Alan glanced around the room. "No, they're not," he replied softly. "The doors are shut and the camera's off." He dragged Tin-Tin across the room and waved his hand in front of the camera. "See?"
Tin-Tin's reply was simply to press herself tightly against him and seal her lips against his in a burning, fiery kiss which he returned with every ounce of passion in his body. He sunk against the desk and supported Tin-Tin's weight against him as he poured his love into the blistering kiss and then stood with his arms wrapped around her once the pair were forced apart by the need to breathe.