Emergency On Tracy Island
Scott, Virgil and Alan had arrived at the rescue site long before Tin-Tin shuffled into the control room. Wearing the red and blue, knitted poncho that had become her constant companion over the previous couple of months, she stepped through the doorway and then stopped when the concerned gazes of Jeff and Gordon immediately turned her way.
Gordon leapt off the sofa and hurried towards the young Malaysian girl. "Honey, you shouldn't be up," he said softly and he reached out to take Tin-Tin's arm so he could lead her to the sofa. "The rescue sounds pretty straightforward and the guys are handling everything. Why don't you go back to bed?"
Jeff nodded his agreement as Gordon pressed Tin-Tin gently down onto the firm cushions of the sofa. "Gordon's right Tin-Tin. You don't look at all well. Go back to bed and I promise to send someone to get you if anything happens that you need to know about."
Tin-Tin shook her head gently and then winced when the movement made her head spin. "No. Thank you, both of you, but I can't. I lay down again almost as soon as I got up but I just couldn't seem to get comfortable. If anything, my head feels worse than it did last night and now my back has decided to make itself known as well."
Tin-Tin leant forwards, wrapped her arms around her legs and then groaned and pressed her forehead tightly against her knees. Gordon lowered himself onto the seat beside her and gingerly patted her back. "Can I get you anything?" he asked quietly. "A glass of water or an Aspirin or…something?"
Tin-Tin let out a gentle snort and pulled herself upright. "Gordon, you're very sweet but no, thank you. I took a couple of painkillers when I got up and I'm hoping they'll begin to kick in soon. Mr Tracy, if you don't need me in here then I think I might go and get some fresh air. Maybe a walk on the beach will help my headache. Gordon, would you join me?"
Gordon's eyes flicked towards his father. "You said it yourself," Jeff said with a shrug. "…that there's not a lot either of us can do on this one. Go with Tin-Tin and I'll call you if I need to. The boys can handle everything else."
Gordon nodded and stood up before gently pulling Tin-Tin to her feet. Just a moment later he was forced to grab her tightly when what little colour there was in the Malaysian girl's cheeks suddenly faded.
"I'm sorry," she said quietly once she had regained her equilibrium. "I must have got up too fast. I'm sorry if I scared you."
Gordon smiled gently down at her. "That's OK," he murmured. "I just don't like the idea of you being unwell. This has been going on for way too long. It's been on and off for months now."
Jeff frowned across to where Gordon was now standing with his arm protectively around Tin-Tin's shoulders. "This is your monthly problem again?" he asked quietly. "Tin-Tin, honey, I really think it's about time you spoke to a doctor about this. It's not right that it should affect you like this. If you don't want to speak to a doctor then at least talk it over with Grandma when she gets back from New York."
Tin-Tin flushed slightly when she realised that both Jeff and Gordon had worked out that it was her monthly cycle that was making her feel so unwell. She leaned heavily against Gordon's side and sighed before staring at the floor. "I called the doctor last night," she admitted. "…and I've got an appointment for next week. Every month seems to be worse than the last at the moment and I…I'm not sure how much more I can take."
Tears trickled out of Tin-Tin's eyes and she suddenly found herself being enveloped in Gordon's strong arms. With a strangled sob she turned into him and buried her face deeply into the soft orange cotton of his button-down shirt where she remained for several minutes.
Eventually Tin-Tin peeled herself away from Gordon's chest and rubbed the tears from her eyes. She looked up at Gordon who still had an arm around her and let out a giggle. "I'm so sorry, Gordon. I seem to have made a mess of your shirt."
Gordon reached up and pulled at the damp material with a grin. "Don't worry, Tin-Tin, it'll be fine. This is me you're talking to. It's only wet and I'm certainly not afraid of a little water."
Tin-Tin snorted and then raised herself on tiptoe so she could wrap her arms around Gordon's neck. "Thank you," she whispered and then placed a gentle, chaste kiss on his cheek.
Gordon blushed slightly and then nodded. "Any time, Honey, any time. Do you still want to get some fresh air? We can take a slow walk along the beach if you'd like."
Tin-Tin pulled herself completely out of Gordon's arms and grabbed hold of one of his hands. "Yes please," she replied and then turned to Jeff. "That's if you definitely don't mind, Mr Tracy?"
Jeff shook his head and smiled. "I don't mind at all. You kids get yourselves out of here for a while. Just try and be back before the others, then you can sit in on the debriefing."
Tin-Tin nodded and tugged on Gordon's hand. "Come on; let's not keep the beach waiting."
Gordon caught the amused gleam in his father's eye and then allowed himself to be pulled from the room.
Tin-Tin set off slowly down the steps that led away from the house and Gordon got the distinct impression that the tight grip on his hand was giving her more support than she was probably willing to admit.
By the time the pair reached the bottom of the steps, Gordon had moved up beside Tin-Tin and was supporting a lot of her weight with the arm that he had wrapped around her back. He gently lowered her onto one of the sun loungers and squatted beside her with a concerned look on his face.
"Tin-Tin," he said quietly. "Let me take you back to your room. You're not going to do yourself any favours by pushing yourself like this when you're obviously not well."
Tin-Tin let out a quiet groan and stretched her legs out on the chair. "No," she replied. "I've told you I'm not going back to bed. I can't get comfortable and I'm not going to let this beat me. My monthlies never used to affect me like this and, quite frankly, it's embarrassing that, on an island full of men, you all know that my female…um…parts are causing me problems."
Gordon found himself automatically trying to pull Tin-Tin back against his chest. This worked until her cheek touched the cooling patch on his shirt from her previous tears and she pulled away with a start. "No," she groaned. "I'm not doing that again. I'm stronger than this and I don't need to be coddled all the time."
Gordon resisted the temptation to chuckle when Tin-Tin immediately threw herself back into his arms the moment she'd finished speaking. He wrapped his arms tightly around her and rocked her gently back and forth.
"You're rather warm," he said quietly after a couple of minutes. "I'm going to go and get you a cold drink and then we'll see how you feel once you've drunk it. If you feel better then we can try again with the walk, if you feel worse then I'm taking you back inside and parking you under the air conditioning vent. Deal?"
Tin-Tin let out a soft giggle. "Deal," she agreed. "A cold drink sounds lovely, Gordon, and I'm sure I'll feel better once I've cooled down."
Gordon pushed Tin-Tin upright in the chair and gently tugged on the thick material of her poncho. "Losing this thing would probably help," he suggested softly. "You don't really need something as thick as this, living on a tropical island, you know?"
Tin-Tin giggled again. "I know," she agreed. "It's just that I've become so bloated over the past few months. My clothes barely fit me any more and I've started having to undo a button or two after I've eaten. If I'm wearing this then none of you can see how hideously fat I look."
Gordon stood up and placed a kiss in the centre of Tin-Tin's forehead. "You could never look hideous, Tin-Tin," he told her quietly. "You'd still be beautiful if you put on another 300 pounds."
Tin-Tin burst out laughing at Gordon's words. "I don't think so," she murmured. "And I'm sure Alan would have something to say about it if it happened."
Gordon snorted. "True," he agreed. "…seeing as how his tact circuit has never been fully connected. But Tin-Tin, never forget that Alan would love you no matter what size you were."
Tin-Tin flushed red and then suddenly paled again. "Um, Gordon, about that drink…I think I need you to get it for me rather urgently."
Gordon pressed his hand against Tin-Tin's forehead and frowned at the warmth he found there. "I'll be right back," he said and dashed up the stairs and into the house. Tin-Tin let out a quiet groan and rolled herself into a ball in the centre of the sun lounger.
She hadn't moved when Gordon returned just a couple of minutes later. Tin-Tin was facing away from the steps so he wandered around the chair and squatted on the floor between the chair and the pool. Tin-Tin's eyes were only halfway open and silent tears were flowing down her face. She still looked pale, despite the fact that her cheeks were flushed and Gordon thought she looked the picture of absolute misery.
"Hey," he murmured. "I've brought you some fruit juice and I've got a damp cloth for your face. Do you think you can sit up so you can take a drink?"
Tin-Tin nodded gingerly and, with Gordon's help, sat up before draining the glass of fruit juice.
"Wow, you really needed that," Gordon commented with a chuckle and then sat down on the lounger beside Tin-Tin and held out the damp cloth. "Here, give your face a wipe. Grandma always says that a fresher face makes for a fresher body and what Grandma says is usually right."
Tin-Tin smiled. "I wish she was here," she said softly. "At least she'd understand what I'm going through...from a female point of view I mean. You're being great, Gordon, but you couldn't possibly know how I'm feeling."
Gordon nodded sympathetically. "I know but I can probably identify with you more than the other guys. I know what it feels like to have a body that's wracked with pain and that refuses to carry out even the simplest of commands. If I'm right in thinking then that's pretty much how you're feeling at the moment?"
It was almost unheard of for Gordon to refer to the time straight after his hydrofoil accident and Tin-Tin sat up straighter and looked him straight in the eye. The amber eyes that stared back at her were clear and filled with concern for her wellbeing but Tin-Tin thought she could pick up a hint of long-buried pain that Gordon's reminiscing had brought to the surface.
"That's it exactly," she murmured. "I don't know what's going on and that's…scary. When I see the doctor next week I'm going to ask him to wave a magic wand over me and reset me to this time last year. I just don't understand what's changed that's put everything so out of whack."
Gordon nodded and reached over to squeeze Tin-Tin's shoulder. "I'm sure it'll be fine," he replied. "Do you want me to fly you over there? And maybe we should take Grandma to actually go in to see the doctor with you?"
Tin-Tin frowned slightly. "I hadn't really thought about it," she admitted. "I don't suppose I'm quite up to flying at the moment. Alan's due to go back up to Five at the weekend so he won't be around to take me so yes, please. As long as your father doesn't mind me borrowing you for a couple of hours then I'd really like for you to take Grandma and myself over to the mainland. The appointment is at 11.30 on Wednesday."
"It'll be my pleasure," Gordon replied softly and gently pulled on Tin-Tin's shoulder. "Dare I say that you're looking a lot brighter? That drink seems to have done you the world of good. What do you want to do? Stay here, try a little walk or go back inside?"
Tin-Tin sat quietly for a moment while she took stock of how she was feeling. "You know, I'm feeling a lot better," she said eventually. "That's really quite strange. I was feeling like I wanted to die just minutes ago and now I feel almost like my usual self."
Gordon chuckled. "It must be a combination of the juice, the company and the intelligent conversation," he said with a grin.
"And Grandma's facecloth trick," Tin-Tin agreed. "Don't forget about that one. I think I'm up for a walk now, if you're still willing?"
Gordon nodded and clambered to his feet. "I certainly am," he replied and helped Tin-Tin to her feet. He held an arm out for her to link hers into and the pair walked slowly down onto the sand.
Half an hour later Tin-Tin ground to a halt and Gordon realised that she had lost all the colour from her face again. He helped her to lie down on the soft sand and rested her head on his outstretched legs while he tried to decide on the best course of action.
"Tin-Tin, I think we need to head back to the house," he said quietly. "It isn't right that you're out here with me rather than tucked up safely in bed."
Tin-Tin lightly slapped the knee of the leg she was resting on. "I told you," she said in exasperation. "I told you that I can't get comfortable in bed. I know I can't get comfortable out here either but if I go back to the house then Father is going to worry…and so will Mr Tracy. At least if I'm out here with you then I'm not alone but I'm not being smothered by either of our fathers. Whatever it is, it's passing now. I'm starting to feel better already."
Gordon wasn't convinced but in the long run it was Tin-Tin's health that was in question. If she felt that she was better off on the quiet and peaceful beach then it wasn't really Gordon's place to argue with her.
Tin-Tin was back on the floor just twenty minutes later. This time, as well as going very pale, she had fallen to her knees and doubled up in pain.
Gordon was beside himself with worry and was at the point of calling for help when Tin-Tin suddenly declared that the pain had gone. The sudden onset of agony had scared her, however, and this time she had no qualms about following Gordon's suggestion that they set off back in the direction of the house.
Gordon reached down and had just helped Tin-Tin to her feet when there was an audible 'pop'. A torrent of water flowed from between the young woman's legs and pooled on floor beneath her as both she and Gordon watched in astonishment.
Moments later Tin-Tin was doubled over in pain and was crying out for Gordon to help her. Gordon held her close for several minutes until the pain lessened again and then gently eased Tin-Tin out of her poncho which he spread on the floor for her to lie on. As he sat with her head in his lap, Gordon took a moment to really look at the young woman. Her clothes were immaculately pressed as usual but rather than her normal well-fitted style, everything she was wearing was baggy. Beneath the poncho Tin-Tin had been wearing a deep metallic blue two piece with a long, flowing top over a knee-length, layered, gypsy-style skirt and as Gordon gently stoked her thick, black hair, everything fell into place.
"Tin?" he said quietly. "If you don't mind me asking, when did your…um…monthlies start…um…messing around?"
Tin-Tin shuddered slightly and then rolled backwards so she could see Gordon's face. "I don't know exactly. They probably haven't been right since…um…just before Christmas…maybe. Why?"
"'Cos it's now the end of July," he said softly. "July's the seventh month plus a month for December, that makes eight plus a couple of weeks for your normal cycle makes about eight and a half. Eight and a half is the best part of nine months. Are you following me so far?"
Tin-Tin frowned and then gasped as a wave of pain rippled across her abdomen. Once the pain passed she thought over Gordon's words and he saw the shock run across her face when that she worked out what he was hinting at.
"No," she said quietly. "It's not possible. We've hardly been together like that and when we have we've been careful."
"Possibly not careful enough," Gordon replied sadly when Tin-Tin grasped his hand as another spasm ran across her stomach. He waited until she released him and then gently extracted himself from beneath her head. "I'm right, aren't I?" he asked quietly and was answered with a gentle nod and a sniff before the next pain hit and he found himself being reached for again.
After a few moments Tin-Tin relaxed again and Gordon leant in close and wiped away the tears that were streaming down her face. "Honey, the pains are coming faster and faster. I need to take a look and see what's going on down there. Will you be OK with me doing that?"
Tin-Tin closed her eyes tightly and let out a small sob. "No choice," she croaked and then opened her eyes wide in shock. "…and Gordon, I think you need to hurry."
A frown run across Gordon's face for a moment until he realised that Tin-Tin's pains were back again. He gave her shoulder a squeeze and then scurried down towards her legs. He gently flipped her skirt up and out of the way before uttering a quiet apology as he removed her panties.
He knelt up so Tin-Tin could see him and gently squeezed her knee. "Hurry was right, Tin," he said. "The head's nearly out. I want you to try a gentle push the next time the pains hit. Can you do that for me?"
As Tin-Tin nodded, Gordon stripped off the button-down shirt he was wearing and laid it across his leg. He got a brief warning squeak from Tin-Tin when her pains began and within moments was holding an armful of squealing, new-born baby girl.
He cleaned up the baby's face with the sleeve of his shirt and then fished a cable tie out the pocket of his jeans which he used to tie off the umbilical cord. He then pulled a small knife from his boot and cut the cord, forever severing the physical connection between the baby and Tin-Tin. Once the baby was free of her mother, Gordon wrapped her carefully in his shirt and gently pressed Tin-Tin's legs into a more comfortable position before shuffling around to show her the baby.
"Hey, Mommy, I have someone who wants to meet you," he whispered as he carefully lifted Tin-Tin's head back into his lap. He then leaned over and gently placed the baby on her mother's chest and sat back to stroke Tin-Tin's hair off her face. "Tin-Tin, Honey, you may not have been prepared for that but you did great and you have a gorgeous little girl to show for it."
"A girl?" Tin-Tin questioned tiredly. "Are you sure? I thought the Tracys didn't throw girls."
Gordon snorted. "Apparently that's a myth," he replied with a chuckle. "…or it's just Dad. Will you be OK with Little Missy here for a minute? There are things that still need doing…um…down there."
Tin-Tin lifted a tired arm and pressed her hand against Gordon's cheek. "I'll be fine," she said quietly. "And Gordon? Thank you. Thank you for not making me go back to the house and most of all thank you for being here with me. I don't want to think what would have happened if I had come out here by myself. Ow, what was that?" Tin-Tin dropped her hand from Gordon's face and grimaced.
"That's the unfinished business down below," Gordon replied quietly. "I'll be back up here when I'm finished down there. Just be prepared for another push or two."
The push or two turned out to be one gentle push which neatly expelled the afterbirth. After checking it was complete Gordon buried it deeply in the sand and then wiped his hands on his jeans and readjusted Tin-Tin's clothing.
"All done down here," he announced and then shuffled around until he was in a position where he could gently lift Tin-Tin's head and shoulders back onto his lap. "I'm going to call Dad and ask him to come and get us with one of the hoversleds. How much do you want me to tell him?"
Tin-Tin shrugged. "It'll be pretty obvious what's happened when he gets here so you might as well tell him everything. Ask him not to say anything to my father though. I need to tell him myself and I'd rather get cleaned up before he sees me."
Gordon nodded and keyed his watch. He didn't receive an immediate reply so he pressed the button again, as hard as he could and for a long sustained period of time. Eventually the sight of an annoyed-looking Jeff appeared on the screen and it was obvious from the view in the background that Gordon had disturbed him in the bathroom.
"Hold your horses, boy," Jeff said. "You know as well as any of them that if I don't answer the first time you beep me it's because I'm in the middle of something. For all you know I could have been communicating with Scott or Virgil at the rescue site and bearing in mind you're within walking distance of the house I would guess that their news would have probably been a heck of a lot more important than whatever you're contacting me for."
A vaguely hurt expression crossed Gordon's face and Jeff felt instantly guilty. "I'm sorry, son, that was uncalled for. You just caught me at a bad moment. You wanted me for something?"
Gordon nodded. "Um, yeah. I kind of need you to come down to the beach with one of the hoversleds. Tin-Tin's in no state to walk back and it's too far for me to carry her."
Jeff was immediately on the alert. "I knew she should have stayed in bed," he commented. "How is she, Gordon? What's happened? Has she fallen? Is she conscious? Give me information, son."
Gordon chuckled slightly at the barrage of questions. "Dad, please, calm down. Tin-Tin's fine, here take a look for yourself." Gordon twisted his arm around until Tin-Tin could see Jeff's concerned face.
"Hello, Mr Tracy," she said quietly. "I'm fine, just like Gordon said. I'm just a little tired and sore and I couldn't possibly walk back up the beach again even if I wanted to. It seems I'm in need of International Rescue to make sure I get home safely."
Gordon snorted and turned the watch back towards his own face. "You see, Dad, while the others have been out on their rescue, Tin-Tin and I have had a little adventure of our own, right here on the island. We need you to tell Doctor Sumner to get his butt into his plane and then come and get us with the hoversled, some blankets and possibly a couple of those big soft towels that Grandma insists on keeping in the guestroom. You'll understand when you get here…oh, and please don't mention anything to Kyrano. Tin-Tin doesn't want anyone telling him anything until she speaks to him herself."
Jeff expelled a large burst of air and chuckled loudly. "How could I tell him anything when I don't know anything myself? Only you, Gordon, could tell me so little in so many words. It'll take me a few minutes to call the doctor and then to get organised but I'll be with you just as soon as I can. The boys have just about wrapped everything up on the rescue front and Scott'll have to cope on his own for a couple of minutes. You two just sit tight and I'll be there before you know it."
As the screen on Gordon's watch went blank he looked down at Tin-Tin with a smile on his face. "Dad hasn't got a clue what's about to hit him, has he?" he asked and then smiled more broadly when Tin-Tin shook her head.
"You don't think he'll get mad do you?" she asked suddenly. "With Alan, I mean? Gordon, we need to get in touch with Alan. He doesn't know about any of this yet. He's a father and he doesn't know it."
Gordon nodded and then lifted his watch to his face, only to drop it again in indecision. "I can't call him in the middle of a rescue," he said eventually. "Even if Dad says it's pretty much over it could still lead to an accident and the last thing we need is for Alan, or one of the others, to get themselves hurt."
Tin-Tin nodded silently and the pair sat quietly and waited for Jeff to arrive. Gordon had just rechecked the baby and placed her back on Tin-Tin's chest when they heard the unmistakeable sound of the hoversled shooting towards them.
Gordon walked a little way from the girls and flagged Jeff down. He briefly explained what had happened to his father and then the pair of them walked, side by side, up to the Tin-Tin who had managed to shuffle herself around slightly so she could see what was going on.
"Mr Tracy, it seems I've caused such a lot of trouble," she began, only to be cut off when Jeff waved a finger at her.
"Tin-Tin, don't you dare apologise for this. You've given me my first grandchild and I couldn't possibly be upset about that. Sure, I would have preferred Alan to be a little older but, well, I have enough experience to know that babies don't always come along when you expect them to. This little lady may not have been planned but she sure is a welcome addition to the family and assuming that my youngest son has an ounce of common sense in him then she's been born into a fully-formed, cohesive family unit."
Tin-Tin nodded tiredly and then realised that Gordon had slipped his knees back under her shoulders and had raised her off the floor. "We weren't sure what to do about telling Alan, Mr Tracy," she said quickly. "Gordon thought it best that he didn't find out during the rescue but he needs to know as soon as possible and…well I'd like him with me when I speak to my father."
Jeff shook his head. "We'll have to employ a little subterfuge in order to get Alan back here as soon as we can. I'm sure that Scott will happily help with that, even if it means that he has to travel back slowly with Virgil rather than speeding home on his own in One. As for Alan being here when you tell your father, I'm afraid that's not going to be possible. Kyrano heard me calling Doctor Sumner and immediately guessed that it was you, Tin-Tin, that I was calling him for. I couldn't tell either of them why I was calling because I didn't know but the doctor is on his way and Kyrano is in the sick bay waiting for us." Jeff raised his finger again when it looked like Tin-Tin was going to object. "And yes, young lady, you will be going to the sick bay. If nothing else it's got the biggest tub in the house and if I remember anything about the birth of the boys it's being left holding the baby while Lucy soaked her aches away in a lavender scented bath."
Tin-Tin's eyes closed briefly and she let out an appreciative hum. "Mr Tracy, that sounds like heaven," she murmured. "I'm sure that Father will be able to find some lavender oil, if that's the thing to use."
Jeff nodded. "It sure is," he agreed with a smile. "Mother recommended it first, when Scott was born and Lucy was so impressed that she insisted on it after each of the boys arrived." Jeff sucked a breath through his teeth and then shook his head to clear his memories. "Anyway, we need to go about getting you back to the house before we can even think about getting you in the bath. Let me contact Scott so we can get Alan on his way back then we'll see about getting you two loaded onto the sled."
Jeff wandered down the beach slightly and both Gordon and Tin-Tin could see him speaking into his watch. By the time he returned Gordon had Tin-Tin and the baby wrapped in blankets and settled comfortably in the bottom of the sled.
"Alan'll be on his way shortly," Jeff announced as he approached. "I had to tell Scott about the baby but he's not going to tell Alan. I don't know what he's going to tell him but suffice to say it won't take much to persuade Alan to fly One home anyway. So, it looks like you're all ready to go?"
Gordon rolled Tin-Tin's poncho into a ball and stuffed it into the storage locker on the hoverbike. He then clambered into the bottom of the sled and tucked himself next to Tin-Tin before wrapping a supportive arm around her. "You OK, Honey?" he asked gently and received a tired nod in reply. "OK then, Dad, we're ready here."
Jeff drove the hoversled carefully back towards the villa and parked it as close to the doors as possible. Gordon scrambled out of the sled, gently picked up both Tin-Tin and the baby and then carried his precious cargo inside.
Kyrano was waiting by the front door and paled as he saw Tin-Tin, swaddled in blankets, being carried in Gordon's arms. "My daughter," he cried. "Tell me what is wrong with my daughter."
Tin-Tin stretched her neck so Kyrano could see her and murmured quietly to him in their native Malaysian dialect. It wasn't often that the pair communicated in this way as it wasn't a language that any of the Tracys, with the exception of John, spoke. The quiet words had a calming effect on Kyrano before his eyes flew open widely as their true meaning sunk in.
Jeff, who had abandoned the hoversled outside put a hand on Kyrano's arm and pushed him gently down the corridor in the direction that Gordon had taken. By the time they entered the room, Gordon had deposited Tin-Tin on one of the beds and was busily unwrapping the baby from his shirt and rewrapping her in a soft, clean towel. The baby was objecting strenuously to this and wailed piteously from the moment Gordon began until he eventually placed her back into her mother's waiting arms.
"Sorry, Little Missy," he whispered. "…but you couldn't stay wrapped in that shirt. It was soaked with the yucky slime that you came out in. You'll be much more comfortable like that, even if you don't immediately appreciate the change. Hey look, Granddad and Granddad are here to visit. I'll see you later."
Gordon pulled back to leave but Tin-Tin reached out her free arm and caught him before he could escape. "I know I said it before, but thank you, Gordon. From the bottom of my heart, I'll be forever grateful for your help today and I'll never forget it."
Gordon carefully reached round and gave Tin-Tin a tight hug before finally pulling away. "I'll see you both later," he whispered and then turned and fled the room.
The doctor's arrived in his plane just twenty minutes later. Doctor Sumner was one of the trusted few who knew the true identities of the International Rescue agents so there was no problem with the fact that he was arriving before Alan. He left his plane at the end of the runway and Alan spotted it the moment he swung One over the island. The youngest Tracy boy guessed that the doctor was there for Tin-Tin and immediately realised that he'd been duped into flying home early.
One's engines had barely stopped firing before he was out of the cockpit and onto the gantry which would take him through to the control room. "What's happened to Tin-Tin," he cried out to his father as he swung into the room. "I saw the doctor's plane and I know she wasn't feeling well again this morning. Where is she? Is it something serious?"
Jeff reached out and pulled Alan towards him. Alan thought for a moment that Jeff was going to hug him but was then confused when his father just stood and seemed to study him. "What?" he asked quietly. "Father, whatever is it? Tell me. Please."
Jeff shook his head and smiled. "Sit down for a moment, son. I need to talk to you for a moment before you rush off to see Tin-Tin."
Alan huffed softly and threw himself onto the sofa. "There," he said, slightly petulantly. "I'm sitting. Now please. What. Is. Wrong. With. Tin-Tin." Alan enunciated every work very precisely and Jeff winced as he sat down beside his son.
"Technically, nothing," he began. "Although it's somewhat more complicated than that." Jeff shook his head and then took hold of one of Alan's hands. "Alan, son, you know that Tin-Tin's been having…problems recently?"
"Of course I do," Alan confirmed. "Women's problems, she calls them. They're affecting her so badly at the moment that I could hardly not notice. Tin told me this morning that she's got an appointment with the doctor next Wednesday and I was going to speak to you tonight about delaying my going up to Five so that I could take her. But Dad, what's that got to do with the doctor being here today?"
Jeff shook Alan's captured hand. "I'm getting to that, son," he said softly. "Now, Tin-Tin's troubles finally came to a head, earlier on today. She came into the control room not long after you boys arrived at the rescue and, to be honest, she looked like death warmed over. Both Gordon and myself tried to persuade her to go back to bed but she refused and decided that a bit of fresh air might do her good. Gordon went along with her, and I thank God that he did, because she apparently got steadily worse throughout the morning. Tin-Tin, being almost as stubborn as yourself at times, refused all Gordon's efforts to get her to come back to the house and continued to walk. Despite her best intentions they eventually stopped, just on the other side of Eagle Rock, when Tin-Tin found she could no longer stand upright. Thankfully Gordon kept his head and eventually worked out what was wrong and, by all accounts, he worked it out just in the nick of time. I…"
"I don't think I'm following you," Alan pulled his hand out of his father's grasp and waved it in front of him, cutting Jeff off in mid flow. "What did Gordon work out? And why can't I just go and see Tin-Tin? You've said that there's nothing technically wrong with her and yet you've just told me that she got to a point this morning where she couldn't even stand up. Please, Father, in simple terms, tell me what's wrong with my girlfriend."
Jeff hesitated momentarily and then recaught the waving hand. For good measure he captured Alan's other hand as well and dragged both of them down until they were resting on one of his son's knees.
"I'm sorry," he said quietly. "I just thought it would be best if you knew the whole story. Alan, Tin-Tin's been unwell for the last few months because she's been pregnant…heavily pregnant. Gordon worked it out just in time to deliver the baby and now, apart from being absolutely shattered, Tin-Tin is fine. The baby's fine too, by the way, and she's a feisty little thing, just like her father. The doctor's given them both a clean bill of health and says that neither of them have suffered any ill effects due to her…unconventional entrance to the world. Alan, son, are you alright?"
Alan had become steadily paler as Jeff was talking and his breath started to come out as short gasps. Jeff released Alan's hands and moved his grip onto Alan's chin. Turning Alan to face him he found a mix of emotions on his son's face but the primary ones he could pick out were confusion and fear.
"Baby?" Alan said quietly. "Dad, are you saying she's my baby? How is that possible? We've always been careful and, well, quite frankly, Tin-Tin's never been big enough to be carrying a baby. She hasn't even had to buy any special clothes or anything like that."
Jeff sighed quietly. "No, but if you think back she's been wearing her poncho almost constantly. Apparently she'd been wearing it because she's been bloated recently and was having to loosen a button or two after she'd eaten. The poor girl didn't have a clue she was expecting until Gordon clued her in just a couple of minutes before she gave birth. I'd always worried about you boys growing up here with only myself and Kyrano as role models. It seems I should have been more worried about the only girl on the island growing up without someone to teach her the basics about becoming a woman. I know we have Grandma but it seems that even she's missed out some teachings where Tin-Tin is concerned."
Alan blinked and a deep furrow appeared on his forehead. "Don't blame Grandma," he whispered. "Blame me. I guess it's mainly my fault…well, mine and Tin-Tin's I suppose. If you want to blame anyone then blame me. It sounds like Tin's been through enough already today. Can I go now, Dad? I'd really think I need to see Tin-Tin and our daughter."
Jeff smiled. "Of course you can go," he replied. "I just didn't want you blustering your way down there without knowing what was going on. That wouldn't have done anyone any good and would have just ended up upsetting everybody, the baby included."
Alan nodded. "I understand, Father," he said. "I'll see you later…or are you coming as well?"
"I'll walk with you," Jeff offered. "Then I'll get Kyrano and the doctor out of your way so you can finally meet your daughter."
With that, Jeff held a hand in the direction of the door and motioned for Alan to lead the way.
Jeff and Alan passed Doctor Sumner in the corridor as he headed toward the kitchen. The elderly doctor shook Alan's hand and congratulated him briefly before continuing on his quest for coffee.
Alan pushed the door to the sick room open and spoke quietly to Kyrano for a couple of minutes before the elder man walked out and stood with Jeff in the corridor. Both men watched as Alan made his way slowly across the room to where Tin-Tin was sleeping. The baby was tucked securely against her side and her eyes flickered open when Alan's shadow passed across her face.
Alan waved his fingers at her briefly before he remembered that babies couldn't see very well and that she wouldn't understand what he meant anyway. By the time he'd finished reflecting on this the baby had fallen asleep again and Alan sat down in the bedside chair with a soft sigh.
He sat beside the bed and stared into space for several minutes until he was startled from his thoughts by a gentle pat on the head.
"Tin," he cried loudly into the silent room and then lowered his voice considerably when he realised that he would disturb the baby if he kept his volume at such a level. "Tin, oh God, Tin, I was so worried. When I came back and the doctor's plane was sitting there…I knew he was here for you, I just knew."
Tin-Tin patted his head again and then tried to pull him closer. "Tell me you don't hate me because of all this," she whispered. "I've been afraid that that you wouldn't speak to me again after today. I didn't do this deliberately and I swear I didn't even know about this little one until today. Please believe me, Alan. I didn't know. Really I didn't."
Alan scrambled to his feet and hugged Tin-Tin tightly. "I could never hate you," he choked out eventually. "I love you Tin-Tin and I have done since I was about five years old. I promise that I will love you until I'm old and wrinkly and that you'll still be the love of my life on the day I die. OK?"
Tin-Tin's face screwed up and her eyes overflowed with tears. "OK." Her voice was too emotion-filled to work properly and came out as barely a squeak but it was enough for Alan to hear and he smiled softly as Tin-Tin reached up and pulled him down for a kiss.
Unlike the chaste kisses she had shared with Gordon throughout the day, this was a kiss with fire behind it. It was a kiss containing the promise of a long future together but it also contained a hint of desperation for a love that could have been lost on that day.
By the time Tin-Tin released him, Alan was completely breathless and was having trouble staying upright. He looked around and noticed that Jeff and Kyrano had disappeared at some point during the kiss and that the door was now firmly closed. He looked down at Tin-Tin and their daughter on the bed and smiled as he realised that he was now completely alone with his new family.
Alan smiled again.
He liked that.
He liked that a lot.