A Brothers Promise

This is my story for the TIWF 2015 "Promise" challenge.


A Brothers Promise

 by vicki1963

Sitting in the waiting room in a Utah hospital was the last place he really wanted to be. Four days ago, the plan was to fly to London for the weekend for a couple of concerts he’d been looking forward to for several months. Now all Virgil wanted to hear was that his brother had finally come to.


Virgil crossed and uncrossed his arms and said the same prayer for what seemed to be the hundredth time.


Lying next door was the Field Commander of International Rescue. It had been 4 days since an explosion had put Scott in the hospital. To hear the doctors say Scott was still unconscious, and attached to a whole pile of monitors was affecting everyone, including Virgil. Scott was always the cautious one, the one who made sure everyone was safe as they rescued people in dire situations. It had been such a shock to realize that Scott was the one to leave the safety of Mobile Control just after issuing orders that the rescue mission was not to wind down. Virgil didn’t understand why he went to the aid of the woman instead of relying on one of them. Not even John could give him a definite answer and he had been monitoring everything.


So when the unthinkable happened no one could explain it to their father. Father had said quite sternly that it was vital to get Scott to the nearest hospital and he would join them as soon as he could. Then, when he did arrive, the same question was asked again, but none of them could give him an answer.


Virgil glanced up to see his father pacing as they waited to be let back into Scott’s room. There still wasn’t an answer four days on.


The doctor’s had confirmed Scott had sustained a severe head injury as well as a broken arm. They also suspected internal injuries and had recommended immediate surgery. Because of the seriousness of the head injury and because of who he was they’d moved Scott to a private room in ICU. He’d been placed in an induced coma and monitored for progress. The hospital had been more than helpful in making sure no one knew they had one of International Rescue’s operatives in their care. It prided itself on protecting privacy and guaranteed everything about their stay would be kept under wraps.


The break in Scott’s arm was a simple one, but the head injury… well, even after the surgery no one was prepared to speculate how bad it was. Virgil figured it still wasn’t good from the looks on the Doctors faces as they walked through the doors of ICU. He just prayed, and not for the first time, that today he’d be told his brother would be okay.


His thoughts drifted back to when they’d arrived in a panic at the hospital. Two of his brothers had been with him and the three of them had supported each other as best they could. After a while, he sent them out to secure accommodation because he had no idea how long the surgery would take and if, or when, Scott might come to. The longer Scott remained unconscious, the more anxious they got and they really didn’t want to think about what might happen.


So they didn’t.


Once the accommodation was arranged and his father and grandmother had arrived, they’d all taken their turn in the ICU. It had been hard to see Scott with all the tubes attached to him. But today was different. Today they’d been told they had to stay in the waiting room.


The doctors had said Scott needed more tests.


Virgil sighed and reflected on the events that put them there in the first place.


No one had been expecting to deal with an explosion when they’d responded to the distress call. When the explosion occurred, he and his brothers were on the other side of the two collapsed buildings well away from Mobile Control. They’d all made their way as quickly as they could over the debris only to find Scott on the ground bleeding next to some woman. It looked like he’d been helping her to safety at the time. It was hard to tell. But Virgil knew he had to be the one to take control of the situation.


After checking the woman, he moved on to Scott. The large amount of blood he was losing worried him. He sent his brothers scrambling for the paramedics while he struggled to stabilize him.


When the paramedics arrived, he hovered in the background, sending Alan and Gordon back to the Thunderbirds to pack up and dismantle Mobile Control. The paramedics wanted to take Scott to the nearest hospital, but once he put a call to his dad the plan changed to an airlift in Thunderbird 2 to Utah. His dad wanted the best and most secure facility so as not to jeopardize the organization. He and his brothers manned both Thunderbirds getting Scott there in record time.


After a couple of days in limbo, Gordon and Alan were ordered home. Neither of them wanted to go, but their dad had made it clear it wasn’t an option. John was allowed to stay which made them grumble even louder. But an order was an order. The two of them left reluctantly to take the Thunderbirds home.




Virgil snapped back to the present. His father was talking to the Doctors. He knew without eavesdropping that it wasn’t good for Scott to be still unconscious.


The doctors were saying they were gradually taking him off the drugs and had removed the ventilator. Scott was apparently breathing on his own, although he was still attached to some of the tubes. It was now up to him to rouse himself from his slumber. Then and only then would they be able to assess exactly how much damage the head injury had caused. 


‘It would benefit him having one of you there when he wakes up, Mr. Tracy.’


His dad had agreed, indicating to Virgil that he wanted him to be there. As he sat down in the chair next to his brother, he thought back to the time when they were young and the years after they lost their mom.


Scott had made a promise to him and to his other brothers that he would always be there for them no matter what. It was right around the time their dad retreated from them and started spending more time on his work. For years, it was Scott who made sure all the homework was done; helping each of them individually before doing his own. He also made sure they did all the chores and tried to get to everything that they were involved in. It left very little time for himself and his own pursuits, but that was just who he was. Their grandmother kept an eye on what was going on and as he looked after them, she looked after him. Virgil only wished their dad had been around a little more so he could have looked after all of them.


Pulling back from his thoughts, he sat forward in his chair to look at his unconscious brother. There was no change. Not even a twitch. It didn’t take long for his mind wander again.


All through Virgil’s school years Scott was there. He was at all the sports carnivals; athletics and swimming. He went to baseball and football games, all the music recitals and plays. If by chance their dad was home, Scott still went along anyway. Then he left for College and it was hard for them to be apart, but they dealt with it, knowing that if a significant occasion arose Scott would be there. Even when he had joined the Air Force, he called home, no matter where he was.


Family was important and one of the primary reasons Scott had said yes to their dad’s idea of a rescue organization. Scott knew the risks, but he also knew what it would mean to people not to lose their loved ones. The rescue business was dangerous, but that sure didn’t stop him.


It didn’t stop any of them.


All Virgil could hope as he sat watching the heart monitor beep away was that Scott would keep his promise and still be there.


He didn’t need to do much.


All he had to do was wake up.




‘Wake up, son.’


Virgil hadn’t realized he’d fallen asleep till his dad shook him awake. His father was ordering him to get some proper rest and to go with John back to the hotel. He’d been the only one not to leave since arriving at the hospital.


‘No, Dad, please.’


He wasn’t going to leave his brother, not till he was on the way to recovery no matter how long that took. And after four full days of waiting, there was still no sign of Scott waking up.


‘That’s enough now, son.’


His dad was saying it was time and he was too tired to fight to stay. So he let John lead him out of the room, out of the hospital and in the direction of the hotel and the room where a bed was waiting for him.




Twenty-four hours later he woke to hear John on the phone to his island bound brothers. John soon realized he was awake and quickly ended his call.


‘How long have I been out?’


‘Twenty-four hours.’




‘You were exhausted, Virg. I’m not surprised you slept that long. I wondered how you stayed awake as long as you did.’


‘I didn’t. I dozed on and off. So, any news?’


‘No, Scott’s still out of it.’


‘Damn it John, I’m worried about him.’


‘We all are.’


‘I know, but…’


‘But what?’


‘He should have woken by now. They said they were withdrawing the drugs. There must be something else wrong. Something they either haven’t told us or don’t know themselves.’


‘That’s what Dad said.'


‘And the surgery wouldn’t have helped.’


‘I guess we should just be thankful he survived. The woman he was trying to save didn’t.’


‘Yeah. I wish I knew what really happened, Johnny. It wasn’t like him.’


‘Virg it’s very much like him.’


‘What? To not tell us?’


‘To go to someone’s aid. Come on, how about you jump in the shower and we’ll get something to eat before heading back to the hospital?’


‘Sure,’ he said and left John to restart his conversation.




An hour later, freshly showered and fed, they both strode back into the hospital. John soon left again to convey his dad and grandmother back to the hotel leaving Virgil with the chance to talk to the doctor himself. The news was good. All the tests had come back okay and no underlying problems had been found. Even the physicians agreed the head wasn’t as bad as they thought.


But they still had no idea why Scott wasn’t waking up.


As Virgil sat and waited, his memories grabbed hold of him again. To one of the times, Scott had kept his promise to them. It had cost him the chance to try out for the baseball team. Something Virgil knew he’d longed to make. It only seemed like yesterday.


Their dad had been away when Alan, who was seven at the time, got into a fight and ended up with a broken arm. The school wasn’t able to contact their grandmother, so Scott as the eldest was called. John, Gordon and himself had all arrived home that afternoon to find no one around. They all knew Scott always got Alan from school and brought him home, but they were surprised to find their grandma missing.


It wasn’t long after that she finally came in after taking care of an elderly neighbor who’d suffered a fall. She asked where their eldest and youngest siblings were and no one knew until the call came in from the hospital. Not long after, their dad arrived home and they all headed off to the emergency ward. From that day on their dad was around a lot more, but even so, one thing was for certain. Scott would always be there.


And for Alan that day, he was.




Seeing the concerts in London was another thing Scott had promised. Virgil didn’t like going on his own and had been surprised when Scott said, “It might be fun.” Scott wasn’t too keen on classical music or the operas. What had he said? “Nah, Virg I don’t mind.”


It was one of the main reasons he was in the hospital in the first place. He was always there for everyone.


Virgil remained perfectly still as the door opened and John walked back into the room and proceeded to sit on the other side of the bed.


‘Any change?’ he said, looking at his unconscious brother.


‘No. I talked to the doctors. All the tests came back clear.’


‘That’s a relief.’


‘Yeah, it sure is.’


‘Then why hasn’t he woken?’


‘I just don’t know, John.’


The hours went by until early afternoon when John suggested they grab a bite to eat, as it had been some time since they’d eaten breakfast. Virgil refused, not wanting to leave, so John went in search of something they might be able to smuggle in and eat bedside.


But while he was gone, he noticed some movement on the bed.


‘Scott? Scott, can you hear me? Scott, you need to wake up.’


There was nothing.


‘Please, Scott you need to wake up.’


This time his plea was greeted with a soft painful moan.


‘Virge,’ he breathed.


Virgil jumped to his feet.


‘Scott, please wake up. You need to open your eyes.’


Scott tried, but immediately closed them again. Groaning, it took several attempts before he could keep them open. He blinked and tried to adjust to the light.


‘Virge,’ he croaked out.


‘Yes. It’s good to see you too, bro.’


‘Where?’ he barely got out.


‘In hospital, where else? And before you try to ask it’s been five days.’


That was met with a louder groan.


‘Well, you do have a head injury, a broken arm and internal injuries.’


‘Ohhhhhhh,’ Scott moaned.


Virgil grinned. Nothing like an explanation as to why his brother might be in pain.


He was still grinning when John walked back in. Hearing Scott’s moans, he rushed to the side of the bed.


‘Scott, you’re awake!’ he exclaimed.


‘Take it easy John, he’s just woken up.’


‘I’m sorry. Scott, you gave us quite a scare this time.’


Scott failed to answer. He just bit his lip and closed his eyes.


‘I better call Dad and Grandma and tell them the good news,’ John said, heading back out the door.


‘Let the doctors know he’s awake first!’ Virgil called after him.


‘Okay, I will,’ John called back.




Before Virgil could get a chance to talk to Scott about what happened to him, the doctors arrived and shooed him out. They needed to check on his brother, now he was finally conscious. As Virgil waited, he noticed John not far away on the vidphone. After he’d finished the call, he came and sat beside him wearing a great big grin on his face.


‘They’re on the way,’ he said.


‘That’s great. Should we wait till they arrive before asking the doctor's for a new opinion on him?’


‘Depends on how long they take I guess.’


 Virgil nodded in agreement.


As they waited, two nurses exited ICU. They were looking at each other with worried expressions. It didn’t take long for Virgil and John to exchange nervous looks as well.


‘What’s going on?’ Jeff Tracy asked when he and his mother finally arrived.


‘I don’t know Dad,’ Virgil said. They’d been outside in the waiting room for an hour already and there was still no sign of the doctors.


‘John said Scott was awake.’ His father didn’t mess around. All he wanted was the facts.


‘He is, or at least he was. I don’t know anymore. We’ve been out here since John called you.’


‘Someone needs to check with the nurse on duty to see what’s going on,’ he growled.


‘Dad, the doctors are still with him. The nurse mightn’t know what’s going on.’


Another half hour passed as the four of them remained outside Scott’s room. They had no idea why it was taking so long. They just hoped nothing else had happened to Scott now he was finally awake.


After what seemed like hours, the doctors came out of the room.


Jeff immediately pounced on them for news. From the smile on his face the firm nod and the handshake, Virgil knew that the news his father had been given was good.


‘Scott is going to be fine,’ he announced. ‘They’re keeping him in for another week and he’ll be able to come home.’


‘That’s great news, Dad,’ a relieved Virgil said.


‘I’ll call the others and let them know,’ said John with a big broad grin on his face.


‘Thanks, John.’


They waited till John had made the call to Tracy Island before crowding into the small room in the ICU. It figured. Being pushed and prodded by the Doctors had worn him out. He was fast asleep again.


‘Poor baby,’ Grandma clucked.


They left him like that to rest and recover and as they left the hospital, Virgil only had one thought on his mind.


Once again Scott had kept his promise to always be there for them.


It was a pretty good feeling even if he had to say so himself.




A few weeks after his “little accident,” Scott was fully recovered, but not quite so recovered that his dad agreed he was ready to resume duty.


In the meantime, he’d promised a certain brother that he’d still go with him to the concert they’d missed thanks to his unexpected stay in Utah.


So with his dad’s approval, he was able to get hold of some tickets to a rare performance of the said brothers’ favorite artist.


The smile on Virgil’s face told Scott he couldn’t be happier.


No matter how much his promises had cost him over the years, they were always worth it.