This is just a pointless little story that wouldn’t leave me in peace until I wrote it down (stupid plot bunnies, chewing on my leg). Well, actually, it was the first sentence. It popped into my head, and BAM! – I had to write a story with it. It was fun to write.

My many thanks to quiller, who corrected this story, suggested the title, and gave me useful advice about adverbs.

There are some situations – lying on a floor in a pool of your own blood, for example – that really put things into perspective.

Suddenly, you remember all kinds of unimportant things, little details that were forgotten long ago or that are simply too insignificant to be thought of in such a severe situation. You do it because you don’t want to think about the life that's oozing out of you with every drop of blood. You do it because it helps you concentrate, helps you focus. You do it because it gives you comfort. But most of all, you do it because it distracts you from the mind-numbing pain.

My head is full of such silly, unimportant things. Stuff like 'I forgot to put my fave trousers in the wash' or 'I wonder whether Grandma is making her apple-pie tonight'. I remember my appointment with the dentist next week - that's probably going to be cancelled now.

It's ironic, really. Here I am, bleeding on the ground, unable to move because from the pain and the blood-loss, and I think about food. I'm not even hungry. Yet my thoughts keep circling around Grandma's delicious apple-pie, and whether I'll ever be able to taste it again...

A defence mechanism, as John always calls it. The mind wants to be distracted of the devastating reality, and so it tries to think of other things. It looks away from the pain and concentrates on memories. Easy.

I have to admit, my brother has got a way of words that I find amazing. I'm a total sucker when it comes to describing things. I just...I know the words, but when I need them, they don't come. Never in my life would I describe a sunset as 'golden sun rays that dart over the horizon like silver fish in the water'. Of course, John never said that personally (he is a Tracy after all, even though a weird one). But it was used in one of those books he likes, the ones that get all poetic and meaningful.

I read the book once and laughed. To me, a sunset is, well, yellow, orange and red. It looks nice. But that’s all. Nice. A sunset.

I remember that date I once had. A disaster. She was asking what I thought of her, and she expected me to answer like some poet.

I remembered John's advice: 'Women love flowery descriptions. Just compare her eyes to the sea, the sky, a bed of roses, and they'll love you.'

Easier said than done. I frantically looked for something to compare her green eyes with, but my mind came up blank. When she continued looking at me expectantly, I mentioned the first thing that came to my mind. 'Your eyes look like grass' (We were standing in the park. And well, grass is green, isn’t it?)

Needless to mention that she wasn't very flattered (my brother, on the other hand, found it hilarious when I had to tell him later).

To my immense relief (and John’s disappointment), I’ve become better over the years (I was barely eighteen that time), but I still find it difficult to speak that way. Compliments. Honestly. Why not just say ‘Your hair is beautiful’? Why does it always have to be poetic?

I state the facts, end of the story. Why the need to gloss over? It's unnecessary and sometimes downright foolish.

Fact: I'm probably going to die.

Not a very nice fact, but glossing over that wouldn't be helpful at all. I know my chances are limited; I can't move, and with each passing second, I lose more blood. The rain isn't helping either. If the others don't get to me soon, I might slip away. Already I can feel the darkness looming at the edge of my consciousness, trying to swallow me whole. I can't let that happen. They'd be devastated. And besides, who would coordinate the rescues?

So I hang on with grim determination and curse the fact that I can't reach Mobile Control to call for help.

It's hard to imagine that this morning I was angry at Gordon, because he managed to sneak into my room and dye my underwear pink, furious at Alan because he insisted on disobeying my orders, and peeved at Virgil because he ate the last slice of chocolate cake and didn’t leave me any.

Then we went on the rescue and I had to swallow my anger and act professional, something I’m quite used to, but which isn’t healthy in the long run.

Now I’m trying to breathe, even though it hurts like hell, desperately wishing for one of my brothers to be here. The anger has long gone and instead I feel weariness creeping up my limbs.

Fact: You're in deep trouble, Scott.

I wish I could call for help. But moving hurts, and it aggravates the wound. When I tried my watch before, I only got static. The others are engaged in the rescue; they're probably wondering why I'm not ordering them around. I really hope that they can manage without my help, because honestly, I wouldn't be up to it, not with a hole in my stomach.

Fact: Right now, you are useless.

It hurts to admit that, but it's quite true.

It’s raining – no, pouring – and I’m lying only a couple of feet away from Mobile Control. Tough luck. There’s no way in hell I can reach it. The lights are blinking, mocking me and my inability to move. I wonder where that madman got to. I’m pretty sure I hit him with the gun, so he shouldn’t have gone very far.

Damn. Things like that shouldn't happen. I don't want to die. But more than that, I don't want one of my brothers to come back and find my dead corpse.

Fact: Scott Tracy, you can't give up.

Never give up, that's our motto. I find it increasingly difficult not to slip away as the tiredness increases and increases. But I can't allow myself that luxury.

The rain mixes with the blood, the pool around me is getting bigger and bigger. I can hear the strange, wheezing sound every time I draw breath. Sounds weak. Pathetic.

And it hurts. So much.

How strange.

I always imagined I would die on a rescue – getting smashed by falling debris, falling off a cliff, something like that – but somehow, the horror scenarios of my death never involved getting shot.

Memo to self: Just call for help and forget your damn pride.

The others are on the rescue. I cannot distract them. It might be dangerous. The watch is probably damaged; it wasn't working before.

Just try it.

I finally listen to the insistent voice and raise my trembling arm. The little motion of bringing my wrist to my mouth takes more effort than I anticipated, and for a couple of seconds, greyness tugs at the corners of my vision. I ignore it and fumble for the watch instead. It's difficult to see through the rain, so I try to go by feeling alone.

I'm getting cold.

Not good.

"…we managed to evacuate everyone," Virgil’s distorted voice penetrates the drumming rain. It works. I can't believe it. The connection isn't the best, full of crackles, but hearing the voice of my brother gives a bit of hope back.

"Man, what a horrible weather. Hey, Scott, are you finished with Mobile Control? We found that madman you were talking about, passed out on the ground, the local police is taking him in…"

They did? Funny, it seems so long ago. I dimly remember telling them about the insane man with the gun, urging them to be careful. It feels like aeons ago. Back in a time where I wasn't lying in my own blood, spreading around me in a giant puddle of crimson.

The rain drums on my face, pours down my neck and soaks my uniform. I can feel the water trickling down my back, my arms, my hand. It tickles, it itches, it hurts, but most of all, it's cold.

I lick my cracked lips. "Virg…" I manage and immediately start coughing. My chest aches horrible and I can almost feel how more blood flows, aggravated by the movement. Then I taste something metallic, a second or so before I have to cough again, this time spitting out blood. Tears prickle in the corners of my eyes.

Fact: Getting shot hurts. A lot.

"Scott? Scott, is something wrong?" Virgil sounds worried. He must have heard my coughing. I try to say something, but the pain is too intense, has me churning in agony and the only thing that escapes my lips is a groan.

"Scott?" Now he sounds panicked. "Scott, where are you? Are you hurt? Hang on, I’ll be with you in a second." His voice disappears, leaving only static. He doesn't even know where I am. Doesn't matter. I wouldn't have been able to tell him anyway.

The greyness becomes overwhelming and I close my eyes. Just for a second, to rest them, but before I know, I slip away.

Fact: Don't trust yourself to stay awake.

Have to remember that.

I can't have been out for long; when I struggle back towards consciousness, I'm still lying in the rain, but I'm not alone any more. Now there's someone talking to me. It takes a while to make out the words – everything seems slow and sluggish.

"...a stretcher, we need to hurry, he's lost a lot of blood..."

That's Virgil, I realize with an odd detachment. He seems frantic. Why that? I hope the rescue went alright. I kind of lost the touch after I was shot. Are the others okay? What about Gordon and Alan?

"...pulse is weak, breathing seems okay, though I don't like the wheezing sound..." Virgil’s voice sounds professional and aloof, like he always does when he's worried. There's a slight tremble in his voice. Huh. I try to understand.

Fact: Virgil is worried. Very worried.

Fact: I hurt. Very much so.

Conclusion: I have been injured and Virgil worries about me.

I'm quite proud of my logical skills, even though a tiny voice in my mind whispers that this should have been obvious. I ignore it. You have to work with what you have.

"Come on, Scott, can you hear me?"

Befuddled I notice that my brother has been calling me for quite a while now. I must have been drifting again. There's a slight hitch in his voice that I don't like. Is he okay? I need to know.

"Scott, please..."

Alright, that does it. Virgil rarely pleads, and the fact that he does portrays the seriousness of the situation. I try to crack open my eyes, but boy, it hurts! I see a slit of blinding light and groan as the pain slams into me. I've been kind of floating for the last minutes, but now that I'm awake again, the agony hits me full force.

"Scott!" Virgil manages to sound relieved and worried at the same time. He's looming over me, face soot streaked and tight. "How do you feel?"

I'd like to answer, but I simply cannot gather the energy. So I try to smile at him, but it comes out as a grimace. Don't worry. I'll be fine. I had worse. I can't remember when, but I'm sure it's true.

"Why didn't you tell me that you've been shot?" Virgil demands and does things to my lower abdomen that make stars explode in my head. I reckon he's trying to stop the bleeding, but damn, does it have to hurt that much?

"How is he?" another voice asks, and then I see a blonde head above me. My youngest brother, a long scratch on his face, bends over me and smiles when he sees that I'm awake. "Hey, Scott." The smile doesn't hide the concern in his eyes. Huh. He’s worried. Even though we had a major row this morning. He was so mad at me and now he’s worried.

Somehow, I feel relieved.

"I don't think he's really awake yet," Virgil explains after I don't answer. I'm insulted. I'm not out of it – I'm just not saying anything. That's a difference. A rather big one. "The injury looks serious..."

Alan bends over to inspect my stomach (yeah, very interesting sight indeed). His face turns a delightful shade of green. "Shit!" he breathes. "We have to get him to a hospital!"

Ah, really? No kidding.

"No kidding." Virgil’s dry remark reflects my thoughts. I would have chuckled. If I had the energy. Which I have not.

Fact: Being too exhausted to speak is not a good sign.

"How did that happen?"

"Don't ask me. That guy with the gun...oh man, had I known about this, I wouldn't have been so easy with the bonds."

"He's bleeding an awful lot."

"Yeah, and the rain isn't helping to improve things."

"He's so cold...and he's gone into shock. We need to get him away from here, quickly!"

"I already called Gordon, he's getting the stretcher."

I drift again, understanding only snippets of the conversation going on above me. Soon, a third voice joins in and I see red hair and a mischievous face, even though it doesn't look very mischievous right now. Then another voice floats through the air, deep, gruff and commanding. Dad. I would have recognized him anywhere. Someone must have contacted him. His tone is clipped, and I know that he's worried. He's always worried, but it's worse when one of us is hurt.

I don't get what they're telling him, but judging from the tone of their voices, it's nothing good. The atmosphere is heavy, depressing, and I yearn to say something, to lighten the mood, but I can't utter a word.

Where's Gordon when you need him? Oh right, he's here, just beside me, but he isn't joking. Strange. Gordon only stops joking when it's really serious, but I…I...forgot what I was thinking.


I'm losing it.

More voices. Seems as if John has joined the fray, talking with Dad over the comm link.

Great, now they're all assembled to see their oldest brother bleeding to death. How appropriate.

It's all a matter of perspective, I remind myself; I need to think positively to let the positive happen.

With that thought in mind, I almost manage to fall asleep again. Suddenly, I'm being moved (without asking first; I'm quite peeved). But I quickly forget being peeved as the pain flares up again, racing through my body like a thousand hot needles. I scream and thrash out, try to stop the pain. Someone holds my hands, trying to calm me down. It doesn't help. The pain is too intense and I groan in agony.

"Calm down, we need to move you, I'm sorry, it'll be over in a minute..."

"Give him some painkiller, for God's sake!"

I've closed my eyes, feel the tears running down my cheeks.

Fact: Tracy men don't cry.

"Scott, it's okay, we're going to get you to the hospital, you'll be fine, you'll see...", a voice babbles. To me it sounds as if the speaker is trying to convince himself. Ha. Nothing is fine. Not with a hole in your stomach.

Don't fall asleep, Scott. You're the field commander. You can't fall asleep. You can't leave your responsibility.

I need to make sure that everyone's alright. Is the rescue completed? What about Mobile control? I certainly hope they're not leaving it. And who's going to fly Thunderbird One? As much as it pains me to admit, I'm in no shape to do so.

I try to open my eyes again, but I only see blurred shapes. Speaking doesn't work either, but someone notices my struggle and puts a comforting hand on my shoulder. "Just relax; we're taking care of everything."

Just the words I wanted to hear. Feeling a little bit relieved, I sink into the darkness, too tired to care about anything any more.

For a long time, there's only silence. I remember floating – somewhere, in the darkness – a feeling similar to flying, but much more peaceful. It's very relaxing, and I, who seldom finds time to sit back and just be, enjoy the feeling. I don't have to be anywhere, anyone; I'm all alone.

But the drifting can't last forever, and slowly, I start hearing voices. They're like a low hum at first, too soft to make out any words. But the more time passes, the clearer they become, until I can make out what's being said, and, short moments later, who's been talking.

Most conversations are quite meaningless, obviously not even directed at me, just snippets of someone else's conversations that I manage to overhear. The cut-off sentences float with me through the darkness, accompanying me on my lonely journey.

"...waking up?"

"Nobody knows..."

"...when we get lunch, we can..."

"He missed Grandma's..."

"...won't he, Doctor?"

Again I wish that I had a writer's soul to describe what I was experiencing. I simply cannot find the right words, and so I put it into facts again.

Fact: It's dark.

Fact: I'm alone.

Fact: I hear voices, belonging to people I know.

Fact: I feel nothing - no hunger, no pain, no exhaustion, neither sadness nor happiness.

Conclusion: I'm dead?

No idea.

"I wonder what you're dreaming about." someone whispers.

The words follow me again. I'm really getting annoyed; now there's finally the chance to enjoy some peace and quiet (there never seems to be enough of that on the island), and my brothers keep on babbling through the darkness.

Little brothers are annoying. Like I want to listen to them.

"Guess what Gordon did today? He put angel's wings on Alan!"

Okay. Maybe I want to listen to that one.

"Sounds silly, doesn't it?" The person chuckles, and I belatedly realise that it's Virgil. "He sneaked into Alan's room when he was sleeping and glued some of those fake angel wings on his back, with superglue. Alan, of course, was furious. The glue doesn't wash off easily and so he has to walk around with wings on his back, until Gordon hands out the solvent. Don't tell him, but it actually looks quite fitting. After all, he has this tendency to pull the 'angelic little boy' routine."

Nice to hear that my brothers have fun without me.

Virgil sighs. "I really needed that. It has been very depressing with you, well, out of it, and Gordon took the chance to make everyone smile." He chuckled wryly. "God knows that we haven't been doing that a lot lately – smiling, I mean."

Now that I think of it, I haven't either.

The next time I win my struggle for awareness, everything has changed. The darkness is gone; instead, bright light penetrates my eyelids. There are sounds around me that I didn't notice before; beeping and humming, the sound of a monitor, soft music. Then the smells; clean, sterile, hospital-like.

I'm no longer lying in the rain, but flat on my back on something soft, presumably a bed. The pain has diminished somewhat, replaced by fogginess and a general ache. My thoughts drift slowly, like icebergs, and it takes me a while to piece everything together.

Me. Getting shot. Lying on the ground. The rain. The blood (so much blood!). My brothers. The darkness. Floating.

The feeling of having been incredibly far away.

I blink, open eyelids that feel incredibly heavy, as if they haven't been used in a long time. The light hurts at first, so I wait until my eyes adjust and look around the room. I recognize the infirmary on Tracy Island (how did I get here?), a place where I've been stuck more often than I'd like. Well, it is a dangerous business after all.

I try to remember what happened, but my mind comes up blank. Not surprising, I must have been unconscious.

My eyes wander to the empty chair that's standing beside my bed. There's nobody here beside me. I frown. No use lying around. I could as well get up and do something...

I attempt to sit up and fall back with a groan. Ugh. Getting up with a hole in your stomach is no fun. Even through the haze of painkillers I can feel the pain, throbbing in my abdomen and spreading through my whole body until everything tingles and aches.

I wait for the stars to disappear, and then try it again, this time more slowly. It hurts like hell and I have to bite back a scream more than once. But I can be incredibly stubborn, as my brothers always insist, and in the end, I manage to sit. I pant a bit, exhausted by the effort, and then grin. It's nice to be doing something.

Before I can start congratulating myself, the door opens. Dad steps inside, running a hand through his greying hair. He looks tired and worn, the lines on his face etched deeper than normal. He seems to be lost in thought; at least he hasn't noticed me yet.

"You look tired," I state, surprised at how rough my voice sounds.

His head shoots up in a way that’s almost funny and he stares at me blankly. Then a huge smile spreads over his face. "It's good to see you awake, Scott," he rumbles, and before I know what's happening, he crosses the room and engulfs me in a bear hug, careful as not to aggravate my wound.

"Well, it's good to be awake," My reply is sincere and heart-felt. "How long have I been out, anyway?"

"Nearly three days." He frowns. "It was a close call for a while; you lost too much blood and we didn't know whether you received medical help in time."

I remember my dreams; yes, thinking about them I can certainly believe that it was close. Even though I don't like thinking about that.

Fact: Scott Tracy isn't invincible.

Shoot. I knew that before. Smartmouth.

"So, where is everyone?"

"Out on a rescue. Mudslide in China." Dad's eyes twinkle. "They're wrapping up and heading home at this moment."

"Oh, okay..." I begin, when something springs into my mind. "Hang on – who's flying Thunderbird One?"

Of course I know the answer. My little kid brother is, since he's the second pilot. He's going to have a field day with this. I groan. "Alan."

Dad nods, his face stretching into a smile. "He's doing fine."

"He'd better," I mutter darkly, thinking of all the ways our blonde 'angel' could damage my precious 'bird.

"So, how are you feeling, son?"

"Me?" I'm honestly startled. "I'm fine, Dad. Really."

He just raises an eyebrow, clearly indicating that he doesn't believe me. "Scott, you have been shot, your life was hanging on edge for a while and you were unconscious for several days. You are far from fine. It's going to be a long time until you feel fine again. So, how do you really feel?"

I sigh. "Sore, tired, hurting, frustrated. High on painkillers." I make a face. I really hate painkillers and the way they make me feel. Disorientated, not up to my full potential. Weak. Out of control.

Dad laughs – really laughs – since he knows me too well and knows what I'm thinking. "Unfortunately, that's not going to change for a while." He sobers a bit. "A gunshot wound is serious, Scott, and yours was life threatening. It went through your abdomen and injured vital organs. They had to operate on you immediately, but you wouldn't stop bleeding..."

He didn't continue, but I knew what he was thinking. You scared the hell out of me and your brothers, not to mention Grandma.

Then his face hardens. "The guy who shot you is going to prison for sure."

"He was mental, Dad." I said softly. "I think he wasn't even on the same plane as me. I honestly had no idea that he would react that way...well, I guess I was at fault as well. For underestimating him."

I rub my face. The exhaustion is climbing up my limbs and I feel as if I could sleep for hours, even though I just woke up. I don't like feeling so...so...dependant, but I don't have the energy to fight. I know it's partly due to the painkillers; that's the reason why I hate them so much. I'm used to being alert all the time, and this...sloppiness of my thoughts and the fuzziness in my mind drives me crazy.

"I'm going to let you rest," Dad smiles at me. "You're exhausted."

"I just woke up," I grumble, feeling like a little kid.

"But you're injured." he states in his no-nonsense tone. "And you need your rest. Believe me, your brothers aren't going to let you sleep once they're here. They’ve been quite anxious over the last couple of days."

I open my mouth to protest, but before I can say anything, he gently but firmly pushes me back down on the mattress. I'm shocked at how easy it goes; I must be weaker than I thought. Belatedly I realized that my hands are trembling. Too much effort? I quickly hide them under the bed covers, but Dad had seen them anyway.

"Sleep, Scott," he says and it's an order.

I know how to treat orders. My eyes slide shut on their own accord. Before I know it, I'm off again, wandering through the land of my dreams.

"Do you think we should wake him?" I hear Alan whisper.

"Probably not. He needs his rest." That's Virgil, trying to be sensible.

"He doesn't look any different. How do we know that he really woke up?" Gordon asks doubtfully.

"Because Dad said so."

The must be standing close to my bed. Even though they're trying to soften their voices, I can still hear them. I've always been a light sleeper, more so after my years in the Air Force. Alan would probably sleep through this like a log, but I wake up, and once I'm awake I find it hard to fall asleep again.

"What else did Dad say? Is he okay?"

"He's going to be fine, isn’t he?"

Those are my younger brothers, as always being annoying even without intending to do so. If they don't want to wake me, they should stay silent, for heaven's sake!

Finally abandoning the last hope at some rest, I open my eyes (it seems to have become a habit; I open my eyes while people are standing around me and watching my sleeping/unconscious form. Not a very entertaining thought) and look over to where my brothers are gathered. Gordon, Alan and Virgil are standing close to my bed, deep in discussion. On the wall I can see John's face from the vid-screen; he watches the discussion amused and slightly exasperated; and he's also the first one to notice that I'm awake.

"Look, sleeping beauty has opened his eyes," he says smiling, effectively cutting off every conversation in the room. The three others turn to face me.


"Hey old man!"

"Good to see you!"

I glower at them. "I'm not old."

Fact: Little brothers are annoying.

Funnily enough, my comment only makes them smile. "It's nice to hear that you're still the same grouch," Gordon says cheerfully. "We missed your charming presence over the last days."

"The next time you warn us about a ‘dangerous individual’, please heed your own warnings as well," Virgil reprimands me. "We were all very careful and overwhelmed him, only to come back and realize that he had shot you."

"Well, he kind of surprised me, too," I admit, remembering the sudden bang and the pain in my stomach. I had been warning the others about the escaped madman, not noticing that he was just around the corner. Then the bang – pain flared up! - and I fell to the ground.

Only when I saw the blood, spreading around me in dark crimson, I realized that I had been shot. Reflexes saved my life; I turned around, grabbed for my gun (I was very glad that Dad insisted we wear them for safety measures) and fired. I must have hit the guy, because he didn't advance, but fled instead.

"I certainly wasn't looking forward to getting shot." I continue, grimacing when I try to move. The painkillers have diminished somewhat, and while it makes my head a lot clearer, it also worsens the pain, something I don't really appreciate.

"I hope not!" Alan exclaims with a cheeky grin on his face. Funny. We had this major row, and he just forgets it. Guess that's one of the advantages of getting shot.

"Well, Dad says we can't disturb you for long," Virgil explains. "So we'd better get going now – we have to clean the 'birds, they're full of mud." He makes a face and I try to appear sympathetic, knowing what for a mess it can be to clean Thunderbird Two, especially when it's sticky mud.

"But we brought you something." He steps back and retrieves something from a spot that's out of my vision.

"I hope it's nothing that explodes into my face." I’m weary of this. You can never trust my brothers. Since it's Virgil, I should be safe, but with those brothers of mine, you never can be sure. Who knows, maybe Alan and Gordon converted Virg to their evil ways; or maybe they had hypnotized him. Put those two together and you get a deadly mixture.

John chuckles from the wall. "Really, Scott, we're quite mistrustful today."

"I've learned the hard way." I remark in a dry tone.

"Relax." Virgil returns with a plate in his hands. "It's nothing that explodes, squirts water at you, makes you itch, or produces funny noises. In fact, it's something you should like." He lifts the lid and shows the nicest, most perfect chocolate cake I've ever seen. The delicious smell penetrates the air, makes the water run into my mouth.

"Is that..."

Virgil nods importantly "That, my dear Scott, is Grandma's famous chocolate cake, made for you alone. Feel honoured."

"According to Grandma, we have to face severe punishment if we eat a slice of it without your permission." Alan adds, a dejected look on his face.

"Don't complain," John calls from the wall. "I'm not getting anything for at least another week."

My brothers all look at the innocent chocolate cake.

"So it's all mine, huh?" My face takes on an evil grin. "So I can eat it all on my own and you guys have to watch?"

They make faces as if they're suffering their ultimate doom. "I guess so," Gordon admits, sounding as if he just offered to cut off his arm.

Virgil doesn't say anything. Serves him right. After all, he ate the last piece of chocolate cake last time, so that when I came to the kitchen after a hard day's work, none was left. Payback time!

But when I see their dejected faces, I feel my heart soften. I remember the dark dreams and how their voices kept me going, even though I found them annoying at the time. I think of the worry I caused them, of the naked fear that I saw in their eyes while I was lying in the rain, bleeding and bleeding like it would never stop.

I sigh. "Alright guys; get some plates. You can have a tiny – and I repeat: tiny! - piece each."

Fact: Scott Tracy is becoming soft.

John grumbles from the wall about the unfairness of it all, while Alan darts out of the room. Gordon has a grin stretched over his whole face. "You're the bestest, Scott, you know that?"

"Of course I am." I blink up at him. "The picture of perfection."

I settle back in the pillows, thinking of what happened to me. I got shot; I had all kinds of weird dreams and thoughts running through my heads; I nearly died; everybody was worried.

And in the end, I got a whole chocolate cake. In my opinion, it makes up for certain things. That doesn't mean I have to like being stuck in the infirmary. Nope, not at all. But right now, I'm content. The rescue has been worked up, my brothers are alive and well; the man who shot me is in prison. I'm here, I'm alive, I'm still Scott Tracy and I can still order my brothers around.

And I can eat the whole chocolate cake in front of their noses.

Fact: Being the eldest has its perks.

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