Just Five More Minutes

It’s been a rough day– Gordon’s been hauling people out of a sinking cruise ship in the South Pacific for ages, and his nerves are absolutely fried. Everyone got out, luckily, but the ship was in bad shape, and not only has there been far too many people panicking or yelling at anyone who will listen, there were the kids. He’s great with kids. Gordon gets kids. But rescuing them is always more of a strain than you’d expect, especially when there’s the present danger of one of them getting hurt. It leaves him tired and a little cranky and right now he just wants to get back to the island and swim the stress away.

As he heads back to rendezvous with Thunderbird 2, a shadow crosses Thunderbird 4’s cockpit. Gordon glances up, and a small, genuine smile crosses his lips. “Thunderbird 2? I’m gonna be a little late.” He barely hears Virgil asking for confirmation, he’s already pulling his helmet back on and rotating the seat back to drop back into the water.

“Gordon? What are you doing?”

Everything about water and the life therein has been Gordon’s passion since he was little, but this has been on his bucket list for years. And he can’t believe it’s taken this long.

“Virgil, there are whale sharks here!”

To Virgil, fish are fish, and even living with Gordon hasn’t really changed that for him. He vaguely remembers Gordon talking about this particular species before, but he doesn’t remember specifics, and the word “shark” has him worried. “You’re not swimming with sharks, Gordon!”

Gordon’s voice is cheerful over the radio, and he’s not forcing it for the sake of the victims now. “They’re not dangerous, Virgil! They’re filter-feeders like humpbacks, they don’t have teeth!” Gordon’s a spot of blue and yellow in the ocean below, and both he and Thunderbird 4 are completely dwarfed by the huge fish.

“It’s… kinda big, Gordon,” Virgil says, the cautious edge to his voice carrying his worries for his brother.

“Not really. This one’s a little small, I’m guessing it’s still pretty young. Maybe around twenty? They can get up to nine meters or so when they’re fully mature. Biggest fishes in the world.”

“Just because it’s young, doesn’t mean it can’t hurt you by accident.” A thought crosses his mind, and the serious expression fades to a smirk. “Twenty years old and still immature? Sounds like someone else I know.”

Gordon laughs. “I guess that means you can’t fuss at me to act like an adult until I’m thirty!” He’s right up close to the shark, and mostly managing to keep up. “You know, some whale sharks can live to be a hundred years old. Looking pretty good for me, huh?”

It’s so relaxing, the water’s warm, and part of Gordon just wants to stay here forever, lost in the moment of peaceful bliss, but Virgil’s voice cuts through his thoughts. “Let’s go, Gordon. We’re on a schedule.” Gordon sighs, watching the broad, speckled back gliding through the water beside him.

“Five more minutes, Virgil.”