|The Thing About Alex
Author: swabloo PM
... was that he was slippery. If he didn't want you to know, he wouldn't bluff you off with a lie; he'd tell it so convincingly that he'd almost believe it himself. A different take on K-unit confrontation .Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Drama - Ben D./Fox & Alex R./Cub - Words: 751 - Reviews: 20 - Favs: 85 - Follows: 23 - Published: 09-21-10 - Status: Complete - id: 6342012
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: Yeah, I'm not sorry. It was about time I tried my hand at the genre cliché, with hopefully my own original twist…
The Thing About Alex,
"Got in a bit of a schoolyard brawl,"
" – Oh, that? Nah, I mountain bike; a bit clumsy, so I'm always falling off."
"I've always had that – fell off a tree when I was a kid. I drove my uncle mad; always clambering over everything that was up off the ground and easy to fall off."
" – Karate tournament; the other guy was good. I got bronze – you want to see?"
"What, that? The thing is –"
The thing about Alex was that he was slippery. If he didn't want you to know, he wouldn't bluff you off with a lie; he'd tell it so convincingly that he'd almost believe it himself. You couldn't catch him at it unless you already knew the truth, and even then you found yourself doubting.
The only time you ever heard anything other than a story was when you knew something was wrong and told him so – and wouldn't listen to the lies. Then, and only then, would you meet his brick wall – hiding behind the terse, "Classified," was a whole other world.
Fox had caught a glimpse of it, when he'd caught a glancing bullet in his arm for Alex. Seen the truth on his face - a terrible burden, muted by horrific experience and deadly skill. And then – it was gone, face smoothed over; not quite a normal teenager, but nothing like the operative he'd seen on the battlefield.
That glimpse, though, was enough to have a hold on Alex; Alex, soldier-spy but human still, needed something to hold onto. A person in his world that knew a little and understood enough, and still didn't try to stop him (because he knew that he never could).
When Fox was with K-unit hanging out at the flat, he'd stare at them all; sitting, standing, talking, unaware of the atrocity being committed by queen and country and government agency against a little boy. He'd open his mouth – and only a silent breath of air would escape; because even though he wanted, needed to tell someone and do something he knew that he'd never live to see the fallout. Alex was an MI6 secret; technically, he didn't exist. To speak of him and what he did would be a betrayal to the layers of lies that the government had built up. MI6 took care of all traitors.
Still, Fox hoped; Alex could tell. The Alan Blunt and Tulip Jones wouldn't dare get rid of their secret, dangerous, and most efficient weapon. Fox hoped when Alex stopped by, casually interrupting the k-unit gathering in his kitchen to drop off some files he'd picked up from the Bank for their next mission together. The other men stared – Cub? That you? Ben, how come you didn't tell us you knew the kid? – and persuaded him to stay, just for a little while.
And then Wolf had tried to cook and the oil and spat and suddenly, Alex's shirt was on fire – and then it was off on the ground, meeting a moment of stillness as everyone stared (except Fox; he knew but didn't want to see).
"Is that a-" someone began, eyes wide and everyone full of confusion and shock and mild, permeating horror. Fox hoped – because this wasn't something you could just explain away. But –
"No," Alex cut off the question, quickly but smoothly and steady with confidence. He put on and zipped up his jacket, nodded to Fox, and left.
- but Alex would never tell, not people he had only just met (not even Fox, although he had never asked), and not even to people who had known him for years (Fox had already met Tom – young Tom, who thought he knew the truth of the horrors of the adult world but knew so little and really, he was glad of it that way). Seeing might be believing, but to admit to it was to open up the explanation of how it had happened and why.
Fox shook his head against his friends' questions. Alex was a spy, and if he didn't want you to know then he wouldn't tell you; and if he didn't, then Fox (not a soldier anymore) certainly wouldn't either.