All ficcage posted in or about Amitai's fics are done so with her knowledge and permission.

This was on my LJ at some point...

Set Christmas time, in ILP.

A Very ILP Christmas


Christmas was, without a doubt, Alex's favourite time of year.

Not for the presents - as the only nephew of Ian Rider - a man who often wasn't around for Christmas - and semi-charge of a housekeeper who had the two weeks off over Christmas didn't tend to result in a mass of gifts.

No, Alex Rider loved this time of year for much simpler things.

The snow. The lights. The way anticipation and gentle sounds filled the air, as normal city life noises were muted.

This was his first Christmas since he'd started working for MI6. If he'd thought he'd enjoyed them before, it was nothing to the appreciation he had for it now.

Carollers were strolling through the busy streets, last-minute shoppers were bustling around, mingling with romantic couples and families.
Everywhere he looked there were happy people, brightly decorated buildings and Christmas lights twinkling in the evening darkness.

After another ten minutes or so, he sighed and stood up - dusting off the light blanket of sleet he'd collected. It only took fifteen minutes to walk home, to Wolf's spartan flat. Several times he'd considered springing for a cheap little tinsel tree, or maybe some fairy lights to liven the place up, but each time the notion presented itself he decided against it.

He hadn't lived as long as he had by being stupid, after all.

Wistfully, he wished he could go over to Tom's. Unfortunately, his parents had whisked him off to France for Christmas, as some kind of 'we're still your parents and we love you' apology gift. He had other friends, but none that he's feel comfortable intruding on.

Not today.

Christmas Eve had never been a time of presents for him, but there'd always been decorations at home, Jack dancing around like an idiot to rock Christmas carols and lots and lots of delicious food to eat. This year he had a surly SAS guardian who didn't like Christmas, or him, or any form of the two of them together. He'd even left a note that morning instructing him not to bother with dinner.

Apparently, Wolf had plans tonight.

That didn't mean he, Alex, couldn't do something, of course. Wolf had a battered old video player. He could rent some movies, zap a microwaved dinner and... and..

He sighed. It sounded depressing even in his head.

He reached the door to Wolf's flat and opened it.

And stopped.

And blinked.

Four very muscular, very threatening looking Santas were standing in the hallway.

"Cub! There you are. Why didn't you bring your phone with you?" One of them snapped, striding forward. Alex barely restrained from gaping.

"Wolf?!" He cried, not even registering his voice's higher-pitched incredulity.

The Santa glared at him. Behind the bushy white beard and the moustache that blended into it, Wolf's familiar eyes glinted darkly.

"Oh my God.." Alex said weakly, his gaze flickering to the other Santas. Sure enough, they were in fact the rest of the team. He felt his lips twitching..

"Don't even think about it." Wolf snarled. "We're on covert security for the Queen tonight. She's dining somewhere a little more public than usual."

Alex bit his lip for a second, dropping his gaze, then raising his head with a perfectly neutral expression on his face.

"Ok." He managed, despite the hysteria bubbling up inside him. Wolf scowled, but continued.

"We won't be back tonight, but we will be tomorrow. I've wired the presents with C4, so don't even think of touching them."

Alex blinked, utterly blind sided. "Presents?" He repeated dumbly. Fox - or at least, he was pretty sure it was Fox - nodded cheerfully.
"Yeah, I wanted to raid your room so we could add yours to the pile, but Snake figured you may have certain gadgets we're not cleared to see and would be legally bound to shoot each other for seeing. So. Yeah. We didn't."

"And, we've got to go. Have a good evening, Cub." Eagle ruffled his hair as he passed. Fox grinned and gave him a one-armed hug - Alex could feel the very un-Santa-like kevlar vest under his padding - whilst Snake contented himself with an instruction to 'stay out of trouble'. Wolf paused on his way out and spoke lowly enough so that only Alex would hear him.

"There's a .44 Magnum in the bottom drawer of the hallway dresser." He said quietly. "Just in case. But keep the damn safety on. If I come back and find you've shot yourself in the foot..." He trailed off threateningly and Alex had to exert every ounce of his well-practised self-control not to laugh in the pseudo-Santa's face.

"Yes, Sir." He bit out, unable to say any more for fear of loosing control. Wolf eyed him strangely for a moment, then continued out.

It was only when all three locks had clicked shut that Alex broke down and howled with laughter.. He didn't care that the guys could most likely hear him out in the hall and would probably take it out on him later.. it was just too.. insane!

On the upside, he felt a lot better. Which reminded him... Presents?

He went and checked. Sure enough, a bent little tree had been resurrected and shoved in a corner of the sitting room. Presents were placed underneath it. Whilst tempted to check to see if Wolf really HAD wired it up with something, Alex had other things to take care of.

Frantic, last-minute Christmas shopping for example.