AN: Aha! I think I have finally written something that wasn't riddled with angst! Um, but there's lots of sex in it, (no non-con, but rough), so be careful, young readers! It's rated M for a reason. But yeah, definitely dialled down the angst factor… er, at least, I tried. Actually, I'm almost pretty sure this borders on the PWP area, lol. It's definitely not up to my usual standard, but I felt like writing it, so...
Oh, and it's AU. Set sometime before SCORPIA, but when Yassen was alive. Yeah, I didn't really care too much about the timeline. There's no spoilers in here.
I have reread the series a couple of times now, and watched the movie a thousand more. There really is NO set character for Yassen! There's an idea, but mostly it's entirely up to the reader to develop his personality as she/he sees fit. And we only ever see Yassen the Assassin, leaving Yassen the Man completely open to twist however our freaky little minds decide to do it.
So, no complaining about being out of character! As for Alex, lol, I tried to stay in his normal character with this, as much as I could. You'll understand more at the end.
Alex jerked awake, sitting up, and breathing heavily. He felt as though he had somehow run about ten miles in his sleep. He blinked at the nylon walls of the tent, trying to get his bearings.
He could feel sweat cooling on his skin as it hit the chill night air, and shivered a little. Closing his eyes, he willed away the last remnants of his nightmare.
"Are you all right, mate?" Tom Harris called from his sleeping bag. He could see his friend was shaken by whatever this nightmare had been about, but was trying to get himself under control. Nor did he miss the automatic scan Alex did of his surroundings, as though trying to pin point the danger.
Alex frowned. "Something's wrong."
"It was just a nightmare, Alex. We're in my back yard, what could possibly be wrong?" Tom yawned as he rolled over.
Alex shook his head, wondering if perhaps Tom was right. But he could feel it still, that panic he had become accustomed to, that sense of 'move, and move now' that had saved his life on countless occasions. It was a little different this time. This time it felt like an echo, as if it were reaching out to him from somewhere else.
"Jack," he whispered, grabbing a shirt and untangling himself from his sleeping bag.
"Where are you going? It's three in the morning," Tom complained, but nonetheless grabbed his own shirt. He'd been around Alex long enough to trust his instincts. Both boys stumbled into the winter night in their PJ bottoms, tees and shoes.
"I have to go home for a minute, Tom, I'll be right back," Alex called as he grabbed his bike and took off. He knew Tom wouldn't be far behind him.
It was a ten minute bike ride to his house, but Alex made it in five. The house looked dark and silent, as it should, but his internal alarms were blaring at him to stay out of it. Ignoring it, he opened the door and rushed inside.
"Jack?" he yelled as he raced through the house, his panic going up with every moment he was here. "Jack, answer me!"
There was no answer, and he rushed up to her room, throwing on the light as he entered. She was there, lying in bed, a book folded over her breasts, one hand slipped between the pages to keep her place. As beautiful in sleep as he knew she was awake, only more still.
And a bullet hole between her still closed eyes. The pillows behind her were soaked with blood. She hadn't even twitched in her sleep as the gun was fired. Alex shook his head as he moved closer to the bed, not quite believing what his eyes were telling him.
"No, Jack. Not you, please," he whispered, even as he knelt by the bed, taking her still warm hand into his and putting it against his cheek. She hadn't been dead for very long, but his instincts weren't screaming at him anymore. They'd fallen silent the moment he saw the danger, except the danger had never been his.
Whoever had done this was long gone, leaving no trace.
He heard Tom come up the stairs, the slightly heavy footsteps long familiar to him. He heard the gasp. He heard Tom rush to the phone beside the bed. Heard Tom call 911. And didn't care. He felt separate from the world around him. All that existed was him, holding Jack's hand. There were no tears, no sounds of grief. Just perfect stillness inside a bubble of activity.
"Alex, mate, you have to move. They're coming and they don't want us to disturb the scene," Tom whispered gently, as though afraid to wake the woman. He could see his mate was in shock, and didn't really blame him. Alex had woken from one nightmare only to walk into another. "Is there anyone else we need to call?" he asked, meaning MI6.
But he got no response from Alex. His eyes were locked onto the dead woman's hand, as though all the answers for what had happened here tonight lay there. His thumb was running over the hand, somehow trying to rub life back into that hand.
Tom sighed and went downstairs. He knew he should try harder to get Alex away, but if anyone understood what was really happening here, it was him. Jack Starbright had been Alex's last link to any kind of a normal life. Tom wasn't so foolish as to think that MI6 would leave Alex alone, now that they'd lost their blackmail material. There was no way to keep Alex out of their control now.
Closing his eyes with the grief Alex refused to show, Tom mourned what would probably be the loss of his best mate, and the changes he knew were coming.
Alex stared at the coffin as it was slowly covered by sand. He didn't need to look around to see that their were MI6 agents everywhere, closing in on him like a hunter to its wounded prey. He ignored them.
His focus was on Jack's parents. Jack had asked, in her will, to be buried in London, strangely enough. They had flown up from America to be here, and were standing opposite him, quietly shedding tears. He wished he could too. But, like his Uncle, Alex was unable to cry. This was his fault, his instincts hadn't warned him soon enough. He couldn't mourn until this had been made right. He took a deep breath and approached them.
"I- I'm sorry," he whispered to them, unsure of what to say. He had heard a lot about these people, but had never met them.
Jack's mother, Alice, turned her eyes to the boy. He looked exhausted, with dark circles under his eyes, a defeated slump to his shoulders. He was dressed in a nice black suit- she couldn't know it was the same suit he had worn to this very graveyard not six months ago- and his hair neatly combed back. He wore no coat, as if he couldn't feel the chill. There was a cold edge to those eyes, a burning determination she didn't understand. And, if she were honest, a dangerous glint that she didn't dare to interpret.
Still, this was the boy that Jack had given up her schooling to care for. Alice wondered vaguely what would become of him, now that he'd lost his Uncle as well as his Guardian. She suspected he was wondering much the same.
"It's all right, Alex. We're just glad you weren't in the house when it was robbed," Alice offered gently.
Alex nodded, and then turned to leave. He hesitated before turning back. "This won't go unanswered," he promised them, knowing they wouldn't understand, but wanting to make the pledge all the same. "If you need anything, you can ring the house."
With that, he walked away. He knew he'd be caught soon. He could see Mrs. Jones, lingering in the background, waiting for her chance with him. She waited until he was out of sight of the two grieving parents, and then came up along side him, keeping pace with him.
Without speaking, he held out his hand expectantly, and instantly received the file he'd been hoping for. Opening it, he scanned it's contents, frowning. He stopped walking.
"Are you sure?"
Mrs. Jones nodded. "The police weren't able to find anything at the scene, and our agents weren't much more successful. We came across the hit order yesterday. This was definitely a professional job."
"It doesn't matter."
"Alex, please consider this carefully," Mrs. Jones begged. She knew what he was thinking, and also knew it was very, very risky. There would be no turning back from this. But she could see the revenge blazing in his eyes, and knew there wasn't much she could do to stop him.
"I've thought about nothing else for days. Killing the hit man doesn't matter if I don't get rid of who ordered it."
"They'll only reorganize."
"Then I'll just have to make sure they don't. Give me a location," Alex ordered.
Mrs. Jones hesitated for only a moment before nodding. "They're having a summit meeting in Moscow in February, a month to the day. All of the Executive Board will be there. We think it's safe to assume your secondary target will be returning there now to secure the area. Ironically enough, they've chosen the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in the Bulvarnoye Koltso as their meeting place, as it will be under construction for the majority of the month," she reported.
"Do you have an address for the secondary target yet?" Alex flipped through the file.
"We're working on it. We can have a studio flat rented by the time you get there in the center of Moscow. We'll set up an expense account while you're in the air that should handle the high cost of living," Mrs. Jones listed, for the first time feeling as though she were briefing an older agent.
"Get me some cash to travel with, and a meeting with Smithers. No, I don't need another identity," Alex growled viciously as she opened her mouth. "I want them to know I'm coming."
Alan Blunt looked up from his file to watch his Deputy as she entered the room.
"It's done, then?"
Mrs. Jones nodded, then shook her head. "I don't think you understand what we've unleashed," she answered quietly.
"I understand perfectly. See to it he gets everything he needs and wants," Blunt ordered.
Mrs. Jones nodded and left the room. She knew Alan was wrong. This was all going to somehow come out badly, she knew. Blunt might be an excellent tactician, but he'd forgotten to factor in one detail.
Alex Rider was a trained weapon, and could be aimed anywhere. However, the aiming took care and precision, as did the timing of it's release. Fire too late and the bullet wouldn't have the momentum it needed to finish the job. Fire too soon, and it would keep on going, leaving a mass of destruction in its wake.
She very much suspected they had fired too soon.
Tom watched as Alex packed the duffle bag on his bed. "Where are you going?" he asked hesitantly.
"To Russia," Alex answered coldly.
"You know who did this, don't you?" Alex nodded sharply. Tom sighed. "Don't suppose I can talk you out of it?" Alex didn't answer, and merely continued packing.
Tom shook his head. There was an element to Alex now that made him dangerous. He'd never thought of what it was Alex did as anything but super cool. Now, seeing the other side of it, he knew how very mistaken he'd been. This wasn't like TV where the spy came home a little bruised, a little harder, but generally happy to be home.
There was no home left for Alex to come back to. Whatever it was Alex was planning on doing, Tom knew that it would forever change him, if he survived it. Had MI6 sent Alex on a suicide mission? This was a boy he'd never met before. This was Alex Rider, MI6 agent. Dangerous, lethal and very, very pissed off.
"I'm not going to see you again, am I?" Tom whispered quietly, making Alex stop his packing for a moment. He wished he could lie to Tom, wished he could somehow paint a pretty picture for him. But he owed his friend more than that.
Alex shook his head. "If I survive, I'll be home before you know I've gone."
Tom nodded, accepting that it was as much hope as Alex could give him. "For what it's worth, I don't think this is what she would have wanted for you."
"Well she's not around to argue, is she?" Alex hissed viciously.
Tom sighed and stood to leave. He wasn't going to sit by and watch as Alex took off for a mission they both knew he probably wasn't coming back from. He stopped at the door and looked back at the stranger who had once been his friend. There was almost nothing recognizable about him. Nothing left of the boy who had camped out in his backyard with him in January only nights ago so Tom could escape his parents fighting.
And that was when Tom truly understood. His best mate had died the night Jack had. He needn't be concerned for that boy in the room, because he didn't know him. And even if he did survive, Alex wouldn't be coming back. It would be hardened man, someone who had killed with intent, and someone who was above the world of school and mates. MI6 had what they wanted, at long last. Special Ops Agent Rider was here to stay. Jack had been Alex's last link to humanity, and now that was gone.
"Good-bye, Alex Rider," Tom whispered, his soul hurting for the mate he had once known, and never would again.
AN: Now, I'm not going to do it to this one, because, let's face it, this Fic is pretty much crap, lol, but in future Fics, I'm probably going to start posting one Chapt at a time. Just for future reference.