DISCLAIMER: If I owned Alex Rider, I wouldn't have written this, as it would successfully halt all future adventures about him. Ergo... I do not own Alex Rider. And the lyrics are from Duality by Slipknot.

***

I have screamed until my veins collapsed

I've waited as my times elapsed

Now all I do is live with so much fate

Alex choked back a scream as he woke. Instantly a pair of warm, strong arms wrapped themselves around him. Alex felt himself relax.

"You had that dream again didn't you?" whispered a voice from somewhere beside him.

"Yeah," whispered Alex. "It seems like every time I go to sleep I have it now. I can't stand it there. It's always so white and bright. All hard edges. Mechanical. Either that or choking darkness that won't leave me alone. There's nowhere to hide."

I wished for this, I bitched at that

I've left behind this little fact

You cannot kill what you did not create

A hand ran itself through his short blond hair and Alex turned, laying his head on his lover's shoulder.

"It's ok," muttered that calm, soothing voice. "I'm here now."

Alex snorted. "You're there too."

"Oh?" questioned the voice lightly.

I guess I'll save the best for last
My future seems like one big past
You're left with me 'cause you left me no choice

"Yeah. Except... you didn't survive. You keep crowding around me with the rest of them. All the people who died because of me. Jack and Tom are the worst. Or they were... until you showed up. Y-You were covered in blood. It was still pouring from your chest. You looked at me with those crystal blue eyes of yours, accusing me of killing you...

"God... I don't know what I would have done if you had died. I don't know how you survived but I can't live without you. Ever since that day on the helipad, when you spared my life... when you..." Alex swallowed, pulling himself closer to the older man.

"I can't believe I ever thought you were like your father," murmured Yassen. "You've got aspects of him – his determination and confidence – but you have so much more."

Put me back together or separate the skin from bone

Leave me all the pieces

Then you can leave me alone

Alex smiled and leaned over to kiss him. The kiss was deep and slow and demanding. It was fierce and gentle at the same time. It was, in Alex's mind, the perfect kiss, but then, so was every kiss with Yassen.

"I hate it there," he muttered again. Yassen didn't sigh with impatience, he simply wrapped an arm around Alex again and let the boy vent.

"It's some kind of hospital. A psychiatric ward or something... I don't know. And there's all these people trying to kill me. They keep trying to use all these instruments on me... to torture me... but one of the ghosts... sometimes it's my mum, her hair is always wet for some reason, as if she were drowned, and she has these awful burn marks along the side of her body, I guess from the bomb. Well, they keep the men away from me... but I can't stop screaming."

Yassen squeezed his shoulder comfortingly.

"It always ends the same way. They finally reach me, and stick something in my arm. Before I can see what it is, I wake up." He shivered. "It all just seems so real when I'm there, you know? As if that is reality and this is just a dream."

Yassen laughed. "How do you know it isn't?" he asked.

"A reality where ghosts come to torment me constantly? No thanks, I'll stay here," chuckled Alex.

"Sleep now," murmured Yassen and the teen obediently closed his eyes, drifting slowly off.

Tell me the reality is better than the dream

But I've found out the hard way

Nothing is what it seems

***

A woman was talking to a man in a white coat. They were looking through a viewing window into a room where a teenager lay strapped to a bed.

"How is he?" asked the woman.

"Still no improvement," said the Doctor. "We're still keeping him sedated. Whenever he wakes up he keeps screaming and thrashing around. We're scared that he might hurt himself."

"Is that why he is tied to the bed?" she questioned.

The man nodded. "He keeps yelling about ghosts and dead people. He keeps calling one name over and over... Yassen. It's as if he thinks that he'll come and save him. Mrs Jones, do you have any idea who Yassen is?"

"He's dead," said Mrs Jones shortly. "He died about a year ago."

"And how did he know Alex?"

"He didn't, at least, not particularly well. They met once or twice, always working against each other. But Yassen knew his father. I always suspected there was more between him and Alex... or would have been if they had had the opportunity. Tell me, Doctor; is there any chance of recovery?"

"No. I'm sorry."

Mrs Jones nodded, closing her eyes as the truth sank its painful claws into her mind.

MI6 had driven Alex mad.

Tell me the reality is better than the dream

But I've found out the hard way

Nothing is what it seems

I push my fingers into my eyes

It's the only thing that slowly stops the ache

But it's made of all the things I have to take

Jesus it never ends, it works its way inside

If the pain goes on, I'm not gonna make it

All I've got, all I've got is insane

All I've got, all I've got is insane

I push my fingers into my eyes

It's the only thing that slowly stops the ache

But it's made of all the things I have to take

Jesus it never ends, it works it' way inside

If the pain goes on, I'm not gonna make it

***

A/N: ok so this is based on a very twisted dream I had last night. I was in a psychiatric ward and all the doctors were trying to kill me... or more accurately trying to burn me with lighters that this grimy, drenched woman kept blowing out. I was more scared of her than of the doctors!

And a big thanks to my beloved boyfriend for inspiring me to write this by joking that that could be reality. Of course... he doesn't know I'm writing this... He thinks I'm revising... but still!

So if you liked it... REVIEW! Have you any idea how disheartening it is to write a story and then not get reviews? You can't help but wonder what you did wrong... whether it was just an awful story that you should delete or whether everyone is just lazy. So tell me what you thought and save me from a killer migraine!