May 2009 Prompts:
Alex blinked as he felt the snowmobile beneath him slow to a shuddering halt. Oh, brilliant, he'd fallen asleep.
"Sorry 'bout that," he mumbled, untangling his hands from around Ben's abdomen. "Didn' mean to fall 'sleep."
Alex slipped off the ski, onto the packed snow beneath his feet, and looked up to see Ben looking back in amusement. "No problem, kid. If the bags under your eyes are anything to go by, you needed it. Besides, you haven't eaten in what, four days? Not to mention the dehydration."
Sluggishly, Alex nodded, still not quite awake yet.
"C'mon," Ben said, slipping off the snowmobile, himself.
Alex looked around and saw that they were right in front of what appeared to just be a normal hill of snow. Upon peering closer, Alex could see a door-shaped line within the side of the hill.
"We're at an op base, one set up in collaboration with the CIA, MI6, and Canadian Intelligence, to keep a close eye on the Amaroks."
Alex just nodded, walking alongside Ben towards the shelter, not quite awake yet. "I'm gon' have to repor'to Jones, soon…"
Ben, opening the door (how, Alex didn't know, not being able to see any knob or scanner or anything to open it), said, "Nah-uh, not yet. First, we'll get you fed, warmed, and taken care of. Then we'll start making the trip back."
Alex just nodded again, still feeling like he was back with his father, again, somewhere between worlds, as cheesy as that bloody sounded. As such, he let himself be led inside, into a small bunker, which went underground, after a slight 'tunnel' and stairs, from the everlasting snow.
It was a single room he was led into, with camp beds lining two walls, and another wall housing a bunch of large monitors, and yes another hosting a small shower cubicle and toilet with a curtain half pulled across, and a few random kitchen appliances across the counter.
"I'm afraid it doesn't exactly allow for modesty," Ben said, with a somewhat apologetic shrug, as a woman rose from the only occupied bed in the corner. She appeared to be the only other person here. Wait a tic…
"Knight?" Alex asked, with a somewhat confused frown.
Tamara Knight smiled. "Alex – long time, no see. It's been what, two years, since Cayo Esqueleto?"
"Probably best not to try and get anything beyond his name at this point," Ben said. "Hasn't had food for four days, severely dehydrated, and he'd been asleep for two days straight in the snow when I found him."
Alex vaguely registered her look of alarm, as she got out of the camp bed, wrapped up in a thick parka, and hustled over to a cabinet embedded in the wall – unlike the rest, which were simply inside the shelter – and opening it. It appeared they were using the snow surrounding them as a natural refrigerator, as there was a variety of food and drink inside.
Ben found another set of clothes which, while suitable for the harsh North Alaskan terrain, were a size too big for him.
"I hope you don't mind wearing girls' clothes," Tamara said with a smile. "But I'm the smallest one here. You're going to have to borrow my stuff until we get back."
Alex nodded, as Ben switched on what appeared to be a small space heater, and directed it towards the 'loo' in the corner, pulling the curtain halfway closed, containing the heat.
"Head inside, and when it seems warm enough to stand naked in it, take a hot shower – ironically enough, the one and possibly only thing we have plenty of is hot water – and get yourself relieved and redressed. We'll make you some food in the meantime."
Tamara handed him a bottle of water, and Ben gingerly pushed Alex into the loo-corner.
Taking a hot – hot – shower did Alex a world of good in feeling better, even if he still wasn't quite coherent or awake, yet.
Once he was done, he downed a bunch of chicken soup (Jack was right, it really did fix anything and everything) and a few protein bars, before Tamara had him in another bed, tucking him in, and saying, "Sweet dreams, kid."
That was exactly what Alex was afraid of.
About a week later found the teen spy striding into the office in the Pentagon. As expected, the lower-level agents escorting Alex were practically crawling over themselves to show respect for Jones and Brush, the new head of the CIA Special Ops.
Alex had actually found it rather ironic that Dear Old Joe had died because of a penicillin allergy, and being at the wrong hospital. Screwed over by his own fucked up American healthcare system.
He also fought an urge to roll his eyes at Tamara and Ben. Brilliant agents that they were, they still tended to work within the confines of the agency ideology, so they still tended to show political respect to their agency Heads…and always seemed surprised when Alex did not.
And even more so when he occasionally did quite the opposite.
"Have a seat, Agent Rider," Brush said, with his slight 'Southern Drawl', as Jack called the accent in some shitty B-movie they'd watched at one point or another. "Knight, Daniels, thank you for escorting him. You are dismissed."
Now Alex smirked as he watched Jones roll her eyes. However, they were still on American turf, and her power was limited here.
"Well," Brush said, closing the door behind them. "Alex – do you have the data drives on you?"
"Sorry, Greg, but no."
Alex wondered which of the agents outside and below would have a heart attack if they knew that Alex was on a first-name basis with the Heads…and half the other major politicians of the world. Seeing Tamara Knight reminded him that the Russian President still owed him a favor from Alex saving his reputation from Alexei Sarvov's plans.
"What happened?" Jones asked.
"My cover was blown," Alex said. "I'm not entirely sure how, unfortunately. They came to my 'room' in the middle of the night and dragged me off in ropes. Interrogated me for a bit – nothing too serious – before I managed to escape. They are somewhat amateur-ish at this, though. Their interrogators were sloppy, and their confinement methods were full of possible escape holes. And while they did their best to hide it from me, I could see that they were having some hierarchal issues – so their ranking and command structure are not firmly established. I don't have the drives, but by my best assumption, they will not be too much of a threat."
Jones nodded (oddly enough, he wasn't on first name terms with the head of his, technically, own agency), but Greg fixed him with a shrewd look.
"And…are you sure they didn't just let you escape?"
"Sir, I was on the run for days by the time Ben found me. And I'd been unconscious for two of them."
"So you say."
Alex supposed that in the stupid movies and badly written books and all that, it should've taken him a few more questions and spies to figure it out. But in reality, people were all automatically suspicious of each other in this business…which meant that Alex got what Brush was saying immediately.
"You think I'm working with them?" Alex asked. "You really think I would sell out to some environmental terrorists? I've had far better offers than they could possibly offer, and believe me, I've turned them all down."
Brush narrowed his eyes and said, "And yet-"
"And yet you're upset that I didn't get the best of information. I'm not perfect, and quite frankly, there wasn't much to get."
Brush's eyes went back flat, but still suspicious as he said, "You've been on a bit of a downstreak, lately, Rider. More and more, lately, you seem to be letting the enemy get away, and seem to be losing the objectives far more-"
"Excuse me for wearing down," Alex said, keeping his voice calm, this not bothering to keep the anger from it. "I've been doing this for years, though, and I've been following a series if missions which've been a bit too concentrated, lately, and as such, I'm sick and tired of it."
"And yet you keep going," Brush said. "And you are not being blackmailed, anymore. You are allowed to say no."
"To them," Alex said, gesturing towards Jones, who has so far remained silent, seemingly more interested in simply observing Alex than actually intervening. "Unfortunately, I have a conscience. I know that it might be a bit of an unfamiliar concept, but-"
"Oh, don't lecture me on ethics, Rider!" Brush said. "Believe me – nearly assassinating your own section head-" He indicated to Jones, who seemed to suddenly look more amused than anything else. Hm. "-lettin' loose that rogue agent in Burma, killing that little kid in Baghdad-" He seemed upset that Alex didn't react. He'd gotten better at this stuff. "-selling information to the enemy, not killing Gregorovich in Shanghai…this list goes on, Rider."
"Those aren't issues of ethics," Alex said. "Those are issues of me wearing out, fucking up, and choosing the lesser of two evils."
"Lesser of two evils? Rider, you're a goddamned sell out and any day now-"
"That's enough, Mr. Brush," Mrs. Jones cut in.
"Thanks, Mrs. Jones," Alex said. "But I want to hear what he has to say."
Brush narrowed his eyes, while Jones smiled and leaned her head to the side, as if she were watching an interesting football match. He supposed that metaphorically, she was.
In the end, Brush just said, "Fine. I ain't gon' get int' a territorial 'tiff' over this. Just get the hell out of ma' country before you make things worse. The CIA will contact you later with any further details concerning this case if need be."
Alex nodded, already getting up, Mrs. Jones as well.
As they moved to the door, Alex turned back. "Greg? I really do hope you get them. As much as I care about the stupid planet, I don't want people dying over it. And for the record, that happens to be my line of ethics."
And before Brush had a chance to answer, Alex took the last few steps out and shut the door, face already blank. The mask of a spy.
Alex shouldered his overnight bag as he walked up the Chelsea street. When he got just one house away from his own, he unzipped the bag and reached in.
After a while – actually, ever since he started getting paid for his work for MI6 – he'd ended up keeping an overnight bag always at the ready. It really only had a few changes of clothing, some basic toiletries, a few extra copies of his school books, and his old iPhone. He usually kept it at MI6, and someone always brought it, whether he was in hospital, or they were bringing him from another country.
It also held an old gun, too.
The bag had helped save his sanity far more than he'd like to admit, but he was grateful for Jack to have thought of it. Because it was always packed, he could just shoulder it and go on a moment's notice, especially now that he had a car and a fake license to drive it through London with ease.
Right now, it also held some flowers in an eye-glaringly bright bouquet, and a bunch of Twix bars – Jack's favorite.
Smiling as he re-zipped the bag, Alex walked back up to his house, and rang the bell, smiling as he remembered Jones's amused look when Alex asked her not to tell Jack he was coming back.
"Yes?" Jack said, opening the door, before her eyes widened at the sight of Alex.
Alex, for his part, just spread his arms wide open, and said, "Miss me?"
And he'd only been gone for about two weeks, this time, too.
"Alex!" she yelled, and immediately grabbed him into a bone crushing head, kissing his forehead. "Oh, god, you're all right!"
Alex just smiled. Jokingly, he asked, "Can I come in, where it's warm?"
She frowned. "It's not that cold…are you coming off any weird drugs again? Sick? Any wounds or-"
"I'm fine, Jack," Alex said, stepping inside, and shutting the door behind them. "I've just spent the last two weeks in waist-high snow in the Arctic Circle between Canada and Alaska, and I want to be warm."
She smiled. "Ah," she said, almost sagely.
Turning slightly, she took his overnight bag, and Alex watched her take it to the hall closet, muttering about washing up the clothes later, before turning to Alex. "You want to head up or anything?"
Alex smiled. "I'll go take a shower. Wanna watch something when I get back down?"
"I got Harry Potter six on DVD, last weekend," she said. "I haven't even opened it, yet. Go on, get – I'll get some junk food ready."
Upstairs, he took a hot shower – emphasis on hot – and dressed in some silk pajamas, and headed downstairs to find Jack ushering him to the living room, where a thick, fleece blanket waiting for him. Jack wrapped him up snugly, before running off to the kitchen, as Alex grabbed the remote for the TV, and started the film.
She came back a moment later, Alex smiled as he found a mug of hot chocolate thrust into his hands, a bowl of popcorn in his lap, and a blanket covered Jack snuggling up next to and behind him on the couch, while the film finished off the last trailer and started the actual presentation.
Taking a sip and a sniff of the warm – hot drink – all Alex could be arsed to think was that it was great to be home again.