August Moons 2009
By Simply Shelby


"Ash is his godfather for a reason, John. I thought we'd agreed on this?" Ian gestured to the spirits cabinet and his brother shrugged. Sighing, he measured out two glasses of bourbon, handing one to the elder Rider.

"I need someone I can trust." The infliction in his voice was miserable and afraid. Very afraid. Too afraid.

Ian stopped short of taking a sip. "Scorpia?" he asked in disbelief.

John rubbed the bridge of his nose. "God, I hope not." He tipped the entire glass down his throat and held it out for a refill. "But I know better."

"Does Helen know?"

A harsh laugh breathed through his lips. "She insisted."

"A woman's intuition, John?"

"It's a proven fact that women can read thoughts and face much quicker than we can." John defended. "They can understand underlying emotions in a situation. You'd be surprised."

"Yes," the younger Rider agreed, "I would."

"She also said you couldn't say no."

Ian lifted his brows in disbelief. "You can tell her I told you to shove it."

John laughed, for real this time. "That's what I said you'd say."

"I'll take him, John."


"Dad," his five-year-old son complained, hands on his hips and lips pouting. "You're not listening."

Alex looked up from the papers strewn across his desk, then pushed it all away. "I'm sorry, kiddo."

Saving the world could wait.


"All your experience sneaking around is worthless out here," Wolf explained in a low voice. "You can't lie to MK47s because they don't give a damn."

Cub--adult or not, he was still Cub--opened his mouth to protest, not flinching under the unceasing bullets.

Wolf cut him off. "You stay on my arse, Cub." He glanced at the firearm in the kid's hands then at his own and smiled grimly. He might not be able to order MI6 into keeping Alex out of the field, but he sure as hell could protect him while he was out here.


"No. No way. I'm not doing it." Twelve-year-old Alex Rider glared at his uncle.

"That's odd," Ian hummed, staring down at the recipe book with a look of befuddlement. "I don't remember asking you."

Alex growled. "That's because you didn't!" He waved the advertisement papers angrily in the air. "I don't want to do ballroom dancing!"

Pursing his lips, Ian frowned at the salt he'd picked up. "How much, do you suppose, is a pinch?"

"You're not even listening to me." Alex accused, crossing his arms across his chest and jutting his chin out stubbornly.

Ian didn't look up. "Of course I am. You've just decided ballroom dancing would be a great new activity to balance out your karate. I'm sure this will be the case. It will build different muscles and allow you more dexterity when you compete."

Alex stared in disbelief and protested, "That is not what I said."

"I know. I'm choosing to use natural chi with you. Ugh. Where is that woman when I need her?" Ian muttered under his breath, then yelled, "Jack!"

"So, you're refusing to engage with me?" Alex asked, thinking of his karate lessons. "We're not fighting."

Finally, Ian turned to face his nephew. "Aren't we? I've sure had to duck quite a few negative chi attacks."

"We can't be fighting because one of us is being neutral," he spat out the word.

The elder Rider raised an eyebrow and fixed the boy with a steady gaze. "Alex, you've been looking to argue with me since I got back." He tugged the papers out of Alex's hand and set them on the table. "What's this really about?"

"It's about these stupid lessons you've signed me up for!"

The man smiled grimly and turned back to the counter. "You'll do fine, Alex. You shouldn't worry."

"You're not listening! You never listen! You don't care!" Furious, Alex screamed, banging his fists against the table.

"You're right," he conceded. "I don't care. I don't care that dancing lessons will help with your coordination and it will build different types of muscles. I don't care that you yelling at me will make your throat hoarse. Or that Tom beat your time on sports day." He paused. "Or that I missed your birthday last week."

Alex froze.

"I'm a lot less neutral than you think, Alex."

AN: Packing for university may be much less difficult than packing to travel the world, but it is still time consuming. Wish me luck!