A/N: Ok, so yeah, this isn't the most original story line, but I have one, two, three plot twists/secrets for you to read and find out about, which I know you are all dying to know. Plus, I got fed up of Alex-goes-to-the-SAS stories that never seem to get finished, so I vowed to finish this one. If anyone does know any finished SAS stories, tell me! Though I already know how, if not when, this story is going to end. So read on and tell me what you think.
DISCLAIMER: I had a dream that I was a millionaire and owned the rights to Alex Rider. I also had a dream in which the sky was purple and the birds sang heavy metal instead of birdsong. Neither of them are true.
It was a perfectly normal day when it happened. Alex had finally caught up on his work. He had been back awhile already and his friends were starting to accept him again. He was even beginning to believe the MI6 when they said that they wouldn't be contacting him again. He was beginning to believe that he had truly escaped that world.
He should have known better.
It was the last week of term, and people were beginning to plan for the summer, even Alex. He was looking forward to summer this year. James Sprintz had invited him to Austria for a week or two in August, and he and Jack were planning on going to a villa in the South of France for a bit – Jack had actually called up Blunt to get funds from Ian's account for the trip. It had taken her three days, and she had been passed around practically every agent, secretary and cleaner in the building before the phone finally wound up on Mrs Jones desk. The lady had given in, muttering about "incessant Americans".
Even his class mates had invited him out. Alex had given promises to attend seemingly never-ending bouts of football, and already had been booked a ticket to the summer blockbuster by an over-eager Tom. He had almost managed to forget everything about MI6, or at least push it to the darkest corner of his mind. And if his football reflexes were a bit quicker, or his karate a bit more brutal, it just helped him win.
He didn't speak of the nights he woke up screaming.
But however he spent his nights, he had begun to relax during the day. He was even daydreaming in Spanish, while the teacher went through the exam they had done a few weeks ago. Later he would blame himself. He should have been paying attention. He should have noticed something was wrong. But he didn't. He was too busy watching the summer day outside the window to notice anything at all, until three armed men burst into the room.
They were dragging Jack with them.
Alex was out of his seat so fast that he seemed to blur. He aimed a kick at one of the men's stomachs, but it never landed. They were obviously expecting it and one of them sent him flying across the room and into the wall. By the time he had jumped to his feet, one of the men had a gun pressed to his head. A hand roughly grabbed his arm and he strained against it, not thinking just desperate to reach Jack. Her face was pale and she was staring at him, her eyes wide with fear.
He shook his head in desperation. This couldn't be happening. This couldn't be happening.
One of the men holding Jack smiled mockingly at him and raised his gun.
"Scorpia never forgives, Rider. Scorpia never forgets."
The bullet went slamming into her and Alex screamed. He became wild, twisting desperately against his captor, slamming an elbow into his stomach then leaping across the room at the men holding Jack's sagging body.
Already burdened, his weight knocked both of them to the ground. One hit his head on a desk and passed out. Alex quickly knocked the other out with a blow to the temple. A bullet slammed into the floor beside him and Alex scrambled to his feet, grabbing an abandoned gun from the floor.
He took aim and fired. Once, twice.
And two bullets found their marks, one in the knee and one in the elbow of his gun arm. The man collapsed to the floor, screaming. He was easy for Alex to knock out.
Threat neutralised, Alex raced to Jack's side.
"Oh Gods, Jack," he moaned, oblivious to the tears coursing down his cheeks. "Please don't be dead, please."
His desperate, fumbling fingers found her throat, her pulse.
No! Wait! There!
It was weak, and painfully slow, but it was unmistakeably a pulse.
He raised his head, taking in the shocked, terrified faces of his classmates for the first time. "Somebody call an ambulance!" he screamed, desperately.
"Don't die, Jack," he whimpered, turning back to the woman in his arms. "Please don't die, I need you."
Sobbing, he cradled the unresponsive woman to his chest, desperate to feel her heartbeat, unaware of the blood that was soaking into his shirt with each erratic beat.
Alex didn't let go of her until the paramedics arrived, gently lifting her limp form onto the stretcher. Briefly, he wondered whether the close proximity of the hospital had been a deciding factor in his uncle's choice of school for him, but he brushed the thought aside. It hardly mattered now; he was just thankful that they had arrived so quickly.
At the front of the school there were several police cars parked alongside the ambulance, and Alex recognised MI6 agents in the police uniforms. He ignored them and made to climb into the ambulance with Jack, but a hand on his shoulder stopped him.
It was John Crawley.
"Mr Crawley," said Alex, politely.
"Alex, you're presence is required at Liverpool Street," he said, quietly.
"Of course it is," muttered Alex bitterly, but his expression relaxed slightly when Crawley turned to the paramedics and said,
"Take her to St Dominic's."
The paramedics gave him a startled look, but nodded.
"Thank you," said Alex, gratefully.
Mr Crawley didn't comment and Alex ducked silently into the black Mercedes waiting on the curb.
Crawley left him in the reception area of the bank and Alex made his own way up to the office. He had been here enough times to know the way and no amount of time would erase his memories of this place.
As he walked down the corridor, he could hear Mrs Jones muffled voice, the indistinct words emanating from the closed door that he was approaching. He knocked on the door and entered.
Mrs Jones was just putting down the phone. She looked tired, older somehow.
"Alex..." she began, awkwardly, as he sat down. "That was the paramedics... Miss Starbright died on the way to hospital. Her heart gave out. They tried to resuscitate her, but her chest had suffered too much trauma from the bullet."
For a moment, Alex couldn't breathe. He felt as if a massive wave had just collapsed on top of him, crushing the air out of his body, shocking him with the pain then sending him into icy numbness. He bit back the tears that formed in his eyes. He would not cry, not here, not in front of them. It would be a weakness.
"I'm sorry," murmured Mrs Jones and Alex felt a spark of anger burst to life.
Desperately he fed it, making it grow, anything to escape from the numbing blackness of pain and despair. Let the whole world burn to ash in its heat. It meant nothing without Jack anyway.
"Sorry?" he snarled, not realising he had risen to his feet. "You don't get to be sorry. If it hadn't been for you she would still be alive! It's YOUR fault she's dead and you think you can say sorry?!"
He was shouting by now, his fists clenched at his side, and tears pouring down his cheeks. Damn it. He had sworn that he wasn't going to cry in front of them, but he made no move to stop the tears. Hell, Jack deserved tears to be shed over her. The whole world should be sobbing in grief.
He took a deep, shaky breath and forced himself to relax, unclenching his fists and sinking back into his chair. Finally, he reached up a hand and brushed away the tears still soaking his cheeks.
They were silent for a minute, neither of the adults commenting on his outburst.
"So what happens now?" he asked, eventually.
"Obviously you cannot return to the house in Chelsea, or Brooklands, as we can only assume Scorpia now knows where you live." It was Blunt speaking, his dull, emotionless tone grating on Alex's ears. "You will go to Brecon Beacons and stay there. We will send a tutor to you to help with the more... traditional side of your education."
Alex didn't respond. He didn't have the will to fight them anymore. Jack had been his will, his strength, without her, he was weak and numb. She had been his link to the life he wanted to leave, without her he couldn't find his way back even if he tried.
Mrs Jones continued, "We will try and find a better arrangement, a new guardian perhaps, but for now you must go to the SAS. It will also be an excellent opportunity to top up your training."
Alex felt a flicker of anger inside him – Jack was dead and all they could think about was his training – but he couldn't find the energy to grasp onto it and make it known. He just sat there.
"If that is all," said Blunt, "A car will pick you up outside the bank and take you to Chelsea. You can pack your things then go straight to Brecon Beacons."
"Wait," said Alex, looking up. "What about my class? What will you tell them? What will happen to them?"
"As far as we are aware, Scorpia has no designs on your classmates, just you, so they will be left to continue their lives as they were. As for what we will tell them, we will tell them nothing. An agent, disguised as a police officer, will go in next week and ask questions about the incident."
"What kind of questions?" asked Alex, suspiciously.
Mrs Jones looked uncomfortable and refused to meet his eye. It was Blunt who answered. "We are playing on your reputation as a drug addict. We will try to make them assume that this is gang related."
Alex closed his eyes. It was the only sign of the anger, despair and pain whirling inside him that he gave. In silence, he rose and headed for the door.
Mrs Jones called out to him as he reached it.
"Oh, and Alex?"
Alex turned to look at her.
"Well done, you saved many lives today."
Alex didn't answer. He didn't have anything to say.
A/N: Ok, so what did you think? Good? Bad? Crime against Humanity? Review and TELL ME!!