Written for the 2009 Alex Rider Spyfest (thanks Ara)
Title: The Price of My Life
Pairings: Hardly any. Negligible Wolf and his fiancée, Fox and his wife, and maybe a little implied Jack/Eagle for someone who's looking
Summary: Scorpia did not take action against Alex immediately after the Invisible Sword mishap. But when they do a lot more people get involved. The events surrounding his battle to stay out of Scorpia's grasp causes the secret of Alex's life and all he does to be revealed. But it turns out to be not such a bad thing.
Disclaimer: All Alex Rider characters are herein property of Anthony Horowitz and the Penguin Group. No copyright infringement is intended.
Warnings: A little violence and a little cursing but nothing much. Spoilers through Scorpia
Word Count: ~ 30,000
Author's Notes: This being my first time in a fic exchange, I'm not what you would call experienced. I actually thought thatit was- not necessarily required- but preferred that we write multi-chapter fics. I realize now that one-shots were perfectly fine too and maybe actually the norm, but I went and wrote up a near 30,000 word story. Anyway I really hope you enjoy it Aimael. Now that's it's posted at I hope others will review as well; feed back is always useful in improving my writing style.
"So what did Ms. Conwell want?" Alex asked Tom who had joined him in the hall as school let out. As everyone had been filing out, Tom had been called aside for a moment.
"Nothing really." Tom answered falling into step beside Alex as they made their way towards outside and freedom. "She just wanted to let me know that if I feel down or anything because of the divorce I can let her know so she can give me a little extra time or a break; stuff like that."
Alex nodded understandingly as they entered the schoolyard. The early September afternoon was unusually warm and windy. As the wind ruffled his hair Alex thought back on everything that had happened in the past two weeks. Not only had he gone up against Scorpia and stopped them from killing off millions of school kids, along with finding out the truth about his dad; but Tom had been caught in the middle of his parent's war too. Now that they had finally split, no one could assume that it was easy on Tom.
"Do you feel sad about it?" Alex eventually asked out of concern for his friend.
Tom thought about it for a while before answering.
"Yeah, I guess I do sometimes. I mean, not depressed or anything like that, just… I don't know; annoyed maybe. At them for acting so immature about it and I know that I'm angry about this whole custody battle stuff. It's like a blasted tug o war with me in the middle." He sighed "But I don't like talking about it really. I guess it was nice of Ms Conwell to offer like that though."
Alex nodded again studying his friend as they crossed the road. Tom seemed to have matured since this had all started. Although he wasn't out trying to save the world every few weeks he still had his own smaller problems and he'd obviously had to grow up some to deal with them. Alex knew that he had matured since his uncle had died. When he look around at his peers, excluding Tom, who were oblivious to the disaster they had narrowly escaped; he knew he could never go back to that almost carefree way of life. Nor did he ever want for that matter.
But after a while Alex decided that some degree of release was needed from time to time and that the two of them need some of that now; just to maintain some balance in their life between the despondent aspects of everyday living and the not so saddening. He opened his mouth to suggest this as they were waiting for a light to change, but before he got to, Tom voiced the same thought. "Why don't we go and do something fun; something carefree so we can forget a bout school and life and all that stuff." He announced
Alex laughed "I was just about to say the same thing."
"I guess great minds think alike huh?" Tom answered, already in slightly better mood.
"It seems so," Alex responded, he glanced around at the other people on the road going places. "Why don't we fly kites in Hyde Park?" he suggested "This wind is good for kites and I can't remember the last time I did that."
"Me neither." Tom agreed "Let's do it. We can come back to homework later."
"Okay then, I'll go home and tell Jack where I'm going and grab my bike." Alex explained
"And I'll buy us two kites from the variety store to save us the time from making them." Tom added
"That's a good idea, here's take this for mine." Alex offered him three crumbled pound notes from his pocket
"Nah keep it; they're on me." Tom declined
"No problem" Tom answered "So we'll split here and meet up at Kings Road in, say, twenty minutes."
"Got it." Alex turned and left as Tom continued on down the road.
As he walked Alex couldn't help but laugh. After everything that had happened to him in the past fortnight; these days of complete normalcy felt almost absurd.
Jack had insisted on taking him somewhere to cheer him the night that he had finally found out the truth about his father; the night he had defeated Scorpia. Although he had not told her everything he'd found out, she knew that what he had learned had not been altogether pleasant or uplifting. So she'd carried him to the cinema and then out for dinner. Despite how sad he had felt he really had enjoy himself and his grateful for her persistence in insisting he go.
From then on Jack had insisted on trying to make the time he had before his next mission as normal as possible. She went out of her way to keep everything smooth and ordinary. Everything was so normal that he actually felt kind of on edge now as though something were about to happen. Now this kite flying appointment seemed to solidify the notion that this was all a calm before the storm, all be it a much appreciated one. To have a play date with his best friend to fly kites in the park after school just seemed to be the epitome of natural fourteen year-old life as far as Alex was concerned so it was no wonder it seemed almost weird.
As he came to his street, Alex's train of thought was interrupted by the sight of a figure coming up the road to his right who looked familiar. Alex watched the person for a little to see who it was and then well after he had recognized him simply because that person being here was so unlikely. But when he was quite sure, he called out.
The person, who was now close enough for Alex to see his facial expression, looked up in alarm, no doubt wondering who could be calling him by his codename. When he finally noticed Alex who was grinning widely, Eagle's eyes widened in surprise before he waved back.
When he reached Alex at the corner, the first thing both of them said was "What are you doing here?" simultaneously
"This is my street." Alex answered first
"Well I live near here too. I was just on my way home from the bakery." Eagle responded surprised by the coincidence
Alex eyed the white paper bag in Eagle's hand as they started down the street.
"How come you're not on duty?" he asked
"Our unit, along with a couple others is being switched around after an assignment we had up at this old green domed church called the Church of the Forgotten Saints, its history is down right wacky if you ask me must be why it fell to ruin. Fox got injured anyway so they just gave the whole team some downtime."
Alex was rather shocked by the increasing coincidences. What was the likelihood that he and K-unit had just had the same mission? He wondered about it as they went down the road to his door.
"Do you want to come inside and meet my guardian?" Alex suddenly asked as they stepped up onto the porch.
"I suppose," Eagle answered non-chalantly though he was puzzled as to why Alex suddenly clammed up with a strange expression when he had mentioned his assignment.
"Do you think she likes bagels?" he added gesturing to his baked goods
"Yeah," Alex answered absently as though his mind where somewhere else as he opened the door. Then he suddenly turned to Eagle and asked "Do you know exactly what went on up at the church?"
"Not every detail and I couldn't tell you even if I did. But it was most notably a show down with Scorpia. They're a terro-"
"I know who they are." Alex interrupted rather curtly as he put the keys on the table by the foyer. He felt uncharacteristically incensed when ever he heard of Scorpia now.
"Jack I'm home!" He yelled up the stairs to their right. "I brought company." he added to which she answered "Okay, I'll be down in a bit."
"You wonder how come I know about Scorpia don't you?" Alex asked mysteriously, putting down his knapsack and heading to the kitchen.
"You lost me Cub." Eagle responded ever so slightly annoyed "At just about the point when this air of secrecy and annoyance arose. So in other words please do fill me in."
Alex nodded "Yeah, well it seems like you and I were just on the same mission. So I was just wondering you know, if was a coincidence or purposely but I don't think you would know."
Eagle put his bag of bagels on the kitchen table. "So you're just back from a mission is what you're saying?" Eagle asked curiously
"Yep, about a week ago."
"Same here." Eagle answered contemplatively.
"And mine basically ended in the SAS cleaning up the mess I left up at the church you mentioned while I floated away on a hot air balloon."
Alex had to laugh at the look on Eagle's face.
Eagle eventually chuckled as well
"So you're the son of a gun who nearly dropped a platform on me."
"Yeah, that was me."
"Fox broke his arm jumping out of the way of that thing."
" Really? Tell him I didn't mean to when you see him." Alex apologized
Eagle nodded becoming serious again "So you were mixed up with Scorpia huh?" Eagle asked trying not to let the concern show in his voice but Alex seemed to take no notice of it.
"Yeah, I understand that there not happy about the outcome, but then again I didn't expect them to be." he seemed to be oblivious to the fact that that sort of vibe was very dangerous coming from Scorpia.
Eagle didn't get to point that out though since Jack chose that moment to come into the kitchen. "How was school?" She stopped short, startled to see Eagle expecting a kid Alex's age as company.
"Um, Jack meet Jake" Alex introduced using Eagle's real name "a friend from work. Jake meet my guardian and bigger sister Jack."
Eagle knew from what Alex had told him in past times that Jack wasn't his sister but he played along anyway. "Nice to meet you Ms. Rider" he said smoothly, shaking her hand. "I see that good looks run in the family."
Jack smiled momentarily although she knew he was flattering her but she was still weary of Alex's work and anyone associated with it.
"Are you here to recruit him again or something?" she asked guardedly
"Oh no." Eagle was surprised "I just ran into him on the road just now and came for a friendly visit. I don't do recruiting whatever you may mean by that."
Jack visibly relaxed "Well then nice to meet you too Jake." She smiled more brightly which Eagle noted made her look distinctly pretty.
"Speaking of friendly visits, I'm supposed to be meeting Tom at Kings Road in about 5 minutes." Alex announced checking the time "We're going to fly kites in Hype Park." He explained grabbing his bike from the cellar.
"That's good." Jack approved "Just don't be too late for dinner."
"I'll come with you." Eagle called to him. "You can keep the bagels if you like Jack." Eagle called as he followed Alex to the door. "It was nice meeting Cub's 'bigger sister'." He added purposely using Alex's codename.
Jack wondered at the nickname but made no mention of it. "Thank you, it was nice to have met someone from Alex's world who's actually friendly." She answered pleasantly and headed back to the kitchen.
"What did you think of her?" Alex asked outside as he mounted his bike.
"You can tell she's got your back," He began "She very protective."
"I mean just how do you get your assignments anyway?" Eagle asked growing somewhat concerned again
"I get recruited like she said." Alex answered offering nothing more as he pedaled off "You coming?"
"As far as Kings Road." Eagle answered "That's where I turn off."
"Well then you'd better keep up." Alex responded gathering speed.
"Just who do you think you're talking to, a couch potato?" Eagle demanded keeping up already with an easy jog.
Alex glanced over at Eagle along side him "I didn't expect less." He assured him good-naturedly.
When they got to the meeting place, Eagle said his farewells and continued up along Kings Road just as Alex noticed Tom waving to him from across the wide street. Alex waved back and began pedaling over since the light was red. From there on to any one watching, everything seemed to go in slow-motion.
As Alex pedaled across the street no one took notice of the black Mercedes with tinted windows in the front row, especially not Alex, because if he had he might have crossed in the middle of the road behind it or better yet, he might have waited until it drove away altogether instead of riding near the sinister looking car. But he did neither. So when he did pass in front the car all hell broke loose.
There's the first chapter. Since the entire story is already written its just a matter of you guys giving me feed back and me cutting off another chapter and handing it over enjoy.