Thank you so much for all the reviews! But i must especially thank Talionyzero for the long and honest review that was given. Did you use up all 1000 characters? Anyway, thanks again for telling me the good, bad, and ugly in the story.
Also, some people say that my story's timelines are wrong since Ben is still in K-unit. Maybe it really is an AU thing, but in my stories, i always imagined that Ben is with the SAS when he's not doing a mission for MI6. Perhaps this fantasy is wrong, but you know what? Sue me if you don't like it. The other thing i want to mention is that i don't swear. I can read it, but i hate typing it. Even words like 'hell' and 'damn' i am uncomfortable using, but i realize that it's a military setting and soldiers do swear (since i am an American, i do not regard 'arse' and 'bloody' as swears)
Disclaimer: I do not own Alex Rider.
"K-UNIT! GET YOUR LAZY ARSES OUT OF BED!" The sergeant bellowed. Wolf, Fox, Eagle, Snake, and Alex all snapped awake; jumping out of their beds hastily and cramming on their combat clothes.
"I'm gonna have to do something about that man." Tom thought darkly. "He shouts much too loud for my liking."
Tom took a quick glance outside the window and buried his face in his pillow. He would be damned if he was going to get up at this ungodly hour. The teen was actually on the cusp of sleep again before someone was shaking him and saying, "To—Panda, you need to get up. If you don't, you'll miss breakfast and you really don't want to start the day without something to eat first."
"It's too early." He moaned. A snicker was heard from the other end of the hut. Tom cracked open an eye and saw Alex making the universal shut the hell up sign at Eagle.
Letting out a groan, Tom slid out of bed and slowly reached for the clothes he was given the previous night. Just by looking at them he knew they were going to be two sizes too big.
A minute later, that was confirmed. The shirt was much too long in the sleeves, so Tom had to roll the ends a few times. Then the pants were too loose around his waist; causing a frantic search for a belt in his duffel bag. Finally, his feet nearly slipped out of the combat boots because they were too big and heavy.
Tom looked at Alex and was shocked to discover that his clothes fit him perfectly, "Why didn't I get some like those!" He demanded, "We're practically the same size! What gives?"
Alex shrugged, "I've been here before, and the cleaning ladies shrunk all my army clothes when I asked." Tom glared at his friend jealously and began to walk towards the door.
Although walking didn't really fit the way he had to lift his feet up so the boots wouldn't fall off. It was like in a cartoon when the characters were trying to be stealthy and were using exaggerated motions. Tom looked exactly like this, except the boots clomped against the floor with a loud thud for every step.
When the teen finally made it outside, he discovered a new thing to hate at Brecon Beacons: mud. The brown substance seemed to be purposely trying to suck the boots off his feet. After a few steps, Tom swore and finally decided to just walk barefoot to the mess hall.
Alex easily walked next to him in boots that fit while pointing out different areas of the camp, "That building over there is where we learn languages, that one is the bathroom/showers, the obstacle course is a lot harder than it looks, so don't feel bad if you fall the first few times."
Tom grunted his understanding as Alex opened the door to what he labeled the mess hall. When the two teens walked in, silence descended on the usually loud soldiers. Tom wiped his feet on the mat, slipped his socks and boots back on, and followed Alex to the breakfast line.
When the silence persisted and the looks of shock and anger were still strong, Tom shouted, "Why don't you take a picture? It'll last longer!" Eagle let out a laugh, and that dispelled the silence. Many soldiers chuckled while others began muttering to each other and glancing at the teens.
Tom eventually decided to ignore them and focus on the food. When a scoop of brown slop, a cardboard looking pancake, and a bowl of mush was set on his tray, he simply stared with an open mouth.
"Just keep moving." Alex hissed as he started walking towards K-unit's table. Tom quickly followed his friend and sat next to him.
"So Panda, are ya looking forward to the day?" Eagle asked cheerfully. "Great," Tom thought darkly, "We have a morning person." He answered with a grunt. "Do you know what your schedule is?" Snake questioned.
"How the hell should I know?" Tom snapped, "Some stupid guy in~" Alex stomped on his foot under the table to cut him off. Oh yeah, he wasn't supposed to talk about who sent him here. Bloody secretive intelligence agencies…
"He's got the same as me, but minus the shooting." Alex answered swiftly to cover up the mistake. Wolf shoveled a piece of food into his mouth and growled, "He's probably here because his rich daddy thinks he needs to be straightened out, but his mum doesn't want him to play with guns."
Tom generally punched anyone who took a jibe at his mom or dad. This was due to the fact that they were still having shouting matches everything other hour of the day. But since Wolf was a SAS soldier built with solid muscle, Tom replied through gritted teeth, "Don't talk about my parents, or you'll be sorry."
Wolf barked out a laugh, "A shrimp like you? Make me sorry? Yeah, right."
"Try me." Tom made a gesture with his fork when he said that, and a bit of food flew off his utensil and hit Eagle.
Eagle (being Eagle) chucked it back at the teen, but missed and instead hit Snake.
"Watch it!" The medic said in irritation. He threw the piece of…something back at Eagle, who ducked and caused it to hit the leader of B-unit.
Well, one thing led to another, and soon the entire mess hall was filled with flying projectiles of food. Tom was in the thick of it; jumping from table to table, throwing the cardboard like pancakes like frisbees, and gleefully scooping up something that resembled oatmeal and shoving it down the nearest soldier's pants.
Alex watched his friend dart around the mess hall and thought to himself, "He's either completely suicidal…or utterly brilliant." What better way to get binned than starting a food fight with supposedly 'mature' soldiers? Then something that might've been applesauce hit him right in the face; wiping all thoughts of his friend off his mind and filling it with revenge on the soldier who was stupid enough to throw something at him.
Tom's grin grew even wider when he saw Alex get hit. Man, this was fun! Glancing quickly around the room, Tom noticed the sergeant had just stepped into the mess hall.
The look on the man's face was absolutely priceless.
His mouth hung open wide enough to catch flies, and his eyes had widened to the size where it was absolutely comical. But Tom could see the anger quickly taking over. Before the sergeant could start screaming, Tom grabbed a handful of mushy oatmeal and lobbed it as hard as he could.
Yep. He was suicidal. Off his rocker. Had a screw loose.
But it was worth it.
"STOP EVERYTHING RIGHT NOW!" The sergeant screeched. All the soldiers froze (most of them with food in their fists) and slowly went to attention.
"THIS IS TRAINING CAMP FOR SOLDIERS WHO ARE THE BEST OF THE BEST," He roared, "NOT SOME GRADE SCHOOL CAFETERIA WITH RUGRATS FLINGING THEIR MEALS AT EACH OTHER!"
The sergeant stormed over to the lunch line to grab a few napkins. He wiped the oatmeal off his face and gave a murderous look at all the soldiers, "Who started this?" Even though he wasn't shouting, he became all the more deadly.
"I believe the first morsels thrown were from the direction of K-unit, sir." Koala said after a few seconds. The sergeant slowly walked into the center of the mess hall.* K-unit, Alex, and Tom met him in the middle.
Tom bit down on the laughter that threatened to be heard when he looked at K-unit.
Wolf was the best looking out of the four since he was only hit with a handful of applesauce on his chest. The rest, however, were in a much worse state. Snake had syrup dripping down from his hair and onto his shoulder, Fox had jelly smeared on half his face and across his torso, and Eagle was by far the messiest with jelly, syrup, butter, and oatmeal stuck all over his hair and shoulders.
"K-unit, you will have two weeks kitchen duty," The sergeant snarled, "And everybody in this room will help clean up this mess. Now for your punishment, we'll have a test today covering languages, physical endurance, shooting, and hand-to-hand combat right after you all clean yourselves up. Anyone who does not attend the tests gets binned. CLEAR?"
"YES, SIR!" The whole room said firmly. The sergeant nodded and walked out of the mess hall. By now, the cooks had brought out the cleaning supplies, and they now handed mops and rags to the nearest soldiers.
Tom let out a sigh and took and bucket and a mop. Maybe if the soldiers saw him helping, then they wouldn't be so hard on him.
Well, that went down the drain as soon as Wolf tripped him with his mop and caused Tom to land in a bucket of dirty soapy water. The soldiers started laughing and pointing at him as Alex helped him to his feet.
Tom felt his blood boiling. Yup, revenge was in order.
The first test of the day was language.
Tom chose French because he was taking it back at Brookland…but even still, he was failing miserably. He cast a quick glance at Alex's paper and reworded the answer on his. The instructor was blind to this, so maybe Tom would actually pass.
The next test was endurance.
It was very similar to the fitness tests they had to take at school, only the passing numbers were much higher.
100 push-ups or you failed?
150 sit-ups or you failed?
Running a mile under seven minutes or you failed?
God, now Tom knew why Alex referred to this place as hell.
Tom sat on the sidelines for the shooting test.
Alex had told him a brief outline of the training he received with Scorpia (something he rarely mentioned unless it was absolutely necessary) but Tom was still amazed at how his friend could outshoot every soldier at Brecon Beacons.
The instructor grudgingly gave his approval, and Alex nodded. When he went to join his friend, Tom grinned, "Do you think the soldiers will lay off me if I say that you're my personal body guard?"
Alex let out a wry smile, "They already know that we're best mates, so they're already laying off you more than you can imagine."
Hand-to-hand combat was the final test of the day.
By then, Tom's muscles were practically jelly.
He offered little resistance to Alex, Fox, Snake, and Eagle, so they easily hailed him with jabs and kicks until they finally pinned him to the ground.
Tom's last fight was with Wolf.
Tom wearily approached the soldier. The man rubbed his hands together was grinning at his opponent.
The instructor blew the whistle; signaling for the fights to start. The other groups leapt into action, but Wolf and Tom slowly circled each other.
"You're going to become extinct, Panda." Wolf sneered. With that said, he charged. Roughly a hundred and eighty pounds of muscle was barreling down on Tom.
As little kids, we are taught if a stranger attacks you, you scream as loud as you can. When we are ten years old, we are taught to scream and lash out in any way we can. As teens, some of us take self defense classes. But if we don't, we do the simple thing.
Kick 'em in the balls and run like hell.
That was what rang in Tom's mind as he lashed out with his right foot. It was really the only self defense move that he had made all day.
Wolf's face went pale as he dropped to the ground; swearing like a fiend. Tom felt strength surge into his limbs and leapt at the chance. He quickly grabbed Wolf's wrists, flipped him over, and held his arms tightly behind the soldier's back.
"Now you're endangered!" Tom hissed in the leader's ear.
The instructor blew the whistle, so Tom stood up. He actually won a fight! And against Wolf of all people!...ok, so maybe it wasn't a completely fair fight, but even still.
"Soldiers," The instructor called out, "Draw your attention to Wolf and Panda's fight." Every soldier had their eyes glued to Wolf who was struggling to stand.
"While Panda may have won by an underhand blow," The instructor explained, "He has demonstrated what enemies may do in the field. Not many of them will stick to the code of honor that we have here, so you must always be prepared for an opponent to lash out in an unlikely way."
Tom took a little bow in the direction of the watching soldiers. He saw Alex roll his eyes, but Tom was proud with his actions.
"I've started a food fight," He ticked off in his head, "Landed an entire unit with kitchen duty, kicked a soldier in the balls…what else should I do…hmmm, maybe the sergeant?"
Tom was elbow deep in soapy water while washing a pot when it hit him.
The perfect revenge for the sergeant.
Eagle frowned when he saw the crazy grin on Panda's face, "Why are you smiling?" He asked warily.
Panda's grin slid off his face and was replaced with a look just as wary as his, "Would you rat on me if I told you?"
Hmm, this kid was good. Eagle could always just follow him around and find out later…but Eagle wasn't well known for staving off his curiosity.
"Depends what it is," He said with narrowed eyes, "If it's something big like the food fight this morning, then yes." Panda turned his attention away from him.
After a few minutes of silent scrubbing, Panda asked, "Would you warn the sergeant?"
Eagle pursed his lips in thought, "Like I said: it depends what it is."
"It's nothing harmful if that helps."
The tech man bit his lip with indecision. He loved the idea of a good prank, but only if he could get away with it and as long as it wouldn't backfire. After all, other stunts hadn't ended very well…
"Alright," Eagle relented, "I won't tell."
Panda's grin came back as he leaned closer to him and whispered his plan in the soldier's ear. Eagle's eyes widened and the sheer insanity of the kid. He was asking…no, begging for a death wish!
"You know that you'll get a whopper of a punishment if you're seen."
"My plan operates on the fact of not being seen, smart one."
Eagle grinned at Panda. He sure was a funny one.
The next morning found Tom up just after the crack of dawn (he was positive he was setting a record or something for getting up this early).
The teen crept towards the obstacle course. It was really more like a kid's jungle gym from hell, but it was actually going to play into Tom's favor.
When he reached the structure, he took a little tube out of his pocket and grinned evilly. If anyone had seen him, they would've definitely thought him insane. But the only two people who really knew what he was doing were Alex and himself…
"Panda, you're first. You have a maximum of twenty-five minutes to complete this." The sergeant barked, "A second over that and you'll be running laps." Tom gazed at the obstacle course that he had visited just that morning. That had been part one.
The next part of the plan depended on the sergeant's pride.
"Can you do it?" Tom asked innocently. The sergeant's face grew beet red from anger as he answered, "Panda, I've run this course more times than you can imagine to be where I am today. Now get going."
Tom cocked his head to the side, "If you've done it so many times then you wouldn't mind doing it once more just to prove you can do it."
"I don't need to prove myself to a snot nosed brat." The sergeant snarled.
Tom shrugged, "Okay then. I guess what they say is true: those who can't teach, coach." He inhaled deeply and made a show of getting ready to launch into the obstacle course.
"Alright," The sergeant growled, "When I get through with this, then you owe me 300 sit-ups and 200 push-ups."
"Sure thing," Tom countered, "But if you don't make it through, then you write a note to the people who sent me here saying that I'm not cut out for this."
The sergeant narrowed his eyes before hissing, "Deal."
Tom stepped back and let the sergeant take his place. Wolf took the stop watch, gave the countdown, and shouted, "GO!"
For one so large, the sergeant could move fast. He weaved around the metal poles with ease, jumped hurdles gracefully, and sped through the tires easily.*
In the middle of the course was a pit filled with a greenish slime. The soldiers would climb up onto a platform, grab the rope that was waiting, swing across to the other platform, and jump down to complete the rest of the course.
The rope was upheld by a structure that was practically a giant chin-up bar suspended twelve feet off the ground.
The sergeant snatched the rope and pushed off with confidence. He had done this so many times before, it was pretty much second nature.
But then the unexpected happened.
The metal structure broke at the corners; making the sergeant plunge into the freezing slimy water. He came up sputtering and swearing. How could this have happened? The course had just been redone, after all.
All the soldiers were visibly fighting smiles, but Tom grinned broadly. He had borrowed Alex's 'zit cream' which melted metal (the spy had gotten a refill the last time he visited Smithers) and applied it to that particular section of the obstacle course.
The sergeant climbed out of the slime and stormed over to Tom, "That doesn't count." He growled.
"I don't think so," Tom said slyly, "You didn't make it through the course, and that's what we agreed on. You had to make it through, or you write a letter. While you're doing that, I'm going to go pack my bags."
With that said, Tom turned and walked away from the course. The soldiers' grins now changed to looks of shock. This kid just outright defied the sergeant, turned his back on him, and was walking away?
The sergeant wanted to explode. He wanted to rant, rave, and strangle that brat until his face turned purple. But…he had made a deal. Even though the course broke, a deal was a deal.
"I'd better get going on that letter." The sergeant thought grudgingly. He attempted to wipe off the slime that stuck to his uniform, "I don't remember it being this bad in my day."
"It seems as though Alex Rider was correct," Mrs. Jones remarked, "Thomas Harris doesn't have the makings of a good spy." Blunt didn't answer. He shuffled through the papers on his desk.
Mrs. Jones pressed on, "Out of curiosity, why did you think Harris would be a spy?"
"Have you looked at his school records?" Blunt answered calmly, "He has gotten away with more things than the teachers care to admit. They can never prove him guilty, but they know that he's done it. If we had two spies that could sneak around like that, we'd be able to gather information from anywhere."
Mrs. Jones popped yet another peppermint in her mouth, "But you realize we already have someone like that?"
Blunt nodded, "True. Alex Rider is truly one of a kind."
Ok, i know i said in the AN at the end of last chapter there would be a 'sleeping pills in someone's coffee'. But when i tried to write it, the ending just didn't sound right, and i needed a way for Tom to get out of Brecon Beacons. Now i will be retreating to the homework cave; where i must work on an AP US History assignment (I only found out about it four days ago! I have to read a 250 page book, pick 43 quotes, and say why each quote is historically significant!)
Also, if you've read my profile, i mention that i write a lot but not much makes it to FanFiction. Well, i'm in the process of creating something (not 'never...in the sas'). Perhaps i'll post it, perhaps not. It has Eagle raising a teenager (not Alex, but he'll eventually come into the story) and there will be a bunch of funny moments yet many serious, family, and soul-searching moments. So yeah, that's what i'm working on...right after the APUSH assignment...