*Author Side Note* Hey guys! I'd like to say sorry about the long gaps between updating (and so far everyone has been GREAT, extremely patient!), I'm just gonna lay it out here… I'm really bad at updating in a timely manner. I tend to write in spurts when inspiration strikes. So please continue to be patient with me! :) It might take me a month or so, but I promise that I will continue updating this story until it is complete. One of my biggest pet peeves with fanfiction (and for some reason there seems to be a ton of them in the Alex Rider section) is when I get into a story and then I realize it was never completed and will never be. Okay, now that you've all read my babbling, here's the real Author's note… the one that I wrote before I started this chapter lol

*AUTHOR'S NOTE* Hi everyone! :) I would first like to say a HUGE thank you to my dear friend kissedbygustav who has helped me TONS with this whole updating/everything else to do with adding stories process. If you ever feel like reading a twilight FF story, you should check her out :) Also thanks to everyone who has read/reviewed/added me to their alerts/favorites. You guys rock my socks! :) Now without further ado, on with the…. disclaimer?

Disclaimer: Yes, I have suddenly undergone a significant amount of facial reconstruction and a sex change. I am now a middle-aged man who lives in the UK. NOT.


LAST TIME:

Alex's muscles were tense and his weight was adjusted to the balls of his feet, ready to fight or take flight, whichever he deemed necessary for the situation, when the time came. The door slowly creaked open and Alex waited with baited breath for his abductors to make themselves known.


Chapter 3:

Jack arrived home around 9:30pm, her arms full of groceries that she and Alex didn't really need. As she walked up the steps to the front door, Jack couldn't help smiling to herself. Alex was happy. After three years of countless suicidal missions and returning a little more broken, battered, and bruised each time, Alex, her ward, her little brother, her family, had finally found happiness. Some of Jack's worry lines were fading and the tension in her shoulders that had been there since Ian's death seemed to be easing away. MI6 hadn't called Alex for just over three months and Kaylee was the best thing that had happened to their small family since Ian was alive. All in all, life seemed to be looking up for her charge, and in turn, for herself.

Jack hummed happily as she propped one of her bags on her hip and dug through her purse. Pulling out a lanyard that held all her keys and key-chains (Alex always made fun of her, "Jack, this thing weighs more than you do; no wonder your purse is so heavy.") Jack flipped through the multi-colored mass in search of the house key. She could just knock, but she didn't want to disturb the happy couple. Jack giggled to herself as she thought about peeking in on Alex and Kaylee before heading upstairs. 'Probably cuddled up on the couch together watching a movie, cute little love birds'. Jack giggled again, still flipping through the mountain of metal and plastic in her hands. "Ah hah!" triumph shone in her eyes as she finally found the right one.

Adjusting her burden, she brought the key to the keyhole, only to notice that the door was actually slightly ajar. Jack frowned faintly, the icy fingers of dread beginning to slide down into her stomach, making her skin crawl. For the first time she realized Kaylee's car wasn't parked in the driveway. Jack nudged the door open slightly with her foot peering cautiously into the house. Flashes of light and sound shot through the darkness coming from the television in the sitting room; the glow casting moving shadows on the walls. She set the groceries down on the small table beside the entrance. "Alex? Kaylee?" she called softly. Getting no response, she moved on. With each step Jack took, her unease grew. Where was Alex? Even if Kaylee had to go home for some reason, Alex should still be here, right?

Slowly, Jack made her way up the stairs, looking for any clues to suggest what transpired while she was out. As she reached the landing, her breath caught. Alex's door had been kicked in, the wood along the frame cracked and splintered. She rushed into his room, caution thrown to the wind. Other than the door, there looked to be no sign of struggle. For some reason, this worried Jack even more. Then she noticed the small droplets of blood on the carpet beside the window. She felt as though she had just been sucker punched in the gut. They had been doing so well. MI6 finally seemed to be leaving Alex alone. He was almost completely caught up with school. His friends were starting to accept him again. He had a girlfriend. He was happy. 'He was happy' the phrase seemed to repeat itself over and over in Jack's stunned mind as she sunk onto his bed, her eyes still trained on the red stained carpet.

As if a lightening bolt had suddenly zapped Jack out of her stupor, she jumped up, whirled around, raced down the hall and picked up the telephone. Her fingers hovered momentarily over the numbers as she made up her mind. With determination in her eyes, she dialed and waited two rings before she heard the click of someone picking up.

"Hello?"


~oOo~

As the door inched open bit by bit, Alex's shoulders tensed in anticipation, waiting for the unknown. Two men walked in wearing all black and armed with AK-47 automatic rifles. A third man, wearing a tailored suit approached next, he seemed to be in his late thirties, early forties. His hair was a chestnut color with streaks of silver near his temples and his eyes were an icy blue. His features were sharp and strong, as if chiseled from granite. One might even call him handsome, if not for the manic glint in his eyes and the frigid sneer on his lips. Alex could just make out two more guards stationed behind the man on either side of the metal door before it was closed securely.

The space was small to begin with. Now it felt cramped and Alex had to fight back a feeling of claustrophobia, the room was obviously not meant to hold one person, let alone three adult men and a seventeen year old. The man took a step closer, his eyes never wavering from Alex's own chocolate depths. Alex used all his willpower to repress the sudden urge he had to either press himself further against the wall or deck the man invading his space. This man was clearly restricting Alex's space on purpose to make him feel uncomfortable. Alex would not allow his unease to show, instead he stared confidently back at his captor, not moving a muscle. The man's sneer grew slightly and, if possible, his eyes got even colder.

They each stood, studying the other. The seconds stretched into minutes. Finally, Alex broke the standoff. "What do you want?" The man just scoffed and brushed the question to the side.

"I think you've had plenty of time to inspect your surroundings." Amusement flickered across his face. "Let's cut to the chase, shall we?" Alex had to resist a sudden urge to roll his eyes. "I have been employed by two groups, Mr. Rider. The first of which desires your death. I'm sure this news is not at all surprising to you. The second, however, have come into contact with a few… shall we say… items of botany and other natural substances they wish to have tested. I believe both sides will agree that you are the perfect subject for such experiments. I plan on killing two birds with one stone, so to speak. Or, perhaps I will be knocking off two stones with one bird, in this case." The man smiled maliciously and the mad luster in his eyes became even brighter.

Alex's face remained stony, inside his mind was reeling 'This guy's even more round the bend than I first thought.' Out loud, however he said, "Who are these groups?"

"I don't think I'll tell you." The man responded, his perpetual smile still in place.

"If I'm going to die anyway, what's the harm?" Alex tried casually.

The man regarded Alex for a moment then seemed to come to a conclusion. "No. Let's leave it a mystery, for now at any rate."

'What's with this guy? Normally I can't get the crazy psychopaths I meet to shut their mouths… and his grin is starting to creepy me out a bit.' Alex mentally chided himself. He should know better than to group these people into the crazies he'd met before. He knew nothing, had no information on who this man is or what organization he and his cronies are associated with. He also, apparently, wasn't going to be told who hired them. He needed to focus. Suddenly three months off seemed like a long time. He was out of practice. He had begun to let his guard slip during his down time, an unforgivable mistake that he was paying for now.

"We'll leave you be for a few hours to let what I've said sink in. Then we'll be back to take you to the evaluation room." The man licked his lips in a hungry manner that sent shivers up and down Alex's spine. This was not going to be a pleasant experience, he decided. *

With that the man turned toward the door producing a small silver remote from his inside jacket pocket. He hit a button and the door opened. He walked out his two henchmen in tow and closed the door behind them. Alex was, once again, alone in the small room. Left to his own devices, his thoughts took over as he began to process everything he'd been told and all the events that led up to this instant. Sitting down in the far corner of the room, Alex brought his knees up to his chest and he let his mind wander over a list of possible people and organizations out for his blood. To say the list was extensive would be an understatement. Alex had been the leading expert in pissing off national and international criminal syndicates since the tender age of fourteen. He'd been at it for a little over three years now and had never failed a mission. He was on the top hit list of Scorpia, The Big Circle (Chinese Triad), CST, The Mafia, The Yakuza, The KKK, Al Qaeda, and what's left of the KGB, just to name a few. Alex sighed and ran his hands through his hair. These were going to be a long few hours…


~oOo~

Kaylee stood in the corner, mindlessly listening to the ding of the elevator and watching as each of the floor levels flashed by. The man standing across from her, also watching the numbers flash, had introduced himself as Ryan Noland, a security guard of the bank. Apparently he worked third shift. 'Lucky me' her mind was in such a state, she didn't know if she was being sarcastic or not.

As the two occupants finally arrived at their desired floor, the elevator let out one final ding and a robotic female voice spoke "Level 13, please mind your step". Noland motioned for Kaylee to go first. As she stepped off the elevator, she passed one final scanner, not that she knew. The last of at least ten different security measures before she entered the hallway that housed office spaces meant for meetings with family members of Agents. The Sensors she just passed checked her pulse rate, body temperature, and for any unknown substances she might have on her person. The information was immediately uploaded to the security room computer where it was analyzed by a program designed by a team of specialists, as well as the specialists themselves. If all was clear, then a small light located in center of the smoke detector would flash green and the meeting would proceed as planned. If not, then the light would flash red, there would be an immediate lockdown, and the Agent escorting the subject would subdue the threat. The entire procedure took less than two minutes and fifty-three seconds.

After seeing the green blinking light of the smoke detector, Agent Noland had taken the lead in order to show Kaylee the way to the office. He didn't envy the girl who would get a private meeting with the two heads. Repressing a shudder at the thought of sitting across from the Cold Grey Man and his Severe Peppermint-Sucking Second in Command for an extended period of time, Agent Noland raised his right hand and knocked three times on the door, making sure to leave exactly one second of space between each knock. Another procedure to let whom ever is inside know the situation is a green light.

Kaylee was blissfully unaware of all the proceedings that had taken place since she had begun crossing the street to enter the Royal and General Bank. After exiting the elevator, she had allowed Mr. Noland to pass her, following a few steps behind. Her thoughts were still with Alex. She was beginning to get angry with herself. Was she really such a coward? She just let them take him! 'You did what he asked. Not like you could have done much anyway.' A small voice argued back. A small sigh escaped her mouth, knowing it was true. Her self-defense was basic at best and those men looked like professionals. 'He had been so serious'. Kaylee was so caught up in her thoughts, she nearly bumped right into the security guard. Trying to cover her slight embarrassment, Kaylee moved around Noland and glanced about the hallway, studying a few insipid paintings on the walls before stopping next to the security guard. He raised his fist and knocked on a plain wooden door marked 1312.

"Enter" was the bland reply. As the door swung open and her eyes landed on the two people in the room, Kaylee felt a small shiver run down her back. Who were these people?


* Really thought about ending that section here :)

LONGEST CHAPTER YET! :D Thank you for reading! :) Oh! I'm looking for a beta, so send me a message if you're interested! :) Also, I'm American (in case you couldn't tell ;p haha) I'm trying really hard to make sure I keep up with Alex's world, and part of that is making sure the things I write are culturally correct in the UK. Sometimes I miss the smaller, everyday things (like the legal age for driving ;) thanks again to Ryuusquall for asking about ages!). If you notice I've made a mistake or something isn't correct, please let me know! I am COMPLETELY open for constructive criticism. I want to become a better writer and I want to this Fic to be written in the style an Alex Rider fic should be. So if you notice an American-ism (and Jack or some other specified American isn't saying it) PLEASE let me know! :)