Kae winced as the jeep went over a small bump a little too fast and she came down hard on her butt. Jessie let out a small 'eep' of surprise and her legs and arms came undone from where she'd wrapped them tightly, trying to stay warm. Kae couldn't help but be reminded of the game 'scrambled eggs' you played on the trampoline. She put a hand on the side of the jeep to steady herself.
"The entire British freaking government at their disposal and they couldn't find a closed in vehicle for us to ride in?" She grumbled, pulling her coat closer and hunching more into herself.
"Oh, shut it. It's not like the American government could do any better," James snapped. Kae glowered at him.
"Actually, they probably could. But I wouldn't know, I've never gotten into a situation like this with my government," she snarled at her boyfriend. Normally, any fighting about their respective governments was mild or light-hearted, but the ride in the cold air with no stops left them all cranky and at each other's throats. Not even Jessie and Alex were talking and those two were the poster couple for sappy.
"Shut it, the both of you," Jessie snapped. "Nobody wants to hear it, okay?" And because nobody yelled at Jessie and got away with it, Kae and James fell silent, sending each other death glares and scooting further into their corners to get away from the other.
When they finally reached the cabin, night and snow was falling hard and the wind blowing violently, promising a blizzard and the teens were huddling together for warmth. There was only room for five, counting the driver, in cab of the jeep, so even though the soldiers had offered to sit in the back, the six of them wanted to stay together and instead crowded into the bed of the jeep.
"Okay, you guys, everybody out," Wolf said loudly, trying to rouse the teens from their half-frozen state. He was swearing mentally at MI6. Why couldn't they have found a van or something? The other three were frowning and scowling as well as they got out of the vehicle.
"Oy, you!" Wolf barked at the driver. "Make yourself useful and carry the bags inside." The driver looked ready to protest but a well-placed glare from all four soldiers had him obeying quickly. One didn't disobey when three SAS soldiers and a spy were glaring at you like that. Not if you wanted to live. Even if, technically, they couldn't actually hurt you.
Eagle picked up Kae, Snake picked up Jessie, Wolf slung Tom and Alex over his shoulders, because neither of them could really protest, and Fox slung James and Luke over his shoulders, because they couldn't protest either. It was some of the quietest the teens had ever been…aside from asleep. Eagle was humming under his breath and Wolf snarled.
"Eagle, if you start 'One Million Bottles' again, I'm going to shoot you in the balls."
"I's c-c-cold," Kae shivered. Eagle sighed. Really, the teens could be such trouble. They probably all could've squeezed into the cab if they'd really tried. The soldiers had even threatened to shove them in there and probably would have if it hadn't involved dragging them out of the bed of the jeep and getting them to stay in the cab and if the operative assigned to their case hadn't shown up and told them to get their arses into the car before climbing into the driver's seat.
"We told you to ride in the cab," Eagle chastised, climbing up the porch stairs and opened the door, releasing Kae for just a moment to carry her in. Kae shuddered as she was engulfed in warm air and Eagle was grateful that someone had had the foresight to prepare the cabin ahead of time. He set her down on the couch and then left the cabin, helping the driver carry their bags in. By the time he got in, the rest of the teens were sitting on the couch as well, no longer leaning against each other for necessity but total support and comfort.
"It's not much," the operative said. "But it's got the basics and more than enough bedrooms, I think." Wolf nodded, dropping the last of the snow covered bags on the floor. "The cupboards are stocked with enough food to last you about a month. Someone will be out on the 12th of February to drop some more supplies off."
"What about neighbors?" Fox asked. He wanted to know just how close they were to any other people and how far the teens could go when everyone started getting on everybody's nerves. And with bundles of energy like Kae and Tom around, it was going to happen quickly as soon as they acclimated to the new environment.
"Nobody around for miles," the operative promised. "An old abandoned hunters cabin about six miles that way-" he gestured east "-but other than that, nothing to worry about."
"And medical supplies?" Snake asked, over from his position by the teens, slapping their cheeks and wrapping them in blankets he'd sent Eagle to find.
"Under the kitchen sink," the operative said. "The TV's got crappy reception, but you'll get a decent football game."
"How do you know?" Eagle asked suspiciously. The operative smiled humorlessly.
"It's my cabin you're using, mate," he told them. "I bring my family out here sometimes. Obviously that won't happen until you lot are gone, so take care of it." He paused. "And take care of the kids. They look like shit." Before anyone could say anything, he was gone in the snow storm. Eagle stomped to the living room, glowering.
"'Take care of the kids,'" he muttered. "That's all we've been doing!"
"Eagle, why don't you go start something in kitchen?" Snake suggested. "Soup or something like that. We need to get them warmed up. Wolf, go check the thermostat and make sure it's cranked up."
"C-can we go t' sleep?" Tom asked plaintively, trying to focus on Snake.
"As soon as you get something to eat and have a shower," he answered. "Fox, you might wanna go see if the beds are made up." The former SAS agent nodded and left the room as Snake continued to check the teens over.
"I've got soup," Eagle announced, coming in a few minutes later. "Well…it's on the stove. Should we try and get them to move?"
"Yeah," Snake nodded. "Okay, up you get." He began pulling them to their feet. They stumbled blearily to their feet and followed Eagle to the kitchen and sat down at the table.
"We're not feeding you, so you're going to actually have to move if you want to eat," Eagle informed them. There was another moment of utter stillness before they started eating slowly, color returning to their cheeks as they started getting warmed up.
"Where are we? Or are we not allowed to know?" Luke asked after about ten minutes of silence except for their eating. "Thank you for the soup, by the way."
"Can't tell you," Snake shook his head. "But we're not in Wales anymore." He nodded and returned his attention to his soup.
"Two bathrooms," Wolf informed them all, entering the room, Fox following him. "Adults get one, teens get the other. Except for tonight. As soon as you're done eating, you're taking a shower and going straight to bed."
"The beds are all made up and the heat's up, so you shouldn't be cold," Fox continued, leaning against the counter. "If you are, though, come get one of us and we'll try and figure out what's wrong."
"Hypothermia," Kae muttered.
"Shut it, you," Snake said mildly, checking and seeing that they were mostly finished. "Last time I checked, I was the doctor. Now, by virtue of being the only girls, Kae and Jessie get first shower." Kae and Jessie stood instantly, heading towards the separate showers.
"When you're done, Fox will show you your room," Wolf told them and they stopped walking so they could listen better. "Tomorrow, unless something is seriously wrong, you're staying in bed until we say so." None of the teens looked like they were objecting.
"Define 'seriously,'" Tom said, starting to regain a bit of his humor, despite the fact he looked exhausted.
"You'd better be bleeding, dying or dead."
"I think that last one will be a little hard to inform you of," Kae countered, never one to resist needling Wolf. Especially since he'd been brutal during their Spanish lessons. Granted, she was getting better, but still…she didn't think it was necessary for one to have to conjugate the same verb fifty times.
"Well, hopefully, you'll be able to inform us of the second one before it gets to the last one. Go take a shower or let someone else have it." Kae and Jessie left quickly.
"How long do you think we'll be here?" Jessie's whisper floated across the room and she heard Kae roll over to face her, even if they couldn't see each other. To their surprise and disappointment, they hadn't immediately dropped off to sleep and as far as they could tell, it was nearing midnight.
Their bedroom was small, with twin beds crammed into the opposite walls with a nightstand between them. The dressers were built into the bed and there was a small, unfinished closet that they had shoved their bags into. Personal items were stacked neatly on the top of the nightstand and into the drawers of the nightstand, though Jessie suspected that that would change quickly. However, after it became apparent that neither of them was falling asleep, they'd gotten up and began organizing their room.
"I dunno," Kae whispered. "Hopefully not as long as we were at Brecon Beacons." Jessie hummed in agreement. "Quite personally, I would love to find out what a school year in England is like." Jessie giggled slightly.
"I guess that's been a tad bit hard, hasn't it? What with not having a proper school year and all," she replied and heard Kae give a quiet huff of laughter.
"Just a little bit," she answered. Jessie pulled her quilt up to her chin, looking at where she guessed Kae's face would be if she could see her.
"Do you think you might stay in England when you become of age?" She asked. Kae was silent for a long time. So long Jessie thought she'd fallen asleep.
"I don't know," she finally answered, choosing her words carefully. "When I got here, it was with the attitude of surviving until I was eighteen and then hopping the first plane back to the States, but obviously things have changed. Now I'm not sure."
"If you don't," Jessie said. "You need to visit."
"I will. Somebody's got to annoy the life outta you." Jessie chuckled in amusement, but it struck her as upsetting that that was how Kae viewed herself.
"Luke, do the words 'cruel and unusual punishment' mean anything to you?" James ground out, pulling his pillow over his head.
"You don't like the Hallelujah chorus?" Luke's voice was entirely too innocent to make James regret throwing his pillow at him. He was satisfied by the "whump" and the groan he got from the other boy.
As opposed to the rest of the teens, Alex and Tom were sleeping peacefully. Or at least trying to. The walls were thin enough that normal voices could be heard perfectly through them and they were listening to James and Luke argue.
"I think this could be considered an act of justifiable retribution," Tom told his friend. "No way would they kill us for killing them. They're practically a jury of our peers." Alex groaned and pulled his pillow over his head. Why weren't they asleep?
"Then again, if we wait long enough, Wolf will come kill them and we'll be completely free of the blame," Tom mused. Alex silently agreed, but he was still weighing the pros and cons of the situation when the two of them fell silent. A moment later, they knew why.
They could hear one of the soldiers muttering something under their breath angrily as they stomped down the hall. Both boys hastily pretended to be asleep, but the soldier apparently was expecting this as he simply raised his voice outside both doors, not even going to try and find out which room was making the racket.
"If you lot don't cut it out and go to sleep, we'll throw you outside without a blanket!" The speaker, sounding aggrieved, was identified as Snake, who apparently had limits, no matter who his patients were.
Alex was finally able to drift off to sleep as the cabin stayed mercifully silent.
Okay, so that only took forever and five days to write (and no, I'm not exaggerating.) I actually finished this May 18th, but I suspect it'll still be a while before I can actually post it. So, theoretically, by the time I'm able to post this, I should have the second chapter ready to go or at least well underway.
I'll more or less be following the original plotline…(the spring, Yassen being alive, Wesley, etc…)…but it'll be bit more serious, possibly a little darker and hopefully the British characters will sound more like Britons and not Americans. Oh, and I may copy-and-paste a couple of sections just because I like them. Props to you if you can pick them out.
Hint: there's none in this chapter.
Oh, yeah. I don't own Alex Rider or any of the characters save Kae, Jessie, Luke and James. And Wesley, when he shows up.
So I have a couple of questions. Any answers you can give me will be greatly appreciated. Some relate to the story and some are my own personal curiosity.
Do you have closed borders between England, Wales, Northern Ireland, etc.?
What is 'flies in the gravy?' (I think I have that right, I'm not sure though.)
Note: I got the question about flies in the gravy from a book about the origin of the English language and it was talking about the differences between American English and British English and that one happened to be mentioned.
What are some major soccer (or football to you) teams?
Is tea really the preferred drink? (I mean, is it like coffee is to Americans?)
And what do you think of the movie "Tormented"?
Okay…anyway, so thank you so much for being patient with me!