A/N: I am so very sorry. I meant to update ages ago. I'm not even going to attempt at giving an excuse, as I have none. This chapter takes place after chapter 3 and is back to Alex's point of view (3rd person limited.) By the way I recently became aware that there is a 10th book in the Alex Rider series! It's called Russian roulette and is about Yassen. I also am now aware that Horowitz is writing Sherlock Holmes books (House of Silk and Moriarty). I now have so many more books to read!.
Thanks to all the people that favorited, reviewed, and followed. It means so much. Like always thank you to Avelinette for editing (she is fabulous).
DISCLAIMER: See a previous chapter, I don't want to type it again.
Chapter 5: Not a Very Happy Birthday
"Good morning, Alex," Jack said as Alex entered the kitchen. Jack was currently sitting down at the small breakfast table in the center of the room.
"Unless yesterday was a dream, there's nothing good about it." Alex responded, taking a seat across from her. He stared at the prepared food in front of him.
"Happy birthday!" Jack said happily, ignoring the teen's shockingly stereotypical moodiness. She noticed what Alex was doing and added, "Quit staring at your food; it's going to get cold."
"I'm sorry, but you won't cook anything that takes more than 10 minutes. This clearly took longer." Alex returned to staring at the plate. A perfectly cooked omelet, next to two crispy pieces of French toast, and a bowl of various chopped fruits.
"You did just turn 15, so I decided to make something special. Not to mention recent… events." Jack explained.
"Jack, I saw the to-go boxes in the trash on my way here. Plus, there are no pans in the sink or drying rack," Alex countered.
Jack rolled her eyes and muttered something along the lines of, "Damn spy senses."
"But thank you for the thought." He concluded. "It's nice to have one good meal before I get sent back to that hellhole."
"I don't understand why they're sending you back there! What if someone recognizes you?" Jack exclaimed, her anger spiking out of the blue.
"Why would anyone?" Alex calmly responded. "When I was there, they just believed I was some snobby rich kid."
Jack sighed. "For your sake, I hope you're right."
The morning passed quickly - a bit too quickly for Alex. Soon it was quarter past noon, and time to head to the car park that was a few blocks away from Brookland. MI6 figured that it would be a bad idea to meet up at the school as Scorpia was most likely keeping a look out there, so instead they picked the car park closest to a popular shopping centre. Had it been any other sort of meet up, Alex would have ridden his bike. But due to the particular situation, Jack and Alex decided to just take a cab.
"I thought that you guys weren't supposed to be there until one?" Jack asked as they got into the cab. She had just realized that it was only a 10 minute drive, so they would get there almost 30 minutes early.
"They wanted to talk to me before everyone else got there." Alex responded quietly. He glanced towards the cabbie cautiously. Jack nodded in understanding, of both his response and his caution. It was five minutes later when they pulled up in front of the shopping centre.
While the cab came to a stop Jack glanced at the nametag of the cabbie and said, "Thank you, Mr. Patrick."
Jack and Alex got out of the cab, but Jack went around the front to pay the cabbie, while Alex walked to the trunk to fetch his bag. By the time Alex got his bag out of the trunk and had closed it, Jack had paid the cabbie and was walking towards the car park. As Alex walked past the front of the cab, the cab driver looked out the window and stared at him.
"See you around, Alex Rider." He said as he drove off. Alex froze on the spot. He didn't remember telling the cabbie his name. Maybe Jack said it when she was getting into the cab. He decided that he would ask her about it when he caught up to her.
Alex rounded the corner and walked into the car park. He looked around until he spotted Jack's auburn hair. He noticed that she was glaring at both Ms. Jones and Mr. Blunt. None of them had attempted to begin a conversation, which was predictable. Jack didn't want to ever need to meet them again. As for Mr. Blunt and Ms. Jones, they were smart enough to know that anything they said would result in the wrath of Jack Starbright.
"Alex." Ms. Jones spoke first. Seeing the boy approach, Jack stopped trying to burn holes through the leader of British Intelligence with her eyes and crossed over to where Alex had stopped.
"What took you so long?" She asked.
"Sorry, my trainers were untied." Alex replied, deciding that he would ask Jack when they didn't have such a nosy audience.
"Alright," Jack said. She then turned towards the two other adults and for the first time, spoke to them.
"Why did you heartless assholes want Alex to be here early, again?
Ms. Jones chose to ignore the casual insult and began explaining, "Because of the situation, we cannot do a proper briefing - not that this is an actual mission. This… field trip is more of a safety precaution. However, we have decided that Alex should have some gadgets, just in case."
Alex almost smiled because he realized that receiving gadgets meant that Smithers had to be here. Smithers and his spy gadgets was the only thing to look forward to during his multiple encounters with the MI6. He then looked around, wondering how he hadn't noticed a man of Smithers' proportions before. Smithers then appeared, stepping out of the front seat of a van. He opened up the trunk of the vehicle and gestured for Alex to come over.
Alex had begun walking towards Smithers when Jack grabbed his arm to stop him.
"Who is that?" She asked cautiously. Alex looked at her a bit confused before realizing that Jack had never met Smithers.
"That's Smithers, he creates the cool gadgets. He's about the only bloke I've seen at MI6 who doesn't act like he has a stick up his arse." Alex explained. Jack didn't respond but did let go of Alex's arm and walked with him towards Smithers.
"Alex, good to see you again!" Smithers greeted. He glanced at Jack and asked, "and may I ask who this is?"
"Jack Starbright," Jack answered. "I'm Alex's guardian."
Smithers turned to Alex. "She's American!" he exclaimed and then directed his attention back to Jack. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Miss Starbright."
"And you, as well." Jack responded, shaking Smithers hand.
"Now that you two are acquainted, I believe that you, Mr. Smithers, are to show me what gadgets I'll be receiving for this... field trip." Alex said, rolling his eyes as he said the last two words. Getting the gadgets tended to be the only enjoyable aspect of Alex's plights by the hands - more like claws - of Blunt and Jones. Even the times he got to use the gadgets were bad as when it happened he was usually in some life or death situation.
"Of course," Smithers responded, "Since I was told of the circumstance yesterday, I was not able to create or even design any new gadgets so you will be using gadgets from previous missions."
"That's fine. At least I'll already know how to use them." Alex shrugged. Smithers nodded in response and pulled out a small bag. He unzipped the bag to reveal… nothing.
Alex stared down at the bag for a moment. Then up at Jack who made the universal gesture for I don't know. He then turned to Smithers and raised his eyebrows waiting for an explanation.
"This bag may seem empty to you but this is because it has a false bottom for anything you wish to keep secret." Smithers explained. He demonstrated how to remove the false bottom and underneath it four items were revealed.
"I haven't had that on a mission before." Alex realized.
"We already have bags like this for the adult agents so I didn't have to specialize anything for you." Smithers replied.
"Oh, but why do I need to hide the gadgets?" Alex asked. "Aren't the gadgets specifically designed for me so that I don't need to do that?"
"That's because this time you will be surrounded by invasive 15 year-olds. If you just casually left out, say the inhaler." Smithers explained, while picking an inhaler up out of the false bottom. "There is no doubt in my mind that one of your classmates will start messing with it, accidentally twist the canister the wrong way, and BOOM! There goes their hand."
Jack's eyes widened slightly, "That's not really an explosive is it?" She asked Smithers. It was Alex who ended up answering her.
"It is." He said, "It's from the mission that I went to space. If I remember correctly, it's main use is as knockout gas but if you twist the canister it becomes a hand grenade."
"Glad to see my gadgets are being remembered." Smithers smiled. He turned to Jack and told her, "I'm sure you have loads of questions Ms. Starbright. But I must ask you to refrain from asking them until after I tell Alex which gadgets he will be getting as we are short on time." Jack stepped back a little to show that she would try restrain herself from asking too many questions.
"Brilliant." Smithers said. He reached back into the bag and brought out the three other small objects. He held them up one at a time, explaining each one quickly. "The Mosquito Lotion. I figured this might come in use as Brecon Beacons is probably swarming with bugs." Alex said nothing but did nod in agreement.
"We also have the CD player. I was told to not give you the Beethoven CD as you should only use this to alert MI6 if by rare chance anything does happen. But I am going to give you the CD anyways as what's a CD player without a CD! Lastly - not including the inhaler - I decided on what every teenager needs, Zit Cream."
When Smithers finished talking he began packing up the gadgets. Jack's face was twisted into a look of utter confusion. An amused Alex raised his eyebrows at her.
"Do you not remember me explaining any of my missions to you?" He said. While yes, his missions weren't the most pleasant experiences to look back on Jack insisted that he told her what happened on all of them. Generally, he spent most of the talk describing the gadgets. If there was one thing Jack should remember, it was the gadgets.
"Yes, I remember." She retorted. Rolling her eyes at him. "I just never expected them to look so much like the normal versions." During the short exchange Smithers had completed the task of concealing the gadgets under the false bottom. He checked the watch he wore on his chubby left wrist and handed the bag to Alex.
"It appears we have run out of time. You might want to take a few things from your bag and put them into this one." He said, nodding to the bag. "That way it won't be suspicious that you decided to bring an empty bag with you on the 'trip'. Goodbye, Alex. Ms. Starbright."
"Goodbye, Smithers." Alex responded. "I'd say see you soon. But no offence I'd prefer not to have to."
"I understand." Smithers nodded once more to Jack and then he waddled off to get to the driver's seat of the van. Once he was gone Alex remembered the question he had wanted to ask Jack.
"Hey Jack, I was just wondering. Did you by chance happen to say my name? First or last - when you called the cab or maybe when we got into the cab?" He asked, horrendously failing at his attempt to make it seem casual.
"No." She responded, "I didn't say your name at all."
Alex bit his lip, his suspicion for Mr. Patrick the cabbie increasing tenfold.
A/N: I apologize for reusing old gadgets but it has been only a day or two in the story. Not even Smithers could think of and make new gadgets. If this story goes as planned they should arrive at Brecon Beacons in the next chapter (Finally!).
Thanks for reading the story. Bye!