The fifth bed was a mystery.
The newly minted member of K-Unit thought himself of reasonable intelligence at least; you had to be to get into the SAS! Yet he didn't understand the extra bed.
Falcon had just passed selection and immediately placed with the famous K-Unit. He'd felt very apprehensive as even he had heard of the almost unbelievable rumours of their successes. Due to the covert nature of many of their operations he had only been able to gather rumours of what they'd done, but from what he'd heard they were the best.
So why the fifth bed?
As far as he knew you were split into teams of 4, which in turn made up a regiment of 16. Everyone he had asked had confirmed this for him when he asked (as well as giving him strange side-long looks).
At first he had thought it was simply a spare, perhaps in case one of theirs broke or got muddy? But after visiting a friend in a different Unit's barracks he realized this couldn't be the case as everyone else only had 4 bunks. Falcon discussed his conundrum with Bear who had been equally nonplussed as he was. Bear's suggestion had been to ask K-Unit.
Falcon shied away from the thought, he was still intimidated and (not that he would admit it) still a bit star-struck to ask them about it. Instead he tried asking around some of the other new recruits whom he had met during basic training. All had expressed the same confusion as he had when asked until he asked Seal during dinner. While Seal hadn't known but one of the more veteran members of his unit had merely grunted in Falcon's direction 'Cub'.
Falcon was smart enough to realize this was someone's codename but was even more confused than before. Firstly, who would be unlucky enough to be saddled with such a name; and second, where was he?
If K-Unit did indeed have a secret 5th member, but that was ridiculous, wasn't it?
However the demands of training over the next few days meant his curiosity had to be left to simmer on the back-burner until he was at leisure to peruse it again.
On the first afternoon off he sat down with his unit to play cards, waiting for an opportune moment to ask about the enigma of the fifth bed. He didn't want to just ask outright, that felt rude and too interested. He hoped to try to manipulate the conversation around until it came to an appropriate time to ask. His plan was dashed through at the arrival of a letter addressed to K-Unit as a whole.
Falcon noticed how Wolf, Snake and Eagle all regarded the letter with similar dark expressions, all previous joking extinguished. Seeing as none of them were going to fetch it, Falcon got up and took it from the messenger that left as soon as he was relieved of his burden. This only furthered Falcon's curiosity, what was this letter that would have the messenger running and the rest of his unit so uneasy?
Feeling apprehensive he handed it to Wolf who carefully opened the envelope, taking care not to rip it before removing the paper inside. From the glimpse he got, one appeared to be a letter, the other a form.
Picking up the envelope Falcon noticed stamped on the back was 'St. Dominic's Hospital'. He frowned. St. Dominic's was a military hospital, who would be there that it would require a letter to the unit? Surely that only happened when a member was injured?
Wolf's explanative broke Falcon from his private musings. He looked up in shock and felt cowed by the anger on his leader's face.
"What happened to Cub?" Eagle broke in, concern etched onto his features. "How bad is it this time?"
This time? Falcon asked himself. He was about to voice his question when Snake (who had taken the letter from Wolf and read it himself) cut across.
"Multiple lacerations to his back, knife cuts to his chest and arms, dehydration, malnutrition and tuberculosis."
Falcon's mind reeled, lacerations? Malnutrition? Someone had been tortured? Abruptly he felt ill and swallowed the bile that had risen to his throat.
"What the fuck are MI6 thinking?" Wolf growled glaring the table as if it were personally responsible.
"What are Cub's parents thinking allowing their child to do this?" Eagle groaned in distress as he buried his head in his hands.
Snake merely began filling out the form that would go into Cub's file to ensure he wouldn't be sent out on task injured.
Wait a second, Cub?
Shifting uncomfortably Falcon gathered his courage to ask the question that had been plaguing him since he'd heard the name. "Who's Cub?" he asked quietly of Eagle so, so far, had been nicest to him. However it was Wolf that answered him.
"An MI6 Special Operations agent that trained with us during selection"
Falcon's eyebrows raised in surprise. SAS selection trials were extremely hard, why would an SO agent take part? Before he could ponder this further Eagle had taken over:
"We resented having a fifth member so we treated him really badly while he was here, we were worried he would get us binned"
Falcon winced as he heard that. Selection was hard enough, he couldn't imagine how bad it would be if the people you were meant to rely on were giving you a hard time.
"He bloody made it though" Wolf grunted, grudging respect colouring his tone as he looked to his left in reminiscence. Only for his brow to lower into a glower as he muttered "He shouldn't been there at all, or work for MI6"
Falcon frowned, "Why?" he queried, "Was he not that good?"
Snake let out a burst of bitter laughter as he heard that before answering "Not at all Falcon, he shouldn't have been here because he's 14 years old". Snake then finished signing the document before getting up. "I'm heading to HQ to file this in Cub's file before the official report gets here, back in a minute" he said before shrugging on his coat and heading out the barrack.
Falcon was left gasping at this revelation; surely this must be a joke? Or perhaps a mistake? But the looks on his team-mate's faces cleared any doubts he may have had. "Fuck…" he breathed to himself, Wolf and Eagle nodding in ascent. It then occurred to Falcon what Snake had said before leaving "Official report?"
Wolf sighed before he answered "Cub is technically part of this unit, so all his medical details come here as yours do to be catalogued. But MI6 can hardly admit to using a child spy, never mind that he gets injured so they send an official explanation with some stupid excuse as to why Cub's in hospital."
"Like saying he had appendicitis instead of a bullet wound" Eagle ground out.
Wolf snorted and continued "they seem to think we believe it each time they tell us there had been a 'mix up' at the hospital and the list of injuries they sent over was a different patient and Cub was suffering from yet another harmless childhood illness."
It was at this moment a knock sounded on the door. Eagle stood and fetched the letter the messenger held. With a grim expression he returned to his seat.
Falcon was in shock "surely they wouldn't…?" he stuttered out. How could anyone use a child in such a way? And then cover it up? Eagle gave a bitter smile before handing him the letter. Falcon noticed it appeared to have been sent from a bank before he opened the letter.
"Read it aloud" Wolf said as he shifted over to his bunk to lie back with a world-weary sigh.
Apprehensively, Flacon unfolded the single sheet of paper and began reading:
It has come to our attention that there was mistake in the letter you received from St. Dominic's Hospital.
Cub was taken there last night after he managed to contract measles. As such he will have to stay some time to ensure that he not only heals but doesn't pass on the disease to others.
The appropriate form will be sent shortly to file this illness for your records. Please disregard the letter you received from the hospital.
Feeling sick Falcon realized he'd got his answer about the mysterious fifth bed he'd desperately wanted to know about.
Belatedly, he realized he wished he didn't know.
A/N Well how was that as my first fic fo rthe Alex Rider fandom? Plus would people be interested in an Alex Rider / Bones crossover? Drop us a review and let me know ^^ (citicism is always welcome too)