Time and Time Again
An Alex Rider One-shot
In Which you consider the futility of rebelling
You are not owned by Calliope's Quill, no matter how many times she says pretty-please-please with cookies on top to Anthony Horowitz.
You are one of the few people who understood best how precious time is. How each month should be treasured, each day is different (there is only one of that day after all), each second can make a difference for life or death, each heart-beat a mark of victory. Many would say that the feats you pull off last minute every-time, against seemingly impossible odds, and saving so many people defies fate itself. You really would like to think so. It would be to have control over something in this crazy life of yours, so you control your destiny as much as circumstances allow. Your decisions are yours, not the workings of some shadowy force, working behind the scenes. You've had enough of those types.
But really, it's an uncomfortable topic. Maybe you do control your fate, maybe you don't, but either way everyone is happier when you don't think about the manipulative influences of certain stalkery organizations. You're pretty good at blocking out thoughts you don't want to of course, because after all, you are one of the best agents around - age be damned. You never would have expected that this, of all things, would lead to you giving up, as the truth sinks in under the blue glow of the computer screen.
It was all the fan-fictions fault.
For several days now, Tom had been bugging you about reading some spy story someone wrote. After bearing Tom torture for a few days (you're pretty sure you lasted longer than many of your acquaintances would've), you finally gave in, and read the story. It was, frankly, horrible. You spent the whole read mentally ranting about just how much of a stupid amateur mistake that was (no, you do not bring your real cellphone on high volume in an undercover mission), and why that just wouldn't work (a lot of criminals are self absorbed, but leaving a mirror out ain't gonna stop them) - and how is it physically possible to do that anyway? After all, if you could fight off twenty people while wounded and unarmed, you would. People don't seem to realize this, but being captured really sucks. Oh, and it hurts a lot too, but that is totally besides the point. After that, you wasn't really sure how you ended up doing it, but you skimmed over several fics, and you noticed that a common theme seemed to be.. time travel into one's past body.
Key words jumped out.
Saving his friends.
Happily ever after.
It called to you, almost like a Siren Song (the evil side - mental images of Alan Blunt singing). You could picture yourself in a warm bright room, when everywhere seemed so dark with suspicious shadows nowadays. Surrounded by smiling happy people, you're all so free, joyful, unhurt, innocent.
Just like anyone else.
You could picture it now, balancing your life in one hand, while holding knowledge of the future in the other, which you could use to...
What could you do with future knowledge, anyway? There were so many you wanted to save... Mom, Dad, Ian, Yassen, soldiers, civilians. You wanted to avoid MI6. A life where you lead a normal life, and didn't have to constantly fight (and your constant fighting always led to hurting the people around you).
You considered your parents. Great, so, a two year you're good at causing chaos (no point in denying it anymore, you've got a talent for it - the goddess Eris* would be proud). But how would you cause enough chaos to make your mom and dad miss the flight? Simple answer. You couldn't. A ickle-wickle baby couldn't handle Ash either. The best you could do is try to not get the ear infection... so you could die along with your parents. It sounds a little too tempting, but never an option, no way. And even if you saved your parents, what about the other people on the plane? Would there be more blood on your hands, even as a pudgy baby, with wide clear eyes?
You love Ian. Sure, you're pissed about the whole leaving-to-MI6 thing and training you to be a spy.. but you're pretty sure you did it because he cares. All your skills now go back to Ian, it all goes back to him. There were few things you'd like more to know you saved him.
But you wouldn't have.
He loved his job, though for the life of you, you can't figure out why. Maybe you'd understand better if you weren't blackmailed into doing it. In any case, nothing you do could make him quit. It just wouldn't happen. So he'd still be in their clutches, that place of those people who went not condemned, simply by wearing a "good guys" label. Whatever "good guys" is supposed to mean. And it's not like MI6 truly takes their shadowy tentacles out of anyone. So Ian would still go on missions, and chances are he'd be assigned Stormbreaker again. And chances are, he'd die.
And if somehow, you saved him from that deadly mission (though you haven't the faintest of how that would be done), he'd still be out on missions, and so would eventually die, especially considering he was getting old.
Was there any way to save Ian?
Maybe he could save Yassen, by handling that last fight on Air Force One differently. Your uncle's killer, father's friend, your savior. But not Ian. And then you'd just be in MI6's clutches again, same people, same missions. Same dangers, same fear, hopelessness, loneliness. And even then, what could you be doing about missions?
No matter how much you hate them, it's true in several cases - you are the only one who could help. Not to mention, you'd know what would happen of course, but you'd still have to do something to back up your claim, and in other occasions let things happen a certain way because you'd need to be in certain spots at the right time to save the day. It'd happen the same way, just quicker. And even then, could you save your partners at Skeleton Key? Or Sabina's dad? Hell, you'd even have to still do that Scorpia mess again just so you could save London's people.
Eventually, that would lead you to a chilly November week, with your last friend, Tom, pestering you about a story.
And then you'd be here.
You couldn't have changed your path at all really.
It'd be the same choices, that each only had one decision. It would never change, and was decided so before you were even born. It was fate, destiny.
There was no saving the people you wanted to, or yourself for that matter.
You were always doomed.
That day, you gave up fighting for a normal life. For the first time, you just gave up, because somethings just can't be changed, and some people must always live horrors, so other people never even know those horrors are happening.
Fate really is a bitch.
*Eris is the Greek and Roman goddess of chaos and discord. One of her best known feats in mythology is starting the Trojan War.
Well, I was determined to have something posted in time for Thanksgiving, even though Alex doesn't care because he's British. So, taa-daa! Hope you enjoyed.