I do not own Alex Rider. Maybe I'll get it as a holiday present? Note, this stories has mentions mild torture (is there such a thing?) in it, but doesn't go in depth. Also, the italicized quotes are from poems that definitely are not mine.
Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Let your heart be light
From now on,
our troubles will be out of sight
London awoke, to find large white flakes falling silently, loosely flying through the air, landing on some laughing child's tongue. All sound muffled, stifled, though traffic is thick as always. On the corners of the sidewalks are snowbanks, uneven piles of pure white, soft angles and crevices, like clouds resting on the ground. The whiteness was everywhere, contrasting with the colors of the city. Red and green sparkling lights, twinkling, majestic spruce trees decorated in everything from tinsel to carefully crafted glass to glinting gold wafting out their lovely scent, the bright colors of people going every which way, all glimmering as the sun's bright beams reflect on the ice.
A sacrifice you make today
Will stay in many hearts
A sacrifice you make today
Help many play their parts
Alex Rider loved Christmas. He always had. Even though the idea of it being a family holiday made him ache - for he had none now, not even his often away uncle. He didn't care much about the presents - it was probably from his own lack of experience with them. In fact, Alex often spent much of the holiday thinking. With presents, he pictured them, boxes of all sizes and colors, with elaborate lovingly done wrappings with all sorts of patterns, arrayed carefully under green needles. Children staring at them, trying to guess what it was.
No. Alex didn't have family moments of his own so much - in fact, the last christmas he had with Ian involved American defense secrets and several attempted shootings, but he felt warm thinking of other families - especially now. Alex felt that way doubly so this year, as he looked at each smiling face. He knew exactly what sort of sacrifices had been made so that these people could even still be alive.
So many of them. So many deaths, screams of pain, rushingrunning adreline, fear throughout the year. But here was bliss, joy, ignorance. These people had no idea what people - Alex being one - had done and gone through and bled so that they could be here today, laughing at someone shoving snow down a sibling's back. And if Alex had his way, they never would, because ignorance and innocence were rare and precious... in normal, daily life situations anyway. And although Alex is bitter and angry and hurt beyond fixing at what has been done to him, he knows that he would do it all again in a flash to save them all.
Snow, snow gently drifting to the ground,
Falling in the form of unique white snowflakes,
A pure natural blanket,
Sparkling under the sun.
Alex also loves the snow, and not just because with snow comes lots of sports, and he likes sports. Really, he likes sports a lot less now after the year he had - Alex doubts he'll ever be able to go snowboarding without remembering the horrifying experience of zipping down the mountain, ice cold wind flying past him along with bullets, with lives (including his own) on the line.
Instead, he looks at the snow. Each snowflake is supposedly different, but to human eyes they all look the same. But really, it is a crowd of the same, but you can't know what each snowflake is like, those whirling flurries - so much like a human crowd, where they all look similar yet are different and who knows what they're hiding. And every flake is different yet seemingly identical and they all melt - die - the same anyway.
The masses of snow cover everything (despite doormen's best efforts) and there are entire sheets of pure gleaming white. Snow creates a fresh canvas, a new start, covering up the normal grime and old gum of the gray sidewalk. The snow is what you want to make of it, and to Alex, that's part of why it's so beautiful.
What warm gift is here?
If fire were aspiration,
would its color differ?
If fire were catharsis,
would it not still crackle?
If fire were love,
would its flames fail to dance?
Jack is waiting for him. Alex knows that, and it warms him better than the crackling fire that Jack probably has going ever could. She will be there, with red hair and bright eyes, gentle touch, sweet smile, after every bruising agonizing mission for him. She is was makes his house home, what makes it alive instead of empty and dead - even back in the days of Ian being alive (though then, Alex pretended not to see Jack's way of "warming" up Ian - honestly, he'd smirk to himself, get a room). Jack was the light and happiness, the crazy soul who had somehow managed to cause a mini smores explosion inside their microwave - Alex was good with explosions, but even he would never be able to figure that one out.
And so it was with a smile that Alex headed for home, shutting himself off from the cold, letting the memories of warmth fill him, a tantalizing promise - just a few more blocks.
That was his mistake.
Enemies - Or, one could call them Grinches
And then is gone.
You react for a chance
To see the dawn.
Large hands, reaching out, pulling him into a shadowed alley that he's walked by for so many years. Large men, all armed surround him, slightly incredulous that he is their target - so small, just a child. But that doesn't stop them from doing their job. Boy, are they surprised when the innocent looking blond fights back with everything he has, taking down two and almost a third, but it isn't enough to save him.
It's never enough, as Alex is forced to the ground in utter pain that he knows will only get worse. Blood, is splattered on the blank canvases he had been admiring, blood spoiling the pureness of the snow. Red and white. Christmas colors. As he's led away, powerless, injected with something - talk about feeling deja vu - Alex closes his eyes, yet he can still see the bright hints of flashing lights decorating buildings. It'll probably be the last bit of Christmas he'll see for a while, and Alex really hopes that getting through this okay is fate's present to him this year.
And later, some man with a cold hard voice - Alex can't see anything, as he's blindfolded - is asking him things. The man, apparently, wants to do well in the crime world, and decided that approaching powerful criminals with valuable information is a good start. It probably is. But as the boy kneels, gritting his teeth against the pain of tasers and even a whip - how cliche, Alex thinks absently. The man, referred to only as "Boss" wants to know information about people and locations and demanding answers, some of which Alex has and some that he doesn't. Except for sarcastic answers, Alex fights against the pain - he won't give in, he won't, he repeats to himself, a silent mantra, and then instead focuses his mind on christmas colors, and wonders what Jack is doing.
Gray shadows haunt and torment and torture
A teenager is stricken and destroyed
Several hours later the police come and rescue Alex, much to his surprise. He wonders how they found him, but it's nice to know that yes, he would live to see another dawn. At the hospital, where Alex was rather glad to hear he had no serious injuries, both Jack and MI6 called, and both showed up at the same time. In the meantime, Alex looked at the time. It wasn't Christmas anymore. The snow was dirty and hidden in the dark, the people sleeping, and the only sign of the lights he could see from the high-up window were eerie multi-colored lights spilling onto dark walls. Christmas. The earlier peace and joy and maybe even protectiveness Alex had felt earlier was gone, washed away by pain and fear, and loneliness.. at least until Jack and Mrs. Jones entered the room, Mrs. Jones smiling slightly at him, and Jack rushing forward and giving him a mug of hot chocolate, whispering conspiratorially how she'd managed to sneak it in.
She moved closer, and at first Alex flinched back from the idea of touch, but she only brought out a blanket, and wrapped it around him. The blanket was red and white. Christmas colors.
Alex let himself relax into the warmth of the blanket, and allowed the red and white of the blanket to drive out the other red and white - blood on a backdrop on clean snow. Maybe there was still hope for the beauty of Christmas, as long as he could see warm smiles and hints of lights and hear the faint strains of laughter.
Just a little fluffy thing I felt like writing in time for the holidays. =D Also, to celebrate being on break - huzzah! My life decided to go all crazy on me, but now that I'm on break I'm determined to write and post chapters for both stories, so never fear!