Hey guys, thanks to all those who have stuck by me with this story. Check my profile for updates and information on why my chapters will be slower.

Warnings: mentions of past abuse, injury and strong language

Disclaimer: Alex Rider does not belong to me

Alex was annoyed. After getting into a fight his game time had been cut and he had been sent to his room for time out "too old for this crap" he muttered, climbing the stairs two at a time.

"Never too old for anything Al" a knowing voice joked from the top of the stairs. Callum Prince stood with his arms crossed and signature quirk of the lips. It had been four months since the man had turned up at Hopes and Alex had come to like the man, he was easy going although he had lost his temper a few times when Alex had pulled certain pranks.

"I'm eleven soon to be twelve, I am too old to be sent to my room for a time out" Alex pouted "I didn't even start the fight" he jumped up the rest of the stairs so he could stand by Prince.

Prince hummed, hand reaching out to run through Alex's soft golden curls "you wanna talk about it?" he gestured to the wooden door that belonged to the boy.

Nodding Alex pulled ahead and pushed into the room. Frankie was present. Being two months away from the age of 18 he would soon be leaving so Alex had recently joined the room, after a long protest from the older boy that had ended with the two barley speaking.

Frankie glanced at Alex with red rimmed, emerald green eyes as he held a cloth to his bleeding nose "hey Rider" he smirked, throwing the cloth at the smaller.

"Ew!" Alex shouted, throwing the cloth across the room after it hit his arm "Stop laughing" he told the brunette "it isn't funny, Frankie!"

"It was" Frankie protested, falling back on to his bed.

"I highly doubt you should be throwing things at your age" Prince spoke from the door, guiding Alex to his bed so the duo could sit.

Frankie tensed, slowly pushing himself up to a sitting position to give Prince a nasty look "what the hell are you doing, Prince?" his emerald orbs racked over Alex's petite frame before narrowing at the redness on the child's chin. Snatching a hand out Frankie pulled the blonde onto his own bed before Alex could sit by Prince.

Alex raised an eyebrow at the behaviour but sat none the less, shoulders touching as Prince just smirked. "Are you okay, Alex?" he shrugged at the question.

"Al got into a fight, so he had to take some time out" Prince explained, cleaning the school books spread over the bed "I offered to listen to him"

Frankie snorted "yeah, right, listen" he rubbed at the dried blood on his face.

"Come now Frankie, I know you and I are close but you'll be leaving in a few weeks and I thought I should get to know some of the other kids just as well" there was a gleam in those forest eyes that Alex didn't understand but would come to dread in a matter of weeks.

"You stay the hell away from him!"

Alex was confused.


Alex was use to pain. At the age of 12 he had learnt to deal with it without tears leaking, most of the time. So to wake up with a dull throb in his side wasn't a surprise, it was however unwelcome.

Blinking slowly, he squinted when stark light assaulted him. He could hear a mumbled conversation coming from one corner of the room as he brought his senses under control.

"Fox, he's waking up" an excited voice called, one he could vaguely recognise.

Head rolling to the side Alex took in the sight of the man sat at his bedside. Eagle had a grin on his handsome face but there was a stark blackness under his hazel eyes that hadn't been there the last time Alex had talked with him "you look like shit" he decided to tell the man.

Eagle laughed popping an ice cube in the teen's mouth before replying "thanks Cub, I really appreciate the compliment, I'd like to thank you for making it possible" he sat back and put his feet on the bed.

"Eagle I swear if you mess with any of those wires I will strangle you, get your bloody feet off the bed!" Snake roared over his shoulder as he left. Eagle made a face behind the man's back but did as he was told.

"So kiddo, how you feeling?"

"Fine" Alex glanced around the white washed room with a frown "why am I in the hospital?"

Wolf glared at Alex "you were shot"

"Yassen shot me?" his eyebrows came together in confusion before the events came rushing back to him, he relaxed a little, Yassen hadn't wanted to kill him.

Fox talked over Wolf as he opened his mouth "Yea Alex, Gregorovich shot you. Do you remember what happened?"

"Ian was a MI6 agent" the boy stated blankly stretching his fingers for another piece of ice, Eagle moved the cup closer "but I'm guessing you already knew that and that you're looking for the same thing Yassen was" the conversation came to a halt as a woman bounded into the room, Snake following her.

The woman did not look happy as she took in the sight of the teenage boy "Alexander John Rider" she growled. Alex just smiled at the red haired woman as her freckled cheeks grew flustered in fury "don't you smile at me Alex, I'm beyond furious right now" she grabbed his chart and shooed all the men to the back of the room.

"I'm fine Jack, can't even feel anything" Alex rolled his eyes, letting Jack fuss over him and make a few notes. Moving the blanket and soft top out of the way Alex got his first look at the wound. The edges were red and swollen but it had been neatly stitched back together and it was only a few centimetres long.

"You're lucky it didn't hit anything serious" Jack told him, pushing a red lock behind her ear "and that your foster father was with someone who knew first aid, there was a lot of blood"

Of course there had been. Yassen needed all the attention to be on Alex so he could get away but something else stuck out to him "foster father?" he blinked owlishly.

Eagle stumbled forward when Wolf pushed him "oh come on Al, don't say you've forgotten about me already" he had a happy smile but Alex could see the nerves in his eyes.

"Right, sorry, I forgot for a moment Jason*"

Jack gave him a disbelieving shake of the head "Ok, kiddo. I've bandaged up your wrist but the bruising should go down in a couple of days and the cuts have already started healing. We had to stich up the wound on your cheek and on your forehead. We'll be monitoring you for a concussion over the next few hours but so far there's been no indication. The knife wound caused the most concern" she sat on the edge of the bed "to begin with we thought something serious had been hit due to the amount of blood but we cleaned it up and it's just a flesh wound"

"You gave us a heart attack, kid" Fox tried to joke but it fell flat.

"We've stitched it up and there doesn't seem to be muscle damage. That doesn't mean you can go jumping over walls, Al, I mean it. You need to rest up, if you tear those stitches open I will let you bleed out" Jack threatened.

Alex grinned "behave, got it. When do I not behave?"

The red head just raised a perfect eyebrow "I'll be back to give you more medication at six" she patted his knee softly "I'm glad you're alright, Al, buzz me if you need anything" she sat the call button by his hand with a significant look.

The room was silent as Jack left and the SAS men exchanged glances before Snake spoke "you said we're here for the same thing as Yassen, what do you mean?"

"The memory stick, right?" Alex rolled his eyes "I don't have it, I didn't have it when Yassen asked, I won't have it when you ask" he pulled the blanket closer around him "so you can all get lost now"

Eagle smirked "you aren't getting rid of us that easily Cub. If Yassen thinks you have the memory stick then there will be others who come to the same conclusion, you need protection and luckily for you we can provide it" he took the jelly from Alex's bedside table.

"I don't need anyone to look after me" Alex argued, aiming a glare at Wolf when he snorted "I don't, I'm fine on my own"

"We understand that you can look after yourself" Fox soothed "but these are professional assassins, Alex you're lucky to be alive right now"

"What's new?"

"This is serious"

"I'm being serious" the teen grabbed his half eaten jelly from Eagle with a pout "I don't need you people taking over my life and I defiantly don't need a foster father" he ignored Eagle's glance of sympathy.

Wolf cleared his throat, standing straight "well tough luck, MI6 want you under observation"

"Protection" Eagle butted in ignoring Wolf's glare.

"Which means" Wolf continued "you're stuck with Eagle until we get this mess sorted out or someone kills you" he gave a careless shrug.

"I'm not living with him" Alex argued.

Snake picked up the chart at the end of his bed "You don't have a choice, as of now Jason is your legal guardian, the paper work has been filled out. When MI6 think it is safe enough you can go back to living at Hopes but until then you're stuck with us. Let us protect you Alex" he didn't let Alex talk before adding "according to your chart you should be ready for release tomorrow afternoon"

Alex snorted, pulling the wires from his chest "Yea, I don't think so" he cringed when he slipped the IV out.

"What the hell do you think you're doing?" Snake demanded, hands hovering, looking like he wanted to physically hold the blonde to the bed.

"I'm not staying here, so as my legal guardian" the teen gave Eagle a grin "you can go discharge me while I get dressed" he lifted his bloodied clothes from the dresser and limped to the bathroom. Eagle looked around the group in confusion.

"I can't believe we listened to the little brat" Wolf growled, changing gear more harshly than necessary.

"I'm right here" Alex muttered from the back seat.


Fox snickered "I think you two will be great friends one day, your like toddlers pulling each other's hair in the playground"

"Don't children do that to the people they like?" Eagle raised an eyebrow "Ow! Why'd you do that?!" the man rubbed his arm, hoping to lessen the sting Wolf's punch had made "Ah, god damn it cub!" he rubbed the back of his head.

Alex pulled his hand back to his lap "keep saying stupid shit like that and I'll hit you a lot harder"

Snake and Fox snorted "prepare to have some bruises Eagle" Fox teased.

"I don't say stupid shit" Eagle argued before huffing and facing the window.

The five piled out of the car when they reached Hopes, Alex walking ahead. Sam was leaving as they walked down the path and she gave Alex a blinding smile "Al, I heard you got fostered, that's great"

Alex took a deep breath before letting tears fill his eyes, making them look bigger and more doe like, he sniffled "please don't make me go Sam" he begged, voice quaking "don't let him take me, please, please I'll be good"

The SAS men stood frozen "what's happening?" Eagle questioned in panic.

"Alex" Sam squeezed her eyes shut briefly before opening them, her stare hard "I understand that this is new for you, I know you may not want this right now but this could be your chance of a brighter future"

The teen let a single tear fall "he's not a nice person" he whispered.

"Don't lie to me Alexander, do you really think I would Pete organise a home for you if I knew it would be harmful? They've all been checked out, Jason has fostered two children in the past, Matt has also fostered one. They've all been checked before entering the SAS and their superiors have spoken on behalf of them" she put a hand on the boys shoulder but he brushed it off.

"Worth a try" Alex's face went blank "don't blame me when my body turns up in a river" he spat in annoyance, storming into the building to pack his bags.

The blonde woman looked like she was holding in tears as she let the younger walk away "you'll have your work cut out for you" she told the group "he's a handful, just…give him time alright, he isn't a bad kid but he has had some bad luck"

"I'll look after him" Eagle promised, following the boy inside. When a shout came from Alex upstairs, Eagle raced up the remaining steps "What's wrong?" he rushed out before freezing in the doorway.

The room looked like an explosion had hit it, the wardrobe was lying sideways, halfway on the bed, all the clothes over the floor. Books were scattered, all the pages seeming to have been looked through, the mirror that had been on the wall had been shattered, the shards glistening like diamonds on the wooden floor.

"No, no, no" Alex crouched by a floor board that had been ripped up, pulling a picture out before settling back on his heels, face buried in his hands.

"We had a break in" Pete spoke from the doorway, behind Eagle's shoulder "only the office and underfloor were touched. What's missing Alex?"

"It's gone" his voice sounded so broken that Eagle knelt down to be closer to the boy "It's all bloody gone!" his cheeks were blotched red, from trying to keep the tears in and anger.

"What's gone?" Eagle asked softly, K-unit coming to stand outside the doorway.

Alex ran a hand through his locks "I was saving, I've been saving for years. For university, I know I'm not smart enough to get a scholarship and the government will only pay so much especially if I want to study at a private university in Spain"

Pete sighed "how much Alex?"


"Shit kid" Fox hissed.

There was silence for a moment "get your bags packed Cub, we'll figure it out" Eagle stood, carefully picking the clothes and books off the floor. Alex joined him after a moment of hesitation.

*I changed Eagles name from Marty to Jason

Stay safe guys, Robin Rider xx