A/N: So, this isn't exactly what I promised (eyes her other stories), but considering college is, while not yet kicking my ass, proving to be an inspiration drain...here's what I got.

All other fics will be updated when my muse gets to inspiring me.

Disclaimer: Considering all the hullabaloo about plagiarism etc. at my campus, you all can be rest assured that I am only attempting to play in the sandbox of the Alex Rider universe. All rights go to their proper owners, and if I'm making money off this, I certainly wasn't aware of it.

Warnings: Canon character death, passing mentions of torture and attempted/actual murder.

"Are you Alex Rider?" The older woman asked with a kind smile on her face.

The toddler, not quite scared enough to hide behind his uncle, who wouldn't let him anyways - not like Mommy who'd left, but not comfortable enough to simply greet this woman into the new home he'd had with Uncle Ian for a handful of weeks, merely observed this new addition. While he might have once brushed her off as temporary, there had certainly been enough people coming and going these past few weeks, her bags were at her feet and Uncle Ian looked at him expectantly.

Finally, with a solemn nod, the toddler acknowledged his name.


"Are you...Alexander Rider?" The young man asked one of his more quite charges. The young boy was obviously slightly shy, though the teacher couldn't guess as to the reason. Certainly it was the first week of school, but the children had been friendly enough these past few days, while this child had only hung at the fringes of the group.

"Yes," came the quiet reply, "I am Alex."

There was a reason, the teacher had been looking for - a slight hesitation of a learning tongue.

"Don't worry, Alex, the others won't tease you for not being quite comfortable speaking yet. But the more you practice the better you'll become."

The boy nodded. "I know, sir. I went to school in Spain for half of the year before."

"Ah, right. Well, why don't you go play with those children with the football? It seems like they need another player."

The boy turned to watch the children in the field - indeed they did need another player for even teams.

"Alright. Thank you, sir."


There's the new boy (Alex, Alex Rider, he thinks) standing in the shadow of one of the few trees that survive the brick and concrete prison known as "school." Or, at least that's how Tom likes to think about it. Jerry seems to agree, when he's not locked up in his room, bound to his books.

It makes Tom never want to grow up to high school.

But that's a distant thought because the new boy is alone and that can't be any fun - Tom would know since even if he's a wiz at sports, all the other boys see how short he is and ignore him. He has Jerry, sure, but Jerry is at the school for the upper years and not here and what's it like to have a friend who doesn't live with you anyways?

"Hello, I'm Tom," he says, decided and with his hand outstretched to shake.

"Oh, hello, Tom. I'm Alex."

"I know...want to play football? None of the others will play with me because they think I'm too short."

"Sure. They really think you're too short? There was a girl at my old school who was shorter than you and the best goalkeeper you've ever seen."

"Ha! I told them I'd be good even if I was short!"


"Hi, you must be Alex! I'm Jack Starbright, the new housekeeper from the States."

"Hello. ...Can you teach me how to talk like you do?"

"Haha, you want to talk like a Yank?"

The child nods.

"Sure, why not?"

It's a start of a beautiful sibling-ship.


"Good job, Rider!"

"Nice! Keep it up Alex!"


"Damn it, they have Rider on the field!"

"Well, can't fault them for that. I wish we had a kid with his or the short one's talent."

"I suppose..."

"And Rider scores!"


"Are you Alexander Rider? I'm afraid we have some bad news..."



"It's-it's ok, Tom. Just...Ian always wore his seatbelt. Why wouldn't he have been wearing it that night?"


"Are you Alexander Rider?" The grey man asks in a flat voice.

"Yes. Why?"

"I have some unfortunate news for you..."


"Hello, Alex, my name is Alan Blunt and I am the current head of the organization known as MI6..."


"...use the name Felix Lescer..."

The teen nods. Of course he has to give up his name - the other teen won the contest, after all, and a small part of Alex is glad his name - the one his parents gave him - won't be linked to this...job (coercion and blackmail never could have found a fuller cover than the head of MI6).

But that name change is a small relief in the new found insanity that has suddenly replaced Alex's childhood.


"Rider? Like John Rider?"

It's the most he's ever really heard of his father than the occasional stories Ian would let slip here and there on trips.

It's also the first time he's heard his name spit like a curse (but it's not the last).


He's back again and he's obviously been too successful by half already. At least he isn't actually delusional (because, really, what government would use a child for an adult's job? Apparently his…).

"You'll use the name Alex Friend."

They're not even trying to disguise him much, are they?

With a sigh that sounds like the paper he's handed, Alex can feel the threads start snapping like hair settling on a well honed blade. But, is it his sanity or something else (he never gave much thought to higher powers until he's started dealing directly with death, luck, and chance)?


"Alex Rider?"

What use is it to use a fake name when everyone discovers who he is eventually? /Jack/, he reminds himself.


"Alex Rider."

"Of course...Find SCORPIA...and you'll find your destiny."

It's sad when a man dies, even if he was going to kill you. It's even worse when you can see the light fade from his eyes and know that you never discover all that he knew about your family, your family that's been denied to you since they died.


"Rider. Rider. Alex Rider."

And he learns more with a group of international terrorists than he could ever have learned with MI6. They would have had to make at least a passing recognition of his place in their organization, and they couldn't have that, could they? Not when he'd already been doing so well!



It's like a whisper on the wind that's leaving his lungs, but it's in a voice he can't remember hearing. It doesn't matter - it fills him with the images that sat on his uncle's desk, nearly hidden by books and other items on an otherwise impeccably clean surface and he knows he can finally go home.


Apparently home doesn't want him as much as he want it. The whispers ("Ah, Alex Rider, right. The lucky one") tell him as much, as does the aggravatingly incessant beeping near his ear.



"Who?" Goddamnit, Fox. The first time he's had a proper disguise and it gets blown by another...agent? Huh, that's new.

"Cub, what the bloody hell are you doing here?"

"Who's this 'Cub'? I'm Batman."

"...Very funny."


"Alex Rider."

What's the use in hiding again and again? What the use of disguises?


"Alex Rider."

Haha, he thought MI6 would come through? Why? At least the crocodiles were new, though he could never figure out why people always wanted to rely on animals to kill for them if they were actively trying to a) shoot him, b) wring his neck, or c) torture or somehow kill him in a highly bloody fashion.


"Alex Rider."

Ha, his name was a curse now. "A pox on all your houses!" and all that.


"No, Jack!"

If Razim really wanted to experiment with a scale of emotional pain, perhaps he would have wires the jeep with a microphone. If he had, he and his subject might have heard a gasp that sounded like a name before the body it came from was engulfed in flames with the rest of the car on the screen.

Perhaps it's alright that it hadn't been wired.





"We've gathered here today to mourn the loss of one Alexander Rider..."

Perhaps the only one who shed a tear was the short male brunet in the first row. It was only one tear - he knew this ceremony was completely unnecessary and the body didn't match the name, but it was more than a little symbolic. This ceremony was to commemorate the death of Alex Rider, Tom's best friend since primary school.

That person no longer existed, killed by the agency that was supposed to eliminate external threats to the country, killed by the men and women his friend had accidentally (and, eventually, purposely) been forced to kill.

Nothing Tom could do would change his friend back to the athletic child who was too curious for his own good and was well liked for his charisma and his intelligence, his kindness and his heart. Tom had tried, but he'd waged a war with only one other ally and then been forced to continue alone.

You can't win when it's just you against the world and your best friend is the battlefield.


"The Cossack has returned. He's finally back in the Business."

"Really? I'd heard he'd died with that other fellow, Cray."

"Did he? Well, he can't have, or someone is using his name."

"Someone would /do/ that? I'd be scared he'd hunt me from his grave."

"Well he's coming - tonight is what I heard."

"Well, we'll see then if he's real or not."

"Of course."

The Cossack walked through the warehouses, aware that more than a few were full of watching eyes, for a chance to catch a glimpse at a legend.

They'd be disappointed, the Cossack acknowledged, lamplight briefly catching on a blond streak in his light brown hair. The Cossack had died like any other man would have at the end of a gun. But then, he might as well pay the Russian back for allowing him to gain skills beyond his own athleticism and ingenuity (and Smither's gadgets). If that meant ensuring the other's reputation remained a legend, well it was better than using his own real name.

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