A/N: And here's the Alex Rider oneshot I was talking about!

Warnings: Depression, suicidal themes, PTSD, and however much you can mess up a person's mind by making them shoot a mirror image of themselves.

Disclaimer: Don't own, not making money, we're all on the same page, right?

Also, shout out to The Mishmosh Bird, who inspired this fic in our PM conversation!

On with the sadness!

Technically speaking, Alex Rider is never given enough bullets, with one exception. To be more correct, Alex Rider never steals more bullets, because he steals the gun in the first place and grabbing a weapon off the floor consequently results in a lack of extra ammunition clips or magazines. To be the most correct, Alex Rider is allowed a gun on two occasions, and uses the gun on only one of those occasions – the final one.

That doesn't mean that there aren't situations where Alex wishes he had a gun.

The first time was during his mission Stormbreaker. It was a youthful, brash wish – it would have been so much easier to get out with a gun. But where would he have hid it? Would his hand have even been steady on the grip, let alone the trigger? No, looking back, it's better that he didn't have a gun for long, then.

But the opportunities have kept coming.

When all of one's enemies use guns, it's disheartening that you are "too young" to use one yourself.

(It's okay – you may not always sleep through the night, but the faces that flash through your dreams are limited and there's less guilt on your conscience, then.)

And then he follows an assassin's advice.

Here, at Scorpia, he is not too young. No one is (except maybe an infant, who lacks the fine motor control it would take to deal with guns, or a toddler, who would still struggle with the weight of the weapons and has an unpredictable temper to boot. Well, the temper at least hasn't stopped any of Alex's previous adversaries).

It's refreshing to be taught. It's refreshing to be an adult – or, for the most part, treated as one in every way.

This, of course, includes training Alex to shoot a gun. It includes arming him, just the same as his enemies.

He breezes through all the wooden targets. And freezes when Scorpia begins to use faces on the various places he's supposed to hit – punch through with a small bit of metal that can, has, will kill.

Alex Rider does not want to be an adult. He does not want to be a spy, or an assassin.

He has no choice (he's never had any choice, since his uncle died), staring Mrs. Jones in the face with a gun in his hand and MI6 coming to prevent an assassination.

But a choice he makes, nonetheless.

He lowers the gun, and goes with her to discuss Scorpia's newest plot, under the leadership of Julia Rothman, whom he foils. Alex saves the world, again, and this time gets paid…with a bullet to the heart.

It is no more than he deserves.

(It is no less than he has come to expect.)

Then his opponents become creative – or, more creative. It's something Alex comes to relish and regret. On one hand, running from guns becomes…not boring, but old hat – cliché, and while he could have, for example, done without the crocodiles, it does add a bit more to the experience.

Although, Alex has to wonder what it is with aquatic creatures and megalomaniacs.

But then he's running and such thoughts take more energy than he can spare.

(It comes back to haunt him in his dreams.)

(It comes back to ghost it's way through the halls of Brookland – what animal would he choose? But it starts with the more fanciful, entertaining though: what would Blunt choose?

Go figure MI6 has ruined daydreaming for him, too.)

But then he's allowed a gun, and he refrains, refrains, refrains from using it because that would be too easy (no, it wouldn't) and it would give the game away (it's already been broken, the rules have been changed), but Jack is in dangerdangerDANGER…dead (and of course he doesn't have anything then).

He screams.

And then Julius is there.

Maybe it's penance to shoot the clone. Maybe it's an act of revenge.

Maybe it's an act of self-hatred, buried under the reasoning that if he, Alex, dies, than Julius Grief will terrorize the world.

Whatever the reason, Alex uses the gun, uses the training of assassins, and kills his reflection.

He makes a point to never look in a mirror for years.

(Except, there are days when he wakes from a nightmare, and stumbles into the bathroom to wash his face of sweat, and it's only the scar on his chest that keeps him from taking the gun he's kept and putting it to the mirror, to his head, to his heart.

Julius Grief was a clone, was a doppelgänger, and his work is still unfinished.)


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