A/N: Wow, it's been a while. This one's just a short one-shot which takes place after the events of Houseguests, Vodka, and The Somalian Fallout. Hopefully, it won't take me so long to get another one up this time. Happy reading and please review!

Alex woke to the smell of sweat and burning flesh, already screaming. A thousand years later, he became aware of his lungs shuddering their way through keeping him alive and the weight of his abused body against a concrete floor. A few moments later he noticed the other people.

There were about a half-dozen of them, varying heights, races, and builds, but all had the look of mean, hard men. Alex wasn't surprised. In his experience, waking up to blinding pain on the floor of a… warehouse? Whatever. Given the other circumstances, he would've been much more surprised to see friendly faces looking down at him.

He was startled out of his observations by a hard kick to the ribs. Curling instinctively, he made one more observation: there was a chain sunk in the concrete that ended in a cuff that was welded around his arm.

Well, that explained the blinding pain. His eyes traced the pattern of cooling metal on his forearm. Luckily, there was thick leather wrapped under the cuff, or he wouldn't have skin to be burned, but damn. That was going to scar.

The second kick brought to his attention the fact that he probably had a concussion. He focused—well, he tried—on his assailant's face for the first time and was suddenly very concerned. The man was talking. And Alex wasn't hearing anything but white noise. Actually, a lot of white noise.


Concussion then. Definitely head trauma. Explosion on the side? He didn't remember.

Well, shit. He didn't remember.

Fuck. Another kick. By the looks on their faces, they were tired of Alex not answering them.

"I can't hear you," Alex said, probably much too loud. "I think I hit my head."

Perhaps they didn't believe him. Perhaps they didn't care. This time he got kicked in the head.

Well, they had a sense of humor. Even if it wasn't a good one.

When the world came back into focus, he decided he definitely had a concussion. The next thing he noticed was that one of them had pulled out a baseball bat.


Alex woke to the smell of sweat and drying blood. He'd been out for a long while, based on stiffness of his body and the angle of the small amount of light that had made its way into the warehouse. His mouth was dry. His throat was dry. When was the last time he'd had water? His brain wasn't cooperating. Speaking of his brain, he was pretty sure some of it was leaking out the back of his head. The stabbing pain made it hard to concentrate on anything else.

An experimental tug on the chain didn't help his spirits, just caused some burning pain. Hurrah for variety. His arm was swelling around the cuff, it didn't look too bad if he ignored the hand-print bruises down the length and speckled burns. He didn't want to see underneath the leather that still felt like it was going to burst into flame. His fingers were too pale and didn't want to move when he asked them. That was a problem.

His other arm was definitely fractured; his leg might be, thanks to the baseball bat, he figured, but couldn't quite remember. More than one cracked rib.

The broken bones would have to wait, though. Well, everything would have to wait. The only thing he could do was keep blood circulating in his hand. Wiggling his fingers barely even hurt, comparatively.

He was really thirsty and he didn't think they were coming back. The warehouse was dead silent. No guard. No cell. Just four walls and a concrete floor with a chain in the corner. And one half-dead teenage spy. He didn't even have his shoes. What, were they worried he'd run away? He supposed he could respect their thoroughness. Or maybe not. His combat boots looked just close enough that maybe, just maybe…

Still wiggling his fingers, Alex angled his legs towards the abandoned boots, stretched, and promptly passed out.

Alex woke to the smell of sweat and infection. His left arm throbbed menacingly and he forced his head to turn the few degrees necessary to bring it into his peripheral. It was bigger than it should have been, and too pink. There were ugly red marks where molten metal had met skin, oozing liquid of some kind. It was definitely infected, but Alex couldn't seem to bring himself to care much. His head lolled back to its original position and he looked at the rafters of the seemingly abandoned warehouse with unfocused eyes.

Absentmindedly, he tapped out a rhythm on the floor to see if his hearing was improving. No dice. His head was filled with cotton and his veins with fire. His vision was blurred at the edges. He closed his eyes.

If he could just get to his boots, he mused. But that would require moving, and all he wanted to do right now was sleep. And really, was this such a surprise? It had had to happen eventually, and in his line of work, sooner rather than later. He supposed he'd finally ran out his luck, his clock. Had to happen eventually, he reasoned.

But not like this. This was a shitty way to go out, he had to admit. He'd always figured he'd go out in a hailstorm of bullets. Or maybe in an explosion after tossing a kid out of the building or something. Not lying in a puddle of his own sweat and pus and who knows what else in a shitty warehouse with no memory of how he got there or who was responsible. He sighed, mumbled a curse, and opened his eyes.

Sleep would have to wait. He had a reputation to protect, after all. His eyes roved over the warehouse, looking for anything to improve his situation. Nothing, nothing, bingo. Combat boots. Right. There was an emergency beacon in the heel of one of those boots. He shifted his legs. The ceiling and walls suddenly switched positions. He shifted a bit more. And a bit more. Then he threw up. Then he moved a few more centimeters and dry heaved some more. He moved again and suddenly his arm was on fire. The world went black.

Alex woke to the smell of sweat and vomit. His head swam, but he managed to lift it enough to look towards his pot of gold. The distance between his socked feet and his boots had to be measured in centimeters, but it looked like eternity. He shifted experimentally and found the source of his (most recent) blackout. He'd run out of chain.

Fuck. Fuck, fuck, fuckity fuck fuck fuck.

Alex didn't realize he was speaking out loud until his throat started to protest from all the yelling. He swore some more. Then he grit his teeth and moved, lunging forward with all the strength in his failing body, feeling his left shoulder dislocate and his socked foot hook boot laces. He pulled the boot in, the edges of his vision fading to black, tore off the sole using a combination of broken arm and teeth, and pressed the button embedded in the rubber.

Alex woke to the smell of antiseptic and clean sheets.

He took a deep breath and relished in the steady beep, beep, beep of the monitors. There were London accents in the hall and the steady breathing of a soldier on his left. Wolf, probably. He let his eyes flicker open to check.

The tall man was flipping through a magazine, looking bored. He glanced over and met Alex's eyes.

He didn't smile, exactly, but his scowl lessened, which was really as good as it got with Wolf.

"Go back to sleep. They've got you on the good drugs."

Yes, Alex thought contentedly, they certainly did.

He didn't go to sleep.

"Go on. I'll be here when you wake up."

Alex felt his mouth curve into a slow smile. He closed his eyes and gave himself to the merciful goddess that was drug induced slumber.

Everything was going to be just fine.

A/N: Reviews are much appreciated.