*looks sheepish* Heey… *chuckles nervously*
Not much to say except that I've been busy, and yes, lazy as well. To be honest I almost gave up on this – I did for a while. But look! Finished chapter, I'm shocked as well. Thanks to everyone who have been pestering me over PM, it helped a bit and gave me the inspiration needed to continue writing.
Oh and this is un-edited… Mistakes galore!
Eagles Aren't So Useless After All
Dinner had been an awkward affair, to say the least.
Alex had spent as much time as he could in the tent before Tom came and literally dragged him out of his safe place. His friend would be the recipient of many dirty looks from the teen spy during the duration of the meal.
"What?" Alex snapped, whipping his head around to face his next interrogator – one Marcus Leer. This would be the seventh time that Alex repeated his story about the scar adorning his chest. The bloody mark was starting to become a great annoyance as he also noticed the 'discrete' looks he was getting from the other teens. They really needed lessons in the subtlety department if they thought that Alex didn't notice any of those stares.
The Asian boy seemed oblivious to the annoyance that could be heard in Alex's voice and seen on his face. "I was wondering about your sc-… Whoa, what's up with your face?" Marcus asked curiously as he looked at Alex carefully for the first time.
Alex rolled his eyes. "I'm pretending to smile so that you don't see how I'm really feeling otherwise if you've heard the phrase 'if looks could kill', you would know what it means after I've finished glaring at you." He said dryly, knowing that the other boy would most likely have not listened to a single thing he'd just said.
He was right.
"Oh… I see. Cool." Marcus grinned and gave him the thumbs-up, "So about that scar… can I see it?"
"No." Alex said, "I don't like people looking at it." He added as an explanation.
"That's cool. I think I get where you're coming from."
"You do?" Alex asked, looking surprised.
"Yup." Marcus nodded seriously before walking off, leaving a startled Alex staring at his back.
Mental that one. The blonde spy thought as he made a break for it while Tom was looking the other way. Tom, it seemed, had appointed himself the job of making sure Alex finished his dinner before going back to their tent to 'sulk', according to the dark-haired teen.
Alex made it, and breathed a sigh of relief when Tom didn't come after him, meaning that either Tom had forgotten about his job, or he was still distracted by whoever he had been talking to before. The spy didn't care either way, as long as he stayed in the tent, everything would be alright. He was getting very, very annoyed with his classmates and no doubt he was going to be pestered about this particular incident for the next couple of days, maybe even for the rest of camp.
Ash, the man who was responsible for the murder of Alex's parents (he was also Alex's godfather, but Alex refused to acknowledge the fact), had once said that the Riders had the luck of the devil. And although he hated the man for killing his parents, Alex had to agree with the statement albeit grudgingly.
Knowing that there would be no more activities for the rest of the evening, Alex changed into a pair of pyjamas and slipped under the covers of his sleeping bag, pondering the 'could have been's' if Ian Rider was still alive. The teen spy smiled sadly and a single tear trailed down his face as he thought of his deceased uncle. He just couldn't bring himself to hate his father's brother for the lies because Alex knew; his life had been a lot happier when he didn't know what his uncle got up to. Besides, it would be a little hypocritical seeing as he too was now lying to his friends about his double life.
"I hate my life." Alex told the empty tent quietly, bringing his arms up to his head and stared at the canopy of the tent as though trying to figure something out.
The sound of footsteps crunching against leaves brought Alex out of his muse. Realising that the sound was coming just outside his tent, he quickly closed his eyes and deepened his breathing. Tom had finally discovered his absence.
"Alex I thought I told you to…oh."
There was a rustle of material and Alex guessed that Tom was looking into the tent and could see that he was 'sleeping'. There was a loud sigh and more rustling material before the footsteps faded away and the tent was once again quiet.
Alex opened his eyes slowly and rolled onto his side in a more comfortable position. He stared straight ahead at the piece of canvas in front of him with an unreadable look on his face.
His eyes slowly closed again and he was asleep before he even knew it.
"It was a bullet scar for heaven's sake, Jag, a bullet scar on a freaking thirteen year old." Jackal groused, looking extremely agitated as he looked at his red-headed twin. He was not at all happy with that evening's revelations. It had been shocking to say the least.
"Fourteen, Jackal. Not thirteen." Python corrected, looking up from the book he was reading. Out of the four men, he was probably the most calm and observant, not at all quick to anger as some of the others.
"Whatever." Jackal waved a dismissive hand, "But my point is still valid. I would recognise that kind of scar anywhere. I have treated wounds like it in the past and seen them heal." He gave a pointed look at Dingo who was hunched over a notebook, pen in hand.
"You sure you aren't mistaken though, bro? It is… hard to believe and you were a fair distance away from him." Jaguar said with conflicted emotions. He wanted to believe Jackal, but it just was, well unbelievable.
"I am certain. Do you doubt me o brother mine?"
"I would love to say 'of course not', but I am not convinced dear twin."
"I am the medic here, you–"
"Shut up. The both of you." Dingo spoke up suddenly, interrupting Jackal mid-sentence as he glared at both twins. The dark-haired SAS man looked beyond pissed off as he put the notebook he had been studying earlier down and turned onto the twins.
Python glanced at Dingo, concern written all over his face. "You're not even worried the least? Alex is in our care for the time being and as much as you hate all of them, you've gotta cut them some slack."
"That's why you are here, is it not?" Dingo raised an eyebrow, "I make the reports, and you look after them."
Python looked surprised, but that was quickly masked as he replied, "That may be, but then it won't be as good as a report as it could be." The tent was deathly silent as Jackal and Jaguar observed the other two occupants in the tent while Dingo just stared. Never before had any of them heard Python question Dingo's actions.
"Oh and so?" The dark-haired man asked coolly.
"So? You haven't even gotton to know any of them. Observing in the background is all well and that, but two of these boys' lives will change forever based on what you put in that report, so wouldn't you want to choose the best one for the job? Someone who has the best chances of coming out of it alive? You can't just start hating them because they saw through one trick of yours." Python stated, breathing heavily from the lack of air from his rather long-winded talk.
Dingo watched Python intently, the look in his eyes was undecipherable as he listened to the other's rant. "Feel better?" He said when Python finished speaking.
Python nodded, looking slightly subdued.
"Good. Listen up, because I'm only going to say this once." Dingo said, placing extra emphasis on the last word, "I have my own way of 'bonding' with them, m'kay? I act like a total bastard because I want to see how the kiddies would deal with someone like me. We can't have them going onto the field if they're going to burst into tears when someone's mean to them." His lip curled with disgust as he said this, making obvious his opinions on wimps.
Python protested. "But…"
"Do you understand, soldier?" Dingo's tone was flat.
Python hesitated then nodded,
"Good. Now what are you two staring at?"
End Day 3
The tiniest hints of light was evident when Alex awoke the next morning. It was pretty early, four or five at least, but he didn't care. He finally had some time to himself without fourteen other curious boys (not including Tom) pestering him on where he's been; what he's been up to; whether or not he takes drugs; how did he get scar; whether he takes drugs; was he in a gang; and whatever else they could think of.
Seriously, he thought that they would have better things to do then annoy him for the whole evening. Alex climbed out of the sleeping bag, stretching out his sore muscles. The last few days had been physically exhausting for the teen spy. But he's been through worse. From SAS training to various missions and assignments around the world – his last year hadn't exactly been the quietest.
Changing into more suitable clothes in anticipation of that day's events, Alex noticed the small bag of gadgets and whatnots he had brought with him and again he felt guilty for the insect repellent incident, but there was not much he could do less risk K-Unit breathing down his neck.
His classmates would have a field day should that day ever come.
Alex crept out of the tent quietly so that he wouldn't disturb his snoring friend. So distracted was he that the poor teen almost had a heart attack when he saw four figures by the ashes of last night's campfire. It took him a moment to realise that he was staring at the four camp leaders. Hoping they hadn't spotted him yet, Alex turned to move back into his tent.
It seemed that his sneaking around skills were getting worse by the minute as he was caught again for the second time in less then twenty-four hours. Damn.
Alex stopped mid-step, and turned around slowly. There was no use in pleading ignorance as he was the only one outside at the moment who would be referred to in such a manner. Frankly Alex was quite offended at the way Callum treated him. What did he ever do to him? Was there some kind of aura surrounding him that made people hate him more? It wouldn't be the first time someone acted meaner to him then everyone else. Maybe it was time for MI6 to choose a new teenaged puppet; spies after all were meant to be charismatic and likeable, not hated. Just look at his track record. Seven out of seven times the villains almost killed him.
"Morning Callum! Great to see that you're not a morning person as well." Alex exclaimed with false cheeriness as he eyed the Callum and the rest of his crew. They seemed surprised to see him as well, if the looks on their faces was anything to go by. Then again, they seemed to always look like that… It was a bit early to tell.
Just when he thought he would get some time alone.
"What are you doing up, Rider?" Callum's voice seemed resigned as the teen spy joined them by the remains of last night's campfire. "I thought boys your age loved their beauty sleep."
"Couldn't sleep." Alex replied with a shrug of his shoulders. "Though you would know, wouldn't you? It couldn't have been that long ago since you were my age."
There were a few snickers from the twins – Kyle and Henry – at his comment followed by a loud THWACK as Callum clubbed the sides of their heads with a glare. Arthur just watched on in amusement, shaking his head at the rest of his friend's antics.
"Aww come on Callum, I'm only kidding with ya." Alex smiled widely, "No need to take it out on them. We all know you need to look tough, but trust me I've met worse." There was definitely something wrong with Alex's brain at this time in the morning, it would seem that he had left all his sense of self-preservation behind.
Callum turned to him, hazel eyes narrowed darkly at the teen spy. "Such as…?"
Alex had not been expecting the question, he couldn't very well say 'at Brecon Beacons' as that would lead to more uncomfortable questions. "I've attended… Boot Camp…" Yeah, that would do, ". The drill sergeant there was pretty tough." He said vaguely, not wanting to go into explicit detail of the sergeant and his four minions. K-Unit. Although Fox, or Ben Daniels as he was called, was not so bad. He was with MI6 now.
Kyle and Henry looked at each other with raised eyebrows. A measly drill sergeant was tougher then a member of the SAS? Na. The kid was joking. No one was tougher then the SAS soldiers. They were the best of the best.
"Tougher then Callum? Ha! That would be an amazing feat, kid. So I really don't believe you." Kyle… or was it Henry?... chortled as the rest of the group started laughing at their leader's expense as well.
The teen spy just gave him a smirk and shook his head as though to disagree. But on the inside he was quite put off that they didn't believe him. Did he look like one for telling lies?
Oh, yeah. He was a spy. Telling lies did come with the job description.
Callum made a growling noise, awfully similar to that of a dog's. It made Alex jump a little in surprise at the menacing tone.
"Back to bed, Rider."
Alex had already turned his back on the four males, looking ready to take off.
"Alex… ALEX! Are you listening?"
Alex shifted, feeling uncomfortable as he 'felt' eyes boring into his skull. Tilting his head slightly, Alex discretely peered out of the corner of his eye and was quite startled to see a pensive Callum staring at him with a calculative look. He quickly averted his eyes and turned back towards Tom, trying to keep up with what his dark-haired friend was saying.
The previously quiet campsite was buzzing with activity as tired and grumpy teenaged boys went about their mornings, preparing for what ever torture that Callum had devised for the day. Tom sat besides him, his mouth going a mile a minute chattering about goodness knows what – Alex wasn't sure as he had been distracted by the let's-stare-a-hole-in-Rider's-head thing that seemed to be going on and it wasn't just Callum and his friends either, the rest of the camp stared as well. He was used to the stares from his fellow classmates though, what he wasn't used to was the older boys staring at him with odd looks. What were they up to?
"Alright runts, gather around!"
Callum's voice rang loud and clear in the clearing, over the top of the soft chatter that filled the air. The effect was immediate, the teenagers quietened and gathered around the remains of the previous night's campfire. It was a feat that no teacher at Brookland had ever managed – successfully silencing a group of irritable teenagers and making them obey. Callum should be proud.
"Today we're going bushwalking." He informed them, green eyes narrowed as he gazed at each of the teens. Alex felt particularly uncomfortable as Callum's gaze landed on him. "For… safety reasons." Callum's upper lip curled in disgust at the thought, "We'll be merging teams one and four; two and three. So that would be my group and Arthur's, and Kyle's group with Henry. Is that clear?"
He received a few mumbled replies. Only Alex had the daring to rise to his feet and snap into a salute, yelling out just as he had been taught during his time at the SAS.
Alex met his gaze with confidence, raising one eyebrow challengingly.
Callum's left eye twitched.
The silence was drawn out even longer as the tension increased tenth-fold. Neither party seemed willing to back down.
Kyle fell off a log...
And just like that, the staring contest ended with Alex sitting down again and Callum clearing his throat noisily.
"Well, is that clear?"
There was a chorus of half-enthusiastic mumbles of: "Yes sir."
"What's with all these plants? I feel like I'm suffocating in them."
Tom complained for the twenty-first time, ducking under another yet set of over-hanging branches. The thick vegetation was clearly bothering him as he straightened, only to trip over a thick tree root which was protruding from the ground.
The two boys had agreed to stick to the middle of the group instead of up ahead, where Callum was scornfully picking on two boys at the front. Alex felt sorry for them, but at least Callum didn't hate them as much as he seemed to hate Alex. He would rather it was them rather then him. Sometimes being a coward had its perk.
"Maybe it's because we're in the middle of a forest." Alex answered dryly, marvelling at his friend's sheer lack of common sense. He turned back to look at the dark-haired boy, "Tom?" He asked curiously when he saw that his friend was no longer beside him.
"Down here." Came the disgruntled reply from somewhere below him.
Alex looked down, saw Tom's fallen form and then smirked, "Ah. I see."
"Bitch." Alex's grin only widened as he offered a hand.
"Ugh." Tom reluctantly took his hand and was pulled to his feet. Displeased with the state of his clothes, Tom began brush all the dirt and leaves that clung to his shirt and pants. His expression stormy as he glared at the tree roots that lay underfoot. "A little less green would be nice."
Alex rolled his eyes.
Unbeknownst to the group of ten, they were being followed. Grumbling to himself, Eagle immediately ducked – almost face-planting into the ground - as one of the teens looked in his direction. Why did Wolf have to be so cruel? He knew Ben would've been much better for this kind of operation then he was. Eagle specialised in technology, placing him in the middle of the forest – that was like hell. He was at a lost without his equipment and laptop to tinker with. How did people survive without today's modern technology?
Annoyed that the silly kids had taken up the only path within a half-kilometre radius, Eagle had to resort to stumbling through the shrubbery just to keep track of the boys. Rising to his feet as he was sure that the kid was no longer looking that way, he continued to weave his way through the plant life, his mind so focused on the many things he could do to sabotage Wolf's equipment during a training session that he failed to see the tree branches that loomed overhead and quite promptly walked straight into them. Scratching his face and then landing ungracefully on his backside.
Eagle glared at the offending tree. Grinding his teeth, he decided to be the better man and resorted to ignoring the tree, continuing his way forward and leaving the tree behind him.
He moved swiftly through the forest, being a trained professional he easily surpassed the teenagers and overtook the whole group entirely. Settling near a bush, Eagle watched with narrowed eyes as they walked past him, his eyes zeroing on a familiar man who was currently telling off a couple boys for being complete idiots.
It took him a moment to figure out how he knew the man, but then it clicked
"Dingo." Eagle breathed, aghast as he realised why the other male had been so familiar. They had trained together… Shocked at his revelation, Eagle gleefully thought about how Wolf would look when he informed him of this new development.
Something was disturbing him though. Why was a Dingo look after a bunch of teens? Perhaps the man swung that way. Ew. He did not just think that. It wasn't the possibility that Dingo was gay or not, but the fact that those kids were perhaps half his age. Mentally gagging, Eagle got to his feet again and continued on his mission.
Wolf was going to have a field day.
Alex leaned against the tree, an expression of great boredom on his face as he stood at the back of the group. Impatiently watching as Callum moved around, showing them the different plant life in the clearing and explaining their uses in a survival situation. It would have been an interesting lecture if he hadn't already learnt this all thanks to his late uncle, Ian Rider.
While Callum spoke, Alex's eyes flickered around the clearing. Searching. Something felt off – he couldn't describe it, but it felt like someone was watching… He had been in the spying business long enough to know that his instincts were almost always right. They were being watched. He was sure of it. Alex could only hope that it wasn't a member of Wolf's pack because that would be disastrous if he was recognised. Not only would they find out who their mysterious poltergeist was, there was also the distinct possibility that a commotion would lead to his classmates finding out what really happened when he was 'sick'. This wasn't good, he could always hope that Wolf would be the bigger man and not retaliate – that was a little too optimistic, even for him. In his line of work, optimism helped, a lot. If it wasn't for that, most of his crazy plans would've probably failed if he had been a pessimist about them.
Alex tried not to panic. He hadn't been recognised yet (he was still in one piece) but it was only a matter of time before his identity would be revealed.
He was so screwed.
Focusing back on Callum, he willed the bastard to hurry his lecture and finish it. Alex's left eye twitched in annoyance as the older male looked briefly in his direction. (And was it just him, or did Callum seem to be slowing down his speech just to aggravate him?)
Alex really didn't like Callum.
Slouching even further against the tree, Alex lowered his gaze and tried to look like he was paying attention. He knew he would stand out like a sore thumb if he tried anything else, and seeing as so far no crazy gun-slinging SAS soldier had barged out of the bushes yet he reckoned he was safe for now. Who knows? Maybe Callum's speech would bore their stalker to sleep. Serves them right. Perhaps Alex should pay K-Unit a visit later…
No, too risky. Not yet anyway. Alex would have to lie low for a while, keep his head low and avoid drawing attention until the next disaster happened. Honestly he had the worse luck. Murphy's law seemed to have been made specifically to piss him off.
If anything can go wrong, it will.
If there was a tagline to sum up Alex's life so far, it would be that. No other person would have managed to live through the shit he had lived through, except for maybe John and Ian Rider. But both men were dead now. Rider luck indeed. He was forever doomed to a life of misery where he would attract the ire of people such as Wolf, Callum and Herod Sayle. (Yes he likened the first two to that bliddy criminal. They were all insane.)
Callum had stopped talking; Alex looked up hopefully only to let out a sigh of disappointment as the camp leader moved around the clearing to show them yet another plant.
Alex wanted to bang his head against something.
Wolf drummed his fingers against the log thoughtfully. N-Unit? Interesting… So Eagle was not as hopeless as he had thought. What to do... what to do with this new piece of information.
Then it came to him.
Ben 'Fox' Daniels shuddered as he saw the particularly evil smile that crossed Wolf's expression. That man was scary sometimes; he truly lived up to his codename as he looked like the sly wolf about to sink his teeth into his prey.
Just what was he up to?
Later that day when all the kiddies were asleep…
Dingo aka very-annoyed-SAS-soldier stalked into the team's tent. The little brats had been particularly rowdy that night, a fight breaking out amongst two of the groups of teens. Punishment had been handed out swiftly and Dingo had supervised, enduring hours of whining as the fools complained. They were weaklings, the lot of them.
The tent went noticeably quiet as they noticed his foul mood, the atmosphere suddenly becoming tensed as the other three glanced at each other nervously. They had bad news.
"What is it?" Dingo snapped, annoyed as it seemed that they knew something he did not.
"MI6 contacted us earlier…" Python started hesitantly.
Dingo raised an eyebrow,
"What did they want?"
Two sets of eyes turned to their unwilling companion, Jackal, who gazed helplessly between Python and Jaguar. He squirmed under their stares as a third pair of eyes turned to the man quizzically, his face fell as he fave Python and Jaguar a betrayed look and took a breath.
"Apparently they're sending an agent tomorrow to have a look at the potential recruits. But that's not all they wanted either. They also requested that Wolf's Unit will be helping us out from now on." Jackal stated solemnly while the other two members of N-Unit just braced for the impending explosion.
End Day 4
There you have it, chapter 7! I'm not even going to promise when the next update will come because I have no idea myself…
... So, who spotted the Supernatural reference? ^^