A/N: Fwoof. Epilogue. Whoa. Seems like I've been writing this my whole life. Don't forget to read the A/N and the end. It's important this time.
Update: There are now a total of four stories in this universe. In chronological order: Uninvited Houseguests, Vodka, The Somalian Fallout, and Warehouse. See end of the chapter for additional details.
Cub walked down the stairs fourteen hours later, slowly and carefully, his eyes bleary and face worn. He poured his coffee and pulled a bottle out of the highest cupboard and dumped some into his mug.
"It's barely noon, Cub."
Cub jumped and Wolf smiled on the inside. Finally.
"Wolf." he sighed, not turning around.
"Cub." Wolf answered sarcastically.
"What do you want, Wolf?" Cub sounded exceptionally tired. There was a rigidness to the set of his shoulders that Wolf'd never seen before.
"I want to tell you you're a jackass." Wolf said roughly. Cub didn't react. Wolf sighed. "I'm going to give you numbers you can contact us by," Cub stiffened. "and tell you to call if you ever need us." Cub did his not-laugh, sounding more bitter than ever and more... broken. Coffee sloshed out of his cup as his hands shook. "I mean it, Cub."
"I know." Cub answered shakily.
"Yeah, and I know that you're thinking right now that you'll never call any of those numbers."
"You told me to leave once. I doubt you remember. You said that you get everyone killed. That we should all leave before we got hurt."
Cub was perfectly still.
"You know you're a moron, right? We're trained for this sort of thing."
"It doesn't matter."
"Like hell it doesn't. We're not civilians, Cub. And we're not going to just stand around if you're in trouble. Just-" Wolf sighed. He really wasn't good at stuff like this. "Look, I don't know all of what you've been through, kid, but I know it's been bad. And I know that sometimes, when things go bad, really, really bad, some people draw people close... and some people push people away."
More coffee sloshed out of Cub's cup. He still wouldn't turn around.
"And I know that that's not healthy. Hell, if you don't want to talk to us, you could talk to Jim."
The mug shattered.
"God-fucking-dammit." Cub swore hoarsely.
Wolf walked over from his spot across the room to Cub's coffee corner. The kid tensed up when he got close, but Wolf crouched down to help him clean it up anyway. The kid looked like crap, up close. Neither of them spoke.
"I was serious about wanting you gone before I woke up." Cub said gruffly, as they mopped up the last of the coffee. He still hadn't met Wolf's eyes. Wolf snorted in amusement.
"No, it's just- I'm not-"
"Not the same." Wolf interrupted. "When you're first back. You feel like everyone still wants you dead. Like there's always an ulterior motive."
Cub stared, finally making eye contact.
"What? Did you even read our files?" Wolf grunted. Cub blinked.
"Um, no. I was watching your reactions." he admitted, hiding a smile at the thought.
A wave of relief overcame Wolf at the thought of the incident and Cub's reaction. He was a good kid, in the end, always had been. It just didn't show through very often. He stood up.
"Anyways. I may not know everything, Cub, but everybody has stuff in their past. Just because people have left you before doesn't mean that everybody's going to. Doesn't mean that we're going to."
"This is coming way to close to chick-flick range for my comfort." Cub said with a smirk as he straightened, full of bravado again. Putting up a mask. Ah well.
Wolf shook his head and chuckled.
"Fine. But I'm serious. If you ever need anything, ever need to talk. Call us." he said as he pulled a slip of paper from his pocket and held it out. A moment passed, and then Cub reached out slowly, and took it from his hand.
Wolf reached out and ruffled the kid's hair. Cub ducked out of the way too late and glared for all he was worth. Wolf laughed.
"See you around, Double-O-Nothing." A mock salute, and he headed for the door, closing it behind him with just enough time to hear Cub's response.
"See you around, jackass."
Wolf smiled and shook his head. He tucked his hands in his pockets and walked down Cub's drive.
He'll be okay, he thought. He'll be okay. And maybe, if he squinted, and tilted his head a bit, he really believed that. Oh, the kid would pull though, no doubt about that. The question was if he'd still replace official files with ludicrous fiction and make jokes about Dumbo.
And Wolf decided, right then and there as he walked through Cub's quiet neighborhood in Chelsea, that he would do anything he possibly could to make sure that Cub always did.
A/N: Whooo! Completed. Just realized when I started getting reviews for the last chapter that I'd never actually said on here what I was planning on and why there are so many little holes in my storyline (the Pleasures, Tom, why Cub was drinking tea in that one scene instead of coffee, the suicide stuff, etc., etc.,). The answer is, since like chapter four or something when I mentioned the thing about Tom and Smithers plotting together, I've been planning out a whole universe surrounding this story, I even have a few short stories already written. Not promising quickness on getting them up, but they are in progress. Including, but not limited to, how Alex got his doorbell, what happened to Sabina and Tom, more behind why my Alex has so many problems (including his assholeryness), and future stories of Alex and K-unit. And possibly, a shrink. Cause, damn, does Alex need one.
Few little things that have never actually been stated. Alex is suffering from PTSD. Symptoms of PTSD include: reliving of trauma through hallucinations, flashbacks, or night terrors; avoidance of objects, people, places, etc., that remind them of trauma; problems feeling or showing affection; difficulty sleeping; irritability; sudden outbursts of anger; mood swings.
K-unit has been in combat in active war zones, and have been though their own traumas, though being adults, having each other to count on, and having actually chosen to go into their line of work has helped them immensely.
And finally: I've only ever stated what Alex's neighbors think happened when Alex Rider went back to school.
So long for now, hope to be back soon,
EDIT: In case anyone that's following this story is unaware, the first companion story is up and completed. It's titled The Somalian Fallout and you can find it on my profile. Peace out, hope to be back soon.
EDIT: There are two more stories up in this universe (both one-shots): Vodka and Warehouse. Check profile for timeline information.