Title: When you shoot, I think I die.
Summary: By the fourth time Alex had been rescued, he was becoming slightly paranoid. Whomever had been helping him was able to find him every time, despite of the multiple disguises and backgrounds MI6 had assigned him.
Author's Notes: I’d like to give a HUGE thanks to fortune8te for betaing this fic so last minute! And thank you to the mods for setting this up and dealing with my disappointing ability to procrastinate and turn things in late! While this fic originally had a different recipient, I hope you enjoy this just as much! Also, the title is from Panic! At the Disco’s Hurricane.
Disclaimer: All Alex Rider characters herein are the property of Anthony Horowitz and the Penguin Group. No copyright infringement is intended.
When you shoot, I think I die
“... And now you’re in my way,” the ‘villian’ drew his speech to a close, leaving Alex to wonder what would happen to him now that Schneyder had finished gloating.
They were still in the delivery van that Alex had been kidnapped in. He was sprawled out on a mound of disorganized papers, and he had been told if he were to move, he would be shot. Schneyder seemed pretty insane, and had even scratched his own temple with the muzzle of the gun that he was currently waving around wildly and a small trickle of blood crept down his face. It made him look even more mad. Alex did not doubt that if he tried anything, a bullet would bury itself in Alex’s flesh.
“Any last words, Alex Rider?” Schneyder grinned.
“So I’ve been told,” Schneyder backed out of the van and pulled the door closed. Alex heard locks click into place, and Schneyder’s face appeared in the half-open passenger window. “Farewell, Alex Rider. I’ll have fun taking over the world without you!”
His mock-cheery voice faded away as the van lurched backwards, throwing Alex off of the mound of paper and cracking his head against the side of the van. Alex scrambled to his feet, checking every door to the van, but all the locks were stuck fast. “Child locks are wonderful things, don’t you think?” Schneyder called from somewhere Alex couldn’t see. “They’re so fitting for a child spy.”
The van tipped, then, and Alex was slammed into the back doors, which swung open from his weight. He scrabbled for a hold, fingers barely catching the edge of the bumper. He braced his feet against the metal chute and protected his face with his free arm as the contents of the van dumped into the machinery below.
The van was not kidding when it said “Schneyder & Son’s Disposal Service: We’ll shred anything, anywhere!” Below Alex’s dangling feet, angry metal teeth snapped and tore at the contents of the van, ripping apart paper and demolishing anything within reach.
As the metal teeth finished their snack, Alex searched for a way out. Only, the room with the machinery was ridiculously warm and Alex’s palms were sweating. He tightened his grip on the bumper, but his hands were slipping. He wouldn’t be able to hold on for much longer.
Out of nowhere, a hand grasped his wrist and pulled him up and inside the van, where he was able to get a decent foot hold. After securing himself, Alex looked up to see who had helped him, but the figure was gone.
That wasn’t the last time a mysterious stranger saved Alex’s life. There had been an unfortunate incident in the Thames that involved a concrete block chained to Alex’s feet, and less than half a minute after Alex went under the surface a chain had attached itself to the concrete, dragging him back to the surface, along side a fishing boat. But by the time he was able to drag himself on board, breathless, his lungs burning, the mysterious savior was gone and the fishermen claimed to not have seen anyone.
By the fourth time Alex had been rescued, he was becoming slightly paranoid. Whomever had been helping him was able to find him every time, despite of the multiple disguises and backgrounds MI6 had assigned him.
In the middle of a gun chase, Alex was unbelievably grateful for his savior. Making a wrong turn into an alleyway with no way to escape, he had expected a bullet, but instead a dark sedan tore into the alley, wheels squealing against the tarmac, and the passenger door swung open.
Alex didn’t even have to think about it, acting on instinct, he dove for the car and slammed the door shut as a spray of bullets painted the place he had been two seconds before.
“Surprised to see me, Little Alex?” Yassen Gregorovitch smirked from the driver’s seat, putting the car in gear and taking off.
“Not really,” Alex shrugged, breathless.
The smirk slid off of Yassen’s face and his eyes narrowed into slits, alternating between looking at the road and at Alex. “Why not? You saw me die.”
“Yes I did, and we’ll get back to that in a moment. But it was pretty obvious after the third time you saved my life. Either you got careless, or I know you too well.” Alex was definitely enjoying having the upper hand for once. “I mean, ignoring the obvious, you’ve let me see you from the back loads of times. I knew it was you without even having to see your face. And seriously, Yassen, that helicopter stunt? It had your name written all over it. Didn’t SCORPIA ever tell you that being predictable will get you killed?”
As Alex was speaking, Yassen’s expression grew darker, which Alex took pride in. It was fun throwing the older man off balance. “And what is the obvious you’re ignoring?”
Alex’s face broke into a triumphant smirk and he rolled his eyes. “Anyone who has the resources to follow me properly like you have is either an arch enemy, MI6, or you. And somehow I’d doubt any of my enemies are too keen on pulling me to safety, and MI6 sure as hell has never done anything of the sort. Which only leaves you.”
Alex didn’t speak for a moment, basking in the glory that he outsmarted Yassen Gregorovitch. It was a nice feeling.
“So how did get off that plane? I saw you die, and it was swarming with government agents within seconds of landing.”
It was Yassen’s turn to smirk. “I think that’s a story for another time.”
“No.” Alex surprised Yassen with the anger in his voice. “You’ve been alive for almost a whole year now and you haven’t bothered to at least make contact? I mourned you, you know, and you have the cheek to run around playing God, making decisions for me that you have no right to make.”
Yassen said nothing, but his eyebrows furrowed slightly. Suddenly, he turned the sedan off of the paved road and onto a gravel one.
“And where are we going?!” Alex demanded. There was a high flush on his cheekbones that had nothing to do with being shot at.
Yassen still said nothing and kept his eyes on the road, which was getting increasingly rough, the car bouncing on it’s suspension, so Alex swung and arm over and punched Yassen across the face as hard as he could manage. “What was that for?” Yassen’s voice was dangerously quiet as he raised a hand to cover his cheek.
“Find SCORPIA. <i>FIND SCORPIA?! What kind of shitty advice is that? I didn’t see you coming to save me then!</i>” Alex’s voice rose until he was shouting.
Yassen grimaced. “Sorry?” It was the first time Alex had seen Yassen show anything close to remorse. “I did what I thought was right.”
“So I suppose the million pound question is who are you more loyal to? Me, or SCORPIA?” Alex sat with his arms crossed, regarding the assassin with a raised eyebrow. Months ago, Alex wouldn’t have dared speak out like that, but in the time that had passed since Yassen’s death, Alex had grown more confident and sure of himself. A proper glare from Yassen would still send tiny thrills of terror down his spine, but Alex was better at hiding it now.
“Even before I died on that plane, my allegiance has been to you.”
Once they arrived at their destination (a safe house that no one but Yassen knew about), Yassen had cooked them both dinner. It was surprisingly good, so Alex had held off on grilling Yassen for information about what had happened in the plane until all that was left of dinner was the dregs of the red wine at the bottom of Yassen’s glass and the ice cubes in the bottom of Alex’s.
“The truth is, I can’t die.” Yassen spoke, staring into the bottom of his glass. He swirled it contemplatively. “I have no clue why, but whenever I die, my body heals itself and I come back to life.”
“Are you a time agent, too?” Alex snarked.
Yassen ignored him in favor of draining the last bit of wine from his glass and Alex’s eyes followed the movement of Yassen’s Adam’s Apple. “I’ve died five times between returning to life on that plane and the first time I rescued you. I decided then that it was more important to protect the ones I love.”
The weight of the conversation settled on Alex’s shoulders and he distracted himself by drinking the bit of water that had melted at the bottom of his glass. The ice cubes rattled together in the deafening silence. Was Yassen really implying what Alex suspected? It send a shiver and a whisper of something else down Alex’s spine.
Alex opened his mouth, not sure of what he was going to say, but Yassen stood up suddenly, picking up their plates and carrying them into the kitchen. Alex sat there a moment in stunned silence before grabbing their glasses and following.
As Alex entered, a loud clunk from the plates startled him. “Yassen-” Alex started, but Yassen spun around. And in three swift steps, Alex was pinned against the wall, clutching the glasses tightly in his hands to keep some semblance of control.
Alex’s breath stuttered at their proximity, if he moved even a little closer, they would be touching. Yassen leaned down and murmured in Alex’s ear, “Oh, Little Alex, you don’t understand... this is why I had to stay away.” And then he was kissing Alex.
It started as just a firm press of lips, but grew in power as they put in all of the unspoken emotions they were feeling. Pain, lust, love, sadness. All these motions passed through them without needing words. It felt right, it felt safe. And after all they had been through,
It felt like coming home.