Author's Note: I wish I could say that I was on drugs while writing this but unfortunately I wasn't. It would probably have been slightly more interesting if I was. I'll send in a blood-sample and get a tox-report to make sure – I would really like to discredit this completely. I'm incredibly sorry for anyone who ends up reading this. And even more sorry for anyone who expects it to be sophisticated or meaningful. I swear I didn't mean for it to be so… so… It was inspired by two days on a forced shopping spree because my Dad and Step-Mum decided that I needed new clothes. And shoes. And hair. And friends. And life. Actually, they would probably settle for any life at all. I'm not making that any better since I spent the past hour or so writing this piece of shite. (Isn't shite such a wonderful word? It's Irish. They weren't allowed to swear on television so they invented 'shite'. Brilliant. Very unlike this story, actually.) Well… maybe someone did slip me something after all…
Disclaimer 1: I don't own Artemis Fowl, Butler, Angeline, Juliet, the clothing brand Fcuk, the shop-assistant, the 'plot', the story, the wording, the bad jokes. Damn. I do own those last 5. I'll give them up to anyone who wants them. Here, I'll pay you to take them!
Disclaimer 2: I just realized that if anyone took that A/N seriously they might think I'm a very messed up girl with my head in a pile of illegal substances. Or a pile of illegal substances in my head. I don't take drugs, I don't advocate the use of drugs, I think they're really, really bad and I don't think that anyone should take them. ::Looks to offscreen lawyers.:: Am I safe now? Please say I am. But I'm definitely high on something. Especially given that it's the last day of the holidays.
12-year-old Artemis could only stare down through the throngs of people to the idea of freedom that was hiding behind them all. Then, in freedom, it began to rain. Trust. Just imagine. Rain. In Dublin. Incredible. Although it probably meant that it would all get worse with more people coming in, crowding up the shopping center to get out of the rain. This just wasn't Artemis' day. Or week. Or month really. His mother was making full use of her returned sanity at the same time as making the most of the after-Christmas sales and so she had dragged him shopping, insisting that his favoured black, tailored suits were inappropriate for a young boy – who would obviously ruin them while playing with his friends. She was kind-hearted, very socially conscious and desperately in love with his father. But sometimes … she didn't see reality as it really was, as her stint in the attic proved.
He felt a tugging on his elbow as she led him into yet another popular store trying to make him look 'trendy'. Artemis would never be able to live this down. Never. Although Butler was unlikely to live it down either, although possibly he might get buried under all the bags and be let out of his misery. And Juliet had been sent off to 'scout ahead' for anything she might think would suit 'my dear little Arty'. She had had a very evil look on her face as she left in the opposite direction. She was probably doing to get him back for the … incident … by telling his mother that all the boys now were wearing pink floral bags. Or something. She could probably think up a completely unimaginable punishment.
"Oh, isn't this just gorgeous, Arty, darling? Don't you agree, Butler?" Butler grunted something – he probably couldn't surface for air underneath the parcels. Or maybe he knew that his charge would kill him if he said anything that might encourage Angeline. Probably the latter.
"It's very nice, Mother," said Artemis, eyeing the two-toned T-shirt with something like fear. "But… Maybe it …"
"Oh, just try it on, Arty. Don't kick up a fuss." She sorted through the hangers to find the right size. "And how about this one as well? Juliet says that all the boys are wearing this brand lately. It's the trend. Don't you want to look nice?"
Artemis opened his mouth, about to say something or other about how anyone who thought they looked nice in baggy, ripped jeans and a two-toned brown shapeless top with 'FCUK' written on should be locked away, or at the very less segregated from anyone who was born to wear a suit. But then he closed it, looked at his mother's face, then down at the pile of new clothes, which was growing by the millisecond, breathed out and took them into the changing room.
He grimaced at himself in the mirror and silently cursed all growth spurts. It was probably better to remain at 143 cm for the rest of his life if it meant that he didn't have to ever shop again – especially not with his Mother. He came out in a sickly green T-shirt and a pair of jeans that already looked dirty, since that was apparently trendy as well.
Butler grinned at him and Artemis vowed to dock his pay for a month or two – or maybe just ask him to test out a few gruesome experiments with the fairy technology. Then he almost grinned as well. Almost. The idea of himself – criminal mastermind, genius, inventor extraordinaire, - wearing a top with a strange head made out of spirals and 'Cosmic Experience' written across it was very, very amusing. Or would be. If only it wasn't a reality. His mother pulled a grey and red beanie off a shelf and pulled it down on his head, smoothing the long hairs out of his eyes. Butler almost started laughing. And then he did. He was almost balling with laughter tears. It was completely shameful. Absolutely.
Artemis slowly turned towards the mirror, really wanting to see the him he usually saw – cool, sophisticated features, slightly bump on the nose, immaculate suit. Needless to say, he didn't. Imagine this. Artemis Fowl, cold, almost expressionless, the hold of his body indicating power and ruthlessness, a slight glint in his eyes that someone would really fear to see in, say, the eyes of a poisonous serpent. Looking like a very bad imitation of an American homie, straight from the backstreets, or, in Artemis's personal opinion, straight to the social rubbish bins.
"Mother, you do realize that I'll never wear these clothes of my own volition. Or, possibly, even under torture. In fact, this would be the torture."
"Nonsense, darling. You look wonderful. We'll take it all, thanks. Oh, and since I know the size is all right, I'll pick up a few more things as well. How about you run along to the department store and have a look there while I pay for these things, Arty? You go with him too of course, Butler."
Butler nodded, steered 'Arty' towards the changing room – he was still in such a state of horrified shock – and, when Artemis still hadn't woken up from the trauma, pulled off the Cosmic Experience top and began to dress Artemis in his shirt.
Artemis pulled away after a moment and blushed. "I can do that myself, thanks." Butler nodded and grinned yet again as he left the changing room. There was nothing quite like Artemis Fowl being force to buy 'normal' clothes.
Minutes later they had left Angeline in the shop with her platinum American Express and a look in her eyes that the shop assistants recognized as a combination of fashion stupidity, ignorance of 12-year-old criminal mastermind psychology, and fierce determination to not pay attention to either of the above things. They rubbed their hands together and led her from one side of the shop to the other, and, even once, over to the girls section.
In the electronics section of the department store he wasn't at home, but at least he was slightly more interested - he needed to check out the latest innovations and competition - not that there wasn't any he didn't already know about but, there might be something. Somewhere. And it might even mean he would need to rush home and work on one of his projects…
"Oh, Arty darling, do you want one of those game consoles? There's some new one that's meant to contain some very realistic virtual reality."
"I know, Mother. It's this one." He said, picking up a heavy box priced in the hundreds of Euros. "But no, I don't—"
"Right, darling. Sure." She waved over a shop assistant; he came quickly, recognizing the look of an ignorant person who wants to make a severe dent in their bank account. "This is the best game console on the market right? The one which just came out?"
"Why, yes, Madam. The best there has ever been, really. Invented by an Irish man, too. Definitely gives us something over those Americans and Japanese, this. It hasn't come out there yet so we've been shipping them over at extremely inflated prices. The guy who invented this is making an absolute fortune. I know that a few programs wanted him for an interview but he declined. And I must say that your boy has excellent taste – this is a fantastic innovation." He ruffled Artemis's hair absentmindedly.
"As I was saying Mother, we don't need to buy this. I already have one. And I still have the prototypes as well. And the adaptation that I originally made to sell to the US Military for help in their training and operations."
"What have you been doing, Arty?! You're not allowed to play around with electronic devices until you're 13! You know we agreed on that with your father when you took apart the toaster at 3 and almost killed Butler. I can't believe you, Artemis. I'm … disappointed."
She glanced up at the shop assistant, who was looking very … shocked. "Sorry. I'm sure he didn't mean to sound pretentious."
"Pretentious? This 13 year old invented some of the most sophisticated technology we've got and he can't be pretentious." The man looked down at Artemis, who was grinning a very specialized grin at his own inevitable cleverness. For some reason he didn't believe Angeline.
"Come on, Arty. We've still got to get you some proper shoes." The assistant looked down at the Italian loafers that would probably cost him half his yearly pay. Before tax. "Thank you, sir. And I'm sorry. Come on, Artemis, Butler. And can you take some of these bags off me, dear. Thanks."
He turned back to the assistant, grinning. "I'm only twelve."
Artemis picked up the two bags from the last shop and peeked through them as if they were about to explode – or maybe that was just wishful thinking on his part. He pulled a T-shirt out and looked at it. He stopped to look at it some more. When he felt the eyes of the assistant still on the back of his neck he wished he could fall through the floor. And fall unconscious at the bottom of the fall.
"Did you have to buy this one? Really? Don't you think it's … inappropriate?"
"How? It's completely appropriate! See, it says—"
"I can read, Mother!" Then, under his breath, "obviously."
"I thought it was cute."
"Oh, right. Okay then. But… You do know that the average IQ of anyone wearing this shirt is about half of mine. And that's probably giving them too much credit. It doesn't really work if you want it to be accurate."
"You don't have to wear it if you don't want to. It was Juliet's find anyway."
Artemis nodded, hearing the hurt in his mother's voice. Maybe it would be best to play along with her. He didn't want her to slip back into the state she had been in before the Captain had been able to heal her. He pushed the shirt back into the bag. Right to the bottom.
* * * * *
That night Artemis came down the main stairs of the manor dressed up – well, down anyway – in the clothes his mother had brought for him that morning. Butler tried to lower his eyes before Artemis saw the sparkling, but looking down was a problem considering how much lower Artemis actually was.
"It's not that bad is it, Butler? I'm only wearing it because Mother would be hurt if I didn't. And that could be dangerous given her mental instability right now."
"You could have worn one of the others, I'm sure. What about the 'Cosmic Alignment' one."
"Cosmic Experience." He definitely caught the sparkling that time. "I've got a near perfect memory, right. So knowing what's written on a shirt doesn't mean anything."
"You wanted this, didn't you? You wanted an excuse to be a normal kid. Interesting." He had a way of saying that word which made it sound like an accusation.
"It means nothing, Butler. And wanting to experience something for the novelty value is no worse that paying an atrocious amount of money to go on a collapsible rollercoaster when it's in town. It. Means. Nothing. Right?"
"Probably." Butler looked down at the shirt again. "But, really? The T-shirt with 'GENIUS' written across it?"
"It's a stated fact. And the shirt is plain. Unlike Cosmic Experience."
"And it has nothing to do with ego, right?"
"Exactly. Dinner, Butler?"
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
A/N: I saw a T-shirt with 'Genius' on it today in Jeans West. That was bad for my health wasn't it? It … I just … I couldn't resist it! I'm sorry! I wanted to buy it but they only had the display one left and that was too big. So apparently there are lost of genii shopping in Jeans West and that makes this completely plausible. I never would have imagined.
 Ireland has no major theme parks. My Step-Grandmother gave me a tourist book on Ireland for my birthday and I actually read it cover to cover. The rest of my family just makes potato jokes, theorizing that the Irish are sensitive about potato jokes (all they know about Ireland is the Potato Famine in the 1850's) in the same way that New Zealanders are sensitive about sheep jokes. Idiots. Or maybe not. If anyone Irish is reading this and you are sensitive about those damn potatoes, can you drop me a line?