Disclaimer: I own nothing. At all. Promise.
Black is the Sun
Chapter One: Three Years
Short & Diggums' Detective Agency
The solar strips that provided artificial light for the underground network of Haven were doing a number on ex-Captain Holly Short's nerves. Since Commander Julius Root had died, four years ago, Holly had given up her right to a well-paying job with LEP and left the system. Now she was working with Mulch Diggums, ex-convict, and running the very expensive business of a detective agency.
Holly struggled with the lock to her new place of residence; a small, crumbling building whose door looked like it was on its last hinge. They were paid well for their efforts, of course, seeing as private detectives were hard to come by. But then one had to factor in the money it took to scrounge up the information needed, to keep all of their electronics running and in working condition, to keep the artificial sunlight from fading in their sector, to keep themselves fed…
It was a vicious cycle and Holly was bloody tired of it.
Or maybe she just thought she was tired of it because she had just been on one of the longest wild-goose chases of her entire career. Albeit, her detective career had not been very long, but it felt as if she had been working the same case for an eternity.
She finally forced the door open, after many foul curses that would put even the Swear Toads to shame. She shut the door behind her, amazed that it didn't fall off of its hinge, and made her way to one of the large desks in the cramped entry room.
Slinging off her boots and tossing them unceremoniously into the corner, she flopped down into her chair, glancing over the paperwork in front of her. Another painting… why was it that she always got calls about missing paintings? Either that or precious gems. But in the latter, if Holly was unable to uncover it, she could simply ask Mulch to go dig around in a mine and get a new one. Dangerous, yes, but a hell of a lot simpler than forging a Picasso.
A sturdily built figure stepped into the room from an adjoining doorway, waddling under the load in his arms. Mulch Diggums stood before her, her dwarf partner-in-crime, with his arms loaded to the brimming with organic nutrients. In this case, carrots.
Mulch, for a reason most unbeknownst to Holly, had a strange and fascinating fixation with carrots. "What's wrong?" Mulch asked through a mouthful of orange, chewed-up mush.
Holly leaned back in her chair, bare feet propped up on her desk. She sighed, closing her eyes, and answered, "Guess."
"Another dead end?"
Mulch let the carrots drop onto his desk and came over to lean over Holly. "You don't look so good," he muttered in concern. The fretfulness, which would have been sweet under any other circumstance, only disgusted Holly; for with the words, a spray of orange carrot juices flecked onto her face.
Holly sat up, rubbing at her face, hazel eyes distressed. "I just went on a seventeen mile hike across Haven; of course I don't look alright. I haven't been this stressed since Artemis-"
The atmosphere dropped into gloomy testiness. Holly refused to continue her sentence. Instead, she leaned back in her chair again, huffing and looking highly irritated. Mulch smiled, glad to finally realize what the real problem was.
Slinking back over to his own desk, Mulch picked up a carrot, thoughtfully chewing on the end, before murmuring, "You know, Holly, I've noticed that you've been overly temperamental the past week or so. Care telling me why?"
Holly stiffened. She felt anger and the fear of being discovered bubbling up in the pit of her stomach. "I don't see that you have any right asking, Mulch."
"Quite the contrary…" Mulch slid into his chair with a bit of grumbling, trying to get comfortable. "You see, I've heard from Foaly-"
Holly whirled on him, eyes wide. "He didn't! D'Avrit! That horse is going to be suffering from more than split hooves when I get finished with him!"
Not the slightest bit distracted, Mulch continued through her ranting, "-that you have been sneaking up above ground, with his assistance of course, just about every other night now. Would you mind telling me why you're going above ground, Miss Holly Short, or should I dazzle you with my detective findings?"
Holly glowered at him; her hazel eyes squinted up in anger.
"I take it you wish me to dazzle. All right then. You and Artemis have been at each others' throats-"
"I don't want to hear that name," Holly growled.
Once again, Mulch continued as if there had been no distraction, "-since two years ago when a sort of -how shall I put it gently?- falling out occurred. Artemis snapped at you on one of your transmissions; said some pretty nasty things. You got hurt, hung up on him, never called back." While Mulch narrated the events of those few years ago, he watched Holly's face for her reaction.
Like any hardened police officer, Holly had developed a face of blank calm. She wore it at that moment, but her eyes glowed with the fire of anger and pain.
"And my idea," Mulch continued, having the heart to soften his voice a bit, "is that you've been sneaking above ground to check on him."
"What do you know?" Holly spat. She hurled out of her chair and for the door. Ripping it open, not caring that it had finally come off of its hinges and slammed against the wall, Holly Short stormed out of her office and toward Downtown Haven.
A hot soak in the tub, drinking strong ginger wine sounded perfect to Holly.
Above Ground, Ireland
"Artemis, don't you think it's about time to stop making up these pointless charades?"
Artemis Fowl turned cold, blue eyes onto his butler and best friend, Butler. "Whatever do you mean?" he asked, turning his gaze back to his computer screen. His long, thin fingers flew across the keyboard, checking his three different accounts in the Alps.
"You went straight for a while back there. Three years ago, you were giving all of your stolen items to Museums. You were helping Holly with her busin-"
Artemis' fingers, which never made errors on his keyboard, crashed against five different keys simultaneously, making a word that was previously unknown to man, dwarf, or elf. He paused, taking a deep breath to steady himself. Holly's name had been taboo in his presence for the past two years.
Butler seemed to realize his slip-up, but he continued, "-with her business. You were actually following laws. And then, boom. You hit the pangs and troubles of teenage-hood and scream at Holly. She hangs up. You hang up. Then nothing. Stagnating for two years."
Artemis began typing again with renewed vigor, his fingers pounding the keys much louder than usual. The bottle of spring water beside him shuddered under the vibration of the table. "I don't see what Miss Short has to do with anything. I am expending my ventures. Being a sinner is more profitable than being a saint, Butler."
Butler smiled slightly, sadly. "But you were willing to be a saint for Holly, weren't you?"
Artemis slammed a fist down on the table. It was unusually violent for Artemis. He normally resorted to witty back talking or glares that would make a bull troll wilt. "You read into things too much!" he snapped, turning his sapphire gaze onto Butler. "Now leave. It's late and I will be retiring to bed shortly. Goodnight."
Butler glanced at his watch. 10:16 pm. Much to early for Artemis to feign sleep. The young Fowl had a plan and didn't want Butler to know.
Despite his better judgment, Butler headed for the door. "All I ask is that you call her. She's deserved an apology for two years. The least you could do is grant her that." He shut the door and stood, immobile, for a long minute, listening for any sounds on the other side of the door. Artemis' typing had resumed. All else was silent.
Sighing softly, Butler headed downstairs to say goodnight to Juliet and the senior Fowls.
Back inside Artemis' room, however, the typing ceased. In one of his rare mood swings, namely brought on by Butler's mention on Holly's name, Artemis stood and went to his safe. Entering the combination with shaking fingers, he pulled out a small communicator that had been given to him three years prior by a certain auburn-haired, hazel-eyed elf.
Ah yes… this would by my first Artemis Fowl fanfiction. Ever. There is a plot, I promise, even though it hasn't popped up just yet. Questions, comments, flames, whatever; give them to me.