WEAR IRON SHOES


Disclaimer: I do not own Artemis Fowl or any of the other characters from the books that are featured in this story. No matter how much I wish I did…


CHAPTER ONE: PARENTAL PREROGATIVE

Artemis sat in his private study behind a large oak desk – which presumably was for doing homework but had never fulfilled its purpose – and scanned through the school newsletter for articles he'd rather keep from his mother. This was a weekly activity now. With his mother alert and aware of her son's life, it had become obvious to Artemis that he was not going to be keeping his privacy. So he endeavoured to make his own. Privacy, that is. And it was for this reason that Artemis spent copious amounts of time hiding or destroying all evidence of the events occurring in his life.

Turning a page of the newsletter, Artemis allowed himself the luxury of a sigh. Sometimes he felt he spent as much time placating his mother as he did irritating everybody else he came into contact with. Checking the newsletter was but one precaution Artemis took to keep Angeline out of his life. It wasn't that it was likely that Artemis in particular would be in trouble – Artemis was the top of all his subjects – it was simply that lately Angeline had taken a rather more intense interest in her son's life than Artemis was prepared to allow. Failing to find fault in his academic activities, she had turned her attention to what she considered her son's shortfall – sociality. In Artemis' opinion, social skills were overrated, but he had a difficult job convincing his mother of this. The boy genius who could break into high-security vaults and ransom the fairy police service was utterly defeated when it came to the persuasion of his mother.

So now Artemis was forced to check through the school newsletter each week and remove notices about any school functions that Angeline might think would improve her son's social skills. This week the only issue was a long notice about the school dance that was coming up. Being an all-boys school, St Bartleby's was inviting what looked like every private girl's school in the county to join them at their quarterly dance.

This, unfortunately, was exactly the kind of thing that Angeline Fowl would love for her dear Arty to be involved in. But there was no force on or under the world that could make Artemis attend a high school dance.

The great Artemis Fowl did not dance.

Or that was what Artemis said. The truth was that the great Artemis Fowl could not dance. The single time he had tried had been an unprecedented disaster. Artemis had been eleven years old, and his father had insisted that Artemis make an appearance at the annual ball of the Irish Businessman's Club. Artemis' father had hired an extremely exclusive, extremely talented and extremely expensive dancing instructor to teach young Artemis, but the lessons had never been attended. The first day of instruction had also been the last, and in addition it was a catastrophe. Of course, Butler and Juliet recalled the incident with some amusement, but it was an amusement that Artemis did not share.

The money Artemis Fowl Senior paid to the instructor to keep the episode quiet had allowed her to go into retirement twenty years early. This was especially lucky for her because there was no way she was doing any more dancing on those feet. Not that they would have fit into dancing shoes anyway - not after Artemis was done standing on them. Not to mention the large stack of chairs that had fallen on them after Artemis tripped over his feet and knocked them down. And the wall on which she had stubbed her toe after Artemis had accidentally smashed into her. Or the many times that Artemis' feet had been in exactly the wrong spot, which ultimately led to a sprained ankle. Not Artemis'.

In short, it was not a good idea to make Artemis dance. So there was not a doubt in his mind that the notice about the school dance would have to go. Inserting the newsletter into an upgrade of the most advanced scanner on the market, Artemis scanned all seven pages of the newsletter into his computer. He exploded the text and deleted the notice about the dance. Then he re-typed an extremely dull and technical article about the advances of modern plumbing in its place. Finally he re-printed the newsletter and stapled it back in its original order. Nobody could tell the difference. It was brilliant in its simplicity. Any idiot with a scanner could pull it off, but Artemis still allowed himself a small moment of satisfaction for a plan well executed. He would not be attending any school dances. Not now, not ever.

Unfortunately for Artemis, however, Butler happened to agree with Angeline Fowl. His young employer needed social interaction with people his own age. And Internet communication didn't count. So Butler hatched a plan of his own. He was already aware of the weekly modifications of the newsletters, and although he didn't approve, he hadn't said anything. Until this week. On the long drive back from St Bartleby's Butler finally offered his opinion.

'Artemis, maybe you should consider going to this dance. It can't hurt, and you might even have fun.' Though he'd never admit as much to his employer, Butler had to admit that he felt sorry for Artemis. Nobody should be as lonely as him, and Artemis didn't even seem to realise that he had isolated himself from human contact as effectively as if he had slammed a door in the world's face. But Artemis was resolute.

'I have no desire for social interaction with people less mature, and quite frankly, less intelligent than the average baboon.' He replied in clipped tones. His scowl deepened as he marked the article he planned to erase with a small red cross. 'And I hardly think that such an activity could have any sort of personal benefit.'

Butler didn't argue further.

Later that night Artemis placed the modified newsletter on a small ornamental table in the hall where his mother would be sure to see it when she came home. She had taken the Lear Jet early that morning to do a spot of shopping and attend a garden party in London, but had left a message telling Artemis not to expect her back before nine.


Okay, reviews please. There will be romance later on, because I really need to get it out of my system. But for now – is it a bit boring?