Summary: Foaly is messing with Cupid's Magical Love-Karma. But WHY? And HOW? To find out, just click that link up there. Go on, click it…

Set after TEC, but they have all the weapons etc. from TOD.

Disclaimer: I do not own Artemis Fowl or any related characters, settings etc. If I did, I wouldn't be writing Fan fiction, now, would I?

If This Isn't Love

Chapter One: Equette

'Foaly, you good-for-nothing centaur, get into my office NOW!' Root's voice echoed loudly through the Operations booth. Very loudly. Foaly winced. How many time would he have to tell the commander that the LEP sound system was whisper sensitive? Probably at least five more times. Until the commander threatened to cut his budget. That usually put a stop to whatever Foaly was saying very quickly.

But the commander seemed to think it necessary to yell even when the person he was talking to was standing a metre in front of him. It was purely excessive, thought Foaly sulkily as he clopped to Root's office. The commander had absolutely no sense of subtlety, that was his problem. He thought that the only way to solve problems was to use force. Foaly sighed. He just didn't understand DELICACY. That was it.

Reaching Root's office, Foaly entered without knocking. This, of course, was guaranteed to annoy Root. Which was, of course, precisely the reason that Foaly did it. No day at LEP headquarters was complete without making Root turn his characteristic beetroot colour.

Foaly was fully ready to deliver a long, boring and likely to be unappreciated lecture about the sensitivity of the equipment he designed, but as he stepped into the office he saw something that – to use a cliché – stopped him in his tracks. There was a centaur in there. Another centaur. Another centaur who WASN'T Foaly. And not only that, it was a FEMALE centaur. Foaly stared. And stared. It had been years since he'd had contact with any creatures of his own kind.

Eventually Root interrupted Foaly's shocking lapse into silence.

'Don't just stand there; shut the door, you useless centaur. Unless you want the entire department to hear what I have to say.' Root smirked. 'Oh, and trust me – you don't.'

Foaly gulped and shut the door. This didn't bode well.

'Okay Foaly, this is Equette. Equette, this is Foaly, the so-called technical genius of the LEP. Personally, I question the value of most of his inventions –'

'Oh come on, Julius. The LEP would be sunk without me, and you know it.' Foaly interrupted with typical arrogance. As Root would say…if he knew how to pronounce those words properly.

'DO NOT CALL ME JULIUS, CIVILIAN!' yelled Root, turning an interesting shade of puce. Foaly resisted the urge to chuckle. The commander was far too easy. There was no challenge in making him tick. It almost wasn't worth it anymore. Almost.

'Yessir, Julius sir. No first names. Understood,' Foaly agreed congenially and watched with interest as even more blood flooded into the commander's face. At that moment he could have sworn he heard Equette giggle, but when he glanced in her direction her face was straight and still.

'Right, civilian.' Root growled in a tone that should have warned Foaly. 'Meet your new partner.' He pointed towards Equette.

'P – p – partner?' Foaly stuttered uncertainly. He stared at Root, then at Equette, then shifted back to Root, who looked like a child on Christmas Day.

'The council has noticed a definite lag in the outputs of the Research and Development Department and are…rather concerned.' Root laughed nastily. 'So you have a new R&D partner. Congratulations. Theoretically, the two of you should be able to come up with twice as many inventions.'

Foaly was in total shock. Where had the commander learned the word "theoretically"? It had whole five syllables. He even got it in the right context!

And then there was this whole 'partner' thing. Foaly could feel himself blanch at the thought. He felt like…well, the polar opposite of Root. The commander looked like his head was on the verge of vanishing in what was sure to be a very messy explosion of high-pressured blood and grey matter. Although not too much grey matter.

Foaly, on the other hand, felt sure that there was a hole in a major artery somewhere and all the blood from his face was rushing out of it. Actually, for a moment Foaly had the insane idea that the commander was somehow stealing his blood to prevent the oxygen getting to his brain and stop him from thinking properly. But that wasn't possible. It couldn't be. Could it?

Checking to make sure that his foil hat was still firmly in place, Foaly looked at Equette properly for the first time. She was quite pretty, with dark hair and wide brown eyes and a smooth, milk-tea coloured complexion. Too bad Foaly wasn't looking for a mate. Although he wouldn't consider her anyway. Supplanter. That was what she was. She was going to steal his place as the technical wizard around the LEP. Well, we'll see about that, thought Foaly crankily.

'You can't really be serious, Julius. I think maybe you've been smoking a little too much. In a confined space, and all that. It really isn't good for your brain. Maybe you should go home and rethi–'

'DON'T CALL ME JULIUS! And don't patronise me, civilian. I'm a commander. I'm always right.'

This last statement was so patently ridiculous that Foaly chose to ignore it and didn't even bother to dispute it.

'But I can't work with her! The Operations booth is tailored just for me! She'll destroy it all! She'll destroy my system!'

But Root's face now resembled a beetroot so much that Foaly was almost concerned with the possibility of an apoplexy. And not even magic can reassemble brain cells. But he was relatively certain that Root had surpassed this colour during the Artemis Fowl affair. And if he'd survived it then he'd survive this now.

'Don't argue with me, Foaly. I'm not in the mood. Now, you'll work with her or you'll be fired, it's that simple. Luckily for me, you're expendable now.'

Foaly wondered for a moment whether Root was ever in the mood for argument, but before he could ask, Root continued, louder than before. 'SO GET OUT OF MY OFFICE AND DON'T COME BACK WITHOUT A DAMN GOOD REASON!'

Foaly might have argued, but he had just realised the commander's point about being expendable. In retrospect, he decided it would be wiser just to leave.

Sulking and muttering, Foaly left the office reluctantly. He dragged his hooves along the ground all the way back to the Operations booth, and started to imitate Root in a high, squeaky voice.

'Oooh, Foaly, you aren't making sixty thousand incredible inventions a day anymore. I was going to fire you, but instead I'm going to torture you by making you work with a partner. Oooh, Foaly, WAH, its just not good enough…Blah blah blah…I'm Commander Root and I don't have two brain cells to rub together because I'm a useless stupid jock…a useless stupid jock with a blood pressure problem…'

This time Foaly heard it clearly. Somewhere behind him he could hear the sound of giggles. Even over the sound of his scuffing hooves, they were definitely there. But who in Recon giggled?

'Holly?' said Foaly uncertainly.

'Nope,' said Equette, coming through an open door to Foaly's left.

'Oh,' said Foaly in a disappointed voice. 'It's you.' And with that, he turned his back on her and kept walking up the hallway.

'Who were you expecting?' asked Equette, trotting to keep up with him.

'Nobody,' muttered Foaly grumpily. Why wouldn't she leave him alone? He started to trot a little faster. Equette was struggling to keep up. But then, all of a sudden, she was standing in front of him. How had she done that? Foaly blinked.

'Look, I know we're not exactly in the best situation for a friendship, but won't you at least talk to me?'

'Talk to you? Ha! What is there to talk about? You're a supplanter. Although I don't know why you're bothering. You can't possibly hope to compete with me.'

Equette struggled to remain in control of her emotions. 'Foaly, I know you're quite talented, but can't you accept that I could maybe help you?'

'Quite talented? QUITE talented? I'm brilliant! I'm a genius! Who are you? You're a useless little supplanter with ridiculous notions about your mental capabilities.'

That was it. Equette lost it. She saw red. It was what always happened before she went into violent rage or into a violent rant. Neither was a very pleasant thing to witness, particularly if you were the person at whom the violence was directed. And in this situation, the person at whom the violence was directed was Foaly. Although there was one chance. Possibly one chance to avoid violence. It just depended on how much self-control she had.

Equette inhaled slowly.

'Foaly, you are an arrogant…' Equette struggled to find an appropriate word. 'twit!' she cried finally. 'I refuse to talk to you. You're completely out of touch with reality. And whatever it takes, I'm going to make sure you go down hard, centaur.'

Equette spun around as gracefully as a centaur can (they do have four hooves) and sauntered off in the opposite direction to Foaly. Ignoring the fact that she was a centaur too and therefore the use of the noun at the end of the rant probably wasn't grammatically correct, Equette felt that she had handled that situation pretty well. She hadn't attacked anyone, at least. That was something. And now she had some motivation. Without seeming too melodramatic, she was going to teach Foaly a lesson about female centaurs. And hopefully he wouldn't forget it. Anytime soon. Or maybe ever…yeah, ever sounded good. She'd teach him a lesson that he wouldn't forget, ever.

Foaly watched Equette go with a slight twinge of regret. It had been shaping up into a good argument. Oh well. At least he felt a little better now. He managed to vent some of his shock and hurt over Root getting him a partner. Not even an assistant! A partner.

Although, the truth was that Foaly had something like Writer's Block, only with inventions. Which basically meant that he hadn't been able to come up with any decent inventions for about a month now. Mostly he'd been getting by on inventions that he'd designed a while ago and hadn't totally finished. But he'd just run out of backlog, and now that he was calm, Foaly could see that Equette would be the perfect scapegoat. She was a ready-made excuse for the R&D Department – namely, him – not to produce anything. All Foaly had to do was not even try to come up with anything new, blame Equette, and Root would HAVE to get rid of her. It was a foolproof plan, in Foaly's mind. Which is perhaps why he was a technical genius, and not a tactical genius.

Please review! I know this isn't very funny yet, but it will get there. Don't forget to come back for Chapter Two.