(A/N: Hello, readers. HELLO, reviewers:D Here's my latest—a songfic featuring Fast Car by Tracy Chapman. NO, I don't own it. That's my disclaimer. Deal with it. While I'm at it, I also don't own Artemis Fowl, blah blah blah. So…where was I? Oh yes…

LISTEN TO THE SONG.

I am SO serious. If you don't listen to this song while reading this, you are SO missing out. And this story will never mean half as much to you and you'll never really go into thinking anything without it. All of my songfics are like this, but this one especially. I listened to this song first on YouTube and then downloaded it later. There's no excuse—if you have Internet, you can listen to the song on YouTube too, just ignore the music video. I recommend it. Really.

AND READ IT SLOWLY.

Yes, I'm a hypocrite. But with this song and my blech writing style, it's extremely important. Yeah, you'll go through the song a few times. So what? You'll get the details and the symbolism/metaphors and tap into something much deeper, something like life's soul. :) Sorry, extreme poetic moment there. But please do those two things, okay?

-ckontowderdon32)

Changed by ckontowderdon32

Dedicated to: finding the truth hidden within answers.

You got a fast car

I want a ticket to anywhere

Maybe we can make a deal

Maybe together we can get somewhere

Any place is better

Driving. Driving fast, alone, driving on the freeway. Just road ahead of him, only road. Black with a stripe down the middle, down the exact middle. Just him and the music pouring out of the radio, the song with the road, winding down the stripe and into any car that might pass by—but none did.

The radio. His radio. He wanted her, to be able to say "his Holly". God, he thought, I thought I was past being possessive.

Obviously not…

He had the fast car. He had the ticket, the ticket from the plane. It had been expensive, but this would be worth it…he hoped. And now he was driving, and the sadness, anxiety, longing, hope, and tears were all mixed up and falling from his eyes, rolling down his cheek.

Speed. He raised a hand and angrily brushed away the tears, focusing only on getting there quickly.

He had the fast car and the ticket.

Starting from zero, got nothing to lose

Maybe we'll make something

Me, myself, I got nothing to prove

Speed was his alibi, speed was what he had, all he had. All he needed.

Besides her.

Obviously…

It was hard, going back to the beginning. But he had to do that, and lately he had been getting better at doing that—turning back the clock. Giving up his money hadn't been enough and it had only gotten…different. Marrying Minerva made everyone happy, even her—everyone except him. Her money made him feel guilty, like that was the only reason he was with her.

Was it?

He didn't know. It had seemed like the right thing to do, and he supposed it had been…until things began to fall apart. The baby might have been the first thing…she didn't really care too much for her. The pregnancy had been enough, Minerva would say, and then leave him to take care of her.

He had brought her with him, but she was sleeping in the back. Holly would leave the land of dreams soon, and then he would have to stop and pull over and rock her.

She would leave him one day, going off to marry someone…just like her namesake…

You got a fast car

I've got a plan to get us out of here

Been working at the convenience store

Managed to save just a little bit of money

Won't have to drive too far

Just across the border

And into the city

You and I can both get jobs

Finally see what it means to be living

He'd been working hard, so hard. Leaving Minerva had been the easy part, compared to everything else, everything now, even though it hadn't seemed easy at the time. He could remember telling her the news, telling her his reason, his good reason, his good reasons. And her surprised mouth, forming a perfect O to tell him that he shouldn't do this.

But she didn't realize what he needed—would anyone? Holly could probably have guessed it, but she wasn't with him anymore. She didn't really care, and he couldn't blame her without being a liar.

To work so hard in the office with all those spiteful people trying to bring him down, except the manager who smiled politely, smiled like the liar he was, and everyone knew. Artemis didn't want to be like him, he only cared about Holly. And money could save her, could save him. Starting over hadn't been easy, leaving everything before hadn't been simple, but he felt more…alive, more real. Minerva was in his past.

Gasping for air—God, he was suffocating under everything, under all the emotions that were weighing him down. Still more tears.

Still she slept.

Still he thought.

How far did he have left? He didn't know, and he didn't even really care even though he knew that it mattered. He'd just drive in his car, drive fast in his car, drive in his fast car.

The radio played softly, urging him on gently, urging him to think carefully, urging him to find her and set things right, to set things wrong, to break all of the rules that were right in front of his eyes.

To drive on.

And he only saw the road.

See, my old man's got a problem

Live with the bottle, that's the way it is

They say his body's too old for working

His body's too young to look like it is

My Momma went off and left him

She wanted more from life than he could give

I said somebody's got to take care of him

So I quit school, that's what I did

The tears stopped. He had cried them all and wiped them all away, letting the moisture sink into his hands, which he placed on the steering wheel, feeling the smooth hardness of it, gripping it firmly. He had to hold onto something, didn't he?

He was tempted to look to the side of the road, to see what was around him. But he knew it wouldn't change anything, knew that there was only either long grass, golden grass swaying in the wind, or forest with tall green trees that looked like they could reach to the sky, looked like they wanted to too, but were too scared.

But he didn't look, he only gripped the steering wheel tighter. Keep going.

He was scared of not living, scared of doing something the wrong way. Scared of living in the dark forever, scared of death—no, not death. Death was real, death was something you could rely on. Love you couldn't. Love—that was it. He was scared of love.

Because here he was, driving on, mile after mile, only after stupid love and stupid her and stupid problems not able to work themselves out, stupid life, stupid him…how could he have thought that after everything, things would magically unfold perfectly?

Holly stirred behind. He tossed all plans of turning back into a black abyss of nothing in his mind, and continued on. Keep going. Don't look back, don't ever look back.

He most certainly hadn't looked back after running from college to what he was searching for right now, once again.

Holly stretched her chubby little arms, yawned, then relaxed again. Continued sleeping.

Artemis turned to look at her, one arm on the wheel, ensuring that they would keep rolling on in a straight line to follow the road, the black road.

She was silent.

He turned back, eyes fixed ahead. He thought.

He was scared of the truth.

You got a fast car

Is it fast enough so we can fly away

We got to make a decision

Leave tonight or live and die this way

He drove on, speeding and not caring, going fast and wondering and feeling. What would happen? Would she take him?

She didn't last time, his brain cruelly reminded him. Why should she this time?

We promised, he insisted. We promised to come back.

His conscience—or twin or mind, something—shook its head sadly. Things have changed, Artemis. You knew that they would and they have. Why torment yourself this way? You're tearing yourself apart…

He was silent. He did not reply for a while.

Then—I love her.

His conscience faded into black and allowed him to drive on, but with one last thought. Will you live the rest of your life like this?...

He looked away, tearing his gaze from the road. The road was his argument.

And then he saw it, a fleeting shadow, a rustle in the grass. Something running, something running fast. As fast as his fast car. Fast enough to live life the way it wanted. Faster than he could run, faster than he could live life.

Fast enough to lift off the ground and fly, fly far, fly fast…fly free…live.

So remember when we were driving

Driving in your car

The speed so fast, it felt like I was drunk

City lights lay out before us

And your arm felt nice wrapped round my shoulder

He sped up, the grass consuming the shape, the life, the heartbeat that was running next to him. How fast could this…thing…run? Was it running? Or just moving?

He went faster. Faster. Faster. Speed. Tires. Road. Radio. Music. Only him and curiosity. Him and the grass. Him and the shape in the grass. 60 miles…70 mph…75…

And suddenly there were trees all around and no grass, the trees that wished to grow taller. And he was staring out the window, looking into its eyes as it leaped and pushed off of the ground, running and living, wishing for nothing and needing nothing, only living. Only running.

Its antlers stood tall, points sharp and branching off. Leap, land, leap, land, leap, land…it ran between the trees, looking straight ahead now. Brown coat shining in the sun, an ocean, shimmering as the muscles worked almost effortlessly. Head held high, answering no one and only running. Focusing on the steps ahead, focusing on the trees, focusing on its path, its path never traveled before. Deciding its life, choosing to weave between the trees, wanting to run.

They went on like that, him in his fast car and the buck running. In a dream world, but it was real, and that was even better.

Holly moved in back, moaning slightly. Artemis slowed down and the buck kept running, but slowed too to a trot. It glanced his way and held his gaze, now walking, eyes saying, "Love her—we'll meet again. Until then…live!"


And it ran off as the orange sun was setting over the tall trees, running at full speed.

Artemis pulled over to the side of the road, feeling proud of himself for making his decisions the way he did, proud of himself for living. His mind replayed the buck running beside him, the sun streaming in between the trees.

And he felt life.

And I—I had a feeling that I belong

I—I had a feeling that I could be someone

Be someone

Be someone

Holly rubbed her eyes with her chubby little hands. "Pa-pa…" she moaned, stretching in her child's seat.

Artemis gazed at her lovingly, eyes not quite sparkling, but full of the power he had just experienced. "What is it, darling?"

"I'm hungwy," she pouted.

Artemis smiled softly. Climbing into the back seat next to her, he took her out of her seat and hugged her, smelling her soft skin, loving her for still being next to him. She may not have really known her mother, but she loved him.

"I'll love you when the sun rises

I'll love you when it sets

I'll love you when the sun fades out

And when the stars collect

I'll be there when you grow up

I'll be there when you marry

I'll be there when you go through life

And I won't be sorry," he sang softly, whispering the words in her ear. She giggled, then relaxed in his safe hold. He had made that song for her the first night she was in his house, and she could always feel content whenever she heard it from his lips. Minerva had tried to sing it for her and she hadn't sounded bad, but it had almost ruined it for some reason. Only her daddy could do it for her…and it would work its magic.

He rubbed her back with one hand, loving to hold her and know her. She was beautiful—she'd grow up beautiful, too. He was glad she looked nothing like Minerva—perhaps Holly had some of her attitude, but he didn't want her to be a reminder of the marriage he had run from.

But he couldn't help thinking about how complete his life would feel if his love was next to him too.

And so he placed the sleeping Holly in her seat, clambered back up to the front, and stepped on the gas pedal.

You got a fast car

We go cruising, entertain ourselves

You still ain't got a job

I work in the market as a checkout girl

I know things will get better

His mind wandered back to all of the things and projects he had to do when he got back and all of the clients he had to meet with—but he was determined not to think about that, only face the future. If she was there—if she did love him—then he might not have to go back. He could start living life the way he wanted, with her and his daughter and no Minerva, no one who would stop them…

He peered out of the windshield to look at the sky. It was purple-ish with orange-red clouds and a few purple ones too. It looked…it looked like a sunset worthy of his purpose for driving fast in his fast car.

A sunset worthy of Holly.

He looked down at the road next to him and followed the line as it lay there, whizzing past his window and moving back to where he couldn't see it. And then he realized that he was moving, actually moving forward and taking a leap for once in his life.

He wasn't just going in circles, like he was before he made all of his decisions, before he made up his mind. Because he had just been going nowhere. Fame wasn't glory, fortune wasn't worth it. It was nothing compared to that moment with him, the trees, the light, and the buck, and the running.

Even if Holly didn't want him, couldn't want him, he knew he would still feel the power of this fading day.

Even though deep down, he still loved her and wanted her to tell him the same.

You'll find work and

I'll get promoted

We'll move out of the shelter

Buy a big house and live in the suburbs

What was she doing now, Artemis wondered. Well, not now…hopefully she was going to meet him at the tree. But was she still with Foaly and Mulch and the rest of them? Still saving the People from goblins and demons and trolls? Did she think about him every know and then? Was she still with that LEP hot-shot rookie? Did she love him? Did they live together? Did they have children? Did she miss him, even just their friendship?

Did she hate him?

Didn't she want something more than just a life? Didn't she want…more? He groaned, frustrated. His thoughts were wandering too far—he tried to reign them in.

Look at you, he thought proudly, look at how far you've come, look at yourself. She'd be proud of you, proud of who you've become. And you're still changing. She doesn't hate you.

He hoped she didn't.

He honestly just didn't know.

So remember when we were driving

Driving in your car

Speed so fast, it felt like I was drunk

City lights lay out before us

And your arm felt nice wrapped round my shoulder

He remembered that one night, the night before the fall-out. They sat together lazily, sleepily under the stars. Holly was pointing out constellations the People knew and Artemis was showing her humans'.

And at some point he vaguely recalled putting his arm around her shoulder and holding her close, then looking deep into her thoughtful eyes. She wasn't scared, wasn't worried, wasn't hesitant about what they were about to do. She was thoughtful.

And their lips met softly, and then both of his arms were around her, holding her closer and wanting more of her. They stayed together all night, lips clashing and eyes flashing, falling back onto the blanket and staying that way, loving each other more than they had ever known or imagined.

And it was real, they would remember this night for all of eternity. That made it all the better.

And I—I had a feeling that I belong

I—I had a feeling I could be someone

Be someone

Be someone

That had to count for something. That moment in time he would never forget, always cherish. Didn't it? That was one of the times he felt like he actually belonged in this world, that he actually loved her and wanted her. He reminded himself of that night whenever he wasn't feeling up to changing things, like starting over.

His heart ached for her, to kiss her soft lips again. Holly…

You got a fast car

I got a job that pays all our bills

You stay out drinking late after hours

See more of your friends than you do of your kids

I'd always hoped for better

He didn't hate Minerva, but she certainly disgusted him. He remembered that one day, coming home to find her sitting in "her" chair, staring out the window, vodka bottle in hand. Holly was whimpering in her crib.

"What are you doing? She's calling you!" he cried, rushing over to his daughter after setting down his briefcase in front of the door.

Holly was asleep, but she must have been having a bad dream.

Minerva didn't reply, didn't show any sign that he had said anything to her.

"Minerva!" he said loudly, running his hand over Holly's head and then walking over to her. He snatched the bottle from her, and that was when she spoke.

"The pregnancy was enough. You wouldn't understand, Artemis." Her words were slightly slurred, but he knew that she was very drunk. Her attitude would drastically change whenever she had a sip of wine—for her to not care about her own daughter was horrible. He didn't want this to happen again. Didn't want to risk his daughter being hurt by her own mother.

"Get out." Artemis spoke softly, but he was firm.

She looked at him, eyes surprised. "What?"

"You heard me."

She glared at him, standing up. "This is my house. Father bought it for me—for us. It's more mine than it ever was yours.

Artemis held her gaze. Then he broke it, throwing the bottle to the ground.

Shards of glass flew over the floor, scattered. The rest of the vodka splashed over the floor, and Artemis was pleased that it did. He hoped she remembered this day forever, hoped she hated him because he knew that he did her, hoped that he never saw her again.

He walked over to the crib, not caring about the glass he stepped on, not caring about the cuts he was getting. The alcohol burned inside his new injuries. Picking up Holly, who whimpered softly, he walked to the door.

He turned to her. Her mouth was open, and she hadn't expected any of this. "You never loved me," he reminded her.

He walked away to his fast car, his deep blue, fast car.

And he had never loved her.

Thought maybe together

You and me would find it

I got no plans, I ain't going nowhere

So take your fast car and keep on driving

He was almost there. He knew it. He could feel it. The trees were urging him to pick up the speed, just a little, before the sun's light completely disappeared.

He studied the map for a second, propped on top of the drink holder. Then he rolled down the window, enjoying the feel of the wind against his skin, tousling his hair, and he threw the map out the window in one fluid motion.

He kept the window down, kept the wind blowing in his face.

Because I remember when we were driving

Driving in your car

Speed so fast, felt like I was drunk

City lights lay out before us

And your arm felt nice wrapped round my shoulder

As he rolled along, mile after mile, the trees faded into the old golden grass. He liked the trees, but he might have liked the grass better. He considered that. Then he shrugged. It didn't matter.

His insides were a jumble of emotions as he thought about seeing her again after so many years.

You can't do this…you shouldn't do this…

He tactfully ignored his conscience.

And I—I had a feeling that I belonged

I—I had a feeling I could be someone

Be someone

Be someone

What would happen? Half of him thought he was the biggest idiot in the world for doing this, but his other half knew that while he was an idiot for doing this, the first half was really the biggest idiot because it only said that because it was scared.

He was scared. Scared of the truth. He tried to conjure the feelings before, the feelings he had shared with the buck. But they were wisps of grass, of golden grass, bending away from him in the wind as he reached for them.

And he only felt anxiety.

You got a fast car

Is it fast enough so you can fly away

You got to make a decision

Leave tonight or live and die this way

There was the tree. Large and sudden and tall and blooming, it stood towering over everything else, as if saying "Respect me, for I am an ancient being and have stood for years and years, seeing all that has passed by me."

Artemis slowed down in his fast car, pulled over to the side. He stayed in his car for a while, hands still on the wheel, breathing in and out, taking in life with every inhale and preparing himself. What would he say? He had wondered about this for a while, thinking about what to say to her. "I love you"…"hey"…"How's life been?"…"You look good"…

He pushed them all from his mind. She might not even be there, she might not even come.

He forced his hand over the handle and opened the door slowly. Then one foot was outside in the crisp, cold night air. And his other foot. Then he just got out, his whole body. He didn't have that much time to waste.

He checked his watch, his cheap watch. From a packet of Krispy Krunchers.

11: 59.

He walked slowly toward the tree, afraid of what he might find. He wasn't sure if he was scared of seeing her or not seeing her, but it didn't matter. He was here.

He placed his hand on the bark, touching the rough, real bark. He looked up, and saw branches intertwining. There was a lower branch, resting about ten feet in the air. They were all combined, he thought. Why couldn't he and Holly be too?

Then both hands were roaming, fingers feeling the cracks. Then his face, his cheek, was against it and his arms were around it, feeling not completely unlike the time with the buck. He stayed like that for a minute or two, becoming one with the tree, feeling its rhythm of life, feeling its heartbeat and joining it.

He didn't care if Holly was watching, but…it did feel like eyes were watching him.

He whirled around, expecting to see her standing there.

Nothing. Just the car, his car, his fast car, on the side of the road a ways away and the grass on either side, the grass casting a deep purple shadow.

That was it. He knew it was. She wasn't there. A small blossom of hope was trampled on repeatedly in his heart. There was a sense of finality, a sense of the end. It was over.

He walked to his car.

Holly…

Holly

She sat on the branch, legs outstretched outwards on the branch. Tears were falling fast. Why couldn't she just tell him the truth?

He came. She came. What did they come for?

Oh yeah. Love profession.

But they both knew that…so then why was she still sitting up here, crying?

You're different than him. He had a life, a life you tore him from. Your memory is wrecking him and all you can think about is yourself.

But that's not true, she protested, the part of her that loved him so much, he loves me, he has to! He came here…

But now he's leaving. And you're sitting on a branch above him, watching him leave. Crying your heart out.

Artemis, her heart cried out to him silently.

Artemis

He didn't want to do this. But he loved Holly more than anything and he knew that the People would hate him for creating all this confusion, and they might even hate Holly too. They would hate her.

But he wanted to do this and he knew that she would understand and accept her.

He did it, and then stared at the tree for a while. Then he tore himself away and looked back up, up into the tree. "I love you," he whispered. To the tree, to Holly, to her.

A drop fell onto his shoulder, and he knew it was time to leave.

Then he left. He simply walked to his car and drove away fast, drove away in his fast car.

He was crying as he drove into the blackness of the night, headlights lighting up the path in front of him.

Holly

She watched him drive away, dreading having to return to her world. They lived in separate universes—it never could have worked.

Right?

That teardrop had almost revealed her. But she knew that he knew that she was there, so what did it matter?

Nothing, that was what.

He had driven away in his fast car and they were too…too something, D'Arvit, she didn't know.

"I love you too," she whispered back, watching him disappear.

She jumped down from the tree after a moment and studied what was before her.

She picked up the note.

"I know that you'll love her," it said, "and that she'll remember me. I love her, Holly, so you'll sing her this song because you love me."

Holly smirked through her tears.

"But I love you too…

I'll love you when the sun rises

I'll love you when it sets

I'll love you when the sun fades out

And when the stars collect

I'll be there when you grow up

I'll be there when you marry

I'll be there when you go through life

And I won't be sorry…

Love, Artemis."

Holly picked up the young girl, sleeping, and studied her for a moment in her arms.

She glanced back at the note.

"P.S. Her name is Holly."

The beginning of the end and the end of the beginning, the fast car, the buck, the love, and the two lives—all intertwined like the tree.

The End

(A/N: Thanks for reading…hope you did the 2 suggestions!! Didn't get it, review and I'll reply with an explanation. :D Good? Bad? Re-write?)