Title: Necessity is the Mother of Invention
Fandom: Artemis Fowl. Alex Rider
Pairing: Alex/ Artemis
Rating: PG-13 at the moment
Warnings: Slash. Slash is male/male relations. Don't like don't read.
A/N: Just to clarify. Some time ago I wrote an A/A story which also featured Alex as bodyguard. However all copies were lost on and I had no backup. So this story uses only the concept, not any of the features, and is a story in its own right, bearing very little similarity apart from the initial premise.
Summary: Artemis needs a new bodyguard, and Alex Rider fits the bill. Alex/ Artemis. WIP. Slash.
In the actual event of moving away from Fowl Manor, Artemis was struck with something closely resembling culture shock. Dr Neuberger had spoken truer than he had imagined when he had said Artemis was unstable. To be so rudely torn from the sheltered environs of a spacious house, which he rarely left, in favour of a riotously sprawling city, with inhabitants spanning the entire spectrum from 'mostly sane' to absolutely off the scale raving mad, was a shock to his system, one that Butler monitored with a seemingly casual eye that actually concealed genuine worry.
Artemis was used to crowded cities of course, had stayed in them many times, but to live in one was completely different. Even when staying weeks in them, he had always had the gentle environment of Fowl Manor to cushion his senses when he returned. Now that comfort had been wrenched from him. He stayed inside most of the time, in that respect things had rarely changed, but he did seem rather quieter than usual. Alex had offered to have them stay in his house, but Butler had decided it was in their best interests that they rent a different apartment. Alex's living space was certain to be monitored by MI5 still, and there was no use giving them evidence to connect the two. Alex was currently hovering between staying at his own house for the moment for the same reason, and moving in permanently with Artemis and Butler.
While Artemis worked on his sophisticated forgeries, and swindling money-making schemes, Alex and Butler kept equally busy with rather more prosaic matters such as training Alex physically, and keeping up to speed with his school work. Alex was fit naturally, he had kept himself in shape. But against the older, more experienced bodyguard, he was like a puppy. A wet behind the ears puppy. As Butler threw him against the wall for the seventh, Alex had to conclude probably more like a just birthed puppy. Finally, he held up his hands, and dragged in a deep breath. "Okay," he conceded. "I thought you said you were slowing down. Because if this is slowing down, I really don't want to see you in a bad mood."
Butler smiled briefly twitching his lips. "You are doing very well," he congratulated him, putting out his hand, and pulling Alex up. "You almost had me that last time." As soon as Alex was on his feet, he launched a karate kick at Butler, vainly hoping the other man would be caught off guard.
He hit the wall an eight time.
"That just wasn't fair," grumbled Alex, and rubbed his bruised tailbone. "Honestly, I can't get anywhere near you."
Butler's expression was serious. "You can learn Alex. You've already proved two things to me. Your physical stamina, and your mental fibre. It took some doing to keep coming back like that, when I was throwing everything I had at you, and thats a good thing. Anyone can learn technique if they practice long and hard enough. But the mental attitude that comes with it? That can't be learnt." He helped Alex up again. "Come on. Enough practice for a bit. We need to talk about some things."
Sitting in the cafe adjacent to the sports gym they'd been working out in, Butler ordered two decaffeinated coffees. Interpreting Alex's glance he smiled, amused at the disgruntlement. "Sorry," he said in a voice, that didn't sound apologetic in the least. "Caffeine can be useful in the short term," lectured Butler, "but on a daily basis it is unwise. As is the case with alcohol, nicotine and most drugs." He shook in sugar, and Alex looked puzzled.
"Surely glucose isn't good either then?" he asked.
Butler smiled. "Good point, but your metabolism will be running fast enough to need the extra energy boost when you can get it. A good friend in the SAS once told me he drinks his coffee as black, sugary and strong as he can bear it, when he can get it. I personally don't think the caffeine is such a good idea, but the point is a good one. When you have a long trek ahead of you, the most helpful thing you can carry is high carb, glucose rich snacks."
Alex nodded, and poured sugar into his own coffee. "You have friends in the SAS?" he asked, interested, remembering Wolf the SAS trainee, who had made his life so miserable for a bit.
"Yes," was Butler's reply. "Some of them quit, and become security themselves. Others you just bump into. I have a mate in Hertfordshire who is a great help. He tells me when they are doing Selection, and sometimes I'll join in just for the practice." Stirring his coffee, he fixed Alex with a stern glance. "Another thing. Practice. You have to be willing to practice whenever you get the chance. You can't afford to get out of condition, or to gain weight. The result is death. For you, or for your principal. Usually both."
"Principal?" asked Alex intrigued.
Butler nodded. "That's what you refer to your protectee as." He sighed. "That's one trouble," he said. When Alex gave him an enquiring look he continued. "You being so similar in age, and not properly trained. Already its too personal. Artemis knows your name, and you know him. You have to consider this Alex. If it came down to it, would you take a bullet for him? Could you save him at the expense of your own life, without knowing him?"
There was silence at the table. Alex traced patterns on the table. Finally he looked up and met Butler's eyes bluntly. "I was an agent," he said. He shrugged stiffly, and continued tracing the plastic. "Seems ridiculous doesn't it? Literally sending a boy to do a man's job. A job too dirty for anyone else to do, too dangerous to risk their best on, so they sent me instead because I was cheap and expendable, and no questions would be asked if I didn't make it. I risked my life over and over again. I was shot by an assassin finally, and even that didn't stop them." He paused. "You know what I got Butler? Nothing. Nothing. The prime minister got his secretary to send me a card of thanks, and I got a cheque in the post covering at basic rate the time I worked for them. After that, what you are offering sounds a whole lot better." The last words sounded bitter, and Alex tried to lighten the mood. "Besides you can't spend that much time with someone, and not get to know them better."
There was the sound of a hand on the table. "You don't understand Alex. Artemis shouldn't even know my name, he shouldn't know yours. Objectivity is essential."
Alex sat back. "I don't think you believe so," he observed shrewdly. "I think you're saying that, because you are already in too deep. How long have you been with him Butler?"
The answer was reluctant. "Since the hour he was born."
"Precisely. You're telling me you held a baby in your arms, and watched him grow without feeling anything at all? Without caring what would happen to him? Because I don't think anyone could do that."
"Of course not. I'm just saying its not meant to happen."
Alex drank a little of his rapidly cooling coffee, and wrinkled his nose. "It's none of my business Butler. I'm no-one to judge, since I knew neither of my parents, but I think its pretty obvious that you are the only person that Artemis really gives a flying about, which is more than you can say for his parents."
Butler digested that in silence, then tacitly nodded. "All right lets get back to training," he said, a little discomforted at how easily Alex had penetrated beneath the surface. Perhaps he was right. They made their way back to the gym, where Alex had his arse thoroughly beaten by the end of the session. Butler clapped him on the back. "Not bad at all." Alex was surprised at how much the praise warmed him. He felt a strong liking for the taicturn older man already.
Back at the safehouse as Alex had taken privately to calling the flat, Artemis was still busy. Usually he stayed with Butler when the other man trained, but he'd decided that perhaps it would be better if he gave Alex and Butler a chance to get to know each other first. Butler led Alex into the kitchen. "First proper lesson," he said gravely. A sour look was thrown at him by Alex, as he rubbed his cocyx bone. "Cooking."
Alex's mouth fell unbecomingly open. "Cooking."
There was a nod. "Alex," said Butler, slightly muffled as he searched through a drawer. "A truely high class bodyguard is multi faceted. Creating an exquisite haute cusine meal is but a minor detail. Now watch carefully." Two hours, a lot of swearing and a burnt finger later, and Alex had created his first meal. Artemis walked in, pouring himself a glass of water.
"I'm not hungry," he said briefly, and wandered out. A restraining hand on Alex's arm, prevented him from dashing after Artemis and force feeding him every single mouthful created by dint of sheer will power and perserverance on Alex's part.
"The second lesson is patience," Butler said pityingly.
As Artemis sweated over his laptop, Alex settled down to his own work. Since he had left school, he was currently studying his AS-levels on his own, a task made simple by his excellent memory. An unceremonious thud sounded in front of him. Butler had dropped a pile of heavy books on top of Alex's schoolbooks.
"Have a flick through," said Butler with just a hint of a smirk. Alex did as he was told, and had a look at the covers. Language texts looked up at him, weapons manuals, emergency first aid, and a slim etiquette book. Butler was definitly smirking. Alex knew a number of langauges already, and a smattering of a couple of others, enough to get him from A to B, so he discarded the Spanish, French and German books, leaving him with the Russian, Japanese and Chinese to begin with. Butler took pity on him. "Just pick one," he said. Alex took the Japanese one, since Artemis seemed to be studying it, and moved the others to the side.
Beginning to read, he cleared away his own and Butler's plates automatically. A hundred and seventeen pages later he looked up, only to almost swallow his tongue. Artemis was wandering around the room in a towel, looking for his phone, running his hands through his hair in distraction. "Lesson number three," said Butler dryly. "Get used to anything your principal might do." When Artemis left he continued. "Artemis is a case in point. When you are that clever, a certain arrogance creeps in. A sort of 'nothing can touch me.' Besides he forgot about you which is unlike him. He must like you. Usually he's like a cat on a hot tin roof when someone he doesn't know is in the room." They resumed reading.
"Why is he so... strange?" asked Alex bluntly, looking up. Butler gave him a quizzical look. "No seriously. I mean it. Why is he so odd?"
Butler tapped his finger thoughtfully. "There is never a simple answer to anything Alex. You must not forget I have lived with him since he was born, and it is my job to look after him, so perhaps many of his idnoisycracies go unnoticed by me. Artemis is not strange as you so delicately put it. He's a genius. I mean that in a literal hundred and seventy IQ points way, not being colloquial. With such a mind comes loneliness. You are an intelligent person Alex, indeed a very intelligent one, more so than you might think. How easy is it for you to carry on a conversation with an average person? Then multiply that by ten, and you have Artemis."
Alex digested that. "He just seems not even... immoral. More as though he is simply unaware that morality might exist. Utterly detached. He had no problem lying to his parents, making his mother worry so much, and he has no qualms about stealing. Almost a medical condition."
There was a very brief silence. "You don't know him Alex. Artemis is not immoral or sociopathic. He cares, more deeply than he thinks he should for anyone else. He just doesn't see the point in broadcasting his emotions to the world, wearing his heart on his sleeve. He has changed very much. When he was twelve, if you had asked me the same question I would have replied with a wholehearted agreement. He was a spoilt brat. Now.. things have changed."
Alex pondered on that for a bit, then Artemis entered the room and put a stop to the conversation. "Butler can we go for a walk? I need to think, and my head is aching." Butler immediately put his book aside, and stood pulling on a coat.
"Come on Alex," he said affably, and Alex stood stretching. They left the flat. Only Alex seemed conscious of what a strange group they looked. Two teenaged boys, and a self possessed man. Not strange enough to garner stares in a place, where they were far closer even with a pale Artemis, and two bodyguards to the normal side of things than most people. Alex hadn't actually been in this part of London much, and he found himself tailing Artemis and Butler, who were walking without speaking. They didn't stay out long, turning back after a few streets. Alex employed himself in keeping an eye out for potential suspects, amusing himself in the meantime by hypothesizing strange case scenarios involving the people he saw. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see Butler doing almost exactly the same thing.
Back in the flat, Artemis disappeared to his bedroom as usual, while Butler showed Alex the assorted weaponry he owned. Alex was highly impressed by it. MI6 had never allowed him to have a gun, and though he truthfully wasn't sure if he could handle shooting one, he understood that he needed to at least understand the basics. Butler seemed to understand his hesitation, and he made no comment upon Alex's unwillingness to handle them. He quickly took the weapon apart, and put it back together. As Alex watched, his time in Malagosta came flooding back to him, everything he had learnt rising to the front of his mind. He didn't need to watch Butler's hands, memory filled in for him. He put it together himself, impressing Butler with his speed. The other bodyguard's tools were spread out, and Alex was taken through the usage of each one, and in what situations it should be used.
His mind felt like bursting after all the knowledge that had accumulated during the day. Though it was only half nine, he felt drowsy already, muscles aching, and his mind equally tired. He refused to acknowledge it though, knowing already that a bodyguard does not sleep until he has ascertained that his principal is asleep and safe. Butler watched, pleased with the boy. He was already grasping the essentials- the finesse could come later. Leaving Alex with heavy eyes, to continue cleaning the weapons, he went into Artemis's bedroom where the younger boy was typing furiously. "Artemis," he said quietly.
Artemis held up one hand, hit the enter button, then turned to face Butler. "What is it?" he asked.
Butler sat down with a sigh. "I merely wanted to find out what you thought of Alex," he said. "It's not too late to stop this, to move on and find someone else."
Artemis tapped a pen against his knuckles, before consciously stilling his hands. "I think you've made an excellent choice," he said, eyes glancing back to the monitor. "He admires you very much, and everything in his character and profile points to great personal loyalty, always a good thing of course. He could be extremely useful. An admirable choice." He paused for a second, then continued. "I would worry that he is a teenager though. We know what teenagers are like," his grimace suggested a world of experience though in fact he was younger than Alex. "Girlfriends, nightclubs etc, are going to hold inevitable attractions for him which could interfere with what he is supposed to be doing. He's no match for you Butler, no subsitute, and I'm glad of that."
There was little noise, then Butler replied. "True. Artemis, haven't you ever wondered about that side of life yourself? I do not think Alex is the type of teenager to be so engaged by such trivial matters, but I think you are too serious for your own good."
Pinching his nose, Artemis turned. "Butler, I don't have time for such stupid animalistic pursuits," he said wearily. "The point of the things you are suggesting are for one purpose alone, the attraction of a suitable mate. I have no interest in such things. When I have money, time and interest, then I will pursue them. Until then, it can remain a closed book."
A shorter chapter. More coming soon. Can anyone tell me what the Orion Awards are? I keep on hearing things about them shrugs.
MI5 in response to some reviews is actually also a branch of military intelligence which is more concerned with surveillance. MI6 is whom Alex works for, MI5 monitors him.
Please review! And thank you to all who did