Don't Underestimate Me
Pre-fight Match-up: Butler (late 20's) vs Artemis (uhm, not yet 1)
3:00 PM, Fowl Manor
Little Artemis Fowl has an IQ higher than Einstein. Even at this age, he already understands everything his parents say. He has taught himself how to read, and was teaching himself Mathematics by conducting mental experiments in his head. Truly, he could learn much more if he could just get a hand on a more interesting book than... Bernay's Book of ABCs...
"Oh, baby, wet your poo-pii again?" the nanny came rushing as Artemis cried. If only he could make his little lips say what he wanted! But his coordination has not yet caught up with his mental development. "Why, your poo-pii's dry! You just wanna huggy puggy from your nannie, don'cha? A-goo-goo-ah?"
What the hell are you talking about? Artemis glared at her in frustration. He clutched the book and threw it at the poor maid's face to shut her up. He then grabbed a fistful of hair and pulled with all his might.
The poor servant, caught off-guard, screamed as the little demon managed to tear a tenth of her hair from the roots. Toys flew as she tripped and tumbled on Artemis' rocking horse and fell on a mountain of blocks. This, coupled with Artemis' savage crying brought the entire house running towards the nursery.
"My God, w-what's happened here?" Angeline gasped, demurely covering her lips as a proper lady should.
"Madame! I could NOT work under these conditions!" The maid screamed as she straightened her uniform. She cast a venomous glance at Artemis, who was merely sobbing as Angeline cradled him. "I have cared for two generations of royalty, Madame – but – !" she sputtered as she failed to come up with a word that meant terrible, incorrigible, demon-spawn and EVIL all at once.
"Miss Therese, surely you do not mean to leave us!"
"Hunh!" The normally calm governess huffed. She was gone in an eyeblink, leaving all her things behind. Better that than her sanity!
Artemis Sr. massaged his temples as Angeline told him the bad news.
"So, we've lost the ninth?"
Sighing, he watched his son who was eerily watching him back. This child indeed was different. He rarely cried with them around, but gave hell to his nannies. Was he playing on their emotions and wanted their attention 24-7? Or was it something else? He was already a year old, but hasn't talked yet. Was he autistic?
"Oh look, he's making baby noises!"
"Indeed..." Artemis Sr. resolved that no matter what happened, he would give his child the best education and the best life possible. He went to the crib and picked up Artemis.
"Want a bed time story son?"
"Oh, he's smiling! He looks like you, honey!" She grinned, "when you smile, that is."
"Really Angeline, these emotional displays are not appropriate for Artemis..."
The toddler tilted his head, as if understanding, then blushed. But Angeline ignored her husband's reprimand.
"Honey, maybe it is time for him to pair up with Little Arty?"
Artemis Sr. stiffened... to call up their expertise at such a little matter?
Angeline took Little Artemis and hummed while she cradled him. The toddler had a peculiar air around him – as if he understood much more than he should. And... was he looking at his Fundamentals of Fluid Banking book
A strange notion entered his mind. Bububu... book?
4:45 AM, an Undisclosed Training Facility
A dozen Green Berets lay in a jumbled heap, groaning and generally out of commission.
"GET UP, TRAINING HAS BARELY BEGUN!"
A few brave souls struggled to get up, but the moment they got halfway, their knees jellied.
The young Eurasian shook his head, disappointed.
"IF YOU DON'T GET YOUR ASSES IN LINE, I WILL BE GREATLY DISPLEASED!" He seldom shouted in bold capitalized letters, but this was an instance where extra persuasion was needed. With a growl, the berets picked up their rifles, packs, weights, equipment, tents and a sack of wet sand. The young man nodded as he watched his troop get their nth wind. He then picked up his own allotment which was 1.5 times heavier. He believed in setting an example.
Jogging up the camp where they would build their barracks, he felt his secure phone buzz.
"YES! I mean, yes?"
He was silent as he listened intently, picking up several berets that fell on the road side. It was much earlier than he expected. Excitement coursed through Butler's body. This was the moment he was waiting for! The culmination of his life-time of training! Butler seldom grinned, so the sight of a smile on his usual impassive face sent shivers up the berets that saw him.
3:00 AM, the Next Day, Fowl Manor
"Diapers? As in, the one that... takes care of babies' natural functions? That kind?"
Major Butler fixed his eyes unto his nephew's. "Yes, Domovoi. Master Artemis Jr. is but a year old, and therefore, needs such skills from his bodyguard."
"Ah," Butler was sharp, so he naturally added two and two together, "So, I take it that the Principals would be traveling to..."
"No. My Principal would be traveling. Yours would be staying at the nursery."
Domovoi had to sit down, reflect, and ascertain whether Fowl Sr. was getting senile, or his Uncle was talking in code.
Major Butler smiled, male Butlers had an unnerving image when they smiled. Unfortunately, as it was a generic trait, they are immune to it, as are snakes to their venom. Domovoi still had that hot-bloodedness of youth. It would be good for him to mellow down just a bit.
"Now, nephew, let me show you your Principal..."
Domovoi sighed. He understood, though that didn't mean he liked it. Suppressing a frown, he followed his uncle to the nursery.
Artemis smugly smiled, he has finally managed to close and open his fingers at will! He could control his fingers better than his voice, maybe he could make the big ones understand with signals? Brows creasing in concentration, he devised and practiced signals for "I", "that/ you", "yuck", "yes", "no", "sleep", and "hungry". Seven would be enough for now, better let them catch up first. When he has taught them the basic signals, he could finally do without crying. It's annoying him more than he let on.
"This way, Butlers," he heard his Father's familiar voice. Strange, shouldn't they be sleeping still? His eyes were sharp, and could see their outlines in the dark. He saw his Father, with the familiar outline of the Major. But who was the tall bald man? "Oh, Arty, sorry to wake you..."
Damn, haven't made a signal for Who, What, Why, Where, When yet... Artemis sighed. He pointed at the lights so he could see them better. However, his Father misconstrued his signal, taking this for a desire to be carried. This wasn't all bad, as he managed to get a good look at the stranger.
The man was huge. About a head taller than his Father. He walked like The Major, so he must be... a Butler-servant. The stranger studied him as well. Artemis smiled – it will be challenging – breaking him.
To Be Continued
nn Dear Kez, The Heir and Kyr: Thanks for pointing that out – yes, you are all correct that they were paired since birth... n.n but, read the second chappie. All will be clarified. No, Butler wasn't undergoing military training – he was training the Green Berets. But, thanks for the review! On to chapter II!!!