Disclaimer: Artemis Fowl and related concepts belong to Eoin Colfer and his publishers. Will Parry and the universes of His Dark Materials belong to Philip Pullman and his cohorts.
Dedication: To The Toaster.
Author's Note: This was written for the livejournal community '1sentence', which is a challenge to write 50 sentences with a series of prompts. This explains the structure, and each sentence's 'title'.
The cool wind blows around Will as he takes his morning jog over the grass and through the Botanic Garden, the sky a murky grey above the old colleges; other runners take the garden paths, or the cobbled streets, or run across the bridges into the city.
They first see each other in the garden, both waiting for someone; Artemis's solicitor comes first, then leaves, and they are alone with the dark, the White Fox's eyes gleaming with reflected light.
When Will sees a blonde woman and a black-haired man in the hallway outside of Mary's departmental office, he recognises the White Fox first, and meets its eyes; the man shivers, and turns to face him.
Mary's new student brings with him finances which will pull The Project back from dying obscurity; Mary doesn't trust him, even though he is bright enough to light the drab brick hall.
"You must be Will Parry," the man says, extending a hand, his face expressionless, "Dr Malone's man behind the mask, so to speak; your contributions to the study of Dark Matter are remarkable."
"I am Artemis Fowl," the man's Baritone is melodious but formal, and Will is surprised it is a Fox who watches him not another snake, "I know a lot about you, Mr Parry."
Will's gut lurches and his temperature soars with suppressed fear - the way it did when he was twelve and running from the law; or running from the children of Cittágaze; or running from the shores of death, knowing what lies before him.
"I've been searching for someone of your talents for quite some time;" Fowl murmured, just before leaving, "I'd be interested in helping you become the leader you need to be, if we are to survive the years to come with our national pride intact."
Kirjava speaks around Will's knees, her eyes calm and thoughtful, "the woman's dæmon is kind, her name is Herifaustus; but the White Fox wouldn't speak to me – I don't know if she remembers her own existence, she's too much a part of her human."
When Will is still there an hour later, Mary pours him a scotch; "you know him?" she asks, and he shakes his head, all the time remembering the angels and pondering what the White Fox will bring.
The gold-edged invitation slipped into his pocket during class leads him to a gold-edged restaurant, where the music masks the shaded dealings of the underground and the romantic entanglements of business men; Will wonders which this man is, when he is led to a concealed table near the windows.
Will stares over the gardens when the food comes, when they eat, when the blonde woman appears with an urgent message (Fowl introduces her as Juliet Butler) but he says nothing at all; he is sick of being manipulated, and the White Fox reminds him of the Snow Leopard's sinking claws.
Artemis cannot understand what has happened, when Will leaves before Artemis wants to be alone; he is not familiar with defeat, but neither is Will.
Artemis travels to Germany to meet with a man who knows a man who has information; it is amazing how many things are known, by someone, somewhere, even about worlds which shouldn't exist except in Quantum Theory.
Will stares at his books, human insides swimming across the pages; Kirjava jumps into his lap to stroke against his face, whispering, "he's watching you," and his own insides lurch sideways.
An orchid arrives by courier at Will's tiny flat, smelling of Asia and exoticism; he only worries when bright red gerberas arrive at his mother's house – she thinks Will sent them because he couldn't get back for the weekend.
Juliet's body moves with grace, her back always perfectly poised as she moves two steps behind her employer; Will wonders if she ever leaves his side, or if each night they lie sweating, entwined in silk sheets.
Will watches Juliet's dæmon, a sharp-eyed hawk whose wings flap without silently; Kirjava whispers what she knows - that Herifaustus stays still when the White Fox brushes against her.
Juliet's silk shirt rustles, soft and luxurious against Will's arm, "What do you want, Mr Parry?"
Will considers the option of silence, of truth, or questions, of answers: "Do you know? – arctic foxes speak only nonsense and lies; does your employer do the same?"
"So you want to talk of nonsense and fairytales, Will?" she says, with an unexpectedly genuine smirk, and he wonders if he does.
When Will arrives at Mary's flat, fighting with the stiff key, the Gideon Bible is open to Genesis; his eyes widen when he reads the memorised passage, and he fears what Artemis knows – and then realises that he just wants to know as well.
Will is caught, the pull of lust and attraction dragging him down; he didn't Fall for love, but he can be ensnared by angry exchanges with someone he doesn't understand.
Will has a few emails to write, promises and debts to call upon because he learnt early on the value of connections; three heavy files arrive on his doorstep within the week, and the reading reminds him of other worlds where the people were more interesting than they are here.
Juliet scans the box which arrives before passing it onto Artemis; when she takes up his English Breakfast tea he is staring at figures on his computer screen, his eyes blank.
Will gets a call, and he is led to a sunny graveyard, the grass a vibrant life-filled green; "my lover is here," Artemis says; "but he didn't die in En Fin."
"Will," Kirjava whispers, clawing her way up onto his shoulder, "Artemis is watching me," "- the White Fox?" "-no, her body is."
Will has been tempted before, by a bright intelligence which lit the room; Artemis's thoughts are as cool as ice, but Will is drawn again, like a kamikaze moth drawn to the burn of desire.
Will spins the gold ring on his finger as he sits upon their bench at Midsummer's noon; engraved with Lyra's name it stops propositions, and it stops him from forgetting – or remembering and wanting another to replace her.
White fur reflects sunlight into his eyes; "Will, when you sit there, on your bench, I wonder… do you greet or farewell Miss Belacqua?"
They go back to Artemis's expensive townhouse and Will knows the short-wicked candles are another manipulation, but he can smell the beeswax and is too tired to care; all he wants is to know what Artemis wants from him.
"You are not a healer, Mr Parry," Artemis starts with, and Will fidgets because this he already knows, "you are a fighter, and a leader – why are you hiding?"
"And you are not a business man, locked within an expensive suit; or a scientist locked within a lab – I recognise what you are, and what you hide from."
"But I do not allow my past to determine my future – your deeds, done and undone, eclipse any possibility you may have;" Artemis meets his eyes, and Will steadies himself for pain - "is it so hard to be a murderer?"
Will laughs – an old crooked laugh, like hot lemon juice upon the tongue – "And you are so clean; so clean that I could not steal your life and make the world a greater place?"
"Do not take the moral highroad, Mister Parry; I am the thief, and I plan to steal the world."
Will remembers The Almighty, who wanted to rule the worlds, and how he died; after that Artemis's ambition for Earth is adorably trite, or maybe it is just the look in Artemis's eyes when Will says this.
Kirjava and the White Fox move first, circling around each other, claws out and teeth bared; a sacred negotiation, or a splendid dance.
Then they both move together, a kiss stolen as they stare into each other's open eyes; Will pushes Artemis away, pinning him against the wall with one tanned forearm and then... falls away, rubbing the stubs of his lost fingers.
The White Fox trots forward, submitting before Kirjava who pins the Fox before her; Artemis kneels down, tilting his head back, his throat exposed to Kirjava's claws or Will's hands – "We are not ordinary men, Will Parry."
Then there is heat: the fire of bruising kisses; the messy lashing of tongues against teeth; the scorch of fingerprints burning through dermis and flesh, marking and claiming.
They are both awkward that night, because phantom lovers and the ghosts of dreams haunt their sweat-soaked bodies.
Artemis' watches him from the bed, the look sending ice crawling down Will's spine, and he wonders if this is what it was like to have your soul eaten out by a spectre; Kirjava cuddles close, a warm half-heart beating in time with his own.
Artemis leaves for Berlin tomorrow morning, but Juliet waits in the trees while Will whispers to Lyra what he's done, "have I sold my soul to the devil now?", and then it is midnight of Midsummer, and a new day.
Will spends the summer day overwhelmed, moving like a ghost from classroom to classroom, from his flat to Mary's office; he sits in silence, stroking Kirjava's silky fur as she catches his tears with her rough tongue; is this what he waited for?
And he knows nothing based on lies will last forever, but he realises he doesn't want it to.
Will lied to Artemis; Artemis lied to Will – but they both knew, so it didn't count; they lie now, but only about the little things.
He continues to live and breathe, Lyra's love chained within his shirt; Artemis gives attention in bursts of silk shirts and lazy fucks.
The sheets aren't silk but cotton, and Juliet sleeps in a room across the hall; she smiles at Will when she brings them Florentine eggs for breakfast.
Will jogs each morning across the lawns of the Botanic Garden, the gold ring slapping against his chest; Artemis runs, over the river and down the cobble-stoned streets, Juliet following at a steady lope; some things cannot be disturbed by the hurricane of change.