AN: Hello to all the AF fans out there. I'm Rei, and I'm new. This is my first time doing an AF fic, as well as a one-shot in any category. All information on the Kremlin and the Mafia was researched, but is not entirely accurate. I'm taking a creative license in exaggerating some things, so those of you who know a lot about Russia and its government, forgive me. Flame me, if you choose. I really don't care, and probably won't read it anyway. Feedback is alway appreciated.
Disclaimer: Don't own it.
Artemis wearily rubbed the sleep from his eyes and continued his work at the computer. For three straight days he'd been working on this project. Three straight days. In those three days he hadn't slept at all, barely eaten, and only emerged from his room when absolutely necessary. His eyes were glazed over from lack of sleep, malnutrition, and overexposure to the bright glow of his computer screen.
He felt a violent cough rise in his throat, and put a hand to his mouth to muffle it. It racked his body nonetheless, and left his throat sore and his chest burning. He vaguely hoped he wasn't getting ill. Not now. He couldn't afford to be sick at a time like this.
Under normal circumstances, Artemis probably would have paid a little more thought to himself becoming sick. But he didn't have time to think of anything else right now. Nothing was more important than this project. He had to finish it. He had to. Not for himself, but for his father.
Hacking into the Kremlin's government and security files is a remarkable feat to be presented with, and Artemis had never been one to turn down a challenge. For years the world had been trying to discover the Kremlin's secrets. Russia's government was not an easy egg to crack. The amount of money he could obtain from this venture was unimaginable. But it wasn't about money this time. This was personal.
If he broke through the Kremlin, he'd have the upper hand on his father's biggest enemy: The Mafia. More specifically, the Izmailovskaya, the branch of the Mafia that had been giving his family the most trouble. Anyone who bothered themselves with knowing these things knew that the Mafia basically controlled Russia's government. If he wanted to get to the Mafia, he'd have to get access to the Kremlin. If he did that, his father would have all the information he needed to stay on top. They'd been trying to take his father down for years, and if he could just hold on long enough to get through their minefield of a security system, he would accomplish something that even his father couldn't ignore.
Artemis's eyes snapped open suddenly. He hadn't even been aware that he'd been falling asleep. He ran a hand through his hair and tried to blink the sleep out of his eyes. If he cracked now, he'd never get this done, and he'd never hear the end of it from Butler and Juliet. They'd been trying to talk him out of this since he first set his mind to doing it, saying it wasn't healthy for him, not to mention it was just plain immoral. Artemis scoffed at the thought. As if the Mafia had never done anything immoral.
He tried not to think about it too much. He knew Butler was well-versed in things such as this, and that Juliet wasn't exactly stupid, but they didn't understand why he was doing this. He had a very important person to impress if this worked, and he was trying to attract the attention of an audience that wanted nothing to do with him. There was no way he was backing out.
"Artemis! Come down and eat something, sweetheart!"
Artemis would have answered his mother, but he didn't have the energy to. He hesitated for a moment, then slowly got up from his seat at the desk, supposing he should humor her. His head spun as he stood up straight, and he muffled another cough with his hand. His chest tightened unexpectedly, and for a moment he lost the ability to breathe. The moment passed, however, and he tiredly made his way out the door and down the stairs.
Artemis gripped the railing tightly, trying not to trip over his own two feet. He made it down the stairs without incident, but after only a few steps on level ground, his body suddenly decided to stop working. His knees feel out from under him, and he blacked out before he even hit the ground.
"Artemis! Come down and eat something, sweetheart!" Angeline called up the stairs. When she heard his door opening, she went back into the kitchen, satisfied that he was finally coming out of his room. She was beginning to seriously worry about her son. He'd been in his room for three days, and she had no idea how much sleep he had gotten or how much he had actually eaten. Whatever he was doing up there, he was totally committed to it, and Angeline began to worry that he was pushing himself too hard.
She had a feeling that he was working on another one of those crazy ventures that he often took up in a desperate attempt gain Timmy's approval. The poor boy shouldn't be concerning himself with such things at his young age. It wasn't healthy, and by no means normal, and she feared he was destined to follow in her husband's footsteps.
She sent Juliet upstairs often with food, and she had asked Butler to make sure he was getting enough sleep. Butler said he was, but then again Artemis could get him to say just about anything he wanted to, so Angeline couldn't be sure. She could only hope he came back to his senses soon, or she would force him to sleep herself.
A thud from outside the kitchen startled her out of her thoughts. Curious as to what it was, she stepped out into the hallway that led to the grand staircase. She gasped at what she saw and her hand flew to her mouth.
"Sir, there's a call for you on Line 1," came his secretary's voice through the black speaker. He had been working at the main office for his shipping company all day, preparing for his trip to the Kola Peninsula.
Artemis the First leaned forward in his chair and pushed the com button. "Tell whoever it is that I'm in a meeting."
The speaker buzzed again. "Sir, it's about your son." Artemis rolled his eyes, expecting it to be St. Bartleby's or perhaps the authorities, informing him about his son's rude manners towards his superiors or perhaps something illegal he had been caught hacking into.
He pushed the red blinking Line 1 button and picked up the phone off its hook. "Yes?"
"Angeline?" She sounded absolutely miserable. What had happened?
"Timmy, it's Artemis. He collapsed and I'm so worried! He's been working so hard lately and I think he's made himself terribly ill and I don't know what to do!" She sounded like she was crying, and he had to give himself a moment to digest what exactly was going on.
"Angeline, calm yourself so I can understand what is happening. You say that Arty collapsed, yes?"
"And now you're in the hospital, yes?"
"Yes." She was starting to sound rather impatient through the worry and the tears.
"Do you know what is wrong with him?"
"No, they won't tell me anything! Timmy, he wasn't breathing and he was so cold when I found him. What if something awful has happened? You have to come down here, right away."
"Angeline, I have too much work to do here. Besides, I'm sure he's fine. Just call me when—
"No, Timmy! You never pay him any attention and you're always putting things before him. The reason he's even like this right now is because he's been neglecting himself all week to work on a project for you so that you might acknowledge his existence once in a while!"
Artemis was at a lost for words. He hadn't heard his wife talk to him like this since before they were married.
"Please, Timmy. He needs you."
He was silent for a moment. "Alright, Angeline. I'll be there in half an hour if it will make you feel better."
"Why don't you be here for your son, and not because you have to?"
He heard a click on the other end, and realized that she had hung up on him. He sighed, ran a hand through his hair, and paged his secretary. "Get me transportation to Dublin, immediately."
Angeline stood up when her husband entered the waiting room. She ran up and threw her arms around him, sobbing into his shoulder. He embraced her back, doing his best to comfort her in her distraught state. He pulled away from her after a time, and sat her back down on one of the chairs.
"Have you heard anything yet?"
She shook her head and wrung her hands in her lap. "They're running some tests now, but they still don't know what's wrong with him."
He sat next to his wife, and for two hours they waited. Finally, a doctor that Angeline recognized came into the room. She stood up quickly. He followed suit, albeit not as fast.
"How is he?" she asked, her eyes pleading.
The doctor flipped through some pages on his clipboard and rubbed his eyes under his glasses. "He's got a bad case of pneumonia. We think it started from a small infection in his chest, then grew from there. Ma'am, are you aware that your son is suffering from extreme exhaustion and dehydration, as well as a mild case of starvation?"
Angeline put a hand to her mouth and looked from her husband to the doctor. "I had no idea he was pushing himself that hard. I knew he wasn't getting much sleep, but…"
"We think that's what caused the infection the spread and actually become pneumonia. He'll probably be here for a while. He's very weak and desperately needs nutrients and rest." Angeline sat back down and began to weep.
"Would either of you like to see him?" the doctor asked.
Artemis looked to his wife. "You go, Timmy. I think the two of you need to talk."
He sighed. "Fine."
The doctor nodded. "I'll show you where he is."
Timmy stepped into his son's room quietly, for fear of disturbing him. He was asleep, and attached to a respirator. He remembered Angeline telling him that he hadn't been breathing earlier. He moved to sit down next to the bed, watching the rise and fall of his son's chest. Even over the sound of the respirator, he could hear his strained, rattled breaths. Timmy felt a tug at his heart at the sight of Arty in such a state, but the cold businessman in him wouldn't let him show it.
Artemis's head rolled to one side, facing him, and his eyes fluttered open. "Father?" he asked weakly, looking at him confusedly. Was he really that surprised to see him there? He was his father, after all. Maybe Angeline had been right.
"It's good to see you haven't killed yourself." Not the most sincere thing to say, he supposed, but Timmy had never been good with sincerity.
"What's going on?" His voice was quiet and raspy, a contrast to how confident and collected he usually sounded.
"It would seem that you've pushed yourself into your sickbed."
Artemis didn't answer, but closed his eyes for a moment. Timmy thought he had fallen asleep when he opened his eyes again, apparently just resting. He looked like he was about to say something, but Timmy beat him to it.
"I hear that you've been working on a little project. Am I correct?"
"Yes," he said shortly.
"What, may I ask, is it?"
He didn't answer right away, the conversation obviously tiring him. "I was trying to hack into the Kremlin, to get the Mafia's agenda."
Timmy was slightly taken aback. That was something he'd been trying to do for years, with no success. Nobody had succeeded in breaking Russia's political defenses.
"I am guessing that you failed?"
"Well then, I suppose you'll just have to try harder next time."
Then he said something that Timmy had not expected.
"I'll never be good enough for you, will I?"
He started at the question. "What?"
"I've tried, father. I've tried so many times. But I don't know what you want from me. What do I have to do to make you happy?" What do I have to do to make you love me?
Timmy blinked, not sure what to say.
"I don't know what else to do, father, so you tell me. What do you want from me?"
Father and son stared at each other in silence, and he noticed something in Artemis's eyes that he had not seen before. He looked…sad. Timmy wasn't sure what to do. He cared for his son, but in the years that had followed his birth, he was not exactly sure of how to show it. So instead he just didn't. Every time he encountered one of these situations, he just put on the careless façade and left it alone. This was one of those situations.
He stood up, and without saying anything, left the room. Artemis closed his eyes, an uncommon burning sensation creeping up on him from behind his eyelids. He would not cry. Crying was a weakness. His father didn't accept weakness. If he cried, his father would not accept him.
'He doesn't already, so what is the point in trying anymore?'
For the first time since he was very young, Artemis let two tears slide gracefully down his face. Then he fell into a deep, medicine-induced slumber.
Angeline stood up when her husband re-entered the room, but he didn't even acknowledge her presence. He continued walking forward, lost in his own thoughts. She ran up beside him.
"How is he? Is he awake? Did he speak to you?" He didn't look at her, nor did he answer her questions.
"Timmy? Timmy, for heaven's sake where are you going?"
"To Russia, Angeline. I have shipments to make on the Fowl Star. I have no idea when I'll be back."
"What? Timmy, you can't leave now. What about—
"Artemis? He'll be fine without me. Trust me."
And with that he left the building, leaving Angeline at the door, dumbfounded.
"The Fowl Star, a ship belonging to the infamous crimelord Artemis Fowl, was hit by a missile this morning at 8:15. At 10:25, the ship had completely sunk into the Kola Peninsula. A search party had been sent out, scouting for anyone who might have survived the accident. Authorities have pulled many crewmembers out of the icy waters, including a Major Hoven Butler, 59, who was found dead. Artemis Fowl the First has been declared missing, presumed dead. Now, for tonight's weather…"
Artemis Fowl the Second sat quietly in his father's hospital room, staring at the floor. Said father was sitting up in his bed, his back resting against the headboard. There was a very awkward silence between the two, neither knowing exactly what to say.
"Arty," Timmy finally said, "do you remember that day, before I left for Russia, when you were sick?"
Artemis said nothing, but he knew that he had heard.
"Do you remember what you said to me?"
"Not exactly, father," he replied quietly, eyes still glued to the tiles.
Artemis Senior nodded. It was to be expected. The boy had been very ill, and no doubt disoriented from the medication.
"You told me you thought that, no matter how hard you tried, you would never be good enough for me. And, although you didn't say it aloud, I got the impression that you thought I didn't love you."
Artemis remained silent, but his father could tell by the way he fiddled with his hands that this was causing some painful emotions for him. Artemis never fidgeted.
"I just want you to know, son, that…that that isn't true. And that…I'm very proud of you, and what you've accomplished in your short life."
The boy's eyes remained on the floor.
"Artemis, look at me."
Artemis slowly drug his eyes from the floor to meet his father's identical ones.
"I feel as though I've robbed you of your childhood, by pushing you so hard. I'm sorry for that. I don't deserve a son as gifted and forgiving as you, not after what I've done, and I understand if you hate me."
"I don't hate you, father."
The senior of the two's eyes shone with emotions he hadn't bothered having in a long time. "Why not?"
Artemis sighed. "I could never hate you. You're the only father I've ever known, and I do not hold your mistakes against you." I know the feeling too well to hold it against you.
His father held his arms out to him. "Come over here." Artemis obeyed and sat next to him on the bed. Artemis Senior wrapped his arms around his son.
"Besides, I've missed you too much to hate you."
Timmy clutched his son to him, not remembering the last time he had embraced him since before the accident. "I've missed you, too."
They sat like that for a while, both of them knowing that from now on, things would be different.
Sigh….The dad stuff always takes a lot out of me. I'm no stranger to the neglecting father issue, so I feel like this has a little of my personal feelings in it. Actually, maybe a lot. I tried my best to keep the characters as in-character as possible, especially since, again, this is my first time in the AF fandom.
Again, if you didn't read the above note, I did change and exaggerate some things dealing with the Russian government. Also, the dates are estimated, and hold no real value. They are only there for the purpose of letting you know where I am in the timeline.
Hope you liked it!
Rei, your Asian for every occasion