Disclaimer: For the final time, I don't own anyone or anything AF-related. Also, I don't own this amazing poem by Audre Lorde.

Author's Note: So this is it, the epilogue you've all been waiting for. It's not a happy ending, but it's not tragic either. My friend Nicki says that I managed to hit the mark of "sweetly sad" so hopefully, you'll agree.

It's quite different from the style that I wrote most of Collision in. To tell the truth, this is more my style, a softer, one-shot-oriented prose that I started writing with and I think I'll end with here. And so, without further ado, for the last time, enjoy:

Epilogue: If You Come Softly

Nestled within the hills of southern Ireland was a place still uninhabited by humans, a magical place, as fairies would call it. It was where ancient oak and twisted water met, and the serenity of nature disturbed only by a quiet rustle in the trees.

A slight figure flickered into view, clearly female but yet boyish in her slenderness and strong physique. As she lifted her countenance to the speckled moon that hung above upon the threads of winter clouds in the indigo night sky, emotion filled her sparkling hazel eyes. Dark auburn curls slipped to her shoulders as she carefully deserted every ounce of equipment on her person, vigilant to turn buttonhole camera incased in her helmet face downwards. For tonight was forbidden by nearly every force that governed her world and the expectation of that society flickered tangibly in her eyes as indecision plagued her actions for the first time in years.

If you come as softly
As the wind within the trees
You may hear what I hear
See what sorrow sees.

Through the dark of the night, only a visage, as pale and striking as the moon itself, was visible as a young man slowly approached the banks of the creek, his breath casting smoky shadows in the frigid night air. His rhythmic bursts of breath rose into the air like a thousand souls seeking their refuge. With one toe of his loafer, he casually traced trigonometric equations in the fertile soil as he awaited a reprieve from the pathos that encumbered one of Ireland's most eligible bachelors.

If you come as lightly
As threading dew
I will take you gladly
Nor ask more of you.

Holly, for of course it was she, deeply breathed in the piney freshness of the woods in which she stood, peering out from behind the shelter of the trees with the night air shrouding her shoulders like a well-wornn blanket. The grip of the powerful had tightened over her in the past year and this was one of her few chances to simply savor the fresh air here, far above the city beneath the earth. But if she could bring herself to be the maverick she had once vowed to be, she was about to take the slightest bit of a detour, and venture to the other side of the creek.

You may sit beside me
Silent as a breath

Patience was not in the nature of Fowl, but even so, it was none other than Artemis Fowl II who sat in utter silence, without complaint, for there was only one person in the world who had the ability to lift the impenetrable shadows that hooded him nearly every day of his life. And his heart soared as a single stature appeared from within the wood, seeing her for the first time in nearly a year.

Only those who stay dead
Shall remember death.

For as long as she lived (and that could very well be millennia), Holly knew that she could never forget this. Even if tonight was the last time she ever saw him, the traces of Artemis were etched forever into the walls of her memory palace, accompanied by the remaining watermarks from the floods of grief that had ravaged it only too many times. And yet, had the walls been pristine and blank with safety, she would've regretted it.

And if you come I will be silent
Nor speak harsh words to you.

A perfect gentlemen as always, Artemis stood and for a moment, their hands linked in a sort of overpass above the swirling water before Holly's feet touched the soft grass on the other side. Was it greener, fresher, or was it just her imagination? And suddenly, ever word that had ever graced the lips of either deserted them, leaving them standing silently beneath the Milky Way. And somehow, despite the tribulations that burdened both, in the indescribable tranquility of the moment, all was well.

I will not ask you why now.
Or how, or what you do.

After all, no words were necessary, for no amount of cleverness or wit could bridge the boundaries, the great river of objections that lay between them. The slightest moment spared to have the simple pleasure of being together, if only for one night, was all they could muster, for now. But perhaps one day, they would sail across the river as one and build a bridge from one coast to the next, for all to cross. And perhaps the foundations were already being laid, all because of two star-crossed lovers.

We shall sit here, softly
Beneath two different years
And the rich between us
Shall drink our tears


Author's Note: So...what did you think? I just love the atmosphere that this poem set for this- it really helped me write it. So I hope you all read this poem very carefully, and tasted the very beauty of it. Just amazing.

Anyway, thank you to everyone who stuck it out with me for this long, read and reviewed. Believe me when I say that it really means a lot to me that so many people would read and like my work. And all of you, knowing that there were people waiting for more chapters, expecting a quality that I didn't think I was capable of, helped me improve in my writing so much. Know that if I ever do achieve my dream of being published professionally, a big part of it will be because of you. Thank you.

And for all of you who lurked around and didn't review, you know who you are. You've got one last chance to make me very, very happy, guys...come on, click that pretty blue button!

Like I said, I'm going on hiatus for a while because of my insane schedule. However, I think I'll be able to find time to clean up a few old drabbles for you guys to post. But when I'm back, and I will be, I promise to have a sequel in the works.

Once again, thanks to everyone. It's been a great ride.