Disclaimer: Artemis Fowl is the property of Mr. Eoin Colfer and the publishing companies which have bought its rights. The lowly teenager who has decided to make a fan fiction of this great series of books has no claims to the masterpiece whatsoever. Please don't sue.
Many thanks to the readers and reviewers of the sequel of this fic, A June Wedding. Here is the prequel as promised. I hope you enjoy! Please, REVIEW! I need a beta. Anyone willing to help, please contact me. Thank you. :)
Amor Est Potestas
Chapter 1: An Invitation
Artemis stared out of the Mercedes' window, taking in the throng of people weaving in and out of the busy street in Paris. He placed his hands on his lap, silently fuming at the way they seemed to sweat and shake a bit.
I am Artemis Fowl II, nothing should scare me like this, he told himself silently. I have faced death several times before and managed to get through all of them in one piece. This is just a meeting between…friends…no, it's too early to presume that. Acquaintances? Perhaps but…snap out of it boy!
"Ready to go, Artemis?" Butler, his trusted manservant, asked from behind the wheel.
Artemis straightened his designer jacket and silk tie, hoping that his bodyguard wouldn't notice his delaying tactics.
Finally, when he knew that he could delay no longer, he gave a grim nod.
"As ready as I'll ever be, old friend," said Artemis.
"Relax," said Butler, trying to hide the smile in his voice and failing, "she'll be happy to see you. You heard her on the phone. She was barely restraining herself from screaming in relief."
Artemis smiled at the memory. "The great Artemis Fowl, put to unrest by a single, and quite frankly, unremarkable meeting with an old adversary turned friend."
Butler gave a low chuckle. "Go on, then. I'll be behind you as always."
Given that reassurance, Artemis stepped out of the car slowly like royalty. His brilliant blue eyes squinted at the blazing glare of the midday sun while scanning the area, in particular, a small yet very elegant café.
Butler zoomed away to find a good parking space, leaving Artemis alone. It was a huge security flaw, leaving Artemis for even one second, but it was Artemis's request that he meet Minerva Paradizo alone first. She and Butler could swap stories at least five minutes after Artemis had said his pleasantries to her.
When Butler objected to this, saying that his life was dedicated to protecting him, Artemis assured his bodyguard that it would only be for a couple of minutes and he himself had all bases covered, though what they really were, Artemis would not say.
So it left Butler to sigh in defeat and trust Artemis like he always did.
Artemis sat on a small table inside the café and immediately, a pretty girl in a black skirt and white blouse—standard waitress attire—approached him.
"What would you have, Monsieur?" she asked in French.
"Just a small cup of black coffee with another shot of caffeine, sil vous plait," responded Artemis, knowing that he needed the extra boost.
"Is that all?"
"Yes, thank you."
The girl gave him a small bow and wink. Artemis, the ever cynical one, knew that she was doing it because she immediately tagged him as a well-educated and very wealthy foreigner who would give large tips despite the flawless French he displayed. Artemis knew that his accent was too Parisian, and only foreigners with a good grasp of the knowledge talked that way.
He was cut off from his analysis when a familiar voice called out.
The intonation and cadence was a bit different, the pitch not as high as before, but it was her.
There was no mistaking it.
Artemis stood up from his seat to shake her hand, but in true French form, she kissed both his cheeks which made his face burn a bit.
Blast his hormones and their ability to dilate the blood vessels in his face!
"Artemis!" Minerva caroled. "It's really nice to see you! Good lord, you haven't changed!"
Artemis smiled even wider and asked her to sit down. "Coffee?"
Artemis took a moment to properly observe Minerva. She had really grown over the years. For one, she was taller than him and her corkscrew curls were long gone to be replaced by soft waves. She was wearing a thin layer of make-up, not too much, but just enough to highlight her high cheekbones and emerald eyes. She was wearing a uniform, a gray plaid skirt and white blouse and her jacket was on her arm. She smelled like jasmines and musk.
After their coffees were served (café au lait for Minerva) by the same waitress whose smile shrank at seeing Minerva, they began to talk.
"Because of the time tunnel, it seemed that to you I've been missing for three years when in fact, I've only seen you five days ago," began Artemis, placing his cup back on its saucer delicately. "I'm sorry I couldn't arrange an even sooner meeting with you, but because I was gone so long, there were a few ends that I had to tie up first. My family is one thing. My parents were overjoyed to see me but I had to explain it all to them. Then I found out that I was a big brother to two twin boys who are such bundles of energy, it makes me tired just by looking at them playing around like that."
"You don't have to apologize, Artemis," cut in Minerva. "I understand completely. To be honest, I was expecting a visit from you next month, and not this week."
She smiled so sweetly Artemis had to believe her.
At that moment, Butler strode into the small room, surprising guests and staff alike with his sheer size.
"May I help you sir?" quailed a waiter brave enough to face the seven-footer Eurasian man.
"I'm with the Fowl party," grunted Butler, terrifying the man further.
The waiter quickly led him to Artemis and Minerva's table and sped away, not even bothering to leave a menu in his haste.
"Butler!" Minerva stood up to kiss him on the cheeks as well and Butler stooped down low so she could reach. "You finally shaved!"
All three of them laughed.
"I had to," said Butler, taking his seat. "I can't intimidate people when I have long hair and beard. I'd look like a grandfather more than a bodyguard."
"With your size?" said Minerva skeptically. "No, you'd probably look like the bigger version of Santa Claus except with lesser white hair and more…."
"Scary?" supplied Artemis.
"Exactly. Nobody would dare approach you asking for gifts this holiday."
The conversation flowed, but mostly they caught up on things. Minerva told them (mostly for Artemis's sake because he still didn't know much about her) about the new all-girls' college she was working temporarily as an instructor and professor's teaching assistant in Psychology.
"I'm the youngest instructor they have there," she said. "And frankly, I don't think most of the older instructors there were keen on the idea of having a colleague their level but old enough to be their daughter. My students are also becoming pests, as the professors they have crushes on are turning their attention to me. Well I keep telling them it's part of the job as I also have to assist the professors in some of their lectures. Some try to bully me but Butler took care of that one time. In any case, I'll be a professor in three or five years' time and that will be the end of it. I can teach my lectures on my own and send the girls to harsher punishments when they cross me."
Artemis was puzzled. "How did Butler take care of your bullying problem?" He cast an interested eye over his manservant, who smiled a bit sheepishly.
"When Minerva visited over the school holiday, she told me all about it. I had a lot of time in my hands so I went to visit her. I made it look like I'm her bodyguard and I'll be watching her every move. I scared five girls to the Headmaster before I was asked to leave. Minerva and I were in stitches when that happened. But at least nobody messes with her anymore."
"And I have to thank you for that, Butler."
Artemis watched the interaction between Minerva and Butler and remarked at how close they have gotten.
If you hadn't disappeared, would this have happened?
In all probability yes, it still would.
"Minerva, I just had an idea," said Artemis. "Would you like to come with me and my family to holiday once school is over? We're going to Switzerland this year."
"I would love to Artemis," said Minerva. "But…."
"I knew there was a but in there somewhere," admitted Artemis.
Minerva smiled sadly. "All professors, instructors and some students are staying around for a seminar to be conducted during term break. Professionals from various fields are coming around to give lectures and commentaries about their line of work and get our senior students some insight on how their future careers might work…."
Artemis gave a small frown. "I'm sorry to hear that."
"No, listen, I've come here to ask you a favor."
"Would you like to come to our college next week and have a lecture? We need one more lecturer in the field of Business and I think you're perfect for the job. Who knows better about Business and Financial matters than Artemis Fowl II himself?"