Mmm, so came out more AH-y than I wanted, usually I stick to friendship (and ship secretly on the side) for these two. Just a thought that came to me, Holly being alive for a gazillion years after Artemis and Co. have died. Anyway, not overly satisfied with how it turned out, but it's nice just to write something and put it up once in a while. Enjoy! Lli

PS. Have a tendency to make up words when I can't find something suitable... er, sorry about that.

The Possibility of Living Without.

They sat together at the edge of night, side by side. The moon was black and dead and he could barely make out the profile of her face beside him in the dark. For all he knew, the world had fallen away and they were alone under a tree, on a hill that had, once upon a time, looked out over his ancestral home. And, if he was very honest with himself, in this moment, in this endless dark, in this endless quiet, he didn't miss it.

She looked at him in the light of the stars. She couldn't make up her mind whether to curse his eye with its terrible night vision, or to bless it because it was his, and it was hers, all at once; because it was an impossibility and yet still existed, and therefore gave her hope. She chuckled. He had that affect on the impossible, that ability to bring it shocked and speechless into reality.

"Care to share with the class, Captain?"

Her chuckle grew louder. "You're something else Artemis Fowl."

"Tell me something I don't know."

Holly thought about this one. She really did. "The average life expectancy of a male elf living in Haven City is 1533.7 years, as of 2007."

"And female elves?"

"2000 years without breaking a sweat." She gave him a cocky grin. He could just make out the white of her teeth against her shadowy skin.

"2000 years is a long time. I envy my eyeball the sights it will see without me." He sounded sad. Or at least, he didn't sound supercilious. She wondered if he was really that attached to his eye.

"I'm sure we could get it back to you, if you really-"

"That's not it at all. I glory in making my mark. How could I be sure that you would remember me for two millennia if I wasn't looking back at you in the mirror every morning? It's a much more difficult task then a measly 60 or 70 years."

Like a surgeon, she dissected the truth from the fleshy tissue of his arrogance with a lucidity born of certainty.

"Artemis, I don't want to get sappy here, but I'm not about to forget you anytime soon."

"But that's just the point, we aren't talking about anytime soon, are we?"

She frowned. "What's gotten into you Artemis? You're only 18. Not even. You've got years and years to aggravate the living daylights out of me."

What had gotten into him? He stared out, towards the shadows that could be the Manor, if the world hadn't fallen away and left them in peace. He sat there, peering into the nothingness and realised something quite astonishing about himself.

"You've known me two years, three? Technically six or seven, of course, but not for us. I'll live another sixty, seventy years? That is not even a tenth of your life. And, to be utterly blunt, the thought of you forgetting me makes me miserable. And I don't even know how to be miserable. I've never done it before. So I can only assume that this must be misery. A cold, tight feeling in the bottom of my stomach like I'm going to be sick. And, judging by what literature I've read, it's- " He brought himself up short. "I'm rambling. I apologise."

She sat there, in that moment, in that endless dark, in that endless quiet, and wondered, with the suddenty of a summer storm, who would make her laugh and scream and worry and flood with pride and, though they couldn't even make a proper fist, feel safe, when he had gone. She had forgotten the possibility of living without him.

"I should probably be more precise. I'm not confessing my undying love or something of a similarly extreme nature. Simply, that ... " She could tell he was frustrated, not being able to express himself. His vocabulary was a point of pride and Frond knew his pride was dearer to him than gold.

"Shouldn't it be me worrying? I'm the one who'll be living without, here."

He laughed, but it was bitter and biting and made her sad.

"Living without a mud boy with greed in his very bones and a nasty habit of nearly getting you killed? Holly, you have plenty of people who love you, and who will still be around in a thousand years."

"Of course I do. I am a wonderful, witty, stunningly good looking woman. But I haven't got anyone else who would still come to save me once I was already dead. I remember what never happened. If nothing else, do you really think I'll ever forget that?"

They stared at the other, unable to see but still looking. They both remembered the feeling of being one and the same and nothing more than each other, which was only themselves. It left a gap like canyon where the wind blew fierce, scraping the sides, never allowing it to heal.

"No." It echoed between them like a promise, like a dream and a wish and a prayer.

He took a breath and tried again. "Simply that I am a selfish person. I want to spend the rest of my life saving the world, or the rainforests or lemurs or even bloody dung beetles, because you enjoy all of it so much. And when you do, sometimes I do as well. And honestly, I will never be as close to another living being ever again, in any form, and I want to be there when you die, to know that you lived all that you could have."

Holly reached into that endless dark and pulled him to her. It was a mother's hold, a sister's hug, a lover's embrace. She didn't expect him to return it, he spoke and she did. That was how things worked. They both did what they were best at to get things done.

"It's funny, you know, Artemis. You're just a child, but I never really feel like the adult when I'm with you. What you want is impossible, but then again, it always is. So really, if there's anyone who can fix up 

this mess, it's you. And if you can't, well, sometimes, somethings need to stay impossible, I think. Even you won't always get what you want. I've told you about that bad karma of yours."

He smiled, but said nothing, feeling that the wind blow fierce between his hair and the palms of her hands, and that cold, tight knot of misery stretching and clawing at her legs through the skin of his abdomen.

"All I can promise Artemis, is that I will look in my bathroom mirror every day, come hell or high water."

Because, when he could say nothing more, she did what was left to be done.