Disclaimer- All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
After the whole, Super Blow Pop thing, I decided that I owed the Artemis/Holly fandom a serious oneshot. :P
"It's good to be back in my own body."
"Hm?" Artemis was startled out of his thoughts when Holly broke the silence with that sudden statement. He turned his gaze from the ceiling of the parlour to stare at Holly, who was lying on the plush white carpet about a foot away from him.
Artemis wasn't the sort of person who usually kicked off his loafers, untucked his shirt and lay down on the hearth in front of a blazing fire whilst entertaining company. But it was only Holly who was with him in the manor on this cold Saturday night, and because the Butlers had taken the twins camping while his parents were on a second honeymoon, he found it much easier to relax. He didn't even know how they'd ended up laying here, lost in a comfortable silence. Almost two seconds ago, Holly had just arrived at his home and they'd talked the afternoon away. Where had the time gone?
Artemis took a second to gaze at the fairy beside him. Holly's eyes were fixed on the ceiling. She'd been wearing a black skirt and a white sweater when she'd shown up. A few minutes ago, she'd pulled off the sweater because it was too warm before the fire, and now she was only wearing the skirt and a black tank top. The tank top had ridden up about a millimeter to reveal some of the skin of her stomach. Artemis turned to his side. "It's good to back in your own body?" he repeated.
Holly nodded, meeting his eyes. "When we were in the past, I really missed my present body."
Artemis cocked a head. "You didn't like your younger body?"
Holly shrugged a bit and smiled. "It's not that I didn't like it. I just missed this one. It's been two weeks since we got back, and I still… Stare at myself in the mirror a bit longer."
Artemis sat up a little, holding his weight up with his elbow in the carpet, and studied her. He let his gaze wander from the tip of her toes to the top of her head, where her crimson hair was splayed out on the carpet around her head, like a halo. "What's the big difference?" he asked. "So you were a little shorter."
"And a little smoother," Holly huffed.
Artemis frowned, not understanding. "Smoother?"
Holly bit her lip a little, obviously hesitating. Finally, she told him, "I didn't have any scars back then."
Artemis raised an eyebrow. "Scars?" His gaze immediately zeroed in her bare shoulder, where there was a tiny mark, a few shades darker than that of her skin tone. "I thought magic healed wounds and scars?" He turned and settled on his stomach, right next to her so that he could see the small spot better… Something about it made his chest clench.
Holly writhed a little under his intense gaze. "Only when you concentrate on the healing. After this particular cut, I couldn't stay awake long enough." She watched as Artemis' eyes widened in understanding before he met her gaze. She gave him a soft, soothing smile. "It's okay, Arty. When Butler - "
"It wasn't Butler," Artemis interrupted. He gulped a little, turning back to the small mark. That was the first human-made dart to ever pierce Holly's skin. "It was me. I was the one who gave him the order to shoot. He never shot you. It was always me." Glancing into Holly's eyes, he reached out and gently touched the mark. He felt Holly stiffen the slightest bit under his finger. The move made him suddenly remember something. He removed his finger from her shoulder to pick up her hand and turned it over so that her palm and forearm was facing him.
"Artemis, what are you doing?" Holly asked, her voice curious.
Still holding her fingers in one hand, Artemis trailed the fingers of his other hand up her forearm, his eyes following their path. Near the top of her forearm, he found what he was looking for. Another small mark, this one barely visible. It could have been a tiny freckle, but Artemis knew what it was.
"What is it?" Holly asked.
Artemis didn't reply immediately. He'd lied to her that he'd injected her with a truth serum, in an effort to mentally break her. "I got you with a sterilized needle here, when I…" his voice trailed off.
Holly looked at the scar. "You can barely see it," she assured him.
Artemis exhaled a breath he didn't know he'd been holding. After he placed her hand back on the carpet, he looked down into her eyes. "Didn't the second one get you in the hip?" he asked, quietly. Guiltily.
Holly smiled. Her expression was lazy, but she suddenly felt warmer. "I think I was too drowsy from the first shot to notice," she told him. When Artemis shifted and moved out of her line of vision, she stared at the high ceiling for a second before closing her eyes. Even though she'd been expecting it, the feel of Artemis slowly moving her top the littlest bit up and her skirt just a little lower made her stiffen a little. But that was nothing compared to the feeling of his touch of the bare skin of her hip. She felt him move his thumb over the little mark that was there, too. She missed him for the half a second it took for him to move back beside her.
Holly opened her eyes to Artemis' indiscernible, emotionless gaze. But the tiniest bit of guilt broke his icy surface and it pained her. "You have scars, too, Arty," she told him.
"No, I don't," Artemis responded, readily. Before he could continue, Holly suddenly reached out and lightly touched the base of his throat. She slowly ran her fingers down, softly trailing his skin until his buttoned shirt made it impossible to go any further. Artemis couldn't find his voice to ask her what she was doing.
"You don't think you have scars, Artemis?" Holly asked. All of Artemis' scars were internal – cut deep into his heart, and etched permanently into his soul. He'd had no life as a child, no happiness. And the life he lived as a teenager was haunted by his dark past – he could never relax around his father, he was always guarded around his mother, and he was always assaulted by guilt whenever facing someone he'd hurt in the past. No matter how long ago Artemis had been cut, his scars were always fresh, always bleeding… It would take a special kind of magic to heal him.
Holly smiled a little. "Remember when Abbot killed me?" she asked, casually.
"What?" Artemis asked, weakly.
Holly licked her lips before taking Artemis' hand and sliding it beneath the bottom of her top, and guiding it to her rib cage. "He got me here," she said. She met Artemis' eyes. "If it weren't you, I'd have a really big, really ugly scar right here."
Artemis didn't know how to respond. He could feel vaguely feel her heart beat beneath his hand, and couldn't look away from her eyes.
Holly reached up to touch the side of Artemis' face and held his gaze. "I forgive you. For everything."
Artemis gulped a little. "For everything?" When Holly nodded, he inhaled a little. "Thank you," he breathed.
When Artemis leaned over and pressed his lips to Holly's, magic sparked around the contact and surged through them. It wasn't the regular blue sparks, but it was a higher magic. A magic so true and powerful that it healed both of them.