Please do not think that I am bashing Angeline, because that was not my intention at all. This is just how I'm explaining how Artemis turned into that evil mastermind in the first book, how she became insane, and how she just allowed her husband to conduct business on the wrong side of the law for so long. Besides, she's human, she can only do what she thinks is right. If it offends you, then sorry, I didn't mean it. Also, TTP spoilers!!!
P.S. I don't own Artemis Fowl, though I dreamed I did once. *depressed sigh*
The Five Time Angeline Fowl pretended she did not see.
Being the wife of a renowned businessman who sometimes dealt with matters on the other side of the law was an arduous task. Angeline Fowl had learned early on in their marriage which matters she had a say in and which she was to stay far away from.
She learned to play the part of a supportive yet able wife in public. She learned to never question when a company that had refused to deal with her husband suddenly went out of business or changed heads. She learned to be indifferent. She learned to keep her feelings hidden even when all she wanted was to shout, 'No that's wrong.'
She watched countless homes be destroyed so that the land could be cleared for more business. She watched families be torn apart by false evidence placed entirely for that purpose. She simply watched her family fall deeper and deeper into the seductive web spun by the prospect of more and more gold.
She saw her only son be slowly molded into the next Fowl; remote, with a heart that cared only for gold, not a mother's love or a father's presence. She saw her husband fall deeper and deeper, his dealings becoming more and more criminal. She saw gold come between her family and their happiness.
She witnessed all of it, silently. And pretended she did not see.
Angeline Fowl stood outside her son's room and listened to him cry. She could tell that he had attempted to muffle himself, perhaps with a pillow, but a mother's ears could still hear the sobs and the hitches in his breath as he rid himself of all emotion. Her heart ached and she leaned her forehead against the doorway as though it would make her closer to him.
She wanted to be there, right next to him, to offer comfort even if she knew it would most likely be rejected. Her own eyes filled with tears as a bitter smile made its way to her lips. Four years old and already so independent. He had even sent Butler away so that he could cry in peace. No child should have to feel that he could not depend on his parents or companions whom had been by his side since birth.
But it was a crucial lesson, her husband, Artemis I, had told her, his head bent over his work, his eyes studiously averted from hers. A lesson that he had learned as a child and one his son would have to learn as well. The business world was a hard, merciless place. Only the strong would survive and coddling the boy would not make him any tougher.
But a child did not need to have any knowledge of that world, she had argued. Arty was only four years old, an age when he should only be worrying about what toys to play with, not the fate of the Fowl Empire. He had his parents and Butler to take care of that for him.
We will not be there to hold his hand forever, he had countered as he crumpled up the paper he had been working on and tossed it angrily into the fire. The sooner he realizes that, the better. I will not have some pansy, sniveling weakling as my heir.
He had said the final words with a cold detached air, and she knew, that many years ago, his father had said the exact same words to him. Not to his mother, like Artemis I was now doing now with his son, but to the young child he had been.
She had stopped arguing at that point and left to find the child they had been discussing, ending up standing outside his door, listening to him cry.
His sobs were quieting down she noticed as her own tears spilled from her eyes. But she knew without a doubt tears were still falling from his eyes as well. Her heart continued to ache for her child, to wipe away his tears. But she didn't move.
Was her husband right? Would soothing her child only make things worse for him in the future? She couldn't do that to him, she couldn't doom her own child. And she had no other life to offer him. He was born a Fowl. He would live the life all the eldest Fowl males lived. And he would die a Fowl. Even if he wished for a different path in life, it would be near impossible, unless he managed to reject all of his family's teachings and find his own path.
But she knew her Arty could not become a doctor, a teacher, an artist, or whatever it would be that he desired to become when he grew up. His fate was determined the day he was born. He would become a businessman, just like his forefathers.
She had nothing else to offer him. And she could not bear to make that life any worse for her child than it needed to be.
So she turned and went to bed, pretending she had not seen his tears.
It was her fault. It was all her fault. She had done nothing, absolutely nothing. She so desperately wished she had said something, at least once. She should have said something. Just once. Then maybe he'd be here, with her, with their son, at their home, not lost somewhere in the Arctic.
They were saying he was dead. She was a horrible wife, she had killed her husband. Her silence had killed him. It was her fault. She was a murder. It was all her fault. Everything, nothing, all of it. She was to blame. Only her.
She had begun torturing herself with these thoughts ever since she learned of the fate of the Fowl Star and her crew. All day, all night, she thought this, and blamed herself, slowly driving herself towards insanity so that she did not have to feel, to see that empty space her husband had always filled. She could no longer leave her bed; she lay in it all day, attempting to find refugee in smell of the sharp, minty cologne he had always worn. It lingered over their bed for days after his disappearance, and she basked in it, drinking in its unique smell as though it was life-giving nectar. But as the days passed, it began to fade. And so did her sanity.
She knew she was worrying the others, she could see it in the slow, cautious manner in which they spoke to her when they visited. They feared she was losing her mind. What they did not know was that she had already lost it, long ago. Yes, she must be insane; no sane wife would have given her husband to death's cold embrace like she had.
The door opened and her visitors stepped inside. Their faces were blurred in her mind; she could not see them clearly. She could not make out distinct features any longer, nor connect them with names or memories or even emotions. From guilt or sadness, she did not know, but they were just faces now. All of them.
Except one. The only one that she wanted to see, but at the same time, feared to, dreaded it even. She could not face him; she could face her son, not with her accursed, bloody hands. It was her fault that his father was gone. If not for her, he would not have been left without a father. If not for her, the horrible pain she had seen in his eyes would never have been there. If not for her, her Arty would still have his family.
It was all her fault. She was weak, she was selfish. And it was her family, her cherished ones who were paying for it.
"Mother?" The voice was calm and composed, but she could hear the faint note of hesitation present. She recognized it instantly; no mother could ever forget the sound of her child. But she did not move or acknowledge him.
"Mother," He repeated his voice a bit harsher now, the hesitation more apparent. "How are you feeling?"
She kept her eyes closed, unmoving. She could not face her son; she had no strength to face him.
He spoke a little longer to her, his voice soft and devoid of emotion. Just like how his father had always wanted him to be.
She kept her eyes closed.
It was only when she finally heard him get up, did a crack appear in his shell.
"I will bring him back Mother," was the whispered promise. And then the door closed.
Angeline Fowl kept her eyes closed and let herself fall deeper into a fantasy world, where her husband was safe and their life was perfect. She pretended she did not her son's sorrow or her descent into madness.
Angeline Fowl let out a huff of breath in slight exasperation as she surveyed her son's room. Her Arty was a teenager in years now, though she knew he had always been an adult in mentality. Still, she had hoped, after reading countless parenting books and consulting a few of her friends who had teenaged boys of their own to fuss over, that the one major flaw that applied to just about every teenage male in the world would apply to her son as well. But of course, her Artemis seemed to be the one expectation to the rule.
She sighed again and stepped into the utterly spotless room. His bed was made, his books were placed in alphabetical order, and all of his clothes were neatly put away in his closet and drawers. There wasn't even a single sock out of place. Everything was perfect.
She seated herself on the bed to rest for a bit before making the journey back downstairs. Cleaning together was an excellent form of mother-son bonding, all of the books that she had read agreed upon that point. But they hadn't stated what a mother was to do if her son kept everything in his room in impeccable form. She let her eyes rove over the room searching for something else she could do with her son in replacement of the cleaning.
A small smile graced her lips as her eyes fell upon a small framed family portrait that had been given a place of honor right next to the computer. A week ago, Artemis had been so distant, so cold. But then, suddenly, when she and her husband had returned from their trip, her Artemis had actually allowed her to hug him; he had even returned the hug to some point. And then he had asked how his father was with more emotion than he had shown since he had saved him.
Angeline admitted she was a bit flabbergasted by his sudden change in attitude, but she was not one to complain. Someone had broken Artemis's shell and she silently thanked whoever that was every time she saw her son. But she had to make sure he didn't fall back into his shell, hence why she was currently in his room, invading his privacy something she had never done before. Hopefully it would be worth it. And with any luck, he would never actually find out about this invasion.
Her eyes came to a stop on the closet. Artemis was growing so fast he had probably outgrown quite a few of his clothes. Perhaps they could go through his old clothes together and donate the ones he no longer needed to a charity. Yes, that might work; they could even reminisce about old times.
She got off the bed and headed to the closet, just to check that he had not already disposed of his old clothes before going ahead with her idea. She opened the closest and began to ruffle through the clothes. Suits, suits, and a lot more suits.
Her brow wrinkled. Surely suits weren't the only clothes that he had to wear. She dug deeper into the closet as she tried to recall a time when she had not seen her Arty in a suit. She came up with a blank. She pushed away a black Amati suit with a little more force than necessary and something fell onto her head, obscuring her view of the depressing row of suits.
At first, she thought it was just another suit, one that he had not had time to properly place in a hanger and tuck away neatly right next to the other outfits. But when she reached up to pull it off her head, she realized that the texture was all wrong. It was more…papery than like soft cotton or smooth polyester. Curiosity spiked, she slowly removed it and stepped out of the closet into the light and studied her unexpected find.
It was a painting. A rather beautiful painting; depicting a strange creature with wings, perhaps a fairy or an elf, picking up human baby from his cradle. The colors were beautiful, making the painting vivid and enchanting. In the bottom left corner was an elaborate signature that she could not make out and the words 'The Fairy Thief'
Angeline was not a master in the art of painting, but even she could tell that the painting currently in her hands was a true masterpiece. But why did her son have it? And why was it hidden in his closet of all places? Had he…?
She stared at the painting, at the fairy's mischievous grin as it, she, picked up the child. The fairy was stealing the child, she realized abruptly. Suddenly the picture wasn't beautiful at all, but rather sinister. She became acutely aware of the slight cracks of the paint and the stale, musty smell emitting from it. There was no doubt in her mind that the painting was old. And it had been hidden in the closest, not displayed somewhere in the room or in the manor.
She began to wish she had never found the painting, that she had just stayed away from her son's room like she always had. Her hand shook a bit as she focused her attention on the human baby lying helpless and alone in the fairy's arms. No one was coming to save that child. He was doomed.
She closed her eyes and recalled the cold, distant Artemis and then the new, more open one of late. She remembered vividly the happiness in his eyes and the almost joyful grin on his face when they had come home.
Reaching a decision, Angeline took a deep breath and replaced the painting on the top shelf of the closet. He would know that it had been moved, she was sure of that. And he would know the significance of the fact that it was still there.
She would trust him.
A few days later, when she picked up The Irish Times to read as she sipped her tea, she saw a certain article in the arts section. And she smiled. Then she put down the paper and drank her tea.
With a heart a bit lighter than before, she pretended she had not seen either the painting in her son's room or the article.
She was so warm, and yet cold. Relaxed, and yet pained. Asleep, yet awake.
She had felt like that for days or was it hours? She did not know when it started, when something foreign invaded her mind, flooding it with strange memories; of bizarre little creatures, of monsters, of her son.
At first she was thought that she had lost her mind once more. But then she realized that couldn't be true. Instead of the perfect life she had imaged before, all she saw was a strangers, monsters, her family's worried faces, and her son, accomplishing incredulous, yet impossible things.
She soon lost track of what was real and what wasn't. Or perhaps, she simply stopped caring. Everything that the foreign thing showed her was laced with emotions that she knew weren't her own. She watched her son repeatedly save others, with friends ready to die for him by his side. She saw Butler almost do exactly that. She watched her son save them all.
And she could only feel amazed, not infuriated as the foreign thing did. Her son, the cold, distant child who pushed away everyone, had grown into a brave, intelligent hero.
Which was why she had not worried too much about the alien thing in her mind. She waited for her son to free her from it. And he did.
She opened her blue eyes on her own for the first time in what seemed like years.
The first thing she saw was her son's worried face hovering over her. He appeared older than she remembered, yet the look in his eye made him seem like a young child wishing for someone to comfort him. And this time, she did. She managed to say something about the strange dream, or perhaps memory, she had just witnessed.
His face seemed to almost collapse with relief. He began to shake and replied with something about a lemur. And then he called her Mom. Mom.
She had been waiting since the day he was born to hear him call her that, and she told him so. And then, with a faint smile on her face, she closed her eyes.
She did not fall asleep instantly as she assumed Artemis thought she had. She knew he would never have had the conversation that followed if she had remained awake. But she did not listen to the conversation. Instead, she thought about whom else she had glimpsed in the room.
She had seen another Artemis, much younger than the one she had just talked to. She had also seen more of the extraordinary little creatures that appeared multiple times in the memories she had been left with, including the fiery, red-haired fairy that her son had seemed particularly close to, the one who had put his life before her own so many times. And, for some strange reason, she saw a smashed fat barrel on the rug.
But she had pretended not to see. Out of habit or because she had no strength to convince her son to finally tell her the truth, she did not know, but she had not mentioned any of it.
But now, she resolved as she allowed herself sink into the welcoming warmth of her bed, it was time to stop pretending.