Summary: The Volturi hear about Artemis Fowl's prodigious intelligence and decide to turn him into a vampire and make him join the guard. Artemis must not only protect the People from the Volturi's greediness, but there's also the matter of punitive expedition concerning the Cullens. Post TTP and during Breaking Dawn. A/H, canon Twilight couples.
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.
A.N.: So, this is the last chapter of the story. Thank you so much to all of you who reviewed and read this story. I hope you'll be glad with the ending.
Warning: Several character deaths in this chapter.
Another sound could be heard in the forest around them, but most of the vampires were too preoccupied by the newly arrived. The Cullen's group rejoiced visibly, while the Volturi guards observed how they could walk past Bella's shield without any trouble.
Artemis didn't even need to look down on his watch anymore. His supernatural senses informed him that what he had been waiting for so desperately since the beginning of the meeting had finally arrived.
He couldn't not hear the ticking of his watch anymore.
The People were here.
Chapter 8: Power
It was a good thing the Volturi were paying attention to the witness that was being given by an amazon vampire, telling the tale of her nephew's traumatic birth, and the subsequent life of another half human-half vampire creature. Artemis barely paying attention.
Even with the possibility of him dying so strong, he still felt the most elated he had ever been. Unbeknownst to them, the vampires were all trapped into a time stop.
The People had always considered time stops completely inescapable, that was until Artemis Fowl proved brilliantly the contrary. He had never told them his secret, though he suspected Foaly might have deduced it after reading his diaries extensively. One only had to change one's state of consciousness to escape the time stop, the easiest of which consisted in falling asleep.
How convenient was it that vampires couldn't go to sleep? Even Aro, with Artemis' extensive knowledge of the People, would never find a way out of this.
Felix had let go of Artemis' arm when he had seen the newcomer's arrival. Now, Artemis inched away from him as discreetly as he could. If what he thought would be happening did happen, he quite preferred to be separated from all the enemy vampires.
He looked back at Holly, and was unsurprised to note she was tense with anticipation. She was a fairy, after all. It was only natural she would have felt the use of fairy magic around her. Sulpicia, on the other hand, was closely observing the scene unfolding with the Cullens, and did not appear to notice that anything was amiss.
The half-human had finished giving his testimony, and Aro was watching the Cullens thoughtfully. Artemis couldn't believe he hadn't already reached his decision. It was so obvious! How could it take him so long to figure it all out?
"Brother," he said softly to Caius. "There appears to be no danger. This is an unusual development, but I see no threat. These half-vampire children are much like us, it appears."
"Is that your vote?" Caius demanded.
Well, finally. Now they only needed a little more time, time for the Volturi to regroup and the Cullens to gather, and the People could take action.
"Dear ones," Aro called. "We do not fight today."
The guard straightened out of their crouches, and Artemis did his best to look servile. It wouldn't do if Felix held him by the shoulder again …
The witnesses started departing into the woods. He didn't have that much time. At any moment, they would reach the edge of the time spell or encounter the Retrieval team, and commotion would ensue. The guard, as well as Marcus and Caius, started drifting back.
Aro was back to his friendly hypocritical self.
"I'm so glad this could be resolved without violence. My friend, Carlisle–how pleased I am to call you friend again! I hope there are no hard feelings. I know you understand the strict burden that our duty places on our shoulders."
Needless to say, Carlisle Cullen wasn't very impressed by his old friend's speech.
Aro starting retreating too.
"Now!" Artemis screamed in Gnommish.
"Destroyed by fire, destroyed by fire. What does Fowl want us to do with that? Attack the vampires with blowtorches?"
Commander Trouble Kelp was having a hard time keeping his calm. The enemy now not only had Fowl, but also an LEP officer. Trouble would rather be back in Police Plaza, fighting off the B'wa Kell with no functioning ammunition left, than have to oversee this crisis.
"That might actually be a good idea," Foaly pointed out, while typing frantically on his keyboard. "Nope, we don't have any blowtorches, I'll see if we can get a replacement of some kind."
"The vampires are too fast for us, what good would it do?"
"Time stop and a blue rinse?" an officer suggested reluctantly.
"You want to send a bio bomb on the undead?" Kelp shot back. "We risk killing nobody apart from Holly."
"We have to think practically here. If we can't stop the vampires, we might have to sacrifice all those that will lead them to us."
"Fowl is one of the vampires, now, and he won't be killed by the bio bomb," Foaly pointed out, still keeping his eyes fixed on the monitor. "So, blue rinse is ruled out. On the other hand, even in daylight, I think a time stop would be useful."
"Fowl knows how to escape the time stop," Kelp said, sighing. "I think that one is out too."
"I disagree," Foaly said. "Didn't you read my report on the Fowl diaries I collected after we wiped him? He escaped the time field by putting himself to sleep, a feat I doubt he'll be able to repeat as easily in this state. The Recon officers have never seen the vampires sleep once. Besides, I doubt they're carrying sleeping pills with them. It's a chance we'll have to take."
"Right," Trouble acknowledged. "The time stop is still on. How long before we can start it?"
"Retrieval is right behind. I can engineer the technicalities from Haven here, once they set up the dishes."
"And Number One?"
Commander Kelp sighed in relief. It wasn't much, really, but they could pretend they had some kind of control over the situation. Having the most powerful demon warlock helping them was a definite plus, too.
"Hold it for a second, Commander," Foaly said suddenly. "I think I have an idea."
It was hell on earth, literally. Flames were sprouting from everywhere, encircling every vampire, or small clusters of them. Even Artemis wasn't spared, and found himself surrounded by a ring of fire.
Paralyzed in fear, he didn't dare to move. The fire was so close, he couldn't even bend his legs to spring and jump out of the circle around him.
I'm going to die! he thought in panic, before taking a few steadying breaths–the smoke's acrid taste didn't choke him, but it was unpleasant nonetheless. Over the roar of the inferno, he could hear the terrified shrieks of the other vampires, doing nothing to calm his nerves.
I'm going to die, he thought more calmly, trying to analyze the situation. Well, after all he had lived, it wasn't really that surprising. He had narrowly escaped death several times. He understood the People's logic perfectly: they had to destroy all that menaced their secret, and he was–had always been–a danger to them.
Another, much more terrifying thought entered his mind.
Holly, still prisoner in Sulpicia's arms.
"Holly!" he screamed. "Holly!"
He couldn't hear her heartbeat anymore over the roar of the fire, and it's smoke made it impossible for him to smell her. What had happened to her? Did she escape? Was she burnt? Did Sulpicia kill her for revenge? Was she held hostage for leverage?
"Holly!" he yelled again.
"Coming, coming!" the unmistakable voice of Number One responded suddenly. An instant later, the flames had disappeared from around Artemis.
It took him less than half a second to assess the situation around him. Standing a meter away from him was Number One, seemingly concentrating intensely. Artemis deduced he was the one conjuring up the fires. It was only logical. Artemis had never seen anything in Foaly's files that hinted at such a weapon, but there was constantly something new to discover as far as the demon warlock's powers went. Other Retrieval officers were hovering around pyres rising from the snowy field, carefully monitoring any signs coming from the vampires trapped inside. Standing a few meters away from Number One was the sulking figure of Grub Kelp.
"Corporal Grub," Artemis asked hurriedly. "Where is Captain Short?"
Grub wasn't very cooperative. He waved vaguely at a group of pyres.
"She's in one of those, I think. I don't have time for this, Fowl. I have to protect Number One from attacks."
Artemis dashed to the spot where the wives had been last.
He tried to pick up her scent, but all he could smell was the acrid smoke from the fires. He couldn't even make out the scents of the other vampires, which were so much more potent to him than Holly's–or any fairy's– smell.
"Holly!" he cried again.
"Artemis?" The faint sound of Holly's voice, coughing through the smoke, interrupted Artemis' search.
That was enough for him to locate the pyre that held her and Sulpicia. He ran up to it and addressed Sulpicia, hoping she would be terrified into
"Sulpicia, if you hurt Captain Short in any way, you'll be burnt down to ashes in an instant." He tried to keep his voice as self-assured and as commanding as he could. "Now, let Holly climb up to your shoulders. Tell me if you agree, now."
"I agree," Sulpicia answered, her voice shrill with fear.
"Holly, can you climb up Sulpicia's shoulders?" he asked.
He waited a few instants, before he saw Holly's torso and face appearing over the fire. She was panicked.
"Perfect," he said in his most reassuring voice. For once, he wasn't the terrified one, and Holly was the one who needed to be helped. He knew that if he was assured enough, she would go back to being her normal bold soldier self. "Now, I want you to jump over the fire."
Her expression turned from panicked to absolutely horrified in an instant; she stood on Sulpicia's shoulders, paralyzed with fear.
"Don't worry," Artemis continued. "I'll catch you. This is a small jump, you've done much worse a lot. Brace yourself, captain."
Holly frowned with determination. At the height she was currently standing, the flames gave her a wider berth for jumping. In an instant, she had sprung over the fire.
Her landing wasn't graceful. If Artemis hadn't been there to catch her, she would have crashed on the snow. Carefully, he cradled her in his arms, worrying when she didn't move out of his grasp immediately.
"Holly, Holly, speak to me. Are you OK?"
"I'm fine Artemis," she said, albeit a little shakily. "You can put me down."
Gently, he helped her back to her feet. She was still a little bit unstable, so she grabbed his arm.
"Well," she said after a few moments, "that was unusual." Her voice still trembled.
"It ain't finished, folks," interrupted suddenly Grub Kelp, who had abandoned his charge–not that anybody believed Number One was in any sort of danger.
"Corporal Grub," Holly said as briskly as she could, "glad to see you again."
Grub almost started complaining about his situation, but Holly interrupted him before he could start:
"I would like to speak to Foaly and Commander Kelp. Do you have a communicator?"
The youngest Kelp was visibly upset to be ignored in such a way, but handed over a fairy communicator readily. After all, no matter how crazy people considered her, Holly was still his superior.
"Foaly?" she asked the instant the communicator was in her hands.
"Holly, thank heavens you're fine!" the relieved voice of the centaur came out from the speaker. "And Fowl," he added as an afterthought. "It's nice to have you back with us."
"The pleasure is mine," Artemis answered shortly. There were more pressing matters to attend to. "What is the plan for the vampires?"
There was a pause on the other line.
"We have a problem, Fowl," the voice of Commander Kelp said stonily. "Both Number One and the regular LEP tried to wipe some of the vampires that left the clearing before you, but the wipes don't take. It's as if their brains were made of stone."
Holly gasped in horror, and her grip on Artemis' arm–not that it could ever hurt him–tightened. Artemis felt horrified, but for an entirely different reason, and now that he had the upper hand, he wouldn't do anything as weak as gasp. Holly saw the danger of having an army of vampires aware of the People's existence, Artemis saw how terrible the solution to the problem would be.
"I understand," Artemis said slowly, looking around at the pyres all around him. The communicator was silent for a moment, then Trouble spoke again:
"You said vampires were destroyed by fire?"
Holly gasped again, looking physically sick.
"No, no!" she moaned. "Trouble, we can't do this! It's … it's …"
"Necessary," Artemis said curtly. Hisses, both furious and terrified, erupted from the pyres, but the vampires were trapped. "Commander Kelp, I understand your position. I agree that it is not safe for the vampires that kidnapped me to roam this earth with the knowledge of the People's existence. They will stop at nothing to take control of you, make you their slaves. However, the coven they were confronting is another matter. Those vampires are famous for their refusal to drink from humans, and I believe you could reach an agreement with them."
"I don't really like this …" Kelp answered.
"Would you prefer to kill innocents? You will already be killing people who, on their own, would never have done anything to you." Artemis shot back frostily. Holly heard an nearly imperceptible crack in his voice. "I must speak with one of the other vampires. His name is Edward Cullen, and he will be able to tell which ones it is safe to spare."
"Do you trust him?" Foaly asked skeptically.
"I know enough about him," Artemis answered simply. If he couldn't trust Edward Cullen, he couldn't trust anyone, and every single vampire in the clearing would be murdered. "He's the one with the bronze coloured hair, who was standing in the center of the opposing coven. If you'll let me, I could localize him with more precision."
"I hope you know what you're doing," Trouble Kelp said.
"I have never been so certain of what my course should be." Artemis knew he wasn't exactly disinterested. Trapped inside the pyres were the only people who could help him controlling his bloodlust.
Holly smiled weakly next to him.
"I'll get Number One," she said, and left Artemis.
It only took a minute for him to find Edward Cullen's pyre. It was larger than the others, and he correctly deduced his wife and child were in it. Number One followed behind, holding his head in his hands.
"I won't last much longer," the demon warlock pointed out. "This is hard."
The instant later, Edward, Bella, Renesmee Cullen and her strange wolfish protecter were freed from the flames. At the sight of the shape-shifter, Artemis couldn't help but hiss. The wolf snarled back.
"Jacob, hold back," Edward advised, his eyes taking in the sight of Artemis and his fairy companions–Holly close by his side, Number One and Grub Kelp.
"I suppose you know what is happening?" Artemis asked quietly. Edward only nodded, while Bella, who had been hugging her daughter convulsively, stared at him with questioning eyes. The Cullens hadn't been as close as the Volturi when Trouble Kelp had talked about killing the vampires.
"You should ask Carlisle," Edward started pleadingly, but Artemis interrupted him immediately.
"You know as well as I that your father would spare all of them it, and that is not possible. We need you to tell us honestly those it is safe to spare. I can vouch for the golden eyes in your group, but I can't do much more."
Edward's face was a mask of resignation and sadness, while Bella's eyes widened in panic. Little Renesmee clung harder to her mother, feeling the tension all around her.
"The Volturi must all go. Even Sulpicia," he added, hearing Artemis' thought. "She would rather die than live without her mate. It's the least we can do for her, and she could be a danger for your friends if she was left alive."
Artemis fought to keep his face impassible, but neither Edward or Holly standing next to him were fooled.
"Artemis," Number One said in a surprisingly soothing voice, "I can't hold on much longer. Are the Volturi the group you came with?"
"Yes," he answered, "they're the ones that came down the plane with me." He looked down at the ground, unable to meet anyone's gaze, but most of all terrified of seeing the Volturi's demise–on his orders.
Holly grabbed his hand the same moment desperate shrieks erupted from the Volturi's pyres. Artemis couldn't help looking towards them and gasped in horror.
To prevent the vampire's escape, the small pyres had all merged into one
"Renesmee," Bella exclaimed, "don't look!"
Artemis wished he could do the same. After one short minute however, it was over, and all that was left was a huge circle of charred grass in the middle of the snow. Next to him, Holly was feeling sick, and Artemis wasn't faring much better.
"Who else?" he whispered, appalled.
"No!" Bella pleaded, "no, no more!" Renesmee was crying in her arms. The wolf next to them looked up at the little girl sadly and whimpered reassuringly.
"We have to do it," Artemis insisted. If he had been human, his voice would have been hoarse. "Which ones?"
He didn't have to look to know Edward Cullen's face was twisted with guilt. Good. He didn't like being the only feeling guilty. He wasn't sure it made him feel any better, though.
"The Volturi's witnesses won't keep quiet. Neither will the Romanian vampires with us." He pointed two small pyres. The instant later, desperate shrieks were heard. Artemis could still clearly make out the child Renesmee's desperate sobs.
"Shh, Renesmee," Bella cooed, though her voice was shaking, "they won't hurt us. We're safe."
"A-any other?" Artemis choked out. Beside him, Holly was crying silent tears.
"No," Edward answered. He turned towards Holly's diminutive form. "What do we do now?"
It was Trouble Kelp's voice that answered through the communicator.
"We would like you to ask the survivors not attack when we release them, to promise never to reveal the secret of our existence to anyone, never try to contact us ever again, or harm us in any way."
It was done in an instant. Edward didn't need to hear their answer.
"They agree," he said simply, and Artemis nodded. Instantly, the flames disappeared. Out of them appeared the shock-shelled faces of the resting vampires and frightened looking wolves.
"Number One," Artemis asked, while the Cullen's group huddled together in comfort. "Are you alright?"
The demon smiled sadly. It was a strange sight to see him so grave.
"Oh, much better since I've stopped the fires. Now, all I need to do is make the evidence disappear."
Instantly, snow started to reform over the charred circles of grass, and all other indicators that fire had spread in the meadow quickly disappeared.
"He'll always astound me," Holly pointed out. When Artemis didn't answer, she looked up at him strangely. "Artemis?"
"Are you feeling all right?"
He smiled weakly.
"As well as can be expected."
"Sorry to interrupt you two," came Foaly's voice from the communicator, but we have to pack everything as fast as we can. Commander Kelp isn't too keen on keeping the time stop in broad daylight."
"Of course, Foaly," Holly answered. She turned back to Artemis. "I'll be back to say goodbye."
Artemis Fowl was left alone for the first time since the beginning of his journey to Forks. He watched as the fairies cleared up their mess, and as the Cullens and their friends continued talking. Slowly, their spirits were lifting, as they realized how far away the danger was now. Artemis could hear Edward Cullen's one sided conversation with the wolf that stayed close to his wife and daughter. Repulsive creature, he couldn't help but thinking, but the thought barely stayed in his head as the situation sank in. He had killed them all, even those who had shown him kindness. Sulpicia, Demetri. The witnesses that had nothing to do with this mess. All gone, because he had said so.
A moment later, he heard the tiny sound of Edward Cullen's footfalls on the snow. He didn't turn to look at the him.
"The wolves would like to thank your friends for getting them rid of the vampires," he announced abruptly, and Artemis winced.
"They are the only ones to rejoice," he answered quietly.
"My father would also like to speak with you." Artemis bowed his head slowly, still looking at the meadow. An instant later, Carlisle Cullen was at his side.
"Artemis," he said compassionately, "I understand this whole ordeal has been very hard on you. Edward tells me you are only a few weeks old."
"I am," he answered, trying to keep his voice expressionless. It was hard to think back at his change. If he hadn't been changed, no one would have died. If the Volturi hadn't gone to punish the Cullens, he would be in Volterra, trying to deal with his new state.
"I don't know what it is you would like to do, at the moment," the older vampire continued, "but I want you to know that you are very welcome to stay with us, as long as you wish."
It took a long for Artemis to answer.
I don't deserve it.
"You do," Edward Cullen said simply, and Artemis didn't argue. It was pointless anyway. He felt numb with the enormity of what he had done.
"You can follow our trail whenever you feel like it," Carlisle said gently. "We'll be heading home."
Artemis nodded silently. A few seconds later, he spotted Holly walking back towards him.
She knew he could hear her from far away, but she still waited until she right in front of him to talk.
"Let's take a walk."
They didn't go through the field. Instead, they walked by it's edge, away from the Cullens, and then, into the forest. When they could not see the meadow anymore, Holly stopped.
"Can they hear us now?" she asked quietly.
"I can hear them, but I can't make out the conversations. Edward Cullen will hear what I think, though."
Holly didn't say anything, though it was clear the answer threw her off.
"Some vampires have special talents."
"I don't know quite yet. I believe I may be a little bit smarter than before, but that didn't help much did it?"
"You were right, Holly, you were right," he interrupted in an agitated tone. "Did you see what I did? You told me that, given some time, I would become like this!"
"Artemis, what are you talking about?"
"I'm a cold blooded murderer! I don't care if they were awful, power-hungry people who feasted on humans, I'm the reason they're dead! I ordered their murder! I know I hardly had any morals, I know I would never be as good as you, but I still had some decency, and look what I've-"
"Artemis!" Holly yelled, and he stopped. She tugged at his sleeved, and he obligingly fell to his knees. Looking back up at her, he wished he could still cry.
"We are all devastated by what happened, Artemis. Don't think Number One will ever be able to sleep well again, and he was the sweetest, most innocent fairy I have ever seen. But it was necessary, Artemis, and you know it. You said so yourself. You have to remember that you also saved the people that could be spared. If you hadn't been there, we would have killed them all."
Artemis hung his head in defeat.
"You are not a bad person, Artemis," Holly said resolutely. "Don't ever think it. Do you think I would have followed you like I did, disobeyed direct orders from Trouble if you were?"
"I don't have an answer to that question," he answered for the first time in his life, or existence, or whatever it was, looking back up into her eyes. He was surprised by the emotions that he saw in the elfin captain's face. Instead of talking, however, she just moved closer to him, and took a deep breath.
She wasn't in a teenage body anymore, she wasn't happy or flushed with magic and she was definitely coming back on her word when she kissed him for the second time.
It lasted no more than a second but they both knew it had changed everything. They stayed silent for the longest time.
"Holly," Artemis said after a while, "I would have thought that vampires would be more repulsive to you than Mud Men."
Holly laughed softly.
"You are awfully cold, you know."
They went back into silence, not daring to look at each other.
"What are you going to do now?" she asked.
"I don't know. I will probably go live with the Cullens for a little while, to learn more about my … condition." He winced. "You see, though it doesn't seem to be the same with fairies, it's very hard for us to stay around humans without … attacking them. Especially for newborns, like me. I still need to learn more about controlling myself. The Cullens will help me with that."
Holly nodded, but didn't dare ask him what bothered her the most. She had made the first move, and he was smart enough to take a hint. Or even to understand without any hint. He didn't disappoint.
"I am always uncomfortable when talking about feelings," he started, not looking at her.
"I know. You even wanted to research friendship in a book." She couldn't help rolling her eyes.
"The vampire who read my mind knew I was in love with you," he blurted out, "before I realized it, much less admitted it. I don't think it ever happened to me before, you see. As I told you, I'm quite worthless with feelings.
"You have to know something before you go back to Haven, Holly. I don't know how you feel, and I know this situation is rather unique to say the least, and I understand perfectly that you wouldn't want to take things any further, you being eighty and me stuck at fifteen, but-"
"I think I may be dreaming," Holly interrupted. "Artemis Fowl is babbling." Said Artemis glared at her.
"This is harder than it looks, Holly," he snapped. "What I am trying to tell you, is that vampire feelings don't change. Things like these are set in stone."
"Oh," was all Holly was able to say.
"What I mean to say, is that you can always come back, if you want to."
"Well, there is that age difference, as you put it so well," she said, though her tone was clearly joking.
"On the other hand, you're about as tall as a child, and I will never reach adulthood. It can't be that bad, then, can it?"
"I'm warning you, Fowl, don't you ever joke about my height."
They both laughed, and this time, it was Artemis that kissed Holly. He broke apart with a rather predatory smile on his face. Holly groaned.
"Your smile was vampirish enough when you were human, Artemis, and it's gotten much worse."
"I have just realized that my elf-kissing days were far from over."
Holly had the decency to blush. They were interrupted by Foaly talking through the communicator.
"Holly, we've given you enough time. Everybody is ready to go. Trouble charged me to tell you that you have one minute and a half to get to the rendez-vous point."
"Never a moment's peace, is there?" Artemis commented sadly. Holly was already ready to leave. She handed him the communicator.
"We'll be in touch, make no mistake about that."
Artemis smirked as he got up.
"I wouldn't have it any other way."
"With all this time in your hands," Holly said as she activated her wings to hover at the same level as him, "won't you get bored?"
"Bored?" Artemis said, pretending to be offended. "My intellect is more prodigious than ever and I am as strong as ten Butlers. I believe my times as a criminal mastermind have only begun."
Holly winced, then kissed him lightly.
"Some things will never change."
Artemis took his time to walk back to the field where the confrontation had taken place, and was even slower to follow the Cullen's scent back to their house. He wasn't surprised when he saw Edward waiting for him.
"They're all waiting for you."
Artemis snorted. Alice Cullen must have blabbed.
"I don't think I warrant such attention."
"You helped destroy our greatest menace. A lot of people think it deserves at least a little bit of congratulations."
"I don't want congratulations. Please tell them that I don't want any." Edward nodded, and Artemis tried to go back to his smart and cold self. "Of course, I am sure in a few weeks, I will do a thing or two that can never be praised enough, but until then it is useless to compliment me."
Edward snorted, and started walking towards the Cullens house. Artemis could hear the people inside talking. Most of the Cullen's friends hadn't left.
"So," Edward started after a few steps, "fairies?"
"I bet you didn't see that one coming."
A.N.: So here it is, I hope you weren't disappointed. I got a little anxious when I saw reviews that were anticipating Artemis' interaction with the Cullens, when I had planned and written none. While editing, I tried to see if maybe I could fit some more, but then I realized how happy I was with this ending, so I didn't change it. Please leave a comment to tell me what you thought about it!