Chooser of the Slain


Summary: Sequel to Penchant for Deceit. Artemis is determined to walk through doors that are closed to others – even when Butler cannot follow. The world goes on turning. DBAF

Disclaimer: Don't own Artemis Fowl. Make no money from this story.

Warnings: slash, explicit sexual situations, violence, character death, happy end

A/N: Chooser of the Slain is a sequel to Penchant for Deceit. I played with the idea of just adding on chapters to the original story, but I feel that the sequel introduces whole new concepts that probably diverge from Mr Colfer's intentions with Artemis… not that the slash is particularly canon-friendly as such… Anyway, the important thing is that I strongly recommend you read Penchant for Deceit first, otherwise you won't understand the background of this story or the relationships established in it.



Part One: Ananke


It was a relatively novel feeling for Artemis. Someone with his vocabulary should not lack words to express himself, but Artemis quickly decided that he had no intention of cheapening his current state of mind by attempting to communicate it.

He was lying, burrowed under a pile of furs, on a sleigh. Although he would have preferred to sit up and watch the snow-and-ice wasteland rush past him, the motion sickness would have been overwhelming.

He heard the dogs pant. Paws hit the grey-blue ground and lifted off in a spray of snowflakes. The night was clear – so clear that similes failed him – stars shone overhead on the backdrop of indigo space and far as the eye could see, the snow was untouched; only the tracks of the sleigh stretched from Artemis' feet to the horizon.

He craned his neck, lifted his chin higher. The dogs were mostly hidden from his sight by the bulky dark silhouette of his sole companion, and the arctic air froze Artemis' lungs, for surely there was no other possible reason for his heart to ache like that-

Artemis rapidly sat up, jolted into consciousness. The covers slid off his chest, and once out of the warm cocoon, his skin promptly covered in goose-bumps.

His screensaver chronometer ticked soundlessly towards three o'clock.

"Inbox," Artemis said, rubbing sleep from his eyes. A part of him wanted to pull the covers over his head, pretend to sleep for a while longer, and try to recall the painful yet glorious sensation from the dream.

"Thirty-seven new messages," the computer said in its synthetised voice. It used to be Artemis' voice, but after he had witnessed Foaly talking to his virtual self, he decided that there were limits to how conceited he was willing to appear.

Artemis climbed out of his bed, plucked a black satin dressing gown from the back of his swivel chair, shrugged it on and tied the sash. Thirty-seven e-mails in four hours – in the middle of the night. Artemis sighed. He was the principal of a pecuniary circus, and the show went on and on and on in a Freddy Mercury style. He morbidly wondered if it would stop once he was dead…

Myles would take over, he suspected. Kid was smart – and that coming from Artemis was high praise indeed – but he didn't have the kind of experience that made someone into a good person (for it is easy to do good when you see no other options, but when the more profitable venues are plentiful, it takes heart to veer off that course, as Artemis knew better than anyone).

Disgusted, he shut the inbox. If there was an emergency, his underlings could deal with it. There was no earthly need for him to work in the middle of the night, after scant three hours of sleep.

He dressed, selecting more informal clothes that he was used to, and departed to hunt down some coffee.

"Caffeine-addict and borderline insomniac," he mused, passing his twin brothers' door. "Hn. I could have ADHD…"

To a casual observer it might have seemed like he was going off the deep end, talking to himself, but said casual observer wouldn't have noticed the deeper shadow on the platform.

Artemis was, for a fact, very aware of his Cyclothymia (not Attention Deficit Disorder; he had no deficit of attention, thank you very much) – had been since he was about five – and he blamed some of his mildly sociopathic quirks on it, but this was the kind of thing that seemed humorous to him: what was there left to do at three o'clock in the morning but laugh at himself?

A pair of massive arms pulled him against a rock-hard chest, and he exhaled into the cotton shirt.

"Another failure," he said, with self-deprecating amusement. Yes, Artemis Fowl the Second could fail – could fail spectacularly and repeatedly, so many times that even he was losing faith in his own ability. "Could they have made it truly impossible?" he wondered aloud. He didn't expect a response – Domovoi generally didn't enter into his monologues unless Artemis asked him to. "Can there be something in this world that is absolute?"

"Death?" Domovoi suggested dryly.

Artemis met his bodyguard's eyes. "Death?"

He had cheated death – more than once – but it was true that there had been circumstances. Nothing could bring back Opal Koboi (not that he regretted it). Nothing could bring back Julius Root.

"It would be entirely a good thing," Artemis opined, let out of his friend's arms. It was just as well that Domovoi knew all the blind spots in the Manor's security, else they would have made a spectacle of themselves for whoever was on duty watching the feeds. "I don't think I shall miss life. It was engaging, for a while, but then it's gotten mind-numbingly dull." Artemis despised anything that compromised his sharpness.

Domovoi didn't say anything for a while, and Artemis almost felt guilty for unloading on him, again and again, with the repetitive melodramatic tale of woe – except that Domovoi had actually asked him to, in not so many words.

Then Domovoi shrugged. "It's up to you to liven it up."

With a hoarse chuckle, Artemis separated himself from the wall and set out on his way in the opposite direction. His friend didn't shadow him this time, uncertain whether his company was desired.

"My knowledge of 'livening it up' is purely theoretical," Artemis explained, pausing. "Juliet might be able to give me some directions."

Domovoi apparently didn't consider Juliet safe enough for Artemis to be around on his own, so he followed. It seemed a little as though he was favouring his left leg, but he was too accomplished a professional to let his principal see-

Artemis wished the man would see him as a shield-brother rather than an employer. Pity.

He knocked on the door and opened it without waiting for invitation. He didn't step in, however; Juliet used to be a wrestler, and had a rather unfortunate sense of humour. She had yet to get the best of Artemis, though, and the bucket of cold water above her door was no more successful that any of her previous tricks.

Artemis was almost insulted.

However, he knew perfectly that Juliet was more astute than most gave her credit for. She was also puerile and lacked prudence that was necessary for a bodyguard, but she did a good job as a chief of security, better yet for being accepted as almost a member of the family by the elder Fowls and – unexpectedly enough – Beckett, since she was the only one able to completely accept him despite his Asperger syndrome (sometimes it seemed like the sole mentally healthy Fowl was Artemis' father, and that only because his issues had been dealt with by the shock-therapy of incarceration by Mafiya).

"Aw," Juliet pouted, jumping out of the shadows. She stood in the centre of the carpet, hands on her hips, braid swinging like a pendulum. "I'll get you one day, you'll see…"

Artemis half-inclined his head, a way of saying 'believe what you will'. Juliet was, in her own slightly deranged way, trying to keep him on his toes without exposing him to significant damage. Aside from that, they had a truce.

"I could comment on the redirected feed from the security cameras," Artemis said, making himself comfortable on top of Juliet's vanity, pushing a few make-up articles out of the way.

The young woman glared, but didn't argue. They had blackmail on each other, bad, serious, life-fucking-up blackmail, and Artemis couldn't allow himself to become friends with anyone in possession of such knowledge – although he did, at times, regret it. He did not really mind the fact that she monitored his movements through the Manor and prepare pranks that never worked anyway, not when there were much more material aspects to mind.

"What do I owe your visit – oh, and my brother's! Is it a party? A sleepover? An apocalypse approaching and you need my help-"

"Too many energy drinks are bad for your health, Juliet." Domovoi appeared in the doorway, looming and scowling with disapproval. Juliet would have been aware of him beforehand, naturally, but even so his presence dulled her jocund hyperactivity.

"It has been suggested that I 'liven up my life'," Artemis said, tone perfectly equanimous, although Domovoi knew that the statement wasn't free of mocking simply because it had been spoken by his principal. "I found it prudent to consult the expert before I settled on a course of action." He did, however, get a hold of Domovoi's wrist and stroked its back with his thumb to show he did not mean to be hurtful.

Juliet's eyes unmistakably zeroed on the point of contact, and she chuckled bitterly. She flung herself into a loveseat (as a faux member of the family, her rooms equalled Angeline Fowl's in luxuriousness) and stretched, displaying far more of her body than would have been desirable through the extremely thin silk of her sleeping… garment.

"Since I know – quite literally – what you get up to…" she waggled her eyebrows, irritating Artemis with her vulgarity, "…I'll skip the most natural suggestion of finding a fine piece of ass and getting your rocks off." She faked a moment of deep contemplation, propping her jaw with her palm. "Have you tried croquet?"

Artemis let the fallen silence echo for seconds, until a normal person would have been embarrassed for what they had said. Juliet wasn't normal in any sense of the word, though, and seemed to have decided to make the silence into a contest between herself and Artemis and see who was going to be more patient.

Artemis didn't have the slightest intention of indulging her. "Apparently," he said, "I overestimated your imagination. I apologise for disturbing your much-needed beauty sleep-"

"So mean, Arty!" she laughed.

Artemis' scowl deepened. Only his mother was allowed to call him that (and Holly, if he was feeling indulgent). His so-designated marriage prospects occasionally tried, and he has long since become accomplished at ignoring their existence (although he had a strong feeling that most of them failed to notice his complete disregard of them).

"Juliet," Domovoi said in a completely even voice. In a low, soft, rumbling voice that made Artemis' heart skip a beat with the amount of understanding, sympathy and aggravation on his behalf. It was a little redundant – Juliet wasn't a foe that Artemis had any problem wiping in a verbal spar – but most of Domovoi's shows of affection were thoroughly disguised as marginally over-the-top protectiveness.

"You're making this harder on yourself than it needs to be," Juliet said, with shallow frown-lines between her eyebrows that suggested she was being candid for a change. "You don't talk to your parents, you ignore your siblings, you detest your employees – aside from my brother, there is not a single human being you allow close to you. No wonder you're a twitch of a finger away from blowing your brains out."


Domovoi was trembling with angry disapproval, but Artemis' fingers tightened around his wrist, because he did have a measure of appreciation for the blunt honesty.

"Go do something crazy, something you wouldn't do otherwise – illogical. That's the word." Juliet nodded to herself, with assurance that came from experiencing the real, realistic, mundane world. "Get married."

Artemis snorted. "I imagine that would send me over the edge all that faster."

"You're such an arse, Young Master Fowl," the woman shook her head in exasperation. All the boundless energy seemed to have evaporated from her. The atmosphere was gradually gaining a funereal odour that followed Artemis wherever he went like a perfume. "I'd pity the girl you'd marry."

"But you still tell me to do it," he pointed out, finding the irony.

Domovoi freed his limb then, and Artemis hated how rejected the action made him feel. He was becoming maudlin, too in love to remain focused on his goal, and he was compromising his effort.

"I'd rather if you didn't blow up half of the continent because you were bored," Juliet replied.

"I'll finish it before I get another bright idea that would kill masses of people," Artemis said dryly and hurried out of the door. If not even Juliet could give him an idea on how to appear social, it was past the highest time for him.

"Artemis!" Juliet called out, genuinely distraught – else she would have used a title.

"Call someone to mop up the water," Artemis added dispassionately, jumping over the puddle with absent-minded ease that seemed to continually surprise those who knew him. His life had become an adrenaline sport on its own, giving him endurance and speed, if not dexterity or flexibility.

He knew now – and Juliet had driven the message deeper – that he could not continue pretending he was alright. The realisation chased away the last vestiges of tiredness, and he was ready, at quarter past three in the morning, to start a new day. He wasn't in the mood for business today, he decided.

With a jaunt in his step that had really nothing to do with mirth, he set out down the stairs.


"Was that necessary?" Domovoi asked, bitterly aware that his objectiveness was so badly compromised that he couldn't rely on his observations anymore.

Juliet crossed her arms in front of her chest and hunched. "Angeline told me yesterday that she's going to ask Doctor von Neumann to have a 'chat' with him. I'm worried… He's slipping…"

Domovoi closed his eyes for a moment, and selfishly wished Artemis had succeeded in the suicidal plan he had concocted last year in Reykjavik and got himself killed in a faraway land rather than wasting away bit by bit.

"I tried," Domovoi said, to himself, since Juliet was never as cruel as to accuse him of shirking his duties.

"I know," she replied. "Better than anyone. You did more than could be asked of you. Maybe…" Juliet paused and gave him a long, imploring gaze that made his throat tighten and sent a shiver down his spine. "Maybe it's time to let go."

Domovoi shook his head. He felt defeated – and in this fight he would be – but he could not give up. He feared – was almost certain – wished that he would follow Artemis, wherever the young man would go.

"I can't," he said.

Juliet nodded; the corners of her lips twisted downwards, and she rested her forehead on her knees. "I figured."


"I'm angry, maybe… sad. Disappointed," Juliet mumbled. "You're my brother, and I love you. Seeing you like this hurts. But you can't help that, and I understand."

"Thank you," Domovoi replied, and closed the door behind himself.

He took a deep breath of the night air drafting through the hallways, and ignored the stinging in his eyes. He had signed his soul away, and he wasn't capable of regretting the decision anymore. Artemis was the Yggdrasil of his life – as evidenced by Domovoi's knowledge of what the Yggdrasil was.

Domovoi knew beyond a smidgen of doubt that his friend needed him now – needed him more than he usually did when he came asking for a bit of affection and/or obliviation – and that drowned out all the counter-arguments in his head. He wasn't in the mood for sex, and definitely not in the mood to listen to spoken recriminations or hear silent ones resonate in the air every time he met Artemis' eyes, but there was no limit to how much he would sacrifice to help Artemis fight the onset of insanity.

He was willing to give of himself until there was no more to give – or no one to give it to. Either was going to happen soon, he could feel it in his bones, and he had to struggle to quell the rise of despair and keep his level-headedness through the last days – weeks – months…

He pressed his hand to the scanner and punched in two codes in rapid succession. The door yielded and let him into the dusky room, where he was welcome by the blinking diodes of Artemis' supercomputer and the whirring of its viscera. He knew, instantly, that his principal wasn't there.

He also knew that it meant his principal didn't want company, no euphemisms intended. He thought the choice unwise, but it wasn't up to him to contest it.


Artemis, dressed in only his nightclothes and a dressing gown, was sitting in the darkened library, with Poetic Edda open on the table in front of him. He breathed its smell – familiar and as good as relaxing – and spent a while just musing on the sense of life and existence of higher beings and true love.

His newly awakened sentimentality had registered the most trivial of notions: the first time Domovoi spontaneously pulled him close and held him, when he said "I think you're wrong", that time when he had absently ripped the cable out of the security camera like it was routine. Artemis never thought he would have wanted someone to argue with him, but he found that he liked Domovoi's assertiveness and didn't want it to be limited to instances of mortal danger and sex. He wanted to be able to rely on it, to know that Domovoi would try and impose human limits on him even if only to see where those limits were as he was passing them.

More than ever, he regretted his foolish idea to contact Spiro about the Cube. It wasn't as if he minded that Domovoi had jumped almost a generation further from him, but it meant that time was becoming a pressing issue. Soon, Artemis knew, all too soon Domovoi would feel too weak to continue his job…

Sighing, he touched his forehead to his interlaced fingers.

No journey through time-space, no known magic and no technology could turn back the years for someone. Artemis was legally twenty-three now; physically he had turned twenty-one a few days ago. Domovoi, on the other hand, was forty-five, but his body had advanced to roughly sixty. He was unbelievably strong for a man that age, but still…

Time was an acute problem.

Artemis had found a solution, however, like all solutions, it came with side-effects of pain, betrayal and deterioration of precious things.

"I have decided, haven't I?" he reminded himself. "What matters to me."

In the end, however, there was no comfort.


"It's interesting," he said the next evening into his latest fairy communicator (he went through them fast enough to make even Foaly happy).

Holly laughed. "Yeah, right, Arty."

Bone-weary, Artemis crouched in his swivel-chair and counted how long it had been since he last saw Holly. He came up with a staggering figure: 416 days. More than a year.

He opened his mouth – and closed it again. Once upon a time he would have been perfectly capable of admitting to his friend that he missed her. Unfortunately, he had been given ages to rebuild his emotional walls.

Interesting, how, instead of mellowing him, lack of mortal danger hardened Artemis Fowl.

"Artemis?" Holly asked, worried.

"I'm here," he replied. He couldn't think of what to say; he had tried talking about the Voluspä and been shot down, his work didn't interest Holly (or him anymore), his private life was – nonexistent. In hindsight, 'I'm here' pretty much summed up his entire being.

"You're slacking off if you resort to stating the obvious, Arty," Holly teased. Had she been anyone else, he would have suspected her of being drunk. As a LEP elf on a day after the Full Moon, Holly would have been brimming with magic, possibly high on it.

Artemis missed magic. He had not seen as much as a blue spark in more than thirteen months.

"You are alright, Holly, aren't you?" he asked, just in case.

"Stop fretting over me, Mud Boy," she said with fond exasperation.

Artemis nodded to himself, bitterer than 70-percent cocoa chocolate. If that was Holly's wish, he would respect it.

"Take care of yourself," he softly replied, and terminated the connection. The backrest squeaked under his weight. He would have to get a new chair – wait, no, he wouldn't have to. Nobody to use it.

Subconsciously, Artemis hugged himself. A half-forgotten memory lingered on the edge of his perception, before he chased it away. Love was so similar to puberty: unconstructive, distracting, a bloody mess.

Minerva didn't give a damn about antagonizing him anymore. His family didn't have a clue about who he was. Holly couldn't be bothered to listen to him.

Domovoi couldn't look him in the eye.

It was time to give up on nonsense and go back to what he was supposed to be: a logical, pragmatic criminal mastermind.


He heard the dogs pant. Paws hit the grey-blue ground and lifted off in a spray of snowflakes. The night was clear – so clear that similes failed him – stars shone overhead on the backdrop of indigo space and far as the eye could see, the snow was untouched; only the tracks of the sleigh stretched from Artemis' feet to the horizon.

He craned his neck, lifted his chin higher. The dogs were mostly hidden from his sight by the bulky dark silhouette of his sole companion, and the arctic air froze Artemis' lungs, for surely there was no other possible reason for his heart to ache like that? He shifted so he could get a better look, but the muscular arm tightened around him and he melted into the embrace-

He woke, staring at the canopy.

Artemis was rather accustomed to dreams. His brain never really stopped working, and occasionally it happened to him that he woke with an idea for a scheme that had not been there when he went to sleep.

He was also fairly accustomed to nightmares, had – nearly obsessively – psychoanalysed himself and, indeed, become his own therapist once it became necessary that he had one.

He experienced recurrent dreams also, naturally, and never failed to point out what occurrences and emotions they were sparked by.

This was something different.

With every day, the knowledge of how to reach Asgard penetrated deeper into his mind, gave him a pseudo-window into that world during the time when his subconscious was closest to the surface, and it was only a matter of time and concentration until he was going to be able to mentally bridge the distance and come out of the semi-existence on the other side.

"Inbox," Artemis ordered. His hands worked on disrobing him, while his mind concentrated on the work.

"One hundred and fifteen new messages, one spam."

Artemis blinked. He hadn't gotten spam in years. His e-mail was virtually impossible to get hold of, and whatever was to be let through his protections required either specific coding, or imaginative and not a little aggressive hacking.

"Open spam folder," he said, curious.

Curled in his chair and feeling a little child-like, Artemis read the particulars of the mysterious e-mail. The subject was stated as a simple 'Invitation', which would have made him lose interest immediately, were it not for the sender: Atana Potinija.

He smirked. A rather straightforward allusion to the Linear B written form of Mistress Athena, ergo Lady Minerva. He knew only one Minerva that had the means and the motivation to send a message to him.

He clicked Enter.

Dear Mr Galliformis, he read, there is an urgent private matter I need to consult with you personally. Please, inform your mother that I am to receive an invitation to the next social engagement hosted by your family.
Sincerely, Atana

Artemis sighed. Minerva had not really changed in eight years. Certainly, she had grown and matured, became more accomplished in manipulating people to her ends, amassed more patents and awards, and had made a name for herself that was, quite often, mentioned in the same breath as Artemis' (for she had known better than to try and compete with him in the business sphere, and rather created a network that offered support for his endeavours and kept them in close professional relationship). Still, however, she had the same air of self-assured arrogance, and the same not-entirely-substantiated conviction of her own superiority.

Her belief that nothing in the world (save, perhaps, Artemis) was capable of defeating her grated at Artemis' nerves. He had his own share of arrogance, but he had been in situations when he had been taken down a peg or two often enough to realise that something akin to invincibility existed only in insulated systems, and even there it was temporary.

Nevertheless, Artemis had enough respect for Minerva to activate remote access into his mother's computer (she did not find much use for it on a day to day basis, but Artemis the First had managed to enlighten her to its practicality for planning 'special occasions') and sneak Minerva's name, address and note on her connexions in between two other young females' data.

He checked the date – five weeks to go yet – and logged out of the not-officially-existing Fowl Manor LAN. He also made the mental note to physically destroy the network before his departure. He doubted he would ever return to this place, but it was better to keep a little backdoor, in case existence was yet more unpredictable than he estimated.

"Open inbox," he said softly, hugging his knees to his chest and resting his chin on one of them. The fingers of his left hand played with the ring on his right. This he was giving up, he mused, perusing the names and enquires and demands of strange people. Everything that he owned, his money, his station in the word, his associates and associations, the safety of his knowledge, his family, his birthright, his name… everything. Unless he was mistaken, he would come out on the other side with nothing at all but his mind and his determination, in a world he knew nothing about. He had no way of knowing if the place was physical as humans understood it, if his body would survive the transition…

And if it did, he would still be alone.

Shaken, Artemis leapt out of the chair and stalked across his bedroom, wired with nervous energy. He would avoid the term 'fear' for as long as he could. Fear was but a psychological barrier that stopped people from achieving what they could. He would not be limited like that.

And maybe Domovoi would refuse and send him away, for gods knew he did that often enough, but Artemis knew better than to not ask anyway. The lesser the chance of success, the sweeter the win.