A/N: This update came rather quickly. As of now, this may be all that is posted for a while. Please stay tuned, I promise the story will be rolling along here soon. Thank you for reading! :)
The underground city of Haven was a sight to behold in the evening, especially in the early morning hours of 3 and 4 o'clock. To many, the artificial night sky twinkling on the roof of the cavern provided a romantic mood, and to others, it acted as a blanket to cover the crimes they were committing. Sure enough, the romantic setting experienced by the two elves lying asleep in Holly Short's apartment was charming, but the high crime rates that the Lower Elements Police had been experiencing lately wasn't at all lacking. Goblin gangs were rallying up, wandering the streets and pick-pocketing innocent fairies. Teenagers now free of any schooling for the summer were defying curfew and driving regulations. And that damn swear toad epidemic was beginning to swarm up again, with a particularly nasty turnout on this particular evening.
It was this hoard of amphibians close to Holly's flat that woke her up. Her eyes opened groggily, and her mind was, at first, unsure of the ambush of fairy curse words that were full in her elfin ears. She sat up, stretching, and remembering the infestation of swear toads, which calmed her mind. At least it wasn't a rioting group of teenagers. That would have concerned her more.
Holly sat in her bed, barely covered by the green blankets or by clothing. A shiver tingled down her spine, and she noticed the elf laying to the left of her. A smile formed on her lips as she recalled what had happened. He had been so experienced, so calm. Something may have felt off about the evening, but it was an enjoyable one nonetheless. She stumbled out of the bed and wrapped a robe around her slim elfin body.
While Holly wasn't a rather romantic fairy, she couldn't help but feel the morning-after residual sensation of happiness. Still, there were some doubts that she housed about the night spent with Trouble Kelp. There was a certain confusion about him, and she wasn't exactly sure of what he wanted. Holly didn't want to become just another fling to the commander. Holly wouldn't be the first of many females on that list, and she most likely wouldn't be the last. Either way, she let the happier mood flow over her for a few seconds, and walked into her washroom.
Holly's flat was traditional in the sense that the "bathroom," more commonly referred to as the toilet-room to the People, was located in her back yard, along with the shower area, all in a closed-off mini-room. In the apartment, however, was a more modern aspect, containing a wash room attached to her bedroom, a component often seen in human homes. This room only contained a sink and a mirror, along with most of her clothes. She glanced up at the mirror, shutting the door, and turned the light on, as to avoid waking Trouble Kelp, who still remained fast asleep in her bed.
Her reflection had changed a lot in the past couple months. The once-cropped, nearly side-shaven auburn hair had now become a chin length bob. Holly's bangs had become longer and side-swept, the fringe brushing slightly below her tapered eyebrows. She played with the hair, pulling back the bangs and what she could of the rest of her hair. After deciding that her face was too pointed for a slicked back look, she dropped the ponytail, shaking her hair around. The mismatched eyes that had dominated the captain's face for nearly a year now stared directly at her in the mirror. Holly prodded her left eye, the ice blue eye she swapped with Artemis Fowl on their journey back from Limbo. She chuckled. Good thing we're not joined by some sort of freaky eye connection, she thought, or else he would have seen what happened last night.
As if on cue, the communicator she had left on her nightstand back in her room started vibrating. Holly nearly jumped a foot in the air. It was 3:30 in the morning in Haven, who would be calling this early?
Only four people had the number for her communicator. Foaly was her 1st contact listed, and at this hour, he surely wouldn't be calling. The centaur was most likely busy with his gadgetry, now being the technical consultant for Section 8 as well his usual position with the LEP, and wouldn't call Holly this early just to rant about his newest inventions and such. He at least had the decency to wait until she showed up at work to give one of his tech speeches. Either that or he was asleep, dreaming fondly with his wife Caballine, who was expecting a child very soon .Holly quickly ruled out her horsey friend as the caller. As she quietly worked her way back into the bedroom to answer the phone, she also eliminated the chance that the station was calling her. Trouble was usually the one to make the calls to his officers in case of serious emergencies, and, seeing as he was asleep in her home, this was not the option either. Holly grabbed the communicator and shoved it into her robe as she headed back towards the wash room. Mulch wouldn't be calling, merely because the dwarf was probably sleeping or out running the P.I. agency with the pixie Doodah Day.
The female captain pulled out the phone when she was out of ear shot of the sleeping commander. The last possible option, and the actual caller, was Artemis. She groaned, wondering what in the world would prompt the Mud boy to call at this time. Haven and Ireland ran on very similar time schedules, but it wasn't unlike the genius to stay awake all night. Holly flipped open the front screen, seeing none other than Artemis Fowl II himself.
"Good evening, Holly," he said slyly, as if he were hiding a dirty secret.
"Hello Artemis. Are you aware of what time it is?" she asked, trying to skip Artemis's usual grandstanding. She was now sitting on the floor in the wash room, hair tucked behind one ear, but noticeably messy.
"Why yes, I am fully aware of the time," Artemis responded. "I do believe that Haven runs approximately 32 minutes behind Ireland's clock?"
"Yeah. We do. Which would make it approximately…" she checked the moonometer on her phone, "…3:32 here in Haven, and 4:04 in Dublin?"
"Well done, Holly," Artemis said, more astounded with the fact that Holly had continued with the time conversation rather than her math skills. "I'm quite surprised that you are actually giving in to my banter. But then again, with the way I assume tonight went, this is not the only thing you gave into."
Had it not been so early in the morning, Holly would have shouted at the Mud boy. She was all too aware that this reaction is what he'd be expecting from her, and she didn't want to wake Trouble. So she merely moaned. "What do you want, Arty? Why did you call me this early?"
Artemis relented. He knew that his friend loved quarreling, and realized that something may be wrong. "May I ask what the problem is, Holly?" He never was one for subtlety when it came to addressing others' problems.
Holly looked away from the screen, breaking the eye contact she had with him. "I'm sure you already know. I wouldn't be surprised if you had been eavesdropping on us, anyway," she said with a sigh, recalling the theory she had a few minutes ago about the 'freaky eye connection.' Her usual, quirky wit surfaced for a moment as she said: "Adult things."
This racked Artemis's normally quick brain for a second, as he caught Holly's smirk. This was more like the elf, and even if Holly didn't know it, he may have set her up for that line, just to make her feel better. He took her line to heart however, as a real actor would, and made a genuine attempt to help his best friend recover.
"I'll have you know, Holly, that I know a lot more about 'Adult things' than you may realize," he stated, squinting his eyes and playing his vampire-smile card. "I've written many romance novels as a young boy, and I'd say the steamy situations in those scenes could be comparable to your evening spent with the commander."
Holly was back now, the real smile returned to her face. The insecurities and doubts she had been thinking about earlier quickly faded and she now had the capacity for actual serious conversation. "What's up, Mud boy? What's with the call?"
"Nice to see that smile again, Captain," Artemis returned, glad to see that his ploy had worked. Holly was now herself, and now capable of handling the news he had to give her. "I picked up a news feed from the LEP satellite. Apparently, a juvenile convicted of larceny managed to escape from an officer, so I presumed I could tell you what I know about this suspected teenager."
Holly was now confused. "What would you know about this, Arty?"
"Not very much actually," he said, twisting a slender finger to his face. "Apart from the fact that after this juvenile escaped, he somehow managed to contact me."
Holly's ears quirked up. A lot was to be taken in from this single sentence. They had enough of a situation due the escape, but now that she knew he had tried to contact Artemis, more was at stake here. The underage pixie, wherever he was now, had found some pretty high tech and called Artemis. While it was good news that Artemis was not the boy he'd been when the LEP first met him, it was still rather discerning to think of what could have happened. Fairies aren't typically allowed to make contact with humans, unless they're LEP officers, or any high ranking fairy politician or Councilman. This was just as serious as the B'wa Kell smuggling arena they had taken down countless years ago.
"When did you receive this call?" Holly asked finally, after absorbing all of the information she'd recalled to her mind.
"Around midday yesterday," he replied. Artemis was fully prepared to answer the next question that he was sure would be asked.
"Why didn't you tell me this yesterday?"
"Because Holly," he started, determined to finish with no sarcasm apparent in his voice, "You were enjoying an evening out with the commander. I did not call because I did not wish to interrupt."
"Oh. Well, I guess that's a valid reason."
Holly was suddenly halted from continuing the conversation because she heard the door to the wash room creak open behind her back.
"There you are, Holls," Trouble said, relaxing in the doorway. "I rolled over to wake you up, and you weren't there. We got a call from HQ…" He trailed off when he saw Holly sitting on the floor, communicator in hand, with Artemis's face lighting up the screen. "Oh, good morning, Fowl," he stated. "Didn't expect to see you this early."
Artemis knew he had to choose his words carefully. Although he had no reason to be concerned around the commander, he still didn't wish to change the good terms they had been on with each other. Trouble Kelp was prone to dislike a person such as Artemis Fowl, especially if that person deserved it. Artemis didn't want to see how far he could push the commander and ruin what minor relationship they had.
"Yes, commander, I was simply calling the captain to inform her of a situation that had arisen – "
"Cut the small talk, Fowl," Trouble ordered, as if Artemis was one of his cadets. "I need Captain Short at the moment a little more than you do."
"If I may stop you there, Commander, I think you need to hear this."
Trouble wasn't going to be convinced. The peaceful morning he had planned to spend with Holly had been interrupted by a call from central. The dispatcher released that a fire had been reported at 3:46 by an elderly gnome and needed an officer to respond. And he had walked in on his date chatting it up with the Mud boy in her wash room. Trouble did not approve of this, feeling what suspiciously seemed like jealousy creeping into his mind, and wanted Holly out of there. "I don't need to hear anything, Mud boy. I need my officer to go with right now so she can do her job."
Holly, quiet through the whole argument, spoke up. She glanced up at Trouble, making sure to put her best sincere face on. "You go ahead. I'll be there shortly," she said, gently reassuring her superior with a subtle hint of something more. "I'm not fully dressed anyway, and if I don't show up, there are bound to be others officers there."
Commander Kelp sighed, going back into Holly's room to grab his shirt and shoes. "Okay," he said, returning back to leave her with a quick kiss on the lips. "I'll be back soon, hopefully."
"I'll still be right here," Holly smiled. She waited until she heard the front door slide shut before she looked back at Artemis.
"His actions have me seriously doubting if there is an actual emergency," Artemis concluded, starting up the conversation again. "He didn't even tell you what the problem was."
Holly pulled her robe back up over her shoulder. "That's how he is. Usually, he can't separate work from, well," she chuckled, "From me."
"Which is precisely why those kinds of office relationships never work. I assume it's much harder for police officers to pull it off."
"Shut up, Arty," Holly snapped. "We're fine. This whole thing is fine. I should expect this."
"If you say so," Artemis sighed. "At any rate, I think you should come up to the manor as soon as you can. I want to show you the transmission your juvenile pixie sent me."
Holly stood up, unaware of how much of a mess she actually looked like. "It'll have to wait until Trouble leaves. I can't guarantee that he'd be too happy if I were gone when he gets back."
"I can wait, then," Artemis said. "Please, don't keep him waiting, Holly. Put some clothes on and go do your job," he smirked.
Holly rolled her eyes and closed the communicator. For those who didn't know the boy genius like Holly did, they could have assumed that he was being sarcastic and selfish. Holly Short knew all too well that Artemis was being genuine in his words and was sincerely telling his best friend to put some clothes on.
Ch. 3 Preview: Holly joins Artemis on the surface while Commander Kelp responds to the emergency 909 call. What he discovers is almost as shocking as the info that Arty gives Holly on the surface!