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.
So a lot of you have entered KitsuneHeart's TBR Contest. Frond bless you all, but I'm here… To show you how it's done.
A Manifestation of "Guilt"
Artemis awoke to a painful pounding between his eyebrows. He briefly rubbed at the spot as he pushed himself up into a sitting position on the couch. He blinked a few times before immediately fixing his gaze on Holly, who was sitting only a foot away from him, looking tense as she watched him. He raised an eyebrow at her for a second before giving the room they were in a quick once-over. "Where are we? Some cheap hotel?" he asked, frowning. He did not remember coming here…
Artemis turned back to Holly, but the redhead only watched him with wide, cautious eyes. Artemis decided to prompt her. "Yes?" he asked. And then, added: "What is it, Holly?"
Holly blinked, her mouth forming a small o. Then, as if confirming, she asked again, "Artemis – it's you?"
Artemis narrowed his eyes. That was an odd thing for her to say. "Who else would it be?" he asked, dryly. But then his mind started to put the two of his mental condition together with the two of how Holly was acting (D'arvit – they equaled four when they came together to form the realization). "… I have Multiple Personality Disorder."
Suddenly, Holly launched herself at him and threw her arms around his neck. "I'm so glad you're back!" she cried. A strange sound came from her then, and though it was muffled by his shoulder, Artemis could have sworn it was a sob. "He – Orion – Your alter – He's – He's so – "
Artemis gripped Holly's shoulders and peeled her off of himself to push her down onto the couch beside him. He seemed not to notice her as he looked away, frowning in thought. "MPD is merely a symptom when it comes to Atlantis Complex. My condition's becoming severe."
Holly bit her lower lip, not knowing what to say. She almost jumped when Artemis suddenly turned to look at her sharply.
"My alter's name is Orion?" Artemis asked. "That was the best my mind could come up with?" The mastermind noticed only then how stricken Holly looked at the mention of Orion's name. "What?" he asked. "What did Orion do?" Instead of answering, Holly slouched back against the couch, her hair falling to cover half of her face. Artemis cocked his head. "Your hair is different," he stated neutrally.
Holly suddenly seemed to tremble for a second. Then she buried her face in her hands. "Artemis – you don't know how good it is to hear your cold, unfeeling judgments of me again." Before Artemis could react, she was straddling his lap, her arms once again latched around his neck as she buried her face in his shoulder.
Artemis frowned, but unable to think of anything better to do in the situation, he wrapped his arms around her small waist. "Holly, have you developed a disorder as well?" he asked, casually.
"Artemis, Orion is horrible!" Holly exclaimed through gritted teeth. She gently beat her forehead against Artemis' shoulder as a headache formed at the very thought of the alter. She pulled away from Artemis, but gripped his shoulders and met his gaze with an unreadable look. "I thought I wanted you to change," she sighed. "I thought I wanted you to be a nice, law-abiding person who cared about me, but…" She trailed off and bit her lip as her grip tightened on Artemis' shoulders. "Orion was all that and I hated him!"
Artemis looked amused. "Did you now?" he asked.
Holly shook her head in exasperation. "He was so nice, he was useless!"
Artemis raised an eyebrow. "What are you saying?" he asked, slowly. "You missed my… Crueler habits?"
Holly paused for a second and took a deep breath, and looked away. "I can't believe I'm saying this," she sighed. "The old Artemis that everyone's afraid of – he would never have gotten this disease because he never felt guilty about anything. That cold, ruthless bastard would have solved this by now."
Artemis furrowed his eyebrows a little, looking unsure. "Holly… Are you giving me permission to – "
Holly interrupted with an irritated groan. When she looked away with a pensive expression on her face, Artemis took the moment to study her – he suddenly noticed how exhausted she looked, with messy hair, wan skin and dark circles under her eyes. Her voice was quiet when she spoke. "I suppose I asked for it."
Artemis rubbed at his temple, but managed a small, wry smile. "That you did, Holly."
Holly slid off his lap and slouched against the back of the couch next to him, looking tired, but otherwise unreadable.
"What else? About Orion?" Artemis asked, sounding almost amused.
Holly turned to look up at him with round eyes. But then, she dropped her gaze again, wanting to bury her face in the back of the couch. "Orion said… He… And, well, you, I guess… Had – have… Feelings. For me." When she looked up at him, Holly saw that Artemis didn't look the least bit perturbed by the news. Holly shifted uncomfortably for a second before growing irritated. "Well?" she demanded.
"Of course I have feelings for you," Artemis said, flippantly. "I love you." When Holly's mouth dropped open in shock, Artemis shrugged and stood up, looking around the room for a computer. "Believe me, Holly – it scares me more than it scares you."
"Why?" Holly asked, warily. She winced at how squeaky and weird her voice sounded.
Artemis frowned, unable to spot any sign of modern technology in the room. "Well, is it not obvious?"
Holly felt the almost overwhelming urge to punch something. "What is obvious?"
Artemis turned around to look down at Holly and he gave her the kind of look that one would give a petulant child. "It's another symptom, Holly. Another manifestation of my guilt."
Holly blinked, looking dazed. "Another… Symptom? Of guilt?" she echoed, sounding almost feeble.
Artemis nodded. "Atlantis Complex. It's all about guilt, isn't it? Perhaps my feelings for you are my own way of making up for what I did to you." He paused, then muttered, "But, regardless of the cause, the fact of the matter is that they exist."
Holly tried to think of something to say, but she only started at him with a rather blank look on her face.
Artemis sighed and lowered himself to his knee so that their eyes were level. "This is actually quite romantic – I kidnapped you. Twice," he smirked. "The world's favourite Greek myth is the world's favourite Greek myth for a reason, Holly. I dragged you through hell, and because I dragged you through hell, I now have to make you the queen of it."
Holly, who had frozen expressionlessly on her spot on the couch, could barely bring herself to breathe. "…What?"
Hope you liked it… Took me three days to write and edit this thing, because of school. But… We're nine minutes into the devil's hour (it's 3:09AM, I mean) on a Wednesday night (or Thursday morning, depending on how you looking at it), and I've decided it's good for publishing.
It was meant to be funny… I hope it was. I don't know – I'm tired. AND! The pinky on my right hand hurts.
Review!... And then vote for me!