Those Little Incidents
Holly Short yelped as she hit her head, and then growled with annoyance. She was just so mad at Artemis for getting herself in this situation, not that he was aware of it of course, not with him being so many miles above her on the surface. If it hadn't been for him and those absolutely idiotic incidents she wouldn't be spending her lunch hour crawling around in air conditioning vents, desperately trying to avoid contact with anyone.
The first had happened just after they had escaped. The space probe that she had been certain would kill them all had abruptly stopped in mid air, rotated 180 degrees, and sent out its landing gear. Five huge metal legs had extended from the body work, and the blasters had gently lowered the probe to the ground.
Artemis, who was standing in front of the ship, looked pleased. As Holly dragged herself over to him she could hear him muttering, "Five legs, that should even out the four words on the side, and send out good luck vibes to us." She ignored him, concentrating on the doorway that was slowly opening in the side.
Foaly had also somehow managed to extract himself from the snow and limped over to Holly's side.
"What do you think?" she asked him, trying to forget that until recently that there had been four of them. There would be time for grieving later.
"I don't know," Foaly answered, for once with no clever comment, "it could be that I finally managed to control it in its last moments."
Holly cut him off, "Unlikely."
Foaly nodded, "That's what I thought. The other option is that there's someone else controlling it from afar."
Holly trained her gun, which had somehow managed to remain unharmed, on the door. "That sounds much more likely and, knowing our luck, they're probably hostile."
With a shudder the door fell open, dropping down to form a gangway. Holly craned her neck, trying to see into the inky blackness inside. It didn't take long for . . . something to appear. A transparent arm extended from the space, filled with what seemed like purple jelly, and was shortly followed by three more.
By Holly's side Artemis's teeth had started chattering again. "F-f-four arms," he stuttered, "four is d-d-death." Holly looked up at her human friend with concern. He needed help, and soon, but there was no chance to do anything at the present.
She returned her gaze to the probe. Now an entire body was visible, a grotesque metal creature with four huge, goo filled arms, each equipped with a gun, knife or other weapon. Speakers in its pulsating throat coughed out a message. "So Holly Short, we meet again."
For a moment her heart stopped. The voice was nigh on identical to her old commander's, but that was impossible, he had been killed a few years back by Opal Koboi. Then her heart started again. It was similar, that was for sure, but it wasn't quite the same. Commander Julius Root's voice had been rougher than that, brought on by years of fungus cigars. However Foaly and Artemis hadn't quite worked it out yet.
"Julius?" Foaly neighed from her left side, "What's going on here?"
"I'm just hallucinating," Artemis mumbled from the other, "it's alright Artemis; imagining dead people talking to you is a common effect of people with mental diseases."
When it next spoke the voice coming from the robot sounded enraged. "How dare you people say that I am Root! That fool died years back, and now there is no one to stop me from my plan to avenge myself!"
From her side Foaly groaned. "Why whenever you meet up with Artemis is there some idiot trying to kill us?"
Holly barely heard him, too busy searching her memories and frowning in frustration. She had heard this voice before, she was sure of it, but she couldn't quite place it.
"Army move out." From behind the first robot came more and more of them, rolling down the hill on a single wheel positioned beneath their waists.
"Turnball!" Holly suddenly exclaimed. Root's brother, the black sheep of the family was the one behind all of this! She had taken him down before at her intuition, when he tried to kill her, Trouble, and Root, but he should have been in prison in Atlantis at the moment.
Turnball growled. "So you've guessed little elf. Ah, well it's too late for you to do anything about it anyway."
"Wait!" she said, still confused, "but aren't you in prison?"
Turnball sighed dramatically, which seemed out of sorts with the appearance of the robot body his voice was occupying. "Yes, for the moment I am confined to this blasted cell, but as soon as I extract my revenge I will instruct my army to free me."
"So, just to make things clear," Foaly said, cocky to the end, "You're in prison, but out for revenge, so you somehow built yourself a robot army of purple jelly freaks, and are going to use them to get what you want."
"They're The Gelatinous! Not Jelly Freaks!"
"But I thought gelatinous was-" Holly started.
"No!" he cut her off, "gelatinous as in 'Vicious', not gelatinous as in 'Gelatin' you moron."
Holly shrugged. There really was no telling these out-for-revenge idiots. She looked up at Artemis again, who had remained silent through it all. His lips were blue in the cold air, but at least he had stopped shaking quite so much.
"It's okay Mud man," she said gently, "I'll get you out of here and then we can see about fixing you."
There was no sign that he had heard; he remained staring at the robots with a mixture of fear, trepidation, and a desire to take them apart and examine them.
"So as soon as I activate my army, you shall all be taken captive, then killed just like I did to Root's precious little wife." At first Holly didn't realise that Turnball was talking again, being too busy worrying about Artemis, so by the time she'd processed what he'd said, Turnball was already half way through the sentence to activate.
"Wait!" she yelled. "What do you mean 'wife'."
The laugh that came from the speakers was harsh, with a manic joy behind it. "Three hundred years," it giggled, "three hundred years I've waited to say that."
"What do you mean?" she yelled again, beginning to wish that this was all an unfortunate dream.
"Oh, he didn't tell you?" Turnball said innocently.
"Tell us what?" Holly said guardedly.
"Tell you that he had taken a certain commander for his wife."
Holly's first impulse was to laugh. Obviously he was lying. By her side Foaly cackled with her, "That's a good one Turnball, but you don't really think we'd believe you, did you?"
"But. . .!" at first he seemed upset that they didn't take his word. But then he appeared to remember what he wanted in the first place. "No matter. I'm going to capture and then kill you all anyway. Gelatinous activate and capture!"
The robots around him seemed to shake themselves. Then they activated and the purple liquid in their arms turned a pure gold as they booted and guns started sparking.
"Gold. . ." Artemis said, as if remembering a half-forgotten dream.
"Yes, you like gold." Holly said impatiently, "but we need to get out of here right now or the robots are going to get us."
She tugged hard on his arm, but he refused to move, even as the robots began moving towards then. "Pretty gold." He said again dreamily.
Holly desperately searched in her mind for a way out, "Er—Four arms Artemis! They have four arms and they're going to kill you!"
The change was immediate and Holly felt awful tricking her human friend in this way. He whirled around with wide eyes, muttering something about stepping on vines. "T-t-the snowmobile," he said and started to run back through the restaurant. Still holding onto his coat Holly ran alongside, holding Foaly's hairy arm in the other. One of the disadvantages of being a robot here was the ice; their single wheel couldn't find any grip on the frosty floors.
In a matter of seconds both Foaly and Artemis were heavily out of breath. Just my luck to get stuck with the two most unfit guys out there Holly thought, but outwardly she urged them on, telling them it was only a short way to go, that they were sure to make it. Inside the restaurant the robots had found their grip again, and were quickly gaining, if not actually shooting.
Holly ran up the steps at the front of the property, by now dragging Artemis and Foaly behind her, and quickly spied the snowmobile. It had been shoved into the front of the building but that was the least of their worries at the moment. The snowmobile was built to take two experienced humans, not an elf, a centaur and a very disturbed fifteen year old boy, especially when Holly had no clue how you were supposed to drive one.
She jumped into the driver's seat, ignoring the complaints of the two who she pulled on behind her.
"How do I start this thing," she muttered. There were two metal pockets below the seat, but they didn't appear to do anything, and were too far below for her to reach anyhow. She pushed a red button up and was pleased to feel a slight thrum from the engine.
"Pull the kill switch." Artemis said from behind her, looking uncomfortable on Foaly's lap.
He reached over her and pulled a switch. Then he pulled a cord and a tab on the right side of the handlebars. Holly watched carefully as he then placed what seemed to be a choke in a vertical position, and then another 180 degrees.
"Now use your right thumb on the throttle." Artemis positioned her hand, and for a moment Holly almost believed that he was back to normal. Then he gave a frightened whimper at the approaching robots and started counting up in fives. Maybe not.
She pressed hard on the throttle as instructed sending it further into the building, but she managed to remedy that by turning hard on the handlebars. In another few seconds they were off, leaving the sliding robots far behind.
"Where are we going?" Foaly yelled from behind.
"No clue." She yelled back, and then, "lean left!" as she turned a corner. There was a sort of trail on the path and she followed that down the mountain, wincing every time they hit a bump and one of Foaly's hooves dug into her back.
It didn't take long for them to leave the restaurant far behind. The trail became more pronounced as they went down and Holly followed it as long as she could. It ended at a boarded up entrance, leading into what seemed to be an icy cave.
"Well I guess this is where we get off boys." She said, trying to sound more cheerful than she felt. With a groan Foaly fell off, landing in a heap with Artemis who was still counting (Now somewhere in the thousands.)
"So, what do we do now?" Holly asked, hoping for some sort of meaningful reply.
Instead she was treated to a "How am I supposed to know?" from Foaly, and a "one thousand and twenty-five, one thousand and twenty-six" from Artemis.
She decided to change tactics, "We need a plan."
Foaly rubbed his sore hind quarters, "Way to go genius,"
"Um, Artemis." She said hopefully. "Do you have anything?"
"A line," Artemis was mumbling, "that's very good. In ancient Mayan society, a line represented the number five."
Obviously she was not going to get any help from that quarter. She was saved from having to say anything more by Foaly who was looking at the snowmobile with renewed interest.
"Wait a moment," he said, "I think I have something. The snowmobile has electricity, right?"
"Well, yes," She answered, unsure of where he was going with this.
Foaly was rooting around in his jumpsuit pockets. He pulled out a carrot and shook his head, but ate it anyway. Then he pulled out a digi-pad and snorted, shoving it back down. He was third time lucky, coming out with a bundle of wires and a tin foil hat.
"A-ha!" he said triumphantly.
"Um Foaly," Holly asked, "How does this help us?"
"Neither of us can work out a plan right?" he said grinning.
"But Artemis can, right?"
Holly looked over at Artemis who was crouched fearfully on the ground, still muttering about fives. "Foaly, I don't think he's in any condition-,"
He interrupted her, "No! I mean, if he was back to normal he could plan."
"So, we make him normal again!"
Holly raised an eyebrow, "And how exactly are we going to do that?"
Foaly brandished the wires and hat. "With these and a little help from the snowmobile."
Ten minutes later and Holly was watching Foaly position a customized tin foil hat on Artemis's head. They had moved inside the caverns themselves, as they'd both felt too exposed outside.
"Are you sure this is going to work?" she asked Foaly for the fifteenth time.
He grunted in annoyance fiddling with the wires that went off from the hat to the snowmobile, "It's not like we have a choice, but I've done everything possible to try ensure it will. I'm not exactly working with the most high tech equipment."
That was a rather large understatement. The foil hat was crumpled, the wires looked frayed and their power source was a snowmobile that had seen better days. Holly tried to stay optimistic. It wasn't like Artemis could get any worse.
"Alright," Foaly said finally, having finished his adjustments, "we're good to go."
Holly jumped onto the snowmobile and started it the way Artemis had shown her before. There were a tense few moments as they both waited for it to kick in. Then a hum came from the motor and the wires jerked. Artemis, who had been mesmerized into sleeping, woke up. His mismatched eyes flickered for a moment as they adjusted to the light. "W-Where am I?" he asked.
"In Iceland, Mud Boy." Foaly said matter of factly.
Artemis's brow drew into a frown, "Iceland? How did I get here?"
Holly and Foaly spent the next few minutes explaining to him how, and why he was here. As they finished Holly watched him carefully. She had a feeling he wasn't quite back to normal.
"That's a lovely story," he said sweetly.
"So can you help us?" she asked, slightly thrown by his 'lovely' comment.
"Wow. Pretty icicles." He reached up to touch one, and looked amazed when he found that it was cold. "Ouch. Cold."
Holly turned to Foaly and growled. "That didn't work. Fix him."
"Alright, alright. Keep your hat on," Foaly said, irritated that it hadn't worked. "You go entertain him while I make some adjustments."
Holly pulled the tin foil hat off Artemis's head and, taking him by the hand, pulled him further into the cavern.
"Pretty icicle." He said again, reaching behind her head for a rather dagger-like looking one.
"Um…yeah. Nice icicle." Gently taking his hand again, she replaced it by his side. "What about instead of looking at the pretty icicles we…talk instead."
"Yeah, you know. For once not saving the world just…talking."
"Okay," he agreed happily. "But what do we talk about?"
"Er-," Holly looked around the cavern for inspiration. "What about…Turnball and those mean ol' robots huh?"
Artemis shook his head, "Too scary."
"Well. What about…all that crazy stuff he said?"
"Like that Vinyaya was married to Root?"
"Alright then. What do you think about it?"
Artemis smiled dreamily. "I like being married."
"Huh?" Holly was confused. She was pretty sure that he had never had a girlfriend, let alone been married.
"Well," Artemis conceded. "I'm not married yet. But I think if I was I would like it. Would you like being married?"
Holly wasn't sure what to answer to that question. "Uh, yeah, if I met the right guy I'm pretty sure I'd like it."
"So you can marry me, and I'll marry you and we'll all be happy." Artemis looked very happy at that solution, but Holly just blinked. Did Artemis Fowl just say what she thought he did?
He began humming the wedding march. Apparently he did.
"Er, Artemis?" she said.
"Yeahyeahyeah?" he grinned, in answer to her question.
"Uh…why don't we talk about something else huh?"
"Okey-dokey," he agreed hopping from leg to leg, and giving Holly the distinct impression that he needed the bathroom. She groaned. Out-of-his-mind Artemis she could deal with, out-of-his-mind-hyperactive Artemis on the other hand. . .
"Doyouknow anythingaboutlollipops?" he asked suddenly.
The sudden topic change caught Holly off guard. "Wait, wha-?"
"Um…Alright…" she said, confused.
It turned out that Artemis really just wanted to tell her all about lollipops and proceeded to give her an in depth summary about the history of them, while she proceeded to get very, very bored.
"No one knows exactly who invented them? Interesting…"
"You can get them in many shapes and flavours? I sure didn't know that…"
"They consist mainly of hardened sweetened sucrose with corn syrup? Wow…"
"When did you learn so much about them? ..."
"Why did you learn so much about them? …"
"Some novelty ones have mealworm larvae embedded in the candy? Ewww…"
"When exactly am I going to use this information?"
"When is Foaly going to be done?"
"Someone get me out of here."
Thankfully Artemis finally finished. "Solike" he said, "whatdoyou wanttotalk'bout now?"
"Anything has got to be better than confectionary," Holly muttered but then turned to Artemis with a patient smile. "What about we just look around at this pretty cave huh?"
He happily nodded his agreement and Holly had a few blissfully quiet moments without his chatter. Then it started again.
"Doyouknowanythingaboutcaverns?" he asked.
Holly shook her head with an effort to stay calm.
"Well," he started, "they can collapse-,"
"NO!" she yelled a little too forcefully. Artemis turned to her with a hurt expression on his face.
"No, not really." she said in a marginally calmer tone.
Artemis looked sad for a few moments, but then a smile once again brightened his face. He looked around the room intently, then ran and plucked a particularly pretty icicle. He ran back to Holly and presented it to her. "It'snotquitearedrose," he said, "butit'sverypretty."
Part of that sentence registered in Holly's mind. Weren't red roses meant as a romantic gift in human society? So why was Artemis giving her a replacement?
From behind her came a snicker. "Someone's feeling in the mood today, huh Holly?"
She groaned. Foaly. It was just like him to come upon her without warning, and then watch Artemis giving her romantic gifts.
Artemis was lead over to the contraption humming the wedding march and Holly walking beside, with her face turning redder and redder.
The second incident had been after the third time of trying the device. The second time Artemis had woken up and started singing immediately and they hadn't bothered taking the hat off before trying it once more with a minor wire adjustment.
But so far this time things were looking good. Artemis's eyes were clear through the entire explanation of where he was, and why he was here, and he had a thoughtful expression on his face when they finished.
"So, am I correct in thinking I must create a plan?"
Foaly sent Holly a triumphant look, "Third time lucky!"
Holly considered kicking him. She had had enough about 'lucky numbers' today to last her a lifetime. But as he had seemed to have fixed Artemis she decided to let it go. For now.
"Excuse me?" said Artemis again. "I need to create a plan, right?"
"Absolutely right, you completely-back-to-normal Mud Boy!" Foaly neighed happily.
Holly rolled her eyes. "Do you need some peace and quiet to meditate Mud Man?"
"I would prefer to be in a dark space, and have quiet to, erm, meditate as you put it."
As I put it? Holly thought. Surely that was the way Artemis referred to it? She put it out of her mind. "Further on in the caverns it gets darker, would that suit you?"
"Most certainly." he said with a vampire smile.
"Good." She said, trying to ignore the grin, "So you just keep on going-,"
He stopped her. "You couldn't show me could you? I'm afraid I haven't got the best sense of direction."
Holly looked at Foaly and shrugged. He waved her on with a flick of his tail, probably planning to use the time preparing some long speech about his greatness ready for when she came back.
She shrugged again and started walking, and was suddenly surprised by Artemis's hand being placed in her own.
She looked up at him frowning. "What?"
He smiled his vampire smile again, sending shivers up Holly's spine. "What I said was true. I have the most appalling sense of direction, especially when I can't see. So you, with your elven eyesight, will have to guide both of us into this deep, dark, tunnel."
She quickened her pace, unnerved. The way he said it made it sound like they were walking into a deep dark tunnel of doom, rather than a perfectly safe icy cavern.
Water dripped from a stalactite to her right and Holly jumped. She quietly berated herself. Deep dark tunnel of doom indeed.
They carried on walking until it was too black to see any more than the faint outlines of shapes and then Artemis suddenly stopped, jerking Holly who still held his hand.
"This shall be quite far enough thank you." He murmured into her ear.
"Er- Okay." She said, her voice seeming unnaturally loud in the quiet.
She could just see Artemis sitting down on the ice next to her, but was most surprised when he gently pulled her down onto his lap with her.
"So I'll be getting back then," she said trying to extract her self from his grip.
"Oh, I don't think that will be necessary," he purred, pulling her down again until she was straddling him.
"Uh, actually I think it will," she said, finding it surprisingly difficult to get him to let go. Who knew someone with as little muscle mass as him could hold on so tight?
"Oh, Holly, Holly, Holly," he moaned gently, "why do you want to leave so soon? We are quite alone here."
With a sinking feeling Holly suddenly realised that this was most certainly not Artemis Fowl. She had fallen for his ploy hook, line and sinker and it was now up to her to deal with it.
"Look Artemis," she said firmly, "I don't know what's gotten into you, but-," she suddenly let out an involuntary squeal as he licked her ear, then nibbled the lobe.
Now there are some areas that any fairy knows from day one are no-go areas for anything other than husbands or lovers, and sensitive elven ears were most certainly one of them. Holly Short sat stock still for a moment, then as her sense returned to her growled, a path of immediate action forming in her mind.
Atlantis Complex or not, Artemis Fowl had just crossed a sacred line and Holly Short intended to let him know it.
She shifted slightly in his lap and smiled a feral smile, while honeying her voice. "Arty, Arty, Ar-ty. . ."
He lent down close to her, panting slightly. "Yes?"
In the darkness he didn't even see the fist coming. Or the one after that. Or after that. Or the foot that connected with his head, sending out a satisfying crack. Or the variety of kung-fu, karate, and hit-wildly-with-malicious-intent-fu that was directed at him for a good ten minutes.
"Whew, what happened to him?" Foaly asked when they (or rather Artemis) had limped back to him.
Holly widened her eyes innocently. "He slipped."
Foaly looked at Artemis, then back at Holly and decided some things were better left a secret.
The third incident had been after they were captured. Foaly had somehow smuggled the wires and hat with him (Holly didn't want to know where, or how exactly) and now, after finding a power source in the cell, they were debating whether or not to use them again.
They had had time for one last shock before they were taken (as a matter of fact the robots had appeared in the middle of the operation) and it had somehow managed to turn Artemis Fowl nice. Hard as it was to believe, he had been keeping up their spirits the entire way, even managing a laugh from Holly who was steadfastly ignoring him, making small talk, and, strangest of all, joking.
The only trouble was that, like all the other personalities, he was unable to plan. So now Holly and Foaly were having a heated discussion on whether or not to change him back to the old scheming mastermind of before.
"Look Holly," Foaly said, "you have to admit this Artemis is the nicest guy you'll ever meet. To be honest, I don't really want to change him back. Besides, I'm sure if we put our heads together we can work something out without him."
"But we don't know how stable he is and-"
Foaly cut her off. "That's to be expected," he said briskly, "but instead of using the equipment to revert to his old personality, we can use it to stabilise the new one. See, it's a win-win situation."
Holly had to admit, it did sound good. Even she had not been immune to Artemis's charms; it had taken an enormous amount of self control the entire evening not to laugh like a loony when he went off making up limericks about members of the council.
But she couldn't just think of herself in the decision. Foaly was wrong. Without the criminal mastermind they were sunk. Turnball would win and kill them all once he was done using them as ransom fodder - at best he would keep Foaly as his techie slave for the rest of his life. Who knew what would happen to the rest of Haven? And no matter how much she liked this new Artemis, Holly Short could not let that happen.
"No." she said, softly at first, and then again with more conviction. "No! If Artemis stays like he is we'll all die! And sometime's it's not about what we want, it's what's best for the people." She finished determinedly.
Holly felt mean as she saw the truth of her words dawn on Foaly. His face fell, and he turned to Artemis with a look of resignation on his horsey face.
"Looks like you'll be back to robbing banks in no time," he said with a fake show of cheerfulness. He had really taken a liking to this new Artemis, and quite a friendship had been struck up in the few hours they had known each other.
Watching him Holly was suddenly hit with doubts. Maybe Foaly was right. Maybe they could take on Turnball without him. "Er- Foaly?" she said. "We should at least see what Artemis wants."
Foaly looked at her strangely, and then shrugged. Turning to Artemis he asked "So Mud Boy, what do you want to happen to you? Do you want to be turned back, or kept the way you are?"
Artemis appeared to mull this over for a few moments, and then looked up, a broad smile on his face. "Holly?" he said, in a voice sweet enough to give you diabetes.
Suspiciously Holly answered him. "Yes?"
"I want whatever you want," he said blithely. "You're so beautiful, so smart, so passionate about everything you do, so effortlessly amazing, so marvellously wonderful, so breathtakingly fantastic, so phenomenal, so astounding. . .,"
As Artemis went on Holly did the only thing she could do. She stood there, head in hands, face burning, and waited for deliverance.
Far too many minutes later it was given. Artemis finished off with "I could go on all day with her many, many talents but I'm sure you've observed them yourself. What I'm trying to say is that I can always count on her and trust her to come through. So the decision is all yours Holly."
Holly calmly removed her hands from her eyes and with fake nonchalance stepped over to Foaly. Hoisting him by his jacket she looked straight into his eyes. "You. Will. Change. Him. Back." She ordered, smiling grimly as he scuttled off with a look of real fear in his eyes. Oh, Artemis was going to pay for this. He was going to pay real good.
The last, and possibly worst of them all, had been once it was all over. Somehow they had managed to overthrow Turnball once more with the old Artemis's help and now Holly Short was in the process of piloting everyone back to Haven. It had a strange resemblance to the journey that had been taken in the past - having lost the euphoria of having survived Holly's annoyance at Artemis had resurfaced and she was now swinging the shuttle around a tad more than strictly necessary. Actually rather a lot more.
Foaly -dear, sweet Foaly- had taken it upon himself to inform everyone exactly what Artemis had been like, and what exactly he had done while mad. So now whenever Holly walked into the passenger bay she was greeted to wolf whistles (real mature Mulch) and suppressed giggles from all the others. To be fair, Artemis wasn't having the best of time himself - being unable to escape into the pilot's chair, he was forced to listen to the jokes that were constantly being made in the cabin, the source of which was always him and his recent . . . problems.
But that didn't mean Holly was going to cut him some slack, oh no, quite the opposite. She was currently enjoying watching him being tortured from the video screen to her right, then swinging the shuttle in a vicious loop-de-loop and causing all the passengers to groan and clutch their stomachs mid-laugh. What a satisfying way of killing two stinkworms with one skewer.
A few minutes later she suddenly noticed that Artemis was getting up. Seeing another opportunity she tugged the shuttle hard left sending him crashing into the side. She gave a satisfied grin. He wasn't likely to be trying that again.
However that statement proved to be false. After a few moments of just sitting there groaning she watched as Artemis got up and once again tried to make for her door. This time she sent the shuttle right, thinking in a pleased way that his bruises would now match on either side.
This time it took a bit longer for Artemis to force himself up, but instead of going back to him seat like any sane person when he finally did, he tried making for her door once more. Holly frowned as she jiggled him up and down. Really, what was the Mud Man playing at?
This strange (and rather painful) game continued for several minutes more, by which time all the rest of them were yelling encouragement at Artemis as he tried unsuccessfully once more to navigate his way to the door. Holly sent him spiralling backwards once more, trying to persuade him that whatever he had to say wasn't really worth it.
But Artemis persisted, and although he banged around most pleasurably when she went into another loop-de-loop, Holly's heart wasn't really in it.
It was plain that she would have to let him in and let him get whatever he had to say off his chest if she was ever going to get any peace. With a sense of resignation she let the shuttle stay still and removed the lock on the door, waiting for him to enter.
Holly watched out of the corner of her eye as Artemis stumbled in, sitting in the co-pilots seat. Instead of acknowledging his presence she sat in a stony silence, eyes fixed on the screen in front of her. Just because she had decided to let him have his say, wasn't to say she had forgiven him.
"Er- Holly?" he started off.
Holly ignored him. Was that really the best he could do?
He tried again. "Holly I just-," he trailed off as she began humming to herself.
The next time he tried it was much less friendly, more reminiscent of the boy who had kidnapped her than the friend who had stood by her in many adventures. "Look Captain Short," he said. "I came here to apologize, the least you could do is pay me some attention."
With deliberate nonchalance Holly flicked autopilot on and swivelled her chair to face him. Arms crossed in front of her chest, she raised a single eyebrow, motioning for him to start.
Now that he had her attention Artemis seemed unsure of how to go on. Holly watched as he shuffled self consciously in the too-small chair, then cleared him throat. As if reading from a book he started. "I have come here to apologize for the uncalled for and boorish behaviour I exhibited earlier on today. As you well know I wasn't myself, and the way I acted was rather more due to the Atlantis Complex than any idea on my part."
Holly contemplated this for a while. Was she really going to forgive the months of teasing that was going to come from what had happened today on one apology?
Artemis spoke again. "I know that I can hardly expect you to forgive me on one apology," he said (Was he a mind reader? Holly wondered) "But I must tell you that I am truly sorry for the anguish I caused for you today, and would like to make it up to you in any way possible."
Holly thought about this for a few minutes, before making one of her infamous snap decisions. "Don't worry Mud Man," she said suddenly with a rueful grin, "I think you've suffered enough."
Artemis's eyes shot up to meet hers. "You, er, mean it?" he asked.
Holly got up out of her seat and went to stand in front of him. "Yes you idiot Mud Man. I forgive you. Besides like you said, it's hardly your fault."
Artemis gave a relieved grin. "Thank goodness. I thought you were going to ask me for something huge, like inheriting Fowl Manor when I died."
Holly smiled craftily. "Now that you mention it. . ."
She had to laugh at the expression of horror on his face.
"Relax, that's what's known as a joke in the real world Mud Man." She said.
He gave an embarrassed smile. "Er, yes, of course."
They stood there smiling at each other for a while more, and Holly suddenly decided to ask him something that had been bothering her for a while. "Do you know what I find weird?" she asked.
Artemis raised an eyebrow, "No."
"That it wasn't just in one." She said.
"In one what?" he asked.
"That it wasn't just with one personality that you confessed your undying love for me." Holly said uncomfortably.
Artemis reddened slightly. "I hardly confessed my undying love for you."
Holly snorted. "You said and I quote 'I can marry you and you can marry me'"
Artemis's blush deepened. "Still. That was a simple solution to a complex problem that was presented by my mind when it was in its . . . other state."
"And the rose-icicle?"
"If you could recall correctly that was merely me trying to make you feel better after your slightly undesirable reaction to my lecture on caverns."
Holly grunted unimpressed. "Oh, and what about that business in the tunnel?"
"Merely a sudden rush of hormones brought on by the electric shock therapy, which if remember right, was administered by you and Foaly."
"And what was with you waxing lyrical about me?"
Artemis gave a sly grin. "Are you saying you don't enjoy compliments? I thought even women loved hearing nice things about themselves."
Holly herself reddened now. "Of course I enjoy compliments! Just…not like that!"
"Oh yes? And how exactly would you like them? On a cake? Dressed with a tartan radish?"
Holly scowled. "Artemis. Just when we were getting along again." She suddenly realised he hadn't answered her original question. "So, don't you think it's strange the way you kept coming back to me?"
He pulled a face. "Please Holly; you make me sound like a puppy running after your every beck and call."
Holly smiled. As if Artemis would ever come at her beck and call. But she refused to let herself get sidetracked again. "Like I was saying, don't you think having the same trait in all the different personalities was weird? And no avoiding the subject this time." She added, wagging her finger.
Abruptly Artemis sobered up. "What do you want me to say?" he asked.
"Um…" Holly was confused. "I just wanted your theories."
"Of course you did." Artemis's tone wasn't exactly sarcastic, but as things went, it was pretty close.
Holly shifted, hand on her gun. Why was it with Artemis, that as soon as you thought you could get along with him, he would switch back to the sarcastic schemer of before? "Look Artemis," she said evenly, "I was just interested. If you don't want to talk about it, I'm fine with that."
Artemis suddenly stood up. "What do you want me to say?" he demanded. "Because the trouble is I don't know. You always expect me to have an answer to everything. Even time you don't know something it's always 'call Artemis', or 'ask the Mud Man'. I don't know everything you know!"
Holly almost fainted right then and there. Here was Artemis Fowl standing a foot away from her admitting that he didn't know everything. She was tempted to ask him if he would repeat it in front of a camera, but judging by the look on his face that wouldn't be the best course of action. "Look you're only fairy—I mean you're only human." She said comfortingly.
Unfortunately her words seem to have the opposite effect. "And that is the problem, isn't it?" he said in a dangerously quiet voice, his hands clenched by his side. "If I was 'only fairy' we wouldn't be having this conversation at all. If I wasn't 'just human', or 'too young', or 'too tall' or if you didn't care so much about what other people thought of you, we wouldn't be here at all."
"Uh…okay?" By now Holly had no idea what he was talking about and had decided the easiest option was to just let him get on with it.
But after that outburst Artemis seemed to have run out of steam, and his voice was barely above a whisper when he said; "If I wasn't just so Artemis."
Now although Holly had absolutely no idea what her human friend was going on about, she felt she had to comfort him in some way. Besides, as the day's adventures had clearly shown, Artemis was far nicer than he gave himself credit for (well, as long as you didn't compare him to his freakishly nice side) and so, Holly silently went over and slipped her hand into his.
However that also seemed to be the wrong thing to do. Artemis yanked his hand out of hers, and stepped backwards, muttering something about getting back to the passenger bay.
Now thoroughly confused Holly grabbed his hand and tugged him back "Artemis. What is the matt-," halfway through the sentence comprehension on what he had been talking about dawned. "Oh."
Artemis gave her a strange smile. "Oh, is quite apt."
Holly stood there blinking for a few moments, then gave him a hopeful smile. "You were kidding right?" she said, giving a nervous laugh. "It was just your strange sense of humour showing itself in weird ways, right?"
Once again Artemis gave his strange smile. "If that is what you wish, then you are right."
"Whoa, whoa, whoa." Holly said, pushing him down into the chair. "I want to-no, need- to know what exactly you were meaning when you were going on about 'being too big' and 'being too young' and 'being too human'"
"It means whatever you want it to mean," he said smoothly, trying to get up.
Holly pushed him down again. "Artemis. Tell. Me. What. You. Meant." She said, in a voice that usually had all lower-ranks (and quite a few higher-ups) scuttling to do her bidding.
But Artemis was apparently unaffected. "As I said before Captain Short, it means whatever you want it to."
Holly scowled, then went for begging. "Couldn't you just give me a clue? Please?"
He looked her straight in the eye, before saying in an exasperated voice "Captain Holly Short. You really are trying to make this as difficult as possible for me, aren't you?"
Holly was still unsure if he was meaning what she thought he was meaning, or if he was meaning something else and she was thinking he was meaning what he was meaning because she wanted him to be meaning what he wasn't. "Sorry, could you possibly expand on what am I trying to make as difficult as possible?" she asked.
Artemis sighed. "I suppose I will have to do this the direct way." He gently took both of Holly's hands in his and looked her in the eye. "I like you," he said simply. "But due to such restraints as mentioned before, 'we' as a couple would never be able to be. So what will happen once I am finished speaking is that you will forget I ever spoke to you of this matter, and we will go back to how we were before. And that is all there is to it."
He gently dropped her hands and stood up. And then was suddenly attacked by a full three feet of determination.
"No," Holly said fiercely, having pushed him back down. "That is most certainly not all there is to it. For Fronds sake, you're Artemis Fowl. And you most certainly can't just leave after telling me that you like me, then that we can't be together, especially not with reasons as crappy as that!"
Artemis gave her a funny look. "My reasons are hardly…crappy."
"Urrrrgh!" Unable to think of a better way of expressing herself, Holly put her hands in the air and yelled.
Artemis moved backwards in his chair.
Holly sighed at him. "Listen up Mud Man," she said, jumping up and kneeling on his legs to give her a better vantage point, "Your reasons are pretty pathetic, trust me. They're the sort of reasons newspapers would give on why we would never work, without even considering the other factors. For example, the size difference. Please tell me the thinking behind why people of difference heights can't be together. I mean, if we follow that reasoning, human dwarfs will never find love, and as for Butler the poor guy - he's just too big!"
Artemis gave a slight smile at that before saying, "Quite Holly, but that is hardly the most important of reasons. What about the fact that you are in your eighties, and if we forget Limbo, I am not even classified as an adult in human terms?"
Holly raised her eyebrows. "Oh, so you're saying that you're not mentally mature enough for me? That you haven't spent all your childhood years trying to prove that you're as good as any adult? And if we forget that, in fairy terms I'm hardly old. In fact, by the time I'm a hundred you'll be relatively older than me."
"But you can't ignore the fact that you are a fairy and I am a human." Artemis said. "And you mentioned newspapers before. Can you imagine the outcry if people found out about…us?"
Holly snorted, "Oh yeah because we both so obviously care so much about what the world thinks of us. That's why you're a nice, law abiding citizen who would never do something like kidnap a fairy, and why I would never rock the boat and become the first female in recon. As for the fairy/human problem, if you can remember we've actually lived together before on the surface."
"Which eventually led to your species being forced belowground into hiding." Artemis finished.
Holly scowled. "Artemis! Anyone would think that you didn't actually want…me"
Artemis looked down. "It's not that I don't want you Holly," he said softly, "Just that sometimes being a genius is more of a curse than a blessing. I can see so many problems that could arise if we were together, not to mention the way you would be treated."
Holly couldn't help but give a small, delighted smile to that, even though she knew that he was being serious and was, in a way, completely right. But the idea that Artemis was actually concerned about how she would be treated if he got his way somehow warmed her inside, and made her more determined than ever to at least give this a go. "I know Arty," she said, just as quietly in response. "But sometimes it's better to just leave your head out of it."
On hearing this Artemis raised his head smiling his first sincere smile of the day, before, with the utmost care, pulled her closer until she was lying on his chest, then gently tipping her head up with a finger. Holly smiled back at him, before he dropped his lips to meet with hers with the barest of contact.
She cuddled him afterwards; nuzzling into his chest, drinking in his smell, before lightly reaching up again and . . . leaping off his lap with a loud cry of D'Arvit!
Artemis was slightly more dignified. Stress the slightly. He jumped from his chair into standing position and attempted to brush down his suit nonchalantly, while Mulch stood at the door in shock.
However Mulch was the sort of person who recovered quickly from traumatic events such as this, and in seconds he was on the floor shrieking with laughter, and baring every single one of his tombstone teeth in an effect not unlike a hippo yawning.
"You and - Artemis – were - making out," he guffawed.
Holly could feel a blush creeping up her neck. "We were hardly 'making out'" she said indignantly.
"Yes – you –were" he gasped again.
To complicate things even further, at this point Butler and Foaly stuck their heads through the door, looking concerned. "Is everything okay in here?" Butler asked in his gravelly tones.
Being consumed with mirth Mulch was unable to reply, leaving Artemis and Holly to do the talking.
"We're, er, fine." Artemis said, doing marginally better in the colour department. "Mulch just told us what he considers a hilarious joke, and we were, er, just standing here watching him laugh."
"Yes, that was it." Holly agreed, wondering whether or not this would be reason enough for murder. Surely if she mentioned to the court his past they would be sympathetic?
On the floor Mulch had finally achieved enough control to speak. "They – Holly – Artemis" he gasped.
Foaly gave Holly a questioning look, "What, you and Artemis?" he asked.
"Erm, I think he's saying how we don't have any sense of humour." Artemis tried.
Mulch managed to get a "No!" out.
"Wait I know," Holly said, still on the murder theme "He's saying that we should throw him down the chute and see what dwarf barbecue tastes like!"
While the others tried to work out how They – Holly – Artemis could translate to being thrown down the tunnel, Holly spared a moment to look at Artemis. He seemed remarkably composed for someone who has just been surprised in the middle of his second kiss with an elf, and was calmly crouched next to Mulch muttering in his ear.
Whatever he said must have been pretty radical, as a few moments later Holly watched as the colour drained from Mulch's face and his laughing abruptly ceased.
Artemis then got up and walked over to Holly with an easy stride. "The best way of keeping everything running smoothly," he said, "is democracy, fairness, tolerance and the occasional use of blackmail, just to make sure."
Holly grinned up at him. She knew she should feel angry that he was blackmailing someone, but all she could feel was relief, admiration and maybe even a little bit of love.
Back in the present Holly swore as she knocked her elbow. Really, she was pathetic. One apology, one kiss and Artemis was back in her good books. It was ridiculous.
The trouble was, whenever she started to get angry with him, Artemis would call, or write and due to some inexplicable force, she would suddenly be completely unable to remain cross. In fact, even her heart had turned against her. Whenever she saw that the Caller ID or a message was Artemis it would start with these ridiculous palpitations that she was quite unable to control.
And although Mulch hadn't spoken a word about what he had seen (Holly would dearly like to know how Artemis had managed it) Foaly had become suspicious, and adding to the fact that she was teased daily about how Artemis had acted towards her, it was now becoming almost unbearable.
Hence the fact that she was crawling around in air conditioning vents, that she really shouldn't have been able to fit into, trying to get as far away from Foaly as possible and navigate Police Plaza at the same time.
Holly sighed hopelessly as she squeezed through the last vent before her office, and then gave a wry grin. At least it seemed to have cured her claustrophobia.
This year I will send any entries/work/essays in, in plenty of time.
Pffft. Why do I even bother?
So this is my TBR entry, or was orginally supposed to be, before my hands and/or mind managed to get taken over by plot bunnies, meaning that it ended up over 9,000 words instead of the 5,000 limit. Being thouroughly sick of it by this point I've decided to just leave it as is, and either hope that the limits are changed and I'll at least get the have it in the vote thing (What? I'm just curious) or I'll just have it as a one-the-side oneshot.
But whatever happens, I do want some reviews that will please tell me whether or not it makes any sense. Having only finished it today (the 19th) I've not had any chance to get any beta's/friends to give it a once-over, and am unsure if anyone actually understood what was going on. XD