A/N: PLEASE excuse the blatant cheesiness of this, I wrote this when I was very young. Still, I thought it was good enough to be posted for you guys who are fans of my other AF fic. Enjoy!
DISCLAIMER: I do not own the following characters. As much as I would like to.
Beckett Fowl's shout should have woken up the entire mansion.
Luckily though, at that moment a clap of thunder shook the building, drowning out the boy's scream.
Beckett clamped his hands on his ears and snuggled deeper into his sheets.
"For Heaven's sake, Beckett!"
Myles Fowl, Beckett's twin brother, rolled over in the bunk above him, annoyed at being disturbed from his sleep.
"What?" Beckett tried to sound innocent but his voice trembled when another crack of lightning lit up the room. He buried his dark head in the covers again.
"You do know that thunder is harmless, don't you?" Myles' articulation was very good, considering he was only three. The second highest IQ in Europe could be a factor as well.
"I know." Beckett had the third highest IQ in Europe, only because he had had a slight head cold when they had taken the test. The drowsy medication had affected his score slightly. He was easily as smart as his twin. "Thunder is just the noise of the cold air particles rushing in to take the place of the super heated particles of the lightning."
Another huge rumble made the window panes of the boys' room shake violently. Beckett dove under the covers once more, while his brother gave an exasperated sigh in the top bunk.
"Then why are you frightened?"
Beckett's brown eyes peeked from under the sheets as rain began to pelt the window. "I thought children were supposed to be afraid of a summer storm."
Myles groaned and covered his own head with a pillow to drown out his brother's words. "Fine, fine, just try and get some sleep."
Beckett gave a small squeak as wind made a woeful moaning sound through the trees. It was going to be a long night.
Former Captain Holly Short laid awake in one of the many Fowl Manor guest bedrooms. The bed was soft and warm and the room was pleasant enough, dark green with gold vines working its way up the wall.
She wondered if he had been the one to suggest this particular room to his parents. She wondered if he had kept in mind her partiality to nature. She wondered if that had been the reason her room's interior design was a fairy woodland theme and the view outside the balcony overlooked the rose garden, the pond, and the forest beyond.
Holly pondered her feelings for him. Ever since she had…well…kissedhim…emotions had been altered for a reason she knew not.
You'll find out soon enough, Fairy Girl.
Holly frowned. Her conscience had begun to sound a lot like Juliet lately.
Suddenly, she was brought out of her musings by a violent scream.
She shot up in bed, her sensitive pointy ears searching for the sound through the sudden crack of thunder.
The twins' room!
Leaping out of bed in her shorts and tank top pajamas, Holly grabbed her Neutrino and tore from her room.
Her bare feet pattered down the wood as she sped past the Fowl seniors' room. Carpet silenced her progress as she rounded the corner of the hallway, nearly knocking over a Ming vase, and ran towards the twins' room.
Damn this house for being so big, she thought, praying she wasn't too late to kill whatever that thing was that was hurting the two boys. And damn Butler for putting his room at the opposite end of the manor!
Holly skidded to a halt outside the door and pressed one pointed ear to the wood. There was no noise. Oh, Frond, did that mean she was too late?
Stepping back, Holly readied herself, and then busted the door down with her shoulder, Neutrino loaded and waiting. She would tear the thing to pieces that dared to mess with Artemis Fowl's kid brothers.
Right when Beckett was about to fall asleep, something sounding like thunder resounded in the room…in the room?
The door fell down obediently with a resounding crash and Holly darted into the room, Neutrino drawn and ready to fire.
Holly glanced towards the bunk bed. Never had she been so happy to hear the two boys scream. At least they weren't dead then. Both of their mussed ebony heads were sticking up, Myles rubbing his where he had smacked it on the ceiling.
Holly did a quick three sixty of the room, and, finding nothing amiss, addressed the boys.
"What's the matter?"
They were stunned for an instant, both of their brown eyes wide with astonishment.
Holly repeated her question urgently. "Why'd you scream?"
Still staring at her, Beckett pointed towards the window. "Th-thunder."
Holly cocked her head for a moment. It had never before occurred to her that a brother of Artemis Fowl would be afraid of something as cliché as thunder.
She slowly lowered her arms, still clutching her gun. "Well, alright then."
The boys still stared.
Suddenly, lightning lit up the room; the storm still raged outside. Holly's hazel eyes flickered green from the eerie light. Beckett had always been a little wary of his older brother's best friend, what with her slightly pointed ears and strangely stunted growth. And when she had busted in the room and was now silhouetted against the wall like a terrible angel, he whimpered pathetically, diving under the quilt once more.
Myles rolled his brown eyes. Holly couldn't help but think she was staring at a younger clone of his older brother. "Beckett, come on. It's only Miss Holly."
Holly put her Neutrino on safety and placed it carefully on the nightstand behind her, out of the boys' reach.
"It's only me, Beckett. Nothing's going to hurt you." She was slightly shocked and saddened by the fact that she was so ferocious she had scared the boy.
Beckett smiled sheepishly as he poked his head out from its hiding place in the sheets. "I know, Miss Holly. I'm not afraid of you."
And Beckett was once more hidden from view as thunder rocked the mansion.
Holly smiled, finally straightening from her defensive position. "Is it the storm?"
Beckett nodded pathetically.
"Thunder can't hurt you, you know."
Myles glanced down at his twin pointedly. "I told you so."
Beckett made a face before turning his gaze to Holly. "I'm not scared, honest!"
Holly's lips twitched up into a smile. If she had a soft spot for anyone, it would have to be her best friend's kid brothers.
"I'll just go then." She turned to leave.
She slowly pivoted, another huge grin on her face. "Yes?"
Beckett hesitated a moment before gazing at her. His brown eyes, the same shape as his older brother's pierced Holly's soul.
"Can you…stay for a while?"
Holly tapped her chin, as if in deep thought, before she grinned and put her hands on her hips. "Sure."
Beckett's whole face lit up as Myles rolled his eyes. He opened the covers and Holly slid under, smiling as the toddler snuggled up against her.
"Thank you, Miss Holly."
"You're welcome, Beckett."
Silence for a while. The only noise was Myles fidgeting in the top bunk, trying to find a comfortable position.
Holly closed her almond eyes and tried to get to sleep.
No such luck.
"I read that stories are supposed to make children fall asleep."
"I've read that too."
Myles snorted. "Oh, please, Beckett."
"Shut up, Myles."
Beckett's small, pale hands toyed with the strap on Holly's tank top. "Miss Holly?"
"Would you…tell me a story?"
Holly stiffened slightly. A story? She had never told a story to a toddler. Come to think of it she had never really told a story to anyone, not even a war story to some rookies or something like that. Well, she shrugged, might as well give it a try.
"What story would you like?"
Beckett's brown eyes gazed at the bottom of the upper bunk while he thought. "I don't know. I've never been told a story before."
Myles had to put his two cents in. "Mother and Father tell us stories all the time."
"Not the stories regular parents tell their children," Beckett retorted. "They always read us sections of textbooks."
"I enjoy them."
"You would," Beckett sneered before Holly shushed them.
The younger boy cuddled back up to Holly, ignoring the other twin. "You choose, Miss Holly."
The fairy thought for a moment. "Okay…"
Beckett gazed up at Holly expectantly. The pretty girl thought for a minute more, and then began her story.
"Once upon a time—"
"Wait, wait, wait," Myles interrupted. "Is this going to be one of those idiotic fairy tales?"
"You'll never know unless you listen," Beckett snarled.
Myles was silent when confronted with this logic. He sighed. "Very well. Please continue, Miss Holly."
The elf gave a fleeting grin at the boys' antics before beginning again.
"Once upon a time, there was a little brown field mouse. She lived in a burrow under the earth with a whole clan of other little field mice just like herself.
"The field mice had lived under the earth for a very long time to protect themselves from the outside world. The little brown mouse missed the surface. Often times she would make a risky journey up to gaze at the sun and feel grass and water on her little feet. She lived for those times."
"Boring," Myles began to sigh.
Beckett interrupted. "It hasn't gotten to the good part yet, you moron. C'mon, Miss Holly."
Myles began to retort, but Holly ahemed and he was quiet again.
"So," she continued. "One day the little brown field mouse went up to the surface. She flitted along carefree through the bushes, enjoying the flowers and the sound of the birds. But suddenly…she fell in a trap!"
Beckett gasped, his brown eyes wide with fear. Myles snorted.
"A big, black snake with brilliant blue eyes slithered out from behind a bush. The little mouse was terrified. The snake gathered the cage in his coils and whisked the little mouse away into the hollow tree where he lived.
"The snake was clever, and tricked the little mouse into thinking that he knew where all her brothers and sisters lived, in their burrow under the earth."
"That mean, old snake!" Beckett declared vehemently. "What happened?"
Holly waited until he calmed down before returning to her story.
"The snake said he meant the little field mouse no harm. But she didn't believe him, and she discovered that he was holding her for ransom! The field mice had a huge fortune of good berries and wheat that they kept in a vault under the burrow. The black snake demanded that the mice give him a whole cup of their stash, almost half of it!"
"You know, snakes don't eat wheat and berries," Beckett began, but Myles shushed him.
"Shh, in this story they do! Go on, Miss Holly."
Holly grinned and began her story once more.
"The little mouse tried to be brave, and she swore that the other mice would never give it to him. But then the snake threatened that, though he meant no particular harm to the mice, that he would reveal their hiding spots to the other snakes. They would gobble up all her friends!"
"I hate that snake!" Myles exclaimed. "What did the mouse do?"
"Well, when the snake left her alone for the night, the little mouse began to chew her way through the bark of the tree. She was going to escape!"
"Yay!" Beckett crowed. "Good for her."
"But then, she felt the tree begin to shake."
The boys were still as stone.
"The little mouse darted out of her prison into the middle of the tree where she saw a horrible sight. A mean ugly badger was trying to get into the tree!"
"The poor snake was backed up against the wall with nowhere to go! The badger's claws began to get closer and closer to him! The snake was terribly afraid, and the mouse almost sat back and watched him get eaten by the beast."
Beckett whispered, "Al-lmost?"
Holly sighed, dramatically. "That's what the mouse thought. She should leave him, she told herself. He was mean and cruel and if he was killed she would be free to run back to her burrow. But…for some strange reason, she couldn't let the snake be killed in front of her very eyes.
"So, dodging the badger's huge claws and his sharp teeth, she ran up to the badger and bit him, right on his ugly snout!"
"Oh right, sorry."
"Being the coward that he was, the badger turned tail and ran away.
"The snake was almost as stunned as the mouse was. She had saved him, her enemy. She tried to tell herself it was out of instinct. Right when the badger had left, the other field mice arrived with the ransom.
"Suddenly, the snake turned to the little mouse and asked her for a favor. After all he had done to her, he wanted a favor? But the mouse obliged once more and followed the black snake into another hollow of the tree. The snake's mother was very sick and close to death. She had a thorn stuck in her side that was too small for the snake to remove.
"So, in return for half of the ransom, the little field mouse used her tiny paws and pulled the thorn out from the mother snake. And then she went home, back to the burrow and her family."
There was a pause for a minute.
"And then?" Myles breathed.
Holly frowned. "And then what?"
Beckett looked upset. "Is the story over?"
Holly's hazel eyes suddenly grew deep with the memory of her inspiration for her story. "Not quite."
"What else happens?" the boys asked in unison.
Holly shrugged. "Over time, the little field mouse and the black snake became friends and they went on all sorts of adventures together…the saved the field mice from a mean pack of rats…they saved the snake's father from being eaten by another snake…they defeated a rogue mouse from destroying her own clan…great adventures."
"And they fell in love, right?" Beckett grinned.
Myles snorted. "Please, Beckett."
Holly's face turned red and she thanked Frond for the darkness that covered it. "No, they didn't fall in love."
"But that's how the stories always end!"
"Beckett, don't shout."
The young boy huffed and crossed his arms. "They should."
"Beckett," Myles groaned impatiently. "In case you haven't heard, mice are a favorite prey of snakes. It would never work out."
"Yes it would," Beckett argued stubbornly.
"No, it wouldn't."
"Yes, it would!"
"No, it wouldn't!"
"Alright, alright, I'll meet you halfway, Beckett," Holly surrendered, exasperated.
"Through their adventures the field mice couldn't help but fall in love with the beautiful, blue eyed snake. He was smart, clever, and handsome, but he was also a hu…uh, I mean a snake! The other field mice would never agree, and besides, she wasn't sure that he loved her back. So she would always love the snake but she was happy with the simple fact that he was her friend."
Holly took a breath from rushing through an ending that was threatening to make her cry. "Satisfied?"
"Well, the snake is retarded. The field mouse sounds awesome."
"She's glad you think so."
"Oh, uh, nothing."
There was silence once more as Myles began to drift to sleep above them, and Beckett began to fade beside Holly.
"The field mouse should tell the snake she loves him."
She smiled down at the innocent face. "She'll sure try, love."
And Beckett's eyes finally closed. His breathing became even. Her sensitive elf ears could hear his heart beginning to slow in its beats.
"Good night, dear Beckett."
Outside in the hallway, a tall pale youth with ebony hair and bright blue eyes had listened to the tale from the beginning. His sharp cheeks were rosy with a fading blush and a tall glass of water was forgotten in his hand.
He turned, his usually sharp mind unfocused from the story, and he put his glass softly on the hallway table. The smile just wouldn't disappear from his lips.
He grabbed a pen from the drawer and a sheet of paper and began to scribble words with a hurried hand.
Once both the twins were deep in their sleep, Holly extracted herself from Beckett's arms and tiptoed from the room. She shut the door softly behind her before turning to stride down the hallway.
As she glanced across from the door, she noticed the strange painting that must have been hanging there when she had first walked down this hallway. She had just never really looked at it before.
A small lady dressed in a chocolate gown drifted through the painting. Her lips were curved down into a small frown and her green eyes displayed distrust mixed with love.
A tall man in a black cloak with dark hair was on the opposite side of the painting, his black gloved hand stretched out in a pleading gesture. The other hand tenderly covered his chest. His eyes shone with longing and apologies.
She moved closer to the painting, reading the caption. Mouse and Snake.
"Well, what do you know?" she grinned at the irony of it.
Her eyes flickered to the bottom right hand corner where the artist's name was usually signed with flourish.
Instead, a single white piece of paper was folded and tucked into the frame.
Curious, she removed it and opened it.
In long, graceful handwriting, the words were scrolled.
Ever since he had first laid eyes on the mouse he had felt something inside him he had never felt before. She melted him like the sun melts ice. The snake couldn't help but want to be near the little brown mouse always. His cold heart beat faster every time he saw her, his stomach fluttered with joy whenever she touched him.
The snake loved the mouse with all his heart. But he would never tell her…she would laugh at him.
He longed for the day that he would tell her. But for now, he would relish in her friendship.
Holly was stunned. Would he—
She quickly glanced both ways down the hall, but saw no one. Gazing once more at the note, she smirked.
No, he wouldn't. If there was one thing she knew about her best friend it was that he was not the type to leave romantic notes lying around. Besides, the painting was about a "mouse" and a "snake." Anyone could have written this note as a little burst of creativity from the painting.
Holly glanced around her once more before tucking the note in her shorts pocket. She took one more long gaze at the painting and then slowly walked back to her room.
A/N: *pukes into trashcan* Ooh, goodness, was I a romantic minded fourteen-year-old or what? XD Still, I enjoyed writing this, and it was always one of my favorite reads. Review!