Summary: Remember that 'long talk' that Holly promised Artemis? Well, watch out Artemis/Orion, for here it comes! Very short story in which Artemis and Orion fight for the hand of Holly, set just after the Atlantis Complex. Major crack ensues. R'n'R please!
Artemis Fowl and the Other Hunter
Sakina the Fallen Angel
Artemis and Orion were both understandably nervous. Not about the hordes of PPTV reporters that had taken up camp outside the clinic – they were currently in the process of being evicted – but by the prospect of something a little smaller, more singular, and ten times more formidable. Luckily, she wasn't here yet, so THE TALK could wait.
Of course the drugs and the therapy were having their desired effect of mental recovery. And if they weren't, then the threat of Butler's hulking build ensured that Doctor Argon worked overtime to make it happen. Butler's presence had also generated a large deal of interest from the TV stations. He even had his own documentary, which recycled the infamous footage from his fight with the troll to augment the man's fearsomeness. And so, for the third time today, the bodyguard found himself surrounded by wide-eyed fairies, all eager to play 'who can get closest to the Mud Giant without being obliterated'.
With a roll of his eyes, he gently swatted the youngsters (and some daft LEP) aside in order to better focus on the task at hand. There really had been no need for Butler to stick around, but duty was duty, and so far, no one dared to separate the bodyguard from his principal. However, Butler was only allowed into the clinic three times a day, so the rest of his hours were spent scowling at the TV cameras that were pointed at the clinic. That is, until some bright spark had the idea of making Butler useful to fairy society.
During the first stages of Master Artemis' treatment, the LEP had given Butler a tourist pass and allowed the bodyguard to have a look around Atlantis, in exchange for his help with the repairing of the city following the disaster of the probe. Butler was currently engaged in acting as a pillar to support some foundations whilst a group of elves and dwarves ferreted around with various tools to make sure that when the city floor was finished, it wouldn't have any unexpected hills.
"You said this would only take an hour," grumbled the bodyguard through his pressure suit.
"Well technically," Foaly said with a nervous chuckle. "But right now we're somewhat closer to the centre of the earth, and any fool knows what that means."
Butler turned his head and drilled holes into the floating pod with his stare.
"Let's just pretend for a few minutes that I am not 'any fool'."
Even though he was safe from Butler, and ninety-nine percent of the centaur's brain knew it, Foaly still emitted a whinny. "Eh, what I meant was that because we're closer to the earth, we feel a greater pull of gravity which Einstein correctly deduced affects the flow of time, although the People were aware of this long before- ah, meaning that time here flows more slowly than on sea level."
Butler raised an eyebrow. "Oh? By how much?"
"Barely noticeable, unless say you were in possession of one of my beautiful pieces of tech."
The centaur shot Butler a suspicious look.
"What was your original point?"
Butler rolled his eyes again. He wasn't used to being goaded by the centaur, and fervently wished that Diggums was here. Oh gods, had he really just thought that?
A week ago, the ex-kleptomaniac wind machine had been sent to take his sister back to the surface in order to fabricate some sort of story to prevent Angeline Fowl from making her way down here to see her son. Delay tactics. So far, Diggums and Juliet had destroyed the garden, caused the power supply to fail three times, and had even 'burgled' anything that could viably be construed as transport. But they were running out of ideas, and did not want to stick around for when Angeline would finally figure it out.
Come on Artemis, you need to get better faster.
Back at the clinic, Doctor Argon's latest celebrity patient had just finished another dose of therapy. The gnome wrung his hands together as he gazed at his patient with consternation wrinkling his brow. The boy was lying on an examination couch. His eyes were closed, and his expression was serene, peaceful even.
It had to be the 'other one'. Orion, was it?
"Orion?" Argon's voice was tentative.
"Negative, doctor," Artemis snapped, and sat bolt upright. For a few seconds, his old trademark scowl held sway, and then it was blown away to be replaced by a pained look. "I am very sorry...doctor."
The gnome mentally counted the number of words in the boy's sentence and sighed. Still fives.
"It's OK. Personality regression is a common side-effect of the treatment. Soon we'll have you spick and span again."
"Goody!" Artemis clapped his hands, fighting an internal battle of sarcasm versus genuine hope. Goody? That had to be Orion. "And then maybe I can finally leave this infernal room."
Nope. Just plain old Artemis. Albeit an Artemis still suffering from Atlantis Complex. There was only so much that his sensitive feelings could take from the prickly Mud Boy when he was back in old Artemis mode.
"Ah, I think I'll leave you alone for a bit. Until your old personality wears off a little." The gnome backed away from the examination couch, eyes fixed on his very expensive equipment.
"I have no intention of inspecting your equipment, kind Doctor," Artemis said. A ghost of his old wolfish smile graced his face.
In fact, I hacked into it the moment you turned your back on me...Doctor, and I bet you do not know that I am currently monitoring my own progress.
"...Good." And with that, Doctor Argon's fingers drummed a tattoo into the keypad. He was out of the room before the doors slid fully open.
Once Argon was gone, Artemis' facade collapsed and he retreated into his mental headspace, which was an exact replica of his study back at Fowl manor. A second leather swivel chair had been installed for the comfort of his guest, but Orion preferred to prance about dramatically to make his points.
"Really Artemis, what on earth are you thinking, goading the poor Doctor like that?"
"You're being very difficult today," Artemis muttered, tapping his foot to the rhythm of his thoughts. Was his other self trying to aggravate him? Artemis shifted uncomfortably in his own leather chair. "You need to say one more word in your sentence. Just one more word, Orion! And perhaps you should think about taking up ballet too."
"What a wonderful idea!"
"Note that I was jesting," Artemis replied tersely. His eyes widened. "Your words ring of death!"
Not again! This couldn't be coincidence. One. Two. Three. Four. The flowery buffoon was definitely baiting him, he could see it underneath that serene smile. Artemis began to edge away from his counterpart.
Orion folded his arms and tutted. "My boorish buffoon, and you were making such fabulous progress on overcoming that little army of yours."
Said army had decided to undergo an offensive strategy known as meiosis, and now baby 'fours' were whizzing about the place, trailing blue sparks in their wake. Artemis shuddered, feeling himself spiral out of control.
"I. Am. Making. Excellent. Progress."
It was a lie. Artemis had read the charts. Relapse, spurred by unknown anxiety issues, today's hacked report read. Artemis had almost changed the report to read something more positive.
Orion skipped up to Artemis and hugged his alter ego from behind before laying his chin on top of the boy's mop of raven hair.
"This relapse. You're worried. I know what this is about. And you know what this is about. And I know what you know, and that you know that I know you know, so therefore we both know, don't we?"
Artemis swallowed. "Idiot, I do not know what you are talking about."
His mind instantly betrayed him by flashing back to the illicit kiss that Holly had stolen from him, his first kiss. Artemis felt a blush and a stammer creeping up. And then his mind decided to torture his poor self further by flashing forwards to the brief periods of time when he'd actually been a prisoner inside his own head, unable to do anything but watch whilst his sappy alter ego pranced around and heaven forbid him...flirted with the Captain.
"The boy doth lie!"
Betrayed by my own mind, Artemis moaned softly to himself, burying his face into his hands. Through a slit between two fingers, he made out a group of fours tittering at him.
"What do you think our fair lady will say?" Orion stopped using Artemis as a chinrest. He cocked his head to the side and raised a finger. "Orion, I was wrong about trying to hide my feelings for you. Once you slay my captor, Commander Kelp, I will allow you to rescue me and then we can ride into the sunset on our noble seahorse steeds."
"Hey!" Artemis shot up, his fear of fours momentarily forgotten. "She would never say something as idiotic as that. Plus," he added with a crafty smile, "It is Artemis she's after, not Orion."
Orion sighed a dramatic sigh, and decided not to bother informing Artemis that he was referring to himself in the third person again.
"Your juvenile advances simply made you appear more the fool."
"Is that so, my compadre?"
"Unequivocally so," Artemis said testily. His eye twitched, and a second later he added, "Mentally challenged ignoramus."
"Your attempts to scare me away using advanced vocabulary will not work, dear buffoon!" Orion drew himself up to his full height. "For I am you, and you are...I?"
"This is absolutely terrible grammar," Artemis muttered, turning away from his idiotic mind clone. He pulled his chair up to his desk, and drummed his fingers upon the ornate oaken surface. Orion had put him in a very difficult position indeed. Artemis needed space to think and process his thoughts, but the fours wanted amusement, and so they began to hop onto the desk and march towards him.
Orion heard a strangled cry and was instantly beside Artemis.
"Shoo, shoo," he said, batting away some of the braver fours.
"They are everywhere," Artemis exclaimed, face white. Well, whiter. "Death, death!"
"Shh, Arty," Orion murmured, cradling the shivering boy's head in his arms.
The panic attack lasted a minute, and once the minute passed, Artemis was a little closer to his old self. Metaphorically.
"This needs to end...now." Artemis took a shaky breath and extricated himself from himself.
"It will, it will. Doctor Argon is working on it, remember?"
"I am trusting my mental wellbeing to someone whose computer password is his own name. There is no more hope left for me, other self."
"Good, good," Orion replied dismissively. "So until then, shall we focus on our other predicament at hand?"
"Are we talking about my impending perpetual embarrassment from a certain female officer thanks to a gallivanting air-headed fool who could not keep his mouth shut for even a minute?" Artemis focused the weight of his blue and hazel stare upon Orion and added in a deadpan voice, "Shutting one's mouth is a simple task, Orion and saves you from unnecessary energy expenditure."
"Oh, you doth wound me. I was helping all of us out, you know? Speeding up the chain of events that would lead to THE TALK." As he finished his sentence, a broad grin stretched across Orion's face. He ended with a throwaway question. "Isn't she due back to visit her favourite patient today?"
Artemis gulped. This Orion fellow was a lot smarter than he looked. And when he had the face of Artemis Fowl, then there was little doubt that there must be a genius buried underneath those love-struck features. Buried very deep, but there nonetheless...
R'n'R please! Ah, it's been a long time since I posted something here! This is gonna be a very short story, probably four chapters long...*smirk* ...If you can't wait for another update, then my first Arty fic, Artemis Fowl's Self Assessment, could have a bit more lovin'... ;)