Fair is Fowl, and Fowl is Fair
Summary: Artemis probed too far and too deep, and awoke a sleeping dragon. What he didn't realise was how much he needed an awakening of his own. Artemis Fowl/Harry Potter crossover. Warnings for slash. Artemis/Harry.
NOTE: WARNINGS FOR SLASH
To Cen, for being such a trendsetter. Lol.
The ages of the twins and Marilyn have been bumped up from canon.
Disclaimer: I own none of these characters, nor the Macbeth quote from which the title is taken
Butler looked at the scene before him and didn't know where it had all gone wrong. Artemis had changed so much over the years that there were times he didn't recognise the boy who'd grown in the man before him now. He'd thought they'd gotten past this, all those years ago with Holly, but apparently not. Butlers never failed, but in this case, there might be any other adequate terminology describing his behaviour with the Fowl heir but failure.
After that last adventure concerning the damned monkey, and re-seeing his younger self...Artemis had returned to any and every crime, even after seeing how it had torn his family apart and nearly destroyed his mother. Now, as the boy had passed his second decade, was just a year shy of the midway mark, in fact, Butler never thought he'd see the day that he'd be...disappointed with his principal.
There was a human being lying on their floor.
Butler didn't really have a problem with that; what he had a problem with was his principal not having a problem with that. Artemis should have had a problem with that. Butler didn't have a conscience for himself, had lost one decades ago before he had even reached his teens. But he did have one concerning his principal.
"The logical conclusion," Artemis had announced two months to the day prior, "is that if there are such things as fairies, there would be other magical creatures in existence. It would only be congruent to assume that there must be a human equivalent, as well. I, myself-" here he had raised a hand and let a blue spark leap between his pointer and middle finger. The smirk that had graced the young man's lips had been truly frightening.
And so Artemis had done the impossible– yet again. He'd sought those magical types out and found them- or at least their English equivalents- up in Scotland. Apparently they'd had some sort of security detail to keep people unequipped with magic out of the property, which had left him out of the loop, as always. But they'd been intimidated by Artemis's intrusion, as he'd known they would be. Artemis had, after all, gone in with a keenly scientific mind, intent of discovery and dissection. And so the Ministry of- of Magic?- had sent someone after them. Someone that had been caught, someone that was lying bound before them now.
He had come, in the most cliché of ways, in the middle of night, cutting all the regular wires and lines, while ignorant of the power generator the Fowls owned beneath their property, as well as the independent power lines Artemis had powering his own security cameras. Butler had to acknowledge that the man had been good though, very good, having gotten past all the guards without actually killing any of them, merely incapacitating. The men hadn't seen him as he'd struck, silently and swiftly each time. Artemis and Butler had watched dispassionately through their cameras as the man made his way from the ground floor up to the mezzanine, where they'd been waiting. He'd been wearing some sort of cloak that the men couldn't seem to see through, but their personal cameras were able to trace fairy-grade camfoil and the system had been written by Artemis himself. There was nothing that could infiltrate them, nothing that could hide from them.
Like he'd previously observed, the man had made it all the way to the mezzanine, but that was only because Artemis had wanted to examine him, like some sort of specimen. Butler didn't like it, but he said nothing. He knew Artemis wouldn't listen to him anyway.
There had been a trap set, using both his own and fairy technology. The wizard hadn't stood a chance. But the moment he had come through the door-
There were DNA canons in place of their Bang and Olufsen speakers, just for tonight, set to stun. Artemis had been very particular, specifically tracing the magical pulses in the room that he knew would emanate from the wizard's body. The man was very, very good, having managed to dodge a whole six shots before having been taken down. Butler knew that he himself, given his condition, could have only hoped to dodge four at best, before having to depend on his sheer bulk to stave of the canons' effects.
Once they had the wizard incapacitated on their living room floor, Artemis had implemented the next part of thei- his- kidnapping scheme. The Fairy Book had documented a ritual to drain a fairy of their power- as a treatment for a medical ailment, of course, a cure against the blockage of magic in fairy veins. It was only ever meant to be temporary, and used for medicinal purposes, not that any of it had mattered to his young principal. Artemis had had the dirt on the ground, the finest in Ireland, actually, and a small potted acorn tree for the magic to return to the land. If anything, the acorn tree had looked much healthier after the ritual had been conducted draining the wizard of his magic. The same could hardly be said for the wizard. There had been concerns, of course, of adapting a ritual meant for fairies to a human, but Artemis brushed them off.
"Magic is magic," he said. "The ritual is for the removal of the force, and not that of the person. He will be fine."
Well, at the very least, the man had lived.
He was lying atop the antique Isfahan, chest rising and falling slowly. He was fairly young, about his principal's age or not much older. In fact, from certain angles he looked even younger. He had fairly even skin, but there was vivid scarring around his right jaw down his throat that looked recent, and an older, thin, lightning-bolt scar peeking it out beneath his scattered bangs. Butler surmised the wizard was physically pleasing, given Artemis's indrawn breath once they had removed the invisibility cloak from his face. Unlike his principal, though, the wizard was lean, and well-built. He was a fit man, and healthy, very used to exercise.
Having watched his movements through the cameras, Butler knew the man was extremely used to physical activity, but not in the way he himself had been. The man had been too tense, too wound up, almost. He was good, but he'd never had any formal training. He had learnt not on the streets, or even in classes, but seemingly in necessary defence.
"You have his wand." Artemis's words weren't formulated in a question format.
The stick, Butler's mind corrected. He produced it on the young man's order.
"Good. Have Mr. Liebowitz make an exact replica of it."
He glanced at his principal. He didn't need to voice the unanswered question, which Artemis answered with his patented vampire smile.
"I plan on breaking it- the replica, of course- and him."
Butler paused, perhaps too long. "Artemis, are you sure about this-"
"It is strange, old friend, to hear you questioning me like this. I welcome it, of course." Artemis gathered himself in his padded computer chair, and settled his too-thin hands into his lap.
"Do you remember Holly?"
"Of course I do," the young man replied. Butler detected a touch of irritation to his tone. "We have remained amicable, and I remember our times together fondly."
"You make her sound like- like something of the past."
"In that event, she is," Artemis replied in measure tones. "Holly, Foaly, and the rest of the LEPrecons were a part of the Lower Elements, and I have acknowledged their advanced technology, if not intelligence. But this is the Above Elements. It is mine, Butler. I will not lose it to a clutch of creatures who resort to physical brutality every change they get."
"He is waking," he rumbled. He'd had nothing else to say on the previous matter anyway. Artemis turned on his cavernous chair.
"Very good, Butler."
The man went from awake to asleep in a moment. Butler knew, but he had to admit that the man was good. If it had been anyone less trained there was the chance that they would have remained unawares. Then again, Butler was a Butler, and, aged or not, he was still the best.
The man was even better than he thought. He didn't try to feign it, knew he was caught immediately. His eyes snapped open, and they were a bright vivid green.
"There are many ways to catch a wizard unawares, but not that many that Muggles are aware of."
Artemis caught on immediately. "I presume that 'Muggle' is a term for a person without magic, which I am not."
The man stared at his principal, really long and hard, presumably taking in the vampire-pale skin, the almost too-symmetrical features, and the mismatched eyes. "Alright," the man said, shrugging, or as much as his bonds would let him. "No contention from me there. So you caught me. You were looking for us, and you've found us. Now what?"
His principal raised a slim brow. "You are taking all of this remarkably well. Some might even say too well."
The wizard shrugged again. "You're clearly very into the whole rational deal. I figure my not freaking out will at least me win me some points with you since I'm not going to get a better deal than that."
"How very reasonable of you to say so." Butler could tell that Artemis was pleasantly surprised by this turn of events.
"I try," the man said dryly. "I expect you have my wand, then?"
Artemis inclined his head to acknowledge that fact. "I have also drained you of your magic, and Butler here has you physically restrained. You are, as they say, as helpless as a newborn babe."
"Whatever I can do to please."
Artemis ignored the man's sarcasm. "You were sent by your Ministry to-"
"To kill you, yes," the man interrupted calmly.
Butler had to nearly physically rein himself in at those words so carelessly spoken.
"As you can see," Artemis continued, "that attempt was highly unsuccessful."
"Highly is a relative word," the man countered amicably. "I did take out your entire security detail."
"You are remarkably well-informed for someone from a culture in the 1800s," Artemis remarked.
The man laughed. "You mean my outfit? Yeah, it's a pretty antiquated fashion, I'll admit. Hell, it's a pretty antiquated culture, I'll give you that."
"You are strangely open about the culture you were sent to protect."
"That's what you wanted to know, isn't it? And I'd rather stay alive at the moment, you know?" The man smiled easily, but it was lopsided, as if he were trying to put them at ease, and yet there was something inexplicably bitter about it at the same time. "Now that we know what you wanted to know then, what do you want to know now?"
Artemis narrowed his eyes at the slim young man. "What's the catch?"
The man stared at him stonily. "I'm a professional. I do what I can to survive. I told you, I'm practical like that."
Artemis appeared amused. "I don't even need to torture you for information, then?"
Butler didn't want to flinch, but he very nearly did. There were honestly times where he didn't know who his principal was anymore. The man's green eyes flickered to his haggard face in what was almost sympathy.
"Knowledge is all you want, eh?" the man asked. "Will I at least get to know my captor's name?"
Artemis straightened almost imperceptibly. "I am Artemis Fowl the Second."
"Artemis Fowl, huh?" The man sighed with an unidentified emotion. "Well, meet Harry Potter."
Artemis was unnerved. This wizard was nothing like he'd ever expected. People did not react well when kidnapped. People did not react like him. It did not help matters that the wizard was...physically attractive to him.
Artemis had long come to the conclusion that he was not a typical human, by any means of the definition. Mentally he had passed all the set standards for his age so long ago that it wasn't even humorous when persons attempted to joke about it. Physically, he knew he was little more than underwhelming, but Artemis realised that he had a set of goals, none of which involved even considering moving gym equipment around. It was even preposterous to think about it. After all, things like that were why he kept Butler around.
When he was newly returned from the adventure concerning demon Imp No 1, he had found his eye drawn to Minerva Paradizo's young bodyguard instead of the girl herself, although he hadn't had adequate time to explore that avenue of his life, given his mother's predicament. He had a terrible inkling that if Butler had not lost those ten years in what was his most spectacular faux-pas to date, Artemis himself would be drawn to his own bodyguard, in a...slightly more intimate manner.
The very thought made him cringe. He knew Butler would deny him nothing, especially at this stage in their relationship, where they were so far past the boundaries of Butler and principal that to bereft one of the other was to permanently handicap them. But he also knew that Butler looked at him these days with weary eyes, as if asking when it was all going to stop, and even he knew there had to be set limits to their relationship.
After the lemur incident, he had dived most enthusiastically back into crime, returning to the black market world with almost a passionate vengeance to make up for lost time on both his, and his father's part. He had garnered the most vindictive pleasure while plundering ill-begotten spoils. The thing about dealing with organised crime was that they were all so predictable. Artemis had watched them run around like lab rats in response to his vicious takeovers and monopolies and laughed.
The shadows under Butler's eyes had seemed to grow tenfold that week, and then Artemis had to stop laughing.
So instead he threw himself into an alternate activity, and theorised the existence of magical humans. He, after all, was an example of one, even though he had not been born with the gift. But if there was a way to harness that power for his own uses-
Humans were invariably stupider than fairies. They were illogical, crude, and irrational- except for himself, of course, and on occasion Butler could be enlightened to reach an imitation of his level. He was in a minority, but that in itself was hardly surprising. To find himself attracted to his own sex- to further integrate himself with an even more elite minority- it almost seemed fitting, somehow.
"Tell me, then, Mr. Potter, about your culture."
"I will," the man quipped, "after you tell me of your intentions towards it. The administration might be full of boorish blockheads, certainly, but I'm sure there are certain...sections of the community that are, uh, salvageable."
Artemis let his smile grow. "You do not sound so sure, Mr. Potter. And you speak as if you expect me to conquer your civilisation. I assure you at this moment that my interest in your culture for the time being is merely scientific."
Potter looked at him flatly. The no-nonsense look was, unfortunately for Artemis, a good look for the other dark-haired man. "Science also involves an avid interest in dissection, Mr. Fowl. And forgive my cynicism, but I doubt your interest is purely scientific. There is nothing pure left."
"How abjectly true," Artemis hummed. "But that doesn't change the fact that I am barely, if at all older than you. Surely you cannot see one of our age conducting such a hostile conquest." He tried for a reassuring smile, but judging by the queasy look on Potter's face, he didn't do a very good job. Well, it wasn't as if Artemis had actually meant to be reassuring in the first place.
"I'm twenty-two," Potter volunteered.
Artemis nodded. "Ah. I am but two years your elder. Surely-"
"Mr. Fowl, I've heard of stranger things happening, trust me," Potter said plainly. "And there was clearly something hostile meant when you bound me-" he wiggled what limbs he could "-in this convoluted position. Sure, I came to kill you, but there's something you should know: draco dormiens nunquam titillandus."
The ridiculousness of the quote actually made him laugh. "What in the world would that have to do with anything?" Then the look in his eyes sharpened and grew ravenous. "Then there are such things as dragons?"
"Of course there are," Potter said matter-of-factly. "There are also goblins and house-elves and unicorns and Veela. Look at your everyday medieval bestiary, and we probably have everything in there, including centaurs, merpeople, and sphinxes." Then he cocked his head aside, and long black strands fell into his green eyes, screening them from view. They might have both had dark hair, but Potter's was so black it ate up all reflection of the light. "Will you tell me something, Mr. Fowl? Will you tell me what your motivation behind all of this is?"
He raised another cool eyebrow. "Motivation? Does one ever need a motivation besides the pursuit of knowledge?"
Potter's smile turned sardonic. "Mr. Fowl, we've been through this already." Then his green eyes darkened to near charcoal. "What drives you, Mr. Fowl? For the greater good? Hardly, I think. Perhaps for power. You say you have magic, but you have no magical training. Whatever it is, it's purely selfish." There was disdain in the lift of his lip. Then he dealt the killing blow.
"You would think one as highly evolved as yourself would know better."
Butler did not like how this interrogation was going. Very rarely did Artemis talk to someone on a level so similar to his own, but there was something about the young man that had unnerved the second Artemis Fowl, just a little bit. Butler had had his suspicions about Artemis's sexual preferences, but it wasn't his place to say anything concerning them. Somehow, Potter had gotten his opinion to mean something to his usually unflappable principal. And then that sneer-
"Butler, we're done here." Artemis rose to his feet, clocking in at a respectable five foot ten, and yet for all his length he was like a sliver standing beside his bodyguard. "Take him down."
For the first time since this whole fiasco had started, Potter turned to look him fully in the face. There was no question that he'd obey, but it didn't mean Butler couldn't feel a little regretful about this. He had an inkling that this Potter, no matter what his circumstances, would be a good man to have at his back. Somehow, the wizard seemed to sense this.
"Don't sweat it, old man." He even had the guts to grin. Strangely enough, Butler didn't find the moniker insulting, like he usually would. "From one professional to another- I'm all yours."
Artemis's lip curled with derision. "Don't tell me you're going soft, Butler."
Potter snorted, somehow managing to summon up sheer, overwhelming arrogance, despite the absolutely demeaning position he was trapped in.
"Soft? If I'm not wrong, your butler was a lot softer before he came to you." Potter's assumption that Butler was his occupation and not his name was understandable. He more resented the wizard having ever termed him 'soft', actually…
"You gave him a cause, a reason, to be even harder than his training made him. And you're calling him soft now? That's a laugh. If anyone's weak, Artemis, it's you, for not seeing the strength that you yourself have, and you yourself inspire."
The look on Artemis's face was almost vampire-still, but Butler knew the boy far too well, could see the mutinous stirring coiling beneath his implacable surface, just awaiting the right moment to strike. His jaw tightened, but the young man''s bone structure was so soft that it was nearly impossibly to tell except for a barely discernible tic beneath his left eye.
"Butler," he said again. "I leave this to you." Then he left the room altogether.
A gusty sigh interrupted his train of thought, and Butler turned back to their prisoner. "So, the dungeons, eh? I'm guessing they're pretty typical? Hell, you live in a castle. I'd say the dungeons are as typical as dungeons get."
"Why are you doing this?" Those were five words more than Butler had ever spoken to any prisoner Artemis had ever taken. There was something about this Potter, though, a mutual understanding of a code of honour, between protectors alike. He heaved the young man to his feet, then freed his ankles so he could walk. Still, he kept Potter on his better side. Having seen the man move once before made Butler know he stood no chance getting away, especially from such a close range.
Potter's answer was a short, sharp, and precisely to the point. How different he and Artemis were.
"Because there's nothing left for me to do."
The man glanced up from within the cell. His wrists and ankles were chained together with just fifteen links between them. There was just enough for Potter to stand and mince his steps, nothing else. Exactly how he'd intended.
"Ah, Mr. Fowl. Here for an update on the wizarding world?"
Artemis stared down at the man slumped on the floor, and flipped the light switch on. He watched Potter blink owlishly at the sudden brightness. The way he scrounged up his nose, blinkered rapidly- these were all signs that pointed to the fact that he had previously worn eyepieces, and for a long time. If he narrowed his eyes, he could just make out the very faint indentations still left on the bridge of his nose. Then Artemis blinked. He had no time to waste on meandering thoughts like this.
"Since you seem to be so willing to divulge. Tell me then, what ails your world?"
Potter's lips twisted savagely. It seemed like he had hit a sore point on the first try, even– not like that was truly surprising. "What makes you say that?"
Artemis had made it clear that he was not a typical young man, but just being around this wizard seemed to make him want to indulge in banal motions. He rolled his eyes. "Could you not be anymore evident?"
The young man quirked his mouth up guiltily. "Oops." Then he sighed, and flopped back against the cell wall. His green eyes grew distant. "I believed in them for a very long time. I gave them everything I had. And they took it all. I didn't fault them for it, not for a long time." He scrunched his limbs together enough for his hand to rub at the livid scarring on his jaw and neck. The size of the wound and its placement made Artemis wonder how Potter had even survived an attack like that.
"But you do now. What for?"
Potter snorted. "If I went into the details we'd be here all night, and while I'm used to shit conditions like this, I don't think you are, Mr. Fowl. Let's just say they I made a scapegoat whenever the administration needed one and leave it at that, alright?"
"A familiar story," Artemis said, inclining his head politely.
The young man raised his hands palm up as far as he could. "I never claimed to be a writer. In fact I'm horrid. I used to have someone correct my essays in school."
Artemis seized on that. "There is a school, then, for- wizards and witches, then?"
Potter nodded. "You already knew that though. That was site zero for contact. A group of First-Years found you, for Merlin's sake- do you know how creepy you look when you smile like that?"
His words made Artemis feel more smug than chastised. "Yeah," Potter griped, "that one. That creepy vampire smile. And you had to come out of the Forbidden Forest, of all places!"
"To return to the school-"
Potter abruptly narrowed his eyes. "You touch the children there and I will do more than kill you."
Artemis stilled. There was something...different about this man's threats. He supposed he had never been threatened by someone who he had been physically attracted to, not to mention how evident it was that this school was probably the most important thing in Potter's life. Artemis had no doubt that Potter could and would find some way to make real his threat, despite his intelligence, despite even Butler. Magic was, after all, exactly that. Magic.
"I do not attack-" innocents, he wanted to say, but what about Holly? He might not do physical violence against actual sentient beings, but he had time and again been the cause and instigator of such cases. There was nothing he could say that would put Potter at rest- "It is not my intention to target them. At this moment I am merely curious."
Potter turned his head to the side, and he looked young, barely out of school. In this society, he would have just been out of university. How long had he been out of school? Artemis wondered.
"What do you want, Artemis?" the man asked. His voice was subdued and weary.
"I seem to remember this conversation from a few days ago," Artemis replied.
"Yeah, so what? You never gave me an answer." Strangely enough, the other's colloquialism didn't offend him.
"You were right," Artemis admitted. "I have every intention of using them."
Potter didn't turn to look at him. "What is it?" he asked softly.
Potter stayed silent for a moment longer, and then spoke. "I'm just trying to think about what to say. I don't know. Those people- they need change. They need it so badly-" Artemis could almost feel his own teeth ache with the need. "And yet at the same time they'd just die if anything did change. I don't know what to do."
Something he said made him frown. "Why do you try so hard? It makes no sense, given how they appear to treat you."
The other man snorted. "I never said I was smart, either."
Artemis waited for an explanation, causing Potter to sigh. "I've never been received particularly well in this world or in that one, alright? At least there they need me. I'd rather be cannon fodder for a cause than cannon fodder, period."
"Particularly well- why-" the words slipped out before he could help them. To his abject horror, he felt his cheeks heat up in response. Thankfully, though, the other man didn't seem to notice. He didn't know if he was upset or thankful.
"It's an even longer story than the last one," Potter was saying, laughing softly to himself. "It's basically in my résumé to save whoever I come across."
"What if-" Artemis didn't know what he was saying "-what if you did not return?" He didn't stumble and never stammered. Unfortunately, Potter didn't seem to appreciate the anomaly.
"You mean if I die here?" Potter asked, quite obliviously. "They'll probably organise some huge celebrated funeral. And the next week after they'll either send someone out here that will get picked off by your security detail; they won't get anywhere near your butler. Or they might just forget about the whole thing. They're very good at pretending things they can't see don't exist."
"Your government employs a twenty-two-year-old for a super soldier project?" he asked quite unbelievingly. Even in his world, and the world below, such things were highly improbable.
"The word 'employ' holds the implication of a paid salary," Potter drawled.
Artemis shook his head. "I do not understand why," he said again. He was rarely in the habit of repeating himself like this, but the circumstances surrounding this Potter seemed truly incredible.
Potter gave him another one of those trademark lopsided smiles. "I don't, either. The only rationale I can come up with is that I'm no good for anything else."
"Could you not leave them?"
Potter eyed him suspiciously, but the quirk in his lips hadn't left yet. In fact, their indentation seemed to deepen. "Why, Mr. Fowl, are you trying to save me?"
Artemis stiffened at the jest, but the light in Potter's eyes was warm. "I appreciate it, Artemis, I really do. But there isn't anything left for me anywhere else. And you mustn't underestimate them, Artemis. Despite all the close-mindedness, and outdated modes of behaviour, they still possess magic. If what you say is true, then you've seen its effects for yourself firsthand, and magic is-" he waved his bound wrists in a gesture Artemis was used to seeing from a Muggle magician, not a true wizard, "-truly magical."
In the same movement Potter surged to his feet, and the chains were gone. Artemis stared wide-eyed up at him, too dumbstruck to be able to do anything else. He couldn't remember the last time anyone had ever rendered himself such. The wizard never seemed more beautiful and terrible as he stood to his full height, power seeming to warp and ripple about his lean frame like a cloak. "How-" Artemis started. The ritual should have incapacitated the man's magic for at least another month.
"The normal rules don't seem to apply to me, for some reason." Potter's offhand reply seemed to make the situation even more ludicrous. But then the man just sank bank down in the cell as though he'd never been freed, although he did take the liberty of stretching his limbs out this time.
"Och, that's a good feeling. I was getting a muscle cramp there." And then he began to rub at the fresh scarring on his neck, making Artemis frown. If it was bothering the man that badly- he shook his head to clear it. He had no time to be thinking of frivolous things like this!
"Why-" Potter was without the oddest creature he had ever had the opportunity to meet, above or below ground, and Artemis had met some odd characters throughout the years.
Potter grinned at him. "I made a promise to your butler. He's a good man, that one. He'd kill me in a heartbeat if he ever thought I was any threat to you." And then the light died from his eyes, and Artemis found himself missing it. "Realise it, Artemis. Realise how much you mean to him, how much he needs you, how much you empower him without even knowing it. I know you're really independent, and stuff, and you probably don't need him as much as he needs you, but you've got to respect that about the man, at least. His loyalty to you knows no bounds." Was that envy in Potter's too-green eyes?
Artemis sighed. In the face of such indefatigable logic, who was he to contest? "'And stuff' was not the way I would have put it," he murmured, rising to his feet. He took the few brief steps to the bars and laid his palm against a solid black panel. At once it lit up and glowed blue, reading his fingerprints, and then a laser shot out to take a dual retina scan that was inimitable, given how he was in possession of one fairy retina and one human one. Although his dungeons appeared every bit as old as the fourteenth century castle he lived in, Artemis had added a few...upgrades over the years. Finally a tinny mechanical voice bipped, "Voice-password confirmation required."
He said one word in Gnommish, that was, oddly enough, one of the hardest to pronounce on a human tongue. "Release."
The door swung open immediately. He looked down at Potter, the image unhampered by bars for the first time in a week. The man's eyes were wide and shocked. "Wuh-what are you doing?" he stuttered, rather needlessly, Artemis felt. His hand did drop from his neck, though, and Artemis felt all the more smug for it.
"Isn't it obvious?" he asked right back. "You haven't been given the grand tour." In what he thought was a rather brave manoeuvre, he held his hand out to Potter to aid him to his feet.
The wizard stared at the limb, gleaming pale and colourless in the dark, for such a long time that Artemis feared, for the first time in an even longer time, rejection. The wait was just as excruciating as he last remembered, more than two decades ago, before he'd come to the realisation that his intelligence meant that he had to be very, very alone.
However, when Potter extended his own hand and grasp it, it made Artemis wonder if joy felt something akin to this. Potter's palm was dry and rough, the fingers thicker and more solid than his own pianist's digits. On his feet, Potter was barely an inch shorter, but Artemis never remembered seeing a smile that wide on his own face. It looked like a slash of vivid white that threatened to split the wizard's face in half.
"Glad to take you up on that."
There was a Sig Sauer waiting for them when they turned the corner.
"Step away from him, now." Butler was actually a little disappointed in his principal. He would have thought Artemis would have known better by now, although it was also an oversight on his part for him to have let him go down to the dungeons alone.
"Butler, it's al-"
Potter was already backing away, hands held up. "Mr. Butler-"
Artemis sighed in exasperation. "Butler, I unlocked the bars myself. Not even Juliet has access to them, just both of us. I would think that I have enough sense to know that I am under some kind of wizard-inspired Mesmer."
The huge bodyguard slowly lowered his gun, although he was clearly still on his guard. Potter smiled a little. "You still have my wand, don't you?"
Artemis rolled his eyes. "Given that display of yours downstairs, your wand strikes me as an option, not a necessity."
The other man scratched his head. "Good point. Well, for most people they're pretty necessary. I told you, I'm just a little odd like that."
"You are certainly the one for understatement."
Butler looked piercingly between the two young men. There was a camaraderie between them that hadn't been there, a sort of understanding similar to the understanding he thought he'd had with Potter, and apparently still did.
The young man shunted his hands into his pockets, grinning. "Artemis's just giving me the grand tour. Care to join us, Mr. Butler?"
"His name actually is Butler," Artemis informed him. Impossibly green eyes widened.
"Wow. That's some career commitment. I've never thrown any clay at all. Unless it counts if you throw it at people."
Artemis was rolling his eyes again, but he couldn't quite hide the glimmer of amusement in his heterochromatic eyes. Butler had been trained to notice things like this. It looked like if Artemis had anything to say about it, Potter might just become a regular fixture in the Fowl household. It would be interesting, of course, to hear what his principal's parents had to say about this, but knowing Artemis, it wasn't like he would listen anyway. Artemis the First and Angeline Fowl were usually away on their sixth or so re-discovery honeymoon, while the twins were off on a skiing trip in the Alps, and Marilyn, the littlest Fowl, was busy at a boarding school in France, leaving Artemis the full run of the keep.
"Butler, I am sure you will join us regardless of my opinion. If we could continue?"
His principal's lilting voice phrased it as a question, but if that wasn't an order, the bodyguard didn't know what was. Judging by the half-hidden smile on Potter's face, the man recognised it as well.
It seemed like Butler's initial feeling about Potter was right. They would get along well.
There are a half-dozen other projects I should be working on right now, but I really wanted to post this (o: Do review!