Written a few weeks ago, and posted now because I needed a break from NaNoWriMo.

Warning: Contains suicidal thoughts, character death, suicide, swearing, and pixie!Opal, all wrapped up with a pretty little bow.

Beta: Wintra

Song: Ungodly Hour, by The Fray

Edit; 17-12-10. Fixed some of the punctuation.

Breaking Point

by Incendiarist

"Be strong."

The last words her mother would ever say.

The sensors flat-line, urgent beeping coming from the small machine. But she hardly hears it, a whisper in the deafening silence.

She is barely seventy; no one should have to endure so much death at this young age, though the Fates don't seem to care.

Her father is a decade gone, and now her mother as well. What can she have possibly done to deserve the pain? Are the gods really so cruel? Do they want her to break?

And if they do, will she give them the pleasure of seeing it?

She throws her arms around the frail form that is the remains of Coral Short, her skin having been all but eaten away by the poison. The Mud Men's poison.

Sobbing, she decides. Perhaps she will.

The world won't fall without her, will it?

Even the thought is ridiculous. Of course it won't.

At the funeral, she tries hard to keep her composure; tries to console herself with the fact that her mother died for the People, for her. All the while, one thing is keeping her from breaking then and there: the omnitool she holds. A gift from her mother for graduating from the LEP academy.

She chokes back a sob as the remains are recycled. Her mother's legacy is reduced to this. Mulch. Sustenance for someone's flowers soon enough. She only hopes that they will not be anemone. Hope should never be allowed to vanish.

She is disoriented while the LEPmarine commander gives her the medal, her thoughts a sea of emotions, overwhelming her.

When the last have finished giving her their apologies - for what, exactly, Frond knows - she leaves.

Barely two hours later, she is above ground, sitting with her back against one of the ancient oaks necessary for the Ritual.

The Ritual isn't what she is planning to complete here, though.

She has nothing to live for anymore. No one to live for.

She slides the knife attachment out from the omnitool.

She has the blade poised above her wrist.

And she hesitates.

What her mother said is unnerving. Coral wouldn't want her daughter to give up her life. Not at all. How can she go through with it, knowing that it would break her mother's heart?

She puts down the knife, and reduces to sobs.

Running out of tears, she decides what she will do.

She will destroy the Mud Men. Their toxins killed her mother, and she was going to make them pay.

"No!" her mother rebukes. "I spent my career saving creatures. You must do the same. Destruction cannot be my legacy."

She's right, thinks Holly. Her legacy didn't die with her. Now it's my legacy. And it sure as hell isn't diminishing hope. And then: I think I've gone Section Eight...

She returns to Haven.

And in ten years, she comes back to this tree. This time, though, she comes to complete the Ritual.

And is kidnapped by none other than Artemis Fowl.

They form some sort of friendship - maybe a little more than that, even - through impossible circumstances and experiences.

When Commander Root dies; though she mourns his death, she realizes that she isn't alone anymore. She has someone to live for. And that person is Artemis.

But nothing can last forever.

Artemis never makes it to his sixteenth birthday.

And Opal Koboi is responsible.

Holly had been completing the Ritual, and Artemis had come along. He had been doing things like that often lately. The Atlantis Complex had changed him. He was kinder. He didn't lie unless it was absolutely necessary. And he was a better friend.

Until the damned pixie had shot him with a human gun.

Apparently healing doesn't work when half of your brain isn't in your skull any more.

There is a funeral a week later, but Holly isn't in the crowd of mourners, human or otherwise.

She is being buried with Artemis.

By the time she realized that trying to save him was pointless, Koboi had gotten away.

Holly's best friend had died. And he was the only thing she had to live for.

She had completed her mission; continued her mother's legacy. She even learned to love a Mud Man.

Coral would be proud.

She had been strong, but everyone has their breaking point. And she had reached hers.