by Incendiarist

Artemis had always acted as his shield, whether he knew it or not. He had been the cushion that separated him from reality. Harsh, uncaring reality.

When Artemis broke, the walls that trapped him deteriorated. He was in the real world. And he had no idea what to do. He had been in Artemis' head so long, let fantasy and reality intermingle, that he had no real understanding of how things really happened. Maybe he didn't know what sorrow was. Maybe he thought that being dead doesn't mean you can't come back. But whatever it was, it was destroying him. He couldn't survive without a shield.

He knew that Artemis loved the elven captain, though he would never admit it to anyone else. Orion prided himself in that.

He didn't feel the same way, not really. Maybe he did at first, when he was in the backseat, but in the real world, he knew how important Artemis was to him, and he was unwilling to let him go.

He never said any such thing. He acted like a character from one of those fantasy novels. He did so, not because he didn't know he shouldn't, that people didn't talk like that, but because he knew it would test the captain's patience. Low, yes. But necessary all the same.

He let her know that Artemis loved her, trying to scare her away from him. If it had only worked, maybe things would have turned out differently. But when Artemis regained control, he told her that Orion didn't mean what he said. That he was delusional.

He ignored him.

Orion hated that. He wanted Artemis to care, to reciprocate. To do something, anything for him. But Artemis just went on like he wasn't there, until he needed a pawn to play in his chessmaster's game; controlling people and their actions, simply because he knew them.

Orion resented him for that, but he didn't let it show. He locked himself in his fantasy world, where Foaly was a noble steed, Holly a princess, and he a boy with a secret birthmark, one that would prove him to be the long-lost prince of some faraway kingdom.

Internally, he scoffed. How they could believe he, Fowl at heart, really think such ridiculous things? They treated him like a idiot. Never gave him a second thought.

When Artemis recovered from the Atlantis Complex, Orion's place in reality was forever lost. He found himself grateful for that. Artemis was his shield again. He was safe within the confines of his mind. Artemis may never have reciprocated the feelings towards his alter; in fact, he tried very hard to pretend that Orion was not there. But that was comforting, in its own odd way. Things were back to normal again, he supposed. You couldn't have everything. At least he still had his fantasies, and in them, he could imagine that things had been different, and that Artemis had succumbed to reciprocation.