A/N:

I'm back. I'm not dead!

I know it has been forever since I last updated but I managed to squeeze the making of this chapter in my schedule. To the majority who didn't know, I'm busy at school so I had a lot of trouble updating.

And I just had my laptop fixed so that I can type again.

Also, thank you to all the readers who still left some reviews and favorite and followed this story even though it seemed inactive. Don't you worry I will see this story until the end. Count on that.

So, a recap, if you may,

From the previous chapter:

Temmy and the gang (Artemis II, Holly, Minerva & Cerise) were whisked away back in the time when Artemis and Holly were held captive inside the Temple of Artemis (the goddess) exhibit in Haven (book 4: the opal deception). There they (Cerise, Holly and Temmy) battled with Pandora, Opal's little girl. While the three were busy defending themselves from Pandora, who seems so keen in attacking them, the trolls that inhabited the area managed to catch their scent (that lady-troll-in-heat-extract thingy that was sprayed on Artemis and Holly) and went to attack them. So there was a chase and Pandora lost consciousness along the way when she hit a stone pillar, curtsey of Temmy, thus allowing the group to bring her back in their time for questioning.

And so, here we are and the chapter begins

-juniperfalcon17.

-o-o-o-0-o-o-o-

Artemis Fowl II sat unmoving in his chair with his head resting on the tip of his fingers as his arms were propped up on the each side of the chair; his mismatched eyes stared blankly at the tall wide windows before him. Though it was already quarter to ten in the evening, the glow of the radiant full moon that bathed the silent world below made it possible for anyone to see the snow covered lands of the Fowl estate. However, though the scene outside may be quite remarkable, the young Irish genius was paying little attention to it. He even didn't seem to be fazed by his unnatural appearance because instead of wearing his usual formal suits, he was donning a dark green long sleeve polo with its two top buttons open, half of its hem was tucked out and its sleeves rolled up until it almost reached his elbows and a now loosely tied red necktie; his jet black hair was in a unnatural mess. The reason for this is because of the family dinner that ended a few hours ago and an eventful dinner it was. As the other occupants of the manor retreated to their own rooms to retire early for the night, the young Irish genius, on the other hand, went straight to his study to think; his mind reliving what has transpired earlier that day

Knock…knock…knock…

-o-o-0-o-o-

(FLASHBACK)

Luckily, they didn't run into Artemis's parents. However, a certain Eurasian bodyguard isn't at all pleased when he found them and given everyone's current state, Butler had a very good reason to be. And so, after telling the huge guard what had happened and assured him that they were all fine - well, except for Minerva who was complaining about the smell that seemed to have clung to her - Butler was instructed to put the still unconscious Pandora in one of the manor's confinement rooms (a.k.a. the room where Artemis placed Holly before) while the huge guard instructed them to get cleaned up and get some rest before anyone else sees them.

Blame it on the exhaustion but the moment Artemis's back hit the soft bed after a relaxing shower, he immediately fell asleep. He woke up late in the afternoon and immediately checked on Butler to see how the situation is but since the huge guard is currently out with Artemis Sr. on a town trip, the Irish genius turned to Juliet.

From what he had gathered from the female guard, Pandora is still lying unconscious thus giving them no choice but to wait until she wakes up to start interrogating her, Temmy is still fast asleep, Cerise is training at the dojo and Minerva haven't left her room since returning. Holly, on the other hand, was with Angeline Fowl somewhere in the manor. For some reason, Artemis wasn't at ease with that idea.

Of course, the moment the twins found out that their big brother is awake, they immediately dragged him along with them in their world of play without giving Artemis any room to argue and object.

Since it was snowing outside, he can't take them horseback riding and he flatly refused in participating in any of the games the twins presented. So, to pass the time till someone notices Artemis's predicament and pick the twins up from his care, the brothers settled themselves in the library. However, before Artemis could suggest that they should make most of their time there by actually studying something new, the twins insisted that they want to finger paint; not really wanting to argue anymore, Artemis relented. At first Artemis was determined to just sit it out and watch them but the twins seem to notice this so they kept on pestering him until the young Irish genius finally agreed.

And so, there he was, on the floor - finger painting.

"Look Arty. I drew a turtle," Beckett Fowl exclaimed enthusiastically as he proudly held up paper with both hands.

Artemis tore his gaze from the blue macaw he was painting to see what his younger brother just held for him to see but instead of a drawn image of a turtle - or any associated parts of a turtle, for that matter - all he saw was a large splotch of green paint at the center of the paper. The young genius then looked at his brother's beaming face; the young boy was expecting a reaction from him.

'Wonderful,' he thought sarcastically.

Fortunately, he was saved from giving judgment for the said art work.

"It doesn't look like a turtle to me," Myles Fowl answered all Artemis like, who was now looking up from the rather nice picture of Professor Primate he was painting.

'Not unless it got run over by a bulldozer.' Artemis added in his mind as wiped his hands with a cloth.

Beckett pouted immediately, "Does too."

"Does not," Myles countered back, "It looks like a blotch of green paint."

"It's a turtle,"

"How did that become a turtle?"

"It's just is." Beckett retorted back, voice on the same level as his brother as he held the paper closer to his twin, "Can't you see its head?"

Myles face was impassive, "It's a big blotch of green paint simpleton."

And somewhere along the argument, the twins started throwing paint at each other with Beckett being the most likely one to make the first move. In his attempt to intervene and stop the ruckus before they made mess that would certainly not please their father, Artemis got caught up in the fight as well and became the receiving end of the colorful projectiles.

"Stop this ridiculousness this instant." He said, in his best authoritative tone. Artemis was rewarded with a desired effect for his brothers stopped the moment they heard the sudden change and sternness in his tone, "You two know better than to act like that."

Both boys looked down before giving him the apologetic puppy eyes to ease in an attempt to somewhat placate him. However, Artemis seemed unfazed as he continued, "Beckett, you are never to throw paint on your brother again, understood?"

"But he started it." Beckett protested, pointing a stubby finger at his twin.

"Regardless of who started it," Artemis answered, taking a deep breath in to compose himself and check his temper, "And Myles, how many times must I repeat myself, do not call your brother a simpleton. No buts. Do I make myself clear?"

"Yes, Arty." The twins said in perfect unison.

"But it does look like a turtle, right Arty?" Beckett asked meekly.

And now, he was placed in a deep predicament. He knew for a fact that he can't have favorites between his brothers so when being asked (usually from the twins themselves), he would just answer truthfully that he can't have favorites and that he liked both of them on a same scale. However, that didn't stop his younger brothers from competing for his attention.

Disregarding the fact that he had a rather bitter childhood and a cold upbringing, Artemis believed that it would be better for the twins to see and act ahead of their years in a young age. Of course, he doesn't want them to experience what he had experienced but at some point, sooner or later, they would have to realize their social standing. Being who they are, the Fowls have gained so many enemies and competitors that some of them would even go as far as public criticisms and insults in an attempt to get under their skin; he had a lot of experience with that as a child and he couldn't bear the thought of his brothers being laughed at or ridiculed for something they have absolutely no clue about. True, it was still early to be thinking of that but it never hurts to guide them along; dropping subtle hints as they come.

"Well, on my opinion, it doesn't look like a turtle physically," Artemis answered, "But if you view it in a psychological sense, it might look like one."

"Throwing paint is fun," Beckett suddenly commented with a wide grin on his face, turning to face his twin.

Myles met his brother's gaze and grinned as well, nodding his head in agreement. "Yes, it was very entertaining,"

"Well, as entertaining as it seems, you have created quite a mess," Artemis responded with a light scowl, an expression that slowly melted once he saw the wide grins still present in their faces.

'That can't be good,' Artemis thought, he can tell the twins are planning something that will involve him entirely.

"Let's make Arty look like an Indian..." Beckett told his twin, then his expression turned into a clearly delighted one, "...or we can make him look like a clown,"

"I like the Indian better, it matches his seriousness." Myles answered in a matter-of-fact tone.

Artemis shot his brothers a warning look, "Don't you even dare,"

However, the threat fell on deaf ears as both boys started making their way to the table where they left the recently remembered paint. Beckett had already plunged his hand into the small bucket when the library doors swung open and in came Angeline Fowl, with all her grace and poise that rivaled those of noble blood. Artemis could help but breathe out a sigh of relief as he strained himself up to look at least presentable to his mother.

A suppressed laugh caught Artemis's ears and his eyes immediately shifted to the figure trailing not far behind his mother. There walking towards them with a smile, wearing one of his mother's dresses back when she was still a maiden, was no other than Holly Short. Being in her human form, thanks to Foaly's invention, the dress complimented her very well. Her hair was styled in a loose braid, the workmanship of one Juliet Butler.

"Goodness, what happened here?" Angeline asked immediately at the sight of his paint encrusted sons. As expected, the twins immediately went over to their mother's side to tell her what they were doing all hyperactively that Artemis just kept his distance and watched them.

However, that didn't stop Holly from looking seconds away from rolling on the floor laughing. Artemis had a feeling that if Angeline wasn't there, she would have done that the moment she laid her eyes on him. For some reason, Artemis felt self-conscious; involuntarily wiping what he felt was a blob of paint sliding down the side of his head - of course, he was not mistaken.

"...we're trying to make Arty look like an Indian," was the last thing Artemis heard from the story Myles told their mother.

"Or a clown," Beckett interjected happily, "Which do you think is better mum?"

Angeline laughed and pinched the twin's cheeks lovingly, "I think you should stop tormenting your brother and get yourself cleaned up before that paint dries off. We are having tea in a few hours."

Upon hearing that, Artemis can't help but breath out a mental sigh of relief. For a moment, he thought their mother was going to encourage the two with their idea. A giggle escaped Holly lips by which she tried to hide it as a cough when Artemis shot her a look. Fortunately, the exchange was unnoticed by the Fowl matriarch for she has her full attention on the twins' disturbing messy appearance as she started ushering the twins towards the door.

"You should get yourself cleaned too, Arty." Angeline called back once the twins were out of the room, "I expect you to show up at tea later on and I won't accept any excuses."

And with that she was gone, leaving him with only Holly for company. To somewhat ease the growing uneasiness and ridiculousness he was feeling at the moment, Artemis busied himself with cleaning what his brothers left off. However, knowing that a certain female elf behind him was watching his every move with unmasked amusement is not helping him at all.

"You seem to have something to say," Artemis said as he began stacking the books the twins took for no apparent reason. Even with his back facing her, he could tell that she was holding back the laughter that was threatening to burst out.

"How can you tell?" she asked rather defensively.

Artemis mentally sighed and had to resist rolling his eyes at her attempt to stay innocent so instead he just resorted in placing the books he collected on the nearest table; giving himself a mental note to place them back to their respective shelves when he had some free time later.

Then he proceeded in gathering the scattered papers, "I just can,"

At this Holly laughed, Artemis mentally rolled his eyes as he crumpled the not needed papers in his hand as he inspected the damage the twins bestowed upon his beloved suit. Much to his dismay, most of it was still repairable but it will leave a stain on the left shoulder of the said clothing.

"Sorry. I couldn't help it. It's just too precious. Imagine the great Artemis Fowl II," she said, trying to stop her giggles but failed, "If only Foaly could see this,"

"Which I'm glad he can't," Artemis answered, then he sighed as he shook his head as he eyed the carpet, "This will probably leave a huge a stain if it's not cleaned immediately and father is not going to like this one bit,"

As he was saying this, he walked over to a chair to drape his ruined suit with a decision that he will just have to throw it away if the stain didn't come off. However, in doing so, he failed to notice that Holly came closer to him as well. Without any hesitation, Holly reached out for the sleeve of his suit and very gently, she wiped the remaining paint off Artemis' face; subconsciously leaning in and standing on her toes to get a better look if she cleaned it or not. As Holly may not seem to be aware or concerned at how close their faces are from one another, Artemis, on the other hand is fully aware of it. The closeness was already making his insides twist and flip uneasily.

"I can't take you seriously with such a mess on your face," she said when she finished her work.

"Thank you Holly," Artemis managed to say, thanking whatever deity above him that he sounded confident as if nothing happened. For sure, Holly will not live it down when he stuttered and made a fool of himself so to rid himself of that awkward moment, the young Irish youth busied himself with picking up the paint tubes on the floor.

"I never thought you'd be good with children," Holly said as she leaned on the table and continued to watch him.

"I'm not," Artemis answered quickly, without even a glance.

"You're good with the twins," Holly countered

"They're my brothers," Artemis deadpanned, finally picking up the last of the paint tubes and placed them on the table near the compiled books.

Holly tilted her head slightly to the side with a fond smile, "So? What's the difference? They are still kids,"

Artemis was about to answer when someone knocked on the huge wooden door of the library. However, before either of the occupants could move, the door swung open and a casually dressed Minerva entered the room. Upon seeing the two, though she was slightly baffled by the messy looking Artemis, she immediately stopped on her tracks.

"Oh, I'm sorry to interrupt. I hope I didn't come on a bad time," the blonde French girl said then immediately she directed her gaze to Holly, "Can I have a moment alone with Artemis for a while? There is something I want to talk to him about,"

Holly looked at the two for a moment, eyeing the situation before giving a shrug and straightens herself up from her position on the table, "Sure go ahead,"

"Thank you," Minerva said cheerfully with smile to match. However, Holly can sense that she was masking that cheerful façade she put up in front of them and if she can sense it, Artemis could have sensed it as well.

'Humans are such dramatic creatures,' Holly thought as she walked towards the door. "I'll be with Juliet if you need me,"

And with that she left, gently closing the door behind her in the process. For a moment, the two geniuses looked at the wooden door as if they were expecting someone to come rushing in to take something from the room but after two more blinks from both geniuses and still none came, Minerva took it as a cue to speak; turning her head towards the only occupant in the room.

"I really hope I didn't interrupt something important," she said rather sheepishly.

"No, you didn't," Artemis answered truthfully, "What is it that you want to talk about?"

Minerva muttered something that Artemis failed to decipher for she didn't move her lips much and then she smiled sadly before looking up to meet the Irish genius's eyes, "I'm heading back to France tonight,"

Artemis looked at the girl for moment, studying her carefully for any hints as to what is going on inside her mind. He knew based on experience that one cannot really tell what is going on inside a girl's mind and honestly, he wasn't keen on finding out either but the situation, however, is a different case. The French girl wasn't supposed to return to her home country until the family's New Year celebration is over and given the situations at hand, Artemis could easily narrow down the reasons that lead to the sudden decision. The Irish genius opened his mouth to speak but Minerva held up a hand to silence him, that sad smile still lingered on her lips.

"Don't worry. It has nothing to do with what is happening right now," she said. Artemis's eyebrows slightly met together and when he was about to say something, he was interrupted yet again by the French girl as she continued to talk, "And no, it has nothing to do with you rejecting my feelings,"

Artemis grimaced after a few moments of silence, "Am I that predictable now?"

At this Minerva giggled, "No. You are still unreadable as always but you seem to forget that I am a genius as well. I have my guesses. As it turns out, they were correct,"

"Minerva, about the - "

"Stop," Minerva said calmly as she placed a dainty finger over his lips to keep him from interrupting, "I already had a premonition of your answer. Even so, I foolishly held on the hope that the might be a chance that you might return my feelings. I told myself that I would respect and accept your answer, whatever it may be, but still rejection hurts. I think even prodigies like us can't be prepared for that."

Minerva smiled sadly after saying that. Then she sighed, "But that is not what I came here for,"

Since the French girl still had a finger placed over his lips, Artemis just gave her a questioning look, urging the girl to continue, and so she did; removing the finger that kept the Irish genius silent for a while.

"My mother is back. Father called me earlier to inform me that. He claimed that she insisted on discussing something important to us, to our family. That is the reason why I'm heading back." Minerva said, her voice devoid of any emotion; like she just recited a statement from an extremely boring book.

Silence.

Artemis knew the story behind the Paradizo family that the general public doesn't know. He also knew the distain and anger the Minerva harbored towards her mother. Therefore, hearing that she had decided to go and mingle with her mother must not have been an easy decision for her.

"I see. I'm sorry for jumping into conclusions," Artemis answered. However, the Fresh girl didn't give any answer; she just avoided his gaze, "Perhaps be she has changed these pass years and realized what she did,"

"Perhaps. Perhaps not," Minerva answered spitefully then she sighed and shook her head, "I guess I will just have to find out later,"

"I'm glad you're giving her the opportunity to explain herself," Artemis said, sounding genuine enough as a ghost of a smile appeared on his lips.

The effect of his action must have influenced Minerva for she smiled as well, a real smile, "Staying here and be a part of your wild adventures taught me something important. Actually, it was your son who made me consider thinking about it,"

"Temmy?" Artemis' eyebrows shot up

Minerva nodded. Then once again the sad smile reappeared and made itself known, "You have a wonderful future ahead of you Artemis. Putting danger aside, you have love, happiness and contentment; many would kill to have those."

At the Artemis allowed a real smile to grace his features, "I know."

Again a moment of silence filled the room. But unlike the first, it was rather comfortable, just like before the whole event started.

"Have you told her how you feel?" she asked him.

The question caught the Artemis off guard and it actually took a few moments before he answered, "No. Not yet. A lot has happened lately and for some reason we always tend to try and avoid talking about such matter. Blame it on awkwardness, I guess."

"You are afraid something will happen," Minerva said, stating the obvious.

Artemis didn't answer for a while. Instead he walked towards the window and stared outside; feeling the calculating eyes of the French genius who was standing silently not far behind him. The reflection on the window gave a vague view of the apathetic expression he displayed.

"You're going to save them Artemis. Don't worry. Just do what you feel is right. The future is not written on stone," Minerva added, in a slightly hesitant tone.

Artemis knew that Minerva was feeling uneasy; he could see it in her eyes. However, he didn't do anything to acknowledge what she said. The longer the silence dragged on, the more uneasy she felt and tense the atmosphere became. On his defense, he took this time to recollect and reflect on his thoughts; managing to gain control of his conflicted emotions and judgments. After what felt like hours, Artemis finally spoke.

"Doing what I feel is right is not always the best choice for me," he began. Minerva was about to open her mouth to argue when Artemis spoke once again, now turning to face the French girl, "But that's what friends and families are for; to guide you to the right footpath…as I have been told. I believe that's also the reason why Temmy is here,"

At that Minerva smiled in agreement and the room fell into a comfortable silence once again. A girlish giggle broke through the silent room and Artemis had a badgering suspicion to what caused such action. Now that the matter has been discussed, Minerva's attention was diverted elsewhere; namely his disheveled paint splattered appearance. The French genius covered her mouth with her hand in a delicate manner, attempting to stifle her amusement but failing miserably.

Artemis sighed. "I look ridiculous, don't I?"

"You should probably wash that off before it dries," Minerva suggested, smiling, "Your brothers must be quite a handful. More than they perceive to be,"

"Oh, you have no idea," Artemis deadpanned making Minerva giggle some more.

"I know the feeling. Beau is quite the same on some instances and I'm thankful there is only one of him," she told him. Artemis looked at her, and then he looked away and smirked as if he was recalling an amusing memory of Holly saying something about the young boy causing the French girl to frown and ask, "What?"

"Nothing,"

Minerva eyed him suspiciously but didn't press the matter anymore. Instead she asked, "Do you mind if I stay here for a moment?"

"No. Go ahead. I don't mind," Artemis answered almost automatically.

"Good. Now off you go and get yourself washed before that paint really dries off," Minerva ordered, waving one hand as if shooing him away. Artemis raised an eyebrow at her but obeyed anyway. He was already a few steps to the door when Minerva called his attention once again.

Artemis immediately turned around to face her, "Yes?"

Minerva then smiled, the genuineness of it shone and reflected in her eyes, "Thank you for everything,"

-o-o-0-o-o-

Knock…knock…knock…

At the sound of the study door being opened, Artemis immediately spun his chair around to face the door just in time to see a certain female elf walk in clutching a worn out copy of The Treasure Island close to her chest. The moment the two made eye contact Holly paused for a bit, as if she was stunned to see him there - which was probably the case.

"Good evening, Holly." Artemis greeted. Finally regaining her composure, Holly closed the door behind her.

"I thought no one is here. You didn't answer when I knocked," She stated after sliding the book she was holding back on a gap between some random books on a nearby shelf. Once that was done, she walked closer to him but as she did so, her facial expression changed into that of concern. As soon as she was near enough she immediately asked, "What's wrong Artemis?"

"I'm fine," Artemis answered, acting indifferent, "I was just thinking,"

"Well, it must be really something important since you decided to ignore whoever it was that was knocking on your door." Holly pointed out, raising an eyebrow to show him that she didn't buy his excuse.

However, instead of answering or defending himself from what Holly just stated Artemis evaded the topic all together and just eyed the general direction where the elf placed the book back on its shelf. Holly subconsciously followed his gaze as well.

"Story time?" Artemis inquired, his tone laced with genuine interest Holly looked back at the Irish genius for a while before sighing in defeat. Typical Artemis Fowl II; if he wanted you to know what he is thinking, he'd say it to you freely, no prying or questions required.

"Your brothers are quite persuasive with those eyes, believe it or not. Now I understand how they manage to make submit to their will," Holly answered, sitting herself on the arm of one of the armchairs of the room; crossing her arms and legs as she did so.

Artemis gave a nonchalant shrug, "It's a family gift,"

"Them I can believe, but you?" Holly retorted, a mocking disbelief evident on her face, "I can hardly imagine you, of all people, using such method to make others submit to your bidding. It must a sight to behold,"

"Oh, you'd be surprised," Artemis assured smugly.

"Oh I will be, that's for sure." Holly countered, determination flashed across her still hazel eyes, "So, care to share what has been bothering the great Artemis Fowl II a while ago that he practically spaced out,"

Artemis relented, "You are not going to let this slide, are you?"

"Not a chance, Mudboy." Holly answered stubbornly.

Artemis looked at her for a moment before turning away again; his mind brought him to a memory that afternoon, back to the moment when Minerva was picked up by a helicopter her father had just purchased to take her back to France.

The Fowl family, minus the twins, went to see her off at the vast back-lands of the Fowl estate. Minerva shook Artemis Sr.'s hand politely, thanking the Fowl patriarch for allowing her to stay in their manor to which the latter replied that it was nothing and that she was welcome to visit anytime. Next, the French girl shook Angeline's hand then she gave her a warm hug; very much like what a mother and daughter would share. After expressing her gratitude and assuring the Fowl matriarch that she would come for a visit someday, Minerva turned her attention to Artemis II. At first they just looked at each other then it was Artemis who first made the move; holding out his hand for her to shake. Minerva looked at his hand for moment before shaking it, a smile gracing her beautiful face. Then she did something very much unexpected, she kissed him on both cheeks; as was the French tradition. Even with that action, the message she conveyed was clear; they were just friends. The parting between the two were mostly composed of promises and claims to best the other in any known field except sports and the culinary arts. Just when the French genius was about to board the helicopter, she turned around and mouthed these words to him: Tell her now. Then she gave a melancholic smile, though the intensity was not enough to impose guilt, before turning around.

Artemis mentally sighed as he stepped out of that sudden memory.

How could such small words hold so much weight?

Artemis felt his chair being turned to the side and in an instant he found himself staring at Holly's eyes that seem to glimmer with so many mix emotions that he didn't bother to decipher at that moment; he didn't even bother to look away.

Even in her human form, Artemis can't deny that she is beautiful.

He tried to think back and remember that fated day when he started seeing her in that light; the day when he saw her more than just a friend and a companion. However, the longer he tried to think back, the more he realized that it didn't really matter. If he was being honest with himself, he'd say that from the very start, he had always liked her, interested in her, since they day he kidnapped her. He has grown attached to her more than he became aware of; having been through much must have nourished whatever emotion and feelings he tried to bury and hide inside him.

"Artemis? You don't seem like yourself. Tell me what's wrong?" Holly asked in genuine worry, concern flashing across those hazel eyes that Artemis couldn't help but stare.

However, the longer he stared the more he seemed to become enamored by it. Those alluring captivating hazel eyes that saw too much sadness and fear yet found a way to see things optimistically. Those eyes that held so much anger and hate and yet those are the same eyes that showed so much affection and forgiveness.

Holly held his left cheek, worry still present, "Artemis, what's wrong? Tell me,"

But instead of answering, Artemis subconsciously closed his eyes as he leaned on Holly's warm hand; a soft smile forming across his lips.

There was no denying it anymore. He can't ignore the truth anymore, not when he finally understood all of the uncertain emotions he had been feeling:

The sudden uneasiness he felt whenever she would look at him with those intense hazel eyes.

The sudden awareness he felt whenever she was in the same place as him.

The sudden jealousy he felt (and denied at some point) whenever he heard of a certain commander interacting with her.

The sudden protectiveness he felt, despite his limited physical capabilities, whenever he sees her getting hurt.

The sudden pain he felt inside his heart whenever he sees her helpless and injured.

The sudden rush relief he felt whenever he saw that she was safe and out of harm's way.

The sudden fondness he felt every time he saw her smile.

The sudden care he felt at each touch.

The sudden comfort he felt, knowing that she was there with him.

All those emotions, the so many emotions that seemed indescribable before, all of them seemed so clear now.

He loves her.

He truly loves her.

"Nothing is wrong Holly," Artemis answered, his voice almost like a whisper but the quietness of the room and the night made those words known. Without opening his eyes, he reached up to his face and placed his hand on top of Holly's hand.

Artemis gave a mental melancholic sigh. He loves her and yet a part of him is preventing himself from telling her that. He was too afraid, though he won't admit it out loud, of what would happen if he uttered those words to her; those short words that would either pull her close to him or push her farther away. Yet, even so, even with the risk of shaking their already unsteady connection, he was willing to take a step forward.

"Artemis, you're acting weird." Holly stated.

"I feel weird," Artemis answered truthfully. He could sense the worry and confusion that reflected in Holly's eyes doubled in intensity at that answer, "I feel that I can't breathe, my heart is beating really past and my thoughts are in disarray."

A hand immediately shot up and set itself on Artemis forehead; her eyebrows automatically meeting in obvious confusion when she realized that there is nothing wrong with his temperature.

"I just realized something," Artemis declared suddenly

Artemis pursed his lips as he brought Holly's hand down from his face but didn't let it go; his mismatched eyes meeting her hazel ones. Holly's eyebrows met in bewilderment, meeting the genius' gaze as if looking for some clues to what he is thinking.

If anything, Holly became more confused, "Realized what?"

"I've never acknowledge it before in fear that I might lose the one person who understood me better than anyone. The person who always stood by my side when it matters the most," Artemis continued, as if not hearing her. A small hint of recognition flashed across the elf's hazel eyes, and that alone gave the Irish genius the signal to go on and continue, "I'm not a romantic or anything close to it. I grew up as an indifferent and cold person. However, I know what I am feeling. It's something that I have been ignoring for a very long time now. I'm not going to say anything poetic or some cliche lines to express what I am feeling right now. I don't think I can express it clearly, even if I tried, to be quite honest."

"Artemis, what are you talking about?"

'That is a very good question,' the Irish genius thought to himself.

Tell her now, Minerva had instructed him but it was easier said than done. Artemis had to mentally laugh at his predicament; who knew figuring and sorting out one's emotions would be more mind boggling than figuring out the correct solution in an advanced physics formula.

However, a Fowl doesn't back down; stubbornness, even in the most inappropriate situations, is clearly a dominant trait.

"Artemis -"

"The future is not set on stone; I would do all I can to have that future where we can live together, along with everyone. I want that future Holly," Artemis confessed in genuine sincerity and warmth, those mismatched eyes that seemed impossible of holding such an affectionate gaze were staring at her hazel ones. "I love you and I couldn't imagine the future without you,"

Holly stared at the Irish genius in complete shock, her face flustered with the sudden revelation from the person in front of him. At first she didn't say anything; she just stood there staring at his; her eyes staring into his very soul if it were possible. Then, her eyes widen in realization, the weight of what was uttered finally got to her. On impulse she bit her lip before looking down.

Artemis felt his heart drop to what seems like a never ending pit in his stomach as his blood run cold. Subconsciously he gripped her hands tight in fear that she would start to disappear, much like what he imagined to be. He had taken the risk, now he just have to face its consequence, whether it was in his favor or not.

"Holly," he managed to whisper but to his surprise his own voice sounded broken and distant.

Upon hearing her name, the female elf looked at him immediately; revealing her the tears that were threatening to pool out at any moment. Artemis blinked in mild surprise; he knew that elves are emotional creatures but he didn't expect them to be like this.

"Holly, why - "

"I…I love you too, Arty. More than you think you do," Holly blurted out, the tears she was trying to hold back ran down her cheeks freely.

And that did it.

Without a word, Artemis reached out and pulled her close to him in a tight embrace as if she would disappear immediately if he let her go. Artemis took a deep breath, smelling the fragrance of her hair; that unexplainable rush of relief washed over him like the rain after a drought. She accepted, she felt the same and that's all what he needs to know.

Holly let out a giggle, "I finally managed to say it. I love you Arty."

"You better do because I don't know what I would do or how would I will handle it if you didn't," Artemis answered, his tone was soft that it was like he was whispering it in her ear. He felt her shudder at those words before pulling away from their embrace but instead of letting go, Holly sat on his lap and snaked her arms around his neck.

Artemis immediately tensed at the action but didn't do anything to stop her; especially when she started leaning towards him with those mesmerizing hazel eyes staring directly at his mismatched ones and those alluring lips inching closer. Artemis tried to, he really did, but even if he was a prodigy that saved the world multiple times he is still a teenager and so, he just followed his instincts the moment he saw the chance. Both closed their eyes, all too caught up in the moment in their own world.

"OH SHHH-WHAT THE FROND,"

Like a magnet of similar poles, the two separated from each other; faces flustered as they looked at the person who just made such a remark.

Artemis Fowl III, or also known Temmy, stood at the door way in utter shock at the scene he just stumbled across. The moment he realized that he interrupted something important, his face immediately became apologetic with a mix of slight horror.

"Err….Sorry. I…Sorry. Wow, this is awkward." Temmy said, rubbing the back of his neck sheepishly, "I hope I didn't stop Riley from existing."

Silence.

Temmy shifted his weight from foot to foot, still feeling awkward about the situation he just walked in, "Well, I'm here to tell you that the big guy wants to inform you that Pandora is awake,"

-o-o-o-0-o-o-o-

A/N:

And so, the chapter ends. I deeply apologize if you, dear readers, find the quality of my writing unsatisfactory. It's been a long time since I last wrote something in this site. The next chapter will be really interesting because Artemis Sr. and Angeline Fowl will be in it. Then a few more chapters (maybe 3 or 5 more) then this story will end. :'(

I don't know when will be my next update though. Busy, busy, busy. Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeee….

But still, I would still love to hear what you have to say, so be a darling and leave a review.