A/N: It's kind of painful for me to write Artemis so out of character, but I've made up a set of rules for Atlantis Complex, since there isn't a huge amount of canon information, so please, grant me some artistic license for this one. Also, Doctor Argon is probably HORRIBLY out of character but I lent all of my Artemis Fowl books to a former friend around a year ago and haven't seen them since, so it's been a while since I read any of them, and I don't reeeeally remember what he was like, apart from a slight put on limp. I think. Maybe. So I've written him as generic as possible. I may edit this when I get my books back but I'm lazy so more realistically his character might just suddenly change somewhere down the line. DEAL WITH IT.
Disclaimer: I own no characters or situations. I'm poor and useless. Please don't sue me.
"Morning, sleepy." Holly smiled, relieved to see Artemis' mismatched eyes drag themselves open. After half an hour of sitting on the side of his bed, nothing to do, she was getting rather uncomfortable, not to mention bored. She had promised to be there when he awoke though, and there she would be.
"Hark! An angel awaits my return from slumber, watching faithfully over my bedside. Holly dearest, it has been too long since we last spoke." It was clearly not Artemis who spoke, and Orion clutched tighter onto Holly's hand, shifting himself into a seated position.
"Great. You." Holly groaned.
"Indeed it is great! At last, you are freed from Artemis and his boorish ways, to be wooed by a true gentleman. I simply can not believe that oaf fell asleep while you so lovingly caressed his face, for I would have leaped upon the chance to express our undying love for you, dear Captain. That imbecile is no use whatsoever."
"Terrific." Holly sighed, extracting her hand forcibly from Orion's. "If you so much as move a finger off that bed Frond help me I will break every bone in your body. I'm going to get the doctor."
"As you wish, my formidable warrior queen!" Orion wittered and Holly growled, storming from the room in search of Doctor Argon. Luckily, the doctor happened to be on his two hourly visit to Artemis' room, pills in hand, and Holly almost crashed right into him coming out the door.
"Ack! Watch where you're going, Captain Short." Doctor Argon said indignantly, straightening his lab coat with a tug.
"Urgent situation, Doctor. Artemis' alternate persona has put in an appearance." Holly always reverted to more military terms when uncomfortable; it helped her feel in command of the situation, and nearly always worked, though she had long since learned that Artemis had no trouble ignoring her command voice.
"Oh. Yes, Captain, I'll see to it at once. His pills should take care of the worst of it." Doctor Argon rushed into the room the best he could with his bad leg, cuplet of pills extended. "If that doesn't work, I'll give him an injection in about ten minutes, should get it gone."
"Good." Holly said gruffly, and watched in silence from the corner while the poor doctor reasoned and struggled with the moronic Orion, trying to convince him to take his pills. The boy wouldn't so much as glance at them until Holly called from across the room that the pills would unlock his true powers, at which point he grabbed for the paper cup, tossing all seven tablets down at once with excitement.
"When will they kick in?"
"About a minute or two." Doctor Argon promised, though his eyes were locked on Holly. "If they haven't worked in five, press the red button by the bed and I'll get his shot ready."
"Thank you, Doctor." Holly said crisply with a small nod, and Doctor Argon took this as his excusal, scuttling off. He wasn't normally one to fear the LEP, but Captain Short had made it very clear upon Artemis' admission that were he to receive anything but the absolute best care Doctor Argon's clinic had to offer, Holly would be taking it personally, and there was a chance the good doctor would wake up missing a few vital pieces of himself.
"Sweet Holly, when my powers are awakened we shall leave all this behind, and fly to my Irish Estate, where I shall provide you with dresses fit for such a beauty, and there we shall be wedded, beneath the boughs of a Holly tree, to symbolise the truth and depth of my undying love for you."
"Terrific. Do you feel anything yet?" Holly asked, arms folded in her most no-nonsense fashion.
"I feel..." Orion paused, seriously considering the matter. "I feel... more grounded. My lighthearted nature is dissipating before my very eyes! You've tricked me, heartless beauty! I feel him coming back!"
"Excellent." Holly said grimly, watching Orion writhe in terror, until he stopped, looking up at Holly with the familiar serious, thoughtful features she knew as the true Artemis Fowl.
"Holly, I'm sorry." Artemis said sadly, and Holly sighed in relief, crossing the room and resuming her seat on his bedside.
"Don't worry about it. It's not you, like you said. No harm, no foul, eh?" Holly grinned, but Artemis ignored her pun altogether, a brooding expression on his features.
"He's still here. I feel it. I'm mostly me, but there's still a bit of him in me. This has never happened before." Artemis' tone was deeply concerned, and Holly set joking aside, responding seriously.
"How do you know? What feels different?" She asked, taking his hand again.
Artemis faltered at her touch, before responding. "I can't focus my thoughts. They're flitting everywhere. I'm fighting the urge to spout gibberish poetry at you. How is he doing this?"
"He's part of you, you know. A suppressed part, but still there. Maybe he's just a little less suppressed now." Holly said cautiously, wondering if Artemis' carefree mood earlier related to this newfound mental confusion. "You've spent so long being focused and closed off maybe this was bound to happen, Atlantis or no. There are parts of your personality you've never even explored, parts sitting there waiting to be useful. Maybe the Orion part is just ready to come out."
"If you make a damn puberty joke I swear I will make the rest of your long life hell." Artemis growled in a voice very unlike his own, and Holly was stunned into silence for a moment, at how not-himself her friend was.
"I'm not saying that, I'm just saying... you've got other sides you don't know about. You didn't know you could be compassionate until you met me. Maybe Orion's another part of you you've spent too long pushing aside." Holly said gently, keeping her pressure on his hand firm and even; a link back to what was real.
"Maybe." Artemis flopped back on his pillow, aggression drained from him all at once. "Maybe you're right. I don't know anymore. I don't know anything, I've completely lost the ability to think straight."
"Don't worry about it. You know noone expects you to." Holly said soothingly, stroking his face again. "Just wait for a bit, the medication will kick in, and he'll be gone before long."
"It's strange though. I can hardly focus, and I'm having to force myself not to speak like a flowery imbecile, but I'm not bothered by numbers right now. They're gone. And I don't think anyone's betraying me. I feel free. But trapped at the same time." Artemis groaned, rubbing his temples with the thumb and forefinger of his free hand.
"It'll be okay, Artemis." Holly promised, squeezing the palm of the hand on his face with her fingertips. "We all know and care for who you are, and even if this changes you, nobody's feelings towards you will change."
"Feelings, eh?" Artemis snapped before he could stop himself, then groaned. "See what I mean? He's right there below the surface. I can't make him go."
"We'll get you that shot." Holly said, removing her hand to press the red button by his bed urgently with her thumb, before returning to stroking Artemis' hair. "You're going to get through this. Hell, this might even be a breakthrough. You might be on the way to getting better." Holly smiled encouragingly, and Artemis considered it.
"I could be. Or I could be sinking deeper." He said gloomily.
"Doctor Argon will know when he gets here." Holly said reassuringly, threading her tiny fingers through Artemis' hair.
"He will." Artemis sighed in relief, closing his eyes and falling silent, keeping his struggle internal, where it belonged.
"Here we are!" Doctor Argon rushed through the door with a medical cart a short time later, hurrying to Artemis' bedside. Holly stepped back at once, reluctant as she was to release her friend in such distress. Doctor Argon took no notice of their closeness, hurrying in to Holly's vacated spot and taking Artemis' arm, swabbing the inner elbow quickly with steriliser. Holly saw the look of pain on Artemis' closed off face as the doctor put the syringe-gun to his elbow and clicked it, discharging the chemicals quickly into Artemis' system. He pressed cotton wool to the area for a few seconds to stop the bleeding, then secured it there with a sliver of medical tape.
"That should do the trick." Doctor Argon smiled encouragingly, clearing up his tray quickly. "Any symptoms other than the other personality surfacing?" He directed the question to Holly, being of sound mind as she was.
"I feel him." Artemis responded in a pained voice. "I'm me, but he's right there, trying to make me do things. I can't make him stop."
"I see." Doctor Argon nodded, taking a seat and pulling out the notepad and pen he always had at the ready in his left pocket.
"His number related fears and paranoia are completely gone, but the Orion personality is still present in his normal state." Holly summed up in her most military tone, hands at ease behind her back.
"Fascinating." Doctor Argon nodded, scrawling notes quickly. "It appears young master Fowl has entered the first stage of Atlantis recovery. Excellent. I'll leave you for a time for the medication to take effect, but shall we say a meeting to discuss your feelings in an hour, master Fowl?"
"Yes, fine." Artemis grunted and the doctor limped away with his cart, apparently satisfied with things as they were.
"Feel any better?" Holly asked, approaching his bed once again.
"A bit." Artemis said, eyes still screwed up. "It'll take a while to work, but I think he's starting to weaken."
"Good." Holly smiled encouragingly, stroking Artemis' forehead. "Just let me know if there's anything I can do."
"Books."Artemis said suddenly, eyes flashing open. "I need books. Of course. Why haven't I tried reading up on Atlantis Complex before this?"
"I... don't know." Holly said, stunned by the sudden urgency of Artemis' request. "I'll see if I can find any books on the subject."
"Thank you." Artemis smiled an unnervingly sincere smile. "If I am entering the recovery phase I see no reason why I shouldn't know as much as possible about what is affecting me in order to find the most effective way to combat it."
"And you're sounding like yourself again." Holly sighed. She had forgotten how curt and efficient Artemis could be when he had a goal.
"Excellent." Artemis smiled, this time his own familiar smile, with depths of thought and plans behind it. "That sounds more like recovery than some unearthed side of myself surfacing."
"I suppose..." Holly said warily. This was not Artemis so much as hyper-Artemis; a more extreme seeming version of his usual personality. "So you're not feeling Orion any more?"
"Certainly not." Artemis replied curtly, smoothing his sheets and sitting up straighter. "I feel perfectly myself."
"I can tell." Holly nodded, wondering if the injection hadn't perhaps been a bit too far. "Do you want to get some rest or something?"
"Why would I? For the first time in months I am in full possession of my mental facilities, I intend to use them to their full capacity while I can." Artemis paused, and his facial expression changed slightly. "Why? Don't you want me to read about it?" Another pause. "I knew it! You want me to stay in here! You're working for Foaly, I knew it! That sadistic centaur is threatened by my genius, so he sent you and that useless excuse for a doctor to incapacitate me in this hell!" By the end of his sentence Artemis was yelling, and Holly had to step back, pausing to regroup before trying to reason with the most unreasonable side of Artemis' delusions.
"Of course not, Artemis. We're your friends, we would never do that." She pleaded, but Artemis was too far gone to reach.
"Friends! You've even roped my mother into this, friends mean nothing! Even Butler, my most faithful ally is against me!" He cried, carefully smoothed blankets ruffled once more as Artemis tried to free himself from the blankets and various tubes and wires fed around his bed. "You can't keep me here, I'll find my way back to the surface and use my superior intellect to take down your tyrannical leader!"
"Artemis, calm down, please?" Holly reached out gently to restrain Artemis, a task she found simple despite his size; for a fifteen year old, Artemis was unbelievably scrawny.
"NO! You can't keep me prisoner!" Artemis cried out, just as Doctor Argon dashed into the room yet again, this time with a clipboard, a notebook, and another syringe.
"NO! NO! YOU CAN'T HAVE MY MIND!" Artemis hollered, fighting more desperately against Holly, who somehow managed to pin one of his flailing arms long enough for the doctor to jab the needle in. Artemis thrashed a bit longer then settled, eyes closed, arms still tensed.
"What did you give him?" Holly asked, panting slightly from the struggle.
"Just a mild sedative." The doctor explained, wiping sweat from his forehead nervously. "He'll be out for maybe half an hour. It should give his system time to work out the worst of the medication."
"And what exactly has this medication done to him?" Holly asked harshly, turning her back from Artemis' slumbering form to focus her anger on the doctor. Certainly before coming here, her friend had been anything but himself, but these sudden swings from delusion to delusion were almost worse.
"In the first stage of recovery from Atlantis Complex, sufferers often experience what is best described as a merging of personalities. Mister Fowl must have excellent mental control, it often takes years to reach this stage. Medication balance and supervision becomes crucial at this point, as the slightest trigger can tip him from one symptom to another. As soon as he wakes up I'll do an interview with him, see what stage of the recovery he's up to, and adjust his medication accordingly. The next few weeks will be rocky, and he may not be the nicest person to visit, but I really think he's got a shot at total rehabilitation." The doctor adjusted his notes as he spoke, pausing occasionally to scrawl things on various pages and boxes on the clipboard he carried.
"I see. So, visiting may not be pleasant, but will it be helpful?" Holly asked, folding her arms gruffly.
"Hard to say. Artemis displays a strong emotional attachment to friends and family, especially yourself, Captain. Your presence could serve as a link to the world he knows, or it could tip him into fits of paranoia, or give the Orion persona enough strength to surface fully. Everything at this stage is very wait-and-see."
Holly nodded curtly, glancing back at Artemis. "I'll alert you when he wakes up, doctor."
"Yes, Captain Short." Doctor Argon could sense that he was being dismissed, and took the opportunity to scuttle from the room as fast as he could.
Alone once more at last, Holly settled into the previously unused chair she had set by Artemis' bed, and waited. Waiting wouldn't normally be a problem for her soldier-trained mind, but stuck in this situation, with a mentally unwell Artemis sleeping next to her, and not knowing what he would be like when he awoke, Holly felt restless. After a couple of minutes of sitting, her unrest naturally turned to worry. 'What if Artemis is never the same again? What if he doesn't recover from this? What if he gets so bad he doesn't even recognise me anymore? What if he loses to Orion, and I spend the next few decades babysitting that nincompoop?' Holly closed her eyes, massaging her temples and trying to block out her horrid, unsettling thoughts. The stress proved too much, and before long she was fast asleep, vivid, flashing dreams darting beneath her eyelids.
"Holly? Wake up please, Holly." Holly's eyes flashed open, kicking herself instantly for falling asleep in such an important situation.
"What? Artemis? Are you you?" She asked, stretching in her chair and looking worriedly into her friend's confused eyes.
"I think so. I can still feel Orion though, and that horrible other me. Holly, I am so sorry for that." Artemis said sincerely, and Holly detected the strange pattern in his speech right away.
"Fives again now? Really, Artemis?" Holly raised an eyebrow, counting her words for his comfort.
"It keeps the others at bay. Fives keep me safe." He said resignedly, sitting up straighter. Holly finished her stretch and returned to her seat on the side of his bed,
"That's fair enough, I suppose." Holly conceded. "Just remember, you're stronger than this. You can beat it."
"I hope so." Artemis smiled wearily. "It'd be nice just to go home."
"I know." Holly sighed, taking his long, elegant hand in her tiny, combat-weary one once more. "I should probably let the doctor know you're awake again." Holly reached out and touched the red button on the wall.
"Three more words, please Holly." Artemis asked sadly, eyes clearly showing that he knew just how bad this was, but could do nothing to help it.
"Oh... um... five." Holly said awkwardly. "Does that count... Artemis Fowl?" Her voice was forced as she strained to construct sentences according to word count, rather than meaning.
"I suppose it has to." Artemis smiled awkwardly, and they fell silent, eye contact speaking where words became too complicated.