"If there is one thing I truly despise," said Artemis Fowl, "It's this blasted curdling feeling in my stomach. It feels like a thousand cockroaches crawling about on their puny legs." He paused, a little surprised at that. He had never thought he had a flair for poetry.
Butler, who was chopping up onions at a rate that would cause even the most efficient chef to faint, said nothing. When Artemis was in one of these moods, it was best to keep your mouth shut. Especially when his salary would be being paid next week.
"I am unfamiliar with it, Butler," said Artemis, swiveling around on his real leather chair and his long fingers to his temples. "And I really don't like being unfamiliar with something."
Butler gave a grunt, throwing the onions into a plastic bowl. "I would tell you what I think, but I believe you won't like it."
Artemis frowned at him. "Butler, really. I can handle something as juvenile as this." He pulled at the hem of his silk shirt, mildly irritated. "You cannot believe how much this is frustrating me."
Butler wondered briefly whether or not he should get Juliet to carry out this task. But then he remembered that she was in Vietnam, being trained by the most adept of mixed martial arts. His little sister was really growing up.
"I think," he said, deciding not to look at the pale boy who sat at the large, oak dining table, "that you are developing feelings." He didn't mean to stop there, but he was gathering his thoughts. Something that, unfortunately, Artemis did not take to very kindly.
"I do have feelings, Butler," he said stiffly. "Were you not watching me develop myself over the past couple of years?"
"For the fairy," said Butler, realising that there was no way of applying euphemism to the statement. He allowed himself a wince as he looked at Artemis. His expression, generally unreadable, was now slack with either shock or horror.
If only I could take a picture, thought Butler. But then he remembered the salary.
"Holly Short," he clarified. Just in case the poor boy was thinking of Mulch Diggums or Opal Koboi. Just in case.
Artemis's face tightened again. "That was unnecessary," he said. "Clearly you were talking about Holly. But you're wrong."
Butler gave a half nod. The boy was still growing up; he would figure it out for himself once he started blushing around her and stammering the words of his long-winded, intellectually superior sentences.
"I mean, some things happened when we went through the time portal together, but that's completely besides the point. She's a fairy and she's in Haven City. Totally unaccessible. Not that I care."
Butler had never seen Artemis so agitated. It made him a little sad; even his employer was growing up. Of course, he couldn't deny that it amused him more.
After a moment of silence Artemis spoke.
"Well?" He looked at Butler expectantly. Butler was thrown.
"Well what, Artemis?"
Artemis gave a long sigh. "You're my bodyguard. Do something about this."
Butler almost laughed. Of course, almost. Artemis did not enjoy being laughed at. "I protect your body, not your heart," he said, sort of enjoying being cheesy. Artemis scowled at him.
"Alright. Well, we have no business with the fairies any longer, so everything should be normal in no more than two weeks. A rough estimate, of course. I'm excluding sleeping and exercising." Artemis had finally started to pay more attention to his body; three rounds of the manor with Beckett was sufficient for him.
Later, Butler decided, he would bring Artemis over to the private gym in the bottom floor. Most of the equipment there was definitely too much for him, but five kilo weights should be easy enough even for his employer.
"You'll find that you think more in bed," he said. Artemis, seeming to have lifted his dark, moody self, gave Butler what almost looked like a grin.
"I'm a mastermind," he said. "A boy genius. Falling asleep with the right thoughts are elementary to me."
That night, Artemis couldn't sleep. He would concentrate on his beautifully crafted plan, one involving a certain dwarf and a rival company of his own Phonesmart under the pseudonym Erik John Stewart. However, barely five minutes had passed before his mind began slipping towards a slender elf with a devilishly attractive crew cut and mismatched eyes.
Artemis hit his forehead with a clenched fist. It hurt.