[Technically a chaptered fic, but more of a series of moments. This works well in conjunction with the universe established in "think of the children"—it's canon insofar as it doesn't directly contradict any plot lines, including those post-TLG, but I take a ton of liberties. I did my best with Fowl Manor but my sense of aestheics isn't greaet so if I seem off about something let me know.
This is my first actual fic that contains actual sex. I have naught but my own experience as a lesbian and particulars about sexy sex writing to guide me. Also, stuff starts happening when Minerva is sixteen and Juliet is, say, twenty-two, which is my idea of a risqué pairing and probably no one else's.]
I: Petite Mort
Juliet constantly paints and repaints Beckett's nails day of the wake.
She uses pink, red, and blue, and wipes it all off neatly the second it dries; but he likes to watch the process. It calms him somehow.
She offers to leave Walk in the Park on for him, since he liked it so much, but he shakes his head. "Not for boys," he says sadly.
Conversation for another time.
Myles paces back and forth in Artemis' study. It would be adorable to see a four-year-old adapt the mannerisms of a grown man so perfectly if it weren't depressing as hell.
She gathers them, her boys, to get them ready. Myles, of course, is impeccably dressed as always. Beckett, on the other hand, has managed to spill an unidentified substance on his shirt.
Seeing the twins (well, both of them, at least) in formal wear makes her heart catch in her throat. Another moment that would be cute in a different time or place.
Angeline is holding down conversations with caterers, florists, trying to keep herself occupied. It's occurred to Juliet that Angeline might be worried about losing her grip on sanity again, and so is overcompensating.
Not a cheerful thought. But then, Juliet hasn't had a cheerful thought in days.
Artemis Fowl I is sitting at the kitchen table staring at a cup of coffee like it's going to jump up and bite him. Their relationship was never particularly affectionate but it was always cordial, pleasant, even. Now Juliet has nothing to say to him at all.
She moves past him, ushering Myles and Beckett into the living room. The wake will take place in the drawing room, and she instructs the boys to wait while she gets herself ready.
She has twenty minutes. She spends thirteen of them crying.
These people should not be here. It might not be her place to say anything, but privately she hates them all, every single one of them, with her last ounce of strength.
These people are business associates of Fowl Senior (or more likely of Artemis himself, albeit unwittingly) or distant relatives or neighbors, if you want to call them that.
But they are not his friends.
It is tragic enough to attend the wake of a child, but the fact that there is not a single person here, besides immediate family and Juliet herself, that Artemis would care about is downright appalling.
Artemis may not have had friends his own age, but he had friends.
Holly should be here. Foaly should be here. Hell, the entire L.E.P. should be here. She knows that it's impossible, but that doesn't stop her from wishing.
Dom….Well. Probably for the best that he's missing. Seeing her brother grieve publicly for Artemis wold probably send Juliet over the edge.
She wants to ask the nearest dark-suited, middle-aged man which ostensible literary genius Artemis felt was overrated (Hemingway) or what century he believed produced the best classical music (the sixteenth) or what he even liked to eat for his goddamned tea, and watch them fail to provide an answer. She wants to run them out of Fowl manor, make them apologize for blemishing a moment that should be raw and intimate with their dispassionate, oblivious pity.
She does not want to mingle.
Angeline has already told Juliet to let the boys remain with their mother today. "You know you're like our family, Juliet, but."
But. She knows. She's not even a proper bodyguard. She's just the nanny.
Juliet is about to step outside for some air when she sees her. She's both relieved at the sight of someone who actually deserves to be here and stricken with newfound grief at the realization that Artemis would probably not have remembered her this way.
Minerva Paradizo doesn't look much younger than Juliet. Her hair had been in girlish ringlets the last time she had been at Fowl manor, but now it was looser, sleeker, and a bit redder. She had the kind of full, round face that made age hard to determine. She wore a killer pair of Dior heels that Juliet herself had oogled over weeks ago, and her navy dress was just long enough to be appropriate for the occasion but tight enough to be formidable.
And she's still a kid, Juliet reminds herself. She might not look or dress like one, and she might be a certified genius, but somewhere underneath all that is a teenage girl. And you are at a wake.
Minvera strides towards her, working the heels with a confidence that rivaled even Juliet's at that age.
She swoops down on Juliet, kissing her on each cheek (French, Juliet reminds herself, trying to keep steady) and clasping their hands together.
"Juliet," she says, with a barely traceable accent, "I'm so glad I found you. I know it's such a cliché to even bother with this, but I just can't—"
"Believe it," Juliet finishes quietly. "I know. No one can."
Minerva nods, then looks around the room, a slight frown etching at her soft jawline. "Your brother must be here, right?"
Juliet swallows. "He's…well, he's here. But he's not…here." She looks down.
Minerva meets her gaze anyway. "I wouldn't be anywhere near here if I were him, physically or emotionally. Just send him my love when you get the chance, yes?"
Juliet nods. "I will." Never mind that she can barely send Butler her own love these days.
Minerva runs a perfectly manicured nail through her hair. "I can't even bring myself to cry yet. Crying would be proof I'm awake, you know? I'm sure for you it probably feels too real, but you've been here. You've seen him. I heard the news and I just…Well. I know it's not my grief to bare the brunt of, but it still hurts."
"It's everyone's grief," Juliet manages, blinking hard. "Especially you. He'd…he'd want you here, I think."
Minerva surveys the room again. "Yes, this is a positively dismal crowd. Could the fairies not pay their respects?"
"They are. They have. At least I think so. Just not here, you know? I haven't heard from them but I think Butler's spoken to Holly and they have…their own ways of mourning him. They haven't forgotten he saved them too." Juliet actually knows very little about what the fairies are doing and she doesn't much care. Excepting Mulch, Holly, and Foaly, she harbors a lot of resentment towards them for taking Artemis away (and using her body without her permission).
Minerva shakes her head. "I just wish the world could know what he did for us."
Juliet smiles. "We know. That's what matters."
"I haven't even spoken to him in months. We talked fairly regularly and after that more sporadically, but we always kept in touch. I wish—well. Stupid."
Juliet puts a hand on Minerva's arm. Minerva covers the hand with her own.
Her touch is light and dizzying, the equivalent of a whisper. Juliet feels very, very warm, a rarity for her in Ireland.
Stop it. Too late.
"Do you want to see th—" Juliet begins despearetly.
"Later," Minvera breathes. "I think we should get you away from the mourners, no? You're sick of them, I'm sure."
"Well, I…." she trails off, faltering.
"You should lie down," says Minerva, emphatically.
Juliet finds her voice. "How old are you, Minerva?" She's aiming for sharp and authoritative but it comes out quivery and small.
"Sixteen, of course."
Not exactly the admission of someone who knows they are behaving inappropriately.
Minvera uses her free arm to tug Juliet gently towards her and says, so only Juliet can hear, "You're not being propositioned by a child, you know."
Juliet is ashamed of her own ragged breath.
She needs to lie down.
There are approximately seven "spare bedrooms" in Fowl manor.
The walls seem to have gotten quite a bit smaller since the last time she was in this one. Not that she's looking at the walls. Not that her eyes are open.
Minerva's mouth is on Juliet's instantaneously, and Juliet somehow has the forethought to shut the door before she loses the majority of her common sense, reason, and awareness of the world around her.
They are two butterflies, dancing around mouths and bumping eyelashes.
The bed is an ocean, and Juliet pins Minerva beneanth it. Someone's face is wet with tears but Juliet doesn't know whose.
They grind together, Juliet's chin digging into Minerva's shoulder, the weight of living, churning bodies creating ripples.
They are half clothed, moving furiously, and Juliet's last actual conscious thought is that, well, it looks like Minerva is definitely not a virgin.
Then she's lost, looking for something, finding it, enjoying watching Minerva's eyes flutter and hearing the build up of noises, almost like soft yips, escaping from Minerva's mouth.
Juliet is silent when she lets out a final shudder and she pulls Minerva so close she feels the other girl's muscles twitch.
The world is still. People are dead. People are alive. But they are still.
Then: "Not bad for my first time."
Juliet's stomach actually drops before Minerva says, "Okay, no. I feel bad. That was a terrible joke. You just looks so guilty, like you have something to be ashamed about."
"I have everything to be ashamed about," Juliet responds.
Minerva shakes her firmly. "This is quite natural under the circumstances."
But bodyguards don't do what is natural. They do what is expected. They do their duty.
Juliet is pulsing, alive, with the shame. But she's alive.