A/N I know. I said it would be a oneshot. *hangs head*
Holly milled around the shuttleport's waiting room, impatience and nervous energy combining in her to cause a small storm with her emotions.
You're a professional, Short, not a hormone-ravaged teen- not anymore. Get it together.
Anyway, what is there to be nervous about?
Holly quietly exhaled with relief as a uniform-clad sprite stuck his head into the room, providing a welcome distraction from her thoughts.
"Short- Captain-Miss-Short, the Mud Men have arrived."
Holly smiled grimly. The sprite's awkward address had made it all too clear to her that while she was no longer exactly a civilian anymore, she wasn't exactly an officer, either.
Holly could handle that.
She just wasn't sure she could handle out-of-date hormones.
Artemis entered alone.
The door was a small one, and Butler obviously could not fit through, and she saw him peering anxiously through on the other side.
As Holly saw the Mud Boy enter, the conglomeration of emotions she had been holding inside for months melted away, leaving only lightness.
She sprinted towards him, unable to bear a single second more of separation-and stopped herself.
Get a grip. Slow down. He's a Mud Boy, for Tara's sake. You are not-you are not- No. You're just not.
Instead, she took in his appearance, after the months of little or no contact.
He appeared much the same, fundamentally, but his mismatched eyes were hollow and anxious, and deep blue shadows under his eyes betrayed many sleepless nights.
His long, dextrous fingers-thinner than ever- fidgeted constantly, twisting and intertwining.
He looked exhausted.
"Holly? Is that you?"
"Yes, Artemis. I'm here. It's me."
He glanced around the room nervously.
"Foaly betrayed me. There are sensors-he's taping me, he'll use the footage against me. We have to stop him, Holly. And the Cube. We must program the Cube, make sure there are no fours in it. Fix the ice cap."
Holly swallowed hard, fighting back rebellious tears.
"I'll try, Artemis. I'll try."
Artemis, what is happening to you, my friend?