Uninspiring and unoriginal fluff to follow. For those who are sick of writing essays, studying for exams, or the fact that it'll be April on Monday and there is still snow on the ground.

The Blue Danube

Artemis was working at his desk when she arrived. Head in hand, he scribbled madly on pad of legal paper. He was in shirtsleeves, his tie hanging loose from a limp collar, and his hair stuck up at all angles, clearly uncombed. Crouching, invisible, on his window sill, Holly smiled fondly to herself. It wasn't often that she could just look at him.

He looked up suddenly, his head rising from his hand. There was a red mark from where his fingers had pressed into his forehead. He stared directly at her, brow furrowed, almost as if he could see her. Holly sighed. Knowing him, he probably could. Somehow.

She fizzled into the visible spectrum and opened the window.

"Hey, Artemis."

"Hello, Holly. I was wondering when you were going to come in." A smirk came and went, replaced by something softer. He rolled his shoulders to loosen them and leaned back in his chair, letting himself slouch a little.

"I don't want to know." Refusing to rise to his bait, she tossed her helmet on the bed and crossed the room towards him. "How are you? You look beat."

"I feel about as well as I look then."

"Working on something?" She leaned on the arm of his chair, standing on tiptoes to try to get a look at his work. He flipped the legal pad shut and pushed it away into a pile of other papers.

"Nothing important," he said.

She raised an eyebrow.

"Nothing that will have you out of bed at all hours cursing my name while the world as we know it comes crashing down around our ears, at least," he smiled.

She pulled herself up onto the desk so that she sat facing him. "Can I get that in writing?"

He chuckled. "How about scout's honour?"

She snorted. "You were never a scout. Not binding."

"Fair point," he smiled, settling deeper into his chair, watching her, his eyes only half open.

They sat for a moment, smiling at each other, before Holly realised what was happening. She shook herself from her reverie. "Nice song," she said, gesturing to the record player in the corner. "I think I may even have heard it before."

"I wouldn't be surprised," said Artemis. "It's the Hokusai's Wave of classical music."

"Come again?"

"It's been over-played." Artemis clarified, waving one finger in time to the waltz. "But, if you avoid it for long enough, then come back to it, it has a certain charm. It's not the most subtle or moving piece of music, but it does conjure up rather a beautiful, vivid picture of nineteenth century Vienna. A time when the rich still know how to be rich."

Holly raised her eyebrows. "Are you lot losing that ability? Didn't realise you could."

"Oh, it's quite lost already, I'm afraid. Have you ever heard of Paris Hilton?"

Holly shook her head.

"And I hope you never do," said Artemis fervently. "A dreadful conversationalist."

"Right." She kicked her legs out, once, twice. "So what's it called?"

"The song?"

She nodded, swaying a little in time to the rhythm, despite herself.

"In English it's known as The Blue Danube. It's by Strauss."

"After the river?"

"Exactly. It's a waltz."

"That's a dance, right?"


"Well?" She gestured to the floor with one hand.

"Well what, exactly?"

"Aren't you going to demonstrate?"

"The waltz?" Artemis' eyebrows disappeared into his fringe. "Good God, no. You are quite capable of mocking me without my adding fuel to the fire."

"Aw, come on, Artemis." She grinned, "I won't laugh. Scouts' honour."

"Never having been a scout is one of our few shared childhood experiences."

She laughed. "Alright then, alright. I came all the way up here to visit you on my only time off all month and you won't spend thirty seconds dancing for me, it's fine, I get it."

"You're shameless," said Artemis.

"Takes one to know one."

Artemis sighed, pushing himself out of the chair. "Are you sure we couldn't just have tea instead?"

"Quit stalling."

"If I hear about this from Foaly, I'll know who to blame," he warned, raising his arms as though holding an invisible partner.

"It'll be our little secret," Holly smirked.

"I suppose one more couldn't hurt." And, with that, he set off in a clumsy circle, bobbing along in the 3/4 time. Holly could practically hear him count one-two-three-one-two-three as he twirled. She leaned back on her hands and, for the second time that night, enjoyed just watching him.

He finished with a flourish and a bow, and she clapped, holding true to her word not to laugh. Smiling, but slightly out of breath, he put his arms out and let his weight fall against the desk, his hands coming down on either side of her. Their faces were very close, suddenly and Artemis was smiling in a way that made Holly decidedly uncomfortable.

She swallowed. "See? That wasn't so bad, was it?"

"It was atrocious," murmured Artemis, his nose brushing her cheek. Holly looked up at the ceiling. He drew back slightly to look at her. "Why, Major," he chuckled, "are you blushing?"

"What? No. Of course not." She made to push him away but he caught her arms. He held them gently, his thumbs running across the soft skin of her wrists.

"My, my, someone's pulse is racing," he smiled. Holly glared at him.

"I am going to break your face, Fowl."

He leaned in close again, his breath warm against her neck. "Turn about's fair play, Short. But don't worry, I won't tell if you won't. What's one more little secret?"

"Break it into little tiny pieces."

He laughed and released her. Immediately, she crossed her arms over her chest.

"You're a jerk," she said, fully aware of how petulant she sounded.

"And yet, you're the one visiting me." He sank back into his chair, legs stretched out in front of him, fingers steepled under his chin.

She threw him a filthy look and crossed her legs too, just for good measure. He smiled at her.

Looking down at her crossed arms, she untangled one and held it up, eyeing the inside of her wrist. After a moment, she held her arm out towards him. "Could you..." she looked away and then back, "Could you just keep doing that thing with your thumb? It felt nice."

Without a word, he took her hand in his.