I have finally got my act together and written this thing. It's been several years in the making (not that the quality has been much improved with age) but, at last, here it is! Hopefully there will be a third and final story after this, but let's not get ahead of ourselves.

If you haven't read Artemis Fowl: The Desiderata here's the deal: basically, these stories part ways with the series after the third book. In The Desiderata, Artemis and Butler regained their memories, helped Holly prove herself innocent of a high-profile theft, and generally had a grand old time at the expense of Root's blood pressure, who isn't dead. It's set some time after the third book, however: Artemis is seventeen in The Desiderata and nineteen in this.

This is, as per usual, a co-production, and would not have been possible without the one and only ilex-ferox.


Artemis Fowl: Nearing Perfection

"You may be a fox," Ono called after her, "but you are the mother of my son and I love you. Come back whenever you wish, you will always be welcome." -Japanese Folktale

May 2nd, 2013, LEP Headquarters, Haven City

"You're going to lose your eyesight if you stare at type that small through all this smoke."

Root looked up from the memo in his hand to the elf standing in his doorway. "Vinyaya," he said, by way of greeting.

"Root," she returned.

"Need something, Wing Commander?"

"Just missed your charming wit, that's all." She crossed the office and sat across from him, in the seat usually filled by quaking young corporals. Slinging her feet up onto his desk, a privilege reserved solely for them, she held out a hand, clearly waiting for something.

With a smile, Root put down the memo and reached into his cigar box. Deftly trimming a new one, he passed it to her. When she'd got it in her mouth, he leaned forward and lit it for her with an old human Zippo.

She inhaled appreciatively, blowing a few smoke rings before speaking. "You still have that hunk of junk?" She nodded to the lighter.

He shrugged. "Reminds me of the good old days," he said. She laughed. For a moment they sat in companionable silence, puffing away.

"Is that the INARe memo?" Vinyaya asked finally.

"How did you know?"

Vinyaya tapped the insignia on her sleek black uniform. "Section 8, remember? We know everything."

Root eyed her for a moment. "Foaly told you, didn't he?"

"Yeah."

"Bloody gossipy pony. Worse than Retrieval boys at the water cooler, I swear."

"Are you going to send someone?"

"I thought you knew everything?"

"I'm trying to pretend we're on a level playing field. Make you feel better, you know."

"Always the spirit of generosity." Root sighed, running a hand through his brush cut. "Yes, I'm sending someone. I'm thinking of Lope-"

Vinyaya made a disparaging noise that made Root stop halfway through the name.

"Yes?" he asked, eyebrows raised.

"Lopewood? Seriously?" Vinyaya gestured disbelievingly with her cigar.

"I take it you have someone in mind."

"You know I do."

"She's busy."

"Doing what? Tracking rogue gnomes in Disneyland via video feed? Give her something she can sink her teeth into."

Root grimaced.

Vinyaya contemplated him for a moment. "You're worried Fowl'll get mixed up in this, aren't you?"

"Well, can you blame me? He does have an uncanny ability to show up when least wanted. And this is sensitive. This is our history."

"It's also all the way over in Japan. I'm sure he's too busy with his own little heists to care. It's not like they're telepathically linked or something."

"You know, there are days when I wonder."

"Don't be silly, Julius. Send Holly. I'll make you dinner on Sunday if you do."

"Acorn casserole?"

"Yes."

"With nettle sauce?"

"Yes."

"And those tasty grilled beetles?"

"Yes, Julius."

Root puffed thoughtfully on his cigar for a moment before pressing the intercom button on his desk. "Short, I want you in my office five minutes ago."

Vinyaya rolled her eyes.