Disclaimer: I do not own Artemis Fowl or related characters. If I did, I would be investing a lot more money in leather….
Author’s note: This story does relate to the events in Fowl Shorts. FS chapter 2 took place before the events at the beginning of this chapter, while FS 1 and 3 to 7 take place in the time gap in the middle of this chapter. Further details on the time line will be given at the end of chapter 3.
Further information on this story (inspiration, issues I had while writing, favorite parts, details on Mater Miscordia, the “soundtrack,” Eoin Colfer’s awesome recent Twitter comment, etc.) will be made available on my LiveJournal account, Kit_Heart. The post corresponding to this chapter is found under the August 25, 2009. I’ll note the other post dates for each chapter as they’re finished. This helps keep the clutter-filled intros down. You know. Except for this first one.
This is rated PG-13. I’d tell you why, but that ruins the surprise.
August 16, 2008-Fowl Manor
Angeline Fowl was no fool. She had graduated from her undergrad a year early (with high honors), despite earning two degrees: one in biology and another in political science. The following fall, she continued into her master’s degree. It was in the final months of the program that she ran into Artemis Fowl, heir to one of Europe’s largest criminal empires.Initially, she thought he was just another of her family’s many minor (and self-important) millionaire acquaintances. However, the presence of a staggeringly tall and rather solid-looking bodyguard (who spent most of the night glaring at anyone who came within three meters of his ward) was a bit out of place at the Ivy, even if most of the “businessmen” in attendance were a bit less than “legitimate.” However, during the last round of cocktails, Angeline’s inebriated mother had put an arm around her daughter’s shoulder and pointed him out as the son of the most powerful criminal leader in Ireland. Angeline had smoothed her dress and sashayed up to the snappily dressed man. After inquiring if he was, indeed, the Artemis Fowl (he visibly preened at this, though his bodyguard moved a hand to his holster), she had smiled prettily…and began to tear him a new one.Two days later, she received a call at her unlisted apartment phone. A week after that, she agreed to a date, intending to continue reaming him. The following spring, she married Artemis Fowl and they began planning their life together.Over the years, she had dealt with many crises. Attacks by rival crime lords, the disappearance of her husband, and her eldest son’s many quasi-legal (and often downright unlawful) adventures. For all intents and purposes, Angeline Fowl was unflappable.But she just could not get over the pointy ears.
“The Opal Koboi from the past has escaped, but I must assure you, Mrs. Fowl, we are pooling all of our resources into capturing her. The Council is even approving a plan for Butler to connect with Madame Ko for intelligence. With adequate compensation to your family, of course.”
Angeline settled a bit more languidly into her chaise lounge, cascading her curly brown hair over the edge and gazing at the…elf? Yes, a fairy elf. It seemed so redundant, but there was an important distinction. It was used in a manner similar to genus and species, as Artemis had explained shortly before introducing the Captain.
The LEPRecon (“God, that is such a horrible pun,” Angeline had muttered when Artemis had given her some time alone to think over his revelations) officer was dressed in a black “shimmer suit” and held a matching helmet on her lap, over which she was making elaborate hand gestures. This being was only a little over half her son’s height, yet she was a perfectly proportioned woman (ignoring the ears) with soft brown skin, cropped auburn hair, and a set of mismatched eyes to pair with her son’s. Artemis had never taken after his mother (her brown hair and eyes seemed doomed to die out in this family), but Angeline was somewhat miffed that he had strayed even further from her genes by losing one eye to this elf, even if it was unintentional.
This “Holly” was obviously unnerved, based on her hand movements and somewhat rapid speech, but she appeared to be soldiering on through some sort of script, likely prepared for her by her superior officers. If Angeline was going to have any sort of meaningful conversation with this elf, she would need to be derailed, and quickly.
“My son appears to be rubbing off on you.” Angeline broke in.
Holly looked flattered for a moment, but her face quickly shifted to horror. An interesting reaction, though understandable, when one considered what Artemis had said of their first and last adventures. “P-pardon me, Madam Fowl?”
Angeline saw another opening and rolled her eyes in a manner that Juliet would have found quite impressive. She thrust a palm in front of her in imitation of the blond’s annoying “talk to the hand” phase back in the 1990s. “Call me ‘Angeline,’ please. ‘Madams’ are either over eighty or manage a whore-house.”
Holly seemed mystified at this idea. “But…I’m 82.” Or was it 85?
Now even Artemis was off kilter. He had never heard his mother curse, much less say “whore house” so casually. “Mum, I think she was just trying to be respectful.”
“Given that she is going to be paired with my minor son while hunting down some sort of underworld megalomaniac, I would prefer ‘friendly’ to ‘respectful.’”
The fairy was now thoroughly off her her train of thought. She tapped her fingers on the helmet and looked down at it, as if trying to tell the gear that she disapproved of its presence. Angeline guessed that the Fairy Council was probably using the helmet’s many features to monitor this meeting, and Holly was less than pleased at their interference. When the girl (she may have been twice Angeline’s age, but Angeline couldn’t help but think of her as anything more than a young woman) continued, she had obviously abandoned the script. “Ma…Angeline, the People have had a lot of…issues with your son, but I consider him to be a friend. However, we have found that everything has to be out in the open with him or else we tend to find ourselves…well, screwed over.” She glared at Artemis, who shrugged, in no way apologetic. “The Council just wants to find out your…demands regarding Artemis’s help.”
Angeline tapped a finger on her lips, considering this. Perhaps her husband would have taken this as an opportunity to establish a sort of fairy life insurance policy on the Fowls, should Koboi get through security at the Manor, but Angeline did not like the idea of putting a premium on the lives of her loved ones. It would turn failure into the simple matter of a debt. “I…cannot forbid my son from helping you. He may be physically underage, but the law will soon consider him an adult, and he has mentally been so for years. I do, however, expect you to do everything in your considerable power to keep him, if not out of harm’s way, then at least out of the grave.”
Holly nodded. “I can’t promise anything, but I have put too much energy and magic into Arty to lose all of that hard work.”
She called him “Arty.” Interesting. Mrs. Fowl felt a desire to hug this small person, but she knew the tricky part of her negotiation was coming up. She could not diminish her advantage by showing too much affection. “Now, Butler, on the other hand….”
Both adventurers looked troubled. They had worked as a pair on occasion, but people tended to get mortally wounded when it was just them. Of course, when Butler was around, there were still mortal wounds. It was just that he was the one sporting them, and Butler seemed fairly skilled at escaping death. “Mum, Butler has been involved with this for years.”
“Yes, and I shall have to speak with him about that. Allowing my son to go off and put his life in danger to save the world is in direct violation of his job description.” She let Holly sit with her jaw dropped for a few beats. She needed to increase the tension in the room just enough to make her demand appealing. “He is, after all, under the payroll of the Fowl Empire. Not Artemis himself. Only Artemis’s father or I can ‘lend him’ past his normal duties, and only if we feel we have received ‘adequate compensation.’”
She could see the list of fairy assets running through Holly’s mind. Gold. Silver. Technology. “Extinct” plants and animals.
“I will need your assistance, Captain Short.”
Gift of Tongues. Mesmer. Personal protection. Flight. Shielding.
“At my fourth child’s birth.”
Holly’s helmet crashed to the floor. Artemis’s eyes went out of focus from the strain of trying to process this. His mother needed to stop winding up pregnant whenever he went time traveling. “Mum, you’re…you can’t be…meno—”
Angeline was actually a little offended. “Artemis, I must remind you that I had you rather young. I am barely 45 years old, a little early for the ‘change of life’. Your mother is not too old for this, yet.” As she finished saying this, both of their eyes were drawn to Holly.
The elf began by biting her lips and squeezing her hands together. She progressed to squirming and looking everywhere but at the expectant mother. Finally, she could take it no more and leapt to her feet, grabbing Angeline’s hands and bouncing about like a hyper schoolgirl. “You’re pregnant? You’re having a baby? You’re expecting a child?” Her voice had risen an octave from just a minute ago.
Artemis was thoroughly mystified.
Angeline’s head nodded, trying to keep up with the elf. “Yes, that is what I implied by mentioning ‘birth’. I’m about three months in, now.”
Holly closed her eyes and bounced a bit faster, obviously trying to avoid squealing. She pounced on her helmet and looked straight into it’s visor. “Please? It’s an easy request! No gold!” She looked over her shoulder at Angeline. “You just want me there for healing, right?”
Well, there was the ulterior motive of including a new family friend in the event, but that could remain Angeline’s little secret. She nodded. “Just in case. The doctor says everything is fine, but you never really know.”
Holly and Artemis both cocked their heads slightly. For the first time, Angeline noticed the flesh-colored plugs in their ears. Artemis was stoic, but Holly began to bounce again. “I have to warn you that I’m nor a warlock medic and magic around birth is really temperamental, but…they’ll allow it, if we get to use Butler.” She went into her own little pleasure-filled world, temporarily oblivious to mother and son.
Angeline tittered “She’s acting just like Juliet did when I called her. Is she always like this?”
Artemis was still fixated on the fairy. “No. The only other time I’ve seen this was when Butler showed her the armory.” He scowled and finally looked at his mother. “Juliet already knows?”
“Well, I needed a nanny, since Miss Book seems to want to stay as far from us as possible. Besides, did you know that woman tried to put a diaper on Myles?”
Artemis coughed. “Really? What a preposterous idea…. Speaking of, do the twins know, yet? I’m assuming you told father.”
Hmmm…she would have to work on that “father” thing, since she had managed “mum.” “Yes, Timmy is out negotiating with Mater Misericordiae. You’d be surprised how hard it is to reserve a room for a month. As if I knew the birth date already.” Perhaps at one point in her life, this statement would have sounded a bit pompous to Angeline, but pregnancy has a way of diminishing all contrary arguments to something that sounds roughly like “blah, blah, blah.” “Now, the twins…well, I think they are a bit more observant than even you, Arty. Not quite as intelligent, perhaps. I suppose we’ll have to tell them about Holly, if she is going to be running around the Manor at the end, though I’d rather keep your father out of this. He’s a good man, but perhaps it’s best not to…tempt him.”
Artemis was going to protest, but Holly jumped to his mother’s side, again taking her hand. She had subsided from bouncing to squirming like a puppy being commanded to sit. “I’m sorry. I’m not normally like this. It’s just…fairies can only have a child about every 20 years, and my only married friends are just beginning to toy with the idea. Babies are a big deal to the people.”
The only male in the room looked intrigued. “How big of a deal?”
Holly considered this. “Ever been to a festival?”
He considered this. “You throw a festival when a baby is born?” He sounded amused.
Holly’s face was absolutely serious. “I mean, it’s mostly just the parent’s neighborhood, plus friends and coworkers, so only about 200 people attend, but you get the idea.”
Angeline sighed and melted into her seat, finally feeling free to indulge in a little unhindered gestation. “Excellent. I think my baby is in good hands.”
Holly beamed. “You can be sure of it! I had to take extra units on birth when I was doing first aid. Something about being the only female in my field.” She gave a momentary scowl before returning to her exuberance. “Don’t worry about a thing. I’ve got this completely under control!”
February 3, 2009-Fowl Manor
Holly vaulted off the Fowl’s dining room table, grabbing two fistfuls of Butler’s suit as she landed, face pressed so close against his that their eyes nearly touched. “Get the car NOW. Something is wrong. There is wet junk everywhere.”The twins, who were both in the middle of their breakfast cereal, looked at each other and calmly put their spoons down. Artemis, who had a piece of toast held in his mouth, which he had been slowly eating while typing, lost hold when his jaw went slack. It fell butter-side down onto the keyboard, but he did not seem to notice.Butler plucked her off, holding the Captain by the back of her bomber jacket in a manner similar to how one handles posturing kittens. “It’s called ‘amniotic fluid,’ Holly. Artemis, could you go check on things? The eggs are going to burn if I leave them.”Fowl Sr. had left only a few hours ago with the bag holding Angeline’s suitcase for Mater Misericordiae. The labor was a week early, by the doctor’s predictions, but time and babies wait for no man. Thus burdened with this task, Artemis retreated upstairs. He returned soon, looking rather green.Now Butler was alarmed. “Is there a problem?”Artemis shook his head. “No, according to the books, it looks fairly…mostly…norm—” He fell to the floor in a dead faint.
Butler tutted and hoisted his principle onto his shoulder before heading to the carport. It figured. He had a police veteran who saw people eviscerated on a nigh-yearly basis and a genius one residency away from a medical degree, and neither of them had the nerves for a simple birth. Myles said it best: simple-toons.
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