Okay, so random idea time… I thought of this the other day, and between a friend and I we’ve been working on it since. It’s named because we realized it was turning out kind of like a parody to Beauty and the Beast. It’s an AU to the first book, and has some OOCness, violence, and of course A/H (though not until a while in). I think that’s all, so on with the story!! 🙂
“They won’t give me the ransom.”
Artemis almost dropped the communicator. Instead, he gripped it tighter and cleared his throat. “No ransom, no Captain,” he said firmly. “You might as well send the bio-bomb in. I’ll be leaving soon, so any last messages you’d like me to pass on to her?”
There was a pause on the other end, then a sharp exhaling of breath. “Tell her…” He heard his voice falter. “Tell her I’m sorry I couldn’t do more. I tried. And she was a good officer.”
“Very well,” the boy murmured. “I’ll pass on the message. Until next time, then, Commander.”
“Until next time,” the elf on the other line echoed. He just had time to realize that there wasn’t going to be a next time, since they were going to bio-bomb him, before the line clicked and went dead.
Artemis stood up and walked out to the kitchen, where Butler was waiting.
The manservant immediately noticed the look on his charge’s face. “Is something wrong, sir?”
“They aren’t going to pay the ransom,” he told him, the look on his face very hard-set. “They’re coming with the bio-bomb, though.”
“Oh. What about the girl in the basement?”
“That’s my problem,” Artemis admitted.
“Well, I don’t really think that we should just leave her, sir. Is there any way, perhaps, that we could let her go?”
“No.” His tone of voice put an end to that conversation and line of thinking. “Absolutely not.”
“Is there any way we could take her with us?”
“We could, I suppose. If I decided to be nice and let her live. I’m sure we have enough to spare. But there’s no guarantee that she would come with us, or even listen to what I was saying to understand the offer.”
“Did you ask her?”
“No, but anyways, we know she hates us, so I don’t really need to ask her.”
“I didn’t say ask her that.” He turned around and looked at Artemis. “Look, Artemis, if it was your life, wouldn’t you want a choice?”
“But, Butler, that’s the problem. She doesn’t have a choice in that, whether she keeps her life or not. That’s not to say that she can’t have a choice whether she lives or not,” he added before the man in front of him could say anything, “I suppose I will grant her that. I’ll go talk to her when I’m done here. But don’t you see? Whether she lives or not, she won’t really have any life. She won’t be able to go back to Haven, or talk to anybody there, or even be in contact with any of her species for that matter. She-“
“I told them I was going to let her die. They won’t be able to know that she’s still alive, or do you know how many problems it could bring down on us?”
“Okay, okay,” he agreed. “But I still think you should give her a choice.”
“Fine,” the boy huffed. “I’ll go right now.”
He stood and grabbed a glass from the cabinet, pouring the contents of a dart into it and mixing it with something. Then he left the room, heading en route for the basement.
When Artemis opened the cell door, the elf on the inside was pacing the left wall, agitated. He walked in silently and sat on the little cot in the corner, closing the door behind him, and watched her.
The cot creaked when he sat down, and she jumped, just realizing his presence for the first time. “You,” she hissed.
“Yes, me,” Artemis agreed. “I have a message from your commander.”
Now she was interested, though her tone hadn’t lost its sharp edge. “Really?”
“Yes, indeed. I’m supposed to tell you that he’s sorry, he tried, and you were a good officer.” She stared at him, and he shrugged. “I told him I’d pass it on.”
“W-what?” she stuttered. “He-” Then the truth seemed to hit her, hard. All the color drained from her face. “N-no. You’ve got to be kidding me.” For a second she thought she was going to puke.
“I’m not joking. They’re not going to pay the ransom.”
“I got it the first time,” she snarled at him. Then all the anger seemed to drain out of her. She slid down the wall, her head falling into her hands. “I can’t believe this is happening,” she muttered numbly.
He sighed, standing up and walking over to her. She didn’t look up when he sat down beside her, but she did flinch slightly when he touched her. “What do you want now?” she asked, never lifting her head. Then in a slightly more shaky voice, she asked, “are you going to kill me now, then?” She finally did lift her head to look at him. “Have I suffered enough now?”
Artemis looked into her eyes, and saw the truth there. The poor elf was scared out of her wits. She was struggling to keep her composure, trying to hold it in. But as much as she didn’t want him to see her cry, she was on the brink of breaking down.
“Drink this,” the boy said, holding the glass out to her. The side of it brushed across her lower lip, and she recoiled.
“Yes.” She shook her head. “Drink it,” he insisted.
“What is it?” she demanded, taking the glass from him and sniffing it gingerly.
“Grape juice, and a little bit of tranquilizer mixed in. Now drink it.”
She set the cup down. “No. I don’t like grape juice, and besides, how do I know you’re not lying? For all I know, that’s poison.”
“For all you know, Captain, that’s holy water and food coloring. I guess you’ll just have to trust me, huh?”
She laughed, though there was a nervous edge to it. “Trust you? For one thing, you’re a human. No fairy in their right mind would trust a human, especially not one that kidnaped them! Give me one good reason why-“
“Do you want to live, Holly?” he asked, getting up by her face. She shrank back against the wall, and they were still almost nose to nose.
Shocked into silence by the sudden closeness, she just nodded.
“Well, then. Drink. It. Now,” he growled, his voice low and dangerous.
The elf’s eyes widened in fear, and she quickly grabbed the cup and downed its contents. “There. Better?”
“A little.” He grabbed her arm and pulled her up to her feet. The world was already beginning to swirl to her, and, dizzy, she tripped over her own feet and fell towards him. Not very gently, he pulled her along and guided her over to the cot, and when her legs tapped the metal rim he pushed her down onto it. “When you wake up, wait right there until somebody comes for you,” he told her.
The elf barely had the strength left in her body to nod her head before sinking down onto the cot and letting unconsciousness claim her.