When Holly woke, the first thing she noticed was that she was back in the room Artemis had given her and not in the basement. The second was that she was alone.
“Hey, Fairy Girl, you awake yet?”
Well, mostly alone.
“Hmm?” the elf asked. She tried to sit up, but Juliet was at her side in a second and pushed her right back down.
“Oh no. You stay down, otherwise you’ll probably just hurt yourself, and then I’ll get yelled at, ’cause I’m under strict orders to make sure you nor anybody else hurts you while he’s gone.”
“Where is he?”
“He went to find Artemis and yell at him, I think.”
“Yeah.” There was silence in the room for a moment after that, then Juliet said, “so, you took quite a beating the other night. Artemis messed you up pretty good. I was wondering… what did you do that made him so mad?’
Holly bit her lip. “Look, I really don’t want to talk about this yet. Please, don’t make me right now.”
Juliet sighed. “I guess, if you’re not comfortable with it… okay.”
Holly exhaled deeply. “Oh, thank you. To be honest, most of it is a blur anyhow. I’m not sure I even remember half of what went down correctly.”
“With the amount of head trauma you took in, I’m not surprised.”
Holly nodded. “True.” She pushed herself up on her elbow and tried to sit up again. She got about halfway there, and suddenly felt a shooting pain go clear up her arm. She whimpered softly and Juliet reached around her to help ease her slowly back down onto the pillows.
“Now, see? I told you,” the human girl scolded.
“Yeah, sorry,” Holly whispered. She leaned back into the pillows and said, “can I ask you something?”
“Sure, Fairy Girl, have at it.”
She closed her eyes. “How am I alive? I could have sworn… I mean, I was sure…”
“Sure of what? That you were going to die? I bet you probably wished that at the time, and if Butler hadn’t gotten there when he did you probably would be. I know you wouldn’t have lasted much longer if he hadn’t been stopped when he was.” Juliet frowned, seemingly at the thought, which made Holly give her a funny look. Juliet noticed and asked, “what?”
“Tell me, Fairy Girl.”
“Really, its nothing, but if you really want to know, I suppose… I just don’t get it. Why are you doing this? Why do you keep fighting so hard to keep me alive? Why do you care?”
Juliet thought about it. “Honestly, Holly, I don’t know. I guess you’re just kinda growing on us.”
“Growing on you? Other than this, I’ve only ever talked to you a few times, one of which you threatened to pile drive me.”
“True,” the girl admitted with a laugh. “But seriously, if you want a better answer to those questions, you should really ask-”
“Juliet, I told you to watch her, not to wake her up and harass her!” called a voice from the doorway. Holly looked and found that the voice belonged to Butler. He turned and shut the door behind him, shaking his head. Holly flinched involuntarily at the click it made when he locked it as well.
He walked up to stand behind his sister, and smiled gently down at her. “Hello, Captain Short. How are you feeling?”
“Okay, I guess,” the elf answered slowly. “I could be better, but then, I suppose I could be worse too.” She paused. “You saved my life, Butler. If you hadn’t stepped in, he probably would have killed me. How can I repay you?”
“If I hadn’t stepped in, he definitely would have killed you, no probably about it,” the manservant said, his face darkening. “As for how you can repay me, let’s not worry about that.”
“No buts, please. If you really want to make it up to me, then let’s call it even. I helped Artemis kidnap you, and technically I am partly to blame, so if that is really what you want, lets just wipe the slate clean then, at least with us. Okay?”
She nodded. “That sounds fair.”
“Great. Now, I need to tell you something, Captain. I just went in there and had a stern talk with Artemis, which I know he didn’t like too much, but I don’t really care. It was the truth. What he did was wrong, and we all know it. Juliet and I want to do something about it, to make sure it doesn’t happen again, but unfortunately, the ways we can think of to do that are limited, and we aren’t left with a lot of options. So I wanted to ask, and please don’t freak out, but-”
“Yes,” Holly interrupted.
“What? How do you know what I was going ask?”
“The ‘don’t freak out’ kind of gave you away, Butler. I know what you’re wanting to do, and I agree it makes the most sense.”
He breathed a sigh of relief. “Good. I’m going to change the locks on the door, and make a new key for it so that only Juliet and I have copies. Perhaps I’ll do one with one of those electronic keypads you have to put the code in to open.”
Holly cleared her throat. “Exactly how many locks are you planning to put on my door?”
“A few,” he replied. “I don’t want you to feel like a prisoner again, Holly, because I don’t want it to be like that, but it might have to be like that in order to keep you safe. Can you deal with that, at least for a little bit until I can figure out how to get a handle on Artemis’s behavior?”
She shifted uneasily, not liking the idea, but nodded anyhow. “I guess so.”
He squeezed the elf’s shoulder reassuringly. “It won’t be that bad, you’ll see. And thank you. You’re making things a lot easier on me this way.”
“I know, that’s why I agreed,” she sighed.
“Well, now that we have everything sorted out, I think you should rest, Captain. Give your body the rest it needs to heal up.” He stood. “Come on, Juliet.”
“Okay,” the human agreed. “Bye, Fairy Girl.”
“Bye, Juliet,” the elf muttered. She watched the two walk out the door, then rolled over and closed her eyes. She was asleep barely five minutes later.