Okaaaay. No updates for a while, I know. Don’t freak out on me, please. That would really not be cool. I know I disappeared for a while, and to any body who cares, I should be on more now, though I make no promises, so don’t hold me to it…
Anyhow, without further ado, the next chapters of BATB!! 🙂
Over the next few days, Artemis and Holly didn’t see much of each other. That was because Butler was determined to keep them apart in fear of Artemis’s recent behavior.
However, he did accept the fact that Holly could not be locked in her room for days on end, so she was allowed to roam the manor as long as Butler knew where Artemis was at all times. Even if it meant to go send Juliet to spy on the genius- who usually found out the second she entered a twenty foot radius.
The day after Artemis had gone through the tunnels and to Holly’s room, the chandelier in the main room blew a fuse. The chandelier was in fact so complicated to reroute to the circuits, even Butler couldn’t fix it alone. And as neither Juliet nor Artemis could be of any assistance, they had to bring in a person to repair it.
The day before the person came, Butler was worried of the chance of Holly being exposed.
“Try to stay away from the main room tomorrow, okay?” Butler told Holly.
If only I knew how to go through the tunnels like Artemis,thought Holly, then I could be able to not risk exposure.
She nodded warily, but she knew that she would have to go through there at some point the next day.
Artemis stayed in his study in that amount of time. Company deals, and evil plots did not come as easy as you think when you have a fairy prisoner running around for whom you have mutual feelings for. She was so aggravating sometimes, but the last talk they had a few nights ago proved that they could have a civilized conversation.
Butler informed him of the chandelier and of the situation with the person coming to repair it, and his worries about Holly. Artemis didn’t know quite what was worrying Butler. Holly was a former captain, she knew how to handle herself.
But perhaps she was showing signs of change. Constant worrying and being scared, and although he had brought in those himself, he couldn’t help but wondering if this was the same elf he had kidnaped not even a month ago. But who was he to judge, usually he had his emotions in check and lately he had been so violent and angry.
I better meditate later, he thought to himself.
The next day came quickly, and when the person came Holly stayed in her room. Juliet came in to check on her soon after he arrived.
“Hey, Fairy Girl,” the blonde said, closing the door.
“Juliet! He could here you!” she quipped.
Juliet went and sat next to the elf on the floor, leaning her back against the bedside, “And what if he does? He has a job to do, its not like he’s going to go to the government just because I said the word ‘fairy.'”
Holly sighed. “Point taken, I guess. I’ve just been on edge all day.”
“Well, there’s nothing to worry about. Now, how are those wounds healing?” she said, looking Holly over.
Holly levered her arms in front of her. “I can put my arms up to here now.”
Juliet took in a sharp breath. “Ouch,” she finally muttered.
Holly laughed. “Yeah.”
Juliet got up. “Come on, we can go and watch a movie in my room.”
Holly shrank back down, wincing as it caused a shot of pain in her back. “No thanks, then we would have to cross Butler and…”
“Thank you, we would have to cross Butler and Josh. And I’ve been through enough this past while, I would rather not like to be discovered today and then dissected tomorrow, so no thank you.”
“Come on, Holly,” the girl groaned, rolling her eyes. “I’ll distract him and you can go and sneak into my room. And you won’t even have to cross Artemis in his study, he’s downstairs.”
Holly thought about this for a moment. “Fine,” she mumbled.
“Great!” Juliet exclaimed, jumping up and scrambling to the door. “Just give me a thirty second head start.” Then she left the room.
Now it was Holly’s turn to roll her eyes, nevertheless she counted to thirty and left, covering her ears the best she could with her short hair.
Holly turned to the right. Juliet had already distracted the unfamiliar human, though he was still mostly focused on the chandelier. Holly crept past Butler and was about halfway there when Josh lost his footing on the ladder, knocking down the chandelier. It flew sideways, heading straight for Holly.
Luckily, Butler was ready for anything. He pushed Holly out of the way at the very last second, and then rolled himself to safety. But was Holly safe?
Far from it.
Holly tripped when she was pushed backwards and was rolling down the staircase, not at a hard enough pace to kill her on impact, but not exactly a soft pace either. It still hurt.
And unfortunately, that meant she was going to hit the bottom of the stairwell…hard.
She was already wounded bad, and with her bouncing down each stair this last blow could mean the end for her. Holly braced herself for the hard floor hitting her.
But it never came.
No, it never did. Instead she was caught.
By Butler? No.
By Juliet? No.
Holly opened her eyes, her hazel ones meeting his ice blue ones.
“Are you okay?” Artemis asked, concern flashing in his face.
Holly tried to speak, but that fall didn’t go by without repercussions, and the repercussion of that fall hurt… a lot.
Artemis asked again if Holly was okay, but the elf was too weak to answer, and blacked out before either of them could make another move. She was bleeding badly, yet again.
Artemis sighed and hoisted the elf into his arms, yelling for Butler at the same time.
The bodyguard’s head poked out the door. He opened his mouth to ask what had happened, but then he saw Holly’s unconscious form in his arms and sighed. “Take her to her room, I’ll be there in a second.”
“No! She’s bleeding, she needs help now!” Artemis protested.
Butler stared at him for a minute, seemingly shocked. “Okay,” he said slowly. “I’m coming. Why don’t you-”
But the boy was beyond hearing, already out the door and was heading towards her room with a mutter of “good.” He stopped at the door when he realized that it was still locked.
He muttered a curse and shifted the elf’s weight to one arm as he reached up to key in the code. He wasn’t supposed to know it, but he guessed that if Butler really wanted to keep him out that badly he should have been smart enough to make the code something harder than his sister’s birthday. After that it was only a matter of a few dead bolts and a key, which he had a copy of because it was the same type of lock as the one in attic, and he was able to throw open the door.
He laid Holly down on her bed, then went in the bathroom to fetch a towel t soak up some of the blood while he waited on Butler.
It didn’t take long for him to show up in the doorway, everything he needed to sew Holly up cradled in his arm.
“What the heck happened?” he demanded, leaning over her. “I swear, every time you get near the poor elf she gets hurt.”
“It does seem that way, but this time it wasn’t my fault,” said Artemis. “In fact, I’m probably the reason she isn’t dead right now. With all the trauma she’s had lately, and the pace she was rolling at, that last blow could have killed her.”
“Yes,” Butler agreed. “Nice catch, by the way.” He continued to work as he spoke, and Holly’s wound was almost closed now.
“Thanks,” the boy muttered. He was more focused on Holly than anything else.
Butler noticed this and decided not to comment, finishing up quickly. “There,” he said, sounding satisfied. “She’ll be fine now.” He turned and started walking towards the door, but stopped halfway there upon realizing that his charge was not following him. “Artemis?”
“I’m staying.” Artemis’s voice was firm as he spoke.
“Artemis, I’m not sure that that’s such a good idea. You guys don’t exactly get along, and-”
“I’m perfectly in control of my temper, Butler,” he said, a hint of irritation in his tone. “Now, go help the repair guy finish fixing the chandelier. We will be fine.”
Butler studied him for a minute, wondering what had come over him now. Nevertheless, he turned and exited the room with only a mutter of “the repair guy’s name is Josh” and a shake of his head.
Artemis sat down on the edge of the bed, gingerly touching the elf’s arm, and a small sigh escaped him. He felt an almost overwhelming urge to take her hand, but he shook it off and turned to stare out the window across the room.
He sat like that for awhile, lost in his thoughts, and didn’t realize when she woke up until she sat up and said, “Artemis?”
He jumped. “Holly. You’re awake.”
“Yeah,” she sighed. “Though if you hadn’t caught me, I probably wouldn’t be. I would have died.”
Artemis shook his head. “You don’t know that for sure, but there was a great possibility.”
She shrugged. “Either way, you saved me from at least getting really hurt again. I think I at least owe you a thank you for that.”
“Don’t bother. If you want to thank me, let’s just forget about the way you got really hurt the first time. Agreed?”
“I can try,” she said hesitantly. “We’ll put it behind us, but I can’t guarantee that I can forget about it fully, or anything like that.”
“Fine,” he agreed. They sat in silence for a minute, then looked at each other simultaneously. Their eyes met, and they held each other’s gaze briefly before Holly shifted her eyes away.
She’s trying to avoid more orders, Artemis realized. She’s still worried about that. He thought about his previous orders given to her, and realized what Holly was probably looking at.
He followed her gaze and saw he was right. She was staring at the window, and he didn’t miss the flash of longing in her eyes while she was doing so. “Holly,” he said softly.
She shifted her gaze back to him. At the look on his face she must have realized she’d been caught, and she ducked her head, her face flushing red. “Sorry,” she murmured.
“What are you apologizing for?” he asked. She just shrugged and didn’t look at him again. He stood up with a sigh, and held out his hand. She looked at it, but didn’t take it. “Come with me,” he said.
She bit her lip, but nodded and took his hand. He pulled her to her feet, keeping a firm hold on her hand as he pulled her along with him.
She was forced to stop five feet away from the window. “I can’t, Artemis, remember? You said no outside doors or windows.”
“I know what I said before,” he told her. “This is what I’m saying now. As long as I’m with you, and you don’t have any intentions on trying to jump out or something stupid like that, you can look out the window. Now come on.” He tugged her hand again, and this time she was able to follow him to the window.
He stopped a few feet away, but pushed her forward. There was a little window seat there on the windowsill, and she sat hesitantly down on the edge. She reached up and touched the glass with the tips of her fingers, looking out intently, and he could she how much these simple luxuries affected her. A small smile spread out on her face, causing him to smile a bit too.
He crossed and sat down beside her on the seat. “Feel better?”
“A little,” Holly admitted. “Thank you.”
He nodded and looked away, leaving her to her thoughts for the moment as he submerged in his. When he looked back, Holly had rested her head on her knees, still staring out the window.
At first he thought that that was the only thing that had changed. Then he saw the tear rolling down her cheek. He had almost missed it.
“Holly? What’s wrong?” he asked, concern coloring his tone even after he fought to keep it out.
She shook her head, and wiped the tear away. “Nothing, I guess. I mean, it’s beautiful, and thank you for letting me do this, it’s just…”
He squeezed her knee. “It’s just what?”
“It’s just…” She ducked her head, her cheeks burning again. “I just wish I could actually go out,” she finished, so quietly her voice was barely audible.
He stared at her for a moment, then sighed and leaned back. “No, Holly. I’m sorry, but I can’t allow you to do that.”
“I know. It was a stupid hope, but I couldn’t stop the thought…” She trailed off, glancing at him for the briefest moment before her eyes darted back to the window. She hoped her disappointment didn’t show too much, but she knew she wasn’t good at hiding her emotions, nowhere near as good as Artemis usually was, so she figured it did.
She looked up when Artemis stood. “Are you leaving?” she asked. He nodded, and she sighed. She went to stand up too, but he pushed her back down gently.
“Don’t do anything stupid, and you know what I mean, and I won’t care about you coming near this window. None of the others now, but I’ll allow it here. Okay?”
She nodded, and he patted her shoulder once before turning and heading towards the door. She watched him leave, then turned silently back to the window, unable to keep the small smile from reappearing on her face.