Artemis hated forms. Certificates, documents, the like.
It was a strange thing. His entire life was filled with them. The safe in his parent’s walk-in closet was filled with them. He would never get away from the paper, ink, and official seal. It was a hopeless hate he fostered, since documents were an essential part of the daily routines of life, but it was a desperate revulsion that he’d kept for years.
Would not it have been better if he’d never seen the Certificate?
He’d still have the memory, true. But if he had never seen the Certificate, never touched it or held it in his hand, then he wouldn’t have the tangible evidence. The Memory might have been pushed out of sight, out of mind.
Artemis sighed. Somehow, he doubted he could have ignored the Memory. His mind liked to torment himself sometimes.
“It does not matter,” he told himself softly.
In his parents’ walk-in closet, he gently pushed the door, plunging himself into darkness as the lock clicked shut.
Every once in a while, Artemis lost his composure. He made certain that the times when he did he was alone.
It was not so much that he was embarrassed of letting his emotions show through, letting himself behave like an ordinary teenager once in awhile, but if his friends or family did see him like this, they would smother him. Artemis did not want to be treated like some fragile emotional doll.
The thick carpet cushioned his knees as he sat down. The safe was pushed into a corner of the closet, and he reached over, spinning the combination. In the silent dark, he could hear the tick as he reached the correct numbers.
The safe opened. His hand brushed across the documents.
Each had a different texture. The twins’ birth certificates had a clean, glossy new surface; his parents’ marriage credential was slightly worn but silky; his grandparents’ death dates were sharply edged but had a grained, rough feel.
He felt the Certificate. Artemis pulled it out and held it in his lap.
Why do I do this? he wondered to himself. I don’t enjoy it.
His fingers slowly traced the paper’s sides. The edges were crinkled from being held, and Artemis could not see it in the dark, but he knew that there were slightly transparent spots in the paper. Tearstains. No one else would notice that tiny detail; no one else spent time secluded reading it.
“Certificate of Adoption,” he murmured.
His eyes were adjusting to the lack of light, and he could just make out the dim outline of the paper in front of him. The words were darkly blurry, but that didn’t matter; he knew them all by heart anyway.
Vital Statistics: Certificate of Adoption, it would say. And then, Child’s Personal Data.
“1, Name of child before adoption: Unknown,” he recited quietly. “2, Name of child after adoption: Artemis Fowl, Jr.”
Date of birth: September 1, 1989.
Place of birth: Waterford, Ireland.
Adoptive Parent’s Personal Data: Father: Relation to child (check one): Adoptive Father/ Natural Father…
He’d been three years old. He was not fully certain, nor ever would be, that the vague recollection of meeting the Fowls in St. Augustine’s Orphanage & School was an actual memory or if it was his imagination filling in empty spaces.
Artemis shut his eyes tightly. Thank goodness he wasn’t crying. It happened sometimes.
“Hi, sweetheart.” A blurry pair of huge, warm brown eyes bent over to his height. “Aren’t you sweet?”
“Hello, miss.” His own small voice. This lady seemed nice, but she’d be asking him questions with a lot of big numbers soon, like all the others did.
“Oh, you’re adorable…Can you look at me, honey?” A gentle hand lifted his chin. There was a sharp intake of breath. “Timmy? Timmy, come here. . .”
The Memory was more hazy feelings and impressions than distinct thoughts and words.
“What did you see, mother?” Artemis said to the ceiling. “Why did you want me?”
All of these questions. Guilt always came with these doubts. Did the Fowls—no, my parents—hear of the incredible intellect of the unnamed three-year-old? Did the particular blue color and arching shape of his eyes match so perfectly Artemis Fowl Sr.’s?
Perhaps Angeline and Timmy had been unable to bear children at that time. An awful feeling seized him: Myles and Beckett had only been born after his parents had both been touched by fairy magic…
Awful suspicions. Bitter misgivings, biting and whirling around him like flies.
Either way, it does not matter, Artemis repeated to himself. His family loved him, and he loved them. It did not matter that they’d hardly spoken of it until after he found the Certificate, didn’t matter that nobody else knew, not even Butler, didn’t matter…
Confound it. He was crying again.