“That didn’t go as well as I hoped,” Artemis said with a sigh as we watched his son run from the room. “Artemis!” he called. “Wait!”
He started to turn and run after him, but I grabbed his arm. “Maybe… maybe I should go.”
“No. I did this. I should have to go after him. Besides, he’ll listen to me better than you.”
“Please,” I pleaded. “Let me try. If I can’t convince him, I’ll come get you. Besides, you don’t even know where he could be.”
“And you do?” he asked, eyebrows raised skeptically.
“I have a few ideas,” I admitted. “Please?”
“Holly…” he sighed. “I just don’t want you to get hurt. Artemis… he can be pretty harsh when he gets upset. Are you sure you can handle it? That you even want to?”
“I can handle it,” I promised.
He sighed. “Okay. Go. But call me if you need anything. Okay?”
I grinned and hugged him once before heading out the door. “Thanks, Arty.” I slid out and closed the door behind me before he could remember to protest about me calling him Arty.
I walked out of the manor, looking around slowly for any sign of the boy. He had to be around here somewhere, as he couldn’t have gone far because it had only taken me a few minutes to get out here.
I spotted him a few yards down the street, running so fast you’d think he was being chased by demons. I darted off after him.
He headed straight down the street, running for so long that I would have lost him long ago if I didn’t have the endurance I did from working with the LEP. Finally, he darted off to the side, into the cover of the trees.
He barely made it five feet before collapsing onto the ground, unconscious.
I bent over him, concerned, but it was just exhaustion. I moved the unconscious boy over to a nearby tree trunk, laying him down and covering him with my jacket.
I sat down beside him, gently stroking his hair back off his forehead. He reminded me of his father when he slept. He looked so peaceful with out all the stress lines that he usually wore.
Artemis stirred slightly, and I jumped. He murmured something incomprehensible and rolled over.
I could tell he was going to wake, so I stood and walked over to a nearby tree, leaning on it to give him some space. Okay, I thought as the boy rolled back over. This is it. Here goes nothing.
I just had time to think that last thought before Artemis emitted a low grown and opened his eyes.