It’s pointless reading this if you have not read my other two stories, “Just a Dream” and “I only dream of You.” Go read them right now! Go go go! Are you reading???
Anyhoo, this installment in the “Dream” saga involves Butler reading a poem Artemis never meant another pair of eyes to see… a poem revealing his deepest and most intimate feelings involving one Holly Short. This chapter’s dedicated to artymon, in the hopes that he will stop trying to hack my email. 😉 More to come SOON (like tomorrow, or tonight if I can)
Butler stepped tentatively into Artemis’s room. His stomach churned furiously, warning him of the day’s dangers. But he knew this mission might be his last; Opal Koboi battled mostly with her wits, and that was Artemis’s department.
He pulled apart the curtains, letting the room flood with light. He then noticed that Artemis’s bed was cold and empty; the sheets were mussed and tossed about frantically. Butler glanced at his feet to find a large red stain on the carpet; it glistened still.
An empty bed. Blood on the carpet. Master Artemis nowhere in sight.
Butler’s breath came in short gasps. He turned wildly to face the room, only to find the one and only Artemis Fowl, splayed across his desk. His face was oddly distorted; his cheek pressed upon the wood, pulling back his lip to reveal white teeth. A broken pen lay at Butler’s feet, its red ink still oozing from the shattered and delicate glass.
Butler smiled, and leaned forward to wake Artemis. As soon as his fingers grazed Artemis’s shoulder, the young boy shot upright, his eyes wide and horrorstruck.
“Holly!” he screamed, his voice cutting through the sleepy, warm morning air. Butler stumbled backward.
Artemis looked quite confused; for a moment, he glanced about his room, his eyes lingering on the space just next to his door, as though looking for a nonexistent figure. Finally, his pupils focused and he rose from his desk.
“Butler,” he said briskly. “What time is it?”
“Six, Artemis,” Butler responded automatically. He mentally cursed himself for the octave jump in his voice.
Artemis smoothed his hair, and glanced down at the desk where he had been sleeping. His eyes traced a notebook page, and his mouth slowly fell open. He tore the page from the book, tossing it into the wastebasket. He walked to his dresser, pulling out a suit and a few gadgets. His eyes met Butler’s, who hastily looked away.
“Is there something wrong, old friend?” asked Artemis, who seemed pretty wired himself. Butler didn’t usually nose into Artemis’s business, but the question left his lips before he could stop it.
“What were you dreaming about, Artemis?”
Artemis’s eyebrows shot up, and a dry laugh escaped his mouth, riding on a breath. “Did I say something?”
“Just one word: ‘Holly’,” Butler admitted. Artemis half laughed, half groaned, pushing raven black hair off his forehead with tense, curled fingers. He sank onto the bed, clutching the sheets.
“I must have had a dream,” Artemis murmured, his voice quite dreamy and foreign. There was a forced calm layered over his emotions. “Yes, that must be it. A nightmare, no doubt.”
Butler stared blankly at his young master. Artemis seemed unhinged; something had rattled him. It must be more than a dream, Butler thought; no dream could disturb Artemis Fowl this much.
“Would you wake Holly?” Butler asked. Artemis’s head shot upward, his eyes defensive.
“Why?” Artemis snapped. “Why can’t you do it?”
Butler was taken aback. He could not answer for a moment, but when he found his voice, he murmured, “Of course I can, Artemis. I just have a lot on my hands right now, what with waking you and gathering all necessary equipment, preparing luggage for all of us, and providing an excuse to your father and the twins…”
Butler’s voice petered out. Artemis looked as though he had aged ten years in his sleep; his eyes were saddened and troubled, his lips were pursed in thought. His face looked a tad stretched; each feature looked almost uncomfortable where it sat.
“I’m sorry,” Artemis sighed. “Truly, I am. I just had a very long night… or should I say a short night? I must not have slept even three hours. I’ll wake Holly, my friend. Go about your business.”
Artemis left the room with his head slightly bent, his shoulders sagging, and his eyes focused firmly on the floor. He looks like a soldier heading into war, Butler thought absently. Not at all like a boy should look when simply waking one of his best friends.
Butler carefully packed a suitcase for Artemis, full of different equipment and clothing. It did not take very long. With the suitcase in hand, Butler strode for the door.
As he did so, his eyes strayed about the room, as eyes do; and soon, his pair found the almost empty wastebasket next to Artemis’s desk. The paper that Artemis had so hurriedly crushed and removed from sight peeked out at Butler, tantalizingly crumpled and secretive.
Butler’s body jerked oddly as he made to keep moving across the room, yet his head did not cooperate. The paper fluttered gently, though there was no breeze; a corner flipped up to revealing a single fragment of a sentence; ‘Into my life, into my soul.’
It sounded like a poem. Butler yearned to untangle the paper from itself, forcing it to show its forbidden contents; but he would never intrude on something so personal in Artemis’s life. Would he?
It was stupid, really. It was just a single paper. Artemis scribbled notes to himself all the time; it must just be another sheet he did not need anymore. Though the boy’s expression as he tore the paper from the notebook had been so intriguing; he looked terrified, as though if another soul were to lay eyes on the paper it was devastate him. Of course, this made Butler want to read the material even more.
A good three minutes passed, though it felt like longer. Butler’s hand strayed devilishly outwards, stretching towards the basket; finally, Butler decided it must be nothing of great importance, and he would return the sheet to its original place before Artemis came back with the newly awakened Holly.
Butler snatched the paper from the basket quickly, glancing nervously around him as he did so, as though the butterflies fluttering near the window would report his actions to Artemis. He smoothed the paper on the desk, bending awkwardly to reach the wood. His eyes swallowed the contents of the paper greedily, the eyelids opening further with each line.
The poem read:
Want, need, desire
Things my heart never held
Until she came in the form of a hostage
Into my life, into my soul
Teasing, taunting, just out of reach.
How cruel that these emotions,
So pure and good
Are resented by the one who holds them
For they only bring pain in the nastiest form.
Heartache I could do without,
But to leave the pain is to leave her
Something I cannot do.
Slowly she is killing me
Yet filling me with unknown life.
This half life/half death
Is pain and pleasure
Hot and cold
And incredibly tiring.
But how to end it?
To end this is to end all things.
To end us is to end the little shred of hope I still clutch
To my torn heart.
So I continue
Neither living nor dead.
And all over the page were the words: Amor est potestas. Love is power. These letters were scrawled untidily, not at all like Artemis’s normal handwriting.
Butler was in shock. ‘In the form of a hostage’? That had to mean Holly. The poem was about Holly. You could hear the click as Butler’s brain made sense of Artemis’s odd actions, connecting the dots.
Artemis had awoken screaming Holly’s name. He had been unfocused and nervous, unlike his usual self; he had fallen asleep at his desk writing a forbidden love poem to one Holly Short. And Artemis had been more than reluctant to enter Holly’s room as she slept.
Artemis loved her. It had to be.
Many emotions battled for Butler’s attention inside his heart; joy expanded within him like a balloon, happy for the unlikely couple; but the balloon was soon popped by a pin made of sadness. The two could never be, that much was certain. Two conflicting species with such different personalities; the relationship would be hell. It already was, yet heaven as well. Anger flitted quickly across Butler’s heart, dancing here and there, fading out of sight at times but always returning; the cause of the anger was unknown, but Butler did feel a tiny bit of resentment towards Holly for causing Master Artemis any pain. A thousand other emotions slowly, quietly, and carefully played around Butler’s mind, until they all bubbled down into good old disbelief.
Butler realized he had clutched the paper so tightly, it had ripped in places; half of the poem was undistinguishable. No matter, he reassured himself nervously; Artemis meant for no one to see it in the first place. Guilt throbbed in his stomach at the thought.
Butler let the paper fall back into the wastebasket, clearing his throat and walking out the door as though his eyes were not soiled with the memory of an image he never should have seen. His face burning slightly, Butler went to fetch his young master and his secret love before they could demolish each other’s hearts any further.
*Pant pant* Need… comments!