Chapter 6- Death Notices and Recovery
Artemis started to head back to the waiting room, but he ran into the doctor on the way there. The man stopped him and said, “she’s in the recovery room now, Mr. Fowl. I grant you, she doesn’t look the best, but she’ll make it.”Artemis exhaled deeply, relieved. “Thank you, doctor.”
“No need to thank me. I’m just doing my job.” He extended his hand, and Artemis took it. They shook hands and then parted ways, both scurrying in opposite directions, although for equally important reasons.
It took a few minutes to walk down to the recovery room, as it was clear at the other end of the floor from the nursery. But that was okay, because it gave him a little time to think.
I really hope I’m doing the right thing, Artemis thought, as he slowly walked up and came to a stop in front of the big double doors. Then he sighed. It has to be. If it keeps them both safe, then it’s the right thing to do…. although, that doesn’t meant that this won’t hurt like hell.
He slowly opened one of the doors, peeking cautiously inside. There weren’t many fairies in the room, only about maybe ten or fifteen, and that was counting guests as well.
Holly was clear in the back, on the same bed she had been on during the birth, alone. He breathed a sigh of relief on seeing her, unconscious but alive again, and wasted no time in rushing over to her and kneeling by her side.
“Holly,” he breathed, taking her hand and rubbing it. She groaned softly, rolling over to look at him. Her eyes fluttered open, then closed, then open again. This time, they stayed open.
“Artemis?” she croaked.
“Yes, Holly, it’s me.” He squeezed her hand. “Are you okay?”
“I’m sleepy, but alive,” Holly said, yawning. She blinked a few times, then scooted over a little and rested her head on his arm, hugging it. “So, have you seen him?”
“Who?” Artemis asked, knowing exactly who, but praying he was wrong. I’m not ready to talk about this yet…
She gave him a funny look. “Our son, of course. Who else?”
Artemis grimaced, hating what he was about to say, but knowing he had to. “About that… Holly, I really don’t know how to say this… we don’t have a son.”
“What do you mean?” she demanded. “It did come out a boy, right?”
“Yes, he was a boy,” Artemis sighed. “The thing is…” He hesitated, taking a deep breath, then said, “he’s dead, Holly.”
“What?!” the elf shrieked. “How? No! T- that’s not possible!” She sat up slightly, looking at him with the most pleading look he’d ever seen, especially from her. “Please tell me this is some kind of sick joke,” she begged, tugging his sleeve. “You can’t be serious.”
“Holly…. I wish I could,” he said honestly. “I really do. But it’s the truth; our son is gone. He didn’t make it.” He looked down at her, sympathy and hurt showing in his eyes as he watched her shake her head rapidly, tears sliding down her cheeks. Her whole body wracked with sobs as she clung to him for all she was worth. He cradled her gently against him and made soft, soothing noises in her ears, but it was no use. She wouldn’t calm down.
She laid there and cried in his arms for so long, he ended up laying there holding her for most of the night, even after her tears had subsided.
Finally, she fell asleep in his arms, and he laid her back down on the bed and went to talk to the nurses about getting checked out. By the time Holly woke up again, he had all of the stuff gathered up, and ready to go, even the discharge papers.
Holly was rather quiet the whole day, no doubt deep in thoughts and almost buried in grief. She wouldn’t do anything, for a while; the next morning, it took everything Artemis had to force her to eat something.
It took days to get him to convince her to come out of her little shell again, and even then she would only do simple things. She would talk, but would only give simple yes or no answers to every thing. She would eat and drink, but she never ate much; it was always just enough to get by.
It took weeks for Artemis to pull her almost completely out of the funk she was in, and he had to stay below ground the whole time. It killed him to be down there, knowing his son was up at the manor waiting for him, but it also killed him to think of leaving Holly like this. My son will still be there when I’m done here, Artemis resolved, dismissing the line of thought.
In the end, it was worth it. It took a while, but Artemis finally managed to get Holly almost back to her normal self. She started getting up, and moving, and interacting fully with other people again, and she even went back to work. But the whole time, anyone could see, she had a different sort of look in her eyes. You could still see that fiery defiance, and the strong personality, and everything else that made Holly who she was. But if you looked a little deeper, you could also see the shadow of the pain, all of the pain that life had put her through, brought even closer into view by this new tragedy, and the new blow to her heart.
And this time, that shadow wouldn’t fade back like it did before, because this hurt wouldn’t fade out and dull, like the others. It would remain the same, and remain there, forever.