Chapter 7- Splitting Hearts
It was a few weeks after the birth that Artemis was finally able to return to Fowl Manor. Finally having gotten Holly mostly straightened around, he felt it was safe, and that she wouldn’t close down again after he left. However, he could still remember clearly that looked in her eyes, the hurt and fear that shouldn’t have been there, but was because of him. He felt another pang of guilt, but shook it off, knowing it was too late to change it now anyhow.
As soon as the young man walked through the doors of his home, he was bombarded by family, and his Butler, who handed him his child without a word. He took him, closing his eyes and just enjoying holding his child in his arms again, and sighing when he realized that this was the last piece he had of his love. He pushed the thought away.
“Oh, Artemis! Look at his eyes, too, dear!” Angeline told her son with way to much enthusiasm.
Artemis gave her a quizzical look. “What’s wrong with hi- oh Frond!” he yelped, when he saw them. “His eyes are blue and hazel!”
“One of yours, one of Holly’s,” Butler said, smiling. “I guess it turns out you didn’t loose that hazel eye after all.”
“I guess I didn’t,” Artemis said, still amazed. He looked down at his son again and smiled at him, and, to his even bigger surprise, the baby smiled back.
“Aw, that’s so cute!” Juliet squealed. “He smiled at him!”
“Which one?” Artemis the first asked, and they all laughed. “Okay, seriously. Let’s give our boys a little time alone together, to let them settle in. Come on, Angeline.” He took his wife’s arm and pulled her away, and everybody else slowly followed suit, leaving Artemis and his son alone.
“Guess it’s just you and me, huh?” he sighed to his child. Then he kissed his forehead and said. “Alright. Let’s go get settled in.”
It was a few weeks later that it happened. In fact, it was the very last day before Artemis the third would have turned a month old, when Holly came knocking at Artemis’s window again.
At first, he didn’t realize what it was. At the time, he was sitting in Artemis’s nursery, trying to rock the child to sleep. He wasn’t having much of an issue, as the boy didn’t seem to mind going to sleep and often didn’t wake up unless there was something that woke him up, when suddenly he heard it again. A loud, insistent tapping.
Artemis looked down at the child in his arms. He didn’t seem to hear it, or if he did, it wasn’t bothering him. He was about half asleep, and his eyes were closed, so Artemis put him down in his bed and went into his room to see what was going on.
He walked in and looked around, and his eyes locked on the window. “Holly!”
He walked over and opened it, and the elf flew inside. For a while, she just hovered there, and they stared at each other. Then finally, she dropped down on his bed and spoke in a low voice. “Hi,” she said sheepishly.
He chuckled, sitting beside her. “Hello, Holly. What brings you back here?”
“I…” she stopped. “Artemis, we need to talk. We both know it, and we can’t keep putting it off.”
“Yes, I’ve been thinking the same thing,” he agreed, sighing. “We do need to talk. I have a feeling I know what you’re going to say, but do go on and say it anyhow.”
“I just… I- I don’t think this is going to work out,” Holly explained, sadness creeping into her voice. “At first, I thought it would. I mean, we started out well, and I won’t lie, I enjoyed our time together as more than friends… But I’m sure you would understand what I mean when I say it’s just to painful now?”
Artemis nodded, laying a hand on her shoulder. “I get it, Holly. Honestly, I was surprised that you came back here at all.”
She shrugged. “I couldn’t just blow you off, considering everything. I felt like I had to talk to you about it, but…” she sighed, looking down and letting the sentence trail off. “Artemis… I- I honestly don’t even know what to say. I can’t think of any way to soften the blow, either. My point is, we’re over. I don’t want it to be this way, but I think it would be better, for both of us.” She shook her head, looking down and wiping her eyes with the back of her hand. When she looked up, he could see she was crying. “I’m sorry… Please don’t hate me for this.”
Artemis sighed, pulling the elf in and hugging her. “You know I could never hate you, Holly,” he sighed, burying his face in her hair. “I understand.” He sighed again, rubbing her back. “Its okay.”
Just like before, he ended up sitting there holding her for at least an hour. Finally, he kissed the top off her head gently and pushed her away. “You should go,” he told her. “Its a long flight back, especially in the dark, and the longer you stay here the harder it will be for you to go.” He pushed her hair back out of her face, then leaned down to kiss her one last time. It took everything he had to pull back.
She nodded, wiping her eyes again. “Okay. I’ll… Maybe- maybe I’ll call you later. Just, you know, so you know I got back safely.” She stood up. He rose with her.
“Of course,” he agreed, inwardly knowing that was a call that would never come. He bent down and hugged her one last time. “Goodbye, Holly.”
Holly squeezed him probably a little tighter than was necessary, but he didn’t say anything, knowing she needed it. Finally, she released him, whispering, “goodbye, Artemis…”
Then she turned, flying out the window, and was gone.
Artemis stared out the window for a minute, then sighed. Rubbing his eyes, he headed back into the nursery.
Neither of them knew that that would be the last time that they saw or heard from the other for almost thirteen years.