Black. Blackness is all she sees. It has been the only thing she’s known ever since he left her. She had thought he had cared about her, maybe even loved her. Perhaps, if she thought about it, there had always been something off in his kiss, something insincere about his touch, but she had always believed anyway. She had trusted him, and all it had earned her was a shattered heart.
He had left her, just like her mother, just like her father obviously wanted to, just like her brother would eventually.
She sits alone in the dark room, drowning herself in her memories. Maybe, she thinks, if she can remember clearly enough the smile on his face, the musical sound of his voice in her head, then it will become real. It will all be alright again. He will still be there holding her, the only one who has ever understood her.
But when her eyes open at the faint tap at her door, the world all comes crashing down again. Her light is gone. She is alone in her pitch black world, and she is trapped in the prison of her grief. Three long years’ so-called “love” has evaporated, and will never be replenished.
The knock comes again at the door that keeps out the cruel, harsh world. She pulls her knees up to her chest, eyes squeezed shut, and clamps her hands over her ears, her hands that have been so cold for so long without his to envelop them. No one can enter her chamber of solitude, no one can be allowed to free her from her cell. She is her own judge and jury, and her sentence here is life.
There is a soft click, and she opens her eyes. The lock has slid open, a thin beam of alien light streaming in from the forbidden outside. She sits up a little straighter, and allows herself a brief, fleeting hope. Surely, he was the only one capable of overriding her lock- had he come back for her at last?
The door opens wide enough to cast the intruder’s silhouette across the floor, nearly blinding her. It has been so long since she has seen light that it takes her a fair while to register the smoothed-back, black hair and the locket dangling from one pale hand.
Her eyes widen a fraction. The Irish lilt, the tone of the voice- both are jarringly familiar. She feels her heart soar and break all over again. It’s him, it has to be. It’s Artemis.
The man risks a step into the room, and she nearly dies inside. It’s not Artemis, yet… he is so similar…
“Hello…” she says softly, hearing her voice crack from lack of use. It sounds foreign in her ears by now. “It’s been a while, Myles.”
The man smiles, and makes his way to her bed, sitting down beside her. Her untouched skin easily feels the warmth radiating from his form, and she aches to fall into his arms and cry, just cry, until the world ends. He is, after all, so much like Artemis, her old love…
He holds out the locket, her locket. She remembers it perfectly, and it nearly brings tears to her eyes. A gift from Artemis. When she had left the manor for the last time, it lay in shards on the floor where she had discarded it in her momentary rage. She is amazed, as he drops it into her outstretched palm, that it is perfectly intact. Not even a scratch marrs its heart-shaped surface.
“I fixed it for you,” he says gently, tentatively.
She clutches the locket in her hand, feeling the warmth from the younger Fowl’s hand bleeding onto her own flesh. Her heart. That was what Artemis had always called it. The locket had been her heart, for her to always keep safe.
A sudden memory shakes her, and her delicate fingers pry open the clasp on the side of the heart. His picture is gone. She smiles, but only a half smile. She misses him. She won’t pretend he wasn’t the only one she could ever love. She closes the locket again. He is the only one, but his brother is so close… and she is so lonely…
She hands the locket, her heart, back to him, pressing it firmly into his hand. Their eyes meet, and he smiles. She can tell this is what he wants. She returns the smile, but it doesn’t reach her eyes.
The darkness still rests heavy around them, the weight of reality keeping its presence ever known as the two “lovers” kiss, brought together by persistance and desparation. And, as they break apart, the shadows melt through her, instill themselves in the corners of her mind.
“I love you, Minerva…” he whispers, his voice fragile and honest.
I love you too, Artemis…