Summary: A Drabble/one-shot. WARNING: Slash fiction. It's the main plot of the story, so if you don't like slash, please don't read.
Artemis sighed, closing the lid of his MacBook. He rubbed his eyes wearily, leaning back in his high-backed leather chair, slumping slightly. Normally he wouldn’t have shown such poor posture, but he was truly exhausted. It had been a long day of surfing the Internet, and yet his searches had yielded no results. Now, at 1:23 in the morning, it was time for bed.
Just as Artemis was about to rise from the chair, a soft knock came on the door. He got up with a flourish, despite his exhaustion, and opened the door wide. He hid his surprise at Butler’s large frame blocking the doorway.
“Butler,” he said in an even tone. “You should be asleep.” The bodyguard nearly rolled his eyes, but managed to keep a straight face.
“You know I wouldn’t leave you down hear all by yourself, Artemis.” He stated calmly, the fingers of his hands laced together in front of him. The corner of Artemis’s mouth twitched with annoyance.
“I am no longer a child, Butler, as you well know. I can take care of myself in my own home.” Butler blinked away an expression of dissatisfaction.
“I’m only doing my job, Arty,” he said softly, a kindness beginning to make its way into his eyes. Artemis smiled wryly, hiding his true emotion. It had been a long time since Butler had called him Arty.
“Well, your job is finished for the evening. I will be retiring to my room now. You may rest.” Butler nodded and turned to leave, only to turn around again to add one last thing. “Goodnight Artemis,” he said gently
The next morning Artemis woke to a young voice outside his room, calling for him. At first he thought it might be one of the twins, but as the grogginess wore off, he could hear that the person the voice belonged to was much older than the twins; more like his own age.
Frowning, he rose out of bed and threw on a plush, red, velvet robe and answered the door. This time he could not hide his expression as he saw the person before him. It was Butler, only much shorter and younger looking, with a full head of hair, wearing clothes far too large for the youthful frame. He was still well built, and his proportions were even, but he was younger. Much younger.
“I-” Artemis began. “Butler… What has happened to you?” He finally gained some composure, beginning to run over the possibilities in his head. This could be an intruder, a look alike but younger form of Butler. Or it could be a young ‘Butler in training’. Or it could really be Butler, de-aged and standing before Artemis with a helpless look in his eyes.
“Arty,” said the far too young voice, “it’s me, Butler. I- I don’t know what happened. I just woke up like this.” At the word ‘this’ he gestured to himself with both hands.
“Well,” Artemis sighed, “we’ll see about that.” As much as he wanted to believe that this teen was indeed a younger Butler, he had to be sure. “When I disappeared a few years ago, and returned to where you had taken up lodging in a cabin, what was the pass code for the door?” He asked, clasping his hands behind his back.
Butler never hesitated. “Your birthday, 01-09.” He answered in his still deep but younger voice. It was awkward to Artemis’s ears.
“Very well,” the genius answered. “I will accept that.” He placed a hand on the man’s (or boy’s; he wasn’t sure what to consider him yet) shoulder. “Now, we may need some help from our fairy friends for this one so-” Butler cut him off.
“Artemis,” he said slowly. “I-” he paused, taking a shaky breath. “I’m not sure i want to go back. You see, Arty, there’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time…” Without further hesitation, the young bodyguard knotted a fist in Artemis’s hair behind his head, pulling the boy’s face close to his. And he kissed him. It was soft and slow, but didn’t last very long. Artemis pulled away hesitantly.
“Butler I-” try to be logical about this, he thought, confusion and some other sensation he couldn’t identify swirling around in his head. “I think-” But Butler cut him off again.
“Shh,” he coaxed, stroking Artemis’s hair. He pulled him back to press his newly found youthful lips to Artemis’s again, finding them unusually sweet and soft compared to the young man’s usual disposition.
There was no being logical for Artemis now. It was too late for that. After a moment he kissed Butler back, lacing his fingers behind the bodyguard’s neck, having to push up on his toes to reach the tall youth’s lips.
Finally they pulled away from each other, breathing in sync, slightly heavier than normal breaths disrupting the otherwise quiet hallway.
Artemis was the first to speak. “I think,” he continued his thought from before, “that I love you, Butler,” he finished with certainty. And this budded a new relationship between bodyguard and principal.
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