Disclaimer: I don’t own Artemis Fowl. If you think I do, you’re stupid. No offense.
I don’t think I titled it right, and parts of it may be confusing, but anyway, I hope you like it. I doubt I’ll win, but I’m entering anyway. Hope you like it.
5 times Artemis did wrong to Holly.
Bong, Bong, Bong, Bong, Bong, Bong, Bong, Bong, Bong, Bong, Bong, Bong. Somewhere within the depths of Fowl Manor, a Grandfather clock struck twelve. Midnight, the dead of night, the Witching Hour. Whatever you preferred to call it, it was the time when the stars twinkled above, the moon shone, and the world was quiet. It was his favorite time of day, a time when he could think what he pleased, without worrying about what there was to do.
But even at midnight he could never think about what he truly wanted to dwell on. It was too private to voice, even to the dead of darkness. He would only think about it once a year, for one hour, one glorious hour; one hour of borrowed time. A Second Midnight.
His favorite hour in the entire year; it only happened because of Benjamin Franklin. Franklin was his favorite inventor of all time, he was, in his opinion, even better than Einstein. It was old Ben Franklin who had invented Daylight Savings Time, and therefore the end of Fall Back. His one repeated hour.
The Second Midnight, as he liked to call it, was the only sixty minutes that he could allow himself time to dwell on what he regretted. And he regretted so many things, almost all relating to her.
But he never thought about them; he had more important things to dwell on. His regrets were always there, though, lurking at the back of his mind.
He welcomed this hour of borrowed time; as it was a chance to ditch his unwelcome thoughts. And he always tried to do so, but always failed. Sure, maybe they got banished for a few days, but the thoughts were always back within seventy-two hours, almost stronger than before.
Not only was this hour borrowed, it was hidden. For as soon as the solar-powered self-rewinding-synced-with-Greenwich-Meantime Grandfather clock struck twelve a second time, he considered that time lost in the past, along with all the thoughts he had thought in that wonderful hour.
He picked up a college ruled notebook and a freshly sharpened #2 pencil and sat at his desk. He poised the pencil above the page, ready to write. Maybe writing down his regrets would help him to forget them, and focus on the future.
He titled the page My Regrets in neat print (he absolutely hated cursive), skipped a line, a printed a tidy ‘1’. He started writing, pouring his entire body, mind, heart, and soul into the page, in the hopes that he could forget the memories he printed.
He regretted the time he had kidnapped her; it was, in his opinion, one of the worst things he had ever done. Even if he had done it to raise funds for the searching for his father, he had actually been prepared to let her die. He had objectified her, and it was not the first –or was it last? – time he had done so\would do so. He had tried to convince himself her life was worth no more than a fly. But a life is a life, how could he ever not have known that? If it hadn’t been for her, he would never have so completely turned his life around. He wrote these thoughts down, making sure there was not a single mistake in his handwriting.
He skipped another line, and thought about the second time he did something he regretted. He had done so many wrongs to her, so many.
He had sold her. Sold her! Not even held her for ransom, to give her back unharmed, as long as the People met his demands. This time, he had sold her, completely aware of the fact that she would most likely die. He had done it without a thought to all her wishes and dreams, hopes that might die unfulfilled. Once again, he had done it for gold-no, not gold, diamonds. He flew into a rage, his silent screams echoing throughout the house, and faded soundlessly away, leaving no record that they had once reverberated there. For though he screamed with all his might, he was in a time when nothing could have any repercussions, not even a shattered crystal vase, damaged beyond repair by a regretful teenager’s shrill shrieking. He had given her up to the enemy, as a prisoner of war with no hope of ever returning. Oh, how he hated himself! He wrote this down, too, though in his heart he was beginning to realize that there was only one way to fix this web of wrongs he had created, and scribbling them down was not it, no matter how much he wanted it to be so.
He had lied to her, again and again, but a specific time stood out among the rest. He had taken advantage of her, taken advantage of her sorrows and weaknesses, because he thought there was no other way. He had regretted it immediately, wished with all his heart he hadn’t said it, but he hadn’t even tried to call the words back, as he had thought it was the best, and perhaps only, course of action, no matter how much it tore his heart apart. Eventually, he had admitted that wrong, and got in return a cold and stony companion. But he had acknowledged, even welcomed, the treatment he got, as he knew it was his deserved penance. Later they had made up, but the regret had stayed, a cold stone of guilt in his heart. He had tried, again and again, to tear it out, but to no avail; it had stayed. He was trying, once again, to rip it from his body, but he knew it would only work if he…he wouldn’t, couldn’t, think about it, as it would mean throwing caution to the winds, something a Fowl never did.
He racked his mind, knowing there was another regret there, but not able to find it. It wasn’t a work of his remorse that he couldn’t find it, it was an effect of, day after day, ignoring the sadness the event had brought, until the memory left but the sadness stayed, ever plaguing him. He remembered it now; it was an accident, but terrible all the same. He had caused her finger to be ripped off, and then taken her magic for himself, while he slept. He had deprived her of what she needed when she needed it most, and the reason she had needed it in the first place was his entire fault as well. The sadness and guilt chased him in circles, hounding him, chasing him without rest, until he could have no clear train of thought. He must get rid of all this guilt…but how?
The last thing he regretted, it was both the most harmless and harmful thing of all, it gave no pain to her, but was constantly destroying him; gnawing at his heart. He had never told her how he felt for her; he was almost certain she knew, the way he acted, but he had never formally told her. If they never had another adventure together, if the world was never again in crisis, and he still hadn’t told her how he felt, what would happen? Would he fade away like cotton on a breeze or would he fall for- he shuddered, how could he ever love her?! Her golden locks, her genius, oh, how he hated her in comparison to her auburn hair, fiery as her temper, her quick wits and her courage? He hoped it wouldn’t come to that.
The nagging feeling of hopelessness that had been lurking restlessly in his mind now exploded with full force, ricocheting in his skull. The recording of his sorrows; it would never work. It would remain as evidence after this solitary hour, scalding his eyes every time his gaze fell upon it. There was another way to fix his heart, to mend his soul. But oh, if it didn’t work, he would lose every last shred of dignity that he owned. But he would have to try. There was no way around it.
He picked up his fairy communicator and called the one number the phone could call. She answered it on the first ring. He could see in the view screen that her face was shining with…hope. Such a rusty expression for him.
“Yes?” she asked. Everything weighted on his answer.
“I’ve done so much wrong to you, kidnapped you, sold you, lied to you, chopped off your finger and stole your magic…I’m so sorry.”
“I know.” Those two words off hers, they were so unexpected and yet filled him with relief and hope, washing away his guilt. There was one more thing he had to do now, before he could rest.
Just before he could do so, a clock chimed far away, echoing over carpeted stairways and polished floors. His sadness and guilt was trapped in the Second Midnight, never to get out. And anything he did now would count, for real, no longer the vapor of his imagination. From this moment on, everything would count. He would make sure it would.
“Holly…” Artemis took a deep breath. It was now or never.
“Holly…I love you.” What would happen now was out of his hands. He could only hope and wish for the best.
Holly whispered, “I know,” And then she said something else, something Artemis had never before heard from her direction. “and I love you too.”
Artemis sighed and smiled. This was one thing he would never regret; he was sure of it.