Her, hey guys. My complete apology is in my bio. But here I am again, hopefully back for good, with a fic that I WILL keep on updating! I still love this site and I’m going to keep contributing.
For those who used to know me, I’m older than I was before (duh, right?) so my fics will have be more advanced and better written. Without further ado, here’s the fic! I hope you enjoy.
Deep Down Within
Holly Short liked the rain. Being a fairy who was almost always confined to the depths of a subterranean city, this came naturally. Ironically, though, humans seemed to have got irritated with it, and a millennia ago the rainy kind of weather had been attributed to gloominess. Well, Holly didn’t think of it as gloomy. So long as it wasn’t hurting anyone, it was almost as good as the sunshine that Mud Men oh-so-dearly loved. Perhaps it was that love that started them destroying the layer that protected them from it—a notion which, when she had presented it to Artemis some time back, had been considered hysterical.
That was exactly the Artemis she would’ve preferred to be babysitting right now, on the cold and rainy evening that was today.
She noticed something move on the board game and hid a grin.
“That snake takes you back to the fifth square.”
The Irish boy seated opposite to her on the floor glared up with his stunning blue eyes and whisking black hair. She knew the bigger reason for his annoyance was the navy blue sweatshirt he had on. “I am aware, Captain,” he replied, looking back at his piece on the board. “But square number six would lead me up to number eighty-nine, thus putting my pawn five whole squares ahead of yours.”
Holly raised an eyebrow. “Mud Boy, we’re rolling two dice. You’re not going to get to number six.”
Artemis sighed. “This game had idiotic chances to begin with.”
“What, Artemis Fowl can’t win Snakes and Ladders? What kind of a genius are you?”
The human boy pretended he hadn’t heard that and gestured her to take her turn with the dice. Holly smirked and almost obliged but something crossed her mind. He doesn’t remember anything, but he’s trying to convince me that he does. Acting like he remembers what my company is like.
“You know what,” she said suddenly. “How about you roll again?”
“Yes, to slowly progress through the squares until you win.” Artemis shrugged. “Alright.”
The elf tilted her head and grinned. The fact that she was aiming to gain something out of this was a little obvious. “How about I let you roll one dice?”
The Mud Boy decided to consider this offer. “Thanks, Holly, but my chances are still very lo–”
Holly grabbed the dice off the board and tossed it back on. Artemis didn’t know whether she had somehow planned it, or whether things just didn’t go awkward for her because of sheer luck, but the single cube landed perfectly with the number one side up. “There. You wanna take that?”
Artemis blinked. “It would be stupid to say no.”
Holly smirked. “Okay, so these are my conditions. One, you move the piece up the ladder rung by rung.”
“Are you trying to make me look ridiculous?”
“Also, you have to let me move your hand.”
Artemis stopped in the middle of forming another accusation. “I’m sorry, what?”
His friend—former friend maybe—gently placed her hand over his. An involuntary shiver of delight ran up his spine—wait, what? No, that really couldn’t be it. But he felt it, it was there and he knew this wasn’t the first time.
From across the room, Butler looked up from whatever he was reading and scowled.
“Holly, I told you about playing with his hormones.”
The elf withdrew her hand and scowled back at him. “What? I was getting bored. Watching his face change colour is fun. And it’s not my fault his hormones are all weird.”
Artemis’s head snapped back in her direction and it was his turn to scowl. “So, Foaly told you that the cloning set off an imbalance in my hormones and that my body is going to react to close physical contact in whichever way is easiest for it.”
Holly almost grinned darkly. “It’s just temporarily irritating you, Mud Boy, and it’s fun to watch. It’s not as if you actually like me or anything in that way. Now if that were the case, what I’m doing would be pretty cruel.” She squinted at him suspiciously. “You don’t like me, do you Fowl?”
Despite himself, Artemis coloured just a bit. “Preposterous.”
Conveniently, Holly didn’t notice and went back to the board game looking satisfied. Butler did, but he simply shook his head and went back to reading. Without further ado, Artemis moved his pawn to square number eighty-nine. He could see all too well that the elf was hiding another grin, and it was a little too clear what she was thinking.
She thinks I’m returning to them. That my memories are coming back and that I know they’re my friends.
Artemis couldn’t believe how guilty he felt. I should stop giving everyone false hope.
The rain continued to prattle on the grass of the grounds outside, loud and fast enough to be heard a distance away. Thunder rumbled somewhere in the sky, followed by a bold flash of lightning that pushed the rain beyond its limits. The noise it made on the ground increased tenfold. Chirping insects, creatures of the night that would otherwise be asleep, all at once started their orchestra of unique sounds in protest to the weather. Luckily they weren’t all nearby, in the case of the creatures who howled, and none of it was loud enough to disturb either. There was definetely something beautiful, though, about those sounds. He was glad to be back in the world of the living. At least the part that didn’t involve coping with the memory therapies.
Fortunately, those with the People weren’t the only memories he had lost as of lately. He’d woken up in the new body with no data of his period as a spirit, among the Berserkers, because now he remembered only that those hadn’t been pleasant memories. He could live without them.
“How long till your visa expires, Holly?” asked Butler, who didn’t even look up. “It’s tiring enough to babysit Artemis. But then you come along–”
“Are you suggesting that I need babysitting?” asked Holly in a half-incredulous tone.
“You need much more than babysitting if you think the hormone thing is funny.” The manservant grunted. “I’m afraid of what you might do if I leave the room.”
“Talk as if I’m not here,” murmured Artemis.
“I won’t do anything,” protested Holly. “Oh, wait, I’ll take out my Scrabble game. So life-threatening.”
Despite himself, Butler hid a chuckle and put the magazine down. “Good. I’m going to go prepare myself some coffee. This is getting too exhausting. Artemis, anything?”
Artemis shook his head. “No thank you. But a jug of cold water and a glass would be convenient if I am to spend the rest of the evening playing this tiresome board game.”
Butler nodded sympathetically before leaving the lobby. Holly waited ten whole seconds before looking back at Artemis again.
“Alright, Mud Boy, stop faking it and tell me how much you really remember.”
At least now I know she’s prepared for my answer. “Simply put, Captain Short, none of the events after the disappearance of my father. And that includes every memory of the people.”
Holly crossed her arms. “I’ve tried everything, Artemis. Maybe you could start by stop being so hostile.”
Artemis rolled his eyes. “Hostile, Holly? I don’t remember enough about my past to say any of the things you expect me to say. It isn’t entirely my fault I’m being hostile.”
“I don’t expect you to say anything. Just laugh a little. Play with the twins. Challenge Foaly for all I care. Nothing’s going to work out until you do.”
But what if I don’t want my memories back?
Holly sighed. She reached over for his hands and this time held firmly, looking him straight in the eyes. It was almost as if she’d read his mind that she said, “Arty, the years after your father’s return were the best of your life so far. Maybe there were some grim moments. Okay, there were a lot. But when’s it never been a happy ending?”
Artemis brought himself to look back at her. The touch still sent a few shivers through his veins, though this time he willed himself to ignore it. “After the Berserker incident. I don’t think this counts as a happy ending.”
The elf tightened her grip around his fingers. “No, it does. You returned to us. Your plan worked. Beckett and Myles didn’t lose their brother.” She paused for a while. “Please, just remember. Come back to us. To Butler, to Foaly, to your brothers. To me.”
“Holly, I’m doing what I can.”
“Yeah,” snorted Holly. “At least the being frustrating part isn’t new.”
“That was a very touching speech until the final comment.”
Holly let go of his hands and went back to the game before them. She rolled the dice at her turn and arrived at a square right before a snake.
“I have a feeling you wanted to say something you couldn’t have said with Butler around.”
Holly looked at him, momentarily startled. “What?”
“Go on, say it. I’m sure he’ll run into Juliet and it’ll cost him some time.”
The elf shook her head. “That was it. I said it. To Butler it would’ve sounded…I don’t know, but it would’ve sounded different. That would’ve been awkward.”
Artemis spoke his next words clearly. “Does Butler have a legitimate reason to think different?”
Understanding at once, Holly almost spluttered. “W-What? D’Arvit, where did you get that idea from?”
The human shrugged matter-of-factly, but he knew he was repaying her for the hormone imbalance thing earlier. “I don’t know. Probably a distinctive memory of what our relationship used to be.”
Holly’s face was red. “Of all the things you have to remember—”
“I said distinctive, Holly,” Artemis grinned wickedly. “And I don’t have that memory. Tell me, then, what you think I just remembered?”
The elf froze. D’Arvit.
The human, of course, just found this even more amusing“Orion happened on my part. Something happened on yours too, didn’t it?”
“Ridiculous, Fowl,” snapped Holly, who now looked ready to hit him. “And–And–you don’t even have a reason to think that–that I–look, how do you know?!”
Artemis smirked. “Why, weren’t you following the conversation, Captain?”
Holly punched him. It hurt, but he was enjoying this too much, so he laughed instead. Holly’s scowl just deepened. She was preparing for a defending retort but didn’t get the opportunity to use it, because Butler chose that moment to walk into the lobby with a tray and a jug of water. Naturally, the bodyguard immediately noticed his charge’s new mood and the lingering look of threat on Holly’s face
. “Oh dear,” he sighed dramatically. “What did I miss?”