Fowl Manor, Dublin, Ireland
Holly glided through the open window. She landed on the plush layers of the rug. She stood, sneaking along the walls to get to Artemis’s room.
“Hello, Holly,” a voice rasped from the shadows. Holly jumped.
“Oh, it’s you,” she said.
The owner of the voice stepped forward. His gray hair combed back professionally, he walked with a cane. His piercing blue eyes were sad, lonely even. His pale skin looked like sandpaper.
“Hello, Artemis,” Holly said.
“I never expected to see you again,” Artemis declared. “It’s been fifty years.”
Holly nodded. “It was Butler’s funeral,” she said.
“What are you doing here?” he asked.
“I just came to see you,” she answered.
Artemis smiled. “I see these past years have been better on you than me,” he said. “You look no older than the day we met.” He smiled fondly at the memory. “Do you remember the night we met?” he asked.
“The full moon, the whispering oak branches, the river bend,” Holly answered. “It was very romantic.”
“The hypodermic dart wasn’t,” Artemis said.
“Yeah,” Holly agreed.
The two were silent for a few moments.
“I have many regrets,” Artemis said, breaking the silence. “But through all my mistakes, there is one thing I’ve never regretted for a second.”
“What’s that?” Holly grilled.
Artemis smiled again. “Meeting you.”
Artemis walked over to a couch. He sat down slowly, sighing as his joints creaked and cracked. “Let me pour you a cup of earl grey,” Artemis invited. Holly followed him to the couch, taking the offered cup of tea. The two sipped their tea in silence.
After a few minutes, Holly said, “I’m sorry, Artemis.”
Artemis frowned, putting aside his tea. “For what?
“For forgetting you.”
“I’m sorry, too,” Artemis said.
It was Holly’s turn to ask. “For what?”
“Well, I kidnapped you, I’ve been a jerk for over fifty years,” Artemis said. “The list goes on.”
Holly decided to change the subject. “I’ve been promoted to major.”
“You actually took it?” Artemis asked.
Holly nodded. “More time with the family.”
“Myles’s sons will be taking over the family when I die,” Artemis informed.
This brought more silence. “Do you know what today is?” Artemis asked.
“Christmas Eve,” Holly said.
Artemis smiled. “The seventy-fifth anniversary of the day we met.”
Holly smiled too. “The first five years were the most eventful,” Holly put in.
Artemis chuckled. The two talked for an hour until Artemis said: “Holly, I have a request.”
“What is it? A healing?” she asked.
“No, none of that,” Artemis said. “I want you to keep a watchful eye on the Fowls after I’m gone. Can you do that for me?”
Holly felt a tear slide down her cheek. “Yes, Artemis,” she said. “I can.”
Artemis smiled. He was drifting slowly into sleep. “Thank you, Holly,” he rasped. “For everything.”
Artemis was asleep, snoring lightly. Holly stood, turning to the window. She stopped. Glancing back at Artemis, she kissed him lightly on the forehead. “Goodbye,” she whispered. “Goodbye, Artemis Fowl.”
She flew out the window, returning to her world beneath the surface.