"Foaly?" Holly spoke the first word in over an hour. She looked up at her friend across the room, a haunted look in her eyes. "Can you come over here and look at this? I... I think you should."
He moved over to stand behind her, moving his hooves in such a way so that it didn't disturb the bubble of silence they had created. The bubble extended out of the Commander's office, down the corridor, infecting everyone inside the Plaza. Even those who had just joined the Force knew that it was wrong to speak out of turn, wrong to disturb the perfection in sadness that the others carried around everywhere.
People outside the Plaza didn't understand it, because they reasoned that everyone hated him, that fairies would be rejoicing that he and his red face was finally out of their lives. But those inside knew it. They had all respected him. They all knew he had been the best for the job, and that his snarkiness was just part of his personality - and that it was this part that helped them to be the best they could be. And they knew that he was a good man, a great man, and that there had never been someone as dedicated as he was. Had been.
Foaly looked down at the items strewn about in the Commander's bottom drawer. And felt guilty, the feeling turning in his gut, sending signals to his eyes that made them water; he was almost suprised by this, not knowing that after so many hours crying he would still have tears left.
"Oh, Holly." On top of a pile of papers resting in the drawer there was a picture of Holly smiling, faced off to the side laughing with someone the camera couldn't catch. "Do you... What do you..."
She delicately moved the top photo aside and below there was another one. Holly in her uniform, shaking her head in exasperation.
She moved that one and below it was a picture of the Kelp brothers, Grub hugging his brother with all his might, Trouble looking exasperated as always. Below that was a photo of Foaly himself, tin-foil hat ontop of his head, about to leave the Plaza. And then a picture of Newt and Verbil, obviously involved in a verbal fight. Then one of the receptionist, bent over her computer typing. One of Frond, obviously posed, with a huge, toothy smile on her face then directly after it one which she didn't know was taken, her hair mussed slightly. Vein waving his team out the door, all dressed for battle. The line outside the Plaza doors, probably just after a Dwarf/Goblin spat the night before. Holly again, hurrying in through the Plaza doors with her face flustered.
The photos went on. Holly and Foaly kept moving through them. The dead elf's life, documented for anyone to view.
"They're only ones of us. There's nothing that's not to do with the LEP."
"I know, Hol."
"Just... Shouldn't there... I... I wish that I had..."
The moved the next aside, a photo of Briar Cudgeon moving purposefully through the corridor, obviously before the Artemis Fowl affair. There was one of Vinyaya below. As they went though the photos got older, and the subjects became ones which neither of them recognised.
"I think that's Commander Gai. The one before Julius." Neither of them mentioned how they were cleaning out this room because Trouble Kelp was going to be moving in, even though Trouble didn't want to.
A black and white photo of a group of 7 smiling companions all in LEP uniform; one a younger, smiling Julius, one Briar, the others all unknown to them... Holly flipped the photo over and on the back there was 7 signatures, and beside each with the exception of one there was a tiny cross in Julius' handwriting. Holly reached up to an old fountain pen that lay on the floor beside them. She drew a small cross beside his name as well, then wiped the tears from her eyes so she could see what was below.
The 7 friends was the last photo in the drawer, but below there was a pile of yellowing papers. The top was a certificate Julius had recieved once upon a time, the paper below was the letter he had recieved on his acceptance into the LEP; Holly almost smiled at the knowledge that even after 540 years, the letter was almost identical. Below was a love letter; they only read a few words before putting it down sacredly without a wise-crack. Below that was another letter, from Julius' father apologising for not being there. It had been writen before the father's death, given to his son on his birthday the next year. There were tear stains on it and it was completely crumbled, folded and refolded.
And at the very bottom of the drawer... a painting. Childish, innocent, the letters J-u-L-i-u-s spelt out in messy writing. It showed a boy, brown hair and brown eyes, dressed up in a leprechaun outfit of old with the green knickerbockers and the tri-point hat.
"He never wanted to be anything else. This was his life. He... We were all he had. The Force was all that... Family."
"Sometimes, if there was something wrong, he would stay in all night, not-quite-sleeping in his chair."
"I know. But I..."
"What do we do with all this? Should we..?"
"No, we can't put this on the pyre. We can't burn his life away so that there's nothing more than a few memories to say that he existed at all. I'll keep it, Foaly. I... I wish I had known about this before..."
"And then what?"
"I... I don't know."
"It doesn't matter now, Holly. Come on, lets go out and get a coffee."