Last One Out (deafskyline) wrote in howlerspeak,
Last One Out
deafskyline
howlerspeak

Howdy

Well, I hate to do this because I already posted this on ff.net, but I feel all good introductions come with fics included. I'm Emma, Skywise on ff.net (I have another journal under the name EmmaTheGreat, but honestly it's just all boring real life stuff...).Um...hi.

Anyway, here you go. Not really my best work, but there are a couple of the flashbacks I'm proud of.

While Butler hangs between life and death in EC, he gets some advice.



Note: The dialogue in the last flashback as well as Artemis' final comment is taken directly form Eternity Code. No infringement is intended.


"To be born again...first you have to die."-Salman Rushdie, The Satanic Verses


-------------


His vision was gone and he knew the end was near. He could hear Artemis try his best to assure and comfort him. Butler knew it was time.

With his consciousness slipping he made his last gesture of friendship. Artemis' sobs were audible as the young boy's hand met his. Butler couldn't help but feel touched by rare emotional display, and as he slipped into unconsciousness his last hopes were for Artemis' safety.


*


When Butler regained consciousness it seemed like only moments later. He was surprised to find himself sitting in a comfortable leather chair. Quickly his soldier's senses kicked in. What had happened? Where was Artemis?

The crackling noise of a fire grabbed his attention and he suddenly noticed the room surrounding him. By all accounts it was a small, cozy, sitting room. On the floor was a large, worn, oriental rug and the fireplace was directly in front of his chair.

There was another chair too, on his right; a tall winged back one of an nondescript brown upholstery. The figure in the chair turned to look at him and Butler was shocked to see he recognized the man.

"Uncle?" He somehow found the voice to ask. The older man smiled at him.

"Yes Domovoi, it's me," His uncle replied and Butler was faced with the undeniably surreal nature of the situation.

And then he remembered. The restaurant. Arno Blunt. The bullet. Artemis.

"Am I dead?" Was his next question. The moment it left his mouth it seemed almost silly. He always thought it'd be obvious, that he'd know when the time came. He never figured he'd have to ask...

"Not quite. Not yet."

"But you are."

"Yes, obviously."

"Then why am I here if I'm not dead? And where is here? Where's Artemis?"

"You're here because I need to talk to you. Where we are is of no consequence, and do not worry about the young Master Artemis, he is safe for the time being."

Butler blinked, trying hard to focus on his surroundings, but his vision remained blurred, as if in a dream.

"Actually Artemis has a lot to do with why I am hear to speak to you." This got the younger Butler's attention.

"Domovoi, I should not need to lecture you. You know our family history, you know the purpose we serve, correct?"

"Yes," Butler answered tentatively. A situation this strange should have set off all sorts of warning bells in his head, yet they all remained silent. He was strangely calm.

"You are here now because you lost sight of that."

It was true. There was nothing Butler could say to argue that. He had failed Artemis when the boy had needed him most.


*


The door opened to reveal Artemis Fowl, cool and composed as always.

"You can come in now Butler, it is time for you to meet your charge." Almost any other new father would have been flushed with excitement over the birth of his new son, but not Artemis Fowl. His hard shell of detached efficency hadn't even cracked slightly.

Butler slipped inside the door, casting a glance over to the corner where his uncle stood. The room was cold and sterile, quite typical for a hospital. In the middle of the room was Angeline laying on the hospital bed with a small child in her arms.

So that was him, Artemis Fowl the Second, heir to the Fowl name and fortune. Butler approached the bed to get a closer look at the baby.

"Here Butler, go ahead, you can hold him," Angeline said.
An interesting woman, he mused, as warm and friendly as her husband is cold and distant. He complied with her wish and took the small child from her arms.

"There you go, Arty dear. This is Butler and he's always going to protect you."

Looking down at the small child in his arms, he was immediately drawn to the baby's eyes. So cold, so intelligent. Barely and hour old and the child was alert and observant seeming to take in everything around him. The baby looked up and seemed to study him. Butler suppressed a shiver. There was something more to this child. Something different...

But regardless this child was now his charge. His sole purpose to make sure no harm came to the young Artemis Fowl.

Handing the child back to Angeline he returned to his post outside the door, but he seemed unable to fully concentrate on his job, something that had never happened to him before.

Butler's mind kept drifting back to the small child cradled in his mother's arms. Before Butler had seen the boy-before he had looked into those eyes-he'd almost felt sorry for him. The child was going to have quite a life ahead of him, being the only son of one of the greatest criminals in the world. But looking into those eyes he knew-this young boy was properly named. He was truly his father's son.


*


His uncle's voice brought him back to reality...as it were.

"You allowed yourself to become much too emotionally attached to your charge."

"I know," was all Butler could reply. After all, he expected to die, not to be lectured.

"You must strive against that though, boy! You must work hard to over come it. Remember, it's always the hardest when they are young."


*


"Butler," the young boy said from the back of the Bentley. Butler looked at him through the rear view mirror, the boy's cool and controlled voice seemed odd coming out of such a small body.

"Yes Master Artemis?"

"Why does Mother insist on sending me to this silly school? She knows it's below me."

"I understand how you must feel Artemis, but your Mother thinks it is important for you to socialize with other children." Actually Butler couldn't truly understand, he had no idea what it was like to be a five-year-old genius. Still he tried his best to be compassionate.

"But most of these children Butler, they don't even know how to
read. They're all at least five years old and not even reading! It's ridiculous and inexcusable. I've been reading for at least three years." Artemis' outraged expression was quite comical on his small body. "Why would I want to associate with people like that? It's so...demeaning."

Butler sighed. The truth was he felt sorry for Artemis. The boy's incredible intellect was as much of a burden as it was a gift. He saw the way the other children treated the child genius at school and as much as Artemis feigned arrogance and uncaring Butler couldn't help but think it bothered the child.


*


"And the young Master Fowl is quite unique, I know. That should only remind you he needs more protection that usual. You must remain distant!"

If only his uncle understood just how hard Artemis made it.


*


"I mean really Butler, who does she think she is? No one has a right to treat me that way. She thinks because she's a teacher she can do anything, like it somehow makes her superior to me. It's disgusting. The woman isn't even half as intelligent as I am, if she was, she wouldn't be a teacher," the seven-year-old Fowl ranted. Artemis had been dismissed early from school for causing trouble.

The science text book they had been learning from was several years out of date. Artemis felt it was perfectly acceptable to point out one of the theories presented within had since been proved wrong. After all, he had been the one to do so, publishing his finding under the name Dr. G. F. Paris. The teacher, however, had deemed the interruption disrespectful. This had caused quite an argument to arise between the two which ended with the young Artemis Fowl stating he had seen lab rats with high IQs than hers and that it was a wonder she ever got her teaching license at all.

"I am sorry Master Artemis, she did treat you quite unfairly." The whole incident had amused Butler, the poor teacher never had a chance against the young boy.

"Really Butler, it's hardly necessary for you to be so formal all the time. You can call me Artemis."

Butler smiled. For Artemis, saying that was a strong display of affection and Butler knew it. He had long ago learned how to read true meaning from what his charge would say. Artemis Fowl may hide his emotions better than most people, but he felt them with the same strength. Simple phrases such as that could hold meaning deeper than anyone could imagine.

"Of course Artemis, whatever you wish," Butler replied.


*


Butler swallowed, intimidated by his uncle's stare.

"I know it's hard Domovoi," his uncle said, seemingly reading his thoughts. " You are only given one life, and it goes to serving a single person. Even I am not completely innocent, Artemis Senior and I shared a friendship ourselves. But take heed and look where we ended up."

"But you must understand Uncle, that was part of it," Butler pointed out. With Artemis's father gone and mother bedridden, Butler had stepped even further into the role of an older brother.


*


The large room was cool and drafty. Standing by the window, his small frame almost completely lost in the vastness of the room was Artemis Fowl the Second staring despondently across the grounds. The boy had been there since the news had arrived the day before. Butler approached slowly, unsure how the young heir would react to his presence.

"Artemis," he asked carefully. "Are you alright?"

"Honestly Butler? No I'm not." Artemis said. It was the same voice as always but it seemed so different; smaller, less assured. Butler chanced laying a hand on the small boy's shoulder only to find Artemis shivering, whether from the cold or pent up emotion, Butler did not know.

"How about you, old friend? How are you holding up?" Artemis asked, trying his hardest to be compassionate but still not looking away from the window,

"I will be fine with time Artemis," Butler admitted hoping Artemis would realize it was okay to feel this way.

News of the
Fowl Star disaster had come the previous morning and shocked the entire household. Angeline had withdrawn into her room. Artemis had done nothing but stare out the window, and Butler was worried. The boy had been completely stoic about the whole thing. With his mother slipping into her own world Butler wanted to make sure the boy knew he was not alone, that he had someone to whom he could turn.

Butler squeezed the boy's shoulder gently.

Artemis blink and drew his eyes away from the window. For the first time since the dreadful news had reached Fowl Manor, the boy seemed to come back to the world. He looked up at Butler and what the older man saw in his charge's eyes broke his heart.

"D-does it get any easier Butler?" Artemis asked, fighting hard to control his quivering voice. The tears that had been building up for the past day started to shine in his eyes.

"Yes...it does eventually Artemis, but you have to give it time," Butler reassured.

"It's-it's just not
fair," Artemis whispered, and with that his control finally broke. Tears streamed down the boy's cheeks and Butler was suddenly reminded of how young his charge actually was. It was easy to forget between the research papers, skillful planing, and devious schemes that the boy was only eleven.

Butler was shocked out of thought when Artemis wrapped his arms around the larger man's waist, burying his head in his bodyguard's stomach.

"It's so unfair...just so unfair..." Artemis mumbled. He was shaking uncontrollably now.

Butler wrapped one arm around the boy's shoulders and brushed back Artemis' black hair with the other.

"I know Artemis, I know," Butler comforted, letting the boy get all the rage and pain of the last day out.

After a few minutes of standing like that he sobs subsided to sniffles, and the stopped all together. Artemis pulled away from Butler and wiped at his eyes.

"I'm sorry Butler," Artemis said, keeping his eyes low and his hands busy wiping his face and straightening out his clothes.

"Don't be Artemis, don't be." Butler place a large hand on Artemis' should and the boy stopped fidgeting and looked up.

"Thank you old friend....thank you."

*

"I know how you feel, but you wouldn't be here now if you had acted properly. I'm just looking out for you Domovoi, the way you should look out for him," his uncle pointed out. He was right and Butler knew it.

But he couldn't forget his young friend and the devotion the boy had shown.


*


His vision was gone and hopefully so was Arno Blunt. Artemis was talking like nothing happened, so maybe things were okay. Artemis was going to be safe.

"Butler, you're injured. Shot. But the Kevlar?" Butler wasn't sure if he could trust his hearing, but he thought he could hear Artemis addressing him.

"Artemis...is that you?"

"Yes, it's me." Butler wasn't sure but the boy's voice sounded like it was trembling. He hoped the his young charge was alright, that he hadn't been hurt. He tried his best to assure Artemis, to let him know Juliet would protect him.

Artemis in turn tried to assure Butler telling him the wound was not serious. Butler managed a bit of a laugh. He knew he was dying.

"Very well, it is serious. But I will think of something. Just stay still." Butler clung to Artemis' words. If anyone could save him, it was Artemis, but the boy was a genius, not a miracle worker.

"Good-bye Artemis," he said. "My friend." He raised his hand and felt Artemis catch it. The young boy was trembling and Butler felt guilty. This was his fault, and it was his fault he was leaving the boy alone.

"Good-bye, Butler." Maybe his hearing was going completely because it sounded like Artemis was crying.

Butler gave Artemis his last sign of devotion, "Artemis, call me Domovoi."

The last thing Butler heard was the boy's sobbing voice. "Good-bye Domovoi. Good-bye, my friend."


*


"It's difficult, but you have to rise above that. You've been given a second chance. You need to go back and serve him the best you can. Protect him. Uphold our family's honor." His uncle looked him in the eye one last time and he could feel his consciousness slipping away again.


*


This time when Butler opened his eyes he found himself back home in Fowl Manor. There was a chair next to the bed and Artemis was curled up asleep in it. The boy looked absolutely exhausted.

Butler made the promise to himself then. No more. He was going to remain cold and distant as he should. He would never put Artemis through something like that again. It was his duty to protect the boy above all else.

But then Artemis opened his eyes Butler's resolve faded. The boy had obviously been there a long time, waiting by his bed for him to wake up. Suddenly he realized, his uncle was wrong. Madam Ko was wrong. Yes, he had made a mistake, he had let his guard slip that once and it had cost them both dearly. But he would not let it happen again. Seeing that look in Artemis' eyes, the raw emotion, he decided he would have to find a balance.

He had to protect his charge not only from external, but internal harm as well. He was serving Artemis best by being the boy's friend. Butler decided then and there that he would not give that up for anything. He would increase his level of watchfulness but remain the boy's closest confidant.

They both benefited from the relationship, he knew. It was clear he was only alive now because of Artemis' devotion.

He could ask for no better friend.

"Butler," Artemis said with much relief. "You've come back to us."

Butler smiled. Yes, he was back.

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