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Bad Blood

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Bad Blood

Did you have to do this? I was thinking that you could be trusted.

Did you have to ruin what was shiny? Now it's all rusted.

Did you have to hit me where I'm weak – baby, I couldn't breathe –

And rub it in so deep; salt in the wound, like you're laughing right at me.

Holly felt the weight of Artemis Fowl in her arms, and her thoughts went back to a time that was both yesterday and eight years before. Sitting with Artemis on that car in the field had been perfect – for one moment her life had felt peaceful, despite everything, because she was on an adventure and she felt alive and she had realized that she was in love with Artemis – but then he had said the worst thing he could possibly have said.

Her mind jerked again at the memory, at the horror and realization she had felt. Artemis lied to me. He told me that I was responsible for his mother dying.

"You're awfully quiet." Foaly's voice in her helmet jolted Holly out of her thoughts.

"Just thinking," she replied shortly.

Foaly had known Holly long enough to be able to tell when she was upset about something. "Sad that another adventure is over? Do you ever regret running all over the world and almost dying?"

Holly sighed. "Usually… I don't. But I don't know about this time." It wasn't you. It was me. She blurted, "Artemis lied to me. He lied to us."

Foaly sighed. "What did the Mud Boy do this time?" Then his genius caught up with him. "Oh. Oh. The Spelltropy."

"It wasn't real!" Holly burst out.

"His mother did seem to be dying," Foaly argued, but his resistance was weak.

Holly was quiet for several moments. "You once said that you can't be friends with a viper." Though Artemis's frame was slight, at that moment, he felt horribly heavy, a weight of concrete in her arms. "I had thought that Artemis could finally be trusted. That he trusted me. I would have-" I would have done anything for him. "Artemis will always make himself his first priority. He's the same as all the other Mud Men."

As Holly said the words, her heart contracted, not wanting it to be true. Only a couple days ago she had trusted him with her life.

At first Foal didn't reply, but finally he said, "Fowl is a human. He does what all humans do – look after himself."

By the time they had nearly returned to Fowl Manor, Holly knew that she and Foaly were in silent agreement.

Artemis woke just as Holly's feet touched on the ground. He pulled out of her arms slowly, a fox emerging from the warmth of its shelter. Holly was thankful for her uniform, protecting her from sharing direct contact with his skin.

Artemis spread his arms slightly to gain his balance as he stood, smiling slightly. "No.1's magic is amazing stuff," he commented

Holly shrugged, unwilling to look him in the face. She kept her helmet on. "Not everyone has only scraps of magic."

Artemis stilled and just looked at her. "Holly -"

"Artemis!" Butler shouted, struggling slowly down the driveway. "Are you alright?"

Artemis's hair was a mess, his clothes matted with blood and dirt, had just recovered from a broken collarbone, and was staring at Holly with a look that on anyone else would have been called desperation. Nevertheless, he turned and responded, "I'm fine, old friend. How are you feeling?"

Butler finally reached them and immediately grasped Artemis's shoulders, as if he had to touch the genius to ensure he was in one piece. "No.1 shot me up with some of his magic. But no more adventures, Artemis. I'm getting too old for this, and sooner or later, you're going to get yourself killed."

Artemis did not answer his bodyguard right away, instead turning back to Holly and kneeling in front of her. They were the same height now and he took her gloved hands in his. "I'm sorry, Holly." His voice was quiet, and his blue and hazel eyes, the ones that mirrored hers, were searching. "There is nothing more I can say to make it right, but I did what I believed needed to be done."

Holly pulled her hands from his. "You lied to me. You made me think I had condemned the mother of my best friend."

"You said you forgave me."

Holly threw her hands up in the air. "What do you want me to say, Artemis? Sometimes clever apologies and feats just aren't going to work. There are some things that just can't be forgiven." She clicked the visor down on her helmet.

Artemis sat back on his haunches, for once apparently uncaring about the mud and grass stains he was likely getting on his trousers. "I thought -"

But Holly was finding her anger again, and she discovered that it was a good barrier from the hurt. "No, Artemis. What happened – it is not going to happen again. I can't do this with you. You think you can just say the right things or do the right things and everything's okay again. It's not. You lied to me and I can't trust you anymore. And the worst part is that you always do this. I think you're becoming a good person, that I can trust you, that we can be – more, but we can't." She looked directly at him. "Fowl by name, fowl by nature."

There was a flash of some emotion in Artemis's eyes – Hurt? Guilt? - but then his eyes shuttered and the blank, cold expression of the twelve-year-old she had met years five years before was back.

Artemis stood. "Goodbye, Captain Short."

For a frozen moment, Holly wanted horribly to take back everything she had said, and go on another adventure with Artemis, to punch him in the shoulder when he made a pun, to trade sarcastic comebacks back and forth. But she could tell by his expression that it was too late. There was no coming back from this, even if she wanted to.

"Goodbye, Artemis Fowl." She activated her wings and refused to look back as she flew away.

Did you think we'd be fine? Still got scars on my back from your knife
So don't think it's in the past, these kinda wounds they last and they last.
Now did you think it all through? All these things will catch up to you
And time can heal but this won't, so if you're coming my way, just don't.