A/N: I do not own Artemis Fowl, Alice and Wonderland, or any of the other characters in this story. Though this story takes place after the 8th Artemis Fowl book, I still have Julius Root as the commander because he's funny and I really wanted to write him into this story. Also, be warned, there are bits of A/H in this, too ;). That being said, I hope you enjoy this as much as I enjoyed writing it :).
"Lock up your libraries if you like;
but there is no gate,
no bolt that you can set upon
the freedom of my mind."
- Virginia Woolf
Due to the recent series of bad storms throughout Ireland, Fowl Manor had suffered some exterior damage. Unfortunately most of it had been the roof above where Artemis had his lab.
At the moment both senior Fowls were vacationing in the south of France so Artemis had taken the opportunity to utilize his father's library to work on his latest projects.
However, as he sat at his laptop, his eyes were focused toward the window pane instead of the glowing screen in front of him. Ever since his latest brush with death he spent more time thinking about Holly than his schemes. Pushing away from the desk, he walked along the bookshelves, reading the titles to himself. Chaucer, Plato, Machiavelli, familiar voices, words. Albeit dead ones.
There was a knock at the door, it was a welcome intrusion upon his rather somber musings.
Butler entered, carrying the silver tea service.
"Ah, thank you, Butler."
"Captain Short is here, Sir. Shall I show her in?"
"Yes, of course."
A moment later in strolled Holly, her green LEP uniform looking dusty from her journey to the surface. She smiled, almost shyly when she saw him, a blush coloring her cheeks.
He waved her toward a seat. "Do you want some tea?"
"No, actually I'm here because Root asked me to look in on Mulch. Has he stuck around or robbed you and left?"
Artemis nodded out toward the garden.
"He's out there. Apparently I've got top rate soil. I think he finally resigned himself after being threatened with fifty years in a cell with goblins. He's a fair groundskeeper, though I will admit."
Holly sat cross legged on the chair opposite him. "How are you?"
He looked down into his cup, stirring thoughtfully.
"I'm well, considering. It doesn't feel the same, though. Working on all this," he gestured to his computers. "I'm just... tired."
"Butler told me you haven't really been yourself," she said softly. "Root didn't have me come to check on Mulch. I wanted to see you."
Reaching over, she took the teacup out of his hand and set it on the desk.
"Artemis," she began, but then the door opened, and in shuffled a dirt covered Mulch.
"Sorry to bother you, Fowl, but," however Mulch never finished his sentence. Backing into the desk, the full cup of tea upended all over Artemis's keyboard. It all happened quickly, and yet time seemed to freeze. One second, they were all staring as spilled tea sizzled and popped into all the electrical wires, sparks flying into Mulch's beard. The next Holly had unthinkingly reached out to stop it from falling, and her hand connected with the current. Her eyes widened as blue sparks ran down her arm and into the computer. The screen exploded, glass flying everywhere and Holly was thrown across the room, slamming into the bookshelves.
"Holly!" Artemis shouted, but before he could reach her, a second, larger explosion sent Mulch flying into him. The room seemed for a moment to be filled with a strange blue haze, and then as sudden as the whole thing happened, was gone.
"Will there never be peace?" muttered Mulch, brushing glass from his jacket. Butler threw open the door.
"Artemis? What happened?"
"Holly," he groaned from the floor. "Is she alright?"
"She's unconscious, but I believe she's fine. Her breathing and heartbeat feel normal."
"We'll lay her down, away from all this mess." He surveyed the damaged library, scorched books and burnt furniture mingling with broken glass and sparking electrical wires. "I'll have to ring Foaly about this. There was something we were working on together."
"Artemis?" Holly whispered weakly.
"Be still, Holly, you're hurt. I'm taking you to one of the bedrooms so you can heal yourself." Reaching under her, Artemis gently lifted her up and carried her out, wincing at the sharp pain in his back where Mulch's body had propelled him into the sofa.
There was a small guest bedroom in the same wing as the library. Artemis laid Holly down on top of the comforter and brushed her hair aside.
"How does your head feel?"
"I think I'm alright. Just some bruising. It's amazing I'm not burnt to a crisp. I think my magic counteracted getting electrocuted."
"Mulch, the blithering idiot cost quite a lot in damages today, and almost everyone's lives just by spilling tea."
"Does Foaly have all the information encrypted already?"
"Of course, plus there is a disk in my Swiss vault."
Artemis's cell phone buzzed briefly. He glanced at the caller ID quizzically, then put it to his ear.
"Sir, there is a situation in the house."