Hello! New day, new story.
On my most recently completed story I asked which of the upcoming ones would my readers like to see and it was sort of a tie between this one and Sweet Child. This was the one my brain decided to function for so…here we are:
p.s. I have no idea why the end of all my author notes has that stupid gibberish. But I've gone back and tried to fix it. What the heck fanfiction,
Chapter 1: The End
The end is such a scary place to start.
Everything is torn apart
I don't where to go from here
"It's not a big deal," Ariadne poured some freshly brewed tea into two bright blue mugs for them. Arthur just walked in the door but fifteen minutes prior, raving about his recent trip and how he procured an upcoming job for them. He breezed in, planted a big ole kiss on her cheek and went straight into detail about the location and paycheck prospects. The woman acted enthusiastic albeit a bit distracted. Normally, Ariadne would be glued to his information like a lifeline, asking a million questions, perhaps dancing around excitedly but she looked like she was only half paying attention. She nodded. She smiled. Arthur couldn't comprehend her rare disinterest until he saw the random present laying on the counter for him and Ariadne explained what it was for…
Arthur folded his jacket over the chair. Once he realized where he'd been over the weekend and what Ariadne celebrated alone he wanted to club himself. "It is a huge deal," his hand rubbed over his face, "I missed our one-year anniversary for some business meeting in Moscow. I didn't even think about the dates before I flew out there." His body leant against the island and his eyes guiltily bore into hers with more remorse than necessary, "I'm a Point Man, I should've—I'm so sorry, baby."
"Really, it's fine." The Architect handed him his cup with a sweet, forgiving smile and sauntered to the sofa where she had Downton Abbey paused on Netflix Instant. His repentant aura followed her from the kitchen to the living room. Knowing Arthur, he'd beat himself black and blue if he thought he'd offended her, so she assured him that her feelings were not hurt, "We've had a dry spell in dream work for a couple months and that meeting was crucial to get back in the game…you were just anxious to start work a job again. So am I. That can be my present."
Arthur's eyes fell down to his new laser-pointer and pen set, new bowtie and the empty blue envelope lying on the counter as several British accents came to life in the living room. The black and ivory striped card was carefully slipped out of its sleeve and held up to be read over again: Nothing quite like us! Thank you for being my best friend, my roommate, my partner in crime, my dream mentor, my Point Man, my personal bug killer and back massager and of course the most wonderful boyfriend. I'm so happy you've been in my life this long, let's try for another year. I love you, Ari. Sighing, he trudged his way over to her. "You must think I could care less."
The Architect paused the show again (more miffed that her viewing kept getting interrupted during the intense part than anything) and turned over her shoulder to find him leaning on the couch's armrest. "No," she shook her head and gave him a look that called him an idiot for thinking that, "I was sort of disappointed that we didn't get to spend Thursday together but I got over it. I'm not upset." When he narrowed his eyes and kept staring at her expecting another answer, she repeated, "I'm not upset."
"You look a little agitated," Arthur pointed out.
Her response was to point the remote to the tv, "Because I want to see what happens to Sybil and you keep bothering me." The tv sprouted back to life and Ariadne became immediately engrossed in the conversation between two doctors and Lord Grantham.
To her horror, the screen froze. Arthur reached over and halted the playback as he pulled the remote from her hand and guided her to her back on the couch, "I want to make it up to you," he laid over her, careful to hold himself up enough not to crush her. She grunted, eyes wide and hand reaching for the television dramatically, "Then press play!"
The Point couldn't help but laugh into her neck. He forced a nuzzle on her while she whined, "She has Eclampsia, Arthur, I need to know what happens!" His wet kisses and uncharacteristic stubble tickled her chin. Ariadne beat on his chest, chuckling against her will, "I'm serious, Point Man, let me watch my damn show."
"Hear what I have to say first. Then I'll resume it."
Her huff was too forced and theatrical to be real. Ariadne quit struggling against him, tore her eyes from the tv and rose her eyebrows. Full of boredom. He had to snort again before he made his case. "I'll go shave, make some reservations and run out to get flowers while you finish your show. Then we'll have a lovely dinner together," pausing, he flirtatiously nibbled on her bottom lip, "and an even lovelier night in bed to make up for my being such a Somnacin-addicted dumbass. Ok?"
Her eyes sparkled, saying she loved the idea. But her mouth insisted, "You don—"
"I know. I want to. You know I would've planned the perfect evening for us had I been home. I'm angry at myself for missing the chance. Plus, I want somewhere to wear my new bowtie." Arthur winked.
Ariadne smirked, "It's mostly for the tie, isn't it?" Her thumb pressed on top of his and the images on the screen began to move and speak again.
The Point Man left (what he thought were) irresistible, searing kisses up the side of her neck, "Yes. Only for the tie. Not for the woman I'm in love with..." Self-satisfied with her gasp when he lightly sucked on the spot just under her jaw, he pulled back to see her face.
Ariadne was gaping at the tv with absolutely no regard for Arthur or his ministrations. "No…" He figured out what the gasp was really for when she cried out, "She can't die! Lord Grantham, that son of a bitch should have allowed the freakin' cesarean. I can't believe they killed off Sybil!" Smiling anyway, Arthur pecked her forehead and left her with her beloved program while he mapped out a plan for their 'anniversary' date.
"Wow," Arthur breathed out upon her return, "I am a lucky man."
Ariadne had excused herself to the ladies' room while the salads were brought out and was strolling back through the restaurant to sit at their table. After a beat (and placing her napkin back on her lap), the girl started to drizzle the vinaigrette on top and mixing the greens with her fork. She coyly quipped, using her look through her lashes as a weapon against him, "Why? Because I can't hold very much champagne?"
"Yes," Arthur deadpanned. He waited for the Architect to look back up at him so he could pointedly glance at their fellow patrons (who, all shades of embarrassed, fascinated and intrigued, turned away as soon as she looked over) "And because people can't keep their eyes off you."
She rolled her eyes, "Or you. You're the hot one out of the two of us. Those men are obviously gay."
With a swig of champagne, "I caught a few men following you with their eyes all the way from the restrooms."
"Must've had toilet paper on my heels," wisecracked Ariadne with a click of the tongue before she began cutting her lettuce smaller.
"You don't give yourself enough credit," her hand was tugged to be bestowed with a quick kiss then put back, "but maybe that's a good thing. You won't realize you're too good for me and leave me for someone better."
The girl rewarded him with a grin and a teasing, "Has anyone ever told you how well you flatter? I may keep you another twelve months."
The Point Man nodded, "Please do."
Ariadne truly wasn't bothered in the least by Arthur missing their one year anniversary. Would it have been nice to spend it together? Yes. Was she one of those women that had a cow when he didn't remember their fifth week anniversary of saying 'I love you' and stuff like that? No. In all honesty, Arthur was the type of person that kept track of dates almost obsessively. For him to forget something he had to be under a lot of stress or a heavy workload and she wouldn't fault him for that. There were times she forgot things because she had a lot on her mind too. It didn't mean Arthur loved her any less. If there was one thing she knew for certain it was that Arthur loved her dearly and faithfully and continuously despite all her faults and bad hair days. She was all too knowledgeable about the type of man he was. Him accidentally being out of town longer than planned and forgetting how long they'd been dating to the day…that was no negative indication about the depth of his feelings for her.
After the main course was brought out and eaten and their dessert was ordered, Arthur allowed her to open the gift bag he'd kept close to him all night. And by close, we mean the bag shared the seat with him. He was very secretive about it. For every time Ariadne so much as glanced at it he felt the need to push it further behind him. God forbid Ariadne see the color of tissue paper or the surprise would be ruined…First, she pulled out a brand new Nikon camera with a variety of lenses and memory cards (she claimed she would faint but he insisted she keep going first). Then there was a nice tribal print backpack that she squealed over (she'd needed a new one. She'd been using the same old faithful black one since her sophomore year of high school and couldn't bring herself to get a new one because the straps hadn't fallen completely off yet). Inside were: designer aviator sunglasses, an assortment of sandals and several of Ariadne's signature item of clothing. She unraveled a beautiful peach scarf and a key fell out of it. Ariadne laughed when she picked it up, "The key to our apartment?"
Arthur beamed like a man who knew the answer to the secret of the universe, "No. The key to our villa."
When her eyebrows crinkled and her head turned suspiciously (because, um, they didn't have a villa anywhere), he reached in his jacket pocket and pulled out a folded map from a travel agency. In bright colors on the front it read Kastelorizo Island, Greece. The very island her dad stayed at in college as a foreign exchange student and studied philosophy, mythology and literature. The very island her dad picked out the name Ariadne and decided that should he ever have a daughter it had to be one of her names. The very island Ariadne's father told her a million amazing stories about and instilled a desire to visit it. Ariadne's hand clapped over her mouth, "Oh my God!" Delight sparkled in her brown orbs. Arthur placed the brochure on the table in front of her and grinned, "I wasn't in Moscow for a business meeting. I was hunting down the perfect vacation home for the summer. I meant to make it back Thursday but the paperwork took longer than I expected. I would never forget our anniversary, are you kidding me?"
The woman zealously skimmed over the pictures and basic tour information in the pamphlet with a thrilled expression plastered across her face, "You sneaky bastard."
The drive home was abuzz with excitement and astonishment. The Architect spent the dessert course circling everything they had to see and asking him things like how far they were from town, how close to the coast were they, what did the villa look like. At the red light, Arthur braked and inquired, "So I gather you're happy with your present?"
"I'm ecstatic! I can't wait. I wish I could skip exams and leave tomorrow!" He'd never been more proud of himself seeing her hug the backpack to her chest and cheerily looking out the window. The Point glanced up in time to see the light turn green again. His foot moved off the pedal and he joked, "Skip them then."
"Well I mean I would also like to pass my classes…I'm one semester away from being done and if I have to take that course about Gaudi again I will throw myself into the Seine like Officer Javert but excluding the three minute long song before."
"Yeah. You should save France the horror," chuckled the man.
The Architect gasped in mock offense, "Excuse me? What happened to Mr. Flattering?" He shook his head and tried to hide his grin. "You enjoy when I belt 'My Heart Will Go On' at the end of Titanic…" Her finger pointedly poked him.
His eyes stayed on the road but his hand reached to the side to pat her leg, "I enjoy you making a fool of yourself, sweetheart."
"So the truth comes out now." Her arms folded over her chest with a huff but she was smiling. "I suppose you think my dancing sucks, too?"
"Oh no. You're a very talented dancer. Especially in your underwear," smirked the Point. He briefly turned his head to wiggle his eyebrows at her suggestively. "You should do some dancing for me when we get home."
Ariadne's head flew back against the headrest and her eyes rolled, "Oh my God…" The woman accused, rolling her head to aimlessly watch the traffic out her window, "Gender equality, Arthur. I'm not a piece of meat. You always objectify me!" What made that SO funny was the fact that Arthur didn't. Their shared laughter filled all the empty space in the car. The roof, the floorboards, every nook and cranny.
Arthur retorted, "I like to call it admiring…" pretending to defend himself.
"I'd like to call you a smartass."
The car turned the corner at the intersection, "I'd like to call you the love of my—"
"Arthur!" He barely registered the sheer panic and terror in her voice before bright lights blinded him and he felt impact on the far side of the car—Ariadne's side. The vehicle spun circles as it slid through the slick and narrow Parisians streets; his arm instinctively bolted to shield her from the crushing metal and keep her body inside the car in case she wasn't seat-belted. He crossed it over her at chest level (pushing her backpack against her in the process) and sunk his fingernails into the side of her seat to the point of the leather splitting. It happened too quickly. First, Ariadne's hands gripped at his forearm and then the tail of the car smashed into a lamppost. Her nails raked along his arm as she was thrown to the right. Then he couldn't feel her fingers anymore. The airbags flew open, all but one of the windows shattered, the black windshield was bashed and the front one cracked.
Arthur's eyes squeezed shut and he relaxed his body so it would ride out the rebound of the crash. Unfortunately, his head still hit the steering wheel hard and he was sure his arm had nearly busted open from using all his strength to keep Ariadne's airbag from crushing her tiny form. As soon as he was sure the car had stopped movement, he wriggled his other arm up to break off a shard of glass from the window which he then used to cut and pop his airbag and then hers. Blood trickled down his forehead at the crease of his right eye, the appendage protecting his girlfriend was all cut up, covered in dots of blood and felt dislocated. His girlfriend—
Ariadne's eyes were open but they were glazed over; she wouldn't blink. Her terse breathing was fading into puffs. The Point man forced his arm to rouse her and rasped, "Ari?" His good arm wrenched the backpack and tossed it in the backseat. She hadn't escaped a large slice under her right collarbone from the seatbelt and her nose bled and dripped. There was a cut on her forehead where she must've hit her head on the window. Arthur clicked both their belts off with much difficulty (he was beginning to see stars) and struggled to maneuver nearer to her, basically sitting on the console, "Ariadne," his voice scratched. The Architect's head lolled down, bloody curls now covering her visage.
He pushed her tresses out of her face frantically and lifted her head, anchored her neck to look at him. (His head was beginning to pound as the adrenaline wore down. He felt weaker and more tired but he furiously fought to keep consciousness for her sake) "Please baby, say something." The siren sounds of ambulances started to echo, the faint sounds of music blared in the background, Arthur shouted as loud as he could ground out, "Somebody help!" He was losing his grip on cognizance rapidly; his vision was blurring and not because of the warm salty water leaking from his eyes. Arthur pulled gently on her to line their foreheads up. He couldn't feel the tickle of her breath and it made all the cuts seem deeper. The bruises worse. "Please. Please, Ari, breathe for me."
Then he was hauled away from her form, pulled out the driver side's window by several men in uniform. His words jumbled but his arms outstretched and he could still form one coherent thought: Her first. Save her first. A slew of hands ripped her door off the hinge and lifted her body.
Arthur felt the sturdiness of a stretcher underneath his back. Emergency technicians rushed around him a blur, asking, "Sir, can you hear us? Sir?" The Point's eyes fluttered as he struggled to sit up and find Ariadne. Where was she? Where was she? Where was she? They pushed him back down, "You need to lie down."
There Ariadne was. As his head lolled to the side he found the perfect view of her on her own stretcher. The lights of the ambulance and police cars lit up her face as one medic beat on her chest, "I've got her breathing again," another was trying to stop the bleeding on her head and one was reading her pulse with a handheld machine, "Pulse is still too weak. Her heart's barely beating. Charge the defibrillator."
Arthur's medics should've all been over there helping her. His limbs felt heavy as he tried to lift them and push the medics away. If they couldn't save Ariadne, Arthur didn't want to be saved either.
Everything tapered out into blackness.
Next thing Arthur knew he woke up in a dimly lit study. He was laid out on a brown leather sofa, the embers of the fireplace across from him crackling a Good Morning and toasting him up from head to toe. His body still felt the stings and aches from the impact however when he examined his body, he had not a scratch on him save for the prick in his wrist. All the ailments vanished as soon as his mind decided to reject the memory. Arthur followed the lead from his arm to the hissing PASIV, to the other dreamer hooked up to it. The other form jolted into consciousness and swerved their head to judge the Point. Realizing Arthur was awake, the blonde launched himself at him, "Thank God…I was beginning to think you weren't ever going to come back to us." He yelled over the back of the couch, "Stephen! It worked!"
Upon hearing the Professor's name, Arthur became aware of the true nature of his surroundings. He was in Miles' personal library in the back of his home in Villefranche. "Fuck. You scared the shit out of us," continued Cobb as he pulled Arthur up to sit and took the lead out, "You need anything? Water? Are you tired? How are you feeling, Art?"
The Point Man was confused. Had he been in a coma since the accident? More importantly, "Is she alright? I need to see her," Arthur jumped up from the sofa (more shakily than he anticipated) to search for his girlfriend. She was near death last he remembered.
Dominic guided him back down, worried, "What are you talking about?"
Arthur gritted in panic mode. Had she not been recovered? Had the car burst into flames with her inside? But he saw her on the stretcher! That couldn't be…Was she already dead on impact? They couldn't bring her back with the heart machine? Was she in the next room over? Was she in a coma? Was she asking for him? "Ariadne." Arthur gripped Cobb's shoulders as hard as he gripped the side of her seat to keep her inside the vehicle, "Where's Ariadne, Dom? Tell me she's alive."
"Ariadne? Who's Ariadne?"
And it all starts again.
It all starts again in The End.
What do you think so far? I know it's a bit short but this chapter was mostly just the set up and some sweet fluffliness.