Hello lovely readers. This chapter was a KILLER to write. But hopefully you guys enjoy it.
AFTER YOU ARE DONE PLEASE READ THE INFO ON THE BOTTOM.
Weeks flied past.
Phaedra was no longer a stranger. When Eames first told Cobb that she was on their side, Cobb was more than skeptical. Cobb didn't understand why Phaedra would make such a deal.
"She has something planned. It's a trap," Cobb growled at Eames.
Eames waved his contract before Cobb's face and smiled smugly.
"That piece of paper means nothing to her," Cobb almost ripped it out of Eames' hand but he was too slow.
"Don't be such a pussy Cobb," Eames laughed light-heartedly. "She wants to be fixed. She'll do anything. Just as you wanted to do anything for Mal," he added, but this time, there was no smile in his voice.
There was a sinking feeling in his guts but Cobb couldn't argue. He would have done more than signing a contract if it could fix her. But now it was too late for Mal.
Cobb remembered the emerald cat-eyes that glared at him. It was defensive, hiding something and unwilling to trust others. She was not to be trusted.
"Stop overthinking things Cobb," Eames interrupted his thinking. "If she lies, I'll know. Her sub-conscience does not lie. And besides, without her, we will have nothing to work with."
Again, Cobb couldn't argue.
"I'll never fully trust her," he finally said. "She'll be a double-edged sword. I'll leave you in charge of her. Use her carefully."
"Umm…I'm not the only one in on this deal," Eames said carefully. He coughed and signaled the person hiding behind the desk to come out.
"Hey Cobb," Ariadne greeted him while crawling around the desk. Cobb flinched when she smiled widely.
"Absolutely not," Cobb snapped. Her smile fell slightly.
"But-" she started.
"No. Arthur would kill me," he cut her off. Her smile disappeared completed at the mention of his name.
"This is about ME Cobb. Phaedra claims she's MY half-sister. She claims MY father's not my real father. She claims to know something. And I demand to know. I have the right don't you think? It has nothing to do with Arthur so don't drag him into this," Ariadne shot back irritably. Her eyes filled with insurmountable determination and her petit figure seemed unusually intimidating. Cobb knew he couldn't convince her now.
Cobb opened his mouth but he couldn't say anything that would change her mind.
"We're not telling Arthur," he said after a long pause. "And you will let me know of EVERYTHING that happens."
"Agreed," Eames and Ariadne both replied grinning widely.
Eames rented out an apartment near the warehouse. Under the excuse of "guarding" Phaedra, Eames moved her in. Every day for an hour, they went through when Eames called "conditioning." Eames went under, into Phaedra's sub-conscience, and met Phee. Some days, Eames found out something new but more often than not, he was chased by the projections and killed by the "guards." And every time, no matter how many times he went under, Phaedra panicked when she met Phee and attacked Eames. Every time, she woke screaming. Every time, there was a new scar on Eames' body.
Every time, her face was streaked with tears.
There was little progress.
On the other hand, Ariadne made no progress at all. She didn't go under with them because Eames deemed it too dangerous and decided talking to Phaedra was enough for her. Ariadne complained at first but Eames insisted.
Besides, she hadn't even visited Eames' apartment because Arthur found it suspicious.
It was not easy hiding things from Arthur. He knew something was up. But he couldn't quite put his finger on it so he satisfied himself with occasionally interrogating Eames.
After a week passed by without another attack, tension seemed to unwind and the bond that tied the team together once more withered away. But unlike the inception case, there was no sense of closure, just uncertainties and unknowns. The week of peace was oddly unsettling. Saito returned to America to catch up with his "business." Yusuf returned to satisfy his dream-deprived customers. Although she didn't like being extracted, Ariadne hated to see others leave. After Saito and Yusuf left together on Saito's private plane, she felt a sense of draining in her guts.
That was not the last.
As much as he hated leaving the irresponsible forger with an enemy extractor, Cobb had a family to return to. Before he left, he begrudgingly handed Eames his pistol that he had kept locked up in the warehouse.
"Use it when you need to." He pushed the surprisingly heavy weapon onto Eames' hand.
"When is that?" Eames replied playfully as he twirled the pistol around his finger carelessly.
"You'll know," Cobb snatched the gun out of Eames' hand and set it down on his desk.
The playfulness disappeared from Eames' grey eyes. He grabbed the pistol and slipped it in his jacket pocket.
"I know I will," Eames murmured.
Instead of a weapon, Cobb left Ariadne with what he called "words of wisdom."
"Don't give any private information to Phaedra."
"-and don't trust her so easily-"
"-and make sure you don't give anything away to Arthur-"
"- and don't' do anything stupid-"
"-and never leave Eames in charge-"
"Of course but-"
"-here's my phone number and my email address, if something happens, contact me immediately-"
"Shut up for one second Cobb," Ariadne said after she blocked his mouth with her hand. "I'm not a five year old so I'll be fine. Stop with the nagging and just give me a hug will you?"
Cobb looked irritated because she interrupted him but he gave her a hug anyways.
"Be careful," he said quietly.
"You know I will," she smiled brightly.
Unlike the playful banter between the two and Cobb, silence hung around between Arthur and him. After their last semi-argument, things were more than awkward.
"Say hi to Philipa, James and Miles for me," Arthur broke the silence at last.
"Call once in a while. They want to hear from you, not my imitation of you," Cobb said, a small smile tugged at the corner of his mouth.
"I wouldn't want them to suffer through that would I," chuckled Arthur. "Have a safe trip home."
"Treat her right," Cobb ordered. The smile was gone but his eyes were warm.
"Of course," Arthur replied solemnly.
"I know you will."
And he left.
It was just Arthur, Eames and Ariadne now.
And of course, the cat-eyed visitor.
The four were headed to a hazy and unknown destination together.
One did not know that his enemy had turned into a teammate.
One did not know how to solve the unsolvable puzzle that lay before him.
One did not know her past and was struggling to find out.
And the last one did not know what she was doing in the present was correct.
But all of them knew, when they reached wherever they were going, they were never coming back.
END OF SEASON 1
I'll be back with season 2 in June. I will continue writing the season 2 chapters until June. I want to publish regularly and it's impossible with an AP schedule so I decided to cut the story into three seasons.
Please review/IM/email me. I would love to hear your ideas on what the season 2 should be like.
p.s. Reviews make me happy (: