A/N – I saw Inception a few days ago and it was so amazing. Afterward, I couldn't stop this story from popping up in my head. We saw what happened after Cobb left the airport, but what about the point man and the architect? This story is a work in progress so if you have any comments about the characters or storyline feel free to let me know =)
If you were to ask the few individuals who knew him, the first word they would use to describe Arthur would be efficient. Eames might then go on to add a few other colourful adjectives, but not even he could deny the point man's effectiveness. No matter the situation, the team could count on Arthur to deal with it in an effectual, businesslike manner. It was his dedication to his job that led him to follow Ariadne's cab, a trip that ended at the hotel Arthur had booked ahead for her. She was new, and would need to be checked in and debriefed in the aftermath of the Fischer assignment. It was his job to check on her, he thought to himself. This was strictly a business meeting… although he had never had to reassure himself so much before past meetings like this. Must just be the after effects of a job as big as this one, or something logical and reasonable like that.
As Ariadne got out of her taxi, he saw looks of disbelief and doubt cross her face as she gazed at the very expensive looking building looming before her. Chuckling at this, Arthur wondered if Ariadne would ever splurge on anything with her newly acquired funds, or ever get out of her 'starving student' lifestyle. Every job paid handsomely, but this one better than any before, given the difficulty and scope. Glancing at the hotel in which he had booked both their rooms, he ran his hand through his slicked back hair. He had just wanted her to be comfortable; this was her first job, and though none of the team had gone through any actual physical exertion, mentally they would all be exhausted in the hours to come. The fact that they were in the same place was merely convenient. It was not as though he had done this for the amateur reason of wanting to stay close to her after their work was done. If Ariadne were to need anything, it would be much easier for both of them if she could just walk two minutes to a different room.
After entering the lobby, checking in, and taking the elevator up to the sixth floor, Arthur collapsed in his own room and allowed himself a rare moment of introspection. Dom had his family, Yusuf his business, and even Eames had his various (illegal) ventures to return to. Ariadne, of course, had school, and a life to return to in Paris. As for himself… well, Arthur really didn't know what he had. He supposed it was just as well that he didn't have anyone waiting to hear from him. While some might say it was a lonely sort of life, it did lend itself well to the unpredictable nature of his work. Arthur preferred to think of it as focused rather than solitary. Being completely independent made everything easier. This is what he had continually hammered into his brain for the past few years. The doubts usually came during times like these - times spent lying on foreign beds by himself after the team had gone their separate ways. These brief periods of isolation hadn't been so bad in the beginning. He'd had Mal and Dom at that point. When that ended in tragedy, the phrase 'life is short' had hit him, and for a limited time he'd spent his nights with other individuals who were as lonesome as he was. However, despite their best efforts to engage him, he was withdrawn, and eventually gave up on any sort of companionship altogether. This resulted in Arthur, after each job, acting as he did now. Lying back on a bed that was meant for more than one person, ruminating over his past and wondering about his future.
He supposed that things might change now. Dom wouldn't be pulling any more jobs, not for a long while at least, and Arthur couldn't blame him. He didn't really know what it was like to have a family, people that you would do and give anything for. What he did know is that if he were in Dom's position, he wouldn't jeopardize it for anything, no matter how much have craved the dreams. With Dom out of the game, Arthur did not really see himself taking anymore jobs. His friend wasn't the only extraction expert in the world, but he was the best, and working with anybody else held absolutely no appeal. He had enough money saved up in various banks around the world to last a lifetime, he was smart and attractive, but despite this, at the young age of twenty-nine, Arthur really had nothing. His family had been out of the picture from a young age, as a child he had grown up focusing on doing everything in his power to escape the hell he was living, and when he'd finally done that, he met Dom. The rest was history.
So, now what? That was the question running through Arthur's head over and over again, creating a constant loop of uncertainty, and maybe a bit of fear. He hated the unknown. As the point man, he had planned everything ten steps in advance, and even when he had been between jobs, he knew that in a couple months Dom would contact him and it would be business as usual. This though, this was different. Indeterminate. Quite frankly, he wasn't quite sure what he would do with himself. Realization that this was an opportunity, and he could now create a real life for himself was slowly hitting him, but this was fraught with problems. Where would he go? What would he do? One thing he did know was that he didn't want to spend his life like this, in his own personal limbo that he lived after jobs. It seemed like, at least for a while, he was not required as a point man. Too bad he really didn't know what else to do with himself.
Sitting up to look at the clock, Arthur realized it had been half an hour since he had first entered his room. Feeling the fatigue start to set in, he hoped he hadn't left checking in on Ariadne too long. If, with all his experience, he was already feeling this tired, the young architect must be exhausted, especially considering how far down into the dream she'd travelled. Silently reproaching himself for getting lost in his thoughts, Arthur hoped Ariadne would still be awake in her room so he could check on her. It was his last duty as point man for this job, and quickly pulling on his jacket, he moved at a brisk pace down a floor to her room. Knocking on the door, Arthur prepared himself. After all, he was nothing if not efficient.