DISCLAIMER: Inception © Christopher Nolan

PLOT: Post Film / Things go horribly awry amid an extraction. Ariadne & Eames comfort/friendship. One shot.

" And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand-
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep- while I weep!"


Everything had gone so wrong so fast that it was almost comical. Almost comical – like how she was the one being comforted by a dying man.

She brought her hand up, coated slick with blood, to brush back the hair that had fallen into his face. She didn't know why she did it – his brow was now the color of her sticky fingers, but it had made her feel better to do it. The little things.

Sitting in a growing pool of blood, with a dying man in her lap, it was almost comical to think how fast everything had gone bad.


Just because Cobb was out didn't mean bills stopped showing up. Financial responsibilities. Expensive gambling addictions. The thrill of the job.

It wasn't long before they called her. Are you game for another job?

It was an extraction, clean-cut and to the point. Arthur had all the details – he always did. They had Eames to forge and some new extractor to break in; all they needed was Ariadne, creating a world within a dream. She found a mild frustration that she hadn't even hesitated before saying yes. Then again, it was always difficult to say no to Arthur. Maybe it was a part of his charm. Maybe it was just the thrill of the job.

In the end, she wished she would have just said no. Everything had gone so very wrong so very fast.

She wasn't sure exactly when the train ran off the tracks. The plan had been rolling according to script. The subject was feeding them what they needed – spilling dark truths to a phantom sister – a clever deceit. All that remained was to break in and collect their reward. Perhaps, she reflected, that's where it went bad; but they had never received any warning.

Arthur was point-man for the extractor, and Ariadne would be no more than a projection alongside Eames; Eames, forging filial blood-ties. They were on the ground floor of the bank, everything dim and empty; closing time. They were to be away from the vault, not to be anywhere near the point of extraction. The subject wasn't to be expected, so it was with much surprise when he arrived at the scene. He wasn't alone, but they had no reason to believe the game was forfeit, and they tried anyway.

Eames forged his lies, but the subject had no more delusions. Both were wickedly unprepared for when the target drew a gun from his coat – they weren't to be carrying any weapons, and Ariadne felt the disadvantage sharply. For dreaming, there was nothing ethereal about the adrenaline rocketing through the system or the fear pumping in veins. Not even the pain.

Eames had made some sort of sound and lunged forward like a mad-man. The deafening cartridge reports had exploded in Ariadne's ears like some train screaming past her head, and she was sure she had screamed in shock. Or had that been Eames she had heard screaming . . . the moment had left her shaken. ARIADNE! Eames had been shouting – it was her name. There had been something tight and desperate in the sound – something that had dragged her awake.

It had been locked combat, both wrestling for the gun. The party of projections had turned on the forger in an instant, mobbing him. The only thing in the dim she had seen was a waste bin. She had grabbed it, started to slam it against bodies, against faces, screaming in the fear of it all. They started swarming on her as well . . .

and the gun rocked the scene.


There was blood on the ground and the forger slipped, collapsing into an awkward sit. She was at his side in an instant, but already his vision was going wide, too much grey in his eyes. Heavy and distant. She realized, with a desperate notion, that they had no more bullets. She had heard the empty clicks.

She pulled and hauled and Eames had clumsily moved a few feet away from the bloody pile they left in their wake. He choked and blood bubbled to his lips. The front of his ragged shirt was blossoming with brilliant roses. She could see it in the dim light. With terrible clarity, Ariadne knew that Eames was dying, and she could do nothing to lessen it. She considered if the subject returned, having escaped, but she knew she wouldn't leave the forger alone. Not like this. This was Eames. She wouldn't have abandoned any one of them.

His breathing was horrible, a wet rasp past bloody lips, but still he afforded her a wraith-like smile.

"Not exactly according to plan, eh?"

She didn't know what to say. It was like Saito all over again – and they all could remember how well that had turned out.

He started choking on his blood. She wrapped small arms around him until his heaving subsided. He was all pain and misery. She couldn't think of anything to do for him. This was exsanguination. He was going to bleed until he was dead - on the floor of an empty bank.

"I don't have a gun." She was small and desperate sounding. "There aren't any bullets left."

He chuckled, it was more a sticky gurgle. "Th-This isn't - going to be - very elegant."

His eyes detached from reality and he keeled over. She clutched at him like some desperate animal, struggling until she had his head lying limply in her lap. She brought her hand away from him slick with blood. The front of his shirt was now a crimson ink blot. She couldn't tell how many times he had been shot, it was all a ruined heap, and the lighting wasn't great. He was starting to tremble. She gripped him tighter – and maybe he had felt her.

"You h-have to go - go find A-Arthur."

"Not yet." She whispered. The two of them huddled there on the floor.

She looked down, his eyes had gone glassy. He wasn't looking at her. Too much gray in those eyes. Trembling and blanched. She couldn't help but feel that somehow, if Cobb had been there, none of this would have happened. Everything wouldn't have gone so grotesquely wrong. She couldn't help but admit to herself, in the bleak circumstances, how much she missed the man. He had left a mark across them all.

"I wish he was here." It was a half-formed whisper. For a moment, she wasn't even sure she had said anything at all. She was truly surprised when Eames answered, knew what she meant. A wet hand reaching to pat at hers sloppily, bleeding-out making him funny. The blood made his distinctive voice strange.

"Hush, Love. It - it'll be over sh-shortly."

It was almost comical how she was the one being comforted by a dying man.

She brought her hand up, coated slick with blood, to brush back the hair that had fallen into his face. She didn't know why she did it – his brow was now the color of her sticky fingers, but it had made her feel better to do it. The little things.

She sat there a little longer until footsteps became distinct, rushing towards them. She was rigid, expecting their subject to have returned, more projections to tear and rip at her. A moment later Arthur was standing before her, as grim-faced as the scene before him. He had been running to get to her.


She glanced at Eames, "Please-" her request to Arthur died on her lips. The forger stared sightless towards the dim ceiling. It had indeed ended shortly. Miserable and abrupt.

Arthur seemed to understand, he reached a hand down towards her with his firm, placid way. "It's alright. He's awake now."

Her legs were going numb, but she could still feel the warmth where she was sitting in Eames' blood. She reached a wet, sticky hand up towards the point-man; he didn't seem to mind. Strong fingers wrapped deftly around hers and he pulled her up -

and they were pulled up out of the dream.


When she woke from the job, Eames was disconnecting them from the PASIV.

The extractor, from where he lay, offered them a thumbs up. "Success."

She rubbed wearily at her face and turned to Arthur. He was offering her an encouraging smile. Eames offered her something in the way of a strange look, a quick glance before they were packed and leaving the scene of their crime. Arthur raised a brow at the forger, when they had made it to the train depot, and Eames had returned a smile. The forger winked over at the architect, as they boarded, and Ariadne marveled at the strange rush of relief.

It never got easier. But they could never stay away.

By the time the subject had woken up, Ariadne and the rest were no more than forgotten dreams.

E.A.P. - "A Dream Within A Dream".