Goodness, my hugest sincerest apologies for the wait! I hate to give excuse, but i've had the most intense weekend in a while; uni work is piling up etc etc etc. Anyway, I'm well on my way to starting my next A/A fic (cue shameless self promotion!) an have many of the chapters planned out, except of course the first... But be on the look out, I'm hoping to post it by the end of the week!
I hope you like this epilogue. I had second thoughts about it, because I quite liked where I ended the previous chapter. But this idea kept throwing itself at me so I went ahead with it!
Thank you to all my amazing amazing reviewers/alerters/favoriters! I've never had such a lovely response to a story before and the Inception fandom is quickly becoming my favorite! I love you all 3
She steps out of the building into the warm sunlight. When the school year started, she had no preference to summer vacations. Unlike most of her classmates, school is what she loves. Studying, learning, it is part of the reason she came to Paris. She half-expected to spend her holidays finding some sort of internship. After the Fischer job, however, her priorities flip-flopped. She can't imagine giving up her passion, but at the same time, a new one grew. Real architecture, however extraordinary would never measure up to the dream world. The level of creation would never cease to amaze her, despite Arthur insisting she'd get used to it.
Since the Fischer job, and especially that fateful weekend, she has been looking forward to the summer. No more late-night research or last minute assignments. He had been a great help, he'd stay up with her, doing his own thing so she wouldn't be alone, or help her brainstorm ideas. Though he found his own apartment, a few streets from hers, he spends very little time there and she does not mind at all.
Repositioning her bag over her shoulder, she waves to a couple of friends as she makes her way to the front gates. He's there, leaning against the stone wall, as he always is when he picks her up. Which is less often after Sophie saw them once, and her reaction to their relationship was neither quiet nor subtle. But today is a special day.
His hair is slicked back, as per usual. His slacks, which could very well be dress pants, are ironed to perfection but heat has demanded he forego any sort of vest today. Instead his blue shirts it's neatly against his skin, the sleeves rolled up to his elbows. She tries to ignore how handsome he looks, though she is faced with it daily.
He looks up when she is a few feet away, his typical half-smile on his lips. She opens her mouth to speak, but instead just silently mouths "hey", before standing on tiptoe to press a soft kiss to his lips. It is ritual, quick, gentle, just like the first. He places a hand on her cheek, keeping it there when she pulls away, his thumb stroking her skin.
"Shall we go?" he asks. She nods eagerly, too eagerly and his lips quirk up trying to restrain a chuckle.
They are halfway home, it would've been faster with the Metro, but on such a lovely day she wants to take her time in the sun. They take a longer route, going down to the Seine, to water by the water. Besides, she's realised there's nothing quite like holding his hand, his grip is always soft but solid.
"Cobb called. There's another job." He says suddenly. She's only half surprised by this, and half elated. She could not deny she'd been waiting for this.
They stop at a railing, similar to the one when he first came to Paris. She glances at him, "I thought he was on a break." She thought Cobb had quit, after doing all that to get back to his kids she couldn't imagine him leaving them again. Then again, she couldn't imagine him giving up this job either.
He nods, "He is. But the client didn't know that." She looks out onto the water while he continues, "Eames is arriving tomorrow afternoon."
This gains her attention; she raises an eyebrow, "Eames?'
"He's good at what he does," Arthur sighs and she chuckles. If anything, she's missed their banter; it was like watching two small children, except with particularly advanced vocabularies.
"So you're going to do it?"
The way he looks at her is almost apologetic. "It's my job, Ariadne. It's what I do."
She wanted to argue sheer semantics. He did so much more. He was possibly the most intelligent person she knew, he could probably get a job anywhere and do it well. He read to her and proof-read her essays and made her dinner and wrapped his arms around her at night. She would never ask him to give up the dreams. It's not all he did, but she understands: it's part of who he is.
She doesn't say anything of this; instead she steps closer to him, placing her hand on his chest. He gazes down her on her questioningly, she's been quiet for too long.
"Okay," she nods, "I'm in."
His expression doesn't change, but his breathing does. He was unsure, she realises, of her reaction.
"You don't have to," he says, lifting a hand to touch a strand of her hair.
She smiles, "I know. But there's nothing quite like it, is there." She lifts her head to look at him, "Besides, I'm on holiday now."
His lips quirk up, but before a whole smile can emerge he presses them to hers. She's extraordinarily excited, for the job, to see Eames, to build things that have a purpose, for their future. He pulls away, resting his forehead on hers. His breath is warm and pepper-minty as it blows over her face. Her hand searches, and quickly finds his, their finger intertwining as though it were natural, as though they had been doing it forever.
His steady smile quirks up again, "Fine, but you're telling Eames."
She laughs, "You know he'd never let you leave unteased."
He makes a slight grimace at the thought and she laughs again, getting even more excited for this reunion, for this reality she can choose to create. Ironically, for this dream come true.
Her free hand grabs his shirt collar and pulls his lips back down to hers. For now, there is no rush.