I'm so incredibly sorry for the delay. I hope you enjoy, and thank you from the bottom of my heart for coming along for this ride. It's been a blast.
Eames clamped a hand over Ariadne's mouth. Instantly she caught on, closing her eyes and lying deathly still.
The third man sputtered awake. Eames kicked him in the mouth, relishing in the crunch his jaw made as it snapped. Eames lunged for the man's gun before he even drew it, wresting it away from him before the others could blink. Guns from the other two mafia trained on Eames instantly. A hairsbreadth from the trigger, they froze.
The cold barrel of Eames' gun pressed into the head of the drooling, still-sleeping Apted. "You have ten seconds before he wakes. Either you're gone before then or my five mill you want so badly dies with him. As does your boss's cut." He bit out the words. "Your choice."
Swearing violently, the leader wasted no time. He hauled the injured one to his feet and slammed the door to the compartment open. "We'll get you for this," he snarled.
"No," Eames replied flatly. "You won't."
No more time to waste, the mafia scampered down the train.
Ariadne let out a breath she didn't realize she'd been holding. "That was way too close."
"Still is," Eames helped her to her feet. "Ten seconds for us too, love."
They stuffed the needles into the suitcase, hurriedly hiding all signs they'd ever been there. As Apted stirred, they dashed out. Not even their room was safe. They kept running, hopping off at the next station.
It didn't take long for Eames' phone to ring. He answered it briskly, the familiar anger stealing back into his tone. "No, I'm not telling you a damned thing until my account tells me the money's been wired. It's six mill now, after the stunt your goons pulled." He waited, brow furrowed, eyes dripping fury while the man on the other end answered.
Ariadne watched him in silence. She'd seen ghosts of this level of anger when he spoke of Cobb tricking them into risking Limbo. Eames took loyalty to the job seriously - loyalty to the team even more so. A violation of both over a simple money grab enraged him.
Seeing him this angry was beyond vindication.
"No, what you don't understand is that I'd rather lose this job entirely than give a cent to you," Eames snarled. "So you'd damn well better make it worth my while." He hung up, shoving the phone viciously into his pocket.
She raised an eyebrow at him, patiently waiting out his anger.
Eames sighed as it drained from him. "The bastard tried to play the victim card, that his own men turned on him."
"Yeah, that's not really our problem," Ariadne drawled. "A double-cross is a double-cross. It's his job to sort out where the backstabbing came from."
He grinned, ruffling her hair. "You're a quick study. Won't be long before a banged-up old bloke like me is out of a job."
Ariadne laughed. "That'll be the day! But um, six million dollars?" she couldn't keep from asking.
"Pounds," Eames winked. "How does 2.5 million pounds sound to you?"
"That… sounds like a lot of money." She tried to wrap her head around it. "Assuming he still comes through on the deal."
"He will." Eames grinned. His phone beeped with perfect timing. "Oh, look at that, my bank says I'm six million pounds richer. About to lose 2.5 to you, gold-digging wench. Time to make a phone call."
Eames called back with the seller's information, along with Apted's 15 million cap. "Pleasure doing business with you. It's a shame that it'll be the last."
Eames hung up. All traces of his anger disappeared. A slow smile spread across his face as he took in the woman standing next to him.
He pulled Ariadne to him, savoring the taste of her lips against his. "We have just become filthy wealthy, my darling," Eames smiled against her lips. "What do you want to do now?"
"Kiss you again," she grinned back at him. "Then find someone else who hates flying. This downtime between jobs is killing me."
All-too-eagerly, he complied, starting with her first request. "Ariadne, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."
She laughed, leaning her head against his chest. "That's from Casablanca, isn't it?" He looked far too proud of himself. "I seriously need to get you a dictionary so that you can look up the word 'friendship.'"
Eames smirked down at her. "I like our definition better."