Author's Note: This one is too long and I don't like it that much :/ I was just trying to explore Eames' character a little more. Sorry for the DRAMA I'll try to make a funny one next C: But I will never stop writing about how Eames can't read, aha ha ha.
The Parisian workshop was bathed in a yellow half-light, feeling so oddly dream-like that Eames had to finger his poker chip totem in his pocket continuously to assure himself of reality. Most of the team had gone home already, although he wasn't entirely sure who was still skulking around. For his part, he was poring over information on Fischer's godfather, gathering clues and piecing together bits of personality like a detective. It was a very fine art, one which was underappreciated by the likes of the Point Man, who had pointed out snidely earlier that Eames' job would be a lot easier if he were not illiterate.
Eames ran a hand through his mussed up hair, staring at a newspaper clipping detailing a Fischer corporation buyout back in 2003. He was a slow reader, yes, but not illiterate. Some big words he skimmed over, but he got the gist of most things.
There was a light knocking which broke his concentration on the article, which had frankly been waning since he had tried to figure out what "conglomeration" meant. He turned to see Ariadne standing at the other end of the table, holding a cup of something steaming.
"Want some coffee?" She asked, peering at his work indiscreetly.
"Love some, thanks dear." He took the cup from her gratefully, collapsing down into the nearby chair and blowing on it. "And why are you still hanging around?"
The Architect shrugged, her arms folded across her chest. "It's kind of hard to leave this place, honestly. I feel like I'm always dreaming here, and going back to the real world…" he saw her finger her totem absent-mindedly. "It feels really weird. I feel like two separate people."
He let out a bark of harsh laughter, to which she looked up at him questioningly.
"Trust me darling, in my line of work that feeling sounds like paradise."
"How does it work?" She asked. "Becoming someone else in a dream? Why does it take a "forger" to do it? Couldn't I feasibly do the same thing?"
"What-ibly?" He asked. He was unabashedly ignorant of most high school level vocabulary.
"Possibly," she clarified.
"No, not possibly," he said with a smirk. "It takes a lot more than just imagining what someone looks like to be a good forger. It takes a very special kind of commitment; it takes a near total abandonment of your own persona. It's the ability to lose yourself in the person you're pretending to be. And you can already guess the danger there," he said coolly, sipping his coffee with unusual grace.
"You…can forget you're not just a projection? That you don't just exist in the dream?" Ariadne guessed.
"You are a clever girl," Eames responded with his usual patronizing tone. "If you're trying to trick the subconscious, you have to make sure you have forged elements of a person which appeal to the subconscious, and that is much more than appearances. That's gait, cadence, vocabulary, even the certain tensions that people have developed over years of interacting with only half-truths."
Ariadne looked at the Forger with an odd expression.
"Do you ever forget who you are?" she asked quietly.
Eames thought about how to answer her for a moment.
"I am a very good forger," he said with a smile that was laced with sadness. "And this is because I'm utterly forgettable to start with,"
Ariadne opened her mouth to respond, but he did not let her.
"So yes," he said. "I forget who I am quite frequently. But just like a totem, there are certain things in life that remind me,"
"What are those?" She had never seen Eames acting so seriously, although his smug smirk never left his face.
"Oh well, gambling debts for starters, and the various death threats that come with those," he said nonchalantly. "But this as well," and he pulled his wallet from his pocket, from which he extracted a worn-looking photograph and handed it to her.
The photo was of two little girls, maybe 2 and 4 years old, laughing with princess hats on.
"You…have kids?" She asked, completely shocked.
"Why so surprised? I don't seem like the daddy type?" He asked playfully, taking the picture back and glancing at it briefly before tucking it away again.
"Arthur said you live in Mombasa?"
"They live with their mum, in Glasgow," he said, answering the unasked question. "They think I'm an airline pilot. Bless the gullibility of children," he smiled wanly.
There was a long silence in which Eames drained the last of his coffee.
"I hope you haven't been talking to Arthur too much, love," he murmured as he placed the empty mug on the table, staining his papers. "He'll try to tell you otherwise, but this game is all about emotion. There's very little planning can be done in the face of a landscape that is shaped entirely by base feeling."
Ariadne nodded and other silence filled the room.
"You'd be a good forger, actually dear," Eames said, heaving himself up from the chair and picking up his coat.
"Is…that a compliment?" She asked, wondering if she was entirely forgettable.
Instead of answering, he went on. "I notice you've gotten very invested in Cobb and his silly post-marital troubles. You ask a lot of questions, and yet almost none are asked of you, because as I'm sure you realize you've stumbled into a little troupe of very aloof and grouchy men. We don't really know anything about you, and yet here I am telling you about my family." He smiled, making his way to the door.
"That is what a good forger does, and I for one cannot believe I fell for it." He gave her a little nod and slipped out the door.
Ariadne stared at the space that had only seconds ago been occupied by Eames. She was a little confused about how the conversation had ended. Suddenly panicked, she fingered the glossy bishop in her pocket, took it out and tipped it on the table. She wondered how long after the inception it would take her to have a firm grasp on her own existence. She thought of the photo, the children happily playing. Perhaps she needed a better totem.