Hey guys, this here is really the end. Thank you all so much for reading - I can't believe I actually finished this!
It only took me a year ¬_¬
Anywho, thank you, and I hope you've enjoyed this.
Autumn had descended on Paris somewhat gracefully, and Ariadne was still living in hotels.
Saito had agreed to pay up the rest of the money for the Inception job, seeing as when Fischer had gotten over the shock of coming back from the dead he'd still thought the idea to disassemble his father's empire was his own, and did so with alarming enthusiasm. Yusuf had innocently left out the real events from the flight from Sydney to Los Angeles when filling Fischer in, instead spinning a tale of the most skilled extractor in the business – a living legend – attempting to glean business secrets from him for an unknown syndicate and sending him in to limbo in the process. This "villain" had vanished without a trace; the authorities were at a loss.
Ariadne, however, still received the off phone call from him. Cobb had insisted that they use him as an excuse to clear all of their names - he called it a parting gift, seeing as he was retiring from the extraction business for good. James and Philippa had a father again, but Ariadne doubted he'd ever remarry. Mal was irreplaceable.
Eames also kept in touch regularly. He promised Ariadne that she had a home in London whenever she needed it, though the last thing she'd heard from him was that he was in Mombasa again, since he was finally rich enough to pay off his gambling debts. Although, Ariadne had a feeling that he wouldn't, because he knew he could get away with it.
Yusuf had also gone back to Mombasa, trying to locate the chemicals necessary to keep up his underground "pharmacy". It was true, it seemed, that the sedatives needed for dream sharing were slowly but surely being gotten rid of. In spite of this, Ariadne took the silver suitcase with her wherever she went. As a reminder.
She opened her eyes to soft golden light pouring in from the open window, a gentle breeze making the curtain ripple like a wave. This hotel was the nicest she'd stayed in so far – she still wasn't used to the star treatment that accompanied the ridiculous amount of money she now possessed. Also, Ariadne couldn't bring herself to actually settle down yet. After everything that had happened, finding a house and a legal way of life seemed too mundane, too banal. Eames said that it was a sign, that she obviously suited a life of crime and could make a very successful career out of it if she decided that was what she wanted to do. And honestly? She hadn't dismissed the idea.
The clock on the bedside table was facing away from her, but there was a muffled complaint from beside her when she leant forward to turn it. Two arms wound around her waist, tugging her back playfully. Her back met a bare chest, and a nose nuzzled at the nape of her neck.
"You woke me up." Arthur's sleepy mumble made Ariadne smile, shut her eyes and relax against him.
"Sorry. Go back to sleep."
"I was dreaming."
Ariadne tensed, her eyes opening wide "Really? What of?"
Neither of them dreamt anymore. Not naturally.
"Of when I was in limbo." His lips brushed against her shoulder.
"You never did say," Ariadne murmured "exactly what…I didn't want to ask."
"How long what I out for?" He asked; Ariadne could tell that the sleepiness in his voice was being put on now. It wasn't a subject they spoke about often, and he was paying close attention.
"Around ten minutes." Ariadne didn't bother to hide her embarrassment "I forgot there was a chance you'd find your way out on your own. I was busy trying to get my head around the fact that you were…you know."
She didn't like remembering it. Arthur set his chin on her shoulder, turning his face in to her hair and shutting his eyes.
"For me it was a week." He said softly; Ariadne could tell he was trying hard to keep his tone casual, light "I was back at school."
Ariadne could tell just from the set of his jaw against her back exactly how bad his stay in limbo had been. She twisted in his arms until they were face to face. His eyes were shut, his brow creased and furrowed as he recalled his experience. Ariadne gently traced the lines of his face, smoothing untimely creases.
"We don't have to talk about it now." She murmured, shutting her eyes and resting her forehead against his "We don't have to talk about it ever, if you don't want. We have all the time in the world."
She felt him smile, and groped around beneath the sheets until she found his hands, entwining their fingers together. It was difficult to imagine how much things had changed for her in the past year, and even more difficult to imagine the wide varieties of way things could go in the future.
But for now, she was happy. Right then and there, everything made sense and everything was okay, and she had no intentions of that changing any time soon.
"Shall we just muddle along like this, together, for as long as we can?"
"It's worth a shot."