In an effort to break writer's block, as well as to write down some demanding plot bunnies that I've had ever since I saw this amazing movie, I started writing this…so if you're reading my other stories that I have not finished yet, that pesky writer's block is my problem. Hopefully this'll help. =D

Okay, some important info for you all before you read. This is set about seven years or so before Inception and Mal is still alive (whether or not she is going to play any part in this story has yet to be determined…) Arthur is new to the job, so if he seems a little less…uh…put together?...than he is in the movie, that would be the reason. I figured he had to work on his epicness for a few years before he actually became the cool, collected Point Man he is later on. =D

Also, no slash will be present in this story.

Disclaimer: I dreamed I owned Inception...that doesn't count? No? Bummer...

Annnnd, I think that's all. Enjoy!

Arthur came out of the dream with a gasp, finding himself on the floor. Confusion fluttered through him. It was too early, he was certain of it…and a glance around the room where his teammates still lay sleeping next to their mark only confirmed his suspicions. So what…?

Then he felt the cold muzzle of a gun resting just below his hairline.

He swallowed and slowly raised his hands in a gesture of surrender. It wasn't the first time that he'd had a gun held on him before, but this time he was in the real world and getting shot here didn't wake you up.

"Nice of you to join us in the land of the living. Arthur, was it?" A deep, Russian voice cooed behind him.

"Yes…who are you?" Arthur asked in an even tone, trying to keep his uncertainty and fear from showing.

"You need not worry about that right now. More important matters first, get up." A nudge from the gun convinced him of the necessity of obeying that command.

Arthur stood up slowly, still not gathering the courage to glance behind him to see who was jeopardizing his life. His hands wiped nervously against his jeans as he tried to find a solution to this mess.

A short, incredulous laugh sounded behind him. "I can't believe Cobb chose you as his point man, you're no more than a boy."

Arthur stiffened. Sure, he was young, just barely turned twenty-two, but that hardly qualified as a boy in his mind. I need to get some new clothes, maybe that will help. He thought as he glanced down at his faded jeans and black T-shirt.

"Hands up where I can see them, please," the man spoke again.

Arthur reluctantly obeyed, only to jump the next moment as his captor's free hand began to pat him down.

Another soft chuckle sounded from behind him. "A little on edge, are we? Well, I can't have you pulling a weapon on me, can I?"

Arthur bit his lip, inwardly fuming at himself. He did not want to come across as a newbie to this man, but he was failing miserably. Not to mention he was a newbie, which didn't help matters any.

The man had just finished checking him for weapons – and took away his penknife, he gloomily noted– when the door to the hotel room they were in opened up. A tall, well-built man with dark hair and grey eyes popped his head in. "Are you finished yet?"


"Then come on, we've only got a few minutes to get clear of this place." He disappeared back out into the hall again.

"You heard the man." Another nudge with the gun. "Get going."

Arthur froze. Get going? They're…kidnapping me? But why? He shot a desperate glance at Cobb and Eames, still blissfully slumbering away, willing them to wake up. And where was the man who had been monitoring them while they were asleep? Surely someone, anyone, would see that he was being kidnapped. It was a hotel, after all, not some creepy abandoned warehouse that Cobb usually did his experiments in.

This time a rough shove came from behind him, making him stumble a few steps towards the door. "Don't test me, kid, get moving. And I would suggest you not try anything, the end result would not be…pleasant."

Arthur shuddered, but continued out the door into the hallway, where the brown-haired man waited impatiently for them. Seeing them emerge, his hand darted out and he grasped Arthur's arm tightly above the elbow. "Come on, the car's waiting for us."

He winced as the man's fingers dug tightly into his upper arm and tugged him along. The man who had been threatening him before came up beside him, walking briskly. He was clean-shaven, pale, with almost white-blond hair and piercing blue eyes. A thin smile crossed his features as he caught Arthur staring at him and he purposefully made a gesture with his pocket that now concealed his gun. His meaning was clear, Try anything and I'll shoot you, regardless of who sees or not.

Arthur swallowed and turned his gaze ahead again, just as they entered an elevator. The man holding him punched the lobby button and the elevator doors closed.

As they began to go down, his heart began to pound faster and faster. None of this made sense. This was barely his fourth job, he hardly even had a reputation yet, why on earth would anyone want to kidnap him instead of someone like Cobb or Eames? And it wasn't like either man really cared about him enough right now for someone to try to use him as a ransom against them.

In fact, Arthur could just imagine Eames shrugging his shoulders and saying, Bad luck, that. Ah well, less trouble for us, eh?

His mind was bursting with questions, but one look at his captors made him prevent any of them from reaching his tongue. Something told him that these men did not take well to any kind of inconvenience, even verbal ones.

As he started to shift his gaze back to the front, he suddenly caught a glimpse of his own face in the mirror surrounding the elevator. Large, frightened brown eyes peered back at him from a face framed with dark brown curls. Lose the deer-in-the-headlights-look, Arthur, he told himself firmly and tried to make his expression a little less panic-stricken.

It wasn't working.

The elevator came to a stop and the man's grip tightened even more around his arm. The doors slid open and they pushed past the people waiting outside, not even caring if they trampled on a few feet.

Arthur tried to catch someone's eye as he was propelled across the lobby of the hotel, but no one was paying attention to him. All that mattered was their own neat, little world, they could care less about the young man practically being dragged through their midst.

They emerged from the hotel, the bright sun outside causing Arthur to blink disorientedly. By the time his vision had adjusted, they were suddenly in front of an open car door. The sight caused him to freeze up, now thoroughly frightened at the idea that he was being taken away from his….well, not friends…but co-workers, people who knew him at least.

The brown-haired man muttered a soft curse and shoved him forward again. "Get in."

Arthur contemplated making a run for it, but the blond man was gesturing with his pocket again and he knew he wouldn't make it very far before he was shot. Just go with it, you'll figure something out. Hopefully.

Timidly he ducked inside the car, letting out a faint cry as someone grabbed him and pulled him all the way in. As he stumbled into the middle seat, his wide eyes met those of- "Gerasim?"

The man who was supposed to be monitoring their sleep smiled at him. "Arthur, so good of you to join us."

"But…But you…" His brow wrinkled. None of this made any sense.

"Shush." Gerasim gently shoved him back farther in his seat.

His attention was called back to the outside of the car where the brown-haired man was giving instructions to the blond. "Meet me at the rendevous in fifteen minutes. No dawdling."

"Of course not." The blond drawled as he slipped into the seat beside Arthur and closed the door behind him. Turning to the front, he spoke to another man sitting up in the driver's seat. "Drive."

Arthur felt the car start up and pull out into traffic and his stomach twisted into knots. "Wh-Where-?"

The blond turned to him and tutted. "You haven't even got your seatbelt on. I would "click it, or ticket" if I were you."

He frowned, now thoroughly confused, but his fingers fumbled with the seatbelt and clicked it into place.

"That's better," the man remarked cheerfully. "You may proceed, Gerasim."

Arthur started and turned to the other occupant to see what he meant. His eyes widened as he saw Gerasim readying a syringe of some sort. He backed up as far as he could, a rather futile endeavor as this only led him to bump into the blond man, who held him tightly. He squirmed in his hold as Gerasim grabbed his arm and pulled it over to him. "N-No, don't! Please…"

"Sssh," the blond whispered in his ear as the needle came closer. "Just think of it as going into your dream world. It'll all be over in a second. After all, we can't have you seeing where we're going."

Arthur whimpered as the needle pierced his skin and its' contents were drained into him. What had they give him? What if it killed him? But that didn't make sense. Why would they poison him after going through all this trouble to kidnap him?

His vision began to tunnel and his head suddenly felt very heavy. He swallowed thickly, trying to stay awake, but his surroundings were growing dimmer with each second that passed. As his head fell back, he thought he heard the blond say, "Sweet dreams."

The world went black.