Well, here we are. Can you believe that we've actually reached the end of Point Man? I can't either. Thank you all so much for your support, your reviews, and your PMs that kept me motivated to finish this story. It took way longer than it should have, but without you all, it probably never would have been finished.
Small note: the Cobb's have a small home in England at this point in time. I know they live in the States in the movie, but for now they're in England.
Disclaimer: I do not own Inception.
It was well into the afternoon when Dom finally received a call from Mal. Throughout the night he and Eames had taken turns keeping an eye on Arthur, so by the time the call came, they had each had at least a few hours of sleep. Arthur slept fitfully through the whole night, but it was better than nothing.
Now Eames and Arthur watched as Cobb jotted down directions on a slip of paper. "Uh-huh, yeah...got it...Thanks Mal, see you in a few hours...bye."
Dom hung up the phone and gave the other two a small smile. "We have a location."
"Then let's get out of this dump. I'm ready for one of Mal's homemade meals." Eames stood up, throwing on a jacket.
"And what makes you think she'll make you food?" asked Arthur.
"No one can resist my charm, mate." Eames waggled his eyebrows rather disturbingly.
Dom came over behind Arthur as the man sat up. "Do you think you can walk?"
"I'd certainly rather try than be carried again."
Eames chuckled. "Don't fancy being the damsel in distress? I wouldn't strain myself for the sake of my vanity, love."
Arthur scowled at him. "Oh yes you would."
"Well...true, but fortunately for me, I'm far too large for people to carry me anyway. Unlike -" That was as far as Eames got before he got a face full of pillow.
"Nice shot," Cobb laughed as he helped the point man to his feet.
They staggered slowly to the car, Arthur clearly laboring to put one foot in front of the other, but there was no way he wasn't going to leave the cabin under his own power. "I may...be small...Mr. Eames...but I'm stronger...than I look...people always...underestimate me...gives me an element...of surprise."
"That it does, darling." Eames followed them out. "That it does."
The plane ride out to England, where Mal waited for them, was a bumpy, uncomfortable business, given that the private plane was barely big enough to seat the three of them and the pilot. Arthur had a hard time getting comfortable with all of the turbulence jostling his injury and, by the time they landed, he had lost all color in his face and nearly fell unconscious.
"Easy there, love," Eames murmured as he helped Arthur stagger to his feet.
Cobb gathered their equipment and opened the door to the runway. It was a short drop to the ground, but even so, Arthur had a difficult time navigating it so that he would land on his feet and not his face.
Dom caught the man as he wobbled on the tarmac and behind him, he heard a soft gasp. "Oh Arthur! Dom, you didn't tell me he was this bad off."
And before anyone could offer any explanations or excuses, Mal bustled in between the men and took Arthur's face in her hands. "Poor dear, you have a fever."
"I'll be alright," the point man said faintly. "I just need to rest."
"Yes, and had I known you were this bad off, I would have forbidden you from traveling so soon." She shot a reprimanding look at the other two. "Come on, my car is just over there."
By the time they got on the road, Arthur was half-asleep, resting on Eames's shoulder, who kept him from falling over and putting too much pressure on his wound. Mal and Dom kept up a steady, but soft stream of conversation as Cobb caught her up on all that had happened.
It was late afternoon by the time they reached the Cobb's home. As they got out of the car, Mal said, "I called Miles after you called me. I figured he could help us. Plus, he's rather fond of Arthur."
The point man smiled as Eames helped him to the house. Having no close family of his own, Arthur loved Miles's grandfatherly attention and, as the old man appeared on the doorstop, his smile widened.
"What have you gotten yourself into this time, young man?" Miles ran a critical eye over the point man's frame.
"It's just a scratch, really," he said.
It was hard to judge who snorted louder - Dom or Eames. Miles just shook his head and held the door open. "I have trouble believing that, but come inside. The kettle's just boiled and I'll fix you all a cup of tea."
In the upcoming weeks of Arthur's recovery, it was truly a miracle that they didn't all kill each other. Working together was one thing, but when five people of such different personalities lived together in close quarters, tempers were bound to run high.
Eames managed to drive the whole Cobb family, Miles included, crazy with his laidback, carefree attitude. In turn, he came to realize that all Cobbs were a bit high-strung and never knew when to take a break, so he ended up spending most of his days exploring the local pubs.
Arthur, though grateful for the Forger's concern, was relieved when he left the house because it meant there was one less person to mother him. The first few days he could understand since he could hardly get out of bed without assistance. But as he grew stronger and started to recover, he couldn't even go to the bathroom without one of them waiting outside the door when he got out.
By the time he had reached the one month anniversary of his shooting and they still cared for him with kid gloves, he'd had enough. At dinner that night - one where Mal had cut all of his food for him and Dom practically ran to the kitchen to get something if Arthur mentioned he wanted it, while Eames watched everything with a smirk - the point man set down his fork and looked at them all. "I can't do this anymore."
They all looked back at him.
Dom ventured a question. "Do what?"
"This," Arthur gestured around at the house. "This living together and having one of you shadow my footsteps everywhere I go. I've lived on my own since I was sixteen and I haven't needed help to make it. I made my own way. And yes, I understand I'm still recovering, but I'm well enough to take care of myself. So could I please go to my own apartment in the city? If not for my own sake, then for the sake of our friendship, because we're going to kill each other if we keep this up."
Mal and Dom looked too shocked to respond, though he could already see the protests forming on their lips. Miles just smiled at him in understanding. But Eames laughed. "Told you he wouldn't take this mollycoddling long, Cobb. You got to give a man room to breathe."
Arthur narrowed his eyes at him. "Oh, and you've been good at that?"
"Better than them." The Forger winked and shoved a spoonful of potatoes into his mouth.
"But what about your appointments?" Dom asked.
"What if you fall and injure yourself?" Mal asked.
They started tag-teaming.
"What if you reopen your stitches?"
"What if you get an infection?"
"What if you can't reach something?"
Miles intervened before Arthur could lose his cool. "Now, now. Dom, Mal, control yourselves. I think Arthur is in the right this time." He held up a hand to stop their protests. "I think we should let him go to his apartment, provided that one of us can check on him once a day and take him to his appointments. Does that sound fair?"
It was better than nothing, so Arthur nodded. After several moments of hesitation, the Cobbs agreed as well.
"Good, then let's finished our supper, shall we?" Miles sipped from his teacup as if nothing had happened.
Arthur decided he really liked Miles.
The next month of recovery went much more smoothly. Arthur was able to have his space for most of the time, with only a couple hours of visits every day from one of the team. Much to his surprise, he found that Eames was the one he most enjoyed receiving as a visitor.
They were both as opposite as they could be, but Eames seemed to know instinctively when to push and when to leave him alone. He never stayed past his allotted time of visiting hours unless Arthur invited him to, while the Cobbs had the unfortunate habit of overstaying their welcome.
So, when it was Eames's turn to visit one day, Arthur surprised him by opening the door and saying, "We're going shopping."
The Forger's mouth twitched with a sly smile. "Oh we are, are we? No offense, love, but isn't that something girls do when they hang out?"
Arthur brushed past him into the hall, knocking their shoulders together. "I'm tired of looking like a teenager. We're going to do something about that."
Again, Eames found himself hard-pressed to keep several smart comments from escaping. The thought of Pyotr and his gang picking Arthur as their target because he looked younger and weaker wiped the smile from his face. "Okay. What's our plan of attack?"
Arthur shot him a suspicious glance over his shoulder. "I didn't expect you to capitulate so easily."
"Why, darling, surely you know I'm a man who can appreciate one developing a sense of style." Eames brushed his hands over the ugly yellow jacket he wore as he decidedly ignored Arthur's use of capi...capt...whatever that word was.
"I hardly think what you're wearing could be called an outfit, much less that it has style."
Eames grinned as they hailed a cab and got in. This shopping venture was bound to be interesting.
Several sweater vests, dress pants, and a trip to the barber's later, Eames found himself waiting outside a dressing room as Arthur tried on a suit.
He was just about to nod off when Arthur came out. He'd slicked back his hair and now wore a smart, black, three-piece suit. He still looked young, but no longer vulnerable. His whole posture adamantly declared that he was a professional and no one in their right mind should try to take advantage of him.
"Well, darling, I think you found what you were looking for."
Arthur's face broke out into a wide smile. "I believe I did, Mr. Eames."