Okay, so I know there wasn't any hint of Ari/Saito, but I figured who better to give the "first impression" that a normal person would make? By "normal" I mean someone like "us", someone off screen…if that makes sense. It's how someone would see Saito off screen, basically. And damn this was so flip-flop to write lol.
I hint at Ari/Saito so I'll let you decide if they can be/would be.
What could she say about Saito?
He was a businessman at heart. Meaning, of course, that he probably knew nothing else than business…winning more than losing; otherwise why bother with inception?
If Ari had spotted the man at any other place in a random crowd – although she doubted she'd ever see him by chance since he would go to places with money, the kind she had never seen let alone owned – she would have thought of him to be arrogant, smug, and perhaps a bit cold.
She was half right in all of these. When they first met, he had been rather…abrupt, professional, and perhaps even cold. She had a difficult time picking up on his emotions, on his personality. Not like with Cobbs who was open like a book – that was colored in by a two year old. With Saito it took a bit for her to adjust. And even then he was like a damn ping-pong ball!
More than once during their journey, before the inception, she had been so close to asking if he was bipolar, but resisted. While he gave off the vibes of liking his solitude, she didn't want to be ignored from her rudeness. Something about him…made her want to talk to him and be talked to by him. Okay so she admitted inwardly that his voice and accent was definitely a huge reason as to why she wanted to hear him speak to her…but the other reason was because he was smart, calculating. Again, of course he was otherwise he wouldn't be toying with inception.
Their first meeting was less than what she had hoped for.
"Saito, this is Ariadne. Ari, this is Saito." Cobbs bluntly said, adding their position in the team afterwards.
"A girl?" Saito spoke so suddenly that Ari felt a chill shoot down her spine. It wasn't that this man was evil, but he gave off the impression, both with his body and voice, that he was…well, he got what he wanted. By any means necessary. "Cobbs, we need someone that can build skyscrapers, not put building blocks together to spell 'toy'."
Ari's jaw dropped without her control, shocked briefly. Surely she had imagined that, right? No, not judging by Cobbs' reaction as well. "I'm not a child!" Ari snapped, looking caught off guard rather than angry. "I'm in college!"
"You certainly do not look it. You cannot blame me for doubting your ability." The man stated calmly as if it were an unwritten social rule.
Scoffing, she pointed out with anger now seeping through, "Looks shouldn't count otherwise I'd announce you're too old to be doing such a…a heart-racing activity." It was weak, she knew, and a lie…but still. "If you doubt me, then you obviously don't hold much trust in Cobbs."
Saito held her eyes for a long moment, a challenge almost. Something flashed in them before a smile grew over his face, a teasing one that made him look exceptionally young. "The time will come to prove me wrong." With that, he turned away to talk to Arthur.
And Ari just stood there, caught off guard and stunned once more.
So her first impression that he was a cold-hearted man…but he proved it wrong when he offered her rides to her house after several late nights at the workshop. His conversation, both in and out of those rides, were full of…of…intelligence, although it sounded foolish to even say. They were stimulating, his talks, and interesting. It made Ari think about what she thought she was so sure about.
But then there were times where she wondered if his kindness was a façade or the true him that slipped out on and off. For example, he would shoot down nearly everyone's suggestion for something. He'd shoot down certain techniques that the team thought would be helpful somehow. And he would often stay away for days…although that part Ari understood; he was a businessman, after all.
There were times when Ari caught herself seeing this as an adventure, almost make-believe where no one could actually get hurt or die. She'd see Saito as some great…sage of some sort that brought them together, someone to create 'fun'.
But then she'd recall that they were all being paid for this. That Saito was doing this to take down his competition, the very same that was best his own company. And her view would turn into ice, seeing him as 'just politics', seeing him as almost ruthless to get what he wanted. That was when she'd remind herself that she was nothing to him, just a small step to a great prize; something to easily be forgotten as soon as that prize was reached.
Still, the need, the desire, to go into his mind…oh she craved it. What was he like? Did he have family? Did he have regrets? Well of course he did, everyone did, but what were they?
The man…Saito…what was he? Was he good or evil? A bit of both? He gave off so many confusing vibes, so many conflicting impressions, that she felt a headache arrive every time she tried to figure him out.
Maybe he was slowly opening up, which revealed his kindness, but realized what was happening and to who and shut himself off once more, the cold side. After all, he was a business man, and emotions often didn't fit well with such an occupation.