A/N (AtlantisGirl12): This story is the product of a collaboration between Feathered Filly and I. We have greatly enjoyed working together on this project and we hope you enjoy what we've come up with! :) I know I'm uber excited! :D One important note though: this story DOES NOT CONTAIN SLASH. There are now tons of stories in this fandom that do, but this one will not. My personal opinion is that there is nothing romantic between any of the male characters in the movie and this story will reflect that. Sorry if this comes across as harsh, but I just don't want anyone interpreting our story as having slash. This will, however, explore in detail the bond that Dom, Eames, and Arthur all share, which is familial/brotherly. Hope you enjoy the story!
A/N: (Feathered Filly): I haven't written any actual fanfic in more than five years and my last collaboration was close to two years ago. However, these three characters of Inception, Arthur, Eames and Dom, instantly captured my heart and managed to make me completely infatuated with them and their brother-like relationship. You have the squabbling younger brothers, Arthur and Eames, and the older more mature older brother, Dom. These guys have to be three of my all time favorite fictional characters, and when I love certain characters, I can't help but put them through extreme angst and hurt/comfort... I like to hurt the ones I love. And that's exactly why this collaboration has gone so amazingly well. It's like AtlantisGirl and I share the same brain or something, because our thoughts and ideas are all so eerily similar. Working with AtlantisGirl has definitely been my favorite collaboration, simply because the two of us work so amazingly well off each other... not to mention because she's so talented as well as friendly. I hope you readers have as much fun reading our story as we did creating it. :)
Echoes of the Past
Eames strained at his restraints as the man walked around Arthur's motionless form. The point man was slumped in the chair, his chin on his chest, held up only by the tight ropes that bound him. The pool of blood below his chair continued to grow from the rivulets running from various places, alarming Eames. How much blood could one lose and still live? Arthur's face was already pale as death. Only by straining his eyes could Eames see the tell-tale rise and fall of his chest. Otherwise, he would have feared the point man dead already.
"Aw, is dear old Arthur still with us?" The man's voice rang out with cruel laughter. He poked Arthur roughly, causing his head to loll limply to the side. "Terribly rude, don't you think, old chap?" The man mocked Eames' British accent. He walked over to the forger and leaned in close, his face mere inches from Eames'. "I say we wake him up again. Wouldn't want him to miss out on all the fun." He laughed at the fear in Eames' eyes.
"Please don't," the forger whispered. Arthur couldn't take much more.
The man laughed at the fear in Eames' eyes. "Was that actual begging I heard?" His face suddenly lost all mirth and he stared at Eames with cold malice. "Sorry, old boy. "Fraid you're not going to get your wish this time." He looked back at his accomplice who stood ready next to Arthur. "Do it."
And Eames could only watch in horror as the other man obeyed.
The Mombasa heat beat down mercilessly. Scores of people—men in their kikoi and women in their long bui buis and hijaabs—trudged along the narrow streets, in and around tiny cars.
"Tell me again why you chose this of all places to hide out." Arthur loosened his tie a little bit more. Despite the heat, he wore a three piece linen suit and his hair was carefully gelled back.
"Don't tell me you're complaining, darling." Eames took a sip from his wine glass. Though he was technically wearing "business" attire, his slacks were un-pressed and his white shirt was wrinkled and spotted. Several buttons were undone, baring his chest in what Eames liked to call the "suave, debonair" look.
"I mean, look at this place," Eames continued. He gestured at the dark—and rather grimy—bar he, Arthur and Cobb now sat in. "You can't find posh places like this in Paris or London." He elbowed Dom. "Right, old man?"
The extractor, who had been ignoring the other's banter with practiced ease, merely made a non-committal grunt.
Arthur rolled his eyes in exasperation. "Well, pardon me," he sarcastically mimicked Eames' accent, "but my idea of posh is a little different than yours."
The forger grinned wickedly. "I know, I bet you're pining for some raven-haired French beauty, right?" He elbowed the younger man and gave him a cheeky grin.
Dom had been gazing off in the distance, his eyes focused on some distant memory only he could see, but now he set his glass down with an audible thud at Eames' careless words. Arthur glared at Eames and pressed on his foot none too gently with his dress shoes. At Eames' slight yelp of pain, Arthur jerked his head at Dom. The forger cursed under his breath. Stupid! How could he have forgotten about Mal? It had only been two months since the death of the Frenchwoman and since Dom had been forced to flee the U.S., leaving his two young children behind.
Eames looked over at the extractor. "Ah, Dom, I'm sorry."
The other man took a sharp swig of his tasteless wine. "Don't mention it."
Shifting uncomfortably, Eames glanced at Arthur. The younger man was watching Dom with a guarded expression, but he could still see the concern in the point man's eyes. "I'm going to go see about some more drinks." He went over to the bar. As he waited for the order, he looked back at the table. He could see Arthur leaning over talking earnestly with Dom in low tones.
"Here you go, suh." A bartender set a glass down in front of him.
Without looking, Eames downed the contents in one swift gulp, tapping the table for more. He found himself strangely irritated at the close friendship between Arthur and Dom. Sure, he hadn't known Dom as long as the point man, but it was close—only a matter of a couple years. Taking the small tray of drinks the bartender left beside him, he made his way back to the table. Arthur abruptly ceased whatever he was saying to Dom and sat back in his chair. Eames glared at him, irked that Arthur kept him out of the conversation, though he knew it probably had been about Mal.
"Here." He set down the drinks. The other two men accepted theirs without a word. Eames frowned. "Come on, let's talk of better things, shall we? How about that job we did, eh?" He raised his glass. "Nice bit of work, I say."
Dom raised his head. "If they don't catch up with us."
Arthur shook his head. "They won't. I made sure all our tracks were covered. They'll have no idea who did it or that it was even done to them."
"Oh great, I feel so safe. Dear old Arthur has taken care of everything," Eames mocked. His eyes flicked over Arthur's form. "Lighten up a bit, old chap."
The younger man's eyes narrowed. "I simply was stating that there were no loose ends; I did my job and I did it right," he said tersely.
Eames snorted, but deep down he knew Arthur did a good job. He was one of the best, though Eames would never tell the stuffy bore that. He chuckled inwardly at the point man's still annoyed expression. It was just too easy at times to push those buttons.
"So where were we?" He lifted his glass. "Ah yes, getting drunk. Let's finis—"
Dom gripped Eames' arm. "Look." He nodded his head toward the bar window. A black SUV had pulled up across the street.
"No loose ends, eh?" Eames remarked snidely to Arthur.
Arthur glared at him. "It's not the men from the job. They wouldn't be operating this way."
The car doors opened and two men in black leather jackets got out. One was tall, with dark brown hair and eye hidden by dark sunglasses. The other was slightly shorter, but a little burlier. He had a distinctive square jaw with a mouth that looked like it wanted to stretch into a cruel sneer. Both were lean and muscular.
"It can't be…" Dom narrowed his eyes.
"Andrew," Arthur breathed.
Eames felt his stomach clench. "I thought he was still in prison?"
"It doesn't matter," Dom hissed. "We've got to get out here and fast. If they see us here…"
"We're dead," Eames finished.
Arthur glanced around. "There's a back door in the room behind the bar."
"We'll split up," Dom ordered. "Run for at least 10 minutes; drop any tails. If Andrew somehow found out that we were here, he might have more than just one man. Don't take any chances." He turned to Eames sharply. "You hear me?"
"Yeah, yeah." The forger grimaced.
"Dom, I don't see them anymore; they must be coming in." Arthur's voice was low, urgent.
"Alright, get ready. We'll meet at the incense shop five blocks down."
No sooner had Dom finished when the door burst open.
"'Ello, gents!" Andrew, the shorter man they had seen outside, stood in the doorway with the other man, his mouth stretched in a cruel grin. "Miss me?" He pulled out a .45 and leveled it at them. "I did."