A/N (AtlantisGirl12): Hey guys! Guess who's back? Many apologies for the huge delay in updating. We've both been super, super busy. For me, college has just been consuming my life with all the projects and papers that I have to complete. Thanks so much for your patience! I've still been getting alerts/favs for this story and it's wonderful to know that people are still reading. :) Anyway, enough of my ramblings. On to the story! :)
Echoes of the Past
Eames stared in despair as Andrew held the syringe before him. He looked down to where Arthur still lay soaking wet on the floor. His eyes were closed, the dark eyelashes a stark contrast against his too pale skin. The forger swallowed hard. Arthur wouldn't last much longer.
"I'm surprised this decision is so difficult for you, Eames," Andrew commented. "Your friend's life for a small amount of information?" He turned to Arthur. "Hear that, Arthur? Eames here doesn't think your life is worth saving! Apparently, you're expendable." He laughed.
Eames struggled against his bonds. He was thankful that Arthur was unconscious and didn't hear Andrew's cruel words. Yet, Eames had heard them. The words stung. What was Arthur's life worth? He had never really gotten along with the point man; their "playful" banter had more than once erupted into heated arguments. And even after having worked with Arthur off and on for a couple of years, Eames still hardly knew anything about the younger man except that he wore suits, was OCD about details and occasionally liked a glass of red wine.
"Time's running out, Eames," Andrew broke into the forger's thoughts. "Make your decision."
Eames glanced back at the syringe. If he told, Arthur's life would be saved and perhaps he could atone for injuring him by saving his life now. Yet…if he told, scores of other people could die indirectly as a result as Greenberg would be able to continue their illegal activities, funding terrorists and cruel rebel groups. Arthur or possibly scores of people he didn't know and would never meet? There was always a chance that these people wouldn't die, but Arthur surely would without him sharing the information.
"Time's up. Wake him up," Andrew ordered Cavendish, kicking one of Arthur's legs with his foot.
"Wait!" Eames shouted.
Cavendish stopped from where he was about to give Arthur a few slaps across the face.
The forger gritted his teeth. "If I tell you, you'll let us go? Alive?"
Andrew smiled. "Of course."
"And you won't harm us any further?"
"Agreed." Andrew tapped the syringe against the palm of his hand lazily. "Now tell me the information."
A deep breath. "Okay." In a rush, he told Andrew all the information they had extracted from the Greenberg CEO and how their client was planning to use it against the company. "That's all I know," he finished. "Now let us go."
Andrew switched off the tape recorder he had used while Eames was talking and tossed it to Cavendish, who put it in the duffle. "Thank you, Eames, for sharing that with us. My client will be very pleased." He walked over to Arthur as Eames watched him nervously. "Unfortunately, I'm not going to be able to let you go."
"You promised, Andrew!" Eames shouted. Inside he felt sick. He had known that it would be a long shot to believe Andrew would just let them go like that, but he had hoped.
A grin slowly formed on the man's face. "Yes, I did, didn't I? Never fear, Eames, I never go back on my word. I would keep the promise I made to you just now, but unfortunately, there's another promise that superseded this one." His face hardened. "The promise to make you suffer for what you did to my sister."
Eames felt a chill run through him. Things were about to get much worse.
Andrew kicked Arthur sharply, eliciting a moan from the point man as he struggled back to consciousness. "I swore I would hurt you in the same way you hurt me," Andrew continued. "Had any of you siblings, I would find them and kill them, just as Sophia was killed by you." He sighed dramatically. "Alas, Cobb has no sibling relations and yours has already died. As for Arthur, well, it seems he has no family at all. Couldn't even find a mother or father." He smirked. "It seems no one liked him as a kid, but I did find two people who care for him as if he were part of their family."
Eames's blood ran cold. "What do you mean?" he whispered.
Andrew knelt beside the point man. "None of you may think you have siblings, but you and Cobb both have someone you treat as a brother. A dear, beloved brother," he taunted. "Arthur."
At his name, Arthur's eyes fluttered, and his head moved slightly. Eames was glad to see he was slightly aware as it meant he was still alive but he feared it wouldn't last.
"Well, that's where you're wrong," he tossed back. "In no way do I think of Arthur as a brother, much less a dear and beloved one." He snorted. "The chap is so full of it, I can't stand him. Cobb has to pull us apart almost every single day—almost came to blows once."
Andrew smiled, unperturbed. "Don't think your bluff is going to work, Eames. You've already tried the 'I don't like him' route."
"Oh yeah?" Eames felt his desperation rising. "Well, what if I was lying to you earlier? About the Greenberg job? What will your client do if you give him faulty information?"
"Oh that." Andrew waved him off. "I'm quite sure most if not all of what you told me was a lie. You're a forger, after all and probably were only hoping to buy yourself some time so that dear Dominic could rescue you both." His eyes glinted with cruel mirth. "No, I'll give the information to Greenberg and be long gone before he realizes it's a lie. But you can't worm your way out of this one, Eames. I will have my revenge on you all." He readied the needle. "You and Cobb will have lost one of the only people you care about, just as I have. And Arthur…" He paused. "Well, I suppose Arthur will get the worse end of the deal as he'll be dead." He laughed. "And now for the finale. You, my dear Eames, will do the honors."
"What? You've got to be joking, you sick, twisted piece of—"
"Enough!" Andrew cut him off furiously. "You will do this, or I will kill Arthur in such a way that he will be begging for death but it will be hours, even days, off." He glared into Eames's eyes. The forger saw the madness in there.
"Fine," he said, his voice raspy and hoarse.
Andrew looked at him unsmilingly. All taunting had been thrown aside. He jerked his head at Cavendish. "Move him," he ordered, pulling out his gun. He turned back to Eames. "You try anything and I'll blow his brains out," Andrew threatened, pointing the gun at Arthur's head.
Eames nodded wordlessly. He still held hope that even if he was forced to inject Arthur, a cure could be found. There would be no coming back from a headshot at point blank range. He held back a wince and Cavendish unlocked the handcuffs and pulled them off his abraded wrists. The henchman yanked him over to the pole and handcuffed one of his hands to it, leaving the other free. Not that it mattered, Eames thought morosely. There was nothing with which he could pick the lock and no way that the handcuff was coming off that pole. Cavendish looked up at his boss, waiting for instructions.
"Now bring him." The henchman grabbed Arthur by his shoulders and dropped his upper body into Eames' lap.
Eames swallowed. The cuts and bruises were even more vivid up close against Arthur's stark white face. Arthur's eyes fluttered open but were full of obvious confusion. Andrew handed the gun to Cavendish and leaned over Arthur.
"Ah, you're awake. Too bad, Eames was about to inject you. I think he was hoping he could do it without you knowing."
Arthur's eyes moved back and forth and Eames hoped only that he was too out of it to realize what was going on.
"I guess Eames was right," Andrew continued. "I guess he doesn't like you after all." He held out the syringe. "Do it."
Eames took it and hesitated only for a moment. He was doing the right thing, he tried to tell himself. Arthur would surely die otherwise. This way provided a chance. Hurry Cobb, he thought. Swiftly, he brought the needle down on Arthur's neck and depressed the plunger.
Andrew grabbed the needle back. "Don't need you using this as a lock pick." He tossed the needle across the room. "Now we just wait to watch the show. I've never tried it on a human subject before, but the rats certainly didn't like it."
Eames barely heard him, so fixed was he on Arthur, who lay as still as death. Suddenly, the point man's eyes flew open before squeezing shut as his face contorted in agony. Eames felt his heart stop as Arthur's muscles contracted and seized violently. Eames tried desperately to hold onto the younger man with his one free hand, afraid his thrashing would do even more damage to his serious injuries. He could feel the sickening sense of broken ribs shifting beneath his hand as Arthur convulsed. A scream tore out of the point man's clenched teeth, the sound tearing at Eames. Finally, the contractions slowed and Arthur went limp. Eames quickly put a hand on Arthur's chest, breathing out a sigh of relief to feel the shallow rise and fall. He was still alive.
Andrew watched the two of them for a moment. "They won't be going anywhere," he said, turning to Cavendish. "We need to go up and check for Cobb—see if the contacts have seen anything." Cavendish nodded and headed to the truck. Andrew turned to Eames. "Enjoy your time while you can," he smirked, before heading upstairs.
Eames waited until he heard the door close before turning to Arthur. The point man was still unconscious. "Arthur, I'm so sorry," Eames whispered. He lifted up the bloody t-shirt. Unsurprisingly, the wound had started bleeding again, albeit sluggishly. Probably because there wasn't much left in him, Eames thought wryly. He pressed a hand to the wound, causing a sharp moan from Arthur. "Sorry, mate…It's got to be done."
Eames' legs ached from Arthur's weight but he welcomed it, hoping the physical discomfort would help pay for what he did. He watched Arthur's slack face. He had forgotten how young the kid actually was. In his suits and slicked back hair, Arthur often looked and acted like he was much older. But now, in his still-wet t-shirt and shorts and his hair in disarray, he looked even younger than his 25 years. One of Arthur's arm muscles twitched violently and Eames gently ran his hand up and down the younger man's forearm, trying to smooth away the undoubtedly painful contraction.
Leaning his head back against the pillar, Eames closed his eyes. Sitting here with Arthur slowly dying in his arms…it brought back painful memories. "Did I ever tell you about my kid brother?" Eames spoke into the silent room. "Colin and I, we were close. Pap died when I was twelve, Colin was only eight. Mum was sick, so I had to take care of them. Kid looked up to me. Reminds me of you, not that you would ever look up to me," Eames snorted, looking down at Arthur. He tightened his grip around the point man with his knees. "But he was always day-dreaming, looking off into space. He was a thinker, that kid, just like you." He took a breath. "But Mum died when he was fifteen. I was always busy working, sometimes thieving when I had to so I could make ends meet. I took Colin with me one time on a job." He banged his head against the wall.
"Man was I stupid! I thought it would be fun, do things together again like we used to. He was just supposed to wait outside while I went in and grabbed some stuff. But no, he wanted to come along. I didn't know it, but the guy I was stealing from wasn't away like I thought. Had a .45 he kept right next to his bed. Must've heard us sneak in, because next thing we knew bullets were flying. Colin and I ran outside and down the block into an alley…" Eames closed his eyes in pain. "I didn't know he had been shot. He just gave me a silly grin and said it had been fun. That's when I saw the blood coming from his mouth. I grabbed him and held him in my arms. He had been shot in the side, like you."
Eames stared sightlessly across the room. "He didn't even get to say anything else. Just died, right there in my arms." He clenched the fingers of his cuffed hand relentlessly, relishing the pain it brought. "I killed him. Just like I killed you," he whispered brokenly.
Eames opened his eyes, startled at the sound of Arthur's voice, hoarse from pain.
A/N (me again lol): I was going to add on to this chapter, but I decided this was a good place to stop. mwuhahaha (actually, it was more because I'm exhausted from school and this update would be delayed even more if I tried to add on to it). Sorry? :-\ I hope you enjoyed it in spite of the cliffy! If you don't mind, please review! It's so nice to hear from you guys, especially if you have comments/suggestions/etc. Thanks so much for reading!