Title: The Tattoo
Rating: Moderate T- for drinking, swearing, randomness, and some possible steamy but less explicit scenes later on.
Summary (Prompt by Lobsters Forever): The boys find out that Ariadne has a tattoo. Cobb, Arthur and Eames in turn make a bet to see who can find out where and what it is first without asking her.
Setting: Chicago… but I try to make it vague because I'm a little hick and haven't been nowhere but the south and NYC lol. Also, Cobb doesn't want to leave his kids just yet so that's why it's in America. ;)
Notes: This is for the lovely Lobsters Forever. This will be a multi-chapter fic with each chapter depicting the boys attempts to figure out the 'what and where' of her tattoo. Just so you know it took a lot of doing to force some of this out. It might just be me but I hate putting charries in uncomfortable positions… ironic no? Updates pending… I have school and a job and tons of reading and other fics I should be attending so… I'll squeeze in what I can. A little author abuse below but nothing too major ;)
"Sorry," Arthur mumbled as he poked Ariadne's arm for the hundredth time.
They were doing a mock extraction for the upcoming job in Chicago of all places. At least that was what they were trying to do. Arthur was helping Ariadne hook up to the PAVIS and was having a difficult time getting the needle to stay in Ariadne's arm.
"Jesus Arthur, you're worse than a tattoo artist," she grumbled, wincing slightly as the needle sank into her skin.
"Like you know what a tattoo feels like," Arthur laughed, "There; finally."
"I'll have you know I have a tattoo," she grinned.
"A tattoo?" Cobb asked joining the conversation.
"No you don't," Eames said skeptically. "Would they even let you in a tattoo parlor? You look like a ten-year-old."
She stuck her tongue out. "Yes, they would."
Cobb looked her over as he put his own needle in. "You don't seem the tattoo type,"
"Eh, it was a 'just turned eighteen' thing."
"Ah, a little rebel is you?" Eames asked with a wink.
"You ready?" Arthur asked them, changing the subject and rolling his eyes at Eames. When they all nodded, he glanced at his watch. "I'll play the music when you have ten minutes left."
They nodded and Arthur pressed the button that sent them under.
After the mock extraction run was a success, Ariadne went back to the hotel to work on her dissertation and model design due at the end of next month. Cobb and Arthur both tried to get her to sit this particular job out but she refused.
With nothing better to do, the three gentlemen ended up down the street at a small and off the main street bar. Eames apparently visited before and was the one who put forth the suggestion. The only protester was Arthur who belatedly said he hated alcohol.
"No one said you had to order anything," Cobb laughed, patting him on the shoulder as they took their seats off in a corner away from everyone else.
"It's the idea, Cobb." Arthur grumbled.
"What darling can't hold your liquor?"
"I can hold my liquor just fine, Mr. Eames," Arthur glared.
"Then prove it."
Cobb sighed and rolled his eyes as the other two stared each other down. "Now kids, play nice."
"Well now, you brought friends tonight." A young auburn-headed woman (obviously the waitress) said loudly as she made her way over.
"Darling, don't you ever go home?" Eames abandoned his blinking contest with Arthur and flashed a charming smile.
"Now honey you know I live here," she laughed, "Got a cot and everything."
"I suppose that helps." Eames paused a moment. "Odd, no matter where I sit, I always get you."
Even in the dim lighting, they could all see she turned pink but still held her own by retorting: "That's because you're a good tipper," she winked.
"Oh," he pretended to be disappointed, "I thought it was because you found me charming."
"That too," she added with a sly smile. "So boys, what cha want?"
"Darling, you know what I want," Eames smirked with a playful glint in his eyes.
"I was going to say you, but that works just as well."
Cobb kicked Eames from under the table making him curse.
"What was that for?" He glared.
"It's not nice to harass the waitress," Cobb chuckled.
"Oh it's fine; I've heard worse." She smiled the pink now a light red in her cheeks.
"What, from Eames?" Arthur asked seriously.
"No, from the other guys; the last table I waited on the really drunk one…" she stopped herself and turned even redder. "Sorry, I shouldn't rant to customers… so you're drinks?"
"Darling, I'm not a customer I'm practically family."
"Well, how about I tell you later then."
"Is that a promise?" He leaned forward on the table, a looked up at her.
"Eames." Cobb gave him a look and Eames reluctantly sat back.
"Maybe," she laughed. "So, drinks." She smiled over at Cobb.
"I think I'll pass on the alcohol, but water would be fine."
"Oh come on Cobb, have a little fun," Eames gave him a light shove.
"Someone has to be sober enough to get you home."
"Home? Roxie can take me home, right love?" He winked at who Cobb and Arthur now understood to be Roxie. Once again she turned red.
"I'd love too but I have to stay and help clean up. Maybe next time," she laughed nervously and looked over at Arthur, "You?"
"I'll take what Cobb's having." He gave a light smile.
"Oh don't be a pansy!" Eames said.
Arthur glared at Eames, and Eames smirked back. Cobb looked between them and knew what was going to happen next and let out a sigh while shaking his head as it happened.
"Fine, a Black Russian."
"Why am I not surprised?" Eames chuckled.
"Alright, I'll be back in a moment." Roxie said with a smile and walked off.
"You're such an ass, Eames," Arthur snapped in a low tone.
"Someone has to be."
"So," Cobb said with a raised brow, "Exactly how many times have you been here?"
Eames thought for a moment and shrugged. "Hell if I know. Roxie!"
"What?" She yelled back.
"How many times have I been here, love?"
"Eight. Stop yellin, Mr. Eames!" They could hear her laugh all the way in their corner.
"It would appear to be eight," he said with a grin.
"Obnoxious and loud," Arthur smirked. "I think you and I should switch accents Eames."
"What is that supposed to mean?" Eames glared.
"I think it means you're the unruly American and Arthur should be the classy Brit," Cobb chuckled.
They continued their conversation (or banter when it came down to Arthur and Eames) and Roxie brought them their drinks. It continued for an hour, Arthur and Eames both consuming three drinks each and Cobb could tell the difference. Arthur kept yawing and Eames got flirtier with Roxie, who took it in stride like a pro.
Somehow along the way, Ariadne cropped into the conversation and it jumped quickly to the revelation from earlier.
"I bet it's a tramp stamp," Eames smirked. "Probably her name in bold cursive with explosions of pink and purple; those are girly colors correct?"
"Ariadne would not have a tramp stamp," Arthur rolled his eyes, "She's... she's not that kind of girl."
"She was eighteen, Arthur," Cobb laughed. "Young, dumb, and out to stick it to her parents."
"But she's intelligent," Arthur countered. "If she's going to get a tattoo I'm certain even at the age of eighteen she had sense not to get that kind of tattoo."
"Alright Mr. 'I know everything about nothing', where do you think she has a tattoo?" Eames took a sip of his drink and raised a brow to solidify his challenge.
"Her feet." He yawned.
"Her feet?" Cobb and Eames said in unison.
"It's hidden well but obviously not hidden inappropriately." Arthur toyed with the napkin under his own drink. "Her feet or foot rather, depending; would be the perfect spot."
"And what of?"
"That I can't tell you," Arthur shrugged.
"How about you Cobb," Eames turned his attention to the man in the middle. "Any suggestions?"
"Does it matter?"
Eames groaned and rolled his eyes. "You two are hopeless. You can be at least a little creative."
"Probably on her shoulder," Cobb shrugged. "Maybe a symbol."
"Cobb, try to be creative. Wait, Roxie's a woman, she might have some insight. Oh, Roxie love," Eames called over to her as she wiped down a table a few feet from them.
"What Mr. Eames?" she sighed and made her way over, "if you want a drink forget it, I'm cutting you off."
"Now darling, you know me better than that," he winked. "You're an esteemed college woman, do you have a tattoo?"
"I'm being serious pet, no patronizing or flirting."
"Seriously, I don't. I'm too chicken shit to get one," she laughed. "Why?"
"A colleague of ours, Ariadne, has one but we don't know of what or where," Arthur said blandly. "We're trying to figure that out and Eames thought it would be helpful to ask you, obviously."
"Why don't you just ask her?" Roxie said, deciding she might as well be useful and took up the empty glasses.
"Because speculating is so much more fun," Eames grinned wickedly. "In fact, I propose we make a bet. First one to find out what and where the tattoo is wins."
"Wins what?" Arthur yawned.
"Gloating rights, of course."
"Any rules?" Cobb asked with a smile. He had a hunch what the response would be.
"Fuck no." Eames waved his hand in a shooing motion. "You just cannot ask her out right. If you do, you lose."
"Sounds simple enough."
"Well, if you boys are done, I'll bring the tab. Split it three?"
"One will be fine; I'll get it." Cobb smiled.
"Like bloody hell you will! Ignore the deranged man in the suit pet and I'll get it."
"Over my dead body. I will not let you buy my drinks," Arthur turned to Roxie. "I'll get my own thank you."
"Over your dead body? Why you rude-"
Roxie sighed and looked at Cobb. "So one bill?"
Cobb nodded, Arthur and Eames bickering around him.
"You're such a stick in the mud, Arthur."
"You're such an ignoramus, Eames."
"Oh, the kiddie can use big words."
"Well, at least my words are bigger than your-"
"Will you two stop it?" Cobb yelled.
Arthur and Eames instantly shut their mouths and looked at Cobb wide-eyed, as if they were ten year olds on a playground who awaited punishment. "You wonder why I opted to stay sober," he grumbled. "Not another word from you two until we're out the door, understood?" They nodded. "Good."
Roxie brought back the bill and much to their un-vocalized displeasure, Cobb paid for it. Roxie gave them a look when she told them bye and they only waved.
"They can't talk until they're out the door." Cobb laughed.
"Oh got cha. In that case, I love you, Mr. Eames; we should go out… what, no? Okay, break my heart then." She laughed when he childishly stuck his tongue out at her. "Sorry, I couldn't help it!"
"Help it my ass." Eames mumbled once out the door.
"You really need to stop harassing her. Her fiancé might not like that," Arthur yawned.
"Fiancé? She's not engaged." Eames grabbed Cobb's shoulder. "Sorry."
"Scotch got the best of you?" Cobb laughed.
"She had a ring."
"Oh that's rubbish. She wears that to deter the creepy old men."
"It obviously doesn't work well." Cobb smirked.
"Look Cobb," Eames moved his arm to wrap it around Cobb's shoulder to steady himself; "I'm not old and I will have that bird in bed before this job is over even if it kills me."
"In that case," Arthur yawned, "can I have your watch? You won't need it when they bury you."
"Har har, you're such a comedian."
They spent the next five minutes getting to the hotel (in one piece thanks to Cobb) and to their rooms.
"Remember, all's fair in war. There will be war tomorrow," Eames laughed.
"May the best man win, which will be me," Arthur said smugly. "I was the best man, after all, right Cobb?"
"Go to bed both of you." Cobb shoved them both in the direction of their rooms.
Once the two troublemakers were locked away, he went to his own room and five minutes later collapsed on the bed, slipping into sleep.
Oh the humanity of it all XD
For some odd reason, I can't see Arthur drinking nothing too strong... that and the Russian drinks are 'classy' to me which I think fits him. As for the yawning, drinking makes him sleepy... like a kid. Awww Arthur's just a lil kid :P
And Eames, the drunk bastard... poor Roxie... it might look like she's enjoying the attention but I know from firsthand experience it's just being a good actress on the job. Oh what the hell, its Eames... she was soooo enjoying it XD
And Cobb. Fun loving Cobb; at least I think he's fun loving when Malasaur isn't on the rampage. I can't wait till they start trying to find the tattoo. Hmm this is going to be fun.
FYI: Rings sometimes work when wanting to deter old men… not always but mostly. I know… I've pulled that now at the job I work at :P
PS Sorry for lack of space bars eariler... I was so excited to post I forgot them XD
Anyways, thanks for reading!