After seeing Inception three times, I couldn't help but write something on it! It was incredible :) Well, I sure hope you enjoy this story. I know the ideas in it are faaaaaaaaar from creative and amazing, but it was the best I could come up with at the moment.
I do not own Inception. It belongs solely to Christopher Nolan. I am jealous of that fact, but nonetheless, I still don't own anything. Enjoy!
The months following the Inception job were slow and unpredictable. The team had split up and gone their separate ways for now. Cobb had stayed in Los Angeles with his family, Eames had gone to London to visit his sister and her family, and Yusuf had made himself scarce. Ariadne, with the help of Arthur, was able to get through the terrible first few days, going through a "rehab" of sorts. She had gone in so deep so fast that Arthur had been afraid she might accidentally kill herself.
"Assume that it's reality until it gives you certain doubt." His advice reverberated in her head, bouncing around in her brain. It had been almost five months since the Job, and she was slowly getting in sync with herself. Well, mostly. She still woke up every morning and tipped over the chess piece she made as her totem, checking that it was reality. Before, about two months ago she would tip it over at least five times in the morning, and all throughout the day. Just to make sure it was all real. Arthur had assured her that it was normal. Now though, she was satisfied with tipping it just once in the morning, and once before going to bed at night, unless something gave her reason to during the day, she didn't need to tip it very often.
She had decided to take the year off from school, reasoning that after everything that she had gone through, she deserved a break. She stayed in Los Angeles, California where she knew Arthur was. They kept their distance, Ariadne only calling him in times of absolute need. They had to keep a respectable distance in case someone came looking for one of them.
They had all decided that it would be best to wait six months before seeing each other and/or accepting another job. Ariadne just had to wait another month before she could see any of them, namely...a certain man with dark hair that dressed in perfect three piece suits with polished shoes. She shook her head, trying to clear the thought. Ariadne was sitting in her apartment with the TV turned on, but not really watching it. Her thoughts kept going over the last call she had made to Arthur about a month ago. She had thought for sure that someone had been following her back from the market. Ariadne had called Arthur in a panic, and he had answered just after the first ring. She had explained her predicament, and Arthur had calmly suggested different options of losing the man she thought had been following her.
Ariadne was still paranoid, even after a month of keeping close to her apartment and not making any calls except for those precious few to Arthur. It was coming up on five months and she still couldn't shake the feeling that she may never see Cobb again, since she assumed that he was retired and taking care of his children. Maybe she'd go visit him one day, after all, he was the one that had taught her about the dream world in the first place.
She was abruptly shaken out of her thoughts when she heard a knock on her door. She sat still on the couch, 'Who could be at the door?' She thought. She quietly tiptoed to the kitchen and grabbed a knife. Being paranoid had its side effects, and picking up the closest dangerous object to use as defense was one of those. She quietly made her way to the front door and hid the hand that held the knife behind her back. She really wished she had a peep hole. Maybe she'd invest in a door that had one. She opened the door slightly and peered up at a man in a perfect three piece suit, with his usual gelled hair and shiny shoes.
His eyebrows shot up in amusement and she blushed slightly, "Oh! Hi." She squeaked. She opened the door wide to let him in, stuffing the knife in the dirt of a potted plant in the entryway. Arthur stepped in and closed the door behind him.
"Hello, Ariadne. I trust you've been keeping yourself safe for the past few months?" He asked, a slight smile tugging at the corner of his lips as he spotted the knife sticking out of the plant.
"Uh yes, I have, and thanks to your advice, I think things are going pretty smoothly." She smiled as she looked up at him.
"Good, I'm glad." He stepped further into her apartment and noticed that it wasn't exactly crisp and clean, but somewhat organized, nonetheless. There were architecture books and papers with endless designs drawn all over them, some tacked to the wall of her living room, others strewn across the coffee table.
"I see you've been practicing." He said as he picked up a few papers to glance over.
"I have, I don't know if that's much of a good thing, but it helps to clear my mind." She shrugged, watching him as he sat down on her couch. "So...what brings you here?" She asked. Ariadne walked over and sat down next to him, close enough that she didn't seem completely nervous, but far enough to retain a respectable distance.
He sighed and looked up at her with those perfect dark brown eyes, she was pretty sure she could get lost in them if she looked too long. He placed her sketches down on the table and leaned his elbows on his knees. "Saito contacted me yesterday with another job offer."
Ariadne frowned, "I thought we had all agreed to six months..." She trailed off.
Arthur nodded, "Apparently this is very important, something that can't wait that long. He hasn't given me the details yet, but it's something about his business associate. He's pretty sure that he's keeping something from him."
Ariadne nodded, staring down at her hands, waiting for him to continue.
Arthur turned more toward her, bringing her attention to him. She looked up at him with a question in her eyes. He tried to keep himself from staring at her rosy-red lips and the slight tint on her cheeks, her beautiful chocolate brown hair-
He caught himself before it was considered 'staring' at her and asked, "Would you like to be my architect?"
Ariadne couldn't help but smile, "Well that's an easy question to answer. Of course I will." She tried to keep herself from thinking what the words 'wife' or 'girlfriend' instead of 'architect' would have sounded like coming out of his mouth, but she steered away from those thoughts, a smile still glued to her lips.
Arthur got up from the couch, followed by Ariadne. "I'll call you as soon as I find Yusuf and Eames. Hopefully they'll be willing to participate." He stopped at the front door, glancing first at the plant and then at Ariadne, "Good choice of weapon, although..." He smiled, "Maybe I should get you a gun." He seemed to be seriously contemplating it.
Ariadne's mouth fell open and she could feel her face redden, "I wasn't-I mean, I didn't know who was at the door, and...I, well..." She couldn't help but feel stupid at her stuttering. She thought she had been discreet with hiding the fact that she had considered stabbing whoever was at the front door.
He smirked, "We'll do some training." He could see her tense up at the thought of having to defend herself against a threat, let alone having to kill someone.
Arthur stepped forward and put a hand on her shoulder, "You'll be fine. You're safe here. We'll keep in contact, and we won't even be in L.A. for much longer. You might want to start packing your things and call your landlord to let them know you're moving."
Ariadne nodded, staring at his face. This was the closest they had been since...she thought of the Inception job and the lobby they had sat at in the dream.
Quick, give me a kiss.
She blinked a few times and nodded again, "I'll start getting my stuff together right away."
Arthur turned back toward the door and started to open it, "I'll call you tomorrow evening."
Before she could say anything, he was gone.
She swiftly turned around and grabbed the nearest suitcase and started packing. Anything she bought to fill her apartment (furniture, pillows, blankets, kitchen appliances) she decided to leave there. She had made a considerable amount of money after the last Job. She could pay for her schooling in Paris three times over with the money she had gotten from Saito. After packing what she thought were the essentials, she sat down on the couch and turned on the TV, falling asleep to the boring voices of the news anchors.
She sat on her couch the next day, watching the TV but not really paying attention to it. It was nearly six o'clock and she hadn't heard from Arthur. Ariadne was getting antsy and she could hardly think of anything else except for what the new job would entail.
She glanced at her phone a few times, willing it to ring. Her chess piece was in her pants pocket, as usual, she could feel its familiar weight and it gave her comfort. Finally, after another hour of painful waiting, her phone rang.
"Hello?" She answered.
"Ariadne, I've recruited Eames and Yusuf. Can we all meet at your place tomorrow morning?" Arthur asked.
She let out a sigh of relief. She wouldn't have to navigate through L.A. in order to get to Arthur's apartment or find some secluded place. She could stay in the comfort of her own apartment. "Yes, of course. That's perfect. Do you have an idea of what time?" She asked.
There was a short pause, "I'm not quite sure. Eames is always vague about when he'll really show up, but expect us early."
She nodded, then realized he couldn't see that, "Okay, that's fine. I'll be here."
"All right, thanks Ariadne. I'll see you tomorrow morning. Goodnight."
She smiled, "Goodnight Arthur."
She had a hard time sleeping that night, she could only think about the men that would show up at her door in the morning. She finally fell into a shallow, fitful sleep.
Ariadne awoke to hard knocking on her door, she stumbled out of bed and ran for the entryway, glancing at the clock on her way. 'Five in the morning?' She thought incredulously. When Arthur said early, he meant early.
She opened the door and was greeted by three men. "Ariadne, darling! How have you been?" Eames drawled as he stepped into the apartment. She couldn't help but smile.
"Please, come in. Have a seat in the living room. Hi Yusuf, it's good to see you." She smiled as he stepped in and followed Eames.
"Hi Arthur." She said, running a hand through her hair.
"I'm sorry, did we wake you?" Arthur asked, glancing at the potted plant and seeing the knife still there.
"Oh, well, yes, but that's fine. I expected that would happen anyway." She shrugged. She ushered him inside and caught the smile forming on his lips as he glanced her up and down. She looked down and realized that she was still in her pajamas.
'Shoot.' She thought, blushing slightly.
Before she could make an excuse for being under-dressed, Arthur had already made his way into the living room and stood near a window next to the TV. Ariadne took the remaining seat, feeling self-conscious in her pajamas and feeling a flutter at the gentleman that Arthur was.
"All right, so what do we have to look forward to this time?" Eames asked, a smile on his lips.
Arthur nodded, "Saito has given me more information. There's a business associate of his that lives here in the United States, his name is Mr. Michael Harris. Saito and Harris have had a contract for about five years now, and Saito believes that Mr. Harris is dealing under the table. As most of us know, the United States is preparing for certain war with North Korea and even possibly China. If Harris is discovered, Saito will be linked to the treason crimes as well. Saito wants us to do an extraction, figure out if Harris really is dealing under the table, and if so, he will end his contract with Harris and expose him."
"So according to Saito, Harris is like a modern day Benedict Arnold." Ariadne said.
"In a sense, yes. That's just what he is." Arthur commented.
Ariadne felt relief, 'Just an extraction...not a big deal.' She could see the tension subside in Eames and Yusuf as well. They didn't want a repeat of the almost-disaster that was their last Job.
Ariadne frowned, "Wait, aren't we missing someone? Do we need an extractor?" She asked.
Arthur looked in her direction and shook his head. "Eames and I will work together to do that. We'll keep Yusuf outside the dream, and hopefully you won't have to enter in the dream as well, but there is a possibility that we'll need you with us, Ariadne."
She nodded, hoping that she would get her chance to be in the dream with them. "So where is this Mr. Harris? Where do we need to move ourselves to?" Eames asked.
"New Jersey." Arthur said.
"You mean to tell me...that I flew all the way to L.A. from Europe when I could have stopped in New Jersey to wait for all of you?" He asked, skepticism lacing his voice.
Arthur smiled, his eyes alight, "Oh yes, I guess I forgot to tell you."
"Well then. I'm staying the night here with Ariadne then. Because I'm not getting on another bloody plane or taxi until we leave for sure." Eames said, leaning back on the couch.
Ariadne rolled her eyes. "What ever you guys want to do is fine with me. Do you have an idea of when we'll leave?" She asked, looking to Arthur.
"I was planning on booking a flight to New Jersey for this morning at ten o'clock."
Eames looked up from his spot on the couch, "I have to fly already?" He asked. "Just shoot me now. Maybe I'll wake up from this nightmare." He said as he got up from the couch and stretched.
Yusuf glanced up from Eames to Arthur, "What are we going on the plane as? I can't use my real name as well as be associated with any of you."
Arthur nodded, "I'll take care of that."
Eames tisked, "No, no darling. Let me." He pointed to himself and smiled, "I am the master forger, after all." He twirled on his heel and went for the laptop sitting at Ariadne's desk in a small den off to the side of the living room. "I'll get this squared away in no time."
Arthur rolled his eyes and stayed standing by the television.
Ariadne glanced at Yusuf, then to Arthur. "Would either of you like some coffee?" She asked hesitantly. Yusuf and Arthur nodded, as well as hearing a quick, "Oh I would love some!" from Eames in the confines of the den.
Ariadne got up and meandered into the kitchen, stifling a yawn. She started making coffee and took a seat at the kitchen table. She rubbed her eyes and closed them for a moment, leaning back on her chair. She was startled out of her rest when she felt someone brush past her. Her eyes shot open as she watched Arthur sit down across from her.
"I just want to warn you that Eames might do something...well, something that Eames would only do." Arthur said, peering into the living room as Yusuf turned on the TV.
"Oh don't worry, I suspected that too. Whatever it is, I'll handle it." Ariadne smiled and stifled another yawn.
"I'm sorry we came over so early. I should have specified more." Arthur said with a slight upturn of his lips.
"Oh no, it's completely fine. I'm not even tired..." She tried.
"Uh huh..." Arthur gave her his amused look and glanced at the coffee. Ariadne leaned back in her chair as she was before and closed her eyes.
Arthur got up from the table when the coffee was ready, pouring some for himself and the rest of the team. He took it in to Eames and Yusuf, who drank theirs quickly.
"Hey pal, I need to go run off some fake I.D.'s, Yusuf and I will be back in a jiffy. Don't go anywhere." Eames patted Arthur's shoulder and walked out with Yusuf in tow. He sighed inwardly, glancing at Ariadne, who was fast asleep in her chair.
"That does not look comfortable." Arthur mused, debating with himself to either wake her, leave her there to get a kink in her neck, or pick her up and put her somewhere more suitable for napping. He decided that waking her was reasonable.
He kneeled down next to her and shook her shoulder lightly, "Ariadne, you should go lay down on the couch." He whispered. Her eyelids fluttered, but she didn't wake. She just shifted slightly and mumbled, "Mmmhmm..."
As much as he knew he should just wake her up, he couldn't help but feel responsible for her lack of sleep, so he slid his arms around her, one under her knees and the other around her upper back. He picked her up slowly, her head lolling up against his shoulder. He walked in to the living room and laid her down on the couch, he glanced around for a blanket but couldn't see one, and he wasn't about to venture into her bedroom to get one.
He shrugged off his jacket and covered her with it, walking back into the kitchen and sipping his coffee.
Ta da! First chapter down...Not sure how many more to go. But it'll be an exciting story! Reviews would be wonderful, no flames, please. Thank you!