Okay...so you might all just kill me...and I deserve it! I think the last time I updated this story was probably, what? A year ago or something? Ya, I'm horrible. So here's the LAST CHAPTER! It's ridiculously long because there wasn't really a great spot to cut it into two different ones. I'm sorry it took so dang long to give you the LAST CHAPTER! Hahaha I'm a jerk. But here you go! No flames please.

Chapter Eight

Ariadne stared at the cell phone that Mr. Harris had set on the end table. They had finished the dream a few hours earlier, and she had shown them everything she knew that could impress them. From the Penrose staircases, to mazes that would take a year to get through in the dream world. Apparently they liked it, because she hadn't had to suffer the effects of a gunshot wound that time around. She thought of Arthur, of Cobb, of Eames, and Yusuf. She had no idea what they were doing, but she knew they would pull it all off. She could trust them with her life, and that's just what she was doing.

She continued to stare at the phone. She wanted it to ring, she wanted Arthur's voice to be on the other line, telling her it would all be okay, to reaffirm her trust in them. She had no clue what time it was, but she knew it was late. Or early. One of the two, since it was dark outside. Some time later, she heard footsteps coming down the hallway.

"Time to go, little lady." The man that had almost choked her to death in the alleyway said.

She didn't say anything, but continued to stare at the phone. "The boss said you did very well today." He was talking to her as though he were speaking to a child. "He's going to give you a reward for being so good."

She wanted to spit in his face.

"Now, be a good girl a little longer, and we'll have you out of here in no time."

She spit in his face.

She felt his hand smack against her head, taking her mind back to that dark night in the alley. She looked back at him, glaring.

He didn't say anything, but wiped the spit off with a scowl and walked away. He came back with another man and some scissors. Some time later, they had clipped her from the chair, but kept her hands tied together, and rope bound around her middle, keeping her arms to her sides.

They led her down in the elevator and back out to the van. They threw her in the back and made their way to the airport. She had no clue what to expect when they got there.

They boarded a private jet, one of them threw their coat over her shoulders and brought him closer to her, hiding the bonds around her in case they were caught on camera. They boarded and took off without mishap. Well, according to them. She wished there had been something to tip them off to get security over to the plane as fast as she could say, "Extraction!" but luck was not on her side this week.

They forced her down into a comfy chair across from Mr. Harris, who smiled at her. "I trust you enjoyed the ride to the airport."

"It was completely intoxicating." Ariadne said dryly.

"Just what I wanted to hear." Harris said, looking her over. She was worn out, with bags under her eyes, chapped lips, and unkept hair. Her hands were tied in front of her, and the rope was wound around her abdomen and arms. He smiled at her discomfort and began to eat the lunch that the stewardess had brought him.

She eyed his food hungrily, and hoped her stomach wouldn't growl, she didn't want to show any sign of weakness, even though she had cried the night before when she had talked to Arthur. She cringed at the thought. He probably thought she was a baby. She leaned back in the chair and thought of Arthur, about what he was doing, where they were. He had heard them talking to Cobb on the phone. She hadn't thought that Cobb would leave his family to come help her, she hadn't realized how close the team really was until now.

She looked up to see Harris eyeing her. She shivered and cringed inwardly. He was such a terrible person, and she wanted nothing to do with this man. She glanced around her, looking for an opportunity to escape.

"You're not going anywhere." He said, reading her mind.

She looked at him with a cool gaze, "It's not like I can go very far. We've already taken off. Where are we going, anyway?" She asked, trying to divert his attention from other things.

"We are going to San Antonio, Texas. I will be there on business, and your team will be following close behind, I'm sure." He said.

"But you have no intention of letting me see them, do you?" She asked bluntly.

"No, no. I don't think they'll see you at all, really." He said, taking a bite out of his chicken.

"What do you mean?" She asked, narrowing her eyes.

He wiped the corner of his mouth with a napkin and smiled, "Now that I've seen what you can do, I think I'll have you work for me instead. You probably won't see your team again. Next time you talk to them, tell your husband Arthur and the rest of your team goodbye." He said in a mocking tone.

Her mouth fell open in shock, "But that wasn't the deal. They won't do the extraction unless they get me back. And you can't force me to work for you, I won't do it." She protested.

"Oh, I have my ways." He said, running a finger along the edge of the table.

"I don't think so. There's nothing you could do to change my mind." She said, holding her head high.

"I think you might change your mind if your dear Arthur were involved, don't you think?" He asked quietly.

"What are you saying?" She asked.

"I'm saying, that if you don't do as we wish, we'll kidnap him, torture him, kill him-in more ways than one, mind you, anything that will make you want to work for us." He said with a creepy smile.

She knew what Arthur would say, "They won't catch me. Don't give in." She swallowed hard, thinking.

"Maybe." She said.

"Ah, well, that's better than no. We'll hold off on taking your husband, after all, I've heard he's the best Point Man there is these days, and I need him to perform that Extraction successfully." He tapped his fingers on the table and stared off into space. "Although, this is the first I've heard that he was married. Was it recent?" He asked her suspiciously.

"Yes." She said without a beat. She had to be sure of what she was saying, so as not to make him think she was lying. This could be a factor that could save her, she didn't know how, but she hoped it could.

"I fancy married women, it's fun when they play hard to get." He mused.

Scratch that defense mechanism. It may not help her in the long run after all. She felt sick to her stomach when she realized what he was saying. "Well, I doubt they're playing it. Maybe they really are married women that would like to stay faithful to their husbands." She said spitefully.

"Are you insinuating that I force myself on them?" He asked coyly.

"Maybe." She said, glaring at him.

"Ah, there's that 'maybe' again. I hope you don't throw that around like it's nothing. Then I might have to rethink your answer about taking your husband hostage." He said with an eyebrow raised.

She didn't say anything, but turned and stared out the window of the airplane, watching the clouds drift by them.

"So tell me, where did you get married?" He asked.

Ariadne still stared out the window, not wanting to answer him. What could she say? What if he knew of Arthur's whereabouts and she gave Harris a timeframe that didn't match up? She searched her brain for a good answer. She had no idea what Arthur had been doing between the Inception job and this one, and there was hardly any time when the job first started to run off and get married. Thankfully, just as she was about to open her mouth and tell him to 'Go to Hell' the stewardess stopped by, glancing in her direction with sad eyes. The woman wasn't stupid, she knew Ariadne was Harris's latest kidnap victim.

"Sir, we'll be in Texas in two hours. Is there anything else I can get you?" The stewardess asked.

"No, thank you. I am just fine." He stared at the woman sitting across from him. He leaned back in his chair and looked at her expectantly. "I'm still waiting for your answer, but if you'd rather not talk to me, I guess I'll just have to wait. I am patient, whether you want to believe it or not." He paused for a moment, just enough for her to start talking, but when she didn't, he spoke up again, "I think we'll call a raincheck on this conversation, then."

Arthur entered the airport for the second time in two days and sat down near the terminal where his plane would be. He glanced around him, shifting in his seat. He could see the others all sitting spread out around the same terminal. Yusuf in one corner, Eames in another, Cobb sitting in the middle of the waiting area, and Arthur sat across the walkway at a table. Anxiety was building up in his system like a parasite. He hadn't slept well at all the night before, thanks to those nightmares.

They finally boarded the plane, and as Arthur sat down a woman tapped him on the shoulder. "Do you mind trading a seat with me? I don't like sitting next to the aisle."

Arthur turned to look at where she was pointing. She pointed to the seat right next to Eames. He fought the urge to roll his eyes, he'd rather sit next to a terrorist than next to Eames for a whole plane ride. But how could he say no?

"Of course. I'd love to." He said kindly, taking his bag and walking down the aisle and sitting next to Eames.

"You know, I thought you knew the rules." Eames said quietly.

"I do. To the very last detail." The Point Man muttered.

"Well, I'm surprised to see you sitting next to me, then." Eames retorted.

"She asked to trade, I couldn't say no." Arthur hissed.

"Of course you can't, you're a bloody gentleman." Arthur smirked and shook his head.

Eames interrogated Arthur almost the entire plane ride to Texas. "You know he won't give her up without a fight." He commented.

"I know." Arthur said.

"And you must know that one of us could easily be killed. Including her." He said.

"I know." He said again, with more emphasis.

"Or you. Which, I really wouldn't be all that depressed about, honestly." Eames mused.

"I know." Arthur stated again.

"I'd really rather have Ariadne live, because then, if you're out of the picture, I could have her all to myself. It really saves me the trouble of winning over her affections the hard way." He said with a smile.

"I-what?" Arthur asked, perplexed.

"Oh come off it, you know she likes you." Eames said.

"No, I-"

"Please don't argue with me. She's got a thing for you, and you know it." Eames pointed at him.

"I don't know what you're talking about." Arthur said, turning and facing the chair in front of him.

"She adores you, she stares at you every minute she can, probably trying to figure you out. I don't know what there is to figure out though, you're a boring stick-in-the-mud. Who could like you? Only Ariadne, really. She's too unique for her own good." Eames said with raised eyebrows, glancing at Arthur, trying to gauge his reaction.


"She really does like you, Arthur, and I can tell by the way you talk to her that you reciprocate the feelings. Don't lose her." Eames said seriously, causing the Point Man to look at him. Arthur's lips quirked up in a half smile, but it disappeared quickly as he thought of Ariadne, and what she could be going through right at that moment.

Their plane finally landed, and they all took separate rides to The Crescent Hotel, hoping that no one would suspect a thing. Arthur couldn't help but think that Ariadne was there, in that hotel, probably thinking the same thing. He glanced up at the building, and all the windows to the hundreds of rooms in the hotel, his heart sinking. There was no way he could find out what room she was in without raising some suspicion. Cobb had told everyone, including Saito, to meet in his room. Room 412. He got his key from the front desk and made his way up to his room, 425. He didn't even bother to unpack his things, knowing that they would be leaving as soon as the Extraction (really Inception) was over. They were to get it done tomorrow evening, as soon as Mr. Harris's business meeting was over. Cobb had already called and told Mr. Larsen the plan, who then relayed it to Harris.

Arthur glanced down at his watch and realized the meeting would begin in four minutes. He opened his door, making sure he had both his totem, and his key card, then made his way down the hall and knocked twice on Cobb's door.

Cobb opened the door to let the Point Man inside. Everyone was there, including Saito, who looked a tad tired from traveling all night to get there. "All right, everyone's here. The plan, is to ambush Harris right after his business meeting. We need to do it in the public restroom right next to the elevator on the conference floor, which is only two above ours." He pointed up at the ceiling.

"Why?" Saito piped up.

"Because there aren't security cameras in the bathrooms. If they don't see us attack him, when we drag him out and into the elevator, we could say he had fainted, or passed out. Which means that only two of us should be in the bathroom. It would be odd to see a group of men coming out with Harris unconscious. Eames and I will be the two to ambush him."

He paused, glancing at Arthur. Cobb had asked him earlier that morning to help Eames with the ambush, but Arthur had bluntly said no.

"Why?" Cobb had asked.

"Because I might accidentally kill him." Arthur had retorted, thinking of the pain Harris had inflicted on Ariadne.

Cobb had nodded with an indignant look and said nothing further.

Now, Arthur was still glad he had forced Cobb to take that position. He definitely would have accidentally killed Harris.

"Saito and Yusuf will be going with Arthur to Harris's room with the case containing the machine, after he takes down any guards that are in the way. Hopefully this can be done discreetly." Cobb said, emphasizing the last word and looking at the Point Man.

Arthur nodded, "Of course."

Everyone, except Saito, knew there would be two guards, one guarding the hallway, and the other guarding the room. They would put up a good fight, enough to make it look real, but would refrain from killing anyone. They'd go down with a solid thump and then Arthur and the rest of the boys would wait for Cobb and Eames to arrive with Harris.

"After we get to Harris's room with him, we'll hook up to the machine and start the dream. Eames will be guarding the room." Cobb said.

Saito frowned, "I thought it would be more likely that Arthur guard outside the dream."

Cobb turned sharply to Arthur for an answer, "Yes, that would seem wise, but I am the one who has done the most research on Mr. Harris. Having me in the dream with you would be more beneficial." Arthur stated without hesitancy.

Saito nodded in agreement, "Oh yes, yes. Continue."

Cobb took a quick breath and continued, "Once we're finished in the dream, we just need to make sure that he's comfortable on the bed and that we give him no reason to think that anything happened."

Saito nodded, "And when do we do this?"

"When his meeting ends at 5:00 tomorrow evening." Cobb said.

"How do we know he'll go to the bathroom?" Saito asked.

Eames smiled, "Because who can really sit in a conference room for almost four hours and not have to go to the bathroom afterward?"

The next day, Ariadne sat, once more, tied to a chair. She looked out the window and could tell by the angle of the sun that it was at least somewhere between three and four o'clock. Although Mr. Harris was in a completely different room on a different floor from them, she had heard Mr. Larsen say that he had left for a business meeting three hours ago. She glanced around the room, noticing Larsen sitting at the table in the small kitchen, the man that had almost strangled her sat on the couch, and a security man stood in front of the door. Larsen turned in her direction, "We're going to disappear in about an hour."

Ariadne sighed, "Good, I don't want to look at you anymore."

"Oh no, no, when I said 'We' I also meant you." He smiled and pointed at the guy sitting on the couch. "Anderson here is going to take you in the van with him."

"What? That wasn't part of the deal." She said, trying to quell her panic.

"We know, but Mr. Harris really needs an Architect of his own, and you're the best there is right now, besides Cobb. But he's damaged goods. His brain doesn't function nearly as well since his wife died."

"I'm not going anywhere." Ariadne said firmly.

His lips pulled up in a ghastly smile. "It doesn't matter what you say or what you do, you're getting out of Texas whether you like it or not."

Cobb and Eames stood in the doorway near the conference room. "Are we really going to hit this bloke over the head? Because if you don't want to, I sure will." Eames said quietly.

"Eames, it's all a fake. But we still have to make it look real, in case Saito questions anything." Cobb said with a stern face. "I'll hit him." He added.

Right on cue, Mr. Harris headed for the bathroom. Cobb went in, followed by Eames just a little after.

"Ah, there you are. I thought you might already be-" He was cut off when Cobb's fist came in contact with his face.

"What the hell?" Harris yelled, Eames chuckled.

"We need to make it look real. No-don't wipe your nose. Let the blood run. You want this to work? Play your part." Cobb knocked him off his feet, sending Harris to the floor. He let out a groan.

"Now play dead little doggy." Eames growled and grabbed one of his arms and a leg while Cobb did the same.

"Oh dear heavens! What happened?" A man asked as he came in.

Cobb looked up in surprise, "He fell and hit his face on the sink. We know where his room is, so we'll take him upstairs to his security to deal with." He explained with a heave. "Would you mind opening the door for us?"

"No, no. Not at all. Here." He propped open the door for the three men and tried to keep away from them. Blood obviously didn't bode well with the man. They turned the corner swiftly and got into the elevator.

Arthur stood on the sixth floor, where Harris's room was and glanced at his watch. It was five after five o'clock. Time for him to take down a few guards. He turned the corner and ran at the first man, hitting him in the jugular and then cracking a few ribs. The security man groaned and rolled to the floor. Arthur gave him a quick kick that left him unconscious and moved to the door.

He knocked.

Waited a minute.

Knocked again.

Finally, the second body guard opened the door and pointed a gun in Arthur's face.

"Ah, ah, no killing, sir." Arthur tisked as he thrust his hand up under the man's elbow and forced it up, it cracked twice when he grabbed the man's hand and pulled down the other way. He kneed him in the stomach, and punched his temple, leaving him unconscious. The bodyguard slipped to the floor with a thump.

Saito and Yusuf peeked around the corner.

"Wow, Arthur. I've never seen you in action before." Yusuf said with wide eyes.

"Hopefully you won't have to see much of it again." He said with a grunt as he heaved the men's bodies into the room. He didn't want a maid to come by and scream, "Murderer!" In the hotel. He pushed them into a closet and closed the door, and propped a chair under the handle. The more time it took for them to get out, the better.

"Did you see any sign of Cobb?" Arthur asked Saito.

"No, I did not-" Just then, there was a faint knock at the door.

Arthur looked through the peep hole and saw a Cobb and Eames carrying a mass that was sure to be Harris. He opened the door and let them in, closing it quickly and locking it behind them.

They threw him on the bed, and Harris let out a low moan. "Who bashed him in the nose?" Yusuf asked. "I thought he was supposed to think nothing happened when he woke up!" He exclaimed.

"Ya...well, he deserved it." Eames said. "We'll clean him up, don't get too antsy. We'll put a bottle of liquor next to him for when he wakes. He'll think he did it himself, somehow."

Arthur grabbed the silver case that held the PASIV from Yusuf and opened it on the floor, setting it up. "All right, Eames, make sure no one gets through that door. Wake me up if something goes amiss, Cobb will need to stay in the dream to uphold the architecture in the dream world."

Eames nodded and pulled out his gun. He glanced around the room, checking the windows and other points of entry as everyone (besides Eames and Yusuf) got ready to go into the dream. Eames watched as Saito sighed and slipped into unconsciousness. He laid down on the floor and grabbed the line that was supposed to be for Mr. Harris, and slipped it into his own wrist.

Harris sat up and watched Eames go under, then glanced up at Yusuf. "I don't appreciate them hitting me in the face." He said, smacking his lips together and tasting blood. His hand reached up to wipe his face clean of the blood, but Yusuf stopped him.

"You need to remain the way Saito last saw you if you want this to work out."

Harris rolled his eyes and lay back down on the bed. "So how long do I have to wait here before they wake up again?"

Yusuf calculated it in his head, "You should only be waiting for about fifteen minutes. It should give them plenty of time."

In the dream world, Arthur stood next to Cobb with Saito near them. "All right, where to?" Arthur turned to Cobb.

"We need to go to the bank, I set it up just like the one he visits often. He has various accounts, and even has his own vault, hidden in the recesses of the building." Cobb said looking around them. They were on a street corner, with buildings and cars all around them. Pedestrians walked around and bumped into them.

"I thought his mind would be more well protected than this." Saito said, motioning to the people around him.

"I'm sure it is, we just haven't given any reason for his subconscious to be worried yet." Cobb murmured. They crossed the street and headed for a building three blocks away.

"Are we going to see Mr. Harris at all?" Saito asked.

"Probably, but we don't want to alert our presence to him."

"You can extract something without asking him where his vault is?" Saito asked.

"I've studied him, for quite some time now. If that vault is anywhere, it's in the bank. If we do run into him, and his subconscious becomes suspicious, Cobb can play as Mr. Charles." Arthur supplied.

"Ah...Mr. Charles. I remember that. Are you sure he won't see through your ruse?" Saito was skeptical.

"I guess we'll just have to see and find out." Cobb said as they crossed another street.

Eames sat in the bank, knowing already where the rest of the team was. He looked exactly like Mr. Harris. He walked up to the counter and started talking to his own subconscious. "How do you like it here?" He asked himself.

"Oh, the colonies are stuck up and ill-mannered. But the people here are quite...attractive." Eames chuckled. Spoken like his true self. Which...was true. He smiled and talked to the woman behind the counter a bit longer. He glanced to his right, sneaking a peek out the window and seeing the team heading for the bank. Right on schedule. He asked to see his account balance, smiling at the pretty lady helping him.

Cobb and Arthur entered the bank, followed by Saito.

"He's here." Cobb hissed to Arthur and Saito. "We need to follow him."

Cobb walked up to the counter and talked with another woman, asking if he could go back to his own vault and take something from it. The woman nodded and asked for his pin number and account information. He gave a random set of numbers to her, and she punched them into her computer. Things were going according to plan. He motioned for Arthur and Saito to follow him and the man that told him he would be their guide.

Cobb watched as Eames/Harris headed down a different hallway than the way they were being lead. He mouthed to Arthur, "Follow him."

Arthur and Saito split off and headed after Harris. He turned the corner to see a security guard walking away from him, heading down the hallway. He took a silencer from his pocket and screwed it on the end of his gun, turned the corner, and shot the man in the back. There was a soft thud as his body hit the ground. He leapt up and dragged the man out of the hallway, into a closet. Cobb had lined the whole place with random doors that lead to no where, for situations just like this. After taking out a few other guards, they finally caught up to Harris. 'Eames.' Arthur had to remind himself. He took a deep breath and glanced behind him, making sure Saito was still there.

"When the escort turns, I'll take him out and make for Harris. Once I have him contained, you'll get into his vault and pull out whatever information that's in there." Arthur whispered, his voice barely audible.

Saito nodded in response.

While Arthur had Saito's attention, Eames opened the safe and slipped in the information that they needed Saito to read, taking out his own personal secrets and stuffing them in his pocket. The man that had escorted him to the Safe collapsed as Arthur shot him in the back. He felt himself slam up against a wall, his head hitting it painfully. He had to remind himself not to swear like an Englishman, and swear like an American.

"What's going on?" He bellowed, playing the part. "Security!"

Arthur pointed the gun to his head. "Don't say another word. Saito, hurry. Read it!" Arthur called, never taking his eyes off Harris. 'Eames.' He reminded himself again.

Saito threw the Safe door open the rest of the way and pulled out the papers and started reading. Eames watched as Saito's face turned from anger, to surprise, to disbelief, and then finally...relief. They had done it. He believed it.

Arthur turned in Saito's direction, "Well?" He asked.

"He's innocent." He said, holding the papers up.

"Of course I am!" The fake Harris yelled.

"We're done Saito." Arthur said, taking the gun from Harris's head and pointing it to himself. He pressed the trigger.

Eames watched as Arthur's body fell limp to the floor, he leaned over and grabbed the gun shooting Saito in the head and then pointing it on himself.

Arthur's eyes shot open. He jumped up and grabbed the needle from Eames's arm, yanking it out and throwing it away, then grabbed a new one from Yusuf and applied it to the same line and inserting it into the real Harris's arm. Harris was still lying on the bed. "About time." He mouthed and closed his eyes. Arthur wanted to punch him, but practiced his impeccable self restraint and refrained from doing so. He watched as Saito struggled to open his eyes.

Arthur grabbed Eames's arm and forced him up, grabbing his gun from the floor and forcing it into the Forger's hand, pushing him toward the door. He had to look like the security man that he had been before they went under.

Saito finally opened his eyes and glanced around. Arthur put a finger to his mouth in a "Shush" gesture, motioning Saito to get up and go to the door with Eames. He did so without asking any questions and left the room with the Forger. Arthur packed up the device with the help of Cobb and Yusuf and then left the room, closing the door behind him.

"What about the guards you stuffed in the closet?" Saito asked Arthur.

"Took care of them while you were out." Eames winked.

They took the stairs down to the fifth floor and Cobb opened his door, waving them all inside. "All right, so what did you find out, Saito?" He asked.

"He's innocent. At first I found it hard to believe, but it makes sense when I really start to piece it together..." He trailed off, still deep in thought.

Cobb's eyebrows shot up. "Really? I thought for sure he was guilty."

Saito nodded, "I was so sure, as you were, but that...that information was genuine. I will not doubt the man again." He shook his head, as if berating himself.

Cobb felt his insides twist. If only he knew.

Saito shook hands and said his goodbyes with the team. They watched him get into his taxi and take off toward the airport.

"Back to Harris's room?" Eames asked, opening the door. Arthur practically ran out the door and up the stairs to the room they had just infiltrated, the rest of the team following after him. He threw open the door to find Larsen with his back to Arthur, staring out the window.

"Come for your wife?" Larsen asked like nothing was out of the ordinary.

"Where is Ariadne?" He demanded.

"To be honest, I'm not exactly positive where she is."

While Arthur had been taking down two security guards, Ariadne was being hauled out of the room they were in by Anderson, and taken to the van. Being gagged, she hadn't been able to scream, but she kicked and flailed as much as she possibly could. The result being that Anderson now had a crooked nose and future bruises all over his back and chest.

Anderson approached the van, unlocking it and opening the two back doors. He threw Ariadne into the back and slammed the doors shut. Slinging the girl over his shoulder had really given him a beating. "Maybe we should have knocked her out before getting her down here." Anderson said as he watched Mr. Harris step out of the stairwell and into the parking garage.

"Oh I'd like to talk to her a bit once we're on the road." He said with a sly smile and slipped into the passenger seat, while Anderson started the car. Ariadne sat in the back of the van with her hands tied in front of her, as well as a rope wound around her middle, pinning her arms to her sides, and a rope tied tightly around her ankles. It wasn't all that smart on their part. When they weren't looking, she picked at the rope around her ankles, trying to get the knot undone.

"Now, we're going to take a little trip to Mexico, stay there a few days, get you broken in, and then we can start on a little Inception project." Harris smiled at Ariadne.

Her face twisted into a grimace, she knew that once she got past the border, there would be less chance of the Team finding her. She had to get out of this van before getting anywhere near the border. Her mind raced with a ideas, all of which were not pretty. Kicking the back doors open, tumbling out...every time she thought of that, she imagined herself getting steamrolled to the pavement by whatever car or truck was behind them. She imagined knocking both men out and throwing themout of the car, but having both hands tied together, that would be quite a difficult task. She stared at the wall of the van with concentration, she saw Harris leave his seat in the front and make his way to the back. She glanced up at him, her heart beating a little faster.

"You know, I think we'd make a pretty good pair." He said quietly, tilting her chin up. With her mouth taped shut, there wasn't much she could do but yank her head away from his hand. He frowned for a moment.

"I know being faithful to your husband would be considered romantic, but think of it more as...a break from being tied to one person."

How ironic. The bonds of marriage versus the ropes tied around her and being stuck in the back of a van with a creepy man. She definitely thought being married to Arthur was at least a hundred times better than the situation she was in right now. Although, she wasn't really married to Arthur...before she could think about what it would be like to be married to the Point Man, Harris leaned forward and ripped the tape off, and pulled the cloth from her mouth. Ariadne gasped from the quick sting, then took a deep breath as it started to tingle.

"Boss, we're heading into a storm. You might want to-"

"I don't care, Anderson. Unless something other than the weather is threatening us, don't tell me." Harris growled. He turned back and stared at Ariadne. "So tell me, how did you and your dear Arthur meet?"

She knew the best way not to mess it up was to keep her mouth closed.

"Let me guess, he's an amazing Point Man, working with Cobb, and they needed a new Architect, because what's-his-face messed up, big time-yes, I heard about that fiasco. Cobb goes to his father-in-law, Miles, who then directs him to you. Am I correct so far?" He asked.

Ariadne said nothing.

"Hmmm...interesting. Anyway, you meet Arthur, you do your little Inception business, yes, I know about that too. When Saito used to trust me, he told me the plan so I wouldn't be too surprised when young Fischer broke up his father's empire. As long as it went according to plan, that is." He smiled for a moment, "I'm sure during the Inception you and Arthur became quite close, am I wrong?"

She looked away from him and stared at her shoe.

"Then after Inception, you dated for...let's say...one month? Officially, that is. And then you get married. Really, that seems a little quick, don't you think?" He asked, a small smile making its way on to his face.

"So unless the two of you really were madly in love with each other and felt as though you might as well get married because you had nothing to lose, I think it's a bluff." He summed up.

Ariadne stared at the wall, trying to keep her face as passive as possible. She didn't know why it was such a big deal, but she felt like the less he knew about her, the better.

"Which means...you're not really tied to anyone...which also means..." He leaned forward, his thumb brushing her cheek and running his fingers through her hair. She had to suppress the urge to gag. He leaned closer to Ariadne, her eyes growing wide.

"Don't touch me." She said venomously and brought up her legs and kicked him in the chest, sending him flying backward and hitting the opposite wall of the van.

He rubbed his head and looked up at her, anger was the prevalent feature displayed on his face. He shot forward and grabbed a fistful of her hair, yanking her face toward his.

His lips smashed to hers, and after a few painful seconds of being manhandled, Ariadne was able to push him away. She panted from the effort and brought her hands up, hoping to punch him with both of her fists if he tried anything again.

Harris opened his mouth to say something, but before he could, a shot rang out and one of the windows shattered, sending glass shards and rain all over Ariadne and Harris.

Twenty minutes earlier.

"What do you mean you don't know where she is?" Arthur yelled, grabbing Larsen by the collar and shoving him up against the wall.

"Well, this feels like De-ja-vu." He mused, smiling a little at Arthur.

Arthur brought his fist back to punch Larsen, but felt a hand grasp his arm before he could swing forward. "Step away for a moment, darling, would you?" Eames asked.

Arthur's mouth opened in protest, but before he could say anything, Eames sent his own fist flying, popping Larsen in the jaw, the force pushing him backward. Eames grabbed the front of his shirt and yanked him upward and into a chair. "You will tell us where Ariadne is, or Arthur here, will put a bullet through your body."

Arthur cocked his gun and pointed it at Larsen's leg. "I don't know anything." Larsen said, his voice low. He heard a click as Arthur readied the gun to shoot.

"No, no! Please, I swear. I don't know. I don't-" A shot rang out and Larsen doubled over in pain, grasping his leg.

"Bloody hell! Give me a fair warning before you shoot that thing, nearly jumped right out of my knickers." Eames slapped Arthur's shoulder, trying to shout above Larsen's cries.

"Where is she?" Arthur yelled, ignoring Eames.

"A van! There's a van, down in the parking garage. They're going to take her past the border to Mexico. An armored vehicle is meeting them half way to hide Ariadne in their car. Border patrol won't think to check if they believe it's one of their own." He gasped in pain.

"When did they leave?" Cobb spoke up, anger and worry present in his voice.

"Only five minutes ago...five minutes." He said, sweat dripping down his face.

"Yusuf, pack everyone's stuff up and head out. Get back to our original location. We'll meet you there tomorrow." Cobb said, a hand on Yusuf's shoulder. Yusuf nodded and made for the door.

"Eames, Arthur. We need to go."

Eames looked at Larsen for a moment. "What do we do about him?" He asked, pointing at him.

"Leave him. I don't care." Arthur said as he walked out the door.

They got into Cobb's rental car, Arthur in the front, with Eames in the back. They pulled out of the hotel and...traffic was horrifying.

"Hang on. I'm going to break a few laws." Cobb said as he drove up over the median in the middle of the road and driving against traffic. Eames and Arthur held on for dear life as he swerved away from oncoming cars. He turned off the road, cut through a parking lot and within a few short stops and a couple cusses, they were on the freeway, heading south.

"Well, you don't see that every day." Eames drawled, "Are we really still alive?"

They weaved their way through traffic on the freeway, speeding and braking and speeding some more. After a little while the traffic was getting less dense, the sun was starting its descent in the sky, and there was a massive storm cloud heading their way.

"Oh this is going to get just lovely." Sarcasm dripping from Eames's tongue.

The storm hit them with a massive wind gust and wall of rain. "It's going to be bloody difficult to shoot anything in this." Eames muttered

"Just don't shoot Ariadne." Arthur said, getting his gun out.

"Ya, I figured that much." Eames said, also getting his gun from where it was tucked into his pants at the small of his back.

"He said it was a white van, probably an industrial one with the two doors in the back." Cobb said, swerving to avoid debris in the road.

"There!" Arthur called, pointing. He rolled down his window. They were now on a two lane highway, with hardly any other vehicles in sight. "Cobb, pull up closer!" He yelled, the front of him getting drenched as he pulled himself closer to the window.

"I'm trying!" Cobb yelled through the storm. Eames had rolled his window down as well, practically leaning out of it. He took the first shot and heard a window shatter as well as a scream.

It took a moment for Ariadne to realize that she was the one screaming.

"Shut up!" She heard Harris yell.

"Help!" She screamed. She knew it was them. It had to be. Who else would shoot out a window of an industrial van on a highway headed to no where?

"Arthur!" She yelled. A hand clamped down over her mouth, and she bit it.

"AH! You bi-" She whacked him in the face, and punched the side of his head. He hit the floor of the van and shook his head, blood flowing from his nose. He pounced on her, grabbing her neck and forcing her to the floor of the van.

She had already been in this position before, she was not about to let herself go through it again. She brought her legs up and kicked him off of her, pelting him with her feet. She heard him cry out in pain as she sat up and untied the rest of the rope around her ankles. She stood hunched over on shaky legs and made for the back of the van. She heard him groan and glanced over at him.

His eyes widened when he realized what she was trying to do. She fumbled for the lock, trying to open the doors. He grabbed her around the middle and pulled her back just as she unlocked it. She kicked her feet out, hoping one of them would open. Ariadne fell to the floor with a thump, Harris underneath her back. He had a strong hold around her, but he wasn't in the best position to keep her down. She thrust her elbow against him as hard as she could. She could hear him gasp and loosen his hold on her. She rolled away from him and kicked at the door, throwing her weight against it. Finally, the door budged, opening slightly. Just as she brought her leg up to kick again, the van lurched to the right, sending her tumbling against the wall. The door swung open, and rain poured in on them.

"Boss! We've got a serious problem!" Anderson yelled.

"You think I don't know that?" Harris yelled back, tackling Ariadne before she could get out of the van.

Arthur watched as the door to the back of the van bulged a little. "Cobb, put some distance between us and the van!" Arthur yelled. There were shots going back and forth. Eames shooting at the driver's window.

"What? Arthur, I can't see the driver's side from that far away!" Eames yelled.

"Just trust me!" They watched as the doors swung open, and Harris threw Ariadne to the floor, the van bouncing a little.

"She's probably going to slide out. Drive between the two lanes." Arthur instructed to Cobb.

"What are you planning, Arthur?" Cobb asked incredulously.

"Just do it!" Arthur yelled, his eyes never leaving Ariadne. They watched as she wrestled with Harris, finally dislodging him and rolling away. They had put about thirty feet between them and the van.

"Get ready Cobb..." Arthur said, tucking his gun away, his hand hovered over the handle of the door.

Arthur opened his door and rolled out of the car just as Ariadne tumbled out of the van. It was exhilarating, and very painful, when Arthur looked back on it. He rolled for what seemed like forever, but finally came to a stop and getting up without hesitating, running forward to where he saw a small mass in the middle of the road.

He leaned over her, smoothing back the hair from her face. Rain poured down on them. "Ari?" He asked quietly.

"Arthur..." She said, relief flooding through her veins. She didn't care how badly she hurt in that moment. All she wanted, was to hear his voice, to be with him, to know she would be safe.

He helped her sit up, and she leaned against him. "Worst few days of my life." She said, a humorless chuckle escaping her lips. He leaned back to look at her. Her eyes grew wide and her lip trembled, "I thought I would never see you, or anyone else ever again." She choked back a sob, thankful that the rain masked her tears.

Arthur snaked his arm under her knees and hugged her shoulders to him, picking her up off the cold, wet ground and moving to the side of the road where they wouldn't get hit by an unsuspecting car. He set her down gently, sitting right next to her. She was almost in his lap. He held her close to him, never wanting to let go. She reached up to touch his face, to know he really was there, to know he was real.

He glanced down and realized her wrists and arms were still tied. "Here, sit still for a moment." He said quietly, pushing her to the ground and pulling out a pocket knife. He slowly cut through the ropes, careful not to accidently swipe her with it. "How does that feel?" He asked softly, running his fingers down the side of her face.

"Better." She said, glancing down at the pile of rope lying on the asphalt..

"Good." He gave her one of those almost-smiles.

She reached up and touched his face, her thumb brushing the corner of his lips. "I can hardly believe you're here...Am I dreaming?" She asked, frowning.

"No, no...we're not dreaming." He said, taking her hands in his and feeling the welts across her wrists. It drove him crazy to think that she had been held against her will, tortured, and forced to do things she never wanted to. He brought her hand up to his mouth and kissed it gently. "I'm sorry." He whispered.

Her eyebrows knit together. "What for?"

"I should have been more careful. I should have..." He trailed off for a moment, "I should have known that something like this could happen, especially after what they did in the alley back in Jersey."

"No, there was no way you could have known. I'm just glad you found me." She said, smiling a little. Arthur couldn't help but return it. Ariadne shivered from the rain and wind, leaning in to Arthur. He could tell she was exhausted and cold, so he shrugged off his jacket and wrapped her up in it and hugged her to him. She sighed in content, and although they were sitting on the side of a highway, in the dark, as well as in the pouring rain, she still felt safe.

Arthur glanced up when he heard screeching tires, watching as headlights came in to view. He wasn't sure if it was the van or Cobb, he couldn't tell. He and Ariadne stood up slowly.

"If that's Harris, I want you to turn and run. Understand?" Arthur asked, looking at her pointedly.

Ariadne nodded slowly. "But-"

"No. You've been through enough. I'm armed, you're not." He stepped in front of her, hoping to make her less noticeable if it was Harris coming their way.

Ariadne felt a bit perturbed by his display. She could handle herself, right? She felt her knees shaking in anxiety and nervousness and pondered it. Well...after everything that had happened, maybe she could be a little more grateful for the Point Man and his efforts to keep her safe. She stepped right up behind him, peeking around him, but before she could get a glimpse of the vehicle coming toward them, she heard a shout.

"Oh it's about time we got you back, eh love?" Ariadne couldn't help but smile. "How is our little architect holding up?" Eames asked loudly. He had moved to the front seat.

"Get in." Cobb said gruffly, unlocking the doors.

Arthur and Ariadne slid into the back of the car and shut the door. Eames turned in his seat to look at her. "Blimey, you look quite banged up, my dear. You all right?" He asked, concern glinting in his eyes.

Ariadne smiled at the affection, "I think I'll be okay."

"Good. We need you all in one piece, darling." He smiled and reached over, patting her knee.

Arthur looked at Eames, then to Cobb. "So...what happened?" He asked.

"Well, I shot the head off of the guy driving the thing, and then Cobb rammed the van-"

"You owe me for the damages I'll have to pay on this car, Arthur." Cobb cut in, a hint of joking in his tone.

"-and it rolled! The van rolled off the highway into a ditch. I didn't think this little civic could do it, but it sure did." He paused for a second and glanced back at Arthur, "I hope he's still alive, the damn businessman. I really want to see him rot in jail, wasting his life away, maybe go insane..."

"I'm pretty sure he's still alive." Cobb said quietly.

Ariadne decided not to think about it too much, it stressed her out thinking that man was still on the loose, but he was a CEO of a major corporation, and if he went missing, questions would be asked that she didn't want people to try to answer.

"You okay?" Arthur asked quietly, his right hand covering her left. He glanced down when he felt something other than her hand against his skin. He lifted it to see that she was still wearing the wedding ring he had given her. "You're still wearing it?"

She looked down, not exactly sure of what to say. "Yes. For some reason I thought it might save me in some way. Maybe because every time I looked at it, I thought of you. That the team was still coming for me, that I wasn't forgotten." She said, staring at the ring on her finger.

She felt him tilt her chin up to look at him, "I would never forget you." He said softly. He leaned over and placed a gentle kiss on her forehead. Ariadne buried her face in his chest, hoping he wouldn't notice that she was blushing. He wrapped his arms around her, leaning back against the seat and the door. Both were asleep within minutes.

The car trundled to a stop, giving one last groan before dying. They had just barely made it to the airport. Eames turned around, grinning at the sight of Ariadne heaped up against Arthur, his jacket swallowing her whole, while Arthur's arms were still wrapped around her, his head back against the door and the headrest. He almost didn't want to wake them, but they had a plane to catch. He leaned back and snapped his fingers in Arthur's face, waking him up. "I'll leave you to waking the lady." Eames said, getting out of the car.

Arthur looked down at Ariadne, a content expression on her face as she slept. His heart ached to wake her, but maybe they could take another nap together soon. He ran his fingers through her hair, "Ari..." he whispered, "it's time to wake up."

She stirred slightly, her eyes fluttering open. "Where are we?" She asked as she sat up, they were in a parking garage. Her heart stopped for just a moment before realizing she was with Arthur.

He could tell something had startled her when she had tensed. "What's wrong?" He asked.

"It's nothing...well, every time Harris took me somewhere we always ended up in a parking garage." She said, a far away look in her eyes.

Arthur closed his eyes, trying not to get too angry. He wanted to know everything that had happened to her, every detail. But if she wasn't ready to tell him, he'd wait. He could be patient for her. "What happened?" He asked.

There was a tap at the window as she opened her mouth to speak. "I'll tell you when we get back home." She said, sliding over to the other side of the car and opening the door. Arthur sighed, running a hand down his face and getting out.

"Where's all your stuff?" Ariadne asked.

"Yusuf took it all back with him. Or at least, that was the plan." Cobb said, leaving the car in the parking garage. He'd let the rental agency find it and bill him later.

They boarded their plane, and after a few hours of flying, they were back in New Jersey, heading for the old apartment. Eames trudged up the stairs, it was now four in the early morning. He knocked on Yusuf's door and leaned against the wall, watching the others slowly making their way up the stairs. Yusuf opened the door with a yawn.

"Where's our stuff?" Eames asked, his voice sounded too loud in the stillness of the morning.

"Keep it down. It's in here." He waved them in.

They all left with their things, but Cobb lingered outside of Arthur and Ariadne's door.

"You coming in, Cobb?" Arthur asked.

"You know what, I think I'm going to head home." The corner of his lips quirked up, "I need to get home too."

After saying their goodbyes to Cobb, Arthur turned to the door with his key and opened the apartment, showing Ariadne in first. Nothing had changed from when they left. Everything was the same.

Ariadne breathed in the familiar air of where she had been living for the past while. It felt so good to be back. She went straight for the bathroom and took a quick shower, watching as the water turned a little red around her. She realized she had cuts and bruises all over her body, but was too tired to really do anything about it. She cut the water and got dressed in her sweats, towel dried her hair, and headed for the living room. She started to sit down on the couch when she felt a hand at the small of her back, guiding her elsewhere. Arthur led her back into the bathroom, lifting her up and setting her on the counter. She felt like she should be confused as to what he was doing, but was too tired to focus. He opened the cabinet behind her to the right and got out adhesive gauze, band-aids, ointments, and other first aid materials. She looked down at the towel on the tiled floor and realized that most of it was stained with blood.

Arthur followed her gaze and turned back to her. "I'm sorry." Was all he could really think of to say.

"Don't say that. It's not your fault." She said slowly, blinking away a few tears as he rubbed ointment into a cut on her forehead. He wiped her tears away with his thumb and bandaged it with some gauze.

"I'm not so sure about that." He retorted, he pushed the bottom of her sweats up from her ankles to her knees, his eyes narrowing at a rather large gash on her left calf.

She sighed, her shoulders drooping, "Well, I'm sure. I blame Harris. Not you, in any way, shape or form."

He heard her sharp intake of breath when he rubbed the ointment onto her shin and knee. Her hands gripped the edge of the counter and her knuckles turned white. He bandaged it quickly and grabbed a cup from the sink, filling it, and handed her an aspirin. "Here, this will help with the pain." She nodded and took it gratefully. After he was finished with a few other scrapes and cuts, one on her shoulder, another on her arm, he helped her off the counter and led her to the bedroom.

When she saw the bed, she realized how tired she really was. "Thank you, Arthur." She turned to him, a small smile on her face.

He nodded with a smile of his own. "I'll be in the living room." Arthur said, graciously shutting the door behind him.

She turned and looked at the bed again, but didn't think it looked as enticing as before. She knew she was tired, exhausted, really. She sat on the bed, but didn't attempt to get under the covers. Why? She narrowed her eyes at the pillows, willing the bed to tell her why she didn't want to sleep. The image of herself sleeping, curled up against the Point Man with his arms around her invaded her mind. That was why. She didn't want to be alone. She sat a little while longer, not bringing herself to get in the bed. Ariadne sleepily made her way into the living room to find Arthur asleep on the couch, his head on the armrest, one foot on the floor, the other propped up on the opposite armrest. One of his arms dangled over the side. Ariadne smiled at the sight, she couldn't help but notice how cute he looked. It was one of the only times she had seen him vulnerable in any way. She found herself walking closer to him, peering at him through half closed eyelids. She was so tired, but there wasn't another couch to sleep on, especially not one as comfortable as the one he was on.

She walked over to the window and closed the blinds, making the room darker, then made her way back over to the couch. He was closer to the edge than he was to the back pillows, so she decided she would squish herself between him and the couch. She could definitely live with that arrangement. Ariadne slowly, and carefully climbed over him and laid down next to him, laying her head on his chest, her arms tucked between her and him.

She laid there for just a moment before glancing up at him. He had that ridiculous half-smile on his face.

"You just couldn't resist, could you?" Arthur whispered.

"I didn't want to be alone." She said quietly.

Arthur frowned and turned on his side toward her, snaking his arms around her. "I'm sorry you went through what you did, and when you're ready to talk, I'm here to listen." He said, concern in his eyes.

She gave him an almost-smile of her own at his tenderness and nodded. "Thank you." She looked at her left hand, pressed up against his chest, the ring still on her finger, the diamond shone brilliantly in the low lighting. "Did you want the ring back?" She asked.

Arthur felt the wedding ring on his own finger and thought about the implications of her keeping the ring.

"No. Keep it." He kissed the top of her head, smelling her hair. It was still a bit damp from her shower. "Although, if you do wear it, people will think you're married." He chuckled a little.

"Yes, and when they ask me who my husband is, I'll tell them his name is Arthur." She said quietly, smiling.

He laughed a little, she could hear it rumble through his chest. "Is it okay that I use you as a scapegoat, so I can say no to any weirdo that asks me out?"

He laughed again, "You could say no even without a ring."

"I know." She said softly, tracing a circle on his chest.

He pulled away just enough to see her face, "You wear it whenever you want."

"What about you?" She asked, thinking of his ring.

"I'll probably wear mine as well." He said, locking eyes with her.

"We might as well just get married." Ariadne teased.

He leaned closer to her, pressing her against the couch. "Maybe we should..." He trailed off, smiling.

She was looking into his deep, endless brown eyes, then glanced down at his lips. That was all it took. Arthur leaned in, kissing her slowly. It was like fire on her lips, it was electrifying. Her hands had gathered fistfuls of his shirt, bringing him closer to her. He hugged her closer to him, feeling her melt against him.

They finally broke for air after a few moments, Ariadne's eyes drooping.

"Get some sleep. I'll be right here." He whispered, kissing her cheek. She fell asleep within minutes, Arthur following suit a little after.

It was in the early evening when they both woke. "How are you feeling?" Arthur asked.

"I'm okay." She said quietly.

"What happened?" He asked.

There was a long pause before she answered. They were still lying on the couch, his arms wrapped around her. "They cornered me, threw me in a van...took me to New York. I was bound and gagged, so I couldn't scream." She squeezed her eyes shut, trying not to think too hard about it. "They took me into the dream world a couple of times, tried to force me into showing them what I could do. I thought it would buy you guys more time if I didn't." She said slowly, glancing up at Arthur.

He had a frown on his face, but didn't say anything. "I wouldn't...and Harris shot me." She took in a shaky breath, about to begin again, but Arthur said something.

"Where?" He asked.

She opened her mouth, "My arm." She traced a spot on her left arm, just below her shoulder. Arthur didn't say anything, but covered the area she was tracing on her arm with his hand, he sighed, his thumb tracing circles on it. A shiver ran up Ariadne's body. "We came out of the dream, and they had me tied to a chair. I could hardly sleep, and they didn't feed me. I got water every now and then, though..." She paused, "Then we went back into the dream, and I refused to show them what I could do. Harris was even more angry than before, he shot me in the leg, just above my knee, then shot himself and left me there to finish out the dream..." She had a far away look in her eyes, remembering what had happened to her.

Arthur reached down, placing his hand just above her knee. "Here?" He asked quietly.

She nodded, a few tears slipping down her face. He brought his hand back up, wiping them from her cheeks. She continued with a deep breath, "When I woke up, he was on the phone with you...I was so happy to hear your voice, I wished I could have seen you. The next time they took me into a dream, I showed them everything you had taught me. They seemed impressed, and I wasn't sure if that was a good thing, or a bad thing. I guess it wasn't so great, because Harris ended up wanting to use me for it." She paused for a moment before going on. She was still tracing circles on his chest with her finger.

"Not much happened when they had me in the hotel room, I was tied to a chair, as before, back in New York. They hauled me down to the van and threw me in. I was able to get my ankles mostly untied during the ride before you guys showed up. Harris came to the back of the van with me and tried..." She swallowed, "...tried to take advantage of me." She felt Arthur's grip tighten around her.

"What did he do?" He said, she could tell he was angry.

"He kissed me, right before the window shattered." She said quietly, she heard Arthur sigh, a hint of relief in his anger filled voice.

"He didn't do anything else?" He asked.

"Afterward, he tried to choke me, but I kicked him off and then fell out the back." She said simply, looking up at him.

Arthur propped himself up on an elbow, looking down at her. He noticed the bruising on her neck now, not having seen it before. He leaned down slowly, his lips brushing her collarbone. He heard her quick intake of breath and paused. She relaxed a little and he continued to leave a kiss everywhere he saw a bruise, kissing her jawline, and then up to the corner of her mouth. He brought his lips close to hers, hovering over her. "I'm sorry."

"You keep saying that...You don't need to." She whispered, closing the distance between them and kissing him. It was a tender, but passionate kiss, leaving her dazed and happy afterward. He got up off the couch after hearing her stomach growl.

"You probably haven't had a decent meal in a while. Let's get you something to eat." He said, grabbing a phone.

They ordered pizza delivery, not wanting to leave the apartment. Once the pizza arrived, Ariadne flipped the TV on and changed the channel to the News. She nearly spit out her drink.


He rushed over to her. "What's wrong?" He asked.

"It's Saito! And Harris!" Her eyes wide, she pointed at the TV. "We didn't tell Saito..."

Arthur's brow furrowed, "I'm sure Cobb told him about Harris..." He didn't sound completely sure.

They sat and listened to the broadcast, hoping against all odds that Cobb had called and talked to Saito. Ariadne noticed how put together Harris looked, although she could see a few scratches, and the fact that his arm was in a sling, he looked to be just fine. She wished she could go right through the TV screen and punch him. She watched as Saito got up to the microphone on the stage.

"It is with best interests at heart that I address you all today. Mr. Harris and I came to the agreement a few months ago that merging our companies would be beneficial to the business world. I realized that this could be a great success. It is with regret, though, that it has not gone as hoped." He paused, glancing around the room.

Harris's face contorted first into surprise, then to realization, and then to rage. His face was turning a shade of red.

"Through a series of events, I have found out that Mr. Harris has conned his way into the business world, his charges are severe, including kidnapping, murder, treason-" Saito couldn't finish his sentence before Harris lunged at him. He grabbed Saito around the throat, trying to pull him down.

Harris hardly had time to try anything else before Security tore him away. Saito got up from his knees on the floor and stood back up next to the microphone, and took a deep breath. "It is with that confirmation that I dismantle this agreement, and leave the rest to the authorities." Saito picked up the contract and ripped it in half. The crowd burst into applause and cheers. The News hadn't been this exciting in months.

Ariadne stared at the TV, her mouth hanging open. She watched as security escorted Harris off stage, who was swearing up a storm, throwing cusses at Saito. She heard Arthur chuckle next to her, "Well, I'm glad that worked out." Ariadne nodded slowly.

"I hope I never have to see him again." She said, shaking her head and leaning against Arthur.

He slung his arm around her, hugging her to him. "You won't. I'll make sure of that." He smiled down at her and stole another kiss.

Hope you enjoyed it! Sorry it took forever to post this for you.

Ttfn, ta ta for now! :)