Disclaimer: I own neither Inception, nor Saving Private Ryan, nor "Je ne regrette rien".

Saving Private Arthur

"Cobb, get out of there! There's not enough time!" Arthur shouts into the two-way radio clutched in his hand.

The other is bracing him against the windowsill of the crumbling bell tower—the half-decimated structure that shakes with every explosion of the battle-torn city.

He catches a glimpse of Cobb through a cloud of dust, standing across the tiny, cobblestoned street in the remains of a small café, writing something down on a scrap of paper, holding something close to his hear—translating Morse.

It's fitting for the World War dream setting. Fitting, and damned inconvenient.

An explosion on the ground sends a spray of red dust into the air and the building shakes again, violently. Arthur stumbles back onto the shell-covered floor.

"All right there, darling?" Eames asks, his usual cocky grin on his face, twisting around in his seat behind his machine gun, the end of which is pointed through a hole ripped through the wall.

If Arthur didn't know it was a dream, he wouldn't question what was going on, not looking at the Brit. Eames looks very much the part of the dashing, devil-may-care artillery soldier, the type you'd see in a movie.

Only it's not a movie.

"Not the right time, Eames," Arthur growls, clambering to his feet and bracing himself against the windowsill again.

Cobb's still there in the café, translating the secret he was hired to extract. Up the street, the projections have a tank that's steadily closing in.

Arthur shouts again into the two-way: "Cobb!"

"No…" he hears Cobb reply, his voice distant against the backdrop of screams and gunfire, "…I'm almost there…"

"Minute and a half on the clock!" Ariadne cries from her place near the door, clutching a sniper rifle in her shaking hands as she points it out a second window at the projections below.

Arthur glances at her, and realizes that she looks even younger than usual in the oversized army uniform the dream's assigned her. Doll-like. And scared.

He turns back to his window to Cobb.

The tank's almost halfway up the street now. Aiming at the café.

Arthur pulls his gun from its holster and aims it at the tank, fires to draw the projections' attention. He sees a glint of light where the bullet hits. Fires again. Once, twice—

—and then the café disappears in a cloud of flame and dust.

The bell tower shakes as the shock wave hits and Arthur is thrown backward again, his head cracking hard against the wood floor. His ears are ringing.

He hears the faint crackle of automatic gunfire, sees holes pepper the wall behind him and doesn't understand at first—until Ariadne appears beside him, a blank expression on her pretty face, lines of red trickling through her hair.

For a moment he can't speak, can't move, until he remembers it's a dream—Ariadne's dream—and all at once, the sound comes rushing back to him—

"The dream's collapsing!" he says loudly, pushing himself upright, "Eames?"

He receives no answer but the sound of gagging.

Arthur's blood runs cold and he turns to see Eames on his back, twisting back and forth on the ground, blood geysering from his throat.


Arthur pulls his gun again and the only thing he can think is wake him up, wake him up now! and puts the barrel to Eames's head, and pulls the trigger—

—and nothing happens.

No! his mind screams, No no no no no! He pulls the trigger again—nothing.

He lunges for Ariadne's sidearm, fumbles with the straps securing it tight into place—too tight. The poor girl hadn't expected she'd need it, and all the while Eames clutches at his throat, wide-eyed, and chokes.

Come on come on come on!

Panicked, Arthur yanks at the weapon, trying to pull it free.

Wake him up wake him up wake him up—

—and then someone tugs on his pant leg and he jumps so hard that he manages to yank Ariadne's body a foot toward him before he looks and sees Eames.

Looking back at him.

Blue eyes blank.

Still smiling.

Arthur's shaking so much he can barely think.

Slowly he lets go of Ariadne's sidearm, and falls back, staring.

Through Eames's hole in the wall he sees the projections' tank, sees it aiming up at the bell tower. Sees the machine buck back as all sound fades to nothing and his ears begin to ring…

Non…rien de rien…non, je ne regrette rien…


A/N: About the title: I know it's Arthur who's trying to save Eames…or put him out of his misery, I guess…but the title came to me and it just stuck like peanut butter and nutella, and I didn't want to change it. Sorry for any confusion. Meh. I saw Saving Private Ryan, which was a very good movie and made me very depressed…very war-accurate...and as a result the idea of a short dream-death scene for the inception team popped into my head. I dunno. I'm one of those writers who loves to torture characters. I'm just horrible like that. ; ) Anyways, I hope you enjoyed it!