Written for inception_kink over at LJ. 'course I'm still anon over there.

The prompt was:

"Ariadne/Arthur

AU- High School

"The funny thing is that he secretly wants me. Jocks like him always want freaky girls. Girls with horn-rimmed glasses and veganfootwear and Goth makeup. Girls who play the cello and wear Converse All- Stars and want to be children'slibrarians when they grow up. Oh yeah, jocks eat that shit up. They just won't admit it, because they're supposed to be into perfect cheerleaders." -Juno"

It called to me.

Jock!Arthur is so improbable yet so right; Hipster!Dork!Ariadne with BFF!Yusuf is also enjoyable.

I do not own Inception. And I wouldn't want to anyway because I'd probably ruin it.

My locker smelled like fish this morning.

I pulled it open and a tin of open, day-old wet cat food fell out and landed right on the tips of my sneakers, splattering everywhere. Salmon and cod cuisine. Tasty.

I had no idea why he put it there, but it was obvious that he did, because he walked by right after it dropped on my shoes and laughed, his hair flopping over his eyes like a dirty shirt. Guiltiness is next to punctuality.

"It's a nice scent for you," he sniggered, and his buddy Eames cackled with relish, flipping his favorite poker chip like a quarter. Eames proceeded to stop and do some sort of vapid dance that I assumed was supposed to go along with whatever he was singing, but didn't.

"My cat food brings all the boys to the yard," he sang, waving his hands around.

"Oh, hilarious, you guys," I grumbled amidst their guffaws. "Whodathunk you were so witty."

His friend cuffed him on the back and they both doubled up with laughter, and they went on their merry way.

Arthur totally looked back over his shoulder at me as they went, though, and he wasn't laughing anymore.

The funny thing is that Arthur secretly wants me. Jocks like him always want freaky girls. Girls with horn-rimmed glasses and vegan footwear and Goth makeup. Girls who play the cello and wear Converse All-Stars and want to be children's librarians when they grow up. Oh yeah, jocks totally eat that shit up. They just won't admit it, because they're supposed to be into perfect cheerleaders, like Mal. But I guess Mal's really not so bad, ignoring the fact that she is, as I said, the perfect cheerleader. With her bouncy brown curls and her girlish French giggle and the way she subtly swishes her hips just to watch the guys' heads bob along in tandem with them. She's a total expert. Why Arthur isn't secretly hungering for her pants I'll never know.

He thinks he's got me totally fooled with his whole "God you are a freak and I love to cause you misery because you are a freak" act, but I mean... come on. He wishes he was that good at hiding it.

I have actually known Arthur since elementary school. We used to kind of be friends. Then I became cool and he became normal. It was a sad day.

But yeah. He's a douche because he totally has the hots for me. I know it.

With a sigh, I proceeded to kick what I could off of the dirty rubber of my Converse, knowing the janitor would get to it eventually. I grabbed a handful of hair in one hand and started braiding it, not in the mood to have it falling into a beaker in Chemistry.

"Ugh!" I heard a groan behind me and turned to see Yusuf standing next to me. Yusuf was my replacement best friend after Arthur started reeking of jock. He's into Star Wars and webcomics and every time Eames sees him he starts humming Jai Ho. He thinks that he's a real hit with the ladies, but I think there's at least one restraining order floating around out there. "The hell is that smell?"

"That," I answered, my hairtie clenched between my teeth as I braided, "is the dulcet scent of salmon and cod cuisine, courtesy of our resident gentleman."

Yusuf scoffed and wrinkled his nose at the pile of slightly moldy deliciousness.

"Jesus," he exclaimed. "Why's he always doing this stuff to you?"

"Because he wants my virginity," I answered, slamming my locker shut and shifting my Chem textbook into my other arm. Yusuf rolled his eyes.

"Yeah, sure, as much as you want his."

As if Arthur was a virgin to begin with. If some girl hadn't gotten him, Eames undoubtedly had.

"What do you suppose would be so great about shagging Ariadne, anyway?"

Arthur snorted into his milk carton, startled beyond repair at his best friend's remark. He looked up from his plate of flavorless tater tots at Eames, who was sitting opposite him, chewing about ten French fries at once. The glint in Eames' eye was disgusting.

"Pfff, sorry; what?" Arthur choked out between coughs for air. Eames smirked.

"Why do you want to have sex with Ariadne?" he repeated, at a perfectly adequate volume, enough to turn a few heads. Arthur felt his cheeks grow hot.

"Shut up, man. What the hell are you on?"

"Perceptiveness, mate, that's what!" Eames replied, clapping Arthur on the back, hard enough to get him to start coughing again. "Oh, and just, you know, basic observation."

"Eames," Arthur said as calmly as possible, "that is the most retarded thing I have ever heard you say."

"Oh, quit that; you're a terrible liar. Remember that time you were watching her undress through the window in the door to the girl's locker room? Or the other day when you saw her running laps before first period and she wasn't wearing a bra and your tonker was practically pointing the way North?" He started laughing just at the mention of it. Arthur smashed him hard upside the head and glowered ferociously at him.

"We've gone over this. I wasn't watching Ariadne; I was watching Mal."

"Right, right," Eames agreed entirely unconvincingly. "Look, you don't have to be ashamed of wanting play a bit of tonsil tennis with her. Matter of fact, I'm sure she wouldn't mind it, either!"

Arthur's face screwed up in disgust.

"Eames, don't be gross, okay? I'm eating."

Eames guffawed.

"I know all, my good friend. And you'd better get used to it."

Arthur cringed and stared at his Sloppy Joe, which suddenly looked extremely unappetizing, much like all cafeteria food. He admitted he wouldn't mind doing certain unspeakable things to Ariadne, but he'd sooner jump off a cliff than sully his reputation with the likes of her geekery.

As he glanced at her, ten or so tables away, he attempted to ignore the way her tiny teeth and chapped lips moved over her carrot.

He didn't do a very good job, and soon Eames was back to making ridiculous jokes about that pesky bulge in his pants.

"Yo, tapioca-for-brains. Got any extra formaldehyde?"

I think voluntarily talking to Arthur was about the last thing I would ever want to do, but here I was doing it, because Yusuf had managed to slip most of our formaldehyde into his pocket to experiment with later and we needed to refill our rations of it. Arthur and Eames seemed to have the fullest supply.

When he heard me talk, he looked up at me and grimaced like he was looking at a mutant. And I guess he was. I must've looked like one, with my plastic lab goggles over my paper 80s 3-D glasses and my braid tied up at the side like some lopsided Leia.

He just sort of stared at me and handed it over, which was kind of surprising, because I was expecting him to at least pour it on me, or insult me, or something.

"Whoa, man; you feeling okay?" I asked, squinting at him.

He blinked at me.

"Uhh. Yeah...? Why?"

"Oh, I dunno. You just haven't made any attempts to cause me misery in the past ten minutes, so I figured I'd make sure you weren't feverish or something."

As a joke, I put my hand on his forehead. He got all red and swatted it away and I smirked.

"Don't touch me; I'm fine," he growled.

"Bomb diggity, then," I answered, with a shrug of my shoulders. As I headed back to my table I winked at him and clicked my tongue. "Thanks a heap, stallion."

When he flushed, I snickered. Yusuf's eyes were wide with astonishment when I got back to the table.

"Call me crazy, but—"

"You're a crazy bastard," I said fondly, flicking at his nose with my finger.

He scowled at me.

"Ha bloody ha. But really – did I just see you seducing Arthur?"

"Huh? What? Him?" I jabbed my thumb in Arthur's direction. "Pffft, naaawww. I was just getting some formaldehyde, and he obliged me. Feminine wiles are handy-dandy in situations like these, Yusuf. You should get some for yourself. I hear they're really selling on Amazon."

"Sure, Ariadne," Yusuf grumbled as he redirected his attention to the task at hand, looking a little bit too excited as he watched the Bunsen burner.

I blew a huge sphere with my Dubble Bubble and it popped without splattering all over my face. It was a good sign.

"You ought to bed Ariadne."

"Oh my GOD, Eames!" Arthur shouted, whirling on his snickering friend. "Stop saying this crap! It's making me want to be castrated!"

"Oh, that doesn't sound too bad, does it?" Eames smirked, slinging his arm around Arthur's scrawny shoulders. "Wouldn't make much of a difference in the long run."

Arthur pulled a face somewhat resembling a pout but made no effort to get Eames off.

"Really, though, darling. The girl practically gave you a lapdance in Chemistry today, and God knows she'd be the best lay you'll ever get." He chortled heartily at that. Arthur didn't share his amusement.

"Eames, I'm serious. Just drop it. She's not at... our level."

"Bet your mum's knickers she isn't, but that has never stopped the best of us." Eames waggled his eyebrows suggestively.

"Uch." Arthur smacked a hand to his forehead and shook his head. "You're disgusting."

"That's one word for it, yes," Eames replied absentmindedly, following the sashay of a passing cheerleader. "But I confess myself wounded."

"You know, you don't talk like a football player," Arthur remarked, already knowing he was being a complete hypocrite.

"Well, of course not, darling; but neither do you, after all." Arthur shrugged indifferently. "Say, thank God we've only got one class left, am I right? Tell me I'm right, my good man. Tell me I'm right."

"You're right," Arthur replied monotonously. Eames clapped him on the back.

"There's the Arthur I remember! Now come on. Chances are she's already in there twenty minutes early, and you are going to talk to her. And eventually bed her. It's foolproof."

Arthur stiffened, his eyes widening in clenching panic.

"What?" he yelped, but Eames merely grinned smugly and pointed to the door to classroom 278, which they had miraculously arrived at out of nowhere. Eames peered in through the netting over the window.

"Ah, just as I thought! There's the swot, sitting there studying for the test."

"Lemme see," Arthur grunted, crowding in beside him. Sure enough, Ariadne was sitting alone in the dimness of the classroom, absentmindedly tangling her fingers in her braid, looking dementedly ravishing in her red cardigan and paisley neckerchief and pleated gray miniskirt and knee-high argyle Converse. He wondered if the rest of her skin was as milky as her cheeks in the darkness.

"Now get your sorry arse in there and woo her, or something to that effect," Eames ordered, yanking Arthur back by the collar before throwing the door open and shoving him in.

Arthur made no noise as he stood absolutely still against the closed door, transfixed by Ariadne, who was magnificently ignoring him. He theorized that if he kept still enough, she would not notice his presence until the bell rang.

"Greetings, coyote-ugly." Fuck. She sarcastically raised one hand in a Vulcan salute. "How goes the painful process of existing?"

He gulped.

"Not as bad as it must be for you," he retorted. Yeah, yeah, good one.

Ariadne blew a bubble with her green gum and Arthur was enthralled as it swelled. Before it could pop, she smacked it back with her tongue and continued chewing. She hadn't looked up from her book.

"How do you feel about spontaneous reproduction?"

Arthur blinked unabashedly at her.

"Uh, what?"

"You heard me," she replied simply, finally snapping the book shut and propping her chin up on her elbow, staring at him through her fake tortoiseshell glasses. "Your opinion."

"Buh," Arthur blubbered, groping around helplessly for the doorknob. "It's, uh. Well, it's, um... interesting."

"Good choice! Ding, ding! Winner winner, chicken dinner!" she exclaimed, throwing one petite arm in the air in mock celebration. "Fine. New subject. I will list of musicians and for each one you recognize, I will pay you ten dollars."

He scoffed. The hand searching for the doorknob slowed.

"Go ahead and try me, girl wonder," he retorted smugly. "If you want me to be rich, so be it."

"The Moldy Peaches."

"Uhh."

"Cat Power?"

"Nope."

"Sonic Youth."

"No."

"Thank God for that. Porcupine Tree?"

"Mmm. No."

"Oh, I've got one. Jefferson Airplane!"

"Dude, face it; I don't listen to your mutant music."

"There is no dude, only Zuul." Ariadne clawed her fingers at him menacingly. "Dave Matthews?"

"Um," Arthur was astounded, "Yeah, actually."

Ariadne's face brightened and it almost crippled him.

"Still you're mah best friennnnd," she sang in a raspy, groovy voice Arthur assumed was supposed to be Dave Matthews, "ohh, and after a good, good drunk, you and me... we wake up and make love after a deep sleep, where I was dreamin', I was dreamin' of a—"

"Dreamgirl," Arthur finished inadvertently, his voice hushed.

"Exactamundo, Nerd-tron." Her obscure references were making him a bit dizzy. "I admit I'm impressed. I didn't know you were capable of being a halfway sophisticated human being."

Arthur rolled his eyes at her, his nose wrinkled in a sneer.

"And I didn't know you could be so vindictive."

"Oooh! Vindictive! Playing with the big words now, huh! Well, aren't you the cool guy."

Arthur could not stand it anymore. Eames was right. Eames had always been right. Those sentences sounded insane, but they were true. EAMES WAS RIGHT.

He was traversing the room toward her before he even realized it.

"Go Speed Racer, go," she remarked, sounding a little uncomfortable as she backed away. "What's got your pants on fire, Lord of the Joc—"

Arthur had smashed his lips into hers before she could finish.

She let out a muffled squeal and flailed around for a second, making no apparent effort to break away, before – to Arthur's admitted incredulity – sagging forward and wrapping her arms around his neck and pulling him in tighter. He ran his hands up and down her arms and refused to come up for air, and soon enough they were entangled in each other, and it was greater than he'd ever imagined.

She momentarily broke her lips off.

"Don't get excited," she breathed, "but I think we've got an audience."

Arthur slowly turned his head to see Eames leaping around outside the window and cackling maniacally, making no noise due to the soundproof walls.

Ariadne was grinning at him and he grinned right back before driving his lips against hers again.

Needless to say, it was the best English class he'd had in years.