In Ariadne's eyes Arthur was a complete mystery. Infuriating and sarcastic. Not her type at all.
"Why him?" she thought. Why had she completely and utterly fallen for a man she knew nothing about? He was just another co-worker and she should treat him as such. But the truth was ever since he had stolen that kiss on the Inception job she hadn't been able to stop thinking about him.
"Quick give me a kiss" he had said and foolishly she had obliged. The moment their lips touched she felt her heart racing. That moment kept playing in her mind over and over again like a stuck record.
The team had decided to stay together after Inception and she was glad because it meant she got to stay near Arthur on a regular basis. She was also completely oblivious to the fact that Arthur felt the same way about her as she did about him. Finally fate decided to intervene.
On a typical Wednesday afternoon in Paris, the team were all in the warehouse working on their new job. Ariadne was trying not to stare at Arthur and Eames was teasing Arthur about something or other. She really didn't care what but she loved seeing a frown on his handsome face as The Forger tormented him. The current mark, John Simms, was proving to be a tricky one and Cobb was furious that Yusef couldn't help them on this job.
"What do you mean you can't help? We need a chemist if we are going to pull this off." Cobb said incredulously.
"I'm sorry but my sister's having a baby. I need to be there for her. You'll have to find someone else." Yusef replied apologetically. And with that he left the warehouse.
Arthur watched Cobb carefully "I might know someone" he said hesitantly.
"Oh yeah?" Cobb asked.
"He's retired but I'm sure he will help. If I'm the one that asks" Arthur responds.
"Does he have a name, darling" Eames calls from his desk.
Eames dropped his pen in shock. "What?" he spluttered "you know Michael Cohen. That's..."
"...incredible" Cobb finished.
"Who the heck is Michael Cohen?" Ariadne asks in complete bemusement?"
"The creator of all dreaming drugs. The mans a legend" Eames told her a look of delight spreading over his face at the very thought of working with one of the founding fathers of dreamwork.
Arthur turned an adorable shade of pink that Ariadne delighted in seeing spread all over his face. "I'll give him a call" he said nonchalantly. He pressed a button on his phone and held it to his ear, walking off to make the call in private.
"Holy shit! Cobb, your point man has Michael Cohen on his speed dial" Eames whispered to the extractor. Cobb looked just as surprised as the other two.
"He said yes" Arthur told them when he returned "but he requested that we go to his home to work because he is getting a little old to be flying halfway around the world"
One day later all four of them were on a first class flight to Brooklyn, New York. Once landing they all went to get a cup of coffee to help shake of the jet lag.
"Are you all right Arthur" Ariadne asked him as he silently sipped his latte. The Point Man hadn't said a word for the entire eight hour flight.
"Fine" he said shortly. He was studying his cup of coffee very intently as though thinking about something that concerned him.
"Do you not trust this guy?" Cobb said worry lines beginning to show.
"Yes I trust him. Its not a professional problem, more a personal one" Arthur confessed. "And that's all I'm saying on the subject."
The others frowned at him put didn't push it. When they arrived at Cohen's home Arthur paused and muttered under his breath "this is going to be so embarrassing" Ariadne looked at him curiously and could see he was red in the face which, considering his previous statement, probably had nothing to do with the fact that it was the middle of December and snowing slightly. Arthur stepped forward and knocked on the front door. A light clicked on in the hallway and a tall man with grey hair and brown eyes opened the door. When he saw Arthur standing there his face shone with delight.
"Arthur it's about time you showed up, and these must be your friends you tell me so much about" the last part was accompanied with a tone dripping in sarcasm.
"You never ask about them" Arthur responded rather cheekily. His teammates looked at him in surprise all wondering how Arthur was on such good terms with this man.
Michael Cohen looked at them calculatingly. "I suppose you know who I am" he asked of them.
"Of course sir. My names Dominic Cobb, and this is Eames and Ariadne." Cobb, always the gentleman, introduced them since Arthur hadn't supplied the information "I've heard of you by reputation of course. You're a terrific chemist."
"As much as I'm enjoying this conversation, I'm freezing my arse of out here" Eames said rude as ever.
"Forgive me" Michael said "my manners are as bad as Arthurs do come in."
They all stepped into the, thankfully, warm hallway. "My manners aren't that bad" Arthur said to Michael in an irritated tone.
"Yes they are lad. Now how is it your friends don't appear to know how we are acquainted."
"It never came up" was Arthur's deadpan answer.
"Arthur Daniel Cohen! If you were not my only grandchild and your grandmother would kill me if she found out, I would shoot you in the kneecaps for being so rude."
"What!" Eames said in complete shock. "You're his grandson?"
Both men turned to look at the others and Ariadne noticed that their eyes were exactly the same shade of brown. Michael looked at his grandson triumphantly.
"There, see, you are embarrassed about being related to me" he told Arthur.
"I'm more embarrassed about what you tell people about me" Arthur shot back. Ariadne was beginning to see where Arthur got his razor sharp wit from.
Michael chuckled "I have no idea what you're talking about" he said with a wicked glint in his eyes.
Eames looked delighted.
"Come with me" Michael said to them, and they followed him into the living room and they all sat down in appropriate places. Cobb got straight to the point about what he needed Michael to help them with. Ariadne let the conversation wash over her and her eyes scanned the room. On the mantelpiece she saw several photos and got up and went to look at them.
The first photo was of a couple. The man looked so much like Arthur it was obvious that this was his father despite the fact that his hair was black - not brown like his sons. The man's arm was around a beautiful woman who had hair the same amazing shade as Arthurs, but with ice blue eyes. Ariadne had no doubt who this was either. Her eyes glided past the photo of Arthurs parents and rested on a picture of Arthur as a teenager. He looked completely different. Ariadne wanted to gasp as she saw the thirteen year old in the photo with curly dark brown hair wearing jeans and sneakers with a black t-shirt and an amazing smile, all dimples and flashing eyes.
"Find something interesting" came a voice from behind her. She jumped. It was Arthur of course. Ariadne wanted to blush but just nodded and said "you look so young."
"I wasn't born at 26 years old Ari" Arthur told her and her heart leapt. He was only three years older than her, yay, and he called her Ari, which made her feel special for having earned a nickname.
"What are we looking at darlings" called a certain irritating Englishman.
"He must be the forger then?" Michael asked Cobb "only forgers are that forward. Believe me I know." Cobb laughed and nodded.
Michael and Cobb joined the others in looking at pictures of Arthur growing up. "Who's this Artie" Eames asked holding up a picture of Arthur and a girl with the same brown hair and eyes as the point man, both looked about six in the photo.
"My twin sister Amy" Arthur responded curtly and Ariadne was relieved, but only for a second as her eyes landed on another photo. Eames wolf whistled as he saw it; Arthur aged about sixteen with his arm around a girl.
"She's definitely not your sister" Cobb said appreciatively. Ariadne hated her already. She was too pretty all dark blond hair and green eyes. It had nothing to do with the fact that Arthur was smiling at her in the photo. At least that's what Ariadne told herself.
"That's my friend Rachel" Arthur said and the way he said her name made Ariadne's heart feel like crumbling into a million pieces.
"Who would have thought you were a reasonably cute kid, now that you put all that crap in your hair and wear suits all the time" Michael tells him. Arthur gives him a mock glare and says "Whatever old man."
"I think we're going to get along just fine." Eames tells Arthurs' grandfather. Ariadne feels like dying or punching this Rachel.
As the weeks pass the team settles into staying with Arthurs grandparents. His grandmother Sylvia is a lovely woman and they all find it very amusing one evening when she whacks Arthur with a wooden spoon and tells him he's chopping the onions wrong. The work is hard but now they have a chemist, their actually getting things done. Michael himself is very impressed with Ariadne's sketches and compliments her frequently.
Inevitably, they meet Rachel, who is possibly even prettier in real life. Ariadne looks the other way when she and Arthur hug and she whispers something in his ear that makes him blush. Annoyingly Ariadne finds that she can't help but like her. She's a doctor and she has a very contagious smile and is really bubbly and nice. Both Cobb and Eames flirt with her constantly and Ariadne desperately tries not to roll her eyes. Rachel, they discover is great at telling them embarrassing stories about Arthur.
"Hey Arthur do you remember the last time we got drunk. You stood on a table and sang in French at the top of your voice" is the sort of thing she usually says. While Eames splutters and laughs, Arthur glares and responds with "In Italian actually, and you're one to talk." Rachel just laughs and tells him to remove the stick from his rear. Ariadne's positive that Rachel is either Arthur's girlfriend or ex-girlfriend. Preferably the latter she tells herself.
Arthur's parents are never discussed and on Christmas Eve they find out why. They're testing Ariadne's latest design and are all hooked up to the PASIV, when without warning projections begin to attack them. Arthur's mother is one of them and Arthur hesitates before pulling out his gun to stop her.
"Why not you?" the projection of her shrieks "it should have been you, not us". Arthur shoots his teammates in the head quickly and they all wake up with a jolt.
"What the hell was that? Have you lost your mind?" Cobb yelled at him. Arthur said nothing just put his head in his hands and his shoulders began to shake.
"You'd better tell us the whole story, Arthur or there'll be hell to pay", Eames tells him "it'll jeopardize the job."
"Ok. Just listen and don't interrupt, I'm only going to tell you once." Arthur looked up from his hands and began to speak.
"Up until I was eleven my name wasn't Arthur. I was Scott Anthony Tyler. I had a twin sister called Amy Elizabeth Tyler and my parents names were Peter and Isabelle. We lived in Washington D.C. On the 31st of October 1994, I turned eleven. My parents took us out for a meal. On the way home, I kicked up a fuss because I wanted to walk home the long way instead of through the shortcut. My parents gave in. We were about halfway home, when a man stepped out from an alley and stopped in front of us. He pulled out a gun and shot both my parents once in the head. Then he turned to me and instead of shooting me he took out a knife and held it against my throat" Arthur paused and pulled down the collar of his shirt to reveal a long scar stretching from his left shoulder to just below his neck "he turned to my sister and said to her, run away little girl and don't come back or I'll cut his freaking head off, she did what he said and I haven't seen her since. I have no idea whether or not she's still alive or not. It's been sixteen years. After Amy had run, he put the knife away and looked at me sadly before taking off. I stood there paralyzed until the police came. They brought me to my grandparents and put us into the Witness Protection Program, changing all of our names and moving us to Brooklyn. I didn't say another word until they caught him. When the police said it was safe to return to our normal lives we declined. We weren't those people anymore. My grandparents had lost a son, a daughter in law and a granddaughter. As far as I was concerned Scott Tyler didn't exist anymore, someone had erased him. I became someone else. I blamed myself for their deaths because I told them to go a different way.
"But it wasn..." Ariadne began. Arthur quelled her with a look.
"I know that now" he said "when I was sixteen I snuck into my grandfather's office and found him working with a PASIV device. I didn't know what it was and he decided sixteen was old enough to know. He told me all about dreaming and the different jobs it entailed. My dad was a forger it turns out and my mom an extractor. He told me that they died because they'd screwed up a job and the employer had them punished. I was horrified that my whole family was a bunch of thieves and furiously yelled at my grandfather. I rejected dreamwork and after graduating I joined the FBI. After a routine drugs bust went catastrophically wrong and my partner ended up dead, I wound up in the hospital with two bullet wounds. The drug dealer's got away and I was so angry and decided that the law was bullshit. So I resigned and told my grandfather I wanted in. He recommended me to his friend Professor Miles and his daughter Mal, who taught me all the tricks and introduced me to her boyfriend and the rest is obvious."
There was a horrified silence with everyone exchanging shocked glances and Arthur looked pointedly at his shoes.
"Arthur" Cobb began but his friend stopped him and told him he was going to bed. "Bloody hell" said Eames once he'd left.
"Yeah that about sums it up. I'm going to bed too." Ariadne told them. They all said goodnight and separated.
After Christmas once the job was done Arthur and Ariadne were standing in the garden whilst it snowed softly. Ariadne summoned up the nerve to tell Arthur she was sorry about his family. They hadn't discussed it since that night.
"It's all right" he told her "it was a long time ago." He looked at her with a small smile and she noticed his hair wasn't gelled back as usual and he was wearing jeans and sneakers like his younger self had in the photo. Ariadne stared into his warm chocolate brown eyes that made her legs turn to jelly and wished she could tell him how she felt about him. But it was obvious he cared about Rachel and not her.
"I'm glad that my parents died together though. They really loved each other and I grew up wanting that kind of love for myself. I've never been in love until now though and..."
"Rachel's a lucky girl" Ariadne tells him interrupting his speech.
Arthur looks dumbstruck and then his expression softens into a slight smirk that she wants to kiss off his face.
"I love Rachel" he tells her and suddenly she feels like crying "but I'm not in love with her." Ariadne's heart shows some sign of life again as he continues "she's like another sister to me. Dating her would just feel weird. She's my oldest friend and I don't want to lose her but I'm in love with someone else."
"Oh" Ariadne tells him "who's that?"
Arthur looks straight into her eyes and kisses her softly, gently. Her heart begins to race and she kisses him back with delight.
"Does that answer your question" he says, eyes twinkling breaking the kiss. "Is it worth a shot?"
"Uh huh" was her very intelligent response as she pulled his face back down to hers. They were annoyingly interrupted by wolf whistles coming from Rachel, their teammates and Arthur's grandparents who were standing behind them. Arthur smiled at her as a promise for later.
That evening when Ariadne was curled around her new boyfriend with her head resting on his chest and his arms around her she turned to him and said "I meant to ask what was it Rachel whispered to you when we first met her? It made you blush."
Arthur chuckled and told her "she said that brunettes staring daggers at me. I think she's jealous." Ariadne laughed "She wasn't wrong" she told him and smiled. "By the way I love you."
"Damn" he said "that was going to be my line"
Ariadne smiled and realised that Arthur wasn't such a mystery anymore. He was still infuriating and his past meant he wasn't perfect but, she realised, he was perfect for her.
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