Synopsis: Ariadne asks Arthur about their kiss in Fischer's mind. He said it was just a distraction, but Ariadne suspects something more is going on.
Disclaimer: I don't own Inception or the characters. I wish I did though.
"What?" Arthur raised an eyebrow when Ariadne asked him what their kiss in Fischer's dream meant. "It was a kiss in a dream. It was meant as a distraction." He pulled his suitcase off the luggage belt. "It didn't mean anything else."
"Okay." She spied her bag and grabbed it.
"Okay?" Arthur asked. "Then why did you ask me?"
"Just wanted to make sure it didn't mean anything to you either." She lied.
Arthur's normally stern façade faltered.
"Ah ha!" She thought to herself. "It did mean something to him, but why did he say it didn't?"
"Arthur Darling it's been, eh, interesting as usual. Do me a favor will you? Try to be more interesting next time." Eames winked at him.
"Ariadne love, it was a pleasure." He smiled.
"Likewise." She hugged him.
"If you get bored in LA or just miss me…" He scribbled something on the back of a card. "Here is my number and where I'll be staying." He winked.
Arthur's cheeks turned pink. "Alright Eames that's enough. You'll end up scaring her away."
"Oh Arthur if you miss me that much you just have to say so." Eames put his arm around Arthur.
"Piss off!" Arthur shoved him away.
"Anything for you." Eames whispered. "You as well Ariadne." Eames kissed her forehead.
Arthur huffed and walked away.
"You shouldn't antagonize him so." Ariadne tried to control her giggles.
"I know, but I only do it because I get a reaction." He shrugged.
"Goodbye Eames." She waved as she walked away.
"Ta ta Love." He winked.
"Ahem." Ariadne said.
Arthur turned around. "Yes?"
"You shouldn't react to everything he says." She said softly.
"Thank you Cobb." He sighed. "Don't you think I know that?" His tone was snarky.
"Someone needs a nap." She grumbled and put her bag in the trunk of the taxi. She closed the trunk so he had to open it to put his suitcase in. She slid into the seat, and was tempted to tell the driver to leave him. She decided against it. It would be mean, and that wasn't her nature. Arthur wasn't himself. She figured it was because they just finished the job and he was upset at almost losing Cobb. She wondered if he blamed her. There was no way she could have prevented Mal from shooting Fischer. Cobb came back with Saito and all was well. Miles was there to pick him up and take him home to his children. She looked over at Arthur. He had told the driver where to drop them off and was now absently drumming his fingers against his temple. She wished that their kiss meant something, but her mother always told her that wishing never gets you anywhere. Arthur seemed on edge, and a little distracted. She didn't realize that the thought of losing Cobb in limbo was enough to break Arthur. She didn't know that Cobb would have been the second person Arthur had lost in limbo.
The taxi stopped in front of a five star hotel. She knew Arthur's style and it sure wasn't hers. He stepped out of the taxi and pulled his suitcase out of the trunk. He walked back around and looked at Ariadne. She thought he was saying goodbye. She was wrong.
He wondered why she was still sitting in the cab. "Are you coming?"
It was then that she noticed he had her luggage also. "Oh. Yeah. I guess I thought I'd be staying somewhere else." She slid out and Arthur paid the driver.
"Where else would you stay?" Arthur looked perplexed.
"Uh, I don't know." She shrugged. She reached for her bag, but Arthur had already slung it over his shoulder.
"I've got it." He smiled.
They walked inside and Ariadne felt incredibly underdressed. Arthur walked up to the front desk and the woman handed him two envelopes.
"The two rooms are adjoining. You can have either one. It doesn't matter to me." He held them out. She picked the one on the right.
"I figured it didn't matter if our rooms were adjoining, but if it bothers you we can change." He seemed worried.
"No, it's fine." She was just ready to get in her room so she wouldn't feel so out of place. "Are you alright Arthur?" She asked as he leaned his head against the elevator wall.
"I'm exhausted." He sighed.
"What do you think?" Arthur asked as they walked into Ariadne's room. He set her bag down.
"It's extravagant." She breathed.
Arthur chuckled. "I figured you had never stayed in a 5 star hotel before."
"I haven't." She admitted.
"I'm going to sleep for a bit. I have to meet someone tonight or else we could go to dinner." He yawned.
"That's fine." Ariadne was ready to get some sleep herself.
"Maybe tomorrow? You can order room service if you like. I'll see you tomorrow." He smiled.
"Alright." She said.
He turned to walk into his room, but stopped. "Ariadne, I'm sorry for snapping at you earlier. I'm tired, and I have a lot on my mind. Still, that's no excuse."
"It's alright Arthur." She smiled.
Ariadne took a taxi to an office building downtown. She had heard that her friend Jack was working for his father's business. She walked inside.
"Good afternoon." The receptionist smiled. "May I help you?"
"Yes, is Jackson Walters here?"
"I think he is. May I tell him why you are here? Is it business related?" The woman was chipper.
"No, it's a social visit." Ariadne smiled.
"Have a seat." The receptionist's eyes narrowed.
Ariadne sat and waited. A few minutes later she heard an elevator ding, and footsteps.
"Jackson Walters." He held out his hand. She smiled and stood up. He dropped his hand. "Oh my gosh! Ariadne? Ariadne Peters?"
"Hey Jack." She hugged him.
"What are you doing in LA?" He hugged her.
"I'm here for work, and I thought I'd pop in to see you." She smiled.
"I'm glad you did. Do you have dinner plans?" He glanced at his watch.
"No." She shook her head.
"Perfect. Then you can have dinner with me. We can catch up." He grinned.
"So where are you these days?" Jack asked her.
"Paris. I'm studying to be an architect." She smiled.
"Impressive. Well, maybe we should have gone to a nicer place." He looked around the diner they were sitting in.
"Not at all! I have been craving American food." She smiled.
"Perfect! Do you want to talk to Ellie?" He asked.
"Sure! Where is she?"
"She is in Phoenix for a week. How long will you be around?" He pulled out his phone.
"At least a week I think." Ariadne had no clue how long she would be in LA.
"Great! I know she will want to see you." He dialed the number. "Hey Ellie. Guess who I'm having dinner with?" He grinned at Ariadne.
"I don't know. Your dad?"
"No. Ariadne Peters."
"Oh my gosh! Tell her I said hey!"
"You can tell her yourself. You're on speaker." He grinned.
"Oh my gosh hey Ari!" She sounded happy.
"Hey Ellie!" Ariadne grinned. "How are you?"
"I'm great. What are you doing in LA?"
"I'm here for a week or so with work."
"That's great. When I get back we'll have to get together. I wish I wasn't in Phoenix this week."
"Give me a call when you get back. I can't wait to see you." Ariadne grinned.
"I will. See you soon."
"Bye Babe. Love you." Jack said.
"Love you too Sweetie." Ellie hung up the phone.
"Oh no." Ariadne mumbled when she saw Arthur walk in.
"What?" Jack looked around. "Do you know him?"
"Yeah. We sort of work together. I just didn't expect to see him tonight and he said he had dinner plans." She sunk down in her seat.
"I see. Well, he's getting take-out. You like him don't you?" Jack teased.
Ariadne rolled her eyes.
"We could walk out and see if he gets flustered." Jack had the mischievous smirk that she remembered from high school.
Arthur recognized her laugh and glanced in their direction.
"Really Ari. I'm serious." Jack slid out of the booth.
"I'm sure you are." She chuckled.
"Ariadne?" Arthur looked surprised and flustered – much to Jack's delight.
"Hi Arthur. I thought you had dinner plans?" She inwardly cringed. She didn't mean for that to come out.
"I do." He smiled at her as he picked up his bag of food. "See you tomorrow." He smirked.
Ariadne woke up at six. She wasn't a morning person. She could hear Arthur in his room on the phone. His voice was high pitched and angry. She wondered what could possibly be so important at six in the morning. She crawled out of bed and put her robe on. She opened the adjoining door to Arthur's room and banged on his door. She was mad at him for waking her up this early.
The door flew open. "What?" He shouted with his phone still pressed to his ear.
"You woke me up." She slapped the phone out of his hand. "That's what." She growled and slammed the door. She flipped the lock and went back to bed. She liked Arthur – at the very least as a friend. She didn't mean to react like she did, but having him direct all of his anger at her with that one word hurt. It really hurt. She felt angry tears well up in her eyes. She was mad at Arthur, and mad at herself for being upset over Arthur.
Later that day Arthur knocked on her door. "Ariadne?" He felt horrible for yelling at her like he did.
"Yes?" She asked as she opened the door.
"I'm sorry." He sighed.
"Arthur." She sighed. "You can't keep yelling at me and then expect to turn around and be forgiven when you say you're sorry." She started to close her door.
"I know. I'm sorry I yelled at you this morning. I realize you were banging on the door to tell me I woke you up. I am sorry for that too."
"Alright Arthur." She smiled sadly, and closed the door.
"I know I said I would show you around, and I will." Arthur sighed. "I, have to take care of something. We will have dinner one night. I promise." He gave her a small smile.
"Alright." She smiled, trying to hide her disappointment. She had been on her own for several days and she was bored and lonely.
Arthur saw the disappointment in her eyes and felt guilty.
"I'm going to find some breakfast, and I think I'll shop." She smiled.
"Have fun." Arthur said.
Ariadne found an outdoor café and ate breakfast. She asked the waitress for the bill, but was told that someone had already paid for it. She glanced around and saw Eames reading a paper. She smirked. She picked up her drink and walked over to him.
"Hello Love." He smiled.
"Good morning. Thank you for breakfast." She smiled.
"You're welcome." He smirked.
"Have you been following me?" She raised an eyebrow.
He laughed. "No. I haven't. I saw you when I walked up and wondered why you were all by yourself. It's a big city Darling. You shouldn't wander around unsupervised."
"Arthur called you didn't he?" She sighed.
"Ariadne please. Arthur would rather kiss a rodent than call me." He said, a smirk playing on his lips.
"I'll have to remember not to kiss him anytime soon." She said dryly.
"What has he been up to?" She asked.
Eames quit laughing. "He's been busy." He said seriously.
"He said he had to take care of something." She said blankly.
"And it's taking longer than he thought." He pressed his lips together.
Arthur opened the adjoining door to Ariadne's room. Her door was open and her things were gone. A sickening feeling crept into his stomach. She had left a note on the table. "Arthur, don't worry about me. I'm fine. I've gone to stay with a friend. Hope you get everything taken care of. Thanks for everything! Take care, Ariadne."
Arthur wished he had gotten her number. He called Eames. "Where is she? Is Ariadne with you?" He asked.
"Why would she be with me?" Eames grumbled.
"She's not at the hotel and she left me a note saying she would be staying with a friend. Have you seen her?" Arthur was panicking. He never panicked.
"Yesterday morning. She was going shopping." Eames yawned.
"Do you have her number?" Arthur looked around for a pen in case Eames did.
"Don't you?" Eames asked.
"No." Arthur sighed.
"Well I'm sure Cobb has it. You could always call him. Of course you would have to tell him that you LOST his new architect." Eames chuckled.
"I did not lose her!" Arthur fumed.
"Didn't Dom tell you to look out for her?" Eames asked.
"Yes." Arthur sighed. He hated agreeing with Eames.
"And yet you have been gallivanting about Los Angeles without paying dear Ariadne any attention at all." Eames was enjoying reveling in Arthur's mistake.
"And why is it that I have had to do that you sorry son of a …"
"Okay! Okay!" Eames interrupted. It wasn't fun anymore.
"Admit it's your fault!" Arthur yelled.
"I have. It's my fault Arthur. I'm sorry. Alright?" He snipped.
"You know it's not alright!" Arthur snapped and hung up the phone.
Eames sighed. He knew it wasn't alright. It never would be.
"Ari!" Ellie squealed. "Oh my gosh! It's so good to see you!" They hugged her.
"It's good to see you too. Thanks for letting me stay." Ariadne grinned.
"Not a problem! There's no need for you to stay at a hotel." Ellie grinned.
Ariadne was glad to be out of the hotel. She was ready to be around a friend instead of the ever distant Arthur.
Cobb rolled over when he heard a knock on the door. He had fallen asleep on the sofa. "Ariadne?" He opened the door and yawned.
"Hi." She smiled. "Were you sleeping?" She looked at her watch. It was nine pm.
"I fell asleep on the sofa for a few minutes. What's up? Are you okay?" Suddenly he was concerned. "Where's Arthur?" He stepped aside and gestured for her to step in.
"I don't know. He's probably back at the hotel by now." She shrugged.
"Why aren't you with him?" Cobb crossed his arms like a disapproving father.
"I… I don't know. I'm either in my room or sightseeing alone. I had breakfast with Eames the other day. I've hardly seen Arthur!" She huffed, angry tears filled her eyes. "And when I have he's angry at me."
Cobb sighed. "This is why I asked him to look after you. What could he possibly be doing that's more important?" He thought for a second. "Oh."
"Yeah. That was Eames' reaction too. What's going on? Arthur won't tell me anything. I mean, are you guys pissed at me or what?" She threw her hands up.
"What? Why?" He asked, surprised by her statement.
"Because Mal shot Fischer and because you were almost lost in limbo." She started crying. "I'm sorry!"
"Ariadne." He took a step closer to her. "You have nothing to be sorry for! You didn't do anything wrong." He hugged her. "We aren't mad at you. I promise." He smiled.
"But Arthur…" She began.
"Arthur has a lot on his plate. If I'd had a choice I wouldn't have let him in on the job, but he's the best." He shrugged. He glanced at his phone when it started ringing. "Hey Arthur. I didn't expect to hear from you so soon." He knew exactly why Arthur was calling. He had expected it as soon as he saw Ariadne.
"Do you have Ariadne's number?" Arthur's voice was panicky.
"Where is she? Is she alright?" Cobb decided to play dumb.
"I don't know Dom. She left. I don't know where she is." He confessed.
"I asked you to keep an eye on her." Cobb fussed.
"I know you did. I'm sorry." He sighed.
"I'm sure I have her number somewhere." He glanced at Ariadne and smirked. "If I find it I'll let you know. I'm sure she's fine Arthur. Don't worry!" Cobb tried to reassure him. "How long has she been gone?"
"Almost a week."
"A week? And you are just now calling me to get her number?" Cobb was irritated.
"I didn't want to bother you so soon. I guess I thought she would have called by now." He sighed.
"Do you know why she left?" Cobb knew of course, but wanted to hear from Arthur's explanation.
"I've been too busy to look after her." Arthur admitted.
"That's what happens when you ignore women. They run off." Dom smirked.
Arthur rolled his eyes. Dom hadn't lost his sense of humor.
"I'm sure she's fine Arthur. Don't worry. I'll look for her number and I'll call you back."
"Alright. Thanks Dom. Night." Arthur said.
"Night Arthur." Cobb hung up the phone. He looked at Ariadne. "Go back to the hotel and put him out of his misery. Please? I think you have made him suffer enough."
"Alright. I will." She smiled. "Thanks Dom." She hugged him.
"You're welcome. Night Ariadne." He smiled as she walked out the door.
Arthur had dozed off when he heard the door to Ariadne's room open. – He had left the adjoining doors open. Just in case she came back.
"Ariadne!" He hugged her when he saw her.
"Hey Arthur." She smiled.
"You're alright!" He was relieved.
"Yes. I'm fine." She was taken aback by his forwardness.
"I'm sorry. It's just that I came back that day and you were gone. I thought something had happened to you." He smiled.
"Arthur you are paranoid." She set her bag down.
"In this business you have to be. I'm sorry I bailed on you." He apologized.
"I thought you were mad at me!" She blurted.
"What? Why?" He was confused. "Because I yelled at you the other day?"
"Well that, and because of everything that went wrong!" She was flustered, and trying to hold back tears.
He chuckled. "Ariadne. I've never done a job where everything went right."
"But what about Cobb going into limbo?"
"Wouldn't have been your fault and we would have gone in and gotten him if he didn't wake up." He smiled. "I'm sorry if my mood at the airport made you think I was mad at you. I have had a lot on my mind lately. Would you like to have breakfast with me in the morning? This time I really mean it."
"Sure." She smiled.
"How about 9?" He knew she wasn't a morning person.
"Sounds good. Goodnight Arthur." She yawned.
"Goodnight Ariadne." He smiled and walked back to his room, closing the door behind him.
At about a quarter 'til 9 Ariadne knocked on Arthur's door.
"Arthur?" She called through the door.
"Good morning." Arthur gave her a small smile. "Are you ready for breakfast?"
"Mmhmm." She nodded.
They walked to the elevators in silence.
"Cobb wanted you to look after me?" Ariadne asked when they were on the elevator.
"Mmhmm." Arthur murmured. He leaned his head against the wall suddenly seeming less awake then he had moments ago.
"I'm a big girl Arthur. I can look after myself!" Her words sounded stronger than she meant them to.
"I know, and I'm sorry you have had to." He apologized quietly.
"Why have I had to Arthur? No one seems to know. Not Eames. Not Cobb." She crossed her arms.
"You saw Dom?" Arthur's eyes flew open.
"Yes. I did. Why?"
"And he didn't tell you?" Arthur's tone was strange.
"No, but he did say if he'd had a choice he wouldn't have let you in on the Fischer job." She explained.
"I wouldn't have let myself on, but he told me I had to. Things that went wrong weren't your fault – they were mine. I was distracted and I missed things." He sighed.
She could tell he was beating himself up over it. "Arthur." She touched his arm. "Even perfect people make mistakes every now and then." She smirked.
A smile broke across his face. "Thank you Ariadne. After breakfast we can take a drive and you can meet the source of my distraction."
"Sounds like a plan." She smiled. Inside she was a bundle of nerves. She liked Arthur. What if this 'distraction' was his wife or child? The thought made her sick.
So let me know what you thought and if you have any ideas. Thanks! :)