Disclaimer: Inception does not belong to me.
"Mrs Caddick, are you sure about this?"
The woman nodded, her eyes red rimmed, but her features were uncompromising. "Yes, doctor. There is no point in keeping my son alive...if he can't think, or speak again."
The neurologist nodded, gravely. "I am sorry. We did everything we could. But brain injuries are a strange breed. If he did wake up..." he paused, and shook his head. "I'm sorry. Truly."
She nodded. "Thank you doctor." Leaning over, she kissed her son on his forehead, then turned to leave.
"You don't have to go in if you're unsure."
Arthur smiled, and turned to Ariadne. "Listen. Rafe Lloyd - and what he did - will stay with me forever unless I find out. Find out whether he's ever going to come out of the coma."
Ariadne raised an eyebrow. "And that's why you brought the PASIV?"
He nodded. "Come prepared. Boy scout."
She shrugged. "Well, if you're sure."
Leaning over, he kissed her. "Thank you. Be half an hour, max."
He got out, holding himself erect as he walked up the stone steps. As he approached the receptionist, he smiled, producing a story about how he was Lloyd's cousin, been away on business. Could he see him? The receptionist nodded, and told him to head to Neuro-ICU.
As he approached, he stiffened. Vivid memories of what had happened in the psychopaths' head were filtering into his mind. His taunts. His cruelty. How he had tormented and threatened Ariadne and Cobb.
Swallowing, he pushed open the doors. Suddenly, he stood and blinked in shock.
Lloyd was sitting up in bed.
Arthur approached him. But, as he looked at the man, he realised that the man was not normal. His jaw swung down, with spittle running from it. His muscles, once hard and lean, were soft and shapeless. His eyes, Arthur noted, had the dull look of the aged.
Swallowing, he took a step forward.
"Hello Rafe," he said, softly. "Remember me?"
"I doubt it."
Arthur jumped. Turning round, he saw a nurse, male, standing against the doorway. He looked at Arthur, almost sypmathetically.
"Trust me, man, this guy doesn't recognise anybody. He can't speak, he can't recognise letters...he's a vegetable." The nurse shrugged. "I don't know how he came out of his coma, but his mind's gone."
Arthur looked at him. "You must have fallen over," he whispered, softly. "You must have tripped, fallen, hit yourself...given yourself a kick. But it doesn't matter. You're a living dead man."
The nurse frowned. "Hey, you a relative."
Arthur smiled. "His cousin."
"Wow." The nurse shrugged. "Thought he didn't have any family."
"Distant," Arthur said, quickly. "Still, you're clearly taking care of him."
The nurse frowned. "Wish we weren't. The guy is a murderer." He looked at Arthur. "Sorry. But, frankly, I wish somenoe had just switched him off." He checked his watch. "OK, Lloyd. Bath time!"
The other man howled like an animal as the nurse began to handle him. Arthur swallowed. Lloyd was buried inside himself - he'd aged to a point of beyond senility. He nodded as the nurse handled him into his bath chair.
As he walked down the hospital steps, he felt lighter, free. Smiling, he opened the car door, and sat next to Ariadne. "Hey."
"Hey," he said, leaning over and kissing her. "Let's go!"
"Arthur," she said, carefully, "what about..."
Arthur shook his head. "Buried inside," he told her. "For ever." He turned to her. "And the past is buried with him."
She kissed him again. "So, time to move on?"
The Point Man nodded. "Yes. For all of us."
He started the engine, and began to accelerate. Away from the hospital. Away from the past.