This is my first fanfiction, so bear with me! I love constructive criticism, though, so feel free to review. If I get positive responses, I will probably continue this story! Thanks for reading! I don't own Inception or any of its characters.

Arthur leaned against the counter, his hands in the pockets of his carefully ironed pants. He stole a glance at the young woman who Cobb had just injected. He was trying to recruit her as the new architect, and secretly, Arthur hoped she met the standards.

"Here we go," Cobb muttered as he injected himself and fell into a slight slumber.

Now Arthur could gaze at the woman without any fear of being caught. She wasn't very tall, she had hair that cascaded past her shoulders in waves of silky brown, and her face was serene with the weight of sleep. Something about her entranced Arthur. It wasn't just that she was… well, beautiful was the only word that would do her justice, but the fact that even when she was asleep, she seemed to wear an air of self-confidence that Arthur found refreshing. He shook his head and broke the trance, trying to remove all of those ideas out of his head. She might become his new co-worker, and it wouldn't be right to start out having feelings like that.

He returned to the stacks of paper before him, but the words were meaningless blobs of ink; he couldn't concentrate enough to make out what any of the papers said. He peeked over at the two sleeping bodies, noticing the steady rise and fall of the woman's chest. On second thought, I don't think I want her to join the team because I'll never get any work done with her around, he thought to himself, rubbing the back of his neck. Distraction wasn't something Arthur dealt with very well.

Suddenly, he heard a sharp intake of breath and his head snapped towards the woman, who had just emerged from the dream. Her breathing was ragged, and she grasped onto the plastic arms of her chair as if they were her hold on reality. Within a mere second, Arthur was on his feet and kneeling beside the woman. Her eyes connected with his for a moment, and Arthur felt the entire world crumble around him. He felt as if he were under her radar; as if all his imperfections were lain out before this angel, and she had accepted them, against all odds.

"Hey, hey, hey, look at me. You're okay, you're okay," he murmured, lightly pressing his hands against her to calm her as she tossed frantically. She had the aroma of lavender, and Arthur closed his eyes for a moment, drinking in the fragrance like a parched man.

Cobb gave him a look and a nod that said that the woman had passed the test. Arthur tried to smother a gleeful grin and turned his attention back to the distressed girl before him.

But even as he and Cobb tried to help her understand, she stormed off, and Arthur threw a folder towards all his paperwork, causing them to flutter through the air. The gorgeous woman might as well have been a projection of his own creation, teasing him with a solution to his lonely desperation, only to disappear without a backwards glance. Cobb ran his fingers through his hair and heaved a big sigh. He muttered something to Arthur about how she would come back, and then left him to his internal misery.

Arthur was looking over some data when he heard the soft patter of size 6 shoes on the tiled floor. He turned around and was shocked to see that Cobb had been right; she did come back.

Her name was Ariadne; an ironic connection to the thread-spinning Greek goddess. A perfect fit, Arthur thought. After that notion passed through his mind, he cleared his throat and fiddled with his tie nervously. You can't have thoughts like that, he told himself crossly, but with a tinge of regret. On the inside, Arthur laughed dryly at the idea that he had to extract any feelings he had for Ariadne. It was never a good idea to mix business with pleasure.

As Arthur watched Ariadne' animated features as she spoke to Cobb, he thought about how Eames, that pompous Brit he hated so much, constantly teased him about how his clothing matched his personality; austere, bland, and suffocating. Ariadne was wearing slim jeans, an orange jacket, and a lavender scarf was snaked around her neck, and Arthur knew that she had to be closer to the life of the party then he was. Whether it was unprofessional or not, she probably wouldn't even give him a chance.

He suddenly felt depressed, but before emotion could alter his work, he took his eyes away from Ariadne and tuned the world out as he looked over the paperwork he had so carelessly tossed aside earlier. This was what he was meant to do, not get side-tracked because some pretty girl had walked in. Arthur made a mental note that from now on he would show nothing to Ariadne but indifference, because no human was going to take him off the rigid track he lived on. It would be easiest if he didn't have any contact with her except when he had to explain strictly business related things.

"Arthur, I just have to say, I love your tie," Ariadne said shyly, pointing to the pinstriped tie he had around his neck.

"Really? I actually have this one in about seven different colors; it's great."

Seeing Ariadne laugh for the first time put crinkles around Arthur's mouth as he smiled in spite of himself.

He was suddenly aware of the un-Arthur-like expression on his face. He was all about the smirk, not about letting people break his smirks into goofy smiles.

"Well I better get back," she muttered, throwing her thumb over her shoulder to motion to Cobb.

"Sure," he replied, plugging his hands into his pockets sub-consciously.

He leaned against the counter, a grin still plastered to his face, and he was suddenly aware that she had been gone for over a minute, and he was still beaming like an idiot.

What is happening to me?

He glanced over to Ariadne and caught her looking back at him. Cobb was speaking to her, apparently oblivious to the fact that she wasn't listening. She blushed, but waved at him.

He smiled and wiggled his fingers in a playful wave. She laughed and Arthur turned his back to her. It was another moment before he looked down at his hand and realized what it had just been doing. He shook it a few times, muttering incoherently, placed his now-weary head into his hands, closed his eyes, and let out a heavy sigh.

This was going to be more difficult then he thought.