Disclaimer: I do not own anything of Inception
Arthur Is Dead
By: Santiva Potter
Summary: After a bloody message is delivered to Ariadne, the young architect must find a way to either bring back the dead or avenge his death.
"And when was the last time that you saw him ma'am?" the young officer—whose name Ariadne couldn't remember—asked.
But the question was lost in space, time and noise seemed to be in its own limbo and the only thing her mind could retain was the writing on the walls of her apartment. Perhaps it due to the fact that the message was written in blood—or maybe because it echoed one of her deepest fears.
"Ma'am?" the officer tried again. "When was the last time you saw him?"
"S-six months ago," Ariadne finally answered. "We were at this parlor in Paris."
"Were you alone? Just you and this Arthur?"
"N-no. There were others."
Her mind was instantly filled with the others. The slick image of the parlor with its leather seats, mahogany tables and soft music. There was a pool table not too far from where he had been sitting. He'd looked so handsome when she first walked in, dressed in a three piece coal suit, though his jacket was hanging on the back of his chair, and if she remembered correctly, Arthur hadn't been wearing a tie that evening. They had gathered for a check up of sorts. They completed the Fischer job over a year ago, and Cobb occasionally traveled to Paris to see her, as did Arthur, but this would be the first time since the job that all of the would be in the same place together. Ariadne had imagined that it was all for her benefit, though she would not complain at the opportunity to see old friends, especially Arthur and especially so close to graduation.
"Ariadne! Welcome!" cried the voice of Yusuf. He had been the one to greet her first. He gave her a few pleasantries, congratulated her before sending her Arthur's way. He sat at a round table, sipping on a beer with Eames, who smiled mischievously at her.
"Well, if it isn't our little graduate," Eames smiled. "What are you going off to the third grade?"
A soft chuckle escaped from Arthur and Ariadne rolled her eyes as she sat next to the Point man.
"Nice to see you too, Eames," Ariadne smiled. "I see you haven't changed."
"He wouldn't know change if it struck him in the face," Arthur laughed.
"Don't be such a prude, darling," Eames sighed as he stood. "I'm off to get more drinks. Want some Ariadne—oh wait, can you even drink? They might need some ID, sweetheart."
Ariadne ignored Eames' pun as she turned to Arthur, "Long time, no see."
"Been busy," he explained, "but you look well. How's school treating you?"
"Fine, I suppose. Just happy that it's coming to an end."
Arthur nodded as he took another sip from his beer. "Have you any plans for after graduation?"
"Nope," she answered. "Do you?"
Arthur raised a careful eyebrow, while Ari smiled.
"I do not like where this is going," a voice crept from behind.
The older man was approaching their table with a smile, but wary eyes.
"It's her decision, Cobb," Arthur started, "besides I haven't even offered her a job."
"Yet," Cobb muttered under his breath as he hugged the young architect. "Just promise me that you'll be careful."
"Of course," Ari swore.
Cobb smiled, "Alright then. Well, I'm going to go say hello to Yusuf. Good seeing you as usual, Arthur."
Arthur nodded and once Cobb was out of hearing, Ariadne pounced.
"So what are you up to now?"
"I'm actually in the middle of something. And no, I'm not in need of help," he chuckled seeing the question form in her mind. "But maybe in a few months, after your graduation, we can meet up. Here's my card."
Arthur pulled out a clean, white business card with petite black letters. With swift handwriting, he wrote down a time and café in Paris.
"Don't be late," he teased.
"Who were the others?" the police officer pushed again, snapping Ariadne out of her memory.
"You mentioned others in the parlor. Who were they?"
"Oh right. Guest, I suppose. I didn't know them," Ariadne lied.
"I see," the officer responded writing down some notes. "Now what about his profession? Did you know any of Arthur's coworkers or perhaps friends?"
Ariadne shook her head no. It was a harder lie to swallow; though there was a partial truth to it. Could she really say that she knew Cobb or Eames or Yusuf? She certainly couldn't say that she knew Arthur's latest business coworker, though she had left quite the impression.
She was beautiful, anyone could see that. She stood strong, easily taller than Ariadne, especially in her high but classic black pumps. The mystery woman also wore a navy pencil skirt with a high waist. Her white blouse looked effortless on her and she strutted through the parlor with a confidence that made Ariadne almost feel like the child that Eames had earlier teased her to be. Cobb was the first to greet her. They hugged and gave each other hellos before she asked where Arthur was, though Ariadne wasn't sure why she had bothered. Arthur sat in plain sight from the door and since her conversation with Cobb wasn't exactly private, Arthur rolled his eyes instantly at the question.
"At the round table, with our favorite architect."
Arthur did not turn as she advanced. He kept his eyes steady on Ariadne, though neither said anything. For this Ari was thankful. It was much easier to focus on his beauty than hers.
"Arthur," the woman cooed, sitting on the armrest of his chair. Her right arm went over his shoulders and her body seemed to instinctively lean into his.
Arthur finally greeted her with a smile, "You're late." They seemed to share a connection for a moment until the woman turned to Ariadne.
"You must be Ariadne," she smiled. "Arthur won't shut up about you."
"Ariadne meet my newest business partner," Arthur introduced. "Darling, this is Ariadne, the world's next great architect."
"It's nice to meet you," Ariadne smiled, offering a hand, leaning for a name. But the woman only smiled, taking the gesture while answering, "Pleasure is all mine."
The moment was interrupted by the bartender. He came with another beer for Arthur, before disappearing again.
"For you," Arthur offered to his business partner. She hummed softly, contemplating the drink while playing absentmindedly with his hair.
"I stopped drinking Coronas, remember?"
"Must have forgotten," Arthur replied easily taking another swing of his own beer.
"Besides, we should get going. Lots to do tonight."
Arthur nodded, standing up and reaching for his jacket.
"It was good seeing you Ariadne," he smiled before kissing her softly on her cheek.
Arthur's business partner was now at the center of the table where the extra beer sat. She picked it up and held it in her hands as if she wanted to reconsider her decision, but it only lasted for a moment and the Corona found its way back on the table top.
"Ready?" the woman smiled linking arms with Arthur.
As they began to make their way to the exit, she waved Cobb goodbye.
"You two leaving already?" Cobb asked.
"The night is young," Arthur's business partner replied. "It was good seeing you Cobb."
"Night Yusuf," Arthur called out. "Ari…"
His voice was soft when he addressed her, his eyes smoldering in the dim light and his smile genuine. It made Ariadne's heart swell and her envy settle slightly in the face of such a beautiful woman.
"Wait a minute. Where is Eames?"
"Never showed up," Arthur told his business partner.
"What a shame," She responded. "He owes me money."
No one made the effort to correct Arthur. Ariadne imaged that perhaps Yusuf, who was still on the other side of the room, had not heard his mistake, but Cobb and Arthur himself…
"Now is there anywhere that you can stay for the night?"
Reality set back in again and Ariadne's brain scrambled for an answer. There was her pregnant sister-in-law Angela, but she was a few weeks from her due date. She needed all of the rest she could get. There was Sara too, Ariadne's childhood girlfriend, but she lived on the other side of town and had an annoying habit of blowing situations out of proportion.
"I think I'll just check into a hotel for the next few days."
"Alright then. Well I'll let you go and pack some things, while I talk with my boys."
Ari went straight for her bedroom and tried not to look at the warning that stained her walls. In the solace of her room, she felt especially exposed and tore through the drawers trying to pack. She only stopped when she came across a beautiful rose and mandarin scarf—the scarf she had been wearing at the parlor…
"That was fun," Dom said as he and Ariadne walked through the empty streets of Paris.
"It was," Ariadne agreed. Eames had returned soon after Arthur left. He never asked what had occurred of the Point man, but he did take the Corona that had been offered to Arthur's business partner and drank it happily without question. The rest of the evening had been filled with laughter, poker and pool and now Cobb felt the need to escort Ariadne back to her apartment before it got too late.
"Are you excited for graduation?" Cobb asked.
He smiled and nodded. "I'm proud of you," he continued after a moment, "for staying in school. I can only imagine that you imagination must have been…restless."
There was a silence between them, in which Ariadne could feel his anxiety.
"I'll be careful Cobb, I promise."
"It's not you that I'm worried about. There are some crazed people in the dream world. Worse than me."
"I'll stick with Arthur," Ari promised. "He won't let anything happen to me."
Cobb nodded. "That is true. He wouldn't dare. This is it, right?"
They had finally arrived at Ariadne's building.
"Yep. Listen Cobb, it was good seeing you tonight," she said hugging him.
"About Arthur's new business partner…" Ariadne began. "Who—who is she?"
"Oh, don't worry about that. They've known each other for years," Cobb reassured.
"So he trusts her," Ariadne reasoned.
"With his life."
There was a certain intensity to Cobb's stare that brought Ariadne little peace on the matter, but she chose to let it go.
Ariadne let the scarf run through her fingers before she tossed it into her overnight bag. The only thing left in the drawer was a clean white business card with petite black writing—Arthur's writing.
She hastily tucked the business card into her back pocket before grabbing her bag and heading out of her room.
"Hold on a second, miss," the officer that she had spoken with earlier called out. "There's nothing that you want to add to that statement, correct?"
Ariadne nodded swiftly.
"Well then, there's an officer down stairs who can take you to your hotel. Have a good night, ma'am and we'll contact you in a few days."
"Same to you."
The officer turned back to the crime scene where his men stood and Ariadne's eyes couldn't help but follow.
There was shattered glass on the ground, a broken window by her television set and her blinds were completely destroyed. On two adjacent walls, in big bold red ink—she hoped it was ink, though her gut knew it to be blood—someone had written: ARTHUR IS DEAD.
The message made Ariadne sick to her core and tears once again blinded her vision. She had to get out of here. She had to find Arthur, because he simply could not be dead.
Okay, so this is my first Inception fic and as I am no professional, I cannot promise perfection here. However I would love some feedback and I am hoping to get a beta for this story, so if you're interested send me a PM of something you've beta'd or something you've written for Inception or something else and I'd love to chat with you. Thank you so much for reading and please don't forget to review!