I've been overwhelmed by all the reviews! They made me feel incredible and inspired me so much, this is going to be a two-shot... I write it and only afterwards realized the word-count was pretty high so I split it in two.This half is quite angsty (not like that's new for me) and the next one turned out quite fluffy for some reason XP

It basically fits in between Strength and Masks.

Disclaimer: Nolan is a god; i am tiny and insignificant.


So it had to be expected. It was not like they had normal office jobs or were doing anything remotely legal. And really, if she was honest, the amount of times there were gunfights involved in the dreams, she should have known that they were no strange thing in reality either.

For a fair amount of time though, she had been sheltered from these things. She mainly worked with Arthur and Eames who both recommended her to teams. Again she needed to be honest and admit that they probably kept her out of the dirtier jobs.

The amount of times that Eames went off by himself and told her he would be back in a few weeks should have been an indicator of that too. She was not stupid, she had figured as much.

She had not figured though, that one day said Forger's military training would be put to the test and they would barely make it out alive.

Despite Arthur's conviction of the opposite, Eames was perfectly capable of coming up with back-up plans.

So he had made sure she escaped when the shit had hit the fan; at all costs. He had pressed a small handgun into her hands and told her to run and call Arthur from a payphone as soon as it was safe.

She had tried to argue and he had simply pointed out that he could clearly not be at the top of his game if he had to worry about her. Grudgingly she had given in, because how could she compete with years in the SAS?

She regretted it now. It had thankfully taken Arthur less than a few hours to make it to Prague and meet her. It took them another hour after that to find him, beaten and bleeding from an alarming amount of injuries in an alley not far from where she had left him.

She had left the thinking to the Point Man then, because quite frankly she could not think straight and when Eames, only half-conscious had given a weak grin that showed his bloodied teeth, she had grabbed him by the ruined jacket and told him that if he dared to die on her she would never ever forgive him.

The grin had only grown bigger but he had promised to do his best, that he was glad she was here and he thought she should know just in case. It was only when his head was resting in her lap that he admitted to the fact that breathing bloody hurt right then.

Ariadne had so far been holding up fine, but the raspy comment had finished her off and she had no longer been able to fight the tears. She had feebly joked that he should shut up and better not think about giving up just because of a measly bullet wound in his chest.

Later they told her that one of his lungs had collapsed.

Arthur had stood by a little passively. He had been uncomfortable with their closeness ever since it had become apparent. He was still there, having leant her a shoulder to cry on when things had finally sunk in for her, alone in a busy hospital corridor.

She knew it was not exactly fair, since there had once been chemistry between them too. Nonetheless, she was comforted by the familiar presence and ended up asking him how he had met the Forger to pass the time.

He had looked at her quizzically, but then admitted that there had not been much to tell except that a contact had recommended him as one of the best and he had not questioned since in their business reputation was everything. It also happened to be the reason for the playful animosity between them, since both were at the top of their field and had little others to compete with.

With a frown, she had asked how much he knew about Eames and his time in the military, to which the Point Man gave her another one of his half-frowns and informed her that pretty much everyone in the dream-business had once been involved with the military excepting maybe former architects like Cobb.

The architect's mind snapped back to when she had once after she had only known the two of them for perhaps half a year, yanked in jest at a chain half-hidden under the Forger's shirt-collar and revealed a set of worn dog-tags. Before she had gotten a good look at them, Eames had very calmly extracted them from her grasp and put them back where they belonged. She had felt compelled to apologize but he had waved her off and complimented her on her attention to detail with a carefully crafted grin and a wink.

Arthur mentioned that he knew through research that the Brit had managed to get himself dishonourably discharged and then disappeared from the map for a while only to reappear with an extraction team and a new profession. He had tracked the files down through a variety of false names and dead-ends and still part of them were encrypted by what he believed to be the MI6 and apparently it had not surprised him.

Ariadne nodded wide-eyed, realising all at once how little she knew about these men who had saved her life more often than she could count and she had let into her life without question. She thought back to the many late-night talks she had had with Eames, confiding in him about her family and her past while he exposed nothing.

She asked Arthur why neither of them ever mentioned their past and again he gave her this look as if she was a particularly slow student. Safer to not divulge that kind of information if it could be used against you at some point, was all he had to say to that.

The architect was left with the realisation that for all the things they had been through, she had still been so very naïve. She would have to do something about it.

She was sitting on a rather uncomfortable plastic chair and he was returning her gaze through bleary eyes. As soon as he had woken up, she had decided that hospital did not suit him. It was as if it was another person lying in that bed, face pale and drawn, especially because he was not his usual animated self.

Eames must have known something was on her mind, because so far he had not said a word other than a hoarse greeting, waiting for her move.

She had not touched him, for some reason feeling a new distance between them. Maybe it was the fact that she did not reach out for him and he was waiting for her to do just that that created the tension in the room.

"I…I want to ask you something." She finally managed to speak, though it sounded a little choked and she could not look at him, because this was really not the time but it would not leave her alone.

Feeling nervous, she hesitantly lifted her gaze to his again; taking in the dark circles under tired eyes that lacked the usual alertness she relied on most of the time. She should not ask about his now.

"Do you trust me?" She asked, refraining from wringing her hands in her lap for lack of something to do.

Eames blinked, then frowned at her as if he did not understand what she was saying. "What d'you mean?" He rasped and then he reached out, IV still stuck to the back of his hand, but he still reached it out for her anyway.

Biting her lip she took his hand, careful to avoid the needle, and thought of the fact that this could wait because it had to, because she should not do this now. She decided to drop it for now.

So instead, she told him that Arthur had left a few hours ago and that he had better not scare them like that again. It had earned her a little grin and it had been so familiar that she felt assured once again that it could wait.

Did you like? Please review! There will be more talking and Eames in the next one, promise!