Chapter 1: Old Friends

Note: I do not own Inception.

Ariadne stepped back as she examined her latest creation. The maze was brilliant, complex; yet, a simplistic landscape like a uniform suburban neighbourhood could easily be placed atop her creation. This was perfect, as the maze could then be re-used on numerous jobs, because who hadn't either lived in, or travelled through, a cookie-cutter neighbourhood - the kind where the houses all looked the same and were far too big for the tiny plot of land they were built upon. Ariadne took another step back and grinned. Cobb would have loved this, she thought to herself.

"Class ended hours ago you know," came a female voice from the back of the classroom. Ariadne jumped in surprise and then grinned when she realized the voice belonged to a good friend of hers.

"Hey Sara. Yeah, but Professor Miles let's me use his classroom after hours," Ariadne explained, as she ran a hand over her disgruntled hair to smooth it.

"I thought he used his classroom as his office though?" Sara asked as she skipped down the stairs two at a time to the front of the room where Ariadne stood.

"Mostly yeah, but I'm pretty quiet and he likes to help me on my extra-curricular projects."

"Like extra-credit?" Sara had now reached the front of the room and ran a finger over Ariadne's creation.

"No, just stuff I like to do for fun," Ariadne corrected looking a little sheepish.

"I see. Well most people consider shopping fun, or going for coffee fun. Not gluing together old toothpaste boxes to make little mazes for Lego people," Sara chided.

"Oh! Right, we were supposed to meet for coffee!" Ariadne exclaimed as she looked at her watch.

"Yeah, like 45 minutes ago," Sara grumbled as she crossed her arms.

"I just got caught up in this," Ariadne indicated her maze, "but I'm done now. Do you still have time for coffee?" Ariadne asked trying to sound as apologetic as she could.

"Lucky for you, my social life at the moment consists of only you and my smelly old thesis supervisor."

"Things not going too well with your thesis?" Ariadne asked as she began to shove her buildings materials into her already full backpack.

"Oh, it's just getting down to crunch time. My supervisor would have liked me to defend this spring, but that is totally not happening. So, there's been a little tension lately."

"I'm sorry." Ariadne said.

"It's ok. I'll plough through, and once this semester is over I'm sure my supervisor and I will be less stressed can put more focus and effort on my thesis" Sara said confidently. "Oh, and before I forget!" She exclaimed, while throwing her backpack to the ground and unzipping it. "Ta da!" she sang as she thrust an old and slightly crushed Crest toothpaste box in Ariadne's direction.

Ariadne grinned, "Oh Sara you shouldn't have."

"I know, I know. I'm too good to you. But seriously I have all kinds of other things you can use to build more of your Lego towns."

"That's great! Let's just stow all this stuff under Professor Miles' desk, while we go for that coffee," Ariadne finally suggested as she tried, in futile, to zip her backpack up.

"I don't suppose you could postpone that coffee break for a bit longer, could you?" asked a rather familiar masculine voice.

Ariadne's eyes shot to the back of the room where Sara had called out to her only minutes before.

"Arthur?" Ariadne asked in disbelief, as she quickly jumped to her feet, ignoring her bag. Arthur just grinned as he descended the stairs to where Ariadne and Sara stood.

"I'm sorry to barge in unannounced, but I was in the area so I figured I would just drop in and deliver the news to you in person," he explained.

"What news?" Ariadne asked.

"Another job opportunity has come up and I'm in need of an architect," Arthur explained.

"Oh, this guy is from that work placement thing you did a couple of months ago, right?" Sara asked Ariadne.

"Yes, sorry. I'm Arthur Smith," Arthur apologized as he extended his hand to Sara who grinned like a love struck schoolgirl.

"Nice to meet you. I'm –"

"I'll have to catch up with you later Sara," Ariadne said cutting her friend off. Sara looked slightly put off. So, Ariadne put on a sheepish grin trying to smooth things over. "Look, you know how tight money's been for me lately. Top-notch Paris Architectural schools do not come cheap and I could really use this job. I promise I will call you tomorrow."

Sara looked from Ariadne to Arthur before finally grinning. "Oh, you could really use this job, hmm. Couldn't we all," she mused; her suggestive tone hinting that she assumed what Arthur was offering was anything, but another job opportunity.

God, she probably thinks he's here for some kind of one-night stand Ariadne thought her face reddening in the process.

"Well Mr. Smith, if you have any use for a stressed out History grad student be sure to get my number from Ariadne."

"I will," Arthur said seriously. However, it was unclear whether he had completely missed the suggestiveness in Sara's tone or was choosing to merely ignore it.

"I'll call you," Ariadne promised Sara as she collected as many of her supplies as she could.

"Here, let me help you," Arthur offered as he reached for Ariadne's newest maze.


"See ya," Sara called as the two left the classroom.

Note: Reviews appreciated.