NOTE: After what seems to be an extremely elongated hiatus…I'M BACK! I'll start by posting some loose ends before I get to writing new works. As promised, the Eames story. Enjoy. I don't even have to tell you to let me know what you think because I know you will. And I love hearing from all of you : )

Ariadne reached out to touch the large, complex lock in front of her. It was cold. The marble floors, ceiling, counters, even statues glistened in the light streaming through skinny windows lining the top of the spacious room. She had slipped when she had entered the room, not realizing she had created such a grandiose bank for the job. The tiny details always surprised her when they went into the dream. Things she had forgotten she had created or how she could feel again as she had when she was creating the setting.

"Arthur, I found it," she exclaimed in a hushed voice. The safe was hidden in a complex maze within the bank. Cobb, Arthur and herself had split up to try and find the safe while Eames occupied the subject with one of his more feminine disguises. Matthew Hutchington II wasn't the man who would turn down a drink with a young, beautiful blonde.

Suddenly Arthur was behind her, his hand reaching over her shoulder and managed to unlock it in a matter of seconds, her body still sandwiched between him and the marble pillar. She opened the door with no hesitation, the ancient book finally in her hands. As she brushed her hand over the leather cover in awe, she felt Arthur slide his hand slowly down her side, causing her to melt into his strong frame.

Cobb was soon at her side, taking the book from her and flipping quickly through the pages, searching for that one, small detail they needed.

Ariadne turned to Arthur smiling, but barely could get a word in before he crushed his lips into hers, pulling her waist close to his. He ran his fingers through her hair and settled his hand at the back of her neck before letting her gasp for air. The floor began to shake and the shock pulled the two from each other, leaving them stumbling to keep their ground.

Cobb tossed the book to Arthur who replaced it and slammed the door quickly just as the pillar began to crumble onto his hand. He reached out and grabbed Ariadne's hand as the dream began to disintegrate around them.

"You're safe, love, don't worry," he told her with a mischievous grin, pulling her head close to his chest. Marble toppled on the couple's embrace, crushing them under a pile of stone and brass.

When they came to, Arthur was pacing the operating room, an irritated look on his face. Furrowing her brow, Ariadne rose from the stiff hospital chair and crossed the room.

"What was that about in there?" she asked him, a curious look in her eye. She reached out to touch his arm lightly, noticing he had rolled his sleeves up. He never did that.

"What are you talking about? I got shot! I've been waiting for an hour!" he nearly shouted, gesturing to his chest.

Ariadne's expression changed from confusion to annoyance as she lifted a hand to her head, "But you were there…you opened the safe," she told him in a delirious voice.

"Keep your voices down," Yusuf warned. He was standing beside the surgery table monitoring the elderly man's vital signs while putting him under the appropriate anesthesia that he would need for his actual surgery. Their benefactor, an old friend of Saito's, for this job had made sure that the oil executive had scheduled his valve replacement with a certain surgeon at a certain hospital.

Eames, Cobb, Arthur and Ariadne, dressed as surgical interns, removed their masks and gloves as their replacements strolled through the door. There was no discussion between the real doctors and the team as they exited the hospital quickly, leaving Yusuf behind. He was to remain throughout the surgery in case anything occurred as a side effect of his chemicals.

Outside, Ariadne scratched at her shoulder, the dark blue scrubs uncomfortable on her bare skin underneath. "What exactly happened in there?" she shouted at Arthur, stepping closer so only he could hear. "I thought we were taking it slow?" she added, cheeks tingeing at the thought of the heated moment they had shared right before the collapse.

Eames smirked and took a seat on a bench, lighting up a cigarette from his pocket. Cobb looked from the couple to Eames and then back again.

"Eames. Did you leave Matthew at any point?" he asked in a suspicious tone.

Eames chuckled lightly and took a drag from the thin white cigarette in between his lips, "Perhaps," he responded offhandedly.

"Eames, explain yourself…" Cobb started, running a hand through his hair exasperatedly. He didn't have time for this. He was supposed to be on a flight back to LA in two hours. They had promised him they could get the job done in one try, before the surgery so he could give Saito's friend the information he wanted.

The hot Texas sun only made Ariadne's cheeks burn further with embarrassment and anger as she launched herself toward the British man, now on his feet.

"It was you! You asshole!" she shouted, catching the eyes of an old woman being wheeled out of the hospital in a wheel chair.

"Psychiatric patient on the loose," Eames explained in a heavy Southern drawl to the woman in passing. He was still laughing.

"Did you shoot him?" Ariadne asked Eames in a calmer tone before her voice unexpectedly rose again, "DID YOU?"

"Calm down, darling, calm down," he told her, reaching out and pulling her hands off his forearms. "I didn't shoot your gentleman caller, the projections got him. I saw it as an interesting window of opportunity," he finished, patting her shoulder lightly with a smile, crushing his cigarette under his shoe.

Arthur was two feet away stewing, watching the scene unfold. He couldn't help but smirk when Ariadne attacked Eames. He had known something had gone wrong when he had woken up before everyone else. Ariadne had done such a good job with the maze that he had gotten lost himself, arousing suspicion in the projections. Luckily, the Texan man's subconscious carried a gun and was a good shot, nailing Arthur right between the eyes.

"Okay, okay…that's enough," Cobb chimed in, gesturing them to the car. He watched as Arthur tossed his die on the ground before scooping it back up and into his pocket. He knew Ariadne was probably digging the top of her bishop into her thumb as she continued to speak in a hushed voice to Eames near the entrance to the hospital.

"Don't tell me I got you all hot and bothered, little one," Eames asked her as he watched Ariadne's face turn from a light pink to a dark crimson. "Ah…I see we did enjoy ourselves."

"Shut up," she shot back crisply, digging around in her pocket for her bishop but kept coming across chapstick and a fake beeper instead.

He smiled down into the face of their newest team member. Ever since the Fischer job they couldn't help but accept the jobs that rolled in from Saito's friends and sometimes his enemies. The way they worked together was unique. The plan didn't always go as it had begun (like today) but they always succeeded. With Cobb pushing himself more and more out of the picture for his family's sake, Arthur had stepped up and into the leadership position. Eames had easily slid into the number two spot. As much as he and Arthur bickered they got the job done. Both had exceptional minds and talent.

However, Eames couldn't resist the chance to annoy the shit out of Ariadne while taking a dig at Arthur at the same time. As they say, 'Two birds...'.

"It's alright, Ariadne," he told her, pulling her chin up with his forefinger. He moved his finger to her lips and placed it there gently, "Just don't tell Arthur." He let the finger rest there for a minute more before pulling back, walking swiftly to catch up with Cobb and Arthur.

She was almost afraid to search for her totem further in her pocket, and when she finally felt her hand on the cool metal she exhaled forcefully.

Whether or not this was a sigh of relief or disappointment, not even Ariadne knew.