Disclaimer: I do not own Inception. Reviews are not only accepted and encouraged, but really positive ego buffers.

Gaetana was a slob.

With a vantage point solely focused on the upper crust of her home, it would seem neat and well organized. The police offers hadn't accounted for a totally thorough search but they did have cops guarding the residence to shield off prying eyes. This was something that Eames had been surprisingly, not to mention disturbingly, prepared for. After handing Arthur a fake FBI badge, the two went up to the remaining officers before Eames rattled off some highly detailed bullshit about how Gaetana Bruni was a wanted felon in the United States and that the FBI was called in.

Surprisingly, they believed it. They even took a break like they were told and within minutes Arthur and Eames were racketeering their way through Bruni's home. Eames called dibs on the underwear drawer as if Arthur had been the least bit interested to begin with. Arthur started with the filing cabinet in the corner of the living room even though it had OBVIOUS and NOT IT written all over it. He wanted to be alone with Ariadne who made herself comfortable on the sofa, reading a copy of a Proust novel.

The first drawer was pulled open.

"Why are you here?" Arthur inquired in a low voice, thumbing through the alphabetized files.

Ariadne looked up from her book momentarily and shrugged. "You do know I'm not really here, right?"

"Of course I know," his voice got a little louder than he anticipated and he shook his head. Did he know that she wasn't really there?

"But why are you…I dunno, haunting me?"

Ariadne laughed. It was quiet but it was there, it was her laugh for sure. "Boo," deepened her voice, "I'm here to haunt you until you avenge me! Get over yourself."

"That doesn't answer my question," Arthur mumbled, hoping that if Eames heard anything, he would just brush it off as Arthur reading from one of the documents.

"You brought me here," she stood up and gave the living room a once over. "I should be asking you."

He smiled half-heartedly as he took what she said into consideration, rolling it over in his mind. "I can summon you?"

Once again, she laughed but this time she rolled her eyes. "Someone has read way too much Poe in his lifetime."

She walked closer to him until they were standing shoulder to shoulder. Until Arthur could feel her presence, until he would rather be dead and gone than to be away from her in that very moment.

"I'm not really her, Arthur. I'm sort of like your projection of her but you've brought me to the forefront. Notice anything about me?"

Arthur turned to her for the first time that night, expecting to see his wife but no. She wasn't really there, not just physically, her presence was non-existent but she wasn't really there. It wasn't Ariadne. Not the one he knew. He could tell by the way her lips were a shade brighter than Ariadne's, by the way her hair was more tousled, the way her eyes were changing shade every second that it wasn't Ariadne. It was his mind's projection of what he remembered. And what a disappointment. He couldn't even say he really depended on his memories anymore because this representation of his wife was shit for reality.

He turned back to the files.

"Why didn't I bring Natalie in? Why'd I get you?"

"Because Natalie was only a year old when she died, she couldn't speak to you, tell you right from wrong. So you used the person who told you most and here I am. I'm kind of like your conscience but I'm also not. Consciences are supposed to keep you in line and I'm not really doing a good job of it."

"Right, so why don't you just go? I don't need you here, I can handle this."

"My presence is clear sign that you can't. And you don't know how to either. I have a feeling, this odd feeling that your Ariadne would disagree with what you're doing."

"My Ariadne disagreed with a lot of things, some of which I would call idiotic notions. She thought I was too protective of her."

"Oh yeah, that guy…what was his name? Eden …"

"Ethan," Arthur corrected, knowing exactly where Ariadne's shade was going.

"Right. Paralyzed. Because of what?"

"If you're a projection, why are you even asking? You're me, you're my mind, and you know exactly what happened."

It shrugged. "I'm only trying to get you to see the fault in your ways. Something you think Ariadne would do."

Arthur was opening his mouth to object when Eames called his name from the bedroom. He turned toward the bedroom. "What?!"

"You may want to take a look at this," was all Eames managed to say. In all of his years working with The Forger, he had never known him to be at a loss for words.

He turned back to the shade only to find the room completely empty aside from himself.

Arthur walked into the room quietly and found Eames standing beside the closet with an envelope clutched tightly in his hand. His eyes were focused on the ground and his lips clamped shut tightly. Arthur detected the smallest shake in his hand. He stepped forward cautiously, his eyebrows furrowing.

"Eames," he started weary. "What's the matter? What is it?"

Eames' eyes rose to meet his and he shook his head slowly. He opened his mouth to speak, to explain but his voice failed him and once again his eyes fell to the ground. Arthur wanted to reach for the envelope, rip it out of his hands and see what it was that paralyzed Eames so much. To scream and yell at him for treating this discovery like it wasn't his too, like it wasn't his more than anyone's.

But he didn't.

Eventually Eames shook out of his paralysis and his eyes met Arthur's again. "Yusuf is dead."

Arthur wouldn't admit the disappointment and resentment growing in his heart; what did Yusuf have to do with his wife? Why does he care that he's dead? Instead he frowned as Eames nodded his head toward the envelope in his outstretched hand.

"It says there that he's been eradicated."

Silence passed between the two once again. It filled the room. It laid down on the bed. It stood in the small space between them. It made itself at home in the apartment. Then it left all at once.

"Arthur," Eames began thoughtfully. "Did you work with Yusuf after Inception?"

Arthur shook his head slowly, panic rising in his mind and heart. It couldn't be. Not after all of this time. Eames began shaking again, his eyes darkened, his mind started turning.

"They weren't just after her. They're after all of us. He's after all of us."

Eames leaned in closer. "Fischer's memories came back."