A/N: Hello there. This is my first Inception fiction. I'm not sure how I feel about the end result, but it's done now and I spent a lot of time on it. (Instead of studying for my Chemistry exam like I should be.) I'm in love with this pairing and want to marry Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Naturally. Rest assured, this fic follows the Inception story closely in the flashbacks (which are in italics). I'm sorry if this offends you; I was struck by this idea and really needed to express it; this is the exploration of a highly sexual relationship and as such, may offend you. I apologize in advance. Regardless of this, I think it's actually one of my better written pieces, so I'm quite proud of it. I've never written anything quite like this before.
This is his body. This is his love.
Such selfish prayers, I can't get enough.
"We can't keep doing this."
The sun filtered through the curtains, drawing her attention to the steady rise and fall of his chest beneath her playful fingers. He's on his back, his arm around her shoulders, his palm sending delicious heat radiating through her spine. She's pressed against his side, one leg thrown over his waist.
It's painfully intimate, this skin on skin.
She fights back the pounding in her chest; he'll be sure to notice – he's the Point Man, it's his job to notice everything. He comes back to 'the impossibility of them' every few weeks. It's a story they've written; a tragic romance, destined for failure. His free hand reaches over and curls into her hair.
He loves her hair. Then he chides himself for forgetting.
They can't keep doing this. They can't… They can't be like Dom and Mal.
He can't lose her.
She breathes his name into his neck and heat pours through him. He's infinitely aware of her, everywhere. Her naked skin pressed to his, the leg she has on his waist.
The pounding of her heart mimics his.
"Ariadne," he tries again (though just saying her name makes his throat close up and he never wants her to sleep in any bed but his ever again), "we can't. We can't keep doing this."
"Why?" Her voice is like silk as it slides over him. She moves; soon she's hovering over him, her hair is everywhere and she's peppering kisses across his throat and trapping his hips between her thighs.
He can't tell her, he can't let her know how weak he is for her.
He can't lose her.
Christ, it kills him every time when he presses his barrel against her forehead and pulls the trigger.
What if she doesn't wake up? What if there's only her body on the floor and blood pooling from her forehead?
He opens his mouth to tell her that – oh God, the things she does to his body – that this is the worst idea and they need to stop, stop (she's still got those incredible legs on either side of him and everything is quickly going out the window) stop before they end up just like the two most doomed lovers he knows. But she places a finger over his lips and nips gently at the skin of the base of his neck.
He's driven into a frenzy because of her (she knows it too, she uses it against him, to steal the words before he can say them) and he flips them both, returning the torture of lips on neck until her body arches against his. Telling her to stop is now the last thing on his mind.
Her body belongs to him, and only him.
He hears Cobb's footsteps in the Warehouse behind him, a second pair of steps with him. His patience is wearing thin - no, Dom, Inception is not possible - so he doesn't turn until the Extractor calls his name, and he squares his shoulders, ready to face the next foolish Architect that he dares rope into the business.
All he sees is the scarf.
Well, at first, because it's drilled into him to observe everything, know everything, judge everything. So when he looks up and catches the girls eyes (large, doe-eyes, and warm, so warm and brown), he curses Dominic Cobb for being so cruel as to corrupt such a sweet, innocent looking creature.
Her gaze is locked with his when Cobb introduces him: "This is Arthur."
He vaguely remembers his hands slipping into his suit pant to clutch the die. "And this is Ariadne."
He was gone.
He's sitting on the side of the bed, after, his elbows on his knees and his hands gripping his hair. He can't ever seem to get rid of her.
His breath catches as her soft moans echo in his memory.
The sheets rustle. She's behind him then, fingers tracing gentle patterns on his back. He can feel the sheet she's wrapped around her, and feels like cursing Dom for introducing them when her lips press against the back of his shoulder.
"You..." Her voice is broken, twisted with something like pain. God, he hates it when she hurts. He'll do anything to make sure she never hurts.
He doesn't move. Doesn't dare push things further than they are.
She'll be the death of him.
"I never asked you about these..." Her fingers are tracing those patterns again, and he stiffens.
The scars. She's going to ask about his scars.
Her arms lace around his neck and she kisses the top of his head before she slides her palms slowly - too slowly - down his front. Sex with her, it's – it's better than great, it's phenomenal. Because her body fits his and her cries drive his pulse and the heat of her skin against him will give him a cardiac arrest, he just knows it.
But she'll ask him about the scars. He knows she will.
He's not ready to tell her. So he turns, locks his lips with hers, and proceeds to take her on his bed. Again.
Why did no-one ever warn him about this bruising pleasure?
"Cobb can't build anymore, can he?"
This throws him. He hadn't expected her to be so concerned; not for Cobb. Not for the man whose projections had murdered her in her second dream.
(He's not jealous.)
"I don't know if he can't, but he won't."
Her eyes are trained on him as he speaks. He feels naked under her keen gaze. She is so young, so innocent (chrissake, Arthur, she's twelve years your junior), but there's an age of knowledge and understanding in her eyes.
Bitterness floods through him. Why? As if Dom cared enough about their friendship to actually tell him what he's struggling with? Christ, he knew what Dom was struggling with - hadn't he always been so patient? Hadn't he asked if it was getting worse? (He didn't need to ask, the hurt shows in Cobb's eyes as if they are see-through.)
"He won't tell me. But I think it's Mal."
Mal. He can't imagine how much it would hurt to lose something you loved so much.
"His ex-wife?" If he's not mistaken, there's a hint of contempt in her voice. She hasn't forgiven the man yet.
"No, not his ex."
Did she not know?
"They're still together?"
"No, she-" he wills her to understand, to grasp at Cobb's agony. "She's dead. What you see in there is only his projection of her."
There it is. Sympathy lights her eyes. (He keeps his own so guarded.)
"What was she like in real life?"
The truth, this time, is easy to tell: "She was lovely."
Something unspoken lay between them. Cobb is the way he is for this, for how much he loved her.
It's the first time he thinks that maybe dreaming is a curse.
"We're not, you know."
Her words fall on uncomprehending ears. He looks up from his research to see her nestled amongst the pillows on his couch (chocolate brown, like her eyes - he bought the thing the day after he met her), a cup of coffee clutched in her fingers. Her legs are crossed beneath her. He sucks in a breath.
She's wearing his shirt. His shirt, and nothing else.
Her hair tumbles across the white fabric and she smiles as she watches him fight his way around the lump in his throat. Her skin is flushed - cream and roses. He knows the texture of her skin is soft, so soft.
"Not what?" It's remarkable that he can keep his voice detached. He's the Point Man, his exterior is cold and calculating and professional. (He doesn't feel that way when she's writhing underneath him.)
She takes a small sip, and places the cup on the coffee table - without a toaster. It shocks him that he doesn't care. "Not like them; like Cobb and Mal. We're not."
So she knows.
(You fool, of course she knows. She knows you better than anyone knows you. She's shared her bed and her warmth and her body with you. Of course she knows what you're thinking.)
"Oh?" He allows a humor he doesn't feel to creep into his voice. "Why is that?"
She stands. The shirt barely covers her and images are flashing through his head so wildly it's getting hard to think. Those legs look like they go on forever, and he wants them wrapped around his waist again.
"Because of what Dominic said."
He flinches. She's never said his name (his full name) with so much familiarity, so much weight. He doesn't understand the urge he has to go stateside and deck his best friend in the face.
"He doesn't know, does he?"
Ariadne scoffed. "About us? Come on, Arthur, I'm not an idiot. No, he doesn't. I mean - he said something to me. About Mal." Her hands are on her hips and he's furiously concentrating on what she's saying.
"Okay." He attempts to act like he doesn't care, but he's desperate to know. To know why she thinks he won't give everything for her, just like Cobb did. (He knows he'd give more, but would never admit to it.)
She wanders across his lounge suite, and he keeps his eyes stubbornly fixed to the file in front of him when she comes to stand behind him, her hands on his shoulders, her lips at his ear.
"He said that they loved each other too much. That's why Mal did what she did. And why Cobb did what he did. But we're not like them."
They loved each other too much. His teeth grind together. "We're not?"
"No. We're not. We don't love like that, Arthur. We don't love, period."
He doesn't know what he's done to make her want to break him like this.
Before he can muster up two words to say to her, she's grabbed her bag, slipped on her jeans, and disappeared through the door. His whole world seems to be crashing down around him and he rolls his die four, five, six, (twelve) times, each time landing on two, before her words catch up with his broken heart and shattered mind and he starts tearing books off the shelves, throwing glass photographs against the wall and ripping paintings to pieces.
He can still smell her in his sheets.
"Cobb's heart died with Mal."
He doesn't understand why it's so important he tells her this. (Okay, that's a lie. He knows exactly why.)
"What's that supposed to mean?"
There's a pencil tucked behind her ear. Her fingers are darkened with lead and her eyes are still glazed over with hidden thoughts from when she was staring at the Extractor, and he wants-
"He can't love you back." The words slipped past his lips before he could stop them.
Her eyes slide across his - amber meeting chocolate, then further, past (she's gazing into space). Her face betrays nothing; he wonders if he's crushed all her hope, and guiltily hopes so. A muscle twitches in her jaw before she grabs her bag and she's out the door.
Eames' voice calls from behind him as he tries (furiously) to figure out what has transpired.
"Darling, you are a right idiot."
It's two full days before he sees her, and all she manages to say before his mouth is on hers is "I'm sorry."
He doesn't care if she doesn't love him back. He doesn't. (He doesn't, he swears.) So long as he has her body next to his every night of forever. He'll have her in any way she's willing, as long as she's his and only his. He has no control when it comes to this girl - no control - and there's that problem, too. She's a girl. Not a woman, despite her natural affinity for the sport and the way her legs-
She's a girl. He's corrupting her. He's ruining her.
She tastes like vanilla and honeysuckle and her tongue is pressed against his and her back is pressed against the wall. He's missed this; missed the heat of her soft flesh. He is so addicted; he needs her more than oxygen - starved without her. It's not like before he met her he had some woman in his bed every night. (Truthfully, he never let anyone home with him. Only her. Only Ariadne.) But now-now she's in his arms every night, even nights when she's bruised and sore from his forceful loving the night before and they don't actually do anything but sleep.
The last two nights have near killed him.
Her sighs are sweeter than any angel's chorus. God, he's missed her. But it doesn't change anything.
She broke his heart.
He's mad at her, and he's bloody furious at himself for wanting her despite this, and then he's pulling away from her, his gaze hard and raw with feeling. He's never been so unguarded, and it only takes one glance for him to see there's no apology in her eyes before his knuckles are peeled and bleeding from how hard he punches the wall.
She's at his side with the first aid kit in seconds, taking his hand in hers and inspecting the damage.
"Why did you come back?"
She looks up at this, her eyes dark and filled with some kind of hate he can't place.
"The same reason I left," she whispers, and she doesn't give him two seconds to find out what exactly that reason is before they're pushed together so close they may as well be one person. He slips his throbbing, bloodied hand into her hair and lifts her from to the floor so she can lock those delicious limbs around him. Her mouth is hot, burning hot, with lips like cocaine and her tongue is sliding across his bottom lip.
They don't make it to the bedroom.
This is how it is between them; their relationship is so physical it's almost nothing else. (To her. For him, this is his whole life - she's his every breath and every thought and he loves her like he'll never love another living creature ever again. This is it for him. This is all he'll ever want.) He takes her against the wall, driving into her with all his strength because this isn't just sex; this is his anger and his love for her all tumbled into one. A part of him wants to hurt her because she's hurting him, so he forces his body harder, faster, deeper, as he tortures the skin on her neck with his teeth. Her cries are loud in his ear, almost drowning out his thundering heart, and her sharp crescent-crowned fingers are pressing so hard into his back she's drawing blood. She's so small and delicate and fragile and the way he's pounding into her is sure to break this beautiful body.
(God, she feels so incredible around him - hot, and soft like slippery silk - and it's all he can do to hold on to her hips with bruising force as the pleasure escalates.)
He's never taken her so roughly. With such blatant disregard for her safety.
It feels good.
No, it feels better than good. It's selfishly incredible; he's sure no other man will ever feel the level of pleasure he is taking from this woman. (Girl.)
He is rough with her. It occurs to him that maybe this is what she wanted; why she pushed him to breaking point like this. It occurs to him that maybe she's using all that creative genius to get exactly what she wants from him - rough, animalistic desire without a trace of the love she must know he has for her. But these thoughts are driven from his mind when she's spasming around him, tightening so strongly he nearly blacks out, and the sound of her crying out his name (which she's never done before, never when he made love to her) burns itself into his mind.
Tears are streaming down her face and her whole body is shaking, but he's still driving into her. She lifts his head from her neck, and pulls his lips to hers for a searing kiss while he finds his own release.
"You're beautiful," she whispers.
Just like that, he was gone.
"Get us another seat on the plane."
Jesus Cobb, what the fuck do you think you're doing?
She's in a dead sleep (but not dead, he has to tell himself). Of course she's out; she hasn't half the strength he has and what they've just done isn't exactly your average beginner's workout.
(He wonders silently if she's ever done this with anyone else.)
He doesn't think so. Besides, there's a certain brand of possessiveness that makes him want, desperately, to be the only man that's ever moved inside of her.
Against his crisp white sheets, her lips parted slightly as she floated in dreamless sleep, she looks far, far more innocent than when he had pressed her against his wall. Her cheeks are still red with exertion, and her hands are so small - one laying next to her head, the other placed gently over her womb. Her hair is damp with sweat. She is, without a trace of doubt, the most exquisite creature he had ever laid his eyes on. Unfortunately, the sheets do little to hide the bruises that are already forming; a dark, ugly purple thing on her neck where he's pulled the blood to the surface with his lips. (Not the first hickey he's given her, and probably not the last, but definitely the worst.) Then there's the more unbearable bruises...
Like the ones that match his fingerprints exactly - the ones that are sprinkled across her hip girdle. If he'd done that with his fingers, what kind of damage was she suffering internally?
He swears up and down right there and then, that he'll never ever ever hurt her again.
She's sleeping; she won't wake. So he (so carefully, so gently) places soft kisses all over her body, willing her to heal from his cruel pleasure. He kisses her ankles, her ribs. He kisses her closed eyelids and her nose and her hips.
He kisses her lips and lets the soft sleeping breaths brush his face.
Then he slips behind her, caging her body and wrapping his arm firmly around her waist.
He loves her too much.
"I don't think you should come."
She's clearly unimpressed by his words as she settles herself into her seat. (She's let slip this is the first time she's flown first class; and he smiled secretly when she wasn't looking.) He doesn't think she should come - what was that? Of course she shouldn't come; this is dangerous, she's not prepared for this. He'll do anything he can to protect her because she's Ariadne and she's so innocent and she doesn't deserve to be thrown into this. He can't understand why kind of horrible game Dominic must be playing with her.
"Dom needs me. He needs me, Arthur."
So that's it.
He can't lie to himself and say that this doesn't sting him. But he pretends it doesn't matter and swears up and down he won't let anything happen to her.
When he wakes, he's on his stomach, forearms buried beneath his pillow and she's sitting against the headboard with her hand in his hair. He looks up at her, his head resting on one side.
For a few long minutes, neither of them say anything. Then; "I'm sorry."
Her eyebrows furrow quizzically, and she frowns. "For what?"
He sighs, reaching up to pull the sheet around her chest off of her. She gasps in shock, but doesn't stop him. His fingers brush against the dark purple skin at the base of her neck, then ghost across his finger-bruises on her hips and finally rests on her lower stomach. "I hurt you."
She doesn't contend his statement, only pulls the sheet back over her naked flesh. He buries his hand back under the pillow and fights back a chorus of angry sighs. She flicks her hair over the mark on her neck and fixes her gaze back on his back; the sheet is resting across his waist and his skin is bathed in golden sunlight. He knows what she's looking at.
She starts, her gaze sliding up to lock with his. He holds it fearlessly. "What?" She breathes.
"Right shoulder. Circle's about an inch in diameter." He bites his tongue to keep from backing out when her spider fingers slide onto the scar. He's ready, he's ready to tell her his story. "It happened in Mumbai. We were extracting a target who was the backer for a team that was extracting our backer. Naturally, it didn't go down well. We were ambushed in a street in Mumbai, and I got a bullet in the shoulder before we knew they were coming."
"Arthur..." There was a horrified sympathy in her voice, and he couldn't stand it. How can she not feel the fire that burns between them?
Her eyes are still locked to his. He swallows. "Ask me anything, Ariadne. I'll tell you all of it."
She doesn't speak with words; instead she explores his skin with her hands. Wrapped in one of the sheets, she moves her body so that she is straddling his back, and lathers her attention on each scar one by one with butterfly touches and phantom kisses. It's the most love he's ever had from her, and he drowns in it selfishly.
She traces the long scar that crosses almost the entirety of his back; from shoulder to opposite hip. It's a thin scar, but one of his most painful memories. "Caught," he mumbles, his eyes long-closed. "Held underground somewhere; not sure. They wanted information and I wouldn't give it."
Next is the short but deep wound between his second and third rib on the left side. "Stabbed. Not meant for me, but they were going for Dom's heart and I got in the way. Beats the alternative."
Something wet falls onto his back and rolls down his spine.
He maneuvers himself so that he's sitting, facing her. He holds her face in his hands. Her eyes are streaming but she makes no sound. He wipes the tears away. She presses her palm flat against the center of his chest.
He said he would tell her all. All of it. All the truth.
He shouldn't do this.
He really shouldn't do this.
But-but she's panicking, she's worried about Cobb and what happens if Fischer doesn't believe his 'Mr Charles' gambit and this may be his first and only chance to ever taste her.
"Cobb's drawing Fischer's attention to the strangeness of the dream, which is making his subconscious look for the dreamer. For me."
He's going to do it. He's going to royally fuck himself over.
"Quick, give me a kiss."
She doesn't hesitate - no doubt trusting him implicitly. (He knows this won't work. Not a chance in hell, but it's worth it.) Their lips connect and his whole world goes right down the drain in a few short seconds because her lips are on his just like he'd always dreamed but never admitted. His whole world is brought alive by one simple kiss.
She pulls away too soon.
"They're still looking at us."
He didn't need to look to know that. "Yeah, it was worth a shot."
It was worth them all.
Ariadne always stays at his place for a while after he leaves; they don't want to cause the others to guess at what's going on between them by arriving at the same time together every morning. Besides, Arthur is always early. Ariadne is always late. That's just the way it is.
She's buried in her office on the other side of the warehouse. (They gave it to her as a congratulatory gift for finishing college.) He's rereading the same sentence in his file over and over and over again because he can't remove that morning's conversation from his mind. He wants to move her, wants to claim her heart like she has claimed his - irreversibly, impossibly, beautifully.
"Mr Stick-in-the-mud! How's the research going?"
Eames is annoying. (Arthur doesn't want to admit that he sort of likes him.)
"Quicker if you were busy with your job, Mr Eames."
There's a slight chuckle beside him and then Eames has pulled the file from his hand and closed it. "We have a problem."
A million things fly through Arthur's mind. Every possible thing that could go wrong is going wrong in his mind's eye. (He's the Point Man; planning ahead is what he does.)
"I believe our Ariadne has a secret lover."
He nearly checks his totem.
"Eames, that's ridiculous."
"Angry that you lost your chance?"
"Nevermind, darling. I'm surprised you didn't notice that big ugly hickey on her neck she wasn't any good at hiding."
Arthur's jaw twitches. He doesn't like that this man is as observant as he is. "I noticed. I thought it would better for her privacy and dignity if I said nothing about it."
Eames nods, and heads directly for the Architect's office.
Arthur's heart pounds in his ears.
She's awake. Limbo and back, nonetheless.
It occurs to him that maybe he shouldn't be so relieved.
He touches his lips, then reaches for the die. It rolls.
Tonight, their love is languid.
He moves slowly inside her, steady, drawing them out for hours and hours and hours. She comes three or four times, he can't remember, but each time she does his heart twists and spasms. The rubbing of naked skin on skin is half the pleasure, and they don't kiss. Instead, their foreheads are pressed together; beads of sweat roll down his back and they move with all the familiarity of lifelong lovers.
She guides him as her namesake lead Theseus through the Minotaur's labyrinth. She moves her hips to accompany his, creating delicious friction. She accepts all of him in her tiny body; she's a small creature, breathlessly tight; he's impressively large and they fit together in the most excruciating pleasure that ever existed.
When he's finally spent, he steals a molten kiss, but remains sheathed inside of her. He doesn't want to lose this moment, not yet.
"What did Eames want?" He can't not ask her, not now.
"He has a way to get the target alone. He's enlisted my help."
He watches as she swallows nervously and his heart plummets. "He likes brunettes," she whispered.
He looks down at the six year old angel sitting on his knee. Phillipa loves him and wants to marry him when she's 'all grown up'; he's no fool (he's the Point Man), but the next words out of her mouth send him reeling.
"Ariadne doesn't love Daddy."
All his hopes and dreams have been handed to him by a six year old in pigtails who kisses him on the cheek and runs off to find her grandmother and beg to bake cookies.
The die hits two eight times before he really breathes.
"I don't like this."
Ariadne looks beautiful. (She always looks beautiful.) This is different. The short black dress fits her like a second skin, and the earrings she's slipping in are massive hoops. Her legs look like they go on forever. But this isn't for him; it's for their prey. For the mark.
He places a gentle kiss on her shoulder and begs her to reconsider.
"I trust you," she whispers.
"You don't love Cobb."
"I never loved Cobb."
The die rolls.
When Eames and he burst through the door, the mark is unconscious, and Ariadne's dress is torn right down the side. There's a bruise on her face.
Eames, you fucking moron.
He slips off his jacket and throws it over her shaking form, wishing he could do more but trapped by the Forger's presence.
They're in and out of the room in twenty minutes, job done and ideas stolen.
It isn't enough. It isn't penance enough.
"Ariadne," he breathes.
She is trapped between his body and the desk behind her. His arms are on either side of her petite form.
"Yes?" She's breathless.
His fingers curl around the pencil and he pulls away, holding it up to her.
He wishes he could take her, there and then.
He doesn't think he could bare it if she pushed him away.
After the job, he takes her to his apartment, telling Eames he was "taking her home".
It's true enough.
She's sobbing into his shoulder. His jacket is still around her and her fingers are curled into his waistcoat.
"He was-" she sobs. "He was so close to-"
"Hey, hey, look at me. You're okay. You're okay."
It's the same as the very first words he ever said for her. This isn't lost on her.
He dries her eyes. She whispers; "Only you. Only you." And presses her lips to his.
It's as much a profession of love as he needs.
The first time they really kiss, it's like a spark to gasoline.
She had showed up outside his door at two in the morning. He answered in sweatpants, and didn't miss her gaze staring at his bare chest.
Before he could track the movement, she threw herself at him, locking lips. His arms, on instinct, slide around her waist and he kicks the door shut so he can press her against it. She's desperate and wanting. She peels off her own top before he can do it for her. The rest of the clothes come up in-between fiery kisses and grinding and moans. Soon enough she's naked and writhing underneath him. He's waited an age for this moment.
The first time he sheathes himself inside of her, his heart stops. It's the first time he moves inside of her.
He vows it won't be the last.
It has to be a dream, it has to. But their bodies are joined as one and he won't slip out of her arms just to roll a damned die.
"I love you."
This. This is the most beautiful statement to ever leave her lips. More heavenly than his name; louder than her screams.
She places her hand over his heart.
And then it hits him.
It doesn't matter if they end up like Dom and Mal. It doesn't. Because he never wants to let her go and he'll spend a thousand years in limbo if he spends it with her.
He's sleeping after. She can't believe what she's done. He was her first. Her only. He was incredible.
She knows he doesn't hear her. She knows he doesn't feel the same way.
She says it anyway.
"I love you."
Reviews are love.