Chapter 1: Andrew

Hey, guys. This is my second story, which requires a little bit of background info since technically it comes from a whole collection where this is already known, so here it is: longo time before the inception job party, Arthur had a wife, Laura, and a son named Andrew, who know nothing about his whole, you know, being a criminal thing. So you should know that. And now Andrew is all grown up. And cool. Which means this story actually takes place after Inception. In case you haven't noticed, I write odd author's notes. I also like muffins. No, that's a lie. I like chocolate chip muffins. So you should read it. Thanks. Also, Arthur's last name is Miller in this story (fake, for the purpose of the marriage license), because I love Death of a Salesman (by Arthur Miller).

Disclaimer: I don't own Inception, it belongs to the obnoxious British genius (to whom I owe my existence).

Outside, golden red leaves fluttered past the window, blown astray by a sudden gust of wind, which made the pane rattle in its wooden frame. But the weather was lost on Andrew Miller, who sat at the worn wooden desk in his attic room, scribbling on a sheet of paper. Laid out before him was a cork board, every square inch of which was obscured by a chaotic collage of pictures, newspaper clippings, maps, and handwritten sticky notes.

There was a photograph tacked at the very center depicting three people, frozen in time. On the left was a beaming blonde woman in her late twenties, with well-worn laugh lines and sparkling blue eyes. Next to her was a raven-haired man with pale skin, also smiling, with narrow eyes that were almost Asian in appearance. In his arms, the man held a chubby baby in a brightly colored sun hat, one hand flung wildly up towards the man's face.

Andrew had inherited his father's jet black hair and, so his mother told him, his attention to detail and aptitude for acquiring information he wasn't supposed to know. The cork board had been amassed over ten years, bits and pieces taken from carefully scrutinized newspapers, family photo albums, and password secured websites into which Andrew had hacked with ease. And still he knew so frustratingly little about his father.

He had the story which his mother, Laura, had told him when he was younger, and had asked every night without fail where his daddy was, and why he wasn't at home, like the fathers of the other boys at school. And without fail, Laura had told him how they had been high school sweethearts who married too young, and that Arthur had been unable to cope with the responsibility of raising a child when he himself was still so young.

There was also the story he had gleaned from bits of eavesdropped conversation between Laura and her mother, Catherine, the flimsy thread which he desperately tried to weave through the rest of his information, to make it all fit. Catherine often made cutting remarks about Arthur, and how he had been nothing but trouble from the start, how he'd never really cared for Laura, and how his work had always come first, even with a newborn son.

But neither of these stories sat well with Andrew. A small part of him knew that he was simply biased, not wanting to believe anything bad about the father he so desperately wanted to find. He ignored this part, telling himself that whatever the truth was, he would find it out for himself.

So Andrew made his decision. He was seventeen years old. It was time to act. With Running Start, he'd graduated high school early, and told everyone, including Laura, that he was going to spend the summer doing EuroRail with a friend, before flying to eastern China, and ending in Japan. this was not entirely true.

Yes, he was going to travel, but the first place on his agenda was a bit further south: Kenya. When doing a face recognition scan on Arthur through a corporate security database, he'd found two pictures tagged in connection to his father's, both of whom had been spotted together in Mombasa: Thomas Eames and Dominic Cobb. It was a slim shot to be sure-the alert was over 15 years old, but it was the only lead he had. Upon further investigation, absolutely nothing had surfaced about Eames. It was like he didn't exist. Cobb, however, was a different matter.

Andrew's first Google search had yielded several newspaper and online articles about Los Angeles native Dom Cobb, who, sixteen years previously, had been convicted of first degree murder and fled the country. With some clever dodging around the California Court of Justice security systems, Andrew was able to discover that there had never been a follow-up on the case, and, as far as anyone in California knew, Cobb was still MIA.

The interesting part was that Cobb's flagged appearance in Mombasa had occurred eight months after he reportedly fled the U.S.

Andrew had no idea why his father and Cobb would be tagged together, but he intended to find out.