Disclaimer: Inception does not belong to me.

He woke, his eyes stinging slightly, and his body shaking. Swallowing, he tried to control his muscles - his limbs were beginning to twitch.

"Hey. Lie still."

He blinked, trying to control himself. The smiling, serene face filled his vision, tantalisingly holding up the eye drop.

"Want one?" she said, invitingly.

Nodding, he tried to relax as the liquid fell soundlessly, being absorbed into his eye. He blinked, trying to ignore the sudden jolt, suddenly feeling as though he could cope with the next minute. The next hour.

"Thanks," he breathed, as the hit began to spread through his system, soothing his jangling nerve ends, his coiled muscles. He began to breathe deeply, feeling more relaxed.

"You're welcome." She began to sit up, swinging her legs round. He blinked at the tantalising black underwear. "Still, I need to go. How long do you reckon you're going to be here for?"

"Um...another half hour?"

She shook her head. "Too long, baby. Can you be out of here in ten?"

He looked at her, trying to stifle his annoyance. Normally she'd do anything for you.

"Not got someone else, have you?" he asked, only half-jokingly. Her face clouded, and she looked offended. "No. Unless, you count my child." She turned her back on him, her shoulders tense. "You're not the centre of my world. Only of your own."

Joe blinked, realising he was losing control of the situation - an indication he either needed to leave, or simply take it back. "Well, thanks anyway." He spoke brusquely, as though to underline that he didn't need her. Didn't need anyone. "Besides, I have work."


He turned, giving her a half smile. "I could tell you, but I'd..." he paused, letting the sentence die in his throat. She nodded, and walked towards him. "Bye then," she said, tenderly.

He leaned forward, letting her kiss him. Nodding, he picked up his oxblood leather jacket, and turned to leave.

As the car wove in and out of traffic, he blinked, trying to calm his thoughts. She'd rejected him. Effectively thrown him out. He shook his head. A two-bit stripper, a single mother...did she really think he felt lucky to have her? Cursing under his breath, he pulled into the parking lot, determined to change before he headed to work.

He opened the door, getting out, rubbing his face. His latest hit still seemed to be slow in taking effect. Frowning, he rubbed his forehead.


He turned. Seth, grinning and wide eyed, was bounding towards him. "You got a hit today?"

Joe shrugged, pocketing the keys. "Every day." He felt a slight flash of irritation - Seth was always so obvious. Making comments that were too easy to be picked up on.

"Don't you ever wonder-" Seth began, then stopped, catching note of the look in the other Looper's eye.

"Wonder what?" Joe asked, his tone determinedly neutral.

"Don't you ever wonder who these people are? What happened?"

"No." Joe shrugged, and began to walk towards the door. "I don't. Its a job. They did something, time for them to die. Its that simple."

"Well, I wonder."

"In that case-" Joe turned, and looked at his colleague - "maybe you should get another job. You can't let emotion interfere. Not even if you're closing the loop."

Seth nodded, looking slightly crushed. Shrugging, Joe headed in, towards his apartment.

He checked his watch. Eleven Thirty. He looked at the blank sheet lying in front of him.

Come on.

Another minute passed. Impatient, he began to grit his teeth.

Another minute.

Suddenly, he blinked. The figure crouching in front of him was smaller than he'd previously encountered, and expected. Frowning, he took a step.

He stopped. The figure was moving, and to his shock, realised it was getting to its feet. Furious, he walked forward, and ripped the plain white hood down.

Stunned, he found himself staring into the dark eyes of a young woman. Before he could move, she'd turned and fled.

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