Disclaimer: Inception does not belong to me. Nor does Looper.

Arthur blinked as he turned on the hard cot. He'd barely slept for the last few days, and was now uncomfortably aware he was sliding into a danger zone.

He looked at the wall, stiffening. Could he see bugs crawling on those pristine whitewashed walls? He shuddered, and turned his head.

As he turned over, his ribs pressed uncomfortably into the hard, narrow mattress. He couldn't remember the last time he'd been given a full meal. Couldn't even remember when he'd been allowed to clean himself.

He closed his eyes, hoping to slide into sleep. Suddenly, the metal bolt on the door began to slide open. He blinked, stirring.

"Hey." A voice, male, soft, was penetrating the room. "Wake up, pretty boy. The boss wants to see you."

Arthur stirred. An expensive looking suit was hoving into view, and, by the narrowness of the form it contained, he immediately knew it was Robert Fischer. The older man began to crouch down next to the cot, his eyes on a level with Arthur's.

"Well, Morning," he said, softly. "Its half seven. Time to wake. Time for you to-"

Arthur swallowed. His mouth felt dry, as did his throat. He shook his head. "No. Not today."

Fischer smirked. "Suit yourself." He turned and walked out, his goon following him.

The door clanged shut, an echoing, empty sound. Swallowing, Arthur closed his eyes, and tried to fall back into sleep.

"Are you suggesting we kill a child?"

Ariadne's shocked voice echoed throughout the empty house. Joe sighed, and leaned back in his chair. "If you want to save your husband, and perhaps get back to him, yes."

"How is shooting a child going to reunite me with Arthur?" Ariadne demanded, her voice growing heated. "Think about it, Joe." She shook her head, sinking back into her seat.

Joe bit back an angry retort. In his profession, he'd learned to conceal his feelings - hide them behind a mask. Finally, he composed his face.

"If we kill Robert Fischer as a child," he explained, patiently, "it means that he will never terrorise you - or your husband. Therefore, you will be together, and happy."

Eames looked at the slightly younger man, his eyebrows raised. "I don't think that's going to work."


"Because Fischer is the reason Ariadne and Arthur are together." Eames toyed restlessly with a spoon lying on the table in front of him. "We hired Ariadne as an architect to work in extracting from Fischer."

Joe raised his eyebrows. "Office romance." He shook his head. "Cute."

"It wasn't like that!" Ariadne protested, hotly. "We didn't even..." she blushed, her voice trailing away.

"Look, I'm not judging you," Joe countered. "But you need to face it - if Fischer doesn't exist - you two will never meet, but at the moment, you're stuck here."

"So..." Ariadne swallowed. "Are you saying I'll never get back to Arthur?"

Joe looked at her. "Maybe." He leaned back. "Maybe, this is it."

"But I-" she got up, quickly. "Excuse me," she whispered.

Eames' eyes followed her as she left the room. He looked at Joe, frowning. "You didn't need to be like that-"

"She needs to face reality," Joe said, simply. "She's lucky I didn't just kill her."

Eames pushed his chair back. "I think Ariadne and I can deal with this by ourselves. Perhaps its time you and we went our separate ways-"

"No, you don't understand," Joe interrupted. "You were sent back, she came back - he'll be looking for you. And the only person who can protect you both, is me." He stood up, standing in front of the stockier man. "But if you two want to leave, be my guests." He shook his head. "I'm better off without both of you."

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