Disclaimer: Inception does not belong to me.
"Under sedation. We needed to induce it so we could consider the damage."
"Mr. Cobb." The young medical doctor faced him, his own faced creasing into a frown. "Let's just say - he's not in good shape. And that's all I can say for the moment. Please, take a seat." His light blue eyes met Cobb's slightly darker ones. "I'll be back as soon as I can."
"But-" Cobb felt words rise to his lips, then, angry and helpless, sank down onto the worn plastic seat. Eames, who had been seated, swallowed and turned to him.
"Don't lose hope."
"I'm not. I don't even know what's wrong with him!" Cobb slapped his thigh in frustration. "All I know is - Arthur doesn't return, then we get a call - he's in the hospital." He lowered his head, rubbing his face. "I guess we should have realised something was wrong when he didn't come back after ten minutes."
"He's disappeared before," Eames reminded him.
"Yes, but never like that." The Extractor felt a swirl of confusing emotions. "We argued. He walked out. Was it-"
"No," Eames interrupted. "It is not. Not our fault. You can't think like that!"
"But-" Cobb sank back into the chair, defeated. "Where's Ariadne?"
Eames shifted. "You really want her here?"
"She'll want to know what's happened to him."
"All right, lets remove the material - what is-"
"Extensive damage - the bone has ripped through the muscle."
"Christ. What about the other leg?"
"Doctor. You need to look at this. Now."
Ariadne flicked a strand of hair over he shoulder, and picked up her water glass. Working from her home study felt liberating. She squinted, scrutinising the lines she'd just drawn, and frowning, picked up her eraser. Carefully, with precision, she removed one of the offending pencil lines.
Setting it down, she frowned. The sketch seemed too cluttered, not clear enough. This was, as Cobb kept reminding them, an important job. But her head wasn't clear enough to concentrate. Swallowing, she got up. It was only 3pm - a brief walk outside might be the answer.
She picked up a light jacket, and on impulse, pulled her cell phone out of her pocket. She could afford to leave it behind, she decided. Taking a deep breath, she began to leave the apartment.
"Do we need blood?"
"Yes. There's a severed vein - right here."
"That's not good. We may have to consider-"
"You're not serious."
"Listen. He can heal. If we do this. But, if not, he might find himself dying of blood poisoning, or-"
"So to save his life, you're going to-"
"Listen, I'm a surgeon. Saving life is what this profession is about."
Ariadne walked half a block. The fresh air was already working its magic. She inhaled deeply, filling her lungs. As she walked, she came close to an entrance to a public park. On impulse, she turned, deciding to walk through it.
As she entered, she frowned. She was sure she could hear the sound of sobbing. It was muffled, but it was audible. As she walked closer, she realised that it was a man she could hear.
"Hey, anyone there?"
Frowning, Ariadne began to draw back. She felt angry with herself, at her own insensitivity. Someone was obviously troubled - she was intruding. Feeling embarrassed, she turned.
She stopped. A voice. It sounded muffled - clearly the result of crying. She began to walk further in. To her surprise, she saw a young man - dressed in a sweat stained t-shirt and shorts, a cycling helmet thrown at his feet - hunched up. She walked up to him.
"Are you allright?"
He looked up, his eyes narrowing slightly. "Fine," he said, shortly. Before she could say anything further, he'd grabbed the helmet, and begun to move towards the bike he'd discarded on the grass. Ariadne frowned - she'd noticed the front wheel looked slightly dented.
"Look, I only want to know if you're-"
He was already on the bike. "Save it," he snapped, curtly. Before she could protest or move, he'd cycled away. Slightly stunned, she watched him go.
She swallowed, trying to calm her thoughts. Shaking her head, she continued on her way.
Cobb blinked, and looked up. The doctor was standing in front of him. "Look, doctor-"
"Pelham," he interrupted. "Aidan Pelham."
"OK, Dr Pelham," Cobb continued, trying to remain calm. "Why should I leave?"
"Because Arthur's asleep, and cannot be disturbed."
"Dr." Cobb got to his feet. "What are you hiding from us?" There was a slightly nervous look on the other man's face. "You need to be honest with me-"
"Mr Cobb!" Pelham held up his hand. "I need to know who Arthur's immediate family are." He swallowed. "Do you have any details?"
"No." Cobb shook his head. "But I'm his business partner, and his best friend."
"I see." Pelham nodded. "Well, maybe you should come into my office."
Ariadne was first in the warehouse the next morning. To her surprise, none of the others were there. She frowned, and shook her head.
Clearly, not checking her cellphone for messages last night had been a mistake. She shrugged - if they were in a meeting, she'd find out. Smiling, she picked up her blueprint, and headed downstairs. Creating a world to entrap a computer genius - it was a challenge.
"And they had to do that?"
Cobb nodded. "Apparently so. Had to, to try and save his life."
"Bit drastic, wasn't it?"
"Danger of blood poisoning. Other complications." Cobb shuddered, and rubbed his forehead. "But, I don't know how anyone is going to tell him."
"Or Ariadne. Did you get through to her?"
"No. Left about ten voicemails." Cobb nearly banged the table in frustration. "I have no idea where she was yesterday."
"Well, no doubt we'll see her today." Eames set his espresso cup down with a sharp click. "And we will have to tell her."
"Yes. And when he finally comes round from the sedation...who is going to tell Arthur?"
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