Disclaimer: Inception does not belong to me.

"Right," Arthur said, studying the menu. "I think I'll order steak...with the black peppercorn sauce-" he frowned, and peered at the wine list - "and a bottle of Merlot." He peered over the laminated edge, and smiled at her. "What will you have?"

Ariadne shifted uneasily in her seat. "Salmon, if that's all right."

"Of course its all right, why wouldn't it be?" his face creased in a frown. "Are you all right?" his hand inched across the table, and reached for hers. "You seem very..."

"What?" she looked at him, her eyes blinking. "I'm sorry, what did you say?"

Arthur leaned back, a scowl crossing his features. "Are you listening to a word I'm saying? Or am I talking to myself?"

"No, I am listening," she responded, defensively. She looked down at her empty place mat. "But you-"

"But I what?"

"But you jump to conclusion too quickly," she finished, not meeting his eyes.

"Oh, do I?"

"Yes, you do!"

Arthur blinked, and turned his head. "Ariadne, people are looking at us-"

"Let them look," she snapped. "I don't care."

"Ari!" he looked shocked, and suddenly, she was pushing her chair back from the table, and getting up.

"I'll see you tomorrow," she said, coolly, standing up. A waiter, who had been hovering, was taking a step back, looking slightly shocked. Arthur reached out to grab her hand. "Ariadne, I-"

She pulled back, quickly - too quickly. As she did so, his hand moved and an empty wine glass fell to the floor, smashing into fragments. She swallowed, mesmerised by the tinkling glass.

"Now look what you made me do!" Arthur hissed, his eyes narrowed. She shook her head. "No. I didn't want you to touch me. So-"

"So you decided to make a scene." His voice was hoarse. "Thanks. An expensive restaurant, and you decide to make a-"

"I told you I didn't want to go out tonight," she whispered, trying to fight the tears that were prickling the back of her eyes. "I would have been happy to stay in, but you-"

"Don't make this out to be my fault!" he snapped, his face flushing red. "If you had listened in the first place-"

Ariadne had heard enough. Reaching over, she grabbed her purse, beginning to straighten up. "Good night, Arthur." Swallowing, she began to walk out of the restaurant, trying to hold her head high, ignoring the whispers and looks that were beginning to murmur in the restaurant.

Arthur sat motionless, staring at his plate. One minute, she'd been seated opposite him. The next, she was walking out, a trail of perfume lingering behind her.

He swallowed, using his self control not to burst into sobs. This was happening too frequently. They got together, enjoyed each other's company, then suddenly, they were using words as weapons - snapping at each other, passing snide comments, sitting in stony silence. He remembered that only the previous week they had been sitting together on the couch, him nuzzling into her neck, when she'd sighed and shifted.

"Am I hurting you?" he'd asked, puzzled.

"No," she'd responded, a little too shortly. He'd frowned. "No need to take that tone."

"I'm not!" she'd bitten back, her face slightly annoyed. He'd shaken his head. "Don't snap at me."

"I didn't!" she'd protested, hotly, only for him to scowl angrily and get up. He'd stalked into the kitchen, muttering under his breath. She'd followed him. "Arthur!"

"Look, whatever I did, I'm sorry," he snapped, his voice almost a petulant whine, "but you don't need to snap at me and-"

"Arthur!" she looked at him, her expression slightly shocked. "I didn't snap at you! I just answered your question!"

He'd scowled. "You're always right, aren't you?" Stunned, she'd watched as he'd walked back to the couch, sinking into it, his arms folded.


His head jerked up. The waiter was looking at him. "Can I get you-"

He swallowed. "The cheque, please."

Nodding, the waiter walked away. Arthur stared dully at the bottle of wine sitting on the table. Sighing, he poured himself a glass, determined not to waste it.

Ariadne shivered as she walked home. She could have hailed a cab, but her anger was churning inside her, making her want to walk.

She could not believe how Arthur was behaving. Everything seemed to be pickings for an argument, and the smallest little comment seemed to trigger a fight. She remembered, dully, the scene in his apartment the previous week. He'd asked if he'd been hurting her - all she'd responded with had been a simple no. He'd taken it personally - far too personally. Suddenly, he'd stormed off into the kitchen, and proceeded to stonewall her for the rest of the night.

Except when they'd gone to bed.

She shivered slightly, remembering how explosive their encounter had been. "I'm sorry," he'd whispered, his lips caressing her neck, moving swiftly down to her chest. "I'm sorry."

She hadn't spoken, allowing him to show his love. As she'd shivered at his touch, she'd wondered, uneasily, just when the problems would begin again.

As she reached her apartment, she paused. The red light on her telephone was flashing. Frowning, she reached over and pressed it.

"Ariadne? Arthur. What happened...I need to talk to you. I'll be coming over tomorrow, before work ok? I'm sorry. I love you."

She sighed deeply, and deleted the message. Arthur was always sorry. But tonight, she reasoned, it didn't feel like enough.

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