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02 April 2011 @ 06:18 pm
[fic]: (as i'm free) take me down the way  
Title: (As I’m Free) Take Me Down the Way

Author: epistolic

Rating: PG-13.

Word Count: 5,030.

Genre: Romance.

Disclaimer: Don't own this!

Summary: This is a story about growing up. Eames/Arthur, slash, One-Shot.

A/N: eames_arthur exchange fic for callmebombshell. A big thank-you to my lovely betas – chaoticallyclev, delires, gelbwax, and mementis. You guys are fabulous for putting up with my slap-dash attitude to deadlines. I have so much love for all of you.

--
(As I’m Free) Take Me Down the Way
--

[01]

“Do you want to have sex after this?” Eames yelled.

Arthur, who was crouched behind a car ten metres away, yelled something back but the words were drowned out by the sound of gunfire. Eames tried to squint through the heat fumes at Arthur’s face and nearly lost an ear in the process. He ruefully hunkered back down again. It didn’t matter either way – he had a fairly good idea what Arthur’s expression was probably like right now; Eames had seen it twice before, and both those instances had involved someone being kneed enthusiastically in the crotch.

“No, I mean it,” Eames shouted above the roaring din. He reached up and broke the wing mirror off of his car. “Maybe it would stop your subconscious from trying to disembowel me every time I come down to memorise a layout.”

“You’re right,” Arthur yelled back.

“I – ” Eames began, then stopped. “I am?”

“If I had sex with you, I’d lose interest in you. Which is why I haven’t tried to fuck you yet.”

“Is this how you show interest?” Eames hollered at him, horrified. “By arming your subconscious with submachine guns?”

There came a volley of fire from Arthur’s car. Eames stuck the wing mirror out from the pick-up truck he’d sought shelter behind, trying to catch a glimpse of Arthur in the mirror’s grimy reflection. Seconds later, this proved unnecessary. Arthur appeared in the shadow of the blue Ford one parking space over, and then rolled across the gap to Eames’ side.

“Not a bazooka in sight.” Arthur had grit in his hair; it looked ridiculous, clinging to the shell of his pomade. “You’d better step up your game, my subconscious is obviously still unimpressed.”

“I can live with that, provided I don’t die first.”

Arthur rolled his eyes, midway through reloading his rifle. “Well, excuse me if I don’t faint from your wit. Did you have a plan as to how to get us out of here, or have you already used up all your mental capacity by waving that useless mirror around?”

“You’re always whining that I steal your thunder,” said Eames. “I’ll be the bigger man. I’ll let you get us out this time.”

Arthur paused and peered at Eames very critically.

“You didn’t bring a gun, did you?” he accused at last. Without waiting for an answer, he followed that up with, “Remind me again why I thought this was a good idea. I’m sure I had a reason at some point in time.”

“You were enamoured with my good looks,” Eames said hopefully.

“God will smite you for telling falsehoods,” Arthur said. “And as punishment for such an unforgivable transgression, I’m cancelling my plans to sleep with you tonight.”

“Oh, come on,” Eames said, looking on with interest as Arthur straightened up sharply to squeeze off some shots. “You never had plans to sleep with me tonight.”

Arthur sniffed. “Well, now you’ll never know, will you?”

“Maybe I know already,” Eames said carelessly. “Your love affair with those platinum cufflinks of yours is pretty much common knowledge by now. There’s no point trying to hide your love. You’ll only further damage your delicate psychosocial profile.”

Arthur jabbed Eames in the side with the butt of his rifle. It hurt. Eames hissed and rolled away.

“Come on,” said Arthur. His voice had turned brisk, which Eames recognised as a sign that Arthur was bored and retreating back to the proper business at hand. The gunfire around them had abruptly stopped. “I still have to show you the shortcuts I put in last night.”

Eames stood up and, not bothering to haul Arthur up behind him, peered down both ends of the empty street.

“Your subconscious isn’t sticking around?” Eames said, not particularly feeling the loss.

Arthur shrugged. It was an efficient movement.

“Nothing of interest,” said Arthur. “Come on, it’s this way.”

--

[02]

On Eames’ twenty-eighth birthday, the sun was hot in Makassar just like it was on any other day. The crooked mass of port-side buildings appeared foggily in the view from Eames’ second-floor window. Yusuf, who was on business somewhere in Egypt, called Eames up at a ridiculous hour of the morning to offer congratulations and anti-wrinkle cream; which was ironic, as only three months ago Eames had done the same for Arthur’s twenty-fifth.

Arthur called a day later, and Eames put him on hands-free so he could work and talk simultaneously.

“Happy birthday,” Arthur said. He sounded worn out, his voice raspy from the bad connection. “I’m glad to hear that you’re not dead.”

“My birthday was yesterday,” Eames pointed out.

“No, it wasn’t,” said Arthur. “It’s the twenty-first where I am. I don’t care that Indonesia is one day in the future, or that I only realised that this morning at five o’clock. Technically speaking, I’m right on time.”

Eames smiled, which was safe because Arthur couldn’t see him, and went on assembling his equipment. He had two vials of adrenaline and a syringe, with a sniper rifle as back-up if something went wrong. The rifle he packed in a duffel bag. The capped syringe he put into his shirt’s front pocket.

“What are you doing?” Arthur asked eventually.

“Pruning back the food chain for someone else,” Eames said. “What are you doing?”

Arthur snorted. “Well, after this, I have two more phone calls I need to make, and then I’m going to lounge around in my unmade bed and eat Doritos to my heart’s content.”

“Mal always said you were a heathen,” Eames said, jealously.

“Mal always said that you weren’t worth my time,” Arthur said.

Eames paused in zipping the duffel bag shut, blinking unseeingly at his living room carpet. “Why?”

“You have the maturity of a seven year old,” Arthur said, which Eames thought was a little bit rich considering Arthur’s penchant for multi-coloured marshmallows. “I don’t want to be accused of being a paedophile.”

“That,” Eames said, “is decidedly unfair. I’m much better developed than a seven year old.”

“Do I hear you getting defensive?” said Arthur.

“You hear me re-establishing myself as a shining paragon of truth,” said Eames.

When Arthur laughed, Eames was suddenly struck with an image of him: eyes crinkled up, twin dimples reluctantly creasing his cheeks, the careless shake of his narrow shoulders. Eames wondered then if, given the opportunity, he would ever actually sleep with him. The thought was very fleeting and did not leave a mark.

“By the way,” Arthur said finally, voice sobering up, “I heard that you were working on something new. Roberts mentioned it to me two days ago.”

Eames shouldered his bag. “Word sure travels fast.”

“Are you really going to attempt inception?” asked Arthur in a rush, and although Eames heard him trying to hold himself back, some residual curiosity still managed to spill down the phone line. “Isn’t it theoretically impossible?”

“Arthur,” said Eames. “You read too many books.”

“You only say that because you don’t read at all,” Arthur snapped.

“The human mind doesn’t work like a book,” Eames pointed out, more patiently than he was typically inclined to be. “Ideas aren’t tangible, they’re not concrete. The same idea to two different people can mean two entirely different things. It’s not a matter of what works in theory or not, you’ll never know until you actually try it out. And I’ve decided to try it out.”

“You have a plan already?”

It was so like Arthur – to jump immediately to the making of plans. Eames felt a stab of annoyance inside his gut.

“No,” he said shortly. “I’m working on it.”

“Let me know how it works out,” Arthur said. It was obvious Arthur was pretending to humour him; Eames could sense it, Arthur’s stalwart disbelief, and he was reminded of a time when he’d tried to explain to his mother what it was that he did for a living. Sometimes, Eames thought there was nothing wrong with retaining a certain childishness. It was like having an entirely different lens with which to view the rest of the world; a lens with higher contrast, with every colour having a greater saturation than in adulthood. Children believed things that adults did not. Ideas came to them thicker; each was possible.

Eames went out of his front door, feeling the dig of the bag strap against the meat of his shoulder. “I will.”

--

Two weeks later, Eames burst into his hotel room to find Arthur sitting nonchalantly on the couch.

“Jesus,” Eames said, wildly out of breath and flicking the safety of his gun back on. “I nearly shot you.”

“Yes, I noticed,” Arthur said, quite dry.

Eames ignored this and headed immediately for his suitcase. He could feel a hot moistness in the flesh of his side, and he tucked his left arm in closer to his body to stem it. It made gathering up his clothes rather difficult. He snatched a shirt off the carpet, grunting a little.

Arthur appeared in the doorway. “Hey, are you hurt? Eames, hang on, just stop for a moment.”

“This is a pretty bad time for a visit,” said Eames. He didn’t pause; he had a ten minute head-start at most, and he was rapidly trying to catalogue where the most important of his belongings were.

Arthur’s eyebrows shot towards his hairline. “How bad?”

“Do you really want me to spell it out?”

“Do you even know how to spell?” Arthur said, though he instantly began to sweep things neatly off Eames’ desk for him. Arthur’s movements were crisp and very abrupt, which was what told Eames that Arthur had already worked it all out. “Wait a second, Eames, I should bandage that – ”

“No time,” Eames snapped. “And of course I can spell.”

“How many times have I had to tell you that ‘unnecessary’ has two ‘n’s – ”

“That was once,” Eames protested, half-heartedly, wrenching his PASIV out of the hotel safe. “It doesn’t count if you remind me on a daily basis, I only actually made the mistake one time.”

Arthur paused halfway through clamping Eames’ suitcase shut, staring up at the briefcase in Eames’ hands.

“I didn’t know you had your own PASIV,” he said, looking stunned. “I don’t even have one of those.”

“I stole it from an ex-colonel in Winnipeg while he was out buying lingerie for his brother’s third mistress.”

“Please tell me you’re joking.”

“Do I ever joke?” Eames said, as Arthur gave a loud snort and hefted the suitcase upright. “No, really, I don’t have time to elaborate right now. If I’m still alive in a month, which is highly unlikely, I promise I’ll give you all the sordid little details you could ever ask for.”

Arthur sat back on his haunches. “It went that badly, huh?”

“The idea didn’t take. He woke up midway through.”

Arthur opened his mouth, presumably to snipe out an I told you so, but was prevented by a sudden spray of bullets through the window of Eames’ hotel room. Craters erupted along the opposite wall. Eames plastered himself to the space by the windowsill, hissing as the movement jostled his wound. Arthur, crouched behind the bed, already had his Glock out and was peering carefully over the mattress, body wound as tightly as a coiled-up spring. Eames wondered suddenly how Arthur had known where he was. Why he had, for no reason, sought Eames out.

But then someone kicked down the door to the hotel suite and Eames had more important things to think about.

--

[03]

They’d only been running for five minutes or so when Cook, their diminutive architect, burst out with, “Will the two of you please shut up? I don’t really care where the dinosaur came from, as long as we get away from it.”

“It’s Eames, obviously,” Arthur said, bull-dozing over her. “My projections are perfectly human, thank-you.”

“Excuse me?” said Eames incredulously. “If you’ll recall, the last time I dropped into your dreams, your projections tried to kill me with a nail-gun and a saw. I’m not sure that qualifies as human, Arthur.”

“It is when we’re dealing with you,” Arthur said.

“That’s it,” said Eames. “I’m going to give Minnie full permission to tear you limb to limb with her claws.”

Arthur exploded with laughter, which was rather unfortunate as this was the moment Minnie chose to catch up to them. Arthur narrowly escaped losing the left side of his face. Minnie’s claws left three deep gauges on Arthur’s cheek, and when they rounded the next corner Eames was childishly pleased to see that Arthur was no longer laughing.

“Jesus Christ,” said Cook, her steps faltering. “Arthur, I think I need to patch up – ”

“Keep running.” Arthur’s voice was low and focused, and he looked strange with blood dripping onto his shirt. Eames blinked from a sudden lapse in recognition. “Ten minutes tops before we’re at the elevators.”

Cook snatched a fresh towel from off a cleaner’s cart. “Here. Try to keep some pressure on it.”

“It’s fine.”

It took exactly eight minutes and forty-nine seconds for them to reach the bank of elevator doors. Arthur swayed for a moment when they stepped inside, then found the rail and leaned on it heavily.

“Arthur,” Eames said, staring at the shock of red towel peeking out from between Arthur’s splayed fingertips.

“Your subconscious is vicious,” Arthur snapped at him.

Eames supposed it was an apology accepted, of sorts.

“You’re both mad,” Cook put in then, shaking her head. She looked like she meant it. “When we finish this job I’ll have nothing more to do with either of you lunatics. Arthur, I know I owe you some favours, but nearly getting eaten by a prehistoric reptile surpasses the sum of all of them.”

Arthur shot Eames a very nasty look, but said nothing until they were up top again.

“What the hell was that,” Arthur hissed at Eames the moment Cook disappeared into the kitchenette. “You’re a grown man, the only time I’ve seen dinosaurs was when I extracted from a five year old boy last year.”

Eames took his time removing his cannula. “Unlike you, Arthur, I have an imagination.”

“If imagination is what gets half of my face torn off, then I’m glad I don’t have one,” Arthur spat.

“Look, I’m sorry about what happened down there – ”

“It’s not just about what happened down there. Eames, for fuck’s sake, this is getting ridiculous. You keep – getting yourself in trouble because you have these grand ideas, and it’s not imagination, it’s just – you don’t grow up. You don’t learn. That time last year with the botched inception – I told you that it couldn’t be done, but you just wouldn’t take me seriously.”

“You don’t know that it can’t be done,” Eames said, heatedly, feeling the argument rise in him. “No-one knows that something can be done until someone does it, Arthur.”

“Well, it didn’t work, did it?”

“It just means that I had the wrong approach, I’ll revise it and then I’ll try again.”

“I’m not going to keep on chasing after you,” Arthur said. He’d leaned forward, his line still in his wrist, and he looked as if he was moments away from throwing a punch at Eames’ face. “I won’t always be around to stop you from being gunned down in your hotel room – ”

“I didn’t invite you to chase after me,” Eames bit out.

“Just because I could see that the inception wasn’t going to work – ”

“I don’t need you to rescue me. I know what I’m doing.”

“Do you?” Arthur accused. “I don’t think you do.”

Eames stared. Arthur’s brows were drawn tautly together, his mouth pinched into a furious line. It was impossible for Eames to explain to him – the fact that reality was never predictable, that things occurred on a daily basis that could not be understood in any clear-cut way.

Arthur finally sat back, eyes cutting away like he was tired of the conversation.

“Are you going to LA for James’ birthday?” he said after some time, sounding drained. “Mal called yesterday.”

Eames nodded warily. “She called me too. I’m flying up as soon as this job is done.”

“Right.”

They sat there for a long moment after, never fully looking each other in the eye. Eames realised that their common ground was shaky at best; he doubted that he would ever know what Arthur thought about, what he dreamed at night when he wasn’t plugged in. The thought stirred something else that had been nagging at him, and he shifted uneasily in his chair.

“I’ve been thinking of going into forgery.”

Arthur looked up at him, sharply. Then he gave a soft laugh. “I’m not surprised, since every forger in existence seems to go mad within the space of a year. You’re already mad, so I suppose it wouldn’t make a difference to you.”

“I’m serious,” Eames said. “I think it could work, I’m not just saying it for the sake of changing the subject.”

He waited, but Arthur said absolutely nothing as he stared down at the medical tape across his wrist. There was a strange look hovering on Arthur’s face; it seemed surprisingly close to jealousy.

“You always think that things could work,” Arthur said after at least five minutes of silence. “Don’t you?”

“Everything’s possible until proven otherwise,” said Eames, watching as Arthur tore off the medical tape.

--

[04]

They took an extraction together three weeks later. Arthur seemed to have filed away their last conversation, as he sometimes did with his weaknesses.

On their final dress rehearsal before the job, they went down into Eames’ second-level dream with Arthur’s subconscious populating it. The vault was a small one; at the centre of it sat a woman’s dresser, and on top of that, a music box. Eames was wearing a woman he’d seen once in Morocco. Arthur, posted by the door, had a rifle tucked close against his right shoulder, peering carefully out of the gaping door. Beneath them, drifting up through the carpeted floor, came a deep rumble as projections started to swarm.

Arthur didn’t look up from his rifle-sight. His voice was slightly muffled. “Hurry up.”

“There’s no rush,” Eames muttered, peering down at the box. “Your projections aren’t even militarised this time. Does that mean that I’m boring your subconscious?”

“Eames,” Arthur said, shortly. “Concentrate.”

“Right. Well, we should lengthen the floor-space in here, it could give us valuable time tomorrow – ”

“Are you honestly considering revisions now?”

Eames hooked a finger under the clasp of the music box, inexplicably annoyed with Arthur’s tone. “Don’t talk down to me, Arthur. And it’s not a large change.”

“That’s the sixth change you’ve proposed in less than ten minutes,” Arthur snapped back, ducking out into the corridor. Five rapid shots later, he ducked back in, dark hair slightly whiter from plaster dust.

“Isn’t that the point? To see if we can make things run a bit smoother?”

“Eames, it’s the goddamn day before – ”

“I’ll still be able to hold the dream up,” Eames said, crossing his arms. “Is that what you’re worried about?”

“Anyone can hold a dream,” said Arthur. “But you’ve got to hold the dream up and forge at the same time, and you’ve just spent the last thirty minutes or so flickering in and out of focus. That’s what I’m worried about.”

Eames looked down; it took a remarkable level of concentration to chase out the blurs on the edge of his dress. He kept forgetting which way the folds draped down, and they rippled whenever he thought about anything else.

“Admit it, Eames,” Arthur said flatly. “Leave the modifications out. Just concentrate on your forge.”

Eames thinned his lips. “I can do both.”

“Stop biting off more than you can chew.”

Arthur’s tone was so curt that, for at least a minute, all Eames could do was stare at him. Arthur hadn’t even turned to look at Eames. He’d flung the words over his shoulder without a thought. At that, the fury rose in Eames’ chest like the roaring swell of a crescendo, as if years of being dismissed without a thought came suddenly to a head in that single moment. It was a fury he had never experienced before; not the fury of having been denied something, but a more complex fury, one that hummed right through his ribs and pulsed its way upward towards his throat. It felt sharp, in the way that no plaything was. The force of it was like a pinpoint focus, moulding him into something else. In a matter of seconds, he was abruptly clear, each component of him falling neatly beneath the skin of who he was trying to be; he was acutely aware of how, immediately, it was as if he had shed the simplest part of himself.

“I can do it,” he said. He jutted out his hip, braced himself against the dresser with fluidity.

Arthur turned, surprised at the change in his voice. The muzzle of Arthur’s gun lowered. “Eames – ”

“I can do it, Arthur. Just let me try. We’ll never know if you don’t let me try.”

Arthur opened his mouth. For the briefest of moments Eames thought that Arthur was going to refuse, but then Arthur gave him a very crisp nod as the first wave of projections emerged in the door. There wasn’t a single gun amongst them, or even a knife. Eames died very quickly. Compared to others he’d had working with Arthur, it was one of the gentlest deaths by far.

--

After the job had gone through without a hitch, Arthur gave Eames a speculative look. The airport bustled around them for a second while the two of them stood absolutely still.

“See you,” said Arthur. “Don’t get yourself killed.”

“Okay,” said Eames, bending down for his bags.

--

[05]

Eames was in Capetown when he heard the news about Cobb. It wasn’t even Arthur who called him, though this was mainly explained by the fact that Arthur too had gone on the run.

“What about the children?” Eames said immediately. “Is there anyone looking after them?”

Four hours later, Eames was on a flight to LA with a bag he’d packed in fourteen minutes. Some part of him did not forgive Dom Cobb – Eames could not respect a man who’d leave his children and run – but some part of him, a larger part, was stunned that Arthur had disappeared as well. Arthur was not the type to drop things at a moment’s notice. That was more Eames’ territory, to uproot and fall off the grid on a whim, to take a chance.

Arthur infinitely preferred to be safe.

The more he thought about this, however, the more Eames realised it wasn’t entirely true. Arthur favoured jobs that were fast and hard. Arthur, whose subconscious showed its interest by varying the lethality of its weaponry, would go to any lengths to prove a point; much like Eames, Arthur could be easily spurred into juvenile displays of one-upmanship. There was nothing mature about Arthur’s smile, or the way he scratched the nape of his neck sheepishly when embarrassed. Eames remembered Arthur’s face when, almost a year ago, he’d found out that Eames’ inception had not succeeded – the flare of non-malicious triumph in having been proved eventually right.

Arthur hadn’t been right about everything, but then, neither had Eames. They were equal in that.

Eames did not end up staying with Cobb’s children for long, but he stayed for long enough to learn certain things: that Uncle Arthur always bought the best toys, that Uncle Arthur was the best to play pony with. Eames sat on the steps of Cobb’s veranda and watched James chase his older sister around. It surprised him, in that admitting he’d misread Arthur, he felt that he was closer to his twenty-nine years in a way that he’d never felt before. Each month settled on his shoulders, familiar but new. He stretched and felt the weight of it.

“Come play with us, Uncle Eames!” Phillipa shouted, wrist-deep in a muddy hole by the porch.

Eames grinned and went to her, rolling up his sleeves. He did not go for his own sake, but it still felt alright.

--

“So. I hear you’re the best forger around nowadays.”

Eames briefly considered crowing aloud at this, a base impulse. Arthur’s voice was grudging and low, and he would not look up from his stack of files. There was something looser about Arthur’s shoulders, different to how Eames had remembered him, and when the Parisian sun filtered in from the nearest window it ghosted its way over Arthur’s neck.

Ariadne was humming two desks away. Eames cleared his throat and answered reasonably.

“I hear that you and Cobb seem to make the best team. It was neat, how you pulled off that job in Brussels, I probably wouldn’t have managed it if I were in your place.”

“I’ve never known you to play the flattery card,” Arthur said, raising an eyebrow disbelievingly.

“Damn,” Eames said. “You’ve guessed my whole hand.”

Arthur snorted, but his smile was softer at the edges. “A pretty terrible hand, then, if you ask me.”

“You don’t like flattery?”

“Not from you, I don’t,” Arthur said. One sleeve of his shirt slipped down his arm and Eames watched him roll it back above his elbow. “It always manages to make me suspicious.”

“You’re always suspicious of the way I think,” said Eames.

“The last time I dropped my guard around you, you sent a dinosaur after me,” Arthur deadpanned.

Eames said nothing, just stood with his hands in his pockets. There was an amused tint to the quirk of Arthur’s lip, the old playfulness, a pithy humour Arthur had always had that was drier than the Sahara Desert.

As Eames looked on, he thought he saw a quick panic flash its way through Arthur’s eyes.

“Inception, huh,” Eames said, quietly. “I’m guessing this is Cobb’s idea?”

“You know how I feel about inception.”

“I know how you think about inception,” Eames corrected. “I don’t know how you feel about it. You can think and feel two different things. Do you feel that inception is possible?”

Arthur hesitated at this visibly. “It’s – I don’t really think it’s as simple as that.”

“Arthur, I just told you not to think.”

“It’s easy enough for you to say,” Arthur burst out, taking Eames entirely by surprise. “You don’t understand that I don’t work that way, I don’t just – stop thinking. It’s hard for me. I can’t throw myself straight into things with the sort of blind faith that you seem to have.”

“You took a chance with me on our last job,” said Eames. “You let me change the dream any way I wanted.”

“This is different,” said Arthur.

“It isn’t really,” said Eames. “Do you want to know what I think, Arthur? I think that you have to work for it. You have to believe in something before you can accomplish it, and the hardest part isn’t carrying something through, it’s believing that you can actually carry it through. And trusting someone is exactly the same. You have to work to believe that they won’t hurt you, and at least half of that work is pure, blind faith. You can’t stand there and tell me that you don’t have it – because you do. Or you’d never have let me go through with that job.”

At this, Arthur turned his face away. For a long, full moment, he didn’t say anything.

“You’re different,” Arthur said finally, his voice very quiet. “You were never like this before.”

Eames shrugged. “I’m thirty-one. I’m older now, I guess.”

“No, it’s not that.”

Arthur stood without moving an inch, his hands limp and aimless on the cover of a file. The sun travelled through the fabric of his shirt and the edges of his ribcage were defined sharply with shadow.

“You remember when I said you weren’t worth my time?” Arthur asked at last. “Three years ago?”

“Of course,” Eames said, mouth tweaking a little. “It was a pretty harsh thing to say on my birthday.”

“You deserved it then.”

“Do I deserve it now?”

When Arthur looked up, his eyes were honed. Eames almost stepped back from the sudden heat that seemed to scorch its way past his diaphragm. He could make out the freckle on Arthur’s throat, the bead of sweat on Arthur’s temple; and up close, Eames could see how the baking heat had made tiny cracks in Arthur’s gel. Some part of Arthur seemed to be open and Eames could barely breathe in the wake of it.

“No,” Arthur said then, almost to himself. Something gentle formed near his lip. “I guess not.”

--

There were no dinosaurs in Eames’ dream. There were no explosions from Arthur, no ack-ack fire or the acrid sting of smoke in the air; beneath them the snow flecked up with the wind and whistled gently through the strands of their hair. In the distance, Eames could make out the fortress, bulky and forbidding in the fading light. The cliffs fell away on either side of them. Eames leaned out and slightly over the edge, taking in the yawning vertical drop.

“You know,” Eames said, as Arthur stood next to him, “I’ve been under with Cobb and Mal before. Cobb’s projections were never armed when we were down in Mal’s dreams, and he’s been militarised, just like you.”

“Hmm,” Arthur said.

“I think you lied to me. About the way you said your subconscious works.”

“Probably.”

Eames watched as Arthur squinted out across the wide expanse of snow. There was a soaring freedom about where they stood. Arthur had a smile hidden in the crook of his mouth like a secret that only Eames would know; and Eames thought to himself, stretching out a hand which Arthur unhesitatingly took, that nothing about the world they were in was certain, that indeed everything was possible.

--
The End.
--

A/N: This fic is such a self-indulgence. ♥ I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I did writing it!

Feedback would be absolutely lovely! And, of course, feel free to friend me for future Arthur/Eames, or check out my other Inception fics.

 
 
 
AYMSzeto on April 2nd, 2011 08:38 am (UTC)
This is a comment place holder. I'll be right back. :D
ABC, her eyelids say.epistolic on April 2nd, 2011 08:39 am (UTC)
....

♥ ♥ ♥
- zeto on April 2nd, 2011 08:42 am (UTC) (Expand)
- zeto on April 2nd, 2011 08:43 am (UTC) (Expand)
- zeto on April 2nd, 2011 08:44 am (UTC) (Expand)
- zeto on April 2nd, 2011 08:45 am (UTC) (Expand)
- zeto on April 2nd, 2011 08:54 am (UTC) (Expand)
- zeto on April 2nd, 2011 08:57 am (UTC) (Expand)
- epistolic on April 6th, 2011 02:48 am (UTC) (Expand)
- zeto on April 6th, 2011 04:56 am (UTC) (Expand)
epic escapist love: jglchaoticallyclev on April 2nd, 2011 08:48 am (UTC)
HEY I REMEMBER THIS FROM FOREVER AGO (paosdpj, college time is weird and distorted. not the point). AND I STILL LOVE IT NOW. BECAUSE YOU ARE AWESOME

ffff...I am really tired, so this is probably going to be riddled with more typos than usual, but, ahem:

Arthur’s penchant for multi-coloured marshmallows
MULTI-COLORED MARSHMALLOWS. These little asides? Are definitely my favorite things. OF course, then there is Minnie (oh, minnie I missed you so) and then everything is a bazillion times more awesome and *explodes into confetti)
ABC, her eyelids say.epistolic on April 6th, 2011 02:57 am (UTC)
YAY! :bounces: THANK-YOU SO MUCH! :smooches:

I love adding in those little asides, because I love imagining Arthur and Eames in all their quirky, flawed ways. I'm glad you like them too! And Minnie, haha, everyone loves Minnie, even Arthur secretly loves Minnie in the depths of his heart. Thank-you again, darling, for reading, for reviewing, for beta-ing! You are simply marvellous, and I adore you. ♥
manpanionohfreckle on April 2nd, 2011 09:30 am (UTC)
OH, MY HEART ♥♥___♥♥

You such a beautiful and quiet way with words, it makes me just melt. Reading this before the porn was definitely an excellent decision ;)
ABC, her eyelids say.epistolic on April 6th, 2011 03:01 am (UTC)
:snuggles you:

Thank-you, thank-you! And ahaha, yes, that probably was for the best, though I suppose if you had read the porn first this fic would be what you'd remember better, and I think that would be better for my reputation, haha. ♥
Edistracterisey on April 2nd, 2011 11:22 am (UTC)
I, I ,I, I uhmm I love it! I love how they come together eventually! And the little changes that occur, changes in character, changes in perception. BUT BUT BUT... DINOSAURRRR OMG DINOSAURRRRRR~!!! *joins the Minnie fanclub whatdoyoumeanthereisnoMinniefanclub*
ABC, her eyelids say.epistolic on April 6th, 2011 03:02 am (UTC)
Ahaha, YOU GOT DISTRACTED BY THE DINOSAUR TOO. So did I, writing it. I wanted to make Minnie so badass, even more badass than she is already! Haha, but character development won out in the end.

Thank-you so much for the love, bb! It means so much to me, I can't even. ♥
ampliflyer on April 2nd, 2011 11:31 am (UTC)
I JUST READ THIS EARLIER TODAY AND WAS WAITING FOR YOU TO POST IN YOUR JOURNAL -- AND LOOK -- HERE IT IS! \o/

This fic made me deliriously happy. This has a dinosaur, a failed inception, EAMES BLEEDING, Arthur's face torn to pieces, unspecified rifles, submachine guns and Arthur's GLOCK (like the only gun that's need-to-know in this fandom) and most importantly, this is written by you. SO MUCH LOVE.

(i also loved the whole theme of them not-growing-yet-growing and tricking each other and hey, look, there was an actual plot! aside from the plot; a dinosaur, guns an a GLOCK!)
ABC, her eyelids say.epistolic on April 6th, 2011 03:04 am (UTC)
:DANCES:

Thank-you, darling! It always means so much to me when you like something of mine, because - because - just because. This fic was such a silly little thing, and I wanted it to be light-hearted but serious, kind-of a mix of everything. I'm so happy it worked for you! And that you liked Arthur's face torn to pieces! Er. YOU AND YOUR PENCHANT FOR VIOLENT ENDINGS. Thank-you, again, for being lovely and for always being there for my ridiculous whims. So much love for you. ♥ ♥
Fidelitifidelitii on April 2nd, 2011 12:39 pm (UTC)
ksjfksfjs ♥♥
ABC, her eyelids say.epistolic on April 6th, 2011 03:05 am (UTC)
Aw, thank-you! ♥
Show me your jazz hands!: JGL thursday_kat on April 2nd, 2011 01:38 pm (UTC)
UNF THIS IS SOOOO GOOD *flails* I love stories that set up the relationship between them and this was so absolutely perfect &hearts &hearts &hearts
ABC, her eyelids say.epistolic on April 6th, 2011 03:05 am (UTC)
Aw, wow, thank-you so much! It means so much to me to hear that from you. :snuggles: ♥
Ifrit.weatherfront on April 2nd, 2011 01:47 pm (UTC)
If everything is possible for anyone in the world, it's these two. ♥ So, so lovely.
ABC, her eyelids say.epistolic on April 6th, 2011 03:06 am (UTC)
Thank-you, darling! Arthur and Eames could do anything, together. Provided they are together. ♥
(Deleted comment)
ABC, her eyelids say.epistolic on April 6th, 2011 03:06 am (UTC)
Thank-you, bb! And especially, thank-you for beta-ing, you are just the best. ♥
kittie_gurl57: Arthurkittie_gurl57 on April 2nd, 2011 04:17 pm (UTC)
...

akajsghripqugigjvgqk3jh4ptuyhoiel.

Are you sure you're not God? Becuse you seem incredibly divine right now. I just loved this so much. SO much. You always write the best character development ever. ;)
ABC, her eyelids say.epistolic on April 6th, 2011 03:07 am (UTC)
Stop it, stop it, you're making me blush. :blushes: I'm so happy you liked this, I can't even, thank-you so much! I was trying to go for something lighter, in terms of character development, and - it makes me so, so glad to hear that it worked for you. ♥
Mira: JGLmirareeves on April 2nd, 2011 04:37 pm (UTC)
Oh. This is so good. That back and forth between them, that easy banter between them is just so fantastic.
ABC, her eyelids say.epistolic on April 6th, 2011 03:08 am (UTC)
Thank-you, darling! I've always loved that about the film, Arthur and Eames being all snarky and adorable. Thank-you for your kind review! ♥
Pepper: awthahpeperima on April 2nd, 2011 06:13 pm (UTC)
Ahh this is so beautiful. I loved the gentle build of their relationship as they made things work for each other.

ALSO I loved how Mal said Eames wasn't worth Arthur's time in the beginning, hahaha.

Thank you! :)
ABC, her eyelids say.epistolic on April 6th, 2011 03:09 am (UTC)
Aw, darling, thank-you so much! I wanted them to take it slow, this time, since I typically write them as having started with a bang. And Mal - Mal is all-seeing, isn't she? Gotta love that about her. ♥

No, thank you!
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chocolate_inyxchocolate_inyx on April 2nd, 2011 06:57 pm (UTC)
This was so well written. Both characters were very complex and intriguing, and I like how you showed them changing throughout the story. Yay!
ABC, her eyelids say.epistolic on April 6th, 2011 03:12 am (UTC)
Oh! Wow, thank-you so much! I'm glad the characters were interesting, I always try my best to do that. Thank-you, again, for your lovely review! ♥
almostgaby: act || marion; seductressalmostgaby on April 2nd, 2011 08:52 pm (UTC)
This was marevlous ♥ I adored it so much and it was a refreshing read. It was different and I can't pin point my finger on it but it was marvelous nonetheless.

and Oh how i do swoon when i read fic that include the children & mal in any shape or form ;)
ABC, her eyelids say.epistolic on April 6th, 2011 03:14 am (UTC)
I think it's different because I was trying to be... more gentle, I think. I wanted the progression to be slower! And the character development to be slower. I'm so happy you liked it, sdbft7sgyufhtgs7u.

I love Mal, THERE IS NOT ENOUGH MAL IN THIS FANDOM.

And - thank-you, thank-you, so much for the V-Gift. I just. I could never deserve how lovely you are to me, thank-you, you are just the sweetest thing ever. ♥
(Deleted comment)
ABC, her eyelids say.epistolic on April 6th, 2011 03:14 am (UTC)
Oh! Thank-you so much, I was going for quiet and subtle! Thank-you! ♥
I once narrowed my eyes at a platypus.jibrailis on April 3rd, 2011 01:07 am (UTC)
oh god, the banter in this fic is just so sharp and so sparkling, a thorough joy to read. and when I got to the part about how Arthur doesn't want to be safe, about how he can be immature, I just said "yes, yes, this" out loud and started grinning. This fic is just an amazing amalgamation of all sorts of delightful things.
ABC, her eyelids say.epistolic on April 6th, 2011 03:15 am (UTC)
Oh, darling, thank-you so much! Hearing that from you, it really just makes me so so happy. Arthur, in my head, is always some weird immature child deep underneath his suits and his polish and - even more so than Eames, sometimes. Thank-you very much for your kind comment, I am just - so warm and happy right now. ♥
Meamesphotoclerk on April 3rd, 2011 03:43 pm (UTC)
My god. *__* After reading each thing you write I think, "I couldn't adore her more." And you keep proving me wrong in such fantastic ways. <3
ABC, her eyelids say.epistolic on April 6th, 2011 03:16 am (UTC)
Aw, darling, you are just the sweetest! I never know how to respond to your comments, because they are always so lovely and kind. Thank-you! ♥
false_alexis: ariadne facefalse_alexis on April 3rd, 2011 09:40 pm (UTC)
How utterly lovely! This is such a wonderful study in being immature... and getting over it.
ABC, her eyelids say.epistolic on April 6th, 2011 03:16 am (UTC)
Thank-you, I'm so very happy you enjoyed it! ♥
purple_spock: Arthurpurple_spock on April 6th, 2011 05:18 am (UTC)
This is really lovely. I love the evolution, and how they grow, and the ending was so nice. : ) Also I loved Eame's dinosaur - it's very him. Great work. : D
ABC, her eyelids say.epistolic on April 6th, 2011 11:19 am (UTC)
Aw, thank-you so much! It means so much to me that you liked this. And Minnie, yes, I love Minnie, I wish I had a Minnie of my own. Thank-you! ♥
a valid lifestyle choice: inception :: a&e :: b&wester_inc on April 6th, 2011 04:07 pm (UTC)
This starts off amusing and sort of priceless, and matures into something sweet, calm and content. I really love it. I like the dialogue, it rings very true to them, and the way they grow up and grow closer, coming to know and accept each other, is beautiful. Also, the way you've written Eames is interesting and makes a lot of sense to me.

♥ ♥ ♥
ABC, her eyelids say.epistolic on April 28th, 2011 07:09 am (UTC)
Oh, honey, thank-you so much. ♥ Eames is such a chameleon, and he can be written so many different ways, so I'm very very happy that this version of him worked for you! It really makes something inside me bounce in glee. Thank-you for your kind words, they are so very appreciated. ♥
Larialaria_gwyn on April 7th, 2011 05:19 pm (UTC)
Brilliant, darling, just brilliant. I love the slow maturing of their relationship, the quietness, the way everything just sort of sneaks up on them. Minnie the dinosaur! XD I really enjoyed the balance between the funny and the serious. <3
ABC, her eyelids say.epistolic on April 28th, 2011 07:07 am (UTC)
Every time I read a comment of yours, I feel all light-headed and giddy and warm inside. Every time. Thank-you so much, I am so lucky to have you around, you are simply the kindest. ♥
StrongWriter: JR & BRstrongwriter on April 12th, 2011 04:16 am (UTC)
This is simply beautiful ♥
ABC, her eyelids say.epistolic on April 28th, 2011 07:01 am (UTC)
Oh, gosh, thank-you so much! ♥
ovariesofsteel: Inception: Eames Totemovariesofsteel on April 19th, 2011 08:15 pm (UTC)
;LKDJAL;KSDHOPQWEIH;FLKSADF;LAKDJFAL;SKDHPOAEWIHFG;LAMNZV,/KSDAH[OIAWEF[OKAS;DLKFJA;SLDKFJ

This was GORGEOUS.
ABC, her eyelids say.epistolic on April 28th, 2011 07:07 am (UTC)
Aww, thank-you so much, darling! ♥