[Inception]

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[Inception]

Post by nocturnalie on Wed Feb 22, 2012 12:30 am

Arthur detested twitter. It seemed thoroughly pointless. But Ariadne kept him apprised of Eames' movements.

Then there were a few months when she had nothing to tell him.

So Arthur left a note in a train station locker in Istanbul. Are you still alive?
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Re: [Inception]

Post by sinistra_blache on Mon Feb 27, 2012 1:18 pm

Arthur will have to wait another three weeks before he gets a reply. Not that it's much of a reply. Just a note, slipped under the door of his hotel at the time, in messy but oddly elegant handwriting.

Alive, darling. xoxo

Eames makes himself scarce after handing the note in the envelope to the receptionist at Arthur's - well, Saito's - hotel. No point in sticking around to get interrogated in Arthur's oh so clipped fashion. Eames is tired and emotionally drained after his most recent job; one that took several months to set up and an entire week to perfect. He needs to go somewhere hot, arid, and crowded. He needs somewhere to hide himself away and relearn how to dream.

He's thinking India. But then, he always thinks India when it gets this bad.
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Re: [Inception]

Post by nocturnalie on Mon Feb 27, 2012 1:24 pm

Arthur knows that Eames is far away by the time he gets the note. He feels a slight pang of regret in his chest. He could have offered Eames coffee. But then he scoffs at himself. Really, Arthur? Coffee? What next, bagels in Central Park?

But New York has always been Arthur's place to hide out. The cafes and delis and theatres and parks, the right amount of crowded, empty, hot, cold, friendly, angry. Eames rarely sets foot in America at all. They have wide regions of the world all to themselves. Arthur wishes he knew the boundaries of Eames'.

He's not sure whether he wants to know so he can stay out, or so he can trespass.

Arthur breakfasts alone, then calls Saito and thanks him for the room, but he'll be going now.

He finds himself a wifi hotspot and settles in to do some Eames-spotting. He tells himself it's because he keeps track of all the people he works with. And Cobb was always appreciative of that skill. It's just business.
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Re: [Inception]

Post by sinistra_blache on Mon Feb 27, 2012 1:39 pm

Eames does go to India, only making one or two stops along the way. He's there within a week. He takes his time. He finds his old favorite spots again. He makes new favorites. He doesn't dream, not for a long time. To help sooth himself into some kind of mindless dreamscape, he takes to inviting people, anyone, to his room to work out the stress. It's a glamorous life, he realises, if he ever stops to think about it. It's the life he had planned to have.

It doesn't bring him any comfort. After four or five hours sleep a night or morning, he's usually seen on the balcony of his newly acquired apartment, smoking. Sometimes naked. Not always alone. Constantly looking off into the middle distance distractedly.

He knows that Arthur watches him. He knows that Arthur watches everyone. He's long since gotten over trying to feel special about that. "It's just business". And, with that in mind, he's hoping that Arthur will bring business up soon and come and find him. Once Eames is rested, he'll want something to really sink his teeth into.
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Re: [Inception]

Post by nocturnalie on Mon Feb 27, 2012 1:45 pm

Arthur's Eames-spotting takes longer than he anticipated. He'd planned for a few afternoons, with long, lazy sleeps and three or four coffees in the mornings. Instead, he ends up taking a room at a nice hotel--not owned by Saito--and spending basically morning, noon and night searching for traces of Eames' presence in all the countries Arthur's known him to frequent.

He shows up in Iraq, briefly, barely long enough to be shot at, and then Dubai, drinking with sheiks and taking them for all their money. Then he seems to settle in India, under one of his favourite aliases, using cards Arthur's tracked a hundred times.

It's like he wants Arthur to find him.

Arthur takes a couple more days for himself--buying presents for Phillippa and James and Yusuf's little ones, as well as his own nieces and nephews--then he boards a plane to Bangalore. He learns the basics of the language in-flight, and by the time he lands, he's worked out a tentative strategy for stalking Eames.
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Re: [Inception]

Post by sinistra_blache on Mon Feb 27, 2012 4:34 pm

Eames makes a point to spend at least two hours every three days in the casino that he /knows/ Arthur would recognise from all the different times he's pulled Eames out, drunk, to sober up and hear about a new job. That was back when Eames was considerably younger. He starts casino slumming when he feels like he's itching for a new job, and he's so bored that he's seriously contemplating drinking heavily again like in the old days. Just to complete the look.

He doesn't.

He gambles away the money he made from the last job, passing the time. He could go out and look for work himself, of course, and he knows that. But somehow or another when he picks his own jobs they end up too dangerous for him to handle. Arthur - and Cobb, besides - know exactly the right amount of danger that Eames can deal with. Which is interesting, as Eames would say that he knows himself inside out.

After a week or two of waiting, Eames starts getting restless. Maybe they've moved on to a new team. Happens. Maybe there's just no work they're interested in. Happens as well. Cobb is busy with the sprogs, semi-retired. Arthur is a picky shithead when it comes to work. Eames doesn't want to bother Ariadne when she's at college, learning how to be a responsible human being. He gets restless, and gives up and starts looking for work.
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Re: [Inception]

Post by nocturnalie on Mon Feb 27, 2012 4:52 pm

Arthur touches down and immediately heads for the hotels Eames has booked into. He needs to find which one Eames is actually staying at, so he can follow him and work out a--a plan of action. He isn't sure what he's doing here, in India, besides looking for Eames. He doesn't know what he'll do when he finds Eames. He doesn't have a job for him. He doesn't have any reason to seek him out.

But he wants to see Eames. He wants to make sure Eames is all right after his last job. He wants to make sure Eames is still in one piece in some very personal, intrusive ways.

It kind of scares Arthur, sometimes, what he wants.

He stakes out the hotels and, on the third night, finds the one where Eames is staying. The others, Arthur knows from experience, are just names Eames uses to throw people off his scent; he won't actually be paying the bills for those rooms. He couldn't, actually, Arthur realises, checking Eames' spendings over the last week or so. All the money from the job is gone.

"Jesus, Eames," he whispers, sitting in a ratty little white car across the street from the cafe where Eames is chatting to a local. "What am I going to do with you." Teach him how to budget, perhaps, or how to save for a rainy day. Arthur has seven accounts for various kinds of rainy days, stocked with cash and gold and bonds. He invests. He saves. He's careful and cautious and a point man, a detail man.

He buys some warm naan bread and leaves it at Eames' hotel door before he gets back that afternoon. It hasn't escaped his attention that Eames hasn't eaten all day.
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Re: [Inception]

Post by sinistra_blache on Mon Feb 27, 2012 9:58 pm

Eames returns to his hotel room late, and utterly confused about the naan at his door. It's cold by now, but it's not unwanted. His stomach growls. He's forgotten to eat again. Been living off coffee and painkillers for the last week and a half. He picks it up and walks into the room with it already in his mouth. Who dropped that by, then? One of the service girls, probably. They're sweet, smiling, appreciate that Eames is nice without being pushy and assuming like most of the foreign men that come through here.

He collapses on his bed and munches at the bread while he thinks. Can't find any jobs yet, and he feels odd about it. He doesn't want to work with unfamiliar people again, not so soon after the last one. That's where most of the problem came about. And he can't rely on old contacts, now that most of them had been ratted out or arrested. Or worse. The longer he keeps up this search then the more likely he's going to end up like them. And he doesn't really want to find a job.

A lot of people warned him about attempting an inception job. That the thrill would mar everything else. He didn't believe them. He was so bloody headstrong sometimes.
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Re: [Inception]

Post by nocturnalie on Mon Feb 27, 2012 10:03 pm

Eames doesn't seem to click that Arthur's hanging around. No wonder: Arthur's never been in the habit of feeding Eames, leaving treats at his door like his mother. Well. To be fair, Arthur's quite sure, from his profiling, that Eames' mother wasn't the type to leave treats at his door, anyway.

But he could be wrong. Eames is a forger. Imitating other people is his gift; he could be acting every moment of the day and dream.

Still. Arthur has watched Eames a lot, trying to work him out, work out the brain that goes into the forging. So he's fairly confident about his profile. Which, seeing exactly how big a coffee Eames buys himself in the morning--where'd the money come from, Arthur wonders--makes him also fairly confident that Eames isn't going to recognise Arthur's little gestures.

He's going to have to do something else.

Like actually speak to Eames.

He waits until Eames settles into a cafe to read the Indian and British newspapers. Arthur appreciates that Eames still reads proper newspapers, instead of getting it all off the internet. He imagines he'd like the smell of ink on Eames' fingertips.

Arthur shakes off the daydream and drops into the seat across from Eames.
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Re: [Inception]

Post by sinistra_blache on Mon Feb 27, 2012 10:11 pm

Eames is startled, but can't show it. Not after all these years of pretending to be so laid back it could be dangerous for him. He doubts he could be startled if he tried.

He flicks his eyes up to see his new guest, but he can tell who it is before he reaches his face - no-one Eames knows dresses so uptightly on purpose. A wave of relief washes over him. Something that he also doesn't show.

He does, however, let his expression turn warm and friendly. It's not an act, but for some reason it's always bothered Arthur. And, for some other reason, this amuses Eames greatly, and always will. "Hullo, Arthur," he motions for the waiter to bring them another coffee. "You look well. Or, rather, you look like you had fun organising your sock drawer recently at the very least. What can I do for you?"
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Re: [Inception]

Post by nocturnalie on Mon Feb 27, 2012 10:15 pm

Eames drags his gaze lazily up Arthur's body, and smiles at him. It's infuriating. Like he knew that Arthur had chased him halfway around the world to this dingy cafe, when Arthur knew he had absolutely no idea. Or had Eames known all along that Arthur would come looking for him?

Arthur hated that Eames made him doubt himself.

"You look awful," he says bluntly. "I came to make sure you hadn't fallen to pieces since our last meeting. Your note wasn't exactly reassuring."
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Re: [Inception]

Post by sinistra_blache on Mon Feb 27, 2012 10:22 pm

Eames folds his newspaper up to give Arthur his full attention. He wouldn't normally. Arthur is a special case, since Eames can never really understand where the man is coming from or why he does the things he does.

"I'm sorry, darling," Eames cocks his head. "I was under the impression that it was wholly reassuring. How could it not be? It gave you all the information you wanted, no frills. That is how you like it, isn't it? And," he smiles. "I was genuinely touched by your concern."

He ignores what Arthur said, at least on the surface. He hasn't fallen apart. He couldn't possibly. Never has, never will. He's just having a rough spot and if someone like Arthur can't recognise that then there's nothing really Eames can do about it.

He really is pleased to see him, though. Eames nearly convinces himself that it's because there's a chance that Arthur has a job for him, though he already knows that's not the case. He would have mentioned it by now. He would have mentioned it and left it at that, all the better to get out of Eames' company before he starts throwing sharp, hard little punches.
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Re: [Inception]

Post by nocturnalie on Mon Feb 27, 2012 10:24 pm

Arthur rolls his eyes. Eames was practically simpering, definitely acting. Arthur didn't know why Eames couldn't just be honest with him. They'd been inside each other's dreams, after all. They'd performed inception. Arthur had saved Eames from being stuck in limbo, and that had been no easy feat, being stuck in zero gravity.

"Oh, I'm sure you were. I was looking for something a little more detailed than two words and some kisses," he grouses.
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Re: [Inception]

Post by sinistra_blache on Mon Feb 27, 2012 10:29 pm

Eames sits back when the waiter brings Arthur his coffee and thanks him softly. Then he turns his attention back to Arthur. He looks so pissed. Eames would probably find it funny, if he knew why he was pissed. Arthur gets annoyed by the most random of things.

"What would you like to know, then, since I neglected to guess from the one question you asked," he says pleasantly, but none-too-pleasant. "And didn't you like the kisses?"
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Re: [Inception]

Post by nocturnalie on Mon Feb 27, 2012 10:32 pm

Arthur ignores the thing about the kisses. That was just Eames, with his 'darlings' and 'thank you for your condescension'. He probably sent letters to Ariadne and Cobb and Saito and Yusuf and god only knew who else signed with kisses as well.

"Since--" his throat tightens. He forces himself to go on. "Since Mal, I like to make sure everyone I know," everyone I care about, work closely with, would give my life for, "is all right."
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Re: [Inception]

Post by sinistra_blache on Mon Feb 27, 2012 10:36 pm

Eames doesn't know why he keeps flirting with Arthur, since it's always seen as an insult. Sometimes it's a jibe, he'll admit, but never an insult. Its because he lets you, he tells himself. Well, that wasn't /wrong/.

He sighs. "I am very obviously alright," he assures Arthur, and nearly reaches over to touch his hand but it'd just be another insult. "I really do appreciate the concern." His face is serious and honest as it goes for a moment. Then he brightens. "How are you, darling?"
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Re: [Inception]

Post by nocturnalie on Mon Feb 27, 2012 10:40 pm

"I'm fine," Arthur says. "Better than you, from what I can tell." He picks up the coffee Eames ordered for him and sniffs it, then decides it seems all right to drink. "Gone through all your money, haven't you."
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Re: [Inception]

Post by sinistra_blache on Mon Feb 27, 2012 10:44 pm

"Spent on good things," Eames gestures to the street beside them. What else was he going to spend that money on? He has all the clothes he needs. He doesn't have a family to sink money into. He only has to worry about hotels and food, and not the latter so much at the moment since his appetite has all but disappeared. He has just a little bit of cash left before he has to go to his safehouses and start doing out-of-dream forgeries - passports, signatures, that kind of thing - and he's in one of his favorite places ever. "I don't see the problem, or how that could mean that I'm not fine," he says out loud.
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Re: [Inception]

Post by nocturnalie on Mon Feb 27, 2012 10:47 pm

"Well." Arthur sighs and props his elbows on the table. "You're staying in a hotel with cockroaches in the tea kettles. You're not eating, you're barely sleeping, or is it the other way around? And every time I see you, the circles around your eyes are darker than ever, and the shadows in your dreams are more defined." He starts ticking off his fingers. "You're stressed, exhausted, unhappy, and unsure about your future. That doesn't sound all right to me."
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Re: [Inception]

Post by sinistra_blache on Mon Feb 27, 2012 10:51 pm

Eames blinks. "You never stop, do you?" This is said with admiration that Eames can't keep inside for very long. Say what you like about Arthur, the uptight git, he's amazing at what he does. "All those thing are true, more or less. Are you telling me you've never had down - months?"

He realises, very slowly, that he must be going through something. Cobb's Mal wasn't the only dreamer in the history of dreams that got messed up when reality struck back with its harsh lines and lack of creativity and freedom. Eames rubs at his eyes and, for the first time in a long time, feels tired.
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Re: [Inception]

Post by nocturnalie on Mon Feb 27, 2012 10:56 pm

"I've had down years," Arthur admits slowly. "But I also had Cobb, and Mal, to help me." He's disturbed by this visible sign of weakness from Eames, him rubbing his eyes. The last time he saw Eames lose his laidback facade was when he lost it in the warehouse, at Cobb, for putting them all in danger. Eames had even seemed to have the time of his life in the hotel dream.

But this is just further evidence for his tally of things wrong with Eames.
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Re: [Inception]

Post by sinistra_blache on Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:02 pm

"Arthur, darling," Eames talks like he's trying to explain something to someone who refuses to get the point, like he's been trying to explain this something for a very, very long time. "I don't have anyone like Cobb or Mal. I have to get through whatever this happens to be, in whatever fashion I decide to do it." There's no hint of embarrassment in his voice. He's never been embarrassed about being alone.

He's often been embarrassed about being lonely, but that's why he doesn't talk about it.
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Re: [Inception]

Post by nocturnalie on Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:05 pm

"I don't want to lose someone else," that I care about, Arthur doesn't add, because he can't. He's Arthur. He's a stick in the mud. He can't admit that he has feelings for the people he works with; that he feels like Ariadne's best friend and Saito's nephew and Yusuf's uptight cousin from overseas, and Cobb's little brother. He doesn't know how to admit it.

But he can be selfish. He can pretend like it's for the good of the business, the dreaming community.
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Re: [Inception]

Post by sinistra_blache on Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:09 pm

Eames catches himself wishing that there was any hint of sentimentality in Arthur's voice when he says that and shakes his head, smiling at himself. He leans back in his chair, apparently at ease, still smiling. "What exactly do you propose?" He doesn't even bother to keep the hint of something dark and passionate from his voice. He does, however, work to keep it just a hint.
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Re: [Inception]

Post by nocturnalie on Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:11 pm

Arthur is momentarily at a loss. Then he remembers what Cobb and Mal did for him, and he knows what he'd like to do for Eames, if Eames will let him. "You need to get away from here. I know you like the people and the crowds, but--there's just so many people, so many emotions." He shakes his head sharply. "It's overwhelming you."
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Re: [Inception]

Post by sinistra_blache on Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:16 pm

Eames groans like a petulant child. But, he notes, he doesn't disagree. "Then what? I don't do well in secluded log cabins of any sort, Arthur. I need," he waves his hand weakly, searching for the word he needs. "I need stimulation. I always have."
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Re: [Inception]

Post by nocturnalie on Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:17 pm

"How much stimulation? A city? A town? Or would a village do?" A plan is forming in Arthur's head, neat details falling into place.
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Re: [Inception]

Post by sinistra_blache on Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:30 pm

Eames laughs throatily. "I haven't been in anything smaller than a city in years," he thinks back. Where was the smallest place he's been in? His mouth runs without his saying so - proof that what Arthur's saying is completely true. "And I haven't been in a /village/ since I left home." He's surprised by the admission but he keeps it from his face. Though possibly not his eyes. "I suppose so long as there's somewhere I can go to be anonymous, then I should be perfectly fine. What are you planning in that oh so brilliant, if boring, brain of yours?"
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Re: [Inception]

Post by nocturnalie on Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:34 pm

Arthur scowls. "When I--had trouble--Cobb and Mal sent me to a small village in France, where they owned a farmhouse. It was--restorative, the time I spent there." He has trouble talking about that time, now, because of how badly he'd fallen apart. He hadn't been like Mal, doubting reality; he'd just doubted himself and his place in reality and the dreamscape. But it had been bad, for him, always so perfectly put together and in control.
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Re: [Inception]

Post by sinistra_blache on Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:46 pm

Eames looks at Arthur, studying him. It's more out of habit, now, than anything. He likes to think that he'd be able to forge a rather convincing Arthur if he were forced to.

"Is that where you intend on taking me?" Eames specifically uses 'taking' instead of 'sending'. He doesn't like the idea of being sent to a French farmhouse to regain his sanity. But, as much as he dislikes admitting it to himself, he doesn't like seeing the worry set on Arthur's brow.
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Re: [Inception]

Post by nocturnalie on Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:47 pm

Arthur shrugs. "Do you want to go there? I know other places."
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Re: [Inception]

Post by sinistra_blache on Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:59 pm

Eames takes a sip from his coffee. "I really don't like the idea of this at all," he says honestly, casually. "I don't like the idea of being holed away, being bored, to combat my boredom. Which is what this is, darling," he reminds Arthur. "This is merely crippling boredom. Emphasis on the crippling." He's grumbling. He knows. But if he can't grumble at Arthur, who can he grumble at?
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Re: [Inception]

Post by nocturnalie on Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:02 am

Arthur sighs. "You're only bored if you want to be bored," he says, echoing something Cobb told him once. "I found things to do at the farm. I took care of the animals; I wrote; I read; I watched movies; I watched the clouds. What about--there's a beach house in Java. You could learn how to surf."
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Re: [Inception]

Post by sinistra_blache on Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:06 am

Eames mimics Arthur's sigh, though it's unclear even to him if it was intentional. "At least it'd be warm," he allows. He does appreciate the image of Arthur The Farm Hand, however. That will certainly help to combat boredom.
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Re: [Inception]

Post by nocturnalie on Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:07 am

"I almost forgot your penchant for warmth," Arthur murmurs. "There's always Texas."
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Re: [Inception]

Post by sinistra_blache on Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:09 am

Eames makes a face. "Texans and I don't tend to mix well," he says.
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Re: [Inception]

Post by nocturnalie on Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:10 am

Arthur gives no external sign of his chest clenching. "Further south? Mexico, or the Caribbean? I know lots of people."
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Re: [Inception]

Post by sinistra_blache on Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:14 am

Eames smiles warmly. "The Carribean would be pleasant. It's been a while since I was there last," he chuckles at the memory. "I should be allowed back to St. Lucia."
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Re: [Inception]

Post by nocturnalie on Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:18 am

"Perhaps stay out of Castries, if we're trying to keep you away from too many people. Maybe Soufrière. Do you know how to scuba dive?"
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Re: [Inception]

Post by sinistra_blache on Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:25 am

Eames shrugs gracefully. "I could do with a refresher," he says. He's not looking forward to doing all this alone. He pauses. "Why are you doing this? You despise me." His voice is quiet.
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Re: [Inception]

Post by nocturnalie on Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:26 am

Arthur sits back in his rickety chair, struck speechless for a moment. "If I despised you, I wouldn't trust you inside my dreams. I wouldn't trust you with my life."
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Re: [Inception]

Post by sinistra_blache on Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:32 am

Eames' jaw twitches with the effort it takes to keep himself from mimicking Arthur's 'it's just business', and nods instead. He takes Arthur at his word since he has no reason to lie. "Nice to know," his tone jovial. "I don't despise you either."
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Re: [Inception]

Post by nocturnalie on Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:34 am

"I'm serious, Eames." Arthur stands up, scowling. He tosses a pre-paid phone on the table. "Call me if you decide to stop being an ass and accept the help of a friend when it's offered." The number he's currently using is the only one programmed into the phone. He'd had a hunch Eames would be resistant, would piss him off, and that they'd need these.
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Re: [Inception]

Post by sinistra_blache on Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:40 am

Eames frowns, and takes the card. "Just because someone is smiling," he says, annoyed. "Doesn't mean they're not serious. I have been agreeing with you. Are you that difficult that you can't recognise when I'm trying?"
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Re: [Inception]

Post by nocturnalie on Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:43 am

"This is you, trying?" Arthur scoffs. Then he forces himself to calm down. "Eames--I want to help. I'll pay for everything. I'll make sure you eat and sleep and don't get bored."
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Re: [Inception]

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