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28 April 2011 @ 06:20 pm
[fanfic] 1-UP | Game Over  


Game Over

Arthur awoke with only the slightest of tells: a hitch in his breathing as he went from asleep to awake before falling back into the impression of sleep. He forced himself to keep his eyes closed and his breathing deep and regulated as he strained his ears for sound, for reassurances that it was safe to show he was awake. He heard movement to both his left and right; the creak of a chair, the ripping sound of tape against flesh, someone hissed, footsteps moving around, the sound of paper being shaken out.

He tried not to react when he felt someone touch at his hand, but a deep throated chuckle proved him unsuccessful. He recognised the sound of that laugh however and opened his eyes to find Eames standing beside his chair. He lowered himself beside Arthur legs and Arthur shifted, giving Eames some room.

“Knew you were awake,” Eames said, reaching for Arthur’s hand once more. He turned it over, exposing his pale wrist and the needle stuck deep inside. He frowned, seeing the mottled bruising already forming from the rough entry of the needle.

“You have this little half-frown you do when you’ve just woken up but don’t actually want to get up,” Eames smiled at him, running gentle fingers over his bruised wrist before gently peeling the tape free and sliding the needle out. He pressed his thumb over the small puncture wound left behind.

Arthur watched Eames, momentarily warmed by his ministrations. When Eames looked up, Arthur looked away, turning his eyes towards the others who were sitting up in their chairs and disconnecting themselves from the PASIV device. Saito was already on his feet, standing beside the low table and reading from a slip of paper.

There was no sign of Fischer or his hired help.

“Where’s—” Arthur started.

“Fischer?” Eames asked, “not here anyway,” he answered with a shrug.

Arthur frowned, carefully extracting his hand from Eames’ hold and pushing himself to his feet. Cobb looked up from where he sat, Ariadne half-bent over his wrist, he gave a curt nod which Arthur returned, before turning his attention back to whatever Ariadne was saying to him.

“Saito?” Arthur called, stepping up beside him.

“It seems that Mr Fischer has indeed kept his word,” Saito said by way of answer, gesturing towards the paper in his hand. His words carried easily around the room, drawing interest from the others.

“He congratulates us—” here Saito paused, adding wryly, “those of us who have made it out alive and intact— on the successful extraction of that which is most dear to us all.”

All eyes turned to Ariadne who half-smiled, awkward under the attention. “Um, yeah. Thanks for that, by the way.”

“Not that you needed saving, of course,” Eames offered, grinning at her before turning to the group at large. “She’d only managed to save herself by the time we got there. Had that overgrown dinosaur eating right out the palm of her hand.”

“He wasn’t so bad,” Ariadne admitted, “once we got past the whole kidnapping business of course.”

“If only we’d known sooner,” Eames lamented, “we could have left you to it and enjoyed the relatively drama-free environs of Level One until the sedative wore off on its own.”

Ariadne laughed, punching at Eames’ arm. “As if you’d have left me there!”

Eames grinned, slinging an arm around her shoulders. “As if we had a choice,” he muttered inclining his head towards Cobb who shifted as everyone turned to look at him now. He scowled at Eames.

“Well, thank you. Everyone,” Ariadne said, smiling brightly, her eyes lingering on Cobb.

“Does Fischer say anything else?” Yusuf asked turning his attention back to the note Saito still held.

“Yeah,” Ariadne added, “does he mention anything about the dream? About how he did it?”

Saito shook his head. “Nothing about how he managed it, no. He just reiterates his intentions behind doing this, and says that as far as he’s concerned everything is now even between us. He’s also left us two cars and the papers we’ll need to get back to where we were, before…” Saito tapered off, his mouth curling in distaste even without saying the word ‘kidnapped’. He passed the letter over for Cobb to scan.

Ariadne frowned, “Shame. I’d have liked to have known…” she trailed off.

“Just be thankful we all got out of this alive,” Yusuf said in the face of her dejection.

She smiled, somewhat sheepishly and nodded.

“What- is that it?” Cobb muttered, frowning, his eyes still flickering over the letter. Fischer had also mentioned, though not in so many words, that he was far more experienced in dream sharing than they’d given him credit for. He also not-quite thanked them for the inception job they’d pulled on him. Cobb frowned a little deeper at that.

“Cobb…” Arthur started, his tone almost warning Cobb against saying anything else.

“What?” he asked absently, tearing his eyes from the page.

“Isn’t that enough?” Arthur pressed.

“No, I just meant…” he shook his head distractedly. “I’d suspected that once we woke up from the dream Fischer would honour his agreement,” he shared a look with Saito, remembering the game he’d played with Fischer down in Limbo. “I just didn’t expect him not to be here when we woke up. It’s all… well it’s all a bit too easy, isn’t it?”

“It’s about time something was,” Eames replied, staring down and flexing his hands a few times.

Arthur winced at Cobb’s words. “That’s exactly what you said when we woke up in the first level.”

“And on almost every other level come to think of it,” Eames added, looking up and shooting Cobb a suspicious look.

Cobb smirked. “Think you’re still dreaming, Eames?” he asked, only half-joking.

Eames laughed for a beat before his grin faltered and he shot a worried look towards the others, all of whom- aside from Saito- instinctively reached into their pockets, hands curling around their personal totems.

“Just, don’t jinx anything else, yeah?” Eames muttered to Cobb, his fist curled tightly around his own totem.

Yusuf quickly interjected. “I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m more than glad that this is over. I also think we should start thinking about getting out of here.”

The ‘before Fischer changes his mind and comes back’ was left unsaid.

“Yes,” Saito agreed, “you’ll understand if I don’t keep in touch for a while.”

Arthur inclined his head. Though Saito couldn’t exactly go into hiding, it was a subtle reminder that the rest of them should probably start thinking about laying low until they were completely certain this entire business had blown over.

Eames moved to his side then, his fingers catching against Arthur’s own in a loose hold and for once, despite the company of those around them, Arthur allowed the contact. He ignored Ariadne’s smile, the way Cobb and Saito deliberately didn’t notice it, as well as the clap Yusuf landed to Eames’ back as the rest of them began filing their way out of the warehouse.

Once the others were a few feet in front of them, Arthur turned to look at Eames.

“Where to, Mr Eames?” he asked, smiling faintly.

“Well we never did get to meet up in England,” Eames answered.

“Going back there wouldn’t be the smartest of moves,” Arthur said, suppressing an eye-roll because he knew Eames knew better.

Eames grinned. “No, but a quick pit-stop shouldn’t do any harm, right?”

Arthur raised one delicate eyebrow in reply to that. “What could you possibly need to stop off for that you haven’t already got stashed away in a handful of safe houses in countries across the world?”

“I’m sure I’ve got an old games console back home,” Eames said, his grin widening. “I quite fancy getting myself reacquainted with dear old Mario after this adventure.”

Arthur scowled at him, “That’s not in the least bit funny.”

Eames’ laugh however said that, yeah, it kind of was.

[ Fin. ]
[ Main | Start | Level One [ 1 / 2 ] | Level Two [ 1 / 2 ] | Level Three | Limbo | Game Over ]



ilovetakahana: inceptionilovetakahana on April 28th, 2011 07:23 pm (UTC)
WOW. Hell of a mind-fuck, and so goddamn clever. I salute you for getting this piece and for spinning such a wild adventure out of it. KUDOS.
Campaspe: Inception \\ Arthur/Eames; closecs_whitewolf on April 30th, 2011 04:38 pm (UTC)
:D thank you so much! I knew pretty much from the moment I saw the picture exactly what I wanted to write, and I'm just so very pleased that you enjoyed reading it, especially with you finding it a bit of a "mind-fuck" heh.

Thank you!
CS WhiteWolf
The Island of the Fay: [misc] plot bunniesatraphoenix on April 28th, 2011 09:34 pm (UTC)
Where on Earth do I start? I had high hopes for this as soon as I read the summary and I certainly wasn't disappointed. I loved every word of it. The seamless camaraderie and friendships between the team members, Eames being Eames, Ariadne saving herself from Bowser, the perfectly natural way you portrayed the romances.

... yes, like I said, everything. I could keep on listing things forever. It managed to be both funny at the right moments and serious at others, which was perfect given the picture that prompted it all. And Fischer was unexpectedly creepy, too. It was a nice touch.
Campaspe: Inception \\ Arthur/Eames; kickcs_whitewolf on April 30th, 2011 04:42 pm (UTC)
omg, thank you so much, darling! X)

I was always a wee bit worried about getting the level between funny and serious down, though picture was clearly going for the more amusing/humorous take on things, I wanted to lend some level of believability/realism to the actual story. I'm so am very pleased that you found it worked for you :)

Thank you! ♥
The Island of the Fay: [animals] what?atraphoenix on April 30th, 2011 07:12 pm (UTC)
I am going to be genuinely disappointed if they ever make a sequel and it isn't this, to be honest ^_^
Campaspe: Inception \\ Arthur/Eames; togethercs_whitewolf on May 2nd, 2011 10:13 am (UTC)
hahaha omg can you imagine?! XD that would be the most cracktastic sequel ever!
(Deleted comment)
Campaspe: Inception \\ Arthur/Eames; shadescs_whitewolf on April 30th, 2011 04:46 pm (UTC)
Almost as soon as I decided to make Ariadne the "princesss", I knew that she'd end up saving herself, she's not the kind of girl to just sit back and wait for the boys to show up and save the day ;D I'm pretty sure that she'd even have managed to make her way back up to level one solo had she not already known Cobb would move heaven and earth to get to where she was! heh.

Thank you so much for reading! I'm really glad the team dynamics/characterisations worked for you :) it's always a bit nerve-wracking wondering if your version of the characters are going to gel with everyone elses!

Also, really happy you liked the bit with Eames knowing when Arthur was awake, oh boys <33

CS WhiteWolf
red_rahl: Inception: Chibi Smitten!Eamesred_rahl on April 29th, 2011 01:13 am (UTC)
This is just a place holder for when I can fully give my comment for this wonderful, amazing story! Highly inventive and intense and humorous and just such an in redouble job for an insanely awesome picture prompt!!!!
Campaspe: Inception \\ Arthur/Eames; the lookcs_whitewolf on April 30th, 2011 04:49 pm (UTC)
XD thank you so very much! The picture was just far too amazing to resist and almost from the instant I saw it I knew what I was going to write for it- I'm just so releaved that everyone is enjoying the finished version!

CS WhiteWolf
(Deleted comment)
Campaspe: Inception \\ Arthur/Eames; togethercs_whitewolf on April 30th, 2011 04:55 pm (UTC)

The hours I spent playing Mario (for research purposed, of course ;D) really helped me when it came to devising the worlds and the trials/enemies the team were going to have to go through- I'm so pleased you enjoyed them! And damn straight Ariadne could save herself ;D heh.

CS WhiteWolf
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Campaspe: Inception \\ Arthur; specscs_whitewolf on April 30th, 2011 04:56 pm (UTC)
That's got to be the best kind of compliment ever! XD I think going back to play normal Mario after writing this is going to be like a massive comedown now too, haha.

thank you so much, darling!
nature_aly on April 29th, 2011 05:32 pm (UTC)
God, I want to play Mario now. I still have my super nintendo, I might have to go set it up.

Amazing job, you made the familiar cartoon monsters real and scary and I was so tense reading all the action.
Campaspe: Inception \\ Eames; thoughtfulcs_whitewolf on April 30th, 2011 04:59 pm (UTC)
Dude, go set it up and bask in the awesome nostalgia that is Mario! :D

Thank you so much! I'm glad they worked for you. I knew the regular mosters weren't going to cut it, not with Fischer doing the dreaming anyway! heh. That and the team really needed to feel the danger of the worlds they were it, it can't all be fun and games and bouncing off giant mushrooms! XD

CS WhiteWolf
Mira: Tom Hardymirareeves on April 30th, 2011 03:51 pm (UTC)
Heh. I spent half the time LOLing and the other half creeped the hell out. I love how you tied this in with the movie, just really cleverly done. And Ariadne befriending Bowser is pretty genius.

The swimming levels in Mario games always ALWAYS gave me fits, those goddamn Bloopers killing me all the goddamn time. Kudos to Eames for handling them so well.
Campaspe: Inception \\ Arthur/Eames; closecs_whitewolf on April 30th, 2011 05:02 pm (UTC)
That's brilliant :D exactly the kind of split I was hoping to get from this! I wanted it to be amusing but at the same time I needed the story to be quite serious too. I'm also glad you liked that Ariadne had Bowser all tamed by the time the boys got to her, heh.

OMG YES! Those water levels KILLED ME every time. Literally XD I hated playing them with such a passion. ::shakes fist at the Bloopers:: It was quite nice to have Eames get the better of them though :D heh.

Thank you so much for reading!
CS WhiteWolf
green_grrlgreen_grrl on May 4th, 2011 12:40 am (UTC)
This is so wonderfully imaginative! It could have been cracky, but you made it chillingly real. *shiver* Excellent!
Campaspe: Inception \\ Arthur/Eames; the lookcs_whitewolf on May 4th, 2011 05:01 pm (UTC)
♥ thanks so much! I really wanted to go for an element of realism when I wrote this whilst still honouring the artwork that inspired it- I'm so glad that you enjoyed it :D

CS WhiteWolf
Mooksmhum on May 4th, 2011 11:53 am (UTC)
Very cool! I like how each level's "bad guys" were so much more dangerous (also, gross when they were exploded) than in the actual game. I also really like the idea of the game being played in limbo, with each player getting a turn dictating what was going on in each level. Such a neat concept :)
Campaspe: Inception \\ Arthur; specscs_whitewolf on May 4th, 2011 05:04 pm (UTC)
heh, thank you! Seeing as the monsters in Mario aren't all that scary, I felt I needed to spice things up a bit ;D especially if I wanted the team to take things more seriously. The exploding gunk parts were just an added bonus!

:D I'm also really pleased to hear you enjoyed the game they played in Limbo! <33 thanks so much!

CS WhiteWolf
Lacey McBain: Inception Arthur Facelaceymcbain on May 8th, 2011 03:14 am (UTC)
This is awesome! Even though I'm not overly familiar with the game, I felt tugged along through the levels, and I stayed with the characters all the way. I liked the interaction between Eames and Cobb - the awkwardness, the understanding of each other. It was lovely seeing Eames and Arthur as well, and I was pleased to see Ari rescued herself essentially. The whole story was a lovely testament to how well they know each other and how well they work as a team. Such an enjoyable read!! Thanks for this.
Campaspe: RP \\ Joe/Tom; concs_whitewolf on May 12th, 2011 06:55 pm (UTC)
Re: 1-up
♥ aww thank you! I'm so glad you decided to read this despite not knowing much about the game, and that you were still able to enjoy it! :D I had a great time writing this story as well as the interactions between the characters and I'm really pleased that it all worked towards your enjoyment of the story!

Thank you so much for reading!
CS WhiteWolf
A Collection of Leftoverskick_back_80s on May 30th, 2011 05:25 pm (UTC)
this is brilliant and a great read :D
Campaspe: Inception \\  Arthur; hotelcs_whitewolf on June 1st, 2011 12:39 pm (UTC)
:D thank you so much! I'm really happy you enjoyed reading it!

CS WhiteWolf