celestine_fics: A scene from the movie Inception with a revolving hallway and characters moving in it (Movies - Inception - Revolving Hallway)
celestine_fics ([personal profile] celestine_fics) wrote2011-12-24 06:26 pm
Entry tags:

Inception fic: Promises to Keep - Part Two

Title Promises to Keep (Part Two)
Author: [personal profile] celestineangel
Fandom: Inception
Character(s)/Pairing: Arthur/Eames
Rating: R-ish, for the torture.
Word Count: 4,309
Summary: Promises made must be kept, even after tragedy.
Warnings: Torture. Mentions of past abduction/kidnapping. There's another very, very non-graphic PG-13ish sex scene. Don't blink! You'll miss it!
Disclaimer: Not my sandbox. I'm just moving sand around. Building some buildings and knocking them down.
Author's Notes: First part found here. I am so sorry… the prompt was so adorabible, and I've turned it into angst and drama…. And now there's torture. I have no excuse. I'm just an angst whore. Also, I lied. This will be at least three parts. >.< Crap. Honestly I hardly know if this has anything to do with the prompt anymore. Written as a fill for this prompt at [personal profile] inception_kink.

Promises to Keep (Part Two)

"We must tell Paola, Thomas, this is getting ridiculous!"

It's been almost a year since Eames and Arthur fell into bed together and somehow ended up in something that might, and might not, resemble a relationship.

"Mum, no. Not yet, don't tell her until I tell Arthur, and right now is not the time."

"Why not?"

The bite in her voice is not as uncharacteristic as she would have people believe, and Eames sighs.

It all seems so easy for his mother, who has never seen Arthur shoot a man in the face without remorse, or watched him take down a target from two blocks away with near inhuman accuracy.

Lady Eames hadn't seen the fury in Arthur's eyes when her son asked him a simple, innocent question, nor had Cobb told herhow the American foster care system hadn't treated Arthur well.

And his mother doesn't have to see those looks Arthur gives him sometimes, looks that frighten Eames because they are wary, speculative. In those moments Eames is certain his lover is rethinking their entire arrangement. Rethinking Eames, and the trust Arthur places in him (which isn't much, but isn't nothing, either, which in itself is a near miracle), and possibly considering shooting him in the head in the middle of the night to be rid of the inconvenience of trust.

Cobb is, as far as Eames can tell, the only one who knows the particulars of Arthur's past and Eames suspects it isn't because Arthur told him. Unfortunately, Eames also suspects telling Arthur the truth and earning his belief will involve Arthur telling him everything.

"Just trust me, Mum, it isn't so easy as just telling him. Arthur isn't the most trusting of men."

Her sigh, shaky and hiding more emotion than most people would think her capable of, tugs at his heart in a way not much does these days. "All right. I don't like it, Thomas, it isn't right, but I won't tell her until you say otherwise."

"Thanks, Mum," he says, no small amount of relief in his voice, which he gives her because this, if nothing else, will convince her of how serious he is about Arthur.

It does, and backfires. "One other thing," she says, and her tone has changed. This is the tone none of her children ever argue with because there's no point in trying, and the results are not worth the trouble. "You will bring him for a visit. Soon."

"Mum, I—"

"I promise to make certain Paola isn't here and doesn't drop in, and I promise not to say anything to him. This has nothing to do with that."

Eames is suspicious. "Then why?"

"Because, my dear Thomas, you've wanted to marry this boy since you were seven years old. Bringing him home to the family is only the proper thing to do, of course."

"Oh." He can feel an embarrassing heat rising to his face. Bloody—she would have to bring that up. "Fine. I'll do my best, but I can't promise." She tries to interrupt, but he won't let her. "It's not like I can just drag him onto a plane, is it? He has to agree."

"Oh, well, I suppose."

"I'll let you know. Good-bye, Mum."

Immediately after hanging up, Eames groans and flops back on the bed. Brilliant, just bloody brilliant, now he has to somehow convince Arthur to have a meet up with the parents, when there is every possibility Arthur may not consider what they have to be so formal, and at any rate, may be planning to murder him in his sleep.

This is the man you love. Aren't you just a complete nutter, then?


Arthur is in the door, as he so often is, arms crossed, leaned against the doorframe in a manner Eames has come to understand is as close to relaxed as Arthur comes. When he's not in bed, any rate. After a moment of silence, Arthur moves to sit on the edge of the bed, spine steel-straight. "What is it?"

Eames looks up at his lover—is that the proper term for what they are? He doesn't know, and can't begin to think about asking Arthur—tries to think of how to tell him, and comes up empty. "Having a conversation with my mum," he says, cautious, never certain how Arthur will react to mentions of family. The first time he'd ever mention his mother, Arthur had stared at him so long Eames thought his head might explode, and then hadn't spoken to him the rest of the day.

"Oh?" is all Arthur says. He's not looking down, he's looking straight ahead at the undecorated wall. Still, one of his hand moves to stroke Eames' hair, almost idly.

"She wants us to come for a visit."

Arthur's hand stills. "She knows about me?"

With anyone else, he'd say Of course she knows about you, she's my mum. Mums always know everything. This is Arthur, however, and Arthur isn't aware of how mothers are always possessed of a sixth sense when it pertains to their children.

"She knows I'm… with someone."

Now Arthur turns his head, and dark eyes meet Eames', mouth thinning. His eyebrows twitch, but don't knot completely, which is a good sign, as far as Eames is concerned. It means there's little or no anger, mostly confusion. "Are you… with someone?"

"Am I? Well, I don't know, darling, but it's easier to let my mum call it that. She's a bit old-fashioned. These sorts of new-fangled arrangements don't make much sense to her." To be honest, though he's had his one-nighters, this arrangement with Arthur doesn't make much sense to him, either. He doesn't know what they are or aren't supposed to be to each other, and while Arthur seems perfectly content with it, Eames is not. He sighs, and in a gentler voice, continues, "I tried telling her you're not the 'meet the parents' type, but she's a bit stubborn."

The comment earns him a twist of one side of Arthur's mouth upward. "Hmm. Sounds familiar."

Eames feels his own mouth twitching in response. "Perhaps."

"Only a little."

"Just a wee bit."

"I'll go."

The shocked silence probably stretches on a bit longer than necessary, but only because Eames honestly cannot figure out how to respond. It's exactly the opposite of what he expected of Arthur. Before he can formulate a verbal response, he sits up, shifting his weight to one side so he can fully face Arthur, who has once more turned away. "You will?"

"I don't have anything better to do, I don't have a job lined up, Dom doesn't need me. I might as well."

Eames studies Arthur's profile, wondering what on God's green Earth is going on inside that lovely head of his, but it's harder to tell when Arthur won't look him straight on so he can read the small expressions. Still, he knows enough to think it might be a bad idea to push further, at least for now, so he leans forward to place a careful kiss on the corner of Arthur's mouth, and says only, "I'll make arrangements, then. When shall we go?"

Arthur pulls his hand away from Eames and stands. "Whenever you want."


They go at the end of the month, giving plenty of time for arrangements on both sides of the pond.

When they arrive, Eames realizes immediately that he hasn't bothered to tell Arthur about his family, but realizes immediately after that it doesn't matter, because this is Arthur. The size of the estate grounds doesn't phase him, nor does the size of the manor. At least, there's no wide open-mouthed shock as there has been with others who didn't know what to expect.

Yet, when they exit the car, Arthur hesitates just outside, eyes moving over the manor and the nearby grounds, pausing at one of the statues guarding the stairs to the front door. Does he remember?

"Arthur?" Eames puts a hand in the small of Arthur's back, a brief gesture, one Arthur normally doesn't tolerate.


In seconds they are swarmed by people who should be too British to show such enthusiasm, and there's no time for Arthur to respond. Eames' mother grabs his face and kisses him, then leaves him to the tender mercies of his sisters to turn to Arthur and do the same. It might be amusing if he weren't so concerned about Arthur's reaction.

Fortunately, Arthur takes it all in stride, with quiet, stern dignity, even the part where the Eames girls follow their mother's lead and converge. There's a great deal of shrieking involved, and Eames takes Arthur's hand and pulls him away, shielding him, before he can pull a gun.

"All right, everyone back away, down, girls, down!"

He gives them, all four of them, warning looks. Warning them away from Arthur, and definitely away from mentioning anything about having met him as a child. Mum should have, but who knows what the silly women will say if given half a chance.

"All of you back off. Arthur and I need to clean up, we'll join you for supper."

They give him dirty looks, but leave, and Eames sweeps Arthur into the house and to the room they're going to share, which is not his childhood room because he will not subject himself or Arthur to that. It's really more of a suite, with a spacious room in front with a couple of sofas worth more than a good number of cars, a fireplace, ten thousand dollar rugs and really a mess of other things Eames will never buy for his own home even though he has the money to live any way he wishes. This, this posture and pomp, is not what he wants.

"Lord William and Lady Sophia Eames, hmm?" Arthur asks him quietly, fingers brushing the back of one of the sofas. "If I'd known earlier, I would have given my condolences."

Eames carries their bags to the bedroom, unsure of how to respond because he isn't sure why Arthur brought it up. It was three years ago.

He has half his things unpacked when Arthur appears in the doorway. "I'm sorry."

"What was that?" Eames straightens, holding a shirt, a paisley thing in browns and purples he knows Arthur just loves. Over his shoulder, he gives Arthur a grin. "Was that the sound of a miracle?"

By now, Eames has learned to love the small smiles Arthur gives because it doesn't happen often. "You're obnoxious."

"But you're still here."

Arthur takes two measured steps inside the room, calculated, Eames knows, to elicit just the response he gets, which is for Eames to move to meet him, which he does. "I'm still here," Arthur says as Eames takes hold of his hips.

"Would it be in my best interests at all to ask why?"

Arthur's hands slide up the length of Eames' arms. "No."

"Ah. Well, don't you think you should shut me up, then?"

Arthur does, and they're a little late for supper.


They stay for two weeks, and there are times Eames catches Arthur gazing at something, at a piece of furniture, or a place on the grounds, and is certain Arthur's going to turn to him and say he's seen this before, he knows this place, and Eames will finally have an opportunity. His lover stays stubbornly reticent, however.

Staying much longer will result in disaster, because Eames can see his mother's resolve crumbling, can hear his sisters whispering when they think no one is near, and he knows he has to get Arthur out of there before someone isn't careful enough.

So they go home, or rather, to Arthur's home, which is where they usually stay when they stay together.

The very next day Eames is called away on a job, and he leaves Arthur with a kiss. He doesn't promise to come back, because they both know there's always the chance he won't, or the chance Arthur will not want him back.

He does survive, and returns to Arthur's, to find a note on the fridge informing him that Arthur has a job of his own and may be gone a month or more. The note is dated three weeks ago. By the time Arthur returns, Eames has another job, and things become so busy they spend a good three months dancing around each other, rarely together more than a couple of hours. It's maddening for Eames, missing his Arthur more than he thought possible. It's also maddening to wonder if Arthur misses him they same way.

He finds out in Barcelona.


In Barcelona, his luck runs out. In Barcelona, he is caught, and he is tortured. In Barcelona he is kept in a lightless, soundless room except when, at random intervals, the lights strobe and loud metal music blares, only to go quiet again. In Barcelona, he is given injections that cause pain, especially during the sensory overload periods. In Barcelona, there are men and women who do things to him he will never speak aloud, things that break his cocky exterior.

In Barcelona, in the dark, he thinks of Arthur.

There are no clocks, no calendars; he has no idea of how long he's been there, or how long ago he last saw or heard anything. The only sensation in his body is pain, and after a while, when that is the only thing he's known, even that begins to blunt against the dark and soundlessness.

If there were a thought left in his head, he might wonder when is the last time the lights came on or the music blasted.

The door opens. Eames jerks, an arm moving to cover his face purely on instinct.

"Eames." The voice is familiar, the touch is gentle, but Eames can't think through the blinding pain in his skull, in his hands, his feet, and everywhere else. "God," the voice lowers, a whisper now, both distressed and furious, "Eames. What—fuck. I'm going to—stay here, Eames. I'll be back."

There is a touch to his forehead, it might be gentle, he doesn't know because after all this time, after the drugs, after only being touched in ways that cause agony, this sensation flares across his skin so brightly he gasps.

Then he is alone again. The door stays open, but the light never dims. Outside, he can hear—he can hear—things that pound through his ears. Later, he will realize these are gunshots and screams, but right now he can't make sense of anything.

Eventually, the sounds die, all except a steady click, click, click, what he doesn't know are shoes on tile, until that stops as well and the gentle hand and voice is back. "In here!" the voice calls, and reaches a higher octave, breaking. Eames groans as he's partially lifted from the floor in someone's arms. "Shhh, it's all right. I'm here. Damn it, Dom, get in here and help me!" This last, the voice shrieks, and Eames has one thought before he loses consciousness.

He can't be panicking, he never panics.


A week later, Eames wakes in a hospital in Barcelona.

Arthur is there. It takes Eames far too long to remember his name, but when he calls it, Arthur stands and is at his side immediately. This time, the kiss on his forehead feels only like a kiss, and the best thing he's ever felt in his life.

Tears fall, and then something like panic, like terror, but not really either, rises in Eames' chest and he's shaking. He tries to recall the man he was before, tries to remember how to let things roll over him, how to grin, to laugh when there's nothing to laugh at. He tries to remember how to throw off a snarky comment and pretend he isn't hurting. It isn't as though he's never been tortured before. Yet, he can't stop himself from shaking, and he can't figure out why this time is different.

Arthur is there until he falls asleep again, and when he wakes, it's Cobb, and Arthur is gone.

Then it's Ariadne, and to his shock, Yusuf and even Saito take their turns. Arthur doesn't come back, not for a while, but when he does there's a cold smile on his lips and satisfaction in his eyes, and something inside Eames relaxes.

The doctors in Barcelona want to keep him, but Eames wants to go home.

Arthur looks at the doctor with his cold eyes and says, "I'm taking him home tomorrow. Have everything prepared."

The doctor doesn't argue, and in the morning, Arthur helps load Eames on a private jet supplied by Saito. The businessman is there, as are all the people Eames can call friends, all of whom are maddeningly gentle with him. Eames supposes, though, that if their gentleness is all that irritating, it must speak well for his potential recovery.

The only one who doesn't annoy him at one time or another is Arthur, and that's because he's Arthur, and the way he silently sits next to Eames, their hands threaded together by the fingers, and quietly responds to any requests—it is both purely Arthur and extremely unusual. While Ariadne prattles on about her coursework (and Eames knows he's being a little unkind to her, but really, he couldn't care less), Eames watches Arthur, takes strength from the calm solidity of the man he's wanted to marry since they were boys.

It's time.


In fact, the time doesn't come for several weeks.

It isn't that Eames doesn't want to tell Arthur, it's simply that there's little opportunity.

At first, they are constantly surrounded by friends who are only being good friends, but make private moments entirely impossible. Eames can't be very angry with them, because he does require some help in getting around at first, and Arthur is responsible for things such as keeping the house stocked with necessities. He doesn't have to take a job. Both of them are independently wealthy thanks to the inception job, and Saito is generous with his influence. Someone, however, has to be the one to shop for the proper equipment and medicines, then bring them home.

Yusuf usually shops for groceries, at least until he can't stay away from his den of illicit dream-sharing any longer.

Ariadne has to leave no long after, going back to school.

Cobb is in and out as his rather boringly civilian life with his children allows. It's Cobb who tells him what he knows of what Arthur did to the men who held and tortured him. Eames sleeps well that night, and though his dreamed are of blood and death, for once it isn't his own and he can consider that a night of sweet dreams indeed.

Finally, there comes a day when Arthur is there, the others have all gone, and Eames has his lover to himself.

He rises from his chair, and Arthur's eyes lift to watch him; Arthur doesn't say anything, but Eames knows that look by now. "I'm only going to get the laptop, darling, and you know I have to walk around and lift things on my own if I'm to have my mannish figure back."

Arthur snorts, and that's the extent of his response.

As he retrieves the laptop—really Arthur's laptop, though they share it now—he tries to imagine how Arthur will respond and can't, can't even begin. Beautiful, serene, deadly, Arthur's never been the easiest man to read.

Back on the sofa, with Arthur in the chair next to him, Eames brings up his email, finds the oldest email he has saved, and opens the attachment. "Arthur," he says, "I have something to show you, but first I have a question."

Arthur looks up at him, places the newspaper he's reading on his lap, the folds his hands over it in a perfect posture of patient expectation. As usual, there's no expression on his face, and now there are no little signs, no small ticks or lines where they normally aren't to give Eames even the slightest idea if Arthur suspects what's coming.

Oh well. Only one way to find out.

"What happened to your parents?"

The only indication of Arthur's feelings is the way his hands twitch, only once, but enough. "What does that have to do with anything?"

Eames takes a breath, and says the thing that might destroy everything. "Please, Arthur. Just trust me."

"Arthur isn't the most trusting of men."

Arthur's fingers tighten. His eyelids half close over his eyes for a moment, a gesture Eames recognizes as Arthur cutting himself off from things outside himself that caught discomfort. "I don't see how that's important."

Sighing, Eames runs a hand through his hair. "For one, I think we're past the point where you should be able to trust me with that sort of thing," he says, and continues on when Arthur tries to interrupt. "For another, it is actually relevant to what I have to show you, but I need to know. Please. Arthur. Trust me.

Even then, even after everything, Arthur doesn't answer immediately. Eames waits, waits longer than he thinks he can, or should, and eventually the cliché wins out and good things come.

"I don't know what happened to my father. I can't remember him. I barely remember my mother. She died of a drug overdose when I was six."

"Did she." It's more a musing than a question, and Arthur knows it to judge from his frown. "All right," he says, before Arthur can snap at him, "I said I have something to show you, and I do. Come here."

Arthur rises, his expression closed, and moves to a place where he can peer over Eames' shoulder.

The picture is the same as it's always been, though perhaps better quality than the original thanks to better photo-restoring technology. The woman is the same, eyes dark, smile bright, arms wrapped tightly around the boy who defined her life. The boy was the same as well, serious and a younger version of the man standing over Eames.

The first thing Arthur says is not at all what Eames expects.

"I know her. That's Paola Jones, the chef."

There's a tightness in Arthur's voice. Eames looks up and over his shoulder to see Arthur's eyes firmly on the image of Paola.

"It is. And that's you."

After a moment more of refusing, Arthur finally drops his eyes to the boy in the photo. "I don't understand."

Eames closes the laptop, sets it aside, and tugs on Arthur's arm. A testament to how well they both have grown to know each other, Arthur doesn't say a word, merely moves around the sofa to sit next to Eames, facing him, back straight and hands cold. Eames takes those hands without fear now, holding them firmly.

"Paola Jones used to be Paola Esposito, before she married Trip Jones." He speaks as softly as he can manage without being condescending. "In that photo, she was twenty-one years old, and her son Arthur, you, were four. Not long after that, a woman working at the daycare kidnapped you." Arthur's fingers tighten on his, but his eyes do not so much as flutter. "Her name, at least the name she gave the daycare, was Sarah Sorrenson. The police searched her place and found enough evidence to show she'd been planning abduction for quite some time, she just needed the right child."


Eames shrugs. There's no possible way to explain what went on in the head of this woman so many years ago, a woman who was also, apparently, a drug addict. He can feel Arthur's fingers tightening on his even more, and because he knows Arthur, can feel the rage in that grip.

"The police searched. As far as I know there's still a case on you, but it's probably considered closed." He breathes deeply before going forward. "Paola never gave up. She's always been looking for you."

"How do you know?" Arthur's eyes are narrowed now, and hard as well as cold.

This is where they will break, if they are going to break. This is the moment Eames has dreaded since the moment he knew without a doubt it would come. He won't lie, he can't, not to Arthur, who needs only truth from him from now on if they will ever survive this moment.

"My mother and yours are good friends. Have been since before you were taken." His mouth twitches in a smile, but it's half-hearted. "We were friends then, too, you were three when we met and I was seven. You and your mother came to visit us—"

That's when Arthur pulls his hands away with a vicious snap.

"How long have you known?"

"I suspected when we first met," he replies, barely able to bring his voice above a whisper. "I've known since just after the inception job. Arthur, please—"

Arthur stands and turns from him, fingers curling inward. He might punch Eames, he can, there isn't much Eames can do to stop him if that's what he wants, but in the end it isn't what he does. Instead, he walks away, to the front door, where he grabs his coat from the stand. He leaves without a word, and Eames has to close his eyes against the image in order to breathe again.


When Eames wakes in the morning, the kitchen is cleaned and organized, everything labeled to be easy to locate. There is a list of nearby grocery and other stores that will deliver if necessary. Next to the phone is a list of emergency phone numbers, mostly for Cobb because he's closest, but for Ariadne, Yusuf and Saito as well.

Arthur's things are gone.

I'm sorry. I lied. This is continued here.

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