Title: Just Because I'm an Only Child (Doesn't Mean I Need to be Protected)
Character(s): Ensemble, OC
Summary: The issue isn't her relationship with him, it's her relationship with them.
Length: ~1,300 words
Disclaimer: I don't know you. You don't know me. Let's keep it that way.
Dedication: written for creepy_shetan. I'm sure this isn't what you were looking for, but I hope you like(d) it.
Just Because I'm an Only Child (Doesn't Mean I Need to be Protected)
Wrapping her arms around her former teacher's neck, Ariadne said, "Please make them stop."
"Not to worry, my dear." Miles pulled away to drop a kiss on her forehead. Leaning down close, he whispered, "I promise to make them behave."
Impulsively, Ariadne hugged him again. "Thank you. Tom's starting to look nervous."
Together they turned to look at her fiance, Thomas Choi, flanked by Dominic and Arthur. None of the three looked happy. Dom and Arthur, in fact, were far too tense. If it weren't for his jacket, Ariadne was sure that there would be rings of sweat under Tom's arms. He'd already had an encounter with Eames, and Yusuf was around somewhere.
"I'm going to kill them," Ariadne growled.
Miles took her hand, patting it. "Don't worry, my dear. I'll handle this." He crossed the room and quickly got Dom and Arthur away. Breathing a sigh of relief, Ariadne could go back to circulating. It was an engagement party. She should be engaging.
About twenty minutes later, Ariadne found herself crouched in front of one James Cobb, running a hand through his golden hair. "Okay, so, if you can distract your grandfather I will give you all the extra Jordan almonds Tom's mom bought."
"Yup. Now go over there and do your darndest." She tracked him with her eyes until he managed to drag Miles away from poor Tom and out of sight.
Looking around (probably for more attackers) Tom caught her eye. He ostentatiously wiped his brow and smiled. Returning it, Ariadne began to cross the floor. Halfway there, however, she was intercepted by Saito. "Enjoying yourself?"
She smiled, although what she really wanted to do was brush past him. "It's wonderful. Really, Saito, you didn't have to do all this. It's not like Tom can't afford it."
He took her right hand and brushed his lips across the knuckles. "It's my gift to you both."
"And it was the perfect opportunity to threaten his life."
"Saito!" Ariadne hissed. She would have hit him, too, but there were too many people around. "If you tell me it was 'neater,' so help me God I will..." She swallowed an inarticulate snarl and stalked away.
His brows drew together. "But it was."
By the time she'd finally cut through everyone, Dom, Arthur and Eames surrounded poor Tom. She slipped an arm through his. "Come to protect your investment, darling?"
She raised an eyebrow. "Do I need to?"
Eames turned his attention to Tom. "Does she, Choi?"
Ariadne could feel the way Tom tensed, scowling beside her. "I'm fine."
"What are you afraid of?" Arthur asked.
Dom, the only person who hadn't spoken, simply shook his head and walked away.
One down, Ariadne thought. Everyone else to go. Maybe I can rope Philipa into distracting Arthur... To Tom, she said, "Let's go dance. We haven't danced all night."
"Do save one for me, darling." Eames' smile was slick and debonair. "I haven't had the pleasure of your company all night." He reached for her hand.
She snatched it back. "You've been too busy attacking my fiance."
"Such a strong word, love. I prefer..friendly advice."
Tom snorted. "I'm no stranger to 'friendly advice'."
That raised both Eames' and Arthur's interest. "That so?" Eames said.
Ariadne tugged at Tom. "Can we dance. Please."
He pulled her arm through the crook of his elbow and led her away. Leaning in close to her on the dancefloor, he said, "I'm glad you're an only child."
"Tell me about it. I think I'm about to make all of their mothers cry as I murder their sons. I might spare Yusuf."
"Heavyset man with curly hair?"
Ariadne narrowed her eyes. "What did he do?"
"Just...add him to the list."
"Ugh. I swear, I-" Ariadne cocked her head.
"What? What's wrong."
"I can't believe Saito let them play this song. Where's he hiding the rest of the orchestra?"
Tom's eyebrows drew together in confusion. "Orchestra? What are you talking about? Ari, it's a three-piece jazz ensemble. Double-bass, guitar and drums. They blend right into the background. Which is probably their purpose."
She started to contradict him, but saw the certainty in his expression. She closed her eyes, muttering several choice words and promising particular harm. "Excuse me, Tom."
"Ari...Ari where are you going?" he called after her.
She waved him off. "I should have known. I should have known. 'What are you afraid of?' I'll tell you what you should be-"
Ariadne gasped. She ripped the IV out of her arm, ignoring the long burn and the blood. She jumped to her feet from the elegant hotel chair and stalked Dominic Cobb, calmly detaching his own line. "What is wrong with you? What do you think you were doing?"
"Checking on your fiance."
"He's the son of a major publishing house in Korea! They don't print any further than Taiwan! What in the world could he have of interest to you."
"You," Arthur answered from one of the other chairs in the sitting area. Eames and Miles were waking up beside him. Yusuf ignored them all as he took care of the PASIV. "He has secrets Ariadne," Arthur continued.
As if to prove the point, Dom held up a manila folder. Ariadne rolled her eyes. "Oh, please. The only big secret you're going to find in there is that he doesn't want to have any kids. Which I obviously already know, and I'm perfectly fine with. Other people's kids are nice and all, but I'm not interested in having any myself."
Miles frowned. "Why would that be a secret?"
Eames answered for her. "Because he's the oldest son of a Korean chaebol. They'll expect him to produce an heir to run the family business after him."
Ariadne nodded. "And we're not interested. His relatives have been asking about it from the moment we talked about marriage, which makes him sweat. He doesn't want to let them down, but we're not having munchkins just to make them happy either." She snatched the file out of Dom's hand and slapped the top of Yusuf's head with it.
"What was that for?"
"Two levels? You let them put us under for two levels?"
"I was also curious as to his intentions."
Making a slow circle, Ariadne met each man's eyes. They quieted in the face of her anger. "If you ever, I mean ever do something like this to me and Tom again," she said softly, "I swear I will personally make you all pay."
Ariadne cut Eames off with a look. She turned to Yusuf. "Why's Tom still out?"
"O-On a l-longer timer. He'll come up when the time runs out on the upper level. I've got a kick set up." At her glare, he raised his hands in front of him. "I do! We've no intention of hurting him."
Ariadne didn't bother trying to see who'd muttered that one. "Get us up there, now. I'm missing my own engagement party messing with you. And you, Miles!"
"Indulge an old man?"
"So that's dream sharing?" Tom asked the petite woman in his arms. He nodded his thanks as Yusuf eased the IV out of his arm.
Ariadne nodded. "Was it so bad?"
"Except for these guys giving me a rough time..." But he smiled at the assembled men. Saito, this time, was present. They'd "caught up" with him on the first level of the dream. "It wasn't so bad. Kind of boring. I thought we'd be flying or something."
Ariadne wrapped her arms around her fiance's neck and kissed him near his ear. "Next time."
Author's Notes: One of two stories written in response to the Livejournal community, comment_fic, prompt " Inception, author's choice, whispered threats and promises" posted by creepy_shetan. This one didn't come out quite the way I wanted, and it's not quite the story I wanted to write, but I hope it works in its own right.