warnings: pre-movie (slightly AU?). light slash leanings. taking liberties with when/how the characters met and how long they've known each other. language: pg (for bint).
pairing: background Mal/Dom, some silly Eames/Arthur.
timeline: we'll call it about four years before the movie.
disclaimer: Chris Nolan owns Inception and its characters.
notes: 1) there are plenty of perfectly legitimate reasons for extraction. helping mental patients or trauma victims, for one. on the slightly shadier side, it could be used as an interrogation tool. and on the 'yeah, it's pretty much illegal' side of things, there's stealing corporate secrets or flushing out corporate spies. 2) "bint" is actually a slightly rude British word for a woman. it comes from the Arabic word for "daughter." 3) obviously, a forger isn't an absolute necessity on an extraction (they didn't have one for the first extraction of the movie), but i think that it would certainly make the job easier.
Arthur does not object to Dom and Mal inviting Eames along on extractions. An accomplished forger can be an enormous help, and Eames may well be the best there is. He has a quick and imaginative mind, and he's very good at putting subjects at their ease—to the extent that Arthur wonders how much more helpful Eames might be if they were dabbling in the less legal side of dream-sharing.
No, Arthur does not object to Eames' presence during an extraction. It's during the days leading up to the extraction that he objects to Eames' presence.
Surely the man can do his own prep work quietly and far away from Arthur.
Just at the moment, Eames is humming some vaguely familiar tune so off-key that it's impossible to tell exactly what song it should be.
"Shouldn't you be working?" Arthur asks archly, highlighting several lines in a bank transaction history.
Eames scoffs and puts his awful shoes (some kind of garish wingtips) up on the desk in front of him (which actually belongs to Mal). "That champagne bubble of a woman is nowhere near as interesting as you, darling."
Arthur pauses in his research and stares fixedly at his pencil cup. "I'm not the one you'll be impersonating," he points out as he goes back to the piece of paper and highlights another line. "And kindly get your filthy feet off Mal's desk."
The ugly shoes make a muted scuffing noise as they return to the floor. "Arthur, dear, are you really all work and no play?"
"When I'm working, yes," Arthur says blandly. "And I am neither your darling nor your dear, Mr. Eames."
"Oh, aren't you?" Eames laughs.
Arthur's left eyebrow twitches in annoyance. He just knows that if he tries to argue, they'll be bickering all day. "Mr. Eames, whether the subject's wife is utterly fascinating or dull as a wooden spoon, it's your job to convince the subject that you are, in fact, she. If there's even a single flaw in your performance, you'll be spotted, the extraction will fail and we'll all gain a reputation as frauds, we'll never be able to find work again and sweet little Phillipa will starve and it will be your fault."
"Hmph," pouts Eames, spinning in Mal's chair. "You exaggerate far more than is quite healthy. Fortunately, it's very fetching on you. Fine, fine. Spoilsport. In the spirit of noble self-sacrifice, I shall go watch that moronic bint squander her husband's money, the better to know whether he's really been dealing under the table."
Eames gets up and straightens his shirt (some hideous beige-and-maple polo that Arthur would like to take and burn) and saunters over to Arthur. "Don't miss me too terribly, darling," he says, and kisses Arthur's cheek.
Arthur clenches his hands, crumpling the bank history slightly at the edges, but manages not to spin and break Eames' smug nose. After the extraction, he thinks. After the extraction, he'll shut the man up with a solid punch and go on with life.
He ignores the fact that he's thought the same thing during the last three extractions with Eames and has yet to punch the bastard.
He ignores the fact that before each extraction Dom has asked him, quite seriously, whether he has any objections to using Eames as their forger.
He ignores the fact that when Dom asks him this, he always replies with a brusque, Of course not, Mr. Eames is the best forger in the business.
And he certainly ignores the fact that Mal just smiles a secretive little smile when he says that.