Chapter 22-Four Words.

"What?" Ariadne wasn't believing her ears.

"You can't seem to make up your mind about who you'd rather be with so I'll give you a push. Here's the deal. I can shoot you and you can cut your ties with me…in which case Arthur stays here in limbo, in this chair…." He pulled out a knife and ran it along Arthur's hand… "for me to do as I please to."

Ariadne winced and tried to step forward but he pointed the gun at her and she wasn't ready for the decision to be made for her. "Or?"

"Or…you can choose me. Say you love me again. Choose for me to shoot him. He'll wake up above without any infliction of pain and you'll live out your days with me for as long as limbo lasts…"

She stepped back, "Why are you doing this?"

"Because my patience is running thin. Make your choice."

Ariadne looked at Arthur for reassurance, for guidance. "Go. Get out of here, it's why I came."

"Your sanity, Arthur…your life. I can't just take that away from you." She was beginning to tear.

"If you say you love him, my life's over anyway." He graced her with a somber, accepting smile.

Oliver pulled the hammer back, "Whichever way you choose…I win. So do you set yourself free? Doom your lover to demise? Say you love me."

"Why force her to lie to you for my sake?" Arthur literally spit at Oliver. Miner replied by ripping the first two buttons of Arthur's shirt and made a slow slice across his chest just under his collar bone. Arthur gritted his teeth and suppressed a grunt. Ariadne started to him but halted when the barrel stared her down.


"Go, Ari."

Miner drove the knife down into Arthur's leg and the latter yelled.

"Arthur!" She took a step and retracted when Oliver shook the barrel in her face again.

"Choose!" Miner thrust the knife down again.

Arthur forced eye contact with her, "LEAVE."

Ariadne tried to cover her ears. She was drowning in Arthur's agonizing yells and the sound of Miner's knife sinking into his skin. It was her nightmare coming to life.

"CHOOSE!" Squish. Spurt. Groan. Yell.

"GO NOW." his voice hitched, it was raspy and full of hurt.

"CHOOSE!" Squish. Splatter. Scream.

"Ariadne!" It was unbearable. He was begging. His voice caught and cracked. "Please," he whispered as Oliver raised his knife again.

She broke, "Stop!"

Finally it was silent. Her decision was made when she saw Arthur's blood drip from the knife and stain the tile. The two made eye contact and she mouthed a quick 'I love you' and then turned her attention to Miner. She advanced slowly towards the man holding her at gunpoint with tears rolling down her cheeks.

"You're a pitiful excuse for a man, you know that? What kind of life have you had, to feel the need to treat people this way? You think you're the only one who's ever felt unloved and unappreciated and isolated? Tossed aside? You think you're the only that's ever been rejected by someone they cared for? "

He stared back unwavering.

"I just hope I have the courage to show you that…in all the years we'll spend together…" she reached him and ran her hand down his arm. Oliver swayed under her touch. It took her this long to realize that she had more power over him than he had over her.

"Ariadne…" Arthur whispered the warning. Miner's hands became weak and he dropped the knife.

She caressed the side of Miner's face and took his gunned hand in hers "…You're not alone."

Arthur watched her lips dive into Oliver's. He saw her run her hand down to caress his and take the gun. She deepened the kiss and ruffled his hair with the other hand and his body all but went limp. Oliver's arms wrapped around her to bring her closer and Arthur found himself looking at the barrel of a gun pointed at his head. The last thing he saw was a tear rolling down her cheek and her knuckles turning white before she pulled back the trigger.

He awoke with a start and looked to her before burying his face in his hands.

"What happened?"

Yusuf saw tears in the Point Man's eyes when he looked at him. Yet, he was awarded no answer. Arthur ripped out the lead and vanished through the sliding doors onto the suite's balcony. Yusuf sunk down to sit with his back against the couch, his knees pulled to him, and stared out into space, wringing his hands together. The forger's eyes lost all luster when they fell on the girl again. Eames brushed his hand across her head and pulled the comforter up. Then he headed to the balcony as well.

For the first time, he didn't say a word. He patted Arthur's back and looked out at the city with him.

"If I'd just accepted things and been honest about how I felt…she'd be awake. She'd—"

"Arthur. What's done is done."

"I killed her Eames." The forger finally got a look at the Point Man's face. Red, swollen, tear stained.

"It's not your fault."

Arthur rested his head on the rail. "Just—leave me be."

Eames nodded, "When you're ready for company, Yusuf and I will be inside. Drinking, I'd assume."


When she pulled away and dropped the gun, Oliver's eyes were still closed, he began to laugh. He was overjoyed that she chose him. He hugged her tight and picked her up off the ground before he took a good look at her. She gave him a halfhearted smile and retrieved a wet rag. Oliver watched as she sulked over to the chair and knelt beside the man she shot. She gently wiped his wounds down as if she was afraid to hurt him even more. She kissed his temple and caressed his palm. Oliver's mood fell.


There was a little blonde boy in Super Mario pajamas standing in the doorway of the kitchen holding a little brunette girl's hand. The littler of the two, took her thumb out of her mouth and gave Ariadne a concerned look, "What happened?"

Ariadne sighed and lead the kids into the living room. She sat them on the couch with a blanket and told them to take a nap. Oliver entered as the Architect kissed the two kids on the forehead.

"You're an amazing mother."

"They're not real."

The man sighed. "Ariadne, I know it's hard to believe but…I really do love you."

"Eames? Yusuf?"

They sat in the kitchen waiting for the coffee to finish brewing. It would be a long sleepless night. There was much to discuss about what to do with Ariadne's sleeping body and that was after they managed to coax Arthur back inside. If they could coax him back inside.

"Eames?" louder, "Yusuf?"

Yusuf took a sharp intake of breathe and punched Eames.

"Jesus! What is it?" Eames turned to see what Yusuf's eyes had frozen on.

It was her. Ariadne. After a check of his poker chips, she was confirmed alive and awake.

"Ariadne! Dearest!"

They couldn't make it to her fast enough. She was engulfed in hugs and praise and terms of endearment.

"How on earth…?"


He handed her the gun.

"I lied. There is in fact another bullet. Take it and leave me. Forget all of this. Everything. Please."

"Where is this coming from?"

"You'll never love me the way I want you to. Not without my constant prodding and threatening and even then you always find a way to love Arthur. No matter what I do, I can't erase him. I can't manipulate you enough, I can't get rid of this unrequited pain…and I've finally had enough. I have plenty of memories of you to get lost in on my own. I do love you…enough to let you go."

The scene changed and he sat down, where the couch used to be, on a green bench. A projected Ariadne sat with ice cream in her hand and started the conversation from the night he treasured most. Ariadne took the gun and walked a couple benches down. She flicked her totem to find it float back upright. In the background, she heard her own voice mutter, "Say you love me." She put the gun to her head and woke up.

After hearing the gunshot, Miner's scene shifted to their city again. He propelled his totem as far as he could and the city around him collapsed into dust.


"We're so glad you're conscious!"

"It was BLOODY dim without you darling!"

She smiled and hugged each of them again, "Where's Arthur?"

In their utter shock and sheer joy they had forgotten him. "Oh. He's out on the veranda…my he's going to be elated!"

Ariadne went outside, crept up behind him and snaked her arms around his waist, "Whatcha doin?"

He jumped but then settled, "Beating myself up for letting you go under in the first place."

She let go and leant against the rail like him, "You know I hate it when you get pessimistic," She teased.

It didn't dawn on him until he looked at her. "Ari?" He fumbled around in his pocket and rolled his dice frantically.

When it landed on the desired number she grinned at him, "Hey Point Man…"

"Ariadne! How did—I don't care. You're—you're-" His feelings were so ineffable, he was literally tongue tied. He rolled his dice again and then scooped her up and spun her around the balcony. He put her down, "You will never doubt my feelings for you again, I swear. I should've said it more…I love you." He kissed her, "I love you." Again. "I love your smile" and again on her cheek, "And I love your voice," and on her forehead, "and I love your eyes," and her neck "and I love your everything and I love everything that has anything to do with you."

"Arthur!" she laughed.

He whispered one last "I love you," and kissed the tip of her nose while she basked in the only thing she ever wanted. Arthur.

"How are you feeling?" Arthur rested his forehead on hers and rubbed her jawline with his thumb.

"Honestly?" she wrapped her arms around his waist.

He pulled back just slightly, his forehead still on hers and nodded.

"Starving. But I guess twelve years in a dream without any real substance can have that affect." They both laughed and lingered.

The point man brushed some of the Architect's hair back and smiled down at her, running his hand down her arm to link their fingers. "There is a Chinese menu on the coffee table. You order everything. Anything you want, Ari, you can have it." He reluctantly released his hold after kissing her palm and artless thumb.

"You're not coming in?"

He noticeably fingered his totem, "In a minute."

She nodded and headed in, sliding the glass door open.

Say you love her.

"I love you, Ari."

Good job. And without a second passed.

She turned, hand paused on the door handle, "I love you, Arthur."

Her smile and the sweetest four words…he didn't need to roll his dice anymore. Anywhere that she loved him was all the reality he needed. He re-pocketed it and followed her, wherever she led.


It has been such a whirlwind and such a pleasure to write for you guys. Thank you so much to all my favorites, alerters and reviewers: AngeloftheMorning1978, aZZZA, barbequetheunicorn, Blackstar Angel, crazy waterbending miko, Deezy23, Eminemrulez, FarFromFlawless, Fortuitous, Glitterwave, I Just Need You, Inception Fan, , jennyleelovee, KaitlynTheFanFic, krayzzeedoodle, Lazarus76, loving books, M.E. Powers, majicek, Mangoberri, Mimi Mercury, NobleQuill, Paula Berryman, Sakura Potter, uenogemma, Zoey303, ammsim7, Aphrodite07, Ashlinka, CanYouKeepASecret25, Cerisabeth, DreamscapeAngel, Enbarr, ereshai, Evie Zamora, Fanpire102, GreentreeFrog, Guard2012, Heimarmene, JunebugJJ, Kitkatblizzard8993, lady555, lemon-fizzay-pop, Irqs, lyricalmadness, lyshapimpin, Obsessed With Vamps, orangesherbert06, RARRRRRR, sekai no hikari, storycrazy22, , TenshiKaryane, that's my piranha, thehoodedface, Victoria LeRoux, vjeury, , Inception rocks, Legal-Assassin-006, Superswingdancer, Julye, Greece, musicchica10, FlamingoOnFire, MangaFanXD, Emma, Begasaurus, Amelia M, Laura M, I love Inception, Hi and moviemaniac12. You are all THE BEST. I'm glad you enjoyed it!

I'm working on two new Ari/Arthur stories, so please please keep on the lookout for those! I'd love to share them with you all.

Eternal appreciation and gratitude for all of the constructive criticism and encouragement,