Hello! So this chapter is unbelievably long and I want to apologize! The following vignettes from various time frames each hold some information that will be useful in future chapters so my flashbacks have a purpose this time!

I'm so excited about the response! Thank you! To Nina, twelvepastnever, Legal-Assassin-006 and actressen!

Chapter 2: Sherlock and Dr. Watson

10 months earlier.

Ariadne put her pencil down and took one last swig of her water. On her way to the front door she discarded her recently used dinner plate into the sink and shrugged on her dark blue cardigan. Months of being paranoid and watching over her shoulder for faceless companies gave her plenty of practice to be cautious. She looked through the peephole and saw the back of a suited individual. She'd know that person anywhere.

The sound of the door jarring made him turn around to greet her, taking his hand off of his holster while doing so. "Arthur." She'd said with surprise held in her tone.

"I have a few things about the job to run by you. Would you mind?"

Wordlessly, she stepped aside and welcomed him in, trying to keep the shock off of her face. Arthur had come to her to discuss ideas about the job? That was something she figured he'd run by Eames…well no, his value of Eames' opinion on things wasn't the highest. Still, maybe the lead extractor? Or their new chemist for the job? Even the client…she was just the architect. This was just her third job, what would she know? The thought of his 'running' ideas about the job by her was thrilling. Finally, she held more weight on the team. She'd earned his respect and obviously his trust in her opinion. He politely refused the offer of a drink and took a seat on her sofa. He observed the textbooks and sketches strewn over her coffee table and the open laptop screen drenched with words in French. "I'm not disturbing you, am I?"

She'd brought a glass of water and set it on the table in case he wanted it later. Ariadne then sat in the space on the floor between the couch and the coffee table where her work was piled, "No, just finishing up homework."

"Well, I can wait for you to finish."

"You sure?"

Arthur nodded and they settled into a comfortable quiet. Both typing away on their laptops, the occasional rustle of files and scratch of her pencil. She closed her laptop and her hand came dangerously close to his leg when she grabbed the couch seat and used it to turn and face him. "Ok, what was it that you wanted to talk about?"

"How are you feeling?"

Heavy sigh. Eyeroll. "You're checking up on me…"


"She looks like a hot little thing tonight, doesn't she?"

Arthur smirked as Eames continued, "I didn't think Ariadne even owned a dress, much less the ability to pull it off…but holy hell."

"Eames." He scolded. The chemist had arrived behind her and they were both greeting the extractor before joining Arthur and Eames at the table. The client was sitting across from them and the Point Man found Eames' conversation unprofessional…no matter how accurate. The employer was sitting right there.

Ever ignoring Arthur's pestering, Eames continued, "She never struck me as the model type but…"

"Her legs are gorgeous," surprisingly the client entered the conversation, "Those jeans she wears leave no clue of it."

The subject of conversation and the other two team members were now making their way to the party, "Ok, I think we've had enough of that kind of talk." Arthur reprimanded. He'd taken on a protective role when it came to the young Parisian. In this business, it was hard to come across a woman. So most of the men that came in contact with her would at least look if nothing else because hey, she was a woman. Arthur felt it disrespectful to let anyone objectify her.

"You don't think she looks good, Arthur?" Eames quipped.

Oh God…The forger never failed to push Arthur to look at things in an unprofessional manner. It was inappropriate for Arthur to look at her that way and form an opinion. "She looks…" For the first time, he let his eyes rake her and notice everything the former had mentioned. "…very nice."

"But not the least bit sexy?"

"No." Arthur pointedly glared at Eames to make him shut up. She was in proximity to hear their conversation.

The forger poked just as Ariadne slid in next to him, "Your trousers say otherwise."

Amused and filled with the excitement of seeing her team again and the rush of a new job, she quickly joined in, "What do Arthur's trousers say?"

Arthur tried to steer the conversation in another direction and so disregarded her question, "Good Evening, Ariadne."

Eames nudged Arthur, "Yes, It would appear they're saying such."

He gave Eames a sneer and noticed Ariadne's suspicious glance at he and Eames. After dinner and an agreement on payments and otherwise, the client suggested they all head to a club and celebrate. Drinks sounded refreshing. However, with the reaction the Architect received from the team in that outfit, Arthur decided he wasn't too comfortable with an entire club of drunken men violating her personal space.

"Come on Arthur…she's young, she's attractive, she's in college. She should go partying." Eames winked at Ariadne, "Tally ho!"

Perhaps he could alarm her studious nature, "It's already ten thirty. Don't you have class in the morning?" He looked at his watch for emphasis.

"Yes, dad." Sarcastic. "But you extended my bedtime to eleven remember?"

"I didn't mean it like that."

"You know I'm only a couple years younger than you. Not a decade. Maybe I look innocent and inexperienced because of this adorable face but…"

"You don't want to be around drunken Yusuf and Eames, trust me…" He laughed, not wanting to hear the rest of that sentence.

"I'm in college, I've been dragged into clubbing plenty of times." And that was exactly the kind of sentence Arthur had wanted to prevent himself from hearing. "If I could handle all of those drunk men…I can handle our boys."

It made him sick to his stomach but he backed down. He let her go off with the guys and dance around and be swayed by Eames to drink…and drink…and drink. He sat at one of the tables and supervised. Finally, he just left. Forcing himself to trust her judgment. She was levelheaded, he was positive. But the next day, he would make sure she fared fine after he'd gone.


He ignored her statement and continued expecting an answer, "I wasn't hung over this morning...no, I never called that guy and no I'm not going with the guys again tonight. Happy?"

Plot twist, Arthur took the conversation in a different place than she was expecting, "I want to apologize for over stepping my bounds. You're a grown woman. You can make your own decisions." She nodded and he continued, "The actual reason that I'm here is that-since the rest of our team would rather spend tonight partying again, I thought I'd do some brainstorming on my own. I wanted to inquire if you'd like to help me formulate a plan to pitch to Mankens tomorrow."

"Really?" She joined him on the couch and grabbed her laptop. "I'd love to help you."


Tap. Tap. Tap.

Her pencil collided on his desk, asking for attention without coming right out and saying it—and really, isn't that just Ariadne? Arthur slowly tore his eyes from his research and addressed the girl leaning over his desk. "Will you look over the model really quick? Jacobs suggested some changes…"

"Yeah. Sure." He re-buttoned his suit and closed his laptop for the time being. He followed her to her desk, a bit excited. He always enjoyed discovering the structures she came up with. Upon first look he saw winding tunnels, a circular maze, some of his choice staircases and another board of swatches and wall colors.

She started, "Ok. Well we took out this wall and lined curtain walls around the outer rim of the building. Two flues in the main hall, in case we: A. Gas the projections or B. Need an unseen escape route. He also suggested I delete the third Penrose Staircase and add a parapet on all the balconies for additional cover from gunfire."

"Looks immaculate," he analyzed the ins and outs of the model, "but I think we need another level up for complexity reasons. Is there any way we could add windows all along this outer wall," he waved his index finger in front of the desired area, "to be able to see how the other members are progressing and keep an eye on the projections?"

She winced wearily, "I suppose…but that sort of defeats the purpose of being inconspicuous. Especially, if you have to stand at or near the window to see anything. They could shoot you through the window; they could see you get behind the parapets…the element of surprise would be eliminated."

He clicked his tongue as his ideas came to a dead end.

"But I guess I could just expand the floor level and make the ridge a mezzanine- like balconies of theaters-that would provide good visuals and create more running space. I could make the gradient up the mezzanine into Penroses and still be able to keep all the outside parapets and the maze of the wraparound balcony." Ariadne looked questioningly at him, for approval.

"You're the creative genius, whatever you think. I just hope I can remember all the additional details to do it justice in the dream." He smirked and kept sweeping his eyes all over the model. When he heard the weary tone in her voice he met her eyes.

"That's another change Jacobs and I agreed on…"

Arthur's eyebrows furrowed. "…he wants you to cover him and be his co-extractor…if you get shot, the dream can't collapse. He needs Eames in the next level too in case the need for a forger comes into play and Lucas refuses to go under. He wants out as soon as the compounds are complete. So you don't have to build the dream…I am." She forced an innocent smile because she knew what was coming. For all of Arthur's respect for woman, he worried about how she would fare entirely too much.

"And you agreed on this without me? We constructed this plan together before Jacobs ever even thought about it, we pitched it, we were the two to spearhead the entire operation and you made this decision without consulting me?"

She started walking back towards his desk, "Well with all due respect, Arthur, I figured you'd be against it."

"Well, yes. You're the architect. You design the dreamscape, you teach it and you're done. Architects don't usually go under unless a team is shorthanded and ours is not. There are three members capable, they just don't want to and are forcing you into it."

Ariadne tried to ease his ruffled feathers. He was agitated with the other men. He saw their decision as insensitive to her and that was not the case. "No one's forcing me. I volunteered. I miss going under; I didn't get to on my last job."

"That's standard."

She shrugged, oblivious to the underlying message of his, "I went under for Inception."

"And it continues to blow my mind that you made it out in one piece." They'd arrived at his desk, so he leaned against the corner of it.

"Why don't you want me to do this, Arthur?" She innocently challenged as she hopped to sit on his desk. He shook his head and looked away agitatedly so she kept going, "When you tell me no, it only makes me want to do it more."

Arthur swallowed, "You're not trained. If you were I'd be…less skeptical. I would train you myself but that process takes the time and focus of an actual job. We can't train you before the mission; it's impossible. You'll be left behind on that level and you don't know how to ward off projections or use a gun or hide the fact that you're the dreamer. You don't know how to protect yourself in a dream yet."

"You'll be under though, right?" she raised an eyebrow and picked up to observe the contents of his coffee cup.

He nodded, confused, "Yes."

After hopping off his desk, she teased, "You're overprotective. You won't let anything happen to poor little old me." And back to her desk she went. For the first time, Arthur noticed just how her hips swayed when she walked and how far under his skin she could dig herself, without even realizing it. Damn Eames, for making these thoughts a habit by force.


She did it. She actually did it. She held off the projections and kicked them up in impeccable timing. Admiration was swelling. Arthur looked across the aisle after waking and saw Eames kick her seat. She shot a look back at him but softened when he winked and gave her the ole 'perfecto' hand signal. On Ariadne's way to face front again, she caught Arthur's eye. He nodded approvingly and was rewarded a small smile.

This was the part she always hated. After the feelings of accomplishment rushed through her and the subtle looks had been exchanged, it was time to be strangers again. She would exit the plane without looking at any of them, she would collect her luggage without a word and she would walk out the door of the airport and never look back. She would spend the next two months in isolation, withdrawal, and anxiety. Paranoid when someone stared for too long and waiting by the phone, wishing that another job would be thrown her way. Ari hated not knowing when she would see these people again. If she never saw Mankens or Jacobs or Lucas she would be fine but she would miss Eames and Arthur dearly. She hated feeling like they could care less if they ever ran into her again. She hated the feeling of another job over, of sitting in the cab alone. The emptiness, the let down. The end of a high.

He was beginning to dislike this part. He'd never cared before. He and Cobb had always, always worked together. They were a team. There was no love lost when it came time to part ways because the next job would bring them together again. And it was inevitable that life would throw him and Eames together again. He couldn't get rid of the forger if he tried; he figured he was bound to working with him sporadically for the rest of his life. It sucked that he was so damn good at what he did or Arthur would avoid calling on him. He'd begun to dislike this part because he didn't like feeling out of control. He didn't like being unsure. Unsure of if or when he'd see—yes, the architect again. The feeling was foreign, the feeling of…missing someone? Maybe a variation of missing someone, a watered down version but it was strange none the less. He hadn't expected to sit at the airport bar and watch her until her figure had long disappeared out of the gate. He hadn't even realized that was what he was doing until he caught himself staring out into space. He'd tried to pick his reaction apart on his plane ride back to the states and decided to shake it off. Two months went by and that weird feeling was null and void again. Until he got the next job.


5 Months prior to Present Day.

The heels of her shoes clacked against the wood of her flat as she busied herself. The navy blue sling bag was swung to rest on her shoulder and her blazer of the same color was shrugged on on her way to the door. Briskly down her hallway, she walked. Ariadne turned the corner and bumped into someone, muttered a quick sorry and headed for the elevator. "Ariadne."

She paused. That person she'd bumped into…brown suit jacket, polished shoes, laptop bag, stark voice. She felt in her pocket prior to facing the stranger and found that this was a friend. "Arthur?" She smiled, "What are you doing here?"

"I had a favor to ask but I'll let you get going."

She's missed those ambiguous eyes, "I'm not in a hurry." She stepped closer and encouraged him to continue, a bit too excitedly for his taste.

Arthur observed his surroundings first and then hushed his voice, "I'm doing research for another," he nodded in lieu of the word 'extraction', "and the mark is an architect."

Ariadne's eyes narrowed at him and she took his sleeve to drag him back to her flat. The door was unlocked and she shooed him inside. He wasn't able to distinguish whether she was more anxious and weary or exhilarated and curious. More likely the latter if his perception of her was correct…Arthur's perceptions were always correct. "Go on," she urged.

"A guy named Puckett hired me. The mark is Etienne Fournier; do you know him?" He set his case down on her counter.

"Yeah…yeah! Professor Miles has had him come guest teach. I don't know know him but I've met him."

"Do you know anything specific about him?"

"I know he has two firms. One here in Paris and his original in Marseilles. He's done a couple commercial buildings but he's known for his residentials in the countryside. From what he's taught, he seems to favor the neoclassical style…I bet I could get Miles to get me an internship or something and get more info for you. If you want."

He scoffed, "That would be great, thank you. I was actually just hoping you could give me a cram session on basic architecture knowledge."

"I could do that too," she shrugged.

Arthur shook his head and returned his laptop case to its place over his shoulder, "You were heading somewhere, I won't keep you."

His eyebrows rose when she guarded the door, "I was just headed to the Louvre. They opened a new wing. You could come with me and I can point out some things you should know on the way?"

"Sounds doable."


Dusk fell over the city and awoke the first of the streetlamps. He looked down at her as they travelled the winding streets of her home. Half of her face shadowed and half of it illuminated by the twinkling lights flickering on in all the storefronts. She was inside her head again, somewhere she liked being. She was biting her lip and looking back and forth between the street signs, contemplating which way to go.

"Don't tell me you only know how to get to your school."

Ariadne sarcastically smiled at him, "Ha, Ha. I'm trying to think which way would have more of the types of buildings you should see."

"Any way is fine. I'm virtually a clean slate." She nodded and headed down the street to her right.

"If you don't mind my asking, why architecture?"

"I don't know; I'm not the client…" Her monotone was something new to him. She shrugged.

"No, why did you choose architecture. As a major?"

"Oh." She took a deep breath and chewed her bottom lip while she thought, "Look at the city. What do you see?"

Arthur scouted his surroundings, "A lot of buildings, a lot of lights…" He seemed unamused. But doesn't he always?

"Exactly. Those buildings were designed by someone. Those are their ideas, their creations and they're solid and withstanding. And when Paris lights up at night, all of those architects' hard work and imagination…it's like they're on fire. I love the prospect that one day two people like us will be walking around and maybe glance at one of my buildings; it'll be my imagination they see light up. It's a tangible form of my thoughts out there forever whether I'm here or far away. Alive or…not alive. Every building has a piece of the person that created it…Structures have such detail and beauty behind them that people don't see." Her eyes had long ago begun to twinkle. At first, Arthur thought it was the flurry of lights casted on her but even in the shadows, they shone. "And…my reasoning seems impractical to you, doesn't it?"

"No. It's dramatic, yes, but elegant."

She rolled her eyes and pulled at her jacket sleeves to ease her embarrassment, "Yeah, well, my mom always said I overly romanticized everything."

"It's a good quality. I admire people like you…"


He pointed to the top of a church, "Those would be spires, too, correct?"

"Yup. Oh!" She stopped and stared across the street at a tattered, homely looking building. "This is one of my favorite places to go."

Arthur looked at it skeptically, "Really? This….'Cafe Bonaparteite?" He was unimpressed by the building and bewildered that she even took a second glance at it. It was nothing unique to the streets of the city. "What do you find special about it?"

"When my family would visit, my Papa would always take me there. Just me and him. He would tell everyone he was taking me to the Louvre because I was the only one who didn't find it boring and we would eat here after. It looks like the typical French café, but," Her eyes were doing that twinkling thing again. The one that rivaled the stars, " it used to be an inn during the French Revolution- during Napoleon and all that. It was dilapidated until they turned it into this restaurant. Few people do…but if you know the right thing to say to the hostess they'll take you through the old hallways and rooms. Each of them is a private dining room with a private waiter and all decorated differently. Themed for a time period or person or event…my goal used to be that we'd eat in every room but I've only been in like 33 of the 210…and I haven't really been there since he died."

Maybe she hadn't realized it but Ariadne had clued him in on numerous aspects of her life through one description of the building. Her relationship with her grandfather, her interest in historical France and artistry even at a young age, her sentimentality. He'd learned a great deal more than that through the remainder of the walk: She wasn't fond of the Gothic style, too gaudy for her taste. She always forgot to round out archways on models. She adored using keystones. She's always wanted to design a concert hall.


Arthur hadn't wanted to overstep his bounds. He hadn't wanted to intrude on something special between her and her departed grandfather. So he hadn't asked her to take him back to that café after their enjoyable time at the Louvre. He was surprised when she asked him but he took her up on it. He suppressed a smirk at her French banter with the hostess. It was when he walked through the hallways that he knew what she was talking about, he knew why she went on and on about this place. It was like being transported through time. The food was the most delectable French cuisine he'd had and the company wasn't half bad either. They'd returned to her flat and he'd stayed outside her door. Ariadne agreed to talk to Miles for him and in the meantime, help him with his research. It unsettled him. She wanted to be as much a part of this job as he was. His current team already had an architect and he could tell that this bothered her. She was curious about every aspect, she wanted to know every detail. Arthur could tell she missed dreamsharing with every fiber of her being and sometimes he would warn her about the dangers of that. He'd stopped bringing the PASIV in with him when they met after he'd noticed her glancing at it more than needed. Still, he couldn't stay away. So they met every couple days and ended every week with the Café Bonaparteit.


Present Day.

Arthur had begun pulling from all of those memories—historical events, rather—to see if Ariadne left any clue. Maybe a piece of information he'd learned about her would be key in he and Eames' search. There was no way it would help them find out what the stains on her chair were from, if they were hers, if they weren't, if she was alive or dead…but if they learned she had escaped, The Point Man would be ahead of the game in having various places they should begin looking. In all their chatter through the previous jobs, Ariadne had never mentioned a quarrel with anyone. She never seemed to have harbored resentment for anyone or mentioned anyone at school who would have a grudge. Arthur couldn't imagine anyone having a grudge on the Architect. Then again, their relationship was one of co-workers and just as he wouldn't delve such information, she would probably withhold it as well. She believed Arthur to be too worrisome anyways; she would avoid telling him anything of that sort at all costs.

Unfortunately, his brainstorming hadn't been too productive before he pulled up to her University. Arthur locked the car, slid on his sunglasses and fastened his trench coat. With his briefcase in his hand, he briskly and uniformly walked into the crime scene like he belonged there. As he passed all of the ambulances, his eyes analyzed each face for a resemblance to the architect. As much as he hoped he'd find her, he hoped he wouldn't find her on a gurney.

Through the sea of people, he was led to Eames by the sound of his distinctive British accent, incredibly arrogant stance and unique sense of dress. He wore khaki dress pants, pointy brown dress shoes, and a dark green and grey plaid, double breasted trench coat. Upon closer look, Arthur had to restrain from rolling his eyes. The forger had a pocket watch and a monocle for heaven sakes. Arthur casually strode to the Forger and patted him on the back to which the man turned, cigar in his mouth. Across from Eames stood two Parisian cops who'd obviously been won over judging from the con man's cigars in their mouths as well. "Ah! How wonderful, you're here." Eames patted Arthur's back as well. "Gentleman, this is my fashionably late partner Mr. Isaac Wayne."

"Bonjour!" They greeted the newcomer with awe. No doubt Eames had fabricated a few stories about the two of them to rival Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. That must account for his off-color outfit choice. Leave it to Eames not to take anything serious. This wasn't a play or time to pretend to be childhood characters… In a matter of seconds, the policemen pulled back the caution tape and allowed the two men into the wing where the shooting took place.

Right away the stench of dried blood hung murkily in the air.


Pleaspleaseplease review! It makes me want to update faster :)