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[personal profile] tabi_essentially
Okay, I'm back! Once again, sorry for the delay. Sometimes it take a while to organize these chapters/suggestions, and honestly, sometimes I'm just away from the computer for a few days. :D Sorry about that, but you know I will always be consistent with updates and I hope I won't keep you all waiting too long! ^_^

These are older suggestions, some of them even from the beginning! But eventually I will get to them.

[livejournal.com profile] orgasmblush said, I would very much like for Arthur, however much of a BAMF he may be, to just not be able to save himself, like, once. And, yeah: Eames can totally take care of himself and Arthur AND Michelle. I'm talking, like, whipping boy Arthur, here: bloody, bruised, confused and completely paranoid about just what the hell is going on in his mind and, because of that, not exactly trusting Eames anymore. This hits just about all of my kinks. :D Okay, so I began this in this chapter. :)

[livejournal.com profile] fae_boleyn, [livejournal.com profile] towel_master, [livejournal.com profile] twilightthief and [livejournal.com profile] we_reflamingos all suggest that Michelle has to do something badass. She's done one or two helpful little things, but I think she needs to do more.

[livejournal.com profile] mydeerfriend, [livejournal.com profile] twilightthief, and actually most of you want Eames to NOT get rescued, but to go all BAMF on the train and possible killing machine, using whatever he has within reach, while protecting Michelle. ^_^

[livejournal.com profile] astheytick - Arthur says to Eames "Just wait. Wait for me." Done! ^_^

[livejournal.com profile] twisted_ream there's this huge spider on eames' back and he can't get it off and arthur just laughs Actually? I kind of think this is going to come somewhere near the end. :)

[livejournal.com profile] efcia a broken mirror, possibly a small one. I can see the shattered glass, maybe even a small amount of blood on them? This gave me a really cool idea! We already know which mirror this could be. :D And I sorta have an idea now on how that might play out.

Anonymous suggests, One having to carry the other.

[livejournal.com profile] gelbwax's suggestion with Arthur's badass fedora getting swept away and then returning later... Halfway done!

[livejournal.com profile] hazysea - A line for Eames to say to Arthur? "Stay at my level and keep to the shadows.


When I asked how I could possibly resolve this thing that's happening between them, [livejournal.com profile] we_reflamingos suggested,
I wonder if, for some reason, Arthur & Eames were deep enough together again, Eames might recognise a certain ray gun or a bottle of healing. Or perhaps in Eames hospital (where all the important stuff is) - Arthur only went to the the top floor ... but I'm sure that glass elevator could stop at other floors. Oh, and what goes up, usually also goes down.
I LOVE IT.

[livejournal.com profile] sparrow_hubris said I want this but with Eames instead of Laura.
OMFG you don't even realize! ^_^ My fetish for Arthur's hair!

[livejournal.com profile] twilightthief agrees, Agreed on the hair playing/smoothing! ME TOO BB.



Here are some new suggestions.

[livejournal.com profile] twilightthief says
I have a feeling the boys need to go under again. Someone else suggested it but I love the idea that they remind each other of the deals they made and the ideas they incepted each other with.
[livejournal.com profile] efcia adds, What I really want to see, though, it's more interaction between Arthur and Ann. [livejournal.com profile] saigonostalker then said, Also also, for some reason I'd really like to see more interaction between Arthur and Ann. Cool, I will try to work her in more. :D

[livejournal.com profile] enoughglittersays, My one and only request for this story is that after this is all over, and they come through the other side of whatever you've got planned for them, I would love to see an epilogue or something where they finally get to go on vacation, and no one tries to kill them or torture them or torture-then-kill-them. Just...vacation. Aww, I agree. That would be nice. ^_^

[livejournal.com profile] we_reflamingos offers, I don't think Eames needs to be tortured again, especially as he's now reliving the first bit of torture at the moment. And kinda torturing himself over Arthur at the same time while the mistrust settles in. I guess it'd be ok to lock him up and leave him to relive it over and over and over again though. Arthur needs to go out into the snow, definitely. And [livejournal.com profile] efcia agreed with this sentiment, saying, On the other hand I'm not sure about Eames being tortured. I mean, I can't see a reasonable resason (it sounds bad, but whatever) for that. No, no I need something else. Maybe something connected with other people in the train? Okay, I see this point. Jack wouldn't hurt him. I also promised I'd get him slapped around a little, so hopefully I can fall somewhere in the middle. ^_^

[livejournal.com profile] saigonostalker says, Anyway, I'm going to go along with a poster above me and vote that Arthur and Eames go back under (are sent back under by our Ambiguous Sister/Brother Duo?) and end up resolving their issues with one another through the Inceptions they performed on each other (and all the other good times they've had together, whatever, I just need some catharsis at this point). THEN THEY PROCEED TO KICK EVERYONE IN THE FACE WITH THEIR FISTS. And...Michelle and her Mom and Dad can do some things too.Cool, because I kind of like that little family. ^_^

And then! [livejournal.com profile] neomeruru with an IMAGE PROMPT, ladies and gents! ^_^ Woot!


Awesome. You guys have given me terrific ideas to work with. :D

Remember I asked for body parts suggestions? Some of them were pretty cool! I can only use a few of them or I'd have to write in a game of twister or get them locked in a cliché closet or something. ;D So I grabbed the first bunch that came along.
TOUCHY FEELY.

[livejournal.com profile] hockey_joy Eames' nose to Arthur's ribcage. Hotter / sweeter than it has any right to be. ^_^;;

[livejournal.com profile] xkatchy - Arthur's face to Eames's ass. In a completely non-sexual way. OR Arthur's elbow to Eames's crotch. Not on purpose of course =) Oddly, [livejournal.com profile] gelbwax seconded that one. Poor Eames! ^_^

[livejournal.com profile] sparrow_hubris love the idea of someone (preferably Eames as always) playing with Arthur's ankle. The fine bones, and it being delicate in of itself but attached to strong calves being super sexy and all. And the hair Tabi, the hair. Play with it!!! All around UNF. ^_^

[livejournal.com profile] mydeerfriend Maybe a hand and the back of a knee or lips!

[livejournal.com profile] spndreamz Aurthur's hair Eames' nose?


I'll do my best to get on those. In the meantime, here we go!

** ** ** **

Chapter 11 – "The Virtuous Among Us
** ** ** **

It wasn't Jack who opened the door to the compartment. It was the guy whose knee Arthur had fucked up earlier. He now had his knee wrapped up and was on a crutch that he must have gotten from first aid.

"What do you want?" he barked to Arthur.

Arthur wanted to shout 'What do you think I want, asshole! A doctor!' but shouting anything was out of the question. "Doctor," he croaked.

The man took a look at him, and at Eames, twisting on the floor, and said "Fuck the two of you."

"Jack," Arthur managed. "Wants … alive."

"Don't tell me what Jack..." he began.

Arthur lunged forward from his knees and grabbed the crutch, yanking it hard. The guy stumbled, cried out and caught himself on the door. Before he could reach for his gun, Arthur swung the crutch and hit him in his bad knee. This time the cry of pain was much louder, sure to get someone's attention. The guy doubled over, grasping his knee.

Arthur didn't know what else to do, Eames was beside him on the floor, his struggles against whatever seemed to be holding him weakening. This guy was blocking anyone from helping them. He jerked the crutch up into the guy's chin and knocked him backwards. He wailed in pain but didn't hit the ground.

Jack had caught him, and eased him down onto the floor of the corridor with great care. All the while he glared at Arthur, with a startling amount of hatred.

"Fuck... help... doctor..." Arthur said. Fuck that guy, get help, Michelle's father is a doctor, was what was supposed to come out, but he supposed the message was clear enough.

Jack stepped over his fallen guard and crouched next to Eames. The surprise on his face, the obvious concern, made Arthur's heart jump. Why didn't Jack know what was going on?

"Darling," Jack said, one hand on Eames's shoulder and the other on his face. "Wake up, come on!" He turned to Arthur, angry and accusing. "What did you do to him?"

Arthur lost his mind. He knew he lost his mind, he knew it was stupid, and that the worst thing to do would be to punch Jack in the face – but he did it anyway. Jack's hands all over Eames, the accusation, especially after how Eames had hurt him, had nearly killed him. It was too much, and punching that perfect jaw felt like a week's worth of rage set free.

But Jack shook it off, drew his weapon, and pressed it under Arthur's chin. He grabbed Arthur's hair and snarled, "What did you do to him?"

Arthur, having lost his mind and being aware of this fact, was about to spit in his face, when Michelle's father Daniel appeared in the door.

"Help him," Arthur said, looking past Jack's shoulder.

Fortunately, Daniel didn't have to be told twice and was more interested in actually helping than in the pissing contest that was going on in the compartment.

Jack also backed away from Arthur and focused his concern on Eames. He took a moment, though, to shove Arthur towards the back of the compartment, saying "Stay out of our way."

Later, Arthur promised himself. Later I'll get you for saying 'our'.

Daniel kneeled down and checked all of Eames's vitals. He did this with practiced ease and concern, but not panic. Eames had gone still on the floor and was breathing evenly.

For the moment, all Arthur could do was lean back against the bed, dazed. His throat hurt, his head hurt. His heart ached worst of all. He thought again of Eames's hands around his throat, the pressure, and the possibility that he was going to die. The panic. For a few seconds, again, he couldn't breathe and his head throbbed in time with his pulse. The shapes in the compartment went slippery and hazy and he was pretty sure he was blacking out.

"Hey," said an American voice, close to his face. "Arthur."

His eyes snapped open and into focus. Daniel was kneeling in front of him now, checking his eyes. "Why don't you tell me what happened?" he asked. He glanced pointedly at Arthur's throat.

"Obviously," Jack said, "it got violent between the two of them and..."

"Excuse me," Daniel cut him off, "you weren't there and I'm not asking you. If you are honestly concerned, then do your part and please be quiet so that I can get the facts." He turned back to Arthur and said, "Did Mr. Eames do this to you?"

How to explain that? How to explain the whole of the dreaming community and its history and experiences, the bad reactions to dreaming drugs, the hallucinations, the possibility of inception? There was no way.

"He was asleep," Arthur whispered, because whispering was all he was able to do. "He called me by a different name." Eames had done no such thing, but it would make more sense that way, since obviously he had thought that Arthur was someone else. Even though that "someone else" was a person that Arthur had handed him to. "Years ago, overseas. Tortured."

Daniel's eyes went sharp with understanding. "PTSD?"

Arthur nodded. "I woke him. He saw me... understood. Then he fell." His throat was already talked-out. He swallowed what felt like hot blood and glass, and continued. "Not a seizure."

"It didn't look like one," Daniel agreed, "at least by the time I got here, but there are different kinds of seizures. Does he have a condition?"

Arthur shook his head.

"Drugs?" Daniel asked.

Arthur shook his head again. Then he gave it another thought. "Under torture," he said. "Long ago. Not by choice." It wasn't an exact truth nor an exact lie. It was all he had.

"Something triggered a relapse," Daniel said. "A reaction he might have had years ago, when this happened to him. Do the two of you ever discuss this? Is his doctor aware? Someone in his, his league or whatever it is?"

Again, Arthur had no answer for this. No, they had never discussed it, not until tonight when Eames had told him that he was personally responsible for his capture. For about three awful seconds, Arthur was sure he was going to cry. Instead he pressed the heel of his hand to his forehead and rubbed it hard.

"Hey," Daniel said. "He seems all right, just asleep. He'll come back around in a bit. If only we could get off this train. I'll tell him, yes? That man, Jack. I'll tell him that Mr. Eames needs help and we've got to start the train again."

"Don't bother," Jack said, turning towards them. "He's fine, you said it yourself. I'll stay with him."

"I don't think it's wise," Daniel said.

"You don't know the whole story," Jack said. He jabbed his finger towards Arthur. "What this man tells you is ninety percent false. He knows more than he lets on. The man you all know as Mr. Eames is my responsibility now. I can take care of him from here."

"With all due respect," came another voice from the doorway. Female, British and annoyed. It was Helen. "Which is to say, none at all, I'd believe Arthur over you. It seems that you and your thugs were the ones who took my daughter and then made the train stop. I daresay that puts you a few rungs down on the ladder of trust."

"Helen," Daniel said, a warning in his voice.

"Mum?" Michelle's voice came from behind her mother. She sounded watery and still a little stunned. "They made two more people leave."

Helen's eyes narrowed as she turned back to Jack.

Made two more people leave? Arthur thought. They who? Leave what?

"Well," Helen snapped, "there you have it, Jack. At least these two men here never threw passengers out into the blizzard to die."

"What?" Arthur tried to say, but then fell forward coughing. Daniel braced him with one hand, and with the other, reached for a half-finished bottle of water that Arthur had left by the bed earlier. He pressed it into his hand. Arthur drank small sips, looking from Daniel, to Jack, to Helen, waiting for someone to clear this up.

"That was their decision," Jack said. He went back to petting Eames.

"It was not!" Michelle said. Arthur still couldn't see her from his place on the floor. "If you hadn't stopped the train..."

"It was their decision," Jack insisted.

Arthur looked imploringly at Helen.

"A couple decided to try to leave," Helen said. "They thought their mobiles would work outside of the train. Those two brothers caught them trying to sneak off. Oh, they laughed and laughed and told them to go ahead and get off if that's what they wanted."

"It's freezing," Arthur croaked. "Blizzard."

"Yes, I am aware," Helen said. Her eyes were wet. "They'll probably die. When others objected to this, they were told to get off the train, too. Your oh-so-kind associates, Jack, shoved an elderly man toward the door."

Jack ignored her. He just kept kneeling beside Eames, stroking his hair and murmuring. Arthur watched him dully for a few seconds. That should be him beside Eames, waiting for him to wake up. Waiting to explain everything to him, and to tell him that they were fine and nothing had changed.

He thought of the old matching couple he had watched, and wondered if that was the man Helen was talking about. How frightened he must have been, and maybe how disappointed that he and his wife had survived so much, only to end up on a hijacked train in the last quarter of their lives together, ordered around at gunpoint.

He thought about how cold it was outside, and how dark, in the middle of nowhere. No moonlight, even, just the lights from the train for a few yards and then nothing. Would they find cell phone service out there? No, of course they wouldn't. They would just find themselves huddled and freezing.

Arthur looked at Eames, at Jack's hands all over him, and thought about what kind of man he was. And if Eames woke up and he was gone, would knowing Arthur for ten years – knowing what he would do in this situation – be enough? He hoped so. It had to be.

Arthur got to his feet.

"I figured you'd make that decision," Jack said, without looking at him.

"Where are you going?" Daniel asked.

Arthur shook his head. His voice wouldn't work anyway. He just pocketed his cell phone and reached for his coat.

"Oh, now who said you could take your coat?" Jack asked.

Arthur stopped, his hand on the coat, and stared at him. He looked toward the goon in the hallway, the one he'd beaten down with his own crutch. The guy had his hand on his gun. He was smiling, sickly sweet.

"You're insane," Helen said to Jack. Or maybe she said it to Arthur; he wasn't looking at her so he couldn't tell.

Jack ignored her. Arthur swallowed past the burn in his throat and knelt briefly next to Eames. "Wait," he whispered. "Just wait for me." He reached out to touch him, but Jack swatted him away. Arthur grabbed Jack by the throat, but found himself face to face with Jack's gun once again.

"Arthur?" Eames murmured. His eyes were still closed.

The weight of Jack's hatred when he leveled Arthur with his stare was a violent, heavy thing. Arthur smiled at him.

"Go," Jack said. "Before I kill you myself." He released the safety and pressed the muzzle to Arthur's forehead.

Arthur rose to his feet once more.

"Oh," Jack said. "Don't forget your hat, darling." He grabbed Arthur's fedora from the desk beside the bed and threw it at him. Arthur caught it without looking away from him. "It's a bit cold, you know," Jack added.

Arthur set it atop his head – it was better than nothing, anyway -- and glanced at Helen as he passed. Helen didn't try to stop him, but Michelle grabbed onto his sleeve.

"Don't die," she said.

Arthur nodded.

"They went north," she added. "Like fifteen minutes ago? Maybe they didn't get far."

Arthur doubted they had. He also doubted that they'd be allowed back on the train. For that matter, neither would he. But he would find a way to survive out there, and he would help them find a way, too.

"How many?" he asked.

"Four," Michelle said. "The Nelsons and the Doyles, you know, that old couple. They had their coats and hats on and stuff."

"Show ... door ... left from."

"Which door they left from?" Michelle said. "Okay, well... we'll bring you there."

They did, the three of them: Helen, Daniel and Michelle. They were trailed the whole way by the crippled goon, who kept chuckling softly under his breath, his gun drawn.

Crowds of frightened passengers parted for them and tried to make themselves small and insignificant, wanting no part of any of this. He didn't blame them. It must have looked like he was being taken somewhere for execution. Maybe he even was.

Arthur wondered, but only for a second, what would happen if he turned around, disarmed the guy (which he could easily do,) and opened fire on all the rest of the guards. But he already knew the answer: that he'd probably get some civilians killed, and it would do nothing to help the people who had left the train.

Finally they reached the door, which was at the farthest car. Michelle tugged at Arthur's shirt (which, he was so very aware, offered no protection from the elements,) and whispered, "When Mr. Eames..."

The crippled goon slapped her, hard enough that she stumbled, falling into her mother's arms. Daniel made a move to hit, or shove, or punch, or somehow retaliate. Arthur beat him to it. He broke the goon's nose. Not the wisest thing he'd done by far, but adrenaline was shaking through him and it needed an outlet. This asshole slapping some little kid was the last fucking straw and once Arthur started hitting him, he couldn't stop. He fell to his knees, straddling the man beneath him and punching, punching, punching. There was some fuzzy-sounding commotion, someone screaming or yelling, but those were in the background, under the sound of blood roaring in his ears and the sound of bones crunching under his fists. The old rage. It felt hot.

A gunshot finally cleared the red haze of anger from his vision. Arthur's immediate reaction was to mentally check his body for the ice-cold feeling of a bullet-wound, pre-pain. He didn't feel it.

When he looked up, Helen was covering Michelle's eyes with both her hands and holding her close. Daniel was crouching down, mid-reach toward the unconscious goon's gun holster. A helpful, brave gesture, Arthur registered.

And Giles Fenderlyn was holding his own gun high, aimed at the ceiling. He was staring at Arthur.

"Go," he said. "I can kill you. It wouldn't be ideal, but I can. Better for everyone if you just do it yourself though. Easier to explain, neater." He jerked his head toward the door.

Arthur was out of choices. He stood up and spared a glance to the unconscious man beneath him. Spitting on him would be wrong. Besides, his mouth was completely dry. He stumbled away and hauled the door open. Before he even stepped onto the frozen metal stairs, the icy wind hit him like a mack truck to the chest. It burned in his throat, pierced through his ears and head. His eyes felt frozen in their sockets. He took the step down anyway, jerkeding the door shut behind him before falling down the steps and coughing, which seared his throat like nothing ever had.

Before he was even able to straighten up and take a step, the wind whipped the fedora from his head. He caught a glimpse of it as it flew over the top of the train, likely to the other side of it.

"Fuck," he said, but couldn't hear his own voice in the howl of the wind.

It wasn't just freezing – it was about ten below. Wind chill was probably worse. And the snow was wet and clingy, already sticking to the bottom of his pants, and pasting his shirt to his chest.

For the first time since boarding the train, Arthur had his doubts that he could survive this.

He saw no footprints leading away, even in the dim light offered by the train's windows. The wind had already swept them away, or more snow had perhaps covered them.

Trudging a few steps, Arthur marveled at the impossibility of his task. Find four people in this white-out? When as soon as he was a good few yards away from the train, it was completely dark? He'd probably be hypothermic before he even got close to them. The cold hurt, a deep ache all the way to his lungs, his bones. His hands were already numb.

Still, he dug into his pocket and took out his cell phone. He had no service, but it was fully charged. It could go for maybe a few hours, possibly more.

Touching the screen, Arthur was bathed in the blue glow of his home-page. Resolutely, he held it aloft like a beacon. If anyone was within reaching distance, they would see his signal.

He hoped they would see it before he lost the ability to go on.


** ** ** **

Eames thought of Arthur's strong, long-fingered hands, firmly smoothing over his hair. Something about that felt wrong, though. Someone was touching him, and it would be nice if it was Arthur, but there was something different, something painfully off about his feelings when he thought of him. As if they had changed, and he just couldn't bring into focus why. Or maybe he didn't want to. At any rate, the hand on his head didn't feel like Arthur's.

"What..." he said, opening his eyes. The light burned them, as if his pupils were too wide. He tried to shield them, but something held his hands in place, uncomfortably. He felt like they were somehow stretched over his head, but he didn't know how that could be.

"Shh, it's okay."

Jack's vivid eyes came into focus, showing concern and his own brand of affection. Eames tried to sit up, to move away from the face that was hovering so close to his. He was on the floor. He went to prop himself up on his hands and rise, but both his hands were bound. He looked from Jack, up to his his wrists, which were both cuffed to one of the chains that suspended the bottom bed in place. Then he looked back to Jack again.

"You," he said, but couldn't think of the words to follow it. He had so many and none at all.

"It's not what it looks like," Jack said. He backed off, holding his hands up, harmless and placating.

"It is exactly what it looks like," Eames said. "You cuffed me to a bed. What am I supposed to think?"

"You didn't used to mind," Jack tried, smiling as if this would lighten the situation.

Eames steadied himself with a breath. If he was in this position, then obviously other people were in danger, too – Arthur in particular. What he said and did from here on in could change a lot of things. He wanted to lash out, kick, bite, throttle. But he knew better. No one played these games like Eames, and no one could out-play him, either. Keeping calm and carrying on; that's what he did best.

"Where's Arthur?" he asked.

Jack's eyes turned sympathetic – or would have been, if not for the secretly pleased gleam in them. Eames felt his stomach drop. His mouth went dry.

"Where—"

"He left you, pet," Jack said.

He took a second to process that. Not dead, then, unless Jack was lying. "Left me," he repeated slowly.

"Yes. I'm sorry." Jack sat back on his heels and looked down, the picture of someone concernedly giving bad news. "You were so ill, darling, I had a doctor come to look at you, everyone was worried—he says you're fine, by the way—but you hadn't even regained consciousness yet, and Arthur was already gone from the train."

Eames knew that at least some of this was bullshit. Though it was possible that Jack had fetched a doctor or something, he distinctly remembered that Arthur had been with him when...

When...

When he had wrapped his hands around Arthur's throat and crushed him almost to death. Arthur had struggled beneath him, trapped and probably terrified, of him, no less, and in an act of what felt like pleading, a touch that Eames would never forget, had stroked his fingers over his face.

"I hurt him," he whispered, mostly to himself.

"You didn't mean to," Jack said. "It was clear that you didn't realize it was him. I suspect you thought he was one of those men who tortured you. The ones that he sold you to all those years ago. Perhaps understanding that he was behind that affected you badly. I take the blame for that because I told you the truth about it."

Eames's thoughts turned dark. How did Jack know what he'd been dreaming of? And how easy it was for him to pin it on Arthur. Yet it's all true, something deep within his mind whispered, a reminder. Arthur did cause that, he did hand you over. The idea felt ugly and alien inside of him. And Jack had counted on it.

"And then he left," Jack said, "before you had a chance to explain or to even wake up. He didn't wait around to see if you were even going to be all right."

There was something missing here, something that Jack didn't know: That there was no way in hell Arthur would go out into the cold. No, he had to still be on the train. Here, Eames would catch him in a lie. "Tell me," he said, "why would Arthur leave the train? It doesn't make sense."

"I didn't think it did, either," Jack said. "But, well, a whole group of people left, actually. They just wandered off into the blizzard..."

"No."

Jack looked up, surprised.

"I am so thoroughly insulted," Eames said, "that you think me stupid enough to buy that line of bullshit. I thought you knew me? You pretended to have."

Jack reached out and rested his hand on Eames's thigh. He knew better than to pull away. Arthur could be on the other side of the door for all he knew, held at gunpoint by someone waiting for Jack's word to pull the trigger.

"I do know you," Jack said. "God, it's like yesterday, now that I've remembered. You were so beautiful back then, like nothing I'd ever seen, a work of art. Seeing you now, like this. A man, so worldly, so ripe, and still so fucking beautiful... You always undid me. You still do, now more than ever."

If Eames had his hand free, he would have slapped it to his own forehead. He'd heard better lines in bars. He simply glared, and waited for him to answer the question.

"I told you," Jack said, sounding meek and apologetic, "Arthur left the train."

"Quite," Eames said. "He just went out into a blizzard for no known reason. Or just to get away from me. Is that what you're trying to tell me? Oh, and a group of people left with him? Come on. I'm going to find out the truth. You must know."

"It is the truth," Jack said. "About four people decided they'd fare better on their own, or they wanted to try to get a mobile signal, and no matter what you think, by the way, I am not responsible for this being a dead zone. Arthur followed them off. Without a word to you."

Arthur followed them off, Eames repeated in his mind. No, he didn't just follow them. He went to rescue them.

"Who else left?" He was thinking of Michelle. Impetuous tyke like that would try some such ridiculous stunt for sure.

"Some rich couple," Jack said, rubbing his face tiredly as if this meant nothing, "and two old people, a couple, I don't know, darling. They made their decision and Arthur made his. No one forced them to leave."

Eames knew exactly who he was talking about. Of course Arthur would go out after them. That's the kind of man Arthur was. Once he knew that his partner was breathing and stable, he'd go out on a civilian rescue mission. Eames would have done the same thing. He actually had to smile, thinking of it. Brave Arthur; responsible, reliable, responsive Arthur, who gave as good as he got and often better, in every aspect of his life. In the field, in work, in crime, in bed, in general.

Stupid Arthur, also, out in a Siberian blizzard with nothing more than his wool hat, gloves and long coat; a dark spot in a white-out. Eames could nearly picture him.

Then he glanced to where Arthur hung that coat of his in the compartment, and saw it still hanging there. He looked sharply back to Jack.

"Why would he leave his coat?"

Jack shrugged. "I don't know, darling." Finally he sounded impatient, as if he was just so tired of answering all of Eames's annoying questions. The final ruse of the liar who is too tired to keep spinning the lies. "He didn't say and I have no way of knowing what goes on in the minds of men like that. He just left without it."

"I'm going after him."

Jack smiled slowly. "See, I thought you would say that. I can't understand it, darling. Why you waste your time, your heart, on someone who would leave you like this for a group of strangers. Tell me, does he even know your real name? This is a man who won't even address you by your assumed first name. 'Eames'," he scoffed. "Meaningless. But I know he's got his hooks in you and that you would try to put yourself in danger for him. That's why..." He nodded towards Eames's cuffed hands. "I don't want you in danger. I'm very hurt that you thought I meant something else by restraining you. I would never. I just want to keep you safe and I knew you'd want to follow him out to your death."

Death. Eames swallowed hard. It was below zero. Arthur had left without his coat, for whatever reason. Maybe someone else had offered him theirs? No. It hadn't gone like that. Jack had forced him to leave, threatened him in some way. The people outside in the blizzard would have only a few hours before frostbite started to set in. Arthur didn't have that long. He had to get free.

"Leave me alone," he said to Jack.

"What? Pet, I..."

"No, really. Fuck off. I need to be alone to think about this." He jerked his chin towards the door. "Go. I'll call for you if I need you, as I assume you'll have someone guarding the door."

Jack sighed. He nodded. "Wish I could trust you enough to call them off. You'll really call on me?"

"Yes, of course. Go on, do as you're told. I need some time."

Jack leaned in to kiss him, and Eames allowed him to, the faster to get him the fuck out of there without a fight.

Once Jack closed the door behind him, Eames set about looking for ways to loosen the chains on the bed. He disliked killing in general, and it was always a bad night when he knew that he was going to have to do it soon.

** ** ** **


KILL, EAMES, KILL.

Who helps Eames with the initial escape? Ann, or Michelle? Or do you want him to just, like, start ripping down the walls like a madman and go on a rampage (with Michelle somehow in his wake?) I'm toying with the idea of having Ann be like, "Holy crap, is Arthur really freezing out there? Eames you need to go save him" or of Michelle somehow helping him get free.

Which?

I only know where Eames is going to end up. Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] neomeruru ^_^

Thanks guys, and I'm so sorry for the delay! :D AGAIN.

Chapter 11 - The Sky Above Us Shoots To Kill
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