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Inception fic

Title: Rigged Game
Author - juurensha (also known as ice illuser on ff.net)
Rating - PG13
Pairing - Arthur/Eames
Warnings - Slash, innuendo, some violence
Summary - Arthur's third totem was a red loaded die. Everyone gave him strange looks whenever he pulled it out, and he believed he was perfectly justified in blaming Eames. Eames' fourth totem is a poker chip. He considers the sacrifice of his third well worth it.
Disclaimer- I obviously don't own Inception or else why would I be writing fanfiction?

Arthur’s first totem was an old fob watch. No one was especially surprised by it, and he liked it well enough.

In the real world the hinges had long ago rusted shut, making it impossible to open, and it had stopped ticking. However, in dreams it would open and work like any other normal watch.

Right now it was pointing to twelve and was serving as concrete evidence that Cobb was late in finding the mark.

Arthur shut the fob watch, pushing down the urge to sigh and instead rubbed his right temple with a wince. It had been decided that the target was more likely to reveal whether or not he had been selling classified information in a more familiar setting, which unfortunately meant in this case a garishly glittery and above all loud casino that was also doubling as a dance club. He could feel the techno beat of club music thrumming through his body, and he was beginning to wonder if it was possible for hearing loss sustained in the dream to transfer over to the real world, when a martini glass was suddenly pushed into his hand.

“Cheers, love,” an extremely well-endowed peroxide blonde winked at him, lifting her own glass filled with some sort of neon blue liquid and toasting him while sliding into the bar stool next to him.

Arthur smiles and pretends to sip the horrendously green beverage (he’s almost certain that puke is the same color and perhaps consistency) all on automatic while in his head his eyes are narrowing, and he is trying to remember if there had been any cases where a projection had ever been this friendly. It had to know he was an outsider, correct? This had not been part of the plan.

The blonde leans over to put her martini glass down with a small clink while giving him a chance to look down her extremely low-cut, tight, black dress. Her crimson mouth widens into a grin that bares all of her perfect white teeth.

“Do you want to dance?” she asks, touching his shoulder lightly.

He just barely manages to restrain himself from turning his head to give the flawlessly manicured hand an incredulous stare. This did not happen. Projections did not start hitting on intruders. And if the target had been trained to resist extraction, there were generally guns blazing, not random blonde bimbos.

Speaking of which, where the hell was Cobb? Casually flipping open the fob watch again, Arthur noted that now they only had about thirty minutes before the kick. It wasn’t terribly late, but this was beginning to get irritating.

“Got stood up?” the blonde asked sweetly, tilting her head and smiling knowingly.

Smiling again on automatic, he carefully slips the fob watch back into his suit pocket, and then shrugs in what he guesses is a generally rueful gesture. Might as well go along with it; it wouldn’t do to attract anymore attention from the rest of the mark’s projections.

“So it would seem,” he admits, as he again pretends to take a sip from the disgusting martini glass.

The blonde giggles girlishly, stands up balanced on four inch black stiletto heels, and pulls him by the arm toward the dance floor.

“Their loss!” she happily yells over the pounding rhythm of the music as she hooks her arms around his neck, “Let’s not waste the night then, yeah?”

Arthur nervously glances around at the crowd surrounding him, but they don’t seem to really notice he’s here, continuing to gyrate, twist, and stomp to the music (at this particular instant, he’s actually grateful for the flashing green strobe lights even if he is sure they have to be some sort of health hazard). There’s still no sign of Cobb, and it really shouldn’t be possible for anyone in four inch heels that could double as knives to drape herself all over him while grinding in to the beat and not fall over, but somehow the blonde was managing it (of course, it was a dream after all. No one had to actually follow any rules of physics if they just had some imagination).

The blonde pouts up at him, letting her hands sweep up and down his back.

“You’re not already bored with me, are you?” she shouts, punctuating her question with a very sensual roll of her hips.

He bites back whatever noise was trying to crawl out of his throat and refuses to move his hands from the blonde’s very shapely waist (up or down would be natural at this point, but he’s not sure he could deal with the consequences right now. It’s been a rather long time). Where the hell was Cobb already?

The blonde leans closer (if that was actually humanely possible), and he feels her breath by his ear as she whispers, “It is a pleasure to finally meet you, Arthur.”

He forgets to breathe for a second (his name, no one here should know his name), and that’s when her fingers tangle into his perfectly coiffed hair, and her lips crash into his. He thinks for a moment that something strange is going on when somehow it feels like the hands still sliding up and down his back suddenly grew larger, the texture of the lips he is kissing seems to grow rougher, it feels like sandpaper scrapes across his cheek when she turns her head to attempt to stick her tongue down his throat, and did she suddenly grow taller?

When he is just about to push her away (what is she?) she steps back from him (seemingly normal, seemingly just another blonde bimbo), flashes him a wide grin, flips her bleached golden hair across her shoulder, and wiggles her fingers at him in farewell.

“Ta-ta darling. Love the suit, by the way,” she calls out cheerfully as she slinks away.

By the time he’s managed to shove through the crowd (throwing caution to the wind because this mission has most likely gone to hell already), it’s as if the blonde (if that’s who she really is) was never there.

And finally now Cobb decides to show up, with a grimace that screams that yes indeed the plan has been shot to hell as he hurries to where Arthur is still standing trying to figure out what has just happened.

“I’ve got some of what we need, but we need to finish fast and get out of here soon,” Cobb says quickly, drawing out a gun (Beretta Px4 Storm, his mind supplies, taking some comfort from familiar details) and beginning to load it, “There’s another team in here.”

This time Arthur doesn’t even bother not sighing, drawing out his own pistol (Glock 17, always a comfort in a tight spot) and reaching for his totem just to ascertain that this isn’t some sort of nightmare—



No, no, no, no, no, this could not be happening!

¬¬¬“What’s wrong?” Cobb asks, glancing worriedly at Arthur who is standing stone still, one hand still stuck in his pocket.

Arthur licks his dry lips and says as steadily as he can (although his inner voice is still screaming in an odd combination of fear and rage), “My totem’s gone.”


Arthur draws in a shaky breath, “My totem is gone.”

Cobb looks at him helplessly, “But how—”

“Looking for this?” a voice mockingly calls out from behind Arthur.

Arthur turns around to see the blonde standing on the ornate stairs, smirking and dangling his fob watch, the silver chain wrapped around her fingers. He notes clinically (and much, much too late) that the mirror behind the blonde seems to be showing the reflection of a badly dressed dark haired man with an identical smirk.

“Give it back,” he says calmly, cocking his pistol and pointing it at her (him? Whatever, really not important now).

“Don’t know if you really want to do that, Arthur,” the blonde (brunette? Not important at this time) purrs, drawing the fob watch up to her (no, his, right?) cheek, “I could smash it, you know? That would mess things up, wouldn’t it? So why don’t you just be a dear and hand over the information, hm?”

Cobb curses under his breath, “They brought in a forger?”

She (he? Not important, not right now anyway) throws her (his?) head back, baring her (his) long white expanse of her (his) throat, laughing, “The best in the business. They say you two are the best extractor and point man in the business as well, but I guess you overlook some things as well, don’t you?”

“Who the hell are you?” Arthur grinds out, stalking slowly toward her (him, him, him), keeping his eyes pinned on her (the infuriating forger, whatever the actual gender) dancing green-gray ones.

“I’m Eames darling,” she (does it really even matter?) says, swiveling away but grinning at him over her (and in the reflection, the man blows him a kiss) shoulder, “And don’t worry, you’ll see me again.”

And just like that, she (no, most definitely he) tosses the fob watch at him, and he can hear the clattering of his stilettos turn into the thump thump thump of much more practical (masculine) shoes as he barely manages to grab his totem when it crashes to the floor, and Cobb begins shooting at the projections surrounding him.


Arthur’s second totem was an antique silver cigarette lighter. He didn’t smoke, so people were surprised to see it, but it was only a temporary measure anyway.

In the real world it had stopped working at least fifty years ago, but in dreams it would always flare up brightly.

The old fob watch had cracked in that dream, and now it no longer ticked away the time in any dream. Besides, it was not a good idea to continue to use a totem that someone else (Eames) had figured out so quickly.

As soon as they had gotten back from the botched job (Eames had evidently been serving as a distraction for the other team to extract what they had needed), Arthur had booted up his laptop and frantically begun to compile a file on this forger Eames.

Eames wasn’t lying when he said he was the best forger in the business. He’d managed to infiltrate the dreams of at least thirty-two people who would clearly pay a fortune for his head on a platter (Arthur does not count himself as one of them. He would infinitely prefer finding this Eames himself and shooting him in the kneecaps and then the head. Several times. And then pushing him over a cliff. Where there are sharp rocks at the bottom).

All his former clients even have rave reviews about him.

“Oh Eames,” one former client says breathily, lightly fanning herself, “Isn’t he such a charmer?”

Arthur politely waits until he gets out of the room before flicking open the lighter and making sure it continued to not work.

He does not have an “obsession” as both Cobb and Mal claim. He just hates jobs botched up. So therefore he’s going to find this ¬forger to make sure this sort of thing can’t happen again. It’s his job as a point man to take care of such details as this (such as some absolute bastard messing with your head with sexual harassment and gender confusion).

It has absolutely nothing to do with the lovely dove-gray, silk three-piece suit and light blue silk tie that were delivered to his house (where the hell did he get his address from?) with the note:


I really did love the suit.


He doesn’t feel at all like Eames is really rubbing it in (oh, he’d show him…), and plus the package let him track Eames down to Monte Carlo.

More specifically the Monte Carlo Casino, where he is standing right now in the spectacular (he will grudgingly admit that as terribly the man seemed to dress himself, Eames did have an eye for suits) combination of a well fitted dove-gray, silk three-piece suit (where the hell did he get his measurements from?) and a light blue, silk tie in a Windsor double knot.

He wanted to draw out Eames after all, and he feels this is the appropriate costume to do so in (and yes, he is going to keep it. It would be a travesty to dump it in an incinerator like his first reaction to the gift, bribe, taunt, package, had been. And Mal could stop smirking).

He manages to spot Eames a good two minutes before Eames notices him, all the poring over photographs and surveillance video images having finally come in handy (he had not been pining over them, whatever Mal implied). He was atrociously dressed in tweed and paisley, and he was smiling languidly at all the other gamblers over his cards as he pushed in all his chips to the middle of the table while taking a long drink from the tumbler in front of him.

He’s made all the other players fold and racked in at least ten thousand dollars in winnings with a royal flush when Arthur catches his eye. Arthur notes that while a leering (seductive) smirk spreads across his face, he takes a red die from his pocket and rolls it in the palm of his hand to four twice before pocketing it again and smoothly rising from his seat.

“Thank you gentlemen for a wonderful evening, but if you will please excuse me, I have other…business to attend to,” he drawls, sending an absolutely filthy (smoldering, and he had to stop using Harlequin novel adjectives) look in Arthur’s direction.

Arthur manages to turn away and walk as far as the bar before he feels a heavy hand clap onto his shoulder and a warm breath by his ear, “Arthur, this is such a pleasant surprise.”

He turns around stiffly to face Eames who looks absolutely beside himself in amusement, “Hello Mr. Eames,” he bites off each word.

Eames runs one hand down the line of Arthur’s back and chuckles, “Do you like the suit, darling? I went through at least sixteen shops before I found the right one for you.”

Arthur pushes down the urge to shiver and inwardly stomps on it for good measure. This is business. He moves forward, until they are standing nearly nose to nose, he can make out the (heady) scent of cologne, musk, smoke, alcohol, and something distinctly masculine, and he can feel the heat rising from Eames’ body and is pleased to note that Eames does swallow slightly.

He coolly states, “Either you work with us or in jobs that do not go against us Mr. Eames, or you don’t work at all.”

Eames gives him an incredulous smile as he leans back slightly to push back an errant strand of Arthur’s hair, “Is that so, pet?”

Arthur grabs Eames’ hand by the wrist and pulls it down, hating how his skin seems to heat up beneath the forger’s fingers, “I’m not your pet, Mr. Eames. These are our conditions.”

If possible, Eames’ smile grows wider as he twists his hand to lightly stroke the top of Arthur’s hands with his fingertips, “Don’t you mean your conditions, love?”

His response is automatic and very, very caustic as he snatches his (burning) hand away, “I’m not your love either.”

“You could be,” Eames replies glibly, smoothly placing one hand on Arthur’s waist and steering him toward the room blaring with music.

“I don’t want to be,” Arthur sneers outwardly, inwardly slightly horrified that they seem to have ended up on yet another dance floor.

“Shame,” Eames easily comments, placing his hands on Arthur’s hips and grinding their hips together exactly the way the blonde did in the dream, “We could have so much fun together you know.”

Arthur detangles himself quickly, not outwardly flustered at all (at all), and repeats, “These are our terms, Mr. Eames. Do you agree with them?”

Eames tilts his head to the right as though fascinated, “If I accept them, will I be seeing more of you?”

Arthur weighs his pride and dignity against his job as a point man and ultimately most of his pride is tied to his job, “Possibly,” he admits.

Eames hooks his arms around Arthur’s neck (like the blonde), and licks his (very full) lips slowly, “Then consider me very much interested, Arthur. Shall we dance to seal the deal? We were so shamefully interrupted last time.”

Arthur places his hands on Eames’ hips just to watch Eames eyes flare with a mixture of surprise, lust, and some other strange emotion Arthur can’t quite define (he doesn’t think it’s affection, and there are absolutely no other motives involved in his action) and then takes a measured step back.

“I don’t think so, Mr. Eames,” he says with none of the calm that he actually feels, “We will contact you if we have any need of your services.”

“Arthur, you can contact me any time you like if you have any need of any of my…services,” Eames leers, with a cant of his hips that makes Arthur’s imagination go into overdrive of the all the services Eames could be offering.

Without another word, Arthur walks out of the dance floor and past the grand doors of the casino. Taking a deep breath of fresh air and glancing around to make sure Eames hasn’t somehow followed him (his inner feelings are traitorously disappointed that he has not), he reaches into his own pocket to pull out a red die.

He lets it clatter on the floor to four six times before he permits himself a small smile.

Turnabout was fair play, wasn’t it?


Arthur’s third totem was a red loaded die. Everyone gave him strange looks whenever he pulled it out, and he believed he was perfectly justified in blaming Eames.

In the real world it always rolled to four, but in dreams it would work as any other die.

The first thing that Eames said to him when Cobb had brought him in for a job was, “Why aren’t you wearing the other suit I sent, Arthur?”

Arthur sends a death glare at both a suspiciously blank faced Cobb and Mal before snapping smoothly, “It’s highly impractical.”

This is partially true. The pitch black suit with its brilliantly white tie is much more appropriate for fancy evening dress. And he’s not that miffed (also truth, he’s just livid) about the note that came with it:


If you wanted something to remember me by, all you had to do was ask.

Looking forward to seeing you again,

He is beginning to wonder if he had been somehow set up.

Eames hits his forehead with his hand in obvious mock consternation, “Oh darling, you don’t have to make excuses for my mistake! I left out the cuff-links last time, but here they are now.”

He gets on one knee, opens the black velvet box he took out of his pocket, and proffers the shining platinum cufflinks up to an inwardly snarling Arthur surrounded by Cobb and Mal who are red-faced in valiant attempts to not laugh.

Mal is the first one to collapse, breaking into peals of laughter soon joined by the guffawing of Cobb. There’s never been another time that Arthur has wished so hard that he had psychic powers in his glare to make all their heads blow up (although that would be too good for Eames. Evisceration at this point is too good for Eames).

“Just take the cuff-links Arthur,” Mal advises, once she’s finally calmed down even though her eyes are still dancing with amusement, “We have work to be done. You two can flirt later”

He’s inwardly seething (he has never thought he would die of embarrassment before, but it has grown increasingly likely), but he does understand Mal’s point (in that Eames will shut up faster if he just takes the black velvet box, not that they are flirting), and so he just grabs the box from Eames’ hand and tosses it onto his desk.

“Let’s start then,” he mutters, throwing himself onto the lounge chair and beginning to set up the PASIV device.

“So eager Arthur,” Eames replies smoothly, sprawling across the lounge chair right next to his, “Can’t wait for me to be the man of your dreams?”

Arthur grins nastily as he stabs the IV needle to Eames’ arm, “Can’t wait to shoot you in the head is more like it.”

“Ooh kinky,” Eames manages to leer before both of them go under.


Eames’ fourth totem is a poker chip. He considers the sacrifice of his third well worth it.

In real life it always lands words up, but in dreams it is as ruled by the law of chance as any other poker chip.

He’s currently testing its weight in his pocket as he watches an obviously unhappy Arthur pace across the warehouse, reading papers. After being killed in multiple ways multiple times in many a “training exercise” with Arthur, along with far too many missions where he believes Arthur takes much too much pleasure in shooting him in the head (but at least Arthur’s taking some sort of pleasure in him), he has to make sure that this isn’t yet another dream for Arthur to vent his frustrations in.

But ah, it’s so much fun to see Arthur frustrated. He can see the calm and poised veneer cracking whenever he teases, and it just makes him want to see Arthur even more undone, preferably under himself, but he’ll take what he can get for now.

Speaking of which, he notes that the dark shadows under Arthur’s eyes have grown darker and even more smudged. The job this time involves a militarized mark, and so there are many details for a point-man to cover, especially with militarization being so new. This cannot be allowed to continue; a tired Arthur isn’t nearly as much fun to tease and doesn’t have nearly enough energy for what Eames wants (and he does want so many things…)

“Arthur, you should get some rest,” he calls out mildly.

Arthur gives him a dark look, “Since when do you care about my well-being?”

Eames clutches his chest in mock-hurt, “I’m offended, Arthur! After all these jobs where I have protected you!”

Arthur ignores him in favor of going back to his desk to gather more files. Eames sighs as he stands up and slinks toward the desk; Arthur is so stubborn sometimes.

He lightly touches the nape of Arthur’s neck and leans in, “Seriously dear, get some rest. You look like hell frozen over.”

“Maybe you’ll stop bothering me then?” Arthur asks, turning to face him but not shrugging of his hand as he has done so many times before (that has to be a good sign, right?).

“Darling, I would chase after you if you were wearing a sack-cloth and rubbed ashes into your face,” Eames says sincerely, carefully rubbing small circles into Arthur’s lovely neck with his fingertips.

Arthur grimaces, “I would never do that,” he declares adamantly, sleepily leaning into Eames’ touch (and if Eames stops breathing for a second, well it was only a second and Arthur didn’t seem to notice).

“I know that,” Eames replies with genuine affection (and if he’s being honest with himself, it’s always been there), “but if you put off sleep anymore love, no suit in the world will manage to make you look professional.”

Arthur seems vaguely alarmed at the idea, blinking up at Eames sleepily.

“I can’t have that happening,” he finally states, “but I’m pretty sure my hotel reservation has expired.”

“You could stay with me,” Eames offers (with bated breath, as always, and he never will get used to the sting of Arthur’s rejections).

“No,” Arthur replies, drawing out the word in an endearingly honest tone that Eames just knows is the result of sleep deprivation (he’s had plenty of time in the business to ascertain that enough sleep deprivation is more potent than alcohol in the long run), “that’s a bad idea. Once you’ve had me, you won’t care about me anymore at all.”

He blinks as though he’s just realizing what he just said, flushes pink, and then stands up abruptly, “I—”

Eames catches Arthur by the wrist and stares at him incredulously, “You think that once I’ve slept with you, I won’t care about you anymore?”

Arthur refuses to meet his eyes and snaps, “I haven’t properly slept in three days.”

Eames shakes his head fondly, drawing Arthur in by his hand, “You are so smart Arthur, but you do lack imagination sometimes,” he whispers into Arthur’s ear and brushes his lips across that furrowed forehead, “Have you ever seen me act this way with anyone else? I’ve been obsessed with you since I first saw you. I will always care about you. I will never tire of you. Whenever I call you love, I really mean it.”

Arthur gives him such a confused look that Eames can’t help but cup his face and tenderly kiss him. He moves slowly, lightly nipping at Arthur’s lower lip, until Arthur sighs (and how long has he been waiting for this?) and begins to kiss back.

They finally draw back for air, and Eames is very pleased to note that a disheveled Arthur looks better than he imagined (many times) with his lips wet and slightly reddened, his hair mussed up, and his collar out of place. On the other hand, Arthur still looks awfully tired and in no condition for the strenuous activities Eames wishes to engage in. He sighs inwardly; he’s waited so long, so he can wait a bit longer to have Arthur writhing beneath him (really, he’s such a saint).

“Why don’t we just sleep here?” he suggests, dragging up two lounge chairs and pushing Arthur gently into one.

Arthur nods, yawning, before looking up at Eames seriously, “Stay with me?” he asks, pulling the other lounge chair closer to him.

Eames smiles and sprawls into the other lounge chair, grabbing Arthur’s hand and entwining their fingers together, “Always, darling.”

In the morning Cobb and Mal find them sleeping like that, Arthur’s head propped on Eames’ chest, hands still entwined together.

Maybe they took some photos.

Possibly, Arthur yelled at Eames and shot him several times during run-throughs of the dream.

Certainly Eames finally got Arthur writhing beneath him in his hotel room bed that evening.

Definitely the die rolled to four, and the poker chip landed words up every single time.