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[Inception] [Arthur/Cobb] [PG]

Originally an experimental piece written for this prompt at [livejournal.com profile] inception_kink that I ended up liking more than I thought I would.



all the pretty little horses


Arthur comes awake with a jolt, coughs up water and grit to the realization that he's washed up on shore with no idea of where he is, how he got here, here, with nothing but miles of stormy ocean spreading out before him.

It's raining, and his skin stings cold as he pushes clumsily to his feet, swaying unsteady for a moment as the world tilts on an axis he isn't used to. It feels like he's being swallowed by water, by crashing waves and pouring rain, and his head is pulsing, full of static, images fuzzy and blur around the edges.

Then he sees a head of dirty blond hair in the distance, and everything else falls away into periphery, nothing but muted white noise.

"Hey," he yells. It comes out barely a croak, his voice stuck in his throat, and he tries again, again, till the figure hears him and turns around, and--

"Arthur?"

It's Cobb.

It's like the howling of the wind calms against the thunder of Arthur's heartbeat.

He's in a casual shirt-and-jeans ensemble to Arthur's three-piece suit, soaked through from the rain, hair already falling damp into his face, but it's Cobb, eyes burning blue and bright when everything else is drowning.

Something explodes in Arthur's stomach, bursts into life as he reaches Cobb in four long strides and fists a hand in his shirt, jerks him forward unthinkingly. Cobb startles as Arthur crushes their mouths together to taste salt and sand and home on Cobb's tongue, to taste fire and ash and finally, fucking finally echoed on his own.

"Arthur," Cobb breathes, when they break away, and Arthur's sharp inhale is just as shaky.

"I found you," he says, because that's the important thing, somehow. That, and this, this proximity, both of them close enough that Arthur can see the drops of water clinging to Cobb's eyelashes, the ones sliding down the line of his throat.

There's a beginning of a thought: I want--, and then there's the bare-bones structure of a house, door already open and inviting, and Arthur's backing Cobb straight into it.

Cobb doesn't protest.

The apartment's a work-in-progress as they stumble inside, and they almost trip over still-assembling furniture as they enter the room, trekking water across the dark oak floor. For once, Arthur doesn't care. He doesn't even pause to appreciate the snowskin rug unfurling beneath their feet, barely notices the huge, glass windows just being erected around them, too distracted by the sight of shock and awe washing over Cobb's face, in turn.

The roof is slow to come, and Cobb tilts his face to the still-falling rain, lips parted.

"Arthur," he says again, wonderment in his voice, and Arthur leans over to taste that, too, feels Cobb's laughter vibrate in his chest, like a secret, melodious in the strangest way. This is the soundtrack to his life, he thinks, and every Pentrose stair he's ever built would've led him straight to this, the one impossibility in his life of self-created everything.

Inevitable.

The windows are almost done now, panels of them lining the staircase as Arthur backs Cobb up them, their mouths still fused together as the rain beats down on the glass.

Taking that first step is a mistake; and Arthur breaks away when he sees a quicksilver flash of blood on his hands.

A second step, and there's a picture of a tastefully lit hotel room.

Cobb tugs him up one more, and it's the inside of a van and exploding elevators, sudden weightlessness and the phantom sting of a well-placed fist to the gut, gunfire ringing wild in his ears to the sweet sweeping tones of edith piaf--

Cobb wraps a hand around Arthur's tie, reels him in again, but every step they take brings the memories back, snaps another puzzle piece into place: the job, the dreams, Mal, the team.

Waking up underwater.

Realizing Cobb hadn't.

Diving back down to follow him.

Arthur's throat is suddenly dry, stomach twisting.

I found you, he thinks again, chest tight as Cobb smirks and murmurs against his mouth, "I'm not looking for mazes, Arthur. I just want to see the bedroom."

It's almost enough to give Arthur pause. The roof is spiraling up overhead, and Arthur wants to steal the last of the rain from Cobb's lips. He's almost tempted to keep going, to get to the top and find the bedroom, make one, have Cobb so close there isn't any air he can pull in that Arthur won't be sharing with him, the same way he's been stealing Arthur's breath for years now, god, years.

"We're almost there," he hears himself say, instead, and squares his jaw when Cobb presses their mouths together again, hands fisting in Arthur's jacket.

But there is no bedroom at the landing.

There's no landing at all, and the movement around them halts when Cobb does. "What--" he begins.

Arthur can still feel the phantom warmth of Cobb's mouth slanted against his own when he closes his eyes. He wonders if this is how Mal felt when Cobb wouldn't - couldn't - go with her.

"Arthur," Cobb says, voice low and urgent.

Despite the way he steels himself, Arthur sounds rough and shaky when he says, "Paradox," and edges Cobb out into open air.

The house crumbles alongside them as they fall.

Date: 2010-09-12 09:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rampantskyline.livejournal.com
This is awesome bb. I love the sensual interactions and the flow of the story.

<3

Date: 2010-09-13 08:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] epicflailer.livejournal.com
hee! ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ thank you, bb!

Date: 2010-09-12 09:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] irradiatedsoup.livejournal.com
The imagery and feel of this is just gorgeous. Thanks for writing this.

Date: 2010-09-13 08:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] epicflailer.livejournal.com
i'm so glad it worked for you! thank you for r&ring!

Date: 2010-09-12 02:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] http://users.livejournal.com/_calex_/
CAN I DARE HOPE THAT THEY WAKE UP TO A HAPPY ENDING??? this was so gorgeous, bb.

Date: 2010-09-13 08:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] epicflailer.livejournal.com
CONSIDERING THE FACT THAT I AM ALMOST PHYSICALLY INCAPABLE OF ANGSTY ENDINGS... YES. YES I THINK YOU CAN. thank you, bb! i'm so glad this worked for you! :D

Date: 2010-09-12 02:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rimestar.livejournal.com
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhmygod what a cocktease I love this fill SO MUCH, this is great. I love how this ends, with Arthur remembering they're in limbo, how they got there, kicking the both of them back to the waking world, how this ties into the movie so flawlessly, your vivid imagery- I can see this playing out, picture it perfectly.

"Arthur," he says again, wonderment in his voice, and Arthur leans over to taste that, too, feels Cobb's laughter vibrate in his chest, like a secret, melodious in the strangest way. This is the soundtrack to his life, he thinks, and every Pentrose stair he's ever built would've led him straight to this, the one impossibility in his life of self-created everything.

Oh my god this line kills me right proper dead. Fffffnnngh.

Date: 2010-09-13 08:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] epicflailer.livejournal.com
LMFAO OH MY GOD IKR I AM SO SORRY i am totally pleased you enjoyed this, bb, thank you! i had a lot of fun working on this one, and that line is possibly one of my favouritest things i've written yet. :D

Date: 2010-09-12 03:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hopefulgenius.livejournal.com
ffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff best thing to wake up to EVER but OMGOSH WHAT WITH THE AMBIGUOUSLY NOT-EXACTLY HAPPYEQSUE ENDING HEY? HEY? WE SHOULD ALL BE RIDING THE RIDIC HAPPY FUNTIMES TRAIN.

(ugh but then this wouldn't be such an awesome punch to the gut the way it is, so even though i'm kinda reeling in awesomeness and it's painful, i am so so so in love with this.)

Date: 2010-09-13 08:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] epicflailer.livejournal.com
I KNOW RIGHT, SORRY ABOUT THAT. IF IT HELPS, IN MY MIND, ARTHUR IS ALL AWKWARD AND STOIC WHEN THEY WAKE UP AND WANTS TO PRETEND LIKE NOTHING HAPPENS ONLY COBB SPENDS THE REMAINING 6 DAYS THEY HAVE ON THE FIRST LEVEL TRYING TO CONVINCE HIM THAT IT ISN'T A ONE-WAY STREET.

(i'm always pleased when you like something i've written, so yay! ♥ ♥ ♥)

Date: 2010-09-13 10:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rimestar.livejournal.com
OK WELL MAYBE YOU NEED TO GET IT OUT OF YOU MIND AND DOWN ON PAPER IN A CONTINUATION FIC :D :D :D

I mean seeing as you already have a plot outline and all, and you know the lot of us would love to read it :D

Date: 2010-09-13 08:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] epicflailer.livejournal.com
LOLOLOLOLOL I WILL TRY, BB. it's a plot that sounds good in theory but that my execution may ruin. D:

I HAVE MANY OTHER THINGS IN PROGRESS, TOO. i should try to work on some of those, augh.

Date: 2010-09-13 08:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rimestar.livejournal.com
AS IF YOUR EXECUTION WOULD BE ANYTHING LESS THAN STELLAR.
wait, that sounds like I want you dead. No. I want you alive and writing forever

AND AS FOR THINGS IN PROGRESS, I KNOW RIGHT

3902843 things on the go and it's like OH GOD WHICH ONE DO I FINISH FIRST AND... oh, hey, this is a really good prompt... shit.

I HAVE FAITH THOUGH

Date: 2010-09-13 09:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] epicflailer.livejournal.com
LMFAO I ACTUALFAX STARTED WHEEZING WHEN I READ THIS.

AND OMG, OMG. YOU. I AM STILL WAITING ON THAT WIP YOU POSTED TO COBB_ARTHUR OKAY. JS.

omg we are totally living the same lives. i just wrote joe/leo (OHGOD WHY WHY WHY ROFL) when i still have hooker!arthur fic i promised [livejournal.com profile] hopefulgenius, and [livejournal.com profile] help_pakistan fics, and THEN BIG BANG FIC, WHICH I HAVE NOT EVEN STARTED ON--OKAY, HYPERVENTILATING, HOLY SHIT. gdi, kink meme!

Date: 2010-09-12 03:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] authormichals.livejournal.com
Holy eff, this is delicious. This is particularly gorgeous: This is the soundtrack to his life, he thinks, and every Pentrose stair he's ever built would've led him straight to this, the one impossibility in his life of self-created everything. But the whole thing is just marvelous. Definitely saving this.

Date: 2010-09-13 08:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] epicflailer.livejournal.com
hee, thank you so much! i'm really glad you liked this, and i have a bit of a soft spot for that line myself. :D

Date: 2010-09-12 04:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bloodbelieve.livejournal.com
nnngh, I don't even have any words. Just the sheer want and need -- beautiful.

Date: 2010-09-13 08:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] epicflailer.livejournal.com
FOR ONCE ARTHUR'S YEARNING IS TANGIBLE, MAN. *snugs you* i'm so glad you liked this, bb! especially since it's arthur/cobb, haha.

Date: 2010-09-12 05:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sharp-tongue.livejournal.com
I love this. I especially loved the image of the house forming around them, created by their joint desire.

Date: 2010-09-13 08:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] epicflailer.livejournal.com
i started writing this, and then the house just sort of... happened, and everything seemed to make sense. thank you so much for r&ring!

Date: 2010-09-12 05:35 pm (UTC)
ext_34679: (arthur)
From: [identity profile] pixiebeanz.livejournal.com
so much love for this and the imagery and feelings this evokes - so, so gorgeously written.

Date: 2010-09-13 08:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] epicflailer.livejournal.com
HEYO, CHECK YOU OUT, ALL UP IN MY INBOX. *_______* i'm so pleased you liked this, ty, bb! ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Date: 2010-09-12 07:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dreamlittleyo.livejournal.com
Oh I ADORE this! Beautifully done!

Date: 2010-09-13 08:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] epicflailer.livejournal.com
thank you so much!
(deleted comment)

Date: 2010-09-13 08:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] epicflailer.livejournal.com
thank you! that's exactly what i was going for, and i'm so pleased it came across! :D

Date: 2010-09-14 01:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] behindthec.livejournal.com
beautiful!

Date: 2010-09-14 04:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] epicflailer.livejournal.com
thank you! (:

Date: 2010-09-22 04:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] radishface.livejournal.com
My thought processes:

OH.

YES.

WHY.

NOOOOOOoooooo

and also, like, you should write more Cobb/Arthur.

Date: 2010-09-23 10:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] epicflailer.livejournal.com
heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

thank you, bb!

i'm working on another piece that should be finished in a couple of days -- hopefully by the weekend or something, SO EFFECTIVELY YOUR WISH IS MY COMMAND.

Date: 2010-09-25 06:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] galadriel1618.livejournal.com
WHUT WHUT, HOW DID I MISS THIS?! DID YOU NOT LINK THIS FROM YOUR OTHER JOURNAL? IF NOT, YOU NEED TO DO THAT WHENEVER YOU POST NEW A/C SO MISSING YOUR GLORIOUSLY MAGICAL FIC NEVER HAPPENS AGAIN.

Then he sees a head of dirty blond hair in the distance, and everything else falls away into periphery, nothing but muted white noise.

THEIR LOVE! IT MAKES ALL ELSE ~DISAPPEAR~.

It's like the howling of the wind calms against the thunder of Arthur's heartbeat.

This is a seriously gorgeous line. I wish it was a person so I could have it's babies.

close enough that Arthur can see the drops of water clinging to Cobb's eyelashes, the ones sliding down the line of his throat.

Oh, Jesussssssssss that's a beautiful mental image.

He's almost tempted to keep going, to get to the top and find the bedroom, make one, have Cobb so close there isn't any air he can pull in that Arthur won't be sharing with him, the same way he's been stealing Arthur's breath for years now, god, years.

Oh, longing Arthur! THERE IS LITTLE ELSE I LOVE MORE IN THIS WORLD. Years, God, their love is so romantic! This fic is too, guh, and the chemistry between them is damn near electric. This line is a phantom ache man, IDEK. It's sort of bittersweet because YEARS IS A LONG TIME OKAY, NO ONE SHOULD HAVE TO GO THROUGH THAT (That is what you meant, right? That Arthur had to wait years? ... That's how it usually is. SORRY ARTHUR, GOOD THINGS MAN. THOSE WHO WAIT, ALL THAT), but any love that can withstand that kind of pain and pressure is worth all the setbacks. why am i ranting

The house crumbles alongside them as they fall.

...F U, WHY?! Then they wake up and there are confessions of love and lots of hot sex on various surfaces, THAT IS THE ONLY THING I WILL BELIEVE REGARDING THIS ENDING.

JFC I CAN'T DO ANYTHING RIGHT...IN OTHER WORDS, I FOUND THE JOE/LEO, IGNORE EVERYTHING I SAY AND DO FROM NOW ON. I'M TAKING A RIDE ON THE FAILBOAT AND NEVER RETURNING.
Edited Date: 2010-09-25 06:54 pm (UTC)

Date: 2010-09-25 06:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] epicflailer.livejournal.com
OMG THIS COMMENT. *_________________________*

WHAT DO I LOVE MORE THAN THIS COMMENT?

VERY LITTLE IN THE WORLD RIGHT NOW, OKAY? OKAY.

no, forreals, i actually kind of love this piece a lot, and i wrote it spur-of-the-moment after collapsing into bed, and i still get kind of gleeful thinking about it because i am usually kind of awful with descriptions and imagery and this was the one time i feel like maybe i didn't botch it up too badly.

PLUS I AM VERY VERY VERY GLAD YOU ENJOYED PINING ARTHUR BECAUSE HE IS MY ABSOLUTE FAVOURITE. (and yes, that is what i meant, that the poor boy had to wait years and years and YEARS, idek, his tenacity astounds me.)

ANYWAY. i actually post all my kink meme fills to my index page (IDK WHY, I JUST LIKE KNOWING THEY ARE ALL IN ONE PLACE IF I EVER FEEL LIKE CATALOGUING WHAT I HAVE WRITTEN FOR THIS FANDOM OKAY) and i don't generally post stuff about fic in my lj just because that way it probably pops up, like, FOUR DIFFERENT TIMES on some people's flists, lmao, and that seems mean and excessive. MAYBE I SHOULD START A MAILING LIST OR SOMETHING. i was just about to link you to the joe/leo, BUT THEN I SAW YOU FOUND IT, WHOOOOOOOOOO~

(ps. i would never judge you. rps is my life. :DDDDDDDDDDD)

Date: 2010-09-25 07:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] galadriel1618.livejournal.com
Pfft, you're a filthy liar who liessssssssss you have no trouble with that at all from what I've read. But I still loved how rich the descriptions and atmosphere were in this.

At this point I'm having difficulty thinking of a fic where Arthur DIDN'T wait years and years and years. It's totally canon.

And I totally remembered your index page but didn't look there first because I figured you would have posted it at your fic journal in one piece so I was just looking at your entries. FAIL. (But whatever, it worked out in the end.)

(Haha, you sounded so ashamed in that comment though! XD NO NEED TO BE ASHAMED BB! WHAT DOES SHAME MEAN, ANYWAY? NOTHING! ...NOTHING IMPORTANT)

Date: 2010-09-26 03:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] epicflailer.livejournal.com
NO IT'S TRUE. i'm never going to be one of those writers with lush, vivid imagery that takes your breath away. BUT AT LEAST I TRIED IN THIS ONE. :D

and you know arthur. stoically carrying on and all that, poor bb. I WILL LOVE YOU, ARTHUR, I SWEAR I WILL. ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS LET ME.

(I AM NOT, REALLY. i just--was kind of \o/o\ at being the first person to fill joe/leo, lmao. THIS FANDOM IS KIND OF DAUNTING. I THREW MY SHAME OUT THE WINDOW SOMETIME DURING MY FIRST TWO YEARS OF SHIPPING BOYBANDS, SO. THIS IS NO LONGER AN ISSUE. :DDDDDDDD)

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