Rating: PG-13 (for this chapter—-suggestive dialogue, language, drunkenness all around which leads to sloppy kissing)
Characters/Pairings: Ariadne/Eames, the team, other characters
Summary: Ariadne and Eames grow closer to each other as a teammate's milestone approaches. For this prompt at inception_kink
Disclaimer: Christopher Nolan owns Inception, darlings. I don't make any Benjamins off of this, but he does!
Notes: OH SCHNAPPLES, I CAN WRITE SHIPPY, FLUFFY FIC THAT'S NOT TOTALLY CRACKY? D: Well, it was worth a shot... Final chapter in a three-part series and IT'S SO FLUFFY. /despicable me reference. And definitely damn cheesy, and perhaps a tiny bit angsty.
Word Count: 3012 (for this chapter)
Ariadne stuck one last bobby pin in her updo before giving herself the once-over in the mirror. She straightened out the top of her satin green dress and turned around and looked over her shoulder to make sure everything was in place. She had remembered the few months ago at the outlet mall when she first put on this dress—how the slight tightness may have emphasized the shape of her slight muffin top, how the hemline may have made her look more minuscule than she already was. But Eames told her it looked perfect on her, and when those words echoed in her mind, she told herself to believe it. Her brief self-satisfaction was interrupted by a knock on the door.
“Come in,” she turned around and called out.
She heard the door handle turn and saw Yusuf in the mirror’s reflection, looking handsome in a gray suit. “Saito’s driver is here for us. You ready to go?”
“Yeah, I’m ready.” Ariadne picked her clutch off her bed and walked toward the door.
“Very pretty dress,” Yusuf watched the feathery hemline move in awe as Ariadne walked.
“Thanks! Um, Eames helped me pick it out that one day you had food poisoning.”
Yusuf chuckled. “Oh yes, after I had those bloody crabcakes. See, if you two could agree on a style choice, you could mesh pretty well together.”
Ariadne smiled and shook her head, but inside of it, she knew that they really could.
There were an estimated 100 to 125 guests partaking in the ceremony, mostly the bride’s family, friends, and co-workers and mutual friends of her and Arthur from the military. Ariadne, Yusuf, and Saito had arrived when most of the crowd was already there, and Ariadne was just introducing herself to one of the mutual friends when she felt someone tap her shoulder.
“You didn’t forget about our plan now, did you, my dear?” Eames was standing in front of Ariadne in his tux and pink flower lapel pin, looking handsome with a clean shave and his hair entirely slicked back as opposed to his regular side part. He looked like the consummate gentleman and more charming than he ever did.
Ariadne knew about ‘the plan,’ the faux plan they conjured up to sabotage the wedding. “Sorry, that damn bullhorn wouldn’t fit in this little thing.” She waved her little green clutch in her hands.
Of course they were only joking. Eames only wanted to come up with something to say to her. He let out a laugh, then realized another topic of small talk to carry on the conversation. “The bookcase I bought for the two of them got delivered. I saw it inside the house, but it was black steel and not oak. Those bloody incompetent IKEA workers gave them the wrong one.”
“What are you going to do?”
“Nothing. Arthur and Miranda liked it. It wasn’t their typical style of décor, but they realized that it still looked good. Guess it took a while to realize that something unexpected could look so good.” Eames smiled as he politely looked Ariadne from head-to-toe. “I told you that dress would work for you. It looks even better with your hair like that.”
Ariadne could feel her cheeks turn rosy. “Well, maybe you could help me pick out more clothes for me, just as long as it doesn’t involve any pink shirts that you own.”
“I’d rather gag on those neck scarves of yours.” Eames didn’t catch on to how dirty that sounded, even though he was normally aware of saying worse things to her. Ariadne covered her laughter and tried to think of something else to say, until Miranda’s platinum blonde bridesmaid and sister came up on them.
“Hey you!” She grabbed Eames hard by the wrist. “It’s almost time for us to go!” Jennifer started dragging him to the back of the garden where the rest of the bridal party congregated. Ariadne saw Eames scrunch up his face, then turn to face her again.
“I’ll see you at the reception, darling!” he assured.
Ariadne gave him a small wave, and hoped that damn bridesmaid wouldn’t have her way with him later.
It was a pretty and painless exchange of vows, except when the pastor said “Speak now and forever hold your peace” and Ariadne saw Eames make eye contact at her as she sat in her second row aisle seat, then he proceeded to toot an invisible bullhorn. It sent both of them to fits of subdued laughter, which attracted notice from both the bride and groom and a few others. That moment of attention was painful, but at least it was one that only the two of them understood. And as part of Eames being a part of the bridal party and Ariadne just being an esteemed guest, they couldn’t have much interaction with each other until most of the reception program was run through.
Of course, being a part of the bridal party meant seeing Eames with that goddamned plastic bridesmaid all throughout dinner. True, she made him look uncomfortable, but Ariadne remembered the rehearsal dinner and how he walked away not because of Jennifer, but because of how the song that was playing reminded him of his ex-wife. In reality, Ariadne knew that Jennifer was exactly the type of girl Eames was prone to messing around with—the artificial Barbie type. He was certainly looking more at ease with her by the minute.
Ariadne watched from her table as speeches and toasts were delivered—and yes, Cobb recounted about five or six times on and off-duty where Arthur saved his ass, but not making any clear allusions due to the sensitivity of the dream sharing work force. She kept on sneaking glances at Eames at the bridal party table nearby, in between bites of her food and talking to Yusuf, Saito, the few of Saito’s colleagues who were in attendance, and others at their table. Jennifer was freaking feeding him—and Eames was just taking it. Ariadne didn’t want to believe it, but she had a feeling it wouldn’t be long until they were going to be shoving other things in each other’s mouths.
Once the dance floor opened, Ariadne tried to enjoy herself by mingling with people around her, but mostly to feel occupied as she waited for Eames and his new friend to finally separate. She wished she had Eames’ ability to create a conversation out of nothing, but she didn’t. If she went up to him and Jennifer right now, she’d point out, “Hey, the food is pretty good!” which is something she could say to anyone. Oh, whatever. She was going to get Eames back on her side. It shouldn’t be so hard—she had a two-year advantage of knowing him as opposed to that doll, who only knew him for about a month, most of it through a social network.
Ariadne excused herself and made her way to the open bar, requesting a glass of champagne. Oh, maybe she’ll get one for Eames too so she’d actually have an excuse to interrupt.
Meanwhile, Jennifer was already wasted from her first few flasks of champagne. Eames could smell it on her as their faces were inches away. “Whenever I get fucking drunk at a wedding, I always have to make out with a groomsman, even if I’m not in the bridal party.” Her normally high-pitched voice was lowered to a more seductive tone, masked by some slurs in her speech.
Goodness, she’s an easy one, the obvious thought crossed Eames’ mind. And easy was surprisingly a little tough for Eames right now. He should just kiss her and indulge in her a little bit, because more than likely, it’d only be for tonight after all. He should just give her what she wants, but excuse himself and leave first this time. He was accustomed to this. Even if the woman (or man) wasn’t that attractive, he’d take whatever he could get. Just go with it, Eames.
“Good to know!” he said out loud as the drunken bridesmaid fondled his shirt collar. “You really smell like strawberries right now.” That was the only genuinely kind thing that came to his mind.
“Oh my God! Just kiss me already, you pussy boy!” Jennifer suddenly looked manic as her touches became rougher.
And she called him ‘pussy boy.’ That must’ve been the fourth time someone has ever called him that. Yes, he kept track. “Okay, okay,” he timidly whispered. He slowly leaned into her as she did. Their lips collided neatly, but meaninglessly. Then she opened her mouth a little bit more to devour him, and aggressively put one leg over his lap. But instead of opening his mouth, he opened his eyes.
He opened his eyes and didn’t see her, but saw the clear outline and form of a tiny woman in a teacup green dress, standing to the side with two champagne glasses and facing him. Ariadne. As he regained all of his vision back, he saw the look on her face: cold caramel brown eyes and her light pink glossed mouth in a straight line as she shook her head at him. He tried to process the following image of her turning her back, walking away, and putting one champagne glass on the table where Yusuf was sitting alone and texting on his phone nearby. This making-out business was so routine for him, and it was the first time he had to ever consider someone else’s feelings. No wonder he felt slightly less comfortable. He knew it. He should’ve said no.
“Hey, what’s the matter?” Jennifer grabbed Eames’ cheek.
Then Eames got an idea that he should’ve thought of before kissing her. It would make a fine distraction as he tried to patch things up with Ariadne, he had hoped. “Jennifer,” he gently lifted her off his lap and back on the floor as they both stood up. “If you really have the need to kiss someone, I know someone who’s even better.”
He put his arm around the inebriated woman and walked with her to the nearby lonely table. “Jennifer, this is my friend, Yusuf,” Eames backhand slapped Yusuf on the arm, signaling him to put his phone away. “Yusuf, this is Jennifer.”
“Pleasure to meet you!” Yusuf grinned and put out his hand for Jennifer to shake, then shot Eames a confused look. Eames nodded toward the balcony entrance. He knew Ariadne had walked over there.
“See, you two are already getting along!” Eames gently patted both of them on the back. “No monkey business, you two.” He sprinted to the doors leading to the balcony, leaving the two to mingle.
Jennifer was still loosely shaking Yusuf’s hand when Eames was out of the picture. “You have really, really, really nice hair,” she wistfully said. Yusuf looked up in glee as she ran her free hand over his dark pouf.
The balcony was filled with people this time, chattering and laughing loudly and sharing cigars and cigarettes. Eames scanned the small boisterous groups to see if he could spot Ariadne amongst them, but he couldn’t. He walked further down, and still a little further down. Then he found her, in her own quiet spot next to the atrium of flowers. She looked visibly upset, head down and her chest heaving as she fiddled with the champagne glass sitting on another smaller atrium of flowers. He walked over to her, and she turned and saw him right away.
When he got as close to her as she wanted him to be, she stopped fiddling with her champagne glass and splashed all its liquid bubbly contents onto his morose-at-the-moment, but still generally smug mug.
“Well. Hello to you too, dear.” He said quietly as he let the champagne soak all over his gelled hair, face, bowtie, and shirt. “I deserved that, didn’t I?”
Ariadne rolled her eyes, scoffed, and inched closer to him. “Ha ha, did you think you were undeserving?” She raised her voice even higher now. “Did you think you could just go around and make out with some girl you’ve known for a few days and—
She had moved in too close to him. He had her in his arms, and now he was on her lips, intoxicating her with the fullness and gentleness of them and with the champagne taste of them. It was sweet. It was very surprising. And it was also very rude. She took the clutch in her hand and took it to the back of his head, stopping him from this interruption.
“Ow! What the bloody hell was that for?” Eames pulled away and rubbed a hand on the pained area.
“I wasn’t finished, jackass.” She paused and tried to recall what she was going to say, but the words wouldn’t come. Instead, she closed her eyes and gravitated toward him again, allowing him to hold her and give her more kisses. She put her hands to his wet shoulders, trying to grab a hold of herself. She wanted more—oh, how she wanted more. But an overwhelmed feeling passed her and hit her like a train she didn’t see coming. She slowly pulled away and looked down at their feet, and felt tears welling up in her eyes.
“Why are we doing this, Eames?” The forger could hear in her voice that she was crying, and put an arm around her and walked with her to the lighted area of the balcony. All but a few people scattered on the other side remained, but it still felt like they were the only ones there. They turned around to face the reception through the glass, but only looked down and each other.
“She meant nothing to me, Ariadne. I only did it because I don’t know how to love someone.” He snuck a glance at her. “I don’t know how to love you.”
She looked up at him at the sound of those words. Now all train of thought had surely slipped out of her. But she wanted to know what else was on his mind, and he went on without her even saying it.
“I’m one stupid mess after another. I’ll always be a big British bastard, and you’re just going to have to accept that. But I think you need me like I need you in more ways than either of us could’ve ever imagined. After tonight, our Arthur isn’t coming back with us to Paris. Face it,” Eames gently cradled Ariadne’s cheek. “We won’t be able to stand losing each other. Not after all that we’ve been through these past two years and especially in these last six months. We can either go back to where we started, beating on each other’s arses. Or we can go forward, starting from tonight.”
Ariadne thought that there was no other way but forward. She felt the tears come back again as she rested her head on Eames’ chest. “You will always be a bastard,” she let out a small laugh in between her crying. A bastard that could break her heart and fix it again within minutes, she wanted to add. “At least now I know I can still love you for it.” She looked up at him and nodded her head. “I want this,” she said quietly.
Eames smiled and held her even tighter. If he could spend the rest of the night with just them standing like this on the balcony, he would be happier than he ever was than in any other moment of this wedding.
“I’m sorry about the champagne.” Ariadne had straightened up, but still stayed close to Eames.
“Oh, it’ll dry off.” He straightened his shirt before rubbing the spot where Ariadne had hit him on the head. “I’m glad to see you practiced tossing things but bloody hell, this bump you caused on the back of my head might need some attention.”
Ariadne laughed. “I can get some ice from inside in a bit. Hey, is Jennifer going to be okay?”
Eames looked through the window and saw her and Yusuf from a decent distance, the woman splayed across his lap and propped up as they exchanged sloppy kisses. “She’s definitely not heartbroken at all,” he nudged Ariadne and pointed at the window. They burst into fits of amused laughter and surprisingly, Yusuf saw them and raised a thumbs-up at them, which Eames returned. Then they saw the reflection of someone else about to walk through the doors to the balcony, someone who was clearly disheveled in their half-unbuttoned shirt and unraveled bow tie around their neck yet with a full glass of champagne in their hand.
“Hey infants, Saito bought us a vacation house in Paris and you all are invited to the housewarming party!” Arthur joyfully shouted. His eyes went straight to little Ariadne looking quite comfortable in Eames’ arms as they returned innocent looks and waves. “What is this, oh my God,” Arthur stumbled a little bit backwards, spilling a little of champagne on the bricked floor before he turned around back into the party. “Where’s my wife? She’s gotta see this!” He suddenly sounded like an overjoyed nerd who just watched the latest viral video on the Web.
“We were right about the house,” Eames said triumphantly. “Arthur looks quite cute when he lets loose, doesn’t he?”
Ariadne took her head off his chest but not her hands. “Yeah…but you’re cuter even when you’ve got that champagne all over you.”
“I agree too.” Eames said as Ariadne gave him a joking, gentle push. “I need to give that stick in the mud a proper send-off! ‘Faithfully.’ Journey. What do you think?”
Ariadne grabbed Eames’ hand and intertwined her fingers with his. “As long as we can do a Viennese waltz to it,” she said.
He gave her hand a kiss before leading them back inside the reception, and looked into her caramel brown eyes that had melted into warm ones again. “Darling, the plan is absolutely perfect.”