plazmah: Abstract circle and square with "plazmah" underneath (inception: dom/mal)
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Title: Ask Me No Favours, I'll Tell You No Lies
Author: [livejournal.com profile] plazmah
Rating: PG
Fandom: Inception
Pairing: none
Summary: Twenty-four years old and Arthur's life is already ruined. He's about to take a drastic course of action when a strange man comes to him with an offer.
Notes: Unbetaed, written for [livejournal.com profile] inception_kink again. GREATEST COMM EVER, Y/Y? Pre-movie, the prompt was; "How Cobb Meets Arthur Fic. Arthur is suicidal for whatever reason, but Cobb ~recognizes his brilliance~ and recruits him with the offer of a way to kill himself without having to actually kill himself." Booyah.

---------------

Arthur somehow gets it in his mind that this is the way it works, that ambition and self-destruction go hand in hand; you can't be the driven perfectionist without a little release. And the tighter the coil, the faster it snaps when the tension gets too much.

But the consequences, oh he never saw them coming, thought he always had things under control. Youngest person ever to fly through to the highest ranks of the FBI, hardest-working motherfucker you'd ever seen (cause nothing comes without effort, right?), but the bigger they are the harder they fall and it wasn't even a year later when it all caught up to him, living his life like he was trying to implode.

Because in the end, despite all the work he did, despite the pats on the back and accolades... something was off. Something was wrong. It was all too easy. Arthur needed a challenge, had thought that playing it fast and loose with drugs and booze and gambling on the side would up the ante and give him the rush he needed. Instead, it just blew up in his face. So here he was, twenty-four years old with nothing to show to his name, raggedly tired of long days and dark nights holed up in one bar or another, wondering if it would just be best to blow his brains out and be done with the miserable existence he had chalked out for himself.

His current dive of choice is the picture of desperation, peeling paint and flickering lights, and Arthur exhales slowly, like his breath is his final will and testament. It's over, there's nothing left for him here in this world. Might as well move on while he's got the nerve.

Stumbling outdoors into the chilly winter air, Arthur finds an empty alley and pulls the revolver from his coat pocket, stares at the shiny metal-

A door bangs open and Arthur can hear someone whistling, an old song that tickles at Arthur's memories. He turns towards the sound and sees a blond-haired man walking up the alley, a look of complete ease on his face.

"You thinking of doing what I think you're thinking of doing?" The man asks, gesturing to the gun in Arthur's hand. Arthur doesn't respond, his mind still stuck on figuring out what song the man was whistling.

"That's a nice gun you've got." The other man continues, walking ever closer until Arthur sees that the man is around his age. "What is that, a Colt Anaconda? Looks like a .44 too-"

Arthur finally finds his voice. "Listen buddy, I don't want to hear your shtick about how I need to give you the gun because I've got so much to live for and all that fucking bullshit. I know what I'm doing." Arthur looks back down at the gun in his hand and thinks about all the things he's done wrong in his lifetime. "I know what I'm doing."

"And I don't doubt it." The man responds, much to Arthur's surprise.

"You're not going to stop me?"

"No, I'm not. If you want to kill yourself, kill yourself. In fact, if you want to try it a couple hundred times, be my guest."

Arthur frowns, wondering if the alcohol has finally gone to his head. Or maybe the man standing in front of him is a raving lunatic. "Uh, you can't kill yourself more than once."

The man's smile is a mixture of pride and secrets; something about it catches Arthur's attention, reminds him of something he hasn't felt for a very long time, the promise of something more. "If you come with me, Arthur, I'll give you the chance to use that revolver in exactly the way you planned. But then, you work for me."

"Doing what?" Arthur asks, but in his mind he's already agreed.

Cobb tells him. And Arthur doesn't ask how he already knew his name. That story comes later.

- end -
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