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Title Early Stages of Development – Part One
Author: celestineangel
Fandom: Inception
Character(s)/Pairing: Arthur/Eames plus the rest of the team.
Rating: R just in case.
Word Count: 2,165
Summary: Eames comes home to an interesting discovery….
Warnings: Weirdness? XD
Disclaimer: Not my sandbox. I'm just moving sand around.
Author's Notes: Written for aimlesstravels, who requested de-aging fic! BB, you'll want to reread, because some things have changed since you read the first draft. ;) It might be a little cracky, but you all know I'll squeeze angst in where ever I can. XD And, look, guys, we all know I suck at titles.

Early Stages of Development – Part One

As far as Eames is concerned, Arthur's apartment is a magical place where any number of wonders may occur.

(This is, of course, for various values of "Arthur's apartment," considering the location of said apartment changes almost as frequently as Eames' residences.)

For example, Arthur's apartment is where they shared their first kiss, and first slept together.

(In this instance, "Arthur's apartment" actually means "Arthur's hotel room," but the former is much more romantic while the latter is simply trashy.)

Arthur's apartment is also where Eames lives during those times he happens to be in Los Angeles, so he supposes it's technically their apartment.

(But he prefers to think of it as "Arthur's apartment" because it's a little less "old married couple.")

It is where their cat lives, and cats in and of themselves are magical beings made of fluff and cuddles.

(Hairballs, however, are less magical. But then, that's why it's Arthur's apartment. Then they're Arthur's responsibility to clean.)

It is where the most of the plans for their wedding have taken place so far, and where they have emphatically agreed not to allow Eames' mother to do something egregiously ridiculous such as hire aerialist bartenders.

(This is not an exaggeration. He has seen this before, and refuses to allow it to happen at his wedding.)

In Arthur's apartment, they have had their highest highs and lowest lows; Eames has revealed secrets and been abandoned. He has whispered those three little words in the dark while Arthur slept, and said them aloud while his heart pounded far too fast to be healthy. In this place, Arthur said them back, almost too late.

(It's also where Eames almost bled out from a gunshot wound once, but in his mind that happened elsewhere and does not sully the otherwise happy memories of his favorite place.)

For all of the magical happenings that have occurred here, however, there are a few things he never expected to see.

(A crying baby definitely tops the list.)


"Where is Arthur?" Cobb stares at the baby, expression open but shocked blank.

Eames hates to be the one to drop this bomb, but there's no one else, so he takes a photograph from his pocket to hand to the former extractor. It's a very old photo, printed on photograph paper from an email. "Don't know how or what it means, but I think that is Arthur."

The truly horrifying thing about all this is that he's quite certain—drawing upon his severely limited experience with babies, and he had hoped to keep it that way—the baby he discovered on the couch in Arthur's apartment only a few hours ago was a newborn. The same baby, now perched in James' old high chair, is clearly several months old.

"What do you mean it is Arthur? That's impossible."

"Just like sharing dreams and extracting secrets from someone's subconscious is impossible, I suppose."

"This is different. This… this is science fiction different."

Eames sighs and rolls his eyes heavenward at the man's stubbornness. "Twenty years ago people said the same thing about the PASIV device and Somnacin and everything that is normal for us."

"You do realize we're not normal."

"Neither is this, so we're covered and back to this being Arthur."

Cobb stares at the dark-haired baby gabbling to himself as he slings food around. "This is impossible."

Eames rolls is his eyes again as he grabs his jacket to pull over his shoulders. "There's very little in the world that's actually impossible. Extremely bloody improbable, maybe, but not impossible."

Cobb scowls at him, but then seems to notice Eames is getting ready to leave. "Wait, where the hell do you think you're going? And you're taking him with you, right?"

"Absolutely not, mate." Eames grins. "You have all the daddy experience, and besides, where I'm going is no place for a baby."

"Were are you going, again?"

"To figure out what's happened to Arthur in time for the wedding. Can't marry a baby, Cobb. I'm pretty sure that'd be illegal."

"That's never stopped you before," the former extractor mutters.

"Different level of illegal." He pauses to watch baby Arthur for a few more seconds, and his chest gives an involuntary heave. God, he missed Arthur already. "Take care of him, or I'll shoot you in the face."

"Sounds more intimidating coming from Arthur." Cobb sighs. "You know I will."

"Oh, and by the look on his face, you might have to change a diaper soon."

Eames leaves Cobb alone with baby Arthur then, laughing himself sick at the idea of Cobb having to change his point man's diapers. No one ever doubts Eames has a cruel streak in him that manifests tenfold against his friends. Well, that's what friends are for, right? To forgive you for being an insufferable ass.


Not very surprisingly, the first place Eames finds a lead is simply in talking to their (Arthur's) next door neighbors.

Arthur isn't a very sociable man, something the neighbors know all too well. They've given up trying to invite him to parties, or over for a get-to-know-you dinner, or even just trying to talk to him in the afternoons when he goes to the mailbox. In fact, Eames in certain at least two of them are terrified of Arthur even though he knows Arthur would never have threatened any of the neighbors; he has to live next to them, after all. Maybe the idiots have simply seen too many suburban horror movies.

All of this, however, apparently hasn't stopped them from being nosy little buggers and paying attention to what happens at the little house on the corner. Any other situation and Eames might be angry, but in this instance it's only going to help him.

"There was a horrible racket last night," says one little old lady, the very picture of a retired suburban woman. "I saw 1902 come home yesterday around six in the evening." 1902 is what the neighbors call Arthur, since they don't know his name. It's the house number. "He's usually so quiet, you know, but last night, oh, around nine, I suppose, started the most god-awful noise. Sounded like someone was being killed, though they didn't go down without a fight."

Of course, Arthur would never go without a fight. Eames allows only the smallest of frowns to show, rather than the entirety of his worry. "That bad?"

"I called the police," she says with a shrug. "They didn't show up for thirty minutes and by then all the noise had stopped. I haven't seen 1902 since." Now her face wavers into something like concern as she glances down the street. "Do you think something happened to him?"

"I hope not," is all he can say. "That's all you saw?"

"Well," she drags the word out, the type of thing a person does when they don't know if what they have to say is relevant. "Someone did come to talk to him around six thirty. They stood outside for a good ten, fifteen minutes talking."

"At the door, then?" Eames is casual, hands in his pockets, playing the part of a boyfriend acting far too casual not to be interested. "They didn't go inside?"

"No," the lady says with a laugh. She shakes her head, too. "The visitor being military, and all."

"Military?" Eames can't help the slight change in pitch of his voice, though he's able to keep his stance casual.

"Oh yes, absolutely. Can't mistake the uniform. My husband was military, you know, you never quite get away from it." She shrugs, crossing her arms as she sends a glance down the street. "He was dressed in Greens, so it could have been official business, I suppose, though no one's ever said if 1902 is military. I've certainly never seen him in the uniform of any branch that I know of, only those suits. Though," she interrupts herself with a wicked grin, "can't say I mind the suits."

Eames laughs, because he can't help himself. She may be retired, but she's not dead. "Can't say I mind the suits either, Mrs. Zeigler."

"Is he military?" she asks, her eyes canny like the eyes of all career gossips. "1902, I mean."

"Your guess is as good as mine," he replies, and it's true enough. He suspects Arthur may be former military, but it's merely one of many things they don't talk about. "Have a good day, Mrs. Zeigler."

He walks off to her saying, "I always liked the British, too."


At the end of the week, Eames ends up back on Cobb's doorstep. It isn't that he doesn't have skills, he does, but he's no point man and his research methods have never had to be as in-depth as Arthur's. So he goes, hoping Cobb may be able to help him. If not, he'll have to turn to another point man in the business, try to gain their help without revealing why he needs it or this specific information, and then might possibly have to kill the poor bloke when it's all over.

Not to mention, Arthur will be insanely furious at the idea of Eames using any point man other than himself. The innuendo itself is enough to make Eames fear what will happen when Arthur finds out. If Arthur finds out.

"Thank God," says Cobb when he answers the door. "You have to see this."

Ariadne is there, sitting at the kitchen table with Phillipa and James, teaching them how to draw mazes. Yusuf is there as well, but he's not paying any attention whatsoever to the older children. His eyes are all for the toddler.

The toddler.

"Bloody hell."

"No fucking kidding." Cobb glances as his children to make sure they didn't hear him. "He's talking, too."

"NO!" Arthur screams at Yusuf, right on cue, as the chemist reaches for the ball in his hand.

Eames sits on the couch, hard, staring. "It's only been a week. He looks—"

"A year old, maybe fourteen months. That's around the same ages Phillipa and James started walking and talking." Cobb leaves him a moment, then comes back with two mugs of coffee, one of which he hands to Eames. "Where've you been?"

"Researching. Found out Arthur had a visit from the good old U.S. Military the evening before I found baby Arthur, and a couple of hours later the neighbors heard a struggle in his house."

Cobb frowns, watching Arthur toddle around and tug on Ariadne's pants legs. "Arthur hasn't had contact with the military in years."

"That you know of," Eames says, continuing before Cobb can interrupt, "but Arthur doesn't tell me everything, and I'm boffing him every chance I get." He grins at Cobb, who throws him a withering glance. "Unless there's something you're not telling me, in which case, I may be forced to be offended."

Cobb is the one who looks offended, and his voice is almost a whine. "I've been his friend longer than you've been his lover."

Eames rolls his eyes. It's probably best just to let Cobb have this one, because he has no desire to see the pathetic depths the man can sink to just to prove whose relationship dick is bigger. "Either way, mate, apparently he did have contact with the military and didn't tell either of us."

"Apparently, at least once."

"According to the lady I spoke to, the solider wore 'Greens.' Did some research, narrowed it down to the Marines."

Cobb grunts. "Makes sense. Arthur was a Marine."

"Was he?" Well, well, Arthur does keep his secrets well, doesn't he? Not that Eames doesn't have direct experience with Arthur and secrets. "Damn, I wish I could've seen him in the uniform, you know, the Dress Blues."

"Just… stop there."

"NO!" shrieks Arthur again from the kitchen. Apparently, he doesn't want the cup Ariadne holds out to him.

"Does he know any other words?"

"'Ball'," Cobb sighs. "'Cup.' Ariadne is 'mama' for right now."

"Guess that makes you 'dada'."

"No, actually, he hasn't said 'dada' or 'daddy' yet."

The toddler in question finally takes the cup from Ariadne and heads their way. Babies have all always looked the same to Eames, but there's no denying that Arthur is different. Where another toddler would be a blur of chubby cheeks and limbs and nondescript hair and eyes, Eames knows Arthur well enough to see this version of him as a complete person with Arthur's eyes and mouth, and the potential to grow into his long, lean features.

Baby Arthur also has the range of hearing as adult Arthur, and makes it apparent when he approaches Eames and puts the hand not holding his cup on Eames' knee. "Dada." Serious dark eyes look up at him, his hand slaps Eames' knee, and he repeats, stubbornly, "Dada."

Eames stares at the boy. Cobb stares at Eames. He's quite certain Ariadne just snorted into her coffee.

"Oh," he says faintly, "this is rather awkward."

To be continued….


( 29 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 5th, 2010 10:36 pm (UTC)
Even better put together than the first time 'round, bb. :D
And oh - a fight? Hmmmmm...interesting!!
Arthur, who did you piss off this time? Tsk tsk.
Also - Dada. That will NEVER get old.
Love it!! *hugs*
Oct. 5th, 2010 10:43 pm (UTC)
:D epistolic helped me lots.

>:D You know Arthur would never, ever go quietly.

XD XD Awkwardness abounds! XD

::hughug:: :D
Oct. 5th, 2010 10:44 pm (UTC)

Oct. 5th, 2010 10:46 pm (UTC)
Oct. 5th, 2010 10:55 pm (UTC)
Oct. 5th, 2010 10:59 pm (UTC)
Thanks! :)
Oct. 6th, 2010 12:17 am (UTC)

♥ ♥ ♥
Oct. 6th, 2010 12:38 am (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
Oct. 6th, 2010 01:45 am (UTC)
And just look at what he grows into... ::oogles icon::

Thanks for reading! :D
Oct. 6th, 2010 02:01 am (UTC)
awww ♥ I love this!
Oct. 6th, 2010 02:04 am (UTC)
Thank you! :D
Oct. 6th, 2010 04:47 am (UTC)
HAHAHA....(to infinity). There will be no more sexing. HAHAHAH.....
Oct. 6th, 2010 11:19 am (UTC)
Not for a looooong while, anyway. XD Thanks for reading!
Oct. 6th, 2010 09:37 am (UTC)
I saw this fic earlier this morning (my morning) and I was going to comment - but then it was gone, gone, and I thought, holy crap did I dream you writing this story?!~

apparently not XDXD

So, what I wanted to say earlier was, hahahahaha and Eames is in a lot of trouble and I am QUITE looking forward to watching Arthur grow up in fast-forward mode and this is bloody hilarious moar plz?
Oct. 6th, 2010 11:21 am (UTC)
No, you didn't dream it and you're not crazy. What happened was I posted it before making the changes I wanted to make, realized I hadn't changed it, so deleted it, made the changes, and re-posted. :D But apparently not fast enough.

^________________^ I don't know how hilarious the rest of it will be but, okay! XD
Oct. 6th, 2010 10:43 am (UTC)
Eeeee baby Arthur eeeee

Oct. 6th, 2010 11:22 am (UTC)
XD Yay, incoherency and an "awesome" icon FTW! Thanks for reading!
Oct. 6th, 2010 10:58 pm (UTC)

I KNEW EAMES WOULD BE DADA. FROM THE START. Just because it makes it so wonderfully awkward. :D

This is great! Can't wait for part two! I need kid!Arthur like BURNING!
Oct. 7th, 2010 01:39 am (UTC)

Thanks for reading!
Oct. 7th, 2010 02:37 am (UTC)
asfhkl what the heck lol when you wrote de-aging i was expecting like a teenager or a adorable little kid not a baby! (not that i'm complaining! baby arthur is adorable too!)

honestly eames has such bad research abilitys! lol! and arthur! eames cant be your dada!! YOU CANT MARRY HIM IF HE IS!!!
Oct. 7th, 2010 10:49 am (UTC)
XD Well don't worry, you'll get both of those in future parts. ^_________^ Hehe.

Eames would like you to know that he does NOT have "bad" research abilities, only his research abilities are not up to Arthur's standards and really, who can have abilities up to Arthur's standards, hmm? ;)
Oct. 7th, 2010 11:51 pm (UTC)
XDDD Oh god. What is thiisssss.
This is fantastic, that's what this is.
Ffffffffjesus. I lawled. NGL.
Oct. 7th, 2010 11:54 pm (UTC)
XD Thank you, glad to be of service! ;)
Oct. 8th, 2010 11:39 am (UTC)
omg I seriously can't stop laughing!!!!!!!!!!!! * falls of the bed, hugs tummy* XDDDDDDDD
Oct. 8th, 2010 12:43 pm (UTC)
XD I'm glad I can make people laugh as well as cry! XD (Though there might be some crying later on, too.... )
Oct. 19th, 2010 03:03 am (UTC)
Oh, gosh. This was FUN. I especially love the byplay between Eames and Cobb.

"You do realize we're not normal."

"Neither is this, so we're covered and back to this being Arthur."

And the line about whose relationship dick is bigger, akjsdh I almost got edamame up my nose. Would love to get some more with three year old Arthur echoing everything Eames says, six year old Arthur asking why on a continuing loop, and the like. You set this up for such possibility!
Oct. 19th, 2010 05:18 am (UTC)
:D Glad you enjoyed. (I would have more to say but I am exhausted, good night!)
Jan. 5th, 2011 01:30 am (UTC)
Part 2 please *_*
Jan. 5th, 2011 02:55 pm (UTC)
^_^ Eventually.... ^_^*

Sorry I can't promise more than that at the moment.

Thanks for commenting, though!
( 29 comments — Leave a comment )


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