The phone rings.
It’s unusual for several reasons: the people who have this number know better and reach him by mail, and the people who would ring anyway –or text– are in the next room over.
The number is hidden, of course. If anything could be easy for once, but no. He picks up.
“<You really didn’t change much.>”
“I’m sorry, who is that?”
“<I’m hurt, Replacement. Unless you prefer the alias you go by these days. You’re a hard man to track, Tim.>”
He frowns, because he doesn’t have the time to play games and they have a job and he’s busy thank you very much- Replacement.Tim.
“Who is that?” He stresses the words a little.
“<I must say I’m impressed, seeing how and where you went. Not something the family back home would be too impressed with, but not many outlets for all of your –our– training around those places these days.>”
“Jason-” Tim breathes, and he checks his totem over and over again, because this doesn’t happen, this is ten years without a trace, without a world and-
“<Oh but he does remember me!>” Jason croons, on the other side of the conversation, probably on the other side of the world.
The dice rolls and rolls and rolls and this is reality.
“I don’t suppose I should ask you where you are.”
“<No, unless you want me to lie.>” And Tim can hear the grin and suddenly he knows why he can’t stand Eames half of the time-
“What do you want?” It’s more tired than it should be and where is his damn composure, it shouldn’t be this easy to rattle him –if by easy you mean a ghost from another life and another universe suddenly popping back in.
“<What was that? I’m hurt, I can’t check on my little brother once in ten years?>”
“Cut the crap Jason, you never saw me as your brother.” Even if I did saw you as mine, but Tim –Not-Tim– is already going to need. Laundry. And a clean suit. And a bar and several drinks and a week on his own and not being here at Dom’s and his own PASIV and the dream of an imaginary city and. No need to pile it up.
The man in the phone used to belong to another person.
“<Right to the point, I like that. I’ll see you around, Tiny Tim.>”
He goes for closing his phone, but Jason manages to send one last jibe: “<You look hot in a suit.>”
The bastard terminates the call.
He lays his head on the paperwork he was in the process of finishing, tries to put things back in place. In their places. Neat and ordered and that’s how it worked, how it works–
The door opens.
“Arthur?” It’s Dom, and Ti-Arthur followed him across the world. Arthur. Arthur and Dom didn’t even know there was someone else, didn’t even suspect–
Arthur tosses him the phone. “What’s the last number that dialed me?”
Dom squints a bit at him then glances down at the phone. “Unknown number.”
It’s really reality then.
He –Arthur– will deal with it after the job is done.