"Are you sure about this Arthur?"
Arthur stared at Dom, then the PASIV in his hands. "Yeah...yeah I'm sure."
Dom nodded. "Okay. Am...am I going to see you again?"
Arthur swallowed thickly, heart in his throat. Dom had been his partner in crime for so long, they had done everything together from day one with the dream-sharing. They were going to help change the world, help the people who had nothing. Bring them up from the bottom. Bring them up the way Dom had brought him up. The way Dom had offered him escape from his life on the streets.
"No." The word was quiet, less than a whisper. "I'm sorry."
"It's your choice," Dom said. "And I understand completely." He glanced behind him, out into the backyard where his children were playing, throwing fistfuls of grass at each other. "This business...it's not meant for people who have something to live for."
Arthur began to back down the hallway, eyes focused on Dom's face. "Thank you. For everything."
Dom gave him a smile, setting the PASIV on the counter. "I'll give it to someone who will use it wisely. I promise."
Arthur shook his head slowly. "There's no one in the world that can use it wisely, Dom. You know that. Destroy it. One less PASIV out in the world, the better. I...good bye."
Dom nodded. "Goodbye, Arthur."
Arthur turned around, opening the door and stepping out onto the porch. "That's not my name. Not anymore."
The door slammed shut behind him.
"I need you to do something for me," Arthur said, leaning against the payphone stand.
"Just one. You said you owed us all one, right?" Arthur had never used Saito's favor, clinging to it just in case. Just in case he got in a tight spot he couldn't work himself out of. It had never happened before, but he knew he could only go so long before he had to disappear. Saito...he could do that.
"True. What do you need?"
"I need a new occupation, new house, new city. I want to work as a cop," Arthur said.
Saito chuckled. "A cop? Surely, one such as yourself is meant for greater."
"Gotta throw in the towel sometime, right? I don't know any cops, tried not to work with them often. I need an in."
"You are wasting your favor on something so small? So trivial? You are the Point Man are you not? Surely you could get yourself a job there just fine," Saito asked.
"I'm not going to tell you why, Saito, just tell me if you can do it or not," Arthur hissed into the phone, fist clenching tight. "I need an escape. And I need for you to never, ever, tell anyone what became of me."
"I am good at keeping secrets, you know this. My mind is trained now, by you and Dom. No one will know. But I'll need a name to tell my contacts. What will you be going by?"
"I don't know yet," Arthur said. "I'll call you, three hours from now. I'll have a name then, and the appropriate history to back me up. All your contact has to do is pretend to know who I am, be a reference, get me the job. I don't care where at. Easy enough."
"I still do not see why you would waste your favor on something so insignificant, but if you insist. I will expect a call in three hours. If I do not receive it, I will do nothing and you will never be able to redeem the favor."
"I understand. Three hours."
Hacking into the databases of the American government was easy for someone like Arthur. It was what he spent his whole life doing after all, and hacking in and changing his name and history, wiping his criminal record...it was all painfully easy.
He tried to shove thoughts of the reality of what he was doing out of his mind. He was starting over. Erasing everything. It would be gone in the span of a few minutes. All he had was a few more keystrokes and Arthur Tidwell never existed. Nor any of his aliases.
Swallowing one last time, he hit the final keystroke. It was gone. He pushed away from his desk, sliding his chair across the wood floor of his apartment to sit before the paper shredder. He only had a few more things; credit cards, birth certificates. The final step.
With a delicate hand, he opened the folder containing all the documents. Credit cards first. They were gone in less than a second, the blades grinding them to dust. One by one, seven birth certificates followed suit. All that was left was the one that held his true name. The true person behind all the masks he had ever worn.
He ran his fingers over the name, tracing the ink. Taking a deep breath, he placed it into the shredder, watching as it slid away from him. Later he would burn the contents so that they were gone completely, no chance of being discovered, but for now, he had to construct a new identity.
Back to the computer. Constructing a new identity had never been hard. Despite what Eames believed, Arthur was creative enough to make a new identity for himself. He knew just the perfect balance between plausible and improbably. He wasn't the stick in the mud that Eames believed he was.
But this was a remaking of everything he had ever created. Bits and pieces taken from all the identities, all the masks he had donned over the years. Copied and pasted into the patchwork life of an orphan. A boy who's parents had died, one by car, the other by gun. A boy who had grown up wearing the mask of a smile.
Bits of the truth of his life before dream-sharing. Bits of half truths and lies from the life after. All he needed now was a name. Sighing, he mentally went through all the names of his false identities. Jacob. Caleb. Matt. John. Tom. Joseph. Blake. Robin. He picked three, typed them in.
First, Middle, Last.
Robin, John, Blake.