The only time Bane feels comfort from the agonizing pain constantly burning throughout his body is when the doctor replaces the chemical drenched rag and as he holds it to his face and breathes in the fumes he slowly falls asleep.
Then he dreams of Arthur. He dreams of his voice, his face, everything detail he can remember and then he dreams about ‘them.’
The bodies he created to please Arthur.
He killed Ariadne first. She was young and innocent; it pained him so much to do it. But for Arthur he’d do anything. He tried to be kind, made sure it was quick. The blade of his knife looked beautiful slicing open her lovely pale skin.
He stood there after and watched as her blood stained her lips and thought about how those same lips had kissed Arthur and then he didn’t feel guilty anymore.
Then after Ariadne there was Dom, Phillipa and James. After inception when Dom was able to safely return to his children they stayed in their grandparent’s home in France.
Bane dreams often of the way Arthurs face would light up with joy whenever someone spoke about the children and every time it made his heart clench with joy and envy. An envy that, when he was alone at night, would make his skin burn with anger because he knew that he’d never, not once, made Arthur smile like that. It tore him apart every time.
They were children after all so he waited till they were sleeping and gently took the pillows from under their heads and covered their faces until they stopped breathing. He’d never thought of himself as cruel man, but even he couldn’t deny the small joy he felt when James gave his final kick.
When he left the children’s room he didn’t make a sound as he moved through the house. Dom hadn’t heard a thing as he walked up behind him in the lounge room.
Bane had thought to himself in that moment that Dom had allowed himself to soft and weak now that he wasn’t on the run from an international warrant.
Every look Arthur had given him, that he held a little too long, always felt like a slow knife in his heart every time he was forced to witness it.
All the times Arthurs hand would rest gently on Cobbs shoulder as they went over blueprints and reports would make clench his fists at his side as he tried to stay still and quiet, anything to stop him from marching over and ripping Arthur away.
He’d made sure Dom felt it.
When Bane wrapped his hands around his throat as Dom dozed off in his chair he made sure it was slow and agonizing just like he’d felt every time he watched Dom and Arthur from the background.
He’d known Arthur was working a job in the tropical country of Santa Prisca so he’d left France immediately to announce the news that there was no longer anyone who could keep them apart.
If he’d known what was going to happen when he arrived he would have taken the stewardesses offer of the glass of scotch.
“Eames.” Arthurs tone was clipped and to the point.
“A little birdy told me you’re in Santa Prisca. Right around the corner apparently.”
“And by a little birdy you mean Ariadne?”
Eames held his breath as thoughts of her blood passing through his fingers captivated his mind.
“I don’t mean to be rude but I’m in the middle of something at the moment, so what do you want?”
“Well like I said I’m in the neighbourhood and I thought we could catch up love.”
“I’m working so I don’t really have the time. But if you pick up food then I guess I can spare an hour.”
“Brilliant. I’ll be there in twenty.”
He hears Arthur laugh lightly on the other end. The sound was captivating to Eames. “And where about in Santa Prisca are you going to find take out?”
“Oh ye of little faith. I shall think of something. Bye Darling.”
When he arrived at the abandoned and derelict hotel that Arthurs new ‘team’ had set up in he could hardly contain his excitement at the prospect of all he could do with Arthur now.
Eames was unaware of who the teams mark was or what the job entailed but he could immediately tell it was taking a lot out of Arthur.
His shoulders were taught under is tailored waistcoat has he leaned over the desk housing his laptop. It looked as though his fingers were moving a mile a minute across the keys as he typed. His left hand would occasionally come up and run through his hair and tug at it when he reached the nape of his neck.
It was about ten minutes before Arthur realised he was not the only person in the room.
“Hello, Mr Eames. I see you managed to find food for us then?” Arthur spoke over his shoulder.
“For you of course.” Eames sat the bagged food he got from his own hotel on the desk Arthur was working at.
“So to what do I owe the pleasure of this visit?”
Eames sat back into one of the deck chairs littered around the room.
“To give you the good news.”
Arthur sat across from him with a questioning look across his face.
“What good news?”
“They’ve been keeping us apart. All of them, and I couldn’t let them anymore.”
“What are you talking about?” Arthurs words were slow, as if speaking to a small child.
“Ariadne, Dom, and the kids they were keeping you from me!” The chair Eames was sitting on flung backwards at his sudden movement.
To his credit Arthur remind still at the outburst.
“Eames, what have you done to them? Have you hurt them? Have you hurt Phillipa and James?”
“They didn’t suffer. I made sure James and Phillipa didn’t feel a thing. They didn’t even wake.”
“It was quick. She never cried out.” The way Eames held Arthurs gaze made the younger man squirm back into to chair.
Arthur was silent for a moment the extent of the situation settling in his mind. He reached into his pocket and pulled out his totem, a loaded dice, and rolled it out on the ground beside him. It lands on a six and Arthur knows that it is all real.
“… and Dom.” Arthurs voice was barely above a whisper as he finally looked away.
“He felt it. I made sure of it.”
“Jesus. Fuck. Why would…. Why Eames?!”
Eames strode across to Arthur and leaned down, one of his arms on each side of Arthurs body locking him down against the chair. His fingers griped tightly around the arm rests of the chair.
“They were keeping you from me. I couldn’t let them. I did this to make you happy, why aren’t you happy?”
“You… you… killed them? You killed them for me?”
A bright smile spread across Eames face and he leaned further down into Arthurs space.
“Yes, Darling, I did. For you. Now we can leave here and we can be together and no one will come between us again.”
“Us?” Arthurs voice is low and shaky.
“You and me. We can be together now just like we always wanted.”
“There is no you and me and there never will be.” Arthur leaned up, right up to Eames face his tone cold and controlled.
Files were sent flying to the floor, the food crashed against the wall as Eames let his anger out on the objects around him.
“After everything I’ve done for you! After everything I’ve given for you!”
“You killed them! Why would you think I’d want that? Why would I want you?”
Arthur was up from the chair standing with his back to the door, his chest heaving as he screamed his words.
“What?” Eames could feel his heart break as Arthur had denied their love.
“You killed people Eames. People you were supposed to care about…”
“I care about you more.” Eames stated as though it were the most obvious thing in the world which, to him, it was.
“Don’t. Do not interrupt me. Just don’t. You killed Eames. Innocent people and you killed them. You murdered in my name. And for what? Why?”
Eames went to speak up again to remind Arthur once more that it was for them so they could be happy. But Arthur just raised a shaking hand and silenced him with the gesture.
“You say it was for us. But how could it be. We only have a… a professional relationship at the very best. What us is there?”
Arthur hadn’t known Eames had moved until he found himself pinned against the wall, a strong arm pressed against his throat holding him place.
“I know you feel the same way I do Arthur. I’ve always known. That’s why I’ve never needed you to say it. But it’s alright now, love. Nobody can or will come between us again. I won’t let them. I love you darling.”
His large, warm hand stroked Arthurs hair as he spoke.
“Eames you’re hurting me.”
“No I’m not. I’d never hurt you. I’m going to keep you safe I promise. I will never stop trying to keep you safe, love. Never.”
Arthur’s heart had clenched in fear at the terrifying promise of the one word.
Both fell silent at the sound of people outside the room. The pressure against Arthurs throat tightened and his breathing became laboured.
“Who. Is. That?” Eames ground out everyone word right against Arthurs ear.
The hand stroking Arthurs hand had then moved to the grip his hair tightly pulling his head back forcing him to look Eames in the eyes.
“Who is that?”
“I don’t know. I swear I have no idea Eames.”
The local law enforcement forced its way into the room and immediately set out to pacifying Eames. It had taken five of the men to finally get him down. He’d fought them all in an effort to protect what was his. Just like he’d promised.
The last moment he’d seen Arthur, he was pushing himself way from the men holding Eames down and moving towards the door.
Before he was thrown in the pit, as he came to know it. Eames spent several days being beaten and tortured until he couldn’t even remember his own name.
But that was the point. No man goes in there as a person. They all go down there as just another nameless man. It’s only once they have earned the respect of others in the jail that they get given a new name, a new identity and a new life to cling to.
So after days of torture, days without food and very little water the then nameless man was slowly lowered into the deeply dug hell.
The officer that came down with him led him to an empty cell far away from the small light source above them.
The small cell reeked of blood, piss, and something much worse. He found himself pushed in as the officer walked away; gun trained on any prisoner who dared to approach.
The cell wasn’t locked but he’d dared not leave.
In the days following he’d managed to find scraps to fill his aching stomach and less then clean water for his parched throat.
On one of the few times he ventured outside the three walls and metal cell door he noticed that the other cells were like his own, unlocked.
All except the one on the left of his. It was always locked when he looked at it. With threadbare curtains covering it from the inside.
His every moment, awake and dreaming, was filled with thoughts of Arthur. The one thing he’d clung to since his arrival.
Not his name, not his life, nor his memories. All he clung to was Arthur. It was all he wanted to cling to.
He worried what had happened to his love. But he always remained grateful that he wasn’t in this hell.
He would have however given anything for them to be together.
He did have it all planned.
Meet Arthur here in Santa Prisca, tell him that they could finally be together after all that time, and then leave to a house he’d set up far away from everyone they know.
It was going to be perfect.
But now he’s here and Arthur isn’t.
He was broken from his thoughts and silence when he saw a little hand peek out from under the curtain hiding away the cell next to his.
He watched as the person, child tried to reach out. A doll he noticed was out in the middle of one of the walkways.
He’d assumed it was a doll. It was made out of bound sticks and a filthy scrap of fabric tied around it like a dress.
After patting around the ground for a few minutes the child pulled their arm back in without the doll. They couldn’t reach.
He moved slowly outside his cell and gently took the makeshift toy into his hand and with his other he’d lifted the curtain up slightly and placed the doll on the ground through the bars.
Before he placed the curtain back down he looked inside and saw a small dirt covered face looking back at him. The child’s eyes were wide with fear.
He watched as a woman’s arms wrapped around the waist of the child pulling them back and out of his view.
Later that night, when the sun had past and light no longer broke through the space in the roof above him.
He was resting against the cell wall he shared with the child when he heard it. In the smallest voice a whisper.
At the time he didn’t know the language they spoke in. But he would later learn what the child had said to him and cherish it every time she said it to him.
He didn’t see the small child for what he presumed was weeks after that. In the few and far between moments that he didn’t think of his beloved Arthur he thought of the ones who lived next to him.
He’d not seen any women in the prison when he’d leave the cell for food and water, or on the terrifying nights he was dragged out and beaten for the entertainment of the others.
He started to assume she was the only woman in the pit and that was why the doctor, also a prisoner here, kept her cell locked.
But what really drove his thoughts mad was how a child could be allowed to suffer in that place.
One day the constant questions about what lie behind that curtain became too much for him. He’d always had an inquisitive mind and he was desperate for an explanation, he needed it like he needed air.
So he’d sat outside the lowered curtain and started talking to those inside.
At first it was just simple things like ‘Hello’ and asking questions about them.
This lasted two days. Two days with no reply.
But he had not given up.
Instead of asking things about them he had started telling them things about himself.
But a man who no longer has a name has very few memories and thoughts about himself.
So he spoke about the beautiful American who he knew was out there beyond the hole in their dark sky waiting for him.
As more days past he’d also learnt more about the language they spoke in the prison. From the other inmates, the child still hadn’t spoken to him again.
He would spend hours talking about how intelligent his love was – ‘Nobody could compile research on mark like him. Reading his research files was like looking upon a beautiful art piece. No matter how long you looked you could never fault it.’
He spoke about how loyal he was – ‘He would have followed Cobb anywhere if it meant helping him get those children back. At first I thought it was Cobb that he was doing it for, but I learnt it was really Phillipa and James he was helping. He has such a kind heart.’
After everything he would tell the child about Arthur he would always finish his talk with, ‘I love him.’
After weeks of talking about Arthur he says it again.
“I love him.”
“I love him too.”
The small little voice had spoken out to him. The child had lifted the thread bare fabric and was looking straight at him with a smile across their face lighting their eyes.
He’d learnt enough of the language to know what they’d said and for the first time in a very long time someone other than Arthur had filled him joy.
It was a week later that the doctor had forgotten to lock the cell door. He was high on the fumes from a rag he never let out of his sight.
That’s when the animals of the pit broke in.
He’d just managed to pull the child, Talia, away.
He cradled her as the animals attacked her mother. He tried to soothe her as her sobs grew louder every time the woman’s screams of agony came through to them.
Talia had fallen asleep in his arms long before her mother’s cries were silenced for good.
She was silent for days after her mother’s death, but one night as she was rocked to sleep she asked to hear about Arthur again.
It had been months since the death of Talias mother when the other inmates finally learnt of her true gender.
They descended on her just like they did her mother. Bane, as she’d named him, managed to fight them off enough for Talia to start climbing the wall. Once she was out of their reach they turned on him for having stolen their prize.
As their rough hands started to tear at him he looked up just in time to see Talia look back to him and say, “I’ll find him for us.”