It was 2 AM when the call came. Arthur was awake, as any diligent Point Man would be. Especially one that was on an arduous extraction job where the Extractor could barely get his head out of his own ass. Information was minimal and the stakes were annoying but it was a job and Arthur likes to keep himself busy.
Yet his focus was immediately diverted to the vibrating sound of his phone. It wasn’t even the burner phone that he was using for this job. Instead it was his backup, his emergency-only phone.
Instinctively, he reached over his notes and dossiers to grab his phone and his glock. He casted a wary look around the warehouse, made mental notes of the exits in case of an ambush before he turned his attention to his phone. His brows furrowed at the caller ID that flashed on the screen.
“Oh sweet cheeks, do I ever need a reason to call you?” A Brooklyn accent filtered through the line. Arthur would’ve rolled his eyes at the nickname if he wasn’t distracted by how strain the man sounded.
“Yes, you tend to have a reason whenever you call me at this hour.” Arthur retorted, keeping his own voice calm. “Does this has anything to do with your current story?”
“Yes, it has everything to do with that story. It actually made me think of you. Do you remember that report back in Kuwait? The Timmy Bones report.”
Arthur felt a chill danced down his spine. It’s been years but he still remembered Bones. Afterall, how could he forget about the man who screamed about monsters living inside of him before he ripped out his own throat with his bare hands?
“Yes, I remember.” Arthur grabbed his laptop and opened up a list available outgoing flights.
“Well this story would put that one to shame.”
“I find that difficult to believe.” Arthur replied as his eyes quickly scanned over the earliest flight to San Francisco International airport.
“I’ll prove it to you, babe. Come on over. You know where to find me.” There was a tremble in the man’s voice that racketed the tension in Arthur’s shoulders.
“You know you can’t suddenly call me out of the blue and tell me to drop everything for you. I would need to let my boss know and you know how he gets. He would go on for hours and hours...” Four at most. Arthur quickly booked the flight.
“That’s fine. I need you here with me, babe. This story, well it calls for a celebration.” He sounded eager--no, desperate.
Concern bubbled in Arthur’s mind. “Should I bring anything?”
“Just you, Love. And perhaps your best bottle of wine.” Arthur could almost imagine the weary smile on the Forger’s face. “Go big or go home after all.”
Arthur closed his eyes. “I’ll see you then, Eddie.”
“I’ll be waiting. Thank you, doll.” There was a click and the line went dead.
Eames just happened to fit both criteria and it was a good thing too.
Arthur grabbed his carry on from the overhead compartment and shuffled his way through the mass of people exiting the plane. After custom, he made a beeline to his hotel, grabbed the necessary items before he hailed a cab to reach the humble abode that belongs to Eddie Brock.
Eddie Brock, a down on his luck reporter who moved to San Francisco to be closer to his girlfriend (the Mark) who just happened to work in one of the leading pharmaceutical company in the world--the Life Foundation. From the information he managed to gather, the job seemed straightforward: infiltrate the Mark’s mind for information regarding the Life Foundation’s current project. The only major challenge was the level of security but that was nothing new. Besides, their mark wasn’t Dr. Carlton Drake but a no name underling. Though, clearly, the Point person didn’t realize the level of paranoia that embraced Dr. Drake that they didn’t consider that the CEO would keep watch over his employees as well. A stupid, avoidable mistake.
Now Eames was caught in the middle of it and here Arthur was in San Francisco instead doing his job in New Orleans. It was almost like how he dropped everything to join Cobb during his run from the government, except Eames was different. His relationship with the Forger was much older than his ties with Cobb. The two had met during the early stages of dreamshare world as a joint military project between the US and the British. They seen and endured all the benefits and horrors that came with that experiment. Among the horrors was that of Lieutenant Bones.
Arthur curled his fingers around his die.
Eames claimed that the situation was worse than that. What Arthur couldn’t fathom was how could it possibly be worse than that.
He paid his fare and stepped out of the cab. He eyed the brick, graffiti covered building and mentally notated all the exits before he followed another tired resident into the complex. He climbed the steps up, conscious of the weight of his glock that rested against his hip and laid hidden underneath his jacket.
It was five floors up before Arthur crossed down the narrow hallway. His eyes constantly darted to the passing neighbors and emergency exit signs. He kept his posture relax, posing as just another late night worker who longed for sleep. As he approached his destination, he contemplated at picking the lock when he noticed the door wasn’t fully closed. That was something no one in the dreamshare community would ever do.
Breathe. He exhaled softly as he placed one hand on the doorknob and the other over his glock. Then in one fluid motion, he pushed the door open and lifted his piece.
His heart plummeted to his stomach.
The sight before him was like a bar after a brawl. Furnitures was upturned. Broken plates and glasses littered the ground along with pillow stuffings. The walls carried indents both fist size and larger. Then there was the blood. It pooled and stained the carpet. Some of it splattered the wall like a sick rendition of Pollock but that didn’t faze him. No, what caught Arthur’s attention was the lack of bodies where all this blood came from.
“Darling,” Eames offered him the weakest smile Arthur had ever witnessed from the British man.
“Mr. Eames.” Arthur’s gun remained steady and shoulders squared. His eyes wandered as he took in the other man’s features. To say that he looked like hell was an understatement. There were dark rings under his eyes. A sheen of sweat that coated his skin that gave him an almost feverish appearance. His clothes rumpled and stained with old blood. Arthur wasn’t even sure if the man was entirely aware but he wasn’t going to risk it either. Especially since the Forger looked like he was ready shoot him if he made the wrong move. “What happened here?”
“Too much.” Eames replied then casted a furtive glance toward the partially open door behind Arthur.
Arthur frowned and reached out to close it.
“Dont.” Eames quipped then recoiled. His eyes shuttered. “You need as much of a head start when you escape.”
“You are not making any sense, Mr. Eames.” Arthur said. “What are you expecting?”
“I expect you to do me the honor and ending this quickly, Darling.” Eames managed to say. His voice wavered before his lips pulled back into some feral sneer. “Please… I do not want to be the next Bones.”
“What happened?” Arthur asked again.
“There’s no time to explain,” Eames shot another glance to the doorway. “I need you to shoot me and then run.”
“If the Somnacin was compromise then--”
“It’s not the Somnacin!” Eames snapped. The veins on the side his throat bulged with restraining anger. Then for a quick second a black blur flashed around Eames’ throat but was gone as soon as it came. His whole body shuddered. “I-I am the one that’s compromise...” His gray-blue eyes peered at Arthur. “And in our line of work, that will not do.” He looked resigned, almost in pain. “Please Arthur, before their backup arrive. Before I--” His Adam’s Apple bobbed. “I don’t know how much longer I can hold this back.”
Confusion filled Arthur’s head. “Hold what back?”
Those lush lips peeled back into that ugly sneer and again the flash of black that rippled along the side of Eames’ face. For a moment he swore the Forger’s teeth grew and sharpened.
A trick of the light, his logical mind supplied but this was all wrong. He looked at Eames, truly looked at the Forger. He was fidgeting more now. His broad shoulders trembled and his free hand spazzed between clenching and unclenching. It was like the man was losing control over his forgery except that didn’t made any sense at all. This wasn’t a dream.
“Eames.” Arthur started when the sound of heavy footsteps drew attention to the doorway.
Backup. He turned back to Eames to notice a change in him.
The Forger’s whole body turned rigid. His pale eyes shifting to an almost a milky white color. They stared at the Point Man pleadingly. “Shoot me.”
“Eames--” Arthur was cut off by the sound of the safety of Eames’ Sig Sauer, in which hadn’t moved from his face during this entire time.
“Shoot me,” Eames snarled, his voice distorted. “Or I will eat you.”
The sounds of the footsteps grew louder behind him. Four men, perhaps five. Then Eames… Dear god, Eames...
Arthur exhaled softly. His gaze remained leveled with Eames’. “This isn’t over, Mr. Eames.”
He pulled the trigger.