Word Count: 1288
Pairing/Characters: Focus on Arthur with lots of Eames; Ariadne, Cobb, and the rest of the Inception team playing their part. Cobb/Mal, mabye Arthur/Eames, and there might be others depending on how the story goes. So basically, I know nothing.
Summary: "Twenty years, it's breaking you down, now that you understand there's no one around. Take a breath, just take a seat, you're falling apart and tearing at the seams. Heaven forbid you end up alone, and don't know why. Hold on tight, wait for tomorrow, you'll be alright."
A/N: Why yes, the title and summary are from the song Heaven Forbid by The Fray...because I am just that imaginative. This story is a result of me thinking too hard and imagining I'm more creative than I really am after reading through the kink meme. Please enjoy.
When James was three, his mother had fallen from a hotel room rising high above the city streets. It had been a sad time, or at least, that was how he remembered it. His father had mourned her death, but still didn’t stay. His sister, Philippa, had told him their father was going to be away on business for a while. In retrospect, James supposed Philippa had been just as confused as he was, but at the time, he accepted her word as truth, without question, simply because she was his big sister, and she knew everything.
A year later, after he turned four, his father had returned home. He remembered how happy he was to see him. He had received toys from all around the world, and sometimes he had received brief phone calls, but nothing had made him happier when he turned around and saw his father standing eagerly on the porch, arms outstretched as James ran to him. While he still hadn’t understood why his mother was gone, he hadn’t been as lonely anymore.
By the time James was six, his father had started working again, leaving for stretches of time, but had always returned before a month had passed. His father had explained to him and Philippa that it was important he go back to work. Philippa had asked him the important questions such as, “why?” Their father told them he needed to change things for the better, fulfill the wish their mother had not been able to do. Philippa had reluctantly nodded her head, squinting at their father like she did when she had a particularly difficult problem on her homework. James had been too young to care about such things, so long as his father continued to come back.
In the third grade, James had found himself easily distracted in class. The teachers had called his father often. Sometimes he would be there to attend the meetings, but many other times, he wasn’t there. James had hated the way the teachers talked over his head like he couldn’t understand them. He had hated how they blamed his father for any conceived misbehavior. He had tried to tell them that it wasn’t his father’s fault, that it was their fault for being so boring. Soon after he had said that, visits to the school’s counselor became routine. She had seemed nice enough, but James, was unimpressed. He had made sure to answer her questions exactly how he thought she wanted. By the end of the school year, the counselor had no reason to believe there was anything wrong.
It was not until the summer break after third grade. His Uncle Arthur was visiting. James adored his uncle. If anybody could understand his school dilemma, it was Uncle Arthur. James had told him what had happened during school and how stupid his teachers were for being boring and for blaming his father. Unlike all the other adults, his father included, Uncle Arthur hadn’t quietly asked him about what he was feeling and why. Instead, he had asked if James would like to read a book. It had been a far more favorable answer than anybody else, and James had eagerly agreed. To his surprise, Uncle Arthur handed James a book from his bag. James had stared at the cover and had decided the picture of the bloody sword was much cooler than the silly books about children doing stupid things like eating worms (not that he hadn’t explored the world of digging for worms, but that was for science, and making Philippa scream). He had carefully opened the book and began reading. When he had finished, Uncle Arthur had proceeded to ask him lots of other questions about math figures and his writing. By the time they had finished, Uncle Arthur had been smiling, telling him he was a good student and he shouldn’t listen to what other people say about that.
A month before fourth grade, James had to meet with the school’s counselor again. This time, his father had accompanied him and he had seemed excited. James had sat quietly, listening to his father explain that James was actually very smart, and he needed to be in a different class. The counselor had merely nodded along, smiling without smiling, and had told him James would need to take some tests. James had rolled his eyes when he heard that, but if taking the tests meant he didn’t have to be bored anymore, he would do whatever they wanted.
It turned out that James had done something right, because he hadn’t begun the fourth grade a month later. Instead, he started the seventh grade. Philippa had found it to be the most annoying situation possible. James had quickly learned he was cramping her style, and it was important he stay away from her. It had made him a little bit lonely, but he hadn’t let it bother him. The work had been much more difficult than before, and James had no time to focus on anything else. He had become the classmate that nobody hated, but nobody particularly liked either. He had been known only as that really smart kid, and never as anything else. But he had still been fine with it, only because his father had always taken time to sit down with him and help him with his homework.
On James’ twelfth birthday, he had been too busy to celebrate like any other twelve year old. He had an essay to complete, and he had been struggling with the algebra he was learning. Besides, he had nobody to celebrate it with. His sister had been kind enough to bake him some overcooked cupcakes, but she too had the same work to finish. They had tried to help each other as best they could because their father had been away on a job. In the evening, he had received a phone call from his father, wishing him a happy birthday. Something had seemed strange about his father’s voice, but James had been too distracted to focus on it.
As always, his father had continued to return home. But before, when his father would make time to sit with James and Philippa, had become increasingly rare. It had been his junior year, and James had begun to see Uncle Arthur more frequently and his father less so. But still, James had not been too concerned. He had known how he became when he was caught up in work, so it had only made sense that his father would be the same way. Uncle Arthur had not quite smiled when he heard that and had responded by telling James that his father loved him and his sister very much. James had just shrugged and told his uncle that much was obvious. He hadn’t the time to waste on common knowledge. He had to study for the PSAT.
In the last several months of his senior year, James’ father never came home. Uncle Arthur had become his legal guardian, and he had told James and Philippa that he would explain things when they graduated. Philippa had narrowed her eyes and attacked Uncle Arthur with questions. It had been easier for James to imagine his father showing up the day of graduation than to stay and hear the answers. On the day of graduation, only Uncle Arthur was present. They had skipped the usual celebrations after the ceremony, and returned to the much emptier feeling house. After they had changed into their pajamas, Uncle Arthur called them into their father’s study and pulled out a silver case. Uncle Arthur called it a PASIV device.
When James was fifteen, he dreamed for the very first time.