Disclaimer: I don’t own Inception.
Pairing/Characters: Arthur/Eames, Phillipa, Mal, James, Cobb
Summary: In which the Phillipa is upset, James likes the park, Eames hates the park, Arthur is amused, and the caterpillar finally gets a name.
Author’s Note: I had wanted to get this out earlier but I totally fell asleep after the doctor's. Oops. Anyway, as usual, thanks for taking the time to read. I really appreciate it. Oh, and as always please let me know if there's something wrong with the languages used. I'm pretty confident but I'd hate to mix something up. Plus, there are apparently different dialects and I think mine's the English version....
Previous Series: Yellow One Two Three Four Five Six Seven Eight Nine Ten Eleven
Previous Parts: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
“Uncle Arthur, when’ll Daddy be back?” James asks. His legs swing on the chair as he eats his ice cream.
“I don’t know, James.”
“Is he with Mommy?”
“Mommy’s dead, stupid,” Phillipa snaps as she enters the kitchen. “Just like Goldie but we put her in the potty.”
James frowns. “I liked Goldie,” he replies. His eyes lift back to Arthur’s. “We aren’t gonna put Mommy in the potty, right?”
“No,” Arthur replies. “No, your mommy won’t be in a toilet.”
“She wouldn’t fit,” Phillipa points out.
She turns on her heel though and disappears down the hall. He hears the office door slam shut. James looks up at him, a ring of melted chocolate around his mouth. “Phillipa’s stupid,” James tells him. He scoops another mouthful of chocolate ice cream. “She’s not nice no more. Not since Mommy went away.”
“That’s a double negative, James. You say “she’s not nice anymore.” Understand?” James looks at him like he’s grown a second head.
Footsteps echo from the hall and Eames pops in suddenly. There are lines drawn around his eyes but his smile is bright as he looks at them. “Found the ice cream then, have you?” Eames asks. He tousles James’ hair. “Where’s Pippa?”
“Being a girl,” James answers before Arthur can.
“Office,” Arthur supplies. He waits until he’s sure Eames is watching him and then curls his right wrist, fingers splayed into a semblance of claws, against his chest. Eames watches as Arthur pushes his hand away from his chest. Angry. Eames’ eyebrows shoot up. “James and I were about to discuss what to do.”
Eames moves behind James. His hands rise, pointers sliding down his cheeks like he’s tracing invisible tears. His right hand bends, pinky upright, and twists it from left to right. Crying? “Is that so?” Eames asks aloud. He leans against the wall casually.
Arthur’s pointer and middle finger snap against his thumb. No. James lifts his head to investigate the sound. “Yes, I remember promising a trip to the park.” His pointer fingers are up now, a quick flick of the wrist so that they turn and his palms and curled fingers face Eames. Eames nods and goes.
“Yeah!” James exclaims, oblivious to the silent conversation. “You promised. We’ll go after I’m done.”
Phillipa’s on the chair again, studying the collage. Eames leans against the door a moment before sauntering in. The door closes behind him, cuts off the echoes of James’ excited babble. “I don’t wanna talk, Uncle Arthur,” she mutters. Her caterpillar is on the desk next to her, it seems to be glaring at Eames.
“I’m not Arthur,” he says. Her shoulders tense and she doesn’t turn. He nudges the caterpillar out of the way and perches on the corner of the desk. She still doesn’t look at him. “Hey, Pippa.” His eyes flick to the pictures. “Which one’s caught your fancy?”
Her head swivels to face him. “What?” He’s surprised to see her face tear free.
“The pictures, which one do you like?” He gestures to the collage. Her bottom lip disappears under her teeth and she finally points to one. It’s a postcard from Paris, a nightscape with the Eiffel Tower in the middle. The lights of Paris stretch on either side. Eames can honestly admit he’s never seen a Paris night so clear. “Ah,” he says softly. He untacks the postcard and holds it between them.
“It reminds me of Mommy,” Phillipa whispers. Her voice is soft and frail. Eames rests a hand on her shoulder, rubs slow circles. “Mommy had a picture of it. Lots of pictures. She promised to take me.” Her face flushes and suddenly she’s sobbing and hugging the caterpillar. “She promised,” she repeats.
“Sh, sh, Pippa,” Eames murmurs. He sets the postcard down, crouches next to her. Her face burrows into his neck and the caterpillar ends up in his face. “Your,” he has to pause to adjust the antenna attacking his mouth, “your mommy loves you. She loved all of you.”
He almost doesn’t hear her, her face is burrowed in his shirt, voice thick in tears. “Then why did she go?”
“I don’t know, Phillipa. I don’t know but I’m sure she had a reason. She wouldn’t have left you or James without a reason.” Phillipa sniffs, rubs her eyes with her hand. Her face is streaked with tears and her nose is running. Eames reaches for the box of tissues on the desk, holds one in front of Phillipa. “Blow,” he instructs. She does, hiccupping slightly on a sob.
The door to the office opens and James peers in. “Come on, we’re going to the park.”
Phillipa hurls her caterpillar at him and he disappears. “He doesn’t care,” she whines. Her eyes meet Eames’. “He’s stupid.”
Eames holds onto her shoulders, meets her eyes. “He cares, Pippa.”
“Fuck,” Eames groans. His hand presses against his nose, tries to stop the flow of blood. He’s lying on his back in the grass, staring up at blue sky; there are tree branches on the periphery of his vision. Arthur’s face appears above his, eyebrows drawn together.
“Eames!” Arthur admonishes as he helps Eames sit up. His eyes are laughing though as he tries to pry Eames’ fingers off his face. There’s even a hint of a dimple though he’ll deny it later. He feels a small hand tug at the hem of his shirt.
“Uncle Arthur, what does fuck mean?” James asks. The boy creeps closer until Arthur can see his face. Arthur feels his blood boil as he finally yanks Eames’ fingers aside to assess the damage. Eames winces and glares.
“Ah said duck,” Eames replies. “Ya don’ haffa be so ‘arsh,” he grumbles to Arthur.
“What?” Phillipa questions. She’s watching from a good two feet away, eyes worried.
“Apparently he said duck,” Arthur deadpans. “I take it “duck” is very a very popular euphemism for pain in England?” Phillipa frowns, trying to understand the words. Eames shrugs and then backs away from Arthur’s prodding fingers. “Hold still, you’ve been hurt worse.”
Eames groans piteously. “Did I kill him, Uncle Arthur?” James questions. His hand tugs insistently at Arthur’s clothing. “Did I?”
“See, you’re scaring the kids and making an idiot of yourself,” Arthur murmurs. Eames tries his best to glare but his nose is swollen, his eyes already darkening with bruises, and blood still pours onto his mouth and down his chin. Arthur is secretly pleased to note that this particular yellow shirt is irreparable.
Eames mutters something Arthur doesn’t understand. Arthur turns to meet James’ worried look. “You didn’t kill him; he’s just being a baby.” Another groan from Eames and Arthur rolls his eyes. “It was just a soccer ball,” he mutters.
“Football,” Eames growls.
“Footballs are brown,” James points out. He gestures to the black and white ball behind Eames. “That’s a soccer ball.”
“Nrgh,” Eames groans. He tears some of the material from the bottom of his shirt and presses it to his nose. Arthur can’t help but laugh then.
Phillipa is hovering outside the bathroom door when Eames emerges. She stares up at him and her eyes dart to the ice pack he has pressed to his nose. She had insisted on going back to the apartment with him even though Arthur and James were staying at the park. Eames hopes James’ kick is just as good when he aims at Arthur. Maybe lower though.
“Everything okay, Pippa?” He winces at the sound of his voice.
“Does it hurt?” she questions. He shrugs and heads toward the living room. She keeps pace easily.
“It’s okay. Sore,” he answers. “Your brother’s got one hell of a leg on him.” Phillipa shrugs as they sit on the sofa. “What do you want to do? I’m surprised you didn’t want to stay at the park.” His vowels are still stunted, syllables slurring together spectacularly. He’s already downed two doses of aspirin in thirty minutes.
“I don’t like soccer,” she answers. His eyes narrow. “Or football. Both are silly. We can watch Alvin,” she answers. He laughs.
“Football,” he insists. “Alvin? That the one with the singing chipmunks?”
“Yeah.” He gets up stiffly and goes to put the DVD in and start up the TV. He settles into the couch and she curls carefully against him.
“You don’t like the nut-obsessed squirrel movie anymore?”
“I like the singing,” she answers. He hits play and she suddenly reaches over, shoves something into his arms.
“You can hold Chenille,” she tells him. “She makes you feel better.”
He looks at her, surprised. He shifts slightly so he can hold the icepack in place with his right hand, his left hand reaches down to settle on her head. She smiles up at him and the caterpillar rests in his lap belly up. “Ta, Phillipa.”