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04 September 2010 @ 02:34 pm
Forgetting Your Voice  
Title: Forgetting Your Voice

Author: puckkit

Rating: light R [delicate subject matter]

Pairing/Character: Mal/Cobb [Cobb/Arthur if you squint]

Disclaimer: I do not own these characters or the movie Inception, therefore all of this is false and made up from my charmingly eccentric imagination.

Author's Notes: Written for this prompt at the inception_kink meme. Warnings would be a sensitive topic (suicide) and a somewhat confusing point of view.

He can barely see what’s left of her there, far below, unnaturally painted onto the asphalt. There are sirens and voices and he knows he has to leave, he knows he can’t stay and be the upset husband when she has implicated him so beautifully, when she has forced him to follow even though he can’t. He can’t.

So he calls the only person who will know what to do. Arthur picks up halfway through the first ring.

He doesn’t know what he says, but he hears himself talking about Mal and jumping. The sirens are making it difficult to hear Arthur’s response and he knows he has to leave, knows that someone on the street called 911, knows that she’s dead. He knows all these things but he’s so confused and there’s this sharp feeling lingering in his chest that he’s trying so hard to ignore, but can feel that it’s going to be trouble.

He thinks he might be in trouble.

Arthur’s still talking though, and he can maybe hear sirens from the other end of the phone echoing the ones that are growing in volume on his side. Arthur’s talking loudly, slow and precise. He thinks, what would I do without him and almost instantly he’s hit with the thought, what will I do without her?

Oh god. Oh god.

But Arthur’s still talking and he thinks that maybe he’s talking too. Suddenly he’s walking as well, following Arthur’s exact directions without any conscious effort.

Leave the room, turn towards the elevator “I don’t know where-” yes, you do. Go towards the elevator, step inside, press the G. “I can’t believe, I mean, I don’t, and she-” Did you press the G? Press it. Is it going down? Are you coming? I’m waiting right outside the front doors, black car, you’ll see me as soon as you pass the reception desk. Don’t say anything to anyone, just walk. Are you walking?

He is walking. He’s walking out of the open elevator doors, ignoring the couple who had been in the elevator with him and who are now shooting each other confused looks, waiting until he leaves to talk about him. He’s walking past the reception desk, walking through the automatic doors and walking into the already-open passenger seat of Arthur’s car.

He doesn’t look at Arthur and Arthur doesn’t look at him, just reaches over him and buckles his seatbelt, lets his hand linger for a split second after the click. He turns the car around smoothly, nods to the police officers who are securing the area with bright yellow tape. Arthur acts like he’s doing what he should be doing and no one thinks to question that sort of confidence.

He has thoughts, surely he does, but they don’t settle in the depths of his mind for long enough to be analyzed. They flit across the surface, thoughts about the children and Miles and Mal, oh god. He stares out the window like he’s never seen the city before. He doesn’t see it now, either.

They’re at Arthur’s apartment before he can comprehend the fact that he’s even left the hotel. His mind is two steps behind in everything, it seems, frozen at the memory of staring down, horrified but unable to look away, still trying to process her words, how it all went so wrong so quickly.

He’s sitting on a couch and there’s something hot in his hands, coffee maybe, but he doesn’t know how it got there or where his shoes went. His coat, did he leave his coat there? Did he take it off? Where’s Mal when he needs her.


Arthur’s right there, sitting beside him, not looking at him. He looks down at the coffee in his hands and notes the fine trembling that makes the liquid quiver. He thinks that maybe he shouldn’t be holding something so hot. As if reading his thoughts, or maybe he’d spoken them aloud, Arthur pulls the mug out of his hands and sets it down on the table in front of them.

Arthur doesn’t ask, but he needs to explain. He’s pretty sure that’s what you’re supposed to do in a situation like this, but he doesn’t really know what happened, or why, or what’s going to happen next.

So he explains in the only way he knows how. He starts at the start, when he enters the hotel room and it’s so beautiful and he’s so excited because Mal’s there and it’s just him and her but he can’t find her. He looks around and she’s not there, and the window is open, and his heart leaps into his throat and doesn’t leave, still hasn’t left.

From the corner of his eye he can see Arthur start to piece it together. Arthur’s wrong though. He knows there’s more to it than what Arthur knows, that this is his fault, but he can’t remember why right now. He just knows it is. He’s babbling, saying how it’s his fault over and over again and Arthur’s trying to interrupt but he doesn’t know, he doesn’t understand and he’s just getting frustrated so when Arthur reaches for his arm to comfort him, he leaps up and jostles the table, sending his coffee to the floor. It doesn’t break, but the sound startles him into moving backwards skittishly, arms coming around himself, hands in his hair, on his face. He’s crying, why is he crying?

Arthur is there, though, even as he’s trying to piece it all together. Her talking, he can barely hear her talking, what is she saying? What did she say? All he knows is that whatever he said wasn’t enough and he’s never felt so helpless, so utterly useless. And then when she jumped and he couldn’t reach her, he couldn’t even go after her...

“Dom, Dom!” Arthur. Arthur’s here and he’s holding him and pulling his hands away from his face and hair, dragging him to the floor and he’s crying and screaming and falling apart. It feels as though he’s falling through Arthur’s hands like sand, but Arthur’s still trying to gather him up and hold him close.

“Dom, please,” Arthur’s hands are as sure as they’ve always been, deceptively strong, cradling and holding him up, as they’ve always been. That feeling in his chest only increases, like acid slowly dissolving his heart, he gasps in breath and hears the tiny whimpering noises that must be coming from him, but he can’t tell if they are or aren’t. He can’t feel anything.

“She wanted me to go with her. But I couldn’t, and our kids...” he starts anew, can feel that desperation, that agony claw its way out of his stomach. Arthur is still holding him, chin resting on top of his head, an occasional sigh ruffling his hair.

It hits him out of nowhere. “She sent a letter, told our attorney I was going to kill her.” He still can’t think, but he knows that this is bad, that this is her legacy to him- complete isolation. What does this mean? How could she think he’d ever harm her? But she didn’t. She didn’t think that, she wanted everyone else to think that. Why would she do that to him? He loves her. He loved her.

“Listen, listen to me, Dom.” Arthur’s voice is steady, but holds an undercurrent of all the emotions that he’s currently feeling. Arthur sounds as though he’s been trying to get his attention for a while. “We’re going to work this out, Ok? Ok? We’ll make a plan. That’s what we do. We’ll figure this out. I’m with you, ok?”

Ok, ok. He still can’t breathe, each breath rattles in his chest before he realizes that he needs to put a little effort into the act, but he knows Arthur and he trusts him to the point that it’s easier to trust in Arthur than it is to breath. He trusts him to a point where an unconscious bodily function is more difficult than believing Arthur.

They sit there for a long while but awareness never comes to Dom. He doesn’t feel tired, he doesn’t feel anything. He can still see her on the window ledge and he can still see her on the ground, but he doesn’t remember anything in between. How did she get from the window ledge to the ground? All his fault, it’s all his fault.

And Arthur is still talking. It shouldn’t be soothing, and Arthur shouldn’t be so good at it, but it is and he is. Arthur, perfectly pressed suit Arthur, rumpled and supportive and how did he even get here? Everything’s changing. Arthur is making phone calls and booking tickets and making plans, thinking out loud, and what is he himself doing but laying there numb with guilt and a myriad of other emotions that are just as strong but don’t place blame.

Arthur is there, though, and that doesn’t make anything better but it does make everything just a little more solid, a little more real. His eyelids close without any attempt on his part to make them do so, and eventually he passes out into silent, dreamless unconsciousness.

Arthur keeps whispering to him long after he loses his voice.

I am feeling: accomplishedaccomplished
I am listening to: Portishead- It's A Fire
:)suprockstar on September 4th, 2010 10:10 pm (UTC)
oh my god, this is brilliant. I've always looooooved the Arthur/Cobb friendship. Arthur ALWAYS has Cobb's back, no. matter. what. I admire that about Arthur so much. This is beautiful, bb. :) write more!!! :D
Puckk: Girliepuckkit on September 5th, 2010 12:12 am (UTC)
Thank you! And I adore the Arthur/Cobb friendship, I think it's such a crucial relationship in both of their lives. And I definitely agree about Arthur, he's a rock.

Thanks again!
saintdogstreetsaintdogstreet on September 7th, 2010 12:40 am (UTC)
This is really lovely. I love Cobb's disjointed pov, I think it fits perfectly with the story, and I absolutely adore awesome!supportive!handlingit!Arthur. It's very well-written and I really enjoyed it, thanks for sharing. :)
Puckk: Whoapuckkit on September 7th, 2010 04:01 am (UTC)
Thank you!

Pretty sure awesome!supportive!handlingit!Arthur might be my second favourite of all the types of Arthur (my first favourite is protective!Arthur).
Staceyivory303 on September 10th, 2010 08:54 am (UTC)
Oh, this is awesome. Really great job at conveying Cobb's desperation.
Puckk: I climb ceilings!puckkit on September 10th, 2010 10:14 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

(Your icon made me laugh, even though I have no context to have it make any sense)
Staceyivory303 on September 11th, 2010 10:20 am (UTC)
ahaha, it's from a terrible movie Tom Hardy is in (Lethal Dose) where someone gets caught in a beartrap, it's amazing.
radishfaceradishface on September 18th, 2010 09:58 pm (UTC)
;_; thank you for writing this <3 i love how simple the premise is and arthur's devotion here is so heartwarming. <3 <3 <3
Puckk: I climb ceilings!puckkit on September 23rd, 2010 12:43 am (UTC)
Thank you for reading! And especially for responding!

I'll be honest- I'm terrible with plots (which is why I hunt for plot bunnies in kink_memes and other such places haha) so that's why it's so simple. But I'm glad you liked it! Arthur is such a wonderful character, strong yet very unselfish.