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06 September 2010 @ 10:46 pm
Your Spinning Top  
Title: Your Spinning Top

Author: puckkit

Rating: PG13 [sensitive themes]

Pairing/Character: Arthur/Cobb

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_hc meme. Basically, Arthur helping Cobb out through his tough times. Warnings for suicidal themes. Follows Forgetting Your Voice, but you don't need to read that one to understand this one. Just know it's directly after Mal's death.

Dom likes to sit on the windowsill and stare. He sits and he stares for hours. In response, Arthur has developed the habit of sitting and staring too, sitting at the table in their hotel and staring at Dom as if by the weight of his gaze alone, he could hold the other man together.


Dom likes to sit on the windowsill and spin Mal’s top, over and over again. Arthur doesn’t know how it doesn’t fall off the edge. Sometimes, when it seems impossible that Mal’s totem is still hanging on, still clinging to the wood of the windowsill and not tumbling off into oblivion, Arthur finds himself rolling his own die repeatedly but quietly in his lap.
He stops himself after the fifth time, when he feels more disappointment than relief.


Dom’s stopped talking and Arthur doesn’t know what to do about it, so he doesn’t do anything at all.

Instead he goes off and buys food; bagels with cream cheese, a motley of different cereals, and pizza- quick and easy carbs. He calls his contacts and cancels their next job, sends his apologies, makes up some excuse that he’s been planning for hours but moments after saying it, doesn’t remember what the excuse was.

He calls to check in on Miles and the kids, Dom’s kids. Mal’s kids. He asks how they’re doing and sits through the lecture meant for Dom about how they’re “doing about as good as orphans can be doing” before Miles apologizes, sighs, tells Arthur to get Dom to call him. Arthur agrees, sends his best wishes and hangs up. For twenty minutes afterwards he sits on the curb about a car length away from the hotel doors and tries to pull himself together.

Dom doesn’t look over when he opens their door. He’s sitting on that goddamn windowsill, spinning that goddamn top. More often than not, Dom grabs it back up before it can falter and topple over on its own. Arthur doesn’t want to know what that means.


As busy as Arthur keeps himself, there’s still the fact that he has more time to think than he feels comfortable with. There are only so many lists, phone calls, contingencies to plan for. He spends his days working and busy- he’s the axis that a lot of universes are built around and he has to let them down gently, keep business positive while still disengaging for a while. There’s only one world that’s important to him and it’s currently sitting on a windowsill with nothing but memories to keep it from toppling.

In his weaker moments, when it’s dark out and he’s dragged Dom to bed, when he’s staring at the other man who has that tell-tale shimmer on his cheeks even in his sleep, Arthur contemplates mortality and responsibility, actions and their equal and opposite reactions. Philosophy and physics and how it is that Dom’s totem, Mal’s totem, shows reality only in the way that it fails to supersede it.


Weeks pass like this.

Arthur gets up, and although he rises before the sun, Dom is always already awake and staring into nothing. So, like a child, Arthur gets him up and into the shower, makes coffee, and waits until he’s clothed and sitting at the table before he goes out.

He leaves food out for lunch, simple things like fruit, cheese and bread, but he plans for a big supper knowingly.

Arthur leaves early, makes his calls and pays the bills and generally does enough work for two people so as to keep the world moving and to keep them in the flow.

He returns in the late afternoon to find Dom in the exact same position, always- sitting at the window, spinning the top, catching it before it falls.

Arthur always pauses in the doorway, coat draped over his arm, to capture the moment. Dom is a dark silhouette surrounded by golden light that falls heedlessly into the room, leaving dust sparkling in its rays.

He feels the same emotions every time. Awe, followed by anger, followed by nothing but a bone deep exhaustion.

That’s his sign to continue on with his routine, so he hangs up his coat and heads to the kitchen with whatever groceries he’s gotten that day. He buys groceries by the day. He can’t help but think that it’ll only be one more day that this act plays out, even as he mentally plans for the next week.

He makes dinner and they eat it together, silently, in a mockery of nuclear families everywhere. When it’s done, Arthur does the dishes and Dom goes back to his window. Arthur sits and stares and thinks.

A few hours later, he drags Dom to bed.

Weeks pass like this.


One day Arthur’s contemplating his next move. Like a chess player, he thinks through all the possible moves after each of his probable moves, thinks turns and turns ahead, flips over options in his head and reverses it all.

He’s finally decided on his three best options. He’s balancing his paper bag of groceries in one arm while levering the door open and trying to get his card out of the door with the other arm when he freezes. A block of ice has lodged itself in his heart. Dom’s not at the window.
Maybe a week earlier he would’ve set the groceries down on the nearby counter, placed his card key in a place where he wasn’t likely to lose it, hung up his coat. A week ago their routine didn’t seem as necessary, as ingrained as it does now.

As it stands, he drops the groceries and is running towards the open window before they hit the ground. He sticks his head out in a panic but he doesn’t see him- of course he doesn’t see him, what would he see from this high up anyway? Fuck. Fuck fuck fuck.

Arthur can feel the panic building but he does what he does best and compresses it into a ball of pure energy and lets it electrify his thoughts. He’s out the door, card key in hand, and on his way to the roof before he even comprehends his options.

He doesn’t know how he gets there so fast, doesn’t even know how he knew the way, but as he bursts through the door his heart is pounding in his ears, he doesn’t even know what the next step is because it all depends on...

There. Dom’s there, sitting on the edge of the roof, legs hanging over, top spinning beside him.

Clumsily, Arthur forces his legs to move. Like blocks of ice, they drag, caught between his urge to sprint to him and his abject fear of scaring Dom off the ledge. He approaches from an angle, the totem spinning between them. The effort is for naught though, Dom is completely focused and waiting and Arthur has never been so scared in his life.

He doesn’t speak- he doesn’t know what he would say, they haven’t spoken to each other in a month now. Instead he crouches down low and gets to within arm’s length before he finds he can’t go any further.

Dom has that look in his eyes that makes Arthur ache with sympathetic pain.

The totem is spinning and they’re both staring at it now. The sun is slowly starting to set and its glow is reflecting off the smooth revolving surface causing Dom’s eyes to glow as if insanity rests right beneath their blue exterior.

Arthur can barely breath, can barely think. He wants to cry and scream and most of all, he wants to grab Dom and drag him away from the ledge and never let go. He feels like he’s losing everything and all he can do is watch it fall apart.

Everything seems to be perfectly balanced on this spinning top and it seems ridiculous, because Arthur knows exactly how it ends. The fact that it ends at all is the giveaway.


By the time it falters, Arthur has forced himself to action and lunged at Dom, locking his arm around Dom’s waist and throwing them both backwards. Dom makes a quiet, raw sound, curls up in a ball and shakes. Arthur can’t move so he just tightens his hold and shakes. He can hear his own voice, ragged and higher pitched than normal, stumbling over words it’s ok it’s ok it’s ok, I’ve got you, you’re ok, it’s ok, it’s ok, it’s ok

Through his own blurred vision, he sees the top laying there on the ledge, glowing gold and immobile.

I am feeling: pleasedpleased
I am listening to: A Fine Frenzy - Elements
(Deleted comment)
Puckk: Whoapuckkit on September 8th, 2010 01:07 am (UTC)
Thank you! I'll see what I can do :)
Staceyivory303 on September 14th, 2010 11:18 pm (UTC)
Was so excited to see this. Lovely and heartbreaking as its predecessor.
Puckk: Serenepuckkit on September 16th, 2010 08:56 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Much appreciated ^^
·head full of noise·: SQUEE TOGETHERrimestar on September 14th, 2010 11:41 pm (UTC)
This is amazing. I am just blown away by how... no dialogue, and it's.. perfect. The pain radiates through the screen, I kid you not. Sequel or not, this is getting +faved because wow, very, very impressive fic.
Puckk: Whoapuckkit on September 16th, 2010 08:58 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I have an incredible love of angst that borders (borders?) on the unhealthy, so I'm glad it worked for you!