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Everything is in the title, really.

I wrote all of this a few months ago, when I discovered the inception fandom and its odd Arthur/Eames dynamic that didn't fit my vision at all. Basically, it was simply to try and understand where fandom was coming from. I am not sure I succeeded in that.
This is composed partly from elements from canon, my own assumptions and (a lot of) fangirl delusions. Please, proceed accordingly u_u

Inception
Arthur/Eames

a study in dynamics 8D



I. BACKGROUND: GENERAL ASSUMPTIONS (PRE-INCEPTION/INCEPTION)

• Arthur and Eames know each other (obviously)
• Worked together before (possibly/probably with Cobb)
• Eames isn’t “worried” about Arthur working with Cobb, but he might slightly disapprove in a very detached way -> Eames is cautious (i.e Fischer job “I’m sitting this one out”) while Cobb definitely isn’t, depending on the situation (i.e Fischer job). According to Eames, Arthur lacks imagination, which means that if things turn nasty and/or something unexpected happens, he might not be able to deal with it as well as he could/should? (this is according to Eames. The elevator kick proves him wrong)
• Arthur and Eames are complete opposite and very alike at the same time. Arthur is just as cautious as Eames, the difference being that he follows Cobb’s lead even when Cobb is clearly not being very sensible (cue Eames being appalled at so much obstinate loyalty). They are also both very professional (no matter what fandom seems to think, Eames is professional) and serious when it comes to the job
• Arthur and Eames have a very civilized and polite relationship, friendly in a professional way; in this business, letting people know you too much is not recommended. When you are dealing with the subconscious, having someone know your weaknesses and be able to mess with them and use them against you is out of the question. You can work with someone on a job once but it doesn’t mean you won’t have to work against them the next time – it all depends on what the client wants. Being too close is a no-go (ex: Nash betrays them/even Cobb hides most of his problems with Mal from Arthur, even though they seem to be as close as work partners can be, and Mal is kind of difficult to hide in the first place) (I assume there that Cobb and Arthur’s “partnership” is not common in this line of work; people in the dreamsharing business don’t seem to be particularly reliable from what we can see: Nash, Yusuf, Eames – see shooting script – although Cobb doesn’t seem to take Eames seriously at all when he says he’d definitely sell him out.)
• Arthur knows perfectly that Eames is smart and excellent at his job and perfectly able to function on his own, but once he used a word that Eames didn’t know (I’m thinking lapalissian or something equally fun and unnecessary) and Eames had a reaction that Arthur found entirely too hilarious to ignore and decided to make Eames his scapegoat. It’s all in good fun, though, because Eames honestly doesn’t give a crap and simply stares at Arthur as if his fancy way of speaking was ridiculous, charming and hilarious all at once.
• Arthur is definitely not stuck-up. He is methodical and likes nice clothes (also, clothes. Arthur has a wonderful wardrobe because it has 1) colours and 2) patterns! No really. Golden checked tie on blue striped shirt, true fact. Arthur is actually super colourful and daring in the way he dresses.)
• Eames cares about people in a very un-interfering way. He cares but doesn’t get involved (unless asked to?)
• Eames doesn’t have a totem. He is very down to earth/realistic/grounded, he doesn’t need one. Besides, it’s not difficult for a forger to check if it’s a dream or reality. And! Totems were Mal’s idea to begin with, we can then assume that only Cobb and his regular associates would know about it and use one? (or maybe it’s just that Eames strikes me as someone who wouldn’t have one, anyway. There is this generally approved idea of Eames having a poker chip as his totem - he does play with one during the prep for the job - so yeah, I am probably wrong about that, but Eames having no totem works for me.)
• Eames is good with people, obviously (and possibly also at people, if it can be said that way)
• Arthur is perfectly fine with staying in the shadows and never receiving full credits/praise for what he does
• Eames didn’t study forgery/psychology (can you even study forgery in the first place?) He understands how people work, what motivates them, what moves them thanks to observation, instinct and common sense (and imagination?) more than academic knowledge (yeah, he’s just that good, deal with it)
• Arthur thinks in a more rational (?) way. He likes to be certain of things. Gut feelings and might are all well and good but you can’t decently form a plan on a “it might work” (i.e Fisher job) (he is the point man, after all, he finds the flaws in the plan, think of all that can go wrong.)
• Eames is very quiet most of the time, almost placid.
• Arthur is very quiet, too (mostly because he’s just always working? 8D)
• Arthur is patient and likes to explain things to people (although, this is mostly due to the film format of Inception: Arthur is the character that gives information to the audience and helps us keep up with what’s happening and why. When he explains things to Saito and Ariadne, he explains them to the audience)
• Arthur cares a lot about his team. It’s his job as the point man to make sure that everything goes as smoothly as possible and that everyone makes it back in one piece and not permanently traumatized or something. He doesn’t mind being the sacrifice, would even sacrifice himself completely willingly for the sake of the job if it was needed. It’s a dream anyway, he’d just wake up, no big deal. As long as it helps getting things done.
• Eames doesn’t call Arthur “darling”. (fangirls, please, stop with the abusive use of darling. He says it once and Arthur doesn’t give a flying fuck about it.) He calls him Arthur. Not pet, not love, definitely not sweetheart or other ridiculous nonsense. He calls him Arthur especially when he wants to be obnoxious.
• Arthur calls Eames “Eames” all the time and “Mr Eames” when he is annoyed-but-not-really-but-still-i-would-like-it-if-you-would-just-shut-up at him.
• They respect each other. They don’t hide it, they both know it. It’s nothing worth mentioning or being overly proud or offended about, they’re good at what they do and refusing to acknowledge that would just be stupid.


[ FANGIRL IMAGINATION TAKING OVER FROM NOW ON 8D ]

• They, somehow, look out for each other. It’s something that they do without thinking much about. When they have to deal with a militarized subconscious, when guns are pulled out and bullets start to fly, they’ll scan the room quickly, locate the other and then proceed to take care of the projections.
• Sometimes, only sometimes, when they’re working on a very difficult job, they give each other very unnecessary advice (i.e “Be back before the kick” come on, duh, thanks Eames, I’m sure he needed the reminder / something like “Don’t act too much like yourself” to Eames). They don’t need to hear it, know it already, but they don’t snap, don’t roll their eyes and nod or give a short reply that usually don’t mean much but shows that a certain acknowledgement. (like “okay, you’re sort-of-concerned-i-get-it-and-it’s-unnecessary-but-i-appreciate-it” ?)


II. POST-INCEPTION

The Fischer job is not a turning point in itself, but it will have important consequences

• they are all stupidly rich thanks to Saito (no, really, I mean :“I bought the airline”? seriously? lol) -> they don’t have to work anytime soon
• Cobb has retired
• Eames had tried inception before but hadn’t succeeded. Now that he has, he doesn’t feel particularly up to trying again anytime soon. It was great, he had fun, but it was dangerous and he’s not sure he’d find another team crazy and talented enough to manage to do what they did (ALTHOUGH IT WAS LIKE THIS BECAUSE FISCHER’S SUBCONSCIOUS WAS TRAINED! With someone untrained, Eames would definitely try again as soon as the occasion arises)
• Eames doesn’t keep in touch with Ariadne
• Arthur doesn’t want to try inception again. He goes back to work, though, because he likes it, he’s good at it and people offer him jobs. He only takes semi-official jobs for a while, though, nothing too risky, training mostly. He leaves Cobb to his kids and keeps in touch with Ariadne – partly because they get along and partly because he knows she’ll want to stay in the business. Without anyone to guide her, she’ll screw up or associate with the wrong people and she’s too talented to risk it. Cobb might take her calls and give her advice occasionally, but Arthur is the one who will be there and who will teach her everything there is to know about working in dream sharing.
• Yusuf tries inception again with a different team. The job was thrilling and anyone wanting inception will pay tremendous amounts of money, which suits Yusuf just fine. The second attempt isn’t as successful though. The idea doesn’t take, the mark realizes what they’d been trying to do. He finds the team. Yusuf is killed.

NOW, THIS IS WHERE IT STARTS AGAIN 8D

⇒ Eames goes to Yusuf’s funeral and meets Arthur. He’s surprised to see him there and says so. Arthur actually learned about it from his current job. They wanted Yusuf on their team and one of the guys told them he’d been killed. Arthur’s job is in the area so he dropped by. There are no real feelings behind it – they weren’t friends or anything – but Arthur is respectful, so he came. “And I thought you might be there,” he said (matter of factly, without taking is eyes off the small, cheap grave). “Oh, Arthur, I’m touched” but Eames doesn’t even wait for a reaction to drop the act and asks “What type of job is it?” “Simple extraction” “Don’t you already have a thief?” “We need a forger” (he feels like Cobb, saying it. It’s strange, not necessarily pleasant) “Who is it?” “His girlfriend.” “Oh, I’ve always loved playing the girl.”
Eames accepts. Arthur’s team is okay, but a bit boring. They’re all good at their job, all methodical, all as stuck-up as Arthur seems to be. Eames is bored out of his mind. He takes to call Arthur Cobb to entertain himself. With him on board, though, the job only takes 3 days, preparation and planning included (Arthur did say it would be easy.) Arthur thanks him. The team dissolves once everyone got their share of the money. Eames goes back to Mombasa, it’s close to where they are. Arthur hangs around a few days, makes sure the mark doesn’t remember anything and that the client is satisfied. He calls Eames when he’s about to go back. To say thanks again. “You already said that, Arthur.” (chuckle.) “I know.” “Not that interesting without Cobb around, isn’t it?” “Eames, what sort of person do you take me for? Maybe I just missed you.” Eames laughs, entertained, but doesn’t reply. “Where are you flying to?” “Paris.” “Ah. How’s Ariadne?” “Dying to go under again.” Eames chuckles. “She’s good at it, she’ll become one of the best.” “Yes, that’s why.” Silence. “Well, if someone in Paris needs a forger, let me know.” “Will do.” “Don’t miss me too much, darling” Arthur can hear the smile. It means nothing and they both know it. They also know that only Eames calls Arthur that and that Arthur only accepts it because it comes from Eames. And that’s it. “Goodbye, Mr Eames.”


MORE RANDOM THOUGHTS IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER

Arthur knows how to kill people with his bare hands. He’s lived a very different life than Eames’. The strictness, the suits, the perfectly styled hair, it’s all because Arthur had to be the exact opposite, before, and he doesn’t want to go back to being that person ever again. Arthur is a pacifist – or as much as you can be when you’re working in this business. Even in dreams, he’ll only kill projections when necessary (the main issue here being that it’s often necessary). Which is why he followed Cobb when Cobb left the army, stealing one of the PASIV device in the process and putting himself on top of the army’s list on most wanted criminals. Cobb’s method of extraction is surprisingly uncommon. Cobb works on the positive – more often than not, the mark gives him the information, he doesn’t take it by force. That’s why he is so successful and why he didn’t stay in the army. Intimidation and torture, subconscious or not, is all well and good, but Cobb doesn’t really agree with that. According to him, persuasion based on the mark’s deepest and most intimate thoughts and feelings is much more efficient. It’s also a lot more difficult and requires treading carefully, probing and nudging and influencing strongly enough and yet without ever appearing as a threat to the mark’s subconscious. It requires skills, subtlety and intelligence, all three of which Cobb has. The problem with Cobb is that he’s reckless and never follows his own rules, which kind of completely counter balance his good points.
Basically, Cobb is all for extraction via talking and hacking into a safe rather than physical intimidation and/or injury/torture. It suits Arthur just fine, hence the long and successful partnership. Arthur and Cobb are also sort of friends; Arthur knows Cobb and some of his life, Cobb trusts Arthur more than anyone else and cares enough to get out of his way to kill him in a dream if he’s badly injured, even if Arthur’s the dreamer and the job still unfinished and thus most definitely bound to fail. They don’t hang out, don’t call just to say hi and don’t go drinking after work, but Arthur knows where Cobb lives and if, for some reason or another, he were to drop by, he would have presents for the kids and Cobb would let him in.
That being said, it’s not exactly an equal/well-balanced relationship. Arthur follows Cobb’s lead, does as he’s told and seems genuinely happy when the inception on Fisher seems to work allowing Cobb to go back to his kids. In return, Cobb doesn’t hesitate to yell at him and treat him like crap when he makes a mistake and more or less never listens to him.

Which is why Arthur likes having Eames around sometimes. Eames is fun to bully. And when things get tense and Cobb starts taking it out on everyone and Arthur starts, in turn, snapping at everyone, Eames always keep quiet and does his work as well as only he can and keeps to himself, doesn’t express anger or frustration in any way (more than, maybe, an annoyed sigh). Arthur appreciates that. And Arthur can also actually trust Eames to do his job without feeling the need to supervise him or double check on his progress, no matter how awry the situation is. Because Eames is good and if his appointed task is fit for a forger, then Eames can do it. It will be clean and perfectly done, and he won’t make a big deal out of it, won’t try to make it sound like he may or may not have allowed the job to continue (even if he did). He’ll report to Cobb with all that needs to be said all in one sentence and just like that, Cobb will relax (as much as Cobb relaxes during a job) and stop pressuring everyone and the team will breathe again.


EXTRA : ARTHUR/EAMES, A HISTORY – AKA LET’S THEORIZE FROM A SCENE

Obviously, the Cobb/Eames scene in Mombasa is fairly explicit regarding this particular aspect. The funny thing, though, is not Eames’ very interesting tone when he says “Hmm, Arthur” (although, well, Eames, you really should not speak anybody’s name this way, it gives people ideas.) The funny thing is Cobb. Cobb who knows that mentioning Arthur will cause a reaction, who watches Eames like a hawk (almost squints at him, for goodness’ sake) and jumps to defend his point man (“well, he’s good at what he does, right?”) as soon as Eames so much as pronounces Arthur’s name, and quickly changes the subject back to Eames (“not like you”) and the job, because he’s here to recruit Eames after all. (Oh Cobb, you clever, clever man. Doesn’t hurt that Eames willingly plays along, too.) It is also interesting to note that Cobb doesn’t need to mention Arthur, but still does, seemingly off-handedly. Except that with the way he waits for Eames’ reaction, it feels a bit as if what he means is something the line of “by the way, Arthur is working this job. Whatever is the problem between you, I don’t want to know, just keep it in check because I also want you on that job.” (it’s a lot longer than what he actually says, okay, but, hey, fangirl theories here, leave me alone.)
So, what does that tell us/what can we conjecture so far?
- Cobb is visibly aware that Eames already has his own opinion on Arthur (opinion that isn’t necessarily very good, although not necessarily bad either. It’s a bit confusing actually. It feels almost as if Eames is doubting Arthur’s professional abilities, except that he readily agrees with Cobb on that and even says himself “oh, he’s the best”. Even all through the film : “thank you for your participation, Arthur” aka “that was a pretty useless comment, Arthur” and “your condescension is, as always, much appreciated *pained smile*” aka “could someone make him shut up once in a while? Some people here are actually trying to work”. So, yeah . :| I suspect that Eames just thinks Arthur incapable of thinking out of his Moleskine, which he finds rather sad. He doesn’t hold it against Arthur and likes him well enough all things considered, but little Arthur is a bit too… I don’t know, the-square-piece-goes-into-the-square-hole for his taste? I mean, in dreams, where you can do anything you want, Arthur amuses himself making infinite staircases. Eames amuses himself hitting on rich Japanese business men in elevators while posing as a tall blonde with enormous breasts. Clearly, they are worlds apart.)
- Cobb brings it up with Eames but not with Arthur. Or rather, when he tells Arthur he’s going to “visit Eames” he doesn’t expect any special reaction from him and is right, because Arthur’s only reaction is to warn Cobb “that’s Cobol’s backyard”. Why? Hmm… he knows Arthur, knows he will not let whatever it is that he has against/with Eames go in the way. But that would imply that Arthur is more professional and serious about his work than Eames, something with which I disagree. Besides, the one being annoying and making unnecessary comments about the other is Arthur, not Eames (no, really, how did fandom!Eames become the one doing all the taunting while Arthur manfully tries to remain cool and collected when it’s clearly the opposite?)


END.
So sorry about that.
If some of my fellow Inception oriented friends have read all of this and feel like telling me it's crap/adding to it/staring at it with horrified disbelief, please do, but you really don't have to. As previously mentioned, it is word vomit that I needed to let out, if only to stop thinking about it.


Unrelated : does anybody knows of good layout communities? I'm always checking the same ones and everything is starting to look the same.

ps: by the way, I am still alive.
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