Arthur/Eames, Inception, 6k, NC-17
Summary: Arthur wakes.
guys, i really can't deal with how great inception fandom is. it's just, we have so many amazing writers and they keep pushing out increasingly amazing work and everything is just so amazing. jibrailis is another one of my favourite inception writers, and, IMO, this fic is her best work to date. it's stunning.
this fic does a fascinating job of exploring the possibility that maybe the whole inception job was a dream after all. arthur wakes up in an unfamiliar flat and automatically assumes he's dreaming. he goes about dream!arthur's life waiting to be extracted from, but when he runs into eames, things get a little hazy. he starts wondering if he's really dreaming after all and, even if he is, does he want to wake up?
what i really love about this fic is that the author doesn't lay the drama on too thick. there's so much potential in a story like this to spend the whole time going round and round in the character's head and basically turn the whole thing into an overindulgent piece of crap, but the author smartly sidesteps that potential disaster and pulls the fic off with minimal melodrama. there's definitely an undercurrent of darkness, and you can always sense the desperation tinging the characters' thoughts and actions, but you believe arthur's grief and confusion, and you believe eames' frustration over not being able to help arthur shake off whatever he's suffering from.
i also love that the author drops just enough clues to allow us to feel our way through the story with arthur. we only know as much as he knows, and we're constantly holding our breaths, wondering what's going to happen next. will he kill himself? will he wake up? will he decide to stay? it strengthens the emotional core of the story, because we empathize so strongly with arthur. we hurt when he hurts. it's a really wonderful way to read a fic.
i would rec this fic based on the concept alone. i didn't know i wanted an AU verse like this until i read it. everything about it just hurts so good. oh, and the twist. the twist at the end is so perfect, it made my breath catch in my throat.