Noah is sitting in an armchair in the Lakeview suite the team had been working out of. Even though practically everyone he knew had offered to be there with him he couldn’t fathom that kind of stress.
So here he was surrounded by Arthur, Eames, Yusuf, Ariadne and Luke, and he was ready to get started.
“Noah” Arthur began “I will be the dreamer, just like the last time we went under, but this time it will only be you, Eames and I. To avoid your father’s projections you and I will both be in military dress. I’m hoping that we won’t arouse too much suspicion.”
“What can I say darling, I do love a man in uniform.” Eames replies lasciviously
“Can it Eames.” Arthur bright red flush betrays the seriousness of his tone.
“Uh, what about Eames?” Noah asks, slightly amused, but more nervous than anything. “How will he blend in?”
“I, Noah. Will be forging your father. I must warn you that I have done my homework on him rather extensively, and in order for this to work I will have to be every bit as nasty as can be.”
Luke shoots Noah a worried glance, Noah can tell that Luke is concerned that it will be too much for him. He squeezes his hand reassuringly.
“That’s fine. Whatever it takes. I’ll be fine.” the last remark directed specifically at Luke.
“Well then I guess we have nothing left to discuss. Arthur, any last words of wisdom you’d like to impart?”
Arthur just rolls his eyes at Eames and looks at Noah.
“Just stick by me, whatever happens. You’ll be just fine.” He then turns to Luke. “We’ll take care of him, I promise.”
Luke nods, not looking completely satisfied. “Do what you need to do.”
They all insert their i.v. lines and just as Yusuf pushes the button sending them under he feels a kiss on his forehead and hears the words Come back to me please
Instead of the college campus from the earlier dream, Noah finds himself on a military base much like the ones he grew up on. He’s not sure if he feels comforted or nauseated.
According to Arthur, valuable memories, thoughts and ideas are most often under lock and key. With this being a military base with a high premium on privacy there are many places where that could be.
Not wanting to waste anytime, Arthur suggests they head straight to the stockade. And since Noah wouldn’t put it past his father to lock his memories up in a jail, Noah agrees.
They move quickly and carefully, keeping their heads low in order to not rouse suspicion. Eames is no where to be found, but Arthur assures him that he’s not far away.
As they follow the path Ariadne set out in her design, a few projections begin to watch Arthur and Noah with increasing curiosity. Military police begin driving slower as if their mere presence is inherently suspicious.
Soon quick steps become a dead sprint as the stockade comes into view. Arthur must know that the choice to run will make them more of a target, but he seems to think that this is the best choice. By the looks of the approaching projections, Noah can’t help but agree.
Just as they reach the front doors they are surrounded by a command of freeze!, Noah is positive they’re done for and can’t help the sinking feeling in his chest at the realization they got so close, but ultimately failed.
As he and Arthur turn around, Noah is confronted with non other than his father, barking orders at the men to stand down.
“Well what do we have here?” Eames-as-the-Colonel says, his voice and mannerisms dead on. He really is good.
“N-nothing sir.” Noah finds himself stamering in response. Apparently his father has trained him well, even when he knows it isn’t him.
“It looks like my good for nothing son has decided to come visit his old man.” He sizes Arthur up and down, his contempt obvious. “Who’s your new friend?” He asks, venom dripping from his tongue. It takes everything Noah has in him to remember that this is just Eames, but it’s hard.
“Uh this is-”
I’m Lieutenant Arthur Damrosch sir. Your son expressed an interest in becoming an MP. I was just giving him a tour of the facilities.”
Noah doesn’t know if Arthur was ever really been in the military, or if that’s even his real last name. All he knows is that he sounds convincing and by the growing disinterest on the faces of the MP’s surrounding them, he’s convincing more than just him.
“My son? Really? Well this has to be seen to be believed.” Eames turns to the remaining MP’s “I’ll take it from here men.”
As the small crowd disburses, Eames, Noah and Arthur enter the stockade.
The minute the door closes behind them Arthur instructs them the fan out, searching every office, infirmary and cell on the empty compound.
It is only when they have searched and re-searched every conceivable area that Arthur finally expresses some doubt.
“We’ll keep searching, maybe the barracks, the general’s office, even the mess. The information has to be somewhere.”
Noah can’t help but feel disheartened since he was sure it would have been located somewhere on the grounds.
He kicks a small piece of concrete lying on the ground, striking a metal partition down the hall. It makes a loud and hollow thud, which immediately catches everyone’s attention.
“There’s something back there.” Eames says as they approach the wall they had passed on more than one occasion.
“Is this a door?” Noah asks as he taps on the metal piece of wall that comes no higher than four feet.
Arthur begins pushing at it, in an attempt to slide it to the side. Suddenly a loud click sounds and the wall slowly begins moving.
“Help me with this.” Arthur calls. The metal door is thick and heavy, and it takes all three of them to finally open it.
“What is it?” Noah is mesmerised by what appears to be a tiny windowless room.
“It’s a hole. Solitary bloody confinement.” Eames answers. “That Ariadne has been watching far too many prison films for her research.
“Is it all in there?” Noah can’t help but wonder aloud.
“We’ll never know until you check.” Arthur says, something in his voice sounding very close to genuine affection.
“Noah runs his fingers through his still too short hair and steps forward.”
“Are you guys coming with me?”
“No can do mate. Whatever may or may not be in there is for you and you alone.”
Arthur nods his head in agreement with Eames as Noah crouches down to enter the room.
Suddenly, loud pounding noises shatter the quiet of the moment.
“Shit, the projections are back. Noah go. We’ll hold them off as long as we can. In case we don’t make it, take this.”
He hands Noah a pistol, which Noah accepts without hesitation.
The sounds of footsteps are now making their way through the compound. There is still time, but not much of it.
“No matter what I find in there. Thank you.” Noah says and he walks inside, leaving Arthur and Eames to battle it out with the security of his subconscious.
The room is pitch black, about four feet tall by seven feet long with maybe three feet of space across. As he feels around for anything that might give him answers, he finds a flashlight on the ground. It’s the only thing in the cell other than himself.
He turns on the light and is suddenly taken aback by what he sees. All along the walls of the cell is his life; stories, quotes and even pictures as if they were written there by a prisoner over decades.
As he begins to read, he can hear the projections approaching, shooting at Arthur and Eames, who has since dropped the forge of this father and looks just like himself.
The door is still partially open and he can see them taking out MP after MP with no hesitation. He tries to calm himself and focus on the task at hand; the writing on the walls.
He reads voraciously, absorbing as much as he can with only the light of the dim bulb from the flashlight. He hears a noise that sounds distinctly like Arthur’s voice and through the door he can see him hit the ground.
Eames rushes towards him, “Noah, Arthur is hurt and I’m going to have to shoot him awake, that means you will have very little time before the dream collapses. I hope you’ve found what you’re looking for.”
And he slides the heavy metal door shut, the sound of gun fire now muffled and distant.
He reads and reads and reads, connecting stories to images, and images to voices in his head. He can feel the ground beneath him begin to shake, as if an earthquake is hitting.
He redoubles his focus and continues. Finally reaching his time with Luke.
It’s almost as if he doesn’t even have to read, he just absorbs the information. Years spent in love with a man he feels as if he hardly knows.
Warmth washes over him just as the entire room quakes. He can hear the ceiling crashing to the ground outside of. Apparently his little bunker is saving him in more ways than one.
As the shaking becomes almost too much and the walls begin to crack Noah reaches the last six months of his life. The real version of the half a year he spent away. As much as the story of his life with Luke lit him up from the inside, the truth about his father burns him to his very core.
All he can feel is his anger as the ceiling starts to crumble around him. Not wanting to risk being trapped alive in the rubble, he takes one last look at the walls around him, puts the gun to his temple and pulls the trigger.
Luke paces the room as Yusuf occasionally monitors Noah, Eames and Arthur’s seemingly lifeless bodies. Meanwhile Ariadne sits by, texting on her phone.
“Cobb says hi.” She says to no one in particular. Luke assumes she talking to Yusuf.
“Cobb eh?” Yusuf responds “is he wondering how we ever managed to get on without him?”
“Ha. No, he just wanted to wish us luck. Oh and he wants a copy of the debrief. He actually seems a little bummed that he isn’t here.”
Unable to sit quietly anymore, Luke inquired “Who’s Cobb?”
Ariadne smiles a little wistfully. “He was Arthur’s mentor. Mine too. Taught me practically everything I know about dreamshare. He’s retired now.”
“Pfft. Retirement.” Yusuf scoffs. “A man like that can’t stay gone forever. You mark my words Ms. Chase, our Mr. Cobb will be back.”
As Ariadne and Yusuf continue to debate whether or not the great Dominic Cobb will return to a life of crime, Luke’s gaze veers over to the three men currently asleep.
“Ugh!” Arthur moans. And that catches everyone’s attention.
Not long after he’s waking up, his eyes taking mere seconds to focus.
“What happened?” Luke asks. “Why are you here but Noah and Eames aren’t. What happened!”
He’s becoming more frantic by the minute as Eames’ eyes open and he starts to sit up.
“Bloddy hell. That was not a pleasant way to spend a day with a loved one. You alright Arthur?”
“M’fine.” Arthur replies distractedly.
“Why are you both here, when Noah is still—what happened?”
“Luke relax, we got ambushed but Noah will be alright.” Luke is not appeased by Eames’ attempts at reassurance.
“But you were the dreamer. Right Arthur? And that means that Noah is down there with no one to protect him, in a dream that you can no longer support. Do not tell me to relax.”
“I know this is hard for you Luke, but you have to listen. Noah found it. He found it. But he needed more time. He’ll come to as soon as he’s got everything he was looking for.”
Before Luke can argue again Noah opens his eyes, clearing his throat quietly.
“Noah! You’re awake.” Luke can’t contain his excitement “They said you found it, is it true?”
Noah stands up from his chair the minute the i.v. is out of his arm.
“I need to go.”
“Go?” Luke asks incredulously. “Go where? What happened down there Noah? Do you remember now?”
Noah looks unsettled, his eyes darting around the room quickly, he’s pale and clammy.
“I just—I can’t—I can’t do this right now Luke.”
And he walks out the door.
Noah feels impatient and on edge. He just needed to get out of that room and take some time to clear his head.
He runs down all 17 flights of stairs hoping that it will burn off some of his nervous energy. Unfortunately he’s out of luck by the time he reaches the bottom, feeling as stressed out as ever.
He remembers everything the happened in the dream. Every story and memory and picture. But it doesn’t feel organic, doesn’t seem real. No, he just feels like he crammed for an exam in Noah Mayer 101 and is full to bursting with new information.
With the gravity of his true life story weighing on him Noah sits down on the bench where Alison found him the day he found his way back to Oakdale.
But now as he looks around, the entire square looks different, and while he knows he’s awake, a part of him feels as if he’s still dreaming.
Suddenly he can see Luke sitting on the bench with a man he remembers as Brian Wheatley, and the New Year’s Eve kiss that broke them up. He shakes his head to clear the image, but it’s as if the memory is superimposed on top of his reality. He can’t help but watch it play out.
That memory is soon followed by one of him and Luke sitting on the bench in each other’s arms, enjoying their reunion upon Noah’s return from Rome. He can see it clear as day, though he knows that it happened years ago.
He decides that sitting still isn’t helping him in the least, so he starts walking again. He is inundated with pale pastel versions of his life. Seeing stolen kisses outside of Fashions and Yo’s, lunches at Al’s and the far too frequent times when he left Java early to tend to another Luke related emergency.
He sees time spent with Casey, Alison, Maddie and so many more, but above all he’s assaulted by images of Luke. Luke fighting with him, Luke kissing him and most of all Luke laughing with him. His heart pounds incessantly as he finally feels so much. More than he has in a long time. Maybe more than he ever did before.
He gets back to the Snyder house, grateful that no one is home. And that’s where he is hit with the strongest image yet. The first time he and Luke had sex.
He rushes up to Luke’s old room and sits on the bed, letting the memories wash over him. The sounds, the smells and the touches of Luke and himself, skin on skin in a way they had never been before. He’s almost immediately inexplicably hard at the thought, but he is soon broken from his trance as he hears the front door slam.
“Noah? Noah? Are you here?”
It was obvious that Luke would come looking for him, and though Noah’s not sure he’s ready to see him yet, he answers.
“I’m up here. In your room.”
Luke bursts through the door, his face flushed as if he had run all over town looking for him.
“God Noah, I was so worried. Why did you just leave like that? Did it not work?”
Luke looks so concerned as he sits down on the bed next to him, and Noah’s heart breaks for a moment as he considers all that his boyfriend has been through the many months.
“I told you I didn’t care about what happened. I just need you to be okay, alright?”
Noah’s head drops to his hands, the palms of his hands pressing into his eyes.
“Why did he do this to me Luke? Why does he hate me so much?”
Luke’s eyes well up with tears as he wraps an arm around Noah’s waist, pulling him closer.
“What do you remember?”
“All of it. Everything. Why did he take it all away from me?”
“I don’t know baby, I don’t know.”
Luke pulls Noah back to lie with him on the bed. His touches are still a bit hesitant, as if he’s unsure how Noah will react. He buries his face into Luke’s neck, seeking comfort, but also assuring him that this kind of closeness is not just okay, but necessary.
Luke strokes Noah’s hair, and kisses his forehead, but besides that ,the room is totally still.
The memories seem to have receded back into his head and into his heart where they belong.
And Noah lays in Luke’s arms, confident that he is where he belongs.
Arthur packs the last of his things as Eames confirms their flight arrangements. They were both really concerned when Noah left so abruptly, even thinking that they perhaps did more harm than good.
Only when Luke called them a few hours later were their concerns assuaged. Noah remembered everything, and the day had more or less been a success.
Eames wanted to celebrate, have a few drinks in honour of a job well done. But Yusuf and Aridane both had flights to catch, and Arthur--well Arthur still seemed dismayed, even in the wake of the good news.
Eames knew that the Colonel evading justice still weighed heavily on Arthur’s mind, and he did his best to distract him. But even after two rounds of incredibly enthusiastic, somewhat acrobatic sex, Arthur was still more distant than Eames liked. He realized it was something that may stick with him for some time.
“You ready to go Arthur?” Eames asks, his voice softer than usual. He knows Arthur hated to feel ‘babied’, but sometimes Eames just can’t help himself.
Arthur is looking out the window, seemingly staring at nothing in particular
“What? Yeah, I’m ready.”
Eames comes up behind Arthur wrapping his arms around his waist, pulling him close. He rested his chin on Arthur’s shoulder, his mouth right next to his ear.
“Noah is alright and so are you. The good guys won this time.”
Arthur tilts his head to see Eames out of the corner of his eye. “So we’re the good guys now? Since when?”
“Well I like to take it on a case by case basis, but I can say with one-hundred percent certainty that you and I were fighting for the forces of good this time.”
Arthur turns around in his arms, nuzzling his face into Eames’s neck. He doesn’t often get cuddly like this outside of bed, but Eames loves it, so he makes no mention, just squeezes him tighter.
They stand like that for quite sometime until the knock on their door reminds them that other people do in fact exist.
“I’ll get it love.” Eames insists, as he reluctantly untangles himself from Arthur’s embrace.
When he opens the door he sees Luke and Noah standing there grinning and holding hands.
“Well isn’t this a lovely sight? Arthur the children are here!” he hollers.
Noah’s grin only intensifies as Luke rolls his eyes. Eames is sure the kid doesn’t really like him, and that’s okay. Frankly it’s more fun this way anyway.
“Hey guys, I take it everything is alright between you two?” Arthur looks at little happier at seeing them, most likely feeling validated that their work wasn’t all in vain.
“Yeah we’re doing really good.” Luke smiles at Noah, if Eames didn’t have Arthur in his life he might feel a little jealous of their happiness.
“Incredibly good.” Noah insists. A blush creeping up his cheeks.
The four men stand there awkwardly for a moment until Luke continues.
“So, we just wanted to come by and say thanks for everything. I know I wasn’t the most trusting person during this whole thing.” Luke says, waving his free hand in the air. “But you really came through for us, and Noah and I are eternally grateful.”
“Yeah, you guys helped get me my life back, and I don’t know how we’ll ever be able to repay you for that.” Noah adds.
“Well paying us, is always a good way to start.” Eames laughs. Arthur punches him in the side and laughs as well.
“I really can’t take you anywhere can I?”
“You really can’t.” Eames replies. “And yet, here I am by your side as always.”
Arthur blushes a deep crimson at that and turns back to face Luke and Noah.
“All kidding aside, we were happy to help. I know you guys are aware that this was a particularly personal case for me, and I’m just glad that everything worked out for the most part.”
A few beats of silence follow. No one mentions the fact that the Colonel has still evaded capture, though it’s clearly on everyone’s mind.
“Well.” Noah clears his throat. “We’ll get out of your hair now, we figure you have places to be more glamorous than Oakdale.”
“Indeed we do.” Eames smirks, sometimes he just can’t help himself. “But it has been a pleasure working with you both.”
As Eames grabs the last of their bags, Arthur shakes hands with both Luke and Noah wishing them well.
Eames shakes Noah’s hand and says honestly “You’re a good man Noah. You always were. Never doubt that for a second.”
Eames then shakes Luke’s hand as well “Be good to him Luke.” he says “because I know many men who would be very happy to.” And he winks at Noah as Arthur pushes him out the door.
Arthur rolls his eyes, “Take care guys.”
As they head down the hallway to the elevator Eames hears Luke say “I still really don’t like that guy.”
He takes Arthur by the hand and laughs as they head off in search of their next adventure.
“You are just incredibly long. Like everywhere.” Luke says as he plays with Noah’s toes.
They have been sitting in the bathtub for God knows how long, their fingers now wrinkly and soft.
“Everywhere huh?” Noah laughs in Luke’s ear as he wraps his arms tight around Luke’s waist, pulling him in so close he can feel Noah’s erection poking into the small of his back.
“Absolutely everywhere.” he whispers as he turns around to kiss Noah, water sloshing over the sides of the tub.
“Well why don’t we get out of here so we can see how long I can really get?”
Without responding, Luke jumps out of the tub, making a beeline for their bed. He can hear Noah’s laughter behind him.
He flops down on the bed, landing flat on his back, his legs spread eagle. He still isn’t quite used to Noah being back in their bed and in their apartment after so much time apart, but they’ve been doing their very best to make up for lost time.
Noah crawls over to him, hovering far enough that Luke can’t kiss him, but close enough to box him in. He’s missed the feel of Noah’s body, next to him, around him and inside of him. He never wants to know that kind of loneliness again.
“So. What were you saying about my length again?” Noah asks, his breaths becoming more shallow by the second.
“That I like it.” Luke grabs Noah’s cock in his hand, stroking it slowly. “I like it a lot.”
Noah gasps at the touch, thrusting into Luke’s hand. Though the position is a a little awkward Luke can’t help but love the feel of Noah’s cock in his hand.
“Luke--ahh, wait” Noah groans, as Luke slows his hand down.
He’s panting and damp, sweat beading at his forehead, but to Luke he had never looked more amazing.
“Don’t want to come like this. Want to come inside you.” Not needing to be told twice Luke shifts higher up the bed, gripping on to the headboard.
They have been fucking all day, and will probably be sore as hell tomorrow, but right now, in this moment he feels wonderful. Perfect even.
“You need me to open you up again, or do you want me to fuck you just like this?” Noah’s cockhead nudges at Luke’s hole, in search of permission.
“Just like this Noah. Just like this” He wants to feel the burn of Noah slamming into him, leaving him feeling completely owned by the man he loves.
“Anything for you.” Noah smiles and reaches for the lube still laying on the bed.
He slicks up his cock and slowly pushes in. Luke knows he’s trying to be careful, but that’s not what he wants.
Using the headboard as leverage Luke pushes himself down hard onto Noah’s cock. feeling him fill him up in an instant. He hears Noah’s “God Luke” between the sound of the blood rushing to his ears.
They are both panting furiously, chests heaving, but neither of them move. Noah leans forwards and kisses Luke firmly and possessively. Moments like this remind Luke that not only is he Noah’s, but that Noah is his, fully and completely.
“Baby move please.” Luke begs and Noah begins fucking into him with long slow strokes. It’s almost torturous feeling the slow slide of his cock, and Luke wants more.
“Faster baby please, harder.” And as requested, Noah is slamming into him, hard and fast, beads of sweat falling down from Noah’s face onto Luke’s own.
Noah grunts loudly, apparently too consumed by the feeling to speak. He just keeps fucking Luke harder and harder, until the headboard begins slamming against the wall.
Not much more coherent himself, Luke is reduced to a string of “Fuck, yes, please, yes, God, yeses.” as Noah keeps giving him exactly what he asked for.
“Can’t wait Noah, need to--ugh.” Luke says, trying desperately to tell Noah he’s close.
“Yeah Luke, come for me. Let go baby, just let go.” And Luke does. All over his stomach.
Noah keeps fucking him until his rhythm becomes less and less steady. He is close and Luke can feel it.
“Fuck Luke.” is all Noah says as he comes inside of Luke. And Luke can feel it, warm inside of him.
Noah drops down on to Luke inelegantly, heavy and sweaty. Luke has never felt more in love in his life.
They lay like that for quite some time, Noah still inside of Luke, his cock twitching lightly as it softens. He doesn’t want Noah to pull out just yet, and it seems like Noah feels the same way.
Noah looks down adoringly at Luke, his blue eyes speaking volumes.
He whispers in Luke’s ear. “I would love you even if I never knew you. I will always love you.”
Luke kisses him lightly on the lips, so in awe of the man lying with him. “Same here.”
Tracking him down wasn’t easy, but well worth the time and expense. Colonel Mayer had chosen wisely hiding out in Uganda, as the country had no extradition treaty with the U.S. and no one would think to ever look there for him.
But Eames’ contacts in Kenya had wonderfully vast resources, and owed Eames more than a few favours.
Convincing Eames that it was worth the time and the risk had been a harder job, but Arthur had always been very persuasive and knew all of Eames’ weaknesses.
So there they were sitting in a bar in Kampala, watching Winston Mayer brokering a deal with a Ugandan drug lord in order to ensure his safety and anonymity. Whatever honour and respectability the man had earned in the armed forces had long been lost. He was nothing more than a soulless criminal, and maybe he had been his whole life. Either way, it was time for his freedom to be revoked.
With a healthy bribe to the barman, they spike his drink, quickly knocking him unconscious. No one questioned their actions, as the affairs between Westerners were often ignored.
With the help of their old friend Katsuro Saito, they were quickly on their way back stateside. The Colonel hooked up to the PASIV and quietly dreaming the whole time, completely unaware that by the time he awoke he would be back on American soil in police custody.
While Eames had dissuaded him at first, Arthur feels compelled to speak to the man that had done such unspeakable things to his son. Once he knows Eames is sleeping soundly, Arthur hooks himself up to the PASIV, ready to confront a man he doesn’t even know.
“Who the hell are you?” the voice is brusque and cold. Arthur turns to face the man sitting on the front porch of a house on an army base.
“Where are we?” Arthur inquires, he wants to know what he is walking into.
“Not that it’s any of your business, but we’re at my home at Fort Leonard Wood. Now if you don’t mind, who the hell are you and why are you on my property?”
“I’m a friend of Noah’s.” Arthur responds. After everything that happened, it kind of seems true.
“Noah doesn’t have any friends. At least not any worth my time. You one of those queers from that theatre down in Branson he’s so fond of? Cause I have nothing to say to you and soon enough Noah won’t either.”
Arthur is taken aback at how bold the Colonel was. Eames’ forge was spot on.
“No I’m actually military myself, but I am gay if that’s what you’re wondering.”
“And you thought you would disrespect me by coming to my house? I should have you court martialed for admitting that me. If you weren’t already aware, I am a decorated Colonel and my word carries a lot of weight.”
“Oh I know who you are.” Arthur replies confidently. “You’re a sad and weak man who has no greater aspiration in life than to destroy his own son, and it stops here Colonel. Your days of controlling Noah have come to an end.”
“Don’t you dare to speak to me of things you cannot possibly understand. Just because your parents didn’t care enough to save you from such a depraved lifestyle, doesn’t mean I should do the same. My son WILL become a man, and little faggots like you can’t do anything to stop me.”
Arthur smiles at the Colonel, who gives him a bemused look.
“I already have Colonel. You aren’t in Fort Leonard Wood, you’re currently on a private jet, en-route to the United States where you will be immediately returned to a maximum security prison. You are dreaming Colonel, just like you did to Noah, and you’re finally going to pay for everything you’ve done.”
Colonel Mayer’s face is now bright red with anger, Arthur’s not sure if he believes him or not about the dream, but it doesn’t really matter.
“Everything I did was for that boy. Killing his whore of a mother, and getting that Snyder kid out of his life were things he needed. Maybe he doesn’t see it now, but one day he will.”
“Well I’m happy to tell you that Noah is back with Luke and I’m the one who helped him get there. My boyfriend and I did everything in our power to get Noah’s memories back, and now he’s living happily ever after with the man he loves. You on the other hand are a sitting duck, just waiting to be caught.”
The Colonel launches himself at Arthur with incredibly fury, and though he’s fast, he isn’t fast enough. Arthur punches him square in the jaw, dropping him hard on the porch.
As the Colonel dazedly strokes his jaw, Arthur hears the screen door open behind him. Out comes the Colonel’s projection of what looks like a 15 year old Noah, shorter than Arthur remembers, with long gangly arms and legs. He looks so scared and Arthur wishes he could take him back with him.
“Noah.” Arthur starts. “Noah, it’s going to be okay. Soon he won’t be able to hurt you anymore I promise.”
Confusion overwhelms Noah’s young face as he looks down to where his father is sitting on the floor. It strikes Arthur that Noah has probably never seen his father look so defeated.
“He killed my mom?” his voice in so soft and his eyes are full to the brim with unshed tears.
“I am so sorry Noah, he did. He’s done a lot of really terrible things, but I promise he’ll pay for every single one.”
Noah rushes into Arthur’s arms hugging him tightly around the waist. It breaks Arthur’s heart to think that he is so hurt and lonely that he would hug a complete stranger.
Arthur hugs him back, stroking the top of his hair, trying to calm the sobs coming from the boy.
“You’re safe now Noah, I promise you, you’re safe.” Arthur repeats until the time on his PASIV runs out and he wakes up, leaving Noah behind.
Eames watches Arthur as he comes to, disappointment etched across his face.
“I thought you said you weren’t going under.”
Arthur feels a pang of guilt for lying to Eames, but can’t bring himself to apologize.
“I had to. I hope you can understand.”
Eames wraps an arm around Arthur’s shoulder, kissing his forehead.
“You are so bloody minded Arthur. Do you at least find what you were looking for?”
Arthur nods his head “I think I did.”
And for the first time in a long time, Arthur can truly rest.
“Hurry up Noah, we’re going to be late.” Luke bellows from the hallway.
They are headed to dinner at the Snyder Farm and for once Luke is on time.
“I’m coming, just give me five minutes. It’s not like I don’t wait for you every other day of your life.”
“Very funny Mayer.” Luke responds, “I’m going to go pull the car around.”
“Thanks, I’ll be out in a minute!”
As Noah hears the door close behind Luke, he sits down on the bed, taking the small velvet box he had been hiding out of his pocket.
The past six months have been crazy ones, with his memory returning and his father not long after.
He had resigned himself to never seeing his father again, assuming that he would simply run forever, but then one day out of the blue he was literally delivered to the front door of the Oakdale PD, handcuffed to the inside of a town car with no licence plates, unaware of how he’d returned to town.
The next day Noah received an email from an address called A&E deliveries, that said Just wanted to tie up some lose ends. Take care
He had suspected that Arthur and Eames had been behind it, but the confirmation made him smile, and Luke even reluctantly admitted that Eames wasn’t that bad after all.
Between being questioned by the police, signing affidavits and the eventual trial, Noah’s life was thrown into chaos once again. But Luke, his ever steady source of support never wavered. He gave Noah time alone when he needed it, but also held him close when he needed that too. Noah was eternally grateful for his presence and it just increased with every passing day.
So he went to Holden and Lily and asked for Luke’s hand. He knew it was old-fashioned and antiquated, but it was how he needed to do it. And they gave him their full blessing, not that he expected anything less.
Now he’s just a few hours away from proposing, he wanted to do it after dinner in front of the whole family. He is scared, and he is nervous, but most of all, he is ready.
As he picks up his coat and heads to the door, it opens, Luke standing in the doorway looking exasperated and flushed, his cheeks cold from the winter weather.
“Are you finally ready? You know I’m going to tell everyone that this was all your fault and that I was on time.”
Noah smiles, pulling Luke close to him and kissing him softly on the lips. “You know they won’t believe you right.” And it’s most likely true. Luke is always the reason why they’re late.
“Probably, but I’m still gonna try anyway. Let them know that you’re not completely perfect.
Noah laughs, elated that the one man who ever saw him as anything near perfect is also the man he wants to spend the rest of his life with.
“Alright, c’mon. I couldn’t find a spot right out front, so you’ll have to follow me.”
Noah takes Luke’s hand as he is led through the front door. “I would follow you anywhere.”
And that’s exactly what he plans to do for the rest of his life.