Ariadne: I like that you listen to bad pop music. I like it that your favorite movie is Star Wars. I like that you've read The Hobbit seven hundred times. Don't you get it? I like you, Arthur. But I don't like you in spite of these things or even because of them. I like you because, when I'm with you, I don't want to be anywhere else.
(basically, Arthur's a total geek and thinks Ariadne's way out of his league)
Ariadne had to congratulate herself, just a little bit, for choosing to use the basement kitchen(there were only twenty grad students who couldn’t afford to live off campus and they were all in her building). Arthur and Dom were in the common room, with a bowl of popcorn as she slipped into the kitchen with her pizza pocket. Arthur was still trying to convince him they should watch The Empire Strikes Back and not Batman Begins.
“I don’t get what you’re on.” Cobb shook his head. “Christian Bale completely captures the essence of Batman!”
“No, Christian Bale completely captures the look of Batman, but not much else. World’s Greatest Detective my ass. Two movies and he still can’t plan his way out of a wet paper bag. I called the blackmail thing the second we were out of the theater the first time. You were there. And don’t get me started on-”
“Yes, please, don’t start.”
Arthur threw an unpopped kernel at his roommate. “Earth-5 is the only time I have ever been okay with Batman in a world with no other superheroes. The entire point is that Batman is just a man, and he can still take apart the entire Justice League if he had a reason to. God, if Tower of Babel got a decent movie, I would die happy.”
Ariadne sighed, wondering just how pathetic she must be, because Arthur was getting all passionate about a comic book when he could barely remember what SOHCAHTOA stood for and she still wanted to jump his bones. Dom’s girlfriend, Mal, had laughed behind her hand and explained that he only got the dumb around her, which Ariadne had not believed until she’d raised her hand during discussion section and Arthur had dropped his textbook on some guy’s foot trying to say her name.
“Your raging hard-on for Batman aside, when was the last time you saw a movie made in the 21st Century? And the new Star Wars don’t count.”
“I saw most of the Marvel based movies. I don’t know how close they were to the source material, but Iron Man and Daredevil were pretty good.”
The microwave beeped at her, loudly, and if it had had a neck, she could have cheerfully strangled it. Both guys had turned to look, so she waved and was rewarded with a courteous nod (Dom) and a flushed smile (Arthur). “Please, don’t let me interrupt the geekery. I’m going back to my room to watch Gargoyles, so far be it for me to judge you.”
“You want to watch with us?” Cobb asked casually, despite Arthur very pointedly (and not very subtly) elbowing him in the ribs. “We’re watching Batman.” He shot a triumphant squint-smile at his roommate.
“Sure.” Ariadne picked up her dinner and sat down next to Arthur. “I have a weakness for brunettes and science.”
Arthur spent most of the movie watching her out of the corner of his eye.
Arthur, she’d learned when Professor Miles had first introduced him as his T.A., graduated magna cum laude last semester, a triple major (math-physics-comp sci) and the Trogdor shirt he’d been wearing gave him away as an unrepentant, if rather distractingly well-muscled, nerd. She had never been so happy she had difficulties with trigonometry until she’d found out Arthur answered every question, no matter how obvious the solution should have been, and was quite willing to stay past his official office hours to help her. He dismissed her protests and assurances that she could come back tomorrow, hiding behind the notes he’d written out for the assignment.
She learned he had a radio shaped like R2-D2 and it was permanently set on some station hosted by Ryan Seacrest. The only reason no one changed it was because no one could figure out how. She never heard him singing along to whatever Britney or NSYNC single from ten years ago was playing, but he only turned it on when he was grading, so maybe he just couldn’t multitask.
She learned he could not abide Macs, Pepsi, mechanical pencils or Eames(office mate #1), but put up with all of them on a daily basis because well, that was life. She kind of liked Eames, even though he always wore flip-flops(no matter what the weather) and loud shirts, played up his accent just to irritate Arthur when he was trying to help her, and he never missed an opportunity to make wildly inappropriate comments. Ariadne was sure, one time right before midterms, that Eames had gone online, looked up every single math come-on in existence, and rattled them all off to her in the space of one hour, much to Arthur’s annoyance.
Yusuf (office mate #2) was Eames’ roommate and the other international first year grad student. His desk was cluttered with molecule models and anime cat babes. Yusuf was slightly bitter that there hadn’t been enough space in the Chemistry area to give him his own office, but rather than take it out on Arthur or Eames, he simply made it a point to steal all the new Expo markers in the Chem conference room and replace them with the dried out cast-offs no one ever bothered to throw away. With all the pens Yusuf brought back, Ariadne didn’t feel so bad about fully coloring in a Darth Vader doodle and leaving it on the whiteboard for Arthur to find. It was still there, even after finals. And so was she.
Arthur walked in on her recreating an xkcd comic on the other side of a proof once, and let her ramble on, trying to prove she’d actually gotten the punchline without it being explained to her. He hadn’t picked up on the ‘trying-to-impress-you-here’ vibes, possibly because he was too busy trying to keep his eyes in his head. Ariadne determined that the pushup bra, while a worthwhile investment, had not worked nearly as well as Mal said it would.
He kept her company during the Halloween party, convinced her to try Super Smash Bros. with the rest of them, teamed up with her to beat Eames into next month and he let her win without being too obvious about it. She barely noticed the biology guys flirting with her because Arthur’s eyes were fixed on her fishnet/boot combo, and that made her happier than the kiddy pool full of sangria ever could.
He bought her a scarf for Christmas, lit up like the tree when she put it on right there, went white when Eames announced to the entire room that they were under the mistletoe and then bright red when she’d pulled him closer and pressed a kiss on him(he tasted like peppermint). He disappeared after that and she didn’t find out until later he’d gone pub crawling with Eames. Eames delightedly told her it was all her fault; from the tops of her ears down to her wiggly pink toes, she was driving Arthur to drink like an Aston Martin made of distraction. “He’s convinced he’s not your type and you’re only friends with him because he’s better than a pocket calculator. I’d slap him for that, were I you and I cared that a man thought I was shallower than my charming little dimples. He went on about those for a good ten minutes, you know. You really just need to lock him in a broom cupboard until he agrees to bang you like a tin drum.”
Ariadne was very grateful that she spoke French, because Mal preferred to talk in her native tongue, but she and Cobb were still in their attached-at-the-hip phase and had been for as long as anyone could remember, so Ariadne graciously joined them whenever she could(she had gotten very good at dodging other invitations) to provide a bit of estrogen solidarity. Now she wasn’t sure she had any other friends.
Ariadne was very, very grateful that Arthur’s genius did not extend to the humanities, especially romance languages, and more specifically French, otherwise the conversation across from him would probably have had him choking on his Jones soda on a regular basis. Like now, one year to the day since they had met. She, apparently, wasn’t the only who had been counting.
“It’s obvious he likes you, and it gets more obvious with every day. When are you going to put him out of his misery and tell him you like him back?” Mal demanded, picking the mushrooms out of her soup.
“Who?” she shot back mulishly, dipping the lid of her bread bowl into her chili.
“Oh Ariadne, everyone except Arthur knows you just about cream your jeans when he puts his reading glasses on. Eames stole a corner of her brownie. “And everyone including you knows he gets harder than a Japanese rock garden when you do that swishy thing with your hair.
“I heard my name.” Arthur looked up from his book to glare suspiciously at the dessert thief.
“No, you didn’t,” said Ariadne quickly. “Eames has terrible pronunciation. I don’t know who taught him French, but they should be taken out and shot. I’m not even sure what he was trying to say, it was that bad.” She shifted nervously while Mal hid a smile in her mineral water.
“Weren’t you reading that last week?” Eames leaned over to see Arthur’s book, effectively changing the subject. “Cripes, it’s a miracle you ever passed primary school. It even has pictures for you. Surely the man who can get through a treatise on Non-Euclidean Geometry in less than a day can finish The Hobbit over the weekend.”
“I happen to believe the things I enjoy should be savored.” Ariadne prayed to every god she could think of that she had in fact seen Arthur glance in her direction and was not hallucinating in a ditch somewhere.
Eames opened his mouth, undoubtedly to ruin all her chances ever, so she kicked him in the shin. Unfortunately it was Cobb who said “Ow!” as Eames said “Well if you don’t start savoring Ariadne here, some ratty musician is going to come along and get in her knickers and then where will you find someone willing to shag you?”
Ariadne stood, dumped her blue Mountain Dew on Eames’ head, walked over to Arthur, grabbed him by the elbow and dragged him away.
“We really need to talk,” she declared as she pulled, ignoring the very recognizable hooting behind them.
“It’s fine. No one, least of all me, takes him seriously. Eames doesn’t believe a boy and a girl can be friends without sex and he’s an asshole. Don’t worry, I get it.”
“No, Arthur, you really don’t.” She stopped under a tree and faced him. “You like me.”
Arthur snapped out of his stupor(mostly) fairly quickly, considering he’d been so absolutely sure no one knew he was interested in Ariadne. “I- I- well but- yes. I do, but I wasn’t expecting... you don’t have to-”
“Great. I like you too. We should make out.” She took a step toward him.
“But... you can’t...” stammered Arthur, completely unsure of himself and not liking it one bit. “I’m not...”
“You’re not what? Honestly, I like that you listen to bad pop music. I like it that your favorite movie is Star Wars. I like that you've read The Hobbit seven hundred times. Don't you get it? I like you, Arthur. But I don't like you in spite of these things or even because of them. I like you because, when I'm with you, I don't want to be anywhere else.” She looked up at him, eyes dark and soft.
Arthur gaped for a minute before recovering his wits. “You... you said something about making out.”
She flung her arms around his neck. “I did.”
I was a grad student once... and I did have a friend who graduated with three majors...
And that was totally my honest opinion of Nolan's Batman. I did call the blackmail nonsense after we left the theatre, because Batman has his own damn gambit and the lack of planning on his part was simply atrocious. I think I started disliking the movie the second The Girl came onscreen. It just royally buggered the origin story.
Earth-5 is part of DC's Multiverse. Tower of Babel is a JLA comic.
Gargoyles has to be one of my favorite TV shows of all time and I am still upset my brother lost my DVDs.
The Star Wars Franchise is so not my property. Neither are the Marvel superheroes or their respective derivatives.
Trogdor the Burninator is well... consummate vs! yeah... finding Trogdor on Guitar Hero made my life
xkcd is a webcomic I have no control over.
There were a bunch of other things/people I mentioned by name that I have very little to do with. Oh and Inception isn't mine either, but this one I actually respect Christopher Nolan for.
I don't actually know if Eames' pithy phrasing can be translated into French, but Eddie Izzard can do a stand up show in both languages, so why not assume?