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Disclaimer: Does not belong to me. I’m not that inventive, but I wish I were.
Rating M: PG13
Pairing : Dom Cobb and Ariadne
Note I : I’ve given Ariadne the last name of Bishop, since when she picked a totem she chose that particular chess piece. As she said, it was an elegant solution. It’s even more elegant if it were her last name
I’ve chosen the last name of Elkins for Miles as a salute to Michael Caine in Alfie.
The children’s grandmother, Miles’ wife is named Sabine.
Timeline : Seven months after the team left LAX and the movie ended.
Credits: The title is taken from William Shakespeare’s Hamlet Act 3, Scene I – the Prince’s famous soliloquy.
Note II: I’ve never been to France and the only thing I know about architecture, beyond my personal preferences, is what I’ve learned from the Internet. Any errors on either subject are mine due to faulty research.
Art Credit: All the amazing art found in this story is done by wickedandcruel. The ordinals and many more lovely pieces can be found at her Tumblr more lovely pictures here

Enjoy


To Sleep, Perchance To Dream




By Lattelady

Prologue ~ To Be Or Not To Be

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As the days tuned into weeks and the weeks into months, Ariadne often wondered if that trip from Sydney to Los Angeles and the eight weeks leading up to it had really happened. Was it simply a dream chasing a dream? The kind she’d occasionally had as a child. The kind where she woke-up wondering if she was dreaming the same thing over and over again; or was it a single illusion dredged up by her sleeping mind to play tricks on her waking one? If it had really happened, was she still sleeping or was she awake and destined to always wonder what was real and what wasn’t? As a person who preferred to be firmly grounded in the here and now, she was finding it hard to cope.

When there were doubts, she reached in her pocket and slid her fingers along the smooth gentle slopes of her totem or held it tightly in her fist, savoring its weight and mass until she felt a wave of reassurance sweep through her. Then she knew that her bishop was real, she was real, the men were real, everything that had happened was real, and she was awake, in Paris and despite all the people around her, the City of Lights had never felt so lonely.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Ch 1 – Slings and Arrows of Outrageous Fortune



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The ringing of his cell phone woke Dom Cobb out of a sound sleep. Disoriented he grabbed for the device and pressed it to his ear. “‘Lo,” his mumbled greeting carried the slow rough edges of dreams.

“Damnit all, Dom, you gave me your word that she’d be safe.”

“Miles, what the hell.” Even half-asleep he found it easier to be angry with his father-in-law than to listen to accusations that he’d been expecting for almost three years. He’d never promised to keep Mal safe, but he’d always assumed it was an unspoken part of their marriage vows. “It’s two in the morning.”

“Hmm, you don’t say,” the older man’s clipped British accent made his words short and concise, underlying the tight rein he had on his temper. Professor Miles Elkins was a brilliant man. The nine-hour time difference between Paris and Los Angeles hadn’t slipped his mind. He simply hadn’t given a damn. His eyes glittered with anger as he paced and slowly circled the incredible building model that he’d found taking up most of the space in his office, when he’d returned from a meeting. Though the project and accompanying thesis report were signed, he didn’t need to look at the signature to know which student from his master’s level seminar in Emerging Practices in Architecture had created it.

“Can’t we have this conversation at a time that’s civilized for both of us?” Not once since Mal’s death, had her father been anything but compassionate toward his son-in-law. Was Cobb’s two years of guilt resurfacing after seven months of peace or was he dreaming? He knew he had been moments before the phone rang...or at least it felt like he had been... The thought made his hand itch to reach for his totem.

“No we can not. You owe me an explanation.” The older man squinted as if he was looking into the not so distant past.

“There’s nothing I can tell you that you don’t already know.” Dom spoke the truth. The missing piece to the puzzle to his wife’s death was too much for him to talk about. Only one living person knew his deepest secret and he’d told it to her four levels down in a shared dream. Had she said something to Miles?

It had been seven months since Cobb had walked away from that plane at LAX. Seven months since the inception that had set him free so he could live wherever he liked and be with his children. Seven months since he’d accepted his part in Mal’s suicide and finally let her go. Was it all coming back to haunt him?

“You can tell me why you broke your word and took my brightest and best on that last job of yours. You promised me you only needed her skills as an architect to build the levels of the dreams and teach them to the dreamers.”

“I thought...wait...you’re talking about...Ariadne,” Cobb whispered her name. He knew he couldn’t explain her stubborn insistence to go along despite the dangers, any more than he could explain his mystifying need to have her by his side? He didn’t understand it himself.

“My God, Dom she isn’t Mal. What were you thinking? The teams I built had intensive training that included debriefings by professionals after each shared dream. You and my daughter were part of that program. Even with all the built-in precautions, it still ended...so very...badly.” Miles sighed, suddenly feeling old and weary. He blamed himself for his only child’s suicide and the two years Dom had spent on the run. As Team Leader for America’s Defense Department’s Shared Dreaming Program, Operation Nighthawk, he should have anticipated the problems that had caused the endeavor to be disbanded and brought such sorrow to his family.

“What happened to her?” Cobb felt a cold wind blow against his skin and behind his closed lids he could see sheer ivory curtains billowing around an open window. “Is Ariadne all right?”

“I don’t know what happened.” Half a world away Professor Elkins slumped into his desk chair. “But something is definitely wrong. She won’t talk to me, Dom. She has avoided me since after our initial meeting when Sabine and I returned from L.A. months ago. All she’d tell me about the job she did for you was that she was your architect and that she was needed on the plane. She never told me she went in with you. After that, scheduled meetings were reduced to text messages. Her excuse was always the same: she’d gotten behind and was busy working on her final project. When blueprints and notes were handed in, they were late and come by messenger. Just before I called you, I check the security records and she has been working in the lab most nights, though no one has seen her in months. Given the number of hours she’s logged, I don’t know when or if she’s sleeping.”

“Miles, is-she-all-right?” The younger man stressed each word thought gritted teeth.

“I don’t think so, but I just don’t know,” Elkins sighed. “When I got out of my meeting this morning she’d texted me to go to my office. I found her final project taking up what little space is allotted me. It was due three days ago.” He shrugged as if this was the norm for a woman who had always considered punctuality a way of life. “It’s...it’s amazing, like something out of a dream but real. I need to check her math and construction layouts more carefully, but I’m sure it could be built, though the cost would be astronomical. The thing that frightens me about it is that this is completely different from the prints and updates she’d been sending me. Something is very wrong or she wouldn’t have hidden it. Please help me, Dom, I don’t want her to end up like---”

“Stop,” Cobb cut him off before he could say the name both men were thinking. “James and Phillipa won’t be awake for a few more hours. With luck we can get a flight out today. Do you think Sabine would be willing to watch them for a short time?”

“She’d be delighted, we miss our grandchildren. All three of you are welcome to stay at our home anytime. You know that.”

“Miles, one other thing. If I can track down a friend of mine, a chemist, I’m going to have him email you some information that might be helpful.”

“All right, whatever you think best. Let me know what flight you’ll be taking and I’ll meet you at de Gaulle. It won’t be an easy trip with two little ones.”

“I’m not leaving them behind ever again,” Dom insisted.

“I didn’t think you would. Have a good flight,” Miles sighed and closed his cell phone. He worried about the day the younger man discovered that no matter how careful; a father could only do so much to protect his offspring. In the end he had to let them follow a path of his or her own choosing, no matter how destructive.

Elkins sat staring at Ariadne’s final project, dreading what was coming. Light from his one window reflected off miniature Plexiglas walls encased in supplely bent metal. “I bet this was made out of crystal and aged platinum in your dreams,” he speculated aloud. “That is if you’re even capable of dreaming anymore.” Worry replaced contemplation at that thought and he quickly packed her thesis report and blueprints in his briefcase and headed out the door.

Twenty minutes later he arrived home. His wife was working in her rose garden. He stood in the door watching her. To him she was as beautiful as she’d been on the day they’d met. Still tall and slim, Sabine Elkins moved with a dancer’s steady grace. She was ten years younger than her husband, and up until the death of their only child almost three years earlier, had looked far younger than that.

“Miles, what are you doing home---” She shaded her eyes with her hand to get a better look at his face. What she saw frightened her. “What’s happened?” she gasped.

“Dom called.” He moved to her side and helped her stand. “They’re fine, all three of them are fine.”

“Then that’s good, that he called.” Sabine pulled off her gardening gloves and dropped them into the basket that carried her spade and scissors. “He’s been...avoiding us...well me actually,” her voice broke in pain.

“Oh, my dear, he doesn’t blame you,” Miles held her close, running one hand up and down her back and the other through her short ginger curls.

“He should.” She fought back. “I should have seen. I should have known. It was my job. I was one of the team psychologists. And then when Mal died and he had to run, I said terrible things to him, accused him of staying away from his children deliberately.”

“Hush now. That’s the past, Sweetheart.” He rocked her gently feeling as responsible for his daughter’s death as wife did. “He and the children are coming to Paris. He needs our help.”

They went into the kitchen and over tea Miles told Sabine everything he knew about what had happened between Dominic Cobb and Ariadne Bishop. “I know I promised you that I’d never have anything to do with shared dreaming, again,” he concluded. “But you weren’t there. You didn’t see the desperate hope on Dom’s face when he asked for my help.”

“No, I was in America, being difficult.” It had been more than that. She had left Miles because he’d believed in their son-in-law. When Mal committed suicide it had been easier for Sabine to accept that her child had been murdered than to admit her own culpability—that her daughter had been mentally unstable and she’d missed it. She’d stood by stubbornly and done nothing when the US government had classified all the information on Operation Nighthawk, making it impossible for Dom to mount a defense. The Defense Department had gotten him out of the country and she believed turned a blind eye to most of his actions around the globe, but they’d refused to allow his children to leave the States.

“My dear, we, all three of us have carried guilt for Mal’s death far too long. Mistakes were made, but at the time, we didn’t know...we couldn’t have foreseen...We need to set her free and ourselves as well,” Miles sighed. “Maybe this is how we can do it. We help Dom, help Ariadne.”

“Complete the circle?” Sabine smiled sadly.

“Something like that.”

Ch 2 - Whether 'tis Nobler In The Mind To Suffer

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
thursdays_girl
Aug. 31st, 2010 04:21 am (UTC)
Commenting here as well (Strangelittleswirl on ffnet) because I really do love this. You capably explain quite a bit within a small space of text.

And I love, love Ariadne's last name. Just like you said, simple but elegant.
lattelady6
Aug. 31st, 2010 04:46 am (UTC)
Thank you so much. I love that you think I get a lot into a few words, usually I am accused of being exceptionally wordy.

LOL about Ariadne's last name. I think simple and elegant is a quote from the movie. When I was choosing a last name for her, I tried to figure out why she picked a bishop. It all fell into place from there.


P
(Deleted comment)
lattelady6
Sep. 2nd, 2010 02:54 am (UTC)
I'm glad you like it. I've got a few more chapters up.
qiushuwen
Sep. 4th, 2010 02:27 am (UTC)
I think you've got a very solid foundation here for your story - onto Ch.2!
lattelady6
Sep. 4th, 2010 09:15 pm (UTC)
Thanks. I know this first part was short, but finding good story breaks was hard.
moonlight1314
Nov. 9th, 2010 10:04 pm (UTC)
You have my interested piqued... that and I'm a sucker for Hamlet! XD Its good and I can't wait to read more! :D Though I already have and am coming back to comment! Please keep up the great work!
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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Quotes

The moving finger writes: and having writ Moves on. nor all your piety nor wit Shall lure it back to cancal half a line, Nor all your tears wash out a word of it...The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

If I quiet the voices in my head, I would face the day with nothing to write. - Unknown

I must go down to the seas again the lonely sea and sky...J Masefield

Cinderella walked on broken glass,
Sleeping beauty let a whole lifetime pass.
Belle fell in love with a hideous beast,
Jasmine married a common thief.
Ariel walked on land for love and life,
Snow white barely escaped a knife.
It was all about blood, sweat, and tears.
Because love means facing your biggest fears


The heart has its reasons that reason knows nothing of...French Proverb

I have drempt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after. They've gone through me like wine through water and altered the colour of my mind ...E. Bronte

To love someone deeply gives you strength. Being loved by someone deeply gives you courage...Lao Tzu

It takes chaos to give birth to a dancing star ..F. Nietzsche

How many loved your moments of glad grace, and loved your beauty with love false or true? But one man loved the pilgrim Soul in you, and loved the sorrows of your changing face...Yeats

Let us go, you and I, when the evening is spread out against the sky...T. S. Eliot

In that book which is my memory, on the first page of the chapter, that is the day when I first met you, appears the words, "here begins a new life".
La Vita Nuova

Midnight courage of the heart...Jen Kirkwood

The three o-clock in the morning courage which Bonaparte thought was the rarest...Thoreau

Did you say it? I love you; I don't ever want to live without you; you changed my life. Did you say it?
Make a plan, set a goal, work toward it, but every now and then, look around, drink it in, 'cause this is it. It might all be gone tomorrow. - Meredith Grey

Shakespeare is easy, life is hard...Wheels

Don't try to be a great man, just be a man. Let history make up its own mind...Z.Cochron

I had a job to do and I was unafraid...Jack to John Creighton

For I dipt into the future, as far as the human eye could see. Saw the vision of the world, and the wonders that can be...RWW Hipwell

Without diviation from the norm, progress is impossible...F. Zappa

The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea, In a beautiful pea-green boat: They took some honey and plenty of money, Wrapped up in a five-pound note. The Owl looked up to the stars above, and sang to a small guitar...E Lear

Sweet and low, sweet and low, Wind of the western sea, Low, low, breathe and blow, Wind of the western sea! Over the rolling waters go, Come from the dying moon and blow, Blow him again to me;... Tennison

Charmed magic casements, opening on the foam
Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn... Keats

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