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Credits and Disclaimer : See Prologue
Previous Chapters : Prologue and Chapter 1
Art Credit: All the amazing art found in this story is done by wickedandcruel. The originals and many more lovely pieces can be found at her Tumblr Your Own Destiny





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

By Lattelady
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Seven months out and Ariadne was finally understanding the price she'd paid for her daring adventure: somewhere in that multilayered trance she'd changed. She sighed and put her chess piece back in the pocket of her jacket. The problem with reality was, unlike a dream, it couldn't be revised or bent...or repeated. It left her, a woman who had always prized the truth, longing for moments of fantasy.

Chilly winds blew off the Seine and danced through her hair, making her shiver but she didn't care. It was finally spring after the longest, wettest, dullest winter she could remember. The sun was out, though it was a pale version of Paris's unique natural light. She assumed it was the architect in her that caused her to see colors, angles, shadows and energy in any city she'd ever visited and then judge its buildings based on sunlight and shade.

The thought made her almost smile but instead she returned her attention to her sketchbook. In her drawings she had complete control over what she created, laws of physics didn't exist there. It was the one place she allowed herself such extravagances. It was almost as if...no, she shook her head, refusing to continue that thought. It would only cause her to reach for her totem again.
.......................................................

From a distance a tall dark-blonde man watched the small chestnut-haired woman as she bent over her sketches, oblivious to the world around her. Dominic Cobb had found Ariadne Bishop exactly where he knew she would be, sitting on a bench by the Pont Royal Bridge.

As he moved toward her, he studied her carefully. She drew with quick energy, totally absorbed in what she was doing. It brought back memories of the last time they’d been to this bridge. She had been caught in the first heady joys of creating in a shared dream and he had been her tour guide. The cynical part of him believed he'd been Virgil to her Dante because he'd definitely taken her through all the rings of hell.

From a distance she looked the same, but up close, he could see that something was different. He couldn't put his finger on the changes but he knew they were real and that there was nothing positive about them. Miles had been right to call him.

Standing beside her bench, he smiled and called her name, "Ariadne."

His softly spoken word caused her to freeze like a hunted animal. She was sure she was hearing a voice from a dream and acknowledged it the only way she could. She reached stealthy into her picket and pulled out her weighted gold tone bishop, letting it tip onto the bench beside her. Its sound and speed were correct, making her doubt everything. Determined not to allow her feelings to show, she turned slowly, her face a careful mask as she examined the man, she believed to be a projection, standing beside her.

"Cobb?" his name tumbled unbidden from her lips.

"I'm real. You can put that thing away." He nodded toward her totem unable to look away from her.

She gave him a shrewd look and carefully knocked over her bishop a second time. Her expression and actions were so typical of the independent woman he'd known seven months earlier that he would have laughed, if fear and exhaustion hadn't clouded her deep brown eyes.

"Thank God," she gasped when she was finally convinced. A split second later she was off the bench and into his arms, her totem gripped tightly in her right hand. Ariadne knew that any other member of the team would have received the same greeting, but with Dom Cobb it was different. It meant something. It shouldn't have but shouldn't's had disappeared in Ari's world about the same time he had taught her how to erase couldn't's.

Dom pulled her closer, leaning slightly to rest his chin on her head. For a moment it felt wrong. His muscle memory instinctively reached for a taller, rounder woman until the familiar light fragrance of citrus and spice tickled his nose. It was a scent he didn't realize he had noticed before but it righted his world. It brought with it memories of a woman who had insisted on followed him into the depths hell; and when he'd lacked the emotional strength had slain his personal succubus.

"Ariadne," he whispered and buried his nose in her hair. He breathed deeply, attempting to memorize the light perfume that was so different from Mal's.

"Yeah, it's me, Cobb." She pulled back but he held her by the elbows so he didn't lose contact with her. "You're looking good, younger. Maybe it's the lack of your perpetual frown."

"I wish I could say the same about you." Scowling, he ran his fingers along the dark smudges under her eyes. "You look like hell."

"Thanks a lot." She shrugged out of his one-handed embrace and pulled back from his touch while turning away so he couldn't study her face with those probing blue eyes. "I've been busy. You know how it is during that last term and I had gotten behind..."

He stepped closer and cupped her shoulders. "Has it been very bad for you?" he whispered and felt her tremble under his hands.

"Things could have been better," she admitted. "I've been so busy. I never thought I'd get everything completed..."

"Stop it." His grip tightened and he pulled her against him. The back of her head skimmed his shoulder and her hair trailed over his chest. "One thing I could always count on you for was the truth, no matter how bad the situation."

She sighed and leaned against him, letting him support her weight, too tired to carry on the farce no matter how much her pride demanded it. "Yeah, it's been bad. What gave me away?"

"I could understand exhaustion but I've never seen you afraid, until you looked up and saw me standing next to you." He turned her gently until he she was facing him. Her skin was still porcelain clear but much paler than he remembered. Her hair still waved smoothly around her face but it had lost much of its luster. Where before she'd stood straight, defying anyone to call her short, now there was a tired slump to her shoulders. "What has you so frightened?"

"I...ah..." She looked around her, anywhere but directly at him. "I'm having a little trouble knowing when things are real and when they aren't."

"How long since you've slept?"

"I'm able to catch small amounts here and there." Ariadne shrugged it off as if it were nothing and forced her gaze back to his.

"What about dreams? Can you still dream?" Blue eyes looked deeply into brown ones.

"Occasionally, for short periods of time. Then I feel myself falling and I wake up. Can't seem to lose the kick." She shivered hoping Dom would assume it was from the damp wind gusting off the Seine and not her memories of waking alone and screaming his name in terror, begging him to wake her up.

"Come on, you're coming with me." He reached for her sketchpad but she pulled it out of his hands and slipped it into her messenger bag. "Stop giving me a hard time," he insisted. "We need to talk somewhere where you'll be warm," Cobb growled at the games she was playing. He wasn't fooled. His little architect was cold, but it was fear that had caused her to tremble beneath his touch.

Ariadne sighed as she went with him. Dom Cobb's frown was back in place, though somehow he still appeared younger than she remembered.

Ch 3 - To Take Arms Against A Sea Of Troubles

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
qiushuwen
Sep. 4th, 2010 02:32 am (UTC)
Their interaction comes across as really natural and in character. :)
lattelady6
Sep. 4th, 2010 09:16 pm (UTC)
It's good to know I'm staying in character, it really helps,
moonlight1314
Nov. 9th, 2010 10:06 pm (UTC)
Awss... XD "His little architect was cold-" *grins* I really can't wait to get more and more! Very in character in my opinion. Please keep up the awesome work! :D
lattelady6
Nov. 10th, 2010 01:54 am (UTC)
Thank you so much. I'm glad this story is working for you.
( 4 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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