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Disclaimer: See Prologue
Quote Credit: There is a tiny quote from the movie Labyrinth in this chapter. I think Jim Henson’s Co, still owns that. I know I sure don’t.
Previous Chapters : Prologue - To Be Or Not To Be - Ch 1 - Slings and Arrows Of Outrageous Fortune ; Ch 2 - Whether 'tis Nobler In The Mind To Suffer ; Ch 3 - To Take Arms Against A Sea Of Trouble ; Ch 4 - To Die, To Sleep No More
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

Enjoy




To Sleep, Perchance To Dream

By Lattelady

Ch 5 - For In That Sleep....

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

Dom put the children to bed after dinner and joined Ariadne and Miles in the older man’s study. He’d barely gotten the doors closed, when he was pulled into an argument that was heating up to boil over.


“You try and talk some sense into her.” His father-in-law scowled, throwing his arms up in disgust.

“This isn’t your classroom, Professor. You can’t tell me what to do,” Ariadne retorted stubbornly. “And as for him...” she sputtered, waving her hand in Cobb’s general direction. “I already know what he thinks.”

“Okay, you two, what the hell is going on?” Dom glared at them both. When he’d left to read a bedtime story to James and Phillipa, Ariadne was jumpy, but contained and Miles was his usual unflappable self. Thirty minutes later they’d been reduced to snarling at each other.

“I’ve been trying to tell him I can’t stay here tonight but he won’t listen.” Ari paced the spacious high-ceilinged room avoiding large male-sized furniture as she tried to work off nervous energy.

“Try telling it to me.” Cobb’s eyes turned ice blue and he leaned his weight against the doors with his hands in his pockets, effectively blocking her exit.

“I can’t stay if you two expect me to try and sleep.” The thought of the damages she could inflict on this already wounded household was more than she could bear. In theory it had been a good idea, one she believed she could live with, but not after meeting his children and seeing the sorrow etched on Miles and Sabine’s faces in private, unguarded moments.

“You insisted on doing things your way once before. This time we’re doing them mine,” his words were slow and dark like smoked caramel sliding against her skin.

“If you and Miles are successful and I am able to fall asleep, do you really want me to wake everyone, screaming in terror?” As she spoke, desperation propelled her across the room until she was inches away from him.

“It’s not going to happen that way,” Dom insisted stubbornly. He was not going to let her get further and further away until she was lost completely. He’d been down that road before.

“I think I know a little bit more about what’s been going on in my life than you do. You’ve been home, healing all your broken...places...I’ve been...I’ve been here just trying to cope...” She saw him flinch from the verbal blow. Her eyes slammed shut and a tremor shook her entire body. She was being unfair and she knew it. The thought effectively cooled her temper but not her determination. “Sorry, that was hitting below the belt. You were where you should have been. Where you were needed the most. But that doesn’t change anything about my situation.”

As much as he wanted to deny her accusation, he knew that he couldn’t. He’d left his children with not so much as a good-bye, a few short months after their mother’s death. He had needed to get back to them, for their sakes as much as his. “Ariadne, please, I know I’m asking a lot after leaving you to fend for yourself for so long but trust me--us,” he quickly corrected himself. “Trust us enough to let us help you, now.” He tipped her face up toward his, hoping she would let go of that damn guarded mask she always hid behind and when she did he found the results devastating.

“I...I’m frightened,” she forced the words out and felt tears fill her eyes at the admission. God she hated to appear weak, but she was so tired. It took all her effort to stay standing.

“I know you are,” he whispered and wrapped his arms around her, forgetting there was anyone else in the room but the two of them. He breathed deeply of the scent of citrus and spice and could picture the neat bottles with the ivory and black labels that he’d found in his shower. If he squinted he could almost see the names...Lime, Basil and something else he couldn’t remember. But for the rest of his life he knew that fragrance would represent reality, Ariadne, and a place where his soul was sheltered.

Elkins sat back and watched the two best students of architecture he’d ever had. Part of him wondered what they were building at that very moment and if they even knew they were doing it. Had the foundation been laid months ago?

He tried to look at them dispassionately, not as the father of Dom’s dead wife. It wasn’t as hard as Miles had expected it to be. He knew there was twelve years difference in their ages. It wasn’t all that much, especially considering Dom Cobb had participated in dream sharing on an almost daily basis for most of his adult life. In those dreams he was capable of lying, cheating, stealing and even killing. In real life he was a far kinder, gentler person. In some ways younger than most men his age or had been until Mal’s suicide. Her death and what must have felt like betrayal had left him trapped in a world that was falling down around him. For two years it had cost him everything and everyone who was dear to him. Now that he was home, Dom appeared to be almost his old self, but was he really, could any man be?

Then there was Ariadne, a talented, bright, and beautiful enigma. As her faculty advisor, Miles had access to her records but he knew little about her beyond the facts that she was an American; who had been orphaned at fourteen, a handful of days after being sent off to boarding school in Lyon; and despite her love of creating, she worshiped truth like others did God. Her beliefs kept her grounded and strong when classmates and friends went off halfcocked but made her old beyond her years. The deep loss she’d suffered in her teens kept her a woman apart. One who wasn’t given to sharing confidences, but it would appear that sometime in those two months, she and Dom had worked together; she’d allowed him in. They’d allowed each other in.

“I’m okay, Cobb, I really am.” She stepped back and smiled sheepishly at Elkins sitting, watching them from the other side of the room.

“You’re not yet, but you will be.” The Englishman nodded with assurance. “Now, why don’t both of you sit down and let’s get started.” He indicated the large leather couch opposite his chair. “Start from the beginning, Ariadne. I want to hear everything that happened.”

It took her a while to tell the story since she was careful to edit out anything that had to do with Mal or the exact nature of the job she’d been recruited for. Cobb added bits and pieces as she went along. He too was wary of mentioning his wife’s name and careful to protect his father-in-law from knowledge that could harm the older man legally should their inception ever be discovered.

“Okay,” Miles frowned. He wasn’t fooled. He was being left in the dark on some matters. “Dominic I’m going to have to trust your experience in shared dreams and believe that nothing was omitted from your stories that would impact Ariadne’s current problem.”

“You have my word.” Cobb leaned forward, unbuttoning his cuffs and rolling them above his wrists, before resting his elbows on spread thighs and his chin on steepled fingers. The action pulled his navy shirt taut across his shoulders. Ari blinked at the familiarity of his movement. How many times had she seen him sit like that, working out a complex problem or simply enjoying the company of the team?

“All right then,” Miles frowned and picked up a folder that had the information on the compounds Yusuf had concocted. “Your chemist was helpful and brilliant, if a bit careless.”

“Was there something in the dream cocktail that is causing my problems?” She didn’t understand how that was possible, since everyone had used it and she was the only member of the team hanging onto her sanity by her fingernails. If that was what he thought, she would believe him. Cobb had told her that Miles Elkins understood more about shared dream theory than anyone alive. She wished she’d known that fact last fall. Talking to him when she returned to Paris, instead of avoiding him, might have saved her months of worry, sleepless nights, and soul grinding fear.

“Dream sharing is a very new science and there is a lot to be learned. Since it takes place in the mind the rules aren’t the same for everyone. I believe that for you, in this instance, there are a number of factors contributing to your issues. You were inexperienced in this kind of dreaming and did it on an almost daily basis for approximately eight weeks with no breaks or time to recoup. The drugs Yusuf used are extremely potent. They had to be to allow you to go as deep as you did, for as long as you did. Which was what, three or four levels down on numerous occasion over the relatively short time span of two months.” Elkins was beginning to wonder if given the depth and frequency of Ari’s dream sequences something more might have happened.

“I’m not sure...I...” Ariadne fumbled uncertain exactly how deep she’d been when she’d invaded Dom’s private dream. Just thinking about that cramped elevator to hell made her head swim.

“Let’s just say she went too deep, too quickly and leave it at that.” The younger man positioned his body between hers and Miles’. It struck him that this wasn’t the first time he’d taken up a protective posture for the slim woman who’d been at his side through so much of the fall. In the past, he’d usually shielded her from his projection of Mal.

“All right,” the older man nodded. He’d seen Ari reach out but not touch Dom’s shoulder. His son-in-law responded by taking her hand in his and guiding it securely behind him in an instinctive gesture to deflect questions away from her. It added weight to Elkins’s earlier theory about the two of them. If he was correct it would make his plan go smoother.

“So, what do I do?” Ari wanted to slid into the corner of the couch, far away from the answer she was sure she wasn’t going to like but Cobb had her pinned in place and wasn’t letting go. “Do I just try and sleep and you guys watch me? Cause if that’s the plan I’d much rather do it in private in my own apartment. My neighbors have gotten used to my nightmares.”

“I’m afraid it isn’t that simple,” Miles spoke gently as he picked up a familiar metal case that had been on the far side of his chair. “We’re going to have to use shared dreaming to take you back to the level where your sleep cycle was impaired and kick start it.”

“No,” she gasped and wrenched free of the large hand that was holding hers. “No. There has to be another way.”

“There isn’t any other way we can think of.” Cobb turned to her, his face filled with concern.

“You knew. You’ve known all day and brought me here anyway,” she accused, kneeling beside him to give herself added height and in her mind strength.

“Ariadne,” Miles interceded. “We’re not going to force you, but I don’t know of anything else that will help. It isn’t simply the fact that damage was done to your sleep cycle last fall. You exacerbated it when you returned to Paris. You didn’t sleep--”

“I couldn’t sleep.” Her delicate hands moved quickly as she spoke. “There was never any choice.” Ari’s eyes flared as she tried not to remember the pain of those first interminable nights alone.

“All right then, you couldn’t sleep,” the Professor agreed gently. “But it wasn’t helped when you crowded your schedule, adding more and more pressure to your already overstressed system. We need to go back to the beginning, where the damage originated, otherwise it will be no better than putting tape on a festering wound. It is essential that you not only sleep but are able to dream again.”

“Damn.” She rubbed her eyes like a sleepy child, wishing their argument didn’t make so much sense. A quote from a childhood movie ran through her head. ‘The way forward is sometimes the way back.’

“Ariadne, it won’t be like before---” Dom tried to reassure her but he knew that there were no real assurances he could give. They were going to travel the highways of their minds and one thing he’d learned, was to expect the unexpected.

“Stop it.” She held up her hands in an attempt to feel in control of something. “You’re correct, of course.” She turned toward Miles and tried to smile. “I’ll go in with you, Professor.”

“Not me, Dominic,” he spoke as soothingly as possible. “You’ve dreamed with him before. It’s the easiest, safest way.” Elkins strongly believed that his son-in-law needed this almost as much Ariadne. He knew the man was sleeping, but doubted he had more than the occasional whisper of a dream. That didn’t bode well for continued long-term improvement.

“Dom, I can’t ask you to do that.” She shook her head, surprised that the older man would even suggest it. “Your children, they’re real, not phantom projections used to fool you. I can’t let you take that risk.”

“You’re not asking or letting, I’m volunteering. I had a good idea what was going to be needed when I boarded that plane yesterday.” He turned toward her on the couch holding out his hand. The decision was hers. “But if you don’t trust me, then Miles is willing to be the architect instead.”

“Just...just give me a minute to think.” It was too much for her tired mind to absorb all at once, so she broke it into chunks that made sense. She couldn’t imagine sharing a dream where Dom Cobb wasn’t one of the participants. The offer of sleep was seductive to her exhausted psyche. But if they got lost... “We’ve done it before,” she added almost as if talking to herself.

“That’s right.” He smiled, giving her encouragement.

“And we got out. Both of us got out.” She shivered at the memory of leaping off that last level to initiate the kick that would take her back up to the snowy hospital. All the time she’d been falling she’d had the impression of old, forgotten thoughts buffeting against her back from far below.

“We did.” Dom agreed, letting her work her way to the answer. This was one area where he wouldn’t push or manipulate the outcome. He was done with inception. It had to be her decision and hers alone.

“Okay,” the word came out on breath and she took his hand for one quick moment. “We’ll do it.”

“All right then, get comfortable, lets get started.” Miles set the case on the couch beside them. “I’m using a compound far less potent that your friend Yusuf’s. There is very little sedative involved since this is a stable dream, one you both enter willingly. We’ll start with five minutes, which is one hour dream time and see what happens.” As he talked he inserted an IV in first Dom’s arm and than in Ariadne’s.

“Wait, what are we supposed to do in this dream? What’s the plan?” She gripped Elkins’s hand preventing him from administering the compound that would put them to sleep.

“That’s very simple, my dear, I expect you to find someplace comfortable and sleep, both of you,” he added for Dom’s benefit. “You both need to sleep and hopefully dream. The long term plan is that eventually, after we’ve gone deep enough and figured this all out, you’ll be able to sleep and dream on your own.” He pushed the plunger rendering first Cobb and than Ari unconscious.

“That’s the plan for both of you,” he muttered as the two young people slumped against one another.

To Ch 6 - ....What Dreams May Come

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
moonlight1314
Nov. 9th, 2010 10:16 pm (UTC)
No one has commented yet?! That makes me a bit sad to see such a great chapter with no comments... but never fear I shall comment on FF when I get the chance! ;D The Dom/Miles tag-teamish thing I enjoyed as I also did with the little hug between our two favorite characters. :D Protect!Dom is just awesome the way you write him (so in character). Its delightful! This whole entire story. I'm really liking the way you are having Miles and Sabine come into the realization that maybe there is something there too. Its like in baking and you add just a hint of something to make the item taste that much better... only apply that to your story if you can. Now then sorry 'bout the rambling! Keep up the awesome work! Onwards! *clicks for chapter 6*
lattelady6
Nov. 10th, 2010 02:23 am (UTC)
Go on, ramble all you like. I love it.

I'm glad I'm keeping Dom in character. It's hard to know how he would react if given the time to grieve.
moonlight1314
Nov. 10th, 2010 03:22 am (UTC)
I thought he had had time to grieve? I'm sorry but I think I lost you one this one... (I can't be a bit slow at times with this sort of thing). Or are you talking about Miles?

And then if you give the okay to ramble I shall try to convince myself to do so.

PS. Love the icon. That is a great manip!
lattelady6
Nov. 10th, 2010 05:27 am (UTC)
I can't take credit die the icon. It's credited in my icon list.
moonlight1314
Nov. 10th, 2010 03:04 pm (UTC)
Not to sound rude or mean, but I figured it might have been from someone else. I was just thinking it might have been from wickedandcruel since you use so much of their fabulous art (that and almos 80% of livejournalist don't use their own icons). :D I'll be sure to check it out though. Even if I don't use the icons they are still nice to look at.
( 5 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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