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Disclaimer: See Prologue Poem Disclaimer: The verse Cobb recites is from The Owl And The Pussy-Cat by Edward Lear. I own a copy of it but nothing else.
Rating PG13
Pairing: Dom Cobb and Ariadne Bishop
Beta : Huge thanks to Vashti. Any remaining errors are mine, she did a great job.
Note: : Not as intense as the last chapter but I think you’ll like it. And yes, people there will be a part four to this.
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 ; Ch 5 - For In That Sleep.... ; Ch 6 - ....What Dreams May Come ; Ch 7 - The Heartache and The Thousand Natural Shocks ; Ch 8 - The Undiscovered Country - Pt I ; Ch 9 - The Undiscovered Country - Pt II
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

To Sleep, Perchance To Dream

By Lattelady

Ch 10 – The Undiscovered Country – Part III


“Ariadne, it’s Dom.” He identified himself as he knocked on her bedroom door. “May I come in?”

“Sure, door’s unlocked,” she called out. “I just need to find...” her voice trailed off as she looked up from the floor where she was kneeling beside her suitcase, searching for something to cover the tank top of her pajamas. “You’re ready? That was fast.” She’d never seen him dressed so casually, even when she’d invaded his dream. Tonight he was wearing sweatpants, a tee shirt with his light denim button-down flapping open and he was barefoot.

"Phillipa and James are asleep and Miles is set-up down the hall." Cobb nodded his head toward the bedroom he was using. "It's time we got started."

"Are you sure we shouldn't be doing this in the study." While they’d been gone that afternoon, Sabine and Miles had rearranged the furniture in Dom's room so his bed was against the wall.

"I don't know about you but I wasn't looking forward to another night on that couch." He leaned one shoulder against the doorframe with his hands in his pockets studying her. Something was bothering her.

"Neither was I." She met his gaze and refused to look away, no matter how much she wanted to. "But what if I wake up screaming again? Your children don't need anymore trauma in their lives."

"That's not going to happen. Once those two are sleeping, nothing disturbs them. The problem is getting them to hold still long enough to fall asleep in the first place." He saw the worry she was trying to hide flash across her face and joined her on the floor beside her case.

"I woke Sabine last night." She looked down unable to meet his steady blue gaze. It was easier to reach for a red silk blouse from her neatly folded clothes, than to admit how exposed it made her feel that everyone knew, that everyone had heard her at her weakest. It didn't help her composure that he was sitting so near she could feel the heat radiating off his body. His presence and what it did to her were an entirely different set of problems.

"That was before Miles figured out how to keep your built-in kick under control. After that you were fine. You made it through the worst part of the night, the transition between shared dreaming and natural sleep with no problems. Tonight won't be any different. I'll keep you anchored like I did before. The only difference is that neither of us will have a sore back or neck muscles that are tied in knots tomorrow morning."

"Are you sure this is a good idea?” anxiety made her voice crack and her fingers dug deeper into the soft material she was holding.

"Ahhh, now I understand." He covered her hands with one of his and ran his thumb over her tense knuckles. "You're embarrassed."

"Well of course I am." She glared at how calm he appeared. "It's awkward getting into bed with a man while his father-in-law is in the same room."

"And I didn't make it any easier on you with our conversation this afternoon." Dom kept gently caressing her tense fingers, hardly realizing he was doing it.

"No...Yes...I don't know," she sighed and let her blouse drop so, she could grip his insistent hand that was slowly driving her crazy. "I appreciated the honesty but you're right, it makes it harder when I'm dressed like this or rather undressed like this." She felt his eyes travel over her bare shoulders, loose tank top and light blue pajama bottoms.

"I can see what you mean," he muttered, reaching for her shoulder and running the thin strap of her top between his thumb and forefinger.

"Please, don't," her voice shook, and her shoulder arched away from his touch. "You’re not making this easy but I’ll be damned if I'll wear my clothes to bed like...like...some nervous child," she snapped because that was exactly how she felt.

He saw the slight flush on her cheeks and the bewildered look in her eyes. It brought home exactly what she’d meant when she’d said she didn't let people get close to her; and the importance of the fact that he'd won her trust and she'd allowed him in. Dom wasn’t about to lose that. He was glad he'd had the forethought to wear sweatpants instead of the much thinner pajama bottoms he usually wore. The last thing Ari needed was a morning surprise that he couldn't prevent.

"Ariadne, I want you to feel safe," the words were hushed and gentle between them. "I've pushed you fast and hard. I deliberately rushed you, when you packed. I was afraid if you had time to think it through, you'd change your mind. My one goal was getting you to Miles and Sabine. I was terrified that history might repeat itself, even if, at the time, I didn't realize how bad things were for you." He slipped out of his denim button-down. "Put this on."

"It's yours.” She blinked surprised by the gesture.

"Yeah," he nodded. "It's clean and will be more comfortable than sleeping in that silk thing."

"That blouse fits." She held the denim shirt up to her shoulders. She and Dom were sitting so close, its tails covered their thighs.

"An extra layer, even if it is a bit large, never hurt at times like these."

"And how much experience do you have with times like these, Cobb?" She deliberately used his last name to put further emotional distance between them and he let her because it defused the tension between them, allowing her to put on the shirt.

"This exact situation?" He grinned and helped her by rolling up the sleeve to uncover her hands. "Actually none. You're right, sharing a bed with a woman while Miles watches gives me the creeps."

"Thanks, that’s just what I needed to hear." She rolled her eyes and tried to keep a straight face but lost out to giggles as she fastened the buttons down her front.

"Much better." He sat back on his heels checking her out from head to toe. Not only was she well covered but the atmosphere was lightened considerably.

"This is kinda comfortable. Like wearing my father's shirt for finger painting in kindergarten." She grinned at him.

"I'm not your father," he growled.

"No, no you're not." She shook her head at how careless she'd gotten around Dom Cobb. She'd spent a year in therapy talking about every aspect of her parents' sudden loss and never wanted to mention it again. It led to questions and sympathy and things she'd dealt with years earlier.

The odd look on his face sent her searching for an evasive maneuver. "Look, there's even a place for me to keep my totem." She played with the right pocket flap and reached for her bishop. "That is unless you were planning on keeping yours there. If that’s why you were wearing it, you can have it back."

"No, I keep it here.” He patted his hip pocket as he stood and looked down at her. “You about ready?”

“Yeah,” she sighed relieved that he hadn't noticed that she'd deftly changed the subject. But for one moment she felt odd, almost like she was falling and there was something from a long ago memory, a scent, a perfume, almost like roses?

"Ari where'd you go?" Dom stood in front of her with his hand out.

"I...a...guess I'm more worried about tonight than I thought." She took his hand and let him pull her to her feet. “It can't be too bad, whatever we find down there?” She looked to him for reassurance.

“Whatever it is, we’ll deal with it together.” Cobb gave into the urge and touched her cheek. She'd gone to some hidden place and it was evident she didn't want him following, maybe he'd have better luck in their shared dreaming.

“Thanks for understanding.” She wrapped her fingers around his wrist and leaned into his hand where it cupped her cheek. “I mean, for understanding all of it.” In that moment she knew he did. He was well aware how nervous she was about spending the night sleeping beside him and Miles didn't have a damn thing to do with it.

“Do you remember the plan from this morning?” Miles Elkins looked back and forth between the two young people. Ari was on the bed with one leg curled beneath her. The other stretched out almost touching Dom, who was sitting with one hand resting on the mattress beside her ankle. It was an oddly protective position, as if his son-in-law felt it necessary to be between Ariadne and the rest of the world.

“Yes, first level is like last night, but instead of sleeping, we enter a second shared dream. This time it’s Ari’s dream. I’ve constructed a large empty room that hopefully she will fill with projections. If she doesn’t we go through a door and there will be a replica of where we are sleeping one level up, except I've changed one item so we know where we are. When we get there, if we get there, we sleep." Cobb gave an abbreviated version of their morning discussion.

“Very good.” The Professor nodded. “Do you have any questions, Ariadne?”

“No, none, lets just get on with it.” She gripped her totem through the shirt she was wearing. It kept her from giving into the storm of anxiety that was brewing inside of her.

"I’ve got one. How deep can we go without using sedatives?" As much as Dom hoped this would be solved tonight, it seemed too easy. "The combination of strong medication and numbers of layers causes the brain to speed up so that by the time we're three layers down minutes pass like years."

"You are correct in your correlation between thought processes and strong sedatives but we aren’t using them in this case. You won't need anything beyond the very short acting one that puts you and Ariadne into the first dream." Miles explained. "This may be an extraction of sorts but very different from the kind you’re used to. We're not trying to force Ari into revealing well guarded information, simply seeking a truth that is hiding from her."

"You're sure?" Cobb probed. He’d ended up in limbo twice and he wasn’t taking any chances. Neither he nor Ariadne were in any shape to deal with being lost for decades.

"Very, but to be on the safe side I'll set the timer for four minutes tonight." Elkins redid his calculations. "With the medications I’m using you’ll have twelve minutes of dreaming for every one up here." He pointed to the bed. “Each level down your dream time will double.”

"Only double? That doesn't seem right." Ari was surprised. “That means forty-eight minutes on the first level and ninety-six on the second.”

"It's the sedatives that cause the problems. We are able to do this without them, because you’re helping us, my dear." Miles needed to know she understood. “I’m sure Dominic has told you that shared dreaming was originally developed as a tool for the US military. Soldiers dreamed war games making them feel authentic. We learned early on that anything of that scope and magnitude required much deeper sleep than normal. What we're doing here is a unique situation, no physical violence, no manipulations, or tricks.”

“Okay, I get it. I’ll do my best, I promise. Can we just get on with it?” her voice came out strident with a hint of agitation she was trying to hide.

Cobb saw her eyes darken with nerves and lay down on his right side with his arm stretched out against her pillow. “Come here.” He nodded toward his shoulder. “Like last night, remember?” he kept his voice calm and soothing so she didn’t panic.

Ariadne took a shallow breath and slipped under the covers, lying down beside him. He pulled her closer so her back was pressed tightly against his chest, allowing him to tuck his body around hers. “I’ve got you. You’re safe,” he whispered unsure if he was reassuring her about what they might find in her dreams or about his close physical presence.

“I need your left hands.” Miles started an IV in each of them. “Now get comfortable.” He watched them shift so Dom’s arm was around Ari and their left hands resting on the far side of the bed, next to her shoulder, fingers brushing. Moments later they were both asleep.

"Ariadne," she felt her name rumble against her back. "We're in." Dom leaned over her to be sure she wasn't having any problems on the first level.

"It looks just like it did last night." She saw the expanse of white wall, unbroken except for a large round window in an aged copper frame. It was set high on the wall, between wooden beams of the dormered ceiling. "You even included the lighted lantern on the nightstand."

"Miles said to keep it the same." Cobb shifted slightly. "And we'll need light to set up the equipment. You stay right where you are while I get the kit." He turned over and reached into the bottom drawer of the nightstand for the metal case that held everything they'd need. Once they were ready he wrapped both arms around her and lay down.

"This isn't exactly comfortable," Ariadne wiggled until her right arm wasn't buried between them.

"Stop fidgeting," he breathed into her ear.

She rolled her eyes at his impatience. "My arm was stuck."

"It's taken care of, so relax, cause I'm not giving you any more room. When we hit the next level I want you tight against me. You're too good of an architect and you’ve built in dreams before. If you panic, you could unknowingly punch a hole in whatever we find down there." He'd given it a lot of thought and believed that was what had happened on their first try the night before. "This time if you fall, you're taking me with you."

“Great, that way we can both suffocate.” She glared at him and never saw him press the dispenser on the PASIV.

“Dom, what is this place?” Ariadne’s eyes darted around a room that seemed to go on forever. She was standing pressed against his side, surrounded by murky shades of twilight that rippled around them.

“An empty room.” Cobb kept his arm around her shoulders and wouldn’t let her move, unless he went with her. “Its not as large as it looks but you’re one of the most creative people I’ve ever met. You'll make it work.” The floor and walls were made of metal that gave off dull reflections. The ceiling was high with lights recessed so deeply they produced more shadows than illumination. His hope was that the whole area was a blank page for her to fill with whatever she needed to set her free.

"You changed our clothes." She realized her cheek was pressed against the soft material of his gray button down. They were wearing slacks, his navy and hers black . She looked down and caught a flash of deep red from her long-sleeved tee and could feel the slim fit of her knit pullover charcoal vest.

"No, you must have. It isn't necessary when you're only dealing with projections. They see whatever your subconscious tells them to. Remember when I showed you the memory of leaving my children without saying good-bye or seeing their faces one last time?"

"Yeah, on that elevator ride through hell."

"My projection of the attorney from the military didn't notice anything different about me standing there almost three years later and he didn't see you at all." Cobb looked around, hoping the room would change or a projection would show up. Anything that would give them a clue of what they were looking for. "Now all we have to do is wait and see where you take us."

"It doesn't seem as if I'm taking us anywhere." She looked up at him, her eyes large and filled with uncertainty.

"Give it some time." Dom turned her, until her back was flush with his chest. He wrapped his arms around her and rested his chin on the top of her head. "Now, just lean back against me and relax." His voice was warm and rich, flowing over her in gentle waves. "We've got all the time you need."

Ariadne let him take her weight and enjoyed the feeling of being surrounded by him. She knew if she turned her head she’d hear his heartbeat under her ear. Instead she looked into the distance wondering what long buried truth was going to come at her out of the dark.

"This isn't working," she sobbed in frustration and clung to his arms where they were folded beneath her breasts.

“Don’t try so hard.” He tucked her hands under his, keeping her wrapped up tight.

“Okay, okay, I can do this.” She closed her eyes and tried to clear her mind but all she could see was fog filled with creeping anxiety, intensified by the loud, slow tick of a watch.

“I can’t. I’m sorry.” She shivered.

"All right, you’re doing great." He ran his face against her neck, holding her tightly against him. "You need to get more sleep that's all. We'll try again tomorrow night, when you're better rested." He guided her to the door in the back corner that had been hidden by the shadows. "In we go." Cobb turned the knob and they were once again in the stone cottage in the Loire Valley, dressed in the clothes they'd worn to bed in the guest bedroom of Miles and Sabine's house.

"The window is blue." Ariadne pointed high above her head. Dom had changed the glass from clear to deep blue.

"That's how we know which level we're on." He pulled back the bed covers without letting go of the secure hold he had on her arm. "In you go," he instructed.

"Didn't we already do this once tonight?" She tried to relax as his body curled against hers, having him close felt good and forbidden at the same time.

"Yeah, but this time we're alone."

"That isn't really any help." She buried her face against his arm and tried to block his scent and feel from her mind.

"Easy there, Ariadne," Dom spoke softly as he ran his hand up and down her back, trying to relax straining muscles. "Remember that sensations, like pain, touch, and pleasure are real, whether awake or asleep, because they’re perceived in the brain. But the actions that produce them in a dream are fake. They mean nothing."

"Why are you telling me this?" She turned slowly so she was lying on her left side with her head on his shoulder and her hand on his chest.

"Because no matter how much we may both want it, we aren't going to take up where we left off in the warehouse this afternoon." He tilted her chin upward so he could look her in the eyes. "It could happen so easily and be very enjoyable but it wouldn't be real. I've had enough fake to last me two lifetimes. I won't start out that way with you. We deserve better. We deserve to know that any feelings we have are concrete, not leftover emotions from half remembered dreams."

“How do you know these things? You told me that you weren’t being...a..being..intima--” She flushed wanting to pull back the words.

“Being intimate with my dead wife, during all those afterhours dream sessions?” His brow rose in question as she nodded.


“I wasn’t.” He pushed Ariadne’s hair back to see her face completely. “After she died I was tempted. It would have been easy to slip into a dream and have her alive again, alive and well. But it wouldn’t have been real. I knew I had to work through my loss. My children were more important to me than any fantasy. Then I was on the run, hiding, all the time wanting to get home. I knew if I let myself be enticed into her dream world, I’d be lost forever. That’s what gave me the strength to turn my back on Mal whenever she showed up during an extraction, whenever I tried to plead with her to set me free.”

“I’m sorry, I had no right asking,” she whispered.

“Don’t ever be sorry for asking me anything.” He ran his fingers over her cheek. “Mal and I were married for a number of years before she died. We did a lot of things in dreams that we shouldn’t have. Dream sex is seductive like you can’t imagine and the aftereffects vibrate through your life until lies become truths and the line between what is genuine and what isn’t becomes too blurred to matter anymore.”

“How did you stay sane?”

“I’m not so sure I was, until you came along.” He smiled and held her closer. “Now it's time for you to get some sleep.”

“I’m not tired,” she sighed.

“Sure you are, Tiger. Stop fighting what your body needs and go to sleep.” Dom wrapped his hand around the back of neck and slowly began to massage, letting his fingers wander into her hair and behind her ears.

“Ohhh, that’s nice.” She smiled and nestled closer against him. “Talk to me. I just want to hear your voice.”

“What do you want me to say?”


At a loss, he thought for a moment then remembered a poem from he'd read to his children for years. “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...”

Her ear was against his chest and though she couldn’t make out the words, her eyes grew heavy, her breathing smoothed out and she fell asleep to a deep rumble that ran through her, caressing every nerve ending.

Sometime during the night, Ariadne woke to the sound of a door closing. She reached for her totem and felt its reassuring weight through her shirt pocket.

"That was Miles leaving. Go back to sleep." Dom muttered from inches away.

Ari's eyes fluttered open and she was struck by how young he looked half asleep, with his hair falling over his forehead and his skin smooth, not a frown or scowl in sight. But it was the stubble on his chin that drew her attention. She ran her thumb gently over dark blonde whiskers.

“I thought I told her yesterday, no messing with the beard.” He grinned without opening his eyes. He simply took her hand and pressed it against his face.

“No, you didn’t. You said no insulting the whiskers. I only wanted to touch--” she stuttered to a halt when she realized there was a large broad hand cupping the small of her back and it had been there for quit awhile. "Dom?"

"Hush, I guess some things just come naturally," he whispered and strummed his fingers over her smooth skin just once before pulling his hand out from under her tank and shirt. "Now, go back to sleep. We've got hours before morning." Cobb pulled her close and buried his fingers in her hair. He never opened his eyes or checked his totem, sure exactly where he was and who he was with because she smelled like lime, basil and mandarin.

On to Ch. ll- The Undiscovered Country Pt. IV


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 2nd, 2010 12:20 am (UTC)
Omigosh that is sooooo cute!!!!!!!! You're soo good at portraying their relationship (: (: Please update soon I'm dying for more (: (: (:
Dec. 2nd, 2010 02:21 am (UTC)
I'm glad you're enjoying my story. I sent the next chapter to my beta last night. Sorry for the delay but I was out of town for the holiday.
Dec. 24th, 2010 11:56 am (UTC)
Omigosh! Ah~haha! What a cute chapter! I was wondering when the next chap was coming out and am happy to have read it now! My favorite part was definately the last bit! There is an unbelievable amount of grinning coming from me now. I also really love the way you described Dom coming to get Ariadne, I was able to visualize it very well. Another good bit of imagery was "the room". I kind of gave me a haunting feel.

Well I hope your hand/ arm is feeling better! Please keep up the great work! I can't wait to read more! Happy Holidays and Best/ Warm wishes!
Dec. 24th, 2010 06:30 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much. I've got two more chapters that need to be posted. I've had hand surgery on first one hand and the other. it has made cutting and pasting a bit of a challenge. I'll try to get them up today.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )



Latest Month

September 2012


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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