"He doesn't love you, you know," the manifestation says. For once, her tone is matter-of-fact rather than cruel.
If Ariadne looks, she knows what she'll see-- the memory fragment of a woman long dead, naked and draped across Ariadne's silk sheets.
"He doesn't love you either," Ariadne says, mildly enough. Cobb loved/loves/will always love the real Mal, she knows; he pities and fears this guilt personification too much to view her with anything that could be considered love. She frowns at her reflection. Definitely too much lipstick. And this short blue dress doesn't really suit her. She pulls out a tissue, wets it with her tongue. She dabs at her lips as she adds, "Besides, that's not what I want from him."
"Oh?" Mal-- well, the best approximation of the woman that Cobb's tormented mind could muster, Ariadne mentally corrects herself-- is suddenly behind Ariadne, breath warm and sweet on the back of her neck. Mal leans in close, brushing Ariadne's hair back so that Mal can press her lips to the sensitive spot right behind Ariadne's ear. "And what do you want from him?" she murmurs, voice practically dripping with innuendo.
Despite herself, Ariadne shivers, the tissue falling from her grasp. Mal's mouth is obscenely tender against her skin. That spot has always been one of Ariadne's favorite pleasure points; already she can feel an unwanted heat stirring low in her belly, a tender ache that makes her shift uncomfortably on her stool, press her thighs more tightly together.
"I want what he's already g-given me, no more and no less," she says, hearing the catch in her voice as Mal's mouth curves into a smile. "He's opened the human mind to me, shown me a world I never could have dreamed of." She can't quite repress her wince at her unfortunate choice of words.
"I agree, he's given you a new playground," Mal says, and laughs. Her eyes glitter with malice or perhaps honest amusement as she rests one hand against the base of Ariadne's throat, fingernails painted a shimmering dark red. The red looks like spilled blood.
Ariadne goes very still and watches those long, dangerous nails rest so lightly against her skin. "I wouldn't call the human mind a playground," she says, barely moving her lips, barely speaking. Her throat vibrates against Mal's fingers despite her best efforts.
Mal digs in her nails, just a little. Just enough for the pressure to sidle closer to that pain/pleasure line and deepen the ache between Ariadne's legs. "And what would you call it?" Mal murmurs.
"I--" Ariadne begins, and then her words crumble into dust as Mal slides her hand up to clutch Ariadne's chin and tilt her head backwards until Ariadne's neck twinges in discomfort. "What--"
She can still see Mal's reflection through eyes beginning to blur with tears, so she sees the flash of teeth as Mal smiles and bends her lips to Ariadne's throat, sucking gently at the exposed skin and then nipping harder.
Mal's breasts press against Ariadne's back, and Mal is everywhere around her-- the unfamiliar scent of her fills Ariadne's nostrils, the warmth of her body soaks through the thin dress.
For a moment Ariadne thinks, Wake up, wake up, wakeupwakeupwakeup, and then Mal's other hand cups her left breast through the dress, pinching the nipple with enough force to make Ariadne gasp. All thoughts of waking flee, replaced by want, low and urgent in her belly.
"What do you do when you're thinking of him?" Mal murmurs. She pinches the nipple again, and then slides that hand down, fingers featherlight as they trace their way down Ariadne's stomach to the already damp curls. Her fingers linger there for a moment, tantalizingly close. "Do you touch yourself?"
"I don't think of him," Ariadne gasps. "I--" Mal's hand slides lower, and Ariadne can't help but take in a deep, ragged breath and spread her legs. Her entire body quivers with anticipation for whatever Mal has to offer, whether it's pain or pleasure or some bittersweet mixture of both. "Please," she says, breathless.
Mal teases her clit with one slow, expert gesture that sends a wave of desire cascading through Ariadne's body, pleasure sparking through her.
"Please," she says again, and spreads her legs still wider, until the thigh muscles burn and her dress begins to stick to her back from sweat. She shifts on the stool, lifting one hand to catch at the arm Mal has pressed against her throat. She rubs a desperate thumb against the inside of Mal's elbow, pressing quick, hard circles. "I need--"
"What do you want?" Mal asks. This time, she sounds almost curious.
So Ariadne gives her the truth, arching her hips and pressing herself slick and eager against Mal's still fingers. "I want you to touch me," she gasps, and opens her eyes in time to see a startled but satisfied smile curve Mal's lips. "I want you to bruise me. Scar me."
And then, she doesn't add, I want to wake up and touch the spots where bruises and scars should be but never existed, touch myself in the same places you are touching me now, and remember.
Mal laughs. Her mouth is very red, her teeth very white. "It will be my pleasure," she says, and then raises Ariadne's wrist to her mouth and bites.