Ariadne sat on the edge of the cliff, kicking her legs idly over the edge. She knew that she wasn’t supposed to create from memories, but this was how she imagined a scene from a book she read. Did that count?
She didn’t really care.
This was her dream, and she was all by herself. Ariadne had decided to pull a page from Cobb’s playbook and set up some impressive internal structures. Now she was just enjoying the sunlight and the salty breeze on her face. It was nice to be able to relax without having to worry about projections sneaking up behind her and pushing her off the cliff.
“Don’t fall.” Arthur’s voice called from behind her; he was lounging against a palm tree.
Ariadne sighed, why did he keep showing up? This was the third time.
Climbing to her feet she trotted over him. She placed her hands on her hips and glared at him, “Go away.” She ordered.
He smiled crookedly, charmingly, “You don’t mean that.”
“Yeah, I do. Get out, this is my time.”
He sat up more, “Can’t it be our time?”
Ariadne tightened her lips. She really ought to tell him to scram, lock him up in a labyrinth with a Minotaur. But it was so hard to deny him when he was like this. Relaxed, tan and smiling. Of course the open white button down and straw fedora weren’t exactly hurting his case either. Even in her dreams he dressed like someone out of GQ.
“Sit down, who’s to know?” He smiled again, holding out his hand to her.
Giving in, she kicked off her shoes to join him. Admittedly, it felt good to have his arm around her. Still, she couldn’t give in that easily, right? “Who’s to know? How about everyone when we go into one of my dreams and you pop up all sexy.”
The corners of his eyes crinkled up, “You think I’m sexy?”
Ariadne blushed, “I mean, sure, this is my dream. Of course you are going to be my ideal, it’s not like I control it.”
“You sure about that?” His voice was husky as he pushed her hair off her shoulder. Leaning over he started kissing across her shoulder and up her neck.
“Um, yeah, what?” She had some trouble keeping track of her thoughts.
Talking ceased to be an issue at that point as he eased her to the ground, her shirt managing to fall open with the motion. Had it had that capability before? And wasn’t she wearing a bra? As his hand slipped into her shorts she decided it didn’t really matter.
Then he pulled away and grimaced.
“What is it?”
Arthur smiled and kissed her quickly. “Good morning.”
“Wha---“ The next time she blinked she was staring at a warehouse ceiling instead of the blue sky. “Damn it!”
“Are you okay?” Arthur glanced over. Real Arthur, she reminded herself, not beach Arthur. Although if he got a tan and she stripped off that vest then… She blushed, suddenly hoping that she had not been talking her sleep.
“I’m fine. I’m going to take a shower now.” She sped out of the room without meeting his eyes.
“What? Why?” He frowned after her, tilting back in his chair. It was too late though, the door slammed signaling her departure.
Arthur glanced at the briefcase, what had she seen her dream? Sometimes he wished that he could visit past dreams, past dreams of others that is. Had something happened in the dream? She had been flushed.
Shaking his head, he turned his attention back to his notebook. Equations and diagrams covered the pages, but he found his mind wandering back to dreams. Publically, he was opposed to indulging in dream sharing for personal use. But when there was no one around, well, he might have tried it a few times. Usually in situations like this, with everyone was gone for the day. Who would know?
Standing suddenly he stripped off her jacket and rolled up his sleeves. He was at the brief case in a few quick strides and pressing the necessary settings. Sliding the needle into his arm, he leaned back in the discarded dentist’s chair. A small smile tugged at his lips as his dreams dragged him down.
He opened his eyes to a familiar sight. It was an old fashioned office, and he was in the leather chair behind a wide wooden desk. He walked along the edge of the office, running his fingers over the smooth walls and the spines of the books. Once he had completely gone around the room he stopped and looked out the window, it was the usual sight. The blinking P.I. sign, Model T’s and bicycles clogging the road. In the New York sky line the highest peak was the Chrysler building. He flicked on the radio, twisting the dial to find the station. He had just begun to enjoy listening to the news, when there was a knock on his door.
Dark brows furrowed in displeasure. Who would be there? Which projection was back to haunt him? Sometimes residual guilt from entrapment jobs would send projections of marks up to his office to exact revenge. He pulled the revolver from the holster and positioned himself so it was aimed at the door.
The silhouette didn’t look like a businessman, but one could never be too careful. “Come in,” he ordered.
Wearing in an impeccably tailored dress, Ariadne slid through the door. She smiled at him, or rather beamed. Tugging off her gloves and hat, she almost skipped over to him.
“Hello, Arthur dear! I decided to surprise you.” Standing on her toes she pressed a kiss to his lips.
He didn’t move, his brain trying to keep up with this recent development. Ariadne? What was she doing here? Did he feel guilty about her?
She pouted slightly, “Aren’t you doing to kiss me back? Or hold me?”
“No.” He stated simply, regretting that alcohol have any actual kick in dreamland.
“Why?” Ariadne demanded, putting her hands on her hips.
“Because you aren’t real.” He glanced down at his pocket watch, and wished that he hadn’t decided to do this.
Arthur blinked at her; the projections usually didn’t know that they weren’t real. “So?” He gestured with one hand, “It would be uncomfortable!”
“Oh,” She bit her lip. “Should I get Eames instead? He’s down the hall.”
“What? God, no!” He rubbed his brow with one hand and clenched his jaw. This was not how his evening was supposed to have gone.
Tucking an errant dark curl behind her ear, Ariadne sauntered over to him. “Then what’s the problem then?” She ran a finger up and down the tailored lines of his vest.
He took her hands in his, fixing her with his iciest glare. “How am I supposed to face her in real life after this?”
Ariadne shrugged, “If you did this in real life then maybe I wouldn’t be a problem.” She pressed her body against his and turned her face upwards. “Now I think you should stop thinking and analyzing for once in your life and kiss me.”
“Fine then.” Pushing up onto her toes, she kissed his again. Tugging her hands free she grabbed his jacket and pulled him closer to her.
Ever the gentleman, Arthur tried to resist. It wouldn’t be right. He thought about grabbing his gun and shooting himself in the head. It wasn’t a pretty escape, but he had done it before. It would also be rather effective in removing him from this situation.
She pulled back, color high on her cheeks. “Don’t you dare kill yourself. If you do I will show up at your next job wearing lingerie in front of everyone. Have fun explaining that one.”
He scowled down at her. “I don’t appreciate being blackmailed by my own subconscious.”
“That must be annoying.” She agreed and pushed his jacket backwards off his shoulders.
Arthur allowed himself a small smile. “Are you trying to undress me?”
“Yes. I prefer you naked.”
He arched one eyebrow, “What if I prefer you naked?”
Grinning wickedly she turned around, “Help me with the buttons?”
He groaned, already uncomfortable. Although something within him had convinced his honor to back down. Maybe it was the blackmail. Whatever it was, Ariadne had recognized it. In a blink Arthur found himself on his couch while she straddled him.
They kissed eagerly, each trying to divest the other off clothing. The tie hit the door, along with a bevy of bobby pins. Then the vest, suspenders and garters. Then it wasn’t Ariadne kissing his chest, it was Arthur kissing hers.
She moaned, running her hands across his shoulders and squirming. He grinned like a cat with cream at the sound. Maybe it was chivalrous side of him, or maybe it was the quintessentially arrogantly male side of him, but he loved making women moan.
Mentally he checked the time, if he wanted to stay until the grand finale he would need to speed things along. With a subtle change of angles and the repositioning of his hand, he was able let them both finish.
Panting on the couch, Ariadne giggled, “Are you this good in really life?”
Arthur smirked and pushed his hair back, “Are you this vocal in real life?”
She winked at him, “You should find out and let me know.”
Unfortunately, in the real world he required a change of pants. Sighing to himself, Arthur cleaned up. He was already regretting his decision in the dream. It seemed so illogical in the cold light of reality. How was he supposed face Ariadne?
Guilt clung to him all the way to his hotel room and into the shower. He really shouldn’t have done that. He should have better self-control. He lay on the bed, rolling the dice back and forth across the white sheets, berating himself. He could only think of one solution.
A knock startled him from his thoughts. As déjà vu washed over him, he rolled the dice again. Satisfied it was still reality, he opened the door. “Yes?” He drawled, letting it swing open.
Ariadne gaped at his bare chest. “Um, hi there.” She stammered, her heart pounding in her ears. This was a great way to start out the night.
To be fair, Arthur looked as shocked to see her, as she was to see him shirtless. “Ariadne!” He announced, “Come in.”
Mentally giving herself a pep talk, she walked to the bed and turned around. Luckily the object of her visit was pulling on a robe. She cleared her throat, trying not think of the implications of what she was going to do.” So,” She started awkwardly, “I was dreaming this afternoon.”
“And?” He had positioned himself across the room, leaning against the wall with a bored expression on his face.
Losing some of her courage, she continued, “And you were there.”
“You know?” She frowned, distracted by this announcement.
“I helped you set up the machine.” He was looking at her suspiciously. Could he see that she had drunk half a bottle of wine before coming here?
“Oh no- I mean you were in my dream.”
“ I was?” Arthur’s lips tightened. “Did you put me there?”
“No! It was a projection!” She protested clearly. Ariadne bit her lip nervously, and wished that she hadn’t come.
“What did I do?”
Here was the moment, fight or flight. She took a deep breath and looked him in the eyes. “You kissed me.”
She watched him closely, but the only reaction she could see was that his eye twitched. Then a moment passed and he sighed. “I had a similar experience.” He stated, “I was dreaming and you showed up.”
Hope bubbling within her, she smiled, “What did dream-me do?”
Ariadne raised her eyebrows, “Did you kiss back?”
“Did you?” Arthur shot back. Then without pausing he continued, “I think I’ve come up with an answer for out problem.”
“We should be purely professional and not see each other in a non-work capacity.”
“We should kiss in real life and see if it is any good.”
They had responded simultaneously, so it took a few seconds for the other’s words to sink in. Ariadne was the first to react, “You just want to be co-workers?!”
Arthur rubbed the back of his neck. This was not how he expected his conversation to go, “I think it would be best.”
She glared at him and crossed her arms. “Don’t you like me?”
“That’s completely beside the point.”
“I think it’s kind of the point, actually.”
“Well, do you like me?”
Arthur blinked at her, slightly winded. “You do?”
“Yeah, I do.” She shrugged, “Is the feeling mutual?”
He resisted saying unfortunately and just nodded instead.
Ariadne beamed at him and he was reminded of the dream version of her. “I have a compromise.”
She backed up and sat on the bed. “How about you kiss me, and if it isn’t any good we go with your plan?”
Arthur grimaced, “That’s logical.”
“I know.” She sounded smug, “Aren’t you going to kiss me now?” As he strode towards her, she warned, “You should know I am an excellent kisser.”
“Funny,” He chuckled in a low voice as he leaned towards her, “I was about to tell you the exact same thing.”