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Life Could Be a Dream

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"I don't only like women," murmurs Cobb blearily from the cot, eyes half closed.

"That's enough. I'm driving him home," says Arthur, standing over him.

"Not yet," says Yusuf from his chair. "We have to observe the effects of the compound."

Arthur says, "It doesn't work. It had no effect when we were dreaming. It'd be useless on a job."

"I've done jobs," Cobb offers. "I experimented in college."

Yusuf stifles a laugh with a cough. "I wouldn't call it useless, per se."

"He's delirious," Arthur scowls. "This is asinine."

Cobb says drowsily, "I don't want anything going up there. But other than that, I'm game."

"It seems to be having the intended declarative effect," says Yusuf mildly.

"You said it would help us interrogate projections. This..." Arthur stops to choose his words. "...isn't that."

"The results so far have been... effusive, but that doesn't rule out interrogation applications. We haven't tested how he responds to direct questions."

"We're not going to ask him any questions."

Cobb mutters, "It's unprofessional."

"See?" Arthur tells Yusuf. "He doesn't—"

"There's a power imbalance. I'm your boss," Cobb tells Arthur.

Arthur frowns. "You're not my boss. We're business partners. Friends."

Cobb nods. "I'm your boss. I tell you to do stuff and you do it."

"No, we tell each other what to do all the time. Like right now. Shut up, Dom."

"If I asked you to kiss me, then you would, but I wouldn't know if you did it because I asked you to or because you wanted to."

Yusuf clears his throat. "Well, you could ask him now, Cobb. He got the same dosage of the compound as you. I swear."

Arthur's eyes widen. "What? Then how come I'm not—"

Cobb starts, "In college—" but Arthur shoves a hand over his mouth.

"...doing that?"

Yusuf strokes his chin. "Maybe it's less effective on people who are deeply repressed."

"I'm not..." Arthur pauses. "I mean, maybe... I'm self-restrained, but—"

Cobb sits up abruptly, dislodging Arthur's hand. "It's working! Arthur, do you wanna kiss me?"

"I... I..." Arthur breathes deep. "Yes. I do. I've wanted to for a while, but I never... I couldn't... But I do."

Cobb smiles fondly at him. "Me too."

"That's my cue," says Yusuf, standing up to leave. 

Arthur turns towards Yusuf. "How long will the compound's effect last?"

"I can't say, but I'm sure you'll be able to tell it isn't working whenever Cobb's back to his usual dishonest self again. Until then, you two have a heart-to-heart. I mean, that's what a good relationship is founded on, right? Honesty?"

Behind Arthur's back, Cobb makes a quick throat-slitting gesture, glaring daggers at Yusuf. But then Cobb puts the bleary-eyed expression back on his face.