Author note: I can't really explain this one. I started out wanting to follow Arthur after the job and see what he would do. I see him as a reserved kind of guy and also potentially lonely. As I started writing, the idea of repose presented itself and I just let it come. This is slightly AU, but still fits within the context of the film. I hope you enjoy.
Arthur was exhausted. It wasn't something that showed in his face or in his demeanor, however. He always appeared alert, well put together, neat. It was something deeper, something Cobb never warned him about, yet something he had long sense learned to manage.
After leaving the airport, he checked into the closest, finest hotel he could find. Delicately laying his coat on a chair by the dining room table, he walked to the bed and lay down precisely in the center. He crossed his legs tightly and placed his hands behind his head. It was his perfect position for rest. One might not think he could completely relax in this position. They would be wrong. It was his mold, his most comfortable state of being. When awake, of course.
The first time he came out of a shared dream, he felt immediately refreshed. His senses sang and he had heightened awareness. The trouble with a high like that is the inevitable crash. It hit without warning, usually two to three hours after waking. It wasn't a physical fatigue, as the body was not what was put through the ringer. It was an exhaustion of the brain. The best way to describe it is a semi-conscious catatonia. The brain shuts down, but not completely. The mind and senses are aware to a point, but the ability of the brain to send instructions to the rest of the body is interrupted.
When Ariadne stormed from the staging area after first sharing a dream, Arthur had been poised to follow her. Dom shrugged it off saying she'd be back. She came back two hours later fell into 'repose' shortly thereafter. You think she was mad the first time. When she was finally able to function again, she made Dom sorry he hadn't warned about that little side effect.
As he lay on the bed, Arthur began to review the Fischer job. Sometimes, he wondered why he risked his life working with Cobb. They were friends, and long time co-workers in job that a very small pool from which to draw. When Mal died, he changed. He was haunted; and righteously so. But when Mal started showing up on jobs, he knew that Dom had not truly dealt with his grief. His instability almost cost them their lives, much less a second consecutive failure.
But Cobb wasn't who he wanted to think about as repose drew closer. He wanted a pleasant image to peruse in his down time.
He had invited her to join him to ride out the repose. She politely declined; deciding to do so in private. He understood, but felt a pang of disappointment. None the less, he added her name to his room at check in. Just in case. He was intrigued by her; by her mind, her ability, and by her obvious emotional volatility.
She was such a precious creat-
When he came back to himself, he found her lying on the couch. He sat in the chair opposite her and smiled. He noticed an almost imperceptible upturn of the left side of her mouth. He sat back in the chair and waited.