Disclaimer: Once again, this is the ever brilliant Christopher Nolan's property. Not mine. Like, at all.
Author's Notes: I love the movie to death but it never once touches on the fact that this movie involves the most amount of sleep Ariadne's gotten since she started college. Architecture students are so sleep deprived; I weep for their poor souls.
Also, this isn't proof-read so there are probably plenty of grammar mistakes abound. I will one day clean up these Inception drabbles, but for now please try to enjoy around the errors!
After the inception, Ariadne bought the Parisian warehouse. An architect needed room to breathe; there wasn't even space to think in the studio she shared with twenty three other students. It wasn't thirty days before she canvassed the walls with cityscapes and plans for medieval cathedrals. There always a pause in her work; a moment where she put her pencil down and rubbed her eyes with heels of her hand. She always had to will her eyes to stay open in these moments, despite the fact that she could never seem to fall asleep any more even when she had the time.
The pause had a schedule it kept to. Between 3:45 and 4:15 in the morning Ariadne's pause always came. She'd yawn first, stretch her back so far backwards she almost bent in half over her chair, and she stared at her cathedrals and remembered what it was like to sleep. Occasionally, not during every pause, she wished that jobs came more often. She had only had been a part of three since the inception; Cobb had started building again. She was thrilled for him, and she did have a year left of studies before she could earn her degree. One day she would see the silver lining in being practically ignored, she'd see the buildings that she had actually built. The museums, apartments, office building that existed. But for now she missed seeing her buildings come to life, even if she was still only imagining them.
Her pause lasted long one night, nine months and seventeen days after the inception. She remembered the date; mostly because she was a masochist. This particular night was a reward. She hadn't slept for more than forty five minute stretches in the last five days; half insomnia, half her final project. At 3:53 a.m. when her break came she had been finished with her project for four hours and nineteen minutes. She rewarded herself with pencil to paper; pure creation. Ariadne knew she'd have to stop one day; come back to reality. But there was just nothing like it. There was a whole world that she could just create. Ariadne sighed and ran a hand through her hair, not even hearing the door open and shut as she contemplated actually trying to sleep. It was times like these that had really made her miss Yusuf.
Arthur, hands in the pockets of his well tailored pants, didn't have to be a psychiatrist to see that Ariadne missed dreaming as he looked around the warehouse at her world. He half-smiled at her impossible cathedrals, impractical cities, and the intricate labyrinths that were her signature piece. He had to hand it to the girl; she could spin a complicated maze that even her Greek namesake would have trouble navigating. It sent a thrill up the point-man's spine to know what she really wanted; to see that her true desire was to be a part of the team they built once again.
He smirked when she yawned again. "Stereotypical architecture student; always working, never sleeping." Ariadne would have jumped if she had the energy and had she not recognized the voice instantly. How could she not? She spent weeks listening to it train her and critique the creations made for him to dream. She turned around in her chair and smiled sleepily at him.
"What brings you here so late?" She hoped; willed him to tell her about a new job that Cobb had chosen to sit out (it was the only way she received work from them anymore; when Cobb chose not to.). Arthur never smiled fully, but this one was kind and Ariadne let her head droop lazily to the side to watch him speak.
"I'll explain once you sleep." Ariadne attempted a laugh and shook her head.
"That never happens anymore." Arthur sighed and extended his hands out for her to take. She did, though she wasn't sure what he was going to do with her, she never doubted him.
"I'll take you back to your apartment. You'll sleep, and when you wake I'll be there to explain the job." Ariadne shook her head.
"You'd have to carry me at this point Arthur. Walking seventeen blocks isn't an option right now." He could see that she was right. The circles beneath her eyes were not dark, they were black.
"When was the last time you slept, Ariadne?" She smirked.
"Define sleep." Arthur frowned.
"Eight hours, uninterrupted." Ariadne laughed quietly.
"Six hours, uninterrupted." The laugh died. She thought and frowned.
"Before I met you." Arthur sighed and resisted the urge to pick her up and carry her back to her apartment. As it was he dropped her hand and put one of his own on the small of her back, propelling her toward the old garden chair that was still across the room from months past.
"Three hours, uninterrupted." She thought again, harder this time, fighting through the feeling of his hand on her.
"Two weeks." Arthur nodded and sat her down lightly.
"Is it more difficult now?" She nodded and laid back on the recliner. He understood. "Insomnia's a bitch." Ariadne yawned and closed her eyes, curling on her side towards the point-man.
"Not as much as reality." Arthur gave a soft, brief laugh. He couldn't agree more.
"Sleep. I'll be back when you wake up." She eyes shot open and she looked at him accusingly.
"You're not staying?" Arthur was surprised.
"Would you like me to?" Ariadne nodded.
"You just got here," she spoke through another yawn. "I'm a terrible hostess." Arthur smiled warmly.
"You're doing fine." She closed her eyes and nodded again.
"Sit. Stay with me 'til I fall asleep at least?" Arthur grabbed a chair and set it next to her, sitting down before threading a hand through her curls. He massaged her scalp as his mother used to do for him to cure his insomnia as a child. Ariadne made a brief purring sound and seven minutes later she was dead to the world. Arthur would stay until she woke; nine hours later he explained the latest job.