Disclaimer: I don't own Inception.
A/N: This is a bit of Ariadne/Arthur fluff that I just couldn't resist writing.
The red die is the first thing that Ariadne notices when she opens her eyes. She has seen it often in the past, but never before it has been lying so close to her; the die is almost right in front of her face. She could easily touch it if she'd want to, for there seems to be nothing to prevent her from doing so at that very moment. But she doesn't touch the small and brightly colored item, not wanting to betray the trust that the owner has in her.
As the young woman awakens from her quiet and dreamless sleep, she slowly becomes aware of other things around her. She sees the bright beams of sunlight that find their way through the partly opened windows, the curtains that seem to dance in the soft morning breeze and the remains of a few candles on her nightstand.
Stretching herself lazily, she feels the comfortable mattress, the soft pillow and blankets. The colors of them both match each other and the rest of the bedroom. The nice thing is that it's not just a room, part of another hotel or of one of those apartments that's rented until the latest job is done – no, this bedroom is theirs.
It's part of their home, their sanctuary, where dream and reality become one in a place that could be so easily mistaken for a very pleasant fantasy if only the totems didn't show otherwise.
Breathing in the fresh spring air, Ariadne's thoughts wander back to the moment that she had seen the house for the first time. It had been only a few months ago and back then it had seemed rather strange to chose for such arrangements, but nowadays she doesn't want it to be any other way. When she isn't working, this is the only place where she wants to be.
The reason for this is the man who slightly tightens his grasp around her waist when she turns around to face him. Arthur. They had been colleagues, and they still are – just like they became friends, and eventually more than that. More than two years after Cobb's reflection of Mal had spoken to her in the dreamed memories of the tormented man, Ariadne knows what it is like to be a lover, to be half of a whole.
Not having forgotten about the tragic ending of the relationship of Dom and Mal, both Arthur and Ariadne had been worried about their relationship more than a few times. But they rather considered the sad story as an example of what not to do and to be careful, instead of a warning not to be more than just colleagues at all.
Ariadne isn't thinking of their initial fears however when she looks at Arthur's face, which is completely relaxed now that he is sleeping, calm in a way that he can't achieve when he works no matter how hard he tries. He is the part of her new life that she easily likes most, even more than the amazing possibilities of her new profession that she fully embraced after she had graduated.
Arthur mutters something in his sleep and, unable to resist the temptation, Ariadne moves towards him to kiss those perfect lips lightly once more. It seems that he has fallen asleep again after he cast the die and she is rather glad that he did; there are few things she enjoys more than studying Arthur's face during a quiet and unguarded moment like this, to caress the skin and hair that has mesmerized her since that first, unexpected kiss.
Remembering his totem, she carefully turns around again to take her own from the nightstand. She places the neatly polished bishop next to the red die and gives it a gentle push, watching with satisfaction as the totem falls on its side.
"What are you doing?" Arthur asks sleepily, trying to peek over her shoulder.
"Dreaming," she replies, smiling as she turns to face him again. Technically her answer isn't true, but moments like this do feel like a dream to her – a perfect, natural dream.
"Sounds good," he manages to say before before she brushes her lips against his and surrenders once more to the sensations that only he can evoke.
There was a time, mostly when she was new to the world of dreams, that she had been convinced that the real world wasn't enough anymore now that she was aware of the possibilities that Cobb had shown her. It was the feeling that couldn't keep her away from the warehouse and the team that was doing such incredible things there. It had excited and horrified her at the same time.
The dreams are still part of her professional life, but she and Arthur don't use them outside their work. There were times that she might've thought that only the dreams could be interesting and challenging enough to be worth living for, but now she knows better. Now that she has Arthur, the real world is more than good enough to live in.
The kiss deepens and a quickly awakening Arthur pulls her body closer to his own. The mattress shifts because of the sudden movement, causing both of their totems to fall off the edge of the bed. Neither of them is aware of it.