So, this is going to be a collection of twenty ficlets, ranging in length from short to about a page in length, probably. The meme prompt that inspired this asked for 20 vignettes based on a list of untranslatable words from around the world. So that's what you get! :) I'll post the list of words I'm using at the end of the last chapter.

Disclaimer: I do not own Inception!


"The wordless, yet meaningful look shared by two people who both desire to initiate something but are both reluctant to start."


It is something she will be glad to get used to, the prick of the needle sliding into her wrist. She still feels a twinge of pain and the instinctual urge to cringe away when Yusuf holds it out to her. She had a fear of needles when she was younger. When she was three, she had her shots and the doctor kept losing her vein and having to do it again. The others can do it almost without looking, finding the ideal spot with careful fingers. She watches them meld with the PASIV one by one, talking and laughing and slipping needles into their blood.

She forgets about it when she is under, lost in the world of dreams and desire. Here, she is all-powerful, building and destroying. She is giddy like God. Sometimes she forgets that she can still die. The others have no problem reminding her of the fact; their projections do not ignore her just because she is the architect. Mostly it is by bullet. Once or twice it was by brute strength and she woke up gasping.

This time it is needles.

The dream hospital's staff come at her with syringes, strapping her down, stabbing her until-

Until she wakes up, dry-mouthed and breathing too hard. She cannot speak. The weight of her totem in her palm keeps her from screaming.

It is then that she sees Arthur and Eames. The two of them had been out on reconnaissance when they started the dream, only just returned from the look of it. They drop their jackets over their chairs and stand on either side of Arthur's desk. She is too far away to hear them speak, and the words are not hers anyway, but still she has to stare.

The way they are looking at each other… But… just looking. Not touching. Eames licks his lips. Arthur turns away.

Ariadne hears a distant voice asking "Have you ever been a lover?" and she shivers.

Reviews make me happy!