A/N: I was bound to write fic for this fandom someday. It was only a matter of time. This is me familiarizing myself with the characters, which is why it's so short. Feedback is much appreciated.

For wickedchik96, Cameron Kennedy, and HereWeGoOnceMore all at once for getting me into this fandom. :)

Disclaimer: I don't own Inception or its characters.

It's steady and slow, something they're not quite used to in the darkness of the too-clean hotel room. The shadows flicker on the wall as they move, hesitant and awkward in all that it's not; wanting, with tongues that taste like gin and tonic and ever-present dreams.

Sometimes, she hates him. She hates him so much because he holds her here, keeps her here, when it was he who brought her there in the first place; the real world, the world that has color and light and life where this one has dullness and shadows and death. But she loves him. She loves him so much that she can barely breathe when he looks at her like that, and therein lies her problem.

Heavy and aching and far too gone not to give in, the rain pouring down against the windows, Mal arches her neck, lets him press his lips to her collarbone while she shudders. The kids are at home and she's alone with Dom for the first time in weeks, but it doesn't feel like it.

Nothing feels like it should. Everything is a dream these days, reality dangling precariously off the edge of a cliff, threatening to fall or jump or just collapse, leaving them with nothing.

Nothing but buildings to sculpt with their minds, sand to gather in their hands and wash away and in the ocean. Nothing but themselves and a beach and a dream within a dream within a dream within—

He kisses her carefully, like he's testing her for damage. She wants to tell him I'm here, it's me, it's you who's wrong, you're dreaming. But she has told him, and he just will not listen.

"Mal," Dom says, and it's a question and a plea and a desperate, blinding hope all in one. She can see his eyes, barely—they're wide and searching and tired, so, so very tired. He's leaning over her, trying to break through, trying to find her so he can save her from something that she did not— does not —want to leave. He's a mess, with his hair out of order and his face pinched and drawn.

He still manages to look achingly, desperately beautiful.

Mal tries to feel guilty because she knows she should stay here with him, be with him, let him live in this world that he thinks is reality, insists is reality—

But she can't. She sees a crumbling house and a top that spins, spins, spins. She sees her world being washed away as she lies here with him, letting time tick by and minutes turn to hours turn to days, and, and—

And she has to go home.

Dom presses his lips to her hair and whispers, one word, "Please." She squeezes her eyes shut and does not cry, and she feels this dream collapsing around her.