She's free- free, free, with the movement that allows her to escape the outside and the inside of confinement. Until it shatters. Then he's the only one who can save her tattered self- the one who shows her dreams.

Disclaimer: I don't own this. Rather, it owns me. And my soul. Joking, joking. Maybe. Anyway, stop reminding me I don't own this.

Soundtrack: one thing- one direction


Time definitely separates. If Ariadne hadn't known that before, she knows now. Time drives her away from everyone, drives her closer to ethereal beings beyond her reach. More than ever, she feels closer to Robert.

And then there's Arthur.

The dreams won't leave her. They stick to her skin like sweat, but it won't wash off. Every time she sees him, it gets worse.

So she tried to lie- lie through her teeth and ignore the pain that builds up inside of her and threatens to erupt with every single word- "I don't think I can come anymore. I mean…" A breath here to ensure her lungs are still working, that her heart is still intact, and she continues. Doggedly, otherwise she and Arthur are both lost. "…I found a dance studio just outside the city, and I figured I could continue studying there. Instead of this."

NO. Not instead of this. This…this is perfect. This is…

"Wrong." And there, the deed is done.

Bless Arthur. He doesn't let her slip away the way she wants to. Instead he grips her wrist and tilts his head, stares at her. Tries to figure her out because that's what he does- figuring people out, piecing out their dreams. He…questions.

And doubts. "…Really…? Why is that? What makes dreaming wrong? What makes this wrong? What's wrong with creating? With imagining yourself a world?"

"Well." Her voice cracks, her defenses break. But this is attack, and she can't let him win. Because if he has his way, she'll have hers. And he doesn't want that. Or does she?

Time separates. Ariadne wishes she hadn't known.


When she sees him, she shouts a curse over the packed subway that seems to travel for miles. It makes everyone turn to look at her, including him.

And then he chases her.

Sasti used to be in track, before she dropped out of high school. Even so, it's pretty hard to run in peep-toe wedges. She almost feels like sobbing as she grinds her shoes against hard pavement. If he catches up to her, she will so make him pay for a new pair. Maybe with her fist.

"Sastiana-!" She hears, in an almost panicked voice. "Wait! It's me, Eames!"

"No shit, Sherlock," she hisses, and takes a left into an alleyway. Mud and dirt splash over her wedges. She stumbles, and someone catches her.

"Let me the fuck go," she snaps, eyes squeezed shut.

"If I do, will you run?"

Damn him. Damn him and that voice that sent tingles shivering down her spine and flashes of kisses and curled fists and strawberries and croissants. Of him.

"Probably." It is a choked whisper. She wonders if he can hear it.

"Ah." He rights her. "Never a liar. Can you open your eyes, please? It's me. I won't hurt you." His hand remains on her wrist. Tight, like handcuffs.

A deep, shuddering breath. "But you already did."

"You don't believe my promises, sweetheart. I'd promise, but the point would be moot. Just- just open your eyes, okay? Nothing to fear."

"Except for what comes out of my mouth." She mutters.

"Sorry, what?"

Her eyes fly open. "I need to go, Eames. I have-"

Eames covers her mouth with his hand, smothering the words back into her throat. "I'll buy you a drink. At eight?"

Before she could possibly answer, he is gone, like a whisper, like a ghost, like anything that's ever vanished out of her life that she couldn't possibly grab-

"Playboy." She grunts, and moans. She forgot to remind him about the new pair of wedges.


Ariadne's mind is fixated on how she almost saw someone die yesterday. If she had let Arthur pull the trigger, would there be a dead man in the warehouse? Blood pooling around his head, eyes blank, unstaring. All the words he could've said gone, vanished somewhere with his soul. Simply gone.

Arthur is perfectly capable of killing. Ariadne knew that. So why is she so shaken?

She's never seen a man die before. She's never seen Arthur shoot anybody in real life, even though it can't be harder that in dreams. Aim, squeeze the trigger. Try to forget the number of people who mourn, drink yourself to pieces. Somehow, Ariadne knows she could never kill a person. She'd shoot herself first.

And Sasti. She's in the room over, preparing for a date with a person who's name she refuses to give. She looks beautiful- a red and white striped dress with pearls. And flats.

"I feel like your wedges would match more," Ariadne says. Satsi's face twists into a scowl. "Those are out of commission. I have to get a new pair."

Ariadne twists around in the couch, face scrunched confusion and disbelief. "You got them last week."

Sasti rolls her eyes, pinning up her hair in the mirror, holding pins with her teeth. "I know. I have to get a new new pair."

"Where are you even going?" Ariadne says. Sasti turns to look at her, then back in the mirror.

"Hell if I know. I didn't know you read comic books, Ari. I found your superman comic books under the table. The batman ones were in the entertainment center." An eyebrow lifts. "I forgot where the spider-man ones where."

Ari blushes. "Sorry."

"Anyway," Sassy continues, "don't wait up. But if I'm not here tomorrow morning, call the cops."

"You're going on a date with someone you don't know?"

Sassy grabs her jacket. "I never said I don't know him. More like…dislike him."

"Okay, so you're going on a date with someone you dislike. Would you like to enlighten me on why?"

"Ugh. Stop your voice from going so pitchy. It hurts my head. I'm off." The door slams behind her.


"Why are you even here, Eames. And stop giving me bullshit."

Sasti's definitely been to this bar before. She knows Barrythebartender well- and now a red fingernail traces the lip of her drink. Eames studies her.

"You look different. Did you curl your hair? Or cut it? It looks different."

"I cut it all off about a year ago. It's thinner now." She takes a sip of whatever's in her glass—vodka? Champagne? Wine?—and blinks at him. "Why. Are. You. Here."

He stares at her, then glances down at his drink. "Trouble. In China. You know, I can't even remember why I left here in the first place."

"I'd tell you if I knew. Jesus." She laughs, marveling at the brutality of the whole thing- the tears, the ice cream. She'll never admit it, but she gained about ten pounds after Eames left. Doctors never tell you that chocolate ice cream is just as addicting as speed or acid. Or even dreams. "But I finally came clean. No more drugs." A frown. "No more dreaming."

"I wish I could stay the same. I actually just met up with Arthur." His eyes take on that far away look Sastiana hates. "He's still dreaming. He has a new fool. Hot, too. What's her name." He looked away for a second, face scrunched. "I don't remember. Maybe she's Arthur's girl."

Sasti snorts. "Arthur? I thought he only ever took that stick out of his ass to fuck Mal."

Eames curls his fingers into a gun and points at her. "Exactly."


Eames shrugs. "Things change."

The Cold Mermaid is emptying out, disappointed women paying for their drinks an looking after the dispersing men with sad eyes. Others stagger outside, supported by loud, boisterous friends. Sasti itches to go home.

"How's Robert?"

The name startles Sasti into looking at him. Her breathe catches.




Once there had been a lot of running, screaming, laughter. I was younger. Shorter, looking up at a sea of legs and briefcases and faces that blurred. I was always scared to go out into Manhattan at night, but Robert was always there. He was always taller than me. Huge. His shoulders and back blocked out half the sky, half the buildings. He protected me.

Once, we were in his room. Making white little sharp things that lolled about when you threw them, and would fall back. Ariadne. She was there too, eyes flashing and arms waving as she talked about…something. Dancing. And Robert would watch her. So captivated. Everyone knew he liked her, then. Everyone except for me. Naïve, I was.

I left for all of thirty seconds, gone to get orange juice from Robert's fridge. His cat had leaped from…somewhere. His name was Doctor Who, from some show Robert watched. Sometimes, as an excuse to spend time with him, we'd huddle around his computer and watch them travel through time and space. Doctor Who streaked across the table, a blur or orange and red, and startled me. I almost dropped the glass. When I arrived in the room, heart erratic, it almost stopped.

"I think I like you." Robert. He was totally focused on his airplane, hands folding, sharpening, creasing. Ariadne looked up from her own tiny excuse for an airplane.



"Oh." Their face turned red.

"I like you too," she blurted.

Then Robert kissed her on the cheek, and I almost killed Ariadne in Robert's room.


A breath escapes Eames.

"I'm so sorry."

"Save it." She pantomimes checking her watch, as if she doesn't already know it's 4:14, and she wants to go home.

"I'm afraid I have to go."

He looks at her. Inches closer. She can smell his breath.

"Okay-just- before you go, sweetheart, promise me we'll see each other again."

"Don't worry." She scoops up her bag, wiggles her fingers at him. "I say my goodbyes."


Ariadne is almost halfway through the most recent episode of Supernatural when she gets the call. The line is crinkly and weird, and the voice seems calm and efficient. The voice is smooth, alluring. Ariadne listens for a few moments and mutters. "Okay. Yes. Yeah, I'm on my way now."

French, with an accent.

The voice sounds dead familiar, only Ariadne can't remember from where. She is out the door in a second.

A/N: A new chapter! Eeeeee! Hugs and kisses to anyone who watches Supernatural or Doctor Who . Hugs and kisses and cookies and pictures of awesome cats. And smiley faces. Review!