Chapter 1


A/N Greetings, Earthlings. Happy to see you. This story is very, very loosely based on Don't Stop Believin' by Journey, basically because I was listening to it in the car, and seeing the people from Inception. There's also a few other inspirations. No slash, maybe pairings, maybe not. I haven't decided yet.

Disclaimer: I don't own Inception or Don't Stop Believin'. They belong to Journey and Christopher Nolan respectively. Wait. Strike that. Reverse it. (Incidentally, I don't own Charlie and the Chocolate Factory either.) Smiley face for people who get that one. Enjoy

She felt sick. Really sick. Her stomach heaved and flipped. She was hunched over the toilet in the bathroom upstairs. Locked in. Hiding. Nobody was home, at least not yet. And she couldn't wait until they were. She knew what she had to do. But she couldn't. But she had to. But the couldn't. The battle raged back and forth in her mind, flipping with the rolls in her stomach, which wouldn't settle, and kept her leaning over the toilet bowl, waiting for the inevitable.

Finally, after what seemed an eternity, the nausea passed, and she let herself unsteadily out of the bathroom. Tears pricked the corners of her eyes, but she couldn't cry. Not yet. Right now she had to be strong. She had to be strong while she fished an old, wrinkled duffel bag out of the bottom of her closet. She had to be strong while she shoved clothes haphazardly into the bag, uncaring of what went in, and what fell to the immaculately vacuumed floor. She had to be strong while she took a framed picture off of her bedside table, which, with its white flower motif that matched her bed, desk, and bureau, she's always felt belonged to a five-year-old, and placed it gently in the outer pocket of the bag. Her strength, however, nearly left her as she wrote with a shaking hand, "Gone to Jessie's. Be back tomorrow. Love, Ariadne," on a sticky note and left it on the kitchen counter. Yet, with sheer force of will, she got herself out the front door, duffel bag over her shoulder, life savings in the inside pocket of her jacket, and into the silver Mazda which her parents had bought for her eighteenth birthday.

Every time a car passed, her pulse quickened several beats, and her stomach lurched again, as she imagined the town sheriff, or, worse yet, her parents pulling up beside her. But each panic moment decreased in severity, and only strengthened her resolve to keep driving. At last, she reached the train station, which was really just a glorified ticket window accompanied by two sets of tracks which wound through the tiny town, and then out into the world beyond, a world which she'd never explored.

Ariadne took her bag from the trunk, leaving the Mazda in the parking lot. She'd seen spy movies. She knew how they could get watches on specific makes of cars. She'd get caught if she stayed in the Mazda. But train tickets paid for with cash…that was a different story. Her stomach heaved again, and she collapsed onto the wooden bench outside the ticket window, hand to her belly, willing the ground to stop rocking beneath her feet.

Once the dizziness passed, she remained where she was, sitting alone on the bench. She checked her phone. It was 11 at night. Her parents would be home by now. Maybe they'd see through her lie. Maybe they'd call Jessie, and learn the truth. Maybe they'd search frantically for her, and maybe they'd find her at the train station, scold her for lying, and send her to bed without supper. Maybe her mother would yell at her for being irresponsible, for succumbing that disease, the worst of all ailments, being a teenager. Ariadne almost wished she would. She wished her parents would come, that there was nothing to fear in their finding her. That if they drove her home and grounded her for a week, that would be the end of it. But it wouldn't. There would never be an end. Not if she stayed. It would be months of agony, followed by years of shame and struggle.

She jumped horribly as a high-pitched whistle rent the still night air. A train chugged into the station. In the darkness, surrounded by the fog rising from the flat fields, she could pretend, like she had as a child, that it was the Hogwarts Express, come to take her away from her pressuring mother and distant father, come to take to a place of magic, where she could do what she wanted, rather than what everyone else wanted her to want. And maybe this time, she realized with a thrill of excitement, maybe this time it would. She pulled a wad of cash from her jeans pocket and bought a ticket for the midnight train.

"Destination?" asked the sleepy-eyed ticket vendor.

"Anywhere," she whispered. "Anywhere.

Ariadne laughed aloud, feeling wondrously free with the brisk wind whipping in through the open window. The compartment was empty, and she felt her heart lighten and expand to fill the whole space. She was free. Her pocket vibrated. The screen of her cell phone showed "Tyler." How fitting, that he should be the one to call as she left, when it had been he who'd forced her to leave in the first place. In one swift motion, she tossed the still buzzing phone out the window of the train, and watched it disappear into the darkness, imagining it smashing into smithereens of sharp rocks, or else landing in a thick, stinking bog, or a rushing river. She was sure the fish would love to talk to Tyler.

The train sped onwards, taking her to God only knew where. And she couldn't help but feel that everything was going to be alright. Her hand rested once more on her stomach. She knew that somewhere along this journey, she and her baby would find their very own Hogwarts.

A/N: So also some influence from Juno, in case you didn't notice. I really loved writing this, and I hope you like reading it. The next chapter may see some more familiar faces.