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[personal profile] velvetfiction
Title: Time Enough (The One Left Behind Remix)
Fandom: Inception
Characters: Arthur/Dom, Mal
Rating: T
Work Count: ~1200
Summary: He knows he shouldn't press, but his curiosity has always been his downfall.
Original Work: Woke Up a Fraud by [archiveofourown.org profile] coricomile
Notes: Thanks to C for the beta!

---

The ring is icy cold, matching the fear that creeps in icy tendrils around Dom's heart.

Arthur is still under. He's been under for nearly thirteen hours. Dom knows, he's sat by his husband's side for the last eight of those hours.

Dom had returned home with James and Phillipa from a day at the park to find the house quiet and still.

"Shh," he'd told the children. "Papa's taking a nap." And so he'd played the solo parent card, fed and bathed them himself. It wasn't until they were safely tucked into bed that he'd dared to venture into the bedroom he and his husband share.

He's been sitting by Arthur's side since then, not daring to sleep, wondering what could possess the former point man to take such a massive dose of the dreaming drug.

Dom rubs his sandy eyes and stares at the clock by the bed and attempts to do basic arithmetic. Five in the morning in Chicago makes it. . . He squints at the numbers, trying to will them into submission. Makes it noon in Paris.

He picks up the phone and dials 33 and then the remaining nine digits of a Paris phone number.

"Oh, Mal, thank god, I don't know what to do, Arthur's been under for thirteen hours and - " Dom knows he's babbling but he can't help himself.

Mal's familiar voice cuts him off. "Stop, Dominic. Just stop. Breathe. Now, start over and tell me what exactly is going on." The command is undercut by the genuine warmth and concern in her voice.

Mal is the only one who can ever speak to him that way and get positive results. Mal is "the only one" in a lot of categories in Dom's life. The only one he will allow to be an architect in his stead. The only one he will trust Arthur's life to. The only one who would ever be the mother for his and Arthur's children.

He does as she suggests and takes a deep breath, letting it out slowly. "It's Arthur," he says. "He hooked himself up sometime after I took the kids to the park. He's been out for at least ten hours, and judging by the amount in the syringe, it's been more like thirteen."

"And you have no idea why he did this?"

"None. We haven't worked any jobs in five years, and he's always discussed it with me before."

"I think you need to wake him up, mon cher. Do you want me to come out and take the kids for a few days? If he has done this, something is very wrong with our dear Arthur. You need to have a long conversation with him, and that is better done without inquisitive children under foot."

Dom hesitates for a moment. "Yes, please," he whispers. Sometimes he feels like Mal is the only one he can trust with his sanity as well.

"I'll be there tomorrow morning," she promises. "Go wake up him and be patient with him. He'll be disoriented after spending that long in a dream. It may take him a bit to differentiate between what is reality and what was the dream."

"I will."

He hangs up the phone and stares at his slumbering husband for a minute. Then he gently pulls out the syringe, and shakes Arthur by the shoulders.

"Arthur, come back," he says. "You're okay. You're home. Come back."

Arthur slumps forward onto his knees and Dom catches him and holds him steady.

"Dom?" Arthur asks, blinking as though his vision is blurred.

"I'm here," Dom says. The icy fist around his heart eases somewhat. Arthur recognizes him. That's a good sign. Isn't it?

"Where are we?" Arthur chokes out. He looks around the room as if he doesn't really recognize it.

"We're home," Dom says, slowly, mindful of what Mal had predicted.

"Where are James and Phillipa?" Arthur asks. Dom feels his jaw clench for a moment. "Did Saito go back on his deal?"

Dom swallows hard, trying not to voice his fear and confusion. That won't help Arthur at all. Instead, he touches the side of Arthur's face and leans in.

"Arthur, sweetheart, look at me." His left hand cups Arthur's cheek, and the icy metal of his wedding band warms with the touch. At the feel of the metal, Arthur looks down at his own hand and catches sight of his own ring.

"Dom?"

"You've been under for thirteen hours," Dom says slowly. "I'm going to walk out of the room, and you're going to roll your die three times." Dom watches him carefully, eyes flitting across his face. "I need you to do that. Can you do that for me?"

Arthur nods. Dom holds him for a moment longer, steady and sure. Before he leaves, he presses a kiss to Arthur's forehead.

He closes the door most of the way behind him and slumps against the wall. There is a moment of silence and then he hears the die clatter on the bed stand. Once. Twice. And then finally a third time.

"Arthur?" he calls, trying to keep the panic, the worry, the longing, out of his voice. He doesn't think he succeeds.

"I'm awake," Arthur replies, and Dom can't prevent the sigh of relief from escaping his lungs.

"You shouldn't have gone under alone," he chides gently. "You shouldn't have gone under for so long."

"I was trying to figure something out," Arthur says quietly.

Dom frowns. Arthur seems like he's going to slip back into that dream state any moment now.

Dom crouches down next to him, one hand on Arthur's knee, the other on his shoulder. Physical contact is necessary for both of them.

"Who are you?" Dom asks.

"My name is Arthur. I turned twenty-six in March." Arthur presses a knuckle to his temple, as if his head is hurting. It probably is.

"What else?" Dom asks, trying to keep his husband grounded in the here-and-now.

"I moved to Chicago after our first job. I - " Arthur hesitates, and the icy tendrils around Dom's heart are back.

"Why did you move to Chicago?" he prompts.

"Because - " Arthur swallows. "Because I got married." He looks up into Dom's face, and Dom knows he can't prevent the look of relief. "I got married to you."

The ice retreats from Dom's heart once again. They're almost there, he can almost relax.

"What else?" he asks. "There's one more thing, Arthur. What else is real?"

"I have two children," Arthur says, and that's what Dom has been waiting for. He yanks Arthur in close and Arthur presses his face to the curve of Dom's throat.

"I wanted to know something," Arthur repeats quietly. Dom just holds him. There will be enough time for questions and explanations tomorrow.

"You were married to Mal," Arthur says eventually. "She was haunting you."

"Jesus, Arthur, you can't even think about yourself in your own dreams," Dom says thickly. Arthur shrugs and Dom lets it go.

They stay on the floor for a long time, pressed together shoulder to hip to thigh, watching the first tendrils of the daylight appear in the sky.

"What did you want to know?" Dom asks when they head for bed, to try to catch a few hours sleep before the children are up and about again. He knows he shouldn't press, but his curiosity has always been his downfall.

"I don't remember," Arthur mumbles into his pillow, and once again Dom lets it go. Instead, Dom just holds his husband and listens to his slow steady breath. There will be time enough tomorrow.

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