Betas: sistabro and callowyn
Series: Not Such as I Was
Pairings: Mal/Dom, Sam/Arthur, Arthur/Eames
Timeline: Set during the first half of season four in Supernatural, during an in-movie flashback for Inception.
Disclaimer: None of the canonical characters contained herein belong to me and this work is not intended for any profit or other commercial purposes.
Contents include: Insanity, suicidal ideation
Summary: There are many reasons why Mal must make Dom wake up with her.
Mal sweeps her arm across the table she'd just carefully set, sending the food, flowers, and flatware flying across the hotel room. She thinks for a moment and then grabs one end of the table and pulls it over on its side. The salt shaker tumbles to the floor, creating a thin arc of salt on the carpet between her and the door.
Salt on the carpet, salt blocking the doors: Sam had kept on doing that when he'd stayed at her house with Arthur so long ago. Or what felt so long ago? Mal can't calculate how little time has truly passed in the waking world any longer, lost track on the last level. But never mind — she'd only just broken Sam of the habit right when he'd broken away from them. This dream reminds her of dreaming with Sam. It feels so solid, so close to real that she has to stage this scene by hand rather than simply bringing it into being with her own will.
Once she wakes up, Mal will call up Hosni and let him know that he's finally managed to formulate a compound which allows for others to construct dreams every bit as stable as Sam's natural ones. That will be such a relief for Hosni. He'll finally be able to come out of hiding from those wretched thugs who've never stopped harassing him for Lavoisier's identity. Kidnapped twice: she hardly blames him for his reaction, but now he'll have a free life again, maybe come and meet the children. Mal misses Hosni; misses them all.
And Sam... maybe Sam will stop running too. All his life spent running from the monsters planted in his mind by his monstrous father, holding them back with lines of salt far thicker than this in hotel rooms nowhere near as elegant as this one. She knocks a lamp over and listens to the crack of the porcelain without any concern for its apparent value. Mal can understand her sweet lost boy, now. Having seen how Dom treats her here, like a madwoman... Mal knows how hard it must have been for Sam to give up any of his secrets or the superstitious habits and routines he always struggled to hide or break. With dreams like this, it's little wonder that Sam's nightmares chased him into waking life, and from there into Arthur's arms.
Arthur. God, Mal can't wait to lean against her solid, loyal, true Arthur. Her own melancholy reveals itself in the ways her projection of him behave on this level. Always so despondent, overly-protective of her, and the dark circles around his eyes never disappear, even as he pines after Eames. Eames might be one of the mercenaries hunting for Lavoisier, but he's one of the more civilized, less brutal ones. More importantly, he makes Arthur laugh. With Hosni's perfected formula, their old secret will no longer matter. Arthur will no longer need to protect his old lover from his new one. Though she doesn't envy him the choice, settling with one or the other will give Arthur the stability and order that he craves.
Still, Mal can see the light at the end of the tunnel now. She kicks over a chair, making sure to bruise herself against it. Dom will have to believe her, must trust in her completely to make this work. This little scene has been so exhausting and painful to arrange, and there are so many calls yet to make once she awakens.
Mal is doing this first and foremost for Phillipa and James, the children of her womb, but she yearns to return to the boys she's raised into men as well. And Eames, well, he's a natural fit in their group — he doesn't get along easily with Dom, but then again, neither had Sam. And Sam... her beautiful, damaged, brilliant foundling: she will finally be able to ease his tortured mind, able to communicate and empathize with him on a new level. Now that she knows what he goes through every day of his life, she'll be able to help her mother understand why it's so difficult for him to escape his terrors, to trust anyone to help him. But Mal will show her mother, will show Sam the subtle tells of the dream, how to see through its tiny cracks of unreality. Together they will find a way to truly control his nightmares; to keep him from that complete break with reality he's teetered upon for as long as she's known him.
Poor Lavoisier, whose natural dreams are so realistic that he can never trust them to provide any release or escape from his own reality. She'd spoken with Sam... well, it must have been the other day, and he'd been in near-hysterical denial, unable to accept the premature death of his beloved brother. Sam had denied that sad fact so vehemently that his projection here keeps insisting Dean had returned from the grave after a mere four months. But Mal had looked into the eyes of the projection who'd reluctantly joined them at the diner. They hadn't been the twinkling eyes of the Dean Winchester she'd met after Jess died, the mischievous boy forced into manhood too soon by their despicable father's inability to be a father. No, Mal recognized him as the cold, brutal guardian that killed intruders in his brother's dreams indiscriminately, and without hesitation or mercy.
A tragedy, Dean, but Sam — Mal can still save him, even after all these years. But time is of the essence.
She tears the left strap on her dress, looks around the room and nods. Illusions within illusions to a level that's almost absurd, but one of the reasons she loves Dom is the way he can stand up against her: right or wrong, stubborn and brilliant in his own way. What's more, he's a wonderful father, affectionate and attentive, loving James and Phillipa just as much as he loves her. Mal will never leave him, not if she can help it, but if something happened to her she knows that unlike John Winchester, Dom will never put her memory ahead of their children's futures.
Mal needs to get Dom back to their children, and if this is the only way, well, she's tried every other. It only appears cruel down here. When they awaken, Dom will understand her, will thank her, and then will come up with some new obsession; hopefully one that will let him stay closer to home. Perhaps he'll go back to physical architecture like her father. Mal doesn't imagine that he'll be willing to risk dreaming for a few months—possibly ever again, considering how close he'd come to losing himself in Limbo this time.
A gust of air blows up through Mal's dress as she steps out of the window. She feels more alive than she has in what seems like decades, a woman reborn: young and refreshed. This last part, creeping on the scrollwork that runs along the niche dividing the two windows feels so dangerous but she has to ignore that. This whole dream has been a dangerous experiment, but one well worth it. In mere minutes — truly mere seconds — Mal will be able to set the wrongs of so many years to rights. Once again she'll be a mother to her children, a daughter to her parents, and bring peace to Dom, to Hosni, to Sam, and, if she's very lucky, maybe even to her dear, stoic Arthur.
The knowledge warms her heart, gives her the strength she needs to keep edging along the wall on her own. Just as she planned, she hears the door open. She braces herself as she sits down on the opposite window sill, pushing down her irrational fears for the sake of her children, for her husband, and for her boys. Right now, Mal needs to be strong enough to save them all.
Her mind is clear now, free from any lingering hesitations. Mal waits for Dom to reach the window and the unavoidable abyss she's carefully set between them, between him and remaining in this dream, the chasm that will truly bring them together again. Only moments now, and the darkness below will reunite Mal with all the people she loves.
This entry was originally posted at http://moragmacpherson.dreamwidth.org/88