Disclaimer: Inception does not belong to me. Harry Potter does not belong to me. Copyright infringement is not intended.
Warning: I have mild dyslexia and dyscalculia. There may be small grammatical errors and large mathematical ones.
Summary: A friend helps Ariadne cope. "You are waiting on a train…" Fem!Harry.
"Even when you win, sometimes you lose." – What Dreams May Come
Juniper Marie Evans is the type of friend that will come pick you up at four in the morning when you're drunk. She isn't an architecture student; no, she's here for the great psychology courses the college offers. But that perhaps makes her an even better friend; she understands. She gets how a hangover or a breakup can feel like the end of the world, how a dark past can shape you, how even a good past can make you feel lacking. Juniper gets the darkness and she gets the light, and she likes both equally.
They get together on Tuesdays and Thursdays to work on things for their general courses and just chat. It's that little bistro every time, and books and papers are usually spread across the table. Not today, apparently. Apparently today is just talk. Juniper just watches her staring blankly at her dissertation for a while, taking only the quietest sips of her coffee. She hates tea. Odd, for a Brit.
If Ariadne were ever to tell anyone, it would be Juniper. But she can't.
"Even when you win, sometimes you lose," she murmured unthinkingly.
"And sometimes you just don't know you've won," June counters.
Ariadne's head shot up.
"You've only lost because you haven't stepped into the light yet, Ariadne. I don't know what this job did to you, but it's equally bad and good. You're a dreamer, Aria, but now you're somehow a dreamer in a deeper sense. And it's done you good, but it's done you a disservice as well. There's a thin line between dreams and reality and you've crossed it, but if you can fight your way back – well, then you've won."
"What do you –?"
"There are worlds within this one that you could only imagine once you've stepped in them, Ariadne," she said with dark awe. "I've seen some of them. And you know, people are still the same in any of them. That's why you're not all here with me; you can't look past those worlds and see the people yet. But you will."
"How do you know?" Because sometimes, June just knows things.
"I did," she smiled. "Let me tell you something about myself, Ariadne, something you wouldn't know; I grew up in a cupboard. If lying alone in the dark every night doesn't make you dream big, nothing will. And then I got a letter, a letter that led to sights and hopes beyond my imaginings. And at first I was awed by the majesty.
"It's not until you've walked the alleys that you've seen the truth in Paris." She dropped money on the table, kissed Ariadne's cheek and got up. "You know where to find me, luv. I'll see you again Thursday."
She watched people all day. She walked the alleys that night, seeing the dirt and poverty and reality. Reality wasn't always beautiful; sometimes it was just getting by and hoping for better. It took a while to remember that. But that wasn't what June had meant; she'd meant that, while glorious on the surface, there was a deeper level of darkness to everything. Dreams were beautiful, but they were dreams, Ariadne realized. They were only beautiful while they lasted. And the job itself wasn't beautiful; it was a business.
Maybe reality was supposed to be hard.
"Amazing work, Ariadne," Professor Miles smiled.
"Thank you Professor."
"You're getting better," June smiled.
"Really?" Ariadne asked hopefully.
When an invitation for a dinner party came from Saito, Ariadne graciously declined.
"You're not waiting on a train to wake you up anymore. You're doing it yourself."