Joss Whedon owns "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and related characters; Christopher Nolan owns "Inception" and related characters; I own nothing.Warning:
Spoilers for end of "Inception."Note:
Title from a Carl Jung quote.~*~*~
Ariadne wondered what exactly Miles meant when he said that he had a special job for them. It had been several months since the inception job with Fisher, and during that time, her, Arthur, and Eames had slowly formed the core of a new extraction team. They still went to Yusef for the drugs they needed, and Saito had let it be known that if he ever needed something, they would be the first people he would call to hire. But none of them had really talked to Dom since landing in LA. It was like he was trying to put the past behind him and focus solely on his kids, on the time that the had lost with them.
Yet here he was, sitting in this rented office like he had never left. Ariadne had stopped in the doorway, staring at him for a moment before Eames walked up behind her and gave her a gentle push to get inside the room. Arthur followed them, looking at Dom, his face impassive, before going to sit down directly across from him.
They waited in uncomfortable silence before the door opened again, this time by Miles, leading a couple in their late forties or early fifties. Ariadne was struck by the tiredness, the sense of helplessness that seemed to emanate from these two people. Miles gave the gathered group a warm smile as he helped the woman sit down before claiming a chair next to her.
“Thank you all so much for coming on such short notice,” he greeted them, looking each one of them in the eyes. “I’d like to introduce you two good friends of mine, Hank and Joyce Summers. They have a job that you might be interested in.”
The man and the woman exchanged a look, the man taking his wife’s hand and giving it a firm squeeze. She smiled at him, before looking up at the rest of the group.
“We have a daughter, Buffy Summers,” she began, her voice firm despite its minute cracks. “For fifteen years, she was everything that a mother could ask for, even at her worst moments.” She paused and took a deep breath. “And then, six years ago, everything changed.”
Ariadne listened as Joyce described how their daughter’s reality had broken and her retreat into her own personal reality. “We had almost given up hope, until last summer when she had a period of about four months when she woke up,” Joyce explained, her voice becoming thicker with unshed tears. “But then her ‘friends’ somehow dragged her back.” Joyce looked away, blinking back tears. Miles took her free hand as her husband looked up at the group.
“She had another lucid period about two weeks ago,” he continued his wife’s story. “We were so hopeful that she would begin living a normal life again, but she then relapsed and we lost her for the third time.”
“The doctors have never seen anything like her condition before,” Joyce continued quietly, her voice back to its calm facade. “The closest diagnosis that they can give us is schizophrenia, but even that doesn’t explain the full elaborateness of the world that she’s created for herself, and how entering it renders her catatonic.”
“You think she’s trapped in some form of limbo,” Dom guessed, leaning forward slightly. Joyce glanced over at Miles before nodding slightly.
“We’re willing to try anything at this point,” Hank answered softly. “And the limbo explanation is as good as any we’ve heard for her condition. We don’t know why she would have gone there in the first place, but maybe there’s something in her subconscious that could give us a clue.”
“Miles suggested that we hire you to find a way to extract her from limbo, or to at least implant an idea that the world she’s created for herself is fake, and that she’s needed here,” Joyce continued after taking a deep breath. “We’re more than willing to pay whatever you ask. We just want Buffy back. We want our daughter with us again.”
Despite the time spent away from Dom, Arthur, Ariadne, and Eames all looked at him, to be the one to give their final opinion on the job before them. The trio was starting to find their way as a group, but it was Dom who had initially brought them together, and if anybody could pull something like this, it would be him.
Ariadne, at least, was more than interested in taking this job. After working on the Fisher job, everything was just so... tame, if that was the right word for it. Nothing that they had done so far had equalled that first rush, that level of attention to intricate detail. This job would be a whole new challenge for her to try to meet. From the looks on her partners’ faces, their thinking was right along those lines as well.
After several moments of silence, Dom moved his seat a little closer to the couple and his father-in-law.
“Tell me everything you know about your daughter’s dreams,” he said.