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A Meeting In The Dark

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Arthur wakes up to the sound of glass breaking. He groans as drags himself out of bed, his watch telling him to go back to sleep, or rather that it’s 3 o’clock in the fucking morning and he doesn’t have the energy for this shit.

When he stumbles downstairs, mindful for the bruises on his side (the last job didn’t go particularly well) there is a man standing right in the middle of his living room. Arthur blinks sleepily at the masked stranger, who interrupted some much needed rest and is the biggest idiot Arthur has ever had the misfortune of meeting. He doesn’t seem to have noticed Arthur, and doesn’t seemt to be armed. But first perceptions can be unreliable, especially when Arthur has trouble keeping his eyes open.

“I need coffee before I kick your ass,” Arthur announces to the stranger. The man jumps up in surprise and curses.

British, Arthur thinks distractedly as he makes his way into the kitchen.

“You want one, too?” Arthur fills the coffee machine with fresh water and presses the button while yawning. The man chuckles as Arthur hears him walking into the kitchen.

“Sure, darling,” the man says.

Arthur turns around with two cups in his hand. He raises his eyebrow at the man, but stills when he can actually see him clearly for the first time. In the kitchen light, the man’s… intriguing physique is much more visible and the tight black clothes don’t leave much to the imagination. The man notices Arthur’s roaming eyes and leans casually against the fridge, managing to radiate smugness without even uncovering his face.

Arthur sighs. He definitely needs coffee for this.

He makes them both blacks, not caring about his guest’s preferences about milk and sugar and all other unnecessary things. If he wanted hospitality, he shouldn’t have broken in.

The man has made himself at home in one of Arthur’s designer dinner table chairs and has taken off his ski-mask. Arthur prides himself on being unshakable, in all situations, but it takes way too much concentration to not be distracted by those damn lips and the bright and arrogant eyes. He gives the (handsome) thief his coffee, receiving a thank you darling for his troubles.

Arthur sits down and takes a big gulp of his coffee. He sighs happily while the man smiles at him, amused.

“So, the point is,” Arthur begins, taking another sip of his coffee. “You made the biggest mistake of your life, Mr….”

“Eames,” Eames leans back into his chair, putting his feet onto the chair across from him, with his dirty shoes on the expensive fabric. “How so?” Eames asks.

Arthur glares at his feet, and then at his face, but continues.

“Well, Mister Eames, you just broke into a highly trained special ops officer, although I fucked off from those idiots ages ago. I’m one of the most well-respected people of my criminal niche, and trying to steal something from me might have been the most lethal decision you have ever made in your entire life.”

Eames only chuckles at the thinly veiled threat, and finishes his coffee in one go. Arthur glares some more.

“You were in the army? I had a stint in MI6 myself. Now those were some good times,” Eames says, leaning back with an almost nostalgic expression on his face.

“MI6? How the hell do you go from that to- to this, ” Arthur gestures at Eames’ get-up vaguely, “a small time thief?”

“There is nothing small about me, darling,” Eames replies, leering.

“Okay, now I’m definitely going to kick your ass,” Arthur says, finishing his coffee.

“I don’t really have a thing for kicking, per se,” Eames leans forward over the table, “but I have no objections if you did something else with my arse, darling.”

Arthur groans and leans away from him.

Eames grins at him.

“Did you break in here purely to sexually harass me?” Arthur asks, closing his eyes. He really is tired, and Eames doesn’t seem to be much of a threat. Just a general annoyance.

“Sorry to hurt your feelings love, but not everything is about you,” Eames chuckles and sits back into his seat again.

Arthur opens one eye inquisitively. In reply, Eames simply raises an eyebrow.

“Go on then, tell me your evil masterplan. I’ve got nothing to do anyway,” Arthur says, then quickly adds, “and don’t tell me what I can be doing is you. I will shoot you.”

Eames closes his mouth with a snap holding up his hands in a placating gesture. It’s quiet for a minute, and Arthur closes his eyes again, slouching into his chair.

“I’m not here to steal anything. really; at least, not from you,” Eames begins.

Arthur snorts but doesn’t interrupt.

“It’s all for a con. I’m going to steal a Monet.” Suddenly there is a bit of awe in Eames’ voice, and Arthur opens his eyes to find Eames looking at him, slightly enthralled.

“Your old, rich neighbor has one in his private collection, and the safe there is a bitch to work with, so I had to find a way to get him to get them out. I mean, I could deal with the safe myself, but not without risking damaging the painting. So, I become the local neighborhood thief, stealing things here and there, making people report it to the police and starting a bit of a panic. The grumpy grandpa is one paranoid fucker, so the moment he hears of a threat, he is going to move the paintings to his more secure safe in his firm, and then…”

Eames grins at him, like a kid in a candy store.

Arthur can’t help but smile back, just a little.

“You’re going to steal the painting while it is being moved,” Arthur concludes.

“You’re quick, darling! Exactly. The movers won’t know what hit them.” Eames is still smiling, then he suddenly straightens up, eyes bright with excitement before he continues, “I think he is going to pack them up and move them in two days. How about you and I go in together? It would be the most romantic of first dates, I promise.”

Arthur arches an eyebrow at him.

“Mr Eames, are you seriously asking me out to steal a painting together?”

“Problem?”

“You don’t even know my name.”

Arthur stands up to put the cups in the sink and Eames follows him into the kitchen, still hunting for a conformation.

“What is your name then, love?”

“Arthur.”

“So, dear Arthur, would you lower yourself to go on a slightly illegal date with a small time criminal such as myself?” Eames asks.

Arthur laughs involuntarily. He feels himself giving in.

“Okay,” Arthur says finally, turning to Eames, “I’m in. How about you come back tomorrow for coffee again, so we can plan this thing? Please, at a respectable time this time. I will drown you in cappuccino if you wake me before nine, ever again.”

Eames laughs heartily, and nods with a hand on his heart.

“Oh, you’re the organising kind aren’t you?” Eames says as he steps into Arthur’s space.

Arthur rolls his eyes, very deliberately not looking at the lips that are now dangerously (deliciously) close.


“Darling, we are going to be wonderful together.”