In a rare turn of events, Arthur doesn't blame Eames.
He blames Cobb, for sending him on errands in the middle of the night. For calling him at an hour much closer to dawn than dusk, and pulling him out of bed, as if the rest of them have to be punished for the fact that Cobb hasn't had a decent night's sleep since he and Mal went too far under.
He blames the army, for training him to follow orders blindly in the dark. For the fact that he'd been dressed before he'd even gotten both eyes opened. His gun had been cocked and loaded before Cobb even finished telling him the mark was on the move a full thirty-six hours before they'd planned, and they should probably keep an eye out for snipers.
He blames London, a little bit, for being London. For the way the wind had gone through his jacket like it was made of paper. For the fact that it had taken him twice as long to get to Eames as it should have, because Eames had refused to stay in a hotel like the rest of them.
Mostly, though, mostly Arthur blames the rain. The other things, he could have dealt with. He'd even had detailed outlines for those specific case scenarios. What he hadn't planned was for the sky to open up and pour down upon him like the wrath of a vengeful god in the middle of the night, halfway to Eames' place to gather him for a swift implementation of Plan 6C (or, as Eames referred to it, the "Well, This is Buggered" plan).
Unfortunately, none of the many helpful provisions of Plan 6C had included a goddamn umbrella.
Arthur shows up at Eames' flat at 3:24 AM, soaked to the bone, in yesterday's suit, only to have Eames open the door before he can even raise his hand to knock.
"Honestly, Arthur," Eames says over the howl of the wind and the pounding of the rain, even as he pulls Arthur inside with a fistful of Arthur's sodden suit jacket, "I would've thought if anyone would have the foresight to check the bloody weather before implementing a counter-military attack, it would be you."
He's clearly lying though, since he's got a pile of large, fluffy towels sitting on the back of his horrendously patterned sofa. If he noticed that Arthur is dripping on the carpet, it doesn't seem to concern him. With a smugly cocked eyebrow, he strips Arthur of his jacket and lets it plop on the floor wetly, before he starts on the small white buttons of Arthur's shirt.
Arthur would protest, or at least attempt to help, but his fingertips are numb from the cold. In the last three days, he's managed a grand total of four hours and twenty minutes of sleep that didn't happen as part of another round of Yusuf's demented sedative testing, and he's been struck dumb by the fact that Eames is wearing a scuffed-up trucker's hat, light blue jeans, and an oversized green and blue flannel shirt.
Eames has to tug to get Arthur's shirt off of him, has to peel it away from where the cold rain water has made it cling to his skin. The surprisingly calloused pad of his thumb rubs over Arthur's shoulder as he does, and Arthur sort of wants to push Eames down just so he can climb in his lap. He can't help but shudder, and it's only mostly from the cold.
Eames doesn't seem to let it bother him. He grabs a towel and rubs at Arthur's head with it, probably because he's wanted nothing more than to mess up Arthur's hair since the day they met. He's not grinning though, when Arthur can get a glimpse of him through the gray fabric.
"We've got eight heading our way?" Eames asks mildly, and moves on to towel drying Arthur's neck and shoulders while Arthur just stands there and takes it. He lifts his arms obligingly when Eames taps the inside of his elbow with his wrist.
"Five," Arthur answers, finally, his voice rough from the long hours and lack of decent sleep. He lost his gun, somewhere between his hotel and Eames' living room, and he can feel the bruises that are starting to come up along his ribs when Eames swipes at them with the towel. He pushes the flash drive he'd had curled in his hand for entirely too long into the front pocket of Eames' jeans, and his fingers ache with how tightly he'd been holding it.
"Good show." Eames dabs at Arthur's lower back, then drops the towel on top of his discarded clothing. Arthur pulls a soaking wet passport from his back pocket and shoves it into Eames', while Eames undoes the buttons on his own shirt much, much quicker than he had those on Arthur's. "We've got, what, fifteen minutes to circle around?"
Arthur nods, numbly, as Eames drapes his own shirt over Arthur's shoulders, leaving him to put his arms through it himself. And if it had been oversized on Eames, it's absolutely ridiculous on Arthur. They may be roughly the same height, but Eames' shoulders are nearly twice as wide. It's terrible, and not something Arthur would be caught dead in, if he didn't think there actually was a chance it'd be the shirt he would die in. There are a lot of things he could say to Eames' back as he disappears down the short hallway to his bedroom, but most of them would only be a waste of time.
Eames is back in a flash though, before Arthur can dwell on much of anything, an oversized gray sweater—obviously well loved from the way the cuffs are fraying—tossed over one shoulder and an M-24 resting on the other, with an M-4 Combine hanging from his other hand like a toy.
He drives Arthur crazy.
And Arthur can't help but curl his fingers into the sleeves of his borrowed shirt. And even though he ducks his head to hide it, he has to smile when Eames laughs, finally, and puts all high-powered rifles to the side. Eames does up the buttons for him all wrong, like it isn't hanging off his shoulders anyway. Eames steps as close as possible, and puts his warm, warm hand on the back of Arthur's still damp neck and makes him look back up.
Afterward, Arthur still dreams, but only of this, of this half second where his hair is dripping in his eyes and he's shuddering from the cold at his back and the heat of Eames in front of him and he could close the distance between them.
But things never work out like Arthur wants, because he can't stop being Arthur. Even in his dreams, he still turns his head, ends up with Eames pressing a loud, smacking kiss to his ear as a joke, as a cover up, like either of them don't know what it is. Even in his dreams, Eames steps back, and keeps grinning like he has no idea how much Arthur wants him all the time.
"Twelve minutes," Arthur says now, instead of any of the things he actually wants to. "We've got to circle back around to fall into—"
"Arthur, in the many, glorious years since we were first introduced, how many times would you say we've ended up at your favored Oh-Shit plan?" Eames interrupts, still smiling vaguely. He pulls the sweater on over his head, and waits for a response. He doesn't bother to right the tilt of his hat.
"Seven," Arthur admits. He unfurls his hands from the soft fabric of the horrible, warm plaid shirt, and grabs for the rifle Eames hands him. He waits for the crack at his imagination, because it's well deserved, but this time, it doesn't come.
"Let's make for a successful number eight, yeah?" Eames asks, instead. He touches Arthur's jaw, just barely, there and gone so quick Arthur could've blinked and missed it, if he could stand to look away from Eames for that long.
"I'll see you on the other side," Arthur promises. Neither of them bother to mention that the other side will be three months from now, most likely in another country, after Eames finishes the job by himself. That's the way the plan always runs.
"Do try not to dirty the shirt, darling. It's a favorite of mine."
"I'm almost positive that dirt could only be an improvement."
Eames laughs, and it's like his shirt. It's big and loud and unimaginably warm. He puts a hand to his chest dramatically. "You wound me, Arthur. That could very well be the fatal blow."
"Good to know my sharpshooting skills are still strong, even when dressed like a colorblind lumberjack." Arthur quirks a smile again, but it's over just as quickly as Eames' touch had been. They've got very odd rituals for times of possible life-threatening adventure. "I'll clear the way. You just get the job done, Mr. Eames."
With a final grin and a tip of his baseball cap, Eames takes off out the front door and into the pouring rain. Arthur hesitates long enough to lock the door behind him, and veers in the other direction.
Arthur's soaked through again in under a minute. The rifle is slippery in his hands. He scowls, because it would be inappropriate to keep smiling and he's got a job to do.
Arthur thinks about it, sometimes, when he's hazy with sleep and longing. When he's pulling on his crisp, freshly laundered and pressed shirt in the morning, and it's barely dawn and cool enough that he just wants to stay in bed, buried under the covers.
It takes him four and half months to return Eames' shirt to him, freshly laundered and only slightly more worn than it had been when Eames draped it over his shoulders. Neither of them mention the fact that Eames had managed to send Arthur back the flash drive two weeks after he'd caught up with the mark and finished the London job.
Eames laughs, because that's what he does. The tip of his nose is red from the cold, but his eyes are bright and happy. "Here I thought you'd put it in the rubbish bin at the first opportunity," he says. Arthur's never had Eames' skill at reading people, but he can read Eames better than anyone he knows. There's the smile, easy, almost careless, and the way he keeps looking Arthur in the eye. The way his heavily gloved fingers swipe over one of the buttons on the shirt. He wasn't really joking.
Arthur bites down on the urge to smile. On the urge to say something stupid and sentimental and true, like how he'd taken that horrible shirt with him to every city and every country he'd been since London. Or how he'd always hesitate in the mornings when he was getting dressed but had nowhere to be, or at night, when he was getting ready to crawl in between cold sheets, to finger each one of the buttons, feel the fabric soft and warm under his fingertips like a promise. Or the fact that he'd given in more than once. About ringing in the new year on his balcony in L.A. with a glass of wine, Edith Piaf on the stereo, and Eames' shirt around his shoulders.
He huffs instead, breathing out into his cupped hands like that will warm them when his leather gloves have failed. "Don't be ridiculous," he says, as drily as he can manage when Eames isn't looking away from his profile. "If I were to do humanity the favor of getting rid of that thing, I'd at least make sure to light it on fire."
Eames leans too close, because that's what he does. Because he's Eames and he knows what it does to Arthur. Because it's fucking freezing, and they're on Navy Pier following their latest mark—Julian Scott, a former dotcom billionaire who lost most of his fortune in the stock market, but still has ideas people with better luck investing are willing to pay very, very well in order to get—let his six-year-old daughter drag him around the last day of Winter Wonderfest.
"I always did take you for a bit of a pyromaniac," Eames whispers, grinning, against Arthur's ear.
Arthur shivers, hard. He elbows Eames in the ribs just as hard, because that's what's expected of him. Eames doesn't backup an inch, probably because the hit is mostly absorbed by his big puffy coat. Arthur sniffs, loudly, and doesn't give any more of a response than that, even while Eames laughs again and takes his hand.
Somewhere in the crowd, Arthur knows Ariadne is drawing the scene, because inspiration is easier than copying if you don't have a photograph. Somewhere, she's drawing things the way she wants them to be instead of the way they are, and Yusuf is sampling one of everything and calling it research. Eames tugs his hand, pulling him further out of the crush of people, while Scott and his daughter slip around the corner, Scott looking over his shoulder. They're all so suspicious now. The jobs are getting harder because of it.
"The little girl," Arthur says, finally, when Scott is long out of sight. One of the things about working with Eames so frequently is that he doesn't have to clarify. It'd been the option they were considering the most, because if Scott is militarized—and Arthur's found it's better to just assume they all are—she'd be the least likely target. "Think you can do it?"
Eames is already nodding. "Don't be ridiculous," he says, in a close enough imitation of Arthur that Arthur has to wrinkle his nose and elbow him again. Eames hauls him in with an arm around his neck, so Arthur ends up with his cheek pressed to the slick and cold shoulder of Eames' coat. "I get to have the hat, right? With the little sparkly pink pom-poms?"
"It won't go with your scarf at all," Arthur tells him, and tries his best to fully express the sadness that Eames' wardrobe brings him with his tone of voice. He shoves Eames away and flicks the yellow tasseled end of Eames' bumblebee scarf. "But I suppose. As long as you don't start asking for a pony."
Eames laughs again, delighted. He unwinds the scarf from around his neck only to put it around Arthur's, while Arthur halfheartedly tries to bat him away. "Come on, then, I can't be clashing. If I get my pretty hat, you'll simply have to hold this for me."
"You don't get your pretty hat yet." Arthur huffs and ducks once more before letting Eames wrap the scarf around him. He tries to look as stern as possible, and from the way Eames is smirking, he fails spectacularly. The scarf is soft on the back of Arthur's neck, and Arthur hates that Eames always manages to find the best things in the worst colors.
"Can I get a pony?"
"Shut up," Arthur says, and elbows him again. He tangles his gloved fingers in the horrible yellow tassels at the end of the scarf and eyes it incredulously. "No. This should not be allowed to exist, Eames. It's not right. No."
"Come on, Arthur, pretty please?" Eames drops to his knees in the middle of the crowd, and people stop and stare. Arthur doesn't mean to, but he laughs, and it only fuels Eames on. "Arthur, darling," he says, grabbing Arthur's hand again and holding it to his chest, cradled between his own, "come on, now, let's start this year out right, shall we? Aren't you tired of telling me no yet?"
Arthur really, really is. He grins, even though it makes him look like he's fifteen, and says, "No. No, it doesn't look like I am."
Eames lets out a low, pained sound. It's absolutely nothing like what Eames sounds like when he's really in pain. He makes Arthur help him back to his feet by tugging at his hand. There are still maybe a dozen people eyeing them like they're going to be the show of the night.
Eames tugs on the end of the scarf he'd put around Arthur's neck. "I'll change your mind yet," he says, like a proclamation. Arthur hmms as doubtfully as he can manage, and Eames tugs again, a little harder.
Later, when Arthur's looking for sketches to use for recreating the space for the dreamscape, he finds that image instead. The two of them together, but not like it really was, not at all. Their fingers are tangled even though Arthur's still wearing that horrible scarf, and this time, when they're both smiling, they're looking at each other.
He keeps the scarf until the job's complete, and tells himself it's just so he doesn't have to see Eames in it. He never gives the sketch back, and Ariadne never asks about it.
Arthur doesn't know what makes him take the next job.
That's a lie, of course, and a bad one at that.
"This is a democratic country," Eames says, sitting on top of Arthur's papers, in the penthouse of a rundown building in Greenpoint that's owned by their latest mark, "I say we take the issue to vote." He's staring at Arthur as if Arthur has suddenly managed to completely turn his world on its head with a single sneeze. This is not their most subtle job ever.
"That's not how jobs work, Eames," Arthur tells him, and mentally pats himself on the back for not having to break off and cough in the middle.
"It's a Cobb-less job, it can work any which way we chose." Eames taps his fingers against a cup of lukewarm tea. The handle is chipped, and it has one of those patterns from the seventies that never quite managed to come back in style. It matches Eames' orange shirt better than it does the dainty flowered saucer he places it on.
From the other side of the room, Ariadne is nodding. The fact that she's agreeing with Eames erases all points that she gained by acting like a sane person and staying as far away from Arthur as possible while still working the same job.
Unlike Eames, who hasn't taken his eyes off of Arthur for two days. Arthur's not entirely convinced Eames hasn't followed him home and stood outside watching his window at night, even though he's supposed to be staying here.
Arthur keeps a list—an actual physical list, because in their line of work mental lists are so much more dangerous—of things about Eames that he never would've guessed. That he was the only one who could comfort Cobb, after Mal. The fact that he knows how to dress well and chooses not to. The way he smiles at his mother, when she drops by for lunch unannounced. His deep affection for French revolutionary poets. How he can do a crossword puzzle, in pen, in less than half the time it takes Arthur. That when faced with a colleague who has the flu, he turns into the most disgusted mother-hen in the world.
When Arthur takes a breath, it rattles, so he settles for glaring. He blows his nose loudly.
"Don't be that way, darling," Eames tells him, voice dripping with condescension, and his eyebrow cocked. "You've been outvoted on the issue of taking a vote."
If Arthur could drop his head onto the desk without dropping it into Eames' lap, he would. His head feels heavy and everything aches. He hates pretty much everything about his life, as Eames forcefully hands him a frog-shaped mug of warm orange juice that Arthur had been working for hours on inching ever more closely to the edge of the desk.
"You do these things just to chip away pieces of my soul, don't you?" Arthur asks. It comes out in more of a whine than the cutting remark on Eames' existence that he'd been hoping for, and it makes Eames smile brightly. Arthur punches him in the thigh, and then leaves his hand there because he's too tired to pick it back up.
Eames just pats his loose fist. "How else am I to know that you have one at all?" he asks, and wipes his fingertips on his shirt.
"I hope you get sick," Arthur grumbles, "and I hope you die."
Ariadne giggles in the corner, and Arthur turns his head to glare at her. She waves cheerfully, and Arthur adds her to that list.
"I'm adding you to the list," Arthur tells her, and then has to stop and catch his breath. To be completely fair, he probably would've given up the ghost of productivity ages ago, if it hadn't been for how much Eames kept insisting he was clearly too frail to be working.
"All those in favor of dosing Arthur with NyQuil, and then sterilizing everything in the room," Ariadne says, with a look in her eyes that Arthur takes to mean that she would not be above doing this against his will, and then drawing a dick on his face when he passes out. In Sharpie. She raises both her hands, and he doesn't even have to look at Eames to know he has his up too.
Eames, in a bizarre turn of events, at least looks less sinister about the whole thing. He leans forward, teacup balanced on one knee, and wraps his hand around Arthur's neck. Arthur shivers, because his hand is cold, even though he knows, logically, that the fever is probably more to blame for that. Eames is never cold. That's Arthur's role.
"I hate you both," Arthur says, as Eames pets his hair. Eames pats his back, drags his fingers in soothing circles through the coughing spell that follows.
"That's completely disgusting," Eames tells him, when it's finally over. He sounds pretty gleeful about it, though.
Arthur raises his middle finger in Eames direction. His head is spinning, and he's dropped his juice. He didn't manage to break the mug though, sadly, just managed to get orange juice in his shoes. Eames finally moves his cup of tea, and Arthur drops his head onto Eames' thigh without any conscious thought.
His throat is on fire, and mostly he just wants to die. He pants against the cotton of Eames' olive green slacks, and is in too much pain to properly insult them.
Ariadne hands him an open bottle of water, and looks like she's trying not to laugh. Eames keeps a hand spread out on Arthur's neck.
"I think I'm gonna go get some lunch, and a flu shot," Ariadne tells them both, pointing toward the door behind her with her thumb. "I may even top it off with a decontamination shower or two, after that little display."
Eames laughs, and runs his thumb across Arthur's skin like an apology when Arthur makes an almost involuntary noise of discomfort as he does. "You trying to get us to imagine you in the shower, Ms. Ariadne?" Arthur doesn't have to look up to see that Eames is making one those completely unsexy sexy faces. Ariadne is kind enough to roll her eyes for him.
"She'd rather imagine us in the shower," Arthur tells Eames' thigh. "She thinks we'd be so adorable together that the world would erupt into rainbows and everywhere we went we'd leave a trail of cartoon hearts."
Arthur's throat feels like he's been screaming for days, by the end of that, but it's worth it for Ariadne finally blushing, and Eames' deep laugh. "And too right she is, my Arthur," Eames says. "And too right she is."
"You better hope you're not still passed out when I get back," Ariadne tells him, as threatening as it's possible to be when you are teeny tiny and beet red. To be fair, Arthur's almost willing to concede that a slightly angry kitten could probably take him down right now. "I am so much more creative than all the frat boys in the world."
Arthur waits until she's shut the door behind her crazy patterned scarf to look up and find the smuggest look he has ever seen on Eames' face. Which—Eames—says a lot about the level of smug he has managed to achieve. "If you let her draw a dick on my face, I'm going to give your cell number to your mother."
"No worries, darling, the only dick on your face will be mine." Eames belies his words by actually moving off of Arthur's desk. His papers are all wrinkled. He moves out of immediate reach of Arthur for the first time since Arthur walked in the door.
Arthur squints at him, because he's smart enough to be deeply suspicious. He curls in on himself, and tries to stop shivering. "That's not your idea of comforting, is it?"
"Of course it is," Eames lies, and hands him two green pills. When Arthur just looks at him, he lifts the bottle of water that's still in Arthur's hand. "Honestly, we can do this the hard way, if that's what it'll take. I can get the syrup, if you'd like. What are you so afraid of? I promise, you shall not be besmirched whilst under any kind of influence, all right, Arthur?"
If Arthur could, if he didn't feel like his sinuses were going to explode, he'd snort. Instead, he takes the pills, and ignores how relieved Eames looks about it. "Clowns," he says, and drops his chin to his chest.
"You're having me on," Eames says. Arthur isn't, but he doesn't tell him that. Arthur can't decide if Eames sounds more disappointed or thrilled. He takes off Arthur's suit jacket and hangs it carefully over the back of the chair.
"It's cold," Arthur complains, and doesn't try to move.
"It's not," Eames counters. "That's the fever talking nonsense." But when he leaves the room, he comes back with a threadbare towel and a gray sweater. He bats Arthur's hands away, and starts unbuttoning Arthur's shirt. It's an oddly familiar scene. Eames pulls the sweater over his head, and let's Arthur figure out getting his arms through it.
"Honestly," Eames says, finally, "clowns?"
It's not until Arthur's got his fingers wrapped around the frayed cuffs that he realizes that shirt is the same. He smirks. "Why do you think the way you dress upsets me so?"
"Well," Eames says, trying to look deeply insulted and failing. He tugs on the sleeve just above Arthur's wrist, and shakes his head when Arthur stays limp and lets his hand fall, lifeless, upon release. "If you feel that way about it, I'm sure your dress shirt and jacket would be much more comfortable to sleep in than this old thing."
Because karma hates him, Arthur actually sort of wants to curl up in Eames' terrible, well-worn sweater and never, ever leave. He turns his face into the shoulder and coughs, long and hard, while Eames shushes him, rubs his back, and takes off his vitamin C infused shoes and socks. "I should go home," Arthur protests, finally, when he feels slightly less like his lungs are trying to make a break for it. Slightly.
Eames snorts. "Not bloody likely." He drops the towel over the rest of the mess on the floor after sweeping it over Arthur's feet, and then stands. "Come on then, let's get you set up proper, yeah?"
If Arthur sways on his feet when he stands—if he does that—then Eames is polite enough not to say anything. He puts his hands on Arthur's shoulders and guides him to the sofa, which is out of place with its slick, clean lines. It's the most uncomfortable piece of furniture in the place, and they all avoid actually sitting on it.
Arthur wakes up there, hours later, the frayed cuffs of Eames' sweater clenched in his fists, and a soft, pink and white flowered quilt wrapped around his shoulders. He's wearing thick green socks patterned with antlers. He's got what has to be a pillow from Eames' bed to keep him from getting a crick in his neck and the evening news playing low, while Eames patters around in the kitchen.
He goes back to sleep.
There's no real dawning moment. No sudden clarity. No breaking point. No great epiphany.
It's just Arthur, sitting in a drafty warehouse in Rome, tired of waiting for spring. Tired from too many late nights with too many cold research notes. And it's Eames, grinning, holding a steaming paper cup of coffee and wearing what is probably the ugliest short-sleeved shirt the world has ever seen, and a bastardization of the sort of hat favored by Sherlock Holmes and Elmer Fudd.
Arthur sits on the edge of his desk hard. He laughs, and rubs at his eyes, and laughs some more, because whatever that monstrosity is that Eames is wearing, it looks ridiculously soft, and he's got no doubt that it's warm from the heat of Eames' skin. And Arthur knows—he knows—if he buried his face in Eames' stupid shirt, it would smell like Eames, like faint cologne and the thunderstorm that's brewing in the distance. Like cheap cigarettes and weak tea. Like the things Arthur dreams about, when he's wrapped up in his own blankets and all alone.
And Arthur is tired of waiting.
This job is just the two of them, and they haven't worked without each other in long enough that this time they were expected as a package deal.
Eames doesn't hand him the cup of coffee so much as he wraps Arthur's fingers around it, the corner of his mouth tugged down when Arthur shivers, again, because the clouds are thick over the sun and the warehouse will not get warm. Arthur cannot get warm.
He steals Eames' stupid hat, and instead of tossing it aside, or into a convenient fire, Arthur—awkward with only one hand free—puts it on his own head.
"Arthur," Eames says, very seriously, his fingers still wrapped around Arthur's, "I think you've finally lost the bloody plot."
"Yeah," Arthur answers, still smiling. "Thank you for the coffee." Despite all evidence to the contrary, Arthur does know when to admit defeat. Usually Eames is quicker on picking up when he's going to do it, though. "You could insult my mother and I would find it less offensive than your shirt," he adds, because it's true.
He still curls the fingers of his free hand in the hem of it, though, and Eames smiles like maybe he gets what this is after all. Eames smiles like all he can think is: finally. And Arthur really... Arthur really can't argue with that.
"That hat is absolutely fetching on you, by the way," Eames says. He tilts his head left and then right, like trying to view it from every angle. Arthur kicks him in the shin, and Eames pokes him in the ribs. "It was an excellent choice."
Eames laughs. "Well, I did buy it for you." He keeps his hand over Arthur's around the cup of coffee, so they can move to sit it on the desk together.
"I wasn't kidding about the clown thing," Arthur admits, because one good turn deserves another.
"Remind me to cancel your birthday gift at the first opportunity," Eames says, very seriously, after a pause that wasn't long enough to be artificial. He straightens Arthur's hat. Arthur kicks him again, so Eames pulls the hat down over his eyes. "You've fought me for so long," he says. He sounds awed that, for once, they're actually talking about the same thing.
Arthur hmms, and uses Eames' shoulder to push the hat up off of his eyes. He rubs his thumb over the soft fabric his fingers are tangled in, and presses his knuckles to Eames' belly. "I did," he admits, when Eames grips his shoulders, like he needs the balance. He knocks his heels against the rusted metal of the desk. "It wasn't boring, though."
"No," Eames says, laughing like that's the best joke he's ever heard. "Oh, Christ, no. Arthur, it was many, many things, but it was certainly never that. I can list all the things it was, if you'd like. I know you enjoy your lists. Frustrating, infuriating, maddening—"
"Those all mean the same thing."
"I won't lie to you, darling, I'm beginning to think they're all synonyms for 'Arthur.'" Eames moves one hand to the back of Arthur's neck, an echo from the week Arthur spent on his sofa being unprofessionally checked for fever. Without it being a euphemism.
"Eames," Arthur says, smirking, "I'm tired of waiting."
"Yeah," Eames agrees, his voice gone soft and suddenly serious, "I really couldn't agree more."
"Good," Arthur says, and uses his grip on Eames' shirt to tug him forward, and finally, finally close the fucking distance.