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Pre-deprivation

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The first time it happens, Arthur thinks nothing of it.


(The night before, it had been raining, pouring with everything the sky had to give, and soaked to the bones, jacket and shirt clinging to his skin uncomfortably and cold, he agreed with a grunt when Eames told him to stay the night. Eames' apartment was surprisingly warm and his dry clothes well-worn and comfortable and his couch everything Arthur didn't think an ugly piece of furniture could have been. The cup of coffee he was given was made just so and the strumming rain against the windows made Arthur surprisingly glad he stayed.

"What side do you want?" Eames asked him, out of the blue, like the couch wasn't even an option. Arthur stared at him, not offering an answer. "For sleeping. In my bed," Eames clarified, eyes round and disbelieving for having to have this kind of conversation to begin with. Arthur made a noise of discomfort, about to thank for the offer and declining it right after, but Eames rolled his eyes and took the then-empty coffee cup, set it on the side table and held out his hand. "Come on now," he said, exasperated and when Arthur made no effort to move, Eames' large hand curved itself around Arthur's cotton clad arm and he pulled.

Arthur chose the left side.)

He sits on the breakfast table, knowing he's all sleep-mussed and bleary-eyed, and sips his blessedly-hot coffee, never letting the rim far away from his lips; inhaling and absorbing and enjoying. Over the rim of his cup, he sees Eames glancing at him, every now and then: when he flicks the sheets of the newspaper, when he reaches the top paragraph of the news he's reading, when he lowers the paper and takes a gulp of his own cup – basically every given chance he has without being blatantly obvious.

To Arthur, however, he is.

"Right," Arthur says after fourteenth time Eames' gaze strays Arthur's way. "Is there something so interesting in me that you'd feel like sharing?"

And Eames, Eames smiles softly, looking down.

(It's all very confusing. And annoying.)

"What?" He asks, impatience clear in his voice, and Eames lifts his eyes, merriment making them soft, and says, "Absolutely nothing. You fancy some more?"

Arthur wants more coffee, yes, and as Eames launches into the details of the most interesting article in the newspaper, Arthur lets him.

He thinks nothing more of it.


~*~


The second time it happens, Arthur gets suspicious.


(He agreed to share the hotel room with Eames, only because it was the most rational thing to do. The fact that he recognized Eames being infuriatingly present, and something that Arthur had to reluctantly admit, was refreshingly welcome in his otherwise so pedant lifestyle, had absolutely nothing to with it. Nothing.

"We are hardly to be blamed. One of us has to stay in here, in case the mark decides to go on the run, so the other can either stay and share the room, or find another suitable hotel for their needs," Eames said with that superior way of his, in the way that clearly said he's right and others can go and fight against it – in the way that's utterly and devastatingly correct.

Arthur squinted his eyes and said, "The left is mine."

Eames beamed.)

He wakes up in the middle of the night; it's quiet and dark and warm, very warm, in fact, and he realizes there's an arm sneaked around his back, holding him close to the warmest part – Eames. He keeps himself relaxed, slack, like he'd still be, were he sleeping, and pays attention to his breathing, slow and deep and effortless. Eames seems to be asleep, as far as Arthur can tell.

He has no idea what woke him up; he's pretty used to his somewhat nocturnal ways of sleeping cycle, but he'd be a fool if he wouldn't enjoy the moment at hands. And he can be anything else what others say he is, but stupid isn't one of them.

So, he stays still, unmoving, and concentrates on the feel of Eames' skin, of his body, of his warmth around him. He closes his eyes and breathes, lungful of Eames making him dizzy in a delicious way, even if he's already lying down. He accepts and admits; he's way beyond his rationality when it comes to Eames.

The admission isn't as hard to make as he would have thought, it's just that he feels it's pointless to try and deny it any longer – not that he'd make this conclusion obvious to Eames in any way. No, he lets it stir and brew and lets himself enjoy something Eames doesn't know, for once.

He wishes he could move his arm, to let it slide on the sleep-warm skin, to find all the things by touch he can't see with his eyes, to get familiar with this side of Eames, the physical side and--

Eames' phone rings, loud and unwanted, on the table next to Eames' head. Arthur quickly rolls the other way, cold sheets feeling rough and empty and Eames flexes his arm, the one still half under Arthur's side. Eames tugs and tugs and gets his arm free.

"H'lo," Eames answers, voice deep and scratchy and Arthur shivers. It's really chilly on the left side of the bed.

"Right, uhhuh," Eames is saying, and then, then something happens that makes Arthur lose his breath altogether; Eames' hand, the one that was curled up and around Arthur, returns and pets, pets, pets Arthur's side. Skin on skin, callused hand against the fair and smooth skin of Arthur's side, and once again Arthur suffers from unexpected dizzy spell.

He feels like moving into the touch, feels like moaning and turning around and taking what's his; taking Eames, ruffled and stupid with lack of sleep, taking Eames with fervor and years-long, barely disguised want – but he doesn't, he doesn't because it's not the right time, it's not what they're supposed to be doing; it's not –

"When?" Eames asks, hand freezing between the second and third rib, voice full of steel and awareness. Arthur knows, he can feel the electricity, and he knows they'll be up and running in three minutes, ready to leave the country, because that's the only thing their mark would think of doing, and Eames shakes his shoulder, gentle and firm and hurriedly.

Fifty minutes later they're sitting on the plane, well on their way out of the country, their mark sitting rows in front of them, enough not to get suspicious, and Eames stares at Arthur from the corner of his eye. Arthur lets him.

He's wondering himself, as well.


~*~


The third time it happens, Arthur knows it happens.


("Go home, Eames," he said, about to slam the door to Eames' face, half-dead on his feet and really, really not in the mood of playing any games.

Eames looked at him with alarmingly red eyes, tiredness written on his scrubby face, and said, "Spain is a long way from here." Arthur stared at him, fatigue making his eyes blink annoyingly frequently. "Come on, just one night. I'll fly back tomorrow morning," Eames said, not bothering to hide his jaw-breaking yawn.

Arthur stared some more and said nothing; instead he left the door open and walked into the bedroom, pulling the sweater off of him and face-planting onto his bed.

He didn't hear the door closing, but it must have, because the next thing he knew, the bed was dipping and the table light being clicked off and there was radiating warmth on the right side of the bed. He fell asleep.)

He wakes up as the sun is rising; bleeding in the room behind his bare-threaded curtains, giving everything a golden lining. He yawns silently and rolls on his side, facing Eames.

Eames, who looks like a different person when being unaware of his surroundings; Eames who looks young and disconcertingly innocent, with long lashes resting on the curve of his cheeks, face smoothen and peaceful with sleep; Eames with his sharp wit and even sharper mind; Eames with his complex life and complex feelings – and Arthur reaches out a hand, few fingers, and trails the soft pads of his digits over Eames' hairline, the roundness of his lower lip, the roughness of his unshaven jaw, the straightness of his nose – and he feels the clawing need to kiss Eames; lips, cheeks, jaw, throat. Instead Arthur sweeps closer, closer still, and gets his hand between Eames' arm and side, finding burning warmth and damp skin, and twines his leg with Eames' own. His head finds itself cocooned under Eames' jaw, pressed against Eames' chest.

Breathing easy and light, he dozes off –

Only to wake up few hours later, still entwined with Eames, the difference being Eames petting his head and back. Heavy and clever hands keep petting Arthur; one sliding on the skin of his lower back, steady and meticulously; the other weaving its fingers in Arthur's unruly hair, over and over, and Arthur feels like nuzzling Eames' throat, his chest. He doesn't.

He rolls the other way, on his back, and Eames' hands disappear quickly. Arthur stretches and opens his eyes. Staring at the ceiling, he feels Eames being completely still, feels Eames' eyes on him, questioning, baffled, insecure.

"Arthur," Eames breathes, his fingers crawling to rest on Arthur's arm, and the sound of his voice; the sound of it, small and quiet and pained, everything Eames, himself, isn't, makes Arthur blink and turn his head to face Eames.

Eames looks miserable and hopeful, tired and awake, and the hand on his arm tightens. Arthur offers Eames a small smile, genuine smile with a hint of dimples and crinkled corners of his eyes and Eames says with wavering voice, "You are making me insane."

Arthur blushes under the compliment, takes a hold of Eames' hand and brings it to the side of his face, rubbing the knuckles against his cheek, goose bumps running along his body. Eames is staring at him, mouth half-open with an unformed question and Arthur lifts the lax hand on his lips, kisses gently the knuckles, over and over again, and says, "I know."

He knows. They both know.


~*~


The fourth time it happens, Arthur makes sure it happens.


(The job was a success – they mostly are, yet this felt even better than many other successful jobs, and when Eames suggested they'd go out and have a few drinks to celebrate, Arthur didn't say no.

When Eames bought him the first drink, Arthur didn't say no.

When Eames bought him the second drink, Arthur didn't say no.

When Eames bought him the third drink, Arthur didn't say no.

When Eames asked him to leave with him, Arthur didn't say no.)

Eames stands in Arthur's living room, hastily getting rid of his jacket, throwing it on the side of the sofa, over Arthur's own leather one. "You know, I really find your way of cuddling very adorable," Eames says with a glint in his eyes.

Arthur could always blame the alcohol for the blush that creeps on his face, making his cheeks and the back of his neck burn hotly, but he doesn't. He takes the compliment as it is and takes a step closer to where Eames is standing.

"Really, really find it adorable," Eames continues, voice lower and gaze smouldering. Arthur takes another step, closer still.

"Really, really, really adorable and arousing, if I may say so," Eames says, and Arthur finds himself in front of Eames, bare inches between them.

"Eames," he says, and Eames hums. "I know."

Arthur leans closer and kisses him, kisses him wet and hot and dirty. His hand clutches Eames' neck, and he kisses harder. Eames doesn't waste any time; he kisses right back, desperate and noisy and radiating of want and need, and Arthur's head is spinning; spinning with heat and urgency; spinning with the smell and touch of Eames; spinning with words like, more and harder and now, and he pushes Eames backwards, in the bedroom, on the bed, and Eames goes down, trustful and shaking with need as Arthur fumbles with the belts; his belt and Eames' belt and then it's his own tie and buttons and Eames' hot hands gliding on his skin reverently while he tries to get rid of his shirt; it's Eames' hungry mouth sucking on his nipple, eliciting sounds from inside him he never knew he was capable of making; it's Eames lying back down and letting Arthur touch and see and feel; it's fuck, darling and Christ, love and Arthur, Arthur, Arthur

And when Arthur is slick-sweaty and lowering himself on Eames, it's quiet wonder and huge, shiny eyes with stolen breath.

It's clawing hands, bruising grips and muffled grunts, it's Eames inside and Arthur around. It's aching thighs and quivering bodies; it's frantic and fast and—

White, burning light, hot rush and a silent scream.

After, it's Arthur lying on top of Eames, heartbeat thudding in his ears, hair plastered on his face and neck with sweat, and it's Eames' still-shaking hand running on his damp back.

Eames' voice comes out as a wheeze as he says, "You know, I don't mind when you plan things ahead. I actually find myself quite liking it, especially with results like this." Arthur doesn't bother to hide his smug smile against Eames' chuckling body.

He falls asleep curled around Eames, Eames curled up around him.


~*~


The fifth time, and the next, and the next, and the times after the next, they both make sure it happens.


- Fin