Over the last few months Arthur had threatened Eames with castration, defenestration, assassination and the burning of his entire wardrobe. While Eames was inside it.
"And yet," Eames drawls, "here you are again, darling."
Arthur glowers and shoves the bottle of vodka he brought at Eames. "Get glasses. I'm not drinking out of the fucking bottle again."
"But it adds so much to the atmosphere," Eames says wistfully. "Method acting, Arthur, it's not like the concept is beyond your impressive cognitive abilities."
Arthur snorts and slouches in the kitchen chair. "If you want authenticity, I could puke on your shoes." He may have said something after that, but it's not often that Eames gets to see Arthur lose posture like that and he allows himself the distraction.
The posture's the first to go, always, almost as soon as Arthur walks in. Then it's the jacket, right after the first glass.
Then it's the poker face, as Arthur allows himself to have expressions other than a permanent scowl. Sometimes he smiles, which Eames heartily approves of. Once Eames managed to get Arthur to stick his tongue out at him, but that hasn't been repeated as yet. Eames remains hopeful.
The tie, now – he likes Arthur to keep the tie, even as he loses everything else, his shirt and his trousers and his coherence.
Eames recognizes that he's a slightly kinky son-of-a-bitch, no disrespect meant to his poor sainted mother.
Although if Eames is slightly one, goodness knows what he can say about Arthur.
Arthur's only just downed his first glass. His hair is still primly slicked back, and that just won't do.
"You must have had a hard day," Eames says, and it's only half an excuse to come to stand behind Arthur and sink his fingers into his hair. By Arthur's groan as he tips his head back, Eames is not far off the mark.
There's no reason for him to be. For months now Arthur has shown up when he's being wound up tight, overstretched around the edges. The first time – oh, how lovely Arthur had been then – frozen, then all but snarling with frustrated rage until Eames got him drunk, pinned him down and fucked him until he cried.
It's downright reliable, and considering that Arthur knows the dangers of reliable better than anyone, Eames is aware of just how necessary Arthur considers this.
And it's not like it's a hardship. Not anything remotely like a hardship, unless you count the state of affairs in Eames' trousers, and he's far too dignified to even think of silly puns like that.
Once he's gotten Arthur's hair good and mussed, Eames lets his hands sink to the man's shoulders. Bony, Arthur is; sharp corners under hard muscles. The only soft things about him are his hair and his mouth, and he does his best to hide even them – the gel in his hair, the straight lines of his expressions.
Useless to hide anything from Eames, though, who has already seen all of it and a little more besides. With an effort, he lets go of Arthur and turns around to perch on the kitchen table. Arthur raises an eyebrow when Eames takes a swig from the bottle.
"You should be setting a better example than that," Arthur says, and Eames' stomach tightens with sudden lust at the rasp of Arthur's voice, the quick dart of his pink tongue licking those soft lips.
"Mmm," Eames says. He stretches back and when he's done he's in character. He grins at Arthur, his best dirty smile. "I'd say I'm setting a bad enough example letting you stay out so late on a school night."
"Fuck that." Arthur leans back in his chair, his hips splaying wide and gorgeous, and Eames' mouth is wet with the wanting of him. "Got better things to do." His gaze is frank, sizing Eames up and down. He can't have been this smooth as an actual teenager, nobody is, but Eames is uncomfortably turned on by imagining he was.
Eames has been known to rub himself off to such thoughts, forger-vivid images of Arthur at sixteen, on his knees and loving it, Arthur at seventeen getting fucked against a wall.
Arthur at eighteen, giving it all up for a scholarship and a spiffy uniform, and Eames takes that thought, boxes it up and puts it away carefully. Now's not the time.
"I suppose I could teach you a few things, then." Eames' accent is coarser than the one he generally likes to use. He knows Arthur appreciates it, for all that the bastard never says anything, by the dilating of his pupils, by the way he grips Eames' hair and tells him "Shut up, shut up already" while the steady jerking of Arthur's thighs belies every word.
"Oh, really." Arthur gets up then. "Maybe I don't want to learn," he says, leaning against the kitchen wall, hips thrust forward like an invitation. "Maybe I just want to drink your booze and leave."
"I knew it." Eames pretends to clutch at his heart. "You're only using me as a source of alcohol to fuel your criminal tendencies."
Arthur narrows his eyes at Eames, ever so slightly. Eames can recognize a hint; Arthur likes him to be slightly predatory, to flex his muscles and crowd Arthur against random surfaces. Eames' silliness is getting in the way of Arthur's getting off.
Well, they can't have that, can they?
Eames refills Arthur's glass, goes to him and grabs his hair. "Drink up, darling." He's not too gentle about tipping Arthur's head back, trusting Arthur to be able to keep from choking somehow. It's something he's shown considerable skill at before, after all.
Arthur rolls his eyes but obeys, and some small tension goes out of his frame as he does. Eames watches, approving. A drop of vodka missed Arthur's mouth, dripping slowly down his chin, and Eames laps it up without even thinking about it.
Arthur's hand in his hair stops him. "Wait," Arthur whispers, and oh, here they go.
Eames retreats, only a few centimeters distant. "What is it?" He does not allow Arthur the comfort of looking away.
He hunches a bit under Eames; then he outright flushes, and Eames is amazed again that Arthur can't forge for shit. "I – never mind," Arthur says, trying to duck out from under Eames.
Because he knows the script to this one, already, knows it by heart, Eames grabs Arthur's arm. And Arthur, who could break Eames' wrist without even trying hard, deflates and remains where he is, breathing slightly labored.
"Are you keeping secrets from me?" Eames says, dangerous, and is rewarded by the sudden heat in Arthur's gaze.
"No," Arthur gasps. "I, I just— "
There is an art to the expression of slow realization, and Eames is as modest as he could reasonably be, but it's not every man that can fake an epiphany as well as he does. "You've never done this before, have you," he says, and the worst thing is, the wonder in his voice isn't entirely artificial.
He's been doing this to Arthur for weeks now, and he never seems to get used to the fact that Arthur lets him.
Arthur shakes his head slowly, almost like he's embarrassed. Maybe he is, a bit, at the lengths he'll go to get what he wants.
Eames leans close then, because he doesn't like for Arthur to feel ashamed, even if he's only acting. "Oh, darling," he whispers into Arthur's ear, leaning close enough that he can't help but feel him shudder. "You'll let me take care of you, won't you?"
"Fuck you," Arthur gasps, but his eyes have closed, his head is tilted back. So high-strung, Eames thinks, and strokes an affectionate hand through Arthur's hair.
He hates the requisite retort, though, so instead he grabs the vodka bottle from the table and touches its mouth to Arthur's lips in warning before he tilts it up.
It's not his actual intention to drown Arthur, so he only lets it trickle down onto his face. He makes a helpless noise at the sight of Arthur licking at the slow stream pouring on him.
He puts the bottle back rather shakily and Arthur smiles at him, already a little smeared around the edges. He manages to drop to his knees gracefully enough, but then Arthur has never lacked for grace.
"'M dizzy," Arthur murmurs, leaning his head against Eames' thigh so that Eames has no choice but to sink his hand into the man's hair again.
"Are you, now." At this point, the growl in Eames' voice has also gained a degree of authenticity. "Better get you to bed, then."
"Bed. Yeah." Arthur licks his lips, and Eames is helpless against that, can do nothing before he bends down and licks all the vodka that dripped from the corners of Arthur's mouth.
Arthur moans into his mouth and clutches at his hair, and Eames would break out his best shit-eating grin if it weren't so out of character.
Having to half-carry Arthur to bed isn't something Eames can bring himself to mind, considering that this means he has a loose-boned, sloppily drunk Arthur clinging to him and occasionally groping him less than stealthily.
In fact, not minding might be a slight understatement.
Because the thing is, Arthur's the better shot, he's faster and has better reflexes, but Eames has a not inconsiderable amount of brute strength. Therefore he can, in fact, heave Arthur and toss him bodily into bed. And the miracle of Arthur's drunkenness is that he allows this, and Eames does grin then, just for a moment while Arthur's back is turned.
He wastes no time in climbing behind Arthur, rubbing against him until they both gasp, biting down on the back of Arthur's neck to keep himself quiet. It's not that he minds his dignity – that is frankly long gone anyway – but if he's noisy then he can't hear Arthur, and that's just not to be borne.
The sounds Arthur makes are quiet, wet gulping sounds, little raw 'ah's when Eames gets at just the right spot on his neck, and frankly Eames could get off right here and now, listening to Arthur and grinding against his marvelous arse.
But that, of course, would be a waste of a drunken Arthur, and Eames was raised to be prudent.
It bears repeating that the best thing about Arthur, inebriated, is that he always acts as if he left his inhibitions in his other jacket. Considering that his actual jacket now graces the floor of Eames' living room, this is telling. Eames manages, with some difficulty, to tear himself away, and puts his thoughts into order. Now, what was it that he'd been wanting to do?
Ah, yes. That.
That requires a shade more planning that Eames generally likes to do, considering the amounts of alcohol he's recently consumed, but it's nothing insurmountable.
"All right," he says, pulling at Arthur. "Up you get."
"We just got here," Arthur says rather muzzily. But he plays along, and Eames drags him to the bathroom in no time.
After divesting Arthur of his trousers – and, sadly, his tie, wouldn't do to get that wet – Eames motions him inside the shower. "Lean up." He props Arthur against the wall, closing his hands around the safety bar. Arthur's likely nowhere near as drunk as he appears, but still. It would be a shame if he slipped and cracked his head against the tile.
Arthur looks at him directly for the first time since they've started this in earnest. "I'm still wearing my underwear."
"Oh, I know," Eames says, and turns on the water.
Arthur's white briefs become transparent as soon as the water hits them, but that isn't even the major attraction of this. That would be Arthur's expression as the stream of water hits his sensitive cock, the way he’s moved to bite his lip to muffle whatever sounds want to come out.
Eames dodges when Arthur tries to reach for him. "Stay still," he says, guiding Arthur's hand back to where it was, relieved when it comes out commanding rather than exasperated.
Soon enough Arthur's holding on for dear life, and Eames can simply adjust the shower head and feast his eyes.
Arthur's arching into the water stream, hips bucking up dangerously. He's given up on the attempt to stay silent, spending his energy instead on contorting himself to such an angle that the water hits his cock at full force. There's water dripping off his chest, and Eames allows himself to lean in and lick a little of Arthur's nipple, because what's the point if he's not allowed to have some fun?
"Eames." Arthur's tone is a warning, but Eames isn't sure against what.
Whichever it is, if he lets Arthur go on like this, he'll likely to end up with several pulled muscles. Eames kneels against the shower's edge, nuzzling at Arthur's underwear, licking at his wet thighs, before he peels off said underwear.
Arthur's cock springs to greet him, and Eames is constitutionally incapable of not taking it into his mouth when it's wet and gorgeous and staring him in the face like that. He sees Arthur's grip tightening minutely, though, and forces himself away before Arthur forgets about such minor things as slippery surfaces and gravity.
Once he's out of the shower, Arthur's shivering a little. Eames towels him dry.
"I can take care of myself," Arthur says, glaring daggers at him, but he leans into it anyway.
"Of course you can." Eames presses a kiss to Arthur's shoulder. "Why should you deny me the pleasure of doing it for you, though?"
"And you call me condescending," Arthur huffs, then rolls his shoulders and looks at Eames with wide eyes. "What's next?"
As if Arthur needs to ask, really.
But Eames must play along, of course. "Now," he whispers in Arthur's ear, arms tightening around the man's waist, "let's see what else you've learned." Then he licks sloppily at Arthur's ear, which isn't in the script but is close enough that Arthur won't stop him.
When he presses Arthur back down into the bed, it's like something out of a bad porno (or a romance novel, perish the thought). All shivery gasps and wide-eyes looks and protestations of innocence (on Arthur's behalf) and useful experience (on Eames').
Except that for all his blushing virgin facade, there's no masking the fact that Arthur loves this. He can't even pretend not to take Eames' fingers easily, eagerly, thrusts back at him without a second thought – or, indeed, by this point, any thought at all.
"Fuck me," Arthur moans.
Eames finds himself wondering why it is, exactly, that Arthur's always on the bottom. Not that he minds, not at all, except. Well. Eames' own bum is, he's sure, worthy of some attention. It would certainly like some. It's all part and parcel of the naughty schoolboy fantasy they're meant to be spinning out, of course, but Eames has been finding himself trying to catch glimpses of his own arse.
It's professional pride, nothing more. Eames had an arse that could make grown men weep. Has an arse, damn it, that should at the very least command some of Arthur's attention.
Then Arthur spreads his legs and tilts up, and Eames, breath catching in his throat, tries to remember what it was that he was flustered about. Happily, he fails.
This is the part of the act that Eames cannot even pretend to dislike. Arthur's supposed virginity is a perfect excuse to take his time, to move excruciatingly slow, to take in everything about this.
Arthur's hair is wet, clinging to his face, the pillow, to Eames' fingers when he touches it. Arthur's eyes are closed now. He arches up at Eames, silently begging for more.
"All right?" The half-strangled tone requires no pretense on Eames' part.
Arthur's nod is slow, distracted as he is. "C'mon, harder," he pants. "I won't break."
"Won't you, now," Eames murmurs, and slows down a fraction more just to make Arthur growl.
Arthur is furnace-hot around him, slick and relaxed enough to make this easy. Eames could, if he wanted to, bend him in half and pound into him. Has done so, in the past. But it's better like this, slow and comfortable, where he can take in Arthur's expression (wanton and murderous, oh, darling), the subtle play of his muscles under pale skin.
Honestly, Eames could come like this – one or two quick thrusts and be done with it, he'll make it up to Arthur later. Except that would defeat the purpose of this, wouldn't it.
(The second time this happened, Eames was so distracted by the gorgeous schoolboy fantasy that he came within two minutes of solid thrusting. Arthur had gracefully refrained from commenting on it, but the way his posture snapped back into its accustomed rigidity had been painful to watch.)
So he does Arthur slow and thorough, steadily thrusting as Arthur's gasps turn to moans, to growls, until they collapse into broken half-words, "Fuck" and "Please" and "Yes".
If Eames were a bastard – of which he's been accused, and for good enough reasons – he'd make Arthur ask for it, make him enunciate exactly what he wants from Eames right now. Eames is a bastard, true enough, but not to Arthur. Not right at this moment in time.
He contents himself with wrapping a hand around Arthur's cock, growling at him, "Come now, darling," and fucking him harder, finally, as he does.
This is the best part of the lot – not even Arthur's climax, for all that Eames would never stop finding that scorching hot – the part where Arthur's relaxed and drowsy, fucked insensate and smiling softly because he can't help himself.
This is the time Eames can drop the act, the silly 'darling's he scatters around like false bait, and whisper "Arthur, Arthur," into the man's neck as he drives messily into him. Kissing Arthur, over and over, until Eames sees stars, until he's tipped over the edge and lying on top of Arthur, panting as if he'd run a race.
The bed squeaks as Arthur squirms beneath him, trying to shove him off. Eames tries not to sigh too dramatically. He'd enjoyed the post-coital bliss while it lasted.
"Where to?" he inquires as Arthur makes busy putting his clothes back on.
"Where the fuck do you think? Home." Home, for Arthur, for the moment, is a flat downtown, twenty minutes' drive away.
"It's two AM," Eames says, just in case this has escaped Arthur's attention.
"Fuck. Don't remind me." Arthur pinches the bridge of his nose. "I have work to do, okay. And I need to be up again in three hours."
Eames freezes, because this is a pivotal moment. "So stay," he finds himself saying. Not for the first time, either.
Arthur's never agreed to stay before. Then again, the circles under Arthur's eyes have never been quite so pronounced before.
"I can't," Arthur says at length. "I have—"
"Work, yes, I heard you the first time." With a quick motion, Eames has his fingers in and out of Arthur's trousers, and he's holding his cellphone. "Who's the team leader, Cobb?"
Arthur nods warily. Eames dials.
There are, in every line of work, structured polite ways of expressing the following sentiment: I can't do my job, for reasons that aren't my fault. Eames likes to refer to it as 'compiling'. A point man's job is hardly the most orthodox one out there, but then again Eames has been working with point men for the better part of a decade now. He knows how to sound like one who can't possibly be expected to complete his job by anyone with a smidgen of sense.
Better than that, Eames knows how to sound like Arthur.
When Cobb picks up, Eames allows himself some creative freedom with the placement of swearwords, but other than that his text is just about predefined. "Ran into a block on the Ridgework front," he says, in Arthur's tightest I'm losing sleep for this so pay attention voice. "Yeah. Fucking assholes. Can't get a straight answer until tomorrow afternoon."
He waits for Cobb's affirmative noises before shutting the phone and handing it back to Arthur, who is gracious enough – or at the very least, tired and practical enough – to take his clothes back off and make himself comfortable on the bed.
He even lets Eames crowd in behind him and throw and arm around Arthur's waist. He does grumble, "Don't even think about making this into a habit," but he leans back against Eames, and probably just says it for form's sake.
There's a knock on Eames' door. Eames takes off his reading glasses and goes to answer.
He's not surprised to see Arthur, looking sullen and tense, holding a bottle of vodka in front of him like a shield.
But Eames has three new characters to learn by heart by the week's end and a developing headache, so he closes his eyes. "Can we not?" he asks, half-rhetoric. "Just this time."
There's a 'clink' as Arthur sets the bottle down. "Sorry," he says, quiet. "Never mind." He turns to leave.
Eames puts his hand on Arthur's shoulder, slow because they're not playing now and Arthur really might break his wrist if he's not careful. "You don't have to go."
The look Arthur gives him is wary.
"Just, take your jacket off," Eames says, suddenly tired beyond words. "I'll give you a back rub and blow you, yeah? I don't much feel like playing silly buggers tonight."
"You don't have to," Arthur says, and unless Eames' eyes are misleading him, the tips of his ears are turning pink.
"Want to, though." He cups Arthur's face in his hands and kisses him, free of pretense, of anything but genuine desire and a hint of exasperation.
"Come to bed," Eames says when they come up for air. There's no urgency, nothing but a slow heat building between them.
"Yeah," Arthur says, looking slightly dazed. "I think I will."
"What do you know about being with a guy, hmm?"
Arthur rolls his eyes at Eames. He's wearing tight jeans and a wifebeater. His hair, ungelled for once, curls loosely, the edges brushing his shoulders. He looks seventeen and dangerous, and so beautiful Eames can hardly breathe.
He’d changed into the outfit an hour ago and spent the time since lounging in Eames' kitchen, making stupid faces at him and working out the kinks in his neck.
It's a good night for working kinks out, in Eames' opinion.
"I know enough," Arthur says, and his eyes flash. "Maybe you could show me a few things, though."
"Maybe I could," Eames says, breathless.
Kissing Arthur, he can taste the wine they had with dinner, feel Arthur's laughter pouring into him, sweet and a little dark, like good cigarettes.
"Ever fucked a man?" he asks Arthur, and Arthur grins at him and says, "There's always a first time."