"Oh, hell no. I am not forging bloody Tinkerbell."
"The pay is good," Arthur says. He's half-sitting on Eames' desk, having appeared in Eames' house uninvited (though never unwelcome) to offer him the least-appealing job Eames had ever been offered.
"I have my dignity." To Arthur's incredulous expression he says, "Well, some dignity. I'm entitled to hold on to the little I have left."
"There has to be something." Arthur gets up to pace. "Look, if you don't want money, I'm sure we can figure something out. The client's extensive art collection--"
Eames snorts. "Thanks, I'll pass. You know I'd do anything for a kiss from you, darling, but barring that..."
He says it to tease, to make Arthur roll his eyes in irritation, because Arthur's anger is simultaneously lovely and hilarious.
He does not expect Arthur to come and lay one on him, leaving him too stunned to even react in kind.
"There," Arthur says, looking like he's resisting the urge to wipe his mouth. "Now will you do it?"
Eames is pretty sure shock is to blame when he says, "I said so, didn't I?"
Arthur's sitting at his desk, plotting – by the sound of it – the imminent demise of every human being on the planet.
"Having trouble?" Eames inquires in his sweetest voice.
"Die," Arthur says. Eames isn't sure whether Arthur means him or the paperwork.
"Is it possible," Eames says, his expression positively dripping with sweetness and light, "that the best pointman in the business has run into some difficulty?"
"Fuck off and die." Arthur rakes a hand through his hair, which miraculously doesn't disrupt it in the least. "Or, barring that, tell me exactly how many fucking mistresses Besser has."
"Why, I'd say he's fucking all of them," Eames says. "Considering that they're mistresses and all."
"You," Arthur points a finger at him, "are not helping."
"Well, I suppose I could tell you," Eames concedes. "But where would be the fun in that?"
Arthur raises his eyes slowly from the files he's been looking over. "You know how many mistresses he has." His tone is as flat as the line his mouth settles into.
"Oh, what's in a number, really?" Eames fans himself with the file he's been holding. It had been the reason he’d come to bother Arthur in the first place (as if bothering Arthur wasn't reason enough in and of itself, but nevermind the trivialities). "I also happen to have their names, ages and pictures." Obviously, considering Eames is going to have to be at least one of them by the end of the week.
Arthur grabs at the file. Eames yanks it just out of reach.
"I will kill you," Arthur says.
Eames knows that he means it, but he can't help but try. "You know how to win my cooperation, Arthur," he all but purrs.
"I didn't realize it was going to set a fucking precedent," Arthur grumbles, but he kisses Eames just the same.
Eames, not having been caught by surprise this time, takes the opportunity to grab at Arthur's hair and thoroughly muss it even as he tries his best to lick inside Arthur's mouth.
Arthur is not cooperating – Arthur is, in fact, pushing Eames away and scowling fiercely. "This is about dignity, isn't it?" he asks as he paws at his hair, trying to smooth it back into place. "You don't have any and you can't stand that I do."
"Yes, dear. You look very dignified, all flushed like that." Eames deadpans, using his not-inconsiderable acting skills in the process.
"I need you to come here." The tension in Arthur's voice carries clearly over the crackling static of the phone line. He doesn't, of course, bother to mention where 'here' is, precisely, as if Eames should know off the top of his head where Arthur is at any given moment.
The fact that Eames does is best left unexamined. "Darling," he says. "I am in the middle of something called a job, you may have heard of it, I need it to get what you'd call money, which I--"
"I need you here." Arthur is past tense and well into edgy.Eames can practically see the muscle in his jaw jumping. "Now. I'll make it up to you."
"Well, you know my standard fee." It's a slip of the tongue more than anything, but Eames doesn't retract it, mostly out of curiosity. He wants to see what Arthur will do next.
There's a silence on the other end; and then, "Fine."
The line goes abruptly silent. Eames frowns at the phone. He hasn't even thought to worry – this being Arthur, Eames would do better to worry about the other guys – but he is starting to feel unsettled.
The feeling intensifies when Eames arrives at his destination to find Arthur tied to a chair and surrounded by thoroughly unpleasant looking people, but fortunately Eames can shoot first and resolve emotional dilemmas later.
"Get me out of here," Arthur says. His bottom lip is bloody and swollen, and Eames can't stop staring at it.
Arthur can walk, barely. He leans on Eames as they make their way out of the abandoned house he'd been in. Once they're outside, he stops, abruptly.
"Something I owe you," he says, not quite looking at Eames.
Eames is quite surprised at how angry that makes him. He may be petty, he may not be above taking advantage at times, but Arthur's mouth is bruised, and not in a good way, and Eames has bloody standards.
"I rather think not," he says, not looking at Arthur, mostly because he's busy looking for the car. He can't quite remember where he'd parked it, having been in a bit of a rush on the way.
"Okay then," Arthur mumbles, and passes out in a manly fashion.
He holds Arthur's face in his hands, touches his mouth to Arthur's gently, only moving his lips over soft skin.
Arthur makes a sound that Eames ignores completely. He swipes his tongue over Arthur's lower lip, feels Arthur shiver under his hands.
"This wasn't in the rules," Arthur says, barely above a whisper.
"Never did well with rules," Eames agrees, and seals his mouth over Arthur's.
At this moment, it is vital that Arthur stay put, that he lean against the wall and let Eames kiss him, because Eames has spent weeks doing this utterly shitty job with nothing but the prospect of Arthur's mouth to cheer him up. If he's only getting one kiss, then by God it's going to count.
To be fair, it's not just a kiss. Eames has no compunctions about pinning Arthur bodily to the wall, about extravagantly rubbing his hard cock against Arthur's thigh, about tangling one hand in the soft hair in the back of Arthur's neck.
It goes on for about eternity and a half, until Eames has to let go and breathe.
Arthur is looking absolutely wrecked. His eyes are wide, his mouth is red, luscious, and his breath is labored – he's panting, for crying out loud.
Eames doesn't even need to look down to know Arthur's painfully hard, but it's nice to have solid evidence. So to speak.
Arthur's clearly trying to think of something to say that will break the moment, so Eames has to speak first. "I'll suck you off for another kiss," he offers.
Arthur closes his eyes and makes a soft, beautiful sound. "Another kiss like that and you won't have to."
Arthur's been looking peaky all morning. Eames would suspect he hasn't been sleeping properly, but there's no need to suspect since he knows for a fact that Arthur stayed up until three the previous night, going over the mark's bank statements.
Therefore, when Eames goes out to get lunch, it's rather obvious that he should stop at a coffee shop and get Arthur a triple-shot latte and some munchies.
Arthur downs half of it in one gulp, wipes his mouth and groans, "Eames, I could kiss you."
"Shame I didn't negotiate in advance," Eames says lightly. He pushes a brownie at Arthur. "Here, eat something, you're looking awfully pale."
Arthur takes a bite and smiles, actually smiles, at Eames. It's the first vaguely civil expression he's worn all day. "Perhaps something can be arranged retroactively."
Arthur licks cookie crumbs from the corner of his mouth, and Eames falls a little bit in love.
Later, much later, Eames gasps and says, "This is really more than I bargained for." He's not complaining in the least.
"We pride ourselves on customer service," Arthur says archly, and proceeds to blow Eames' mind. For a given value of 'mind', anyway.