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Felix Culpa

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In retrospect, Eames should really not have taken that job. Of course, there is hindsight and everything everyone always says about it. And still, there is such a thing as prudence.

Arthur wouldn't have done it, in my place, Eames thinks, slightly more resentful than is becoming. Of course, Arthur wouldn't have needed to account for the same details that Eames must; and therein lies the resentment.

To be honest, Eames has no right to be anything other than grateful to Arthur, who already went far out of his way in an attempt to secure transportation for Eames.

And failed, points out a rather unkind part of Eames' mental process. Eames is, rather uncharacteristically, happy Arthur isn't in the room at the moment. He's been an absolute doll about this entire affair, and doesn't deserve Eames' current snappishness.

Of course Arthur returns as soon as the thought has formed. "They don't know when the road will be cleared," he says, dusting off his trousers. Eames has to make a concentrated effort to keep looking at his face. "I tried to make arrangements, but - "

"You needn't have bothered," Eames interrupts, gritting his teeth at his own rudeness. "I'll be all right, Arthur, thank you for your concern." He manages to make it come out polite, at least, rather than sarcastic.

Arthur nods. "Okay." His gaze lingers on Eames just a moment longer than it needs to. Eames can see Arthur's nostrils flare slightly; he very much wishes he couldn't.

Eames goes back to his desk - he's given to restless pacing under stress, which isn't helpful and only draws more of Arthur's attention to him. It's not Arthur's fault that the bridge leading to the town collapsed, and that they're effectively trapped in a tiny little resort town in the off-season, where anything out of the ordinary would draw attention they can't afford.

It's certainly not his fault that Eames ended up in this place, in what can only be described as a delicate situation. Eames should have been on a plane away from here a week ago, but the job was delayed - inevitably, since the mark went and got his aromatherapy session rescheduled - and then there was the bridge collapse, so now Eames is stuck in the middle of nowhere while his body is going into heat.

Blasted road-maintenance companies.


Eames first met Arthur near the beginning of Arthur’s partnership with the Cobbs. Eames had worked with Mal before, and found her charming and competent, though not without her foibles.

She was very physically affectionate, for one thing, which is a trait Eames appreciates little in marks and even less in colleagues. He may or may not have snapped at her after the third time she tried to rub his shoulders.

As the saying goes, there’s comfort in the trouble of many, and Eames found his in the fact that Mal was like that with everyone she worked with. Including her just-out-of-the-army point man.

Arthur accepted Mal's touches with – to Eames' mind – astonishing grace, smiling at her warmly and acting as though nothing is happening even when she ended up all but sitting in his lap, her fingers sinking into the hair at the nape of Arthur's neck.

"Doesn't it bother you?" Eames asked once, when Mal was just out of earshot.

"Doesn't what bother me?" Arthur said, half-distracted. "Hey, did you get a look at the baseball statistics I sent you?" And Eames slunk away to improve his knowledge of sports, none the wiser.


Arthur snaps his laptop shut. Eames doesn't mean to startle at it, but, well.

Going into heat doesn't just make Eames horny, it makes him hyper-aware of his surroundings. Which amounts to the same thing when said surroundings contain Arthur, but -

Eames shuts off that line of thought. He turns. "What is it?"

"Fucking incompetents," Arthur spits out. Eames has heard him call people asshole pieces of scum shit in a less scathing tone of voice.

Eames gets up, standing next to Arthur’s desk. He looks tired, now that Eames is allowing himself a closer examination. Smells tired, adds the part of Eames that Eames needs to ignore right now. “Is everything all right?” he finds himself asking, ridiculously.

No,” Arthur says. He purses his mouth, exhales with deliberation. When he continues, his voice is lower but no less intense. “We are in a place where we can’t afford to attract attention, and you are biologically compelled to behave in ways that...” His hesitation would barely register to anyone but Eames. “Attract attention,” he finishes.

“I am capable of controlling myself,” Eames says, mildly affronted.

Arthur rakes a hand through his hair. “I know you can,” he says, his voice regaining a measure of patience. “But - I know what these things are like, Eames, all right? This has to be hurting you.”

Eames blinks at Arthur, because he honestly didn’t realize that was a consideration. “It’s not that bad,” he says.

“Yet,” Arthur says, and Eames tilts his head in reluctant agreement. It’s not life-threatening or anything, but it’s painful and distressing unless he can do anything about it. Normally Eames would hit the clubs, find someone likely and drag them to his hotel room. It’s never really satisfying, but it takes the edge off and makes it pass faster. Eames will take what he can get.

But here, now - they’re strangers in this town, and the permanent residents all gossip like, well, like small town residents without much else to talk about. It’s something that Eames appreciated during his research on the mark, but it’s decidedly unhelpful right now.

On the bright side, Arthur seems to have calmed down. “So, okay, since getting out is off the list,” he says, “are there alternative solutions?” Which would explain it; nothing makes Arthur happier than a proper plan.

Eames shrugs. “I shut myself away and wank until my hands want to fall off,” he says, a little too frank, but Arthur doesn’t flinch.

“You’ll be okay like that?” he asks.

“Far from ideal, but.” Eames has to smile at Arthur, at the small concerned frown he’s wearing. “I’ve been through worse. Don’t fret, darling, I’ll be fine.”

“Okay,” Arthur says, but the frown doesn’t disappear.


Of a surety, Eames’ peculiarities have landed him in worse situations than hopeless sexual frustration, even if it doesn’t always feel like it. Certainly nothing beats going through puberty and realizing that while all the little boys’ bodies are changing, yours is doing so in quite unexpected ways.

“Spit it out, then,” Miss Shaw said. She was the school nurse, and she was always reasonably nice to Eames. He felt it stood to reason he should ask her. “And take off your hat, you impudent boy.”

Eames - though of course he wasn’t Eames, back then - raised his hand to his hat, self-conscious. “This is actually what I wanted to ask you about, miss.”

“Well, ask away.” She turned a warm smile to him. “I doubt it’s anything I haven’t seen before.”

The smile faded away when he removed his cap to reveal the ginger cat’s ears that had sprouted, out of nowhere, the previous night.

“William,” she said, low-voiced. “Have you told anyone else?” He stood momentarily mute, uncertain. Her voice grew sharp. “This is important, William. Have you shown anybody at all?”

“No, miss.” He stood clutching his cap, awkward.

She breathed out, her smile reforming in relief. “Oh, thank goodness. Just sit down on the bed and I’ll see to it.”

Miss Shaw ran her fingers through his hair. Eames, who normally hated that type of familiarity, stayed still and silent.

“You won’t talk of this to anyone who doesn’t know about it.” She spoke quietly, almost intimately. “This is a secret. I’ll give you something to help you keep it. It’s very good you came to me first.” Her hands in his hair pulled, and he couldn’t even move to cry out against it.

Then she let go, and handed him a mirror. “There. What do you think?”

The ears weren’t there anymore, and his hair looked rather more combed than he generally liked it. He raised a tentative hand, but there they were still, furry pointy little things, slightly higher up than his old ears were.

“Is there anything else I should know about?” Miss Shaw asked. Eames turned, wordlessly, and shoved his trousers down enough to show the patch of fur at the base of his spine, the long tail trailing down his leg. It hurt when Miss Shaw pulled at it, but afterwards he couldn’t see it in the mirror, either. Just his back, smooth as it had been before.

He had a dozen questions to ask her - more than that, closer to a hundred probably - but he found himself tongue-tied, unable to do anything other than widen his eyes beseechingly.

“It’s best you figure it out yourself,” Miss Shaw said, not unkindly. She left the school the following day.

Eames, who even then had an inquisitive nature, found himself unable to discover anything more about his present situation. When he tried to ask his mother, his voice died in his throat; when, later in life, he tried to type a query into a search engine, his fingers stilled and would not move until he let go of the thought.

He’s never met anyone like him before Arthur.


In his hotel room, Eames allows himself to pace freely and ravage the mini-bar. The door is locked and he’s alone and flustered, with Arthur presumably watching their perimeter; if those aren’t circumstances for a man to get thoroughly pissed, he should like to know what is.

He regrets it after the third tiny bottle of vodka, though, when he registers that the booze only makes him hornier.

The ideal thing to do, in these situation, is to put oneself at the mercy of an understanding friend who’ll tie one up and ride one like an overworked pony. This scenario isn’t without its own difficulties.

First, Eames must be tied up in order to restrain himself. He’s never ignored a no yet, but once he gets started the heat in him is relentless, and he doesn’t want to tempt fate.

Second, while either getting fucked or fucking helps - any kind of stimulation does, really, but those do the trick best - being the active party demands concentration that Eames can’t always muster in such situations, and being penetrated is only satisfying when his partner can keep at it long enough for Eames to be well and truly sore afterwards. Which is its own annoyance, but that’s in the morning after, so Eames counts it separately.

Really, it’s barely better than wanking by his lonesome. At least Eames doesn’t have to negotiate another person’s pleasure as well as his own. He really ought to look on the bright side.

And even wanking feels better than the frustration he’s wallowed in all day. Eames sheds his pants, lies on the bed and palms himself, arching into his own touch.

He allows himself to think of Arthur then, which he rarely does because it seems likely to cross boundaries best left in place. Arthur, with his scent both foreign and familiar, like somewhere Eames knew long ago, like they both came from the same place by opposite routes.


In the beginning, Arthur used indecent amounts of cologne.

At first Eames thought it was only his own sensitivity playing it up, and didn’t comment on it. But then Mal started making very pointed faces whenever Arthur was in the vicinity. It stopped soon after that, but since they were at the time sharing a three-bedroom apartment-cum-headquarters, Eames had no choice but to be aware that Arthur switched to showering several times a day.

It still seemed impolite to inquire. Mal, who had a better right to question Arthur’s personal grooming choices, ignored it, and Eames perforce did the same. But he wondered.

He’d thought it was just Arthur being finicky. But Arthur would unhesitatingly walk through miles of sewers to get their information, and didn’t seem overly distressed at it. He did hurry for the shower when they returned, but Eames could hardly blame him.

Eames’ curiosity was about to get the better of him (and there’s a saying about that, too, but Eames would really rather leave that than take it) when they ended up on stake-out together.

It was only meant to be for a few hours, but at first the mark didn’t show, and when he did he came accompanied by an entire squadron of goons, so they ended up sitting there through the night and well into the early morning.

Arthur started twitching sometime about midnight.

“Try to sleep,” Eames advised him.

Arthur didn’t even glance at him. “Sleep if you can,” he said. “I won’t be able to.”

“Alright.” It was getting too warm in the car, so Eames cranked down a window, taking in the breeze. He could smell the mark’s goons in the distance, faint traces of the metal in their firearms and Axe body spray. He wrinkled his nose.

“Sorry,” Arthur muttered, and when Eames turned to look at him, he was flushed.

“Whatever for?” Eames sat up, momentarily distracted from the idea of sleep.

Arthur gestured. “You can open the window more if you want.” His flush brightened until it looked almost like sunburn. “I’m sorry about. Um.”

“Um?” Eames repeated, a smile creeping to the corner of his mouth. “Charming as you are in your incoherence, Arthur, could you explain with actual words? I fail to get your meaning.”

Now Arthur’s ears were heating up, too. It was really quite fascinating. “I probably stink,” Arthur said. “So, sorry for that. Not a lot I can do about it.”

Eames blinked, taken aback. “You’re perfectly fine,” he said, automatically sniffing, breathing Arthur in.

And all right, yes, there was something a little intense about him, a little more pronounced, but hardly to the degree that Eames would call a stink. Eames was about to chalk it up to silly American body hyperawareness, but then Arthur said, “I can smell myself.”

“You must have a sharper nose than mine,” Eames said absently, still taking Arthur in. That was why he noticed Arthur’s minute flinch.

“Yeah, probably,” Arthur muttered, in a voice that he probably thought was too quiet for Eames to catch.

“Nothing wrong with it,” Eames offered after a minute. The sharper hearing was one of the reasons he was glad he still had the wretched ears, even if he kept having to remember they were there. He kept his hair firmly gelled for just that reason - it tended to discourage playful touches, which was a concern, when one worked with Mal.

At length, Arthur said, “No,” as though he’s weighted the thought carefully and come to this conclusion.

This ought to have been it, but Eames was already aware of Arthur’s scent, and he couldn’t help noticing it.

Couldn’t help realizing, after thirty minutes or so, that it was different. A man parking nearby walked by their car, past Eames’ rolled-down window, and Eames caught a whiff of him. He smelled normal, of soap and sweat and something that Eames just called skin for lack of a better description.

Then the man passed, and Eames was left alone with Arthur, who smelled different. Not just a normal variation, but recognizably other. It should have occurred to Eames sooner. He’s smelled this before. But then again, how often does one - when one isn’t Arthur - pay strict attention to their own smell?

It was an effort not to turn his head sharply, to keep his breathing and movement slow and controlled, but Arthur saw right through it. “You know, right?” Arthur said. “You know because you’re one, too.”

And suddenly, words came to Eames, words that had never been able to make their way past his lips. “One of what?” he asked, perhaps more forcefully than the circumstances warranted. “I couldn’t ask. I didn’t know. Nobody bloody told me anything!”

Arthur was quiet for a moment, waiting for Eames’ racing breath to slow down. “Me neither,” Arthur said softly. “It was my first big research job. I had to figure out ways of asking without asking, you know? Going around things.”

For a brief blinding moment, Eames hated Arthur, hated that Arthur had something to hold on to when Eames had nothing, not even the certainty he was sane. Only a fear that wouldn’t relent kept him from just out and showing people, placing their fingers on the soft fur of his ear, begging them to tell him they felt it too.

But then again, what would Eames have done if they hadn’t?

Arthur took in his expression. “Okay. When we’re back at the apartment, we can show each other. There’s nobody else there,” he added, almost solicitous, almost enough to make Eames snap at him.

But the very next moment Eames turned his head, he saw it. Arthur’s hair wasn’t dark brown and slicked back anymore. It was short and rough, and in the dim light Eames would have sworn it was grey.

Arthur was looking right back at him, wide-eyed. “Your ears are orange,” he breathed. “You’re... you have cat features?”

Eames appreciated that, Arthur’s careful words. Maybe that was what made him take Arthur’s hand, bring it to touch one of his ears.

He meant it as a gesture of trust. He meant it as proof to himself, to Arthur, that this was real and they were neither dreaming nor hallucinating. He didn’t mean for it to send a burst of warmth all the way down his spine to his tail, which ached, trapped in his trousers.

Arthur huffed a soft laugh at Eames’ chagrined expression. “It’s fine.” He took Eames’ hand, set it at the fur - it was fur, dense and a little coarse - in the back of his neck. He made no attempt to mitigate his reaction, either, throwing his head back and opening his mouth as Eames scratched him gently, then not so gently.

When Eames’ hand stilled, Arthur’s eyes came to level with his again, knowing. “Humans are animals, too,” he said. The black tips of his ears twitched. “It’s not really that different.”


In the end, what brings Eames off the first time is that memory, Arthur’s fingers curling in the soft fur just below Eames’ ear. Arthur’s scent, that too. After that night, Eames has never been able to ignore it fully.

He lies on the bed, panting and staring at the ceiling. He should try to get some rest, trick his body into sleeping the heat away.

Easier said than done.

Eames ends up channel-surfing for the rest of the evening, lingering on the news to see if there’s anything about the road being cleared. But of course there isn’t, Arthur would’ve alerted him - no, best not think of Arthur just now, Eames will just end up clutching his phone and feeling despondent.

He really shouldn’t let himself fixate on Arthur like that. It’s unhealthy.

In the end, of course, he ends up thinking about Arthur anyway, because his hand is cramping and he’s aching for release, and his mind simply will not hold to any other fantasies. He’s tried porn, which was an utter failure since characters on a screen smell like nothing, have no warmth to their skin. Even the noises they make are wrong.

That just gets him thinking about the kind of noises Arthur would make, which Eames would try not to think of except that it’s that thought that makes him come, finally, and he has to be grateful for that.

Then five minutes later, Eames is uncomfortably aroused again. He’s trying not to think of Arthur, or anything at all for that matter since all thoughts seem to have taken on a sensual tinge. Eames doesn’t want that, would frankly prefer it to all go away and let him sleep, but the heat is unusually persistent.

It’s such a buggering affront, really. Tomcats don’t even get into heat; it seems like something - someone, whatever it was that made him and Arthur as they are - is playing a cruel joke on them, throwing in the animal traits guaranteed to fuck Eames’ life up as thoroughly as possible. As opposed to Arthur, who just got some fur and a sharper nose out of the deal, and...

And his tail, Eames remembers, and is suddenly far less inclined to be mad at Arthur.


Arthur showed him the tail in his room in that apartment they shared, undoing his belt without a hint of self-consciousness. Seemed like Eames’ idea of Arthur as a body-shy American was entirely wrong.

There wasn’t much to mark Arthur as different - his hair and his ears, maybe something about the shape of his face, Eames wasn’t certain about that. And the tail.

It was just a stub of a thing, wagging as Eames came closer to look. As though Arthur was genuinely happy to have Eames there.

But the tail wasn’t just short. It was hard to see at first, the longer fur covered it, but Arthur turned slightly and Eames could see the ugly scar at its end. He recoiled without even meaning to.

Arthur looked at him, frowning, and Eames couldn’t help but ask, “Does it hurt?”

“Does - oh, the tail. No, it’s fine,” Arthur said. “It’s been fine for years.”

Some perverse impulse shouted at Eames to touch it, to see for himself, to (and this was far too odd) lick it until it healed better, even though it was obviously years too late for that. “Did you...?”

“No,” Arthur said. “The - “ he fell silent abruptly, and Eames recognized that, the inability to ask or say or even think of expressing anything about it.

“The one who...” Eames hesitated, falling on guesswork. “The one who did this to you?” Arthur looked as tongue-tied as before. “The one who made it so you looked normal.” The words felt bitter leaving his mouth, awfully harsh after Arthur’s careful patience, but Arthur just nodded, looking relieved.

“Yeah,” he said. “I couldn’t just tuck it in my pants, you know? I started making holes in the back, and the glamour doesn’t work for things you aren’t wearing. Which I found out the hard way.”

He didn’t elaborate, which was just as well. Eames still wanted to touch it but held back, grateful when Arthur said, “Do you have one? A tail, I mean.”

“Yeah.” He peeled down his trousers, oddly reminded of that day in Miss Shaw’s office, how different her hands in his hair felt from Arthur’s. “I just keep it tucked away, it hurts sometimes when it wants to stand up but it’s no worse than...”

His voice died down, silenced by the expression on Arthur’s face. Arthur reached for him. “May I?”

And Eames, who had shied away from touches since he was twelve, nodded and said, “Yes.”


Eames’ laborious progress toward his third orgasm is interrupted by a knock on the door. When he doesn’t answer, he hears Arthur calling for him.

Bugger. It might be important. Eames gets up, puts a pair of boxers on since that’s the most fabric he can stand to have touching his skin and walks to the door. When he has his hand on the knob, Arthur says, “You don’t have to open. I just brought some food for you.”

Eames doesn’t know if he’s touched or irritated. He opens the door. “You really ought to stop with the nursing approach,” he says. “It doesn’t suit you.”

Arthur doesn’t answer. Arthur is staring at Eames’ stomach, which leads Eames to stare down too. He doesn’t see anything, but of course, why would he? “Is there anything that we need to discuss in private?” he says, in a more cautious tone of voice.

Arthur licks his lips. Eames’ cock twitches. “I don’t know,” Arthur says, voice slightly scratchy. “If we should, I mean. But if we discuss it, it had better be in private.”

Frankly Eames has had enough of riddles. He pulls Arthur inside. “I’m very sorry,” he says, “but my patience is stretched quite thin at the moment. What do you want, Arthur?”

“I could help you,” Arthur says, quick and low, his voice tugging on something inside Eames. “I mean, you think I’m reasonably attractive, right? There’s no reason for you to suffer.”

“I tell you, you keep making it into more than it is,” Eames says. “It’s not some horrible torment, just blue balls,” except that his balls - and his cock right alongside them - choose that moment to make their complaint known, and Eames nearly ends up on his knees.

The worst thing is, he’s not even sure it’s a bad idea. On his knees would be a good height for him to put his face to Arthur’s stomach and sniff before licking lower. It wouldn’t help him much, but by God it would feel good; certainly better than these joyless attempts at relief that have comprised his entire day so far.

“And you’re taking it too far the other way,” Arthur says, impatient. “It’s just sex. I’ll likely enjoy myself and you’ll feel better. Why the hell not?”

It’s probably the just sex part that Eames is having issue with, but that’s not really the kind of revelation he wants to have right now.

Things he wants to have right now mainly include Arthur, and Eames supposes his judgement has every right to be spotty at the moment, so he lets go of thinking and just pounces.


Eames thought they were headed this way before, in that first night in the apartment, with Arthur’s fingers curling around his tail, so careful not to pull. But they only ended up drinking and talking, trying to see how much they could pry out of each other.

Pitifully little, it turned out. They couldn’t talk of the reason they’ve turned out the way they have, of when or how the concealment of their peculiarities (glamour, Arthur had called it, and Eames wondered how significant the word choice was) took place.

So they ended up talking about their bodies, and that alone carried them all the way to dawn.

“Wait, you get into estrus?” Arthur said. “Seriously?”

“Fuck off,” Eames said, chucking his beer bottle away with more violence than was strictly necessary. “It’s not like I asked for it.”

When he looked at Arthur again his expression turned rueful. “I get the urge to hump people’s legs every now and then,” he offered.

Eames snorts. “That’s not an animal trait, that’s called being a straight guy.”

Arthur punched him lightly in the shoulder. “Watch who you’re calling straight, asshole.”

This course of conversation, while intriguing, wasn’t what Eames wanted to pursue back then. “You’ve met others like us before,” he said. Making statements worked, sometimes. Better than questions did, at any rate.

“I met one,” Arthur said. “She had a peacock’s tail.” He paused, seeming to be pleased that he got the words out. “She wouldn’t tell me anything, though. Or maybe she couldn’t, I don’t know. She was an architect.”

“All of us in dreamshare,” Eames said, thoughtful. “One must wonder.”

Arthur shrugged. “It’s a good place to be a misfit,” he said. “A lot of people have questions they don’t want answered.”

Eames lay on his back and thought about questions and answers, and Arthur, close enough that Eames could feel the warmth of his skin. “A peacock’s tail?” he said, just having parsed that. “Not a peahen’s?”

“I don’t know if I would even recognize a peahen’s tail,” Arthur said. Eames leaned up slightly, looking at Arthur.

“Do you suppose,” he started, but was interrupted by the rattle of a key, by Mal walking in bearing coffee.

Probably it was just as well. Arthur was the only one Eames has ever met who understood, even slightly. Eames couldn’t afford to mess it up, not so soon after he found him.


The first thing Eames does is press his nose to Arthur’s neck and breathe, slowly, almost reverently. There’s definitely desire there, so if Eames was worried about this being a pity fuck, he can scratch that off the list of concerns.

But beside it there is Arthur, the way he always smells, of which Eames never gets enough because of annoying social conventions such as daily showers and personal space. It occurs to Eames that he can do more than smell, now, and he closes his jaw on Arthur’s neck, careful.

That does something to him. It feels right, to have Arthur’s pulse jumping below his mouth, Arthur’s skin between his teeth and pressed against his nose. Eames worries and sucks at it, coaxing warm blood to come just under the surface.

Arthur makes a strangled noise, and right, this is why Eames doesn’t generally start without some form of restraint. He ought to let go, ought to at least ask Arthur if everything’s okay, if he needs Eames to slow down or -

Eames finds himself flat on his stomach before he has time to finish that thought, Arthur’s warm weight spread all over him, pinning him down.

“I had some ideas,” Arthur whispers. “Before I start, do you have any preferences?”

“Fucking or getting fucked,” Eames says. “Being fucked would - be best - right now.” It’s hard to make the words come out. Eames chooses to pretend that it’s Arthur’s weight that knocked the breath out of him.

Arthur doesn’t answer for a moment, only rubbing a hand down Eames’ back, stopping to rest just above his tail, which twitches in proximity. Eames doesn’t hold back a gasp when Arthur strokes it, when he scratches in the patch of fur just above the base, achingly sensitive and long neglected.

“Okay,” he says at length. “On your back or on your stomach?”

“Either,” Eames pants. “Both. I don’t give a rat’s arse, Arthur.”

Arthur’s ears perk in amusement. “Don’t talk about rats now,” he says. “Come on, on your back.”

Eames ends up on his side because the damned tail will not flatten comfortably under him, but that’s lovely too, since he soon has a naked Arthur in front of him, trailing his hands down Eames’ chest. He stops to pinch lightly at a nipple, moves on down when Eames grimaces. He rests his forehead in the juncture of Eames’ shoulder and his neck, hand moving further until it’s on Eames’ cock, grasping tight.

A little too tight, as a matter of fact. “Not so hard,” Eames says. “That needs careful handling.”

Arthur snorts and moves his hand further down, cupping Eames’ balls. Eames spreads his legs and arches toward him, shameless. “Ah, yes, more of that.” Arthur smiles and complies. It feels good, arousing and soothing simultaneously, easing the ache that settled there yesterday and hasn’t left. Arthur’s touch is thankfully light, and Eames has to choke a disappointed whimper when Arthur leaves his balls to probe further back.

At the first touch of Arthur’s fingers to his hole, though, Eames forgets all about that, forgets about everything but getting Arthur inside him as soon as humanly - or inhumanly, as the case may be - possible.

“Are you sure?” Arthur says when Eames vocalises his sentiments about the subject. “I could just finger-fuck you.” He slides a finger into Eames’ opening. Eames is wet inside from his earlier attempts at getting off - his own fingers never do as well, but they’re better than nothing - and so Arthur’s finger slides almost halfway inside without any effort. Eames bucks into it, not above asking for more with his body.

“I want your cock in my arse,” he growls, because he’s not above asking with words, either. “Right now.”

Arthur puts another finger into him, fucks Eames like that for a few strokes. “Fuck, someone’s prepared.”

Before Eames can come up with a rejoinder to that, Arthur’s nudging him to lie with his arse hanging half-off the bed, his tail brushing the floor.

Arthur pushes in without much ceremony, pausing every now and then to see that Eames is all right. Eames is far better than all right - it does hurt, a little, but isn’t that part of the attraction? His body will grow used to the stretch soon enough. Eames wants to savor it while it’s there.

Arthur leans on his elbows and pumps into him, rough and quick. Eames mewls with delight, writhing and striving into Arthur, wrapping his arms around Arthur’s narrow waist, kissing his overly-serious mouth. Eames ought to be getting a hand on himself, but it feels so good, just like that, that for the moment Eames can’t bear to change a thing.

Then Arthur pauses, holding himself up. “Okay, I need to - “ he pushes at Eames’ arms. “Eames, let go.”

Eames should. He will. In just a moment. Just one more moment of feeling so fucking good, oh -

Arthur pushes him, and Eames certainly means to loosen his grip on Arthur, but his body acts of his own accord and ends up flipping them so Arthur’s on the bottom, with Eames sitting astride him.

“Eames, I’m serious,” Arthur says. “If you don’t let go now, I could hurt you,” which really isn’t half the incentive he should be.

“I can take it,” Eames says, nuzzling at the underside of Arthur’s jaw, biting when he can manage the concentration to do it properly. “Please, darling, you don’t know how I need it.”

“I might,” Arthur mutters. Maybe he does, because he stops pushing Eames away.

Eames is struck by sudden anxiety. “So can I stay like this? This is okay?”

“Too late to do anything about it, anyway,” Arthur says, and Eames realizes he’s still feeling the stretch, that in fact it’s increasing, spreading him out.

“Oh,” Eames says, slow and wondering. “Oh.”

Arthur’s cock is swelling inside him, growing fuller and harder, and it’s the most amazing thing Eames has ever felt. There’s pain there, muted by instincts that Eames has always cursed, which ignored the possibility of damage in their clamouring for more.

“How much does it grow?” Eames says, and he can’t keep the shiver out of his voice.

“Until it meets resistance,” Arthur says through gritted teeth. “Which is why you need to listen when I fucking tell you things.”

Eames bends, keeping his mouth a little distant from Arthur’s because he’s not certain he hasn’t lost the right to kiss it. “I’m sorry,” he says, quiet and earnest. “I meant to move away. I would have done in a minute.”

Arthur kisses him, which Eames takes for an encouraging sign. But then he has to let go, because Arthur’s cock is still growing inside him, it doesn’t stop, and the room seems to be woefully short of air.

“Try to clamp down,” Arthur says. “It’ll hurt worse, but the swelling will stop.”

Eames blinks, taking Arthur’s state in. He’s flushed and breathing hard, which Eames has taken as signs of arousal, but a rather unpleasant alternative presents itself. “Does it hurt?” he asks, taken aback.

“If I say it doesn’t, will you stop apologizing?” Arthur says, exasperated. Then he sighs and squirms slightly, the movement jarring Eames where they’re tied together. “It doesn’t yet,” he says. At least he’s honest. “But it will soon.”

“All right.” Eames bites him under the jaw one last time, for luck, and sits up to concentrate on squeezing Arthur’s cock as hard as possible.

Even the minor shift that the position change requires has Eames shaking by the time he’s sitting up. Fuck, he’s full, the pressure inside him growing, relentless. He’s aware of the ache but doesn’t pay it any mind. He take a deep breath and squeezes.

There’s too much sensory input to sort it all out at once. There’s that fullness, inescapable, taking up nearly all his attention; and there’s the noises Arthur is making, high whines trapped in the back of his throat, and his hands scrabbling up Eames’ thighs.

And there’s Eames’ cock, unattended, which chooses that moment to drop all illusions of being normal and human. Eames can feel it happening, the small blunt spines popping out. He’s almost glad he can’t see them. They must be ugly little bastards.

If they are, it doesn’t seem to deter Arthur, who stares at Eames’ cock wide-eyed. “So that’s why you wanted to get fucked,” he says. “Do they always come out?”

“If I don’t concentrate,” Eames says, and tries to clench down again. “So yeah, I generally get fucked on these occasions.”

Arthur doesn’t answer, making quiet little moans instead. Eames wants to lean down and taste them but he can’t, needs to keep as much focus as he can so that Arthur won’t be in pain, so that Arthur will enjoy this like Eames is.

Maybe it’s his feline side or maybe he’s just like that, but Eames has always needed to be fucked to the point of pain to be satisfied. A little beyond it. Sometimes a lot beyond it, if he’s honest. It feels like a craving for something he can’t get. The spines on his own prick have given him a good hint of what he hungers for, but he doesn’t know anyone else even remotely like him in that respect.

Except for Arthur, lying on his back and groaning, his cock still expanding. It will probably start hurting him very soon if Eames doesn’t do something. He tightens down on it as best as he can, over and over, but mostly succeeds in losing himself in the delicious feeling of it, all that beautiful hardness inside him. He’s almost ridiculously hard himself, spines jutting out from his cock. He wants to stroke himself but can’t, needs both hands to keep his balance.

“Please,” he says, barely at a whisper. “Touch me, please,” and Arthur does, not overly careful nor too rough, just exactly fucking right, and even though Eames is locked in place he tries to fuck himself on Arthur’s hugely engorged prick as he splatters Arthur’s stomach with his come.

By the time he’s stopped spurting, Arthur’s cock has reached a standstill inside him. Arthur, however, looks gone. His mouth is open, his head thrown back and he’s shaking like a leaf under Eames. His hand tightens on Eames’ hip. His grip is like steel.

It lasts a long time before Arthur settles and opens his eyes, letting out a shaky breath. Eames can still feel his cock twisting inside him, pulsing strong enough that Eames imagines he can feel come washing into his arse.

Arthur’s cock starts softening shortly after that. It’s still thick enough that Eames isn’t going anywhere, but there’s really nowhere else he’d rather be right now. He kisses Arthur’s face, marvelling at the pretty ring of bruises he’s bitten around Arthur’s neck. Eames’ treacherous brain is already spinning out plans - how next time Arthur fucks him, Eames will see if he can get himself off more than once while Arthur is still at full thickness; how he’ll have to ask Arthur to show him how he jerks off, because Eames is honestly curious and it ought to be something worth watching.

Eames should quash those right now, before they’ve had time to take root, but he still has Arthur’s pulse under his lips and Arthur’s come streaming into him, and he can’t bring himself to his ordinary, carefully maintained apathy.

It hasn’t really worked that well in any case, since Eames is being honest.

Finally, Arthur’s cock slips out of him. Eames lies down on his side, leaning over Arthur, who still looks far too blissed out to consider moving. “Hey,” Arthur whispers. He’s wearing the most ridiculous smile that Eames has ever seen.

“Been that long?” Eames slides his hand under Arthur’s head, scratching at the nape of his neck to see if he can make that grin even larger. Looks like he can.

“Forever,” Arthur says, “literally. Don’t stop,” this with almost a whine, when Eames’ hand stills. “I don’t mean I’m a virgin or anything. I’ve just never come inside anyone.”

Of course. How could he, without inflicting damage? “Poor Arthur,” Eames murmurs, kissing his collarbone. “You’re welcome to my arse whenever you’d like it.”

Arthur’s expression goes sober. Eames hates that a little. “I didn’t hurt you?”

Eames flops on his back, arms spread, allowing himself to bask in utter contentment. “Darling,” he says, “do I look hurt?”

“Really not.” Now Arthur’s on his elbow, mirroring their earlier position. Eames finds it boring, so he pulls Arthur to lie over him, so he can scratch Arthur’s neck with greater ease.

“How long does your rut last?” Arthur asks after a few minutes of blissful quiet.

“Anywhere from a couple days to over a week.” He kisses the top of Arthur’s head, rough fur tickling his nose. “This one looks like a bitch, no pun intended - likely to hit long and hard. So I’m particularly grateful for your company.”

“Grateful my ass,” Arthur says, but the tops of his shoulders pinken slightly. “That was fucking awesome. I never want to fuck anyone else again.”

Eames waits for Arthur to realize what he’s just said, to stiffen up and retract the statement, but all Arthur does is yawn and curl up around Eames. “Mind if I sleep here?” Arthur mumbles, not looking particularly inclined to move even if Eames replied in the negative.

“Be my guest,” Eames says, smiling for reasons he can’t even begin to unpack.