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They fail.

It’s not surprising to Eames. Extraction jobs have a high enough failure rate on their own – no one really expects an inception job to go through. Well, maybe Cobb, because he wants to go back to his kids so damned badly - and Ariadne, of course, who is entirely too wide-eyed and cheerful for this whole wretched business. But Robert and Yusef are more even-headed, and Saito knew exactly what sort of impossible task he was asking from the beginning.

Not to mention the job was completely fucked from the get-go. Arthur Fischer was supposed to be a pampered, prissy, son of privilege. Well-educated, yes, but very much on the outs with his father, and conflicted about how to handle the company holdings after his father’s death. But once they’d jacked in, it turned out his subconscious was ruthlessly intelligent, surprisingly analytical, and, worst of all, trained. Robert’s intel was so horrendously incomplete the team barely made it to the second level of the dream, and they had to abandon any thought of the third level in order to make the kick at all.

He’s certainly not to blame, Eames tells himself. His job had gone more or less as planned. He’d been impersonating Peter Browning, Fischer’s faux-father figure, and his real father’s right hand man. He had Fischer sold on the forgery, he knows he did, he’s damned good – but he didn’t quite complete Fischer’s turn from Browning and back to his father, and he definitely didn’t get far enough to plant the idea that Fischer’s father wanted him to disband the company. Most likely, they’d just given Fischer a shit ton more issues to work through with his therapist.

Plus, Eames had to toss himself off a roof to make the kick, and he fucking hates the moment he hits cement. It stings, for the record.

The mood in first class is grim. Ariadne is near tears. Saito keeps touching his chest where he had been shot; Cobb looks like someone had pistol-whipped his children to death right in front of him. Eames watches Fischer from the corner of his eye. He seems thoughtful. Quiet. He fixes his tie and thanks the stewardess for the immigration forms. He doesn’t look at any of the other passengers twice, and that’s really the important thing.

Eames exits the plane automatically. Passes through customs on autopilot and goes directly to the first airport bar he can find. At least Saito had the decency to leave Cobb on the plane and send him back to Japan. He’s a good man, Saito, if ruthless.

He orders a whiskey, neat. Knocks it back and asks for another.

“Next one’s on me,” someone says, “and another?” and slid into the chair next to him.

It takes everything in Eames not to tense up, because the man sitting next to him is Fischer.

“Cheers,” he says off-handedly, and lifts his glass in Fischer’s general direction.

“Mister… Eames, wasn’t it?” Fischer says, and raises a glass of his own. “You work for Browning.”

Christ on a cross, where is Robert with a handgun when you need him. He’s never had a job unravel so fast after the fact.

Eames reaches for the poker chip in his pocket, and clutches it desperately. Sodding reality. “I used to,” he says, striving for something like playfully regretful. “I’m interviewing for another job here in LA.”

“Ah,” Fischer says. “Sorry to hear that. You always seemed very capable.”

Squashes the urge to say thank you and sips his whiskey instead. There’s really nothing to be nervous about. Extraction attempts are almost impossible to prove once the dream has been exited. Even if Fischer remembered something, if he even had an inkling of what they’d tried to do, there was still no form of legal recourse because there was no evidence left behind.

Eames downs the rest of his drink and slams the glass to the bar, ignores the way Fischer’s suit sleeve brushes against his. Ignores the length of Fischer’s fingers on his own glass. The way his mouth purses when he swallows. Because Eames knows the problem with the job is not that they failed. That problem is that Eames can’t quite shake the feeling that he might have messed up on purpose. He did the one thing a Forger is never supposed to do – the one thing Eames has never even come close to doing. He’s pretty sure he fell for Fischer.

See, Eames is all about the little things. It’s how he does what he does. He doesn’t make himself look like someone else. Anyone can do that – the right clothes, the right makeup – and that sort of thing is no good in dreams, anyway. What he has to get right are the details, the little things. Using the right words, pausing at the right time. Learning to shake his head a certain way, to bite his lip or breathe through his nose. The devil’s in the details, they say, and for once they couldn’t be more right. So the little things, the way they all count towards something bigger – that’s how Eames understands people. And that’s what’s so fascination about Fischer – how he never had a hair out of place, not once, not ever, not at two in the morning, not when he was up for three days straight. He never loosened his tie or rolled up his sleeves, and he never even looked like he wanted to. He took his father’s abuse without a word, without a grimace or a flinch, and he stonewalled the company investors without breaking a sweat.

In retrospect, maybe Eames should have been a little more prepared for Fischer’s subconscious. He’d originally written Fischer off as unimaginative; hardworking, maybe, but dull. How very wrong he’d been. How stupid. And he can’t lie – when the team had been pinned downed by the tactical squad in Fischer’s subconscious on the first dream level, he’d gotten a little hard. Sometimes it’s very difficult to be Eames.

“I’m sorry about your father,” he blurts out, and inwardly cringes at the way Fischer stiffens. “I – he was very lucky to have you with him, all that time.”

It’s Fischer’s turn to stare down his whiskey. “Thank you,” he says softly, and when he looks at Eames out of the corner of his eye, Eames can’t quite drag himself away from that glance.

“I should be going,” Eames says, because if he doesn’t leave now, who knows what the hell will pop out of his mouth next.

Arthur – Fischer, goddamn it, Fischer – knocks back his drink. “I’ve got a private car and driver waiting.”

Eames can’t help but make eye contact this time. Licks his lips. Well, fuck it, they’d already bodged the job – in for a penny, in for a pound.

| |

Fischer’s car is sleek and black, terribly discrete. His chauffer could double as a bodyguard, and he’s definitely packing. He nods at Fischer and cracks a smile that would make many a small child cry. Eames is unwilling further impressed.

Fischer hands their luggage off to him, and he places the two small bags in the trunk. “Where to, Mr. Fischer?”

Fischer inclines his head towards Eames. “The Bel-Air,” Eames says. He’d planned on taking a flight to New York in an hour, but Eames’ has always prided himself on his flexibility.

“No rush, George,” Fischer says, and ushers Eames into the back of the car.

It’s always a rather lovely experience, Eames thinks, making out in the back of a chauffered car. Like a hot flashback to adolescent make-outs, but with enough room to be far more inventive. Eames settles into the seat, watches Fischer close the door behind them and – slides to his knees?

Eames realizes he’s goggling a bit, but really. It’s astounding how entirely he’s off his game.

There’s barely enough room, but Fischer’s hands are quick and clever, and Eames’ pants are around his knees in an impressively short amount of time. Arthur runs the head of Eames’ cock across his lips, teasing, and Eames hisses.

“I didn’t –”

“Complaints?” Fischer asks, and swallows Eames nearly all the way down.

As an opening move, it’s pretty much a game-setter. It’s showy, it’s effective, and Eames has to claw the scratchy, plastic-y fabric under his hands to keep from doing something stupid, like messing up Fischer’s perfectly coiffed hair and pushing him down on Eames’ dick as hard as he can.

“Jesus,” he says, and slides one hand to the back of Fischer’s neck anyway. Thumbs the pulse point there. Fischer’s pulls off to lick his hand and stroke the base of Eames’ cock, eyes half-lidded but never blinking. There’s a tingling in the back of Eames’ head, a sense that Fischer is memorizing him, categorizing him, and it should send Eames running but it only makes it hotter.

So fucked, he thinks, and lets his head fall back against the seat with a thump, and looks down the bridge of his nose. Fischer’s mouth is warm and wet and practiced; his free hand slides just behind Eames’ balls and strokes expertly, and he moans prettily whenever Eames thrusts. It’s practically a wet dream, and the only reason Eames knows its not is because his typically figure in much more inventive uses of Fischer’s ties.

“I’m – ” Eames starts, and tugs a little on Fischer’s hair. He’s been thinking about this for weeks, his lack of stamina should be forgiven. “Fuck, stop, I –”

Fischer backs off only a little. Just enough to catch everything neatly in his mouth. To wait for Eames’ brains to unscramble enough to notice the way Fischer’s tongue is moving in his mouth – is tasting – and Eames’ dick twitches weakly in Fischer’s hand.

Fischer is still fully dressed – jacket on, impeccable tie. The only things that ruin the picture are the overly wet shine of his lips, and the way his erection pulls at the line of his trousers.

Ruin. Eames would like all of Fischer’s outfits ruined like this.

“Darling,” he says, and drags Fischer up by his tie. “How would you like me to return the favor?”

Fischer settles himself expertly on Eames’ lap, one knee bracing against the seat, clenching Eames’ shoulder and the front of his shirt. “Your hands,” he grits out, voice rougher than Eames has ever heard, yanking one of Eames’ from his throat to his groin. “They seem quite – capable.”

Eames laughs. Curls his hand around Fischer’s cock and strokes. “Capable.” Poor Mr. Fischer doesn’t know the half of it. It’s almost insulting. He shoves his other hand up under Fischer’s shirt, forcefully, to get the vest out of the way. Tweaks one nipple and mouths at the other one, hot skin that jumps at the first touch and leans into every one after it. Wants to move in closer, get rid of all this clothing, and rub every part of his body on every part of Fischer’s.

Keeps pumping Fischer’s cock, slow and hard, not only because they’re got the time. Because Eames enjoys it, the way Fischer thrust up into Eames’ fist, the way he won’t beg, Eames knows he won’t. He could do this for hours. He almost prays for L.A. traffic, and isn’t that a first.

“Did you think about this,” he purrs into Fischer’s ear, “in your office? While I was taking Browning’s dictation – “emphasis on the dick, just because he can – “while your father was dying in the next room?” Finishes that with a vicious twist of his fingers, and Fischer comes all over Eames’ hand and a little on his own pants – which Eames might have been able to prevent, but why would he?

Eames waits for Fischer to half-way catch his breath before lifting his hand and licking one finger completely clean. Fischer’s pupils dilate but his eyes narrow, and he sucks another of Eames’ fingers into his mouth. Eames feels his dick twitch again, valiantly, and they share the remainder of his fingers, licking Eames’ palm clean. Almost like kissing but not quite. Dancing around it.

“Afraid your pants are a little worse for the wear, darling,” Eames says, as satisfied as any man had a right to be.

Fischer gives him a look that says your apology seems a little smug, and slides off Eames lap and onto the seat next to him. Mindlessly rubs his hand against the cushion. Then – “Darling?” he asks, incredulous, and Eames smirks.

“I thought it rolled off the tongue rather well. Darling.”

Fischer’s face tightens into the slightest hint of a smile. “Hmm.”

They sit in silence for a moment, when Eames notes the entrance of the Bel Air out the window. They both begin to calmly tuck everything where it belongs. Fischer buttons his vest. Eames tries not to watch.

“Thanks for the ride,” he says, and tells himself not to look back when George opens the door.

| |

Two days later, Arthur Fischer announces the dissolution of Fischer Industries and it’s sale to various conglomerates.

Arthur shows up on Eames’ doorstep that night, in the little house his mum lived and died in. He’s more disconcerted at how quickly Arthur found him than that he’s here.

“Maybe he wanted me to be my own man,” Arthur says. “Maybe I was just a disappointment. It doesn’t matter which it was. Either way, the only thing I’ve got left is my own life. And I know how I want to live it.”

“And how is that, pet?” he asks, and he’s not sure he gives a damn as long as it involves Arthur coming upstairs with him.

“Doing anything that interests me. At this point, namely you—” Arthur says, and he and Eames are standing so close Eames can feel the heat coming off of him. “ – and learning everything there is to know about extraction.”

He and Eames are breathing the same air now, and Eames is giving serious consideration to whether removing Arthur’s clothing on the stoop would finally send Mrs. Labrake from across the street into an early grave. It would partially serve her right, but it seems too kind for her last vision on this Earth to be Arthur half-naked.

“So this is ground zero, I would think,” Arthur says, tilting his head to the side.

Cobb will chew him out from end to end. Dear God, Eames can’t wait.

“Darling,” he says, and pulls Arthur inside by his tie.