Ever since they’d been little, Arthur had been the bane of his older brother Dom’s existence. Arthur had been programmed by their mother to think that Dom always wanted him around, so he continuously sought out his brother’s company. He always was right at Dom’s heels, following him even when Dom was snapping for him to go home and leave him be, so finally Dom found other ways to entertain himself even with Arthur trailing him like a bad smell.
For almost just as long a time as all that, Dom’s best friend had been Eames from down the block. They were partners in crime, together from dawn til dusk, and as Eames’ father (as Dom’s mother put it) “drank too much juice”, Eames was always welcome over for meals and sleepovers without much question.
When they were young, Arthur himself four years old and Dom almost seven, Dom’s mother had leaned out the front door before he and Eames could take off shouting “Dominic Cobb you play with your little brother!”, which resulted in the usual eye-rolling and amused giggles from Dom and Eames respectively.
Arthur was small for his age, baby fat still rounding his cheeks and his wide eyes often hidden by his thick dark hair, and he was always excited to play with the older boys in any way they would include him. This particular time, the older boys informed him they were going to play Cops and Robbers, and in an attempt to ease Dom’s frustration at being forced to play with his baby brother yet again, Eames suggested Arthur could play the banker.
Dom’s eyes lit up at the idea, nodding to Arthur. “Yeah Artie, I’m the cop, Eames is the robber, and you’re the banker.” Little Arthur was only too happy to play along, even when the older boys tied him to the birch tree in the front yard with a jump rope, Dom promising to free him “after I catch the bad guy” before he and Eames tore off chasing each other down the street. Fully trusting his older brother, Arthur stood tied to the tree until his mother found him some time later and released him. Needless to say, both Dom and Eames got quite the scolding before dinner that night.
As Arthur got older, Dom and Eames found him sturdy enough to roughhouse with. Dom had started it, getting Arthur into a headlock while he and Eames watched wrestling. Arthur had cried the first time as Dom was too rough and Arthur hadn’t understood what was going on. Eames was the one who calmed him down, patting his back and telling him it was just big boy play, that it was all in fun. He pretended to let Arthur pin him, his exaggerated faces and affected struggles had Arthur giggling until his face hurt. Dom was gentler after that, at least until Arthur got a little older. Then they really let him have it.
When Arthur was eight, Dom and Eames developed a taste for waiting behind the bushes next door for Arthur to get off the schoolbus. They’d watch him walk down the street through the leaves and then chase him all the way home. If they caught him, they wrestled him to the ground, dog piling him or twisting his arms with ‘snake bites’ until he begged for mercy. By the time Arthur was 12, the older boys had figured out that the best time to torture him was inside the house before their mom got home from work, away from the prying eyes of concerned neighbors.
It was around this time that Arthur started to feel tingly every time Eames tackled him, or when the older boy looked at him and smiled. Eames had the most crooked teeth Arthur had ever seen, but he couldn’t imagine them being fixed, hated the thought of Eames smiling without them. He started to look forward to Eames being there when he got home, to the older boy pushing him playfully or nudging him with his foot when they played video games. Dom was getting less interested in playing with Arthur, and it was Eames who usually insisted it was ok for Arthur to hang out.
When Arthur was fourteen, his best friend Ariadne kissed him while they were watching movies. He was caught off guard, almost immediately pushing her away. He immediately felt guilty though at the sad look that crossed her face, so he closed his eyes and leaned forward, kissing her back. He’d never really thought about kissing anyone before, and when he tried to imagine someone more appealing than Ariadne, Eames immediately flashed in his mind. Arthur flushed at the realization, pictured Eames’ full lush mouth, his gorgeous blue-green eyes.
“Who are you thinking about?” Ariadne asked, pulling away from him. He didn’t realize how tight his eyes were clenched; he must have looked completely ridiculous.
“No one,” he lied, his ears burning hot with embarrassment.
Ariadne wasn’t fooled, but she never tried to kiss him again.
When Arthur was fifteen, he got hard for the first time when Eames tackled him. The older boy threw him to the floor, his chest warm and solid against Arthur’s back and his thick thighs were braced on either side of his hips as he held him down. Arthur panicked, unable to breathe as he felt himself stiffen in his jeans, growing harder as Eames chuckled softly in his ear. “Beg,” Eames said, his breath hot and wet against Arthur’s skin. “Beg me and I’ll let you go.”
Arthur was panting from the strain of trying to free himself, barely able to hear Dom taunting him or Eames laughing with his older brother. “Please, please please” he groaned, the words spilling out. “I surrender, please!”
When Eames let him go, Arthur tore from the room, slamming his bedroom door as Dom called “Such a baby!” after him. He stood with his back against his door, chest heaving as he tried to calm himself down. He palmed himself with shaking fingers, feeling the strain of his erection under his jeans. His cheeks burned as he jerked off, his eyes shut but Eames’ husky voice filling his head. “Beg me,” he said, boxing Arthur in. “Beg me.”
Arthur came with a whimper, the hand he pulled from his open jeans splattered with sticky seed. He hid in his room the rest of the night, only venturing downstairs when it was time for dinner and his mother’s presence meant the older boys wouldn’t mess with him.
After that night, Arthur began dreading when Eames would roughhouse with him, scared he’d get hard again and that Eames or Dom would notice, neither of which Arthur could bear. He gradually withdrew from the older boys, preferring to hide in his room. He’d hoped that the space would allow him to get over his crush, but it only made things worse. He became ever increasingly aware of Eames’ presence in the house. Sometimes Eames would bark out a laugh, or shout something to Dom, and Arthur’s entire body would go rigid, every nerve prickling.
Things got easier and worse when Dom got a girlfriend. Mallorie, or Mal as she preferred, was both beautiful and terrifying. All it took was one cold leveled glare when Arthur tried to watch TV with them for him to learn that his presence was unwelcome when she and Dom were spending time together alone. Being the hot blooded all American boy that he was, Dom’s life at home became almost completely centered around Mal during his senior year, which meant that Eames was around less and less until even Arthur’s mother commented that she hadn’t seen her unofficial third son in weeks. Arthur missed him with a physical ache at home, but felt relieved that he was finally able to move about freely and not tiptoe around his crush.
There was always school, but being a senior meant Eames never really commingled with underclassmen like Arthur, and was therefore fairly easy to avoid. The few times he saw the older boy in the halls, or heard his voice from across the courtyard, Arthur felt his heart in his throat. It didn’t help any that as he got older, Eames had only gotten more attractive, filled out from his previously slim frame to gain some thickness and muscle from what Arthur determined was a mixture of football and pure genetic maliciousness. Arthur himself was as boyish as ever looks-wise, still rail thin despite his best efforts. He finally shot up a few inches when he was sixteen, but he still wasn’t tall by any stretch of the imagination.
At sixteen he also admitted to Ariadne that he was gay, or rather, Ariadne finally dragged it out of him. She was determined to find out Arthur’s illusive crush, but as he was still too scared to actually verbalize his feelings for Eames, he spat out the first name he could think of.
“Robert?” she squealed, her eyes wide with self satisfaction. “Arthur he’s a junior, do you know how cool it would be if you got with him?”
Arthur rolled his eyes. “He doesn’t even like me,” he said, and for some ridiculous reason he’d thought that would actually put an end to it. He’d almost forgotten about it entirely until a rare night when Ariadne, Eames, and Mal were over for a movie night. Eames almost completely ignored Arthur, sticking close to Dom and Mal while Ariadne and Arthur huddled together in the stuffed armchair. They were halfway through Hellraiser when Ariadne took out her phone and typed a quick message, elbowing Arthur just as his own phone buzzed. He pulled out his phone with a confused furrow, looking back to Ariadne with question but only getting a pointed glare in response. Arthur checked his phone, the light harsh in the darkened room as her message popped up.
‘Robert Fischer wants 2 finger U’
His head snapped towards her, eyes huge. “What the fuck” he mouthed, not wanting to draw attention. Much to his distaste, she grinned impishly and began typing again, fingers flying over her keys before she hit send and Arthur’s phone buzzed again in his hand.
‘I had Amy tell him u like him, and he told her ur hot. He wants ur cherry’
Arthur rolled his eyes. “You’re so full of shit,” he whispered.
She shook her head emphatically, eyes wide. “He told me,” she whispered. “He knows we’re friends and asked if you were really down.”
“Well I’m not” Arthur hissed at her, pulling the blanket tighter around when when he realized Eames was staring.
Ariadne groaned, her head falling back against the chair dramatically before she went back to typing. He wanted to ignore the message, but she pinched his thigh under the blanket until he yelped and gave in.
‘U can’t b a virgin 4ever’
This time Arthur elbowed her, keeping his voice as quiet as possible while still maintaining a level of venom as he whispered “oh yeah, cause you’ve banged so many guys.”
Quick as a wink, Arthur’s phone was plucked from his hand, too fast for him to snatch it back. He looked up in abject horror to see Eames scrolling through his messages. Arthur bolted from the chair, his legs tangling in the blanket in his hurry so that he fell against Eames, knocking them both to the floor. Eames was laughing then, wrestling Arthur down onto the floor and twisting one arm behind his back. Arthur stilled as Eames’ weight settled on his thighs, horrified both that Eames had his phone and that he felt the familiar stirrings of heat fluttered in his groin.
Arthur groaned into the carpet, hoping it came off as pain from his arm and not that he was getting a fucking boner. Don’t get hard, don’t get hard, Christ don’t get fucking hard…..
Eames scoffed above him, and Arthur could hear Dom asking him what was so funny. “Looks like Robert Fischer wants to diddle Artie here, thinks he’s gonna-” Eames cleared his throat as he looked for the exact message. “Finger him and pop his cherry.”
Arthur grimaced into the carpet, the humiliation at least enough to deflate his previously developing hard-on. Ariadne had the decency to hide her face in her hands, mouthing ‘sorry’ to Arthur when she got the courage to look at him. He knew he was red faced when Eames let him up with a fond ruffle of his hair and quick rub of his shoulders, and he only glowered further when Eames giggled with delight when Arthur finally reclaimed his phone and quickly slithered back to the armchair with Ariadne.
“I hate you,” he grumbled, pulling the blanket up over his head and curling against her shoulder. He peeked out when he heard Dom snort, his brother’s eyes still fixed on the television.
“Please,” Dom said. “Like I’d let him anywhere near my baby brother. He even looks at you, Artie and I’ll break his fucking legs.”
“Count me in,” Eames added, pursing those ridiculously full lips and crossing his thick arms over his chest in a way that made his muscles bulge and Arthur’s mouth water. It wasn’t even fair, Eames was so buff and so hot it almost hurt not to look, but Arthur knew if he didn’t start thinking of something gross like his parents having sex and stop thinking about Eames and his stupid arms he’d be rock hard in two minutes flat. He tucked up his knees and curled into a ball against Ariadne, who was only too happy to cradle him now that she was no longer holding the highest rank on his shitlist..
“I don’t even like Robert!” Arthur shot out over the blanket, scowling when Eames laughed heartily.
After that, Robert Fischer wouldn’t even make eye contact with him. Arthur could only guess that Dom had said something to him, and in a moment of pure little brother righteous indignation, he decided to tell Dom off over it. Arthur found him in his room, puttering around in his laptop.
“What did you say to Robert?” he asked, tone and face the epitome of ‘cross.’ Their mother always joked that Arthur had inherited her slim build and resting bitchface, though to his supreme irritation it never actually worked on his older brother.
Dom didn’t even glance up. “You mean your boyfriend?”
Arthur groaned. “No, asshole, I told you...I don’t even like him. He’s being all weird though, so could you just tell him you were kidding or something?”
Dom was still scrolling through shit on his laptop, and Arthur thought he had simply ignored him until Dom finally said, “Go change your tampon, Artie, I didn’t say anything to him.”
Arthur frowned. “Well then why is he being all-”
Dom rolled his eyes, exasperated. “Oh my god Arthur, how should I know? Eames is on the football team with him, maybe he said something. I wasn’t kidding though; if he touches you he’s fucking dead...now fuck off I’m busy.”
Arthur flicked Dom off before retreating back to his room, dramatically belly-flopping onto his bed. He pulled his phone down from the nightstand, staring at his contact list over and over for at least five minutes before finally selecting Eames’ name, and tapping out a quick message. He’d only ever put Eames’ number there when he and Dom were attached at the hip in case he ever needed to find Dom, and couldn’t deny the slight surge of excitement he got at actually texting his crush, even if it was just to yell at him.
‘Did u threaten Robert??’
Eventually Eames did reply, but only with an angel emoji.
Arthur definitely didn’t have fantasies that night about Eames cornering Robert in the locker room, all sweaty and muscley as he got in Robert’s face and told him to not even look at Arthur again.