There's this couch in the workspace, and given that the workspace itself is decrepit, dusty, and probably has hantavirus-riddled mouse droppings in every corner, the couch is nothing anyone should approach without a hazmat suit and a jug of bleach. The couch couldn't have ever been fashionable, but there's a chance its upholstery was once a greener green and that its fat corduroy stripes were once pillowy instead of worn, that its cushions didn't cough dust up at the lightest touch, that it didn't sag down into itself like the furniture embodiment of low self-esteem.
It's possible, Eames thinks, but it doesn't seem bloody likely.
Even less likely, though, is the sight that presents itself to Eames now as he comes into the employee lounge.
"Have you taken ill?" Eames asks, stopping short, appalled.
"No," says Arthur, his lean long body slung into the couch like it's an overstuffed snot green hammock. One arm is even listing off towards the floor. "I've taken a break."
"On that?" Eames asks. "That thing?"
"It's just a couch, Eames," Arthur says, rolling his eyes at the ceiling. "Don't be so finicky."
"Remember when you used to go round in bespoke suits and leather boots?" Eames says, going over to the fridge (pink, squat, vaguely musty-smelling, but functional enough once plugged in) and pulling it open to find the carton of milk for his tea. "Your standards have slipped, darling."
"Who am I trying to impress?" Arthur asks, crossing his legs at the ankles, the shredded cuffs of his jeans dangling over sock feet. "You?"
Eames plunks a teabag down into the mug with its splash of milk, reaches for the kettle and clicks it on. "There was a time, lo," he orates in a low voice, "when you longed to impress me, you dapper young thing."
"I was trying to impress the rich guys who were paying us ridiculous sums of money," Arthur says. "Inception removed that need: everyone knew who were were, what we were capable of, and my wardrobe shifted accordingly."
Eames leans against the counter, waiting for the kettle to boil, and stares fondly at Arthur. "You're going to get pubic lice from that couch."
"I'm having a nap on it, not fucking it," Arthur says, folding his arms over his chest, scratching at his ribs through his t-shirt. His hair's gone all floppy, he's wearing his hipster glasses, and he needs a shave. He is, Eames allows privately, still bloody adorable.
"Scabies, then," Eames says. "Crotch rot. Emphysema."
"Emphysema," Arthur repeats, amused. He reaches up and pounds the back cushion of the couch with a fist, laughs as the dust motes erupt and spin into the air through the slanting late afternoon sunlight. "Okay, yeah, maybe emphysema." His fingers tuck under his belt buckle when his hand settles down again. It's not meant to be coy, probably, but the innocent motion draws the eye. It draws Eames' eye, anyway. "C'mere," Arthur says, not missing the direction of Eames’ glance.
"No," Eames answers firmly, "I've got nice trousers on and a new shirt, I'm not exposing them to live smallpox virus."
"C'mere," Arthur says again. "A watched kettle never boils."
The kettle bubbles and clicks off. Eames smirks and pours the hot water into his mug, blows air over the steaming surface, and twirls the teabag on its string to watch the tea go pale milky brown as it steeps. "No, Arthur, I’m absolutely not joining you on your petri dish of a sofa."
"C'mere," Arthur says one last time, as though it's going to work now when it didn't work before. Eames lifts his eyes up to say as much, only to find Arthur with hands outstretched, brown eyes open wide and guileless behind dark glasses frames.
"You are," Eames says, and slams his mug down, slopping tea onto the counter. "Buggering hell." It takes half a dozen steps to reach Arthur and then it's just an easy twist of hips, a bend of the knee, to fall down onto him. Eames does his level best to lie on Arthur rather than the diseased couch; but Arthur's too narrow and Eames is too wide. His hands make dusty contact, and his forearm too. Still, Arthur's grinning up at him, and Eames hastily decides that vaccines were probably invented for this very reason: for snogging messy boys in the sunlight on saggy disused couches.