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Dreams and Shadows

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Christ, Eames is so high. He must be to giggle like that. Whatever Yusuf gave him after he dug that bullet out of his hip and stitched him up must have been one of his special concoctions. Whatever it was, Eames is currently having a deep philosophical discussion with a box of tissues. Or possibly flirting with it. Arthur isn't sure Eames knows there's a difference.

At any rate while Eames is chattering on to the box, giggling periodically, Arthur tries to ignore the impossible man who's taking up most of the room in his bed. Yusuf just laughs as he opens the hotel room door, and checks the hallway out of habit.

"Keep him warm and hydrated. See if you can get some food into him in the morning. You know the drill. He'll be fine and happy to show off his new scar in no time."

"Like he needs another reason to take his pants off in public," Arthur mutters and he closes the door behind Yusuf, and leans back against it.

Jesus he's tired. Thirty-six hours on the job, and now another mess to clean up. They should have been gone hours ago, but the mark had had backup and Eames, well Eames isn't going anywhere for a day or two. So Arthur just keeps going. Hacks a few airlines to cover their tracks, bins the trash, puts Eames' bloody clothes to soak in the tub, and tries not to count how many times this makes that he's washed Eames' blood off his face. (Nine. Christ.)

Their luggage had been in the car that had blown up in the crossfire. So when Arthur's done all he can do for the moment, he slips out of his suit, folds and hangs his pants carefully over the back of the desk chair, and settles his shirt around the seat back hoping for the best, or the least amount of wrinkles.

He pads over to the bed in his t-shirt and boxers to check on Eames, who's laying on his side facing the middle of the bed, right arm tucked around the pillow and his left hand around the tissues, running his thumb obsessively along the smooth cardboard box. Loose limbed and pliant, it takes a couple tries to get part of a bottle of water in him. Arthur actually has to take the box of tissues away before he can get Eames' attention.

Arthur tries to put a towel over the now somewhat soggy pillow, but Eames pushes at it feebly.

"Scratchy," he complains, and Arthur gives up, and figures if Eames is too stoned to care if he's sleeping on a soggy pillow, that's not his problem. He's so tired he can barely keep his eyes open.

In fact, his eyes do fall shut as he settles the sheet around Eames and stops to take his pulse.

The skin at Eames’ wrist is soft, pulse thumping steadily, if a bit slowly. Arthur lets himself still for a moment listening to Eames' snuffling into the pillow, feeling the warmth of his skin. Tries not to see the explosion, tries not to hear the crack of gunfire, the blood as Eames slid to the ground.

He has to walk away then. Get himself a drink of water. Set his alarm. Then reset it for an hour later. They both need the sleep, and Eames is not a morning person.

He tries not to disturb Eames when he slides under the covers on the other side of the bed. But as he's pulling at his pillow, trying to get the lumps to be less lumpy, he feels a hand on his neck, the swipe of a thumb across his bottom lip.

And then he's looking into Eames' eyes, pale in the dim light from the desk lamp across the room.

Eames whispers something that sounds a bit like "smurf" but could mean anything. Arthur wraps his hand around Eames' arm, to pull his hand away, but as Eames slides his fingertips across Arthur's face, he flushes hotly and can't seem to let go. Eames chases the flush across Arthur's cheeks and up to his temples. He traces one finger down Arthur's nose and Arthur huffs a laugh.

"Shhhhhh," Eames tells him and taps the soft skin under his eyes.

"Tired," he says, and Arthur thinks he's talking about himself, but then he gently taps the delicate skin underneath Arthur's eye again, and says with some effort, "you've got those tired wrinkles, love," and shifts a bit closer to Arthur, a small groan forced out as he moves.

"Hush yourself," Arthur tells him, adjusting the sheet, ghosting his fingers across the gauze wrapped wound on Eames' hip.

Eames winds their fingers together, and with one more groan shifts close enough to press a kiss to Arthur's cheek.

Arthur can't help but smile at that, and then flush suddenly when Eames giggles, and pokes the tip of his tongue into, yes into the traitor dimple that has appeared on Arthur's face.

"Dammit Eames, stop that! You're wounded," he says pushing at Eames a bit.

"I feel wonderful," Eames says freeing his hand from Arthur's and setting it wandering inside Arthur's boxers.

"Jesus Christ," Arthur mutters, and drags Eames hand back up where he can see it.

But then he's got a pouting Eames in front of him, and Arthur just has to kiss him. Eames has a mouth that was made for kissing.

They're both panting when Arthur pulls away to mouth his way up Eames' jawline, fingers cupping the back of Eames's head. They've been fucking for some time now, off and on. They're neither of them shy, or inhibited, and the sex is usually fabulous. But tonight, Arthur can feel Eames in his arms, loose and careless, despite his wounds, and so willing he's making needy little noises, clutching his hands into Arthur's t-shirt as Arthur bites softly at Eames' jawline.

Eames tries to roll them over, but winces in pain and drops back onto his side.

"Hey, hey," Arthur says, steadying Eames. "Don't go getting too energetic. You have stitches and I am utterly exhausted."

Eames makes a defeated little sigh, and Arthur brings Eames' hand back to his throat.

"I don't think either of us is in top working order," Arthur says running his fingernails through the short hair at the nape of Eames’ neck and pulling him close. “You were talking to a cardboard box a few minutes ago,” Arthur tells him fondly.

"You remember Malta?" Eames asks, shifting so that their heads are together on Arthur’s lumpy pillow.

"The bad food? That bastard extractor? The lousy intel?" Arthur asks as he brushes his lips across Eames' cheekbones.

Eames' eyes fall shut.

"The star-gazing," he breathes softly as Arthur is tracing the line of his eyelashes with his nose.

"Maybe you were star-gazing. I was trying to figure out how to get us out of there alive," Arthur tells Eames with a smile.

"You stole a plane," Eames says, yawning. "Do you have any idea how hot that was?"

"Tell me," Arthur says, pulling Eames' head down to rest on his chest.

He can feel Eames quivering with shock and exhaustion. But all he can think to do is to keep his hands moving across Eames' skin, to keep tracing patterns up and down Eames' back.

"That mouth of yours, darling, it tells such lovely lies," Eames says softly, happily even. "Not to mention how you looked in that leather jacket..."

Arthur's about to tease Eames about his totally juvenile Top Gun type fantasies when Eames tangles their feet together and sleepily rubs his cheek against the soft cotton of Arthur's shirt.

"Mmmmmm," he rumbles, "I want to dream about that."

Arthur can barely keep his eyes open, and having Eames warm and pliant in his arms is only making it more difficult to stay awake.

"What will you dream of, Arthur?" Eames asks, voice sliding lower and softer as he gets closer to falling asleep.

"Breakfast in bed," Arthur mumbles, now almost asleep himself. "Those crepes you made that time, remember?"

"Helsinki," Eames says, but Arthur's soft steady breathing is the only response. And before long, Eames too is fast asleep held tight in the circle of Arthur’s arms.