It's funny, because in the days and hours leading up to a big performance, fatigue nips at Arthur's heels, unshakeable, insistent; but the second Arthur sets foot on stage it's gone, evaporated, and Arthur's left with a keen blade, a vector of energy and focus that pulls him through the performance.
It carries him off the stage again, too, and through the unavoidable handshaking and smiling and graceful acceptance of admiration from audience members and colleagues. By the time it's all over, by the time Arthur brushes the snow from his windshield and pulls out of the parking lot into the black Boston winter's night, Eames shooting proud grins his way from the passenger seat, Arthur's gone right through relief and release and straight out the other side, a second wind of sorts, or maybe a fourth or fifth wind at this point. Arthur wraps his leather-gloved fingers around the chilly vinyl steering wheel and thinks I don't feel even a little tired.
He's conquered sleep, he decides, guiding the car over icy roads while Eames hums the theme of his Schumann variations. Arthur has overcome sleep once and for all. He's going to be immensely more productive without it, anyway.
"Your flowers," says Eames, hurrying after Arthur as they walk up the pathway to the house, holding out the cellophane wrapped bouquet.
"Right," says Arthur, with a little frown, taking them, digging for his keys.
Inside Arthur snaps on all the lights, busies himself getting the flowers into a vase, tidying up the lunch dishes he hadn't thought to clear before he'd left that afternoon.
After that he might as well run the dishwasher, so Arthur does. He takes out the garbage too, and sorts through the mail, all the little domestic tasks he's been too preoccupied to accomplish. The place goes from vaguely cluttered to neat and spare with satisfying rapidity after that.
"Cheers," Eames says, ducking into Arthur's line of sight with two glasses of red wine, holding one out to Arthur. "To your triumph."
"Triumph," Arthur smirks, but takes it anyway and drinks.
They'll see about 'triumph' after the review's out in the Globe tomorrow, Arthur figures; the current arts critic isn't exactly Arthur's enemy but he hasn't been a consistent fan either.
Arthur doesn't want to think about it now, though; he takes the wine bottle and refills his glass.
"Shall we take this into the bedroom?" Eames says, which has the potential to be a very seductive little question, but of course Eames means the wine bottle, their impromptu celebration.
"I was just going to eat something," Arthur says, abruptly aware that he hasn't eaten for hours.
"It's after midnight," Eames says.
"I'm not going to turn into a gremlin," Arthur says, grinning.
"Yes, but you don't sleep well on a full stomach," Eames points out.
"Oh, I don't think I'll be sleeping soon anyway," Arthur demurs. "I'm wired."
"Hmm," says Eames, and kisses Arthur on the tip of his nose. "Right, I'm done anyway. Don't stay up too late. And hands off my doggie bag from the Greek place. I want those dolmas for lunch tomorrow."
"Ooh, dolmas," Arthur says, already pulling the grease-stained box from the fridge.
Eames snorts and tosses back the last of his wine, leaves the room unbuttoning his shirt and toeing out of his shoes.
Arthur glances after him with helpless interest for a moment, but the dolmas are beckoning, shiny with olive oil.
He eats three of them with his fingers and chases them down with a third glass of wine, still not the least bit tired. The rest of the dolmas go back in the fridge, Arthur wipes his hands clean, and now he's at a bit of a loss as to how to expend his left-over energy. From the bedroom Arthur can hear the faint sounds of Eames watching Tivo'ed late night TV, the Daily Show or something, and Arthur decides to join him after all, even though Eames has probably nodded off already.
He hasn't, as it happens, fallen asleep, but Eames is clearly on the verge of doing so, slumped up against the headboard with his legs shoved under the duvet, wearing a t-shirt and boxers and scratching at his stubble with a dopey expression. "Mm," he says by way of greeting, and flips back the duvet in invitation.
"Gimme a minute, brushing my teeth," Arthur says.
Arthur flosses, brushes, washes his face and dabs on his nighttime moisturizer (and Eames can just shut up about it because he's the one with the tinted sunblock), slips his tie loose and smooths it out before hanging it over the tie rack.
The business of getting undressed is a pleasing bit of routine, something Arthur has been too distracted to really register; he is perhaps more finicky than usual as he hangs up his pants, stuffs shoetrees into his dress shoes, puts away his pocket square.
Eames is watching him — with dropping eyelids, of course — but watching him nonetheless, and the weight of Eames' regard is almost palpable, still pleasing to Arthur even all these years after Eames first told him he was gorgeous and Arthur was too self-conscious to believe it.
"Let's have sex," Arthur decides, putting his folded pajamas on the nightstand next to his side of the bed, naked now.
"All right," Eames says gamely, stifling a yawn.
"You're not going to fall asleep," Arthur informs him. "Eames?"
"No, never dream of it," Eames says, turning off the TV, wriggling down on the bed and stretching out his hands in invitation. "Get in here, your nipples could cut glass."
Nothing complicated, Arthur decides as he plants one knee on the mattress; Eames will fall asleep before they accomplish anything complicated. Maybe just a quick mutual jerk-off is what's needed, and if Eames falls asleep after there's always the rest of the Daily Show.
Eames gives an appreciative hum as Arthur lies down and tugs the duvet up, reaching across and tugging Arthur in, skimming a hand over Arthur's chest and belly. Arthur cants a smile at Eames and sinks down onto his back. The bed is warm from Eames' body heat and it's extremely soft and horizontal.
Very horizontal indeed.
"Arthur," says Eames from somewhere far away. "I haven't even gotten below your waist yet."
"No, I'm awake," Arthur protests. The pillow is perfect. Eames' arms are familiar and strong and holding Arthur tight.
Eames says something else, something about Arthur being as awake as a — something. Something about being — awake. Eames' mouth comes and goes, pressing against Arthur's own mouth, Arthur's forehead, his temple, and Arthur wishes Eames would hurry up and have sex with him already because Arthur is —