Actions

Work Header

Arising

Work Text:

The click of the door behind him is the only warning Arthur gives.

Through the wide window, the city stands in relief, the sun disappearing behind countless skyscrapers. Wisps of far-off clouds mute the lingering rays, but streaks of red and yellow still blaze across the sky, glinting off burnished glass and harsh steel. Watching it all is Eames, sat on the futon facing the window, nothing of note around him.

When Arthur circles a hand around Eames’ from behind, Eames doesn’t move.

“‘ello,” says Eames, voice rough.

“Hey yourself.” Arthur can’t help the grin that comes from inside him. It’s not reflected on Eames’ face, but that’s not unusual. Arthur swings the bottle of champagne into Eames’ vision. “Brought something to drink.”

“Wonderful,” says Eames, tone measured.

“I’ll get us set up.” It takes a few minutes for Arthur to grab two flutes from the kitchen and pour the champagne into them, taking advantage of the moment to toe off his shoes and roll up his shirt cuffs. He returns to the sprawling living room to the same sight as before, Eames sitting on the futon in a tshirt and thready socks, his face turned towards the sunset.

Arthur swallows.

“So.” He hands one of the flutes to Eames, taking a seat next to him, not close enough to touch but close enough to feel Eames’ heat on his thigh. “I wanted to say -- ”

“This champagne is pink,” interrupts Eames, not looking at Arthur but instead at the bubbles fizzing to the top of the champagne.

“Yes. I had it tinged with the blood of your enemies,” replies Arthur, edging his words with sarcasm.

“Sounds horribly unhygienic.” Eames swirls the flute, watching the liquid almost tip out, still pretending to be unaware of Arthur’s gaze. Sunsets have always been kind to Eames, bringing out the best in his face, if not the best in him.

Arthur fists his unoccupied hand on his thigh. The small bandages on it pull tight on his aching skin. “I wanted to say ‘thank you’.”

Eames snorts into the mouth of his flute of champagne, then takes a small sip despite the fact that they haven’t toasted. “Whatever for?” he asks.

“Don’t play dumb.” Arthur tightens his grip on the glass stem of the flute as harshly as he dares. "You saved my life. If you hadn’t come when you did, they would have flayed -- ”

“Shut it,” Eames says, staring doggedly ahead, where the vestiges of the sun simmer in the sky. “You shut your mouth.”

Arthur finishes his champagne in a gulp and puts the glass on the hardwood floor, his hand steady even in the face of Eames’ impassive mien.

“You saved my life,” Arthur repeats.

In response, Eames blinks lazily. He hasn’t looked once at Arthur this whole time.

Wordlessly, Arthur rises. He takes his socks off, letting them fall where they may. The floor is a shock of cold under his bare feet as he pads to the center of the room. It puts him straight in the line of Eames’ vision, the wide wall of glass at Arthur’s back.

For the first time, Eames looks to the side, where Arthur was just a moment ago. The futon dimples under Eames when he shifts, the only sign of discomfort that Arthur notes. Arthur’s shadow covers Eames, and as Arthur undoes the buttons on his shirt, his shadow mimics him, the lines of light and dark reflecting on Eames.

Arthur’s grey dress shirt drops to the floor, its cufflinks dragging it down heavily. There are vivid splashes of pink on Arthur’s chest, skin puckered around them. Red gashes gone blue with bruising at the edges creep across Arthur's sides, the sliced skin a sign of messy knife work. Arthur moves his hands to his belt, letting it drop to the ground as well.

At the heavy clink, Eames drains his champagne with his eyes closed. Done, he finally stares ahead at Arthur. For a moment it looks like he might speak, and Arthur feels his mouth go dry.

Eames says nothing.

Some of his brief confidence leaves Arthur, then, his shoulders sagging as the night at last comes out in full at his back. The skyscrapers block the rising moon from view, and there is no starlight here to reflect off the glass and steel of the city.

With a last burst of life, Arthur walks straight to Eames, standing in front of him in slacks and nothing else. Eames keeps his eyes on his own lap, playing with an old, battered poker chip in one hand. Arthur puts a hand over the movement, stilling Eames’ nervous tic.

He climbs onto Eames’ lap slowly, giving Eames a chance to pull away.

Eames stays where he is.

“Thank you,” says Arthur, his breath curling over Eames’ ear.

Eames nods against Arthur’s chest, wrapping his arms around Arthur’s torso and squeezing.

Behind them, unseen, the moon rises in the sky.