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Knitting isn't really something that you do in a drawing class. Like, not that Eames gives a fuck, it just seems weird to bring something you do with your hands to a place where you do things with your hands. But when he says something along these lines to Ariadne she makes her robot face and says, "Insufficient hand error, insert more hands," Eames thinks of that thing he did with Arthur the week before and kind of chokes and has to change the subject.

Though Lara, she's the knitter, doesn't actually knit in class. It's something she does on the bus on the way over and then puts it in her bag when she starts painting. Sometimes the yarn spills out, which is how Eames noticed. Right now it's not just spilling but pooling, huge burst of yarn out there on the floor.

"It's a blanket," Lara says when someone (who isn't Eames, he's just minding his own business) asks, "I might sell it or give it to a friend who's having a baby, whichever happens first."

Eames isn't sure how he winds up talking to Lara after class, feeling up the bits she finished already. Except that the blanket is soft and a million shades of blue and very warm-feeling, and Eames has a tiny baby brother who is also soft and warm-feeling (although thankfully not blue). Eames hasn't brought Trick a single present yet, which is a travesty.

(Well, Arthur got Eames' mum and the Prick a care package with baby oil and baby soap and probably baby dishwasher liquid for all Eames knows. But technically that was from the company and not from them at all. So it doesn't count.)

"Given the materials, the size, and the work I put into it," Lara says when Eames asks how much she wants for it, just to know what things are like in the baby blanket market, "I'd say fifty bucks?" She hesitates at Eames' expression. "But I could give you a discount. Since we're classmates and all."

And the look on her face as she says it, that you're broke as fuck, huh pity, that's what makes things shift.

~~

Eames needs a new job. A proper job with an actual salary that's not just pocket money. Not to pay the bills or rent, because Arthur takes care of all that. That just makes it worse, though, realizing that Eames really does just make pocket money. It's galling. Maybe it's because all that shit Arthur said before, about independence and support networks, is finally seeping through.

Or maybe it's just that Trick is a few months old and Eames is getting familiar first-hand with exactly how expensive babies are, and he wants to have a little bit saved by, just... in case. In case his mum asks Eames to babysit and forgets to buy formula so Eames has to do a quick grocery run, say. Not that he's thinking of any incidents in particular.

That shit adds up. And this is not an area where Eames wants Arthur's help, because it's Eames' baby brother and one stray kid is probably enough for Arthur. Eames still doesn't know what kind of luck landed him Arthur, but he doesn't want to push it.

So. Job. It shouldn't be that hard. Even the Prick got someone to employ him, yeah?

~~

Eames doesn't even think of asking Arthur for help, because Arthur could just land him some entry-level position in his company with a snap of his fingers and that's not what Eames wants. He finds wanted ads by himself, marking them off on the job search site. They're all vague as fuck and Eames isn't sure if he's even qualified, but he marks them just the same, calls numbers and sweats over his resume.

That part, Arthur does help with. There's no doing anything about it. Arthur just comes and stands behind Eames' back and says that Eames needs to call it education, not training, because "you're not a dog, Eames."

Then Arthur bends and whispers in Eames' ear, "Except when you are. You're my good boy, aren't you."

After that, though, Arthur straightens up and says, "But that's not for job interviews," and walks away because he's evil. And wants Eames to finish his resume so he can land a job, probably, but mainly because evil.

~~

Arthur picks his clothes for him, too, on the day of the interview itself. He insisted on buying Eames a whole new outfit a week back ("You can't go looking like a kept boy," slapping Eames' arse as he spoke, the bloody hypocrite), and now he's watching as Eames puts it on, giving the least helpful advice known to man.

"Don't be nervous," Arthur says. "Let them know they have to want you. They'd be crazy not to."

Eames grimaces, fiddling with his tie. "You're sure I'm not interviewing for a position as a kept boy?"

"Like you'd need help with that." Arthur's face goes serious, and he gets off the bed, fixing Eames' tie for him. He picked that as well, which you wouldn't think, looking at it; it's brown and kind of clashes with everything else Eames has on.

Brown, like all the things Arthur keeps to use on Eames specifically. It has to be a deliberate choice. Arthur wouldn't pick anything that wasn't a perfect fit if he didn't want Eames to go into that interview remembering exactly who he belongs to, who wants him most and loves him best.

Eames shivers, can't help it, even though Arthur's not even touching him. Arthur looks him in the eye, dark and serious. They're pretty much the same height now, but that matters for fuck-all when Arthur fills the room like he does, like fumes, like air Eames needs to keep on going.

"You'll do great," Arthur says, not exactly an order but a bit too forceful to be just a statement. "I know you will. And when you come back, I'll be here."

Eames leers, breaking the moment just to show he can. "Going to promise me wicked delights if I do well?"

Arthur's expression doesn't change at all. "I'll be here," he repeats, like that's all Eames needs to know.

And isn't it, really?

~~

The interview is... okay. Eames thinks. He doesn't really want to think about it, but he can't think of anything else, either. Trying to figure out whether the woman he talked to laughed a bit too high and too forced or genuine, whether he stumbled too much answering stupid questions like "Where do you see yourself in five years?"

Eames wanted to answer something utterly ridiculous, like fighting dinosaurs on a battle-hamster with horns alongside a barbarian penguin. Of course he said nothing like that, but he faltered and gave something weak and utterly bland--

Right. Not thinking. Not thinking of anything as of this moment. Eames jabs his hand into his pocket, looking for his key, not looking at the door.

This is a mistake. When he looks up again, the door is open, and there Arthur is, frowning at him.

How did it go? Eames hears Arthur asking in his mind. And he opens his mouth to say something, anything, except that Arthur doesn't ask. He motions Eames inside, takes Eames’ jacket off and hangs it.

"Go to the bedroom," Arthur says, and Eames does not need to be told twice.

For once Arthur doesn't make him wait, comes on right behind Eames. Shutting the door and the world behind them. Walking up to Eames for a kiss, deep and wet but nowhere near as hard as it could be. Just lips and tongue and it keeps going and going, until there's no more air in Eames but what Arthur lets him have, and that's fine. That's plenty.

Arthur unbuttons Eames’ shirt, still not saying anything. He's quick about stripping Eames, not stopping to linger. He takes everything off Eames but his tie, which he keeps in his hand while Eames stands naked on the bedroom carpet.

"Hands and knees," Arthur says, giving a small yank when Eames doesn't obey immediately.

Eames sinks down, still looking up at Arthur.

Arthur crouches so they're looking each other in the eye again. He pets Eames' hair. "You've done so well."

Eames opens his mouth to protest, to say that Arthur doesn't have a bloody clue how he did or didn't do, but Arthur just puts a hand on his mouth. "Eames. You're my good boy, and you've done well, and right now you don't talk back to me. You do what I say. Understand?"

Eames could nod or he could say yes, but he just makes this sound that comes out like a bark or a whine, short and a bit plaintive.

Arthur grabs him by the nape of his neck, shakes him slightly. "That's good. You understand me. We're getting each other." He moves to sit on the bed, Eames' tie still firmly in his hold. Eames follows. His head now is just at the right height to put on Arthur's knee, and Arthur guides him there, sinking his hands into Eames' hair, petting rough and perfect. Eames closes his eyes.

After a while, Arthur tugs on his tie. "I have to go now. Not for long," he says when Eames whines. "I'll come back. But I need you to wait for me for a little while."

Eames eyes the bed. Arthur raises an eyebrow and turns Eames' head for him, to the folded blanket at the corner of the room. Eames sighs and goes to flop there.

Arthur stops by him before he goes out, rubbing Eames' flank. Eames licks his wrist when it passes close to Eames' mouth; might as well take all the liberties he can while they're there.

~~

Arthur really isn't gone long. Or maybe Eames just fell asleep there, on the blankets that smelled like Arthur even though they weren't on his bed, like Arthur specifically slept on them for a couple nights before setting them out for Eames. In any case, Eames stretches and scratches himself, blinking lazy, when he hears Sammy barking outside and the turn of a key in the door. He almost stands up, reflexively, then sits back down.

He's got a role to play, doesn't he? May as well do it right.

So Eames picks up Arthur's slippers in his mouth, feeling only a tiny bit stupid, and goes on his hands and knees to wait for Arthur at the door. He pauses briefly at the stairs, debating whether he's the kind of dog that does stairs or not. He ends up deciding he is because he's too heavy for Arthur to carry without serious wincing from them both and anyway Arthur is here now and Eames just wants to go to him.

Arthur's in the living room by the time Eames gets down, sitting on the couch, propping his feet on the coffee table. Eames drops the slippers by him and kneels up in a begging position. He stops just short of letting his tongue loll like Sammy does when she wants a treat.

For a few seconds, Arthur doesn't react and Eames almost starts to worry, because they scene in the bedroom, that's what the rule says. Except when they don't. Which is now, because Arthur stripped Eames naked and then went away and came back to the living room, so this is where they're doing it and that's that.

"Get down. Knees and elbows on the rug," Arthur says. Eames grins because it's good to be right, and does as Arthur says, because sometimes it's just good to be good.

He doesn't expect Arthur to put his feet on Eames instead of the table, but he's rolling with it. Eames can be an ottoman. Being furniture is right up there in his name.

For a while they just stay like that, Arthur channel surfing and Eames positioned as instructed, feeling the warm weight of Arthur's feet roll around on his back like a weird massage. It's nice. Arthur's socks are soft.

Commercials roll around, and Arthur turns the television off with a click. Nudges Eames' stomach with his toes. "Sit."

Eames has a brief moment of confusion before he remembers what he is supposed to be and kneels. "Hands behind your back," Arthur says.

"If I'm a dog then I don't have hands," Eames argues. "Only front legs. Which I couldn't put around my back, that wouldn't work at all."

Arthur just pins him with his gaze until Eames shuts up and puts his hands where Arthur said. And only sulks a tiny bit. Because consistency is important to a growing mind, Arthur said so himself.

"Now take my socks off," Arthur says, because he's a bastard who lives to make Eames squirm. The fact that Eames loves it has no effect whatsoever on Arthur's bastardry.

On the other hand (paw? Or possibly foot, by this point), Arthur has his leg stretched out, because he wants Eames to take his socks off with his teeth and actually what was Eames protesting about again?

He can't remember, so he just does it. Bites into soft wool and pulls it off Arthur's foot, which is also soft and slightly pink. Arthur's ankles blush. It is one of Eames' favorite Arthur-secrets, something warm to clutch on nights when the world seems huge and impossible: he thinks how Arthur's ankles turn pink when Eames licks the arch of his foot, and suddenly everything bad seems distant and irrelevant.

When Eames is done Arthur rests his leg on Eames' shoulder while Eames works on the other one. He has to be careful, to keep his balance so Arthur's foot doesn't slip, because Arthur put it there and so it should stay there. Like a good foot.

It takes a bit of twisting, but then both Arthur's feet are bare and resting on Eames' chest, just upwards of his nipples. Eames thinks he could measure the distance in millimeters by feeling, by counting the hair-rising prickles on his chest. He wonders if he should twist, if moving is what Arthur wants him to do or something he's daring Eames not to do.

Arthur never leaves Eames hanging, though. Main benefit of sex with Arthur: you always know where to be and what to do. So now he lifts his right leg, big toe resting against Eames' lower lip.

Eames darts his tongue out. Skin, and it smells like laundry detergent and only a little like sweat, like Arthur exerting himself. Only the tiniest bit but it's there, it's everything Arthur is, human and complicated and physical and brilliant. Eames purses his mouth and sucks on Arthur's toe, just for a second, lets it out and presses a kiss to the fragile skin where it joins the foot.

Arthur's leg twitches when Eames does that, toe tip brushing against Eames' lip again, so Eames takes it in and sucks it like he means it. Licks all around its base. Bites lightly. Feels it taking up space in his mouth, Arthur's instep pressing against his chin.

When Arthur takes his foot away Eames whines, eyes fluttering shut. His hands clutch one another behind his back and he tilts his head up, instinctively, like foot where did you go I thought we were friends.

He hopes none of those thoughts came out of his mouth, but Arthur's laughing softly, so maybe they did. Whatever. Eames has done worse. Arthur has all the blackmail material on Eames anyway.

Besides, Arthur doesn't need any blackmail material, because next thing Eames knows, Arthur’s foot is resting right against Eames' nipple, and Eames will do pretty much anything Arthur asks right now.

(Or at any time, really. But especially right now. To paraphrase Meatloaf, Eames would do anything for love but he won't do -- well, a couple of things, probably, though nothing comes to mind right now. Possibly because Arthur's heel is rubbing soft circles over Eames' nipple which is hard, so hard, good thing Arthur isn't ticklish or this would stop.

So, anything for love. Or most things. Unless Arthur is doing this to his chest, in which case Eames really would do anything, full stop.)

Arthur's foot is pushing him, now. "Lie down."

He really doesn't need to tell Eames twice.

~~

Arthur's feet are long and narrow, but Eames' chest is – if he does say so himself – pretty broad these days. So Arthur's foot is placed neatly between Eames' nipples, almost but not quite reaching either of them.

Eames isn't quite as put out by that as he could be, though, since Arthur's other foot is rubbing close and snug against Eames' prick.

It's hard not to move up into the touch, but Eames tries. He shudders in place instead, tensing and relaxing in a way that he knows shows off his muscles.

Arthur likes those muscles, and Eames can take pride in that because he built them for Arthur. Compared to all Arthur has done for him it's a small thing, nothing really, but it's wholly his and Arthur enjoys it, which is good enough for Eames.

And maybe, just maybe, if Eames squirms pretty enough, Arthur will put down enough pressure for Eames to come.

It's pretty close as it is – Eames is still technically a teenager, after all, and it's Arthur – but the flipside of those things is that Arthur knows exactly how to leave Eames hanging by a thread and begging incoherently.

Right now Eames doesn't think he's supposed to beg, though. He thinks he's meant to stay put and let Arthur give him things at his own rate.

Which – bugger that.

Eames takes Arthur's foot, the one on his chest, and brings it to his lips again. He doesn't care if he comes, he doesn't care if Arthur punishes him – looks forward to it, really – and he wants Arthur's taste in his mouth. He has Arthur's foot now. He's keeping it. Them's the rules.

Arthur's other foot twitches, toes slowly curling over Eames' cock. Eames presses his mouth to Arthur's sole and sucks, because if Arthur didn't want hickeys on his feet he should've thought of that before he got Eames all strung up.

The skin there is tougher, it snags a bit on Eames' lips. Arthur's other foot is pinning his prick to his stomach, pressing just a bit too hard so that Eames knows Arthur can hurt him. But won't.

Arthur's toes tickle the head of Eames' cock. Eames' hands fly out of his control, gripping Arthur's feet hard where they are, humping up until he comes to Arthur's taste and Arthur's touch and just – Arthur.

~~

When Eames comes back to himself he finds Arthur looking down on him like – something complicated: like a recalcitrant puppy and a delicious meal with ingredients Eames can't pronounce (marjoram? How the hell do you say that, the word just sticks in Eames' mouth like mush) and like a squeaky doorknob that needs oiling.

Eames half wants to protest the last bit, because he is not squeaky in the least, although he does like to be oiled for a good cause.

"You're not supposed to move,” Arthur says. Doesn't growl, just speaks with a completely normal tone like he's telling Eames to get milk while he's out. “When I put you somewhere you stay there. You don't take things from me. You ask, and I give them to you.”

Eames is maybe a little bit sorry. He does like to be good, for Arthur, for how it makes him feel to know he's doing just what Arthur wants.

But he's not going to apologize. Not now. Not for this.

He leans up on one arm. “Yeah?” He smirks at Arthur, all-out bratty and knowing it. “What are you gonna do about it, then?”

And before the last syllable even hits the air Arthur is on Eames, kneeling over his torso and squeezing Eames' arms immobile. Arthur's legs are practically a lethal weapon, strong and flexible in a way that boggles the mind. He doesn't even look uncomfortable, straddling Eames like that, and Eames is definitely not moving until Arthur wants him to.

"You took.” Arthur picks up Eames’ tie and pulls on it, hard enough for Eames to feel the loop tightening around his neck. “So I'll take, too. I'll take right back.”

His fingers clench in Eames' hair, pulling sharp and inescapable. He lets go of Eames' tie to unbutton his jeans and fish his cock out, pointing it at Eames' mouth. Eames surges up towards it on instinct, and Arthur's hold on his hair tightens further. “I said I'll take.”

So Eames goes limp, lets Arthur's hand guide him. His own hand settles on Arthur's hip, where he'll pinch if it gets too much and he can't safeword because his mouth is full of cock. Which is silly because Arthur always knows when to back off, but he always insists on a safe-signal anyway and Eames doesn't want him stopping over some pointless formality.

Then Arthur's hand is pushing him forward and Arthur's hips snap towards him, and all Eames can do is try not to gag.

Arthur's not gentle, gives Eames the bare minimum of seconds to grab for air before crowding up in his throat again. Eames chokes a little, keeps his hand lax on Arthur's thigh and tries to lick the underside of Arthur's cock as it fucks his mouth ruthlessly. Arthur's outright pulling his hair now, moving quick so that Eames can't get his face in Arthur's crotch for a good sniff.

He pushes Eames' head all the way down and fucks him like that for a few brief thrusts, until Eames can't find any air at all, is almost considering pinching when Arthur groans and pulls out, cock spitting come all over Eames' tie.

"That's another one ruined,” Eames croaks.

"I'll buy you more.” Arthur moves down and slumps over him, boneless. “Now shut up and hug me. That's an order.”

Eames complies, because sometimes being good is its own reward.

~~

Arthur drags them to the bath afterward, as he does. Eames is napping on his chest when he hears the phone ringing.

"They'll call back later,” Arthur says, but he lets Eames go when Eames says, “Could be the job.”

It isn't the job. Instead it's Eames' mum.

"I know it's an awfully short notice.” She's been far more polite since Eames moved out. Calls him much more often, too. “But Carl has a work event tomorrow that he really must go to, and if I don't show up it won't look right. Could you possibly watch over Pattie?”

“I don't know, mum. I've got homework.” Assignments for art class, which never go as well when he's not working at home. Eames bites his lower lip. “Maybe if I could bring him to my place...?”

"Oh, of course,” his mum says, sounding tremendously relieved. “I can bring him over.”

Eames twists his fingers in the curtain fringe, starkly aware that he's very naked while his ten-years-older boyfriend is in the bath upstairs. Also naked. “I could get him myself. It's no trouble.”

He's not sure that his mum is aware of where he lives right now, but it seems easier to make sure she doesn't have to draw the connection. Besides, she's been forgetful ever since the birth. Can't have her coming over and forgetting to bring Trick's favorite toy (a stuffed elephant named Roger, and Eames only sniggered a bit about it, and felt guilty afterward).

Eames and his mum conclude the details. Eames hangs up to see Arthur, out of the shower but still very much naked and watching him.

At this point Eames realizes it probably would have been smart to ask Arthur before he promised to bring a very small child to his house for an evening.

But Arthur only says, “We need to do some childproofing.”

"He can barely turn over by himself yet,” Eames says, arguing out of reflex in a haze of relief and post-coital happiness. “He's not going to stick his fingers in any sockets.”

Arthur shrugs. “It's best to plan ahead. I can go shopping with you tomorrow if you've got the day off. You can pay me back later,” he says, forestalling Eames' primary objection, although not the one he meant to voice. “I'll go draw up a checklist.”

It knocks Eames off-balance, off the rails of the expected conversation. So he just walks up the stairs and wraps himself around Arthur, snug and tight.

"I need to double-check the gun safe is locked,” Arthur says, winding his arms around Eames. “And we should probably have formula and things. Just in case.”

"Just in case,” Eames agrees, burying his face in Arthur's shoulder and just breathing for a while. And tomorrow he'll call up Lara and see if she can drop off the blanket in class. Eames has enough saved up for it. And then there'll be something in his house that's just for Trick, not because it's necessary or in the baby books but just because it's beautiful and Eames loves it.