Every night, Eames tears Arthur to pieces. He takes him apart. Methodical, rough, perfect finesse, gracelessness--whatever works. He takes Arthur’s layers in his hands. He picks them up, peels them off, sets them gently aside. He rips them from his body, in shreds, crumples them, throws them messily. He kisses, he bites, he breathes open-mouthed against Arthur’s skin, saliva running over his own teeth onto Arthur’s neck. He flutters his lips over Arthur’s eyelids, whispers something forbidden to his eyebrow.
Eames reduces Arthur to tears, at night. He holds him until Arthur can’t take it any longer, and keeps driving into him or down onto him, whatever it is that Arthur needs. He holds his legs open too wide, he sinks his teeth into the inside of his thigh. He pins Arthur’s shoulders and rides him hard, his own head hung and salt dripping from his hair to Arthur’s chest. The droplets of sweat say, You shatter me. He plants his large hand on the side of Arthur’s head, some of his hair tangled and pulled painfully on his fingers and he puts Arthur through whatever mattress they’re sleeping on that night. His palm says, You are stronger than I will ever be.
Sometimes he stays, stays there with Arthur. Sometimes he leaves him to sleep alone. But always, always he holds him when he cries.
And Arthur--when he cries, sometimes his eyes just leak a little moisture, mixing with the sweat on the side of his face, his wide and satisfied smile after Eames has split him open with his cock. Sometimes Arthur cries and he clutches at Eames’ shoulders, nails digging in, chest heaving with sucking sobs that don’t let him breathe. And Eames.
Eames holds him. Lets himself be held. He fucks Arthur, fucks himself on Arthur, makes love to Arthur, whispers at him, kisses him, bites him, bruises him and strokes him however Arthur needs him to.
He’s seen Arthur’s face, red and blotchy, his eyes. Seen into him after he’s torn him up, knows what he looks like wrecked.
All of this so Arthur can shore himself up, construct careful walls and build defenses. He layers up again, places his protections and alarms and uses them as his armor. He makes himself into a fortress in Dior, a castle turret with a Zegna tie in full Windsor, a spark of Greek Fire in a casually chewed coffee stirrer. He becomes the point man once more, eminently capable, mobile, powerful, intelligent, calculating, and utterly confident.
Arthur is smart because he knows he isn’t perfect, whatever Eames tells him otherwise. A moment, and Arthur looks across the space of a musty gutted building, meets the forger’s eyes.
Eames catches his breath. Sees his Arthur, perfectly put together, and his chest hitches. It’s minute. Nobody else will see. But Arthur will, because Eames will let him. His eyes sting and no other member of their team will notice, but Arthur does. Eames presses his lips together and swallows thickly, blinking carefully lest he loose a tear of his own.
He looks across the space at his Arthur, something like pride and awe and humility in his chest, and he shakes inside.
Arthur looks back at him. He nods. Nobody else will see it; it is too subtle for their architect, absorbed in models, or their chemist, writing down formulas. But Eames sees it, because Arthur lets him.
Thank you, it says. I trust you, it says. I let you break me, it says.
It says, I love you.
Eames smiles at him. Nobody notices.
That’s okay, though, because his Arthur, he doesn’t miss a thing.