The last time Yusuf saw Eames, it was at LAX, and he’d been whole and hearty. Excited, flushed with the adrenaline of doing the impossible by the skin of his crooked teeth. A good payout, too. That always did wonders for Eames’ complexion. Yusuf had given him a cheerful wave and a quick squeeze to the backside as he passed him on his way to his own terminal.
Now, though. With a busted face in bloom with fresh colour, Yusuf refrains from saying anything until he helps Eames inside.
“You look awful,” Yusuf says, once Eames is safely seated at his kitchen table. He moves to his icebox to pull out some frozen vegetables.
“You remember the Dhawan job,” Eames says, gingerly touching the hem of his shirt, as if he wants to look but is afraid to lift his arms.
“I remember wiring you an obscene amount of money for an emergency I suspect you engineered to get an obscene amount of money out of me,” Yusuf says wryly, handing him the veg blend, cold through the thin plastic, “but no, I do not remember the Dhawan job.”
“Well, the Dhawans do.” Eames is still holding the frozen bag in one hand limply away from his body, the other still worrying at the hem of his shirt.
“Hold that to your face,” Yusuf says, “I’ll get this.”
Yusuf grips the bottom of his shirt and lifts it as gently as he’s able. Eames hisses when Yusuf’s knuckles brush his ribs. He gets the shirt gingerly off of one arm, and waits for Eames to move his peas to that hand before starting on the other. Eames’ body, uncovered, is a mess of bruises. “Fuck.”
“They really put you through the spin cycle,” Yusuf says, hands hovering over the naked skin of his torso, suspended.
“I’ll be fine,” Eames says, voice a little raspy.
Eames does have a knack for bouncing back, and he’s not very good at being fussed over, but he’s here, on Yusuf’s doorstep, not in his own home, knocking back a fifth of whisky and a bottle of paracetamol by himself, so he knows he needs (or at least, secretly wants) some intervention. “Let me tape up your ribs, and you can go to bed.”
“Don’t,” Eames says, genuine panic flaring in his eyes before he tamps it down. “It’s fine.”
“You knew I wouldn’t let you just rattle around,” Yusuf points out, mildly. “That’s why you came here.”
“I came here for a mercy killing,” Eames groans, but hides his face in his hands. Yusuf assumes this is so Eames doesn’t have to look while Yusuf takes care of him. He’s not crazy about seeing a needle go into his arm, either. Yusuf does his best to take care not to hurt Eames, but at this level, so soon after a complete thrashing, there’s really nothing to be done about it.
Yusuf isn’t sure how he should go about getting Eames’ trousers off, not knowing if the skin there is just as damaged, or if it will humiliate him.
“Failing that,” Eames gasps, when Yusuf starts.
“You’re in no condition to be sucked off,” Yusuf reproves, and Eames falls silent. Yusuf is almost amused, despite himself. “That’s what I thought.”
He tucks him into his own bed, medicates him, more then the best-practice dose, but Eames is a solid motherfucker, and Yusuf hates to see him in genuine pain. Yusuf hovers by his side, sweeping his hair off of his sweaty forehead.
“Stay,” Eames croaks.
Yusuf toes out of his shoes and climbs into his bed.
In the morning, his duvet is on the floor and Yusuf’s bed still feels like a furnace. It’s comfortable enough for just him, and of course he gets little enough sleep as it is, in starts and fits, but two grown men hardly have space to sprawl. Eames’ hand rests palm up, knuckles against Yusuf’s stomach.
Yusuf slides out from under it, careful, and sits up to look at him. The pained lines of his forehead have softened a little in sleep, but Yusuf knows he’s going to wake up still feeling like roadkill scraped off the pavement.
Yusuf turns on the fan before he leaves the room, quiet on his feet, to let Eames spend as long as he can in his reprieve.
“You should have killed me yesterday,” Eames says, when Yusuf comes back to check on him. The swelling on the side of his face looks worse, but his lip is a little less swollen.
“You’re clearly not familiar with the ethical procedural checklist one has to go through to ascertain that you’re able to consent to euthanasia.”
“Arse,” Eames mutters.
Yusuf hands him a hot mug of tea, watches as he curls both palms around the curve. He sets his tablet on the pillow, unlocked, because he needs Eames to stay still today. “Is there anyone I should call?”
Eames looks a little blank, like he doesn’t exactly know the answer is, but honestly, Yusuf gave him enough tranquilizers and painkillers last night it isn’t really a surprise that he’s still a little doped.
“To warn them,” Yusuf clarifies.
“Oh,” Eames breathes. He speaks quietly, working off of shallow, careful breaths: “No, I think Dhawan Senior had a pretty focused rage. I’m the one that met him topside. He doesn’t know about extraction… I think he thought I’d lifted his day planner and sold it like a common criminal.”
“What a berk.” Yusuf says. “Did you clear things up?”
“Excuse me sir,” Eames ventures, “would you ask your goon to kick me more or less if I told you the actual theft came from your subconscious where I pretended to be a girl you dated at Cambridge that your lizard brain is still dying to impress?”
Yusuf touches Eames’ shoulder fondly. “You’re pretty slippery when they let you start talking. It might have worked out.”
Eames stays underfoot for several days. On the third, Yusuf puts him to work stirring the cream base while Yusuf browns onions and celery. On the fifth, he steps into the bathroom when he hears Eames turn off the shower and checks over his torso, blue fading into green.
Yusuf towels him off, careful, and leads him back to Yusuf’s bed. Eames lifts his eyebrows hopefully. “Back to active duty?” he asks.
Yusuf leans over to kiss him, soft because his face is still a little tender. “Be still,” he advises, before moving down the bed.
Eames is hard before he parts his lips, but once his mouth is wrapped around his prick, and he’s seated in Yusuf’s mouth, it gives a few more surges to life until it lands at its full heft. Yusuf doesn’t bother with starting slow or building to a crescendo: Eames looks like he’s been through hell, so he just does his best to give him a lot of suction, friction, mouth sucking up and down as his hand holds the only place on Eames’ upper body not tender to the touch — his single unblemished hipbone.
He wraps his other hand around his own cock, pulling in time with the dip of his head, sinking into the wet stretch of his mouth and the rolling rhythm there, Eames sprawled and battered on his bed.
Yusuf can’t ask that Eames stay and he can’t ask that he stay safe because both of them are in Eames’ spots, but he can palm over the planes of Eames’ calf, tell him with the sinking clutch of his mouth that he misses him when he’s far, aware of the distance like a stretched rubber band.
Eames comes and Yusuf moves back to the ensuite to spit in the sink and run the tap. Then he goes back to his own neglected cock, and in a few jerks finds himself spending into the tile of his shower.
Eames looks disappointed when he comes back. “I didn’t—” he says.
“It’s fine,” Yusuf shrugs. He’s still wearing the day’s shirt, but he strips it off now to lie down near Eames. “You owe me one.”
“A lot,” Eames says, and it takes Yusuf a moment to realize that it’s a correction. Yusuf holds his hand.
“I packed your bag,” he says, and Eames stills his fidgeting beside him. Yusuf has been predicting his oncoming restlessness since Eames has been walking around easier. He might as well be an accomplice this time.
“Yeah,” Yusuf says, letting his eyes slide closed. If feels good to relax his face. He feels like he’s been awake for days, but he feels sleep approaching on the edges, now, like a rising tide. “But I got you a ticket back for the seventeenth.”
He doesn’t have to specify which seventeenth.
Eames makes a contented noise beside him. Without opening his eyes, Yusuf can feel him turn his head to get a better look at him. “I suppose you’ll expect a really good birthday present,” Eames says.
Yusuf smiles despite himself. “If you want me to open the door,” he confirms.
“I’ll be here,” Eames assures him, resting his nose against Yusuf’s bare shoulder.
“In one piece,” Yusuf demands, with his last grip on consciousness.
“In one piece,” Eames agrees.