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Don't Call Me Legion

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Arthur had not, strictly speaking, attempted to summon a demon. Despite his best efforts, he could not seem to convince the demon of this.

“Look,” he said, breathing out sharply from between his gritted teeth. “I just wanted to take some photos. For the internet. Like a joke.” He made a vague hand gesture at the circle the demon was standing in. “Do you see this? This is a circle of macaroni. As in… the food I eat when I only have three dollars in my bank account. Does that make sense, ah, culturally speaking?”

The demon, who did not look like Arthur would have expected had he known to actually expect a demon, raised an eyebrow. Arthur was in new territory, so he’d shoved all assumptions he’d make out the window instead of deciding that the demon was amused.

If the demon in front of him hadn’t formed from a mist to a solid in Arthur’s room while he recited a silly sounding chant he’d pulled from the internet, he might have mistaken him for an ordinary man: he was taller than Arthur, which wasn’t saying much. He might have been five seven or five eight, with subtly different proportions: narrow and with a torso that seemed like it might include an extra rib or two. Also, his brain went offline briefly as the realization came to him that he was…

Naked.

They stood looking at each other for a few beats in silence. Arthur’s anxiety stretched at time, the heartbeat in his mouth making it seem like they stood at an impasse for long minutes when it had probably only been a single revolution of the second hand. Finally, the man in the macaroni circle said: “Somewhere between unlikely and impossible.” His voice echoed strangely, counterintuitive to the acoustics of his bedroom, the pronouncement hanging in the air like the verdict of a jury.

Indignation rose up in Arthur’s chest. “Are you calling me a liar?” he huffed.

The demon let out a long laugh, and the sound scratched at the back of his neck. It wasn’t unpleasant, but it was very strange. “Is that the worst thing to be called here?”

Arthur felt a bit silly, then. He had started out today with an idea for his blog. The fact that he’d summoned some sort of (frankly, wildly attractive) hellspawn into his room with uncooked, off-brand Mac-n-cheese had thrown him for a loop. “Ah, no. Just strange to have a demon accuse me of lying.”

He still looked amused, but there was an edge to his grin now, his canines resting in feral points against his lip. “It stands: the requirements to summon a demon are so varied that it is unlikely for you to have aligned with all of them without intent. And I will refrain from mentioning your possible mis-truth if you will avoid the D word.”

Arthur’s forehead jumped in surprise before he let out a bark of laughter. “You don’t call yourself a,” and then paused, remembering belatedly that it was possible that it wasn’t a good idea to anger someone before he’d assessed their ability to throw fireballs or condemn him to hell, which he frankly hadn’t woken up believing in. He couldn’t think of a synonym that didn’t sound like an awkward sidestep, so he finished, lamely: “… that.

“Well,” the that in front of him said, “I prefer Eames. Demon,” –he infused the word with a harmony of hisses and Arthur thoughts wandered briefly to the physiology of his vocal chords that he could make a whole cacophony of sound – “Really only applies to Legion. It is specific, plural, and an ignorant slur, out of context.”

Eames (Arthur would have laughed about that if it weren’t for the fireballs and the hell issue) sounded so plaintive as he ticked off cultural and linguistic reasons he was opposed to the word demon on his long, spindly fingers. Once his hands had Arthur’s full attention, he was immediately aware of the fact that there were six of them on each hand, and that they seemed to taper gradually into nothing: not like they were shaved into points, but that they ended in empty space. That the empty space in front of them were still part of him. Arthur’s eyes hit him with a sense of incongruity, like they were trying to correct some sort of double vision.

“Well,” he said, dragging his eyes from the strange architecture of Eames’ hands to his face, which seemed basically human, and attractive in a way that curled in Arthur’s stomach with fissions of heat. “… does this happen often? Because it seems really, really easy to stumble all the way through a Latin chant and put down something… kind of round.”

Eames’ focus shifted immediately to the carpet of Arthur’s room, turning in a slow circle with the grace of a greyhound. Arthur stole a guilty glance down to Eames’ back just to clarify—

“No,” he snapped, clicking his teeth with a vicious snick; “I do not have a tail.”

Arthur guiltily pressed his hand to his mouth. “I didn’t say it! Did I?”

Eames gave a low laugh and the light in the bedroom flickered in multimedia concert. “You were thinking it so loudly, human.” He folded down effortlessly into a crouch to examine his circle more closely. Arthur hadn’t felt uneasy yet, but suddenly, with the demon scrutinizing what he supposed were his boundaries so closely with a feral grin, panic trickled into his body in icy rivulets.

“To answer your other question,” Eames said, nose almost touching the trail of curly pasta, “the chant and the vaguely round marking are the smallest of your duties.”

Arthur’s stomach churned, blood pulsing in his wrists a fierce tempo, as he watched Eames check for, what, security flaws?

“That’s all I did,” he pointed out, puzzled.

“There is also your genitalia, and the fabric of your clothes, and your stomach full of grains the land you were born in. The odds that that would be coincidental…”

Arthur hadn’t moved past item number one on Eames’ strange list. “Pardon? What about my genitalia?”

Eames leapt to his feet smoothly, and Arthur tried not to notice the movement of his dick, soft between his legs, as he moved to the edge of the circle. Arthur realized with a start how close he had moved when Eames spoke, and his mouth was inches from his eyes. “They haven’t been attended to in weeks.” He dragged a heated gaze down Arthur’s own gangly body as if he was the one standing in just his skin. “And properly attended to… never?”

It took him a second. The demon in front of him was talking about his masterbatory habits. And, more humiliatingly, his virginity.

Arthur jerked backwards, tripping over a pile of his own laundry he’d been sorting this morning. It felt like it had been weeks, not hours. “I’m leaving.”

Eames lifted an eyebrow and huffed. His eyes were wide set, curved upwards, and alight with amusement and some otherworldly glow. “How do you suppose you will dismiss me, human?”

Arthur shuffled on his feet.

“That’s what I thought.”

“Do you have any recommendations?” Arthur asked.

Eames shifted where he stood, grew somehow in subtle ways his eyes didn’t catch until it was obvious. “Well,” he grinned, all teeth, arcs and planes curving more boldly until he was less pencil sketch and more charcoal drawing. “You never send a guest away hungry.”

Something about the way he said it – Arthur’s insides turned to knots. Bravery came from somewhere and he met the eyes of the thing in the circle. “And what would you have, demon?”

“A virgin would have to ask,” Eames practically purred, looming now that he’d unfurled himself to be something bigger.

Arthur blushed to the tips of his ears. “You look human enough. So you want, ah…”

“No,” Eames said, sharp, “I am the prototype. You look, as you say, angel.

Arthur tilted his head, considering. “Are you stuck in the circle?”

“Wouldn’t be a very good idea for you to summon me if I wasn’t,” Eames said, with his hands splayed.

“Okay,” Arthur said, but he’d read a lot of science fiction. “That’s not exactly an unambiguous yes.”

“I am not under obligation to tell you the truth, human.” Eames sneered, taking a step towards him and adding a few inches in height as he moved. The overall effect would have been intimidating had he not stopped millimeters from the the edge of his circle.

“Aren’t you?” Arthur asked, coming closer.

“Telling mistruths makes the skin itchy,” Eames said dismissively. “Hardly an insurmountable obstacle.”

Arthur laughed. “No shit?”

Eames wasn’t as amused as he was, apparently, because black smoke began to filter out from his mouth, drifting thick and menacing. The barrier that theoretically held him in (and Arthur was not convinced that it did, but supposing it might) did nothing to stop the dark, ashy air from filling his room. Arthur could smell taste the bitter herbs on the back of his tongue.

“Stop it,” he snapped, flapping his hands in futility. It didn’t feel hot, exactly, but it was making him twitchy and claustrophobic. Eames’ eyes had illuminated sharply, cutting through the smoke in the room like high beams.

“Mind your tongue human. You’re dust,” Eames said, in a terrifyingly layered voice, as if he had more than one mouth, all speaking in the same echoing tunnel. “It might do you well to remember that.”

Somewhere mixed in with abject terror, Arthur was almost surprised to note, there was a jolt of heat. Desire hit him low in the stomach. “Okay,” he said, looking at his shoes.

“Now,” Eames said, his smoke drifting upwards, suddenly robbed of their menace and seeming more like friendly rainclouds. Eames was grinning now, sly. “Are you ready to invite me out to play.”

“Play,” Arthur said, thoughtful, and then, “Is that my only option?”

“Unless you happen to have fifty feathers from a bird of prey and the means to dip each one of them in silver.”

Arthur pretended to think about it. “Yes, actually, give me just a minute to get them out,” he said, rifling through his top drawer, which mostly gave him a chance to pull himself together. Nineteen years he’d spent too shy and awkward to make meaningful friendships, much less a romantic entanglement with the potential for a physical consummation, and here he was, just trying to snap a dumb photo to get likes on his blog, and it seemed like now it was finally going to happen, and it wasn’t even with another human. Mixed feelings didn’t even begin to cover it.

“Are you going to swallow my heart afterwards?” Arthur said.

Eames looked down to examine the tips of his narrow fingers. “I hadn’t exactly planned on it, but I may have a change of menu if you persist on dragging this on. Or,” he added, without looking up, “if you get any unsightly human fluids in my hair.”

“I need a shower,” Arthur blurted. He was still in yesterday’s pajamas, and that hadn’t been a problem until an hour ago. An hour ago it had just been his Saturday attire. There usually wasn’t anyone in his cluttered bedroom to leave him feeling wrong footed.

“Are you always this fussy about the details?” Eames said, sounding as if his patience had already stretched taut.

“I’m not sure,” Arthur mused. “Never had a chance to find out if I’m fussy about this sort of thing before, remember? Anyways. Stay put. Or. Don’t leave the circle. Do I need to say anything else - is that enough?”

Eames put a pointed finger up in front of him, towards Arthur. It made an audible thunk in midair, as if he’d been tapping on aquarium glass.

“Okay. Right.” Arthur said, and excused himself, his clothes bundled under his arm.

*

Arthur came back feeling tingly, scrubbed pink and raw, nerves demanding he waste as much time as possible, and already mostly-hard just from the anticipation. He felt silly as he dressed, jeans and a clean white shirt and, idiotically, a leather belt.

“Well don’t you take your time,” the demon said. He gestured to his own face, “and you took off your...”

Arthur rolled his shoulders. He’d wavered for a few minutes before deciding to give himself a close shave. It wasn’t like his fledgling beard had been a raging success, a neon sign of his animal magnetism. “It’s the little things.”

“Well then. If you’re ready,” Eames said with a gesture.

Arthur swallowed against his rising nerves. He wasn’t a child; he liked tequila, and driving ninety miles an hour around the back-woods turns that lead to the best vantage point for hunting deer in the whole state and he could take apart, clean, and reassemble his father’s gun in under ninety seconds. He just hadn’t had a chance to explore this yet.

“Yeah, okay,” Arthur said. “What do I need to do?”

“Oh, nothing darling,” Eames said with a wolfish grin, and nudged one pointed foot against the delicate line of uncooked macaroni noodles that Arthur had thought was acting as a cage. He made a surprised noise.

“There’s a reason these things are supposed to be painted,” Eames said, prowling towards him.

Arthur’s instincts kicked in as the terror ratcheted up, something primal in him looking at a multiple choice test and choosing flight with a deafening volume.

“Oh relax,” Eames said, and stepped over the broken line of noodles. “If I was hungry I would have done that when I got here.”

Arthur’s hands furled tightly on themselves. “Why would you stay in it if you didn’t have to?”

Eames wrinkled his nose. “Because you looked suitable enough for the other hunger, and your fear is off putting. Sort of stinky.”

“You filled my room with smoke,” Arthur pointed out.

“I was setting the mood,” Eames said, sibilant sound pouring from his mouth like silk, and in two steps, came to rest in front of Arthur, terrifyingly tall, yet somehow...

“Huh.” Arthur said, and reached out to touch him. He put his fingertips to Eames’ chest and it was overwhelmingly hot, as if he’d put his hand in steam.

Eames let out a breath like he’d been struck in the torso, forceful and a little broken, which was interesting. Arthur took a deep breath and leaned in. Eames was long, taller than most of the men Arthur had fantasized about, and definitely taller than the two times he’d actually kissed girls. Embarrassingly, Arthur could only get as close as he could and wait patiently, mouth parted but only just and head tilted, for Eames to lean down and finally close the gap between them.

He made him wait, a long yarning pause and then, in one bend of his neck, Eames slotted his mouth against Arthur’s with a warm slide. Arthur tensed at first; it was so strange, but after a coaxing kiss, he relaxed up into Eames’ mouth, sinking against his chest, scorching through the material of his shirt. Eames kept at it, eagerly swiping his tongue across Arthur’s lower lip, fisting both spindly hands into the fabric at his shoulders, and crowding his forward inch by inch until the back of Arthur’s knees hit the edge of his mattress. He kept kissing Eames, mouth hungry and as it grew rougher, suddenly Arthur’s eyes shot open, surprised the sensation of his mouth being too crowded.

“You have...” he gasped, pulling away just far enough to get that out.

Eames gave him an uneven grin. “Problem?”

His demon soon-to-be-lover had two tongues. Arthur ran a very quick mental eye across the images that presented themselves and had to bite back an unsightly sound from rolling out of his mouth. “No,” he said, and pulled him back down by the warm skin of his neck, one hand curled there and the other digging into the lean muscle of his hip.

With a slow, leaning push, Eames got Arthur horizontal in short order, kissing him too thoroughly for him to think straight, perched on him, pinning him with an exciting weight. He kept raising his head, making Arthur chase his mouth, the wet curl of his tongue sending jolt after jolt of excitement to his groin.

Eames’ hands went to his shirt, tugging it up from the collar while his mouth continued its two-pronged filthy assault on his mouth. Arthur shook him off, almost laughing. “That’s not how you do that,” he told him, and pushed up at his shoulder to give himself the space to worm his shirt off by himself. It was strange, doing it like this. He’d always imagined this going differently: he and his partner undressing each other, or at the very least both of them starting clothed before they undressed themselves, (apart from one very specific fantasy Arthur had about being naked and being with someone in a suit, but that was different.) he’d never imagined, of course, that the first time someone laid him down, he’d be fully dressed and his partner would be … completely nude before the festivities even began.

His chest bared, Eames wasted no time, wrenching his shirt from him and throwing it to the ground. “Easy, killer,” Arthur huffed, looking forlornly at his crispest white tee in a sad lump on the floor. It looked punctured in a few places.

“It was not so important,” Eames said, scowling, but his voice sounded unsure.

“You’re right,” Arthur said, settling himself back down on his elbows and tilting his head. “Get back here.”

Eames dragged his body against Arthur’s, and he groaned, feeling the hot point of contact at the demon’s genitals, which were shaping up nicely. Eames licked the side of Arthur’s neck, tentatively, and then as Arthur turned his head to give him further access, with more abandon, sucking and pressing kisses down in rapid succession, from his jugular to his chest in a searing exploration. By time Eames had inched himself down to Arthur’s stomach, giving the skin below his belly button a decisive nip, Eames’ had crawled between his legs. Eames’ chest was sitting on his hard dick, producing heat like a furnace through his jeans.

He was practically mewling, squirming his hips uselessly to create friction, but Eames just laughed into his stomach. “Eager,” Eames pointed out, which Arthur felt was totally and completely unnecessary.

He responded anyway. “Been waiting,” he huffed, “a long time.”

“Well,” Eames said, and finally — finally — put his hands on Arthur’s belt, giving the skin right at the border of his waistband a friendly nuzzle, “I won’t keep you waiting.”

With Eames tugging his belt out of the loops of his jeans with a slow steady pull, Arthur’s heart was thrumming like it was some sort of competition, making his pulse known almost everywhere — he could feel the soft thud of his blood in his wrists and his neck and, strangely, his tailbone. After Eames was done with his belt, he eased his fingers under the waistband of his jeans, and the feeling of his strange fingertips sent a reverberating echo of shivers down the length of him, as if he was a tuning fork, struck with considerable force. He gave a soft yelp.

“Sorry!” Eames said immediately, jerking his hands out of the nook between his hipbone and the denim. “Hard to keep the claws out of this dimension when I’ve got so much else to focus on.”

Arthur wanted to spend a moment thinking through the implications of this new knowledge, but he also really, really wanted something to happen in the vicinity of his penis. He manhandled his own jeans down, jostling the demon sitting heavily on his hips to kick them all the way off.

When he was finally down to his skin after much too long fumbling awkwardly to get there, Eames settled back over him, hands on the mattress to either side of Arthur’s head, and the rest of his long, strangle lithe body hovering as well, predatory.

“Where I come from,” Eames said, and leaned down so he was speaking practically into Arthur’s mouth, “everything is so cold.”

Arthur brought his hands up to stoke Eames’ sides, the texture of his skin strange and dry beneath his hands, but not unpleasant. Also, warm. “You’re not,” he said, smiling a bit.

“Because I am always fighting against the environment,” Eames said, and then moved his head down, dragging a warm trail down the side of Arthur’s face with the point of his nose, before pushing his face softly against his neck, “I could get intoxicated on this.”

Out of the context of what the demon was actually saying, it was the sexiest thing anyone had ever said to Arthur. His mouth went a little dry, and he husked, “Let’s get started, then.”

Beneath him, his plush comforter was warm and soft, and above him, Eames sucked with a gentle pressure on his neck, and Arthur turned his head to give him the access, muttering, “Yeah, oh, please.”

He arched up, hungry for more skin, more pressure more anything, lifting at his hips to breach the two inches between them, and met Eames’ unyielding flesh. Eames groaned, low in his throat and unravelling. Arthur felt the sound of it shake through him. He hooked a leg around Eames, pulling him soundly down, flush.

The moment their hips collided, Eames sucked in a sharp breath at the same time his own breath stuttered. Arthur writhed against him, chasing that sensation, feeling the friction between their cocks, the heat of Eames’ stomach against his own, his own fingers digging into the back of Eames’ shoulders.

“There, human,” he said in a slick voice, “yeah?”

“Yeah,” Arthur said, breathless, and then wrestled them upright.

Eames gave him a bemused, puzzled smile, but let himself be turned, let Arthur maneuver him so he was on his back. Arthur took a moment, still sitting, to survey him like this: long, lithe, silky haired and tanned and handsome and mostly human except the luminescence of his eyes, the blur of his hands, the length of his torso, too many ribs and serpentine muscle. “Gorgeous,” Arthur declared, and planted a wet, messy kiss on the prominent hipbone before moving, sliding, suction and pressure from hip to the glorious rise of his cock.

Giving it a look before he really got intimate with it, it occurred to Arthur that he’d probably be more startled by it had he any real world experience with men. As it stood, the only penises he’d had a chance to look at for any amount of time were the massive monstrosities of pornography. By comparison, the thing curling from the fork of Eames’ legs was alien, sure, but also sort of reluctantly charming.

“How do you do?” he said, like a total dork, and gave it a friendly clasp. The wide, flat mushroom head looked like his own, but below that, there was another. Below that: a third. He’d noticed it before, briefly, but now, up close, he was free to examine the triangular stacks. He had a thought: “Merry Christmas to me,” he said, and laughed as he made a loose circle with his two fingers and his thumb, and then lowered it over, across the first head with a slow drag, and then notched it down again.

Eames’ hand twisted in Arthur’s bedding, shredding his sheets. He was a little too overheated to care. He slid his hand all the way to the base, feeling the fascinating texture and shape in his hand, and found his grip, sliding up and down in a snug handful. “Yeah,” he murmured, leaving his hand on Eames but slotting his body beside him so they were side by side. Eames was on his back, firm curve of his penis a solid line towards his abdomen, and Arthur was on his side. It let him stroke Eames, but also gave him access to his fine-boned face, and he leaned to to touch his lips to Eames’ mouth, brief and almost chaste, as his hand reached the base of him once more. At the same time — it seemed there was no end to the list of perks their arrangement had — his own dick could crush against Eames’ hip with the most delicious pressure.

“Again,” Eames breathed, and Arthur’s heart stuttered in his chest.

“Whatever you like,” he said, and nipped at his mouth in a filthy kiss while his hand tightened around his cock, and his strokes sped up a fraction.

After a few minutes, Eames stilled his hand. “May I?”

“Like I said,” Arthur repeated, and he could feel himself going red across the crest of his cheeks, up towards his ears, and the back of his neck.

“Okay,” Eames said, bright eyes staring a solemn hole into him, and hefted himself up by his elbows. “Lie down, dustmote,” he said, and it almost sounded affectionate.

Arthur did as he was told with a spike of adrenaline, like a deadline had hit him and he only had minutes left to panic. He supposed, in a way, that it had. He glanced at his nightstand, cluttered with printouts of college calculus and little lego figurines, his watch and his old retainer, which he only wore once a week now, his keys and coins in a little dish. “I don’t really have,” tongue feeling clumsy behind his teeth, suddenly. “Anything to use, in, uh.”

Eames laughed, terrifying teeth but genuine enough amusement. “Funny.” He towered over Arthur, and threw a leg across so he straddled his pelvis. “It’ll be fine, human,” he said, and took both of their cocks in his hand, blurring across them both with a quick but gentle stroke.

“It won’t be fine,” Arthur said, and it took more effort to string his scattered thoughts into coherent than it ever had before, but honestly, he was naive, not stupid, and he lived in the age of the internet. “You need something, and I don’t really… I’ve got a lotion I use, but um. You know, external use only and all that jazz.”

“Your anxiety is making me anxious,” Eames said, and put a flat palm against his shoulder, still holding their dicks in the other. After a few more strokes, Arthur thrashed his head into the sheets under him, hips thrusting up in futility against the weight of him.

Eames moved, arranging himself and Arthur felt nausea rise, bracing himself for Eames to breach his body, dry and uncomfortable. Looking back, perhaps he should have outline human conventional wisdom about lubrication before even talking about having gay sex with a demon, but he’d assumed, stupidly, that Eames was probably an expert.

He set his back teeth against each other, prepared to strangle any awkward sound that tried to jump out of his throat unwanted, but instead, all of that shifting resulted in Eames sinking down on his own penis, in one steady, smooth swallow. When he was fully seated, he moved a little, getting settled, and Arthur jerked in a breath.

“Fuck,” he whimpered, and then, “Sorry! I mean.”

Eames laughed again, and Arthur could feel it purr through him like a ripple, sending his blood into a flurry. He reached for him, touched the ridge of his cheekbone just in time for him to say, incredulously, “Did you just apologize for swearing? You know I live in West Hell, right? I’ve heard worse from my boss for breathing too loudly.”

Arthur rolled his eyes, but he could feel a flush creeping up the back of his neck. “Fuck you,” he said, and Eames grinned.

“Now you’re getting the picture,” and rocked against him in a slow, undulating circle, dipping forward to drag his teeth against Arthur’s chin and collar and nipple, and then back, over and over. Arthur wanted to touch every inch of him, putting his fingertips on his throat and chest and sides as Eames chanted above him “Yes, yes, yes.

Pleasure built at the base of his spine, like dried wood waiting for a spark, and Arthur scratched playfully at the firm length of Eames’ thighs, from his knee inward, and finally settled both hands on the center, his firm, wet cock. “Oh,” Eames cried, in a drawn-out sound, as Arthur drew his hand down the ridges of it, gaining speed now, pulling broken noise after noise from his companion, heart pumping loudly in his own ears like a backup generator.

Eames’ body began to clench around him; he’d been a teacup perched precariously on the edge of a desk before, but now he threatened to fall over. He worked his hand in a circle, up and down, both of them noisy and overheated and somehow they’d evicted almost all of Arthur’s bedding to the floor, everything but his shredded sheet. He only fleetingly noticed that before he was coming deep inside of Eames and Eames was saying something, something foreign in three voices, and Arthur simply closed his eyes and let the final pulses go through him, pleasure skittering down his limbs like short circuits. Eames slumped forward on him, still joined at the lap, and rested heavily against his chest. It was wet between their stomachs, and soon it would feel disgusting, but for the moment, the firm weight on his chest was stupidly pleasant — made him feel strong and cared for at the same time.

He carded his hands through Eames’ inky hair. “This isn’t really the way I expected today to end,” he mused.

Eames, his face buried in Arthur’s shoulder, said, “Is it, though?”

“Come again?”

“Is it over?” Eames asked. It could have been his imagination, but he thought Eames sounded a little disappointed.

“Well, I guess not.” Arthur said, trailing one finger down from the nape of his neck to the center of his back. His spine, instead of having ridges, seemed to be one long smooth line. Fascinated, he followed it back and forth with a single fingernail. Eames shivered under the touch. “If, you know, you don’t have other plans.”

“I have to be back for work in the morning,” he said.

“Work.” Arthur huffed, surprised. “Work?”

“Yes,” Eames said, looking up at him incredulously. “Some of us have jobs to do.”

“Well, me too. Just, I dunno, figured you just stood around all day menacingly. You know, like a prison guard?” Arthur said, and at Eames’ frown, he finished, “Okay, I get that maybe that was dumb. What do you do?”

Eames suddenly looked shifty. “I torture mortals, of course.”

Arthur studied his face. “No you don’t,” he finally grinned. “Tell me?”

Eames opened his mouth and thin smoke came out instead of sound.

“Are you embarrassed?” Arthur cowed.

Eames said something, or several somethings, and hid it in all of his voices. Arthur raised an eyebrow, as if to say pardon? “I sort the mail, okay?”

Arthur grinned. “You’re a postal worker.”

“I will eat your heart,” Eames growled.

“I don’t think you will, actually,” Arthur said, and gave him a boop on the nose. Eames’ eyes flashed brightly enough to make Arthur wince, but he didn’t set anything on fire, so he did it again.

*

Arthur mostly expected to wake up alone, blinking off a fever dream with a washcloth on his forehead, which is why it wasn’t a surprise when his bed was empty.

He sat up, rubbing the hand he’d slept on to get the circulation back, and wincing when static rushed down his fingertips.

“What a night,” he mumbled, shaking his head.

“I know,” a laughing voice said from the doorway.

Arthur was so surprised he fell off his bed. Eames lounged against his door frame, still naked, but holding a coffee mug in his hand. “Anyways, dust, I’ve got to get out of here. Thanks,” he finished, gesturing with his mug at Arthur’s bed.

“Um. You’re … welcome,” Arthur said, awkward. He’d seen this scene in movies, and if he’d been the boy who worked in the produce section he’d been wanting to ask out or someone who’d bought him a drink in a bar, he would have asked for his number. “I guess I won’t see you again.”

Eames raised a thin eyebrow. “No? I thought we have a good time.”

“Yeah,” Arthur stammered, wishing suddenly that he was wearing a shirt. In the light of day he looked scrawny and sad, and there were bite marks from wrist to hip. Compared to Eames, toned and rippling and posed for best effects of the whipcord lines from his hip to cock, more pronounced than any oil-slick model he’d ever seen, he looked like the victim of animal violence. “But you said…. I could only summon you because of … the thing.” The whole sentence was humiliatingly faltered.

“Because of what?” Eames said, genuinely looking confused. Arthur looked down, not answering and then: “Oh! No, human. You silly… I was teasing you! It was a lucky guess, because of how terrified you started to smell when you realized I was naked. You could summon me any time.”

Arthur puzzled over this. “But you said, you know, I was wearing cotton, and had oatmeal … and the chant.”

“You know what they say,” said Eames, flapping his free hand, “location, location, location. And the chant probably helps. But mainly your circle, however crudely drawn, is positioned tangent to my home, in five dimensional space.”

“Well,” Arthur said.

“Yeah,” Eames agreed, leaning in to nip at the corner of Arthur’s mouth, his eyes alight with mirth. “Call me sometime.”

Arthur stared at him, dumbfounded as he climbed back into the macaroni circle, some of the noodles disturbed by last night’s bedding being flung to the ground, but mostly intact. Eames crouched low, pushing them back into a reasonable shape.

What was Arthur supposed to say? Something clever, something sexy. He opened his mouth. “Have a good day at work!” he called, as Eames started to dissolve into smoke, and he could hear his laugh long after he was gone.