Arthur was just trying to get some coffee. It had been a long few days, he couldn’t remember the last time he’d had decent sleep—it might have been 2008 or so, honestly—and he just wanted coffee.
Which was exactly when the Easter bunny came crashing into him and spilled his coffee everywhere. A lot of it went on the snowy white fur of the Easter bunny and not on Arthur’s Kilgour coat but Arthur didn’t care about that lucky miss because the relevant part was how little of it went in Arthur’s body.
“What the fuck,” he complained.
“Sorry, darling,” said the Easter bunny in a decidedly British accent, patting Arthur down as if he could mop up excess coffee with his fur. Hell, maybe he could. The Easter bunny glanced over his shoulder and then back to Arthur and gave him a small, distracted smile.
Arthur stared at his lips. Arthur would not have guessed the Easter bunny would have lips like that.
“So sorry. But I’ve got to run,” said the Easter bunny.
“Hopping down the bunny trail?” asked Arthur sarcastically.
The Easter bunny gave a quick, startled laugh. “Any chance you could say all this never happened?” There was an edge of hopefulness to his voice, and Arthur marveled, because a man dressed as an Easter bunny had crashed into him, spilled his coffee, and was now asking him to lie about it. Presumably to whoever must obviously be chasing him. And he was hopeful. He was managing to legitimately believe that there was a chance that Arthur would be willing, on a moment’s notice, to lie for this lunatic.
Arthur looked at the Easter bunny’s eyes, which were a blend of green and blue resulting in a color Arthur liked to call Arthur-is-totally-fucked-and-shouldn’t-be-swayed-by-a-pretty-face-goddammit.
Arthur said, “So a British Easter bunny never crashed into me.”
“The Easter bunny has no nationality, darling,” said the Easter bunny, his stupid eyes definitely twinkling now.
“I didn’t know the Easter bunny needed to shave, either,” remarked Arthur drily.
The Easter bunny grinned, all crooked teeth, and something in his eyes looked pleased. Delighted, even. Like Arthur had caught him off-guard and he was happy for it to have happened.
And something inside Arthur was answeringly pleased by the Easter bunny’s pleasure with him. It was addictive to have someone look at you like you were an unexpected burst of sunshine on a cold day and Arthur was discovering that for the first time in his life because people didn’t ordinarily look at Arthur like that, so sue him for wanting more, okay?
Arthur said, “My, how clumsy of me to have spilled my coffee all over myself. I guess I’ll have to go get some more.”
The Easter bunny winked at him, and the wink, Arthur thought, was definitely worth the price of the sacrilegiously wasted coffee.
The Easter bunny rushed off and Arthur went off to get another cup of coffee and when the police came by looking for “something unusual” Arthur told them he’d been busy spilling his coffee and had missed everything.
And when a British man, dressed entirely as a man although in a very dubious shirt, sat down next to him in the waiting lounge, Arthur had to internally frown sternly at the little flutter in his chest and try to remind himself that he shouldn’t be thrilled that fugitives were seeking him out.
“Hello there,” the man said pleasantly. “You meet all sorts in a train station, don’t you?”
“You managed to find a shirt even worse than the Easter bunny costume,” Arthur replied, and then thought he was the world’s worst flirt, who even said things like that to hot men who seemed to be steadfastly flirting with you?
But the man just smiled and held out his hand and said, “I’m Eames.”
Arthur wrestled his suitcase down a corridor much too small for it and pulled aside the flimsy curtain covering the entry to his room and stopped short at finding it filled to bursting already with an enormous man.
Okay, not taller than Arthur, but obscenely, unnecessarily built with muscles that Arthur so totally didn’t approve of, oh my fucking God, this man was clearly the most annoying specimen of human Arthur had ever encountered.
“Who are you?” Arthur asked bluntly.
The man was trying to fiddle with the upper bunk. He turned to give Arthur a bland smile and said, “I’m Eames.”
“That’s not what I asked,” said Arthur.
“It was exactly what you asked,” said Eames, still fiddling with the upper bunk, because apparently he’d never been on a sleeper train before. “You asked ‘who are you,’ and so I replied with who I am: Eames.”
“No,” Arthur said. “When I asked ‘who are you,’ I meant ‘what are you doing in my room’?”
“Well, that’s what you should have said, then, isn’t it?” asked Eames sunnily, and then sent the upper bunk crashing down directly onto his head. “Ow,” said Eames, rubbing it and ducking out from underneath the bunk, which forced Arthur to take a step back into the hallway, almost stumbling into his own suitcase.
“What are you doing?” Arthur demanded.
“I thought it would be better to get the upper bunk set up,” said Eames. “Unless you were suggesting we share.” Eames waggled his eyebrows, which was almost as unattractive as his stupid chest, and probably tied for unattractiveness with his lips and his eyes and his tousled hair and artful stubble.
“I am not suggesting we share,” Arthur said stubbornly.
“Mind you,” said Eames confidentially, “I wouldn’t say no, but I do like to be wined and dined a bit first.”
“I’m not wining and dining you,” Arthur insisted.
“The dining car is just down there.” Eames pointed, undeterred.
Arthur said, “We’re not sharing a room. This is supposed to be my room. Me. By myself.”
Eames lifted an eyebrow and looked him up and down and drawled slowly, “Now that doesn’t seem like very much fun, does it?”
It wasn’t supposed to be fun, it was supposed to be—
“I, on the other hand, possess something very entertaining,” Eames continued.
“Oh, is it your penis?” retorted Arthur.
“Goodness, no!” exclaimed Eames. “You have a filthy mind.” Eames wagged a mockingly disapproving finger at him.
Arthur lifted his eyebrows at him to show how very not charmed he was.
Eames grinned as if he’d received quite the opposite message. “I have a deck of cards. But I should warn you: I only play for money and I cheat terribly well.”
Arthur narrowed his eyes. Arthur looked at the tiny room that was supposed to be his and his alone and he was supposed to spend the train ride being productive and working.
Fuck it. “You’re on,” Arthur said.
The snow had closed the airports and Arthur was grouchy about it but he was trying to maintain a veneer of politeness because such was basic decency but the idiot who had sat down next to him in the crowded train station lobby was testing that veneer of politeness sorely.
“So where are you trying to get to?” he asked, and his accent was British.
Arthur very pointedly took his earbud out of his ear, said, “New Orleans,” and then replaced his earbud.
“Me, too!” exclaimed the man. “Excellent. I have never been to New Orleans before. Have you been before?”
“What?” said Arthur, very pointedly now not removing his earbud.
“Hmm,” said the man, and took the hint. “Nothing. Never mind.” He turned away from Arthur and looked out over the crowd.
And Arthur felt like an asshole. Arthur, to be precise, had a sudden moment of panic that the hot British stranger was going to choose some other man to sit next to and annoy, and that made Arthur oddly…jealous? Because the hot British stranger had sat next to him and Arthur had had a fucking bad day and maybe the universe was giving him a hot guy in exchange.
It wasn’t Arthur’s experience that the universe worked that way, but whatever, they had a couple of hours until their train.
Arthur took his earbuds out and said, “Sorry. You’ve never been to New Orleans?”
The man turned back to him, looking suspicious, like Arthur was about to bite his head off. But he studied Arthur and then said after a second, “No.”
“You’ll love it,” said Arthur, and held out his hand. “I’m Arthur.”
“Eames,” said the man.
Arthur was in the middle of literally tripping over his own suitcase when The Hottest Man He’d Ever Seen caught him and set him upright.
“Oops,” said The Hottest Man He’d Ever Seen.
Arthur was mortified. “I was just…” What could he say that sounded better than being clumsy?
“Were you trying to get the bed set up?” asked The Hottest Man He’d Ever Seen.
“I was going to,” Arthur said, “yes,” because he didn’t want to admit that he’d been trying for ten minutes.
“You should really allow me,” said The Hottest Man He’d Ever Seen. “I would consider it a great privilege to get you ready for bed.”
Arthur had started this encounter blushing; he knew he was now blushing harder. “Get me ready for bed?”
“Get the bed ready for you,” The Hottest Man He’d Ever Seen purred at him, in a tone of voice that made Arthur wonder exactly what obscene acts could be performed to get the bed ready for him.
Arthur was about to say that whatever they were sounded like perfection to him when The Hottest Man He’d Ever Seen continued, “It is, after all, my job.”
Arthur for the first time realized that The Hottest Man He’d Ever Seen was wearing a uniform. He had literally not noticed the very obvious uniform.
“You’re the steward,” said Arthur, and then knew he blushed harder at being idiotic enough to think that he had just been randomly propositioned by The Hottest Man He’d Ever Seen.
“I’m the steward,” The Hottest Man He’d Ever Seen confirmed, transforming the chair into a bed basically instantaneously.
“Right,” said Arthur, and looked at the bed.
“But also I was flirting with you shamelessly just now,” said The Hottest Man He’d Ever Seen.
Arthur stared at him.
“Let me know what else I can do for your bed.” And The Hottest Man He’d Ever Seen waggled his eyebrows at him.
Arthur was leaning over to test the temperature of the water in the tiny train shower when he heard the door start to open behind him. Damn, he must not have locked it properly.
“I’m in here!” he called over his shoulder.
To the attractive man with the lips and the stubble who he’d been admiring in the dining car earlier that evening.
“I’ve noticed,” said the attractive man, leaning against the wall and running his eyes up and down Arthur’s naked body. “I’m hoping you can be persuaded to share—”
“That’s not how it goes,” says Arthur, wrestling with their bags as they walk down the platform together.
“How do you know?” Eames retorts. “That could be how it goes.”
“That’s never how it goes, Eames,” sighs Arthur. “You don’t just meet hot men in train bathrooms, for fuck’s sake.”
“Have you spent a lot of time in train bathrooms waiting for hot men to come along?” asks Eames primly.
“No,” Arthur admits.
“Then you don’t actually know, do you?” Eames says this with the relish of triumph with which he delivers all of the statements he thinks are unrebuttable in his ridiculous head.
“By the way,” Arthur says, “you are also not as hot as you think you are.”
Eames laughs. “Yes, I am.”
“I don’t sit around all the time mooning over your lips,” Arthur mutters.
Eames laughs again. “Yes, you do.”
“Shut up,” Arthur says. “You do have a stupid chest.”
“I sit around all the time mooning over your delectable arse,” Eames says, catching Arthur and drawing him into an embrace, and their luggage topples together and people have to dodge around them but Arthur doesn’t care when Eames holds him and looks at him just like that. “And your adorable frowny face.”
“Is that why I was so grouchy in every single one of your stories?” asks Arthur, trying to pretend there isn’t a dimple in his cheek.
Eames grins and kisses between Arthur’s eyebrows and then kisses that traitor dimple. “Adorable frowny face.”
“All aboard!” shouts the conductor.
“We’re going to miss your train,” says Arthur, and they collect their luggage and start their forward momentum again.
Eames is in kid-on-Christmas-morning mode, bouncing all over the place. He has wanted to take a sleeper train forever, he informed Arthur. This is a great and cherished dream of his. He cannot wait for it to happen. Eames says all of this now to the steward directing them to their room, who smiles at him indulgently. Eames has that cheerful, gregarious way about him that makes all people look at him affectionately.
“My husband has never been on a sleeper train either,” Eames informs the steward.
So the steward directs his beaming indulgence Arthur’s way for a bit, and Arthur tries his best to play the role of Husband to Enthusiastic Happy Man. He at least has down the shared fond smile. He sends that smile to other people over Eames a lot.
“Here you gentlemen are,” the steward says. “The dining car will open shortly. While you are at dinner, I will make up your beds for you.”
“Beds?” echoes Eames.
“Yes,” the steward says. “I’ll let you two determine who will have top bunk.” The steward smiles sunnily and departs.
Eames looks at the room, and his kid-on-Christmas-morning face falls to heartbreaking pieces. “But we can’t have sex on that,” he wails, and the old lady making her way into the room next door gives Arthur a disapproving look.
Arthur couldn’t care less. Arthur has better things to focus on. Arthur says, “Wait, you wanted to go on a sleeper train to have sex?”
“Yes,” says Eames mournfully, leaning down to test the chair. “Oh, it’s stiff and the fabric is appalling. I would never let your delectable arse near such fabric.”
“We could have just had sex at home.” Arthur hates to point out the obvious, but.
“But I wanted to have sex on a train!” exclaims Eames, and collapses dramatically into the chair he’d just been bemoaning. “James Bond is always having sex on trains! It looks good when he does it!”
“There are a lot of things about Bond movies that we should not strive to include in our own lives,” Arthur says, because sometimes you just never know with Eames and have to spell it out. “Like, no ejector seats in the car.”
“That always looked fun, too,” mumbles Eames, belligerently. “Oh, Christ, the decorating scheme in here is so horrible, I cannot even subject my eyes to it.” Eames puts an arm dramatically over his eyes. “Darling, turn away, the juxtaposition of your exquisiteness and the horror of the room is dizzying.”
Arthur is caught between amusement because Eames is always at least a little amusing in his melodrama and sorrow because he feels horrible for Eames to be so disappointed.
“Look,” Arthur says, and drags their suitcases in and puts them on the room’s other chair, which leaves Arthur standing up against Eames’s knees. “We’ll shut off the lights in the room so you won’t be able to see it anymore.”
“I can see the room on the back of my eyelids,” mumbles Eames.
“I could probably figure out a way to blow you,” offers Arthur helpfully, and then tries to determine the logistics of getting himself in the right position. It might require acrobatics. He amends his offer to, “I could at least give you a hand job.”
Eames removes his arm from his eyes and gives Arthur the world’s most mournful look.
“It would be a good hand job,” Arthur promises him, and waves his hand in the air to demonstrate his technique.
Eames stares at him. And then, thankfully, Eames starts laughing. Eames starts laughing so hard that he is wiping tears away from his eyes and nearly falling off of the chair in his mirth.
Arthur is so relieved to see the mirth that he wants to tumble onto Eames and rain kisses over his face. He says, “See if I ever offer you a hand job again, if you’re just going to laugh at me.”
“Darling,” gasps Eames, and reaches for him and tugs him into collapsing in a heap on Eames, and they don’t fit on the chair together, they barely even fit into the room together, but Arthur can’t imagine anywhere better to be. “Your demonstration was very sexy, I promise you.”
“Yeah, well,” says Arthur, settling against Eames. “If you close the door, I’ll show you.”
“And ruin my clothes before this gourmet dinner we’re about to have?”
Arthur waits a beat, then thinks maybe he’d better prepare Eames. “You know they don’t have a chef, right? It’s all just microwaved.”
Eames is silent for a moment to process this. Then he says, “Microwaved? But we could have just done that ourselves at home!”
“Yes. And had better sex while we were doing it.”
“We could have microwaved naked,” laments Eames. “Next you’ll be telling me that I won’t be able to fuck you in the shower here.”
“Eames, I hate to break it to you, but this train doesn’t have our spaceship shower, either.”
“Whose terrible idea was this sleeper train?” asks Eames.
Arthur chuckles. “I’m telling you, my hand job offer is the best thing on your table right now.”
“Alright, fine,” says Eames. “Close the door.”
“Such enthusiasm,” grins Arthur, as he closes the door and locks it.
“Can you make it James Bond-y?”
“Lie back and think of England,” Arthur says, and the train starts moving and Arthur unbuttons Eames’s pants and says, “What else?”
“What?” asks Eames, watching him with dark eyes.
“What else was in your train sex fantasy? I mean, all the stories you were telling. We meet on a train and have mostly anonymous sex? Hello, I’m Arthur, it’s very nice to meet you,” Arthur tells Eames’s hardening cock in his hand.
Eames catches Arthur’s hand, stills it, brings Arthur’s attention back to his face, and shakes his head at him slightly.
Arthur smiles, because he knows that look in Eames’s eyes, that I don’t want anything I don’t already have look, and leans forward to kiss him. “Hello,” he murmurs against his lips, “I’m Arthur, I’m married to The Hottest Man I’ve Ever Seen.”
“Yes,” says Eames into Arthur’s mouth. “That’s how the story goes.”
“The end,” agrees Arthur.