Arthur looked around him: forest... check, castle... check, Eames in costume and with a tail... what the fuck?
“Eames, really? You’re going to make me rethink the whole sleeping with you instead of murdering you decision that I made,” Arthur sighed resignedly.
“Whatever is the matter, darling? Eames grinned, petting his long, fluffy looking fox tail.
“You have a tail. I’m wearing a dress.” Arthur did not look amused.
“Yes darling, I’m Robin Hood and you’re Maid Marian!” Eames remained delighted at his costume choices for the dream.
“So was this just a joke or do I actually need to explain to you why this won’t work for the job, Mr. Eames?”
“You don’t like it, pet?” Eames looked slightly disappointed.
“If you actually want to use Disney’s Robin Hood as the setting for this dream, you need to commit to animal or not, this half-way thing isn’t going to work. And I don’t want to be Maid Marian.” Arthur sighed again.
“Oh all right, darling.” Eames snapped his fingers and his tail disappeared. Arthur was no longer wearing a long pink dress and wimple. Instead he was clothed in period appropriate menswear in a bright red.
“Better, thank you. Who I am I now?” Arthur gave Eames the smallest hint of a smile.
“Will Scarlett. He’s not in the animated version, but I suppose it doesn’t matter if I don’t get to be a fox.” Eames looked at Arthur expectantly. Arthur stared back at him, smirking.
“I know you’re fishing for a compliment. I’m still a bit annoyed with you so I don’t think you’re going to get it.”
“Darling?!” Eames looked aghast.
“I wouldn’t put up with this sort of behavior from anyone else on a job, and I don’t think it’s fair of you to take advantage of our relationship to get special privileges,” Arthur said sternly.
“It’s special privileges to get away with teasing you?” Eames asked.
“With all your limbs and your reputation in dreamshare intact, yes.” Arthur nodded his head decisively.
Eames paused a moment to think about that. “I suppose that’s true. Well, what a good thing that we are in a relationship,” he said brightly. “I’ll make it up to you later, darling.” Eames waggled his eyebrows suggestively.
Arthur raised an eyebrow and looked skeptically at Eames, but didn’t say anything else. Eames looked fondly at Arthur a bit longer. Finally, Arthur rolled his eyes and sighed.
“We’re doing a walk through, yes, so walk me through it.” Arthur motioned forward, as if they should start moving
“Right,” Eames immediately became all business. “So we’re doing a Robin Hood level because the mark has expressed admiration for Robin Hood in multiple interviews, and sees himself as motivated by a ‘steal from the rich to feed the poor’ philosophy. Except he’s certainly among the rich, which actually fits fairly well if we go with the version of Robin Hood where he’s actually nobility, so he would be quite rich--” Arthur cut off Eames’ rambling with a pointed look.
“Right, sorry. So I’m forging Robin Hood, he’ll fall into the Little John role, and we’ll steal Prince John’s gold together. The information we need should be in Prince John’s vaults, because in reality, he is the rich one.”
“Hmm, clever.” Arthur said.
“How exactly do you do that, darling?” Eames asked.
“Make it sound like you’re insulting me when you give me a compliment.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Arthur responded, “sounds like insecurity on your end.” He smirked at Eames, giving him a hint of his dimples.
“Anyway, you’re on projection duty,” Eames told Arthur. “Hopefully that won’t be particularly suspicious because we’d expect to be sneaking around the Prince’s guards and fighting them if necessary, given the scenario. Ariadne will remain topside. Should be simple enough.”
As Eames had been explaining the plan, he had taken Arthur through the dream level. Most of it was spent either in Sherwood Forest, tracing a path through a maze of trees, or the Prince’s castle, which had also been designed as a maze.
“She certainly outdid herself, didn’t she?” Eames said as they surveyed the forest maze from the castle wall.
“She really is a natural,” Arthur said. “It makes me almost feel bad about dragging her into a life of crime.”
“You feel bad about her, but not about dragging me into your criminal activities?” Eames mocked being offended.
Arthur laughed. “As if you weren’t already a hardened criminal by the time you entered dreamshare.”
“Well, I suppose that is true,” Eames hedged. “But now I’m exclusively involved in your criminal activities.”
“That’s because, if I may remind you, you said, ‘Darling, let’s be a package deal. I hate working jobs away from you.’” Arthur did a terrible imitation of Eames’ accent.
“Also true,” Eames admitted.
“And you were the one who brought us this job,” Arthur added. “So who is dragging whom into his criminal activities?” As Arthur had been making his case, Eames had been moving closer and closer to Arthur, until he was close enough to kiss Arthur on the nose. Which he did.
“You’re absolutely right, darling. I’ve sucked you down into my life of depravity. But since we’re already here, and we’ve got at least another half hour in dreamtime on the PASIV, how about I go suck you down someplace else.” Eames gave Arthur another eyebrow waggle and looked immensely pleased with himself.
Arthur burst out laughing again. “Oh my god, that was terrible!”
“I didn’t hear a no,” Eames pulled Arthur against him and began mouthing kisses against his jawline.
“And I did promise I’d make up for the Maid Marian costume...”
“You are incorrigible.” Arthur looked fondly at Eames, rolling his eyes.
“Still not hearing that no, darling. Shall we find a bedroom? I’m sure there are plenty in this big castle.”
Arthur grinned. “Oh, all right. Lead on, Sir Robin.”
Arthur and Eames woke up to Ariadne smirking at them like she knew what they had been doing. “Have a nice run through, boys?”
Arthur blushed slightly.
“Lovely level, Ari. Excellent attention to detail in the bedrooms,” Eames grinned.
“Oh, I left the rooms empty so the dreamer could fill in the details for himself,” Ariadne said smugly.
Arthur coughed, interrupting the smirk-off between Ariadne and Eames.
“Anyway, you did a nice job with the mazes, and the setting is very believable. I’m impressed.”
“Y’know, I didn’t see it before, but Eames is right, you do sound sarcastic when you’re giving compliments,” Ariadne responded.
Arthur spluttered, feeling quite ganged up on. “Well, I’m not being sarcastic. But I have work to do.” He stalked off to his desk on the other side of the warehouse, pointedly ignoring the whispered conversation between Eames and Ariadne. He put his head down and stared intently at his computer screen, focusing on his research. He was apparently successful in burying himself in work, because he didn’t notice that Eames had come up behind him several minutes later until he felt a touch on his shoulder. He jumped.
“Don’t be like that, love,” Eames said.
“You surprised me, I was focusing,” Arthur defended himself.
“You’re rarely so focused that anyone can sneak up on you, pet,” Eames pointed out.
“Yes, well. I may have been ignoring you,” Arthur admitted.
“Darling, you know that Ari is just teasing you, right?” Eames asked gently.
“Yes, but that’s the problem. I have a reputation in dreamshare, which protects me, protects us. I cannot be seen as a person who can be teased,” Arthur said the word as if it were an anathema.
“It’s only me and Ari here. She’s not going to destroy your reputation in dreamshare. She’s our friend,” Eames pointed out.
“I just don’t particularly like being teased, ” Arthur said quietly. “It feels like everyone is laughing at me.”
“Oh, darling,” Eames wrapped his arms around Arthur. “I don’t suppose it helps if I tell you we’re not.”
“Maybe a little. But yeah, I don’t like being laughed at. I don’t like being the butt of the joke. And I’ve worked so hard to solidify my reputation in this business.” Arthur stared at his hands on the keyboard.
“How did you ever put up with me, love?” Eames hugged Arthur closer.
“I couldn’t stand you at first,” Arthur huffed a small laugh. “This impossibly hot, exceedingly competent forger who made fun of me all the time.”
Eames let go of Arthur and spun his chair around and then knelt down so he was eye to eye with his partner. “Do you want me to stop teasing you, Arthur?” He asked seriously.
“No!” Arthur said fervently.
“Love, I don’t want to make you feel bad. My feelings will not be hurt if you ask me to stop teasing you. Just say the word.”
“No,” Arthur said again, “I don’t know.” He moved his hand as if he were going to run it through his hair, and then remembered he was at work, so he dropped it to fiddle with his cufflinks instead. “I like it when you tease me. I know you’re not laughing at me, not really. I know that’s how you show affection. Trust me, that time you were mad at me, on the Santo Domingo job, and you didn’t tease me at all, that was worse.”
“Darling, the Santo Domingo job is not how I would treat you if I stopped teasing you. I was furious with you and I was freezing you out.”
“Yes, well, I was being ‘a right prat’ as you put it. I deserved it,” Arthur said ruefully.
“Notice that I didn’t apologize for how I treated you, just said that it wouldn’t be how I would treat you now,” Eames smiled at Arthur.
“Touché. Anyway, I like your teasing. It makes me feel like I’m part of the joke, instead of being the joke. Just, when everyone is teasing me, laughing at me, I don’t like it. And I really don’t like it at work, because then I worry that no one will take me seriously when I’m doing my job. And I need everyone to take me seriously and listen to me on the job. I know that makes me a stick-in-the-mud, but it’s important.”
“You know that I take you seriously, right Arthur?” Eames met Arthur’s eyes again and held them.
“Jesus, Eames, you’ve used my name twice in the last five minutes, you’re freaking me out. Did I seem that upset?”
“Sorry, darling,” Eames smiled wryly. “I was just trying to show you that I was taking this seriously. That I take you, and your feelings, seriously.”
“I know you do,” Arthur said, cupping Eames’ face with his hand. “But you’re different. And I know you better than I know anyone else in this business—And I know you’re about to make a joke about knowing in the biblical sense, so just pretend you said it and let me finish,” Arthur interrupted himself as he saw Eames start to waggle his eyebrows. “Anyway, so I know that your teasing and pet names and innuendo doesn’t diminish your respect for me. And people know we’re together, so I’m sure they’ll catch on to the fact that you get special rules. I suppose you’ve always had special rules. I never let anyone else call me outrageous pet names. But I also don’t like people laughing at us, or laughing at me because we’re together. And I’d really rather not have to kill anyone to make that point.”
“You don’t want to kill anyone? Who are you and what have you done with my Arthur?” Eames teased gently.
“I’m not actually as murder-happy as my reputation might lead you to believe,” Arthur said. “Which is why maintaining that reputation is so important.”
“I know, pet. And if it makes you feel any better, other people do not seem to find our relationship an object of ridicule.”
“How do you know that?” Arthur asked.
“Well, I’ve gotten a few congratulations from friends, but mostly I’ve gotten a lot of warnings to watch my back because you’re an ice cold bastard who is likely to murder me in my sleep.”
“Seriously?” Arthur looked at Eames, searching his face for a lie.
“Scout’s honor,” Eames responded, holding up three fingers.
Arthur smiled like a cat who had gotten into the cream.
“Darling, the fact that you are this pleased by the idea that our colleagues think you might kill me in my sleep worries me slightly,” Eames said.
Arthur raised an eyebrow and looked up and down Eames’ body. “Is worried what you’re going with?”
“Okay, possibly it also turns me on. But you knew that.” Eames turned leered at Arthur, turning on the full smolder.
“See this is one of the things I was concerned about, because it’s not very professional if you keep seducing me when we’re trying to work,” Arthur said.
“Oh, I’m seducing you in this scenario? Really?” Eames pointedly looked down at where Arthur’s hands were holding his hips. Arthur followed his gaze to his hands and looked betrayed. He didn’t let go, however.
“You turned on the smolder. You know I can’t resist that,” Arthur grinned flirtatiously as he pulled Eames closer to him.
“Ah, is that what you’re worried about, kitten? Everyone knowing that you’re powerless in the face of my gaze?” Eames smirked. “In that case, I’ll be sure not to abuse my power over you while we’re working. With great power comes great responsibility,” he intoned.
“Hmm, yes, you have a responsibility not to be a goddamn tease,” Arthur said sternly.
“But petal, aren’t you concerned about Ariadne seeing this highly unprofessional behavior?”
“Ariadne left ten minutes ago, as you very well know. Don’t pretend you didn’t notice. You can’t fool me anymore, Mr. Eames. I know all your tricks.”
“Well, perhaps not all my tricks, darling,” Eames smiled playfully at Arthur.
“Hmmm, I don’t know. I might know all of them.”
“Care to wager on that one, pet?”
Eames bent over to whisper into Arthur’s ear. Arthur blushed slightly, his pupils dilating as he processed Eames’ suggested bet.
“You’re on,” Arthur said, his throat suddenly dry.
“Oh darling, you should know better than to gamble with me,” Eames practically purred. “Don’t you know,” Arthur suddenly found himself on his knees, in front of a standing Eames, “I always cheat.”
Arthur stared at Eames’ pants visibly tenting in front of his face and licked his lips. “Okay, you win.”
“Shall we go back to the room then?” Eames suggested, his voice low with arousal. “I’d very much like to collect.” He tried to pull Arthur up to standing, but Arthur resisted, reaching for Eames’ hips again.
“Oh, you’ll collect. But first I’m going to teach you not to start things you can’t finish, Mr. Eames,” Arthur said, before nuzzling against Eames’ sizable trouser bulge.
“You can’t be serious?” Eames said, his voice cracking.
“I don’t know, you tell me,” Arthur said, as he unzipped Eames’ trousers and pulled out his erect cock and swallowed it down. The noise Eames made was extremely gratifying, and made Arthur as hard as the cock currently in his mouth. Arthur sucked Eames with little of the finesse he normally had, but instead with a single-minded focus. His efforts were rewarded as within several minutes Eames was pulling at Arthur’s hair (he never could resist mussing it) and whimpering as he thrust into Arthur’s mouth.
“Darling...” Eames gasped, before hot salty come flooded Arthur’s mouth. Arthur swallowed and slowly pulled off, giving one final suck to Eames’ sensitive prick, just to see Eames’ little shudder and hear him moan. He pressed a palm to his own erection, trying to quell it into submission, at least for long enough for them to get to their hotel room. He tucked Eames back inside his trousers, ran a hand over his hair, which was beyond repair, and stood up.
“Shall we?” He asked Eames, raising an eyebrow.
“Oh, you’ll pay for that,” Eames responded hoarsely.
“I’m counting on it,” Arthur smirked. He was definitely looking forward to getting to their hotel room, and Eames collecting on their bet.
The job was going smoothly. They had isolated the mark and gotten him hooked up to the PASIV without incident, and Eames’ Robin Hood forge was flawless, as could be expected. The mark had taken to their scenario like a fish to water, and was eagerly assisting Robin/Eames steal bags of gold (and hopefully the mark’s own secret) from Prince John. Arthur, in period appropriate garb (his identity as Will Scarlet hadn’t really come up), was watching the perimeter for guards and/or projections.
Or at least it was going well until the castle maze started working against them. “Why the fuck did you change the maze?” Arthur hissed at Eames.
“I didn’t!” Eames hissed back insistently. Arthur could hear the guards getting closer to them, and they were backed up against a dead end. They could either fight their way out or change the dream layout to create a secret passageway. Arthur exchanged a look with Eames – they really did not want to risk the mark getting shot out of the dream before they’d had a chance to look through the bag. Secret passageway it is, Arthur though. He was apparently able to convey that to Eames with his glare, because Eames immediately nodded and said “Where is it, where is it? I know there’s a secret passageway here someplace. Look for a brick more recessed than those around it,” he instructed the mark.
“Oh, is this it?” The mark said, pointing to the recessed brick that had appeared in front of him.
“Oo-de-lally” Eames confirmed, and pushed the brick further into the wall. A dark and narrow passageway opened up in the corner of the dead end. Eames ducked into it and said “Come on, keep your head down and your mouth shut and we might just make it out.”
Arthur followed up the rear, hearing the guards/projections speed up. He closed up the passageway and eliminated the opening from the level, which infuriated the projections, but they could no longer get to them. He held his torch carefully, following Robin/Eames and the mark through the dank, dark secret tunnel out of the castle.
They emerged on the other side of the moat, apparently having tunneled under it. “Nice job,” Arthur told Eames. Eames gave Arthur a pointed look, which Arthur took as a promise of an excellent evening ahead of them, once they were done with this job.
“Now we just have to get back to Sherwood Forest,” Eames said. “Will, can you cover us?”
“Of course, Robin. You and John need to get that gold back out of sight so it can be distributed.” Arthur saluted with his bow and took up a guarding stance again, looking back toward the castle as Robin/Eames and the mark ran toward the forest. He eventually followed into the forest, climbing a tree to better pick off guards as they approached. He heard the music for the kick (this time “Oo-De-Lally, What a Day” instead of his preferred Piaf, Eames insisted) before waking up and immediately springing into action. He removed the IV from his arm as Eames did the same. Ariadne had removed the mark’s and was packing up the PASIV, just as Arthur had instructed.
“You got the info?” Arthur confirmed with Eames as they began to wipe their prints off anything they might have touched in the hotel room.
“Of course, darling. Did you have any doubts?”
“Just checking,” Arthur said.
“That’s why you’re the best,” Eames winked at Arthur.
“Okay, let’s get out of here,” Arthur ordered, when he was satisfied that they had covered their tracks. They scattered as they left the hotel, everyone taking a different exit and a different vehicle. Ariadne flew back to France after a quick stopover at a safe house in New York. Eames and Arthur met up at Arthur’s Montana safe house.
“How can you stand it here, darling? It’s in the middle of nowhere!” Eames complained as Arthur walked in the door. He was sprawled out on a chair with his feet on the coffee table.
“It’s a safe house, it’s meant for staying out of trouble, not to serve as a hub for socializing.” Arthur responded dryly.
“Yes, but there’s isolated and then there’s this,” Eames responded, arguing just for the sake of arguing.
“It’s nice, I like the mountains. We’re close to Glacier. And to the Canadian border, which is handy for any necessary escapes,” Arthur protested, carrying his bag into the bedroom. They hadn’t ever used this one of Arthur’s safe houses together before, but he wasn’t surprised to find that Eames had already spread his things out everywhere, as if he owned the place. That was apparently just what he did with Arthur. Not that he was wrong.
“You must stick out like a sore thumb with those suits though,” Eames commented from behind him. He had gotten up silently and was immediately behind Arthur, wrapping his arms around him and pressing his lips to Arthur’s neck.
“I don’t wear the suits here,” Arthur said, tilting his head to give Eames better access. “Hi.”
“Hello, darling. Now, are you telling me you have casualwear here?” Eames asked, spinning Arthur around to face him, his eyes dancing.
“You’ve seen me in casual clothing before,” Arthur said, allowing himself to be manhandled by his boyfriend.
“Yes, but fashionable casual clothing. Not Montana casual clothing,” Eames affected an American accent on the word Montana. “Please tell me you have a cowboy hat.” Eames looked completely enchanted at the prospect.
“Don’t be ridiculous. It’s just jeans and flannel shirts mostly. It’s what everyone wears,” Arthur blushed slightly at Eames’ excitement. “I’m surprised that you didn’t already nose through all the closets when you got here.”
“Hmmm, I may have done. Also, you definitely own a cowboy hat,” Eames grinned.
“Okay, yes, but it was a gift, I don’t wear it,” Arthur rolled his eyes.
“But if you wear it, then I can save a horse and ride a cowboy,” Eames leered at Arthur.
“And to think I was so proud of you for not making a single arrow and quiver innuendo during this job,” Arthur sighed. Eames looked delighted
“Does that mean you’ll reward me by wearing the cowboy hat?”
“Why do I even bother trying to say no to you? Okay, yes, but not in public.”
“Are you sure you want to give in so easily? I had several Brokeback Mountain references lined up to convince you,” Eames looked slightly disappointed.
“Oh yes, I definitely want to give in now if it saves me from more terrible innuendo.” Arthur rolled his eyes fondly at Eames.
“Be realistic, darling, you knew what you were signing up for. And my innuendo is top notch. Look how effective it is on you!” Eames waggled his eyebrows.
“Shut up, Mr. Eames.” Arthur pulled him in for a kiss.