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Arthur stops Eames with a palm flattened in the middle of his chest — god, Eames’ chest after all this time, broad and muscled and inky, hard under Arthur’s hand, warm — Arthur stops Eames and tilts his own face back out of reach of Eames’ questing mouth, exhales shakily and says, “I want to be clear on this, though.”

Eames half-laughs and drags his hand down Arthur’s belly, grips Arthur’s belt buckle and pulls his hips in with a showy little tug, biceps flexing. “If you think I’m likely to come over all sentimental and misty then you’re a worse judge of character than”—

—“No, shut up,” Arthur says, because it’s difficult to think with Eames manhandling him like this, god. “Shut up, just — this isn’t about you.”

Eames’ eyebrow flickers; he’s interested in spite of himself, in spite of the insistent curiosity of a baser nature expressed in the curve of his hard cock against Arthur’s hip. “Seems to be a little bit about me,” he says, not offended so much as prompting Arthur to elaborate.

“Yeah, well,” says Arthur, reckless and wanting this part over with, “you remind me of someone else, is all.”

Thank fuck Eames is far smarter than he generally lets on, because it’s only a bare second before Arthur can see the pieces click into place, the comprehension dawning over Eames’ features as he puts it together: Arthur’s dark mood on this job, the helpless way Arthur’s been studying Eames in absent moments, and the careful manner in which he finally went about propositioning Eames once the heist was over, tonight. “This is that fuck,” says Eames knowingly. “Oh, I’ve had that fuck before. Never been on this side of it, though.”

“So — you’re not. Averse,” Arthur says, suddenly aware of the hugeness of his misstep if Eames doesn’t want this, if Eames thought it was something else. Teasing is a price Arthur’s willing to pay down the road; he’s not quite prepared to lose Eames as a potential colleague for future work.

“Averse,” repeats Eames in that horrible way that means he’s making fun of Arthur, like Arthur using five-dollar words amuses him, like Arthur’s a monkey in a tuxedo carrying a tray of drinks. “No, I can’t say I am averse. Rather relieved, actually, I’d half-feared this was some torch you’d been carrying for years and I’d be forced to break your heart. You, know. Afterwards.”

“Yeah,” says Arthur, “that seems likely.”

“One doesn’t succeed in this line of work without possessing some credulity,” Eames says. “But then, you’ve never been very good at believing in the impossible, have you, darling?”

“Would you shut up,” Arthur grates out, “I’m losing my boner.”

“From the abstract to the concrete,” says Eames. “From the surprising to the reassuringly predictable. Arthur, I do enjoy these little chats of ours.”

“Seriously,” says Arthur, because he really is going softer with every annoying syllable. “Are you going to fuck me or just keep talking bullshit for your own amusement?”

“He isn’t a talker, this bloke I remind you of,” Eames says, and fuck this, fuck it, it’s not worth the momentary relief if it’s going to be a long round of Eames psychoanalyzing Arthur and making deductions before finally letting him come.

Arthur sighs, disappointed, and goes to push at Eames’ chest again, ready to end it here — but then Eames lets go of Arthur’s belt buckle and slams him up against the wall with both hands, hard and fast and steady. “Got it,” says Eames, and splays a hand over the side of Arthur’s face. His thumb curls into the soft place just under the point of Arthur’s jaw and Arthur’s mouth falls open helplessly. Eames moves in and kisses him, lush and wet.

Arthur’s pinned. Dizzy. Glad. He’s not exactly proud of the desperate sound he makes as he changes gears and kisses Eames back, but Eames feels right. He’s broad and assertive and he’s got the same trick of making Arthur feel as though he’s bigger than he is, like he’s everywhere. He’s a wall of heat at Arthur’s front and he’s crowded Arthur into the literal wall behind, and it’s all Arthur can do to keep from climbing onto him, fisting his fingers in Eames’ too-short hair, wrapping his thighs around Eames’ hips. He drops his head back so Eames can kiss his neck, instead. Arthur gasps at the ceiling and flutters his eyes shut and reminds himself about dignity. It seems unimportant now; the two tumblers of whiskey he downed in order to hit on Eames are making themselves known again.

“I can do all the guesswork,” says Eames when he pulls away some moments later, “but this will be a lot easier if you just tell me what you need.”

Arthur tips his chin down and catches up with reality again: Eames’ flushed cheeks and swollen lips and a wild cowlick where Arthur tried to get a grip and failed, after all. He doesn’t expect the rush of irritation. It’s ridiculous to be angry that Eames isn’t — that he’s Eames. They’re awake, after all, and Eames is off the clock. “Hold me down and fuck me, that’s all,” Arthur tells him. “You think you can do that?”

Eames licks his lips and gives a brief breathless nod. “Not exactly a hardship,” he says, “though would you mind awfully if you — first?” and the press on Arthur’s shoulders is at once perfectly crass and far more subtle than Arthur thought Eames would be.

“Yeah, sure,” says Arthur, though he sounds less casual and magnanimous than he’d like. His voice is choked and raw and abruptly he can’t think of anyplace he’d rather be than on his knees.

Eames isn’t cut. Arthur knew that already — there was a job in Havana where they got soaked and had to change, shivery and humorless, silent and fearing gunfire — but it’s still a surprise somehow. Eames looks different from this angle anyway, different with his pants down around his ankles and his tattooed hip on level with Arthur’s face. “You’re kind of funny-looking,” Arthur says, curving hands around Eames’ short muscled thighs, tracing their slightly bowed shape, “but you’ve got a nice dick.”

“Mm, it’s the handsomest bit of my lower body,” Eames says, hand circling his cock and giving it a few tugs, angling it just a little towards Arthur’s mouth. “I’m fond of it, anyway.”

Arthur opens up and takes Eames in, no preamble. It really is a nice dick, bigger than Arthur might have guessed given that quick peek in Havana — but then the water was cold that day and Arthur was probably inclined to be uncharitable with his impressions. He disliked Eames more, back then. He’s not sure he quite likes Eames yet, Arthur thinks, bobbing his head, but he feels gratified anyway when Eames makes a quiet pleased grunt. Maybe Arthur’s surprised him; maybe Arthur’s not so predictable after all. Arthur reaches up and gets Eames by the balls, gently holds him steady and sucks him with a soft tongue and open throat while Eames progresses from little gasps to outright groans.

“Shit, stop, stop,” Eames says suddenly, and pushes Arthur back. He blows out a shaky breath through rounded lips and gazes stupidly down at Arthur as he grips the base of his cock and squeezes. “Nearly lost the plot there,” he says. “Where’d you learn that? Fuck.”

Arthur swipes the back of his hand over his mouth, careless of the grin there. He’s earned a little smugness, he thinks. “Should I,” he says, and shrugs out of his shirt, stands up and sheds his pants, boxers, too. Eames might be kind of funny-looking with a nice cock but Arthur’s nice all over and he knows it, has been told as much many times. Eames’ gaze says it again now, the drag of his attention almost a palpable pleasurable thing over the surface of Arthur’s body. “You’re allowed to touch,” Arthur reminds Eames, leaning back against the wall and watching Eames watch him. “If you want.”

“I want,” says Eames, swallowing, “I want you on the bed, face-down.”

“Sure,” says Arthur, jerking himself lazily. He’s wet; he always gets wet from sucking cock.

“Now,” says Eames.

“Now?” says Arthur, feeling his grin spread and go crooked. “Now, now?”

Eames steps out of the way and gestures, and though the motion is all polite no, no, after you, I insist, there’s a jerkiness to his body language that undercuts everything, spells out the dark edge of desperation that Arthur drew to the surface with the suck of his mouth and the tug of his hand only a moment earlier.

Arthur goes. Slowly. Gets on his knees first and then crawls up the bed to plant his elbows near the pillows, spreads his knees apart and rolls his hips. He’s hoping to draw another muted groan from Eames, maybe. Instead he gets the wind half-knocked out of him as Eames springs onto him and tumbles Arthur flat. Eames’ forearm comes heavy across the back of Arthur’s neck and holds him down and Eames’ hips grind into Arthur’s and Arthur’s shattered in an instant, knocked out of this teasing that’s about Eames and Arthur, and thrown headlong into the whole reason for being here. Arthur makes a pained hungry noise and flings himself back into the wall of muscle pinning him. His body hurts; his heart’s racing. Arthur pushes his face into the pillows and looses a series of choked noises. Eames’ forearm doesn’t ease up even a little, which is good, and perfect, and terrible.

“Tell me if it’s not what you want,” Eames says, still for a moment, pulling back enough so Arthur can draw a full breath.

“It’s what I want,” Arthur affirms, gasping, grateful for the pillow hiding his face.

“Good,” says Eames, and just as suddenly he’s leaning into Arthur again, grinding his cock into the cleft of Arthur’s ass. “Good,” he says again, but now the tone of logical dialogue is stripped out of his voice. It’s clear he’s not saying anything anymore, or if he is, he’s talking to the curve of Arthur’s body against his. “Oh, fuck, I’m going to make you come so hard you’ll forget your own name, never mind his.”

“Okay,” Arthur agrees fuzzily. “Lube’s on the nightstand.”

And there’s always a certain freedom to these one-time-only kind of fucks, an atmosphere of daring that comes from knowing that you have to get what you want now, when it’s on offer. Arthur’s guarded, sometimes, in bed; he can take weeks to really relax into things in a new relationship, too concerned with getting things just right and not thinking much about having fun. But it’s just Eames, now, and Arthur’s already impressed him. Arthur impressed Eames long, long ago, and keeps on impressing him every time they work together. Arthur’s got deadly aim and a level head and a mind for details. He’s also got a talented mouth and a taut round ass, a big dick and coordinated hips.

So Arthur doesn’t think too much about getting things right, now; he’s more concerned about Eames not fucking things up by talking too much or trying too hard. Eames has got a pretty mouth and a way with words but he can be frustrating as hell sometimes, and he —

“Fuck,” says Arthur, pushing his forehead into the mattress. “Fuck, a little warning, Eames?”

“What did you think I was doing back here, interpretative dance?” Eames asks, twisting his hand, turning the two fingers he’s got in Arthur’s ass. “Forgive me if I assumed that you didn’t need me to ease you into the moment after that little display on your knees.” He fucks Arthur’s ass with his fingers, little shallow slick curls of motion. “Why, am I hurting you?”

“No,” Arthur says, “fuck you. Ah, just — you seemed like you would be more,” but the rest falls away, and within another few seconds Arthur’s all but forgotten that he was saying anything at all, much less what he was trying to express.

“Are you with me, then?” Eames asks, and sinks his teeth gently into Arthur’s right ass cheek, works his fingers a little more insistently.

Arthur nods against the pillow, flushed and overwhelmed, eyes closed. Breath stuttering with each push.

“One more,” says Eames, pausing for an instant. There’s the click of the bottle’s cap and then a third finger, a bit cold, and Eames is laughing quietly though Arthur doesn’t know why: either the glad instinctive lift of Arthur’s hips into Eames’ touch, or the ease with which Arthur takes Eames in, or maybe just some private Eamesian joke written in the red bite mark on Arthur’s ass. “Right-o, hold tight,” says Eames, pulling out, moving around again behind Arthur.

There’s the bounce of the mattress as Eames clambers off the bed, but then Eames heads the wrong direction, his footsteps going not towards the condoms on the nightstand but away from the bed and across the hotel room. Arthur pushes himself up reluctantly to see what Eames is — and he’s coming back over with a handful of minibar bottles.

“Pick your poison,” Eames says, splaying them out for Arthur to see. “Ah, this one’s shite, who drinks this flavored vodka piss?”

“What is this, the seventh inning stretch?” Arthur asks, rolling onto his back and feeling grumpy at the slick feeling of his inner thighs, too hot and hard to be entertained by whatever Eames thinks he’s doing.

“Seventh inning?” Eames repeats. “Good lord, if you think we’re seventy-eight percent done the game, it’s been too long since anyone’s done right by you.” He drops the bottles to the bed and plucks up the whiskey, unscrews the cap. “You keep going away inside your head,” he says, and hands the bottle to Arthur. “Wanted to shut you up a bit.”

“I don’t need you to get me drunk,” Arthur says. “I’m already naked in bed with my legs open. And you’re the one who’s talking, anyway.”

“Told you I’ve done this before,” Eames says, taking the rum for himself, tilting it back and emptying it halfway with a few swallows. “It works better if you stop fucking thinking.”

“I’m not fucking thinking,” Arthur argues, but he takes a drink anyway. “Well, if I am,” he revises, “it’s only because I thought you’d be fucking me into next week by now and you’re — dawdling and — talking shit about raspberry Absolut, which is delicious, by the way.”

Eames swaps his bottle of rum for a condom and busies himself rolling it on. “Drink up,” he says, “and assume the position.”

“Oh my god,” says Arthur, but he drinks more anyway; he feels like he’s going to want to blame this whole night on alcohol and the whiskey ups his plausible deniability quotient. “You talk too much.” He flips over onto his stomach and drops his bottle next to Eames’, then wriggles back onto his knees. “It was just a figure of speech, anyway. You’re nowhere near seventy-eight percent done.”

“I’m rubbish at maths and even I know that,” Eames says, and spreads Arthur’s knees further, and with no further fanfare wraps one hand around Arthur’s hip and starts pushing his cock up Arthur’s ass. “I’ll get to the part where I’m holding you down in a moment,” he says, gratifyingly breathless, “just let me — ah. Arthur, you’re tight as I always thought you’d be, you maddening ponce, you — go on, let me in a bit, you.”

Arthur’s trying, he is, but he’s frustratingly thrown by it, by the Eames of it all, it’s weird and sudden and Eames feels huge. Arthur clenches the sheets and exhales, rolls the last bit of whiskey flavor around his mouth. It’s good, that stretch, that push. It’s good, it’s — “Fuck, fuck,” Arthur says, and Eames bottoms out, and they both hold still and gasp quietly for a moment.

Eames curls forward and kisses the nape of Arthur’s neck. Arthur can feel the plush of Eames’ mouth, unmistakeable, the breath of rum that comes when he exhales softly. Arthur feels himself come unknotted all at once and suddenly his brain clicks off. “There’s a lad,” says Eames, feeling it too.

“Fuck me,” says Arthur, reaching around and pinching Eames’ side. “Get up, fuck me.”

“Well, if you insist,” says Eames, getting up on his knees again, rolling his hips a few times as if to check the angle. And then he gets a proper grip, and he resettles his weight, and starts to move.

Arthur takes a moment to be sure of it, to be certain Eames is really going to — and then he drops his head down onto his forearms and spreads his legs wide as he can, lifts his ass up into each thrust and listens to the rough slap of skin to skin, god, it’s good. Eames is good. Eames is really good. Arthur coughs out a first, surprised sound, and then he’s unstoppered and filthy and helplessly crying out. Eames goes hard and steady and deep for a lot longer than Arthur expects him to, and then he pushes Arthur down by the shoulders, hauls his hips up even higher, and absolutely pounds into him. Arthur can’t fuck back into it, now, he can only hold on and keep himself from fetching up against the headboard. Eames is strong, fuck, he’s a force of nature, he’s — Arthur struggles, feels the insides of his thighs jumping, and swallows hard between rounds of faster fucks.

Eames pulls out. Arthur makes an animal noise of protest and throws himself backwards, or tries to, seeking to reclaim Eames inside him, but Eames has him pinned still, and Arthur’s only able to roll his ass up into the cool air, pleading wordlessly. “Shh,” says Eames, and takes pity, maybe, pushing back inside slowly. It feels insanely good, that parting of flesh, that driving in.

Arthur grits his teeth and shudders around it. “Again,” he says, and though it’s awful, it’s terrible, when Eames pulls out once more, it’s even better when he pushes in. “Yeah,” Arthur says, “oh, again.”

“Hedonist,” says Eames, “greedy.”

“Right,” says Arthur, “I’m sure you don’t — oh. Eames. I want you deep.”

“Yeah,” says Eames, and pulls out again, tugging at Arthur’s legs so they’re bent up under his belly. “Like this, like this,” Eames says, and pushes Arthur’s hands so he’s holding himself open for Eames. Eames curves around him, straddles Arthur’s thighs, and pushes in yet again, lays his body down flat over Arthur’s as he goes deeper, deepest. It’s impossibly sexy, Arthur straining and shaking and splayed with Eames draped over him, kissing his neck, rolling his hips into Arthur’s, fucking him slow and slick now. “Is it good?” Eames asks, barely above a whisper, too close to need to use his voice.

“So good,” says Arthur dizzily. “Oh my god, so good.”

“Quick, what’s your name,” Eames asks, and bites at Arthur’s ear.

Arthur tries a laugh but can’t, quite, and instead he lifts his ass up into Eames’ next thrust and clenches down. Eames gasps and trembles, lifts his head up enough to press his face against Arthur’s shoulder. “Going to come like this,” he says, “if we keep on.”

“Yeah, okay,” says Arthur.

“I mean to say,” Eames says, “that if you want to come first, speak now or forever”—

—“I want you to come like this,” Arthur says. “Eames. Like this.”

“Oh,” says Eames, and picks up the pace a little, eager now. “Arthur, oh, fuck, you’re gorgeous.”

Arthur moves his hands fitfully, sweaty grip on the inside of his knees. The slip of Eames’ belly on his back is beautiful, sweet, overwhelming. Arthur wants it, wants Eames to come like this, framing Arthur, over him.

Eames goes quiet — that’s stunning, really, Eames going quiet — and then his hips snap frantic and fast, and then he bites the nape of Arthur’s neck and comes. Slumps there for a moment while Arthur trembles and fights to stay still around the hard length of Eames inside him, Eames working lazily through the aftershocks. “Sorry, sorry,” says Eames, “you’re folded up like origami, even you aren’t flexible enough to stay like this forever,” and he pulls out and it’s delicious and too-soon and Arthur flops over onto his back and stretches his legs with a groan, looks down the landscape of his own body to see his red-stiff cock kissing slickly against his flat belly. “Oh, darling,” says Eames warmly, “did I mention that you’ve got a very nice cock, too?”

“You didn’t,” says Arthur, rolling his hips up encouragingly. “You should probably make that up to me.”

Eames is too post-coital to be much use at sucking cock, but Arthur’s definitely too worked up to care much. Eames doesn’t need to do more than lick around the head of Arthur’s dick and stroke him half a dozen times before Arthur arches up and comes hard.

“A bit late for that,” Arthur says stupidly when Eames licks one of his fingers and pushes it inside Arthur’s ass.

“Shut up, I know what I’m doing,” says Eames, and to Arthur’s surprise, Eames does know — he curls his finger and rubs and Arthur furrows his brow and has a weird second peak of orgasm, dry and shivery and unexpected. “Hmm?” says Eames.

“Eight out of ten,” says Arthur, “I’m docking you two points for smugness.”

“Ah, well,” says Eames, “nobody’s perfect.” He licks Arthur’s belly and sticks his pointy tongue into Arthur’s navel and Arthur shivers and laughs and yanks Eames away by the hair.

Probably it’s a bad idea, but Arthur’s definitely sex-drunk if not whiskey-drunk, and he blames this for his poor judgement when Eames lands up beside him and they make out for a long while. Eames is an excellent kisser; no surprise, with that mouth. Arthur kisses him and kisses him, curves a hand around Eames’ round lightly furred ass cheek, strokes fingers over Eames’ funny bendy thigh, his surprisingly appealing belly and chest and all the inky bits of him that Arthur’s never really seen before, and won’t again.

“Thanks,” says Arthur. “That was.”

“A fantastic shag,” says Eames firmly. “A really fantastic shag.”

Arthur nods, smiling faintly. He does feel better, he really does; the low-down bruised throb of hurt feelings that he’s carried for weeks now seems to have eased — if only temporarily.

“Settle down, now,” says Eames, and tugs Arthur to him, cuddles him a little aggressively against his shoulder. Arthur struggles and grins and accidentally half-punches Eames in the face trying to extricate himself but somehow he still winds up drifting off with his cheek pillowed against a bit of Eames that reads ‘laugh now, cry later’. He thinks, vaguely, of trying to tell Eames that it wasn’t like this, that he never — they didn’t — but Eames is comfortable and Arthur’s worn out, a bit drunk.

It’s not about Eames, anyway.