I can still feel him from where I'm standing.
In some ways he should have seen it coming. The signs were all there. The incessant teasing, the invasion of privacy, the way he stares too much as if he were trying to figure him out and copy his entire being. All those things and more simply pointed in the direction of one possible explanation: Eames was still interested in him.
( But no, that can't be right, he just stares at a lot of people. It's his... “thing” right? )
It's unnerving to catch those eyes steadily watching him, even after the
y debriefings are over. Arthur is a vain man, and so prides himself on his looks but even he doesn't have the confidence to think he can hold that much attention. So he simply brushes the silly idea (is he flirting?) off.
It's not his problem anymore- he just needs to worry about getting the job done and getting the hell away from him as soon as possible.
Love, don't be cruel.
And yet it is. Eames wonders about their past a little too often, wondering if perhaps he should just leave things as they are. Stop staring at him, stop teasing him, stop loving him. But, he can't help it. He knows that in some way he's right. This is his territory and he's certainly not going to let someone else mark it- no matter how cute Ariadne may be. So it's not too much of a stretch when he takes to watching him.
It's the only way he actually gets Arthur to really look at him. Not the annoyed-at-you-and-ignoring-you-for-the-next-ten-minutes look but a real, honest to God, look .
And that of course spurs him to stare even more, to try just a little harder, to step it up a notch on the pet names. It's more than before and yet it still isn't enough and that hurts more than anything. Because he knows that Arthur still looks at him when he thinks he isn't looking. He bites his lips like he's about to say something. And on one memorable occasion (it hurt) he saw him reach out (just say the words, please, I'll come back) only to pull back immediately.
Arthur left the warehouse early that day.
It feels so wrong
Yet Arthur kisses Ariadne because it's the best thing he can do right now. He knows that Eames is watching. He knows that this is the wrong path to take but he doesn't care. He needs to take it- just to stop himself from tumbling down Eames' road and tumble into the temptation of-
( Don't be afraid to dream a little bigger darling )
He shakes head and means it when he tells her, “it was worth a shot.”
Saw my sorrow with my love
He watches them closely, watches when Arthur makes a point of moving closer to her. He closes his hands into fists, his chip cutting into his skin as he keeps himself from reaching out to pull them apart.
It isn't until Cobb taps him on the shoulder that he realizes he's being talked to.
“ You know, Arthur's doing it on purpose right?”
Eames thinks about it for a moment before he nods, “maybe- but what about Ariadne? Is she doing this just to piss me off? Or...” here he raises an eyebrow. “...or is she doing this to piss you off?”
Cobb's glare is answer enough as he storms away but not without a backwards glance at the two's heads huddled close over a blueprint. So Eames returns to glaring daggers at their backs, scaring off anyone who comes near him to so much as say hi.
( It hurts, damn it all, it hurts )
Eames leaves, completely missing the glance Arthur spares him as he makes his exit.
I can't make
Arthur knows. He tries not to let on how much he knows but he knows. It's his business to know things and differentiate between the good and the bad of knowing said things.
But somehow he feels he has to ignore this detail. It's not his business. It's Ariadne's. Not his. It doesn't hurt him when he notices her looking at Cobb a little too long. It doesn't bother him when she seeks him out just to talk. It doesn't even so much as process in his mind.
Because his mind
refuses to acknowledge this as a bad thing yet it can see it as a good thing either. It's just a simple meeting between a mentor and student. Sort of like the chats he looked for after his first job with Cobb
(yeah that's it).
Come dance little temptress
She has this sad look in her eyes as she fidgets with her scarf. He ignores her for a full five minutes until her very presence angers him to the point where he'd rather face her just to get rid of her.
“ I'm sorry,” she blurts out.
He raises a brow at her and leaning back into the table he crosses his arms (you damn well should be sorry) . He waits for her to go on and nods her on encouragingly when her eyes turn pleading.
“ I-... I never- I don't want-”
“ Arthur?” He supplies icily.
She closes her mouth and nods dumbly before attempting to speak, “He's nice...- sweet and- but I like-”
Once more she nods and looks up at him. He sighs and runs a hand over his face- it's taking everything out of him not to grin ( I knew it! ). So he turns around and picks up his folder again.
“ Then do something about it.”
You were supposed to be the last goodbye.
When he sees them together it should probably come as a surprise but it isn't. In fact, there's a secret small place inside of him that whispers, It's about time. But the guilty look on her face and her pleading voice ( I'm so sorry Arthur ) reminds him that his reaction is to be of shock and hurt. He tries to school his features into just that but he just can't.
So he leaves without looking back, trying to ignore the funny feeling in his gut that feels oddly like relief.
“ Arthur dear,” Eames' voice floats in through his ears, randomly and he turns to the sound. “You look like you need a drink.”
Arthur looks at him and for a moment, he feels like hitting him- just for the arrogance. But the longing smile on the other's face makes him stop. (does he mean it?)
I'd wait forever just to hold you.
Eames heart jumps to his throat and his eyes fill with hope as he sees Arthur walk away from her. He knows it's improper to try now. That he should leave him to grieve over his wayward girl but he can't help it. It isn't in his nature to let a good opportunity pass by.
So he waits as Arthur decides ( please, please, please ).
And smiles brilliantly when he finally nods.