“G.C.P.D., coming through!”
Ariadne can project. Her voice rings out over the hum of the crowd, bouncing off the hallway walls as she pushes Annie in front of her. Despite the crowded room, everyone parts for them as they enter the main lobby, people grinning and snapping pictures.
Arthur can mug it up when he feels like it. He frowns in each shot, turns to make sure his badge is showing, and keeps his hands firm around Eames’s wrists.
Their entrance had been Annie’s idea. Ariadne and Arthur in their Gotham City Police Department blues stand behind their captive villains, Annie looking radiant while Eames glowers at everyone in sight from behind his mask. They’re as close to the splash page as possible, with Bane and Catwoman glaring smugly as John Blake and Renee Montoya lead them through the gothic arch of the Gotham City Police Headquarters.
It had taken every resource Arthur had and several sleepless nights, but they’d managed to finish Eames’s Bane costume in time. They’d abjectly ransacked more than one Army-Navy store for the clothes, and Eames had torn apart an old asbestos respirator to make his mask. He’d even let Ariadne crop his undercut a little higher so he could hide his hair under the middle strap of the mask. He looks like a different person, except for the eyes.
There’s a madness that comes with rushing to make a costume. Arthur loves it as much as he hates it, that all-consuming focus that drowns out everything else until he realizes it’s 3:00 AM and half his fingertips are bleeding from hand-stitching his shirt-collar. Eames had submerged himself right alongside Arthur, brewing coffee in his ancient French press at midnight and making a dozen runs to the local hardware stores until he found the perfect “bendy bit” for Bane’s face-plate. Arthur hasn’t had that much fun prepping for a con in years .
It had been hard to leave their hotel room once Eames was dressed, or at least, in costume. The low hang of his cargo pants and the tactical vest he’s wearing don’t do much to preserve his modesty. Eames’s shoulders ripple as he strains at the handcuffs behind his back, and Arthur’s glad for the extra reps he’d enticed Eames into doing. Eames looks huge and terrifying and Arthur has never wanted to be on his knees so badly in his life. He’s glad for the loose fit of his own pants as he presses himself against Eames’s back for a picture.
“Told you we’d be a hit,” Arthur murmurs, stroking his hand up Eames’s bare arm in between pictures.
“They’re all looking at you, love,” Eames says, his voice muffled and odd through the mouthpiece.
“I’m wearing a turtleneck and a walkie-talkie,” Arthur says. “No one is paying me any mind.”
In all honesty, Annie’s getting most of the attention. She poses with a series of pouts and arches that would make Eartha Kitt proud, squirming in Ariadne’s arms. Ariadne’s Montoya outfit is perfect, meaning it’s as nondescript and unflattering as Arthur’s. She’s barely wearing any makeup and her hair is pulled back into a tight, formal bun.
“You look so gay,” Arthur teases fondly as the four of them line up for a group photo.
“Thank you,” Ariadne coos, bumping her hip against his before they both straighten up and look tough.
“Do people usually ask for this many pictures?” Eames asks, flexing again as they pose for Geeks Out.
“Yes,” Annie says decisively, just as Arthur says, “Not this many.”
They have some time to kill before their Group Costume entry, so Annie and Ariadne leave them to get bubble tea and check out a panel on Afrofuturism. The Artist’s Alley is always good at this con, and Arthur secretly wants to see if anything catches Eames’s attention. Eames had crafted him a gorgeous set of restraints, and it would be nice to get him something as a thank-you.
They’re bent over a series of Gotham City Sirens pinups when Arthur jumps. It’s not like Eames to smack his ass in public, at least without any warning. Eames stares at him, equally bewildered as they both turn around.
“I’d know that ass anywhere.”
Arthur’s entire body goes stiff. Nash. His Red Hood helmet is tucked under one arm, and his eyes are rimmed with black eyeliner. They’re even bigger than usual as they sweep over Arthur.
“John Blake, I like it,” Nash says, nodding as if Arthur still needs his approval. Arthur crosses his arms over his chest.
“Nash, this is Eames,” Arthur says briskly, as Eames steps inches from Nash’s face.
Eames takes Nash’s hand to shake, just to grab his wrist and pull him forward. His other hand locks around Nash’s elbow, holding him tight as Nash’s helmet clatters to the ground.
“Tell me, Nash, how would you like it if I hauled off and slapped your arse right now?”
“I... uh...” Nash stutters, sucking in a breath as Eames squeezes him. Eames’s eyes blaze over his mask.
“Now, I won’t do that, on account of I’m not a detestable sack of human excrement like you are, but what on earth makes you think you have the right to do that to Arthur?”
“I—we—uh—we used to date, Arthur, tell him—”
“If you touch my boyfriend again,” Eames says, voice low and clipped through the mask, “I will shove that bloody helmet so far up your arse they’ll throw you a baby shower.” He shakes Nash off like he’s swatting away an insect. Arthur, caught in the crosshairs of shock and rabid arousal, gives Nash an icy smile.
“I’m just being friendly, Jesus,” Nash wheezes, stooping to pick up his helmet. He dusts it off and tucks it back under his arm, sneering at Arthur. “Used to like it when I did that.”
“Don’t,” Arthur says as Eames lunges at him. His hand settles on Eames’s chest, where he’s warm and ready to fight for Arthur’s honor (such as it is). “He’s not worth it.” And he’s not. In all the rush to get ready, Arthur hadn’t even considered whether Nash was going to be here. For all the times Nash had hurt him and gaslighted him and made Arthur question himself, it’s immensely satisfying to realize that any lingering space he’d occupied in Arthur’s heart has been claimed by better things.
“Nice seeing you, Nash,” Arthur calls, leaning in as Eames sneaks a possessive arm across his shoulders. Eames glares at Nash’s attempt at a sarcastic smile, and keeps glaring until Nash has disappeared back into the crowd. Eames lets out a long breath that hisses through his mask.
“I’m sorry, Arthur, you can defend yourself, I just—”
“But I like it when you do it,” Arthur admits, pulling Eames in by his belt loops. He can’t kiss Eames in the mask, but he presses his lips to the grill over his mouth. He can tell Eames is smiling.
“What an absolute cunt that man is,” Eames says succinctly.
“I can’t entirely hate him,” Arthur says.
“Can I?” Eames retorts, arching one eyebrow over his mask.
Arthur laughs. “The reason I wanted that slutty Robin outfit you like so much—”
“The shorts,” Eames says reverently.
“—was so I could show Nash what he was missing, or something stupid like that. But it’s why I met you.”
“I reserve the right to unrepentantly hate him,” Eames concludes.
Arthur nods. “You and a lot of other people.”
“Anyone who would let you go is a fool, Arthur.” Eames’s hand closes over his neck, squeezing softly. “But I suppose I’m marginally grateful that he’s the fool who sent you to me.”
“Come on,” Arthur says, taking Eames’s hand in his own. “Let’s go look at pretty things. I think the guy who drew that Tom of Finland Batman is here.”
“Maybe he’ll have a Bane,” Eames muses, following Arthur down the jam-packed aisles of tables. Arthur grins. He knows exactly what he’s going to buy for Eames.
Arthur’s as guilty as anyone of checking his phone too often. As they line up for Group Costume, Arthur isn’t the only one scrolling through his feed. He looks up to find Annie and Ariadne both absorbed, which is hardly unusual, and Eames squinting at his phone and tapping away, which is more noteworthy. Eames is divorced from technology in a way that Arthur finds jarring and inspiring all at once. Eames would accept orders via snail mail and carrier pigeon if he had a choice. He buys all his groceries in person, from small family stores and the farmer’s market by his house, and he still physically calls restaurants on his beaten-up excuse for a phone to have their food delivered.
“This damned thing,” Eames mutters, his frown tangible over his mask. Arthur raises a questioning eyebrow.
“No, I’m—ah, there, got it.” Eames goes still, his eyes flicking across his screen as he scrolls down. “Well, that’s good.”
“You gonna make me guess?” Arthur says.
“It’s the patient portal thing from the health center,” Eames says, his voice soft through the mask.
“Oh,” Arthur says, his brain lagging a second behind before he looks up at Eames. “Oh.”
“Pure as the fallen snow, am I,” Eames preens, puffing out his chest until his tactical vest looks like it might actually snap.
“Oh,” Arthur repeats dumbly, his face breaking out in a grin that does not belong on the face of a world-weary Gotham cop. Arthur had gotten his test results back right before they’d left.
“It just says I’m… oh. ” How Eames can sulk with half his face covered is beyond Arthur. He narrows his eyes at the phone as Arthur’s grin falters. “I’m low on Vitamin D.”
“Vitamin D,” Arthur repeats, flooded with relief that it’s not anything serious. He steps closer to Eames, putting on his best concerned face.
“I’m gonna give you so much Vitamin D, baby,” Arthur manages to croon before he cracks up.
“Gross,” Ariadne says without looking up from her phone. Annie’s smile twitches. Everyone else around them is too occupied with pre-show jitters to pay much attention. Eames ignores all of them.
“Suppose this means we’re good to...?” Eames trails off, eyebrows up, and eyes wide and suggestive.
“Yeah,” Arthur says, stepping into the warm circle of Eames’s arms and smiling. He’d gotten a matching clean bill from his doctor, not that he’d expected anything different. Still, there’s something official about it that makes Arthur nervous and warm all over. It’s old-fashioned at best, with half the world on PrEP, but it’s a tangible declaration of trust that still means something to Arthur. Unlike nearly every other man Arthur’s slept with, Eames has never pushed him on it, never said anything until Arthur brought it up.
Eames slides his hand under Arthur’s chin and presses their foreheads together, closing his eyes for a moment. It’s a tenderness at odds with his costume, his hand warm against Arthur’s skin even as the rough leather of his gauntlet grazes against him. It’s just right.
“Well, then. Let’s get this fucking contest over with, shall we?” Eames steps back and spreads his arms wide, flexing his shoulders and turning for Arthur. “How do I look?”
They come in third place, upstaged by an impressive array of Sailor Moon drag queens and a flawless crew of Freelancers from Saga.
“No one can beat a sexy arachnid sociopath, babe,” Ariadne says, rubbing circles on the small of Annie’s back. Annie’s got a competitive streak as long as her whip, and Arthur silently promises himself that he is never playing a board game with her.
“Those legs,” Eames marvels as they watch The Stalk maneuver herself off the stage. Each jointed, spindly leg has its own motor, setting them to click and whir in an unsettling, inhuman pattern. Arthur honestly can’t begrudge them the win.
“I need a nap,” Ariadne says, linking her arm with Annie’s. “Are we going out for dinner later?”
Annie tilts her head, an especially feline gesture with the points of her goggles sticking up from the crown of her head. “I’m thinking room service and then the after-after party in Javier’s room?”
“Oh, God, yes, I want to eat over-priced fries with no pants on,” Ariadne says earnestly, smiling up at Annie.
“You can escort me to our room,” Annie purrs, leaning in until her ruby-red lips are almost grazing Ariadne’s ear, “Officer.”
Arthur can hear Ariadne swallow. They say their farewells and exit the main room, leaving a wake of gawking fanboys (and girls) behind them. Arthur has no idea how Annie walks in those boots.
“Think she’s eating more than fries,” Eames stage-whispers as he takes Arthur’s arm.
“Jealous?” asks Arthur guilelessly, leading Eames through the crowd. “We can get room service, too.”
Eames’s soft growl is so perfectly in-character it makes Arthur a little swoony. He cleaves close to Eames as they make their way to the elevators, savoring the last glimpses of Eames in costume. It’s not his fault the bad guys are always the hottest.
“I’m sure you want to take that mask off,” Arthur hums sympathetically, tracing over the thick leather straps where they’re digging into Eames’s cheeks. “Shame, though. You look really fucking hot in it.”
Eames can say so much with only one eyebrow. Arthur leans as much of his body against Eames as possible as he reaches for the elevator button.
Arthur turns to find a familiar face smiling at him. “Javier!” Arthur says, immediately accepting a huge bear hug. Javier is as affectionate as he is muscular, and Arthur’s still vibrating from his hug when he claps Eames on the back.
“Eames, this is Javier,” Arthur says, reassured that Eames isn’t off-put by displays of affection from strangers.
He accepts Javier’s greeting with his usual charm. “Eames, pleasure to meet you.”
Javier turns to Arthur and mouths “Oh My God” before he turns the full force of his smile on Eames.
“The Mr. Eames?” Javier splays a hand over his chest, momentarily covering the Batwoman logo of his t-shirt. “That harness you made for Arthur was spectacular.”
“Javier was my Batman,” Arthur explains. Eames’s eyebrows rise in understanding.
“Least I could do for my groomsman,” Javier quips, and Arthur smiles. That had been a lovely wedding, even if Nash had acted like a horse’s ass after too many signature cocktails.
“You two looked excellent, I saw the pictures,” Eames says. Eames would be a perfect guest at a wedding, and Arthur dimly hopes someone gets married soon so he can finally get Eames into a tux.
“Not as good as you two,” Javier says, gesturing at Arthur and Eames’s outfits. “I fucking knew you were going to do John Blake. Right after I read it I turned to Patrick and said, Arthur’s already embroidering a police shirt, mark my word. And your Bane, holy shit,” he adds, shaking his head as he looks Eames up and down.
“I can’t take all the credit, it was Annie’s idea. Ariadne’s girlfriend,” Arthur clarifies when Javier gives him a momentarily puzzled look.
“Yes, yes! I can’t wait to meet her. Ari promised she’d stop by later. And I expect to see both of you there,” he adds, pointing at each of them in turn.
“Javier and Patrick’s room parties are legendary,” Arthur says.
“We’ll do our very best,” Eames says, oozing charm as he gently places his hand on Arthur’s arm.
“I’ll let you go, but first—” Javier pulls his phone from his pocket. “Can I get a picture?”
“Of course,” Eames says, straightening up and winding his hands behind his back. “Cuff me, darling.”
Arthur slaps his handcuffs back on Eames and poses for a few pictures. Javier claps with delight as Arthur pushes Eames into the next empty elevator, hustling him off like he’s about to book him at one of the Art Deco precincts of Gotham City. He presses Eames against one of the glass walls of the elevator.
“I think you’re enjoying this far too much,” Eames says, turning to look over his shoulder.
“Quiet, perp,” Arthur hushes, smirking as he moves to undo the quick-release latches on Eames’s handcuffs. They’d gotten a safety pair that don’t require a key. Eames could easily get himself out of them if he needed to. Arthur has seen too many lost keys at conventions to risk it.
“No, don’t,” Eames says, turning in Arthur’s hands to face him. “I want to try something.”
Eames is the perfect person to cosplay Bane. He says enough with his eyes that Arthur’s pulse quickens in an instant.
“Okay,” Arthur says, molding himself to Eames’s front. “Is it something we’ve talked about before?”
“Yes,” Eames says. That’s a long list. They’ve whiled away hours in each other’s beds trading fantasies and never-have-I-evers. Arthur slides his hand up to hook onto one of the straps of Eames’s vest.
“Surprise me,” he says. He trusts Eames, and Eames should trust him enough to know that Arthur won’t do anything he doesn’t want to do. Eames’s eyes slope up, pleased.
The bell chimes as the elevator arrives at their floor. “Take me in, Officer Blake.”
Arthur leads Eames down the hallway, earning them a wary glance from a couple in street clothes and a nod of approval from a woman in a Hawkgirl ensemble. Arthur swipes the key card for their room and turns the door handle, and then his face is pressed against the wall.
Arthur’s heart beat kicks up as Eames wrenches one of Arthur’s arms behind him and snaps what must be a handcuff on his wrist. He’s not surprised, exactly, but it still knocks his breath out when Eames forces his other hand back and cuffs his wrists together. Eames isn’t being gentle, and Arthur grins as his face bounces against the rough hotel wallpaper.
“Did you think you’d take me so easily, Mr. Blake?” Eames growls, leaning his weight against Arthur, the metal grillwork of his mask digging into Arthur’s cheek.
“Fuck you,” Arthur spits, trying to wrench his body back and finding Eames an immovable force behind him.
“In time,” Eames snarls, snaking his arm through Arthur’s elbows and hauling him off the wall.
Arthur fights him every step of the way as Eames shoves him into the bathroom. He could get out of Eames’s grip if he really needed to, but Eames still isn’t making it easy. Arthur’s panting when Eames throws him against the sink, sending tiny bottles of shampoo flying, his heart racing and his neck straining as Eames grabs him by the hair.
“Your spirit is admirable.” Eames is so close to himself but just different enough that Arthur’s skin prickles. He grunts as Eames shakes him and forces Arthur to look in the mirror.
Eames looms behind him, huge and menacing in his mask and fatigues. “Do you see a good man, John Blake?”
Arthur turns his giddy smile into a sneer. Eames is pressed right against him, the fly of his pants grinding against Arthur’s ass suggestively.
“I see a man in chains,” Eames continues, stroking the back of his hand along Arthur’s cheek as Arthur tries to look away from him. He’s not supposed to like this, or at least he’s not supposed to admit that he likes it.
“You won’t get away with this,” Arthur challenges, meeting Eames’s eyes in the mirror.
“Oh, I will,” Eames says, releasing his hold on Arthur’s hair and wrapping a thick arm around Arthur’s chest. Arthur bucks against him, bumping the back of his head on Eames’s mask hard enough to make Eames grunt in surprise. He recovers quickly, sliding his arm up until he has Arthur in a neck lock. Arthur can’t help the smile that flashes briefly across his face.
“You fight well, but you won’t win,” Eames says, voice gruff through the mask. He slides the zipper down Arthur’s police jacket and shoves it open, tucking the nylon around Arthur’s sides.
“You can’t fight what you are, Mr. Blake.” Eames keeps his voice cool and collected, a knowing monotone that’s different from his usual lilting intonation. Eames is so good at this. Arthur throws himself into it, turning his head away as Eames’s fingers curl into the hem of his shirt.
“You don’t know shit about me.” Arthur lets his lips rise in mock disgust as Eames bunches up his shirt, laying Arthur’s stomach bare.
“Wrong again,” Eames says, shoving Arthur’s shirt up and dragging his thumb over one of Arthur’s nipples. Arthur hisses, fighting the urge to buck into Eames’s touch. His skin prickles where it’s exposed to the air, at odds with the hot press of Eames against him and the heavy layers of the police uniform. “You defend a city of sinners, and yet you’re ashamed that you want me to touch you.”
“You’re a monster,” Arthur says, snarling and putting more force into his struggle as Eames goes for his belt. Eames hums, thoughtful, and makes quick work of Arthur’s belt and his fly, impressive considering he’s one-handed and working by feel. His arm is warm and tight against Arthur’s neck, and while that’s not the only reason Arthur’s hard enough to spring out of his boxer-briefs when Eames shoves them down, it’s certainly not helping.
“Are you afraid of monsters, Mr. Blake?” Eames grips his cock and it’s all Arthur can do to stay on his feet. Even Eames’s hand around him is different, a rougher tug and pull than his usual finesse. “Or are you afraid you’ll become one?”
Arthur would be in a puddle by now, but John Blake wouldn’t give it up so easily. Arthur squeezes his eyes shut, turns his head as Eames strokes him to the tip and circles his thumb over the slit. Arthur throbs like one live nerve when Eames pitches his hips and ruts against him, hard enough that Arthur can feel the threat of Eames’s cock through his fatigues.
Arthur moans through his slack lips when Eames slips his hold on Arthur’s neck free. It’s immediately replaced with the rough shove of Arthur’s pants past his hips, freeing up more bare skin to rub against Eames’s crotch. The rough material scratches at Arthur’s ass, chafing his skin as Arthur skirts back and forth between Eames’s rough hand around his dick and Eames’s cock pressing against him.
“Your body is an honest vessel,” Eames says, squeezing Arthur’s cock for emphasis. “Men cannot conceal their animal selves, nor should we.” He leaves Arthur’s cock bobbing in agreement against the empty air. He’s so fucking hard. Eames peels back from him and shoves his own pants down with the same brute efficiency he’d shown Arthur. Arthur dances onto his toes as Eames’s bare cock grazes over the crease of his ass.
“I suggest you spit,” Eames whispers, and Arthur can’t help but meet Eames’s eyes in the mirror for a moment. This is one of Arthur’s biggest fantasies, getting fucked with nothing but spit to ease the way. Eames arches an eyebrow as Arthur grimaces and spits a mess into Eames’s palm. Eames still reaches over to one of their toiletry bags and squeezes out a healthy dollop of lube, because he’s not actually going to tear Arthur up, but Arthur could hold up a perfect-ten scorecard for Eames’s attention to detail.
Eames has made an art out of finger-fucking. He can spend hours opening Arthur up, endlessly patient and dextrous, until Arthur’s boneless and begging for it. The way Eames shoves two fingers into him is brutal and charmless, hitting the upper register of Arthur’s pain threshold and making his eyes roll back with need. It should hurt, that’s the only way John Blake would let himself enjoy it. Arthur grunts as Eames fucks into him, putting on a perfunctory struggle against his handcuffs.
“I’m not here to force you, Mr. Blake.” Eames’s fingers keep going, stretching Arthur ruthlessly open. “I’m here to free you.”
“Bane,” Arthur snarls through his teeth, going rigid as Eames curls his fingers just right.
“Tell me what your heart desires, Mr. Blake, or I will leave you here, spread out like a breeding sow for your fellow liars to find.” Eames sinks his fingers deep, holds them while his thumb rubs soothing circles against Arthur’s heated skin.
“Fuck me,” Arthur mumbles, his face cast down to the floor in surrender. He lets his shoulders stoop and his eyes fall closed, losing himself in being someone who’d have any reservations about Bane rawing him in a public bathroom.
“You can do better,” Eames says, pulling his fingers out and leaving an empty ache. Arthur takes a shaky breath and arches his back, stretching his fingertips out until they brush against Eames’s bare skin. Eames drags the bare head of his dick against Arthur’s hole, circling around him and Jesus, fuck, could Eames possibly have picked a better day to go bareback for the first time?
Arthur forces himself to look up and meet Eames’s eyes in the mirror, too giddy to put anything other than hunger in his voice. “Fuck me raw.”
“Christ—” Eames hisses, fumbling for more lube and slicking himself up with a messy slash of his wrist. He lines his cock up and pushes inside Arthur, steady and thick and just this side of too much.
The physical difference isn’t too noteworthy for Arthur. It’s smoother, slicker, but mostly it’s still Eames inside him, as drool-inducingly good as always. The effect on Eames is more dramatic.
Eames looks like he’s going to shake apart. His hands tremble where they’re planted on Arthur’s hips, and Arthur can guess at the quiver of his lips under his mask. Eames’s head falls back and he swallows, his Adam’s apple bobbing as he stares up at the ceiling. He bottoms out and grinds into Arthur, breath coming out in jerky puffs through the mask.
“Fuck—” Arthur moans, long and low as Eames collects himself. It’s a visible effort, Eames’s breath falling back to rhythm, the lines of his shoulders settling back to their gruff hunch. He tests his grip on Arthur’s hips and then starts to move, pulling Arthur back to meet him, harder with each thrust. Arthur just holds on, easy in Eames’s grip and gasping when he pulls out. Eames smacks the head of his cock against Arthur’s hole, making a satisfied hum at Arthur’s plaintive whine.
“Will you sing for me, little bird?”
Arthur dissolves. He doesn’t know if he’s saying Eames or Bane or every vowel in the alphabet as Eames fucks him. Arthur’s breath puffs against the mirror, leaving wet streaks that drip down to the faux-marble countertop. Arthur’s sweating, too, stuck in his uniform while sweat beads on his forehead and pools in the dip of his spine. When Eames reaches around to stroke his cock, Arthur bites his lip and comes so fast it might be a record.
“This is your truth, John Blake,” Eames growls, his voice turning shaky for all his commitment to staying in-character. He looks Arthur in the eyes when he comes, bright and brilliant over the gleaming black of his mask.
Eames pants for breath against his back, holding Arthur close as he buries himself deep. His hands shake as he undoes the safety-latch of Arthur’s handcuffs. They clatter to the ground with a resounding echo off the tiles.
“Arthur,” Eames whispers, barely audible through his mask. His hips twitch gently against Arthur, aftershocks that echo through Arthur’s own body. He twists his freed wrists and braces himself against the counter.
“That was so fucking good, Eames,” Arthur sighs, willing himself to hold still even as his muscles begin to scream for attention. He’s never been able to fully savor Eames going soft inside him. This will be so nice when they’re in bed, or at least on a horizontal surface.
Eames makes a wounded noise as he finally slips out. Arthur goes to stand only to have Eames push him back down, palms big and warm as they spread Arthur’s cheeks apart.
“Look at you,” Eames says, his voice awe-struck. Arthur quivers under him, his breath catching as a warm line of Eames’s come snakes its way down his balls.
“I need, fuck,” Eames says, grunting in frustration as he reaches for the straps of his mask. “Fucking thing off me.” Eames frees himself and tosses the mask blindly behind him. It clatters against the bathtub. Arthur smiles at the deep indents red-lining his skin. That can’t have been comfortable.
Arthur’s expecting a kiss, or one of Eames’s Shakespearean litanies of praise whispered against his ear, or something other than Eames clearing the counter next to the sink with one grand sweep of his arm. Arthur’s staring at the tin of Eames’s Royal Crown pomade rolling over to the tub when Eames spins him around and picks him up, planting him on the counter with his back to the mirror and his ass hanging off the edge.
Eames sinks to his knees and pushes Arthur’s legs up and then his mouth is there , hot and searching as Arthur’s brain reboots. No one has ever done this to Arthur, and no one will ever do it this well, he’s sure of it. Eames growls and dog-licks his way to Arthur’s tender hole, kissing and nosing at him like he could drown between Arthur’s legs. He seals his lips over Arthur and sucks, moaning at the taste of himself and dipping his tongue deep inside. Arthur’s head hits the mirror with a thunk, and he curses enough for both of them as Eames licks away any vestige of Arthur’s shame.
“Fucking gorgeous,” Eames mumbles, staggering back and collapsing into a disheveled pile against the side of the tub. Arthur melts off the counter, trusting his limbs to take him to Eames and not an inch further. He climbs into Eames’s lap, draping his arms around Eames’s shoulders and tracing over the angry red lines from his mask.
“Eames, that was...” Arthur shakes his head, overcome suddenly by the sight of Eames’s hair. Freed from its confines under Eames’s mask, it’s sticking up in eight different directions, matted curls and angry tufts springing to life over the soft fuzz of his fresh undercut. Arthur nuzzles against it all, closing his eyes as he meets Eames for their first kiss since Eames had put the mask on. Eames’s mouth is filthy, and Arthur kisses him hard enough to taste it all.
“I still want room service,” Eames exhales, leaning his head back against the rim of the tub as he smiles up at Arthur.
“Of course you do,” Arthur says. “Although I think Ariadne would be appalled that we’re both wearing pants.”
“Darling, I shall be naked as a newborn babe by the time my mediocre hamburger arrives. Or at least wearing one of those bathrobes. They’re quite soft.”
“Perfect,” Arthur says, smiling softly as he rakes his hands through Eames’s hair. “We need to shower, too.”
“They can just leave the food at the door, no one has to see what a ruined little minx you look,” Eames says. “I quite like you this way,” he adds, pulling Arthur down for another kiss. “And besides, I’m only going to ruin you all over again.”
“We have to go to Javier’s party later,” Arthur says, holding fast at the pained noise Eames makes.
“Arthur, I only have the energy to eat and fuck, and I can do both of those things without leaving this room,” Eames pouts, a normally compelling move that works against him now. A pouting Eames is so handsome, Arthur has to show him off.
“If we go to the party,” Arthur says, leaning down to trace one finger over Eames’s vest, “I’ll wear the shorts.”
“You brought the shorts?” Eames’s eyes go wide.
Arthur grins. “I brought the whole outfit.”
Eames presses his warm, open palm to Arthur’s cheek.
“You’re a witch, Arthur Levine.”
Arthur has had his seams flipped.
It’s a time-honored tradition in cosplay, especially among the more old-school crowds. He’s seen people lose points for safety pins and glue-tacked seams, seen people driven to tears over hot glue strings and panicked staples. Arthur’s always liked the meticulous perfection of sewing. His costumes could be worn inside-out and still stand proudly in front of the cruelest judges.
Eames makes beautiful things. Standing off-stage, Arthur strokes his thumb over the buttery stitch-work of the tall collar Eames had set up along with all his other gear. A “posture collar,” Eames had called it. The rolled seams and decorative piping on the outside are flawless, with contrasting textures of leather that make the sloped edges glisten in the light. It’s just as beautiful on the inside.
Eames had disappeared to use the bathroom before their demo started. There are some familiar faces in the crowd—Annie’s friend Tim and his husband, Eames’s terrifying friend Astrid and her impeccably-dressed partner. Arthur’s even had drinks with Nadia a few times. He could mingle with any of them, but he’s not in the mood for small talk with acquaintances. Annie’s away for work, and Ariadne had been offered a day of assisting on a photoshoot that would pay half her rent.
Arthur fights the urge to pick at the laces of another piece as he looks out at the crowd. Even in nothing but the pair of charcoal-and-black Nasty Pig briefs Eames had surprised him with the night before, Arthur isn’t the least-clothed among them. Nadia’s wearing a knee-length latex dress that mimics a turtleneck from the front, just to reveal nothing but three intrepid straps holding it together in the back. She takes mincing steps onto the small stage, assisted by two men in matching black leather masks. They’re probably Eames’s handiwork.
“Perfect timing.” Eames slides against him, wrapping an arm around Arthur’s naked waist and pulling him back against Eames’s chest. Eames is wearing his usual black Perry, with white stripes on the collar and sleeves this time. Pink laces wrap around the ankles of his boots, and his jeans are an acid-wash that’s an affront to God. He looks great.
“Are you nervous?” Eames asks quietly. Arthur takes a deep breath, assessing himself.
“Just jitters,” he shrugs, naming the hum under his skin. “Excited, mostly.”
“You’ll enchant them all, love.”
“I just have to stand there and look pretty, right?” Arthur quips, winking as Eames is summoned to the stage by Nadia.
“Precisely,” Eames says, kissing Arthur before he bounds up on the stage. Eames does his introductions with his usual bluster and charm before offering Arthur his hand and bringing him up.
“I’m very excited to be working with Arthur, who both is and has one of the loveliest bottoms I’ve ever known.”
Arthur rolls his eyes fondly, but he still smiles at the appreciative applause.
“Today, we’ll be demonstrating some heavy bondage,” Eames says, cupping his hands over Arthur’s shoulders and sliding them down his arms. Arthur shivers.
“Remember, it’s just us, love,” Eames says softly before he grabs a set of leather cuffs.
As fun as it is to both watch and listen to Eames pontificate, Arthur lets himself sink into his body. Eames’s voice fades into a rumble in the background, a familiar current that washes over Arthur’s skin along with the restraints Eames buckles to his wrists and ankles, to his arms and thighs, the blindfold around his eyes, and finally the heavy collar around his neck.
There’s a palpable awe through the crowd as Eames laces him into it. The collar settles right under Arthur’s chin and doesn’t stop until its delicate point is nestled at his collarbone. It’s at least ten inches tall, forcing Arthur’s chin up and his shoulders back to accommodate it. Eames threads the laces methodically, gradually tightening the leather around Arthur’s throat until he can just breathe.
“Beautiful,” Eames whispers in his ear, a soft touch before he resumes his booming stage voice to describe neck injuries and the signs of a pinched nerve. Arthur lets that soft darkness pool inside him, lets it spread out over his skin along with Eames’s hands and the hungry gaze of the crowd.
He’d hated it, the last time he’d been here, knowing that all those people were watching them. Thinking Eames was just lining him up like another conquest. Eames may have conquered him, but it’s Arthur who gets to stand on stage with him like the spoils of war.
Eames binds his hands behind his back and puts him through a stack of custom gear and a dozen grueling positions. Everything around him fades and the minutes slow to amber as Arthur trembles for Eames’s pleasure, encased in leather like a homecoming. All of it smells like Eames.
“Keep your eyes closed, pet.” Eames unbuckles his blindfold and light floods against Arthur’s eyelids. He sways against Eames’s steady presence, still hobbled at the ankles and his forearms tucked back into a sleek armbinder.
“This is the most important part,” Eames says to the crowd before he crushes Arthur against him and kisses him. Arthur blinks back to the world and it’s just them, just the river-rocks of Eames’s eyes and the gentle current of his mouth pressed against Arthur’s. Applause laps against them, winding around Arthur as his vision clears and Eames smiles at him, proud and private. “Well done, darling.”
Eames slowly peels him free from the restraints, clinking buckle after buckle and dragging whipcord-laces through the eyelets of his collar. Finally, Arthur is left wearing nothing but his underwear and the envious looks of no small number of audience members.
At Eames’s insistence, Arthur takes a modest bow for the crowd. He clasps his hands behind his back as Eames invites questions, rubbing his fingers over the soft dips left behind by the wrist cuffs.
“Is that collar for sale?” asks a towering woman with frost-blue hair and a riding crop dangling from her wrist.
“I’m afraid everything you see up here was custom made for Arthur.” Eames gives him an appreciative look before beaming back at the woman. “But I’d be happy to make you one of your own, come talk to me after.”
She nods and gives the woman next to her a pat on the knee.
“And while I urge all of you to buy many, many lovely and heinously expensive pieces of gear from me,” Eames says, earning him some knowing snorts and open laughs, “don’t forget that the most beautiful bondage comes from the partner who gives you the gift of their submission. From someone who’s brave enough to trust you. I’ll take Arthur in Scotch tape and shoelaces over fancy restraints on anyone else.”
Arthur bites his lip. He’s used to attention, but no one has ever made him feel the way Eames does as he smiles at Arthur under the soft glow of the dungeon lights. When Eames kisses him, even Arthur’s seams are beautiful.
“Can I come in now?”
“No!” Arthur’s voice rings out from the tile of their hotel bathroom.
Eames sighs and rolls onto his side. He grabs a pillow and stuffs it under his head, scratching idly at his bare chest.
“But I love watching you do your makeup, darling, you get this charming little moue of concentration on your lips, it’s absolutely precious.”
“I’m almost done,” Arthur says, his voice even as Eames pouts from his exile on the bed. It’s something Eames hadn’t expected to like about these conventions—perching on the edge of the tub and watching Arthur get himself ready, primping and gluing and morphing himself into something Other, his posture excellent and his smile tight and proud. Arthur wears his sins so well.
“I’m going to start humping this pillow if you don’t pay attention to me,” Eames yells, rolling onto his stomach after giving his balls a fond scratch. He’s gotten spoiled, truly. Rolling about in even the nicest hotel bed with no Arthur in it simply isn’t any fun.
“If you’re trying to make me jealous, you’re failing.”
Eames cradles his head in his arms and stares forlornly at the bathroom door. After exiling Eames to one of the beds, Arthur had taken the longest shower in recorded human history without even leaving Eames a snack. Arthur wants to surprise him with whatever new costume he’s wearing to tonight’s party, the one Ariadne had gleefully called Geek Prom, which will certainly be something new. Teenaged Eames had been too busy pursuing his full-time extracurricular activities of starting fights and sucking cock to attend any of his school dances.
“S’downright cruel, Arthur, denying me the sight of you wriggling into one of your costumes.” As much as Eames likes surprises, he likes watching Arthur stuff himself into skin-tight spandex even more.
“Don’t worry,” Arthur calls over the sound of the tap running. “You get to take me out of it later.”
Eames’s lips are pursed around something pithy when Arthur steps out of the bathroom. Eames’s pillow hits the floor as he pushes himself upright, his mouth hanging shamelessly open.
“Arthur,” he sighs, “you look…”
Arthur smiles and turns on his heel. It’s as though Arthur has taken Eames’s reclaimed-skinhead style and run it through the grist mill of his own comic book fetishism. Glossy Dr. Martens are laced up past his ankles, with the cobalt-blue of his laces breaking under the neatly-rolled cuffs of a pair of breathtakingly tight jeans. Arthur’s polo shirt could be painted on, stretching taut across his chest and hugging the lean muscle of his biceps. His collar is striped the same color as his bootlaces, and where Eames would expect to see the Fred Perry logo, there’s an embroidered bat wing shape that will forever signal “Arthur” to Eames even before it says “Nightwing.” Arthur’s domino mask is glued to his face, his eyes blacked out with kohl underneath. A pair of braces hang about his hips, patterned in neat rows with the Nightwing emblem.
“Do you like it?”
“Do I like it?” Eames surges to his feet and doesn’t stop until he’s got Arthur backed up against the wall. He kisses Arthur, licking the Colgate taste out of his mouth as he grabs at Arthur’s arse.
“I’m going to bolt the door and fuck you until we both pass out.”
“Later,” Arthur says, kissing him back. “These jeans are so tight I’ll need help getting them off.”
“I am at your service, darling,” Eames promises, kissing up the side of Arthur’s neck.
“Good,” Arthur says, smiling and pecking Eames on the cheek before he ducks out from under him. “And I’m glad you like it. I made you one, too.”
While Eames had lasted approximately 27 minutes inside their hotel room before half his belongings had found their way to the floor, the dresser, the night table, and any other flat and vaguely-available surface, Arthur’s suitcase remains neatly packed where it’s perched on the luggage stand. Arthur darts over to it and pulls out a perfectly-folded stack of denim and black cotton wrapped with a set of braces.
“Hope it fits,” Arthur says, shrugging one shoulder as he hands the stack to Eames.
“I should change in the bathroom,” Eames teases. “Just to teach you a lesson.”
Instead, he shoves his pants down and tosses his new outfit on the bed. It’s a perfect complement to Arthur’s—the same jeans and polo, a sleek black mask, and braces printed with a yellow logo. Eames grins.
“I get to be Batman?”
He shimmies into the jeans, which fit like Arthur 3-D printed them for Eames’s body. The polo’s just as tight, with the Batman logo settling above what will surely be a spectacular view of his nipples if a cold breeze finds him. (It’s not Eames’s fault he has fantastic tits.) Eames stretches the braces in his hands and beckons Arthur over. “Does this make you my ward?”
“Something like that,” Arthur says, opening the clips with elegant fingers. He fastens them to Eames’s waistband before pressing a kiss to his cheek.
“Sit down,” he orders. Eames is contractually obligated to arch an eyebrow at Arthur’s tone, but he willingly sits at the edge of the bed as Arthur digs around in his suitcase. He grabs a small bundle and digs Eames’s boots out from their careless pile by the door.
Arthur on his knees is a sight that still hasn’t gotten old. He settles at Eames’s bare feet with his knees folded underneath him. He slips a pair of socks—Batman-patterned, naturally—onto Eames’s feet, followed by his boots. He slides Eames’s habitual red laces out of the eyelets. There’s a pack of new ones on the floor, in the same bright yellow as his braces. Arthur has an eye for detail.
“These are filthy,” Arthur tsks at Eames’s boots, shaking his head.
“They’re boots, that’s their job.” Eames nudges his toe against Arthur’s knee.
“Thought that was your job,” Arthur quips, face placid as he unfolds the last of his supplies. Eames shouldn’t be surprised that Arthur travels with an elegant, miniature shoe-shine kit, but it still delights him as Arthur urges one of Eames’s boots onto his lap and grabs a small rag.
Arthur’s full attention is a laser-focused thing. He dips his rag into the little tin of soap and starts in on the toe of Eames’s boot. Warmth blooms in Eames’s chest, radiating out as Arthur bends his head and cleans the grime from Eames’s boots. Arthur in his clever little outfit, Arthur with his long, deft fingers working over the seams of Eames’s boots, Arthur with his beautiful face and his lip bitten between his teeth in concentration.
Arthur’s soft competence melts him. Arthur, who gives himself so bravely, who knows nothing about the long tradition of bootblacking going back through generations of men who love like Eames, and somehow wraps himself around Eames’s boots like he was born to it. Arthur takes such care to craft his beloved costumes, and he pays Eames tribute in the same meticulous, masterful way he crafts all the things he loves. A knot in Eames’s stomach unfurls, shaky and fitful as he curls his hand over the edge of the mattress.
Arthur diligently cleans around each eyelet, around every crease and crack worn into the leather from Eames’s misadventures. Arthur handles him gently, holding Eames’s ankle to move the other foot into his lap, spending just as much care and attention as he polishes Eames’s boots to a high gleam. He threads the new laces in, double-wrapping them around the top to match his own.
“Arthur,” Eames murmurs, heart tripping in his chest. Arthur looks up at him, his eyes soft behind his mask. He keeps his eyes on Eames as he bends over, breaking contact finally as he closes his eyes and presses a soft kiss to the side of Eames’s boot.
Eames’s heart could break just to look at him. He knows, then, that he’ll never love anyone the way he loves Arthur. It’s terrifying and thrilling and more than Eames can bear to watch him kiss the boots he’s just blacked to perfection. He grabs Arthur by the chin and hauls him up until he’s on his knees in between Eames’s spread legs. Eames kisses him, hard and needy, swallowing Arthur’s noise of surprise. Arthur’s cheeks are warm in his palms, and the soft material of his mask tickles at Eames’s fingertips.
Arthur pulls back, his cheeks flaring pink and a kissed-soft smile on his lips. “You need your mask.”
Eames’s head is still swimming as Arthur crawls up beside him on the bed. He’s watched Arthur do this so many times, but he’s never appreciated the nerves of steel Arthur clearly possesses not to flinch at the heavy stick of black eyeliner. Arthur teases him, contorting Eames’s face to hold him still as he blacks out his eyes. The spirit gum Arthur uses to glue the mask on stinks to high heaven, but even the fumes can’t dampen Eames’s mood. Arthur is so skillful, so careful as he presses the domino to Eames’s face.
“You look perfect,” Arthur says, combing through Eames’s hair with his fingers. “Come look.”
Arthur’s up and tugging him into the bathroom. Eames can’t help his huge grin as Arthur slides under his arm and preens in the mirror. They look fucking amazing , like something from one of Arthur’s fan-artists in the alleyway or whatever-it’s-called.
“Aren’t we fetching,” Eames drawls, admiring every inch of Arthur before he spares a glance for himself. The mask is becoming on him, in the most unwholesome way. Eames grins, dangerous.
“I have one more surprise,” Arthur says, kissing Eames on the cheek before he zips out of the bathroom. Arthur’s a hummingbird when he’s like this, darting around with martial exhilaration. He reappears, just to slide his hand into Eames’s back pocket.
“Cheeky,” Eames teases, arching back into Arthur’s hand. Arthur leaves his left pocket full of something soft and swats at Eames’s arse.
“You’ll pay for that,” Eames says fondly. Arthur hums and pulls him in for a kiss. His hands settle at Eames’s waist and spin him around so Eames’s back is to the mirror.
“What do you think?” Arthur says, turning Eames’s head to check out his rear view in the mirror.
Settled neatly into Eames’s back left pocket is a red handkerchief, folding to point up in a perfect pyramid. To Eames’s impressed scrutiny, the usual paisley pattern has been replaced with Batman logos and the old-school Bamf! And Pow! action bubbles. Arthur’s attention to detail knows no bounds, and Eames is about to compliment him when Arthur turns. There’s a matching square peeking out of Arthur’s right pocket.
“Arthur,” Eames warns, reaching down to press his hand firmly over Arthur’s pocket. Eames’s pulse spikes as he stares at the swathe of red.
“I know what it means,” Arthur says, turning from the mirror as Eames draws him closer. He kneads his hand over Arthur’s arse, pressing each finger into Arthur’s firm flesh.
“This isn’t just for show?” Eames says softly, keeping his voice level. Arthur is a dream. Arthur is something crafted from Eames’s fevered imagination and wrought into rubber and muscle. Arthur is something Eames prays he never wakes up from.
“I want to do it—after the party,” Arthur adds, as Eames fails to staunch the rumble in his chest.
“You know that’s not good enough, pet,” Eames says, leveraging Arthur closer until he can rake his cock against Arthur’s. Eames is half-fucking-hard from a square of goddamned fabric and Arthur’s earnest proposal. “Tell me what you want, Arthur.”
“I want to take you downstairs and show you off to all my friends. I want to dance with you until you can’t stand it anymore. Then I want you to drag me back to this room and fuck me. With your fingers, and your tongue, and your cock.” Arthur’s lips brush against Eames’s ear as he reaches down to lay his palm over Eames’s back left pocket. “And your fist, Mr. Eames.”
Arthur squirms out of his grasp before Eames can grab him and never let go. Eames stares after him, blinking furiously until he’s convinced he’s awake.
Arthur hands Eames his phone and the key-card to their room when he stumbles out after Arthur. He fusses over Eames’s hair and adjusts his braces, and it’s only when Arthur kisses him that Eames regains his power of speech.
“What planet did you come from?”
“Illinois,” Arthur says equitably, smiling at Eames as he slips their convention badges on.
The party’s at a club a few blocks from their hotel. It’s already packed when they arrive, but Arthur finds his friends by the bar and immediately orders drinks. Annie and Ariadne shriek appropriately at their outfits, although Eames feels positively underdressed next to their capes and catsuits. How Annie can stand upright, let alone dance in those heels remains a mystery.
As much as Eames teases him about being a stick in the mud, Arthur can fucking dance. He drags Eames onto the floor and grinds against him for an array of pop songs, before Ariadne cuts in and steals Arthur for herself. Eames doesn’t begrudge her; they have routines to half the songs.
These things really aren’t so different from leather parties. There are obvious cliques and factions, the popular folk and their hangers-on, the people everyone likes and the people everyone loves to hate. Eames has spent many nights dancing in rooms full of people in masks and fantastical, skimpy costumes. He doesn’t even need Annie’s running gossip commentary to know that the romantic intrigue in the crowd could populate an entire soap opera. And like so many parties Eames has attended in recent memory, he spends most of it staring at Arthur’s arse and wondering when he can drag him back to bed.
“Thank you for watching my woman.” Ariadne slings one tiny arm around Eames’s waist and gives him a kiss on the cheek as Arthur stumbles in behind her. They’re both pinked and sweaty from dancing, a look that only adds to Ariadne’s wayward-Disney-animal charm but leaves Arthur looking sinful. The music dips and Ariadne pulls Annie to the dance floor, leaving Eames with a warm, thrumming Arthur in his arms.
“We have to dance to this song,” Arthur says, laughing as a synth beat starts to kick in. “It doesn’t hurt me,” he hums along, pulling Eames into the crowd by his belt loops. Eames smiles. Who doesn’t love Kate Bush?
Arthur doesn’t “dance” so much as rhythmically-make-out-with-him, not that Eames is complaining. Arthur’s body against him is good at any tempo.
“Are you having fun?” Arthur shouts over the music, his arms wound tight around Eames’s neck.
“With you, darling, always,” Eames says, swaying them together. Their masks threaten to stick together when Eames kisses him.
“Careful,” Arthur warns, pressing Eames’s mask back in place and then checking his own.
“I will be so very careful with you, Arthur,” Eames growls, reaching around and sliding his hand into Arthur’s back right pocket. His knuckles drag against Arthur’s handkerchief as he cups Arthur’s arse. Eames has danced enough, and if the hitch of Arthur’s hips against him is any sign, so has Arthur.
“Take me upstairs,” Arthur sighs against his ear.
Eames leaves in a haze, trailing Arthur behind him clutching at Eames’s braces. He can’t stop kissing Arthur, not on their way back to the hotel, not in the elevator, not in the hallway leading to their room. They barely make it inside.
Arthur pushes him against the door and fumbles blindly for the light switch, huffing in frustration until he’s cast into halogen softness. They wrestle with each other’s shirts, skinning them off until they’re chest to chest, stumbling toward the bed. Eames runs his fingers up the whippet-curves of Arthur’s back, holds him around the waist just to relish the breadth of his hands over Arthur’s lithe body. His mask sticks to Arthur’s again as they kiss, and Eames reaches up to peel it off before Arthur grabs his wrist.
“Can we keep them on?” Arthur, who’d calmly asked for Eames’s entire fist inside him, looks almost bashful. The black around his eyes makes them look even inkier than usual. Eames grins and presses his thumb over the edge of Arthur’s mask, tacking it back to his temple.
“Of course, little bird.” Eames smiles indulgently as Arthur turns to kiss his hand, and marvels at the delightful pathos that marches under Arthur’s skin.
Arthur manages to nip at Eames’s neck and untie his bootlaces at the same time, and he does need Eames’s help to get his jeans off. Eames peels him free and tosses the stiff denim aside before reaching for his own flies. He’s so hard it’s making his chest tight. He groans as he springs free, stroking himself as Athur climbs onto the bed. He looks adorable in his Nightwing socks, a mirror to Eames’s own Batman-patterned athletic socks, with a blue stripe up the side and the Nightwing logo stretched across the front. Arthur slides his thumb into the top of one before Eames clears his throat.
“Keep them on.”
Arthur narrows his eyes at Eames before rolling off the edge of the bed and coming back. With his boots. Eames swallows, tight all over as Arthur makes that cute, smug face and laces his boots back on.
“Better?” Arthur says, leaning back on his elbows and spreading his legs to bracket the foot of the bed with his boots digging shamelessly into the sheets and his socks cutting just below his bony, darling knees. Eames nods, staring down at Arthur as he strokes his cock and licks his lips. Arthur’s chest rises with his breath, as strong and delicate as the rest of him. Eames could paint him like this, with his mask accentuating the angle of his head tilted to one side as he stares up at Eames, his cock nestled against the curve of his leg, his boots splayed out like all of Eames’s teenage fantasies sprung to life. Better Eames is grown, though, so he can comfortably linger in the cognitive dissonance of treating Arthur tenderly for the rest of his natural life and absolutely ruining him all at once.
He grabs Arthur behind one knee and flips him over onto his stomach. Arthur doesn’t need any urging to spread his legs, good boy that he is, but he still yelps with happy surprise when Eames bites meanly at the curve of his arse. He drags his teeth down Arthur’s skin, noses against the crease of his arse, and settles his shoulders in between Arthur’s spread thighs.
Eames has heard every possible exhortation about his mouth, but the way Arthur turns feral when Eames licks into him is better than any praise. Eames slides his arms under and over Arthur’s hips, wraps him tight to hold him in place as he eats Arthur out slowly and thoroughly. Eames isn’t the biggest guy, but he’s got ploughman’s hands and forearms to match. The only way he’s getting five fingers in Arthur is with patience and more patience. And lots of lube. Eames gives Arthur a swat on the arse before reaching toward the nightstand, knowing there’ll be some in the drawer.
Next to their usual bottle is a crisp white tub with a yellow logo of a muscular arm holding a butter churn. Eames barks with delight.
“Arthur,” Eames gushes, cradling it to his chest. “You got Boy Butter?” When Arthur had found time to sneak this into the drawer Eames can’t imagine. It definitely wasn’t there when he fucked Arthur last night.
“I do my research,” Arthur shrugs, rising up onto one elbow.
“Yes, you do,” Eames agrees, “and your diligence deserves every reward.”
He tears the seal on the tub open with his teeth. Arthur grunts when Eames hauls him back by his hips, the pointed corner of his mask peeking out as Arthur splays his arms out and turns his face against the sheets. Eames slicks his cock and thumbs some of the thick, creamy lube into Arthur’s hole. Eames’s jeans are barely down past his arse, but he can’t be fucked to take his boots off or do anything that isn’t fucking Arthur.
“You don’t come until you’ve got my fist inside you, you understand?” Eames says, thumbing the head of his cock against Arthur’s hole. Eames is selfish to a fault and mean to boot, but it’s really for Arthur’s own good to hold him off. If Arthur comes too early he’ll never loosen up enough, and if he can manage to hold off, he’ll come so hard he’ll be speaking in tongues.
“I understand, Mr. Eames,” Arthur says, canting his hips like some common slag, so different from the proud, dashing hero who leaves a trail of men and women swooning in his wake. Eames honestly couldn’t pick which Arthur he likes best.
Then he’s inside Arthur and everything makes sense. Arthur hot and tight around him settles everything rattling around inside Eames. This is all he needs to do, to take care of Arthur and fuck him open. His own orgasm simmers on the back burner as he sinks his cock deep and steady into Arthur, drunk on him already. Time slows as they move together, Arthur giving it back as good as he gets, egging Eames on with little grunts and moans and sighs and the easy give of his back.
“Ready for more?” Eames looks down and traces the pad of his thumb where they’re joined together—an offer, a threat. Arthur groans his Yes into the sheets and Eames steels himself not to come the second he slides his thumb in next to his cock. There’s no easy way to do this, no gentle approach Eames can take. He forces one fat knuckle past Arthur’s resistance, then does it again with his other thumb until he can see the raw stretch of Arthur around him. Arthur makes noises that should be enshrined somewhere sacred, his hands clenched in the sheets and his booted toes digging furiously into the mattress. Everything’s shining with lube and the sweat-soaked glow of Arthur’s skin, beautiful.
“That’s it,” Eames urges, holding Arthur still as he buries himself deep. His fingers dig into the meat of Arthur’s arse, tugging him open as he circles his hips. “Open up for me, love.”
And Arthur does, slowly, shaking and gasping with each finger Eames slips in and out of him, trading his thumbs for the heavy pull of his right index, middle, and ring fingers against Arthur’s rim. Eames is barely more collected than Arthur. His breath comes in tight huffs, his toes curling in his boots every time his cock hits the back-drag of his own fingers. He’ll say one thing for wearing a mask, at least it diverts the sweat out of his eyes.
“Come on come on come on,” Arthur keeps chanting, game even when Eames sneaks his pinky finger in. Arthur just slams a fist against the pillows and backs into it, brave and stubborn and reckless.
“Good boy,” Eames pants, his voice breathless as his own control slips away and his hips snap hard. “I am going to get you–” he says, his jaw clenched and his nose flaring at the greased smack of their bodies together, “so wet.”
“Fuck—” Arthur’s back ripples as he pushes himself onto his elbows and turns to look over one shoulder at Eames. “Do it, do it, come inside me.”
Eames curls over Arthur’s back, dragging his face against sweaty skin and bearing his weight on one shaking arm. He can feel himself soaking Arthur, cock twitching against his own fingers as he comes inside Arthur’s overstretched hole. Arthur moans against him, needy and greedy and pliant, twitching at the smallest brush of Eames’s lips against his ear. He lets out a long, reedy sigh as Eames collapses on top of him.
“We can stop, if you need to,” Eames says, slipping his errant fingers free as his hips twitch out the final push of his orgasm. Arthur’s still so tight around him.
“Fuck that ,” Arthur retorts, his offended tone softened where his face is mushed against the sheets. Arthur has all the elegance of a landed sea-mammal as he shimmies out from under Eames and rolls onto his back, and just like a selkie with some hidden skin tucked off-shore, Eames is enchanted by the sight of him. Arthur grabs himself behind the knees and pulls, and Eames makes a noise that would shame a walrus.
“I need you inside me.” Arthur’s all bravado, with his boots up in the air and Eames’s heart beating between his teeth. Arthur’s hole is puffed and red and slick with come, as ruined as the rest of him with his hair sweat-stuck to his forehead and the black of his eyes streaking out from the side of his mask.
“You are so fucking beautiful,” Eames says, finding his legs wobbly as he carelessly tucks himself back in and pats the sheets in search of the lube. Arthur finds it first and chucks it at him, smiling gleefully as he slides his hand back behind his knee. Eames settles himself down, perching on his folded knees as he scoops two fingers through the lube and paints it around Arthur’s throbbing entrance. Arthur opens easily for his fingers, well-fucked as he is. Eames tries not to puff his chest out too much, but it’s hard not to preen when a fat rope of his own come seeps out past his greased knuckles. He works Arthur up to four fingers in no time, stretching him open and groaning at the glimpses of Arthur’s fucked-out rim, that pretty pink that only Eames gets to see.
He sinks the breadth of his knuckles into Arthur and strokes his free thumb over Arthur’s taint, the only chubby part of his entire body. Eames hoards that softness, pressing against it.
“Breathe with me,” Eames orders, forcing calm into his voice for Arthur’s sake, because this isn’t about Eames, and the fucked-up thrash of his heart against his ribs, the swoop of his stomach and the rush of blood in his ears as Arthur looks up at him, calm and trusting and so precious Eames could cradle him in his palm forever. Their breath falls into sync, in and out, and Arthur parts like a spring stream when Eames tucks his thumb into his palm and eases inside him.
“Eames,” Arthur whispers, shocked eyes wide and glued to Eames’s face as he opens for the full span of Eames’s hand. Eames has seen his knuckles sink past a lot of boys, but he’s never had any one of them look at him like Arthur does. Arthur is so fiercely, feverishly awake , his eyes gleaming and his hands trembling as he holds himself open for Eames. He doesn’t disappear inside himself like so many others have. Eames’s hand sinks to the wrist and he couldn’t tear his eyes away from Arthur’s face if he wanted to.
“You are so perfect,” Eames murmurs, the warmth in his voice no match for the fever-burn of Arthur on the inside. Eames moves, gently, just testing the waters as Arthur nods wordlessly at him. There’s nothing on earth that feels like this, the secret, soft throb of Arthur around him, the slick grip like he could pull Eames deep enough to cup his heart.
“I can take it,” Arthur says, licking his lips and nodding encouragement. He stares down between them, so Eames does the same, groaning at the plucked-pink of Arthur’s body where they’re joined. Eames draws back, stretching Arthur to the breadth until Arthur stuffs his own fist in his mouth to stifle the noise he makes. Eames builds him up inch by inch, fucking Arthur open until his hand glides in and out. It’s not just about depth. It’s about surrender, Arthur giving himself over completely. Eames uses his free hand to hold up Arthur’s leg, letting the sole of his boot rest on Eames’s shoulder.
“Fucking perfect,” Eames repeats, barely aware of it as he fucks Arthur hard enough to hear it. Arthur’s past words, now, his mouth moving over empty syllables as he babbles. Arthur’s cock leaks against his stomach, flushed red and smearing wet all over his skin. “Touch yourself,” Eames orders, gleaming with pride at the restraint Arthur possesses. Arthur’s hand shakes as he closes it over his cock.
“Good boy— take it—” Eames says, gruff, his own cock stirring back to interest as Arthur starts to stroke himself in earnest. Arthur matches his pace to Eames’s thrusts, giving Eames control even when he has himself in hand. His mask obscures the little furrow Arthur gets between his eyebrows, but Eames knows all his tells, from the peek of his tongue over his teeth to the way he juts his chin out, the point of his toes that even his boots can’t obscure, the tension that ripples over his stomach. Arthur’s close. Eames sinks his hand to the wrist and holds it, twisting. He can feel Arthur’s heartbeat.
“God, Arthur, I love you.”
Arthur’s face whips from strained effort to slack-jawed awe, his eyes going wide before they slide out of focus and he seizes up around Eames’s hand. Arthur ripples and shudders around him, clutching at Eames as he shoots all over his stomach. One brave little stripe even makes it to Arthur’s chin. Eames goes in to claim it as his own and finds Arthur laughing, dazed as he stares up at Eames.
“I don’t think you’re supposed to say that while your wrist bones are inside me.”
“Say?” Eames repeats, before he closes his eyes. Fuck. “Said that bit out loud, did I?”
“Yeah.” Arthur nods, giddy. “Eames, I—”
“Don’t.” Eames shakes his head. “You don’t have to say it, Arthur. I don’t need you to. It’s like you have to, now, and I can’t—” Eames sighs, cutting off the hole he’s digging himself into. “I’m still inside you, love. One thing at a time, yeah?” Eames smiles until Arthur has no choice but to crack and smile back at him.
Arthur’s the prettiest kind of ruined when Eames pulls out. The sheets are significantly less pretty, and Eames sacrifices a pillowcase to wipe his hand before he collapses next to Arthur. Arthur plants himself on Eames’s chest and traces over the outline of Eames’s mask.
“I honestly don’t know if you’re more handsome with or without the mask,” Arthur muses, humming as he peels the rubber off Eames’s face. Not much of it is stuck to his skin anymore, but the damned thing held on remarkably well. Arthur’s so good at everything he does. Unlike Eames, who has brilliantly waited until he’s wrist-deep in Arthur’s arse to finally say I love you . He’s almost done it so many times, times that would have been romantic or at least appropriate. He should have done it with the boot thing. Or the wrestling thing. Or the million other times he’s looked at Arthur and felt the earth open up beneath him.
“I’ll take that as a compliment,” Eames says, smiling magnanimously down at Arthur as he takes his own mask off. The black makeup around his eyes has streaked everywhere, caked into the gentle creases around Arthur’s eyes and striping down his cheeks.
“Do I look like a particularly sex-addled raccoon, too?” Eames asks, laughing at Arthur’s mock-offense.
“Yes,” Arthur says tartly, swiping his thumb over Eames’s cheek and coming away with a black swathe.
“Excellent, we’re a matched pair,” Eames says decisively. He tucks Arthur against his neck and noses into his hair. “Are you feeling all right?”
“I’m sure I’ll be a little sore, but I’m good.” Arthur nuzzles against him, no doubt streaking makeup across Eames’s skin and the poor, defiled sheets.
“I liked the boots,” Eames says. Arthur looks down where he’s still wearing them and points his toes. God, he’s adorable.
“I thought you would.” Arthur slinks onto his side and pushes up onto his elbow. “I’ll wear them next time if you want me to.”
“Oh, good, there’s a next time,” Eames says, letting out a great sigh of relief. Arthur frowns.
“Of course there’s—Christ,” Arthur rolls his eyes, “I loved that, Eames. And I love—”
“Arthur.” Eames hates the pleading tone in his voice.
“I don’t have to say anything, Eames. I don’t do anything I don’t want to do, for fuck’s sake.” He sighs, long and frustrated through his nose. He lays his hand on Eames’s chest, right over the Union Jack tattoo he’d gotten after leaving England. Arthur traces over the stripes, trailing down to do the same to Eames’s nipples, before dragging the flat of his palm down Eames’s stomach. Eames’s cock flags back to interest, immune to the anxiety fluttering in Eames’s ribcage.
“But if you’re going to be an asshole about it, fine. I’ll just show you.” Arthur slides his hand into the open waistband of Eames’s jeans, where he hadn’t bothered to do up the button again. Eames arches into his touch, unable to resist as Arthur carefully undoes his zipper. His cock throbs as Arthur closes his hand around it, and he can’t keep his eyes off Arthur as he slides down Eames’s side.
Arthur closes his lips around Eames’s cock and it’s Eames, damn it, who moans out I love you, Arthur again and again before it’s all over.
Arthur is brilliant for a million different reasons, but tonight the one Eames is most grateful for is his forethought to get a room with two beds.
“They should burn those sheets,” Arthur says, turning to little-spoon against Eames and pull the duvet up under his chin, safe in their warm, wet-spot-free bed.
“We’ll leave a nice tip,” Eames offers, wondering if the boot marks or the grease stains will give their poor housekeeper longer pause.
“Did you tip the room service guy?” Arthur asks, looking over at the empty trays at the foot of their bed. Arthur had eaten his chicken tenders with frightening enthusiasm.
“Of course, darling.”
“I need water.” Arthur sighs and throws the comforter off himself before Eames shoves it back.
“I’ve got it,” he says, up and grabbing a water bottle from their mini-fridge before Arthur can fully finish rolling his eyes.
“I can walk, Eames,” Arthur glares as he accepts the drink.
“If you’d just put your entire fist up my arse, I’d expect to be waited on hand and foot as well,” Eames says.
“Have you ever?” Arthur asks, taking a sip of his water and humming as Eames settles back against him.
“A few times.” Eames smiles at a very old memory of one of his first boyfriends and a can of vegetable shortening. “A very long time ago.”
“Did you like it?”
“It was interesting,” Eames admits. “I certainly like doing it more. But if you’re dying to try it, pet, I’m sure we can make it work.”
“I’m good,” Arthur says, shaking his head. “Although I think I’d be a good top in, like, a parallel universe.”
“God, but I’d be an obnoxious bottom,” Eames snorts against Arthur’s shoulder. “I speak from experience. Very needy.” Eames feigns shock at Arthur’s knowing hum and hugs him closer. “Do you believe that? That there’s parallel universes and all that?”
“Yeah,” Arthur says. “There’s always a multiverse, any comic nerd knows that. There’s a bizarro universe where I’m the big, mean dom and you’re my sweet, doting little sub.”
“Sweet and doting?” Eames repeats, arching an eyebrow.
Arthur soldiers on, refusing the bait. “Maybe we’re both cats in another one, and you spend all day chasing my tail.”
“What if I’m a dog and I just spend my days blissfully humping your leg?” Eames says, kissing Arthur behind the ear and doing his best puppy-pant until Arthur smacks him. “Always thought I’d make a good viking. Maybe I’m some great warrior who takes you as my war-bride.”
“Please,” Arthur says, “I’d be the viking. You’re the fat monk I take captive when I sack your little monastery.” Arthur turns and presses a kiss to Eames’s waiting lips. “I’d ravish you.”
“Ravish!” Eames whispers, scandalized.
Arthur smiles. “But I know we’d always wind up together.”
“Even if we’re cat-people? Or sex raccoons?”
“Especially if we’re sex raccoons. I think we’re also in space in that one,” Arthur adds, shrugging like this is self-evident. “But yeah, always.”
“What makes you so certain?” Eames says, a heart-worn thread unspooling in his chest. He closes his eyes and presses his lips to the tender crest of Arthur’s spine.
“Because I love you, Eames. I’d love you anywhere.”
Arthur yawns and tugs Eames’s arm tighter across his chest, lacing their fingers together and pressing them over his heart. Eames shuts his eyes tight and crushes Arthur against him.
Arthur sighs, voice dropping off as he squeezes Eames’s hand. “Go to sleep, Mr. Eames.”