Just because Ariadne knows things about Eames doesn't mean she shares them with the rest of the class or ever intends to, but on day three of the worst rainstorms Sacramento's seen in years, she puts her foot down.
"Eames, no way," she tells him.
It's 6:45 and he's pulling on his suit jacket, car keys jangling in his hand.
"Ariadne, penguins," he replies.
She stares at him. "What?"
"I thought we were playing, say someone's name and then a a completely nonsensical statement," he explains. "Am I doing it wrong?"
Because Ariadne is a sworn officer of the law, she resists the urge to kick Eames in the shin in favor of snatching his car keys away. "It's pouring, Eames," she tells him, holding them out of his reach. "I'm not letting you go back to that house."
The way his jaw tightens, his shoulders stiffen, it's tiny, so well hidden it's nearly invisible, and if Ariadne hasn't been watching Eames for his tells for a decade now, she wouldn't have even noticed. But she does, and she isn't fooled by the stupid smile he puts on his face when he says:
"Don't be ridiculous, Ariadne, the house is fine. Give me my keys."
She drops them down the front of her shirt.
Raising an eyebrow, Eames says, "If you wanted so desperately for me to grope you, you only ever had to ask."
"Yeah?" she asks, and opens her arms. "Go for it."
He stares at her for a long time, and for half a beat Ariadne thinks he's actually going to do it, stick his hand down her shirt — probably, this will be when Yusuf will walk in and draw the inevitable conclusions — but there's that flash again, that jagged edge still in his look, and Eames's hands close into fists.
"Ariadne, please," he growls.
"No," she snaps, and waves out the windows — blurred gray and green from the downpour. "I checked, it's going to rain all night. There's a flash flood warning for your county and everything."
Eames is staring at her breasts with an awkward neediness, and Ariadne would find this entire situation fucking hilarious if she didn't know how fucked up it was, that Eames is desperate to get back to the shell of a house, forever half-built, crumbling plastic tarp and rotting-away carpet stacked in the poured cement basement and Arthur's blueprints for the place still hermetically sealed in plastic tubes near Eames's tragic fucking inflatable mattress. She'd gone to check on him out of curiosity years ago, a few months after they'd officially iced the investigation, and she'd gone out to the address on file with his driver's license thinking Hill House had to have been completed by now — they'd cleared it of being a crime scene ages ago, and Eames hadn't moved, so the building must have resumed. She'd been wrong.
"It's fine," Eames says, and in a quieter voice, says, "It has a roof."
"It has plywood walls and a barely-laid frame and no insulation," Ariadne hisses back. "You'll drown or you'll freeze. I'm not letting you sleep there tonight."
Eames looks like he's ready to fight her when she pulls her dirty trick card, the one she swore she wouldn't, that she holds in reserve. Maybe she's spending it stupidly, but she can't bear it, she's watched him do this two days already, she can't do it one more night, and Ariadne sucks in a deep breath.
"You'd break his fucking heart," she snaps at him. "You would be breaking Arthur's heart if he knew you were doing this."
It's funny all the things that cross over Eames's face when someone mentions Arthur's name. In passing, when he hears it by accident or out of context, Ariadne always glances over to check for a reaction, and by now — it's been five years already — it's mostly nothing, at most a flicker of memory and nothing more. But whenever anybody talks about Arthur — really talks about him — when Eames isn't starting the conversation by joking about his very famous tragic story, then it's a whole different series of expressions. It's always cold shock first, like he's remembering all over again that Arthur is dead, and then fury like there's been no time at all since it happened, and it all transmutes itself into exhausted grief in a heartbeat. She hates that look on his face, she does, but she hates the thought of him huddling in a fucking camper tent in the bones of a house Arthur was building them more, like he wants to die there, too.
"Come home with me, okay?" she pleads, quiet. "Come home with me, or you can sleep on the couch in here, but I have a guest room and a shower and a roof and heat, so you should come with me, okay?"
Eames just keeps staring at her, eyes gone glassy at this point.
Ariadne says, "Eames, please," because she's been carrying around this ark of guilt for half a decade now, trying to give Eames his distance and be respectful of his grieving, making allowances. You don't tell someone he need to move the fuck on after he finds his partner vivisected in the home they've been building together by the killer he was helping to find. And Ariadne had a part in this, too; she'd made that first call to Arthur back when Eames had still been writing God damn books about crossing over and reaching out to the other side and asked — feeling like a moron — if Eames would take a look at a case.
"Oh my God, seriously?" Arthur had laughed, and said, "Ari, come on."
"Arthur, for fuck's sake, take pity on me, alright?" Ariadne had begged, her desk overflowing with photographs of the Extractor's work: cut up bodies with missing pieces, and always with a message on the wall: I KNOW YOUR SECRET. "I cleaned up your puke so much in college — just put your fucking boyfriend on the phone."
"I'm staying on the line," Arthur had promised, still cracking up. "I have to hear this."
So she's to blame for this, too, for the fact that Eames walks around dressed like a colorblind hobo annoying the fuck out of everybody, that he blandly informed her that when they found the Extractor, she should save the handcuffs for Eames because Eames was going to kill him on the spot. So she's partially to blame for the way Eames keeps going back to Hill House and sleeping on a blow-up bed staring across at the age-dark blood still on the floor from where the Extractor had taken Arthur's heart, from where he'd left a note, casual, typewriter on yellow legal paper. So yeah, she's desperate.
Eames shakes himself out of his trance. "Fine."
"Okay?" she asks, and before Eames can change his mind, she grabs her coat and her bag and hustles him out to her car, stuffs him into the passenger seat because if she lets him drive himself, he'll just drive to Hill House. She knows him.
It's later, NPR on softly in the background talking about the prodigious storms, pulling into the driveway of her rambling bungalow, that Eames says:
She turns the keys in the ignition, the car shutting down. "Yeah?"
Eames just keeps staring out the windshield at the rain. "Don't ever, ever use that on me again," he says, and he gets out of the car.
Ariadne lets herself sit in the car until she stops shaking, until her heart stops racing, puts her head on her hands where they're clutching the steering wheel.
"Okay," she says to herself. "Okay," and gets out of the car to go inside.