The first time was an accident.
Eames hadn’t meant to kiss Arthur, but he’d had several drinks and god Arthur just looked so good in a suit and he’d leaned in before he realized what he was doing. As soon as his brain caught up he expected Arthur to pull away, but he was already kissing Eames back. Kissing him back hard. Eames had barely had time to unlock his hotel room and pull them both inside before Arthur was pulling off his jacket, moaning slightly into his mouth as Eames’ hands wandered down to his ass and oh he liked how that felt. He liked how that felt a lot.
The silence afterwards as they’d laid on the bed trying to catch their breath had been almost unbearably awkward. Eames had done his fair share of sleeping around over the years, but he’d never slept with a teammate before. And definitely not one he worked with as much as he did Arthur. He’d avoided it for a reason; it made things messy and uncomfortable and was an unquestionably bad idea. Yet here he was.
Eames looked over. Arthur was staring at the ceiling, looking anywhere but at him. Eames tried to keep his voice even, which was difficult with the memory of Arthur gasping his name as he came just minutes before still fresh in his mind. “So.”
“I should…probably go back to my room.”
“Yeah probably.” It was his turn to stare up at the ceiling, trying not to watch as Arthur sat up and began getting dressed. His gaze wandered occasionally though despite his best efforts, taking in and appreciating the long lines of Arthur’s form now that he was…less distracted by other things. Consequences of this aside, it was an admittedly nice view.
Arthur paused by the door, looking awkwardly at the floor. “I’ll, um, see you tomorrow I guess.”
“Yeah. See you tomorrow.” He waited until he heard the door shut before covering his face with his hands, groaning as the full implications of what had just happened hit him. This was going to be an absolute mess to figure out. He’d gotten himself into a number of awkward situations in the past, but none of them quite like this. Still, as bad a decision as it was, he could say he quite regretted it. Yet, at least.
The second time was less of an accident.
Things had been a bit awkward between them over the days following, but not nearly as bad as Eames had expected. They’d gone back to working alongside each other without too much of an issue, just a couple days of avoiding eye contact. It was, on the whole, not a bad outcome, especially given how badly Eames knew it could’ve turned out. He knew he should just let it lie. Be grateful things weren’t more uncomfortable between them and let it be. No matter how much he’d enjoyed it, it had still been a bad idea.
He had enjoyed it though. A lot, actually. More than he necessarily cared to admit. So when he’d seen Arthur sitting at the hotel bar after they’d finished a job he’d sat down next to him, ignoring the voice in his head pointing out that this was a terrible idea.
He wasn’t exactly sure when Arthur’s hand had ended up on his thigh, but it hadn’t taken long after that before he had Arthur pinned against the door of his room. The noises he made bordered on obscene and the only thing better than hearing them was knowing he was the reason Arthur was making them.
The silence afterwards was less awkward this time. It was definitely still somewhat uncomfortable, but less painfully so compared to the last time. Eames stared at the ceiling, unsure how to proceed. Once might’ve been a mistake, but twice was intentional and he wasn’t sure what to do with that. Or with the fact that he definitely wouldn’t mind there being a third time. He glanced over at Arthur, trying to figure out what he should say. What he wanted to say. Arthur’s eyes were closed and he was still breathing heavily, flushed and relaxed. He looked so different like this, with none of his normal stiffness or aloofness. Eames thought he almost looked happy. “This was…nice. Fun.”
Arthur opened his eyes and turned to look at him, looking away again almost immediately. “Yeah, it was.”
They fell back into silence, a little more awkward this time, before Arthur sat up and started gathering his clothes. Eames didn’t bother pretending to look away this time, taking full advantage of the view instead. Arthur rolled his eyes when he noticed him staring, but even in the relatively dim lamp light Eames could see him blushing. It was almost funny, really; it certainly wasn’t like his interest was a secret by this point.
“See you tomorrow, then.”
The third time definitely wasn’t an accident.
He hadn’t exactly been sure how to bring up the fact that he very much wanted to sleep with Arthur again, but as it turned out he didn’t need to. When Arthur had asked him if he had any plans for the evening as they were leaving the workshop it hadn’t been hard to guess the motivation behind the question. They hadn’t even bothered with the pretense of drinks this time, just going straight to Eames’ room when they got back to the hotel.
Both of the times they’d slept together previously had been somewhat rushed, adrenaline and excitement and alcohol spurring them on, but Eames took his time this time, remembering the things that had made Arthur make such wonderful noises last time and doing them again intentionally. Arthur was so sensitive and god the way he gasped and moaned Eames' name was beautiful. He was beautiful. All long lines and sharp edges that felt so wonderful to explore, slowly and deliberately, savouring how tightly Arthur grasped the sheets as Eames left marks that he knew would be bruises tomorrow.
Eames could already see marks forming on the crest of Arthur’s hips as they laid next to each other, both panting. He was fairly certain he’d have his own bruises on his shoulders tomorrow from Arthur’s grip, but he didn’t mind in the least.
Arthur sat up slowly. “I should probably go.”
Eames shrugged. “Yeah. If you want.”
Arthur paused, frowning slightly. “What do you mean?”
“I mean, it’s not like I have plans for the rest of the night. You don’t have to leave immediately.” He shrugged again, looking away. He could feel his cheeks getting warm, which was stupid; it wasn’t like he was asking him to stay, just letting him know he could. If he wanted to. “Up to you, I guess. I don’t care either way.”
Arthur hesitated, looking uncertain. “As long as you don’t mind.”
“Wouldn’t have offered if I did.”
Arthur nodded and laid back down slowly. Eames watched him, suddenly unsure what to do. He honestly hadn’t thought Arthur would stay. Why would he? After a moment he reached out hesitantly and a few strands of hair off Arthur’s forehead. Arthur looked at him, surprised, but didn’t pull away, so Eames ran his hand through his hair. It was getting long, longer than Arthur usually let it get at least. It looked good on him though. He usually wore it brushed back but every once in a while it would fall in his face. He generally pushed it back into place quickly but if he was particularly distracted or absorbed in a task sometimes he’d leave it for a bit. It was a nice look on him. Just about anything was, honestly, but that was a particularly nice look. “God, you’re just…so attractive, you know that?”
He stopped as soon as he realized what he’d said, embarrassed. He hadn't meant to say that outloud. He could feel his face getting red, but Arthur just laughed. "Really? And here I thought I was, what was it you called me the other day? Insufferable?"
Eames frowned, cheeks burning. "I'm starting to think 'insufferable' is a good description again."
"I don't know, I think I rather like you calling me attractive."
"You can be both."
This hadn't been an accident for a while now.
Eames stared up at the ceiling, running his hand through Arthur's hair absentmindedly. His head was resting on Eames' chest, arm draped across him. He might have fallen asleep; he didn't usually stay the night but occasionally he'd fall asleep while they were laying together, and Eames certainly didn't mind. He actually rather liked it when Arthur stayed. It was nice waking up next to him in the morning.
"You've gone awfully quiet."
Not asleep then. "Just thinking, I guess."
"Don't strain yourself, I know you're not used to it."
"Piss off." Eames grinned and pulled Arthur closer. He'd thought at first that this…thing they had, whatever it was, would probably be short lived, but they'd been doing this for almost six months now, and both of them seemed more than happy to continue. Eames certainly was at least, and if the way Arthur was draped across him was anything to go by, he was too.
"Thinking about anything in particular?"
"I don't know." Eames shrugged. "This. Us."
Arthur tensed slightly. Despite sleeping together increasingly often, they'd never actually discussed it, at least not directly. It'd seemed like the sort of conversation best avoided. "Oh?"
"Yeah. It's nice." He trailed his fingers down Arthur's arm, past the scar from where he'd been grazed in a shootout and the one from where he'd gotten into a fight in Lisbon. Eames still thought that particular story was hilarious, even if Arthur told him to shut up every time he brought it up. He traced over the faint scars on Arthur's knuckles lightly; he'd never gotten the story behind those, but he had no doubt it was probably an interesting one. Hopefully he'd get to hear it one day. "You know, I didn't actually mean to kiss you that first time. It was a complete accident. I mean, I wanted to, but I'd always figured there was a good chance you'd deck me if I did, so if I hadn't had a few drinks I probably wouldn't have." He rested his cheek on the top of Arthur's head. "Really glad I did though."
Arthur relaxed against him. "Me too." He turned his hand slightly, intertwining their fingers. "You know, there's a Greek restaurant near the workshop I was thinking of checking out."
Eames smiled. "Yeah?"
"Maybe we could grab dinner there this week."
"I'd like that."
They fell back into silence that had long since stopped feeling awkward. Eames could feel sleep beginning to pull at him but was perfectly content to stay where he was, Arthur nestled against him. He could get used to this, falling asleep with Arthur in his arms. He wanted to get used to it.
"Do you mind if I stay the night?"
Eames smiled again, kissing the top of Arthur's head before wrapping his other arm around him. "I was hoping you would."