The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don’t always soften the bad things, but vice versa, the bad things don’t always spoil the good things and make them unimportant.” – The Doctor
The club was far too loud, and if Eames leaned over the railing all he could see was a mass of bodies heaving in time to the heavy bass. Yusuf had insisted they go out, his face the picture of secretive. Turns out Yusuf was the drug dealer du jour for the members of Eames' favorite band, Inception, and had gotten them entrance to the VIP lounge where Eames now sat. Right across from their guitarist, Arthur. Eames could feel himself turning red just thinking of the number of times he'd wanked off to the man. Luckily, everything inside the club was bathed in neon reds and blues, so hopefully his flush went unnoticed.
Arthur looked perfect as always, his sinfully tight leather pants contrasted with his neatly buttoned oxford and precise rolled up sleeves. His forearms were covered in dark hair and Eames was mesmerized with the way the muscle flexed and moved beneath his skin. He couldn't allow himself to think for too long about those talented fingers or he'd likely end up embarrassing himself.
Eames was almost positive that Arthur was eye fucking him. He was watching Eames with dark eyes, sprawled across the couch opposite, his legs wide open in invitation. Eames was trying to pretend that he was listening to the front man, Dom, explaining something, Lord only knows what, by drawing a circle with a line through it. He nodded as though he understood, but continued to steal glances at the ever-quiet Arthur, and every time Eames found him still watching as though he'd never stopped. Eames swallowed and licked his lips slowly, holding back a smirk as Arthur raised an eyebrow at him.
All the signs pointed to Arthur being attracted to Eames, aside from the vital fact that Arthur was already preoccupied with someone else. A nameless twink was almost sitting in his lap, writhing to the music against him, running hands across his chest and down his legs. But Arthur wasn't reacting; just continued to act nonchalant, as though nothing was even happening. He wasn't reciprocating the touch, but wasn't stopping the guy, his eyes on Eames the entire time.
Eames couldn't stand it any longer. He wanted to test out his theory. If he was wrong he'd go home and have a nice, long wank thinking about the way Arthur's sweaty hair curled around his ear and against the back of his neck. He stood and stretched, knowing how his shirt would ride up. He nodded to Dom and half shouted that he was going to the loo, loud enough for Arthur to hear. Walking away, he made sure to roll his hips, and when he glanced back Arthur was still staring. Eames smiled to himself and shoved into the little private bathroom next to the lounge. He dithered, not sure how long he should wait until it became pathetic and he had to slink home.
But Arthur didn't keep him waiting long, pushing the door open and leaning against it. Without a word and without looking Arthur reached behind himself and locked the door, the click loud in the echoing bathroom. His eyes felt hot on Eames' skin, as though he could burn him up with only a glance. Arthur stepped closer and gripped the fabric of his shirt in one hand, shoving him back against the counter. Eames gasped and caught his balance on the edge, now half sitting on it, as Arthur breathed on him, running his hands up his arms and squeezing his biceps.
"You're so fucking hot," Eames had a split second to realized that was the first thing he'd heard Arthur say all night, before his mouth was on Eames'. Arthur didn't mess about, it was filthy and hungry; Eames felt devoured and helpless against him. He kissed back, trying to find some kind of rhythm but it was all he could to to keep up and ride the wave. Arthur wrenched free with a wet smacking sound and started in on Eames' neck, his cold hands sliding up beneath his shirt to scratch at his skin. Eames adjusted his weight until he could lean back and align their hips, feeling Arthur as hard as himself. He squeezed Arthur's ass and kneads it, grinding against him.
"Oh God, yes, Arthur. I can't believe this is happening. You've no idea how much I love your music and I think you're a proper musical genius. The way you write just blows me away every single time," he realized distantly that he sounded like a twelve year old fangirl, but the words just kept coming until Arthur made an annoyed noise and stepped back.
Eames tried to move forward with him, seeking with his mouth and hands but Arthur held him back with a palm against his chest. With his other hand he wiped his mouth off, and that really shouldn't have been as hot as it was. Eames was a very strange man with some very strange kinks.
"Look. I don't sleep with fans. No offense. Thanks for loving our music, we couldn't do it without you. But it feels gross and almost like I'm taking advantage if I do. So, thanks, but...umm...no thanks." Then he held out his hand to shake while Eames just gaped at him. How had it gone so wrong so bloody quickly? Arthur's voice was deep and it made something in Eames vibrate with want. He'd have done or said just about anything to get that mouth back on his right that second.
"Oh darling, I take it all back. I hate your music, the absolute worst caterwauling I've ever had the displeasure to hear, cats in alleys have had better hits," Eames lied shamelessly and reeled Arthur back in by his shirt tails until he had him between his legs again and an arm wrapped around his waist.
Arthur just watched him, studying him almost, for a moment until he tipped his head back and laughed, open mouthed and loud. Eames wasn't entirely sure if he wasn't offended just a little bit.
When Arthur quieted down, he still didn't move away. He brought up a hand to stroke at one of the curling tattoos across Eames' bicep.
"How about this? Instead of anonymous sex in a bathroom, you take me out for coffee. Maybe dinner? Then we can see about not-anonymous sex in a bed somewhere?"
Eames nearly tripped over his own feet in his haste to agree, dragging Arthur out of the bathroom by his hands.
"I didn't mean right now," Arthur helpfully pointed out, but he still laughed and allowed himself to be pulled along.
"What better time than now, poppet?"
Eight Months Later
A glass of whiskey balances precariously on the stack of ungraded papers, a half empty bottle beside it. Eames had pulled the laptop into his lap and was glaring furiously at the screen. He thumbed over his phone and waited patiently with it tucked between his ear and shoulder.
"Did you know that people write the most God awful porn about you and Dominic on the internet?"
"Eames it's 3am here."
"You know, I'm thoroughly convinced that none of them have ever even seen a penis, much less put one anywhere."
"Eames are you drunk? Isn't it like..." Arthur was quiet for a minute, rustling around, "eight or something there?"
"Did you just have to do the maths for that?"
"No I checked my phone app."
"Well isn't that handy. Quick, tell me what time it is in South Dakota."
"Eames," Arthur yawned loudly into the phone.
"Right. Well. I thought you should know about the porn."
"I don't care at 3am. I think I only got to bed 30 minutes ago. Besides, I already know. It's called Bandom, we have a portmanteau I think. Domthur? Something like that"
"It's Arthic. Which, while you are thick, love..." Eames waggled his eyebrows at no one.
Arthur groaned in reply.
"Dom isn't even gay. That right there, is the straightest man I have ever met," Eames complained, realizing he was bordering on whining but finding himself absolutely powerless to stop it.
"I don't think they really care. It's just people writing out their fantasies. Not a big deal." The sheets rustled over the line again and Eames could picture Arthur shrugging tiredly.
"Go back to sleep, love. I'm being silly," Eames told him, his voice becoming soft.
"Hey. Eames. Don't let it bother you."
"Of course not. I'll just grade papers drunk. It's probably the only way I can get through this drivel. I weep for the future of your country, darling. I really do."
Arthur laughed quietly. "Goodnight, or morning. Whatever, have a good day."
"I will. You too."
Eames hung up and promptly convinced himself to shut the damn laptop and pick up his red pen. Yes. That's the only way to deal with this; stiff upper lip and all.
At first it had been kind of novel, Eames had been pleased when people approached to ask for Arthur's attention. That was his boyfriend and people wanted him, but only Eames had him.
He'd stand off to the side grinning and admiring how Arthur handled people. He said yes to all of their pictures and autographs, saying no, no. thank you. He'd hug them extra hard when they said his music saved their life and Eames was so proud he could burst.
But it got old very very fast. Eames was a history professor at a tiny, private college and he lived a mostly quiet life. He was used to going out to eat and actually being able to eat his food, not being interrupted twenty times by various overeager tweens or paparazzi lurking outside the restaurant.
And Arthur always said yes and was always gracious. Flashing his dimples and taking the camera, fully practiced at the art of selfies and pressing his head against the strangers and saying "cheese."
Eames was absurdly jealous.
"This is part of my job."
"It's not your job to be accosted every five fucking seconds," Eames crossed his arms and stared down at his bare feet.
"Yes. It is. If it weren't for these people 'accosting' me, I wouldn't have a job. They're the reason we're successful, so yeah it is my job to be nice and make them feel like meeting me was a great experience. If we were out and one of your students wanted to talk to you, I wouldn't be upset about that."
"The difference is that none of my students want to fuck me," Eames scoffed.
Arthur laughed at that; his full throaty laugh with his head thrown back, and crawled into Eames' lap, straddling his thighs and grinning at him.
"Oh, I don't know. That Robert kid can't seem to keep his eyes off you. I think he might've actually drooled a little when we bumped into him getting coffee last week."
Eames scowled and refused to blush.
"Besides," Arthur kissed the side of his mouth, one side then the other. "The only person I want to fuck is you."
He continued to feather kisses across Eames' face and neck until Eames gave in, growling and hauling him up, carrying him into his bedroom and dumping him on the unmade bed.
That weekend Eames found himself being dragged out by Yusuf, protesting loudly the entire time.
"It's been a month, you can't mope and refresh TMZ all night...again."
"I do not mope," Eames muttered into his glass, refusing to look at Yusuf's incredulous face.
"Sure you don't. Besides, I need a wing man."
Eames sighed and shook his head, making a shooing motion.
"I wish you luck finding a woman with such low standards," Eames saluted him with his glass. "Ow! You tosser," he winced when Yusuf punched him in the shoulder. He really couldn't take a joke.
Eames was miserable and had given up checking his watch discreetly, but found himself outright staring at it pointedly and kicking Yusuf under the table.
Yusuf, however, was now distracted by his new friend Tami's tongue, and Eames was having to fend off the grabby hands of Denise, her plastered friend.
"I have a boyfriend, love," he told her as he pushed her hand off his thigh for the eight hundredth time.
"Oh. Where is he?"
"He's on tour."
"That's convenient," she raised an eyebrow.
"Isn't it," he breathed out, rolling his eyes and swiping at his phone hoping for an emergency text. But no such luck.
"That must be real hard, him being away. Don't you get lonely?" she pressed her breasts against his shoulder and breathed directly into his face.
"Not so much. We talk and Skype," he shrugged her away and attempted to scoot further into the booth, being halted only by the wall. That traitor.
"But how do you know he's not cheating? All those groupies throwing themselves at him."
Eames stiffened, the thoughts he'd been trying to suppress for weeks floated immediately to the surface at her words. He didn't know, for sure. They hadn't been together that long. What did he know? He'd never dated a rock star. He gritted his teeth and shook his head.
"Because I trust him," he'd had enough now; he kicked Yusuf even harder beneath the table. Yusuf blinked confusedly at him. "It's time to fucking go."
Eames hadn't heard from Arthur besides a few text messages for a week. He knew that Arthur was busy traveling across Australia and then would be flying to Europe in a couple of days. It feels weird to know that Arthur would be in his home while he'd be stuck here in Arthur's.
He had his hands full with two tubs of rocky road when he saw the Enquirer shoved crookedly into the magazine rack. He set the ice cream down on the floor and picked up the paper with trembling hands.
In bright yellow letters were the words confirming his worst fear. Next to a picture of Kim Kardashian and her "shocking" new weight gain was a picture of Arthur and a woman in his lap, her hands looped around his neck and Arthur dimpling up at her.
"Bassist for Inception Not Actually Gay as he Claimed, Pictures To Prove It. Pg. 54"
Eames flipped it open and there were more pictures of them dancing against each other and holding hands; the worst one is a small and blurry one where the woman's hands are on Arthur's face, pulling him towards her.
Eames heaved and stumbled back. He slipped as he whirled around, heading for the exit and leaving his ice cream to melt on the floor. He didn't realize he'd stolen the magazine until he got in the car and found it still gripped in his hand, Arthur's face ripped across the front.
He sent a picture of the magazine spread to Arthur's phone then ignored the increasingly frantic texts, calls and Skype pings for the rest of the night. When he woke up he finally relented and answered the third call of the morning.
"Eames! Where have you been?! I was getting worried."
"Nice to know you care," Eames winced at his own tone, his heart beating far too fast.
"What the fuck? Of course I care. What's that supposed to mean?" Arthur demanded.
"Just thought you'd be busy with Ariadne," He'd read the article about twenty times, he knew the sordid details. "Funny, I thought she was your opening act; turns out I was and she's the main attraction."
"Eames," Arthur laughed, and it stung Eames to the core.
"Something funny?" He fiddled with the coffee machine to occupy his hands, his stomach too sick to drink it.
"I don't know, Arthur. I may just be confused. I thought we were serious. But I was wrong."
"Eames, those pictures are bullshit. Ari's a friend. A lesbian friend. Not to mention that I'm gay. I can't believe you're upset about this."
"Oh, so sorry to be upset about my boyfriend kissing other people. I'll work on that."
"Are you fucking kidding me?" Arthur shouted and then quickly lowered his voice. "I can't believe this."
"Yeah. Me neither," Eames leaned back against the counter and tried to take deep breaths to stop his body from shaking.
"You know what? Fuck you!" Arthur shouted.
"Fuck me?! Fuck you!" Eames stood up straight and shouted back, indignant now.
"I shouldn't have to explain myself. You should just fucking trust me. You should trust that I would never ever do that. It shouldn't matter that I don't even like women, or that I'm on tour, or any of that shit. You should trust me."
"Why should I? It's not like we know each other that well," Eames complained.
"We don't know...what the fuck, Eames?!" Arthur spluttered.
"Well...we don't," Eames tried to ignore how petulant he sounded to his own ears.
"I can't do this," Arthur whispered. "This is my life and if you can't handle it then...maybe we shouldn't be together."
"I have to go."
Eames stared at the 'call ended' message on his phone for long minutes, feeling sick. What did he just do?
Two days later and Eames hasn't heard a word from Arthur. He'd attempted to call five or maybe twenty times and it'd gone straight to voicemail every time. He was currently sitting on his couch in sweatpants, surrounded by take out containers and tissues. He'd caught a glimpse in the mirror earlier and he looked like utter shit. His hair standing on end, stubble untamed, his face blotchy, and his eyes red rimmed.
He wasn't crying.
And if he was, it was because he'd been watching sad movies on the Hallmark channel. He was just sensitive to such well written scripts.
The doorbell rang and he jumped, pausing "My True Love and My Dog Are Dying Slowly," trying to remember if he'd ordered more pizza. He didn't think so but he also wasn't entirely sure what time it was or what he'd done in the last couple of hours. He shuffled through the detritus around the couch and swung the door open to find Arthur looking worse for the wear and swaying in the hallway.
He slumped forward and Eames caught him easily. He led Arthur over to the couch and sat him down in the clear space he'd just vacated, moving the popcorn bowl onto the coffee table and sitting beside him.
"What are you doing here?" he suppressed the excitement bubbling in his chest and tried to focus on figuring out what was wrong.
Arthur didn't reply, but climbed into Eames' lap and tucked himself up against his chest, knees on either side of his hips and pressing into the cushion. He pressed his face into Eames' neck and just breathed quietly. Eames wrapped both arms around him and squeezed a little, closing his eyes at the smell of lovely Arthur there in his space. He tried his best not to hope this meant anything, but was losing the battle to just start ugly crying and beg Arthur to take him back.
"We have a break before London and so I flew to see you."
"From Australia?" Eames asked, utterly bemused.
"Yeah. It's like yesterday now, right?"
"I suppose it is, love," he ran a hand across Arthur's back and bit back a grin at the pleased noises emanating from him. Arthur suddenly sat up and looked down at Eames, resting his hands on his shoulders.
"This is important, Eames," his eyes blinked dazedly and he swayed a little to the left before straightening himself. "I time traveled for you. I went back in time for you. If that's not love, then I don't know what is."
Eames blinked, his hands gripping the back of Arthur's shirt.
"You love me?"
"Of course I do. You stupid asshole," Arthur lightly smacked him in the back of the head.
"Ow," he complained even thought it didn't hurt, because he needed time to gather his thoughts.
"But you broke up with me?"
"Right, 'cause you were being an idiot. I can't control my fans, Eames. I can't control the paparazzi. I can only control how I feel about you, and I need you to trust me."
Eames remained quiet as he watched Arthur's face, much like Arthur did to him when they first met.
"I am," Arthur nodded slowly.
"Let's get you to bed then."
"But Eames, I'm a time traveler. I'm the new doctor."
Eames laughed and pushed Arthur up and off his lap, before standing and leading him to the bedroom. "Of course you are. But even Timelords need sleep."
"I don't think they do," Arthur argued, but it's muffled into a pillow and followed by a yawn.
"Okay," Eames soothed, pushing his curls back from his forehead.
The only reply was a very light snore, and Eames laughed as he leaned forward and kissed Arthur's slack mouth before he whispered "I love you too."
"I meant it, you know. It wasn't the sleep deprivation."
"What, that you think you're Matt Smith?"
"I'd be David Tennant if we were picking Doctors," Arthur scoffed.
"Ah, right. Sorry."
"As you should be," Arthur rolled into Eames' side and flung an arm around his waist so they were nose to nose. "No. I meant that I love you."
Eames hadn't realized he'd been holding his breath until he grinned and exhaled loudly.
"I love you too."
"Good, 'cause your morning breath is terrible."
"Oi. Fuck you!"
Arthur waggled his eyebrows and thrust his hips lazily. "Come and get it then."
"Such a charmer," Eames rolled over on top of him with a groan, not feeling terribly hard done by at all.
Lying naked and sticky in the morning sun, all the blankets and pillows shoved off the bed they pant beside each other.
"God, I missed that," Arthur stretched and smirked when he noticed Eames watching his every move.
"Is this going to work?" Arthur closed his eyes as he said it, and Eames winced.
"Way to ruin the afterglow, darling," Eames chastised with a heavy sigh.
Arthur glared at him and chewed on his bottom lip.
"I've been a right git. I admit it," he held his hands up in surrender. "I honestly never thought of myself as a jealous person."
Arthur snorted and raised an eyebrow in response.
"Maybe I just care about you more than anyone I've ever been with. Maybe you mean more."
"That's sweet, Eames but we can't keep going like this."
"You're right. But I think I can do this. I love you and don't want to lose you."
"You think you can? I don't want to keep having this same fucking argument."
"No. I know I can. I trust you, I do. I don't want to keep arguing about it either, I'd really love to argue about something else."
"Oh? Like what?" Arthur laughed a little.
"Mmm...we can argue about money and sex. I've heard it's what couples do."
Arthur collapsed against him and sighed. "Is it ridiculous that even though that sounds awful, I'd rather do that with you than anyone else?"
Eames laughed and pulled him closer. "No. I mean, after all, you did time travel for me. That's real love."
"You better fucking believe it. Now, I need you to fuck me into next week before I have to take another transatlantic flight to prove how much I love you."
"I think that can be arranged," Eames smiled, baring all his teeth, wicked and predatory before manhandling Arthur over on his stomach and reaching for the lube.
Eames might just not have fucked it up after all.