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Between a Knot and a Hard Place

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When Arthur wakes up, Eames is spooning him. Bare skin against bare skin, the heat of Eames’s chest like a furnace against his back.

It feels nice, but unfamiliar. Eames usually sleeps sprawled on top of the covers in a pair of boxers and an old tank top, while Arthur sleeps naked underneath them curled up on his side. He mumbles, not ready to be roused yet, still reveling in the clutches of sleep and the pleasant warmth of Eames’s mouth on his shoulder.

Eames’s arm tightens where it’s draped over his waist, the hairs on his arm scratching against his stomach. Arousal scorches up Arthur’s spine when his thumb brushes over a nipple. His toes curl.

“It’s coming on, isn’t it?” Eames asks, his voice sleep-gruff as he nudges up behind Arthur’s ear.

Arthur only groans in answer without even opening his eyes, spreading his thighs for Eames’s morning erection to slip between them. The soft cotton sheets play over his nerve endings when he shifts, causing a whimper to rise in his throat. If he had the energy, he’s sure he could turn on his belly and just frot against the bedding, coming from that alone. He doubts it would take long at all, even without Eames’s hands and cock rubbing against him.

“Fuck, Arthur,” Eames breathes at his ear as his touches rove lower—pinching at Arthur’s nipples, cupping his balls, playing over the firm length of his prick. His mouth is busily sequestering hot, sucking kisses at the base of Arthur’s neck. “Don’t suppress,” he says, low, threading his hand through Arthur’s hair.

Arthur lets his head loll back, baring his throat, floating gloriously on the fine edge of sleeping and waking, Eames’s cock a tantalizing thickness between his thighs, the slick head nudging up behind his balls. Curious, he squeezes his legs together and smiles when Eames gasps, paints Arthur’s sensitized skin with hot smudges of precome.

“Please,” Eames whispers. “Please, darling, don’t. Just this once.”

“How did you know?” Arthur mumbles, opening his eyes at long last.

Eames’s deep-chested hum rumbles through his bones. “God, I can smell it on you.”

“You checked the app on my phone, didn’t you?”

“That too,” Eames admits, sucking gently at one of his earlobes, giving it a nip when Arthur tries to squirm away. “But I’d know anyway,” he says with certainty.

Arthur imagines it, a handful of days just for indulging. He doesn’t reply, arches his back instead, offers up his mouth for kisses.

“We’ll finish up early today,” Eames wheedles. “Then there’s nothing to do but wait until the chemist checks in next week.”

He whines, feeling Eames start to move, fucking his thighs like he can’t wait long enough to get inside him properly. One wide, spit-slicked hand slips around to palm his own cock, stroking just roughly enough to make Arthur’s body seize up with delight

Eames is still pleading his case. “So good for me, darling, always so good. I want to make you scream for me, want to see you take it. I want you soaking wet for it. How long has it been now?”

Well over a year, but Arthur knows Eames is already aware of this. Months upon months of fumbling for lube instead of letting Arthur’s body function the way it was meant to, of Eames either pulling out before coming or gritting his teeth and forcing himself not to tie and lock them together.

“We can stay in, order up room service all weekend.” He buries his face in Arthur’s nape, mouthing there, riding his hips against Arthur’s ass with slow, measured thrusts. “God, and I’ll make you feel so good, until you can’t stand it. Let me do that for you, sweetheart, let me have you like that.”

Before, when Arthur was less diligent about suppressing his cycle, Eames used to usher him through every last second of it. He would draw every kiss and touch out until Arthur was on the edge of going crazy with need, would use his fingers and mouth to work Arthur into a frenzy of desperation long before Eames was even inside him. Arthur loved it almost as much as he loathed himself afterward, hating his body for scrambling out of his control. Even then, Eames somehow seemed to sense exactly when to leave him alone and when it was all right to touch him again.

“I…” Arthur gasps. “I don’t…”

Eames is still jerking him off, making Arthur wriggle and clamp his thighs even tighter around Eames’s cock. When Arthur comes, it’s like popping a champagne cork--and, he’s a little irked to note, probably didn’t even take half the effort. Eames has wicked, shamelessly clever hands and he knows a thing or two about making people look at things from his side.

He turns over and wraps his fingers around Eames’s erection, lingering at the base where he knows it thickens the most, trying to recall the last time he’d felt that inside him.

Wanting it.

“All right,” says Arthur, and Eames’s face lights up like a tropical sunrise.

Arthur grins, sneaks a kiss against his cheek, and slips out of bed after giving Eames’s cock a final squeeze. “Let’s save that for later, okay?” he says cheerfully, ignoring the long-suffering sigh Eames utters. “You’re going to need it.”

He showers, shaves, brushes his teeth in the blue-tiled hotel bathroom.

The prescription bottle in the medicine cabinet, that he ignores for once.




It starts sooner than he expects. Warmth pricking under his collar. Blood rushing to his head while all attempts at logical thought seem intent on rushing from it. Cobb asking if he’s okay.

Cobb, who’s supposed to be retired but still can’t help throwing in for the occasional job that’s close to home. Arthur waves him off, mumbles something about feeling a migraine coming on, and slips into the bathroom to splash his face with cold water and try to smother his pheromones with cologne.

He’d almost forgotten this. The wanting. Sweat soaking his undershirt in patches. Body clenching around nothing, wanting to be taken, opened up and filled and used. He isn’t used to it, he’s been quashing his heats with medication for so long, only making occasional exceptions when they don’t interfere with work and Eames is there to help him through them.

It hits him harder than he anticipates when he starts lubricating. He forgot just how embarrassing it is, the way it makes him feel filthy and undisciplined in spite of being turned on beyond reason. The impulse to barricade himself in the bathroom is overpowering; he’s sure everyone somehow knows and there’s nothing he can do to stop it. Arthur received the same spiel as every other young omega growing up, the one about biological necessity and the natural progression of cycles, but his heats have always made him ashamed, the way they reduce him to a helpless body wanting to be bred.

There’s only so much they can accomplish today before the compounds arrive, which makes it harder than ever to concentrate on anything that isn’t his discomfort. Arthur wolfs down his lunch, drinks and sweats out what seems like about a dozen bottles of water, and just when he’s starting to think maybe he’s getting a grip on himself Eames comes back.

Biological necessity, Arthur reminds himself.

“I need you,” he whispers in defeat, catching Eames in the back behind the file cabinets. Just making eye contact is enough to have him weak in the knees and the smell of him, god, it’s unholy. He nuzzles Eames’s ear and cheek and slicks his mouth against the pulse in his neck, riding his cock against his hip. “I want it, please.”

Eames growls softly, eyes thinning with pleasure, but then he draws out a handkerchief and starts dabbing the perspiration from Arthur’s temples.

“I’ll go tell Cobb you’re not feeling well,” he begins, but Arthur isn’t having that. Arthur is practically clawing at his shirt, not at all keen to let him loose. More than anything, he wants to rip open Eames’s button-up and rub his face against him, taste him and inhale him and swallow up as much of his scent as he can.

“Don’t leave,” he says, ducking his face into the crook of Eames’s neck, lapping at the salty skin in the hollow of his throat. A new flush of pride overtakes him when that makes Eames groan, rough and deep. Arthur writhes against him, tries to get a hand down his pants, knowing it’s cruel to Eames but not caring. “Don’t leave me like this, okay?”

He’s appalled at how garbled his words are with want, like he’s back in adolescence and rutting against anyone willing to stand still long enough to put up with him.

But Eames doesn’t laugh at his lack of self-control. His own eyes are nearly all pupil, glazed with something that makes Arthur lean in eagerly to suck at the plushness of his lower lip, lick deep into the intoxicating heat of him.

“Let me go talk to him,” Eames repeats when Arthur lets him come up for air, “then we’ll get you back to the room before…”

Before everyone can smell how desperate he is, Arthur finishes mentally.

“You’re all right?” Eames presses their foreheads together, strokes his hands down Arthur’s cheeks and shoulders and sides until they rest chastely on his hips, clasping firmly enough to keep him from thrusting them forward.

Arthur nods, tries to reel in his hormones, and lets him go.




He does, ultimately, end up tearing Eames’s shirt off him.

The two of them are barely through the door when it happens and from there it’s a scant matter of seconds before the floor is strewn with every article of clothing they can shed without having to stop kissing. Arthur mewls—fucking mewls like some helpless little animal, and he can’t even find the brainpower to resent himself for it—when Eames draws back long enough to pull his undershirt over his head, but then Eames is crushing him right back against the door and claiming his mouth like he wants to consume him and god, he’d forgotten how desperately good that could feel.

When Eames rubs at him with a finger, it goes in easily. “Arthur,” he says softly, sounding honestly awed by the way Arthur’s body twists up and releases for him so eagerly. Arthur is already spreading himself open, thighs twinging and back arching off the floor—there’s a bed, he knows there’s a bed, but it’s too far to consider just now—gripping Eames by the wrist to hold him steady and fuck himself down on his hand that way.

“You’re so wet, fuck.” Eames’s voice is more of a growl than anything and Arthur can’t even bother with humiliation because it feels so fucking perfect, Eames’s thick fingers spreading him open, slipping inside him. His body locks up greedily to pull him in deeper.

He loses all sense of time and reason when Eames licks into him, smothering him with broken murmurs of admiration—so good, darling, so sweet, love the way you taste when you’re like this—and groaning at how willing he is. How slutty he is, Arthur mentally corrects, though Eames never says the word.

Arthur is vaguely aware he should find it horrifying and embarrassing, but Eames is red-mouthed and glassy-eyed, looks literally drunk on desire, and it just makes him even more wanton. “Please, please, please,” he hears himself chanting, all traces of propriety dead and gone.

Eames tries to hush him, tries to bring him back down to earth, then apparently gives up. He holds him open, sinks inside in one long slick stroke, and Arthur could cry it feels so incredible. His vision swims and Eames’s cheek is gritting against his collarbone, mouth hot and reverent on his throat. “Been too long since—god, you’re tight.”

He loses track of how many ways Eames takes him. There on the floor, and hefting to bend him over the bed, and on his back and against the wall and pulling out more than once to lick up inside him and ease him open even more, only slipping back into him from behind when Arthur begs for it.

When Eames finally climaxes, he’s groaning Arthur’s name, but Arthur isn’t finished yet.

He feels so full with Eames swelling and spilling into him, enough to make his eyes water, and Arthur fucks himself on Eames’s thick cock and moans for more all the same. He lets Eames spoon him and stroke him the way he did that morning, toying with his cock and circling his nipples and slipping his fingers into his mouth, lets Eames cover him in kisses and praises and pleas not to hold back.

“Let go for me, love, just let it go.”

Arthur wails for him, begs and bends and comes all over again, tightening around him and fisting the sheets until he’s rucked them off the corners of the bed.

And he sleeps.




When there’s a knock at the door, Arthur’s first thought is that he can’t remember hanging out the Do Not Disturb sign. He’s sure Eames must have, though; Eames always remembers these things and he wouldn’t forget now, of all times.

“Hey,” says someone on the other side of the door. Someone who clearly isn’t from the housekeeping department and clearly can’t take a hint, “are you all right in there?”

Eames sighs, shifting, and Arthur makes a small sound of disapproval at the way his cock throbs inside him.

Cobb?” Eames says in disbelief.

“Are you busy? I wanted to go over something—”

Arthur whines, but Eames just lips at his neck, kisses the complaints from his mouth. “If this is about the medical records, I sent them already.”

“Oh.” Cobb sounds almost cheerful, which would be very heartwarming if Arthur weren’t currently stuffed full of cock and trying not to moan in response to the way Eames is minutely shifting his hips. “Great. How’s Arthur doing? Is he with you?”

Eames is grinning at him, looking every inch the predatory alpha. Arthur’s overtaxed muscles go rigid with horror. No, he mouths, shaking his head like mad, but Eames says it anyway. “Oh, Arthur? He’s a little tied up just now. I really couldn’t bring myself to leave him even if I wanted to.”

Arthur crushes a pillow to his face and wails.

“That doesn’t sound good. He did say he was getting a migraine. I have some aspirin if he needs it.”

Of all times for Cobb to get in touch with his beta solicitousness.

“Cobb, it’s fine,” Arthur calls to him. “I just need to lie down for a while until it passes.”

“You know Arthur,” Eames says gleefully. “Always working himself into knots.”

Arthur pinches him, clenches around his cock until Eames gasps. “Oh, that isn’t fair,” he scolds, as if Eames knows a fucking thing about the concept of fairness. “None of that.”

“If you’re sure,” Cobb sounds reluctant.

“Completely,” Eames assures him. “He’s a little heated up, so I want to monitor his temperature.”

“Just go away,” Arthur hollers, grace and subtlety both well beyond his reach, and goes back to trying to smother himself in pillows.

When he comes back up to breathe, Cobb seems to have disappeared but Eames is still there, around him and inside him and smiling into his hair. “When I said go away,” Arthur says, as clearly and distinctly as he can, “I meant you too.”

“Can’t,” Eames says happily, and has the nerve to cuddle even closer to him.

Even though Arthur likes to think he’s had enough continuous exposure to Eames to avoid being surprised by anything he says or does anymore, it still takes some time to process this. “Really? That conversation didn’t make your dick even a little bit soft?” There’s a moral to this story, probably something about how he shouldn’t underestimate Eames’s virility or limitless capacity to get off on others’ discomfort.

Eames pecks him on the temple. “You’re just that delectable, I suppose.”

It’s the heat making Arthur eat that right up, making him give breathlessly reedy little moans when Eames feathers his fingertips down Arthur’s cheek, gently kisses his jaw and mouth.

“I cannot believe he didn’t figure it out,” Arthur mutters once he regains the power of speech. “Everyone on the floor probably heard us, or at least picked up on my scent.”

“To be fair, he’s had a cold lately,” Eames says. “And I don’t think Cobb’s ever stuck his cock in someone and been unable to get it out. This is the sort of predicament that’s probably never even occurred to him.”

That sets off a slew of mental images Arthur really could have done without. He gives a vindictive little squeeze around Eames’s cock. “Predicament is right. Fucking alphas.”

“This is the first time I’ve ever heard you complain about fucking alphas,” Eames answers, giving a lazy thrust right back, hard enough to make Arthur’s eyelids flutter and his cock give a feeble spasm of interest.

“Just one alpha, actually. You’ve always been a special case.” He reaches for the water bottle on the bedside table, frowning when he realizes it’s empty. “Is there any more of this?”

He lets himself be awkwardly shifted onto his other side when Eames turns to check the opposite night table. “No, apparently.”

“Great.” Arthur squirms, but the knot inside him doesn’t budge. “Could you tell your dick to tone it down so I don’t die of dehydration?”

“I could probably carry you to the bathroom like this,” Eames says contemplatively. “If you really, truly must have a drink right this second.”

Another unwanted mental image brands itself into Arthur’s hippocampus. “No.”

“My apologies. I know you have your pride, but I just thought I’d offer.” Eames strokes his hair. “I’ve done it before, you know. I wouldn’t let you fall. You’d take part of me with you if I did and that wouldn’t be fun for either of us.”

Arthur feels a growl building in his chest. “With who?”

“Before us,” Eames promises. “It doesn’t matter, does it? It’s just you now.” He noses up the side of Arthur’s neck, lashes tickling. “Just you, darling, you know that.”

That lulls him for a little while and he lets himself drift, Eames’s scent filling his nostrils and Eames’s arm comfortingly heavy around his middle. When he rouses after a little while, Eames is sighing against his ear, apologizing for taking so long to go down. “It’s,” and he sounds almost shy, of all things, or maybe Arthur really is dehydrated to the point of hearing things, “it’s just been a long time.”

It has, Arthur can acknowledge that much, and he isn’t crass enough to complain about something that clearly means a lot to Eames. Still, the dried come on his thighs is starting to feel uncomfortable and he wonders if it would be rude to have Eames pass him the remote control just to take his mind off it. “I don’t like what it does to me,” he admits after a moment. “I don’t like feeling that way, like I’m turning into an animal.”

Eames says nothing for a few minutes, just kisses him, holds him close. “We’ll stock up on water bottles before the next round. I’ll call room service right now.”

“How do you plan on answering the door? Or were you just going to let some poor unsuspecting maid walk right in?”

“I’m sure they cover this as part of their training,” Eames says airily. “Maybe they even have special package deals for couples who need to hole up like this.”

Arthur snorts indelicately. “If they don’t, you could always invent some and pitch the idea.”

As if on cue, his cell phone pings the arrival of a text. He ignores it, since his clothes are still pooled beside the door. When Eames’s does the same, Arthur sighs but manages to scoop his trousers off the floor and fish the phone out of a back pocket. “Please, please tell me we don’t need to leave town,” he grumbles, passing it over.

“Nothing that dire,” Eames says a few moments later.

Arthur can practically smell the amusement in his voice. He isn’t sure he likes it.

“That was Cobb,” Eames continues brightly. “He’s picking up takeout and wants to know if we want anything. Did you know seafood is supposed to be excellent for combating migraines? Something about the magnesium.”

Arthur shoves his head into a pillow.