When Cobb calls him in for a job, he isn't expecting the new pointman to be so. Well.
“This is Arthur,” Cobb says as they stand in the office that he shared with Mal. Arthur shakes his hand firmly, hands dry, and Eames knows he’s being impolite but he can’t stop staring at the man’s ears.
Arthur, of course, notices, and they flick back from his dark brown hair in annoyance. They are dove grey and look soft, and Eames can see his tail twitching slowing behind him.
“Is there a problem, Mr. Eames?” Arthur asks, his mouth a thin line and his eyes narrowed in disapproval.
Eames rubs the back of his neck, rumpling the collar of his lavender button-up. “I. Well. You still have your ears.”
“I think,” Arthur says with a barely contained smirk, his eyes dark slits, “that Eames is having trouble processing my radical queer identity.”
Cobb sighs, sitting behind his egregiously large cedar desk, and leans back in his leather chair. “He’s not a virgin, Eames, since I know that’s your main concern here. He’s just never slept with a woman. So, ears.”
“I’ve got a master’s in psych and I somehow never heard of this fact? None of the gay people I’ve ever met still had their ears.” He crosses his arms over his chest.
“Maybe you should have taken some queer studies courses, then, Mr. Eames,” Arthur says, and he perches himself on the edge of Cobb’s desk. “Sorry to shatter your world view. Not everyone has a desperate need to pass."
“What kind of ridiculous liberal arts education –”
“I never finished high school,” Arthur says coldly.
“Arthur,” Cobb says, and it’s half a sigh and half a warning.
“I assure you that I will be nothing but professional, dear Arthur,” Eames says, grabbing a bony hand with both of his own.
Arthur rolls his eyes when Eames kisses the back of his hand but his tail is simply swaying and his ears are standing up at attention, not pressed back. Eames takes that to mean it’ll be alright.
Arthur likes to drink after jobs, regardless of their success, and Eames finds this dedication to alcohol both inspiring and endearing. It also makes him a little more prone to talking, and Eames doesn’t mind this either.
“So when did you lose yours, then?” Arthur says, drinking a whiskey sour. His tail is a languid curl, and Cobb has long since gone home.
“What?” Eames asks. He’ll admit to being a little a drunk, and Arthur is a notorious topic jumper.
Arthur’s ears twitch in their distinctly feline way. “Your ears. The tail. You seem so fascinated.”
“Well. I guess I was in sixth form. I was a rather late bloomer, you see.”
Arthur grins a little over the brim of his glass. “I see.”
“It’s been so long; I hardly remember what they were like. It’s not as though I meet very many children in my line of work, you know. No offense.”
Arthur actually laughs instead. “It’s true, that most people can’t wait to lose them, but after a while the pretense just didn’t seem worthwhile.”
Eames orders another bourbon and thinks that reasoning lines up very well with the portrait of Arthur he’d already made. “So what was your sordid youth like?”
“High school, my parents, and me all didn’t really get along. So I joined the army.”
Eames raises his eyebrows. “Oh really? They didn’t just give you shit for.” A pause. “For the ears. Terribly unbutch.”
The return grin is sharp. “Told ‘em I had a girl back home worth waiting for.”
“And that worked?”
“Hey,” Arthur says, “I’m from Kentucky. We got good moral values there.”
He curls his mouth up and then takes a drink, and Eames is suddenly fascinated by the workings of his pale throat. “And before you say it, I’m well aware that I don’t have an accent.”
Eames grins. “I wouldn’t have mentioned something so obvious, dear.”
“Maybe I just like them,” Arthur says, lifting his chin up. Eames, if he wanted to be punched, might have said he was preening.
“Aha!” Eames cries. “It is some kind of weird sex thing. I knew it.” He pokes Arthur in the chest
Arthur gives him a small mysterious smile and he finishes his beer. “Wouldn’t you like to know,” he says, his eyes glinting. “I think it’s about time I called it a night, Mr. Eames.”
Their fourth job together they get blind drunk. Just totally, utterly obliterated.
The job had been hard – the owner of one of the world’s largest chemical plants would of course be militarized, but the man’s imagination had been vicious and cruel. The projections shot to injure rather than to kill.
Eames could tell even Arthur was unnerved because his ears kept flickering back into existence whenever he had to concentrate on shooting or running. His ears were normally obscured with a hat or simply forging them non-existent in an attempt to stay indistinct and unmemorable.
Still, Cobb had managed to get to the information they’d been paid to get – plans for closing down specific plants and product lines – and they’d managed to escape relatively unscathed.
So they go drinking.
He can feel Arthur leaning into him as they amble down the sidewalk away from the bar, warm and pressed up against his side. Arthur is talking in his ear, his voice a low rumble, and the words move from slightly insulting to downright filthy rapidly.
“Thought you were a bit of an oaf, but today’s job, you were brilliant, with that gun, and your forgeries. I like your hands. With guns. You’re good with your hands, and I’d like to feel them all over me, I think,” he says, a steady stream of warm breath that goes straight to his cock.
Eames can feel Arthur’s tail swishing behind them, and he stops them to light a cigarette.
“Sorry, love,” he says, resting a hand on Arthur’s shoulder to stop the man from swaying. Arthur grins up at him, cheeks pink, gray ears perked up in attention. Eames takes a long drag from his cigarette and then almost instinctively runs the other hand over Arthur’s tail, making a gentle fist over it.
And then suddenly Eames’ entire body is being thrown into the concrete. He can hear a sickening crack that means the forearm he threw out to catch himself on is fractured and his vision swims in pain.
Arthur gets him to the hospital silently, and he apologizes at the hotel, helping him in the bed and setting water and aspirin on his night stand.
"It's a startle reflexed," he explains, and apologizes again as Eames drifts off to sleep.
Cobb’s booked them double jobs, and at the rented office the next morning Eames watches as Cobb yells at Arthur for a straight fifteen minutes, about how Arthur needed to control his fucking impulses for once, didn’t he realize they needed Eames in top form for the job, and Jesus, didn’t he ever think sometimes? Arthur’s ears are pinned back the entire time and his eyes are wide, dark, and glistening.
For months Eames jacks off to the thought of velvet under his palm, longer than it takes his arm to heal.
Things get complicated, for everyone, and he and Arthur don’t cross paths for a while.
When Eames agrees to take Cobb’s Inception job, he’s unsure. They pay off is astronomical, but Cobb is unnerving. He’s still the charming Cobb Eames remembers, but he looks on edge, something not right lurking in his gaze.
Well. Eames can’t blame him, considering.
Arthur’s darker too, his hair more meticulous than needed, his collar well starched.
The girl, Ariadne, is tiny and fascinatingly competent and Eames wastes no time making an ass of himself.
When he first enters the warehouse his eyes dart from Arthur to Ariadne, sliding from his ears to hers. Hers are a lovely chocolate color, different but complimentary to her hair.
“Whatever you’re about to propose, don’t,” Arthur says.
“Good to see you too, Arthur,” Eames says, and then pulls the slighter man into a hug because he knows it’ll piss him off.
Ariadne pads over and shakes his hand, peering up at him. “You’re wondering about the ears, aren’t you?”
Eames sighs. “Yes.”
“Well, don’t,” she says, and he likes that her voice is a little deeper than he expected. “I’m just waiting for the right time, I’m not some sheltered little kitten, and I’m not sleeping with Arthur so we can both just get it over with.” She delivers this last sentence with a wicked smile and Eames decides he likes her already.
“So, to the hotel bar?” Eames asks as they all wait for their luggage in LAX, bone tired after a ten hour sleep.
“No, I really think this one deserves something a little special,” Arthur says, hands in his pockets. “The money should be wired soon. I’ll send out a signal within the week.”
“Naughty! Cobb said we had to stay away from each other for a whole six months,” says Eames with a chuckle, and Arthur’s ears twitch once, but he smiles.
“Well, that’s easy for him to say – he’s retired.”
It takes two days before Arthur sends out a text with a date and an address. Eames doesn’t respond, trying to keep an air of mystery, but he does go out and buy a new suit, a jacket he can wear unbuttoned over something that shows off the curling edge of a tattoo over his clavicle.
He arrives a little late, but Arthur and Ariadne are waiting. The line to get into the Black Sun is almost a block long and filled with some of the most gorgeous creatures he’s ever seen.
Arthur’s not wearing his customary going-out hat, but he looks superb in an expertly tailored, slim-fitting black suit with an even darker shirt, the only contrast a thin white tie. Ariadne is wearing a sleek red cocktail dress and tasteful gold earrings, her hair curling artfully around her bare shoulders.
“You clean up nice,” she says, smiling broadly at him, and he winks.
They look like siblings, dark haired and polished, and then Yusuf steps out of a cab at the front of the club. His suit is a dark navy and his hair has been trimmed, though the perpetual beard is still there.
“I like the new clothes,” Ariadne says, and then she giggles. Yusuf beams, and then beckons them as he by-passes the line.
“I don’t think you’re on the list.” It’s not really a statement that one should question when being delivered by a man about 6’ 7” and just about that broad in the shoulders, but Yusuf just smiles and flashes a card.
“Courtesy of Mr. Saito, of course,” Arthur says with a smirk as they’re led right to the VIP section.
They’ve both been drinking, but neither is drunk. For one, Eames is not so drunk that he misses the way Ariadne splays her hand over Yusuf’s forearm in the lush booth the four of them have settled in.
Instead, Eames is at the point where things are warm and languid and there Arthur is again, pressed up against him, and it takes everything in Eames power not to stroke one of Arthur’s lovely soft-looking ears. Arthur pushes their thighs together.
“I think we’re going out to the dance floor,” Ariadne says and then she and Yusuf disappear out into the dark club.
“Maybe we should try this again,” says Arthur, and then he runs his hand over Eames’ chest. It’s a wonderful, electric feeling.
“I promise not to grope without permission this time,” Eames says.
“Good,” Arthur says, smiling and not apologetic at all. He tips his head back and kisses Eames abruptly, their mouths just bumping, resting against each other for a few seconds before Arthur sneaks a tongue out to wet Eames’ lips.
“May I?” Eames asks, letting his hand hover behind Arthur’s neck, and Arthur nods and kisses him again. Eames sighs into his mouth and lets his hand settle at the base of Arthur’s skull, and he brushes the pad of his thumb over the line of where Arthur’s soft gray ears meet scalp.
Arthur’s whole body jerks and he pulls out of the kiss. His face is covered in a high flush and Eames repeats the motion with a little more pressure, watching as Arthur’s eyes fall shut. He lets out a little moan.
“I think it might be time to leave, my dear Arthur,” he whispers, his lips moving over the fur, and Arthur shudders under him.
Eames hasn’t really pined over Arthur, not really. It was more of a curiosity that had gripped him ever since their first meeting, not an obsession. Curiosity and maybe a weird sex thing.
It doesn't matter, though, because touching Arthur is like scratching that itch to utter satisfaction and still wanting more of it. He runs his hands over the thin skin of Arthur’s wrists, up the planes of his back.
Eames isn’t really sure how they got onto the giant bed in his hotel suite but he doesn’t mind it one bit. They’ve both shed their jackets and Eames has backed Arthur up against the bed and is sucking a bruise onto his collar bone while ghosting his thumb over his ears again and again. He savors every hitch in Arthur’s breathing, every tiny groan he squeezes out.
Eames starts unbuttoning Arthur’s shirt and Arthur just pushes his hands away and yanks it off himself, taking his undershirt with him, so Eames follows suit and starts tugging on his own belt.
They’re down to boxers and boxer-briefs, respectively, soon enough, and Eames knocks Arthur back onto the bed gentle to grind against him. He manages one delicious thrust against Arthur’s erection when the other man shakes his head with a grin.
Arthur’s panting but pushes Eames over and somehow maneuvers them so he’s straddling Eames’ lap, facing him and he’s biting tiny marks down Eames’ shoulder. The velvet softness of one of Arthur’s ears runs over his cheek.
Eames rests one hand on Arthur’s neck and splays the other across his now naked back, and trails his fingers down until his hand is right over the spot where his tail juts from the base of his spine. The gray tail is curled out and upward, inviting, and he gently, gently drags his fingers across the soft fur there.
Arthur’s mouth goes slack against Eames’ skin and he arches right into Eames’ pressing them chest to chest, and he makes the most gorgeous honeyed moan Eames has ever heard. Eames presses down a little harder and Arthur’s tail curls up with his hand, giving him better access, and Eames’ moves his other hand down to cup the swell of Arthur’s ass.
“I think,” Arthur breathes, his voice already sex-rough, “I think we should fuck now, Mr. Eames.”
Eames squeezes his ass and smiles into Arthur’s neck. “I think I can do that, but you’ll have to get off me.”
“Mmmm,” Arthur rumbles in protest as Eames grips him by the hips and rolls him onto the bed, where he splays out obscenely, white limbs long and lean against a burgundy spread. Arthur’s eyes are heavy-lidded, and Eames stands up and kisses Arthur on the cheek before going to his suitcase to rummage through it.
“Aha!” he cries triumphantly, returning to the bed with lube and condom in hand, and Arthur just fucking smiles up at him, cheeks dimpling. He’s already shucked off his briefs. “So prepared. I like that.” He rolls over onto his knees, ass cocked in the air and tail swishing.
“We can, we could do this face to face if you want?” Eames says, a little taken aback at Arthur’s utter wantonness.
“Mmm, I know you like the tail though,” Arthur almost purrs, and Eames yanks off his boxers and clambers on the bed.
Arthur’s ass is perfectly curved under his broad hand, and he circles the base of Arthur’s tail with the thimb and index finger of his left hand and moves lube slick fingers down Arthur’s asscrack with his other.
Arthur’s eyes are closed and he’s rumbling again, and fuck that’s hot. He pulls his fingers over the soft fucking fur all the way to the tip of Arthur’s surprisingly pliant tail and the man groans into the bed. He carefully probes Arthur’s ass with his index finger, pushing in slowly as Arthur relaxes around him. There’s a moment when Arthur’s ears flick back flat but it only lasts a second, and then Arthur is wriggling just enough to encourage more.
Eames carefully adds a second finger into the tight, wet heat that is Arthur, and he moves them slowly to slick him up. Arthur’s tail curls around his wrist, wrapping it and Eames gasps at the friction.
“C’mon, Eames,” Arthur whines, rolling his hips, but Eames only pulls his fingers out to add more lube and to slowly press them back into his ass. Arthur’s tail keeps a grip but it slowly relaxes as Eames starts to fucking Arthur with his fingers, skating just close enough to his prostate to get him to make small mewling sounds and to thrust back.
“Ready, Arthur?” Eames asks as he rips open and rolls the condom on, realizing this is the first time he’s touched his dick all night and he’s rigid as steel. He guides the head of his dick right up against Arthur’s entrance and pushes and fuck it’s so hot and slick and tight and Arthur practically pulls him inside, and Eames just keeps pushing and pushing until he’s so fucking deep and Arthur groans, deep from his chest, a blissed out, closed lip smile on his face. Eames settles himself, holding still, hands on Arthur’s narrow hips.
“Oh fuck,” he breathes, not moving. “Oh god, Arthur, you’re so fucking tight.”
Arthur laughs, vibrations rocking from his ribs right into Eames hips, and he shoves back, taking in that very last half inch, and he growls. “C’mon, baby,” he pants into the pillowcase under his elbows and Eames thinks, maybe the pet names were alright, and then he stops thinking as he pulls out and slams back in hard.
Arthur makes another sugared groan, like Eames ripped it from his throat, and Eames moves on hand off his hip to tangle in his hair, tugging it back while he fucks into him, and Arthur snarls and his hips twist and he bucks and it’s the best thing Eames thinks he’s ever felt and he pounds harder.
He slides his chest along Arthur’s sweat-sheened back and starts grunting filth into the back of his little pointed ears and Arthur just says, “yeah, oh fuck, oh like that, Eames fuck,” all curses and vowel sounds.
“I didn’t think you’d like it this rough, pet,” Eames groans and skitters his fingers over Arthur’s ears and he feels Arthur clench, his whole body tightening and then relaxing in some primal pleasure. “Just so ready to be here, to let me fuck you right open.”
Arthur whines and tries to shift to move his hand to his cock, but Eames pushes down, doesn’t give him the leverage, and Arthur’s body just doesn’t stop moving, so hot and strong and taut under him.
“Let me, darling,” he whispers, and then he yanks on Arthur’s hair again to lick the outer shell of his human ear.
He feels all of the muscle over Arthur’s ribs and moves his hand over Arthur’s cock, which is dripping and hot to the touch and he jerks, making Arthur sticky and wet with his own precome, and he keeps thrusting, trying to force Arthur into a solid, hammering rhythm.
Arthur’s tail thrashes some before it wraps around Eames’ waist, tickling his hips, and his hand jerks hard with the unexpected softness. Arthur keens, coming with Eames’ name on his lips and he spills all over the bed, Eames’ hand, his thighs and stomach, and his body is hot and wet and tight and goes even tighter, but Eames just keeps fucking, gripping his hips.
“Eames,” Arthur groans out again through clenches teeth as his body trembles in the aftershocks, and he whips his tail right over the muscles above his cock. Eames comes so hard he almost crushes Arthur when his grip slips.
He manages to fall over to the side, his cock sliding out of Arthur, and Arthur collapses on trembling knees.
“Are you still purring?” Eames asks as he catches his breath.
Arthur grins at him, wide and bright, and nestles himself into his chest. Eames barely has the energy to take off the condom and he feels utterly spent.
“Hey,” Arthur whispers, nudging Eames with his nose. “Scratch my ears.”
And Eames laughs.