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The Option of Furnishing a House with Blanket Forts

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Whenever it snowed during a shoot, which was distressingly frequently, Eames was obnoxious. “It’s snowing!” he would exclaim, practically pirouetting around the coffee shop.

Fuck, Arthur would think, looking down at his very expensive shoes and then mournfully at the snow outside and wondering why they couldn’t ever film anything in a timely manner.

“Maybe we will get stranded in here!” Eames would crow. “Snowed in! Lucky us!”

And Arthur would stare at him in horror because he could think of nothing worse.

***

“It’s snowing,” says Eames.

“Hmm?” says Arthur, not really looking up from the folders he’s got spread in front of him, on the feathery rug Eames had chosen for his office. Arthur works a lot sprawled out on this rug. He’s unabashed in how much he loves this rug.

“It’s snowing,” Eames repeats.

Arthur looks up then, pinches between the bridge of his nose, and blinks his eyes to make them refocus on something farther away than his real estate listings. The light in the room is dim and gray and outside there are fat flakes drifting past the window. “Oh,” says Arthur, surprised. “Was it supposed to snow?”

Eames doesn’t respond, which wasn’t what Arthur expected, so he looks at him quizzically.

Eames has a funny look on his face, like he’s busy trying to swallow a live goldfish or something.

Arthur lifts his eyebrows. He’s never seen that look before. Then again, he hasn’t been living with Eames very long. For all he knows, Eames has a multitude of looks that Arthur has never seen. And maybe Arthur won’t know what any of them mean, and for a moment Arthur feels the beginning of panic squeezing at his chest, panic because there is Eames, there, in front of him, in their house, where Eames picked him out a perfect rug, where Eames sometimes looks at Arthur like Arthur is the best thing Eames can imagine, and Arthur can’t panic every time Eames looks at him in a way that can’t readily be favorably interpreted or—

Panic spiral, Eames calls these moments, and Arthur is trying to be better about spotting them before he spins out into them.

“Eames?” Arthur prompts, very calmly, as if he is not at all alarmed by that weird, indecipherable look on Eames’s face.

“I know you don’t like snow,” Eames says all in a rush.

Arthur blinks, caught off-guard. “I don’t?”

“But I really love snow,” says Eames, as if Arthur hadn’t spoken. “I just love it. I love the way it looks and I love the way it sounds—or doesn’t sound—and I love the excuse to just curl up in a blanket fort and let it be a snow day. I love it. I’m sorry. I do.”

Arthur is bewildered. “You don’t have to apologize for liking snow.”

“And I know that you’re very busy and you—”

It occurs to Arthur that Eames, uncharacteristically, is the one panic-spiralling here, so Arthur cuts through all of it the way Eames would for him. “Eames. What’s this about? Do you want to go, like, sledding or something?”

Eames stares at him. “Sledding?” he echoes.

“I don’t know. Ice skating? Snowball fight?”

Eames keeps staring at him.

“You sounded like you were trying to work up your nerve to ask me to do something,” Arthur explains helpfully.

“I wanted to ask you to have a snow day with me,” says Eames finally, sounding strangled.

“A snow day?” says Arthur.

“Yes.” Eames waves his hand around.

Arthur thinks, realizes. “Ah. Curl up in a blanket fort?”

“We can make hot cocoa. We’ll watch terrible telly. We’ll snog a lot.”

Arthur smiles. “That sounds lovely. Let’s do it.”

It is later, after they are curled up in a blanket fort on their living room floor, when Arthur is feeling safely cocooned and cozy, when he is wrapped in Eames’s arms and Eames’s hand is resting lightly, familiarly, absently on his abdomen, that Arthur says, “Why do you think I don’t like snow?”

Eames glances away from the television, the only source of light on his face. “When we film, you always hate it when it snows.”

Ah, thinks Arthur. Yes, he supposes it makes sense that Eames had that impression. And he has to remember, that Eames was the one who ran away that day, that Eames does do panic spirals of his own, even if he shows his hand less than Arthur does. That Eames also files away expressions on Arthur’s face that he doesn’t understand, doubtless worried they mean terrible things for him.

Arthur threads his hand through Eames’s hair and says, “Spending time with you, in those days, it was torture.”

After a moment, Eames breathes. “Now look at us.”

Arthur turns his face into Eames’s neck. “Maybe we’ll get stranded in here. Snowed in.”

“Lucky us,” murmurs Eames.