mayachain: (slash emu)
[personal profile] mayachain
Title: Hazard Pay
Pairing: Arthur/Eames
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: ~1000
Summary: While going through Arthur's drawers, Eames finds something he didn't expect.
Notes: Written for this prompt at [livejournal.com profile] inception_kink.


Hazard Pay

It’s not the first time that Arthur has invited Eames into his apartment – his real apartment, the one where neither the lease nor the sign on the door show Arthur’s real name, or even “Arthur”, but whenever he’s not on a job, in a temporary safe house or, God forbid, on vacation, he lives here.

Almost no-one who is in any way connected to the “work” category in Arthur’s head knows about its location. The military taught Arthur to fly under the radar, and Arthur is one of the very best in his profession. Eames still isn’t entirely sure if Cobb knows the address, although judging by their closeness during Cobb’s time on the run, surely he must. Even if he does, Eames bets it took a long time before Arthur told him.

The first time Arthur told Eames was about a month after the successful Inception, when they’d been reasonably sure Cobb was safe, Fischer knew nothing, and no-one was coming after Cobb and his kids, Ariadne, Yusuf, or them. They’d both been bone tired after thirty days of careful multi-target surveillance after the time consuming Fischer job. Eames had been certain that their ways would part, that Arthur would be glad to finally be rid of him.

Not so.

Arthur had grabbed hold of Eames– actually grabbed him by the wrist and dragged him into a cab, growling, “Let’s get some fucking sleep.” To his shame, it had taken Eames until he’d woken up on an insanely comfortable convertible couch 16 hours later to grasp the significance of the whole thing.

So this is not the first time Eames has been in Arthur’s apartment. It’s the fourth, and yes, Eames has been counting. He’s since migrated from the couch to Arthur’s bed, where he’s gone from allowing Arthur space on his side to sprawling all over the mattress and, in turn, having Arthur’s limbs all over and under him.

He’s still not entirely sure how, even though he knows it’s not a dream, can retrace each of the steps that brought about this development. There may have been sex involved. Several rounds, even, both like and unlike the one this very morning.

Since this is his fourth visit in Arthur’s homestead and he and Arthur are getting along much better than before, Eames feels no compunctions whatsoever going through Arthur’s closet in search for clean sheets. What with the morning sex and Arthur making breakfast in the kitchen, he’d have far more cause for penitence if he didn’t.

Eames is hunting for sheets, not for anything incriminating. The only reason he’s opening the sock drawer at all is that he doesn’t know there are socks inside until it’s opened. He’s about to shove it closed – no sheets to be found here – when a flash of colour catches his eye, incongruent with the black and white and occasional beige surrounding it.

Nestled between balls of cotton and wool and silk is something that looks, to Eames’ astonishment, somewhat like a toy squirrel. It is a toy squirrel, Eames finds when he reaches into the drawer and fishes it out. It looks very old, the red brown more faded brown than red when not in direct contrast against white socks. The bushy tail is dishevelled, one of the ears has been bitten off.

Eames stares down at it, trying and failing to reconcile this glimpse of the child Arthur must once have been with the man Arthur is. Learning about people is what he does for a living, there’s not much that Eames the forger can allow to remain private.

It’s disconcerting, however, to be suddenly confronted with the fact that, when it comes to Arthur, he can no longer resort to emotional distance.

There’s a bloody tear in his eye even as he opens another drawer with his other hand and finds the sheets.

“His name’s Mimi,” Arthur says behind him. Eames didn’t hear him come into the bedroom at all. Arthur will have noticed this, is noticing just now that Eames has frozen in front of the closet, will notice just how shaken he is. He doesn’t even know why, it’s a children’s toy, for heaven’s sake.

When Eames turns because he’s a mature thirty-year-old, Arthur is looking at Eames and – and Mimi – completely straight-faced.

“Mimi, huh, darling,” Eames says. Before – before the Inception and the sex and this place, he probably would have taken the piss at Arthur. Now, he reaches behind him and takes the sheets out of the drawer instead. “Good name.”

“I was three,” Arthur shrugs. “It made sense.”

“I bet it did,” Eames says, and there’s the smile – it may be a lot softer than he’d normally prefer, but he doesn’t actually have a home to let Arthur into, showing him he’s in, not like this.

Arthur smiles then – a real smile, wide and open, like Eames never got to see during all the years of their previous acquaintance. “Tea is ready,” he informs Eames, voice low, body language and tone all suggesting something completely different.

“My tea can keep, love,” Eames says. “Can the coffee you surely must have made for yourself?”

“It can,” Arthur nods, taking Mimi from Eames’ hand and placing it – him – back into his sock-filled nest.

It leaves them standing very close.

“Do we have anywhere to be today?” Eames asks, leaning forward as Arthur leans in. He knows perfectly well that they don’t. Curtsey of Saito, there’s a new job on the horizon, one they’ve decided to take because there are extractors besides Cobb, Eames likes the thrill and Arthur’s not as ready to retire as he thought he was, but – It’s nothing that has to concern them right now. Not really. Not yet.

“Not particularly,” Arthur murmurs against Eames’ mouth.

“Well then,” Eames rumbles. Arthur shivers. Taking hold of Eames’ forearms, he steps back, and back, and back until they reach the battered bed.

At least I already found new sheets, is Eames’ last coherent thought before they tumble into it.




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