Title: how much air i will need (to breathe)
Fandom/Pairing: Inception, Arthur/Eames
Rating: R to be safe
Summary: The first time they meet, there’s snow in Philadelphia.
The first time they meet, there’s snow in Philadelphia. Arthur is twenty-two and the only types of dreams he knows about occur at night in his bed. Eames is twenty twenty-six and fresh from the British military.
They meet in the bar of some classy hotel and Arthur is a little too young for his suit. Eames can’t help but to love it a little.
The have sex nine times that weekend and each time is a little better than the last. When they part, Eames is the first to leave.
He leaves a business card with a cell number scrawled on the back in Arthur’s wallet and kisses him on his way out.
“I’ll be seeing you darling,” Arthur doesn’t know what that means but he smirks back at Eames all the same. Eames leaves and Arthur flops onto the couch and tries to remember how to make his brain function.
Arthur never calls.
When they meet next, Arthur is twenty-five and has been dreaming for years now. He’s very quickly earning a name for himself as an expert point man. He’s mostly stuck to working with Cobb and Mal. When you can work with anyone in the world, why not work with the best? This is what Cobb says about this forger before Arthur meets him.
“Darling, you never called,” and Arthur is fairly sure he would know that drawl anywhere. He takes five seconds for himself before turning around to face Eames.
Eames looks older and scruffier than Arthur remembers and he can’t help but want to devour him. He dressed in ridiculous mismatched clothes and Arthur wants them all to be on the floor instantly. Arthur however is nothing if not professional.
“Mr. Eames, I wasn’t aware you were in the business of forgery,”
“Well you never asked now did you?” It’s almost bitter and defensive and Arthur feels a little lost.
Cobb is surveying them with a curious expression. “I wasn’t aware that you two knew each other…”
Arthur is silent but Eames steps in quickly. “Arthur and I go way back, don’t we darling?” He takes that moment to eye Arthur. Arthur mumbles something under his breath and Mal thankfully returns then with lunch.
Eames manages to consistently get under Arthur’s skin through the entirety of the job. He’s constantly torn between shooting Eames in the foot or pressing him up against the nearest wall. Unfortunately, both options are out of the question so Arthur just tries to be as efficient and professional as possible.
It doesn’t help that Eames has never heard of professionalism before. He flirts with every person he sees and has no concept of personal space. He waggles his eyebrows at Mal suggestively, mocks Cobb to no end and touches Arthur every chance he gets. Arthur desperately wants this job to end.
Eames is unprofessional, messy, and intrusive and Arthur has never seen someone so talented.
They have sex again immediately after the job ends and afterwards Arthur wants to bang his head against a table.
Eames shows up at the door of Arthur’s hotel room and next thing Arthur knows, he’s been back up against a wall, Eames’ mouth on his neck and his hand down Eames’ pants.
Arthur thinks the sex is almost better than their first weekend together and he isn’t sure what that thought says about him.
Arthur all but kicks Eames out after they finish and he feels like an ass right away. He can’t decide if he wants to punch himself for kicking Eames out or for feeling guilty about it. Either way, this thing they have really needs to stop. Arthur refuses to sacrifice his sanity and profession for some sex regardless of how phenomenal it may be.
Eames gets a hold of Arthur’s cell number somehow in the following months and proceeds to call sporadically with job offers.
Arthur takes some of them but never too many in a row and rarely without Dom and Mal. Arthur puts as much mental and physical distance between himself and Eames every time they work together, taking care to only come into work when he is needed and does the rest of his research from his hotel room. When he does come in, he spends as little time near Eames as possible and only speak to him when absolutely necessary. Sometimes it even works.
Mostly, it seems like they don’t know how to do anything but fall together. It’s almost like cat and mouse. Arthur tries his hardest to stay away, Eames never had subtlety to begin with, and yet they usually end up in one hotel room or another, frantically pressed together.
Arthur isn’t sure how long they can keep this up and he isn’t sure why he hasn’t put an end to it already. There’s no way this can be healthy.
Two years later, Mal throws herself from a window and this game they’ve all been playing becomes very real very quickly. Dom isn’t at the funeral but Eames is.
They end up in Arthur’s Los Angeles apartment. Arthur punches Eames in the face and Eames holds him all night. Neither one knows how to grieve.
They awkwardly shuffle around each other the next morning in a dark kitchen and hop on flights headed to different corners of the world.
They don’t have sex that night.
They don’t see each other again until the disaster that is inception and it seems like they’ve been apart for so long.
By some miracle of miracles, it works. And then Eames is standing at the baggage claim in LAX desperate for something to ground him to reality.
They end up in Arthur’s apartment again but this time it’s Eames who is in need. Eames spends the night wrapped around Arthur. They have gentle sex very early in the morning and fall back asleep intertwined.
When they finally get up, Arthur very quietly asks if Eames would like to stay.
It’s the beginning of forever.