Word Count: c.5,500
Summary: AU: Arthur works in a bookstore and Eames works in a café. They've been friends for years, secretly pining for each other all this time, convinced that it's only one-sided, too afraid to risk their friendship to find out.
Notes: Present for duckgirlie for dream_holiday. Hope you like it, bb! ♥
It’s been a long day at work. The customers seem never-ending and the seconds seem to drag by one at a time. It’s still an hour until closing time, and it already feels like hours have passed since Arthur had his afternoon break. He checks his watch, sighing when he sees that it’s only been five minutes since he’s last looked at the time. It feels like three times that long, and Arthur feels just about ready to start beating his head against the register in hopes that it will make the time pass quicker.
Most of the time, Arthur loves working at One Simple Idea, the bookstore run by Dominick and Mallorie Cobb. They’re old friends of Arthur’s, and his days are much more enjoyable for the fact that he gets to work with them, but it’s a Wednesday afternoon and time doesn’t seem to want to move.
“Excuse me,” a voice says from behind him and Arthur turns, resigned to helping yet another customer find a book they they’re too lazy to look for themselves.
Instead, he comes face to face with his favourite customer. Eames is standing right there, grinning at him and holding a takeaway tray filled with coffee cups.
“Figured that if your day has been anything like mine, you could do with these.” Eames winks. “Courtesy of Saito, of course. Lucky your boss is such good friends with mine.”
Eames works at Proclus Coffee, the café not far from the bookstore. Arthur regularly goes there for his morning coffee fix, and more often than not, Eames spends his lunch breaks among the shelves of One Simple Idea. He and Arthur get along well, and it certainly doesn’t hurt that Eames is the most attractive man Arthur’s ever seen. Arthur’s been helplessly infatuated for years, but he enjoys the company and light banter that Eames brings far too much to risk doing anything about it, out of fear of ruining everything.
Mal knows about it—he’s certain that even Dom has figured it out by now—but she’s stopped pushing him about it because as stubborn as she may be, Arthur is much worse.
“Oh, Eames!” Mal exclaims when she notices him. Walking over, she takes the tray from him and sets it on the counter, beside the register. “It’s so wonderful of you to come and visit!”
Eames simply shrugs with a small smile. “Well, I finished work early, and you’re on my way out…”
“Oh.” Arthur’s eyes widen as he suddenly remembers. “That book you were waiting for arrived this afternoon. I’ll go and get it out of the back for you.”
“Brilliant.” The way Eames’ eyes brighten up only makes Arthur want him more. They’re both obsessed with the same books and Arthur is certain that a great deal of Eames’ pay goes directly into buying more books. It's one thing for Eames to be ridiculously attractive. It's another thing entirely for him to be everything Arthur likes, all rolled into one.
By the time Arthur emerges from the back with Eames’ book in his hands, Mal is off helping another customer. It means that Arthur has Eames to himself as he puts the sale through, and they talk abut their days, and what they’ve been up to. They’ve never met outside of work, but they’ve come to know each other well enough to make up for it.
Eames is an aspiring artist and Arthur is working on a novel, hoping to be published someday. They talk to each other about their projects and it’s good to know that they have each other for encouragement. Arthur smiles as Eames excitedly tells him about a new experiment he’s planning on doing, attempting to paint a scene with a limited colour palette. Arthur listens with fascination, until Eames realises the time and needs to run for his bus.
Mal sidles up to Arthur, a smile on her lips, and he shakes his head as he reaches for the coffee Eames had brought him.
“Don’t even start.”
Eames is in a cheerful mood the next morning. He arrives at the café early, helping Saito get everything prepared. Proclus Coffee opens two hours before the rest of the shops in the centre, so that their food is cooked and ready. It’s extremely quiet in the morning, but it means that Eames has the time to think back to the previous afternoon’s conversation with Arthur.
It’s stupid, he knows, but he’s been mad about Arthur for so long that it’s become second nature to him now. He replays all of Arthur’s words in his mind and thinks of every little smile sent his way, and it’s the best way to start his day. In fact, it’s one of the reasons he likes the morning so much. The sun rises, a new day begins, and Eames knows that he will see Arthur again.
Better still, Eames knows that Arthur comes an hour before his shift begins. The centre’s still quiet then and it means that they have the time to talk for a while before they need to get back to work. He spends an hour thinking of what to say, and how best to make Arthur laugh so his dimples show.
Ariadne comes into work and takes one look at Eames’ hopeful expression before saying, “Still waiting for your boyfriend to show up?”
Eames scowls at her. “He’s not my boyfriend.”
“Yeah, and you still haven’t fixed that.” Ariadne shakes her head and sighs. “What is it going to take—oh!”
“Oh?” Eames repeats, already dreading whatever Ariadne has to say.
“My birthday. We were going to get dinner and drinks. You should invite him to come along!”
Eames’ eyes widen. “Are you insane?”
“No, but I’m starting to think that maybe you are. Come on—just take a chance and see where it goes! Better than mooning over him for years.”
Eames is about to reply when he sees Arthur walking towards them. Arthur catches his eyes and smiles, nodding in greeting.
“Ask him,” Ariadne hisses, and Eames elbows her in reply before greeting Arthur.
“Good morning, Arthur! The usual for you?”
“Of course.” Arthur hands his money over—perfect change as always—and Eames’ heart flutters at the way their fingers brush against each other. “How did the painting experiment go?”
Eames grins, thrilled that Arthur cares enough to ask, and recounts the results he’d achieved with various colour combinations. The conversation then turns to the book Eames had bought the previous day, and before they know it, there are more people in the centre and Eames needs to get back to work.
All this time, Eames has been aware of Ariadne, subtly eavesdropping on them as she does her work. As Arthur’s about to turn around and leave, she speaks up.
“Oh hey, Arthur! It’s my birthday tomorrow and we were planning on going out for food and drinks after work. You want to come along with us? Eames is coming too, aren’t you?”
Arthur looks at Eames questioningly, and Eames does his best to act calm and composed.
“Yeah,” Arthur says, so quietly that Eames initially thinks he’s just imagined it. Arthur holds his gaze and smiles just a little. “That sounds good.”
“Great!” Ariadne beams. “We’ll just meet here after work tomorrow, okay?”
Arthur nods, glancing at Ariadne before he looks back at Eames. “Sure. See you later.”
“I hate you,” Eames groans, once Arthur’s gone.
“You’ll thank me later,” Ariadne says, sounding entirely sure of herself.
Eames sighs, wishing he could feel even half as confident about this.
Arthur spends two entire days feeling nervous about the party. Eames visits the bookstore on his lunch break on both days, talking to Arthur rather than looking at books. It’s most certainly welcome, but it means that Arthur needs to do his best to act calm about the outing. He knows all the people at the cafe because he’s met all of them during his regular trips. They’re all friendly, and he knows that he’ll fit right in among them, but he still doesn’t know what to expect. He’s doesn’t know if Eames is going to just leave him to his own devices, or if he’ll be there to keep him company. He feels extremely selfish for wanting Eames all to himself, especially when it’s a group outing where he’s the outsider, but he’s already made the mistake of letting Mal know exactly why he’s on edge. If he fakes sick, or comes up with another excuse to get out of the party, Arthur knows that she will never let him get away with it.
When Friday afternoon finally rolls around, Arthur walks to Proclus Coffee with his stomach in knots. He’s changed clothes, as per Ariadne’s instructions, and even though it’s what he’d usually wear out, he feels silly in his short-sleeved button-down and vest.
“Arthur!” Ariadne calls, the moment she sees him. She runs over and hugs him, exclaiming over the scarf he’s bought for her as a birthday present. She ties it around her neck immediately and once he’s free, he immediately seeks Eames out in the small group assembled.
Eames looks amazing. He’s wearing a plain t-shirt under a leather jacket and the sight fills Arthur’s mind with all the inappropriate things he wants to do to Eames, right at that moment.
He’s lucky that Eames doesn’t seem to notice him staring, but he drags his eyes away regardless—just in case anybody else sees.
They all take the bus to Ariadne’s favourite Italian restaurant, and Arthur tries not to be too obviously thrilled at the way Eames sits beside him. The bus trip is half an hour long and in that time, he and Eames get so deep into a conversation about the story that Arthur is currently working on that even when they get off the bus, Eames continues walking right beside him, hanging onto his every word.
Arthur can’t even bring himself to feel bad for getting all of Eames’ attention. Of course, they speak to the others now and then over the course of dinner, but then, Eames is turning to him again with another idea for a picture, or another funny story he’d heard, and it’s far too easy for Arthur to imagine them doing this all the time. It gives him a giddy feeling that’s only encouraged by the alcohol he’s drinking—first at the restaurant, and then at the club that follows.
Two rounds of drinks later, Ariadne has one hand on Arthur’s wrist and the other on Eames’, pulling them both onto the dance floor. Arthur’s protests fall on deaf ears and even Eames is shaking his head, declaring that he’s terrible at this.
Soon enough, Ariadne leaves them alone with each other, off to dance with her other friends. Eames gives Arthur a small smile that echoes just how awkward and embarrassed he’s feeling, and it doesn’t help that the people all around them are pushing them even closer to each other.
“Might as well appease the birthday girl, eh?” Eames asks, his mouth right against Arthur’s ear to be heard over the music. He has a hand resting lightly on Arthur’s side, and it’s amazing. Surely, Eames should be out there, dancing with the long line of people willing to throw themselves at him. Instead, he’s here. With Arthur. It might just be out of a sense of camaraderie that comes with both of them being thrust into this less-than-welcome situation, rather than Eames truly wanting to dance with him, but Arthur’s learned a long time ago to just take whatever he can get.
Not that it stops his heart from skipping a beat when, after three songs, Eames leans over so his mouth is nearly brushing Arthur’s ear so he can say, “Why don’t we get out of here?”
“You what?” Ariadne screeches.
Eames winces, pulling the phone away from his ear. It’s the weekend, so he’s got the next two days off. Ariadne has Saturday off as well and the first thing she’d done was call Eames to ask how last night had gone. Because she’d seen him leaving with Arthur and had assumed . . .
“I asked him if he wanted to go to a café,” Eames repeats calmly, “because I could barely hear my own thoughts over the music, and we’d been talking about this idea we had earlier—”
“Okay, I get that,” Ariadne interrupts. “But Eames, you’re meaning to say that after you sat in that all-night café until…”
“Three o’clock,” Eames supplies.
“—until three, you didn’t take him home with you and fuck him?”
“Ariadne,” Eames exclaims, offended. “No, I didn’t! We just spent the night talking and he said that he wanted to see my sketches and—”
“What is this, high school? When he says he wants to see your sketches, he really means he wants to see your—”
“Look,” Eames says heatedly. “I don’t know what kind of impression you have of me, but I don’t just want to take Arthur home with me and sleep with him, okay? I want—I want to read his manuscripts and tell him how brilliant they are. I want to show him my paintings and listen to why he thinks that colour’s off in one bit. I—”
“Oh my god,” Ariadne says, and it sounds like she’s torn between horror and glee. “You’re in love with him.”
“I’m not—” Eames begins and then pauses. And sighs. “Fine. Fine. I’m in love with Arthur, and look just where that’s gotten me. He’s brilliant, he’s witty, he’s gorgeous, and he’s only ever going to see me as a slightly over-enthusiastic friend. Isn’t my life wonderful?”
“You don’t know that,” Ariadne says, immediately sounding serious. “You don’t know, because you’re too afraid to give it a chance. Because you’re too afraid of—”
“Losing everything I have with Arthur,” Eames points out. “I have never been good with rejection and I’m willing to admit that. But with Arthur… there’s just far too much to lose. I don’t think I could stand him turning me away, Ariadne. I can’t.”
“Fine.” Ariadne doesn’t sound disappointed, just determined. “Time for Plan B, then.”
She hangs up on him, and Eames spends the rest of the weekend fretting over the fact that he’s upset Ariadne, or fretting over whatever Plan B entails.
Then, on Sunday, Arthur sends him a message, asking if he’s free to meet up in the same café they’d gone to before, and all previous worry is pushed out of his mind as Eames agonises over what to wear, and whether or not he should take his sketch book.
In the end, he settles for a black button-up over his jeans and he does take his sketch book. They spend hours in the café like they did before, with Arthur flicking through Eames’ drawings and pointing out his favourites and why. Arthur looks so enthralled with every single new page he turns that Eames can’t help but love him even more.
Then, Arthur comes up with the idea of writing something and Eames illustrating it and grabs his own notebook out of his satchel. They spend so long writing and drawing and looking at each other’s work, that they don’t even realise how much time has passed until they stop to consider getting something to eat and realise that the sun has already set.
“Shit,” Arthur puts his pen down and checks the time. “I’m meant to be at Mal and Dom’s place for dinner in half an hour. I’m sorry—”
“No, not at all,” Eames says, and he means it. They’ve just spent the last five hours here, among mugs of coffee and their own creativity, and he wouldn’t trade that for the world. “I’d better head off and start making dinner, myself. I’ll see you tomorrow at work?”
“Sure.” Arthur grins, and it’s only after they’ve split the bill and parted ways that Eames realises that he’d been resting his feet against Arthur’s under the table all that time. He flushes with belated embarrassment, ducking his head and shoving his hands into his pockets, and just like that, the weekend is over and Eames is both looking forward to work and dreading it, wondering what Ariadne’s ominous Plan B is.
Arthur isn’t sure what to expect when, all through the week, he sees Ariadne going on her lunch breaks with Mal. They speak in hushed, excited whispers and frankly, it’s a little terrifying. He isn’t sure whether to mention it to Eames, so he doesn’t. Instead, whenever he sees Eames drop by the bookstore, they end up talking about their story. It’s exciting, and when he wants to, Arthur pretends all this creative energy that surrounds them is something else entirely—though he usually saves those thoughts for when he’s at home, alone.
It all comes to a head on Thursday, when Mal smiles at him and announces that on Friday night, they’re going out. With the staff of Proclus Coffee.
“Let me guess,” he says, and he can feel everything falling into place in the back of his mind. “Someone else’s birthday.”
“Oh Arthur, we don’t need an excuse for a party now, do we?” Mal gives him her most innocent smile. “My parents are in town, so they can watch Phillipa and James. I want to go out, Arthur, it’s been years! Besides, Saito says that he knows the owner of this good club that he likes. Come with us. Eames will be there and besides, you were telling me how you enjoyed spending time with him outside of work last week, so how will this be any different?”
Arthur sighs, nodding silently in response, and when Ariadne comes in during her lunch break, looking for Mal, he gets to her first.
“You know,” he says, and it’s not a question, not an accusation, just a statement of fact.
He doesn’t even need to specify, because Ariadne simply looks at him and says, “Of course I do. You’re so crazy about him that I’m amazed he doesn’t notice.”
The thought makes Arthur’s blood run cold. “You won’t tell him.”
With a sigh, she shakes her head. “Of course not. He needs to know, Arthur. It would do you both some good. But I’m not the one who needs to tell him.”
“Ariadne!” Mal calls, seeing her, and they leave Arthur among the bookshelves, with the rush of thoughts in his head.
When Friday night finally comes around, Arthur helps close up with Mal and Dom, and then goes with them to meet Saito and the rest of the employees at Proclus Coffee. Eames grins at him, coming up to walk beside him as they walk to the bus stop, and Arthur can’t help but feel self-conscious, knowing that Ariadne is watching, and that Mal probably is, too.
“Everything alright, Arthur?” Eames asks, with a hand on Arthur’s shoulder and a small, concerned frown. It makes Arthur feel terrible, that he’s been lost in his own thoughts to the point that Eames has noticed. Probably thinks that he’s done something wrong when in actual fact, it’s Arthur’s fault for being so damn infatuated.
“Of course,” he replies with a small smile that he hopes is convincing. “So, I heard that Saito knows the owner of this place we’re going to after dinner?”
“Yeah, apparently.” Eames sits back in their bus seat, and it makes their shoulders brush against each other. “Something a little bit more upscale than the one we went to last time. Don’t know. Never been, really.”
Arthur shrugs it off, and as soon as he tells himself to stop worrying about what anyone else thinks, it’s easy to get right back into his conversation with Eames, just like always.
Dinner is delicious. They go to a Yum-Cha restaurant, sitting around a circular table that’s just a little too small for their group. It means that Arthur has his side pressed up against Eames’, and he savours the warmth he feels, from shoulder to thigh.
He’s not sure if it’s the proximity, the wine, or both that makes him feel light-headed by the end of dinner, but by the time they head to the club, Arthur’s feeling confident enough to lean a little too far into Eames’ personal space and let his gaze linger more than usual.
Then, of course, they enter the club and the first person he sees is Robert Fischer.
One moment, Arthur’s leaning into Eames, so close that Eames is about to lift a hand to rest it on the small of Arthur’s back. The next, he’s gone, with a loud, excited, “Robert?”
Robert seems to be the slender, gorgeous man that Arthur all but runs over to. Grinding his teeth as he watches Arthur throw his arms around Robert in a tight hug, Eames decides that he doesn’t like Robert very much. At all.
He can’t be Arthur’s boyfriend. Can’t be, because he’s sure that at some point, Arthur would have mentioned him. Surely. He turns away, resolving that he is definitely not going to sulk. Except everything already feels absolutely terrible, and Ariadne gives him a sympathetic look, from where she’s standing beside Mal.
“Apparently, that’s his ex,” she tells him, while Eames pretends that he’s not watching Arthur talking to Robert. “They broke up years ago, but apparently, they parted on good terms. It’s nothing. Just an old friend.”
Eames concedes that if he looks at them, it does seem casual enough. They’re both smiling, but really, that’s just what you do when you haven’t seen a friend in a long time. Still, whatever little confidence he’d found before has vanished, and he sighs.
“I’m going to get myself a drink,” he decides. “Or three.”
Coincidental, that Robert would be here tonight, but Eames can’t bring himself to dwell on it. Ariadne keeps him company, and then by drink number three, Eames realises that Arthur’s dancing with Robert. He growls under his breath, tightening his grip on his glass, and at that moment, Arthur gaze meets his.
It’s not an apologetic look—Arthur has nothing to be sorry for—but he doesn’t look away, and before Eames has even realised it, he’s standing up. Ariadne cheers under her breath as Eames takes a step towards the dance floor, and he can see Arthur saying something to Robert. When Robert nods understandingly and backs off, Eames decides that maybe he’s not so bad.
Then, in the short time it takes Eames to reach Arthur, someone else gets in the way. He’s tall and muscled, leering as he steps into Arthur’s space, large hands on narrow hips. Arthur shoots a brief glance in Eames’ direction, and even if Arthur isn’t asking for help, even if Arthur can handle this on his own, it spurs Eames into motion.
“I’m not really interested,” he can hear Arthur saying as he approaches.
“That could change,” the other man replies, and it makes Eames scowl.
“He’s with me,” Eames speaks up, coming up behind Arthur. He hooks his fingers into Arthur’s belt loops and tugs, pulling him back, out of the other man’s reach. Gentler this time, he turns Arthur around, so they’re facing each other, and holds Arthur’s gaze. “Aren’t you, darling?”
Arthur stares, his mouth hanging open, before wrapping his arms around Eames’ shoulders in response.
“Whatever,” grunts the other guy, and leaves. Eames doesn’t move his hands from Arthur’s hips, and Arthur doesn’t move away.
“Arthur,” Eames says quietly, at length. He’s trying not to stare at Arthur’s lips, and looks down between them before looking back up to hold Arthur’s gaze. “…Arthur, I should have said this a long time ago…”
Arthur silences Eames with a finger on his lips. His thumb strokes across Eames’ lower lip, and Eames sucks it into his mouth with a small smirk. Arthur’s eyes go dark, and it makes Eames feel confident enough to pull him closer, until they’re chest to chest.
Arthur’s hands slide to Eames’ shoulders, resting there, and doesn’t look away from Eames. Ariadne must be watching them from somewhere, and Eames knows that he’s going to have to put up with her being insufferably smug about this later, but he can’t bring himself to care, right now. Not when Arthur is in his arms, watching him hungrily.
“I really, really want to kiss you,” Arthur murmurs into Eames’ ear. “Just… not in front of everyone.”
“I don’t live far from here,” Eames replies, and takes Arthur’s hand in his own. “Come on.”
Arthur follows eagerly. Eames catches Ariadne’s eye on the way out and she smirks at them. He grins in reply, and then they’re outside, in the cool, quiet night.
“We’ll call a taxi—” Eames abruptly falls silent when Arthur pulls him into a kiss. It’s a brief press of their lips against each other, and after one or two more kisses, Eames pulls away and clears his throat. “We’ll get a taxi to my place. Then we can… talk.”
Arthur grins, stepping into Eames’ arms so they’re pressed right against each other. He kisses Eames’ neck and speaks against it. “I’ve been crazy about you for years, Eames. I’m stupid about you. End of story.”
Eames laughs quietly, shaking his head as he holds Arthur’s chin, tilting his face into another kiss. “That makes two of us, Arthur. All this time—god, if only I’d been a little braver…”
“I wanted to kiss you in that café, last Sunday,” Arthur admits. “I mean, I always do. But then, more than ever. So you’re not the only one who needs to be a little braver.”
“My place,” Eames decides. “Then, we can make up for lost time.”
Arthur is truly surprised by the fact that they last the entire way to Eames' place without jumping each other. They sit in the backseat, tightly holding onto each other’s hands, but that’s it. Nothing more, until they’re in Eames’ apartment.
Then, Eames grins and with a shaky voice, says, “Come here.”
It’s reassuring that Arthur isn’t the only one feeling a little nervous, here. They’ve known each other for years, and regardless of how long they’ve wanted each other, this is still a big jump for them.
Eames’ hands settle on the sides of Arthur’s face, and they stand there for a beat, just watching each other. Arthur is certain that Eames must be able to hear his heart pounding. With a quiet, nervous laugh, Eames pulls him closer and they’re kissing again. It’s not like the brief kisses from before—this time, they’re holding onto each other like they’re never going to let go. They stand there, in the entrance of Eames’ apartment, kissing each other hard, until Arthur’s tongue darts out, licking across Eames’ lower lip.
With a quiet groan, Eames meets Arthur’s tongue with his own, tentatively licking his way into Arthur’s mouth. They cling to each other even tighter, and Eames’ hands go down to hips, pulling him closer. Arthur moans softly as he feels their clothed erections against each other, and turns to whisper into Eames’ ear.
“I’m usually all about the foreplay, but we need to get in your bed right now.”
“Save the foreplay for next time, hm?” Eames murmurs, and Arthur feels an excited jolt run through his body at the thought of there being a next time. Eames’ hand slides down to Arthur’s arse and squeezes gently. “This way.”
The way to Eames’ bed is a bit of a blur, and Arthur barely pays attention to them shedding their clothes. The next thing he knows, Eames is pulling the condoms and lube out of his bedside drawer and Arthur is pushing him down onto the bed, so that he’s lying on his back.
“Uh,” Eames mumbles between their kisses. “Do you want to—”
“I want you to fuck me,” Arthur says, and loves the way Eames’ eyes darken with lust. He kisses Eames again, nipping at his lush lips. “I want to ride your cock, Eames, can I—”
“Yes.” Eames already looks dazed, even as he uncaps the lube and slicks his fingers up. “Fuck yes. C’mere.”
Eames is gentle with him, and Arthur muffles his groans against the broad shoulder right in front of him. It’s been a while since he’s done this with anyone else and Eames’ fingers are so wonderfully thick. They stretch him slowly, just enough that it burns in all the right ways, curling inside him as they seek Arthur’s prostate. When they find it, Arthur’s vision goes white for a moment and his hand flies for his cock, only to find Eames’ already there.
“Not yet,” Eames tuts, his thumb brushing over the thick trail of precome already leaking from the head of Arthur’s cock.
Arthur gasps, mouthing at Eames’ neck. “Please.”
Eames pulls his head back far enough to smile at him adoringly, “Only because you asked so nicely.”
He withdraws his fingers, rolling a condom on, and Arthur barely waits for Eames to be done slicking himself up before straddling him. He holds Eames’ cock ready with one hand, sinking down onto it slowly, inch by inch.
“Arthur,” Eames grunts, eyes screwed tightly shut, his head resting back against the wall.
“Fuck me,” Arthur whispers, clenching down on Eames, grinning when his eyes widen. Eames thrusts up into him and Arthur answers in turn. Eames’ hands are on his arse, holding him open, pulling him back down every time he’s thrusting upwards, and Arthur digs his fingers into Eames’ muscled shoulders.
It takes him a while to realise that Eames is murmuring under his breath, disjointed words like, “So beautiful—fuck, want you—mine, mine—” and it makes Arthur fuck himself down on Eames’ cock harder, listening to him get louder and louder until it becomes a litany of, “Arthur, Arthur, Arthur, Arthur!”
Arthur comes first. He doesn’t stand a chance, between Eames’ cock brushing over his prostate and his husky, accented voice right in his ear. He moans Eames’ name, dragging it out and trailing off in a whimper as Eames jacks him right through it, until his cock is oversensitive. Eames follows shortly after, thrusting one final time into Arthur before going still.
They’re panting and sticky by the time they pull apart. Eames throws his condom out and Arthur knows that they should be thinking of showering, at least cursorily, before getting back in bed. Except, Eames is giving him a look of utter devotion, and then they’re both laughing, quiet and nervous and ecstatic. Nothing else matters more than wrapping their arms around each other again, Eames bumping their noses together and then kissing him.
They do their best to avoid the sticky spot as they lie there in each other’s arms, not even bothering to try and stop grinning at each other. Eames’ eyelids are drooping and Arthur can feel his own growing heavier as well. With a final kiss, he rests his head on Eames’ chest, and doesn’t let go of him as he lets sleep claim him.
Eames wakes to an empty bed, and he sits up, panicking, until he registers the sound of his kettle boiling. Still, he gets out of bed and walks out of his room, in search of Arthur.
“Good morning,” Arthur greets, looking over his shoulder at the sound of Eames’ feet against the floor. He’s standing in front of one of Eames’ three bookshelves, and he’s smiling like he’s just discovered the most brilliant secret ever. “I love your book collection.”
“I’ve got this tendency to hoard things,” Eames admits. He wraps his arms around Arthur’s waist and kisses the nape of his neck, then his shoulder. “I’m especially bad with books. Always had this notion since I was a kid that I’d grow up and own one of those libraries like in Beauty and the Beast.”
“You too,” Arthur says softly, laughing with wonder. “I’ve always wanted one. I’ve got a room in my apartment dedicated to them until I find a castle of my very own.”
Eames laughs too, hugging Arthur to him a little tighter. “Oh, god help me. You are perfect.”
Arthur turns in Eames’ arms, his cheeks and ears a light pink. “Come on. I’ll make us some breakfast.”
“Surely, there’s a rule that says I should be making you breakfast, here.”
“And here I thought I’d just show off how perfect I was,” Arthur replies with a smirk. “That’s fine. Steal my thunder. I’m okay with that.”
“You cheeky little…” Eames grabs Arthur, kissing him hard. “Fine. You cook. I’ll sit right here and appreciate your arse in those wonderful boxers.”
“And after we eat…”
“I was thinking a shower would do us some good,” Eames suggests.
“Singular,” Arthur says, licking his lips absently. “I like the way you think. Then, I want to see your paintings.”
“And I want to see your mini-library,” Eames replies. “And read your writing.”
“We do have the entire weekend,” Arthur smiles casually. “I don’t have any other plans.”
“Good.” Eames looks at Arthur possessively. “Because I don’t plan on letting you out of my reach for a while.”
Arthur grins, opening Eames’ fridge to rummage through it. “You won’t hear any complaints from me.”