kyrene_writes: (inception: A/E)
[personal profile] kyrene_writes
Title: Trail of Stones
Pairings/Characters: Arthur/Eames, Ariadne, OFCx2
Rating: NC-17
Word Count: 17,832
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Summary: "Is that... is that honestly what you think of me, Arthur?" Eames asked, his voice so shaky that Arthur almost felt bad. Almost, but then he reminded himself that he wasn't the one at fault here; Eames was. "Is that what you believe me capable of?"


"Trail of Stones"
by kyrene


Normally Arthur liked to learn new things about people. Especially people he was interested in, and whether he wanted to admit it or not, he did find Eames to be quite interesting.

Sometimes, though, finding things out about people -- and by "people" this time he definitely meant Eames -- could be messy and disturbing, and kind of ended up making him feel like an asshole.

That part of it, Arthur didn't like so much. Especially when it turned out that he was the asshole.

It started with the fifth extraction they worked together after the Fischer job. Well, technically, Arthur supposed that it had started earlier than that. Probably on the first job they had worked together. That had been a while before Fischer and it was where the instant attraction between them had happened. But since they really hadn't been able to stand one another they had ignored said attraction. It had been easy enough to do when they had hardly ever seen one another and certainly never outside of the job.

Then came the Fischer inception, where they had been forced together for an extended period of time, when they had each had to admit to the other's brilliance.

Well, to be fair, Eames had never been unwilling to acknowledge Arthur's skills and intelligence. He always did so with a "but" on his lips, however, so it had been a little difficult to take him seriously.

And, for some reason, Eames seemed to have trouble accepting any praise from Arthur, no matter how seriously he meant it. Since Arthur wasn't particularly contrary, this made him less inclined to acknowledge Eames' brilliance rather than more so, but at the same time he couldn't ignore or deny it. Eames was damned good at what he did, and he was damned good at what other people did as well, no matter how much it might pain Arthur to realize this.

Not that it was any of his business. But once he had noticed, he couldn't forget it. And he couldn't deny that it made Eames that much more attractive to him. It had been easier to write off his feelings when he hadn't been so aware of the fact that Eames was more than a pretty face and a deliciously sculpted body, of the fact that there was a sharp mind and some brilliantly intuitive instincts hiding behind the facade that Eames projected.

Because Eames did do his best to disguise this fact. It wasn't surprising that Arthur hadn't seen through to Eames' intelligence at first. The man went out of his way to hide behind his scruff and an expertly affected density. Arthur understood this. It was generally to a man's benefit to be underestimated, and someone who pursued the career Eames did would work better for remaining anonymous.

Arthur had never had any problem looking past the severe side part in Eames' hair, his carefully cultivated stubble, and his blank looks to see the incredibly gorgeous man underneath. But he had been taken a bit by surprise during the Fischer job to find that Eames had a brain to match. Equally disguised, but since he had come up with the majority of their plans, it would have been impossible for Arthur to miss the fact that Eames was gifted intellectually as well as physically; and maybe even more so.

So, when the opportunity to work with Eames had come up after the end of the Fischer job, Arthur had jumped at it. Not that he'd let on, of course. But he would have signed up for it even if the extraction they'd been doing hadn't been a sure thing.

With himself and Eames involved, of course, it would have become a sure thing even if it hadn't started out that way. Still, it was nice to see Eames working and to recognize the fact that the Fischer job hadn't just been a fluke, that Eames was as gifted at extraction as he was inception. And before Arthur quite knew it, they had worked two more jobs together, and they were able to work together with a minimum of clashing.

Oh, there were still arguments. They still had differing ways of approaching the job, and these ways sometimes clashed. There had even been a time or two... or maybe three... when their team members had cleared out in order to let them hash things out alone. Arthur had almost thought that they would come to blows, and he wondered whether he'd be able to lay hands on Eames without pushing him over the nearest item of furniture and ravaging him properly.

But that hadn't happened -- at least not outside of his fantasies when he was alone in bed the evenings after, hand wrapped around his dick -- and Arthur wasn't completely convinced that Eames would have welcomed it.

That was the thing. Arthur couldn't imagine that the amount of pigtail-pulling behavior Eames indulged in around him was grounded in anything other than the same strong physical, and possibly psychological attraction that he felt for the forger... but he couldn't be completely sure. And that was what kept him from making the first move.

Call him a coward, but Arthur really, really hated rejection.

And... he really liked spending time with Eames. Completely aside from the way he wanted to fuck him into the mattress, Arthur genuinely appreciated Eames' company; when they weren't at one another's throats, that was. And he didn't like to think of risking that. What if he grabbed Eames, kissed him, and then found out that Eames hadn't been flirting all this time, was in fact revolted, and never wanted anything to do with Arthur ever again?

Okay, maybe that was a bit overly melodramatic and highly unlikely. But in the sleepless depths of the lonely night, it seemed like a very real possibility to Arthur.

He even went so far as to research Eames' romantic background in the hopes of discovering at least whether Eames would be receptive to a male lover. What he turned up wasn't surprising; it was a huge load of nothing. Eames was discrete, much as Arthur himself was, and there was just no information to be found. Not without going so in-depth that Eames would undoubtedly hear about it, and Arthur wanted to avoid that at all costs.

And so that was where things stood as they began their fifth job together. And that was the one where Arthur became very grateful that he had never made a move on Eames.

That was the one where everything fell apart. Arthur just wished that he could have blamed someone other than himself.

+++

It was a small job. It was supposed to be an easy job. It actually was an easy job; the troubles came once the job was done. They began during the job, though.

Arthur and Eames were working with a four person team only because their architect insisted on bringing her partner into it, and Eames declared flippantly that he hadn't wanted to forge and play extractor at the same time. Arthur was a little displeased that they'd be sharing the payday four ways instead of three, but he liked and respected Alana and was willing to be convinced where her partner was concerned.

Besides, it wasn't as though he hadn't insisted on Eames when the extractor who'd hired him had been setting up the last job Arthur had been on before this one, even though the services of a forger hadn't really been required. So he didn't have a lot of room to protest. Arthur failed sometimes, but he did try not to be hypocritical; that sort of thing could earn one a bad reputation if it got out.

At any rate, Alana was an excellent architect and Candace proved to be a talented extractor. They worked well together, Eames worked well with them, and Arthur tended to work well with everyone -- at least everyone who wasn't an arrogant fuck-up like Nash had been, or completely mental like Cobb -- so the job itself went very smoothly.

Outside the strict confines of the job, however, during the preparatory period, Arthur had to admit that he wasn't thrilled with the way that Eames flirted with both Alana and Candace. Neither woman seemed to mind, and Arthur couldn't really let on that he minded, so he had to let it slide by. Honestly, it wasn't any of his business... except for the part where it really felt as though it was.

It wasn't like Arthur didn't already know that he was a jealous lover... but he hadn't thought this would apply when he and Eames were not lovers. Evidently he'd been wrong. Even though they had never reached any kind of agreement, it seemed that Arthur's heart, his instincts regarded Eames as his.

Eames' behavior wasn't even anything overbearing, and certainly nothing that got in the way of the job. Arthur came upon Eames standing too close to Alana a few times, both of them speaking in lowered voices, but he couldn't say anything when it didn't affect their work.

Personally, he'd have assumed that Alana would have been above returning these attentions, but she seemed to enjoy playing along. Candace was more reserved, turning an adorable pink whenever Eames teased her, but she never protested.

Still, Arthur hadn't thought that it was anything more than some harmless flirting, however annoying he personally found it to be... until the job was finished, and he stumbled across Eames and Alana whispering in a corner, their heads dangerously close as they leaned into one another's space, Eames' hand on Alana's slender shoulder.

Hanging back, Arthur strained to hear, wanting to know what they were talking about even though, as already noted, it was none of his business.

"You can't be afraid forever," Eames was murmuring, his low, raspy drawl. "If you want something, you should just ask for it."

"I will if you will," Alana retorted with a certain amount of sass, which surprised Arthur not at all, since she never did let Eames get away with anything.

They both lowered their voices after this, and Arthur couldn't hear anything without stepping closer, which he didn't dare to do for risk of causing a floorboard to creak. He'd have thought they'd have heard him already, but they were so deeply involved in their conversation that they must not have noticed, he thought bitterly.

"All right, it's decided then," Eames was saying once they raised their voices enough that Arthur could make out individual words once again.

"You'd better not let me down," Alana said, which was fair warning as far as Arthur was concerned. Not that he approved of this in the slightest.

"We'll meet at the hotel tonight, okay?" Eames replied, and Arthur wished he hadn't heard, or that he could believe that he had misunderstood.

This last hope was dashed, however, when Eames and Alana shared a conspiratorial smile, then embraced tightly, sliding smoothly into one another's arms.

This was the point where Arthur made his retreat, because he'd heard as much as he could bear to hear, and he didn't want to see any more than he had already seen.

+++

Things only got worse once they'd split their pay, and Alana had dragged Candace out of the room. Leaving Arthur alone with Eames, who was giving him a strangely intent stare. Arthur fought the urge to fidget, wondering whether Eames knew he'd been listening in, wondering what that look was all about.

He wasn't left to wonder long, when Eames drew a deep breath, and said, "Arthur...."

"Yeah?" Arthur gruffed in reply, trying to ignore the way his chest warmed as Eames' raspy bedroom-voice seemed to wrap around and caress his name. It was ridiculous to feel like that every time he heard it, and especially now, knowing what he knew.

Eames seemed a little taken aback by how unapproachable Arthur sounded, but he persevered.

"I was... I was just wondering if I might request the pleasure of your company tonight."

Arthur's brows rose. "Is that before or after you meet up with Alana?" he asked shortly, even though he wasn't supposed to know about that. But he found that he didn't care in the slightest that he was giving away his bout of eavesdropping. After all, it was Eames who was being the asshole here. Arthur almost couldn't believe that Eames had the brazen balls to ask him out in the same night that he'd arranged to meet their erstwhile architect at the hotel... but somehow he didn't find that he was so surprised.

"What?" Eames asked flatly, his eyes widening as he stared at Arthur.

"Well," Arthur continued, far more flippantly than he felt, "I'd just like to know whether I'm the pre-sex date, or the post-date sex."

"What," Eames came out with again, even more flatly this time.

"Oh, come on, Eames," Arthur snapped, unable to hold his anger inside any longer. "I heard you making plans with Alana. Don't pretend that you're not playing us both. I'd just like to know whether I'm supposed to be cast in the role of the 'other woman', or whether you don't really care that much about either of us."

Eames had gone a pasty shade of white, but Arthur figured that was simply the result of being caught out in his duplicity.

"Is that... is that honestly what you think of me, Arthur?" Eames asked, his voice so shaky that Arthur almost felt bad. Almost, but then he reminded himself that he wasn't the one at fault here; Eames was. "Is that what you believe me capable of?"

Arthur frowned and folded his arms. "Pretty sure the facts speak for themselves, Eames," he said, keeping his voice as hard as he could when Eames was looking at him as though Arthur had just run over his puppy with a tank, then dynamited the remains.

Eames stood where he was a moment, frozen, then he nodded once, his nostrils flaring, his color still completely gone. "Fine, then," he said through stiff lips, and without a further word he turned and left the room, left Arthur alone.

Arthur had to remind himself all over again that he wasn't the bad guy here. He just wasn't.

+++

Arthur was usually right, but he was only human and so, of course, he was wrong sometimes. And when he was wrong, he was usually spectacularly wrong, as if to make up for all the times he wasn't wrong.

He didn't realize how wrong he'd been, though, until that evening when he stumbled across Alana and Candace in the restaurant attached to the hotel they'd all been staying in.

"Arthur!" Alana waved him over before he could pretend he hadn't seen them and duck out. "Over here! Join us!"

Arthur wasn't violently opposed to being sociable, of course, especially after completing a successful job, but he'd been inclined to sulk in his room, nursing hurt feelings, possibly with the aid of some alcohol. He especially didn't want to sit down with Alana, who was either the person Eames had intended to cheat on, or the person Eames had intended to cheat on Arthur with.

This knowledge was pulsing large and bright in his mind, and so it was very confusing when he seated himself at their table with hard-won politeness, and noticed that both the young women were holding hands. They didn't look as though they had any intention of letting go, ever.

"Is Eames going to meet us all here?" Alana asked, raising her perfectly plucked brows and craning her neck to peer toward the entrance as though she expected to see the forger coming in to join them at any moment.

"Not that I'm aware of," Arthur replied, trying to figure out just what in the hell he was missing. Maybe Eames could play the two-timer, but if Alana and Candace were together, Arthur couldn't see any way that Alana would cheat on her partner... who was evidently her partner in more ways than one?

"Damn it, he promised me!" Alana growled, scowling and releasing Candace's hand to fumble for her phone. "I'm sending him a nasty text."

"Wait, don't do that," Arthur protested, because he still had no idea what was going on, but he was beginning to get the sinking sensation that he'd misunderstood and completely fucked things up... somehow. He just needed to figure out how. "What did Eames promise you?" he asked, possibly a bit urgently.

Alana sighed, but set aside her phone and grasped at Candace's hand again. "Well, since he didn't hold up his part of the deal, I'll just tell you," she said. "He should have already asked you, so it's his own fault he hasn't."

"Asked me what?" Arthur demanded, trying not to sound too snappish, even though he really hated being left in the dark.

"Well," Alana began, sharing a soppy smile with Candace, "Eames has been working away at me during this entire job. He told me to stop being ridiculous and wasting time; that Candace and I were obviously meant for one another."

Arthur blinked, trying to process that, as Alana raised Candace's hand to her lips, pressing a kiss to the knuckles, and Candace blushed prettily and smiled even more prettily.

"He was right, of course," Candace put in, and it was true that Alana tended to do the talking for both of them, but the woman obviously knew her own mind. Well, she was an extractor, after all, which tended to entail a certain strength of will. "We were both too afraid to make the first move. I was shy and Alana didn't want to risk losing me as a friend. We're just lucky that Eames knew better than both of us."

"Uh-huh," Alana took the narrative up once more, though she didn't let go of Candace's hand. "So I told him that the same thing applied to him; that he should ask you out." She gave Arthur something that was midway between a fond smile and a smug smirk. "We were supposed to go on a double date tonight. Didn't he find you and ask you out? He promised me that he would."

"He did," Arthur had to admit uncomfortably, as his brain struggled to right itself after having been turned on its end by this glut of information. He wondered how he had missed all of that. Although, he still didn't think he could be blamed for misunderstanding. "I turned him down," he confessed, "Because I thought that he was involved with you."

"What?" Alana hooted, and Candace was biting her lip, evidently in a polite attempt to keep from snickering. "You're kidding, right?" Alana continued, shaking her head. "You thought we were together? You thought that I was straight? You thought that Eames was straight? Oh my God, Arthur, how have you ever gotten laid with wildly malfunctioning gaydar like that?"

Arthur knew he was brick red, but he felt it had been a perfectly reasonable assumption, given what he'd had to work with.

"You should call him," Candace said, peering at him earnestly through her thick bangs. Her soft voice and serious eyes compelled him more than any similar order Alana might have given him would have -- not to mention the fact that she was right -- so he pulled out his cell.

As he had half expected, there was no answer. "He's probably already ditched his phone," he explained to the ladies. "He only uses them during a job, and never holds onto one long."

Since he hadn't yet ordered, he made his excuses and left the table. There was to be no double-date so Alana and Candace ought to have their first meal together as a couple alone, without Arthur there playing the third wheel.

Besides, he didn't care for the sharp, knowing look he was getting from Alana, or the sympathetic, mournful glances Candace kept shooting him.

He did go to Eames' room, but as expected, Eames had already checked out. So Arthur went to his own room, packed, and did the same, heading for the airport with a lingering sense of having missed out on something important and possibly life-altering.

+++

Arthur felt a little bad, but he just figured he'd catch up with Eames eventually and he'd apologize then. It would mean losing a little face, but he'd been wrong and he was man enough to admit it.

It wasn't until he talked to Ariadne on the phone that he realized how big a mistake he had made; on more than one level.

He wasn't even sure how they came around to the subject, but somehow he found himself confessing everything. Maybe he'd been feeling more guilt over the whole thing than he'd thought.... Certainly Ariadne reacted strongly.

"You accused him of cheating and then didn't go after him?" Ariadne blurted, sounding far more appalled than Arthur thought was warranted. "Shit, Arthur, you have to find him! He has a huge thing about cheating!"

"How do you know that?" Arthur asked, wondering at the same time how he was supposed to have known this. Ariadne sounded as though she was blaming him for this lack.

"Because," she explained vigorously, "I had to stop him from shooting my ex in the head once, when I let slip that he'd cheated on me. I mean that literally; Eames was going to shoot Alex in the head. I don't know the details -- Eames wouldn't tell me even though I asked -- but evidently it's a major trigger."

"Pun not intended," Arthur added automatically, but he was distracted, recalling how absolutely horrified Eames had looked when Arthur had spoken his piece. At the time Arthur had thought Eames was startled and embarrassed at being caught, but now that Arthur looked at it objectively, with the information he'd gotten from Alana and Ariadne....

"That's not funny, Arthur," Ariadne snapped angrily, and it wasn't. It was no joking matter when Eames had tried to lay his heart on the line and Arthur had stomped all over it.

"Do you have any idea where he is now?" Arthur asked Ariadne, even though it really should have been the other way around. Then again, Eames was probably more likely to be willing to have anything to do with Ariadne than Arthur, at this point in time.

"No," she replied. "But you'd better find him fast, Arthur. And apologize."

"I will."

In fact, Arthur wasn't going to rest until he had done so.

+++

Saying was always easier than doing, but Arthur was determined, and he wasn't going to stop until he'd tracked Eames down and settled things between them, one way or another.

All the reasons that Arthur had avoided being the one to make the first move, all the poor reactions he'd been afraid of.... And then when Eames had dared to ask Arthur out, Arthur's response had been about a hundred times worse. The fact that he hadn't known it at the time, that he hadn't hurt Eames deliberately, wasn't really much of a comfort when all Arthur could see before his mind's-eye when he went to bed each night and when he rose each morning, was the look on Eames' face when Arthur had accused him of cheating.

Arthur had a lot to make up for, and he wasn't sure whether Eames would allow him to do so. But the first step was to find Eames. And Eames hadn't made that easy. Well, he'd gone to ground, so that was perfectly understandable.

Eames was good. Very good. But Arthur was just as good, he was determined, and he had some favors he could call in from people who were in a better position to find Eames than he was in. Since he had no qualms about using these resources, especially for something so important, he did so.

Word came around to him before too long that Eames was in a certain city and, helpfully, frequenting a certain bar. Which didn't surprise Arthur at all, but he was a little disappointed. Still, he supposed it was better than Eames locking himself in his hotel room and drinking alone.

Or so he though until he arrived at the bar in question and got a good look at Eames. The normally neat and controlled forger was... well, frankly he was something of a mess. His hair was out of control, he needed a shave more badly than usual, and his clothes looked as though he'd slept in them... more than once. Possibly in an alley somewhere.

But he was still ridiculously handsome, and it made Arthur's heart ache to look at him. It wasn't only because it was Arthur's fault that Eames had sunk this low; it was just his general physiological response to seeing Eames. Much like his reaction to hearing Eames growl his name....

Arthur had to wonder if he'd ever hear that again, though, as he slid onto a seat beside Eames, and Eames blinked, then squinted at Arthur as though he was a stranger whose face he was trying to place.

"Eames," Arthur said, wanting to make an offering of apology, but not sure where to begin. Eames' eyes were red-rimmed and puffy, as though he'd either been crying or drinking for days.... Arthur was sure that the latter was true, and he didn't like to think about the former.

"What...?" Eames licked lips that were chapped and reddened, probably from the hard alcohol he'd been drinking. "What are you doing here?"

He slurred his words a little, spoke slowly, and Arthur felt his heart sink. Eames was clearly quite wasted, and Arthur didn't really want to make his apologies or plead his case until Eames was sober. Or at least closer to it than his pickled state right now.

"I was looking for you," Arthur replied quietly, keeping his voice as even as he could. "I needed to talk to you."

"Don't want to talk to you," Eames growled in reply, sticking out his lower lip in a pout. He looked like an honest to God schoolboy, but Arthur had never wanted to have sex with a schoolboy; at least not since he had been one himself.

"But we do need to talk, Eames," Arthur said, reaching over a placing a gentle hand on Eames' upper back, trying not to feel too hurt when Eames flinched away from this. It wasn't as though he didn't deserve that reaction, after all. He did leave his hand there, even though he probably should have taken the hint.

"Don't," Eames said again, but his voice lacked conviction, and he didn't protest or try to resist as Arthur led him out of the bar and back to the hotel room that Arthur had gotten about a block away; in the same hotel where Eames was staying, in fact. Arthur had done that deliberately, even though he'd had to take a room a floor above Eames'.

It might make Arthur a bad person, but he wanted to have the coming conversation on his own turf. He had a feeling that he was going to have to open himself to Eames, do some extreme groveling, and it might be easier to do in his own room, rather than in Eames' space.

Besides which, he'd already done so much damage. He didn't want to also invade Eames' hotel room uninvited. So there was a reason that was less selfish and more altruistic. That made him feel a little better, inasmuch as anything could.

They didn't speak as Arthur chivvied Eames into the room and sat him on his bed, practically forcing him to drink some water and take some painkillers which might not help much. Still, it couldn't hurt.

"I tried..." Eames mumbled, as Arthur knelt to remove his shoes and socks, sounding almost as though he was speaking to himself, "I tried to go out and get laid, just to show you... to show you... something." He flapped a limp hand and Arthur felt his heart contract. "I don't know. But I couldn't. Couldn't do it. I just. I couldn't."

"It's all right, Eames," Arthur said, even though it wasn't. He straightened and helped Eames out of his jacket, then his shirt. Eames needed a shower, but right now he needed sleep more, and Arthur intended to see that he got it.

"Not all right," Eames protested, though he sounded vague and his eyes were sliding closed.

"Well, no," Arthur admitted, pressing Eames back into the mattress and then peeling off his trousers. He managed not to think too many dirty thoughts, since they still needed to get things fixed, and it might never be all right between them, but this was more of Eames than he had ever seen, and he couldn't help staring a little as he wrestled him under the covers. Eames was fit and just as attractive to Arthur as he had always been. Arthur was just more willing to admit to it now.

Which was ironic, since he might well have wrecked everything between them. But Arthur refused to think that way. He was determined to get things straightened out, to regain Eames' trust and his regard. Arthur wasn't the sort to give up, and Eames was too important to him to just allow the man to slip through his fingers.

Especially not now that he had him in his bed, even if only in the most technical sense.

"Go to sleep," he instructed, reaching down and running his fingers through Eames' hair. It was greasy and needed washing as badly as the rest of him, but it was hair that Arthur had wanted to touch for years. He shouldn't have. He didn't have the right. But Eames seemed to calm, and his breathing eased out smoothly as he quickly slipped toward unconsciousness.

Once he was sure that Eames was asleep, Arthur grabbed a pillow and the spare blanket from the closet, and settled down on the floor in front of the door. He was exhausted from chasing after Eames across the world, but he didn't dare to take the chance of possibly losing the man again, if Eames woke before he did and was inclined to run.

Not that Arthur would blame him if he did.... But he hadn't come this far only to let Eames escape, and so even though there was a draft, and the carpet over the floor was nothing but a thin floral layer simply for appearance's sake, and the blanket was scratchy and smelled of stale cigarette smoke, Arthur stayed where he was. There was only one way out, and that was over his prone body.

Arthur was serious about this, the way he should have been back when Eames had first asked him out. He was going to get things set right between them, one way or another.

He owed it to Eames, and he wanted it for himself. More than anything.

+++

Arthur woke to the sound of the shower running. As soon as he moved he regretted doing so. He regretted even more having slept on the floor. He might not even be quite thirty yet, but he was definitely too old for that. Every joint was stiff and aching, and he couldn't help groaning as he forced himself to his feet.

Eames' clothes were still puddled beside the bed, lying where Arthur had carelessly left them the night before, and Arthur's suitcase was open. By this, Arthur surmised that Eames had borrowed from him, even before the man himself emerged from the bathroom, pink, damp, shaved, and wearing an oversized top and a pair of Arthur's sweatpants. These clothes didn't have to stretch much to accommodate him, reminding Arthur that Eames had lost a fair amount of weight even before the close of the Fischer job and more afterward.

Eames looked good, even though he was still drawn and a little puffy from his drinking bout, and obviously suffering at least a mild hangover. Arthur felt dirty, sweaty, grimy, and in need of a shave, but he wasn't about to leave the room until they'd both said their piece. He'd grabbed this chance, what might be his last chance, and he didn't want to blow it.

Eames was looking at him warily and possibly a little defiantly. "You didn't have to camp on the floor," was all he said, though, his voice low and mild, not giving anything away.

When Eames was upset his grey eyes were like two mirrors, reflecting everything and giving nothing away. Arthur hated seeing them like that, but at least Eames was still here, had bathed, and if he wasn't receptive to anything Arthur might have to say, at least he wasn't already outright rejecting him.

And he was wearing Arthur's clothes. That had to count for something... right?

"I couldn't risk losing you again," Arthur said, letting his sincere emotions of regret, guilt, and anxiety bleed into his voice.

Eames frowned faintly, a line between his brows. "What?" he asked, though this time not as flat and dead as when Arthur had thrown his date request back in his face.

Arthur still winced internally at this reminder, even though he didn't think it had been deliberate on Eames' part. It refreshed his resolve and made it easier to speak the words that he needed to speak.

"Eames, I'm very sorry for the way I responded when you asked me out," he said, not rushing but wanting to get it out there as quickly and as articulately as possible, so that there could be no more misunderstandings. Or at least, if there were it wouldn't be due to his lack of trying.

"Okay..." Eames said, and he wasn't giving anything to Arthur, wasn't giving any ground, but that was all right because it gave Arthur a chance to say everything that he wanted, that he needed to say.

"I overheard things I shouldn't have and jumped to the wrong conclusions," he continued, spreading his hands and meeting Eames' eyes even though he sort of wanted to look away. "Then I said things I didn't mean and very much should not have said."

"You meant them..." Eames rumbled, and he looked distrustful, but it was a little bit better than that dreadful blankness. Hurt feelings were something that Arthur could deal with. It would have been much more difficult if Eames hadn't been willing to let him in at all.

"Okay, yes," Arthur admitted. "Inasmuch as I'd gotten the completely wrong idea in my head, I did mean them, but I only said those things because I was jealous."

"What I want to know," Eames said, pacing over and sitting on the edge of the bed, then patting the mattress, about as far from himself as he could reach, but it was still more of an invitation than Arthur might have thought he would get, "Is why you thought I was the type to cheat."

"You're a forger," Arthur offered, crossing with alacrity and taking the spot Eames had indicated before the man could change his mind. "You're a liar and a thief. You're a gambler. You cheat at cards. All the time."

Eames shook his head, frowning. "That's something different. Completely different."

"It's true," Arthur allowed. Then, because he was here to apologize but he was also here to be honest, he added, "You do flirt a lot, though. With everyone. I don't know if you've noticed."

"Only with you, Arthur," Eames rasped, shaking his head in turn.

Arthur arched a brow. "So you're just being friendly to everyone else?"

"Yes," Eames replied, in all seriousness, staring fixedly at Arthur, and Arthur decided to just let it go. It was true that Eames was like that with virtually everyone. And if Arthur looked at it objectively, it wasn't really flirting; it just seemed that way to him because he was so jealous. And most of the times he had thought Eames had been flirting with Alana, they'd just been discussing her feelings for Candace.

"All right," he said easily. After all, he had been the one to trick a kiss out of Ariadne during the Fischer job. He'd been testing out the idea of it, but it hadn't seemed right. It had felt good and broken the tension of the moment a little, even if it hadn't distracted the projections. And Ariadne was pretty and intelligent. But Arthur had felt as though he'd have rather stolen a kiss from Eames' "distraction"; or better yet, the man himself when he wasn't in the form of a busty blonde.

"All right?" Eames pursued.

"Will you forgive me?" Arthur asked, because he'd gotten his apology out, but Eames hadn't replied yet.

"For coming to the wrong conclusion and being a dick about it?" Eames laughed, a little flatly, but not meanly. "Arthur, I can't be angry at you for being yourself."

It wasn't quite an insult and Arthur didn't think Eames had meant it that way, at least not completely, so he didn't take offense. He was just frustrated.

"I'm apologizing for hurting your feelings," he clarified. "I'm apologizing for thinking that you would cheat."

Eames' lips rounded in that way that couldn't help but fill Arthur with filthy thoughts. Now was not the time, though. Eames' eyes were equally round, and dark with all the things he wasn't saying.

"I'd like a chance for that date you were asking me on," Arthur pursued. "And, failing that, I want a chance to make this whole thing up to you. If we can't be lovers, then I'd at least like to go back to being friends. I need your forgiveness, and I'll do whatever you ask from me in order to get it."

"L-lovers?" Eames said weakly, and it figured that this was what he fixated on, but it was fitting. Arthur had put it right out there; he hadn't really meant to, but it had burst out of him and he didn't regret it.

"If it's not too presumptuous of me," Arthur added uncertainly. Because it very well could be. Just because things had worked out for Alana and Candace, that didn't mean that Eames had wanted more than a nice dinner out and maybe a quick tumble with Arthur....

"I-- Yes," Eames blurted, tripping over his own tongue as though he was afraid that Arthur might rescind the offer, as though Arthur hadn't tracked him down, brought him back to his hotel room, and slept in front of the door in an effort to barricade him in.

"It that...." Arthur hated to be a pedant, but he genuinely needed more specificity. "Are you forgiving me? Or are you only willing to go on a date? Or... is it just a chance for me to make it up to you that you're saying yes to?"

"All of the above?" Eames said, smiling sheepishly. As always, Arthur found his crooked front teeth to be endearing rather than off-putting, and he was really hoping for a chance to continue looking at them for the rest of his life. "I want.... Well, I guess I want all the things that you want, Arthur."

And there it was, Eames' low, husky accent, curling around the vowels and constants of Arthur's name the way he had come to hope for and treasure. When Eames was angry at him or was being professional, he pronounced Arthur's name in a clipped, brisk manner. So hearing him now meant... that he wasn't mad at Arthur any longer?

"Eames, can I ask you something?" he said, uncertain of where he stood and not wanting to push too hard when he'd only just received forgiveness, and the promise of a date if he hadn't misunderstood. He hoped not; there had been far too much of that lately.

"Something else?" Eames wondered, raising both brows. Now that he felt he was allowed to look, Arthur was even more tempted to just jump Eames and press the man into the mattress. Eames' hair was still damp from his shower, he was clean-cut and bright-eyed, even if the hangover was lingering around the edges, and he was wearing Arthur's clothes. What was there not to like... and lust after? On the other hand, Arthur wanted to do this right. He felt as though he needed to woo Eames, especially after his disastrous response to Eames' first move.

He would take Eames out on a real date, he would make sure he did and said everything right, and if he was very lucky, Eames would allow Arthur to take him to bed afterward.

"If you don't want to answer, that's okay," Arthur said, fighting the urge to check his totem out of habit, since he knew very well that he wasn't dreaming. He'd tested its weight and balance when he'd awakened to find Eames in the shower, and he could remember every moment between then and now. Vividly.

"What is it?" Eames wanted to know, and he looked relatively receptive, which gave Arthur heart.

"Well, I just wondered.... I mean, I know I was out of line and was a completely asshole about it, but I wondered why you feel so strongly about infidelity," Arthur said, knowing it wasn't the best idea to bring up the subject that they'd only just come to an understanding on. But he was wildly curious, and besides; "It's not just my experience. Ariadne told me about how you wanted to shoot her ex."

Eames grimaced, and he looked away, down to where his fingers were worrying at a loose thread on the hotel comforter.

"You don't have to tell me," Arthur repeated. "And I know that it's a touchy issue for most people. Obviously I feel strongly about it myself. But not to the extent that you seemed to. So I was just wondering...."

"My father cheated on my mother repeatedly," Eames suddenly said, sounding as though the words were being dragged up from the base of his chest. "He would... he would bring his women home while Mum was in hospital, dying of cancer. I hated him for the lot of things, but especially for that."

"Oh, God, Eames, I'm sorry," Arthur blurted, wishing more than anything that he'd known that before he'd flung those accusative words at Eames. When someone grew up with an example like that they either followed or reviled it, and Eames had obviously taken the more moral path. Not that this should have come as a surprise, despite his profession as a forger; as he had said, those were two completely different things. And Arthur had the strong suspicion that at the heart of him Eames was a good man, even if he would indignantly deny this if anyone suggested it.

Eames shrugged spastically, but he still wasn't meeting Arthur's eyes, and Arthur felt the loss acutely. "Not as though you had any way of knowing," he mumbled, giving up on the thread and folding his hands loosely in his lap.

Arthur scooted closer and now Eames looked up, but it was with something like alarm on his face.

"Can I make this up to you?" Arthur asked, as earnestly and seriously as he was capable of being. And he was capable of being very serious. "I'd like to get cleaned up, I'd like for you to go to your room and get dressed nicely, and I want us to have that dinner you offered, back before I fucked everything up."

Eames' dark eyes ran over Arthur's face, examining every feature, looking for... well, Arthur had no idea what Eames was looking for, but he hoped very much that the man was finding it.

"It's a little early for dinner," Eames finally offered, and it wasn't a rejection but Arthur's heart sank all the same. "Still..." Eames smiled, soft and warm, and his eyes crinkled with honesty, "I could be convinced to wait here while you get ready, then walk with you to my room so that I can change, and then we could have lunch together."

"And then dinner?" Arthur pressed, because evidently he didn't know how to quit when he was ahead, but also because he really, really wanted a chance to have that date that Eames had offered.

"Of course dinner," Eames said, and now he was smiling more broadly, looking almost like his usual self. "I don't put out unless there's a full meal involved. Lunch doesn't count."

"You're not easy then," Arthur laughed, even though he felt as though his heart was going to pound its way out of his chest with combined relief, joy, and anticipation.

"Despite what you may have heard otherwise, I am not," Eames said with so much affected dignity that it was clear he was teasing. And if they were to the place where they could begin teasing again -- or, as Eames would probably say, flirting, and he'd be right -- well, then, Arthur could hope that things were going to work out between them.

"Are you kidding?" Arthur asked, deciding to go with honesty rather than playing along. "I haven't been able to dig up anything on your love life to this point. Since I doubt very much that you're a virgin, I can only assume that you are one of the most discreet men on the face of the Earth."

Eames let out a loud, delighted laugh. "Oh, my dear Arthur," he crooned, reaching over and wrapping his hand around one of Arthur's. "It flatters me deeply that you checked. But you could have just asked."

"That would have been the sane thing to do," Arthur rejoined, twisting his hand within Eames' so that he could twine his fingers with the other man's. Eames looked slightly startled, and Arthur resolved to do whatever it took to ensure that Eames was no longer surprised by any reciprocation of feeling.

"And we can't have that," Eames murmured, his full lips quirking in a small smirk. "Well, if it's any comfort, your history is just as difficult to pin down."

Arthur chuckled. "I'm not a virgin, Eames."

Eames grinned more widely. "Wasn't expecting you would be," he drawled. "Still, it was a bit maddening, not even being able to find out whether you preferred birds or blokes."

"Really?" Arthur couldn't help rolling his eyes, but then he smiled at Eames with genuine affection. "I prefer you, Eames. Nothing and no one else matters now."

And that was far more than he'd meant to give away, and probably more than he should have said before they'd even gone on their first date or had their first kiss, but Arthur'd had some time to think while he'd been tracking Eames down, and he didn't want to risk losing him again. There was a reason that he'd been working so many jobs with Eames since the end of the Fischer job, and this reason had everything to do with how much Arthur honestly enjoyed Eames' company, as well as how much he wanted his body.

Letting Eames know this might just chase him off, Arthur thought as he practically held his breath, watching the emotions chase each other across Eames' face, but it was too late to take the words back now.

"Oh," said Eames finally, and he sounded a little breathless too. "Well then." His fingers tightened around Arthur's, until he was holding on almost painfully tightly. "Would you mind terribly if I kissed you before our date, Arthur?"

Arthur needed to bathe, he needed to brush his teeth, and he needed to shave, but he'd be damned if he was going to miss this opportunity.

"I think I would mind terribly if you didn't," he replied, already leaning toward Eames.

For all the time he had spent imagining what it would be like to ravage Eames -- and it was enough that he really ought to be embarrassed -- Arthur had never really spent much time thinking about kissing the man. Which was a little ridiculous, considering how generous and plush his lips were, and how fascinating Arthur found his very British crooked teeth to be.

The truth was that Eames' mouth was hot and sweet, just wet enough, his lips soft but firm, his teeth rough, and his tongue was slick and supple when it eased into Arthur's mouth, slowly, as though Eames thought that he had to be sneaky about it.

That was a misapprehension that Arthur set out to dismantle, with the smooth slide of his own tongue, around Eames' and then between his teeth into Eames' own mouth in turn. It was very clear that neither of them was a virgin, nor any stranger to this sort of kissing. Though it did give Arthur some clue as to how agile and adept Eames might be when it came to other uses for his lips and tongue....

But that was getting ahead of himself. It was enough and more than enough to be kissing Eames now, before they'd even gone out to lunch together, much less dinner. Even considering that it had been years since the first time they had met, and Arthur was somewhat inclined to count most of their interactions since that moment as foreplay.

Eames kissed as though he was uncertain of his welcome, and Arthur found this to be unbearably sad and incredibly sexy in equal parts. Before he quite realized, he'd reached up with his free hand to clasp the nape of Eames' neck, his other hand still entwined in Eames'.

They broke apart with reluctance and with a moist sound that made Arthur's dick throb in his pants. He firmly told this errant body member to stand down, however, because it wasn't going to be seeing any action this early in the game.

"You're prickly," Eames rumbled, his lips quirked into a small smile, the plump swells reddened, damp and tempting, his eyes crinkled and alight with wonder and amusement, as he reached up to trace his fingertips over the line of Arthur's jaw.

"As if you usually aren't," was the best Arthur managed to come back with. But he had just kissed Eames. Effectively ending almost three years of unresolved sexual tension and self-cockblocking, and hopefully beginning something exciting, satisfying, and long-term. So he could perhaps be excused for being less than his usual verbose and witty self.

"It's charming, really," Eames murmured, smiling as though he was reading Arthur's mind, his eyes warm with what Arthur really hoped was honest affection. "But you should probably go and shave."

"You feel that strongly about it?" Arthur asked, not really meaning the question seriously, as he reluctantly moved to disentangle himself from Eames.

"Not at all," Eames protested, hand tightening momentarily around Arthur's before he could pull it away, his features earnest, as if he thought Arthur might have meant it. "I am, however, concerned about the state of my stomach," he added, almost apologetically.

"Lunch does sound good," Arthur allowed, smiling at Eames as he rose to his feet.

Eyes wide, Eames stood as well and winged a warm but fleeting kiss across Arthur's cheek.

"What was that?" Arthur asked, more bemused than anything else.

"Dimples," Eames replied in one word, as though this would explain it. Well, Arthur supposed it did, but he still shook his head at Eames.

"Do you want to go and get changed while I bathe?" he asked, even though Eames had suggested that he wait here while Arthur got ready to go. "I could give you my keycard."

Eames shook his head, sinking to sit on the bed again. "No," he replied, giving Arthur a slightly sheepish smile. "That's all right, I intend to wait here. I do apologize for getting into your luggage, by the way. And for using your shower supplies and your razor."

Arthur smiled crookedly back and shrugged. "Considering I practically kidnapped you and then physically prevented you from leaving, I figured it was only fair. Besides, it's not as though I've got anything to hide from you."

"Fair enough," Eames said, and for some reason he looked so adorable, sitting there and grinning up at Arthur that he couldn't stop himself from bending and stealing a quick kiss before he went to collect a change of clothes and retreat into the bathroom.

At this point there was nothing to prevent Eames from leaving the room, leaving the hotel, leaving the country while Arthur showered and got ready, he knew. But he had to begin to trust at some point. And he not only wanted to trust Eames, but he was pretty sure that he could trust Eames. So that was what he did.

That didn't mean that he didn't get himself ready to go as quickly as possible, however. In a somewhat uncharacteristic move, he decided to leave the pomade out of his hair. He already knew how gummy that could get during sex -- real, sweaty, night-long sex, rather than a quick blowjob in a public restroom -- and he was anticipating getting to that first point at some time today.

The way Eames' eyes lit up when Arthur stepped out of the bathroom definitely made it worth the internal wrench of letting his hair fly loose, and Arthur smiled shyly, not sure he quite deserved the look of enthralled wonder on the forger's face but reveling in it all the same.

"Shall we?" he asked, indicating the door, and Eames nodded.

"Yes," he said simply, but he twined his fingers through Arthur's once he'd risen. He had his discarded clothing slung over his arm, and Arthur could only assume he'd retrieved the keycard for his own room. He also kind of had to assume that Eames was going commando in the sweatpants he'd borrowed from Arthur, since he presumably wouldn't want to wear dirty underwear after bathing, and this thought made his dick jump again.

Unfortunately, soon Eames would be changing into his own clothes, and presumably he would be completely dressed, down to the skivvies. Still, it would give Arthur the opportunity to get him out of his underwear, even if he had to wait until after dinner to do so.

That was, if Eames had been speaking the truth and hadn't just been teasing him. Arthur might deserve it, but surely Eames wouldn't be so cruel... would he?

Well, if he had been, Arthur wouldn't blame him, but he sincerely hoped not.

"It's a bit of a mess," Eames said apologetically as he opened his hotel room door. And this was something of an understatement, with discarded clothing and empty booze bottles littering the furniture, and half the beddings on the floor, but Arthur could hardly blame Eames, considering the bender he had been on. Considering that it had been Arthur's fault he had been on said bender.

Although.... "We're having sex in my room," Arthur said, trying to sound certain without sounding judgmental.

Eames spun from where he was collecting clean clothes out of his suitcase, his brows rising toward his hairline, and Arthur was afraid that he really had overstepped his bounds, but then a brilliant smile broke out over Eames' face.

"Agreed," he said, then he vanished into the bathroom. Which was rather disappointing, but Arthur supposed that he hadn't expected that Eames would actually change in front of him. After all, it wasn't as though he hadn't done the same, back in his own room, getting dressed in the bathroom after his shower.

Arthur felt a powerful urge to tidy the room while he waited, if only so that he had somewhere to sit, but he held off and instead went to looked out the window. He'd only just gotten Eames' forgiveness for the unforgivable things he had said; he wasn't willing to risk this for anything as trivial as unsolicited cleaning.

The day was sunny and clear, which Arthur felt suited his mood, and when Eames stepped out of the bathroom, dressed and scented with his familiar cologne, things seemed even brighter.

Perhaps in emulation of Arthur, perhaps with the same anticipation Arthur had felt, Eames had left the product out of his hair, and Arthur could hardly have been more pleased. His own hair required strict taming and he needed to slick it back in order to try and disguise his tendency toward having a baby-face, but Eames' side part just bothered him. Possibly for the same exact reasons.

Eames looked contented and pleased, but still a little drawn. Well, he wasn't going to be shaking off the weight of nearly a week's worth of binge drinking in a few hours. He'd feel better after he ate, Arthur hoped.

"I'm famished," Eames announced, grabbing his jacket and sliding into it with his usual grace, after a moment of fumbling for the first armhole. "And I need coffee like I need air."

"Not tea?" Arthur teased, already smiling with anticipation.

Eames shook his head, his bangs falling over his forehead, making him look younger and more approachable. Arthur thought that he kind of loved it and he might insist that Eames throw out all his hair products.

"Tea isn't strong enough for me this morning," Eames replied, flipping his red chip between his nimble fingers, eyes fixed on it. Then he slid it into his pocket and raised his head to smile at Arthur. "I'm in serious need of some fortifying."

"And water," Arthur added, but he was smiling back. "Let's go and get you fed." He paused to reflect a moment on the state of his own stomach. "I could use something to eat too."

"Hungry?" Eames queried, sliding in closer to Arthur and looking as though he wanted more than anything to touch him.

"Starving," Arthur answered, knowing that his voice had gone deep and husky, but unable to help himself. Yes, they were talking about actual food, and sex was a ways off, but Eames just looked so... edible, standing there, staring at Arthur with steamy eyes.

They did make it out for an early lunch, however. It wasn't the first time they'd shared a meal, and it wasn't their actual "date". They talked easily about the things that they normally talked about when they weren't on a job, and they agreed and argued in about equal measures, the same as usual.

All in all, it was a pleasant meal, and they both felt better by the end of it, mostly physically, but emotionally as well. Arthur could be fairly sure that Eames had completely forgiven him, and he hoped that Eames could now be sure that Arthur wasn't just humoring him in an effort to assuage his guilt.

Once they were finished eating, Eames hesitantly put forward a request that he be allowed a quick nap, as though he thought Arthur would deny him this.

"It's just... I'm still a bit worn," he said, biting at his lower lip and peering up at Arthur though his long, almost sandy lashes. "My body's still working out the last of the alcohol I've been soaking in the last few days."

Arthur nodded, grimacing sympathetically. "To be honest," he said, because he intended to be honest from here on out, as long as it didn't end up hurting more than helping, "I'm kind of drained from tracking you down. I didn't sleep much. So, if you don't mind me joining you...?"

Eames was perfectly amenable to this, and that was how they came to rest, side by side on Arthur's hotel bed, stripped down to their shirtsleeves, above the covers, not touching but close enough to feel one another's body heat. Arthur wanted more than anything to drag Eames' into his arms, to taste his mouth again, but that wouldn't be conducive to rest, and he'd promised Eames a dinner first. Lunch didn't count; especially not when Eames had insisted on paying for both of them.

Eames did turn onto his side, fumbling toward Arthur with one hand. Arthur rolled as well, and grasped Eames' fingers in his own. It settled him, having the warmth of Eames beside him and the solid reality of his hand in Arthur's.

"Thank you," Eames rasped, smiling sweetly even as his eyes slid closed.

"It should be me thanking you," Arthur protested, but he was rapidly falling asleep as well, since he hadn't been exaggerating. He didn't pursue the subject, as he had no intention of getting into an argument now.

Eames didn't reply, because he'd already dozed off. Arthur smirked and leaned in to quickly kiss those delicious lips, but then he allowed himself to relax, sinking into the mattress and the steady reassurance of Eames' presence beside him.

There was no sweeter way to fall asleep, he thought.

+++

When Arthur woke, he woke slowly. And that never happened, except for when he was dosed on painkillers or deeply sheltered in a safehouse. Instinctively, he knew he was neither, but he still felt no sense of urgency as he shifted, lethargy seeping through his bones, relaxing his joints.

He yawned, raising heavy lids, and was rewarded with the sight of Eames' face, close to his own, his features lax, his mouth slightly open as he slept on despite Arthur's movements.

Arthur could smell Eames, clean and yet musky, swirling around his head and filling his senses. Not only was Eames lying beside Arthur but he'd slept in this bed the night before, his scent stronger because he had needed to bathe. It still clung to the bedclothes, mingling with the fresh smell of his sleeping body now. It made Arthur think of sex, but he couldn't very well rouse Eames by molesting him, couldn't interrupt the sleep that he obviously needed, and so instead, he carefully freed his hand from Eames' and reluctantly rose off the bed.

Eames mumbled something and rolled onto his belly, nuzzling the pillow beneath his head. Arthur almost rethought his resolution... but Eames looked so innocent in his slumber that he held off. Despite the fact that Eames' ass seemed to be begging for Arthur's fingers to stroke, fondle, to cup it and dig into the firm muscles....

Well, there would be time for that later. Eames had virtually promised. So instead of disturbing Eames, Arthur got into his luggage and made sure that he had lube and condoms. It might seem a bit presumptuous, but Arthur hadn't gotten where he was by neglecting any opportunity to make sure he was prepared. It was a simple enough matter to place both items discretely on the bedside table, and then he got on his laptop at the desk and made quick work of booking them a room at a far more upscale hotel.

He figured they could head for this new hotel either before or after their dinner date. And he intended that they stay a good long while once they were there.

After the years, years that Arthur and Eames had spent dancing around their attraction to one another, they deserved an extended 'honeymoon' period, and Arthur was going to make sure that they got it. They would be working together from here on out, the same way Alana and Candace did, but they weren't going to begin working again until they'd gotten at least a year's worth of fucking out of their systems.

And that was a conservative estimate, as far as Arthur was concerned.

Eames slept so long that Arthur was almost growing concerned, but once he'd roused and staggered into the bathroom to use the toilet he returned to the main room looking far more rested and bright-eyed than he had been since Arthur had hunted him down in the bar a block away.

It was still early for dinner, but they'd had an early lunch as well. Arthur smiled at Eames, rising and closing his laptop.

"I've made us reservations at a nice restaurant," he said, daring to cross the room and claim a kiss, this time when Eames was awake. "About two hours from now. What should we do in the meantime?"

Eames licked his lips, and Arthur took half a step closer, even though this put him dangerously deeply into Eames' personal space. Not that he wasn't already completely invading it... but Eames didn't seem to mind.

"Mm, whatever might we do," Eames murmured, and it wasn't really a question, considering the way his hands were creeping around Arthur's hips with a distinct lack of subtlety.

Arthur didn't bother replying, not when Eames' lips were right there, moist and pink and sweetly parted for him.

Kissing Eames was just as good as he remembered, if not better. After all, this time he wasn't overly aware of his own need for a bath and shave, and this time he was certain that this was what they both wanted. He slanted their mouths together without hesitation and thrust his tongue between Eames' lips, teasing at Eames' tongue as it moved to meet this invasion, his own hands sliding around Eames' waist.

He wrapped his arms around Eames' torso, tugging the other man closer, slotting their bodies together, and shivered when Eames groaned into the kiss. Eames' reached up to grip at Arthur's shoulders, fingers twisting in the material of his shirt. Arthur could feel Eames growing erect as they ground together, and his own dick was even harder.

"We should stop now," he breathed against Eames' lips when they finally parted, just enough to breathe, their faces still pressed almost as closely as their groins were, "If we're going to wait until after dinner."

"Fuck waiting," Eames growled, nipping at Arthur's lower lip, then his head falling back as Arthur moved down to lick at the taut cords of his neck. Eames tasted good, salty and masculine, the reality of him breaking over Arthur's tongue and bursting onto his senses.

"So you're saying that you're easy after all?" Arthur husked in Eames' ear, feeling Eames shudder in his arms as he nibbled at the lobe, then twined his tongue around it and drew it into the hot suction of his mouth.

"Ah!" Eames gasped, and he was definitely hard enough by now to be straining painfully at the front of his trousers, his fingers twitching as he clutched at Arthur's shoulders. "Only-- only for you, Arthur," he managed to grit out.

Arthur chuckled, which caused Eames to whimper and sway against him. "I won't tell anyone," he murmured, reaching down and palming that fine ass that had been tempting him for years.

"Bed," Eames got out. "Naked. F-fuck."

Arthur smirked as he left off tormenting the sensitive skin right behind Eames' ear, moving back for another kiss. It wasn't that he was so much more in control than Eames was; it was just that he had waited so long for this that he wasn't willing to lose a single moment.

"That sounds like an excellent plan," he purred, as though Eames had managed to speak in full sentences rather than a few bitten-out words. As he pulled reluctantly away he smoothed his palm over the swell of Eames' ass, feeling his arousal grow when he realized that soon he would be caressing bare flesh, that he would be allowed to get his hands on Eames' nude body.

It could be sexy sometimes, carefully undressing one's lover, Arthur knew. But he and Eames were in too much of a hurry for that, so their fingers flew over their own buttons and zippers and they stripped away shirts and pants, then underwear, as fast as they could manage it. And there was something incredibly sexy about that too, in a different way.

Certainly, it was delicious to be able to see a naked Eames that much more quickly. For all the time he had spent envisioning it, Arthur found that the reality completely eclipsed anything he might have surmised or dreamed up.

Eames was no longer as bulky as he had been when he'd been fresh off the plane from Mombasa, back in Paris, but he was still all muscle. Much like Arthur himself, and while they were built completely differently, there were more similarities between them now than otherwise.

Arthur took a moment to just look. To run his eyes over the light curls dusting the planes of Eames' chest, his pert pink nipples, the slight concavity of his belly -- because despite the muscles built up there, Eames obviously hadn't been taking care of himself recently -- the strength of his thighs, and that beautiful, gorgeous uncut cock settled in a bush that made it clear Eames didn't believe in landscaping of any kind, so to speak.

Which was just fine with Arthur. If he'd wanted a lover who waxed away body hair, he'd have been with a woman, wouldn't he have.

Well, there was the fact that Eames could forge a woman in the dream-share. Arthur wondered how... thorough the man was, and this raised some intriguing possibilities in his mind.... But he knew that in the beginning and the end he preferred Eames as he was while waking; completely masculine and incredibly beautiful in his masculinity. All Eames and all for Arthur.

"Arthur." Eames sounded almost uncertain, and Arthur raised his gaze, catching the dark color that stained the apples of Eames' cheeks. It seemed to be equal parts arousal and embarrassment, and Arthur was charmed at the same time he was confounded. As far as he could see, there was nothing for Eames to be shy about; his body was just as mouth-watering as his features were.

Then again, Arthur had already noted that Eames seemed to have more self esteem issues than a man of his beauty, intelligence, and skills should be fostering.

Well, Eames was going to have to learn to accept compliments from Arthur. Because Arthur didn't intend to be backwards about letting Eames know that he liked what he was seeing.

"You look incredible," he murmured, knowing that he didn't have the words to describe the beauty he saw in Eames. Not without crafting a veritable ode to the man's cock and pubes, which would either have Eames blushing worse or, more probably, laughing his ass off.... And his ass was too gorgeous to risk that. Besides which, Arthur would rather assign his attention and energies to letting Eames know in non-verbal ways how edible Arthur found him to be.

Eames was chewing on his lower lip, but his blush was fading into the more all-encompassing flush of arousal that pinked his entire face and swept down his neck as he ran his eyes over Arthur's bared body in turn.

Arthur kept his spine straight, smirking a little. He was no power-house, but he was all muscle, and he knew that he had nothing to be ashamed of. He kept his body in prime condition, and what he had in his pants compared favorably to pretty much every dick he had ever seen, outside of porn.

"You-- So do you," Eames breathed, reaching out to place a hand on Arthur's hip again; the touch so much more sensual for being bare flesh on bare flesh this time. He seemed to be mainly focused on Arthur's burgeoning erection, but that was absolutely fine with Arthur. He had plans for his dick, and he had plans for Eames and his gorgeous ass.

Speaking of which....

"Stand there without moving," he directed.

Eames' features went sharp and Arthur waited a moment to see how he would respond to having been given an order, but he didn't have to wait long as Eames' eyes went soft and he stood, still and easy, where he'd been told.

"Yes, sir," Eames replied and he said it mockingly but his arms were resting at his sides, his erection hadn't flagged in the slightest, and his gaze was fixed brightly on Arthur's face, assessing, waiting.

Arthur grinned, placing his hand lightly on Eames' shoulder, then pacing around him, angling for a view of that tempting ass. "Don't be ridiculous," he instructed as he walked, resisting the overwhelming urge to give Eames' behind a good smack. There were already enough overtones here to make him a little uncomfortable. Though he did give in to the temptation of reaching down to palm the tight muscles of one cheek because, really, he'd have to have been made of stone to resist.

Well, maybe his dick was made of stone. It was certainly doing a good imitation of granite as it jutted from his body, eager for its own touch, eager to get inside of the fine ass underneath Arthur's hand.

"I feel a bit ridiculous," Eames confessed, causing Arthur to frown. "Standing here on display."

Instead of taking offense, Arthur crowded up against Eames' back, slotting his dick where it fit perfectly in the crease of Eames' ass cheeks, hooking his chin over Eames' shoulder, his fingers reaching around to lazily toy with Eames' pointy pink nipples.

"Really?" he murmured, nosing up directly behind Eames' ear, because now that he knew about that particular weakness, he could hardly be expected to avoid exploiting it, now, could he?

As he'd more than half expected, Eames melted back against him, and he placed a soft but heavy kiss on the man's neck in reward, thumbing at his nipples. Eames groaned quietly and ground back against him, and suddenly it was Arthur who was impatient.

"How do you feel about bottoming?" he asked, for the first time feeling a bit trepidatious though he took pains to hide this fact. So often with a new lover this was a point for some serious negotiations. Arthur was willing to do whatever it took to make Eames happy, but he was really hoping....

"Surprisingly good," Eames replied, and Arthur was glad that the man couldn't see the manic grin that suddenly split his lips, though he might be able to feel it against the skin of his neck. "Considering how long it's been."

"How long?" Arthur asked, not so much out of curiosity as out of the need and desire to know how gentle he was going to have to be in order to make this so good for Eames that he didn't regret giving in.

"Well," Eames murmured, reaching around behind himself to rest his hand, large and warm over Arthur's bare flank, "Since around the time I realized how I felt about you... so it's been a good year now, at least. For anything, to be painfully honest."

"Wait," Arthur said, going still but not letting Eames out of the circle of his arms. "Are you saying you haven't had sex in a year? Because of me?"

"I'm not prone to infidelity," Eames rumbled, and he didn't sound offended but Arthur knew that it was a slippery slope and he was going to have to tread very careful here. He'd already offended Eames once on the subject; he wasn't going to do it again. "Even if we weren't together as more than colleagues, I knew how I felt," Eames continued evenly.

"You could have let me know," Arthur said, maybe a little bitterly, thinking of all the time they had wasted when they could have been fucking. All those days and weeks and months that he had spent agonizing over whether Eames felt the same way he did--

"Why?" Eames sounded abruptly fragile and uncertain, his thoughts having evidently gone in a completely different direction than Arthur's had. "Have you been having sex?"

Arthur paused for a moment, struggling to reorder his focus to match Eames', and Eames shook his head, blurting, "Never mind. It's not my business."

"No," Arthur said, nipping at Eames' shoulder quickly, wanting more than anything to banish that tone of sadness and resignation from his voice. "It's completely your business now. And for the record... no, I guess I haven't had sex with anyone since the Fischer job. We've been so busy that I hadn't really noticed."

Eames let out a little barking laugh, and Arthur reached down to smack the side of his tight rear, but he could hear the relief in the sound and felt an echoing burst of relief in his own chest. It was true that he hadn't gone to bed with anyone recently, and now that he gave it some real thought, he recognized that it had been because no one else was Eames.

Arthur had been so caught up in working with the man and working around their feelings for one another that it had kind of slipped his notice. He'd had a healthy fantasy life when he'd been taking care of his needs while he and Eames had been working jobs together, so there'd been that.... He wasn't about to share his masturbatory habits with Eames, though.

"Then why are we talking when we could be screwing each other's brains out?" Eames wanted to know, grinding his ass unsubtly back into Arthur's crotch and twisting to try and seek out his lips. Arthur obliged by kissing Eames despite the awkward position, grateful for the inch or two he had on the man.

"That's a very good question," he said, even though the conversation kind of had been important. Still, it was over with now, and they shouldn't need to revisit it in the future. Now was definitely the time for sex. And as a bonus, Eames was going to let Arthur top their first time together. Arthur was flexible in such matters and he strongly suspected Eames was the same, but he'd been ogling that fine ass too long not to want to have his way with it at the first opportunity. And here was his golden opportunity.

"Get on the bed," he said, rubbing at the spot he had smacked. He certainly wasn't done looking, not by a long shot, but he was ready to get things moving in the right direction. And bed was definitely the right direction.

"Bossy," Eames complained, but he did as directed, flashing a steamy look over his shoulder that Arthur had no trouble interpreting. At least he hadn't called Arthur "sir" again. Arthur wasn't really into role playing or power plays; he considered that bedding Eames was enough to get him more aroused than he could remember ever having been before... at least since he had been a teenager in the throes of puberty.

"You love it," he smirked, more grateful than ever that he had put the condoms and lube beside the bed in anticipation. Eames was sprawled on the mattress, the white sheets framing his loose limbs with minimalistic grace, his eyes heavy-lidded and fixed on Arthur with an undeniable hunger, and that gorgeous dick that was begging for the touch of Arthur's mouth....

"Guess I do, at that," Eames said, his gaze going soft, his lips curving in a warm, affectionate smile. And there was more to the words than what he had said, Arthur easily acknowledged, but he didn't quite know how to return the sentiment. So instead, he crawled over top of Eames on the bed and claimed those plush lips in a deep kiss, even though he'd been fully intending on kissing Eames quite a bit lower than that just a moment ago.

Not that this was off the plate, of course. But if Eames was going to obliquely state his feeling like that, the least Arthur could do would be to seal it with a kiss.

Eames' hands seemed to be everywhere at once, which Arthur found both flattering and extremely titillating, but he resisted when Eames tried to tug him down. Eames let out a frustrated whine into Arthur's mouth, and Arthur pulled back, not quite sure whether he was grinning or smirking, and not really caring either way.

"Arthur," Eames rumbled, sounding as much whiny as predatory this time.

"Hush," Arthur directed, shifting on his hands and knees as he kissed a path down Eames' jaw and neck to his collarbones. Eames' hands slid off his own ass and spread to either side of his spine, up to the slight dip of his waist, and Arthur did enjoy this, but he was even more captivated by the flesh beneath his lips and teeth and tongue. Eames was hot and lightly dewed with sweat already, he tasted clean and salty and very strongly of man.

Arthur had always been an equal opportunist when it came to beauty and sex, but he thought that this might be where he might want to come home to stay. He was never going to tire of Eames' body, would never get his fill of it.

Of course, he'd only just gotten started, hadn't even gotten his mouth on Eames' jutting erection yet. There was so much that they both had to do that Arthur felt momentarily overwhelmed.... But then he pulled himself together, just like he did while working. It was true that Eames was tempting him merely by existing, as perfect and flawed as he was, and Arthur barely knew what he wanted to do first, but they had time. And he would take things as they came. Not that this meant he wouldn't be taking charge. Right now he had Eames on his back on his bed, and that fact wasn't something to be squandered.

Eames arched and uttered something inarticulate as Arthur bit at one collarbone, giving in to the overwhelming need to mark Eames as his own. His hands were hot and slightly frantic on Arthur's shoulders, and he definitely wasn't trying to get away. Arthur smiled and then bit harder, the idea of Eames eating dinner with the imprint of Arthur's teeth marring the smooth flesh of his collarbone underneath his shirt collar burning in him with a heat he couldn't deny. Not that he tried.

"Dammit, Arthur," Eames groaned, but he didn't tell him not to continue. Arthur licked apologetically at the abused spot, then kissed and nosed his way down to those tempting pink nipples.

"No biting there," Eames unexpectedly spoke up, going tense beneath Arthur. "Please."

"I won't," Arthur promised, glancing up and giving Eames what he hoped was a reassuring smile. He wanted to tease, but he didn't intend to do anything that Eames honestly didn't want, didn't intend to cause the man any real pain.

Eames relaxed back into the mattress, which was just what Arthur had wanted, and his fingers crept into Arthur's hair as he bowed his head and laved at one nipple. Arthur was very glad that he had left the product out of his hair, and this had been the exact reason. Though, to be honest, he'd been envisioning sucking Eames' dick instead of his nipples.

As Arthur paid close attention to Eames' chest, the tension grew in the man's body, but with an entirely different cause this time, one that Arthur fully approved of. Eames was petting clumsily at his head, his hips moving restlessly on the bed despite that fact that Arthur was still kneeling above him, not touching him anywhere other than where his mouth met Eames' flesh.

"Come on, Arthur," Eames rumbled, and Arthur figured he wanted Arthur's mouth lower so he began to kiss his way down the center of Eames' torso, but then Eames continued, "I've barely had a chance to touch you yet. Topping doesn't mean you get to do everything, nor does it mean you're literally on top."

Arthur had to laugh at this, raising his head and grinning at Eames again. "If you want it, then take it," he said, fully aware of the challenge he was issuing.

Eames' eyes gleamed and he gave Arthur a full-blown grin just before he surged up and did his very best to put Arthur on his back on the bed.

Not entirely amenable to this, despite what he had said, Arthur didn't make it easy for Eames. The struggle was part of the pleasure, though, their bodies sliding and rubbing together in ways that Arthur's hindbrain recognized from both fighting and fucking at once. There was something about this that was unbearably sexy.

"Hello," Eames grinned down at him, once he'd managed to get Arthur underneath him.

"Hi," Arthur replied, a little breathlessly. Unlike when their positions had been reversed, Eames was resting pretty much his whole weight on Arthur, and while he genuinely liked it and found it to be very arousing -- especially the pressure on his dick -- Arthur couldn't quite manage his normal even tone.

"Going to be kind of hard to suck your dick from here," he continued, in more a conversational manner, even as he reached up and wrapped his arms around Eames' powerful shoulders. He could feel the muscles flexing under the smooth skin, and he wanted more. So he took more, mimicking Eames' earlier caresses as he ran his palms down the line of Eames' spine, clasping those taut ass-cheeks, palming them with more fervor than finesse.

"You do that and I'll spunk down your throat before you even get one finger in me," Eames rumbled in warning... or at least Arthur assumed that he meant it as a warning rather than an enticement. He was kind of inclined to take it as the latter.

He probably had something witty to say in reply, but Eames bent to kiss him, rather sweetly this time, and words flew out of his mind before he could decide on his response. Well, he did respond non-verbally, clutching Eames more closely and burying his fingers in Eames' messy hair, fingers flexing on the hard curve of his skull.

Eames' hips were still pulsing, and now he was settled between Arthur's thighs as he did so, his groin bearing down on Arthur's. It was sexy as hell and sent Arthur's arousal winging higher and higher, but he was mindful of Eames' recently uttered warning and the fact that he himself might be prone to a similar danger if they engaged in too much more frottage.

Suddenly more sympathetic, Arthur was nonetheless distracted by the squirm of Eames' tongue between his teeth and over his own tongue. There was nothing sweet about the kiss now, it was all about taking and giving and sharing pleasure between the two of them.

Arthur seized this advantage, using Eames' intent focus on their tangled tongues to flip them both, so that he was on top again. Of course, he was pretty sure Eames gave him this, let Arthur maneuver them both, but he didn't really care at this point. All this foreplay was great, and he was looking forward to learning every inch of Eames' body in the future, but for right now he was pretty sure they would both be happier if he got his dick inside Eames sooner rather than later.

So much for romance. But that was what the dinner was for, right? Arthur vaguely remembered something about restaurant reservations through the haze of sexual stimulation that was rising up to engulf all his brain's higher functions....

"Now what?" Eames murmured, smirking up at Arthur as though it had been entirely his idea to end up prone on his back again.

Arthur pressed his torso down against Eames', no longer hovering. That exercise of restraint was over with and gone. If he couldn't kiss every bit of Eames' body, then he would touch it all over... even if that meant doing so with his own body rather than his hands.

"You really don't want me to go down on you?" he questioned, raising a brow. "I'm very good with my tongue."

Eames looked torn, but the way his dick jumped between them was answer enough.

"Later, then," Arthur decided regretfully. "All right, then, roll over."

Eames pouted at him, but he unhooked his fingers from where they had locked on Arthur's shoulders, caressing the hard points with the sensitive pads -- nimble thief's hands -- and then moving to do as directed when Arthur levered up off of him, stretching to grab the lube off the bedside stand.

Arthur now had an unobstructed view of Eames' ass, and he licked his lips in anticipation. It was just as exquisite as he remembered and more so. Especially when he was about to get his fingers in it, followed by his throbbing, eager erection. He still wanted to suck Eames' uncut dick... but maybe later, after they had both come once. When there was no urgency, no hurry, no risk of one or both of them climaxing prematurely.

"Like what you see?" Eames rumbled, head resting on his folded arms as he peered back at Arthur. He'd spoken the words smoothly, seductively, but Arthur thought that he sensed an undertone of insecurity beneath it. Even if he hadn't, even if he was completely misreading things, he saw no reason not to reply with more honesty.

"Very much," he said, bending to kiss one of Eames' shoulders, where the muscles were bunched from the way he was holding his arms. Moving lower, Arthur trailed kisses down the sweep of Eames' back, along skin pulled tight over muscle and bone, until he reached those incredible rounded buttocks. They tempted him beyond what he could resist, and so he set down the lube, unopened, and slid between Eames' spread thighs, hands already reaching.

"I hope you appreciate being in a spot very few others have been allowed," Eames said, and if he had meant to sound light and teasing, he utterly failed.

"I do," Arthur assured him, palming Eames' ass, feeling it firm and yet supple beneath his hands, well developed and perfectly formed. "You've no idea."

Eames drew in his breath, probably about to say something, but then he let it out in a sharp gasp as Arthur shifted to press a warm, wet kiss to the spot where the small of his back met the twinned swells of his buttocks. "Oh!"

Arthur tongued this little patch of sensitive flesh, but not for long. He could tell from the way Eames was squirming on the mattress and the small whining sound escaping his throat -- which Eames might not even be aware of -- that he couldn't do this for too long, any more than he could have sucked Eames' dick. Reluctantly, he left off, kissing the tight muscles of Eames' rear once before he raised himself and reached for the lube.

"Can you loosen up a little?" he requested, rubbing at one ass cheek in a manner he hoped was soothing, popping open the lid of the bottle with the other hand.

Eames tensed more at that sound, but then obediently began relaxing into the mattress. Arthur could tell that it was an effort, and he admired the fact that Eames managed it, but mostly he was intent on slicking up two of his fingers in preparation.

Once he could be sure that they weren't too cold, he slid them right down between Eames' ass cheeks without hesitation or preamble. They both knew what they were here for, and it would have served nothing to wait. Arthur's erection certainly hadn't abated, and he wanted to be inside of Eames soonest.

"All right?" he asked, as he pressed in through the tight muscle, feeling the heated smoothness locking around his fingers, realizing that he had missed this, and that it was a hundred times better than it had ever been before because it was Eames. Also, that this hot tightness was soon going to be around his dick.

"Fine," Eames grunted, and he seemed to be speaking the truth, so Arthur took him at his word and added more lube at the same time he added a third finger. Eames let out an involuntary sound at this and clenched up, but then forced himself to relax again before Arthur could say anything.

"Easy," Arthur soothed, even though he didn't know that Eames needed it and he thought the other man might actually take offense.... But he knew how he himself felt when he had anyone at his back where he couldn't easily see them, and he was warmed by the amount of trust that Eames was showing in him.

He was also warmed by sexual arousal, and the comforting spirals he'd started out rubbing at the small of Eames' back kind of migrated down to the point that he was fondling Eames' ass cheeks again instead. Oops. He didn't pull his hand away though.

"It's fine," Eames repeated, shifting restlessly against the bed. "Wouldn't say no to more slick, though. Like I said, it's been a while."

Instead of wasting time replying, Arthur did as directed, trying to warm the lube in his palm before he worked it onto and into Eames. From the bitten-off curse he caught he wasn't sure he quite succeeded, so he thrust his three fingers back in and gave them several smooth pulses, heating it and distracting Eames at the same time. It seemed to work as Eames let out an approving groan and rotated his hips back into the penetration.

"I think you're about ready," Arthur declared, even though he wasn't one hundred percent sure. Well, that was why he had said "think", and he did know that if he didn't get things moving he was going to come before he even got inside of Eames. And that possibility was unthinkable.

"Can I roll over now?" Eames queried, sounding more plaintive than he probably had meant to.

"You want to do it face-to-face?" Arthur asked. Not that he had any problem with it, but... "It's a little awkward in that position."

"Not a virgin," Eames reminded, already rolling onto his side, forcing Arthur to move out of the way whether he wanted to or not.

Arthur scowled, experiencing a sudden surge of jealousy and possessiveness. He knew that Eames wasn't a virgin, of course, and he had absolutely no right to expect otherwise. But that didn't mean he wasn't feeling the abrupt urge to hunt down and shoot every man that Eames had been with in the past.

To cover for this, he moved to grab a condom. He couldn't believe he'd forgotten a towel to wipe his hands on, but the bedspread belonged to the hotel and they'd be moving to better accommodations shortly. He cleaned off his hands as best he could, and just managed to tear the package open without needing to use his teeth. He hated doing that; the taste was awful.

"You do realize you're quite... well endowed," Eames said, his gaze fixed on Arthur's dick as he moved to roll the condom on.

"Second thoughts?" Arthur queried, not ceasing what he was doing because it was too late for those now; they were not switching positions. That would require extending the foreplay past what he thought either of them could stand. Besides, he was kind of committed to the idea of fucking Eames into the mattress.

"No," Eames said, smirking as he lounged back into the pillows, one hand closing around his own not-inconsiderable erection. "Just remember that I'll be repaying everything you do in kind."

"Mm." Arthur smiled widely, very pleased to have his suspicion verified. "I'd better make this the best fuck of your life then."

"It would be no matter what," Eames said, without seeming to think about what the words might mean, and Arthur just had to lean in and kiss him breathless for that, even though they were supposed to be moving things along.

Eames seemed a little surprised by his enthusiasm, but he kissed back readily enough, reaching with greedy hands to touch as much of Arthur's back and chest as he could manage before Arthur pulled away again.

Eames uttered a sound of apparent disappointment, but he grasped his own thighs readily enough when Arthur folded him nearly in half, sliding his knees underneath Eames' ass.

"Ready?" Arthur queried, as though there might be any stopping or even slowing now. Eames was under him, hot and solid and lubed up, his eyes dark and steamy under heavy lids, his fat pink lips parted around little puffs of anticipation. The scent of sexual arousal and Eames was wrapping itself around them, coiling in the body heat they were sharing. Arthur already felt short of breath and he hadn't even really gotten started.

"Hurry up," Eames ground out, and that was answer enough for Arthur. With Eames holding himself up and open, it was a simple enough maneuver, to slid the head of his dick inside, following it with the shaft once he was sure that Eames had adjusted to this intrusion.

Or at least as much as he could be when it had evidently been a year and Arthur was indeed quite well endowed, as noted. Eames let out a low sound that could have been either pleasure or discomfort, which Arthur suspected was some of both, but from the way he arched up into it, it was to be hoped that it was more of the former.

"God," Arthur groaned, as he shifted his knees, adjusting to try and get as deeply into Eames as was physically possible. Eames was so hot and tight around him that the urge to just begin pounding away was nearly overwhelming, but Arthur intended to make this as good for Eames as it was for himself. And not just because of Eames' promise to return his actions in kind.

"Arthur," Eames husked, locking his legs around Arthur's waist and wrapping his arms around his shoulders, straining for a kiss. Arthur bent his head, obliging Eames for a moment, but he couldn't hold off his need to begin moving any longer. Sinking both knees and hands firmly in the mattress, he set to rocking his hips back and forth in short little thrusts that didn't do much more than tease both of them.

"Harder," Eames urged, locking one hand in Arthur's hair as he tightened the grip of his thighs and bowed up into the penetration. This actually made it more difficult for Arthur to comply, but he was nothing if not resourceful, and he was determined to give Eames exactly what he was asking for.

"Here," he grunted, maneuvering them both with more urgency than grace, getting his elbows hooked under Eames' knees, and lifting himself over Eames' body in a way that would give him more control. This shifted his hard dick inside Eames in ways that made them both gasp, and Arthur did his best to make note of the angle that actually resulted in a small cut-off cry from Eames.

"Touch yourself," he instructed breathlessly as he began to fuck Eames in earnest, moving in and out with long, deep thrusts before giving in to his instincts and rutting more shallowly and forcefully, grinding over that one spot that had Eames writhing and making exquisite noises. "Come on."

The tight, hot, slick pressure around his driving erection, the scents and sounds and sight of Eames beneath him, the reality of the sex between them, it was all driving Arthur closer and closer to his climax, but he wasn't done yet.

"Come on," he ground out again, bending over Eames and sinking his teeth into his shoulder, maybe a little harder than he meant to, but Eames didn't seem to mind, jerking and shuddering beneath him. Finally, Arthur could feel Eames' hand moving between their bellies, could see the sharp jerking of his elbow in his peripheral vision, and he sped up his thrusts, causing both of them to cry out as mutual pleasure rose up to overwhelm them.

"Come on, come for me," Arthur growled, concentrating on grinding over that perfect spot until he had Eames writhing and mewling under him, completely incapable of forming words. Not that Arthur was doing much better as his instructions dissolved into a series of low groans of his own. He dearly wished that he could get his own hands on Eames' dick, jerk him off, get it in his mouth and suck him, but fucking him to climax while he handled his own hard-on was just going to have to do.

The pressure was building, the urgent need to come swelling and obliterating every other consideration, when Eames suddenly cried out, going tight and tense beneath Arthur, his ass squeezing his driving dick so tightly that Arthur almost went cross-eyed.

Arthur could count on one hand the number of times he and a lover had climaxed at nearly the same time and yet somehow he and Eames had pulled it off the first time, the realization passed through his mind as he tumbled willfully over the edge he'd been riding for quite a while now, before coherent thought was washed away in the bursting rush of indescribable ecstasy and relief.

The sensation of finally reaching a plateau he'd been working so hard toward was as much a part of it as the actual physical pleasure, the orgasm beginning in his balls, yes, but spreading outward to encompass his whole body, his mind, his entire being, shaking him with the intensity and perfection of the whole thing. And sharing the experience with Eames, knowing he'd brought Eames to the same point with all of his efforts, made it that much more sweet.

None of this kept Arthur from collapsing on Eames like a puppet with its strings cut once he was doing shuddering and shaking his way through his climax, of course. But Eames took it with the lazy indolence of someone who'd just had a magnificent sexual experience. The sheer intensity of Arthur's orgasm, as well as the amount of come staining both their bellies as Eames unfolded himself and tugged Arthur into his arms, were both mute testament to the fact that it had been a while for both of them.

Well, a year, if Eames was telling the truth, and why would he lie about something like that? It was highly unlikely. And somehow the knowledge was incredibly touching.

"You all right?" Arthur asked, slinging an arm that felt as limp as his dick was going to be in a few minutes around Eames' waist. After all, it had been a year, and he hadn't exactly gone easy....

"Better than," Eames rumbled, reaching awkwardly behind him for the bedcovers and doing a half-assed job of tugging them over the two of them. Arthur knew that he was going to have to deal with the condom still on his pulsing, well-satiated dick, that they should clean the come off Eames' stomach before more of it got smeared on Arthur, but he couldn't bring himself to move. Not right now, anyway, while he was basking in the warmth of their mutual afterglow and the fact that Eames had just let Arthur fuck him.

"Good," he grunted, unable to really articulate how much he appreciated Eames and what the man had just gifted him. Instead of fumbling for words that wouldn't come out right anyway, Arthur tightened his arm around Eames and kissed him, sweet and heavy.

Eames kissed back, then burrowed into Arthur's chest. Not seeming to feel the need to hide, just sleepy, Arthur thought.

"We should shower," Arthur said, not even fighting the yawn that overtook him. "Then move to the hotel I found us and have sex again. Have sex for the rest of the night. And tomorrow. And for the next few weeks."

"Not that your plan doesn't sound delightful," Eames murmured, nuzzling Arthur's neck, "But what about our dinner reservations?"

"We'll get room service," Arthur declared, hands wandering over Eames' body. Now that he was allowed to touch, he intended to do so to his heart's content. And that was going to take a very long time. "I'm nowhere near done with you yet," he declared honestly.

"Mm." Eames stretched, p

Eames looked torn, but the way his dick jumped between them was answer enough.

ressing up against Arthur in all the best ways, his arms sliding around Arthur's torso, his lips curving in a sweet smile.

"Is that all right?" Arthur asked, suddenly anxious. He didn't want Eames to feel as though he really did think he was easy, after all. "I suppose we could still make the reservation if we cleaned up now...."

"Buy me breakfast tomorrow, and we'll call it good," Eames rumbled, pressing in for a quick but thorough kiss, his eyes heavy-lidded and warm with obvious affection.

"I'll buy breakfast every morning from here on out," Arthur promised, rolling Eames onto his back and setting about touching him all over again. He still had a lot to learn about Eames and what he liked in bed, as well as what he liked out of it. And he was determined that he was going to do so.

Arthur liked learning new things about people. While he couldn't say that everything he'd learned about Eames today had been entirely unexpected, he found all of it extremely interesting. And he was looking forward to learning about Eames for the rest of their lives.

He realized that Eames would be learning things about him at the same time, and that was fine, better than fine. That was good. That was what it was all about, wasn't it, the give and take. The sharing.

"I do like a bit of fair trade," Eames said, fingertips trailing down the side of Arthur's face, his eyes bright despite being heavy-lidded. Arthur could feel his own libido rousing, even though he had just come, and he smirked back at Eames.

"Let's get into the shower and we'll see how well you give it, then," he suggested. Sex was probably the only thing that was going to get him out of this bed, and he really did want to move this to a better hotel. Not to mention, he still needed to get Eames' dick in his mouth. That was his number one priority; even more than washing away the come and lube he was unfortunately covered in.

"Arthur," Eames cooed, smirking back, one hand doing something remarkably familiar and crude below Arthur's waist. "You always do have the best plans."

This time it sounded fond, not mocking, and Arthur could tell the difference.

"You bet your sweet ass I do," he chuckled, grinning as he watched Eames' eyes widen in surprise. "Come on."

He untangled himself and dragged Eames out of the bed with a minimum of complaints. He had a goal now, to get them moving and then back to bed, even if it was a different bed, and he would not be thwarted in this.

He and Eames had a lot of time to make up, and Arthur still had to make it up to Eames for almost breaking his heart. A nice slow blowjob in the shower sounded like a good start to that, Arthur thought.

And even if it wasn't... well, was either of them likely to protest?

[end]

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