|"Wearing Down The Rough Edges"
||[Jan. 3rd, 2011|12:41 pm]
Title: Wearing Down The Rough Edges
Rating/Warning: PG (Language / Adult themes)
Disclaimer: Written for entertainment purposes only. No money, no sue.
Prompt: Arthur and Eames move in together.
Only their second night in, Arthur spits on Eames' toothbrush. It's an accident, Eames knows it's an accident because they momentarily lost their rinse-spit rhythm but -
"Honestly!" Eames grumbles, holding his toothbrush out to the side like it's going to explode.
"Sorry, sorry," Arthur manages, wiping at the bit of paste on the corner of his mouth with his thumb. His lips are quivering and Eames knows he wants to laugh, that he's not sorry in the least.
"You couldn't have waited?" Eames snaps and Arthur blinks at him.
"For me to finish first?" he says slowly, like it should be obvious.
"What is it really?" Arthur asks, rinsing his brush and dropping it into the Spongebob Squarepants cup on the sink that Eames had definitely not been expecting. "You've been in a foul mood all day."
"Well, you've been stuck to my side all day," Eames says, dropping the toothbrush in the bin and rubbing at his eye. "You always struck me as the personal space sort."
"I'm just... not comfortable yet," Arthur says and he sounds so meek about it that Eames wants to punch himself in the face for being such a twat about nothing.
"You don't have to follow me about like a bloody shadow," Eames says, but his tone is gentle and he cups Arthur's face with his hands. "Maybe we should have moved into yours instead, hmm?"
"My place was too small and too clinical," Arthur says. "Your words."
"It just wasn't... lived in," Eames defends and Arthur rolls his eyes.
"I hadn't had a chance to live in it. Everything came straight from storage here because I'd been moving from job to job for eight months."
"I know that," Eames says and then catches himself because his voice is rising and Arthur's cheeks are pinking and he just knows that they are heading for a fight that started over nothing and he doesn't want that. He jostles Arthur out of the bathroom and into the bedroom and smirks, nudging Arthur until his knees are against the bed. "I do like your bed," he says.
"Of course you do," Arthur huffs. "You were sleeping on the top of bunk beds. What adult has bunk beds?"
"Family heirloom," Eames says, pushing until Arthur folds neatly onto the top of the bed covers. He grasps the hem of Arthur's sleep shirt and tugs at it. "You know I was picturing far more nudity when we decided on this arrangement," Eames says and then Arthur's cheeks are pinking for an entirely different reason.
In the morning Eames wakes to Arthur's elbow in his kidney through the fifteen layers of blanket Arthur has managed to burrito himself in, leaving Eames with only a corner of blanket covering one foot.
He can deal with this.
"You're alive!" Ariadne remarks almost a week later when, thank the Lord, they have a new job lined up so not so much free time to sit around a suddenly too-small apartment and stare at each other.
"Was there a rumor that I wasn't that I didn't start?" Eames asks, raising an eyebrow and Ariadne shrugs, leans up to kiss him on the cheek and he smiles at the casual affection of it.
"I had fifty on Arthur beating you to death about three nights in."
"Ah," Eames says and then flicks his chin in Yusuf's direction, who hasn't noticed him yet. "How about him?"
"He went the other way, foolish Yusuf," Ariadne says. "He bet you'd smother Arthur in his sleep."
Eames thinks about that for a moment, because last night he'd actually contemplated it. Who knew someone so compact and neat in everyday life could snore that bloody loudly? "What about Cobb?" Eames asks, because even though he wasn't officially part of the team anymore, weary of the international life of crime that had never really sat well with him and pulling back his involvement to just consulting, Eames knew Ariadne would ask him to weigh in.
"He said that we were being childish," Ariadne says and when Eames snorts she adds, "but he also took the even bet."
Eames pokes her in the shoulder and tries to remember how much he just plain adores Arthur, even if it's hard to at the moment.
"It's like living with a particularly dangerous teenager," Eames laments to Yusuf later. Arthur's not in yet, he's meeting with their client and had just eyed Eames' choice in shirt for the day when he'd offered to accompany him before saying, No thanks.
"Aren't all teenagers dangerous?" Yusuf asks, distracted. He's excited about something and when Yusuf's excited Eames gets the urge to wear a gas mask and stand a couple of hundred feet away.
"Mostly just toxic," Eames shrugs and then picks up something small and plastic that he sets down immediately when Yusuf makes a distressed noise. "Speaking of which, do I need a decontamination shower for touching that?"
"...No?" Yusuf says, but he doesn't sound very sure and Eames sighs.
Eames doesn't see Arthur for the rest of the day so actually gets a chance to miss him and start thinking that maybe he's just blowing everything out of proportion up until he gets home.
To Lady Gaga.
"Are you trying to kill me?" Eames demands and Arthur looks up from the dining table that's been buried under piles of paperwork. Eames likes keeping his work and living spaces separated but obviously Arthur doesn't have those kinds of boundaries.
"It's been in my head all day," Arthur says and Eames rolls his eyes.
"So you went and bought the bloody CD?"
"It's the only way to get rid of it. To play it over and over again," Arthur says. "You can turn it down."
About three times through, Eames starts to realize that it's not the CD Arthur is playing over and over again, but just the one song. "Did you hit repeat by accident?" Eames asks, not holding out much hope.
"No, Telephone is the only song that's been stuck in my head," Arthur says like it's logical.
"Y'know, I have a trick for a song stuck in your head that doesn't involve driving me insane."
"You need to find that one song you can sing to yourself that won't get stuck in your head but gets the other song out. For me, it's the theme to Fraggle Rock."
Arthur just stares at him and Eames throws up his hands in frustration. "Oh yes, I'm the crazy one!" he snorts.
Eames is digging into the bag of groceries Arthur has just set down and this is not happening.
"Where are my Chocolate Chex?" he says, trying for calm but knowing he's coming off just a tad hysterical.
"I looked at the nutrition panel," Arthur says like that answers Eames' question.
"And no, you're not allowed those anymore," he says, now sounding exasperated. "I got-"
"Some bran shit, yes I can see that, thank you," Eames huffs, tossing the offending box across the kitchen. Arthur just watches its flight path and then turns his gaze back to Eames. "I'm not a bloody kid, Arthur. You don't get to dictate what I eat."
"It's very hard to tell you're actually an adult sometimes," Arthur says. "What with you throwing food around you don't like."
"I'm just trying to make a point here."
"That bran's more aerodynamic than any of the leading chocolate cereals?"
"You're walking a very thin line," Eames growls and Arthur just gives Eames a look that he can't decipher but that he feels he should be worried about.
"Apparently I have ever since I had the audacity to move in with you after you asked me," he snaps and then he's turning on his heel and slamming out of the apartment, only pausing long enough to snatch his keys from the bowl he'd put near the door and his shoulder bag from the row of hooks he'd installed.
Eames looks at the blue glass bowl that has his own keys in it that he hasn't misplaced once in the last little while despite his morning routine usually involving hunting around for them and then at the rack that has three of his jackets hanging from it.
"You said that," Ariadne points out. She's sitting on the couch Arthur had gotten reupholstered after Eames had been lamenting that despite it having his perfect arse-groove was looking old and tired so he was going to have to get rid of it.
"Did you do something unforgivable?" Ariadne asks and Eames racks his brain but he can't think of anything too bad. There were just a lot of little ways that he was an arse.
"No. I've just been a tit," he sighs and scrubs a hand over his face.
Eames heads to Cobb's place after Arthur doesn't return for a few hours. Cobb looks pained when he opens the door but Eames isn't sure it's because of his presence of just Cobb's default expression.
He hadn't really planned on working close enough to Dominic Cobb that he could just drop over, that had been Arthur's stipulation. Eames supposed he couldn't really be angry about it considering Arthur's dogged loyalty was one of his most attractive qualities.
It was mostly appealing because Eames hadn't felt particularly inclined to anyone in his whole life, excepting Arthur now of course who had gotten under his skin as securely as a tic.
"Where are the moppets?" Eames asks, following Cobb into his living room.
"With their grandparents for a week," Cobb replies, giving Eames a thank god look that Eames decides not to take too personally.
"So I'm having trouble," Eames begins and Cobb throws himself down into an armchair and drops a hand over his face.
"Oh lord, I should have had this conversation with you, too," he says.
"When you and Arthur moved in, I made Arthur promise that I wouldn't have to hear about your relationship. I told him it was a terrible idea and that was about the extent of my involvement, or at least what I wanted my involvement to be."
"You thought it was a bad idea?" Eames asks, frowning. It's one thing for him to have doubts about his and Arthur's living arrangement and the impact it's having on them, but it's another for Cobb, the man Arthur trusts implicitly, to cast a shadow over the whole damn thing. "You told Arthur that?"
"He didn't give a shit what my opinion was," Cobb says, looking at Eames strangely. "For some unfathomable reason, you are who he decided on."
"Who he decided on?" Eames repeats and grimaces when he realises he's just parroting back whatever Cobb says.
"I never saw Arthur with anyone, till you. It wasn't just that he was extremely private, but he never really invested himself. I knew when it happened it would be permanent, it would change worlds. Imagine my unease when it turned out to be a tattooed ruffian whose allegiances flow and ebb like the tides."
"Steady on, mate," Eames snaps and Cobb just grins at him. Many times Eames has wondered if Cobb is all there, never more so than now.
"But, you're who he's decided on, who he wants," Cobb says, sitting back and clasping his fingers together. "Whatever it is you've done, go fix it."
"Simple as that, huh?"
"If you love him even an eighth as much as he loves you, then yes, simple as that."
Eames' heart drops into the vicinity of his shoes when he gets home to find the boxes he's been tripping over for weeks from the entryway are gone. It was boxes of book and knickknacks that Arthur kept promising to get to when he had the time and now they were gone and Eames would give anything to get them back, exactly as they were.
Eames does not squeal like a girl when he rounds the corner into the living room and Arthur's sitting on the couch.
It's a near thing though.
"Hi?" Arthur says, cocking an eyebrow at Eames' surprise. "I thought you'd be used to me being here by now."
"I-" Eames manages and takes Arthur in, how he's sitting with his legs tucked up underneath him and he's got on a pair of sweat pants and one of Eames' gym t-shirts. His hair was buzzed short because of a scalp injury in their last job but even though it's grown out some, it's still too short for Arthur's usual slick-back and it sticks out in every direction like Arthur hasn't so much as run a hand through it. "I thought you were gone."
"I was," Arthur says, blinks slowly at Eames like that's normal. "I went to the library, then to the dry cleaners and got some kitchen stuff."
"No, I thought you were gone," Eames repeats, edging into the living room but not too far in case Arthur is just a blessed illusion. "Your boxes-"
"Are unpacked," Arthur says and grimaces. "I know they were bugging you. I'm sorry I didn't do it sooner." Arthur gives Eames a funny look, cocks his head like an inquisitive dog. "Where did you think I went?"
"We had a fight, Eames," Arthur says, stands up. His feet are bare and Eames wonders if it will ever stop killing him, seeing Arthur's toes like he's some kind of vulnerable being and not the sharp instrument he plays at work. "Believe me, I'm guessing that's going to happen a lot but you do know that you're stuck with me now, right?"
"I'm starting to grasp that, yes," Eames nods, lets Arthur into his space and loops his arms around Arthur's waist. "I'm sorry I've been a twat."
"It's okay, we just need to get used to each other," Arthur says with a throaty chuckle and Eames stares at him.
"But I'm a perfect joy to live with surely?" he prompts but he's grinning and Arthur rolls his eyes.
"You drink too much, you gamble and even though you know I quit, you smoke in bed right after we fuck, right when I desperately want one the most. You're a bastard to live with."
"But... you wouldn't have it any other way, right?" Eames says, realizing that every silly, little thing that pissed him off was just a part of Arthur and that while they would annoy him to death, will make him want to drown Arthur in the sink sometimes, he wouldn't be able to live without them either.
"Right," Arthur grins, leans up and silences all argument.