|Fic - want me more than others (not exclusively)
||[Sep. 10th, 2011|02:15 pm]
This was my eames_arthur exchange piece that I'm posting here for keepsies and because I forgot to de-anon from it.
Title want me more than others (not exclusively)
Fandom: Inception - Arthur/Eames
Word Count: 2,200
Summary: He doesn’t present the key to his apartment in a gift box with a ribbon around it. Instead when they’re sharing a smoke in Lille, Arthur tucks the cigarette into the corner of his mouth, digs into his pocket for his key ring and snaps the spare off. He says, “Here, you might as well have this,” as smoke escapes around the words and through his lips.
The first time Eames meets Arthur he has Arthur’s gun pressed up under his chin and Arthur says, “I’ll give you a twenty second head start.”
“Tell me a story,” Ariadne doesn’t so much as ask as state. Ariadne never really asks for anything because she’s so used to getting her own way.
Get me a coffee
Fetch me a donut
Take this bullet for me
Eames finds it charming because it’s not a quirk born of self-interest but merely Ariadne’s way. Mostly he doesn’t begrudge her because if you ask her to get you something in the same way she does so without argument.
“What story shall it be then, hmm?” Eames merely asks instead of why. She’s in their apartment, it’s unseasonably cold and Arthur is in the shower and promises to be for quite a while yet. He’s not moving as well as he normally does but insists on doing everything himself after a particularly brutal escape from an unsatisfied client.
“Tell me the story of you and Arthur,” Ariadne decides, almost succeeding in sounding offhand, but there’s a glint in her eye that tells Eames that she’s been dying to ask for a very long time now.
“It’s boring really,” Eames says but he doesn’t say no. “Boy meets boy. Boy shoots boy in the face. Boy gets the deep dicking of his life.”
“Ew, Eames,” Ariadne complains, kicking him with a tiny foot that could never in the real world harm him but down in the dreamscape has broken his neck when nothing else was available. Memorable one, that. “Tell it right.”
“Okay,” Eames sighs, settling into the couch and rolling his head in Ariadne’s direction. “The right way it is.”
The first time they meet, Arthur has a gun pressed up under his chin and says, “I’ll give you a twenty second head start.”
“Dream time or real?” Eames asks, the words mangled a little because the gun is pressing his lower jaw into his upper.
“You’ll know pretty soon,” is all the answer Arthur gives him and pulls the trigger.
All in all, not the best way to make someone’s acquaintance, but still it’s from that moment that Eames is truly smitten.
“I was cheating, you see,” Eames says, watching Ariadne curl up on their ratty couch in a way that only small girls can, legs tucked, arms around, small ball of a person. She pries loose an arm to balance her chin on a fist and looks at him, shrewd.
“He turned you in?” She seems both shocked and totally unsurprised by this notion. It’s an odd mix but one he’s not unused to when it comes to discussing Arthur.
“He turned me in,” Eames nods and smiles. “That was his job and Arthur was always so very excellent at his job.”
“I don’t really get it,” Ariadne says, and that’s the problem. No one really does. Cobb continues to look at them like they’re insane now that he’s less so and Yusuf just shakes his head and rolls his eyes. Ariadne, from what Eames can glean, probably thought she and Arthur would... something, but she wasn’t to know that years before she entered their lives, Eames had claimed Arthur for his own in a way that stuck.
A way that no one gets which is just fine with him.
The good thing about Ariadne is that she doesn’t really mind all that much.
“You argue all the time.”
“My parents never argued,” Eames counters. “Now that was bloody awful.”
“Why would that be so bad?” Ariadne asks.
“Mostly because they didn’t care enough about each other to bother.”
They do argue all the time, is the thing. While Eames finds a lot about Arthur endearing, the way he can’t just let things go is a quality he could certainly do without.
Like the couch.
“I didn’t give you permission to just break in and changes things,” Arthur says, frown tugging his face south, staring at the brown leather monstrosity that has taken pride of place in the living room.
“I didn’t need to break in, what with you giving me a key and all,” Eames argues but that only makes Arthur pink with anger.
“That thing is as old as you are,” Arthur sniffs and Eames shrugs.
“Quite possibly, yes. Just... what is your actual problem exactly?”
“My problem is that you replaced a ten thousand dollar couch with an abomination you found in a dumpster.”
“I needed something I could sit on.”
“You could sit on the-”
“No, I couldn’t," Eames says levelly. “You looked aghast every time I went near the bloody thing, every time anyone went near it. Now it’s in a storage facility where you can go and look at it to your heart’s content because that’s all it was ever good for.”
“What if it gets stolen?”
“Love, between us we know every thief and fence that would even bother this side of the Atlantic. It’ll be fine.”
The couch, of course, gets stolen. Eames never finds out what happened to it which is what makes him sure that it was Arthur, just trying to raise his blood pressure and win an argument at the same time.
Eames makes pottery.
He’s awful at it, every piece coming out lopsided, misshapen and looking like an angry eight year old created it. It doesn’t mean he feels the need to get better at it in the least. He’s a perfectionist about a lot of things but this is just stress relief.
He’s taken to presenting Arthur with various pieces, the most ugly, defeated of the bunch. Always in lovely wrapping that can never disguise the truly hideous nature of the contents. The pieces disappear days after they’re presented and Eames assumes Arthur’s throwing them out or using them for target practice when Eames is being especially annoying.
He thinks that until he goes to the storage locker he’d rented for the couch, now missing, to see if it’s big enough to hold his sister’s bedroom set that she wants to put aside while she tries out living with her boyfriend. He’s startled for a moment, blinking and open mouthed because Arthur has been here, put up shelving and placed every single piece of truly atrocious crap carefully and exactly, in chronological order no less.
Eames knows this because there’s a piece of card propped against each one with a date. Eames smiles to himself as he picks up the nearest card, finds there’s writing on the back. He hadn’t realized that Arthur was on to him, knew he only tortured innocent pieces of clay when he was torn up or upset about something but the handwriting on the back of each and every card tells him Arthur is very aware.
The first one he picks up says, broke tooth on popcorn, couldn’t get into dentist for forty eight hours. Eames remembers this, had been in the kind of pain that painkillers couldn’t touch and had created a drunkenly leaning vase while trying to take his mind off it.
Card after card are a catalog of upsets and disappointments. One in particular makes him pause, propped against a rounded plate that still managed to have one straight side.
Called his mother.. Wouldn’t tell me why it made him look that way.
Eames recalls that particular conversation in intimate detail, remembers it had been a phone call that had been meant to mend fences rather than push down the shaky ones already on their last legs. He’d wanted to take Arthur home, have him meet his younger brothers.
His mum had said, Don’t be ridiculous, I’m certainly not indulging this phase of yours or whatever it is.
“Arthur is many things,” Eames had growled, “But a phase he is not.”
“I’d learned to forge without knowing what I was actually doing. They’d hold bare-knuckle fights in the dream so even if you accidentally killed your opponent there was no messy clean up after. It was big business.”
“I still don’t get how you cheated then,” Ariadne says, scrunching her face up.
“I’d bulk up or slim down after they picked my opponent and did the weigh-ins, depending on what would serve more useful. Arthur was a recruiter moonlighting as an assurance man. One of the punters figured out something was up and brought him in to find out what.”
“That’s a story for the grandkids,” Ariadne snorts, rolling her eyes.
“Not all of us can be swept off our feet by a mad widower with a pad of graph paper.”
“Why can’t you just be nice to each other? It seems like a lot of work.”
“We’re nice to each other in the ways that count.” When Ariadne pulls a face it’s Eames’ turn to roll his eyes. “Not just that way, Jesus woman.”
Arthur isn’t romantic in the least.
He’s caring certainly and he has dozens of tiny ways that he makes sure he’s looking after everyone that Eames is only aware of because he knows to look for them.
He’s just... practical is all.
He doesn’t present the key to his apartment in a gift box with a ribbon around it. Instead when they’re sharing a smoke in Lille, Arthur tucks the cigarette into the corner of his mouth, digs into his pocket for his key ring and snaps the spare off. He says, “Here, you might as well have this,” as smoke escapes around the words and through his lips.
Eames doesn’t have his own key ring on him. He nods, takes his wallet out and tucks the key behind a picture of his nephew.
“Cute kid,” Arthur remarks. “Thank god he doesn’t look like you.”
“Thank god is right,” Eames agrees, only letting his smile escape when Arthur hands him the cigarette back, looking away.
Eames sometimes picks fights because Arthur’s only ever interested in fucking him when he’s pissed off.
He’s interested in fucking all the time, when they’re actually working the exception, but he prefers Eames to take control and only really turns the tables when he wants to win an argument.
It’s a fine line Eames has to navigate though. Sometimes he’ll push Arthur right by horny-mad into shoot-you-in-the-face-angry.
Eames sleeps on the couch those nights because neither of them ever leave when they’re having a fight.
They learned that the hard way.
“We were working for competing teams after that,” Eames continues. “Supply and demand were a little too even so we’d overlap. Arthur was working point by then, working with Cobb and Mal only when he felt like being an upstanding citizen and making my life harder than it needed to be when he didn’t. I’d tip his mark off, he’d underbid my client, tit for tat.
We worked together when I ran out of new people to piss off and he ran out of people he could trust.”
They have the kind of argument that would end in fisticuffs if one of them doesn’t leave. Arthur’s due in Singapore for a job in three days time so he packs a bag and leaves early, tells Eames that maybe they both need the space and time to cool off.
Eames takes him literally, so doesn’t know that Arthur had been diverted for two weeks. He doesn’t call and doesn’t expect to be called, assuming they’re forgoing their usual check-ins because they’re both still pissed off.
Cobb of all people lets him know that something’s up when Eames realizes that Arthur hasn’t called anyone.
By the time Eames tracks Arthur down, there was never any doubt he was going to, Arthur’s had three fingers on his right hand broken, both eyes are swollen shut and his knee is a hot and obviously pain-filled useless lump that will take weeks if not months of physiotherapy and patience to put right if it ever will be again.
Eames gets Arthur somewhere safe, Arthur too loopy on painkillers to really understand that he’s being set aside, before he sets about decimating the men who thought they could keep Arthur in a windowless room, assuming he was going to be drowned like a rat in a bag when they were done with him.
Eames understands enough about himself to know that all of his anger isn’t exactly at them, he should’ve known something was up despite their fight, but it still makes him feel just the slightest bit better to make grown men cry and beg.
When Arthur’s more lucid, he strokes the fingers of his good hand through Eames’ hair and touches a knuckle to Eames’ split lip and his own blossoming black eye. He notices but doesn’t comment on the careful way Eames is holding himself. He’s pretty sure his ribs are bruised and not broken anyway.
“Let’s not leave mad, hmm?” Eames says, closing his eyes to the sensation of Arthur petting him.
He expects an argument because everything with Arthur is an uphill battle, but Arthur just sighs and says, “No, let’s not.”
Ariadne makes herself scarce, retreating to her own hotel room presumably, when Arthur emerges from the shower.
“You coming to bed?” Arthur asks.
Eames smirks lazily, raising a suggestive eyebrow. “I’ll give you a twenty second head start,” he says.