Actions

Work Header

Things Are Gonna Slide

Work Text:

There are few things that Arthur is genuinely afraid of. Lung cancer, family reunions, recessions -- dream-heist being considered a somewhat more frivolous expense by even the biggest of spenders -- and dentists pretty much make up the entire list. He's never been afraid of something in a dream (notable exception of the Fischer job and the possibility of serious brain damage notwithstanding).

Right now, he's afraid of Eames.

He has no real reason to be, given that he's never even had a belief in, much less a fear of, Satan. And that aside, he's seen Eames forge monsters before, both human and mythical, and nothing ever got under his skin like this. The unnaturally sharp angles of an otherwise familiar face, the way Eames applies the forgery slowly, so gradually that the mark doesn’t see it until it’s too late -- even Arthur would be unnerved if he hadn’t been watching for it over his cards, across the worn felt top of the poker table.

“You should be careful who you play games with, Mr. Hallett,” Eames lays his cards down face-up. But it isn’t Eames, now; his voice sounds like a dozen men are trapped in his throat and speaking in unison, and while his face is still chillingly recognizable, his skin is red and waxy, his cheekbones too high, his eyes black.

Arthur swallows hard, and when he speaks, he can’t chalk his hoarseness up to acting alone. “What the fuck is this, Hallett--”

“Quiet,” Eames shoots at him, silky and dangerous, part of the script -- but it doesn’t stop Arthur from tensing. Eames is very good.

With Arthur as convinced as he is even knowing the truth, Hallett has no chance; it’s mere minutes before he’s leading Eames to the safe in his gauche Vegas hotel room. Arthur waits in the lobby, avoiding the eyes of the projections until he hears the opening strains of The Devil Went Down to Georgia -- Eames’ choice -- filtering through the walls.

Arthur opens his eyes to the ceiling of Hallett’s real hotel room, this one in New York, and is pulling his line out and standing before Eames stirs.

“Might be less than a minute before he’s up,” Arthur tells him, pulling the IV from Hallett’s arm and winding it back into the PASIV. Eames doesn’t seem quite as bothered by the urgency of the situation, but he hands Arthur his line, standing from his chair and straightening his clothes.

“I got the numbers,” Eames says, watching Arthur snap the PASIV shut. “He handed them right to me.”

“That’s good,” Arthur says tersely, giving the room one last check before nodding toward the door and following Eames’ maddeningly slow pace out through it.

Arthur walks swiftly down the hall while Eames lags behind, reaching the stairwell when Arthur is already halfway up one flight. Biting his tongue, Arthur finds himself slowing his pace when he reaches their floor, holding the door open for Eames to walk through, with one eyebrow quirked in amusement at Arthur’s expression.

Arthur’s jaw stays set tight all the way down the hall and into their room, but the click of the lock behind them is like the flip of a switch.

“Jesus Christ,” he breathes, dropping the PASIV on the bed and collapsing on his back next to it. He feels like laughing; a reflex reaction to the rush of the tension leaving him. He scrubs his hand over his face, “You could have at least pretended you were in a hurry,” he says, though he’s only a little exasperated, now that the element of risk has been largely removed.

“I could have,” Eames says lightly, somewhere near the desk, “But that would have deprived me of the view offered to a man walking behind you on the stairs.”

Arthur drops his hand from his eyes, raising up onto his elbows to look at Eames and gauge his expression, because Eames would pick right now to turn suggestion into full-on flirting. He offers Arthur a smirk and another raised eyebrow, leaning back against the desk, his shirt stretching over his shoulders.

“Right,” Arthur says, cautiously amused, then glances at the PASIV, at the files scattered over every available surface in the room. Hotel suites make shitty offices, but the job required proximity. “You need to write those numbers down before you forget them.”

“It’s amazing how much you can get done,” Eames says, clicking lazily through his phone, ”When you’re not running through the halls like your gorgeous arse is on fire.” He holds the screen for Arthur to see a list of security codes.

Arthur hesitates. “Fair point,” he concedes, allowing himself a grin. “You were really fucking good down there,” he says, though the moment it’s out of his mouth, he knows Eames wasn’t in need of confirmation.

“I did notice that, when he nearly burst into tears at the sound of my voice,” Eames says coolly. He slouches back against the desk like he expects Arthur to stare -- not that Arthur’s ever needed an invitation before -- and adds, “And you as well.” His eyes rake over Arthur in a way that gives Arthur a few hard-to-suppress urges, the least embarrassing of which is to spread his legs.

“We need to get out of here,” he says, ignoring the dig and leaving off the end of the sentence, before I ask you to get on top of me. He pushes himself off the bed and starts to cross the room to where his laptop is set on the table in the corner, but Eames reaches out, catching Arthur’s shirt just above the waistband of his pants.

“But a job well done calls for a celebration, does it not?” Eames smiles at him, dangerous and enticing, so like the smile he flashed at Hallett when he asked to join the game. He tugs Arthur in, and Arthur’s skin hums at the proximity, just inches separating them.

He starts to point out that they’ve never celebrated a job before now, least of all such a straightforward one, but that now worryingly large portion of his brain that controls his sex drive asks him What the fuck is wrong with you? and when he opens his mouth, all that comes out is, “Eames.”

“And darling, we’ve already gotten ourselves a room. When opportunity knocks...” Eames leans in, trailing his lips down the side of Arthur’s neck.

“Not -- not that I’m objecting to this turn of events,” Arthur manages, shivering as the tip of Eames’ tongue traces over his ear, “But we have other rooms. In hotels not occupied by a man whose mind we just invaded.”

“A man,” Eames says, “Who just woke up from a dreadful nightmare of devils and poker games, and will drink himself back to sleep within the hour.”

Eames’ hand slides around his waist, fingers tracing his spine, pressing firmly and drawing Arthur closer. “I know you’ll say yes. I know you, Arthur,” he whispers, a lilt of amusement lacing through his voice, “Tell me you don’t want it.”

In lieu of answering, Arthur turns his head, drawing his mouth over Eames’ stubbled cheek until Eames turns toward him. The hot dart of a tongue between his lips is all it takes for Arthur to give a shuddering moan.

“Good answer,” Eames says, then presses them together in a kiss that leaves no question of who’s taking the lead, and no doubt in Arthur’s mind that he just made an excellent decision.

He can feel Eames’ smile against his own mouth, and it even feels cocky; everything about the way Eames is moving feels self-assured and almost frustratingly cool. Arthur tries to play along, but a thick thigh works between his own, and Eames’ hand strokes teasingly over his hair, petting him. When Arthur shudders, unable to suppress it, Eames breaks the kiss and grins.

“Arthur,” he purrs, pressing up with his leg and bringing Arthur onto his toes. The pressure is almost too much, and Arthur has to clutch at Eames’ shoulders to keep steady. “Pretty Arthur.”

Pretty,” Arthur scoffs, wanting to roll his eyes, but Eames thumbs over his cheekbone and it occurs to Arthur that he might be serious, for all he is quite obviously teasing.

“Pretty when you let me play with you,” Eames says, singsong, one hand gripping Arthur’s ass and rocking him forward, rubbing him against Eames’ thigh.

“Jesus, Eames,” he says, though he loses his amusement quickly when he starts to harden against the friction. He's lifted up too high for proper balance or leverage, and Eames is controlling the pace, with Arthur just along for the ride. His pulse starts to quicken when Eames moves in close, his breath hot in Arthur’s ear, teasing and light. Arthur shivers, his fingers tightening on Eames’ shoulders as goosebumps raise on his skin.

Arthur feels reckless and easy, the adrenaline of the job and the culmination of months, maybe years of attraction fueling him. Eames guides him through rutting against Eames' thigh and Arthur arches into it, tilting his head and seeking out Eames' mouth. Eames kisses him just like he’s done everything else tonight, licking his lips apart and claiming like it's a game, like he doesn’t need to try, and Arthur supposes he doesn’t. Eames' hand on his ass feels possessive, fingers running along the seam of Arthur's pants, and the suggestion makes him groan.

"I could have you just like this," Eames breathes into his mouth, "Make you ruin your trousers for me, you'd like that."

He wants to disagree, wants to at least point out that it's been about a decade since he’s come in his pants like a kid, but Eames jostles his thigh and Arthur has to swallow his words. He's so hot already, riled and frantic, and he couldn't come yet, but it feels like it could be moments away. Eames' approach here isn't exactly what he expected, but the dominance itself comes as no surprise – Arthur's never had a fantasy about Eames that didn't hinge on that trait.

"But I've got plenty of time to play with you tonight," Eames is saying, dropping his thigh and pulling Arthur tighter against him. Arthur whines, grinding himself against Eames' hip, and Eames grins, "Let's see how pretty you are underneath all this."

Eames kisses him again and draws Arthur's tie from his collar, winding it around his hand as he pulls. Arthur starts to unbutton his waistcoat, but Eames pulls his hands away, ignoring Arthur’s huff of protest as he works the buttons open at a maddeningly slow pace. Breaking the kiss, Eames splays warm hands across Arthur's ribs, and the touch feels less muted now with just Arthur's shirt between them.

"So many layers, Arthur, you must feel terribly restricted," Eames smiles, pushing the waistcoat off Arthur's shoulders and starting on his shirt, "I think I can guess what that means about you." He pulls the shirt free of Arthur's pants and lets it flutter to the floor.

"You want to tie me up?" Arthur asks, desperately wishing the hotel's headboard wasn't a featureless piece of wood. Eames takes one of Arthur's wrists, guiding it behind his back and twisting it upwards, just far enough to make the hold impossible to squirm out of. Arthur sucks in a breath, meeting Eames' eyes with what he hopes is a smirk of his own.

"I could, couldn't I?" Eames says, releasing Arthur's arm. Instead of answering, Arthur toes off his shoes and socks. When he starts to open his belt, Eames knocks his hands away again, peeling Arthur out of his trousers and underwear, leaving him standing bare. Eames' appraising eyes feel different now, and Arthur reaches for Eames' shirt buttons just to expose some skin, make him feel a little less like curling in on himself, but Eames flicks his hands away carelessly.

"You are a sight, darling," he says, his hands on Arthur's shoulders, pressing him down. "Now show me what you can do."

Arthur eases down at Eames' urging, settling on his knees. "What I can do," he grins, running his hands up Eames' thighs, but Eames swats him away again. Arthur looks up at Eames as he opens his trousers, arousal flaring in his belly. "You won't be disappointed."

"I never doubted," Eames says, placing one hand on the back of Arthur's head as the other draws his cock out of his boxers, "Eyes down, love, there's a good boy."

Arthur's skin feels too hot, his whole body burning at the words as Eames angles his head down to break their eye contact. He guides his cock against Arthur's lips and says, "Open up," but Arthur's already taking him in.

Lips stretched wide around the head of Eames' cock, Arthur is almost relieved at the salty, bitter taste of precome on his tongue, proof that Eames isn't as unaffected as his teasing would suggest. Arthur laps at him, thorough and insistent. He hollows his cheeks, humming, determined to take it when Eames rocks his hips forward. Maybe he's showing off, maybe he's trying to make a point – or maybe he just wants to hear Eames groan, feel that playful hand clench in his hair. Maybe he wants Eames to tell him he's a good boy again.

Every little twitch from Eames sends a thrill through him, makes it easier to swallow around his cock, take it deep. Arthur’s fingers clench on his own thighs, just teetering on the edge of giving in and touching himself. He groans as Eames’ fingers tighten in his hair, holding him still for a moment with his mouth stuffed full.

"Oh, Arthur," Eames says, his voice rasping, just a little. "You’re as predictable as ever. I knew you’d be slutty for it."

Arthur’s eyes dart up to Eames’ smirking face, but Eames quirks an eyebrow, thumbing lightly over Arthur’s cheekbone.

"Down," Eames reminds him, and Arthur flushes, closing his eyes. "Good, good boy," he hears Eames murmur. Arthur shivers.

When Eames releases his head, he launches back into it, a vague thought of I’ll show him slutty in the back of his mind. The way Eames is handling him should be patronizing, humiliating -- it is, really, but it's breaking something in Arthur, stripping away his shame. It’s easy to open his mouth, suck hard and moan for it, when Eames is giving him full license.

The first snap of Eames’ hips feels like a reward, like Arthur finally got him there, got his breath to hitch and his arousal to take over. Arthur holds himself still in silent invitation, tilting his head for the best angle for Eames to thrust. Eames groans, a low, harsh sound, pushing his cock between Arthur’s lips carelessly, as deep as Arthur can take it. Arthur wants to see Eames’ face go slack with pleasure from his mouth, but he keeps his eyes shut obediently, listening to Eames’ ragged breath, dizzy from the sound.

"Look at that," Eames is growling, the edge of dark amusement still coloring his tone, "Just made to take it, fuck--" he holds still, keeping Arthur on him deep, throat working frantically and breath coming fast through his nose, "Proper little whore for it, you are."

Arthur hears himself whimper, feels Eames’ hips twitch again, but this time it’s just one touch too far. He chokes, tears springing to his eyes, jerking back reflexively against Eames’ hold. Above him, Eames grunts, tugging at Arthur’s hair. Arthur can’t fight it when Eames pulls him off his cock, but he tries, mindlessly, straining forward when it slips from his lips.

"Oh, pet, little pet," Eames says, amused, thumbing over Arthur’s bottom lip. "I know what you want, Arthur, don’t you worry."

He gives another tug at Arthur’s hair, urging him roughly to his feet. Finally meeting Eames’ eyes again, Arthur wipes at his chin with the back of his hand, finding it wet with spit.

"What do I want?" he asks, more just to hear Eames say it than to actually challenge him.

Eames’ smirk is back in place, and Arthur wants to make him moan again, get back on his knees and show him how deep he can take it this time.

"You want to get on the bed for me," Eames crowds up against him, backing him up toward the bed, "Isn’t that right?"

Arthur’s legs hit the mattress and he lets Eames push him down. He leans on his elbows, feeling like he wants to be on display, wants Eames to look and grin and just fucking jump him, rough as he pleases, claiming. It’s overwhelming, how strong that desire is, how dizzy he is with the anticipation of it.

Eames leans over him for a kiss, more possessive than teasing now, teeth tugging at his lip, pulling a rough moan from Arthur. He clutches, trying to get that weight on top of him, but Eames moves back.

"Eames," he breathes, pulling at Eames’ collar, "You going to fuck me or what? Come on."

"On your front," Eames says, and this time it sounds like an order rather than a casual whim, like Eames really wants him there, on his front and spread out. Arthur moves back on the bed and complies, rolling onto his stomach. Eames makes a low sound, "Up on your knees."

Arthur lets out a shaky breath, pulling his knees under him, flushing hot at how easy it is to obey, at how much he wants to.

He hears Eames move away then, footsteps soft on the hotel carpet, then tapping on the tile of the bathroom. The footsteps return quickly, and Eames drops something onto the bed. Arthur looks over his shoulder to see a tiny bottle of complimentary lotion on the bedspread.

"Low on supplies, love, I’ve gotta improvise when you can’t wait for it," Eames tells him, and Arthur watches him pull a condom from his wallet and toss it next to the lotion. He reaches out, trailing his fingers over Arthur’s ass, dipping into the crease, and Arthur can’t help pushing back, pressing his cheek to the mattress as if that will hide his flush. Eames drops his hand.

"Let me see you," he orders, and Arthur hesitates, already bared on display with his ass in the air. Eames picks Arthur’s hand up from the bed, twists it around and splays Arthur’s fingers over his ass. "Show me," Eames says.

Arthur bites his lip against his moan, the heat flaring in his cheeks as he brings his other hand around, spreading himself open for Eames’ inspection. Eames steps back and Arthur can’t fight his whine, arousal just beating out shame, open and exposed but so hot it feels like he’s burning. It’s not that he’s out of control -- but maybe he is, maybe Eames has all of it. He’s coaxing Arthur out with condescension and teasing, and it’s nothing like Arthur expected, but it’s so easy to bend to.

"Eames," he moans, eyes shut tight because he’s not sure if he could survive seeing Eames’ expression right now.

"Good boy, Arthur," Eames rumbles, and Arthur shudders. "Fuck, you’ll do anything for it, won’t you?"

"Jesus," Arthur rasps, too turned on now to be shocked at himself, "Come on, please."

He wants to sob with relief when he hears the clink of Eames’ belt buckle, and he opens his eyes, dropping his arms to look over his shoulder. He needs a glimpse of Eames without his clothes, but Eames doesn’t go further than dropping his belt to the floor before he gets on the bed.

"Let me hear you beg for it," Eames says, kneeling behind Arthur and rubbing the rough pad of one finger over Arthur’s hole, making Arthur whine. "Really beg for it, darling, tell me what you want."

"Fuck me," Arthur says, grateful for the opportunity to ask for it, "Just fuck me."

"Oh, I know you want that, I can see that right here," Eames says, the tip of his dry finger just pressing in, "How greedy you are. What do you want right now?"

"Your fingers," Arthur moans, hitching back, clawing the bedspread, needing something to hold onto.

"Needy little Arthur," Eames purrs, and Arthur is nearing his tipping point, close to screaming, Stop fucking toying with me, but then Eames pushes his finger deeper. It’s dry and it drags against his skin, and Arthur’s breath catches helplessly. It's not deep or wide enough to hurt, not yet, but it's close.

"Eames," Arthur says, carefully.

"You wouldn’t stop me," Eames murmurs then, and something in his tone, awed and dark, makes Arthur's shoulders tighten. "I could stretch you open like this, you wouldn’t say no."

It’s not true, not at all, but it sends sparks skittering down Arthur's spine, cutting through the tension. He’s never wanted that, never understood that fantasy, but it feels safe here to moan, let himself entertain it. Just the words, the implication, when he knows Eames would never -- there’s a certain appeal.

Eames presses in a little deeper, and it's enough to steal Arthur's breath, just for that second, but then the intrusion is gone. Eames doesn’t offer any reassurance, but when his fingers touch Arthur again, they’re wet with lotion. Arthur can’t deny that he feels himself relax, just a little, at the sensation.

For all his teasing before, Eames seems like he’s rushing now. He stretches Arthur fast and rough, spreading him with two fingers, pressing a third in almost too soon. Arthur grunts, arching his back to try and adjust the angle, and Eames leans over him, biting at his shoulder blade.

"You can take it," Eames says, and Arthur’s not complaining, so desperate to be fucked it feels like it’s worth the haste. The fingers drive inside hard, and Arthur has to brace himself to keep from rocking with it. "Little slut, you can take it."

"Fuck me," Arthur gasps, then remembers the command from earlier, "Please, please fuck me," and Christ, but it feels good to beg for it.

"Say it again," Eames orders, pulling his fingers out roughly, making Arthur whimper. The crinkle of the condom wrapper spurs him on, and Arthur reaches back with one hand, splaying his fingers over his ass and spreading himself again.

"Please, Eames, come on, oh--" he chokes off his words when he feels the blunt head of Eames' cock at his entrance, rubbing.

"Desperate for it, aren't you?" Eames growls, and Arthur's so riled that he just nods against the mattress.

"Fuck, put it in me, Eames, please," he babbles, rocking back so he can start to feel the stretch.

Eames grits out something then, something rough and obscene, but he's pressing inside and all of Arthur's attention has narrowed to that point of contact, the pleasure and the edge of pain lighting up across his nerves. He pushes back against it, the need for more and deeper almost too intense.

He can hear himself whimpering, high and frantic, when Eames' hips come up flush on his ass. Eames doesn't wait for him to adjust, pulling back and snapping forward in a vicious, demanding thrust. This is it, this is what Arthur's been gasping for, and he's not surprised when he finds himself moaning out a litany of, "Yes, yes, yes."

Eames' fingers wind in Arthur's hair, keeping his head down and keeping him still as he fucks him. The zipper on Eames' pants scratches against his thigh when he grinds in deep, and Arthur shivers with the thought of having a mark there, a little red line of proof.

All of Arthur's skin feels hyper-sensitive when Eames leans over him, buttons on his shirt rubbing against Arthur's spine as Eames thrusts. There's hot, harsh breath in his ear, and Arthur relishes the closeness, all the contact he's been craving. He cranes his neck, and he can't reach Eames' mouth, but he can see him, drinking in Arthur's reactions, dark and fiercely intent. Arthur grinds back, moaning, squeezing around Eames' cock, overcome with the need to keep all that attention trained on him.

"Arthur," Eames says, a low, menacing rasp, "Made for this, made to take it, you little – little fucking slut, Arthur."

"Yes, yes, fuck," Arthur agrees, as if he hasn't been agreeing all night. "I'm gonna come – can you just—" he gropes for Eames' hand, tries to pull it down to touch him, but Eames wrenches away.

"You don't need it," he says, driving hard and fast into Arthur's body, "Do you?"

"Fuck," Arthur groans, "Fuck, fuck—" and he arches his back just as Eames' hips snap, and of course Eames is right. Arthur goes taut all over, clenching on Eames inside him and coming, wailing into the mattress. It feels like the longest orgasm of his life, with Eames fucking him through it, harder and faster than before. Even when Arthur goes limp, wrung out and slumping toward the bed under the force of the thrusts, Eames doesn't slow.

Every little shift sends sparks through Arthur's limbs. He feels his breath catching, stuttering through his throat, his nerves singing with overstimulation. He knows the sobs he can hear are coming from him, wrenched out every time Eames drives inside him, but he twists his fingers in the bedclothes and holds on, riding it out, clenching hard on Eames' cock.

It's just bordering on pain, on too much and too hard, when Eames pulls out abruptly, groaning. Arthur gasps a moment later when he feels it, Eames' come hitting the small of his back, hot and wet and undeniably possessive.

Trembling, Arthur lets himself drop to the bed, uncaring of the wet spot underneath him. Eames slumps beside him, breathing raggedly, and Arthur tries to regain control of his body, slow the tremors coursing through him. He can't get a handle on the passage of time, but when he opens his eyes again, he's boneless and sleepy, and he guesses minutes. Maybe a lot of them.

He shifts, turning his head with considerable effort, to face Eames, whose eyes are still closed.

"Don't think I can make it to the shower," he says, surprised at how difficult speech has become.

Eames' eyes open slowly, a crease between his brows. He blinks, makes an aborted movement with his arm, then rolls over suddenly, standing.

"I'll get a cloth," he mutters, keeping his pants up with one hand as he walks out of Arthur's line of sight.

Eames doesn't emerge from the bathroom right away, and Arthur finds himself drifting again, sated. He opens his eyes when the room starts to go dark, Eames switching lamps off as he returns to the bed, cloth in hand. He tosses it on the nightstand to strip off his clothes, and Arthur watches blearily, wishing he could do more than hum in appreciation of the sight.

Eames picks up the cloth and crawls onto the bed. Arthur bites his lip against the cursory protest as Eames runs the damp cloth over his back, cleaning him up.

"Roll over," Eames says, and Arthur complies, just barely fighting back a grin at the intense, almost bewildered concentration on Eames' face.

"I can do it," Arthur says, reaching out with one inordinately heavy arm. Eames ignores him, wiping over Arthur's legs and stomach, where he was lying in the wet spot. Arthur hisses, still sensitive, when the cloth runs over his cock, but Eames makes a low humming sound, and it's -- nice. It's sort of soothing.

When he's satisfied, Eames pulls the rumpled bedclothes out from under Arthur, and settles them both underneath.

"C'mere," Eames murmurs, and Arthur thinks he catches a little of that cocky possessiveness creeping back into his tone. Every exhausted muscle in Arthur's body is screaming for him to collapse against Eames' chest, so he does. Whatever they need to talk about -- if there's anything at all; Arthur's not exactly processing at maximum capacity right now -- they'll talk about it in the morning.

Eames' arm around his shoulders is solid and heavy, and if Arthur lets his muddled brain think in sentimental metaphors, it's like the weight is pulling him down into unconsciousness.

*

It's still dark when Arthur wakes, disoriented after what feels like just a few minutes of sleep. His first instinct is to roll over and bury his head in the pillows, but after a beat, he realizes there's a distinct absence of warmth at his side. He opens his eyes, squinting into the dim light to see Eames sitting up, scrubbing a hand over his face.

"Eames," Arthur says, and Eames starts.

"Sorry," he says, looking over his shoulder, "I didn't..." he lets out an unsteady breath, "We should talk."

Arthur feels his stomach clench at the words, but he's exhausted, and feeling ill-prepared for this kind of discussion. "Right now? What time is it?"

"Nearly five," Eames says, looking away to rub at his eyes again.

Reaching out, Arthur touches Eames' shoulder, running fingers down his bicep. Eames tenses noticeably, and Arthur lets his arm drop to the bed.

Eames exhales again, long and shaky. "I think I should go," he says, then pushes the covers off himself, swinging his legs over the side of the bed.

"Are you fucking kidding me?" Arthur asks, frowning at his back, "Why?"

"Last night, I wasn't... myself," Eames says haltingly, like he's choosing his words with care. He glances back at Arthur, then turns away again, quickly. "Have you ever noticed, after certain jobs, I get a bit odd?"

Arthur struggles to imagine what Eames' definition of 'odd' might be. Maybe he's a little more subdued after some of their more intense dreams, but everyone has a different reaction to this type of work. Arthur's never questioned it.

"Sometimes you get quiet, I guess," Arthur says, cautious, pushing himself up onto his elbows.

"When I forge, sometimes my forgery's personality... lingers, in my mind. It can change how I act and think, and I can't shake it," Eames says, reaching down to retrieve his pants from the floor, "I'm good at hiding it, or keeping it in check, when it's just a normal person I've been forging. Or I just lock myself in my room and wait it out. But I don't think Lucifer would have taken kindly to being caged."

Starting to understand, Arthur fights the urge to pull the blankets up higher, feeling suddenly and ludicrously exposed.

"So you didn't want to sleep with me. That was the forgery," he keeps his voice steady, monotone, and doesn't flinch when Eames barks a laugh, standing to pull his pants on.

"No, I definitely wanted to sleep with you," he says. He's backlit by the window when he turns, his face in shadow, but his voice is soft, "I still do; that's really why I have to leave, I can't think with you around. And the way I treated you..."

Arthur tries to keep his frustration in check, feeling like he's being strung along with only half the required information necessary for this discussion. "The way you -- what's wrong with how you treated me? You're a... a dom, right, isn't that what you do?" he cringes, wishing there was a way to ask a question like that without sounding like a nervous virgin.

Eames freezes halfway through buttoning his shirt. "How do you even know about that?"

Arthur shrugs, "Research." He might not have developed quite such a thing for Eames if that hadn't shown in his background information; he might not have spent an embarrassing number of nights imagining Eames in dark leather gloves, those big hands coming down hard on Arthur's skin. He doesn't know a lot about that scene, but his mind has no trouble filling in the gaps.

Eames fastens the rest of his buttons, shaking his head.

"That wasn't how I do things, Arthur, no. And even if it had been, that was not how that should have gone. I was completely out of control." Eames steps closer, leaning down onto the bed, propping himself up on one hand and touching Arthur's chest almost hesitantly. He looks scared, and it makes Arthur tense. "I don't know what I could have done, the way I was thinking... I could have hurt you, I could have -- I don't know if I would have stopped, if you'd asked me to."

Arthur sucks in a breath. "Okay. I think you would have stopped. I mean, you... you used lube," he says, and knows instantly that that was the wrong thing to bring up. Eames makes a small, pained noise as he moves away again, glancing around on the floor, finding his wallet.

"I really need to get out of here, I need to get my head straight."

Watching helplessly as Eames tucks his shirt in, Arthur sits up, full of nervous energy now. "You would have stopped," he says, and he's sure of it, sure that Eames was in there somewhere last night in the way he looked at Arthur, the way his arousal won out over teasing, the careful way he cleaned Arthur up when they were finished. But Arthur didn't ask him to stop, so he has no ground here. They'll never know.

"Look," Arthur tries again, changing tack, "Why don't you just stay, so we can talk about this? I know it's weird, but it happened. Now we should deal with it. If we sort it out now... maybe it doesn't have to fuck anything up." He doesn't add between us, but he feels it's heavily implied.

Eames is silent, crossing the room to where his shoes sit near the bathroom door, crouching to put them on. Arthur can finally see his expression when he stands, lit from the side by the light filtering in through the curtains. Arthur doesn't like this expression at all.

"Arthur," Eames says softly. He comes back to the bed, leaning over enough to rub his stubbled jaw against Arthur's cheek, press his lips to Arthur's temple. "I don't know if that was any way to start a relationship."

Arthur has to bite back his protest, only because he knows he'll be shot down. Eames moves away again, picking up his jacket from the desk chair, where he hung it before they went up to Hallett's room. It seems like days ago.

"I'm not going far," Eames tells him, hand on the doorknob. "I'll call you, okay? I'll call."

Harsh hallway lighting spills into the room as the door opens, and then Arthur is plunged into darkness again, very much alone, and wondering what the hell he's supposed to do now.

*

Arthur doesn't get any more sleep.

He gets up, pulls his pants on for dignity and paces the room, jumpy and hyper, trying to process what just happened.

He wants to insist that it doesn't make sense, it's not possible -- but then, it does, and it is. The more he lets himself think about it, the more sense it makes, and the stupider he feels for not having noticed anything off.

He feels vaguely cheated that that might have been his only night with Eames, and he didn't even get to have it with Eames. More frustrating still is the nagging knowledge that none of it would have happened if Eames had been in his right mind.

He sends his first text when the sun starts streaming through the window:

Can you tell me where you are? I don't even know what hotel you're staying at.

He figures that sounds calm, not too invasive or desperate, certainly nothing like what he's currently feeling. He just has to say something, because every hour of radio silence feels like the window of opportunity getting narrower and narrower. What he wants (and needs crows an insistent voice at the back of his mind) was dangled in front of him, and he wasn't even given a chance to reach for it.

And all romantic complications aside, he and Eames make a good team. It would suck if he lost the capacity to work with one of the only competent forgers in the field.

At least, that's what Arthur tells himself when he sends the second text, not thirty minutes later.

I just think we should talk, I don't see how any of this is going to get resolved (one way or the other) without us talking.

There's no response, but Arthur tries to be reasonable. It's only been a few hours, and Eames needed space. Maybe he decided to get some sleep, maybe he turned his phone off and is drinking himself blind in his hotel room. It's none of Arthur's business.

The call of the minibar is strong, but Arthur resists, mildly revolted at himself for being such an appalling cliché.

Instead, he puts himself to work. He sits down with their files for the job, ties up the loose ends, contacts their backers and the client. He answers his email, does some cursory probing into a few potential job offers (though who knows if he'll even be part of a point-forger package deal by tonight). When check-out time rolls around, he accesses the hotel's server and finds that Hallett has left three days ahead of schedule. He wonders if Eames' forgery was good enough to spook Hallett even after waking.

He eats an eight dollar bag of peanuts. He checks his phone.

It's ridiculous to be annoyed, Arthur knows this, but surely Eames could do him the courtesy of a text. A greeting, the name of his hotel, a confirmation that he's not face down in a rain gutter with a flask in his hand. Arthur starts to feel stupid for waiting, angry at Eames for walking out on him, tired as hell because it's past noon and he's barely slept.

He crawls back into bed, sullen, trying not to feel too much like he's somehow proving a point. Fuck you, Eames, I'm not losing sleep over this. Only he doesn't send that. He hasn't yet progressed to the self-sabotage portion of the day.

He actually sleeps for two hours, but he wakes feeling more exhausted than ever, his annoyance having increased exponentially with the time. He refuses to look at his phone, dragging himself into the shower and standing under the hot spray until he starts to feel ridiculous, albeit slightly more awake.

His phone is predictably void of notifications when he finally looks at it, and he fires off another text:

I realize you're having a crisis, and I'm more than sympathetic, but has it occurred to you that I might be going through something too? Fucking call me.

He tosses his phone aside and gets to work gathering up their papers and laptops, packing them into a suitcase with the PASIV. He straightens himself up as much as he can, wishing he had a change of clothes. He's almost pleased when he picks his phone back up and it's still blank, because it gives him an opportunity to send off one last text, the gist of which has been festering in the back of his mind for quite a few hours:

Go fuck yourself, Eames.

He's striding through the lobby toward the front desk, suitcase in tow, when his phone lights up in his hand.

Chelsea Hotel, room 305.

*

Eames answers the door in a worn undershirt and jeans, and Arthur tries not to let that distract him too much.

"I'm not handling this well," Eames says. Arthur is almost too relieved to see him to feel satisfied at the fact that he looks even worse than Arthur feels. Almost.

"Well, at least we're on the same page."

Eames steps back to let him into the room, running his hand through his hair, which looks damp. Arthur walks past him and hears Eames sigh as the door clicks shut.

"I'm sorry. But I'm... not, really," he says, and Arthur looks around at him, eyebrows raised. "I'm sorry this is frustrating for you, but I don't think there was another way for me to do this. I look at you and I can't think rationally about any of this."

Arthur closes his eyes. Twenty-four hours ago, hearing Eames say he wants Arthur so bad he can't think would have been grounds for Arthur to throw himself at him. Now, it's just frustrating.

"Do you even hear yourself?" he opens his eyes and Eames is still standing in the entryway, looking uncomfortable. "Why are you ignoring what that means? Why is wanting me a bad thing?"

Eames' brow furrows, and Arthur gets the distinct impression that he's being appraised. Eames steps closer, but then he's walking past Arthur, sitting heavily on the end of the bed.

"Did you like what we did last night?" he finally asks, "Is that something you want?"

Arthur leans back against the desk, a suitable distance away. "Yeah, Eames, it was hot, I liked it. I haven't been analyzing it for the last twelve hours the way you have."

"Maybe you should have been," Eames says, a little sharply. "Maybe you should be asking yourself what you want, Arthur, because you have to know, you have to be sure. What happened last night, the way I was treating you then, is that what you want? Do you want that again?"

Arthur opens his mouth to respond, then hesitates. He feels awkward, again like he's being strung along through a conversation where he only has half the necessary information. "I don't know, it was hot, it felt --" his throat catches on the word freeing, because even in his head it sounds ridiculous. "-- good. I don't know the specifics, what do you want me to say?"

Bringing his hands up to his face, Eames groans. "This is so fucked up. It's so fucked up," he drops his hands, and the look he gives Arthur is defeated, making something anxious clench in Arthur's stomach. "Maybe I should take off for a while. Saunders has been trying to tap me for a job in Istanbul, I could be out by morning. Give us both some time to cool off."

Arthur wants to scream. "Why do you keep talking like that? Why can't we give this a try, why do we have to cool off?"

"Because you don't know what you want, Arthur," Eames almost yells, then takes a breath, lowering his voice. "Given the circumstances, this doesn't seem like the best way to get you involved in a relationship like this."

"No, fuck that, I know what I want," Arthur says, trying not to sound desperate, but it's hard to keep his voice steady. "I want you, I want to try. How am I supposed to know any more than that if you don't show me what you can give me?"

Eames doesn't say anything then, but he holds Arthur's eyes, and Arthur forces himself not to waver. Even exhausted and rumpled, Eames is beautiful. Arthur thinks about last night, about Eames' praise, the firm hand in his hair, the harsh scrape of teeth on his neck. He thinks about being on his knees, feeling every one of Eames' groans like they were his own pleasure.

He thinks about how stupid he's going to feel if he lets Eames get on a plane to fucking Istanbul before he gives this his best shot.

Arthur strips off his jacket and his waistcoat quickly, holding Eames' gaze as he does it. Without allowing himself another second to think, he steps up to the bed, casting his eyes downward. Slowly, as gracefully as he can manage, he sinks to his knees at Eames' feet.

"I want you," he whispers, bringing one hand up to rest on Eames' knee, leaning his cheek against Eames' thigh. He keeps his eyes trained on the floor. "I -- I think I need it, Eames. Please tell me you want me like this."

"Arthur," Eames says, and it's a low rumble, so similar to the way he growled Arthur's name last night, but so much warmer. Arthur feels arousal pool in his belly when Eames' hand touches his hair. "Look up, love. Look at me."

Eames waits until Arthur meets his eyes before he cups Arthur's jaw, holding him there, thumb brushing over his mouth.

"You look perfect, Arthur," Eames says, "If we do this, I don't want you looking at the floor. I want you to show me what you're feeling. If I can't see you, if you're hiding something from me, then I can't make this good for either of us, least of all you. So I want you to look at me."

His thumb slips between Arthur's lips, and Arthur laps at it, hungry, until Eames draws it back again. "Anything," Arthur says, already hot just from those little touches.

"No, not anything," Eames says, brushing Arthur's hair off his forehead, "The only rule tonight is that you let me know what you're feeling, and that includes telling me if it gets to be too much, and you need to slow down or stop or even walk out of this room and never do this again. You have to be able to recognize if that happens. You have to know that you can say no at any point, and I'm not going to hold it against you. Can you promise me you'll do that?"

Arthur nods, thinking of Eames' empty threat to fuck him dry last night, thinking of how sure he was that he would have put a stop to it himself, if Eames had pushed that too far. "I promise."

"Good. Stand up."

Arthur does, rising from the floor to stand between Eames' knees, and Eames starts pulling Arthur's tie off immediately. Eames undresses him like it's a ritual, like it's something he's been waiting do to. Every item of clothing comes off slowly, fluttering to the floor, forgotten, when it reveals more skin for Eames to touch. Arthur is quiet, biting his tongue to keep from saying something ridiculous like thank you.

When Arthur is naked, Eames pulls his own shirt over his head quickly. Arthur's fingers twitch with the desire to reach out and run across Eames' shoulders and through the coarse hair on his chest. Eames adjusts his position so that he's perched on the edge of the mattress.

"C'mere," he says, taking Arthur's hips and guiding him into Eames' lap.

Arthur feels unsteady when he straddles Eames, with no room to plant his knees and only the slope of Eames' legs under his ass. He clutches at Eames' shoulders, but Eames catches his hands, guiding his arms behind him. Eames wraps his fingers around both of Arthur's wrists, pinning them at the small of his back, and Arthur tenses, trying to keep his balance.

"Relax," Eames tells him, "I've got you, you won't slip."

Arthur shuffles his knees, but finds no more purchase. Finally he exhales, letting himself sink into Eames' hold, and finds that Eames is right -- he does have him.

Eames smiles, running the palm of his free hand across Arthur's chest, mapping out every inch, "That's it."

Arthur's in unknown territory here, feeling anxious and exposed like a virgin, but Eames doesn't give him the chance to dwell on that. There's too much to think about, too many things that are too good to miss; rough, warm fingers exploring his torso, the attentive way Eames watches his face, the brutal grip on his wrists that keeps him balanced, reminding him why this is worth the risk. He squirms, pleased when he feels Eames is getting hard, even more so when the motion makes Eames' breath hitch.

"Christ, like you had to ask if I wanted you like this," Eames says, "You don't know how long I've thought about having you right here. The things I want to do to you..." his fingers trail low on Arthur's belly, wrapping lightly around his cock and stroking a few times before moving away to dance over his hip.

Arthur shivers at the thought of Eames fantasizing about him -- he wonders if Eames ever spent any of those nights in adjoining hotel rooms, touching himself the way Arthur had been. "Tell me," he says, humming when Eames' fingers trail down the cleft of his ass.

"Tell you what?"

"What you want to do to me," Arthur breathes, dizzy. "I've gotta make an informed decision here, right?"

Eames huffs a laugh, "You do," he agrees, and Arthur feels Eames' hand grip his ass. "I don't know how many times I've looked at you in those bloody beautiful suits of yours and thought about bending you over my knee. Pulling those trousers down and bringing my hand down on your arse until it was bright red, and you were sobbing..."

"Fuck," all of Arthur's breath leaves him in a rush, and he bows his head to Eames' shoulder when he feels himself flush pink. "I want that. God, I've thought about that so much."

Eames' hand comes up to tug at his hair, pull him back up so Eames can look at him. "You would want it, wouldn't you?" Eames asks, and guides Arthur in for a kiss, deep and claiming. His hand finds Arthur's cock again, now with a firmer grip, and he breaks the kiss with a rumbled growl. "Do you want to hear more?"

Arthur nods, silent except for a small moan, pushing into Eames' fist, a little too dry but still so good.

"I'd put you on my bed, tie your wrists to your ankles and have that gorgeous arse up in the air and on display for me," Eames swipes precome down Arthur's length, and that little bit of slick has him bucking, trusting Eames to keep him stable. "I'd sit there and touch myself and talk to you until you went mad for it, and you broke and cried for me to fuck you."

"Christ, Eames," Arthur finds himself grinding down to feel Eames' erection, feverish at the thought. He can't help his eyes slipping closed, but he doesn't hide his face this time, feeling the heat spread down his neck.

"And I'll spread you open and tie you like that, on your back," Eames goes on, and the shift from hypothetical to definite isn't lost on Arthur, "Bring you off again and again with my mouth and my fingers and my cock, see how many times I can make you come before you beg for mercy."

"Oh god," Arthur says, a rough edge on his voice, his body practically vibrating with arousal, "Fuck, Eames, keep going."

"Oh, love," Eames' grip on his wrists tightens almost painfully, and his hand leaves Arthur's cock. "It gets so much better, but I could give you a little preview instead, what do you think?"

"Yes," Arthur gasps, straining forward to press himself against Eames' abs, but Eames tugs his arms back, keeping him still. "Show me," he says, and he doesn't even really know what he's asking for, but he's as sure of it as he is of Eames' fingers squeezing bruises into his wrists.

Eames releases him then, bringing his hands to Arthur's hips and guiding him off Eames' lap. Arthur stands shakily, and Eames follows, tangling his hand in Arthur's hair to bring him in for another kiss, rough and demanding. It's completely at odds with the gentle, quiet confidence in his voice when he pulls away, saying, "On the bed for me. On your back."

It thrills Arthur to comply, crawling onto the bed while Eames crosses the room to his suitcase. He settles on his back as he watches Eames pull a bottle of lube and a condom from a side pocket, and comes back to the bed, his eyes running over Arthur's body.

"Bend your knees up," he says, a deep rumble in his chest, "Spread your legs for me."

Arthur can feel his cock leaking on his belly as he obeys, opening up for Eames. It shouldn't feel so different from last night, from Eames inspecting him on his knees, but it does. Arthur can read arousal in every one of Eames' movements, in the flush of his cheeks, in the hot, intent way his gaze sweeps down between Arthur's legs.

Eames strips his jeans off before he climbs onto the bed, and Arthur has to grip the sheets to stop himself from reaching out for him before Eames has a chance to crawl on top of him, fitting comfortably between Arthur's legs.

Fingers brush the hair off his forehead, and Eames kisses him, quickly this time. "How do you feel?"

"Good, really good," Arthur says, then, figuring complete honesty is the best strategy in the face of Eames' searching eyes, "A little nervous, but... I like this."

"Good, nervous is fine. I might be concerned if you weren't," Eames says, "But you've got nothing to worry about. We're not going to do anything intense right now."

Arthur nods, swallowing where his throat has gone slightly dry, "I trust you."

Eames kisses him again, and now it's back to the norm, rough and possessive, licking behind Arthur's teeth. "Let me earn that," he says as he pulls away, a bit breathless, "Let me earn your trust."

Arthur can't imagine a scenario where he wouldn't trust Eames -- Eames, who's always watching his six, who Arthur is so accustomed to working with that he wonders sometimes if he could work alone again -- Eames already has Arthur's trust.

"I trust you," Arthur insists, inching his legs apart further and turning his palms up on the bed, as if that might illustrate the point. "You've never given me a reason not to. You've already earned it."

"Arthur," Eames says, sounding ruined, "God, you make this too easy."

He reaches for the lube then, squeezing some of it out onto his palm and moving off of Arthur to stretch out next to him. Arthur gasps at the cold when Eames' hand wraps around his cock, but the shock only lasts a second. Eames' grip is slick and tight, stroking him steady, bringing him quickly back to a state of trembling arousal.

"I'd have you all to myself if I could," Eames murmurs in his ear, "You'd be all mine, you don't know, Arthur."

Arthur reaches one shaking hand up to touch Eames' jaw. "I want to know," he says, "It doesn't scare me, I want you."

"Just let me show you," Eames says, like there's still a secret Arthur has to discover. Eames strokes him quickly, pinning Arthur's hips with his knee and forcing Arthur to keep still. He feels himself coiling tight way too soon, and he scrabbles at Eames' shoulders.

"I can't -- I'm gonna come," he warns hoarsely, not entirely sure he wants Eames to stop.

"I want you to come," Eames says, slick hand working him into a frenzy, "I want you to let go for me, just let yourself go."

And it's so easy to do it then, to accept whatever pleasure Eames wants to offer, let self control slip away and come with a cry, with a full-body shudder. Eames strokes him through it, insistent, and Arthur's breath all catches in his chest as the waves roll over him and he spills onto his stomach.

But Eames doesn't stop when Arthur goes boneless. He doesn't let up at all, he keeps stroking and the waves start to turn into shocks, little jolts of electricity that travel up Arthur's legs and center on his oversensitive cock

"Eames," he manages to gasp, though the air in the room feels too thick and too hot to enter his lungs.

"Hold on," Eames whispers, moving down his body. Arthur feels his throat tear on a sob when Eames' tongue swipes, flat and thick, over the head of Arthur's cock. It's too much, but Eames keeps going, licking and sucking at him, gathering up Arthur's come on his fingers and pressing them at his entrance, slipping inside to tease at more hyper-sensitive nerves.

Arthur's muscles are rigid, and he tries to hold on, tries to breathe as his brain short-circuits, unable to classify the sensation as either pleasure or pain. It's too much, he can't get a breath, his eyes sting with moisture. He doesn't want to stop, but he doesn't know if he can hold on, and maybe he needs to ask Eames to slow down, just a little --

But then Eames is moving back up, his fingers still probing deep and rubbing at the spot that makes Arthur's whole body tremor.

"Good boy, Arthur," Eames says gently, a sharp contrast to his fingers stretching Arthur open and driving inside him roughly, "You're still hard for me, can you feel that? You're doing so well, just breathe deep for me, just take it, you can do it."

Arthur hears himself sob again through the rushing in his ears, but he takes a deep, shuddering breath, and he relaxes, just a hair, with Eames' weight on top of him and that voice murmuring praise in his ear.

"That's it, that's perfect, keep breathing," Eames says. He fingers Arthur with a demanding pace, and all the little shocks running through Arthur soon start to feel like pleasure again, at Eames' coaxing.

Arthur actually whines when the fingers leave him, his body now more than welcoming the stimulation.

"Eames," he rasps, still reeling. He feels himself trembling, feels his eyes stinging, but this time it's -- different. It feels like catharsis, like he just figured it all out; pushed past what he thought were his limits, urged through it with Eames' hands forcing his body and Eames' words stringing him along.

"How fucking perfect are you," Eames says, and Arthur opens his eyes to find Eames looking down at him, the ghost of a smile on his lips. Arthur touches Eames' chest and feels his heart hammering almost as fast as Arthur's own. This is perfect.

"Don't stop," Arthur whispers, "Whatever you want to do, please don't stop."

Eames grinds down on him, making the breath catch in both their throats. "Right now, I want to fuck you. I want to see your face while I fuck you."

"Yeah," Arthur gasps, arching up against Eames, the friction on his cock still sending jolts through him. Eames slicks his fingers again, and Arthur's instinct to beg, to tell Eames he doesn't need any more prep, he can handle it, is chased away by the wet fingers sliding easily back inside him. It feels too good to rush, any part of Eames inside him feels so fucking good when Eames is watching him like this, eyes intent and searching.

"I wish I could have seen your face the first time I did this to you," Eames says, scissoring his fingers and letting Arthur feel the stretch. "I can't believe I missed it."

Arthur lifts his head up to kiss Eames, whining into his mouth as a third finger presses in, spreading apart and spreading him open. "Doesn't count," he breathes against Eames' lips, "This is a do-over."

Eames follows him down when he drops back to the pillows, kissing him again, fucking Arthur's mouth with his tongue in time with his fingers. Every nudge at his prostate is a shock down Arthur's nerves, welcome overstimulation driving him out of his head.

The fingers pull out then, one swift motion leaving Arthur gaping, whining at the emptiness but desperate for what's coming. It really does feel like this is their first time, the crinkle of the condom wrapper sending a thrill of need through him, his body thrumming with anticipation.

Arthur barely has time to draw a breath before Eames presses inside him, one firm push right to the hilt.

"God, you feel good," Eames rasps, resting his forehead against Arthur's and panting against his lips. Arthur nods, frantic, because Eames feels incredible inside him, unmoving and big and hot and almost too much. It's nothing like before, the quick, efficient fuck from behind; everything about it feels different. This is a different person.

Arthur clenches, his body begging for movement, and Eames gets leverage on his elbows and surges forward, less of a thrust than a press to get further inside. Arthur wants to open his legs wider, wants to wrap them around Eames' waist and get him deeper, but he's as deep as he can go.

"Perfect, look at you," Eames says, and Arthur realizes he's clawing at the bedclothes, arching against Eames, mindless. Eames kisses him, swallowing Arthur's whimpers. "Don't hold back, love, you'll get what you need."

Arthur hears himself moaning, a rough, wild sound he barely recognizes, and Eames starts to move, rutting against him. It's not a lot, and it shouldn't really be satisfying, but Eames is so deep, Arthur feels like his breath is being pushed out of him with every roll of Eames' hips. He's high on Eames' body, the heavy bulk between his thighs, all that muscle and strength that promises the best kind of aches and bruises.

If Arthur could speak through his panting, it would be some barely-coherent proclamation, some worshipful, breathless babble of how good, how full, how much he needs. He thinks Eames, with his savage kisses and the sharp force he uses to drive into Arthur's body, might understand.

Arthur clutches hard at Eames' shoulders when he feels him tensing, hears his moans getting rougher, like he's right on the edge.

"Yeah, come on," Arthur whines. He can't come again himself, not yet, but he wants to see Eames' face when he falls, beautiful and powerful and taking his pleasure from Arthur's body. He hooks his legs over Eames' hips to urge him on, but then Eames growls, winding one hand in Arthur's hair and going still.

Arthur can feel the tension in Eames' muscles, tremors running through him like he's moments from coming, taking gasping gulps of air. Before Arthur can speak, Eames is kissing him, fucking him with his tongue as though in apology, like he's trying to make up for the utter lack of movement of his hips. Arthur could get lost in Eames' claiming kisses, he could, but there's something hard and hot shoved up his ass that is giving his body other ideas.

He doesn't realize he's moving, squirming on Eames' cock, until Eames breaks the kiss with a wet sound and reaches down, one hand wrapping around Arthur's hip.

"Stop." Eames says, and it sounds like an order, so Arthur does, shivering. "Good boy."

"Fuck," Arthur moans, tensing with the effort to keep still. Eames kisses him again, swallowing up all of Arthur's noises, a hand on his hip and one in his hair keeping him steady. Arthur does his best, kissing back with what coordination he has, clenching hard on Eames' cock when the pressure starts building again.

Eames pulls back with a smile, "I like that you're desperate for it," he says, swiping over Arthur's mouth with his thumb, pushing it between Arthur's lips. "And that you'll wait for me anyway."

Arthur sucks greedily at Eames' thumb, in case Eames just needs a little incentive to get moving again. Eames takes his hand away, pushing himself up so he can trail it between them. Arthur's legs strain open wide at the feel of Eames' fingers tracing his hole, slick and stretched around the base of Eames' cock. Eames draws his hips back and Arthur nearly gasps, beyond ready to get fucked again.

"Tell me if it's too much," Eames says, then pushes back in, two fingers easing in alongside his cock, stretching Arthur impossibly wide.

"Fuck, oh fuck," Arthur gasps, trying to pull his knees up, keening, "That's -- big."

"You can tell me to stop," Eames says, but he's still pushing in and in and in, like he knows what Arthur is going to say.

"Don't, don't stop, I can take it."

"I don't doubt it," Eames says, reverent, starting to fuck Arthur in deep, smooth strokes. This isn't hard or fast either, but Arthur's eyes still clench tight and tear up with pleasure, opened impossibly wide around Eames' fingers and his cock. The stretch is bigger than anything he's felt before, just riding the edge of too much.

He arches off the bed when Eames spreads his fingers apart, soothing the little hurt with a deep stroke in. Arthur hears himself, mindless noises spilling from his lips, but he has no control, over that or anything else.

"You are lovely like this," Eames says, his voice raw, "I've always wanted to take you apart, figure out what you were hiding under all that pretty cloth. If I'd known..." he gives a hard thrust in and Arthur cries out, clutching Eames' bicep and feeling the coiled strength as he holds himself up. "... I'd have gotten you on your knees for me ages ago, darling."

"I'd have done it," Arthur promises, and he doesn't know how long that's been true, but it's been a while. He feels Eames speeding up then, feels the snap of his hips that means he's close, and Arthur wants it so badly. "Christ, yes, yes," he says, Eames' fingers now just holding Arthur open so he can thrust in faster and harder. Arthur meets it as much as he can, arching up and pulling Eames closer, letting him drive in deep -- but then Eames stills, pulling his fingers free, growling low in his throat like it pains him to stop this time.

Arthur is writhing, clenching his teeth against the no and the please, and Eames grips his hip again.

"Stop," Eames tells him, his voice hoarse this time, torn up with pleasure, but it's no less a command. The desire to be good is almost overwhelming, and Arthur makes himself stop squirming, moans when Eames drops back down on his elbows and kisses him deeply. "Just wait. How do you feel?"

"Fuck -- fucking amazing," he says, completely honest, all nervousness and hesitance washed away. He's never felt so blissfully strung out, so desperate and yielding and owned. And he doesn't remember when the pleasure went from too much to perfect, but he feels like he could come now, whenever Eames starts to move again.

It occurs to him then that Eames hasn't been making Arthur wait; he's been holding himself off -- holding off so Arthur can get there again, so he can come with Eames inside him.

The realization has him reeling, every muscle taut with the effort to stay still. "Eames," he chokes out, "Eames, fuck, I want--"

"Tell me," Eames murmurs, "Beg for it, Arthur, tell me what you need."

"Please fuck me," Arthur moans, sure he's about to rip the sheets between his fingers, "Hard, fuck me hard, I need it, please."

"Good," Eames groans, teeth against Arthur's jaw as he picks Arthur's legs up, hooking them around his arms. "Good boy, Arthur, that's--" but the rest is muffled into Arthur's neck, lost under a cry ripped from his throat as Eames thrusts in deep.

Eames fucks his breath out of him, so hard it hurts, harder than last night but so much better with Eames groaning his name, leaving wet, biting kisses everywhere his mouth reaches.

Arthur can't beg for anything now, can't think of anything he needs that isn't this. He knows he's sobbing, knows the headboard is leaving dents in the wall, knows all of Eames' strength is behind every thrust. He babbles a litany of "Yes, yes, yes," as Eames sucks a mark onto his neck. Arthur wants every reminder he can get.

Eames pulls Arthur's legs up over his shoulders, folding him in half, crushing Arthur to the bed with his weight. "How -- how do you feel?" he asks again, his voice breaking on his thrusts.

"Need you," Arthur manages, "Need to come, please, please."

Eames leans in as if for a kiss, but neither of them can coordinate it, panting into each others' mouths.

"Come for me," Eames says, "Come with me."

Arthur thinks he hears himself scream, some harsh, primal noise torn out of him as he comes, with Eames fucking into him ruthlessly. He spills onto his stomach again, onto his chest, floored by the force of his orgasm. Eames' hips snap harsh and quick as Arthur clenches around him, and he comes, moaning against Arthur's mouth, halfway toward a kiss as they fall to pieces together.

Arthur has never been one for coordination or coherence after orgasms, but when Eames slumps on top of him, he feels like he could sleep for days. He's aware that they lie there for some not inconsiderable amount of time before Eames shifts, but that doesn't stop Arthur from whining at the prospect of having to move.

He can only cling weakly, too exhausted to do anything else, when Eames slips out of him. He'd like to keep Eames' weight on him for as long as possible, but Eames rolls away, and Arthur feels the bed dip and rise as he stands.

He hears footsteps and the sound of running water, and it feels a little bit like last night, with Arthur blissed out and Eames bustling around the room with altogether too much energy. What's different, though, is when Arthur opens his eyes at the sound of Eames standing over him, and instead of the confused, closed-off expression from the last time, Eames' face is soft, a lopsided smile quirking his lips.

"Do you always get like this after sex? Just out of curiosity," Eames says, setting a glass of water on the nightstand and kneeling on the bed, cloth in hand.

"Like what?" Arthur mumbles, then reaches out when Eames starts to clean up the mess on his belly. "You don't have to --"

"But you like it when I do," Eames smiles, a little indulgently, and Arthur sinks back against the sheets, cheeks warm with pleasure.

"It's nice," he says, watching Eames' face.

Eames takes longer than necessary to clean Arthur up, slow strokes of the cloth across his stomach, his legs, his cock. When Eames speaks, it's soft, still with that smile, like he's getting as much out of this as Arthur is.

"This part can be as good as anything else. If you'll let me, if you'd like to, I'll wear you out till you can't even stand, and when it's over, I'll pick you up and carry you to the bathtub for this. And I'll clean you up, and touch you till you come back to life for me. Soft and easy."

Arthur lets out a low moan, lifting a heavy arm so he can stroke his hand up Eames' thigh. "Fuck, that sounds good."

When Eames finishes, he picks up the glass of water, propping Arthur up with his arm. Maybe it should feel patronizing to let Eames hold the glass to his lips, especially when he's certain his hands work just fine, but it doesn't. It's too good to let Eames take care of him like this, they're both enjoying it too much.

Eames kisses his temple when he sets the water back on the nightstand, easing Arthur down to the bed again, leaning over him on his hands.

"We should probably talk, huh?" Eames says, and Arthur's eyes are closed, but he can still hear the smile.

"Do I look like I can talk right now? Now it's sleeping time."

"It's just after six."

"Nap, then," Arthur mumbles, already halfway there. The bed moves again, and Arthur pries one eye open to watch Eames draw the heavy curtains over the window, plunging them into almost-darkness.

Eames doesn't say anything else as he gets back onto the bed, gathering Arthur up against him and kissing the top of his head as Arthur throws a leg over Eames' hips. Arthur puts his cheek over Eames' heartbeat, and he's out before Eames can even pull the covers up around them.

 

*

"Incoming."

Arthur starts at Eames' voice in his ear, pulled from a mental rehearsal of the latest changes to their maze. He turns in his chair in time to see their current client striding toward them across their workshop.

"A word, gentlemen?" he asks as Arthur stands, smoothing out his shirt.

"Certainly," Eames gestures to the only set of table and chairs not covered in paper, but Whalen simply comes to stand in front of them, a head taller than both of them, and just a few inches too close for friendly conversation.

"I'd like you to tell me about your work."

Arthur glances at Eames, who looks as though he's biting through his tongue with the effort not to laugh.

"Is there something specific you'd like to know?" Arthur asks quickly, "It's a little late in the game for you to be having second thoughts." A little late meaning two hours before the job.

"Well, for example, I'd like to know what Mr. Eames' role is in all of this."

Now Eames just looks wary. "I'll be locating our target's secrets in the maze we build in his mind," he says.

"Exactly," Whalen says, "You sold yourself to me as an extractor."

"Where is this going, Whalen?" Arthur asks, bristling at the tone.

"He's a forger," Whalen points an accusatory finger at Eames, "He hid it well, but my people found it."

Arthur has no patience for people who can't do their own research. "We didn't hide anything, you weren't looking."

"I assure you, Mr. Whalen, I am a more than capable extractor. The fact that my reputation as a forger overshadows my other considerable and varied talents is neither here nor there," Eames' eyes flash, belying his even tone.

"You two are playing with my livelihood here," Whalen says, "I expect more than 'capable'."

It takes every ounce of willpower Arthur has not to roll his eyes. Every client's job is their fucking livelihood, or their life's work, or their worth as a human being. "We understand that," he says calmly, "But this is a routine extraction, and your money doesn't go anywhere until we get you your information, so you're taking no risk."

Whalen narrows his eyes. "I'm aiding a crime that I didn't even know existed a month ago. There's always a risk." He points his finger at Eames again, and Arthur clenches his jaw against the urge to snap it off. "Don't fuck this up."

His shoes tap on the cement as he turns and walks away, apparently satisfied with his intimidation tactics. Eames lets out a growl, knitting his fingers behind his head, as soon as Whalen is out of earshot.

"Remind me again why we took this job?"

"You remember all those zeroes?" Arthur scrubs at his eyes, sighing when the workshop door slams shut.

"Right, the zeroes, of course."

Arthur turns back to his desk, but he's tense now, in need of a coffee and a dart board with Whalen's face on it. He sucks in a breath when Eames' hand snakes around him, fingers splaying out over his chest.

"D'you think we'll even remember to check our accounts once we come out on the other side of this?" Eames murmurs, hand sliding up to wrap loosely around Arthur's neck.

"Maybe in the morning," Arthur says, leaning back against Eames and turning his head to nudge his nose against Eames' cheek. Eames tightens his thumb and index finger on Arthur's throat just a shade, and Arthur lets his eyes slip closed, trying to imagine what it will feel like to have a strip of leather there, snug and secure. He hasn't seen it yet, but he's had weeks of promises to imagine it. He wonders if Eames will want him on his knees when he puts it on him for the first time, he wonders how tight it will be, whether Eames will be able to hook a finger underneath it to lead him, or if there'll be a ring or even a chain for that purpose. He flushes with arousal as Eames' free hand roams across his chest and stomach, casually possessive.

"Maybe," Eames says, dropping his head to kiss Arthur's shoulder. He lets go of Arthur's throat to stroke his finger across it, right where Arthur knows his collar will sit. "Doesn't seem so important now."

They stand there for a minute, silent, Eames running his hands over Arthur like he's leaving his mark, and Arthur leaning against him, all his aggravation easing away. Even months into this, he still wonders how he could have gone so long without knowing how badly he needs it. How badly he needs it from Eames.

When Eames steps away, Arthur feels loose-limbed and calm, still amazed at how easily Eames can pull the tension straight from his bones with a few touches. He knows they'll pull this job off, for the same reason he knows that he won't hesitate when Eames tightens the collar around his neck tonight. Eames has his back, he always did. It's never been a question.