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The Drag of Skin Against Skin - Illustrated by neomeruru

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A pointed clearing of throats roused Eames as he chewed on his pen, swiveling his chair back and forth and reading through the psychologists’ notes on his mark, one Christian Hollister. He toed his chair around to face whoever was behind him, then stopped, the pen falling with a stuttered clink to the floor.

“Well?” Arthur asked, smoothing down his skirt and looking down at his outfit. His corset cut to just under his pecs, billowy white shirt making it look for all the world like he had small, perfect breasts. His wig, a short black bob, came to little points under his cheekbones, and his makeup — god, his makeup. Understated, long lashed, beautiful. His cupid’s bow of a mouth looked perfectly biteable in a soft plum. His legs went on for ages, perched atop high heels that accentuated the lean muscle of Arthur’s calves.

Ariadne stood next to him, smug quirking of one corner of her mouth evidence that she, at least, noticed and guessed the full extent of Eames’s reaction.

“I just... if I was going to do this, I figured I should do it properly,” Arthur said by way of explanation, as if it answered any of the questions swirling around Eames’s head. “I didn’t want to look like a caricature.”

“Arthur,” Eames snapped his mouth shut, suddenly aware that he’d been gaping. “We discussed this. I thought I’d be luring Hollister to a private room when we get to the club.”

“You’ve read the profile. You’re not his type. Look at his past partners. You could do it, sure, but it would take more work to get him to notice you. This is more efficient.”

It wasn’t like Eames hadn’t heard Arthur say “efficient” a thousand times over. But then, Arthur wasn’t usually standing there in killer heels, black stockings and raising a perfect eyebrow with that curl to his plum-coloured lips. It gave Eames a little shiver.

“No, that’s true. You could have let me know before going to all this trouble, though. We don’t actually need you to do this for another week,” Eames said, voice betraying none of how unseated he felt at how fucking good Arthur looked like this.

“I had to know if I could pull it off. Ariadne consulted on the details.” Arthur nodded to Ariadne, who smiled at him crookedly. “So at least now I know the look works. I’ll do some more research on what’s expected of me, behaviour-wise. Aside from the unusual locale for apprehending our mark, it should be a standard extraction.”

Arthur started to take a step forward and stumbled dangerously. Ariadne jumped forward to grab Arthur’s arm.

“And I need to practice walking in these things. Ariadne, how do you do this?”

Ariadne laughed. “Well, I try not to.” She stuck her foot out showing a pair of classic Pumas. “But, there is a trick to them, if you have to wear them. Keep you weight on your toes. Think of the heel as purely decorative.” She grinned, entirely too pleased with Arthur’s plight as she watched him gingerly take a some more steps, careful not to put too much weight on his heels.

Eames turned back to his paperwork, but allowed himself a few surreptitious glances at Arthur practicing his walk.


The following week was rather too busy with preparations to really worry about how Arthur was handling his end of things. But Eames did wonder. He pictured Arthur pacing his hotel room, perfecting not just his ability to walk in those shoes, but finding a walk that would be provocative enough to entice their mark into a back room. He pictured Arthur sauntering towards a mirror, that analytical set to his face, the sway in his hips. Maybe he even wore the stockings. Maybe even wore the corset.

Eames wasn’t ashamed enough to pretend those weren’t the thoughts that brought him over the edge when he spilled over his knuckles.


The heavy peacoat wasn’t quite enough to stave off the chill November air in East London. Eames jammed his hands in his pockets and approached the entrance to the club.

At the door, he flashed the small invitation between his first and second fingers, handing it casually to the doorman. The doorman lifted it from Eames’s hand, gave him a wary once-over, then waved him inside.

Once past coat check, Eames shrugged on his wings and looked around. There were all manner of costumes here: lots of leather, a fair few drag queens, and more tats and muscles than the eye could reasonably take in in one glance around the room. Eames made his way to the bar, then took his beer to a table, affecting the look of someone waiting. He lifted his drink several times, but mostly made a show of sipping.

He knew without looking it was quarter past ten and that he’d been there about 15 minutes. He knew because Arthur walked in, right on time.

Whatever Eames had imagined Arthur doing for practice, it wasn’t enough compared to what Arthur must have been doing. Arthur walked in like he didn’t just own the place, but owned all the people in it and had them all in his debt to boot. He stepped like he knew everyone in the room was looking at him, and to be fair, a lot of them were — dragging their eyes over him, fresh blood, and conspicuous at that in his many layers of short crinoline and shiny black corset.

Eames openly stared, captivated by the cool confidence Arthur radiated.

Arthur pouted slightly, lifted his chin, then made his way to the bar where the mark was sitting near the end. Arthur pushed up against the bar a few stools down and ordered something, a cocktail, before casually catching Hollister’s eye.

And Arthur was right: Hollister had a type and Arthur was it. It took barely a minute for Hollister to extract himself from the generic twink clinging to his side and move over to Arthur.

Arthur was smooth as Devon cream, blinking slowly at Hollister, flirting but never obsequious, leaning in but never clinging. Eames’s nostrils flared with both heat and distaste. Hollister was a piece of work. Eames resented him for making Arthur go through this charade, though that was patently ridiculous.

It was only about another fifteen minutes before Arthur tilted his head in the direction of the back of the club, and Hollister smiled, Cheshire-cat wide. Arthur led him with light, perfectly manicured fingers on Hollister’s spine.

Eames’s eyes weren’t on Hollister, though, or even Arthur’s fingers. They were on the flexing of Arthur’s calves, the pull of muscle at the back of his thighs. They were on the seam of the stockings on Arthur’s legs, disappearing up beneath the bouffant crinoline of Arthur’s skirt. Just before Arthur disappeared down the back corridor, Eames’s eyes dragged up above the wide pouf of material to the pulled-in waist of Arthur’s corset, the slight swell above. Arthur had perfected that walk. If Eames didn’t know better, he’d have said Arthur was enjoying that walk.

Eames took a real swig of his beer, then started counting down his three minutes.


As Eames crossed the open floor, he was propositioned twice and felt up at least four, hands settling brazenly on the exposed skin of his torso, tracing the line of his harness, drifting over the taut denim on his arse. He sidled out of their touch and simply walked on, leaving several disappointed pouts in his wake.

Eames silently slipped into the third room from the end on the right, where they’d stashed the PASIV and paid off a local boy to occupy the room until Arthur arrived.

The mark was already under, though not attached to the PASIV yet, and Arthur was bent over the device, getting it ready. He’d spun when Eames entered, then took a second to raise an eyebrow at Eames’s outfit before returning to his preparations.

Eames leaned back, deliberately not looking at Arthur reclining, before closing his eyes. That didn’t mean Arthur’s image wasn’t there in his mind as he slipped under.


The room came into view as Eames drew a deep breath. The job had gone simply enough. Hollister’s subconscious was surprisingly dull, given his waking preferences. They’d designed a bank with Hollister’s safety deposit box in it. Arthur had easily broken in and retrieved Hollister’s upcoming lawsuit strategy while Eames distracted Hollister, then left him to carry on dreaming while he and Arthur got out.

Arthur had sedated Hollister once more as he removed the cannula, and Hollister was down — would be for another hour at least. Arthur double checked Hollister’s vitals briefly before packing up. From his chair, Eames watched Arthur bend over, and before he could help himself, he drew a finger up the seam of Arthur’s stocking.

Arthur whipped around, frowning furiously.

“Did I say you could touch me?” Arthur demanded, and Eames startled at Arthur’s tone.

“No, sorry,” Eames found himself saying, though he wasn’t. Not really. He looked Arthur over, taking in the swell of breasts over the double convex curve of Arthur’s corset. He wanted to trace the lines, to press against the skin there, to feel the warm give of Arthur’s flesh. He kept his hands down, though.

Arthur looked at him, head cocked, considering. He stepped up in front of Eames, layers of his skirt intruding into Eames’s space. He touched two fingers to Eames’s jaw.

“Now you can touch me,” he instructed, still frowning. Testing.

Eames did, sliding his hands up the back of Arthur’s thighs. Arthur was warm and firm, his stockings silky smooth. Eames reached bare skin and licked his lips, letting his fingers drift over the swell of Arthur’s arse under his skirt. He wasn’t wearing any panties, a fact which had Eames’s eyes fluttering closed for a moment. Arthur drew in a long breath, then threaded his hands in Eames’s hair. He gripped, and pulled. Eames followed, unresisting.

Arthur’s rouged mouth twitched, amused. His eyes glinted, lashes lowering.

“Good. That’s good,” Arthur said softly. “You’ve been thinking about this all week, haven’t you?”

Eames didn’t nod, didn’t respond at all. He just carried on feeling the contours of Arthur’s legs, up and down over stockings and skin, looking up at him while Arthur held his head in place gently.

Keeping his hand in Eames’s hair, Arthur moved to the chair beside Eames and sat down. He maneuvered Eames to his knees in front of him. It took some tugging, but Eames went, unwilling to stop feeling that firm flesh under those stockings, wanting to see what Arthur would demand as they felt out the parameters of this situation.

“Go on,” Arthur said, drawing his high-heeled toe over the side of Eames’s hip. “It’s not like he got the chance to appreciate all the effort it took to look like this.” He tilted his head in Hollister’s direction, but didn’t look. He held Eames’s gaze.

“Perhaps you missed it, but I think a lot of people were appreciating the effort you went to tonight, Arthur,” Eames said.

“Hm. So you were just going along with the crowd then?” Arthur asked, watching his own thumb stroke over Eames’s temple.

Eames laughed. “I’ll just shut up, then, shall I?”

“That,” Arthur said, raking his hand through Eames’s hair, “is a really, really good idea.”

Arthur swept the wig off his head, tossing it on top of the PASIV before gathering the many layers of his skirt and pulling them up and out of the way. The rustling sound of all that crinoline was intoxicating, and the familiarity with which Arthur gathered the material led Eames to believe Arthur had been wearing the complete outfit all week.

Arthur was already hard, layers of frothy white framing his erection. Arthur used two fingers to press his cock down, sticking it out from where it was resting on the material.

Eames leaned down, shrugging a shoulder to reposition one of his wings, then rested his hands on his knees. His lips brushed against the head of Arthur’s cock, and he listened with pleasure as Arthur expelled a puff of air, like he’d been holding his breath waiting for Eames.

“...yeah?” Eames said, letting his breath gust across Arthur’s prick.

Arthur huffed a laugh. “Tease,” he said, then adjusted his hips, knocking his erection into Eames’s lips.

As if by reflex, Eames opened his mouth and Arthur reached out with one guiding hand to pull Eames’s head down further.


“It’s not going to do a very good job of keeping you from talking if it’s not in your mouth,” Arthur pointed out, but if he was aiming for wry, he missed the mark entirely.

Eames looked up, having to tilt his head a little to do so while keeping Arthur in his mouth, and saw Arthur biting his lip, teeth bright white against the plum of his lipstick. His eyelashes looked somehow even longer, more seductive without the wig, contrasting with Arthur’s close-cropped hair. Eames groaned and turned his attention back to Arthur’s cock, sinking down until the hard head of it knocked against his soft palate.

Eames knew he gave good head; it was hard not to when he enjoyed it so much. But the wings on his back, the harness rubbing his nipples, the pouf of crinoline around him, the flex of Arthur’s muscles in the stockings — all of it felt so beautiful in a way Eames had never felt outside of dreams,, he found it impossible not to suck and bob with fervour.

With a soft grunt, Arthur pulled his hips back and pushed at Eames’s shoulder.

“Over there,” Arthur said, nodding towards the sofa. “I don’t want to come like this.”

Eames raised an amused eyebrow, then with a quick glance at Hollister’s sleeping form, he moved towards the sofa with Arthur crowding in close behind him.

Saving Eames from having to ask, Arthur pushed Eames gently onto his knees on the cushions. He didn’t let Eames put his hands down on the arm just yet, instead helping Eames out of the wings. He then held Eames’s upper body, lightly fingering the edges of the harness across his chest, circling the o-ring in the centre. With one deft hand he quickly undid Eames’s belt and jeans, and Eames helped him push them down.

Arthur stood back, admiring, and dragged his palm over Eames’s arse, giving it an appreciative squeeze and a light smack.

“Bet you thought you’d be fucking me,” Arthur said, pressing his hips to Eames’s arse, bunches of crinoline squishing between them.

“Well, I wouldn’t have turned it down,” Eames replied, reaching down to idly rub at his cock, “But I was rather hoping for the reverse.”

Arthur uttered a surprised hum, but it was fleeting as he rolled a condom on from the supplies beside the sofa, and tore open a single-serving packet of lube. With one hand pushing Eames forward to lean on the sofa’s arm and the other rubbing circles onto Eames’s arse, Arthur leaned over and nosed at the skin of Eames’s back.

“How do you like it, I wonder,” Arthur mused, dipping one finger in to just the first knuckle. “Do you like patience?” Eames rolled his hips slightly. Sliding two fingers all the way in in one smooth movement, Arthur continued, “or can you take it fast and hard?”

Eames arched and groaned, and it was answer enough for Arthur, who pulled his fingers out without ceremony and pushed his cock inside, no pause, no warning. Eames shuddered, clenching his fists and Arthur stilled for a second, waiting for Eames to adjust.

“No, move,” Eames said, pushing back into Arthur, using his elbows on the sofa arm as leverage. He could feel the crinoline coming to rest on his back, soft and almost tickly.

Arthur did, rocking into Eames steadily, reaching under his skirts to palm Eames’s arse. When Eames felt Arthur lean forward and press kisses onto his back, he was momentarily surprised, not having Arthur pegged as being particularly affectionate.

“Fuck, you look good with lipstick marks on your back,” Arthur said, and that made more sense. Eames smiled, rocking in time with Arthur, a little breathless.

“And what about the wings, hm? Bet you liked having your own adoring little angel, admiring your beauty,” Eames teased, but it was too close to the truth and neither of them laughed, just thrust into each other harder.

Eames ducked his head, resting on his forearms, and caught a glimpse of Hollister’s limp foot. The absurdity of the situation struck him then, followed quickly by the disbelief that Arthur was doing this at all. He’d never seen Arthur get distracted by anything on the job, but Arthur was allowing this. How different Arthur must feel in those clothes, how turned on.

When Arthur hooked a finger in the o-ring at Eames’s chest, it also occurred to Eames that maybe it wasn’t just the skirt and the heels; maybe Eames himself had something to do with how Arthur was starting to lose his rhythm, was beginning to just shove himself artlessly inside. Eames’s grunts mingled with Arthur’s.

Eames reached down and tugged at his own cock, feeling stretched full, feeling the tight pull of the harness around him, the skirt draping over his hips, feeling Arthur’s heavy weight pushing and leaning. And with a few frantic pulls, Eames was over the edge, coming in hard spurts, clenching his teeth.

Arthur fucked him through it, relentlessly driving into Eames until he was fucking Eames’s loose, exhausted form. Eames just relaxed and took it, let Arthur’s hands yank at him, listened with fascination and no small amount of satisfaction to Arthur’s desperate pants until Arthur grunted and ground in, pulsing his hips through his own orgasm.

When Arthur slipped out, leaving Eames empty and frankly a tiny bit sore, he brushed his lips against Eames’s skin, although Eames wouldn’t call it a kiss. He didn’t know what it was: if Arthur was just worn out and flopping, or if it was deliberate.

“Fuck, we’ve got to get out of here,” Arthur said, and Eames agreed. They’d spent too long; the mark was still under but someone could walk in, and an unconscious man in a fetish club would probably send the wrong message. Eames hoisted up his jeans, doing up his belt buckle when he chanced a glance at Arthur.

“Dear god, aren’t you a mess?” he laughed. Arthur had lipstick smeared up his cheek, his crinoline was crumpled and lifted in places, his stockings had laddered.

“As are you,” Arthur said, indicating Eames’s back.

“I guess our cover is pretty convincing, then,” Eames said as he lifted the PASIV and stepped towards the door.

“Mm. It was,” Arthur said, more serious than was warranted. Eames cocked an eyebrow but Arthur was already stepping through the door casually. After a beat Eames followed and they slipped out the rear exit of the building.

Eames held the door open for Arthur, who looked at him suspiciously.

“I’m sorry, darling,” Eames said gallantly. “A woman like you deserves better than to slip out the back door like a common trollop. I promise better for you next time,” Eames grinned.

“Sure, the next time I dress like a woman for a job and we fuck in the back room of a fetish club, you can take me right out the front door,” Arthur smiled wryly. He stalked off towards the car, not even wavering on the gravel in his heels.

Eames hurried to catch up, then opened the passenger’s side door for Arthur. Arthur ducked in to sit, and with Eames still leaned against the car, Arthur said, “Quit staring. I feel like a triple shot espresso and you’re dying of caffeine withdrawal. You’ll see me again tomorrow.”

Eames quirked a considering smile. “I suppose I will at that.”