Put Your Hands On Me
Inception, Arthur/Eames, PG-13, 1650 words
Arthur didn't expect to be the handsier one of the two of them.
After they slept together, Eames stopped touching Arthur in public.
Actually, he didn't. Upon reflection, Arthur realized that Eames had never touched him that much to begin with. In fact, he had always kept a respectful physical distance from Arthur even while his words jumped that gap headlong.
"Nosy is such an unflattering way of putting it," he'd drawled, eyes gleaming. "I much prefer the term curious."
"Curiosity killed the cat, Mr. Eames," Arthur had said mildly. The truth was that he didn't so much mind Eames's prying; he considered it only fair, especially since Arthur had already dug thoroughly into Eames's past.
Eames had smiled. "Ah, but I'm not a cat, Arthur. It's a little harder to kill me."
Indeed it was. As he proved over and over again on jobs.
Now see, the thing about Arthur was that he had a competence kink. He didn't call it such, of course. To him, it was simply a fine appreciation of intelligent, capable people. Whatever it was called, though, it boiled down to the same thing: Eames was never more attractive to Arthur than when he was during the jobs they took on post-inception.
After the Fischer job, Cobb retired. But Arthur wasn't through with mindheist; he ended up working with Eames again. He ended up, more or less, assimilated into Eames's team.
"Don't you already have a point man?" Arthur remembered asking.
He'd gotten only a shrug in response. "You're better."
And that had been the beginning of a series of events that ended up with Arthur in Eames's bed.
Which had been good. More than good.
But now Arthur was feeling distinctly out of sorts, restless as he shifted again and again in his seat. He flipped idly through his research, forcing himself to focus on the words only to realize, ten minutes later, that he had no idea what he'd read.
Eames was on the other end of the common space of the hotel room suite, alternately going through his own papers and talking with Chloe, their hacker. His head was bent slightly and Arthur's eyes traced the line of his neck, down past his open collar into the hollow of his throat. He remembered tasting that skin right there, remembered the rasp of hair against his cheek, hair that now peeked from underneath the shirt. If he leaned back just a little bit he could see the curl of black lettering along his collarbone.
Arthur realized he'd tipped his chair back on two legs when his files started fluttering to the ground, sliding off his lap. "Shit," he muttered and dropped his chair back on all legs.
Eames's eyes flicked over. "Everything all right?"
He wasn't blushing. He wasn't. "Fine," he said, bending down to pick up the papers.
Really, though. Shit.
Arthur shouldn't be this distracted. Logically, it should be out of his system, now that he'd finally slept with Eames. There was no more unresolved sexual tension between the two of them, thank you: it had been resolved. Very well, actually.
So Arthur had no excuse to find himself continually staring at Eames's mouth, or his hands, or the stretch of his slacks over his thighs throughout the day.
Eames finished his conversation with Chloe then leaned back into his chair, legs spreading. Fabric stretched tight across his crotch. Arthur's mouth went dry.
Later, Arthur closed a file, looked up, and his gaze snagged on Eames's fingers, tapping an idle rhythm on his knee as he read. Long, capable fingers that had been all over Arthur last night, in his mouth and down his chest and between his legs. Arthur tugged at his tie.
Later still, Arthur was on the balcony for a smoke break when Eames joined him, sliding the door shut behind him. The air was cold this high up. Eames's mouth was red around his cigarette, his cheeks pink and his eyes bright.
He stood a good two feet away. Arthur could practically feel the hairs on his arm stand up and try to reach Eames.
Arthur swung a guilty look over at Eames, glad the other man couldn't read his mind.
"You're looking a trifle peaky."
Eames actually looked concerned, damn him.
"I'm fine," Arthur lied and took a long drag on his cigarette.
Eames hummed noncommittally, clearly disbelieving.
I didn't realize you didn't touch me as much as I thought, Arthur thought but didn't blurt out. If there was anything Arthur was good at, it was knowing how to keep his mouth shut when he needed to. And getting at the truth. I didn't realize you didn't touch me as me as much as I want you to.
He rubbed out the remains of his cigarette and flicked the butt over the railing. Eames was still looking at him, a patient air to him. Arthur hated him a little for being so blissfully unaware, so calm, while Arthur felt like he was burning up inside.
But Arthur -- he wasn't the kind of person who sat around waiting for things to happen to him. Arthur was a man of action. And if plans changed, he could improvise with the best of them if he had to. If the Fischer job had taught him nothing else (and it had taught him quite a lot, like how far Cobb was willing to go, and to triple-check marks for secret militarization, and that Eames was brilliant), it had taught Arthur that he thrived under pressure. He might have preferred staid jobs where every little detail went according to plan, but it was in the heat of uncertainty that made him feel alive.
A bit like the way he felt under Eames's body, Eames's mouth: hot under the skin and body thrumming electric.
Arthur licked his lips. He eyed the column of Eames's throat again, this time noticing the bruises he'd left.
He made his move.
Eames didn't look down at the hand sliding into the small of his back. He looked up instead, a surprised sort of question in his eyes.
The last thing he wanted to do was explain himself. He could barely sort through the incoherent jumble in his own mind, much less put it into words. All Arthur knew was this feeling, the craving he'd developed for Eames's touch that had started long before the sex and had, evidently, morphed into something even more intense afterwards. Now that he knew what Eames tasted like... Arthur kissed him.
It wasn't as filthy as Arthur's mind had been the past few hours, just lips and hardly any tongue; it was more of a "hello again, I remember you".
Eames looked a little thrown when Arthur pulled back. Arthur could feel himself smiling, feel the buzz under his skin settle when Eames's hand came up to cup the back of his neck. He watched as the incredulity faded from Eames's eyes and was replaced with something infinitely warmer.
"Really, now, Arthur," Eames murmured, lips curving. Arthur loved those lips. "We're at work. Shouldn't we set an example of professionalism?"
"It's not like Chloe doesn't know we slept together," Arthur pointed out, very practically. She probably thought they'd been at it even before this job.
Eames leaned closer, chuckling against his lips. "So that makes it all right? Are you giving me free rein to touch you in front of her?"
Yes, said Arthur's body, very enthusiastically. "Appropriate touching," said Arthur's mouth hastily, even though it was his hands sliding up Eames's broad back and into his hair now. They were standing very close together.
"You'll have to define the parameters of 'appropriate.'" Eames swept his thumb across Arthur's cheek. "What about this?"
"Acceptable, Mr. Eames," Arthur said with a smile.
"And this?" A strong arm around his waist, tugging him closer.
Arthur's spine melting him into Eames was probably enough answer.
Eames kissed his ear. "And this? Is this appropriate for the workplace, Arthur?"
Probably not. Arthur tilted his head anyway, to make room as Eames's teeth closed lightly against his lobe. He shivered. "Eames," he said shakily.
Eames kissed him proper, open-mouthed and deep, until they drew back panting. "Later," he promised, voice rougher than it had been earlier.
Arthur attempted to rein in his wild pulse. "Later," he agreed.
But he was successful in his original goal: Eames touched him casually throughout the rest of the day, innocent brushes of the hand, a clap on the shoulder, sitting beside him on the couch so their thighs lined up as they read their files in relative silence. Chloe would look over at them occasionally, during the quiet, and smile before returning to her various laptops.
They ended the day with a plan. Tomorrow they would need the compound Yusuf had sent via courier from Mombasa. Tomorrow they would do their first test run.
Tonight, Arthur filled himself up on Eames's touches.
"You didn't want to cuddle last night." Eames was out-of-breath and delighted as he panted into the pillow afterwards. Arthur rolled into him with the last of his energy.
"Shut up," he murmured affectionately, burying his face into the crook of Eames's neck.
Eames was sweaty and hot and perfect with his arms around Arthur and their legs tangled. Arthur licked at his throat lazily, at his collarbone, at the tattoo. Eames stroked his hand over Arthur's bare back. Arthur may have arched a little bit into it. "You're a glutton for touch," he observed softly. Like it was a revelation. "Oh Arthur."
Arthur pressed a kiss to his shoulder, sleepy.
They fell asleep like that, wrapped up in each other.
After that, Eames started touching Arthur more. Of the two of them, Arthur was still the one more inclined to being physical -- appropriately -- in public, but when Eames was affectionate, it was only with Arthur. And, really, Arthur couldn't protest that.