Author: safaiagem / bloody_hellfire
Rating: hard R for violence, language and sexual situations
Notes: Based on this prompt in inception_kink. I swear this is the last origins story I write. Really. Three is enough. laria_gwyn is my beta and I <3 her. Also, here is my list of claimed prompts. Let me know which one you'd like to see me work on next.
Summary: When Arthur and Eames first met they thought they had met the person that they could comfortably call a 'friend' for the rest of their lives. The mind crime business, like most things, complicates things.
Copyrights: I own nothing from Inception and I am making no money from this.
Arthur slept on the couch again and they stopped by his apartment so he could shower and change. When he emerged drying his hair Eames was looking around as if he was fascinated by everything that was in the room. Despite the fact that Eames had been here hundreds of times since they had met, the man still walked around and seemed to take in every detail as if he was seeing it for the first time. Arthur considered the other man for a moment; being legally dead meant that he really had no one to fall back on but now he had Eames. The Brit understood the itch to dream again, the resentment that he could not even dream naturally anymore and how bored they both were with civilian life. Arthur wanted to call Eames his 'best friend' but he was really his only friend at the moment. Neither of them seemed eager to go out and join the real world anytime soon. It was early May now and while the city was warmer, it was in the middle of a cold front. Eames still wore a warm black sweater over a pair of faded jeans. There was a coat from a nearby thrift store draped over the couch.
“You're staring again, Arthur,” Eames said and Arthur blinked back into his own head.
“Sorry, just dozed off there for a second,” he replied and Eames smirked.
“That's what you get for sleeping on the couch. You need to stop drinking so much that you can't get yourself home,” the Brit said.
“You have a spot on my couch too, asshole, so don't judge. Who was the one who went through a bottle of gin in one night?” Arthur said as he pulled his own jacket over his layers. The coat he had was not very warm so he layered up with a long sleeved shirt with a t-shirt underneath. He always found it ironic that his government had threatened his life to stay quiet and then kicked him out with only enough money to last a year. “Shall we?”
“We shall,” Eames said and they walked down to the street below. They talked about normal things as they walked. Arthur had recently found out that Eames had a degree in psychology that had earned him a lot of teasing in the services, and Arthur did his best to keep making fun of him for it. “I'm telling you, it comes in handy. When was the last time you used that fancy computer engineering degree of yours?”
“The last time I hacked into a database to find out the degree of a person that doesn't exist anymore,” Arthur replied smugly.
“You stay cheeky, my friend, I'm not so far behind,” Eames said with a grin. “And we're going into my dream.”
“When did we decide that?” Arthur asked with an arched eyebrow.
“I'm the one who wants to show you something. It's easier if I'm the one building the dream,” Eames said and their eyes met. “Trust me.”
“All right,” he said. They walked into a shady looking area but Arthur was not worried. He saw all sorts of people around who probably wanted to mug him but the two of them were not to be tested. After a night at a pub only a month after they met four men had tried to mug them. The fight had been short because it took the two of them almost no time to take out the men. They knew each other better now and there was no reason that they could not work better as a team now. Eames knocked on a door and a man opened it, sizing him up.
“What do you want?” The man was wearing a dirty shirt and there were track marks on his arms that Arthur guessed had not come from drugs.
“Came for a dream,” Eames replied easily and the man stared at the two of them as if deciding if they could be trusted. The door opened a little wider and they both walked into a small basement apartment. There were two other people, a woman and a younger man, looking over the PASIV device and Arthur winced as soon as he saw the state of the machine. It was clear to him that they had no idea how to properly take care of the equipment but decided that pushing the issue was not wise. If they wanted to break into the extraction field they needed a PASIV device to use despite that it was not in the best shape. “Fifty bucks per five minutes.”
“I have a better idea,” Eames said as Arthur dug into his wallet. His eyes had that mischievous glow that the other man tended to get when he decided that drinking an entire bottle of whiskey in a night sounded like a good idea. “You let us go under for free and my associate here will fix your machine as payment.” Arthur had to give Eames credit when credit was due; it was a lot easier than dipping into his food fund for the week.
“Can you really fix it?” the woman asked.
“Yes,” Arthur said without hesitation. The three people in the room exchanged looks and shrugged. “If I can't fix it we'll pay you for the five minutes. You have nothing to lose.”
“Hook ‘em up,” the older man said and guided the two of them to two chairs near the PASIV device. The smell of the Somnicin was intoxicating as they both sat down. Arthur had to give these people some credit because they took needles out of a sealed sterile bag but that still did not ease the misgivings he felt. He had been put under with various different compounds of the chemical but there was no telling what kind of compound was going around the black market.
“We're both vulnerable if we're both under at the same time,” Arthur muttered in French because it was something that they both understood. “Are you sure you need me to come down with you?”
“Very sure. I've looked into these people and everything I've found through the underground says they are as legit as an underground den can be. Worry not, my dear friend,” Eames said with a smirk but he used the feminine grammar for 'friend' and Arthur narrowed his eyes.
“Are you two done romancing each other?” the woman asked with a raised eyebrow. Arthur stared at her.
“Five minutes,” he said and Arthur watched them set the timer.
“Ready?” she asked a hand hovering over the button. Arthur exchanged a glance with Eames and they both nodded. She pushed the button and Arthur closed his eyes as the chemical surged through his body and the world faded away.
Arthur blinked and realized that he was standing in the middle of a high class bar in a suit he probably had not owned since well before the army. Eames' projections were all over, laughing and dancing, exchanging fine drinks, but Arthur did not see Eames himself anywhere. He was not worried though because while he had not outright said so he did trust Eames. They had a connection, an understanding that he had never had with anyone else. It was comforting and it made him smile on a regular basis. He had someone in his life that he could lean on and he had never had that before; it was a nice change of pace.
“Sir, can I get you a drink?” the bartender asked and Arthur looked at him.
“Tanqueray and tonic with ice,” Arthur replied easily because he really was a gin man when it came down to it.
“Very well, sir.” His drink was ready in moments. Arthur took a sip and looked out into the crowd; Eames' projections looked very relaxed but there was no telling what could set them off. So he decided to wait and see what the other man had planned. Forty-five minutes later a woman in a red dress slid onto the stool beside him.
“I don't think I've seen you here before,” she said leaning into him. Her hair was blond, her eyes a bright blue and her lips were as red as her dress. Arthur did not want to anger the projections so he decided to humor her.
“I haven't been here before,” he replied easily.
“Interesting, can I buy you a drink?” she asked leaning even closer so now they were flush against each other.
“Isn't that my line?” Arthur asked flashing her his best smile. The woman threw her head back and laughed.
“Aren't you a darling,” she said tracing the line of his jaw with her finger. He had never dealt with projections that were this forward and Arthur was not sure how to react. Sudden movements could get him mauled to death by this well dressed crowd but allowing this to continue could make things very awkward. The projection did not give him time to think before she captured his lips in a kiss. Her lips were unbelievably soft beneath his but Arthur could not make himself react because this was a projection. She pulled away and he studied her because something was different. Her eyes were different, her mouth was different, and both were all too familiar. She gestured with her head to the mirror on the wall and Arthur looked at the reflection only to see Eames standing where the woman was. Arthur stared dumbly at him because he could not think of a proper thing to say. “We called it 'forgery' over in my homeland,” Eames said but he stayed close.
“No one had even touched on that concept in the states. We didn't know it was possible,” Arthur said trying to wrap his mind around what he had just witnessed.
“Only three of us managed to get it to work and even then it's not perfect. I could use a lot more practice,” Eames said. “Between your skills and mine I think we're marketable, what do you think?”
“Definitely,” Arthur said and then his higher brain functions seemed to kick in when he realized how close they were. “You kissed me.” Eames smiled sheepishly and opened his mouth to reply when they both woke up.
Eames blinked as he stared at the ceiling. He was breathing hard and he felt a slight vertigo effect but he guessed that was from the blend of Somnicin that they were using. That and the fact that he had not dreamed in well over a year. Now he was trying to come up with a decent excuse for why he had decided to kiss Arthur. He risked looking at his friend and saw Arthur staring at the ceiling with the same clouded expression that he had felt moments before. Arthur was thinner than he’d been when they met all those months ago but Eames guessed he was as well. They both barely had enough money to eat and fund the booze that they managed to go through together. Arthur ran his fingers through his hair, longer now that he was out of the service, and tried to smooth it down before they left but it was curling around the edges. He blinked a few more times before he looked over and they locked gazes. Eames wanted to blurt something out until he realized they were still in the room with the people who owned the PASIV device.
“Let me take a look at the machine,” Arthur said as he stood and knelt in front of the equipment. They handed him various tools and watched in awe as he tweaked and fixed everything that could be fixed on the machine. Eames felt a little swell of pride as he watched Arthur work. He was not sure when it had happened but this skinny, dark haired, extremely dangerous young man had become the only person he wanted to converse with. The thought of going out and joining the illegal dream world, doing the impossible with Arthur, it was almost enough to make him giddy. He waited patiently as Arthur finished. “I'll accept cash or credit in the dream next time.”
“Yeah, sure, whatever you need,” the woman said as she stared at the PASIV device like it was a new machine. Arthur met his eyes and they walked out of the basement apartment and into the city. The sun was still up but Eames felt tired. He blamed his fatigue for not anticipating Arthur grabbing him by the jacket and slamming him against the wall.
“How long?” he asked and Eames stared at him.
“What are you going on about? Have you lost your fucking mind?” he asked but Arthur just stared at him, his features giving nothing away.
“How long, Eames? How long have you wanted to do that?” Arthur asked. “And don't lie to me; I know when you're lying.”
“Like hell you do,” Eames said on reflex.
“You said you didn't drink the last of my good gin, which I hid from you on purpose I might add, and you lied through your teeth,” Arthur said. “Don't change the subject; how long?” Eames found himself in an odd situation. He had no idea what Arthur was going to do. All of this time together and he still could not read the other man, and part of him wanted to lie because he did not want to lose Arthur. It was like getting punched in the stomach; it was not until that moment that he realized that he might have cocked this all up and Arthur would never speak to him again. At the same time, he also respected Arthur and did not want to lie to him, not after he had been the one to kiss Arthur first.
“I'd say 'since I first laid eyes on you' but that would be a lie. I don't know, I woke up one morning last summer before you did and I saw you sleeping on my couch. It just hit me but I decided that it wasn't worth it. I have self control and priorities,” Eames said.
“So, for at least half a year then,” Arthur said and Eames nodded. “Good, then I don't feel seven steps behind you.” He was about to ask what Arthur meant when Arthur crushed their mouths together. They were in an unsafe section of New York and Arthur had him pushed against a wall kissing the breath out of his lungs. Eames pulled away and stared at this man that he cared about a lot more than he thought he had.
“We can't do this here,” he said.
“You're right,” Arthur said and he took a step back. “My place is closer anyway.” Eames stared dumbly at the other man then grinned. They walked at a brisk pace to Arthur's place and Eames would be lying if he said that he did not brush his hands against Arthur whenever he could. As soon as they walked through the door, they were caught up with each other. The kiss was hard, open, hot and probably the best kiss of Eames' entire life. He was fairly sure Arthur was pushing his coat off at the same time Eames was doing the same to his. With the coats gone they were flush against each other and Eames felt like he could almost crush Arthur if he really wanted to. He eased his hands underneath Arthur's shirts and the younger man arched against him.
“Oh fuck, I don't have any supplies,” Arthur said breaking their kiss and Eames just stared at him. “What? I wasn't exactly expecting this to happen.”
“Who said I was going to fuck you anyway?” Eames said but he was grinning as he said it. Arthur arched an eyebrow before he smiled widely enough to show off his dimples.
“Like you could resist,” he said and yanked Eames in for another kiss.