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03 October 2010 @ 08:21 pm
You Let Your Ladder Down For Those Who Really Shine (1/2)  
Title: You Let Your Ladder Down For Those Who Really Shine
Fandom: Inception (with a smudge of 'Mysterious Skin')
Rating: R
Word Count: ~4100
Characters: Eames/Arthur, Cobb, Ariadne
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Spoilers: For Inception and Mysterious Skin
Summary: Arthur doesn't want to have shower sex with Eames.
Warning: Talks, in a non-explicit way about rape, prostitution and child abuse, in the context of a new relationship, and of recovery.
Note: Written for a prompt at inception_kink: Arthur refuses to have shower sex. (Crossover with 'Mysterious Skin'.)
Podfic: Also available as podfic, read by nodense . 

You Let Your Ladder Down For Those Who Really Shine

(New York, January)

Two nights after they finished the inception, they made their way through a bottle of Glenmorangie as relentlessly as if it had been part of the job.

(It wasn't like Eames was unfamiliar with the kind of relationships that you built up with people you worked with. Even when he was a straight-up grifter, there was an intimacy that came from trusting other people to keep you out of jail. There was an even greater intensity to delving in the subconscious of others, that almost encouraged affairs, and messy revelations, and screaming rows. He almost preferred to work with different teams each time, to keep things simple.

Cobb was reliable, was the thing. In the world they lived in, his word was oak. And where Cobb went, then so went Arthur.)

They sat, almost in silence, by the crackling fire in the honesty bar, and Eames watched the flames dance across Arthur's face. Watched Arthur's throat work over the rich, amber liquid, until he was almost lightheaded with desire.

They stood in the elevator together, so close that Eames could smell Arthur's cologne, and the whisky on Arthur's breath. Arthur fingered a cufflink, absently, as the elevator stopped at Eames's floor, and the goodnight was on Eames's lips, disappointment sour in his gut, when Arthur leaned over and kissed the corner of his mouth.

When Eames wore up the following morning, Arthur was lying on his back staring at the ceiling. He felt a trickle of fear, that whatever connection he'd made with Arthur had been crushed, like an insect in the fingers of a clumsy toddler. But Arthur just sat up on the bed, milky white skin like stone in the half light, and pulled on the previous day's shirt and trousers like it was nothing at all.

He raised his eyebrow at the open valise on the floor, with its jumble of clothes and books and gadgets clearly visible. "You could always try unpacking, Eames."

And he wanted to run a lap of his bedroom, t-shirt pulled over his head like he'd just scored an injury-time winner for Arsenal, but he just grinned at Arthur, in the way that he knew made his dimples appear.


(Baghdad, February)

"Can you believe this place?" Cobb appeared at his elbow just as he was walking away from the reception desk with his keycard in one hand.

Eames looked around him. The hotel would have been unexceptional almost anywhere else on earth, but for accommodation on an army base it was fairly spectacular.

"Does it say something awful about me that I can absolutely believe this place?" He hitched his bag more securely onto his shoulder. "You can smell the money swilling around as soon as you set foot on Iraqi soil."

Cobb half-smiled. "We wouldn't be here if it wasn't."

Eames itched his nose with his keycard. "Is, er, everyone else here?"

Cobb's lips flickered. "Arthur's in the bar."

Eames didn't blink. "And everyone else?"

Cobb smiled, and tossed him a casual salute. "See you for a drink later, Eames."

Of course you will, Eames thought, irritated.

He rode the elevator up to his room, feeling the familiar drag of fatigue and the unfamiliar sensation of butterflies starting to gather in his stomach. And this was why he didn't get involved with the people he worked with, because they were nothing more than a distracting menace. He didn't want to be thinking about Arthur, and what Arthur was thinking, and whether there was a chance that Arthur would be warm and sated in his bed tonight.

He took a shower, feeling the tingle of the spray re-energise him, and jerked himself off efficiently, splashing against the tile, and thinking of the feeling of Arthur, tight and silky around him.

He was just pulling a shirt over his head, when there was a knock at the door, and Arthur was standing on the other side, distorted by the spyhole.

He opened the door and Arthur stepped inside, stepped right into Eames's personal space, and put his mouth on Eames's like they were newlyweds. The tension uncoiled in his stomach, and he almost laughed into Arthur's mouth.

Eames pulled back, and Arthur looked at him through his lashes. "I wish you'd been here ten minutes ago."

Arthur smiled. "What happened ten minutes ago?"

"I was jerking myself off in the shower like an overheated teenager." Eames grinned, and slid his hand up Arthur's back. "You could have joined me."

If he hadn't had his palm pressed up against Arthur, been standing close enough to see the flecks of green in his eyes, he might have missed the way Arthur stiffened at that, at the way the muscles around his eyes twitched.

He recovered almost immediately. "We should go and join the others for drinks."

Eames licked his lips, and forced the confusion out of his voice. "Sounds fantastic."


(Moscow, March)

Eames scissored his fingers apart, and Arthur's thighs trembled but he made no sound.

Eames kissed his stomach, and looked up his body to Arthur's eyes, wide open in the dark.


(Mumbai, June)

They did five more jobs before Arthur let him over the threshold of his room, holding the door open, formally, as if welcoming Eames to a stately home. The slant of his shoulders let Eames know that this meant something, and Arthur was so stiff and awkward that Eames felt a small thrill of panic.

Then Arthur kissed him, warm lips against his, and the thought, that this fragile, unnameable thing might be turning to dust, had faded to nothing.


(Jo'burg, July)

Eames liked his home comforts, but his were things. Leather slippers from Penhaligon's. A jar of Marmite in his suitcase. A Smythson diary in outré emerald lambskin. Coal Tar soap.

Arthur's comforts were of a different kind altogether.

It took him a while to notice, because Arthur didn't say anything, about where Eames dropped his newspaper, or left his trousers, or put his coins and wallet, but just moved them to where he wanted them to be.

He didn't, Eames thought, ask for things, so much as build wall after wall until he had built a maze that led to the thing he wanted people to do.


(Jakarta, August)

"If you didn't want to eat there, you should have said so." Eames stood on the edge of the curb, scanning the traffic to find a space to cross in. He thought New York taxi drivers were impatient, but this was fucking insane. "Don't you like sushi?"

"It was fine." Arthur said, coolly.

Eames swung around to look at Arthur. "My love, you barely touched your food."

Arthur shrugged. "I'm just not hungry today."

Eames knew, with stinging certainty, that it was a lie. Knew, with equal certainty, that he didn't know how to get Arthur to tell him the truth.


(Frankfurt, September)

Arthur pulled Eames's hand downwards, insistently. Eames palmed his balls, Arthur's fingers resting lightly on his wrist.

"Like this, sweetheart?"

Arthur closed his eyes and turned his head away, breath catching in his throat.


(London, October)

Eames normally fell asleep straight after sex, but that evening he was wide awake, restless. It was only three hours of a time difference between Moscow and London, but he'd spent too much of the last two weeks skipping across timezones like a stone, and his body was extracting its revenge.

He swung his legs out of bed and padded towards the bathroom. The door was ajar, and he pulled it open.

Arthur was cleaning his teeth, brush in hand, and he froze when Eames opened the door.

"Sorry, love." Eames rubbed his thumbs in his eyes, as they acclimated to the brightness of the bathroom. "Didn't mean to startle you."

Arthur didn't move.

"Everything okay?" Eames frowned, and took a step towards the sink. Arthur didn't move his feet, but he shifted his balance almost imperceptibly away from Eames.

"I'll wait—" He gestured back through the open doorway.

He sat down on the bed, feeling cold in the stuffy bedroom, and heard the lock on the bathroom door slide home.


(Edinburgh, November)

He bumped into Cobb in the corridor of the hotel, and a part of him wondered if Cobb had been standing there waiting for him. Cobb could lurk like no other man he had ever known.

"Everything okay?"

Eames nodded. "Arthur's sick, but he should be fine by the time the rest of the team arrives."

"Whatever he needs." Cobb nodded towards the cardboard container in Eames's hand, and sniffed the air. "What is that?"

"Cullen skink. Fish and potato soup. It's Arthur's favourite." He waved the other bag. "And tissues and Vicks."

Cobb looked at him, assessing. "Look after him."

"Of course," Eames said, lightly, but he didn't think that Cobb was talking about the cold.


He sat down on the side of the bed.

"I brought you soup. And more tissues" He set a tray across Arthur's lap, and poured the soup into the bowl he had begged from the kitchen.

Arthur blew his nose, gingerly, and dropped the used tissue into the bin. "Thanks."

Eames delved into the Boots bag and pulled out the pot of VapoRub. "I'll put this on you when you've finished eating, darling."

Arthur looked at the small plastic pot, spoon already in hand. "What is it?"

Eames raised an eyebrow. "It's a kind of menthol ointment that you rub on your chest and back when you have a cold. Don't you have it in America?"

Arthur dipped his spoon into his soup. "I don't know."

Eames frowned. "What did your mother give you when you were sick?"

He watched Arthur pause, soup halfway to his mouth. "My mother wasn't home a lot."

Eames looked at Arthur, pyjama sleeves hanging down to his knuckles, and felt a wave of helplessness. "Darling—"

Arthur didn't look up from his bowl. "Thanks for the soup, Eames." His tone was final.

Eames sat on the bed and watched him eat.


(Geneva, November)

"We don't need two rooms. On the next job." Arthur's voice was quiet, but clear.

Eames jerked his head up, and Cobb had smoothed his look of incredulity away, but not quickly enough.

"Are you sure?" He was looking at Arthur, and there was some knowledge, some insight in his voice that prompted a flash of jealousy in Eames.

Arthur nodded. "I'm sure."

Something inside Eames sang hallelujahs.

(Part two)

pingback_botpingback_bot on October 30th, 2010 10:37 am (UTC)
“selling sunshine and light” – Inception fanart – Eames/Arthur – PG
User johanirae referenced to your post from “selling sunshine and light” – Inception fanart – Eames/Arthur – PG saying: [...] ’s inception/mysterious skin cross over You Let Your Ladder Down For Those Who Really Shine [...]
pingback_botpingback_bot on October 30th, 2010 10:41 am (UTC)
“selling sunshine and light” – fanart by <lj user=" johanirae"> – Eames/Arthur – PG
User johanirae referenced to your post from “selling sunshine and light” – fanart by johanirae – Eames/Arthur – PG saying: [...] ’s inception/mysterious skin cross over You Let Your Ladder Down For Those Who Really Shine [...]
seeker35 on December 24th, 2010 05:58 pm (UTC)
cullem skink is yummy
dipenatesdipenates on December 28th, 2010 10:07 am (UTC)
Yes, it is!