WARNING - CONTAINS HARRY POTTER SPOILERS. If you have not finished reading the entire Harry Potter series, read no further than this.
DISCLAIMER - Purely for fun, not making any money on it. You can sue me if you like but I've got no money and you can't get blood out a stone.
Eames surveyed the scene before him with trepidation. The flight to Sydney had been delayed by two hours and he felt an unusual restlessness. Normally he would have had no problem lounging in the bar, people-watching over a beer and a bag of nuts, but today was different. Today was The Day Before Inception, and it seemed to have triggered a need in him to get up and move. Nervousness of any sort was unlike him, and in itself that made him nervous.
Ariadne had immediately gone back to the few shops still open at the far end of the terminal while Yusef had gone looking for the Prayer Room and both Saito and Cobb had been happy to stay in the 1st Class Lounge reading magazines and sipping complimentary coffee. When the announcement had been made - apologies, technical difficulties, take off delayed until midnight - Arthur had immediately left without acknowledging the others and Eames assumed the other man had gone for food or a drink.
Except now he knew better. An hour into his ramble around the darkened and largely empty terminal, he had found the team's point man, still as impeccably dressed as ever, sitting in the corner of a dark gate lounge. Crying.
Eames wished he had never seen this sight. He wished he could take back his decision to approach the man when he had spotted his silhouette, alone in the dark. What had he hoped to achieve, interrupting his peace and quiet? He would have backed away, but by the time the message from his brain reached his feet, it was too late to pretend he had never been there, because Arthur had already looked up and made eye contact.
"Umm... Are you... all right?" he asked rather lamely. Stupid question, clearly he's bloody not all right.
"Yeah, yeah, fine," Arthur responded, sniffing loudly while frantically dashing tears from his eyes, almost before Eames had even finished the question. "Fine."
At least he had not tried the old something-in-my-eyes routine, Eames reflected; as an excuse that would have been beyond pathetic and simply caused more embarrassment.
"Okay, well we have about an hour or so... I'll see you there," he muttered, waving vaguely back toward their own gate while giving the younger man one last quick check over. It was most discomfiting so see a man so in control of himself lose that control and Eames wanted as far away from the scene as quickly as he could get. One's own feelings were enough trouble and he preferred to avoid dealing with anyone else's if possible. It was strange though; he had expected that if anyone in the group was likely to have an emotional outburst and cry like a girl that it would in fact have been the girl. An unfair and perhaps rather sexist assessment, but the good money would have been on Ariadne being the cry-baby of the cadre, not the point man. Besides, if Arthur claimed to be fine, who was Eames to contradict him?
It was only as he turned that he spotted the dark book on the seat beside his colleague and only his keen eye for detail that allowed him to read the largest words on the spine, even upside down in the dim. He had already taken a step away before the full impact hit him.
"J.K. Rowling?" he exclaimed. "You're crying at Harry Potter?"
Before Arthur could even utter a word, Eames had snagged the book up and sat down beside him in its place.
"Ah, Deathly Hallows, adult cover. Of course you would get the adult cover. Have you actually finished it yet?"
Arthur nodded mutely, his face already shut down as he waited for the teasing to commence. Only his red and puffy eyes gave any clue to the inner turmoil the popular children's book had caused him.
"Oh, I cried my heart out, "Eames exclaimed, returning to the back cover, examining with interest the little book light clipped to it. "Especially when I realised that little Teddy Lupin was going to grow up an orphan like Harry. And poor George, or was it Fred? Well, both of them really; poor one for dying and poor the other one for losing his twin. I just couldn't believe who she chose to kill off in the end. Though I must say, she really took me by surprise in the beginning with Mad-Eye. I did not see that one coming..." His gaze drifted to the middle distance as he waved the book for emphasis. "But I always knew there was more to Snape than meets the eye," he added thoughtfully. "I knew he couldn't be a total bad guy; he was just too important, but I couldn't figure out how she would redeem him after he killed Dumbledore in the last one. What did you think? Did you expect him to turn out good?" He finally turned back to Arthur.
There was a moment of silence between them.
"You like Harry Potter?" Arthur eventually asked in disbelief. "You cried at Harry Potter?"
"Oh, God, yes!" Eames laughed. "Cried like a big girls' blouse! Cried when Sirius died back in Phoenix; cried when Dumbledore popped his clogs in Half Blood Prince; ended up dehydrated from crying so bloody much when Voldemort murdered Cedric in Goblet of Fire and I didn't even like him! I think it was really the bit when Harry won't let go of his body when they get back to the school, you know?" he confided enthusiastically.
Arthur struggled to process this new data. The best thief and forger in the business, a man at home with all manner of guns and explosives, and, rumour had it, had at least one Real Life death to his name, was admitting to being a cry-baby Harry Potter fanboy. Does not compute.
"You mean you've read the books?" he asked. "Not just watched the movies?"
"Oh for..." Eames exclaimed, standing up and stomping off. "You make ONE bloody spelling mistake in your life and thereafter everyone assumes you're illiterate..." He turned back and pointed threateningly at his colleague. "And you'll be lucky if I ever let you see my Dark Mark tattoo now!"
Arthur regarded Eames' rapidly disappearing form, intrigued. Just when he thought he had the man figured out...
Original LiveJournal prompt:
Eames finds Arthur crying his eyeballs out (or the Arthur equivalent, his eyes watering) and wants to know why - IT IS OVER THE DEATHS IN THE FINAL HP BOOK. Cue secret HP nerd Eames discussing everything with Arthur and helping him cope with the deaths.