WOW! We've finally reached the end huh? And boy has it been a long time coming. Partly due to my own crippling inadequacies, partly due to the fact that sky movies has taken to showing a different Tom Hardy movie every night. DAMN YOU SKY!
I would also like to apologise briefly for my use of capitals in the last chapter, which veered somewhere to the north of maverickism.
But first: my FINAL (weeps) review responses:
tanya13: yyeeeaaah :P not quite as soon as planned unfortunately :/ tried to slip some humour into this one but their mainly small chocolatey humour chips in a pile of gooey man mush!
FiferRose: to choose between them would be a crime! scheduled everyone meets there shall be! (i may have introduced a 10th world wonder in the form of JGLs lips, i feel they dont get enough credit, overshadowed as they are by Tom Hardy's plumptious love cushions. You other are MOST EXCELLENT! but how can i write you love notes to another *sniff* I have become greedy for your love!
shembre: off to the slide show you go good sir! poor Yusuf, ive tried to give him a slightly less pitiful role in this chapter ;)
Allehandra: i could never have allowed Cobb to actually smile now could I, who knows what kind of paradox that could create! DARN YOU! :P you noticed my plot device early you sneak-fiend! though Eames spelling is something to be remarked at ;)
WhataRebel: you've been in all of them so far! its just that for some reason fanfiction doesnt tend to let me write your name :/ its censorship I say! I shall march on the queen! I've tried to break out of convention as best I can :P but I must say I'm a sucker for the slush! (but smutty anger sex is a no-no. I myself am but a sweet innocent cherub!) :L I'm glad you noticed the 'flushed' thing, it kind of got lost amongst the several large hams of that chapter
Nathan: :L shhhh you! I almost got away with it there! Saito is damned awesome, he should be made ruler of a small country, or the world, either one would suit me really ;)
BULBY: MY DARLING! I hid this in the only place i felt safe, close to my pokeheart *tears up* I shall not mention the tragedy, but I am always here with a comforting word and some rare candy if you need me :) Those darned dark types, always foiling my plans! i may have to write them some angst, its all they seem to respond to! I'd be careful where you use that new move though, it sounds pretty darn KICK-ASS! LeoDicapriHOE ... just...GAWD! I think i may have gone supernova when i saw that :L i want one noooooowwww and i shall gladly perch alongside him on thine mantelpiece, especially with that foine list of fellows for company! i went for sweetness, because sugar is my love! and like the fabled rodney mckay (stargate atlantis - my secret nerd love) I am allergic to lemon :/ this is soon yesno? please do not have wasted away!
mosquito: dont break your face mon ami! they can take even longer to replace than a forger in this day and age! XD damn straight i shall treasure it! i always love it when I manage to make people laugh ( as opposed to the standard terrified chuckle and backing away) I've tried to sneak humour in here where possible, but that darned Eames kept barging in here and taking his love so seriously :P
now! without further ado! the final *sniff* chapter!
chapter 5: In which Yusuf is a slut, and Arthur gives knives to children
"Alright pet, you get my notes?"
Arthur hadn't moved for a good while now. In any other situation Eames would currently be rejoicing about the fact that his arms had remained wrapped around the Point Man's waist for well over a minute without him sustaining any major injuries, and that his chin had been allowed to come to rest gently on the smaller man's shoulder, so close that he could hear the faint whisper of each breath as it passed what was undoubtedly his favourite pair of lips in the world. Hell, one week ago he would probably have been prancing joyfully around the warehouse like a small child drunk on Mountain Dew and proclaiming that HE, EAMES was the new, unchallenged king of the team-love-fest, and anyone who dared to challenge his minute long wonder-hug could sod straight off thank-you-very-much!
Right now though, he was worried. He remembered all too well Saito's earlier threats, and was trying hard not to think about what would happen to him if Arthur had gone into some kind of automatic shutdown. One brief scan of the room was enough to convince Eames that he was in trouble. His little 'apology' had attracted the attention of the entire team. The entire team except Saito, that is. Their employer was still seated in exactly the same position he'd been in when the Forger had crept slowly into the room. There was only one subtle difference, a single lock of hair had fallen out of place, and was resting on the bridge of his nose, just covering part of his left eye. Eames barely suppressed a gulp. The torment that single lock was implying could make Stephen King reach for a bucket. He gathered his strength and silently prayed that Arthur had a reset button.
Arthur meanwhile was a little bit preoccupied. He was fully aware of the fact that the Forger's arms had been draped around his waist for far longer than should be acceptable, and that he really aught to be doing something about it, namely executing a sharp 180 degree turn and punching the smug bastard in the face. Unfortunately he was also extremely aware that he was rather more okay with it than he should be.
And that it had been longer than he cared to admit since he'd been this close to someone willingly. (Eames had once asked him exactly how long it had been. For a split second he thought he'd seen a blush creep across those perfectly sculpted cheekbones. Then his attention was distracted by the ensuing kick to his 'manly pride' that left him limping for a week. It was worth it.)
And that, underneath the usual distasteful odour of tobacco and cheap cologne, the Forger's clothes still carried the faintest echoes of incense and African spice. Eames smelt of exotic cities at night, of heat and excitement, of dust and sand and gold and star-filled desert skies. The smell made his blood boil.
But most of all he was aware that Eames's head was positioned in such a way that if he were to lean back, relax into that comforting warmth and intoxicating scent, and tilt his own head just a fraction to the left, then the Forger's lips would come into contact with the corner of his mouth. Arthur wasn't quite sure how he felt about that.
But he was not going to think about any of those things right now. Oh no. That way lay danger, amongst other things he didn't think he wanted to be dealing with just yet.
The note then? Arthur could think of at least 50 questions regarding the note that he'd quite like to hear the answers to sometime soon. Unfortunately most of them involved discussing the sentiments expressed in this most recent literary assault, and that road was every bit as dangerous as the rest.
Deciding that remaining silent and motionless for the rest of his life was not really a viable option Arthur opened his mouth to speak, paused for a while to prepare himself, and then asked the only 'safe' question remaining.
"Since when can you spell?"
"Since when can I spell?"
"Yes, I'm intrigued."
"Well, I was hoping for something more along the lines of 'OH MR EAMES! Your brutal honestly has ignited the flames of love within my heart, and they burn for you with the vigour of a thousand suns!' But I can work with this. As it happens I'm pretty gifted when it comes to the old spelling lark, even won a few prizes for it back in primary school, I mostly just pretend I cant to irk you."
Arthur turned a full 180, locking his accusing gaze with the forgers own. (Unfortunately this failed to achieve its usual level of intimidation as he had forgotten to remove the hands from his waist, leaving him locked in a quasi-embrace that was far too awkward to address - and therefore impossible to escape from)
"...You used a dictionary didn't you?"
"Maybe. Cobb helped."
"Of course you did. I suspected this from the sta- wait. Cobb helped you?"
"Yup. Bloody generous of him i thought."
"Cobb. Dom Cobb. Has seen this?"
"Well it was stuck to face for nearly 20 minutes, I'm don't think not seeing it was physically possible. Besides after I asked Yusuf and Ariadne he wouldn't shut up till I let him have a look - then of course Saito wanted in on the action..."
Arthur was verging on apoplectic.
"ARE YOU KIDDING ME! Is there anyone who doesn't know about this? I suppose you sent it to Fischer for spellchecking as well? Did Philippa and James provide the stationary?"
(Little did he know that in fact Philippa had done just that. The bright pink card, bordered with valentines day style hearts and bearing a faint odour of roses, as well as the sparkly gel pens, had been her gift to the Forger last christmas. Arthur had not been invited, due to his propensity to give the children knives.)
"I can't believe you would do this to me! I'll be a complete laughing stock! I'm never going to work in the Pointman business again! How do you expect me to show my face at the conventions now!" "Darling, please, I understand that you're angry, but don't you think you're missing the real issue here?"
"The real issue? What do you mean?"
"Oh, I don't know, maybe the fact that I just confessed my love for you in front of the entire team, and now look like a total prat stood here waiting for some kind of response?"
"Ah. That issue.." (Oh crap crap crap crappitty crap! So much for not going down that road. Play it cool Arthur, just play it cool.)
"Well, no offence, but its not exactly a vast change from the usual is it? During most of our jobs together you profess your love on an almost daily basis - admittedly this was far more sentimental than your typical poorly spelt barrage of filth, but on the whole its not really all that different."
"Even so, most people react a bit more strongly to love letters, you're acting as if you get them all the time!"
A small, embarrassed cough sounded from somewhere behind them. A light blush had spread across Ariadne's face, and she had suddenly become fascinated by her own trainers.
"Oh, you have got to be kidding me!"
"Actually no, I received Ariadne's note only this morning. It was rather sweet if I'm honest, not quite as impassioned as Saito's, but still lovely to read."
"He offered me my own airline and a lakeside mansion in Geneva, an offer I was sorely tempted to accept. Now, Yusuf's letter, that was a surprise - never knew he had it in him to be quite so forward! But the heat-sensitive invisible ink... nice touch."
He shot Yusuf an approving nod, receiving a far too suggestive wink in return.
Eames meanwhile had gone a rather interesting shade of green. Unwinding himself slowly from the Pointman he shot the Chemist a withering look - that somehow managed to perfectly convey the sentiment 'et tu? Yusuf?'. A self-satisfied shrug was the only reply.
"Well, I had no idea I was being quite so... unoriginal." Arthur didn't think he'd ever seen the Forger seem so crushed, he looked deflated, like a Teddy Bear with all it's stuffing taken out. It was almost painful to watch.
"I guess I'll just have to find another way of getting through to you, has anyone tried flowers recently?"
"Yes." Come to think of it. It was painful. It hurt to see Eames like this, it felt like something was tearing away at his insides. How odd. Normally he'd jump at the chance to make the other man feel small, now he just wanted to somehow make it be over. Perhaps he should try to be reassuring?
"Don't be upset about it. It's not that your approach was unoriginal, it just...wasn't unique?" Well. That seemed to have gone down about as well as a ton of rectangular building materials. If anything he looked more heartbroken now than before, and seemed to be edging slowly towards the door, proverbial tail between his legs.
Right. So, comforting. How exactly did one go about that then? He vaguely remembered Cobb saying something about putting James to bed with a glass of warm milk, but milk didn't seem to making itself readily available and the thought of leading Eames towards a bed was not a particularly safe one right now.
So, only one option left then really.
The voice was softer than he had ever heard it before, and there was something different in it - something only previously encountered during half-remembered nights of drunken stupor among crowds of unfamiliar faces. It was something found in the faint whispers smiled into his neck as he wrapped the Pointman (his Pointman) up in his duvet on the night of Mal's funeral. He had slept on the floor than night - less than a second away, just in case he was needed.
Before he had the chance to look behind and see just what had prompted this rare display of affection a slender hand had cupped itself around his jaw, tilting his face downwards, and that perfect pair of lips had finally met his own.
It was short, chaste, and everything he had ever imagined it would be. Arthur's mouth relaxed into his as he returned the kiss, gently at first, but with rapidly growing vigour. Eames could have sworn he heard someone moan faintly, but whether it was Arthur or himself he would never be able to work out. The Pointmans lips parted a fraction of an inch, and his breath flowed between them like electricity. One thumb gently stroked the stubble along the forger's jaw, and then it was over.
He opened his eyes slowly, reaching for his totem, just to absolutely sure this wasn't a dream, and saw the single most beautiful smile in the world.
"Just because it wasn't original, doesn't mean I didn't like it."
Eames's face lit up like the fourth of July, and a tiny part of Arthur thought that maybe, just maybe this whole escapade had been somehow worth it.
"I meant every word you know. I've never lied to you, not about that."
"I know you did. And you know, it was my favourite letter. Very….. poetic."
The Forger unleashed his trademark Cheshire cat grin, the one that made women want to marry him and men want to punch him in the face.
"Well of course! We Eameses are descended from the bard himself I'll have you know! We don't go producing just any tatty old rubbish!"
Then, after actually sticking his tongue out at the rest of the team, who were stoically pretending not to look (with the exception of Ariadne, who had somehow sprouted a camera) he returned to his usual prattishness with a vengeance.
The man really is a child, thought Arthur. But he couldn't quite stop the corners of his mouth rising a fraction of an inch, as Eames proceded to compare him to a summer's day.
AAAND thats it :)
hope you guys like it, Im gonna miss you guys and your lovely reviews. And, quite frankly this fic :( i have other 'projects' planned but this was my first and most cherished little 1-shot turned 5-shot
as always reviews are my caffeine. and just this once! reviewers get their very own Tom Hardy!