Title: The Process of Getting Breakfast
Inspiration:
Boyfriend insisting that we're meant for each other because we take our coffee in exact opposites (me with a crapload of milk, him with practically the entire sugar container)
Disclaimer:
I do not own Arthur, Eames, or Inception. But I do own my own cup of coffee. Mmm…
Notes:
This one is a little different from the others in the Routine series… I like it, just not as much as the others, I think. It feels less snap-shot-y and therefore not as good…


People put a lot of stock in the preparation of coffee.

Coffee, it seemed, was more telling than body language, voice tone and everything else. In many of the books Arthur read, movies he'd seen (rare) or television shows he's watched (rarer) it was a testament to how well two characters knew each other (and, consequently, how they would be a perfect couple) that they knew each other's coffee preferences. It spoke to familiarity, attention trust, and, inexplicably, affection. If Cocky Male Lead knew how Bookish but Sassy Female Lead took her coffee, then they were destined to be together. Somehow.

Arthur found this unfair. He knew how his mother took her coffee (practically white with cream and a few bits of sugar). And his father (black with half of the sugar container spilled in) and Cobb (no sugar, but for some reason hazelnut creamer) and Ariadne too (one of those horrid, frippy, frappy, whipped, half-something, half-something else deals that he just couldn't understand). And Arthur was more than a little certain that he was not meant to be with any of those people.

But then there was Eames to consider. Eames who never had the same cup of coffee twice, who sometimes even didn't want coffee but thought he might fancy a cup of tea instead (and Arthur knew, just knew, that he threw that British slang in to annoy him). And of course Eames knew how Arthur liked his coffee. It wasn't very hard. Tip some milk into it and hand the cup off and Arthur was happy. So it wasn't really fair that Eames got to have this badge declaring how well he knew Arthur and all that while Arthur was stuck without any idea of what to do for Eames.

Also, and Arthur would never admit it, but he viewed it as something of a professional failure. Arthur was a Point Man and all, wasn't he? It was his job to gather every discernible piece of information that he could on not only the Mark but the people he would be working with. Coffee preferences were easy to come by, usually. Probably because friends and colleagues and everyone were so proud to announce that they knew such an intimate detail. But no; sugar and milk never came up when he had been researching one Sean H. Eames.

This was what Arthur inner-monologue'd while watching the coffee percolate. He didn't think about this often because Eames was the early-riser in their relationship (surprisingly), so it was usually he who got the coffee set-up. But it did happen when they were working jobs and someone offered to go on a coffee run. Especially on the odd chance that they were working with Ariadne and it was she who was offering. For some reason, she had the habit of looking to Arthur when she asked how Eames wanted it. Because they were in a relationship so shouldn't Arthur know how Eames took his coffee?

The coffee finished brewing and Arthur sighed, pouring two cups. He had had to check with Eames to make sure the Forger wanted coffee and not something else entirely. After pouring some milk into his cup, Arthur set the second cup along with the milk and sugar on the table, waiting for Eames.

When the Forger made his appearance it was to a brooding Arthur, glaring down at his steaming coffee. He sat across from the Point Man, grinning at the uncharacteristically childish expression on the other man's face. As he set about preparing his coffee, not seeming to put too much attention into measurements, he nudged Arthur with his foot. "You know me so well, darling."

Arthur glanced up, caught off guard. He wondered briefly if Eames perhaps had gotten so good Forging that he could no read minds and was just fucking with Arthur. The grin on Eames face was soft and genuine though and eventually Arthur allowed himself to prop up his lips as well. "Well, I suppose I should. I am the Point Man and all, aren't I?"

Eames just shot him a beaming smile and nodded. "I suppose so, yes." And then his foot skimmed higher, bypassing Arthur's own foot and ran up his shin. Arthur fought a smile because he was so damn ticklish and Eames knew that and was exploiting it. In retaliation, Arthur rose and moved for the stove. Eames followed however, sparing a moment for a long drag at his coffee.

"But I mean more that just all that," he said, catching Arthur as he stood before the burners.

"All what?" was Arthur's reply, trying very hard to ignore the fingertips stroking directly over his spine because he needed to focus on whether he wanted over-easy or scrambled.

Eames made his touch more substantial so that the hitch of Arthur's shoulders fell. "Not my name-date-place of birth-family. But, say, the fact that I love nothing more than the five minutes before we fall asleep together. And that if you touch me here-" Eames' fingers traced a line just below Arthur's bellybutton- "I'm hopelessly yours. And that when I'm truly pissed off beyond belief, I laugh. And that I love to tousle your hair to see that expression on your face that's something caught between enjoyment and aggravation. And that I can never seem to make up my mind about how I want my coffee or tea in the morning. And all the thousand other things that won't be found in any file."

Arthur swallows in the silence and keeps staring at the burners. This is unusual. Eames is certainly the more talkative one in their relationship but not about things like this. Things like...them and feelings and such. They both desperately try to cling to whatever masculinity that they can keep in this relationship. Which means, sure, they tell each other that they love each other and if there's a fight they'll talk it out (eventually). But they don't run down lists of how they feel about each other or give soliloquies dedicated to each others eyes or hair or skin and they certainly don't rattle off all the things that the other knows about them.

So Arthur doesn't know what to say in this situation because he's never found himself in this situation. And Eames has a habit of putting him in situations that he's never found himself in before and that he never thought he would ever find himself in. And, honestly, Arthur would be lying if he said he didn't like it.

Turning, Arthur catches Eames in an embrace. He's managed to say the exact right thing without even knowing it and no, that was not a common occurrence for the Forger. They're hugging for a moment longer before Eames traces his fingers under the tee shirt Arthur hasn't changed out of yet and causes the Point Man to dance out of reach. Glaring playful, Arthur moves to the refrigerator. "You're getting scrambled eggs now, just for that."

And Eames groans like a put-out child. Because Arthur knows how he likes his eggs and it's not fair for him to use that against him and give him the opposite.


AN: There y' go! ^^ Lemme know what you think, please!
–ProbDef