Arthur walked into the warehouse. He was dressed in a nice button-down shirt with a leather jacket. The team usually met around nine o'clock each morning, but Arthur liked to arrive a bit early to refresh his memory on facts about the mark, brainstorm ideas, and do a practice run or two on the PASIV.
He hung his jacket up on the coatrack and walked into the main clearing, where the circle of lawn chairs lay vacant.
Except for one.
Arthur was surprised to see Eames there so early (Eames never arrived early; took plenty of time getting their morning coffees)… but there he was: lying limply on one of the chairs, hooked up to the open PASIV device, completely under.
Arthur couldn't help but wonder why he had gone under, but he wasn't about to pry—he didn't like to go into people's dreams uninvited and invade their subconscious privacy.
Well, unless he was going to be paid for it, of course.
So he pulled a chair up next to the table near the PASIV device and began going through his files and research there. After all, he wanted to go under with Eames next, to see what forgeries he was creating for the benefit of the job. But he didn't mind waiting, because it gave him an opportunity to piece together an excellent plan of action for the upcoming inception. He was competing with Eames in that way. He loved competing with Eames, almost as much as he enjoyed winning.
Every once in a while, Arthur would stop and just watch the other man sleep. He hadn't noticed before that Eames was wearing one of the only items of clothing in his repertoire that he would ever consider wearing himself. It was Arthur's favorite, without any bizarre pattern, with pants (and socks, good lord) that actually matched. The shirt displayed Eames's muscular arms well, in a way that Arthur couldn't easily ignore.
But he forced himself to, focusing his attention on the information about their new mark. After all, he was a professional.
The silence was soothing. From a quick glance at the PASIV when he'd arrived, Arthur had determined that Eames had about eight minutes left in his dream. He'd have to cherish the peace and quiet until then.
He read and reread the mark's family history, trying to draw some connection that could lead to an emotional catharsis, an effective way of implanting an idea into a subject's head…
"… I'll forge the unicorn, give me a moment…" A voice mumbled.
The unexpected sound made Arthur jump slightly in surprise. He quickly composed himself before looking over at the other man, but Eames was still fast asleep. Arthur sighed as Eames moved a little in his chair, but kept his eyes closed, the Somnacin still in effect.
Arthur couldn't help but smile smugly at him. He was talking in his sleep; it was odd, yet somehow slightly endearing. He had never really pegged Eames as being the type to do that—he always assumed snoring—but it definitely did make things interesting. Maybe he would say something Arthur could hold against him later, a nice source of banter…
"I'll wear the pink skirt, if you want…"
Arthur was still smiling, amused. He suppressed a snicker, wondering if Eames crossdressed in his dreams. Well, obviously he was supposed to take on various forms and identities, but… still.
It was really difficult to focus on his paperwork now. Then, after one last minute where silence resumed—
"Arthur," Eames said suddenly, "I love you, darling..."
Arthur's mouth dropped. He lowered the page he was looking at and stared at Eames.
"What?" He demanded, swallowing hard.
"I love your suits," Eames continued seriously, eyebrows twitching slightly as he mumbled, "your laugh. Your attention to detail. Your paradoxes."
But the other man didn't seem to hear him and replied,
"Take off your shirt…"
It was definitely too good to be true. Arthur reached into his pocket, fishing around madly for his totem. Before he could take it out and roll it, however, Eames exclaimed loudly in a tone that couldn't possibly be ignored.
"My god… Arthur!"
Arthur's gaze tore from his pocket to Eames, waiting.
The forger sighed in his sleep.
"You look like Jack… from Titanic."
Arthur rolled his eyes and crossed his arms, forgetting the loaded die. Cobb looked more like Jack, in the point man's opinion, but Arthur was flattered nonetheless. He loved that movie.
But on second thought, it was just so strange. Did it mean that Eames shared the same feelings as he? Arthur pondered this, setting aside the paperwork for the moment and leaning forward in his chair.
Eames was silent for a long time, not lending Arthur many more clues.
But each time Arthur replayed what Eames had said inside of his mind, his heart began to race and heat rose to his cheeks. He smiled widely at the thought, laughed at it aloud because Eames was so far asleep that he would never be able to hear him and wake up anyway.
The PASIV device was calling out to him, tempting him; especially since Eames had apparently finished divulging random snippets of his dream. There were three minutes left on the clock and Arthur wanted desperately to find out what exactly was going on inside of Eames's head. Could it really be true? Could Eames share the feelings? Sure, they bickered and teased one another, but the chemistry was palpable, the sexual tension almost too painful to ignore or resist. Perhaps Eames had felt it, too, even if just subconsciously.
He couldn't stop himself. Before he knew it, he had attached himself by IV to the machine and was quickly going under…
Eames's dream encompassed him at once and Arthur stepped into an ornately decorated bedroom. As the image became clear, he noticed Eames sitting on the bed, his gaze impatient, expectant.
But that goddamn smirk was there on his full, tempting lips.
"I've been waiting for you," Eames told him simply. "It took you long enough."
"What are you doing here, Eames?" Arthur gulped, stepping closer, unsure of how to approach the question he had in mind.
"You know why I'm here, Arthur," he replied, his eyes sizing Arthur up slowly. The point man felt slightly suspicious (and self-conscious) but reveled in it anyway. "I'm here because we both want this."
He cocked his head at Arthur and leaned back.
Yes! Arthur mind shouted, but he knew he couldn't just say that. Instead, he played dumb. He wasn't going to be specific, and he wasn't about to embarrass himself by assuming anything.
"Want what?" He stood about a foot away from Eames now, glancing down at him on the bed with sharp, calculating eyes. "I don't know what you mean."
"This," Eames said calmly as he reached up for Arthur's tie and gently pulled him down by it so that he could kiss him full out on the lips.
"Oh…" Arthur could barely vocalize anything with Eames's tongue begging entrance into his mouth. It felt so good, so right, so real. He took pride in being right and used his hands to push Eames onto his back on the bed.
He lowered his body over him slowly, continuing the kiss until one of Eames's hands sneaked its way up to caressing the front of Arthur's pants.
"Eames…!" Arthur called out in delighted surprise, still trying to piece everything together. But Eames chuckled at him and, when Arthur was caught off-guard, rolled on top of him and switched their positions. They kept on kissing, and nothing really made sense, but Arthur didn't care. It didn't matter. Everything was practically in slow motion. It was real; it was right, somehow. It felt as though they'd always loved each other, had always held each other so carefully, so closely, kissing passionately.
Their lips parted and Eames began exploring the rest of Arthur's face with kisses.
"I love you, you know that?" Eames whispered into his ear after sucking on his right earlobe for a moment or two. Arthur closed his eyes and wondered—worried—about how much time they still had together in the dream, if they could realistically uphold a relationship outside of the dreamscape, if he'd remember how the dream felt after waking…
"I love you, too," he answered anyway, taking everything in once again and groaning as Eames began to kiss his neck in reward.
But then, as he had feared, the dream began to collapse, it all happened very fast, and Arthur barely had the time to notice the slight, wobbling pressure on his left shoulder. The last thing he saw inside of Eames's dream was the glint in the other man's eyes, and then the bedroom ceiling falling in on them in heavy chunks…
And then he opened his eyes to the tall warehouse ceiling, which was trembling along with the floor beneath him, the glint from the other man, and then—
"Arthur? Arthur, you're talking in your sleep, darling."
His eyes opened slowly, his expression clearly annoyed and confused at the interruption. It took him a moment to recognize the voice, a haze of sleepy confusion fogging his mind and rendering him motionless for a moment. The first thing he saw was white, and when he lifted his head off of the desk he saw a mess of papers in front of him: pictures of their most recent mark and the background information surrounding the guy.
Glancing up and stretching he spotted Eames and felt a rush of heat fall over him; hope and slight embarrassment, his heart simultaneously fluttering, stopping, and falling as the forger continued, asking,
"Did you even go home at all last night?" Arthur saw his amused smirk and flushed madly, straightening himself up at once and trying to organize the papers back into their specific folders and spots. Eames knew very well the answer to that question, so Arthur didn't bother to answer.
All he could think about was what Eames could have possibly overheard while he was sleeping. Drowsiness clouded Arthur's clear thought process as he straightened out his vest and carefully avoided Eames's eye contact.
"I thought you were talking in your sleep…" he said instead, still trying to sort out dream from reality. It was important, too, that he didn't say something potentially humiliating. And it was somewhat of a depressing gradual realization, too—it really had been too good to be true. It only made sense; if Eames were under heavy sedation, he wouldn't talk in his sleep... and then that meant that everything else about the dream had been a lie, too. It was all being pieced quickly together in his mind.
Arthur didn't show his disappointment in his tone or expression. Or, at least, he didn't like to think he did.
"Me? I just got here." Eames placed Arthur's usual coffee order on his desk before leaning against it. "You were fast asleep; dreaming, practically drooling on your desk…"
Arthur glared at him as he stood up from his desk chair to put a folder away in a file cabinet. He wanted to ask Eames what he had heard, but decided it would be in his best interest to drop the subject altogether.
But Eames didn't stop. "Must have been a nice dream, though," he said, the glint in his eyes all too knowing, all too familiar, but the Arthur couldn't place it. He eyed him a bit suspiciously and Eames raised his eyebrows, waiting.
The point man heard a sound and allowed himself to be distracted from the conversation to notice Cobb coming in through the door, chatting with Ariadne who was shivering from the winter cold outside. Yusuf was already tinkering with vials and solutions at the center table, measuring out amounts of sedative and taking frequent sips of his coffee to wake up.
Eames cleared his throat meaningfully. Arthur threw him a look before suppressing a sigh, casually shrugging and replying—