Author's Note: It was pointed out to me on LJ that Arthur's drunken willingness could be considered dub-con, which I don't personally agree with, but to each his own. If you feel that people cannot be held responsible for decisions they make while under the influence, then you might not want to read this. But for the record, Arthur is not as drunk as he appears.
PART ONE - ARTHUR
Arthur sighed and took another drink of his rapidly warming beer. This party was even more ridiculous than expected and Arthur's only form of entertainment was imagining the ways he would get rid of Cobb for dragging him here. In costume.
Of course Cobb had disappeared five minutes after arrival in order to woo his lady love somewhere in the recesses of this ungodly enormous house.
Arthur watched as a potted plant met its doom when a drunken partygoer stumbled into the table it rested upon. The man looked down at the tangled remains of planter, dirt, and shredded leaves and mumbled, "Oops" before staggering down the hallway toward the kitchen.
Arthur debated cleaning up the mess only because it offended his sensibilities, but he didn't know the residents (like most of the partiers, he assumed) and did not want to be mistaken for someone who lived here and be questioned mercilessly about the whereabouts of the bathrooms. Better to lurk in the shadows near the curving marble staircase, sip warm beer, and plot Cobb's demise.
Unfortunately, he couldn't leave until Cobb returned with the fucking car keys because their apartment was too far to walk from here. Plus his sandals were uncomfortable.
"Greetings, Emperor. Caesar, I presume?"
Arthur turned in surprise at the voice and saw a man standing on the other side of the bushy palm that shielded him from view. Arthur leaned out slightly to see that the newcomer was dressed in partial Roman armor, complete with shield and helmet, and held a tall spear in one hand.
"No, definitely not Caesar," Arthur replied. "I am Marcus Tullius Cicero." It's possible his tone was slightly condescending.
The man shifted his spear to his left hand and stuck out a his right. "Spartacus. Pleased to meet you."
Automatically, and almost immediately wishing he hadn't, Arthur put out his hand and the man shook it vigorously. His grip was strong and seemed confident and certain. Arthur clenched his hand in order to demonstrate the same. The man did not release his hand; instead he walked around the plant—nearly tearing off a few branches with the spear point—until he stood in front of Arthur.
Arthur's gaze drifted over the muscular chest, which was crossed with a single, wide leather strap. A smattering of hair curled between prominent nipples that did not beg to be tasted. Not at all, Arthur told himself sternly.
"Marcellus Tullius Cicero," the man repeated and Arthur noted that he had a delightful British accent. "Why? Poly-sci major?"
Arthur scowled, but gave up trying to tug his hand free, for the moment. The man was standing far too close for comfort. Arthur could smell the faintest hint of cologne—or perhaps it was soap—as well as something purely masculine.
"Architecture," Arthur admitted. The man's hand relaxed slightly and Arthur snatched his away with a snap, not caring that it looked childish. He wished he could take a step back and escape the all-encompassing aura of (yes, he admitted it) sensuality exuded by the man, but his backside was already touching the edge of the hallway table, twin to the one formerly holding the toppled plant.
The man only smirked at the loss of Arthur's grip. "Ah," he said as though he had just discovered the secrets of the universe, "An artist."
The word sounded pornographic when uttered between lips that should have been illegal outside the porn industry. They were clearly visible between the cheek-guards of the Roman-style helmet he wore. Arthur immediately began to think of uses for those lips and he felt warmth steal up his neck to tint his cheeks. Oh hell no, I am not blushing, he reprimanded himself sternly. He tried to cover it with words, his best, and usually only, weapon.
"I think everyone should have a working knowledge of the classics." Arthur knew he sounded pretentious, but the man made him nervous. Judging by his physique, he was probably a jock, riding through school on an athletic scholarship and fucking everything that moved.
"Intellectual arrogance," Spartacus said with a smile. The fact that his teeth were not perfectly straight should not have been a turn-on. "I like that."
Arthur took a quick swig of his beer to cover his discomfiture. The man had to lean back a bit to avoid the bottle banging him on the chin.
"My name is Eames," he volunteered and took the bottle when Arthur lowered it. He lifted it to his own sinful lips and tipped his head back to drink. It should not have felt so intimate. Eames was stealing his beer, for fuck's sake. And tasting Arthur's lips by proxy. To his annoyance, Arthur realized his cock eagerly approved of the sexual carnival promised by Eames' entire being; it was already half-hard.
"I have to go," Arthur said, deciding flight was better than valor in this particular instance. The toga he wore would do nothing at all to hide his arousal, should it happen to become full-blown, which seemed all too likely if he remained in the presence of the man dressed in a leather skirt and very little else.
"Wait!" Eames said and shot his arm out to halt Arthur's advance. Arthur felt it against his lower abdomen for a moment, corded with muscle. He stepped back so quickly he nearly walked into the plant.
"Eames!" someone called from down the hallway. Arthur's captor turned his head even though his stance indicated he planned to block any attempt at Arthur's escape, despite the distraction. Arthur debated pushing past him anyway, but the person who had called out approached and demolished that idea. "Oh, I see you've met Arthur," she said.
Arthur glared at her.
"Arthur," Eames repeated and turned back to look at him, lips curving in what could only be a triumphant smirk.
"Eames, can you be a dear and fix my headdress?" she asked. "It's falling off and I'm about to throw it at someone. Here, Arthur, hold my drink. And my staff. I need to adjust my panty hose before they slide down to my knees and trip me."
"I was just leaving," Arthur said, refusing to take the items she held out to him.
"You can't leave. You came with Cobb, right? He left ten minutes ago on a 'romantic moonlight walk' with Mal."
Eames crowded up against Arthur, ostensibly to reach past him and place the nearly empty beer bottle on the table. Arthur crowded back into the plant even more. Luckily, Ariadne's arrival had killed his growing erection.
"Shit," he said and took Ariadne's items.
Eames, thankfully, leaned his spear against the wall and walked behind Ariadne. He lifted his hands to the snake-adorned tiara that rested atop her black Cleopatra wig. Ariadne wriggled and tugged at her skirt in a very unladylike manner, obviously tugging at her recalcitrant hosiery.
"So, how do you know Arthur?" Eames asked casually and gave him a wink.
"He's in my Urban and Regional Planning class. And Trigonometry."
"Your pins are coming free," Eames said. "I've fixed them as best I can, but I've only bought you some time. They'll be out in a half-hour."
"It's all right," she said and took her staff and plastic cup from Arthur. "I plan to stalk the guy whose parents own this place. Can you believe all this?" She indicated their surroundings with a wave of her arm, sloshing pink liquid onto the marble floor. "Oops. I made a mess. I'll go find Saito and apologize for messing up his house." She grimaced in what Arthur assumed was meant to be a leering fashion and staggered away.
"The toga looks better on you, darling," Eames said and pulled off his helmet. Arthur stared as Eames combed his fingers through tousled sandy-colored hair. "I have helmet-head, yeah?" He placed the helmet on the table next to the bottle and then looped his arm through Arthur's. "Since your friend Cobb has left you stranded, let's say we get another drink, shall we?"
Arthur could not think of a polite way to refuse, and sent a mental pout toward Ariadne for curtailing his escape. Instead of heading for the kitchen, however, Eames guided Arthur in the opposite direction.
"Where are we going?" Arthur asked suspiciously when Eames tried to tug him up a marble staircase.
"Trust me," Eames said with a roguish smile that was anything but trustworthy.
"Not likely," Arthur muttered, but Eames' hand slipped down and fastened over his. Arthur was so surprised that he was halfway up the stairs before he acknowledged it. Eames' hand was warm and his fingers gripped with just enough pressure to pull without causing pain.
Eames did not let go when they reached the top of the stairs, but instead led him to a door at the end of the wide, carpeted hall. When he turned the handle, Arthur hesitated, expecting a bedroom. He was about to give Eames a forceful piece of his mind when he saw the room was not a bedchamber, but a dark-paneled library.
Eames gave his hand a squeeze and let go before closing the door. Arthur tried not to feel trapped. He covered his discomfiture by walking into the room and looking at some of the leather-bound volumes on the shelves.
Eames walked straight to a cabinet on the wall that displayed dozens of bottles of alcohol. Arthur left off looking at books in order to admire Eames from the rear. His back was delicious, muscular in all the right ways, and tapering down to a pair of hipbones that jutted from the leather. After a moment, Arthur realized what Eames was doing.
"You're breaking into the liquor cabinet?"
"Shhh, this is a delicate maneuver, darling. I don't want to destroy the lock, I only want to—ah, there we go." The glass doors swung open.
Arthur opened his mouth and then closed it. Eames was a thief. On top of being a smug, over-muscled, irritating… something or other, he was also a thief. Arthur would do well to stay far away from him.
"Here we are. Glenfiddich. Saito's family does have some exquisite taste." Eames opened the bottle, selected two old-fashioned glasses, and splashed some of the amber liquid in each. He replaced the bottle and carried the glasses to Arthur, who took one, reluctantly. Eames had already poured it, so it would be a waste not to drink it. And he really didn't care for the cheap beer one of the frat boys had brought for the party.
"Cheers," Eames said and tapped his glass against Arthur's. His gaze seemed to burn more than the whisky going down.
"What is this?" Arthur asked in a rasping tone. It was very smooth, and very potent.
"Forty year old Scotch. I believe it's around two thousand dollars a bottle."
Arthur would have choked if he'd been drinking. "Two thousand? They'll kill us."
Eames rolled his eyes. "Hardly. Do you think they would even notice if the bottle went missing? I'm sure there are some in there that cost much more. Now drink up so that I can take advantage of you." Eames' lips curved again before he took a sip of the whisky.
Arthur glared at him and moved around the prominent mahogany desk to seat himself in the dark leather chair. It reclined pleasantly and seemed to cradle him in comfort. The rich really did have it good, he decided.
Rather than sit down like a normal person, Eames walked to Arthur's side of the desk and leaned back against the edge of it, giving Arthur a far-too-tantalizing view of Eames' thighs. For the first time Arthur noticed a short sword strapped to Eames' right hip. He decided not to mention it rather than risk sword-related innuendo.
"So," Arthur said, deciding that small talk was the best bet and a surefire way to find reasons not to like Eames. "Your major?"
Eames shrugged. "Anthropology."
Arthur blinked at him, certain he was joking.
Eames smiled, apparently sensing his disbelief. "With a minor in Psychology. I like to study people, pet. They are fascinating creatures. Take you, for instance. You have intriguing layers."
Arthur lifted his lip in a sneer and took a drink to cover his mental re-evaluation of the man. Apparently he wasn't a dumb jock, after all. "Really? You've discerned that from all of ten minutes in my company? Do enlighten me." He was hoping to call Eames' bluff. The possibility that an intelligent brain lurked beneath those beautiful eyes, luscious lips, and amazing body was already doing dangerous things to Arthur's libido. The strong alcohol, on top of the too-much beer he'd already imbibed, was giving him a lightheaded feeling. He suspected it would be wise to put the glass down.
"For one thing, you take yourself far too seriously. You feel superior to everyone around you, which is why you were lurking in the hallway alone rather than mingling with your fellow peers.
"I do not!" Arthur protested hotly.
Eames smirked and Arthur flushed and looked away. He had assumed he was intellectually superior to Eames, even though he would never admit to it. "You have an abiding love of history, as is notable by the care taken with your outfit. You normally wear a watch, evidenced by the tan line on your arm, and yet you have removed it and replaced it with a braided bracelet probably made from reeds indigenous to Italy. It's lovely, by the way."
Arthur swallowed and resisted the urge to hide the bracelet between his hip and the padded arm of the leather chair. He had been quite proud of it, but it seemed a bit ridiculous once Eames pointed it out.
"Despite your tendencies toward pretension, you have a kind heart."
Arthur rolled his eyes. "How do you figure that?"
"Because despite the fact that I make you nervous and you did not particularly want to come upstairs with me, you could not think of a polite way to refuse. Therefore, here we are."
"You don't make me nervous," Arthur lied.
Eames set his glass on the desk and loomed over him suddenly, placing both hands on the arms of the chair and insinuating his sandaled feet between Arthur's. He nudged Arthur's legs open with his knees, causing the fabric of Arthur's toga to fall open at the side, exposing one leg all the way to his hip. Arthur suppressed a gasp.
"Don't I?" Eames asked. "Not even a little?"
Arthur opened his mouth to speak, even though his brain seemed to have gone offline and his mouth was suddenly so dry he might not have gotten words out if he could have drummed them up, but it was a moot effort anyway, because Eames leaned down even farther and tasted Arthur's lips.
It was a slow, delicious caress. Eames nibbled first and then traced over Arthur's lips with his tongue, inviting them to part. Helplessly, Arthur let him in, tipping his head back and opening his mouth for Eames to enter with slow, methodical intensity. He tasted of fine whisky and something heady and almost dangerous.
Heat flooded Arthur's body, especially when he felt Eames' hand on his thigh, climbing higher until it rested at the juncture of Arthur's leg and torso, with his thumb caressing the sensitive flesh there, only inches from Arthur's very-interested cock. Arthur realized he would very much like Eames to move his hand that short distance and touch him even more intimately. He made a soft sound and shifted in his seat, flushing at his own wantonness.
Drunk, he rationalized. I am very, very drunk.
Eames took the hint, sliding his hand beneath the white fabric and cupping Arthur's hardness. "Oh God, Arthur, I adore your insistence on authenticity," he murmured against Arthur's lips before lapping at him again. His fingers stroked over Arthur's bare cock—they did not wear undergarments in ancient Rome, after all, and swiped his thumb over the head.
Arthur made an undignified sound and his hips bucked upward, into Eames' strong fist. Eames stopped kissing him and looked down, gaze fixing on Arthur's cock, now visible with the toga having fallen completely open. Arthur watched as Eames' hand stroked up and down his hard length; their panting gasps mingled.
Voices sounded beyond the door and Eames froze. His eyes met Arthur's and then his jaw set and he twitched the fabric of Arthur's toga back over his lap before straightening and stepping aside to put himself between Arthur and the door just as it swung open. A giggling couple staggered inside and then halted.
"Whoopsie," the girl said and tittered. "This one is occupied, too. And no bed."
The man was wrapped around her and one hand appeared to be up her short skirt. She was dressed as some sort of cat-woman, with pointed ears attached to a headband gone askew. The man wore a Tarzan outfit, a garish leopard-print loincloth and little else.
"Shall we continue this elsewhere?" Eames asked Arthur and held out a hand.
Arthur swallowed and ignored Eames' hand as he got to his feet. He managed not to sway dizzily and he drained his glass before setting it on the table. Thankfully, the interruption had killed his erection. "I should find Cobb and go home," he said quickly.
He rounded the desk, ignoring Eames, whose expression looked slightly hurt, if Arthur could judge properly in his inebriated state, and bypassed the clingy couple. He entered the hallway and hurried down the stairs, holding tightly to the railing when he misjudged a step and nearly tumbled headlong.
A strong hand gripped his elbow. "Careful," Eames warned. "Marble generally wins over bones in a collision." Eames guided down the remainder of the stairs and then refused to let go, taking Arthur's hand once more. "Come on, no need to wait for Cobb. I'll take you home."
"But, you're drunk," Arthur protested. He knew Cobb wouldn't be drinking, not if he was with Mal.
"I'm afraid not, darling. I had one beer and two swallows of whisky. Add that to the constitution of a Percheron and you have one not-inebriated Eames."
To Arthur's annoyance, Ariadne was standing next to the doorway chatting with Saito in a flirty fashion. Eames passed them with a nod to Saito, dragging Arthur by the hand. "Lovely party, Saito. Ariadne, tell Cobb I'm taking Arthur home."
Eames opened the door and Ariadne said dreamily, "All right. Have a nice time."
They were halfway to the street when Ariadne shouted behind them, "Wait! Eames, you can't take Arthur home!"
Arthur turned his head to see her hurrying down the path toward them, but Eames didn't pause. "Be a dear and grab my helmet and spear, Ariadne," Eames called. "I'll pick them up from you later."
"Eames!" she yelled as Eames opened the door of a compact red Audi.
"Get in, pet, I'll handle Ariadne." Eames released his hand and started down the path toward Ariadne, where he wrapped an arm around her shoulders and escorted her back toward the mansion, murmuring low enough that Arthur couldn't hear.
He frowned, standing between the seat and the open door. If Ariadne thought it was a bad idea, he probably really shouldn't go with Eames. It was hard to think through the haze of alcohol and even harder to get past the recollection of Eames' hand on his cock. It twitched, swelling once more at the mere memory, and that decided him.
"I'm a fucking adult," he muttered and threw himself into the seat. "I can make my own decisions." He slammed the car door with finality and watched as Eames jogged away from Ariadne, whose arms were akimbo. She looked displeased. Arthur lifted a hand and waved to her cheerfully to show her that he would be fine.
Eames slipped into the driver's seat and inserted a key. "Right. That's settled, then. She'll tell Cobb and everything will be fine." He turned the car around and drove down the street. Arthur watched the passing houses for a minute or two and then turned his attention to Eames.
"You all right, love?" Eames asked, turning to look at Arthur as he stopped at a red light.
Arthur grinned at him and Eames stared at him until the light turned green and the car behind them honked. Eames looked away and concentrated on the road. After a minute he said, "Arthur. You have dimples."
Arthur frowned. "You don't like them?" He shifted in his seat in order to watch Eames more closely. His bare chest was lovely and Arthur thought about reaching out to touch it.
"I love your dimples. You should smile more often. I shall have to work on that."
Arthur grinned again and then sighed and closed his eyes, suddenly feeling very tired. He leaned his head back against the seat and drifted off.
"Arthur, love, wake up. We're here. You can't sleep in the car. It's going to get cold tonight."
Arthur blinked and allowed Eames to tug him from the car. It was already cold. Arthur shivered and frowned at being forced from the nice warm interior. Eames radiated heat—Arthur gravitated toward him and wrapped his arms around Eames' waist. Eames pulled him close and then walked him around a corner and up a small set of wooden steps.
"Where're we?" Arthur mumbled.
"My house, darling. I'm only leasing it, of course, and it's very small, but I have no annoying roommates to contend with."
"Good," Arthur said against Eames' chest. He felt lovely and smelled delightful. Eames fumbled with the key and got the door open. They practically fell inside because Arthur's feet became tangled. Eames eased him onto the couch.
"Stay," he said and held out a hand as if to encourage Arthur to remain where he was like a disobedient pet. "I need to shut the door."
Arthur sank into the cushions and smirked as Eames returned to the door to retrieve his key that was still in the lock. His legs were beautiful. It was a pity Arthur couldn't see his arse under the leather gladiator skirt. He would have to do something to remedy that.