Sick

Prompt: Arthur just doesn't feel well. He isn't necessarily exhibiting your typical flu/cold signs, but maybe just being exhausted and achy from a job? Or having a sore throat/fever without other symptoms? I'd like him to just be bitchy dealing with it, trying not to let on to the team how awful he feels.

Bonus points if he ends up crying (in character, yo) because he just feels so bad. Comforting ensues.

He felt this coming on slowly. Each morning, he felt achier than the previous day. Four days after his first symptoms, each muscle in his body feels bruised and tortured. Moving makes him wince. He swallows heavily, only to realize that hurts more than moving.

Dragging himself out of bed, he goes into the bathroom. Painfully swallowing down a couple of ibuprofen tablets, he hopes those will lessen the pain enough to make the day bearable. Sluggishly moving, he opts for a plaid button-up and a pair of slacks. When it comes to a morning beverage, he selects green tea with lemon and honey instead of his usual dark roast.

Arthur walks into the warehouse ten minutes late. No one mentions his late arrival, except for Eames.

"Glad you've decided to grace us with your presence, Arthur."

"Fuck off, Eames." He grumbles, his voice unable to get much louder. Sinking into his chair, Arthur immediately sets to work while he ignores how uncomfortable his chair is. Each movement of his writing hand triggers pain all over, causing him to bite the inside of his mouth to avoid moaning out.

Ariadne comes to his desk and rattles on about a slight complication with her design. He tries to listen and be pleasant, but Arthur simply doesn't care. "Ariadne, I have work to do." The tea has loosened up his vocal chords, making it easier for him to raise his voice.

"Someone has the stick further up his arse than usual," Eames responses from his area of the warehouse. "You can come to talk to me, love. Leave Arthur to brood." Honestly, Arthur feels awful for snapping at the architect, but his attention is waning and his personal work needs to be completed before he can go off to his hotel room and die.

After Ariadne, Cobb comes over to his desk. He demands notes on the mark, in order to plan out the extraction. Arthur shoves the notes at him, not saying a word to him. "What's your problem?"

"My problem? Everyone expects me to do so much work. Yet, you all bother me relentlessly and then, when I miss something in the research, that's my fault. But, please, keep interrupting me."

Cobb squints his eyes slightly, looking as if he might come up with a retort. He simply walks away after a moment, reviewing the neatly written notes.

Around noon, the team grows louder as they make plans for lunch. The dull pain in Arthur's head increases exponentially with each loud noise. A headache, just what I needed. Grabbing his iPod, he shoves the earbuds into his ears and starts playing some soothing classical music. It is easier on his headache and blocks out the incessant chatter around him.

That's until someone turns the volume full-blast, nearly knocking Arthur out of his chair as a searing pain passes across his frontal lobe. Ripping the earbuds out, he turns swiftly in his chair to glare at Eames.

"That certainly got your attention. It's not polite to ignore people when they're asking you questions. Not that you seem to understand the importance of manners today."

Arthur closes his eyes briefly, taking a steadying breath. If every part of his body didn't ache, he would tackle Eames and possibly shoot him. "What do you want?" The pronunciation of each word is sharp.

"I forget." Arthur sees red momentarily. He grabs his wallet and phone and stalks out of the warehouse. Retreating to the nearest coffee shop, he orders a tea and sinks into a more comfortable chair than the one he's been sitting in. Miserable doesn't even begin to describe how he feels. Taking a few more pain-relievers, he rests in the chair and soothes his raw throat with the tea. Twenty minutes later, he stands up and goes back to the warehouse with hope that his team has gone out to lunch.

He returns to a blissfully empty and quiet warehouse. It envelops him in a calm he hasn't felt all day. He sits on the random couch that is located by Eames's desk. It sinks, yet hugs his body. The pain has not dulled with the administration of pain-relievers, which makes focusing so much harder. The uncomfortable prickling of tears in his eyes occurs, but he fights it. He may be feeling sick, but he's not weak.

Five minutes later, he stands and grimaces. Slowly moving to his desk, he sits and starts researching various databases online.

"So, what is your issue today?" Eames is standing behind him. When did he come in? Arthur reaches for his totem, thinking maybe he fell asleep? "Nope. I'm really here. This isn't one of your sexual fantasies."

"Can't you simply leave me be, please?" He notices how hoarse his voice sounded. He clears his throat, "Just go do your work and I'll do mine."

"Begging will not get you anywhere, Arthur. Tell Eamesy what's wrong. Do we need to have a casual fling to raise your spirits?"

Arthur sighs heavily, "Nothing's wrong." He chooses to ignore the mention of a 'fling'. "Go study your notes. I'd rather like to get paid for this job." Plucking his earbuds from the desk, he sticks them into his ears and drowns out anything more Eames might say. This time, however, Arthur places the iPod where he can see it.

They work late into the day, which usually isn't a problem for Arthur. Generally, the high dosage of caffeine in the morning and the thrill of his duties keep him going. As it nears five o'clock, Arthur can barely keep it together. His hand shakes as he writes, the words getting messier. Setting down the pen, Arthur stands and walks calmly toward the exit. Once outside, he leans against the brick wall, bowing his head slightly. A couple of tears roll his cheek and he hurriedly brushes them away. Taking a steadying breath, a couple more tears fall and he groans in frustration.

Arthur hears the door swing open and he jumps, hastily swiping the tears off of his cheeks. From the corner of his eye, he sees Eames with an unlit cigarette hanging from his lips.

The forger lifts his hand to his lips and pulls the cigarette out. "Have you been crying, Arthur?"

"No." He murmurs.

Eames walks in front of him and touches his face with a finger and wipes away a single tear. "Well, then, I must have just missed the rain." The taunting tone is absent from Eames's voice. "Now, you've been bitchy for days. As much as I love teasing you, I know something's wrong. And you're going to tell me. Because going outside to cry tells me there's a lot you aren't saying." Eames's words and presence relax Arthur slightly.

"I'm not feeling well." He strains out, his voice pretty much gone.

"Jesus Christ, Arthur. You sound horrible." The forger looks sympathetic. "Come on, then." Eames starts walking away from the warehouse. Arthur remains grounded, unmoving. "I said come. You aren't staying here any longer, feeling as you do."

"But I have a lot of research to complete and all of my things are still in the warehouse." His voice cracks and fades out. His hand wraps around his throat, rubbing it gently.

Eames rolls his eyes, "The research can wait. The team would much rather appreciate a pleasant version of you. As for your things, if you have your room key, wallet, and cell phone, that's all you need."

Arthur sighs defeatedly and begins to follow the forger. As they walk, Eames questions Arthur about his symptoms. Answering gets more difficult with every word. By the time they reach the hotel, Arthur simply wants to crawl into a hole and die. Even the slightest movement aches and he has given up swallowing completely. Once they reach the hotel room, Eames asks Arthur if he has any medication.

"Just ibuprofen."

Eames nods. "You get inside and go rest. I'll go get you some type of medicine." Arthur opens the door with his keycard and Eames snatches it away. "I'll need this to get back in." The forger walks away and heads off to the elevator. Arthur moves inside and closes the door softly behind him. He practically drags himself over to the bed, trying to undress a bit as he goes. Once he is wearing nothing more than his undershirt and boxers, he crawls underneath the covers. His body throbs in pain as if he is one gigantic bruise. He has never felt more miserable, this Arthur is sure.

Arthur isn't sure how much time has passed before he hears the keycard slip into the slot. Arthur watches the Brit through half-closed eyes. Eames toes off his shoes and places them by the door. He removes his leather jacket and hangs it up on a coat hook. Eames is not known as the neatest of the team, but Arthur appreciates his effort to keep the room tidy.

He walks over to the bed and sits down beside Arthur. "The pharmacist suggested these medicines and said you should probably continue taking the pain-reliever as well." Eames stands and walks to the little kitchenette. He makes Arthur some tea and then hands him the pills. Arthur gives him a look of disbelief. "I know, your throat hurts, and this is a lot of pills. But the tea will help."

Arthur grabs the tea and drinks a bit, trying to lubricate his throat. He pops the pills into his mouth and scowls as he swallows them. The pointman tries to continue drinking his tea, but every swallow feels like someone is stabbing his esophagus.

Eames hovers over him, giving him a concerned look. "Hurts that much?" Arthur nods. "Well, the pharmacist says these medicines should help. Apparently, this bug has been going around. The sore throat doesn't last too long." Eames continues standing by his bed, acting awkwardly. A half-smile forms on Arthur's lips. He knows Eames is not exactly in his element. Eames would much rather be teasing Arthur or making sexual advances.

As much as they fight and get on each other's nerves, Arthur genuinely likes Eames and his company. The other man is playful, but incredibly intelligent and competent. Arthur admires that Eames can let loose, but compose himself when work must be completed.

"You can sit." Arthur pats the bed next to him. The pointman's eyes drift closed as the medicine begins to work. As he falls asleep, he feels a hand cover his.

Arthur wakes up a few hours later and is immediately alerted by the fact that someone's body is pressed against his and an arm thrown over his body. He's ready to fight off the person, until he recognizes the hand. Eames. He moves slightly, burrowing into Eames's warmth. The heat radiating from him relaxes Arthur's aches. Normally, he would feel awkward about the situation, but it's the first time all day his body feels better. Arthur lies there, comfortable, until Eames wakes and realizes what he's doing. He moves swiftly off Arthur. Arthur rolls over and gives him an annoyed look.

"I'm sorry. I fell asleep and I unknowingly cuddle in my sleep." Arthur realizes that Eames thinks he's annoyed because he was snuggled against him.

Arthur opens his mouth and tries to speak, but nothing sounding like words form. Arthur mimes that he wants paper and a pen. Once Eames finds both items, Arthur quickly scribbles out an answer and thrusts the paper at him. Eames turns an uncharacteristically pink as he reads. Arthur lies back down and is soon joined by Eames who wraps an arm around him.

"Who knew that it would take you being sick before you'd sleep with me?" Eames whispers in Arthur's ear. Arthur half-heartedly elbows Eames and just cuddles closer.

They both fall asleep shortly after that.