"Arthur. Cobb is not answering his phone, so I am hereby reporting for duty, at least to the extent that I have arrived at the Waterbury-Oxford Airport here in picturesque Connecticut." Eames' voice was barely audible and cut out after every fifth word, but Arthur knew him well enough to piece the sentence together.

"Cobb went dream-state to check something," Arthur replied and peered out the window. The afternoon light was muted by thick clouds. Random snowflakes drifted through the air and Arthur frowned. There were quite a lot more snowflakes than there had been moment ago. Granted, it was mid-December and snow was not exactly uncommon in the Northeast.

Eames' familiar voice seemed laced with exhaustion. "Also, Saito's pilot is completely ruddy insane because I am certain we lost at least one engine on the way down. Only a madman would fly in this weather. I'm lucky to be alive, frankly."

Arthur smiled. He was more amused by Eames' exaggerations than he would ever admit. "Really?" he asked mildly.

"Indeed, Arthur. Would you miss me if I shuffled off this mortal coil?"

"Like the snow," Arthur replied.

There was such a long silence Arthur thought the signal had gone completely, and then Eames said, "That means nothing to me, Arthur, as you well know. I have no way of knowing whether or not you love the snow or loathe it."

"Indeed you do not, Mr Eames." Arthur twitched the cheerful yellow curtain aside—the snow fell in earnest now and the flakes grew fatter with each passing moment. "You are catching a cab, are you not?"

"Not," Eames said. "You know I detest being stranded without a vehicle, especially in some dreadful remote American village. I'll go mad without a means of escape."

"It's snowing. You should just take a cab."

"Where are the damned—ah! Rental cars galore. What should I get, Arthur, on the off chance you permit me the honor of taking you for a drive? Something with a large back seat, perhaps?"

"Eames, the roads are turning to ice and the ice will be covered in snow within the hour. Just call a damn cab."

"If I didn't know better, I would say you were worried about me. Fear not, darling, I shall be along in… forty seven minutes, give or take twenty to fill out this wretched paperwork and convince the agent that I don't plan to steal their four cylinder Chevrolet."

"Eames," Arthur protested more earnestly, but after a long silence he realized the line had gone dead. "Shit." Arthur looked outside, where everything was quickly being covered in a blanket of white. He bit his lip and checked his watch. Forty seven minutes, give or take twenty would be more like an hour and a half in this weather, possibly two.

He checked on Cobb—still sleeping—and then filled a kettle with water. It would be a long wait.


Two hours later it was getting dark. Repeated calls to Eames' cell phone had gone unanswered. Cobb had explained it away as normal—the service in this rural part of Connecticut was erratic at best.

"I'm going to go look for him," Arthur said, shrugging into his wool peacoat.

Cobb didn't bother to ask if he was sure; Arthur had caught Cobb checking his watch more than once. "Want me to come?"

"No. Not much sense in both of us going out into the land of no cell service. I'll—" Well, Arthur wasn't sure what he would do, so he left it open-ended and tugged a black beanie over his head. A pair of black wool gloves finished his outfit and he pushed open the door and walked to the snow-covered SUV. He hoped Eames hadn't rented something ridiculous, like a sub-compact.

Arthur let the vehicle warm up long enough to melt some of the snow from the windshield, and then he threw it into reverse and backed onto the white road. He turned on the headlights and headed out.


It was slow going. The wipers were nearly useless, even on the highest setting, with the thick flakes falling and not quite melting on the windshield. The headlights barely illuminated the road, instead reflecting back from the blowing snow. The whole world seemed made of swirling white.

Enough cars were on the highway to have made a track to follow, and the trees lining the road were a slight buffer from the wind. Arthur slowed once at the sight of a blue sedan stuck in a ditch, but the driver was definitely not Eames, since this was reality and not a dream. Her long red coat blew in the wind. A couple in a white pickup had stopped to help her—the women stood and watched as the man tied a tow rope to the bumper of the car.

Arthur would have helped, but he was beginning to worry about Eames, so he pressed on. Thirty minutes later, his headlights picked out—barely—a white car parked on the shoulder, facing the direction from which Arthur had come. Arthur pulled in behind it and then exited the warm interior of the Expedition to check the car for occupants. It was empty and locked up tight. A quick brush at the snow on the bumper disclosed a sticker from Hertz Rental Car. Arthur swore and blinked against the snow, peering up and down the road. Surely he would have seen someone walking? And Eames wouldn't be stupid enough to abandon the road in an unfamiliar place. No lights caught his eye, so there didn't appear to be any houses nearby to trek to.

It was possible Eames had headed back in the direction he had come.

Arthur climbed back into the truck and kicked the snow from his boots before slamming the door and putting it into gear.

"Just a few miles," he muttered. He tried dialing Eames' phone again, but NO SIGNAL mocked his attempt. "Fucking Connecticut. Fucking snow." He also cursed Cobb's insistence on pulling a job just before Christmas in rural America. Arthur's calendar wasn't exactly filled with Christmas plans, but travelling in late December was hell.

Ten minutes later, the headlights picked out a dark shape shuffling along the opposite shoulder. Arthur slammed on the brakes, sending the SUV into a twisting skid. He righted it with an expert turn of the wheel and halted before the figure, headlights cutting twin beams across the man's path.

Arthur jumped out of the rig again. "Eames?" he yelled, hurrying forward through shin-deep snow. Icy pellets battered his face, blown haphazardly by the wind.


"Are you crazy?" Arthur shouted. "Why would you leave the car? And you're going in the wrong direction!"

Eames stared at him without speaking and it wasn't until then that Arthur saw how inappropriately Eames was dressed. He had on a short leather jacket that was caked with snow on every crease and seam. A beanie hat covered his head, at least, but his eyebrows and lashes were completely white. Eames' hands had been shoved into his pockets and Arthur wondered with horror if he even wore gloves. He dreaded to know what sort of shoes Eames had on.

"Arthur?" Eames repeated. "You c... c… c…"

"Shit," Arthur said and grabbed his arm. "Get in the truck. What the hell happened to your car? Didn't I tell you to take a cab?"

Arthur opened the passenger side door and Eames climbed in with some difficulty. His hand slipped twice on the frame of the door. As Arthur had suspected, he wore no gloves. Arthur helped shove him inside with a nudge from his shoulder. During the process, Eames managed only one word. "Sorry." It came out with a stuttered S and ended with a chattering of teeth.

Once Eames was seated, Arthur slammed the door and hurried around to the driver's side. He got in with only a cursory bang of his boots against the door and immediately turned the heat up to full. Eames cupped his hands over the vent with a groan. They were curled into reddened claws. No gloves, Arthur thought with annoyance.

He turned the SUV around and headed back the way he'd come. It was completely dark now and almost impossible to see the road.

"Arthur," Eames murmured through chattering teeth. "You are the most beautiful thing I've ever seen."

Arthur's lips thinned; the urge to rail at him was great. Instead, he reached into the back seat and grabbed the wool blanket he kept in the truck for emergencies. "Put this on," he snapped. "You should probably take off your shoes and put your feet under the floor vents."

Eames obediently unfolded the blanket and draped it around himself, shaking off ice chunks and snow in the process, but he made no move to take off his shoes. Arthur realized Eames' fingers probably weren't mobile enough to take them off.

Neither of them said anything for a long while. Arthur concentrated on keeping the Expedition on the road and Eames was uncharacteristically quiet. His silence was worrisome.

"You okay?" Arthur finally asked.

"Never better," Eames replied and then a shiver wracked his frame.

Arthur swore softly. The snow was deep enough now that even the SUV was struggling. They would never make it back to the house unless the county managed to send out snowplows to clear a path. He doubted they would be so lucky.

"How much farther?" Eames asked in a hushed tone.

As if the question demanded an immediate and magical response, Arthur saw a cluster of lights ahead, glowing dimly through the heavily falling snow. "Not much," Arthur said.

The lights grew steadily brighter until Arthur drove the vehicle into the crowded parking lot, turning the wheel expertly into a skid as the truck fishtailed. The cars were haphazardly parked, so Arthur chose a space that looked large enough to accommodate the SUV. He set the parking brake, but left the engine running.

"Hill Top Inn?" Eames asked, sounding dubious.

"We'll never make it back to the house until they clear the roads. Stay here and try to warm up." Arthur got out and trudged through the snow to the office. An elderly gentleman with a round face beamed at him.

"Welcome to the Hill Top Inn!"

"I don't think we're going to get where we're going tonight," Arthur said tiredly and plucked off his gloves. "Do you have any rooms available?"

"You got here just in time. I have one left. A king."

Arthur groaned. "I'll take it." He paid with cash, pleased to note the old guy hadn't jacked his prices, and accepted the metal key on a plastic tab that was embossed with a large yellow 27.

"End unit, up the stairs," the man said helpfully. "Café across the street is open. Be a bit of a hike in this, but the burgers are top notch."

"Thanks," Arthur said as he pushed open the door and trudged back into the snow. He glanced at the small diner across the street. Their parking lot was also filled, likely with people hoping to wait out the storm by partaking of substandard coffee and grease-coated fries.

Eames was still huddled in the Expedition, looking miserable and wet. Arthur climbed inside only long enough to shut off the engine. "Come on."

Eames followed as Arthur made his way to the stairwell and up. He didn't bother to touch the white metal railing that had an inch of accumulated snow. The white powder crunched beneath his feet as he walked in the shallow dips made by previous ascendants.

A short overhang kept most of the snow from piling in front of the red-painted door. Arthur turned the key and walked into the second-rate accommodation, flipping on the light switch next to the door. A single lamp with a dingy yellowish shade lit up to reveal a bedspread with a garish pattern that might have been popular in the seventies. It was hard to discern colors in the dim lighting, but Arthur would hazard a guess they would tend toward gold and avocado; Eames should feel right at home.

Eames trudged in behind Arthur, trailing snow and still clutching the wool blanket. Arthur looked at his shoes. Oxfords? For fuck's sake, Eames probably had frostbite. The dark laces were caked with ice and barely visible beneath the coating of white.

"Sit down," Arthur snapped.

Eames obeyed, sagging into the rickety looking red chair near the door. Arthur shut the door and quickly turned on the heating unit beneath the window. The room was damn cold and Eames had begun to shiver again.

Arthur put a hand over the vent until the air turned warm. Not hot, but hopefully it would do. He walked over and dropped to one knee before Eames and plucked at the icy laces of his shoes.

"Don't even say it," Arthur warned and shot Eames a glare, but it barely earned a ghost of a smile. Arthur shoved down a flutter of worry. A quiet Eames was not a good sign. "You need a hot shower."

"I am all for anything h… h… hot," Eames admitted as Arthur cursed the laces on his shoes. Finally a savage wrench pulled the bow apart and Arthur eased the shoe off. Eames' socks were wet and Arthur carefully took off a black sock to reveal toes so white they almost looked grey.

"I can't feel my toes," Eames commented.

"You'll feel them when the circulation returns," Arthur replied. "And you'll wish you couldn't. I can't believe you thought walking in the snow in Oxfords was a good idea." He started on the laces of the other shoe.

"There was a house a quarter mile back," Eames said. "I would have made it."

Arthur bit his lip to keep from snarling a reply, since he might have done the same thing if the situation were reversed. The second shoelace finally came free and Arthur removed the final shoe and sock, alert for signs of frostbite.

"Get in the shower. I'll go get us something to eat. And try not to do anything stupid."

With that, Arthur took the key and went out, leaving Eames looking pathetic on the hotel chair.

The diner was packed and the single waitress bustled around frantically, but people were good-natured despite the wait. They all knew being inside a warm building with coffee and hot food was much better than being stranded on the highway being slowly buried by snow.

"Plows won't be out until morning," a gruff looking man in a green JOHN DEERE hat volunteered when Arthur sat down on the cracked vinyl bar stool.

"I figured," Arthur replied. The waitress slid a laminated menu at him as she hurried by with a pot of coffee. Arthur skimmed it and placed his order when she returned. The smell of grease and French fries lingered heavily in the air.

The JOHN DEERE guy kept up a running commentary about the weather, pausing only occasionally for Arthur to make sympathetic noises. In the fifteen minutes it took to receive his order in a white paper bag, Arthur learned more about Connecticut winters than he ever needed to know.

"Hope you get where you're going," Arthur said with a nod and then thanked the waitress before steeling himself to go back into the cold. The diner had been pleasantly warm. If not for his wet pantlegs keeping him awake, he might have dozed off with one elbow resting on the counter.

Arthur hurried back across the highway, which was now deserted. The wind seemed even stronger and blew snow into his face with cutting gusts. He kept the food bag tucked into his wool coat, not wanting the burgers to turn cold before they even got a chance to eat.

Finally he made it back to the hotel and jammed the key into the lock with his gloved hands. He pushed open the door and his eyes sought out Eames, who was huddled on the bed beneath the covers with Arthur's blanket thrown on top. Eames' hair was wet and stuck up in jagged spikes. He still looked half-frozen..

"I called Cobb," Eames said and jerked a thumb at the utilitarian black telephone that sat next to the bed.

Arthur nodded and sat on the edge of the bed. He opened the bag and pulled out two burgers and a large cardboard boat filled with steak fries.

Eames took the burger Arthur handed to him. "I told Cobb you couldn't stand it a moment longer and stopped at this motor hotel so that you could ravage me all night long."

Arthur took off his gloves and made a show of unwrapping his burger, trying to ward off the images conjured by Eames' words. "I see you're feeling better."

"I will feel even better after I eat all of these wonderful chips," Eames said with a grin and popped a fry into his mouth.

Despite Eames' jaunty attitude and casual words, Arthur saw a shiver course through him every once in awhile. It was likely Eames' core temperature had dropped during his walk. The food would help, but he needed to get warm. The room was still only slightly less frigid than the outdoors.

"I don't think the heater works," Arthur said. "I should call the manager on duty."

"I did. He said it is working as well as it ever will and he sent more blankets, there." Eames gestured with his burger and a bit of lettuce fell onto the bed. Arthur turned to see a couple of blankets stacked on the chair.

"That's great," Arthur said with a sigh.

Eames mumbled something around a mouthful of fries that sounded suspiciously like
"body heat" but Arthur chose to ignore it. The television blared in the background and Arthur watched it with little interest. A parka-clad reporter talked about the storm while battling the snow-laden wind.

Eventually the wrappers were stuffed into the empty bag and Eames lay back with a contented sigh. Arthur took the refuse and smashed it into a ball before depositing it into the tiny trash can beneath the laminate table that bore only a vague resemblance to real wood. He picked up one of the thin blankets from the chair and spread it over the bed. Eames already huddled beneath the covers.

"What I wouldn't give for some hot tea," Eames said.

Arthur glared at him. He wasn't about to go back out into the storm for a damn cup of tea. Eames did look miserable, though. Arthur wrestled with his conscience and then swore and sat on the edge of the bed.

He took off his wet shoes and then his jacket. It was almost warm enough in the room that he no longer needed the coat. When he started on the buttons of his shirt, Eames asked, "What are you doing?" His tone sounded slightly panicked.

"In lieu of other entertainment, I thought I would join you so that we can watch whatever passes for television here. Does that thing pick up more than three channels?"

"Surprisingly, it seems to—" Eames' words cut off when everything went black.

"Oh that is just great," Arthur snarled, even though he had been half-expecting the power to go out. "I doubt these yokels have a backup generator."

"Arthur," Eames admonished. "You've spent too much time at the Four Seasons. You've become a snob."

Despite the jibe, with the lights out Arthur found it easier to detect the abnormalities in Eames' voice—the slight chatter of teeth and slurring of his sibilants. Arthur finished unbuttoning his shirt and took it off. The sound of it rustling seemed loud in the dark.

"Are you still undressing, darling?" Eames asked.

"Go to sleep," Arthur said and then he slipped into bed next to Eames, wincing at the cold feel of the rough sheets. Maybe Eames was right—too much time in five-star hotels, both in and out of dreams. He dragged the blankets up and over them both, hoping the utility company would restore the power soon. The heater was pathetic, but it was better than no heat at all.

"Well, Arthur, I must say when I envisioned you and I in bed together, it—"

"One more word and I will kick you out of this bed and make you sleep on the floor."

Eames made a huffing sound and Arthur waited, expecting Eames to continue his prattle, but he was uncharacteristically silent, despite Arthur nearly holding his breath and straining to hear even a whisper.

Arthur swore mentally and reached out to place a hand on Eames' skin. He heard a sharp intake of breath, but the sound barely registered past his shock.

"Fuck, your skin is like ice."

"The water temperature in the shower could only be described as tepid," Eames said. "Oh fuck, are you going to make me sleep on the floor now?"

"No, I'm not," Arthur said and shoved himself over until his front was plastered completely against Eames' back. Eames was so chilled it was like snuggling up to a giant popsicle. Arthur wrapped his arm around Eames' waist and pulled him even closer, splaying his hand over Eames' chest before moving it down to touch his belly.

Eames made a strangled sound.

"Stop that. You're half frozen, you idiot. You're lucky you're not dead, or losing an extremity or two to frostbite." Mentioning it seemed to make the possibility more real and Arthur found it hard to breathe for a moment, thinking about what might have happened if he hadn't gone looking for Eames. He shut his eyes.


"Hush. Just get warm. And go to sleep. I'm right here."

Eames relaxed against Arthur, put one hand over the one trying to warm Eames' abdomen, and squeezed. "Thank you, Arthur."

"Goodnight, Eames."


It was still dark when Arthur woke. He glanced around carefully and wondered what had awakened him. The room was quiet but for the hum of the heating unit. He relaxed; that was it. The power must have come back on. The room was cold, according to his exposed face. Despite his chilled cheek, the rest of him was quite warm. He was mostly wrapped around Eames, who no longer felt like a block of ice.

Arthur didn't move, listening to the soft sound of Eames breathing. He thought about Eames trudging through the snow, and about what might have become of him if Arthur hadn't gone after him. He thought about Eames shivering and making jokes; he knew Eames would do the same whether or not he had frostbite, or whether or not he was on the brink of death. It was just his way.

Arthur had lost him dozens of times in dreams. Killed by projections, killed by natural disasters, killed by falling rocks and guns misfiring. But this was the first time Arthur had nearly lost him in reality. Earlier, Arthur's hand had worried at his totem while he drove, slipping into his pocket to nail home that fact that if Eames froze to death here, there would be no awakening in a posh hotel room or empty warehouse, no PASIV waiting to welcome him back from his dream death. There would only be Arthur, alone and wondering why he'd never said the things he'd always been too afraid to say.

Arthur pulled Eames closer, moving back to the spooning position he had relaxed out of during his sleep. He wondered what time it was; his watch was trapped on the arm between their bodies and the hotel room clock flashed over and over, vaguely lighting the room with a pale greenish glow, declaring the wrong time with every blink.

Arthur pressed a light kiss onto Eames' shoulder, doubting he would feel so introspective in the morning. He would most likely rise before Eames, fetch them breakfast from the diner, and then goad Eames into waking his lazy ass up—

Eames was awake. His hand covered Arthur's, the one splayed over Eames' abdomen. His voice was a whisper when he spoke. "Arthur. Tell me I'm not dreaming, because I've had this fantasy before and waking up is dreadful."

"You're not dreaming," Arthur replied, not bothering to feign sleep.

"The shoulder kissing? That bit was a dream?"

"Not a dream," Arthur said, amused.

"Then… you were dreaming." Eames' voice was uncertain, as if he really were doubting Arthur's tangibility.

"All of that ridiculous flirting," Arthur said, "Is any of it real? Perpetrating a lie is just another way to warp reality, isn't it? Engineering a dream with words instead of a PASIV."

"Do you think I'm trying to alter your reality?"

"I think it might be a game for you. Another gamble with a prize to win."

Eames chuckled. "I don't think you would allow yourself to become the spoils of victory, Arthur."

"No, I wouldn't. That's why we're having this conversation."

"If this is your idea of foreplay, I would imagine it's been awhile since you got laid."

Arthur tried to pull away, but Eames' fingers tightened. Arthur's hand was dragged upward until he felt soft lips pressing against his knuckles, each one in turn.

"Arthur," Eames said on a breath and then opened Arthur's hand to place a kiss on the palm. A swipe of tongue drew an unexpected jolt. The sheets rustled as Eames turned, letting in an uncomfortable amount of cold air. Eames faced him and lifted a hand to touch his cheek. "Thank you for coming for me. No one else would have."

"Cobb would have," Arthur said.

"Cobb would have come to protect his investment. To keep his team together. You came for me."

Arthur opened his mouth to assure him that he was only here for the team, but the words sounded stupid even as he formed them, especially while lying in bed with Eames and his cock half-hard just from being so near him. He supposed it was time to stop living in denial.

"I'll always come for you, Eames," he said and put a seductive spin on it just to see Eames' reaction, which was priceless even in the vague light from the flashing clock. In the next moment, Eames' lips were crushing his and Arthur finally got to taste the mouth that had been driving him crazy for months, mostly due to the annoying sounds constantly spilling from it, but also from the sheer sensual promise of his lips.

Eames tasted terrible. Arthur's fastidiousness demanded freshly brushed teeth and minty flavored kisses, but fuck if any of that mattered after a few minutes of Eames plundering his mouth, because the taste gradually evolved into something that was only Eames, wet and hot and seeking ways to make Arthur moan with his tongue.

And his hands. Arthur was suddenly very glad he hadn't worn anything but his underwear to bed because otherwise Eames' large, capable hands would have had to fight through clothing instead of sliding over Arthur's skin, touching his chest and ribs and back, dragging him closer to link their legs together.

Eames' hands pushed through the waistband of Arthur's briefs and curled around Arthur's ass to fit them even closer together. Arthur's cock touched Eames' just enough to tease at first, and then with blissful pressure as Eames shoved his hips forward.

"Arthur," Eames said against his mouth and continued between hot kisses, "Arthur, you can't know how much I've thought about this."

Probably at least twice as much as Arthur had thought about it, which put it somewhere in the triple digits on a daily basis, although Arthur refused to mention that under pain of death, if only to avoid Eames' resulting smug look.

"I was hoping I'd found a way to shut you up," Arthur replied. "But apparently I need to keep looking." With that, Arthur shoved a hand between them and wrapped it around Eames' thick cock. Arthur quickly ran his fingers down the length of it, mentally measuring and comparing it. Fuck, he was huge. Arthur had suspected, of course, after hours of surreptitiously staring at Eames' crotch and lamenting the cut of hundreds of pairs of deplorable trousers, but it was always hard to be sure. "Also," he added, "this is not going inside of me. Just for the record."

Eames chuckled and then said, "Really, Arthur? Because that arse of yours has been tantalizing me for ages."

"Absolutely not."

"Pity. I expected you to be bossy, but I was hoping you'd bottom. No matter, I'm willing to have you in whatever manner you prefer, darling. And hopefully you'll change your mind later. If not next time, then perhaps the time after that or the one after that. Or seven times from that one"

It was hard for Arthur to concentrate on Eames' babbling once Eames' hand had found his cock and began to stroke it with determination, but he couldn't stop the rush of warmth that mingled with yearning at the thought of several sessions to yet to come.

"You have been overthinking this, haven't you?" Arthur asked in an amused tone that turned into a gasp when Eames' fingers swirled over the head of his cock in a most delightful manner.

"So much that I hardly know what to do first. Christmas has come early for me. I have everything I want right in my hand." He punctuated his final words with twisting strokes and Arthur bucked into his grip.

"Eames," Arthur said, panting. "I want..."

"Tell me, darling." Eames purred against his mouth. "Tell me what you want. Tell me everything."

"I want you. I want your mouth everywhere and I want to be inside of you."

"Well, you are the point man. Lead the way."

Arthur rolled him over and fitted himself between Eames' legs, barely wincing at the cold air this time because Eames seemed to be generating a thousand degrees of heat. He pressed kisses along Eames' chest and sucked at his nipples, feeling a rush of almost dreamlike adrenalin at Eames' response—a guttural sound and his hand clenching in Arthur's hair. Arthur had never thought hair touching would be hot, but Eames' hands were all over it, bunching it in his fists and driving his fingers over Arthur's skull, not even guiding him, but simply touching.

Arthur's fingers were also busy, ghosting over Eames' cock, testicles, and perineum before gently prodding at Eames' entrance. "Oh shit. Lubricant," Arthur said. "And a condom." Arthur could be trusting, but he fully expected that Eames had been less than frugal with his affections and he planned to take no chances.

"Urm," Eames said incoherently, twitching beneath Arthur's fingers. "Coat pocket."

"You can't carry a pair of gloves, but you have lube and condoms?"

"I was planning to see you, Arthur, not lose myself in a snowstorm."

Arthur was about to berate him for being cocky and presumptuous, but it seemed a moot point when viewed against his current position. "Fine. I'll get it." He reluctantly left the warmth of the bed for the chair near the heater where Eames had deposited his coat. The inner left pocket disclosed a small tube of lubricant and several condoms. Arthur grabbed them all and hurried back to the bed, throwing an absent glare at the flashing clock that read 12:22.

Eames lifted the blankets and Arthur dove beneath the covers to snuggle back against his warmth.

"Damn, it's cold!" Arthur said and shivered.

Eames rubbed his arms and back rapidly. "Brace up, darling. I'll warm you."

"I'm warm enough," Arthur grumbled, although the shock of cold had done a number on his erection.

"Hmmm, no, I think you need a bit more assistance." Eames rolled him over with a swift movement. Before Arthur could protest, his cock was deep inside the heat of Eames' mouth.

"Oh God. That's... working quite well."

Eames only made a humming noise that thrummed through Arthur's restored erection and then set about swallowing him whole. Arthur had contemplated Eames' mouth too many times to even accurately number them, but the reality far surpassed even his wildest imaginings. Eames was a cock-sucking god. True to his word, he not only warmed Arthur, but had him kicking the blankets away to cool the heat raging through his body as he drew closer and closer to orgasm, despite trying to fight it with everything in him.

"Eames, damn you!" He tugged sharply on Eames' hair, trying to forestall the inevitable.

Eames pulled away. "Arthur," he said and his voice was rough, probably from Arthur's cock slamming into the back of his throat. The very sound of it nearly sent Arthur over the edge. "I just want to taste all of you."

Arthur was at a loss for words for a moment. His hands moved out of Eames' hair and caressed his face, touching it softly for the first time and running his thumbs over Eames' cheekbones. "There will be time," he promised.

Eames nodded and a brilliant smile curved his reddened lips. Arthur wanted to kiss him again, so he pulled him forward and did so. They kissed until Arthur's danger of coming lessened and then Eames fumbled on the bed for the lubricant.

Arthur tensed for a moment, thinking Eames meant to use it on him. He did, but not in the way Arthur expected. Eames rolled the condom over Arthur's cock with practiced ease, and then sat back and generously lubed it, watching his hands slide up and down as he coated it with slick gel.

"Shouldn't we—?"

"Hush," Eames ordered and then crawled forward until he was in position to lower himself down on Arthur's dick. After some fumbling, Arthur felt the head of his cock pushing slowly past the tight ring of muscle.

"Don't you need some—?"

"Your concern is touching, Arthur, and hopefully you will see fit later to spend hours on preparation and put your lovely fingers inside of me, possibly your tongue, and pretty much whatever else you like, but right now I just want you inside me."

And then Arthur was, sheathed completely in Eames, who did not even give him a moment to enjoy the sensation before he was moving, lifting himself up before dropping down, over and over. Arthur was close again in record time and he fought it hard, trying to focus on the way Eames' face looked, taut with concentration.

Arthur's hands were all over him, touching Eames' face, shoulders, arms, and thighs, feeling the muscles working there, and finally settled on Eames' cock. It was hot, thick, and heavy in his hands. It was difficult to work it properly in time with Eames' movements, coupled with the fact that Arthur needed to come very badly.

"Arthur," Eames said with a gasp.

"You need to come," Arthur said warningly, feeling a warning tingle that meant orgasm was imminent and wouldn't be held off any longer.

"I love it when you give orders, darling," Eames said, but his voice held only a trace of humor and his eyes held Arthur's when he added, "Oh, there" and came all over Arthur's abdomen.

It was ridiculously erotic, feeling Eames' cock pulsing in his hands and watching the release spurt over his skin, glistening in the muted light. He tightened almost impossibly around Arthur's cock and the resulting orgasm was incredible. Arthur's toes curled and his hands tightened on Eames' cock, holding tightly as he rode out the waves of pleasure.

"I am warning you now, Arthur." Eames panted. "I will never tire of seeing you make that particular face."

"Never?" Arthur asked, amused. He shivered as a last rush of sensation coursed through him, leaving him tingling everywhere.

Eames leaned down to press a kiss on his forehead after combing away the damp hair with his fingers. "Never."

Arthur felt ridiculously sappy for a moment and blamed the endorphins. Eames pulled away and then dropped onto Arthur with a sigh that seemed full of contentment. "Good, because it's your turn to leave the bed. I want a warm washcloth because you are smearing ick all over me."

"Ick? You are calling my pearlescent liquid of love ick?" he demanded. "And do you have any idea how long it takes for the bloody water to heat up in there? I could near-freeze again."

"Then we would just have to repeat the process," Arthur said suggestively and chuckled at Eames ridiculousness. "And you did not just say 'pearlescent liquid of love.'"

"I assuredly did. You are a horrible slave driver, Arthur. I've meant to tell you before."

"You have told me before. Daily, if I recall."

Eames sighed heavily and then pressed a kiss to Arthur's lips. "I suppose it is a bit sticky. And washing you does sound appealing." He pushed himself up and out of Arthur's arms before leaving the bed. Arthur snatched up the blankets before the heat departed. He also peeled off the condom and tossed it on the floor, feeling only a twinge of pity for the maid and knowing he would throw it away properly in the morning. "You just wanted to see my arse," Eames threw over his shoulder as he strode toward the bathroom. "Admit it."

"I admit it," Arthur said and laughed, picturing Eames' smile.

He thought it might turn out to be a good day.