Warnings: Slash, smut and a rather terrible attempt at making sure Arthur comes across as American (I'm British – that is my excuse and I am sticking to it).
Disclaimer: I do not have the imagination to have come up with Inception. If Eames is right, that means I also wouldn't be able to perform Inception, but that's neither here nor there. I'm making no profit from this either – I was poor student before I wrote this, and will continue to be afterwards.
Rating: M for language and scenes of a sexual nature.
Beta: TresMaxwell, who is awesome. If you like Hellboy, go read her stuff :3
A/N: The final part, and the shortest of them all. I'm so sorry for the delay. As a bet, I went a week without yaoi (including no reading, writing or watching), so I couldn't edit this and post it. It was hard work, but I got through the week xD
Part 5: The End or the Beginning?
You're on a plane. Eames is in Mombasa, so that's where you're headed. The plane is filled with people. They are happy couples and businessmen mostly. You're towards the back in your own bubble. For once, you don't mind being in the bubble; it's comforting.
You're so engrossed in your own little world, everything seems muffled. You barely notice when the air hostess asks you if you want a drink; her voice sounds like static. The seconds, minutes and hours all blur into one. Three nights of no sleep is taking its toll. You don't even have the energy to worry about seeing him again – or to feel anything, for that matter – there's just enough there to keep your body conscious.
Taking a piece of paper out of your pocket, you stare at the address written in Ariadne's handwriting. It's where Eames is currently staying, according to her contacts – and by hers, she means Dom's. The edges of the paper are a little torn from the journey, but you can still see the address, and that's all that matters.
The connection flight is a blur. All you remember is staring at a clock that was going so slow that you question if it's even working at all. Then you're back on another plane and, mercifully, you get a little bit of sleep. It's only a few hours, but it makes the world a little less muffled. You roll your die a few times, and this is definitely reality. This is your reality.
You're finally in Mombasa. The first thing you notice is the stifling temperature. You can see the heat waves coming off the streets. It's making you sweat and you hate it. The nerves have kicked in now; they kicked in an hour before the plane landed here. Your heart is beating like it's attempting to break your ribs and jump straight out of your chest, and you wouldn't blame it – you feel like running far away too. But you stand your ground. Ariadne would find you and kill you if you ran, and you have no desire to face her wrath.
"Arthur, good luck! If you hurt him, I can kill you and make it look like an accident." Knowing her, she wasn't joking either.
You think of Eames, and how you're close to where he's staying now. You wonder if he's forgiven you yet, but you doubt it – you haven't even forgiven yourself. He'll laugh in your face, or hit you; you haven't decided which sounds the most likely yet. There's a small, nagging part of your mind that's telling you that Eames isn't like that, and you know it, but you're so afraid and irrational now that it makes perfect sense.
Sighing once more, you hail a cab and read out the address on the piece of paper. He doesn't understand you and you don't understand him, but he understands where you need to go, so it doesn't matter. It doesn't surprise you at all that the journey is in silence. It's still too hot.
You're outside his door now. You've checked the piece of paper and the name of the hotel enough to prove this is his hotel room. This is it. This is the moment you've been waiting for since you first fell for him. Everything all comes down to this moment. You're not sure what you'll do if he rejects you – you don't even want to think about it. Probably throw yourself at work until the pain stops. The fear feels all too real. You don't recall ever being so terrified before. Not even in the military, but you were trained for that. No amount of life experience has trained you for this.
Knees weak, you finally knock on the door. When there is no answer, you try again. You're starting to wonder if you've somehow made a mistake, when the door opens. Eames is standing right in front of you. His hair is sticking up and he's rubbing the sleep from his eyes. He's wearing a t-shirt and a pair of jeans that have obviously just been thrown on.
"A-Arthur, is that you?" Eames sounds surprised, but he's bound to. No one told him you were coming, after all.
"Yeah. May I come in?" Your voice is surprisingly calm. You feel as though you might faint at any second, and the heat certainly isn't helping this fact, but you ignore it. Only this matters.
He steps out of the way to let you through. The hotel room is small, dingy and smells of rust. It's even hotter in here, and you regret all the more wearing a suit.
"Have a seat. Would you like some tea?" he asks. It's a formality, but you accept anyway. The British are known for drinking tea in times of stress, so you decide to put it to the test. As Eames walks away into what you assume is the kitchen area, you sit down on a faded sofa and have a look around. The wallpaper is stained and peeling, and the floor isn't much better. There is a metal double bed on the opposite side of the room, with all the bed sheets messy and tangled up. There are various articles of clothing dotted around and some French windows that lead onto a balcony. There is nothing left to look at, so you make patterns in the stains on the walls – anything to stop you thinking about the conversation you're about to have.
Eames returns a few minutes later with two cups of tea. He hands one over to you, and your fingers touch for half a second, but it's enough to make your heart race and for your stomach to tie itself in a double knot. He sits on the chair opposite and looks at you with mild curiosity. You try and open your mouth to speak, but your voice is completely failing you, so you drink your tea and look anywhere but at the man in front of you. A wave of nausea hits you as soon as the tea reaches your stomach, so you place it down on the dusty coffee table.
After a few minutes of awkward silence, Eames finally says "As much as I'm happy to see you, what are you doing here exactly? If it's work, a phone call would have been a lot less effort." There is no smile on his face and he sounds almost...exasperated? You're starting to regret coming here.
"E-Eames, listen, I'm here to apologise." You know you have to say this – it's now or never.
Just do it, for fuck sake.
"I've been an idiot and I hurt you and I'm sorry." You don't even stop for breath as the sentence tumbles out of your mouth.
"Slow down, darling. I have no idea what you're talking about. Can you start again?"
Oh god. You want to run far away. Maybe you could hide somewhere where Ariadne can't find you, like Australia. Yeah, Australia might work...
You scold yourself – you're being a coward. This is just one conversation; it'll be over in five minutes. You need to do this.
"Okay, I'll start from the beginning, but you have to promise not to say anything until I'm finished."
You take a deep breath. "I'm in love with you, Eames – I have been for a long time, possibly since I first met you. I never did anything about it because I thought your flirting wasn't genuine, that you were just joking and trying to get under my skin. Then I saw you have one one-night stand after another, and I thought that was all you were after. I assumed you'd ignore me once you'd got what you wanted." The words are coming out on their own accord now; you're not even thinking about them.
"So, when we slept together, I was worried that that was it, and I got into my head that you never intended to be my friend in the first place – that you just wanted to get me into bed and that's it – so I panicked and I hurt you. I'm sorry..." You choke out the last part. Guilt is consuming you. You don't deserve his forgiveness. His eyes are on you, but you can't bear to look at him.
"Arthur, look at me." His voice is almost like a command.
You automatically look up. His eyes are filled with so much sadness and pain that it kills you inside to see, but you can't turn away. You're paralysed.
"Is that honestly what you thought of me? That I would just fuck you once and throw you to the gutter?"
"No, I mean...yes, but I didn't truly think it. I just couldn't accept that you'd want anything more."
It's his turn to sigh. The crease in his brow that he couldn't get rid of on the journey back to the US is back. "I understand, I think, but I only ever slept with those people because I couldn't have you. I love you too, Arthur, more than I can say, but what I don't get is that even when I confessed that I loved you, you still thought it was just a one-night thing."
"I thought I'd misheard you," you admit. "I only realised I'd made a mistake when Ariadne told me. I did tell you that I'm not great at relationships..."
He laughs and it sounds wonderful because it seems genuine. You feel a little bit of hope deep within your chest.
"You're such a plonker, darling, but I love you for it."
"Have you forgiven me then?" You ask, feeling unsure.
"I'm well on the way to it, darling. I know how much feelings can fuck up your mind."
He's walking towards you now. You find yourself standing up also. His arms are around you, and it feels so perfect that it can't possibly be real. There's an urge to check your die, but you ignore it.
A giant weight has been lifted off your shoulders and, for the first time in days, you feel content. You take in that wonderful scent once more and it feels so familiar – so safe.
Eames could have been yours years ago, if you had just taken a leap of faith. He leans forwards and kisses you. It's chaste but it's just what you need; you don't need anything more intimate as proof that he loves you.
"I need to call Ariadne soon," you realise. "She might think I've ran away, and she'll hunt me down and kill me."
Eames chuckles and says, "We'll ring her later, pet. I don't know about you, but I'm knackered."
"So am I."
"Shall we sleep for a bit then? We can talk more later."
"Sounds like a plan to me," you say with a small smile.
You strip down to just your boxers, and Eames does the same. He pulls you gently onto the bed and places a thin blanket over you both. You're lying on his naked chest, absentmindedly playing with the tattoo inked across it. It's still stiflingly hot, but for once you don't mind.
"Are we together now then?" Eames asks.
"I'd say so, yeah," you answer. "Just remember that I wear the pants in this relationship."
He laughs. "Whatever you say, love."
You watch as he closes his eyes and gently falls asleep. He looks beautiful, and he's yours. You shut your own eyes and smile happily to yourself.
You have no idea where the future lies and what will happen between you two. The relationship could last a month or the rest of your lives. You have almost no control, but you don't mind. Whatever happens, you'll give it your best shot to make this work. Maybe losing a little control can be a good thing? You're starting to believe it can be.
You'll be okay.
We'll be okay...
A/N: I'm really sorry if it seems like an abrupt end. I honestly cannot think of a way to expand it, and I don't want to just add stuff for the sake of it. Thank you to everyone who has read, reviewed or favourited this story. You've had me get back some of my confidence in writing. Until next, don't forget to dream a little bigger :D