:D This fic was originally written for the kink meme.


Disclaimer: I do not own Inception!

London never sleeps; no city ever does, not completely. Even at this hour, Eames can see shadows moving past curtains in lighted windows and hear music playing from the odd pub that's slow in closing. Though he is alone on the sidewalk, he doesn't feel alone. Though it is night, still there is light illuminating the clouds and reflecting dully from wet asphalt and concrete. This is why he likes the city. It is welcoming to all of its guests.

But there's only one person Eames really wants to see right now. If he's lucky, Arthur will be asleep when he reaches their shared flat. He will wake him up slowly with tender kisses on his mouth, neck, and collarbones, stroking his wrists and graceful fingers until Arthur drowsily reciprocates. He will hold Arthur to the bed and pull their bodies flush, careful not to crush Arthur with his weight. He will make love to Arthur with steady determination until Arthur trembles under him and gasps his name with a passion he will want to deny, blushing, in the morning.

(If he is unlucky, Arthur will be awake at the kitchen table, exhausted, with dark rings around his eyes. He will shrug out of Eames's attempted embrace with irritation, a familiar mantra of 'Don't touch me' on his lips. His hands will be cold. Eames will bring him a blanket from their bed and brew him a mug of chamomile tea, touch his shoulder gently before going to sleep alone. Arthur may come in later, or he may not. His insomnia is as unpredictable as his smile.)

Their flat is in an unassuming brick building on the corner of the street, overlooking a park with a fountain at the center and a playground off to the side. Eames opens the door, walks past the mailroom and the maintenance office, and takes the stairs up to the fourth floor, the top floor. He would have preferred a flat closer to the ground, not only for fire safety but in case their job caught up to them, but it had been Arthur's flat before he moved in, and Arthur liked having a view. Eames did have to admit that it was nice to see the rooftops and the trees of the park without having to worry about ugly pedestrians or someone's bins being stuck under their window. Arthur had actually laughed at that. Eames hopes it is a good night.

He unlocks the door to the flat quietly. It's dark inside, though he can see that the light is on in the master bedroom, casting a shadow of the bed frame on the hall carpet. Eames smiles and drops his suitcase on the floor beside the coffee table, takes his shoes off and puts them in the closet. He decides, while he's there, he might as well hang up his jacket. The clock on the kitchen wall tells him it's close to two A.M. as he passes. He doesn't speak as he pads into the bedroom.

It's Arthur's desk lamp that's still on, giving off a yellow glow that reminds Eames of firelight. Arthur is lying on their bed, on top of the covers and still dressed, boneless. His head is up against the pillows, but it looks accidental, as if he had flopped down without any particular regard for comfort. Eames can't tell if his eyes are closed, since one of Arthur's hands is draped across his face. The other is limp in his lap.

"Darling?" he asks softly, climbing onto the bed. Arthur's breathing is slow; he's probably asleep, though Eames has never known him ever to go to bed in a suit. "You up?" Arthur doesn't move, though he does make a noise of protest when Eames takes his hand and shifts it from his forehead to the bed. His face is a little flushed and his eyes are tightly closed. Eames frowns and touches his cheek. It's too warm to be normal. He starts to undo Arthur's tie.

"…James," Arthur mumbles, when Eames has removed the silk and laid in on the bedside table. "What are you doing?" He doesn't open his eyes. Eames is glad that Arthur has grown so close to him that he doesn't tense up anymore.

"I'm just going to make you more comfortable," Eames soothes, starting in on the buttons of Arthur's Oxford shirt. "You've got a fever; did you know?" He finishes with the buttons, untucks the tails from Arthur's trousers, and pulls the shirt open to reveal a sweat-soaked white undershirt.

"Of course I know." Arthur lets Eames turn him to get his arms out of the sleeves. "Fold that," he insists wearily when Eames tosses the shirt onto his desk chair.

Eames smiles. "I will in a minute. It's just going to have to be dry-cleaned anyway, you know. I'll have it pressed at the shop before I fetch it back. Did you take anything?"

"Some paracetamol… Around eight."

"I'll get you some more, then." Eames finishes divesting Arthur of his clothes and manages to get him under the covers when he starts to shiver. "I'll be right back. Is there anything else you need?" Arthur shakes his head no and simply curls up further, falling back into a hazy doze. Eames pats the curve of his leg under the blanket and goes into the kitchen.

He comes back a few minutes later with the medication, a cup, a bowl of cool water, and a soft washcloth over his arm. He deposits them on his bedside table, knocking his notepad and cigarettes aside, and then leans down to kiss Arthur's cheek. "Darling, wake up for a minute. I have the meds for you." Arthur sighs and, after a brief struggle with the sheet, sticks his arm out of the covers, hand open to receive them. Eames places two tablets into his palm, fills the cup with some water from the bowl, and hands it to Arthur. He drinks the water, swallowing the tablets, and then withdraws his arm back into his cocoon, apparently content to move no further.

Eames strips to his boxers and then climbs under the covers behind him. He can't resist running a hand down Arthur's bare back as he settles, enticed by the expanse of skin, but this only serves to remind him how warm Arthur is. He turns and wets the washcloth he brought back, wringing it out so it won't drip, and lays it gently across the back of Arthur's neck.

There's a sharp hiss. "James, what?" Arthur reaches back, fumbling at it, but Eames catches his fingers.

"Shh. It'll help you feel better."

Arthur huffs. "I'm not a child, James." He somehow sounds dangerous even in his current state. "It's cold. Take it off."

"Sorry," Eames says. "You'll thank me later." He carefully draws the cloth down Arthur's back, pressing his lips to the knob of Arthur's spine as he does so. Arthur makes a disgruntled sound but doesn't try and stop him again, just sighs and tucks his hand back up under his chin. Eames trails a line of kisses experimentally after the cloth and smiles when they relax Arthur even further. When he reaches Arthur's hips, he stops and goes to wet the cloth again.

While he continues his ministrations, Eames takes a moment to lift the covers up and admire Arthur's body, lean and pale. It's rare for him to see Arthur so vulnerable… Arthur isn't exactly secretive with himself, but usually if they are naked together there's a clear end in mind: orgasm, or the bandaging of a wound, or simply to change into other clothing for a job or meeting. This is one of the first times since they started living together that Eames has had the opportunity to just look.

And look he does.

Arthur's hair is falling free of its pomaded prison, loosened by sweat and friction against the pillow. It always surprises Eames how curly it is when it's left to its own devices. He wants to trace the swirl of this piece, slipping out from behind the slightly-pointed shell of Arthur's ear, or this piece, tickling his graceful neck. A graceful neck that swoops down to strong shoulders, thinner than Eames's own, but still powerful enough to force a door. Eames traces the sharp ridge of Arthur's shoulder blade with his fingertip and feels Arthur tremble under it. He lets his touch continue down until he can cup Arthur's bony hip, thumb the dimples on either side of his spine, caress the globe of Arthur's ass…

Eames starts guiltily and pulls away. He needs to get control over himself… This isn't fair to Arthur, bone tired and ill besides. He shouldn't be aroused. Of course he feels terrible that Arthur is under the weather. This is no time for-

"It's okay."

"What?" Eames doesn't think he heard right, the words were so quiet, mumbled into the pillow. He gets up on one elbow and looks down at Arthur's face, but the other man has clearly fallen asleep for good this time, eyes firmly shut, mouth open just a tad. Eames thinks hard for a minute. Arthur trusts him, he knows this, though it was a long, hard process to win that trust. He wouldn't want to throw it away. But he could have sworn Arthur gave him permission…

Carefully, he fits their bodies together, his chest to Arthur's heated back, his cock nestled against the cleft of Arthur's behind, only the silk of his boxers between them. This is how they sleep after sex; it's familiar, comfortable. He kisses the back of Arthur's neck, places a palm on Arthur's stomach, enjoys the feeling of Arthur breathing. He doesn't touch Arthur's still-soft member, but he does start to rock gently against him. He wants to slip his thigh between Arthur's legs, but he's still afraid to overheat him, so he just nestles his knee behind the crook of Arthur's own, loving the smoothness and the non-sexual intimacy of touching this most vulnerable place.

Moisture is gathering in his boxers now, precome, and the drag of fine silk is beginning to overstimulate him. He murmurs sweet nothings to Arthur's back, kissing the barbed-wire scar that decorates his left shoulder blade as he slips his right hand down to touch himself, to pull his cock out and stroke it, pressed almost seamlessly to his lover. Arthur sighs in his sleep as Eames frees himself, an open sound, and if Eames wasn't hard before that then he certainly is now. He ghosts a thumb over his slit and gasps, almost moaning before he catches himself and bites his lip, afraid to wake Arthur. Afraid to end it.

All too soon, however, he can feel his orgasm building, an electric spark that starts in his gut and radiates outward. His pace increases; so does his heartbeat, his breathing. He strokes Arthur's calf with his foot, moves his left hand from Arthur's belly to his hip, holding him still, grounding himself as he comes, explosively, into his palm. Each heavy pulse has him imagining Arthur: awake, his mouth around Eames cock, hollowing his cheeks and peering up sinfully through his eyelashes; on top of him, thighs trembling as he pushes down mercilessly with a smirk twisting his beautiful mouth; dreaming, beside Eames, his fingers curled innocently upward in a gesture of invitation.

It is a minute before he realizes himself again, feeling the shudders die down like ripples meeting the shoreline. He rests his forehead against the steady presence of Arthur, feeling his come on his fingers, feeling sated. He uses the washcloth to clean himself, welcoming its cool touch, and leaves it in the bowl when he is finished. Weariness is settling in his bones now; his eyelids grow heavy as lead. Still, he wants to check on Arthur one last time before joining him in their characteristically dreamless sleep.

His temperature seems to have fallen somewhat by a cheek-to-cheek measure, though Eames supposes his own has probably risen, skewing his judgement. In any case, the look on Arthur's face is peaceful and relaxed. The frown lines that are often present during the day are nowhere to be seen. This is enough for Eames, who settles back and closes his eyes, welcoming the darkness.


"Did you have fun last night?" asks Arthur, reaching up to accept his lunch of soup and crackers from Eames. His laptop is balanced precariously on his knees, propped up with an extra pillow Arthur had been using as a makeshift desk. Eames reaches over and moves the computer to the coffee table when it starts to rock.

"I did." He sits down on the other side of the couch, carefully lifting Arthur's legs and the blanket and placing them in his lap. Throwing back the fleece reveals Arthur's feet, clad in black socks with cats on them. Eames chuckles and squeezes Arthur's ankle, earning a half-hearted glare. "Thank you."

"It wasn't a problem," says Arthur, who has a bad habit of turning issues of trust into issues of physical practicality. "I didn't mind."

"I know. But thank you anyway." Eames falls silent for a minute, gazing through the living room and out the kitchen window to the blue sky. After a minute, Arthur stops sipping his soup and looks up, concerned.

"Hey. You okay?" He nudges Eames's stomach with his toes.

"Oh, yes. I'm fine. I was just thinking… You know I would do the same for you, if you needed me to." His eyes are more gray than green today, and full of something Arthur still doesn't want to name. But he flushes and clears his throat.

"I wouldn't molest you in your sleep," he declares stubbornly. He ignores Eames's playful cry of "Hey!" and takes a large mouthful of his soup. But he can't hide the soft smile that curves his lips around the spoon.

In the end, that is all Eames needs to see.

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