AN/ Written for the Kink Meme, in response to a picture prompt – Anders Peterson's 'Du Mich Auch' (You Me Too). The link is on my profile if anyone is interested.

Pairing: Arthur/Eames

If I had one chance, to freeze time,
to stand still and soak in everything,
I'd choose right now.
If This Is It, Newton Faulkner

Lose Yourself

Arthur only ever truly loses himself when he is with Eames. Forgets who he should be – is coaxed out of a buttoned up shell of his own making, fastidiously woven with years of practice, creating a cloak of stoic seriousness. It's always been easier to live his life that way, focused on the job, not letting people get too close, but then Eames arrived. Cocky, arrogant Eames, who'll flirt even in the middle of a storm of bullets, who's the best Forger in the business and knows it, who wormed his way into Arthur's life without him even realising it, unpicking the stitching of his protective cover to reveal the real Arthur inside. Arthur is always going to be who he has always been; checking the details twice just to make sure, well-dressed and liking things ordered, liking it when things make sense, but with Eames other personality traits are polished, allowed to shine when they have lain dormant, gloomy and unused. His ability to be passionate, his tendency to throw himself into love when all tentative caution is removed.

With Eames, he's just Arthur. Just himself.

It was not always this way between the two of them, and there was a point where Arthur would sooner send a scathing comment or make threats to send a right hook at Eames' jaw, than admit to having half considered kissing those wicked lips of his, of having looked at him appraisingly more than once and flicked his glance immediately away when Eames catches his eye.

But things change in a natural cycle of evolution, and Eames is possibly even more persistent than Arthur is, offering dinner and drinks so many times before Arthur takes up his proposal, flirting constantly and waiting for the day when Arthur clicks that his advances are serious, so that eventually there wasn't an Arthur and an Eames anymore, there was a 'them', an 'us' instead of a 'me' and 'you'. Two halves of completely different opposing wholes slotting together in one simple motion, the coming together of attracted forces in a magnetic fusing that just... made sense. In every way.

Around Eames, it's harder to think, and he half hates, half loves the control one man can have over him, he who has always been so independent and self-reliant. Harder to choose the rational choice, harder to be sensible when Eames is so persuasive, pitching his voice low and sultry in a tone that makes Arthur's stomach twist and coil, heat pooling in the pit of his chest, rising up to his heart so it spreads like wildfire though his veins and arteries. Sometimes it is merely a matter of one glance of sea green eyes to send Arthur's perfected poise and professionalism collapsing down into rubble like the toppling of a constructed house of cards. Like that one time in that hotel room inside a dream while they were halfway through a job, setting up another PASIV to go a level deeper, and Eames just glanced at him in that way, steadfastly holding the look and not turning away when Arthur tried to catch him out. With an affectionate expression, lips curling at the ends in a gentle smile, head tilted slightly to one side like he was studying something precious. And then suddenly Arthur couldn't stem his impulse any longer, his self control straining before breaking apart at the seams, and he had grabbed Eames closer to him by the collar, bunching the fabric in his fist, was kissing him violently, disregarding how inappropriate the timing was, not caring much at all. And then Eames was kissing back without complaint, enthusiastically responding, forcing their bodies together, flush together, pushing against Arthur's lips in a punishing but satisfying touch so hard that they bruised red.

That is how their love manifests itself. It's unpredictable, a constant warring between two sides with neither victorious, passionate, taking no prisoners. They spend about as much time snarking and bickering as they do finding forgiveness for what they've said, burning themselves out in the heat of the furnace of each others touch, the torture of blistering skin on skin; either a teasing slowness, a cruel teasing of long minutes where they take their time, leaving a fiery trail over every expanse of skin where they've touched, learning the map of the others body anew every night: or abandoning self control in a frantic wanting pace, kissing and touching and fucking like they're trying to scorch something out of themselves.

But sometimes they just enjoy the company of the other, and it's nights like tonight, the moon a smooth pale crescent in the sky, loud music blaring thumping beat through an open entrance punctuated by laughter and shouting speech, that Eames takes Arthur out, tries to make him forget his usual mask of control in front of other people. It's easy with Eames; they've been together so long that it's normal, Arthur trusts him implicitly, but in front of other people it's harder to stop the barriers from shuttering up immediately.

Eames has dragged him away from his desk in their office in the flat they share – he can't remember what city they're in tonight; Los Angeles, or New York or even Eames' old haunts in London, he can't quite recall – promising to take him out and show him the night-life. Arthur isn't initially keen, but he gives in when he catches Eames' expression, supposing it's not fair to coop him up in the house for so long. It's only one night after all, and Arthur doesn't mind going anywhere so long as Eames is with him.

Which is why they're strolling down pavements in the near dark of night, street lamps stretching out puddles of golden light in restricted circles on black ground. Eames' hand encircles Arthur's waist possessively, leading the way to a little place that the Forger knows off the main street. His hold feels good, safe. They duck into a small place that smells of cigarette smoke, tacky neon lights flashing pink and green and blue the name of the club, and Eames offers to buy the first drink, taking the roll of the gentleman.

Later, how long it's been he's long stopped being able to tell, Arthur's has too much to drink, inhibitions long having sailed out the window forgotten. And he leans into Eames' arm around his shoulders, laughs loud at things that aren't funny, feeling like a student again, all testosterone and all cares ignored in favour of a good time. He kisses Eames on the cheek in regular outbursts of affection, sighting a couple of jealous glances from men and women alike that look interested in Eames, seem put out that he's taken. He nearly spills his drink a couple of times, rarely clumsy but for the alcohol in his system, and Eames laughs along with him during every joke and mishap, because he loves Arthur like this, loves it when he forgets about every strain and stress, just lives in the moment. They kiss without consequence, sing along to the music being played when they only know half the words or even the chorus at best, and it's wonderful, every wayward touch, electric and born only of affection and love and no ulterior motive, sending sparks up Arthur's spine.

And Arthur doesn't think clearly at all, not about where he is, not about what is and isn't appropriate, because at a certain point in the night when the clocks are back to single figures, when they join some others at a table – a couple making eyes at each other, one Canadian over for a gap year and a lesbian couple, one girly girl wearing pink and lipstick and her partner with a Mohawk and multiple piercings and a Metallica t-shirt who leave at one point and come back, the girly girl's lipstick transferred to the other woman's lips in messy obvious evidence to what they've been doing – all talking in the raucous loud conversing only possible with strangers, Arthur puts his hand on Eames' leg under the table. Knowing exactly what he's doing, a wicked glint in his eye, teasing Eames by running his fingers slowly along his upper thigh, deliberately trailing in a feather light touch along up to his hip, straying intentionally too close to areas that make Eames' breath hitch in his throat.

Eames, to his credit, keeps a sensible conversation going while this happens, talking to the Canadian about some sport that's happening recently, Arthur isn't really listening, until he finally can stand it no more and stands up abruptly, bidding the rest of the table goodnight and pulling Arthur away from the group with him.

"Eames..." Arthur whines, thinking he's somehow upset Eames in some way "My drink isn't finished... we don't have to leave..."

But Eames obviously has other plans, because he doesn't speak as they move out of the building turning a corner to the empty side of the building away from the front entrance, and then in a blinding motion, Arthur finds himself pushed up against a wall, and Eames is kissing him hungrily, desperately like he's been attempting to contain this all night, that light in his eyes that smoulders and burns as his lips press against Arthur's. Declarations of love, names of people Arthur'll never know, amateur scratched symbols of independence against the system are scrawled across the stone behind him in clumsy graffiti, and Eames is splaying his hand out, tempting it over Arthur's pelvis, roving up to brush against bare skin.

They break apart in a reluctant motion to take a breath, and the wall is freezing cold against Arthur's back despite the jacket he's wearing, starkly contrasting the heat Eames is radiating from him. And he laughs coyly, lovingly with no thought to the public nature of this place, out in the open, the world able to be watching this private moment. He turns his head away, smiling gently, exposing the skin of his neck as Eames plants a kiss there, draws up slowly, marking every section of skin he comes to with a pull of his lips, gracing some areas with more attention than others, nips the edge of his ear with his teeth. He whispers a mixture of garbled words, adoring affection, repeating Arthur's name over and over again in a desperate murmur like some sort of reverent prayer, disrupting every word with another kiss, moving onto the kind of suggestive talk that pretty much guarantees that this night will be relocating away from here and back to their flat, where Eames can make do on the promises he's making right now, suggestions that are making Arthur groan at the back of his throat in a kind of humming curse.

And then Arthur laughs again, and removes Eames' face from being buried against his shoulder to be able to kiss him again fully with an ardent want, their lips seeking dominance with each other; laughing aloud with nothing held back or hidden because he's in love, laughing because this moment down a back alley in the middle of the night is just so beautiful with the stars overhead and the moon bearing witness to his happiness because Eames is here with him, will always be here with him.

And it's in these moments, he doesn't mind not being in control. He's never going to be able to be, not around Eames. And that's not a bad thing.