A/N So I honestly have no idea where this came from. Random burst of inspiration?
Ariadne was violently fighting the urge to sleep but she was reasonably sure she was fighting a losing battle. Cobb was elsewhere in the warehouse running his little late night 'experiments' with Yusuf. She wasn't sure where Arthur was, he'd disappeared hours earlier, something to do with research. Eames…well, who knew where Eames was, he'd flitted in and out of the warehouse all day. A glance at the clock told her it was 2:30 AM. Ariadne groaned. Even if she left the warehouse that moment, she wouldn't be back at her flat until after 3:00 and in bed at 3:20, at the very earliest. Considering she needed to be back at 8:00, that was under 3 and a half hours of sleep.
Glancing around the warehouse, Ariadne weighed her options. She could go home and be miserable the next day, or just say screw it, sleep in the couch and be slightly less miserable. 5 and a half hours of sleep beat 3 and a half, she'd just have to run home and shower when they broke for lunch.
Ariadne set her materials down when a yawn blurred her vision too badly to see anything. She stumbled over to the couch and collapsed onto it, not caring that it wasn't made of the softest material. It took less than a minute for her to fall asleep after her eyelids fluttered shut.
She was so exhausted that she hardly dreamed, only jumbled images like bears riding unicycles and Cousin It from the Addams Family. Her random dreams were interrupted by the obnoxious beeping from her phone's alarm. She blindly fumbled for the phone, quickly shutting off the offending noise. She groaned and slunk further under the covers. Covers?
Ariadne opened one sleepy eye, not remembering going to sleep under a blanket. Her inspection told her that she was curled under a jacket that enveloped most of her body. She inhaled deeply, wrapping the distinctly masculine, musky scent around her and she knew whose jacket she was under. Eames's.
Groaning, she sat up, the jacket falling onto her lap. She ran a hand through her hair, working at the knots. A creak jerked her attention up until her gaze blearily found Eames, reclining in his chair, a highly amused smile on his lips. She was suddenly very self conscious as his eyes raked over her bedraggled appearance.
"Eames," she grunted.
"And a lovely good morning to you too, Ariadne," Eames said cheerfully.
"If you say so," she mumbled. She stood with his jacket and slowly walked the few steps to where he was reclining in the chair. Thanks to her sleep deprivation, she staggered to the side and began to stumble. Eames was there in an instant, grabbing her arm and keeping her level. She looked up to see that amused smile of his, but couldn't tear her gaze away from the sudden intensity of his eyes boring into hers. He was still holding her forearm, his hand a comforting weight. Ariadne stared into the face of the man, closer than she'd ever been.
A clang of the far off warehouse door opening snapped her out of her reverie. Somewhat sheepishly, she handed him his jacket back, which he grabbed with his free hand.
"Th-thanks Eames," she says as evenly as she could over her racing heart. He was still holding her arm, there was no way he didn't feel it. His smile was still amused, but his eyes never lost that intense look, as if he was looking right past the surface of her.
"No problem, darling, couldn't let our architect freeze," he said with a wink. She was sure her pulse picked up its pace then. "Though you shouldn't work so late. Rest does the mind good."
The footsteps were coming closer, and he released his grip on her arm but slowly and languishing ran his calloused hand down her smooth arm, leaving a trail of fire in its wake. The spot where his hand had been was still warm and that combined with the stare he'd given her sent a shiver down her spine. There was a slight grin on his handsome face and Ariadne reluctantly forced herself to turn away and focus on Cobb who was now standing before them.
"Still working on the second level, Ariadne?" he asked.
"Yeah," Ariadne said, trying not to appear flustered. "Yeah I have a few details to smooth out still."
"Good. Arthur and I have a few errands to run, we won't be gone long," Cobb said. Ariadne simply nodded. "Have Eames look over the changes you make." Eames smirked slightly as the other man walked away.
Ariadne mumbled something about paradoxes and dead ends and made her way to her work station. She'd been working for about an hour when she yawned so violently that her eyes began to water. Eames's chuckled echoed through the warehouse.
"You know, that wouldn't happen if you got a decent night's slight," Eames called.
"Maybe, but you wouldn't have such a lovely hotel," she called back, not looking up from her designs. She hadn't heard him move, but suddenly she felt his presence behind her, the line of his body radiating warmth against her back. He leaned over her shoulder, hi scruff covered face nearly brushing hers. She jumped when he placed a hand on her back, supposedly for balance though she'd never thought of Eames as remotely clumsy.
When he spoke, she could feel his warm breath tickle her ear. "And what have we here?" he asked, pointing to a part of the maze.
"A dead end right now," she said, mentally applauding herself for her steady voice. "I'm still not quite sure what to do with it."
His arm wrapped around her to run fingers on the paper, at the same time managing to clearly envelop her body. "If I were you, I'd connect this street her to this," he said, running his fingers over her design.
"Taking up architecture, Eames?" she asked, turning to face him from merely inches away. He smiled down at her, close enough to count the specks of colors in her eyes.
"I'm multitalented," he said. "It's always a good idea to have many skills under my belt."
The innuendo was not lost on Ariadne. Try to valiantly fight off the blush slowly rising in her cheeks. She made a few changes and looked back to him. "Better?"
"Much," he said in her ear, the scruff of his beard scratching against her chin as he pulled back and retreated to his own workspace. Ariadne sat still for a moment, entirely confused as to what just happened. He was just teasing her, he had to be. Arthur wasn't here to send rude comments at, so he must have decided to turn his attentions to her. Yes, that was it, he just wanted to see if he could make her react. Well, she'd just have to fight that, then.
Around 1:00, Eames suggested they break for lunch. Ariadne looked at the clock, a little surprised that time had moved that quickly. She shook her head, opting to run home to shower and change. She felt his eyes on her as she walked out of the warehouse.
She hadn't quite realized how dirty she felt until she managed to get showered and change her clothes. Her hair being clean was one of the most luxurious things she could remember feeling. The beating of the warm water against her back cleared her mind and gave her a moment of inspiration for the level she was working on.
Within twenty minutes of her shower epiphany, Ariadne was dressed and on the way back to the warehouse. She was sure she looked like a nutcase walking down the street talking to herself and moving her hands in front of her to visualize the level, but she didn't care. The creative juices were flowing and that's all she really cared about.
Because of her preoccupation, she didn't notice the man stumble out of the building behind her. He tripped and grabbed hold of her, nearly pulling her to the ground. She jerked away from his grip, his nails leaving angry trails down her arm.
"Sorry," he said with a leer. She wrinkled her nose as the smell of wine on his breath assaulted her.
"It's fine," she said shortly, continuing her walk. He trotted to keep up.
"Hey pretty lady, where ya' going?" the drunk asked, making a move to grab her.
When his hand made its way to her butt, she smacked his arm away and hissed," Get away from me."
The drunk man ignored her and made an obvious move to grope her chest when a well muscled arm shoved him back on his ass, hard. Ariadne whipped around to see Eames standing behind her, her knight in tarnished armor. He wrapped his arm around her shoulder, pulling her against his side.
"Sweetheart, I'm glad I found you. We're running late," he said, not looking away from the drunk assailant. "Who's your friend?"
The man pulled himself up from the ground, sputtering. "What the hell?" he yelled.
"You are being inexcusably rude," Eames said coldly. The amused smile he usually wore was in place, but his eyes were cold and dangerous. The look made Ariadne shiver, finally seeing the truly frightening side of Eames. He must have felt her shiver against him for he rubbed his thumb slowly against the skin on her arm. "Now, why don't you make like a good little boy and get the hell out of here."
The drunk boy scrambled backwards, growling under his breath in French. Eames seemed satisfied amd turned, releasing Ariadne.
"You okay?" he asked.
"I'm fine," Ariadne insisted. "Just some drunk kid."
"They do tend to be a constant problem," Eames said. They began the walk back to the warehouse. "Didn't mean to scare you darling."
"You didn't," she said quickly. "Thanks, though."
"Of course. Must keep our ducks in order."
She raised an eyebrow. "I'm a duck? Hey, how did you know where I was?"
"I was across the street getting lunch," he answered smoothly.
"Lucky big, strong Eames could come to my rescue," Ariadne said dryly. Eames turned to answer her but his face dropped into a serious mask. He seized her by both of her shoulders and slammed her into the wall of the closest building, arms on either side of her, pinning her to the wall just before the drunk kid came whizzing by on a moped right through where they were standing a second before. He careened into a street vendor who began enthusiastically beating the inebriated man until he passed out. Ariadne tore her eyes away from the crashed moped and stared at Eames from inches away. He was still pinning her to the wall and was leaning down, forehead nearly touching hers.
"You know Ariadne," he said, voice low. "I really should train you a bit."
"Train me?" she asked, pulse jumping.
"Yes," he said. "Teach you to protect yourself from men like me."
She stood up straighter, raising her chin. "He's nothing like you."
Eames chuckled and the sound rumbled through her. "Oh no?" he asked. "I'm pretty sure I've done worse things than drunkenly hit on a pretty girl." His breath was very warm on her face.
"Have you tried to run me over with a moped?"
"No," he conceded. His mischievous grin returned. "But there is plenty more I could do." He turned and began the walk back, leaving Ariadne gaping like a fish.
When they got back, Arthur and Cobb were already there. They tried to talk to her but she put her hand up and ran to her desk, rushing to get her new ideas down onto paper. Cobb and Arthur joined Eames in watching over her shoulder, all suitably impressed. Arthur and Cobb's eyebrows were threatening to disappear into their hairlines. Her hands whirred across the paper, creating.
"Very impressive," Cobb said.
"Thanks," Ariadne said without bothering to look up. She wasn't worried about the dangers of the job or Eames's odd behavior and touches today, she was in creation-mode. After watching for a few minutes, Cobb left to meet with Saito and Eames and Arthur drifted back to their desks. Ariadne threw herself into the design, not paying any attention to her surroundings, something she was sure Eames would chastise her for.
When she finally looked up, most of the lights were off and it was only her and Eames left, once again. "It's 11:00," Eames called over. "Don't you ever go home?"
"I could ask you the same thing," Ariadne answered. "You don't exactly strike me as the workaholic and you've been here as long as me."
"Maybe I like to be unpredictable, love. It's useful in my job," Eames replied.
Ariadne didn't reply, merely collected her stuff after deciding Eames was right. She needed to sleep and stay focused. She gathered her bag and made her way to the door only to have it block by Eames's arm. She made to go under only to have him press harder against the closed door.
"Can I help you?" she asked, determined to stand her ground this time against whatever Eames was doing.
"Depends on what you're offering, love," he said. That teasing smile and intense eyes were back.
"I'm not offering anything," she said with her chin up. "I'm asking."
He moved his hand to her face, tracing her cheekbone with the back of his hand. Ariadne's heart was beating so hard she was sure it was going to launch itself right out of her ribcage. Eames trailed his hand down her jaw to her throat and she was sure he could her pulse tap dancing against his hand.
"Asking what?" he asked, bending low to speak softly in her ear.
"What are you doing?" she asked, her voice low to match his. He moved, lighting pushing her back until her back was against the door, his strong body pressing against hers. Two strong calloused hands moved up her arms and throat to cup her face. She was suddenly very aware of just how big he was, her eyes were barely to his chest as his shoulders curved around her, as if protecting her from some unseen force. One hand drifted up to her neck, feeling her pulse point.
She opened her mother again to ask him what he was going. "Eames-" He cut her off when he brought his lips to hers, gently caressing the side of her face with those nimble fingers. Ariadne froze and Eames briefly worried he'd pushed her too far too fast, but she tentatively wrapped her arms around his neck. He smiled against her lips, surprising her with the soft, tenderness of the kiss.
They broke apart, Ariadne staring at him for a second before yanking him down by the neck, lips crashing to his. He wrapped an arm around her back, pulling her flush against him, the other arm one the back of her neck. He wasn't gentle this time, the kiss was rough and bruising. She was sure her lips would ne red and swollen. She responded hungrily, fingers twisting in his hair. His tongue explored the depth of her mouth and she found herself imaging his mouth in other places. Ariadne groaned into his mouth as they pulled away, both gasping a bit for breath.
Eames brushed a thumb over her lips with a smirk and leaned down to kiss her softly before standing up all the way. Ariadne struggled and managed to get her breath, asking, "Eames, what..?"
He smirked and sent a wink her way. "Until tomorrow, darling," he said and left the warehouse, leaving a stunned and grinning Ariadne behind.
He had certainly not expected that to happen when he'd gotten out of bed that morning, but when he came in and saw Ariadne shivering in her sleep, the gentleman hidden deep deep deep down inside him compelled him to cover her with his jacket. When she'd inhaled deeply, breathing in the smell of him, he'd found himself deeply pleased, even more so when she handed it back smelling like her. Her reaction when he'd touched her cemented his plan, this was going to be the day, he'd decided, and he'd see how it went. And next? Well, as he said, he couldn't wait for tomorrow.