A/N: Just a touch of Arthur/Ariadne, for your viewing pleasure. A bit of Eames thrown in because he's bleedin brilliant. Be warned: fluff ahead. Fluff, and mockery.
Three years working on the same team, three years and he'd never once plucked up the courage to so much as hold her hand. Not until now, that was.
In the shade of the beautiful cathedral – Ariadne's favorite, in fact – Arthur was leaning in, closer and closer, a smile tugging on the corner of his lips. His palms were pressed against the cool stone of the building on either side of her, effectively pinning her against the smooth granite as he finally pressed his soft, soft lips to hers.
Stifling a moan, Ariadne reached up to wrap her arms around his neck. And she'd wanted to pass on this job…ha! This was quickly becoming the greatest job they had ever taken. She could feel the wicked grin spread across his lips as she pulled him closer, and it was a grin she was happy to mirror. One of his hands pressed firmly against the small of her back as the other tentatively played with her hair. Closing her eyes, the architect leaned further into the kiss. Finally…
She thought she might die of happiness.
And suddenly, just as he was pulling her even closer, causing her stomach to flip turn and her heart to race, just as he was moving his lips even more deliberately against hers, Ariadne's eyes opened.
Her real eyes.
It took her a moment to remember where she was, and she looked groggily around the room. She was sitting in a lawn chair with a needle in her arm, surrounded by her sleeping companions. She glanced at the timer: there were still thirty seconds left on the clock. That was roughly five minutes dream time. She looked again at the sleeping faces around her, frowning. Why was she awake? Had something gone wrong? Perhaps Yusaf's medication was faulty – though, that had never happened before.
Wincing, she pulled the needle out and watched the last few seconds elapse. The timer buzzed.
Yusaf was first to open his eyes, and looked surprised to see her awake and sitting on the edge of her chair, looking expectantly at him. He frowned and opened his mouth to say something, but was interrupted as Eames suddenly burst from his slumber, laughing up a storm.
Ariadne and Yusaf both jumped and stared at the British man, howling with laughter. Loud, obnoxious laughter, laughter drunk on life. Annoyed, the architect glanced at Arthur, who was now awake and staring at the floor as he mechanically removed his own needle and rubbed the spot on his arm where it had been taped down. He refused to meet her eyes.
"That is brilliant," Eames choked gleefully. "Oh, that's fantastic!" He rubbed his palms together, still cackling.
"What?" Yusaf asked, frowning.
"Nothing," Arthur snapped, sounding angrier than he meant to. Ariadne's stomach flipped again, but this time instead of feeling fulfilled she just felt empty. He wasn't angry with her, was he?
Yusaf turned back to catch her eye. "What happened?" he asked. "You woke up early. I don't mean to brag, but that simply doesn't happen; not when I'm your chemist. You didn't die, did you?"
Ariadne tried to answer, and Eames beat her to it. "Oh no," he said merrily. "No, that's not it."
"Layout was good. Contained, but with sufficient nooks and crannies. Now then, I thought before we went in tomorrow it would be good to brush up on the mark's family relationships, yes?" Arthur said loudly. Everyone ignored him.
"Then what is it?" Yusaf demanded of Eames. The second man chortled for a moment more, and then took a deep breath and looked up at Ariadne, eyes sparkling.
"Arthur makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, doesn't he?" he asked. He laughed. "You kissed him," he said, "and inadvertently generated your own kick. Just kissing the bloke makes you feel like you're falling out of the sky. Ha ha – hilarious."
Arthur looked guilty and livid and embarrassed all at once, and Ariadne could feel the blood rushing into her cheeks. "Shut up," she snapped. "God you're annoying." She stood, ignoring the stares of the other three men as she stomped off toward her corner of the studio to work on the layout model, fully intending to get rid of that damn cathedral.
But she couldn't help but think about how Eames was wrong.
It was much more like flying than falling.
"I'm sorry," Ariadne apologized lamely when she saw Arthur leaning against her car in the garage, waiting for her to walk out of the building and make her way home.
"For what?" he asked, amused.
"That…I don't know. That he saw us. That he's an ass."
Arthur shook his head. "It was bound to happen sooner or later," he replied with a sigh. He took a step forward, and was suddenly very, very close. He smiled, reaching to tuck a stray strand of hair behind her ear. "Besides," he murmured, "I'm more disappointed in you than in Eames."
Ariadne blinked. "In me? But I-"
"You come off as so strong, Ariadne," he continued, the familiar half smile tugging on his lips. "I never imagined it would only take one silly little kiss to send you reeling."
Looking up at him, her expression changed from sheepish to surprised to playful. "Well then. I suppose I'll need a lesson in endurance."
Arthur raised his eyebrows. "I suppose you shall."
Arthur rolled his eyes. "Work, work work…" And he leaned in to press her lips to his.
Ariadne grinned, fingers twisting themselves in the fabric of his shirt, inhaling the familiar smell of his cologne and moving her mouth perfectly with his. Half lucid, she reached down with one hand and discreetly pinched her thigh to make sure she wasn't dreaming. Arthur, noticing the small gesture, pulled away just long enough to laugh, and then took his hand in hers.
And this time, she didn't wake up.
A/N: My, they're sweet. Well, review if you have the heart: it'd be much appreciated. Please and thank you.