Disclaimer: I don't own Inception.
Pairing/Characters: Arthur/Eames, Phillipa, Mal, James
Summary: In which Eames makes terrible innuendos, Phillipa likes yellow, and Arthur questions Eames' motives.
Author's Note: So this was my first Inception!fic. I originally posted it over at my LJ (in case it looks familiar) but I'm transferring it over here while I edit it up somewhat. Please let me know what you think. Thanks, and I hope you enjoy!
Mal drops Phillipa off on her way home from the doctor's. James is sitting in his car seat, his face blotchy from crying the fifteen minutes between stops. The windows in the car are rolled down so Mal can hear him. Arthur stands on the doorstep and invites them in but Mal glances over her shoulder at James and then back to Arthur.
"I can't, but thank you." She smiles a little ruefully and tucks a stray lock of hair behind her ear with trembling fingers. She's been wearing it shorter now since the children were born and he kind of misses the long curls. "Thank you, Arthur. The doctor said it would be best for them both to be exposed but I can't handle both crying and scratching at the same time." As if remembering she turns back to the car. "James, mon petit, no scratching!"
The little boy scrunches up his face and rubs futilely at his arms with his sock covered hands. Arthur huffs a laugh and rests a hand on Phillipa's head, fingers curling into her fair hair. "Its okay, Mal. No problem, we'll have fun, right Pip?" Phillipa just turns her face up to smile at him.
"Nevertheless, I will bring over a suitcase with her things later . After I have taken care of James. Be good ma cherie," she murmurs. She presses a kiss to Phillipa's forehead.
"Bye, Mommy. Come on Uncle Arthur, I wants to make cookies. With sprinkles." Mal laughs as she watches Arthur being towed away by her daughter.
"Cookies, huh?" she hears Arthur question before the door is closed and she is otherwise occupied with a crying two year old.
He wants to slam the door shut immediately. He deserves it for not checking to make sure that he knew the person, let alone wanted a visit from them. He had honestly thought it was Mal coming by with some of Phillipa's things though.
He wants to slam the door but by now Eames already has half a shoulder in and Phillipa has spotted him from where she sits at the kitchen table. So really, Arthur can't slam the door because what kind of manners would that teach the girl?
"Didn't your mother teach you to at least say hello, or go away, before slamming the door in their face, Arthur?" Eames questions. He pushes open the door and stands in the hall, smiling. Arthur feels a headache approaching quickly as he quickly fingers his die. Still the proper balance, still reality. Damn. "Pippa, darling!" he calls out.
"Eames!" she squeals. Suddenly Eames is pushed back against the wall by an over-excited four-year-old wrapped around his legs. She smiles up at him, blonde bangs falling in her eyes.
"What are you up to?" he questions. He hoists the girl to his hip as he walks further into the apartment. "Close the door, Arthur. We don't want to air condition nature, do we now?"
"Why are you here?" Arthur demands. He closes the door anyway. Phillipa is chattering away about the cookies she's decorating when he finally rejoins them. "Eames?" Arthur tries again. The Brit holds up a hand as he leans over Phillipa's shoulder to study her handiwork.
"And you're telling me Uncle Arthur is letting you use sprinkles in his apartment?" Eames questions. His eyes dart up to look at Arthur and he widens them almost comically. Arthur fights a smile, an exasperated smile he tells himself. "I didn't even know he had sprinkles."
"Yeah," Phillipa replies. She lifts a bowl of pink frosting toward Eames' face. "Wanna try?"
"Of course." He swipes a finger along the rim until his finger is covered in pale pink icing. "Did you make it, Pippa?"
"Uh-huh, and Uncle Arthur."
"It's a charming shade of pink, isn't it Arthur?" Arthur ignores him and stacks the freshly iced cookies on a plate. "And where is young Jamie?"
"Chicken pox," Arthur replies idly.
"Yeah!" Phillipa's face lights up. "He's going to turn into a chicken, right?"
Arthur starts to protest but Eames bends to look her in the face. For a moment Arthur thinks he might do the mature, responsible thing. He's sadly mistaken. "That's right, Pippa. Feathers will sprout and he'll walk around going bock-bock-bock. He'll squawk just like Uncle Arthur does when I hide all his ties."
Phillipa laughs and Arthur narrows his eyes. "It's just an illness, Phillipa. He'll be fine in a few days. It's very itchy though and he can't scratch."
"I like him more better as a chicken," Phillipa replies seriously. She slides off the chair before Arthur can correct her grammar and disappears into the living room where one of the movies Mal had left during their last visit is currently playing. They hear the TV volume rise and Arthur begins to clean up.
"Have a bit more imagination, Arthur. She's a kid and likes to laugh." He looks up just in time for Eames to wink and stick the icing coated finger into his mouth. He sucks on it for a minute before removing it with a satisfied, obscene, pop. Arthur narrows his eyes and returns to gathering the icing dishes and knives.
"Mm, delicious," Eames practically purrs. Arthur shoots him a not-quite scandalized look. Eames runs his finger along the bowl of green icing and offers it up to Arthur. "Want a taste?" By the twitch of the other man's smile Arthur is almost positive he isn't talking about the icing anymore.
"Cobb will kill you for using innuendos with Phillipa in the next room."
Eames rests a hip against the table and smirks. "Which one?" he scoffs. He wags the green finger at Arthur's face. "She doesn't even know. She's entranced by the talking animals. Never understood that myself, talking animals are just creepy."
"Why are you here, Eames?" He deposits the dishes in the sink and turns the faucet on to hopefully loosen the icing caked on the bowls. Eames shifts as Arthur's eyes narrow at him. "Well?"
"Suppose I just missed that biting wit, Darling." Arthur makes a frustrated noise and turns back to the dishes. Eames steals a cookie and sprinkles scatter to the floor with his first bite. "Bit heavy on the sugar, hm?"
"There's a broom in there," Arthur points a sudsy hand toward a closed door. Eames rolls his eyes and stuffs the rest of the cookie in his mouth.
"You are positively domestic, Arthur." Arthur glares over his shoulder at him. Eames grins. "It's actually very endearing. Shall I check on our young charge?"
"Broom, Eames," Arthur tries. It doesn't work though since the older man has already left the kitchen area. Arthur grits his teeth, scrubs furiously at the icing coated bowls, and wonders how he offended karma so much to be stuck with two children today.
Phillipa is snuggled into Eames' arm when Arthur finally works up the will power to enter the living room. Eames glances up and grins lazily. He taps his thigh with his unoccupied hand. "There's still room to snuggle."
"No, thank you." He sits on the other side of Phillipa and downs the two Excedrin in his hand dry. Phillipa's feet press against his thigh. "What would you like to do after the movie, Pip?" he questions. Eames gives him an amused look over her head, Arthur chooses to ignore it.
"I wanna go to the park and swing," she answers. "Daddy promised a swing but now he's busy. Mommy doesn't like the park anymore." If a toddler can snort derisively, Phillipa can.
"Well, your mother's supposed-"
"Sounds brilliant, Pippa." Eames tugs on a strand of her hair. "A trip to the park, then a visit to the ice cream shop. Yum."
"If Mal or Dom needs us then they have one of our cell numbers, right?"
"Yes, but they don't know you're here-"
"Perfect, then I'll leave mine here and you just worry about yours." He wants to protest but when she turns her big eyes on him he just can't. And it's enough to annoy him. "Have some fun, Arthur. Use your imagination a little, this'll be an adventure." He winks and Arthur isn't sure who it's for. It makes him edgy and he focuses on gripping and releasing his die. "Now, tell me, what is that creature's fascination with the acorn?"
"He's a squirrel," she replies immediately, as if that answers everything.