Title: His Totem
Pairing: Eames and Arthur
Rated: M (for mentions of sex)
Notes: This is one of my older works, so it's a little rusty.
Arthur's heart skipped a beat as soon as their eyes locked. He wanted to be happy, he did, but all he felt was rage. Eames breathed slowly and pushed his hands into his pockets, glancing away when guilt shot him a sharp jab to his stomach. Cobb knew they had a history together as well, though theirs was more complicated and ended on rocky shores, but he desperately needed them both if they were going to do this Fisher job successfully.
For the sake of his friend, Arthur brushed off his urges to assault the British conman and pulled on his jacket. Arthur was the epitome of calm and collected.
"Well, now that you're back I'm going to go get some groceries to fill up the fridge, got it to work while you were out. Anything in particular you want?" Cobb tossed his bag and suit jacket on a chair and raked his fingers through his hair.
"Sure, uhh, could go for some peaches, maybe some vegetables and dip to snack on?" Fruits and veggies, of course. Cobb was always a light eater, but after the kids came into his life he was all about eating healthy. It was cute. Arthur nodded and gave a quick glance to Eames one last time before walking out of the old warehouse. He made it about half a block away, lost in his thoughts to distract himself from the boiling anger inside of him, when a large hand wrapped firmly around his wrist. His immediate reaction was to pull his gun, keeping it low, and turning around to press the muzzle against the stomach of whoever had grabbed him. Eames held up his other hand cautiously to show he wasn't armed.
"Still a little paranoid are we?" Arthur put away his gun and spun on his heel, acting as if nothing had happened. Eames sighed and took a few large steps to catch up with the smaller man. "Now, now, I just thought you might need a hand bringing the groceries back."
"I'm just getting snacks and drinks, I don't need your help."
"Go back and start working on the first level with Cobb. Ariadne should be there soon, she's going to be our architect. She's a sweet girl, don't ruin her innocence like you did mine." Eames laughed and scratched his nose.
"That's funny, as I recall it, you came on to me, darling." Arthur's mind recalled a brief moment of their past that sent a sharp pain through his heart. It was early in the morning, the sun was blaring through the window behind Eames who lay naked next to him, both of them tangled in a plush white duvet. Eames was gazing sleepily at him, a gentle smile playing at his plump lips as he grazed his fingers up and down Arthur's arm. His mouth moved, he said something, Arthur used to remember what he was saying, but after years of blocking Eames out of his memory, the words were long lost. "Arthur?"
"Wh- oh. Yeah. What can I say? I was young and naive at the time. I honestly can't believe I trusted you back then."
Both men walked in silence for several moments.
"So, I haven't been under since my last mission with you and Cobb. I couldn't since my totem was gone."
"Why didn't you get a new one?" Eames smiled and slowed his pace a bit, taking a one over of Arthur's body. He was still so small and frail, at least to the eye, Eames knew better. That tiny little man could pack quite a punch.
"I think you know why." Arthur scoffed.
"Please, you could have anyone you wanted, don't tell me you di-"
"No one could ever replace you, love. I don't want another totem, you're the only totem I need, the only one I want." Arthur's steps grew wider and heavier.
"Bullshit. You left me stranded in Bang Cock with no money and no way to get back to America. You fucked me, robbed me and ran like a coward with not one form of contact made within the following six years, and now you're going to feed me this crap? Way to add insult to injury, you piece of shit." The larger man growled and yanked Arthur into the closest ally way, looking around to make sure no one was listening. Arthur glared up at the conman who was now shoving a finger in his face and bent down to eye level, keeping his voice low.
"You know I would never do something like that to you. The bastards snatched me when I went out for a smoke and grabbed the documents, I got away and went to look for you and you were gone. You left me, Arthur, not the other way around." Arthur slapped the hand out of his face.
"I left you? Don't you try to screw with me, Eames, I never left the room that whole morning."
"Then maybe you were taking a piss or something! I don't know where you were, all I know is that after I broke free, I went back to get you, you weren't in the bed, everything was cleared out in the apartment, I panicked and got the hell out of there. I've spent the past six years hiding from those blokes, I couldn't exactly call or show up at your door step to ask you what the fuck happened back there, Arthur."
"I loved you and you left me there to rot! Don't pretend like you actually gave a shit about me, even if that did happen, you never came back for me later, you got the hell out of there and abandoned me!" Eames grabbed both of Arthur's shoulders firmly.
"I would never have abandoned you and you know that. I loved you more than anything in the world, I would have given my life for you, you're my totem, you're my little piece of reality, you're the only thing that could calm me when I was afraid. I've never loved anyone as I've loved you. I love you, Arthur. I love you so much."
Arthur grimaced painfully and pushed Eames away.
"I'm not falling for that again, give it a rest already." He couldn't stand to look at the taller man anymore so he turned and headed out of the ally. Eames' voice crackled through the air.
"Sing, Arthur. Sing or I'm not doing the job." A wave of dizziness hit the point man as memories flooded his mind. Gentle memories. Calm memories. Too many memories.
"We're doing this job so Cobb can go back to his children in America. You care too much about him, you know he needs you for this, you wouldn't hurt him like that."
"He can find another forger. I'll just tell him I've got business elsewhere. I do care about him, but he's too much of a pushover, he'll let me walk." Arthur turned around, his face contorted in disbelief. Anyone who's known Arthur long enough to call him a friend knows that he only ever lets his emotional walls down around Eames. He remembers a time when that was the only thing he hated about the man.
"You can't do that to him, he needs you."
"I'll stay, but you have to sing. There's no other way."
"I won't." Eames pulled out his cell phone and punched in some numbers. "What are you doing?"
"I'm going to tell Cobb I can't do the job."
"Stop it! You'll crush him!" Eames held the phone up to his ear and stared at Arthur blankly.
"It's already rung once." Arthur began to protest again when Eames held up a hand to stop him. "Yeah, it's Eames, listen-"
"Okay! Damnit, I'll sing, just hang up the phone!" The conman paused and shoved his tongue to his cheek.
"Never mind, I'll tell you when we get back." The phone slid shut and dropped back into his pocket. He walked up to Arthur slowly, getting close enough for the shorter man to press his lips to his neck and rest his hands on his chest, Eames slipping his own hands around to the small of Arthur's back. "Sing."
Arthur's breaths shook, he really did miss Eames, the way he held him always made him feel so secure and safe, not that he ever felt otherwise. Even after all that's happened, this man can still make him weak in the knees with a simple hug.
"I fell asleep down by a stream, and there I had the strangest dream, and down by Brennen's Glenn there grows, a briar and a rose." His voice vibrated on Eames' skin, he fought to keep his eyes open, but they soon closed as he bathed in the warmth of their bodies together again. "There's a tree in a forest, but I don't know where, I built a nest out of your hair, and climbing up into the air, a briar and a rose. And when I'm buried in my grave, tell me so I may know, your tears may fall to let love grow, the briar and the rose." They remained silent in their embrace. This was it, this was Eames' totem. No one knew about it besides Eames and Arthur, not even Cobb.
"You have no idea how desperately I've needed that. If I were ever in a sticky situation, I would try to remember what it felt like, having you in my arms like this again while you sang against my neck with that beautiful voice of yours, but it wasn't the same." Arthur remained silent. "What about you? I guess you got yourself a new totem."
"A loaded die." Eames chuckled and rested his cheek on Arthur's head.
"I wonder why a loaded die? You're not a gambler, I can only imagine who that could remind you of." Eames felt a smile against his skin.
"Really? Not a clue?" They both laughed quietly and pressed their bodies closer together.
"What about your old totem? Would you consider switching back to it? I can assure you, no one else has been acquainted with it since you've parted ways." Moments slipped by until Arthur hesitantly pulled away just enough to look his past lover in the eye.
"I'll probably have to test them out, it's been so long." Eames' hands slid up his back and to his neck, gently pulling him in and kissing him softly.
A low noise, almost a moan, escaped the smaller man's lips. Eames automatically took this as a yes.
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