thanks cherrybina for hosting the meme wherein this glorious prompt was born, and giving me an excuse to write club fic. I HAVE NEVER WRITTEN CLUB FIC BEFORE, THIS IS A STUPENDOUS ACHIEVEMENT. and by "club fic" i mean "shameless excuse for arthur and eames to cuddle and talk about how much they love each other" because really this is the only thing i want in life, OH GOD SO DRUNK.
eta: the SUMMARY FOR THIS FIC IS: Arthur hates his life, he hates this song, he hates this job, and he hates Eames most of all. In a 10 Things kind of way.
Title: One Time for Your Mind. Arthur/Eames, 3800 words.
Word Count: 3800 words.
Rating: like a soft, negligable NC-17.
As if everything else about this job isn't fucked up enough, the mark has an earworm.
Arthur has been listening to "Pon de Replay" for the last two hours straight. The moment they'd appeared in the dream they'd materialized in the middle of an ill-lit club, because however elaborately they'd prepared a corporate boardroom, Ben Hatem just wants to get down on the dance floor and work out his feelings about Rihanna. They've been unable to get close enough to the mark to drag him off the dance floor, let alone have a conversation, and after two hours it's clear that Cobb hasn't found whatever he was looking for in the storehouse above the club. This is hands-down the stupidest job Arthur has ever run, and of course Eames is here to see it.
"Fuck," he says, rubbing his forehead and ordering his third Shirley Temple. "At this rate, we won't even hear the warning for the kick."
Eames shrugs nonchalantly, as if they get stuck two levels down in the mind of closeted rave queens every day. He looks perfectly at home here, Arthur thinks venomously. He would, the bastard. He chugs his drink. He fucking hates Shirley Temples.
"You could always attempt to relax and have a good time, Arthur," Eames says. "It could have been a lot worse. Imagine if he'd gotten Rebecca Black stuck in his head instead."
"Just shut up, Eames," Arthur snaps. "That's your idea of helpful? 'It could be worse?' Christ. We're supposed to be fucking professionals. We're not supposed to wind up in situations like these."
Eames sends him a look that could almost be called pity, and Arthur comes close to punching him right in his irresistible face, because like fuck will Eames ever know more than Arthur does about dreamshare or how to work it.
"Arthur, it's the human mind," Eames says gently. "Not even you can predict it all the time."
"I could have fucking--god, lifted his ipod and looked at the most recently played shit," Arthur says, and even he knows he sounds pathetic. Eames reaches over and slips his hand over Arthur's thigh, and Arthur wants to punch him even more for that, because the moment Eames' broad hand meets the slope of his muscle, all the irritation Arthur's been trying desperately to feel for him all night melts into a liquid pool of want at the base of his stomach, dangerous and undeniable.
Arthur jerks away from the touch--he doesn't notice the flash of hurt that crosses Eames' face, he doesn't--and knocks over the beer glass of the intimidatingly pierced woman standing behind him. She gets to her feet with a glare--she towers over him, and immediately several people around them are staring. The fabric of the dream gives an unmistakeable shudder, and on the dance floor several people including the mark look Arthur's way.
Without turning around, Arthur can sense Eames standing up to bracket the space immediately behind him. "Great," he spits over his shoulder. "At least if we get ripped to pieces down here we won't have to worry about missing the kick."
"You are jumpy tonight, aren't you, darling?" Eames mutters against the shell of his ear. Then, to the assembled crowd, he waves a twenty and says genially, "Sorry about that. Next round's on us," and drags Arthur away from the stool.
"What's the matter with you, Arthur?" he says.
"Maybe I hate this song," Arthur grits out, because he'll be damned if it's any other reason, like the stench of failure or of Eames' cologne in his nostrils, the way both make him want to curl his fest and admit some kind of defeat.
"What, Rihanna? But it's anthemic," says Eames, and Arthur is momentarily distracted from his anger by Eames' hand at the base of his spine. "Shake it til the moon becomes the sun! Surely this is the oldest human impulse there is, yeah?"
"And this impulse gets us closer to figuring out where Hatem's hidden the cache how?" Arthur snaps.
"Oh, Arthur, you're in the middle of the mark's subconscious and all he wants to do is dance. Even you can make like Don Henley and figure this one out." And that's when Arthur realizes that Eames is leading him onto the floor.
"No. What? No," he says, suddenly panicky, heart fluttering. Eames' is tugging him in, into the mob of people, and if it's even possible the music is louder here, the drums a sharp slice through Arthur's chest with every beat. "What the fuck, Eames?"
"Improvisation, darling," says Eames, and then he's fucking pulling their fucking hips together, and Arthur's strangled sense of professionalism makes a final desperate cry to assert itself before he gives in and admits to the reality of this absolute farce of a job.
"This is bullshit," he says. "You're fired. I'm never working with you again, Eames. You think you can--"
"Arthur, shhh," says Eames, reaching up and sliding a finger into the kink of Arthur's tie, which Arthur could have sworn he'd knotted in a way that couldn't be undone that easily. Eames is probably manipulating that the way he manipulates everything else, and Arthur takes a moment to feel justly betrayed by his own goddamn Windsor. "We are going to finish the job. We're going to make the mark. And you are going to shut up and dance. Hmm?"
It says something about the state of their fucked-up dynamic that now, when they're jammed up against one another, physically closer than they've ever been before, is when Eames' eyes go dark and impersonal. It's sad how well he can read Eames' tells, and right now Eames is telegraphing pissed off and stung so sharply it makes Arthur's stomach plunge. He's gone from amusement to cold professionalism, all in the space of a few minutes in Arthur's company, and Arthur thinks helplessly that he can't help it; if he can't help hurting Eames this much before they've ever even -- not that they would ever even -- then how is he supposed to act any other way? He can't let Eames in, he thinks, and abruptly, he wants to say so, lay it all out in the fucking open for once.
"Eames, I--" he starts, and shuts up. Eames' eyes snap to his. Arthur wants to throw the whole job out the window just to get his mouth on the stretch of skin above his collar. Christ, this music is hurting his head.
After another moment Eames laughs. "Jesus," he says. "It's just a dance, Arthur. That's all. One dance, and the job is over."
"But what's the--"
"Arthur," Eames says sharply. "I know this is asking a lot, but please, just for the next four minutes and eight seconds, trust me."
Arthur frowns at him. I trust you, he wants to say. That's the whole fucking problem, he wants to say. But the song is starting over again, the insistent drumming tugging at his skin, and Arthur can't do anything except roll his eyes and scowl, and dance.
Eames steps in close and puts a hand lightly on the curve of Arthur's hip. They had come into the dream dressed as boardroom execs. Eames had adapted his outfit instantly, switching out of the suit and cufflinks into black jeans and a Wyclef Jean t-shirt. Arthur had stubbornly stayed in his suit, all three pieces, and he hates how exposed he feels in all these layers of clothing next to the cool sheen of sweat starting to gleam faintly on Eames' arms. He hates how hypnotic this song is, how it succeeds solely on the basis of a drum beat without even having a bass line to speak of, how it feels ancient and addictive and urgent and insistent, as if he could let himself go to it. As if he could just get lost down here, in the music and the shape of Eames’ body next to his. Arthur tries to look anywhere else at first, but the beat is dragging him down, dragging him into the sway of Eames’ body as he moves. It’s too easy, after all, to be drawn to the unexpected taper of his broad shoulders down to his waist, to the way he holds himself apart even as he’s beginning to gyrate, slow and low, his thighs spreading as he dips lower. He’s smooth, Arthur thinks. Arthur would never think of Eames as smooth in this context, but somehow he isn’t surprised at all. Eames is full of fucking surprises.
And suddenly the music isn’t loud enough, the crowd around them isn’t stifling enough, and Arthur’s tie has somehow gotten all the way loose, which means the top few buttons of his shirt might as well follow suit.
Suddenly Arthur wants to be the one who’s full of surprises.
He slides in, bracketing Eames’ thighs with his own, pleased at the look of shock that falters on Eames’ face before the cheshire smile falls into place. Arthur is so fucking tired of resisting, and he’s been resisting this song for two fucking hours, in dreamtime. It might as well be a lifetime.
Eames doesn’t stop. He keeps moving, flowing, circling his hips and pulling Arthur into his orbit, his hands still just barely there against Arthur’s waist.
Eames’ thick neck is bare where the t-shirt he morphed into has a threadbare tear down the side. Arthur knows it’s a real shirt, knows he wore it once, probably when he was just a stupid kid moonlighting at clubs in London or Paris. He thinks of Eames doing this on the floor with countless guys, thinks of him leading them into seedy backrooms and putting his hands all over them. He’s suddenly hard in his ridiculous-threadcount tailored pants. He shifts closer and bends, angles in, just enough that Eames can feel him pressed against his pelvis.
Arthur meets his gaze, hard, and holds it. He’s not looking away before Eames does, and the way Eames’ eyes widen and darken at once is even more hypnotic than the music. Arthur lifts his arms and starts to dance in earnest, letting his hips flow into the movement of his arms and his elbows and his wrists. Eames’ eyes on his are a volume of all the words they haven’t said to one another, and Arthur lets himself look, without blinking, without looking away, without budging from the rhythm circle he’s got going right now, his hips joined with Eames’ and the space between them everywhere a giant fucking interrobang.
Eames shuts his eyes like he can’t help himself, and something shakes and plummets in Arthur’s chest. Arthur nudges Eames’ hard-on into greater life with the pressure and squeeze of his thighs, and when it isn’t enough to get Eames to open his eyes and look at him again, he leans forward and licks a long stripe over Eames’ collar. Eames’ Adam’s apple pulses, so Arthur nips just above it. Eames’ shudders all over at that, and, oh, yeah, that’s better. That’s what he always knew Eames would feel like hard against him, rock solid and throbbing and big and just so fucking good.
He closes his eyes for a moment and imagines what they must look like, hard and locked together like they belong that way. When he opens them again there are glowsticks adorning Eames’ wrists and a rave collar around his own neck. Eames’ smile reflected in the unreal light they give off is a toothy, beautiful thing. Arthur thinks it might even be genuine. He almost smiles back.
But he’s not here for pleasantries. He’s here to fucking dance. He shifts closer still, til he can feel Eames’ hard abs through the thin layer of his t-shirt. Eames gets bolder, finally. He slides his hand up Arthur’s side, and Arthur rewards him with a slow grind against him, once, twice, and judging by the wrecked look on Eames’ face, this is the best idea he’s had in fucking ages. Eames yanks Arthur’s shirt out of his pants where it’s been coming gradually untucked all night, and Arthur decides, fuck it, fuck all of it, and just slides it off right on the fucking floor.
“Christ, Arthur,” Eames says beneath the music, and it sounds like a prayer the way he says it, the way he drops his hand to the bare skin of Arthur’s stomach and barely touches the smooth plane of it, like he’s afraid to do even that.
“Christ, yourself,” says Arthur, annoyed at himself for being annoyed when Eames’ disbelief is all his fault. He pulls Eames’ hands down and puts them on his ass.
He was wrong. Eames’ hands on his ass--definitely the best idea he’s had. Ever. Eames slides his thigh underneath Arthur’s hip and grips his ass with both hands, getting handfuls of it and licking his mouth like he likes what he’s got and wants more. Arthur’s eyes flutter shut and he sinks forward, letting Eames’ weight catch him as he lets go, lets himself rest against Eames’ broad chest and the pounding wall of the music beneath him, all around them. His hands find their way around Eames’ waist, then under his t-shirt, and then he’s exploring the hot expanse of Eames’ chest, his fingers brushing Eames’ nipples and his mouth brushing Eames’ lips when he reacts. And the music is still there behind him. Arthur’s lost count of how many times it’s looped since they’ve been out here. There are people around them but Arthur doesn’t give a fuck about them. He doesn’t give a fuck about the mark, either. It’s Cobb’s responsibility to extract, so let him fucking do his job for once. Arthur has better things to do. Arthur has Eames’ hands on his ass and his body moving against his, his breath hot against Arthur’s temple and his lips brushing Arthur’s like a terrible promise of terrible things to come.
Arthur can’t help it. He’ll apologize to Eames for it later, but right now he just really needs to get Eames’ mouth on his own. The next time Eames bends near and his mouth grazes Arthur’s cheek, Arthur chases it, leaning into Eames and letting his throat catch when Eames tips back, just out of reach.
“You don’t have to prove anything to me, Arthur,” Eames says, and, fuck, Arthur really is going to punch him. Arthur’s the only one who’s allowed to hesitate in whatever-this-is.
“You’ve known me how long, Eames?” Arthur snaps, and Eames’ eyes flash, and that’s it, his hands come up to Arthur’s face and they’re making out on the dance floor, hot and deep, Arthur trying to get his hands everywhere at once, trying to crawl inside the space of Eames’ thighs and stay there for as long as this fucking song is going to keep playing. He slides his tongue over Eames’ and rejoices in Eames low moan, the way his hands drop to clutch Arthur’s shoulders. He’s thought about Eames’ mouth on every job they’ve worked together, and he already knows kissing him topside is going to be even better. He already knows there’s going to be a topside. Eames breaks the kiss and presses his lips to Arthur’s forehead, then to his temple and the side of his neck. “Arthur,” he says, still in that fucked-up hoarse voice. “I need to you stay focused. There’s still half an hour at least before the kick. If we don’t--”
“Fuck Cobb,” says Arthur, rutting shamelessly against his thigh and pulling him in for another kiss. “Fuck the kick. I need you to fuck me.”
“I’m not fucking this up because you’re pissed and need something to take the edge off,” Eames snaps, his eyes going burnt again. Arthur’s stomach clenches.
“Oh, sure, by all means,” he hisses. “Don’t let this get in the way of the job.”
“No, not the job,” Eames says. “This. You think I’ve waited for you for three fucking years to ruin it now just because you’ve decided you’re angry enough to try something? What do you fucking think we’ve been doing here?”
Arthur is speechless.
“Dance with me,” Eames says. “That’s all I ask, all right?”
Arthur is still speechless.
Eames reels him back in and settles him against his hip, still taking most of Arthur’s weight. Arthur lets him because he has no idea what else to do. After a moment he stammers, “I’m not--I’m not angry at you.”
“Shh,” says Eames. “Don’t talk. Just dance.”
“Eames,” says Arthur, and then, because it’s finally come down to this, he swallows and takes a breath, and makes himself end this.
“I want you more than a dance,” he says, still aware of the beat flowing underneath them.
It’s Eames’ turn to go silent.
“I’ll say it up above if you want me to,” says Arthur.
“Just fucking kiss me, Eames,” says Arthur, and Eames does, he leans forward and tilts Arthur’s chin and kisses him, and Arthur’s breath stutters in his chest and the warm muscles of Eames arms and legs ensconce him everywhere, and Arthur’s grinding hard now, not even trying not to refrain from frotting in public, because, seriously, fuck the mark’s projections, and fuck the mark, and Cobb, too.
“When we get upstairs, I’m going to take you to bed and keep you there,” Eames mutters.
“You can keep me,” Arthur says. “I’m sorry,” he adds. “I’m sorry I’m such a dick.”
“Oh, shut it,” says Eames. “I know exactly what you are.” And then he kisses Arthur again, and Arthur shudders and grinds, and Eames slips his hand down the front of Arthur’s pants, and after years of waiting and wanting, one touch is all it takes to shake apart in Eames’ arms, Eames’ mouth a warm vibration on his own, the song a warm vibration over his spine.
“I think I’m in love with you,” he says into the aftershocks. He feels like he’s been given a dose of laudanum. He can’t remember the last time he felt so relaxed, and judging by the way Eames’ chest is vibrating with laughter against his, he looks it.
“I think Rihanna is good for you, darling,” says Eames.
“I’ll tell you,” says Arthur. They’re still dancing, technically, but it’s more of a sway at this point. “I’ll tell you once we’re awake.”
“I’ll hold you to that,” says Eames, and Arthur has no idea if he’s joking or not, but it doesn’t matter. He means it.
He rests his head against Eames’ chest and mumbles something appreciative when he feels Eames’ fingers thread through his hair.
“The mark is looking at us,” he says against Arthur’s temple. Arthur’s eyes have gotten closed somewhere along the way; he’s not opening them just for some stupid job.
“I think he likes us,” says Eames speculatively.
“No cheating on me with the mark, Eames,” Arthur mumbles. “I’m very possessive.”
Eames laughs. “I’ll keep that in mind. I’m going to wave him over, though, just to see what he does, all right, darling?”
What happens after that is a bit of a blur--Eames graciously cards his fingers through Arthur’s hair all the way through it--but it ends with the mark helpfully materializing the location of the cache.
“Into your trousers,” Arthur grouses later.
“Oh, Arthur, must you be so pedantic,” Eames protests.
“Stupidest. Job. Ever,” Arthur insists, rubbing his temple. Eames looms over him, big and meaty and everything Arthur could ever want, and pokes him in the elbow.
“You’re just embarrassed to admit I gave you a wet dream on the job,” he says gleefully.
“Thinking you’re a wet dream and actually causing them aren’t the same, Eames,” Arthur responds as dryly as possible. Though it’s a bit difficult considering Eames has trapped his hips beneath his own on the bed and is currently rubbing one off against Arthur’s stomach. Arthur is trying to act aloof. He’s been trying to act aloof for the past few days, most of which Eames has spent relentlessly crowding into his personal space and giving him orgasms. It’s a hard life.
“You think I’m much more than that, admit it,” Eames says, tugging one of Arthur’s curls.
“This is a stupid conversation,” says Arthur.
“I bet you could make me come,” said Eames. “And then we’d be even.” Arthur raises an eyebrow. “More or less.”
He shifts down and Arthur’s cock jolts as Eames frots against it.
“Fine,” Arthur says. “I did tell you I’d say it topside.”
He watches as Eames’ expression goes startled, then happy, then fond.
“You don’t need to say anything,” he says.
“Asshole, do you want me to make you come or not?”
Eames barks out a laugh. “I could probably use some help, here, yes.”
Arthur slips his hand over the width of Eames cock, his thumb circling the inner shell of Eames’ foreskin, Eames trembles and bends close, shifting faster and resting his lips on the base of Arthur’s collarbone.
“I’m so in love with you, Eames,” Arthur whispers. “I’ve been in love with you for years.”
“Arthur,” says Eames, shuddering into Arthur’s frame as he gets closer and closer. Arthur strokes a hand along his spine.
“I want you to take me under and fuck me for days,” says Arthur, heady on the sound of the words. “Stay in me til I forget what I feel like without you in me.”
“Fuck, Arthur, oh, my god,” says Eames, hunching his shoulders.
“Come all over me,” says Arthur, and he squeezes the base of Eames’ shaft and Eames does come, all over Arthur’s stomach and chest, come spattering his nipples. Arthur yawns happily and lets Eames collapse against him.
“Yeah, I totally love you,” he says, running his fingers through Eames’ hair. “Just, you know. Remember that when I’m a dick in what will most likely be the near future.”
Eames grunts. Then rouses himself enough to look Arthur in the eye. “In the near future,” he says, kissing Arthur on the nose, “I intend to take you dancing. Or at the very least, ply you with club music until you remember that deep down in your little raver heart, you are a hopeless romantic who needs my cock inside of him in regular intervals.”
“Yeah, about that,” says Arthur, and Eames laughs and laughs.
Rihanna, Arthur thinks.
Well, it could have been worse.
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