Title: (Everything Could Be Everything) If Only We Were Older
Words: 4100 words
Huge thanks to earlofcardigans for betaing. Title from Lady Gaga’s Brown Eyes. Also at AO3.
A/N: Set about ten years pre-movie although I’ve played fast and loose with (read: totally ignored) Chris Nolan’s idea for their backstories. This also conveniently fills my kissbingo square location: in the rain.
(Everything Could Be Everything) If Only We Were Older
Eames is just stepping out of his last lecture of the day when the heavens decide to open up over him. One minute, the day is fine, a little grey but understandably so since it’s five in the evening and that time of year; the next, great hail-sized bullets of rain are lashing down around him.
“Fuck,” Eames says, out loud and to no one in particular, turns up his collar, and starts to run.
His flat is across the campus, and he’s not even half way there before his trainers start to feel like he has two small swimming pools strapped to his feet and the bottoms of his jeans slap disgustingly around his ankles, soaking his socks and gritty against his calves.
The undergrad housing buildings are coming up on his right, and Eames is just considering blagging his way into one, when a very familiar shape pushes open one of the doors, stops when he sees the rain and starts fumbling with an umbrella.
“Arthur!” Eames shouts and puts on some extra speed.
Arthur looks up, expression startled, which is, Eames thinks, a fair enough reaction to seeing one’s unofficial part-time shag emerge red-faced and panting from the rain.
“Eames?” Arthur demands, “What the hell? You’re soaking.”
Eames stops himself from careening straight into Arthur with a hand on the red brick front porch; it’s wet and a little crumbly under his hand. He’s so wet he probably couldn’t get wetter and this seems like an all right place to stop for a chat, as long as the chat he’s having is with Arthur.
“That would be the rain,” he explains with a smile so Arthur knows he’s only teasing. Sometimes Arthur can be rather sensitive when he thinks he’s being mocked.
Arthur just shakes his head, rolling his eyes. He looks like he’s been stuck indoors all day, a little wide and spacey around the eyes and his hair is curling behind his ears.
Eames leans forward and kisses him.
He’s careful to keep his soggy body angled back from Arthur’s nice and dry one, but he can’t do anything about his fringe which smatters a cold sprinkle of rain water across Arthur’s nose.
“Ugh,” Arthur says, shoving him back with two hands in the centre of his chest. “Seriously.” He looks down at his hands, now wet and a little pink from sudden cold and wipes them on his jeans.
Eames can’t help his smile or the way that just looking at Arthur’s wrinkled up nose makes him forget all about how wet he is. “Don’t be like that,” he says, leaning in slower this time so Arthur can back away if he really isn’t prepared to put up with a little rain water for a kiss.
Arthur looks up at him from under his eyelashes, unimpressed and impatient, but he meets Eames’s kiss this time, lips curling up into a smile against Eames’s. He licks the seam of Eames’s mouth, and Eames had only meant this to be a quick kiss, a hi, I’ve missed you and I’m not having the best afternoon kiss, but Arthur’s tongue is very warm and Eames is very cold and he finds his hands sliding into Arthur’s hair, holding him still and enveloping himself in Arthur’s heat. Arthur is always warmer than Eames, almost like he’s stockpiling heat in case Eames ever should need it.
Eames needs it very much right now. He pushes Arthur back, just a little and Arthur goes with it, pressing his back to the brickwork and curling their tongues together. Dimly, Eames is aware that the rain is getting heavier, starting to blow sideways and invade their little cranny, but he’s blocking the worst of it from Arthur and if Arthur doesn’t care then Eames certainly doesn’t.
Eames has just started to work his cold hands under the back of Arthur’s jumper when someone tries to come out of Arthur’s building and almost hits them with the door. Eames and Arthur break apart, smiling at each other a little reluctantly, like they’re not sure if what they were just doing was hot or embarrassing.
Hot, Eames decides, definitely hot.
“I guess I should be going,” Arthur says, looking out at the drowning courtyard with a frown.
“No,” Eames decides for him, “Absolutely not. You can’t be seriously considering going out in that, Arthur. You’ll catch your death. Besides, what would I do?”
Arthur looks at him. “I..” he says slowly, dragging the word out as though he’s thinking it through. “I suppose you do need to dry off.”
“I do,” Eames agrees solemnly, nodding seriously and trying to look extra damp. It doesn’t take much effort.
Arthur wavers. He’s got a canvas bag hanging from one shoulder and when Eames sneaks a peak, he sees it’s bulging with hardback books with sensible titles like Rare Space and Architectural Acoustics. “I promised Dom I’d get these books to him tonight,” he says, which is actually perfect in terms of Eames’s spontaneous plan to get Arthur to come back inside with him.
“I’m not sure how welcome you’d be,” he confides, “The last time I saw Mal, she was heading over to Cobb’s flat with a bottle of wine and a very determined smile.” It’s mildly creepy how much Eames knows about his lecturers’ love life, but right now it’s coming in useful.
Arthur blushes the way he always does when the idea of Mal and Cobb fucking is brought up. Eames finds it hilarious, especially since Arthur isn’t at all prudish when it comes to his own sex life.
“Fine,” Arthur says. He smiles suddenly and pushes Eames’s fringe back off his forehead. “I should invite you up then, I guess.”
Eames lets his own smile loose to match Arthur’s. “Well, since I’m not actually a vampire, I could always just follow you,” he says and watches in delight as Arthur’s smile turns wicked.
Arthur turns away, typing in the door code while Eames cups his hips, memorising the numbers (mostly) by accident. “Come on then,” he says and yanks open the door, “Follow me.” He twists out of Eames’s grip and throws himself into the stairwell, disappearing up the stairs and out of sight.
“Oh really?” Eames calls after him and gives chase.
There’s only one thing worse that running in wet socks and that’s running in wet socks that have just started to dry, but Eames doesn’t think about that as he pounds up the stairs after Arthur. Eames is in shape but Arthur’s fast and Eames doesn’t manage to grab him before they reach the third floor and Arthur breaks off to head for his flat.
Eames catches up with Arthur at his front door. He’s panting and trying but failing to get his door key to fit in the lock. Eames reaches out and takes him by the shoulder, spinning him around and pinning him to the door.
Arthur looks up, grinning. “Too slow,” he says.
Eames’s eyes widen in mock-offence. “What do you mean?” he asks, “I’ve caught you.”
“Not quite,” Arthur says and, with a little twist of his wrist, the door opens behind him and he steps back, riding the momentum nicely while Eames trips and falls face first onto the thin carpet.
“Oh, you bastard,” he says, and rolls onto his back in time to see Arthur, laughing, close the door.
Eames grabs his hand and pulls him down so he’s on top of Eames, flipping them easily and pressing Arthur into the carpet. He makes sure to slide his wet clothes against the full length of Arthur’s body as punishment for playing dirty then, because Arthur’s throat is warm and pale and right there, settles down to lick and suck and bruise.
“Uh,” Arthur says, squirming and breathless. “I thought you said you weren’t a vampire.”
“I changed my mind,” Eames says in his best Transylvanian accent, “You should never believe what strange men tell you, little boy.”
“Yeah, that’s really creepy,” Arthur tells him and goes limp against the carpet, letting Eames give him a hickey if he wants.
Eames actually hates how well Arthur knows him. Now that Arthur isn’t squirming and fake-protesting underneath him, all the fun’s gone out of it. He rolls away with one final kiss to Arthur’s shoulder and spreads himself out, star-shaped, across the carpet.
“I think you owe me a towel,” he tells the ceiling.
“Owe you?” Arthur echoes, sounding like he can’t believe his ears, but he gets up anyway and disappears in what Eames is quietly confident is the direction of the bathroom.
Lying on the floor, waiting for Arthur to come back, Eames toes off his shoes. They squelch nastily when they land on the carpet and Eames hopes vaguely that they’re not too muddy.
“You’re making a mess on my carpet,” Arthur says, appearing above him with a towel draped over one arm. Then he cocks his head. “Or, actually, I take it back. You are a mess on my carpet.”
Eames contemplates sticking his tongue out at him, decides that might come across as a little juvenile and then does it anyway.
Arthur laughs. He’s lost his jacket and his shoes and socks somewhere and he looks gorgeous enough that it gives Eames the incentive to get to his feet.
The movement chafes wet denim along his crotch area, and he makes a disgusted face. Arthur lifts his eyebrows, asking what’s wrong, but Eames just shakes his head, nothing, even though it would be the perfect excuse to suggest that Arthur should kiss the burn better.
Arthur hands him the towel and, while Eames is towelling off the ends of his hair, Eames’s self restraint is rewarded by Arthur reaching out and starting to unfasten Eames’s belt for him.
“Are you appointing yourself my valet?” Eames asks.
“Shh,” Arthur says and pulls Eames’s belt free of the belt loops with a fast little whoosh that makes Eames’s breath catch. Apparently they’re not going down the kinky route though because Arthur just tosses the belt over his shoulder and moves his hands to Eames’s fly.
It’s hard to feel sexy when you’re wet and cold in rain-soaked clothes but Arthur’s fingertips brushing at Eames’s cock definitely make him feel something along those lines.
“If you’re trying to torture me, you’re doing a wonderful job,” Eames tells him through clenched teeth.
Arthur’s second, “Shh,” is a lot more forceful. He gets Eames’s trousers unfastened then gives Eames a look until Eames steps back and out of them.
At least, that’s the plan. In Eames’s head, he slides out of his jeans with grace and dignity. In reality, they were already a little small for him and now, wet as they are, they cling to his thighs, raising goosebumps as he slowly peels them down his legs and leaves his skin pale and unattractively blotchy.
When he looks up, Arthur’s smirking at him, but isn’t cruel enough to actually laugh.
“Zip it,” Eames mutters anyway, finally, finally getting out of his jeans. He kicks them somewhat viciously across the room as punishment for making him look inept. Eames is just as competitive as Arthur when it comes to being good at everything he does.
The rest of Eames’s clothes are a lot easier to strip out of and soon he’s standing naked in the middle of Arthur’s living room, which would be fine, great even, if he weren’t absolutely freezing cold.
“Can’t you put some heat on?” he asks, because he suspects that his balls have retreated back into his body and, while he doesn’t want to look down and check, he doesn’t think his dick is going to be impressing anyone, least of all Arthur, right now.
“I could,” Arthur agrees but, instead, he steps into Eames’s space and wraps one arm around his back, the other dropping between his legs while he kisses him. He squeezes Eames’s cock softly and it’s almost sweet, as though he’s honestly just trying to warm Eames, not get him hard.
Eames will always return Arthur’s kisses with as much enthusiasm as possible, but today he really goes for it, grabbing Arthur by the shoulders and practically crushing their bodies together, simultaneously kissing and trying to squirm his hands through Arthur’s layers to find skin.
Arthur hisses when Eames presses his fingers to Arthur’s incredibly warm, ridiculously warm, skin and then escalates it to a, “Holy shit, Eames,” when Eames settles the full span of his hands against the dips of Arthur’s waist.
“Sorry,” Eames says blithely, “I’m a little chilly.”
“You’re a walking fucking icicle,” Arthur contradicts. “Seriously, aren’t you English? Shouldn’t you be used to winter?”
Eames stares at him. “Have you been reading Dickens again?” he asks, concerned, “We don’t have winters like this in London.” He’s actually rather looking forward to when it starts to snow here, since that was at least part of the reason why he picked Washington to run away to for university - the other being that it’s nearly 6000 km away from his father - but this freezing rain business he could definitely do without.
“Maybe I should have gone to Cambridge after all then,” Arthur says. He’s nibbling on Eames’s jaw now, clearly not paying any attention to what he’s saying, but the words still send a funny little jolt through Eames’s chest.
“I’ll take you,” he promises and now he knows Arthur isn’t paying attention, because he only hums, agreement where Eames is sure Arthur wouldn’t actually go that far with him at all.
“Come on,” Arthur says, walking forward so Eames has to back up a step or let go of Arthur - he’s completely unprepared to let go of Arthur.
They bump into the sofa but Arthur just steers them around it; Eames feels his back just brush a doorframe, but not hard enough to hurt, Arthur leading him almost perfectly.
“Where are we going?” he asks curiously, much more interested in where Arthur’s hands are going, slipping to the top of his arse.
“Bed,” Arthur tells him shortly, which is the best news Eames has heard all day.
Arthur’s bed is covered in scraps of paper, the beginnings of essays and the ends of ideas; at least two biros are leaking into his duvet cover and one pillow has been given over entirely to library books. Eames ignores all of that and dives into the bed, burrowing under the covers which are cool to the touch but still warmer than Eames.
Arthur shakes his head and quickly lifts all his homework debris off the bed and onto the floor. His eyes dart to Eames and he steps forward before stopping, stepping back and stripping quickly out of his clothes.
Eames watches greedily, taking in his smooth chest, narrow hips, long limbs, the flushed jut of his already-hard cock. Eames’s own cock twitches a little, considering coming out of hibernation for this.
“Come here now,” Eames says, holding out his hand, his voice gone rough.
Arthur just smiles and saunters - fucking saunters - out of the room. He’s only gone for twenty seconds, but it’s still long enough for Eames to consider climbing out of his cocoon of growing warmth to go looking for him. When he comes back, he’s carrying a condom and a little bottle of lube and all right, yes, Eames can forgive him for leaving.
“We left them in the kitchen,” Arthur says with a slightly embarrassed curl of his lips. He climbs up onto the bed, sliding under the duvet beside Eames and pressing up against his side. “Remember?”
Eames definitely remembers: three nights ago, Arthur bent over his kitchen counter, alternately swearing and threatening and, finally, pleading while Eames fucked him slower than either of them thought they could stand.
His cock is definitely getting interested now.
“Hm, I may remember,” he says idly. “There are so many pretty undergraduate boys for me to seduce, you know? You all blend into each other.”
Arthur hits him in the centre of his chest, rather harder than Eames thinks he deserves. “Asshole,” Arthur says. “For that, you’re not going to fuck me.”
Eames tips his head. He licks his lips slowly. “Are you going to fuck me, instead?” he asks.
Arthur’s cheeks are flushed, they haven’t done that yet, but, “Yep,” is all he says.
And well, with a promise like that, how can anyone be expected to resist? Eames rolls on top of Arthur, the duvet getting tangled up between them and kisses him, messy and dirty with plenty of tongue and teeth.
Arthur groans and pulls at his hair, crushes their mouths together. His hands are roaming all over Eames, touching and squeezing and stroking. His fingertips drag over Eames’s arse cheeks and Eames shivers.
“You’re still really cold,” Arthur tsks and Eames is about to reassure him that no, no he’s really not, when he realises that that’s not the best move, strategically speaking.
“Maybe a little,” he allows, smiling when Arthur nods once, like his conclusions have been confirmed, and disappears under the duvet.
Arthur’s lips are hot and dry, dragging down Eames’s chest, across his stomach, over his hip and finally stopping at his cock, sucking the head wetly into his mouth.
“Mm,” Eames hums, rolling his hips up lazily. He parts his legs willingly when Arthur pushes his thighs open and then Arthur is licking a path down the V of his groin, over his balls and stopping to kiss his perineum slowly and carefully, more attention than that particular part of Eames’s body has ever had before.
Then Arthur’s tongue starts to move lower.
Heat shoots through Eames so quickly that for a second he actually misses the cold. His fingers tingle with surprised arousal and his skin feels too tight and Arthur - serious, Architecture major Arthur who Eames met at Mal’s first dream sharing seminar and hasn’t let go of yet, who Eames likes very much, far more than he should, but who had never even kissed a boy until Eames came along eight weeks ago and suggested it, that Arthur - is licking his way slowly and precisely into Eames’s arsehole.
“Ohmyholyshit,” Eames breathes, or something equally suave and elegant.
Far down Eames’s body, muffled by the duvet, Arthur’s laugh floats up to him, soft and slightly wicked.
By the time Arthur has licked and kissed and rimmed Eames to his satisfaction, Eames feels very much like a living, breathing puddle all over again, but this time in a much more pleasant way.
“Arthur,” he says and is surprised to find that his tongue still works. “Fuck me now, okay?”
Arthur has crawled back up the bed and now he’s pressed against Eames’s side, kissing lazy patterns across his chest and rocking his erection against Eames’s hip.
“Mm, good idea,” Arthur agrees but doesn’t actually move.
Eames elbows him. “Well?”
Arthur elbows him straight back. “Well, it’s your turn to do some of the work.”
Eames laughs. That’s definitely true. “But I rather like your work, darling,” he says then holds his breath to see if that’s one liberty too far; Arthur doesn’t strike him as the kind of boy who takes kindly to endearments.
Arthur doesn’t say anything though, just watches him quizzically for a moment before slapping the condom against Eames’s chest.
He rolls onto his back and grins challengingly at Eames, which is all the incentive Eames needs to swing himself around so he’s straddling Arthur, Arthur’s cock poking at Eames’s hole, which is very, very ready for him by now.
Once they’ve got the condom on Arthur (and of course, Arthur couldn’t actually lie still and let Eames do the work; he likes to be in control too much for that), Eames rolls back his hips and sinks down slowly, carefully, closing his eyes to better appreciate the stretch and slide of Arthur inside him.
Arthur makes a sound, bitten off like he didn't mean to let it escape. Helpless, Eames looks down at him: he looks very young, every bit nineteen years old for once, his expression caught somewhere between terror that he might come too soon and awe that a feeling like this exists at all. Eames knows that expression, has worn that expression, but not for a long time and he’s jealously pleased that he gets to be the first person who ever sees Arthur like this.
They don’t last long, but then they don’t try to, both of them moving fast and frantic now, Eames fucking himself on Arthur’s cock and Arthur slapping his hips up hard to meet him. The duvet slips off Eames’s shoulders, pooling somewhere around his hips but it doesn’t matter now, he’s so hot he can’t really believe that he was ever cold.
Arthur reaches up and twists Eames’s nipples, pinching, bruising them, ruining Eames’s rhythm and the very last of his self-control.
He comes hard, all over Arthur’s chest, a little of it hitting the hollow of Arthur’s throat, and Eames has to curl forward and lick it off, licking his way up Arthur’s neck, past the bruise he made earlier and biting down on Arthur’s bottom lip, once and hard, while Arthur rocks frantically underneath him, arching up and going still, shouting out an almost-word which Eames swallows in a kiss.
They pause like that, mouth to mouth, trying to catch their breath but not really succeeding, just making each other more breathless. Even so, Eames doesn’t want to pull away.
Eventually he has to, untangling them and rolling onto his side. He leaves Arthur to deal with the condom and watches through half closed eyes as Arthur pads naked around the bedroom, disappearing out of the room for a minute and coming back wearing boxers and a hoodie.
Eames frowns. “Why are you dressed?” he asks, feeling genuinely put out.
Arthur rolls his eyes and comes to sit back on the bed. “It’s the middle of the evening,” he says, “I can’t just lie around naked.”
“Why not?” Eames asks. It sounds like an excellent plan to him, especially if he gets to stay and watch. He reaches up and strokes his hand over the raised lettering across the front of Arthur’s university hoodie - it does feel soft and very comfortable. Eames wants to steal it. But, more than that, he wants to steal Arthur whether or not he’s wearing it.
Arthur stretches out across the bed and drapes an arm across Eames’s chest. He’s probably hoping that it seems casual. “I could order take-out,” he says, like he can’t quite bring himself to make it a proper invitation in case he gets shot down.
Eames nods solemnly. “You could,” he agrees. “I could stay to help you eat it.”
Arthur glances across at him, just a quick look and then away, but he’s smiling. “I guess you could,” he agrees. “It is still raining.”
“Is it?” Eames arches an eyebrow. “In that case, your Constitution probably demands that you let me shelter here.”
Arthur makes a sound that obviously wants to be a laugh if only he would let it out. His cheeks flush and his smile has dimples and he honestly is the most beautiful man; with his brain and that smile, he could take over the world. What’s more, if he ever does, Eames wants to be right there beside him.
“Why are you staring at me?” Arthur asks, lifting his eyebrows to emphasise that he thinks Eames is very strange. Eames knows he’s fairly far gone when he realises that he enjoys Arthur finding him peculiar.
There are certain things that it’s okay to say out loud, especially straight after very good sex, but your dimples have made me realise I could fall in love with you is not one of them. “Because I’m going to kiss you,” he says instead and does, pressing Arthur back down into the bed and rolling on top of him, Arthur’s hoodie warm against Eames’s naked chest, their bare legs tangling.
They can order take-away later; Eames can think of much more important things to do right now.