Title: Please Don’t Ask Me To Spend The Night
Words: 4600 words
A/N: huge thanks to earlofcardigans and danacias for looking over this one for me. I've fiddled with it quite a bit since then though so all mistakes are mine.
Title from Pat Monahan’s Two Ways To Say Goodbye (did I mention that I saw Train on Monday? Or that Pat is fan-fucking-tastically amazing? I did? Well, allow me to mention it again anyway). Also at AO3.
Arthur starts shedding her clothes as soon as she reaches her LA apartment. She knows that she wasn’t actually wearing these pants or this shirt while she strangled men in zero gravity, but she feels like she was, sticky and uncomfortable with imaginary dirt and genuine sweat from eighteen hours on an airplane.
She leaves her clothes where they fall, not too concerned about the mess since she’s the only one here, and heads straight for the shower.
The bedroom smells recently aired, there are fresh towels in the master bathroom and the water, when she turns it on, is the perfect pressure and temperature. Arthur turns her face up into the spray and smiles; there are definite perks to the criminal lifestyle.
She washes the job off her skin, the product out of her hair, then stays in the shower for another quarter hour, water pounding down on her shoulders, letting herself breathe until muscles that have been tense for months start to relax.
It’s only when the condensation stops steaming up the mirrors and starts running down them in rivulets that she finally shuts off the water and steps out, wrapping one towel around her waist and scrubbing her hair with another.
She finds a neatly folded t-shirt and a pair of pyjama pants in the airing cupboard. By the time she’s changed into them and gotten herself a glass of water from the kitchen downstairs, she’s thinking seriously about heading to bed. It’s barely dark out, but she’s had a long day (week, month, hell year, if she’s honest).
She briefly contemplates calling Cobb, just to check that everything went as smoothly on his end as she thinks it did, but she doesn’t want to disturb his first night back with his kids.
She’s reminding herself of this, very firmly, when she walks back into the bedroom, sees Eames lying in the bed, Arthur’s bed, eyes closed and a peaceful expression on her face, and drops her cellphone on the floor.
“What are you doing here?” Arthur snaps, refusing to admit to herself that she was startled.
“Hm?” Eames asks, rolling over and squinting at Arthur. “Sleeping.” She somehow makes it sound like Arthur’s the one being unreasonable here.
“In my bed?” Arthur asks then winces because she knows what’s coming.
“Yes, Goldilocks, in your bed,” Eames says, just like Arthur knew she would.
Arthur huffs and stalks across the room. She’s tired and she’s damned if Eames is going to do this to her tonight.
“Move over then,” she says, hands on her hips, glaring down at Eames who is, of course, sprawled across the mattress in the most disruptive muddle of limbs possible.
Eames doesn’t look surprised - of course she wouldn’t give Arthur the satisfaction - but she does slide across the bed, trying to take the comforter along with her until Arthur grabs a corner and pulls.
The comforter zips out of Eames’s hands, hitting Arthur softly in the chest. Arthur glares at her on principle but Eames just smiles back, innocent and sleep-mused.
Arthur hates her kind of a lot.
“What are you doing here?” Arthur repeats, folding the comforter over her arm possessively. She’s sure she saw Eames heading for her connecting flight to London. Hell, she knows she did; she stopped and waited to make sure Eames, Yusuf and Ariadne all got to their gates.
“Waiting for you,” Eames says like that’s an answer. When Arthur doesn’t respond, just stares at her, Eames tugs the comforter again. “You’re letting all the cold air in. Arthur.”
Eames has this way of saying Arthur’s name, all laughing curls around the vowels like they’re sharing a private joke. Arthur thinks that’s a bit rich; Eames goes by a name that isn’t even hers, there’s no reason why Arthur shouldn’t prefer to go by her surname.
“Oh no,” Arthur deadpans. “You know, that wouldn’t happen if you were in your own apartment.”
Eames curls her lip, not quite a pout, not quite a smile. “That’s true,” she says, “Except I don’t have an apartment -” teasing use of Arthur’s accent because she knows how much that annoys Arthur - “in Los Angeles. You wouldn’t like to see me out on the streets, would you?”
“Wouldn’t I?” Arthur mutters, sliding into bed and twitching the comforter out irritably across them both. The sheet under her is warm from Eames’ body and that annoys Arthur too.
The light switch is on Eames’s side of the bed. She’s not making any move to get it and Arthur isn’t going to ask her to, so she leans over instead, careful not to let any part of her body brush Eames’s.
Except, while her fingers search out the light switch, she makes the mistake of looking down. Eames is looking up at her, light brown hair fanned out across the pillow and the upward curve of her lips a smile not a smirk.
“Arthur,” Eames says quietly. She sounds far away but Arthur is painfully aware of just how close she is.
“Go to sleep,” Arthur says, abandoning the light and rolling onto her side, away from Eames and closing her eyes firmly.
She feels the bed dip, hears the rustle of the sheet as Eames moves closer.
Don’t, Arthur thinks frantically, leave it. But, of course, Eames doesn’t. She puts her hand on Arthur’s hip, touch light but still too much.
“It doesn’t have to be like this,” she says quietly, sounding serious.
Arthur tenses. “Exactly how should it be?” she snaps. If she sounds brittle rather than pissed, she hopes Eames respects her enough not to mention it.
Eames’s lips brush Arthur’s ear. “Well, this is always an option,” she says, like she’s contemplating Arthur’s question.
If Arthur tenses any further, she’s going to spontaneously invoke a stroke. “It’s really not,” she says through clenched teeth.
Eames’s hand stills - when had it drifted up Arthur’s side? How had Arthur missed that? - and she breathes out once, twice, softly against Arthur’s cheek before moving back.
“Okay,” she says. She sounds sad, but Eames has always been able to sound whatever the moment calls for. That’s the problem, has always been the problem, Arthur doesn’t know when to believe her. “In that case, good night.”
Arthur closes her eyes. She counts to twenty, staring at the dark of her eyelids and telling herself that she’s not going to be manipulated, she’s not going to give in to Eames - . Oh, fuck it.
She rolls over, hands finding Eames’s shoulders to hold her still and kisses her hard. A punishment that probably isn't a punishment at all.
“Mph,” Eames says against Arthur’s mouth, almost like she wasn’t expecting Arthur to fall for her tricks, and her hands go to Arthur’s head, clutching at her short hair.
“Fuck,” Arthur says, dragging her lips damply across Eames’s mouth and down her throat, “Fuck, Eames, I wasn’t going to do this.” She didn’t do this, not for weeks and weeks in Paris, no matter how shockingly brilliant Eames insisted on being.
“Well don’t -,” Eames’s hips roll up off the bed when Arthur sucks on her collarbone and she interrupts herself with a moan - “Don’t blame me, darling.”
Of course Arthur is going to blame Eames; Arthur doesn't go looking for this but she’s never able to resist when Eames offers it. She can't explain that right now because Eames’s hands have found their way up under the front of her t-shirt and are cupping her breasts firmly.
“Fuck, don’t, fuck,” Arthur groans, grinding her chest down against Eames’s hands, bigger than Arthur’s breasts and cooler than Arthur’s skin.
“Don’t what?” Eames asks, kissing Arthur’s mouth.
“Don’t stop,” Arthur snaps.
Eames has found her nipples now, rolling them between her thumbs and index fingers, pinching and pulling, almost too hard and Arthur tries to stay quiet, but she can’t. No one's touched her for months and the noises she’s making are really fucking embarrassing but she can’t stop them.
Arthur keeps her hands to herself for a minute as though if she doesn’t touch Eames back that she’s not really doing this, but that’s bullshit and Arthur hates being a hypocrite so she reaches out, pulls Eames closer, scratches her fingernails down Eames’s spine, wishing that her t-shirt wasn’t in the way.
Almost like she’s reading Arthur’s mind - maybe she is; Arthur’s never surprised anymore by the things Eames can do - Eames’s takes her hands away from Arthur (not okay; really not okay) and pulls both their t-shirts off, first Arthur’s then her own.
Arthur rocks back to sit on her heels, taking in Eames’s body like it might have changed in some fundamental way since the last time she saw it. Eames is all curving arm and shoulder muscles, heavy breasts, ugly tattoos; she’s so very Eames, and maybe it’s an overly romantic thing to think, but Arthur has always believed that no one has a body quite like Eames’s, one that tells their story quite so well.
“Are you just going to look?” Eames asks, arching her eyebrows.
“Yes,” Arthur says but it’s a lie.
She slides her hands up Eames’s ribs, listening to her breath hitch and cups one breast in her hand. There’s a thick knot of black ink curling around the swell of it, starting at her sternum and looping around to her ribs. Arthur kisses the ink, tracing the path of it with her tongue.
“Oh,” Eames says and it’s so close to an honest sound that Arthur rewards her with a little scrape of teeth. “I thought you hated my tattoos.”
“No,” Arthur tells her, but she doesn’t elaborate.
Eames’s nipples are dark pink and hard and she makes choked little uh-umn sounds when Arthur touches them.
“Lie down,” Arthur says, breath stirring the tiny pale hairs standing to attention along Eames’s skin.
“Gladly,” Eames breathes and collapses back onto her elbows. She’s wearing a pair of men’s boxers - Arthur doesn’t want to think about where she might have gotten them from - and they’re easy to slide off her hips and down her thighs.
Eames helpfully kicks the boxers off the side of the bed and, not so helpfully, pauses to rubs the soft pad of her foot over Arthur’s shoulder.
Arthur shivers even though that is really not sexy.
“Feet off, Eames,” Arthur says, staring at Eames’s long, pink toes, the chipped red nail polish left over from her intern job at Fischer Morrow, with her most unimpressed expression.
“Or what?” Eames asks, smiling at Arthur with her head tilted to one side.
“Or I won’t go down on you.” Arthur smirks when Eames’s foot falls immediately back onto the bed. She didn’t actually mean it, but it’s part of her job to be able to deliver an empty threat so it’s believable.
There are tattoos scattered across the gentle curve of Eames’s stomach, one just peaking out of the thatch of hair between her legs. That wasn’t there the last time Arthur saw her naked.
Arthur stretches out across the bed and kisses Eames’s hip. Eames pushes up against her mouth, fingers tight in Arthur’s hair which is something Arthur always feels she should object to but secretly kind of enjoys.
The insides of Eames’s thighs are prickly with a day’s worth of stubble when Arthur kisses them apart and her cunt’s wet and warm, opening easily around the arrowed press of Arthur’s tongue.
Arthur likes going down on Eames, always has, enjoys how she can make Eames’s shake apart, how orgasms make Eames honest and how Arthur can give her that without giving away too much of herself in the process.
Tonight though, Eames doesn’t let her get away with that. She lets Arthur kiss and suck and lick her clit and folds until Arthur’s face is sticky with it and Eames is groaning constantly but then she grabs Arthur by the hair and shoulder, pulling her up, away from Eames’s cunt and kisses her instead.
“Eames,” Arthur protests, but then Eames is rolling them over, climbing on top of Arthur and Arthur stops protesting, because their chests are pressing together, Eames’s breasts warm and heavy against Arthur’s smaller ones and her smooth, round knee is pressing up, up between Arthur’s legs where she’s wet and just starting to throb.
Arthur bites Eames’s shoulder rather than groan out loud and slides her own leg between Eames’s, pushing up with her thigh and down with her hips.
Eames turns her head and licks Arthur’s cheek, which is ridiculous and not at all sexy, but still makes Arthur produce a muffled sound that would be a laugh if she wasn’t so turned on. Her body’s too hot, both of them sweating and sliding together easier and easier; there’s hair in her eyes, hers or Eames’s she isn’t sure, and if she doesn’t come soon she’s going to hurt someone.
This is always how Eames makes her feel - strung out and desperate and totally out of control, which isn’t a feeling that Arthur likes but then Eames’s arm wraps around her, strong and very, very there and Eames's searching fingers find Arthur's clit and Arthur shakes her way toward an orgasm, thrusting frantically against Eames’s knee and fingers because she’s close but it’s not enough, she isn’t done.
She’s too sensitive, it almost hurts, but she can’t stop and Eames mutters nonsense in her ear, scratches her fingers down Arthur’s side and up her thigh, scrapes the tip of her thumb nail over Arthur’s clit and Arthur comes so hard that the sound she makes is more a sob than anything else.
Arthur’s shaking by the time she’s caught her breath and Eames is rocking against her, kissing every part of Arthur’s face that she can reach. It’s wet and a little bit itchy, but Arthur doesn't complain, just flips them and pushes Eames’s knees apart, drags her fingers through the wetness between Eames’s legs and pushes three fingers into her all at once.
Eames’s hips rocket up off the bed and Arthur ducks her head, kissing and biting Eames’s breasts and fingerfucking her three times, four times, which is all it takes for Eames to shudder all around her, groaning Arthur’s name - her first name, the one only Eames ever uses - as she does.
“Don’t call me that,” Arthur says, not very grumpily and far too late, a good ten minutes after they’ve flopped down next to each other on the bed, backs of their hands touching accidentally, Arthur just too exhausted to move away.
“What?” Eames asks, rolling onto her side and smiling at Arthur with the shit eating grin that Arthur hates. “But it’s such a lovely name, L-.”
Arthur slaps her hand over Eames’s mouth, and even then she’s pretty sure she can feel Eames spelling out her name with her tongue against Arthur’s palm. Frustrated, Arthur replaces her hand with her mouth, hoping that’ll be enough to shut her up.
They kiss longer than Arthur had planned, sliding from cross and hot into something softer, a kiss for kissing’s sake and nothing more. Eames’s hands are stroking over Arthur’s bare shoulders and down her back, like she really just wants to touch Arthur and Arthur doesn’t know what she's after now since she’s already come.
“Darling?” Eames says softly, kissing just below Arthur’s ear. “If you can still think that hard, I must not be kissing you well enough.”
“You’re kissing me fine,” Arthur says then wishes that she could take it back.
Eames smiles though, wide and lopsided with too much teeth, her real smile, so maybe Arthur doesn’t regret it completely.
“Mm, good,” is all Eames says and kisses Arthur again.
Somehow, and usually Arthur is good at keeping track of the little details, Eames manages to shift them around so Arthur’s head is on the pillow and find the comforter, pulling it up over them both, all without breaking their kiss.
At some point, Arthur thinks, she needs to put a stop to this, or they’re going to fall asleep kissing and tomorrow will be awkward when Eames remembers that Arthur isn’t someone she spends the night with. But right now, Eames’s lips are slow and lazy against Arthur’s and Arthur really can’t find it within herself to stop.
She curls her hand around Eames’s ass, not trying to start anything, just holding on, but it breaks the kiss anyway, when Eames laughs against her lips.
“Well?” she asks, “Does my arse meet with your approval?”
Arthur rolls her eyes and refuses to play that game. She almost wishes she had a moment later when Eames’s smile falters and she backs up a little.
“Arthur,” she says softly. She doesn’t ask what’s wrong, because she’s always been able to read Arthur better than anyone, just shakes her head, looking a little exasperated and a lot tired. It’s an expression she wore a lot in the warehouse in Paris, calculating and thoughtful, and Arthur braces herself for Eames’s next brilliant moment of insight.
Instead, Eames just sighs and lies down against her own pillow, not touching Arthur anywhere.
“You know,” she says casually across the space between them, “We might actually get somewhere one day if you’d consider trusting me.”
Arthur opens and closes her mouth. “But you’re a con job,” she says, because they’ve never been delicate with each other’s feelings.
Eames’s laugh isn’t amused. “Of course,” she says and falls quiet.
Irrationally, Arthur starts to feel a little bad. “I do trust you,” she says slowly. “I mean. Mostly.” She’s lying naked in her own bed with Eames; Eames should realise that that means Arthur trusts her more than ninety-nine percent of the population already.
“Mostly,” Eames echoes softly. “You trust me not to shoot you and you trust me to fuck you but you’ve never trusted me with the important things.”
“Eames,” Arthur says, rolling onto her side to face Eames and trying not to smile, “Those things are pretty important.”
When Eames doesn’t answer, Arthur pokes her in the bicep.
“Come on,” she says, “Even you aren’t melodramatic enough to claim that you’d rather get shot than never have sex with me again.”
“Hm,” Eames says after a minute, slow and thoughtful, but teasing, probably teasing, “It is very lovely sex.”
Arthur smacks her on the shoulder. “You’re an idiot,” she says.
Eames shrugs. “Maybe,” she says easily. She moves around on the bed, inching closer to Arthur until their hips and arms collide.
Arthur was tired before Eames invaded her bed and filled it with sex and stress and annoying, insuppressible fondness. She yawns suddenly, an embarrassing giveaway and whatever else Eames was going to say dies away.
Eames turns her head and presses her lips to Arthur’s forehead, talking softly so her words buzz Arthur’s skin. “Go to sleep,” she says, “We can discuss what an idiot I am for you later.”
Arthur could write a list right now of all the ways Eames frustrates and confuses her, if only she could make her eyes stay open long enough. She has no idea if Eames will still be here when she wakes up, but for now she’s too exhausted to worry too much about it.
Arthur is alone in bed when she wakes up the next morning. She’s not surprised and she doesn’t allow herself to feel disappointed. She’s never expects Eames to stick around.
She rolls out of bed and straight into a sun salutation because she’s stiffening up and if she’s going to have to work another job like the Fischer one, she’s going to have to work on her suppleness.
She curves forward into a downward facing dog and, “Well, that’s a lovely view, I must say,” Eames says behind her and it’s only her own stubbornness that keeps Arthur on her feet.
“I thought you left,” Arthur tells her, letting her head hang down and watching Eames through her knees.
Upside down, Eames seems to be wearing a mishmash of her own and Arthur’s clothes and holding the Point Women Take The Lead mug Mal gave Arthur one Christmas.
“How could I leave?” Eames asks. She walks over and leans against Arthur’s windowsill, sipping from the mug. “You have Twinings Everyday teabags in your cupboard.”
Arthur stiffens. She slides slowly forward into a cobra so she doesn’t have to look Eames in the eye. “My cleaning service must have left them here,” she says nonchalantly.
Eames hums agreeably. “Nice of them,” she says, “To stock up on my favourite tea.”
Fuck. Sometimes, Arthur wonders why she doesn’t just literally shoot herself in the foot rather than doing it metaphorically. It might be less destructive in the long run.
Giving up on her yoga, because she’s honestly not in the right frame of mind right now, Arthur gets to her feet and pulls on the t-shirt and pants that Eames took off her last night.
“Did you make one for me?” she asks, nodding at Eames’s tea.
Eames twists her mouth apologetically. “I didn’t think you liked tea,” she says, “I put your coffee maker on.”
“Sometimes, Eames, I could kiss you,” Arthur says, because it’s the kind of thing she can say without it meaning anything. It certainly means less than trying to explain why she deliberately ordered in the kind of tea that Eames likes best when there was no guarantee that Eames was ever going to be in her apartment again.
Eames puts down her mug and steps forward. “You’re always welcome to,” she says, with an easy little shrug, like it’s simple.
Arthur stares at her for a minute then turns away, raking a hand through her hair. “Damn it,” she says, “Stop.”
“Stop what?” Eames asks. “Trying to have a serious conversation with you? Because no, I won’t stop that.”
“You can’t have a serious conversation with anyone,” Arthur snaps even though that’s really pretty unfair.
“Arthur.” Eames puts her hand on Arthur’s shoulder and pulls her around. Arthur tries really hard not to look at her, because Eames is devastatingly attractive with one of Arthur’s zip-up hoodies hanging open over her black bra and the same boxers from last night hanging low on her hips.
Arthur touches the leg of the boxers. “Whose are these?” she asks, partly for a distraction and partly because she wants to know.
“Yusuf’s,” Eames tells her immediately, “I swapped them for a pair of my laciest knickers.” She winks. “I didn’t ask what he wanted with them but Ariadne looked very pleased with herself the next morning.”
Arthur blinks, not sure if that’s a mental image she wants or not. Eames takes advantage of her distraction to lean in and kiss her.
She pulls back quickly before Arthur can decide if she's going to return. “Good morning,” she says and, “Now that pleasantries are over, please sit down.”
Frowning, Arthur sits. She has half a mind to resist on principle but Eames is looking very serious and you can’t work with someone if you don’t do as they ask when they’re looking at you like that.
Eames should look ridiculous, standing in front of Arthur only half dressed with her hands on her hips, but she doesn’t. “I was going to leave,” she admits, not trace of shame in her voice, “But then I saw the tea.” She tugs on the end of her ponytail. “The mixed messages are killing me a little, Arthur.”
Arthur swallows and can’t really think of anything to say. “You’re the one who always leaves,” she manages eventually.
Eames just stares. “Because you’re the one who goes all tense and dismissive as soon as the sex is over. I may be more persistent than is considered ‘appropriate’” - she makes finger quotes - “But I’m not going to deliberately make you uncomfortable.”
Arthur just stares. “When you say the mixed messages are killing you,” she asks slowly.
“I mean you’re killing me.” Eames tips her head. “You’re definitely not the easiest person to love.” Her shoulders are loose, her expression bland. However hard Arthur stares at her, she can’t find the tell that will mean this is an act.
Eventually, Eames sighs and picks up her mug. “Don’t strain yourself, darling,” she says. She puts her hand under Arthur’s elbow and pulls her to her feet. “Come on, your Tivo is full of Leverage and I haven’t seen the new series.”
Arthur lets herself be led, too busy thinking to protest. They make a pitstop in the kitchen to pour Arthur a mug of coffee then Eames throws herself down on the sofa and Arthur, against her better judgment because proximity to Eames is disastrous to her thought process, sits down next to her.
Eames picks up the remote and flicks the TV on. She drops her arm around Arthur’s shoulders, not bothering with a fake yawn-and-hug move, just going straight for it.
They sit in silence, watching TV. Or, rather, Eames watches TV, a tiny grin on her face, while Arthur tries to think of anything but the warmth of Eames’s body and the words you’re not the easiest person to love.
She doesn’t want to be, she has never had any desire to be easy. The love bit though, she finds she doesn’t mind that as much as she would have expected.
“Eames,” she says, so quietly that she wouldn’t be surprised if Eames couldn't hear her. Eames strokes her finger down Arthur’s arm though so Arthur goes on. “There’s grape jelly and Tim Tams in the back of the kitchen cabinet and samosas in the freezer.” Arthur’s spent enough time with Eames all over the world that she knows exactly which foods she likes best.
Without looking at Arthur, Eames lifts the remote control and mutes the TV. Slowly, she turns. “Is that your grand declaration?” she asks.
Arthur shrugs. She can’t tell if Eames is amused or disappointed and it leaves her feeling off balance.
Eames nods, slowly. “Fair enough,” she says and turns back to the TV.
Arthur waits. She can feel herself start to blush, embarrassed by what she just revealed and starting to resent Eames’s non-reaction. For fuck’s sake, Eames is the one who wanted the serious fucking conversation.
She’s just working herself up to explain this or, alternatively, call Eames an asshole, when Eames reaches out and hooks her hand behind Arthur’s neck.
“Stop fuming, Arthur,” she says, and now there’s definitely amusement in her voice, “It doesn’t suit you at all.”
“Fuck off,” Arthur mutters but she lets herself be pulled over to Eames’s side of the sofa, lets Eames kiss her cheek.
“Watch the telly,” Eames whispers, “Maybe you’ll learn something.”
Arthur considers punching her for the implication that there’s anything she needs to learn from fictional thieves but she settles for elbowing her in the ribs then leaning into Eames’s side, making, letting Eames take some of her weight.
She doesn’t need to look to know that Eames is smiling and, when Eames drops her hand on top of Arthur’s, palm hot against Arthur’s fingers, Arthur turns her hand over and squeezes back.