azuremew: (fischer smile)
[personal profile] azuremew
Title: Remember the Stillness
Word Count: 5,300
Pairing: Saito/Robert, Eames/Robert, one-sided Arthur/Eames, bit of Ariadne/Arthur, and Yusuf and Cobb appear, too!
Rating: R (barely NC-17)
Warnings: crack, Angst!Arthur, fruit cake, brief cursing and porn
Summary: Christmas party at Saito’s!
Author’s Note: Many thanks to [livejournal.com profile] ruins_of_sodom, [livejournal.com profile] darkseraphim21, and [livejournal.com profile] lycanthrophile for their endless support and edits. Title and lj-cut text are from The Enright Houses’s “Remember the Stillness”

[livejournal.com profile] ruins_of_sodom 's art can be found here

Dominic Cobb and Arthur arrived first from California with gifts beneath their arms. Dom shook hands with both Saito and Robert while Robert took a plastic-wrapped brick from Arthur.

The look on Robert's face made Arthur laugh. “Customs almost didn't let us pass with that. I had to explain to them that it was technically non-perishable and therefore wouldn't cause any problems.”

“And that the density wasn't a bomb,” Cobb added. “I think that was more of their concern.”

“It's . . .” Robert paused, looked at the cake again, and decided to go with, “Nice. Thank you. You didn't have to.” He looked up again at Arthur’s attire, schooling his features as his father had taught him as a young boy when something out of the ordinary occurred. There were a few moments in his life when this mattered. Once when Mr. Travers had a heart attack in midst of a board meeting. Second was Fischer Morrow’s takeover of Global Directions. Finally, there was Saito’s proposal to live together in Japan. Each moment lied inside of his head, forever burned there to be rekindled by triggers that Robert knew how to respond to.

And now there was Arthur in his teal, carrot pants, matching sweater, and button-up, long-sleeve shirt that was fashionably set in a lighter monochrome.

And fruitcake.

Arthur took no note, skipping to his own thoughts far from what Robert gave a damn about. “Bah, it's fantastic,” he retorted. “Family recipe. Eames will like it, at least. I couldn't find the right icing for it, but,” Arthur stopped there, shrugging.

“It's a wonderful gift, thank you,” Saito said. He took Cobb's stack of packages all wrapped in red and green paper. “I'll put these by the fireplace. There isn't a tree, but Robert thought it'd look best.”

“Perfect,” Cobb noted. “Though I did imagine Saito paying someone to haul a tree up here, decked out in lights and everything.”

“Robert wanted plastic, so we compromised,” Saito explained.

Robert blushed. “It's nothing. And I'll take your coats as soon as I figure out where to put this.”

“I could take it to the kitchen, have it served after dinner?” Arthur piped up, taking the cake from Robert. He traded it with his coat. “Saito, your staff can accommodate it in the spread, right? Somewhere near the middle so everyone can get a piece? Or it could be served individually. Do you have marzipan? I read that the UK tops their cake with it.”

Cobb rolled his eyes a little as Saito chuckled and took Cobb's coat, handing it to Robert. “I'll see what they can do,” he promised. “Your point man is a little more excited than I anticipated, Mr. Cobb.”

“He had one too many lattes before we left Los Angeles, Mr. Saito; I apologize,” Cobb explained. “It was all Arthur could do to keep up with the kids.”



Ah hour later, Yusuf arrived from Mombasa. Cobb greeted him at the door alongside Saito and Robert. Arthur was asleep, having passed out from a caffeine crash on the couch with his iPad on an article about dream share technology and how certain individuals wanted to make it available for public consumption.

Yusuf excused himself promptly after saying hello, asking where the kitchen was and if Saito had served any eggnog yet.

“All of your previous travels and you couldn't bring your own concoction?” Cobb joked.

“I figured Saito would have ample supplies upon my arrival,” Yusuf admitted.

Saito nodded. “My staff will find whatever it is you need, Yusuf. Thank you again for coming.”



Ariadne arrived shortly after, more amused at the sight of Arthur still asleep than that Cobb was telling the truth about Saito and Robert. “It's really nice for you to have us here, Saito,” she said upon handing her coat to Robert. “And it's nice to meet you, Mr. Fischer.”

“Please, call me Robert,” Robert politely suggested, his smile sweet and not a bit suspicious. “A friend of Saito's is one of mine, I'd like to think.”

“That's true.” Ariadne glanced at Cobb, searching for some sort of signal on what to say.

Saito stepped in. “Robert and I were talking of traveling to Paris one day. We wondered if you might be interested in being a guide.”

“Sure, sounds like fun.” Ariadne answered, thrilled that she sounded sincere and far less uncomfortable despite present circumstance. Still, she searched for an outlet, asking, “Where is everyone?”

“If by everyone you mean Eames, he’s running late. Business, as usual,” Cobb explained. “Yusuf's in the kitchen if you'd like to say hi, or there's waking Arthur.”

Ariadne looked at the couch, shaking her head a little. “He looks too peaceful, and after the text I received about the hell your kids gave him, he deserves a bit of sleep.”

Cobb squinted at her. “What text?”

“Something about a fruit cake?” Ariadne shrugged.

Cobb laughed. “Ah, you'll see what they were talking about then in the kitchen, with Yusuf. He's been in there for at least an hour making eggnog.”

“From scratch?” Ariadne asked, and Cobb nodded. “This, I've got to see.”



Eames was last, all dressed up in his dark blue suit and tie. The small, silver pin attached to it was prominent, bringing a smile to Robert's face as he greeted Eames with a firm handshake.

“You received my gift,” Robert said, lowering his head to hide a faint bloom of red in his cheeks. “It wasn't supposed to be opened until now, but when I heard you might not be here . . .”

“Hey, I'm here, sir,” Eames replied, squeezing Robert's hands. He could feel Saito's eyes on him and reluctantly pulled back. “And it was a wonderful surprise from you, Robert. I hadn't expected anything in my post box when I returned home on holiday.”

Robert smiled. “Well, you did help me get through a rough time, Mr. Forester, or should I call you Eames? It seems everyone else is. I feel so formal.”

Eames chuckled. “If you'd like. Or Daniel.”

“Alright, Daniel. Welcome.”

Eames couldn't hide the grin on his face, so he hid it another way, pretending it was for an entirely different reason. Arthur was, after all, the perfect scapegoat still asleep on the couch. “I cannot believe he's sleeping. Arthur!” he yelled, but it did nothing. “Everyone's here, yeah?”

“Ariadne and Yusuf are helping in the kitchen,” Cobb explained.

“Then we shouldn't delay the festivities,” Eames concluded, turning to the kitchen. He bellowed. “Yusuf, get your ass out here.”

“Eames, really, you don't have to yell,” Cobb said, but Eames doesn't listen, calling out to Yusuf until he and Ariadne came out of the kitchen smelling like spices and a hint of alcohol.

Eames gave Ariadne a hug and shook Yusuf's hand. “Good to see you again. Now, what are we going to do about him?” He cocked his head toward Arthur, grinning. “I'd say we just push him off, but that's all been there, done that. How about a more permanent message?”



Before long, Arthur woke up and groaned, recalling just barely where he was because of a dream of kissing Eames beneath mistletoe he hadn't put up yet. That realization sent him to full alert, rising up and calling out Cobb, then Saito. “Did you give them the box?” he asked Cobb, noticing Ariadne was standing nearby with Yusuf and Eames. Shit. He rubbed the back of his head. “How long was I out?”

Cobb sighed. “Too long, and no, I thought you wanted to give it to them.”

Arthur frowned. He got up and asked Robert where the coats were.

“There in the guest room,” Robert explained, trying his best to not grin. It made him seem sheepish, almost shy. “But first, uh, I think you should go to the bathroom first.”

“What?” Arthur asked and whispered, “Did I drool?”

“Not exactly.”

“Then what?”

“Go wash your face and see, darling,” Eames called out. “I couldn't think of what to get the man that has everything, so I left something special for you.”

“Oh,” Arthur said, smiling. He imagined his lips were a little swollen, that maybe that kiss in his dreams was more than that, and replied. “Sure thing! And it's good to see you made it, Eames. I brought fruit cake.”

“Yum.” Eames replied, licking his lips. “It'll go great with Yusuf's eggnog.” He lifted his hand that was holding a glass. “You could get yourself a glass if you don't think it'll spoil dinner.”

“Eames!” Ariadne elbowed Eames, whispering, “You know Arthur doesn't hold his liquor well, and I think Yusuf used most of Saito's stock.” She giggled, already a little tipsy from finishing her first glass.

Dinner couldn't come too soon, but first, Arthur needed one thing before dinner. He doubted he would get another chance, so he said over his shoulder, “I'll have it with another latte,” and asked Robert, “Saito does have a cappuccino machine in his kitchen, right? Or at least a Starbucks within walking distance.”

“We do,” Robert said, showing Arthur the guest room. “What is it that you needed from in here?”

“Just a gift that I brought for you.” Arthur said. He found his coat and pulled out a plastic-wrapped mistletoe complete with red ribbon and a gold bell. “Or both of us. You have no idea how hard it was to find this in Tokyo.”

“Actually, Tokyo's Christmas is more of a romantic holiday, so I can't see it being too difficult,” Robert noted and pressed his lips at Arthur's stare. He opted to not mention the two or three times Saito and he kissed under it while taking a walk, going instead with his curiosity: “So who are you hoping for? I bet it's Ariadne. She seems nice, and she was talking about when you two were working together, how helpful you were, kind and concerned and all that. Real sweet.”

Arthur shook his head. “Not quite, but I wouldn't mind it.” He handed Robert the mistletoe and added, “I'm going to wash up first if you don't mind hanging it up somewhere.”

“Sure. I'll put it up in the living room.”

As soon as Robert left, Arthur went to the guest bathroom, turned on the light, and stood in the mirror, staring. His voice wasn't quite able to find a scream, too shocked at the green marker on his forehead and chicken-scratch handwriting that read: “Happy Holidays! - E”



Ariadne came into the bathroom five minutes after Arthur never returned. She could hear the sound of water splashing and the occasional curse word. By the time she reached the guest room's door, she could make out hints of Arthur leaned over the sink, cupping water with both hands, and splashing it onto his face. “Arthur, hey, I -” She stopped, the last part of her sentence getting stuck in her throat as she physically froze into place by Arthur’s reflection staring back at her. She read him easily enough. For that moment her friend and colleague was lost, and she was the enemy, guilty by association. It stung, and she thought of leaving, letting Arthur be and cool down as he preferred, but she stayed, asking, “Are you okay?”

“Does it look like I'm okay?” Arthur yelled.

“It was just a joke,” Ariadne explained. “I should've stopped them, but you know Eames . . .”

“I do! And you should''ve.” Arthur scolded, his voice unable to soften. He turned off the water and inspected what was left of the green marker he couldn’t scrub off. Sighing, he opened the mirror, hoping to find at least some facial cream to reduce the red, flaky damage he caused. All he could find was some hand lotion and sighed, imagining breaking out in a few hours like a teenager. “What was he thinking?”

“Well, you did fall asleep on the sofa,” Ariadne pointed out.

“And that’s supposed to give him permission to do this?” Arthur asked.

“It’s a gesture of friendship, good ties, you know? Like the chair back at the warehouse, or the banter? I mean, you two are close enough for him to do that sort of thing, right?”

“Not if it ends in this.”

“It wouldn’t have if you scrubbed a little softer,” Ariadne noted and stepped into the bathroom. “Here, have a seat. I’ll help you.” Gently, she pushed Arthur onto the toilet without a chance to say otherwise and searched the bathroom. Some hairspray would do, so she picked it up and said, “Cover your eyes.”

“What? No.”

“Just do it or else I’ll blindfold you. It won’t hurt a lot, and it’s not like you don’t use this anyway,” Ariadne said, smiling a little in hopes that it might cheer Arthur up. It got a scowl, so she added, “You’ve barely gotten any of the ink off.”

Arthur folded and lied his hand over his eyes while Ariadne sprayed his forehead. He winced.

“Baby.” Ariadne grinned. “You’ve been through worse.”

“I have, but nothing that was fixed by cosmetics,” Arthur replied. “This is humiliating.”

Ariadne put the hairspray down, turned the water back on, and ran a hand towel underneath it. “You can look now, and well, it was his gift to you. You are kind of a pain to shop for. I still haven't found a gift, and it’s Christmas.”

Arthur frowned, taking the towel from Ariadne. He quietly told her, “That scarf was nice for my birthday.”

“You mean the one Cobb told me you lost in Moscow? Come on, tell me the truth; you hated it.”

“It wasn't that I hated it,” Arthur protested. “It didn't match anything I owned. Maybe if you sent a pair of mittens, and a hat . . .”

“Or you could've found them just as easily.” Ariadne replied. “If you liked it. It was brown.”

“And we're arguing about scarves?”

“That's beside the point. Point is . . .” Ariadne crossed her arms, sighing. “Never mind. If you’re ready, let’s get out there before they send more reinforcements.” She grabbed Arthur by the arm, wrapping hers around his. “Last thing you need is a sit down with Cobb about relationship problems at work.”

Arthur almost pulled away but decided to be led out, hoping that it would distract everyone from his face.

But that wasn't much of a problem. Robert was standing on an end table and the couch's armrest to hang the mistletoe under Eames's guidance, and Eames was just behind Robert, his hands on Robert's his, thumbs so close to his ass that he could grab it if Robert moved ever so slightly wrong.

Which Robert did, on tip-toes, stumbling back. “Shit!” he cried out and fell into Eames's arms. Laughter spilled from him, filling the room. “That was close.”

Eames smiled. “Sure was.”

They kissed the first kiss beneath the mistletoe.

Before Arthur could say anything, one of Saito's assistants came out and announced that dinner was ready. Eames, still smoothing out his suit jacket, said that he was famished, and Robert told him to try his damper.

“It was my mother's recipe,” Robert divulged, his voice quiet as if he was keeping secrets between Eames and him.

“Oh really?” Eames asked, genuinely intrigued. “Is it anything like those scones you had for breakfast?”

Robert shook his head. “Those were brought in from a local bakery. This was made here before you arrived. The jellies were shipped from Sydney.”

Eames licked his lips. “You made it? It sounds delightful. I'll have to try it.”

From behind them, Arthur made a sound, a stubborn sigh, borderline humph. He shoved his hands into his pockets, not wanting to cross his arms. “Thief,” he mouthed to Robert, not Eames. It was his idea, after all.

Dinner was splendid, enough for everyone to fill their plates and have seconds or even thirds. Robert offered to put some of it away for later, knowing how far everyone flew and the monotony of flight cuisine.

“I'll take some of that damper,” Eames requested.

While Robert was in the kitchen, Yusuf served his eggnog. Arthur decided against his earlier wishes for another latte. He took a glass and sniffed it, wrinkling his nose at the potency, before remembering it was a good thing. Downing his first glass, he asked for a second.

Ariadne shook her head.

Cobb returned from taking a phone call from Miles. “The children say hello and can’t wait to see you,” he told Ariadne.

“That's great. I hope they like their gifts.”

“I'm sure they will,” Dom assured. “Is something wrong?”

“Just Arthur. I think he's upset that Fischer's getting all of Eames's attention.”

“Huh. Eames hasn't seen Fischer since the inception, but I know he's worked with Arthur on at least two jobs.”

“Yeah, but that's work,” Ariadne noted.

Cobb frowned, starting to understand. “Where's Eames now?”

“Talking with Saito.”



Robert finished putting together a small container for Eames to take with him, complete with a little bit of jelly and some honey. He placed it into a small, paper bag he kept from shopping earlier and went back to the party to look for Saito.

Saito was talking to Eames in his office.

“You haven't told him?” Eames asked.

“No, of course not.” Saito replied, his voice much lower. “It's much too soon.”

“Forgive me for saying this, Mr. Saito, but you're an idiot. Robert deserves to know.”

“And he will,” Saito promised. “But for now, let’s focus on more important matters.”

“Like what? What the devil do you do with Arthur's fruit cake? You're an ass and an idiot.” Eames turned to leave and noticed they weren't alone. “Er, Mr. Fischer, I didn't realize you were standing there.”

“I didn't mean to eavesdrop. I was just looking for Saito.”

“Well, you're welcome to him. I think I might be done for the evening.” Eames turned to Saito and bowed. “Thank you for your invitation, Mr. Saito. I apologize for any problems I might've caused.”

“None at all,” Saito replied.

“Wait,” Robert said, stepping forward quickly into the kitchen. His hand rose up to stop Eames, landing over Eames's heart. He could feel it thumping hard, likely from anger. Still Eames did not try to move, so Robert asked, “You're leaving?”

“I shouldn't stick around, darling.”

“Why? Because of the kiss? It was nothing.”

Eames sighed, laying his hand over Robert's briefly, enough to pull Robert's hand away. “A kiss is just a kiss unless someone thinks otherwise, and Mr. Saito does. This is his party, and I have no intention of ruining it for you.”

Robert frowned. He waltzed over to Saito and said, “You're jealous? It was a harmless gesture of holiday tradition. Not like this.” And to prove his point, he kissed Saito. It was far different from the soft, shy connection with Eames. Robert kissed Saito hard, his hand around the back of Saito's neck as his tongue tasted sake. It was delicious and more than enough to assure his partner they were alone.

Except physically they were not. Eames stood there almost tempted to sneak his way out, but before he could, Robert stopped and stared at him.

“Stay.” Robert told him. “I've spent almost half a year amongst strangers except Saito. It's nice to see a friendly face.”

Eames nodded. “Alright.”

How could he refuse?

Robert thanked him, watched him leave and go back to the party before he asked Saito, “Don't tell me what?”

Saito smiled, gathering his lover into his arm to hold him securely. “It was meant to be a surprise,” he said, frowning. “Eames was procuring land for our expansion.”

“Expansion? You never told me Procus Global was expanding.”

“Well, it would not have been a very good surprise if I had.” Saito chuckled, taking steps further away from their guests to the window. It was late, and high above Tokyo their view was spectacular, endless in its phenomenon. “I want you to take Sydney back.”

Robert shivered at the thought. “I don't know . . .”

Saito squeezed his grip, hand and arm locking after coiling almost like a snake. “I think you'll do superbly, Robert. You had some control, therefore contacts left in your reach, and understanding of the land for whatever else you need. It'll be perfect, and I'll be a night's flight away.”

“I'll think about it,” Robert said quickly, slipping from Saito's grasp. “We can talk about it in the morning when our guests have left.”

“An excellent idea,” Saito agreed.

Robert gently pulled away. “For now, we should get back to the party.”

Saito let him go. “We should. There are still gifts to give before everyone heads out.”



Meanwhile, Arthur caught Eames exiting from Saito's office and decided to take action before Robert had another chance. He stepped up and poked Eames in the chest. “You, sir, are childish.”

Eames sighed. “But at least I'm not a child, Arthur.”

Arthur rolled his eyes. “I'm almost thirty.”

“And still so young.” Eames noted. He patted Arthur on the shoulder. “Don't worry, darling. There are still plenty of moments to steal a kiss from your sweetheart, and I was talking to Ariadne about you just the other day.”

“Oh really?” Arthur asked, and Eames nodded. He glanced over to where Ariadne spoke to Cobb, all smiles, and groaned. “Nah, it's not the same. That was a one-time deal, but we – Eames, we have history. If you'll just give me a moment outside of work . . .”

“But you have the opportunity to seize more, yeah?” Eames grinned, interrupting Arthur’s notion. 'Sides, history -” he chuckled, and Arthur frowned. “You're still a boy, Arthur, and she is a girl. And I – I like my lover aged and experienced. Dream share or not, it doesn't matter in bed.”

“Even if it belongs to someone else?”

“Stolen sweets are best.”

Arthur laughed, and it felt good. Bitter but good. “Saito gives him everything, Eames. He might've taken away Robert's life, his fortune, but he gave it all back and then some. Robert has the world, and you're willing to take that all away from him again?”

Eames's answer was simple: “I have a gift. It's one that Saito won't give, and it's worth far more than his empire and wealth.” He started to walk away then added, “Good day, Arthur. Hopefully, we'll be able to work in the field again when you're a little more sober.”



Eames settled back into an armchair with a glass in one hand and a bottle of whiskey in another. He sipped it gingerly, tasting warm, sour liquid along his tongue, then tipped it back to devour it whole. Pouring himself another drink, he paused from someone knocking on the room door. “It's open,” Eames called out, knowing for certain who it would be.

Robert opened the door, his face pale from moonlight, sharp and dark as the charcoal gray suit he wore so uncomfortably. “Mind if I join you for that drink?” he asked and sat on the side of the bed.

“Sure,” Eames said, grinning. Courtesy aside, he knew Robert wouldn't take no for an answer. He watched as Robert slipped out of his coat and loosened his tie, pouring the man a drink into his glass. “Long night? I was starting to wonder if you were going to come.”

“It was,” Robert admitted easily enough. “Saito had something to tell me.”

“Oh?” Eames handed Robert his glass and took a swig from the bottle.

“Yeah.” Robert drank, then lowered his head. His eyes remained away from Eames, sights drowning in amber liquid. “He told me about inception.”

“Rober--” Eames started, but Robert lifted his hand.

“Saito told me everything – about his plans, hiring Dominic Cobb, everything. It's all lies, a business transaction, nothing more. Nothing. I'm nothing. Only a face for him to use to get investors.” Robert's voice broke down as he spoke further, his facade gone to the tired, worn out man drifting after hours of arguing. No more, he silently cried out.

It was so easy to read, but Eames remained distant and said, “That’s a lie.” He tried to bring Robert back to that man he saw beneath the mistletoe.

“You're the lie,” Robert spat. He got up, but before he could grab his things and leave, Eames reached out and grasped his hand. “Let go,” Robert yelled. “Son of a bitch, let me go.”

“No.” Eames whispered and kept Robert close.He gathered Robert into his arms, ignoring the glass as it fell from Robert's hand and dropped onto the floor.

“Liar. None of it was real. My father, Saito, you. It was one business transaction after the next, and I was played. God damn it, Daniel. You said you loved me, and I believed you.”

Eames combed his fingers through Robert's hair, down his neck and back. He continued until Robert was finished shaking, his sobbing subsiding to leveled breathing. “I do. Sure, it was a job – or rather, it started as one. Then I saw you. Behind Peter Browning, I saw you standing there with that photograph and tired eyes. It changed then. Don't you remember? Afterward, in the office, on Browning's bed, and in a hotel not very different from this one? I said I loved you, and I meant it. I protected you, watched over you, and for Christ's sake, if I could've stayed with you, I would have!”

“Liar,” Robert repeated faintly. “Why didn't you?”

“Rules. I should've, but there are some rules I couldn't break without Cobb, Arthur, and the whole dream share community after me.” Eames explained. “And when I decided to say fuck them, it was too late. Saito was with you. He had his hands all other you.”

Robert didn't respond. He sat still and fragile until it all came together. “So you slipped in . . .”

“Right.” Eames said, smiling a little. “I did what I could. In letters, small tokens. There was one point in Beijing. You were there with Saito for a meeting, standing outside in the snow. It was cold and windy, looked like your first winter.”

“You were there?”

Eames nodded, nuzzling the side of Robert's head a little. “I was. Sent one of the staff to you with a cup of hot chocolate to warm you up a bit while you were waiting.”

“I remember,” Robert said.

“Forgive me, then?” Eames asked, kissing Robert's temple. Robert said nothing but didn't struggle either, so Eames kissed down Robert's cheek, nibbling his ear lobe to pull a soft gasp. “Forgive me?”

Robert pulled Eames's mouth to his, answering in a deep, salty kiss.

Eames didn't care. It was enough to unbutton Robert's shirt and pull back, breathing heavily, to grab Robert's collarbone with his teeth. He gnawed viciously, causing Robert to yell and arch into him. Wiry, beautiful thing Robert was. Eames adored it, suckling with purpose to bruise.

Robert frantically tried to unbutton Eames's pants but settled for palming Eames's cock through cotton and denim. He whimpered, “More. Miss you. Need you.”

“Mine,” Eames replied, forgetting that Robert likely paid hundreds of dollars for his shirt. He tore through it, grabbing Robert's nipple while he helped Robert undo his pants.

“Fuck, still possessive,” Robert moaned.

Eames grinned. “Always.” He swept one arm beneath Robert, moved them to the bed.



Months later, Robert settled in a loft apartment high above Manhattan. It was the city of new beginnings, and chances to be taken, so it sounded perfect for Eames and he.

Eames was away, naturally. It was an unfortunate part of their relationship, but Robert was used to being alone. He sat at his desk, amongst paperwork and news clippings from financial sections. The economy was falling, crumpling in hands of politicians. Foolish timing, his father would say, but it felt like perfection to Robert, for his eyes were not his father's. He saw details Maurice would have overlooked, on this country's desire to change and become strong once again through alternative ventures like electric cars.

And wind power.

Quietly, he thumbed through pages in old, college journals, lifting pages marked with musings that intrigued him. When an idea caught him, he held a paragraph still with one hand while jotting notes with another. It didn't matter if his words were entirely legible. This was creation, and it was all his.

An hour or so later, Robert took a break and unwound outside on the balcony with a glass of scotch. He smoked his cigarette, a nasty habit that was Eames's fault entirely, and reveled in the taste, imagining Eames's scent, his lips previously wrapped around the paper. He could almost feel him standing there, and that was when he heard the elevator open.

“Eames?” Robert called out and came inside. “You're home early. How was --” He stopped, seeing Eames enter the living room. “Oh dear, what happened? Here, let me get some ice.”

Eames sat down on the couch, letting Robert care for him although the lump on his forehead didn't swell all that much. It was his jaw that ached the most. “Your ex happened,” he grumbled once Robert was close enough to hear him speak softly.

“Saito? God, what was he thinking?” Robert asked, handing Eames an icepack. It was for his shoulder, an old injury from years ago that bothered him still. Good thing, for it was better than frozen, split peas or that half-finished pint of ice cream.

“Bastard doesn't like to lose, professionally or personally, I figured.” Eames pressed the pack to his jaw.

Robert left again to get some aspirin and a glass of water. He came back and fed them to Eames, giving it slowly. He was gentle, although his hands betrayed him and shook a little. He then went for Eames's shoes, taking them off and putting them aside so that neither of them would trip.

“Here,” Eames said once Robert set Eames’s shoes down. He took Robert's hand and pulled him close, Robert settling his head on Eames's lap. He stroked Robert's hair until he felt them both calm. Then his story started: “He had the job all set up – paid someone to contact me, and his men were waiting at the airport. All that to ask if you were happy. Surprised the shit out of me, honestly.”

“And you told him the truth.”

“I did, and here we are.”
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