If Eames said he regretted all of it, he would be lying out his teeth. He had definitely not regretted it when it began, he may have regretted it some during the process, the immediate aftermath was entirely another story and in the end there was no way that he could regret any of it. The whole experience was singularly the happiest and simultaneously most heart wrenching experience of Eames’ life.
It all started with Arthur, the dreamscape and a very naked, very female Eames.
Eames practically screamed out when he reached his climax. Arthur followed soon after, tightening his hold on the feminine legs of the red head that Eames was currently forging. Arthur collapsed on to Eames’ chest, feeling the delicate chest rise and fall with panting breaths. He pulled himself out of Eames and rolled over to lie next to him and watch the beautiful woman smile.
“I told you it would be worth it” She opened her eyes and turned her head to face him. Arthur just smiled back at her and shook his head.
“I never said that it wouldn’t be. You just assumed that.” The woman laughed and kissed his lips chastely.
The dream began to slowly collapse and they both closed their eyes. Just before Eames woke up, he felt a flutter in his stomach. It was brief but it still caused him to sit up and rub his stomach when he was back in the real world. Arthur gave him a quizzical look and he shrugged back to him. He forgot about the feeling quickly when Arthur leaned over and nipped at his lips.
The next time Eames went into a dream, a few months later, it was a training exercise with Ariadne. He realized something was off when right away he was a woman. He had planned on just going in the dreamscape as himself and then practice forging the mark’s brother. Ariadne gave him a confused look and suddenly Eames had the urge to throw up. Luckily they had started off in a hotel room so he rushed to the bathroom and emptied the contents of his stomach into the bowl. Ariadne rushed over quickly, wide eyed and completely lost.
“Oh my god, Eames! Are you okay?” She asked as he vomited again. He wiped his mouth with the back of his delicate wrist and shook his head.
“Something is wrong.” He said sitting back. Ariadne tied his long dark hair back just in case he felt the need to throw up again. “I didn’t forge anyone when I entered the dream. I was supposed to be myself.”
Ariadne’s eyes went wide and she immediately pulled out her gun and shot Eames quickly. He vanished from the dream and she followed suit.
Eames sat up gasping, holding his stomach again. Arthur, who had been in a chair nearby doing paperwork, jumped in his chair and whipped his head over to look at Eames, who was clutching his stomach.
“What’s wrong?” he asked as Ariadne woke up and gave Eames a concerned look. Eames was scrambling for his totem and flipping it quickly through his fingers. “Why are you guys back out? You should have been down there for ten more minutes. You guys were barely there for five.”
Eames just shook his head, still holding his stomach. He excused himself and went outside to have a smoke. Arthur looked at Ariadne and raised an eyebrow.
“It was weird. He said that he hadn’t forged anyone but he was a woman when we woke up in the dream and right away he ran to the bathroom and threw up, twice!”
Arthur’s eyebrows rose, wrinkling his forehead. He excused himself quickly and followed Eames out the door. He found Eames on the roof, rubbing his stomach and pacing, cigarette hanging out of his mouth. He didn’t notice Arthur so he jumped when Arthur wrapped his arms around Eames waist and rested his head on Eames shoulder blade.
“Tell me what happened” Arthur said and it wasn’t a question.
Eames sighed and rubbed his face with his hands. “I have no bloody idea. I was stuck in a female body and I couldn’t change back and then my stomach felt strange like when we left the dream a couple months ago, and I suddenly felt sick to my stomach.”
Arthur was quiet for a moment before he turned Eames to face him. “What do you mean your stomach felt strange?”
Eames furrowed his eyebrows and looked at the ground, unknowingly rubbing his stomach again. “I haven’t the slightest. As we were leaving the dream after the amazing sex that he had, my stomach felt fluttery. And not in a post–coital happiness way, like in a something is happening that I can’t control. I don’t even know how to explain it. On top of that, I felt like I had gained weight because my stomach felt pudgier.” Eames frowned and lifted up his shirt to check to see that he still had his flat stomach and visible abs.
Arthur pondered on what Eames had said. He couldn’t think of why all of it would be happened. He rubbed Eames’ back and led him back into the warehouse, telling him he could take the rest of the day off. Eames slouched down in one of the pool chairs and dozed off while the rest of the team busied themselves with the job.
The next day was exactly the same. Eames was a female again; he threw up (only once this time), and couldn’t change back. Arthur was with him this time and was trying to inspect Eames to see what was wrong. Eames looked miserable and Arthur couldn’t handle it anymore. He shot him before following after.
They had to change Eames’ forging to the mark’s sister, Arthur thanked god that she even had one and that they were on extremely good terms. They found that the only thing that Eames could change was what the female forge looked like. He still couldn’t change back into a man and the team could tell he was getting frustrated.
The actual job arrived and it went off without a hitch, at least on the extraction part. Eames was lucky that it had happened right at the end or else he would have been in deep shit. The mark had turned to him and put a hand on his stomach, smiling.
“Hannah” the mark said rubbing his stomach through the dress he was wearing. “Why didn’t you tell me you were pregnant? How far along are you?”
Eames nearly died of shock. Luckily he saved face before the mark got too curious and spewed off some bullshit about how he had only found out recently and that he wanted to really make sure before he decided to tell anyone.
Once the team woke up from the dream and left the mark for her own, Eames found the nearest bathroom and threw up. Sweat was dripping down his face and neck. He sat on the floor by the toilet in complete shock. He barely even noticed Arthur pick him up off the floor and bring him back to their hotel room. Arthur was so worried because Eames wasn’t really responding to anything. All the while Eames’ mind was running a mile a minute. Was he actually pregnant? Could one get pregnant in a dream? How the FUCK does that even happen? He cursed himself for being so incredibly thorough in his forging that he made the bodies anatomically correct in every way. After about an hour of sitting and staring at nothing, Eames looked Arthur in the eye.
“I think I’m pregnant.” He said, his face blank.
Arthur blinked, not sure whether or not to take Eames seriously. “What?”
“In the dreamscape. I think I’m pregnant.” He let out a laugh and scratched his head. “It would make all the weird shit that has been going on make complete utter sense. I mean the vomiting, the bloated fluttery stomach, the fact that the mark actually asked me.”
Arthur wasn’t sure of what to say. He was confused. Could that even happen? When he voiced this thought, Eames laughed and shook his head, stating that he had no bloody clue. Arthur smiled though and rubbed Eames’ stomach. Eames shot him a glare.
“We’ll figure this out”
As it turned out, Eames somehow was pregnant in the dreamscape. The next time the team went under a month later, Eames was really starting to show. They had explained the situation to the rest of the team so instead of being completely shocked at Eames’ appearance, Ariadne just rubbed his swollen belly and giggled.
Eames found it truly embarrassing that Arthur denied him the right to work because he didn’t want him to hurt the baby. He just glared at Arthur and shot him. Eames found himself hooking up to the PASIV for hours in his spare time to just feel the baby’s presence. He almost cried when he felt the baby kick one day. He didn’t know why but he was excited about the baby. His reality started to be the dream world, as much as Cobb and Arthur warned Eames not to get attached.
It had been a couple more months and he was sure he was close to nine months now. Eames and Arthur were helping Ariadne perfect a maze, Eames more there because he was becoming restless without the work (and he secretly wanted to spend time with the baby). Arthur was with Ariadne inspecting a facet of the maze when he heard Eames cry out in a slightly panicked voice. Immediately Ariadne and Arthur hurried over to find that Eames water had broke. Ariadne quickly changed the dream and they rushed him to the new hospital.
After many hour of extremely painful labor, Eames cursing Arthur with every swear (English or not) that he knew and Ariadne deciding that she would never have children, Eames gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. He named her Victoria. It was then that he realized that this was the happiest and most tragic moment of his life. He took one look at Arthur’s happy face and broke down. The nurses took the baby from the now sobbing, haggard looking female and Arthur went into a slight panic.
“Eames? Eames what’s wrong?” He said, grabbing one of his hands and holding it close.
“She’s so beautiful, darling” Eames sobbed, heaving shallow breaths that shook his still small, feminine frame. “She’s got my bloody eyes and I’m not allowed to have her! I’m not allowed to have my own fucking daughter!”
Arthur stayed silent, trying to figure out what Eames meant before it hit him. They were in a dream. In A Dream. The beautiful little girl that Eames just gave birth to was some kind of a projection. The beautiful little girl that had Eames’ eyes and Arthur’s smile, the girl that they came together to make, wasn’t real.
Arthur wrapped his arms around Eames’ small, frail body and held him for a long time. Once his sobs had quieted down, Arthur took his glock and pressed it to Eames’ head before pulling the trigger.
When he eventually reached topside, Eames wasn’t in the room. Arthur looked to Ariadne and she pointed to the roof. He thanked her quickly before running off to find Eames.
Eames was sitting on the edge of the roof, smoking a cigarette, and rubbing furiously at his eyes. When he had woken up, the first thing he had done was break into tears. He nearly gave poor Ariadne a heart attack, sitting in the chair next to them, waiting for them to resurface. He fisted his hands into his hair, put his head between his knees and let out a heart-shattering cry. The pain in his chest was only comparable to being stabbed in the heart. He continued to sob until his nose was runny and he was a complete mess. After a minute, he calmed down enough to excuse himself from Ariadne’s presence and escape to the roof, where he was currently sitting, mind blank, when Arthur arrived.
Arthur was cautious as he approached Eames. He didn’t want to startle him. But it seemed as though Eames was aware of his presence because he looked up to the sky and asked Arthur one question.
“Darling, do you believe in God?”
Arthur was taken aback by the question. He wasn’t quite sure how to answer but Eames saved him from that by continuing.
“I was never one for religion, but I believed that there was maybe some higher power that controlled everything.” He laughed a little. It was an emotionless laugh that broke Arthur’s heart. “They’re probably laughing in my face right now.” He hung his head, too exhausted to cry any longer. “I’ve just laid my eyes on the most beautiful thing in the world. No, not a thing, the most beautiful little girl in the world. I’ve never been so happy in my life. I had been apart of something that had created this angelic child and suddenly my life seems to just make sense. And just as quickly as it came, she is ripped out of my arms, over shadowed by the harsh reality that all this, this singularly perfect moment in time, was only a dream and that I can never actually have her, not really.”
Arthur wrapped his arms around Eames’ shoulders and kissed his ear. Though Arthur was sad that his daughter was not real, he couldn’t even begin to imagine the pain that Eames was going through. They stayed for a while, unmoving, silent as if in mourning for their lost child. Eventually it started to grow darker and Arthur was able to convince Eames to come back inside.
The next few months were hard. Eames had fallen into a deep depression. He barely ate and never slept due to the dreams of beautiful blue eyes staring at him causing him to wake up crying all over again. Arthur wasn’t even sure what to do anymore. He was at his wits end, trying everything to make Eames happy. Nothing ever worked, of course. He could only stand back and watch as the one he loved fell deeper and deeper into a black abyss.
It was after three months that Eames seemed to be getting better. Arthur wasn’t sure what had happened that made Eames start eating again but he was highly suspicious. When he had confronted Eames about it, Eames snapped at him and told him to fuck off. Arthur cringed at the harsh words but figured that he probably deserved that and gave Eames his space. Arthur’s suspicions were confirmed, though, when he stumbled upon Eames in the study, hooked up to the PASIV. Arthur almost cried but instead he grabbed another line and followed after him.
He found Eames quick enough, living in a house that complimented both their tastes. Eames was sitting on the floor of “their” living room, forging the female equivalent of himself, coloring with a beautiful little dark brown, wavy haired girl. When the floorboards creaked, Arthur was assaulted with two sets of similarly blue eyes. His breath caught is his throat as he stared into the eyes of his daughter.
“Look Victoria, Daddy’s home! Go say hello and give him a kiss like a good girl” Eames whispered softly to the little girl, who smiled and nodded back.
She quickly got to her feet and rushed over to Arthur. When she reached him, she lifted her arms up in the arm and as if on instinct, Arthur scooped her up into his arms.
“Bonjour, papa!” She said, her delicate voice filling the air. She gave him a quick kiss on the cheek. “Que vous a pris tellement longtemps?”
Arthur smiled sadly at her and kissed her forehead. “Je prenais soin de maman. Pourquoi vous n’entrez pas et ne jouez pas dans votre chambre tandis que la maman et le papa parlent” He whispered into her ear.
She gave him another kiss before he put her down. She went over to Eames and kissed him also, then collected her crayons and paper and heading off to her room.
“She’s beautiful, isn’t she?” Eames said changing back into his normal self.
Arthur’s sad smile remained. “Yes, she is more lovely than I could have ever dreamed but that’s just it, Eames. This is a dream. She is part of this dream. You can’t keep doing this to yourself, it’s not healthy.”
Eames recoiled as though he had been burnt. “Don’t you dare. Don’t you even dare. You have no idea, no bloody fucking clue! She is as real to me as you are. I love her with as much devotion as I do you! You didn’t have to go through what I did! All those months feeling her grow inside me, you never had to go through that only to have her taken away from you! So don’t tell me that I’m not allowed to see my little girl! Don’t you dare say that I’m not allowed to believe in her!” Eames had started to yell.
“Eames! None of this is real! It may seem real but it’s not!” Arthur yelled back trying to knock sense into him.
“How can you say that? She’s as much yours! Are you just going to abandon her? Push her to the wayside as if she doesn’t exist? Well, I won’t! Just because you have no fucking heart doesn’t mean that I have to!”
At that, Arthur snapped and slammed Eames into the wall. Eames just glared back.
“Don’t you dare fucking say I don’t love her. From the moment she was born she stole my fucking heart away! I would have fucking given my life for that child. But that’s just it, if I did that I would wake up. I would see that, as much as I love that little girl, she isn’t real! It breaks my fucking heart that she can’t actually be mine, it truly does! I constantly have dreams about those eyes and my heart breaks every time that I have to wake up, but there is nothing I can do about that! I have to live in the real world, as much as I don’t like it. And so do you! You have to come back with me, Eames. You have to let her go. I know it will be hard but I refuse to let the person I love end up like Mal.”
Arthur knew that he had struck a low blow mentioning Mal, but it was necessary in order to help Eames.
He watched as the anger faded from Eames’ face and was replaced with sadness. He slumped forward and leaned his forehead on Arthur’s shoulder.
“Oh, darling. Love, I am so sorry. I’m so fucking sorry.” Eames shook with silent tears, mumbling “sorry” over and over. Arthur held him close and ran a soothing hand over Eames’ back.
“Come on, Eames,” Arthur said quietly into his ear. “Let’s go home”
A year later, Eames found himself on the steps of the Williamson Orphanage for a job. This time their employer was a wealthy man who was trying to get his wife to move on from her miscarriage. Though it had hit close to home, Eames had come to deal with the “loss” of his own child. He still saw her every once and a while in his dreams but only fleeting glances.
He was currently at this orphanage to try and create a suitable forgery of the mark’s “lost child”. She frequented this orphanage, volunteering her time to help them and there were certain children that her gaze lingered on, most likely imagining that they were what her child may have looked like. This was his third and final visit before the actual job in a week.
He walked through the doors, greeting the nuns who were bustling around tending to children.
“Good Afternoon Mr. Edwards! Have you finally come to make a decision?” One of the younger nuns asked smiling at him.
He smiled but shook his head. “I’m sorry Sister Margret, I’m afraid I haven’t quite found the right one yet.”
She nodded in an understanding way. “A new girl arrived just yesterday, the poor thing. Both her parents were killed in a car accident and she had no other family to take her. She is sitting on the carpet if you perhaps wanted to meet her.”
Eames smiled at her. “Thank you, darling.” And the nun blushed lightly before bustling off.
Though Eames had no intention of adopting any of these children, he thought that he would at least pay the girl a visit. He walked over to the carpet area where a lone girl was sitting, coloring. She was wearing a deep red dress and her long wavy, dark brown hair was hanging down to her waist. When Eames got to her he squatted down next to her and smiled.
“Hello, love.” He said kindly. “My name is Eames. What’s your name?”
The little girl paused in her coloring and glanced over at Eames. When their eyes locked, Eames almost choked on air. He was staring in to stunningly beautiful and familiar blue eyes.
“My name is Victoria.” She said once she had deemed him acceptable to talk to. Her delicate voice carried a hint of a French accent.
Eames had to force back the sob that was threatening to leave his throat. He reached into his pocket and pulled out his poker chip, moving it through his fingers. He found that he was indeed in reality.
“Monsieur Eames, what is that?” She asked quietly looking at his totem.
“This is a special little trinket of mine that I keep close when I need a reminder of reality when I am in front of such beautiful women, darling.” He gave her a wink and she giggle. It was such a beautiful sound.
“You talk funny!” She giggled again, smiling widely. Arthur’s dimpled smile shown on her lovely little face. “I like you, you remind me of Maman.”
Eames smiled at her, his heart pounding in his chest. “Darling Victoria, would you like to come and live with me?” He asked.
She sat for a minute, thinking the request over before she looked him in the eye and nodded shyly. Eames beamed back at her, tears filling his eyes. Victoria moved a delicate hand to his face and brushed some of the tears away.
“Monsieur, why do you cry?” She asked, her eyes drawn together in confusion. “Are you upset?”
Eames laughed and shook his head, taking her delicate hand in his. “No, love, not in the slightest. In fact I am incredibly happy.”
Eames then stood up and helped Victoria to her feet. She collected her crayons and coloring book and followed him to the front desk.
“Ah! I see you have met our little Victoria!” Sister Margret said happily.
“Yes and I would like to take her with me.” Eames said, picking Victoria up and positioning her on his hip.
Sister Margret’s face lit up and she nodded excitedly, rushing to find the paperwork.
Arthur was sitting at the warehouse with Ariadne, going over schematics when his phone went off. He reached for it and checked the caller id. He knew Eames was doing recon so he wondered why he would be calling. He quickly picked up fearing the worst.
“Hello? Eames?” Arthur asked quickly.
“Hello, love! You can relax, I am doing fine, splendid even.” Eames’ voice drifted happily through the phone. “I’m just heading back to the warehouse and I have a surprise with me.”
“Oh?” said Arthur furrowing his eyebrows.
“You have to promise me that you won’t freak out or get mad.” Eames said, his voice hesitant.
“Oh god Eames, what have you done now?” Arthur sat up in his chair.
“Can’t talk now, love. Got to run!” and with that Eames hung up.
Arthur stared at his phone in mild horror, wondering what Eames could possibly be surprising him with. Ariadne gave him a funny look and he just shrugged in return. They waited silently for a few minutes before they heard echoed footsteps in the stairwell. The door was pushed opened and they could see Eames but he stopped and kneeled down, saying something quietly to someone still in the hallway.
He stood up and something moved quickly behind his legs and stayed there as they walked over.
“Hello, darlings.” He said smiling at them.
“What have you got there?” Ariadne asked craning her neck to see around Eames’ legs.
Eames looked behind himself. “Come on, love. Don’t be shy.”
Arthur and Ariadne looked at each other, eyebrows raised. They looked back when they saw movement and were face to face with a little girl. Ariadne stared, still confused as Arthur let out a small gasp, his eyes going wide.
“Eames, what-?” He instantly went to reach for his totem but Eames’ hand on his wrist stopped him.
“You are in reality, love.” He whispered into Arthur’s ear.
Arthur looked at the little girl with her blue eyes and her long, dark, wavy hair. He couldn’t believe it.
“Hello,” He managed to choke out. “I’m Arthur.”
The little girl smiled shyly. “Bonjour Monsieur Arthur. My name is Victoria.”
Arthur searched for Eames’ gaze as if to again confirm that this was real. Eames smiled and nodded his head. He looked back to the girl and she stepped forward and touched his face.
“You look like Papa.” She said smiling, running her tiny fingers along his face. “Maman Eames said that you were going to be my new Papa.”
“Maman Eames?” He asked, daring a glance at Eames, who was blushing.
“Oui, Maman Eames adopted me from the orphanage today. I said he reminded me of my Maman and he said that I could call him that if I liked. He also told me that my new Papa was the well dressed man that he was taking me to meet.”
She smiled happily at him.
Arthur was stunned into silence. He wasn’t sure what to do. Ariadne seemed to notice his distress because she walked over and crouched near Victoria.
“Bonjour Victoria. My name is Ariadne. Do you want to go draw pictures with me?” Ariadne asked motioning her head towards the table of schematics. Victoria smiled brightly and nodded. Ariadne took her hand and brought her over to the table, leaving Eames and Arthur alone.
“Is she really?” Arthur asked weakly sitting up in his chair.
“Yes,” Eames answered. His eyes had begun to tear up again. “Believe me, I checked. I don’t know how it was possible. She had my bloody eyes! And its not as if they are just close to my eyes, it’s as if she actually got them from my genes. How does that even happen?”
Arthur was still stunned.
“It’s as if the world took pity on me.” Eames said kneeling down to Arthur. “Took pity on us. That little girl that I lost to my dreams is sitting over there, drawing with Ariadne. Arthur, love, she is everything like our little Victoria. Hell, she even had the same bloody name! That was the name she told me, I never changed it.”
Arthur looked up at Eames and saw the love and devotion in his eyes. He then looked over at Victoria and Ariadne, at the beautiful little girl who was the exact replica of their dream child. He felt his eyes well up with tears and he looked back to Eames.
“We got our little girl back.” He said happily and connected his lips with Eames’.
A/N. Extremely Rough translations of the French:
Que vous a pris tellement longtemps? - What took you so long?
Je prenais soin de maman. Pourquoi vous n’entrez pas et ne jouez pas dans votre chambre tandis que la maman et le papa parlent - I was taking care of mommy. Why don't you go play in your room while mommy and daddy talk.
Again I am extremely sorry for probably butchering such a beautiful language!
Bonus: Have a picture of what I imaged Victoria to look like :D Sorry for bad quality.
Eames wanted to laugh or cry at the ridiculousness of the situation. This girl, sipping on her umbrella drink, whom he just met at the bar of a wedding, had hit the hammer right on the nail, beside the fact that she had the wrong spouse. She had stripped down his defenses in a millisecond and saw right through him. He really must have been getting rusty.
Eames readjusted his silk tie for the third time. It was becoming increasingly more and more uncomfortable as the night went on. His jacket was long discarded in his seat along the wedding party table. He was currently sitting at the bar, nursing a drink that he didn’t care to find the name for, only caring about the ungodly level of alcohol it contained. His vest had been unbuttoned but still adorned over his torso, leaving the rest of his ridiculous ensemble in perfect condition. He stared disgruntled at the bar counter as he felt someone slide into the seat next to him. He glanced over to see a small brunette with pixie features sitting next to him, ordering an umbrella drink. He chanced a glance over to the dance floor where the bride and groom were slow dancing, wrapped up in each others' arms, looking utterly serene and perfect.
“They are beautiful together, don’t you think?” The girl said with a tinkling voice.
Eames smiled bitterly. He had to agree they did compliment each other so well. “Yes, that they are.”
The girl smiled at him and held out a hand. “I’m Christine. A cousin of the Bride’s.”
Eames took the hand and gave the knuckles a chaste kiss. “Eames. Co-worker of both, but tonight my duty is of the Best Man.”
“That was a lovely speech you gave. So full of love and passion.”
Again, the smile Eames put on his face was forced. “Thank you, darling.” He looked back to the happy couple on the dance floor. He could feel Christine’s eyes watching him but he ignored it. At the moment he was caught up in the almost Adonis features of the groom. The narrow jaw line, the expressive brow, the dark hair loosely slicked back. Not to mention the tuxedo, in its pristine condition, hugging the long limbs. Then to the bride, her delicate body wrapped up in elegant white, not too overwhelming for her small stature. Her beautiful chocolate brown hair gracefully adorning her petite shoulders, soft waves cascading down her back. Finally he settled on their faces. Both shared the same expression of adoration and love. His chest felt tight.
“Oh, I see” Christine’s voice said quietly filtering into his thoughts.
“Hmm?” Eames hummed back, breaking from his reverie.
“How long have you been in love with her?” Christine asked, with a knowing look on her face.
“Beg your pardon?” Eames asked confused.
“You were looking at the couple in such a forlorn way so I figured that either you hated the idea of marriage or you were in love with the bride. When I looked again, I found that it must be the latter because underneath the dejected look, there was a brief glimmer of something akin to love. So I ask again, how long?” Christine’s eyes softened and she rested her chin in her hand.
Eames wanted to laugh or cry at the ridiculousness of the situation. This girl, sipping on her umbrella drink, whom he just met at the bar of a wedding, had hit the hammer right on the nail, beside the fact that she had the wrong spouse. She had stripped down his defenses in a millisecond and saw right through him. He really must have been getting rusty.
Choosing not to correct her, for fear of seeming even more utterly pathetic than he currently did, he humored her with an answer. “Since the moment we met.”
Christine made a small pained noise. “What happened?”
“Well,” Eames started, shutting his eyes and chuckling, “We had our, I don’t even know what you would call it. A fling sounds so juvenile. We were never dating though, never official. We exchanged sweet words, soft touches, fleeting glances, chaste kisses. And everything seemed like it was about to move to the next level, that is, until they met. From the first look, I knew I couldn’t compete. I mean look at them.” He motioned to where the two were sitting momentarily, exchanging quiet words and secret smiles. “What we had couldn’t even compare to the chemistry that they shared. And we weren’t officially together so I saw no point in making a fuss. They were meant for each other. She obviously made him happier.” The last part he said under his breath, the envious words lost to Christine’s ears.
“I’m so sorry for you.” Christine’s words were soft and filled with a sympathy that Eames could really do without.
“Just wasn’t meant to be.” Eames replied, tossing back the rest of his drink as the music sped up and the couple made their way over to them.
“Christine! I see you’ve met Eames,” the bride said once they had reached the bar.
“Why yes I have.” Christine said smiling. “My gosh Ariadne, just look at you! You are gorgeous!”
“A vision in white.” Eames added sincerely, not quite sure if it was to convince Christine or himself of Christine’s theory.
“Oh Eames you are too sweet” She gave him a quick kiss on the cheek and then grabbed Christine’s hands. “Now if you boys will excuse us, we are going to enjoy ourselves on the dance floor!” and with that she and Christine were lost in the crowd.
The two men were left at the bar. Eames tried to ignore the tight pull in his chest as he watched the other staring at the dance floor with fond eyes. When he couldn’t take it anymore, he cleared his throat to get the other man’s attention.
“Arthur, you look rather stunning.” Eames said, honesty thick in the words.
“I could say the same for you, though I see you got somewhat lazy with the vest.” Arthur said smiling, his dimples making shallow indents on his pale face. “Clean shaven also! I’m impressed.”
Eames tried in vain to slow his heart rate. He knew that Arthur didn’t mean it in the same way, not anymore. Didn’t stop his body from reacting to it all the same.
“You condescension is much appreciated, Arthur.” Eames replied with a halfhearted chuckle.
His pulse skyrocketed again when Arthur’s rich laugh filled the air. Eames rubbed the spot under his vest where the pain returned. He looked out at the floor were the two girls were holding hands with Phillipa and dancing to avoid having to meet the other man’s gaze. The gaze, which now, was boring holes into the side of his head.
“Thank you, Eames” he heard Arthur say and he coughed away his nerves.
“If this is about the speech, -” Eames started but Arthur’s soft voice stopped him.
“This isn’t just about the speech. I wanted to say thank you for the beautiful wedding, what I expect to be lavish gifts, the bachelor party that you somehow got Cobb to unwind at, but mostly I want to thank you for being my Best Man.”
The last one stung more that Eames liked to admit.
“I mean it, Thank you for being here for me and supporting me.” Arthur said resting his hand on the junction of Eames neck and shoulder.
Eames put on another one of his practiced smiles and shook his head. “Anything for a friend.” Arthur gave another one of his dazzling smiles and Eames felt his insides melt. Ariadne motioned Arthur to join her and Arthur gave Eames a nod before heading over. Before he got too far, Eames called out to him.
“Arthur, wait!” Arthur turned and looked at Eames questioningly. Eames forced himself to swallow the lump of words that pushed to break free. “Congratulations. I’m happy for both of you.” Arthur gave him the smile that he used to give him, when they would lay next to each other, just staring into each others' eyes, before letting himself be dragged onto the floor.
Eames watched, the bitter smile returning as his unspoken words lingered in the air.
‘I love you’
A/N: I will now go back to avoiding sleep and trying to keep my nose from running due to a cold.
It was a silly game that he had been conned into playing with his best friend Ariadne, when they were in 8th grade. They were sitting in lunch, eating their packed lunches when Arthur had taken out his apple and Ariadne smiled widely.
“You’re going to twist the stem off right?” She said excitedly.
Arthur gave her a confused stare.
“Oh you know,” She continued as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. “You twist the stem of the apple while saying the letters of the alphabet. When the stem breaks off, the letter that you ended on is the beginning letter of the person’s first or last name, depending on which you chose, who is your soul mate!”
Arthur stared at her blankly. “You can’t be serious?”
Ariadne huffed and crossed her arms. “Shut up. If you are two chicken to do it then, fine.”
Arthur gave her a glare. He was not chicken. He picked up is apple and grabbed the stem, twisting it while reciting the alphabet in his head. Just as he reached “E”, the stem broke off.
“Ooooh! What did it land on?” Ariadne asked excitedly leaning forward looking at his hands as if she could see it.
“E” Arthur said staring at stem in his hand.
“First or last name?” Ariadne asked again.
Arthur thought for a minute. He hadn’t really decided which it was but for some reason he felt like last name was the right choice. “Last.”
The next day Ariadne made him do it again but for the first name. When Arthur tried to complain she shushed him up.
“This will help you narrow the search!” She insisted. “God only knows that you need a girlfriend.”
Arthur glared at her again but started the ritual any way.
This time it landed on “D”.
Arthur’s first girlfriend was named Daphne Erickson. Arthur was sure if he should be creeped out or laugh at the irony. It had only been a couple of months since he had trusted an apple stem with the destiny of his love life. Truth be told, Arthur had forgotten about the whole thing so when he realized he couldn’t help but laugh bitterly.
She was a really nice girl. They were in the same class and sat next to each other everyday. She had strawberry blonde hair and big brown eyes. Her face was lined with freckles and she had a button nose. Arthur had to admit, she was cute.
The held hands and sat with each other at lunch but that was really as far as they went. They were only in 8th grade so, really, that was the norm. After about a week of dating, Daphne said that she had fun but she had a crush on Bobby now, and dumped Arthur.
He wasn’t exactly heartbroken but it did sting a little.
Arthur’s second girlfriend was named Delia Evens. Ariadne and Arthur had just reached the 9th grade when he met her. She was a sophomore who was in his math class. She had brown hair that cut in an adorable bob and pretty hazel eyes that were, sadly, hidden behind layers of make up. Mind you, she was pretty enough without it so Arthur didn’t really understand why she insisted on using so much but he wasn’t one to judge.
Once again Arthur had laughed at the coincidence of her initials being DE. Ariadne insisted that this was “legit” but Arthur was skeptical.
Arthur and Delia dated for about a month before Delia’s mom got a job in Seattle and she was forced to move.
It was during his sophomore year when Arthur found himself staring a little too long at his classmates changing in the locker room. Luckily he began to master the art of subtlety so he had yet to be caught. He told his revelation to Ariadne, who just clapped a hand on his shoulder and told him “I already knew”, which proceeded to confuse the shit out of Arthur because how would she know that he stared too much?
His first boyfriend was named Duncan Everett. He wasn’t even sure if he was even gay but Duncan was nice and he felt like he could trust him so Arthur thought “What the hell” and said yes.
Duncan was muscular and tan. His dark brown hair was constantly tousled but extremely soft. He was in the same year as Arthur and Ariadne and shared four classes with Arthur. Duncan had introduced himself to Arthur on the first day of classes and they began to have an interesting conversation on the merits of school lunches. About a month into the school year Duncan asked Arthur out.
Dating Duncan was much different than dating Daphne and Delia. Duncan’s hands weren’t as delicate as they girls’ had been so holding hands or even just touching was such a different experience. There also seemed to be a lot more sexual feelings between them. Duncan stole Arthur’s first kiss and the exchange was extremely passionate, to say the least. Arthur was actually surprised that he didn’t lose anymore than just his first kiss.
Unfortunately Duncan became a little too passionate after a month and a half of dating and Arthur broke up with him.
After that, Arthur’s next relationship wasn’t until the end of junior year. His name was Derek Edwards and he was on the football team. Ariadne was actually surprised by this. Not only that he was on the football team but also that Arthur would go for someone like that.
“I didn’t even know he was your type!” Ariadne had said, astonished.
“Ari, I don’t even know what my type is.” Arthur replied rolling his eyes.
Derek was fit, to say the least. His blonde hair was cut short on the sides but the top was longer. He had baby blue eyes and dimples when he smiled. Arthur found himself melting a little every time he flashed his pearly whites.
Even though he was on the football team, he was far from being a jock. He actually would take Arthur out on dates to the movies and to restaurants. He was quite the gentleman. They ended up staying together throughout the rest of junior and senior year. Derek ended up being the one that Arthur lost his virginity to and Arthur had no problem with that. Derek was so sweet that Arthur was sad when it came to Graduation.
Arthur and Ariadne ended up getting into the same architecture school and were staying on the east coast. Derek had gotten a scholarship to his dream school in Texas. Arthur wasn’t selfish enough to take Derek up on his offer to stay in California with him so he sadly ended the relationship. Derek had taken it very well and completely understood. He promised to keep in touch with Arthur.
College was a whole different story. Arthur was constantly busy so he never really had time for a solid relationship so he only had a series of flings. Even still, the initials DE remained. Ariadne suspected that he was doing it on purpose to spite her but Arthur assured her that it was pure coincidence. He only ever thought about that detail after he and the person had started their relationship.
In their fourth year, Ariadne and Arthur decided to spend a semester abroad in Paris. Arthur had to admit that he truly enjoyed it. The beautiful, old European style building made Arthur smile. He always loved the beauty and sense of regality that they held.
Ariadne and Arthur frequented a small café every morning before their classes. The café had an outdoor seating area where they always sat when the sun was shining.
This time Arthur was by himself, going through his notes. It was early on Saturday morning so Ariadne was still asleep in the apartment that they were staying in. The sun was beaming down on Arthur’s shoulders and there was a slight breeze. Arthur closed his eyes for a minute to take in the moment, sighing contently. There was a sudden gust of wind and he opened his eyes to his notes being blown away. He gasped and bolted out of his seat, grabbing for all the papers he could reach. He noticed that someone else had joined him in his paper collection but he didn’t pay them any mind, his main objective being getting all the notes back.
Once him and the stranger had gathered all the papers, Arthur finally looked up. The man was by far the most handsome man Arthur had ever laid eyes on. He had golden brown hair that was parted off to the right side and blue-gray eyes framed with long eyelashes. Arthur’s favorite part, he decided, was the pair of full lips that were surrounded by light stubble. The man had a strong jaw and a muscular build under his lavender button up and slate gray pants. Arthur couldn’t help but stare, his armful of papers making him look slightly ridiculous.
“Here are your papers, darling.” The man said, a smooth British accent apparent.
“Thanks so much” Arthur said smiling and taking the papers from the man.
The man stood staring for a minute before his expression changed. “I believe I have seen you before. Are you friends with the small brunette girl and you both sit up front in Professor Miles’ lecture?”
Arthur blinked for a minute before nodding. “Yes, I do.”
“Oh dear,” The man said looking slightly embarrassed and scratching the back of his neck. “I’m sorry, I’m in your class. Let me introduce myself! I’m Edward Daniel Eames but I usually just go by my middle name. So, actually, let me start again” The man laughed at himself and held out his hand. “Hello I’m Daniel Eames.”
Arthur stared for a minute. Daniel Eames… Daniel Eames. Arthur felt a smile pulling on his lips as he shook Daniel’s hand.
“Hello Daniel, I’m Arthur.
AN: So I hope you guys enjoyed this and that it wasn't too bad :D