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[personal profile] ladderax
This is something I wrote for Cherrybina's Fluff Meme.
Sadly, it's not all that fluffy.

-


Dead, Arthur thinks for approximately the thirty thousandth time in fifteen days.

Eames is dead.

Dissolved, at best. At worst

Worst is more than he can bear to think about at the moment. He’ll just stick with dissolved.

Arthur’s always been pragmatic. He knew getting involved with a blockade runner was risky business, that (based on calculations he’d done himself) Eames had roughly a 1 in 5 chance of getting caught by the Stellium forces. And the Stellium had, by official decree as of six months ago, stopped taking prisoners.



That wasn’t to say that they killed all of the captured Oathbreakers, either.

Arthur strokes Cobb absently. Save your strength, Cobb thinks into him. Next week, you go on the offensive. Your orders are to stay alive. Martyrs are of no use to us right now, not while we’re still beating at stone walls. Our primary objective is to let them know we won’t be beaten, that we’ll keep coming back, like cockroaches, like tax day.

Sometimes Arthur wonders why the Resistance still takes orders from a sword.

But Cobb was a great general, after all. He still is, despite his consciousness having been transplanted into neurosteel. Arthur doesn’t really feel like listening to him right now, though, so he leans him up against the wall and presses a button to open the window.

The suns are still high. A few kids flap their arms and jump up and down, staying airborne for seconds—recent emigres, judging by the looks of wonder on their faces. A woman with an overflowing bagful of fruit bounces across the ice-bright landscape as if on an invisible pogo stick.

Fruit.

Someone’s gotten past the blockade.

Arthur zips up his jacket, grabs Cobb as an afterthought, and runs outside. He trips upward, still unused to the gravity of Epimetheus. He swims up to the woman.

“Where did you get those?” he shouts.

“From me.” Arthur whirls around at the achingly familiar voice.

He’s torn between trusting and not trusting what he sees.

He’s been Refurnished, most likely. Kill him, Cobb says. Arthur lifts Cobb and presses the point of him into Eames’s throat.

“Hello, General,” Eames says. “It’s nice to see you, but you’re not the first person I was hoping to touch.”

“You’re dead,” Arthur accuses. “Your wafership was blown up. The Stellium sent it to us in the latest propaganda reel. How did you survive?”

“Cowardice,” Eames chuckles. “Zipped myself inside a storage bin when I saw the ship approach. They blew me up, but those cryocanisters are heartier than you’d think. I floated for a few days, past the blockade, then a freighter full of cranky old Yeomen picked me up and agreed to take me back here after I made all sorts of empty threats.”

Eames is obviously listening to something Cobb’s saying, because a look of concentration washes over him. “I understand your concern, General, but I haven’t been pressganged....No, no, of course I can’t prove it. I might not be able to assuage your doubts, but I may be able to assuage Arthur’s, if he’ll let me.”

If Eames had been Refurbished, the entire Resistance could be compromised. He could carry deadly viruses, or thought probes, or any number of things that could get them all turned to dust, literally or figuratively, sooner or later.

Arthur knows he should kill Eames then and there. He’s already mourned Eames. Burned his uniform. Sent a six-by-three plot of earth into space, watched it bloom into the tresses of a brown willow and then disperse.

But then Eames purses his lips and his eyes dart away, attention grabbed by some trifling stimulus—a landray squealing, a stone skipping, a door opening—and Arthur thinks, he knows, This is Eames.
Always looking off in the distance, fascinated by any sort of movement, a predator by birth.

“Welcome home,” Arthur says. The lump in his throat keeps any other words from pushing through.

*

They spend hours in bed. They spend half a day in bed.

It’s a settlement ritual, to watch the foragers come in at nightfall. To see their rickety armored tanks, to watch them stagger out with bins more often empty than not. The emptiness, they wear as a badge of honor. Of defiance. The emptier the basins, the louder the cheers from the settlement. It means, We’re still here. This planet isn’t doing us any favors, but we’re still fucking here.

But Arthur and Eames don’t wait for the foragers, or watch the livid chartreuse drain from the sky. They shiver as they run their hands over each other’s bodies as slowly as they possibly can without ceasing movement altogether.

You’re alive, Arthur thinks.

I love you and you’re alive.

Every time he feels like sobbing, he turns it into a bite, a bite to Eames’s shoulder or nipple or stomach. Hard. Just this side of vicious.

Eames flips Arthur over, pulls him onto his hands and knees and pushes him forward, toward the headboard, and from there Arthur knows what to do. He braces himself against the headboard and hangs his head down between his arms. And Eames licks his hole. Gets him wet first, then pushes his tongue in to open Arthur up as a prelude to being fucked by Eames’s thick, heavy cock.

Then Eames’s second tongue (acquired for a high price while he was still a golden son of the Stellium) emerges from underneath the tongue he was born with, and while Eames is tongue-fucking Arthur, his other tongue licks Arthur’s rim kittenishly. And so many sets of sensitive nerves are being teased, and Arthur, as always, wonders if he can’t handle it.

And then his logical mind blacks out and he stops wondering.

He comes, a huge, hard, full-body orgasm that snaps all his strings and leaves him lying gasping on the bed, come-soaked bedsheets cold against his belly.

And Eames moves to kiss the back of his neck and blanket him with his own solid body.

“All I could think of, when I was floating in space, in that cryocanister, was you,” Eames says into the back of his neck. “I thought, you would stay alive in here. You’ve always had the strength and the luck. And I thought I couldn’t let you do better than me.”

“And at first I thought you were going to say something romantic,” Arthur laughs into the pillow.

Eames lets his weight sink further into Arthur. Arthur relishes the feeling. The thought of being Eames’s comfort, his bed.

“But it is romantic, isn’t it?” Eames nuzzles the sweaty hair at Arthur’s nape. “The fact that I hero-worship you? The fact that when I’m floating in Gods-forsaken space with nothing but a shit-tonne of Fomalhautian pears for company the first and only thing I can hear is your voice?”

Arthur wriggles out from underneath Eames and pulls him close.

“Will you stay here with me?” Arthur asks.

Eames drops his forehead to Arthur’s collarbone, ashamed.

“We need fruit and neurosteel, love.”

Arthur looks at him fiercely. “We also need good fighters. You’re as good as they come. And you know the Stellium supply lines.”

“If that’s an order…” Eames trails off. “When do we fight?”

“Next week.”

Eames hums the fight song of the Resistance into the hollow of Arthur’s throat.

“Stop thinking about it. Next week isn’t tonight,” Arthur commands.

Eames smiles and begins to hum a different tune.
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la pellegrina

May 2012

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