to see you smile;
Arthur is sick. Eames decides to look after him.
Eames has never seen Arthur look so dishevelled before. It takes him by surprise and there’s almost a full minute of silence between them after Arthur opens the door to his hotel room, wearing nothing but his shirttails and socks, his hair falling in complete disarray across his clammy forehead.
It takes him another minute to register that not only is Arthur not looking like himself, but that he’s looking particularly unlike himself: his skin is pastier than usual, his eyes dark, sunken smudges that he fights to keep open, his body trembling as if with a chill but even as Eames squints he can see the slight feverish flushing crawling up to stain at his cheeks.
“Eames,” Arthur slurs, coughs, his voice a rough catch in his throat. It startles Eames back into the moment.
“Are you quite alright?” He asks, redundantly. It’s pretty clear that Arthur is anything but alright.
Arthur just grunts, turns and stumbles his way back into his room.
Eames takes the open door as an invitation and lets himself in.
Arthur has made his way back to bed; he’s half-lying on the covers even as he vainly tries to pull them over himself. He makes some kind of whimpering sound that has Eames raising his eyebrows in surprise before he finds himself almost instinctively striding over and all but man-handling Arthur properly into the bed and tucking the covers tight around his shoulders.
Arthur coughs something that might have been thanks and Eames nods, hovers, hesitates. Clearly they’ll not be getting any work done today. He briefly considers what to do with an unexpected day off when Arthur sneezes and coughs in unison before moaning miserably and trying to bury himself under his pillow.
“Well, that take cares of that,” he says to no one in particular. Certainly not Arthur, anyway, who now appears to be trying to burrow his way into the mattress.
When Arthur pops his head out of the covers, hours later, his face is flushed, his bed hair (and, honestly, who knew Arthur’s hair came as anything other than gel slicked and perfectly styled upon waking?) is sticking up all over the place and, the fact that he’s clearly unwell aside, Eames doesn’t think he’s ever seen him look so good; there’s just something about his ruffled appearance, the colour in his cheeks…
Eames shakes his head, smiles and leans in from his chair beside the bed to offer Arthur some water. Arthur stares at him as if he isn’t quite sure he’s real, but he takes the water anyway; his hand a shake as it grips the glass and clumsily holds it to his lips. Eames is there to take it from him when his shaking hand threatens to spill the water everywhere.
“How are you feeling?” Eames asks, amicably enough. Arthur glares at him, and really, it’s quite uncalled for.
“What’re you doing here?” Arthur asks back, his words more a slur of syllables than an actual question but Eames gets the gist of it. He’s on the verge of quipping something particularly annoying like ‘just popped in to watch you sleep’ that’ll get Arthur shooting him what Eames likes to call his ‘kitten’ glare, in that it’s more adorable than anything else, but he refrains.
Instead, Eames leavers himself from the chair and disappears from Arthur’s line of sight. He hears Arthur’s huff and the thump of him hitting the pillows and smiles to himself.
When he returns he’s holding a steaming bowl of something Arthur can’t quite distinguish between delicious and nauseating. The subsequent grumbling-lurch of his stomach makes him plant his face back in his pillow.
“Come now, don’t be like that,” Eames says, putting the bowl on the dresser beside him and touching at Arthur’s shoulder. His shirt is sweat-dampened. Eames frowns, feeling the dampness and the heat of Arthur’s skin beneath it. He debates the futility of his next action and whether or not it will result in him losing his head, before adding it to the list of things he’s already willing done to piss Arthur off.
“Fine, no soup,” Eames agrees cordially, covering the bowl with a napkin. Arthur twists his head to stare blearily at him. Eames smiles, widely. “But you are taking a bath.”
Bath time went remarkably well. Though, considering Arthur was only capable of putting up a half-assed attempt at refusal, it shouldn’t have been that surprising. Eames had even given him bubbles, for god’s sake, in a gentlemanly attempt to preserve at least some of Arthur’s dignity.
Making bubble sculptures with Arthur’s hair, however, probably defeated that entire purpose.
Eames smiles at the memory. Arthur glares at him from his propped-up position against the headboard; the now room-temperature soup sitting on his lap and a pout pulling at his lips. He was wearing actual pyjamas now, a feat Eames was amazed he’d actually managed by himself considering all the infernal buttons it consisted of.
“Don’t make me feed you,” Eames warns, looking up from the paper he was not-quite reading and eyeballing Arthur.
“Not hungry,” Arthur mumbles, but he lifts his spoon in a vein attempt to do as Eames asks. Eames watches as Arthur scrunches his nose and his eyes, his lips folding over the spoon, his throat working furiously against a swallow he clearly doesn’t want to make. He gags a little then, biting back a moan and Eames is at his side almost instantaneously, removing the soup bowl and offering Arthur some more water and a dose of painkillers which he accepts more gratefully.
When Arthur smiles his thanks at him, Eames knows he must be feeling pretty damn rotten; he’s hardly ever seen Arthur so unguarded and open around him. Hardly ever enough to be on the receiving end of that kind of smile anyway.
Without conscious thought Eames finds himself sitting on the bed beside Arthur and reaching out towards him. He’s not sure if he meant to hug him, or just place a comforting hand on his shoulder, but Arthur’s leaning up into the movement decides it for him, and before he’s properly processed the thought, he finds himself with an armful of Arthur.
Eames tightens his arms around him as Arthur all but nuzzles his face into the crook of Eames’ neck.
“You know,” Eames mutters softly, almost as if he doesn’t want to be heard, “I’m going to tease you mercilessly for this once you’re back to your normal self.” He smiles his words into Arthur’s hair; still a little damp from his bath and smelling like the expensive hotel soap Eames had used to wash it with.
He gets a puff of hot air against his neck, a silent laugh for his troubles before Arthur pulls away and snuggles his way back down into his bed. Eames reaches out, stroking a hand through Arthur’s hair before pushing to his feet.
Slim fingers snap suddenly out, their grip tight and tugging against his wrist and Eames looks at Arthur is surprise; a smile tugging at his lips as he watches Arthur shimmy over, his eyes an unasked question, his fingers loosening only enough to allow Eames to remove his grip should he want to.
He doesn’t. Want to remove Arthur’s hold on him that is, he very much wants to accept the invitation Arthur is silently offering him. He hesitates though, his mind working at a million miles a minute weighing pros and cons and debating whether or not he’ll be able to let this go once Arthur is back to his prim and proper self.
Arthur’s grip loosens further, his fingers sliding down Eames’ hand as his hesitation drags out the moment more than is polite. Arthur’s already preparing himself to bury his humiliation under his bedcovers when Eames grabs at his hand, startling Arthur into looking up at him with big, brown eyes and the next thing Eames’ knows is that he’s kicked off his shoes and shimmied into the bed and that Arthur is now using him as a pillow.
It’s kind of stifling warm in the bed, between Arthur who’s still feverish and the heavy blankets he’s piled on top of them, it’s rather like being in an uncomfortably warm sauna. But Arthur is still shivering and Eames thinks to himself that if this helps make him feel even a little bit better, then cuddling a sick man in a sauna-like bed is really the least he can do.
“The things I’ll do for you,” he mutters, fondly enough, fingers running through Arthur’s hair.
♥ this is my first dip into writing Inception fic, and whilst I know I’m not going to win any awards for this piece, it was kind of nice to play with these boys and get at least a little feel for their characters.
♥ initially this fic was supposed to be about Eames ravishing a recently-awoken Arthur (with the bed hair and rumpled clothes, mmm!), but well, nothing ever really goes how I plan and somehow I forgot about the ravishing part and ended up with this somewhat cutesy sick!Arthur fic instead. Alas! Maybe next time? ;D