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23 November 2010 @ 12:16 am
fic: we should be whispering all the time  
Yikes, y’all. It’s been a while. As I said before, I moved and then technology took advantage of my distraction to unleash a full-scale rebellion on me and it was all a big bummer. So apologies for that, here’s this and probably something longer and something more depressing coming up relatively soon. But no promises, because shit’s kind of crazy right now. But HI AGAIN, that’s the point. Alsoooo, I kind of hate this story. I was just borderline blocked so I kind of rushed it out and decided not to care about it, which is probably why if you examine the logic too closely the whole thing falls apart like a house built of exploding snap cards (who else just saw Harry Potter, holla!). Haha, this whole thing has never been about quality though, let’s be real. The important thing is I HAVE A YUSUF ICON NOW. :D

Title: we should be whispering all the time
Pairing: Arthur/Eames (Ariadne/Yusuf)
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: either about 9K or about 11K, depending on how you look at it (see notes)
Summary: “I feel morally obligated to state for the record that I think this is a terrible idea,” Eames says. “I think dating co-workers is a terrible, catastrophic, Roland Emmerich-level disaster kind of idea.”
Yusuf snorts. “You only say that because Arthur dumped you.”
Warnings: Stalking, so much stalking. A LOT of genuinely crazy behavior. A lot of scenes in bathrooms, for some reason. Dubious morals throughout. IDK, you guys, I guess this is just what I think love IS.
Notes: Thanks, as always, to your__design, especially since she’s had a shitty week. Baby fic is next, just for you. Title from “100,000 Fireflies” by The Magnetic Fields. There is a slight reference to an Eddie Izzard joke and if you find it then we should be best friends. There’s also this, um, weird thing that I’ve done here where there are, like, easter egg mini-stories? Kind of linked in? Or something? It started because I wanted to include the story for one throwaway line and then I thought “ugh, that’s so weird if I do only one, right?” but then I got weirdly involved with it and then there were pictures and charts and now I don’t know what it is anymore. I have no recommendation for how to go about reading these extra pieces. After reading the whole fic? During? Before? Ignore them entirely? I don’t know. Burger King this shit, people: have it your way. I'll link the appendix post at the end, for convenience.



Because Eames is a fucking saint, he does not shoot Yusuf through the foot. It’s a near thing, though, he won’t deny that. But listening to Yusuf whine for two hours straight about the tiny, bescarfed perfection that is Cobb’s new architect would drive anyone to physical violence. Anyone who is not the paragon of patience and virtue that Eames is, of course.

“You should be grateful I haven’t shot you through the foot,” Eames tells Yusuf.

“I have already been shot through my heart,” Yusuf says. “And Ariadne is to blame.”

“If you’re quoting Bon Jovi right now I really will shoot you,” Eames says, eyeing Yusuf thoughtfully. He’s too drunk to be sure, but he thinks Yusuf looks a little shifty.

“I wasn’t,” he says.

“Of course not,” Eames says, and pours himself another drink. It’s a little more difficult than he remembers it being last time. Did this glass get smaller? It’s filling up much too – oh there it goes, all over the table.

“Eames,” Yusuf says, “I need your help.”

“I don’t think I’m in a state to help anyone right now,” Eames says, because Yusuf is a true friend and one is always honest with one’s true friends. Also because Eames would feel a little ridiculous trying to be helpful with scotch-soaked trousers.

“I need you to help me woo her,” Yusuf continues. “I don’t even know how to get her attention!”

“Well, if the way she tails Cobb around is anything to go by, you could start by going utterly bonkers,” Eames suggests.

“I don’t think that will work,” Yusuf says, but he looks like he’s considering it anyway. Through the scotch Eames realizes that Yusuf is not just being annoying; he means every word he’s said.

“I feel morally obligated to state for the record that I think this is a terrible idea,” Eames says. “I think dating co-workers is a terrible, catastrophic, Roland Emmerich-level disaster kind of idea.”

Yusuf snorts. “You only say that because Arthur dumped you.”

“That,” Eames says, sponging off the front of his trousers with as much dignity as he can manage, “is not entirely what actually happened. It was mutual. It was a mutual dumping. That I started.”

“If it was so mutual why did you spend a week drunk on my couch watching Australian soap operas and eating cake mix?” Yusuf asks.

“I don’t have to explain myself to you,” Eames huffs.

“Look, the basis of Ariadne’s appeal is that she’s so much saner than the rest of you. I think she and I could write a very uncatastrophic workplace romance,” Yusuf says.

“That’s supposed to be Lady Gaga, isn’t it? You can’t fool me, Yusuf, I know it is.”

“It isn’t,” Yusuf says, but he’s definitely fucking with Eames now. Eames nudges Yusuf with a toe, reproachfully. Yusuf sighs and looks completely miserable, more miserable than a toe-poking should warrant.

“Oh, just fuck it,” Eames says. “You’re depressing me, stop pouting about it. I’ll help you.”

Yusuf does a pleased little clap at that but forgets that he has a glass of wine in his hand. It sloshes all down his sleeve and he looks at the stain, clearly baffled. Eames suddenly feels better qualified to give him advice.

“On the condition,” he adds, “that Arthur never, ever, ever finds out about this.” He gives Yusuf his sternest look.

“All Arthur does is glare at me anyway,” Yusuf says, “it’s not like we have little heart-to-hearts and gossip about you when you’re not around.”

Eames rolls his eyes. That is exactly what they do, he’s pretty sure. “Not a word,” is all he says.

“Alright,” Yusuf says, “have it your way... So, I was thinking I’d start by writing her a poem-”

“Just stop it,” Eames says, “this is already hurting me.”

*

“So what’s the plan?” Yusuf asks.

It’s some ungodly early hour, some pre-dawn horrible place that Eames wants nothing to do with, not on his best days and certainly not when he’s this hungover. And Yusuf’s near-giddiness is not earning him any points with Eames. Surely Yusuf was at least as drunk as Eames was last night, he has no right to look so not-miserable. If this hangover is some kind of karmic statement from the universe, Eames refuses to respond to it.

“The plan? It’s a little thing I like to call ‘extraction,’ where -“

“Not that plan,” Yusuf hisses, flapping his arms around hilariously. “The wooing one!”

It comes back to Eames slowly and horribly. “I was very drunk last night, Yusuf. Very drunk.”

“Didn’t Hemingway say you should always do sober what you say you’ll do drunk?”

“Well, that makes sense for him, that’s a brilliant out for someone who was as drunk as Hemingway. If you’re never sober you never have to honor drunken promises made to pushy mates with weird crushes.”

“Eames,” Yusuf says, making his sad little wobble face again.

“Aspirin first, plans later,” Eames says. Yusuf punches the air with his fist and Eames sighs and thinks about how much he hates drunk!Eames.

*

In retrospect, he shouldn’t have worried about Yusuf telling Arthur, since Arthur clearly would have figured it out anyway. He also should have gone with a more subtle plan, probably. Eames doesn’t think he can be blamed for this oversight, though. He’s still not exactly firing on all cylinders. Mostly he’s just glad that Arthur is whisper-shouting at him instead of full-on screaming, as he clearly wants to. True, it’s so Ariadne won’t overhear, but Eames is well used to taking what he can get when it comes to Arthur.

“A fucking semi-automatic pistol, Eames,” Arthur hisses. “She’s still new to this, she does not need a fucking gun.”

“I am in total agreement, darling,” Eames assures him, manfully ignoring the way Arthur practically huffs out a breath of fire at the word ‘darling.’ “Did you even look at the tag? It’s from Yusuf, go make crazy eyes at Yusuf.” Eames feels a little bad about throwing Yusuf under the speeding bus that is Arthur in a strop, but in his own defense, it is Yusuf’s fault and Yusuf is not the one that Arthur brutally broke up with. Mutually. Mutually broke up with. Whatever.

“Like Yusuf would think to buy her a fucking gun,” Arthur says.

“I could have!” Yusuf says.

Bad choice, Eames thinks, and Arthur rounds on him.

“What kind of gun is this, Yusuf? Do you even know?” Arthur asks.

“Um, a brown one,” Yusuf says. “One that I thought matched Ariadne’s scarf?”

“Don’t even,” Arthur says, nostrils flaring in barely suppressed rage.

“Yusuf here just thought Ari might like her own gun, he wasn’t planning to teach her to use it,” Eames says, because Arthur never needs to know that that was phase two. (Eames has found that weapons training is among the world’s greatest aphrodisiacs. And he could have taught Yusuf enough to be passable. Probably.) “I don’t see what the problem is. She’s hardly a child, Arthur. Plus, I’ve seen the way she goes through issues of Guns & Ammo; that girl wants a firearm. Are you really going to deprive her? You, of all people? Arthur, dearest, I can tell you’ve got at least six weapons on your person right now, you little hypocrite.”

There is actually a funny story about how Eames learned that it is always, always, always important to figure out where Arthur’s weapons are concealed; it’s less funny that Eames still keeps track and uses the number of concealed weapons as a scale for how long he can fuck with Arthur without risk of serious bodily harm.

“She’s not ready yet,” Arthur says, acting – as always – as though whatever Eames was just saying was only so much vaguely annoying air moving through the room. “And it’s the principle of the thing.”

“So, flowers then?” Yusuf asks.

Arthur glares so hard that Eames thinks his eyes might actually pop out of their sockets and attack Yusuf.

“Or not!” Yusuf says immediately.

“Stay away from Ariadne,” Arthur says, “or I will cut off your cat’s head and leave it in your bed like the fucking Godfather.”

“Great movie,” Yusuf says, desperately. Eames thinks the poor sod might actually be trying to establish common ground with Arthur. Arthur, of course, is clearly not having it, since he has apparently bought up every last inch of Crazy Overreaction Island and is not willing to share.

“I’m serious, Yusuf,” Arthur says. “Your cat’s head.”

“Right,” Yusuf says. “Got it.”

“Arthur, really,” Eames says. “Don’t you think you should let Ariadne make her own decisions?”

“Don’t you think you should let Yusuf pick out his own gifts?” Arthur shoots back.

No,” Eames says. “He was going to write poetry.”

For a second it looks like Arthur wants to laugh, but he masters himself at the last minute and throws another withering glance at Yusuf and stalks off.

“Are he and Ariadne…?” Yusuf asks and makes a vague gesture that Eames takes to mean ‘having disturbingly kinky and possessive sex.’

“Not a chance,” Eames says, “You forget that I’ve seen Arthur’s closet. No straight man organizes by runway show, trust me.” Eames has also seen Arthur’s porn collection, but he really doesn’t want to get shot in the kneecaps, so he’ll keep that one to himself. “No, this is him being noble.” Eames doesn’t care if it’s petty to roll his eyes, it’s also really necessary.

“Maybe I should woo Arthur first,” Yusuf says, sounding faintly horrified. “How do I woo Arthur?”

“Haven’t the faintest ,” Eames says, honestly.

*

The next day, Yusuf – against Eames’s suggestion – brings Ariadne a bouquet of chrysanthemums. Eames told him it would be too forward for a first move, and sure enough, Ariadne blushes and stutters, but she doesn’t seem entirely put off, so Eames is willing to concede that one. Arthur, on the other hand, looks extremely put off. He corners Eames in the bathroom, and there was a time not too long ago when this would have been a decidedly sexy encounter, but this time Arthur leans in close (and there was a time when Eames would have thought ‘close enough to kiss’ but now he thinks ‘close enough to stab me’) and hisses, “You need to stop this. Right. Now.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Eames says breezily. “Why exactly are we having this conversation here, pet?”

Arthur jerks, reflexively, like Eames stuck him, and says, “You know what I’m talking about, Eames.”

“Not at all, darling,” Eames says, just to be contrary.

“Yusuf and Ariadne,” Arthur says, in the pained, horrifying tones he reserves for people who are testing his patience. “Shut it down.”

“That’s between them,” Eames says, “I have nothing to do with it.”

Arthur gives him a firm look, like he knows everything Eames has ever or will ever think and says, “Shut it down, Mr. Eames.”

“He really likes her, you know,” Eames says, “it’s rather sweet, really.”

Arthur actually looks repulsed.

“Tell you what,” Eames says cheerfully, “take your self-important head out of your self-righteous arse for a second and take a look at him, why don’t you? He’d be good for her, he’s so normal. For this job, anyway. And think about how cute the babies would be!” Eames isn’t surprised when this argument fails to win Arthur over.

“Do I even need to tell you how badly this is going to end?” Arthur says and, no, he doesn’t.

“I’m not involved,” Eames says. “This is all Yusuf.”

“Yeah fucking right,” Arthur says. And then, almost thoughtfully, “I’m not above shooting you, just so you know.”

“I know,” Eames says and Arthur just keeps looking at him rather contemplatively, like he’s debating between a list of retorts and finding them all wanting.

“Shut it down, Eames,” he repeats and leaves.

*

“Arthur has been glaring at me even more lately,” Yusuf says glumly. He’s sitting on the sink in the wide warehouse bathroom, picking nervously at the material of his trousers.

“That’s not true,” Eames says, and it’s sort of not a lie. Arthur hasn’t been glaring, he’s been fantasizing brutal mutilations, probably (if Eames knows Arthur at all) each more grizzly and inventive than the last. Arthur may not be very creative when it comes to the job, but when it comes to violence he’s a master artist.

“Ariadne said I looked very nice today,” Yusuf says, still sounding gloomy.

“Well that’s good, right?” Eames says.

“And then Arthur asked me how my cat was doing.”

“Ah,” Eames says.

“Maybe you could distract him?” Yusuf says hopefully. “Like, with your tongue?”

“I can provide you with a bulleted list of reasons why that is absolutely not happening,” Arthur says, slipping into the bathroom so soundlessly that Eames wonders if Ninja 101 is a required element of the US Army’s training. “I told you this was going to stop and you didn’t listen.”

Yusuf falls ass first into the sink, but Eames doesn’t miss a beat. He rounds on Arthur and says, “And what’s the worst thing that could possibly happen? They try it out and don’t fit? Or, heaven forbid, they actually hit it off and things work out? Is that what you’re worried about? They’re not you, they’re capable of human fucking emotions.”

It’s nasty and he shouldn’t, but he doesn’t regret it when Arthur says, “They’re not you either, it’s actually going to fucking matter when it gets serious.”

“You think we have a shot of getting serious?” Yusuf says, sounding almost cheerful. Arthur and Eames ignore him.

“You think you didn’t matter to me?” Eames says.

“That’s not what I said,” Arthur replies stiffly. “I just said serious workplace… fraternizing isn’t good for the team.”

“Oh, the sodding team,” Eames says, “again with the sodding team, Yusuf’s not fucking the whole team, is he?”

“I’m not fucking anyone,” Yusuf says, “actually.”

“Professional relationships should stay exactly that: professional,” Arthur says, “or else it splits loyalties and ends in threats of disembowelment-”

“I hate to tell you, darling, but that’s just you,” Eames says.

“-or a fucking attack of bats,” Arthur finishes.

“Bats?” Yusuf repeats at the same time Eames yells, “Jesus Christ, Arthur, it was the one fucking time.

“They were still fucking bats, Eames,” Arthur says. “Fucking bats!

“It was a cave,” Eames says, “You can’t start a fight with me in a cave and not expect a few bats!

I started that? Are you kidding me?” Arthur says.

“I feel like I should just,” Yusuf says helplessly and gestures to the door, but Arthur is in the way and he’s armed. Eames silently approves of Yusuf’s cautious decision to stay in the far corner.

“Is there someone in there?” Ariadne says from outside the door. “I’ve had, like, three lattes, this is an emergency.”

The three of them freeze. This doesn’t look good for any of them, but Eames has a feeling that if he stays in this bathroom with Arthur one or both of them is going to get shot, so he flings open the door.

“All yours,” he says. “Enjoy!”

It’s not his bravest moment, but he’s glad he fled when he hears Ariadne ask, “Do I even want to know what’s going on here?” and Arthur actually makes an angry hissing sound, like a wet, homicidal cat.

*

After that, Eames has no choice but to advise Yusuf to back off. “Unless,” he says, “you think Ariadne would fancy you more if you were riddled with bullet holes.”

“Perhaps it’s better to just let this one go, yes?” Yusuf says. He’s got that gloomy look on his face again.

“For now, at least,” Eames agrees, “just until Arthur seeks therapy.”

“What did you do to him?” Yusuf asks.

“That is a terribly unfair question,” Eames says.

“I overheard him lecturing Ariadne today about not letting herself be seduced by international criminals with flashy accents,” Yusuf says. “He went into rather a lot of detail.”

“Bad luck, mate,” Eames says, “Ariadne probably thinks the three of us are have some kind of illicit man-on-man-on-suit-wearing-robot threesome.”

“Argh,” Yusuf says. “Why did I ever think asking you for help would be a good idea?”

“You drank three bottles of wine,” Eames reminds him, not unsympathetically. “Stripping naked and reenacting The Great Escape would have seemed like a good idea.”

“Argh,” Yusuf says again.

*

Except later that week, after a few days of Yusuf moping around the warehouse listlessly performing serial dilutions, Arthur stops at Eames’s desk and says, “We need to talk.”

Eames actually checks his totem and, just to be entirely sure, tries to forge his hands into an older man’s but gets no results; this is definitely reality. Eames nods and waits five minutes, then (after giving Yusuf a look that clearly says if I’m not back in fifteen minutes please alert the necessary authorities) follows Arthur back to the warehouse bathroom.

“We have got to stop meeting like this,” Eames says. “No, really, it’s unsanitary.”

Arthur ignores him. “Clearly, you need my help,” he says. “I’m a better planner than you, I always was. You’re being sloppy and I can’t stand by and watch it anymore.”

“Uh, what?” Eames says, very eloquently.

“Yusuf and Ariadne,” Arthur says, rolling his eyes, “you need my help.”

“I’m sorry,” Eames says, “is this an extremely well-veiled threat or are you actually, in all seriousness, offering your expertise to this situation?”

“If I was threatening you, you’d know it,” Arthur says, “because I would have already broken at least one of your fingers.”

“It’s Yusuf’s face, isn’t it?” Eames grins. “It finally broke you, didn’t it? You were moved by his tragic little pout and then you thought about how cute the babies would be and it melted your ridiculous Armani-clad heart, didn’t it?”

“That is not what happened at all,” Arthur says with too much dignity for that statement to be entirely true. “It was Ariadne, actually.”

“Really?” Eames says, arching an eyebrow. “She actually likes him?”

“She said he was sweet,” Arthur says, repeating the word distastefully, “and that she thought he was probably too good for her. I don’t know where she got that idea, but there you go.”

Eames laughs, “I can see why you were worried about her making her own decisions. She is clearly a terrible judge of character.”

“I blame Cobb,” Arthur agrees.

“Always a safe choice,” Eames says approvingly and then, at almost the same instant, they both remember that they’re supposed to be prickly and horrible with each other and the easy moment fizzles into yet more awkwardness.

“So,” Eames says. “You have a plan, I take it?”

“No, not yet, exactly,” Arthur admits, “but it can’t be worse than leaving it up to you and Yusuf, can it?”

“Fair point,” Eames says.

*

Eames thinks Yusuf is a little too excited about Arthur’s change of heart.

“Yusuf,” he says, “it is Ariadne you’re trying to seduce, isn’t it? You aren’t secretly trying to sweep Arthur off his feet, are you? Because, let me tell you, that’s a terrible idea.”

Yusuf interrupts his marathon victory dance to look momentarily horrified. “Arthur? I don’t have a death wish, Eames. Also,” he adds belatedly, “I’m not gay. He’s all yours.”

“Hooray for me,” Eames says dryly.

“I just thought the not-getting-murdered-by-Arthur part of the plan was going to be harder,” Yusuf says. “I have such hope now!”

“Oh, Yusuf,” Eames says fondly, and he purposefully doesn’t remember what a thrill it was when he realized Arthur didn’t want to murder him. It’s no use dwelling on it, especially since it’s almost certainly not true anymore.

*

Their first strategy meeting does not go as smoothly as Eames might have hoped. Mostly, it’s just Yusuf earnestly waving a mix CD in their faces and Arthur being distinctly unimpressed. Eames has been trying to stay out of it, lounging behind a desk and watching the back and forth with all the polite interest of the Queen at Wimbledon.

“No,” Arthur says, for at least the tenth time. “You’re not fourteen, Yusuf. This is weird and lame and absolutely undignified.”

“But it has ‘Here I Dreamt I Was an Architect!’” Yusuf says. “That’s brilliant!”

“It’s very… literal,” Arthur sniffs.

“Eames, back me up!” Yusuf says desperately.

“Can’t help you, mate,” Eames says. “Where goes Arthur, so goes my country.” Arthur turns to look at him, sharply, like he thinks Eames is making fun of him. Eames pulls a face at him and Arthur’s expression changes in the way where it doesn’t change at all, like Arthur doesn’t mean to be angry anymore but has just forgotten that his face is doing that. For a second it scares Eames how well he knows Arthur and then it really doesn’t scare him at all.

“Two to one,” Arthur says. “Give me the CD, Yusuf.”

Yusuf hands it over slowly, like he doesn’t trust Arthur with it. It’s a legitimate concern, as Eames barely has time to register that Yusuf has doodled a little cartoon Ariadne on the track listing before Arthur snaps the whole thing in half. Yusuf lets out a pained sigh.

“Here’s what we’re going to do instead,” Arthur says and hands Yusuf a stack of papers.

“Oh, Arthur, no,” Eames says. “Is that research? Did you do a background check on Ariadne?”

“Not a new one,” Arthur says, completely unashamed.

“I don’t know if that’s better or worse,” Yusuf says.

“There’s also a personality test that you need to fill out and return to me,” Arthur says.

“This?” Yusuf says. “Arthur, this is almost fifty pages.”

“It’s barely thirty,” Arthur says. “Don’t be a pussy.”

“Is it double-sided?” Yusuf asks, sounding horrified.

“Is this really necessary?” Eames asks delicately.

“Yes,” Arthur says. It’s hard to tell with Arthur sometimes, but Eames has known him long enough to know how gleeful this is making him. It’s a little crazy, Eames decides, but not so crazy that he’s going to deprive Arthur of the chance to color code and strategize.

“Yusuf, have you ever known one of Arthur’s plans to fail?” Eames says.

“Except that time that we all were nearly sent to limbo by a militarized subconscious?” Yusuf says.

Arthur glares. “That was as much your and Cobb’s fault as-”

“Except for that one time?” Eames interrupts.

“Well, no,” Yusuf says.

“Then it’s in your best interest to let Arthur plan, isn’t it?” Eames says reasonably, and gives Yusuf a stern look that clearly says or he will kill us all, probably, which he has a feeling is the point that clinches the argument in his favor.

“Alright,” Yusuf sighs. “Do you have a pen?”

It surprises no one that Arthur has six.

*

And of course, Arthur has charts made up by the next morning.

Is this a Venn diagram of their interests?” Eames says, actually more impressed than amused. There are footnotes. Intense footnotes.

“Maybe,” Arthur says. Eames can only see him out of the corner of his eye, but he thinks Arthur’s mouth twitches, almost a smile.

According to the chart, Yusuf and Ariadne share a fondness for dreamshare technology, soy milk, cats, whiny acoustic music, Asian fusion, cheap fabrics, Aldous Huxley, Romero films, and Otis Redding. It doesn’t seem like much to go on, but he supposes it’s more than most. He isn’t really thinking when he asks, “Did you make one of these for us?”

“No,” Arthur says, very obviously not looking at Eames. His ears are turning pink.

“You did, didn’t you?” Eames says, delighted.

“Well, not on paper,” Arthur snaps and pretends to arrange his stalker files.

“I think this plan needs some more input from me,” Eames says.

“I really disagree.”

“Think of this as a job,” Eames says. “You’re running point, you’re on top of the logistics. I should be on top of the people.”

Arthur gives him a wry look.

“I know how that sounds, the phrasing was unfortunate, we’re moving past it,” Eames says, waving a hand. “I’m saying that Yusuf and Ariadne aren’t just likes and dislikes. They’re history and personality, nature and nurture, it’s a whole thing and it’s my thing. Hitler and Gandhi were both vegetarians but they’d hardly have gotten along. Your charts are wonderful and, frankly, a little terrifying, but they’re not going to take human nature into account, do you know what I mean?”

“In this scenario,” Arthur says thoughtfully, “which one is Hitler and which one is Gandhi?” Eames kicks Arthur’s ankle and Arthur smirks at him. “Fine, what do you want to do?”

“I want to watch them interact,” Eames says. He’s been considering it for awhile and, if this were a job, he’d need the groundwork. He’d need to know what’s already there to know if there’s anything to build on. “Preferably when neither of them knows I’m there.”

“Creepy,” Arthur says.

“Excuse me,” Eames says, “is the man who has three pages of notes about his co-workers’ sex lives telling me I’m being creepy?”

“That’s just Yusuf’s,” Arthur says. “Ariadne’s is way longer.”

Eames almost gets distracted by that, but manfully keeps himself on task. “We’ll just make up a work-related reason for them to stay late at the warehouse and I’ll observe them there, in a comfortable environment, and see what we’re working with. It’ll be easy and minimally invasive.” He spares another meaningful look at Ariadne and Yusuf’s medical records. (They appear to go back several generations and oh god, Arthur really was thinking about the children, wasn’t he?)

“Fine,” Arthur says eventually, “but I’m coming with you.”

“What for?” Eames says, surprised.

“Two pairs of eyes are better than one,” Arthur says, “and I don’t really trust you not to be a pervert.”

“I observe people all the time for work and almost nothing untoward ever happens,” Eames says indignantly.

“This isn’t exactly for work,” Arthur reminds him.

“I still have my principles.”

“Do you really?” Arthur says, pretending to be surprised.

“Oh, and which of these files are your principles sandwiched between? The one on Ariadne’s underwear and the one on Yusuf’s bowel movements?”

“I don’t have files on that!” Arthur says huffily.

“I don’t believe you, let me look.”

Eames muscles his way past Arthur and is browsing through files, ignoring Arthur while he jostles at Eames’s shoulder and says, “Eames, those are in order,” in a whine that is clearly exaggerated, and then Yusuf comes in. Eames hadn’t realized how close Arthur was until Arthur moves away and the whole left side of Eames’s body goes cold.

“I really don’t think I want to know what’s going on here,” Yusuf says.

“You really don’t,” says Eames, eyes widening as he takes in the file on Ariadne’s internet history.

*

Eames will admit it, credit where credit is due: Arthur’s plan that Yusuf and Ariadne stay late to work on the potential of developing sedative compounds that could adjust based on checkpoints the subject hits in mazes is a brilliant one. They’re both deeply nerdy at heart, and Eames suspects that developing ways for the PASIV to adjust Somnacin levels based on the level of adrenaline being produced by the subject is probably their idea of foreplay. (Then again, he and Arthur have had some pretty strange ideas of foreplay, so maybe he’s not in a position to judge.)

He and Arthur are currently hiding out in an empty office just down and across the hall from the main work room. They can hear Ariadne and Yusuf talking, most of the time, and if Eames creeps up close to the door they’ve left ajar, he can just see the two of them bent over one of Ariadne’s mazes. Their heads are close together, clearly comfortable in each other’s space, but not quite touching, not yet.

“I think we should get them drunk,” Eames says to Arthur.

“How romantic,” Arthur says.

“They clearly like each other, they’re just balking at that final step. It’s nothing a night of heavy drinking couldn’t fix.”

“I thought Yusuf wanted to date her, not just fuck her,” Arthur says. “If this is just a plan to get Yusuf laid, I’m out.”

“Yusuf is a gentleman,” Eames protests, “he’d call the next day.”

“Speaking from personal experience?” Arthur says.

“Contrary to popular belief,” Eames says pointedly, “I do not fuck everyone I work with.”

Arthur makes a kind of scoffing noise but doesn’t say anything.

In the work room, Yusuf flails his hand around and then mimes shooting something and Ariadne laughs. That’s a good sign, at least. Ariadne says something that sounds like “That would be awesome, we could double!”

“What are they talking about?” Arthur asks. “Are they still working?”

“I think so,” Eames says. “This isn’t exactly the best vantage point, you know.”

“Would you rather have crawled into the ventilation system?”

Yes,” Eames says.

“Well, tough shit, this is Simon Spurr, dickhead,” Arthur says.

“Only you would wear a designer suit to a stake out,” Eames says.

“Well, you look like Charles Bronson,” Arthur says. “Black is such a cliché and if we get caught it’s going to be so obvious.”

“We wouldn’t have been caught if we crawled into the vent,” Eames says stubbornly.

“Do you really think these old vents would have held both of our weight?” Arthur says. “Come on, we would have fallen right through the-”

“Wait, shut up,” Eames says. “I think they’re making a date or something!”

Ariadne is flipping through her datebook and saying something about Saturday, while Yusuf nods enthusiastically.

“That was suspiciously easy,” Arthur says, sounding a little put off. Probably he’s just disappointed that he won’t get to run more comprehensive personality diagnoses on the two of them.

“Don’t worry,” Eames says, “I’m sure Yusuf will be utterly useless at conversation topics. You can get him a tiny little radio for him to wear in his ear and read to him from your little Venn diagram all you like.”

“If you’re making fun of me…” Arthur says darkly.

“I know, you’ll shoot me,” Eames says. “You’ve made that quite clear.”

“Eames,” Arthur sighs, and there’s a weird tone in his voice, something that Eames can’t figure out just by ear, so he turns away from Yusuf and Ariadne to look at Arthur, surprised to see that his expression is almost bashful. “I wouldn’t actually shoot you,” he says. “You know that, right?”

“I wouldn’t blame you if you did,” Eames says, honestly. “I know I haven’t exactly been a treat to work with since...” He flutters his hand around a bit, trying to express ‘since you viciously broke my heart’ in mime.

“Well, I haven’t been any better,” Arthur says, like it’s a competition. “But it’s been, um, kind of nice, though. Right? Working together again?” It’s not the first time they’ve worked together since, actually, but Eames knows that’s not what Arthur’s talking about.

“Yeah,” Eames says, “it has.”

They stare at each other and it’s still awkward, but with an underlying note of familiarity to it that makes Eames think that they might be alright after all, not now and probably not even soon, but eventually. He wants to say something right, something that will keep them moving in that direction, but the risk is too high and so he says nothing at all. The door closes down the hall.

“Shit,” Arthur says, quietly.

“What?” Eames says and turns towards the door, but Arthur clamps a hand over his mouth and shoves him up against the wall, out of sight.

Shut up, he mouths and jerks his head towards the hall. Yusuf.

Eames nods and takes a steadying breath, inhaling the ink and cologne smell of Arthur’s wrist. The compulsion to bite the flesh of Arthur’s palm where it’s still pressed over Eames’s mouth is almost overwhelming, but Eames resolves himself to behave like a responsible adult, at least for tonight.

Footsteps slow and stop outside the door and then Yusuf peeks through the crack. He takes a long look at Arthur (open-mouthed and guilty-looking) and Eames (pressed between Arthur and the wall in his damning all-black ensemble) and lets out a long sigh. Eames salutes him, cheerfully. Yusuf shakes his head and shuts the door on them.

When Arthur lets go of Eames, Eames tells himself firmly that it’s his own imagination, that Arthur doesn’t linger any longer than he needs to.

*

At their next bathroom conference, Eames expects Yusuf to be more upset.

“I know you better than that,” Yusuf says. “I knew there was a risk of you being creepy when I asked you to help.”

“How am I any creepier than Arthur?” Eames asks no one in particular. Neither of them gives him an answer, but Eames is pretty sure Yusuf is only holding back because he’s afraid of Arthur.

“So how much did you overhear?” Yusuf asks, with what Eames thinks is a very condescending air of resignation.

“Not much,” Eames says, honestly. “Arthur was being difficult.” Yusuf gives him a sly look and Arthur rolls his eyes. “For being a successful international criminal, darling, you’re not very subtle,” Eames tells Arthur. Arthur just gives him a half-hearted glare and kicks his shin. Coming from Arthur, it’s practically an agreement.

“Well, we’ve got a date for Saturday, sort of,” Yusuf says, “so you could probably do some better observation then.”

“If you’ve got a date isn’t the job done?” Arthur asks at the same time Eames says, “Are you asking me to be creepy now?”

“I told you,” Yusuf says, “it’s only a ‘sort of’ date. I just mentioned that Thai place Arthur found and she’s just coming to check it out with me. It wasn’t like feelings were discussed or anything. Plus this is a good non-work environment, Eames, isn’t that important for your observations or whatever it is you do?”

“My observations have provided integral data for hundreds of successful jobs,” Eames starts to say, but Arthur kicks him again, lightly, to shut him up.

“He has a point, Eames,” Arthur says.

“Well, won’t it be weird and rather obvious if I just show up and skulk around some Thai place while you and Ariadne are critiquing the khao phat?”

“Not if Arthur goes with you,” Yusuf says.

“Didn’t I just say that Arthur was the problem last time?”

“I wasn’t the only problem,” Arthur says, “you wanted to climb into the vent.”

“That wasn’t a problem, that was a strategic decision!”

“You will not be able to behave like this at lunch,” Yusuf says sternly.

“I thought we agreed that lunch wasn’t happening?” Eames says, but it’s pointless. Arthur and Yusuf are already poring over Arthur’s map of the restaurant, picking tables that will provide the best vantage points and least acoustic interference. “Wasn’t I supposed to be in charge of this whole thing?” Eames asks.

“So get over here and help me figure out if we need to bug the place,” Arthur says, glaring at Eames over his shoulder. Eames sighs and mentally prepares himself to talk Arthur out of anything that might invite litigation.

*

"I can't hear anything," Eames says.

"They look like they're getting along, though," Arthur says, watching Yusuf and Ariadne in the reflection of the restaurant's mirrored wall. Eames has a direct view of Yusuf talking animatedly, as well as the back of Ariadne's nodding head. It's not exactly ideal, but he's done more with less.

"Don't they look awkward to you," Eames says. "Look how Ariadne keeps playing with her hair and looking around like she's not really listening to what he's saying. And Yusuf is about to have someone's eye out with that fork, if he's not careful."

"They're just nervous," Arthur says. "It's a first date. With a co-worker. Wouldn't you be nervous?"

"I wouldn't know," Eames says, a little pointedly, even though he tries to be nonchalant about it.

Arthur almost but doesn't quite wince. He twitches, just a little, and tilts his head like he's trying to get a better view, eyes still fixed on Yusuf and Ariadne's reflections. "I guess we never really did the whole dating thing, did we."

"Unless by 'dating' you mean ‘having secretive, illicit trysts,’ then, no, not a whole lot." Eames thinks about it for a second and then says, "You know, actually... this is kind of our first date. I mean, there's food, there's interaction, there's you and me..."

"There's no possibility of after-meal sex though," Arthur says firmly, but smirking in that way he does that Eames can't read. There's still so much about Arthur that Eames just does not get.

"I don't know what kind of man you think I am, Arthur," Eames says, "but I do not put out on the first date."

"I find that incredibly hard to believe," Arthur says.

"Well, I might have made an exception for you," Eames admits, smiling because that somehow makes it less true. He would have made all kinds of exceptions for Arthur, more even than he already did. "But this isn't a date. So."

"I feel like we would have been nervous if this was a date," Arthur says, almost thoughtfully. "I don't feel nervous."

"That's because we can't fuck up any worse than we already have done," Eames says. "Silver lining, right there."

"It might have been nice though," Arthur says, almost too suddenly, like he had to force himself to speak the words.

"What, being nervous? Arthur, you're proficient enough with actual weapons as it is, I don't want to know what you'd be like if you dealt with nerves like spastic fork-waving Yusuf over there."

Arthur kicks Eames's foot lightly and looks down at his khao man kai, poking at it sharply, like he wants to hurt it. "You know what I'm trying to say."

Arthur hasn't moved his foot away. It's still resting against Eames's under the table.

"Afraid I don't, darling," Eames says, pushes his foot back against the inside arch of Arthur's.

"We should have," Arthur says. "Done this, I mean. The whole... normal social interaction in public thing." He's still looking down at his food, never at Eames, but he hasn't moved his foot either. Eames flexes at the ankle, rubs against Arthur again.

"We really should have," he says, and he probably doesn't pay enough attention to whatever Ariadne and Yusuf are high-fiving about but Arthur's light smile is so much more interesting right now.

*

The three of them - Arthur, Eames and Yusuf - come in early the next day to conference. It's getting absurd, Eames thinks, and far too organized to be entirely sane, but that's what you get when you bring Arthur on to a team, and it's worth it for Arthur's results.

"She seemed incredibly nervous to me," Eames says. "More than first date nervous. You too, but you knew you had an audience. Sorry," he says, "but I think she's still got some qualms."

"Well, that's actually a relief," Yusuf says, "because so have I."

"What?" Eames says. "After months - months! - of obsession, you suddenly have qualms?"

"Well," Yusuf says. "Yeah. You know."

"About what, exactly?" Arthur says in his most disturbingly calm voice, the one he uses while he's soothing himself by alphabetizing ways to dismember someone.

"Well, you know. Just. It's a commitment, getting involved with someone from work," Yusuf says, very awkwardly. "Like, I don't know if we're on the same page. You know."

"It's too soon to worry about crap like that," Eames says.

"Are you kidding?" Arthur says. "There's a professional risk! This is something that needs to be established right off the bat."

Eames's first response is to say 'well we didn't do that' and then he remembers how wonderfully that turned out for them. And then it dawns on him, slowly and stupidly, and was that it? Was that all it was?

"Yusuf," Eames says, "can you give us a sec?"

"Oh, absolutely!" Yusuf says and looks thrilled to get out of the way. He ducks away so quickly that Eames is hardly aware of him leaving.

"We don't need a second," Arthur says, immediately. "We don't need a nanosecond, I know what you want to do and-"

"Arthur," Eames says. "Can we please just - do this? I mean, it's been months and it's been horrible so why can't we just have it all out now and then be done with it?"

"Why do you have to put it sensibly," Arthur says grumpily. "That's so obnoxious."

Eames laughs and says, "Sorry. I just... is that it? Is that why you... I don't know, freaked out like that? Because I was too serious?"

Arthur stares at him like Eames just grew an extra head. "What?"

"I tried to hold back," Eames says. "I could tell you were nervous about something and I thought if I could just tone it down and be, I don't know, casual about it..."

"You moron," Arthur says.

"I didn't say I succeeded, I just said I was trying," Eames says, offended.

"You acted like it was a fucking game," Arthur says. He has this strange, awed tone in his voice, like he isn't aware of what he's saying because he's still trying to process the fact that his conversation is actually happening. Eames knows the feeling.

"Well, I didn't know how else to do it!" Eames says. "I had to act like that or I'd - I just thought I would freak you out!"

"You did freak me out!" Arthur says. "What part of me threatening to disembowel you did not clue you in to the fact that I was freaking out?"

"Well, that, yeah," Eames says. "I figured that part out myself, thanks, but that was, I mean, by then you'd broken up with me."

"Oh, you fucking imbecile," Arthur says, "I never fucking broke up with you, you fucking disappeared. Eames, you just fucking left!"

Arthur is pink, furious and embarrassed, and Eames can't stop staring at him thinking what kind of fool would just walk away from this? and then he realizes: me, I did.

Eames has been trying for months now not to think about it, not in any real way. But if he makes himself, if he forces himself to examine all of it, especially that last conversation, and look for the moment when Arthur actually broke up with him, he can’t find it. It never happened.

“I just assumed,” he tries to say and then, “I was just waiting for you to come to your senses, I suppose, to get all rational about it. I figured you’d wise up sooner or later. I didn’t… well, I just thought I was making it easier on you.”

“Oh,” Arthur says. “Oh, you gigantic asshole, what is wrong with you? I never asked you to do anything like that, I never even – I thought.” Arthur actually growls a little bit, a low, frustrated, angry noise and he says, “You just seemed like you’d get bored, or just, I don’t know, move on, and then you disappeared, you just went to Mombasa without saying anything and I figured-”

“You thought I’d get bored?” Eames says. “What?”

“It just… seemed like something you would do,” Arthur says lamely.

They are both such fucked up, stupid people. It’s crazy, Eames thinks. It’s actually crazy how stupid they are and how insecure and mostly how stupid. “Arthur,” he says, “you are the most confusing, scary, and delightful person I know. Why would I ever get bored with you?”

Arthur stares at him like Eames just suddenly popped out of nowhere, like he’s surprised and a little scared, like he doesn’t know whether he should punch Eames in the face or not. In the end, he grabs Eames around the neck and kisses him, just once, without finesse or filth, just pushes their mouths together then lets go. He doesn’t push Eames away though. He lets Eames stay close, lets Eames put a careful hand on his lower back, holding him in place.

“What the fuck is wrong with us,” Arthur says, mouth moving somewhere near Eames’s collarbone.

“We cannot let Yusuf and Ariadne do this to themselves,” Eames says. “I mean… right? If they’re not sure they could wind up like us.”

“And we’re horrible,” Arthur says.

“We really are,” Eames says and touches Arthur’s hair, always softer than he expects. “We have to shut it down, Arthur.”

“Yeah,” Arthur says and his shoulders move like he’s going to step away but he doesn’t, not immediately. He waits another four heartbeats (Eames counts them) and then steps back, rolling up his sleeves and straightening his spine, and Eames recognizes for the first time that this is something he does; this is Arthur getting into character. “Let’s go find Yusuf.”

*

They can’t find Yusuf anywhere and it’s only in the interest of being thorough that they check the bathroom, but that’s where he is and he is not alone.

“What the hell,” Arthur says and Eames agrees.

Because Yusuf is making out with Ariadne in the fucking warehouse bathroom.

“What happened to your qualms?” Eames asks.

“Ah,” Yusuf says, looking guilty. Ariadne, on the other hand, looks completely unrepentant.

“Did you have a nice talk?” she says, adjusting her skirt, which, until a few seconds ago, had Yusuf’s hand up it.

“I have to say, I’m disappointed. I did not think you were this kind of girl, Ariadne,” Eames says, because it’s better than answering that question.

“I did,” Arthur says blandly, “but then again, I’ve read the file.”

“Don’t judge,” Ariadne says, still way too calm for Eames’s liking. “You guys are like the last people who should be lecturing on in-office hanky panky.”

“Please don’t say hanky panky,” Arthur says.

“And please explain what exactly the fuck is happening here,” Eames says, “because I’m a little shocked. Arthur, are you shocked?”

“A little,” Arthur agrees. “Seeing as we just got finished with the whole qualms conversation.”

“I remember that one,” Eames says.

“Well, it was like five minutes ago,” Arthur says.

“I think we fixed them,” Ariadne says to Yusuf, smiling cheerfully.

“Really,” Eames says, “explanations now.”

“I don’t really have qualms,” Yusuf says.

“We figured that out, thanks,” Arthur tells him. “I think Eames was asking more for an explanation for all the making out that is going on in here.”

“Yusuf and I have been dating for a few weeks,” Ariadne says.

“Oh,” Eames says. “And did Yusuf know this?”

“Of course,” Ariadne says, rolling her eyes. “He’s the one who asked me out.”

“But,” Arthur says, “the plan!” He sounds just a little bit disappointed.

“Well, at first that was real,” Yusuf says, “but then it was clear that you were both crap at it.”

“Oh really?” Arthur says. “So what worked then, since my charts and files were apparently such crap?”

“Well,” Yusuf says, “do you remember that mix CD?”

“You have got to be kidding me,” Eames says.

“I thought I destroyed that!” Arthur says.

“I had another copy,” Yusuf says. Arthur still looks scandalized. “It was a mix, Arthur, not the bloody Mona Lisa. Copying it wasn’t exactly difficult.

“So you two have been having secret bathroom make outs since that mix CD and yet we have still been planning covert ops and a fucking secret Thai date rendezvous?”

“It’s polite to let someone know when you don’t actually need their files,” Arthur says.

“Well, here’s the thing,” Ariadne says. “You guys clearly liked it so much and you were getting along again and we thought…”

“Are you saying,” Eames says “that we were the real plan?”

“I wouldn’t have put it like that,” Yusuf says, “but yes. In a sense.”

“Oh, you bastards,” Arthur says.

“Seriously,” Eames says, both affronted and impressed, “that’s fairly devious of you.”

“We know how you two get,” Ariadne shrugs. “It just seemed like a covert op of dubious morality was kind of the perfect date.”

“So the whole thing where Yusuf was having doubts…” Arthur prompts.

“Was to get you to talk out your weird issues, yes,” Ariadne says peacefully. “How’d that go, by the way?”

“That is not the point,” Arthur says. “Not at all the point.”

“That well?” Yusuf says. “Were there tongues?”

“That – I do not feel comfortable with this at all,” Arthur says.

“In their defense,” Eames says, “we were kind of doing the same thing. Except way more invasive, actually. What with all the spying and filing and the charts and what have you.”

“Exactly,” Ariadne says. At Arthur’s guilty look she adds, “Yeah, Yusuf told me all about your files, you creep, but if you go out with Eames I’ll call it even and not shoot you in the knee cap.”

“I told you not to get her a gun,” Arthur tells Yusuf.

“Well, she really wanted one,” Yusuf says apologetically.

“I named her Annie,” Ariadne says fondly, taking out what looks like a SIG Sauer P220 Compact. In her hands, Eames almost wants to call it cute. “You know, like Annie Get Your Gun?”

“This is all horrifying,” Arthur says.

“She’s not actually going to shoot you though,” Eames says. “This is ridiculous, you don’t have to-”

“Actually,” says Ariadne, “I probably will shoot you.” Eames hears the safety click off. “Those files were really invasive,” she says.

“And I did not read any of them all the way through,” Yusuf says quickly. “I’ve said that, right?”

“Really,” Eames says. “It would be kind of a low-point for me, personally, to have someone forced to go out with me at gunpoint. This is really unnecessary.”

“It’s better than you were doing by yourself though,” Ariadne says and Eames will grant her that, though not aloud.

“No,” Arthur says, suddenly. “I mean, that’s alright. I’ll go out with you, Eames.”

“Really?” Eames says, shocked in spite of himself. “I wouldn’t actually let her shoot you, darling, you really don’t have to.”

“Well, no,” Arthur says, “but. I want to. So. Let’s just. You know, go out sometime.”

“Oh hooray,” says Ariadne, “because I’m not really sure I could have shot you. My aim is still a little…” She zig-zags her hand through the air in a manner that should be really worrying, but Eames is a little stuck on Arthur right now.

“You want to? Really?”

“Yeah,” Arthur says, like it’s a challenge. “Why not?”

Eames grins at him, can’t help it. “You’re not going to regret it,” he says. “I’m going to be so much better this time around.”

“And I’ll try to be less crazy,” Arthur says, smiling a little crookedly.

“Darling, I wouldn’t ask it of you,” Eames says. “I adore your crazy.”

For a second it’s perfect, the two of them just smiling at each other like idiots, and then Ariadne ruins it by saying, “So! Double dates?”

“Oh god,” Arthur says immediately. “No. No, no, no, no, no, a world of no.”

“Come on!” Ariadne says. “It would be fun! Promise! We could have board game nights!”

“I would rather you shoot me,” Arthur says.

“You only say that because you know I’d miss,” Ariadne sulks.

“No, I would honestly rather be shot,” Arthur tells her.

“Yes,” Eames says, “well. As fascinating as all that is, we can hash it out later, yes? Because I would like to go over… date plans. With Arthur.”

“Oh,” Arthur says. “Yeah, planning would be… excellent.”

They both turn to look at Yusuf and Ariadne.

“Yeah right,” Ariadne says. “We were making out here first, you guys can use the hall or something.”

“That is absolutely not what-”

“Yeah, alright,” Eames says, “that’ll do,” and drags Arthur out in the hall because he needs to be touching Arthur now and he really doesn’t care where it happens.

“All of this coupling is going to be really terrible for productivity,” Arthur says as Eames pushes him up against the wall.

“I really do not give even the tiniest sliver a fuck,” Eames says. “Do you?”

“Not really,” Arthur says and laughs. He laughs so his dimples show and his shoulders shake and Eames makes himself just watch for a second – just enjoy his lovely, crazy, uncomplicated, fascinating, perfect Arthur and remind himself for the hundredth time in the last two minutes to never fuck this up again – before he cuts off the laugh with a kiss.

A/N: Appendix
 
 
Current Mood: confusedconfused
Current Music: Easy to Love - Ivan and Alyosha
 
 
 
your__design on November 23rd, 2010 05:58 am (UTC)
baby you my everything you all i ever wanted ♥
cant wait until youre back south where you belonggg!
also you know my feelings on rage-and-intimacy-issues!arthur
and my feelings on baby fic.
(those feelings are both OH FUCK YES PLEASE!!)
"you're waiting for the G train..."tequilideas on November 26th, 2010 09:12 pm (UTC)
you da fuckin' best. ♥
UM, I've been here for a whole 48 hours now, WHERE ARE YOU? come up here and let's get drinks at the Point tonight.
actually, I have some work to do tonight so maybe tomorrow? also, clear your schedule for the weeks between the 6th and about the 23rd or so because I am going to kidnap you and bring you back to NY with me, you have no choice.
Remula Wazokanaremula on November 23rd, 2010 06:37 am (UTC)
OMG THIS IS SO RIDICULOUSLY ADORABLE! ♥♥♥ The Yusuf/Ariadne and the little ficlet insert things and OMG THE STALKING! Seriously, the notes and the venn-diagrams and everything -- it was so hilarious and creepy in the best way, LOLOL. XP
everyone's wearing jackets but memoleskinned on November 23rd, 2010 06:50 am (UTC)
SHARED INTEREST IN DUMB ANIMALS
oh my god this was so painful and hilarious and i just kept laughing shrilly and nervously and biting all my fingernails off in agony because you did it so well, the pain and the heartbreak and the edge and regret and loneliness and the complete miscommunication between two non-adults, and it was all so fucking well-done, and THEN ON TOP OF THAT THERE WERE VENN DIAGRAMS AND MIXTAPES. and amazing side stories. and bats. this was so good. oh, eames, oh, arthur, never fuck this up again. and god, the final image of Arthur laughing. and his repeatedly not-being-serious about shooting Eames. :( And Annie. And Arthur being terrified, and Eames trying to not care so much. How you balanced all that with so much comic relief just kills me. Ariadne and Yusuf are fantastic, together and apart, but especially together. I am going to start feeling mildly disappointed every time future fics don't involve impromptu strategy sessions in the lavatory and arguments about whether or not to climb into the vent. oh, and of course all it took for Yusuf and Ariadne to achieve true love was the theme from Dawson's Creek, while Arthur and Eames needed several reams of note-taking and probably several thousand dollars' worth of couples therapy in the form of espionage.

This fic, and all its appendices, were just brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. Hurrah.
rennerenne on November 23rd, 2010 10:31 am (UTC)
Oh, this is so so good. I love the way you got to use the bits that didn't fit into the story flow! I always grieve for the bits I have to butcher out. (Also their 'break up' just. UGH. BOYS. MISUNDERSTANDINGS.** /clutches heart) I AM SO GLAD YOU FIXED THEM.

Or Ariadne and Yusuf fixed them.

♥♥♥






** UMMMMM IF YOU EVER WANTED TO WRITE ARTHUR'S POV OF THAT FIGHT IT WOULD BE AMAZING AND EQUALLY AS HEART BREAKING. JUST SAYIN' . ;)
pale pubescent beast: tom hardy scratch headwildestranger on November 23rd, 2010 10:51 am (UTC)
Hehehehee. This is most delightful. I adore Eames' matter-of-factness and Arthur's craziness. :)
george pushdragon: specificitypushdragon on November 23rd, 2010 01:22 pm (UTC)
What a complete delight! Charming and funny and I love their total miscommunication on the things that matter most. And beating-them-at-their-own-game Ariadne and Yusuf, perfect!
Skyskyearth85 on November 23rd, 2010 01:37 pm (UTC)
*point up* great and funny job!!!
it's a romantic fic, but I have always loved team!fic :D
Whistle and dance the shimmy: James T Motherfuckin' Kirkomendreamer on November 23rd, 2010 07:41 pm (UTC)
Okay I am just melted by the perfection that is this delightfully bantery, totally my personal characterization of them fic.
Laria: Arthur and Eameslaria_gwyn on November 23rd, 2010 08:29 pm (UTC)
This was absolutely brilliant! It was hilarious and witty and the emotions came through so well, the desperation and regret and unhappiness. The appendices were wonderful, too.
la araña discoteca: inception a/e <3elizardbits on November 23rd, 2010 11:35 pm (UTC)
oh my god this is GLORIOUS BEYOND IMAGINING.
The Gremlin in the Toaster: JGL detectivelokiloo on November 24th, 2010 01:29 am (UTC)
OH MY GOD. The layers, THE LAYERS--- I don't know where you came up with the crazy idea that they were too much THEY'RE PERFECT. I thought they would be confusing, but no, they made everything that much more bittersweet and WONDERFUL. And figured out as soon as Ariadne said Double Date what they were planning, and I LOL'D at the irony, and I felt so terrible for Eames and then Arthur and his VEN DIAGRAM and I maybe sorta fell in love with this fic.

“If it was so mutual why did you spend a week drunk on my couch watching Australian soap operas and eating cake mix?” Yusuf asks.

I don't know what it is about that line, but I spent about 3 minutes straight out laughing. I freaked out my dog, god-dammit.
(Deleted comment)
they're MINERALS, marie, jesus christ: i-n: we are the otpkasiowy on November 24th, 2010 02:07 am (UTC)
Oh man, this was UTTERLY DELIGHTFUL and it made me SO HAPPY and THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THAT. ♥
epic escapist love: jglchaoticallyclev on November 24th, 2010 02:17 am (UTC)
Ahaha, love Yusuf and Ariadne pullling a fast one on them. Mix tapes! Godfather threat-making! This was fun and delightful(oh arthur and eames, you glorious little stupid creepers, you.)
TF: Shania Sings!tortillafactory on November 24th, 2010 02:45 am (UTC)
I wanted to comment on this amazingness, but I can't hear myself over the sound of how awesome you are.
astronaut in training!: chipperpiecesof_reeses on November 24th, 2010 03:39 am (UTC)
Okay, if this is you rushing something out, jesus christ, I want your brain. This was fucking awesome. I laughed my way through the entire thing--the little asides were amazing, by the way--and jafw;ejfldjslfij I just enjoyed this SO MUCH. You walked the line between angst and hilarious crack really astonishingly well. A++, would read again! :D
rie-chanpavarian on November 24th, 2010 04:05 am (UTC)
Just like to say, WOW. That was an excellent read! And it had appendices!!! I love how you used yusuf and ariadne to set Arthur and eames together. That could've become really cheesy but It worked out beautifully for you :)

The story made me feel nice and fuzzy inside when I was done with t. And that short scene about the argument broke my heart!!! This was so human and yet so fluffy. Gah. Thanks for sharing this :)
whistlewaterbaby12us on November 24th, 2010 04:40 am (UTC)
Those two are utter idiots! That's all I can say lol. But they are soo in character too! (so yeah... both are idiots XD) THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE GREAT STORY! I love cunning Ariadne and Yusuf XD
asfrosteasfroste on November 24th, 2010 05:39 am (UTC)
mygoshIlovedthissomuchIcannotbreatheandIneedtoaddittomymemoriesNOW!!!!!
shoppermaniashoppermania on November 24th, 2010 07:12 am (UTC)
omg ♥ this was so lovely!!
clair3: jglclair3 on November 24th, 2010 07:46 am (UTC)
Awwwwwwwwwwwww fking loving this! they got "back together"!
Rwanderlight on November 24th, 2010 08:51 am (UTC)
This is a glorious, amazing thing, and it made my WEEK. I love the appendices especially. :D
Strigine: inception thard jgl mockboxstrigine on November 24th, 2010 10:26 am (UTC)
This is a great example of character-driven fic, and I love all the little extras, and, and, them. Thank you for writing it and posting it even if you weren't happy with it.
Not tacky, just delusionaltotally_loca on November 24th, 2010 02:01 pm (UTC)
this is hilarious! I was waiting for Ariadne and Yusef to turn 'round and just being like, yeah we've been together for ages, we wanted you fixed and you didn't disappoint. I'm strangely attached to Ariadne/Yusef, they make me happy and your Arthur/Eames interaction was awesome. :D
Persephonepersephone_il on November 24th, 2010 03:46 pm (UTC)
This was absolutely friggin' hilarious. I loved what you did with the structure, and how the way Eames and Arthur kept liking each other sort of helplessly came through.