koyuki: (inception/jgl 」 the more that i am right)
/人◕‿‿◕人\ ([personal profile] koyuki) wrote in [community profile] southofreality2011-12-19 07:48 am

Polar Light (Arthur/Eames, one-shot)

Title: Polar Light
Rating: PG
Word Count: 5600
Genre: Romance/Humor
Fandom: Inception
Pairings: Arthur/Eames
Warnings: minor violence
Summary: In which Arthur and Eames end up snowed-in in Eames' family chalet, Eames' family is determined that Switzerland lives up to its stereotype, and goat cheese is serious business. Or at least seriously profitable.
A/N: written for [livejournal.com profile] theeverdream for [livejournal.com profile] dream_holiday. I hope I used your prompts properly and that it's to your liking. Happy holidays! ♥ Also, so many thanks to [livejournal.com profile] lark for the quick beta, and to [livejournal.com profile] cascades for listening to me whine.

Polar Light

The first time Arthur meets Eames, well… Eames is a goat.

Hold on, back up.

The first time they meet, Arthur is twenty-one, working his first illegal extraction job out of the army. His team is running a dream heist that will one day be thought of as a routine extraction, an in-and-out generic corporate job. The mark is a sixty-eight-year-old maker of Swiss goat cheese, and their client is a mid-sized German dairy corporation whom he refuses to sell his secrets to.

Of course, like all routine extractions, something goes wrong.

Arthur is in the dream and leaning against the white picket fence of the mark’s goat cheese farm when he notices it: a brown-and-white spotted goat ambling down the gravel road leading to the farmhouse.

Arthur watches it push open the door and walk inside, and raises an eyebrow – he’s seen stranger things happen in dreamscapes, but usually not from animals.

His instincts prove right when, a few minutes later, the mark’s son wanders out of the farmhouse. Arthur narrows his eyes. According to his research, the son has been out of his life for nearly a decade, having fallen out with his father over an argument about the cheese recipe. There shouldn’t be a reason for him to appear in the mark’s dreamscape.

Arthur walks up to him. “Excuse me, Mr. Jaccard,” he says, trying to affect the slower, drawling French accent that the Swiss have, “what are you doing here?”

“Ah, I was just visiting my father,” not-Jaccard answers, glancing him over suspiciously. His French is practically flawless, but a beat too quick. “I’m sorry, I don’t believe I know you. And you are…?”

“Certain that you’re not Lukas Jaccard,” Arthur says and shoots him out of the dream before he can react.

Fuck, Arthur thinks. He has about thirty seconds to decide on a course of action before the time lag between dream and reality is substantially different. A quick, cursory search of not-Lukas Jaccard’s body reveals a handgun.

Arthur curses under his breath. Someone who’s not part of his team was in the dream, which means there’s another team in the dream. And now someone on that team is out of the dream and has become an unknown variable in the extraction.

Arthur makes a quick decision. Twenty-seven seconds after he gets rid of Lukas Jaccard’s imposter, Arthur shoots himself out of the dream.

It takes less than half a second for Arthur to reorient himself after he wakes up, but that’s long enough for someone to draw a gun on him.

Arthur freezes, his hand a few inches away from his Glock. His eyes dart from the man who has a gun trained on him to the other man’s two teammates, who are still asleep behind him. They’re pushed together in a dark corner, and though it’s easy to see how anyone could’ve missed them, Arthur is still annoyed that he had.

“Hands up in the air,” the man says, his voice a low and smooth British lilt. Arthur raises both of his hands slowly. “Who do you work for?”

Arthur jerks his head back towards his own teammates. “Franz is the extractor who brought me on.”

The man narrows his eyes and lowers his gun a fraction of an inch. “Franz is our point man,” he replies.

A surge of anger and disgust swells up in Arthur’s chest, catching right in the hollowing of his throat. Franz had spent the entire prep period looking over Arthur’s shoulder. Arthur had gritted his teeth and ignored it, figuring that Franz was skeptical of him since he hadn’t made a name yet in dreamshare. He never thought it’d been because Franz was a fucking thief.I’m my team’s point man,” Arthur says. “Franz couldn’t research his way out of paper bag.”

Before the man can reply, a rustle at the door interrupts them.

“Monsieur Jaccard?” a voice asks, knocking on the door. “Are you alright?”

The man turns slightly towards the door, and Arthur jumps, knocking them both to the floor. “Shut up and don’t move,” Arthur hisses before he could interpret it as a fight and try to struggle. They both wait quietly for the people outside to leave, but after another moment, there’s another knock and, “Monsieur Jaccard?” After another moment of silence, they hear the clinking of keys.

They look at each other desperately. “There’s another door in the kitchen,” Arthur says, remembering the house’s layout, and the man nods at him.

“We can’t take the cars,” Arthur says once they’re outside, woefully eyeing the two obviously out-of-place cars parked outside of the mark’s house. There’s a thin layer of snow on both cars already, and Arthur’s not wearing enough to counter the cold weather, but they have bigger problems to worry about right now.

If one foreign rental parked outside the mark’s car hadn’t been enough to rouse neighbors’ suspicions already, he realizes, then two definitely would’ve done the job. Arthur wonders if this job had always been destined to go to hell anyway and this was actually a minor blessing in disguise.

“The train stop is just a few minutes from here,” the man says, gesturing for Arthur to follow him.

They run up the hill towards the station as the train pulls up into platform.

Arthur rushes onto the train. When he turns around, the man is at the kiosk buying a ticket.

“What the hell are you doing?” Arthur says.

“Just buying a ticket.” The man steps on the train, and the door closes behind him.

“We just ran away from a crime scene, and you’re worried about getting caught without a ticket on a train?”

The man snorts. “Trust me, international criminal or not, they will find you, and they will make sure you pay the fine.”

“I’ll take my chances,” Arthur says.

They move towards the main car and settle in the booths on opposite ends of the compartment, purposefully ignoring each other. Arthur squints out the window as the silhouettes of trees pass by. He glances back around the car; the train is relatively empty.

After making a handful of stops, the train pulls into another station. The two or three left on the train all get up, including the man. Arthur gets up and follows them out.

The first thing Arthur realizes when he steps off the train is that he’s not at the city. In fact – he’s at the top of the mountain, staring at the lights in France across from Lake Geneva over huge mounds of snow.

The second is – fuck. Arthur turns around, and all the lights from the train have shut off.

He rushes after the man and grabs him by the arm. “What the fuck?” he yells.

The man pulls his arm out of Arthur’s grasp. “What do you think yo—“

“Where the fuck are we?” Arthur seethes.

“You just took the last train up the mountain tonight. G’luck, mate.” The man turns again and heads out the station.

“Fuck you,” Arthur says, following him. “I just saved your ass. The least you could’ve done is tell me I was going in the wrong direction or you were headed up the mountain and not down.”

“I don’t owe you anything,” he says, walking faster.

Arthur takes a brief glance around, eyes adjusting to the darkness and never quite letting the other man leave his sight. A rapid assessment locates a small bakery, flower shop, and family-owned grocer – no hotel or other type of accommodation. In fact, most of the buildings are houses, and the farther they walk from the station, the more residential it gets.

“Well, what the fuck am I supposed to do, then?” Arthur says. “Where are you going?”

“Not my problem,” the man says, stopping. “And that’s non—“

“Eames?” a voice cuts through their argument, the door to the house they stopped in front of opening.

They both freeze.

“Eames, it is you!” the house’s owner continues in French, the light from his house filtering out from behind him. “Your mother just left last week, so we weren’t expecting anyone to return for a few months.” He steps out and offers out his hand.

The man – Eames – forces a smile and shakes his hand. “Yes, well, it’s good to see you too, Mr. Salis.”

Salis turns to look at Arthur. “Is there a problem here?” he asks, and Arthur blanches.

Eames could – Eames could get rid of Arthur right now, have Salis call the police and take Arthur away, and be out of the country by tomorrow, before anyone else can catch up to him—

—but Arthur knows his name now, knows people who know his family. Even if he got away now, it wouldn’t take much for Arthur to track him down again.

Eames seems to consider this just as quickly. “No problem,” he says, stepping closer to Arthur, hand coming to rest lightly against Arthur’s arm on the other side. Arthur can feel Eames’ gun pressing up against him. “Just showing my friend the chalet – it’s been a long trip for both of us, and he was wondering how much farther it was.” Arthur tries to focus on how the cadence of Eames’ French has slowed appropriately this time unlike in the dream, instead of how he used copain rather than ami.

Salis raises an eyebrow, too. “Jean Salis,” he says anyway, offering a hand out to Arthur. “A friend of the Eameses’ is our friend as well.”

“Flynn Simmons,” Arthur lies using the name he entered the country on. “Pleasure to meet you.”

“I’ll leave you to go your way now,” Salis says to Eames. “Good night, and be sure to stop by again before you leave.” He turns to Arthur. “Enjoy your stay here.”

“Looks like I’m your damn problem now,” Arthur says as they walk away.

It takes them another five minutes’ walk to reach Eames’ chalet, by which time snow has begun to fall.

One night,” Eames says gruffly, pushing open the door. “You leave first thing tomorrow.”

“Fine with me,” Arthur snaps and follows him inside. He doesn’t want to be here any more than Eames wants him here.

It’s as cold inside the house as it is outside, and Arthur can see white puffs every time he breathes out. Eames moves around the living room area, trying to start a spark in the fireplace. When he finally succeeds, he moves the closet, pulling out a thick blanket, and tosses it to Arthur.

“One night,” Eames reiterates. “Don’t expect breakfast service.”

Arthur scowls. “I wasn’t,” he grits out. “And don’t try anything funny, or I’ll break your kneecaps in my sleep,” he says, settling in on the floor next to the fireplace.

Eames rolls his eyes. “Same to you, Flynn Simmons.

The first thing Arthur realizes when he wakes up is that it’s damn cold.

The second thing Arthur realizes is that it’s really damn cold, and pulls his blanket in tighter, teeth clattering.

Arthur opens his eyes. He pushes himself up, blanket still pulled tightly around him, and orients himself. The fire has gone out, which is probably why it’s so cold. Out of the corner of his eye, he sees Eames asleep on the other side of the fireplace – most likely to keep an eye on him, Arthur realizes, since there seemed to be bedrooms upstairs. His internal clock tells him that approximately six hours have passed, so the trains should be running again.

Arthur turns towards the windows and stops, eyes going slightly wide. Even though it should still be dark out, a screen of dark grey tints all of the windows.

Fuck, Arthur thinks and gets up to investigate. He takes a look and sighs, trotting back towards Eames.

“Hey,” Arthur says and shakes him a little. Eames tries to bat him away. “Hey, wake up. I think we’re snowed in.”

Eames’ eyes snap open. “What?” He sits up and turns towards the window. “Fucking seriously?” He rubs his temples with his hand.

“What do we do?” Arthur asks.

Eames sighs. “We wait.”

“I thought you said no breakfast service,” Arthur says dryly, sitting on a kitchen stool with the blanket still draped across his shoulders and watching Eames dig through all the cabinets in the kitchen.

“Yes, well,” Eames says as he pulls out another box of chocolate and puts it on the table. “I have the feeling that if I let you starve to death, you’ll become a ghost and haunt this place out of spite.” He sets another block of cheese on the table. “Or, more likely break my kneecaps and take the food anyway. Since I’m rather fond of my knees, I figured it would be safer to offer to share.” He sets another a bunch of chocolate bars on the table. “There, that’s everything.”

Arthur stares at the collection on the table. There are… two bottles of red wine, four blocks of different cheeses, and about twelve boxes and bars of chocolate. “Is your family determined that Switzerland lives up to its stereotype, or is this actually all you eat?”

“Well, we weren’t exactly expecting company,” Eames says dryly.

Arthur grabs a bottle of the wine and pulls all the chocolate towards him. “You can have the cheese,” he says.

Eames frowns. “Hey, that’s not fair. Why don’t I get any of the chocolate?”

“I’m lactose intolerant,” Arthur deadpans.

“Oh.” Eames pauses. Then: “Wait, why were you performing an extraction on a cheese maker then?”

“I can’t eat cheese,” Arthur snaps. “Doesn’t mean I can’t steal their recipes.”

“There are. Two days worth of firewood. Inside the house,” Arthur repeats slowly. “There are two days—where is the rest of the firewood? And why is there no heat in this house?”

Eames shrugs. “Usually, we tell the gas company when we’re going to be here, and they turn up the amount of gas we get then. Otherwise, we keep it at a minimum. And, er, the rest of the firewood is outside.” Eames gestures to the window. “Under the snow.”

“I can’t believe I escaped from a failed extraction only to subject myself to death by freezing and starvation,” Arthur says.

“Oh, it’s not so bad,” Eames consoles. “At least you’ll probably live two more days than them.”

They both ignore each other for the better part of the first day. Eames hands him a few more blankets and a couple of jackets he’d dug out, and Arthur buries himself in them, trying to stay warm. He downs half the bottle of wine and tries to remind himself that he’d suffered from far worse unpleasantries in the military and without the benefit out alcohol. Every half hour or so, Eames passes by and woefully eyes the chocolate, and Arthur frowns and bats him away when he gets too close. Arthur is ravenously hungry, but he figures it’s better than nothing at all. He still scowls when he sees Eames snacking on some of the cheese, though.

They both mostly keep to the living room area due to the lack of heat and firewood. Huddled in his pile of blankets, Arthur briefly considers asking if they could sleep next to each other to preserve heat, but his pride stops him.

Arthur falls asleep with the bitter aftertaste of chocolate on his tongue.

He awakens the next morning with Eames poking him, grinning smugly. When his eyes focus a bit more, he realizes that Eames has bread and other things in hand.

“Look what I found in the cellar,” Eames says gleefully and gets up, carrying everything towards the kitchen table.

Arthur sheds some of his blankets and follows after him, eyeing the food hungrily.

“There’re a few more loaves of bread down there when we’re done with this,” Eames says, breaking off a piece and handing it to Arthur. The bread is a little hard and stale, but since it’s the first non-chocolate nourishment he’s had in over thirty-some hours, he’s not going to complain too much. “There are fruit cups and canned foods too, in case you ever get tired of surviving on just chocolate.”

Eames winks at him.

Arthur raises an eyebrow.

“Did you find more firewood down there as well?”

Eames frowns. “No—”

“Then we still have about one more day until we succumb to death by hypothermia. Though I suppose we can now cross off death by starvation and scurvy as contributing factors.”

“Well I’m glad that a reduction in number of contributors to death meets the approval of Flynn Simmons,” Eames remarks dryly.

Arthur stares at him.

Eames blinks. “What?”

“Uh, nothing, I, uh,” Arthur says. He hesitates. “My name is Arthur,” he admits. Maybe it’s that Eames just found food or maybe it’s that he’s trapped inside Eames’ family’s chalet, but something about the situation compels his confession.

“Oh,” Eames says. “Right.” He dodges his eyes. “Arthur,” he says, the soft lilt of his accent curling around both r’s, and Arthur’s heart skips a beat. He looks back at Arthur. “Pleased to meet you.”

Arthur can’t help but smile back. “Enchantez, Mr. Eames,” he says. “Now, I believe you wanted some chocolate?”

Around noon they go up to the second floor to better survey the situation. From the master bedroom, Arthur can barely make out the top of the front door’s lintel.

“At least it’s stopped snowing,” Eames says. “Once it starts to melt, we can dig our way out.”

“That looks like it might take another two or three days,” Arthur estimates. “Can’t we get your neighbor to come help us?”

Eames shakes his head. “Not much he nor anyone else would be able to do. Besides, how would we contact them? The phone lines are dead, and I’ve no reception up here.”

“I’ll push you out the window,” Arthur says flatly.

Eames gives him a look and steps away from the window.

“Don’t worry, I’m sure the snow will cushion you,” Arthur says.

Arthur spends the rest of the afternoon trying to decide on his next steps after they get out. There’s not much about the job that’s salvageable, including the PASIV devices they had to leave behind. He’s glad he packed lightly and left the majority of his few belongings in storage in New York.

Arthur hates failure, and he hates that his first job out of the military has been unsuccessful. Still, he at least has the fake passport, half the amount he was owed for the job which he’d made Franz pay in advance, and a few new names and numbers as potential contacts in his notebook.

“What are you doing?” Eames asks and leans over the back of the couch, looking over his shoulder.

Arthur snaps the Moleskine shut. “Thinking,” he says.


“About what I’m going to do,” Arthur says.

“Jobs go south all the time,” Eames says. “I wouldn’t get too hung up over it.”

“Maybe you’re used to your jobs regularly ‘going south’, Mr. Eames,” Arthur snaps, “but this was my first job and it would’ve been nice if it hadn’t ended in complete failure.” He buries his hands in his hair. “Fuck. I should’ve known. Franz was a second-rate extractor, and I shouldn’t have worked with him but he was the only one who would give me a chance.” Arthur smiles weakly at Eames. “Bet he wasn’t a very good point either.”

“Franz was a fantastic point man, actually,” Eames says softly, just a bit of annoyance tinting his tone. “Which makes sense now, since you did all the work.”

Arthur pauses. Eames doesn’t know him, hasn’t worked a single job with Arthur, and for all he knows Arthur is a shit point man whose planning failed not one, but two teams. His comment shouldn’t mean anything to Arthur—

—and yet, it does.

“Thank you,” Arthur says softly.

The last blocks of wood they have are burning in the fireplace by the time they’re about to go to sleep.

Arthur picks up his pile of blankets and jackets and grudgingly trudges towards Eames.

“I think,” he says slowly, “we should sleep close together. To keep warm, since we’re almost out of wood.”

Eames raises an eyebrow, but lifts up the blankets and pats the floor next to him, indicating for Arthur to join him.

Arthur huffs and sits down on the floor, pulling his own blankets around them to seal in the heat.

“I’ll still break your kneecaps if you try anything funny,” Arthur says, settling in.

“Of course.”

“And don’t think this means I’m your copain or anything,” Arthur says, trying to get as far away from Eames as possible while simultaneously remaining pressed up against him, and closes his eyes.

“Wouldn’t dream of it, darling,” Eames says, and Arthur can hear the smirk in his voice.

It isn’t until he’s almost asleep that Arthur realizes Eames called him darling.

Morning finds Arthur unwilling to extricate himself from Eames and their fort of blankets. He convinces himself it’s because he likes the warmth and not because he wants to be pressed up against Eames.

Wrapped around their blankets, they make their way upstairs to get a status update of the depth of the snow from the window.

“Well, since the door opens inward, we could let some of the snow fall in and dig a path through it,” Eames suggests since the snow has melted down only about halfway the length of the door now.

Arthur shakes his head. “No. That wouldn’t be any use since the trains still aren’t running.” He’s been keeping close track, and he hasn’t heard the whistle of the train or the railroad crossing’s warning sounds.

“We could get to the firewood, at least,” Eames suggests.

“No.” Arthur sighs. “The wood would be wet from being under the snow for so long. At this temperature, by the time they’re dry enough, we’ll have already frozen to death.” Arthur glances around the room.

“I have an idea though,” he says.

“I always imagined,” Eames say as he chops down the wooden frame, “that breaking the bed frame would be slightly sexier than this.”

Arthur stops from where he’s gathering the pieces Eames has just hacked apart. “Isn’t this your family’s chalet? You’ve thought about breaking your parents’ bed?”

“No,” Eames protests before Arthur’s mind can be filled with images of Eames bringing some pretty young thing here and— “I mean, in general,” he says. “Besides, my parents very much liked this bed. They’re going to be so heartbroken when they hear of this.”

Arthur snorts and goes back to organizing the wood since movement is the only thing keeping him warm right now. “I’ll buy you a new bed,” he says.

Once they move all the chopped pieces of the bed frame downstairs and rekindle the fire, they hear the chugging train wheels of the against the tracks, pulling up into the station.

“Tomorrow, then,” Eames says and turns to look at Arthur, “since we won’t have enough time to dig ourselves out before it stops running again tonight. Most of the snow will be gone tomorrow, anyway.”

Arthur nods, though the idea of leaving suddenly leaves a dull pang in his chest.

They celebrate that night by finishing the last bottle of wine Eames found in the cellar the day before and the rest of the chocolate.

“I’m never going to eat chocolate again after this,” Arthur says. He picks up another piece and puts it in his mouth just to emphasize the point.

“You make it sound like I tried to force-feed you chocolate to kill you,” Eames says.

“It’s not that,” Arthur says, a little too tipsy to stop himself from talking or properly explain his train of logic, “but when I was little, my dad would always bring me these chocolates from France—”

“Oh!” Eames jumps up and grabs Arthur’s wrist. “I have something to show you,” he says, dragging him up the stairs.

“What, wait—” Arthur says, unsteady on his feet and stumbling after Eames.

Eames pulls him into the other bedroom — the one on the other side that he hasn’t been into. He doesn’t bother turning on the lights, guiding Arthur to the window. He throws open the window, and the crisp bite of the outside air hits their skin, still a touch chillier than the temperature inside the unheated room.

“Look,” Eames says.

Arthur blinks, waiting for his eyes to adjust to the lack of light.

“Wow,” Arthur breathes when he sees it.

The lights across from Lake Geneva in the French territory shine in the distance, faintly bright and unflickering. Arthur remembers seeing the same scene stepping off the train the other night, but not really realizing how beautiful it was then.

“When my parents would take me here when I was little, I would always stay up to watch the lights. I wondered if they were stars or glitter.” He laughs. “I guess the truth is slightly less romantic.”

“Mm,” Arthur hums, not quite knowing what to say.

He glances up, looking into the moonless sky. There’s not a single cloud in the chilly winter air — just thousands of stars, large, tiny, cluttered together, that Arthur never even knew existed. Somehow, being so high up, Arthur feels surreally close to them.

“Look up, Eames,” Arthur says, and Eames’ eyes turn towards the sky.

“Oh, “Eames says.

“Guess they’re stars, then,” Arthur says and smiles. “And we’re surrounded by them.”

“Arthur.” Eames turns to him, and before Arthur can even blink, Eames is pulling him closer and—

—kissing him, soft and sweet, and Arthur freezes—

—for a only moment, but he doesn’t give himself the chance to think, not about his worries or all the fear and self-loathing and the paranoia, looking over his shoulder that the army has taught him—

—and kisses back for all he’s worth.

They’re woken up in the middle of the night, still huddled in the same pile of blankets from the previous night despite the existence of a fire now when a bullet rips through the window and ricochets off the wall.

Arthur snaps awake, and he can feel Eames jolt beside him, quickly assessing the situation.

“Where’s your gun?” Eames asks, reaching for his own on the table beside them.

“On the other side,” Arthur says. He looks at the door. “Can you cover me long enough, in case, for me to get to it?”

Eames nods.

Arthur throws off the covers and quickly moves to the other side of the fireplace, grabbing his Glock.

A number of seconds ticked by, stretching on, the air silently still. Arthur’s eyes meet Eames’ over the darkness, nodding once.

The lock pops, and the door bursts open, two figures rushing in. Arthur fires at one, instinctively knowing that Eames will go after the other, and the bullet slams through his shoulder. The man yells, dropping his gun while his partner crumples to the floor.

Arthur kicks their assailants’ guns away as they rush over to tie them up. “Jeez, you say I’m bad — you almost took out his knee.”

“Yeah, well, desperate measures,” Eames says, quickly binding their hands and legs.

Arthur takes a quick peek outside to make sure there’s no one else. The snow is low enough now that they strangers barely had any trouble getting up to the house from where their is parked.

“Who hired you?” Eames asks the man Arthur shot, the French rolling off his tongue, and, fuck, Arthur wishes he didn’t find that really hot right now.

“Eames, they have a car. Forget about it,” he says, nodding for them to get out of here.

The man Arthur shot grits his teeth. Eames jabs the barrel of the gun against the man’s shoulder wound.

“Ahhh—Lukas Jaccard,” the man screams, and both Arthur and Eames’ eyes widen a fraction.

“Here’s what we’re going to do,” Eames says smoothly. “I’m going to take your car, and I’m going to call the police. It’s going to take them at least two hours to get here, though, so you better hope that fire doesn’t go out. And when they get here, you’re going to tell them it was a robbery gone bad.”

The man grunts.

“What you’re going to tell your boss when you get out is that if he ever threatens my family or comes near them or this house again, he will be very sorry. Understood?”

Eames jams his gun up against the wound again. The man shrieks and nods.

Eames stands up. “Let’s go,” he says, and nods for Arthur to follow him out the door.

They hotwire the car, and in a handful of minutes are racing down the Swiss mountainside.

The silence between stretches on uncomfortably under Arthur finally says, “Okay, what the fuck is going on here?”

Eames glances quickly at Arthur once before his eyes turn back towards the curved roads. “Lukas Jaccard,” he says, “had a falling out with his father some years ago about the cheese recipe. Lukas had wanted to use it for the new food corporation he was establishing, and the senior Jaccard —the only person alive who knows exactly how it’s made — disagreed fundamentally with the idea of corporate expansion and refused to give it to him. They had a pissing match and eventually his father disowned him.”

Arthur nods. That much he got just from the preliminary research.

“Right, well now that his father is getting older, Lukas is afraid that his father’s going to pass away without passing on the recipe. So instead of being like a normal person and making amends with his father, he hired a team to extract it.”

Arthur raises an eyebrow. “So where does your family fit into this?”

Eames hesitates. “Growing up, my family knew the Jaccards in a way. Our chalet is on the same rail line as the farm, and we knew a number of families on that line. I’ve been to his farm a couple of times before this.”

“So stealing from an old family friend,” Arthur says dryly. “Classy.”

“Not any less classy than stealing from your father,” Eames says, and Arthur has to concede to that. “And my hands were a bit tied. I was brought on to the job not really knowing anything about it. Franz recruited me, actually. I tried to back out and when I found out, but Lukas, the crazy fucker, threatened my family if I didn’t see it through.” Eames turns and looks Arthur in the eye. “If you remember what Salis said, my mother was here until last week, and she wouldn’t have listened to me even if I’d told her it was my dying wish. Now that she’s out of immediate harm’s way, I’ll know to keep a closer eye on Lukas.”

Arthur nods and lets it settle at that.

A half moment of silence passes by.

“So who was your client?”

Arthur shrugs. “Some German dairy company. The CEO was determined to have it after tasting it, but the old man wouldn’t sell it to him. Typical corporate espionage.”

Eames laughs. “Why’s everyone obsessed with this cheese? I didn’t think it was anything special the few times I’ve had it.”

“Don’t ask me,” Arthur says, rolling his eyes. “I’m lactose intolerant.”

“Christ, maybe we should go back and try again. Steal it, retire from dream heist, start our own goat cheese farm, and make millions of dollars.”

“No thanks,” Arthur deadpans. “I can’t stay in Switzerland any longer because then I’ll be forced to eat chocolate again.”

Arthur feels a pleasant rumble in his chest when he hears Eames laugh again.

“Are you sure you don’t want me to drive you to the airport?” Eames asks, following him into the station.

“I’m fine,” Arthur says. He’d left the few things he had with him in a rented locker in Cornavin station, and it’s easier for him to just gather his stuff and take the next train from there.

Eames watches him pull his small luggage out from the locker, and then follows him up to the platform.

Arthur turns around, awkward. He’s not quite sure what to say at the end of a three-day-long not-romance with a conspirator in... something.

“I guess this is goodbye, Mr. Eames,” he settles on.

“Goodbye?” Eames asks, question clear in his voice.

“Well I’m not expecting you to continue breakfast service now that I’m no longer your guest,” Arthur says wryly.

He drags Eames closer by the lapel of his jacket, brushing a kiss against his lips and pulling back quickly before Eames presses him into making out in the middle of a train station.

As Arthur steps onto the train, Eames calls out, “Hardly goodbye, darling,” but when Arthur turns around, Eames is already gone.

Settling into his booth on the train, Arthur feels a piece of paper in his jacket he definitely knows he didn’t have before. He pulls out a train ticket from Geneva to the airport that he’s sure he hadn’t seen Eames buy or stick into his pocket.

On the back, Eames has written, You still owe me.

Arthur doesn’t find out for what until a few months later, when a postcard postmarked from Mombasa mysteriously appears in a Paris hotel Arthur has been staying in for less than a week.

What happens in Switzerland doesn’t have to stay in Switzerland, it says.

Arthur smiles when he reads the other line.

P.S. I believe you still owe me a bed frame to break.

Notes: A quick Google search of the subject revealed about a million little subtleties around the concept of using copain vs. ami, so I'm just going to go with the way I learned it. Both words mean "friend" on the most basic level, but Eames using copain to talk about Arthur to Salis (paired with the arm thing) was basically implying that Arthur was his boyfrand. ;D And yes, Eames did mean it that way.

Photo courtesy of this site.

[identity profile] immoral-crow.livejournal.com 2011-12-19 05:51 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh I like this! Well done!

[identity profile] mirareeves.livejournal.com 2011-12-19 07:25 pm (UTC)(link)
Aw. This is adorable.

[identity profile] kansouame.livejournal.com 2011-12-19 08:40 pm (UTC)(link)
OH I love when both the boys are BAMF. Great job!

[identity profile] wldnst.livejournal.com 2011-12-20 01:06 am (UTC)(link)
I really enjoyed some of the things you did with dreamsharing in this--having another person stealing Arthur's point work was clever, I thought, and there was some charming banter.

[identity profile] rascalthemutant.livejournal.com 2011-12-20 02:12 am (UTC)(link)
This was fun. I have a craving for cheese, wine, and chocolate now, but preferably not for three days straight. ;)
bauble: (Default)

[personal profile] bauble 2011-12-21 07:23 am (UTC)(link)
This was fun and funny! I really liked this line:

I have the feeling that if I let you starve to death, you’ll become a ghost and haunt this place out of spite.

[identity profile] acromantular.livejournal.com 2011-12-22 05:01 am (UTC)(link)
This was lovely! Being stuck in the snow, The stereotypes, and especially Arthur's first time as point.

[identity profile] snottygrrl.livejournal.com 2011-12-23 12:44 am (UTC)(link)
goat!eames makes me happy :D

[identity profile] theeverdream.livejournal.com 2011-12-23 03:24 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh my goodness! This makes me so happy. Reading it is like being inside a cozy living room and warming up with a mug of hot cocoa.

I love that it starts with a job gone wrong and turns into good. I love the balance between negative/neutral and positive emotions between Arthur and Eames, the possibility of danger, the snowy sparkly lights.... I really love that it seems like this is what happens right before Inception - it seems neat that this would be their whole backstory. And I love that they left each other but not without hope for the future :D And their interactions though the story just seem really natural and real to me.

Thank you so so much for the wonderful story!!!