Boltedfruit Archive


Published: 2017-09-04

Category: X/X

Rating: M

Words: 1,060

Fandom: Inception

Ship: Arthur/Eames

Characters: Arthur, Eames

Tags: Canon-Typical Violence, Mild Hurt/Comfort


It started with a bomb.

Author's Note

I hope you enjoy! And consider leaving a comment at the end of the fic to let me know what you thought.

Arthur with a bloody lip is like crushed flower petals smeared on skin. Eames almost doesn’t want to wipe it away. But he does because Arthur can’t.


Arthur hates blood stains.


It started with a bomb.


Now everything northeast of Pennsylvania is gone and Eames doesn’t really know what to do. Well, other than keep Arthur here, with him, always. He’s never letting him out of his fucking site again.


There’s also the matter of his hand.


Doesn’t know quite how to break that to Arthur just yet either.


Frankly it’s been a shit week all around.



They’re in Ohio. A stale state if you ask him, but there’s larger issues at hand. Arthur is still out after two days and the only thing keeping Eames from dragging him to the nearest hospital is that his breathing is even. At night, he’s restless with dreams. Eames heard his own name once, soft, and he was glad he was equally as restless that he didn’t miss it.


He doesn’t know what happened to the others. Dom is MIA, and Ariadne and Yusuf got out before Arthur and he did, so he knows they should be good. But Dom…Dom he just doesn’t know. And not having the inimitable Dominic Cobb at the helm of this particular team is more frightening a thought than he ever realized. He also doesn’t know how Arthur will react if his own dark suspicions turn out to be true.


For now, he eats a cereal bar, one hand on Arthur’s chest to keep track of his breathing.



The news is a blur. Screaming, politics, fire, endless fire. People walking aimlessly covered in ash and bleeding, blurred sections of concrete where Eames knows there are bodies the networks are trying to save their general audience from. It’s not even forty-eight hours before Arthur’s president is declaring war, and his only thought is shit.


Eames reflexively thinks back on his SIS days. Thanks his own slippery countenance they think he’s been dead since ’98.



He has to change the bandage. A chaotic red twist of messy dressings. He peels each hastily pressed wrap off carefully. He can hear the sound of tiny hairs pulling off and he winces, because Arthur finally wakes up.


“What the—”


And that’s how he sees it. He wakes up, sees Eames wincing, looks down to see Eames’ hands stained red, and then…then.


“My hand is gone.”


He says it so calmly, Eames thinks he hasn’t heard him right.


“You’re still here, though,” Eames tells him instead, an edge to his voice. He doesn’t think about where that comes from.


Arthur glares at him, his only remaining hand reaching up to do…something, when he passes out again.





“We have to, Arthur,” he says. “I didn’t get a chance to clean it when it happened. It’s been days.”


“Why didn’t you do it earlier, then?” Arthur barks at him.


I don’t know.




Eames takes the twist cap off with his teeth, hisses when he tastes the vodka, holds Arthur’s elbow in one hand and pours the alcohol on where his right wrist ends.


Arthur leans into Eames’ shoulder, bites the cloth hard enough it tears and screams.


“Good thing you’re ambidextrous.”


“Fuck you,” Arthur breathes, voice shaky. Then, “Did you shack us up in a bar?”




“Fool,” Arthur says, quiet, watching as Eames wraps his wrist carefully with clean new bandaging.



Arthur’s been in the largest booth watching the news nonstop since he woke up. It’s been seven hours.


“Our world’s going to ruin itself,” Eames offers from across the room. He’s playing sentry while he waits to hear from the others.


“It already had,” Arthur says. And it’s dark. Eames keeps watching out the window, his rifle aimed high, scanning rooftops.


“Where are the others?” he finally asks.


“Ariadne and Yusuf got out before we did. Dom, I don’t know. He was still there when we left.”


“That’s a lie.”


“It’s not,” Eames clips. Because it wasn’t.


“Not what you said, the hopeful way you said it.”


When Eames looks up, Arthur is watching him. His eyes are sunken and his lip is still bruised. Eames swallows down the reflex to move to his side, touch him in some way. It’s not like that.


Arthur keeps staring at him, then finally turns back towards the television.



Eames wakes up and the room is dark. The television is broadcasting white noise with an occasional monotone blare. Arthur is gone.


He instantly goes into search mode. He turns over the entire bar, breaks bottles, throws one across the room because he’s gone, he’s fucking gone.


He doesn’t know how it happened.


When did he fall asleep?


His eyes ache and his cheeks are wet, he doesn’t remember crying. He doesn’t do that much these days.


And then Eames wakes up.



Sometimes it’s the hardest thing in the world, waking up. Dreams are so often better than reality. But now, it’s easy. Because when he opens his eyes he sees Arthur. And Arthur is touching his face, with both hands.


“Fool,” Arthur mouths down at him. Eames realizes his head is in Arthur’s lap.


And Eames was crying in reality too. He feels cold where the air rushes against his skin as he sits up. He drags Arthur close and kisses him and he doesn’t care. He doesn’t care because they’re alive, and Arthur isn’t hurt, and he woke up in his arms. He woke up to a dream.


Someone clears their throat, and it’s followed by a trill of laughter.


Arthur is flushed and looking at Eames like he doesn’t understand him. But his lips—his perfect, uncut lips— they’re turned up at the corners.


Eames turns his head. Dom is holding the Somnacin case and shaking his head. “Come on, guys.”


Ariadne laughs again, and is looking at Yusuf like she knew all along. She probably did.


Arthur’s hand presses light against Eames’ lower back, where they can’t see.


Dom looks agitated. “Come on, guys. We got what we came for.”


Eames looks at Arthur and slowly it comes back to him. Fifteen hours, multiple levels. It wasn’t Inception but it was close. And that fucking bomb.


“Now we have to stop the real thing.”


Arthur’s the first to stand. He nods to Eames and Eames knows they’ll be okay.