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Bus Sketches #2 and Bradbury

Only one bus sketch today (because I was reading instead of paying attention).

Eidechsengrinsen: Pale eyes in a dark, rather ordinary face; but then he smiles, a hot-cold, lizard's grin. And it's difficult to tear my gaze away.

Fortunately you are saved from my literary efforts by Ray Bradbury's particular brand of amazingness.

First, "His mind would well over at last and he would not be Montag any more. He would be Montag-plus-Faber, fire plus water, and then, one day, after everything had mixed and simmered and worked away in silence, there would be neither fire nor water, but wine."

Then, "We'll just start walking today and see the world and the way the world walks around and talks, and the way it really looks. I want to see everything now. And while none of it will be me when it goes in, after a while it'll all gather together inside and it'll be me. Look at the world out there, my God, my God, look at it out there, outside me, out there beyond my face and the only way to really touch it is to put it where it's finally me, where it's in the blood, where it pumps around a thousand ten thousand a day. I'll get hold of it so it'll never run off. I'll hold on to the world tight someday. I've got one finger on it now; that's a beginning."

While I doubt these passages will ever lose their potency, I'm hoping the urge to, idk, GET THEM TATTOOED ON MY HIPBONES will eventually fade. In conclusion: Ray Bradbury ilu foreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeever <3
So I wound up not doing bus sketches yesterday because I was rereading Fahrenheit 451 (again), imo one of the best books ever written. Unfortunately, I've had the problem in the past that I read books that are written poetically, like 451 or Shakespeare, I haven't been able to enjoy it fully because I read too fast. Solution: I read out loud, or at least mouth the words. That's right, that creepy person muttering to themselves at the bus station: THAT'S ME.
In other news, I spent a lot of today wandering around Esslingen with Aunt, Uncle, and cousins, and got mistaken for my littlest cousins mother a lot. EFFFF YOUUUUU, I didn't have a baby when I was sixteen.

Brief Sketches from the Bus Station

I said I would do it and HOLY SHIT I actually am, like a responsible person or something.
These are brief outlines of the impressions people make on me as I creep on them at the bus station.

(The Origami Woman) She is made up of creases: creases forming an inverted "V" from her nose to the corners of her disdainful mouth, crease between her breasts pointing down into her shirt, creases at the outside of her black-rimmed eyes - like badly folded origami.

The group of men outside the supermarket has embraced reject fashion. Cargo boots and camouflage pants, vests with ripped-off sleeves and band logos, baseball caps or cowboy hats over long, scraggly hair, beer bottles and beer-bottle glasses. But reject fashion, appalled by their advanced age, has rejected them.

Woman, tall, indeterminate age: loud shirt and sad, quiet eyes.

Two generations of black woman, pushing the third in baby carriages. One too old to look happy, the other too young to look anything but.

For summer she's wrapped herself in three layers of sunburn, freckles, and star tattoo.

One of the bus drivers is always impeccably dressed. Pressed shirts, black vest, tie. Like he believes driving a bus is the kind of job you dress up for, like he takes pride in his work (and never mind that the clothes make him look good enough to eat with a spoon).

A pretty girl made gorgeous by blue eyes under droopy eyelids, eyes that have wandered too far north.

Prison Break + Rihanna = ???

Hello, people of the internets, it has been even longer than I had anticipated since last we met.

Things that have been occupying my mind lately are

(1) Prison Break. The other day I was at work when for reasons unclear to me, Prison Break popped into my head. Specifically the extremely small number of women in the show. I mean, can anyone think of one other than Sarah? I don't remember anyone else ... anyway, I thought this was a bit rich, even for the standards of most TV shows. But then I realized they couldn't have a co-ed cast because the boys break out of prison (hence the title, I am so good at connecting dots, I know) and prison is understandably unisex.

And so I thought: what if it had been a women's prison?

I mean, obviously the creators of the show would have made it a male cast because "it's not a story that conforms to women's roles", right? But I don't think there's any reason it couldn't. I think it would be really interesting, and I wish I had the time, to go back through the series and write a collection of character reflections assuming that Michael and his brother were female and thus etc. I mean, from the get-go you get a whole different dynamic, starting with "Michael"s choice to study engineering, which I imagine would get a different response if a girl did it. And then the gangster tattoos, which would be viewed completely differently on a woman, and so on. I think it's really fascinating - I mean, I have a really boring job so maybe my brain was unusually entertained out of desperation, but I was thinking about this for well over an hour. Really wish something like this was already on the internet.

(2) Rihanna. I have such a crush on Rihanna, not gonna lie, especially since discovering the deliciousness that is the "Te Amo" music video. So I kinda, um, went through all her latest music videos to find where she went from her earlier, preppy image (which kind of annoyed me) to her current one (which kind of makes my eyes glaze over with lust). And I have found it. Third album, Good Girl Gone Bad, the video "Rehab". Idk why, but starting there my internal panties:floor ratio increases by 3459897%, as proved by science.

(3) I take the bus to work, which is annoying, as it costs me 20 Euro a week and takes an entire unnecessary hour, but I digress because taking the bus has one advantage, and that is the bus station. Bus stations are, apparently, prime locations for people-watching, so I think today I'm going to take a notebook with me and write my impressions of people down as writing practice. Maybe I'll even post them to my journal after so that it doesn't remain blank for months on end like it was, oh, right up until this moment. Er. Sorry about that.

Oh yeah, New York legalized gay marriage, how about that XD

Imaginary Master Post

AHAHA, this is so much longer than I was planning.

Fandom: Inception

Pairing: Arthur/Eames

Length: ca. 7500

Rating: … there are sexytimes but not explicit sexytimes?

Warnings: the story has none. This, in which I explain why I wrote the story, does. Warnings for thinky thoughts and tl;dr about fandom D:


Imaginary

(part 1)
(part 2)
(part 3)
(part 4)


There. I think this is the part where I feel all victorious, but mostly I feel like I want to sleep. This is my first time posting such a huge-ass entry so if people are getting their inboxes flooded and want to show me how to do it right? I WANT TO LOVE THEM FOREVER.

Imaginary, Part IV

They manage to finish the job without anyone dying any more than necessary, and Eames and Arthur part ways but not, Eames is grieved to say, on the best of terms and without having had sex even once.

Eames couldn’t avoid Arthur after that even if he wanted to, if he thought he could stand it away from him for longer than a stretch of a few months at a time. He rather suspects Arthur is trying, though, so it really is fortunate that there are so few forgers and so few excellent point men in the world.

And Arthur really is excellent, soon becomes the best. Eames never learns how he got into the business because Arthur is still the only person he’s ever met who can hide things from him well, though he surmises that Mal and Cobb were involved somehow. How stingy of them, then, to not share their shiny new point man with the class earlier.

But then Mal dies and Cobb goes off the bend for a while there. After the Fisher job, Eames knows he’s changed, though he doesn’t know if he’s grown or broken. He needs a fucking vacation, and Morocco does have that romantic appeal (Eames, purveyor of oldies and goodies, has always loved Casablanca.)

It’s in Morocco that Arthur finds him. “We need to talk,” he says, backed by the white-hot light framed by Eames’ doorway. “Ominous words,” Eames would ordinarily say, but he’s done playing games for the time being, so all he does is step aside and close the door behind Arthur.

It’s ridiculous how much it feels like they’re war buddies, a world of history between them. Eames gives himself three months where the closest he gets to a layer is layer cake, and then he knows the dreams will pull him back in again. He needs those three months, though. He wonders if Arthur feels the same.

“Eames,” Arthur says finally. “When did you start incepting?”              

Well that’s not what he’d been expecting. When you disappeared, Eames doesn’t say. I slept but I never dreamed, and then I found out that there was this thing called PASIV that would make me, and I thought maybe if I could do that I could see you again. Funny how that turned out.

“Oh, you know.” He shrugs. “Spend time in enough unsavoury circles and eventually you hear things. I knew a guy.”

Arthur looks at him, tight-lipped, before nodding shortly. “And before then? What were your dreams like?”

Eames jolts. He doesn’t think Arthur’s telepathic, but then it is such an awkward topic to bring up. He’s just decided on a lie, something harmless, generic, when Arthur interrupts.

“Never mind. I think I can tell you. Although – god, stop me if I’m wrong.” He licks his lips, and for once Eames is too shocked to leer at him. “When I was young, I used to dream every night. They weren’t like ordinary dreams – I’ve had those since then – much more detailed, and I didn’t forget them in the morning. 

“I used to meet a boy in those dreams. Fight with him. His name was Peter.”

Eames goes cold all over.

“When I was fifteen and dreaming he kissed me. It took me a long time to come to grips with the fact that I was okay with that. Too long. He was never in my dreams after that.

“Eames,” Arthur says, “Is your name Peter?”

“No.” And the word is already out before he can think about it, too soon to stop Arthur’s face from closing up and Jesus, how did he ever think he was hard to read? “But that’s what you always called me. Because when we first met, you thought I was Peter Pan, remember?” he continues desperately, words tripping over each other in a race to the door, to keep Arthur here, with him, where they can finally have this conversation.

There’s a stretch of stark African stucco between them with nothing in it but the sound of their harsh breathing as they stare at each other, full of wonder and disbelieving. Then Arthur throws his briefcase into the corner, which is fair because Eames hadn’t even realized he was still holding it and in the corner it can receive all the attention it deserves, which is none. See? It’s forgotten already because Arthur, beautiful, secretive Arthur who’s always been a little less than real to him has his hands on his face, his mouth on his, and suddenly he’s the realest thing Eames has ever encountered.

Arthur pulls back, gets distracted from what he wanted to say by Eames’ mouth, and starts biting at it again. “I’ve always,” he gasps between kisses, “wanted these lips. You have amazing lips.” Eames groans and shoves Arthur against the wall, holds him there with his entire body because he wants to feel all the places where they touch, and he wants all the places on their bodies to be touching. He’s willing to settle for just their fronts though, at least until they can get their hands on a PASIV device and create a body double. Arthur gasps and clenches his fingers at Eames’ neck, scratching tiger stripes into the stubble there and Eames has no choice but to grab his ass and pull his entire body upward, grinding down when Arthur snarls at him.

Sex with Arthur isn’t fantastic, it’s religious.

 

“Are we going to talk about this?” Eames says later, when they’ve both beat a strategic retreat to the bedroom, although by now it’s too late to do anything other than nurse their impressive rug burn. Eames has some on the inside of his thigh, which he is frankly refusing to think out until later. When he’s less blissed out.

Arthur raises his head blearily. “Really? You want to do the feelings thing? Do I need to check my token?” Eames using his finely honed fighting ability in an undignified tickle fight, albeit a very sexual one, and it’s a moment before he can gasp out, “I’ll have you know that I am very in touch with my feelings. I’m a forger. Feelings is what I do.”

“Yeah, other people’s feelings. You don’t like having to deal with your own,” Arthur shoots right back, which is so wonderful of him that Eames feels almost light-headed and has no choice but to kiss those words (lies, all lies) right out of Arthur’s mouth.

All things considered (it turns out they find a use for the bed other than temporary nursing station after all), it’s a while before Eames can broach the subject again. “But no, I’m serious,” he insists. “Why didn’t you just say you remembered me?”

Arthur gives him a very ironic look, somehow implying by tilt of eyebrow that he wants to beat Eames over the head with one of his ridiculously large designer shoes, were he not worried that doing so would kill more of Eames’ sparse brain cells than he can afford to lose. “I hope you remember that you’re not exactly blameless in that regard yourself.”

Eames sputters. “Well I’m sorry if I didn’t handle the sudden appearance of the teenage fantasy I was madly in love with with more poise!”

The look Arthur gives him implies the same thing as the earlier one, but somehow times two.

“ … Oh,” Eames says, feeling stupid.

“Quite.” After a moment, Arthur repeats, “’Madly in love with’?”

Eames groans and burrows his head in a pillow. “Oh god, shut up.”

He gets a glimpse of Arthur’s face before the pillow valiantly comes to his rescue from humiliation. He’s smiling like Eames hasn’t seen since they were kids, creases at his eyes and dimples at his mouth. (Arthur also has dimples on his ass, a fact Eames was extremely gratified to find out.) Eames thinks about his job, about the risks he’s going to have to take in a few months, how deep he’s going to be demanded to go now that he’s proven he can.

It’s okay. He’s been avoiding work because he knows, even if he doesn’t like to admit it, that he’s afraid of going too deep now, that one day he’ll be buried alive in a dream. Now, though, he knows Arthur in real life is incomparable to dream Arthur. He’ll shovel himself out with that knowledge, no matter how deep they try to bury him.

Eames smiles back into the pillowcase.

 

… WHAT IS WITH THE FLUFF AT THE END THERE, I FEEL LIKE I SHOULD BE ASHAMED.

Also anyone who wants to see Eames’ maroon suit, I can send you a link ;)

Imaginary, Part III

Eames utilizes the airport hotel for a quick shower and a change into his maroon Victor & Rolf suit – it’s been a red week, ok, he’s not making any excuses. After which he’s got a good three hours to kill until he’s due for the first meeting for the job at a warehouse to the south of Barcelona. The warehouse, to the best of his knowledge, used to belong to a company that dealt exclusively in the production and shipping of carousel horses, and has been empty for some 16 months. At least, Eames dares to hope, the décor will be more interesting than what he usually has to put up with.

Now the question remains what to do in the next three hours. Well, ladies and gents, Eames thinks in his best circus ringleader voice, which happens to be based off of an old forgery of his and is hence very excellent. On the one hand, I could stay in my room watching the telly and sighing wistfully over love lost. Love that had never been real in the first place. Maybe he should paint his nails. Maybe he could watch Twilight.

Or he could go outside into the beautiful Spanish sunshine, and explore Barcelona. Again.

Because even when he is being a pathetic git Eames likes to be the least pathetic git he can be, Eames chooses the latter option. The Torre de Collserola has always been one of his favourite Barcelona haunts, right up there with the Casino de Barcelona, and at the top of the tall glass tower, Eames feels like for the first time in a long time he can relax.

When one works as he does in the dreamscape business, one almost inevitably develops an appreciation for architecture. Eames has read the books, done the drawings, picked and chose between eras for looks he likes best, and he has already told several people in the business that he sees no problem with the ‘70s, mostly to see their faces twitch. He knows the difference between a frieze and a fresco, is what he’s saying, but still there’s something entirely different about a city spread out like a map in 3D, like a maze. He likes seeing where the symmetry of civilization meets the curves of Nature’s rivers and hills and vice versa, and especially he likes seeing them merge together into a category entirely its own, which is why Venice will to him always be the most beautiful city in the world. Eames has built entire worlds in the dreamscape based on Venice.

It’s when he’s looked his fill, drunk Barcelona in through his eyes like some long-lost vintage, heady with height, that the feeling closes over his head. He’s turning toward the elevator, sweeping his eyes cursorily over the crowd – a couple fighting (she’s cheating on him), tourists with their fanny packs pretending to be more interested than they actually are, a group of suits having a business discussion disguised as an outing, boring, boring, boring – when a flash of dark hair stops him short.

He can’t say why. He only caught a glimpse from the back with a wall of people between them, couldn’t even say if it was a woman or man he saw, but there was something about the stance, the complete suppression of body language. It was like a blind designed specifically for him. Point towards any person in the crowded observatory, and without even trying he could tell you at least one or two things about them: occupation, what kind of books they read if at all, what they considered most important in life. Within ten minutes he could copycat their nervous ticks for you, walk with their stride and talk with their inflections, if not their voices. It’s his job to notice those things, has always been second nature and so to be presented with this – it’s like a black hole in his consciousness, a complete mystery where Eames had never thought he’d find one.

Real life doesn’t present you with challenges like that. He fumbles his token out of his pocket, spins it around his knuckles. When he looks back up, the dark head is gone.

Damn.

 

Eames is still completely preoccupied when he makes it to the warehouse, although in all fairness the decrepit building gives his mysterious stranger a good run for his – or her – money. His employer had mentioned it had been used to house carousel horses. What he’d failed to mention was that they were still there, small wooden models in increasingly kitschy colours all over the place, making it look like the squat building had been overrun by My Little Ponies. Eames laughs himself hoarse – no pun intended – and, once he’s finally regained control of himself, settles himself onto a particularly garish example, sitting side-saddle and regarding his team primly over steepled fingers. His employer, who for some reason has taken it into his head that he’s needed here, looks like he’s beginning to regret employing him already. The ducklings seem no less disconcerted. Gods, they really are wet behind the ears, all in their early twenties is he’s any judge. So he winks at them. “Don’t worry about it. All extractors go a bit funny in the head with time,” he confides in a stage whisper. That was maybe a little unkind of him, but it’s worth it to watch them turn green.

Then he frowns and counts noses. “Where’s the last one?” he asks, turning towards their employer.

“Oh, er … he’s going to be late, he’s running down some leads,” the man says, still flustered. Eames nods, and determines to completely dismiss him from his mind. If he has such little control over himself, there’s no chance he’ll be able to keep the extractors – who, after all, get to play god in their dreams – in line. Eames’ job, then. Brilliant. He gets to hold hands and wipe noses for two duckies just barely out of grad school, plus the errant one, wherever he is.

“Alright. You,” he say, pointing to the one on the left, who has blond hair in a preppy ponytail and truly enormous glasses. “What do you do?”

“Architect. And my name’s Tiff, by the way. Tiffany.” She looks him directly in the eye. Good for her.

“Is it? Get used to using another one. You?”

The other girl has a chin that looks like she could carve granite with it, although in her case he’s guessing looks are deceiving. “Extractor. Diana.”

“Excellent,” he says, and not even that sarcastically. “You can call me Eames. It’s our point man that’s missing, then?”

“Not anymore,” a voice calls from behind him.

Eames looks over his shoulder, ready with a cutting remark for the late arrival. The words shrivel and die in his throat. First he sees the suit, which looks quite frankly edible; then he recognizes the dark head. It’s his mystery from that afternoon, and he can see now that he was right about not being able to read him. The man makes up for his absolute lack of tells with his presence, because by the set of his shoulders and the dismissive tilt of his head he is completely comfortable in the space he occupies, and even more indifferent as to where that space is. It’s the attitude of a long-time dreamer, something Eames has only seen in the best, those who have either mastered the dream completely or fallen victim to it. Cobb holds himself like that, as do a few others, but even when they’re not entirely there, Eames can read them. Mostly what they feel is longing – for the dream, for the absolute certainty of what is or is not reality. This man is not like that.

That’s all peripheral, though, because this is not just any man.

It’s Arthur.

 

So, self, Eames thinks, any suggestions for what to do if, speaking hypothetically, your lifelong crush who by the way does not actually exist turns up in your real life? Fortunately, his subconscious is happy to oblige with an answer, and he’s double-checked his poker chip twice before he’s even aware he took it out of his pocket. This is definitely reality. Eames feels sick.

He risks another glimpse at Arthur – Arthur, who looks older now, somehow exactly like he’d imagined and nothing like it, and so much like he did at ten, and fifteen.

Eames should have known that Arthur would grow up to be devastatingly sexy. He really, really should have guessed. But Eames had spent a lot of time telling himself he wasn’t thinking about Arthur, never let himself look for him in anything more than the slenderness of someone else’s fingers, the set of someone else’s shoulders, the curve of someone else’s hair. It was only in moments of weakness that he let himself imagine Arthur getting older as he was, and with time the mental image turned into a collage of those scraps of Arthur he had found in other people. And yes, Arthur does still have a slender build, and yes, his eyes and cheeks aren’t as round as they used to be; but somehow Arthur is so much more than the sum of all the parts Eames has been collecting like someone with a guilty scrapbook. He’s beautiful. He’s even more of an enigma in real life than he was in Eames’ childhood dreams.

He’s looking at Eames like he’s cracked in the head.

What Eames wants to do is touch Arthur, not even sexually – ok, yes he does, quite a lot actually – but just to see that he’s real. He wants another fistfight, for old times’ sake. He wants to apologize for kissing him without asking. He wants to do it again. He wants to tell Arthur he’s in love with him, because the confession is more than a decade overdue and Eames is getting really fucking tired of holding his tongue. He wants to tell him he’s missed him. He wants Arthur to tell him the same.

But because Eames has learned the hard way not to pin his hopes on a fantasy, what he does instead is lean back on his painted wooden horse (he can’t really complain of a lack of dramatic setting), look Arthur very deliberately up and down, and say, “Darling, you look positively delicious.”

Arthur’s shield of impassivity cracks, and Eames is childishly delighted to see him look so absolutely contemptuous. “My name is Arthur,” he says coldly, bypassing the elephant in the carousel warehouse.

Eames will never call him by his name.

“It is a pleasure to meet you, though believe me when I say it could be even more pleasurable, for both of us. I’m Eames.” He absolutely does not check to see whether Arthur registers surprise at the name.

Having said that, it doesn’t look like he’s going to be called “Peter” again anytime soon.



(part 4)

Imaginary, Part II

Eames is too old for this shit. He’s also pretty sure he’s the wrong sex, and that to take himself seriously right now he needs someone to tell him his butt doesn’t look fat in these jeans. It is a sad and sorry state of affairs when there is more dignity in being a junior high girl than being in his current predicament.

It’s just … a crush. He thought he was supposed to have got over that kind of thing once he realized that oh yes, sex is a viable option.

Then there’s the small but significant fact that his crush is imaginary. And a boy.

It had never occurred to Eames that he might be into blokes. Sure he’d noticed that Stephen from his class was kind of fit, and Ozzy had his father’s intense features which, let’s face it, would make anyone a little hot under the collar. It’s not like he’s blind. But everyone notices that kind of thing, there’s no reason to read any deeper meaning into it.

Unless, of course, you find you’ve spent half the class dreaming about the fit of Arthur’s waistcoat and that particular gap of skin between his cufflinks, shifting slightly in your seat and wishing you had a pillow to cover your crotch with.  

But now that he’s open to it, he has to admit that there are certain advantages to this whole fancying blokes business. Like mutual blowjobs in the custodial closet, for example (his life is such a cliché, really). He finds that he enjoys giving head almost more that getting it, loves the way all the messages his body sends him – knees hurt, too cramped, no air to breathe in here – narrow down to that one inescapable fact, that there is something in his mouth. A cock, in his mouth.  

It’s rather brilliant, actually. He doesn’t know why he didn’t start ages ago.

 

He hasn’t been dreaming of Arthur lately. He can’t understand why, because when he’s awake his brain seems determined to do nothing but preoccupy him with fantasies, the more embarrassing the better. It’s one thing, Eames reflects, to have an imaginary friend. Having an imaginary boyfriend is just pathetic. That doesn’t seem to stop his id from spinning The Story of Arthur and Eames’ One True Love, And Then They Fucked a Lot on constant replay. If they weren’t making themselves so painfully obvious, Eames would check his dangly bits to make sure he hasn’t changed into a giant fucking girl while he wasn’t looking. He winds up checking quite a bit anyway. As it were.

But if Eames has been dreaming, he can’t remember. He knows, intellectually, that most people don’t, but Eames has always been a vivid dreamer and he can’t see why his fantasy life can’t extend to la-la land now of all times. In a secret, shameful corner of his mind (and yes, he does have some shame, thank you very much, he just usually chooses not to act on it), he’s willing to admit that the thought of a rendezvous with Arthur is making him nervous. Or – well, that’s probably what that fluttering feeling in his stomach is. Nervous or not, though, this is the longest Eames has gone without seeing Arthur and he’s starting to miss him.

Such a fucking girl.

And then Eames goes to bed one night and suddenly he’s there. If Arthur weren’t, he wouldn’t know it was a dream because they’re in his bedroom and it looks just the way it did when he went to sleep. Then of course there’s that thing where he sees Arthur and his prick tells him he wants to be naked right now and Eames screams back at it that no, he really, really doesn’t, and for one terrifying moment he’s not sure whether he’s wearing clothes or not. Then he relaxes against the headboard, suave in a dark suit and tie and hoping like hell Arthur hadn’t noticed. That was kind of a big fucking clue, too.

Arthur gives the room a cursory once-over, like someone being shown a National Geographic article where alright, the pictures were kind of pretty but that still didn’t mean he was going to summon up a lot of interest for the mating habits of komodo lizards. Eames clears his throat and tries not to look at the billboard over his desk, because he’s pinned a number of his most impressive sketches there, and he wants to show off, and he knows if he did Arthur would only raise one perfect, amused eyebrow, like a parent being shown their child’s first finger painting, and possibly even say something like, “that’s nice, Peter.” Eames’ ego would never recover.

“So,” he says, going for breezy and landing at awkward, “Long time no see.”

“Is it?” Arthur asks, still more interested in the tapestry of posters on his wall than him.

“You wound me, darling.” There it is, that edge of teasing flippancy that cancels the physics of conversation, rends words weighted with a world of meaning no heavier than he wants them to be – and Eames always wants them light. He thinks of it as his lying voice, although Eames never lies. Lies are messy, leave them alone long enough and eventually they’ll multiply like bunnies on Viagra and trip you up when you can least afford it. But no one takes the voice seriously, so he calls it his lying voice and lets his audience fill in the blanks.

He’s never had to use the lying voice with Arthur before.

“You don’t get hurt as easy as that,” Arthur retorts, and Eames opens his mouth to let his lying voice plop out of it like a pebble. But his mouth is empty and Eames finds, suddenly, that Arthur is right. His skin is thicker than that, and although this is Arthur, maybe because this is Arthur, he knows he wasn’t meant any harm. Arthur only ever uses his lying voice.

There’s a moment, maybe even a Moment that goes by before Eames clears his throat, cocks a grin and says, “So. Fight?”

Arthur raises an eyebrow, tilts his hips in a delicious imitation of Eames and says, “I thought you’d never ask.”

“That’s because,” Eames returns, deadpan, “I never do.” And he tackles Arthur into the bed.

In retrospect, maybe not the best idea he’s ever had in his life because shit, Arthur is still only – what? Fourteen, fifteen? Young enough for it to matter, anyhow, and while Eames himself had not exactly been a blushing rose at that age there’s no denying the age gap and Eames’ body is entirely too on board with the program. He’s about to pull back, apologize, but he forgets that Arthur’s been fighting him since before he could fully form sentences, that no one knows better than Arthur how to beat him in a fight.

“Well that was easy,” Arthur says from his position above him about thirty seconds later. He sounds disappointed. His legs are twined around Eames’ in ways that only circus performers and porn stars and other disgustingly flexible people should be able to achieve, and Eames struggles ineffectually for a second before laying back, panting, and focusing on the much more pressing issue, which is that Arthurs belly is right on Eames’ crotch and somehow he doesn’t think his bellybutton is going to be a big enough hole for the stiffy Eames is starting to sport.

“Is something wrong?” Arthur asks, shifting forward and providing friction in places that, really Eames would appreciate either 100% audience participation or none at all, this half-and-half business is just not on. “Did I hurt you?” he says, breath hot on Eames’ chin, dishevelled hair brushing against his nose and mouth. Oh god, Eames thinks, kill me now.

“Well, sweetheart, if you’d maybe get off …“ What an unfortunate choice of words.

Arthur blinks with those stupid, insufferable beautiful eyes and grinds down one last, agonizing time as he gets up. “Oh. Right. Sorry.”

Oh. Right. Sorry. Eames parrots sarcastically in his mind and tries not to cry, or to grab Arthur and bite at his adam’s apple pressed as it is so tantalizingly against the perfect V of his half-Windsor, or to cum really hard in his pants like some kind of fucking pre-adolescent.

“What’s wrong?” Arthur’s looking at him curiously, head tilted to the side. Jesus Christ, what does he think is wrong? Arthur’s a teenager, not a toddler, he should recognize the symptoms of someone combating, say, a giant fucking hard-on. “Peter?” Arthur says again, and fuck if he doesn’t sound actually worried, reaching out a hand like he wants to check Eames’ temperature.

Eames growls. Either Arthur’s an idiot or a huge fucking tease, and either way he needs to be taught a lesson, and age difference be damned. Eames is human, not a fucking saint. So he grabs Arthur’s outstretched arm, jerks him to the bed again, and pulls him into a kiss.

Arthur’s mouth is already open – from shock, whatever – so it’s a simple matter to push his tongue past his lips. Eames wouldn’t put it past Arthur to bite his tongue, the bitchy little minx, but the moment for action passes and Eames licks the back of Arthur’s teeth, gratified, and Arthur makes a little hitching noise. Possibly the angel chorus that starts up at that is all in his head, although in a dream who’s to say? The point is that Arthur’s tongue rubs against his, if on purpose or by accident he’s not sure, and Eames awards his participation by lapping at the roof of his mouth, changing the angle and rubbing their wet lips together.

Eames must have been really, really good in a past life. The kiss would be perfect (as he has a feeling any kiss with Arthur must be) were it not for the fact that his heart is causing damage to his ribcage at the moment, and Eames has a feeling the time for plausible deniability is over and it looks like he has no choice but to admit that he is head over heels.

Then Arthur pulls away. “Wha–“ Eames has time to begin, and time to catch one glimpse of Arthur’s flushed face, his wide eyes –

And then he’s awake.

 

This is how teenage sex fantasies are supposed to work, he tells himself furiously that next morning. He’s not calling it a wet dream, not if you pay him with the motherfucking Hope Diamond. You have them one night, pretend you didn’t in the day, and then next night you get off again. There’s absolutely no need to feel so – so – bereft, like he was hoping for a post-coital cuddle or something. Which is completely ridiculous considering they hadn’t even got around to the coitus. No, all they’d done was share one (and you can bet your ass he knows what finger he’s counting that on) admittedly very hot kiss.

It’s just. Arthur’s expression. He’d looked not just panicked but absolutely wrecked. Eames supposes his ego ought to be wounded because he’s amazing in the sack and he knows it, but it’s a bit hard to pull off righteous indignation when really what he wants to do curl a hand in the perfect hairs at the nape of Arthur’s neck and press his head against his collar until everything’s all right again.

That’s it. Eames is taking to the wilds and writing romance novels for a living. Possibly after getting his head checked. With a brick.

But once again when he falls asleep he wakes up with no memories of dreams. And it goes on for months.

Then years.

He stops dreaming altogether, and he never sees Arthur again.

 

And that is the very worst part.



(part 3)

Imaginary, Part I

Imaginary

Eames never tells anyone about his imaginary friend.

He’d tried, once, and his mother had lifted one perfectly sculpted eyebrow and said, “Really? I don’t recall you ever playing with any invisible friends, dear.” He’d shrugged and brushed off her polite inquiries about this friend because she’d got it all wrong. Eames saw him all the time. Just not in the waking world, and Eames has no patience for people who make assumptions from the get-go and ruin their chances of getting it right. Eames has learned the art of looking and filling his lines with meaningless chatter, of waiting for the other person to give him their heart, parcelled neatly in just the right phrasing and gestures.

It usually takes no time at all. Eames learns to imitate people because understanding them is the easiest game in the world to play.  

Eames used to wonder whether his imaginary friend is something his subconscious magicked up for him, as a challenge. If so, Eames needs to remember to send his subconscious chocolates because no one in real life has ever come close to being so intriguing. Then he learns a new kind of forgery, learns how to pull off a better con than he’d ever dared let himself imagine, and realizes that dreams are a lot more complex than he’d realized. He doesn’t think even he could create such a perfect projection from scratch. He doesn’t think a projection so perfect exists.

 

Eames was yea high when he first met his friend, had only been in primary school. He was having a dream, the main feature of which was a sentient motorbike Eames was domesticating for his riding pleasure, much like he’d seen the grooms doing with the new filly. He was, naturally, a lot better at it.

He’d noticed the kid, then. Eames loved meeting people in dreams. Their secrets always took at least twice as long to extract, and they never got angry when he parroted them back at them. A lot of the time, in fact, they patted him on the head and told him what a clever boy he was. (In retrospect – gods, his motives were embarrassingly transparent as a child.) So he hurried over, lying on his stomach on a cushion of air and zooming forward.

The boy – he had curly dark hair that Eames immediately for some reason wanted to grab and tug at and, Eames could see now, even darker eyes – turned around. His face was round with baby fat (Eames, his teachers always assured him, had a very adult face for his age). He couldn’t have been more than five years old.

“You’re like Peter Pan,” the boy said without preamble. The accent, from what Eames could tell under the childish slur, was American.

“I am Peter Pan.”

The other boy giggled. He had dimples, which Eames had only ever seen on Lucy, a girl in his class, and when she giggled she sounded like a braying hyena.

“Arthur,” the other boy returned. They were in Eames’ playroom now, with the big white curtains Eames liked to pull down and wrap around himself to look like a ghost, the soft yellow walls covered in the scribbles his nannies in the real world always scrubbed off, the toys scattered all over the floor like he wasn’t allowed to when he was awake.

“I like you,” Eames declared imperiously, but Arthur was completely ignoring him, instead scrambling over the piles of toys til he found what he was looking for – a light saber. “Dare you,” he said from his unsteady perch on Eames’ plush elephant Baba, plastic sword in hand and an impressive pout – he was trying to be intimidating – on his face.

Instantly Eames had an identical sword in his hand, and they were standing in an amphitheatre like the one Eames’ dad had taken him to the last time they were in Rome. And they were off.

 

Eames collects his shoes from the airport conveyor belt and bends to put them back on. The security guard has been ogling his arse for the past ten minutes, and he wouldn’t want to deprive her of the view. Eames is considerate like that.

After a good two minutes, a voice from above him coughs and says, “Passport, sir?” Eames stops tying his shoelaces in knots that would and have made boy scouts instructors drool and straightens, flashing a who-me? grin.

“Yeah, sorry,” he says with a South African accent, and hands his passport over the counter. The name next to his picture reads “Peter Potts”, and he tries very hard to look like a Peter Potts would. Apparently he passes muster – not that it’s hard to do, Eames very seriously doubts the customs agent can even see the booklet under her enormous breasts – because another stamp joins all the others without a hitch.

“I”, Eames says silkily, and leans an elbow against the counter – also silkily, he’s going for a theme here – “would like very much to further my acquaintance with you.”

“Uh-huh,” the customs agent says, unimpressed, and blows a bubble between truly unfairly luscious lips. She sounds like Brooklyn and her skin is the warm kind of brown you get in hot chocolate and cherry wood – a delightful combination of terms, Eames has always thought. “You’re holding up the line, mister.”

“You wound me.”

“You bore me.”

That does not, Eames is happy to note, stop her from staring at his backside as he walks away, and Eames reflects once again that the tight, dark red vinyl was an excellent choice on his part.

Peter. It’s not his real name, he’d never even tried to have it catch on as a nickname, never mind that “Peter Eames” has a nice ring to it. Pete. Petey. No, Peter. That’s what Arthur used to call him. That’s the first that popped into his head when asked what name he wanted on his fake ID, and still his favourite, the one he uses most often. Never with the same surname, of course, but still it’s dangerous in his line of work, to build up such an obvious pattern.

What can he say? He was in love.

 

Eames has always been very, very aware of the existence of girls, unlike a good number of the blokes in his prestigious and very private all-boys school, who got a notice from puberty at around the age of twelve. He’s learned to be good at them, at smiling with his head cocked just so, of widening his eyes to their very sincerest whenever he wants their attention. He was popular with the nuns who taught his classes, even Sister Alberta with the fearsome squint (Sister Alberta has taught him to fear no squinter, and is the main reason Cobb has never been able to intimidate him). Even in kindergarten, the only co-ed class he’s ever attended, he’d known not to pull hair and tease. No less than five little girls had held his hand and declared that when they were grown up they were going to get married. All things considered, maybe his parents’ decision to send him to a boy’s school was the right one.

Popularity notwithstanding, Eames prefers boys to girls. Eames knows not to hit girls, has had a very earnest talk with his father about it. But no one yelled at you for wrestling with boys, not unless someone started crying, and even then it was likely to be the one in tears who had to deal with the yelling. And Eames did love himself a bit of rough and tumble.

But Eames was not a small boy and eventually his father took him aside again, told him about the difference between good fun and bullying. Eames’ father had small round glasses and a pencil moustache, a habit of rubbing his finger against it when he was worried. He’d never looked so serious.

Eames knows straight away that that’s the end of horsing around with the lads. He examines himself for feelings of anger, for sick disappointment. There’s nothing. He feels nothing more than shame for making his father have to tell him this.

He goes to bed that night smiling. He feels himself fold into a dream, like a letter in an envelope.

When he opens his eyes, Arthur is there.

“Hullo”, Eames says.

“Peter.” Arthur nods in greeting. He doesn’t smile. Arthur has begun practicing a brisk economy of smiles lately, as if he’s afraid he’s running out. Eames doesn’t know why, and he knows if he asks he will never see Arthur again.

He’s fascinated.

Eames went with his parents recently to a hotel gala – some sort of dinner reception for a charity – where the women wore long smoky dresses that curled around their sharp staccato heels and the men layers of jackets, waistcoats, ties, suspenders, and shirts, like the wrapping on a Christmas present. Since then whenever Eames sees Arthur he’s wearing formal wear in tones too dull for someone like Arthur, the pant cuffs just covering his knees like they do at Eames’ prep school. He’d tried to make it one of the dresses from the party, once, but Arthur had very calmly clenched his fist and given him his first black eye.

Arthur is why Eames was able to take his father’s news so calmly. In his dreams Eames can fight to his heart’s content, scrambling around on the ground and feeling sunflower bursts of pain blazing at the pressure of Arthur’s fist, his scratches and his mad, swinging kicks, with nothing to show for it in the morning. If Eames can’t fight at school, he’ll just do in a dream, where there are no boundaries of parents and lunch break and panted “stop, I give”.

Arthur never gives. He says Peter and doesn’t smile at him and undoes the cuffs at his wrist, rolls them up as Eames clenches and unclenches his fists, fighting the urgency flaring under his skin until finally Arthur says, “Now.” And Eames doesn’t go easy on him, and Arthur doesn’t go easy either, and neither of them ever, ever say to stop.

 

In retrospect, it’s a wonder that it takes Eames so long to cotton on. Hormones happen, and Eames would wake from dreams aching desperately and wishing he had another hand because what with needing the one to hold a pillow over his mouth, he only has the other to frantically jerk off with. Then he makes the discovery that there are girls who are obliging enough to lend him theirs if only he smiles at them a certain way and tells them all the tired lines from the movies. So that’s alright.

Then, when he’s seventeen, he goes to sleep and Arthur isn’t looking at him. Instead he’s leaning against the railing of a bridge in a Japanese garden, staring at the poor mirror the stream makes for the setting sun. Eames has noticed that lately for some reason it’s always been sunset when they meet.

He notices other things, too. Like how it’s been seven years and he still knows nothing about Arthur except his name and that he fights dirty despite looking like a perfect gentleman. Like how Arthur is his best friend, and he isn’t even real. Like how his hair has been getting long and in the soft light, with hair just touching his neck and his pretty eyes, he looks kind of like a girl. That somehow without Eames realizing Arthur has grown taller than him though he’s still skinny as a rake. That though it has been months since he’d seen them – longer, it feels like, in the dream – he knows when he smiles his dimples bracket his mouth like parentheses.

Arthur looks at him. Eames’ stomach drops like he’s falling, and he sits up in his bed, gasping.

                                                                                                                                                                         

That wasn’t even the worst part. The worst part came later.

 

There are too few taxis in front of the airport, and too many soon-to-be mothers decorum demands he give way too – where do they all come from? If there is a conspiracy of pregnant women against him, he would like to know, he can’t have fathered all of them – so he passes the time by brooding. Eames doesn’t like the job. It’s simple enough – an extraction from a more or less middle-rate businessman who’d bitten off more than he could chew, more than he realized, even. His particular skill set isn’t even necessary, really, but their employer’s new at this dreaming business and still a little nervous, covering all his bases and then some. Well, Eames doesn’t mind popping his extraction cherry for him so long as he gets paid well, and at least the forgeries look like they’ll be interesting (that they’ll be first-rate goes without saying).

The problem is the team. They’re none of them people Eames has worked with before, and none of them come recommended to him by someone he trusts, someone who’s had his back in the past. That in itself is unusual – dreamers are scattered across the board like Eames’ investments in the stock market, but it’s a small enough circle that somebody ought to have heard something. New, probably, and there’s not enough time to train them to his liking before the job.

Fuck it. If it all goes pear-shaped he can fend for himself, and anyway what’s the worst that can happen to their newly acquired ducklings? If they die, no paycheque. Cry him a motherfucking river.

Eames is too old for this shit.


(part 2)

 

TOO MUCH THINKY THOUGHTS

THIS IS SO MUCH MORE SELF-INDULGENT THAN ANYTHING YOU WANT TO READ, GUYS. Having said that, here are some thoughts about fandom and what it is to be a lurker vs. a fangirl.

 

I am a seriously long-time lurker. I got into fanfic about … five? years ago and in that stretch of time I have written exactly three pieces of fanfiction, only one of which I finished. For the most part, I think that’s been a good thing for fandom – there’s a reason ff.net has a bad rep, ok.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t love fandom. Fanfiction is written mostly by women (sorry gents, I know you’re out there and you get overlooked a lot, WE LOVE YOU TOO) and, at least in the fanfiction I read, women who write about men who love men. (Or occasionally, women who love women.) Note how that is two things? That means I get to break out my list:

1)      I have grown so much as a feminist, guys. I don’t comment nearly as much as I ought to, but please take this as a general post towards all the writers out there: you have made me so much stronger and prouder to be a woman. I look up to you because fandom is a women-dominated community, and as I have learned, when a bunch of women band together, they kick ass. I am proud to be a part of that, however small.

2)      That thing where guys get it on with guys? Yeah, I didn’t have that in my life before I stumbled across my first SasuNaru amv and was like, “… wut?” I grew up in a super-Christian environment (seriously, most of my friends were missionary kids), and teh gay was so far out of left field I didn’t rightly know what to do with myself. Read more, obviously. And I think I can honestly say that fanfiction was a huge influence on my decision to go to a liberal arts school. I didn’t feel strongly about gay rights until fandom (hell, I barely knew homosexuality existed). I didn’t feel strongly about my role in life as a woman, but now I know that little voice that tells me I should shy away from the technological stuff cuz I’m just no good at it – cuz I’m a girl – is never going to stop me. I didn’t feel strongly about checking my white privilege and guys, two of my siblings are coloured. I probably wouldn’t even have had the background to realize I’m bi, which lol would have been awkward somewhere down the line.

Basically fandom has made me so much wiser. I’m not just a better writer because of you guys, I’m a better person, and I have learned so, so much from you. I know a lot of people don’t like to admit to writing fanfiction, and even among ourselves we dismiss it as porn. Me, I do not object to porn. BRING ON THE PORN, PEOPLE. But please know that some of the best writing I have ever read has been fanfiction (and believe you me, I have read a LOT of books to compare with), and some of the most inspiring people I know of are on lj. Please don’t sell yourselves short. You’re an inspiration.

Tl;dr version: I love fandom, guys. And while personally I could just read all this wonderful stuff for the rest of my life and be happy as a clam in a shell, it has occurred to me lately that my relationship with fandom is, er. Decidedly one-sided? I mean, no one knows better than me that there are far better writers than me out there. But I’ve been thinking (this is where you run for cover, boys and girls), and the way I figure, fanfiction has made my life a LOT better than it would have been without. So, while the chances are slim, I have decided to start writing stuff in the hope that somebody somewhere out there will experience a better day than they would have otherwise for reading it.  

I AM CLIMBING OFF MY PEDESTAL NOW, YOU CAN STOP INVENTING WHOLE NEW PAGAN GODS TO PRAY TO THAT I’LL SHUT UP.