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13 September 2010 @ 08:56 am
[fic]: where all the roads lead  
Title: Where All the Roads Lead

Author: That.Other.Boleyn.Girl

Rating: PG-13.

Genre: Humour/Romance.

Word Count: 2,445.

Disclaimer: No, I don't own them.

Summary: Eames resorts to drastic measures to convince Arthur to go on holiday. Eames/Arthur, slash, One-Shot.

A/N: More banter, humour, fluff, and nonsense. Prepare for cavities. A lot of cavities.

Please don't forget to comment!

Where All the Roads Lead

“I feel like Rome,” Eames says abruptly that morning, as if by Rome he means apricot jam or fresh tea.

Arthur is spreading said jam and drinking said tea. And giving Eames the spectacular glare this comment deserves.

“Eames,” Arthur says. “We’re not going to Rome again.”

“Are you still holding that grudge about last time, dear?”

“I’m learning,” Arthur says, “from my previous mistakes.”

“But that wasn’t a mistake last time,” Eames points out, nudging his teaspoon at Arthur’s wrist. “It was hot. I did you a favour, pushing you in. And if you just so happened to look gorgeous while wet – well, that was just the icing on the metaphorical cake.”

“It’s not the icing if you do it just to get me wet,” Arthur says. “It’s the flour. Or the eggs. Or the milk. Or something. And I was dripping all the way back to the hotel that day. It was humiliating.”

“It was extremely aesthetic,” Eames says.

“You’re an idiot,” Arthur says. “I’m not doing it again.”

“That sounds like a challenge,” Eames says, and grins.


Eames manages to set the toast on fire.

Arthur is not entirely sure how Eames accomplished this. Eames has made the toast every consecutive day for two years. This is the first time buckets have been called into duty. Buckets, and those atomiser spray-bottle things that Arthur uses to water his precious ferns with.

Although, admittedly, Eames does look very entertaining with half a bucket of water dumped over his head.

Arthur is not vengeful. Evidently.

Eames splutters for what feels like a good ten minutes, and then wipes his face dry with the apron. “Hey. That was uncalled for. The toast was on fire, not me.”

“I was taking a necessary precaution,” Arthur says. “If you’d have caught on fire, imagine the consequences. There would’ve been scorch-marks on the kitchen bench for days.”

“It’s good to know my standing in this house,” Eames says.

“Just so long as you know,” Arthur says. “Now go change. You’re leaving puddles all over the linoleum.”

“I can’t quite believe you’re blaming me,” Eames says, deliberately wringing his jacket out and splattering more water everywhere. “And I can’t quite believe you’re not jumping me, either. I’m soaked and we’re within range of a horizontal surface. This is a prime opportunity for you to have sex with me.”

“Is that why you set the toast on fire? As some bizarre reverse-seduction attempt?”

“No,” Eames says and looks offended. Arthur raises a brow and Eames relents. “Alright, a little. Maybe. Yes.”

“I was wondering why the smoke alarms didn’t go off.”

“I took the batteries out.”

“This morning?”

“Last week.”

Arthur has a feeling he shouldn’t be half as amused by this as he is. His hip settles against the bench. “So you’ve had this planned ever since last week.”

“Last month, actually. Did it work?” Eames says.

“No,” and Arthur whaps him with the tea-towel. “Get changed.”


“Should I be aware of any other forthcoming surprises, Eames?” Arthur says, the next day when the bath overflows.

This happens because Eames has fallen asleep, apparently, with the plug in and the tap still running. There is water in a slick film over the bathroom tiles and the soap dish Eames uses for a door-stop is floating. Eames is naked and still sitting there in the tub. He looks more than fairly pleased with himself.

“I did most of the work in bed last night,” Eames says and his low-lidded stare migrates past Arthur’s belt. “I’m tired. You can’t blame me for nodding off in here.”

“There is water,” Arthur says, “in everything.”

“Not everything,” Eames corrects at once. “I know your priorities. I saved the toilet paper and the bathmats, you see. And the soap. I know how much you hate soggy soap.”

Arthur pinches the bridge of his nose. “Eames.”

“Was I wrong about the soap? I can put it back, if you like.”

“Don’t think I don’t know what you’re trying to do,” Arthur says. “Methodically destroying the house like this is not going to make me want to go to Rome with you. It’s going to make me want to strangle you instead. And don’t forget what I can do with a half-knotted tie.”

“Oh, what can’t you do with a half-knotted tie,” Eames says.

“I’m not talking about sex. I’m being serious here, Eames.”

“You’re always serious. That’s why you need a holiday, dear.”

“I don’t need to give you yet another excuse for sexually harassing me,” Arthur points out.

“But this time I can sexually harass you in public.”

“Because you obviously never do that here, anyway.”

“It’s different, love,” Eames insists and folds his arms over the edge of the ceramic bathtub. There’s a drop of water dripping down his neck and Arthur’s trying very hard not to stare at it. “The atmosphere is different. The mood. It’s not the same.”

“There are more conveniently-placed fountains in Rome, is that it?”

“Not just fountains.” Eames tips his head to the side for a moment. “The coffee. The sun. The gelati. The heat. Hell, Arthur, even the sex was better down there.”

There’s a pause.

“Do you ever think about anything else,” but Arthur’s expression is softer, just a little bit.

Eames settles his chin on his arm and winks.

“Not whenever I’m around you, darling,” he says.


It starts raining. Arthur wants to blame Eames for this, just because it’s easy to blame Eames for everything, especially when Eames comes home that night waterlogged and looking like a half-drowned rat.

Arthur opens the door at twenty to eight and immediately says, “You can’t be serious.”

“That’s why I keep you around, so I don’t have to be, dear.”

“Oh, ha,” Arthur says and lets him in.

Eames sneezes twice en route to the shower. Arthur’s torn between worrying about this newest development and the worsening state of the hardwood floors.

“I know this might be a novel idea for you, but the umbrella was invented for a reason,” Arthur says.

“It’s not novel,” Eames says. “I’m an Englishman.”

“I’ll put that on your tombstone when you die of pneumonia.”

“I know this might be a novel idea for you, but antibiotics were invented for a reason,” Eames says. “And anyway, this is the third time I’ve been soaked in a week. I’m pretty sure I’m immune to it all by now.”

“You’re an idiot,” Arthur says.

“Love you too, my dear.”

Eames is watching from underneath dark blonde lashes, the hint of a smile nudging next to his lip. Arthur stoutly ignores this familiar prelude to sex and yanks Eames’ shirt-tails up out of his belt.

“I’m not jumping you,” Arthur points out very clearly as he starts work on Eames’ buttoned shirt-front. Normally, Arthur is not as blunt as this but exceptions are necessary when dealing with Eames. “You are cold, and wet, and you are going directly to bed after your shower. You are not going to bitch about the extra blanket I’ll give you. If you do bitch, I’m kicking you straight out of bed and you can catch whatever it is you deserve to catch, on the floor, or the couch, or outside in the rain. Wherever.”

“Are you making another of your lists, sweetheart?” Eames says. “All the places you’d like us to have – ”

“I’m not talking about sex,” Arthur says. “Shut up.”

Eames is shivering and trying to smirk at the same time. “Lighten up, Arthur. I’m not going to die.”

“I hope you do,” and Arthur peels Eames’ shirt away.

“You just want to get at my five million pounds. I’d never pegged you before as being mercenary, dear, but it seems I’ll promptly have to revise that opinion.”

“You can promptly get your ass into the shower,” Arthur says, and shoves him.

“Only if yours follows suit,” Eames says.


Eames does end up bitching about the blanket. He ends up bitching about a lot of things, about the thermometer Arthur forces between his teeth, about the soup, about the juice Arthur shoves at him.

“I’m not sick,” Eames protests around the thermometer. “And I hate soup.”

“I hate you,” Arthur says to that. The thermometer beeps and Arthur takes it out. “Thirty-nine. Well done, Eames. You’ve surpassed yourself. You’ve managed to get a fever without getting sick. Apparently.”

“Well, I’m a remarkable man.”

“In your stupidity. I reminded you to take an umbrella that morning.”

“You’re not supposed to pin blame on a dying man.”

“I thought you weren’t going to die,” Arthur says, although he does put his hand next to Eames’ cheek. Eames turns his face and smirks faintly into Arthur’s palm. “Though if you could make it a quick death, I’d be very obliged. Cobb wants me at the warehouse within the hour.”

“I’m lying on my death bed and you’re thinking about work. How very typically heartless of you, Arthur dear.”

“I’m not taking a day off just to watch you die, Eames, as amusing a spectacle as that may be.”

“Sometimes I wonder why the hell I’m in love with you.”

“Must be that remarkable stupidity of yours again.”

“Must be. No-one else would go this far and brave minestrone soup just to make a point.”

Arthur pauses in cooling said soup with his breath. “There was a point to all this? Besides dying, I mean.”

“I live to make a point, darling,” Eames points out and gives Arthur his sly, assessing look, gray eyes sharp and only slightly feverish.

Arthur rolls his own eyes in return.

“Don’t tell me this is still about Rome,” Arthur says.

“I’ve already bought us the tickets,” Eames says.

“You’re sick. You’ve got a fever of thirty-nine. They won’t let you past the heat detectors at the airport.”

“It’s not me that’s stopping us, Arthur,” Eames says, suddenly propping himself up on the bed by his elbows. Arthur nearly spills soup over both of them. “What’s the real reason you don’t want to go to Rome? And don’t give me all that stuff about fountains and so on, I know for a fact you didn’t mind any of that.”

“I did mind,” Arthur says. He’s playing to stall and doesn’t really know why he feels like he needs to. “That was my favourite summer suit, Eames.”

“It’s replaceable.”

Arthur stares. “I never said it wasn’t.”

“Then why are you so opposed to going back for a while?”

“I have work,” Arthur says. “We both have work.”

“We’re not going to be working forever,” Eames says.

“Then we can talk about it when this job is over.”

“No,” and Eames sounds surprisingly steady. “If you’re afraid of something, then I want to know now. I don’t like it when you’re not open with me.”

There’s a pause. Arthur puts the soup bowl on the bedside table.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Arthur says.

“You know exactly what I’m talking about, love,” Eames says then and nudges Arthur with his blanketed knee. “I know how much you enjoy what we do, but really, the line has to be drawn somewhere. It’s just a week. You can afford to rest for a week. Cobb will still be here when we come back, you know. And since I already possess your tempestuous heart, you needn’t worry about losing it in the streets of Rome. You can give yourself up wholly to the romance of it all, so I can sweep you off your feet and ravish you.”

Another pause.

Tempestuous,” Arthur repeats, brow cocked.

“That may have been an unfortunate choice of word,” Eames admits, “stolen directly from a soft-cover Mills and Boon. But the sentiment remains the same, my dear. Come on. I promise not to maul you in public.”

“I’m pretty sure you made that same promise two years ago.”

“And I meant every word of it then, same as now. Sort of.”

“You can promise not to dunk me into public fountains.”

“I promise not to dunk you into public fountains, love.”

Arthur squints. “Why do I have a feeling you’re not going to honour that one.”

“Honour it or not, I’ve already paid amply for it,” Eames says, gesturing at the thermometer. “I’ve had a bucket of water emptied over my head, had my bathtub overflow, the entire bathroom swamped, walked all the way home in a thunderstorm and now I have soup being shovelled relentlessly down my throat. Really, darling. Hell couldn’t be worse. Surely all this is apology enough for pushing you into a fountain once.”

“You overflowed the bathtub on purpose,” Arthur starts, and then stops.

Eames’ grin is too wide, too low.

The truth dawns.

“You did everything on purpose, didn’t you.”

“Well, the soup bit wasn’t quite intentional, but yes.”

“You deserve to be shot.”

“In the heart, with your love?”

“That’s it,” Arthur says and gets up off the bed. “I’m burning every last one of your romance novels.”

“And the resulting heat will melt all of your doubts,” Eames calls and Arthur leaves with a smile on his mouth.


They’re in Rome a week later, the sun slanting hot, Eames abusing his right to butcher Italian at every single market or gelati stall. This would be alright if Eames wasn’t already fluent in Italian. Arthur spends a lot of time whacking him in the arm with the guide book. Eames seems to know all the streets and the alleyways, the history behind every cobblestone, drags Arthur to dinner in quiet cafés and to breakfast in quaint little coffee shops. Arthur gets sunburnt on the second day. Eames offers to remove Arthur’s shirt for a look.

“I’m sunburnt on my nose, Eames,” Arthur points out. “There’s no reason for you to remove my clothes.”

“There’s always a reason for me to remove your clothes,” Eames replies, and Arthur bites back a laugh.

On the fourth day, they’re walking past a stone fountain and it feels like a moment of déjà vu. Arthur bends to the water and splashes his face, scoops some up to his mouth. Eames watches him.

“I’m about to break a promise, darling,” Eames warns.

“Are you,” Arthur says.

Eames kisses him.

“That wasn’t what I expected you to do,” Arthur admits, and then Eames flashes him that brilliant grin and tips both of them sideways, right into the fountain. The water is shocking and quite, quite cold.

Arthur comes up gasping.

His favourite suit is ruined.

But it’s replaceable, and Arthur finds he doesn’t mind so much.

The End.

A/N: Okay, okay. I should probably stop with the self-indulgent fluff now. But, you know, sick!Eames was too good to resist. I'm heading back into angst territory soon, I promise.

Please don't forget to comment! Feel free to friend me for future Arthur/Eames updates; and don't forget to take a look at my other Inception fics!

epic escapist love: jglchaoticallyclev on September 12th, 2010 11:14 pm (UTC)
But I love your self-indulgent fluff!

I almost busted a rib while laughing and trying really hard not to life, becasue I don't want to have to explain what exactly i find of funny in the middle of a football game. Though, I often laugh at them anyway, but it's usually followed by flinching instead of ridiculous smiling.

Also, I am currently sunburnt on my nose as well. I just felt like sharing.

This was love ♥
ABC, her eyelids say.epistolic on September 15th, 2010 12:13 am (UTC)
Oh, thank-you, darling! I'm glad it made you laugh, ha. Yay. Mission accomplished. ♥ ♥

And gaw, put some aloe vera on it! :snuggles you:
- chaoticallyclev on September 15th, 2010 06:55 am (UTC) (Expand)
- epistolic on September 17th, 2010 02:02 am (UTC) (Expand)
- chaoticallyclev on September 17th, 2010 08:48 pm (UTC) (Expand)
- epistolic on September 20th, 2010 04:28 am (UTC) (Expand)
★risenstrzyga on September 12th, 2010 11:20 pm (UTC)
.....................dear. there is no reason for you to stop with the fluff. you may have written it self indulgently, but it was a truly enjoyable, self indulgent read. :D i giggled a lot, lmao. ♥♥
ABC, her eyelids say.epistolic on September 15th, 2010 12:13 am (UTC)
Ha, thank-you so much, darling! Glad it made you giggle. ♥
a text back tempo ♬.: without a dream in my heart.glampop on September 12th, 2010 11:28 pm (UTC)
Banter, chemistry, lovely, etc.

You know the drill ♥

ABC, her eyelids say.epistolic on September 15th, 2010 12:13 am (UTC)
Thank-you, dear! ♥
red_rahl: Inception: Arthur/Eames - Red Dreamsred_rahl on September 12th, 2010 11:47 pm (UTC)
This was a delight to read! I loved how sneaky Eames was being to try and get his way. That care and love translating to the crazy things only Eames can think of! XD And Arthur is just lovely. Adored the banter and the humor and the fluff! *cuddles in it*
ABC, her eyelids say.epistolic on September 15th, 2010 12:14 am (UTC)
Thank-you so much! Eames can be so slippery when he wants to be, the adorable thing. Glad you enjoyed the banter and all! :cuddles both you and fic and everything in general:
(Deleted comment)
ABC, her eyelids say.epistolic on September 15th, 2010 12:14 am (UTC)
Thank-you! ♥
(Deleted comment)
ABC, her eyelids say.epistolic on September 15th, 2010 12:15 am (UTC)
I know, right? Never enough innuendos in this world. :grin:

Thank-you! I'm glad you enjoyed that! :hugs: ♥
SHINOBIshinobi_mi_chan on September 13th, 2010 01:01 am (UTC)
asdefm;awesdnwl SO CUTE! Gave me that nice little warm feeling inside. You know the one. :D Outstanding work as always.
ABC, her eyelids say.epistolic on September 15th, 2010 12:15 am (UTC)
Thank-you, darling! You delurked!! Hurrah! Glad you liked this one, gaw. :cuddles:
unfurnished journal: arthureameslaceandbraids on September 13th, 2010 01:21 am (UTC)
“I know this might be a novel idea for you, but the umbrella was invented for a reason,” Arthur says.

“It’s not novel,” Eames says. “I’m an Englishman.”

“I’ll put that on your tombstone when you die of pneumonia.”

ehehe no words for how wonderful this is^^ &I know what you mean I love fics where either Arthur or Eames is sick and the other has to look after them. It always leads to the cute :D
ABC, her eyelids say.epistolic on September 15th, 2010 12:16 am (UTC)
I AM SO GLAD YOU LIKED THAT BIT, because I had a ridiculous amount of fun writing it. :grin: Thank-you so much, I'm glad you thought it was cute! :hugs:

(Deleted comment)
ABC, her eyelids say.epistolic on September 15th, 2010 12:16 am (UTC)
Thank-you! ♥
vinna7 on September 13th, 2010 02:05 am (UTC)
Fluff! Fluff! Fluff! YAY, FLUFF!!
Actually I thought that, secretly, Eames was hoping Arthur would find *him* just as attractive soaking wet as he found Arthur.
ABC, her eyelids say.epistolic on September 15th, 2010 12:16 am (UTC)
Ha, that may have been one of Eames' hidden motives. But he'd never admit that aloud. :grin: I'm glad you liked the fluff, darling! ♥
arty_darc on September 13th, 2010 02:56 am (UTC)
Oh so very VERY adorable. I do SO love the banter. And there's nothing wrong with self-indulgent fic (at least, I hope not--my recent flist spamming comes too close for comfort if so XD).
ABC, her eyelids say.epistolic on September 15th, 2010 12:17 am (UTC)
Gaw, thank-you, darling! And no, there is nothing wrong with you writing self-indulgently - because there can never be enough of your fic in this world. :hugs:

- arty_darc on September 15th, 2010 07:43 pm (UTC) (Expand)
- epistolic on September 16th, 2010 02:29 am (UTC) (Expand)
- arty_darc on September 16th, 2010 02:35 am (UTC) (Expand)
indybreeindybree on September 13th, 2010 03:15 am (UTC)
Aww, so adorable! :D I'll admit, I am pretty fond of a good piece of fluff, so please, indulge! This was just so cute and so funny. :) I giggled and "awww!"ed about a million times, which got me a few questioning looks from my roommates, but I don't mind. :p Jeez, if I could write like you, I'd post ALL the time! <3
ABC, her eyelids say.epistolic on September 15th, 2010 12:18 am (UTC)
Gaw, thank-you! I'm glad you liked this one, I had so much fun writing it. Thank-you so much!

Btw - do you write Arthur/Eames? 'Twould be wonderful if you did! There can never be enough A/E in this world! ♥
- indybree on September 15th, 2010 12:47 am (UTC) (Expand)
- epistolic on September 15th, 2010 06:21 am (UTC) (Expand)
debase the beef canoeshichiloaf on September 13th, 2010 03:56 am (UTC)
D'awwww! Lol I'm totally still kind of sick myself, and this is better than any soup. SO CUTE.


Lololol @ fountain!pwn. Lol irl. LOL FOREVER.
ABC, her eyelids say.epistolic on September 15th, 2010 12:18 am (UTC)
OH NOES! GET BETTER, BB! :sends soup your way:


I know, right? Fountain!pwn is so fun. SO FUN. I think Eames agrees with me. :grin: ♥
Alhendraalhendra on September 13th, 2010 04:13 am (UTC)
This is SO ADORABLE. I absolutely loooove their interactions, which are so damn sweet. You balance the most heartbreaking angst with the sweetest fluff! Wonderful piece!
ABC, her eyelids say.epistolic on September 15th, 2010 12:20 am (UTC)
Gaw, thank-you, love! I'm glad you thought it was adorable, gaw. And ha, I think I must have multiple personalities or something. Really. It's almost silly. :hugs: ♥
teaaa!: Paul w/ Glasses!compactstars on September 13th, 2010 04:55 am (UTC)
Aahhh. The banter! ♥
ABC, her eyelids say.epistolic on September 15th, 2010 12:20 am (UTC)
Thank-you, darling! ♥