Many thanks to Sistabro for her beta and to everyone else who's been cheering this 'verse along: hey guys, I finally finished one!
Title: The Call
Fandoms: Inception & Supernatural
Pairings: Arthur/Eames & skip Past Sam/Arthur
Timeline: Post-movie for Inception, an AU version of the events in the first half of 7.01 for Supernatural.
Series: Not Such As I Was
Contents include: Language
Summary: Sometimes, destiny calls while you're still getting dressed.
When the call came, it didn't come in the middle of the night like in the movies, but at 8:15 in the morning on a Wednesday, like a proper business call. Arthur was shaving in the bathroom and Eames had just pulled on his undershirt. Arthur's mobile, which received any number of forwarded numbers, vibrated on the nightstand next to Eames' second empty cup of coffee. Eames peered at the display. "Restricted number, Arthur," Eames called out. "Should I let it pop over to voicemail?"
"Grab it, it might be Carlita and I've been playing phone tag with her for two weeks now," said Arthur, and Eames could hear the razor swishing in the sink as he picked up the call.
"Yes," answered Eames, deliberately vague in his greeting.
There was a pause at the other side. "Arthur?" said an American male voice that wasn't Carlita Manolo.
"This is Arthur's phone. He's busy at the moment. Who shall I tell him to call back?"
"Who are you?"
Now that was plain rude but Eames could appreciate the underlying paranoia. Not to mention that he and Arthur didn't advertise the fact that they lived together for a number of excellent reasons, paranoia being chief among them. "This is Eames."
"Eames?" repeated the voice in a tone of mild disbelief.
"That's right. And you are?"
Eames heard a sigh before the voice came back, now barely more than a whisper. "Eames, could you please tell Arthur that Lavoisier is calling?"
In hindsight, Eames was rather proud of himself for not dropping the phone or reflexively replying 'Bollocks you are!' Instead, he managed to walk over to the bathroom door without tripping over himself and say, in a fair imitation of his normal voice, "Arthur, dearest, Lavoisier would like to speak with you."
Arthur blinked in the mirror but otherwise didn't seem that alarmed. He held out his hand for the phone even though the left side of his face was still covered in lather. Eames handed it over and his arm only shook a little bit. "Hello. This is something of a surprise," said Arthur. He didn't shoo Eames away, so there was no power on this Earth that was going to make Eames leave. He'd known for years that Arthur was one of the few people that knew Lavoisier personally but Eames hadn't had a clue that Arthur had remained in contact with him.
"I'd noticed you'd started updating again but I didn't want to presume," said Arthur after the tinny voice -- too quiet for Eames to make out -- stopped. It replied and Arthur developed a small smile. "No, no, I understand, thanks. So, did you need to tell me anything else? It's not the best time to play catch up, that's all." The smile disappeared. "You do? No, no, no--of course I'll help. What's wrong?" Now Arthur's eyebrows wrinkled together. "I remember. You don't seriously think I could forget?" Pause. "I miss her too."
Then Arthur's eyes widened in surprise and he gave a Eames a fond look in the mirror. "Yes, it's true, we pulled it off and where the hell did you hear about that?" Only one topic could elicit that response. Somehow, despite disappearing from the face of the planet for nearly a decade, Lavoisier had found out about the successful inception. Eames would be surprised, except that this was Lavoisier and rumor had it that he'd been a notorious hacker and criminal long before he revolutionized dreamshare. Then again, rumor also had it that he was seven feet tall and that he'd left dreamshare in order to pursue a moderately successful career in Hollywood, so Eames took the rumors with a grain of salt.
"Well, I'm glad you're not asking because I think incepting someone who knew it was going on would be somewhere beyond impossible. But if it's something like what Mal did, then yeah," and Arthur looked at Eames again, his eyes full of warmth, "I might know a guy." Pause. "No, not Dom, I'm talking about Eames. No, the SAS didn't make him up, believe me." The voice said something in response that made Arthur grin, dimples and all, and for a moment Eames was so sublimely jealous of Lavoisier that he nearly tore the phone away to smash it to bits on the ground because that expression belonged to him. "He's... well, you'll meet him. How soon can you get to L.A.?" Arthur frowned. "Then I'll come to you." Pause. "That's-- Sa-- oh, don't start up with that bullshit again. It's not like we work in cubicles either. I'll let him know but I doubt he'll care. I certainly don't."
Arthur gestured at Eames to grab a paper and pencil and Eames obediently retrieved the scratch pad from his nightstand. "Okay, give me the address," Arthur scowled as he wrote it out slowly, struggling to hold the phone with his shoulder while he did it. "You know, when I took you someplace new, it was Paris." Eames noted that the address ended with South Dakota, which partially explained how Lavoisier managed to stay under the radar all of these years. "No, no, I'll find a hotel regardless. And I won't start a fight if he doesn't." Pause, and the knot of worry settled back between his eyebrows. "Just -- keep calm and I'll be there as soon as I can. Whatever it is, we'll find a way to fix it." A soft, doe-eyed look crept over Arthur's face, making him look painfully young. "I, well, I missed you too. See you tonight, probably." Then Arthur placed the phone on the counter next to the sink, shook his head for a second, picked up his razor, and resumed shaving.
Eames gave him ten seconds before folding his arms together and saying, "So, we're going to South Dakota tonight?"
Arthur rolled his eyes. "I'm going to South Dakota tonight to help out an old friend. You, however, are invited to join me. So, would you like to go to South Dakota tonight, Eames? Because I think your talents might be better suited than mine for this job. Also, you'll get to meet Lavoisier, as long as you promise not to collapse into a drooling pile of fanboy."
"I am not a fanboy and you've instantly become ten times less intimidating on the basis of even knowing that term in the first place, you incredible geek," Eames informed him.
Arthur shook his head again, chuckling. "I heard the way you said his name. Speaking of which, you've failed to extract his real name on how many different jobs?" He tilted his head back to swipe the razor up under his jaw, an obvious ploy to distract Eames from the discussion with the ever-so-lickable length of his neck.
"Three times over six years at a cost of more than half a million dollars and by all rights I ought to have extracted it from you ages ago." Eames walked up behind him and set his chin on Arthur's right shoulder. "But seeing as I'm about to meet the bloke, you could finally let me in on the secret."
Arthur's expression shuttered and he shrugged Eames off. "Hand me a towel and shut the door." While Eames did this, Arthur turned on the shower.
"What the hell, love? Our house isn't bugged." They swept it for them weekly. Paranoia was a trait that frequently paid off in the world of criminal dreamshare. "Not to mention that he gave you his address over a bloody mobile line, he can't be that concerned about privacy any more," said Eames.
"South Dakota's a big state and you know better than to think what I wrote down is what he said over the phone. His name, his location -- you're not the only one who's ever been hired to extract it. It's a secret I've kept for more than a decade and given that he's already in trouble, he doesn't need some rogue pharmaceutical company trying to kidnap him. We're gonna have to charter a plane for this, false flight plans, the full nine yards," said Arthur.
Eames nodded. "Fine, fine, but come on now, just tell me his bloody name, would you?"
Arthur sighed. "Okay, but I have to tell you something else first. And I swear to you that if it had been anyone else but him, I would have told you this a long time ago."
Eames smoldering jealousy flared but he kept it to himself and nodded. "That's fine, I understand."
"Do you remember the boyfriend I had while I was working at Stanford?" The man who had left Arthur an emotionally-stunted automaton for years after their break up? Why would Eames remember that one? "You never met him, but he's in some of the pictures from Dom and Mal's wedding reception." Eames certainly had never spent long minutes staring at that particular series of photos featuring a young, drunken, glowing Arthur practically sitting in the lap of a tall, dark, and remarkably attractive man-child whose lean, muscled arms had looked entirely too natural and comfortable around Arthur's waist while they danced in their shirtsleeves and Arthur stared up at him with adoration written all over both of their faces.
"I think I remember him. Those are the ones hanging up in Dom's stairwell, yes?" said Eames.
Arthur grimaced. "Yes. Well, uh, that's him -- Lavoisier. Lavoisier's my ex-boyfriend, the one in the pictures."
"Oh." Eames' poker face was going to see a lot of practice over the next few days. "So the rumors about him being seven feet tall, they aren't so far off?"
That got a small smile out of Arthur. "Yeah, he's a really tall guy."
"Who goes by the name?" pressed Eames.
"Sam." Arthur's smile turned bittersweet. "Lavoisier's real name is Sam Winchester and the stubborn asshole just called me for help with some kind of problem in his subconscious that he can't fix himself." Arthur looked Eames straight in the eye, the smile gone. "He insisted that I warn you before you agreed to come that just meeting him will put you in the crosshairs of someone so dangerous that he couldn't even name him in code. But I think if there's anyone left alive who can fix him, it's probably you," said Arthur, his gaze dropping as he finished. It wasn't in Arthur's nature to say 'please'.
Eames loved every cantankerous bone in his body all the same.
He stepped forward and kissed Arthur sweetly. Arthur's hands landed on Eames hips and he moaned softly when Eames pulled away. "Flattery will get you everywhere," Eames told him before giving him another quick peck on the lips. "Including, it seems, South Dakota. So shut off the shower, darling, and I'll start packing."
This entry was originally posted at http://moragmacpherson.dreamwidth.org/67