Type: Mild Slash, Mostly Gen
Word Count: 17,461
Characters/Pairings: Arthur/Eames, Yusuf, Cobb, and brief appearances by Ariadne and Fischer.
Warnings: Some disturbing war violence/imagery; ambiguous character death.
Summary: The city of Warsaw has been decimated by German troops in the midst of the Second World War. A British soldier - Captain William Eames - is stationed in the ruins, forced to maintain his cover as a soldier of the Wehrmacht in order to complete his mission. During this time, Eames stumbles upon a wounded Jewish pianist hiding in the destroyed city and decides to take him in. The man's name is Arthur. [Pianist AU]
Author's Note: Many thanks to my wonderful artist, daarl, and my loyal beta halcyonmuse. This is my first ever Big Bang challenge and I had a blast writing for it, so I hope everyone enjoys the story!
Link to fic master post: [link]
Link to art master post: The gorgeous fanmix for this story can be found here. Listen to it, it's absolutely fantastic!
- - -
Eames looked up from the report he was writing to see Yusuf standing nervously in front of his desk, a briefcase clutched in one hand and his coat hanging in the other.
“Colonel von Bonin has ordered it,” Yusuf continued, avoiding Eames’ eyes, “despite the Fuhrer’s protests. The Soviets are on their way. I’m only a scientist, Eames. I don’t have the constitution to withstand an invasion.”
“I see,” Eames said, his voice quiet. “Where will you go?” Yusuf shrugged.
“With the Germans, I suspect. At least until I can find some sympathetic British troops to take me in.”
Eames nodded. “Well, good luck. I wish you all the best, Yusuf, and it’s been a pleasure working with you.”
“Likewise.” Yusuf looked like he was going to leave for a moment, but then he leaned over the desk and spoke in a conspiratorial whisper. “Eames, you should get out while you can. The Soviets will be here in a couple of days, maybe sooner, and I doubt they’ll be eager to listen to the story of one German soldier, even if he does claim to be British.” He shook his head. “The Axis is falling apart, man. There are whispers that the Commander of the Imperial Japanese Army is getting nervous. Don’t you see? Even Saito’s afraid Germany is going to fail.”
“That doesn’t matter. I can’t leave,” Eames said, hand clenching around his pen. “We’ve talked about this, Yusuf.”
“But you’ll be killed,” Yusuf pleaded. “What’s keeping you here? Pride? Because that’s stupid and you know it.”
“I have to finish this,” Eames said, and now it was his turn to avoid Yusuf’s penetrating gaze, because of course he could not admit the real reason he needed to stay. He glanced up and thought he spied disappointment in Yusuf’s eyes, as though his friend knew he was lying, but then a glare from the desk lamp flashed over Yusuf’s glasses and the look was gone.
“All right,” Yusuf said, straightening. “I guess if I can’t convince you to come with me then… this is good-bye.” He held out his hand.
Eames got to his feet and gripped Yusuf’s hand firmly, smiling.
“I’ll see you around,” he said, but he did not think either of them believed it.
The formal orders to clear Warsaw arrived the next day. Eames only skimmed the missive, feeling rather numb. He spoke a little with the young Wehrmacht soldier who had been sent to help him pack up their makeshift headquarters in preparation to evacuate the city. Eames could see the boy’s hands shaking as he stowed files and books into large crates that would be carted off later that afternoon.
“You’ll probably be fine,” he said, an abrupt interruption in their inane chatter about the weather. The boy froze and stared up at Eames with wide eyes.
“Y-you think so, Herr?”
“You’re young. If they have any sense they’ll take that into account.”
“And if they don’t?”
Eames paused, staring down into the mostly-filled crate he was packing. Then he flashed the boy a grin and said, “You’ll still be fine.”
- - -
Arthur entered the parlor in silence that evening. He watched the candlelight play on Eames’ face, reflecting off the slim reading glasses perched on the soldier’s nose. He was frowning at the heavy pamphlet spread on the desk in front of him, a pen held loosely in one hand, the end caught in his teeth, and he appeared completely unaware of Arthur’s presence.
“Sit. You’re making me nervous.”
Arthur rolled his eyes and took a seat in Eames’ usual chair.
“What are you working on?” he asked.
“Yes.” Eames leaned back in his chair and removed his glasses, rubbing his eyes tiredly. “There’s still so much we don’t know yet. My job is far from over.”
Arthur frowned. “But the city’s cleared. The Soviets could be here tomorrow, for all we know. Are you seriously not going to take this opportunity to leave?”
“I don’t know, Arthur,” Eames sighed.
“I thought you were as done with this war as I was.”
“I am, I just…” Eames broke off and looked helplessly at Arthur. “I have to finish this. I’ve worked at it too long, I can’t stop now.”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” Arthur said, glowering. “What research can you possibly complete if you’re constantly on the run from the Allies? Or in a prisoner camp, for that matter?”
Eames did not reply, only swung his glasses limply by the temple arm and avoided Arthur’s furious gaze. The silence spread through the room until finally Arthur stood and stormed out, muttering curses in Polish.
“Arthur,” Eames called after him, and Arthur paused in the hall. A hand came to rest on his shoulder, slowly turning him around. Arthur could barely make out Eames’ expression – he was a blur of darkness silhouetted against the weakly flickering light in the parlor – but he could feel those sharp gray eyes on his face, intense and pleading.
“I’m not asking you to understand why I won’t run,” Eames said quietly. “I could try and make excuses about duty and pride, but there’s more to it than that. I finally feel like I’m doing something here. Like I’m helping. Quite frankly, this dream-sharing business is terrifying, and the more I can do to help us understand it, the better. And if that means staying with the Germans a bit longer, then I’ll stay with the Germans. Okay?”
“But I could help you,” Arthur said. “When the Soviets get here… they’ll listen to me. I know you’re only staying until the city gets liberated and I can get out, but by then it will be too late for you to run.” He met Eames’ gaze again, and there was a startling fierceness in his eyes. “You need to go now.”
“I’m not leaving you alone.”
“But Eames –”
“There are still German troops searching the city. If they find you, it’s over.”
“I think I can protect myself for a couple of days, thank you.”
“But what if the Soviets never actually come here? It’s still only a rumor, Arthur, and I’m not leaving until I’m sure you’ll be safe.”
“And what about you?” Arthur snapped. “Don’t you think I care whether you’re safe? If the Soviets catch you before you get out of the city, they will kill you, Eames.”
Eames looked uncomfortable. “Not necessarily.”
“Then they’ll throw you into a prisoner camp. Do you think your luck will be any better there?”
“No.” Arthur shook his head, dark eyes flashing in the candlelight. “No, you’re coming with me, and that’s final. You saved my life, Captain. You could at least allow me to return the favor.”
And with that he disappeared up the stairs and into the darkness of the attic, leaving Eames stunned behind him. But that did not matter. All that mattered was that the situation was settled. Arthur would finally repay his debt to Eames, and the two of them would leave this ghostly city within the week. Together. Alive and whole.
- - -
Two days later, on January 17, 1945, the Red Army stormed the ruins of Warsaw. Horror spread through the troops as they finally witnessed the unimaginable decimation all around them, such complete destruction they had only ever heard about and never truly believed. They captured what remaining Germans they could find with a vengeful force. Screams and barked orders filled the city, as did the quick rapports of guns when a German soldier or two chose to resist arrest. The streets echoed with Russian commands and marching steps and gunshots, and slowly but surely, Warsaw was taken.
- - -
“Here,” Eames said, handing Arthur a frayed dark jacket. Arthur frowned as he took it.
“It’s yours. The one you were wearing when I found you.” Eames gestured at the white band on the right arm. “Hopefully when the Soviets see that they’ll think before shooting.”
Arthur slipped the coat on, touched by Eames’ concern. “Thank you.”
Eames’ mouth quirked oddly, like he was trying to smile but could not, and then he placed a firm hand at the small of Arthur’s back and began to lead him down the hall towards the front door.
“Make sure to look as innocent as possible when you get out there, all right?” he said, and Arthur was startled by the way his voice shook.
“Wait,” he said, halting and fixing Eames with a ferocious glare. “You’re not coming with?”
Eames was quiet for a moment, his eyes on the front door and impossibly sad. Arthur glared at him, his dark eyes dangerous.
“No,” he said. “No, I thought we had agreed – ”
“I can’t,” Eames interrupted, his voice barely more than a whisper. “I’m sorry, Arthur, but I have to keep up this act until I learn everything I can about dream-sharing. That’s why I came here in the first place. I can’t go back without all of the information. I owe it to my country.”
“That’s idiotic,” Arthur snapped. “You can’t report anything if you’re dead, and the Soviets won’t listen to reason. If you run now they’re going to catch you and throw you into a prisoner camp and then what service will you be providing your beloved country?”
But Eames was shaking his head, mind apparently made up, and Arthur felt the sickening weight of fear roil in his stomach. He grabbed Eames by the collar, fingers clenching in the starched fabric as he dragged him close.
“You don’t have to be a hero, Eames,” he said, wishing he could sound as fierce and angry as he wanted to when really he only sounded like he was begging. But it was too late for control, the gunshots and marching and yelling were getting steadily closer and Arthur was running out of time, damn it. “Please,” he hissed. “Please, just think logically and let me help you this once. I can talk to them, they’ll listen to me, you’ll be safe and then we can –”
Warm lips covered his, putting a very thorough stop to his arguments. Gentle fingers carded into his hair and a strong arm curled around his waist, pulling him flush against Eames’ chest. There was an unspoken intensity in that embrace, a desperation in that kiss, that stole Arthur’s breath away.
“I’m sorry,” Eames whispered, his lips brushing featherlike against Arthur’s own, “but I have to go.”
“No,” was all Arthur could manage, and he leaned up for one more kiss, still slightly light-headed and unable to believe there had even been a first one. Eames let out a soft laugh and maneuvered Arthur carefully down the hall, pressing kisses to his cheeks, his jaw, his lips, all the while keeping a secure grip around his waist. Then they were at the front door and Eames kicked it open and a freezing wind tore around the pair of them. Eames pressed one last fierce kiss to Arthur’s lips, whispering, “Be safe,” before shoving him out into the road and the path of the approaching Soviet troops.
“NO!” Arthur yelled, scrambling back towards the door, but Eames only grinned at him, winked, and slammed the door shut. Arthur hit the door just as he heard the lock clicking into place and he roared, beating at the warped wood with closed fists. “William Eames, don’t you dare!”
A voice called out in Russian, and Arthur glanced over his shoulder to see a group of soldiers running toward him, guns at the ready. He lifted his hands in surrender and stepped reluctantly away from the door.
“Kto vy?” the first soldier demanded, dark eyes narrowed, and Arthur slowly touched one hand to the band at his arm. The Russian soldier’s eyes widened when he saw it and the gun lowered. Arthur did not think he had ever appreciated the Star of David more.
“Ei!” the soldier called back to his comrades. “On yevryei!” He then turned back to Arthur, looking much more sympathetic, and asked in very accented Polish, “Czy znasz polski?”
“Yes,” Arthur replied in the same, and the Russian soldier flashed him a relieved smile as he approached.
“We will not hurt you,” he said. “We are here to help. Is there anyone else nearby? Nazis, maybe?”
“A friend of mine locked himself in this house,” Arthur said. “He is dressed as one of the Wehrmacht, but he saved my life. If you find him, please don’t hurt him.”
The Russian soldier gave him an odd look, but nodded anyway and motioned for some of his companions to help him knock down the door. Arthur could not help but wince as their gun hilts shattered the door that had kept him warm and safe for almost two months, but Eames’ safety mattered more than some old wood. The soldiers ran into the house and Arthur heard them shouting orders back and forth, and less than a minute later the first soldier reappeared, frowning.
“The house is empty. He must have run.” He swung his gun over his shoulder and beckoned for a young soldier to approach. “Here.” He took a folded blanket from the boy’s arms and unfurled it before wrapping it around Arthur’s shoulders with a smile. “You are safe now. Kapral Asimov will take you to the rest of the unit, and then you can rest.”
The young soldier took Arthur gently by the arm after a quick word from his superior and led him away from the house.
- - -
Eames was caught later that night, trapped like a rat in an abandoned warehouse. He surrendered quickly (seven to one did not seem like good odds) but that did not stop the Soviet troops from giving him a few decent bruises as they carted him off to a prisoner camp somewhere outside the city.
He blocked a lot of what followed from his memory. He remembered the biting cold and the beatings and the complete inability to sleep, except from pure exhaustion. He remembered feeling lost and alone, even when surrounded by hundreds of other prisoners, all freezing, all starving, all miserable. He remembered wondering if Arthur was all right. He remembered the executions, which he tried not to watch but could not look away from. He remembered waiting for his own.
But most of all, he remembered meeting Dominic Cobb.
- - -
They met by accident, really.
Eames was sitting in one of the camp’s corners, his back to the barbed wire and eyes staring at nothing through the chain links of the fence. He was hunched over against the cold, knees pulled to his chest, his extremities freezing and mind numb. And he was humming.
One of the other prisoners, an older man with dirty blonde hair and glazed blue eyes, shifted slightly so he could look at him.
“What’s that song?” he rasped, speaking in slightly accented German.
It took Eames a moment to realize he was being addressed, and another moment to force his dulled mind to think of the name of the tune. When he realized what it was a sad smile came to his face.
“I’m actually not sure,” he said. “It was written by a friend of mine.” The blonde man’s eyes widened and he sat up a bit straighter, leaned a bit closer.
This time it was Eames’ turn to look startled.
“You know him?” he asked.
A smile lit the blonde man’s face and Eames realized he was not quite as old as he appeared.
“He is an old friend.” The smile faded, overtaken by concern. “Tell me, is he well? When did you last see him?”
“He was in Warsaw when the Soviets came. As far as I know, they took him to safety. He should be fine.”
The blonde man nodded, apparently relieved, and closed his eyes as he leaned back against the wire fence. He stayed that way for a moment before opening one eye and holding out a thin, shaking hand to Eames.
“Dominic Cobb,” he said.
Eames grasped his hand. “William Eames.”
“Nice to meet you, although I would have liked to meet under different circumstances.”
Eames let out a humorless laugh and muttered in English, “You’re telling me.”
Cobb gave him an odd look. “Your accent,” he said, his own English touched with a Polish lilt much like Arthur’s. “Where are you from?”
“Then what were you doing with the Germans?”
Eames smiled bitterly. “I guess there’s no point in hiding it now, is there?” he said. “I was working undercover for His Majesty’s Armed Forces. Research, in something called dream-sharing. I’ve had to pose as a German captain for the past couple of years.”
“That must have been horrible.”
“No worse than what you were doing, I’m sure.”
They stayed quiet for a few minutes then, each lost in painful reminiscence, before Cobb finally spoke again.
“So how do you know Arthur?”
Eames gazed out through the fence at the cold, barren field beyond, his expression growing distant. “About two months ago I found him dying in an abandoned hotel in Warsaw. So I took him in.”
“You saved him.”
“Then you did better than I could,” Cobb sighed, letting his head drop against the chain links again with a little rattle.
They did not speak much after that. Eames resumed his vacant staring out into the frozen fields beyond the camp while Cobb drifted in and out of a restless sleep. But the connection had been made.
- - -
A couple of days after their first meeting, they were standing together in the same corner of their fenced-in enclosure when a group of newly freed prisoners from a concentration camp was escorted by. Eames watched them pass with little interest, too exhausted to muster up anything resembling relief upon their release (especially when he no longer needed to see their dead eyes and emaciated forms to understand what they had gone through), but Cobb jerked to attention.
“Ariadne,” he mumbled, and then repeated in a much louder voice, “Ariadne!”
A petite young woman looked over at him, brown eyes much too large in her sunken face. Her brow furrowed slightly as she struggled for recognition, and then those eyes went even wider and she staggered out of line and over to the fence, ignoring the warnings of the Soviet guards.
“Cobb!” she called, slipping past the guard who tried to usher her back into line. She grabbed Cobb’s hands through the fence and stammered in rushed Polish, “We thought you were dead. What happened?”
Cobb flashed a self-deprecating smile. “I wasn’t fast enough. Are you going home?”
“Yes,” Ariadne said, tears welling in her eyes. “But what about you? Are they…” She trailed off, her lips trembling, then continued in a fearful whisper, “Are they going to kill you?”
“I don’t know.” Cobb fumbled for a moment, and then something lit in his eyes and he burst out, “Arthur! Ariadne, you have to find Arthur. Tell him to get me out if he can. And Eames,” he added, grabbing Eames around the shoulders and tugging him close. Eames nodded at the girl when she turned her gaze to him. “Eames saved his life. If I know Arthur, he’ll want to return the favor.” (Eames winced a bit at that.) “Please, Ariadne.”
“I will see what I can do,” she promised, nodding to an approaching Soviet soldier who was watching her very sternly. “Good luck, Cobb. Mr. Eames.”
And then she was gone, gently escorted back into the line of freed prisoners. Cobb watched her go with hopeless eyes, his hands still clutching at the fence.
“Do you really think Arthur will be able to help?” Eames asked quietly once Ariadne was out of sight.
Cobb sighed and sank to the ground, his eyes closing. “I don’t know,” he said. “But God, I hope so.”
- - -
The pub was dim and smoky, full of murmuring voices and soft cadences from the musicians on the stage.
Arthur sat at the bar and swirled his drink, his eyes glazed and distant. He glanced once or twice at the pianist (a stout young man with chubby fingers and a red face who appeared more interested in the pretty singer standing in front of him than the piano keys) but the image of the sleek black grand made him think of quiet nights in a drafty house and softly spoken requests and familiar, friendly smiles and the pain of those memories threatened to overwhelm him. Arthur sipped his gin. It helped a little.
“You look lost.”
Arthur blinked at the man seated beside him, clearly an American, judging by the military uniform and accent. The man smiled, bright blue eyes shining, and nodded at Arthur’s almost empty glass.
“And you look like you could use another,” he said. “What’s your poison?”
“I’m fine, thanks,” Arthur said.
Arthur forced a smile. “Positive.”
“All right then.” The man drained his own glass and motioned to the bartender for another. “Sorry for being so forward, but you look about as tired as I feel. It’s this damn war. I can’t think of anyone who hasn’t lost something that can’t be replaced. It’s just… tiring.” He shook his head, then turned on his barstool and held out a hand. “Sorry. I probably shouldn’t whine until I’ve introduced myself. I’m Corporal Robert Fischer.”
Arthur shook his hand. “Arthur Szpilman.”
“Nice to meet you.”
They lapsed into silence then, lost in their thoughts and listening to the sultry voice of the woman onstage.
“So how long have you been stationed here?” Arthur asked.
“About eight months. I came over just in time for the invasion of France.”
“I heard about that. Were you at Normandy?”
“Nah, I was with the 101st Airborne Division. We assembled near Foucarville so we missed most of the beach action.”
They fell silent again after that, but after a few minutes Robert asked, “So you a soldier, too?”
Arthur let out a humorless laugh. “No. No, I’m not.”
“Oh.” Robert’s face fell. “Sorry. Guess you’ve just got that look about you.”
“Like you’ve seen death and lived through Hell.”
Arthur stared into his drink.
“I have done that,” he murmured.
The singer finished her set and a rumble of applause filled the bar, but Arthur and Robert did not partake in it. They sat in their own world, away from the cheers and bravos, lost in memories the other patrons could hardly imagine.
Arthur looked up from his empty glass to see Ariadne standing beside him, as bright and pretty and smiling as always, despite her thin frame. Arthur slid off the barstool and grabbed her into a hug before she could even speak. Her arms curled tightly around him and she buried her face into the lapels of his jacket, muttering something he did not catch.
“I’m so glad you’re safe,” he whispered in Polish, running a hand over her hair.
“I could say the same about you,” Ariadne said as she pulled slightly away from him, just enough to frown up at him. “What were you thinking, trusting a man in German uniform?”
Arthur’s heart just about stopped in his chest.
“What did you just say?” he asked.
“I saw Cobb. He’s in a prisoner camp just outside of Rheinberg and he was with a man in a Wehrmacht uniform who claims to have saved your life while you were in Warsaw.”
“What was his name?”
“Eames, or something, but that’s not –”
“How long ago did you see him?”
Ariadne blinked. “Maybe… a week? A week and a half? Why?”
“Because that man did save my life, Ariadne,” Arthur said, fishing in his pockets for money to pay his tab. He slammed some bills down on the bar and grabbed his jacket from the back of his stool. “He’s not German, and he doesn’t belong in a prisoner camp.”
“Where are you going?” Ariadne asked as Arthur slipped into his jacket.
“Rheinberg, apparently,” Arthur said, tugging Ariadne into a quick hug before heading for the door. “I have to see him.”
“Wait! Arthur!” Ariadne called after him, but he was already gone. Robert gave her a sympathetic smile and patted the vacated barstool.
“Need a drink?”
- - -
The trip to Rheinberg took Arthur an entire day and a half, what with all of the preparations and security checkpoints and mandatory detours. Once he arrived in the city it only took a couple of kind citizens to tell him in which direction he should drive to reach the prisoner camp. Their grim faces did not give him much hope, but he knew if there was even the slightest chance that he could see Eames again he had to take it, if only so he could properly yell at the soldier for being so damn stubborn.
The road leading to the encampment was unpaved and riddled with potholes that made the drive miserable. Eventually the road curved up onto a rise, and Arthur drove as far as the car would take him in the treacherously muddy terrain before getting out and hiking the rest of the way.
As soon as the rumble of the engine was gone, Arthur paused, dread clawing its icy way into his chest.
It was far too quiet. Where were the voices of the prisoners? Where were the yells of the wardens? Where was the grumble of trucks and the general hubbub of an encampment?
Arthur glanced over at the ramshackle hut at the top of the hill, clearly some kind of makeshift headquarters. It appeared to be abandoned.
Swallowing his fear, he forced himself to climb the rest of the way up the hill and then froze, eyes wide, heart jolting to a painful stop in his chest.
The field was completely deserted.
Patches of dirty, melted snow stood out against the trampled grass and tire-marked mud. A derelict watchtower hovered beside a broken barbed wire fence, the only evidence that the prisoner camp had ever been there. Refuse speckled the abandoned field and Arthur tried desperately not to look at the darker, rougher stains upon the grass and snow. A single forsaken boot lay in a patch of weeds to his left. There was a scrap of fabric here, the glitter of broken spectacles there, and in the near distance the barren remains of what might have been a makeshift parking lot, judging by the criss-cross of tire tracks and sunken mud holes. The entire field smelled of ruin and silence.
Arthur sank to his knees in the muddy snow, staring at the emptiness before him. He was too late. Eames was gone, either shipped away or dead. There was nothing to be done. He closed his eyes and fought the threatening tremors of despair. He had known there was a possibility of this, that the chances of him seeing Eames again – let alone saving him – were slim. Even so, he wished he had been just a couple of days sooner… at least maybe then he could have said a proper farewell.
“You’ll catch cold if you kneel in the mud like that too long, you know.”
Arthur’s eyes opened in a flash and he watched, breathless, as the broad shadow of a man – illumined by the setting sun at his back – approached him from behind. He stayed frozen for one terrible moment, hardly daring to hope, before a hand came to rest gently on his shoulder. Then he had to look.
Gray eyes sparkled down at him, possibly a bit too bright, and familiar lips parted in an even more familiar grin.
“It’s good to see you, Arthur,” Eames said.
Arthur never remembered standing.
But he did remember flinging his arms around Eames and clinging to him like a lifeline. He remembered the tears that might have leaked from his eyes. He remembered the strong fingers that fisted into the back of his jacket with the same desperation he was feeling, the blissful smile that never left Eames’ face, the relief he felt at burying his face into Eames’ collar and inhaling the scent of freshly washed linen and soap and Eames, the comforting whispers of a thousand nonsensical things that he could barely decipher in that rapid-fire English accent he had grown to love, but that did not matter. He simply basked in the comforting sound of Eames’ voice and the warmth of Eames’ arms and the fact that Eames was alive and that was good enough.
“I thought…” Arthur began when they parted, but Eames cut him off with a murmured, “I know,” and his arms tightened as he pressed a kiss to Arthur’s parted lips, deep and insistent.
“Wait,” Arthur said once they had paused, slightly breathless. “I don’t understand. How did you know I would come?”
“I didn’t. This is a wonderful surprise,” Eames said. “But I’ve been staying in that shack with some of my mates until we can get proper conveyance back to England, so I saw you drive up.” He grinned, the first truly happy grin Arthur had ever seen from him. “British intelligence sent word over almost a week ago. They managed to convince the Soviets of my identity so I could leave the prisoner camp.”
Eames’ expression darkened. “There are only so many strings I could pull, Arthur. He was taken somewhere else, I’m not sure where. But the war’s coming to its end. I have a feeling we’ll all be going home soon.” He tried to reel Arthur in for another hug, but Arthur pulled away, frowning slightly.
“What about dream-sharing? Is that not important anymore? You were willing to risk your life for it a couple of weeks ago.”
“Now that Germany’s lost the war, there are more than just a few spies looking into it,” Eames said, sounding rather bitter. “The information will get to the people who matter. My job is done.”
“So you’re leaving.”
“Yes.” Eames leaned in and rested his forehead very gently against Arthur’s, gripping his shoulders tightly. Their breath mingled in the chilly air. “Come with me, Arthur,” Eames said, voice soft. “Come back to England.”
“I can’t sleep without your nightly serenade.”
“Right.” Arthur's voice fairly dripped with sarcasm.
“And I miss your horrible cooking.”
“You’re not helping your case, you know. I’m supposed to be mad at you.”
“Because I’m stubborn and stupid, yes. But that doesn’t mean you can’t come back with me.”
“All right,” said Arthur, leaning back slightly. “Say I do come with you. Where would I live?”
“With me, of course.”
“And what about my job?”
“You think we don’t have pianists in England?”
Arthur sighed and Eames pulled him slowly into an embrace.
“Come with me,” he whispered, his lips just brushing Arthur’s ear, and after a moment of silent deliberation, Arthur curled his arms around Eames’ waist and acquiesced.
- - -
Part One: [link]
Part Two: [link]
- - -
A/N: Phew. All done! Hoo boy. Many thanks once again to my dear artist and beta, and to all those who supported me and encouraged me to take on this challenge. I hope the final product was worth it!