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[personal profile] tabi_essentially
These are older suggestions, some of them even from the beginning! But eventually I will get to them.

[ profile] orgasmblush said, I would very much like for Arthur, however much of a BAMF he may be, to just not be able to save himself, like, once. And, yeah: Eames can totally take care of himself and Arthur AND Michelle. I'm talking, like, whipping boy Arthur, here: bloody, bruised, confused and completely paranoid about just what the hell is going on in his mind and, because of that, not exactly trusting Eames anymore. This hits just about all of my kinks. :D

[ profile] fae_boleyn - I really want to see Michelle helping the boys out with this situation somehow In fact, almost everyone wanted to see this scenario! :D [ profile] twilightthief: I definitely want to see Michelle do some bad ass stuff too. [ profile] towel_master - So maybe Michelle will have to prove herself outside of Eames's patronizing view of her? Maybe she steps in to try and protect him?

[ profile] wirrrn - I'd love to see Eames get in trouble, Arthur BAMF out to rescue him, only to find that Eames has already handled the situation. He's a BAMF to, after all :) A lot of people agreed with this!

[ profile] twilightthief - Maybe Eames has to defend himself without the help of his gun or Arthur. IDK I think I just want Eames being caught in a tight spot using what he has available in the "shoot out" or whatever. And also, I also would like to see Eames like fighting his way through the train. I keep seeing him rush through the corridors and aisles of seats with Michelle protectively behind him as he's shooting. Great image! I'm going to try it.

[ profile] gelbwax - And then he tries to get Eames to do something to Arthur? But he resists! And then Eames TAKES THAT FUCKER DOWN. Using only items he can find in the dining car, which is where he's been trussed up and left for dead. And on top of that, [ profile] skyvehicle said, what if tremors give way to like, Dr. Strangelove hand? lol, until it tries to choke Arthur after Arthur tries to break into their train car? oooh. Umm. :D Hope this is what you were looking for, it's sort of brutal though. ^_^

[ profile] twilightthief also says, I like the idea that Michelle really isn't who she seems. There's something more to our Pokemon lovin' friend. Also, [ profile] we_reflamingos says, Michelle has got to be the key to something. A revelation, inspiration, information - she's aces and needs a part to play. Perhaps her parents do too, maybe in that so-clueless-don't-know-what's-going-on-but-it-helps kind of way. I kinda maybe semi-sorta know of something I want to do with her, actually. :D

Anonymous said, How about if Eames turns into a killing machine after getting beat up? I'd like to see that. I WOULD TOO. :D

[ profile] mydeerfriend - I'd really like to see Eames go through some sort of shit but NOT get saved by BAMF Arthur. Because Eames is awesome enough to save himself from danger (and then maybe Arthur would feel bad that he didn't/couldn't help Eames). It is time for Eames to save himself, eh? :)

[ profile] astheytick - Arthur says to Eames "Just wait. Wait for me." I think I can use this in the next chapter, finally. :D

[ profile] twisted_ream there's this huge spider on eames' back and he can't get it off and arthur just laughs Actually? I kind of think this is going to come somewhere near the end. :)

[ profile] efcia a broken mirror, possibly a small one. I can see the shattered glass, maybe even a small amount of blood on them? This gave me a really cool idea! We already know which mirror this could be. :D And I sorta have an idea now on how that might play out. Actually, as of now I'm REALLY certain. ^_^

Anonymous suggests, One having to carry the other.

[ profile] gelbwax says, WHAT IF the wind whips the fedora off Arthur's head and into the siberian wasteland. OMFG, horror, right? AND THEN. AND THEN. It comes BACK TO HIM. THE FEDORA COMES BACK. RIGHT WHEN HE NEEDS ITS POWERS OF BADASSERY IT COMES BACK TO HIM.
I LOVE THIS SO MUCH. Not in this chapter, but probably the next! :D

[ profile] hazysea - A line for Eames to say to Arthur? "Stay at my level and keep to the shadows.

Here are some new suggestions.

You overwhelmingly wanted them to somehow work this out between them. I'm relieved. :D

When I asked how I could possibly resolve this thing that's happening between them, [ profile] we_reflamingos suggested,
I wonder if, for some reason, Arthur & Eames were deep enough together again, Eames might recognise a certain ray gun or a bottle of healing. Or perhaps in Eames hospital (where all the important stuff is) - Arthur only went to the the top floor ... but I'm sure that glass elevator could stop at other floors. Oh, and what goes up, usually also goes down.

[ profile] gelbwax Tiny request- can you give Eames a solid face beating? And Arthur can kiss it better? LOL I can't guarantee that I can ruin his prettiness too badly. But I do promise to throw in some abuse from which he can in turn be a total badass and of course at some point, Arthur can kiss him better. Maybe. If it works out. :D Well, everyone says they want them to work this out, so. ^_^

[ profile] safaiagem - a scene with Arthur sitting on a chair looking out a window when someone sits next to him shoving a gun in his side. They have to act like nothing is wrong or it will start a panic while discussing, idk, how they are going to kill each other. This gave me at least an idea for something I can use later. :)

[ profile] sparrow_hubris said I want this but with Eames instead of Laura.
OMFG you don't even realize! ^_^ My fetish for Arthur's hair!

[ profile] twilightthief agrees, Agreed on the hair playing/smoothing! ME TOO BB.

This chapter is a little shorter than the last. I debated putting in another part and posting it later, but that would be kinda mean (although, this one sort of is too,) and the chapter just naturally ended here. :)

Here we are!

** ** ** **

Eames was a mess, and when Arthur tried to put his hands on him, finally alone together in their room, Eames shoved him away and sat heavily on the bottom bunk. He dropped his head into his hands.

"Care to explain to me what the fuck is going on?" Arthur asked. Because anger was better than fear; it was easier. It also came on stronger, changed the shivering into more manageable shaking, and overall just felt better. It made him strong instead of weak. He knew exactly what he was doing, and he knew it could get out of control. But he let it go on. "Because I swear, Eames, I don't know what I'm seeing here."

When Eames looked up at him, with that sickening mix of guilt and hurt in his eyes, Arthur felt all of his bravado drain out. He didn't know how to deal with shit like this. He made it a point not to work with this kind of drama, ever. Well, not since Cobb anyway, and back then he had overlooked much of that bullshit, for Mal, for the kids and for everything the Cobbs had done for him. He and Eames had been solid for so long, this was a new landscape for him. He didn't know what to do with it.

"Just tell me," he said. His voice sounded small, not nearly as angry as he'd meant for it to. He fought to hang onto his irritation, to the anger. He clung to it like a drowning man to a piece of driftwood.

Eames just stared up at him with red-rimmed eyes.

Arthur felt like he was in the room with a stranger. "He drugged you. How bad is it?"

"Yes," Eames said, finally. He didn't sound sluggish or drugged, though. "Yes, they did at first, but the effects have worn off."


"Come here to me, Arthur."

For the first time in many years, Arthur pulled back from that focused gaze – and he did so out of primal mistrust. Strangers were unpredictable. He didn't know how to act, how to respond; he couldn't read this person or glean his intentions. He glanced to Eames's hip for a weapon and didn't see one.

"Please," Eames said. This time he held out his hand, palm up.

This is fucking ridiculous, Arthur thought, and took the two strides that brought him in front of Eames. He slid his hand into Eames's and gripped tight. Eames tugged him a little closer, still looking up at him.

"You gave me to SomniCore," he said.

Arthur froze. "Eames. SomniCore is gone. We took care of that. Remember?"

Eames nodded, dazed. "I know. I meant before. Twelve years ago. Do you remember that?"

His breath caught in his throat. Yes, of course he remembered. It had been when he'd first started tracking him, and his overseers had wanted the information on this new talent, this forger out of England. Luke Bishop.

"That's right," Arthur said. "I located you for them. I tracked you down for years, you were my biggest project."

"Quite," Eames said. "I just never knew that it was you who handed me to them the first time."

"Of course it was. Eames, why are you bringing this up now?"

"Do you have any idea what they did to me?"

Arthur tried to pull his hand away, but Eames held tighter. "I don't – no, I don't. I didn't give it much thought."

"Well it doesn't matter," Eames said. "It really doesn't, because what I did to you was far worse."

"Okay." He tried to calm his stuttering heart. This was leading to something terrible, something that Arthur didn't want to hear about. Eames had betrayed him. They were coming to kill him now, right here, on this train. "When? And how? Please." The hand gripping his started to shake. "Eames?"

Eames's hand trembled harder, the same kind of spasming it had been doing that morning; christ, not even twelve hours ago, and already everything had changed. It had only taken a few hours.

"God, I can't even touch you," Eames said. He pulled his hand back and cradled it in his lap.

Arthur got to his knees in front of him. He didn't know what else to do, so he snapped his fingers in front of his face. "Hey," he barked. "What is this shit? Yes you can." He took that same hand and put it against his face. It felt cold and strangely alien. Eames pulled back as if he'd been burned.

"I can't, because you're not mine. You never have been and you can't be, after what I did to you."

"What did you do?"

"It was called Project Voodoo," he said. "It started fourteen years ago, two years before you caught up to me actually. And Arthur, for all that they tormented me for weeks, it is still nothing close to what I inflicted on you."

This all sounded like babble, and now, on top of his panic and anger, he was getting really fucking annoyed. "You're really going to have to explain this to me," he said. "Now."

Eames told him the story, staring at the wall behind him as if he was telling it to no one, or simply recording it without emotion. Arthur felt like his brain was coming unraveled. How could this be? He didn't remember a thing. None of this sounded familiar; yet it made sense. It filled in the gap that Ann had described to him, those lost four months of school. He'd made his grades and kept up with his classes, but he could not remember a single day of that time.

"Because they erased it," Eames said, nearing the end of the story. "Like they did with all of us, they erased the project, and Arthur, they were going to erase you, too. And I was going to let them. It was Ann who saved you. She called in a favor to spare your life, while I walked away like nothing had happened. I spent months forging your darkest secrets, worming into your head, fucking around with your fears and failures and then I threw you to the dogs. I'm sure you are well aware of what all that mind-rape did to you after that."

And that, Arthur could remember. The night terrors, hell, night psychosis, for nearly a year after that lost winter. How he'd nearly failed out of college, and no one could share a dorm with him, the psychologists and psychiatrists and, fuck everything, the cops and the FBI, the hypnotism and the endless meddling by the system to find out what was wrong with him, what he had done that was so terrible that it had turned his dreams into living horrors. And all they could come up with was that he'd lost his girlfriend in high school and he should not be having such an extreme stress reaction to that.

He pulled his hands over his hair, trying to smooth down his edges. He took a breath. Fourteen years ago. And after that, Dom and Mal had come along and had finally, blessedly, helped him. And then SomniCore.

He dropped his head against Eames's thigh and came to a decision.

"Whatever," he said. "It's all right."

"What's all right?" Eames sounded mystified.

"Everything. What you did. What ,they did. It has to be. I'll talk to Ann. Thank her, give her whatever she wants, and ask her to just leave us alone. It's okay, is what I'm saying. Eames." He looked up at him, gripping his calf and giving him a little shake. "I mean it. It's all right. Is... I mean is it... Do you forgive me for what I did to you?"

"Yes," Eames said. He still sounded, and looked, lost. As if he had not expected this.

"Then what the fuck?" Arthur said. "It was fourteen years ago, I didn't know you, you didn't know me. How many times did we work for separate people, even work against each other? It's over. Why does this surprise you?" He thought of Dinclusin's hand on Eames's back, and considered, for a second, It isn't over. Then he banished the thought as useless. Dinclusin had tried to put his hands all over Eames since day one on the train; that last time a few minutes ago was really no different.

"I guess... I don't know," Eames said. "It shocked me--shocks me still—that I could hurt you like that and then throw you away. And I suppose it shocks me also that you handed me over for a few rounds of torture."

"Torture?" His ribs felt too tight for his lungs, like he was being squeezed by a giant, cold hand. "With – with SomniCore?"

"Yeah." Eames sounded hollowed out and cold.

"I didn't know. I swear to you. I didn't."

"Would it have stopped you?"

Yes. "I don't know," was what he said. "I was pretty good at following orders. I didn't ask questions. Let me think." And he did, he really thought about it, because lying to end this quickly would only further ruin him. He pictured Eames, ridiculously young and thinking he was some kind of tough guy, finding out quickly that he wasn't so tough. Cracking under constant pain. No, of course Arthur would never set him up for that. Not now. But back then?

"I think," he said finally, "that if I knew they were torturing people, I wouldn't have even worked for them. I probably would have run. Cobb and Mal would have, too. They didn't know. Eames, we brought down SomniCore. Twice. The four of us the first time, you and me and Cobb swept up the dirty remnants last year. Yes it would have stopped me."

Eames ran his hands through his hair, over his eyes, over his face. He looked tireder than Arthur had ever seen him. He looked defeated.

"Nothing's changed," Arthur insisted. "Okay, we found out some truths, but we're still the same people we were this morning. Nothing had changed."

"Arthur," Eames said. His voice was flat, without the usual purring fondness that Arthur pretended to put up with. "Everything has changed."

"You're tired," Arthur said. "Listen. Get some rest, I'll stay up and take first watch. Just in case anyone decides to come in, try to hook us up or whatever. Tomorrow I'll just go to Ann, ask her what she wants and cut a deal. Get the train moving and then we'll get out of here and forget about this. Eames." He got up onto his knees and cupped the back of Eames's head, bringing their foreheads together. "Come on. Let this go, at least for now."

Eames rested against him, his eyes closed, but only for a second before pulling away. "Right," he said, all business. "You'll stand guard?"

"Of course I will, for fuck's sake." The suspicion, unspoken but clearly there, hurt worse than anything.

This time Eames didn't answer. He just settled back against the bed, exhausted, and folded his hands across his stomach. He stared at the top bed while Arthur stared at him, until he clearly grew uncomfortable and shifted his face the other way, to look at the wall.

Arthur sat back against the bottom bed. He found suddenly that he was starving; he hadn't eaten in too long and he didn't dare risk leaving Eames alone to beg for food from their captors. As quietly as he could, he dragged over his briefcase and clicked it open. He had a half-eaten bag of pretzels which he picked at until they were gone. He tried to chew them quietly.

"Eames," he said, turning around, "do you want some pretzels before I finish them?"

His answer was a soft grunt and a shake of the head.

He sighed and turned back. The only other edible thing in the compartment was the box of chocolates he had stolen for Eames on the first night. Despondently, he picked one up and unwrapped it. It was stupid, actually, that remembering how pleased Eames had been with stolen chocolates was what finally got to him. It wasn't like Eames had gone anywhere. He was right there, behind him on the bed for fuck's sake.

"Eames," he whispered, turning around slightly.

Eames was awake, he could tell, but this time he didn't answer. He simply lay there with his eyes closed, looking bruised and oddly frail. Arthur took his hand and pulled it to his shoulder, settling it there before turning back around. He waited for the firm grip of fingers, or even a reassuring slide over his neck, or anything. Eames just kept feigning sleep.

Arthur didn't feel hungry anymore. He sat back and waited it out, feeling more alone than he had when he'd been actually alone.

** ** ** **

Eames tried to rest with Arthur sitting guard, but sleep eluded him. Arthur was a good point, maybe even the best, and he'd always had his team's back, but something was off. No matter what he told himself, Eames didn't feel safe behind Arthur's watchful eyes.

He heard him sigh, and eventually heard him pull his briefcase across the floor. Eames wondered what he was going to try to do, what he was looking for. Something to repair his cell phone connection, or maybe he was reaching for something more sinister? Which was logically ridiculous, and he knew it. Arthur had no reason to act out of character. He realized that his fear was irrational, but that didn't get rid of the thrumming adrenaline, the pointless suspicion.

Instead of the clicking of gadgets, Eames heard the rustling of a plastic bag, and then a moment later, muffled crunching of whatever Arthur was eating. Pretzels, he remembered. Arthur always brought pretzels when he traveled.

Arthur asked him, almost ridiculously, if he wanted some pretzels. No he did not want any goddamn pretzels, he just wanted to feel like himself again. He wanted to be able to sleep. Or at least to think clearly.

Another few moments passed and then he heard a foil wrapper, and knew immediately that it was one of the chocolate truffles that Arthur had stolen for him. The knowledge sent a pang through his chest, almost of mourning.

"Eames?" Arthur's soft voice surprised him.

He didn't trust himself to answer, so he kept his eyes closed and his face turned away. Yet another surprise came when he felt Arthur's cold hand on his, pulling it to him. He didn't know what to expect. When Arthur put his hand against his shoulder and then settled back against the bed, it took a few seconds before it started to hurt.

It hurt to touch Arthur, the same way it had hurt to try touching Ann's mirror. After a few moments, his hand went entirely numb. Yet he still didn't remove it. Arthur wanted it there. A little numbness wasn't going to make him further break Arthur's heart. Because for all that he felt he had lost something vital, he still didn't have it in him to hurt Arthur. To hurt him worse, as it were.

Eventually, he was able to more or less ignore the feeling—or lack thereof—and keep his eyes closed.

The things that Jack had showed him played through his mind. The way he'd fucked around with Arthur, who'd been just some poor, messed up university kid.

The way that SomniCore had fucked around with him. He'd mostly put that behind him. It was years ago, ages ago, before he was even Eames. For so long, it had seemed like that had happened to someone else. Yet suddenly it was right there at the surface again, where he could see it so clearly.

He had certainly been afraid at different times in his life before his time at SomniCore. He'd gotten hurt, even badly hurt. He'd even cried over it, maybe once or twice, privately, when he'd been just a kid. But until he'd landed in their hands, he'd never, not once in his life, ever begged. They'd gotten that from him.

He thought he'd long since forgotten the faces of those people, too; the ones who had held him down and hurt him, truly damaged him for the first time ever. But he found, on reflection, that he hadn't buried those faces so deeply after all. He could, in fact, call them up into his conscious memory with ease. It wasn't that he wanted to, yet, there they were. Looming over him in the semi-dark.

As if it was happening currently, all at once. He wasn't Eames on a train somewhere in the middle of Siberia. If he let his mind wander (and wander it did seem to want to do,) he could so easily be that terrified boy again, at that very moment.

They came towards him and he couldn't move. They shined lights in his eyes, screamed at him, and threatened him with cold, sharp, metal things that they eventually used. Drugged him up, and broke a few of his fingers, but only after the drugs wore off.

The worst was being locked up. He was in that room, alone, with nothing but the ticking of the clock and the flashing of the lights, and there was no way out. They were going to kill him and there was no way out, if he ever saw daylight again it would be through the haze of insanity, they were going to break him, were breaking him, and the next time one of them came to drag him out of that room, he would be ready. He would have to be. Fighting back was his only option, while he was still able. He'd have to do it before they broke his legs.

The door opened and a sliver of too-bright light blinded him. All he saw of the man was a silhouette. He stood up, disoriented. Even though he was on his feet, his proprioception told him, somehow, that his body was still reclining. Well. That was the drugs.

"Eames," the man said to him, menacing, dominating him with just a shadow. It was wrong, that wasn't his name, his name most certainly was not Eames but what did it matter? It was time to end this. He had to save his own life.

"Come on," the voice said. "Wake up."

He threw himself at the shadow of the man (wrong, again, wrong, because he didn't even feel like he was upright,) and landed on top of him.

Of course, the shadow of a man fought back, struggled against him because the idea was to keep him there in that room forever, until he went out of his mind. So the man struggled and Eames struggled back harder. He fought, pinning his assailant with all his weight, and finally got his hands around the man's neck.

The choked cry and cold hands gripping at his wrists might have invoked pity, if he hadn't spent a week in the dark. If he wasn't fighting for his life. But no, this man had tormented him and was coming to finish the job. He had to die.

"Eames..." a strangled voice croaked. After it he heard the labored drag of breath that he wouldn't allow again.

A sudden and painful pressure right up against his balls startled him. It wasn't so sudden or so hard that it crippled him – it was just there, like a warning. Someone's hand gripping, threatening. Why did they stop, he wondered? He could have so easily been toppled by that.

"Pl-- Ea--" Choked, crushed half-sounds came from the man below him. The pressure eased up a little. He was almost there. In another minute he'd have a dead man crushed underneath him.

Please, Eames, was what those words were meant to be. He could almost hear them in his mind. Why would someone who had tortured him be asking 'Please'? And why would he be using a name that Eames wouldn't use for at least another year?

Cold, trembling fingers trailed delicately at his cheek, and slid down over his nose and lips. The touch was familiar. Maybe the most familiar touch he knew.

The world slipped into focus. Blood buzzed into his head and his limbs, making him heavy, weak, and hot. Everything tingled, from his lips to his toes, as if his entire body had pins and needles. He was aware that he was about to faint. He removed his hands from the person beneath him and braced them on the floor. A loud, raspy, pained intake of breath came from beneath him. Horror dawned in him; he didn't yet know why.

Another breath, and he finally made the effort to focus. Grey spots fled from his vision and he was afraid to look, but he did anyway.

Arthur, blotchy with returning color, his eyes still rolled up into his head, was dragging in breaths beneath him. His hand fell away from Eames's wrist and went to his own throat, which was a bright, angry red. In the whites of his eyes, Eames could discern tiny red flecks. Arthur struggled to turn over onto his side. Eames saw his own nail marks on the back of his neck.

He scrambled backwards away from Arthur, thinking only No, no, no. Possibly he was saying it aloud but he couldn't tell. Arthur lay on his side coughing and struggling to breathe.

Help him, call for help, get him water, anything, anything, he thought, but was unable to move. He felt paralyzed.

He was paralyzed. He couldn't move his legs, his arms, and he couldn't even move his eyes to look away from Arthur. Everything went heavy and dead.

This was followed by a sick, slithering sensation that seemed to crawl through his veins and bones, and into his muscles. It was so foreign, so alien inside him that he sucked his breath in sharply and tried to twist away from it. For a moment he saw Arthur get to his hands and knees and look over his shoulder at him. His eyes were watering, his mouth was an unnatural red. He looked afraid and Eames felt terrible pity for him. He wanted to go to him, damn his shaking, traitorous hands, and wind his fingers through Arthur's hair and tell him Please, if I ever hurt you again, I'm yours to dispose of, and most of all he wanted to say I'm sorry and but his mouth didn't work. Nothing worked.

He fell, or so it seemed, because next he was looking at the ceiling and it was moving, or the floor was moving or he was moving. He didn't know. He was nothing more than a hand-puppet being moved from the inside.

Dimly, he heard Arthur rasping for help.

** ** ** **

Eames's hand remained on his shoulder, a dead weight. After a few minutes, it started to feel uncomfortable and unwanted. But he thought maybe Eames was still awake, and to move away from him would have been wrong and confusing. He felt like their finely-honed signals, the same ones that had kept them functioning as a team for all these years, were misfiring.

He stared at the door. Shadows lurked across the gap under the door, footsteps tapped outside. It was clear that they were being guarded in here, probably even listened to and possibly watched. He wanted to throw the door open and punch whoever it was in the face. It would probably get him shot. Logically he knew that, but it didn't dull the burning desire he felt to destroy someone.

After a few tense moments, Eames stirred behind him, properly asleep now. Arthur felt the shift in consciousness. It was a relief, with him asleep, because at least the pretending was over.

The silence didn't last long. Eames started muttering something in his sleep, some kind of distress plea. Arthur didn't need a hell of a lot of imagination to figure out what it was. 'Stop, please,' and 'no' made it pretty clear. It burned through Arthur's chest, the knowledge that Eames was reliving something that he himself had orchestrated. What had they done to him? Arthur had fallen under the hands of SomniCore at least twice. He had a pretty good grasp on their methods.

"Eames," he said, turning around on his knees to face the bed. He wasn't sure if he should touch him or not. Before this mess, he would have known exactly what to do. But he knelt there, watching Eames struggle with something that wasn't there. Or that was there, in his reality. "Come on," he said, "wake up."

Eames turned over. His eyes were open and empty of recognition. There was fear, though, primal and dangerous. Arthur had about two seconds in which he tried to stand up, but it wasn't enough. Eames tackled him to the floor of the compartment and wrapped his hands around his throat.

Stunned, at first Arthur just lay there, struggling to breathe but not doing much else because this couldn't be, it couldn't be, Eames would wake up in a second. He was staring right at him, looking right into his eyes.

When Arthur finally registered the actual, murderous intent, and that it was directed at him, disbelief gave way to fear and action. He grabbed Eames's wrist in one hand, but that was futile. In a fair fight they were about even. With leverage, he could break the hold and even break Eames's wrist. But Eames was pinning him hard, one knee on his hip, digging in painfully, and the other tight beside his ribs.

Panicking, Arthur flailed, tried to speak, tried to breathe as the compartment, the ceiling, and Eames's face started to dull around the edges of his vision.

Please, Eames, he tried. The pressure was unbearable; he was under the ocean, under the earth. Desperate, he tried his dirtiest trick and grabbed at his balls; he could crush him this way, cripple him for at least a few minutes. It was a warning: Let me go. But his hands were already numb and weak. He felt himself arching, fighting like a land-bound fish. Fuck, fuck, he was going to die, Eames was going to kill him.

He could hardly see anymore, but he reached with his free hand and touched the side of Eames's face. His mind went back, years back, to when they had first met. 'May I touch you?' Eames had asked him, on waking from a bad compound. Later, Arthur had asked him the same thing.

He didn't know what he was doing. He ran his fingers down the familiar slope of Eames's nose, his mouth, a face he knew better than anyone's, maybe even his own. His hand fell away.

And then Eames let up. Not slowly, but all at once, the pressure was gone.

Arthur couldn't see, but he dragged in a painful, glorious, aching breath. It burned like acid, ached all the way down to his chest, but the oxygen was the sweetest thing he had ever tasted. His eyes were streaming and he was shaking all over as he tried to get out from under Eames.

Eames started away from him like a frightened animal. He scurried backwards into the corner. "No, no, no, no," he repeated, sick with fear.

Arthur got to his knees and looked over his shoulder. Eames may have looked worse than Arthur felt. His hands were clenching and unclenching without his conscious control, and he kept pushing himself backwards as if he could disappear through the wall.

Then he tipped over onto his side and arched, and Arthur thought, Seizure, immediately, and knew he was in no condition to help.

But if it was a seizure, it wasn't like any one he'd ever seen – and he had seen his fair share, in the business. This was just a helpless twisting, writhing, as if pain wracked his entire body. He didn't thrash or shake; he looked more like a man possessed.

Arthur was terrified. He'd never seen anything like this. Still coughing, choking on air and spit, he crawled over to Eames and he didn't know what the fuck to do, he knew what to do with seizures but this wasn't, this was something else he had never seen, and Eames's eyes were rolled back and he was saying please in a watery keen.

Arthur tried to yell 'HELP' but his throat was ruined probably for a few days. It hurt like fuck but he tried again, 'help, help,' as he banged on the door.

Because fucking malevolent those people out there might be, but Dinclusin wanted Eames alive. That much he knew.

Arthur, still on his knees and watching Eames toss his head from side to side and grasp at nothing, banged his palm against the door. "Help!" he called. "Help, Jack!"

** ** ** **

Whew, that was pretty rough. I don't know what's going on here.

Okay, so now that I have an idea of how to get Arthur off the train and a way to use some of those suggestions up there, my main question to you guys is, what would you like to see happen between them? Most of you voted for "FIX THEM" so I will go by popular vote. I've gotten one really solid suggestion as to how that can begin.

Anything else you've got in mind?

Oh, here's another interesting question for you. Which two body parts would you like to see come in contact? LOL if you try to make it filthy, I will probably try to find a way to make it funny instead. If you give me something random, I might try to make it dirty. Heh. I have no idea. With something like this, I've got to take only one, maybe two suggestions or it will become ridiculous. :D So, Arthur's --- to Eames's ---? Or vise versa? Throw me some body parts, people. ^_^

Okay, that was a weird question.

Sorry this update was so brief and angsty. I actually felt very sad when I was writing about the chocolates. But then I have issues.

What do you guys think? Should I throw Arthur out into the blizzard and get Eames locked up and tortured or what?

Again I want to thank you all, so much! ^_^

10 - The Virtuous Among Us
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