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[personal profile] strokeof_genie
Title: Motivational
Rating: PG
Characters/Pairings: Gen, Cobb/Eames if you squint and tilt your head.
Word Count: 1,200
Disclaimer: Not mine!
Summary: One day, Eames gets out of bed. Things go downhill from there. (Also known as Eamesthecheflol.doc)
Author Notes: Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] saxon_dogs for looking this over, and for the encouragement I needed to finish! This is for challenge 14 at [livejournal.com profile] inception_land, and is completely self-indulgent. And is also a prequel, of sorts, to this fic I have planned. Um, enjoy!


The day starts lovely; Eames gets up at his own leisure, and orders a gourmet breakfast from the hotel's room service. It's above average, with a fluffy omelet that's only a little disappointing because the onions aren't as soft as he'd like on the inside. His coffee is excellent, and that gets him through some of the newspaper. He skips the local and sports pages (because he doesn't care about hockey or this country's football, no matter what guy starts nudes) and reads a little of the business section.

Really, it's a good day through his shower and shave, through contemplating the selection of his wardrobe, and up until he gets to work. He's agreed to the job because he trusts Cobb as far as he trusts someone, anyone who isn't his dear old mother, and that's saying something. He agreed without knowing anything about it other than it "should be pretty quick and easy," Cobb had said, and Eames finds that's enough for him, these days.

Eames sits and listens while Cobb does the introduction about the mark, and he's relatively quiet while Arthur says his piece. That means that he only interrupts three times, but he and Arthur are the only ones counting, so it doesn't matter. It does sound easy; an ex-CIA spook turned chef and restaurateur has some secrets, and he might be selling them to unfriendlies. This is a federally sanctioned job.

Eames doesn't really even get the idea that he should regret anything, until Ariadne opens her mouth. "Eames can cook," Ariadne says, and Eames' head whips around to face her. He tries to catch her eyes, and shakes his head. Not frantically - Eames doesn't want to call attention to himself, but hopefully he does it enough that Ariadne will notice and shut up. She doesn't, of course. "I mean, he only made a quick stir fry when I visited, but it was fantastic. Everything was market-fresh and, wait, what?" Ariadne stops, and finally catches Eames' eye. Eames frowns, and gives one more headshake, slow and thorough and deliberate. "What? Eames? Oh," Ariadne says, and Eames watches her understand. It's painful, really, for the both of them. "Never mind, I bet it was frozen," Ariadne says quickly, and Eames narrows his eyes.

Oh, now that's just - "Okay, first off: it was not frozen, absolutely not. How do you even - there was fresh ginger in that, you can't freeze that sort of flavor, and no one would even bother because it'd be wasted on people who dine on frozen meals. Second: I am not sure I'm comfortable with being volunteered for this on something I consider a hobby," Eames says, and glares a bit in Ariadne's general direction. Not at her, of course; he rather likes her outside of all of this. She just doesn't always get it.

"But it's not just a hobby," Arthur says, and his expression is somehow triumphant while still being bland. Eames can tell, damn it, even if no one else can, or cares to. "Is it?"

"I should be concerned that you even - how do you know that?" Eames asks, and everyone frowns at him. "What?" He asks, eyeing Ariadne.

"What does Arthur mean?" Ariadne is wearing a pout, and she's glaring at him. What the hell, Eames had been planning on going into the restaurant under an identity he has that's a wealthy and bored Englishman. He was going to invest in the restaurant and maybe get some new income outside of actually working, gaining the trust of the mark as himself.

"Eames," Cobb says, and Eames subsides from the lie he's gearing up to tell; it involves an Irish gang and witness protection, and a goat sacrifice to Satan. It isn't too far off from what happened in actuality, except for the witness protection and the goat. "He went to the CIA," Cobb tells Ariadne, and Eames loves the shocked and confused look on her face, until Cobb explains, "That's the Culinary Institute of America, in New York." Eames frowns down at the table as Cobb speaks. He doesn't like watching his tightly bound past bleed all over their current job.

"And you know that how? I've only just uncovered it," Arthur says, frowning at Cobb. Cobb blinks at him, and then Arthur says, "Of course, you went to Cornell, before transferring to get your Master's." Arthur looks between them thoughtfully, and Eames has had enough. If he gets up to leave, maybe they'll have this conversation without him, which would be preferable. "How did you two meet? It's over a hundred miles between the schools."

"It's not like I went for a career, you know," Eames says loudly, so that Ariadne will stop eyeing him, and so that Arthur doesn't get an answer to his question. "I was going to get myself a student visa, and when I got the financial aid check I was going to skip out, but the people I came over with insisted one of us remain legit on paper, so..." Eames trails off, and smiles in a way he hopes looks a little sheepish so they ignore him.

"So you decided to graduate at the top of your class," Arthur finishes for him dryly, and Eames hates them all, except Cobb. And Yusuf, who's not even in the country yet. Something Eames has always worked toward is being underestimated and ignored outside of his grifting and forging, and they're ruining it all.

"I suppose I did," Eames says defensively, just as Ariadne asks Cobb, "Seriously, how did the two of you meet?" Eames wants to close his eyes in consternation, because conversations with his esteemed colleagues aren't usually this circular.

"We met on New Years, in Times Square," Cobb says, and smirks at Eames. "I was the designated driver, holding my roommate's shoulder so he wouldn't faceplant into the gutter, and Eames sat down next to us on the curb and taunted my ill roommate with Thai takeout and root beer," Cobb says, and Eames has to admit it is a fun memory. Cobb's friends were a terrible sort, but they were preferable to Eames'.

"We bonded over our mutual sobriety and his roommate's anguish," Eames says, and catches Cobb's eye. Eames smiles, but it's forced, because he knows the next question will be why he was sober. He would never tell the truth: that getting drunk with those people he ran with, back then, would have been hazardous to his health. He had been green and full of bravado, but he learned quickly to never lose his guard, because they were dangerous and terminally bored, and intent on making him prove himself and the guns he carried. "It was a good time. Mr. Cobb even got his own takeout - Brazilian feijoada, only not exactly traditional - to join the fun," Eames steers the conversation toward a direction he's comfortable with.

"Of course, he took exception with our amusement at his expense when he woke up in the bathtub of Eames' hotel room hours later," Cobb says, grinning wide. Eames' smile gets toothy and real as the rest of the team gets distracted by Cobb's tale.

Date: 2010-10-13 06:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] saxon-dogs.livejournal.com
I mean, you already know I have a forever kind of love for this fic, but yes. I do.
Eames' thought processes are hilarious and adorable, even when there are hints of his not-so-hilarious past, and I can't wait to see more of thissss.

Date: 2010-10-14 09:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] strokeof-genie.livejournal.com
HEE! Thank you! I am writing more tonight, sometime. I hope. I'm staring between my dream exchange fic and this one, right now.

Date: 2010-10-13 09:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] plingo-kat.livejournal.com
Rawr. Do like. Eames in culinary school, oh my...

<3

Date: 2010-10-14 09:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] strokeof-genie.livejournal.com
I think it'd be a perfect conning ace to have up his sleeve. :) Glad you liked it!

Date: 2010-10-15 11:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bronson.livejournal.com
aww, this is cute. lmao omg at the thought of eames being ex-"CIA"

fab, man, fab. <3

Date: 2010-10-15 09:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] strokeof-genie.livejournal.com
Thanks! :D Glad you liked it.

Date: 2010-12-08 03:17 am (UTC)

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