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[personal profile] strokeof_genie
Title: Million Year Summer
Author/Artist: [livejournal.com profile] strokeof_genie
Rating: NC17
Total word count: 6,363
Pairing(s)/Character(s): Arthur/Cobb
Summary: As usual, Arthur helps Dom with what he needs. The reason this time just happens to be more cathartic and healthy than the past few times Dom's called him.
Beta(s): [livejournal.com profile] saxon_dogs and [livejournal.com profile] timehasa_way are wonderful, and this wouldn't exist without them! I less than three them so much.
Note: [livejournal.com profile] rimestar was the original recipient of this fic, but he had to drop out. He hasn't been around in a while and I miss him (I was so excited to write for a friend, and [livejournal.com profile] saxon_dogs will tell you that I was so in a flail-y sort of panic. [livejournal.com profile] timehasa_way too, lol. They had to endure near daily emails.) This fic is still for Rime, even though he might not see it, but it's also for the community of [livejournal.com profile] dream_exchange as a whole.


The first time he goes under with Dom present since the Fischer-Morrow job is...unsettling. Arthur is prone on the guest bed that could easily be a hotel room but is actually in Dom's house, his eyes dropping shut to the sight of Dom leaning over him. Arthur could have, but Dom's the one who compresses the button that starts the Somnacin feed. He's promised Arthur that he'll be in the room while Arthur's under and he takes that at face value, even after assuring Dom that he needn't be. Dom's had enough time to get used to being a father again, Arthur knows, and it's a hard habit to break.

Arthur has a heady mix of déjà vu and anticipation as he wakes to the dream, only Dom doesn't follow like he would, under normal circumstances. Arthur gets over it quickly as he tries to build a dreamscape where Dom will feel welcomed and safe, but not too close to reality. He considers all of his options and tries to ignore how overwhelmed he feels; this is too important to mess up.

Dom, nearly a year after returning home, wants to see if he can dream again. He wants to see if Mal's gone. Arthur won't deny that he's curious, too; the number of times Mal ruined business deals can be counted on one hand, but they were some of the worst experiences of his life, without a doubt. Dom's determined silences afterwards did nothing to comfort Arthur when the man's wife had just taken him out of commission in a violent and painful way.

It was always made worse by the pang he felt in his heart when he saw Mal, and when he watched Dom look at Mal; Arthur lost one of his best friends when Mal died, and seeing her in Dom's dreams solely to torment them hurt. Arthur hopes with the strength born from desperation that Mal is gone from Dom's mind, because he's not sure he can handle the aftermath again. The Cobb children are happy, and Dom seems happy, and Arthur doesn't want it to fall to pieces again.

Arthur remembers shade of Mal that was in the dreams, and resolves to create a maze of a dreamscape that they'll be able to lose her in. Just in case, because Arthur wasn't given the option of creating another contingency plan or two. Arthur is torn between reluctance at the premise of this idea, and excitement, because Dom could gain so much, or lose nearly everything. But he does want Dom to dream again, so he builds when Dom asks. He's planned as much as possible, but Dom surprised him with this request and Arthur hasn't had time. Arthur will keep tweaking the dreamscape, twisting it and changing it until it's right for Dom, and safe for him. He doesn't have to keep to Dom's hopeful suggestion of a week if it doesn't feel right; he can delay, and he can make it as close to perfect as possible.

Arthur focuses on the task at hand, and eyes his starting layout. He looks at the street and the buildings; they all have fire exits, and rooftop access. They're all close enough to jump from roof to roof, if need be. He chooses a street he remembers from a city in Brazil upon entering the dream; it's small and paralleled by a tropical forest.

Arthur can build anything he wants from it, but he needs to decide which direction he wants to head. Realistic is out, and Arthur doesn't want to recycle an old level from a job they've worked, because Dom knows those. It needs to be new, and he wants it to be...happy, maybe whimsical. Suddenly inspired, Arthur turns to look at a newly vacant piece of land alongside the street.

The damp air and heady smells of heat and earth and foliage work well when Arthur drops his favorite local deli from a New York corner there. He looks at it, smiling a little at the palms that frame it and the way the New York patrons he's projected wander out of it and onto the Brazilian street. It's perfectly out of place, and so unexpected.

Dom introduced him to it, and when they're in New York it's where they go. When Mal was pregnant - just the first time - she had anti-cravings for the hot pastrami sandwiches he and Dom were so fond of. If Dom came home with the smell lingering on him her stomach would turn, and it became habit to, while working, get sandwiches to go and then stuff themselves quickly, washing them down afterward with strong coffee and harsh mints, to disguise the scent (and flavor, when she kissed Dom.) In retrospect, it would have been easier to avoid the place, but Arthur suspects that half the fun of sneaking out to get the forbidden food was getting away with it, which they did about seventy percent of the time.

Looking at the buildings, Arthur likes the stark difference of the architectural styles. He gets another idea even before he's finished with the deli and the difference between a New York sidewalk and the way a palm planted would interrupt it. After he looks the building up and down, he drops an inn next to the deli, a little place he found when driving through Massachusetts that's comforting and has in innate maternal feel. It's a place that Dom's never been, but one that Arthur thinks he'll appreciate. The blue and green decor would have drawn Mal to it, and Dom will appreciate its aesthetic with her in mind.

As an afterthought, Arthur adds an attic in the inn, and when he looks out the tiny porthole type of window, he gets an idea. Arthur adds a door that lets out in a stairway into the jungle he sees, and takes a moment to appreciate the fact that the mud and grime won't follow him back above. It's that thought that gives him a pause, and makes him look around the dream with a critical eye.

It's supposed to welcome Dom, but it's also supposed to be a maze, so he needs to concentrate. He needs to have less fun with this, but even as Arthur chides himself he still adds a bouquet of lilies because he knows that they're Phillipa's favorites. He leaves the vase on a side table near the attic, and walks out the doorway and into the jungle.

Arthur moves the forest so it's thick, thatched, and impregnable except for the pathway he creates. He pauses and wonders what could be done next, because the forest is too good of an opportunity to pass up. He creates a cave at the end of the path, and it sits with no purpose while he tries to think of one. He struggles with whimsy, because he plans things to such a degree that for each reaction or attack or counterattack, he has an operable contingency plan.

Arthur walks into the mouth of the cave, and thinks up tunnels - the kinds that confuse and separate. He walks them slowly, smoothing the walls so that they are exactly the same all through the cave, and keeps turning random corners. The tunnel forms soundlessly before him, forging on and being created from the map he's making in his head and the idea that's slowly forming.

The maze inside the cave never ends if someone turns left. Mal, Arthur and Dom noticed, had an affinity with left turns, and Arthur remembers from Dom's dreams with her projection that she stayed consistent. If someone turns right for five consecutive corners, he will reach the entrance of the cave. The other entrance of the cave, which is in the basement of the school, is tucked away in a dead end found after seven consecutive left turns.

Arthur continues to create the maze in the small school upon entering; he climbs the stairs that are next to the door that leads from the caves to the basement, and stands in the quiet hallway for a moment. He tucks his hands in his pockets and wanders into a classroom, and smiles briefly at the idea he gets when he exits to face another classroom door.

The maze he creates has jumps and lapses in it that would never be possible in reality. It reminds him a little of the old Scooby Doo cartoons, because if they're being chased one room will lead to another room's door, and could exit somewhere across the hall, or even across the school. As an afterthought he adds small clues that could help Dom in case something goes wrong and they get separated; another one of Phillipa's lilies in a vase next to the correct door, or a word on a chalk board in James' handwriting, etc.

Arthur walks through the school and builds the maze easily, now that he has some semblance of a plan. The janitor's closet leads to the principal's office and the nurse's station, the left classroom leads to the bathrooms, the right classroom leads to the small cafeteria. There's no gymnasium, but on a whim he adds a bowling alley in the basement instead of the bare one he entered; if a person were to venture behind the pins, they would be in a hallway that would be the secret entrance to the caves. James likes bowling, too; he's too small for it, but he has a fascination with being allowed to throw a heavy ball solely for knocking stuff down, while indoors.

Arthur walks back up the stairs and out the front door. He looks around and stands on the sidewalk for a moment, trying to decide what he should do next. The maze isn't as intricate as it could be; he's not a true architect, he's only one by default due to necessity. Arthur knows he can do well on professional jobs, but this is...personal, and not his architectural style. He stands, hands in his pockets, and walks down to where the dreamscape ends abruptly. All around except for this place, it looks like the dream stretches; the jungle looks never ending, the street looks like it continues for miles despite being a loop, except for at this spot Arthur has to fill.

Arthur hesitates, but eventually adds in a small beach. Ariadne told Arthur about what Dom's limbo was, and he doesn't want to bring back those memories. This beach is a small one that Arthur only found because he had to track Eames down there. He had almost decided it wasn't worth it, but he had changed his mind upon getting to the beach, and would have without finding Eames there.

The one he creates is a bastardized version of one on the Caribbean island of Bequia, after a hike across a corner of the island. He found it when he discovered Eames sitting in the bar on the beach and drinking Piton after Piton. Arthur had joined him, watching the tiny orange sand crabs dig in the sand and run from the waves. It was so calm, and Arthur made a note of it after they left on the hike back, so that he could return next year without Eames.

The beach itself is small, framed by rocks on either side of its 50-foot stretch, a few yards down from the bar's deck. Lawn chairs and chairs that surround tables with giant orange umbrellas are scattered on the deck, and the only way to get alcohol is to get up and order it from the old lady who runs the place, and the only beer is the local Piton. Arthur happily includes all of it to his dream at the corner of the street, with the beach stretching down its entirety, right down to the tiny Dreamsicle-colored crabs and the Sandpipers, the gulls and a sea turtle, just because he can. Arthur, after staring at the water, adds some dolphins that jump every few minutes because he wants there to be no doubt that this beach is different.

Arthur thinks about what else he can add, while wandering down the street away from his beach. It's colorful and bright everywhere, with sandy stone that crunches under his shoes until he gets to the deli. For a moment he feels selfish looking at it, because this isn't how he dreams when they do business. This is how he daydreams, when he lets himself. These are places he wants to be, mostly.

He walks slowly, evaluating his creation and making note of things that might need tweaking before hearing a low hum that eventually turns into Edith Piaf. Arthur settles in at the deli and watches the New Yorkers he remembers and projects, ordering their purchases and then heading out into the Brazilian street. It's more disconcerting than he expects, especially since the Brazilian people are oddly segregated from the place.

He settles into the booth, and idles the ten or so minutes - a glance at his watch shows that he has a little over twelve minutes left - by watching his projections, and trying to get them to appear as if the town he built them is normal. That mostly consists of trying to get himself to change his thinking from finding the town too much of a patchwork creation to finding it comforting. It works as soon as Arthur adjusts to the idea of this street, this deli, that inn, his beach - that all of them are his favorite places that he wants to show Dom, and that he wants to visit again. They fit together seamlessly after that, and the patchwork of the dream isn't like stitches on a wound anymore, but like the quilt his grandmother made him when he was younger.

Arthur can see out the window from where he sits, and he can look at his favorite places. He understands why it was so hard to resist building a few buildings that would remind him of Dom's home, now, and quickly consults his watch to see when he - gasps when he feels the pull of the dream ending, and doesn't have time to panic when all of his projections stare at him before he's suddenly gone.

- - - - - -

Arthur wakes up smiling, but he doesn't realize it until Dom asks why. "I'm - it's a good dream," Arthur answers, shrugging. He made it for Dom, and he isn't trying to brag; the dream is tailor made to keep Dom safe, and more importantly, happy. He feels his cheeks heat up but ignores it, for now. Dom's gentle fingers slide the IV out of Arthur's arm, and Arthur reminds himself that it's no different from any other time that he's gone under while Dom waited above.

"Yeah?" Dom asks, grinning down at him. "I'm anxious to see it. Are you, well," Dom pauses, and sits down on the bed next to Arthur. Arthur sits up quickly, resting his back against the headboard and folding a leg to rest his arms on. He blinks before opening his eyes wide as he adjusts to the lights, trying to speed up the process. "Oh, hold on," Dom says, and scoots forward to dim the bedside lamp a bit. Arthur nods his thanks, and Dom moves back, so that Arthur's bent knee is pressed against his back. "You have a plan to keep safe, for when you design the second level?"

Arthur thinks about it for a moment, before answering. A room in the inn, as strange as it seems to use habits from a professional job, is the perfect option. They've done the same type of thing in more dangerous situations, and they didn't need sedatives for two levels. He leans his head back, watching the ceiling fan turn slowly. "I do, yes. There's a safe place for us to head to, for when we go further. I'll use it when I go back under to build the second level, and then we'll use it," Arthur says. When Dom doesn't say anything, Arthur turns to look at him, shifting so that he's sitting cross-legged next to Dom.

It reminds Arthur of when Dom first taught him about lucid dreaming, because it's calm and relaxed. The consideration Dom gives most answers is familiar to when Arthur had picked his brain thoroughly for everything he could learn. This is different, though, and Arthur isn't sure what he's said that merits such a thoughtful silence.

"I didn't...know that you were planning to go with me, to the second dream," Dom says carefully, looking over at Arthur, his smile gone. "I mean, you can of course. I was just - we don't know what to expect." Dom stops, and Arthur frowns.

Arthur isn't sure what to say, because there's an unusually large amount of things to say. He prioritizes quickly. "You're an idiot if you think I'd let you go under alone," Arthur says, the words rushing out of his mouth before he can decide what passes through a filter. He takes a breath, and then continues, "What I mean is," but Dom cuts him off. He looks...amused, Arthur thinks, and chagrined, which is a good thing. Arthur wasn't going to be apologetic, he was just going to be more diplomatic.

"I know what you mean, and I'm sorry if you thought I was insinuating anything else," Dom says, and Arthur feels his heart beating at Dom's slow smile. He ignores it, and wishes he hadn't shifted so near the man; Arthur takes a breath to calm and sooth himself, and maintains eye contact. He must look a little surprised, because Dom continues, "I just - I'm used to being a father, and it's hard to get out of that caretaker role."

That...isn't what Arthur is hoping for. Arthur tries very hard to deny that there's anything he is hoping for, but no matter what, this definitely isn't it. "I'm your friend, not your child," Arthur says, because he feels the need to point out the obvious. He manages to do it with exasperation and feels relief, because Dom grins a little wider.

"Believe me, I know that. You'd have to listen to me, otherwise," Dom says, and Arthur fights the blush that he feels spreading across his cheeks. Like he doesn't already try to listen to Dom, or work Dom's whims into the plans. "You know, though," Dom's thoughtful voice interrupts Arthur's inner monologue. "You did a great job of caretaker, when I," he gestures, and Arthur blinks, and slides his eyes away from Dom.

Of course he did a good job of caretaker. Dom needed him. The children needed him to keep Dom alive enough to get back to them. Arthur was sure that Dom would have done the same thing for him, if their situation had somehow become reversed. "Dom, I hope you aren't about to thank me for being a decent friend," Arthur says, frowning. He knows he's being brusque, but Dom, if anything, looks at him even more earnestly. "I'll help you with anything, you know that. You need a point man, I'm your man. You need to move some furniture, I'm - well, I'd probably hire guys for you. But you understand what I'm saying," Arthur looks at Dom, who snorts.

There's a companionable silence, and Arthur thinks that's the end of their conversation. It's a relief because Mal was the one he had heart-to-hearts with, and Dom isn't. He and Dom are usually on the same page, and they make allowances for each other in order for their friendship to work. Arthur sits next to his best friend and wonders if they have time for lunch before he goes back under. They're trying to time it so that he's awake to go with Dom to pick up the children.

"So, there's something I've been meaning to say," Dom says suddenly, and Arthur frowns. He turns to Dom, but Dom isn't looking at him anymore. "I want to apologize to you, Arthur," he says seriously, facing forward to the wall. Arthur watches him, his profile, but Dom seems to be genuine, and very...nervous? Arthur leans forward, and sees Dom's throat move as he swallows hard.

Arthur waits, but nothing else is said. "For what?" It's not that Dom has nothing to be sorry for; it's that Arthur isn't sure what would occur to Dom to apologize for. Arthur's just proud he didn't ask for which thing Dom was apologizing.

"You - I wasn't the only person who lost Mal, and even though you were grieving too I just..." Dom shrugs. He looks uncomfortable, but not as upset as he could. He looks pensive and searching. Arthur doesn't get it, because of all the things Dom has done, this is what he apologizes for? Of all the anger that Arthur buries where Dom is concerned, this issue didn't cause enough to register.

"Dom, you lost - I mean, sure, she was one of my best friends, but you weren't - it's nothing to apologize for," Arthur says finally, fumbling for words. Dom's eyes meet his, hard, and Arthur suddenly understands what Dom wants. "I miss her, of course, but to apologize to me for that is ludicrous." Dom still stares at him in a way that Arthur can't identify, and it takes him a moment, but he places the expression on Dom's face eventually - guilt, like the kind Ariadne described to him after seeing limbo. Now he understands what Dom is looking for, but Arthur's not going to give it to him. Instead of the confrontation and anger Dom is looking for, Arthur says, "No, see, this is the problem: you blame yourself. You told me what happened when I met your flight, and you blamed yourself then, and that's what you're clinging to. It has to stop, because no matter what, nothing's going to change. So just stop."

"But it was my fault," Dom says, and waves his hand for Arthur to be quiet as he continues. "You can't deny that," he insists, and no, Arthur can't deny that. He can't deny that Dom's actions started it, but those were desperate actions caused by Mal's behavior, which was caused by their decisions.

"Everyone's forgiven you but yourself," Arthur says, instead. "Even for the shit you pulled in the Fischer-Morrow job, we've forgiven you." It took a while, and Arthur was furious for weeks after, but he understood. He felt betrayed and angry, but he understood. He would have done the same thing, probably, but had Dom asked him he'd have done it and everything could have been so much easier. Arthur doesn't blame anyone for the pain and grief that resulted, but he reluctantly admits (only to himself) that he understands why Dom expects him to. If he's even more honest with himself, Arthur will let himself accept why he forgave Dom so easily, but he's not ready for that.

Dom's taken aback. "I don't," Dom pauses, and looks down. "I was working up to an apology for that, too," he admits wryly. "I didn't expect that the possibility of landing in limbo was actually a..." Dom waves his hand and doesn't finish. Arthur frowns, because Cobb's still got it all wrong. That's not what he was most angry about, and as Arthur thinks about it, that anger works hard to surface.

"That's not why I'm angry," Arthur says. "I understand why you took those risks, and why they were necessary. I'm angry because you didn't trust me enough to tell me," Arthur takes a breath, because the rush of anger he feels is familiar and just as toxic as it was. He needs to calm down, because at this rate, he's going to endanger the reason he's here. "Do you know how much easier everything could have been if you had told me about limbo, about how bad Mal was getting? I mean, I'm not an idiot, Cobb. I could see that it was getting worse," Arthur says, and finally meets Cobb's eyes. Or tries to, but Cobb is staring straight ahead of him at the wall. Arthur watches as he swallows again, his eyes riveted to Dom's throat, and he gets a little distracted, reining in his temper before continuing, "...It doesn't matter, now, though. Let's go get some lunch, and then I'll go back under for an hour to look over the first level, and maybe start the second one."

"Is it really that simple?" Dom asks, and finally turns his head to meet Arthur's eyes. "I - after everything?" He looks like he's waiting for the other shoe to drop, and like he can't believe that Arthur hasn't gotten up and stormed out. Arthur isn't sure how he can convince Dom he's not leaving his side.

When has Arthur ever left Cobb to deal with something he couldn't? He's been tempted to, but Arthur's thought process never solved what he'd do to get rid of the guilt. "Of course it is," Arthur says, and sighs. He glances to the digital clock on the nightstand, the painting on the wall, anywhere but Dom. "You never had to apologize to be forgiven. Dom, I know - I know that after everything that happened, you felt...alone," Arthur pauses, lacking a better word. "You never had to be, but we all understood." Arthur swallows, and then looks back to his friend, who is staring at him so intensely that Arthur pauses longer than he meant to. "You - we gave you space, but we would never leave you alone," Arthur says, and Dom still stares at him, into his eyes, searching.

Dom narrows his eyes because, Arthur thinks, he obviously didn't find what he was looking for. "You," Dom says, and Arthur waits for him to finish.

When Dom doesn't say anything else Arthur asks, "Me?" He doesn't understand the non sequitur, and Dom hesitates for only a moment. That moment's enough for Arthur to feel the indecision of hoping Dom will halt the conversation now because Arthur isn't sure where it's going, and between hoping against all that he believes that Dom's actually going the direction Arthur wants.

"You would never leave me alone. You say we, but it's you, for the most part," Dom says slowly, watching Arthur like he just did a magic trick and the revelation of how it's done involves real magic. Arthur waits, breathing evenly, unsure and anxious because he's never had a plan for this conversation. "It's always been you who has stood by me and trusted me."

Arthur feels a little anger bubble to the surface, again. It's irrational because he thought of not doing those things, but Dom's surprise offends him regardless. "Of course I never," Arthur starts, but he doesn't get to finish because Dom is putting a hand on his knee, curling it around and pressing his thumb up gently underneath. Arthur tenses and quietly asks, "Dom?" It's not shocking when Arthur has to stifle the urge to move into and press against Dom's touch.

Arthur can count on one hand just how many times they've touched recently: one - when he reached down to grab his bag to load it in Dom's trunk, but grabbed Dom's hand instead, two - when Dom met him at the baggage carousel before that, and three - when Dom awkwardly shook his hand nearly a year prior, a few months after the Fischer-Morrow job. Arthur glances down at their point of contact, and then back up at Dom, waiting for an explanation.

Arthur watches Dom gather his thoughts, but instead of putting more space between them, Dom grips Arthur's knee a little tighter. Arthur forces himself to relax, because he doesn't want to - he wants to make this easier on Dom. "You think that the reason I'm so ruined over this is," Dom says, before Arthur has to interrupt.

"Not ruined. You're grieving, still," Arthur insists quickly, and Dom gives him a joyless, hard smile, but Arthur shakes his head. He knows Dom's not ruined, and the very thought of it bothers him so much it's hard to deal with. "Grieving in a possibly unhealthy way, which is why," Dom waves the hand not holding Arthur to halt the words. He doesn't have to, but Arthur stops talking.

"I asked you here so you'd help me see if I can dream," Dom summarizes, and Arthur nods. He knows this. "The other reasons were going to wait until the results of the shared dreaming were seen," he continues, and Arthur is disappointed; in Dom, that there were ulterior motives, and in himself, for not seeing them. There's a feeling in his gut, low and hard, that he can't will away.

Arthur's sure that the reasons aren't as bad as they could have been, because despite everything he still trusts Dom to want what's best for him. It's the fact that he can't guess what they are that bothers him, and the fact that Dom wasn't going to tell him until after he'd been in Arthur's mind again. "Since we're on the topic, you might as well get it out of the way," Arthur says, with as much in his tone as he can muster with Dom's hand nervously gripping his knee, sliding up a little higher.

Arthur knows a subconscious reaction when he sees - or feels - one, so Dom's fingers digging into his knee is surprising, but not startling. Dom relaxes them consciously, and then asks, "You'll tell me if it isn't okay?" He's reluctant when he asks, and that just makes Arthur more curious and less wary.

Dom can recognize bad ideas, even if he doesn't always care. Knowing this, Arthur nods, because he's not shy with his opinion. He almost loses his patience when he watches Dom and can nearly see the battle going on inside his head. Arthur almost says something, and the words are on his lips before Dom leans forward, into Arthur's personal space, and presses his lips to Arthur's.

Arthur's mind reels, and his first thought is dream, dreaming. But he knows he's not, because he doesn't let this happen in dreams. Especially not dreams, because then he'd be facing the same temptation that Dom faced, and that -

It's not much of a kiss; Dom pulls back before Arthur's hands can do more than lift out of his own lap and hang uselessly, because he isn't going to push Dom away, but Arthur isn't sure if he is allowed to pull him closer, either. "Dom," Arthur says, and drops his hands quickly, tucking his legs tighter underneath himself. He's sure he's flushed, and if he didn't already want so badly, seeing Dom's face, his eyes trained on Arthur's lips, those things would make Arthur breathless. He might not be used to this exact situation, but he's used to the feelings inspired.

"You haven't punched me," Dom says, after a moment. He's looking Arthur in the eye again, but when Arthur smirks a little, Dom's eyes dart back to his lips. It makes Arthur want to lick them and see what that does to Dom, but he refrains.

"I'm not going to punch you," Arthur says, and holds himself very still. There's too much he wants to do; he wants to lean forward and catch Dom's lips again, he wants to press him down to the mattress, he wants to settle himself between Dom's thighs and stay there all day. Arthur is a little shaken, but he knows what he wants. Dom's just sitting next to him, his hand bruising Arthur's knee, looking like he did when he returned from limbo: confused, lost, and like he can't tell left from right without Arthur's help. The look of attraction is a new and welcome sight, but it's tucked away before Arthur can truly appreciate it.

"Well," Dom says finally. "Now you know," Dom shrugs, but his hand is shaking a little. Arthur can't remember what he's talking about for a moment, and then he does with the suddenness of a train's whistle. Dom's guilt, over this?

"Because it's a betrayal to Mal?" Arthur asks, his voice deceptively mild. If Dom is coming this far and admitting all of this, only to reject it right in front of Arthur - well. Arthur hasn't unpacked his bag, yet, so getting up and leaving would be easy. Not the easiest thing he could do, but certainly easier than staying.

"Because you're my best friend, Arthur," Dom says, pulling his hand away from Arthur's knee. Arthur misses the contact, but appreciates it for what it actually was, now; Dom was holding onto him so that he could get through his explanation, but now he's giving him the chance leave. "You're my best friend and that's all you want to be," Dom's voice sounds final, but it's definitely not.

Arthur can't understand how someone who's so good at reading people doesn't get it, but Arthur hasn't left Dom out in the cold yet. He leans forward and puts his own hand on Dom's knee, and gives him what Arthur considers a kiss. He doesn't stop moving forward until he's uncurling himself from his seated position, looming over Dom to kneel, kissing harder when Dom gets with the program and reaches up to pull at Arthur's hips. Arthur licks his way into Dom's mouth, reaching up to get a hand in his hair, and feels like he's finally breathing again, like the water from the Fischer-Morrow dream is no longer in his lungs after a year, when it's Dom who's stealing his breath.

Dom pushes him back suddenly, and Arthur feels it like a jolt, and he opens his mouth to ask if what they're doing is what Dom wants. He can't get the words out before Dom's back, pressing Arthur down to the mattress, a heavy weight on top of him that Arthur arches up against. God, he wants to rub against Dom until he gets off, and Dom gets with the program pretty quickly, getting a thigh in between Arthur's legs, snug against his dick and giving nice friction when Arthur moves.

"Oh," Dom groans against his neck when Arthur reaches behind to grab his ass and holds on, and before Arthur can get nervous about any boundaries he crossed, Dom grinds down hard. His ass flexes as he thrusts, and Arthur's grip on it lets him feel every movement. "Arthur, you," Dom says, and Arthur shifts a little, splaying the leg that's not between Dom's and letting Dom get his own cock some pressure against it aside from their clothes.

"That okay?" Arthur asks breathlessly, needing to know that it is, because he wants to get their clothes off and start broadening Dom's horizons as soon as he can. His question slows Dom down, and Arthur can feel Dom's body quaking above him. It's only when Dom's lips meet his again that he realizes Dom's laughing at him. Before he can feel miffed Dom kisses deeper, getting inside him, and Arthur starts to realize he's not going to scare Dom away.

He doesn't do anything more than squeeze Dom's ass harder, not until Dom lifts up just enough to get a hand between them to cup Arthur through his pants. "Can I?" Dom asks, and Arthur nods, lifting his head to follow Dom's lips. When Dom starts to pull his zipper down Arthur gets his head together enough to follow his lead.

"Hn," Arthur grunts when Dom gets his dick in a firm grip. "Good idea," he says, and undoes Dom's jeans with quick fingers. He reaches inside deftly to take Dom in hand, sliding a thumb through the slickness Arthur finds leaking, and then he reaches lower to get his other palm warm against Dom's balls. The effect is immediate and encouraging, because Dom's hand moves faster on Arthur's cock, and his weight presses Arthur back into the mattress.

"Yes, fuck," Dom says, and when Arthur hears that gasped into his ear, along with his name, from Dom's lips, he's almost done. He's been wanting this so long he just hopes he can stave off his orgasm until after Dom's, and there's not much room to work between them, but he twists his hand, jerking Dom off smoothly and quickly and firmly. It's tight between Dom's legs and around all the other movement, but Arthur keeps the steady rolling pressure, the same rhythm as he has on Dom's cock, and lets himself get lost in the feeling of Dom's hands on him. One hand pushes into his hair and holds him while Dom's mouth finds his, and the other jacks him ruthlessly, but it's the feeling of Dom's balls tightening and then the spill of his release that rips Arthur over the edge.

Dom keeps kissing him throughout it all, keeps his hand on Arthur's dick until Arthur groans and stops thrusting up against him. Arthur stops jerking Dom then, too; his hands are a mess, but he's content, warm, and comfortable, letting Dom take charge of the kiss and enjoying how sated he feels. When Dom lifts up and away Arthur pulls his hands out of his pants, and frowns a little at the mess until Dom kisses it off his lips. "Shower," Arthur suggests between kisses, and lets himself be persuaded when Dom shakes his head and starts to unbutton Arthur's shirt.

"Later," Dom says, and Arthur can't argue when the man straddles him, settling onto his lap. He resolves his feelings on the matter by wiping his hands on Dom's shirt fastidiously, before divesting him of it. Dom's heavy on him, a nice weight that Arthur catches with his hands on Dom's hips. "Later," Dom says again against Arthur's lips, "is good." Arthur agrees silently, and sits up a little to get at Dom's lips again. He wants to smirk when he lies back and Dom follows, but instead he sucks on Dom's tongue and plans for what later will entail.

Date: 2011-01-14 11:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sperrfeuer.livejournal.com
Aww, this made me all warm and fuzzy inside.
Characterization was spot-on, I enjoyed reading your detailed descriptions ♥
Love, all in all, love! ♥

Date: 2011-01-24 04:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] strokeof-genie.livejournal.com
Oh, thank you! I'm so glad you liked it.

sorry this is so late, been out of town

Date: 2011-02-05 10:40 pm (UTC)
ext_33256: (Default)
From: [identity profile] wildwordwomyn.livejournal.com
This was hot and sweet and how I see them together. Great job!

Date: 2011-02-07 05:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] strokeof-genie.livejournal.com
Thanks so much! I'm glad you liked it!

Date: 2011-02-16 07:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-loaded-die.livejournal.com
Nicely done! The architecture in the dream was really intriguing and everything that happened in reality was great! Though I did wanna see what happens when Dom finally went under again. Nice ending nonetheless!

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