spoilers: none glaring, though assume references to the full film
disclaimer: all hail nolan, dreamer extraordinaire.
writer's note: This prompt in inception_kink Round 8: Nothing about their relationship is conventional, so getting engaged during a hail of gunfire/car chase/something outlandish is only fitting. eta: Now with a Russian translation by inkdaisy!
word count: 687
summary: In which Eames proposes, twice, and Arthur says no, twice.
The first time Eames proposes, Arthur says no.
What he, in fact, says, is "Fuck off, I'm trying not to die an unproductive death, here," and Eames thinks he might actually have hearts instead of eyes.
"So that's a no, then?" he persists, raising his grenade launcher of choice at the projections on the next rooftop and firing in one smooth motion.
"Of course that's a no, you idiot," Arthur shoots back, firing his own weapon. "Now cover me, the target is downstairs."
To his credit, Eames resists the urge to salute. He does say "Yes, sir," to which he receives a scathing glare, and laughs as they move across the rooftop, knocking out projections as they go. "You'll give in to me one day, Arthur," he practically purrs, but a hail of gunfire volleys across the rooftop and they have to hightail it before Arthur can respond. Eames cackles, briefly, because he does make some kind of effort to be professional most of the time, and follows Arthur into the target's kaleidoscope subconscious.
He doesn't bring it up when they wake.
In fact, he doesn't bring it up until the next time a job goes pear-shaped, choosing to shout out "Will you marry me?" as their posh convertible is plummeting over a cliff.
Arthur looks up from where he is cutting Eames out of his seatbelt only long enough to say "You can't possibly be serious," before they crash into the water.
Which, actually, Eames can, but they do still have a job to complete and Arthur is not yet free from his own seatbelt, so Eames just takes the knife and gets to work.
When they break the surface, he asks again, for good measure. Arthur is drenched and gasping, both their suits are ruined, the beautiful, impractical, spectacular Aston Martin is sinking, and Eames has, in point of fact, never been more serious in his life, but they are dreaming and work is waiting, and Arthur just shakes his head and sends water everywhere, and Eames heaves a little sigh and swims.
"Someday you'll say yes," he sputters as they drag themselves ashore.
"I really wish I could afford to shoot you," Arthur replies, and Eames heart melts a little.
It is only later Eames considers that this might not be the way normal relationships work.
He leaves it alone for months, almost a year. They take jobs they would be bored without and they move from flat to flat and city to city, and it's a rollercoaster adventure and he never ever ever wants to get off, but he doesn't know how else to ask Arthur's permission to stay. Somehow, he's not sure candlelight and roses would do any more for the atmosphere than gunfire and almost certain death. Definitely not a normal relationship.
(And if Arthur grips his hips so hard they bruise, leaves welts in the juncture of his shoulder and neck, ties his wrists to the headboard and licks him open soft and slow before pushing inside, well. It's not like Arthur was ever a dud in the sack.)
Then, suddenly, it's coming up on eleven months since he even thought about asking and the gunfire is coming a lot faster than the first time, and Eames has a hand in his pocket just to make sure that yes, this is real and they could die, and he's looking across at Arthur and there's so much he wants to say because this might be it and Arthur just shouts "Yes," without even glancing at him and Eames doesn't even feel the bullet tearing through his shoulder, because he didn't have to ask.
Then, he passes out.
(He wakes in a hospital and Arthur presses fingers on the injured shoulder until tears spring up in his eyes.
"Did you mean it?" he whispers when he can speak again, and Arthur just makes a strangled sound and kisses him in front of the night nurse.
"Of course I meant it, you idiot," he finally says, and Eames grips his fingers tight right up until he falls, blissfully, back to sleep.)