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Title: We Need A Little Christmas Now
Author: [ profile] sarahyyy   
Rating: PG-13
Character/Pairing: Arthur/Eames (with mentions of Yusuf/Ariadne), team gen
Word Count: ~1000
Summary: And if the things he leaves in his team’s stockings manage to annoy them to no ends, well, that is a significant plus.
Disclaimer: Do not own. =(
A/N: For [ profile] immoral_crow who requested "team opening their Christmas stockings + Arthur/Eames or gen" from my Christmas Drabbles post.

Eames loves Christmas in the way that Yusuf loves money, Ariadne loves poking her nose into other people’s business, Cobb loves squinting and Arthur loves violence. That is, he loves it a lot.
He’s not in it for the mistletoe and the eggnog nor the presents and the Christmas carols; Eames loves Christmas because he loves to stuff stockings.
And if the things he leaves in his team’s (Cobb says they’re only working together for convenience’s sake, pfft they have been only taking jobs together for the past 3 years after the Fischer job) stockings manage to annoy them to no ends, well, that is a significant plus.
Christmas 2004, Mombasa
Eames watches from a safe distance away with his camera on standby as Yusuf peers into his stocking. He almost drops his camera in a fit of laughter when Yusuf shrieks and jumps away from the stocking. He did, however, manage to snap a picture of Yusuf, his hands mid-flail.
He would have been terribly annoyed if he hadn’t; this gift took him weeks of planning. He had to feed the iguana crackers.
Eames shrugs, still grinning. “You were moping. I thought you’d want it back.”
Eames gives him a sheepish look. “Merry Christmas?”
Yusuf lungs at him and Eames runs for his life.
Christmas 2011, Paris
“Jesus Christ,” Cobb is still moaning, hours after, “my eyes. Oh my God, my world is ending in despair and horror.”
Next to him, nursing a drink, Eames snorts. “It’s not that bad.”
My eyes,” Cobb says, in the well-worn tones of someone who has repeated the same argument countless of time already. “I’m blinded with horror.”
Ariadne giggles. “It’s not that bad.”
Eames nods. “To be fair, the pictures were not meant for you. They were supposed to go into Arthur’s stocking.”
“Phillipa wrote my name on the stocking in capital letters with a marker pen,” Cobb deadpans, squinting at Eames. “And Arthur isn’t even here.”
“Probably for the best,” Yusuf says with a smirk, “I’m not sure he would be happy about having his uh, private pictures shown to the team. Does he even know they exist?”
“Pfft,” Eames says easily. “Trust me, he knows. He enjoys them. We’ve made home vid-”
“My ears!” Cobb groans. “Jesus Christ, my eyes and ears!”
Christmas 2012, Miami
Arthur coughs. “Is that… Is that Yusuf’s underwear?”
Cobb turns to Arthur, squinting. “How would you know what Yusuf’s underwear looks like?”
Arthur gives him a look. “His name is embroidered on it.”
“I like being able to identify my underwear!” Yusuf exclaims. “Is that wrong?”
Eames has to bite his fist to contain his laughter. “D’you like it?” he asks Ariadne.
Everyone looks from Yusuf’s underwear to Ariadne. She is flushed beet red. “You are a horrible friend,” she grits out.
Eames grins.
Cobb squints at Ariadne, then at Yusuf. “You two sleeping together!” he finally concludes. “Do you know what this means? This means that I’ll have to brief the both of you on work etiquettes and tell you, in great detail, as to why colleagues should not sleep with each other.”
“With examples,” Eames adds, thinking back of his own experience, and winks at Arthur, who rolls his eyes.
Ariadne glares at him hotly. “Worst. Friend. Ever.”
Christmas 2013, Birmingham
Everyone is silent.
Arthur is still looking at the tiny box in his hand like he cannot actually believe that it’s there. “I- What?”
Eames clears his throat and sticks his hands in his pockets to stop them from shaking. “It’s a ring,” he repeats.
Arthur blinks at him. “I know, but why?”
Eames swallows and wonders, not for the first time, if there is a more eloquent way to say I am madly in love with you and I want to spend the rest of my life with you. He comes up blank. “Just because,” he says stupidly instead.
“Eames,” Arthur starts, and his tone is cautious and gentle, and Eames can imagine Arthur rejecting his gift and flying out of the country under a pseudonym and dropping off everyone’s radar for years before finally appearing again with a wife or a husband and kids and laughing in Eames’ face.
He tries to suppress a pang of sharp, twisting pain at that thought but fails miserably.
“It’s okay if you don’t want it or anything,” Eames says hurriedly, before Arthur can break his heart, “I just didn’t know what to get for you and got the first thing that popped up in my head.”
“Which just happened to be a wedding ring,” Yusuf adds rather unhelpfully.
“An engagement ring,” Eames corrects with a glare before he blanches and tries to backpedal, “or a friendship ring. Or something.”
“Eames,” Arthur says again and he sounds more insistent this time so Eames drags his eyes up to meet Arthur’s. “Eames, are you asking me to marry you?”
“Yes?” Eames says. Then, “No.
Eames winces. “Yes,” he says. “Yes, I am asking you to marry me.”
“It’s a shit proposal,” Ariadne interjects.
Eames glares at her. “Does it not look like I already know that?”
“It’s because of your lack of planning,” Cobb decides. “You could have hired a skywriter.”
“Or taken him up on a hot air balloon,” Yusuf adds. “Anything would be better than putting the ring in his Christmas stocking. What happened to your imagination?”
Ariadne nods.
“I don’t think it’s a shit proposal,” Arthur finally says and Eames’ attention snaps back to Arthur quickly, something like hope flaring up in his gut.
“You don’t?”
Arthur opens the ring box. “No, I don’t think it’s a shit proposal,” he says again and then, oh God, he slips the ring onto his finger.
Eames grins so widely it physically hurts him. “Is that a yes?”
Arthur just arches one elegant eyebrow, as if he is asking, ‘What do you think?’
Eames leans forward, pulls Arthur in by his tie and kisses him soundly.
Behind them, Ariadne says, “I still think that was a shit proposal.”
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