35: “I don’t like it when you cry.” (I couldn’t….. fathom andrew saying this or crying so I tried.. my best)
Lola’s got him by the hair, straddling his lap and pressing him down into concrete. It feels like he’s pinned to the surface of the Earth by her legs and knives, and he’d rather fall off.
She lets go of his bangs then, keeping him pinned with that looming lighter of hers instead, the heat winking at him just millimetres from his eye.
“Just like your father,” Lola marvels, walking her fingers down the ruined skin of his cheek like it’s some sort of child’s game. “Give or take some souvenirs,” she amends, and digs her nails into his burn. Neil cries out, he can’t help it. Tears leak out of the corners of his eyes, nudging his pain from a whimper to a bellow on contact.
“You’re prettier when you cry,” she whispers, and leans in to graze her teeth over the shell of his ear. The lighter descends towards his eye, and Neil has a frantic sobbing moment where he can’t struggle but he has to.
“Too bad I don’t have any use for pretty,” she says, gleeful, sick, and thrusts the lighter down into his open eye—
He becomes aware of a hand on his jaw and he sobs, jerking for a weapon and tumbling down somehow, further into the concrete or maybe, finally, off the Earth, out into space.
His legs are suddenly free, so he rolls into a crouch and tests his grip, blinking fast. Andrew’s face swims into his vision, furious and white. Everything crystallizes into shapes he knows, an apartment he loves, the potted plant Renee left on their window sill, the obnoxious orange curtains Matt bought them.
“Dream?” Neil rasps. He looks down at his long-healed hands. He puts them to his eyes and shakes.
“The past,” Andrew corrects, and Neil looks up at him. “Can you come here?” Andrew asks, but he doesn’t make any move to reach out to him. He’s not even looking at him.
Neil shakes his head, feeling sick and ungrounded. Andrew should be comforting, always, but the touch of even his own hands feels like too much.
He crawls to the bathroom, aware of how pathetic he looks, aware enough of Andrew to know that he won’t care. He collapses on the cold tiles without turning the lights on, but it feels too much like the concrete in his father’s dark basement and he throws up violently, clinging to the bowl of the toilet, dripping sweat. He knows Andrew’s there because the lights flick on and the tap runs.
Andrew shuts the tap off hard. “Don’t.”
Neil lets his cheek press to his own arm, breathing hard. “It’s been so long. It shouldn’t still be doing this to me.”
Andrew looks livid, and Neil lifts his head, startled. If it were daytime and it were anyone but Neil, Andrew wouldn’t be showing a quarter of this emotion. He crouches at Neil’s side.
“Yes or no?” He lifts his hand to make it clear what he’s doing and Neil nods.
“Yes. Pl- yes.” He swallows heavily, and sweat burns his eyes. He’s still getting used to the teeth-chattering feeling of breaking the surface of a nightmare — like he was trapped under ice and Andrew took a fucking ice pick to it.
Andrew puts a hand on the back of his neck, crushing his face back to his arm. “Breathe.”
He feels constricted, but it’s worlds away from Lola. Andrew’s hand on his neck isn’t soil on a grave, it’s being tucked in tight, kissed hard. It’s the hard press of a gun under his pillow: safety, safety, safety.
“Are you breathing?”
Neil laughs, breathlessly. “Usually.”
“Smartass.” A hand presses him further down, another touches his back.
He breathes in as slowly as he can for how shallow his breaths are, and Andrew shifts so he’s all but plastered along Neil’s back.
“I hate this,” Andrew says, conversationally. Neil tries not to flinch but he does, and Andrew puts his face in the back of Neil’s hair. “I don’t like it when you…”
“What? Ruin your sleep? Make your life harder? I know,” Neil says miserably. No matter how far he runs, his past is still there when he closes his eyes. He shouldn’t be bringing it into Andrew’s bed.
“Cry,” Andrew finishes, and his grip loosens like he didn’t mean to say it. He adds,“those things too,” but there’s no sting in it.
He stands up abruptly, thrusting a wash cloth at Neil. “I’ll sleep on the couch.”
“No,” Neil says immediately. “I— It’s safer with someone else next to me. Always has been.” He doesn’t say, I can’t sleep without you anymore, because Neil still needs some secrets to feel sane.
Andrew watches him carefully, dark eyes tracking the movement of Neil cleaning himself up, folding his legs under himself. He never looks away from Andrew, not wanting to give him a reason to doubt his honesty.
“Okay,” he says, and walks out of the bathroom. Neil sits back against the sink and catches his breath. He notices a glass of water on the countertop, the light in the shower on but the overhead light off, so it’s not glaring. He glances at the doorway where Andrew was.
Okay. For as long as Andrew’s here with him. It’s okay.
A quick drabble about a setting we didn’t see but we know it’s there. *wink wink*
Arthur doesn’t let anyone into his very own house after Mal’s death, not even Dom has access to it. Mal gave him his dinner table. He cherishes it, cleans and polishes it to perfection. He renovates the kitchen around the table. Eames is invited for a tea after one month. They spend the whole night talking.
A week after that Eames knocks on the door with a TV still in its brown cardboard box: “You need a telly Arthur. Not to look weird in this world, I mean.” Arthur lets Eames place it in his living room. They watch Moonlight Serenade and Rope as a double feature because Arthur is going through a James Stewart phase and has been watching movies on his small laptop. Eames connects the system, makes the popcorn and then he spends the night sleeping on the sofa.
It takes six months for Eames to finally move in. In a way that means he finds room in the closet for his beige socks and white underpants.
It takes a year for Arthur to agree to buy that hideous bed that according to Eames makes the home sickness lighter, his Kenyan bed is exactly like it. (It isn’t, Arthur has seen that bed and it’s not this!) But he doesn’t protest. Eames stays home for three weeks after showing the delivery guys in, most of that he spends in bed…with Arthur. Arthur has to give in as much as to say that it’s an excellent bed, it doesn’t creak at all.
Eames likes Arthur’s bathroom, it’s nothing fancy but the tub is good sized for both of them. Before Inception they hadn’t talked in four months but after arriving to Arthur’s place after the job was done they joined silently to this familiar bathroom and just quietly held each other in the warm water. They slowly began talking about everything they’d missed talking to each other while apart.
Arthur’s office had always been out of bounds for Eames. He’d been there twice in two years and had never felt he wasn’t invited there, office was just…Arthur’s office. When he returned from a psychology seminar in Oxford Arthur jumped behind him, covering his eyes: “I have a surprise!” With a slow, hugging included, walk he found himself standing in a renovated office with a huge table standing in the middle. Arthur was smiling: “Well, how do you like it? Say something!”
“It’s lovely darling.”
When neighbours drainage and plumbing renovation had to be extended to their backyard, they rebuilt the garden and the terrace together and sat there side by side whenever they had time, enjoying life together.
Last year I went on a diet and drank lots of water everyday I became a bit lighter and everyone thought I was bleaching even when I told them I wasn't so I know how you feel
I used to be extremely light when I was younger, got darker through the years (which I loved because I was actually the color of chocolate) now, I’m getting over a week-long sickness and I got lighter again so *shrugs*