baby, it's cold outside
pg, 1240 words
Arthur and Eames work on a Christmas tree farm.
When you work on a Christmas tree farm, there's usually only two ways your life can go.
Arthur prefers to think that his response is the perfectly logical one. No matter what anyone else says, he doesn't hate Christmas - he just has a healthy dose of dislike towards it. It makes perfect sense, really, if you think about - he's exposed to Christmas so much that by the time Christmas actually comes around, he's so sick of it that all he wants to do is lock all the doors, block out the sound of any crazy carolers, and curl up in bed with a nice book and a cup of coffee. Regardless of what Eames says, it doesn't make him the Grinch or anything. He's just not a big fan of Christmas.
The other response, of course, is to defy all laws of logic and end up absolutely loving Christmas, nevermind the fact that you work on a Christmas tree farm and your whole life is Christmas. You end up being the really obnoxious, Christmas sweater-wearing, gingerbread-cookie-making person who spends the entire month of December humming carols and wrapping presents with obnoxiously-colored wrapping paper and listening to Kylie Minogue singing Santa Baby and other equally intolerable songs on the radio.
... Okay, fine. Yes, he's describing Eames.
On Christmas Eve, Arthur doesn't finish his shift until half past seven. He's technically only supposed to work until five, but it's the holiday season, and he'd drawn the short end of the stick, and apparently there are crazy people in the world who are still buying trees on Christmas Eve.
He trudges over to Eames' apartment afterward, because in a moment of weakness last week, he'd agreed to have dinner with him. He regrets it now though, because it started snowing two hours ago, and Eames lives a half-hour walk away, and Arthur doesn't have an umbrella.
By the time he gets to Eames' apartment, he's freezing and dripping water.
Eames, who'd apparently been wandering around in his apartment in a Santa hat, answers the door with a delighted smile. "Darling, you're here!" he says, pulling Arthur in and shutting the door behind him. "I was just getting dinner ready."
"I'm dripping all over your welcome mat," Arthur tells him. "Also, you look ridiculous."
Eames beams at him and hands him a stack of towels plus a change of clothing. Arthur lets himself be pointed towards the washroom, where he miserably rubs at his hair before glaring at the t-shirt Eames has given him. It's a mustard yellow and way too big at the shoulders, and Arthur looks like he's drowning in it. The drawstring pants fit okay though, and he gives his image in the mirror another self-conscious glance before venturing out.
He immediately regrets it. Eames' living room is full off Christmas decorations. There are plates of cooling gingerbread men laid out on the kitchen counter, the radio is on, and it hurts Arthur's eyes a little to look at the tree.
"There you are," Eames says, bringing out two plates filled with ham and mashed potatoes and a platter of cheese chunks. "Honey-baked ham," he says in response to Arthur's raised eyebrow, motioning for him to sit.
The food is stupidly delicious. By the time Arthur's cleared his plate (twice), and polished off the freshly baked banana bread for dessert, he's stuffed and only too happy to collapse on Eames' couch and not move for a few hours, even if he hates the reruns of A Charlie Brown Christmas that's always on TV.
It's nearing midnight when Arthur sighs and forces himself to stand up, knowing that if he doesn't leave now, he's never going to manage to drag himself away from the warm cocoon of Eames' couch.
"You should just stay over, you know," Eames says, watching him.
Arthur shakes his head. "I should go, really." He feels strangely reluctant, and admits, if only to himself, that obnoxious Christmas decorations aside, it's been a surprisingly nice evening.
"I'll get you your clothing then - I think your shirt is dry already," Eames says, standing up too. "You can keep the pants until later."
He disappears into the next room, and reappears again a few minutes later, handing Arthur his blue button-down. Arthur takes it, and is about to make use of the washroom again when Eames grasps his arm.
"Mistletoe," Eames says, pointing above their heads. "You're not going to deny me a kiss before you leave, are you? Not during my favourite holiday?"
Arthur has every intention of denying him, but then he remembers how ridiculously delicious dinner had been, and Eames had probably spent hours making it. There's a strange, warm feeling in his stomach, and fine, Arthur can give Eames his stupid Christmas tradition just this once.
Before Eames can complain any more, he leans over and presses his lips to Eames'.
When he pulls back a moment later (simultaneously too long and not long enough), his own heartbeat is quicker than usual and Eames is looking at him with wide eyes. It occurs to Arthur too late that Eames had probably meant a kiss on the cheek. Flushing, he begins to pull away, but Eames' hands have wrapped around his waist without him noticing.
"Arthur," Eames breathes, voice soft and slightly stunned, and Arthur stills.
They stare at each other for a second. Eames' eyes are unreadable, and Arthur is wondering what the hell the appropriate response would be when Eames leans closer, slowly, clearly waiting to see if Arthur would pull away.
Arthur stays exactly where he is.
Their second kiss is longer than the first one. Eames is tentative, obviously still trying to gauge Arthur's reaction. Arthur lets him for about ten seconds before he thinks fuck this, and leans closer to kiss Eames properly.
Eames makes a small sound at the back of his throat. He tastes like eggnog and banana bread, and without thinking, Arthur navigates them back until Eames is pressed against the wall. Skimming his hands against the edge of Eames' t-shirt, he pulls back, question in his eyes.
Eames grins at him, and the atmosphere shifts suddenly as something playful appears in his expression. "Darling, I'm flattered," he says, raising his arms so that Arthur can slide his shirt off.
The radio is still on, and it abruptly occurs to Arthur that he's making out to Christmas music, and it's all Eames' fault. "I hate you," he mumbles, pulling off Eames' undershirt as well. Eames, the bastard, just laughs at him, so Arthur slides a hand down his jeans to shut up him.
Very effective, Arthur thinks in satisfaction as Eames makes another choked sound. "Maybe we should move this to the bedroom," he says smugly.
Eames is only too happy to comply.
Arthur wakes up the next morning to find Eames' arm thrown haphazardly across his waist and their legs tangled together. Also, he's lying on a wet spot.
"Merry Christmas, darling," Eames says from the vicinity of his left ear.
"Move over," Arthur says in response, shifting them back until he's satisfied.
Eames laughs. "You know, maybe next year, I can even talk you into putting up a Christmas tree," he says happily, and Arthur can't decide if he wants to kick him or kiss him.
So he does both.
"Ow," Eames says, far too brightly, then happily proceeds to kiss him back.
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