Word count: 536words
Warnings: mild violence.
His smile is all teeth and blood, a flash of something in his eyes that doesn’t quite reflect his amusement so much as it promises him pain. A helluva lot of pain if Eames is to be any judge on the matter. He shivers to see that look on Arthur’s face, that look directed at him, but he can’t bring himself to look away, to pretend as if he didn’t bring this all on himself. His knuckles hurt from where they connected against Arthur’s mouth, the blow all but knocking Arthur from his feet.
Trained in a myriad of ways to both protect himself and disarm an opponent, it is more than a little surprising that the punch connected at all. Eames can only reason that Arthur let him do it. He doubts he has the ability to surprise the other man any more, though, that he’d raised his hand to Arthur at all has surely been a surprise to himself.
“You get that one for free, Mr Eames,” Arthur says, his voice low and dangerous and Eames shivers. His anger has left him, the adrenaline of the argument too. He can barely remember what they’ve been fighting over, just that it doesn’t seem all that important now. Certainly not something to have hit Arthur over.
God, he thinks, watching Arthur run his tongue over his teeth, and sucking at the split of his lip. He can see where the bruise will form across the right side of his mouth already and he winces inwardly. I hit Arthur.
“Arthur,” he starts, stopping when he sees that Arthur’s tongue leaves more blood on his bottom lip than it licks up.
“I’m sorry,” he breathes, reaching out almost unconsciously, his fingers twitching in their desire to touch, to soothe, to make what they can better. His knuckles are bloody from where they smashed against Arthur’s teeth.
Arthur’s flinch says more than his words and Eames’ hand drops once more between them, hanging limply at his side. Arthur smiles again and Eames realises that Arthur won’t hit him back, that the pain Arthur would inflict on him would never come from something so fleeting as a punch.
Almost casually Arthur turns his face the other way, offering Eames the other cheek with a daring raise of his eyebrow. Eames’ stomach rolls and cramps and he takes a step backwards, away, he wants to turn tail and run but he refuses to allow himself the luxury of an escape.
“No?” Arthur asks, and he’s still smiling. Eames knows it must hurt him to stretch his face so wide, to curl his lips in such mockery. He thinks it hurts him more to see Arthur do it. He thinks Arthur knows.
“Well then,” Arthur says. And that’s the end of that.
He doesn’t say goodbye. He doesn’t say another word. The quiet snick of the door closing behind him is the only sound Eames hears over the sudden rush of blood now pounding against his ears. His legs weaken and he finds himself half-falling to the floor of the bedroom. Of their bedroom.
I hit Arthur. He thinks again and wonders why it feels like he’s the one who’s been punched.