Aug. 8th, 2011 11:48 am
eternalsojourn: Legs (Default)
[personal profile] eternalsojourn
Rating: NC-17
Word Count: ~3200
Warnings: Oblique reference to homophobia, Barebacking between strangers
Summary: During the depression era, Arthur rides the rails to escape his life. He meets a gambler and a thief, and discovers more than he expected as he hurtles in the dark through the heartland of America.
Beta: [ profile] countrypixie1, and some much-needed cheerleading from [ profile] hungerpunch. Thank you, ladies, I would have stalled on this without you. Your research is also going to spoil me. A special thanks to [ profile] sneaqui for acting as consultant on the poker sections. If I've still got it wrong, it's no fault of hers.
A/N: This is a birthday gift for [ profile] night_reveals. It was inspired by a brief scene in Avatar: The Last Airbender, and somewhat by The Gambler by Kenny Rogers, but mostly is just an excuse to write drifter!Eames and some depression-era lovin’.


Arthur heaves his duffel bag into the boxcar, trotting along beside the slow-moving train. It’s slowly picking up speed, lumbering along, so he wastes no time running alongside and hoisting himself in.

It’s more tiring than he expected, and the dust kicked up by the train coupled with the sleepless travel he’s done overland to even get there have him feeling grimy. He hadn’t dared try to catch a ride with anyone; his town was too small, the people too nosy, and the likelihood that he’d be driven straight back to his dad’s house was too great. He shuts down that line of thought; he’s away now, and that was the whole fucking point, wasn’t it? To not have to think of him and that place any more.

He’s just dusting off his knees when he looks up and sees a pair of booted feet sticking out of a dark shadow in the corner of the nearly-empty container carriage. His eyes adjust to the dimness of the interior and he sees a man rolling a cigarette and eyeing him warily.

“Oh hello,” Arthur says, unsure of the protocol. “I didn’t realize...” he stops. How could he have known there was anyone here? “I’m Arthur,” he says instead. He takes off his hat and steps forward to shake the man’s hand.

The man has just finished rolling his cigarette, places it between his lips and leans forward to take Arthur’s hand. “Eames,” he says, squinting slightly and speaking around his cigarette. His grip is firm, the handshake brief before he sits back and strikes a match. The glow burns brightly for a moment in the shadows of the carriage.

Arthur wants to ask for one, but his pride stops him. He left home with nothing but the clothes he’s been mending and re-mending for the past few years and the little money he’s been stashing away for himself. And a flask of whisky he’d swiped from the old man, but it wouldn’t do to reveal too much about his possessions.

“You play cards, Arthur?”

“Hm?” Arthur frowns as he places his bag in the adjacent corner to Eames’s.

“Cards. It’s a long way to the next stop and there’s a good hour of daylight left.” Eames takes a long drag then blows a smoke ring, watches it quiver then dissipate.

“Yeah, sure,” Arthur smiles, huffs through his nose. He sits on the hard surface of the box car. “I don’t have much to put up for stakes, though.”

Eames smiles wryly. “Who does these days? However I do find a man always has something worth offering.” Seeing Arthur’s wary look, he laughs. “Not to worry; I have some poker chips.”

When Arthur is settled, Eames deals, swift and sure, and the first few hands are cautious as they feel each other out. Eames is good — very good. Arthur wins a few hands through some strategic bluffing and some lucky cards, but his pile gradually dwindles. They speak little; Eames doesn’t offer much, and Arthur is disinclined to talk about himself. He’s aware that they’re both watching carefully, gleaning information.

“You play a safe game, Arthur. It’ll keep you in it, but it won’t help you win,” Eames says as he pulls the small pile of chips to himself. As he deals the cards once more, his eyes flick up to Arthur’s.

Arthur examines his cards. He has three nines, the two of hearts and the four of spades. He drops the last two and Eames give him two more. Two sixes: a club and a diamond. Full house.

Eames tosses one of his own, picks up another. He slots it in neatly amid the others and looks up at Arthur, expressionless.

“We’re almost out of daylight. Make this the final hand, up the stakes?”

“Like I said, I have nothing,” Arthur replies.

“And like I said, a man has more worth than the trinkets he carries.” His expression is teasing but sharp.

“What then?” Arthur asks impatiently.

“I could use a partner on a... job. In Kansas City. I need someone who looks respectable, someone who can keep a straight face. If I win this hand, you come with me. If you win, well. Is there anything I have that you want?”

Arthur stares at Eames evenly, assessing. ‘Job’, to a drifter, to someone like Eames, probably means thievery. While Arthur had hoped for honest work, he isn’t fool enough to turn away from other modes of getting by. Whether he can trust Eames is another matter entirely. But it’s likely moot with his full house.

“You have a blade strapped to your right leg. Let me see it,” he says by way of reply.

Eames smirks, twitches up an eyebrow. He calmly pulls up his trouser leg and slips the knife from its holster, handing it over.

It’s a fine blade, pearl-handled with good steel. Arthur can see the value in such a thing when you’re alone and scratching out a life from the barren economic wasteland of America. He flicks his thumb over its edge; it’s sharp enough to shave with.

He hands it back over and lifts his chin, indicating his agreement to the terms.

“Let’s see what you’ve got, then,” Eames says, a challenge in his eye.

Arthur lays his cards down neatly on the floor of the boxcar, running a finger lightly over them. Without lifting his head, he looks up at Eames from under his brows.

Eames taps the back of his cards for a moment with his forefinger. He’s completely inscrutable, and Arthur has a flare of anger and impatience. With a lick to the corner of his mouth, Eames lays his cards down: a ten and four kings.

Arthur’s nostrils flare. The odds were... unlikely. But even among the homeless with no money and no place to go, there are rules. He accepts his defeat with grace. Truthfully, the prospect of doing something with Eames, of taking control and being able to afford to eat more than just barely enough to stave off hunger, twinges something in Arthur’s gut that feels dangerously like hope.

“If you don’t mind me saying, mate, you strike me as a man who’s out of aces,” Eames says as he tidies away his chips and cards.

Arthur flexes his jaw and meets Eames’s glance with a sharp one of his own. “Coming from a man riding a boxcar with nothing but a blade and a bag.”

“Touché,” Eames says, zipping his bag tight. “I think I have enough tobacco for two snipes — you want one?”

Arthur nods and smiles in gratitude, then opens his own bag to bring out his flask of whisky. He hands it over and Eames raises his eyebrows, takes it and tilts it in Arthur’s direction in a silent thanks. He takes a swig, wipes his lip with his thumb and says, “So what’s your story, morning glory?” as he hands back the flask.

“Same as anyone’s. No work to be had and I just had to get out, you know?” Arthur takes a drink. “What about you, why are you here?”

“Let’s just say I wasn’t wanted by certain people, and wanted by others, and it added up to an environment worth leaving if I valued my health and freedom. I came here by boat, and have made my way by wit and charm ever since. It’s worked out well, as you can plainly see.”

Arthur smiles but hasn’t missed how Eames has managed to tell him nothing at all. Arthur isn’t sure he trusts Eames’s charm, finds his grin compelling but suspects it’s covering something underneath. He hands across his flask again nonetheless which Eames takes gracefully.

After another pull, Eames hands it back and says, “I don’t know about you, Arthur, but I’m knackered.” He doesn’t wait for any acknowledgement; he just pulls a worn old topcoat out of his bag, drapes it over himself and shifts the contents of his bag around slightly to use it as a pillow.

Arthur, for his part, takes one last slug of whisky, feeling the comforting burn, though the taste leaves something to be desired. He settles himself in his corner, no suitable clothes to use as a blanket so he just makes himself as comfortable as he can.

The sun has set fully while they drank, and the darkness has crept in on them, engulfing them fully. It settles on Arthur’s skin, and at first the cool night air is soothing after the heat of the day, but before long it begins to sap his body heat. He lays, staring into the darkness, uncertain what he’s signed himself on for.

He doesn’t know this man, hates going into a situation blind. The train will be pulling into Kansas City in the morning, likely just after dawn. He has no idea what’ll happen then, where Eames will take him, how long Arthur will have to make a backup plan — or an escape plan, whichever the case may be. If he wants to know more, it needs to happen now.

He listens closely to the deep, even breathing coming from across the car. He sits up and looks around; there is a full moon tonight, clear and bright, cold. Its blue light bathes the car, though it doesn’t penetrate the inky blackness of the corners.

Arthur moves forward silently, alert to any changes in Eames’s breathing, but Eames is fast asleep. When he approaches, he crouches close and stares into the blackness, waiting for his eyes to adjust. It takes a few minutes, but eventually he can make out the blurred edges of Eames’s form.

With Eames’s head on his bag, there isn’t much chance of seeing what’s in there, but his coat is laid out. Arthur reaches out and ghosts his fingers across the material, feeling for the pockets. When he finds one he gently, slowly slides his fingers inside. His fingers brush across the edges of some papers and he’s about to lift them out when Eames’s hand clamps over his wrist.

“You’ve some dangerous urges, boy,” he rumbles, voice low but surprisingly clear, not sleep-rough as would be expected.

Arthur’s heart races, his throat constricts. “I wasn’t... I just wanted to know...”

A low growl escapes Eames’s throat. “What the inside of my pockets feel like? Not a good way to start off a partnership.”

Arthur breathes hard, Eames’s fingers still tight on his skin. He doesn’t try to pull away, though. He’s suddenly, absurdly aware of the warmth radiating off Eames’s skin, of the mass of heat under that coat. “You expect me to partner with you, but you won’t tell me who you are.”

“You weren’t exactly forthcoming yourself,” Eames says, biting. And it’s true, Arthur realizes, his stomach lurching. “You want to know something about me?” Eames says, tone shifting to something challenging, almost cruel.

He tightens his grip further and moves Arthur’s hand under the coat, presses it to his clothed erection, and Arthur gasps.

“Is that what you wanted to know? Is that enough information for you?” Eames sounds bitter, dismissive. “This never happened. You go on your way, I won’t have to use the knife, and you can pretend you never met me.”

He lets Arthur’s hand go in a rush, and Arthur, to his own surprise, doesn’t remove it. Instead he runs his thumb along Eames’s length, tracing it under the wool of Eames’s trousers. Eames breathes in once and stares at Arthur, his eyes glittering in the darkness. He reaches down to unbutton his trousers, and grabs Arthur’s hand again, guides it inside, over his underwear. Arthur takes over, curling his fingers over it, gripping it through the cotton.

Arthur leans forward and presses his lips to Eames’s; they’re full and soft, a stark contrast to the roughness of the rest of him. He pushes the coat aside and rests his body over Eames’s, pressing his rapidly hardening cock to Eames’s thigh. The groan that’s uttered into his mouth resonates on his lips, and as Eames’s mouth falls open, Arthur swipes his tongue inside.

Eames is warm and vital underneath him, shifting to press up into Arthur, rolling his hips into Arthur’s grip. Arthur lifts his hand, slips it inside the material to feel the hard, smooth skin of Eames’s cock and the contact makes them both moan. The material brushes Arthur’s knuckles as he grips and begins to shift the skin up and down, reaching one finger up to feel where the foreskin is pulling away from Eames’s cockhead. It smears a globule of precome and Arthur slips his finger through it, wanting to taste it.

He gives in to his urge, lifting his hand to his mouth, breaking the kiss and licking the wetness from his finger. A stuttered “uhhh” escapes Eames’s lips and he sucks in Arthur’s finger as it leaves Arthur’s own lips, then kisses him again hungrily.

The urgency and heat comes off them in waves, radiating out into the cool of the night. Eames undoes Arthur’s trousers, reaches in and tugs at his cock with a few firm jerks, his hand hot and dry. He continues for only a moment, though, before moving out from underneath and yanking Arthur’s trousers down. It’s rough and crude, but Arthur doesn’t care; he needs Eames’s hands on him, wants to be pressed down, to feel Eames’s weight on him. He needs to feel skin, to be close to a body, to this body.

Eames turns Arthur over, licks his fingers obscenely and rubs them over Arthur’s hole. Arthur braces himself; he’s worked himself with his own fingers, but it’s been a long time since anyone else has touched him like this. Eames is firm but considerate, pressing in one finger, sinking to the knuckles. It’s fantastic, thicker than his own finger, but not enough. He thinks he says, “More,” but he can’t be sure, and in any case Eames is just taking as he pleases. When Arthur looks over his shoulder, he sees Eames wetting his fingers further and when he returns, he sinks three fingers in. It’s a stretch that verges on painful but Arthur presses up into it, bears down on them and relishes the intrusion.

Eames twists, thrusts his fingers in and out a few times before removing them, wetting his cock and pressing the fat head of it against Arthur’s entrance. It’s a blunt pressure for a moment before Arthur opens to it suddenly, the head of Eames’s cock slipping past the resistance and Eames sinks in, a steady, slow press.

Arthur can feel Eames’s trousers against his thighs, the buttons cold against his skin. Eames’s weight is heavy above him, leaning hard on his ass as Eames bottoms out. Eames’s broad hand reaches around to grip Arthur by the jaw, turns his head so that Eames can lick into Arthur’s mouth while he fucks him. The ground is hard below him, bruising Arthur’s knees and Arthur feels compressed; it’s glorious, perfect and warm; rough but comforting. As crushed and trapped as he feels here, it’s so much better than the claustrophobia of his old life. As Eames drives into him, it’s like he’s digging out Arthur’s past, carving a new shape into him, a new life.

Arthur presses up onto his knees, reaches for his own cock and grips it with just his fingers, stroking the skin desperately, quickly as Eames wraps a strong arm around his torso. With Eames rooting deep inside him and his frantic rubbing of his own cock, Arthur is soon splashing onto the floor of the train as it rumbles through the darkness.

As he shudders off his orgasm, Eames holds him up and slams in again and again, the sound of slapping skin almost drowned out by the rumbling of the train. Gripped like that, held close and used, Arthur feels almost... valued, and this place here is someplace he fits. He feels Eames’s forehead on his spine and it’s a benediction.

He arches back, loose and pliant but wanting to pull Eames in further, presses his hips back into Eames in time with the thrusts until Eames groans, long and loud, stutters and fills Arthur with warmth.

When Eames pulls out, Arthur feels a rush of come dripping out of himself, a hot trickle down his sac. He reaches between his legs to run his fingers through it, stop it from dripping onto his clothes.

Eames keeps his hand wrapped around Arthur as he shifts to the side, settles himself to rest on his bag once more. Arthur goes with him, but changes his mind, removing his trousers first before slipping in beside Eames and pulling the coat over both of them. It’s possible Eames expects him to return to his own space, but Arthur is reluctant to go back to the chill.

He needn’t have worried; Eames rests a heavy arm over Arthur’s waist and presses his lips to Arthur’s shoulder through his shirt, then on his neck, soft and tender.

There are no words to summarize Arthur’s thoughts so he says nothing, just looks for a space on Eames’s bag to rest his head. Eames reaches up and moves it so that there’s room enough for both.

Exhausted to the bone, Arthur drops off in seconds.


“You don’t have to come,” rumbles the voice in Arthur’s ear as the first rays of sunlight illuminate the carriage. They’re almost in Kansas City, and will have to jump out before the station. The speed of the train suggests they’re not there yet.

Arthur clears his throat, licks his lips and wipes them with his thumb. “Hm. What?”

“I said, you don’t have to do this. I cheated on that last hand.”

“....what?” Arthur repeats, trying to catch up. “Eames, what the hell are you talking about?”

“The con, Arthur. It would work, I think you’d be perfect for it, but before we get off this train, you should know I cheated. So if you want to go, now’s the time to tell me. I’ll get off here, you get off wherever you like, and we can part ways.”

Arthur, still warm in Eames’s arms, considers this. He could make an honest living. He could try. But it’s not like opportunities have been abundant in his town, nor any town or city he’s heard of. He thinks of the indignity of holding his hat in his hands, begging for work, for food. He thinks of applying his skills, his intelligence to something else and making a living. Of doing that with Eames.

“You said you needed someone with a respectable face. You certainly don’t have one, so it seems you need me,” Arthur says with a smirk.

Eames laughs and nips at Arthur’s shoulder before pushing him off to gather his things. Arthur follows suit, quickly gathering his bag, scanning the boxcar for any stray items.

As the train slows and pulls into the outskirts of Kansas City, they jump out, stumbling slightly but keeping their feet. Ahead of them are farmhouses, fields, and beyond that, the city.

Eames claps his hand to Arthur’s shoulder and breathes into his ear, “Let’s find our mark.”



eternalsojourn: Legs (Default)

February 2015


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