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Fic: Playing the Player

Title: Playing the Player
Author: zeto
Characters/Pairing: Arthur/Eames
Rating: R, language and snogging
Word Count: 1, 800+
Spoilers: The movie.
Disclaimer: Inception is Christopher Nolan's amazing creation. I don't own these brilliant characters.
Arthur'sAuthor's Note: Post-movie but everyone in the group is still together at a meeting to debrief on the Fischer job, tie off all the neat ends and to celebrate. Inspired by a certain interview of the Inception Cast, and by siriuslyyellow's amazing icons of Tom Hardy winking and making me all $!#)&^$@%#&%%*!! Also, yay for armless chairs. ;) Brownie points if you know exactly which interview and which picture of Tom Hardy I'm talking about.
Also, there was a plot to this, I swear. And then it went away. *sweatdrop*

It, like all bad ideas, had seemed like a good one, in the beginning. Gambling. With a business tycoon, a college girl, a chemist, an extractor who weaves through people's minds and makes a living out of reading them, and a gambler.

Gee, what could go wrong, a voice dryly pipes up in Arthur's head.

He tells the voice to shut it and calls, matching the chips Ariadne has already contributed to the pot.

Two minutes later, Arthur's jaw drops. He quickly repairs the expression on his face and snaps his mouth shut but he is sure everyone has already seen. From the careful way Ariadne and Saito refuse to look at him, he suspects they are holding back laughter. Cobb and Yusuf have slight smiles on their faces. And Eames, well, he is outright cackling.

The bastard.

Ariadne sweeps up the chips with an apologetic at the Point Man. “I have four older brothers. Friday nights were usually Poker Night. You don't just play the cards, you play the player.”

It is half an hour later when Saito gracefully bows out, a wry smile on his lips. “Gentlemen, Ariadne, I think I shall call it a night. Even I know when it is a lost cause, as you Westerners call it.”

Yusuf wins the next two hands with Big Slick and pocket sevens.

Arthur gives him the evil eye, promising certain doom. His investment of half his remaining stack had been riding on his ace-ten and king-queen suited.

Yusuf's winnings don't last long though because the new resident Architect takes it all away, and then some. With a rueful smile, the chemist takes his leave of the group.

The hours whittle away while Cobb is whittled of his chips. He eyes Eames, eyebrows cocked in his very unique Cobb way, the one that says he knows you're upto something, and Eames gives him an easy, innocent smile. The Brit gives a careless shrug, one that reads c'est la vie.

Then Arthur is out of the game, taken down by Ariadne, this time for good. Instead of packing up and retiring for the night as Cobb has just done, he decides he wants to see how this plays out. The gambler versus the child prodigy. Though technically she's not a child anymore. But she is still the youngest of the group, by far, and Arthur figures that has to count for something.

Eventually Eames reels her in, playing her like a beloved violin, with a tiny pair. Cracks her aces. “Pair of deuce, never lose, sweetheart,” he offers her a breezy grin.

For all his knowledge and researching, Arthur knows poker isn't really something you can study. Oh, he knows one can learn all the odds, all the outs and calculate till the cows come home but Eames has made a living of reading people, learning people and becoming them; that will always give him an edge over his opponents.

It's what makes him so charming, so charismatic. He can take any volatile situation and defuse it like he were breaking up a fight between kittens.

Ariadne congratulates him on a well-played game. Seeing as it's approaching one in the morning, she takes her leave of them, bidding them a good night.

Arthur stands, ready to head back to his hotel room but Eames gives him a slow smirk.

“How about a little heads up?”

“It's getting late,” he declines. “And I've no chips.”

Eames silently pushes half of the coloured, circular tokens towards the younger man. “Let's play for knowledge. I reckon an old chap like you relishes that sort of thing. Every hand won garners the winner, that's me, by the way, a question and the loser, that's you, must answer truthfully. And whoever ends up with all the chips gets whatever he wants from the loser.”

Eyes narrowing, Arthur drops back into his seat, knowing he's taking the bait but not caring. “All right. You're on.”


The first hand goes to Arthur. Eames isn't sure what the question will be but he realizes he's looking forward to it.

“Who was your first forgery?”

Eames looks startled, and a little thrill blossoms inside of Arthur's chest. He obviously hadn't expected that for a question.

“I'll show you the next time we're in a dreamscape; it'll be easier,” he promises. “It's usually best to start off with something similar to your own body type first. It took me a long time to correctly forge a woman.”

Arthur checks his cards. Ten-eight off-suit. He can either bluff his way through it, and potentially win a lot of chips or he could lose a lot of chips if Eames catches on, and still have to answer a question. Or he could fold and answer without losing any ground.

The flop came. King, king, two.

Eames doesn't even bother to check his cards again. He tosses in a small stack of chips, his grey eyes never straying from Arthur's face.

Arthur calls his bet.

Without a second of dawdling, Eames adds half of.

The Point Man hesitates. Stares hard at Eames who coolly meets his gaze. He can feel the silence and the heat of Eames' gaze bearing down on him, and he fights back the urge to swallow. After a few seconds, he mucks his hand, letting out a small noise of disgust.

Eames watches him, a vaguely-amused look in his eyes.

“Your question?” Arthur finally breaks the silence, unable to take the gaze.

“What was it like in the gravity-free dream?”

Well, well. That isn't the question Arthur expects. It seems they are both full of surprises tonight. He pauses, and gives the question some serious consideration.

“This was just about the hardest thing I've ever done in my life, physically. And maybe the most fun I've ever had in my life physically...with my clothes on..."

There is an awkward silence. Eames stares at him, a little dumbfounded, brows knitted. He looks as though he thinks he misheard the younger man.

“Well, it wasn't really fun at the time. What with the projections trying to kill me, after all. But how often does one get to experience that? Probably never, unless you work for NASA.”

“Oh yes, I see it now. Point Man Extraordinaire, Arthur, fucking with NASA since 2010,” Eames laughs and the sound travels straight through Arthur, hitting him in the gut. He can't stop looking at Eames and his lush, full lips. It leaves him a little breathless, and he's beginning to think that maybe, just maybe, he's so very fucked.

Eames', leaning on one elbow, smiles back. There's something in his eyes, not quite amusement but close. “Darling, if that's the 'most fun you've ever had in your life physically...with your clothes on', I'm going to have to rectify that,” he drawls and and then he winks at Arthur.

He fucking winks. It stops Arthur's heart for an instant, and he forgets to breathe. When he does remember to inhale a few seconds later, it feels like there is something caught in his throat. And he's helpless to stop the slight blush from heating his cheeks. He looks away instead, resisting the urge to fiddle with his hands or his totem. He's never been prone to nervous fidgeting, and he's not about to start now.

“Stop that,” he mutters.

“Stop what?”

Arthur looks up. Eames, with a hungry gleam in his eyes, is still watching him like a hawk. Like he knows all of Arthur's secrets and fears and dreams. Like he knows each and every one of Arthur's guilty, dirty fantasies. Like he knows exactly how to make them all come true.


“Darling, I don't have a bloody clue as to what you are referring to,” the Brit replies, all innocence and cheerfullness.

That's it.

The younger man sends his pile of chips towards Eames', eyes dark with annoyance. He looks ready to flip the table, and send it crashing to the ground. Rising to his feet in one fluid motion with his coat flaring, Arthur makes his way around the large, felt poker table. Confused, Eames is rising to his feet when he arrives, but Arthur places one hand on his chest and shoves. He sends the older man falling back into his seat with a slight grunt. He's lucky the other man doesn't rock back vehemently and topple to the floor instead.

“What the hell, Arthur?” he demands, affronted.

“You!” The Point Man jabs him in the chest roughly with a finger.

Eames is half expecting to be slugged. Hard.

Instead, Arthur swiftly straddles him, trapping him in the armless chair. Hands fisting in Eames' shirt, he quickly slants his mouth over Eames' and shuts him up. They kiss until they're breathless, hands roaming and tugging shirts free, mapping out smooth flesh, memorizing the curves and angles. Fingers caught in unruly brown locks, Arthur grinds down against the older man, eliciting a gasp.

“You,” Arthur mumbles against his ear before biting down on the lobe, “are such a jerk.”

Eames chuckles until he feels the teeth sink in. Breath hitching, he fights back a whimper. “Darling, are you trying to kill me here?”

“It would be no less than you deserve,” he replies.

“But we haven't even gotten to have the most fun you've ever had with your clothes on,” protested the Brit, laughter lighting up his grey eyes.

Arthur groans. “You're never going to let that go, are you?”

“Not on your life, love.”

Love. Arthur thinks he likes the sound of that. And he demonstrates just how much by kissing Eames until there's nothing left in the world but them. Until all he can hear, taste and feel is Eames.

A little while later, Eames pulls back. “Now to collect my prize,” the older man grins rakishly. “What should I claim from you, hm?”

Arthur is puzzled. “What do you mean? The game's not over yet.”

“The game, darling, concluded when you sent your chips crashing into mine. That is a clear sign of a concession.”

Arthur turns his head and glances back quickly. Sure enough, he has inadvertently gotten their chips mixed up. He resists the urge to groan, head falling onto Eames' shoulder, a muffled swear word reaching Eames' ears.

“Ah, love, don't you know? There are poker players and then there are players.”

Ariadne's words echo back in his mind as he realizes the players Eames is talking about, are of an entirely different sort. As he realizes he's been had and he's done exactly what Eames wanted him to do, the older man purrs in his ear.

“Never play a player.”


Feedback is, as always, much appreciated.

Tag, You're It:


( 34 traces — Leave a trace )
Aug. 21st, 2010 01:54 pm (UTC)

\o\ /o/ \o/

Love the part where Ariadne crushes them all at poke and then gets steamrollered by Eames.

And I'm with you - hallelujah for armless chairs. :3
Aug. 21st, 2010 01:59 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much for reading it! :3 I'm glad you like it~
Aug. 21st, 2010 02:20 pm (UTC)
Psh, this was delightful!

I love how Eames totally smoked Ariadne after she finished off the rest of the team. And the questions! I was happily surprised they weren't immediately something sexual/relationship-wise. Very, very nice. =)

I definitely know the icon. But I'm not certain on the interview. Hm.
Aug. 21st, 2010 02:28 pm (UTC)
To be honest, there wasn't going to be any snogging in the chair and it was actually going to go a little more in-depth with the questioning but my Arthur muse sort of stole my fingers and brain and ran away, straight into Eames' arms, haha. Tom Hardy's winking didn't help. :P

I was serious about giving this fic some plot, hahaha.
Aug. 21st, 2010 02:32 pm (UTC)
Haha. Yeah, well...that's like what happened to me on my last chapter. It totally wasn't going to go that way but whatever. In your case it worked out nicely. However, if you want to revisit the questioning at a later time, I would not be opposed.

Aug. 21st, 2010 02:31 pm (UTC)

The interview. The line is at 0:30 to 0:35. And the most highest-rated comment was mine, lol. The commenter WingZeto may seem familiar. *coughcough*
Aug. 21st, 2010 02:32 pm (UTC)
Oh, thank you! I'll look at it when I get the time.
Aug. 21st, 2010 02:35 pm (UTC)
Let me know what you think of it, haha.

Also, thanks for reading my fic! I'm super glad you enjoyed it~
Aug. 21st, 2010 03:19 pm (UTC)
OMG. Tom's face when he says it. ::snickers::

I had seen this interview, well, part of it. I wasn't aware there was more. Oops. Lol. Thank you so much for sending the link!

Thank you for sharing your fic! It was enjoyable. :D
Aug. 21st, 2010 02:51 pm (UTC)
poker time is sexy time! \O/

lol this was great!
Aug. 21st, 2010 02:56 pm (UTC)
Hahaha, I'll keep that in mind when I get the chance to deal poker at work. ;)

Thanks and glad you like the fic!
(Deleted comment)
Aug. 21st, 2010 02:56 pm (UTC)
Why thank you! :)
Aug. 21st, 2010 03:31 pm (UTC)
That interview kills me. Oh, JGL... (Or, in this case: Oh, Arthur...)
Thank you for going there and writing this. :) Love it. <333
Aug. 21st, 2010 06:26 pm (UTC)
I had to. This fic was begging to be writ. <3 Thanks for reading! I'm glad you enjoyed it. ^^
Aug. 21st, 2010 05:26 pm (UTC)
Oh. Oh oh oh oh oh. I know this interview, and you used it, and the visual, OH DEAR THE VISUALS.
IMHO this the only appropriate icon for post.
Aug. 21st, 2010 06:27 pm (UTC)
I didn't want to give said icon away because people get brownies points for it. ^_~ But since you insist...

I'm glad you enjoyed the fic!
Aug. 21st, 2010 05:57 pm (UTC)
Oooooo nice that you added this “This was just about the hardest thing I've ever done in my life, physically. And maybe the most fun I've ever had in my life physically...with my clothes on..." into the dialog. lol
Aug. 21st, 2010 06:28 pm (UTC)
JGL made me do it. xD

Thanks for reading~!
Aug. 21st, 2010 06:22 pm (UTC)
Aug. 21st, 2010 06:29 pm (UTC)
Wow! All capitals. xD That's quite a compliment.

I'm super glad you enjoyed the fic! Thanks for reading~
Aug. 21st, 2010 06:32 pm (UTC)
LOL I've came to the conclusion that Billy Mays speak is the best way to tell people how much I've enjoyed something via Internets. ;)

Definitely loved it, bb! <3
Aug. 21st, 2010 06:36 pm (UTC)
Personally I'm for the Old Spice commercial man, Isaiah Mustafa.


This man's voice is like liquid sex, I swear to god.
Aug. 21st, 2010 06:39 pm (UTC)
LOL YES Omg I love his voice. 8)

And that commercial kills me every time, omg.
Aug. 21st, 2010 06:50 pm (UTC)
I think I've seen it five times in the last two weeks. xD It makes me wish there was an Old Spice deodorant for women because that commercial totally has me sold on the product. xD
Aug. 21st, 2010 06:37 pm (UTC)
:DDD Awkward silence after JGL says the hallway scene was the most fun he'd had, physically, with his clothes on, yes. lmao

Very cute, sexy little story, thanks so much for sharing!
Aug. 21st, 2010 06:48 pm (UTC)
Thanks for reading! ^_~
Aug. 21st, 2010 07:54 pm (UTC)
Haha! I love that part of the interview! (And his nervous laughter afterwards. God, JGL will slay me with his cuteness one day.) This fic was awesome. I like that you had them ask each other rather harmless questions instead of what was expected. And Ariadne beating everyone, besides Eames, was a nice touch.
Aug. 22nd, 2010 12:49 am (UTC)
That's because I actually had a plot with the questions, haha. But as I said, the plot sort of went away. xD

Thanks for reading! Glad you liked it!
(Deleted comment)
Aug. 22nd, 2010 10:32 am (UTC)
I think Arthur would (secretly) beg to differ...mmm, Arthur begging...I mean, I bet he thinks Eames is made of win all the time. xD

Thanks for reading! :)
Aug. 22nd, 2010 04:58 am (UTC)
"“This was just about the hardest thing I've ever done in my life, physically. And maybe the most fun I've ever had in my life physically...with my clothes on..."

There is an awkward silence. Eames stares at him, a little dumbfounded, brows knitted."

Tom's face in the background when Joe says that is freakin' gold. I kept backing it up and watching it over and over because it was so hilarious. It really looks like he was thinking of taking Joe to task for a second. I'd love to have heard the conversation off camera after the interview because you just KNOW they had one!

Love the fic, many thanks. :D
Aug. 22nd, 2010 10:34 am (UTC)
Clearly, Tom was like "Oh baby, if that's the most fun you've had with your clothes on, something is wrong...Let me fix that for you. *winkwinknudgenudge*".

Thanks for reading it! Glad you enjoyed it. xD
Aug. 22nd, 2010 09:06 pm (UTC)
Woohoo, yes! A poker fic! I've been waiting for one and honey, you did NOT disappoint :D Loved it!

Also, like everyone else imma high five you through the internet for using that interview quote so brilliantly *g*
Aug. 22nd, 2010 10:49 pm (UTC)
Hahaha, having a job working in the casino is good for something then.

Aww, thanks. Super glad you liked it. :)

That quote was begging to be used. >:D
( 34 traces — Leave a trace )