Title: Did You Say It?
Warnings: slash, character death
Summary: Arthur had a reason to have overlooked the information about Fishers mind being militarized, what if that reason was the worst that Eames could have imagined?
Did You Say It?
Arthur pressed his thumb and the two following fingers into the bridge of his nose, trying to push away the pain that pulsated behind it, pulsing that was sometimes interrupted with lightening like instances of agony, nearly making his vision black out for a few seconds. He had taken a few tylenols an hour ago, but it didn't help. It was three o'clock in the morning and he was still at his laptop going through the mails from his various contacts. He still had doubts about this inception job, but Dom was desperate and Eames was just so enthusiastic about it, he could nearly believe that it would work.
The lines in front of him blurred and he flinched as another wave of sharp agony cut through his brain. He groaned and gave up at trying to press it away. He had two options, getting some sleep, well trying to get some, or finishing up with this. He really didn't have a choice, Fishers old man could die at any given moment and any information he could dig up would be useful and could save their lives. On the other hand, Arthur thought bitterly, he couldn't concentrate, nothing made sense, he couldn't even remember what he had read in those last five e-mails. He never forgot these things before.
It scared him. These headaches. They had started roughly after Mal's death. They had been shorter then, less intense. But with every month since then, it had gotten worse. He had wanted to go to his physician after the Cobol job, but Saito had flunked that plan. He would just go after the inception job, if he even had to worry about this afterwards. They could be dead, after all. He heard the shifting of clothes behind him, his only warning before warm hands settled on his shoulders. He couldn't resist a smile, trying to not let the pain bleed into it.
"Hey." he said, leaning back into the touch.
"Hey, darling. Come to bed." Arthur thought about it for a moment and then shrugged, he wasn't able to concentrate on anything anyway. He reached over to his laptop and pushed it close, a soft whirring sound shutting it down into standby. He would look at it tomorrow, it was just some additional intel, probably all things he knew already. And he really wanted to sleep.
"Yeah." he breathed and let himself be dragged off to bed, being carefully laid down and Arthur felt roughened, but cautious fingers remove his clothing as he drifted away into dreamless sleep. And even though he would never say it out loud, his last thought was that, God, he loved that man.
Arthur was back in Arizona. It was two weeks after the Inception Job, now after their success in deserved capital letters, and he had made his trip back to Paris to clean up everything they had left behind in their haste and was now finally home. He had his appointment with his physician half a week ago and was now sitting in front of Dr. Norther, who had been his G.P. since he moved to Pheonix ten years ago. Concluding from his expression, it weren't good news.
"Mr. Bern, the results of your test are back and I am very sorry but it does not look good." Arthurs stomach dropped.
"Okay, what is it?" he asked cautiously, not sure he wanted to know. He could see that it was even difficult for Norther to wring out the words.
"There is a mass in the right side of your brain." he held up a scan from his MRI and Arthur could see a dark shadow the size of a hazelnut. "As we haven't seen any indication of something like this in the scans from last year, we can assume it is growing fast." Arthur had to concentrate to breathe slowly, he was very near on the fringe to hyperventilation.
"Can you operate on it?" he knew the answer from the expression on Northers face.
"It is deep in the part of your motor functions, we'd have to cut through several life-supporting areas. We can't operate, but with the right therapy it could be slowed down, even sized down for a time-" he was interrupted by Arthur's strict voice.
"How long?" the Medical Doctor shifted uncomfortably in his seat.
"One year with the therapy, half without it." Arthur lent back, thinking, stunned. "I will make the necessary arrangements for the chemo-"
"No!" Northers looked startled.
"I don't want the therapy."
"Mr. Bern, I know this comes as a shock, and you are confused, but there are always new therapies developed, and the more time you have the more time we have to find something that might help you." Arthur shook his head.
"No, I know what chemo does to people, and if it can't save me, I don't see any reason why I should suffer any longer." there was a long moment where doctor and patient stared at each other.
"Well, I will subscribe some pain medication, that should help with the headaches and here are some flyers about some therapies, should you change your mind." Northers said, defeated. "I have to transfer you to an oncologist, so that he can adjust your medication accordingly." Arthur nodded, and despite his calm behaviour, he was raging inside.
The first thing he did when he got home to his house was running into his bathroom and throwing up. He emptied his stomach until there was nothing left and then there were only dry heaves and sobs that wrecked his body as desperate and shocked tears streamed down his face. What should he do now?
Mombasa was as usual, dry, hot and bright. The air was saturated with the smell of car exhaust, human sweat and dry earth. Eames was lying on his bed and stared up to his ceiling, It had been three months since the Inception Job and he still had enough money to sustain his gambling habit for several years. He sighed. Somehow it was boring to lose all that money and still be filthily rich at the end of the day.
He had done two jobs in those three months, just for fun, really. Nothing challenging, one layer cons that barely even needed a forger. He had been so bored that he had kept track on the others through the rumour mill.
Cobb was retired and was planning to move to France permanently with the kids, because their grandparents lived there and they all thought it would be better to start anew. He was going back to teach at the University, apparently and Eames wished him luck, hoping he would never see the bastard again.
Yusuf was still in his den, mixing his compounds. Though he was travelling a lot now, he said with all that money, he could finally see the world for real, and then he pushed his cat towards Eames and left for his planes.
Ariadne was back to studying Architecture in Paris, also, according to the rumours, she was now under the tutelage of Cynthia Flower, one of the best dream architects in Europe. Eames strongly suspected Arthur behind this and could just smile at that thought. Cyn wasn't involved in the extraction business, she was a trainer and fiercely protective of her subjects, Ariadne couldn't have been chosen by a better teacher. With this at least she was protected against the advances of the seedier and more dangerous people in the business.
Which brought him to the real topic of his concern.
Eames hadn't heard from the Point Man since after the night of the Fisher job. And what a night it had been, he thought with a wistful smile. A slight frown formed as he came back to the situation at hand. It wasn't as if they would call each other every night or so, but they had stayed in contact over the years. God, even in that one fucked up year after Mal's death, Arthur had called him now and again. Despite the bad blood between them.
Eames sighed and rubbed over his eyes. They had both lost their best friend that night, and they had both been shocked and heart broken. And then Arthur had stood and wanted to go help Cobb. Cobb. The man responsible for Mal's death. Mal wouldn't want the kids to grow up without their father, wouldn't want Cobb to be left alone. Eames couldn't have cared less for that man in that instant, the man who had come into their happy triangle to steal Mal away and had gifted them both with the experience of being honorary uncles. The man who had driven Mal into suicide. Had made them watch helplessly on the sidelines as their sister in all but blood changed into an empty shell.
God, they had fought that night, but Eames had thought that after all the tension between them during the Fisher job, and the almost playful banter, and their passionate reunion in the end, that they had forgiven the other, accepted that they both had been kind of wrong.
And still, he had not heard from Arthur ever since. No calls, no texts, no e-mails. Not even something substantial in the rumour mills. Eames turned around and now looked straight at the wall. The only thing left now would be jumping on a plane and knocking on his door. But when everything indicated that Arthur didn't want him any-more, did he really want to do that? He breathed out. At least, I would get an answer.
With that Eames stood up and packed the few things he would need. There was only one place Arthur could hide from everyone, even the rumour mill. Phoenix, Arizona.
Arthur closed the wooden door behind him and threw the keys into the bowl on the stand beside the coat-rack. He had no coat to be hanged there of course, it was August in Arizona, there was barely any need for clothing at all, except for not wanting to get arrested. He slipped out of his sandals and slipped into the living room/kitchen combination. He put the bag that he had brought from town onto the counter and began to put everything away. Just after he had put the milk into the fridge his watch beeped. He looked down and 12 o'clock happily blinked up at him. He extinguished the alarm and turned towards the many little orange bottles lining the back of his counter.
With a resignation and scary routine he took several of the bottles and took them over to the bar-counter dividing his kitchen from the living-room. He shook out one pill each and got himself a glass of water. For a moment he stared down at those little dots, blue, yellow, red but mostly white. God, he could open an apothecary. One after the other he swallowed them together with the water. It would be a few minutes, but the slight ache that had started an hour ago would disappear again and the trembling in his left hand and the weakness in his left leg would lessen. Arthur dreaded the day the medicine would no longer work, the day the damage to his brain would be too much to be counteracted by chemicals.
With a few deep breaths he stepped back and finished to pack away his groceries. After that he went to his couch, sitting down and leaning back, enjoying the sun-light that shone through the high windows and filled the whole room. But he could just do that so long. With a sigh he leant forward again and took one of the folders lying on the couch-table. It was Phillipa's college fund. At least, that only needed a few more signatures. He looked over to the other folders. His testament, his DNR papers, the medical bills, the papers for the several insurance companies, at least he could have pushed all of that papers onto someone else if he had just died, but no, he was stuck with them because he knew that he was going to die in less than four months.
Arthur took several deep breaths. Calm, keep calm. It wouldn't do to throw up all the pills again. Just keep working. Most of his money would go into the trust fund, Phillipa was his Goddaughter and she should be able to study whatever she wanted. Arthur was sure, Eames had arranged something similar for James. The rest of the money and some safe-houses at the East coast and in Europe would go to his sister. Emily wouldn't know what hit her, but someday she might need to use them. If for herself, or if she used them for her job within the FBI, he didn't care. They hadn't talked since he has been eighteen and had enlisted in the army. The only time they had seen each other had been at the funeral for Emily's father. Their mother had died when Arthur had been seventeen and he had never known his father.
The house in Arizona, his home at the outskirts of Phoenix, would go to Eames. Arthur had designed it for them both and had then commissioned it to be build. He didn't know what Eames would do with it. He just wanted him to have it.
He hadn't answered any calls from the Forger. He hadn't answered any calls except the ones from his doctors. Dom thought he was on vacation from him, Ariadne was busy studying, architecture for reality and for the dream. The only one he had left without any explanation was Eames. Because Eames knew him and would know something wasn't right. And Arthur didn't want any of them to know. Especially Eames. God, they had all watched Mal descent slowly into death, he didn't want Eames to see that again. Arthur took a deep breath, he lent back again and closed his eyes, just for a short moment, just until he wasn't so damn tired anymore. Just a short...
He flinched awake to the noise of his door-bell. He frowned. He didn't expect anyone. With a slight groan he stood up from his slumped position on the couch and wandered over to the door. He opened the door and wanted to throw it into its lock again as he saw who stood before it. He didn't do it, of course. But he didn't open it up to invite Eames either. He left enough space so that he could position himself in it, and nothing more. Schooling his features he glared up at Eames. Eames, who let his eyes wander up his body with a surprised expression. Arthur shot a look at himself in the hall mirror, no, he was still dressed, what was he looking at?
"Eames." he greeted him and his thoughts flew, He couldn't invite him in, there were the papers, the pill bottles, there was no way, Eames wouldn't notice. "What are you doing here?"
Eames eyes found his and a grin lit up his face, Arthurs heart got heavy. God, he really didn't want to do this.
"Can't I visit my lovely colleague?"
"No." his answer was quick and sounded so strict, Arthur was surprised at himself, how did he manage to sound so cold when he was practically panicking on the inside and his heart was practically on his tongue, it was beating so hard.
Eames looked hurt, just for a moment, then he slipped back into his carefree mask.
"Okay, can I at least come in for a moment?"
"No, you can't." Eames mask slipped off, and he got serious. Arthur took a deep breath.
"Why? Do you have someone over?"
"Not, that that's any of your business, but no. Just..." Arthur looked away from him and took a deep breath. "Just go away, Eames." Arthur took a step back and closed the door. He turned away from it and slid down onto the floor, closing his eyes. Fuck.
"Is this how it is going to end?" he could hear Eames through the door. "Arthur!" Eames shouted through the door.
"Go away!" he shouted back, ignoring the tears that started to gather in his eyes, he quickly rubbed them. He couldn't let Eames watch him waste away, he could barely do it himself, how could he expect the person he loved to do it? It was better he pushed him away, better for both of them. God, where did those fucking tears come from?
Eames stared at the door. It sounded as if Arthur was sitting behind it. What was going on here? He lent forward, his forehead against the door and his right hand spread against the light wood.
"Arthur?" he spoke, loud enough to be heard on the other side, but not shouting anymore. "Are you in trouble? Is someone threatening you?"
"No, Eames. Just... just go away, please." it came muffled through the door.
"Can I come back tomorrow?"
"No, Eames, you can't, I don't ever want to see you again!" that sounded unexpectedly cruel. "It's over, Eames."
Eames took a step back and stared as if he could see through that damn door.
"You have one hell of a way to tell me that, Arthur, what happened, lost your stick up the ass and you're not brave enough to face me without it?" Eames didn't even know where the anger came from, but it was there. "Arthur! Damn it, open this fucking door and look me in the eyes!"
"Go away, Eames!" Eames hesitated, Arthur sounded off, like-
As if he was crying. What was going on here?
"Okay." He took another step away from the door. "If that is what you want Arthur, then I think this is Good bye. Good bye, Arthur." And with that Eames turned around to the rental he had gotten at the air port. He would just have to get a room at some hotel then.
He was driving, going through what had happened just now. Something had happened. Something had happened and Arthur was pushing him away from it. Something that could be seen in his house. Something terrible, when Arthur thought Eames couldn't handle it. Or even just help him.
Well, he would have to take a look for himself, wouldn't he?
It was around one o'clock in the morning when the lights went out in Arthur's house. Eames waited another hour before he slipped in, shutting down the alarm. It was still the old pass-code. He waited a moment, standing in the hall way, listening, but except for the ticking of the watch in the kitchen there was nothing to hear.
With baited breath he stepped forward. He looked around in the moonlight streaming in through the windows. There were unusually lot of papers on the living-room table and floor. Arthur wasn't normally this messy. He bent down and picked one of them up. College fund papers for Phillipa, apparently. He put them on the table and picked up the next, his heart missing a beat as he read the title. Last will and testament. What? He looked at all the other pages, there were houses being sold, money given to charity. It seemed as if Arthur was distributing everything he owned to be given to someone.
He stopped his frantic searching of the papers as he reached the medical bills. He didn't really know any of the pills written on them but some of the names sounded similar to somthing Yusuf would use for his experimentations. Some of this was heavy stuff. Pain-killers, anti-depressants, something to stabilise brain activity, what did Arthur need this for? He felt as if he couldn't breathe anymore. Someone had put his hand around his heart and squeezed. This couldn't be true. Everything, but this.
He flinched and looked up as the lights went on.
There he stood. Arthur, paler, with wide, shocked eyes, looking at him and then down to his hands that were still holding the papers.
"No, please, tell me that you haven't." it was barely more than a whisper. A whisper full of desperation and panic.
"Would you ever have told me?" dark eyes found his and he knew the answer even before he saw Arthur shaking his head. "Why?"
Arthur sat down, leaning against the door-frame.
"Because, I can't even handle this myself, I can't handle this, how can I expect you to carry this, too." Arthur pulled his legs to himself, leaning his head against his knees. He could hear Eames come over to him, but he didn't look up.
"Arthur." That voice sounded so close, he looked up then and saw that Eames had crouched down before him, as if he were a frightened child. "How..., how bad is this?" God, how could he tell him this? He couldn't tell him, when he told him it would be over. When he told him it would be real. God, fuck, he was going to die.
"I have," he swallowed back the bile and the tears that seemed to threaten him so much in the last few months. "I have barely four months left. Maybe less."
There. It was out. He was going to die. In three and a half months.
There was a long pause, it seemed to stretch hours, before Eames took his hand and pulled him up. There were tears streaming down both of their faces now and Eames pulled him into a hug that was filled with the same desperation that he himself felt.
"I'm staying with you. Arthur. You can't do this alone." he took Arthur's face into his hands and kissed him. "Please, I don't want you to be alone, I don't want to be alone with this."
Those last few months were the most painful months he had to go through. Eames sat at the bed were Arthur was lying and was watching the sleeping figure. He was so small, so pale and unusually frail.
It had been two weeks after that day that Arthur had lost his ability to stand, all connection to his left leg screwed up. His left arm swiftly followed, only tremors running along the two limbs now and again.
Then came the seizures, Eames had been scared to death, when those began to happen. Arthur wasn't taking this all well, and who would, losing control of his body that way. He shifted between anger and depression. And then he was just too exhausted to be either.
One evening Eames had sat at his bed side like he was sitting now and Arthur had opened his eyes and apologized. Eames had asked what for and, Arthur had answered:
"That you have to see me like this." Eames had frowned.
"What?" Arthur had sighed and Eames had thought that he had drifted back to sleep but he opened his eyes again.
"We both had to watch Mal slip into her death, I didn't want you to see me do the same." Eames had reached out and had taken Arthur's hand.
"Do you think you will see her on the other side?" a faint smile painted itself onto Arthur's face.
"And become the dreaded duo again? I don't think heaven, nor hell could stand this."
"Well, you weren't the dreaded duo for very long now, were you?" that brought him a small laugh.
"Yeah, because I fell in love with this British exchange student three hours after I met her. Then we were the terrifying trio." Eames smiled.
"Did you now? Someone I know?" Arthur's dark eyes shifted to look at him.
"Yeah." he whispered. "James, Jamie. I'm so sorry." Suddenly, they were both crying and clinging to each other. Both apologizing. Both muttering their confessions of love. They couldn't say that everything would be all right, because it would never be again.
And now, the doctors had told him two days ago that it would be over soon. What was he going to do when this was over? He somehow didn't think that he could go back to what he was and did before. He sat down onto the bed and caressed the hair out of Arthur's face. Since university he had always had Arthur. Arthur and Mal to be exact, and losing her had been painful enough, it had nearly cost him Arthur. And now he was losing him without any chance of getting him back.
He lent forward and put a kiss on Arthur's temple, then his cheek, his mouth.
It were three hours later, when the machines flat-lined and Arthur just released his last breath without ever taking the next. Eames cried for an hour, lying beside him in the bed. The he called the doctors, and after that he called the others, he called Cobb last.
He went to the funeral. There weren't many people, just the team, a few others from the business and Arthur's half-sister, Emily, with a geeky looking friend. The kids were there, too. He was holding on to Phillipa throughout the whole ceremony.
After the funeral, he left the states and went back to Mombasa, were he didn't leave his flat for two weeks. He was staring up to his ceiling and just asked himself the same question over and over again.
Maybe, I'll write a Happy End someday^^