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celestine_fics ([personal profile] celestine_fics) wrote2010-09-04 11:06 am
Entry tags:

Inception fic: Love Has Fur (PG)

Title Love Has Fur
Author: [personal profile] celestineangel
Fandom: Inception
Character(s)/Pairing: Arthur/Eames
Rating: Oh, PG.
Word Count: 2,504
Summary: Losing a pet is like losing a child.
Warnings: Soppy, sentimental stuff, and an exercise in catharsis. Also, no beta.
Disclaimer: Not my sandbox. I'm just moving sand around.
Author's Notes: This probably far too sappy and sentimental, but that's okay, because it is purely for me. For my bébé, Rat, who was a faithful companion for almost 20 years, a better friend to me than most people, and this is the best way I can think of to honor and remember her. I miss you, but I know you're terrorizing some astral mice right now and probably some astral dogs, too (and whipping [personal profile] chrisbrad's cats into shape for the Cat Army).




Love Has Fur


Arthur is twenty-seven years old, and he believes Eames is thirty-three, though Eames will never say and it's the one maddening piece of information Arthur seems unable to track down. They finished the inception job almost two years ago, they've been dating officially for just over a year, and this is their first Christmas together in a house they share.

Arthur never celebrated Christmas before Eames, and their first one was new and awkward. They've come a long way since then, though the house is rather new, and they're still trying to make it a home.

Perhaps that's what prompted Eames to give the gift he does.

At first, all Arthur sees in what looks like a scrap of very badly sewn orange fluff material, and he can't imagine what in the world has possessed his lover. Then he realizes the orange fluff is breathing, and he still can't imagine what's possessed his lover. The orange fluff moves, and bleary kitten eyes look up at Arthur just before the thing lets out a tiny 'mew' that probably means it's hungry. It wears an awful pink ribbon around its neck.

"It's an animal."

"It's a kitten, Arthur," Eames says, frowning and pulling the kitten back to his chest as though sure Arthur's going to put the thing in his mouth and chew it to a pulp.

Arthur studies the fluff in Eames' hands, now peering at him through Eames' big fingers. "It looks like a rat."

"You're so mean, darling."

Arthur's never been one for pets, sometimes being responsible for himself is enough of a worry, let alone having to be responsible for another life. It's also why he doesn't particularly want children, and Eames has always agreed with him on that front. Yet, here they are, on Christmas with a kitten between them. Worse than the awkwardness is the growing expression of hurt on Eames' face as Arthur just watches him and the animal warily. God, if Eames looks any more heartbroken, he'll have Arthur eating out of his hands on more than the cat. Arthur sighs.

"All right, all right. We keep the kitten."

Eames' face brightens, and Arthur remembers why he loves the man. "Oh, good! Now, this little darling needs a name. What do you think?"


~~**~~**~~**~~**~~**~~


New Year's Eve, Arthur brings home a few things he's picked up for the "new addition to their little family," as Eames likes to call it; Eames has given him leave to name the kitten whatever he likes, and it's taken him a few days to decide.

He's also decided that any pet of his, if he has to have a pet, will live life as he does, with the best of everything.

"There you are," says Eames as he puts down a plastic bowl of food for the kitten.

Arthur rushes forward. "Absolutely not, pick that bowl up this instant."

"Huh?" Eames has always been so eloquent. "I'm afraid I haven't the slightest idea what you're on about."

"I bought a personalized bowl for her today. The shop engraved it while I shopped for other things."

"Oh!" The big man's face splits in a wide grin. "Do I finally learn our baby's name, then?"

"She's not a baby, she's a cat, and yes." Arthur smiles back at his lover and sets his bags down on the kitchen table. From one of them he pulls a shiny silver food bowl with a short engraving. "There, put her food in that."

Eames takes the bowl, turns it to read the name, and his jaw drops. "You cannot be serious!"

"You said I could name her. I think it fits."

Arthur watches as Eames tries to find some way out of this, some argument he can make, but in the end he did give Arthur all the naming power over the kitten, and he can't take it back.

"Fine, but if she grows up with a complex, it's all your fault."

Arthur takes the bowl back and moves to trade the food from one to the other. Their newly named kitten is rather upset with him for taking away her kitty kibbles, and yowls like some sort of Hell creature until he puts the silver bowl back down. The instant it's on the ground her face is stuffed back in her food.

"There you are. See, Eames? She likes it. Don't you, Rat?"

Rat the kitten is too busy eating to reply.


~~**~~**~~**~~**~~**~~


Phillipa's birthday is in March, and Arthur invites Dom and his family over for a nice dinner in celebration. It's the first time his friend and former employer has been to the new house, the first time he's seen Arthur and Eames together, and the first time any of the Cobbs have met the growing ball of fluff with the incongruous name.

James and Phillipa are enchanted immediately, though the same can't be said of Rat, at least not after James pulls her tail. There are claws and teeth and a bawling James involved, and Arthur's just happy Dom takes it all very well. He ends up having to lock the kitten in the bedroom with her silver food and water bowls, her kitty bed—which she doesn't use, because most of the time she ends up sleeping in bed with them anyway—and litter box, as well as a smattering of cat toys, at least the ones she hasn't torn to ribbons.

Arthur frowns at Rat as she pounces on a catnip mouse. "Behave yourself," he tells her, and Rat looks up at him with eyes as orange as her fur as though to say Good sir, there is no creature on Earth half so innocent as a cat, and I resent your implication otherwise. Arthur closes the door on her.

Later that evening when the Cobbs are gone, he returns to find three broken picture frames, a shredded pillow, and the tattered remains of two catnip mice in the center of the bed.

"Damn cat."


~~**~~**~~**~~**~~**~~


"Damn cat! Stop it!"

"Darling, are you verbally abusing our cat again?"

"She's eating my research!" Arthur glares at Rat, but it has no effect on her; she rolls over, purring madly as though he's been scratching her all this time.

Eames appears around the door, and on seeing the purring stretch of still-growing kitten over Arthur's desk, he grins widely, no small amount of affection in the expression. For an insane moment, Arthur wonders which of them the expression is for; imagine feeling jealous over a damn cat.

"She loves you, Arthur. She just wants your attention. Come here, baby." Eames reaches out and takes the cat from Arthur's desk. "There you are. You have your space back."

"Thank you," Arthur says, pulling his chair back into place.

Eames stands in the door a little while longer, Rat purring and lounging lazily in his arms, until finally he walks away.


~~**~~**~~**~~**~~**~~


Arthur is twenty-nine years old, and Eames is lying in a hospital bed, a tube in his throat and machines monitoring his vital signs.

Eames may be dying, and Arthur stands just inside the threshold of their front door, chased home by a gentle, placating Dom who promised to call him if needed. Arthur remembers fighting him, but it's never been productive to fight with Dom. Now, he's home, but he doesn't know what to do, he doesn't know how to feel. Inside, the place where Eames has been for five years now, is numb, as though preparing itself to be carved out.

He has a coat, or did, but he can't remember where it is. It's not in his hand. It could be in the car, or he might have left it at the hospital. For all he knows, he's simply dropped it on the floor, but he doesn't bother to check.

The house is quiet as he makes his way through the halls he knows so well, down to their bedroom, the deepest inner sanctum of his ordered world. Only here does his numbness break, and Arthur gives a great sob. He rushes the closet, where he pulls out one of Eames' awful shirts, the ones he's constantly threatening to burn in the backyard, and he holds it close to him as the only thing of his lover he can hold right now. It smells of Eames, of faint soap and cigarettes and the awful cologne he wears when he's feeling especially amorous. This fuchsia shirt with butter-yellow splotches that pretend at being flowers is everything Arthur loves, and he thinks he knows now how Dom must have felt.

No, he isn't dead. He's not dead yet, there's no guarantee he'll live, but he's not dead yet.

In twenty-four hours, Arthur will lock his home, give Dom a key so he can check on the plants and the cat, and go on a hunt. In seventy-two hours he will find the man who shot his lover and introduce him to levels of pain he never knew existed. In a week he will be back at Eames' side when his lover wakes and squeezes his hand.

For now, he takes Eames' shirt to their bed, hugs it close and lies down to cry out his misery.

He doesn't know how long he lies there, lost in pain and the surety of loss, but when he finally becomes aware of himself and the room again, the first sound he hears outside his own sobs is a deep, comforting rumble. Opening his eyes, Arthur finds Rat curled up next to his belly, purring, sharing her warmth and presence. When he moves, her head lifts, golden-orange eyes peering at him with utmost calm. Somehow, her serenity is catching, and though he doesn't say anything, Rat seems to understand, and she uncurls, rises, and treads over to him until her head bumps his chin.

"Damn cat," he murmurs, but slides his arm around her and pulls her close until he is filled with the smell of Eames and their cat, the closest they have to a child.

She stays with him, purring, and refrains from biting him.


~~**~~**~~**~~**~~**~~


Arthur is thirty, Eames must be thirty-six by now, Rat is three years old, and curled in Arthur's lap as he sits in his favorite chair, reading his favorite book. This is their nightly ritual; she will stay in his lap as long as he sits.

Arthur is aware of Eames in the doorway, watching them with crossed arms and a soft smile. He is aware, but ignores him, because anyone with an ego as large as Eames' deserves to be ignored every once in a while. It's all for his own good, and not malicious, and Eames knows it and takes Arthur's disinterest with good humor.

Their lives have settled, become something routine, something cozy and comfortable, become something they can both live with marked with laughter and arguments—some real, some merely habit—with patience and love, and the gentle purring of the cat in Arthur's lap.

It's a life Arthur once would have found distressingly uneventful, normal, even. Now, it's all he wants.

Even the damn cat.


~~**~~**~~**~~**~~**~~


Arthur is forty-four years old. Eames, who has a first name but has always and will always be Eames, is fifty years old—Arthur knows it for certain now—and Rat is seventeen years old and has stopped eating.

She has been starving herself for nearly three weeks, no matter what they try to feed her, no matter what incentives they give her. They can't force her to eat, but it's been very hard to think about what they have to do instead. Arthur also suspects she is arthritic, half-blind and perhaps even senile.

They stand in the small room together, Rat lying majestically on a blue towel on the table while the vet gives her a perfunctory examination just to make certain there's nothing else that can be done for her. The prognosis is much what Arthur suspected, along with the beginning stages of liver failure. "Elderly, sick cats will just starve themselves to death," the vet tells them kindly. She's a lovely woman, who's petted and loved Rat from the moment she came in the room, and told her what a good cat she's been, what a very good cat and good friend.

Next to him, Eames gives a shaky sigh and a muttered curse, wiping his face.

The vet leaves them alone with her for a moment to retrieve the murderous syringe she'll need to finish her work. Arthur carefully takes Rat in his arms, caring nothing at all for the faded yellow fur she's shedding all over his suit, because it doesn't matter. She has been a very good cat and good friend, and he feels tears prick as he considers leaving this place without her, as he considers life without her comforting purr, without the lump of her somewhere in the bed in the morning, something he's become so accustomed to he doesn't know how he's going to live without it now.

When the vet returns, Arthur considers telling her thank you, but no, and walking out. But doing so will not make Rat eat, it will not return her to health, nor end her suffering. Only the awful blue liquid in that syringe will do that, and finally Arthur sets her back on the table to allow the vet and her assistant to hold his baby down, shave one of her front legs just enough to make sure the needle goes in a vein. He strokes her fur, her back and sides as the medicine slowly enters her bloodstream, the assistant lays her head gently on the table, and it's over far, far too quickly.

Arthur can't stay in the room with his dead cat, part of it because he feels it's quite stupid to be so broken over a cat, but mostly because he doesn't want to remember her as a lifeless thing lying on a blue towel on a table, but as the lively, purring ball of fur that stayed with him in love and patience during the worst night of his life, as the companion he knew for seventeen years.

Eames stays a while, and Arthur takes that time to take care of the mundane task of paying for services rendered. The receptionist has kind, understanding eyes, but says nothing.

Finally, red-eyed and still noticeably upset, Eames comes out to join him. They agreed before hand to allow Rat's remains to be cremated and placed in a public pet cemetery. Their yard is too small, and neither of them can really imagine driving home with her now.

As they leave, Arthur slips his hand in Eames'. They don't speak.

Eventually, they'll probably have another pet, possibly a cat, maybe a small dog. Neither of them talk about it now, though. It's unspoken agreement that this time is for remembering their first companion, so much a part of their lives together.

Arthur feels as though he's lost a child.