Arthur had been lying beside Dom one night, two months before Fisher's case, watching the moonlight bounce off of the man's hair from the open hotel window when he reached an epiphany. Dominic would never love him, there was no love left within him because all of his energy had always been spent on his self hatred. The cool air had rushed over them then and Dom had rolled into his partner, wrapping an arm around him and snuggling closer. He had always done that, always accidently pushed himself on the other man like that, always thrown himself blindly forward in a way which would leave Arthur to believe he was desired, though he didn't know it.
Arthur had smelled the soft wafting scent of opium against Dom's lips — he had been trying to use it to dream then — and he had been forced to close his eyes to ignore the feeling of the man whispering to him about his nightmare. He only had one dream, and he only ever shared it with Arthur. He was so sickeningly sweet in that close space, and his lips were so close to his partners that it burnt when he stayed snuggled so close and drifted back to sleep, tears sliding down his cheeks. Arthur wiped them away, because Dom was far too high to do so and the light from the moon reflected them like crystals on his face.
Yet a Paris night filled with opium, tears, and a man who couldn't tell the truth, even to himself, were nothing new to Arthur. He had recalled then that he had once met a beautiful gypsy, who had taken him to his room, and smoked with him, burning his fingers on the hot glass pipe and then lying beside him as the room moved by. That was when Arthur had lost his virginity, pressing the stranger to the Persian rug on the floor, and he was held tight in strong tattooed arms while he listened to those gasps of pleasure. "Love" the man had called him, yet love seemed to be the only thing that he would not give him. After a month of this dope fiend dream, Arthur had walked in to see Eames whispering endearments of the same persuasion to a cocaine thin young woman, her long legs tossed up over his shoulder as he slid lace panties down razor thin hips.
Arthur had left the man there, quietly, not wanting to wreck the last hot hit of the pipe before he threw it hard down the spiral stairs and watched the night burn. He had sat in the staircase for what seemed like his lifetime, and he had watched the embers turn the rug to a blaze while he felt himself die just a little inside. How silly he had been then, to pull the fire alarm, so he could watch them leave the room, and he could meet Eames' eyes with a cool distaste. "You'll never be better than a godless rake." He had told him, and he had pushed the man back to his room. "Go back then, go back and take the little deer." He had snapped. "Have her like the foul old god you are. A new virgin each month as your blood sacrifice? I'll be yours no more!"
But who wouldn't forgive a slighted virgin his first look at life?
Judging by the eyes that Eames had continued to give him, the eyes that made him look away with so much hot anger, that old god would. Arthur had been nothing short of livid when Dom had invited him into the team, but he had masked it with the cool calm exterior which had once found him clearance to secrets he had sold. He refused to lose his composure with the damnable fool once more. Yet, Eames leaned back in his chair while Dom spoke and he nodded pointedly, while his eyes stayed firmly on the one time Vestal Virgin. Arthur gritted his teeth each time this happened, and looked past him to Yusuf.
Yusuf appeared to be Eames' most recent accomplishment, and Arthur hated to admit, he was confused by the man's ease with the circumstances. He couldn't understand how Yusuf so casually accepted a drink and a flirting glance from Eames at dinner, yet didn't even bat an eyelash when the forger slid his hand down over Arthur's slacks with the ease of his deviant nature. Yet when Dominic and Ariadne had left the restaurant that evening, each to their respective cold bed, there had been only a quick moment before Eames' arm was around Arthur.
"Have you no shame?" Arthur had hissed, and he had shrugged off the embrace at first. A laugh had bubbled out of Yusuf's throat then, and he had leaned forward to kiss Eames affectionately, petting a hand against the man's broad back. "He can be all yours tonight." He had suggested, and Arthur had swallowed back any form of reproach, because he had yet to allow himself to damn the god he had once known. "Why would you be alright with that?" Arthur finally managed to ask, as the warm strong arm was around his waist once more. Yusuf poured him more wine then, answering the question with a graceful smile.
Arthur kept finding himself more and more shocked that night because Yusuf was so sweet and gentle with his nerves. "Well, if I love him, who am I to say that no one else should?" The man suggested and he pet Arthur's shoulder fondly, the other hand resting on Eames' shoulder as he spoke. There had never been such an ease in devotion as that, and that would always be what Arthur recalled best of that night. Before he would remember the scent of incense on the sheets, the feel of Eames under him, gasping, panting and begging him for more, he would recall that simple trust that Eames should never have earned. Yet, these days, when he woke up beside them both, he often wondered if it was really Eames who hadn't deserved such faith.