Word count; 1078
Notes; Written for this prompt on the Inception kink meme. EDIT: THIS FIC NOW HAS ART by gray_queen. LOOK AT IT, IT'S BEAUTIFUL.
Summary; "Sarah sends him with stamps plastered onto the cardboard and twine keeping the box together. " coin operated AU where Eames is Arthur's coin operated boy.
Coin operated boy / with his pretty coin operated voice / saying that he loves me / that he’s thinking of me / straight and to the point / that is why I want / a coin operated boy.
Arthur’s sister buys him as a joke. Pure, simple I am the elder twin, deal with the things I do, so Arthur does, because at the age of eleven, Arthur’s twin threatens to beat him if he doesn’t.
Sarah sends him with stamps plastered onto the cardboard and twine keeping the box together.
Arthur unravels him, stares at his face for a moment – his eyes, his lips, his ears, his forehead and Jesus Christ, his lips – and names him “Eames”.
In dreams, Eames is alive. Made with a heart that’s not metal and no coin slot covering his chest, sitting in the place one holds their hand when gesturing to their heart.
He trials faces that aren’t his own and aren’t (im)perfected by substances that fail to be skin. He switches faces, bodies but never minds like it’s second nature instead of something first time tried.
Arthur titles him forger because he’s always worked better in a pair.
Eames’ voice is honey-laden and English. Arthur isn’t sure because he’s programmed that way or because, maybe, he really is born in England. Arthur brings him alive with pounds and pence because it seems the right thing to do.
Sometimes, Arthur brings him alive at night with a pound coin and sits them down on the couch with cups of tea only one of them will drink. He sits close and warm and listens to Eames read books in languages neither of them have learnt.
“I love you pet,” he finishes. Arthur kisses the seam behind his ear.
Arthur get’s angry with him, once.
“You’re not fucking real,” he yells and shouts and bellows and, distantly, wonders what his neighbours must think.
When he’s finished though, Eames is silent and no longer alive: there’s no coins to keep him awake and he’s most likely missed every word Arthur’s ranted completely.
Sex isn’t all that different. There’s hot breath and panting quickened into gasps. Arthur just has to remember to insert the right amount of money (sometimes, it makes him feel like a prostitute instead of Eames) for what he wants.
Not everyone understands what he is to Arthur.
“What the fuck is wrong with you?” His father asks.
His mother forces a smile on her face.
Dom is curious as to whether or not his dreams are human.
Arthur’s sister: “I meant it as a joke you know.”
Sarah doesn’t really bring it up again, “I’m slightly jealous of his lips” is what she says instead.
Mal loves him. Likes his voice and eyes, asks somewhat jokingly if his sister can order one for her too.
When she dies, when Dom loses everything that’s grounded him and when Arthur leaves him sitting on a New York shelf for over a year, Eames tells him that he wishes he could cry for her.
Eames is good at painting. Better than Arthur and considers going to The New York Art Institute. He has enough money to say the least, and if he’d asked, Arthur would pay for the fees out of the money saved for electricity bills.
Arthur is scared, terrified though. He knows that Eames can operate himself if someone awakes him first and if he remembers. He can keep going and he can thrive, but if he forgets, Arthur is terrified as to what will happen to him. What others will do to him.
In the end, he keeps Eames asleep for a day and a week. When he wakes, he doesn’t mention it again and Arthur wants to know if he honestly forgotten or if he’s just pretending.
It doesn’t matter either way in the end: coin operated boys should be allowed to dream.
Arthur is known for his quick wit; biting sarcasm. In a way, he’s almost thankful Eames isn’t human. So far, he’s the only one that Arthur hasn’t broken, the only one that can run beside him and out distance him if he tried.
Eames is pulled into criminal life because Arthur is the one with the coin purse.
Like Arthur, Eames is good at gathering information. He could point if he wanted, but he’s better with people then Arthur will ever be. Ask something that’s written down in ink, Arthur will have it on your desk by the end of the afternoon at the latest.
Ask Eames to draw a conclusion about the lone man within the corner store, he’ll have it in mere moments.
Eames has ruffled Arthur’s hair and turned his coat inside out when he wasn’t looking.
“I hate you Eames.” Is what Arthur says when he decides he’s cold enough to steal the god-awful scarf from around the other man’s neck.
Eames lets him: “I love you too darling.”
Arthur is forty when Eames refuses to be awoken with a singular, gleaming pound coin.
He inserts another, and then another and then to the point where Eames should be running on six pounds solid.
He still doesn’t wake up.
Arthur is, maybe, starting to become hysterical. Considers calling Dom. Considers taking him to the fucking hospital, because in the terms of emotion and in the terms of heart, Eames has always been more human than Arthur.
More human than Arthur and Eames is the one with an insert coin here slot where his heart should be.
When Arthur gathers his wits in a tally of minutes that should be shorter, he calls Eames’ original manufacturer.
“Serial number?” They ask and it’s almost like an accusation
“12369,” It’s a fitting number really, but Arthur doesn’t really care at the moment.
“Shit, the things over fifteen years old.”
“Is there anything I can do?”
“Send it in.”
So Arthur does. Sends Eames in a cardboard coffin, dressed in clothes he loves and hair combed off his face.
He leaves a coin in his breast pocket, kisses his mouth and sends him in.
Arthur picks up the phone:
“We’re ringing about the coin operated boy.”
“We’re sorry to say, but the model is too old for us to still stock parts in any of our warehouses. We’ve already disposed of the product, and if
you’d like, we’re willing to send you the latest model, free of charge.”
Arthur hangs up the phone.