Eames smiled at the pale pink colour in the glass flask before him. It was a perfect titration and while he wasn’t really surprised, he was pleased nonetheless because he hadn’t titrated
anything in four months.
Eames turned to see Arthur staring at him disdainfully. He didn’t understand why until he noticed that Arthur’s solution was bright fuchsia. He grimaced.
“Going to redo it?” he asked, ignoring Arthur’s death glare. It sure as hell wasn’t his fault Arthur wasn’t a robot.
“I have to, don’t I?” Arthur all but snarled.
Eames shrugged. “Yeah.”
He measured the volume in the Erlenmeyer flask and recorded it in his lab book – he had remembered why lab rule number nine (record all data during
lab) was important last week when he had forgotten to write down a measurement and had to redo the experiment.
He poured the flask down the drain and dutifully rinsed out the equipment with more tap water than needed so he could watch Arthur titrate as he did so. Arthur was impatient when titrating, Eames realized. He added too much sodium hydroxide too fast to the hydrochloric acid which meant that his solution turned bright pink instead of the soft pink it was supposed to be. The dropper is there for a reason, Eames thought at Arthur, but Arthur seemed to ignore it as if his precise hands didn’t need such things as droppers.
Eames rinsed out his buret
with de-ionized water and tried to ignore Arthur so he didn’t do something stupid like go over there and show Arthur how it was done. He didn’t have to be a brilliant scientist to know it wouldn’t go over well.
By the time Eames checked to make sure there was no leftover solution in the buret, Arthur was on his fourth attempt. It was just getting painful now and Eames couldn’t help himself.
“Arthur,” he said in a low voice so Arthur could ignore him if he wanted to and they could both pretend nothing had happened.
Arthur looked over.
“What?” he said, sounding more tired than pissed off.
“Did you want – I mean, I could maybe – “
“You’re not titrating this for me,” Arthur said immediately. “Not only is it cheating – “
“Rule number five,” Eames supplied before Arthur could.
“But I have to know how to do this. This is ridiculous.”
“Can I just give you a hand?” Eames asked. “Sometimes a partner helps.”
Arthur took in Eames’ cleared workspace and nodded. “Yeah, okay.”
Eames tried not to smile too wide as he crossed the aisle over to Arthur’s lab bench.
“Okay, rinse all this out. Let’s start again.”
Arthur did and Eames watched as he pipetted hydrochloric acid into the flask.
“Twenty-five mils,” Eames said softly and Arthur glared at him.
Eames held up his hands and watched as Arthur added some water, measuring it perfectly. He added the three drops of indicator, like the lab instructions said to.
“Okay,” Eames said. “Rinse the buret with sodium hydroxide.”
This time Arthur didn’t snap at him, merely followed the instructions and repeated another two times for good measure.
“Good,” Eames said absently. “Now, you pour in the solution and I’ll look after the stopcock. And yes, that is
what she said.”
“You just went into science for the bad puns, didn’t you?” Arthur asked as he poured in sodium hydroxide.
“Yes. That and the boys,” Eames said, glancing up at Arthur before closing the stopcock and trapping the liquid inside. He was gratified to see that Arthur seemed to be turning the colour of his solution. Even though he knew nothing was going to happen with Arthur, getting under Arthur’s skin was always fun. Eames tapped the glass to get out any bubbles then bent down so his eye was level with the meniscus.
“I’ve got 12.4 millilitres,” he told Arthur, who wrote it down after double-checking. Eames rolled his eyes, but he would have been shocked if Arthur hadn’t checked.
“Okay, here we go,” Eames said and moved behind Arthur.
“What are you doing?” Arthur asked, glancing behind him.
“Put your hand on the stopcock,” Eames said, ignoring both Arthur’s question and his close proximity.
Arthur did as he was told again to Eames’ surprise.
“Okay, let out a little bit,” Eames said and watched as Arthur tentatively turned the stopcock and let out some liquid. Eames had his hand over Arthur’s to close the stopcock before Arthur could blink.
“A little bit,” Eames repeated. “This is why you have solutions the colour of my Aunt Penny’s hair. Let’s try again.”
He turned Arthur’s hand and let out a bit more sodium hydroxide. The solution was still clear which was a good sign. They let out a bit more and Eames tried not to think about how very close his body was to Arthur’s. A bit more and Eames tried very hard not to press a kiss to the back of Arthur’s neck where his carefully styled hair had become unstyled.
“A bit more,” Eames murmured into Arthur’s ear and Arthur turned slightly pink, the colour they were going for.
In front of them the solution turned pink for a short while and then faded.
“Okay, grab the dropper,” Eames said, stepping back before Arthur became aware of another reaction going on.
“The what?” Arthur said, sounding a bit dazed.
“Exactly,” Eames said and grabbed the dropper from Arthur’s lab bench. “This is how to get your solutions that very pretty shade of pink.”
“Only you would call phenolphthalein pretty,” Arthur grumbled, but dutifully filled up the dropper with sodium hydroxide.
“Easy now,” Eames murmured, unconsciously sliding closer to Arthur to watch him add the drops.
The solution turned a very pale pink, nearly unnoticeable.
“Again, but only half a drop,” Eames instructed and Arthur’s solution turned a perfect shade of pink – a little lighter than Arthur’s face.
“Perfect,” Eames said and watched that small, pleased smile grace Arthur’s features.
“Thank you,” Arthur said quietly and Eames nodded before moving back to his own lab bench.
“Don’t forget to write down the volume,” Eames called over his shoulder.
“I think I can remember rule nine, Eames,” Arthur said but he sounded more amused than irritated so Eames counted it a win.
Eames distractedly tried to calculate the molarity of the solution while also watching Arthur unbutton the cuffs of his shirt and roll up his sleeves to rinse out his equipment. Needless to say it took a couple tries and even then he was double-checking his work when Arthur came over to his bench.
“Thanks for today,” Arthur said a bit stiffly and Eames glanced up and nodded like it wasn’t a big deal. He turned back to his calculations, expecting Arthur to leave.
“Are you busy tomorrow?” Arthur asked suddenly.
Eames furrowed his brow and wondered if he was dreaming. “I’m in the lab until two.” He refused to stay any later on a Friday on principle, regardless of plans.
“I meant in the evening,” Arthur said and was fiddling with the straps of his worn out satchel when Eames glanced back up at him.
Eames shook his head, wondering if Arthur wanted to have a study group or something. He did
have plans, but it was only his usual plans to kick Yusuf’s ass at Halo. It was sad that he would stand up Yusuf in favour of studying
with Arthur especially after he had given up on him.
“Did you want to have dinner?”
“Did you want to have dinner,” Arthur repeated. “With me.”
“Arthur, it wasn’t really a big deal. You would have got the titration thing eventually,” Eames said because he definitely didn’t want Arthur to think that he owed
“So you don’t,” Arthur said flatly.
“No, I do,” Eames said, unthinking. “I just don’t think you owe me anything.”
Arthur bit his lip for a moment and Eames wished not for the first time that he wasn’t so damn attracted to Arthur because it was really very distracting. He had obviously been lying to himself when he had given up on the whole Arthur thing.
“I’m not asking you to have dinner because I owe you, all right? I’m just asking to ask.” Arthur shrugged like it wasn’t a big deal but he was still fiddling with the straps of his satchel so Eames nodded, decided.
“Okay, on two conditions.”
“I get to pick the restaurant and this is a date, an actual date.”
Eames expected Arthur to falter a little at his second suggestion, if not his first but Arthur only said, “If you pick the restaurant and it’s a date, you’re paying.”
“Deal,” Eames said around his grin. He was gifted with a brief smile from Arthur before Arthur told him to e-mail him details. Eames could only grin stupidly and watch Arthur leave.
This section describes what the experimenter did and how it was done. It is a detailed description of the events that the experimenter went through from the beginning until the end of the study.
The restaurant was quiet and intimate and exactly how the reviews on UrbanSpoon had promised. Eames had picked Arthur up at his apartment near campus because if this was an actual Arthur-endorsed date, Eames was going to do it right. Strangely, Arthur’s apartment was actually the opposite direction from Eames’, but Eames didn’t remark upon it, or ask why Arthur had volunteered to walk him home that day after their office hours. Instead, he opened Arthur’s car door, but mainly to see Arthur’s glare. Eames didn’t pull out Arthur’s chair at the restaurant but it was a near thing. Arthur’s warning glance said that he knew as much.
The menu was mostly in Italian and Eames was slightly relieved when a server came to give the specials in English. That summer in Italy had been ages ago.
“Wine?” Eames asked Arthur when the server looked at them expectantly.
Arthur nodded. “Red.”
Eames picked something at random off the wine list in the middling price range – he’d always been more of a beer drinker. The waiter nodded and disappeared in the manner of wait staff.
“So. This is lovely,” Eames said, glancing around.
Arthur nodded. He was wearing that sweater vest-striped shirt combination from their first day of classes together. Eames wondered if he remembered, but wasn’t about to ask. Eames, needless to say, was not wearing what he wore that first day; he was wearing a muted striped shirt that reminded him of the colour of Arthur’s eyes, only with a thin stripe of purple mixed in.
Arthur shook his napkin out of his wine glass and set it in his lap, then looked around. Everything was strangely forced and inching toward awkward in a way that it never had in the lab. It was peculiar how Arthur seemed almost nervous, like he was out of his element.
“Everything okay?” Eames asked.
Arthur nodded immediately. “Yes, everything’s fine. I just have this grant application due Monday. It’s finished but I still need to double check everything.”
Arthur fidgeted with the fork on the table. Eames stared. Arthur never fidgeted.
“I thought most of the grants were due ages ago,” Eames said instead of, What is wrong with you
Arthur shrugged and took a sip of his water. “They were but I qualify for this other one and I could really use the funds, so...”
“Oh, I didn’t – “ Eames cleared his throat, rather than tell Arthur he didn’t realize he needed the money.
Everything about Arthur screamed put-together and taken care of. Eames forced himself to re-evaluate his original impression of Arthur while Arthur fiddled with silverware and was very unlike the Arthur he knew from the lab – cool, calm, collected.
Arthur shrugged as if he knew what Eames was thinking. “I have three older siblings. I still have loans from my undergrad to pay off. I can manage but this would make it easier.”
Eames nodded and felt like a bit of a shit for bringing Arthur to a place where all the entrees were over forty dollars, as if showing off his family’s wealth when in fact he was trying to take Arthur somewhere he was accustomed to.
“You wear designer clothes,” Eames pointed out and then wished he could take it back because it sounded accusing and not at all how he meant it to.
Arthur just gave him a wry smile. “I used to date a model. We wore the same size and he always seemed to be ending up with clothes he didn’t want, so I would wear them while he schlepped around in t-shirts and jeans. When we broke up I took them.”
“You just took all his clothes?” Eames said in disbelief.
“He was an asshole,” Arthur said flatly and Eames believed it. The very image of Arthur breaking into some guy’s flat to steal his designer clothing made him smile and after a moment Arthur smiled back – a rare moment that was broken up by the server approaching with their wine.
They ordered - both ordered the special – and made awkward small talk while Eames thought, this is definitely not how I saw this going
, but unable to settle into their usual banter.
“What did you do after your undergrad?” Arthur asked after they had gone through the usual, where did you get your degree-type questions.
“Apply here?” Eames said, not understanding.
“You’re a couple years older than me though, aren’t you?” Arthur asked. Eames nodded and sipped his wine instead of telling Arthur how he had dropped out of high school, nearly been arrested and then had finally got his high school diploma and after, his undergraduate degree. He didn’t want to get into how his parents finally didn’t give a fuck if he didn’t go to law school like his brothers so long as he wasn’t in jail.
“I took some time off after high school,” Eames said because it wasn’t exactly a lie.
Arthur had nothing to say to that and they settled into silence again. Eames almost wished that he had told Arthur the truth, so they could at least talk about the time Eames tried to steal a car.
Eames had never been so glad to see a bowl of pasta as the one that their server finally set in front of him. Eating meant that he didn’t have to talk to Arthur, or try to pretend that their silence was anything but awkward. Of course, Arthur ruined this when he started speaking as soon as Eames had put a delicious bite in his mouth.
“You reminded me of him,” Arthur said, seemingly apropos of nothing. “My ex.”
Eames furrowed his brow. “I seem like an asshole? Or look like a model?”
Arthur scratched the back of his neck. “It wasn’t any one thing. You both have this way of making everything seem easy; this easy sort of confidence that annoys the hell out of me.”
Eames remembered Arthur’s reaction when Eames finished a lab early or got a better result. He thought that Arthur just didn’t like anyone being better than him, and said as much.
Arthur shook his head. “I’m fine with people being better than me if they work
to be better than me.”
“You don’t think I’ve ever had to work at anything?” Eames said, his voice rising slightly. “I could tell you a thing or two about having to work to be where you are,” Eames all but growled.
“But not in the lab,” Arthur said quickly, as if trying to cut off the rant he knew was coming. “In the lab you’re brilliant. Everything comes easy to you. You don’t even- “ Arthur laughs. “You don’t even read the fucking instructions half the time, do you?”
Eames couldn’t say anything. He was still stuck on Arthur calling him brilliant.
“And of course you’re better at titration and everyone wants to get you as a TA just so they can go to your office hours.”
Eames stared at Arthur in confusion. “Arthur, you’re not seriously jealous, are you? You’re doing cutting-edge cancer research. You’re going to save people’s lives one day. No one’s going to care who was queuing outside of whose office when you win a fucking Nobel Prize.”
Arthur made a noise that sounded like an aborted laugh and turned a bit red. For the smallest of moments Eames thought that Arthur might actually be bashful but then Arthur recovered and said, “My research is
pretty spectacular,” and Eames couldn’t help but grin.
They did end up finishing off the meal in silence, but it was a much better silence that didn’t make Eames’ skin feel too tight. Arthur seemed to be enjoying his meal, if the pleased noises he made that shot straight to Eames’ dick were any indication.
Eames finally had to get up to use the restroom – not to get off, just to splash his face with some cold water - but naturally this was also when their server was passing with a cart of dinners. Eames backed up to let him pass, only he tripped over himself and in a move worthy of a cheesy romantic comedy, knocked Arthur’s wine glass over, sending red wine splashing spectacularly all over Arthur’s front.
There were three simultaneous gasps from the three parties involved and then both the server and Eames were apologizing and Arthur was saying it was fine in a voice that made it clear it wasn’t fine.
“Can we just get the check please?” Eames finally said when he could squeeze a word in. The server hurried off with the credit card Eames offered and Eames was left to face Arthur and his own mortification.
“I promise this wasn’t a move,” Eames said once the server was gone. “I’m really usually smoother than this.”
Arthur glared at him.
“Not much smoother,” Eames amended. “But a bit. Usually I wait until we’re back at mine before I spill things all over my date. Speaking of which, care to go back to mine?” He gave Arthur his best grin. Arthur didn’t return it. “Seriously, I live just around the corner. I can give you something for the stain.”
Arthur still didn’t look convinced.
“If you leave it, it’s going to set and you live on the other side of campus,” Eames said. He wasn’t above playing fast and loose with Arthur’s love of sweater vests.
“Yeah, okay,” Arthur said finally. As if on cue, their server appeared with the check. Eames added a tip and signed with a flourish.
“Shall we?” he said, turning back to Arthur.
Arthur stood stiffly and followed Eames out to his car. As they drove the four minutes to Eames’ building, Eames quickly thought of the state of his apartment. He knew there were dishes in the sink, but he was fairly certain that was the worst offense, not that it mattered; After spilling red wine down Arthur’s clothes, Eames hardly thought they were headed for the bedroom.
“I have a dog,” Eames told Arthur as he parked the car. “I hope you’re not allergic.” It occurred to him that he probably should have mentioned this earlier, but here they were.
“No,” Arthur said. “What kind?”
“Just a little Boston Terrier,” Eames said and then he was off, talking about Charlie and his odd quirks and where he had got him from. It was only when they were at Eames’ door that he realized he had been rambling about his dog like the crazy dog person that he clearly was, but Arthur didn’t say anything to stop him.
“So here we are,” Eames said and unlocked the door. Predictably, Charlie came padding over to the door the second Arthur and Eames were in. He jumped up on Eames for petting before he noticed Arthur behind him and started to jump up on Arthur before Eames shooed him down.
“Sorry,” Eames said and tossed a tennis ball across the apartment for Charlie to chase after. “Let me grab some club soda. You can throw your jacket wherever.”
He kicked off his shoes and walked the four steps to the fridge. The only reason Eames had club soda at all was because Yusuf liked drinking it with lime during their Halo nights, but he was thankful now. He pulled it out and fished out a dishtowel from a drawer, studiously ignoring the stack of dirty dishes in his sink. When he turned, Arthur was behind him, shoes also left at the front door.
Eames opened his mouth to say something but Arthur was so close that nothing came out except, “Here,” as he shoved the bottle of club soda at Arthur. Arthur took it and thankfully backed up before Eames did something stupid like shove his tongue down Arthur’s throat while Arthur’s sweater vest was slowly, steadily destroyed.
“I have another shirt,” Eames said and took a second to blink at his own stupidity. “I mean, a shirt you could borrow if you wanted to soak that. I could wash it and get it back to you?”
Arthur looked up from where he was dabbing his shirt. “It seems to be coming out,” he said, “But thank you.”
“That’s good. I can still get it cleaned for you, though,” Eames said, partially because he wanted to do something for Arthur and partially because intro labs without sweater vests weren’t intro labs that he wanted to attend.
Arthur looked like he was going to refuse and then he said, “Sure. That would be – That’s great.”
Eames nodded. There was a moment where they stared at each other for a moment before Eames’ brain kicked in. “I’ll just grab you another shirt.”
He left Arthur in his kitchen and escaped to his bedroom where he rooted through his drawers for a shirt. He saw his wolf shirt, the one he had worn on the first day of classes, and dug it out. He smirked a bit as he imagined Arthur’s reaction and went back out into the main room of the apartment where his smirk slid off at the sight of Arthur standing shirtless in his kitchen. He clutched his shirt and sweater vest in one hand and Eames couldn’t help but follow the line of his arm up to his surprisingly toned chest.
He wasn’t able to enjoy the view for long though because a low whine drew his attention to the door where Charlie was sniffing and nudging at Arthur’s shoes.
“Charlie,” Eames called sharply but his dog wouldn’t be dissuaded.
“Here,” he said, tossing the shirt to Arthur and went to pull Charlie away from Arthur’s leather shoes. As he got closer, the blood drained from his face. There was a puddle on his carpet. Arthur’s shoes were in the middle of this puddle. His dog was still whining near the door and Eames rapidly put two and two together.
“Fuck,” he said under his breath.
“Really, Eames?” Arthur was saying behind him, his tone full of amusement. “You honestly expect me to wear this home.”
“Arthur,” Eames said immediately and then the words wouldn’t come. He was distantly aware through his mortification that he was opening and closing his mouth like a fish.
“What is it?” Arthur asked, coming closer and then Eames could tell the moment he put two and two together because this sort of strangled noise came from behind him.
“Arthur,” Eames said again. “Arthur, he doesn’t normally – I’m so sorry. I will somehow – “
“It’s – “Arthur started to say. Eames knew he wanted to say it was fine but it really really wasn’t. It wasn’t even remotely in the same vicinity as fine.
A strangled laugh escaped from Eames’ lips. “I can’t believe I’m sending you home shirtless and shoeless. I will replace them Arthur, I swear.”
He saw Arthur nodding out of the corner of his eye but couldn’t quite turn to face him.
“Just take care of him,” Arthur said and Eames turned to see him motioning at Charlie who was rightfully looking ashamed, “And call me a cab, if you could.”
“Yeah,” Eames said and hurried to comply. He was distantly aware of Arthur pulling on the shirt Eames had given him as he called the cab company. When he hung up he dug through his front closet to find a pair of flip flops that would most likely fit Arthur, or at least do until he got home.
“Here,” he said, handing them to Arthur. “Now you look like a right nutter.”
Arthur looked down, taking in his wolf moon shirt and dress pants and flip flops. “Yeah, I guess I do.”
“Listen, I’m really sorry about tonight,” Eames said even though it didn’t sound even half as sorry as he actually was.
“Yeah,” Arthur said and pulled on his jacket. “I should go wait downstairs.”
“Yeah,” Eames said and shoved his hands into his pockets so he wouldn’t do something stupid like try to kiss Arthur goodnight. God knows he wouldn’t have another chance after tonight, not that he deserved it.
“See you Tuesday,” Arthur said and Eames’ heart sank at the thought of having to face Arthur during office hours.
“Yeah,” Eames said and held Charlie’s collar as Arthur escaped, closing the door behind him. Charlie whined and Eames knew how he felt.
“All right,” Eames said with a sigh. “Let’s go for a nice long walk.”
He clipped on Charlie’s lead and went out through the back so they wouldn’t run into Arthur. Tuesday he would have to deal with Arthur but he didn’t want to have to do it a minute before then. Results
This section is where you present your data and analyses. The experimenter gives a description and not an explanation of the findings of the experiment.
Eames flipped through his notebook to his section on Arthur. He wrote down Results
and rehashed their awful date in point form before tossing the notebook across the room. Charlie chased after it but it slid under the bed and lay forgotten while Eames tried to forget what happened Friday.
Monday morning’s class involved sitting through dull presentation after dull presentation until finally Eames was able to escape for coffee with Ariadne.
“I didn’t know you had a dog,” she said apropos of nothing as they waited in line at Starbucks. Everything in Eames froze.
“Did Arthur – “
“He said you guys went out on Friday when we were in lab on Saturday. Apparently you have a cute dog,” Ariadne said with a smile and Eames waited, waited for her to tell her what an awful time Arthur had and how he never wanted to see Eames again.
“Did he say anything else?” Eames managed and stepped forward in line.
“You apparently took him to some swanky Italian place?” Ariadne said and grinned before she put in her order for a complicated caffeinated drink. “I didn’t know you were such a romantic.”
“Uh, coffee,” Eames said to the waiting barista through his haze of confusion. “Large. Really big coffee.”
He turned back to Ariadne. “But he didn’t mention anything to you about spilling wine all over his shirt?”
“He mentioned that there was a spill, but he didn’t seem too bothered,” Ariadne said with a shrug.
Eames paid and accepted his not-large-enough coffee. He dropped a dollar in the tip jar and followed Ariadne to wait for her drink.
“Did he – my dog, he – Did he say anything else about my dog?”
Ariadne shook her head. “Actually – “
Eames inhaled sharply.
“He said that you sort of went on about him in a way that was – “She pulled out air quotes. “’Kind of cute.’”
Eames opened his mouth and shut it again. “My dog pissed in his shoes,” Eames said flatly and watched as Ariadne gave a large open-mouthed laugh.
Eames nodded. “Really.”
“He did not
mention that,” she said with a grin. Eames was glad that someone
was amused. “That’s so weird,” she said.
“He sort of – he sort of seemed like he had a good time.”
Ariadne collected her drink and headed back towards class. Eames watched her go, rooted to the spot, thinking about what she said. She must have misunderstood Arthur. There was no way anyone
could have had a good time on their date.
Facing Arthur the next day would have been much more difficult if Eames hadn’t been able to find a way to clean both his shoes and his shirts. Thankfully Yahoo! Answers came through on both accounts and Eames had Arthur’s things in a bag, swinging at his side. He was somewhat thankful that he was seeing Arthur first during their office hours, not lab. He didn’t want to have to explain to onlookers why exactly Eames had Arthur’s clothing or what had happened to it.
Arthur was already in the office when Eames arrived, working on something on his ever-present laptop, but he looked up when Eames entered.
“Hey,” Eames said before handing him the bag. “Everything good as new.”
Arthur glanced inside and set it aside. “Thanks.”
Eames nodded and set his bag down, his back to Arthur. He took his time pulling out his materials and even lined his pencils up perfectly before turning around.
“How was the rest of your weekend?” Arthur asked, looking up from his laptop momentarily.
“Fine,” Eames said. “You?”
“Good,” Arthur said and drummed his fingers lightly on his keyboard.
Eames nodded and was never as glad as when Bethany came in with her usual chagrined face, right on time. The first year chemistry students never had so thorough a tutoring as that particular day. Never before had their tutors been quite so attentive or so willing to go over extra problems (and never since).
Finally the hour that seemed to drag and drag was over and Eames packed up his things as quickly as possible, much faster than Arthur was able to pack up his laptop.
“Heading home?” Arthur asked before Eames could make a quick getaway. Eames never considered himself a coward but sometimes even he needed time to go home and lick his wounds.
“Uh, no,” Eames said. “I have some work I have to do in the lab.” Then he high-tailed it out of there like the coward he clearly was, ignoring the confused look Arthur threw his way. He really did go up to his desk though and stare at the stack of unmarked labs until Yusuf threw a balled-up paper at him.
“How did Friday go?” he called and Eames regretted telling him the real reason why he had cancelled their usual Halo night.
“Could have gone better,” Eames said and Yusuf wandered over to his desk.
“He didn’t stay the night?” Yusuf asked.
“Charlie pissed in his shoes, but this was only after I had spilled an entire glass of red wine on his shirt,” Eames said shortly.
“Ah,” Yusuf said. “Well, next time tell him to leave his shoes on!”
That startled a laugh out of Eames. “I don’t think there’s really going to be a next time.”
“It couldn’t have been that bad.”
“It was just...” Eames shrugged. “A bit awkward. Not like our usual back and forth. Some people just aren’t meant to date.”
“Maybe he was nervous,” Yusuf suggested and Eames gave a short laugh.
“Arthur, nervous? I doubt it.”
“So, that’s it?”
“You dedicate an entire notebook – “
“Part of a notebook,” Eames interrupted.
of a notebook to this guy and buy him coffee and tickets to a fantastic band and dinner and then you just, what, give up?”
“That’s sunken cost reasoning,” Eames said. “Just because I’ve put time into Arthur, doesn’t mean I should keep putting time into him.”
“No,” Yusuf agreed. “But if you’re already on the campaign, you should see it through.”
Eames regarded him dubiously. “I think that all my troops have been killed and that we can safely say that Arthur has won this round.”
“I don’t think you should assume that you’re fighting for different things,” Yusuf said with a pointed look and wandered back over to his own work space.
Eames watched him go and wished that his life was as simple as a game of Halo, though with a significantly lower body count.
The lab on Thursday smelled faintly of formaldehyde as if someone had been dissecting foetal pigs moments before. It made Eames a bit queasy, though on a scale of one to Arthur, it was only about a four.
“Here are your shoes.”
Speak of the devil. Eames took the proffered bag and set it under the desk as if out of sight, out of mind, might really work.
“Thanks,” Eames said, and then, when he thought of it, “My shirt?”
“I haven’t washed it yet. I’ll get it back to you next week?”
Arthur was being so polite about the whole thing Eames couldn’t help but be suspicious. Arthur flipped out when Eames broke one of the magical laminated rules but Eames had broken nearly all the rules of a good first date and here Arthur was, hovering as if he wanted to say something or do something. Eames wished he could just put Arthur under a microscope sometimes, dissect him and figure him out.
“Look – “ Arthur started to say but was interrupted from the prof at the front of the room, talking about their lab. Eames wasn’t listening because he was watching a mix of emotions pass across Arthur’s face before Arthur said in a low voice, “After class?”
Eames nodded without thinking and watched Arthur go back to his lab bench the way he had a dozen other times. The prof was saying something about the fume hood but Eames tuned him out and instead watched Arthur, who was sneaking him these little looks that were doing things
to Eames’ insides. Arthur distracted? His distraction was practically Eames’ undoing. Arthur was never distracted. If Eames didn’t know better, he might have thought Arthur was doing it just to torture him, sending him heated glances just to make Eames relive that brief moment he saw Arthur without his shirt. Eames had relived the moment no less than forty-four times since their date, and nearly indulged in it now, except getting hard in lab was always awkward.
Instead he tried to tune back into what the prof was saying, only Arthur had rolled up his sleeves and goddamn
his forearms were gorgeous. Eames shook his head. Focus
He went to the side table to grab his chemicals and brought them back to his bench. It seemed a bit sketchy to be making chloroform, but Eames was sure the prof had something in mind. It wasn’t really Eames problem to worry about what the lesson of the day was; he just needed to complete the instruction sheet in front of him.
Right. Add acetone to bleach. Eames pulled on gloves and mindful of Rule Number Two (Dress appropriately in the lab), put on his safety goggles. He measured out the bleach and started to add the acetone. Fumes started to appear and Eames started to feel more than a little dizzy. Just when it occurred to Eames that he really should have been doing this in a fume hood (Arthur was going to be pissed, he hated when people missed Rule Six), Arthur actually called across, “Where’s your ice?”
Arthur nodded. “It’s an exother – “
Before Eames could even react, the beaker exploded in front of him with a loud crash and a flash of light, sending shards flying across the room – or at least that’s what Eames assumed happened; he passed out from chloroform inhalation as soon as the beaker exploded.
He awoke to the prof above him shaking his shoulder and talking to someone above Eames. Eames blinked rapidly, trying to figure out what was going on through the ringing in his ears. And this is why we have Intro Lab
, Eames thought dizzily as he started to sit up.
“Just stay there,” his prof said, his hand still on Eames’ shoulder. “I’ve called the paramedics to take a look at you. You took a bit of a fall.”
Eames coloured, thinking of Arthur witnessing him fainting like a first year undergrad.
“What happened?” Eames asked.
The prof gave him a stern look. “You were supposed to continually add ice to your solution, which you would have known if you were paying attention. Bleach and acetone give off a tremendous amount of heat.”Exothermic
, Eames thought, recalling Arthur’s earlier words. Arthur had known. Of course Arthur had known. Eames
should have known and would
have known if he had been paying even an ounce of attention.
“Right, of course,” Eames said, feeling more than a little stupid. “Sorry about that.”
“There’s not enough time left in the term for you to make up the lab, so just get the results off someone else and write up your own report,” the prof said, ignoring Eames’ apology. They both looked up when the door opened and the paramedics stepped in.
They crouched beside Eames and asked him a series of questions which Eames answered as well as he could, considering he was dying, more of mortification than any serious illness. Finally they decided to send him home to rest and Eames stood gratefully.
He stooped to pick up his bag and paused, dizziness making his vision swim for a moment. When it cleared he grabbed the other bag with his flip flops in it and couldn’t help but glance over at Arthur’s bench. Arthur was staring at him with an expression of wide-eyed worry. He probably would have come over but Eames raised a hand in farewell and trudged out of the class.
If Arthur hadn’t thought he was an idiot before, he surely did now.
Eames groaned when he heard a knock on the door. It was Friday and he had called in sick to his supervisor which meant he had three uninterrupted days off. Three days without having to see anyone or do anything and he meant to keep it that way. Charlie started barking but Eames knew if he ignored the knock his dog would eventually calm down.
When the knock came again though, Eames got out of bed and pulled on a worn white t-shirt over his boxers, Charlie at his feet.
He pulled open the door, expecting his landlord or a neighbour but instead Arthur was there in a brown leather jacket, dark wash jeans and an uncertain expression.
“Hi,” Eames said, and in his moment of surprise Charlie darted out the door behind Arthur and into the corridor. Eames swore and went after him, more than aware of how ridiculous he looked in boxers, barefoot and chasing after his dog.
He scooped Charlie up and made his way back to his apartment where Arthur was still lingering in the doorway.
“How are you feeling?” Arthur asked.
“I’m fine, Arthur,” Eames said, trying not to flush at the memory of fainting right in front of Arthur. “Why are you here?”
“I brought yesterday’s lab. You weren’t answering your phone,” Arthur answered. “You haven’t been answering your e-mail either.”
Arthur was blocking his doorway, feet shoulder-width apart. Charlie struggled towards him in Eames’ arms but Eames kept his grip. He didn’t want Charlie anywhere near Arthur or his shoes, lest they have a repeat performance of last week.
“I know that last week didn’t exactly live up your expectations,” Arthur went on. “That maybe I
didn’t live up your expectations but you don’t need to ignore me. We still have the rest of the term to work beside each other, not to mention sharing an office, so we should really just get past it.”
Eames stomach clenched at the thought that Arthur thought that he had somehow let Eames down or wasn’t what Eames expected. That was the truth though, wasn’t it? Eames thought that he knew what to expect with Arthur when in reality he had no idea what Arthur liked or where he liked to go.
“You didn’t – it wasn’t like that,” Eames said. “It just made me realize that I don’t know much about you.”
“Isn’t that the point of dating, though?” Arthur said. “To get to know someone?”
Arthur had a point. Arthur always had a point, Eames thought, to distract himself from how his heart rate sped up stupidly when Arthur mentioned dating him.
“I mean, do you think I would have dated my ex if I had known he was an asshole? No, I had to get to know him first,” Arthur said with a slight smile.
Charlie squirmed in his arms again and Arthur reached out a hand to pet him.
“So you still want to... my dog pissed in your shoes,” Eames said helplessly.
“Surprisingly not the worst date I’ve been on,” Arthur said. Charlie panted happily between them.
“That was possibly the most awkward experience of my life," Eames admitted.
“I thought that award went to the shirt you wore yesterday,” Arthur said as if he couldn’t help himself and then, slightly more seriously, “I didn’t think you would give up after one date. I am completely unimpressed.”
“I’m not giving up but you can’t seriously tell me that after that date you still want to...” Eames trailed off, not sure how to end that sentence. Date me. Kiss me. Fuck me.
“No, but maybe I can – “ Arthur’s hand snuck up to Eames’ neck and then Arthur was leaning in and Eames was going helplessly like there was a magnetic charge between them. Then Arthur's lips were on his and Eames couldn't even think or breathe or do anything except clutch Charlie, who was squirming between them now, and kiss back. Magnesium
, Eames thought hazily. Kissing Arthur was like that moment when the magnesium caught fire and you almost had to look away, it was so intense, but instead you kept watching, wanting more.
Finally Arthur pulled away, laughing because Charlie was trying to lick his face.
"We should try this again when your dog isn't in the way," Arthur said, still laughing.
Eames just stood, made stupid by Arthur's laugh, until Arthur all but pulled him into his apartment. Eames let Charlie down, and then almost wished he hadn't because now he had nothing to do with his hands except grab onto Arthur, so he did. He slid his hands under Arthur’s jacket, thinking of the layer of muscle underneath his shirt, and pressed his lips to Arthur’s again.
Arthur made a delightfully low noise into his mouth before wrapping his arms around Eames and kissing him back, hard. Arthur kissed single-mindedly like he was trying to devour Eames whole, like he was a prize to be won. It was the best kind of overwhelming.
They were interrupted - of course - by Charlie pawing Eames' leg insistently, upset to be left out.
“Sorry,” Eames said breathlessly, letting go of Arthur. “He’s a bit – “
“Excitable?” Arthur said with a wry smile. Eames flushed, remembering Arthur’s shoes.
“Let’s put your shoes in the closet,” Eames said decisively. “That is, if you’re staying?”
Arthur gave him a slanted smile. “I thought I might. If you weren’t too incapacitated.”
“No. God, I can’t believe I – “
Arthur stopped him with a hand on his arm. “You wouldn’t believe the stupid, careless shit I’ve done in the lab. Why do you think I follow the rules so closely? I’ve broken most of them at one time or another. We learn from our mistakes though, right?” Arthur gave him a grin and Eames was pretty sure he was in love.
Thankfully he was saved from telling Arthur this by Charlie, jumping up on Eames leg, reminding him that he was still here.
“Right, why don’t we just – “
“I’ll put my shoes away,” Arthur said, with an amused look and Eames nodded and watched as Arthur knelt and undid each lace carefully before toeing them off. He walked the short distance to the front closet and tucked them safely away.
“There,” Arthur said, coming to stand in front of Eames, and suddenly it was there again, the awkward tension from the restaurant, but Arthur dispelled it with a single smile.
“You have the best bedhead,” he said, eyes flicking up to where Eames imagined his hair was standing up spectacularly.
“I bet you do,” Eames said, thinking about Arthur’s hair mussed on his pillow.
“Want to find out?” Arthur said with a grin that showed off his dimples and Eames couldn’t help but burst out laughing.
“Is that a line
?” he said incredulously. “Does Arthur Levine have lines?”
“Not very good ones, clearly,” Arthur admitted and pulled Eames to him for a kiss. Eames smiled into it, an unfamiliar giddy feeling rising within him. He could feel Arthur smiling too, and between that and Charlie still vying for Eames attention it was a pretty bad kiss, but Eames found he didn’t care.
"Maybe we should just - " Eames said breathlessly and gestured to the bedroom. "The dog," he said, by way of explanation and Arthur agreed easily enough and followed him in. Eames shut the door behind them, leaving Charlie outside, and tried to ignore the way his stomach was turning in twisty knots thinking about getting Arthur out of his jacket and buttoned-up shirt and onto his bed.
Arthur stood in the middle of his bedroom, taking off his jacket, and for a moment Eames saw his room as Arthur might – messy bedclothes and overflowing laundry basket and a stray rubber dog toy on the floor – and cringed a little. He stooped down to pick up a handful of comics scattered on his floor at the same time as Arthur said, “I like your poster,” gesturing toward his Watchmen poster and Eames supposed he still had lots to learn about Arthur. He tossed the comics on his already crowded desk and turned back to Arthur.
“Thanks,” Eames said with a smile, then didn’t say much of anything else because he was crowding into Arthur’s space, touching him like he hadn’t been able to yet, untucking Arthur’s neat shirt and running his hands over Arthur’s back. Arthur’s eyelids fluttered shut as Eames kissed the corner of his mouth, his smooth jaw, his neck where his collar rested. He wanted to get things back to the focused passion of earlier, he did, but right now it was catching up with him that Arthur was really here in his room.
Even in his most optimistic moments, Eames hadn’t really expected his experiment of sorts to work. Of course, it hadn’t worked, not really. It wasn’t the date that had brought Arthur into his bedroom, it was Arthur. Naturally Eames had missed the largest confounding variable of all – Arthur himself.
Eames detoured back up to Arthur’s mouth and sucked Arthur’s bottom lip into his mouth before biting gently and was rewarded with a soft noise. Eames smiled. He was going to make Arthur make all sorts of noises by the time he was done with him.
He scrambled to undo the buttons on Arthur’s shirt while Arthur tugged up Eames’ t-shirt and finally Eames let go of Arthur to pull it up over his head. He was standing in only his boxers and Arthur was still mostly dressed, which wasn’t nearly fair. He let Arthur take over unbuttoning his own shirt and concentrated on trying to undo Arthur’s pants in between stealing kisses that turned into just breathing against Arthur’s jaw as he dragged Arthur’s pants down past his narrow hips. He felt Arthur’s hands over his and they lowered Arthur’s pants together, strangely reminiscent of their titration lab.
Eames was impossibly hard at the mere thought of having Arthur mostly naked so when he opened his eyes and stepped back, the actual sight of Arthur in his boxer briefs with his shirt loose and hanging open was enough to make Eames dry in the mouth. Arthur kicked away his pants which had tangled in his ankles and toed off his socks. Then he was just standing there waiting for Eames.
“You’re impossibly lovely,” Eames said because it was the truth. Arthur actually blushed at that before scowling a little because he was still Arthur. Eames almost wanted to leave Arthur’s shirt on for whatever it was they were going to do, but Arthur shrugged out of it and Eames was distracted again by the musculature of his arms.
Eames swore under his breath and stepped forward so he could run his hands over Arthur’s arms and press a kiss to the top of his lightly freckled shoulder the way he hadn’t been able to do last time he saw Arthur’s bare shoulder.
“Where have you been hiding these?” Eames murmured against Arthur’s neck, still circling Arthur’s biceps with his hands.
“My arms?” Arthur said, sounding amused. “I’m pretty sure you knew I had arms. They come in handy while titrating, for instance.”
“Your completely gorgeous arms,” Eames corrected and kissed Arthur because as much as enjoyed the banter, he found that he enjoyed kissing him even more. Arthur kissed back eagerly enough and pulled Eames even closer so he could roll his hips against Eames’ and feel the stuttering of Arthur’s breath in his mouth.
“Christ,” Eames breathed out and dragged Arthur onto his bed. “Off now,” he said, pawing at Arthur’s underwear. Arthur dutifully obeyed for once before straddling Eames and giving him a perfect view of his cock. Arthur had a very nice cock, Eames noticed, one that was rubbing against him through his boxers and spreading pre-come all over his stomach.
“Fuck,” Eames said and wrapped his hands around Arthur’s hips. “Come on,” he said and Arthur rolled his hips faster, grinding down against Eames’ cock. His breath was coming quicker and quicker with each movement and little noises kept escaping, each one bringing him closer and closer to his climax.
“Come on,” Eames said again and glanced up at Arthur’s face, to his slightly open mouth where those sweet noises were escaping from, and further upwards to his eyes that kept fluttering open and then shut as if he couldn’t handle any more stimuli. Eames surged up and kissed Arthur hard, nearly unseating him in Eames’ lap, and Arthur came with a groan, wetness splashing against Eames’ skin. Eames’ hands on Arthur’s hips kept him in place, rocking back and forth, riding out his orgasm until he went slightly limp under Eames’ hands.
“Fuck,” Arthur said softly and Eames’ cock still managed to jump even though he was ludicrously hard. Arthur shifted in Eames’ lap but the friction was too much so Eames toppled them over until they were lying side by side. Arthur’s pupils were dilated and his hair was messier than any of their labs so far. Through a cloud of lust Eames felt distantly proud.
Eames turned on his back and took a deep breath as Arthur reached out and ran his fingers through the mess on Eames’ skin. Eames fisted his hands in the sheets and arched into his touch, willing his hand further down to where Eames’ cock was throbbing.
Arthur smiled faintly and as if he could read Eames’ mind – which, with his cock visibly hard, wasn’t too difficult – he slid a hand under Eames’ boxers. Eames exhaled heavily and all but keened under Arthur’s touch. Those oh so competent hands were being put to good use, stroking Eames’ cock and teasing all sorts of noises from his lips. Eames lifted himself up on his elbows so he could see those clever hands at work, see the way his cock glistened with their joint wetness.
“Do you have a – ?” Arthur asked and Eames nodded, knowing what he was after. He reached for his bedside table and pulled out a condom. He handed it to Arthur and closed his eyes as he felt Arthur roll it on, but he couldn’t keep his eyes shut for long.
He wanted to see the moment Arthur’s tongue reached out and licked up the underside of his cock. He watched Arthur suckle just the head in at first and then more and more with the kind of determination that was sexy enough in a lab but far sexier when applied to making Eames come.
Eames watched until he couldn’t anymore because the sight of Arthur’s mussed head taking Eames’ cock was going to make him come and he wanted to last just a little bit more.
“Could you – “ Eames managed. “Your fingers – “
And clever Arthur knew what he meant and pushed in a finger, just slightly. It was dry and uncomfortable but it was perfect, everything was perfect and Eames came.
When Eames came to, his first thought was, That’s the second time I’ve passed out in front of Arthur now
, but it was quickly taken over by the pleasure of realizing that Arthur was still in bed with him, stroking his sides lightly.
Eames smiled and turned to him. “Hi.”
“Hi,” Arthur said and smiled in return.
Eames glanced down and saw that the condom was gone and the mess cleaned up. He really was the worst boyfriend so far. Luckily Arthur didn’t seem to mind, if the way he was biting his way down Eames’ neck was any indication.
“Do you have to go in to school tomorrow?” Eames asked.
Arthur glanced up at him through long eye lashes and shook his head.
“So you can stay in my bed all day?”
Arthur’s mouth curved into a smile and he nodded. “I have labs to mark – “
have labs to mark,” Eames pointed out and ran a finger down Arthur’s spine.
“So I can put them off until Sunday night,” Arthur finished and bit down on Eames’ shoulder.
“I like this plan,” Eames said and got down to the very serious business of kissing Arthur.Discussion
In this section, you state your conclusions on the basis of your analyses. You should open the discussion section with a statement of support or nonsupport for your original hypothesis. You may remark on certain shortcomings of the study, but avoid dwelling on flaws. In general, this section allows you relatively free rein to examine, interpret, and qualify your results.
Eames came out of the washroom to the sight of a gorgeous man in his bed. He lingered in the doorway, watching Arthur sleep until it verged on slightly creepy. Before crawling back into bed though, something on the floor caught his eye. It was his notebook, half-wedged under the bed. Eames knelt and pulled it out, turning it to the section on Arthur.
Glancing over to make sure Arthur was actually asleep, Eames grabbed a pencil from his desk. There is great support for my hypothesis,
Eames wrote, though if asked, Arthur probably wouldn’t say it was the actual date that made him willing to give this a try. He gave this a try in spite of that date, which by all accounts was pretty horrific.
Identifying shortcomings of this study would really only allow someone else to try this study and succeed, or allow Eames to try it with someone else, neither of which he had any intention of doing so he closed the notebook and slid it back under the bed.
On the bed, Arthur gave a soft snuffling noise which made Eames smile. He crawled back in beside Arthur and tried to fall back asleep. Tomorrow he would wake up and see if Arthur’s bedhead was as great as he hypothesized it to be. He had a feeling it was going to be an ongoing study.
Authors notes: While I do have a degree in science it's been a while since I've actually been in a lab so I must give credit where credit's due!
All parts in italics come from the ALA Manual for writing up labs.
You can find a facsimile of the lab rules I worked from here
The entire titration lab came from this helpful site
. If you want to do your own titration (and I know you do), you can find a helpful youtube vid here
You can see magnesium burn for realz here
. (And get a glimpse of Eames' supervisor at 0:27).
You can also see this dumbass make chloroform the wrong way here
. (Skip ahead to 0:55, when it starts smoking).
I hope you enjoyed! Now go forth and make sweet, sweet chemical reactions.