The warehouse was surprisingly bright and cheerful. There were enough missing windows that they could smell the sea. The corners were dusty and stacks of abandoned materials had been arranged to create separate areas on the large floor. In the center of the floor were two white boards and one dilapidated cork board.
"It's the only option, Arthur," Eames said quietly. "You've told us yourself; she's obsessed with the bloody show."
Arthur made a distressed sound in the back of his throat. "Have you even seen an episode of Buffy? Vampire projections, Eames! Demons. Magic spells."
Eames patted Arthur's hand with an insincere smile. "There. There. Perhaps it won't be as bad as all that. She's untrained."
Ariadne frowned at the two of them. "So I'm building Sunnydale?"
"Whatever town is in the show." Eames waved a graceful hand at her.
"Yes, Ari. Sunnydale. Pre-season four."
She laughed then. "One high school library coming right up. What's the scenario?"
"We'll need the high school, a graveyard, and a few more places. And our Mr. Eames here will be playing Buffy."
"Stop that. Eames will be our extractor."
"As well as forging? Isn't that an issue?"
Eames chuckled. "Sweet, if Arthur weren't still playing dutiful teacher, you wouldn't be coming in at all." He quirked a grin. "Remember that mark in Maiorca?"
"With the fat mistress with the face to match her persian cat?" Arthur snorted. "You didn't need me on that op, just a bottle of scotch." He reached into his messanger bag and pulled out a CD case. He dropped it into Eames lap. "Here. Your stalking victim's coming to you this time."
"The entire run of Buffy: the Vampire Slayer. If you are *very* nice I won't make you read all 300 of the mark's fan fiction."
"Coffee every morning. Dinner twice a week. And you will *never* mention this job to Dom Cobb or anyone who is still talking to him."
Eames considered. "One page summaries and a glossary for terms I'll be expected to know."
"Deal." They shook while Ari giggled.
"Do you have pictures for me or do I get to watch with Eames?"
Arthur shook his head. "I'll get a set of stills for you for the library. And general style notes on the graveyards."
"You can watch with me. We've a television and DVD player, yes?"
"Laptop and a desk." Arthur pointed to the laptop case. "If I find porn on that hard-drive, it'll be three dinners a week."
"Yes, dear." Eames rolled his eyes. He and Ariadne retreated to the other side of the warehouse.
"How's the battle, Arthur?" Eames ran his fingers up Arthur's spine and rest them on the back of his neck. He was casually dressed for the California spring – neat chinos and a white shirt with a soft pattern that was echoed in his favorite mustard brocade vest. His sleeves were rolled up neatly, showing off the track marks and scars he'd acquired over the years.
"The first forty summaries for you. It's gotten to the point that I'm editing them. We're becoming a great team." He didn't look up from the computer screen.
"Tsk. Tsk. Actively engaging with the mark."
"Fuck you, Mr. Eames."
"Temper. Temper. Tell me, how many languages do you speak again?"
"Speak fluently? Eight. Enough to get by? Fifteen. And I can read a few archaics." Arthur stiffened. "Why?
"Just curious." Eames stroked the taut muscles gently.
"I do not find that reassuring. Your curiosity usually means trouble for me."
Eames moved to a full shoulder massage. "You do realize that I can't yet forge two people at the same time."
"I can't forge."
"Thus, we come to the issue. I'm going to make a call to take care of that. And you will trust me to do it without triple-checking my choices."
"I will?" Arthur leaned his head back to look up at him. Eames nodded firmly. "Why?"
"Because you know that I'm capable of judging other forgers' talents." He dug his thumbs into one stubborn knot. Arthur whimpered. "Yes?"
"Yes. Fine. You'll play Buffy and hire us a Giles. Do I need to get another room or will you be sharing with this forger?"
"Don't be silly. I'll share with you, of course." Arthur's shoulders tightened. "Stop that. You'll undo all of my good work."
"Right. Fine." He sighed. "There's a spare key in my jacket."
"You read history at Oxford, didn't you, Arthur?"
"And you were at Cambridge for art history, which is why we're destined to hate one another."
"And you changed majors when you went to Paris, yes?"
"Are we engaging in bantering exposition for Ariadne, or is there a point?"
"Idle curiosity. Honestly."
"You're a better liar than this, Eames."
"It's just... You do recall I've seen you without your shirt."
"Season two already?" Arthur closed his eyes after seeing Ari's delight.
"So my memory is correct then?"
"I was drunk."
"Of course. Still, you are a librarian."
"Oh my God," Ari breathed. "Do you have tweed? Do you?"
"Eames, no more." Arthur stood up quickly enough that his chair tipped over. He opened the gym bag at his feet. He threw a wooden stake at Eames. He took one for himself. "Let's work on proper staking technique."
"Oh, Arthur, you know I'm always up for a good staking."
Eames ignored that. He hefted the stake. "Did you make this?"
"Out of hawthorn. After the McKinnon case."
"Yes. That brought the tally to werewolves, zombies, stormtroopers, pirates, and ninjas. I'm actually shocked it's taken this long for vampires to come up."
"What other toys do you have?"
"Sword, crossbow, and axe. I'd have brought bos, but I couldn't get any good quality ones." Arthur gestured to the open space between Ari's corner and the PASIV corner.
"Jamison, I'll want tea at four, and you'll need to provide me with the same information you're giving Eames."
"I'll make a note, Miles." Arthur didn't look up from his work. He dodged the ball thrown at his head. It bounced around on the warehouse floor. "Something you wanted?"
"Look at me when I'm speaking to you."
"Professor Miles!" Ari squealed. "You must be Eames' surprise for me."
"Ariadne. Lovely to see you, my dear." Miles greeted her with a grandfatherly smile and hug. "My files, Jamison?"
"Oh, no files yet. Eames will explain your role." Arthur looked up with a smirk. "I think you'll fine it as simple as pie."
Miles narrowed his eyes. "I expect the draft of your thesis before I leave."
Arthur squinted like Dominick was wont to do. "No. I am not working on a Ph.D. You can just strangle that assumption right now."
"This little detour into the underworld won't last forever. Wake up, Arthur. Come back to university." Miles leaned against the younger man's desk. "The only reason I suggested you work with Mallorie was so that you could rid me of Dominick Cobb. You failed at that."
Arthur pushed back and balanced his chair on two legs as he looked up at him. "It's not my fault. Your son-in-law is straighter than an I-beam."
"Is he truly?" Eames asked. He shrugged off his suitcoat and hung it over a chair.
"He refused a blow job. Multiple times."
Miles blinked. "What a fool."
"Oh, he was willing to share Mal with me, but God forbid we do anything without her. Do you know that he had the gall to say? 'I know that this strategy helped you, but you need to learn new coping methods. We're friends, Arthur.' As if friends can't have sex."
"Bloody Hell." Miles shook his head. "What a waste."
"No, a waste is being celibate for year and a half because he didn't want to take advantage of me. Still cock-blocked me thought."
Miles couldn't help it; he started to laugh. The most liberal slut he'd ever met stymied by his best friend's husband. Eames carefully patted Arthur's shoulder. "I'm always here for you, Darling."
"Wait a minute." Ari's voice was soft. "You sent Arthur to break up your daughter's marriage?"
"He has a talent for it." Miles smirked. "And his blow-jobs are extraordinary."
"Give Cora my love when you talk to her next." Arthur sneered.
"Don't be spiteful, Jamison. It's the truth."
"I didn't know they were married," he reassured Ariadne. "After you, I started researching my dates." He pointed at Miles with a scowl.
Eames watched them with a gleeful smile. "Is *that* why you ended up accompanying the Cobb sprogs to their grandmother?"
"It's why I decided to leave Paris. I *thought* it was a reasearch position, but then Mal decided I would be her point and look what's happened."
"Dominick's corrupted four more students, including Ariadne."
"I'm still stuck on Arthur trying to sleep with Dom," Ari interjected.
"And Eames. And Miles." Arthur frowned. "I'm sorry. Did I misread something? I thought you weren't interested."
Eames glanced at her with a frown. "I must have misread you then."
"She wants Dom. More power to her delusional self."
Miles smacked Arthur's shoulder. "Manners, young man."
"I do actually," Ari said. "I want him and the kids and the whole package. But I want dreaming more."
Miles frowned. "You have been establishing real world credentials."
She shifted from foot to foot. "Not particularly. A full-time job interferes with the three month planning sessions."
"Jamison, see to establishing her as a freelancer."
"Miles, you are not taking over this job. You are not my professor. You are not Ari's professor. You are here as a secondary forger to support Eames." Arthur lifted his chin a bit.
Miles raised a brow. "A bit testy aren't we?"
"A bit overbearing aren't we?" Arthur mocked.
Miles' cheek twitched. "I have missed you, Arthur."
Arthur studied him. "You can share a room with Eames. I don't mind. He's got great hands."
"We already decided I'm sharing with you, Darling. Unless you'd prefer to share with Miles? I was under the impression that the relationship was over. Was I incorrect?"
Ari's cheeks heated. "Did you... in Miles' office?"
Arthur's ears turned a pleasing pink. "A couple times."
"I so need details."
"That's my girl," Eames beamed at her. "So, we'll get Miles into the room you rented for me and I'll have my things in your room by tonight. Then, we'll get you drunk and you can tell Ari all about your scandalous sex life."
Miles patted Arthur's shoulder. "I'll have aspirin for you in the morning."
"I hate all of you equally right now. I didn't even think that was possible."
"Jamison," Miles said mildly, "I vaguely remember a tattoo."
Arthur put his head down on the desk. "Yes. I have an annoying Englishman too." He pointed across the room at Eames' head. "And no, I refuse further discussion on the fact that I went in to library science on account that it might be detrimental to my mental health."
"Oh, Arthur." Miles' hand was familiar against the back of his head. He curled his fingers into Arthur's hair and rubbed gently. "It really is a shame you can't forge. I can't think how I'll be any better in the role than you are."
"I can teach you to fight. I can't forge. Eames tried, Mal tried, you tried." Arthur shrugged without lifting his head. "I'll just be your protege in the dream. With my former potential slayer Ari at my side." Arthur turned his head to look up with one eye. "Flirting encouraged, by the way. The mark's fanfic assumes that Giles is bisexual."