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Title: Atom to Atom (Feel It On Me Love) (3/4)
Author: osaki_nana_707
Pairings/Characters: Arthur/Eames, Yusuf, Ariadne
Rating: R
Word count: 7,092 (this part)
Warnings: heat, underage, knotting, mpreg, dub-con, violence, character death (non-canon characters)
Summary: Werewolf!AU. Arthur is sixteen and completely oblivious when he first goes into heat, only saved from it by charismatic senior and other fellow werewolf Eames... and that's not even the most complicated part.

Written for [livejournal.com profile] cherrybina's Kink Fest 2.0

Betaed by the lovely [livejournal.com profile] kansouame

Part 3

The scent of the werewolves was growing stronger, Arthur noticed, but he really couldn't worry about that much now.

He was about fifteen weeks in now, and he was most definitely showing. It was already getting difficult to hide. He'd started taking to wearing a thick, oversized hooded sweatshirt at absolutely all times, but he was starting to fear that it was losing its effectiveness. He had a hell of a time avoiding his parents, trying to sit at tables that hid the stomach or keeping his back to them whenever they'd come into a room.

He knew he'd have to tell them soon. They were going to find out eventually.

The scent of nearby wolves didn't concern Arthur as much as keeping his secret did, but it certainly seemed to concern Eames. He prowled about, giving nasty looks to anyone suspicious, and he started taking the time to walk Arthur to his car in the afternoons and to pick him up in the mornings. He was obsessively protective, but Arthur was starting to get used to it.

As he was coming out of the bathroom, he was suddenly caught by the arm, and he very nearly panicked until he realized it was Ariadne, his current lab partner in Biology, and one of the few people who treated him like a human being. "Hey," she said, eyebrows furrowed. "I've been looking for you. Do you have your notes from class yesterday? I missed."

"Oh... um..." Arthur mumbled, dropping his backpack off of his shoulders, "Yeah- um..."

She looked around while he was digging for them and asked, "So, um... you and that Eames guy... are you a thing?"

Arthur glanced up at her, paused, and then looked back down to his bag. "Um... I don't know if that's the proper- that is... not... not exactly."

"Well, I was just wondering. I mean, he drives you everywhere, and he follows you around like a puppy dog these days. I don't care if you're gay, Arthur. I think it's sweet."

"It was sort of an accidental kind of... thing."

He held out the notes to her as he stood, and as she took a step forward to accept them, her foot caught on the strap of his backpack, sending her crashing towards him.

He caught her before she hit the floor, but unfortunately that also pressed her close against him, and he noticed the way her eyebrows shot up nearly immediately.

"Um..." she said, stepping back. "Sorry about that..."

Arthur just breathed in and out through his nose, wanting to back away or sink into the floor. "N-n-no problem, um, that's all of them, you can go-"

"Arthur, um... I-"

"I'll see you later," Arthur stammered, grabbing up his things, but she caught him by the arm again and dragged him back into the bathroom. "No- no, wait, please!"

"You've stashed something in your hoodie," she said. "I didn't know you were naughty. Let me see! I won't tell."

"No!" Arthur cried, but she quickly dug into the front pocket, finding nothing but his mp3 player and cell phone.

Her grin faded away, and she looked up at him then back down at the pocket, moving her hands instead to the tail of the shirt, pushing it and the t-shirt underneath up slowly. "Oh... that's kind of- I've never... What is this?"

"I have a medical condition," Arthur spluttered, and... well, it wasn't really a lie. "It's really embarrassing."

"Oh," she said, blushing. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to- I mean, it's cool. There's no need to be embarrassed. If it helps, I have a sweating problem. I have to buy clinical strength deodorant."

He tugged the shirts back down quickly. "Oh... r-really? I didn't notice." He had of course, but he had a strong nose. He was just changing the subject, and thankfully it worked. "I—I've got to go. I'll see you later. Yeah… later."

"O…kay," Ariadne said slowly and barely had time to blink before he bolted.

Arthur told Eames about his encounter with Ariadne on the way to Yusuf's that afternoon.

"It's not funny," Arthur said flatly as Eames laughed.

"A medical- a medical condition," Eames wheezed, wiping tears of mirth from his eyes. "You are bloody brilliant, Arthur. Bloody brilliant."

Arthur pouted. "I'm having a hell of a time hiding this from people and you think it's funny. I see how it is."

"Don't throw a hissy fit, I'm just teasing," Eames told him, reaching out and touching his knee. Then, he grew serious, "but ah... you know, you won't be able to hide it forever, no matter how big your clothes."

Arthur sighed. "I know. It sucks... I'm sure people are already talking."

"Mostly just about us. Everyone thinks we're sleeping together."

"We are," Arthur reminded, as if he needed to. Eames generally stayed over at least once a week, and his visits seemed to be increasing as Arthur's waistline was.

Eames chuckled. "Indeed. I haven't confirmed nor denied anything. I don't really know what you want me to say."

"What does it matter what I say?" Arthur said.

"Of course it matters! What you say, how you feel, it matters to me," Eames said. "We're in this together. Accidental or on purpose, we are."

Arthur smiled a little ruefully. "So, um... has anyone in your pack started talking about me? The uh- the omega?"

Eames hesitated before admitting, "Ah... yes. Um... They've been going on the hunt for you. I've been pretending to hunt too and sending them off your trail. No one questions an alpha."

"Why do you care if they know? I mean.. they're your family, right?"

"You think just because we're family we won't kill one another? Being family gives us more incentive actually, depending on our relationships. Still... I'm concerned about the approach of other packs. There's at least two other packs in the area. I've taken out a few from each. I don't know how big they are in numbers. I don't think they're anything to worry about, but I can't be completely sure."

"So, what happens if they find me?"

"Things get complicated."

"What do you mean by complicated?"

"I mean... lots of blood and dead bodies."

Arthur gulped. "Oh."

"Listen, ah... I know you don't want to, but you should probably... probably inform your parents about what's going on. We need to focus on getting you someplace safe."

"They'll be mad," Arthur said awkwardly.

"I'd rather they be mad than you ever be harmed."

"What if they kick me out? Disown me?"

"That'd be terribly stupid," Eames said. "You're valuable, and not just as an omega but as their darling child."

"I don't know... I guess I should talk to them... It's not like I can keep this a secret much longer."

Arthur sat in silence for most of the ride to Yusuf's, nervously going over in his head what to say to his parents, how to say it. Nothing he came up with sounded good enough.

At Yusuf's office, he was led back to the same room and asked to strip down and put on a gown. He gave Arthur the typical examination, checking protein levels, sugar levels, etc. and didn't see any problems. He weighed him as well. "You're a bit smaller than you should be," Yusuf said idly. Arthur was stunned by the declaration. He'd gained nearly ten pounds already.

"I thought I was too big," Arthur said shyly.

"Well, if this were a human pregnancy, yes. You might even be a little over if that were the case, but this isn't the same. Werewolves are generally a bit bigger and need more nutrients. They're tougher, you know? It'd be best if you gained about thirty pounds or so by the end of the nine months."

"Thirty?" Arthur asked, horrified.

"Possibly five to ten pounds more. Of course you'll need to keep eating off of that list of foods I recommended."

Arthur looked at Eames, shocked, and Eames just shrugged.

"Come, come, lay down on the table for me," Yusuf said, not seeming to notice or care about Arthur's terror at the idea, ever pleasant and focused on his own tasks.

Arthur crawled up onto the table and laid down, squirming until he was about as comfortable as he was going to get. Yusuf leaned over him, pressing against his abdomen, mumbling things like, "Ah, there we are." Arthur just stared at the ceiling, lips pressed into a thin line as he tried to not think about how awkward and weird this still was.

Eames had been bringing him here every two weeks or so, even though Yusuf claimed it was entirely unnecessary. Eames insisted every time and shelled out the cash for it too.

Arthur jumped a little when Yusuf slathered the disgusting, cold goo across his stomach, figuring he'd probably never get used to it, and watched as Yusuf breathed on the wand before pressing it to the skin. "Let's see," Yusuf said, and for the first time Arthur started paying attention rather than lamenting over his situation.

"H-hold up now," Arthur said, propping up on his elbows, "is the machine- does it always make that noise? What is that noise?"

"Oh, that?" Yusuf said with a smile, "that's the baby's heartbeat, of course."

"O...oh..." Arthur said, and he and Eames both stared at the screen in wonder, as if knowing that made everything feel... different.

"Looks like he's developing well... There's the head and here are his hands, his feet..."

"He?" Eames questioned. "You can already tell that?"

"Well, no," Yusuf said and reminded, "but there's no female chromosomes in purely bred werewolves. By around next month, his genitals should be forming." He went back to blabbering about where everything was, talking about how astounding and marvelous this still was, telling Arthur to eat more.

Arthur didn't hear any of it, and he suspected Eames didn't either.

All they heard was He.

...and now that it was he...

Everything was real.

After the doctor's visit was over, Eames drove them to a local delivery place and got both of them Chinese takeout. Arthur ate most of it, mostly just so he didn't have to talk. Both were so rattled by this turn of events.

They were still sitting in the car, Eames driving, Arthur devouring lo mein, when Eames said, "So... 'he', huh?"

It didn't even sound like sentence, but Arthur knew what he meant. He swallowed and said, "Y...yeah."


"So, um... have you thought about what to um... to call it—ah… him?"

Arthur stared at the dashboard for a long moment and instead said, "He... he has fingers... and toes."

"He does," Eames said, suddenly quiet, "and hair too. Did you see that?"

"I did," Arthur said, and he wasn't sure exactly what he was feeling then. "I saw..."

Silence fell again, and Arthur pushed his noodles around in the box.

"This is... pretty barking mad, yeah?" Eames asked, and he was smiling, smiling like he'd seen something incredible...

...and maybe Yusuf was right.

Maybe this really was astounding.

Uneasiness suddenly coiled up Arthur's spine as they turned into his neighborhood, and at first he didn't realize why.

Then, Eames said, "I smell wolves."

Simultaneously, Arthur said, "I smell blood."

Eames slowed the car down, keeping vigil over all corners, looking for some sign, but soon decided, "The wolf smell is growing weaker. They've left."

"Where do you suppose they..." Arthur trailed off, coughing and gagging as the smell of blood grew alarmingly stronger, and Eames barked out a few coughs from it as well.

Both seemed to realize at the same time that the smell was coming from Arthur's house.

"Oh, God..." Arthur whispered.

"Stay close to me," Eames said gravely, crawling out of the car and letting Arthur out from the other side. He kept his arm curled around him as they approached the door, finding the fine finish had been scratched violently. The knob had been broken off, leaving the door part of the way open, and there were muddy prints on the porch.

"I can't breathe," Arthur gagged. "S'too strong- m'gonna puke..."

"Just hold on," Eames whispered, "and be quiet. The smells are overpowering here. There might still be wolves around."

"They found my house, Eames- they-" Arthur tentatively pushed the front door open, scared of what he'd find.

Pictures had been knocked down from the walls, furniture thrown about like paper. Wallpaper was ripped and dotted with blood, and the banister to the stairs was cracked in the middle. There were muddy footprints, some human-esque, some not, everywhere.

Arthur found his father on the entryway to the kitchen…

…ripped to shreds and barely recognizable...

Just from a quick glance upwards he could see his mother's body, or at least part of it, sprawled out on the kitchen table. He wasn't sure where the rest of it was.

He vomited, and Eames started dragging him away from the scene, and Arthur couldn't hear what he was saying through the ringing in his ears, only belatedly realizing that he himself was screaming, hot tears pouring down his face and out of his nose, vomit still on the corner of his mouth.

His parents were dead.

His parents were dead.

...and it was because of him.

Eames got Arthur up against a wall and clamped a hand over his mouth, fiercely shushing him. "You need to- I know it's hard, but you need to calm down-" Eames tried to say.

Arthur shoved at him weakly, shaking his head, sobbing. "I can't, I can't!" he wailed, muffled by Eames's palm. "They're dead- they're- they ripped them apart, and it's beca- because'f-"

"This isn'tyour fault, Arthur," Eames said severely.

Arthur shook his head. "Y'don'... un'erstan'... they... I can't, I... All they ever wan'ed was to protect me, an' I..."

Eames shushed him gently this time, pulling him into his arms and rocking him. "I know, I know," he told him, "but we need to get out of here. We- we'll call the police about this, but we need to get away from here before the wolves come back for you."

"I can't leave them..." Arthur sobbed pathetically.

Eames lifted him into his arms and carried him back to the car, laying him down in the backseat and pulling out his mobile phone to dial 911.

Arthur passed out before he could hear the call.

He held a funeral for his parents, curled up in the back corner of the funeral home, and didn't let anyone touch him but Eames.

The principal of the school sent him a letter with permission to miss school until he was ready to come back without legal issues, and from that point on, Arthur went back to his home and decided against going out again.

Eames never went home.

He got calls from his family, but he never answered them, staying close to Arthur, holding him while he laid in bed, leaving the house only to bring him food and to go to school (at Arthur's insistence). He started teaching himself to cook, and he also started setting up defensive perimeters around the house. He'd even put together a bunker for Arthur in the basement should they come after him, and as a safety precaution, Arthur was never allowed to answer the door.

It was more like a prison than it had ever been, but Arthur didn't care because he didn't want to go anywhere. He hated being downstairs, still able to see and smell the blood even though it was long gone. Eames even got a new door and redid the wallpaper, had a new banister put in, but Arthur could still see it, burned into his eyelids whenever he closed his eyes.

He didn't feel like he'd ever be happy again.

It had been four weeks since then, and Arthur was still miserable, doing nothing but eating and sleeping and going to the bathroom. Eames forced him to shower after a while, but Arthur had just stood there while Eames did all the work, and he couldn't understand how Eames did all this without complaint. He felt bad for the way Eames was clearly starting to wear down, but he just couldn't get up the wherewithal to get back on his feet. It didn't help that he'd put on another five to seven pounds, that his breasts had started to enlarge, and that his back was hurting. He was simply beginning to hate everything about himself.

...and then, on the fifth week, there was a light at the end of the tunnel.

He opened his eyes, waking from an afternoon nap to find Eames in the adjoined bathroom, shaving, humming softly to himself.

"Eames?" Arthur called out, his voice sounding strange to him from so much silence.

Eames wiped off the excess shaving cream with a towel. "What is it, darling?" he asked.

Arthur sat up, eyes wide, pupils blown. "C... come here."

Eames rushed to his side, concerned. "Arthur, what is it?"

Arthur just grabbed his hand and placed it on the swell of his stomach, staring at a spot on the wall as he focused.

"What... what is..." Eames whispered, eyes suddenly going wide as well.

"He's moving," Arthur whispered back, and for the first time in weeks, he smiled.

Eames took a shaky breath, a smile wrenching its way onto his own face as well. "I... I feel it... I feel it. S-so he is... would you look at that."

Arthur reached out and swept his hand through Eames's soft hair, and Eames looked up at him with tears in his eyes. "How are you holding up there, love?" he asked and ducked his head, making a sound between a laugh and a sob, as if he wasn't sure which sound to make.

"I'm okay," Arthur told him and settled his hand on top of Eames's, smile wobbling as tears pricked his own eyes. A little bit of the heaviness had lifted from his cloud, and he felt a tiny spark of happiness and held onto its warmth. "He's kind of active, isn't he?" Arthur said.

"He's got your spitfire attitude, I imagine," Eames said and then crawled up into the bed next to Arthur, letting Arthur lean against him. They both just stayed like that, hands laced across his stomach, and Arthur didn't dream of his parents for once.

Yusuf started making visits to Arthur's house, having heard the situation. Eames even paid him extra for gasoline for his truck, with which he carted around all of his machines.

"You're still not eating enough," Yusuf informed while Arthur was standing on the scale. "Doing better though. Have you been sticking to a healthy diet?"

"I slip up now and then," Arthur offered, still not completely back to life just yet. "I crave spicy foods and then sweet ones right after."

Yusuf nodded, going through the usual tests. In the meantime, Arthur glanced at himself in the mirror, marveling at the changes his body had already gone through. There was definitely no way he could hide himself at school or anywhere, not with the size of his stomach. Even his navel had popped out. He felt like a planet, and yet Yusuf proclaimed he needed to be bigger.

"No need to worry," Yusuf assured him as Arthur laid down on the bed, "You're at the halfway mark now. That's pretty exciting."

Arthur couldn't believe it had only been four and a half months (give or take). He certainly couldn't believe he had four and a half more to go.

"Ah, look at that," Yusuf said as he pressed the wand over his stomach. "He's quite a little mover these days, isn't he? Oh, and see, right there? He's developed his genitals like I said."

"Were we ever so small?" Eames said in wonder.

"You're still small," Arthur teased.

"Not funny," Eames chuckled and kissed Arthur's forehead.

"Looks like he's developing just fine," Yusuf assured them. "Eames is taking good care of you then, yeah?"

Arthur nodded and honestly admitted, "I don't know what I'd do without him."

"Well, be careful, you two," Yusuf said, rolling up the wires. "It's December now. Stay warm, all right?"

Arthur offered him a small smile, and Eames promised that nothing would befall Arthur if he had anything to say about it.

For some reason, that left Arthur feeling anxious, but he didn't say anything about it.

Arthur didn't really find himself getting over his parents' death, but he found himself surprisingly thankful for the baby as an opportunity to focus on something else.

Yusuf's worries about Arthur's low weight would likely be diminished by his next visit because Arthur found himself becoming ravenously hungry, taking seconds and even thirds. Of course, he was up and moving around a bit more than he had been when he'd been depressed, provided he could sit after a time since his back hurt and his ankles swelled.

Eames couldn't seem to get enough of Arthur, breathing in his hair, kissing all over his neck before going to sleep at night. The circumstances were devastating, yes, but Eames appeared to like being able to always share a bed with Arthur, resting his hand over his stomach.

"I look like a swallowed a beach ball," Arthur marveled one morning three weeks later as he was stripping down to take a shower.

Eames was just getting out of the shower, taking his time since Christmas Break had started at school. "It's just a small beach ball," Eames assured him, wrapping his arms around him.

Arthur turned around in his arms and met him in a kiss. They licked and nipped at each other for a couple of minutes, and then Eames pulled him into the shower and bathed him, kissing at each of Arthur's tiny stretch marks. "You're so beautiful," Eames told him.

"You're insane," Arthur replied, blushing as Eames scrubbed at his sensitive chest.

"I am not," Eames replied, smiling as he reached for the shampoo and rubbing it into Arthur's hair. "I am helpful and great."

"And so humble too," Arthur said and fell silent while Eames chuckled.

After rinsing the shampoo and conditioner out of his hair, Arthur asked, "So, um... what are your plans for the holidays? They're like... next week."

"Well, I figured you and I would spend it together. I think I've got the cooking thing just about down. We can have a fancy dinner."

Arthur hummed in approval as he tended to do whenever food was involved these days... and then sadly added, "My parents were going to take me on our first vacation this year... They never let me go anywhere, but they were going to take me to the beach."

"Would you like for me to take you to the beach?" Eames asked, the sound of heartbreak evident in his voice.

"Wouldn't want anyone mistaking me for a whale," Arthur replied and let Eames help him out of the tub and start drying him off. "Eames, I... all of this you've done... thanks. I know you didn't have to stay here or anything, and I'm sure your family is worried about you... Maybe you should go see them and show them you're all right?"

"I don't know..." Eames mumbled. "They're probably about half crazy from their hunt now."

"You really think they're that rabid?" Arthur asked skeptically.

"I know they are," Eames replied. "I know you don't notice it, but your scent has gotten progressively stronger, and now the little one's getting a scent of his own as well. Masking it is doing nothing for you now, darling."

"So... that's bad?"

"Could be," Eames said, helping Arthur into his boxer shorts and sweat pants (since he certainly couldn't wear his skinny jeans anymore). "No need to worry. I shall be your defending knight."

Arthur's heart clenched with anxiety again, but he waved it off. "Well, defending knight, can you go and rescue me some lunch from the Whataburger?"

"But of course," Eames said, smiling fondly as Arthur shimmied his way into his shirt. "Anything in particular you want?"

"All of it. Any of it, surprise me," Arthur said, then added, "And hot sauce. Get a bottle of hot sauce."

"Your heartburn wouldn't be so bad if you weren't practically drinking the stuff."

"It's good," Arthur whined, and Eames kissed his forehead.

"I'll be back soon. Stay safe."

After Eames had left, Arthur settled in on the couch with his textbooks. Just because he wasn't in school didn't mean he wanted to fall behind. He'd only been studying about ten minutes, however, when there was a knock at the front door.

Arthur froze, staring at the door as if it was going to come bursting open at any moment with slobbering beasts.

Another knock.

Arthur waited.

"Arthur? Are you in there?"

Ariadne's voice.

He approached slowly and pressed his hands against the wood but didn't open the door. "What do you want?" he asked.

"I... you are there," Ariadne said, relieved. "No one's seen or heard from you since... since um... since what happened, and I... I wanted to see if you were... well, I mean, I know you're not okay, but... I brought some cookies. My mom made them. They're shaped like snowmen. Can I come inside?"

"I... I don't know," Arthur said.

"Please? I'm... I've been worried about you. Lab sucked without you in it. Mrs. Grotsky paired me up with that sneezy kid, Mitchell."

"I just... I don't think that you should-"

His nostrils flared at the approach of strong, unfamiliar, wolfscent, approaching quickly, possibly in a car.

"I have all the homework assignments that you've missed. I mean, I know you didn't come back to school before break, but I thought maybe if you kept tabs on it, you wouldn't have any trouble when you were ready to come back, and I mean... it might be good to get your mind off of things for a little bit, you know?"

The scent was maddeningly close, like they were in the neighborhood, and Arthur kept seeing how they'd ripped apart his parents, how they couldrip apart Ariadne.

He opened the door and dragged her inside, shoving her towards the basement. "We need to hide right now," he told her shakily. "Go down there. Go!"

"What's going on?" she asked as she stumbled her way down the steps in the dark, Arthur slamming the door shut behind him. He listened momentarily and then texted Eames about the smell before starting down the steps behind her. "What the hell, Arthur?" she complained, rummaging blindly for a light switch. "Are you gonna hold me hostage like that guy from Silence of the Lambs?"

"They... they're coming for me... the ones who killed my parents..."

"You shouldn't be so paranoid-"

"I'm not, I can smell them," Arthur growled nervously.

"Smell them?" she questioned. "You do realize how insane you sound right now, don't you?"

"Look, I- I didn't want to tell y- I didn't want anyone to know, but I can't let you-"

"What are you talking abou- fuck!" Ariadne tripped over a table in the darkness.

"I'm not human. I'm not normal like everyone else."

"So, what exactly are you then?" she asked, grunting as she moved to get up.

"I'm uh..." Arthur hesitated and then reached over to help her up, sight better than hers. "I'm a werewolf. An omega."

Ariadne snorted. "Hilarious. I probably broke my mom's best cookie plate, and you're telling me you're fucking Lupin from Harry Potter."

"I'm not kidding, Ariadne. It's true," Arthur told her, voice shaking. "I didn't even know until, what, like... five months ago? Something like that? It's not what you think. I mean, I don't scratch my ear with my foot or transform and howl at the full moon- I've never even transformed at all, but uh- but I can go into heat and I have heightened senses and-"

Ariadne found the light, tugging on the chain and flooding the room with it. Arthur wanted to hide under her bug-eyed gaze but instead held it for what felt like hours though probably was only several minutes.

"Okay... I'm listening..." she said, but both of them fell silent when there was the sound of doors slamming and stomping up above.

An entirely too tortuously long five seconds later, Eames's voice called from the other side of the shut basement door, "Arthur?"

"It's Eames," Arthur sighed in relief. "I'm down here. I'm safe."

"Open the door," Eames said, and Arthur, with some effort, climbed the steps and unlocked all of the locks. He was immediately embraced by Eames. "They didn't see you? You didn't open the door for them?"

"Who is 'they', Eames? What happened?"

"My cousins, and my brother," Eames said, descending the steps with Arthur and coming to a complete halt when he saw Ariadne still standing pidgeon-toed in the corner. "What are you doing here?"

"I came to see Arthur- what the hell is happening here? Am I dreaming?"

"Why did you bring her down here?" Eames asked, looking mildly horrified and angry.

"I had to," Arthur stammered. "Th-they were coming, and I-I could smell them, and I didn't want them to hurt her-"

"Do you realize what could have happened to you if you'd been seen by them? Do you realize that?" Eames shouted.

"Of course I fucking realize it! I still see it in my nightmares!" Arthur shouted, tears welling up in his eyes as the still fresh wound of his parents' death was reopened. "I didn't want it to happen to her too... I couldn't let someone else die because of me..."

Arthur wilted, and Eames pulled him into his arm, expression wracked with guilt. "Oh, Arthur," he said softly.

"Um... not to interrupt this tender moment or whatever... but could someone please explain to me why Arthur's hiding from your family? Or why he's- like that?" Ariadne asked and gestured vaguely at Arthur's body.

Eames sat down, Arthur curled up in his lap, and explained. Arthur dozed through a good portion of it, adrenaline winding down.

She stared for a long time before saying, "So... he's... he's a boy, but he's having a baby. How does that- You know what? I don't want to know. Um... congratulations? I guess?"

"So," Arthur said scratchily. "Your brother- your cousins-"

"Ah, yes, that," Eames nodded. "They were actually following my scent and then caught a whiff of yours. I sent them on their way, but ah... they're not happy with me... they don't trust me any longer. I don't know if this will be a good place to stay. Odds are... odds are that they'll be back."

"Where am I supposed to go?" Arthur asked, hopeless. "This is the only place we have..."

"I have a guest house," Ariadne piped up, and they seemed to remember she was still sitting there.

"Eh?" Eames asked.

"A... a guest house?" Ariadne said. "Y-yeah, my dad's got a really nice place, and he's got a guest house out back. He's almost always away on business, so he lets me use the main house whenever I want, and... I can sneak you to the guest house."

Eames looked at Arthur and Arthur looked back up at him.

"I like your friend, darling," Eames said.

"I'm Ariadne. We do attend school together, you know."

Going to Ariadne's guest house wasn't as easily said as done.

Eames was reluctant to move Arthur at all, considering once his scent hit the wind, it could very easily be picked up, and on top of that, Arthur wasn't exactly inconspicuous with his rounded stomach. Ariadne's place was on the north side of town, and while Eames had a car, there was still the possibility of being detained.

They didn't move until Christmas Eve, assuming it'd be safer since most people were spending time with their families and were thus not out on the roads.

It had started to snow, so Eames had to drive slowly, and Arthur stayed slumped low in the backseat while Ariadne had taken up residence in the passenger seat, giving out directions while Christmas music lilted softly over the radio.

Arthur sighed, running his hand over his stomach, singing along quietly with the radio, to no one but himself and the child, "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire... Jack Frost nipping at your nose... Yuletide carols being sung by a choir and folks dressed up like eskimos..."

Arthur didn't have a coat that fit him, but Eames had bundled him up in several shirts and blankets to make sure that he didn't shiver even a little. With the heater on full blast, Arthur was actually doing his best not to sweat like a pig and thus make his scent stronger.

A tiny foot nudged against Arthur's hand as he sang, almost like incentive to continue. Arthur couldn't help the little smile that crept onto his face.

"So, it'll just be us there, and no one else?" Eames asked Ariadne for probably the millionth time.

"Yes," she stressed. "I spend Christmas with my mom, and my dad tends to spend it with his co-workers. He's not supposed to be back from Paris for at least a couple of months, so you should be safe there until then."

"Unless they find us," Eames said, still not seeming to like this. "Maybe we should just move out of state."

"Even with the money my parents left me, we don't have enough," Arthur told Eames. "That's why I want you to keep going to school. Even if I'm stuck at home, you can at least get your high school diploma, start going to college."

"I can go to school anywhere," Eames said. "I know how to forge signatures."

"School systems still expect to see your parents, Eames," Arthur reminded, "and besides, there are probably packs all over. There's not really any way to hide from them forever."

"Your scent would lower a bit after he's born."

"Doesn't mean that his will. They're still not going to stop looking."

"Well, fuck, Arthur, what do you want me to do?" Eames complained.

"I'm not trying to upset you," Arthur said right back. "I'm just trying to make a point. As soon as I'm able to, we'll probably have to do some fighting."

"And who's going to take care of him?" Eames asked. "What if they kill us both?"

"Well, if we don't fight them, they probably still will."

Eames growled.

"Uh... whoa, negative vibes here," Ariadne mumbled. "So, um, let's change the subject until I'm not an awkward third wheel in your argument. Uh, so what're you going to name him? Have you decided?"

"No," they both said in exasperation.

"Oh... well, uh... I mean, it's a boy, so... I mean, I've always liked the name Oliver."

Eames huffed. "We are not naming him Oliver."

"Why not?" Ariadne asked.

"Because it's a sissy name!"

"It is not! It's sweet!" Ariadne replied.

"Maybe for a baby, but he'll grow up and everyone will think he's a bloody pussy."

"No, they won't!" Ariadne said.

"You might as well just name him bloody 'Clarence' or some shite like that!" Eames replied.

Arthur rolled his eyes. "What do you want your name to be?" he mumbled quietly. "Are you a Joshua? Luke? What about Judah? Then we could call you Jude."

He smiled when he was met with a little kick of approval, unnoticed by the two hens squawking so loudly in the front seat that he couldn't hear the radio anymore.

"Jude, hm?" Arthur said and started quietly singing, "Hey Juuude, don't make it baaaad... Take a sad sooong and make it beeetter... Remember to let her into your heeaart... then you can staaart to make it beetterrr..."

The arguing quieted down and suddenly both of them were looking over their shoulders at Arthur.

Arthur blinked, pointed to his stomach and said, "He likes Jude."

"How do you know that?" Ariadne asked.

"I just... do," Arthur replied simply. "He told me... sort of."

Eames cleared his throat, clearly embarrassed from his behavior and said, "Well... well then, if that's what he likes..."

Arthur shrugged.

"You know, for an alpha male, you're awfully submissive," Ariadne teased.

"I take back what I said about liking you," Eames grumbled. "I don't like it when people talk about my authority. I'll show you my teeth and claws if I have to."

"Children," Arthur scolded, and the rest of the drive was spent with them passive-aggressively arguing with one another rather than directly.

Silliness aside, Arthur didn't miss that Eames had started to argue with him before settling with arguing with Ariadne. In fact, there had been a little bit of trouble in paradise over the course of that week. Arthur didn't know if it was just them being cooped up together and spending too much time together or what, but they were both getting frustrated with each other more and more often.

Arthur sat quietly on the guest house's couch, halfway watching "It's A Wonderful Life" while Eames clunked and clanged around in the kitchen as if the pots and pans had done him some sort of personal offense, wishing he could get rid of the uncomfortable anxiety that had been welling up in him almost constantly.

His phone buzzed with a text message from Ariadne, probably mass-texted, "Merry X-mas!"

He couldn't help but think not sure what's so merry about it, but decided not to be the cynical asshole to text that back.

"I'm sorry," Eames said with a sigh as he returned to the tiny living room. "I can't make the fancy dinner I promised. There are only sandwich materials and ramen noodles."

"It's fine," Arthur said, still staring at the television. "I'll eat whatever."

Eames nodded with a tight smile and went back into the kitchen.

Arthur ran his hand up and down his stomach. "Hopefully things are smoothed over, hm?"

He received a small kick in response.

Week 27 arrived.

Eames had had to return to school, which frankly Arthur was happy for because it seemed they couldn't go an hour without getting upset with each other about something. At least in Arthur's house they were able to have a little distance when agitated, but Ariadne's guest house was tiny, and Arthur had done nothing but get bigger (he'd put on a total of twenty-four pounds since the beginning of this whole thing). There was literally no way to get away from each other, and the intensity in the air made both of their hairs stand on end.

Yusuf was three hours late to his examination, mostly because he had a hard time finding the house, and Eames still wasn't there when he arrived so Arthur had to let him in.

"How are you doing?" Yusuf asked after squeezing himself and his machines inside.

Arthur shrugged. "I'm gigantic, my feet have gotten bigger too, my back hurts, my ankles hurt, and I'm being attacked from the inside, but at least he'snice about it."

"Honeymoon phase is over, is it?" Yusuf asked, unpacking his supplies.

"There never was a honeymoon. We're not even married," Arthur replied, tugging off his shirt. "That little line has shown up on my stomach- showed up a couple of weeks ago."

"The linea nigra," Yusuf confirmed.

Arthur sat and let Yusuf perform his usual routine, staring up at the ceiling. "I think Eames is getting tired of me," he said numbly.

"Nonsense, you're his mate."

"Yeah, well, people 'mate' all the time. It's called marriage, dating, living together... and there's a reason so many relationships fail. Maybe we aren't... maybe we never were right for each other. I mean, we didn't even know each other when we..."

"Mating isn't the same thing as those human rituals," Yusuf said. "It's not just a word, Arthur, or a ritual. You two are literally bonded- body, mind, and soul. Eames can feel what you feel, perhaps not with the same intensity, but he can. Since he's the alpha, it's a mechanism in his system that allows him to know when you're in trouble."

Arthur looked at the ultrasound screen, biting down on his bottom lip as he realized that perhaps Eames's agitation was brought forth from Arthur's unwarranted (well, maybe not completelyunwarranted) anxiety. It didn't make him feel better. In fact, it made him feel worse.

"Your weight gain is going nicely now," Yusuf said. "Keep doing what you're doing, all right?"

Arthur nodded, sitting up and letting Yusuf wipe up the gooey mess on his belly.

"Now," Yusuf said, wiping off his hands as well. "I'm no relationship expert by any means, but I have faith that you two will be all right. Don't worry so much."

Arthur thought that was much more easily said than done.

By the end of the next week, Arthur was in absolute misery.

The child had shifted, which Yusuf had explained was completely normal, and now was resting on Arthur's sciatic nerve (Yusuf had said this was also completely normal), but pain seemed to shoot down his legs from his ass whenever he'd move a certain way, and sometimes he just plain couldn't feel them at all. He was forced to lie about in bed whenever he could manage (which was most of the time), but the lack of something to do or anyone to talk to was starting to drive him up the wall.

So... maybe he was being a little unjustifiably snippy with Eames.

"FUCK!" Eames shouted. "The bloody moment I walk in the door you start bitching at me! What the fuck do you want me to do?"

"I'm not bitching!" Arthur shouted right back, though admittedly he sort of was. "I just asked you where the fuck you've been all day? School was out like... three hours ago! Are you just out joyriding or what?"

"No, I'm not out joyriding," Eames growled. "Who the fuck do you think I am?"


From that point there was more screaming, though Arthur couldn't remember what it was about, the slamming of doors, and the sound of silence for pretty much the rest of the evening.

Arthur slept alone.

Well, clearly his method for getting somebody to talk to was failing spectacularly.

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