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celestine_fics ([personal profile] celestine_fics) wrote2010-09-04 10:53 am
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Inception fic: The Life Cycle of the Idea, Part One: Birth (R)

Title The Life Cycle of the Idea; Part One: Birth
Author: [personal profile] celestineangel
Fandom: Inception
Character(s)/Pairing: The entire Inception team, plus Robert Fischer, Peter Browning, and a group of OCs. Cobb/Robert and Arthur/Eames, eventually.
Rating: R
Word Count: 1,914
Summary: Trying to extract an idea that's been incepted is a delicate, dangerous job. Consequences fill the dream world… and can even spill out into the real world.
Warnings: No trace yet of the canon Inception team. Sorry. They'll show up eventually, I promise!
Disclaimer: Not my sandbox. I'm just moving sand around. Building some buildings and knocking them down.
Author's Notes: This is going to be a three parter, with the second part probably being the longest. Written as a fill for this prompt at [personal profile] inception_kink. Thanks to [personal profile] aimlesstravels for the quick beta! :D ([profile] cymonie, I still love you, I just don't want to subject you to my madness. XD)

The Life Cycle of the Idea
Part One: Birth

May 8, 2021, 4:32 pm, airspace over Los Angeles

Robert felt his father's grip on his hand fade. God, the old man's smile was wonderful, why hadn't he smiled more when he was alive?


Snap. Around them, the black walls crumbled and shattered, Robert felt the floor give way, and himself begin to fall and then—

--snap and there was the briefest impression of other people and a small room and falling, and then—
--snap and the world was dark and wet and he realized he shouldn't breathe because somehow, for some reason, he was under water. He grabbed for the hood over his head and pulled it off, saw the hooded body next to him, and tugged at Uncle Peter's suit, pulling him, because no matter what the man had done he couldn't just let him sit there and eventually drown, so he pulled and heaved and just as his lungs felt full to bursting he broke the surface.

Then it was Uncle Peter pulling him from the river, who helped haul his tired body from the water to the shore, and sat with him as they watched for any sign of the thugs who'd tried to invade his mind. They spoke, more deeply than they'd ever spoken before, and it was good. It was very good.
Then, inexplicably, he woke on the plane to the flight attendant solemnly announcing their entry into Los Angeles airspace. He declined the towel and took the immigration papers without really thinking about either.

A dream? Had that last one been a dream as well? The van, and Uncle Peter, and the extraction attempt and everything? Robert leaned back in his seat, attempting to feel the leather through his shirt, and when he touched his face it felt real. This was no dream. He could remember boarding the plane, he remembered how he sat in his seat, and he remembered the man behind him handing him his passport. This, definitely, was reality.

So… it had all been a dream. Some part of him felt his stomach drop, because he hoped at least that last part had been real. Foolish, so very foolish, to think his father really cared enough about him to offer him a way out.

I was disappointed that you'd try.

Yet, and yet, there was truth to that. His father, being a brilliant businessman, had been an abysmal father. No matter what secret feelings he had or had not possessed, Robert knew his father simply had not had time to be a real father. The business took all that out of him, hardened him, made him cold, calculating. Made him unfit for fatherhood.

Was it so unbelievable to think the end brought him some enlightenment?

Robert never wanted to be that man, he never had, though he had always intended to take over his father's company, his empire, and run it the way he knew his father would have wanted. Thinking on the distant man his father had been, and then the weak, paralyzed man, Robert closed his eyes and thought instead on the smile. Who cared if it only existed in a dream, it had been his father's smile.

No, he did not want to be his father, and he had to believe that somewhere at the end, his father felt the same.

He thought about it as he left the plane, as he walked down the airport corridors toward baggage claim, and as he stood there waiting for his luggage. His phone rang to distract him, and from the corner of his eye he saw the man behind him, the helpful man who'd returned his passport and, now that he thought of it, looked a great deal like Mr. Charles. He supposed his subconscious must have grabbed at the first and freshest unfamiliar face to give Mr. Charles, and gave the matter no further consideration. It was Peter on the phone, after all, the real Peter, and there were more important things to discuss.

"Yes, I've landed. I'll be checking on my father's body as soon as I join Rawls in the limo."

"Good, good." Peter sounded tired. "Did you have a good flight?"

Robert hesitated before answering. "I slept the entire flight," he finally said, and there must have been a tone unlike him in it, because Peter's response was immediate.

"Are you all right? You don't sound well."

"I'm fine, Uncle Peter." His suitcase appeared around the corner, and he scooped it up at the same moment he decided not to inform Peter about his thoughts. "I'm fine."

December 31, 2024, 11:58 pm, The New York Palace, New York

"Robert, have you lost your mind?"

Robert kept walking, ignoring both Peter's frantic attempts at stopping him, and the silence of the room around them. He'd known his announcement would shock and ruffle feathers, and though it was a three year old dream it had still prepared him for Peter being the one to protest the loudest. "I assure you, Uncle Peter, my mind is perfectly sound."

Three years; three years of planning, of searching for the right people to trust, the right people to buy, and the right ideas to pursue, all of it behind Peter's back. It felt wrong, and it felt right. An entire world of possibility lay before him, the chance to build, to create, to be things his father never dreamed. He wanted that, he wanted it badly, and more, so much more. Always behind the surface of his dreams he could see his father's last smile, hear his gentle admonishment. Sometimes he even remembered none of it had been real.

"How long? How long have you known you were going to do this?" When Robert only smiled, Peter nearly tripped over his own feet and had to rush to keep up. "Since Maurice died? All this time, and you never said anything?"

"Because I knew what you would say," Robert answered in the midst of a sigh. "You are not disappointing."

By that time, he made it out of the hotel to the limousine waiting in front of the building to take him to the airport. The chauffer opened the door right on time, allowing Robert to toss his briefcase inside first. He turned back to Peter, waiting, careful to keep his face frozen in his most pleasant, most indifferent expression, the one that had often been photographed in newspapers with the caption "Ice Prince."

Peter's shoulders lowered. "You're destroying everything your father worked for. Everything he wanted to give you."

"That's what you believe. I believe I'm doing something my father would approve of." A flicker from behind Peter caught his eye, and Robert felt his lips twitch. "As for you, I believe you have a riot to contain. Good night, Uncle Peter."

Without regret or hesitation, Robert entered the limo and left Peter there to deal with the aftermath of his announcement. As the driver pulled away, Robert laughed. He laughed because he felt free for the first time in his life.

January 2, 2025, 1:03 am, The New York Palace, New York

"I need this done quickly."

"How quickly?"

"We have three months."

"Three months isn't much time to put together a working scenario and a plan."

"That's what we have. Can you do it? If not, I'll go to another extractor."

"… my team can do it. What's the job?"

"Not over the phone. I'll have directions sent to you for a meeting time later today and a place. I'll explain further then."

January 2, 2025, 3:43 pm, New York

The man's name was Melvin, and he didn't look anything like an extractor, at least not from Peter's point of view. Melvin looked, in fact, very much like a college kid looking to join the chess club. Tall, skinny, all knees and elbows with glasses framed with thick black plastic. Peter looked over the khaki pants and button up shirt the color called "spring green." The kid even wore loafers. He smiled a wide smile as he approached and put out his hand for shaking.

"Good afternoon, sir. I'm Melvin, we spoke on the phone about the job earlier this morning."

"Good afternoon," Peter returned, aware of the wariness seeping into his tone. It couldn't be escaped, not when this so-called skilled extractor looked like a half-trained dentist. Perhaps accountant. Peter loved accountants, at least when they worked under him, worked for him, unraveled their best efforts on his behalf.

But accountants were not extractors.

"Take a walk with me, sir," the boy suggested, then took off before Peter could begin to reply. With a frown, he followed because it was the only thing he could do, and because Melvin's jovial manner confused him enough to intrigue him. "So, you want an extraction in less than three months. I won't lie, sir, it will be difficult, but it isn't impossible. I'll need to know the details of what you want extracted, and from whom. Oh, and I'll need to tell you the going rate for an extraction by my team."

"The money doesn't matter. All that matters is that this foolishness ends before it can be concluded."

"What foolishness is that, sir?"

So Peter told him. Not everything, of course, that would be idiotic. He told the kid who—Robert Fischer, heir extraordinaire who'd proven fickle—he told him the what—the fool idea to break up Maurice Fischer's empire, to tear apart everything that made the Fischer name great—and the why it had to be so fast—in three months, the last of Fischer's buyers would officially give over their contribution to his effort and pay for their portion of the company, giving Fischer leave to release the reins of all those pieces. If Robert changed his mind before that last bit of the deal was completed, the entire deal would fall through. Peter, the Fischer empire, and the world needed Robert Fischer to change his mind.

Melvin was quiet a while after the explanation, and while he looked like he wouldn't be able to fight his way out of a wet paper bag, Peter could see the intelligence in those eyes, the gears turning, the pistons working.

"Sir, this is a different sort of extraction than normally takes place, I hope you understand that." Somehow, the way Melvin said it, it wasn't insulting.

"What do you mean?"

"I mean that usually the idea we're sent in to extract is a bit more specific. A particular piece of information, and usually it's something that can be used by the person ordering the extraction. This is different because the idea is bigger, more complex, and you don't want to preserve the information for use; you basically want us to wipe it clean from his mind. Change the person he is to create the person you want him to be. This is very, very different."

In turn, Peter was silent. It was true, Robert had been a different person in the three years from his father's death leading to this announcement. Many would say he'd become a better person, or at least a happier one.

A happier, better person who would nevertheless destroy a great deal.

"Are you saying you won't do it, or can't?"

Melvin turned a grin toward him, and for the first time, Peter understood he was not dealing with an inexperienced kid. "Oh no, sir, that's not what I'm saying at all. We can do it, and we will. It will just cost more."

To be continued…. Continued here.