[personal profile] counterfeiture
Title: Sweet Dreams
Characters/Pairings: Team, Robert Fischer, guest starring Peter Browning, a little A/A/E going on too.
Rating/Warning(s): none, it's completely sexless
Author Notes: I've been wanting to write Robert with a happy ending for weeks now, and of all people Beyonce gave it a kick. (Pun kind of intended.) Robert's plans diverge from what people had expected, with interesting results; years later, he meets the people responsible.


Somebody pinch me.

Robert Matthew Fischer did not, as the team had hoped, dissolve his father's empire.

*

Maurice Fischer had been dead for no longer than six hours when the news vultures descended on his poor son. The relationship between father and son has never been the easiest, and it was certainly impossible to keep secret, but there was a certain restraint in how the media talked about the timidness of Robert and the bristling disappointment of Maurice. Speculations on the fate of Fischer-Morrow were many; they roamed the land of the conservative and traversed into the ridiculous, but they all had one consistent thread to hold them together; one simple question.

"Can Robert Fischer measure up to his father's achievements?"

*

There are many answers, but they all end up as variations of "no".

*

The funeral was a quiet ceremony, despite being highly publicized and covered by the media. Anyone who was anyone was present, clad in fashionable black; the reporters blended in despite the small microphones clipped to their shirt collars, or the rectangle slips of paper on their lapels that identified their stations.

They couldn't wait to interview the son, but it's the godfather who answers their questions at the press junket.

*

The inception, to be fair, did take. It just took root a little differently than they'd expected.

*

It manifested like this:

Robert was annoyed. He was tired, he was grieving, he had a million things on his mind and Uncle Peter was hounding him with things like "let me handle this, Robert," "I'll take care of this, Robert," and "Have you decided who's taking over as your VP, Robert?". And then he had the reporters who were camped in his parking space, in the hotel hallway and at the lobby.

He wanted a break. He even tried watching whatever was on the news, except he was the news, on every single channel. "Full coverage," he read off a rolling marquee.

Would be nice to see something else for a change, Robert thought.

That was when the idea struck.

*

Robert Fischer is, contrary to popular belief, a smart man. He was just rather shy when it came to business, and that was a horrible thing to be when your father was the ruthless Maurice Fischer. Robert had a degree in Business Administration from Yale, had graduated with honors; he'd taken his MBA at Harvard, and successfully managed a couple of the Fischer-Morrow satellite companies for his internship. He was competent, and studious, and hard-working; but it's never enough for a man like Maurice, who'd single-handedly built Fishcer-Morrow into what it is today.

So when Robert divested half of Fischer-Morrow's holdings in various sectors, liquidated several corporate assets, removed Peter Browning from the administration and merged with Proclus Global - the last competitor standing in Fischer-Morrow's way, the Japanese conglomerate owned by a Mr. Saito - everyone was in shock.

It seemed like everyone had been proven right on the incompetence of the younger Fischer.

*

But he had a plan, this Robert.

*

It started with buying up a three dying news chains in Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington, respectively; they were relatively cheap, and Robert had change to show for it. The following week, with the help of Fischer Junior's lawyers and some international corporate bartering, Robert purchased a TV channel in Africa and two radio stations the UK.

Three months later Robert successfully managed to bid for and win a considerable stock holding with Google.

On the heels of that victory Robert bought out ABC in the USA, then took over ownership of BBC in the UK; then he bought out a media corporation in South America with more ease than he'd expected.

Exactly one year after the inception, Robert Matthew Fischer officially unveiled Fischer Global Media, and the world started to pay attention.

*

The Weinstein brothers made the mistake of calling Robert a corporate loser, and had the misfortune of getting quoted in one of the many newspapers owned by Fischer Global. In under six months Robert bought out Warner Brothers, then proceeded to level Miramax out of the playing field out of spite. Robert might have felt a little bad for Alan Horn and the poor people at Filmyard Holdings, but by this point Robert was tired of being called a disappointment in public.

His business partner at Fischer-Proclus - and you can tell which half Robert had divested, here - sent him a bouquet of flowers and fine sake after announcing the purchase of WB publicly. Robert sent back an invitation to meet in Marseilles to celebrate.

*

With the backing of Fischer-Proclus, Robert offered the Republic of China a business offer.

And they accepted.

*

Robert is an Oscar voter, these days. The movies he voted for often swept all the major awards.

He's gotten offers to have his life dramatized on the big screen, but he always turns these offers down.

*

On his birthday four years after his father's death, he attended the groundbreaking ceremony for the Robert Fischer School of Business & Media in New York. Admission was limited, and highly contested; it would be, when graduates of RFSBM were guaranteed employment in the vast jungle of Fischer- Proclus and Fischer Global, if they chose to apply; undergraduates were allowed internships all over the world.

There are only 3,000 student slots. Classes are brutally competitive. Applications come in by the thousands from all over the globe, every admission round.

In ten years the school will be one of the top business schools in the world. Every year Robert Fischer will attend as speaker for the graduation ceremonies.

*

No one makes fun of Robert Fischer, not in public. There isn't anything to make fun about, even. It's hard to do so, when the man owns a third of the world's media corporations, and has holdings everywhere else. Robert found, to his amusement, that media came in second to energy as the world's top commodities. Coming in at third was food.

Robert was working on making the third point as a business.

People speculate that the nervous laughter will die when he succeeds on that plan.

When, not if.

*

It's been ten years since Robert's father had died at this point in time, and here Robert was, in the grand ballroom of the Waldorf-Astoria, sitting across an amused Saito. Robert had bought the hotel, out of boredom. He couldn't be bothered to change the hotel name, on the other hand; his mother liked this hotel. Around them the crowd was conversing in hushed tones. The two of the world's most powerful men were sharing the same table, having a lighthearted chat over their businesses in a wide table that was eight seats too many. A concierge walked over to them, looking extremely terrified and anxious; she felt like her knees will give out if she dared look them in the eye.

"Your guests are here, sirs," she exhaled.

"Oh, lovely," Robert said, sparing the girl a quick gaze. "They're a little early, though, aren't they?"

Saito chuckled, a deep rumbling sound. "They are very good with time, Mr. Fischer."

"I'm a little excited," Robert answered, and he was. It was ten years coming, this meeting. He'd been furious at first, when he'd found out the truth about that flight to Los Angeles where he'd first met the man seated across him. He'd done some digging, had looked up who "Mr. Charles" was exactly, and when he found out the truth he wasn't sure what to make of it for a long time. But then, as Robert looked back on the course of his life these past ten years, and he realized that he could let this go. Things turned out for the better.

He was king of half the world, after all. And the other half belonged to his business partner.

It's a fair enough trade.

*

"Can you believe it?" Ariadne cooed, rubbing the swell of her belly as the car drove up to the Waldorf. She was seated between Arthur and Eames, and she was three months pregnant with her second child; her first, Emilie, was sleeping with her head on Arthur's lap. Ariadne's known today as a legendary architect; her designs and plans easily run into the millions. Her university named a building on the campus after her (naturally, she designed the building, too). "We're meeting Robert Fischer."

"We've met him before, love," Eames chuckled from beside her, one hand on her knee. "We were there, right at the beginning; no need to sound so smitten."

"It's a funny side-effect, all things considered," Arthur cut in, snapping his phone shut. He had been talking to Cobb on the phone; the man was waiting on Philippa to decide which dress to wear. "They're on their way."

"She's at that age, isn't she?" Eames asked, turning a worn-down poker chip over and over in his free hand. "Does Cobb know she's already dating?"

"He'd have a heart attack," Arthur says, and Ariadne giggles behind a hand, then taps both men on the knee as the car comes to a stop. Arthur wakes the little Emilie and hands her to Eames, as they exit the vehicle. "Looks like we're here."

*

Yusuf nearly doesn't make it; he runs a legal laboratory now in New Delhi, and he arrives at the dinner an hour late. He still has a lab coat on his person, having taken it with him when he boarded the private jet Saito had sent to pick him up.

*

"Yusuf, my old friend," Eames calls out, giving the man a one-armed embrace. He was still carrying Emilie; Ariadne kindly takes her off him. "How's the wife?"

*

Eames splits his time between New York, London and Tokyo; he's gone straight, these days. He works for and with Cobb almost exclusively, at Cobb's recently established subconscious security firm. Eames teaches and trains on the many kinds of subconscious deception; forging is still his speciality.

He and his daughter Emilie have a place in Leeds - it's quiet there, relatively, and since Eames' sisters had moved in with them it's been a lively place. When he goes stateside Eames and Emilie stay with Arthur; every summer and New Year's Eames flies with his daughter to Paris to stay with Ariadne. Sometimes Arthur is there, sometimes he isn't. When he's in Tokyo, Eames lets her decide where she wants to stay. The little girl is happy with it; she likes to fly, and loves to travel.

Eames spoils her in every way; Arthur says she's blessed to only have his charm and none of his bad habits. Ariadne laughs every time she hears them bicker about this.

*

"I'm only planning real buildings, for now," she tells a fascinated Robert, whose seat is closest to hers. "Dream-sharing and dream creation is wonderful, but I've found a way to contradict the illusion of gravity with a new design. I'm hoping to build it in Iceland."

"Will you have trouble funding the project?" Robert asks.

"Oh, no, that's not my problem," Ariadne demurs. "Saito has it covered, since I'm building it for his wife."

"Which one?"

*

Ariadne plans on naming her second child Florence. She's taking a break from work until she comes to term; she's in no hurry to get back.

Architecture will always be waiting for her.

*

"Are we all waiting on Cobb?" Ariadne asks moments later, when the introductions and pleasantries are done with, as she takes her seat. Arthur had pulled the chair for her, and she just shakes her head. "Arthur, you never change."

*

Cobb comes in just a few minutes after Yusuf, James and Philippa following him in. He's retired from extraction, and he retired almost as a god; everyone in the business found out soon enough about the inception. No one else had the skill to try a second time; Cobb is more than alright with the intricacies of inception dying with him, if only for this generation. His subconscious security firm has a small clientele, but it's impressive. It should be; Saito recommends him personally to everyone he knows.

Cobb is always there for his children, for the good and bad. He'd bought Philippa her first car for her sixteenth birthday after a vicious three-month argument over which car to get, and had hugged his daughter when she won second place the inter-high school swimming competition. He'd signed on James' first arm cast after he fell out of a tree, and cheered for him in his Little League games.

He's happy.

*

"I'm sorry I'm late," he apologizes; the light in his eyes are bright, these past few years. Cobb's smiles reaches his eyes, now. Philippa looks just like Mal, if you imagined her hair and eyes to be just a little darker. James was looking more and more like his father as the days pass; he was getting taller, faster than Cobb could catch up. "I have a teenager."

"Dad," his daughter whines, a little embarrassed. Philippa is used to the crowd; Uncle Saito visits every Christmas with his wife. Not that she remembers them all; it's a different woman every year.

"The young lady is stunning, Mr. Cobb," Saito commends. Robert nods in agreement, stands up to pull her chair for her personally. Philippa blushes all the way to her ears; it's Robert fucking Fischer in front of her, she thinks, and his eyes really are that blue up close.

Arthur smiles from across the table, watching James fuss over little Emilie while Eames fusses over pregnant Ariadne. "Well, we're all here."

*

Arthur owns a house in New York. There's a room for Emilie, and he's just started decorating the nursery for Florence. Ariadne and Eames have rooms in the house too, and clothes in Arthur's closet; on the few times that both the forger and architect are over at the same time they all sleep in Arthur's bed, with Arthur caught right between them. Cobb has a room, too, and the guest room still has Philippa's old stuffed dolls and a worn-down baseball mitt from James. Arthur has two cars, and an entire room dedicated to his suits; it's the largest room in the house, and sometimes Arthur would just walk around the room, running his hands over the clothes while Edith Piaf filters through the sound system.

Some mornings he wakes up and marvels at the fact that in six months he'll be the father to his first child, and it scares him in a beautiful way. Arthur rarely goes under, these days, though he misses it; the loaded die still sits heavily in his pocket everyday. Sometimes he forgets what number the die should fall on.

Arthur works for Fischer-Proclus now, as head of security for Saito. He's never out of things to do.

He's happy, too.

*

Robert watched the men, woman, and children seated around him at the table, the sound of their lives washing over him. He watched the quiet contentment in their eyes, and listens to their happy endings, realizing that their happy endings were founded on a lot of things that is ugly in the world that somehow turned out to be good, after all. Robert leaned back into his chair, eyes connecting with Saito's; the Japanese man nods, raises his glass to him, and drinks. Robert does the same.

They'd gone into the inception with a half-hope of succeeding in destroying the empire Robert's father had built with grit, stolid silence, and an iron fist. What they ended up doing was fixing the issues that had held Robert back, resolved the disparity of agendas between him and his father. It's all an accident; it wasn't the intended outcome.

But Robert was happy, free from the shadows of his father, and he truly did prove himself a better man than what the world has expected of him.

These strangers, with their lives irrevocably entwined with his, had a hand in that.

Robert reached into his pocket, rolling the pinhead of a hand-made pinwheel around with his fingers. The worn-down edges will always remind him of reality, and he smiles.

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