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Oops! There Goes Another Rubber Tree Plant!
One Ant's Adventures in Plant-Lifting
Fic: "Dude," (1/7) Inception, Fischer/Yusuf, Arthur/Eames 
15th-Oct-2011 11:44 am
This has been sitting on my hard drive for months. Just now getting around to polishing it and posting. I'll try to update this every few days. Happy Saturday!

Author: [personal profile] beetle_comma_the
Fandom: Inception
Pairing: Robert/Yusuf, Arthur/Eames
Rating: R, so far
Word Count: Approx. 1200
Disclaimer: Not stealing, just appreciating.
Notes: An AU where the Inception team works at a men's magazine called Dude.
Summary: Written for the [personal profile] inception_kink prompt: Yusuf is working his first job out of college as a "fact checker" for a semi-sleazy men's magazine; doomed to spend his days researching protein bars and celebrity bra sizes. Robert Fischer is his boss whom he has a million good reasons to hate. So why doesn't he?

“Heyya, Fischer and Cobb are coming along, mate, so look busy.”

Yusuf barely takes a moment to glance up at Eames, who’s leaning on the right partition of Yusuf’s cubicle like he’s been planted there. “I am busy.”

“Then look busier. You know the editors and CEO types don’t believe we’re working hard unless we look harried and stressed out.” Eames sighs. “In other words, unless we look like Arthur.”

Yusuf squints up at Eames. The man looks like sex on two legs, as always . . . like he should be in Dude Magazine, not writing for it. And to hear him talk, one wouldn’t think the man has one of the most witty and widely read syndicated advice columns in the country. Of course, it’s a relationship advice column (read: sex advice column. Sex is something Eames not only knows a lot about, but goes to great pains to keep current on), and is only beat out by Dan Savage for most widely read relationship column in the U.S.

“You know, you should really let Arthur be. He’s harmless and he keeps to himself.” This is not the first time Yusuf's said this. And he gets the same variation on the usual Eamesian reply:

“That’s exactly why I don’t let him be.”

As if that makes any sort of sense.

Snorting, Yusuf looks back at his screen. “You don’t let him be because you want him.”

Eames rolls his eyes so extravagantly Yusuf can practically hear it. “Well, duh, as the saying goes. Have you seen him? Ye gods!” Eames bobs up on his toes to peer across the room at Arthur’s cubicle. Likely all he can see of the man is the top of his head. That’s all any of his colleagues get to see of Arthur, other than his serious, but admittedly attractive profile.

“He never stops working. I swear, the man’s like the bloody Terminator.” Eames sighs like a forlorn teenage girl, and Yusuf smiles to himself.

“In bed,” he adds, and Eames snorts out quiet laughter.

“Well, one can hope. Anyway, I’m going to get back to it before the bosses arrive and find me socializing.” But Eames bobs up again to get another look at Arthur. “God, is it wrong that I want him to bareback me into next Tuesday?”

“Ah-ah-ah . . . too much information,” Yusuf chastises gently. “Go look busy and let me get back to researching these damned protein bars.”

“It shall be as my lord commands.” And with that, Eames is gone, leaving Yusuf to finish his digging on the newest innovation in energy booster from COBOL Health Products.

“The ZAP! bar, indeed,” he mutters to himself, and starts typing again. Once more, the office around him ceases to exist—at least until a throat clears itself from behind him.

“Eames, I don’t want to hear anymore about Arthur or barebacking, thanks, but no thanks. I have work to—oh!” Yusuf starts when he looks up to see not his randy coworker, but his editor, Dom Cobb, and another man hovering just behind him who could, with Yusuf’s luck, only be the CEO of Fischer Publishing. “Um. Hi.”

Cobb looks vaguely dyspeptic, as always, and squints at Yusuf as if Yusuf's gone more-than-slightly transparent. “Yusuf.” He shoves his hands in the pockets of his slacks, steps to the left, and the man behind him steps forward, smiling.

“Yusuf, this is our CEO, Robert Fischer. He’s here to get a feel for our daily operations. Mr. Fischer, this is Yusuf Muhammad, one of our fact checkers,” Cobb says, looking mildly uncomfortable. But Yusuf barely notices, transfixed as he is by Fischer, whose hand is held out for shaking. He’s still smiling like he’s never seen a cloudy day in his life.

He probably hasn’t, Yusuf thinks inanely, staring into Fischer’s blue-blue eyes. Those eyes stare steadily right back.

Cobb clears his throat, and Fischer’s smile turns wry. “I’m pleased to meet you Yusuf.”

“What? Oh! Yes, pleased to meet you, as well, Mr. Fischer.” Yusuf quickly takes Fischer’s hand and pumps it five or six—or ten times. Fischer has a strong, dry grip that rather takes Yusuf by surprise. It’s not something he expects of a man of Fischer’s compact stature or high station.

“Please, call me ‘Robert.’ Someone around here should, since I can’t get Dom, here, to.”

“Old habits die hard, Mist—Robert. I’m so used to dealing with your father, may he rest in peace—“

“Yeah, Maurice wasn’t really the first-name-basis kinda boss, was he?” Robert snorts, but his gaze has turned melancholy. For a moment, anyway. Then he’s looking at Yusuf again, and a smaller, but no less dazzling version of that previous smile graces his (gorgeous) mouth. “So, Yusuf. What facts are you checking, today?”

“Uh—“ Yusuf turns back toward his screen hurriedly, having forgotten in the space of less than two minutes what he’s spent the last day and a half working on. “Ah! The new COBOL ZAP! bars.”

“Aaah.” Robert chuckles. “Here, lemme save you some effort: if it’s COBOL, it must be shit.”

Yusuf bursts out laughing. “Well, I wouldn’t say the ZAP! bars are shit. . . .”

“What would you say, then?”

Pretending to think it over, Yusuf glances over his shoulder and sees that yep, that stunner of a smile is back out in force. “Shinola,” he says firmly, and Robert laughs heartily, showing off perfect bridgework.

Cobb merely looks bemused, as if humor doesn't quite compute.

Robert moves closer to Yusuf—close enough that Yusuf can smell expensive cologne and clean, warm skin—and leans down to look at the screen. “Ugh, the bars themselves may be crap, but the least they could do would be to make them in flavors that are remotely edible. ‘Lemon banana swirl’?”

Swallowing reflexively and trying his very best not to be sniffing his boss (which he is . . . he so is), Yusuf shrugs haplessly. “Some focus group out there gave the flavors a green light. And COBOL is all about its focus groups.”

“Don’t I know it?” Robert straightens up, his eyes flicking back to Yusuf, who’s quick to look away and busy himself with polishing his glasses. With his shirt-tail.

“Well,” Cobb says, clapping Yusuf on the back. “Mist—Robert and I’ll let you get back to work. We have a few other departments to look into.”

“Right-o, boss-man.” Yusuf winces. He’s never once, in his admittedly brief time at Dude, called Cobb boss-man. He grins nervously up at his two bosses and wishes the Earth would open up and swallow him whole.

Cobb looks a bit pained, but Robert merely looks . . . amused.

“It was a pleasure meeting you, Yusuf,” he says, holding out his hand again. Yusuf takes it, and this time only pumps it three times. However, he doesn’t realizes that after the pumping stops he’s still holding on—until Robert frees his hand from Yusuf’s somewhat sweaty grip.

“Ditto. It was a pleasure to meet me. I mean meet you. Um, Robert.”

That bright smile flashes out again, lighting up sky-blue eyes . . . then he’s letting Cobb lead him away while nattering the whole time about readership stats. Yusuf watches them walk away, definitely not staring at Robert's ass. . . .

Before they disappear around a corner, Robert glances back at him and winks, as if he knows exactly where Yusuf's eyes had been a split-second before.

Which he couldn't . . . right? Face burning, Yusuf gives a limp wave and turns back to his computer before his traitor eyes can get him into anymore trouble.

Opening his favorite proxy server in a separate browser window, he pulls up his favorite search site. After a moment of hesitation—and much glancing around to make certain he’s unobserved—Yusuf types his parameters into the search field:

Robert Fischer.

15th-Oct-2011 04:37 pm (UTC)
Can't wait for more :D
3rd-Dec-2011 03:51 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Really digging your icon. He'd make an excellent president.
15th-Oct-2011 04:42 pm (UTC)
I was up this am at 530a waiting for my nephew to sort of commit to waking up or staying asleep and sort of half-day/half real-dreamed about YUSUF and ROBERT... they're sort of... completely adorable together in my mind and I love that I came on here and found this. Cannot wait for more!!!
3rd-Dec-2011 03:55 pm (UTC)

There aren't that many people interested in Yusuf/anyone fic, and that's a shame. He's such a GRR sort of guy. Hell, I didn't even see him with Robert (my OTP for Inception is Nash/Yusuf, at the moment. Or Nash/anyone, really) till I started writing this, then it became all I could see, lol. IT'S EATING MY BRAIN!!!!
15th-Oct-2011 05:59 pm (UTC)
Oh this is totally intriguing --- the pairing, the setting, everything!
3rd-Dec-2011 03:57 pm (UTC)
Thank you :D A few months ago, when I first saw the prompt, I would never have been able to write this, for some reason. But I kept it on the backburner, and in the back of my mind till one day--BAM! Fic! And there's an end in sight! No forgotten WIP for this baby!
(Deleted comment)
3rd-Dec-2011 04:11 pm (UTC)
I'm loving this so far.

Yay! Thank you <3

Eames is such a character here, but Yusuf really steals the show with his awkward bashfulness and snarky commentary.

Eames is a character everywhere, lol, but as a sex advice columnist, I find him to be particularly fun. And Yusuf is, at least for this fic's purposes, genuine and adorkable, and a complete 180 from the guys Fischer usually hooks up with.

Dyspeptic Cobb- such a perfect description!

He always strikes me as that type. Perpetually stressed, living life at 11, swigging Maalox by the quart. . . .

And Fischer's sly little wink was adorbs.

Fischer's a reflexive flirt, in my mind. Charming, witty, and bold. Especially when it comes to guys he wants to screw. But as Yusuf becomes more than that, watch that suave charm turn into foot-in-mouth uncertainty.

But mostly, I'm so pleased to see Yusuf awkwardly dealing with a crush. It's so endearing and there seriously needs to be more Yusuf in fic. <333

Yusuf's not the only awkward one in this fic :D

And HELLS YEAH there needs to be more Yusuf fic. Especially Yusuf/Nash.
23rd-Oct-2011 08:57 pm (UTC)
Can we get more please? We don't get to see Yusuf near enough, and I love this: the gorgeous Fischer, the lusting Eames, and the impartial Arthur argghhh I need more <3
3rd-Dec-2011 04:02 pm (UTC)
More is, indeed, posted here.

There's not enough Yusuf in Inception fic. I love him paired with anyone (especially Nash), he's like the rarepair little black dress of Inception :D

Thank you for reading!
31st-Oct-2011 01:10 am (UTC)
This is really, awkwardly adorable! I can't wait to read more. :)
3rd-Dec-2011 03:58 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I have this idea of Robert being really suave when it comes to people and things he's not emotionally invested in, but once he is emotionally invested, he becomes something of a tactless spaz. And Yusuf strikes me as being mono-focused and slightly befuddled, lol. Together, they make adorableness!
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