The Social Network: the kink meme!

It's Complicated: But sexy!


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[PART FIVE] - CLOSED
zuckonitkinkeme wrote in tsn_kinkmeme
THE SOCIAL NETWORK KINK MEME


ASK THE MODS * FAQ * DISCUSSION * RESEARCH * FILL LIST * PART ONE * PART ONE (OVERFLOW) * PART TWO * PART TWO (OVERFLOW) * PART THREE * (PART THREE (OVERFLOW) * PART FOUR


GENERAL RULES;

IMPORTANT: please DO NOT post prompts about any non-public people as part of a prompt. for example: randi zuckerberg is fine as she is a public figure both on the internet and on facebook itself. priscilla chan is NOT as she is not a public figure.

if you're in doubt, please message the mod or leave a comment in the discussion post.



♥ post requests and responses in the comments to this post.
♥ be respectful.
♥ both a pairing/character AND a prompt/kink must be posted.
♥ one pairing/prompt per comment please.
♥ you are encouraged to try and write a prompt for every request you make.
♥ we are slash, femslash, het, three-and-moresomes etc. friendly. (we are even incest friendly what with some of our characters being twins and all...)
♥ no pairing bashing, OK? no need to wank over ships.
♥ long and short fics welcome. multiple responses encouraged!
♥ please try to refrain from saying 'seconded!' as much as possible.
♥ on RPF: Please disclaim that it is RPF, a work of fiction and in no way related to the actual actors/persons/etc. (i wouldn't even try and discourage RPF from this meme ;))
WARN FOR COMMON TRIGGERS, PLEASE




FORMAT OF PROMPTS;


♥ alphabetize pairings/threesomes/moresomes. (e.g. Eduardo/Mark/Sean etc.)
♥ put [RPF] before RPF prompts. (e.g. [RPF] Andrew/Jesse)
♥ for crossover prompts: "[Crossover], The Social Network Character(s)/Other Character(s), [Fandom]" (e.g. [Crossover], Eduardo/Columbus, [Zombieland])
♥ no "!" in pairings, only in descriptions. (e.g. Eduardo/Mark, FacebookCreator!Eduardo, CFO!Mark)
♥ anyone, everyone, no one? Use "Other." (e.g. Sean/Other)
♥ put [GEN] before GEN prompts.




FILLS;


♥ please don't embed. link to images/videos.
♥ no locked material. this includes communities, even if membership is open.
♥ fills can be posted anonymously or not.
♥ fills can be anything: fic, art, vid, fanmix, podfic, etc.
♥ all prompts are open to fills at all times, even if they have been filled in the past or are being currently filled by someone else. multiple fills are positively encouraged; if something appeals to you then do not be put off creating a new fill by the existence of a prior one.
NEW: ♥ PLEASE comment with the first of your fill to the PROMPT and then all future updates as a comment to the FIRST PART of the fill. this makes it easier for both the WIP spreadhseet and for archiving stuff on delicious. it also helps people who are trying to catch up on updates and don't have to look through every fill on the prompt (should it have more than one). thank you.






[ARCHIVING]

[DELICIOUS]

[UNFILLED REQUESTS]

[FILLED REQUESTS]

[FLAT VIEW]


have fun!

THERE WILL BE UNMARKED SPOILERS. enter at your own risk! :D



PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING;

i know you guys are enjoying this meme and i appreciate that but please can you put the SUBJECT HEADER on your prompt. you would REALLY be helping me out if you could do that. it just saves time for me when i'm trying to tag everything in delicious.

AND PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE DO NOT repost prompts from parts one, two, three or four over here again. the delicious is around for people to find prompts they may not have already seen.

NEW RULE;

PLEASE TAKE NOTE OF THE 'FILL' RULES. THERE HAS BEEN A CHANGE. thank you.
Tags:

Eduardo/Mark, Mark+Sean kidfic

(Anonymous)

2011-04-19 10:13 pm (UTC)

Man, I'm sure this is the zillionth kidfic request (just my luck that there's one right above mine, hm?), but I can't not ask for this...

Okay, post dilution: Sean gets a girl pregnant, but the girl doesn't want to get an abortion. She's not going to make any trouble for Sean with the press, but she wants her kid to grow up happy. Sean breaks down in Mark's office one night about how he can't raise a kid because he knows he's a horrible person when it comes to being responsible and making good decisions, but he doesn't want her (doesn't have to be a girl, obviously, but how cute would a curly headed Facebook baby girl be?) raised by some family who could end up treating her any manner of way. Somehow they come to Sean and the girl signing over full custody to Mark, but no one knows about it but the three of them, their familes, Mark's secretary (I feel like he/she is usually considered a fanon God), and all of the various people who have been forced to sign an infinite number of non-disclosure and privacy agreements.

Years later. Baby!Zuck is still a secret, not because Mark is ashamed of her, but because he's super protective of her and loves her more than Facebook and would do anything for her. Sean is Uncle Sean, maybe the girl stayed in the picture as Auntie someoneorother, or maybe Sean has finally calmed down and met someone, whatever. There aren't any regrets in their setup and everyone is happy. Then maybe at a shareholders meeting, which Eduardo will obviously be present for the sake of fic, and Mark's secretary comes running in, totally like, "Mark, (insert kid's name here)'s babysitter just called and (insert crisis/minor crisis here)" and Mark runs out of the room and everyone is like " *______* wtf?"

I just like the idea of Sean being the actual father because he has the curly hair and blue eyes, so the baby could probably pass for Mark's kid, too. And I'd really love it if the kid isn't written as overly precocious as Michelle Tanner, because as much as I love kidfic, five year olds are usually written talking and behaving and understanding things as if they were at least ten. I'd also love it if the kid isn't totally smitten with Eduardo at first glance, and Mark is super hesitant about letting other people into her(or his) life because he doesn't want her getting used to people who may end up leaving her, or something. I don't know...excessively long prompt is excessively long, I realize.

Re: Eduardo/Mark, Mark+Sean kidfic

oflights

2011-04-19 11:06 pm (UTC)

god, I've been wanting to write a kidfic for so long, I may have to add this to my (ever-growing, you're killing me brilliant prompters) list of things to write or I may die. plus, I mean, Sean! twisting Sean all up in a prompt is like holding up a sign saying 'fill me, fill me!' to me.

basically, this prompt is perfect and so you are, and I will see what I can do for you soon-ish. :D <3 (anyone else who is interested in this should totally fill this, btw, because god knows I take FOREVER with these things. /o\)

Re: Eduardo/Mark, Mark+Sean kidfic

(Anonymous)

2011-04-20 12:20 am (UTC)

Sean! I know...it seems like every prompt I write has Sean in it because I love him for some reason, and I'm actually a little obsessed with him, I think. I completely blame Justin Timberlake and the way he tries so hard to be a Serious Actor and a hipster now, but I still see him as a pre-pubescent popstar with bleached curls and ridiculous clothes. That said, I really hope you fill this, and definitely no rush :)

FILL: here comes the sun (1a/?)

oflights

2011-05-03 04:52 am (UTC)

so this fic is ridiculously fun to write so far, and I'm only a few thousand words into it. except fluffity fluff, some angst, and sort of a long, bumpy, plotty ride. updates should be fairly regular cause I'm psyched! :D

----
day -131

Mark can usually tell Sean’s level of intoxication by his topics of conversation. He has learned to watch out for them, study them with a careful eye to prevent drunken catastrophes (and when he became the preventer of drunken catastrophes, he doesn’t know. In college, Eduardo and Chris always split that job).

Usually Sean talks fast when he’s in the beginning stages of drunkenness, and he talks about ideas and fun schemes and he’s all glittering eyes and broad hand gestures. Mark likes that level because he can match it, usually—when he drinks he is the same way, hopeful and clever and a bit more open about what’s going on in his head. He and Sean get along best when they’re both like this—they’re the most honest with each other, which is saying a lot for Sean, since he’s rarely ever completely honest.

But tonight, Mark can tell that Sean is past that level of intoxication, past even the more dangerous level where people are insulted or underage girls are picked up or good judgment is a total no go. Sean is at his final level of intoxication, the maudlin, dramatic stage. This is also a very honest level, and this is the only Mark ever learns anything about Sean’s personal life—most of the time, it’s things he doesn’t even want to know.

He can tell as soon as he sees Sean, sighing as he takes in the slump of his shoulders and how far he’s leaning over the bar, trying to hold a conversation with the bartender who is clearly just not having it. The event they’re both attending is still fairly crowded, even though it is pretty late—Mark had gotten sidetracked with a project at his office, ignoring Chris’ multiple reminders and texts and calls, and now he’s there late enough that Dustin is already gone, Chris is already pissed off, and Sean looks like he’s going to fall off his barstool.

Eduardo is there, too, the cherry on top of this wonderful sundae of a night. Since Mark isn’t in the mood for awkward small-talk and chilly attitude, he makes a beeline for Sean at the bar, orders a drink and steadies Sean in his seat in a few quick movements. He’s gotten way better at this type of stuff with age; he thinks Eduardo would be proud of him if he didn’t sort of hate him a little.

“Mark!” Sean says, his voice deceptively high and cracked, not at all matching the woeful grimace currently plastered over his face. Mark sips at his big boy drink, fondly remembering when he used to chug this kind of whiskey straight out of the bottle no matter what company he was in, and suddenly feels extremely fucking old.

“Sean,” Mark sighs, tipping his drink. Sean sort of droops towards him, shoulder knocking into Mark’s chest, and Mark pats his back awkwardly and tries to drink his alcohol as fast as possible without spilling it. He can feel someone’s eyes burning into the back of his neck and knows it’s either Chris, because he’s so late and not really socializing, or Eduardo, because he’s existing. He ignores whoever it is to steady Sean a little tighter, waiting for the flip to switch and for Sean to start telling him what’s wrong.

He used to have to ask, usually with some trepidation and a fair amount of what did you do? Now he doesn’t have to ask, Sean just spills it, and maybe that means there’s been some progression in their friendship. He isn’t sure; he doesn’t keep track of things like that.

FILL: here comes the sun (1b/?)

oflights

2011-05-03 04:53 am (UTC)

“I messed up, Mark,” Sean says, and Mark rolls his eyes and bites his tongue to keep from snapping of course you did. Do I need to call Legal? Will this affect Facebook? He has learned by trial and error that it’s best to just let Sean come out with these things in his own time, or else he gets defensive and closed-off and Mark learns about these things too late. So he keeps quiet, and Sean keeps going.

“She—I mean, she’s a good girl, a woman even, and she’s nice and she wants to be a doctor—”

Only years of practiced nonchalance when dealing with Sean Parker keeps his face from changing (he will never be the star struck boy in a posh New York restaurant again, nor will Sean ever ‘own’ him), but Mark is shocked already. First there’s the fact that this is Sean coming to him with what sounds like romantic woes; he knows better than to ask Mark, of all people (who has been in a grand total of two relationships since college that both ended badly, like, money-grubbing, press-baiting badly) for relationship advice. And second—someone who wanted to become a doctor had willingly slept with Sean? And Sean had willingly slept with her? This doesn’t seem to fit in with his general Charlie Sheen aspirations.

“—but, fuck, now? It’s too soon. And, and—she doesn’t want it, but she doesn’t want to—to you know, get something done about it—”

“About what?” Mark asks, doubly mystified. Sean blinks at him, eyes a little watery, and it occurs to Mark that this might actually be something serious, and personal, and maybe a little inappropriate for a bar at a San Francisco hotel that Mark has already forgotten the name of. He leans in a little closer, feeling this odd rush inside of him that he takes a minute to translate into actual caring. He has never really cared that much about any of Sean’s stories before.

“—and they’ll just give it anyone, and I can’t—and I’d always worry, you know, because I have a lot of enemies, and if people knew it was mine—but I could never—”

“Sean, you’re not making sense,” Mark says. Sean takes in a shuddering breath, wobbling in his seat, and Mark grips him, holding him up as best he can coming off a two-day coding marathon on very little food and sleep. He braces himself, waiting for whatever it is—because he knows now it’s bad, and Jesus Christ, is that empathy he feels? What a night—but before Sean gets a word out, he hears another firm, cold voice on his other side, curtly ordering a drink from the bartender.

Mark closes his eyes and lets his breath out in a huff; Sean peers around him and squints at the newcomer.

“Mark, Sean,” Eduardo says, nodding at them both. He’s a little red in the face but he looks perfectly put-together as always, hair slicked back the way he’s taken to wearing it these days. Mark sometimes wishes they were still friends so he could tell Eduardo that it makes him look like someone in Ponyboy’s gang without getting punched.

“Eduardo,” Mark says, and Sean frowns, his lower lip wobbling a little.

“Eduardo Saverin,” Sean says slowly, and he points at him with a slightly shaking finger. Eduardo had come over tensed, as if spoiling for a fight, but he softens a little as he takes in Sean’s clearly inebriated state. “You will make a wonderful mother someday, Eduardo Saverin.”

“Oh Jesus,” says Mark, and Eduardo smiles a little wryly, as if he’s unsure whether to be amused or insulted or angry.

“Thanks?” he says, and he turns to Mark. “Is he okay?”

Mark takes a minute to blink about the ridiculousness of that statement coming from the most ridiculous person possible, and then answers a little helplessly. “Not really. There are so many things wrong with him I can’t even begin to—”

Mark,” Sean moans, shoving his face into Mark’s neck. Mark wrinkles his nose, watches Eduardo’s face tighten a bit as he looks away to his drink.

“Exhibit A,” Mark says, pointing towards the curly hair currently tickling his cheek. Eduardo chokes a laugh into his drink, and Mark has to restrain from pinching himself with how surreal that is.

OP (Anonymous) Expand

FILL: here comes the sun (2a/?)

oflights

2011-05-05 07:36 am (UTC)

you're gonna get two updates for the price of once tonight, cause I figured all this info should happen sooner instead of later. thank you so so so much for your amazing comments! oh, and I messed up the fill format in the last part, so I endeavor to fix that now. hopefully I'll get it right.
--

day -130


Sean at least has the gall to bring up his plan sober. Or, at least, as sober as Sean gets, which means he has a ‘hangover beer’ in him the next morning, when Mark finds him floating on an inflatable raft in his pool, fully-clothed and staring balefully up at the gray morning sky. It’s way too chilly for swimming, especially this early, so Mark says, “If you’re going to drown yourself, can you do it in my neighbor’s pool? Their dog keeps shitting all over my front lawn and you know how I am about remembering shoes in the morning. It’s getting to be a problem, I want them to move.”

“I’ll take care of your neighbors for you,” Sean says in a voice that is supposed to promise destruction and mayhem but really just sounds kind of lame. It’s his I brought down the record companies voice. Mark waves it off.

“I don’t think they have a young daughter to poach, sorry.”

“Doesn’t matter. I’m off sex.”

Mark laughs out loud; Sean narrows his eyes at him, so Mark laughs harder, sinking down at the edge of pool and leaning back on his palms. “Look at you, firing jokes this early in the morning, and hung-over to boot.”

“I wasn’t joking, Mark. And you know, you could be a little more sympathetic and understanding.”

Mark keeps laughing. “If you wanted sympathy and understanding, you would’ve talked to Chris.”

“Chris hates me,” Sean points out, pouting a little. “He thinks I’m going to seduce you into a life of sex, drugs and rock n’ roll. Not that I haven’t tried.”

“He should really give me more credit.”

“I personally think you could do with a little more of all three in your life, but I’m not one to judge.”

“Yeah, keep your judgment to yourself, daddy dearest.”

Sean’s weak smile drops completely, and Mark curses his lack of social grace for a minute. Then he remembers that it’s Sean, and he can take it (sort of) so Mark just stares blankly at him until he stops looking so wounded.

“You need a plan, Sean.”

“Yeah,” Sean sighs, and then looks at Mark, narrowing his eyes again. In the gray, dim sunlight, he looks very pale, California tan washed out in the light. He looks like he’s about to be swallowed up by the vast blueness of the pool, and Mark feels a fleeting rush of tenderness go through him; times like these, he understands Eduardo a little bit better.

The tenderness is gone when Sean next speaks. “Have you ever thought about having kids, Mark?”

“Fuck you,” Mark says immediately. To the untrained ear, that was a very casual, almost thoughtless question, but Mark knows Sean. He has his game face on, his voice calculated and controlled. He is Salesman Sean, about to convince Mark why adopting his unborn bastard baby would be the best thing he could ever do for himself.

“I mean, think about it,” Sean continues. “You’re pretty gay, right? Like, at least 70%?”

“You should stop wasting your breath.”

“And you’re still hung up on your sweet Brazilian lover boy, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.” Mark takes a few seconds to splutter indignantly before he realizes Sean’s not even listening. “So, I mean, when are you going to get another chance to do this?”

“I don’t want a chance. I don’t want to think about having chances,” Mark says. “Kids are for people who work 9 to 5, not 10 am Monday to 2 am Wednesday. They’re for people who can keep plants alive for more than a week and subsist on more than Red Bull and Hot Pockets.”

“You have a beautiful fern flourishing in your living room; I peed in it on the way out here,” Sean says.

FILL: here comes the sun (2b/?)

oflights

2011-05-05 07:38 am (UTC)

“That’s because Chris said my house looked like a crypt and told my housekeeper to take care of the plant. And that’s not the point—the point is that you should shut up, because there’s no way in hell that I’m—”

“Mark,” Sean says in a quietly forceful voice, and Mark stops and looks at him. “I need you, man. There’s no one else.”

“There is the entire state of California, actually,” Mark points out, working hard to keep his voice from wavering. “You can put the baby up for adoption, give it to a nice, loving couple who needs a little shitting miracle of their very own. Or leave it in a firehouse. Or, God, send it down the river in a basket of reeds or what the fuck ever, those are all better options than actually, seriously considering handing the baby over to me. You’re out of your mind.”

“But I don’t trust any of those options!” Sean says, and he sits up on the raft, splashing the water underneath him and setting his beer on the side of the pool. He paddles the raft over to Mark and looks him straight in the eye, imploring, almost raw. He looks like he’s on his way home from rehab again, curled up against the passenger side door and finally honest with himself, for a little while. “Mark, there is nothing that you can’t do.”

“That is extremely untrue.”

“No, seriously. I have never seen you fail at anything that you truly put your mind to. And don’t bring up Eduardo—you knew what you were doing then, knew what you were giving up. None of us can claim ignorance in that mess but you especially can’t. You did it because you thought it was right, you still think it’s right—”

“And sometimes I regret it,” says Mark, into his collar. Sean is the only person he has ever admitted that to, will ever admit that to. Sean nods gravely.

“‘Course you do, it was a serious dick move, tanked the most meaningful relationship of your life. But you can be a dick and still be obscenely competent. God, if you were the one in this mess—I don’t know anybody else who could make this work half as well as you could, just because you’d give it 200% because you know how important it is.”

“But I’m not in this mess. And I know what you’re trying to do, Sean.” Mark leans backwards, back flat on the slate tiles by his pool, and stares up at the sky slowly brightening to blue, clearing up steadily. He listens to Sean spout more of his praises; he’s heard these lines before, standard compliments that Sean trots out whenever he wants Mark to do him a solid. Now, though, as the compliments fade away, he has to wonder why me? There are billions of other people better suited to raising a child than Mark Zuckerberg, and Sean has to know that. If he was really just trying to pawn this problem off on someone else, why would he pick Mark? Why would he even care who he pawned the problem off on?

“Think about your life, Mark,” Sean is saying, and Mark only half-listens, follows his instructions without meaning to. “Where is your life going? Are you going to get married, do the white picket fence thing? Are you going to wait forever for Eduardo to forgive you, while never making any move towards actually earning that forgiveness? What comes after Facebook?”

Nothing, Mark thinks. Facebook is just going to get bigger, stronger. It will never end; he told Eduardo that, years ago in the dorm room, and he still believes that. Maybe that’s foolish; businessmen older than him look at him sometimes with such contempt, such arrogance—enjoy it now, kiddo. It won’t last. But it will. As long as Mark is able, he will make it work, make it keep growing, and he will do whatever it takes.

FILL: here comes the sun (2c/?)

oflights

2011-05-05 07:39 am (UTC)

Sean knows this. Sean is the only one who truly believes this, or maybe he just says he does. Maybe he’ll believe it until he’s proven wrong, and then he’ll move on. And maybe Mark has his answer of why me? somewhere in there.

“Nothing,” Sean says. “There’s nothing after Facebook, right? And—Mark, there’s nothing besides Facebook. Not really. You’re—you’re gonna end up somewhere safe, and empty, and okay. I’m going to end up—well, we all know where I’m gonna end up.”

“Don’t, Sean,” Mark mutters absentmindedly. He hates it when Sean gets self-aware, honest about his own shortcomings. It makes him uncomfortable and sad—they all know the kind of destruction Sean is speeding towards. They don’t need to acknowledge it like that.

“It’s true, though. We both know it. This—this could fix everything.”

Mark doesn’t listen to Sean like he used to. He doesn’t believe in Sean like he used to. He takes what Sean says, and he thinks about it—dissects it, finds the bullshit, the false flattery, examines it all carefully and scrapes together what’s left for further examination. But Sean still has this incredible talent for digging up the best and worst of Mark and hitting him right there, the parts of himself that he can’t deny.

He can’t deny that a future of just Facebook scares the shit out of him. He won’t admit it out loud, but it’s true. Once upon a time, there had been Eduardo and Facebook, and Mark thought he could live with that until it became apparent that one had to go for the other to survive.

“This is ridiculous,” Mark says, but what’s more ridiculous is that it’s starting to seem not so ridiculous in his head. Sean must hear that in his voice because he leans up on the raft, hovering over Mark’s face, blocking out the dim sunlight.

“You’d be a terrific dad,” Sean tells him, trying so hard for earnest that he nearly succeeds. “And not because you’re loaded, or you don’t do drugs or sleep around. It’s because you’re capable of so much more devotion than you’ll admit to, and you know it. If you committed to this, you would make it work, you would do everything you could, and there’s no one I’d trust more to raise my kid.”

“You’re ridiculous,” Mark says again, but he’s thinking.

FILL: here comes the sun (3a/?)

oflights

2011-05-05 07:41 am (UTC)

days -129 through -100

It is not a decision he makes in a day. And it’s not a decision that has any one reason or driving force. There is so much to consider, so many reasons not to do this that it’s almost insane that he comes to any decision but a flat-out no.

Mark thinks about it. He asks questions, vague sort of questions that terrify everybody he asks. The first person is his assistant, Natalie, who is sort of his personal savior, his organized sent-from-heaven brainiac that should honestly be President someday, never mind his assistant. She is the perfect combination of pushy and compassionate, hustling him into meetings almost on time but respecting his need to sometimes be the CEO who doesn’t really give a fuck about anything but making his website stay awesome.

Any major life changes sort of have to be run by her or all hell tends to break loose. So one day, as she’s standing over him and forcing him to sign a bunch of crap he has to make himself read, Mark looks up at Natalie and casually asks, “Are you good with kids?”

Natalie freezes, bright eyes narrowing in a way he knows she’s picked up from him (he doesn’t mind. Sometimes Dustin jokes that Natalie’s like if Mark were hot, and sometimes nice, and like five inches shorter).

“What did you do?” she asks through gritted teeth. Mark rolls his eyes and opens his mouth to clarify, but she isn’t finished. “God, I thought you were like, 70% gay, anyway. How is 30% enough for to procreate with some poor unfortunate female?”

“Okay,” Mark says flatly, blinking slowly. “One: go fuck yourself, I didn’t do anything. Not really. Two: I don’t really think my sexuality works in percentages, how do you even calculate that? And three: 30% is plenty for me to do some procreating, in this hypothetical situation where percentages have anything to do with my sexuality.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Natalie sighs, shifting herself up onto his desk in a way that he would fire anyone else besides Dustin or Chris or Sean for. “You’re CEO, bitch, you’re a big stud, you’re packing, all the ladies and all the fellas want to hit that—”

“Never ask me for a reference letter,” Mark tells her. “Seriously, you’d wind up thrown out of the country over all the shit I’d talk, just don’t do it. And can you please remember that I’m your boss, and I asked you a question, and you should answer it?”

“I’m terrible with kids,” Natalie says, giving him a hard look. “Which means you should keep them away from me at all times, and also think twice about creating them, since you can’t even look after your own Neo-Pets without help from me.”

“Dustin is the one who made that account, I don’t even care—”

“Mark. Tell me you didn’t leave your gay monkhood long enough to spawn.”

Mark sighs. “I—I’ll get back to you on that.”

Natalie refuses to speak to him for the rest of the day, and Dustin ducks in later to thank him for whatever he did, because apparently an angry Natalie is an even hotter Natalie.

Mark’s mom has a fairly similar reaction to his casual inquiries about what she would do if she were to suddenly become a grandmother, though she’s much nicer about basically calling him an idiot. And ugh, how he hates being berated for things he technically hasn’t even done.

FILL: here comes the sun (3b/?)

oflights

2011-05-05 07:43 am (UTC)

A part of him wants to say that he’s considering doing a wonderful, magnanimous thing: taking in an unwanted child and giving him or her (the baby has stopped being it in his head now, and that’s extremely troubling) a good, if somewhat unorthodox, home. But yet another part of him thinks that that would be even harder for everyone to swallow or understand, and he can’t even imagine explaining it rationally: Sean and his not-girlfriend don’t want their kid, so they’re gonna give it to me for some reason. Yeah, they’d all stage some kind of intervention, for sure.

He also doesn’t want to say that because he’s still not sure how wonderful or magnanimous this thing he’s considering is. But that’s something that he thinks about, even as he conducts his research.

Mark brings it up very, very warily with Dustin and Chris, especially with Chris. He knows the slightest hint of trouble can set Chris off and digging, and he’s not sure how much he wants to tell them, anyway. Sean’s name is difficult to bring up with Chris, and he thinks if he ever tells them the truth, it’ll have to be after the decision is made.

But he asks them, sort of off-handedly, “Do you think I’d be a passable dad?”

They both stare at him, eyes wide, and then promptly burst into laughter. Mark huffs in frustration. “Huh, I guess that’s a no, then.”

“Mark,” Chris gasps, shaking his head. “You—I can’t even—”

“I’m picturing Red Bull in baby bottles,” Dustin says, clutching his hand to his chest. “Pureed Red Vines, oh my God—”

“It’s not that funny,” Mark grumbles. “And whatever, I’m not an idiot. I know babies have to drink milk and eat mushy vegetables and shit.”

Dustin and Chris continue laughing, though, so Mark checks out until Chris calms down enough to note the seriousness of his expression.

“Wait,” Chris says slowly. “Why—why are you asking? Mark? Mark?

Mark smirks evilly. “Oh, no reason. Carry on.” He strolls away from them, ignoring Chris’ panicked squawks and Dustin’s continued laughter.

So all of the people in his life, sans Sean of course, seem to think the idea of him having a child is pretty terrifying. He can’t blame them, really. It’s all the more reason for him to say no, this is ridiculous, he shouldn’t even consider it.

FILL: here comes the sun (3c/?)

oflights

2011-05-05 07:45 am (UTC)

And then one night, he’s at yet another corporate event at yet another fancy San Francisco hotel. He’s late again, and he’s alone this time, because Sean is ‘too depressed to function’ and he’s been purposefully avoiding Chris and Dustin and their badgering questions.

And Eduardo is there, a beautiful, tall brunette on his arm. Mark watches them for the short amount of time he manages to put into the event, idly taking in Eduardo’s newly fluffy hair and the press of the woman’s body against his side. He drinks too much and starts seeing double, triple: a fluffy-haired baby cradled in Eduardo’s arms, his brunette cooing over their newest addition.

“Mark,” Eduardo says, chilly, formal, an old acquaintance. He introduces his date, a name that Mark forgets seconds after hearing it, and then moves on, flitting around the room happy, better, secure. He is smiling and relaxed with the brunette, and Mark burns, simmering in alcohol. And it’s all ridiculous—Eduardo is young, still thriving in business. There is no proof that that brunette is anyone serious, anyone baby-worthy. But all Mark can see when he looks at Eduardo is that future Sean keeps telling him he’ll never get a chance to have unless he takes it now.

He doesn’t decide that night, but it’s a close thing. He keeps thinking about it, thinking about Eduardo, thinking about the absurdity of being involved in parenthood on purpose. Mark thinks about she or he, thinks about Facebook and beyond, and he wonders.

He decides the day he meets the girl, a woman really, Lindsay, about 100 days before her due date. She tells him this when they meet (just them, not Sean, she had requested that).

“100 days left,” Lindsay says, patting her barely-there bump. Mark cannot stop staring at it, cannot stop wondering about it. “I—it doesn’t seem like enough time, when I don’t know what I’m doing.”

He doesn’t know what to say, hasn’t come up with anything firm yet. So Lindsay keeps talking, ignoring the lunch they’ve both ordered, the low bustle of the café she suggested. “You must think I’m a terrible person, right? Like, what kind of heartless bitch doesn’t even want her child? I’m okay with adoption, you know, Sean is the one who’s freaking out, but I just—I can’t imagine being a mom. Not yet. There’s so much more I want to do, you know?”

What do I want to do? Mark wonders. He wonders what else there is for him to do.

“And I don’t—you have money. That’s—whatever, so does Sean. That doesn’t mean anything. But Sean says that you’ll be the best, and I want the best for my—for the baby. That’s what I really want.”

Then you don’t want me, Mark thinks, but he sits there, frozen. She keeps going. “You’re such a good friend to Sean, I don’t understand why people think you’re so—it’s hard to be friends with Sean. Sean is like a big baby himself. And you’re his only friend. So—I think I believe him when he says you’re the best. I want to.”

Mark thinks he might want to believe that, too. He thinks, do I want this? and thinks Sean might be right—if he wants this enough, he can do it.

He’s startled to find that he does want this; he’s suddenly sure of it, the second he hesitantly says, “Can I?” and she pushes her chair out, grabs his hand, and fits it against the tiny bump.

“There’s barely anything,” Lindsay tells him, but Mark disagrees. There’s everything, right there under his fingertips, a future and a different kind of connection than he’s ever let himself have.

100 days before the baby is born, Mark agrees to be a father.

OP (Anonymous) Expand

FILL: here comes the sun (4a/?)

oflights

2011-05-09 04:58 am (UTC)

so, three things: one, you're probably going to get the next update super fast, because I feel like this is a bit of a lame (but necessary) filler part where not much really happens, and I feel bad. and two! I know the OP had a preference for the baby to be a girl, but when I first read the prompt I had this immediate vision of a mischievous, charming little boy with Sean's features, driving everybody crazy, so. I hope you don't mind! <3 oh, and three: in my head, Mark's PA is Natalie Keener from the movie Up In The Air, haha. idk, it just makes sense to me.

thank you again for your WONDERFUL, WONDERFUL comments of WONDERFULNESS! sooo happy you guys like this. ♥

--
days -99 through -1

It’s Sean’s idea to tell everyone right off the bat that the baby is Mark’s. Somehow, he manages to make this not seem like he’s just letting himself off the hook and saving face, but convinces Mark that this will actually work in his favor. Mark isn’t quite sure how he did that, but he did, and so he gathers his (very, very) small social group and informs them of the news curtly and in a tone that brooks no argument or protest.

The reactions are pretty predictable. Natalie gives him a blank, level stare that is eerily familiar (once upon a time, he had practiced it in a mirror) and then says, “You’re a fucking idiot.” She then schedules him back-to-back meetings with the oldest, most irritating shareholders as punishment.

Chris, of course, basically echoes her sentiment, until he starts talking about how this will affect Facebook’s PR. “It won’t,” Mark says, voice cool and firm and absolutely certain. “The press will not find out about this; I’m not letting my kid grow up on gossip websites and the cover of US Weekly. We’re keeping this on media lockdown for the foreseeable future, end of story.”

Chris looks at Mark, then, and suddenly he looks less angry and disapproving and more quietly impressed, like whenever Mark somehow manages to wear a tie that matches his shirt. He says, “I don’t know how long that’s going to be realistic, but I’m behind you, man,” and Mark feels, for maybe the first time since he’d made his final decision, that he’s making the right choice.

Perhaps taking cues from Natalie’s initial reaction, Dustin just looks sad and confused and says, “But…you’re gay?”

Mark shrugs. “Still have a working penis, though. Shit happens.”

Dustin gives a little shudder. “Don’t remind me. I guess…” He seems to think for a little bit, and then suddenly lights up with a blinding, ecstatic grin that is Mark’s only warning for what happens next: he tackles Mark into a rough hug that sends them both wheeling across the office in Mark’s desk chair.

“DUSTIN, for fuck’s sake, get off me!”

“I’m gonna be an uncle! We’re gonna have a little mini-Zuck to boss around and play with and teach the ways of the world! This is the best thing that’s ever happened!

“You need help,” Mark says, squirming under Dustin’s excited, wriggling weight. But he can’t help the hesitant, involuntary smile on his face as Dustin pulls back a little and then ruffles his hair, pinches his cheeks and continues crowing about how this kid is going to have the coolest uncle and the all the best game systems and the most kickass birthday parties ever.

So yeah, he could’ve guessed Dustin’s reaction. And the reactions of his dad and his sisters and any other necessary family members are all pretty predictable, too: they get excited and start shouting over each other about names and baby clothes. Even Randi seems pretty psyched, though at some points Mark can practically hear her disapproving nostril flares through the phone.



Edited at 2011-05-11 04:08 am (UTC)

FILL: here comes the sun (4b/?)

oflights

2011-05-09 05:02 am (UTC)

His mother shocks him, though. After a long, awkward conversation where he explains that his involvement with the baby’s mother is complicated, and that she’s not likely to be in the picture once the baby’s born, he hears her start sniffling, and he winces. He had expected her to be angry, like Natalie, because if anybody knows that he has no business fathering anything, it’s his mother. But he hadn’t expected to actually, God, break her heart or something, and a rush of guilt wells up in him.

“Mom, I’m sorry, don’t get all upset, I can—”

“Mark,” she interrupts, voice choked and tremulous. He braces himself for the massive guilt trip she’s no doubt about to lay on him, but then she surprises him. “Baby, I’m a grandma. How could you think I wouldn’t be ecstatic about this?”

He starts to point out, “Um, remember when you called me an idiot for even thinking about having a kid?” but she keeps going, killing him a little further. “I honestly never thought this would happen for you, sweetie. No matter the circumstances, no matter how hard it’s going to be—and it’s going to be hard, and I don’t think you realize that yet—I’m here for you, and I’m happy for you.”

Suddenly Mark is blinking rapidly, swallowing hard and quickly changing the subject in a way that makes his mom laugh knowingly.

In the end, only Mark, Sean, Lindsay, and the outside lawyer they hire to draw up the adoption papers know the truth about the pregnancy, and Mark has to agree with Sean that it’s easier that way.

Initially, Sean suggests simply putting Mark’s name on the baby’s birth certificate as the father, but Mark vetoes that idea at the advice of the lawyer, who points out the Sean could then come back at any time and sue for parental rights, which would be probably be granted on the basis of a paternity test. That meeting is uneasy and awkward, and Sean gets very quiet afterwards, prompting Mark to ask him if he’s sure about this.

“Yeah,” Sean says quickly, but when Mark continues to frown at him, unrelenting, he sighs and then nods gravely, a little more seriously. “Yes, I’m sure. This is for the best.”

“Then we’re doing it my way,” Mark says. “No going back.”

Sean’s mouth twists a little ruefully, but he nods again and fits his hand at the back of Mark’s neck, rubbing consolingly. “No going back. Right.”

Mark is antsy and uncomfortable about it for a while, but the next day Sean is talking about backpacking in Europe, picking up Swedish milkmaids and bunking in hostels and going on a Hemingway-inspired soul-searching trip. “I hear the Alps are great in springtime,” Sean says, giving Mark a meaningful look, and Mark relaxes. The baby is due in spring, and he knows that this is Sean’s way of stepping back a little, and he’s grateful. It is incredibly difficult to stand by a choice that the person who suggested it isn’t even sure of.

He has to make another decision, very quickly after breaking the news to Dustin and Chris, but he stands firm by it once he does: Mark doesn’t want them to tell Eduardo.

When he says this, he’s really addressing Chris; Dustin and Eduardo hadn’t stayed very close to each other after the dilution, the lawsuit and the settlement, and sometimes Mark feels guilty about that. But he knows Chris talks to Eduardo, sees him beyond the random conferences and corporate events that Mark also sees him at, and so he tells him firmly that this needs to be kept between them.

FILL: here comes the sun (4c/?)

oflights

2011-05-09 05:04 am (UTC)

“You don’t really think that Eduardo would talk to the press about this, right? I mean, he can’t, he signed a—”

“That’s not why I don’t want him to know,” Mark says, and then promptly refuses to explain why he doesn’t want Eduardo to know. Chris is bewildered but Dustin seems to get it almost immediately, and of course he calls him on it.

“Aw, Marky, it’s not like you’re getting married or anything, you can have a kid and let Wardo know you’re still available,” says Dustin, beaming.

Mark feels his face go hot as Chris huffs in disbelief and disapproval, muttering under his breath about uncommunicative idiots and delusional assholes who pine their lives away, but he agrees to keep his mouth shut, and really, that’s all Mark cares about. So what if Chris keeps giving him pitying, frustrated looks all day? Mark knows his continued thing for Eduardo is ridiculous and inadvisable.

He figures in a few months, he’ll be too busy to have a crush on Eduardo anyway. He can stand it until then.

Mark makes a few attempts to be involved in the pregnancy, too, even though Lindsay promises him he doesn’t have to, and everyone (well, Chris and Dustin) makes these embarrassing, cooing remarks about how cute he is in his attempt to be responsible. But whatever, it isn’t that difficult to go to doctor appointments and write down Lindsay’s favorite ice cream flavors on a Post-It stuck to his computer, so he can tell his second assistant to pick them up every once in a while. (He had tried asking Natalie to do that kind of stuff and she had laughed at him, so he dubbed one of Sean’s hires his second assistant and sometimes sends him out with ice cream and pineapple pizza, which Lindsay not-so-secretly loves and blames the craving on the baby. The second assistant, Jim, may or not be slightly smitten with Lindsay, a fact that makes him increasingly terrified of Mark, so it’s really a win-win all around.)

Lindsay is sort of the perfect pregnant person: she’s really smart, and she’s studying medicine, so she knows how to take care of herself and doesn’t take any stupid risks like the ones Mark looked up and printed out as a cautionary list for her. She asks all the good questions at the doctor appointments, questions Mark had researched and then forgotten about once Lindsay’s legs went up in the air on those stirrups and it got all awkward.

They find out the baby’s going to be a boy, which is good because a lot of the rooms in Mark’s house are painted blue, so it saves him a paint job. Everyone tells him he needs to start thinking of names, and he buys a few books and looks online but never really decides on anything. He asks Lindsay and Sean if they want a say and that winds up being awkward, too; they both get sort of sad, and they refuse vehemently, but Lindsay touches her stomach sort of thoughtfully and Sean gets quiet again.

Mark wonders if this situation is ever not going to be awkward, and decides that’s probably impossible. He thoughtfully asks Dustin (who’s been suggesting names like Thunder and Viper and other nonsense), “Do you think Parker would make a good middle name?”

Dustin is, of course, deeply insulted, and proceeds to give Mark the cold shoulder for a while. Mark rolls his eyes and waits for Dustin to stop pouting, which he does after making Mark promise to name his next kid Dustin. Mark promises, since he’s pretty sure this is going to be his final kid, and ignores Dustin’s claims that Parker is a terrible middle name, really, people will think it’s a hyphenated last name and that this is his and Sean’s gay lovechild.

“Whatever,” Mark mutters carelessly, because he just doesn’t like the look in Sean’s eyes whenever he hears about the baby, or seems to think about the baby. The sad cocaine binges are the worst cocaine binges, and Mark never wants to be the cause of one.

FILL: here comes the sun (4d/?)

oflights

2011-05-09 05:06 am (UTC)

So then the baby has a middle name, but no first name. Mark puts it out of his mind and instead researches more practical things: cribs, and playpens, and other things the baby will need to function. He winds up calling his mother just about every other day, sure he’s forgetting something, and eventually she just comes out and goes shopping with him, sniffling embarrassingly the whole time.

“I am ashamed of you, you’re supposed to be the level-headed one,” Mark tells her, shaking his head. She smacks him and tells him that what he thought was a high chair is actually a car seat, though he’s going to need both.

Even after his mother helps him set up the nursery, after all the doctor appointments and the books he reads, Mark still feels woefully unprepared. He looks at his kitchen and literally cannot picture a baby eating in it; he barely eats in his kitchen, there’s no way a baby is going to enjoy chilling in there. The next thing he knows, he’s asking Natalie to come over and make his house look less like a bare, assembly-line McMansion. “Kid-friendly, not just, like, baby-proofed. My mom put plastic things on the cabinet doors and stuff,” Mark tells her. Natalie just gives him that long-suffering look, like she’s thinking wistfully of the millions of other jobs she could have right now. Mark tries for a sweet smile, but the way she recoils tells him that his face is doing that twisty thing it does when he tries to fake things.

“Why are you asking me?” Natalie asks him, eyeing his cheap, pilfered-from-his-mother’s- basement furniture warily. Mark shrugs.

“Because you’re a girl.” She opens her mouth, probably to start spewing some sort of feminist rant, and he cuts in quickly, because he’s heard it before. “No, seriously, who else am I going to ask? Chris? Dustin? Chris’ house looks like Pottery Barn threw up all over it, and Dustin has Batman sheets. My mom just left, and doing domestic baby stuff depresses Lindsay, so she can’t help. I suppose there’s always Sean, but I’m not even sure he has his own house, so I don’t think he’d know what to do with mine.”

“This is just sad,” Natalie says. “You have like, a gazillion friends on Facebook, and we’re your only options? So, so sad.”

Mark tries for another look, drooping his shoulders and looking down in what Sean calls his sad robot pose. Natalie lets out a small, sort of squealing sound and grabs his arm. “Oh, God, don’t do that! It makes me feel like I just kicked all the puppies in the world—ugh, fine. I’ll fix your stupid house.”

He smiles at her, a real one this time, and she blinks at him until he starts to feel uncomfortable and frowns again. “What?”

Natalie shakes her head a bit. “Nothing, just—I’ve been trying to figure out how you tricked Lindsay into bed with you—”

“Hey!”

“—but, huh, it’s starting to make a little sense now?”

Mark’s mouth drops, horror-stricken. “Oh God, you’re not seriously—”

Natalie seems to come back to herself. “Oh, no, ew, don’t even—”

“Because that’s just—”

“—gross, I know—”

“You’re much more Dustin’s type, or Sean’s, anyway.” She scowls and punches him, and he grins as order is restored to the universe.

Later, as Mark watches her harangue an interior decorator (“Red valances? Tell me, what is a man who is red-green colorblind going to do with red valances? Are you this mentally deficient in all areas or just exceptionally bad at your job?”), he thinks about his gazillion friends on Facebook and thinks he’s doing okay with these few options.

--
next time: the bb's born! \o/

OP (Anonymous) Expand

FILL: here comes the sun (5a/?)

oflights

2011-05-10 12:55 am (UTC)

here we go! told you it would be fast. I'm super happy that you guys are enjoying this; your comments make me incredibly excited. thank you! <3
--

day 1

And then, much too quickly, Mark gets a text from Lindsay that says LABOR!!!!

“Shit,” he says, dropping his phone and jolting from his desk chair so fast his ankle gets caught on the wheels at the bottom and he trips.

Natalie, from where she’s checking over his calendar for him, snorts and doesn’t look up until he’s scrambling to his feet and lunging at her, grabbing her arm. “What the fuck—”

“The baby!” Mark says. “We have to go!”

Dustin and Chris catch on quickly, and Jim the second assistant says, “I’m coming, Lindsay needs me!” which…Mark doesn’t have time to think about how absurd that is, so whatever. The three of them trail Mark and Natalie and they all pile into Chris’ car (he’s elected the driver because Natalie is too busy complaining about how much she hates kids, Dustin is bouncing like a squirrel on speed, Jim is on the phone with the hospital demanding that Lindsay’s room be changed to the deluxe birthing suite, and Mark is sort of, like, shaking).

They all sort of charge into Lindsay’s room, which technically isn’t allowed, and they all get kicked out except for Mark, who only lasts another twenty minutes.

“Sir,” a nurse tells him sternly. “I promise that you do not know more about the female cervix than I do, please stop trying to tell me that I can’t measure dilation correctly.”

“Just go,” Lindsay growls. “We’ll call you back in for the big show, promise.”

“You shouldn’t be alone,” Mark says, but then he ducks a thrown cup of ice chips and decides that yes, maybe a break from the delivery room isn’t a terrible idea.

Outside in the waiting room, he finds more ice chips and gives them to Jim. “Stay with her, no matter how much bodily harm she threatens and/or inflicts,” Mark tells him, and Jim gives a slightly terrified salute and marches in.

It only occurs to him to call Sean when Dustin asks him about names again; he fits himself into a discreet corner and calls Sean with an uneasy, nervous sort of feeling in his stomach.

“Lindsay’s having the baby,” he tells Sean when he picks up. “Do you—you can be here. If you want to.”

Sean is quiet, which Mark is way too used to these days, and Mark can already guess his answer. “I—no. I don’t think I want to.”

“I get it,” Mark says, and he does. He feels sort of awful that this was supposed to fix everything, and yet it’s clear it’s done little for Sean personally. “I—Sean—”

“I think I’m gonna leave, for a while,” Sean says, huffing a little, self-deprecating laugh. “I just—yeah. You understand, right?”

“Yeah.” He thinks about it for a minute, and then says, “Sean, the middle name is going to be Parker.”

More quiet. And then Sean says, in a cracked, broken sort of voice: “Shit. You’re—okay, whatever, I really wish I could hug you right now. Like, hugger or not, you would be getting the hug of your life if you were next to me.”

Mark makes a face, but smiles a little, too. “I think I’d allow that. Maybe for about 30 seconds.”

“Okay. I owe you a hug, seriously. It’s—it’ll happen, someday soon. Prepare yourself.”

“I will.”

“Okay, I—the Alps, you know?”

“I know,” Mark says. “I—I’ll do my best, Sean.”

“I know you will, God, of course I know. You’re going to be amazing. You’re amazing.”

“This is getting pretty gay, not gonna lie.”

“Shut up,” Sean says, but he’s laughing as he hangs up, so Mark calls that a win.

FILL: here comes the sun (5b/?)

oflights

2011-05-10 12:57 am (UTC)

When he rejoins the group, Dustin reiterates the name question, and of course starts lobbing out suggestions. “Poison. Oh my God, how badass would that be? Poison Parker Zuckerberg!”

“Parker? Did you lose a bet?” Chris asks dubiously, frowning in a suspicious, dangerous sort of way. Natalie is glaring at Dustin.

“There is something seriously wrong with you,” she says plainly, and Dustin pretends to swoon in his seat.

“I left my books and my lists at home, I have no idea what to name him,” Mark says thoughtfully, carefully ignoring Chris’ looks.

“What about The Flash?” Dustin says, and Mark sighs and stands up.

“They probably have a name book in the gift shop. Come get me if I get called in.”

But the name book in the gift shop is no use; they’re just names, meaningless and impossible to choose from. He knows his mom wants him to pick something at least vaguely familial or meaningful, but he’s completely blanking out on what would fit, what would work for a kid of his.

It’s hard to think in the tiny gift shop; there’s a radio playing a truly irritating Beatles song much too loudly. He buys the book and resolves to take it out to the waiting room for the sane input of Chris and Natalie; as long as they don’t suggest anything too gay, like Bradley or whatever, he’s open to suggestions. He has the song stuck in his head for the whole walk back to the waiting room, and when he realizes he’s humming it, he also realizes what song it is.

Mark comes to a decision and throws out the name book. When they let him back into Lindsay’s room, he asks her, “What do you think about Max?”

Lindsay is sweaty and strained, but she brightens just a tiny little bit and says, in a small, choked voice, “I like it.”

Mark feels good about that. He grins at her, kicks Jim out of the room, and then it’s show time.

The actual birth is…freaking horrifying, actually. Everything’s very loud and messy and Mark feels like he’s going to hurl for basically the entirety of it. But his knees only get weak when he hears the baby crying for the first time, and the nurse who had kicked him out before smiles knowingly.

The baby is sort of gross when Mark first sees him, all slimy and wrinkled like a tiny raisin. For a second, Mark just looks at him like, wow, and then he’s being cleaned up and he looks a little better but still a bit like he’d just been through a war, which isn’t very cute. But when the nurse hands him the baby all wrapped up in a soft blue blanket, he looks down at his wrinkled little face and gets it, then, totally understands what all the fuss is about.

“Hi, Max,” Mark whispers, a little awed. The nurse asks Lindsay if she wants to hold the baby and something hurts in Mark when she says no, but when they lock eyes Lindsay doesn’t look sad. She looks fierce, and determined, and she looks at the two of them and just nods.

Mark knows then that he isn’t going to see Lindsay again for a while, maybe forever. It makes his chest tight, but he swallows down the fear and panic and melancholy bubbling up in him and nods back.

They take Max to the nursery after a while, and Mark wants to follow but is instructed to go out and talk to the anxious group still waiting for news in the waiting room. He walks out unsure of what to say, but he knows he’s smiling sort of uncontrollably. As soon as he appears in the doorway of the waiting room, he’s grabbed into a hug by Dustin and Chris, and even Natalie seems like she hates the world a little less right then.

FILL: here comes the sun (5c/?)

oflights

2011-05-10 01:00 am (UTC)

whoopsie, posted in the wrong place. sorry about that!
--
“Shit, man,” Dustin says, sniffling a little into Mark’s neck. “You look so fucking happy.”

“I kind of am,” Mark says, shrugging. “It’s weird. He’s, um. He’s perfect. He’s—Max, his name is Max, and he’s in the nursery, and I think the scary nurse said we could go see him through the window and then see him in person in a little while—”

“God, you have a baby,” Chris says wondrously, and he’s smiling a perfectly white, joyful smile. “Yeah, let’s—let’s go.”

Natalie trails along behind them at Dustin’s insistence, while Jim goes off to check on Lindsay. Mark is sort of embarrassed that he needs the nurse to point out which baby is his, but she reassures him that that’s totally normal and he ignores Dustin’s snickers about it.

“I’m sorry,” Natalie says. “But that baby isn’t cute yet. I mean, he has potential—”

“Fuck off,” Mark says cheerfully. “He’s a few hours old. You probably looked like a baby troll when you were first born.”

“My mom said I looked like an Oompa-Loompa,” Dustin says woefully, and then the four of them are cracking up, and God, it feels good.

“He’s beautiful, Mark,” Chris says, and Mark realizes that the constant smiling is starting to make him look like a maniac, but whatever.

Max and Lindsay both have to stay in the hospital overnight, even though the birth went fine and everyone’s healthy. The scary nurse, who is getting less and less scary by the minute, tells him that it’s better this way; some hospitals send the mothers and babies home the same day, which even Mark thinks is a little barbaric. He spends the time in the hospital with Max, memorizing just about every feature of his in case he gets him mixed up with the other babies again.

Max is pretty bald, just a few strands of soft, fair hair that stick straight up from the top of his head, no matter how many times Mark smooths them down. He has blue-gray eyes that one of Mark’s books says he won’t keep; they’ll either darken or lighten in a few months to what his normal eye color is. Mark thinks he recognizes Lindsay’s nose, and maybe Sean’s mouth, but really Max just looks like a baby. A very loud baby.

“Hi, Poison,” Dustin says when he is introduced to a wailing, wriggling Max. Mark glares at him.

Max.

“Right, like it’s any better to name your kid after “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” than it is to name him Poison,” Dustin grumbles, but then Max is blinking at him, taking a break from his crying jag to reach out for Dustin’s face. “Oh God, what does he want?”

“He’s just saying hi, you idiot,” Mark says, like he knows at all what Max is thinking. “Maybe he likes your bright clown hair.”

Dustin holds his arms out for the baby but Mark tightens his hold, shaking his head. “Um. Not yet.”

Chris snorts. “Already treating him like the last Red Bull, huh?”

“Hi, Max,” Dustin says loudly and emphatically, leaning in as close as he can get without making Mark growl at him a little. “I’m Uncle Dustin, and this is Uncle Chris! We’re gonna make sure you grow up semi-normal, promise.”

“Good luck with that,” Chris says, but he leans down, too, strokes a finger gently across Max’s cheek. He gurgles, wriggling in Mark’s arms, and Chris smiles at him before he looks at Mark, face darkening a bit.

“Lindsay—”

“No,” Mark says shortly, shaking his head quickly. Chris nods and frowns a bit.

“I’m sorry, Mark.”

“It’s okay. I knew how she felt the whole time. It’s a bit more complicated than you know.”

Chris gets quiet, looking down at the baby. “He looks like her.”

“Yeah, I guess. The nose,” Mark sighs, and lets himself feel sad about Lindsay for a minute. But only a minute—it’s sort of impossible to stay sad while looking at Max and his scrunched up button nose and spit bubbles and ridiculous cowlick.

FILL: here comes the sun (5d/?)

oflights

2011-05-10 01:02 am (UTC)

Eventually, he can be convinced to let Chris hold the baby, and then Dustin. Natalie declines, looking petrified, but quickly schools her face into an air of cool professionalism. She looks down at a clipboard she had stolen from the nurse’s station and clicks a pen, checking things off.

“Okay, so, a nurse is going to come in and give you feeding instructions in 20 minutes. Your parents and sisters are flying out on Wednesday to see you and Max, I have the flight all booked and a car scheduled to pick them up. I’ve passed out nondisclosure agreements to all the medical staff and threatened them all fairly effectively. Jim says he’s cool with taking Lindsay home tomorrow, so she’s set, and—”

“Max, this is Aunt Natalie,” Dustin says, cuddling him close to his chest and beaming down at him. “She’s like Wonder Woman, you’ll love her.”

“Babies hate me,” Natalie says, though she inches a tiny bit closer and peers at him cautiously. “No, really, we should probably maintain a careful—” But Max simply reaches out, grabs her long, brown ponytail, and pulls a little, making her squeal.

“Excellent, little man,” Dustin cackles, and when Chris holds his hand out, Dustin lightly slaps Max’s tiny hand against it in it a high five.

“Stop corrupting him, Dustin,” Mark says, taking the baby back and holding him like the nurse had showed him to. “Be nice to Aunt Natalie, Max. She’s the one that reminded me to buy all those diapers.”

When the nurse comes in to teach him how to feed Max, Chris suggests giving them some privacy and Mark glares at him. “Are you kidding me? I’m not breast-feeding, Chris, God, get in here. You guys should all know how to do this anyway.”

So they all wind up taking turns with the bottle, even Natalie, who is back to looking terrified but seems to be slowly coming around. Max is, apparently, a voracious eater and immediately starts crying when they take the bottle away (“He sounds like Dustin when he finds out the last slice of pizza is gone,” Chris says, and Dustin puts his hand on his heart and says, “Aw, he takes after me!”) and Mark panics a little but the nurse says it’s okay; they can feed him again in a little while.

After a while, Dustin and Chris drop off to sleep in chairs in the waiting room and Natalie (rather reluctantly) heads home, and Mark is left to hover in the nursery over Max, ignoring the night staff’s continued attempts to throw him out.

“So I’m gonna be honest with you,” he whispers to the baby, checking furtively to make sure the nurses won’t yell at him. “I still don’t have any idea what I’m doing. Like, whatever, I’m excited, but it’s very possible that this is going to be a disaster. Sorry.”

Max is sleeping, face down with his tiny, diaper-covered ass in the air. Mark notes that he sleeps the same way, sans the diaper, of course. “I’ll try not to mess up, Max,” Mark says quietly. Max sleeps silently on, his tiny body moving with his breaths.

Day one, and Mark hasn’t messed the baby up completely yet. He takes a deep, shuddering breath and hopes he can hold onto that trend for as long as possible.

OP (Anonymous) Expand

FILL: here comes the sun (6a/?)

oflights

2011-05-11 10:13 pm (UTC)

as you can probably tell, this fic is going to be sort of extremely long, omg. I have it sort of loosely outlined but I keep improvising things, too, so we'll see how that goes. it's also going to be pretty flufftastic for a while so, um, I hope you enjoy that! thanks again for all your lovely comments, you guys make posting here SO much fun. <3
--

days 14 through 90

“I really think you should reconsider,” Mark says, trying to sound as dignified as possible while just about ready to start begging on his knees, and while he has baby spit-up all over his shoulder (he keeps forgetting the hand towel trick, and keeps paying for it dearly).

His mother smiles, amused, pats his head, kisses his cheek, and picks up her carry-on. “Sweetheart, you’re doing fine. You’re ready for this.”

“That’s entirely debatable,” Mark says, gesturing to the spit-up stain. “Remember, just yesterday morning you told me I was holding his head up wrong, and I didn’t know you were supposed to keep them from sleeping on their stomachs until you told me—I sleep on my stomach, too, does that mean I’m going to suffocate in my sleep?—and I’m awful at moving him without waking him up and when I wake him up he cries. When I stop feeding him, he cries; when I leave the room, he cries! Sometimes he cries because he realizes he hasn’t cried in a while and he thinks if he’s not crying I’m going to forget he’s there or something.”

And his mother is just smiling, even though Mark feels like he’s 10 seconds away from taking a page from Max’s book and crying his eyes out.

“You’re doing so well, Mark,” his mother says, still heading for the door. “Believe me, if I thought you couldn’t handle this, I wouldn’t be going anywhere. But my patients need me—”

“I will pay for them all to move out here and live off my generosity and/or desperation, if it means you’ll stay,” Mark tells her, entirely serious. His mom continues as though not hearing him.

“—they need me more than you do, sweetie.” She beams at him, squeezing his baby powder-scented hands. “You’ve got this.”

“Mom,” he says, but she pats his hands gently and leaves him to watch her and the rest of his family get into their cab and head back to their lives.

“Maybe you’re just not cute enough for them,” Mark tells Max, rocking gently and unobtrusively in his little rainforest-themed baby chair, looking nothing like the monstrous little spit-up and crying machine he really is. But then Mark feels bad about saying that, remembers something in the books about positive reinforcement or something, and takes it back quickly. “No, no, it’s not you. I mean, you’re the cutest freaking baby in the world. It’s definitely me. I’m not cute enough for them.”

Max lifts his arm, accidentally smacks the little monkey dangling from the bar over his chair, and gurgles a bit. Mark takes this as confirmation and sighs, dropping to the floor next to the chair and rolling onto his back.

“See,” Mark says. “This is how you’re supposed to sleep. I know it’s uncomfortable, and I know it sucks, but it’s safe. It’s just you and me now, okay, so you have to help me out.”

He reaches his hand into the chair and lets the tiny fingers wrap around his index finger in their version of a handshake. “Excellent, buddy. I’m glad we understand each other.”

Most nights, though, Mark is too paranoid about the sleeping thing, even though he knows sensibly that Max can’t roll over yet. It’s not like Max ever sleeps for that long anyway, so he dismisses the issue by having Max sleep on Mark’s chest while he lies flat on his back, arms carefully cradled around the baby. This quickly becomes Max’s favorite position and he sleeps the longest like this, while Mark sleeps restless half-sleeps, constantly waking up and checking his breathing.

Edited at 2011-05-11 10:14 pm (UTC)

FILL: here comes the sun (6b/?)

oflights

2011-05-11 10:16 pm (UTC)

He finds he doesn’t like to be away from Max for any length of time anyway, at any time of day or night, which he knows is going to become an issue when his paternity leave ends. Technically, his paternity leave can go on forever, because he’s CEO, bitch, and if he wants to spend the rest of his life coding in his bed while Max wriggles next to him on top of the duvet, surrounded by pillows so he doesn’t achieve the impossible and roll off on his own, he’s totally allowed.

But sometimes he gets these fleeting moments of panic, the same as when Max wriggles extra hard in his sleep and he thinks, oh no, he’s rolling over, or what if he has to spit up again, did I feed him too much? Did I feed him too little? He thinks of the office, of Facebook—are we getting hacked because I’m not there? Has Natalie lost all of our third party app accounts? Is someone competent monitoring the server traffic? It’s terrifying, feeling so far away from Facebook like this, and he knows he won’t be able to handle it forever. Of course, when these panics happen, he just calls Dustin or Natalie and they’re respectively reassuring and snappish to him until he can tell it’s business as usual, but still.

At first, Mark tackles the meager amount of work that Dustin has allowed him to do at home while Max is sleeping in his crib, the baby monitor on right at his elbow. But that makes Mark twitchy and restless, attention breaking every time a rustle of movement or even a crackle of static sounds over the monitor, and he finds he works much better when Max is near him and can be watched. He worries about the radiation his laptop is giving off and wonders if he can buy a protective lead onesie and then starts to worry about lead poisoning. He has never worried about so many things in his entire life.

“I can’t believe I’m saying this, but you’ve officially become an overprotective Jewish mother,” Chris tells him gravely one day when he drops by for a visit and finds Mark wandering around with a Geiger counter he’d ordered off the internet.

“I don’t want Max to become a mutant—did you know that the TV is giving off .005 rems of—”

“That’s nothing, Mark, Jesus—when was the last time you slept?”

“I sleep when Max sleeps,” Mark says dismissively, which is not entirely true, because Max is sleeping now and Mark had meant to grab a nap but then the Geiger counter came and he just had to check his radiation levels. As if on cue, Max wakes up from his midafternoon nap and starts wailing in his little chair. Mark hurries over and unstraps him and holds him close, bouncing him a bit and murmuring to him as Chris watches with wide, concerned eyes.

“Mark,” Chris says softly in his kind, lecturing voice. “You need a break.”

“He’s barely two months old, Chris, if I need a break already then I’m in trouble for the next 18 or so years,” Mark snaps, smoothing down Max’s cowlick out of pure, useless habit. Those meager strands of hair continue to stand straight up, and Mark wonders if this means Max lucked out and inherited Lindsay’s straight hair instead of Sean’s curls. His mom says he won’t know for a while, but that Mark’s hair had started out that way, too.

“You’re exhausted. You need to take care of yourself so that you can take care of Max.”

Edited at 2011-05-11 11:15 pm (UTC)

FILL: here comes the sun (6c/?)

oflights

2011-05-11 10:18 pm (UTC)

“I’m doing fine, my mom said so, and Max is—well, he doesn’t look very happy right now, but he’s probably hungry. But otherwise he’s totally cool with this setup, he doesn’t have any complaints.” Max hiccups out a particularly heartbreaking cry and drips snot all over Mark’s shirt. Mark hugs him tighter, leading Chris into the kitchen for Max’s bottle.

“Mark, you’re—you are doing a good job, but I’m worried about you. I’ve never seen you this outwardly nervous. And you look like a ghost; when’s the last time you even went outside?”

“I bring Max out into the yard sometimes, but I’m afraid he’ll catch something out there,” Mark says.

“It’s okay if he gets sick, he needs to build up immunities—”

“Oh, God, I’m gonna make him into a Bubble Boy!”

“Mark,” Chris says firmly, and Mark pauses in wondering if it’s a good idea to bring Max to the first free clinic he sees and shove him in the face of a sneezing child. “Talk to me, man. You’re acting like you do when Facebook gets hacked or has some downtime—Max hasn’t been hacked, okay? He’s fine, you’re doing great. Why are you having a meltdown?”

“Because,” Mark says, concentrating on heating up Max’s bottle so he doesn’t have to look at Chris anymore, doesn’t have to reveal his reddening cheeks. “It—I just. I don’t want to mess up, okay? I have no idea what I’m doing, and I hate that, and my mom is gone, and in normal circumstances Max would have a mom around to tell me when I’m fucking up, but he doesn’t, he only has me, and that’s not his fault, so I don’t want him to—”

Chris is hugging him suddenly, making Mark squawk and try and flail away. But Chris grips him tight, and Max has stopped crying and is gurgling again, which Mark thinks means he’s being entertained, so he stands stiff and lets Chris get the unnecessary touching over with.

“You’re fantastic, and you reek,” Chris says, muffled into Mark’s shoulder. He pulls away and gives Mark a stern, fierce look that generally works to make Mark do what he’s told. “Go take a shower. I will feed Max, and then dress him, and we’ll take him for a walk.”

“But—”

“I wasn’t asking. Go, Mark. Shower, become a human being again.”

Mark thinks about it for a second, before sighing and saying, “Yeah. Okay. He’ll probably have fun on a walk. We’ll have to be—”

“Discreet, I know. Relax, please, I know what I’m doing.”

“Right.”

Mark takes the fastest shower ever, smirking a little when he realizes he forgot to tell Chris the hand towel trick. When he returns, though, Chris is one step ahead of him, a stained towel dangling from his shoulder, and he’s tickling a wriggling Max in his rainforest chair. “Fed, burped, changed,” Chris says without turning around. “Get your stroller out.”

It shouldn’t be a shock that Chris is apparently awesome with babies; Max doesn’t cry once while Chris pushes him gently along in his stroller, meandering down the sunny street Mark lives on. Mark is twitching with the need to make sure he’s warm enough, or if he’s cool enough, or—but Chris’ look keeps him at bay, and he shoves his hands in his pockets and walks along beside the stroller, listening to Chris talk nonsensically to Max.

FILL: here comes the sun (6d/?)

oflights

2011-05-11 10:20 pm (UTC)

“And this is the mailbox your dad threw up in last year after our office Christmas party—yes, the owners of this house hate him. And down there is the tree that Uncle Dustin tried to climb and broke his wrist on; never drink alcohol, Max. It’s really bad for you. I don’t drink alcohol because I’m very smart—”

“Don’t lie to him, Chris,” Mark says, laughing in spite of himself. The fresh air feels good on his face and he feels like he can almost relax—Chris is here, and Chris is the best at handling things when they go wrong, so really Mark doesn’t have to worry.

“I’m trying to set a good example. Honestly, he’s named after Sean Parker, he needs this kind of good influence in his life.” Mark stiffens a bit at the mention of Sean, who he’s only heard from once in the two months of his absence. “Speaking of Sean—”

“He’s in Europe; he emailed me last month.”

“He hasn’t met his namesake yet?” Chris’ voice is shrewd, way too shrewd. Mark would think that it’s impossible for him to guess the truth if he didn’t know that Chris is, indeed, very smart when it comes to things like this.

“You know what a flake he is. He’ll come around when he’s ready; I have more important things to worry about than Sean, okay?”

“You shouldn’t worry so much; you’ve got things under control. And you know Dustin and I will help any time you need us, and Natalie, too. She might grumble and bitch—”

“I need you guys manning Facebook. I don’t trust anyone else.”

“Facebook is fine, Mark. We can all handle it. Honestly, it would be a pleasure.” Chris leans over to make a face at Max, who smiles gummily at him. “Hi, Max. Are you having fun?”

Max gurgles, making spit bubbles. Chris beams sunnily at him. “I think that’s a yes.”

Chris makes Mark leave the house more often; a week later, he forces him to take Max into the office and introduce him to people. He’s predictably a big hit among the women, who all coo at him until Natalie steps in protectively and tells them to back off.

“You’re scaring the poor thing, leave him alone! Ugh, Dustin, you too, stop making faces at him.”

“He’s so tiny,” Dustin sighs, as if he hadn’t seen Max two nights ago. “Are you sure he’s supposed to be that tiny?”

“Dustin, shut up,” Chris says as that sends Mark into a panic that his kid is actually too small for a nearly three-month-old.

Slowly, he becomes better at not having Max in his sight at all times, but it seems that every time he feels like he can relax without Max, the baby starts crying and sends Mark running to his side.

“There are some schools of thought that babies should be left to cry on their own, it’s called controlled—” Chris starts to tell him, but stops when Mark starts glaring at him fiercely.

“That’s not happening.”

FILL: here comes the sun (6e/?)

oflights

2011-05-11 10:21 pm (UTC)

Mark and Natalie start interviewing nannies for when his paternity leave ends; he’s only planning to go in for half days, at least for the first couple of months, but he’ll still need help. Natalie hates basically all of the candidates and finds something wrong with even the people Mark deems sort of perfect.

“She has terrible teeth,” Natalie says. “You can’t trust a person with bad teeth.”

“You’re insane,” Mark tells her, though he’s almost as reluctant as she is to trust a stranger with his son. “You know what, I think you want this job for yourself.”

Natalie spends some time sputtering indignantly, during which Mark goes back through the candidates and picks the least offensive one, regardless of her dental hygiene. He allows Natalie to threaten the woman, at least, with all sorts of bodily harm if anything should happen to her pseudo-nephew while under the nanny’s care. The woman, Mabel, is a nurse taking some time off from work to get a Master’s, and she takes Natalie’s threats in stride, which is how Mark knows he made the right choice.

It gets easier to have Max exposed to other people, to have to share his attention, but Mark’s favorite moments are still when they’re alone. He reads to Max, kid books that people give him but other books, too, books that he likes and magazines and from his old CS textbooks. It seems to make Max calm down when he’s restless, and sometimes he coos whenever Mark reads certain things, which is how he knows what Max’s favorites are. He knows rationally that Max isn’t really following what he’s saying, but it makes Mark calm, too—he feels capable when he makes Max seem happy.

The first time he hears Max laugh, he’s reading an article from The Economist, and Mark stops in the middle of it and, glad they’re alone, smiles widely at him. He reaches over and tickles Max’s belly, smiling wider when Max’s laughter gets louder. “Awesome, a future econ major,” Mark says. “Your Uncle Wardo would be so proud.”

Somehow, hearing Max giggle like that makes Mark worry less, and it quickly becomes his favorite sound in the entire world.

OP (Anonymous) Expand

FILL: here comes the sun (7a/?)

oflights

2011-05-15 04:20 am (UTC)

yay part 7! you might all hate me a bit for this part, but let me just reiterate that this is going to be looong, and I have an end-game planned for Mark and Eduardo; it's just going to take a while to get there. I hope you enjoy this, and thanks again for your stupendous feedback! <3
--
days 81 through 180

One of the best perks of Max being in Mark’s life is that he is the perfect, built-in excuse to forego a social life. Once upon a time, Sean had dragged him out to get laid; Chris and Natalie had forced him practically at knifepoint to go to events and network and mingle; Dustin had picked random sporting events (even though neither of them had any interest in sports) and tugged him along just to get him out of the house or office.

Now, though, Mark goes from the office to his house and it’s all very noble, very well-meaning, because he wants to be there for his son. He gets to see Max start to crawl, which is a fairly terrifying week, and watches him start his grabbing phase, his stuffing things in his mouth phase. He starts making sounds that aren’t just gurgles but real sounds and syllables, stunners like, “Fwah,” and “Glip!” that thrill Mark entirely more than is proper. Mark talks to him constantly, trying to get him to repeat words, and he practices “Dada” stealthily, not wanting Chris or Dustin or Natalie to know how badly he wants Max to say it.

Max’s hair starts growing (curly, unfortunately), he starts wailing round the clock because of his teeth, and the first solid food he eats is mashed peas that look like the vomit from the girl in The Exorcist—and these are all details he gets to note because he’s there, with Max, instead of bullshitting with uninteresting and utterly unintelligent people at some corporate event.

“You’re a lot smarter than most of them, Max,” Mark says, during their daily spit peas out and laugh hysterically event, aka dinner time. “And you have way more interesting things to say.”

“Cack!” Max says, clapping his mush-covered hands together.

“Exactly.”

He is perfectly content with nights at home with Max, Chris and Dustin coming over sometimes to play with the baby or make sure Mark is eating food besides strained sweet potatoes and applesauce (fact: he isn’t. Baby food is just convenient and, he argues with Chris, more nutritious than what he usually eats anyway). Sometimes Sean calls him, too, or sends postcards to Max, always addressed to Max Parker Zuckerberg and signed “from your Uncle Sean.” Max chews on the corners in an appreciative sort of way and Mark is glad that they can bond.

“You should come see him,” Mark suggests, not pushy but just flatly matter-of-fact. “People ask me a lot why my, um, my best friend hasn’t even met my son yet.”

Sean generally has an excuse, usually an exciting woman he’s chasing through some foreign city, but sometimes Mark can hear the plaintive wistfulness in his voice, and he wonders who it’s for.

Natalie takes over a lot of the social duties of CEO, resulting in her becoming the highest-paid personal assistant in the country. She’s way better at dealing with people than he is, anyway, but she still manages to instill the fear of God in people, the way Mark likes to.

Mark would be perfectly happy to float along like this for as long as possible; his life is Max and Facebook, in that order, and without all the stupid extra trimmings that come with being CEO, he can almost pretend he’s just a regular single dad who splits his time between a job that he loves and a kid he loves even more. It’s a nice feeling.

Which is, of course, why Chris eventually has to burst his bubble.

They’re all having dinner in Mark’s kitchen, eating tater tots and hot dogs courtesy of Dustin, who is utterly smitten with Max’s nanny and keeps trying to impress her with his “mad culinary skillz.” Max has finished his usual routine of smearing every other bite of his dinner all over his highchair, and is happily gnawing on his teething toy while Dustin, Chris and Mark eat their grownup food (as grownup as tater tots and hot dogs can be).

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